Archive | December 2015


Why behold?

“…so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son…(Colossians 1:10-13)

What a terrific way to greet the darkest day of the year – being reminded of having been delivered from the domain of darkness! Paul’s statements are outrageously expansive, powerful, and otherworldly – in the very best of ways!

Each year I heartily look forward to the time between All Saints and Epiphany. Yet as it winds to its close, some of the glimmer seems to disappear. I cannot say it’s an entirely personal phenomenon, or if there’s a collective melancholia that sets in, or a case of seasonal affective disorder due to living in a not too sunny part of the planet. But does that really matter? How it’s addressed does matter.

Some even now celebrate the hegemony of darkness in its cosmic and symbolic form, as the Winter Solstice marks the time of greatest darkness. I choose to see it somewhat differently, focusing on what happens about three days after the Solstice. We commonly refer to it as Christmas.

Christmas has its correspondences with the Easter story, if we can scrutinize that idea just a bit. Here’s how I see it. After three days of what appears to be the victory of darkness, the Son rises up out of it, triumphing over it, to begin His reign in earnest upon the Earth – ever increasing in His strength and glory. Here He comes, piercing the darkness with the brightness of His arising! Somehow this thought makes the “SAD” disappear. It’s a view that absolutely catalyzes the “manufacture” of “spiritual Vitamin D”! Deliverance from darkness!

If we look around us, it appears that darkness struggles to maintain its vicious hold on the minds and lives of people and the world itself. But the “Word” (made flesh Who dwelt among us) went forth, piercing that darkness two-thousand years ago. Could it be that it is only a sort of”blindness” to it that keeps us from seeing how near and present His work of spiritual liberation from darkness really is? Or is the blindness due to turning away from the Light, refusing it?

The more we focus on the darkness which is passing away, and not the Light Who has come into the world, the less we perceive His truth, His reality, and all that He offers us – from the unlimited and eternal resources of His Reality of infinite and unconditional Love. So, dare we to conclude that where we choose to put our focus may determine our experience?

There is a choice to “behold”: either we choose to behold the Light and Fire of His all consuming Grace, or we choose to behold the freak show circus of a construct which is passing away. It’s said that where the focus goes the energy flows. So I must ask myself, where is my focus? What am I beholding?

Oh, that phenomenal, outrageously powerful word – almost a command – “Behold!” “Behold the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world!” cries out John the Baptizer. The angels greet the shepherds with it as the Christ’s birth lights up the world, “Behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy which shall be to all people…” Even Pontius Pilate on that darkest morning calls out, “Behold the man!”

The invitation comes from everywhere at all times, sometimes even the strangest of mouthpieces: “Behold Him!” Look more deeply! See what’s really right here right now. “Does not wisdom call, And understanding lift up her voice? On top of the heights beside the way, Where the paths meet, she takes her stand; Beside the gates, at the opening to the city, At the entrance of the doors, she cries out: “To you, O men, I call, And my voice is to the sons of men.” (Proverbs 8:1-4)

For to behold is to draw nigh unto God, and it is promised that as we do so, He will draw nigh unto us. Behold Him then, in Whom redemption and restoration are sourced!

Today – the day when it is the darkest day of the year – I’m moved to spend as much time as possible in a scripture search for wherever the directive “Behold!” is used. This is an exercise and a study for turning away my focus from the darkness of circumstances and limitation, to the Truth and Light of the Son wherein is found the radiance of every blessing and more, addressed in our initial opening Scripture focus for this contemplation. I invite you to go back and read it.

Dear reader, you are invited to join in the beholding. Could it be that the Holy Spirit wishes to draw our beholding, our focus, away from the darkness of circumstances which are passing away, so as to “re-turn” us toward the glorious brightness of the Son, the Daystar Who arises in our hearts, and all the beauty and goodness that are to be found in Him? Could it be that He would like to give us a glimpse at what “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him”(1 Corinthians 2:9)?

Perhaps we might then realize, as we behold by faith (far more powerful than natural sight, or the focus on the finite self!), that the greatest gifts are already on the scene, yet unseen, and waiting to be opened?

All glory to Emmanuel, God with us! Now and forever. Amen.


(Originally published here:

Fear Not

Fear not, for I Am with you. Even if you are going through the consequences of your foolishness, I ever seek to draw you to Me.

Come to Me, you who are weary. I always stand ready to lift you up out of the burdens of darkness, back into the Light for which you were created in the first place. Come to Me; learn from Me, for I Am with you.

If you acknowledge that I Am everywhere present, then you know that I Am now here, and it cannot be otherwise – although your dimmed perceptions and the voices of chaos and darkness tell you that I am nowhere to be found.

But again I say, fear not, for I Am with you.

Look to Me; I Am here to set you free to be in Me. Have you not called Me Emmanuel – God with us? And so I Am. Come to Me. Know Me. Learn of Me. I do not condemn, for I Am unconditional Love Who has come looking for My beloved. I Am Love that sets free, heals, and restores you. That is all I want – to love you as you were meant to be loved!

Fear not, for I Am with you. Look for Me, and you will see Me. Turn around and look. I Am with you.



The Practice of Blessing

Blessing Practice.png

It’s that time of year again. Some people “Bah, humbug!” during the whole time when ’tis the season to be jolly. The insights that follow are for that person, as well as the one who’s habitually “hum bugging” about something or someone. Been there, done that. Still working on it. Preaching to the “inner choir”! Here are some things I’ve discovered about the practice of blessing life, situations, and people that may help you.

At the outset – if it bothers you, bless it. And keep on blessing. Blessing is very creative…

If that person annoys you, don’t criticize or complain; choose instead to bless him or her. And keep on blessing.

If that situation never seems to change, stop complaining about it, railing against it, or cursing it. Just bless it. And keep on blessing.

The reason “it” is still here is because you resist it, and whatever you resist will persist – You put out resistance, it’s what you get back! You are planting seeds of resistance, and a sure harvest you will get. Everything will resist you! Often rather speedily. It’s “the law” of sowing and reaping in action – in a very common form: whining, complaining, gossiping, micromanaging, control freaking… Back out of its way by a choice to change the response to blessing whatever you’re reacting to, and let it pass through.

Keep on blessing! Things will change.

Things may arrive on the scene repeatedly, and you may wonder, “Why does this keep happening to me? Why does this person have to be in my space? Why will no one listen to me?” Did you ever consider that your “litany” of grievances is a form of resisting. It is a negative thought-prayer that works against you. So whatever you’re resisting is persisting. And so it shall – until you learn to bless.

Did you ever consider that “it” may be waiting for your blessing instead of your resistance, so it can go its way, and you can move on too? Otherwise you are stuck in your conundrum.

The blessing response is not natural, no. It’s supernatural! Blessing what we don’t like or what displeases us is God in action working through us.

Could the unpleasant and the annoying be your “Teacher” trying to reveal that life would be better if your responses were different? Consistently. If God is omnipresent, then He is here in this situation or this person. It may be His best disguise.

Otherwise, keep on responding as you always have – complaining, fussing, fuming, being resentful – and you’ll always get what you always got.

It’s up to you.

Christ often asked, “Do you want to be healed?” In order for that to happen, for example, He asked the man beside the pool (John 5:6) to do something different than he’d done before, different than he’d responded to his situation in decades! He had to break the pattern of doing what he’d always done. It may seem like an unreasonable request, but with God all things are possible. It may even have sounded like this: “Stop bemoaning your situation and waiting for someone to do something for you. Now – get up! Pick up that bed you’ve been lying on! And walk out of here!” He couldn’t see that he had the power within himself to change things, so he was in a sense living a lie. Jesus had to get him to see he could get up and walk.

So even learning to bless – rather than criticize and constantly complain – is possible with God! That is if you want to be healed of a critical spirit. Stop doing that and choose to bless. Yes, it will feel really odd at first. But when you notice things changing around you, you will begin to delight in blessing everyone and everything! It positively energizes your life, even your physical body!

We may not have control over what has arrived on the scene – that may have been the result of other seeds planted in the past, but we can choose a holy response to “it” here and now, and we can choose to make those holy responses a habit. Such responses create the future anew! Such responses are God moving through us, so that in blessing we can be blessed!

Did you ever think of it that way?

One wonders what would have happened had Jesus NOT prayed, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”? An unnatural but absolutely supernatural choice at the darkest moment! He chose to bless them with His prayer for forgiveness. It doesn’t get any more noble than that!

The “natural” response – the knee jerk reaction – the anger given a voice every time, is seldom ever going to change anything, except to make it worse, or perpetuate it – although it may be temporarily ego satisfying. (See James 1:20)

Here’s the best guide and reminder on this I can think of: “Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:9)

We can make a prayer – affirmation about it to use and contemplate every day: Let me each day consistently plant the seeds of blessing in all things, all people, all situations, and at all times, for I know that I have been called to bless in order that I may receive a blessing.

Question for contemplation: What are some people or situations where you find yourself consistently rehearsing a litany of grievances, where you could plug in a new response of blessing instead, and make a habit of it – with the Holy Spirit’s help of course?

Proverbially Speaking / Chapter 23

Priorities In The Kingdom Of Heaven

“Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, Cease from your consideration of it. When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings Like an eagle that flies toward the heavens.” (Proverbs 23:4,5 NASB)

Another translation of “cease from the consideration of it” is “be discerning enough to desist”… I suppose this might be the Scriptural rendition of “know when to hold ‘em, and when to fold ‘em. (?) Worldly wealth is always an elusive thing that flies away from us. Why? Because “the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1 John 2:17)

Somehow this reminds me of an old song called “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles”. The lyrics go like this:

I’m forever blowing bubbles
Pretty bubbles in the air
They fly so high, nearly reach the sky
Then like my dreams they fade and die
Fortune’s always hiding
I’ve looked everywhere
I’m forever blowing bubbles
Pretty bubbles in the air.

You can hear the Doris Day rendition here:

It appears that things have not changed much. All over the world, it’s about the “pretty bubbles” – the American dream… the envy of the rest of the world.

Pretty bubbles feature big this time of year as well, as people seek to give or get the most lavish gifts, as if the price tag is any indicator of love or depth of relationship.

Could it be this is where even all the global conflicts arise – who has more pretty bubbles than the next one? My bubbles aren’t good enough. I want yours!

As I began my day, so is its end, for this morning’s focus for meditation was John 6:27 – “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.” The word “sealed” used here means to stamp as with a signet or private mark for security or preservation.

God’s kingdom isn’t about the pretty bubbles. It is lasting. Everlasting. And secure. Psalm 143:13 informs us, “Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.” God doesn’t deal in eagles that fly away from us, nor pretty bubbles that fade away and die with our dreams.

Yet how often do we hear the “encouragement” (better word, please?) to “follow your dreams”, and “go for it”, or to spend your life in self seeking and satisfying? God’s “economy” – how things really work in the Universe – is about giving, not getting. And giving without a view of anything in return… Far too radical an idea. Even in the churches. God must be more joyous than anyone – all He does is live to give, to bless. For God is love!

There must be some need of communicating what is being said here, since there was no real personal intention or agenda compelling me to sit down and write on this particular theme this evening. I simply realized that it had been awhile since I’d worked on “Proverbially Speaking”, and Chapter 23 was up next. Verses 4 and 5 beckoned. And so I decided to cross reference them.

Now, here is the wealth to be sought! Not in terms of the world, but in terms of everlasting treasure in heaven… A theme repeated often. Twice today, in fact, brought personally to my attention. One of those “verily, verily” moments with Jesus? One “verily” this morning, one “verily” this evening. There are no coincidences.

“But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” (1 Timothy 6:8-10)

Yet would the TV preacher hucksters find themselves without an audience if they did not preach “get rich with God”? Would the churches of me, myself, and I have to close their doors if they taught crucifixion of self in Christ Jesus, per His message?

Both Old and New Testaments practically scream at us to repent of our upside down priorities. Is it mere coincidence that the wisest king of them all, Solomon, muses about his accomplishments, “Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 2:11)

Donald Trump would look beggarly by comparison to King Solomon! This man went after it all; he grabbed for all the gusto – accomplishing everything he set himself to do… which seems a bit curious, since in the beginning he had sought from God only wisdom to wisely manage his people and responsibilities, but not riches… And at the end of the day, it was all vanity, or futility.