Saturday, October 31, 2015

Zechariah 13 – Jesus In the Old Testament

7 “Awake, sword, against my shepherd,
    against the man who is close to me!”
    declares the Lord Almighty.
“Strike the shepherd,
    and the sheep will be scattered,
    and I will turn my hand against the little ones.
In the whole land,” declares the Lord,
    “two-thirds will be struck down and perish;
    yet one-third will be left in it.
This third I will put into the fire;
    I will refine them like silver
    and test them like gold.
They will call on my name
    and I will answer them;
I will say, ‘They are my people,’
    and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’”
NEW TESTAMENT buffs are to be forgiven for being totally perplexed by the Twelve — the Old Testament prophets. Reading them through our typically Western eyes, through our cultural lenses for technology, of materialism and education, and for an individualistic dialect of comfort, we are quickly puzzled by scriptural riddles. But many New Testament concepts appear lurking just underneath the prophets. The prophets reveal the same principles that the New Testament does. The Old Testament illuminates the New Testament, but only if we’re curious enough to find out.
What I like about a site like Bible Gateway is it’s a one-stop-shop in terms of biblical translations and paraphrases, and, when it comes to doing our own exegesis, we can contrast the many versions of the Word with ease. Before we make life easier for ourselves in our use of commentaries.
In the abovementioned Word — from penultimate Zechariah — we see the oracle about the Shepherd who is struck and their sheep that are scattered. From this text we can tell that it was God’s intent to scourge his Son. Jesus would need to be slain in order for the New Covenant to be realised. The Son Incarnate was learned in the Old Testament (it was his Bible; the Bible he and everyone used in his day), duly obedient in doing God’s will to reveal in his being what the prophets said about him, and was also directly implicated in what the prophets said about him beyond his own control. Jesus was Israel’s Messiah. He would need to die. And the sheep would need to necessarily be scattered. But they, themselves, are not scattered for no reason. The third that Isaiah talks about is a remnant; a portion of the people of God who, though they will be refined, will be made good for the journey; those who survive and who carry forth the glory seed until the day of Jesus. They will be the faithful people. And to God will they look, as God will view them with unconditional kindness. They are his people and they will ever proclaim the Lord is their God. And they will trust and obey. They’ll be those who embody the Holy Spirit and seek God will all their heart.
On that day, the day of Jesus’ slaying on the cross, the faithful will call on God’s name and they’ll be saved.
The faithfulness of the New Testament is that Jesus is found in the Old.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Who Am I That You Should Wish To Use Me, Lord?

AMAZED am I. I cannot believe that God should choose to use a person like me to do his Sovereign work.
I cannot honestly understand it… when I’m being honest… when I’m not prideful and thinking God’s lucky to have me. Yet if it wasn’t for Jesus I’d be ruined. He’s not lucky to have me; I’m incomprehensively blessed because of him.
I cannot credit it… when I’m being honest… when I’m not deceived into thinking ‘my obedience’ is a credit to me. ‘My obedience’ is my privilege to respond; and, being Christian, my responsibility of response.
I cannot hope to look at Jesus who hung on the cross for me… when I’m being honest… when I’m not pretending I’m already super close to Jesus. Yet despite my oft-deception, Jesus looks at me with such amazing love, despite my offence.
I cannot comprehend that a hurt and fundamentally fallible man like me… when I’m being honest… makes a good servant of the living Lord. I’m more a barrier to his Kingdom than I could ever help, but God, so gracious, so gentle and so kind, gives me this thing to do — to serve him — because he knows it’s all I can do. I can do, and have, nothing else. So wonderful is his grace that he dignifies someone so irretrievably lost. In him I’m found. In him is my purpose. And in him I’m complete!
I cannot reconcile it in my own mind, let alone synthesise its resonance in my heart… when I’m being honest… when I’m not holding and keeping others to a Jesus standard I myself cannot hold or keep. Oh, how rotten through am I! Yet, never rejected like I reject others, Jesus loves me with an unconditional acceptance.
I hardly believe that Jesus has his work for me to do… when I’m being honest… when I actually understand how privileged I am to love… when I’m not lost in how wonderfully pastoral my love is — ‘my love’, which is not mine at all, but the Saviour’s. I have little love that isn’t self-centred or a skill. Without Christ my ‘love’ would be indelibly shallow.
I cannot boast in a thing that I offer God in the work I do. The cross levels my pride and shows me how much loss Jesus suffered; I cannot come close to the cross without being awed and backwashed in wondrous grief and grievous gratitude. The scale of the cross and its eternal significance. I cannot in all honesty look. The truth blazes holes in my eyes right through the back of my head. Yet because of the cross I’m irrevocably saved. I cannot understand this but I can accept it.
How loving is God that he uses broken vessels to bequeath his love. What divine love that a broken vessel like me has value in the Kingdom of God. The supremacy of value in Jesus Christ alone.
In eternity there will be only one boast: our Lord Jesus Christ.
I boast in too much that is not God. And daily be my lament as I choose to repent.
Lord, contain my bragging boast,
Make me boast only in you,
Make me love your rugged cross,
Make me live only a life that’s true.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

God’s Comfort When Life’s Inextricably Hard

Some weeks you’ll struggle,
Many days will be hard,
But pray for wisdom to wait them out,
God’s comfort in you to guard.
There are those moments, feeling betwixt and between, foreigners even in our own homes and workplaces, where anxiety rails and panic besets us in an inconsolable torment. A moment, an hour, several hours, or a day. We’re found in an impossible place.
The truth is life won’t always be this way. It might be easy to say life won’t always be this hard. But struggles can rarely fit so neatly into a quantitative comparison. Another truth is struggles are part of life, and our opportunity is to learn — to bear, to endure, to create joy, to be honest about what we feel, and principally, to share our burden. Life won’t always be like this, because we’re constantly learning and adapting.
Getting stuck inside anxiety is like being wedged in a place that refuses to be open to learning — where learning is somehow too hard, too humbling, too loathsome. But learning truly is joy if we go there by faith.
Anxiousness is a terrible condition, because we cannot for the life of us determine where to start in bringing it to an end. But that’s only as it seems. If, on a good day, we’re willing to explore the causes and consequences of our anxiety, God will guide us through that little journey. And confidence will build.
But on days when we’re sharply challenged, we rest in the comfort of God which is the affirmation of his loving words, the imagined gentle touch of his Spirit, and quality time in his Presence, just being.
God is a comforter and a guide. He is one and the same God. He knows what we’re dealing with and his comfort and guidance are synonymous with our every need.
Most of all, in these moments of great personal risk, God is our guard; our gardener. He will care for every part of us as if all our foliage were visible to him. He prunes gently, and shapes with loving intent. He cares for our health, wanting us green and lush. God knows when we’re stressed and he’ll do all he can to restore us to health.
Hope: for a different time coming; different challenges and different opportunities.
Some moments are veritably tenuous,
Many moments away we’ll shy,
God’s help will help when life’s strenuous,
Bring God into times when you sigh.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Prayerful Experience of the Presence of God

OH POWERS of God in the Spirit-filled person. Powers of God all through the world in the angelic realm. But only by prayer would we ever know. Only by a depth of prayer that takes us out of this world would we ever know. I love the not-of-this-world truth in the following quote:
“I would rather teach one man to pray than ten men to preach.”
— Charles Spurgeon (1834–1892)
Praying is many more times important in the Kingdom realm than preaching is, but it’s preaching that will get people convinced of the Kingdom in the first place.
I decry the world’s religions for their love affair with preaching. They miss the more important spiritual ministry. Preaching is of this world. Prayer is of the next. But this is obviously a hobbyhorse of mine. Let me continue.
There is much more a spiritual realm beyond the physical grips of this earthly life. It is here to be tapped into; eternity reaching all the way into our lives. But we can only know the blessings of this other realm not-of-this-world through the powers of surrender — to give up our carnal life, which cannot sense angelic Presence, in order to receive our spiritual life that God has pre-ordained for all of us.
God has so much more for every one of us. So much. Incomparable are the heavenly delights that may be experienced in the body in this world. But first we must purge ourselves of every darkness and doubt and deficiency of faith. We must become pure and as little children, again and again.
To encounter the realm beyond this physical world, to sense the angelic realm, to join their cause, we must give up every carnal impediment — every striving, jealousy, resentment; every debasing presence that takes us out of God’s holy Presence.
God has much to give us in this life. But we must first be willing to let go of the world. The world is pitiful in comparison to what God has.
God invites us to a foretaste of heaven in this life, by a prayerful life.
Prayer gives us entry into the realm the mystics experienced. Those that inspired the likes of A.W. Tozer have much to teach us about prayerful meditation.
Prayer is entry into the Presence of God with power and much peace. Prayer gives much more than we give, but our giving must be whole and unswervingly authentic.
Prayer is about the heart with which we come to God. A heart purified of sin is bound to sense God’s Presence.
God blesses the prayerful heart; the soul absolved of daily wrongs will experience the reality of the Lord.
Prayer is for the sake of healing. We’re not healed because we do not pray.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Spirit of Conquest or Cooperation

CORINTHIANS 13, the very first book, holds the holy spiritual gifts of the Lord on either sides, i.e. chapters 12 and 14. The spiritual gifts — which are given and need only be claimed — are not from ourselves, lest we boast. They are from God for the Kingdom’s use, and not for our own gain at all.
What sets apart our appropriate use of the gifting we’ve been given? L O V E, love.
We’re given to a spirit of conquest or of cooperation.
If we ply our gifts in a loving way we behave in a spirit of cooperation: others come first. Others always come first. Love looks outwardly. But if we don’t practice our gifts that way we pursue the unworthy ideal: conquest: the building and making of a kingdom of our own choosing and design. Such a kingdom is not built in God’s name, it has no Kingdom purpose, and that kingdom will be built in vain, and may well come ultimately to fall into ruin. (Although, it’s fascinating how things not honouring to God can still often be instruments for his glory.)
When others come first, which is to choose to build the Kingdom, albeit slowly, we may seem to be frustrated at every point. Just getting people onto the same page, in the spirit of gentleness, compassion, and mutual respect, may seem such a taxing endeavour. But unless everyone swims in roughly the same direction, there’s no progress. And still there needs to be plenty of room for diversity and even dissenters. Love encounters, and is able to accommodate, much opposition. Out of opposition, a patient response of gracious poise showers all in the glory of God. Out of opposition is the test of conquest and cooperation. Opposition, and not agreement, reveals leadership’s motives. God uses opposition. He proves the leader through opposition.
The true test of a leader is how they respond to opposition. This test will show if they’re conquest-oriented or cooperation-oriented.
If ours is a ministry of reconciliation, within the Lord’s purpose in reconciling the whole world under himself, we’ll be avidly of the cooperation camp — embracing of opposition, seeking to learn, and to win friends of enemies, even as we bear the costs ourselves. We’ll find innovative ways of accommodating people, of bringing people along, of turning people toward love, of modelling the sort of humility Christ showed when he went to the cross on our behalf; that is, to lose is to gain.
The underpinning of conquest and cooperation is love; love is lacking in and possibly missing from the former, yet love is to the glory of God in the latter. Only by love can the glory of God in myriad manifestation be seen.
Whose kingdom are you building in your life: the Lord’s or your own?
How does God choose leaders in the eternal realm? How lovingly do we apply our leadership here on earth?
This, ultimately, is the question for every leader; for every aspiring leader… for leadership in the heavenly realm: is my goal for leadership one of conquest or cooperation?
Is it ‘my way or the highway’ or is it ‘God’s way and the die (to self) way’?
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

One Day, As the Spirit Whispered

ONE DAY as I lay in bed on a cold and rainy winter’s day, alone, musing about how life had turned out, I wondered aloud, praying, as if God were real. But he didn’t feel real. I soon felt as though I was wasting my breath. I rolled over and wept myself to sleep, praying, even as I didn’t believe I was being heard, that I’d not wake up like this again. I needed to speak this out. I did so to my rattled exhaustion.
I sobbed and lamented in this place of mortal hell. I felt vanquished of soul and bereft of spirit, yet to feel this way proved I had much of both. Such was life, it was torment. A ghastly, perplexing state of affairs.
I eventually feel fast asleep.         And I dreamed.
The dream was a vision of God in real life, present with me, beside me, as Jesus — his Spirit whispering to me, yet not audibly, though I could hear him in terms that I understood him in language. He communicated as if through extra sensory perception.
The dream was the strangest reality; so different from the reality it appeared I couldn’t escape from, yet, from the dream’s perspective, it seemed so irrelevant. Then the Spirit whispered, “The hope you can see here, that which is coming, eclipses your present torment. Can you see this? Do you believe this?” I could say nothing except for, “Yes, I can see. Yes, I believe. Yes, it will come. I choose to know this by faith.”
At that point I awoke from my dream and immediately arose from my slumber.
My soul had been awakened to the eternal truth we just as easily read about in the Bible, yet hardly believe, because this life, this world, seems so real — the only reality we can know in this life.
The Spirit told me without words, but in a way that I understood as if by words, that all will be made known and all will make sense, one day (which is strange to call it a day, because it’s not a day in our sense of the word “day”).
The Spirit urged me to calmness. I was whispered into a sustaining tranquillity. I felt great peace even if my life seemed hopeless and I felt helpless. What I was experiencing was a peace that surpassed not only my understanding, but a peace beyond my circumstance.
In one instant of time, that waking moment, I recognised that God was with me, palpably, undeniably, healing my need, but without changing my situation. I was granted peace without being rescued out of the midst of the horrors of the consequences of life. Then, and only then, in that moment, I understood what eternal life meant.
Eternal life is the feeling of peace that transcends our tormenting realities of life.
Eternal life is the foretaste in this life of the life we’ll have in eternity.
In eternity we’ll trust Jesus without doubt. Trust Jesus to live eternally today.
Eternal life today is peace surpassing understanding; a peace surpassing our daily dis-ease.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

We Never Saw His Eyes Open

A FACT and a reality of experience. We never saw our son’s eyes open.
They were neither ever open, so we could see them, nor did they ever open to this life.
One week prior to the anniversary of our second son’s stillbirth we’re gratefully reflective for his life, having done our grieving. We know we will go to him one day. That’s satisfying; a hope beyond needing answers now.
Having never seen his eyes open there’s now the mystery captive in our hearts for what we may still experience: meeting him face to face as God had originally designed him, far from the wrinkles of his (and our) humanity.
We didn’t peer into the windows of his soul, but it doesn’t mean he didn’t have a soul. We’ve just had to delay the meeting of our souls.
Grace has given us the fortitude to plan for a happy day to come — Nathanael’s heaven day — and our heaven day, when we, too, will finally meet Jesus and find our son.
We never saw his eyes open, yet we did get to hold him at rest; his body at timeless peace and his tiny heart in eternal repose.
And though his eyes never opened to us, we did feel his weight, we did hold his hands in ours, we did get to wash him and dress him and cuddle him. We’re so thankful.
The prayers of the faithful — of many in Lakeside church, as well as the church of the globe — held us and our boy and our family aloft before God. We believe in intercession; that power of the faithful to do what only the faithful would do. We were carried by prayer.
His eyes would not open and we prepared ourselves for that eventuality. The day of Nathanael’s stillbirth was not a blur. It was a real day experienced truly in the flourishing splendour of a crushing reality. We’re so glad we experienced it together. It was our day, a precious day, a special day, notwithstanding its horror.
Through Nathanael, though his eyes never opened to us, God gave us a piece of eternity — a nostalgic foretaste — that we shall cherish ever more.
God alone knows our destinies. God alone is to be trusted. He is good. He will not fail in glorifying his holy and majestic name. We’re so blown away by creation, the stars, the universe; these will be as nothing compared to the heavenly realm.
We can wait.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Love Is Truth In Action, Acted Out Lovingly

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
— 1 John 3:18 (NIV, 2011)
WHAT is love? An age-old question. My thought here is love is truth in action, acted out lovingly. Let me attempt to convince you, by making the following statements, and by supporting those statements with my understanding of what love truly is — love in and among the common people, as a communicated reality of divine delight in relationship.
Love wrestles with the truth. When ‘truth’ is presented it’s to be wrestled with; this is the antecedent to growth. Many times we shirk the wrestling to be done. We shrink in fear of exposure. That we don’t have the mettle. But just a little more fortitude brings a ton of blessing of, “I can do this!” Love wrestles with the truth because it cannot rest until justice is done.
Love must act on the truth. It cannot sit on by and let the truth meander, pretending that falsity will do. It cannot. Love is courage to speak the truth as well as the courage to face the truth. These are both potentially scary concepts, but they’re never scary when they’re lovingly deployed. But such crucial conversations require great skill; great heart; great empathy and understanding. Truth never damages, only ‘truth’ haphazardly delivered without love.
Truth is wedded to love. Imagine them walking back down the aisle having been through the rites of marriage (from time immemorial). Neither is male nor female, but they’re the accompanying set for life. When we want truth like Jesus did, and we want to love as Jesus did, life has all the right input. God gives us truth and love to give. And our truth and love, wedded together as we use them, both interdependent on each other, come via the vine of God; we are his branches and the life force is the truth-and-love set.
Truth acts lovingly. For truth to be harsh would make truth untrue in character. It would be truth missing the mark: a fatal dichotomy. Truth is lovingly deployed. The hardest of hits, then, so far as truth is concerned, is received well. So truth can be relied upon to deliver in trustworthy ways without undue angst; the ripples of anxiety, shockwaves of harm — that damage trust and respect in a relationship.
Truth is heaven brought to earth. Can we imagine the communications in the heavenly realm? Pure truth. Pure love. Truth, in the heavenly halcyon heights, wedded to love as it is, we imagine being perfect. And there are those moments here in earth as we feel them; moments when we feel genuinely impacted by the sweet touch of God’s holy Presence. Truth cannot fail love; perfectly arrayed it’s inspiring and ever building up in nature and stature.
Love is truth in action, acted out lovingly. In truth and love there are no losers, only winners.
Truth and love, united and resolved, build up and inspire growth, joy, and hope.
In truth and love is both safety and growth.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Why the Best Prayers Are Inexpressible Prayers

“Right thoughts of God are able to ravish the heart… The life, the glory, the blessedness, the soul-satisfying goodness that is in God are beyond all expression.”
— John Bunyan (1628–1688)
RAVISH is an interesting word. I assumed it meant “dismember,” but it actually means “overwhelm,” “overcome,” and even “delight.” Bunyan’s quote leads us to agree; God is good!
God is good. But what does this really mean? What does it actually say? Perhaps we can only unpack what this actually means and says when we enter into the Presence of the Lord… by prayer; by listening into the Spirit by silent contemplation, by praising him prayerfully in worship, and by being ensconced in the Spirit.
When we meditate on the worth of God within life, and principally within our own lives, we cannot help but be struck with the concordance of goodness and grace under God.
Prayer Illuminates God
Right thoughts and right feelings of God illuminate God in his goodness and grace.
We don’t always come before God in prayer thinking right thoughts and feeling right feelings. But if we can redirect our thoughts and feelings aright, God will illuminate our sense for his goodness and grace.
Think; God can ravish the heart. We want that. We want the experience of being overwhelmed spiritually. When we consider God in all truth we’re quickly sent into raptures of delight for who he is. Focus on God is a matter of prayer. The best of prayer focuses purposefully on the goodness and grace of God.
Prayer, Real Prayer, Is Easier Than We Think
Prayer, I want to suggest, is much more a spiritual media implicit within our being than it is utterances of what we consciously say or even think.
The Holy Spirit is alive and well in us, but we’re not always so in touch. Prayer is the medium of divine connection, by partaking; by the simple observance, contemplatively, within the heart of God. But prayer is also God speaking directly into us, by conviction mostly. And, by prayer of all forms, implicit and explicit, God wants us alive to his goodness and grace, for in such cognisance we can only thrive in hope, peace, and joy.
Prayer, as it resides in practicing the Presence of God, is inexpressible. As our soul spends time getting drenched in the spiritual gaiety of the Lord, we grow in relationship. None of this is doctrinal in importance, because first and foremost it’s an experience of life. But it must be able to be explained doctrinally. It just stands to reason that focus on the goodness and grace of God magnify him to the point our praise is inexpressible.
Real prayer is inexpressible because it’s pregnant in praise. We neither speak nor listen, but abide in thoughtfulness about God; his goodness and grace in our lives.
So the best prayers are beyond expression. The best prayers are ineffable and inexpressible, because praise proclaims a passionately private proclamation.
The best prayers can also be sorrowful. Because they’re so deep these, too, are inexpressible. The deeper we’re touched by God the more speechless we become.
The truest prayers truly surpass words. They reside in the heart and are worn on the soul.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Just How Much Does God Love Me?

LOTS. I often ask my wife, “How much do you love me?” She always says, “Lots!” And if she can sense I’m being especially cheeky or vulnerable she says, “Lots and lots…” She doesn’t want to make it more than jest because it’s plain that she loves me loads. How can she love me any more than she does?
When we seriously ask God how much he loves us, we need to open our Bibles. In the Old Book there’s verse after verse alluding to God’s loving wisdom; how he designed us from before the time we entered our mother’s womb (Psalm 139); that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for each of us (Romans 5:8).
God wanted us before we were born. Christ died for us that we might live.
Can we even begin to imagine how special to God that we each are; how uniquely designed and formed and blessed of life?
We will never quite comprehend just how special we are to God. But God will reveal that to us in Glory. We may think we’re not that special if another seven billion plus souls are equally special. According to the Population Reference Bureau (PRB) one-hundred-seven (107) billion people have ever lived. That was the 2011 figure, by the way. That means over one-hundred billion are already dead. All those people have gone into God’s care, and many of them are in heaven.
God loved every single one. He oversaw each of them as they were created. He oversaw their lives in every detail. He knew how each would live. He knew beforehand what choices they’d make; for him or against him. And yet he still loved each and every one. He loved each one that much that he gave them their will.
He loves you no less than his own Son, Jesus Christ, of Nazareth. And Jesus loved you that much he went to the cross for you. You’re not common. You’re singular. You will meet God one day, all on your own. It’s just us and God when we depart this life. Of course, it won’t remain that way; we imagine that we’ll reacquaint with many we know and love who’ve departed.
Recording artist, Nathan Tasker, says in his music, “God cannot love you more, and will not love you less.” God’s love is the fullest possible expression of unconditional love; and, especially as we consider how sinful we are, God’s love is crazy. It makes no sense to us, except if we’re a parent — then we have some idea of the craziness of love that becomes unconditional.
God’s love: a crazy mystery. Crazy: how much we’re loved. Mystery: why we’re loved. Jesus explains both.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Meditating in the Living, Breathing, Walking Flow of Life

INCORPORATING the Word of God, and the Presence of the Holy Spirit, into the living of our lives: taking a word, a line, a sentence, a verse, or even a passage of text, and building it into our daily life.
That’s what this is about: drawing the eternal Word into the experience of our lives.
… And that experience is the Presence, being with us, us God-conscious, living real.
As we blend a sunrise or a sunset with God’s divine narrative, or consider a cooling breeze in the shade on a hot summer’s day with the grief imparted from loss, God speaks. God enters the truth with us, and we receive by listening. God is sensed real. Experience is ever pertinent.
By our experience of reality, with his Word listed on our hearts, we live existentially in the rawness of life, which commands the reformation of our character; grow or die.
Meditation is to be our existential mood. A prayerful kind of God-consciousness, meditation in the living, breathing, walking flow of life is the reflexive space within reflection that we all need. By reflexive space, I mean self-reflection as we observe ourselves as others or God might (through his Word), but not in a harmfully judgmental sort of way. We’re after unique insights that only God can elucidate. Our Lord never speaks in a condemning way; only for our learning.
Even in the busy swarm of life there are moments of surreal silence, where a loneliness is ever real, even where life is noisy and chaotic. This is why a living, breathing, walking form of meditation is the crucial stratagem for adding God into our emptier life spaces so otherwise fearful stimuli may be removed. When we have a moment’s respite it’s easier, actually, to enter into a heart space with God than wallow in our darkness. We all have a darkness that we’re tempted to go into.
The living, breathing, walking meditation considers how bizarre life is; it wrestles with the cogency of reality without fighting it. What is may be accepted. A Word of hope is introduced or conjured up from a previous reading. Or, there’s a Word carried in our heart. We learn early on, as we bring a cognisance of God with us into and through our daily moments, that we’re free to conjoin meditation with our moments.
Here are some of the ways that I’ve been able to bring God-consciousness to bear in my living, breathing, walking moments:
Ø Out in nature, on transport, in a new environment, or when imagining other parts of the world, I ponder the wonder in the plainly observable. Pondering wondrous things elicits praise. Nothing of us is in the way.
Ø Downtime is key reflection time for me. I try to think creatively. Even times in the bathroom can be put to good use.
Ø When we’re able to disappear from life in the world for a short time we’re in prime location for a Spirit encounter (and may they be plural!).
Ø Times of exposure, where there’s the flicker of embarrassment, or when the emotions are piqued, I ask God mindfully to still my heart before responding. Reflective space, where God makes himself real in our experience, can be found even at times of great pressure.
Ø I try to see what I do not readily see. “Lord, show me what I’m missing.”
Ø When my responses are intuitively graceful I know they’ve not come from the unhealed hurt me that dwells in me. I’m reminded these responses are from the Source of grace, himself.
Ø Reading my Bible, I seek direction on where to look and what to look for, and I try not to be swayed too much by human logic.
Engaging momentarily in meditative reflection enhances our experience of the Presence of God.
Meditating was made for the unclaimed moment. Accept those moments. Create those moments. Fill those moments with God.
Take a Word into your moments to make your moments worthwhile.
A Word is a caption of God-life for overwhelming perspective.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.
I have written this article for use on Mustard Seed Associates’ Godspace.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Zechariah 9 – Abundance of the Kingdom

A meditation to Zechariah 9:1-17.
WHOSE king looks to God alone? The people most blessed.
The Davidic hope of Zechariah — ultimately Jesus of Nazareth — is that humble king, not seeking his own glory, or to reign in his own strength, but to reign under God’s almighty power, by submission… submission to God, so all of life may be ordered as the Kingdom decrees.
Jesus came not to show us how to rule and reign in power, but how to reconcile and restore everything in weakness. For, in weakness is power. A gentle and compelling power.
Zechariah 9:1-8 is a message of God’s righting of wrongs; of the justice he was exacting over the nations for his Kingdom’s sake. From verse 9 we see the ushering in of the King.
Jesus, the coming King, is bringing peace, and, through him, the “prisoners” will be restored to double their original estate, highlighting the principle of Job (v. 42:10).
He will give to those who call him by Name every good thing of power, but only through weakness will they be able to access such power. Only in humility, and honesty, and in adroit humiliation. But their power will be to them as a sword, able to strike wonderful blows of loving truth for the Kingdom, for this sword is about the truth, and justice, and fairness. And through truth, justice, and fairness is peace.
The power of the Lord is his own power. And when Jesus was here, on this earth, not even he used his own power how he could have.
The Lord will come! His Judgment will “appear” according to his timing and his way. Not one moment sooner. Not one iota different to the original design.
Yet his Judgment comes into each of our lives. We accept it and are blessed. We resist it, and, spiritually, we’re banished. The Lord’s Judgment is truth. It’s right. It’s appropriate. And, it’s designed for our growth and betterment.
The Lord reigns!
When he reigns over our hearts, he reminds us that his power is not a power for us to use or abuse. But when we are his, and we respond by a notable submission to his will, which is to allow the Lord to defend — in his own way — we’re blessed ultimately in our weakness.
The King who rides into Jerusalem on a lowly donkey shows us how to allow God to judge. He who is the bringer of peace focuses on peace, and he leaves the foolish to war.
God is no Lord of violence, but of peace. But the violent will one day be judged.
What matters most to God is that we respond like Jesus.
The abundance of God’s Kingdom is peace. Peace God gives such that we would give peace to others. God’s Kingdom, come.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.