Wednesday, August 19, 2015

When the Devil Tells the Truth

This was composed some time ago, but I got around to publishing it now. I guess late doesn't need to mean never. 

--

It’s been one of those weeks… You know, the sort where you think, Ok, this can be over now. So exhausting. And I come to the end feeling like a bit of a failure myself. All my faults array themselves ugly before my eyes. I need my Jesus like no tomorrow, and I want to escape up the mesa and pray forever. 

I clean the kitchen and think. Pilgrim’s Progress runs through my head, varied voices and all, picking up at the growling words of Apollyon: 

“There is NO prince, who will loose his subjects without a battle!! And I be no exception, Graceless.” 

“My name be Christian!”

“But, Graceless…”

The devil is always like that. Calling us graceless - the recipients of no grace - when our names have actually been changed to Christian. But that’s not what strikes me while my hands are in the dishwater. 

It strikes me with pleasing irony that for once, the devil told the truth. 

There is no prince who will loose his subjects without a battle. 

And actually, that includes the Prince of Peace, the Prince of Heaven. That includes my Prince, who has renamed me Christian instead of Graceless. That means on weeks that feel as if they can just go ahead and be over, when all imperfections array themselves ugly, just then, I can be assured that no Prince will loose His subjects without a battle. 

And last time I checked, Prince Immanuel, the Prince who is God with us, is stronger than the prince of the power of the air (please note the little p on that latter individual). So in a battle between the two, guess who wins? The devil certainly has us bested for strength, but the One who is for us has spoiled all principalities and powers; and further, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them.* And He did it for me. For you. Yes. I choose to be on His side.

I know you didn't mean it quite that way Apollyon, but thank you - the reminder is welcome. My Prince not only accepts me, but will all out battle for me. He fights for His own. Oh glory. 

And thank You Jesus… 



“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” John 28:28, 29. 


Sunday, June 28, 2015

“….But I Give Myself Unto Prayer.” Ps. 109:4b

(A prayer of intercession for the General Conference Session)


Ps 94:12-15

Blessed is the man whom Thou chasteneth, oh Lord, and teachest him out of Thy law; that Thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the wicked. 
For the Lord will not cast off His people, neither will He forsake His inheritance. But judgment shall return unto righteousness: and all the upright in heart shall follow it."

Psalms 108

O God, my heart is fixed;
I will sing and give praise,
even with my glory. 
Awake, psaltery and harp:
I myself will awake early. 
I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people:
and I will sing praises unto thee among the nations. 
For thy mercy is great above the heavens: 
and thy truth reacheth unto the clouds. 
Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens:
and thy glory above all the earth;
That thy beloved may be delivered:
save with thy right hand, and answer me. 
God hath spoken in his holiness…
I will rejoice, I will divide Shechem,
and mete out the valley of Succoth.
 Gilead is mine; Manasseh is mine;
Ephraim also is the strength of mine head;
Judah is my lawgiver;
 Moab is my washpot;
over Edom will I cast out my shoe;
over Philistia will I triumph.
 Who will bring me into the strong city?
who will lead me into Edom?
Wilt not thou, O God, who hast cast us off?
and wilt not thou, O God, go forth with our hosts? 
Give us help from trouble:
for vain is the help of man. 
Through God we shall do valiantly:
for he it is that shall tread down our enemies.

 Ps. 90:1,2, 12, 14, 16, 17

Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God…. So teach us to number our days that we might apply our hearts unto wisdom…Oh satisfy us early with Thy mercy that we may rejoice and be glad all our days…Let Thy work appear unto Thy servants, and thy glory unto their children.  And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish Thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish Thou it. 

Ps. 28:9

Save thy people and bless thine inheritance: feed them also and lift them up forever.

 2 Chron. 7:14

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.



Thursday, May 14, 2015

Save the Date!


Nine months from today, on February 14, 2016 (Valentine’s Day) our precious Natasha will become the wife of a well beloved man of God, Paul Dysinger, the son of dearest long time friends, Edwin and Jennifer. A deep devotion to God characterizes the lives and relationship of this new pair and the fruit it has already born is as that of a watered garden. 

Between now and then Natasha’s presence will continue to bless our lives with her passionate devotion to home and family. We will cherish and savor every blessed moment of home life together.  We are persuaded their love story began where every beautiful love story begins-in the heart of the Heavenly Bridegroom and Lover of our souls. Thus we look forward with grateful anticipation to the joy of that happiest of days which will be celebrated in the beautiful Northern New Mexico alpine town of Red River.

But even more, we eagerly anticipate with grateful hearts the blessedness that we know will follow in the aftermath of their union at the marriage altar- a thought more eloquently expressed by a poetic author:

“But it is when the wedding ceremony is over, and the two are one, that the life begins which has so many possibilities of happiness, of growth, of nobleness of character, of heroism in living, or tender romance in loving. Angels hover about the marriage altar and hush their songs while hands are clasped and holy vows are plighted and then spread their sheltering wings over the happy pair as they start out together on the voyage of life.  The greatest blessedness, the highest development of character, the noblest manhood and womanhood, the most perfect attainments in Christian life, are to be reached in the marriage relation, if it is made what God meant it to be.” J.R. Miller




A LETTER TO OUR CHILDREN:

Dearest Paul and Natasha, 

The beauty of your love story, God honoring courtship and recent engagement has been a gift of grace to us. 

Paul, our hearts were deeply touched, learning a couple of years ago of your long standing devoted interest in Natasha. We admired then the high level of discretion and self restraint that allowed us all, especially Natasha, to remain unsuspecting for years. 

We’ve scrutinized your character over the past years, while witnessing your earnest pursuit of God and His glory. It didn’t take long for the ample evidence of your deep love for Him, passion for the gospel, spiritual gifts, nobility of character and diligence in business to capture the hearts of these parents. These traits, along with the obvious compatibility you share with Natasha in character and personality are among the many valid reasons why, with exceeding joy and confidence we were honored and said yes! when you asked for her hand in marriage.

The trust you bestowed on us parents, long before you could be confident of winning her heart - trust akin to that which you've placed in your own precious parents, did much to win our favor, our confidence and affections bit by bit. We still remember being charmed by the opening lines of a very significant correspondence from you: “It is my desire to lay before you an open and transparent look into all aspects of my life - strengths, weaknesses, vision, mission, goals, and more…” Thank you for your vulnerability, son. Your trust awakened trust in our hearts! Eventually you earned our blessing to win her heart and then, with high hopes, we prayed and watched your persistent efforts to woo her. Perceiving the depth of your growing love for her, your eagerness to bless her, your godly, humble servant leadership has been very touching. It is reflective of the pure and tender, longstanding, steadfast love and care of Christ for His bride. We smiled with delight at your ultimate success in winning her heart. 

Natasha, you were certainly earnest to guard your heart with all diligence! We are inspired by your earnestness. In this case, at times we feared the conquering of the “walled city” might be a mission impossible! ;) It wasn't without seasons of perplexity on your part and ours. When the time came to take “risks” you were not prepared for, it wasn’t without tears and even confusion at times. What a gift of grace it is that His strength is perfected our weakness!

It was heartwarming, after watching much of your wrestling with God, to witness the unfolding of your heart’s response to this honorable man that had the heart of a conqueror. It dawned as deep respect and admiration for his character and appreciation for his compelling spirituality, and gradually grew and matured to become the deep, romantic, tender love and devotion with growing respect and admiration that fills your heart today.  

We’ve been gratified to behold your full embrace of the beauty of God’s ways, as that love for and trust in Paul, is joyfully expressed in your glad submission to his gracious leadership in the relationship. Your earnest eagerness to please him is very touching….It is a beautiful portrayal of the deep, tender love, devotion and joyful submission to Christ of His bride. 

Watching your eager anticipation and total embracing of the Biblical philosophy of marriage has fanned the flame of our own love for God and the beauty of His design at creation-beauty reflected again in His dealings with His bride for our redemption. What a joy it is to yield to Him and His perfect ways!

May you both be inspired by the precious insights, and noble admonitions to husbands and wives of the poetic author J. R. Miller:

“Every husband should understand that when a woman, the woman of his own free and deliberate choice, places her hand in his and thus becomes his wife, she has taken her life, with all its hopes and fears, and its possibilities of joy or sorrow, all its capacity for development, all its tender and sacred interests, and placed it in his hand, and that he is under the most solemn obligations to do all in his power to make that life happy, beautiful, noble and blessed. To do this, he must be ready to make any personal sacrifice. Nothing else than this can be implied  in loving as Christ loved his Church when He gave Himself for it….

There is no earthly line long enough to fathom the depths of Christ’s love for His church, and no mortal can love in the same degree; yet, insofar as that love can be repeated on earth, every husband is required to repeat it…. The husband is to give himself, to deny himself, utterly to forget himself in simple and wholehearted devotion to his wife….He thinks no longer of his own comfort, but of his wife’s. He takes the storm himself and shelters her from its blast. He toils to support her. He denies himself that he may bring new pleasures and comforts to her. He counts no sacrifice too great to be made which will bring benefit to her….” 

A good wife is Heaven’t last, best gift to man…No wife can overestimate the influence she wields over her husband, or the measure in which his character, his career and his very destiny are laid in her hands for shaping.  The sway which she holds over him is the sway of love, but it is mighty and resistless…. Even unconsciously to herself, without any thought of her responsibility, she will exert over him an influence that will go far toward making or marring all his future… If she has in her soul noble womanly qualities, if she has true thoughts of life, if she has purpose, strength of character and fidelity to principle, she will be to him an unfailing inspiration toward all that is noble, manly and Christlike.  The high conceptions of life in her mind will elevate his conceptions.  Her firm, strong purpose will put vigor and determination into every resolve and act of his. Her purity of soul will cleanse and refine his spirit.  Her warm interest in all his affairs and her wise counsel at every point will make him strong for every duty and valiant in every struggle.  Her careful domestic management will become an important element of success in his business life.  Her bright, orderly, happy homemaking will be a perpetual source of joy and peace, and an incentive to nobler living.  Her unwavering fidelity, her tender affectionateness, her womanly sympathy, her beauty of soul, will make her to him God’s angel indeed, sheltering, guarding, keeping, guiding, and blessing him…”

May your joy as a couple be a symbol of the sure reward that awaits those that reverence God, treasure His word, trust His wisdom and embrace His ways.

May each of you “forget self in devotion to the other….. the result will be a wedded life of deep peace, quiet joy and inseparable affection."

With much love, your joyful parents,

Dad and Motherdee :)



Thursday, April 30, 2015

Sound of a Sword

Days short of flying (literally) into another nearly nonstop spring/summer of hacking away at darkness near and far, I’m moved by this—

A spiritual sensation I can only compare to the unsheathing of a sword, the sound of steel ringing in my soul's ear. But while I pace to and fro on the little crest overlooking my altar, the bit of stone and sod I call my “holy place,” this thought follows the tingling: To fight darkness truly, one must first be clear of it, have no part of it, know by choosing as well as desiring, what it is to hate it. To come out of it. Really.

I can think of only two men in history (though I doubt not there are many who simply haven’t come to mind) who fought from within…

One wrapped terrible arms around the pillars that kept roof overhead, and pulled the temple down on the heads of his enemies. And fell with them.

Another wandered up and down the streets of Jerusalem crying woe and desolation. Who also fell with the selfsame city.

There’s another way.

So this prayer, for me and mine, at this moment.

Lord Glorious, make us holy.

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