His people have learned to live in uncertainty—they gladly bow the knee to His higher way in every situation and in doing so remain calmly focused on the goal of life and God’s purpose for every man. “To worship God and serve Him only”
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
The Secret of Life at the Limits
For some time now the use of the word uncertainty has been used as the cause and effect of economic, social, and moral breakdown of people and cultures. The effort to stay in control of things becomes more difficult all the time. For hundreds of millennia in the prehistoric past, individuals defended their own land and built their own shelters. Communities were far apart; tragic events affected relatively few people. Today, people living close together in complex social networks become victim to the stress filled, hate empowered binges of mindless acts of futility and the value of life and morality denigrate into the mire of stagnation.Into this ever increasing darkness God is raising up a people. A people who are prepared to stabilize the environment and reveal that there is one true constant in the midst of global uncertainty. They are a people with steel in their backbone and iron in their souls. They know their purpose; they increase their productivity and are sustained by the power that issues forth from the core of their being. You can recognize these people by the lives they live and the belief system they live by. Broken and undone by the very presence of a Holy God these people of weakness are those whose lives are no longer their own, their profession is, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me”.
They are weak and make mistakes but this same Holy God has equipped them with wisdom to arrest their frailty use it for good and allow circumstances to blossom into goodness.When moment by moment the natural life of men and nations seem to be reaching limits of imminent danger and catastrophe the presence of this Holy God stays the hand of man because He and He alone holds the keys of time and testing. Make no mistake about this God is Sovereign ruler of earth and is fulfilling His purpose in the earth today. Not a second early or a moment too late…His timing is perfect!
His people have learned to live in uncertainty—they gladly bow the knee to His higher way in every situation and in doing so remain calmly focused on the goal of life and God’s purpose for every man. “To worship God and serve Him only”
Monday, March 25, 2013
“The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual”
For a year now we have been living in the midst of demolition of the old court house and construction of the new seat of justice in our town. It has been a constant reminder of Paul’s words to forget the old and put on the new spirit man. Metaphors are created by looking through the window of the natural to see the spiritual dimension that is as close as the air we breathe. Dealing with lives that have and are in the midst of destruction has caused me to ponder and draw parallels to the need of mind renewal—the transformation created by the old to new, death to life process. And so I have written…Everywhere lives are lived out as best as the individual knows how. Coping with life in this 21st century is full of pitfalls, misguided information, and sudden catastrophes. Technology and the speed of evolution crushes the personal touch and the ability to maintain a sense of self worth is lessened. Personal worth is decreased when the overwhelming matrix of technology impinges upon daily lives at alarming rates.
Here in the midst of the human condition gone askew, determination to move forward becomes the life link that breaks from the pathway of destruction to push toward some unknown territory, known as a healthy existence or happiness. This determination cannot -- neither should it be-- hindered since the power of the moment throws all to the wind and “goes for it”. The unknowing innately contains the very seeds of development that drove the life to this juncture, but if a person is loved and guided by the Creator, happiness can be lived out along the path of growth. It’s a matter of faith or belief in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, God’s presence becomes a reality. Faith is the gift and fruit of a life turned over to God and the spirit man being “born again.”
Minds full of past mistakes, of children lost, of abusive relationships, or of knowing themselves to have become the abusers, are minds thwart with obstacles. Only the God of impossible situations can realign and reignite the hope and passion to push forward. Only by the Holy Spirit can lives be interrupted and direction changed. Life must be surrendered; yet, even the willingness is impossible without the grace and mercy found in God’s presence. Our Father’s presence is the most significant, secure and saving truth.
Rebuilding life from the inside out becomes the single most important endeavor. It is not so much where you are going, though knowing the goal posts is paramount to maintaining alignment, but using building blocks that are practical and easily performed is a secret to building a life that will not fall. The building blocks are the moments that are available day by day. Building by oneself never works or works to a point where one wrong detail, one detail missed, can shift the whole project. Details are the place where the input from others is more important than self knowledge. When building alone, the individual suddenly becomes “awash” because details are missed and life has broken boundaries, places where the self, the world or even the devil can gain access.
Being in the midst of the building site reminds us that construction is messy. Life that is growing and changing also becomes messy: things do not fit in the usual space or place. In this atmosphere of change, strange people with differing gifts must be allowed to augment the needs of the project. Specific pieces of equipment are used at specific times and loom into our space as overbearing, awkward and obtrusive. The dirt and grit that building stirs up gets into every crack and cranny of life. The noise of jack hammer, motors, saws and foul language of the workers pollute the air around you.
Blueprints are the most valuable piece of information necessary. Without the diagram nothing will be “fitly joined” together. It is smudged and smeared from coffee spilled when eyes are tired and limbs ache with the constant effort to “keep it according to the blueprint.” In plain and public view, the blueprints are spread out for all to see, though few can read and even less understand the marks of the construction boss. Supplies arriving early are stacked in inappropriate places while supplies needed arrive late and tempers rise.
Soon the building blocks are rising higher, and amidst the canopy of chaos, a slim but solid glimpse of hope and possibility leaves the worker with a sense of what could be. Past scaffolds are knocked away and lie among the debris. That which was yesterday’s need and security is no longer useful in today’s state of development.
The outside has form and substance, but inwardly the work is just beginning. Inspiration sparks as workers move away from strict structure and creativity is allowed its freedom. Color, shape, and form bring joy that strengthens hope; and energy brings light and laughter. This metaphorical analysis of the transformation or renewal of the mind explains the way man thinks.
This development of thought is the whole meaning of evolution or the enlightenment of mankind. The chains of thought, like the links in man’s DNA, empower and drive the human to either resist the process of evolution or empower toward higher levels of human thought and existence.
Friday, January 4, 2013
January – 2013
Man has plans but God’s purpose prevails---this was the word of the Lord when leaving the airport. The last month has been a whirl wind of activity and celebration. Cramming into a month everything that the extended family has missed while being separated by the vast oceans. Last Christmas Joe and I were in Austria for the Christmas, holidays. Everything we did was with ‘us’ and a few friends the rest of the family remained at home in the U.S. As I write it reminds me of when the entire family were all in England for Christmas—we were together and that’s all that mattered. Both of those ‘out of the country’ experiences at Christmas were thwart with sickness but somehow we got through with peace, love and joy.This year we had the thrill of picking out the tree together, watching the farmer cut it down, bringing it home and decorating together. We shopped till we dropped, watched the Christmas movies including my favorite kind, an English TV. series that had been sent from the homeland as a Christmas gift. We baked cookies and all kinds of goodies for the holidays. Fellowshipped with other Christians worshipped at the same church and sat around the fire and talked. We shared gifts and stories about the Lord’s leading, life’s disappointments and the joy of being called the chosen of God. And yes prayed for the urgent prayer requests that came, maintained a necessary time at the ministrycenter, attended the funeral of a dear friend and celebrated the wonderful Christmas Eve candle light service.
The house is quiet now, no little feet running and skipping through the house, no squeals and
screams of delight as uncle or cousins take to the floor with the excuse of the little one among us to ‘play’ again. There were moments when lamps hit the floor, a screen torn from the window as dad had to force his way into the house having left his key inside. There was times when the wood wouldn’t burn and the birds were want for food and tears of 'I want--but didn't get' sounded out the presence of a 4 year old. There was no snow this year, but mist and cold rain created the atmosphere of Christmas, days sometimes drearily wrapped its arms around the house and closed the evening in early, it was then the yearly puzzle became the challenge of the holidays but by boxing day the ‘hurrah’s rang out with the final piece [found underneath the sofa of course] slipping into place.
Late nights brought not so early rising but still time to hear Ava singing out…”come quickly Nana and Papa, come quickly,” following her bidding we were ushered into her mum’s room to see the morning sun, round as a red ball of fire rising behind the wintry, bare tree lined horizon. Everything became hushed as the light of the day made its entrance and we were reminded of the beauty of creation and the faithfulness of the One who fashioned it.
Turkey and dressing, carrots with parsnips, brussel sprouts and mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, raisin sauce and ham, mince pies and California torte cake and so much more—all that everyone would enjoy found its place on the dining table. Full to the brim we sat and reminisced remembering the high lights of the year, the sad and dark times and the happy and glad times, all were part of those days we remembered--and we were thankful. Even moments of frustration soon fizzle and fade away as twinkling lights remind each one that nothing takes the place of being together.
As the year closed so too was our time of togetherness. As midnight drew close we prayerfully entered into the new year, its circumstances unknown to us but knowing who would hold each day and each one of us in His Mighty Loving Hands.
Saturday, August 4, 2012
MY GLIMPSE OF HEAVEN…
I must write about heaven, my view of what that means, a perspective seen through a mirror dimly. So I meditate on the most beautiful things of this earth for they are at least a portal to see that which as yet cannot be seen.We understand that all of life is seasonal, that all things must germinate, grow and then fall to the ground and die. There are secrets to this seasonal life—secrets that somehow I wish could be, yet cannot be completely translated into the heavenly realm. Since there is no death nor dying in that realm then something of the seasonal secrets could not be tasted there and yet for now they do give us a glimpse of glory. The beauty of every season lies within the creative power that brings forth fruit—in its season. To miss a season would be to miss the intrinsic beauty and value, the fruit within each of them and therein miss a glimpse of heaven.
The secret of an abundant life is to draw from every season that which only that season can give us. When fall is approaching there is a stillness in the air, there is a flurry of activity as bird and beast prepares for winter months. Colors begin to drape the leaves as though touched accidentally by an artist brush. I sit in wonder as beauty explodes from the gentle opening of butterfly wings. Everything waits and ever so slowly slips into a deep rest. Winter never discloses herself but covers herself with frost and winter snows. The hard shell of earth protect what is hidden in the earth and the sharp air defines the nakedness of tree and limb even as the misty clouds hides the horizon—the barrenness cloaks all things with its own warmth. This glimpse of heaven shares with utmost care its truth of deep rest, great peace, the glorious colors of creation and warmth and depth of intimacy.It saddens me to think there’d be no seasons. No death to bring forth Spring with fruit of excitement, anticipation, renewed strength and awesome regalia of color. Flaunting its gay apparel, blossoms proclaim to bees and bunnies “I’m here for your pleasure” offering its fruit for the taking and bursting the earth to bring new life or build upon its new thoughts new dreams or new beginnings. This glimpse of heaven is one that reveals it is an exciting place of continual strength, newness, freshness, fruitfulness and abundant joy and love that cannot do naught but create more beauty.
To think there’d be no long hot summer days—changes of pace as we fellowship with family and friends, enjoying buzzing bees, flitting butterflies or the smell of ripening fruit preparing to fill the horn of plenty. This glimpse of heaven is one that reveals it is the essence of harmony where both kith and kin are in oneness, life is the great gift and abundance is the atmosphere. A place where family is eternal, enlarged as heaven itself, where fellowship, family and friendship are of the highest order as we rest together with Father God and elder brother.My view of heaven? Surely there shall be something more glorious if when passing over they’d be no seasons—my glimpse of heaven is the beauty that is fragmented in this earthly realm but when one takes the time to see beyond the brokenness, then heaven like hell can be glimpsed even now. The one we choose is the one we taste and can in knowing the secrets, see life now… as a glimpse of heaven.
Diane ~ August 2012
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
”…We were like those who dream, then our mouth was filled with laughter and our tongue with joyful shouting. ...” [Psalm 126:1-2]
The intercom sounded and my name was called—I picked up the phone and life paused. There has been an accident— “so sorry”, came the deep voice of the surgeon, “a main artery has been cut, we have called in a specialist.”Where does the heart go when words are spoken and the unthinkable draws close? There must be a special veil that is drawn across the heart of a mother, when such information is given across the wires and as factual, as precisely as a temperature reading.
I stood there not really grasping the words but only to think to call her husband and for a moment use the action to distance my heart from reality; our daughter’s life was in danger. The waiting room became vague the noise slipped back as if no longer part of the physical environment. Numb to the obvious we waited—my sister and I—for such a time as this she had been sent on ‘holiday’, four thousand miles, for just a visit. As always throughout my life the awesome Sovereignty and watch-care of God was being displayed, by her very presence and when I needed my sister the most she was beside me!A simple surgery—growing from deep desire and longing—to become pregnant, to birth a child, to have a family.
From the beginning of time God ordained it, sown in all of creation this desire for procreation cannot be denied, no misfortune can snuff-out the hope or diminish the dream. To bear a child, to grow a family, to extend life. Why now, why such agony of fruit from such a Godly desire.
There are no answers in times of the valley of the shadow of death only hope, only desperate cries for help and healing. This was not the first attempt to ‘make the impossible possible’—many others had taken this road and lived to birth a family like a hen gathering her chicks beneath her wings. But for our daughter this attempt would prove to be the last—no more man-made attempts, no more experiments. If this Sovereign Creator wanted to fulfill His Word, that man would procreate, then it would be done by Him alone! This was the verdict and this the faith. Not my will but thine be done.Time went by, faith at times lagging but never far away— God holds fast to the heart and the heart holds fast the promise of God. A few years pass—the home is made ready—a big home with room to play and to provide a nursery—faith lives. I watched as hope struggled within the one who sought to stay strong and believe the miracle would come…and it did!
Not as man would think but as God had planned—conceived in less than love a little one was growing in the womb of one of no desire—but God had a plan. Divine connections were made at the funeral of a friend of a friend and the plan of God moved into action. Seven weeks later in a far-away place this miracle child was born and moments later placed in the arms of desire of our daughter. —The dream had come true! What a gift of absolute joy. At that moment a family was born, hope was fulfilled and the fight of faith was over for this miracle.
Sunday, April 8, 2012
I awoke this morning to see the dawn creeping over the ridge of mountains, the hard earth against my body did nothing for the ache inside, I wrapped the linen more tightly around me, as if to take away the sudden chill, knowing it was not the morning air but the happenings of the past few days that made it so, surely...today will be a different day.Stirring myself I remember our journey together and wonder what will this day hold, how will it be now that our Master is to be crucified on a Cross and treated like a common criminal. I rise to go and mourn as many will for generations to come.
I walk slowly up the hill hoping desperately things had changed—that somehow during the long dark night something miraculous had happened and our Master will not have to go through this valley of death—but it was not to be, already in the dawns early light He hung there and my heart twisted with the reality that nothing would ever be the same.
I remember another hill not many days past when children laughed, and parents listened to the wonder filled words that seemed to flow from His lips. And now…what now…can I really absorb this reality and live? I hear the crack of a whip, probably the same one that struck his back gouging and ripping open the flesh that now hangs in raw agony against the wooden post he’s nailed to.
The sudden silence—as if all creation, even the universe, is holding its breath, waiting…will man survive; will this unseen war reach its bloody conclusion soon. The time ticks by, how long will the silence last? His chest suddenly heaves again and the silence is broken, life as we know it continues for yet another immeasurable moment in time. As the chest falls, ripping and tearing the broken flesh and the dripping blood staggers the mind…He was to be our king...All around us this strange fading light screams at us of dissolving dreams, shadowing hopes—those desperate desires that things could change and be different. Wickedness, and her spawn evil laughter, chuckle gleefully as anger gives way to despair and all around women weep and men turn their faces away from such defeat.
My mind is full of words, words of truth spoken by men of old in ages long past—who was it? –yes, I recall, it was Job who said "He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters for a boundary between light and darkness!" [Job 26:10]
Between light and darkness---could it be this strange fading light is being marked by this man that claims to have owned the horizon? Another sharp crack and I stir myself—“what did you say”—I ask of the man mumbling his words beside me, this soldier standing by watching his assignment of death by crucifixion, his words are lost to my ears as wind and gathering storm carry them away. He mumbles again a little louder this time, —“who is this man,? he asked, as if baffled by the sense of impending wrath of God, for surely this untimely roaring cloud, crushing wind and rushing darkness has never been seen on such a bright and sunny day.
I listen now to the One who suffers so—hanging on a roughly hewn Cross silhouetted against the darkened sky. This Cross is stark and cruel, rough and raw, like a bridge hung between heaven and hell. I am undone by the sight of such cruelty and struck dumb by compassion as He speaks. “Father, forgive them. For they do not know what they are doing.” Surely this is no human response, no man can draw from his own well this all consuming, unconditional love.There are no children on this mountain—and many adults have left, only a few remain, drawn perhaps by something beyond their knowing yet gripped by their own sense of loss and shame.
I move forward slightly as He turns His head. I wonder what He would say to those whose life also hung in the balance, those hanging on their own cross beside Him—paradise He says to one of them, “…today you will be with me in paradise…” The other made no sound but smirked, I suppose at such a thought.A sudden and wrenching cry escaped from deep within His brokenness and His words echo around the mountain and a piercing pain almost tangible touched my ears —“My God, My God why have you forsaken me?” Such depths of agony weaving through His cry made my soul shudder and my eyes weep in utter abandon to such hopeless, helpless suffering.
There are muffled sounds of weeping coming from the small crowd and the atmosphere is one of deep sadness and unbelief that this could be happening. An undeniable anger stirred within me when I remember the last three years—yes we had failed Him many times but we were human…here in this gathering darkness hung the Son of David the Messiah, heaving, shaking with pain, void of power—no miracle worker this—and we are left to stand or fall in the wake of such defeat.
Just as suddenly I return from my spurious journey and settle into my place beneath an empty Cross—I smile to myself as praise floods my soul, looking back has brought me unbelievable Joy. He is no longer on the Cross neither is He in the tomb but faith assures me He sits beside His Father and intercedes on my behalf—what power this love is that would defeat death, hell and the grave and make a way for me to journey home to Him.
~DINX~ March 2012
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
There are days, weeks, months and perhaps even years when the only ‘word’ you know is ‘perseverance’.Wherever we are in this world God’s truth is revealed through the ordinary... and I remember. Living on the mission field, the small apartment was in the heart of a community full of drinking and drugs, poverty and deprivation. The houses all crammed together each flaunted a small apron of garden between them and the sidewalk. No bigger than a postage stamp the garden was a reflector of where the heart of the occupant would either grow or neglect the garden and generally reflect light or darkness, hope or despair. Neighbors came and left before you could even meet them—generally staying long enough to destroy what little beauty could be seen.
The present family was among those who at midnight when the pubs closed their doors, would stumble into the streets either singing or cursing and fights were not infrequent.
When the streets became quiet I would fall asleep—but there was one night I awoke to hear unfamiliar noises—as I peeked through the curtains I saw the strangest sight. There was the new neighbor in the dim lamplight, spade in hand, clearing out the debris in his little plot of ground—and there was a lot! Old beer bottles—paper goods—tin cans—you name it the ground had become a garbage dump for those living there before him as well as those passing by. I silently dropped the curtain, wondering why on earth he chose to work through the night. I laid down to the thud of digging and fell into a fitful sleep. Early morning came and my first thought was to open the curtain and see what the neighbor had done.To say I was amazed is an understatement—there before my eyes was the little garden—stripped of all but the soft loamy soil—the dirt was cleared of debris, ploughed and raked, beautiful in its nakedness it was ready for planting or sowing. Working all through the night the one responsible had turned a garbage dump into a delight, a picture of transformation—a postcard of earth ready for the planting.
What a wonderful parable of how our Heavenly Father works—all through the night of our despair and hopelessness He is unperturbed—His plans and purposes never thwarted, never changed—His arm is never shortened but reaches into the neglected places of life. He clears away the overgrowth and debris and exposes the original and authentic ground of our lives. It is there that seeds are sown, flowering plants are positioned to delight the eye with color and encourages the heart with new hope. Our perseverance has paid off. See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.Suddenly---the sun breaks through the clouds, a new breeze blows through the soft air of Spring and it all makes sense. Joy comes in the morning and all throughout the day there is strength. In the prophetic Word of Jeremiah. "...The seed will grow well, the vine will yield its fruit, the ground will produce its crops, and the heavens will drop their dew. I will give all these things as an inheritance to the remnant of this people"
~Diane~ March 2012