Subsidized Vandalism …

… of the pristine Iowa horizon.

This is a hand-held time exposure, so not the best quality photo.  All those red lights on the horizon are a warning-blink from part of a new wind farm being installed between me and the next mile over.  There are close to a hundred of them.  I’m already missing my unadulterated view.  Yesterday’s blog photo was before this blight on God’s landscape.  I freely admit that I am struggling to find a good face to put on this project.  If these machines pulled their own weight in the economy, I suppose I would find some solace in that. As it is, I have to reconcile myself to the fact that I am paying taxes that are going to blight in my own neck of the cornfield.

I have to return my focus on things above and remember that at the day of the Lord, this too will pass (2 Peter 3:10).

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Steadfast of Mind

 

The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock. – Isaiah 26:3-4

Me:
Good morning Father!

ABBA:
Good morning Jon!

Me:
It is not easy being steadfast in mind.

ABBA:
I spoke to you about that yesterday by My Holy Spirit.

Me:
You said to be mindful of what I focus my attention on.

ABBA:
I did. I Am able to see all. I see the beginning and the ending, for I Am the Alpha and the Omega; the First and the Last (Revelation 22:13). I Am unconstrained by time, for time is of the physical realm and I Am Spirit (John 4:24). I do not look only on the outward appearance, but upon even the thoughts and intents of the heart (Psalm 44:21).

You do not see as I see. I designed your mind to be able to focus. I am mindful that you are but dust (Genesis 2:7, Psalm 103:14). I Am not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). Instead, I bring order out of chaos (Genesis 1:2).

I intend You to seek Me for today (Hebrews 3:15). I gave a picture of this when I provided manna for the Israelites. I satisfied their hunger in the wilderness. They were instructed to gather what they needed for the day, plus some extra the day before the Sabbath, when they were to simply rest in Me. If they tried to store it up, the manna would spoil (Exodus 16).

Jesus told you not to worry about tomorrow, for each day has enough trouble of it’s own (Matthew 6:34). That does not mean you should not plan, only that you should not worry. Worry is focused on trouble. Proper planning focuses on achievement (Luke 14:28).

Me:
Thank You Father! Help me keep my eyes on Jesus my Example and my Savior (Hebrews 12:2) and to set my mind on things above (Colossians 3:1-2). Let my ears be attentive to Your Word and my hands ready to do your calling from the heart! I love You!

ABBA:

You are welcome! Those are prayers that I Am willing to help with, obviously, for I have told you to do these things for your own benefit; because I love you!

Rest and Responsibility

Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

Me:
Good morning Father!

ABBA:
Good morning Jon!

Me:
This is not the first time lately You have instructed me to rest in You.

ABBA:
I know that it is difficult for you. I made you with a high sense of responsibility. What I need you to see is that the most responsible thing for you to do is to recognize that it is My doing that makes all the difference.

Me:
How do I properly put that sense of responsibility that You put in my makeup to work in a way that it fulfills its proper function and does not just end up producing stress?

ABBA:
One thing to recognize is that the enemy knows you. He may not truly understand My purposes, but he knows how to pull your strings, so to speak.

Me:
I want to learn how to be all that You intend me to be and also how not to give him any latitude for manipulation. What You intend for good should never be subverted for bad! Not even to produce stress in myself.

ABBA:
You have heard the secret to the martial art of Judo is to use the momentum of an opponent against him. In the spiritual realm, think of striving as momentum and resting in Me as a perfect counter to the very principle that gives the enemy the ability to use your own energy against you. True achievements are enabled in My power. The voice of the enemy will encourage you to glory in successes as though they were your own; ever striving for the next one. I remind you of Paul’s words of admonishment to the Corinthians: … so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other. For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? [1 Corinthians 4:6-7]

Me:
Are You telling me that my sense of responsibility is a gift that I have received?

ABBA:
A gift, and also one aspect of being made in My image (though every one is unique). Like every spiritual thing bestowed upon My children, it is a power for good when exercised in Me and powerfully destructive when operating apart from Me. This is the nature of power. Moment by moment, breath by breath, the heart focuses on things above or on things below. This is so because I have determined that you shall determine your way, whether you will walk with Me or not. I know you have heard the quote attributed to Francois-Marie Arouet (Voltaire), “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Me:
Yes, I have heard it. I have heard that he was disturbed by the abuse of power and privilege while the poor and downtrodden suffered.

ABBA:
He was exactly right about the linkage between power and responsibility. The power which I bestow can only be properly exercised in Me. It is the responsibility of the bearer of the gift to present it for My purposes, else it will putrefy under the direction of self-interest and produce only rottenness.

Me:
Voltaire had pretty mixed opinions about things of faith.

ABBA:
Do not all men? He saw the misuse of power in the church as well as in the government. Still, his reasoning was not without its flaws. This is the nature of reason.

Me:
I suppose we do. I want to know You in all Your ways and learn to miss-step less often.

ABBA:
Then keep looking to Me, as I Am the One to guide you. I have given Jesus as Example and the Holy Spirit as Enabler.

Me:
I am grateful for Your guiding hand in my life. I would obviously not have any hope of enjoying all that You have promised except You teach me to walk in the Truth. I love You!

ABBA:
You are welcome to all the guidance you will accept. I love you!

A New Perspective

Me:
Good morning Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit:

Good morning Jon!

Me:

I heard a teaching this week about getting our statements on the right side of our “buts”. The man reflected that our tendency is to talk about a promise or statement of truth in the scripture and then say “but my experience has been …” and then recount whatever we think is not living up to the promise. For example, one might say, “The scripture says ‘I Am the God who heals you’, but I feel awful.” He (rightly) pointed out that in that grammatical structure, that the thing that comes after the “but” negates the part that came before and that it is better to put the scriptural promise after the negating conjunction.

This morning in my reading, I came to Psalm 13, which seems a good example:

How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?
How long will You hide Your face from me?
2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
Having sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long will my enemy be exalted over me?

3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,
4 And my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
And my adversaries will rejoice when I am shaken.

5 But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness;
My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
6 I will sing to the Lord,
Because He has dealt bountifully with me.

Though the Psalmist starts out speaking with the voice of despair, at least in the end he voices the optimism of Truth.

Holy Spirit:
How much better to both start and end with the promise before one decides to spend two-thirds of one’s breath on the depressing things he doesn’t want; in fact, on the depression itself? When David was focused on the negative, he came to the belief that God had forgotten him. Is that the truth? Later, he came to know the truth:

Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders which You have done, And Your thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count. Psalm 40:5

 

There was good reason that We included in the scripture statements like Matthew 18:18

Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.

and Matthew 21:21

And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen.

Many things can have you bound.  Even your attitude can bind you. Are you likely to get something done if you believe that you can’t? There are no hand-holds in the pit of depression by which to lift yourself up even to peer over the rim. You have to look for My Hand extended to you to lift you out. Here is a truth about that:

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

There is nothing more binding than believing lies about Me. That is why the serpent started with that tactic in the garden, calling into question the veracity of My Word.  Also, do not miss the import of the contrast of the temporal nature of “on earth” and “in heaven” as given in Matthew 18:18. The attitudes you espouse and the words with which you express them may be active and observable “on earth” –which is passing away but be not deceived, the freedom or bondage you are choosing here and now has spiritual consequences which are not passing away and are affecting you and all of existence in ways that are spiritual and are unseen and is not constrained by time as the physical universe is.

Me:
Thank You Holy Spirit! I love You! Please help me ingrain Your Truth into my life and improve my attitude and the things I reinforce with what I say!

Holy Spirit:
You’re welcome! I love you! I Am helping you.

Me:
Good morning Father!
ABBA:
Good morning Jon!
Me:
We watched an old movie last night: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I found it disturbing, the inmates of the insane asylum stripped of their fundamental human rights by their keepers and afforded no dignity as those made in Your image.  It would have been different if the authorities running the institution were actually trying to help those afflicted.  But, not only that, it highlighted the ravages of Satan’s work on the mind and heart – on both sides of the institutional hierarchy. Of course You know my attempts to help my own brother and how that has worked out.  I don’t know now whether he is even alive.  But I can surely understand his fierce desire to remain independent, even if he doesn’t eat.
ABBA:
Yes, the film did not whitewash how Satan’s schemes play out in the lives of My children.  It saddens me that it is so.  That is why Jesus came to redeem.
Me:
Even though the Lamb of God has paid the price for sins, it still seems to prove unlikely that the deceived will put their faith in Him.  Except You cause them to hear and cause them to see, it seems they remain unaware of the Gift.  Maybe not unaware, in many cases, more that they are unwilling.
ABBA:
Consider this passage:

10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” 11 Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. 12 For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says,‘You will keep on hearing, but will not understand;
You will keep on seeing, but will not perceive;
15 For the heart of this people has become dull,
With their ears they scarcely hear,
And they have closed their eyes,
Otherwise they would see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
And understand with their heart and return,
And I would heal them.’ (Quoted from Isaiah 6.)
16 But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. 17 For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. (Matthew 13)
Me:
Why, Lord?  Why has it not been granted for them to know the mysteries of the kingdom?  How do I reconcile this with the scripture that says You are not willing that any should perish? (2 Peter 3:9)


ABBA:
If I make all the Truth obviously and irrefutably plain to those who have not already chosen to embrace Me, you could not say they actually had a choice in the matter.  The plain explanations to the disciples show what it is like for those who have already decided to follow Me.  The choice comes first, then the revelation.  I Am not willing that any should perish.  But I choose to keep My desire subjugated to the choice of the individual.  I do know the end from the beginning.  I could have chosen to give you no choice.  I desired that those who love Me do so of their own free will. Nothing short of that actually fits My definition of love.
As far as reconciling the scripture, if your foundation is the knowledge that I Am the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, you will suspect that the passage in the Greek is much more nuanced than the English translation shows.  Isaiah’s prophecy sheds more light.  The people do not hear because of their hearts.  They close their eyes.  Is that not a voluntary act?

Me:
Thank You Father!  I am grateful for Your patient explanations!  I love you!
ABBA:
You are welcome!  I love you!