Repentance

No Mercy for the Enemies of the Harvest #31Days

We head out to the garden and animals every morning. 7:30 sharp, well most of the time. I don’t carry a reputation for punctuality. This morning I lovingly made biscuits. When I opened the oven, they were burnt. To the touch, they were still soft. So, I ushered the children in to gobble some up before they cooled to the stiffness of rocks.

Yum… fresh biscuits, slightly dark, but that’s okay. All is well.

Then sang the series of yucks! Yuck! Gag!

Heavy on the baking soda.

“Oh, well. Chicken food! That’s what I just spent my time doing,” I’m thinking as I survey the mess of a kitchen…

“Baking chicken biscuits.”

Sigh.

8:00

“Quick! Quick! Outside guys! Grab the biscuits. Let’s go.”

We moved into this house out in the country ten months ago to start a little homestead. We’ve learned to garden… I mean GARDEN. We are producing enough food that I am canning and freezing consistently. We even have a second garden- a fodder garden! Eek! I love the sound of that. This garden grows food for the livestock. Bless my soul just about sums it up. My previous garden in the city would squeeze out a small, often pitiful harvest. Now, to grow food for the animals, too… May I just say: Beside. Myself. Really, I am.

I’ve always loved dirt, used to eat it, in fact. Some say this is evidence of a mineral deficiency. Nonetheless, I can clearly remember as a child sampling the soils in various places. I was on a little hunt for just the right flavor. Any old dirt would not do. I could immediately tell when I found the right plot to indulge. I loved the feel in my little hands and the taste in my mouth was just what I was seeking. I can imagine little me, down on my knees, hidden from all other eyes closing my own and licking my lips enjoying the treasure I had searched for and found.

Well, you might know I needed to give this love affair up with dirt. I was sick on several occasions. The Dr. looked at me sternly and said, “Don’t eat dirt anymore”. That stern look frightened me and I believed something terrible might happen if I did not heed this advice.

I never touched dirt to my lips again. Cold turkey, you might say.

But, Oh, every morning all these years later I’m down in it on my hands and knees. I crawl through the rows picking weeds and surveying for bugs and damage as I go. I love it.

This dirt freshly tilled just a couple months ago sports a beautiful harvest and harvest to be.

I’ve learned:

Number 1-

Every day in the dirt makes a big difference.

Number 2-

The garden is a battlefield.

no mercy

I have become a crusher of the enemies in the garden.

Right now enemy number one is this green worm, he goes by “Cabbage Worm”.

The orders were- spot them, crush them- No Mercy for the Enemies of the Harvest!

Today, the count was a whopping 250… crushed. Bare hands and boots were our only combat weapons.

Yes, we counted every darn one.

I closed my eyes this very evening to kiss my husband and I saw worms in my mind’s eye.

We were obviously serious, focused, and on mission today in the garden.

Francis Frangipane, in his book, The Three Battlegrounds, writes, “When the Holy Spirit shows us an area that needs repentance, we must overcome the instinct to defend ourselves. We must silence the little lawyer who steps out from a dark closet in our minds, pleading, ‘My client is not so bad.'”

God came to save us, rescue us from our impossible situation. He tills up the garden of our hearts and plants a harvest. BUT… He did not come to do everything for us… to enable and approve of lazy, selfish, consuming bums.

The gospel calls us to difficult… the daily “walking our rows” with the light of the Word lit up by the Spirit as our guide. Pulling, crushing, humbling ourselves under the mighty hand of God.

I’ve learned:

Number 1-

Every day in the Word makes a big difference.

Number 2-

My heart is a battlefield.

The Bible says that Satan prowls around looking for whom he may devour. The thought of a snake coming at me is enough to make me shiver with fear edging on terror, how much more an ancient foe that hates me? And how bout that foe within me? O man, if I could blame everything on Satan, but there is a part of me that would agree with every wickedness that He could throw my way. That part- must be crushed- death to pride… bowing myself by an act of my will under God’s mighty hand.

There is to be No Mercy for the Enemies of the Harvest

John the Baptist, was this kind… “walking his rows” out there in the wilderness… He threw caution to the wind when it came to his faith in God and His promises- He sought no position among men, but was fully aligned in the wilderness with what was prophesied in the Word about his position with his God and His kingdom purpose:

The voice of one crying in the wilderness:”Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough places smooth; The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Isaiah 40:3-5

And on this side of history waiting… Am I this kind? Daily walking my rows, with the light of the Word and the Spirit as my guide.

All distractions from the One laid aside…

My God has fulfilled His covenant and died in my place. There is no obstacle except that for which I will not let go. He wants to conquer all my gods, all my fears, all my sickness, all my lies. He wants me to agree with Him- giving no mercy to the enemies of the harvest.

I bless you Dear Reader, morning by morning “walking your rows”, hearing Him saying, “This is the way” and heeding Him, laying down the sins He reveals, taking up praise, and walking with Him moment by moment.

Your life is meant to shine for Him… a harvest unspoiled by sin.

To Him Alone,

Diana

The Shoes

of the Gospel of Peace.

Last morning, as a child might say, I woke up as usual around five. We are on Christmas vacation, so my heating blanket warm bed seemed a justifiable place to stay snuggled. But I sensed the Lord telling me to get up, get in the Word. I argued… justified that I could pray right from my cozy nook… what’s another 15- 30 minutes anyhow? I dozed back to sleep in “seeming” peace.

I had an awful dream.

I awoke.

These images in my mind. What’s another 15-30 minutes? That is what.

He is faithful to answer.

The post I published last came to my mind as well- I am on a battleship, not a cruise ship. A battleship. I have an enemy and a part of me that would side with him.

For those shoes of the Gospel to fit my feet, I can’t be running from my Cobbler. He’s fitting the Gospel onto my feet, your feet.

Mine are women feet, small- size five… but with a heart in the same body able to carry as much self-will run riot as the biggest toughest guy you know.

The Word says:

according as it is written, How beautiful the feet of them that announce glad tidings
of peace, of them that announce glad tidings of good things!   Romans 10:15

Think back on Jesus, before He was to be murdered, bending down and washing the feet of the disciples. His knees bent, his hands serving, his heart heavy. His hands, cleansing… preparing 11 pairs of feet for the shoes of the Gospel of peace. Fitting them. But He washed 12 pairs, not just eleven. Judas would never turn from his self will. Even when he felt sad about giving Jesus over to be killed, he never repented. He never had PEACE. He was bent on trying his own ideas- never taking Jesus as Lord. His feet had been washed, but never fitted for the Gospel of Peace. He had, in his possession, no good news to carry.

How the 11 must have wept, when the hands of Jesus were being nailed. How terror must have struck their hearts.

Remember Peter at the washing?  He’d objected to Jesus washing his feet. Jesus answered,
Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.

Then:

Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.” Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, “Not all of you are clean.”

The eleven were being fitted for the Gospel because they were already bathed, helmet of salvation in place, breastplate of righteousness on, belt around their waste, and entrusted with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

Those eleven pairs repented for the running. The fear and terror that had struck their hearts revealed their neediness.

How the truth of that foot washing must have kept them from trusting in themselves and spiraling into a pit of self-loathing!

Jesus had known. They knew He had.

Like my bad dream that night carried lingering images:

Soldiers with torches, the fatal kiss, Peter’s taking out his sword, Jesus’s rebuke, fear, confusion, terror… and their feet had run. Those washed feet… all wrapped in Jesus they had run away from their beloved- stayed at a safe distance.

Here is where peace lies, though, for the believer.

He already Knew.

Here is the Gospel of Peace- He already knew.They were not good, but He was, He is. All of this preparing them for the Resurrection, the Ascension, Pentecost.

While He washed their feet, he knew they would run… but He washed them anyway. He knew Judas would never come to Him in repentance, He washed his feet anyway. And He did all this with a cross set before Him… and modeled obedience to us. Jesus, completely submitted to the Father, models for us the relationship He was restoring to us.

This relationship of Peace with God.

The blessing of the garden is that they were always obeying… always surrendered to the King… always blessed. The curse is brought by disobedience and can only be nullified by payment. That payment was made by Jesus’s total surrender to the cross.

according as it is written, How beautiful the feet of them that announce glad tidings
of peace, of them that announce glad tidings of good things!   Romans 10:15

Disobedience serves the curse and brings turmoil.

Obedience puts feet to the Gospel, works out salvation with fear and trembling, serves the blessing rather than the curse, and shuts off the power of the lies of the enemy.

Satan wants your seed… that gospel seed that Jesus fits your feet to go out to give. The message that PEACE is a person and He loves the lost.

And because of the cross, foot washings are for the taking.

Come, Dear Beloved, He says.

I knew the sin before you.

Come, get safe with me. Mock the enemy with me. Point to my blood. Trust in it- covering all your sin. Let me close. Don’t allow any disobedience to play an old tape in your heart- the one that says I don’t love you, that you are a failure, a second rate Christian, that anxiety that creeps in on your soul. The turmoil. The images from the bad dream… you wouldn’t have had if. You have Good News shoes to be fitted in- the Good News of my salvation on your head, my righteousness on your chest, my truth around your waste, my sword in your hand, and feet…

Imagine Him close.

Washing your feet.

O, how He loves.

Now let Him.

and know- nothing separates you from the love of the Father.

Be at peace with Him through Obedience and when you fail to listen… get right quickly, your King is there. He knew.

Those images from that bad dream I had… reminders: I have an enemy. God is training me and I must listen to Him.

So, Dear Reader, bless you with your Heavenly Cobbler, washing your feet- the blessing of being at Peace and blameless before your KIng.

And Merry Christmas,

Diana

The Feelings on Our Shoulders in a Wand Worshiping World

“Why won’t He take it away?”

Probably words cried by every person who has tried their hand at prayer, at believing in a power greater than themselves in the midst of an unwanted situation, struggle, heart break. Even all the atheists have prayed for relief, a fix, a cure. We’ve all  tried our hand at bargaining with God and agreeing to believe, to do better if He would just wave a wand over our heads.

Naaman, who wanted a wave of a hand- a wand, was a commander of the army of the king of Aram. The king of Aram worshipped a god named Rimmon. We know Naaman accompanied him to the temple of Rimmon for he tells us so later in the story.

Certainly he had most likely, desperately asked Rimmon to take his leprosy. Yes, Naaman had leprosy. Although life had seemingly been good to Naaman, he had this skin disease- a terrible skin disease called leprosy.

You see Naaman was successful. He was honored by the king and his men. He had position and power and respect. He also had a little slave girl, who was an Israelite, who had big faith. And he had a big enough problem to listen to her.

The slave girl suggested to Naaman’s wife that  Naaman should go to Elisha, who was a prophet of the One True God, and that he could cure Naaman’s leprosy.

With leprosy, Naaman’s future was looking dim.

Desperateness makes us listen to people we normally wouldn’t listen to.

It also makes us go to places we normally wouldn’t go.

So, desperate, leprous Naaman listens to a little, foreign slave girl.

The feelings upon his shoulders become evident when Naaman first approaches Elisha and he is met by Elisha’s servant. He wanted to meet with the prophet himself, not with the servant.

So, when Elisha’s servant sends the message to wash in the Jordon seven times, he is angry.

And so his self dialogue may have gone something like this:

Slave girls, messengers… after all I’ve done. I’ve pleaded and tried the latest medicines. I’ve wished it away and petitioned Rimmon. I have power, position, and respect. I have commanded an army in battle and been victorious. And here! I have traveled to a foreign land and a foreign people with a foreign God. I’ve humbled myself and asked for help and this!  This is how I’m treated. I can’t do this. I won’t. This is a hoax. It won’t work.

Here is what the Scripture records Naaman actually saying, “I thought he (Elisha) would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy“. He then names two rivers that are even better than the Jordan in Damascus and questions why he couldn’t wash in them.

Then he goes off in a rage.

His feelings were revealed. He wasn’t as humble as he thought. Naaman had been what is humanly possible though rare: He had been humble in the sight of man.

He had yet to be humble in the sight of the One True God.

He wanted a cure not a God. He hadn’t come to Israel to meet and surrender to the One True God. He had come for a wand, for a story of magic, to meet with the famous prophet and be fixed.

Instead He would be broken and repentant and humble himself to the very words of God: the instructions from the servant of the prophet of God.

And when we read in Scripture that his men reasoned with him, did they know they spoke words of eternal life to Him? They pegged him saying, “… if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more then when he tells you to be washed and cleansed”. They basically told him to get his feelings off his shoulders.

He probably looked down at the leprosy and weighed it up against his anger and his pride, his pain, fear, and confusion. This God had given an instruction and it was time to listen or never know if His word was weighty or hogwash.

So Naaman did. He believed enough to lay down the feelings on His shoulders and pick up the will of God.  It was credited to him as righteousness, just like for all those who believe and get up under His mighty hand because we cannot deny the leprosy of our sin soaked souls and the fact that we have no solution for it apart from Him.

He wanted it badly enough that he listened. He chose to quit chasing wands and bend to a King, who was enabling Him with His unwavering, heart- piercing instructions.

He learned that a wand would have fixed the leprosy, but a wand would never have dealt with his heart.

And Elisha comes out to meet him.

Naaman, whose flesh was restored, professes faith in God and offers Elisha a gift.

Elisha declines and ministers God’s peace to him as he heads back into Rimmon- worshiping territory.

And here is the story for our generation, dear reader, for you and for me and for all those around us:

He will not wave wands over our heads, but He will deal with our hearts and cleanse us and give us Jesus, the great protector of the hearts He cleans. He is ours to lay our sin upon just like they did with the animal sacrifices in the Old Testament.

When a person wanted to approach God, they would:

1. Bring an animal for a burnt offering to the brazen altar.

2. Place their hands on the head of the animal admitting that the animal would die in their place because of their sin.

3. Kill it.

Jesus is the lamb who was taken to slaughter. So look. He is the One we can place our leprous hands on- at the cross- the place where He paid the penalty for our sin. We can lay our leprous selves down and come up cleansed trusting that He took our punishment and look in His eyes and let Him minister peace to us as we travel this wand-worshiping world.

We can have peace with the One who is Peace.

or

We can curse that He hasn’t come out to wave a wand over us and has commanded us instead to be washed by blood- and like Naaman can scream all our failed expectations and go off in a rage.

But dear reader, may I be your servant in place of Naaman’s and say, “If God had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more when He tells you to be washed and cleansed?”

Now, go, weigh the cost. Get your feelings off your shoulders and go for the first time. Or go back because walking with Him doesn’t change the instructions. We go to Him over and over and over and over again because feelings have a tendency of climbing on our shoulders and because we need Him to teach us to be truly humble… no wands , but rather moment by moment  receiving His correction, His love, His words, His peace, His life. Then we tell others about this King who offers us the truth.

O Reader, If He asks us to do some great thing wouldn’t we do it? How much more when He tells us to be washed and cleansed?

Bless you with the cleansing only He can give and faith on fire in a wand-worshiping world… until you see Him face to face.

Naaman’s story is found in 2 Kings chapter 5.

Photo by B.Jehle

When Truth Preached From the Pulpit Is Not Enough- Part 2

My last post titled, “WHEN TRUTH PREACHED FROM THE PULPIT IS NOT ENOUGH” offers the beginning to this post.

The “church” (I use this term loosely) has a track record of sweeping sin under the rug (for centuries), even when truth and grace are preached from the pulpit. We are naturally followers, so even if we are true believers, sometimes we can become swayed by culture and not even recognize it because we are often still heavily involved in “religious” activity. Here is a list for pondering and taking before the Lord in light of His Word.

1.No repentance over our own sexual brokenness- We have no purity on our own. If we profess to be saved, we must admit we need Jesus in all areas of life. It’s His purity that we are clothed in. (period) (exclamation point)! Romans 3:12

2.Giving in to the cultural labels of homosexual, heterosexual, and bisexual, transgender that go beyond someone’s behavior and reach too far as a label of personal identity.

We fit ourselves into one of these categories. I heard a pastor tell a man living in a gay lifestyle on a t.v. interview that he could not relate to his struggle. Huh? In our sexually charged culture- I don’t believe that one. He may not have  given himself over to it, but no common ground there- really? He affirmed that they were different instead of finding common ground. He protected himself and his image. Instead of considering this man better than himself; he, sexually speaking, considered himself better, cleaner. He did not do so on the basis of Christ- but rather on the basis of himself. 1 Corinthians 3:11

Do we not know that we, in our sinful nature, have every sin bound up in our hearts? Many of us can vouch to the unbelievable ways Satan deformed us in our sin. Let’s not think so highly of ourselves.  Romans 12:3

3.Not dealing with sin in our personal lives- Passivity towards our own sin leads to passivity with sin in general.  I mean, how can I speak boldly and take up for anyone else if I don’t fight my own battles with the authority of the Word? Sometimes, we don’t know how to fight and we really must get help and do whatever it takes to let our King into every area of our lives. There is help for any and every issue. Revelation 3:20

4. There is little, if any, loving confrontation outside of the pulpit. The pulpit is a safe place to be bold. Jesus didn’t hide behind things or positions- and He had the ultimate position. Jesus is our only source of safety. Psalm 91 We will all have hard times and difficult situations to deal with. This is not a jab at the position of pastor or ministry leader. This IS a jab at the system. We often want our pastors/leaders to do all the work and hold the preaching time as the most important time. We judge the health of our church by the numbers and the preaching/ teaching. Many pastors/ leaders feel stressed to “perform” well and have the approval of their congregations. Help your leaders. Don’t hinder them. Pray. I believe many well meaning, godly men and women are leading and dealing with very difficult situations, good ole boy clubs, and unbelievable politics – and have to ask themselves- am I willing to get fired or to quit if I have to compromise to stay? The answer- pastor, teacher, church staff, and church member is: Yes. We are to seek Christ and His will not our own.  You are free, no matter your position, to follow Him and He will take care of you. I also believe some people are not qualified to be leaders- going through seminary does not equal spiritual maturity. There is no shame in that. If someone is truly saved, God’s promise to complete the work He started is true. Let’s be careful to aid that as the body not contribute to the attack of the enemy. Ephesians 6:13

5. I’m okay- You ‘re okay mentality. I had a meeting with a pastor once about a couple who were living together and were unrepentant- not open. This meeting had been avoided for some time by this leader.  His response was that we are all sinners. This is a very common attitude in churches who preach something very different from the pulpit. (Bold in the pulpit/ Cowardly where the rubber meets the road). By the way, the rubber is where we gauge the health of our churches, not just the pulpit. This attitude that he exhibited tells people they aren’t worth a rumble with the enemy on their behalf. It says, “I would rather you like me than for me to be inconvenienced to help you have the treasure of Christ and nothing less”. Oh, dear reader, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Keep away from people like this. Pray for them, but nonetheless keep away. They would give you over to your sin for your approval and their comfort.  For more on this read the book Pilgrim’s Progress. The children’s version is excellent. 2 Timothy 4:3

6. Not knowing how to deal with difficult situations- So we don’t. We are naturally cowards. People around us affirm us prayerlessly with religious slogans like, “That’s the Holy Spirit’s work”.  His Word or His direction are often not sought. The Holy Spirit indwells us to enable us to obey. Sometimes, the Lord will say wait and pray, and sometimes He will say, go and pray! Your insecurity or mine is not to be a crutch or excuse. 2 Timothy 3:5

7. Expecting our leaders to do everything, but they can’t nor were they meant to. We might be needy and expect our leaders to fill voids that only Christ is meant to fill. Not to mention, all believers have spiritual authority under Christ and a responsibility to mankind, especially our family in Christ. 1 Peter 2:5

8.  Our leaders sometimes gain celebrity statuses. This is dangerous for many of our leaders.  We need to pray for them diligently recognizing they are often under intense spiritual warfare.

9. Allowing people, who have never repented and put on Christ, to join churches. Numbers. Numbers. Numbers. People are not cattle. This makes it difficult for true believers to assemble with the saints when in many cases the majority are not even believers.

10. Being nice-  believing every tear and not dealing with people as sinners. Get real people.  Everyone is sorry when they get busted. All of a sudden, suddenly, out of the blue- sorry.  Listen to words. Trust behavior. That’s not mean. It is true. People need the respect of knowing they aren’t trusted if they aren’t trustworthy.  This will actually help people face up to reality.2 Corinthians 7:10

11. Being confused and not reading the Scriptures from beginning to end.  We amen our pastors and teachers, but often don’t have a backbone in our own lives. We struggle with guilt over our own pasts and often have not allowed Him into the deepest places and wounds He wants to heal, so we can serve Him freely. We try to piecemeal the truth we have instead of studying the Word as one work. We can be easily swayed. 2 Timothy 2:15

12.  Ousting boat rockers. What if someone gets ugly honest about something going on in a ministry or church. Usually, they must go, sometimes under a bus. The rest stand by are never sure what happened because the proper information is never given to the saints. And of course, we want to conform, nobody likes to be rejected, or fired- especially if there’s a family to feed. Conflict is part of life not to be avoided. God is good. He can handle it.

13.  “Performing” for God on Sundays. The schedule with the two songs, greet, two more songs, pray, sit, stand, offering… It’s different in every church, but really? Every time? That performance/ schedule mentality carries over into Monday and all the other days. Performing leaves little room for His agendas, for our listening and obeying. We might have forgotten to “be” with God. Just being. Remember back to when you first started walking with Him- to the being with Him. Psalm 23 It’s vulnerable to be with Him. A lot of the performing is about image control.

This is why we must look at ourselves and quit pointing the finger at liberal churches and unbelievers.

Who do you listen to?

Liberals and unbelievers who uncover hypocrisy and lies, but support other lies contrary to Scripture OR those who boldly proclaim Scripture, but sweep the sin in their midst under the rug?

Read that again.

Sounds not so good, but…

GOOD NEWS: There is another option.

and He has names:

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

We – deformed by the Fall- will try everything but bowing low, flat-faced to the ground at the feet of Jesus.

This. Bible believing people, though is for us.

To get really low.

And get trained in the use of His armor.

To fight.

But not just for our own freedom- for others.

This is your destiny.

To grab your seed and plant it. Every last bit of it- unhindered by the works of darkness.

Children of the light, listen to God’s Word in Isaiah 50:10 “Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of his servant? Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord”.

Trust Him, for He is trustworthy. Worst of sinners, like Paul, profess that title as your very own and allow Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to be the head- listening to Him and His love for you- freeing you moment by moment being your light, your way, your truth.

To the King and King’s Ways!

Remembering on this Memorial Day: My way to Him came by His death.

The freedoms I enjoy in the USA came way by the blood spilled by patriots, who believed liberty was possible and worthy of their blood.

In Christ Alone,

Diana

 

 

 

 

Something That’s of Worth

A song by Matt Redman:

When the music fades
All is stripped away
And I simply come
Longing just to bring
Something that’s of worth
That will bless your heart

I’ll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart

I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You
It’s all about You, Jesus
I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about You
It’s all about You, Jesus

King of endless worth
No one could express
How much you deserve
Though I’m weak and poor
All I have is yours
Every single breath

An unkempt man in the wilderness, who ate locusts and honey, who cried out his message, was named John by a man and woman, who had long since buried the dream of having a baby.

Most of Israel had also buried a dream under heavy burdens.

Buried under self, pride, ritual, Rome- the burden of Never Doing Enough, of Never Being Enough,  Never Clean Enough, of being lower class citizens while knowing a seemingly contrary history that told them they were chosen by God. And the politics- steep. Religious elites made backroom deals with Romans and kept the people performing with heavy weighted law upon religious law- or else living as outcasts because they wouldn’t conform. The people grew cynical and tired and defeated. The burden of appearances and pushed down tears of a deadening of the spirit that longs to reach out in dependance and find God faithful.

This- buried deep, unstirred, barely breathing.

So instead of longing for a Savior-

One who would say hard, beautiful, true words,

One who would show them their hearts and confirm that they were not enough,

One who would be enough,

One who would Give Them All Of Himself and awaken their spirits to all He envisioned and crafted in each one of them one- by -one,

One who would use the nation Israel, though weak, historically unfaithful, and small- to speak loudly to the nations- stronger and larger about the One true God,

The only One who could say, “You, made in My image, but bound by sin. I come to free you, but you must agree with me first. From the ancient of days, I have said your heart is desperately wicked. And you must agree with me. No matter how painful.”

So, instead of longing for that One who could make beauty from ashes, their waning spirits withered and they longed for Rome overthrown-

For confirmation that they were good and God was on their side. And what better way than God showing their oppressors Himself with a mighty earthly king, that would deal with their circumstances instead of their hearts.

So instead of longing  for the One who could say,” You are Treasured and although you are dust; I, who am not, will die for you. And here, again, is another tough truth to swallow and admit: You are dust. You must lay your lofty, fantasies about yourselves down and agree with me about your weakness.”

They settled for less- a temporary dream instead of an eternal one.

But this John, was prophesied over before his birth. This baby would grow to be a man and fulfill the prophet Isaiah’s reference to, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make Ready the Way of the Lord, Make His Paths Straight!” (Matthew 3:3) (Isaiah 40:3)

And he, John, would grow, and to the wilderness he would go. And, he, would spend time alone. Because to tell a hard message is to lose a popularity contest, so as to get the servant alone with only one set of eyes on him: the ones that matter most. And the music would fade out in the desert, alone, with a meal of locusts and honey and a coat of camel hair.

And him. And Him. There. And he would bend his knee and he would know that apart from God he could do no good thing.

And then, he would turn to tell the people. To stir them. And stir he did. With the only thing that could stir buried spirits. The Word planted in his heart by the King above all Kings spoken at the appointed time.

This, Dear Readers, is what John did. And he baptized the stirred -those who accepted the hard, precious, holy Word. And when the religious came, he called them a brood of vipers and gave them the same message.

Repent!

Produce Fruit Worthy Of Repentance!

Prepare the Way of the Lord!

And Then He, the Messiah,

Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordon coming to John, to be baptized by him. But John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?”

But Jesus answering said to him, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he permitted Him.

And after being baptized Jesus went up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon Him, and behold a voice out of the heavens, saying, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased.” (Matthew 3:13-17)

Ponder that. Prophecy fulfilled. Again. And John touching and baptizing the One he said he was unworthy to even untie His sandals. Oh, but the King had spoken. John- content to fulfill the crying out, the preaching, the life of wilderness living… but this… he had not expected. At the end of looong obedience is Jesus in unexpected, holy ways.

And you. Born at this time. For a purpose: To Repent! To produce fruit worthy of repentance! To prepare the way of the Lord!

You have purpose, Dear Reader. I bless you with your spirit being stirred by your Maker and His Word for such times as these. I bless You with agreeing with Him and depending on Him in new ways and on new adventures.

Bless you, Reader, in the special way God crafted you, to prepare the way for His second coming. May you walk in all the fullness of Him and at the end of looong obedience, I pray He knock your socks, sandals, boots, or heels off with Himself in unexpected ways.

King of endless worth
No one could express
How much you deserve
Though I’m weak and poor
All I have is yours
Every single breath