Friday, March 26, 2010

The Greatest Need

I wonder if they were disappointed at His response. They had gone to such great lengths to bring their friend to Him. Pushing through the crowd, they had scaled the walls, they had climbed to the top of the roof and with great purpose they had begun digging through the thatch, ignoring the shouts and the jeers of those who stood nearby.

They had but one aim. To bring their sick friend to Jesus that he might be healed. They knew, they had heard the stories, they had witnessed it from afar, but tonight they wanted the miracle for the one who was so dear to them. He had been sick for so long, his limbs paralyzed and useless. Most had abandoned him, but not them, not these four. They had stayed by his side and now they were bringing him to Jesus.

Such anticipation, such hope must have been theirs as they lowered the crude looking litter into the crowded room. No words were required, no request was shared, for it was plain to all that this man’s greatest need was to be healed. It had happened elsewhere, they knew. Now they wondered, would they bear witness to such a miracle here today?
Breathlessly they waited in the silence as Jesus drew near.

Then He spoke. Looking first to the four and then directly at their paralyzed friend, Jesus proclaimed with authority, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

What must they have thought? “His sins, forgiven? That was it?” They had come with such faith. “What about his withered legs, his crippled feet? Couldn’t Jesus see there was a pressing need for his body to be made whole? What good was it to forgive a man his trespasses if his body was still weak and lame? “

We know the end of the story, so it is easy to chide them. But I wonder, had I been one of the four would I have been disappointed that day if Jesus had stopped then and walked away. If “all” He did was forgive this man’s sin, would I have asked for more?

Jesus knew their hearts, just as He knows mine. He knows that so often my focus is still here, on that which I can see, and feel, what I can touch and hold near. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He feels our infirmities as we make our way through this fallen world. He has promised that although in this life we will have great trouble, we can rejoice, for He has overcome the world.

To prove it, that day, He turned to the man whose greatest need had already been met and spoke those words which would provide the healing he had come in search of. “Rise, pick up your bed, and go home”.

“And the man rose and immediately packed up his bed and went out, before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God.” But the story did not end there. For I think if you had peered through the door of his Judean home that night, you would have seen one who could not stop walking to and fro. Maybe he was making sure the healing was real, but I suspect he was just practicing for the day when he would run and skip on the hills of heaven. No wonder!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Waiting for the Lord

This is the tenth in a series of journal entries begun in October, 2009. Please see initial post on February 21, 2010.

Oct 30, 2010


I awoke with fear this morning Father…fear from a dream with no basis in fact…but it caused distress none the less. It was fragemented...a doctor, a callus comment, the thought there is more going on than meets the eye.

The fear was palpitating…until I realized there was also a song on my lips, swelling from my heart, “There is a redeemer, Jesus God’s own Son”. And I knew, even in the depths of sleep, you have given me a song in the night.

Then I open your word this morning to Psalm 130. “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits and in His word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord, more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.”

With you there is forgiveness….that I might live forever.


A great storm has passed over my soul. A storm of fear and sorrow, conjured up by my own musings. I have let my eyes drift to those around me, to receive their encouragement and words of admiration, rather than fixing my gaze firmly upon you.

The storm rages, but you call to me…sweetly and tenderly… compelling me to come, to kneel at the feet of the One who has loved me forever! I am not sure if the waves and the wind have ceased, but I know you are walking on the water, carrying me upon your shoulders. And above all, I know I am secure.

I am reminded of what James wrote, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives generously to all without reproach and it will be given him, let him ask in faith without doubting….”

I come, Lord, I have asked for wisdom and you have given it. “Wait,” is what you have spoken. You desire obedience more than sacrifice. Such irony, I am willing to “sacrifice” my very body to the surgeon’s knife, choosing that trial to go through, yet you are calling me to obedience, to waiting, something I am finding to be much more difficult.

How you know my heart Lord, for your desire is to change me and to make me into one who will wait on you. I can see it clearly now. This is not about the outcome, but the process.

Oh that the testing of my faith (the ability to wait and do absolutely nothing!) may produce steadfastness in my life. Continue your work of completing me, Lord, I willing lay my life at your feet.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Keep Me Close

This is the ninth in a series of journal entries begun in October, 2009. Please see initial post on February 21, 2010.

October 28, 2009

“Whatareyoudoing?” Somehow when my little grandson Zach says those words, all run together, it brings a smile to my face. For he is asking, gently, out of curiosity. I am sure he has heard it often, from the lips of his mama, in a slightly different vein, “ZACH…What are you Doing??"

You have to know, Zach is an adventurous, busy little fellow who could be up to most anything. Think Curious George. Most likely, he has found himself doing something he probably shouldn’t have.

This morning I come to you as a child, Father. Like Zach, I look to you and ask, gently, “What are you doing?” Not so much that I might correct you but that I might know you are there and have a purpose for what you are doing in my life. Like Zach, I just seek to know and be comforted in the knowledge that you are near and are watching out for me.

Yet I would be remiss not to hear your voice as well Father, that probing voice which says to me, “Robyn, what are YOU doing?” For Lord, my heart is prone to wander, to lose sight of you, to find myself caught up in places I ought not go. Foyers of fear, rooms of resistance, streets of self-will all beckon me.

I know I need to stay close to you, to be where I can see your face and hear your voice. Here’s my heart Lord, I give it to you. Keep me close, hem me in, assign my portion. May I look up and see Jesus only.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Poured Out

This is the eighth in a series of journal entries begun in October, 2009. Please see initial post on February 21, 2010.

October 25, 2009
Alone yet surrounded by your presence.

Such precious time with you, Lord, by the fire, but warmed by the great love you have poured out for me. I understand Mary desiring to bless you, to touch you, to give of that which was most precious to her. I desire to do no less, O Lord, though that which is most precious is life itself. I am afraid, yet I know I can trust you. My life is secure in your hands, strong hands which were pierced for me that I might not fear.

I see so much of me still in me O God. Why oh why does it always come back to me? You are my strength, yet I boast in strength – somehow thinking I should be admired for what is not mine. Forgive me, Lord. “To God alone be the glory…to God alone be the praise!” Cleanse my heart, O God- break the hold of pride in my life.

How can I share, how can I stand strong without allowing my own heart to be puffed up in my sharing and strength? This is what you are calling me to, yet I am so acutely aware of how it draws attention to me. Forgive me, root out the pride within.

May I so see you that I cannot see me. May others see you and not me. Humble me Lord, may I be weak that you might be strong. I do not seek to be lifted up. Such struggle and turmoil in my soul, O God, I can do naught else but dwell face down at your feet.

Morning has broken.
A long night of being alone with you Lord, yet you have spoken to my heart.
You have brought peace as only you can.

October 26, 2009

Had you stepped outside early this morning you would have felt it. The wind was blowing. That in it’s self is not so unusual here in the high desert, but this morning was a rare gift, for it is mid-October yet the morning was warm and beckoning. I could not resist. Quickly I grabbed my cup of coffee and slipped outside to watch the majesty of God’s colors unfold in the rising sun, even as the breeze danced through the tops of the towering pines.

As I was touched by it’s force and embraced by it’s urgent whisper, I was reminded of how Jesus likened the Holy Spirit to the wind, blowing where it will at God’s direction. We feel His touch and hear the sound of His voice, without always realizing from whence it has come. Yet it is that same Spirit which indwells each child of God, blowing in and through us…picking up the fragrance of our heart… allowing the world around us to catch the sweet savor of God emanating from our lives.

How I have longed for that sweet fragrance to be what flows from my life. Yet I am reminded that it only comes in one way. Mary understood this. Just days prior, she had caught a glimpse of eternity, as Jesus had called forth her brother Lazarus from the grave. Life triumphed where death once ruled, but the ultimate victory would only come at a great price.

Jesus had now come to their home at the start of that final week. In just a few short days, all history would climax around the Son of God who willingly became the sacrificial Lamb of God. In adoration and love Mary brought that which was to her, most precious. Sorrow mixed with joy as she knelt at the feet of Jesus, breaking open the alabaster jar she had brought with her for this very purpose. Tenderly she anointed his feet with the oil that spilled forth from the broken vessel. In love she ministered to her Lord, the unmistakable sweet aroma of what she had given to Jesus filling the room.

How I desire that my life might put forth that same fragrance; that the wind of the Spirit might carry it to those who are in need of refreshing. How I desire it, yet how I tremble at the cost. I look for an easy way that I might avoid the breaking. I ask God to release a sweet fragrance even as I remain whole. It cannot be. It is in the breaking process that I find myself at the feet of Jesus. As I minister to Him, others are touched by the overflow of what has been given and is now given back to my Lord and Savior. There is no other way.

And so like Mary, I turn my focus to the One whose body was broken for me. I kneel before the One whose blood was spilled out that I might be saved. I see Him as the one who gave all for me and I know, I can offer no less. And through my tears, I feel the wind begin to blow…..

Friday, March 12, 2010

Enamored By Your Glory

This is the seventh in a series of journal entries begun in October, 2009. Please see initial post on February 21, 2010.

October 25, 2009
Suttle Lake

Why did Lazarus have to die? For the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified. I thought I always understood that. People would see the miracle and God would get the glory. That is correct, in part, but I believe you are showing me there is more, Lord.

If Lazarus had not died, Martha would not have confronted you with her fears and frustration. Oh, she “got it” just like I. There is a resurrection, of course. Lazarus would rise, “someday”, but today, death was very present, very frightening, very final. Jesus was a wonderful, amazing friend, but he had not intervened. Why, Why, WHY?

That God might be glorified. That Martha’s greatest fear, that my greatest need might be clearly set aside. Life and death are in the hand of God, in the simple command of Jesus.

That IS the glory of God. That He IS God and nothing, absolutely nothing, is beyond His command. Winds are stilled, waves calmed, bodies made whole, lives redeemed….death swallowed up by life.

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us – and we beheld his glory”. John 1:14

Why can I trust you, my Lord? Why does my heart now long at times to just be with you…forever? Because I am beginning to behold your glory – full of grace and truth – and I am in awe. When I behold you, I am without words. I simply stand in your presence, drowning in your love, overcome by your mercy, enamored by your glory!

Monday, March 8, 2010

In You Alone

This is the sixth in a series of journal entries begun in October, 2009. Please see initial post on February 21, 2010.

October 23rd and 24th

Suttle Lake Retreat with the Women of TFAB

“To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul, O my God, in you I trust. Let me not be put to shame, let not my enemies exalt over me. Make me to know your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths. Lead me in your truths and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation, for you I will wait all day long.” Psalm 75

This is my prayer, O God, for this week-end retreat and for the days and weeks and months which shall unfold. I lift up my soul to you, although sometimes, as I am so keenly aware, it is had to get my eyes off myself and back upon you. This I know, in you I trust…let me not be put to shame…even more…let me not bring shame upon your name, Jesus, my precious Savior.

“In you alone is where I find my comfort, in you alone is my security, in you alone is where I find my shelter…only in you alone.” May I find firm footing when I stand only upon you. When I am weak Lord, as I know I will be, I pray you will be my strength. When asked of the hope that is within me, may I be quick to declare your glory.

In this season Lord, more than I have ever known, make me to know your ways. Show me your paths that I may skip along them, as a hind in high places. Lead me in your truth - may your truth be upon my lips and heart – may I speak of naught but what you are showing me.

You are the God of my salvation. Such hope is mine. May each new day bring new desire to simply wait upon you.

You have created me to praise you, O God. In that I find my greatest joy. Such glory I found in your presence in worship this morning, oh that I might have remained there forever! Eternity's beauty pierced my heart, how I long to be in that place forever with you.

And yet…I desire to be here. To share of what you are dong in me, to somehow communicate your great love and tender mercy. Tonight Lord, I will attempt to share something of that with these precious women. Give me words to speak, not of my own, but of your Spirit. May my words speak only of you, Jesus, you and you alone.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Swallowed Up By Life

This is the fifth in a series of journal entries begun in October, 2009. Please see initial post on February 21, 2010.

October 20, 2009

2nd Corinthians 5:4-5

That is it exactly!! Listen…

“For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened –not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.”

This is what you are working in my heart Lord. It is not so much that I would chose to be unclothed; that is, anxious to shed this earthly tent that has served me well these many years. Rather it is that I look forward to being “fully clothed; that is, in my heavenly body, my heavenly home, my dwelling with you.

I am not afraid-yes perhaps I even long for that day when this mortal body must die that it might be swallowed up by life, your life, oh God, eternal life!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

You Know My Days

This is the fourth of a series of journal entries begun in October, 2009. Please see initial post on February 21, 2010.

October 20, 2009

Today is my son’s birthday.

For him, for me, as for all is Psalm 139,

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…..

In your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet, there were none of them.”

Such safety in your hand, Oh Lord, such confidence and trust.

“You hem me in, behind and before and lay your hand upon me.”

The longer I know you the more “hemming in” I desire Lord.

Keep your hand upon me, lead me in the way of righteousness and truth.

Accomplish your will in my life.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Trust Me

This is the third of a series of journal entries begun in October, 2009. Please see initial post on February 21, 2010.

October 19, 2009
On the Crooked River

“Speak Lord, for your servant listens.”

I know I hear and see in part, Lord, but still I listen and watch. You have opened a window of sunshine in an otherwise dreary land on this fall day. I see it as a blessing from your hand for me, reminding me that your eye is upon me.

You are speaking, and so I will write what I am hearing from your Spirit this day, “This sickness is not unto death.” And yet even in my writing I know that Lazarus died. But I also know as he was raised from the tomb, he went forth, never again to fear his passing from this life into eternity. Death was no longer an enemy to be feared but a journey to be anticipated.

I do not know your plans for me; I can only see what you have placed in front of me this day. But your Spirit whispers, “This, this is that which you have desired for so long…to be set free from the fear of sickness and even death itself, for you and your children and your grandchildren. I am going to do a mighty work in you my child. You will see with new eyes and feel with a new heart. Trust will be your constant companion, mercy and steadfast love your portion!

At last you will be freed from that which would cause your eyes and heart to turn at times from me. This is the time I have appointed for you! Do not fear those who can harm the body, but fear the one who can destroy men’s souls. May that fear give you renewed compassion for those who still tremble. Share with them of my great love and compassion, now that you are truly catching a glimpse of all my salvation means in light of eternity.

Life here is but a vapor, yet it is that which you and others grasp. Lift up your eyes and see me in my majesty and glory. Do not fear this time, but rather welcome and embrace it as my good gift to you, for I have loved you with an everlasting love and I will accomplish all I have purposed to do in your life.

I know you fear, but as I spoke to you so many years ago, “Trust Me”. All the prayers you have whispered have not gone unheeded, all your struggles not unseen, I am about to do a work that, if I had told you before, you would not have believed. This is the time, this is the day, rejoice and see my hand at work.”

I do trust you Lord…help me to trust you more. May I be as a vessel of clay in your hands, willingly embracing the Master’s Touch.