Monday, March 2, 2015

March 2nd

June 16, 2014

I’ve been reading the Old Testament and it has been stressful. I reached this point and read this:

“If you are careful to obey every command I am giving you to follow (commanding you to do), and love the LORD your God, and do what he had told you to do (walk on all his ways/paths), and are loyal (cling) to him…”
-Deuteronomy 11:22, EXB

And at that point it was just too much. I know it’s the Old Covenant, but as I read, I kept putting myself in the place of the Israelites and it’s terrifying, especially in the light of my history. I already know what happens when I try to be perfect in my own strength.

“I can’t do it,” I cried out to Jesus, despair, throwing myself inward. “I can’t keep all these laws or stay on the path! I know I can’t! I will fail in that."

Jesus caught me in His arms of loving kindness. But you can cling, He told me, smiling.

Relief and love flooded through me, washing away the dread, leaving joy behind. “I can cling,” I assured Him, throwing my arms around Jesus and holding on tightly, held securely by Him, as if I were a small child. Again, sheer joy shot through me like light. “I cling with all my heart and strength and all myself,” I declared, with abandon, with relief.

Jenny, I love you, He whispered.

"Whom have I in heaven but You? And I have no delight or desire on earth besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the Rock and firm Strength of my heart and my Portion forever."
-Psalm 73:25-26

I love you in truth, Jesus assured me.

Jesus does not love us in theory. It’s not just a lovely sentiment, a nice idea or some high spiritual concept that never reaches us in practice - His love is personal, active and real.

I could feel His loving gaze bent on me, searchingly. I gathered all my courage and looked up and His face was so familiar and so human, it took my breath away. I dared to touch the laugh lines at the corners of His eyes.

Behold, your Friend, Jesus said to me, smiling.

"I don't call you servants any longer; servants don't know what the master is doing, but I have told you everything the Father has said to Me. I call you friends. You did not choose Me. I chose you, and I orchestrated all of this so that you would be sent out and bear great and perpetual fruit. As you do this, anything you ask the Father in My name will be done. This is My command to you: love one another."
-John 15:15-17, Voice

June 22, 2014

Quietly He comes.

Not that He was late or distracted by other things. He was not disorganised or worried or unable to make it earlier.

He waited until you discussed the situation between you. Til you laughed in the face of your fears, til you sighed, finished your tea, bowed your heads.

He came in the quiet intercession of your prayers when your words ceased, when the fear settled.

You didn’t see Him come in. The dog didn’t bark, the door didn’t slam, the keys didn’t jingle as He laid them on the table. You didn’t see Him but you knew He was there.

His presence was tangible.

In the silence He showed you pictures. He reminded you of His word, His faithfulness – the stories of old...

He didn’t care what you did in public or how great people thought you were...

He wanted you to know Him, to discover His character.

He wanted to move you from faith to trust.

He wanted you to know His sufferings so that you could truly experience the deliverance of His hand. That you would know Him and desire Him.

That you would rise in the morning to meet Him because without Him your day would be incomplete.
-Clare Froggatti

I read this; I was filled with delight, recognition and love. I remembered how, if I were to give any advice, the advice I would give would be to lean into your longing. I thought, I should lean into mine, it’s been awhile.

Even as I was thinking this, I felt the presence of Jesus around me, loving me, reminding me that He was already near, already available, and to take joy in that. But I threw myself into the longing full force, the longing that He should come to meet with me, that I should know His sufferings so that I should know Him and love Him, and it was like throwing lighter fluid on live coals.

Jenny! He cried, all through my spirit, lovingly exasperated, pleading, laughing. I’m right here, just come here to Me.

I could see Jesus almost as if He was imprinted over the ipad that I held and the bed and everything that I was physically seeing. I could see His hands, His arms outstretched, His face.

I poured myself straight into His arms, I took all the intensity of longing and turned that intensity into the fact that Jesus was already with me, and my heart went up in flames of joy and delight. It was like a wave of electric fire washed up through my entire spirit. His joy was like fire and in return, my worship was like a living thing, the whole outpouring of myself in adoration.

July 1, 2014

“I miss You,” I said to Him, yesterday. “I miss You.”

Lately there has been no gift of inner communion and instead, Jesus has been asking me that I continue on in faith, knowing that He is with me always, to grow deeper into that faith as I love and serve in my daily life.

So I’ve been doing that, but yesterday, I felt my longing for Him begin to stir. I read something about Him- how Jesus lays His power down, becomes a servant of many and my love for Him came welling up, and I missed Him.

After dinner, the sun came out briefly, the light filtered still by the cloud- a white light, and it got caught in the myriad of raindrops on the pine branches and lit them up as though they were Christmas tinsel. I stood by the dining room table, caught in wonder at the sight.

For you, Jesus whispered. It was as if He were handing me a bouquet of flowers.

So in the evening, I read in the gospel of Mark. I was trying to find Luke, but I ended up there instead and simply kept reading. I read the part where they ask for a sign and Jesus sighs deeply in His spirit and says that no sign will be given. The Living Bible translates it like this: "Certainly not. How many more miracles do you people need?"

I felt His sadness, His weariness. Also, I remembered how Jesus answers in other Gospels, how He says a wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign and no sign will be given it, but for the sign of the prophet Jonah.

I understood what wicked and adulterous meant- it meant faithless, spiritually blind, not knowing God. If they had known God- like Moses- they would have known Jesus instinctively. No sign would have been necessary. But they had no faith and were not in a faithful, intimate relationship with God, so they demanded proof- external proof- to convince them of the truth.

Besides which, He was pouring out signs right and left- powerful, prophetic signs as the seal of His being sent from the Father. But even those were dismissed or even seen as unlawful- His healing on the Sabbath invokes rage. It's astonishing- that murder is their response to someone being miraculously healed before their eyes.

I remembered Jesus answering the Pharisees- who had wanted a sign to show He had the authority to cleanse the Temple- and Jesus said, “Tear down this temple and I will raise it again in three days.”

When I read that, I always see Jesus standing with His head and shoulders thrown back, still catching His breath from all that passionate energy and movement and looking at them with His eyes flashing, full of fire and grief- grief that they don’t know Him, passionate zeal to accomplish what He must.

“Tear down this temple,” He cries to them, absolutely certain, fearless, “and I will raise it again in three days.”

It's as if He saying to them, with breathtaking courage- "Do your worst! Disbelieve Me, deny Me. Scourge Me, mock Me, throw Me to the Romans and crucify Me and leave Me to die and in three days, I will take your worst and I will bring Life in return!"

Because the grave cannot hold Life Himself and because it was while we were still sinners that He died for us.

I think they might be in awe and resentful and confused, so they diminish Him, so they can forget their inner trembling. “This temple was forty six years building and you will raise it again in three days?” they ask, reaching for tangible reality, for what they know.

It is as though Jesus is speaking to them from the peak of His sacrificial love, the fire that burns always inside Him, and they are facing God from their smooth, barren plain, their own effort, expectation, and understanding.

It's like at the foot of Sinai when they say to Aaron, “Make us a god,” when they are right in the presence of the Living God and have just heard His voice. They give this object the sacred name of God and begin to worship it, all in His very presence.

For some reason, the idol is more believable than God Himself. There is something about human nature that wants to be with their own version of God- the comfortable, tamed and expected version.

“Because who has believed our report?” as the prophet cries. “And to whom has the arm of Yahweh been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.” (Isaiah 53:1-2)

Because the arm of Yahweh is Jesus of Nazareth. Who can believe this? After all that history, when God comes, Jesus is what He looks like.

He doesn’t look like God to us, so we demand proof of God to His face, in His presence. It's tragic and shocking.

These were the thoughts that were rising up in me, quietly, as I read, flipping back and forth between the gospel of Mark and Isaiah, sometimes putting the Bible down to ponder.

When I went to Jesus in the inner place, His face was familiar and loving. “I really am Yours,” I told Him, considering it all over again- because I missed Him so much and reading about Him stirred up in me so much love for Him.

July 14, 2014

Resting with Jesus, tucked up under His arm and lost in meditations of Him, thoughts drifting. His wounds suffused my meditations with sadness- how they go all the way through His hands, how He has been torn open, pierced through- the violence that He suffered, that permanently marks Him.

It was worth it, He whispered, His voice resonant with emotion.


"As a result of the trials and troubles that wrack his soul,
   God's servant will see light and be content.
Because He knows, really understands, what it's about; as God says,
    "My just servant will justify countless others by taking on their punishment
and bearing it away."
-Isaiah 53:11, Voice