Friday, July 2, 2010
Early Morning Thoughts...
Phyllis read this to me first thing this morning, outside on the deck. Tears…..and …..joy…
And so I post it – but for those who are troubled by the language….when you see ‘God’ read….’Love’, when you see ‘holiness’- think, ‘set apart’ or ‘full of integrity’…and when you see ‘sin’, read, ‘that which separates from Love’.
God, I just finished Ezra, and as I was reflecting on what I heard You saying in that letter, tears began flowing from depths within me I rarely reach. I loved Your phrase in Ezra 6:22. You ‘plunged them into a sea of joy’(MSG). That’s what I felt You were doing for me. I couldn’t stop crying over the hope of actually dancing with You, of feeling the same delight You, of feeling the same delight directed toward me that You felt toward Your Son, and of passionately inviting others to the party…..
“You are sharing in the joy I felt as I wrote this love letter to you. What My Son makes possible delights Me to the core of My infinite being: you will join My party. You are far more precious to Me than the person you love most on earth is to you. In the book of Ezra, I reveal more of how My plan is underway to release you so you can dance to My Spirit’s rhythm. What I am saying, and what you are beginning to hear (thanks to My glorious Spirit) is this:
• I will do whatever it takes to release your heart to delight in Me.
• I will move in the hearts of ungodly people to serve that purpose.
• I will arouse your heart to enjoy worship more than any other blessing on earth.
• I will permit strong opposition to oppress you as you walk the narrow road to the party.
• At times you will fail—you will choose the easier road that leads to immediate satisfaction but I will break your heart over your movement away from Me, and I will stir you to ongoing radical repentance.
• I will complete the life-giving work in your heart that I have already begun.
• You will dance with Me at My party. “
“God, I so badly need to hear this and believe in the core of my being…. Still am influenced, sometimes ruled by fears that Your love hasn’t yet cast out. I so easily violate love for others by relating with my well-being more in mind than theirs…. But when I am swimming in that sea of joy. I can love! I’m free! Please God, let me hear You speak clearly in this fifteenth love letter.”
“In Jeremiah 29:10, I spoke into the future(which is always now to Me) and declared that Babylon would be the dominant word power for seventy years. I did not say that My people would be in exile for seventy years. From 606 BC to 536 BC, seventy years, Babylon ruled the civilized world. My people were exiled in 587 BC and returned to Judah in 536 BC, after fifty one-years. Knowing that bit of history lets you see that older people in their seventies who had seen Solomon’s temple before it was destroyed could be (and were) part of the fifty thousand Jews who made the five-month journey by foot from the lad of exile to the land of promise.
….Ezra—a student of the Scriptures—who led another few thousand Jews to Judah to remind everyone of My primary concern for holiness over prosperity or pleasure…..As you read this…hear this: it will again release tears of hope in you as I intended it to do in My people. …
You can come to love Me enough in this life to want Me above all else. …You too, are always free to come back to the promise of the gospel [good news], no matter your suffering or failure, to the promise that one day as holy and happy people, you will dance at My party forever….
Know this: I leave you in this world, not to retire comfortably but to draw the people in your sphere of relating to Me by the power of your holy, radically self-sacrificing, other-centered love. You are here to live the new way, to draw close to Me in order to be formed into the likeness of My Son.
… “Opposition to rebuilding the temple came quickly, first through an invitation to compromise (4:1-3), then through threats of disruption (4:5), and finally through legal action (chapter 5). The opposition was effective. Work on rebuilding the temple ‘came to a standstill’(4:24). You, too, will face opposition where the battle to be holy will become so difficult and the narrow road so steep and tough that ou will leave the narrow road for a season. And as my beloved and for so long troubled servant John Bunyan described in Pilgrim’s Progress, you will take the broad, more comfortable road through ‘bypath meadow.’ But know this: I will not leave you there!
…When life gets rough and a detour through the bypath meadow seems reasonable, listen to the faithful men and women who urge you to remain in the battle for holiness no matter how difficult or dangerous.
“My people returned to building and the temple was completed. Draw courage from this history. I will strengthen you to fight the good fight and to finish well. You will make it to my party. It’s My plan.”
…”Ezra was deeply distressed by My people’s compromise more than by their troubles. His burden for holiness led to tears of repentance and to his refusal to eat or drink as he grieved My people’s evil. When they saw the distress of this godly man, y people came together in brokenness and stood in a rainstorm that spoke of My distress over their actions. Radical repentance followed, painful, costly repentance under Ezra’s leadership. There is always a way back from sin. Tears of hope will flow every time you experience My loving mercy when you fail. I still love you. I will not give up on you. I have a plan.”
“Love Letter Fifteen: Ezra
I AM HERE. I WILL MAKE YOU HOLY AND WHOLE”
P 68- 72; 66 Love Letters by Dr Larry Crabb, 2009