Pointed

Tetons 2016 - PointedPOINTED

Prompted while gazing, hiking the Tetons, this particular scene pointed to a more excellent way. Rather than being consumed or indulgent in things that wear out or substances that destroy, and become void, and leave you more empty, it’s was a constant reminder to be consumed by that which springs forth a living and refreshing water, that which lasts and gives the soul-rest. The Spirit of God given to those who believe in Jesus.

Below is a biblical description of addiction, a substance that controls, places so many in bondage.

Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who tarry long over wine; those who go to try mixed wine. Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder. Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart utter perverse things. You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, like one who lies on the top of a mast. “They struck me,” you will say, “but I was not hurt; they beat me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake? I must have another drink.” (Proverbs 23:29-35)

Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as the living water. External influence of the Spirit had always been given in the conversion and sanctification of the Old Testament saints and prophets, but the gift of the Spirit who would indwell believers had not yet been received (Acts 10:44–45). So, though many people say that Jesus is the living water, Jesus Himself intended the phrase to mean the Holy Spirit who dwells in believers and seals them for salvation (Ephesians 1:13–14). It is the ministry of the Spirit, flowing out of a heart redeemed by God, that blesses believers and, through them, brings life and light to the world.

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While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. (Acts 10:44-45)

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14)

Call

Tetons 2016 - Mountain and TreesCALL

Often God prompts us to give up a dream to embrace His Call. And often the only reason we take a pause or don’t embrace it is because we do not see the bigger picture that God sees!

In 1973 that happened to me. I gave up a diving career, the dream to hopefully one day participate in the Olympics to follow God’s call. That call was missional. It wasn’t that God couldn’t use me in the competitive diving world, its just there was something to embrace that was different.

The spiritual realities that are around us are around us all the time, and the only way to see them is to hear from – be tuned in to God. Just as to view a mountain beckons a hiker to hike, God calls believers to take that same challenge. A faith step into His calling.

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Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called. (Ephesians 4:1)

Moment

TessMOMENT

As I look at my son’s dog, Tess, I’m mesmerized by her gaze and prompts speaking of a God-life moment.

I have a magnet on my frig that says, “Life begins at the end of our comfort zone.” I prefer to change it to specifically say, “A God-life begins at the end of our comfort zone.”

Why?

It is in this divine God-life moment, in my lack of comfort per se (mentally, spiritually, physically, emotionally) I begin to process, fully grasp I have no control of an outcome and begin to recognize the need for complete surrender and choose to trust God. It is in this moment of intervention clarity that God shows up and I embark on the painstaking but required journey to grow up! Bottom line, it reveals my true heart, my desperate need and reality that I am completely dependent on God and no longer deceived by a mindset deluded in self-sufficiency.

Reminded afresh a surrendered life in Christ leads to a life beginning at the end. Death to self. It is here where God stretches me, creates an environment of trust, builds character in HIS likeness but also where His peace that surpasses understanding reigns.
How about you?

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Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God. (2 Corinthians 3:12)

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:11)

Thorn

Masai Mara Cow - Goat Pin 2009THORN

Gazing upon an African Masai pin full of tangled branches, an occasional thorn to provide and keep captive their treasured and life sustaining herd of cattle it nudges of another reality of how a thorn can take us captive. Captives whether through hurtful words spoken, a negative thought roaming and through the recesses of our mind, a physical-emotional ailment or spiritual warfare only to seek to take root and manifest much pain in our lives. It’s a reality a fractured, flawed humanity shares.

I’ve experienced thorns too.

Below is a poem in remembrance, continuance.

THORN

Consumed within a timeless thorn,
   thus surrounded by its sudden storm;
Symbolic of a bird, its daring flight,
   involved in an all-consuming fight.

Life can be but painfully hard,
   when feeling the raging, cage of a rough scar;
But Jesus has taken the open wound,
   thus raised it from His empty tomb.

Christ comes, thus takes an unsettled anxiousness,
   embraces and sweeps with a soothing peacefulness;
Forever the need, His touch, His gentleness,
   always in a time of un-welcomed loneliness.

Determined to praise You in an untimely storm,
   reminded to be thankful for the persistent thorn;
Eternally grateful, and to be reborn,
  always a mystery to sometimes mourn.

Surrounded with Your mercy, Your sufficient grace,
   a much sought after, a captivating safe place;
Standing faithful, and through this storm,
   within the midst of a consuming thorn.

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To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:7)

Brillance

Lake SunlightBRILLIANCE

As I gaze upon this brilliance of light I can’t help but ponder how it sheds and dispels darkness, quiets and calms troubled waters.

It’s not “if” but “when” I face a difficult trial or some kind of suffering, and temptation arises in its midst, and me believing God will explain the much needed why, the blueprint of my future, and me being better equipped to understand, therefore fully able to trust. But this is not how it works, it’s not even the most important part. As Oswald Chambers so wisely said, “God does not tell you what He is going to do; He reveals to you Who He is.”

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And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Every tear of sorrow sown by the righteous springs up a pearl. (Matthew Henry)

The work of spirituality is to recognize where we are – the particular circumstances of our lives – to recognize grace and say, “Do you suppose God wants to be with me in a way that does not involve changing my spouse or getting rid of my spouse or my kids, but in changing me, and doing something in my life that maybe I could never experience without this pain and this suffering?” (Edmund Clowney)