Wednesday, November 15, 2006
His Banner Over Me
By Ramone - November 14, 2006
I kind of got this picture the other day when I was feeling bad about myself or struggling with something, and I came across Song of Songs 2:4, "His banner over me is love."
Huh? "Over me???"
Yes, His banner is over even me! Especially me! And especially you!
His love is over me, and He looks at me in love. In all my mess, when I'm just about to tear my hair out or claw my brains out, His banner over me is love. Just looking up and seeing that breaks all the darkness. "Huh? What? Can it really be true?" Looking at You, Jesus, yes, I know. Thank You.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Refuge (Isaiah 14:32)
By Ramone - November 6-8, 2006
These verses also apply:
"But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds," declares the Lord,
"because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares."
This is what the Lord says: "I will restore the fortunes of Jacob's tents
and have compassion on his dwellings; the city will be rebuilt on her ruins." - Jeremiah 30:17-18
"The poor will see and be glad — you who seek God, may your hearts live!
The Lord hears the needy and does not despise his captive people." - Psalm 69:32-33
"The Lord upholds all those who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down." - Psalm 145:14
"For the Lord takes pleasure in His people;
He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation." - Psalm 149:4
This is a picture of Zion (the Church) as she is intended to be, as she is not completely yet, and as she is becoming and will become before the Lord returns. It means that God will rebuild us on our brokenness.
I was reading my Bible the other day when I was startled by the verse in Isaiah, and I wanted to never forget the verse. Recently Christians in America have been shocked by Pastor Ted Haggard's "fall", but I pray for him & his family as he goes through this time of brokenness, that the Lord will "rebuild him on his ruins".
For many of us who have not known brokenness, we forget that we are all in the same position as he before the Lord; we're all in the same boat. Christians often forget this, and we often show a lack of grace towards broken people, particularly towards non-Christians. We forget what it's like to be tempted, and we judge people according to their sin, as if that sin defines the person completely. And then we worry about how "the world" will see us if we have a "fall" or show a weakness.
The good news is that God knows better. He brings us to a place of brokenness, and then He takes us through. In fact, a great many of us need to experience this brokenness before the Lord. When the Church comes to understand it, when she comes to reach out with the Lord's healing grace, then she will know who she is called to be in His sight and to the world: a place where the afflicted find refuge.
Thank You, God, for rebuilding us on our ruins. Thank You for life in the midst of our mess. Thank You for giving us all grace, and for drawing us to You, to Your well of life in the midst of our brokenness. Make Your people into a place of healing, Lord. May we all become broken before You, and may the world know You do not despise us for being afflicted, but rather You use it as a starting point for our healing. Thank You for sharing Your brokenness with us -- on the Cross, and redeeming that death to bring life... thank You for doing the same in each of our lives, and in the Church as a whole. We love You Lord.
Friday, November 03, 2006
By Ramone - October 23, 2006
I was reading an incredible book by a Native American minister named Richard Twiss, "One Church, Many Tribes: Following Jesus the Way God Made You", when this picture kind of came as I walked home one day. For awhile I've been praying for the native expression of the Gospel to be sung in Japan... for the Church to not feel like she must imitate and look up to the Western Church. Reading Twiss' book is quite the beautiful eye-opener, and I pray it gets translated quickly into Japanese someday.
This picture is something I glimpsed of joy ("yorokobi" in Japanese), of people set free in Jesus and praising Him the way God made them here in Japan. I pray for the reunification of the Japanese heart with the Gospel it was made for. I pray that the "eternity" He set in the Japanese heart is allowed to connect with the Gospel that they are made to receive, and that they will receive when set free from many things we (missionaries) have unintentionally taught them that they must do, think, or be like. I believe He will do it, and I long for that day, for many will know yorokobi in Jesus, and it will be beautiful.
I get teary thinking of it, Lord. Heal Your land, Your people, and raise up their voice and set their hearts free to worship You. And we'll rejoice with them, too. In Jesus' name, amen.
Spring Up, O Well!
By Ramone - October 30, 2006
I've got a river of life flowing out of me
Makes the lame to walk and the blind to see
Opens prison doors, sets the captives free
I've got a river of life flowing out of me
Spring up, O well, within my soul
Spring up, O well, and make me whole
Spring up, O well, and give to me
That life abundantly
"Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." By this he meant the Spirit...
"I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring,
and My blessing on your descendants.
They will spring up like grass in a meadow,
like poplar trees by flowing streams.
One will say, 'I belong to the Lord';
another will call himself by the name of Jacob;
still another will write on his hand, 'The Lord's,'
and will take the name Israel.
And Psalm 87
He has set his foundation on the holy mountain;
the Lord loves the gates of Zion
more than all the dwellings of Jacob.
Glorious things are said of you,
O city of God: ~~Selah~~
"I will record Rahab and Babylon
among those who acknowledge Me—
Philistia too, and Tyre, along with Cush—
and will say, 'This one was born in Zion.'"
Indeed, of Zion it will be said,
"This one and that one were born in her,
and the Most High himself will establish her."
The Lord will write in the register of the peoples:
"This one was born in Zion." ~~Selah~~
As they make music they will sing,
"All my fountains are in You."