7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
1 John 4:7-8
Dear Ones, Beloved of God –
You know you are beloved of God even if your name does not mean this! Just know it today! Mine means protector of mankind…but, I too, am beloved of God. I cannot begin to tell you fully of my gratefulness over this. Some days it lands with such unending joy and delight while other days this gladness of heart lands in tears and contrition.
Another thing that I know is that through some of the life events, trials, happy moments and such, I’ve now come to understand C.S. Lewis from his book entitled, “Surprised By Joy” a little better as he wrote of real joy causing “a stab; a pang; the inconsolable longing,” which he found in God.
I know first hand and it is likely that you also know “the stab; the pang; the inconsolable longing,” for things both righteous and unrighteous some of which you may have received the gratification of this side of heaven. But, to have this stab and pang and inconsolable longing; this ” I cannot get enough, ever and I want it more and all the time” longing for your God, for Jesus, for the indwelling of His Holy Spirit could be new…our world does not often equate and certainly seldom elevates this need and emotional connection we have with one another here on earth in the flesh on various levels with our need for emotional connection with Jesus…but my friend, my love Jesus came in the flesh…”the stab; the pang; the inconsolable longing” belongs best to Him.
I confess, I do not always get this right and in priority order. I am present, I drift away, I return … I fall and I make another circle back… He calls me through His word, though prayer and sometimes by the lack of prayer through my need… but He calls me back to Himself. I have asked forgiveness for my wrong leanings and longings more times than I can count…and I am ever reminded that I, too am beloved of God. I need this reminder pretty often.
But dear ones, I did not sign on to write about this today although I am glad for the spirit’s prompting. This may prove to have been His plan all along but I will proceed with my first thoughts as well as I feel I have been gifted this day. My plate is currently too full – some is my doing and some by life’s doing. Either way I feel this day is a gift. Yes, I know I should treat each day as such, but today I have allowed myself the latitude to rest. Here is why the gift! I learned last night that I was dismissed from my commitment for today. This was a welcome dismissal. All dismissals are not welcome – some hurt. This one, though, is no cause for pain. I am writing you and abiding in the God who calls me beloved. In doing this, I am taking this rest and spending it partly on you 🙂 and I have had so much I’ve wanted to share… I know, I say that every time I don’t write for a time but, there really are things I have wanted to share with you not to mention the 28 posts that I have begun and not finished:
Here are some of them: I could write more on each but not today.
Fender Bender – Could’ve been a Train Wreck – God’s hand is in all matters when we listen. What a close call and a time to re-set. Yes, Lord I want to honor you in all my ways. I’m glad You talked to me about this. Friends, this is a serious matter that I’m not sure I’ll ever get back to… but don’t take the little reminders as being trite and unimportant. He may be using his “still, small voice” to speak to you that day.
Dismissals…I have felt a few lately. Most don’t feel good like today’s.
My Plate is too Full…HELP ME! Luther’s Sacristy Prayer about him surely messing things up if they are left to him – I’m in complete agreement with Luther. O that I can be so honest, forthright, committed, God-seeking and God honoring in all that I must. I personally think that too many things are mine to manage right now. I am sorely in need of the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
A Profound Connection (at least to me) to Jesus’ words, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) to “Is it I, Lord?” (Matthew 20-22) to Proverbs 3,4,5,6,7,8,9…What if I am THIS(!) and just do not know it?!?!?! This is a painful thought. I think that perhaps I understand the disciples query…so much was new to them. Their naiveté in their relationship and understanding of Jesus was still speaking through them. Perhaps they could not fathom that they could be the offender while they felt they we being, doing all that they knew to be and do. Betrayal, would have felt far fetching for they love Jesus so, but much of this thinking as Jesus taught was very new. Maybe in their young faith in Him and zeal, they had gotten things all wrong and out of place? Jesus knew there would be times that we would not understand the gravity of our sin. He said it, “The know not what they do.” I know he wrote this for me… what about you.
I know for certain that I fall into the naïve category at times. I am working on being a better, more circumspect version of me – perhaps just not sharing one’s heart so freely is who I am to become. That thought sort-of hurts and feels a bit like more Covid lockdown or maybe shutdown; to express the emotional side! All this said, I just never want to do things that are hurtful, insensitive, provocative or anything unknowingly thoughtless. “She” the harlot would do these with full knowledge of her intent. I am not her! I hope I am not her…O dear God, I pray that I have not been her. I am praying for wisdom. “She,” Wisdom is opposite of folly which is also referred to as a “her.” Dear Wisdom, take up your place in my being. I welcome you and invite you in. I need you desperately with more change afoot than I desire.
Hmmm…Change afoot … That is really what I came to write about today.
Change Afoot – My beloved Pastor, mentor, teacher, dear friend, favorite blogger has retired. I think I am just feeling grief even on this gifted day. I’ve thought about this and realized, although under very different circumstances, I was “retired” a few years ago and it took time to land again. I landed at his church’s doorway and under his gracious guidance and tutelage began to heal again, eventually getting back to “work” and life. I will miss him tremendously in this capacity. His elegant wording just returned so much beauty and worth to God’s spoken word and messages. It was as if the synapses of my brain just fired and fired and connected and I could really “hear” God’s Word with many senses and it could all dwell within. I’ll forever be thankful for my “retirement,” hard as it was, which brought me to learn from him. I am cognizant of the fact that all do not connect with the same style of preaching, but the inspiration to know and grow and share and… “be the quilt,” which wraps others in God’s love has come to grow in me. I will just say it…This is love… of my God, His work in me and of my retired Pastor. I thank God for all this “glorious grace” which has been shown me by Jesus himself at work.
This is the stuff I came to say today. It feels good to say it, even though a few tears have fallen along the way and it would be nice to be sharing a hug while I pour all this out, but such is the nature of our world today. Just so you know, I am not bearing this hug-less, touchless world very well. I often wonder if I were to see you whether I could contain myself… I make no such promise! 🙂
Since I was speaking of my retired Pastor and friend, I will also share this. It is a poem sparked by his expressive photo today of a seashell with a hole in the connective end, laying in undisturbed sand casting a small shadow. Although the seashores change as the waves roll in and shadows cast and move about, the Light of the world, Jesus has come that we may have life and have it to the full (John 10:10) to the end of our days… so what is this talk of retirement? I am certain he will serve Jesus and his kingdom as long as he has breath.
Let Everything that has breath praise the LORD.
On shifting sand
Does shadow move;
In moment of time
Does wave remove?
Ray cast upon shell
in warm delight;
Is shadow’s undoing
by Uncreated Light!
From open end,
has outpoured life;
The Word of God
upon world’s strife;
Yet finished not
your servant is,
For heart within
Is Yours not his.
So take his hand
to terra firm;
Guard, guide, direct,
Hold wave at berm;
for solid land
Quiet heart and soul
by Your command. Amen.
I love you all,
P.S. God bless you for making it to the end, today!