Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Step In Time With the Holy Spirit

Step in time with the Spirit
Live by his very power
Living each day
Reconciling every hour.
Step in time with the Spirit
Gathering pace as you walk
Learn by good example
Exactly how to talk.
Step in time with the Spirit
Allow him to anoint
Every move you make
Obey him who does appoint.
Step in time with the Spirit
At times waiting for him to come
For everything without him
Is incomplete in sum.
Step in time with the Spirit
As God begins his work in you
And even as his Spirit continues
To in that hold you true.
Step in time with the Spirit
Knowing he is your power source
Experiencing his dynamism
This ever loving force.
Step in time with the Spirit
Don’t let your flesh drag you down
Enduring the spiritual battle
Having a smile and not a frown
Step in time with the Spirit
Don’t turn to things of desire
Don’t let the enemy
Smother your spiritual fire.
Step in time with the Spirit
Retain the essence of sobriety
For in this way the Spirit will
Protect your integral propriety.
Step in time with the Spirit
Jettisoning every vainglory
Believing in his power
As he invests in your story.
Step in time with the Spirit
In ways to enjoy the fruit
So more and more and more
Christ becomes your dear root.
Step in time with the Spirit
Know his refining grace
Moving as he leads
Running only your very race.
Step in time with the Spirit
So patience and kindness are yours
So when the testing inevitably comes
You are able to open those doors.
Step in time with the Spirit
March in time with unity
For the defining sign of life
Is the prosperity of community.
Step in time with the Spirit
Relate with the offensive
Don’t pridefully reject them
By becoming stubbornly defensive.
Step in time with the Spirit
Resist the want to compete
Reject the envying spirit
There’s no glory in that to repeat.
Step in time with the Spirit
Put off your superior conceit
For if you don’t do this
You’re in line for a commanding defeat.
Step in time with the Spirit
Restore the broken vessel
Promote the Spirit’s work
So in them the Spirit can nestle.
Step in time with the Spirit
Carry the burdens to relief
For in this beautiful way
We will most certainly nurture belief.
Step in time with the Spirit
Settle the onerous demand
And by realistic expectations
We obey God’s command.
Step in time with the Spirit
Notice the moment’s very need
Believe that God provides
And will give us to sow his seed.
Step in time with the Spirit
Look up to heaven alone
Take your counsel from him
And by him your good deeds are sown.
Step in time with the Spirit
Be others’ experience of the Lord
For everyone who doubts
May see him in us who’s adored.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Trust the Holy Spirit




Trust the Holy Spirit
To give you the words to say
To respond well in the confusion
Every night and day.
Trust the Holy Spirit
To give you the things to do
Especially in discerning
The right things that hold you true.
Trust the Holy Spirit
To be inspired in order to know
That very special anointing
In order to prayerfully grow.
Trust the Holy Spirit
Ensure you can be aware
Of every way of accord
To be empowered enough to care.
Trust the Holy Spirit
By seeking God above it all
To desperately want the knowledge
The understanding of his call.
Trust the Holy Spirit
To give you strength and peace
He alone can give it
That unrelenting release.
Trust the Holy Spirit
You know it to be your role
Most certainly it’s your destiny
The everlasting goal.
Trust the Holy Spirit
Whilst you are in the flesh
Ever realigning
Continuing to enmesh.
Trust the Holy Spirit
Put into it your all
For when you do this very thing
Watch your flesh surrender and fall.
Trust the Holy Spirit
Allow God to facilitate transition
And through this astounding miracle
Make that your very mission.
Trust the Holy Spirit
That portent of God in you
This revelation, grace and power
Will always hold you true.
Trust the Holy Spirit
So the message of Christ is proclaimed
Just in order that everyone can
Know the Father has in him salvation named.
Trust the Holy Spirit
As you journey through stormy seas
Holding on valiantly and in accord
And with God it’s you who agrees.
Trust the Holy Spirit
Multiply God’s voice aloud
And in the quietness
Ensure the Spirit’s work is endowed.
Trust the Holy Spirit
Listen to the Holy Voice alone
Even as words aren’t heard
Whether it makes you rejoice or groan.
Trust the Holy Spirit
In the uncertainties of life
Always, ever, and burning
Yes, even in the strife.
Trust the Holy Spirit
Especially when you’re inspired
Don’t worry about others’ fear
And on what they may’ve conspired.
Trust the Holy Spirit
The person of God in you
This is the living God
Not known by just a few.
Trust the Holy Spirit
In Jesus to rejoice
Trust this Beautiful One
Value above it all his voice.
Trust the Holy Spirit
Glory even in lament
For he will assure you
And keep you from becoming bent.
Trust the Holy Spirit
Have faith in unknown gain
For God wills it that the obedient are honoured
Those who step despite their pain.
Trust the Holy Spirit
He lifts you where you are
Every despairing effort
Will ultimately take you far.
Trust the Holy Spirit
Trust alone in his acclaim
Believe every loving story
To the glory of his name.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Risen, Exalted, Worthy, Eternally, Jesus

“But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.”
— Matthew 28:5-6 (NRSV)
He came as a babe born in a squalid manger, yet he was the King of kings and Lord of lords. He was threatened within an inch of his life soon after his birth, yet he would survive another thirty-odd years to be killed at the hand of the worst threats to have faced any human being. He grew up in a poor family and learned the father’s craft, yet he owned everything and he was actually the Maker of all things. He was a child, yet he grew in wisdom that surpassed those of advanced years. He served a long apprenticeship, yet he was fit to practice in any field of his choosing any time he wanted. He was revealed by John the Baptist as the anointed one, yet it was to be the Father’s privilege to make the real announcement.
He taught the disciples everything he could, over and over and over again, yet they were still so stubbornly confused as to get it wrong. He loved ‘the least of these’ even though he was ‘the most that had ever been’. He insisted on being associated with those his society considered vile, but the real vile ones were the religious elite of the day. He considered it nothing to be made into a man – fully human, yet also, at the same time, fully divine – yet he suffered the worst death imaginable. He was cast down in despair, yet he gave everyone around him hope. He gave in response to our taking from him – and he kept giving – and keeps giving because of his Holy Spirit.
His name is Jesus. Do you know him?
There are not enough words of paradox that could reveal how his light beckoned in, and destroyed, the darkness.
And the most incredible paradox of all is that the Jesus they crucified for blasphemy proved he was God by rising from the dead.
If one man can defeat death, we surely are able to quash death’s power when we have power in his name. When we believe upon Jesus, we have access to the risen power for life, despite the horror and hopelessness of our circumstances.
Jesus is alive; he’s alive in me and you.
Jesus is alive; his resurrection’s historically true.
© 2014 Garments of Praise. Written by S. J. Wickham.

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Sacrifice In Love and Forgiveness




“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But... the Good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?’”
― Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 – 1968)
What is forgiveness?
And what is love?
They’re the blessedness of sacrifice,
God’s leading from above.
These two staples,
Are one in kind,
Forgiveness and love,
Are God designed.
Love and forgiveness are two of a kind; both come of God. No human being can claim to love like the Good Samaritan without knowing the love of God. This love does not come independent of the Lord of All Creation.
***
Forgiveness, it may be argued, is a gratuitous portent of life that is completely incomprehensible if not for love. We may ask, “What is forgiveness?” or “How do I forgive?” but both questions are difficult to answer unless we have experienced this thing, forgiveness, either in receipt or as purveyor. Forgiveness cannot be understood apart from love.
The ‘Good Samaritan’ Characterised
When we take our eyes off fear for self-protection, and we allow ourselves to be one for the moment with God, we become characterised more as the Good Samaritan. But, mostly, we cannot take any credit, for it is God that has made us give up on fear for the grander prize – the evolvement in us of his miraculous will.
The love of the Good Samaritan character that sees the vulnerability in the flailing human character – the one needing help – is palpable. There is neither a second thought for assisting, nor is there any ego involved. They are one with God. Their act to help out is completely chivalrous.
So it is with forgiveness.
True forgiveness has come to a place where no other thought of correspondence is entered into. There is no other option. To forgive makes complete sense. God has convinced us and we are glad of it. The act of forgiveness, furthermore, is secondary, but it is the act that reinforces the attitude. The attitude cannot stand without the act, but the act without the attitude is but legalism – it is no sacrifice, but a missing of the mark it is.
True sacrifice does what it does because no other option makes sense. Sacrifice is, therefore, an act of the will that acts because there is nothing but love compelling it. It, for that moment, is so completely under God’s influence.
***
True forgiveness is sacrificial, in that the person forgiving sees no other option than to love. God has taken over. Forgiveness, then, is not about us, but entirely about the other person, so by love we continue to reach into them for as long as it takes.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Why the Holy Bible Is So Full of Failures




Power for understanding,
Is God’s holy Word,
The message is commanding,
Above all we’ve seen and heard.
It’s a series of stories,
Of failure of all kinds,
The majesty in God’s glories,
And his salvation power to unbind.
LITANIES of tragedy, victory, defeat, exile, death, pillage, gore, and even the seemingly unbelievable; that, in sum, partly at least, is the Holy Bible.
As I walked recently – (God always seems to talk to me when I walk) – I was reminded, “My Word is about failures – in person and deed and life experience – as an encouragement for those, like you right now, who feel like failures. My Word reminds you that you are not alone in feeling this way. It reminds you to look beyond your failures unto Me. Life is not about success or failure; it’s about Me, your Saviour and Lord. Fix your eyes, your heart, your senses, and your thought on Me, for I will save you, again and again and again.”
As we cast a glancing eye over the Word of God we see that the good biblical characters – those revealing God’s glory in and through his Word – had anger management issues, were greedy (e.g. several of the kings), lost sight of their calling, wandered from the path of their calling, murdered (Moses and David), ran away from their problems (Jonah), insulted God (Job, David, etc), were prostitutes (Rahab), committed adultery (David), and battled unforgiveness (Peter and Paul). This is only a scraping of the biblical surface.
The object of God’s Word – particularly the Old Testament – is to highlight: 1) how far from God we actually are, and 2) how much we need to desperately cling to God in order to not miss the mark. The object of the New Testament is the revealing of God’s grace through Jesus Christ; our Blessed Assurance.
We are failures in the sense that we are fallen creatures with flesh-held desires we cannot fully control. We are failures in the sense that we either doubt ourselves or we puff ourselves up. We are failures in the sense of being for our own guidance. We are bad guides of ourselves.
The Word of God propounds these truths – over and over again.
Without God we have not a hope and we remain in the actuality of hell – where part of that hell is in simply not knowing.
With God – through the encouragement of his Word, which points us to futility of doing life in our own strength – we have what we need; a day or a moment at a time.
God’s Word is a lamp unto our feet. It lights our way. And that light is contingent on following him steadfastly and earnestly.
***
God’s Word is beautiful in this: from character to character we read of failure upon failure. It encourages us in our failures to keep going, and to refocus on our King, Jesus, who makes all things new.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The LORD Is My Light

“The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?”
— Psalm 27:1 (NRSV)
CONFIDENCE always seems in such short supply for the majority of us, yet it is overblown in those puffed up people who tend to have life at their fingertips. But none of the world’s conceptualization for confidence runs close to the idea for confidence framed in the ancient word given to David; that which is portrayed in Psalm 27.
Such is David’s confidence in God; he is able to find himself ever more reinforced by the Lord’s light, salvation and fortress. The more fear David experiences, the more his faith pulls him into the orbit of God; the more access is made of God’s eternal light of guidance. The Spirit is his salvation and his fortress – of whom, truly, is he to be afraid?
Psalm 27, it is said, is two opposite halves of a whole picture – the first half the confidence of fear-conquered faith and the second half, the shaky reality of doubt presented as unbridled fear before faith, again, becomes the antecedent.
The existence we know to be life is replete with mountaintop views and valley depths. With one or the other, and with both, we have God. We thank him for the one, and we cling to him for the other.
***
The child of God, in keeping with his or her faith tradition, finds themselves encamped, as it were, in beholding the beauty of the Lord where fear encroaches. Faith has become the default. Fear has such short shrift that faith is the refuge in all but the tiniest vestige, which might normally just be rebuffed with a smiling glance.
In the time of trouble we have a thing to do: to gaze upon the splendour of God.
When there is anxiousness, the anxiousness is met with the fullness of the Lord, which subsumes that anxiousness in the knowledge that Jesus overcomes.
When we are weak and fainting, because life has become too much for us, just now, we then climb into the cave of the Almighty and seek a rest.
And when we cannot decide or are struggling to trust or we are afraid of the dark, then we enter into the light, which is our salvation. God has ample light for each of us with which to see, to decide, to trust in.
© 2014 Garments of Praise. Written by S. J. Wickham.
Visual: tee shirt design from Garments of Praise collection.