“But there will be no poor among you, for the Lord will bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance to possess–if…
Reading Isaiah 61 this morning, I am refreshed by the already-but-not-yet nature of the poetry. In the Gospels, Jesus quoted verse 1 and the first part of verse 2 and…
I’m only just beginning to learn two lessons that will take me the rest of my days to study. Both are humbling and require ultimate surrender. Both are grave and…
Standing on this mountaintop Looking just how far we’ve come Knowing that for every step You were with us Kneeling on this battle ground Seeing just how much You’ve done…
The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice…
…His lightnings light up the world;
the earth sees and trembles.
“Wait.” What child likes to hear that? I remember as a child on road trips asking, “Are we there yet??” I would have given anything for the answer to be “Yes!” But nearly every time it was instead, “Not yet. Be patient.”
Twenty years have passed since that time, and as an adult, I’ve learned to suppress the audible expression, but my heart still asks the question. Unlike a child, though, I foolishly think that I can improve upon the answer. Maybe the Lord just needs help. I must have misheard Him. Wait? Surely not…
“Voyage” from The Valley of Vision
O Lord of the oceans,
My little bark sails on a restless sea,
Grant that Jesus may sit at the helm and steer me safely;
Suffer no adverse currents to divert my heavenward course;
Let not my faith be wrecked amid storms and shoals;
Bring me to harbour with flying pennants, hull unbreached, cargo unspoiled.
I ask great things, expect great things, shall receive great things.
I venture on thee wholly, fully, my wind, sunshine, anchor, defence.
Eight friends and I returned from the Far East today after more than a week of rich ministry and testifying to the glory and grace of God. I entered the trip in a better place than my last international venture, but I think I was still walking mostly in my own strength. I wrestled with God’s independent, active, passionate movement among the nations, and at the same time, His passionate response to the prayers of His people. How does His sovereignty interface with the prayers of His people, of which He says they avail much when fervent (James 5:16)?
Day by day He broke my heart. Sometimes my Father softened it through the love of the local church shining in such a dark place. At other moments, what worked on the knots in my heart was my teammate who prayed for God to surprise her and believed that He would. Still more, my precious Lord opened my heart as we patiently waited on Him to awaken dead lives with the gospel…and then saw Him do it! I struggled with distractions that I thought would tarnish my memory of the trip, but now see that God was humbling me there, too.
Finding satisfaction in Christ is a running theme and chorus in my life these days. Whether it is the “Boy Meets Girl” series at The Porch or the song playing in my car, the message is that I don’t need anything more than Jesus. And “satisfaction” is the key word, not just “contentment”. When I think about contentment, it strikes me as just enough and a state of pause or rest, which I suppose fits well with the metaphor of food and eating as well as biblical contentment. But in satisfaction, I see a joy and even an overflowing that stirs a response like that of the song, “You”, by Patrick Ryan Clark (excerpt below).
I don’t need anything / I don’t need anything / I don’t need anything more than You / You’re sufficient / You’re complete / Your power is full when I am weak
“Those who swear by the Guilt of Samaria, and say, ‘As your god lives, O Dan,’ and, ‘As the Way of Beersheba lives,’ they shall fall, and never rise again.”…
Before I unwrap this nugget of thought, I need you do something that will make it a little more real. Ready?
First, find (or imagine) your most comfortable chair. You know, the big, plush, comfy one that you sink into like a marshmallow? (If you’re already in it, you’ll need to get up ;) Now, act like you’re about to sit in it, but hold yourself an inch above or just barely in contact with the cushion. From experience, you know that it will be oh so delightful and that you’ll find rest in it, but right now, it’s just a thought, a memory. Keep holding. Is it as wonderful as you know it could be?
Alright, let go and fall into the wonderful embrace of good, chair-y bliss. How does it compare to that hovering position you were in a few moments ago?
That overstuffed chair is what prayer has been to me lately. I know it exists and there’s goodness in it–God promises over and over again–but I’ve rarely let go, fallen into it and trusted it to hold me up and embrace me. It’s the difference between praying with faith and without faith.