So….I need you to track with me for just a bit as I try to connect the dots for the parable God painted AND read to me this morning. This picture was what Hallie-dog and I looked up and saw when we had just finished reading these words from Peter (that fragile stone, as Michael Card calls him) and C.S.:
"We couldn't be more sure
of what we saw and heard--
God's glory, God's voice....
You'll do well to keep focusing on it.
It's the one light you have in a dark time
as you wait for daybreak
and the rising of the Morning Star
in your hearts."
(2 Peter 1:19, The Message)
“….We believe God will one day GIVE US the Morning Star and cause us to PUT ON the splendor of the sun. At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendors we see. But, all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so. Some day…we shall get IN.”
(C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory)
So…then…after realizing He obviously had a theme for me today, I asked Him how I would live these next 24 hours…IF I REALLY BELIEVE all those words. And...some words from a long-ago-read poem came to me…which, of course, I HAD to get up and find:
"If I REALLY believed I was free,
My heart would leap in me for joy.
My face would shine bright as the sun,
If I REALLY believed I was free.
I’d throw a freedom party and dance around
….into the late hours of the night.
I would gleefully tell everyone all about my story--
My captivity, my release and all about Who freed me.
If I really believed I was free,
I’d smile more and laugh easily.
There simply wouldn’t be much space left
In my heart for the grim, if I really believed.”
(Freedom, by John Randall Dennis)
Of course, I of all people--fearful, prideful, fickle, sometimes Pharisaical--realize this “call” to living and breathing and walking in the freedom and resurrection power of Christ is a lot to bite off in one day…24 little hours.
But…what if, just for today, I…you…we…at least start practicing this freedom, forgiveness, grace, peace, love, intimacy with God, as co-laborers using the gifts He has given to each of us (not even letting the enemy get close enough to whisper his dirty little lie that our gifts aren’t big enough or good enough)?
What if, just for today, we think and walk and talk as though we ARE co-heirs in a Kingdom ruled by Him…His beloved...His child...His bride?
A few years ago, I read the following words from a nationally-known, highly respected Christian counselor: "If Christians REALLY believed they were forgiven, I'd lose more than 90 percent of my patients."
"I write this to you whose experience with God
is as life-changing as ours, all due to
...the intervention of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ....
Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God
has been miraculously given to us
by getting to know, personally and intimately,
the One who invited us to God.
The best invitation we ever received!
We were also given absolutely terrific promises
to pass on to you—
your tickets to participating in the life of God
after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust.
Don’t lose a minute to build on what you’ve been given,
complementing your basic faith with good character,
spiritual understanding, alert discipline,
passionate patience, reverent wonder,
warm friendliness, and generous love,
each dimension fitting into and developing the others.
With these qualities active and growing in your lives,
no grass will grow under your feet,
no day will pass without its reward
as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus.
Without these qualities
you can’t see what’s right before you,
oblivious that your old sinful life
has been wiped off the books.
....We couldn’t be more sure of what we saw and heard--
God’s glory, God’s voice….
You’ll do well to keep focusing on it.
It’s the one light you have in a dark time
as you wait for daybreak
and the rising of the Morning Star in your hearts.”
(2 Peter 1:1-9, 19 The Message)