Friday, October 29, 2010

What's in a Name?

Have you ever wondered what your name means? Maybe when you were naming your children you pulled out a "baby name" book. Amanda means "beloved," while Karen means "pure." Matthew is "gift of God."
Names are important to God. We all may know several names He calls Himself-Yahweh, El Shaddai, Jehovah-Rapha. Jesus' name itself means, "God saves." Would it surprise us to know Almighty God hid His divine plan in geneology? The Jews repeatedly spoke the lists of forefathers of the Hebrew faith. Even the book of Matthew and Luke record Jesus' lineage through Mary and Joseph.
As the Jews recited the lists, I wonder if they thought of the meaning of the names in the mundane. Did they yawn their way through the synagogue exercise? Or possibly did they hear the cry of the Almighty through the ages? If they did lean in, they'd hear the Throne room whisper:
"Man is appointed unto mortal sorrow. But the blessed God came down teaching and initiated by his death . . .to bring with power to the poor and despairing . . . comfort and rest. The celebrated name, redeems us from darkness and brings us forth into an enlarged place."
Adam: earthly man
Seth: appointed
Enosh: mortal sorrow
Kenan: mourned
Mahalalel: (but) the blessed God
Jared: descended, teaching
Enoch: (and) initiated
Methuselah: by his death to bring
Lamech: with power to the poor and despairing
Noah: comfort/rest
Shem: the celebrated name (through Jesus line)
Ham: (He redeemed us from) darkness and heat
Japeth: (and brought us forth into) an enlarged place
Amazing!! Hidden in plain sight. And why am I surprised? "He replied, 'The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. . . . But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see and did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it." (Matthew 13:11-12, 16-17)
Heavenly Father, grace me to hear what You are whispering in the obvious and the hidden in my life! I am desperate for Your "more" in me-

Friday, October 22, 2010

He Comes in Country Cathedrals

Where do you go to meet God? What refreshes your soul? Moving water or moving chords and colors? The beautiful thing is that Abba finds you everywhere you find pleasure- the cathedral or the country. He encountered me, captured me, captivated me on our recent trip to Colorado. Beyond words. Beyond time. Above this earth. I've never been deeper or higher. And I'm wrecked, ruined again for ordinary.
"The desert and the parched land will be glad. The wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom. It will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it. . .they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God.
Strengthen the feeble hands. Steady the knees that give way.
Say to those with fearful hearts-be strong, do not fear.
Your God will come.
He will come with vengeance, with divine retribution.
He will come to save you!
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then the lame will leap like the deer
and the mute tongue will shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.
The burning sand will become a pool,
the thirsty ground, bubbling springs.
I will satisfy the priests with abundance,
and my people will be filled with my bounty.
I will refresh the weary and
satisfy the faint."
(Isaiah 35, Jeremiah 31)
What do you long for? Are you weary? What have you lost that you ache for Jesus to give back? Where do you want Him to come for you? "Behold, He comes . . ."
I will come again and again and again over the mountains leaping like a gazelle for you, My love- 'til you are refreshed with My kisses, My sustaining kisses. You were right to come- come to My well. Don't apologize for doing what you want. Wait on Me. Trust in Me. For I will have My way. You need only to hold on. Live. Breathe. Move-stop apologizing for the air you breathe. This is a new way. Living on the edge of a cliff-not the cliff of doom or despair. You can't call anyone back from that edge, only I can. I will romance them and woo them back.
You so want to be someone's little girl. You keep looking to all these other authorities. You miss my authority and strength I have called you to walk in. You allow yourself to be intimidated-so afraid of getting it wrong-getting Me wrong. Looking outside for people to tell you who you are. Instead I want you to come to Me to know who you are and whose you are, and walk in the beauty and joy I have placed in you before the world began. You're My little girl. Mine only. Now walk in it. Live in Me. Put your gaze back on Me. Lock and load your eyes on Me, not anyone else!
Thank you Jesus for coming right at the point of my need, my pain, my weariness. Only You can satisfy. And you do it so beautifully!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Table in the Presence

"Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies." Psalm 23

God, how do I eat recklessly with hungry, sullen eyes staring at me from a distance? Somewhere inside me, I want to sneak away and offer them a crumb under the table. As I get close, they snear, "we can't have, so you can't either. And you're bad for wanting more. What we have isn't enough for you?! they demand. How dare you get what you need!" So I leave the feast with my guilt in tow. At least I don't hear their cries stinging my ears. Maybe we can all survive on rice cakes in the desert. At least I won't be alone. If any crumbs fall, I'll feed you first, I promise. You need it worse than I. Sunsets fade away and so does my hunger. Buried deeply underground.

And then one day I gasp for air under the mountains of sand pouring into my mouth! My senses have quickened and I realize for the first time that "my father's men have more than enough bread but I am dying with hunger." I renounce the lie that I cannot receive, that I cannot need, that I cannot be fed. I have wasted so much time at the tree of good and evil that I couldn't see the tree of LIFE only yards away. "I will get up and go to my Father!"

To my surprise, I see him a long way off running to meet me! I hear Him shout, "in Me is all you need. I AM the Source, the Supplier, the Sustainer, the Creator, the Breath of life, the All-breasted One. Do cool waters from distant sources ever cease to flow? You don't create. You don't make. You cannot bring forth life out of death. I made you to receive of my abundant, lavish, recklessly crazy goodness. Why stay in this pig pen? Come home to Me. Don't look back over your shoulder. Leave! At once! For the King has returned. To bring you out of exile.

You will never be punished for following after Me. For leaving your pig pen. I run to you with open arms to wildy embrace you. Come home, My child. Leave their ears to Me. You haven't failed-only I can get them to come to their senses. There is nothing you can do. There are no fetters binding you to them. I hold your strings-your beautiful flowing harp strings. Nothing is holding you there. Nothing. Only lies from the accuser.

In my mind's eye, I see the flowing strings. Like the tail of a balloon. Or the streamers of the fairytale princess. Why do they catch my eye, Lord? Because they're free. They float. They ride the wind; they catch the breeze. They speak of a reality unseen. Me. and so do you. Focus, child, on MY love. I will share when they're ready. Trust Me to do that. Please. for your sake and Mine. You have wrapped yourself indelibly around My heart. I cannot let you go. Dance with Me. A cord of three strands is never torn apart. You are nestled within Us--do you know how powerful We are? The majesty of the Godhead is for you, child.

The princess felt her heart take flight, for this was love. And I pulled up a chair at the Table.

"Return to thy place, and abide with the King." 2 Samuel 15:19 Will you join Us? He asks.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Crucible

Crucible. What comes to mind? either some book I was forced to read in tenth grade English or that funny thing my husband uses in his pharmacy. As I look back over this last month, the fires of life have melted me beyond recognition. I have screamed out to God, "what on earth were You thinking?" Have you ever had a nightmare return for a second time?
Oswald Chambers courageously said, "If you will receive yourself in the fires of sorrow, God will make you nourishment for other people." Then God, pour me out like warm, fragrant oil.
On August 18th my father slipped off his boat and shattered his left arm and broke his right leg in two places below the knee. He's been in the hospital ever since. My mother's heart quakes at any change. So she quit eating and drinking and found herself in renal failure. She now is in a nursing facility fighting the desire to die.
Three years ago my father crashed his motorcycle and broke nearly every bone on the right side of his body. My mother ended up having shock treatment. God, how can we be here again?! Disaster is not supposed to come back a second time, don't You know that? Abuse should only happen once. Deployment. Miscarriage. Divorce. I'll stick with You through one "slip up" of evil, but two? Now You're pushing it.
Have you ever felt that you missed the final exam? that God was teaching you something and you don't want to go 'round this mulberry bush again? In my anguish He reminded me of a favorite part in the Narnia chronicles. In The Horse and His Boy, Aravis (the heroine) and her horse Hwin encounter Aslan for the first time. Aslan explains that He tore Aravis' back because she needed to know what it felt like. She had drugged her stepmother's slave, and the slave was punished. Feeling ashamed and scared, Aravis asks, "will any more harm come to her by what I did?" "Child," said the Lion, "I am telling you your story, not hers. No one is told any story but their own."
As I cried out to God asking why has this evil returned a second time to my parents, Aslan whispered, "It's not your story." Really? You mean I'm not responsible for saving them? for carrying them? Why do I look for someone to blame? Because I don't want it to be my fault. I journaled, "You say let it go. You say You will be everything I need. Save me Jesus! Save me from this need to sustain others' lives-to keep them from feeling pain. My woundedness whispers, 'If others feel pain, it's your fault Elaine.'
In my pain, God you shout, "I've got this one, Elaine. Trust Me. Believe I have their good in mind. No matter what it looks like. And I can't fail. And I will never say you did." But God I couldn't make them love each other. "And I couldn't either. It's that free will thing. That was never your job." God, I can't make them choose. I thought if I tried really hard I could. God, I'm so sorry. I repent of playing God in their life. Only You can show them the way.
"Aslan," said Bree (the hero's horse) in a shaken voice, "I'm afraid I must rather be a fool." "Happy the Horse who knows that while he is still young. Or the Human either. Draw near, Elaine my daughter. See! My paws are velveted. You will not be torn this time," said Aslan. "Dearest daughter," said Aslan, planting a lion's kiss on her twitching velvet nose, "I knew you would not be long in coming to me. Joy shall be yours."
Thank you Abba for receiving me in the fires of sorrow. Knowing You kiss me in the midst of my ash heap helps me receive myself.
"See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life. I have wounded, and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand." Deut. 32:39