Sunday, September 23, 2012

I Surrender All?

                                                            (artwork by Marilee Miller)


.A twenty-something blogger recently wrote of having just entered a graduate-level, almost-a-year study course.  But already, he feels torn about “the right steps to pursue next year”.  He supposes he ought to complete a graduate degree at a prestigious university.  Yet at this time he doesn’t consider a higher degree  as a requisite to advance his career, but as a possible route toward being well-informed, a good communicator, and “wise”.  He pictures a future that involves serving others, dialoging with them – especially about Jesus Christ -- and reaching out with his own two hands to help attend to the physical and spiritual needs of those who are often overlooked.

In his conflicted interests, his fear is that he will “just be”.  Just a writer, not an exceptional influencer through the written word.  Just a businessman, a servant, not reaching his hopes of changing many lives.  He says he pleads with God desperately to show him his will.  He seems so afraid that he’ll blow his usefulness to God by making a wrong choice somewhere down the line.

My “take” is that he’s trying to control an outcome himself, when really, only God is capable of bringing this about.  It’s all very well to make what plans we’re able.  But when we obsess about only certain activities pleasing God – “what do I have to do next year, and the years after that, to become useful to God?” – that can be a trap.  Perhaps God wants us to “just be”.  Perhaps we need to focus on what Christ has already done for us, instead of what we might be able to do for the sake of his Kingdom.

Yet how like the young man, I can be!  I say “I surrender all to Jesus.”  But then I wonder what will become of me if I run out of money – or health – or the ability to pray.

If the Lord has in mind for this man a career that involves more education to accomplish, he’s capable of laying on the young man’s heart to continue in school.  Maybe the very instances where I’m concerned about my needs possibly not being met, are gifts to build up my character, honesty, perseverance, and absolute dependence on him.

I’m trying, though human enough to not always succeed in my efforts, to give all circumstances into the hands of God the Almighty One.  If “all Scripture is God-breathed for edification and correction…”, then let me cry out to him when I become afraid, certainly.  Let me express my grief and sorrow that life hasn’t turned out the way I’d hoped it would.  But then let me rely fully on his own faithfulness.

“The gospel is bearing fruit and is still growing (by its own inherent power)…”  (Not by my intentions at all.)  “For as part of God’s sovereign plan, we were chosen from the beginning to be his, and all things happen just as he decided long ago.  His intent has always been to adopt us into his own family, by sending Christ to die for us…”

Well, God can see the whole picture, even though I can’t.  So if all things happen as he decided long ago, then maybe I can relax that God is getting me exactly where I need to be “in the wide kingdom of his will.”

I’m aware that I come back to this same theme again and again.  I keep forgetting who I am in Christ, and who he is in me…

“Christ in me is my only hope of glory.”  “He has filled us with himself, the author and giver of everything everywhere.”  Maybe if I repeat the words often enough, my heart and spirit will finally get the message
(c 2012 by Marilee Miller)

This post is shared with "Seedlings in Stone"  and "The Wellspring"

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Praying Always


Praying Always

 Oh God, our Heavenly Father, have mercy on our land of the U. S., and mercy on the lands of the world. 
May the governments of all the lands of Earth seek to rule in fairness and justice for all. 

I offer my repentance for my acts or thoughts against Almighty God, and as an intercessor, beg repentance for all the governments on Earth, that we all may be cured of “our warring madness”, our incivility and hate and anger, our stubbornness and love of controlling power. 

Oh God, Maker and Ruler of Heaven and Earth, remember the cries of hurting people everywhere.  Save us from our arrogance and unhumility and selfishness.  Deliver us from our oppressors.  Help us to stand strong amidst even the most dire circumstances.

I offer my repentance for my acts or thoughts against Almighty God, and as an intercessor, beg repentance for all the people everywhere: That we may not accept a “victim mentality”, but trust in God to empower us  honestly and bravely, not blaming others for our plight, so that we may walk in “newness of life” and “reverence for life”.

Oh God, Lord of the Universe, so “high and lifted up that his train [presence and authority] fills the temple, yet you stoop low enough to pick us up and guide us on The Way.  We don’t deserve your Indescribable Love or Unfailing Mercies.  But you give them to every one of us.

I offer my repentance for my acts or thoughts against Almighty God, and as an intercessor, beg repentance for all the people whose hearts would falter unless you stooped low and nourished us with Yourself. 

Oh God, Most Blessed, thank you that we are privileged to “pray without ceasing”.  We praise you that you hear our prayers (yes, even in all the many ways there are of praying.  Thank you, Lord.  In the name of Jesus, the Christ (Messiah), Amen.

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may live a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty,

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior;

Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth…

I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath or doubting.”
(I Tim 2:1-4, 8 KJV)

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Monday, September 3, 2012

God Made "Spanish Lace"


Spanish lace is a plant (epiphyte) which drapes itself over trees, but takes its nourishment from the air and raindrops.

God Made Spanish Lace

God, Our Heavenly Father,
Thank you for revealing to us many of your treasures.
I thrill to your mightiness,
As I’m caught and held close by your holiness,
And stand in awe of your Incredible Love.

In a strange touch of whimsy,
God made “Spanish lace” –
and also created ME to admire his dwelling place.

Jesus, my beautiful Lord,
Praise you for satisfying my deep need for a Savior.
I’m glad you will come
To brush my needful heart with your welcome;
I’m so amazed by your  Indelible Love.

Your touch of tender mercy
 Brings healing, your intricacy
Weaves my inner parts like “Spanish lace”,
and fashions ME to receive beauty and grace.

Holy Spirit, go-between and advocate,
How could it be that you delight in me in pleasure?
I revel in your sustaining
Power, for by your hand you’re maintaining:
I adore you for your Indescribable Love.

You have given me your fullness:
The God who made “Spanish lace” –
also brings ME to inhabit his resting-place.
(c) 2012 by Marilee Miller

This post is shared with "Seedlings in Stone" On, In, and About Mondays
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