Your Ways, O Lord

Artist: Janina Kobel

4 Show me Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.
Psalm 25 (NKJV)

Am I ever there yet? Where is there?

My life is good. I count the blessings bestowed by God and I feel good. I think of things yesterday that caused me angst, I see the very same all but forgotten today. I remember self-pity or maybe harsh words. In my heart, I was serious. Today all is new and forgotten – a wisp of burden floating to heaven. I am refreshed and born again. It is the unique ability to regenerate today yet retain all learned yesterday. Each day is a series of steps on a path the Lord unrolls before me like a velvet carpet. The steps of my life, the path of the Lord.

There is sadness in David’s psalmic voice. But there is reverence for God. Sadness is sometimes lamenting what I see as failure in my character. God sees no failure. I am a child of God. He lifts me beyond lament. The sound of  my voice is really sincere praise.

Yesterday’s anxiety is all but forgotten. I remember how I worried. I sat with sweated palms and forehead and prayed. God spoke:

Have courage, you are my child

Trust me, you are my child

I am with you, my child

Worry evaporates like the mist of water on a hot surface. All to heaven. Isn’t is funny how steam rises like my burdens rise to heaven where Jesus accepts my small thorn. He adds it to His collection that circumvent His head. I am sorry Lord. I do not wish to hurt You. But He is reassuring. He has paid the price and His grace covers me. His pain is now in His heart and it is for those who are stepping daily on the path of the wicked. I can help You Lord. Tell me how I can be Your servant. Maybe I will remind the wicked of Your grace and salvation. It will ease Your grief. I believe this is Your way. Teach me how to be a servant.

Release my burden like the rising steam

Renewed and supple near Your stream

The thorns of my burdens scratch Your head,

But, it is Your heart that grieves the path of the dead.

I give myself to Your court. I pray to You with expectancy. I cast all hindrance. For I see the path You have laid before me and at times I just stand. It is as if I am at an intersection. Right or left? Your gentle hand takes mine and leads. “Come with me“, I hear You say. I follow and my heart melts. He is beside me. There is joy.

God is omniscient. He is with me and He is with you. His heart grieves for those who push away. I can help. I can plant a seed on the bank near the water that flows of Life. The soil is fertile and seeds quickly germinate. Roots take hold. The vine grows and He counts one more as His child. How grateful I am. This feeling of peace I feel this moment is authored by the same God that created all Life and everything there is before me under and beyond the Sun.

I wait on the Lord. Even as the both feet are on His path, I may not know how to proceed. I step forth with the instilled boldness and courage You give, Father. If I do not step out and meet Jesus, I may miss the wonders and teaching that lie on the road to Him. Sure, He is with me! He is everywhere. But there are times that command stepping out. The end to one means may not be the real end at all! In other words, I may seek out Jesus for one reason and in the walk toward Him, a lost lamb crosses my path and I divert attention to it. A different end from what thought.  My self is vanquished.  I now have a different purpose, a good deed to do for God. I serve Him. The lamb bleats and grazes on the bank near the stream of the Living Water. How wonderful to help. Maybe I did. I hope. It suffices me to know He will tell me all my life in the Mercy Seat as my eyes meet His at last and He says: “Well done good and faithful servant“.

I dream, I lament, I pray. I seek to be reverent. Show me Your ways O Lord.

Rick Stassi

September 22, 2012

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The Subtle Light of the Moon

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Deuteronomy 31:6 (New King James Version)

I prayed today.

“Lord remove all anxiety and fear from me”

I appealed sincerely to God. I know He listens. It is during this transaction of petition and reply that I am strong voicing my appeal, weak on listening for His response. I must listen.

Today in my prayer a single word came into my head. Courage. It was enough. The one word will carry an army or a battle in the balance of life and death. It will help any one of us overcome fear that encapsulate our brain and hold it hostage. How I loathe that feeling of being overwhelmed. How I hate when I feel my heart accelerate with butterflies, fluttering. Anxiety is a tool of the enemy that will hold me imprisoned.

I know that being anxious is a distraction. Doctors and therapist will say it is an evolutionary response by our brain to be aware of danger and when to take flight. That response mechanism is now a tool of prevention. It prevents us from walking where we cannot see. It is clutter on a path between the Lord and me. It is uncomfortable and it is bothersome. How will I respond? Writing about it is not a response, it is a recognition. I pray for courage…

The Lord will call me to walk in dark places. I mean that He will ask that I leave my comfort zone and step gingerly on a path of trust. My instinct is to run on sunlit paved roads, God asks more. When fear strikes or I reach a zone of discomfort, I flee in fear. It is anxiety that fuels my fear or fear that fuels my anxiety. Fear is making assumptions of what is unknown and he walks hand-in-hand with anxiety. O, how I tire of it. Take me back to Egypt…

O, really? It is true for all of us. We all have our Egypt. Hear God’s word for it is not empty (a). Egypt is my comfort zone and what a waste. My comfort zone is built with excuses, rationalization, justification… It is where I can write all day regarding God’s will and never step out and really further His kingdom. Furthering His kingdom is what He wants me to do. I am sure. There are plenty of darker places ahead. They aren’t even really dangerous as my evolutionary anxiety would lead me to behave.   These are places that take me from my zone of comfort and now I must rise. God has now spoken courage into my life. I shall respond.

The Children of Israel who were the exodus from Egypt died because of fear of the unknown even when God promised milk and honey [b]. Even when God promises, we still hesitate. Some of us are steadfast as mules – stiff forelegs digging in with resistance. But God has promised many of us a clear path and now we must walk. I must walk. Even as I say clear, it is not really all clear and that is the beauty of it all. His will sometimes walks us down unclear, darker paths. However, He promises. He promises. He promises! I believe it. For even on a path void of sunlight, darkness sometimes gives way to the subtle light of the moon. Just enough to quell our fear. Yes I see this light. It is unfolding now before each step. In the end will be a promise of knowing God had a plan all along. Being a part of that plan is all the difference. It is beautiful and to my comfort zone, I bid farewell for I have courage. My courage will bring reward, it may bring salvation to someone just ahead on a dark path. But remember the moon. It offers God’s help on an otherwise dark night.

Rick Stassi

September 16, 2012

Meditation

Artist: Heidi Brummer

24 ‘May the Lord bless you
and protect you.
25 May the Lord smile on you
and be gracious to you.
26 May the Lord show you his favor
and give you his peace.’

Numbers 6:24-26 (NLT)

Sweet words of the Lord that ring in my ears and linger in my thoughts.
God is with me and His promises are too.
I pray to savor these times when He speaks to me.
All may be slowly passing but His word is alive forever.

His love is beautiful and His utterance meaningful.
I may learn and I may teach from His example.
My life is shaped in this way.
His will is for me to see His revealed character and harbor His spirit.
Others will see.

The Lord blesses and protects.
In my walk His blessings are small and hidden,
They are large and obvious.

His blessing upon me fuels my attention and focus back to Him. They help me bless and love others in His way.
He protects me always. My heart is in His hand and there is a protective shield against worldly malady: Jealousy, avarice, and hurtfulness transform to encouragement, generosity, and compassion.
God blesses and protects me.

The Lord smiles upon me and shows me His grace.

My path is lit by the light of His smile. His smile warms the cold winter morning and cools the hot summer night. I am in His influence and under His smile. There is comfort like a warm and loving hug or a tender and sincere “I love you“. He spreads His love throughout my life! His smile beckons the children of this world through my soul. For that which I receive, I too may emanate. It is His way. His grace is sufficient for all eternity and I partake in this feast. Jesus with His distinct and unique love for me. Unconditional and true. How loved I feel in His watch. The Lord’s grace with His arm of righteousness and His love for me so great. It is my eternity that I have not earned, but have been allowed into through His gate so narrow. Yes his gate is the opening from darkness to light, from the finite to the infinite. He beckoned me to the opening and through His grace I was ushered in. It is Jesus. He died so that I may enter eternity.

The Lord gives me favor and His peace.

Even now in the midst of this meditation, the rumble of angst builds. I hear it. The enemy will try to steal these moments. But I rebuke Him under the authority God has meted out. He has given me a portion of His heart and endless are these portions. So I rest in the comfort of His favor. This is peace in which I partake. I need not worry in these times. I need not worry ever for His favor will not perish or fade, it is steady and sure. Surely I will turn my gaze in brief bouts with uncertainty; but, I will return and continue in His peace.

His love has attributes. They are His blessings and protection, His smile and grace, and His favor and peace.

All for me. All for you.

The Lord with His blessed song,
His right hand protective long.

His smile so filled with love,
His grace alighting as a dove,

His favor so sure and true,
Brings peace for me and for you.

Rest in the Lord today. His word is our meditation. I pray hearts fill with encouraging love. It is God in our lives. It is His time.

Rick Stassi
September 4, 2012