Tuesday, January 13, 2015

MeccaMusing: The Intimacy of God's Silence

MeccaMusing: The Intimacy of God's Silence: Dear Ones - I hope you understand that I share my vulnerabilities out of a real desire to help others.  I know if I am experiencing these th...

Saturday, January 10, 2015

MeccaMusing: The Intimacy of God's Silence

MeccaMusing: The Intimacy of God's Silence: Dear Ones - I hope you understand that I share my vulnerabilities out of a real desire to help others.  I know if I am experiencing these th...

The Intimacy of God's Silence

Dear Ones - I hope you understand that I share my vulnerabilities out of a real desire to help others.  I know if I am experiencing these things, others are as well.  I just can't be so special that I am the only one, right?

Sometimes, we are just too proud to admit we struggle.  My hope and prayer is that you will be blessed with the faithfulness of God in your life even in the smallest of details - the ones that often spoil the big picture when we let them.

I have struggled lately with feeling "anxious," about a particular situation. My human nature wants everything to be alright, roots secure.  My spiritual nature tells me when I am trusting the Lord, the roots can be shaken free from this earthly soil, and it doesn't matter what is going on, it is "alright,"  because I am rooted and grounded in Him.

The Lord brings verses to mind that remind me of His constant oversight and "working behind the scenes" on my behalf 24/7.  That He does not sleep for watching over me. That I shouldn't be anxious for anything, but trust Him for everything because no one loves with a more unconditional, perfect love; and that perfect love casts out all fear (feeling unsettled or anxious).  Phil 4:6

In fact, the website www.soulshepherding.com indicates that our Heavenly Daddy, Gardener tell us at least 365 times (enough for a new reminder every day of every year) to "fear not, or be anxious for nothing."  He does know us so well.  He could be aggravated that He has never failed and yet we continue to fret; but because of his long-suffering towards us, He repeats and reminds without condemnation.  Oh, to love others like that.

He made me is such a way that I need to communicate with people around me.  I need others to communicate with me.  I have a collaborative nature and don't appreciate being isolated or not being able to express my thoughts and opinions when in a group trying to accomplish a common goal.

Yet, knowing my human needs, He is allowing me to experience isolation. I tend to ask, "Lord, you know this is difficult for me - why would you allow this to happen?" All I hear is silence.  No answer. Not only is He allowing me to feel isolation in my situation, but I think I feel it from Him as well.

Then, I am reminded I don't grow as much spiritually and emotionally when everything is great.  I mature in Him when I depend on Him and Him alone for collaboration and affirming feedback or peace in the lack of collaboration knowing that He is always at work for my good.

So, in the midst of these thoughts, the good "suster" called me and shared a verse the Lord had brought to her mind about a situation she is experiencing.  John 5:17.  "My Father is working, and I am working [on your behalf and the Holy Spirit is comforting your soul with that knowledge - when you will listen].  She had no idea what I was writing.  God is indeed always working.

While I was thanking the Lord for His unconditional love, He led me to this marvelous devotional on God's silence and what intimacy it brings to the relationship because it indicates such trust.  I can't say it nearly as well or profoundly.  Please enjoy, "My Utmost for His Highest."

Has God trusted you with His silence— a silence that has great meaning? God’s silences are actually His answers. Just think of those days of absolute silence in the home at Bethany waiting on Him to come heal Lazarus! Is there anything comparable to those days in your life? Can God trust you like that, or are you still asking Him for a visible answer? God will give you the very blessings you ask if you refuse to go any further without them, but His silence is the sign that He is bringing you into an even more wonderful understanding of Himself. Are you mourning before God because you have not had an audible response? When you cannot hear God, you will find that He has trusted you in the most intimate way possible— with absolute silence, not a silence of despair, but one of pleasure, because He saw that you could withstand an even bigger revelation. If God has given you a silence, then praise Him— He is bringing you into the mainstream of His purposes. The actual evidence of the answer in time is simply a matter of God’s sovereignty. Time is nothing to God. For a while you may have said, “I asked God to give me bread, but He gave me a stone instead” (see Matthew 7:9). He did not give you a stone, and today you find that He gave you the “bread of life” (John 6:35).

A wonderful thing about God’s silence is that His stillness is contagious— it gets into you, causing you to become perfectly confident so that you can honestly say, “I know that God has heard me.” His silence is the very proof that He has. As long as you have the idea that God will always bless you in answer to prayer, He will do it, but He will never give you the grace of His silence. If Jesus Christ is bringing you into the understanding that prayer is for the glorifying of His Father, then He will give you the first sign of His intimacy— silence.

Sweet friends in Christ - My constant prayer is that my heart will be in tune with the heart of God, that He is akin to an earthly soul mate but so much more.  I trust His heart so much that whether I wait in silence or in full collaboration in communication, the situation does not change.  There is no fear, no worry, so aggravation, just pure peace - the kind that passes all understanding; and the intimacy in my relationship with God is strengthened through all of the circumstance of life when my eyes are on Jesus.  After all, It is God my Heavenly Daddy who guarantees outcomes to glorify Himself.  I can indeed trust His heart and therefore, His intent in my life.  

I love you all more today than I did yesterday, because the love of the heart of my God is more real today than it was yesterday.  And all of God's people said, "Amen and "Amen.  Joyfully, Mecca

Friday, January 2, 2015

MeccaMusing: The Work of my Heavenly Gardener

MeccaMusing: The Work of my Heavenly Gardener: Dear Ones - as we approach this new year, I want to say with absolute assurance that I believe God is in the miracle working business.  He s...

The Work of my Heavenly Gardener

Dear Ones - as we approach this new year, I want to say with absolute assurance that I believe God is in the miracle working business.  He still affects dramatic changes in the lives of those who approach Him with the attitude of "change me to be more like Jesus no matter what it takes."

"No matter what it takes."  Does that scare you?  Be honest.  It does scare me.  Why?  Because my flesh is afraid of what that might mean.  But that's the problem.  It's the flesh that is afraid.  So, I pray again, "Lord, all of you  and none of me."  

Then comes the peace that allows me to invite the Holy Spirit into every nook and cranny of my life, hiding nothing and ask Him to snip away at anything that would hinder a sweet relationship with the Lord Jesus.  

The precious thing about having a relationship with the Lord Jesus is that as His child, I am consistently learning as He provides guidance, wisdom, and clarity when I have a teachable spirit and long to know more. 

That requires constant attention to His Word and prayer, which is my spiritual breath.  While the Lord Jesus is making me like Himself, He has to affect change in my life on a daily basis.  How dramatic it is depends on how involved the "I" gets.  If it's all of Him and none of me, it's a simple process.

Here is my main problem.  I am not a fan of change.  Frank and I often joke that if I had had my way, we would still be living in the house on Sinclair in Midland, Texas (6 houses, 2 states and many years ago).

I am a nester and a homebody, and the Lord usually has to pry my hands away a finger at a time from the thing that holds me back when He wants to unsettle and grow me.  Amazingly, He is always patient and never hurts a single finger in the process.  I might be reeling because I wouldn't just let go, but He is always there to steady my walk and point me in the right direction. 

He continually affects change in my life through pruning.  I feel the "snipping."  I also feel the loving tenderness of my Gardener.  He is doing it for my good and His glory. While there is discomfort, there is no pain or fear (as long as "I" stays out of the way.)

"I am the true vine (The Lord Jesus), and my Father is the Gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit.  While every branch that does bear fruit, He prunes so that it will be more fruitful." (John 15: 1-2).  What a blessed thought.  One of the ways He confirms that I "am in Him, and He is in me," is that He prunes me.

I googled the reason plants need to be pruned.  I was amazed at what I read, and how it paralleled spiritual pruning.  First, pruning must take place for Safety - not for the plant's safety, but for the safety of things around the plant - covered signs, overhanging branches that could cause harm to people, or intrude on another plant's ability to flourish.  Spiritually, I need pruning so I will not be a spiritual hindrance or do spiritual harm to others.

Health - to prevent the spread of disease, improve circulation, and provide more exposure to sunlight. What a beautiful picture of what we need as Christians for spiritual health - freedom from the disease of sin so that the Holy Spirit has free flow, and we can be a light in a dark world because we walk in light.

Production - to encourage more fruit bearing.  Without pruning, most of a plant's energy goes into growth instead of yielding fruit or flowers.  What good is height and depth, if there is no joy, peace, forbearance, gentleness, goodness, kindness, and self-control? (Gal. 5:22-23)

Keep trees to a pickable size - I loved this.  Pruning keeps a tree from being so tall that it is really hard to reach the fruit or so short that it is physically hard to pick - having to bend over, etc. 

I thought about thinking so little of my position in Christ that my light was dim, and my fruit was too much trouble to pick or not sweet enough to use or eat; or being so "heavenly minded I was no earthly good."  Either one keeps me from exhibiting the fruits of the spirit the way the Lord wants me to.

There are many more, but the one that really caught my attention was: Pruning avoids weak tree whips and dual leaders.  

I am going to actually quote the google source.  "Most fruit trees come with "whips," which are tall and slender. Proper pruning avoids weak whips that split in a storm, and instead limits the tree to a single leader strengthened by a strong root system." 

Now, just think about that, pruning ensures that there is only one Leader (The Lord Jesus), that the source of the strength of the tree or plant is provided in the strong root system (rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith - Col. 2:7), so that as I grow, I am not a weak whip that splits in the storms of life, but I am a fruit bearer because I am a branch that remains or abides as an outgrowth of the Leader drawing from His strength.  "If I remain in Him, and He in me, I will bear much fruit; but without the one true Leader, the Vine, I can do nothing." John 15:5

Listen, sweet family and friends, I would welcome more than just a snip here and a snip there if it would continue to give me the joy, peace, gentleness and forbearance I have experienced during seasons of spiritual pruning.

Lord Jesus, thanks for the strong connection to my Heavenly Daddy, my Gardener.  Thanks for showing your love for me and ownership of my life through pruning.  Thanks for the gentleness of the snip.  Thanks for the beauty this pruning will produce. 

Most of all, Lord Jesus, let the fruit produced within me grow as I grow in You - glorify You and point others to You, so that at the end of every season of pruning, I will have greater treasure to lay at your feet. 

Pruning - a marvelous reason I can continue to approach each day with the joy of the Lord.  Love to you all.  Happy New Year.  Keep looking up.  Mecca

(Some of these thoughts have been used before, but they are still true at this very moment in my life.  Are they in yours?)


Saturday, December 27, 2014

MeccaMusing: What a Baby, What a Savior, What a King

MeccaMusing: What a Baby, What a Savior, What a King: Dear Ones - I have been wrapped in the love of Jesus this beautiful Christmas Day, 2014.  Something that has been running through my mind is...

Thursday, December 25, 2014

What a Baby, What a Savior, What a King

Dear Ones - I have been wrapped in the love of Jesus this beautiful Christmas Day, 2014.  Something that has been running through my mind is the "magnificent personification." This what Dr. David Jeremiah calls our Heavenly Daddy and almighty God personified in a helpless babe.

I recently did a thorough study of the concept of leadership.  There are so many books, seminars, training sessions, articles and yes, even sermons on the subject.  There's no way I could read them all, but what I did read left me with two main characteristics of a true leader - authenticity and vulnerability.

We are instinctively drawn to people who are real and not afraid to be vulnerable, to admit they don't know everything and are still willing to learn.

Those characteristics are exactly what Jesus personified when He came as a helpless baby.  The birth of a baby is something that still mystifies humanity, creates wonder sometimes where there is no hope, gives people a reason to live, to do better, to commit, to step up, to grow up.  A baby captures our hearts and draws people together. It is something that cannot be ignored. The birth of a baby is transformational.

At birth we are the most vulnerable. As babies, we are totally dependent on others for everything, including our most basic needs.  When we are babies, we are also the most authentic.  We have the nature that will allow us to learn the concept of guile and deceit, but as babies we are pretty real about what we need and want and not shy at all about letting someone know by any means necessary.

I know there are many theological reasons that Jesus came as a baby, but I am speaking from my heart today.  I am reminded that He came when the Jewish people were in bondage - not in the height of their glory.  He was born in a manger, laid down to sleep in a feeding trough.

I read that there was a "touch of glory" in His birth with the bright star and angels declaring his birth, but even they appeared outside the city to the most humble of men - shepherds.  He was born in humiliating circumstances, to a virgin whose husband-to-be had to believe this unbelievable story that she had not been with another man.

I will never forget hearing Mark Lowry say that if he had been Mary, he would have asked the angel that declared the news to her to please go tell her mother and daddy, too, because they were never going to believe her. That should illicit a chuckle.

Think about what it took for Joseph to believe her and stand with her. At first he didn't but loved her enough that he was not going disgrace her.  I'm sure they were both very grateful for the angel's message to Joseph so he would understand the truth. But the angels didn't tell the neighbors.  What do you think they thought?

He grew up in the "backwoods"  of Galilee - not known as "the" place to live in those days.  His life was characterized by humility and a sense of peace (except when He whipped those boys out of the temple).

He was the perfect example of obedience in all circumstances - even to the death of the cross as my sinless Savior (Phil 2:8). He went through all of the stages of human growth and daily circumstances so that we could see He was not a high priest that didn't know what we were going through, but He was tempted just like we are yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).  He showed wisdom in all circumstances; after all, He created wisdom before he created anything else and walked hand-in-hand with her to create all things (Prov. 8).

What pride and arrogance I can sometimes exhibit.  I have so much.  I don't need anything, and yet sometimes, I moan and complain about my circumstances.  I want to be like Jesus, who was born in humility, lived in humility with the Power of his Father at His beck and call, yet chose to joyfully relinquish it all on my behalf.

Oh the preciousness and power of the "Magnificent Personification."  Lord Jesus, I yearn for your peace, your humility, your grace, your meekness.  I choose to step aside and beg for all of you and none of me - not just because I'm tired of me, but for the pure, unadulterated joy of knowing you fully and representing you by your grace and mercy in this world.

Don't let us lose the wonder of the blessed night when you first came as a baby, your death, burial and resurrection as our beloved Savior, and your promise of returning as our glorious King to gather us to yourself that where you are, there we will always be (John 14:3).

I will be happy in swaddling clothes, lying in a feeding trough, vulnerable at your feet.  What a place of safety - the cleft of the rock.  Looking forward with great anticipation to 2015.  Maybe this will be the year He comes as my King.  Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus. Oh, how I love that name.  I love you all.  Mecca