Friday, September 30, 2011

You Are What You Love

Blessed beyond understanding is the man or woman, boy or girl who resolutely refuses to walk the way of the world, whose ears are closed to the suggestions of fools, and who won't sit down as long as there is a stand to be taken anywhere...

And not so much because such resistance has saving merit of it's own,
but because such resistance is prerequisite to finding one's delight in the Words of God.

One cannot have the mind both to joyfully meditate, and jovially meddle with foolishness at the same time.

No more than one can be both a tree planted by rivers of waters, and chaff driven away on the wings of the wind.

You are what you love.

You are.

"...His leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." 
Psalm 1

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Supernatural Secret

"The expression of Christian character is not good doing, but God-likeness. 

If the Spirit of God has transformed you within,

you will exhibit Divine characteristics in your life, not good human characteristics.

God's life in us expresses itself as God's life,

not as a human life trying to be godly. 

The secret of a Christian is that the supernatural is made natural in him by the grace of God..."

--My Utmost for His Highest
Photos: ©Joshua Nebblett

Monday, September 19, 2011

Bloom Anyway!

Part of me is not ready for summer to be over.
Not ready to watch the yard change out its summer coat for dusty brown, one blade at a time. Up here we tend to flower beds, fruit trees, and turf 10 months out of the year, so that 2 months can be beautiful-- August, and September.

But part of me is ready.
I tip-toed over to Chantée's rock garden yesterday, as if one false step would chase away the perfect mountain morning. We're past due for frost, but still rainclouds from a zealous monsoon have kept the heat in every night...
And so in the chill of an almost-October morning at 8,000 feet there were still flowers singing glory amongst the rocks.

Thought I:
Boy, you'd think it was about time for hibernation. Seriously, all this praise will come to a screeching halt in a few days, for frost can't be all that far away. Be quick and spread seed. The time for blooms is past...

Or is it?

When I tiptoed back away from the garden, little flowers that wordlessly sing hallelujah had taught me another lesson...

Bloom anyway.

Let the frost come! For one last glorious moment color will shine through crystal, and then the flower's work will be done.
Sing to the finish.

If spring is time for growing, and summer is time for loving, then fall is time for giving.

And that's the most beautiful thing of all...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Consuming Treasure

I sit on black leather watching the day wake up past curtains drawn back on french doors. My thumb in the COL on my lap, my other hand behind my head... Countless yellow flowers sing “September!” in the morning sun’s first glow. 
My mind is far away.

I know God gives back. You’ve heard it said He never closes a door without opening a window-- Never takes anything away without giving something better in its place.

I know.

But what of the times...

You know what I mean? Sometimes God grants that the fire should burn through our lives, and take away the dross...

And other times God grants that fire should burn through our lives, and completely consume the treasures.

And He doesn’t give them back.

I’ve had my share of fire over the years. And I’ve held on to more than my share of promises.

[The sun creeps across the floor and up the side of my desk; warms the cover of my journal.]

And I’ve probably written miles of ink lines in those books.

But this week, this morning, I’ve learned something. 
Something that gives me chills up and down my spine... and makes my blood surge jubilance.

The times when the fire burns through and takes treasures, leaving nothing to hold on to but memories of fire and smoke--

God has still given. 
He did give you something better. 
He gave you the fire.

My soul tingles.

If I am a soldier, if I am a victor, if I am free...

It is thanks to the treasure of losing everything, and never getting it back.

I sigh and smile.

I am free.

Blaze, Spirit blaze. Set our hearts on fire...”

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Unthinkable

"I am the vine, ye are the branches..."

Metaphor run into the ground. Heard often, preached often, embroidered often on the wall by the bathroom sink.

Just one minute, pilgrim. 
Halt your hurried steps long enough to answer just this: 

Do you realize what a branch is?

It is the branches that tell whether a tree is alive or dead. It is from the branches that a million leaves open to gather up the sun. It is the branches that turn the used-up air of living organisms back into Oxygen. 
It is the branches that hold the fruit...
All the fruit.

A branch that is dry in the height of spring testifies to a tree starkly dead in the midst of bursting life. 

Only this Tree, this Vine, can't die. 
If it looks dead, it's a lie. 

The branches are lying. 
Tied up there with twine, but disconnected.

But do you wonder that the world looks no further than the fruitless bough and pronounces the Tree unworthy? 

"I am the vine, ye are the branches..."

Incomprehensible is the honor of holding the fruit born of His strength and sap.
Unthinkable the dishonor of surrounding Him with fruitlessness.

Friday, September 2, 2011

See. Change. See change.

Spent last weekend in the wilderness... One of the most refreshing in my memory.
Since then I've stopped only to tumble into bed for what feels like a few fleeting hours before getting on the move again.
But each morning, when my iTunes playlist heralds the coming of day, it seems I'm back in my sleeping bag, miles from nowhere...  

And I close my eyes again, but I do not sleep. Instead, I cringe at what I can almost see through my closed eyelids:

An immaculately robed high priest, rubbing his hands as he watches Judas go.
A man in the agony of death, ignored by his sleeping friends.
A kiss, of all things.
Wrists tied hard.
Lawless judges.
Strong man's shoulders heaving with sobs after he realized he'd done the unthinkable, and cursed his Friend.
Blood drops on Pilate's portico.
Frenzied, frenzied rage.
Roman rulers with pale faces, and trembling hearts.
Tears running down salty on the face of the Condemned.
Parents screaming curses on their own children... (His blood be upon us...!)
The King raised up to die.
His best friend (just a boy!) upholding His mother...

In the tent when I first (at random, I thought) decided to hear out all four perspectives back to back, I didn't know what I was getting in to...
But I've learned why we're counseled to spend "a thoughtful hour" daily contemplating these themes...

Sin loses its hold after you've watched Him die...

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