Thursday, March 31, 2011

Freight Train~

Last night I had a really crazy dream.  There was a tornado, and it was eating up everything.  It wasn't one of those wide ones that just stays on a steady path... it was skinny and wild.  And it was after me. 

Now, normally I would admit that a tornado like that is pretty scary in and of itself - but this one was much more frightening - if that's possible.  It was after me.  It had intent... and motive... it was a wild, violent, deadly, harrowing storm... that was pursuing me.

Everywhere I went - every direction I turned - it pursued, and at one point I thought I discerned a wickedly malicious face in the midst of the wind and debris.  I ran left... it followed... I turned... it turned... I scrambled, and it gained on me. 

I was losing, and I knew it.  There was no way to outrun, outsmart, or survive in general.  Just as I was beginning to feel it's claws at my heels I relinquished my ability to defend myself at all... and then I woke with a start.

My chest was heaving with the breathless fear of terror.  I looked around my room - silence.  I listened to see if there was thunder, or even rain outside, thinking that maybe my mind was just associating external sounds with imaginary imagery.  There was nothing.  I breathed a deap sigh of relief and laid my head back on the pillow and, after seeing 4:30 on the clock next to me, I closed my eyes for just a bit more rest. 

It was a train this time.  And not just any train.  It had a face that seemed to personify evil.  Brow furrowed, wicked smile, and the most evil scream that I'd ever heard.  I looked down and I was standing in the middle of the tracks, and it was racing directly for me - and it wasn't far away.  There was no time to act, no brief instant for an instinctive jump to the side... I saw the face, heard the scream, froze in terror, and it was upon me... when again I woke up, just as it would have engulfed me. 

"What is going on?!" 

What was even more eerie was the fact that the train was one that's on a cartoon my children watch every morning.  Now, lest you think I feed my children's brains with evil stalking trains before they navigate their day, please know - THIS is the train they watch...

So, adding to the idea that something is pursuing me, I now have to reconcile the fact that the 'something' could be an otherwise harmless and even good thing.  WHAT?

Two dreams, and an overwhelming sense of foreboding, started me thinking along the lines of ~ WHY.  Why is something pursuing me?  Why is it that in both dreams I was completely unable to get away?  Why were they both actually pursuing me?

The Bible is clear in it's representation of our enemy.  1 Peter 5:8 says that he's like a roaring lion, seeking to devour.  It's not like he's just out there patiently waiting while I go about my life.  He's not sitting back, watching, awaiting the moment I screw something up on my own.  He's actually seeking...  he's pursuing....  and his goal? - to devour.  Hello, tornado.

And what's up with the train?  Yeah, doesn't the Bible also say that he appears as an angel of light? (2 Corinthians 11:14).  That leads me to evaluate - what is in my life that appears to be beautiful, but is actually deceptively seeking to attract my attention away from the Lord.  Now, before I get a flood of emails about the fact that no one can ever take us out of the hand of God - know this... I know.  But I can't count how many times I have felt the something encroaching upon my engagement to God. 

I mean, really, how many times have you sat down to have a quiet time, and all of a sudden - things go haywire?  Or, building a business has become so time consuming and attention captivating that you struggle just to keep your priorities right?  I have.  I remember that phrase - "The good is always the greatest enemy of the best."

But there is good news -
2 Timothy 4:17 states "But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion's mouth."

In my dreams, I woke just before the moment of despair.  Just before I was completely engulfed - there was a rescue.  Read it again - rescued out of the lion's mouth. 

That means I was in the lion's mouth in the first place.  That enemy knew me, targeted me, pursued me, attacked me, and clamped his wicked razor sharp teeth on to me.  I was hopeless to prevail on my own, and powerless against his ferocity.  UNTIL I WAS RESCUED....

So for today -

Hold on ~ help is on the way...

Friday, March 25, 2011

Affection is NOT cliche...

I believe in God.
I believe He is who He said He would be.
There is nothing more real - and nothing more sacred than the moment I get to meet with Him. 

There are times when He is silent, and I learn in that.  And there are times when He floods my heart with revelation, and I learn in that, too. 

Sometimes I'm overwhelmed with Him and cannot praise Him enough - or repent enough.  When He reveals part of His character to me, I find that Isaiah's words resonate in my heart and I feel the filthiness of my most righteous acts in comparison to the gleaming purity of His holiness. 

I love Him.  So much that sometimes I find myself weeping in desperation just to be with Him.  There is no one who loves as deeply, as greatly, as unconditionally, ... as honestly as He does.  His mercy stretches father than I could possibly imagine, and His grace is so much bigger than I can comprehend.  But why?

Why is He jealous for me?
Why is His love like a hurricane for me? (John Mark McMillan)
Why has He sought me like a precious jewel, like a lost treasure...
 - when so many times I have pursued my own agendas and asked Him to align Himself to my plans...
 - when I pout and cry and rage when I don't get my own way...
 - when I demand understanding and refuse to accept it...
 - when my pursuit is singed with fleshy desires...
 - when the time I give Him is inconsequential...

God demonstrates His radical affection for me in plowing beyond my expectations, the filters of my mind, and my experience as He pours His great love into my heart.  And what have I given in return?  What have I offered?  I can honestly say that I wake up every morning with a desire to pursue the plans of God for my life. 

But... what would happen if I pursued Him?

Isn't that what life is supposed to be about - pursuing God?  It is. 

All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.  How many times does Scripture reference the fact that God will bring about His purpose in our lives if we just seek Him?  My mind is almost immediately innundated with passages and phrases....

 - Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.
 - I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord... plans to give you hope and a future
 - The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps
 - And what about the ENTIRE sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7) that talks about the focus of man - his perception, his worries, his approach to life...

So - what would happen if, for today, we pursue God alone.  Do we believe He is strong enough to accomplish His plan?  Can He do it without us stressing over it?  Does the overwhelming attitude of Scripture lead us to the frustration of stressing over His plan, or do we REALLY believe that the pursuit of a deeper relationship with God is His primary plan for our lives? 

Does not the plan of God for our lives naturally develope (and our character, ability to listen/follow/obey, and our integrity) when we simply pursue a more openly honest engagement to Him?

I suggest that it does....

Monday, March 21, 2011


I hate not having answers.  It drives me crazy.  If I ask a question, it's because I'm looking to add information to a specific train of thought...

Is it a control thing?  I don't think so.  It's more like a processing issue...

And now I'm processing the desert. 

You know, I have books about this.  Books and books - and books about this place.  They talk about Moses and his trial as a shepherd in the desert after having run away from Egypt.  And they talk about David as He waited - after having already been anointed - as the next king of Israel.  And Jesus' experience immediately following his baptism. 

I've read them all.  I thought I had it all figured out.  I rationalized and filtered everything I would do through the theories of logic, doctrine, and spiritual awareness - and yet I find I'm ill prepared.

I've always thought of the desert as a place of waiting... learning patience.  I figured I'd just sit and wait for God to move.  I could do that.  Stand firm and wait.... I never realized the endurance that actually requires.  The desert is so much more than a lonely place.

It's a dangerous place...

It's a hot place...


Devoid of water, food, or nourishment of any kind...

And right now I am heavily feeling the danger, heat, malnutrition, AND lonliness that comes with this place. 

Standing firm requires more than just a decision to do so.  It requires a hefty amount of endurance in the midst of struggle.  It's a very hard place, and I can honestly say that I have underestimated it's assault.
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