My husband, John (who pastors the Dorrigo LifeSprings Church), and I enjoy, really enjoy, travelling in the car together. Our favourite get-a-ways consist of a car, a country road and somewhere nice. Living on the New England Plateau we often see that trees in isolation do not survive so long as those left as groves, along fence lines or planted as wind breaks. Safety is in numbers. Recently, we came across the peculiar growing habits of the giant Californian Redwood trees, hundreds of feet tall with a tiny tap root. Survival in the often severe storms that come in from the Pacific Ocean is because of the interdependent root system just below the surface.
Our own Eucalypti have a similar structure, shallow rooted to take advantage of the often infrequent rainfall; but in the cleared farmlands , are at risk of weather and the pest attacks that intensify when the natural habitats of the creatures that keep the balances disappear.
It is no wonder that the Holy Spirit tells us to “not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.“(Hebrews 10:25)
“grown together, life entangles us,
the strength of my sister makes me stronger,
the strength of my brother helps me grow taller,
safe in the storm”
In the Old Testament, Fire and Presence are often connected in the Scriptures: the flaming torch that passed between the sacrifice while Abram slept, the burning bush, the pillar of fire by night, the fire on Mt Sinai when God was present. For us of the New Covenant, the dedication of Solomon’s temple is particularly relevant.
“When Solomon finished praying, fire flashed down from heaven and burned up the burnt offerings and sacrifices, and the glorious presence of the LORD filled the Temple.” (2 Chronicles 7:1)
When the 120 of the upper room waited by the command of Jesus “until you have been clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49), they experienced the sound of a mighty rushing wind with “tongues of fire” that appeared over each one present. Their lives radically changed from that moment as they experienced ‘the glorious presence of the Lord’
“… do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” 1 Corinthians 6:19
Our lives, too, are radically changed, the fundamental nature of our experience as people is altered, to one of living in the power of God when we are clothed with the fire of Heaven.
Living in Dorrigo has proved to be even more delightful than I had anticipated . The sky seems closer, the trees more alive, the soil more generous. The air is consistently keener and sharpens me nicely. Winter has just begun, but like elsewhere, day to day predictions are untrustworthy. Most days are a gloriously crispy blue and the waterlogged ones have the comforts of work, fires and friendships to compensate.
The landscape is broad, with lane-ways and country roads that take you into hidden valleys and surprising finds.
Like this gate; obviously loved, apparently leading no-where, but nevertheless being there, joyous.
The skies are miracles
and the bush
and the beach
are not too far away
and even three day old nasturtium culls look good.
The path that brought us here, unexpected and difficult at first, has become a path of peace.
Reflections from Dorrigo LifeSprings church service this week.
“As we spent much time in the presence of God, He caused our hearts to be opened to all that is written.” Agnes Ozman, who asked for and received the baptism of the Spirit on January 1st 1901.
When we open our hearts to Him, He will open our hearts to receive revelation and understanding of “all that is written”. “Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” Luke 24:45
There is also, now, “a door standing open in heaven.” Revelation 4:1, “an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name” Revelation 3:8
Jesus says “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in” Revelation 3:20. When we open the door and Jesus comes in, He come in trailing the Glory of an open access to the presence of God, an access that He will never deny us.
“You are calling us ever onward, through the open door. The door You opened, the door You will never close. You are calling us ever onward , through that always opening door” A praise prayer from my mum, Beverley, 89 years old, a crazy lover of God and one of the delights of my life.
“and forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors”. ..”Our debt is what is owed to God, with our debtors owing us something that is due. What we owe God , made in His image and likeness as we are, is to live as He is and not “change like shifting shadows” James 1:17. What we owe each other is the same thing. We have all been undervalued, short-changed and overlooked. And we have all undervalued, short-changed and overlooked others. I know I am very happy to accept the forgiveness of Papa God. Forgiving others doesn’t necessarily make me happy, but it makes me free. Wikipedia defines forgiveness as “the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense.” God engaged in that intentional and voluntary process in the life, purpose and person of Jesus Christ. He has freely given to us, can we respond with anything less.
painting by Ineke Hopgood
” give us this day our daily bread”…the answer to this request will always be yes. I don’t know why I don’t ask every day. Given the picture we have of maggoty manna, my only response can be “silly me!” Existence is sustained by Him; good physical growth comes from good food, clean water, fresh air. How much more then do we have in Jesus for our spiritual health : He is the best Bread of Heaven, broken open for us, the purist Living Water flowing from the Source of all things, the freshest Breath of the Almighty invigorating us as we breathe Him in and He increases our capacity for always more. Give me these things daily my Father of all delights and surpassing glory …my daily Bread , my daily Jesus, my moment by moment eternal weight of Glory. His answer is already there. Yes, I will.
photo mjmac8 .
‘Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven”…as far as I can glean from scripture, heaven is a busy place and full of the noise of Glory…ministering angels coming and going (Job), incessant accusation, refutation and intercession before the throne which is haloed by the rainbows of promise that come from the Light reflected through our bottled tears (Revelation and Psalm 56:8)…untold numbers of angels booming Holy, Holy, Holy… the “pillars of heaven tremble’ at the sound of His voice (Job 26:11)…there are “flashes of lightning, and sounds and peals of thunder”, strange creatures…prophecy unfolding, the spirits of just men…all and everything worshipping Him Who is the Eternally Existent One (the Revelation)….Jesus, facing his last temptation before his death, said “however, not My will, but Yours be done” (Mark 14:36)….when we say that, heaven manifests redemption on the earth.
Maranatha… come, Lord Jesus