A Father’s Wrath

 

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Now he’s wrapped himself
in a trench coat of black-cloud darkness.
But his cloud-brightness bursts through,
spraying hailstones and fireballs.
Then God thundered out of heaven;
the High God gave a great shout,
spraying hailstones and fireballs.

But me he caught—reached all the way
from sky to sea; he pulled me out
Of that ocean of hate, that enemy chaos,
the void in which I was drowning.
They hit me when I was down,
but God stuck by me.
He stood me up on a wide-open field;
I stood there saved—surprised to be loved!

(Psalm 18: 11-13, 16-19 The Message)

Some people say God has no wrath, that He is all gentle universal soft love. But when evil threatens a father’s beloved child a good father will defend them and come to their aid -with a vengeance. Our heavenly Father’s wrath toward the evil one, the enemy of our souls, the one who comes to steal kill and destroy, is an indication of his love. He will act. He cares and He has emotion. He sent Jesus Christ to destroy the works of the devil. He is our defense.

Crazie Glasse

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Lord, how can man preach thy eternall word?
He is a brittle crazie glasse:
Yet in thy temple thou dost him afford
This glorious and transcendent place,
To be a window, through thy grace.

(from The Windows by George Herbert (1593-1633)

It’s amazing that silicon (the dust of the earth)  ground, fired, broken, pounded, fired again, and fashioned into shapes which make no sense when seen in isolation, can become a message of beauty in a Master’s artist’s hands. But in the dark it cannot been seen.

It is the light that makes glass glorious.

No Denying It

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“Negativity is killing you.”

That was the message from a little boy sitting beside me at the end of a conference table in my dream last night. At the other end was a person I admire who was talking about practising the fruit of the Spirit – especially peace.

When I woke up I argued with the Lord that I am really trying to be positive, and I’m much better than I used to be. I also want to be honest (integrity matters!) and isn’t speaking only positively and not acknowledging the darkness in the world just a form of denial? How can you pray about a problem if “there is no problem?” The Bible says nothing about “speaking that which is as if it is not.” That’s not faith! That’s sticking your head in the sand!

Oh God, there is so much darkness and evil and unbelief in this world! I can say that I have peace, but my body reminds me that stress is churning my stomach right now. I feel like a hypocrite when I deny the experts’ dire predictions.

The answer came: Negativity is denial when it gives more weight to what the enemy of your soul says than to what I say. Negativity is denial when you neglect to give thanks for all the ways I have already blessed you. Negativity is denial when you forget that I love you relentlessly. Negativity denies that I AM is sovereign and that I have overcome the one who came to steal, kill and destroy. Who is the talking head authority in your life? Which “expert” do you choose to listen to? The one who devours, or the One who loved you so much He overcame death just to set you free from it? Who do you choose to yoke up with?

So where do I find peace when darkness is all around? How can I  change atmospheres?

Jesus said: “I have told you all this so that you may find your peace in Me. You will find trouble in the world—but, never lose heart, I have conquered the world!” (John 16:33 JBP)

OK, Lord. Today I choose to keep my eyes on You. I will enter your gates with thanksgiving and your courts with praise.

For it is you who light my lamp;
    the Lord my God lightens my darkness.
 For by you I can run against a troop,
    and by my God I can leap over a wall.

(Psalm 18:28)

Broken Pieces

 

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The early morning sun streaming through a window brought my attention to a mosaic on the floor of the lobby of the hotel in Israel. In the previous few days we had seen many mosaics, or partial mosaics that had survived from the time of the Romans. Telling the stories of lives long gone, many were outstanding works of art that had endured for centuries. In such a context a contemporary mosaic was easy to overlook.

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This mosaic had in common the same feature of the ancient works though. It still required the down-on-the-knees painstaking placement of tiny pieces of fired, broken clay. The big picture required brokenness.

The words of a Gaither song from years ago came back to me. “Heart aches, broken pieces, ruined lives are why you died on Calvary…”

A lot of us put on a brave front; it’s how we cope in a competitive world that markets people with resumes and promotional materials. But God is not impressed with self-promotion. He wants our broken bits. He can work with broken bits.

Heartache? Failure? Disappointment? Regrets? An honest resume that itemizes our inability to get it together on our own is most impressive to Him. And when he takes us on He makes something beautiful of our lives.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
(Psalm 51:17)

“All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife, but He made something beautiful of my life.”

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Mystery

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Peace comes from within -when the Prince of Peace dwells within.

I [Paul] am a servant appointed by God to preach the Word of God until it is known to you and all over—what I am talking about is nothing less than  the mystery of the ages! What was hidden for ages, generations and generations, is now being revealed to His holy ones. He decided to make known to them His blessing to the nations; the glorious riches of this mystery is the indwelling of the Anointed in you! The very hope of glory. (Colossians 1:25-27)

Great is Thy Faithfulness

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Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,

Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above,

Join with all nature in manifold witness

To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Great is Thy faithfulness!

Great is Thy faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see.

All I have needed Thy hand has provided.

Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

-William Runyon

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