Thursday, 21 February 2019
“Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams.” Acts 2:17
More of Joel's prophesy Peter quoted to the gathered crowd at Pentecost.
What struck me deeply about this particular passage is the gift for old men. And since Jesus brought into being an egalitarian faith, it’s for old women as well.
I’ve been thinking about being at the end of a life lived fully. When family is grown, when the body fails, when purpose falls by the wayside, this is a gift that restores the hopes of youth, of a time when the world was fresh and new and ripe with possibility; when anyone over thirty was considered ancient. (Smile. We’re not.)
I have to ponder on what sort of dreams would bless the old…seeing as I am not there yet, I wouldn’t even know where to start! (A big smile.)
I have to acknowledge and give thanks for the dreams where I sat in Jesus' presence and was comforted, especially during the darkest days, the lost days, on the Black River.
Maybe God dreams aren’t earth shattering revelations. Maybe we need to let go of the idea that prophesy is limited to big ticket items. I feel this is placing yet another cultural expectation on how God works.
Maybe dreams are the one place where we are free to listen, where we are free of worldly constructs around our Lord and His ways. In our dreams, we can fly!
In Christ, we can do all things!
PS I use the word “maybe” a lot simply because there is much I don’t know. Yet, every time it finds itself flowing from my fingertips, it is meant as a prayer: for understanding, clarity and wisdom.
Wednesday, 20 February 2019
“In the last days,” God says, “I will pour out my spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy.” Acts 2:17
Peter quoted the prophet Joel on this day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was given to all who believe.
I learned something very important last night. We had our home church yesterday because the weather is supposed to turn nasty tonight. We haven’t met since before I went away because of it!
I had always thought that prophesy was like fortune telling (for want of a better comparison). That prophesying was only about the future; divinely inspired statements of what lay ahead. In true God fashion, He has gifted all of us, men and women alike, with something that is far more.
The terms forth-telling and foretelling were shared. Foretelling is related to what will come. It is a part of prophesy. Forth-telling is Godly words about what is. Forth-telling is when truths are spoken over a person or even a place.
(Oh, Lord, forgive me for speaking my own “truth”, not Yours.)
There’s a building south west of here, sort of in the middle of nowhere. It has seen business after business set up shop then fail in a matter of months. Every time we drove past, someone in the car would inevitably point this out.
“Nothing ever succeeds there. Why would they even think it was a good location? Man, that’s an ugly building!”
There was a feeling of dejection and abandonment and darkness, like a shadow, over the whole area. Then God revealed that a good number of people were saying the same thing about the place every single day. It is a busy road.
All of us together, believer and non-believer alike, had laid the foundation for failure by the words we spoke, by prophesying poisonous words. (The devil is more than happy to oblige.)
From then on, whenever I passed, I began praying the business would succeed. Mostly, the prayers were for the people involved, that they would learn how to protect themselves from the onslaught of curses through the love and power of Jesus Christ.
I don’t go that way very often any more so there’s no way of knowing if there was a happy ending for the place. Was one voice, speaking life and love, enough to eradicate years of hateful words?
And I am feeling convicted by this tale for the number of times un-Godly words have passed over my lips; those times when criticisms, judgments and negativity have carelessly poured out. Can I take them back? Can I place them at the foot of the cross? Will You forgive me?
Thank You, Lord, for Your grace and patience and kindness. Thank You for bringing me into an even greater awareness of just how necessary it is to watch my language. Now I understand what an incredible gift You have entrusted us with.
I realize too, that forth-telling and foretelling are intricately intertwined with each other. That one cannot exist without the other. And it is a powerful team.
PS. I also believe that honestly sharing our struggles and feelings with the Lord or a trusted counselor is part of the healing process; an unraveling of lies that makes way for truth.
Tuesday, 19 February 2019
“And Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Luke 7:50
I bought an inexpensive piece of costume jewelry in Florida. It came with a carefully preserved oyster and the guarantee of finding at least one pearl within. The silver pendants (I chose a unicorn) were designed with a basket to display the pearl. The various pearl colours were supposed to grant wisdom, health and a bunch of other things I forget. But, it’s a pearl, not some sort of supernatural agent. Those abilities belong to God.
But as a metaphor…
I was drawn to this for another reason. A pearl, a thing of shimmering beauty, is made by an oyster when a bit of stone or sand finds its way into the shell. The oyster coats the irritating bit of grit with layer upon layer of calcium carbonate. It hardens into a pearl, a treasure of the sea, which has been sought after for millennia.
Then someone got smart. Not all wild oysters contain pearls. By intentionally placing a grain of sand or two or three into a live oyster shell then waiting for it to do its thing, a pearl harvest is guaranteed. I think the only things that can’t be controlled is what colour or shape the pearl will be.
By intentionally laying the things that grieve me, that have hurt me, and where I have sinned at the foot of the Cross, Jesus has made pearls out of them. He has redeemed them all and continues to wrap layer upon layer of healing around them.
And I am ever grateful that He has answered my prayers so quickly. I am grateful He has shown me the way of peace.
Now, I don’t know if pearl farmers force the oyster open to install the sand. I have a feeling it would kill it by tearing the tender, inner flesh apart. Maybe they wait for the oyster to open on its own: the Jesus’ way. (Smile.)
Pearl moments: answered prayers.
Yah…corny…but I love corny. And that’s okay.
As for the unicorn, initially I chose it because it’s a mythological, beautiful beast that makes me smile; because it never hurts to embrace the whimsical, the playful, every now and then.
Now, I see it differently. Never in a million years did I ever think having a relationship/friendship with men could be possible…a mythical, imaginary state of being that has ended up being very real.
And I am okay with that, too.