Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Submission -- Thy Will Be Done

"Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me.

Yet I want your will, not mine."

Luke 22:42

We face daily opportunities to yield our wills and lay down our lives in countless ways. However, there are some encounters so significant - when the choice to yield is so challenged and death so distasteful - that the altars of sacrifice will forever be reminders of His loving Lordship. You see, He never forces that death; He looks for willing sacrifice.

In my past I had two such altars of remembrance, encounters when giving up my will to His was a prolonged, incredibly agonizing wrestling match. In time I erected a third. There may be more yet to come.

Often enough our wills are firmly set, our minds are deeply entrenched in a certain paradigm, and we have set our hearts in that direction. And if that will or mindset is in any way contrary to His, He will ask for it. It is then that we must take up our cross and follow.

It is mercy revealed that would challenge us to lay down our wills. If left to our own desires, they would ultimately result in the death that all flesh knows. He gives us the opportunity to lay down our wills, sacrifice those desires, and put them to death at the altar, thereby receiving His life-giving will in return.

In these encounters, the arduous wrestling with my will was agonizing. I was wondering if it could be a sincere yielding when accompanied with such pain. Could I truly declare with the Lord, "I delight to do thy will, Oh my God"? This was far from delightful. This was an obstinate display of self-will. Not pretty in any way.

I found myself in church one day singing these words about my Lord, "...whose obedience shows the way for me." And I immediately recalled the Garden of Gethsemane. His yielding was not accompanied with jumps of joy and cartwheels. Instead He brought to the altar blood, sweat, and tears. I could relate. This was a supreme act of will, a laying down of a fleshly will for the lifting up of a purer will, God's will. And He showed us how. We must lay it all at His feet and say, "Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done."

The enactment itself is simple - a child could do it. But sincere commitment to obedience is, at times, wrought with pain and suffering. Death is not always easy. But the fruit it yields is abundant life.

At those erected altars in my life there has been no outward display of emotional joy -- no cartwheels, no exultant shouts of "Hooray!" But the relinquishing of my will for His brought an inward delight that came springing forth with abundance, bubbling up from that eternal fount found within all who are His. This encountering of death, this cross, could only result in tremendous life and fruit! As I truly yielded, a glad sigh of "It is finished" flooded my being with hope once more. His will would reign supreme again. Could there possibly be anything better?

Psalm 40:8 I delight to do thy will, Oh my God!

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Dusting It Off; But Where Shall We Go? And Do I Really Need To Know?

 A new year, 2023, is nearly upon us. And here I am revisiting this blog. I think I need to write again.

I probably need someone to show me how to include photos so I can be a bit more current, though painting word pictures has always been a delight for me. Still, one must keep abreast of current interests!

The sense of a new season opening before me has been on the horizon for years now. And I suppose oversight of The Arts Program of NNY for the past five years was certainly a new endeavor. But here comes 2023. I will be handing that ministry position over to Calvin and Shannon Brown, such capable and Godly young visioneers. And so I find myself in the midst of change once again.

Life is like that it seems. 

My Mom and Dad are facing change constantly, but at times resistant. They are tired of the change. They are less supple. My Mom especially wants the past to circle around once again. I get it. Boy, do I. And I thank the Lord for these extended years with them. I hope she knows how thankful we are!

But Lord, I want to be serving You in the moment, not missing the "here and nowness" of Your plan and purpose by longing for what it was yesterday. I want to change, evolve, form to Your will, even in these years. These later years.

Then again, who knows -- these may not be the later years should You tarry and I live long. Maybe this is just the middle! And maybe it's later than I think! Who can say? I stand in awe of You and trust You completely with the plan. Thank You for such faithfulness to me.

So, I begin here, at this little blog spot. I will stir up the creative thought process. I will determine to think and find words for those thoughts. If you should find yourself visiting, hopefully it will bless you!

With 2023 beginning to peek at us from the other side of the calendar, let's rejoice in the knowledge that even this coming year is His domain. He rules and reigns over time and place, over all things in every sphere. 

And He's not afraid. He's not unsure. He's not wondering what to do. Let's just ask and wait on Him!

With that thought, a new calendar year, the passing of all that I've experienced heretofore, and the embracing with certainty that which is to come suddenly are more than okay -- they are filled to overflowing with the wonder of His grace and power and love!

Serving Him is a marvel indeed!