Owl's Head Lighthouse, Owl's Head, ME

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

CHOICES.....From Creation to the Cross

Out of darkness, He brought light.

That was where we began. God, Creator, took the blackness of nothing and brought light. In every instance, that is the essence of what God does. When we wonder if something is from God, we only need to look for the light.

In those first hours and days of earth's history, God, who had always been, created only good. Day and night, earth and sky, seas and land, plants and animals. All of this He made and declared it good. You have only to read Genesis 1 to see this expressed in beautiful simplicity.

"And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day." Genesis 1:31

While every part of this creation was beautiful and perfect, there was a crown to it all. God desired to make man, a creature that would be made in His very image. This man would be a leader of all of the rest of creation. Nothing else compared to this man in intellect or skill. Why?

 Because he was the only creation made in the Creator's image.

We learn something about our Creator as we look at this man. Because man was in the image of God, God made this man with a free will. This created being would have the capacity to reason, to feel and to choose. God, the Creator, in His infinite knowledge, knew what this would mean, but He desired the man to choose right....to choose Him, knowing that he would not always do so.

Because I am not God, and do not have infinite understanding and wisdom, I would have created a man without risk to myself. One which I knew would always remain faithful to me. I would not knowingly allow hurt into my world. But I am not God.

This gift of free will is a double-edged sword. We complain today that if the world were a better place, if everything were perfect, then people would choose right. God knew from the beginning that we would think this. Man, himself, proved this wrong.

After creating a man, and then a woman from the body of the man, and uniting them as one, in a perfect place, He prepared a Garden of beauty and perfection for them. They were fed from the bountiful branches of the trees and plants God had newly created. There were no outside stresses. They reined over this beauty but did not labor. They fellowshipped directly with their Creator/God each day. Their Garden of Eden was what we each long for.

Beauty. Quiet. Peace. Perfection. Fellowship.

It was in this environment that free will was exercised and sin entered the world.

Genesis 3 tells the tale that explains all of the evil we know in this world today.

Free will. We each have it, but we have something else as well. Because of the choices this first couple made....sinful choices....we are each born with this sin in us. We think this isn't fair, but the reality is that every day we make choices, and they are not always right. We believe we aren't really that bad.

I guess it depends upon the standard we use to judge ourselves, doesn't it?

Previously, I said that everything in this story I am telling, is based on the assumption that the Bible is the very Word of God, and as such, is truth. So I refer to what God Himself, says in His Word.

"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.

They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one." Psalm 14:1-3

As much as we want to believe ourselves good, we cannot be. For there is only one standard that is true, and it is the the Holiness of the Lord God, Creator. His perfection is beyond our understanding, but there comes a time when He opens our eyes to what we are, and we much choose whether to continue in the filth of our own choices or to seek His holiness.

If we look only around us, we will find those who are worse in our estimation. It is not until we look up to Truth that our eyes will be opened to our own need.

For the place we long for....That Garden of Eden. A place of peace and of fellowship with God. It is out of our human reach. Our goodness can never be good enough.

"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities like the wind, have taken us away." Isaiah 64:6

What hope is there?

There is a Hope provided by this gracious, loving Creator....one that wholly meets the need of man created by his own sinful choices.

At this point, God pointed ahead to the ultimate Gift He would provide. He took this man and this woman who had chosen wrong over Him, and He said there are consequences to your sin. Because of this choice, this sin, I cannot accept you in my presence. I am Holy. I cannot have sin in my presence, but I love you. Someday, I will send a Gift that will provide a way to me.

Until that time, sacrifices had to be made. Only the very purest blood would cover the sin. Animals were given in sacrifice to a Holy God. Not because the animal was holy, but because God was showing the judgement for sin was death. An innocent animal sacrificed to cover the sins of people who were not innocent.

In faith, this first man and woman, prepared their sacrifice, as did the people who chose to follow God for the next several thousand years.

Today, we are surrounded by filth. We long to close our eyes to the sin and evil that abounds. It is too much. When we look inside ourselves, we may be surprised by the truth of us.

We are sinners.

We are filthy.

"I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.....Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory....Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." Isaiah 6:1-5

Our need is so great...........His Gift is greater.

I must leave you with a taste of this Gift, for God does not leave us hopeless.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16

If you long for peace, then come to Him.  

He will turn the darkness into light

"All things were made by Him;  and without Him was not any thing made that was made.  In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not."  John 1:3-5

Thursday, July 16, 2015

In The Beginning......From Creation To the Cross

While this place has been, and will continue to be, a place of peace for me, and hopefully for anyone who chooses to join me here, I feel burdened to make each word count. By count, I refer to something that will remain for eternity. My own words are weak and temporary, but the Words of the One who loves me most, are forever. What He lays on our hearts, we must never turn away from.

For this reason, I am going to attempt to share the greatest Story ever told, and the greatest Gift ever given. Prayerfully, I ask the Lord to work through these words to show His love and power. While my words may be weak, His will always accomplish His work (Isaiah 55:11). This world is aging and groaning, as are many of us. Sadness at the evil allowed to reign in this world threatens to swallow us up. How much more must Our Creator grieve at the desecration of His world?

It is at the beginning, with the Creator, that we must start. For without an understanding of the need, there is little understanding or appreciation for the Gift.

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." Genesis 1:1

There was a beginning, and God was there. Without Him, there would be nothing.

First, though, I suppose each one must choose whether or not they believe the Bible is God's Word. Is it truth? For if you do not believe that it is true, then every other thing must be suspect. Every piece of this Story that I will attempt to share is based on the assumption that every word is true. Not only that, but it is the very being of God. It is alive and able to meet your need today, as it has met needs for thousands of years.

"For the Word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Hebrews 4:12

Understanding where this comes from, I hope you will continue to join me as we look at this road leading to our great Gift.

Genesis 1:1 is so very special, because it is the foundation of everything. Our world, that seems so very constant, is not, and the One that seems so easy to doubt, is the one constant. God had no beginning. He has always been. To our very finite minds, we cannot truly understand this, but it does not change the Truth, as found in God's Word.

Christians, those who have accepted that very special Gift as their own, are sometimes guilty of jumping to the Gift without giving full attention to the rest of the Words. For every Word, leading up to the Gift, is meant to point to and to set the stage for the presentation of that Gift.

Genesis 1 begins to set the stage.

"And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, 'Let there be light': and there was light." Genesis 1:2-3

Out of darkness, He brought light.

Perhaps we cannot really understand the significance of that, without jumping ahead to the Gift. But please know, that all the darkness that so weighs us down, can be chased away by His light if we will but ask. The one God, Creator, created light. He is light. If we want light in an increasingly darkened world, then we need only to turn to Him.

"This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all." I John 1:5

This journey toward the greatest Gift is going to take some time. It is not a short story. God Himself took thousands of years to prepare the world for His Gift. I don't want to shortcut through the truths that must be accepted before we can be ready to accept the greatest Gift of all eternity. For some, simply the idea, that Truth exists may be much to take in. Please, find a copy of God's Word and begin looking for yourself.

The verses listed here are a beginning. They were the beginning of everything, and Lord willing, they will be the beginning of someone else following the path of Truth to the very Gift that will change everything.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Grace In The Silence

Silence has reigned in this place for such a long time. There have been days when I would look fondly into the window of this peaceful setting and wish that I could enter in. For, truly, I consider it a haven; a room away from the rest of the world, where my mind can focus and see purpose. It is this focus that I have missed.

For there has been a long period of time in which I lost the ability to focus or even put a meaningful sentence together. Reading and writing became impossible. The inability to understand written or spoken words laid me low. A disease had run rampant in my mind and body. They said that maybe I would get better...but maybe not. At first, the fear of death surfaced, and we trembled at what that would mean for our family. Then as weeks turned to months, and months to years, the fear of having to live this way outweighed the fear of dying.

The severity of symptoms would wax and wane. New symptoms would come. Pain and weakness prevented any real effort at personal care. My husband would care for me the way a parent cares for a child, on the days when I could not care for myself. He would gingerly help to comb out the snarls in my hair that came as a result of my being unable to raise my arms, or care about the simple task of combing hair. Helping me up and half carrying me to the bathroom or bed, he met my needs.

My children learned to meet their own needs.

My heart hurt with this knowledge, but I remained incapable of doing little but being there.

Each family member learned to interpret my mixed up speech. Being unable to remember simple words, or even their names, I ended up spitting out non-sense that they somehow understood.

We would laugh. It was funny.

It was humiliating too.

The day my husband bought a wheel-chair was a difficult day for him. "I don't want you to be locked away forever. This is so we can go out." I felt relief that it was a way for some sort of life, but fear embraced both of our hearts. Is this forever?

Doctors and medicines were expensive. My husband stepped away from the education he was striving for, in order to care for me.

"Why, Lord?"

Gradually, I have lost much of my voice. I can talk, but any prolonged talking causes strain. Singing, that had been a part of my entire life, has become something that I can occasionally enjoy, but the sound is not the same.

Again, I feel the Lord stripping away each piece of me, and I ask why. "Did I do something that makes you want to take back the gifts? I don't know who I am without these parts of me."

Throughout this, personal attacks came from some we trusted. My heart broke more, and I retreated. The stress increased the physical symptoms. My husband protected.

We kept going.

I would think of this place and wish I could write words to cleanse and heal.

As I regained my ability to read, I read His Words, and they were salt. Tears would come often as pain surfaced in response to the Truth. Little by little, the salt cleansed and healed.

I read words of those who had suffered much and lost much and continued to serve Him strong.

Again, I realized that He often strips us of things, and abilities, and sometimes the people we depend on, in order to show us our true inadequacy.

But empty vessels can be filled and used.

We build up our own ministries in our minds based on our experience, our skills and our worth.
Pride in our accomplishments always stands in the way of the work He wants to do. In His grace, He removes those obstacles in order to use us for His true work.

If I am never able to sing again publicly, if I can't write a word tomorrow, and if I never again have the ability to teach a complete Bible lesson, I know He still has a work for me to do.

Today I am writing because the words are here. It is little....but so were the loaves and fishes.

No one is guaranteed tomorrow. So if there is something that you feel burdened to do for Him, please don't wait.

Some of us are given a fresh start. It is similar to beginning life again, without skills or confidence. He wants our willingness, our worship, our thankful hearts.

With His grace, that is all we need.

"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

"But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil." II Thessalonians 3:3

"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." Galatians 6:9

Friday, November 29, 2013

That Simple Day

The day after.

After the work.
After the fellowship.
After the anticipation.
After the chaos.
After the clean up.

The day we wonder what comes next. What will be my next anticipation?

For much of my life, the stillness of the after, led to feelings of sadness and letdown. So much anticipation and then simple quiet.

I have found that today I sit in the stillness, and breathe with a feeling of satisfaction, not letdown. Perhaps it is age. Maybe experience, but I am learning to enjoy the simple. The simple quiet, the simple laughter, a simple tune, a simple hug from one that loves me.....it's enough.

The day after is the day without expectation, and that in itself is a simple pleasure. Today I can truly offer up a prayer of simple thanksgiving....for the craziness of the day before, for the bounty that remains, for the relationships that grow, and for the peace of a family.

The day after is a day of simple breathing and praying and loving. Tomorrow will come and with it more battles to be fought, more plans to be made, more money to be stretched and more anticipation of more days to come.

But for today....





"There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God." Hebrews 4:9

We look forward to that day when it is truly the day after all, when we will be able to experience the true rest in the presence of our God.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Grace In The Hallway

I saw a quote this week that has stuck with me. "Until God opens the next door, praise Him in the hallway."

The first time I looked at those words, I immediately saw my life lying out as one long hallway. I know there have been many doors opened in my life, but in my mind the hallway just keeps going on. There is always a longing to belong; to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am in the place that is the culmination of all the years of preparation. Still that longing continues; waiting.

Every once in awhile, and more and more often, I think about that waiting....and it makes me wonder if I am missing something. For God, who is the same yesterday, today and forever, is the God of today as much as He is tomorrow, or yesterday. His beauty and His perfectness are omnipresent, always available to His children.

It so often seems that clear direction is lacking in life, but that does not change Who He is. He is the same...regardless of our circumstances, our time of life, our failures, our hurts. He longs to be "sufficient" for us, but still we wait for a future that is not guaranteed, overlooking the grace that has been layed out before us today.

"Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day." Psalm 25:4,5

"Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee." Psalm 73:25

"O taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man that trusteth in him." Psalm 34:8

"And he said unto me, 'My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.' Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." II Corinthians 12:9