To Set the World Aright

Jesus’ disciples went out and “turned the world upside down” in order to set the world aright. But all the orthodox folks of the day stared at them with consternation and frustration, and perhaps a healthy dose of fear, as they faced off with men whose faith proved to be unstoppable.

Some things never change.

Today, we still face off with the ways of God, scratching our heads in bewilderment as we try to make sense of a kingdom so backward to our way of life.

God’s kingdom winds through a maze of oxymoron-ish twists as it calls us to lay down our life in order to live it to the full. With baffling truths, we are challenged to experience things in a manner that runs counter-culture to the world in which we live.

It is better to give than to get.
Humility is where true power lies.
Persecution brings favor and blessing.
The greatest fulfillment is found when you give up your own desires.
A willingness to surrender everything reaps the largest of rewards.
Our strength is greatest when Another bears the load.
And grace is found along a bloody trail leading through suffering and death.

No wonder we humans are confounded by Spirit rules.

In a show of sovereign strength, Jesus lays down His life for His enemies. God in flesh, overcoming flesh to declare the splendor of Spirit reign. The ultimate upset as mercy triumphs over judgment in the blackest of human souls, and Spirit descends to take up residence within the likes of you and me.

Spilled blood becomes the bedrock of heavenly kingdom as Majestic King rises with healing in His hands, embracing all who dare to believe in this love amazing and full.

With human mind, I cannot grasp the why’s and how’s of Savior’s ways, and yet I trust in them. After all,

If I could wrap my mind around you, then I know you would most certainly be too small to wrap new life around me. (excerpt from Steven James’s A Heart Exposed)

And so I continue to cling to what I cannot fathom and simply say “yes” to the wonder of it all. Come, Lord Jesus, and set my world aright . . . even if it means You must first turn some things upside down in me.

© MereWhispers.wordpress.com

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An Unalterable Truth

Given the present turmoil of our society, truth seems ambiguous. A floundering concept too shifting to readily grasp, let alone hold onto, as it slips through groping fingers like grains of sand. Solid as granite one minute, then morphing to vapor once a person attempts to take a stand upon it. But the catchword of this falsity is found in those five little letters that spell out “seems.”

Like it or not, the reality of truth is set in just that . . . the reality of truth, regardless of how things “seem.”

No matter the temptation to believe otherwise, truth is certain. Unalterable. Unthreatened by the changing tides of political correctness which could mean one thing today and another tomorrow.

Truth stands even when things my eyes behold make me wonder if it hasn’t upped and packed its bags, moved on to greener pastures — pastures mysteriously devoid of the manure of the masses. At least that’s what I would do. Pack up and move to a place where all is sunshine and rainbows without the acid rain of a world replete with sin’s toxic fallout.

But, thankfully, truth chooses to stay. Standing secure, day after day. Unaffected by the changes occurring all around it. No matter that I am.

Truth continues through the messy and the undefinable. Boldly taking its stance when I’m filled with more questions than answers. Daring me to believe its rightness even when it must go to war with my emotions. Because, let’s face it, truth doesn’t always match up with one’s feelings. But thankfully, it is tenacious enough to withstand them. And to conquer them, albeit sometimes with what appears to be agonizing slowness, as it confronts and overcomes fallacy after fallacy with its relentlessness.

Though life is fleeting, I live with a truth that is timeless. Wrapped in the blood-drenched package of Calvary’s sacrifice, purchased with pierced hands and wounded back of a Savior determined to thrust me from harm’s reach at the expense of His own. A sprawling truth stretching across continents, reaching deep into the worst of cultures, into the blackest of human souls, and extinguishing darkness with the torch of grace. Illuminating the hearts of sinner after sinner and calling them into the light as saints.

Rescued.

Renamed.

Chosen.

Kept.

Perhaps most astounding of all is the keeping power truth exerts, despite our best efforts to discard it.

Truth holds steady when everything within and without trembles and quakes. In this place of too much and not enough. In the quiet and the clamor. Through the calm or the chaotic. When faced with too many options and not enough filling.

With every cry of “Who am I?” the world is hungering for one answer . . . Truth.

My own cries join with the masses as I continue to pen question after question. Tentatively wondering when the answers will come, and if I will recognize them when they do.

Yet still trusting enough to voice them.

Trusting Father hears when my heart is prone to doubt.

Resting in the calm assurance that He has not turned His back on a world that has seemingly turned its own on Him.

I wonder.

I pray.

I trust.

I choose.

Hanging my hopes beside a crown of thorns.

Waiting in the shadow of Cross beams for a glimpse of resurrection’s final dawn.

I side myself with truth and stand with lifted eyes.

© MereWhispers.wordpress.com

 

To Live as Ones Remembered

I, Peter, am an apostle on assignment by Jesus, the Messiah, writing to exiles scattered to the four corners of the wind. Not one is missing, not one forgotten . . .

Such begins the first letter written by a man on mission, a friend determined to turn the world upside down with his faith in the One who turned Peter’s own life upside down with amazing love. A man bent on sharing the Good News of salvation in Jesus, God’s Son. A man unwavering in reminding his companions that they are not forgotten, no matter how desperate the circumstances in which they find themselves living.

Not one is overlooked.

Not one is missing in action.

Not one is beyond the Savior’s eyes nor past the reach of His gracious goodness.

Not one is forgotten.

This letter is a timeless call to remembrance for Christians everywhere.

In remembering, our faith is strengthened and our resolve to continue on is renewed. It is here we are fortified to look toward the future with hope in our Lord’s coming, and to believe we will be held firmly until that day.

Jesus is the Keeper of our faith. The Constant Companion when our hearts seem as dust scattered to the four corners of the wind, with no way of being pieced back together. We may not have been displaced like the early disciples, fleeing from our homes for our very lives, but sometimes our souls can feel like refugees.

Exiles in a land not our own.

The aches and pains of living press upon us, crushing us from the inside out, pushing us beyond our limits of rest and comfort. Sometimes we feel pursued, anxiously looking over our shoulder for the enemy lurking in the shadows, determined to take us out when we least expect it. And sometimes we falter beneath an enemy of our own making, bending under the weight of burdens we were never meant to bear on our own.

No matter the source, thoughts gone astray can carry us far from truth’s dwelling, tempting us to feel alone and abandoned.

Overlooked.

Forgotten.

This is why we need the reminder of remembrance.

As Peter states: When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of His victory.

This victory does not hang on our own accomplishments or the riches we’ve attained in this life, nor is it contingent upon our own power to persevere. Jesus is both the Giver and the Keeper of our faith. This faith is His victory trophy to flaunt before Satan and all of hell’s demonic hordes. A total win of blowout proportions! A salvation that is complete and final in the grandest of all upsets!

So then, let us live as ones pulled into a way of life shaped by our Savior’s own. Given over daily to the One who gave it all to hold us steady through it all. Surrendered body, mind, and spirit to this God-life freely granted.

May we celebrate our salvation, even when we seem distanced from our final destination.

Even when hope hangs precariously in our grip, dangling by a thin thread of frail belief.

May we look to the One whose gaze has never wavered, whose hand has never loosened its hold on the assurance of our victory. And who even now is preparing for a celebration, the likes of which humanity has never known.

Here in this scattering, may we live as ones remembered. . . by the One who never forgets.

© MereWhispers.wordpress.com

OMG!

I admit that when I hear someone say the word God or Jesus Christ in a manner that is not honoring His name, I automatically cringe. I was taught the commandment Do not take the name of the Lord your God in vain was not to be broken, and yet, I often find myself misusing the Lord’s name. Not in speech, but in deed — which seems to be a much worse offense for someone who is called to walk beneath the covering of that very Name she so flippantly disregards.

This commandment from Exodus 20:7 goes beyond using God’s name as a curse word. As Steve Furtick writes in his book (Un)qualified:
. . . We are essentially taking His name in vain. Not because we don’t value Him or honor Him, but because we don’t realize how powerfully His name can permeate our present and transform our existence.”

With this thought in mind, I can’t help but wonder how often I dishonor the name of my Lord simply by neglecting to take it on with a blessing.

The Lord is my God, but do I really embrace the awesome power of that statement? Do I personalize the intimacy of Abba and daughter as a way of life, one which honors my namesake and my heritage as a member of the family of Christ? Do I treat this belonging as the incredible privilege it is, esteeming my adoptive birthright with a life that brings glory to my heavenly Father?

Or do I take His name in vain — nothing changed, nothing gained. Everything remaining essentially the same because I choose to live without applying faith to my new persona.

When I fail to realize and invite the power of His name to permeate my present and transform my existence, I’m taking the Lord’s name in vain. Whether by intent or default, I’m living without result or effect of this gracious mercy poured out on my behalf. In neglecting to honor His name, I’m refusing to live differently than I did when I was called by my old name and nature.

Life in Jesus should not be without effect. This is no wild goose chase I’ve embarked upon, but a life of infinite realness and goodness. With straightforward momentum leading me away from myself and into Calvary’s light — a light that shatters the grip of darkness and sin with amazing grace descending straight from heaven’s throne.

Christianity is not simply an accepted belief that there is a God who created the world and everything in it; it is the birthing of life and power in human soul.

It is not just realizing my need for a Savior named Jesus; it is accepting and implementing the power He extends me to be transformed into His image. An image that puts off my former way of living according to my own wayward desires, abandoning the practice of sinful habits that once ruled me. It is being born again into a new being.

I don’t want to be a Christian who lives to no avail, fruitlessly wandering and lost in worldviews that are not surrendered to Father’s truths. This new life in Jesus is just that: a new life. It is not an abortive mission given up at the first sign of challenge or temptation to continue a sinful lifestyle.

Taking His name means I am no longer orphaned to live this life all alone, but as one called and chosen by God Himself. Conspicuously grafted in with the ability of living as a new creation. Waking each day with a transformation of character, one that morphs more completely into Christ’s likeness with each decision I make to intentionally conform to my calling in the Beloved of the Lord.

May we live our lives as ones claimed by Abba to proclaim His name, no longer denying His identity in us. But rather, honoring His name and its power to enable us to live as ones made new — day by day and for forever.

©MereWhispers.wordpress.com

Knowledge ≠ Faith

Knowledge is not faith; it is merely a distant cousin.

Knowledge can be measured and studied and controlled, but faith unleashed takes on a life of its own.

Faith blazes like a forest fire, spreading and consuming. Devouring the limits of mere information. Going beyond all borders formed by finite understanding.

Faith pushes against the seen and logical, delving into the depths of the unknown and mysterious. Giving birth to miraculous in the sometimes-yet-to-be-discovered-but-fully-real-and-within-reach realm of a believing soul.

Faith lingers close to the heart, but sometimes strays far from confining human comprehension.

For as soon as faith can be fully known, it ceases to be faith at all. A part of it must always remain a mystery and require a childlike confidence in its presence and purpose.

Otherwise, faith cannot be trusted.

Unless it pulls us beyond what we can prove, faith remains simply knowledge. It must dwell in this unmapped region between evidence and doubt.

This is where faith is vibrant.

This is where faith calls us to cast our hope.

This is where faith challenges us to stake our claim.

And this is where we will meet the miraculous face-to-face.

Here in the uncharted waters of trust in what not yet is, but still can be.

        © MereWhispers.wordpress.com

A Perfect Blend

One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that You, O God, are strong, and that You, O God, are loving.  — Psalm 62:11-12

God is a perfect blend of strength and love. He is powerful enough to overcome every trial and temptation in my life, and the tool He wields to thwart it all is love.

It is His love that holds me steady and gives me hope to rise above every circumstance before me.

It is His love that arms me with strength for the battle . . . one more time.

It is His love that draws me near, assuring me all is well when by appearances life is anything but.

Choosing to believe in the goodness of Father’s love is what changes me day by day. Trusting His love will always win out over me and my stubbornness. Even when I struggle and pull against His will. Even when I feel inadequate and depleted. Even when I fail utterly. It is the strength of Father’s love which tugs me back to His heart, bridging this gap of separation. Forgiving my sin and covering my flaws with the perfectness of His grace given again.

God’s love is strong, and God’s strength is love.

This is the freedom I walk in as His child. Not a list of dos and don’ts to which I cannot possibly adhere. Not a continual striving to be good enough or deserving enough, nor the constant fear of never being good enough. But an invitation to rest in a grace that convicts without condemnation. A beckoning to bend toward a love that is patient and long-suffering while it waits for me to come to my senses and turn my wayward heart toward righteousness. A bidding to yield to a perfect Father who welcomes me to change my ways and conform to His, while giving me the very strength to do so.

God is the epitome of 1 Corinthians 13 because God is love personified.

God is love that resides in the power of being patient with His children, wooing hearts with kindness instead of demanding in anger.

God remains unflinching in His gentleness, continually forgiving offenses incurred against Him.

He keeps no record of wrongs. (Are you awed by that fact as much as I am?!?)

My Father rejoices when I come to grips with truth, slow learner though I may be.

God’s powerful love never gives up on me. He never loses faith that I will become all He has created me to be.

God remains hopeful about everything concerning me. Period.

Nothing can dim His affection for me.

Nothing can separate me from the mercy of a God who died to lay claims to my life.

This is the freedom in which you and I are invited to live — abundantly and without end — this perfect blend of love and power poured out on our behalf.

Open your ears and hear His word, then grasp the truth of it with all your heart: You, O God, are strong, and You, O God, are loving.

May we rest in the strength of His fierce love today . . . and always.

I’m including a link to Jeremy Riddle’s song Furious. It’s one of my personal favorites, and a wonderful reminder of God’s powerful love. If you need a bit of spiritual CPR, be encouraged. His love is fierce, His love is strong — and it’s waking hearts to life.

May yours be the next in line, my friend. Go ahead, take a deep breath and enjoy the awakening.

© MereWhispers.wordpress.com

Keeper of My Moments

Thank You for seeing all of me,
Yet calling me Your own, nonetheless.
For knowing the very worst of me,
While awakening the best,
And loving me still and forever.

I am amazed at Your mercy,
Astonished by this scope of grace extended
Again and again.
Your faith in me far exceeds my own.

Though I am untrustworthy,
You stay close beside.
Compelling me to notice You,
Inviting me to follow
Your way instead of mine.

Stepping toward belief,
I strain to catch hold of You
Only to find Your grip on me has never loosened.
Your hand firmly grasps my feeble faith,
Holding and keeping me
Even when I am blind to Your presence.

Because You are here,
Each moment is filled with miracle potential.
Help me to recognize You where You are,
And as You come,
And as You long to be.
Even if those ways seem startling.

Surprise me with Your presence, Lord.
Open my eyes to the wonder surrounding,
Embracing each second of life.
Stir my awareness,
And grant me vision to see You when others don’t.
Cause my feet to pause and follow You,
No matter that You lead in sometimes
Bewildering and strange places.

Help me press through the hard and difficult,
Beyond the sad and confusing,
To reach Your haven of rest
Designed for soul’s respite.
May I find reasons to celebrate always,
Forever thankful for Your endless mercy
Which rescues me time and again.

Strengthen me to remain steadfast,
Especially when my heart is faint
And worn from the battle.
Embolden me to trust You
Through the nonsensical and the illogical.
To rely on Your truth,
Unreasonable though it may seem.

May I extend grace and forgiveness,
A brimming handful of each,
To those who cause my heart to ache.
May I always turn to You instead of
Turning in anger
Or turning my back.

For You are here in this moment,
And that changes everything.

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life — your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life — and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him.
(Romans 12:1, The Message)

© MereWhispers.wordpress.com