Monday, April 3, 2017

Who is He?

Who is He?
Listen! I am standing and knocking at your door. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and we will eat together. (Revelation 3:20, CEV)

Who is He who is standing at the door of your heart?  Is it He, the Jesus that wants to be your Savior?  Will you ask Him to be your Lord and Savior? Will you call on Him to save you?  Will you obey Him and be baptized in His name so you can put on His righteousness? Will you let Him in?

Who is He who is waiting at the door of your heart?  Is it He, the Christ who wants to give you the riches of grace that will that will satisfy your soul? He does not give the riches of the earth that will fade away but the eternal, indescribable riches of heaven which through the wealth of His grace will save your life and sustain you until you come into His presence for eternity? Will you let Him in?

Who is He who is longing to provide at the door of your heart? Is it He, the Good Shepherd who laid down His life for you and in that sacrificing death forgave every sin you will ever commit, that your eyes might see the truth, rest in His endless provision and be set free now and forever more? Will you let Him in?

Who is He who is listening at the door of your heart?  Is it He, Jesus Christ the Lord, the healer of every damage, every heartache and every disease? Will you let Him carry all your diseases, all your brokenness and lift all your burdens?  He tells us to come to Him with all that is heavy and overwhelming and He will stay with us in imitate fellowship . Will you let Him in?

Who is He who is beckoning to come in at the door of your heart? It is He, the King of Kings who rose from the dead to destroy the fences, the walls, the towers, the castles, the armies of the enemy who has you convinced that you are hopeless and defeated? Jesus the Eternal and Everlasting King of King who gives life for eternity! Will you let Him in?

Saturday, December 24, 2016

For all Seasons

A blank canvas is colored and filled with strokes and directional shadings by an artist’s loving hand desperately trying to capture the essence of the baby Jesus asleep in the manger nestled in the center of his painted interpretation of the scene of a miraculous birth in a stable.  A writer carefully crafts descriptive phrases and words, intently and with purpose … trying to invoke the deep meanings and significant realities of God coming in the Flesh to bring favor, grace, and salvation to a sinful world.

A young child looks affectionately at the tiny baby in a “Nativity” on a small table delighting in all the charm of the story and the characters but lacking a full appreciation what a Savior is. An elderly gentleman nearby yearns for the phone to ring … for anyone to remember him in this season of remembering.

Across the city, a waitress collects her tips at the end of her shift wondering why in the season of generosity, her meager earnings are coming up shorter than the average day at the diner. Just outside of town a rancher beds down his cattle with fresh straw in his decaying old barn and smiles at the recollection that a place of animals was chosen for the Christmas “Birthday of the King.”

In a gleaming tower of steel and glass in a far off urban landscape, a very successful self-made man who has made his way to the top of being highly successful, wonders why he feels so unsatisfied with all he has amassed. A few miles away along an eroding ravine in a shack of rusted tin and twisted boards, a family shares a bag of decaying oranges … delighted at their unexpected find in the city dump and talking of provision and hope because they have a living “King” born on this day who knows their names.

An emotionally broken couple sits contemplating the severing of a relationship that they once believed God had put together lost midst the uncertainty of any real hope. Pain, suffering, conflicts both large and small and trivial and majorly significant seem to daunt the promise of the season and yet these aspects of life have always been present on the earth.

In a jail cell, hopelessly confining and limited, a young man’s face brightens as reads of a “liberty for the captive” from an ancient passage in an unfamiliar Bible, as he realizes a spiritual release can come to his heart regardless of the bleakness of his surroundings.  Just a few miles away on a foreboding street in a dark car, a young woman considers where the “Christmas Star” can be found, so she might find some possible brightness for a path out of the overpowering darkness she is sensing and feeling in her soul.

The Christmas season is filled with countless life scenarios, too numerous to possibly list: those of hopelessness and hope, discouragement and promise, losing and giving, sin and forgiveness, hurt and love, discord and peace. The Christmas season is a time of contrasts as it brings forth a myriad of feelings forgotten and remembered, repressed and expressed, fractured by circumstance and those bursting forth with promise. In all realms, in all stories and places, the Savior comes for more than a season as He brings forgiveness, redemption, peace, joy and life.

Even as Christmas seasons come and go … the Jesus who came as a baby and became the Savior of the world, never forsakes His giving to us.  Jesus Christ came in the season of Christmas but what He gives is not seasonal in any way. He gives far more than any and all of seasons of all time can contain.  More than can be captured in thought, words or representations. More than can be recognized, appreciated or even understood.  Jesus Christ redeems, heals and restores all the moments in all the seasons from all their brokenness, pain, discouragement, frustration, heartache, suffering and an endless array of all that would come against us throughout our days on the earth.

The hope, promise, love, peace and joy that God bestowed by His favor through the gift of His Son was never meant to be found in the characters in the Christmas story, the place, the star, the day, the situations, the timing, the conditions or even in the season. All that God longs to give to the world by His loving favor was and is always to be found in the Son.

God’s full favor comes to us, as we become His children through His extravagant love being poured into the faith relationship we have with Jesus Christ the Son. Through Jesus Christ, we are forgiven of all sin and blessed throughout all the days and seasons of our lifetime, eventually coming into eternal life. 

The gift of a Savior is for far more than any and all of the Christmas seasons … whether past, present or yet to come. Jesus Christ the Savior of the world, who came so long ago, still comes to any and all people in every season who call upon His name.  Jesus Christ is more than a baby born in a manger, more than a seasonal event, more than a reason for the season … for He is the Savior of all people, all seasons and for all time.  

Blessings to All

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Thankful Psalm of Knowing the Good Shepherd

Ever humbled in gratitude and thanksgiving for knowing the Good Shepherd!

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul; He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. (Psalm 23, KJ21)

The Lord is the Shepherd of my life, He is always good! He satisfies every want before me, fulfilling all yearnings, even those I do not realize I have and need.

He guides my heart to the peaceful meadows of His presence; He leads me to the quieting comfort the nourishing stream of His steadfast love. Over and over he restores my very soul.  He leads me on the pathways that change me into someone who reflects the glory of His righteousness by His faithfulness.

Even though I struggle and stumble when circumstances and pressures darken some of the seasons of my life with aching pain and deep despair, I will not cower and lose faith … because You, O Lord, as my Shepherd are ever with me.  O Lord, you direct me ever closer to the truth by the rod of your perfect wisdom and stand ready with your mighty hand upon your staff to ever protect me.

There is no end to the extravagant banquet of your goodness that You, O Lord put before me as a feast so abundant that my very enemies fall back in great astonishment. You anoint my head with the overflowing oil of your favor and your blessings saturate my daily living.

Your goodness fills every moment of my living and your merciful grace freely flows in and through every day and every season until I come into the eternal home I will share with you forever. Thank you, O Lord for being the Good Shepherd of my life. Thank you! 

Paraphrase - S. R. Maas -2016

Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Glistening Temple

The foundation was laid with massive stones hewn from deep in the earth. The walls leading up to the sacred place were straight and true positioned perfectly with white marble. The courtyard was ordered and marked for specific people and access to each designated area was secured only by sacrifice and decree. Beyond the courtyard, the chosen could venture to the soaring edifice with bronze doors that towered to the sky. Through the doors the cleansed and holy leaders came to beckon and petition the Creator and Sustainer of all life for the people. Deeper still, curtains as tall as the cedars of Lebanon separated the holiest of men from the presence of the holiest visitation dwelling of the Most Holy God. This was the temple that glistened so brightly on the peak of Mount Zion that those who gazed upon it had to turn away from its spectacular and stunning brilliance.

Yet this magnificent edifice that shone so brightly glistening in the sunlight was destroyed by the powerful Roman army and all that is left is a mountain of massive foundational stones. The Savior who foretold of second temple's destruction will someday come with an indescribable brilliance brighter than the sun which He created and with a greater power than all the armies that have ever held power in their hands and efforts.

In the meantime the temple that glistens does not shine from reflective light. The “Temple” of today is where the Risen Christ dwells in us and it glistens from the living presence of the “One” that created all things and reigns over and above all things (Colossians 1, 2) as He imparts His Holy Spirit to guide, comfort, teach and convict us.  He is not separated from us by a heavy curtain but has torn it asunder forever that He might be with us always (Matthew 28:20) There is no need for endless sacrifices for sin for our Savior became the sacrifice for all sin for all time for any and all who come to Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). Finally He does not withhold His holiness to times and calendars but He covers us with His holiness because of His boundless loving grace that we might not bear condemnation. (Romans 8:1).

Rejoice in the Christ who lives in you through the Holy Spirit and let Him shine through you as you follow Him as Lord each and every day.

Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you and which ye have from God, and that ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, KJ21).

Monday, August 29, 2016

Into the woods of dappled light …

Into the woods of dappled light …
Just beyond the meadow of blossoming clover soft and fair …
Are the woods of dappled light which beckons all to freely come.
We cannot sense the destination only the life around our cares,
Still walk we must, venturing forth adding only to the unknown sum.

For there was much to see and much to note as we seek our way …
Essence in the leaves of days yet undiscovered colored green and bold.
What all that is new and laden with dew midst the branches as they sway,
is mingled with ancient wood of legacy giving as much life as it is old.

What will be of us, if we remain in the meadow rolling soft and fair … 
and venture not into the unfamiliar woods of nuanced dappled light?
Will we stay or go, following what the dancing rays offer willing to share, 
joyfully lit, yet fully challenged of adventure, trial, beauty and delight?

So what becomes of us will always be in the look and the simple choice … 
always unknown but ours to find along the winding trail just beyond the glade.
Our faith gently pushes and pulls us forward giving life and giving voice,
in what the woods of dappled light will gift us in the journey we have made.

It is easy to remain in the comfortable. It is easy to stay in places of the familiar and friendly.  These are always meadows of what we know and what we have. The ease and calm of these places of remaining in the secure and the known can be our undoing. It can also be deadening to our faith. 

There is unknown place just beyond the meadows of the comfortable life. It beckons and intrigues us but it is unknown.  Most people even as they see edge of this place just beyond do not go forward but remain in what they know and believe.  Jesus spoke of the way beyond the way that was.  To the “Rich Young Ruler” it was the way of journeying beyond what he had done in comfort to a place of life in the surrender in the unknown.  We can stay in places of comfort or we venture forth into the dappled light of faith and find life.

But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls (Hebrews 11:39, ESV)