Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Same Moon

Have you ever thought about the moon? I have. I love the moon. Moonlight is soft, and quiet. It's inviting to the imagination, and calming to the senses. The heavens truly do declare the glory of God. Unfortunately, I sleep in the basement. This limits my view of the moon considerably. But on the nights when the moon is full, I can lay awake in bed and just stare at it, considering...

...have you ever thought about the fact that this is the same moon? The very same moon that God created during the creation week. The same moon that watched the wreckage of human morality as the population sacrificed their sons and daughters upon alters of fire to gods of wood and gold...and even sometimes to the moon itself. The same moon that watched Noah's progress on the ark, and then watched the flood waters cover mount Ararat.

The same moon that viewed the erection of Babel. The same moon that saw the misery of Job. The same moon that watched God send plagues upon Egypt. The same moon that saw the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The same moon that beheld Balaam's folly. The same moon that beheld Gideon and his three hundred win an impossible victory. The same moon that watched David flee from his enemies, and later saw him King. The same moon that watched the temple be fitted together into a house worthy of the Lord, and later saw it fall because of the sin of God's people.

The same moon who saw the prophet write Is. 53. The same moon that witnessed an infant's birth in a stable. The same moon that watched a storm be calmed by a Man. The same moon that saw the same Man torn, beaten, bruised, bloodied, scorned, mocked, ridiculed. The same moon that saw three crosses upon Golgotha. The same moon that watched the traitor who hung himself buried in Aceldama. And finally...the same moon that saw an empty tomb.

But none of this is really about the moon. It's about the Creator who spoke everything, including that moon, into existence. It's about the One who commanded kings, who ordained judges, who put words into the mouths of prophets, who shapes the fate of empires, who cares about the lowest wretch, who hears every prayer, who saved the world with His own life's blood, who spared not even His Son, and who continues, even as you read this, to uphold the fragile vapor that is your life. With one breath, He could end this entire universe, but He doesn't.

"Jesus Christ [is] the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." And nothing (neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature) can change who He is. He created the heavens to declare His glory; to be His signature on all of history (His story, that is).

In my opinion, the moon has been privileged just to watch God at work. And so are we. And you know what? We're even luckier. Because all the moon can do is watch...but God has chosen us to act. Think about that for a moment.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Calling all MIT's! (or) The Lion Side

MIT. Mighty in Training. Believe it or not, if you believe in the risen Son of God, Jesus Christ, this is you. I suppose this post is the counterpart to my previous post, entitled 'Charity'. This time, I want to discuss the more warlike side to Christianity. "Warlike?" you might ask. "I thought Jesus was a lamb."
"Absolutely!" I reply. "AND a lion."

I have some really amazing people to introduce you to today. The Warriors of God 'hall of fame', so to speak. They are referred to by God as the 'Gibborim'. What the heck is a Gibborim? Well...take a look at this word, and you are examining your very own destiny. This word, my friend, is the key to unlock your future. Not convinced? Just wait.

But before I introduce you to these hall of famers, you must catch a glimpse of the way God describes them. The Hebrew word for "Mighty" is...get ready..."Gibbowr" (ghib-bore). Hence the name "Gibborim". Doesn't just saying that word make you want to draw your sword? Some of the definitions as listed in Strong's Concordance are as follows: powerful; by implication, warrior, tyrant:-- champion, chief, X excel, giant, man, mighty (man, one), strong (man), valiant man.

Mighty Endurance
Meet Eleazar the Ahohite. Eleazar was listed amongst the ranks of 'the mighty men whom David had'. Why? Several thousand years ago, on the soil of Israel, a huge band of Philistines prepared for battle. They marched on God's promised land, to kill, usurp, and destroy. All the men of Israel had four. These four stood to 'defy' the Philistines. Who were they? Mighty Men. One was David, son of was Eleazar the Ahohite. Of Eleazar, it says in 2 Sam. 23:10 "He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary." Ponder this for a moment. Four...against a LOT of enemies. I think I can understand this weary hand thing. Here's the rest of the verse: "and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil."
What made Eleazar a 'mighty' was not only that he stood with three other men against many enemies. It was not the fact that he fought till exhaustion. He was mighty because even when his muscles burned, and his life was compromised, and things looked impossible, he still fought. When every ounce of endurance in his body was called for, and every drop of blood was on the line, his hand clave unto his sword. Welcome to the league of the Mighties.

Mighty Courage
Meet Adino the Enzite. He is also listed amongst David's Mighties. He was, in fact, the Chief among the Captains. This one man stood courageously against eight hundred foes with...a spear. And slew them all in one day.

Mighty Audacity
Shortly after David was anointed King over Israel, he and his men marched on Jerusalem, which was in Jebus, and held by the Jebusites. These Jebusites hurled insults down on David and his men. The bibilical text says they "were hated of David's soul". David's ire was so raised that he said, "Whosoever getteth up to the gutter, and smiteth the Jebusites...he shall be chief and captain." Now, amongst the ranks of Israelites David brought was one called Joab. With every fiber in Joab's being, he wanted to be first in David's kingdom. He desired this place so much that, ignoring all danger, he ran up the gutter to the top of the wall and struck the Jebusite in the face.

"Nice. Inspiring. It makes me want to work out more. But what does any of this have to do with me?" My answer is...Everything. Is. 9:6 is a prophesy of Christ. And it refers to Him as -get this- the Mighty God. In 1 Cor. 6:19-20 says "What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your bodies, and in your spirit, which are God's."

So here it is. We are bought with a price, we are not our own. And who is our Master? The Commander in Chief of the league of the Mighties! He has commanded us to flee conformation to this world, and to seek His image, with all that it entails. We are privileged beyond belief to have the Lord of Hosts living in us, and us in Him. He is not a man, that He should allow cowards and the half-committed to be numbered amongst His ranks. We are representatives of the ultimate Mighty One, and He has equipped you and I with all that we need to show His strength in our lives.

My response to all this when I first learned of the league of the Mighties was something along these lines: "Whoaa, God. Hold on. This all sounds fantastic. But this is me, Haley, we're talking about. 5'1", 106 pounds, extremely unimpressive. The one who loves ballet and Jane Austen. I can't be a Mighty! Who are we kidding?! This must be one of those gender specific, only-for-the-spiritually-elite messages. Can we maybe talk about something I am more comfortable with?"

Smiling gently, my Father took my hand and set my bible on my desk. "I have not called you to make yourself Mighty. I haven't called you to slay 1,000 men with the jawbone of a donkey. But I have called you to let My Strength be shown through you. I have called you to let Me wield your life as a weapon against darkness, to shatter the plans and strong holds of My enemies. I have called you to be a willing vassal. Will you trust Me?"

"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ, and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fullfilled."

So, my fellow MIT's. God wants to use you. He wants to use you Mightily. Will you trust Him?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Thoughts. :)

Hello everyone! Long time no post. This summer has been busier than I can even describe. This post, however, is not intended to be devoted to the recount of the craziness of my life.

Last night we had a huge, lovely thunderstorm; the leftovers of which are still with us this morning, in the form of thick, dank fog and a chilling wind. Glorious weather, all things considered. :) So I figured now would be a perfect time to sit down and share with everyone a few things the Lord placed in my path to turn my eyes upon Him...

The first thing to share is a little piece of American history; a reminder of the legacy we have from our forefathers, and what our country was.

"Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly, Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision, where I live in the depths but see Thee in the heights; hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory. Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up, that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, that to have nothing is to possess all, that to bear the cross is to wear the crown, that to give is to receive, that the valley is the place of vision. Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine; let me find Thy light in my darkness, Thy life in my death, Thy joy in my sorrow, Thy grace in my sin, Thy riches in my poverty, Thy glory in my valley." ~1600's Puritan Prayer

This is Christianity. Finding life in death, finding glory in persecution, finding victory in submission, finding vision in the darkest cell....finding crowns on Calvary. The problem comes when I forget this Christianity, which is ultimately loosing sight of Christ. I forget that personal fulfillment and joy comes only in Christ and bringing Him glory, and not in reaching the highest mountain, or in forging my own crowns, or in winning my own victories.

The Second thing I wished to share is a poem by Anne Bradstreet, also Puritan from the 1600's. She was a wife and mother; and through her writings, Anne shows herself to be everything I have ever hoped to model (and her first name is one of my middle names. :D). My favorite of her poems is titled 'The Flesh and the Spirit'. Anne starts this poem by describing a conversation she once overheard between two twin sisters- one Flesh, and one Spirit. Flesh chides her sister, saying she spends too much time caring and hoping for things that are but shadows and imaginations, lives on nothing but meditation, and "Dost dream of things beyond the Moon/ And dost thou hope to dwell there soon?"

Spirit silences the flesh with a rebuke, and says that she has vowed to conquer her sister Flesh, lead her captive, and put her to death. 'My greatest honour it shall be/ when I am victor over thee'.

Then Spirit continues on to describe heaven with all the glory a pen can capture, saying to the vanquished Flesh,
"Eternal substance I do see
With which inriched I would be.
Mine eye doth pierce the heav'ns and see
What is Invisible to thee.
My garments are not silk nor gold,
Nor such like trash which Earth doth hold,
But Royal Robes I shall have on,
More glorious than the glist'ring Sun.
My Crown not Diamonds, Pearls, and gold,
But such as Angels' heads infold.
The City where I hope to dwell,
There's none on Earth can parallel.
The stately Walls both high and trong
Are made of precious Jasper stone,
The Gates of Pearl, both rich and clear,
And Angels are for Porters there.
The Streets thereof transparent gold
Such as no Eye did e're behold.
A Crystal River there doth run
Which doth proceed from the Lamb's Throne.
Of Life, there are the waters sure
Which shall remain forever pure.
Nor Sun nor Moon they have no need
For glory doth from God proceed.
No Candle there, nor yet Torch light,
For there shall be no darksome night.
From sickness and infirmity
Forevermore they shall be free.
Nor withering age shall e're come there,
But beauty shall be bright and clear.
This City pure is not for thee,
For things unclean there shall not be.
If I of Heav'n may have my fill,
Take thou the world, and all that will."

The reason I find this so encouraging, I suppose, is because eternity truly is my hope. This earth holds nothing for me really, I am but here for a season to do my Master's bidding. After all, my life is hid with Christ in God, and heaven is my home. I have power over that evil Flesh through the death of Christ; there are much better things laid up in heaven for me than anything Flesh has to offer. If I keep my focus on heaven, and on the magnification of Christ, I cannot help but wish to glorify Him and surrender to Him.

"If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this (world). Aim at heaven and you'll get earth "thrown in": aim at earth and you will get neither."

~C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

What on earth are we doing for heaven's sake? I'd like to encourage you all in the same way the Lord encouraged me... This path we're walking, this Christian path, is well trod. The ground is hard-packed and well defined. Press on; continue 'aiming at heaven', because our hope is not an earthly hope. Christ is worth everything we have.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Wings of the Wind

Hey All! So this is really just a rough composition... this is in the 'first draft' form, if you will. After all, I just threw it together in an hour's time this afternoon. Imput and suggestions are eagerly sought. Thanks for reading. :D

Wings of the wind hath He ridden,
foundations of the heavens hath He shaken,
to answer my cry.

Lightning, and hail, sendeth He for me,
and darkness on all dread enemies,
to answer my cry.

Wroth was He, against those enemies,
all too strong for me, but none for He.
He sent the blast of His breath to quench them,
to answer my cry.

Yet tremble do I still, for darker shadow than before,
approaches this which hath been a haven and safe hill.

Doubt rendereth weak my former faith, as cries to the darkness
my soul doth make.

And as shaking there I stand, He appears.
The One whose hand all creation fears. That hand offers He to me now,
gently saying,
"Didst thou fear I would forsake thee?

Wings of the wind have I ridden,
foundations of heavens have I shaken,
to answer thy cry.

Lightning, and hail sendeth I for thee,
and darkness on all thy dread enemies,
to answer thy cry.

Wroth was I against those enemies, all too strong for thee, but none for me.
Blast of my breath to quench them sent I,
to answer thy cry.

Thy candle do I light, to pierce the darkest night,
Darkness do I banish, the dawn to rise at my beckon,
to answer thy cry.

Sins I bore for thee,
and three nails on that tree,
to answer thy cry.

Scorn I bore for thee,
and rejection from The One heavenly,
to answer thy cry.

Didst thou fear I would forsake thee?"

Saturday, March 5, 2011


“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angles, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophesy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” 1 Cor. 13:1-3

This passage, well read and seemingly cliche in some ways, has recently left a spiritual bruise. Love is oft spoken of, but scarcely lived…at least in my heart. I speak only for myself, but I find that I am the one to be inflicting wounds more often than I find myself in the place of the one binding them up. Over the past week, the subject of a true, holy love undefiled by selfish ambition has been a reoccurring theme. The Spirit’s soft words of exhortation prod as, little by little, more of the truth is shed in my heart. An extreme wake-up came in the form of the following quote, which I received from a friend:

“If a sudden jar can cause me to speak an impatient, unloving word, than I know nothing of Calvary’s love. For a cup brimful of sweet water cannot spill even one drop of bitter water, however suddenly jolted.” -Amy Carmichael

Think of it! If I am filled with Christ just as scripture promises, nothing more can show. Sweet water remains sweet –it cannot be anything but true to its nature. It is impossible for anything to have more than one nature, for the essence and the nature of something are one in the same; no thing can have more than one essence. I am dead; my life is hid with Christ in God. That is my essence: stripped of all that was; filled and transformed with something new and purely holy...thrice holy, in fact. And that is all that can leak out of me, no matter what the world does or says. I am HIS vassal, and nothing (neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature) can change that.
That being said, I am faced with the choice every other human faces: Live by the Spirit, or don’t. Live as though I am dead to gain what I cannot loose, or don’t. Let the word of Christ dwell richly in me, or not. It is my choice. That is where sweetness turns bitter. Is it technically possible for one who is filled with Christ to show forth sin? No. Do I still do it? Absolutely. But I have the power to change, if only I will surrender. There is really no other choice because, as 1 Corinthians 13 says, without charity, I am nothing.
The bare and simple truth in its most stripped condition is this:
No matter what anyone says, sweet water cannot be bitter, even for a moment. If I truly have the mind of Christ, love is the only possible reaction. When I am ‘roughly jolted’, it ought to bless other people. If I understand every other word in the Bible, and fail at this, I am worthless, and having love is more important than sacrificing my body to be burned for the sake of what I believe in.
By God’s grace, I, as a Christian young woman, ought to be known for my love. It ought to be on my worst days that the people around me feel most loved and considered. I ought to remain sweet, even while all around me is bitter darkness.
Of one thing I am certain…this is impossible. But I am also certain of my God. You see, I have a God who paid for every one of my multitude of sins, a God who lived in flesh perfectly for my sake, and a God who has made all things possible by the power of His grace and might. He is the one who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and He has promised never to leave, nor forsake me. I will close this entry with the inspiring words of Rhino, the hamster –a movie character: “The impossible can become possible if… you… are… AWESOME!” I shall tweak it a little and put it in my own words: “The impossible can become possible if your God is AWESOME!” And mine is.

Welcome to my blog!

Hello, Everyone!

I've been thinking about doing this for months, but have been too scared to try a blog. Now, on this dreary, cold Saturday, March the 5th, 2011, I have decided to make the leap. ;).

Thank you for visiting my page. I would love it if you would become a follower, and would greatly appreciate your prayers for me as I continue this journey of being conformed into a good vassal, fit for service in the army of my King, the Lord of Hosts.

Thank you very much!

-Haley Anne Grace Joy Whelan