For me to live is Christ [His life in me], and to die is gain [the gain of the glory of eternity]. Philippians 1:21 Amp
At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Some day, God willing, we shall get in. – C.S. Lewis
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He also has planted eternity in men’s hearts and minds [a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy], yet so that men cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. Ecclesiastes 3:11
Como, James T. C.S. Lewis at the Breakfast Table and Other Reminiscences. New York: Collier, 1979. Print.
Passion Flower Growing in Costa Rica
O Lord, be gracious to us; we have waited [expectantly] for You. Be the arm [of Your servants—their strength and defense] every morning, our salvation in the time of trouble. Isaiah 33:2 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)
One of the meanings of the word gracious, chanan, in this verse is compassionated. Not only is that a great word and a new one to me, but it’s written as a command. Isaiah is commanding God to be compassionated toward us. We all know the meaning of the word opinionated–full of opinions. Isaiah is asking, no commanding, God to be full of compassion toward us.
compassion (n.) mid-14c., from Old French compassion “sympathy, pity” (12c.), from Late Latin compassionem (nominative compassio) “sympathy,” noun of state from past participle stem of compati “to feel pity,” from com “with, together” (see com-) + pati “to suffer” (see passion).
passion (n.) late 12c., “sufferings of Christ on the Cross,” from Old French passion “Christ’s passion, physical suffering” (10c.), from Late Latin passionem (nominative passio) “suffering, enduring,” from past participle stem of Latin pati “to suffer, endure,” possibly from PIE root *pe(i)– “to hurt” (see fiend).
Sense extended to sufferings of martyrs, and suffering generally, by early 13c.; meaning “strong emotion, desire” is attested from late 14c., from Late Latin use of passio to render Greek pathos. Replaced Old English þolung (used in glosses to render Latin passio), literally “suffering,” from þolian (v.) “to endure.” Sense of “sexual love” first attested 1580s; that of “strong liking, enthusiasm, predilection” is from 1630s. The passion-flower so called from 1630s.
The name passionflower — flos passionis — arose from the supposed resemblance of the corona to the crown of thorns, and of the other parts of the flower to the nails, or wounds, while the five sepals and five petals were taken to symbolize the ten apostles — Peter … and Judas … being left out of the reckoning. [“Encyclopaedia Britannica,” 1885]
Latin compassio is an ecclesiastical loan-translation of Greek sympatheia (see sympathy). An Old English loan-translation of compassion was efenðrowung.
I pray (not command) that the Lord be compassionated with us today. And that we be compassionated with one another due to the price Jesus paid on the cross for us.
Of course I worry. I worry less and less as life goes on and I see what an incredibly faithful God I serve, but lately worries about finances have popped up. Worries about church finances. Worries about our future finances. What’s odd is that I don’t normally deal with these types of worries. Family matters are familiar worrying territory for me. Relationship issues. These are areas where I battle. But lately I’ve been struggling with these future money issues.
And then I read this passage from the book one thousand gifts by Ann Voskamp:
Anxiety has been my natural posture, my default stiffness. The way I curl my toes up, tight retreat. How I angle my jaw, braced, chisel the brow with the lines of distrust. How I don’t fold my hands in prayer . . . weld them into tight fists of control. Always control–pseudopower from the pit. How I refuse to relinquish worry, babe a mother won’t forsake, an identity. Do I hold worry close as this ruse of control, this pretense that I’m the one who will determine the course of events as I stir and churn and ruminate? Worry is the facade of taking action when prayer really is. And stressed, this pitched word that punctuates every conversation, is it really my attempt to prove how indispensable I am? Or is it more? Maybe disguising my deep fears as stress seems braver somehow.
Two points really struck me. 1) That control is a pseudopower from the pit of hell. 2) That worry is the facade of taking action. Both of these things put the focus on me and what I can do instead of where it should be–resting in Jesus–who is ever faithful and ever loving.
Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” John 4: 13,14
I forgot to pack my diuretic on this trip to the states and my feet/cankles are swollen up so they don’t want to bend and my eyes are about puffed closed from the water retention. As usual, I started to think about what kind of object lesson could be drawn from this–and I realized that we need to let the living water that we receive from God flow through us to others or we’ll be spiritually waterlogged.
He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” John 7:38
Photo credit: http://www.wqa.org
I just came across this little essay that I wrote a few years ago:
There are days as missionaries when the local culture is drives us CRAZY. Here, we call them EcuaDays [Now we would call them Tico Days] and have found they can profoundly affect our mood. Think about it: We bring a lot on the mission field. We bring our family culture (In my case we’re hard-working, challenge-loving, worry-warts who have difficulty submitting to others.)and our national culture. (In my case individualistic, fairly timely, problem-solving organizers.) That’s a lot that can clash with team culture and the culture that you’re living in.
One of our biggest struggles as missionaries is convincing people to give up their culture when it conflicts with the Bible. Being aware of these cultural issues helps. But it’s not a solution. Today I was reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe with my class. If you haven’t read this wonderful fantasy by C.S. Lewis, I highly recommend it. It is an allegory that represents Christ’s substitutionary death and resurrection. I came across this lovely passage:
“They say Aslan [who represents Jesus] is on the move—perhaps has already landed.” And now a very curious thing took happened. None of the children knew who Aslan was any more than you do; but the moment the Beaver had spoken these words everyone felt quite different. Perhaps it has sometimes happened to you in a dream that someone says something which you don’t understand but in the dream it carries some enormous meaning—either a terrifying one which turns the whole dream into a nightmare or else a lovely meaning too lovely to put into words, which makes the dream so beautiful that you remember it all your life and are always wishing you could get into that dream again. It was like that now. At the name of Aslan each one of the children felt something jump in his inside. Edmund [who’d sinned] felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated by her. And Lucy got the felling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of summer.
The solution is Jesus. There is, as the song says, just something about that name. On Ecua Days (or India Days or Russia Days) we need to praise Jesus. “Therefore, I will praise You, LORD, among the nations; I will sing about your name.” 2 Samuel 22:50 My husband, Mike, says that when he preaches specifically about Jesus, not just mentioning Him, that something special happens. He can see them become especially attentive and afterwards there is such a feeling of having ministered life. We too can sing about Jesus and praise His name among the nations and watch something special happen—within ourselves.
I have been so motivated to develop a more intimate relationship with the Trinity lately, but my brain is not cooperating–not one bit. It’s been behaving like a pot of popping popcorn without the lid. Am I the only one? I can’t hang in with prayer for even a few minutes without undisciplined thoughts zooming around. The only success I’ve had is reading the Bible out loud to Jesus, the living Word, and telling Him my thoughts and confusions as I read it. Moving so slowly through the Word, I hope to focus more on who He is. Does anyone have other thoughts for a popcorn-brained disciple?
Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You [progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with You, perceiving and recognizing and understanding more strongly and clearly] and that I may find favor in Your sight. And [Lord, do] consider that this nation is Your people. Exodus 33:13 Ampl.
God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:9 (NIV)
God is faithful (reliable, trustworthy, and therefore ever true to His promise, and He can be depended on); by Him you were called into companionship and participation with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:9 (AMP)
Mike has been preaching an amazing series of messages on having fellowship with God. I leave each service sooo motivated to spend time with God–with the entire Trinity. The word called means “to invite personally by name.” He invited us to spend time with Him. Fellowship means “association, communion, share, participate” and that fellowship is in the light.
When I think about light, I think about how true fellowship requires transparency. When we keep all our veils on to hide our true selves, we miss opportunities to have heart-to-heart time with God.
Psalm 15:1,2 Lord, who can dwell in Your tent? Who can live on Your holy mountain? The one who lives honestly, practices righteousness, and acknowledges the truth in his heart.