Tuesday, 17 April 2007

The Door of Hope

This is a journal entry from February 2, 2007:
[I awoke this morning with the phrase "The Valley of Achor is a door of hope". It kept repeating in my mind. I looked up the passage in Hosea where it speaks about this.

"Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her, there I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt." Hosea 2:14, 15 (NIV)

What stood out to me from reading this passage is that God restores her vineyards while she is in the desert. The word achor means trouble. The Valley of Achor is turned into a place of hope. I was a person without hope. I had lost many vineyards. I was led into a time or season of trouble. Yet in the midst of that trouble God has been speaking tenderly to me. ]

It is interesting to look back over the past two years of my life in light of this passage in Hosea. I found myself in a Valley of Achor that appeared to be a desert. Many of the activities that I had been involved in on a regular basis were no longer a part of my life. It felt as if all was stripped away and there was no hope to be seen. Yet that is the place that has become the haven of healing and wholeness where God began to restore my vineyards.

When I came to faith in Jesus as a young teenager I had a life of promise ahead of me. I was in a young peoples' choir that put on Gilbert & Sullivan operettas and I was a cast member in "The Mikado". I had been taking dance lessons and I even took part in a Messianic-style liturgical dance group. I did well in school and I was contemplating going on to university. I had spent a summer in France on an immersion course and I was proficient in French. I took a Creative Writing Course in my last year of high school. I also took an active role in my school's ISCF group. For all intents and purposes my life did look promising. My life plans got derailed and I even began sacrificing my individuality and adopted a life of conformity to an imposed norm of Christian behavior that was legalistic in nature.

A door is something that one goes through to get from one place to the next. Faith has been described as a quality that goes through something in order to receive the promise on the other side of the trouble. God led me to various doors of opportunity to walk through; and in the process of walking through God has given me back my vineyards. It is never too late to rekindle lost dreams. They may not be revived in their original forms, but the seed is still present. As I have walked through those doors I have flourished and I have been given a hope that will not be deferred.

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

A Passionate Love

God is jealous for my love and He won't tolerate any rivals for my affection, trust or devotion. God is passionate about me. He wants me for Himself. My hope, confidence and trust must be in Him and not in myself; or in any other person. God is the Lover of my soul. He knows me intimately and He loves me ardently. He has been pursuing me; blocking me from finding true satisfaction in others.

The reason I love to worship God is because that is a way I tell God I love Him. As I was singing "I Love You, Lord" the thought came to me that it was like spiritual lovemaking. I am yielding myself to God because I love Him. I will allow God to demonstrate His love for me in whatever way He desires because I can trust that God is not going to harm me. Just as I can give myself to my husband and not be ashamed or worry about the flaws of my physical body, so too I can give myself to God and not be ashamed or worry about the spiritual flaws of my spirit or soul. I am being open and vulnerable just as I am in the conjugal lovemaking. Now I understand why the old High Anglican marriage vows says "with my body I thee worship". I understand now why it is said "that to worship is to kiss". It is the intimacy involved in expressing love for God just as we express intimate love for our mates by kissing them on the lips.

God spoke to my heart that He loves me and He brought me to that place of brokenness for me to know that I cannot earn God's love. Nothing I can do can make God love me more; nor can it make God love me less. I am secure in God's love for me.

Saturday, 7 April 2007

God Wants To Reveal Himself

I am seeing that God places His servants in situations where only God can save; help; restore; preserve. God wants to show His power; to reveal His glory through His people. God is searching for those whose hearts are fully devoted to Him. He is longing to show His power, strength, and might through their lives. God places people in extraordinary circumstances where their own resources cannot save them in order to show Himself strong on their behalf.

I had a picture of me in the hot sun in a desert place. I thought I was all alone yet God had sent me to that place so I could know Him as my shelter; my fortress; my refuge; my strength; my comfort; my protector; all the ways that He has revealed Himself to me over these past months. I wouldn't have known God in the same way, or as intimately, had I not been in that place. I then saw a giant hand shelter me from the sun, creating a shadow. I saw the hand shielding me from predators. I also sensed that I laid back into the hand to rest and to sleep.

"The Lord watches over you- the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm - he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore." Psalm 121: 5- 8 (NIV)

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Pondering "Philippians" - III

Philippians 2: 1,2

"If you have any encouragement ..., any comfort ..., any fellowship ..., any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose." Phil. 2: 1,2 (NIV)

It is easy to gloss over verse one and read it as if we need to have these qualities in ourselves; something that we somehow attain through our own efforts. When we stop and take a closer look at verse one we see the source and means of obtaining these qualities. When we know our position in Christ, that we are united with Him, we can partake of the "comfort from his love ... tenderness and compassion". It is only as we receive God's love for us that we can then share that love with others. When we are secure in our position as a child of God we will be united with others who are also secure in their relationship with God. The Holy Spirit is the uniting force and not our own efforts. It is His mind, love, spirit and purpose that we want to have in common with other believers.
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