…and all the pretty flowers fade

.

1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
Revelation 21:1-7

The beauty of our eternal future. Cast your eyes on heaven for this is God’s revelation to us through John. This earth will fail and fade. The seas that separate the faithful will be gone and we shall dwell not together by heart, but together in His prepared place hand-in-hand. We seek this eternity over all that is temporal as this life is fading. Yet we marvel at the evil that lurks and destroys before our eyes. Fear it not! We are in His arms, in His promise.

The bridegroom tarries no longer. Jesus is with us and we will see Him with all clarity. We are the bride that shall meet our Husband. The great tabernacle first built by Moses at God’s appointed time of teaching, revealing glimpses of our eternity. They wondered then as some wonder now. But, God is with us for eternity.

Our preview was with Jesus’ sojourn and sacrifice. Now it is for all time in God. God is with us.

Our tears of sorrow are no longer as all pain that is the vile sweat of a loathsome enemy is thus perished. We have no longer the worries of right and wrong. All is for righteousness. The old things are put away for all time. We rejoice. Glory is ours as we praise Him face-to-face. His promise. He is Jesus, the Alpha and Omega. He makes all thing new. We drink from the River of Life anew. We are thus eternally replenished. This is God’s promise.

We shall, in our perseverance, overcome all that is placed in our path here on earth. When we overcome, we truly inherit eternity with our Father. Heirs to His will.

..and all pretty flowers fade to ash. They are beautiful, intelligent, compassionate: All for just a season. For God is not with them as they choose the way which seems right to the foolish. We are replenished from our ashen state to His beautiful children. Thus is our purpose.

Fear not the naysayers and disbelievers. The world is a nasty spider web that will easily ensnare outwitted prey. They are of a capacity that looks a little lower than the horizon, shielding the brightness, as we look directly in to the Lord’s Light.

…many are those pretty flowers. Full bloom for a season. Withered the next. Our empty vessels are filled and we count all we are toward the goodness of God. There is not too much we can do. We love, we have mercy, we are compassionate. All of this grows exponentially – asymptotic, without earthly tangent. This is hopeless to the ones who will fade. They forever hurtle into space – never entering heaven. This is the curse of Existentialism. We, conversely, grow without end approaching our God not yet being glorified. It is Jesus who is our spiritual tangent that is our assured hope of heaven.

We never stop giving and we are tireless. As flowers fade, our ashen skin turns to milky white. He makes us new and purified. We desire all things in His will. Pray for the pretty flowers.

Rick Stassi

January 28, 2012

God is speaking

Revised 12/27/12

…our continuous testimony

Sean Seal

9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
Matthew 25:9-13 ((KJV)

So then there are wise and unwise people within the family of God. For some carry His lamp but it is not fed to provide the fuel to make it light. Instead, the light is dull and faint. The personal character of the unwise is satisfaction in the one testimony of Salvation and the omission of a testimony of Divine relationship. “He who began a good work…”, Paul writes to the Philippians. Began, indeed. “…will continue…”, Paul continues. Our testimony is of our appointments God continually makes for us. As we meet His appointed time, we are blessed and will testify His work in us. It is to edify both Him and the body.

The wise instruct the unwise, in care and compassion, to seek Him for themselves. We cannot do for another what they must do for themselves. Even our omnipotent Lord will not fill a lamp with unrequested oil. He is broken-hearted that their sloth and laziness – a lack of compassion and desire, will ultimately create separation from Him fully. A disinclination to act toward Him will separate us because He will return and the unwise will be off on a quick pursuit to enrich a relationship in a moment that should be nurtured over a lifetime. I do not attempt to talk in the place of our Lord. His mercies and grace remain unseen to me at His seat of judgment, but in the context of these verses, those who put off a living relationship with a most-loving God, will not be remembered at His Seat.

Thus, our pursuit is continual.  We replace the temporal with eternity. We replace happiness and other emotion, with joyousness and true Agape Love. God fills the emptiness in our hearts as we ask Him. He tugs at us continually; the unwise are already satisfied if not apathetic. Our eyes are through eternity. We see beyond our hand. In the dark we will not walk as our lamp burns brightly. If we lie and try to justify and rationalize darkness and light, we will be wrong. It is senseless. For what darkness can ever exist if there is present light? Maybe in a shadow, hiding, as Adam and Eve in the Garden, ashamed in full exposure. God walks to and fro and seeks our face. In the shadows we are hidden. But He knows and He is sorry for the very souls that He loves so much. The unwise are these. They walk in darkness with the rationale of light, they are wrong. Jesus will not remember them. HE will not know them.

Therefore, prepare yourself now. The kingdom of God is at hand. The Bridegroom will return. Do not be out buying oil and miss His return. It is an eternal mistake. Your testimony is continual.

Live through God’s eternal eyes.

Rick Stassi

1/27/2012

…regarding our relationship with God, pray none are foolish.

Sean Seal

1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
Matthew 25:1-8 (KJV)


…regarding our relationship with Jesus Christ, our promise from our Father, and the anointing we have received of the Oil that is the Holy Spirit. We solemnly and keenly read this discourse from our Savior regarding the Kingdom of Heaven. For this discourse is about a bride and bridegroom who, under Jewish custom, are: 1) engaged; 2) betrothed; 3) married. Thus we are likened in parable to this in our walk and pilgrimage to the Celestial City – most high heaven!

The Bridegroom is Our Savior, Jesus Christ with whom we have committed our lives to in love under our repentance and grace of God.  In this commitment is our engagement with Him, commitment to Him, and submitting of all of ourselves to Him

We are betrothed in ceremony first asking with sincerity for Him to intercede in our lives as we repent our sin nature. We begin our sojourn at this point as we are baptized in the Holy Spirit, anointed with His oil, sanctified by the blood of our Savior.

We await our marriage day. We do not know the time nor place of the Bridegroom’s arrival. So, we are prepared always. Some are prepares and some are not. For those who are not, the oil of the Spirit’s anointment is not communal in nature, but maintained by us individually between our self personally with the Father.

So, we prepare. We search our hearts, we commune with God. We pray for others we ask God’s favor over us and others. At the same time we account for our commitment to His authority in our lives through our searching in our desire for obedience.

As we walk we seek knowledge and desire of our sanctification. Who we are is who God made. We need to see our position in our walk for the path can become dark and the light of the lamp will lead those who possess the oil. Without light we stray. Our path is straight but to remain on the straight course, we sail with the wind but are mindful of the rudder that steers. A boat without a rudder is hapless and aimless in its pursuit of a straight direction. We see the Sun setting on the horizon, yet without our rudder, we drift as the current ebbs and flows. We drift. We stray. The place on our head that once was glistening with the shine of fresh oil, our Help, is turning to a matte finish of a spent walk powered in our strength. We need God’s strength.

Our priority, our heart, our walk. All are culminated in Jesus, the Bridegroom, who awaits us at the right hand of God in heaven. Today is a day of inventory. Seek God and ask Him to expose the darkest, deepest parts of your heart. What He exposes, we then know where we need to change. This is preparation: A personal relationship  with God, belief that He will expose our heart as we search and ask Him to take a lighted lamp into the cavernous depths of our hearts. We want to change and continually grow. We encourage the 5 foolish virgins who stray: “Please, God, an anointing anew!” My heart thus prepared. My forehead now glossy with the shine of the sanctifying Oil. We await His return.

Rick Stassi

1/24/2012

who are we?

Artist: Sean Seal

1 O LORD, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth,
Who have set Your glory above the heavens!
2 Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants
You have ordained strength,
Because of Your enemies,
That You may silence the enemy and the avenger.
3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
4 What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?
5 For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
And You have crowned him with glory and honor.
6 You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
7 All sheep and oxen—
Even the beasts of the field,
8 The birds of the air,
And the fish of the sea
That pass through the paths of the seas.
9 O LORD, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth!
Psalm 8

O Lord, our Lord. How we exalt Your name!

We praise Him, glorify Him, and understand our place in His creation. He has given us life and we are aware of who we are and what we are. We are ordained within the will of a loving God. He is the God Whom we seek in supplication. We pour out our hearts to Him. We grow in a personal relationship with Him. We are inferior, but we are superior in this place in creation, in the sense that we are special individually to the most high God. We are special enough to enjoy His personal presence and praise Him as the omnipotent and omniscient God of everything.

Who are we to have this ability set forth by our God? We are thus made in His image for His pleasure, given free will, fail, and given His universal yet personal, grace. His glory is above all He created and we stand in awe of our place within the entirety of all creation. Who are we that should have company the Divine Lord? In this company we are made to use weakness for strength, poverty for richness, death to eternal life. We are but babes, helpless and insecure, made fully useful under His protection and love. We ask in reverence because even as we know Him more, our awe of His focus upon us, His work in us, and His protection over us still brings us to our knees. It is never rhetorical, it is sincere:  Who are we? We never stop feeling the wonder of being engrossed with His imparted love. We need to never lose this awe and continue to ask lest we become complacent. But in asking is only our humility. In our trust is the surety of who we are.

Above all the honor we give Him, the praise for Him , and humility we present Him, He gives us Jesus:

Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29

He places all under His feet, For Jesus our Savior was at the beginning and came in perfected flesh to draw man from the inability to grasp and hold the physical Law, to a state of having His spiritual law written within us on our hearts. He crushes the enemy under His heel and defeats death. We fear no more the grave for we have now eternity through the grace of our Lord in Jesus Christ.

So, we praise Him!

Matthew Henry pens regarding Psalm 8:

“It begins and ends with the same acknowledgment of the transcendent excellency of God’s name. It is proposed for proof  that God’s name is excellent in all the earth, and then it is repeated as proved  in the last verse.”

He who is glorified, is thus glorified always. We stand in awe always, we have redemption always  as we place our life in Jesus.  Who are we? We are the sheep of the Shepard. The beloved of creation held gently in His arms. We are His children.

Rick Stassi

1/22/2012

 

 

…eternal perspective and the tiny stream getting there…

8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
Revelations 1:8 (NKJV)

There is a beginning and there is an end. These are places we cannot know or see in our worldly bodies. These are places that cannot be fully revealed as we exist now. They are places of mystery given to us to ponder, by God. We are enveloped within these places of ethereal time.

We seek to find our path on a road in front of our face that is part of a picture so large and unfathomable, we can only wonder. The wonder is in the eternal nature of God. We spend countless hours in our debates over those things that are on a small path within a large road. We do not see fully left nor right nor ahead, behind. We are only told of such places.

These places. Alpha and Omega.

So, should we fully comprehend the beginning and end? Of what importance is our full comprehension of these things of God’s nature? We struggle to remain on a path of His will daily, therefore why do we concern ourselves for these places unseen and beyond our daily refinement? It is all a matter of edifying our perspective. This is our Christian walk. We are on a hammock between these places: endpoints of eternity.

Infinity has no boundary. However Jesus, we read, has end points, but figurative endpoints. He is infinite and God uses terms to keep us from roaming down impossible roads. He has a purpose.  It is our purpose to view our life and our walk with Him in the perspective of eternity. Our faith keeps us secure in the blankets of this endless time, our trust fortifies our belief in the written word of God. Our prayer is to have God reveal bit-by-bit each segment of this eternal path. The perspective of eternity brings hope. It works through minor daily setbacks and keeps us ever-focused on a path straight, narrow, and toward an eternal God in heaven. Jesus the “ALPHA and OMEGA”.

I like this perspective as it brings purpose to many aspects of His word. All will burn eventually meaning our temporal lives are really only a part of our eternal life and we are investing in this eternal life through our walk today. Do you see why happiness, sadness, and other emotions are temporary? Joy is eternal. Love is eternal. Jesus is eternal and is manifest in Love and Joy through the Spirit that dwells in our heart. We see our relationships and our routines and trials now as part of a refinement in our life rather than a source of angst.

Our happiness wanes to sadness which floats back up into happiness as all the comforts of the world try to sustain. We must see that these places, Alpha and Omega, are the bigger picture of existence: a broader eternal comfort. Evidence of things past, hope for things future. See through the eyes of Creation and heaven. I believe our life with its trials is like a rivulet running down a mountainside. Ever-running over stones amid it’s path. Only stopping when obstacles become too large. But, the stream overcomes obstacles because it is fed from above, upstream. We too are fed from above. We will join the creek and then the river and the sea. There is hope in all things eternal. Jesus, the Alpha and Omega. The Beginning and End. All in-between is our innocent wonderment of a powerful God. We gaze and see Love. The Love is eternal and we are in Eternal comfort. This is our eternal perspective.

Rick Stassi

1/18/12

But Alas at the Wind, the Fool’s Hopeless Grasp

Paul Scarborough

WHAT GOD HATH PROMISED

God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower strewn pathways all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.
God hath not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptation, trouble and woe;
He hath not told us we shall not bear
Many a burden, many a care.
God hath not promised smooth roads and wide,
Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
Never a mountain rocky and steep
Never a river turbid and deep.

Annie Johnson Flint

For what is our life in God? Do we seek Utopia and perfection? We who are the faithful do not. I believe we first run out of our own strength and before we wither and fall to compost, we reach out to a hope and dream that there is God and He will help us. So, our reaching hand meets His, and we submit to Jesus. We see a magnificent transformation in our lives. With the care and keenness of our acute listening and seeking of a personal relationship with God, we attain the perspective of eternity. We see life through the eyes of God and we begin to see a path to walk on. His provision.

But on this path the flowers strewn may wither and succumb to brambles and thorns. There are periods of darkness with stones on which we stumble. But straight we walk and we are corrected as we endure our distractions with a focused purpose. His Light.

And we do not see what the foolish  hope for. For if we seek happiness, there is correction. If we seek perfection we see perfecting. He provides the refining process and we endure and learn joy. For clouds will cover the sun and noise will distract from the sweet sound of the harps of angels. Yet we persevere. What drives us? A question asked only by those who foolishly grasp at wind. Flailing and wavering in uncertain surety, and ever stubborn that God is for the weak. Happiness should burst forth and sustain says the world. Happiness is but fleeting and joy endures forever. We see because He is wise.

What we know is there is respite for our labors, but our labors are not for our vanity, but for He who places the tasks before us. His calling to us beckons us to greater heights. But still the ungodly grasp at the wind, ever-wringing hands and gnashing teeth. “What happens when I die?” cries the faithless. “My burdens are too much!” We know because He provides us with all we need and we are perfecting, learning to endure, and finding an unconditional love inherent in Jesus. The fool may never see.

So we walk upon the His path and glance to the left or right. Our eyes catch something, there is a fixation, and we fall. We flail and revisit temptation but in our falling our outstretched hand is met by the right hand God. His righteousness pull us from the Slough of Despond. We are in His arms again. Straight again is the narrow path.

We reach the river wide and swift. With His calling we step into the water. It is cold and deep. Yet He beckons still because we are the faithful. We take a step anew and then again. As the water rises to our face, still we persevere. The deep water dries and the mountain ease their slope and we find our self in the Loving, caring arms of our Savior. He carries us through these times. He sees our struggles and picks us up when we fall. But we are ever-focused.  For God has not promised a flower-strewn pathway in happiness and riches. Not in the context of the unfaithful. His riches and prosperity are seen in His mercy, grace, and love. The flowers of a joyful heart. In His provision,  we grasp His hand.

But alas at the wind, the fool’s hopeless grasp.

Rick Stassi

1/13/2011

Our Genuine Faith, most precious….

6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,
7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:6-9

Our salvation to be revealed is our sustaining strength, love and joy from God. We may stumble. We may grieve, but we move ever onward toward the Celestial City across the river. The Celestial City is heaven and the river is Jesus who is our Way to heaven. Our various trials are trivialized by the enormity of the promise of salvation. We should not be held captive in any downturn! Our actions and our thoughts that hold us in regress from His way can and will float by unnoticed if we do not let them hold us hostage. Hold dear the things of the Lord that greatly surpass the various downturns in our life. Be cautioned not to trivialize the downturns of others as we can serve as a reminder to them of the greater things to be revealed. Your focus and the manifestation of  God in your life will help others who are still struggling to find a foothold. Help others and O we rejoice!

Gold is precious, even refined by the fire that burns away impurities. The refining part is a great picture of God’s work in us. We are refined daily in His work in us. The impurities of our hearts melt away. Hold on to that picture and hang it on the wall of your heart. However, as precious as gold may be, if we leave the refining metaphor, gold is a precious material that fades away. It is in the genuineness of our faith that surpasses the precious nature of gold. Our faith in is He who is coming, He who is not seen, He who now abides in us. The triune of God.

Receive Him in your life. Be genuine as you sit and ponder the various trials that seem to collect. Ponder and release. They are but obstacles that start to block the clear-path to a one-on-one connection with God. A connection where you can see Him. You look into the eyes of eternity. Your perspective is of a revelation of salvation from Calvary to the place where you now stand. Embrace the totality of His grace.  We are at the receiving end by design, by choice, by our Father whose Name is Hallowed in heaven.  Consecrate us Father.

Believe you will overcome, rest in the things eternal. Do not let even the most precious hold you captive for God wants our fullness of heart. He wants the fullness of our focus. He wants us to know Him, ask Him, speak with Him.

For His power is Divine, His glory eternal, and we rest at His feet washing the feet of the saints in His service because our faith is genuine. Our genuine faith is most precious.

Rick Stassi

1/10/11