Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Gold Wedding Band Around My Heart

The Holy Spirit is like the indentation from a wedding band on your ring finger. You may try to pretend that you aren't married, or you may even take off your ring in hopes of deceiving someone else or yourself. But that smooth white band of shiny skin on your finger is the tell-tale sign that a ring has been worn on that finger for quite some time.

The Holy Spirit is like that smooth indentation under your wedding ring. If you truly know Christ, then a part of God Almighty lives inside you, as the Lord's signet ring, sealing you to Him for all eternity. No one can fake that confident sense of "belonging" to Christ, just like no one can fake that ring indentation. And no one can remove the indentation, not without removing the wedding band and exposing the area to lots of sunlight for an extended period of time. Just like no one can remove the Holy Spirit from you, once you have Him. He is yours; you are His.

You may not want to "feel" like you're married, just like there are surely some days when you may not "feel" like a Christian. But the Holy Spirit is always there, that smooth little band around your heart, ensuring that you belong to Him, forever.

The point of all this is as follows: even if you remove that gold wedding band, which is the outward symbol of love, devotion, and belonging to someone, that small white line still remains beneath it, encircling your finger like a scar, showing the world that a grand display of commitment used to reside on that finger. The effects and sentiment remain wrapped around your finger, even if the outward symbol is removed.

Now, I realize that this is an imperfect analogy, because after you remove a wedding band, the little white smooth band will fade over time; the proof of your prior commitment slowly fading into oblivion. But it would take awhile, and it may never truly fade completely. Would that area of skin ever truly be the same again, as it was before you placed that ring on your finger? I don't know and I don't plan on finding out.

But the point remains the same: the Holy Spirit, once accepted into your heart, remains for always, encircling your heart, even if you allow Him to fade a bit. You may remove that outward symbol and turn away from Christ, but He will never turn away from you. He is like the most faithful, committed, loving Husband who fights for you and longs for you to know Him completely.

Romans 8:9--
"You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ."

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Best Things are the Nearest

"The best things are the nearest: 
Breath in your nostrils,
light in your eyes,
flowers at your feet,
duties at your hand,
the path of God just before you." 

This wonderful quote, from Robert Louis Stevenson, details exactly how I feel right now.  The "best" things in life are typically the "small" things, and those small things end up being the large things after all!  Those "small" moments are the ones you wish you'd taken pictures of, or enjoyed more thoroughly in the moment. 

I also love how this quote speaks of the path of God being "just before you."  Did you catch that?  Just before you.  You cannot see the path as it winds its way off into the distant horizon.  No.  You can only see that very next stepping stone, or maybe the next two, if you're lucky.  I'm starting to believe that we humans are only meant to see our very next step, so that we will not get complacent and begin trusting in our own means of saving ourselves, but continue to throw ourselves upon the Lord's trustworthiness and goodness, leaning on Him with each unsteady step ahead. 

God certainly has laid out a solid path for your life, but He typically only shows you the next step to take, and, tomorrow, after you've taken that step, He'll show you the next one after that.  And so it goes, day after day, step after step.  He leads us, guides us, and confirms our path. 

I think this method of only seeing one step ahead for your life's journey requires a strange mix of utter confidence in God, and total humility and brokenness on our part.  If we cannot see even two steps into our murky future, then we have to admit that we need God for EVERYTHING!  We need Him to place that next stone under our feet, we need Him to shed enough light on our stony path so that our feet will plant firmly and solidly upon it, and we need Him to give us strength and courage to stare out into the outer darkness looming before us, without fear.  We need God, a lot!

Additionally, we need to have utter and total confidence in God, that He keeps His promises, that He is indeed good and looking out for us, and that He has everything under control.  And, after that (perhaps the most difficult part of all this), we need to REST in that confidence, and try to live our daily lives, walking this precarious path, without worry, stress, doubt, or losing faith.  That is the real test of faith, is it not?  Putting our actions, beliefs, decisions, and confidences into daily-life action.  Give it to God, and then get over it!   

If we say we trust God, and determine to let Him guide us, then we must allow Him the freedom to lead us, wherever (and however!) He sees fit.  Just like you cannot give someone a gift and then immediately take it back, we cannot say with our mouths that we trust God and want to walk in His path, but then refuse to take that literal step of faith, letting Him guide us in His way. 

Trust, have confidence, ask God for His guidance, and then take that step

image credit:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The View From My Front Door

This gorgeous sunset greeted my eyes a couple of nights ago, here in Seattle.  It seems this oppressive heat surge has brought one good thing along with it:  beautiful, other-worldly sunsets every evening!  This magnificent view was just outside our front door, radiant above a long line of stately evergreens.  I could get used to this sight every night!  And if I have to deal with a bit of heat to get it, well then I guess I can manage!  Although, even though our "heat wave" is certainly a heat wave here in Seattle, it's not nearly as hot as the temperatures the Midwest has been getting lately.  Yikes! 

The Lord God is so magnificent, so majestic, and so perfect, and He uses His paintbrush to spatter the evening sky with color.  And not just ANY dull, old color, but hot pinks and purples, which are a couple of my favorites!  God is so good!