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Refrigerator Magnets — and Acid Rain

 

Spine of a BiblePsalm 8

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The Lord’s Glory and Man’s Dignity.

For the choir director; on the Gittith. A Psalm of David.

O Lord, our Lord,
How majestic is Your name in all the earth,
Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!
From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength
Because of Your adversaries,
To make the enemy and the revengeful cease.

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him?
Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty!
You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet,
All sheep and oxen, And also the beasts of the field,
The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.

O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

OK, so some morning this comes into your heart and you just SOAR… right? I mean, for a moment, just the barest fraction of moments… you are utterly rapt in true praise and worship… right? But then… then… the moment drifts away… as the leg cramps, or the chair is uncomfortable, or the day’s appointments intrude on consciousness, or the coffee pot burps, or the dog barks… and the moment is gone, like a soap bubble popping in a stiff breeze.

Gentle Reader, it should come as no surprise that I am a bit strange… that my prayer life is a bit strange. I mean, if the TITLE of this blog doesn’t give a clue, certainly the years of blog posts within it have…

So it won’t come as a shock to anyone here to say, I had a strange thing happen the other day, as God gave me one of the oddest moments of encouragement I’ve ever known. I invite you into this moment, though it may well stretch the imagination a bit. Forewarning, you want to pull out and dust off your “science fiction mind” for a few minutes. You’ll need some of that “physics – edges of the universe” thinking for just a bit.

Anyhow… the moment started, typically enough, with an instant of pure, clean, clear praise/worship prayer. Kinda like what the heart feels/experiences with we gently move through that 8th Psalm up there… just this beauteous, lovely, moment lost in Him…

So far, so good… for like… nanoseconds…

Then, it starts… all the little frailties, foibles, distraction, sparkly bits, chaotic cats… like my mind/spirit is a little bar magnet tied on a shoelace, being dragged through a pan full of metal shavings! By the time I come to the “Amen”, I can scarcely recall the essence of the Heavenly Throne where I started…

And that depresses me. That disturbs me. I… ** watch me draw myself up in my very best monastic dignity here **... I… am a GROWNUP, gosh-darnit! And I should be capable of maintaining a train of thought longer than my  caboose linked directly to His locomotive.

For I realize that it is the Lord Himself, who BEGINS every worship, praise or prayer. It is the impulse of the Holy Spirit, towards His Own Person… the Father… through the Son… that sets up the “cycle”, the “convection” of prayer, thanksgiving or praise that we are privileged to “ride along with”, like surfing a wave of grace that upholds the omniverse.

I realize that!

I just get so frustrated that before hitting the beach, almost at the same moment I catch the initial wave… I suddenly have to pull every bit of seaweed, flotsam, jelly fish, seashell, foam… and every other thing I encounter, up onto the board with me. I NEVER get there with a “pure intention”… with simple, straightforwardness… with a clean heart.

(You may recall, for years I really felt down on myself for that. Then, a couple years ago now… Jesus sat down alongside me when I was in one of these mini-tantrums, put His arm around my shoulders, and said, “Little Monk… I KNOW this. I’ve ALWAYS known this. And I embrace and treasure you… AND this… always! Now, if I embrace this truth of you, don’t you think you can too? Without all this regret?”)

So, I learned to “shrug” rather than condemn, accepting this frailty as my human condition, knowing by faith that the Lord receives the “prayer of my heart”, my “will”, my “intention”, despite all the debris I hang on it by the time I release it.

So, the other night, I found myself “shrugging this off”. As simple praise that started so clear, got tangled in other thoughts and ideas by the “Amen”. I didn’t fixate on it… I just “shrugged” and carried on, wrapping a silent “I’m sorry” around my thoughts, as I continued to pray.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

That’s when God did this incredible thing.

He stopped me.

“O Little Monk!” He laughed, compassionately. “You try so hard, you work so hard, and you SO miss the point. Let Me try to fix this a moment!

“Behold… here is what you see…”

And I saw my “convection” model… like rain forming in the clouds. The water up there, in the atmosphere at high altitude, is largely crystal. It is pure, it is clean, like “ice”… it is pure water. At some point, temperature, humidity, pressure, wind, come together in just the right proportions and “rain” begins to descend from the heart of a cloud. THAT is pure water. Like the environment impels the cloud, and the cloud responds releasing a drop of pure water.

Like, the Holy Spirit impels the heart in God, and the heart/mind/spirit responds releasing a drop of pure… “prayer”.

But then, as that drop from the raincloud falls, it passes through haze, smog, dust, dirt, smut. It picks up “stuff”, some of which is really “bad stuff”. These days, the world is losing (every day) irreplaceable artifacts, architecture, and art to “Acid Rain”. By the time that raindrop falls to earth, it picks up enough pollution and toxicity that it’s dissolving the details of stone carved hundreds or thousands of years ago.

This is sad. This is how I saw my prayer. God agreed… this made me sadder, not relieved! I was confused.

“But wait!” He said. “That is only how YOU see it. How YOU experience it, Little Monk. Your drop has to ‘fall down’, has to filter on through your own mind and consciousness (complete with all your ‘stuff’), before YOU get to your ‘Amen’. So YOU experience it as polluted, watered down, and vastly short of what the Holy Spirit called it forth to be.”

“Yes, Lord. That’s true.” I nodded, not quite following Him.

“But don’t you see, Little Monk? I am NOT you! I do NOT work that way! I do not have to ‘wait for your Amen’. For Me, I am there, I am present in the moment of your RESPONSE. Let Me show you.”

And He showed me an “impulse of the Holy Spirit”… Um, imagine a “spark”, triggering a “heartbeat”. So there is a moment of a “call to worship”, or a moment of “thanksgiving”, or a moment of “loving petition or intercession”…  like a laser ray, shining like a beacon towards the Father’s heart.

And, for a moment of response, I JOIN with that. For a time, however brief, my attention is focused entirely on Him, and/or on the person being loved and prayed for. For however brief a time, *I* am OUT of the loop. The prayer is “selfless” in the right sense of that.

But then, as I watched this “reconstruction”, I started moving further down the timeline, to where it gets polluted, and He said…

“STOP! Don’t DO that! THAT’s what you are not understanding. That’s what I want you to see here and now. That is what YOU do, what YOU experience… but not Me. Let me show you how I see that same prayer…”

** Now here’s where it gets a bit more weird, Gentle Reader. Just try to ride with me here **

But imagine a visible “time line” in front of you. Like a “number line” back when you were in grade school math. And imagine that on that Time Line you can see the… whatever the period was… lots of seconds, a few seconds, one second, nanoseconds…. whatever… where that RESPONSE to the call of the Holy Spirit (that “pure prayer of will and heart”) was demarcated, before magnetic sticky stuff started to glom onto it.

Right… now imagine that God just “magnified” that section of the timeline in front of you, so that it wasn’t just “inches” anymore, but “feet”, then “yards” then “miles”…. Now imagine that instead of just ONE dimension… (a time LINE), it became TWO… a surface, like a landscape of miles…

I watched this. I watched this nanosecond, become an entire landscape… a landscape of worship of Him, praise of Him, submission to Him, adoration of Him. It became light reflecting His Light, and He “reveled” in it. He wrapped Himself with it like a coat, and derived great joy from it.

“THIS, Little Monk. This is how I see everyone, anyone’s, response to the Spirit’s impulse to prayer, praise, or petition. Time means NOTHING to Me. I am NOT subject to Time. I capture and treasure moments when My children simply love and trust Me. No matter how short those moments seem to them.

“I can come here anytime. This nanosecond of yours, is like a millennium to Me. I take such moments as these, and preserve them in My heart… like you take the drawings of your grandchildren, and stick them on your refrigerator door… as you did their mother’s before them. Little Monk… EVERY time a child of Mine responds with love to a moment of Spirit… I capture and treasure that moment, like a canvas. I save it in My ‘forever’… like you on your refrigerator door.

“Try to stop focusing on the Acid Rain. I know you see it, but I do not. I see this… and in My House are many refrigerators… and the doors… the doors are huge. Think of those, and enjoy the moments.

“We’ll discuss the Acid Rain more later. But for now, just keep making the artwork. I’ve plenty of room left on your refrigerator door.”

And He hugged me, and returned me to my regularly scheduled dimension.  I felt much better. How about you, Gentle Reader?

 
3 Comments

Posted by on January 4, 2016 in Quiet Time, Sermon Seeds, Uncategorized

 

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The Doctor is… “IN”

244px-messier-42-10-12-2004-filtered-e1401834586474Deepest apologies, Gentle Readers, for my absence the past week. Due to “technical difficulties beyond my control”, my internet connection was disrupted. Please forgive me. I trust to that. ‘Nuff said.

A week of virtual absence was almost a “retreat” for me, and the Lord made interesting use of the time. I want to share something rather incredible that happened, and it’s not really a part of the “Martian Chronicles”, so I just share it as-is…

First, without a lot of narrative or explanation, just know (if you don’t already) that for much of my life, my primary struggles with prevailing sin revolve around: pride, judging, adrenalin, and temper. Usually these are entwined in some way. When I treat someone else as “less than sacred” (my definition of sin), it is usually through pique, influenced by adrenalin, based on judging them or out of my pride and arrogance. Simple confession that, and for those who’ve known me for years, I can see you from here smiling and nodding.

Through years of practice, transformation, grace, training from others, and application of self-discipline, I have learned some degree of self-control on this. I have learned the PRACTICE of “Gentleness” in 99 cases out of 100. One percent of the time, I still fall and face restoration, but for the most part people see me as gentle. (And, for the most part, so I am.)

But always, especially regarding the heart and mind of Christ and the Father, their unrelenting love and embrace… there’s a “fire in my belly”, and a sense of impatience and frustration with those who cannot see this. My own life is poured out to find ways, means, words, to communicate and make His Presence and His Nature real and immediate for those who seek Him.

Anyway, enough of that. But, to put it simply… a week and a half ago I had the strangest thing happen. In my sleep. On a Saturday night… into Sunday morning. Sunday morning, I woke up and I was… well, I was… “Gentle”. I can’t imagine how strange that sounds, or seems, to read. But it’s simply true. I woke up, and as I began to pray, to think, to breathe, to focus my eyes… I was enfolded in a sense of “caring for” all that I thought of.

Not even going to try to explain it, let alone describe it adequately. But quite dramatically, it’s wasn’t a “feeling” or a “sentiment”. It was an “attitude”, that all people, everyone I could think of, friend, family, stranger, enemy (in their own minds), offender, client, survivor, victim, sheep, goat, sinner… everyone and anyone I could think of, was “sacred” child of God. I can approach such a child with either gentleness, or abuse (and my heart has never much been one for abuse).

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Not going to spend a lot of time here in theory, hypothesis, or speculative explanation. Here’s just a report… that God has transformed something in me from what I was, to give me His “Gift of Gentleness”. And it is different than I’ve ever known before.

My passion, that fire in my belly, is not “gone”. But it has moved aside to make way for this new thing. As the Lord has unfolded a bit more about this, it’s that here is a new aspect of the character and heart of God. Consuming fire? Yes. But also… Living Water.

Water yields, embraces, enfolds… without compromise. Water does not compact well. (Hence “hydraulics”). It maintains its volume and substance, but can adapt shape readily. Living Water. Embracing freely. Water can embrace and yield, without ever being reduced or compromising. Tricky, that…

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I used to readily be gentle with “good guys”, with sacred children who live out their sacredness. But I would struggle with self-control with “bad guys”, who live in desecration of themselves and others. And that tendency, that set point, has now changed. There is no more distinction.

I wondered how “bad guys” had suddenly become “good guys”. I didn’t question the reality of what has happened. There’s scripture behind it, Jesus walk behind it, affirmation of spirit… all of that. But I just didn’t understand how this reversal had happened.

Until I came to a realization, and here is where I’ll end this…

I’m truly convinced that “righteousness” is to treat others (or self) as the sacred children they are, and “sin” is to fail to do so. I used to think of the “righteous” as comprising “sacred children”, and the “unrighteous” as “less sacred than others”.

The Lord addressed this… pointing out that (as so often I do) I was getting this upside down.

I was thinking in a very arrogant manner regarding “sacredness”. What makes a child “sacred”?

What makes a child sacred has nothing at all to do with how they handle their own sacredness, gifts, or behavior. WE, as observers, do not “define the sacred”. THEY, as actors and participants in their gift of life, do not “define the sacred”.

Only GOD “defines the sacred”, both in its nature, its structure, and its evaluation. All people are sacred because He fashioned them, He breathes life into them, and He loves them. That… is the end of the discussion. “Sacredness”… is bestowed by the Love of God. And there is no child, whom He does not infinitely love.

Apparently, having finally learned that and how truly not to judge… I have become capable of receiving the Gift of Gentleness, and experiencing it.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

There have been a couple more wrinkles to this epiphany and change… more to come.

Grace to thee, Gentle Reader!

 

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