The First Temple

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.
For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.
2 Chronicles 7: 14-16 (KJV)

We are set apart in God’s light to return to Him. We are in an exodus from bondage to an eternal temple of light. Our bodies are consecrated temples filled with the Spirit of God. God’s image emanates from our hearts and through our eyes,  the ancient souls of all who have walked before us are seen. We carry on in a pilgrimage outlined from Abraham to Calvary. The depth and the breadth of our life in Christ is not a trivial place. It is a grand temple of sacrifice! It is where thousands of sheep and others are sacrificed to please God. He accepts and consecrates with condition.

His condition is not hard and it is not isolated to only a few. He seeks the hearts of we who walk the path kings and prophets walk before us. All have looked to the horizon where the Sun never sets. It is God’s temple in heaven. The last temple. All from the past is therefore for the future and the present. The rules of ages ring true in our ears and in our determination to be good under God’s watchful eye. He tells us and leads us in His word. And through  the Word we walk. For the Word is God, Who is flesh, and Who is Jesus.

There is nothing trivial about our plight. We are not seeking happiness or success, at least not worldly success. O how small are the worries of our daily lives compared to the temple of God’s making and the path leading there. Yes it is built and we are sent home to our places to rest. Solomon ordered his people to go home and rest for the  temple was built. The first of three. It was consecrated by God. But God said these things to we who sojourn to His bosom:

We shall humble ourselves.
We shall pray
We shall seek the face of God
We shall repent

Then God will hear each of our voices from our own wilderness where we trudge daily. We walk dry and dusty hoping for the manna of life. “Feed me!”, we cry. Not with food, but with a caring hand, a piece of wisdom, heartfelt love. God complies to we who cry out. It is no small affair.

This is our response to the fist step Abraham took toward the thousands of grains of sand and the multitude of stars in the sky. This is our response to the staff planted in the desert sand by Moses leading the captive to freedom.  We were captive and we sojourn in freedom to eternal bliss. God is sincere. Shall we not also be sincere?

We are the temples, our bodies hold the Spirit. Even the priests could not walk into the sanctified place Solomon built. The first temple and now we are part of the continuing temples. The train of His robe fills us with His glory. The pilgrims to last temple, heaven.

Response is obedience. We must seek Him in earnest. O the journey of love and wisdom from the first temple. God loves us so much He tells us how to respond. Our excuses are paltry. Lend an ear to His voice. Are you following the footsteps of history? Do you see the vacant eyes and the shadowed souls of the ones who will not grab your outstretched hand? Come along people so deeply deceived. Do they really believe all life, large and small, is conceived in the ways that exude forth from the mind of Man? Deceived. I weep for those whom I love now. Yes the shadowed souls to whom I even will turn back and ask again only to be spat at in disdain. “Do not disrupt the balance of the temporal”, they cry. They don’t really say it that way, but I know they mean it because I have seen the face of God and heard His voice.

We are sanctified. We are set apart. We are separated from the shadowed souls. Our soul is on fire with a burning light and with sacred incense still burning from the first son of Levi. We carry history in our hearts. We walk a golden path of return. Return to a glorious God who showed Israel that even though they turned their hearts away, they still could make things right with Him.

The first temple was built and God was pleased with the condition of response. We shall respond now and walk from the shadowed land  to the temple of Light. Amen

For Sara, sister in Christ

Rick Stassi

November 30, 2012

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at twenty-one…

at twenty-one my life took a spirit-filled turn,

the spirit i chose had a distilled burn.

at twenty-one i slapped down my ID and ordered a drink,

my mind went away and I was unable to think.

at twenty-one was a beginning anew,

just like jumping from a bridge begins a fall into blue.

at twenty-one i laughed with friends.

painful mondays alone without end.

all friends have gone away…

 

twenty-one years ago the calamity ended.

i began a new life drink-less dry, sobriety contended.

it opened a door to see the true Light,

one that did not interrupt a passed-out night.

it took several years to know this great One,

clarity ensued but i still had to run.

We all know who wins in the end,

it is Jesus who soon enough became my friend,

He sustains me day-by-day…

 

now life is changed my vision grows stronger.

darkness so short, daylight much longer.

without God where would I be?

no wife, no children, no family.

today is special as milestones are here,

twenty-one years sober and a loving daughter’s birthday to cheer.

tears and pain have lost their sting,

at twenty-one i thank the Lord for now i sing.

happy birthday, Phoebe.

happy monday, to me…

 

r stassi

first sober day november 26 1991

 

All Sorrow Turns to Light

4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
Romans 10:4

That which once satisfied, satisfies no longer. Write these words on a napkin, neatly fold it, and place it away deep in your mind. The world is zealous for our attention. It is a living organism with millions of parts working day and night to capture our hearts and our minds. We make it easy for the world as all here are descended from Adam and therefore we are descendants of the Fall. We are fallen. We were once separated from God’s righteousness and now we must sojourn back to Him. So, we journey back to Him.

There is an intrinsic part of us that lusts. We lust over so many things and we seek always to consume. As a matter of grave fact, we are always busying about mending tears in our heart – all collateral rending from Adam’s disobedience .

I was righteous and I operated with this righteousness in my life with the same authority a goldfish has to swim from its bowl to the sea. My experience is from a godly perspective that what I once did not see, I see clearly now. However, I still find voids in my heart  and as I try to patch, I can see clearly. Seeing is the opportunity for godly growth. I am assured I am not yet perfected. Knowing these voids creates godly discernment. We can see the end and the means at one time. It is His wisdom in us showing growth or lack of growth. Do not turn a blind eye and disparage opportunity

My vision now is clear: this is not about a attacking voids that appear on the surface as addictions. It is about empty parts in all of us that are places of inner battles in our heart. Some are inflicted more than others. But surely no one is perfect without a struggle to confront.

The patching of holes is the busyness of filling a need at any given moment in time. We have hurt feelings, greed, lust, loneliness, pain, poverty. Without God in our life, we frantically pace, back and forth, in wringing angst. This cues the enemy to provide a dessert tray of all sorts of delightful treats. In each treat there is a lie proportionally bitter as the treat is sweet. Unfortunately, the bitterness lingers. Our sorrowful soul scars and our trust wanes.

O how we try to stop this cycle in our walk. We are so easily distracted. It is a cycle because we seek God, repent, pray, grow lethargic in our seeking, find a hole, start patching, seek. We are wired to be masters of finding new ways to patch and the world is a master provider of ways to fulfill our quest.

I walked a walk of self-righteousness once. With me I had an army of friends always in step with a single direction to nowhere.  I knew a direction to travel and it was good. I let others opine and grafted opinion into my own theories. Together we contrived a world. Actually we invented the heavens too.  Personal invention – as if we are creators? I invented the heavens and God. It was great as I paved my path, I could easily know the route forward. But alas, the road is short and too soon I wallowed in sorrow and pity. If we are on that path of self-creation, we must turn to God or turn back to God. Surely, remember Him.

To remember God you must first take steps to know Him. Once I did, I found a life not much different except at one point: I had eternal hope on a straight and beautiful path forward. My perspective widened and my prayers turned to intimate conversations with the Lord. This is bliss now. My heart tears and scars no more. The touch of our healing Lord is everlasting. I can see and I can know in a way allowed through the grace of our Lord.

We reach the end of our self-righteousness and become righteous through God’s way. Our inventions of heaven and earth are all but a flash of light. Our visions of a path forward are meticulously planned – unique for each of us. Unique for me and you. The sorrowful heart changes. The tears of old are healed. We are welcomed into God’s righteousness, justified by the blood of our Savior.

Jesus.

The end of our sorrow is the beginning of our bliss. Believe this and all sorrow turns to Light.

Rick Stassi

November 22, 2012

revision  12/28/2012

Tarry not on the Point!

Artist: Sean Seal
@artistseanseal

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:11 (New King James Version)

When I was a child, life was grand! I was the first male born to carry on the family namesake. I had  an uncle with four daughters, then an aunt with three daughters. My father was the youngest of three siblings and he and my mom had me. My grandfather was so happy and proud. All was well for two years and then my brother was born. If I was still a child, yes, I would have said  stupid brother. But I love my brother and would not call him stupid. Life was grand until the blond-headed, cherubim-curled hair, baby brother was born. Yes when I was a child all was well until I was forced into sharing everyone I knew with my brother, a stranger in town. I still had needs and wants and did not wish to share my hunger. I was two years old and already I knew a few things.

So, that is my preface to want. I want and I am thinking how much I craved even from the first moment of life. Food always first, then attention for both protection and an interruption to boredom. How long can I stare at the floating animals circling above my crib to the sound of a lullaby anyway?  I craved insatiably. We all do.  God made us this way to form a bond with our parents, smiling down upon a wiggly child, and of course, to survive and be a member of the nuclear family. However, even in all this family bliss, the enemy lurks.

In the verse above written by Paul to the church at Corinth, there is a period: actually a semi-colon, but let’s just say a point.  A point is defined mathematically as a precise location on a plane. I exclaim this point is prevalent in our lives, however, that precise location ever-expands until our character and wisdom catch up.  This area divides life from being a child to becoming a man. “When I became a man…” et cetera. When did I (become a man)? I think we are programmed to believe we just become. I do not believe this is true. I never put away my childish things. In fact, if anything, I never grew up for a long time. An insatiable appetite to be filled with attention and plenty of other stuff, became a beast in my soul. There are ways in this world that will help fill these chasms that are buried in our souls. I found them all. These things filled me and put a smile was on my face always. Always happy! O how many follow this path. Need love, need sex, need attention, need food, need alcohol, need praise, need to be liked, need to be heard, need to be included, need to be good, did I say need to be loved? All will find worldly offerings are futile.

So, I entered the point – the area of transition. I thirsted for water, then thirsted again. Jesus was right [a]. Much time is needed in this area as well as much help that is impossible to employ from within ourselves. So we must look outside. Eliminating our inner self and worldly offerings as a source of resolution, we seek things bigger than ourselves, in fact, bigger than all things. God is available and He answered my call and will answer yours.

I called Him and grew to love Him with all of my being. It was not all about feeling good. It is about being filled with many things from God. He fortified my character, imparted wisdom, solidified and built integrity – all above worldly standards. When we see this in our lives, we know we commune with He, the Highest power.

Now I am a man and I think like a man. I put away my childish ways. I reason with godly integrity and eternal vision. This is not self-indulgence, it is testimony – my testimony. In is indisputable and clear in my mind. My heart emanates a joy only God can provide to me first. Pause at a point – the exact point between child and man. Listen to those who are experienced at lingering. Do not tarry and run to God and exclaim your need for Him! I know He will receive you. He received me.

Stand on the point but tarry not. Look to the heavens. Cry out His name. Jesus will already offer a hand to step into His flock.

Rick Stassi

November 6, 2012