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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Not Roughshod

Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. Romans 15:1-2

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Me:
Good morning Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit:
Good morning Jon!

Me:
I need Your hope, Holy Spirit! In dealing with my brother, I am prone to expect only more of the same. More of the same that led to his state of homelessness, though we were paying his rent and utilities. I don’t know what Paul was talking about here. What did he mean to “bear the weaknesses of those without strength”? I plainly see my brothers physical impairments. How would one bear those weaknesses of his? Does paying his rent because he in not equipped to work qualify? That did not keep him from getting tossed out last June because of his actions and refusal to cooperate with his landlord about her demand that he stop running a cockroach breeding operation in her apartment; or his insistence in accommodating feral cats in a doors-always-open fashion. Once he was evicted, we didn’t even know where he was for more than six months. Six months including the punishing heat of summer and freezing cold of winter. When he called week before last because his car quit, he said he had been staying in an “unheated barn” and that he had to get out of there. After a couple of other calls, it came out that he was really staying in town in the metal building of an auto repair business. And, he said he had seen us “sneaking around” when we drove a thousand miles one way last June to try to help him. Now he says “he is dieing here” and doesn’t know what to do. I don’t doubt that is close to true. Yet he vehemently refuses to call his doctor, though that amazing man has continued to treat him in spite of enduring many curses to his face. He also rejects the many that are ministering to the homeless in various ways.

Well, You see what I mean. I need Your hope. And wisdom. The help given to him before only led to reinforcement of the hate toward me that our mother fed in him for her own inscrutable reasons. I can see the resentment because he can’t do for himself, though he is wired to be fiercely independent. I get that. I also know You wired me to be responsible. Please help me do that with the right attitude: in joy and not in guilt.

Holy Spirit:
I Am well aware of these things. You should not lose sight of the fact that he has survived six months with no contact from you whatsoever. It is Me that you need to be believing in, if you want all joy and peace. I have not given you an end-all answer for how to proceed because if I did, you would feel driven to embark on it in your own power. That is not a harsh criticism. I know the way you are formed in your inmost parts. I Am at work in this situation and you will be involved with Me one step at a time. As for your brother, strong motivation is necessary in order to get change in a stubborn heart. You would rescue immediately, if it were possible. Trust me when I tell you that would be counter-productive. Even the salvation that Jesus purchased for you, in His own blood, does not automatically cover you. You must recognize your need and repent of your wrongdoing and surrender your pride and consent by asking Him to bring you in. Though this is your greatest need, We do not run roughshod over your will.

Me:
Thank You Holy Spirit! I love you! I submit myself to Your plan, though I have not seen it yet. I will follow the steps that You reveal.

Holy Spirit:
You are welcome! I love you!

The Truth Will Make You Free

31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?”
34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are Abraham’s descendants; yet you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. 38 I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father.”
39 They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus *said to them, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham. 40 But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. 41 You are doing the deeds of your father.” They said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father: God.” 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. 43 Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.”
48 The Jews answered and said to Him, “Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?” 49 Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. 50 But I do not seek My glory; there is One who seeks and judges. 51 Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death.” 52 The Jews said to Him, “Now we know that You have a demon. Abraham died, and the prophets also; and You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste of death.’ 53 Surely You are not greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets died too; whom do You make Yourself out to be?” 54 Jesus answered, “If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God’; 55 and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I will be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” 57 So the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” 59 Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple.  [John 8]

Me:
Good morning Father!

ABBA:
Good morning Jon!

Me:
Father, You have provided a wealth of revelation in these words of Jesus, which we know from His own testimony that He got from You!  I even see Him describing for any who would listen exactly how He heard from You: “I speak the things that I have seen with My Father” (v38).

ABBA:
Yes, He was speaking of that facility that I built into you to “see” intuitively or imaginatively.  Some call it “the mind’s eye” or visual imagery.  You know from long experience that it can be used to help focus on solutions to the things you are working on.  In these last few years, I have shown you through Mark Virkler’s teaching that you can turn that aptitude toward spending time with Me and have faith that I will honor your seeking.

7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, [g]will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!  [Matthew 7]

Me:
Father, I could scarcely hope to express proper gratitude for the gift of regularly being able to spend time with You!  Since my mid-teen years, I would have acknowledged that I belong to You.  Until I learned the value of honoring our time together by writing it down (Habakkuk 2), though, the progression of my relationship with You was nothing like it is now.  There are many other things that You told the prophet in that chapter that were keeping my relationship with You on the fringes of my life for many years; even preventing me from hearing from You at all for long stretches.

ABBA:
I have given You that insight. Notice even the word insight is descriptive of our meeting.  I give you clues everywhere you look with the capability to visualize that I Myself have placed within you that you might be with Me.  And you are right that many things have the capacity to interfere with our meeting:

  • Pride, for the soul of the proud is not right within him.
  • Inattention, which tells Me you do not care to meet.  It is your choice.
  • Alcohol, for it anesthetizes your ability to see Me or to hear from Me.  In the end, it becomes an idol that you have given the place that belongs to Me.  It is no coincidence that your relationship with me was not really progressing until you confessed and quit.
  • Idol worship of any kind obstructs your ability to see Me, for in your worship, you have placed the thing of your desires in front of Me.
  • Unbelief, for he who would come to Me must believe that I will reward that faith. (Hebrews 11:6).

Me:
Father, I pray You will help me keep these things out of my life!  I don’t want anything to come between us ever again!

ABBA:
What did Jesus say in the passage you opened with?

Me:
“If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

ABBA:
Exactly.  All the things in the list I gave you from the second chapter of Habakkuk are shackles of bondage.  I Am free.  Nothing binds me, for I Am above all.   I desire to set you free.  With all that is within Me, I want you to be free.  It is a gift so precious that I was willing to ask Jesus, my own Son, to make the sacrifice for you.  He himself values freedom for you so much that He was willing to make the sacrifice of Himself.  He made the choice freely out of His love for you.  We value freedom so much that we allow you to freely choose to enter in, or not; even though it breaks Our heart that one would reject freedom in favor of an idol that will ultimately prove worthless.

Me:
I love you Father!  Thank You for building into my life the Truth and diligently making it clear that I can be free.  I lament that so few seem to value true freedom.

ABBA:
It is the nature of an idol to obstruct sight of the Truth.  You are welcome!  I Am have and I Am going to great lengths to set you free.  I Am glad that you are one who sees the value in it.

Presumption

Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults.
Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins;
Let them not rule over me;
Then I will be blameless,
And I shall be acquitted of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:12ff

Me:
Good morning Father!
ABBA:
Good morning Jon!
Me:
[My wife] asked my opinion about several things this morning that relate to someone accurately judging the state of his relationship with You, and whether any other can know or even be comforted by that knowledge when mortal life comes to an end. We have the same difficulty in assessing our own relationship with You, from a purely rational perspective. This question is voiced in the Psalm above. Who can discern his errors? Elsewhere, the scripture says that every man’s way is right in his own eyes, but the end thereof is death. (Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25) Doing what ‘seems’ right is obviously perilous. In our society, voices are raised in an ever increasing din, proclaiming this thing that was previously held as sinful is the new virtue, or that thing which was thought to be blameless is now evil. Some of the loudest claim that the things that seem to be plainly stated in Your Word are the basis of “hate” and an affront to “diversity”. The various denominations argue endlessly about why Your Word doesn’t/can’t mean what it plainly says. The members of those denominations and of political systems struggle to gain dominance for their particular opinion; either about what You say, or – for those who claim You don’t even exist – what they say. Yet, You call us to a life of faith. How can the path be so hard to find?
ABBA:

Proverbs 21
1 The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord;
He turns it wherever He wishes.
2 Every man’s way is right in his own eyes,
But the Lord weighs the hearts.
3 To do righteousness and justice
Is desired by the Lord more than sacrifice.
4 Haughty eyes and a proud heart,
The lamp of the wicked, is sin.
5 The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage,
But everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.
6 The acquisition of treasures by a lying tongue
Is a fleeting vapor, the pursuit of death.
7 The violence of the wicked will drag them away,
Because they refuse to act with justice.
8 The way of a guilty man is crooked,
But as for the pure, his conduct is upright.
9 It is better to live in a corner of a roof
Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.
10 The soul of the wicked desires evil;
His neighbor finds no favor in his eyes.
11 When the scoffer is punished, the naive becomes wise;
But when the wise is instructed, he receives knowledge.
12 The righteous one considers the house of the wicked,
Turning the wicked to ruin.
13 He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor
Will also cry himself and not be answered.
14 A gift in secret subdues anger,
And a bribe in the bosom, strong wrath.
15 The exercise of justice is joy for the righteous,
But is terror to the workers of iniquity.
16 A man who wanders from the way of understanding
Will rest in the assembly of the dead.
17 He who loves pleasure will become a poor man;
He who loves wine and oil will not become rich.
18 The wicked is a ransom for the righteous,
And the treacherous is in the place of the upright.
19 It is better to live in a desert land
Than with a contentious and vexing woman.
20 There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise,
But a foolish man swallows it up.
21 He who pursues righteousness and loyalty
Finds life, righteousness and honor.
22 A wise man scales the city of the mighty
And brings down the stronghold in which they trust.
23 He who guards his mouth and his tongue,
Guards his soul from troubles.
24 “Proud,” “Haughty,” “Scoffer,” are his names,
Who acts with insolent pride.
25 The desire of the sluggard puts him to death,
For his hands refuse to work;
26 All day long he is craving,
While the righteous gives and does not hold back.
27 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination,
How much more when he brings it with evil intent!
28 A false witness will perish,
But the man who listens to the truth will speak forever.
29 A wicked man displays a bold face,
But as for the upright, he makes his way sure.
30 There is no wisdom and no understanding
And no counsel against the Lord.
31 The horse is prepared for the day of battle,
But victory belongs to the Lord.

I AM not the author of confusion. My Word if full of instructions like these that are intended to aid you in walking in the right way, and not merely in the way that seems right to the deceived. I AM the Lord, and I weigh the thoughts and intentions of the heart. My Word is intended as a source of meditation that over your years we may have opportunity to discuss My heart and My plan for you and for you to be transformed by the renewing of your mind by the power of My Spirit so that your plan lines up with My plan, and this of your own choosing. You should not expect My Word to be limited to your understanding; indeed, I AM not. You see, then, that your natural mind is actually incapable of encompassing all that I have already communicated. Despair not. You were made in My image. I AM Spirit. You are not limited by your natural mind. Those you refer to that argue endlessly have not attained that understanding. They are deceived. They do not yet know Me. It is hard to teach one who is convinced he already knows the answers.
As for the question of judging whether others have come to know Me, a better question is, “How much of Me have they come to know?”

Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12 KJV) [KJV explicitly includes ‘own’ which is in the original.]

“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. Matthew 7:1-6

Me:
What does the warning about dogs and swine mean? Who are dogs and swine? How can I know dogs and swine without judging?
ABBA:
Dogs and swine are those driven solely by their physical appetites. You can recognize them because by My Spirit, I will help you see in them the spirit that previously bound you and from which you have been set free. I intend that you help and encourage one another. Share what you learn out of love alone. You cannot, by any of your works, add to the completeness of salvation purchased for you by Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself on your behalf. Nor can you increase your standing with Me by your works. My love for you is a limitless love. Instead, know that you are My witness. (Acts 1:8) Witness from your own joy. The responsibility for how each one responds lies with himself.
Me:
Thank You for being so patient with me and for spending this time with me today. I am immeasurably blessed. I love You!
ABBA:
I love You, more than you can conceive! I love to spend time with you. When you are open to new understanding and are willing to concede that previous understandings may be too limiting or even wrong, you have a better chance of learning.