Tuesday, March 27, 2012
WEST SACRAMENTO — A puppy named after one of the world's biggest pop stars could set the world's record for tiniest dog.Animal rescuers in Northern California say the female Dachshund mix, named Beyonce, was so small at birth that she could fit into a spoon. At two weeks, she's about the size of a business card.
The Grace Foundation, based in El Dorado County, says animal control picked up Beyonce's pregnant mother, and she gave birth to a litter of five on March 8.
Beyonce was the last one delivered, and was born without a heartbeat. Veterinarians managed to revive her through chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
The foundation says she'll be ready for adoption in about two weeks.
Meanwhile, it has submitted an application to Guinness World Records for world's smallest dog.
Monday, March 12, 2012
Here, in John 14, our Lord was about to leave this world; and He knew it. So on this night, in His high priestly prayer, He makes His last requests known; kinda like a living will -- the world's first living will. His soul he committed to his Father; His clothes, He knew would fall to the soldiers; His mother, He would leave in the care of John: but what did He leave to His disciples, and all those who would believe on Him through them? Silver and gold He had none; but He left them, and us, something infinitely more valuable, His peace. "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you." I not only give you a title to it, He said, but I give you possession of it. As a dying father leaves his portions to his children; so His peace is a part of our inheritance as lambs of the Living God; and it can never be taken from us if we do not give it up.
This peace is a harmonic rightness with God implanted deep within our hearts, it is also a budding union with all of God’s universe. Natural forces are at our back, when we are right with God and walk in His peace; as it is written “The whole creation groans and waits for the manifestation of the children of God.” When a man is one with the Maker he has the co-operation of all that the Maker has made. The winds and currents are his friends, and the heavens fight on his side -- even the stones of the field lay in covenant with the lamb living in the flow of God's peace.
Most people, when they think of a peaceful setting, would seek it near some secluded mountain-lake, nestling quiet and untroubled far from the beaten path, and where even the cry of a nature is only rarely heard. It is by these “still waters,” and in these deep silences, that they call to mind the gift of peace. Others may see visualizations of a different sort, a beach, a boat, it could be anything; but for me when I think on the peace of God, I think of the verse from Isaiah: thy peace is like a river. this may seem, at first glance, like an odd choice, but for me, the peace our Lord bequeathed to us is a peace of motion and fulfillment, not one necessarily of quiet and stillness.
How prescient and thoughtful was the prophet’s choice of a river as his figure of peace. Not a lake, not a pool, not a scene of quiet and stillness, but a river. He is not necessarily deriding the idea of a peaceful quietude; he is trying to point to a quality of life and movement: peace is not motionless quietude, but quiet motion. Peace has its appropriate figure in the brimming river, quiet because of its steadiness and depth. God's peace in our souls, my friend, is liquid, frictionless motion, in the midst of the chaos that surrounds it. What he was trying to get across to us is that this perfect peace is found in a lamb's life only when that life moves and breathes in God’s life without complaint, without fret, and without friction. It is not so much found in the absence of sound as in the absence of any discordant notes. The peace of Christ is musical movement, it is a divine harmony of spirits.
Our Master’s conception of this peace is given in His often repeated words, “I and My Father are one.” When one life flows into another life with seamless perfection; commingling—will with will, soul with soul, heart with heart, the two become one, this is the the essential secret of experiencing and living in His peace. And when that perfect commingling is between the the lamb's heart and God, he will have learned the secret of perfect peace. That was the peace our Lord enjoyed -- His peace, and this is the peace He has promised and provided, “My peace I give unto you.”
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Communion with God:
The words fell freely
Through my lips;
But the savor,
Where was the savor?
"Oh, what a stranger am I
To the Living One, and all
That I flattered myself
To be acquainted with.
What do I know of
His transforming vision?
Of His inexpressible love?"
I, who could not abandon
My lust, and my shame.
Trapped in the flaming passion
Of performance, and duty:
I begat Him with my lips,
Yet saw Him not in my life.
Oh, that I might love Thee,
Let all else flee, and fall away;
That I might love Thee.
Out on the campus lawn,
Under a willow;
Almost unable to speak:
Little did I know
The power and the prophesy,
Of those words; those words
I had so longingly uttered;
And which had been
So lovingly heard;
That lonely midnight prayer,
That changed my life forever.
Amen; and praise
His Mighty Name!
Sunday, March 4, 2012
After the Lord has quickened our souls, and we try to get serious about our spiritual life; we tend to think that from here on in, our way of life is to keep God's commandments — obey the law — cleanse ourselves from sin — reform our lives — cultivate universal holiness in thought, word, and action — and so we go — blundering and stumbling on in darkness — and all the while never get a single step forward.
We are ever looking for something in self to make ourselves acceptable to God. We are often sadly cast down and discouraged when we cannot find in ourselves — that holiness — that obedience — that calm submission to the will of God — that serenity of soul — that spirituality — that heavenly-mindedness — which we believe to be acceptable in His sight.
Our quick tempers — our fretful, anxious minds — our rebellious thoughts — our coldness and barrenness of heart — our constant struggle with the darkness within us — with the daily feeling that we get no better, but often worse — make us think that God views us just as we view ourselves -- as utter failures. And this brings on great darkness of mind and bondage of spirit — until we seem to lose sight of our acceptance in Christ — and get into the miserable dregs of self — almost ready to quarrel with God over our state of grace, because we seem so vile to ourselves, and only seem to get worse as we go along.
Now the more we get into these dregs of self — and the more we keep looking at the dreadful scenes of wreck and ruin which our heart presents to our daily view — the farther do we get from the grace of the gospel — and the more do we lose sight of the only ground of our acceptance with God.
Hear the words of Paul from the Letter to the Ephesians:
Eph 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love:
Eph 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
Eph 1:6 To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved.
It is in His righteousness; His sacrifice; His mercy; and His love that we are accepted into His beloved — and not for any good words — good works — good thoughts — good hearts -- or, for that matter, any good anything of our own. If there be any righteousness in us; it is only because He has placed it there -- not because of any natural seed within us.
But the Lord will allow us to wear ourselves out worrying about our own righteousness -- we all do at one time or another -- and after He has let us sink lower and lower into the pit of guilt and ruin, from feeling that all our attempts to extricate ourselves have only plunged us deeper and deeper into the mire. Here, in this deep pit of shame, as we abandon ourselves, our Lord opens a door within our hearts, and His Spirit floods our soul with a witness to keep us from sinking altogether into despair, without hope or help, without an understanding; and He immerses our soul in a vital discovery of Jesus, who He is, why He came, and of His glorious sacrifice thus making it known -- and clear to us, that there is a Savior, there is a Mediator, and there is a way of escape provided — this is a grand turning point in our walk with God, when we finally see the Opening in the valley of Achor (trouble), a way of life; a door of hope; a way out.
The fruit and the effect of this divine illumination is to cut in pieces, and root up all our fleshly wisdom, strength, and righteousness. God will never patch a new piece upon an old garment. All our wisdom, our strength, our righteousness must be torn to pieces. It must all be ripped out by the roots — that a new wisdom, a new strength, and a new righteousness may arise upon its ruins.
But until the Lord is pleased to drive us to this moment, to our own point of despair, and teach us through His Spirit of Illumination, we never can part with our own righteousness — never give up our own wisdom — never abandon our own strength. These things are a part and parcel of ourselves — they are who we are; so ingrained and innate within us, that we cannot willingly part with them until the Lord Himself demolishes the house we have built up in our own strength. Then, as He flashes into our souls the vision of our corruption and our folly in a thousand ways, and our blindness to all things of the spirit — our wisdom fades away. As He shows us our inability to resist temptation and overcome sin, by any exertion of our own — our confidence in our own strength and righteousness dissipates, and dies, as we begin, at last, to put on the new man.
Upon the bleached remains, then, of our own wisdom, righteousness and strength, does God build up Christ's wisdom, Christ's righteousness, and Christ's strength. But only so far as we are filled with His Spirit can a death sentence be carried out upon our own wisdom, strength, and righteousness — and a new life in our risen Lord begin.
"As dying, and, behold, we live." 2 Corinthians 6:9
Though we die, and die daily — yet, behold, we live. And in a sense, the more we die, the more we live. The more we die to self — the more we die to sin. The more we die to pride and self-righteousness — the more we die to creature strength. The more we die to sinful nature — the more we live to grace. This runs all the way through the life and experience of a believer.
Nature must die, that grace may live. The weeds must be plucked up, that the crop may grow. The flesh must be starved, that the spirit may be fed. The old man must be put off, that the new man may be put on. The deeds of the body must be mortified, that the soul may live unto God. As then we die — we live. The more we die to our own strength, the more we live to Christ's strength. The more we die to creature hope, the more we live to a solid hope through grace. The more we die to our own righteousness, the more we live to Christ's righteousness. The more we die to the world, the more we live to and for the Kingdom of Heaven. This is the grand mystery — that the believer is always suffering, yet always joyful; always emptying himself, yet always full; always dying, yet eternally alive — and the more he dies, the more he lives. For the death of the flesh, is the life of the spirit, and the death of sin, is the life of righteousness. The death of the creature, is the very life of God in our souls. And this, my friends is our only way of escape; our only way out: "As dying, and, behold, we live."
Saturday, March 3, 2012
Driving through the storms;
My wits hover,
In the consciousness
Of His loving presence;
And all unrest is soothed:
The heaving ocean,
Lodged high in my throat;
Is as an untroubled bayou;
Charmed, and glistening,
In the evening sun.
Yesterday was quite a day on the road for me. I was right in the middle of the Kentucky/Indiana/Ohio tornado outbreak. I was in Ky, across the Ohio River from Indiana & Ohio when the first group went through; I could see the clouds across the river; storm sirens were going off everywhere in a driving rain and emergency vehicles were flying down the road toward the blackest part of the clouds. It didn't iake a rocket scientist to see that this was a ferocious storm; yet it came no closer to me. The second storm was a different matter; it was much closer, and on a normal Friday, would have been directly in my path. I was southeast of Cincinnati on route 125, and I could see the storm move in and hit directly in front of me, Bethel was only a few miles ahead of me on this same road, but on this night, a regular customer in Georgetown -- further up this same road, the other side of Bethel -- did not order, so I headed north instead of further southeast. Had I gone to Georgetown, as usual, I would have been directly in its path at almost exactly the right time. As I headed home; and dozens of emergency vehicles passed the other way by me towards the storm damage; Psalm 91 echoed over and over again in my mind: Marysville, Indiana was on my right -- Bethel, Ohio was on my left -- yet did I pass through it all untouched. Who can understand or know His ways?