I Love Texas! And I love Texas History!

(The following is generously adapted from an interesting article I recently read by, Al Maxey, #697)

“The Texas Heresy” of Austin McGary

Austin McGary_Texas

 The Sheriff of Madison County, Texas, who impacted Christian thought and doctrine, standing his ground, on the Texas-American Frontier.

Austin McGary was born in Huntsville, Texas on February 6, 1846. His mother, Elizabeth (Visier) McGary, died when he was a young child. His father, Isaac McGary, was well-known in Texas, as he fought in the Battle of San Jacinto in the spring of 1836, a battle often described as the decisive battle of the Texas Revolution, a battle led by Gen. Sam Houston. Isaac McGary further had the distinction of guarding Santa Ana the night after he was captured by Gen. Houston’s army. The young Austin McGary grew up in Huntsville, and not a lot is known about his early years, although he would later characterize his youth as “wayward.”  🙁  ( I figure, folks prolly have too often used the term “wayward” about me through the years, as well )

But, “McGary grew up in a rough, frontier environment. When the Civil War began, he enlisted in the Huntsville Grays” (a unit of the Confederate Army) with Sam Houston, Jr. while still in his mid-teen years. “In 1869, he was involved in what he later called ‘a serious difficulty with two men in Midway, Texas,’ when McGary killed one of them and seriously wounded the other. He was charged with murder, and McGary pled self-defense and was acquitted” [taken from The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement, p. 507]. The young McGary had no real religious leanings at all, and remained a “skeptic” until the age of 35.
In 1872, McGary was elected sheriff of Madison County, Texas, a position he held for two terms. In 1877, while still serving as sheriff, “McGary shot and killed a suspect who ‘made a desperate effort to draw his pistol'”. These were rough times in Texas, and Austin McGary was a tough, no nonsense sheriff. After his two terms as sheriff, McGary worked for the state of Texas along the Texas-Mexico border as a conveying agent: transporting “condemned prisoners and desperadoes” to the state penitentiary. It is said that he “never lost a man” during these many transports. McGary was married three times: (1) In 1866, when only 20, he married Narcissus Jenkins, who was only 16. They had two children together. She died in 1872. (2) In 1875 he married Lucie Bettie Kitrell, by whom he had nine more children. She died in 1897. (3) His third and final wife was Lillian Otey, a lifelong friend, whom he married in 1898. Austin McGary died in Houston, Texas on June 15, 1928 and was buried beside his mother in Huntsville, Texas.

Interestingly enough, his view of baptism and how that perspective impacted the Christian bodies of Faith, far beyond Texas, Tennessee and beyond, who were all gathering/denominating into this and or that faction of Christian Faith Families, in the years that lay ahead, is an extraordinary story from Texas History.

“In 1881, a ‘skeptic’ at age 35, McGary determined to study the evidences for Christianity, beginning by reading the Campbell-Owen debate”.  It has been characterized by some as “The Great Debate,” and was held in April, 1829 in Cincinnati, Ohio between Alexander Campbell and a Scottish skeptic and socialist named Robert Owen. It was a debate on the evidences of Christianity, and by most accounts Campbell clearly prevailed in this public exchange, which took place in a large Methodist Church building which seated 1200. As a result of studying this published debate, and also after hearing a series of sermons by Harry Hamilton in Madisonville, Texas, he determined to embrace Christ Jesus and was subsequently baptized by Hamilton on December 24, 1881. He then affiliated himself with a Family of Faith known as the Churches of Christ. “Soon McGary began to preach. By early 1884 he was discussing the design and administration of baptism with David Lipscomb (1831-1917) in the Gospel Advocate and Thomas Raines Burnett (1842-1916) in the Christian Messenger”.
To say that McGary developed and championed some very strong views on the nature and purpose of baptism in water would most certainly be a huge understatement. He believed his view was absolutely correct, and that the views of all others were therefore absolutely false. He did not hold back in his attacks upon those with whom he differed, the most notable of his opponents being David Lipscomb. He carried on somewhat of a running debate with Lipscomb in the Gospel Advocate (which was Lipscomb’s publication). However, not fully satisfied with that, he decided to publish a weekly paper of his own. Thus, on September 1, 1884 he founded and began publication of the Firm Foundation. Both these periodicals (Gospel Advocate and Firm Foundation), by the way, are still being published by Churches of Christ today.

McGary stated that his purpose in publishing the Firm Foundation was “to oppose everything in the work and worship of the church for which there was not a command or an apostolic example or a necessary Scriptural inference.”  This, of course, is the interpretive methodology embraced by many conservative Christian Families of Faith.  Austin McGary also had another goal in mind with this publication: “to counter the influence of the publications of the Advocate and Messenger on the issue of baptism”. Through the publication of this paper, and his tendency to write mostly on controversial subjects and in an extremely confrontational and combative style, McGary became very well-known among the leaders of conservative Christian Families of Faith, and his impact upon the Christian movement in America became widespread, even as a number of “big name” preachers in the Movement stood strongly against McGary’s views: men such as David Lipscomb, James A. Harding and J.W. McGarvey, just to name a few.
Lipscomb, for example, believed that a baptism should be considered valid if the person being baptized did so simply out of a love for the Lord and a desire to follow His instructions. There was no need to fully grasp a “deeper” significance or purpose of baptism; it was enough just to know that the Lord desired for those who believed to be baptized. This was not good enough for McGary, who declared a person must also understand that baptism in water was specifically for the purpose of washing away one’s sins, and that those sins could only be removed in the very act/moment of immersion in water. Those who didn’t know this, and who didn’t verbally confess this, before being baptized would thereby invalidate their baptism, and thus would die in their sins unforgiven. “Lipscomb and Burnett opposed McGary’s view of baptism, arguing that any persons baptized to obey/in obedience of God, even if they were ignorant of the “fuller” design of forgiveness of sins, were still acceptable to God. Lipscomb and Burnett sometimes accepted those who had been immersed in other denominations such as, Baptist churches, without requiring that they be re-immersed. McGary called this practice ‘shaking in the Baptists.’ On other fronts McGary attacked the use of musical instruments in worship and excoriated missionary societies. Over time many of the most conservative Families of Faith such as the Churches of Christ embraced McGary’s rejection of Baptist baptism and Disciples ‘digressions'”. The theology of McGary with respect to baptism came to be dubbed among his detractors: “The Texas Heresy.”
As the debates about the ‘significance and emphasis” of baptism, in Christian Faith communities continued through the years, it also intensified. In keeping with his rough style, McGary called Lipscomb “insincere, dissembling, double-dealing, and Janus-faced.” He further wrote, “Charity demands that I shall brand him as a willful perverter of the truth he pretends to love, and a religious reprobate of the most hypocritical cast”. Ironically, however, the accuser soon found himself the accused. In a “snake oil” scandal concerning Dr. Burlington, who had been peddling a medicinal remedy in the religious periodicals called “Burlington Treatment,” it was discovered that this “medicine” was nothing more than tar water, and “Dr. Burlington” was Austin McGary! “This scandal damaged McGary’s reputation … but did not diminish his devotion to his causes”.
Austin McGary was convinced that salvation began at the precise point of baptism in water, and not a second before! He was also convinced that if the person being baptized did not know/confess that it was specifically for the forgiveness of sins, then the baptism did not count. He thus became the champion of those who taught, and who would teach in the future, a largely knowledge-based and performance-based salvation which was only realized at the point of immersion in water. McGary, in reaction to the practice of Lipscomb and others, refused to accept any baptism performed by Baptists. To this day, the “ultra-conservative” factions of Christian Families of Faith gathering across these United States and beyond, that split off from the Stone-Campbell Movement continue to proclaim the convictions of Austin McGary as “Gospel.”

There has been a steady adjustment, over the past few decades from some past ideas and reasoning’s about God’s Word, that all too often have been used as a destructive and divisive weaponry against those who would disagree with us, in an effort to conform “us all” to what “we” have decided is right.  Disciples of Christ/Families of Faith, are more and more re-examining Christian doctrine and practices, in light of God’s Word, and we are often finding that the views of such men as McGary, and others, have not always been as accurately emphasized, applied, practiced or proclaimed, as the Word of God may have fully intended.

May we all as believers continue to grow in our grasp of God’s grace and His Word and in our fellowship with one another, as Families of Faith, who believe First And Foremost, in our relationship with and our love for The Father, His Son and The Holy Spirit.

 

God Bless Texas!  And the rest of ya’ll, too!  🙂

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“But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord my refuge that I may tell of all your works” (Psalm 73:28).

While many, if not most, of us would agree, that it is the very Grace of God that makes it possible for us to make the “right sort” of choices, in those “big, dramatic, consequential” moments of life – instead of getting those precious life-changing moments wrong – – – Perhaps we over look the importance of the Precious “Little Moments” – the sort that are “ordinary”, the “everyday life sort.” … To be sure, it Is God’s Grace that allows us to “get things right”, at all – and, I so very often get things wrong, in the Precious “Little Moments”.  🙁

I suppose, it is too easy to be “less on guard” and to be “too relaxed”, in the “little moments”.  Why?  Because they are “little?”  But the “little” – wrong choices that I make – those seemingly “little” moments, aren’t really so “little”, are they? … They are in fact, HUGE!  They amount to who I am becoming!  … because they pile up onto one another over time, when I overlook their significance.  Too often, I do minimize their importance.   🙁  Because the consequences of making “wrong choices” in the “little moments” doesn’t seem so very great “in the moment”, it is too easy for me to, pay too little attention to them, until it is too late.  🙁  Does that make sense?

The little everyday moments that heap themselves up-on-to one another, by the thousands and tens of thousands – over time are HUGELY important!!!  While, they are little by comparison with the “big, dramatic” moments.  It seems to me, that the character and the compass of a person’s life isn’t born so much out of a handful of “big, dramatic, consequential moments”.  Rather, character is shaped, molded and made – in the tens of thousands of Precious Little Moments.  A bigger concern about this idea of “precious moments” – is that we tend to transfer the character that is formed in the little ordinary moments of life, into those consequential moments of life, when they come along.  We can’t allow ourselves to overlook or minimize what the little moments in life are conditioning us to be in the consequential moments of life!!!

Stay with me here.  🙂

It is those precious little moments that we will look back on – when we are sitting on some porch somewhere, rocking in some chair – perhaps pickin’ on some guitar, looking back on our lives and finally coming to grips with who we are – who we have become – and how we got here.

“But for me it is good to be near God…”  says the Psalmist.

Getting it right in the little moments – near to God’s presence, must become more of a pattern for how I live, now, in the precious little moments of everyday life.  … I suppose, these might just be the most important words I have ever spoken from my heart – while, I struggle to speak them often enough, in the smallest moments of my everyday life.  “But for me it is good to be near to God…”  The precious gift of being able to be “near God” at all,  – is a HUGE gift and it cannot be earned, deserved, or personally achieved.  Drawing near to God moves me in the total opposite direction – from where each little “wrong moment” will inevitibly take me.  Our Father’s strongest desire, is for us to be Near Him, and that desire of our Father, required Jesus to come to earth to live/die and be raised again – to restore the relationship that sin destroyed!  Only God’s Grace could/can restore that relationship!  We were born of God to live, Near God.  For me it is good to be near God! … just sayin’ …. and I should just say it more!

It is by God’s Grace that we get anything right, in the large and in the small moments of life!  I cannot do right on my own.  God’s Grace is what brings us Near to Him – – and His Grace spans the distance that separates us and, by His Grace – He is in us and we are in Him – In Relationship, through Grace!

But I don’t always acknowledge His presence in the little moments, do I?  There are moments in life when I get it wrong and I live through too many little moments, as if, He doesn’t exist at all.  🙁  I live too often right through the little moments, as if God is distant and I too often, freak out in the face of the smallest difficulties of life.  I “play God”, too – seizing control of His will and substituting my own – which complicates life even more.  🙁

No!  To get it right, For me, it is good to be near God!  It is good for me to be near God!  It is good for me to be near God!

“I have made the Lord my refuge…”

It seems to me, that God’s Grace is designed to provide the cover, the shelter, and a refuge – – in order to help us get things right in the Precious “Little Moments” – while I too often use, even abuse His Refuge – – and seek it, only when I have gotten things too wrong to manage on my own.  🙁  I suppose, we too often see God’s ways – the wrong way ‘round.  I mean, while we know in our hearts that His Grace, being such a marvelous and free gift, isn’t to be abused – I believe, we sometimes fail to understand the human nature of our own guilt, that causes us to avoid seeking the refuge of His Grace, until it is too late – this is the wrong way ‘round!  🙁  His Grace isn’t to be abused, true enough, “good for you,” for being considerate of His Incredible Gift!  However, His Grace IS to be USED!  There is a PURPOSE behind His Grace! It IS for you and for me, to use, in the Precious Little Moments – not just in the big, dramatic ones!  If we only seek His refuge in the big, dramatic moments – we are abusing His Grace!  When we are honest, how many times in our lives, have we found ourselves with what amounts to a guilty conscience because we have been getting things wrong? – knowing that we have no one but ourselves to blame, and what do we do?  We substitute that guilt we are feeling with a bit more of our own ego/self-righteous “resolve” – and we go directly about the task of seizing even more control from God, again and again – – as we march forward, as if He wasn’t even around, much less NEAR – to avoid facing the truth – that we need Him and that we got/get things wrong along the way, in the little moments, thinking we could “manage” the little things, on our own – – So, we charge on passed so many of the little moments, getting things wrong, with little or no consequences to bare – until – BANG!  One of those big, dramatic, consequential moments comes along, and before we have the time to stop and realize our true “position” – we have now gotten a big moment wrong and all Hell breaks loose in our lives.  And then, what do we do?  We remember “there is a refuge” for the weary – and we Run for the nearest corner to pray and ask for forgiveness and for Grace and for help in the hour of our great need!  Hmmm…..  Something is definitely wrong with this picture, but we live life this way over and over again, don’t we?  Don’t we?  Don’t we?

Grace provides us a refuge to be used in the everyday, ordinary, Precious Little Moments!  Not just when we have nowhere else to run!

“that I may tell of all your works…”

I don’t always get things right, duh!! in the smaller ordinary moments of life, much less in the Huge moments!  🙁  Too often, my schedules, my plans, my comfort, my desires, my feelings, my selfishness – motivates and governs the precious moments of my life.  🙁  When I am honest, when the brick walls-meet-my-face in life, I too often put myself at the center of my world and forget that the CENTER belongs to God ALONE!  The truth is, when I make it all about me, I find myself living in a smoldering frustration with a constant irritation.  I walk or run right past the daily moments that God gives me to connect with something HUGELY bigger and better than my momentary agenda.  🙁

Truth is, it is rather difficult to “tell of His works” within me – when I know how imperfect others must see that I am!  But, that isn’t the point is it?  That isn’t the point, IS IT?

His ways are NOT my ways!  And unless I turn things His Way ‘round – I will never see the Me He sees when He looks at me, and I will forever remain the me that “gets things wrong” and I will continue the pattern of running to Him, into the arms of His Grace and refuge – only, when there is nowhere else to run… 🙁  Unless, I learn to live in the REFUGE of His PRESENCE, NEAR TO GOD – in all of the Precious Little Moments of life….I risk missing His Presence in the big, dramatic, consequential moments of life,as well. 🙁

This simply will not do!

“But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord my refuge that I may tell of all your works” (Psalm 73:28).

just sayin’  🙂

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…R U listening to the red-noise in your head….or the voice singing over you…
It is well known that there are sooooo many things that I am NOT good at.  🙂  And there is a voice in my head that reminds me of them all, on a regular basis.  It tells me often that “I am not good enough”!  Some days, it’s a quiet voice whispering in my ear, some days its an “in my face” voice pushing me back on … my heels, “Red-Noise” or “Evil-Static” – much like the sort of static that interupts a tv channel or a radio station – drowns out the very voice of God – If we are listening for the wrong thing.
Instead of hearing the voice of truth we end up being bothered by the crackles and cackles of Red-Noise – poking fun at who we are – causing us embarrassment and pain.
But I can tune out the Red-Noise if I am listening for “singing” instead.  Yes, singing!  Our Father’s voice sings over us with a deep, soothing and rich, resonant tone – that clears the air-waves for the Truth – in fact His voice rejoices over us, with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17) The Lord your God is with you… He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17 God rejoices over our lives. He believes in us! … watches over us … and gently keeps us, in His consistent care.
We are valued and loved, not only by those who know us, but by the One who created us! …R U listening to the red-noise in your head….or the voice singing over you?…
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Father, thank you for all the blessings of yesterday, especially those that I overlooked until reflecting back on them in the evening hours. Your blessings are so plentiful, and amidst all of the rest of life’s minutia, they seem too often to get lost. 🙁 Today! I plan on being more attentive to them as they occur, so that the blessings take root in the moment rather than in hinds site. Bring peace in the moments of my journey. Thank you for the blessings of this moment with You, now. Amen

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… I’ve been fortunate enough to have had my fair share of opportunities, to share stories from God’s Word with folks of varying ages through the years. And the stories I have been fortunate enough to share with children – rank at the top of the list, in my memory, regarding every criteria of positive measurement!

Children think differently than adults do! They think literally and with concern about the raw truth as it is presented in the stories they hear! Adults tend to think selfishly and with concern about how the truth that is presented in the stories they hear elevates or deflates their own “standing”. 🙁

A wee-little girl once said, something like, “I know, Jesus is in my heart.” And then she proceeded to open the front of her blouse, shove her face inside the opening and in a raised voice she said something like, “Hey Jesus, aren’t you there?”. 😉

To be sure! – Children hear what we adults say – but they hear it rather differently from what we might actually have meant to say – and of course, by then, its too late – perhaps it’s because they aren’t as “well read” as are most adults.  🙁  Yeah, right!  When we adults are honest, too often we view life’s moments and it’s stories, from a perspective of “superiority”.  Ya might have to think about that a bit to admit it…..

While your thinkin’ – I’ll tell ya that once, in a telling of the story of Ruth and Boaz – a small group of children of varying ages were asked, “Is there anybody here whose name is Ruth?”. Nobody volunteered their name to be a match.  The group of kids was then asked, “So, do any of you know anybody named Ruth?”  A young lad raised his hand and admitted that he lived “under a roof.”

Children can be very literal about their understanding, and sincerely honest and they can often say the truth about a matter with no concern about whose “standing” might be “damaged” by their revelation. How many adults have found ourselves embarrassed by what our children have “blurted” out in a public setting?

I am reminded of the children’s rhyme,… “Oh be careful little ears what you ear, oh be careful little eyes what you see, oh be careful little mouth what you say…”

Too often I find that I am guilty of letting my mouth “run lose” with words that have poor influence on those around me. Too often, I find myself “running off” at the mouth…following the pattern of the mouths that are “sounding off” around me, too. Our mouths, it seems, have a considerable influence on others – – if the influence others mouths have on my own is any standard for measurement – and it is.  🙁

Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Mark 10:14, NIV).

My prayer for all of us is that we are bringing others, especially our children closer to Jesus, rather than hindering them from coming to Jesus – in the stories that we tell and the things we say with our mouths.

Oh, be careful….Oh, be careful….

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To know the sense of Belonging – is to know the deepest sentiment of Love. Just think of it…as a child of God, I belong to a Father God whose limitations for love are boundless!  For He is not only the God of Love, God our Father, IS Love! His provisions for our every need are endless, His blessings are simply immeasurable, and His generosity overflows, beyond our capacity to contain it. His truest longing of the heart, is for me and for you, His love wraps us in belonging.  We belong!  In Him! In both life and death, we belong to God: Romans 14:7,8 For none of us lives only for himself, and no man dies for himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we belong to the Lord.
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….among all of the stories that I have heard the “struggling” tell – not so many have ended up in the healing hands of Jesus Himself, 🙁  while, others have indeed, 🙂  …. in her story and in her voice, she related part of her “journey to healing”, like this….

Some of us grow up — or end up — soaking up the wounds of those we love.   We may have found the inner strength in those moments to carry ourselves through.  But, there will come a time to remember.  There will come a time to heal.

I was standing in the toy store aisle.

Frozen.

I didn’t know what to do.

It was going to be our last visit together, after my parent’s divorce. But, I didn’t know it at the time.  I was a little girl.

My father wanted to buy me a toy. But, my mother didn’t want me to return home with one. I wasn’t supposed to take anything from him.

So, I told him I didn’t want anything.  I was okay.

But, I wasn’t.

Frozen

It’s funny how the most terrible memories of the past can smooth out over the years to simply become a story you tell yourself. It’s a familiar scene that unrolls every now and then.  What he said.  What I said.  How the floor of the store shimmered under the gloss of florescent lights.  How happy my little sister was, picking toys off the shelf, like she won the lottery.

But, I never realized all the emotions I felt at that moment could be frozen inside me.  I am learning that some of the stories that I’ve merely viewed as childhood memories are still live events — behind the steel trap door of my heart.

No, I haven’t buried them.

No, I haven’t forgotten about them.

I’ve simply moved past them.

By being strong.

By surviving.

By growing up.

By depending on God — in the sincerity of my heart — to move myself further away from the little girl in me.  Who was afraid.  Who didn’t know what to do.

But deep inside, that little girl is still there.  Deep, where I’ve never had any need for fear, confusion or neediness, there is a part of me who is very much alive:  the girl in me who carries my father’s wounds….

You can’t see that part of me looking on the outside.

I certainly didn’t.

Until recently.

The Right Thing

I started remembering — the look in my father’s eyes.

“Daddy can’t be with you anymore…” His voice stumbles.  His head drops.  I notice how straight his hair is parted to the side, as he crouches low.

I start to feel very nervous.  It doesn’t feel right somehow.  Him.  So low.  So close.  Too low.  Too close.

“Daddy just… wants… to…”  He starts to choke back tears.  Swallows hard.  Looks straight into my eyes.  I see pain.

He struggles to finish his sentence.  Tries again.  “Daddy… just… wants to… buy you a toy.

I can’t tell you exactly what was running through my mind.

But, I know how I feel – right then and there.  Thickness fills my little body from the top of my head down, dropping down through the beating heart in my chest, to the bottom of my feet.

I feel trapped.

I don’t know what is the right thing to do anymore.

I am afraid.

What should I do?  What will happen if I did one thing — or the other?

What will happen to him?  What will happen to her?

What will happen to me?

Wounds

As I stood there at the checkout register, with my father pulling out paper bills from the wad of cash he kept in his pocket, I felt frozen again.  Fearful for what would happen after my ride home in his olive green Nova with the peeling roof.

I didn’t want him to pay for our new toys with his hard-earned cash.

But, as he placed the plastic bag of toys into my hands and tried to reassure me, “It’s gonna be okay… It’s gonna be okay…”, I knew it wasn’t going to be that way at all.

I am learning that day I took that plastic bag, was also the day I began to carry my father’s wounds in my heart.  These weren’t wounds he inflicted on me.  They were ones I saw opening up in him.

These were wounds I tried to avoid by taking that toy back home with me.

These were wounds I wanted to soak up in me by my doing the right thing.

Things didn’t turn out okay that day.

Even though I tried to do the right thing.

Stay Here

As I walked through this memory, with Jesus in the picture, now as a grown up, I discovered a heart-altering realization.

I know, Bonnie.  Jesus whispers.

I know this wound, Bonnie. 

What do you want me to do?  I ask Jesus.

You don’t have to do anything.

But, what do you want me to do? I ask again.

StayHere. With me.

Please.  Do s-o-m-e-t-h-i-n-g about this.  I’m begging. I’m desperate to do something.

Tell me to do something about this feeling ofrestless helplessness.  I want it to go away.

Let me.  Stay here.  With you.

“Why can’t I just let old wounds die?”  I cry out.

Because they don’t.

Wounds don’t die. 

But, wounds can be healed — if we make the choice — to face them with Jesus.

Our tender Jesus is never closer than that very moment, when our wounds become alive.

His love for our private feelings of helplessness and shame never surge deeper — as He holds us with deep compassion, heart aching and hating every moment of our pain.

Jesus hasn’t forgotten our wounding.

Jesus hasn’t stopped loving us since.

Running Into Her

I don’t know if this story I’m sharing reads like a foreign tale from a land you’ve never visited.  There’s a part of me that feels that I’m the only one, who has ever been “there”.  But, if perchance you find yourself like me — running into that little girl in you who is feeling

helpless,

restless,

trapped,

disoriented,

between the right thing to do — and the reality of an overwhelming difficulty, painful relationship or heartbreaking loss –

I want you to know that I am right alongside you — treading this water of perplexing circumstances that have positioned you right in front of your wounded self.

I am reaching out to you, with a smile and many tears.  To say Jesus is next to you.  He is next to me.

And I want to encourage you.

I once believed the “evidence of faith” was having hope when the burden of carrying pain crushes our souls.

But, I’m discovering faith is equally flowing — maybe even more so — when we can fall into the arms of Jesus when we do feel hopeless – in order to know that the little girl in us can be safe and will be rescued.

For sure, this is a path of faith and healing is hard and long. Especially for someone like me who has been so good at being adequate or at least, having plans in place to avoid being otherwise.

Free to Remember

Is this such a time for you as well?  Maybe like me, you find yourself  unable to forget.

Maybe like me, Jesus doesn’t want you to forget.

Jesus wants us to be free to remember

the wounds we have carried,

the wounds we have survived,

the wounds we have kept hidden.

We can be free to remember, so that we can be comforted.  And to comfort each other.

He wants to say to you and me –

I know what you’ve carried.

I’ve loved you completely.

Even back then.

I haven’t forgotten.

You can be with me. 

This way.

Now.

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?

Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” ~ God, Isaiah 49:1, 6, 15

~~~~~

Where are you with God on the journey of healing?

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…. While, I knew this moment was was coming …. I must admit – I wasn’t as prepared for it as I needed to be.

I have become rather close friends with Abraham and his lot over the past year or so – reading through his story – walking, as it were – with him in a walk of faith.  🙁  I feel like I am saying “good-bye” to a close friend, the sort that has been a “fathering figure” in my own personal faith, go figure.  🙂

Abraham’s faith, however imperfect – lives on! in us!

Not only does chapter 25 tell us of Abraham’s passing, it reminds us once again – and provides a summary of sorts – of how, in the daily walk of faith:

Our Destiny – is bound up in His (Our Father God’s) Destiny – or not.  – You see, Moses is writing the book of Genesis with a specific group of folks, in mind.  Moses, had a passion of sorts for his Destiny – the sort that is bound up in God’s Destiny and it seems Moses collected this “history” of the “early beginnings” – for a specific purpose – to remind folks, who were being prepared, to go in and conquer the “promised land” of Canaan, of a Divine Purpose, beyond their own.  This land they were to conquer was no “ordinary” land – it was the very same land that had been promised to “father Abraham” – the very land that Abraham – here in chapter 25, has now passed away in and was “laid to rest” in.  So when Moses makes mention of all of the descendants of Abraham, through Isaac and even those children of Ishmael – the “intended folks” of Moses’ chronicle of history – well, they rather get it!!  You see, they are rather familiar with the names if not the stories and reputation of the descendants of Abraham.  This list of Abraham’s descendants reminded these folks of how they were RELATIONALLY “bound-up” – in God The Father’s pRomise and pRovision – and no doubt, many of these “old-family” ties had a strong motivational influence in the hearts and minds of these folks.  These folks were certainly aware of the “bad stories” of some and the “good stories”, too – and aware of the history that bound them to those listed here.  Moses is helping these folks – to recall how God’s Will – God’s Destiny – has been achieved down through the generations, in the lives of PEOPLE OF FAITH!  And he is calling them to put their FAITH, now in God and to renew their commitments to the pRomises of God, to Abraham and through his descendants.

I suppose, it has always been, that the human condition – too often misses the HUGE-ianity of CHRIST-ianity – I mean, The stories of history – the faces, the lives, the truths and the lies – that have brought us to where-ever we are right now – they have always been about how much (our Destiny) has or hasn’t become, like His (Our Father, God’s)

When I pause here, among these lofty thoughts of my faith tradition, I find myself longing for a closer and deeper Relationship with my Father God, as a child of His.  🙂

Read Genesis 25:1-11 and notice that, “Abraham breathed his last, and he died, in a good old age, an old man, full of years, and he was gathered to his people”

Our ancestors spoke of dying “a good death” – Abraham’s death is logged in the annals of history as “good” – the sort of death that those remaining, look back on and find ourselves thankful for the faithful diligence applied to living a life of imperfect faith, that ended “complete”.  His portion of the journey was complete, his burial spot was prepared, and his sons Isaac and Ishmael were there to preside over the rites of burial.  My life, in death – will it find my life “complete”.  Not perfect – but so Relationally bound up in God’s destiny that my own destiny has now truly become His, beyond the grave?  🙂

Read Genesis 25:12-18 and notice that the salvation stories that have become our own, down through the ages, are bound up in this sort of Relational connection with our God – and here the salvation story of covenant promise is passed on through Issaac.  Even Ishmael , Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s slave-girl, bore to Abraham, had a story and he is not ignored in the annals of history – rather his presence, however imperfectly conceived, is accounted for – and is ever a reminder for us, of the need for trust and obedience in our faith.

Read Genesis 25:19-26 and notice that Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD granted his prayer, and his wife Rebekah conceived.  v.21  You know that Isaac was forty when he married, sixty when he became a father.  Wow!  People of faith – I suppose, wait a lot.  🙂  I can’t help but find myself admiring such results of imperfect faith in the Destiny that belongs to our God and Father!  🙂  Too often, it seems we resist in participating in the “process” of faith that leads us into His Destiny.  🙁  Yet the years of barrenness, the dry desert summer months of our journey – are as much an experience of our faith – as are those moments of conception, birth, joy and blessing.  It seems that in the matter of faith, a curious question becomes – what am I waiting for?  His Will or any will that pleases and satisfies my own will?  🙁

Read Genesis 25:27-28 and notice that Isaac loved Esau, because he was fond of game; but Rebekah loved Jacob.  v.28

We know that Esau and Jacob, even struggled with one another in the womb!  And that they were born in conflict, growing up with very different personalities and divergent attentions regarding faith.  Parental favoritism exaggerated their differences.  🙁

We are all born into conflict of one sort or another – our world is not a world of harmony.  It is difficult to find more than one who will agree with another about what is best for me, rather contradictory counsel is the norm.  🙁  I suppose, a lesson that leads me again to lean wholly on the counsel of my Father God, brings me again and again into the light of a Relationship with Him and His Destiny for clarity and consistent counsel, born of the covenant of His Grace, in my faith journey!  🙂

And, read Genesis 25:29-34 and notice that Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank, and rose and went his way.  Esau in this way “despised” his birthright.

There is certainly a contrast between these “brothers” that becomes their destinies!  Esau is hungry!  and his desire will not wait!  🙁  Jacob is willing to wait.  It is interesting to notice how “pottage” gives immediate gratification while the “birthright” involves waiting for fulfillment……

I suppose, I am more like Esau than Jacob, while I am determined in my journey of faith to become more like Jacob.

I am too often in too much of a hurry to greedily grasp everything in life that satisfies me, and I want it now!  🙁  Father, I know that you want “all things for me”, but I too often forget that the timing of fulfillment is in your hands, not mine.  Help me to trust your timing and wait patiently in my true desire for your blessing, your promise.

Thank you, Father for the stories passed down of our father of faith, Abraham – they help me to put my own faith in perspective – I see You in them and I long to be Relationally bound to your Destiny!

God Bless, Abraham!  I miss you!  I look forward to seeing you, beyond the grave.

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An American Folk Hymn

Breathe on me, Breath of God, fill me with life anew, that I may love what thou dost love, and do what thou wouldst do.
Breathe on me, Breath of God, until my heart is pure, until with thee I will one will, to do and to endure.
Breathe on me, Breath of God, till I am wholly thine, till all this earthly part of me glows with thy fire divine.
Breathe on me, Breath of God, so shall I never die, but live with thee the perfect life of thine eternity. Breathe

These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.  When no bush of the field had yet sprung up – for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground – then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.  Genesis 2:4-7

It was evening that same first day of the week.  The doors were locked where the students (disciples) were gathered.  They were afraid of the Jewish leaders.  Jesus came and stood in the middle of them.  He said to them, “Peace be to you.”  When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side.  Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.  Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”  And when He had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”  John 20:19-22

I can rather imagine the disciples (of old) singing such a hymn as the one we often sing, as disciples today – “Breathe on me, Breath of God” – even, I can hear fear in their voices, as they may have sung a song of similar sentiment together, on the Lord’s Day – “Breathe on us, breath of God, fill us with life anew. That we may love what thou dost love, and do what thou wouldst do.”  And I can imagine that not so very much unlike me, on too many occassions, the disciples (of old), just didn’t quite “get it” – weren’t able to quite “take it all in.”  – – – I can imagine them, gathered in the upper room, with the doors locked tight against the “world” – protecting them against their “fears” – of one sort or another.  I mean it seems, they too, much like us as disciples (today) – they so very much, wanted to believe!  – – – While somehow they just could not muster enough faith – to see Jesus Himself, Alive!  🙁  —- In “Jesus Himself … – Part I”, here – p=3794 – Luke records the same story that John records here – while with varying detail.  So, where we left off in Luke 24:36-53, we can “fill in” with John’s account, here in chapter 20.  🙂

And, so we know that it was later on in the evening, on the first day of the week, sometime after sundown and still, no one had yet seen Him, Jesus Himself.  🙁  —- no one, of course, except Mary, (the one from Magdala) who had said she had seen Him, not long after sun-up, when she had gone to the tomb with spices for His Body.  I expect, the others, “thinking this was nonsense” – may have even spun their index fingers near their temples, or motioned something similar – possibly remembering Mary’s demons (Luke 8:2) and “writing her off”, as it were – as suffering from something connected to the brokeness of spirit, grief and sadness of heart they all felt – resulting in what was at the very best, “imaginative thinking”.  🙁  Anyway, it was late in the evening and there they were, rather scared – and not so much born out of confident hearts but instead, born out of what amounted to ignorance and unbelief – they waited together – wondering what they should do next.

Both Luke and John tell us that, JUST THEN, in what was surely a “NOW HERE” moment in their Christian walk – OUT OF NOWHERE, it seems –  JESUS HIMSELF, APPEARED to them and says “Peace be with you.”  🙂  If you look this passage up in the original Greek the meaning of “peace” Eirēnē (ā-rā’-nā) amounts to something like — “that you may know security in your fear; that you may feel safe – down in the depths of your soul; that you may receive much comfort and fulfillment, in the ways of the spirit.  Eirēnē (ā-rā’-nā) — peace, like when all the pieces of your puzzled heart – just come together – right in front of you and you feel “whole” (rather than fractured) — peace, like when what worries you – just slinks away from your presence and any doubt, just vanishes —peace, not of the momentary sort, rather the sort that passes all understanding and totally satisfies the heart, mind and soul – as you sink, quietly and calmly into His Presence.  Peace.  Jesus Himself, appearing out of nowhere, as it were – and with open eyes you see Him clearly and He says, “peace ….” !  🙂

Now, what happened next, I can only imagine, but whatever they saw when they saw it – caused them all to be hugely glad!  🙂  — This was no ordinary OMG moment!!  –  (You know the sort that too many of us mis-use)  🙁  – ….. No sir!  This was the very Son of God – Jesus Himself, showing them His hands and His side – and I rather imagine them staring at Jesus Himself, with eyes wide open, and with their jaws on the floor – and I suspect, they saw something like nail marks where His flesh had been pierced or perhaps they saw wounds that had already healed themselves!! —- either way – what they saw caused them to be very, very glad!  Hugely glad!  What they saw gave them hope!  What they saw caused them to truly believe! … all the way!  🙂

Interestingly enough, JUST THEN, Jesus told them, yes again – “Peace…” – almost as if they weren’t at all capable of “fully taking it all in” (and we know that they weren’t) – the first time (Can you relate?  I know I can) – and He said, “Peace….”  ….and this time He added what they surely were feeling by now as they came to fully understand His purpose in coming among them, in a new way …. “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”  🙂  Jesus explained to them something along the lines of, “Peace, my brothers, I am leaving, with you – as I am returning to the Father – I did not come among you this way to leave you alone – but to bring you Peace, now! – to go along with you, as you walk, so that you may share the story of My life, My death and My resurection, with the world!  So that all those who will believe in me and desire, through an intimate relationship with me, to be reconciled to the Father God, once again – shall be forgiven and receive the promise of full salvation – reconciliation with the Father – the same sort of perfect Peace that breathed life into Adam – I leave with you!!!

And then, JUST THEN, He breathed on them.  🙂

And I can imagine that singing such a hymn as, “Breathe on me, breath of God” – would have taken on a totally different meaning for them, then – as it does for me, today.  Only now the voices that sing are no longer shaken with fear BUT ARE SATISFIED, FILLED – WITH PEACE AND PURPOSE!  🙂

Breathe on me, Breath of God, fill me with life anew, that I may love what thou dost love, and do what thou wouldst do. Breathe on me, Breath of God, until my heart is pure, until with thee I will one will, to do and to endure. Breathe on me, Breath of God, till I am wholly thine, till all this earthly part of me glows with thy fire divine. Breathe on me, Breath of God, so shall I never die, but live with thee the perfect life of thine eternity. Breathe

This is no ordinary moment! in the lives of the disciples (of old) – when Jesus Himself, breathed onto them the power of His Spirit.  Jesus “breathed” on them in exactly the same way Jehovah Shalom, the God of peace, breathed on the first man Adam in Genesis 2:7.  He breathed on them in exactly the same way Ezekiel (37:9) reports God commanded the wind to breathe on that valley of dry bones, so that those dry bones might live!  This same “breath” is not found any other time in God’s Words.

Jesus breathed new life and power on them, like that which was breathed on Adam (of old) – power to reason, power to choose, power to hope, power to be, power to become!  Like the dry bones the disciples (of old) were made able to stand, able to speak, able to share the power of God’s Word’s!

The Greek word for breath “Pneuma,” in John 20 – is like its Hebrew counterpart in Genesis 2 and in Ezekiel 37 “ruach” – and can be translated best as “wind” or “spirit” – and phonetically even, communicates the “sound of breath”.  God’s Spirit was the breath of life into Adam.  Ezekiel spoke the Word’s of the Lord to the “dry bones” and breath came into the bones and they lived and stood on their feet!  God’s breath of life resurected Jesus Himself and Jesus Himself, breathed on His disciples (of old) saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”  🙂

 An American Folk Hymn

Breathe on me, Breath of God, fill me with life anew, that I may love what thou dost love, and do what thou wouldst do. Breathe on me, Breath of God, until my heart is pure, until with thee I will one will, to do and to endure. Breathe on me, Breath of God, till I am wholly thine, till all this earthly part of me glows with thy fire divine. Breathe on me, Breath of God, so shall I never die, but live with thee the perfect life of thine eternity. Breathe

These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.  When no bush of the field had yet sprung up – for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground – then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.  Genesis 2:4-7

It was evening that same first day of the week.  The doors were locked where the students (disciples) were gathered.  They were afraid of the Jewish leaders.  Jesus came and stood in the middle of them.  He said to them, “Peace be to you.”  When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side.  Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.  Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”  And when He had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”  John 20:19-22

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Without Jesus Himself – I am nothing!

Without Jesus Himself – I will surely fail!

Without Jesus Himself – I am like a ship without a sail!

BEING A SINNER – WASHED BY THE BLOOD OF THE RISEN LAMB – AGAIN – AND AGAIN – EACH DAY, I WAKE – EVERY BREATH, I TAKE – I STILL REMAIN – A SINNER – SAVED – AGAIN- AND AGAIN.  BY THE BLOOD OF THE RISEN LAMB!

AND

IT IS IN THIS INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS HIMSELF! THAT I FIND…ON THIS PARTICULAR LORD’S DAY MORNING – THE FIRST DAY OF OUR WEEK —– THAT I RISE AGAIN BY THE BLOOD OF THE RISEN LAMB

           I find less and less satisfaction in my Christian walk – in what amounts to about 85 percent of our modern Christian dialogue, as believers – with one another.  I mean, too often it seems that our Christian dialogue has devolved – to the point that it begins with something like, “What church do you go to?” and tapers off with something like “Who is your pastor?”  🙁  Maybe, you have noticed noticed it, too.

Harry Blamires, The Christian Mind – cautions that if, “Christians cannot communicate as thinking beings, they are reduced to encountering one another only at the shallow level of gossip and small talk.  Hence the perhaps peculiarly modern problem – the loneliness of the thinking Christian.”

It seems to me that our lack of Christian dialogue may be a symptom of how, in our Christian walk – for too many of us – we find ourselves “kept from recognizing Jesus Himself, among us.”  In Luke 24, I find that the disciples (of old) were not so very much unlike us in this regard.  I suppose this sort of thing is simply bound to happen when –  we fail to recognize Jesus Himself, among us!

Read Luke chapter 24.  Go ahead …. now …. the whole chapter 🙂

Now, notice Luke 24:27-31 (especially v.31), again.

“And their eyes were opened, and they recognized (knew) Him” – Jesus Himself! Personally, Intimately?

* Now consider for a moment – What if, the disciples (of old) had gone away (v.29) – before He had revealed Himself to them, that evening? – They would never have been sure, that it was Jesus Himself. – Their eyes were kept (v.16) from recognizing Him, because – they were looking for “the living among the dead” (v.5,6).

Reading chapter 24, it seems, there are four “stages” in the Christian walk of the disciples (of old) – that have significant meaning to me in my Christian walk, as a disciple (today).  Its easy to see how very much like their experience and their Christian walk – my own walk is, (or isnt).  🙁

Firstly,  check out v.1-24 – It’s the Lord’s Day!  The First Day of the Week!  and although I don’t much care to admit it, about them, on the Lord’s Day!  – The Day Christ had been promised to RISE again …. the disciples (of old) were found with what amounts to “troubled and sad hearts.”  They thought Jesus was dead! (v.11)  (v.21) (Read v.1-24) 🙁

Luke 24:1-24

There is something rather significant about the Christian walk, described here – that was significant in their walk and is in mine, too.  I dont much care to admit it about them, and I certainly am hesitant to admit it about myself – never-the-less, here I find them (the closest disciples) of the Lord – on the Lord’s Day, of all days – on the day their faith had led them to (or had it?) – when Christ Jesus Himself, was to be raised from the dead – and we find them with “troubled and sad hearts” – some of them, at early dawn, rising to go to the tomb with spices prepared for the Lord’s dead body – thinking, rather expecting even, that Jesus was dead! (v.1) – some of them even, after hearing that His body was not in the tomb, not believing it – considering the very idea, “nonsense” ?  🙁  (v.11)

Luke 24:22-26

Secondly, check out v. 22-26 – that describes that the Lord’s closest disciples were “slow of heart to believe!” SLOW!, mind you.  🙁  I expect, that when I am honest, even on Lord’s Day, of all days – I may find myself  “Slow of Heart” to believe, and on too many occassions…I know that I do!  I mean, I have heard and I know that I must not only believe in a crucified Christ – but in a Living Christ!  — And to grasp that great truth!  And to take it fully in!  — But there are times when I find myself, not so very much unlike the disciples (of old) – lacking in the depth of conviction, down deep in my soul – to fully believe and put Him in TOTAL control of ALL of my life and/or decisions – Why is that?

I reckon, it is perhaps because too often I find that my human nature wants to feel it! – and not so much, believe it!?  Does that make sense?

We do seem to prefer, too often in our Christian walk, to seize control of our lives, for ourselves, don’t we? – To work with significant effort for it!  To get a hold of it! – whatever “IT” is, that may be challenging to my belief – standing in the way of my TOTAL and COMPLETE belief, in Him – Jesus Himself! – the very Son of God, the Father.  The Great “I Am” – instead of – quietly sinking down and believing it!  – (Not Sit, Sat nor Sotting down 😉  – that requires control from me – but SINKING DOWN) – Letting ALL the control rest in Jesus Himself! – Alive! in the heart of the believer. – Believing that Christ the Living Jesus will do everything for us!  And I do not need to seize control of “it” – this or that thing.  Jesus Himself! is ALIVE and well within the heart of me and I must see Him, Jesus Himself! – and recognize Him, Jesus Himself! Present and Alive!  Not dead!

I suppose, the first “stage” – of the Christian walk is rather, “ignorance” – – – hoping that Christ will be more of what “I am willing to create room for Him to be” – than for who and what, He really IS.  🙁  And the second “stage” is, rather simply – unbelief.  The doubt that exists in my heart – not believing that I can fully take it all in! – the wonderful truth that Jesus Lives!  And trust – that! – to be rather enough – for every need I have!

Thirdly, there is the wonderful “stage” of the disciples walk – “The Burning Heart”

Read Luke 24:27-35

Now, when I am honest I absolutely love being in and experiencing this “stage” in my Christian walk – – the Lord Jesus, Himself, walking along with me, as it were, revealing Himself to me!  – – speaking truths to my heart and opening my eyes to see Him more clearly – His Will – His Character – His Love – His Wisdom – Jesus Himself! – And my Heart Burns, Too!  Opening the book of His Words and those of the Father God, I find myself coming into Relationship with my Father and His Son!  Walking along the Christian road to “Emmaus” as it were (v.13 – v.28) – sharing my faith and relationship in Christ Jesus Himself, with other disciples – listening to and looking into the eyes of a brother or sister, seeing Him there among us, Jesus Himself, there with us!  My heart Burns, too!  Everytime a new facet of Jesus Himself, is revealed to me!  And I find, what amounts to, a better knowledge of Him, in Intimate Relationship – meeting Him, as it were, face to face, around the table, on The First Day of the week – My Lord comes and makes Himself known to me, and my Heart Burns within me to know more of Him and I long for His Words, to be spoken to me again and again!  and I want to share them.  I suppose, a disciple is “made” – when a believer first knows that “Burning” sensation within the heart, on one level or another – when we have caught a glimpse of Him, in His Words of truth that speaks so directly to our souls – or perhaps even, in the eyes of and spiritual fellowship with, one another!  Seeing Jesus Himself, among us!

I know!  😉  Yet there is a “deeper stage” of the Christian walk!  More satisfying and lasting ….

 …. It is when our Christian walk reaches this forth “stage” – of the Peaceful Heart – when we are no longer satisfied only to know that Jesus has touched us, in some special way – And warmed our hearts, or even that He died for us.  It is this most fullfilling “stage” when – We find ourselves, in an intimate relationship, with the unchangeable Jesus dwelling/living within our hearts – abiding there forever! with me and in me!  We find His Peace!  We refuse! to live a moment of any given day and with every breath we take – our souls simply will not be satisfied with anything less – than Jesus Himself! — I simply wont be satisfied with any thing less than Jesus Himself – Alive! in this disciples heart!

Read v.36-49

While the disciples were still carrying on and on with each other about having seen Jesus Himself, among them – Christian dialogue, of one sort or another, I suppose 😉  – and about the burning in their hearts that had given Heart to their unbelief – and had changed their troubled and sad, ignorance, and unbelief into Joy!

Jesus Himself stood among them!

And said to them,

Peace be with you.  🙂

Can you imagine it?  What must it have been like when Jesus Himself, breathed the breath of Peace on them.  This is no ordinary moment in the life of the disciples (of old), walking along the “discipleship road” – This is, Christ Jesus Himself!  “Peace, be with you!”

It is no ordinary moment for us either!  Walking along the road of discipleship – when, our eyes are opened, too, – and we recognize Him, Jesus, Himself!  and he speaks to us and walks along with us and explains to us what is said in all the scriptures concerning Himself – – and well, we know – and others know, we have reached this “stage” in our Christian walk when we have His Peace, within our hearts.  Not “a” peace, or “some” peace, but His Peace!

Being in fellowship with Jesus – every hour of the day – Christ is able to do – in this world – yet today – what he did in the lives of those disciples in Luke 24!

We are: Brothers and sisters – Christian believers – family and friends

Christ Jesus Himself!  Is all that matters He is all that we need period!  End of Story!

Without Him – we are nothing!

Without Him – we will fail!

Without Jesus Himself – We are drifting without a sail!

      If they had not allowed the “burning in their hearts” – to compel Jesus Himself, to remain with them for the night, (v.29) their eyes would have remained “closed”.  🙁

I suspect, when we are honest, we would have to admit that it is rather possible – though we don’t much care to admit it – that there are times when our Lord Himself, might just be present among us – while, we may not recognize Him.  If this was the case with the disciples (of old) – I am rather sure it is likely to be that way in our Christian walk too – although we are not eager to admit it.  And why would we be?….it is rather an admission of fear, ignorance and unbelief – in our Christian walk, when we just don’t quite “get it” – I mean, the true meaning of our faith – and we find ourselves, having walked right by Him – without recognizing Him, in our daily walk.  🙁

I suppose, too often our Christian walk – and therefore our Christian dialogue – amounts to what has devolved into our Christian “habit” or our regular “practice” of religion.  Too often we may find ourselves gathered even, among other disciples – on the First Day of The Week – The Lord’s Day – in much the same way that the disciples (of old) gathered together….some of us with what amounts to:

– troubled and sad hearts

– some perhaps finding ourselves at times “slow of heart” to fully believe in the power and purpose of Christ – to do everything for us – and we struggle in giving it all to Him

– Some with burning hearts – on fire for Christ and the Words of the Lord’s instruction.

– and Some with purely satisfied and peaceful hearts.

Luke 24:45-49

It is because of Jesus Himself that all nations – ALL! nations can come into the presence of God the Father inspite of our sinful nature.

Jesus Himself! – Alive! in the heart of the disciple!

And I find myself in this condition!

BEING A SINNER – WASHED BY THE BLOOD OF THE RISEN LAMB – AGAIN – AND AGAIN – EACH DAY, I WAKE – EVERY BREATH, I TAKE – I STILL REMAIN – A SINNER – SAVED – AGAIN- AND AGAIN.  BY THE BLOOD OF THE RISEN LAMB!

AND

IT IS IN THIS INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS HIMSELF!  THAT I FIND…ON THIS PARTICULAR LORD’S DAY MORNING – THE FIRST DAY OF OUR WEEK —– THAT I RISE AGAIN BY THE BLOOD OF THE RISEN LAMB! ……

…… BEING A SINNER – WASHED BY THE BLOOD OF THE RISEN LAMB – AGAIN – AND AGAIN – EACH DAY, I WAKE – EVERY BREATH, I TAKE – I STILL REMAIN – A SINNER – SAVED – AGAIN- AND AGAIN.  BY THE BLOOD OF THE RISEN LAMB!

AND

IT IS IN THIS INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS HIMSELF!  THAT I FIND…ON THIS PARTICULAR LORD’S DAY MORNING – THE FIRST DAY OF OUR WEEK —– THAT I RISE AGAIN BY THE BLOOD OF THE RISEN LAMB!

                       It is, Jesus Himself, that distinguishes us as true believers.

Harry Blamires, The Christian Mind – cautions that if, “Christians cannot communicate as thinking beings, they are reduced to encountering one another only at the shallow level of gossip and small talk.  Hence the perhaps peculiarly modern problem – the loneliness of the thinking Christian.”

It seems to me that our lack of Christian dialogue may be a symptom of how, in our Christian walk – for too many of us – we find ourselves “kept from recognizing Jesus Himself, among us.”  In Luke 24 I find that the disciples (of old) were not so very much unlike us in this regard.  I suppose this sort of thing is simply bound to happen when –  we fail to recognize Jesus Himself, among us!

Jesus Himself! – Alive! in the heart of the disciple.  1 Cor. 1:4-9 – 1 Cor. 2:1-5 – 1 John 1:1-3

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