I'm borrowing a concept Tim Challies uses in his blog where he shares links to resources that have interested him and presents them to us as 'A la carte'. Under word origin and history in Dictionary. com, a la carte means "ordered by separate items", distinguished from a meal served at a fixed, inclusive price. I'm sharing from the a la carte line of thoughts and readings that have influenced my life recently. Here are some piecemeal servings I've been nibbling on.
Since I've already mentioned Challies, I liked this quote he blogged on April 15 by Charles Spurgeon, after Charles had just heard recorded sound for the first time. Charles uses the experience to share a gospel illustration. "...I sat and listened, and I felt lost in the mystery. But what of all this? What can these instruments convey to us? But oh, to sit and listen to the gospel when your ears are really opened! Then you hear God himself at work; you hear Jesus speak: you hear his voice in suffering and in glory, and you rise up and say, “I never thought to have heard such strange things! Where have I been to be so long deaf to this? How could I neglect a gospel in which are locked up such wondrous treasures of wisdom and knowledge, such measureless depths of love and grace?” In the gospel of the Lord Jesus, God speaks into the ear of his child more music than all the harps of heaven can yield. I pray you, do not despise it. Be not such dull, driven cattle that, when God has set before you what angels desire to look into, you close your eyes to such glories, and pay attention to the miserable trifles of time and sense." What angels desire to look into, I have! Lord, open my eyes to these glories more and more. May time and sense be miserably deficient to me.
I continue to be blessed with the study of Revelation with my Community Bible Study group. We've trodden heavy-footed through the sloughs of judgements; seals, trumpets, and bowls of wrath. Yet God's redemptive heart beats through it all, his love holding back complete destruction in one blow to gain yet one more 'whosoever' for the glory of living with him forever. And now, our joy and wonder at the glories unfolding in the latter chapters. New Jerusalem with colors of precious stones, a crystal river, the tree of life, lighted only and always with the Lord God. "No longer will there be any curse." Note to self, *think on such things!*
I battled desire to read the Word this week. I had my study to delve into and I dutifully read the lesson, finding the answers. Scholarly challenge is my thing, and I feel satisfied chewing on the insights and new knowlege I'm spooning out of the questions in the study. But the Holy Spirit was patiently calling me into times of reading where there was no goal other than listening for His voice and encountering the Author's heart's intent towards me in that moment. As I yielded to one of those promptings I heard my mother's voice quoting Ps 119:18, "Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law." God will honor such a prayer; my anticipation quickened. Lord, thank you for your unchanging Word of Life and the changing it brings to my mind and my attitudes. Thank you, too, for a Godly heritage and a mother who sat at your feet figuratively, while here, and now, literally in your presence.
On Sunday the pastor shared thoughts on prayer. He highlighted the phrase in the Lord's prayer that says, 'your will be done on earth as it is in heaven'. This is how Christ teaches us to pray. We can so intimately know the Father that we can pray His will into any situation. We can influence his Father's heart to act on our behalf, not for self, but to see him glorified and to work with him for Kingdom results. I have so much to learn, Daddy. I want to pray like this. Teach me.
Henry Nouwen spoke to my fragileness, through an article he wrote in radix magazine. He travels widely and sees a common human condition: we all struggle with strong needs. These needs are for attention, being noticed, to be cared for. They come from woundedness, which we've all experienced. We grope for that sense of belonging that dangles just out of our reach. As we realize the way wounds and needs are networked together and our entanglement in them, what should be our response? How should we live?
Jesus asks us to make our home in him. It's our home, our place to belong, a place where we are loved first. We need to come home, move in fully, unpack the baggage, and settle in to stay. Jesus said we do not belong to this world. Therefore he is sending us into the world as the Father sent Jesus into this world. Because we have a home in the Lord, we can be in this place of needs and wounds without being destoyed. We can go home for comfort, healing, and affirmation, finding total love and acceptance. Love on me, Jesus. I need you.