Day 25: Harvest in Righteousness

Last night on a walk with a friend through the forest and farmlands, a harvesting we witnessed so touched our hearts. Later, on our walk, I began to share of how often I have walked and prayed through such deep heartache in these very forest and farmlands in the past few years, and how the Spirit has repeatedly flooded my heart and soul with such peace, turning my bitterness and pain into a heart broken open by Christ’s love for for His Body, as living Words of prayer have poured forth from my heart and lips. I told her that God had reminded me of this harvest of righteousness, when I had wanted to condemn and shame myself for the lack of harvest I saw in my simple and quiet life.

I had looked for physical manifestations of this righteousness, but God reminded me to look in faith to the unseen, and to His bountiful gifts to me in the simple and quiet, as He turned me to these Words from 1 Corinthians 12:22-26 (ESV): On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.  If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.

Colossians 2:7

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

John 12:24 (ESV)

I bless us to seek and find the joy of the LORD and His strength rising in us in prayer and worship, as we rejoice in the Lord and His abounding grace for us. I bless us to stand still in absolute awe of God’s bountiful and merciful gifts to us and to sing of His great love for us. I bless us to arise and shine in the light of God’s love, grace and truth – Jesus working in us, for us and through us.

I bless us to see how the once bitter seeds of the law of Moses sown into us as children are now breaking open unto sweet eternal abundant and abiding life in Christ Jesus and His all-sufficient sacrifice at the Cross for us. I bless the LORD to show us how all the fires of suffering and loss have only carried His gifts of new life to us.

I bless us to see Christ’s all-sufficient sacrifice reflected in our deeper rooting in His love through the fires of His jealous love. I bless us to see how God has repeatedly called forth a flooding of His Holy Spirit power in our weakness through these very fires to yield an abiding and abundant harvest in and through us .

I bless us to see and thank God for turning the law of Moses that once accused us into the sweet honey of His living and active Word, in Christ’s sacrifice for us. I bless us to see and praise God for giving us over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life might now be revealed in our mortal body, as death at work in us yields life for others.

Harvest in Righteousness

Guard thy heart
My child
Let not one bitter accusation
In thought or deed
Take root and 
Thistles reap.

Oh yes 
My dear
Pierce it does
Just as My crown of thorns
But even then 
Draw near.

Let each thorn
Beckon to you "come"  
Pour all out 
That not one bitter word 
Root where tender
Heart resides.

Come, I'll soothe
And bind and balm
For, this wound 
I have inflicted
Is not sent to harm you
But to heal you.

Now receive
Each and every 
Seed of Moses
No longer in condemnation 
At the feet of man
But buried in the good soil 
Of My heart for you
As life abundant.

In the dying
Of each bitter seed of wheat
Behold my love and mercy
 Now turn Your every 
Into sweet.
See each Promise
You have clung to
Now no longer
Hope deferred remain
But in My death
And resurrection
Bountiful desires 

Not eye for eye
And tooth for tooth 
But love so strong 
Each seed of Moses
Be broken, bled
My blood for you

In undeserved mercy

Behold now 
In death's shadow
Your idols are no more
For taking up your Cross
To rest in Me
You see by faith
And not by sight
My broken Body
Now made whole.

Behold now
In the dying 
To your old
A tree of life 
In love's jealous fires 

Strongly rooted
Through desert fires
Rising up to new life
In the Spirit's flooding
See Eden teeming
With fruit for food
And leaves 
For tender healing.

Grace upon grace
In the fullness
Of My love 
For My blessed Body
 Watch Me
Now every month 
A bountiful crop
Harvest in righteousness.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
    but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself,
    but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded.

Proverbs 13:12-13 (ESV)

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
And one who is wise gains souls.

Proverbs 11:30 (NASB)

I Awake, and I Am Still With You

I am taking a break from the book Celebrate Jesus and Behold Him Face to Face today to bring you something else God has placed on my heart, as He continues to prepare my heart to share the next chapter: Chapter 4 – I Know You.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,  intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
   the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!

If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
    I awake, and I am still with you.

Psalm 139: 16-18 (ESV)

A day before Russian troops invaded the Ukraine, my husband, our children, one of their best friends and I walked around the Canadian war cemetery in Holten, the Netherlands. It was my birthday and my heart was so overcome by God’s touch to bring us to that place, as we began what would become a three-hour walk on a beautiful forested path.

That cemetery with more than 1300 tombstones – so many with beautiful engravings of precious Scriptures – marked the sacrifice of not just the young Canadian men buried there, but also their fathers, mothers, young wives and teeny tiney children left fatherless, turned my eyes to Jesus. As I surveyed all before me, I found my heart and lips lifting up blessings for their families. Then, I stopped to notice and read a laminated message from the family of one of those buried there.

I watched as three little girls walked amongst those tombs in hushed awe of these men from a country so far away, who had laid down their lives that we, in the Netherlands, might live in freedom today. I thought of my own Grandads who also served in Europe, traveling all the way from New Zealand to fight for what was true and good and just. And I was so humbled to think upon Jesus giving His life for us that we might live.

That no matter what evil befalls us, we might, like these young men and their families, be emboldened to stand up for what is true and good and just. That we might deep down know that even if our earthly bodies are laid in a tomb, our heavenly bodies are held eternally secure in the hands of our LORD and Savior, with whom we shall rise unto glory. That we might know there is more than we can see with our physical eyes and that the eternal flame of love that we feel burning deep within our God-breathed hearts and souls cannot be snuffed out.

Praise God for my blessed children, who are causing me to come boldly before the throne of grace in this time of need. In expressing their own fears, righteous anger and anxieties freely before me, they are uncovering my own and leading us into prayer. In that place of kneeling before Jesus, as my weakness and lack is exposed, He is giving voice to His perfect power for us and for those our heart – His heart in us – breaks for. His Word and songs of love, justice and peace that passes all human understanding are flowing richly.

Papa, continue to make Yourself known to us and in us. LORD we long to know You in Your death and resurrection, to like those who gave their lives for us in the second World War, be prepared and willing to lay down our own selfish desires for Your selfless acts of love and devotion. Papa, continue to uncover our weakness and draw us to Your feet in prayer, that You might fill us to overflowing with Your power.

May Your living hope that no man can ever steal from us become so very palpable in and through us to the aching world around us. May those around us breathe in the hope of glory living inside of us, through the power of the Holy Spirit at work in us. Thank You that as You awaken us to Your breath of power in us, You are awakening others through us.

Thank You that You died not just for us, but for all. Do not let us numb our anger, our fears and our tears, but lead us to pour out our hearts before You that You might arise in power in and through us. Turn us into Your pure and undivided Body in this aching world that all might come to know You, as You move us to become Your listening ear, Your knowing heart, Your seeing eyes and Your loving hands and feet that move to hold and bless those You place around us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.