Monday, July 14, 2014

How Long the Wait to Understand?

A dream.
I've been hounded for some time by a dream I had. I try to inoculate myself against a plague of anxious thoughts about it. I try not to make decisions based on what "part" of the dream I think I'm inhabiting, for surely it was a prophetic dream. I always tell people--if they believe in prophetic dreams at all: "You can't 'plan' around a prophetic dream."  But does that stop me from trying it myself?? 

I shared the dream here in this very journal on January 12 of 2012, so it has been at least a year and a half that this dream periodically comes back as a churning undercurrent that occasionally throws up a spray.  Happily, now, God has given me a framework of detachment from it. That detachment is always slow growing, a fragile seedling in the garden of the unconscious. Or maybe a constant willingness to pitchfork my faith as fodder for such an insubstantial little lamb. But eventually, the faith-work pays off.

Back then, I described the dream thusly:

I dreamed I was working on a building project with other saints.  After the workday was finished, we were all invited back to an appreciation dinner.  I arrived along with an older man.  When we pulled back the curtain to the banquet room, we saw tables draped in white cloth, with people sitting waiting to eat.  We were the last two to arrive, and  I saw two places left empty.  Each place setting held a gift for the diner.  One place was at a table of older people--friends of the man beside me--who were very much engaged in lively conversation.  At that place, a loaf of bread waited as a gift.  The other table had an empty seat alongside my own husband, and its gift was a mystery, all wrapped and ribboned for opening.  I considered both places, then turned to the man beside me.  "Why don't you take this one here.  I can make bread in my bread machine; and I don't know any of these people.  You can sit with them since they're in your group.  I'll take the other place."  I treated it like a concession to what would most bless him. 
So I went to be with the mystery gift and my husband.  But he, standing behind his chair, acted surprised when he turned and saw me there.  Immediately I knew I'd disappointed him...and myself. I looked at the gift in my hands and was suddenly crushed in my spirit.  I had wanted this seat for the gift, for the more familiar companionship and for a place next to my husband--all of which would have been acceptable reasons, except that I hadn't been honest about what I wanted.  I made the case that I was choosing this place based on what would be good for another, but in truth I'd done nothing of the kind.  I'd chosen based on what I wanted for myself.   Suddenly, the gift meant nothing, and my husband's disappointment as he turned his back on me to visit anew with the others at our table--this was a great chastening. 
I woke knowing every part of this dream was deeply symbolic, and I prayed that I might be alert to learn from the dream itself rather than to have to walk such a sad path, all for the sake of the learning this truth.  The bread He offers is NOT a bread I can make for myself.  It is a gift.  The people he sends to be my table companions should suffice, whether I sit at His right hand of honor or not. 
I am the server, not the chef in this story

Here is the full post of origin, but the dream alone is the content of today's musings, for today something "clicked" in my mind, and suddenly I see the purpose. Suddenly, the vine looks to bear fruit. Suddenly the lamb begins to graze without the help of my faith.

And THAT'S a relief! Sorry, but I'm still interested enough in myself that I don't want to stand alone in the position of being such a disappointment to a Dear One. Many prophetic dreams lately have had the flavor of being more personal--if not specifically for me, then for someone close to me. It has taken a year and a half to see that this one is more universal. In fact, I seem to be entering a period when God is showing me  more of the universal aspects of my specific gift and calling. So be it.

Now, re-read the dream with me, and know "me" as the Church. The Bride, in the days of Her apostasy.
Paul's words to the Romans about Israel's own version of an apostate time--these echo with a sad and weary familiarly:

Israel failed to obtain what it sought. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened,
as it is written:
"God gave them a spirit of stupor,
eyes that should not see and ears that should not hear,
down to this very day."
And David says,
"Let their table become a snare and a trap,
a pitfall and a retribution for them;
let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see,
and bend their backs for ever..."
--Romans 11:7-10
So even my months straining to comprehend what the dream was saying to me...even the darkened eyes help define it. Marking this passage for commonality.  And what of the glorious fact that eventually I see its meaning.
Surely, that also is good news for us all!

Finally, sense can be made of the symbol.
Finally, a new chapter from which to pray.
Finally, Simeon and Anna are stationed in the temple once again.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Staring at Saints

"What God has cleansed you must not call common..."  Acts 10:15.

The old journal is moving into another stave soon.  A calling and a consecration are just around the corner.  But first, an admission that I allowed calling and consecration to be sucked into a vacuum of the "commonplace" and am only now renewing my path...

September 25, 2005

If there is one thing I know, if I am to be like the Bread of the Presence, to use my dream interpreted with some Biblical language, then I now sit and wait to be taken up into service. 

An image struck me yesterday.  One of the problems in being "saintly" is that we run the race too well!  Then when we come alongside someone else, rather than running in stride with each other, we end up tempted to stare at each other, admiring each other's endurance, form, even beauty as we move.  Whatever the reason, turning our eyes toward each other involves taking them off the path.  There may be a momentary glance, as in that of handing off a baton in a relay, but it is not for the sake of admiring the other runner. We notice each other for the sake of finishing the run well, and that is all!  There is an un-selfconscious, un-otherconscious quality to it.  Face the finish line!  Keep moving!

"God has to take us into the valley and put us through the fires and floods to batter us into shape, until we get to the place where He can trust us with the veritable reality.  Ever since we had the vision, God has been at work, getting us into the shape of  the ideal, and over and over again we escape from His hand and try to batter ourselves into our own shape..." 
 --Oswald Chambers, July 6 entry, My Utmost for His Highest.

I've been in that valley for a long season. And the run has not had its consistent focus on the ribbon at the end of the race.  I've been very involved in self-battering in Oswald's imager.  Funny how risk-recognition works.  I saw the risk of hyper-focus on another runner.  What I did not see was the risk of other runners grabbing me by the sleeve and saying, "Look at me!  Tell me I run well, too!"  Easy in such times to lose sight of our own ever-present need for redemption.  People don't say, "I expect perfection from you," but they certainly imply it by ever asking you to take their measure and find them pleasing.  It feels like "service" to give them what they ask.  But it is a snarly root that can trip you.
A friend recently put the word redemption in the center of my field of vision, and it has since enveloped me.  I decided to make a word-study of it, as I sometimes feel led to do.  And seeing Oswald featured here, I thought to pull the old devotional from the shelf.  The index showed that the reading on my very birthday--January 31--hits the subject of redemption.  Chambers is quite bold on the topic:  "Reality is not human goodness, or holiness, or heaven, or hell--it is redemption...personal holiness is the effect of redemption, not the cause of it.  If we place our faith in human goodness, we will go under when testing comes."  And I must admit that although those words run easily across my tongue, I live my life as if I believe their opposite--at least until the endurance-test grows so strong that I must push on to my second wind, where I see that it is redemption-reality that sustains me, after all. But the test itself seems to be a thing that other runners would punish me for facing.  So here comes redeption-reality knocking again.

And there's more from my birthday entryas well:  "Christian workers fail because they place their desire for their own holiness above their desire to know God. 'Don't ask me to be confronted with the strong reality of redemption...what I want is anything God can do for me to make me more desirable in my own eyes.'...There is no reckless abandon to God in that.  God cannot deliver me while my interest is merely in my own character."
And so God teaches me to look more analytically at the things that need to be redeemed within me.  When I take pride in those areas where I see how others' need for redemption, I fail to see that these become the very blind spots to seeing my own needs for redemption. 

I am undone.

A friend prays for my times of solitude, and tells me she heard the call to that prayer.  And I cry out, "Yes, I DO need that!"  In solitude, I meet Thee; but I know the boundaries around our sacred garden, Lord; the curtains round the Holy of Holies where we commune, Lord--they've taken such a beating over the last few years! And I ask myself, why am I so weary of repair-work on them?  You called me to Breach Repair, among other things. Why am I surprised?  But this work wearies me, and I begin to see why.  I have left redemption in the tool shed, and so my work is slow and tedious and does not define the skill-potential of my soul very well, much like if I were using a shovel upside down, or an axe backward.

Even more, Lord, as You lead me back into fellowship with a faith community again, as redemption touches community now,  I find this is my new, more humble prayer:  Lead me to those who lovingly help me see the blind spots before my soul's eyes, lead me to those who inspire me to have the courage to look around them.  Give me fellow race-runners who remind me that taking time to move around an obstacle is completely different from needing time due to poor running technique.  For now, this is not a distinction I make well for myself.  I feel like a good runner would know the treachery of the path even before ever running it.  Silly of me, but true.

For a season, You told me to turn and look at those on the park benches near me, a season when I was at rest; but now I am up and running again.  So these are the saints I need in my life:  those who run shoulder to shoulder with me toward a common place, a place we all know is well-worth the cross-country trek.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Epic Wants

"What do you long for?" we were asked in church last weekend.
What is your epic want.  It is good to know, because uncovering this sort of longing within ourselves puts us in touch with our most intense form of hope.

I participated in the exercise.  I came up with this: my most intense longing is to repeat as often as possible those moments when I have felt the Spirit of God lift me to a place where joy seems almost tangible and time irrelevant.  But when the "thinking" time was finished, the pastor began listing sample answers, and I realized I'd gone a different direction than he intended.  He spoke of failing health, broken relationships, financial or professional issues.  Maybe it would involve an epic want for the sake of a loved one--one with failing health or addictions to battle.

So I went back to my thought on the epic want and began considering it in terms of others.  Use the word epic with me, and I'm going to engage.  I love the idea of the epic. Saint Peter lived epic.

Sept. 21, 2005
Thinking more on this idea of being "in the gap" as a prophet.  Reading about Peter's vision in which God proclaims clean what had been unclean since the days of Moses.

Peter Visits Cornelius Acts 10:9-15

9 The next day as Cornelius’s messengers were nearing the town, Peter went up on the flat roof to pray. It was about noon,and he was hungry. But while a meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw the sky open, and something like a large sheet was let down by its four corners. In the sheet were all sorts of animals, reptiles, and birds. Then a voice said to him, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat them.”

“No, Lord,” Peter declared. “I have never eaten anything that our Jewish laws have declared impure and unclean.”

But the voice spoke again: “Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean.” The same vision was repeated three times. Then the sheet was suddenly pulled up to heaven.

Peter was very perplexed. What could the vision mean? Just then the men sent by Cornelius found Simon’s house. Standing outside the gate, they asked if a man named Simon Peter was staying there.

Meanwhile, as Peter was puzzling over the vision, the Holy Spirit said to him, “Three men have come looking for you. Get up, go downstairs, and go with them without hesitation. Don’t worry, for I have sent them.” So Peter went down and said, “I’m the man you are looking for. Why have you come?”
Two different things appear to be happening here. One being that God intends that all people have equal access to the effects of the sacrificial Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The other being that Peter is told he can eat unclean foods.  Had Peter gotten "stuck" thinking the vision was devoid of a larger symbolic meaning, he'd have missed that point entirely. 
But Peter understood. When he met with the Roman officer who sent for him on an angelic prompt, "...Peter told them, 'You know it is against our laws for a Jewish man to enter a Gentile home like this or to associate with you. But God has shown me that I should no longer think of anyone as impure or unclean. So I came without objection as soon as I was sent for. Now tell me why you sent for me.' (vs. 28-29) The symbol within the vision (eating what was unclean) was different from the reality of how Peter was to walk through its meaning (going into the home of a Roman officer.)  The symbol was personal (Peter was hungry when he went into the trance) but the reality was universal (all people can be made clean.) Peter's visionary "filter" was working well.

I have spent the years since writing that post in September of 2005 waiting for some of the things visionary to migrate from personal to universal. When a vision finds its reality as quickly as Peter's did, that's one thing...when it is years coming to any life-application it is more difficult to keep its image-potential real. Peter stood in a gap that involved perceived Hebrew law and the revelation of God.  His only defense for the inscrutable gap he was called to fill: "Who was I that I could withstand God?" (Acts 11:7)

The day after receiving the challenge to uncover my epic longing, I read the following in Forgotten Among the Lilies, by Rolheiser.  He based it on his reading of G.K. Chesterton.:

"A man who was entirely careless of spiritual things things died and went to hell.  And he was much missed on earth by his old friends.  His business agent went down to the gates of hell to see if there was any chance of bringing him back. But, though he pleaded for the gates to be opened, the iron bars never yielded.
His priest went also and argued: 'He was not really a bad fellow, let him out, please!'
The gates remained stubbornly shut against all their voices.
Finally, his mother came, she did not beg for his release. Quietly, and with a strange catch in her voice, she said to Satan, 'Let me in.'
Immediately, the great doors swung open upon their hinges. For love goes down through the gates of hell and there redeems the damned."

Christ "descended into hell," and I believe there are ways in this life we act in kind as His ambassadors.  And maybe we don't have any other "excuse" for what we're doing than Peter's: "who was I that I could withstand God?"
So with regards to other people, I found my epic want.
You've called me to be a Mother, God.
You reminded me that when Deborah, the prophetess was "recognized" in song, she was not described as one who arose a prophet, or even as one who arose a judge--though she was both. No, the song went like this:
"The peasantry ceased in Israel, they ceased until you arose, Deborah, arose as a mother in Israel..." (Judges 5:7)
And Deborah is my name, too.
So I agree.  I acknowledge my epic longing--to be such a "mother" sent after those You choose for me--though they be in their own personal hells.  I will go and ask for the gates to be opened that I may enter.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Don't Do Too Much Too Soon

‎"It's hard to beat a person who never gives up."--Babe Ruth.

"Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience." (Romans 8:24-25)

But here's the rub: how do we "hope" for those things we feel God has given us that make no sense?  How do we "never give up" on what we don't even understand?  How do we hope for a landscape that defies everything we know?
At this point in my journal I perceived myself as actively engaged in dream-ministry, as  it is called by my friend who received the benefits of my "unwitting" middle-of-the-night dream-prayer over her heart troubles.  But dreams are often unfamiliar landscapes.  How does one attach faith to such a thing?  I began to explore that question through scripture and reflection.

Sept 21, 2005
Scripture study on these images: escaping, bread, communion-Sabbath
I the Lord have called you in righteousness, and will hold your hand..." (electricity in the hand that slices bread...)
Behold the former things have come to pass,
And new things I declare,
Before they spring forth I tell you of them.  --Isaiah 42:6-9
Holy bread--only Aaron and his sons are to eat it (Exodus 29:33) but years after Aaron lived, David and his men ate the showbread.  (I Samuel 21-22) Then Saul killed those who helped David, except the one who "escaped" and ran to tell David.  He took the ephod, the tool of inquiry, the thing worn by a high priest when he represented the people before God, took it to David.  David received this one who escaped and protected him. Here is both the one who escapes and bread together in a story...

All this comes around to Christ, because he refers to this particular story.  David ate the showbread. David was not a priest.  Many would say end of story.  David was wrong.  But Christ used the story as an example to help his accusers understand why they should not accuse him.  "If you had understood what this means, 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath." (Matt. 12:3-8) To this day, I've heard sermons that say, "the priest and David screwed up so all those people died," but I think that misses why the story is in the Bible, or at least why Christ thought it was there.

"In all I have said to you, be circumspect and make no mention of the name of other gods, nor let it be heard from your mouth." (Ex. 23:13) This comes right after the section about the law of the sabbath which Jesus references.  Circumspect in my dictionary is defined as "to look around, be cautious, careful to consider all circumstances and possible consequences.  Prudent."  I do feel the need to be circumspect.  I feel like I am in the position of slicing the showbread for serving.  Maybe even of being one with the bread.  That the bread may be sliced twice--one for the priest who has the "right" to it, but also for the priest to share to sustain the life of one God chooses, for a mercy.  That the mercy and not just the sacrifice might be the thing to give glory to God. 
Now, how?  How does all this apply? 

I studied this way through scripture and reflection, and I struggled--and still do--wrestling under the Spirit's ongoing lead--indeed like a sheep that could easily wander astray, not out of willfulness, not out of spite or disbelief; more out of the ignorance of simply being human.  As Peter said, "Who was I that I could understand God?" (Acts 11:7)
So the Spirit began to lead my understanding in things that required that high level of circumspection..  He drew me out to new places, new landscapes. He challenged my assumptions about right and wrong. He drew me sip by sip to the well that would eventually quench my thirst.  With little sparks that flared in the random things of life, He linked my most personal thoughts and dreams and wants and mysteries to a larger plane. 
For instance, I'd be reading C.S. Lewis' work, The Great Divorce, tootling along through it,  until I read the story of Sarah Smith, one of the "great ones" of heaven, As the narrator said, "ye have heard that fame in this country and fame on Earth are two quite different things." I read her story impersonally as it was given, until I came to this part:  "It is like when you throw a stone into a pool, and the concentric waves spread out further and further.  Who knows where it will end? Redeemed humanity is still young, it has hardly come to its full strength.  But already there is joy enough in the little finger of a great saint such as yonder lady to waken all the dead things of the universe to life." (p.118-120) I stopped at those words and gasped, as I immediately thought of my dream of cutting bread, of power coursing through my little finger and up my arm.  A morsel of definition, but nothing more.

But now, I re-read the full text about this lady as I look for the quote to put here, and I gasp yet again for much more of what Lewis wrote of her has become my story.  But there is a beautiful hope for a different ending in my own telling of the story, a shift concerning those who would inhabitant heaven and those who would choose hell for the sake of nursing self-pity over a perceived lack of her regard.  If I am her, the dwaves of life might still choose heaven.  There is far more hope for now in my life's telling of the tale.  A beautiful bend in the river the Spirit travels as He tells the story through me.  But on first reading 7 years ago, it was nothing more than a beautiful clue to solving a mystery of hope and redemption that required all this time in order to find its pertinence again.

So the first thing He shows me is the hardest to look at for it is what I see merely as myself, and what I see reminds me of my ignorance, my selfishness, my canality.  Only  courageous looking will do this. It is like hacking away with humility, beating through the thicket of sin and haunts from the past. But if I come out on the other side of first-sight, I find He breaks down my perspective and reshapes it such that I see something refreshingly different. I see something "truer" in its fitness for defining the "heavenly vision" as it was first given, truer than what my ferverishly cold and worldly eyes thought they were seeing. 

Over time, I learned this: Never give up on the vision, on the covenant that it is brought by the hand of God.  Let it be battered into proper shape, as Oswald Chambers says.  Finally, what shall we do when God chooses to use us as such an instrument of vision? We follow the advice David Kundtz received from his seventh grade teacher:  "Sit down, be still, and pay attention!"
Certainly regarding the things God says are His plans, we need to do exactly that.

Friday, November 2, 2012

On Receiving That Which Is Sacred

Ken Gire in his book The Weathering Grace of God, says "I have had moments when it seemed I was at the railing that separates heaven and earth, and there was offered as sacrament...whatever your moments have been, you sensed that something sacred was being offered you."

This next entry is that sort of thing.  Surely, the most poignant vision of sacrament I've ever know personally.

September 20
Last night, I dreamed I was slicing a loaf of bread.  It had been sliced once before, but I was cutting another slice.  And as my hand holding the knife reached the bottom of the loaf, an electric-like charge ran through my pinkie finger and up my arm.  I had thoughts of communion bread swell in me as this all happened.  What is this about, God?!? It "felt" a lot like the anointing vision I had about my husband.  And my mind heard Your words, "This is my body, broken for you."  If this is to be made real somehow, prepare me and those around me for it, Lord.  Is this part of that "going into the gap" idea?

My Bible reading today also hits brokenness in prophetic living.  Ezekiel's wife dies suddenly, and God directs Ezekiel to process the event as a prophet rather than just as a man.  What an incredible assignment!  How profoundly connected he must have been to God, with all people--even his wife--cast as but a shadow of a larger existence for him, a larger one that he was called to proclaim.  Then in chapter 24 of his book, it says "And you, son of man, will it not be in the day when I take from them their stronghold, their joy, their glory, the desire of their eyes, and that on which they set their minds, their sons and their daughters:  on that day one who escapes will come to you to let you hear it with your ears; on that day your mouth will be opened to him who has escaped; you shall speak and no longer be mute.  Thus you will be a sign to them, and they shall know that I am the Lord." 
Who or what is the stronghold You'll take away, O God?  The joy?  The glory?  The desire of their eyes and the one they think about?  Even as Ezekiel surely wanted to feel these things privately for his wife, suddenly lost to him, he instead would open his mouth, lose his muteness and become a sign to those who fell into a similar experience in their own way.  Who is Ezekiel's wife now, God?  Or what?

I think of something that happened in my homeroom this morning.  [I taught at a Christian school and had a junior high homeroom when this entry was written.]  The little gal who always volunteered to pray at the start of the day was pulled out of the school last Friday.  So when I asked for a prayer volunteer this time, it was to an open field.  And a little boy who had never before volunteered raised his hand and prayed.  The memory haunts me again as I see a real-world echo of this passage from the pages of prophetic history.  When the stronghold is removed, a formerly mute voice will rise.  When Ezekiel's wife was taken suddenly, it was a sign of how swiftly comes judgment and/or change. And it happened today, too.  And I think it will surely happen again.

Are You calling me into the gap only to swiftly remove me as a sign of how limited is the time left for revelation?  Maybe not, but maybe so; and if so, I ask that You make me strong enough to endure such a thing, as well as the Ezekiel who loves me.  I know You do not leave any to suffer any longer than is necessary to accomplish your larger purpose for good, if suffer they must. I do believe this.

I will study on these things.  I will study on anointing oil, sacramental bread, and the "one who escapes." I will see why You are showing me these things...

So much has passed since this early wash of visionary stuff.  So slow has been my learning curve in the most important part of it all. 
Chastity, in its larger definition.

Today in my prayer journal, I quoted from Rolheiser's Forgotten Among the Lilies:

 "To be chaste means to experience things, all things, respectfully and to drink them in only when we are ready for them.  We break chastity when we experience anything irreverently or prematurely.  This is what violates either another's or our own growth.  It is the lack of chastity in experiencing, irreverence and prematurity, that lobotomizes the soul.
"Experience can be good or bad...Travel, study, achievement, sex, exposure to newness, the breaking of taboos, all can be good if experienced reverently and at their proper time.
"Conversely, they can tear the soul apart (even when they are not wrong in themselves) when they are not drunk in chastely, namely at a pace that respects fully both others' and our own growth."

I went on to observe that this is the crux of my trouble the whole time I've walked a path of  receiving these things visionary.  They "feel" so deliciously alive with a life that is incredibly intoxicating, and even when they are inscrutable, they pull the soul into a state of heightened awareness that is in itself compelling.  I find myself wanting with urgency to both receive more of them and to see them manifested real-world.  I do not stop to consider that often times--because of their very nature as revelation of Your creative work--they appear to "breach taboos," as Rolheiser puts it, in ways I need to allow my heart and mind time to process.  I think both I and my spouse have struggled with the strain of waiting for You to "link learning to integration" within us, for we both have received inscrutable visions from Thee.
God help us understand how to walk in this prophetic-chastity better and how to honor You even in the context of Your profoundly good and life-giving messages! Help us to distinguish between what we are meant to see and what we are meant to do.  To let go of the desire to force things to happen according to our limited understanding of what You're saying.  We don't receive the visions for that reason.  Help us to keep our side of the balance between why You give the vision and why we receive it that we might keep the childlike faith!
And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:2-3)

When all my days are ending
And I have no song to sing,
I think I shall not be too old
To stare at everything;
As I stared once at a nursery door
Or a tall tree and a swing...
--G.K. Chesterton in A Second Childhood

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Another Instance of Vision Meeting Sacred Poetry...for My Husband

"Our culture's demand that everyone be like everyone else is not so much malicious as it is despairing.  The death of idealism is a child of despair, always."
Prophecy is seen as unrealistic, idealism as immature.  We are growing ever more dumb.  Hence our task today is to be leaven, to be idealistic and in that way to be prophetic..." 
Ronald Rolheiser in Forgotten Among the Lilies

September 18
Have I mentioned yet the vision I had of my husband?  I saw him being anointed with oil--a gleaming rivulet dripping and flowing over him like liquid silver spilling over his face and beard and shoulders.  He was in a dark place, but the oil lit him as it dripped over him for it carried an internal glow.
I had this picture come to me a while ago.  Now I come across this Psalm:

Behold how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!
It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Running down the beard,
The beard of Aaron.
Running down on the edge of his garments.
It is like the dew of Hermon,
Descending upon the mountain of Zion;
For there the Lord commanded the blessing--
Life forevermore.
Psalm 133

In my continuing devotional study on the topic of visions, I see read the following:
Oswald Chambers in his March 10-11 entries in My Utmost...says "the natural heart will do any amount of serving, but it takes the heart broken by conviction of sin and baptized by the Holy Ghost and crumpled into the purpose of God before the life becomes the sacrament of its message...we cannot attain to a vision, we must live in the inspiration of it until it accomplishes itself...Watch God's cyclones.  The only way God sows His saints is by His whirlwind.  Are you going to prove an empty pod?  It will depend on whether or not you are actually living in the light of what you have seen.  Let God fling you out...If God sows you, you will bring forth fruit." 

Christ, himself, did not expect the seeds He sowed to sprout in half an hour. He shared vision, then lived it out in front of his followers. Even then, His disciples had trouble "getting it," but He knew the seed had "all the germinating power of God and would bring forth fruit after its kind when put in the right soil."

In Daily Thoughts for Disciples, Chambers again uses this imagery:  "Sow the word of God, and everyone who listens will get to God.  If you sow vows, aspirations, resolutions, emotions, you will reap nothing but exhaustion...but sow the word of God and as sure as God is God, it will bring forth fruit.  A person may not grasp all that is said, but something in one is intuitively held by it."   

Finally, he says this: "If an emotion be kindled by the Spirit of God and you do not let it have its right issue in your life, it will react on a lower level." Spur us on, O God, to giving a high enough level to the emotions You plant within us.

Visioning is not for the faint of heart, nor is being caught up in a prophet's vision  that is from God.  Easier to melt into obscurity than to become the stuff of a divine vision. 
Nevertheless, as DC Talk sings, "Even the deepest seed still finds the light of day,"  and when that prophetic seed meets daylight, it is a thing most glorious to behold.  Whether you're the seed, or the soil, or even the whirlwind, it is glorious if it is a thing of God. 
Never fear the vision; fear the lack of it.  Fear settling for the attainable second best. 
I love that the man I married is one who could live out such a vision as this one God sent for him, this of glowing anointing oil.  I love that he could carry it to its full fruition. 
I love that I am reminded of it right now.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Dreeams Defined

 "I saw a large circle of people, holding hands and murmuring prayers. Maybe 40-50 of them? Not sure. And there was a gap in the circle. I felt the question given to me, "Would you join us?" So I stepped into the circle and joined hands with them and began to pray. I felt a surge of power here, too, a wind in the circle, but it was not enough...not at all enough. Not against what was coming in that black sky. Against such an adversary, there was need for something so much stronger..."

I wrote those words in August 2005 and related them on a recent post.  This image became one of the first installments in a methodology God would use consistently with me to send "coded" messages, for lack of a better descriptor.  I began to break the code  for this one in the Sept. 17 entry:

Sept 17, 2005
I think I've gotten a Biblical message about the gapped-circle dream in which a circle of praying people,their hands clasped together, asked me to fill that gap.  In the book of Ezekiel, the prophet speaks to other "foolish" prophets, saying, "Woe to the foolish prophets, who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing!  O, Israel, your prophets are like foxes in the desert. You have not gone into the gaps to build a wall for the house of Israel to stand in battle on the day of the Lord."(Ezekiel 15:2-5.) Then again in chapter 22, starting at vs. 29:  "The people of the land have used oppressions, committed robbery and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully oppress the stranger.  So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall and stand in the gap before me on behalf of the land..." 

Lord, you have shown me that I am a prophet who does stand in the gap, showed me before I knew what such a "gap" even was, before my mind even understood the highly distilled imagery.  Thank You for that faithfulness! Show me now, how to be in that gap.  Make me understand how to do this for You!

St. Elizabeth Seton says: "These events are permitted and guided by Thy wisdom, which solely is light.  We are in darkness and must be thankful that our knowledge is not needed to perfect Thy work." 
Keep my heart strong for Your purposes!

This strange imagery took merely a month to start finding its "definition" in the language of God, but other enigmatic images have taken much longer.  I read once that in Biblical standards, the longer a covenant takes to find its fruition in the natural order, the larger a covenant it is.

Considering I still have some covenant images that remain inscrutable to this day, I expect they must be very large indeed!