Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The Joy of Simple

God… was pleased to reveal His Son in me. (Galatians 1:15,16 NIV)

Spiritual discernment, perception, understanding and intelligence are all too rare. The causes are many. The engrossment with the work and its multifarious concerns; the rush and hurry of life; the restless spirit of the age; these, with an exhaustive provision of external religious facilities, all tend to render the inner place of Divine speaking inoperative or impossible of functioning. Perhaps we have forgotten that the Bible is not only a revelation, but also contains a revelation, and that that deeper spiritual content is only possible of recognition and realization by such as have had their eyes and ears opened; in other words – who have been awakened. Some of the Lord's most faithful servants are still only occupied with the letter of the Word, the contents of books, topics, themes, subjects, outlines, analyses, etc., and in the deepest sense are not in "revelation." (This is not meant as a criticism). The difference too often is that of a ministry to the mind or head, and not one to the heart or spirit. The former will sooner or later tire and weary both the minister and those ministered to. The latter is a ministry of Life to both, and is inexhaustible in freshness.

Whether it comes at the beginning or later, it is the greatest day in our history of which we can say: "It pleased God to reveal His Son in me." "I received it, not from men but by revelation." That is the beginning of an inwardness of things which may have many crisic issues. One of these is the one of which we are particularly thinking now, namely, the awakening to see what is the thought and desire of God at given and specific times. Such a revelation – through the Scriptures – is nothing less than revolutionary, though usually costly.

By T. Austin-Sparks from: The Candlestick All of Gold


My husband and I attended the funeral of an old friend last week. I must admit it’s one thing when you must bury your elders but when you start losing contemporaries it’s a sobering moment so I’ve been processing this. Gave me pause, I admit, but the real impact came from the spiritual experience I had that day that I’ve only just now been willing to speak about. Today’s devotional from T. Austin-Sparks gave me the courage to share. 

We had a quiet/reflective 1-1/2 hour drive to a decaying bucolic Georgia town, established in the 1800’s. Like any other small town USA, population 6000, there’s one funeral home; the venue for last rites for many decades.

The ceremony opened with a minister’s gentle sermon that began with the recollection of speaking with the deceased about his faith many years ago. Irv was raised a Methodist but was converted to Baptist, due to his wife’s urging, shortly after settling there, 45 years ago. They both attended the only Baptist Church and served the small congregation in many capacities for decades. 

Interesting the things you learn at a funeral about someone you thought you knew.

The sermon that followed the introduction was so clean, so pure, so completely on point, I sat next to my husband soaking it in as though I was parched ground grateful for rain.

The topic was centered on faith, what it is and how to get it. The minister’s steady, non-judgmental voice offered up words of hope and quoted Scripture, not like a hammer to pound in a point, but like water offered to a thirsty soul. 

I don’t make a thing out of it, as though it was a cause or such, but I don’t attend a church, as a rule. I’ve been in a self-imposed wilderness for so long I simply can’t endure the man-made agendas in hopes of receiving a morsel of truth. So, sitting there listening to the pure verity of what it is like to be in love with Christ, to be committed to His will, to accept His grace, in the simplest terms of what faith truly is, was somewhat overwhelming for me, even as it was a confirmation that it is possible to have a personal relationship with Christ sans an organization and regardless the opinions of others. 

This has hugged me like a soft throw for nearly a week now. I guess I needed the reminder as well as the comfort. 

In all the years we called Irv our friend, I don’t recall one single conversation with him about his religion or denomination of Christian belief. He lived his religion, openly and honestly. He had no ill will toward anyone, not a judgmental bone in his body. And he certainly never condemned anyone else for choosing to reject religiousity. 

I am quite sure he is in heaven with Jesus, not because he was religious, not because he followed a set rules of doctrine, as established and defined by another human(s), but because, as the minister shared with us, he believed that Christ is the Son of God who came to take our place, to save us from ourselves. 

It is clear for me that the sum of our friend Irv’s good life and works were the natural result of his simple, genuine faith. 


For Him,

Monday, January 14, 2019

To Speak or Not

Using social media as a template, one might conclude that we have become a cause-based culture. Nothing wrong in supporting a cause, of course, unless, as does often happen, the cause morphs from a good-will intended interest to a religious force. Loyalty to a truth sometimes produces pride and even hypocrisy. As all sorts of causes arise, hyper-self-righteousness steps in and then becomes weaponized to compel others to rally to, at the very least agree with, the movement, often using intimidation and/or shaming to recruit converts. Once a cause becomes a cultural stream of consciousness if you prefer to not join in, or even openly oppose, prepare to be vilified. Then your choice is to either speak your mind and be damned or be silenced by the madding crowd. 

Maverick that I am, I’ve never been much of a joiner. I am still able to think for myself rather than be moved about by feelings and/or fear of being seen as an outlier. Outlier is one of my middle names, actually. I depend on discernment earned by experience, spiritual maturity, fine-tuned intuition, and logic/reason to be better flotation devises for keeping my head above the surface of the murky waters of life. If I get even a whiff of being baited or manipulated by emotion or fear-based agenda, I instantly armor up. At that point I have but two choices - either speak up or shut up. If it is clear for me that I do not have the power to change or stop what I see as either cultural suicide or cultish religiosity, my first reaction is to go silent. 

I have not determined whether this is cowardice or wisdom, though I suspect both conditions contribute to my decisions in equal measures. Though mostly I depend on prudence as my guideline, I know the day is coming when I may have to speak out about the false gods we build then worship, both worldly and religious, the way we crave attention and promotion for doing good deeds thus establishing a good-for-goodness-sake substitute for true Godly good, and the new heights and types of inordinate affection that have risen to overcome and replace the natural order. 

But, just for now, I mostly choose silence, not to go along to get along, but to wait with patience, to pay attention, to learn and discern. But even silence doesn’t have to be unfruitful. It can then become prayer for deliverance from evil. No one, no man-made law, (whether religious or secular), no meme du jour, can stop me from doing that.

For Him,

Tuesday, January 1, 2019


We lovingly refer to our old houseboat on Lake Lanier as our ‘escape pod’.  We’ve been slipping off to this change of venue most weekends, in all seasons, for over three years now. I doubt I’ll ever find the perfect string of words to describe how my soul finds respite here.

Even when I think I’ve finally run out of inspiration, when I’m at the end of my words, all I have to do is sit on the back deck with a cup of coffee, mesmerized by the ever moving waters, listening to the wild sounds cranked out by the Canadian geese, ducks, hawks, crows, and the seagulls that come to vacation here in winter, and somehow I am renewed enough to write again. 

I do quite a lot of musing and thinking and pondering here. My imaginings do not always end up in print. Some things I ache to say but just can’t for all sorts of reasons. Prudence is the better part of valor - as they say.

But today, New Year’s Day 2019, sipping my steaming second cuppa, tuned in to the cacophony of geese and gull chatter coming from the thick wall of morning January fog, I found some words I think I ought to share. 

Our boat is moored in a perfect slip, in our opinion. From our vantage point on the back deck we have witnessed with shock and awe and I have photographed and videoed mind blowing sunrises. At Winter Solstice the sun is on the right and emerges from behind a stand of trees on the far bank. The changing of the seasons, the time of sunrise, and the sun’s location is completely predictable and dependable and I have learned to pay attention to the daily subtle tracking back to the left in daily increments of minutes until Summer Solstice, where the sun then rises in our unobstructed straight ahead view, throwing off orange streaks on the water as it makes its way upward following an ancient path. 

This just never gets old. 

What occurred to me this morning, as I watched the fog swell and then slowly dissipate, was the predictability of it all and yet how each and every day the sunrise, regardless the weather or season, technicolor or grayscale, is never the same. Ever. Wrap your brain around this - regardless how many sunrises there have been from any vantage point since the earth was formed, there has never been two alike. 

The conundrum of this realization, that we live in a world full of both the predictable, the trackable, the measurable and the definable that flows openly, like moving waters, along side the immeasurable, the unseen, the unknown, represents infinite variety.

My fully stimulated brain recalled a quote I read recently that exemplified for me the most arrogant of human intellectual myopia - paraphrased, the idea was that ‘if there is a god, it’s highly unlikely this deity would require mankind to bow and worship him.’  I thought when I read that how unimaginative human intelligence is. How blind to the reality of infinite variety. What mankind cannot define and/or understand is summarily stuffed in a box and labeled ‘impossible’.

Come sit on this back deck with me, watch the ever so predictable sun splash gold and neon orange water colors on the never before assembled random clouds, as it slowly rises into a brand new unused day. Then tell me that the ways humans require and demand all things to fit within specific and minimal options, makes any sense whatsoever. 

We are like busy little ants climbing and exploring a fence post. We think what we can see, touch, then determine an explanation for, is all there is or that we need to know. 

FYI, there is a fisherman in the photo above. You can’t see him because his silhouette blends into the stand of trees next to the dock. I know he is there but you will just have to take my word for it. The photograph is made up of thousands of pixels but just because the human eye can’t discern all the variables of gray between black and white, doesn’t mean he isn’t there. 

This new day, this new year, what I want to share with you is the glory of the infinite, the art of the possible, the power of that which you can see and that which you cannot. 

For Him,