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Tag Archives: faith

 

I am running as fast as I can on the road that goes nowhere.

The Cheshire Cat lied as he smiled at me and said

If I ran long enough I’d get somewhere.

In this land where things are not what they seem to be,

I have forgotten who I am and where I am going.

 

 

If I don’t know who I am, then where do I go with all my running.

Who am I? A product of chance and the sod?

A dispensable taxi for disdainful DNA?

Does my life have meaning and purpose?

Or do I live to just pass DNA on?

Dust to dust, sending forth seed and then I am done?

If that’s all I am, then why do I run?

Why do I dream the impossible dream

Or try to reach the unreachable star?

But, what if the other story were true,At rest

That I am the child of the Most High God,

Named and treasured, loved and cherished,

Nothing random about me at all?

Is it that the impossible dream, the unreachable star

Is found in the place of rest within My Creator’s heart?

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Deep calling to deep

Deep calling to deep

A voiceless longing rises

Deep calling to deep

In emptiness and brokenness

My heart stretches out to you

My Creator, Healer, Restorer

Face down I call Your Name

Sweet Balm of Gilead

Humble at heart

You stoop to lift me up

Your gentleness makes me ‘great’

Sun of Righteousness

You wrap me in Your healing warmth

Your very Name is as ointment

Poured forth

Fragrant and soothing

Cascades of love

My parched heart rejoices

Panting stilled

Rising tides

Spill forth joy

Bursting with rainbows of grace

My dancing soul in sweet rest

Bows down and cries

‘Father Your will

Not mine be done’

What is worship? Declaring the worth of God? Bowing our knees to honour Him? Rejoicing with singing, dancing and clapping?

What is worship? Mystic union – the moment when gazing into His face, touched afresh by the knowledge of His grace, all flesh is stilled, the soul acknowledges His goodness and His worth by saying – ‘Father, I am yours to command, send me’?

While each of us may have our own understanding of what worship is, one thing we cannot dispute that God our Creator and Saviour is worthy of worship.


Your love comes

Dripping like honey

Gold and soft and sweet

Flowing over my jagged edges

Covering and hiding

My stony places

Dripping into the

Deep dark wells of my heart

Soft Balm of Gilead

Pouring into me

Holding nothing back

Emptying Your fullness

Into my emptiness

Changing my bitterness

By Your sweetness


Jonadab was sick of it all. For a while it seemed there was meaning and purpose in all the killing. Unjust regimes and rulers were being cast down and a righteous king was taking over. At least that was how it should have been. But that was not how it was going.

Jehu had done his bit in cleaning things up, but not enough to turn the hearts of people back to God. Neither did Jehu himself seek to follow God with his whole heart.

What was the point of it all? All this jockeying for power and lands, did it make life better for the weak and the exploited?

Jonadab thought of Ben-Hadad challenging Ahab in a moment of drunken bravado. Then the ignominious defeat which followed.

Ahab, now that was another guy who was not content with what he had. Cedar-inlaid-with-ivory palaces were not enough for him,  nor all the flourishing vineyards he owned.  No, he had to murder Naboth to get his vineyard. Well… Jezebel arranged it to coax Ahab out of his sulks and pouts.

Jezebel. All that scheming, plotting, manipulating – where did that leave her?  Or rather what was left of her? Not much, after the dogs were done.

He thought over Jehu’s offer to be part of his trusted team of advisors, now that Jehu was king. No doubt Jehu would compensate him handsomely if he said yes. But was it worth it? For how long would it last? Till the next drunken invader, till the next revolution?

Cedar-walls-inlaid-with-ivory palaces? Soul leeches!

Back at home in his tent, surrounded by his loving family, he distilled all the learning he had garnered into two simple instructions.

‘Don’t ever drink wine or alcohol. Keep your wits about you. Don’t desire to build houses and plant vineyards. It’s like a drug. It takes over your soul. You build a shelter, then you want to beautify it, so you look to get more out of your vineyards, then you realise it’s too small or not rightly placed and then you try to get the right one by any means possible… there is no end to it. So my sons, promise me, that you will live a life of contentment and prudence with what God has blessed us with. Promise me that you will teach your children like-wise and bring them up in like manner.’

His sons were faithful to their promise, and generation after generation abstained from drinking, and they all continued to live simple lives in the tents.  Right up to the time of  King Jehoiakim son of Josiah.

 During Jehoiakim’s reign Nebuchadnezzer began his invasion of Israel and Judah, and gradually swallowed up the countryside.

At that time Jonadab’s descendants – the Rechabites – entered into Jerusalem seeking shelter and safety from King Neb’s armies.  For nearly a century and a half, the Rechabites had remained faithful to the promise they had made to Jonadab.

All this had not escaped God’s eyes. He directs Jeremiah’s attention to them.

“Go to the members of the Rechabite clan and talk to them. Then bring them into one of the rooms in the Temple and offer them some wine.”  Jer 35:2

Jeremiah is amazed to learn from the Rechabites of their promise and their faithfulness in keeping it.

In the whole grand scheme of things, seemingly insignificant people, and yet God noticed them. He noticed Jonadab turning away from worldly honours and office and being content with what God had blessed him with. God noticed the Rechabites and the way they honoured their word.

There are times when I wonder whether is any point in doing the things I do. Do they make a difference to anyone? Won’t the world continue to spin on its axis even if I give up doing the things I do? It will.

But that doesn’t take away from the fact that God sees.  El Roi the God who sees.

In Sunday School we used to sing this song ‘Oh be careful… what you see/say/do… for the Father up above is looking down in love…’ And it left me with an almost indelible impression of a God who watches merely to find fault.

Oh yes, He watches over us with love and He does see where we are going off track, but it so that He can speak the right word in the right season to keep us from getting hurt. That is what the whole of Jeremiah is all about. God looking in love, speaking the right word of warning, well in advance so that His people might get off the road leading to destruction.

But His are Holy eyes of love. Here we see the God who sees and records the little acts of faithfulness.  

Do you, like me, get discouraged and fed up with doing the ‘right thing’?

Well, let us take heart and courage from this little story of the Rechabites, pull ourselves up to our full heights and keep going. God watches over us. He sees. He notices. He does not forget.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.  

Gal 6:9 ESV

For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love…  

Heb 6:10 

 

 

 

*** Two very small incidents. The first part of my post is purely conjecture on my part. All we know from the Bible is the Jonadab (or Jehonadab) in 2Kings 10:15,23 is that he helped Jehu in his war against the sons of Ahab and the prophets/priests of Baal. The next we hear of him is in Jer  35:6 where the Rechabites explain their vow and the reason for their lifestyle.


path lifeIn the Presence of Jehovah

In and out of situations
that tug of war at me
All day long I struggle
for the answers that I need
But when I come into His presence
All my questions become clear
And in that sacred moment
No doubts can interfere

In the presence of Jehovah
God Almighty, Prince of Peace Troubles vanish, hearts are mended
In the presence of the King
Through His love the Lord provided
A place for us to rest
A place to find the answers
In our hour of distress
Now there’s never any reason
For you to give up in despair
Just slip away and breathe His name
You will surely find Him there

In the presence of Jehovah
God Almighty, Prince of Peace
Troubles vanish, hearts are mended
In the presence of the King

In the presence of Jehovah
God Almighty, Prince of Peace
Troubles vanish, hearts are mended
In the presence of the King

*** I think we owe this song to Cathy Goddard, but I was not able to get any clear information about it. If you know who’s the author/singer of this song, please do let me know so that I can give the right credits.


Jeremiah is such a heart-breaking book.  The prophet Jeremiah chronicles the story of a son and his Father.

A headstrong foolish rebellious son, intent on finding his own way and who ultimately finds himself in prison. A Father who sees what lies at the end of the road His son is travelling and tries every tactic and strategy to get His son off the path of destruction. Nothing works, for the ears of the son are shut. He does not trust His Father’s love, does not want to submit to the Father’s wisdom. He trusts everyone other than his Father, depends on untrustworthy friends, turns his back on his Father, and even begins to call lifeless things his Father.

Jeremiah brings an amazing revelation of the Father’s heart. A Father who loves with the depth of His being even though He knows that His son doesn’t love Him or trust Him.  A Father who would love to defend and fight for His son but respects His son’s choice to go it alone.  Tough love.  A love that sees the inevitable consequences of His son’s folly and lays plans for His son’s rescue.

Jeremiah hears and records the Father’s pleas. He sees and records the stubborn foolishness of the son. He sees the son suffer the consequences of  his foolhardiness. And Jeremiah gets an amazing window into the Father’s heart who sends a message of comfort and hope to his rebellious son who’s now cooling his heels in prison.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,

says the LORD,

thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Jer 29:11 KJV

Even though you are in captivity because of your foolishness and stubbornness

in making alliances with those who most certainly were going to fail you

in trusting in the city walls and the arm of man

in calling pieces of clay and wood your ‘father’

and believing that they were the ones who took care of you…

Even though you refused to listen to Me,

Even though you depised My messengers

and deleted and ignored My messages,

I AM and always be who I AM

I cannot stop being who I AM

Holy and True

Unchanging in my love

For I know the heart with which I think of you:

My  thoughts, intentions,

the plans and preparations I make for you –

each one of them is

filled with a desire for your

peace

completeness

soundness

welfare

safety

health

prosperity

quiet

tranquillity

contentment

friendship

rest from hostilities.

My thoughts are not evil

full of hate and anger

planning pain, unhappiness, misery,

but

friendly thoughts

motivated by a desire to give you

a lifeline of hope

something to hold onto

something to look forward to

to anticipate with pleasure

a certainty that what you wait for

will arrive and be fulfilled.

Then you shall call on Me,

and you shall go and pray to Me,

and I will listen to you.

And you shall seek Me and find Me,

when you search for Me with all your heart.

And I will be found by you, says Jehovah;

and I will turn away your captivity, …

Jer 29:12-14 MKJV


The Israelites begged Moses to cover his face because they could not bear to gaze upon the glory of God, however pallidly it was reflected on Moses’ face. They feared a God they could not control, a God who could not be bought and bribed, a God who was real – who spoke, who commanded, who did things.

Imagine, each time they looked at Moses face, they were reminded of the holy reality of God.  Fear, fear of punishment, fear of falling short, fear of God’s requirements cast a veil over their hearts. It filtered the words into their hearts. Fear filtered out the love of God. Separated from the character of God, divorced from the reality of His love, the law became drudgery, a heavy burden, an insurmountable obstacle to peace and rest.

How can one submit to that which one fears? How can one believe in the goodness of that which one fears? How can one listen when fear forms a wall? In Jeremiah’s time, fear had so hardened their hearts and blinded them, that the Israelites could not hear the love and concern that God was voicing through His true prophets.  Fear made every message seem ugly and threatening. Fear made them deaf to the promises that were woven into every warning.

Tragic.

But in Christ the veil is removed. He came with the express purpose of exploding the myths and half-truths about God. He came to tear down the barriers of fear and lies that would keep us from running to God. He came to show us the Father heart of God, His tender affection towards us.

He did not come to set some impossible standards, but He came to show us the purity of the righteousness of God, the amazing ‘other’/holy quality of His love. Love full of wisdom, truth, patience, strength and full of justice.

He came to reveal the true glory of God – the character of God. Glory, not as we think of it in our petty human minds, where we associate glory with plaudits and shining lights. Jesus came to reveal the full dimensions of God’s love, righteousness, truth, justice, grace, mercy, power.

And He came to be the Way into the Father’s heart. No more hanging outside with bleating lambs, hoping the sacrifice is acceptable. He became the Lamb that was fully acceptable. No more downcast eyes and prostrate figures – John was lifted up and set on his feet, in the presence of the Holy God.  True, the elders voluntarily fell down before the Throne, but they did that because they could find no words exalted enough or complete enough to express all that was in their hearts after they had experienced  the beauty and glory of God.

The Door – stands open. Each day we can enter into His glorious Holy presence. Nay, more than that he has opened His heart to us to be our HOMES, to dwell in Him…

 No more waiting for Moses, Samuel or Jeremiah to go between, to find out the will of the Lord. No! WE can enter and dwell in the Name of Jesus, to hear the voice of the Lord for ourselves. We can gaze upon His beauty, His holiness  and be transformed by His love.

There is no fear in love,

but perfect love casts out fear,

because fear has torment.

He who fears has not been perfected in love.

We love Him because He first loved us.

1Jn 4:18-19 MKJV

 



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