Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Instant in Season

Be instant in season, out of season
2 Timothy 4:2

Many of us suffer from the morbid tendency to be
instant "out of season." The season does not refer
to time, but to us, whether we feel like it or not.
If we do only what we feel inclined to do, some
of us would do nothing forever and ever. There 
are unemployables in the spiritual domain, spiri-
tually decrepit people, who refuse to do anything
unless they are supernaturally inspired. The proof
that we are rightly related to God is that we do 
our best whether or not we feel inspired or not.
Oswald Chambers

Reader, this is a spiritually difficult season which
we are in. There are too many days in a row where
it is hard to move, to plan, to go forward. I find it
helpful to ask Jesus to manage my time, to be my
energy, to be my life in any given situation. It
means that I have to be "instant out of season,"
much of the time, relying only on Him. You see,
my best is never enough.

Two things:
I understand that readers have had difficulty under-
standing a series of posts on a dying 18 year old.
If you missed one of them it was confusing be-
cause I did not share the posts that had gone before.
Here are the three posts in order:
So Close to Death--5/15
Loves Like a Hurricane--5/18
His Departure--5/20
You can scroll down for the earlier posts.

Secondly, one of my readers emailed me to say
that she had commented twice and both com-
ments had been removed. This might explain
why I have seen so few comments in the past
six months. :(

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Mind of Christ

Let this mind be in you, which was also in 
Christ Philippians 2:5

May the mind of Christ my 
   Savior
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling
   All I do and say.

May the Word of God dwell richly
  In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
   Only in His power.

May the peace of God my Father
   Rule my life in everything,
That I may be calm to comfort
   Sick and sorrowing.

May the love of Jesus fill me,
   As the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self abasing,
   This is victory.

May I run the race before me,
   Strong and brave to face the foe,
Looking only unto Jesus
   As I onward go.
Kate Barclay Wilkerson

Reader, it is all about Jesus. He is our all
in all. 

Sunday, May 20, 2018

His Departure

Blake woke up on Saturday, full of life, as he entered
into glory where he will live for eternity. It was the 8th
day--which is "new beginnings." It was a hard fight:

For I am already being poured out as a 
drink offering, and the time of my depar-
ture is at hand. 
I have fought the good fight, 
I have finished the race, 
have kept the faith.  2 Timothy 4:6,7

Fully unconscious patients can hear and they have
reported their surroundings after waking even with
closed eyes. (could seeing and hearing be part of our
spirit?) I believe that Blake was aware of his family
and that he fought to stay with them. But his work
on earth was finished and God took him home.
In Psalm 139:16 we read:

Your eyes saw my substance,
   being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all 
   were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none
   of them.  

The 139th psalm details life from conception to our
final day. It also appears that God knows the date of
our death before birth and we are invincible until
then. As a Christian I find this to be of great comfort
especially when death comes at the hands of a killer,
in a terrible accident, or a long bout with cancer. It
takes the pressure off of the "if only's." There are no
"if only's" with God.

In my last post I shared the poem by Teresa, the Mom.
I think she knew how things were going to end and
shared with others her inmost self. I am not connec-
ted with the family--except through the Spirit--, but I
was able to grieve with her through her transparency.

Reader, as this dad and brother go to Young Life in
CO in a few weeks, pray that the teens who come to
camp this summer will be powerfully impacted by
Blake's death. May they give themselves completely
without reservation to the God who bought them and
sought them, who has given them Eternal Life.


Friday, May 18, 2018

Loves Like a Hurricane

I am a tree,
bending beneath the weight of His
   wind and mercy...

I am shaking from the inside out,
My mouth is dry as in desert dry,
My muscles cramp,
And there is sweat between my toes.

A bar lies across my chest,
Sobs come from way down,
Yet my spirit is not crushed.
I realize this bar is actually
   the wooden cross beam from Jesus' cross.

I am not crushed because He protects me.
He will not let the pain destroy me.
The vertical beam is at my back,
   allowing me to go forward.
In His strength, His truth, 
   His righteousness, His joy, His will.
Teresa, Blake's Mom

From the Physician and friend:
Blake remains the same.
God's primary patient is the soul
The sentiment is pain
Pain is a response to brokenness
As for the body pain is a physical
   sensation, relayed from the tissues of the brain
As for the soul, pain is a spiritual sensation
   manifested within our unexplainable depths.
It is real.

The pain of this brokenness should not
   be avoided, but faced.
Pain is loss in mourning.
The brokenness within mourning is a longing
   for the known and established, completeness
   in relationship.
The pain is meaningful, even useful,
   as those who mourn are blessed and can
   expect comfort.

The second pain is compassion. You share in
   Blake's physical pain, and you share in the
   mourning pain of the family. Embrace both.
   
We tend to avoid, or worse, mask pain.
We run from it or pretend it isn't real,
Worst of all, we synthesize happiness.
Instead, we ought to face and embrace
   the pain head on...

Remember love is a gift
Receive it in all forms.

Reader,
We are pressed on every side, but not crushed
perplexed but not in despair,
persecuted but not abandoned,
struck down but not destroyed.
We always carry around in our body, the 
   death of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed.
(These scriptures have new meaning.)

See a previous post--So Close to Death in
order to know what is happening in this
precious family...
 


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Love Passes Knowledge

The love of Christ, which passes knowledge...
Ephesians 3:19

It passeth knowledge, that dear love of Thine,
My Savior Jesus! Yet this soul of mine
Would of Thy love, in all its breadth and length
Its height and depth, and everlasting strength,
     Know more and more.

It passeth telling, that dear love of Thine,
My Savior Jesus! Yet these lips of mine
Would fain proclaim to sinners far and near
A love which can remove all guilty fear,
     And love beget.

It passeth praises, "that dear love of Thine,
My Savior Jesus! Yet this heart of mine
Would sing that love, so full so rich so free,
Which brings a rebel sinner, such as me,
     Nigh unto God.

O fill me, Savior, Jesus with Thy love!
Lead, lead me to the living fount above;
Thither may I, in simple faith draw nigh,
And never to an other fountain fly,
     But unto Thee

And then Lord Jesus, when Thy face I see,
When at Thy lofty throne I bow the knee,
Then of Thy love, in all its breadth and length,
Its height and depth, its everlasting strength,
     My soul shall sing.
Mary Shekleton 1827-83

Reader, this was one of my favorite hymns
in college. I love hymns because they tell
a story AND they come in parts--alto, bass,
soprano. Most of the old hymns are based
in scripture.

I received this small hymnal with words only, prin-
ted in England, in 1968 when I went on staff with
Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship--or IVCF. Many
months ago it disappeared and I was deeply grieved
as I searched everywhere. Perhaps, I thought, I had
thrown it out for it is so small. About four weeks
ago I pleaded with God to show me where the book
had gone. I looked down at a bookcase I had care-
fully searched and there it was on its back behind
the other books, an open space revealed my treasure.

O the depth of His love for us!
It is past finding out!


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

So Close to Death

Two days ago this 18 year old,--son, brother--was in
a van that rolled over and who then suffered severe
head injuries. They did surgery and then took him
off life support. But, wait, he had a pulse that would
not quit...

Below is an update from a physician, a friend to
the family, and from Blake's brother:

"We think Blake is listening, deeply. He would tell
you today is a day to worship with gladness; come
before the Lord with songs of joy:"

He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane; I am a tree,
bending beneath the weight of His
wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden I am unaware of these
afflictions eclipsed by glory.
And I realize just how beautiful He is.
And how great His affections are for me.

The brain continues to swell consistent with the in-
jury. The inflammation often continues for 3-7 days.
He is moving his arms and legs more. While he does
not have purposeful movements, there are move-
ments. That he is able to move the right side of his
body at all, is remarkable. Additionally today there
are signs of agitation. It appears as though he experi-
ences pain. Thus he is now on sedation for comfort.
The agitation is a sign that he has some intact sensa-
tion. While informative, the changes today add some
complexity to his care, and with time this may give
more information about his prognosis.

And we are His portion and He is our
prize,
Drawn by redemption by the grace
in His eyes.
If His grace is an ocean,
then we're all sinking.

"Blake will be the one to make any major decisions.
Brett thinks Blake is hearing more from the Holy
Spirit than any of us. We know the Lord is nearest
to Him. His body hangs on a thin thread between
life and heaven. For Blake "to die is gain, and to
live is Christ." He is in that sense in a bit of a win-
win. If his body hangs on, he will have changes.
With time, Blake may or not be able to function at
a level which is acceptable to Blake. We cannot ask
him right now what is acceptable to him, nor predict
with any certainty the level of function he will have.
Thus we wait, watch, and listen. Blake will be the
one to make any major decisions. When will he give
Brett and Teresa the clues as they listen to God and
wait for the clarity and power of the Holy Spirit?
The wounds of life are greater than the lessons on
our bodies. The healing is deeper.
The greatest power to heal is love.
This time with Blake is an outlet, a means to exper-
ience the power of the Father:  plug in."

And heaven meets earth like an
unforeseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently 
inside of my chest.
I don't have time to maintain
these regrets
When I think about the way that
He loves us.

Now a word from Zach, Blake's brother:

"If you have a sibling, stop what you're doing and
tell them that you love them. Search for anything
that is between you and make it right. Regret,
shame, vengeance all take work to create, and even
more to maintain. If that is what keeps you busy, it's
time to get a new job. The job description is not as
much one of instruction as it is direction: "Come to 
me you who are weary and find rest. " Believing
is the work, affections for the Creator and each other
is the paycheck. Want to get rich quick? Call on
Jesus, then your brother or sister and tell them that
you love them."

Yeah, He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us.

"(Zach feels light and free of heart with Blake. He
has no regrets, nothing left unsaid, and deep love.
He wants what they have for everyone reading this,
knowing this could happen to any of us at any mo-
ment.)"

Reader, I wanted to share this post with you because
these dear ones know God in such a real way that
they are able to hold life loosely and wait on God
for His timing and His purpose. Besides, even
though I do not know this family, the posts bring
me to tears.

Please pray for Blake,
his family and friends.

Oh, How He Loves Us
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxTOsQ3LDE4






Monday, May 14, 2018

Hidden In Him

For you died, and your life is now hidden with
Christ in God.  Colossians 3:3

The redeemed one who has been shown the truth of 
Christ's complete victory over Satan, and of his own 
complete identification with his victorious Lord, 
knows that he is in a place of safety.
  
He rests upon the fact that his life is hid with Christ 
in God; therefore the wicked one touches him not. 
He has but one thing to do--reckon upon the fact of 
his identification with his ascended Lord sitting in 
the calmness of assured victory. 
Mary McDonough

It is because our life is hid with Christ in God, that
it is beyond the reach of Satan. The enemy cannot
touch our life in its source, for the Father is its 
source and He cannot touch Him. He cannot touch
our life in its power, for the Holy Spirit is its power,
and He cannot touch the Spirit. He cannot touch 
our life in its duration, for eternity is its duration, 
and he cannot touch eternity. The child of God is 
eternally safe.  J E Conant

Reader, when He died, you died, when He was
buried, you were buried, when He rose, you rose
to new life. Your identity is no longer in what you
do or who you think you are, but your identity is
in Christ alone. (check out Romans 6)

Friday, May 11, 2018

He Cares For You

Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares
for you.   1 Peter 5:7

Have you one anxious thought you do not bring to 
Jesus? Have you one care you consider too light, 
too small, to lay before Him? It is then too small 
to give you one moment's concern. Either cast your 
care (great or small) upon Him that cares for you, 
or cast it away from you altogether: If it be unfit 
for His sympathy it is unworthy of you.

If we examine the troubles of God's children, we 
shall find that too many of them arise from unbe-
living fears concerning the future; let me but re-
member that Christ, at the right hand of God, 
counts all my troubles His own; and then banish
all my fears concerning tomorrow!
Robert Chapman

You ought to begin your day with this confidence,
that you have enough in Christ to meet every dif-
faculty that may befall you.  JB Stoney

One finds constantly that ninety percent of our trials 
and sorrows are made up of anticipated or imagin-
ary evils, which only exist in our disordered, unbe-
lieving minds. Food for the Desert

Reader, I imagine much of our anxiety is because
we do not believe, really believe, that God likes us,
let alone loves us!

Be still and know--that I am God.

Reader, we so often think that God is distant and
uninvolved in our lives. Not so!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

A Love Letter

My love extends to the heavens
I give you My love
My faithfulness reaches to the skies
I will be faithful to you
I gave Myself for you long ago for
I have lived you from before the birth of time
Every path that you walk will be fragrant
with My lovingkindness and My truth

I promise to be patient and kind
to never be selfish or rude

I will not demand my own way
nor will I be irritable or touchy

I will not hold a grudge against you
even though you should treat Me shabbily
I will delight in your love

I will be loyal to you
even if everyone else should abandon you

I will always believe in you
and I will never leave you or forsake you

I promise you these things
And I do not lie
Seek Me first, love Me above all others
and I will take care of you, I will meet your
every need

These things I declare...
I will keep these promises
which I have sworn to you
For I am faithful...forever
Anabel Gillham

Reader I have taken these words from a little book-
let called Faithful Forever. Anabel was married to
Bill Gillham and they found real life and their iden-
tity to be in Christ who saved their marriage; then
they ministered this same Life to others through
books, counseling and conferences. Both now reside
in heaven--which is joy unspeakable and full of glory!

On the back cover is this poem:

The dove has neither claw
    nor sting
nor weapon for the fight.
She owes her safety
     to the wing,
her victory to flight.
The Bridegroom opens
     His arms of love
     And in them folds
     the panting dove.
Betrothed ...eternally

You can buy this booklet in sets of ten for under $20. All
of the materials shown in this site are so liberating!

https://lifetimeministries.myshopify.com/collections/booklets-studyguides

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Not a Picnic!

The spirit shrieked, convulsed him and violently 
came out. Mark 9:26

Evil never surrenders its grasp without a tremen-
dous fight. We never arrive at any spiritual inher-
intense through the enjoyment of a picnic but al-
ways through the fierce conflicts of the battlefield. 
And it is the same in the deep recesses of the soul. 
Every human capacity that wins its spiritual free-
dom does so at the cost of blood. Satan is not put 
to flight by our courteous request. He completely 
blocks our way, and our progress must be recor-
ded in blood and tears. We need to remember 
this, or else we will be held responsible for the ar-
rogance of misinterpretation. When we are born 
again, it is not into a soft and protected nursery 
but into the open countryside, where we actually 
draw our strength from the distress of the storm. 
"We must go through many hardships to enter 
the kingdom of God.  Acts 14:22   
John Henry Jowett

Reader, everyday I hear tales of Christians who are
deeply suffering. I am reading through the book of
Esther right now and the story is one of triumph,
but only after severe suffering and pressing on in
the midst of it.
Mordecai said to Esther:
"For if you remain completely silent at this time, 
relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews, but 
you and your father's house will perish."
Esther responded to her uncle:
"...I will go to the king, which is against the law; 
and if I perish, I perish." Esther 4:14-16

Actually, the whole Bible from Genesis three on is
one battle after another. Why do Americans think
that the Christian life should be free of pain?





Friday, May 4, 2018

Harassed

We are harassed at every turn. 
2 Corinthians 7:5

Why is it that God leads us in this way, allowing 
such strong and constant pressure on us? One 
of His purposes is to show us His all-sufficient 
strength and grace more effectively than if we 
were free from difficulties and trials. "We have 
this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-
surpassing power is from God and not from us.  
\2 Corinthians 4:7

There is no way to learn of faith except through
trials. They are God's school of faith, and it is
much better for us to learn to trust Him than to
live a life of enjoyment. And once the lesson of
faith has been learned, it is an everlasting pos-
session and an eternal fortune gained.
Selected from Days of Heaven on Earth

Reader, it is helpful to know that our trials are
working something that is eternal. Press on!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Pondering...

The last few days I have come across information that
leads to delving into the end times once more. It is not
just the increase of earthquakes, volcanoes, or the 70th
birthday of the state of Israel in a few weeks, or, even
the quickening pace of news each day--one can hardly
keep up! But it is a verse given by Jesus in answer to
the question of His disciples who wanted to know when
these things would come forth in Matt 24, 25; Mark 13;
and Luke 17, 21. Jesus began by emphasizing one thing:
'Take heed that you be not deceived.' 
Luke 21:8; Mark 13:5 Matt 24:4. Jesus was very clear
that deception would be a sign of the end times.

Another question was on the lines of what things would
be happening to which Jesus answered in Luke 17:26,
'As in the days of Noah so it will be in the days of 
the Son of Man: They ate and drank, they married 
wives, they were given in marriage, until the day 
that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and 
destroyed them all...
on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire 
and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 

In these two examples life was completely normal-- un-
til sudden destruction came. The sun out, the sky cloud-
less, a gentle breeze, good food, good friends...

The Thessalonians had many questions and Paul wrote
to them in 1Thessalonians 4, 5. He began by showing
this church that there was coming a day when the trum-
pet would sound and they would be taken to heaven.
(Yes, it could happen in their lifetime!)
Paul went on to say that just before this departure,
'men would say, Peace and safety, or peace and se-
curity.' (before the next sentence the church departs.)
"Then sudden destruction comes upon them--the 
unbelievers--as labor pains upon a pregnant woman, 
and they shall not escape." The church would be gone
because: "God did not appoint us to wrath, but to 
obtain salvation, through our Lord Jesus Christ." 
1Thes 5:1-9

Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, 
just as you also are doing.  (vrs 11)

Reader, if Paul spent many verses speaking of these things
to one of the first churches he planted, how much more
should we understand that the time is very late! Jesus also
made it clear that our age would experience deception and
that when He comes for His Bride things would still be
normal. No one would expect Him unless they were wait-
ing for His appearance. "Normal life" gives me peace as
I watch the latest news!

Do you indeed know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord?
If not, choose Him now!
Secondly, share the Good News of the Gospel with others.