Yes, Kings Ride Donkeys

They seem hopeful
As down the Mount of Olives
You descend.
And this a small part
Of all your emptying of self
Near bitter end.
The beast submissive
Clopping on a path
Your God has made.
Does he foresee
This regal road
Of prophecy
Where palms are laid?
They cheer
‘So blessed art thou
Who comes by mission of the Lord’.
But can they tell
That slaughter is the ransom rare
Til now ignored?
Oh yes they smile
With happy thoughts.
His kindness by the Lake.
But can they face
The grueling Roman gibbet
True mercies undertake?
No..no
They’ll turn
From groanings of the King
Disgusted by a passive death
Could THIS their freedom bring?

Under Attack Every Which Way

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The Prophet must be right

Or all is lost

Men outside the walls

Taunt victories of their King

Innumerable.

No nation stands

He likens Egypt, wealthy Egypt

To a flimsy walking stick.

He rolls over idols

And false hopes.

Tells our people of a lovely

Exiled way for the taking.

Eliakim rent his clothes

In the telling

So did I at the hearing.

A King – a-cowering.

Those spears, arrows and horses

So real…so present.

And I have only a word

Of a strange man

Becoming stranger:

“Fear not oh Jacob

Only believe oh Israel

For I have redeemed you

Refreshed you

And will bring about

Before your eyes

Total victory.

Sennacherib’s haught

Coming to nought

His departure final.”

…And now there is this sickness

My years flee away as a scroll

My hopes unfulfilled

Tear-streaming face

I turn toward the wall

And call and call

Your mercy my all

In this sore trouble.

Inflaming boil

My waters roil.

Your word so simple

That even the sun

Will be pulled back ten

To prove your keeping love

Time and again

For virgin daughter of Zion,

For David’s throne

For me.

(Isaiah chapters 36 through 38 and Hezekiah’s plight)

 

Mysteries

There are various things recorded as mysteries in the scriptures. “I tell you a mystery…”

The mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven

The reconciliation of Jew and Gentile in time through Christ

The indwelling of the Holy Spirit

The rapture of the Church

The mystery of iniquity

The mystery of godliness

Refer to a concordance and see them there.

I love a good mystery. Just got finished reading again The Hound of the Baskervilles with Sherlock Holmes. Eerie territory. Pathways through quagmire. Obscuring fogs. Terrifying sounds. Sulphurous smells. Lurking threats. Folklore through the ages. Curses. Villains and deceit. Distinctions of nobility and service. Wrong paths. Re-tracing of one’s steps. Half thought out clues. Poor judgments. Providential information hitting like a clap of thunder. New eyes given to see.

It all took time for Holmes and Dr. Watson to solve the story.

Revelation takes time for each one of us. The ones gone on a little bit before must show and exercise patience with those following. It is not immediately as clear to see “as the nose on one’s face”. There is a patient and benevolent timing to the clues. And lest I be misunderstood it is not a matter of intelligence, but rather of mercy and providence. My dear Watson.

God is the One laying out the clues, lovingly, and in His perfect timing, heart by heart.

Behold, He cometh with clouds (Revelation 1:7a)

Five Chapters of Grief Vividly Felt

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Mine eyes run down with waters

I see the judgment come

And not a one in Zion’s walls

Repents to save our home.

The women leave the homesteads

The children roam in sin

And not a priest will call it foul

The heresy we’re in.

The young men waste their vigour

The judges issue floss.

So You have launched your arrows

And You have brought us loss.

And bread has caught our bellies

The search transcending all

Neglecting writ of righteousness

And plunging fast, we fall.

It starts with my own person

Left weak and in the pit

And feeling, right or wrong, your ire

And terrified by it.

Our prayers don’t leave the temple

Not solemn now or real

And strangely, you still harbour hope

Though all this muck you feel.

Lord please hear my petition

Let Sovereignty dash our foe

And not just archers from without

The barbs within must go.

Then maidens pure will sing and dance

And young men pledge their heart

And children rest in safety’s arms

Your people set apart.

 

Lamentations 3: 42-50

Hebrews 2: 3, 4

 

Note: The Greek word for church “ecclesia” means a people set apart unto God.

Where Is Your Faith?

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I love Luke chapter 8 for a number of reasons.

Jesus had gone out on the Lake with His disciples. A terrible storm came up quickly. They panicked and wakened Him up from His resting. He spoke words of authority and stilled the maelstrom.

Then He asked them “Where is your faith?”

And they, being afraid, wondered… 

Now they had the physical presence of the Master, but no faith, no heroic confidence based on the promised victory behind the things seen*. They were still in the Old Covenant. Still operating upon a resource that knew too quickly its limitations. So when did faith arrive?

I would suggest it was after the Resurrection and after the New Birth, when they had seen the risen Messiah, repented of their betrayals and confirmed to their own satisfaction the fulfillment of prophecies and the truthfulness of Jesus’ words. Then they received a deposit of the Holy Spirit (John 20: 22, 23). Then they received His fruit including “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith…” (Galatians 5:22)

And the faith must be applied faith, accomplished on the basis of the indwelling Spirit. This is the New Covenant dynamic. This is what James addresses when he says that faith without works is dead (James 2: 17-20).

Have you been born again? Yes? Then expect faith and trials. But if not…

And one further comment on terminology. When I share what has been given to me, I often hear people say “I’m glad that you have your faith”. It isn’t my faith. I didn’t learn it, earn it or conjure it. It is the “faith once given to the saints”, and God alone has opened my eyes and heart to it.

*Note: What had the disciples been promised? “Let us go over to the other side.” What had appeared to frustrate them? Seemingly contrary circumstances – wind and waves. Hold on to the sacred Word of promise. Flex that faith!

As I finished this post the bells of St Agnes were ringing around the corner from our house.

Letting Go the Reins

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Oh but I have to steer this buggy. Father taught me how. Pretty good at it too. Horses respond to my voice and tug. Going nowhere without my gumption.

A loving Heavenly Father admonishes:

In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength. (Isaiah 30: 15)

Enemies are close at hand! The Kingdom could be lost. Better go back to Egypt for resources. Yeah, they have the troops and the horses.

Well, what did Egypt really do for you before, Sonny Boy? Remember the slave pits and the humiliation?

Quietness – A getting still in the presence of God and his folk. Craning the neck for His loving whisper of courage and guidance. And with the pause, seeing the first of a progression of opening doors. And beginning to walk only then…and then…

Confidence – Trusting that His Word is true; His intentions unstoppable; His shepherding entirely sufficient.

Strength – God’s strength through Christ, and in the illumination of the Spirit. His, not mine, buoyed up by shaky boasts. Wow, what a trade-off!

Yeah I’ve got it now Lord. Come on up on the buggy seat beside me. Lots of room. Don’t think we’ve ever been this close. Here are the reins. Show me please. This is gonna be good.

Taken In Adultery

Mercy by DiCianni

No man Lord, condemns me

Though you most surely can

And yes, I did transgress

The Law in lust with that smooth man.

And rabbis drag me to your feet

For stoning, Moses said

And I with simply no excuse

Exposed and good as dead.

But you write something in the sand

And rabbis read and pause

And one by one they drop their rocks

Unworthy of their laws.

And I can sense a cleansing comes

In studying your face

I do repent; I will amend

At this your dawn of Grace.

 

(provoked by a good sermon I heard yesterday morning on the car radio concerning John 8: 1-12 and the dilemma of judgment meeting mercy in the sinless Christ)

Arresting image above by Ron DiCianni.

Oh Forever Bless This Man

 

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And a man shall be

Hiding place from the wind

Covert from the tempest

Rivers of refreshing water

Shade by a Great Rock.

For this we rejoice

Not in a system

Not by a code

But the noblest of men

The truest of heroes

The One long awaited

Our uplifting Helper

Purest expression of the race

Forerunner in righteousness.

And He had been promised

And we had almost fainted

Despairing of the deeds of men

The long reckoning of greed

And guile and grief.

But no longer.

Hallowed be His Name.

 

(Isaiah 32: 2, 3)

Gather ‘Round the Banner (Isaiah 11:10)

 

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These notes came to my attention as I pulled a treasured old volume from the shelf this morning. I had almost forgotten that I had recorded them:

Fundamentals of Christian Truth (Acts 2: 16-41)

1. The Incarnation/Virgin Birth

2. Miraculous Ministry of Mercy

3. Atoning Death and Blood-Letting

4. Resurrection According to Scriptures

5. Jesus’ Return in Glory

Fundamentals of Christian Practice (Romans 12)

1. Glorify God – Trust and Obey

2. Expose Wickedness (Salt/Light)

3. Give and Forgive

4. Edify the Brethren

5. Disciple All Nations

Fundamentals of Christian Hope (Hebrews 12)

1. Our Truth is Eternal

2. Our Chastening is Profitable

3. Our Godly Suffering is Currency for Souls

4. Our God is Coming With a Recompense

5. Our Citizenship/Treasure is in Heaven