CS Lewis spoke of a place that you want to go to but can’t because it doesn’t exist. A place you long for with all your heart, but find yourself in desiderium. You grieve for it as something lost, yet you’ve never been there. Narnia was like that for Lewis. Yet as the author he was able to visit there in his mind. I found that, after reading Prince Caspian for 1000th time since my dad read to me when I was too young to read myself, I felt that same ache and sorrow I always did when the children went back to England- back to our world. It’s always so sad in my opinion. Our world is dark and evil. The White Witch hasn’t been slain yet here. Children aren’t permitted to just be kids anymore and adults are stuck into a mill of being what they are told to be and acting as the government demands us to act. It’s sad and depressing some days. I want to go to that world where the great Lion is king and evil is shown to be evil and is destroyed by the shaking of his Mane. Yet that world is fiction. Or is it? My Poppa was singing an old song the other day, one I forgotten about, and it reminded me of a joy that I had been missing lately by being caught up in the world around me, (that happens to us adults from time to time). Want to know what song it was? When we all get to Heaven.
Remember it? If not I recomend finding it on youtube. It goes:
‘ when we all get to heaven what a day of rejoicing that will be. When we all see Jesus, we’ll sing and shout the victory.’ Now slap your knees and sing that one full throated!
We forget sometimes what Heaven is like. We don’t know how it will feel, taste or smell, but we do know that there is no sin, no sickness, no fear, hunger, shame or sorrow. Best of all, Jesus is in Heaven. This world feels so real right now that we feel desiderium for the past and for worlds that don’t exist. Yet Heaven is real. Heaven is not a faèry tale. Heaven is promissed to those who run the race and keep the faith. There is a place where evil has been seperated from God, a place where sin is not welcome or relevant, a place where the great Lion of Judah shakes His mane and all wickedness is destroyed, a place that I am unworthy to enter but by Jesus’s love, death and Resurrection, and my choice to leave my sins behind and follow Him, I am permitted to come and join in the feasting.
We long for a world other than this one because God programmed us to long for where He is. The made up realms are nice for now, but it’s the very real place of Heaven that is the true escape. We just have to hang on until the end and remember that we are strangers and aliens and not of this world, we are from God, we are Heaven bound.
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
John 17:20-26 NIV
Right before He was arrested and about to be sent to His death, the last thing Jesus did was pray this prayer for us. Not thinking of Himself, right to the final hour, we were who was on His mind.
Lent day 22
We all know the Agape love of God that is spoken of and written on Church billboard signs; but what about the Agapao love of God?
Agape is a noun. We all know what a noun is. In fact I struggle with Agape being a noun because it doesn’t seem to fit the feeling the word offers. Yet Agapao is the verb and this word being a verb is exactly what we feel when God says He ‘Agapes’ us. Now, I’m not a scholar or a linguist so I won’t dive into these words too much because I know I will get in over my head. But here’s the “big idea” for the day: God’s love is an action. His love is never stagnant. God loves is with a love that chases is down and fights for us. There is an old poem called ‘the hound of Heaven’, it speaks of how God relentlessly pursues us even though we run from Him. That’s what His love is. It’s never giving up. Never battered down. Never beaten back. Always persuing us. God is waiting to come until the whole world hears, why? Because He doesn’t want a single soul to be lost so He bides His time until every ear has heard about Him, so that the ones left behind are there because they chose to be, not because they didn’t know any better. I bet it breaks His heart when people choose to not live for Him. He actively loves them. Actively pursues them. And actively holds all of us in His arms if we choose not to struggle away from Him.
God’s love is an action.
Lent day 20
This is funny. This was my last post three years ago before the first ever Covid lockdown in our area. We had a great church Survice, dad and I were working on the bathroom reno. Then the news it. I wonder if that’s the way it always is when something tragic happens. All is okay and normal and then it’s not. Praise God our family made it to 2023 and saw God do many wonderful things along the way. Tragedy happens in a moment, but so does joy. The world will never be what it was pre covid because the virus wasn’t the only tragedy that struck during those three years, and there’s no vaccine for the political crazyness or the way the Church has declained or the rights we lost as Christians without even knowing it was going to happen. You can’t wear a mask against the wars and disasters, or against the uprisings. But maybe during the darkness we saw Jesus shine brighter, bolder and as the sheep and the rams become seperated, maybe we are finally seeing what being a Christian is truly all about. In the end, Jesus is still King and Saviour.
Don’t gloat when your enemies fail.
This one is so hard. Yet, it’s in the Bible. When people are nasty, unloving, cruel, conceited and so on, it’s hard not to be happy when they fail. In fact, how you respond when they fail shows you if you love them or not. I don’t mean a group, orginization, or even government, that has wronged you failing and you being happy or relieved, I’m sure every person in the Allied Forces was thrilled to tears when enemy finally fell, there’s nothing wrong with that. I mean how we feel when an ondividual person fails. Do we smile? Do we cheer? Are we annoyed when they succeed? Then we don’t really love them.
I felt that recently when someone I have had trouble with in the past failed, I smiled and was glad. Then I felt rebuked (justly) by God for the next several hours. I knew ot was wrong to feel glad about that and now I see that I truly have problematic feelings toward that person that I need to deal with. But we all have someone we feel this way about from time to time. Some people we have to fight with ourselves to love every time we hear their name. Some people are hard to even tollerate. If Jesus didn’t tell us to love our enemies I’m positive we wouldn’t bother. But He knew that we needed to be different from the crowd.
This makes me think of a time when I was out walking my dog. We came across another dog and it started barking and snarling and flipping out at my dog, my dog started barking and snarling and flipping out in turn. I got down, put my hands on his back and said “be the bigger dog bud.” To my shock my dog turned around, looked at me and woofed. Everything in his face said ‘why should I be the bigger dog? he started it.’ Now I’m sure my dog didn’t understand what I had said, but he would have understood the corrective hand and my tone of voice and could have very easily felt like he shouldn’t be the one who needed to give in. How often does God have to pull back on our leads and tell us to be the better person? How often do we argue His words? How often do we ignore them out right?
Don’t gloat or say ‘I told you so’ when someone you can’t stand fails. No matter how much you want to. Because God will be pleased if you don’t and pleasing Him is what matters.
Lent day 19
Every dead walking
Every can’t take another day
Every prisoner (in the mind or body)
Every never enough
Every striving too hard
Every filthy rags show off
Every. Single. Person
Is loved unconditionally by Jesus.
I know I’m a sinner. I know a fail Him every day. It’s hard to believe that He would keep reaching out and loving inspite of me. If Jesus didn’t love us we couldn’t be better than we are, we couldn’t throw away our sins and failures, we wouldn’t have a chance. It’s because He loves us that we can change. It’s because He loves us that while we were His enemies He died for us. We are all the Centurion at the Cross, holding a spear dripping with His blood in our hands as we realize, “this man must truly have been the son of God.”
We couldn’t repent of our sins and find Jesus if He hadn’t first paid everything for us. We no longer have an excuse to cling to our past, our sins, our filthy rags- Jesus died so that we would have a way out.
He gave us a way out of hell, not a free ticket to both the hell “party” on earth AND the paradise of Heaven. We get one or the other. But praise God that He is paitent and just so that no soul will be lost, because He wants all of us. God is the only one who can be greedy, and He is greedy for our souls, He does not want the devil to have a single person and will give up everything so that the devil can’t have us. If in the end every sould found Jesus except on and that one went to hell, that single soul would be on God’s mind all the time and would break His heart.
He loves us and gives us every opportunity to change and find him. We have no excuse, so let’s throw away the excuses and run into Jesus’s outstretched arms.
Lent day 19
Watered down peanut butter. My dog is on a diet. I used to freeze peanut butter treats for him, however lately I’ve been having to water them down so it’s mostly water with a tiny bit of peanut butter. And he’s fine with that. There’s enough of a taste of what’s real that he’s totally satisfied with the water down treat.
We water down scripture. In our churches and our mission field. People are still totally satisfied with the water down version. There is enough of the real truth in the diluted version that people soak it up, thinking that is all there is. We’re not getting the real treat, or in this case the real gift of God’s word, because we’re so afraid to preach the truth that we watered it down. How much are we missing? The tiny bit of real we get isn’t enough to sustain our Immortal Souls, though it’s enough to satisfy our mortal Minds. When will we see the truth? When will we get tired of not getting the full amount and just having a watered down treat?
Lent day 17
Lupins are a beautiful flower that resides in many parts of… well…everywhere it seems. Once you know to look for them you find them rather often in scenes of nature. I even found a bunch by accident while exploring with my dog this past summer. Lupins are distinctive in the way that they look like wolves sitting back and Howling up at the Moon. They come in several varieties of color, and seem to be much loved by many gardeners. Which raises the question, why do people love the flower namesake after a wolf so much when people dislike wolves so much? Wolves get a bad reputation, flowers do not. Simple answer. Wolves get a bad reputation because they’re misrepresented a lot of the time. Wolves are actually essential to our ecosystem, they are great family members to each other, and opposed to popular belief they very rarely go after people. But ever since Little Red Riding Hood people believe that wolves are big bad Grandma eating animals. The wrong people were telling their story. The same can now be said of the Christians. In many cases we seem to have gotten a bad reputation. Movies, TV shows, even some books play a part in this. Christians are often represented as the bad guy, even to the place of documentaries about the Church that were against us and proven not to be accurate accounts have had lasting effects on the people who watched them, because you still can’t get the image out of people’s head even if the image is fake. Think about Jaws. The book came out, people read it,, the man who wrote it even said it wasn’t an accurate representation of sharks, and yet people went nuts and started fishing the oceans dry, killing as many sharks as they could out of ignorance and Terror because of one silly book. Sometimes sharks do attack. Sometimes wolves do attack. Sometimes people who claim themselves to be Christians don’t act like Christ. But when the movies come out and only show the one side of the story it gives a bad account for all who fall under the same label. I have had personal contact with Wolves. I’ve even shared my lunch with one. They aren’t out to get you. I’ve also had personal contact with other Christians. I’ve shared many lunches with them. They aren’t out to get you either. When the facts are distorted, and the story is told by people who are prejudice, the wrong image is set forth and people can be hated simply for something someone saw on TV. Doesn’t matter if it was true or not, people believe what they see and are easily fooled by a clever soundtrack and a well-paid cast of actors. So what do we do when other people tell our story and we are misrepresented? We keep going. We stand up and keep on being the True Body of Christ, showing what real Christians are like. We live a life that tells our own story, so people can see that the fake facts on TV are just that, fake. Don’t be afraid. Show what Jesus is really like through your lifestyle and ignore the haters that try and tell your story for you, making you the bad guy, cuz in the end you’re doing the right thing and it doesn’t matter how people who don’t know you paint you, because Jesus knows the true you and He sees you and loves you for who you are.
Lent day 17
Sitting still, standing up, running hard
I have heard pastors speak on not bringing your lists to God. If you come with an agenda then you aren’t giving God room to move. Okay, so let’s go from there. Is it truly wrong to bring a list of things you need to pray about to God? No. God wants us to talk with Him about what’s going on. If a list, even a written helps you focus on things that you want to speak with God about, go for it. I would call that a standing up prayer. You’re standing in the gap about things that trouble you, you are thanking God for answering or moving in these things, and if you are writing them down then you can look back on them to recall what God has done- all of this is good.
Does this way of praying block the moving of God’s Spirit because your time has a specific focus? Sometimes. We should always be willing throughout our day to stop for a moment and pray or worship when God taps our shoulder and wants a moment. Not having a list every single day but also having days where instead you wait silently, or in praise and listen for God’s voice or His moving you to a specific prayer or maybe action, or even a thought or problem that you hadn’t considered talking to Him about. This is what I would call a sitting still prayer. Taking a cup of tea and a cookie and spending some quality time with the person of Jesus.
Then you have the desperate needs, the times when you bang on the doors of Heaven and weep on Jesus’s feet because the need is so great. Begging God, calling out in the Spirit, crying, hoping, leaving it all at the altar. This is what I would call a running hard prayer. You knew what’s at stake and you know only God can fix it, so you run with everything in you to the foot of the Cross and claw into the wood as you seek God’s face.
All that lead you closer to the real Jesus who is God, is right in it’s own way. Prayer and Bible reading, serving and giving, kneeling, standing, sitting. As long as you are seeking Him, you’re on the right track. Your relationship with God and someone else’s may look different, that doesn’t mean they are right and you are wrong. Are you seeking God’s face? Are you searching the Bible and trying your best to be a deciple? Then why would you question yourself? You are God’s chosen child. He loves you. Don’t measure yourself by others, measure yourself by you. You always stand in your own court and only you know how much you have or haven’t grown. God loves every moment you spend trying to serve Him, no matter what other people say about how you seek, serve and love God.
Lent day 16
Run back to the Bible
Even people who heard Paul preach the gospel of Jesus had enough wisdom to go back to the texts and see if they jived with what Paul was saying. We hear so many speakers these days that we can get caught up in religous theory and forget what the Bible says. In fact when you think of it, that was the big issue with the Pharisees. They had drifted away from God’s word and what was written, and had wound up in the pit of their own beliefs that they spoke as though it were gospel. Not all did this mind you, but many did. Jesus said Himself that He didn’t come to change the law of Moses, the rules given by God in what we call the Old Testement, He came so that we might have life instead of death. Our speakers these days can be great and sent by God, some may even be prophets, but if what they are saying doesn’t run parallel with the Bible, then what they are saying is an opinion and needs to be ignored. Also, do some research and find what Bible is the most accurate translation so you can have one to read, there are many odd versions out there that have twisted the scriptures to sound pretty but have hurt their original meaning, a good NIV study Bible is always a good friend to have. In the last days there will rise up many who will try to deceive while hiding behind a Jesus saves T-shirt, if we don’t know the scripture for ourselves we can easily be pulled away from the truth. So, if you hear something, even from a pastor, that sounds like God wouldn’t have said that, go and check your Bible, see what it says and then go from there. Because people can be deceived, but the word of God is always true.