To Climb a Tree

I got thinking today, seeing in my mind the rich and powerful people I know, have heard of or seen from a distance, and imagined them, one by one, hoisting themselves up a tree for a better few of…okay, think of the ones you know, unless they are actors or environmentalists, what would they be doing up there? It would be more plausible for them to shove their way to the front, or get their security to do it for them so that they would get a better view. And then I thought of a group of rich and/or powerful men all trying to get a glimpse of the same thing, live. That would be even worse…a cloud of security would probably make it impossible for their bosses to get a glimpse.
Short Zacchaeus was in such a situation. He was rich, he was powerful, but the pharisees and the disciples seemed more fitted for a close up with Jesus Christ. This was not his crowd, and it was likely that they would not hesitate to remind him of the fact. Among this sort, his position was despicable…because you see, they thought they knew him well. The source of his wealth was, fishy, so they felt it was their duty to protect God and heaven from the likes of him. Even without knowing they were doing it. But this did not numb his keen hunger, to see Christ, and say to Him what only He could hear, understand, appreciate and mitigate.
So he did something that could mostly be associated with a child, or someone who life had drained of anything they could loose. He was both. And because the Kingdom of Heaven belonged to such as he, The LORD of Heaven, ‘heard’ his faith, his hunger, and saw him shed all, that he might have a glimpse of Him. And Jesus, spoke above the cloud that hindered Him from getting to Him, and then drew Him forth that they might fellowship together.
“let the LITTLE children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, ANYONE who WILL NOT receive The Kingdom of God like a LITTLE CHILD will NEVER enter it.” Luke 18:15-17


After a really really eventful last day of the year, and a night-time in which I was to weary to cry, pray, talk to anyone, or even worship…I wake up wrapped in the Grace of God….joyful, triumphant, hopeful. My cry is for you and I to be restored back from all the places to which we strayed, sometimes in an attempt to seek sanity away from The Presence of God. There is no soundness of mind apart from Him as we cannot ‘out-wise’ God. That is just the way it is.

SONY DSCMy Hearts cry begins with ‘Those whom God has put together…” and ends with ‘…LET NONE PUT ASUNDER’. I have cried for myself and for many others, as I watched them grope around trying to find a stable place to place their broken hearts and lives, after their homes were torn, sometimes by their own hands. I have watched them try to put their lives back together, after God-ordered and ordained relationships crumbled…and they thought they could easily get fixed if they connected to another partner. I have watched people walk away from their divine connections, in ministry, in vocation, in careers, in friendships, jobs, and businesses, because satan appointed and anointed an expert to slander the intent of God in bringing them together. I have watched as nations tore themselves and others apart by the same satanic slander of God…and His purpose for putting a set of diverse peoples together as one nation.

My cry this first day of January 2013 is a reminder to satan and his agents that they are defeated, and that I, VIP KNOW IT TO BE THE TRUTH! I know at least one other person, who does. So because we are in agreement…The ones that have strayed are coming home, repentant and forgiven!. God is bringing back that which He has ordained to be, and the purpose of His Spoken Word will be accomplished. Go back to Him…What God has put together CANNOT and WILL NOT be sustained independently of Him. Let us go back to God.

““Come on, let’s go back to God.
He hurt us, but He’ll heal us.
He hit us hard,
but He’ll put us right again.
In a couple of days we’ll feel better.
By the third day He’ll have made us brand-new,
Alive and on our feet,
fit to face Him.
We’re ready to study God,
eager for God-knowledge.
As sure as dawn breaks,
so sure is His daily arrival.
He comes as rain comes,
as spring rain refreshing the ground.”
Hosea 1:1-3

Why do you seek the living among the dead?

This has been one of those weeks where, my favorite phrase when talking about my relationship and walk with God has been “He has traumatized me into silence and stillness.” And He has. In a great way though.

It has been the week during which I complete the book of Luke yet again and prepare to start the book of Revelations. It has been the week where God finally led me to read a book I borrowed over 10 years ago but had not read, called ‘Finding God’ by Dr. Larry Crabb. [As soon as am done, I will find a way to give it back don’t you worry.] But just its contents and the contents of The Gospel I am reading has shocked me into stillness regarding what I, until this week, thought was a brilliant relationship with God.

I have spent the past more than one year praying about certain issues in my life, and ministry and yet feeling like I was missing something. It was like God really wanted to bless me, but I was asking amiss. He has called me over and over to worship Him but many times, this has been a hard calling. Life has hurt and I did not feel like singing anymore. God reassures me that He loves it when I sing to Him but sing with my whole heart…and this year, has not honestly been one of those ‘whole heart’ years. It has hurt. It has broken me. It has made me someone else. Hopefully, someone who likes God more than likes things. I have felt passion for little more than God. And struggled to strip my life of any passion that even looked like it was competing for space with Him. Yet the passion I have felt for God has been broken at best…and I have longed to be well. To be whole in my worship for Him. If not quickly in a new way, at least to the old familiar ways. But that old way seemed to have vaporized leaving me frantic.

This week, He showed me the progress in some of the lives that I had hurt over, cried for, and then wondered if I was truly praying in His Will. Answered prayer is good, but I am learning not to patronize God by trying to manipulate Him into performing just so I can praise Him. I want to be able to praise Him all the time. Even in the dark days…even this year.

So last night as I prepared to begin to prepare for my end year fast, to seek God about what 2012 would bring, I found myself wondering again if ‘years’ as we know them really matter in heaven. I wondered if I should wait until the 29th to pray, when I didn’t know if my life would extend to then, or just get ahead with seeking God now. I wondered what my prayer agenda would involve because, honestly, I felt the need to know His will for me and those for whom I was praying BEFORE I embarked on that prayer journey. Do I pray for a divorce for so and so or do I pray for the restoration of their marriage and home? Do I pray against that disaster for that nation or is God allowing them to face the consequences of their actions as discipline, loving though devastating discipline? Meanwhile in my own life it seemed to me that everything was falling apart around me – do I pray for the restoration of my children to schools, a new computer, new fridge, DVD player, electric kettle, microwave, a new bed for my daughter, the healing of my son’s mind and health, a house in a ‘safe’  and ‘serviced’ area, the restoration of the love and respect of my birth family, my old friendships? Do I ask God for marriage? Do I ask Him for a scholarship to further my education? Do I? Do I? And at what point do I ask Him for food, clothes, and to rid my house of rats and cockroaches – maybe this is a sign that He is moving me to a better place…it was all so confusing. What is my ministry? Do I publish? Do I train? Do I just be-friend and be a friend? And as I gave myself a headache and sore-throat worrying about whether my life was within the purposes of God His word in Luke 24 stood out for me ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead?”


Suddenly it was like I was on the road to Emmaus, worrying about what had been. Refusing to acknowledge that my job was to pick up my cross and follow Christ often content with the assurance that He who was leading me, knew the way. I was lamenting about the things that had happened to me and my loved ones. The financial, marital, parental, spiritual, moral, political crisis that was facing individuals whose faces spun in my head…loved ones, not just by me, BUT drastically by God Himself. I trudged up that road listening to this ‘annoying sense’ being made by a voice inside of me. “These things must happen…and then…There must be a dying to these things…and then….What looks like a bad thing needed to happen…and then…the Glory of God would be our rearguard. Only if I follow Him.”

He was telling me that dwelling on fixing things and restoring them into the state they were in was a futility that did not go well with His renewal of my mind. That I could no longer have the luxury of walking two ways; that I had to make a choice. Was I going to perfume, and preserve the dead mediocrity that defined a canal existence, or was I going to allow Him to bring His Life and His Light into my situation and make my life definable by heaven as ‘Beautiful’? I was no longer able to think of God only in terms of what He can do for me to make my life as comfortable and understandable as possible to those watching me in order to criticize me. And those who genuinely loved me as well. I needed to fit into His Mindset. I needed to bend my knees before Him as I slipped, no, pushed myself and others from the Throne that is His, so we could all worship Him. The dead things, my old broken mindset about what made sense in order to make me normal, needed to have a heavy tombstone rolled over them, so that I could embrace the Resurrection and The Life.

What about you? What is your cemetery dredging story? Why do you insist on seeking Life in a place of established deadness?

God or me: me or God

“We have become committed to relieving the pain behind our problems rather than using our pain to wrestle more passionately with the character and purposes of God. Feeling better has become more important than finding God. And worse, we assume that people who find God always feel better.

As a result, we happily camp on biblical ideas that help us to feel loved and accepted, and we pass over Scripture that calls us to higher ground. We twist wonderful truths about God’s acceptance, His redeeming love, and our new identity in Christ into a basis for honoring ourselves rather than seeing those truths for what they are: the sunning revelation of a God gracious enough to love people who hated Him, a God worthy to be honored above everyone and everything else.

We have learned to praise God the way we tip a specially attentive waiter. Good treatment we expect, but exceptional treatment deserves special recognition. And certainly God qualifies for extra notice: He has gone to great trouble to feed our souls and bolster our self esteem. We therefore leave Him a big tip, feeling benevolent and noble, and He, in turn, beams with humble appreciation as He hears us say, “Well done! You have served us well.”

But this is backwards! We have rearranged things so that God is now worthy of honor because He has honored us. “Worthy is The Lamb,” we cry, not in response to His amazing grace, but because He has recovered what we value most: the ability to like ourselves.  We now matter more than God.”

Dr. Larry Crab ‘moving through your problems towards FINDING GOD’

LORD Jesus, as we again begin our journey following You to higher ground, bearing our own crosses, we start by falling on our knees and saying we are guilty as charged. No, we are even more guilty than we have been charged. Forgive us for making this life that You have loaned us, about us, and perceiving You as our errand boy. Teach our lives to know You, to see You and to move ourselves from the thrones of our lives – because that is Your spot in us. Heavenly Father, forgive us, forgive me, remind me that the only reason I am here, the main reason, is to know You more in order to worship You Excellently – with each of the loaned breath that I take in and give out. Teach me to love my place at Your Feet and to jealously guard it. In Your Name I ask this. Amen

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