Thursday, March 26, 2009

A tissue paper world...

The other day, as I was driving home and looking at the scenery around me, I realized how different I see the world compared to how I used to see it. I'm not referring to a specific time or date that it was specifically different, just that my vision is changing. Not my natural vision...my spiritual vision, I suppose.

It used to be that I looked around me and all I saw was what my natural eyes could see. What I saw was also what was most important to me, for the most part. I knew another spiritual realm was there, unseen...but I wasn't really aware of it the way I am now.

I don't know how to describe it, other than that a flip-flop is happening. I'm becoming more and more aware that there are things that are more real than what I see.

I look around me and see fields and trees and sky, but I see them as God's glorious, but temporary, creation. I see buildings and roads, and I see them as things Man has created and think are worthwhile, when their importance is extremely temporary. I see billboards and I see false gods.

Then I look at my own life, and I see that I am still so caught up in so many things that are worthless!

Then I thought of other areas of my life...my kids, homeschooling, household chores...and I wondered. Putting food on the table and paying bills are mundane, everyday tasks that have very little to do with eternal realities. Yet they're necessary.

But are they? I mean...they are...but only because of the Fall. If Adam and Eve hadn't sinned, I wouldn't have to think about what to put on the table tonight nor make mental note that I must pay bills tomorrow. In the Garden, all their needs were provided for supernaturally.

I'm not in the Garden. But I am set free from the Curse, through Jesus.

So exactly how should that make my daily life different? How has it made my life different?

The way that God has set me free from worrying about money is part of it. I now know that my needs are provided for, just as Adam and Eve's were.

Part of it is finding it (sometimes) easy not to get ruffled by upsets in the world. I mean, what adult gets furious because someone took his lollipop? None. Unlike when we were two years old, we now know that a lollipop isn't really that big a deal.

Part of it is how I look at the economy in terms of sin and righteousness and the consequences of both...how I look at the state of the world and see patterns from Revelation, though I still can't offer a single interpretation for most of what's in that mysterious and glorious book.

But somehow, I know that the more time I spend with my Creator, the more my vision will change.

I began praying years ago that He would teach me to see the world through His eyes...and that is what I think is happening. Except I've got the feeling that what I see now is only the teeniest, tiniest glimpse of it.

I see an image of a world, built out of tissue paper, laid delicately overtop a world made from stone. The worlds mesh and intertwine, yet their roads don't line up. Some locations that are important in the tissue paper world hardly exist in the one built from stone. There are palaces and temples made from white tissue paper that have nothing but black ash underneath, while black tissue paper covers glorious veins of gold and silver and diamonds that run through the stone.

I think this is the picture that 2 Corinthians 4:18 is talking about. God is showing me the tissue paper for what it really is...even the tissue paper that I've accepted as rock all my life. Perhaps learning to walk with God is as simple—and as difficult—as learning to walk along the roads and paths that are set in stone, even though they make no sense in the tissue paper world.

Then I got to thinking about how God's power is released through His voice, and how I think the devil's power also exists in his voice, through words and lies and deceptions. Both he and God whisper to our hearts and minds. But God speaks Truth to heal, while the devil speaks lies to harm both us and those around us through our actions.

So were both of these worlds created through these powers? I don't think so. I think that the world made of stone is like the magic that Aslan spoke of in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which existed before the dawn of time. It is primarily Truth—the way things really are.

The world we know—the tissue paper world—God spoke into being in Genesis. At that time, it was clear and sparkling and perfectly reflected the world of stone.

But then the devil successfully used his voice to tear it, and when he glued its crumpled edges back together, the seam was burnt with poison that ran and spread in all directions.

Now we are here, in the twenty-first century, and the tissue paper world is falling apart. Some see nothing but the disaster and are scared. Some look at how past tears have always been glued back together in time and they find security in that.

But others of us are digging deep to the Rock. God created the tissue paper world to last only for a time, and we know that time is getting short. But that does not concern us, for this world is but a reflection of what is real.

The question that I found myself asking is this: what am I doing with my time while I wait? Am I willingly wallowing in tissue paper with only an occasional check to make sure I still have roots in the Rock? Or am I digging my roots deeper and ever deeper?

And what about God's calling on my life? When He calls us, we begin to realize that there's another dimension to the world that's really in control. Yet, so often, we're still trying to live according to the world we are familiar with. We learn the truths and weapons of the real world and we don't understand why they aren't "working.”

Perhaps it's because we're not yet walking in the real world. Or rather, we're not grounded in it.

We must be grounded and walking in the Truth—in the world as God sees it, and as it really is—in order for our weapons and authority to work. Perhaps this is why we fail so often—because we're wielding them in the wrong dimension. Or rather, we're trying to wield them in the right dimension, yet we can't because we've only heard about that dimension, instead of actually knowing it.

Perhaps we need to be able to see our enemy, his forces, and the ground we are truly standing on before we can use our weapons effectively. But at the same time, God is capable of guiding our hands and tongues even if our eyes are blind. But that takes an ability to hear His leading and follow it unhesitatingly.

Either way, I am brought back to drawing ever nearer to Him...learning His truths...hearing His voice...spending time in His presence and storing up more and more oil for my lamp.

And I am finding I'm in good company. There is an army growing in the world. An army of worshipers and prayer warriors whom God is grooming for the days ahead. I am honored to be one of them, and the call that I offer is this...

Join us! Seek His face like you never have before. I promise, the treasures that wait are beyond anything this tissue paper world could ever offer...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Baby steps...

Yesterday, I found myself writing in my journal that God was calling me to seek His face and develop a closer intimacy with Him.

Again.

Have you ever been there? Feeling or hearing God calling you to do something for what feels like the eight-eight thousandth time?

If so, what follows that? If the devil immediately starts to throw accusations of failure at you, making you feel like you disobeyed the previous 87,999 times, I have a question for you. Have you really disobeyed?

That's the question that went through my mind when the devil started at it yesterday. Have I, Katie, really disobeyed God's repeated callings to seek His face and develop intimacy with Him? The answer is sort of hard to pin down, since there are degrees and steps to this type of thing. I have sought Him, and I have grown closer to Him. But I haven't done it to the degree that I feel Him calling me to.

And that's when God showed me a picture.

I saw Abraham...the man of faith...the friend of God...making the long journey from Ur where God had called him from, to Canaan where God had called him to. But that's not all I saw.

I saw every single step that he took along that journey. But I also saw God, walking before Abram. He walked backward, with His face toward Abraham and his arms outstretched toward him, saying, "Come on, Abram. You can do it. I am here. I will watch out for you. You may fall, but I am here, watching to make sure you are not hurt too badly. Come on. Now another step."

You recognize that picture, don't you? It's that of a loving parent, coaxing his or her child to take their first steps.

Then God showed me myself in that.

Just as Abraham had to take many, many steps from Ur to reach the land of promise, so moving from the place where I have been to the place where He has called me consists of many steps. It is the devil who lies and tells me that I have failed because I have not arrived in one giant step.

I am no longer a baby Christian, taking my first steps on this journey called walking with God. There are many, many steps behind me. But I am an infant and totally inexperienced in taking the steps that are still before me. I have never been there. So while God stands back, proudly watching as I stand and walk securely on the ground that is behind me, He is also before me, holding out His arms and patiently encouraging me as I face my first shaky steps into new territory.

God will always be calling me to seek Him. And if I ever arrive at a place where I have become as intimate with God as is possible, I will probably become as Enoch who "walked with God" and was taken to heaven early, simply because that was the only way to get any closer. The fact that the devil can clobber me with guilt over something that God wants me to do every day of my life is a perfect example of just how much he twists things.

God doesn't mind that my steps aren't firm and eager, and He smiles with delight in those last two shaky steps I took. When I fell down last month, He picked me up, dusted me off, and taught me a lesson through it. Then He set me on my feet and He is once more gently saying, "Come on. Come to Me. I am here waiting for you. Take the next step...that is all I am asking you to do."

All I have to do is keep walking and keep my eyes fixed on Him. Because it is there, as I behold His face...as I spend time with Him as Moses did up on the mountain...that my steps grow more steady and I am changed.

"But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory." -2 Cor. 3:18

This Place

There's a place of wonder--glory indescribable--beyond my wildest dreams
It's a place of beauty where the Lord of Heaven wants to fellowship with me
You have opened the gates of Your presence to me
Told me I can draw near to Your throne
Where Your whispers of love fill my heart once again
Draw me close
Never go...

Here in this place
Here I am changed, Jesus
When I'm touched by Your glory--
In awe of Your splendor
Then all I desire is You
You are my way
You are my Truth, Jesus
Standing here in Your presence
I'm filled with amazement
At the infinite wonder of You

When I'm in Your presence and I see Your power and Your light shines on my face
And I try to fathom that the Lord of Heaven chose to suffer in my place
Then Your arms enfold me, my fears fade away
My desires all merge into one--
That the beat of Your heart would envelop my soul
Hold me close
Don't let me go...

'Cause here in this place
Here I am changed, Jesus
When I'm touched by Your glory--
In awe of Your splendor
Then all I desire is You
You are my way
You are my Truth, Jesus
Standing here in Your presence
I'm filled with amazement
At the infinite wonder of You

You call my name
To seek Your face
And You take me as Your own
Transform my life
Open my eyes
'Till my heart is wholly Yours...

Here in this place
Here I am changed, Jesus
When I'm touched by Your glory--
In awe of Your splendor
Then all I desire is You
You are my way
You are my Truth, Jesus
Standing here in Your presence
I'm filled with amazement...
Just a glimpse of Your glory's
Beyond comprehension...
When I'm here in Your presence
I'm filled with amazement...
At the infinite wonder of You

Oh the infinite wonder of You.

(a song God gave me years ago...)

Friday, March 06, 2009

He gave His angels charge concerning me...

The devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy. On the other hand, God says:
"For you have made the LORD, my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place.
No evil will befall you,
Nor will any plague come near your tent.
For He will give His angels charge concerning you,
To guard you in all your ways." -Psalm 91:9-11
When my mom died, God showed me how my mom had spent her life fully aware of the fact that every day she lived was a gift from God. But I'm afraid that, over time, I've kind of forgotten that lesson. Hence this story...

My youngest is fighting a flu virus of some sort. Yesterday my oldest had a science fair, and the youngest wasn't doing too badly, so we went. Well...the longer we were out, the worse she felt, so I was in a hurry to get her back home. I had to stop and get a few things at the store, though.

So yesterday, after I'd come out of the store and unloaded my groceries into the car, I turned to put the cart in the corral across the parking lot. The weather was warm (comparatively) and the wind was kicking up, which always makes me feel frisky (for want of a better word). So the combination had me set off at a full run across the parking lot. Now I may be 32, but I can still run at a pretty good speed. And just as I stupidly ran into the lane in front of the store without looking, a car came flying and we collided. Yes, I collided with a car...hard enough that the cart broke the car’s front headlight and dented the quarterpanel.

Immediately, images of our $500 deductible danced through my mind as the young guy driving stopped and I looked in horror at what I’d done.

He rolled down his window. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah,” I said, “But...your car! I can’t believe I did that!”

“Don’t worry about it.”

“Don’t worry about it? But you have a nice car!”

“Don’t worry about it.”

“But...I broke your light and dented your car!”

“Something’s broken?”

I nodded.

He got out and came around to look and again. "It's not a big deal; don’t worry about it. I just want to make sure you're okay."

I started repeating over and over again, “God bless you,” even as I asked again if he was sure.

Finally, he drove away. I wondered if it wasn’t even his car, and that’s why he didn’t care. I wondered at how he seemed slightly amused at my repeated blessings. It occurred to me that I may have been the one to hit him, but I was a pedestrian and he was tearing through a parking lot, so perhaps that's why he wasn't too eager to report it. I also thought about the many times when someone has owed us something and my husband says, "Don't worry about it." Was I reaping a seed he'd planted?

I got the cart put in the corral and returned to my car feeling both grateful for God's grace and mercy and guilty for forgetting the look-both-ways rule I'd known since kindergarten.

But then something else occurred to me. If I had been one second ahead of myself, I wouldn't have hit the front corner of his car. He would have hit me.

And I'd probably be dead.

Do you take God's daily protection over you for granted, too? Like I realize I have been?
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