Unedited: “The Sower of the Wind.”

After work, I’ll probably be annoyed that I posted this morning’s journal entry without bothering to edit it. I am compelled  to share this in its raw form though…and I hope even there, that it resonates with someone.
DAY 11, #Shereadstruth devotional
“They sow the wind and shall reap the whirlwind.”
Hosea 8:7
 Here I am, more often than not. Sowing the wind. Plowing through air, planting seeds of air, weeding seeds of air, and, sweating,  toiling and struggling, thinking I am sincere, but forgetting something.
 The WIND is an immovable force of nature,  and here I am sowing into her with abandon and all-intention, putting myself in harms way ….
 IN the face of God, his assurance and hope, his wisdom and beckoning call, I fail, time and time again.
 I try to construct my own safety nets. I run to the sight of false hope, disguised as eternity when in reality they are temporary distractions. I hire out for myself lovers, paying them to fill the void within me, when I should be running and skipping back to the cross, where the stripes of Jesus paid everything in my name….
 And, as I do so, my appetite for destruction grows to such an extent that I began to operate from what I need instead of what I’ve already received. I began to operate as a child of a temporary, fading world instead of a child of an eternal, expanding Kingdom.
 Until I see I’m standing in the path of the whirlwind, her winds turning and funneling before me, swelling and growing and whistling with danger.  And then, I look at my sweaty hands, my calloused palms and remember the LORD.
 And in the light of repentance, I see that I’ve placed my hope in the wrong things. I see that I’ve lived so much out of my own strength until I became the mini-little g- god in my own world. Controlling, stabilizing, manipulating, shopping, laboring at the plow trying to produce security in this fallen world , sowing the wind, and working so hard to fight against the pain in this world that looms like a big dark shadow over me.
 But, at the feet of Jesus, my eyes are opened and I’m so ashamed of what I’ve brought to the throne of grace that I began to fall away. And, as I kneel, bits and pieces of my broken heart, my sinful flesh began to fall and I lay before him in jagged fragments; discarded pottery at the foot of the LORD, I am….weeping and ashamed and SO wrecked before Him because NOW I can finally see and it’s not good folks.
 It’s not good. One glimpse into His glory and I break like glass before His face. I can’t handle all that grace, all that mercy , all that FIRE of truth burning before me. So, I break and then I wait for his hand to sweep me away or to do something with all these pieces that are SO shattered it would require divine patience to mend.
 Then, like a warm oil, I feel His hands. The hands of JESUS, who came for sick, broken people like me. The hand of Jesus, with scars from nails driven in, who know how to minister to pain. The hands of Jesus, who are imprinted with hope and mercy for the undeserving.
 He slowly begins to piece me together, taking choice pieces and leaving out others. Even in the remaking, I do not fear. Even in the discomfort, I do not shy away. For I am in the builder’s hands now and He knows what He is doing. And when all that is usable is done, he sanctifies me for his bidding, filling every empty part with the Spirit of the Living God; tracing over every seamed together piece with fingers readied to forever HEAL..
 And when I say, “Lord, look at what I’ve done! Look at who’ve I’ve been! I am not worthy to be YOURS”… He said I’ve made you worthy. 
 And when I say, “But Lord, my flesh is sinful; I am not holy!” He says, I’ve made you holy!
 And what I say, “But Lord, who am I to be with you? ” He says, YOU are mine.
 And before me, he shows me a cross. He shows me everything I’ve done, the sin I’ve confessed and the secret shames I’ve hidden. He shows me every.single.sin nailed to that cross, and I recoil back in shame as I SEE the face of my sin, JESUS, covered with my shame and everything I’ve ever done…
 You see, even though every bible book has told me,  even though I already knew, I realized I didn’t really KNOW.
 But this isn’t the end because the LORD doesn’t’ leave us in grief, to agonize over what JESUS did for us. You See, this is a gift meant to be received with JOY!
 And as He shows me that NOW, because of THIS, I am free, I am accepted , sanctified and that the beautiful process of remaking was because of JESUS’s work at the cross…
As He shows me that I was able to break apart before him and experience his tender hands of grace….
As He sings his song of love over me…As He rejoices over my deliverance with me …
 I weep and sing and dance, simultaneously experiencing joy and agony because this is what it means to be a child of God…
 Being so full of JOY that you shine like the sun, but so in agony over the destruction of sin that you burn for righteousness; this is my heritage.
 And I, the sower of the wind, am now the sower of righteousness now. Planting seeds of hope and eternity, I labor without exhaustion for the LORD is REST for my soul.
 Indeed.
 Amen.

Change

A few months ago, or maybe many months ago, I was asked to do the Wednesday night service teaching over Genesis 34:1-36:43

This is an tiny excerpt, my conclusion, and my call to allow change to seep into our souls.

  • GOD can bring good out of EVIL.
  • God is able to use the evil that people do, bringing about positive results.
  • God’s has the ability to overcome any obstacle; His covenant will always advance
  • God cannot be bought and his favors are not for sale. Instead, He has purchased our brokeness and our stench of death and mended us! With his blood, He has set the righteousness of His life in us, and he does not even charge us!
  • God is the ultimate changer: life-changer, heart-changer, emancipator King, our God.
  • We cannot pay him or ever afford to pay him. No amount of money in the entire universe would be enough to afford His mercies. We can only give him tokens of love and worship him for who HE is to us and for us.
AND
  • WE can change by renewing our minds and allowing the Holy Spirit to work in us, transforming our attitudes, leading with love, not holding God to our humanistic expectations, not trying to fit God into our systems of accountability, and by not treating Him as a mercenary providing favors that can be bought.
  • We CAN change because the Holy Spirit strengthens us with grace! We can change because we are laid down to death with Christ and we are crucified with Him. We live raised to life and seated  with Christ! And, if our God is for us, nothing can stand against us, in between us or separate us!  The accuser cannot condemn because GOD is the judge and He, by  dying for us, paid our debts and won the victory over death’s grip! We out of spiritual debt and  get to thank GOD forever for his abundant mercies.
  • We can change, because we are together in this! I may be one of a few or many who do not have blood family near. You guys are my family. We are a spiritual , covenant, broken family living in a broken world, but we are bound together by the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and united in faith, love, worship and the precious blood of Christ.
 God….He does not demand instant perfection. And Hallelujah! For He leads us little by little, making inroads of our self-centeredness and doing his work in our lives one step at at a time.

For us…sometimes the best word we can give to the Lord is “thank you.” Thank you Lord!

 

Healing In Our House, an appeal for Grace

Release grace upon my tongue

Welling up in me

Kindness and tenderness

Be upon me

 
In my home

Manifest

Your goodness

Your gentleness

Through me

 
Release wisdom upon my heart

Curating me

Patience and understanding

Be upon me
 

In my home

Manifest

Your goodness

Your gentleness

Through me


Release yielding in my spirit

Mercy filling me

Peace and humility

Be upon me

 
In my home

Manifest

Your goodness

Your gentleness

Through me
 

Under God,

May we repair, restore,

Mend our brokeness

Every injury- tended

Every failure-  forgiven

Every appeal-  in compassion

Til there is healing in our house.

In the wake of injustice…

I can’t even formulate the right words..all I can say is that I am truly heartbroken over the recent tragic events.I have tried to capture my feelings, to chase the argument of justice, but the words are elusive.
The heartache is deep….and because of that, all I can think of is one word.
 “Kindred.”
Are we not all flesh and blood, created by God? Are we not all brothers and sisters, worthy of love, justice and freedom?
I believe so.
Moving forward,
I have no cool meme or graphic to add.  Yet, I do have prayer ,and so do you. And prayer, which will last much longer than changing our profile pictures across social media and unite more powerfully than human hands, is transforming.
We NEED prayer.
We NEED prayer….to open our eyes, to empower us to do far more and abundantly more than we could ever imagine.
We NEED compassion. The essence of the cross is COMPASSION.
Sacrifice.
Mercy.
We never have and never will deserve mercy. Yet, still Jesus extends it. And, so should we.
God, help me to be an extender of your love and mercy and courageous enough to speak out in the face of injustice.
Lastly,
Dear, CHURCH, my fellow Jesus followers,
We must reach out our hurting LGBT brother and sisters and not IGNORE, be apathetic, judgmental or persecutive. We must do our part in healing wounds that we, ourselves, have allowed to be inflicted. We must be a safe-haven, a refuge…a SANCTUARY.
For, violence and hate are not in any part of our journey. Bigoted words and jokes are not in any part of our calling. IF they are part of your calling, then you are not following in Jesus’s footsteps.
 The light of the world, the lamp on the stand, the city on the hill – this is what Jesus asks of us.
Defender of the defenseless, advocator of the orphan and widow, mercy for the undeserving, grace for the adulterer, healing for the sick, freedom for the captive, forgiveness over and over and over and over and over and….THIS is Jesus, Whose compassion does not fail and Whose mercies are new every morning. 
Church,
If we say we are believers and followers of Jesus, than let us not hesitate to reach out.
In an event-heavy, busy, world, in our disconnected though social media states, we must endeavor to reach out, doing our parts in our every.day.average.routine-scheduled.day.
Let us do so with great intention.
I leave you with one of my favorite hymns, written by John Fawcettpub.1782
  1. Blest be the tie that binds, Our hearts in Christian love; The fellowship of kindred minds is like to that above.
  2. Before our Father’s throne, We pour our ardent prayers; Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one, Our comforts, and our cares.
  3. .We share our mutual woes, Our mutual burdens bear; And often for each other flows the sympathizing tear.
  4. When we asunder part, It gives us inward pain; But we shall still be joined in heart, and hope to meet again.
May we all allow the Sacred and Divine to intertwine through the whole of our lives SO that we can infuse God’s love and tender mercies in every interaction.
A.Stephens

The Woman With The Issue of Blood

We don’t know her name, but Jesus did…
And, just like the world doesnt know our secret sins, our shame,  the infirmities of our hearts, our bones…
Jesus does.
And still…
He waits, among us, Jesus WITH US, and He does not sit still.
No, JESUS continues in HIS work,
Yet….
All the while waiting for a touch made in faith.
TODAY,
As we casually bump into him,
Press into him,
Bumping, shoving, rushing…
HE walks among us and waits for that touch of faith,
Fearful , trembling, but believing.
He makes available to  us the outer garments of His GRACE.
And so…
Let us bring our bodies, weak, trembling,fearful, and stricken with humanity.
And then,
Let us bring our hearts, believing, expecting, hoping, and forging a path through the chaos of distraction.
And finally,
Let us bring our confessions, with great joy!
For now, we are made whole, clean, free; we are justified, vindicated, emancipated, LIBERATED.
For You, Jesus, desire mercy.
You, Jesus, delight in Mercy, abound in mercy AND
You know our names.
You know our names and YOU have made us to be a people on our knees before You so we can arise in the heavenly places BESIDE YOU.
You, Jesus, know our names.
So… we surrender.
We surrender in good faith, and  the fount of our bleeding ceases as the well springs of living water rush in to mend the violence of sin.
Psalm 67: “Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you”
GOD,
We praise you.
Your grace is inexhaustible. Your affection is without end. Your mercy has no boundaries……
and
You know our name.
Surely, surely, we are blessed.

Daughter, Arise!

I come to you,

Jesus.

falling at your feet,

Jesus.

Fearful and trembling,

Jesus.

– You have every reason to condemn me.

“You harlot!” they say.

– You have every reason to condemn me,

“You sinner!” they say.

– You have every reason to condemn me,

“You leper!”  they say

BUT….

– What will You say?

– Will You say I stole a blessing?

– Will You say my touch has made you unclean?

OR

– Will You call out for, murder, “OH, those righteous stones!”

– What will You say?

But I can’t care! I’m pressing forward,

All I have to do is touch Your robe!

I don’t care, I’m pressing forward,

Because standing there before me walks living hope.

And I’ll risk it all.

I’ll risk it all.

Just to hear You call my name,

“Daughter.”

Glory speaks…..and the heavens rejoice.

Glory speaks…..”Oh, the sound of HIS voice!”

And,

You’ve called my name.

And,

 

I come to you, Jesus.

Falling at your feet, Jesus.

Fearful and trembling, Jesus.

Your glory running through my bones.

Your glory; I’ve seen the face of GOD.

Your glory; I hear my name….

Daughter, arise…

From the ashes, arise…

From the pit, arise.

From infirmity, arise....

From your prison, arise…

Daughter, arise…

Your faith has set you free.

 

Who is Jesus?

Jesus is : God’s Son.

Jesus is : The Mediator between God and man.

Jesus is: The only Being to have lived a life of perfect righteousness.

Jesus is: The Slain Lamb;  The Perfect Sacrifice.

Jesus is: The Atonement for the sins of the world – Once and for all!

Jesus is: ALL authority in heaven and on earth.

Jesus is:  The Living and Appointed Heir of all things.

Jesus is: The Ruler over every corner of creation!

Jesus is: Supreme; He is he ultimate in glory, the ultimate in power, the ultimate in authority!

Jesus is: The Head of the body and the church,  The Beginning and The End, The Firstborn of The Dead!

Jesus is alive! 

Our minds cannot grasp His fullness! Our hearts cannot replicate His goodness! Our souls will not perish in His presence!

Jesus is: the very picture of Grace! He makes us alive, by His grace! Using our tiny seeds of faith, He makes us who were dead in our sin alive in His righteousness!

This is Jesus! He is the Alpha and Omega! He is the Lily of the Valley! He is the Great I Am! He is Ruler, He is Provider!

He is Comforter! He is Rapha-Healer! He is The Chain Breaker! He is the Soul Savior! He is the Death destroyer! He is the Grave Leaper, our Liberator and Emancipator!

He is the Sun of Righteousness! He is The Judge, The Advocate! He is the SIN BEARER!

He doesn’t turn away from the stench of our sins! He isn’t repulsed by the smell of death!

Death cannot arrest Jesus!

Death has no hold on His life! He gave His own life up! He laid His own life down! And He took His own life up again!

Ha ha! Jesus is The Laughter in The Face of Death!  Because of Jesus, we can shout

Death! Where is your sting!

Because of Jesus , we can sing:

THE last enemy of death HAS BEEN DESTROYED!

Who is Jesus? This is Jesus! A worthy-to-be-praised JESUS!   And, this is what Easter, Resurrection Sunday says of Jesus!

This is Jesus; and He has overcome.

Who can we bring to Jesus?

“Great crowds came to Jesus, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, those who could not speak, and many others. They put them at Jesus’ feet, and he healed them.” – Matthew 15:30

When I read this scripture, I was immediately catapulted back into time, thrown into an image of Jesus surrounded by a great crowd of people.

All around him, people desperate for healing.
All around him, people desperate for hope.
All around him, people desperate for freedom.

Then, I imagined the people experiencing the healing ministry of Jesus, and:

I heard the cries of joy.
I saw the dances of jubilee.
I marveled at the fog cleared from eyes previously blind.
I cried at the sound of voices released into freedom.

And then, all of a sudden, I felt a question rising in my spirit.

 “Who can we bring to Jesus?”

You know, it isn’t surprising that humanity hasn’t changed much since Jesus walked the earth. We still live in a humanity teeming with brokenness and completely unaware of the Divine in the chaos.

To me, it feels like walking on a tightrope at times. On one end, there is faith in humanity and on the other end, there is faith in the divinity of Christ.  As novices we walk between the two sides, teetering, tottering, and sometimes falling, but all of the time crying out, “Lord, SAVE ME!”

And true to who He is, Jesus catches us, saying, ”Stop jumping on that tightrope and STAY AT MY FEET. Don’t you know that it is at My feet where faith grows, the fog is cleared, miracles happen, and freedom is released?”

So, who CAN we bring to Jesus?”

The scripture mentions that the lame, the blind, the mute, the crippled, and many others were BROUGHT to Jesus. They weren’t just brought into the general vicinity. They didn’t find themselves there by accident. No, they were PUT at his feet and then healed.

Immediately, I envision friends bringing friends.

I envision mothers and fathers bringing sick children.

I envision brothers and sisters bringing parents.

I envision friends rallying up everyone in their circle, yelling,

“Salvation is here! Salvation is here! Come and see Christ, the Messiah, He is here at last! Finally, all of our hopes are fulfilled! Salvation is here! Let’s go, all our lives are found today! Run with me, by His very touch we can be healed! He is here! Lets GO!”

And then I see this cord, this thread, weaving through everyone, binding and CONNECTING everyone together in perfect unity. And I realize that this cord, this thread is one of…

Relationship.

Friendship.

Kindredness.

They knew each other!  They were friends, relatives….simply put, they were friends.

In light of this, the the question changes. It is no longer, “Who can I bring to Jesus?”  but,

“Who can I bring WITH me to Jesus?”

I leave you with this question and a prayer challenge.

1. Ask God the question, “Who can I bring with me to Jesus?”

***** Listen for 5 minutes…wait and allow the Lord to answer.

2. Begin to pray for the person or persons the Holy Spirit brings to mind.

3. Pray for genuine friendships to be cultivated.

4. Pray that God give you opportunities to share of your walk with Jesus.

6. Finally, pray that God gives you the courage to invite them to church and that He will prepare their hearts for your invitation.

God,

Bless every new friendship of ours. Let our hearts be bound in Christian love. Let our fellowship be kindred in spirit. And, let us run with each other to the feet of Jesus, Your Son, who ministers to our EVERY need. Amen.

 

O Faith

Hebrews 11:17-22 poetry
Ancient in kind,
From our forefathers.
Stories preserved,
There you are.
At my fingertips,
Available…
O faith.,,
Abraham,
Could see beyond,
Death into,
The eyes of GOD.
With faith that God would move to raise the dead….
O faith…
He knew that faith
Was at his fingertips,
Available,
Even in testing.
O faith would make a way,
And pave the road…
To heavens gates,
O faith…
Even when,
In our flesh we attempt,
To fulfill,
God’s perfect will,
We do not have to doubt that God is worthy,
Of our confidence….
O faith…
We know that faith
Is at our fingertips,
Available,
Even in testing.
O faith will make a way,
and pave the road…
To heaven’s gates.
O faith…
Even when my flesh is good as dead….
I’ve seized the faith.
And now my soul can return to rest.
I’ve seized the faith.
And in death, I have life
With a faith I have won
By a God who is able to save!
And my strength will never drain away
I’ve seized the faith.
O faith…..

JESUS

JESUS

  • Forsaken and Condemned…
  • The Son of God.
  • Lifted up…
  • The Resurrection and The Life.
  • The Brightness of God’s Glory
  • The Savior of the World.
  • Lamb of God…
  • Unshaken on the throne
  • And-
  • Ruler over ALL.
  • The Sure Foundation.
  • The Sanctuary.
  • The Sacrifice , The Ransom, The Slain Lamb –
  • The Forerunner.
  • Tempted, Oppressed,
    Scourged, Bruised, Crucified and –
    Undefiled.
    Obedient, Victorious, Justified,
    Exalted and…
    Raised up on the last day.
  • The Grace.
  • The Love.
  • The Patience.
  • The Mercy.
  • The Compassion.
  • The Refuge.
  • O Mercy Seat, O Great High Priest!
  • O First Born of the dead!
  • O Resurrection!
  • O Finisher of Faith!
  • O Eternal One!

JESUS