Monday, August 16, 2004
Long before Fannie Lou Hamer announced she was "Sick and tired of being sick and tired." Long before another renowned authoress sat and penned, "Give me your tired your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed to me. . . ." And certainly long before those same words found their place at the feet of the Statute of Liberty in New York's harbor and thereafter became a song, God invited ". . . all who are burdened and heavy laden come unto me and I will give (My own) rest." Who couldn't use that rest in these trying end times? We know they are end times, because the Bible has foretold it. And we are witnessing the Day of the Lord draw closer for His final sayso.
Lord, How can it be so many years have come and gone and, with them, so many of our beloved who lived for you have left us to be with you? The world knows your message of redemption. The church folk, as in the days of Moses and, later, Saul, have decided they want to have their own "King." They want to have a Burger King faith. They want "to have it their way." People know the Bible from Genesis to Revelation and between and beyond. They know the songs of Zion. They know one another. They know the route to the church house. It just seems to me that, by now, they ought to know YOU. Time is winding down.
How disconserting it is to watch as singers and athletes and musicians and people of all walks of life who have come to know you still try to live their same old way of life and just say it is being done in Jesus' name? May those who know you, Lord, come to know they do not have to rap, be bop, do wop, tango, rock and roll, or entertain to force people to come into your presence (read: church). They do not have to have all nighters, sleep overs, games, and the like to keep little children "interested" in Sunday School or Bible Studies or Services. Dear Lord, Your plan is already in the earth and it has remained unchanged for untold centuries. Time is winding down. Let any who believes they have all knowledge beware. We -- all of us -- are in a constant state of becoming all that you have already set before us to become.
Sunday, August 15, 2004
I can understand how people can feel angry, confused, skeptical, anxious, downright arrogant, abrasive and abusive when they hear somebody say that they speak with you. And, heaven forbid, please do not let them hear that You speak back! It is a strange thing to the uninitiated. Not in terms of doctrine or denomination but merely from the standpoint of knowing You in a personal way. If they do not truly believe You are real and are who You say You are, then how can they look for You let alone carry on a conversation with You? In fact, if they did want to know, then they would only have to be still and to invite You to show Yourself to them. So many, if they did that, would have all of their doubts and fears erased about that ever happening, just as others have.
Does it matter how loudly we preach as we must when You have called us to do so?
Does it matter how fiercely we fight to make Your presence known to unbelievers?
Does it matter how much *we* might want to run away and let them go their way?
Does it matter whatsoever whether they hear or won't hear what is on Your heart?
Does it matter, really, that it is not our voices they hear but Yours?
If they could only understand. You are real. You are God. You are love. Your love encompasses all who love Your appearing and who will come into Your presence to be saved by Your mighty hand.
If they could only understand that they fear leaving behind beloved family, intimate friends, treasured possessions and, even themselves, should they reach out to call on You to reach back. But I have learned that to give it all over to You (beginning with my ownself)is to gain so much more than I ever believed possible.
If they would only stop to listen and hear, then they would know You seek their highest good. They wander aimlessly looking for something but do not know what. They do not even know their heart is searching for You. Your love draws them as only that magnificent love can do. They do not have to feel lonely, sad, depressed, confused, angry, forsaken, unloved and unlovable not one moment more than saying, "Yes, Lord, I surrender my all to You." How could they except a preacher's heart speak Your heart such that they would know it is You and not the vessel who You are speaking through?
Can they feel Your heart calling to them right now? Do they refuse and reject it, because of the vessel instead of the message? Then let me not stand in the way one moment more. Lord, I know Your heart and I gladly stand aside to let another move up to do the same. They need to know Your joy, Your truth, Your heart, Your word, Your peace. They need to know that faith in You is not fatal, but that it is fruitful and fulfilling. Oh, Lord, my God! If only my heart could speak out to capture all that You are. But what man, woman, boy, or girl could ever contain all that You are? Not one. No, not even my ownself.
My faith and trust are completely lost in You, Lord. For I have found peace in Your presence for many years. I know how much You desire to save souls. And You want those souls to know that every one of us is in need of a Savior. His name is Jesus Christ, Your only begotten Son. By faith in that fact are we redeemed by His precious blood. It is as simple as that. That is why I can smile in the midst of tears and pain. That is why I can remain standing in the midst of turmoil and tribulation. That is how I can forgive any who seek to do harm to my soul. His love is contained in my spirit. But people have to grow to that knowing place. It does not take long. Believe and you shall see for our God awaits. Fear not.
He is my personal Savior and the Lord of my life. Whatever I may be led to talk about in this open forum will always start from the foundation that I know God and God knows me. My faith and trust are in Him. He does not disappoint - ever.
Let me introduce you to Him. Stay tuned.