Sunday, October 31, 2010


The leaves linger on the trees in these parts, and I am quite thankful for the prolonged contemplation the warm days provide. Full days pinch out needed ponderings, and it seems this southern season has beguiled me with its extended donnings of sunny days. I get shallow at these times, and each thought comes as a skimming of events, without that needful rumination of digested experience. Such is life, and with the tarrying warmth, I linger here to savor some of God's goodness with you.

I am about to share a little rawness with you all (if there is anyone left:), so please be warned. I communed with a young man last night whose situation has awakened my spirit, and I must share it with you all.

I am unaware of how our conversation began. At some point, and in some way he began to divulge his life to me, and his current, complicated circumstances. He is, and has been sleeping with an HIV positive man, has contracted what seemed like a gaggle of STD's, and has had no real intention of preventing greater mayhem from occuring.

I asked him if he valued his life at all, and then listened in sadness and horror as his tale unfolded. I lingered long over my choice of words as my mind flashed to 18. He intimated of the stranglehold this young man has over him, and how powerless he is to do anything to stop himself. While he spoke, I slipped into memory where I recalled the depths of my own bondage, and the deeper horrors which were all present at that time in my life. I recounted my hopeless estate that was coupled with the talon-grip of sin's demands, and my own inability to do anything to loose its grip. I recalled that pit, and the cordial my flesh kept administering as I lost more and more control of myself and my life. I recounted the despair and the despondency, and then, with a brightness surpassing the multiplied degrees of darkness -- I recalled grace.

The words in John came to mind as hope filled my face "the thief only comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but I come that they might have life, and have it abundantly." (10:10) A deluge of words came flooding out on that poor fellow, and in the quiet of Rahab, us poor sinner's spoke of our need. We prayed and he shared more of his life until it was time to depart.

A temptation had been nagging me at work, and as I pulled away from his house I was humbled -- yet again, to have these truths nail me as they do. Sin promises something that only God can give, and the One that gave it all, is the only One to satisfy. Vainly we corral our desires into empty vaults which require more with each deposit made, when that blessed One, with arms outstretched is there waiting. Allow our Lord to harvest great wreaths of grace from His hand in your life, and tell of it, for to some, the savor is of life.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Do you know of that solemnity that accompanies any great depth of emotion? That deep, inward reveling of the creature that follows meditation upon ineffably wonderful truths?

Mid-terms have been upon me, and the tyranny of the urgent has all but ravaged me in this time. It seemed that every nerve that could be tweaked, was indeed fried, and frazzledly I found my knees.

Prayer is a strange thing, for at times it is strenuously exacted, where at others its flow is unending and life seems impossibly lived one moment without it. I felt corked Wednesday, and every attempt at words was futile. I tried to read. Fury. Meditation, sin. The Spirit elapsed time, and as rain first falls hard on dry ground, softness follows those pelting penetrations.

Confession came in a deluge, and as one thought was uncovered, multitudes came tripping on its heels. I opened the Valley of Vision's "Need of Grace" to: "Thou makest me possess the sins of my youth, and the dreadful sin of my nature, so that I feel all sin, I cannot think or act but every motion is sin." Surely a man cannot stay here, but to be graced with sight into the horrifying caverns of his depravity is but a gift. Linger long in confession, for the flesh will tempt you to say "this is enough," but with each uncovering you will soon find that each good circumstance is couched and coveted by that vessel in your bosom, and it must certainly be exposed and changed.

The following line in "Need of Grace" is "return again with showers of converting grace to a poor gospel-abusing sinner. Help my soul to breathe after holiness, after a constant devotedness to Thee, after growth in grace more abundantly every day." The gospel is not so sweet to the man whose righteousness exceeds his own understanding of his crooked heart, but the grace of our Lord is ineffably wonderful to the sinner who has both seen his heart, and known His grace.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My desire for the pen has been almost incessant, but time has simply not made way for desire. Encroaching deadlines should convince me to not sit for this post, but it seems that I must. My sweet mother's birthday was the 7th, and every intention to arrange some words has vaporized in my scurrying about.

I have been in Psalm 23, and misty thoughts have hovered dually regarding my Master and mother's care. I thank God for my dear mother, and especially for the wonderful and practical ways she has nurtured and tended to my life. My love of gardening, canning, and beauty stems from her, and truly no one has ever loved me as my ma. I suppose my understanding of unconditional love comes from her, and never has someone so selflessly given of themselves as she. I often treat her, like my Lord, with that kind of familiar irreverence that is damning, and inexcusable. Like my Lord though, she is gracious and slow to anger, and I am ever thankful for her! Thank you God, for the ministry of mothers.

My psalms class has landed me long in Psalm 23, and a day arrived for deck sitting, so, with whispering maples above, I sat in my chair while my Shepherd lead me off. The first line--nay, first two words held me captive, and as the text unfolded I found some trembling roused at "I shall not want." Philip Keller wrote a masterpiece on this Psalm called "A Shepherd looks at Psalm 23," and I highly recommend it. His study is from both a scholarly Biblical view, and that of several decades experience as a Shepherd in the mid-East. He takes this endearing piece, and with his wind worn hands, leads you to the stream where he sits you down to smell the dirt that feeds the sheep, therein strengthening every simile to nestle down perfectly in the believer's bosom. This day I was not in this book, but my eyes landed on the words of Matthew Henry, "More is implied than is expressed, not only, I shall not want, but, "I shall be supplied with whatever I need; and, if I have not every thing I desire, I may conclude it is either not fit for me or not good for me or I shall have it in due time."

These words landed as the timely drops beyond my windows, and I've concluded that I must post them somewhere blatant. These are the sweetest promises to a soul, for even through the valley, I have a Shepherd, leading, providing, and arranging my days and years through the tender orderings of His Providence and care. I have a Shepherd who gave up His life for His sheep, and continues arranging "goodness and lovingkindness to follow [literally pursue] me all the days of my life." Tomorrow beckons an answer from me, and I am told to answer him with the sufficiency of today, and look myself to the whirling of the lilies, whose glory shames my toil, and chastens my want.

Friday, October 1, 2010

October 1

My morning reading in Spurgeon has colored my soul in fall. He spoke of the fruits of seasons in our hearts; of the old and new, and what harvest the Lord is desiring to make in us. It's not felt like fall, but I am applying this notion to my heart, as I so desire to remove the old leaven--which is so paralyzing to progress.

I am here in this new place, and the unshakable and pervasive thoughts have been of my intensity and my seeming inability to function at the normal levels of human experience. This has always been my problem. I feel things so deeply, and I estrange myself from people because I just can't seem to temper this blasted inferno that rages within.

The words "beach comber" came to mind this morning. I had no real idea what this was, but I felt like one. Passing through any number of scenarios seems to present both an unwritten script, and a seething mass of unrealized potential and unspoken sorrows. I'd quite like to simply perceive these things, but instead they enter and imbue the very nature of my soul. A sifting takes place and that filter of experince and scripture begins combing through the scenario and the weights perceived stack up in my heart. I have felt like an onlooker most of life, and one that must run around on the outskirts of society for I know not how to simply be as others are. I seek not to complain of this, and as one posted earlier of the Clay answering to the Potter, I instead desire to seek out how I might adorn the gospel with this cracked pot.

We are common clay, and the ways of man are not unique. The isolation present in my mind and because of my fears is akin to any one of my readers sentiments, and as I bear the commonness that feels so peculiar to me, I hope to enliven your hearts as well. I know not how this be done, but as I feel always on the verge of some revolution, I again stir. A revolt from that which is common and customary, and out into fearful and unreserved trust. . . Hmmm...

So, here is the journal photo of hope, Deb and Dorothy. I tried to unite the prisms and yellow idea, and it is was before the suggestion of green came along. Also, the photo above is from last year this day. I chuckled when I read of it, for my wrestlings were just as todays. Abrupt and random as this is, enjoy. Thank you mom and dad for being so wonderful to me.