Our Backyard

Often, we are not sure how to think of or describe ourselves, and it feels like a real identity crisis. It’s as if we’ve been taught to be afraid to think well of ourselves but to also regret our negative internal narrative, creating, yet another cognitive dissonance. We want to step up and out as the Lord would ask but we are truly terrified someone will see all the junk we keep hidden in our backyard.

We fear they’ll see that the pristine front yard doesn’t match the ship wrecks hidden in the back yard.
They might see the old sagging boxes of ideas that didn’t work right,
strings and strings of old burned out Christmas tree lights,
they might see the never replied to well wishing cards,
maybe just burned up ground, the grass is gone near and far.
They may see the old hope-a-lumps which moved in from the dumps,
the 3-legged hashlets,
4-eyed tagets,
and a line of dirty old dancing rats.
And let’s not forget the aging broken cars
which never went far,
all hidden in the backyard.
If people go into our secret spaces, we believe that somehow….somehow.. everyone will know, we are not who they thought we were.

Friends, God has another view entirely. Just because we have a different calling doesn’t mean we have a lesser calling. When we hide and build fences, it hinders our forward movement and our being able to come into the destiny God has for us. Secrets build fences, and confession builds bridges. -c

Looking In The Eyes of God

i met a man who said he had a dream of going to God’s house. He said he walked through a beautiful green wood where the trees whispered goodness, and the little flowers softly trilled at him in their tiny flower voices. As he came to the edge of the woods, there, across a short green field was an immense mansion with many, many windows and many, many rooms. He said it had a one of a kind carriage court, and beyond was the grand external entrance which led to another grand internal entrance. He said for some reason, although he knew it was very impolite and inappropriate to peep in someone’s windows, for some reason he felt invited to look in the windows, into the Eyes of God. With great courage he went to the tall, double hung, ornate sash window close to the the main entrance, and there… inside… was a huge room with pictures hung all around, on the wall high and low, over the great fireplace, in the window sills, just everywhere. In the middle was a small desk supporting the book of remembrance and a good pen of precision laid across the pages. In the dream he was made to know all those pictures, framed with bright verbs, adjectives, and descriptive phrases in gold, were God’s favorite snap shots of the past, and of favorite memories of things which had not happened yet. He told me it may seem odd to say, but in the moment, he didn’t think it strange because the Lord knows the end from the beginning, so He’s already been to the end and gathered favorite memories, if that makes any sense.

He said as he was looking in the window, far above him, up around the tracery, between the elaborate flying buttresses, one of the high ornate windows opened and a very large flock of brightly colored birds flew out and to the east, each carrying a glowing jewel. He said he figured it was the Lord pouring out a blessing from the open windows of Heaven. In the moment the Lord spoke in the dream, with a voice like bells in the distance and giants laughing for gladness with a shout in the middle, all at once. The Lord said, “My blessing is sent at my discretion. You can’t tithe the windows open, beg them open, fast them open, nor hate them shut with bitter drinks, unbelief, and disappointed brooding. My outpouring is because I send it, not because any man pry’s it from my hand.” The man went on to say he then moved to another window far around the side, and upon looking in God’s eye, the window, this time he saw an impossibly large kitchen with expansive work tables, many ovens and stoves, where the daily bread was kneaded and baked.

In God’s kitchen was every good thing beyond imagination for those who would but ask. He could see stacks of delicacies wrapped and ordered with people’s names on a little tag, he realized they were piles and piles of blessings which had not been asked for, just waiting for the person who’s name was on the tag to ask, seek, and knock. He was sad because he knew people had not asked so their blessing and provision simply sat there. He thought to himself, “If only they would believe and ask.” Near one long kitchen table were vats labeled wisdom to the mighty, honor to the brave, integrity to the courageous, and hope for the poor. On nearby shelves there were large containers of refreshing waiting to be tapped for those faint of heart, having grown weary, stumbling in the heat of the day. As the fellow woke up he said he was thinking about Eph2:10, where God says we are His workmanship, and poetry.

He spent the morning looking out his windows at the passersby, pondering the extreme dream. He thought…… from my windows, inside looking out, i see the people going their way, and in my opinion, they don’t look much like poetry.
Poetry sit’s neatly in a line,
with meter and rhyme,
and the people i see don’t sit neatly in a line,
they have unidentifiable meter,
and profoundly don’t seem to rhyme.

But from inside God’s windows looking out, He sees a very different picture. Which one is more true, that we are poetry with beautiful meter and rhyme, or we are thinner than faint shadows, no more than a smudge on a white wall?

i think it is profound that God loves us who seem so inclined to find nothing loveable of ourselves. In fact, as C.S. Lewis implied, more often than not we see ourselves as no better than a sooty stain on fresh air, as shades with no substance. But from God’s windows, He sees all our potentials, calling our probablies, and more than likelies as yes and amen. From His window, He thinks we are beautiful, like God-poetry, bright and luminous. Now there’s something we’ve really got to get into our heads. c

The Blue Cool Of The Evening

In my dreams,
i see through windows with earth eyes,
but sometimes i feel as though i’m seeing thru
the Eyes of God looking out the windows of Heaven.

i see beauty beyond compare.
Seeing as He sees, my heart grows tender.
He knows where visions of the early times are stored
and allows me to look in the window to the room of memory.

Fondly, through His eyes,
He remembers walking with Adam and Eve,
together,
in the blue cool of the evening,
thru the garden always fresh with flowers
after the benediction of the rain.

Out the open windows,
as seen through the Eyes of God,
He inhales the perfume of April and the early discourse of new things,
like the in breaking of spring that is new every morning.

From His windows He sees we are not alone,
for there are other lovers who walk in the cool of the evening.
Stars sit together and sing softly,
the moon casts his light,
here
and there
casual strollers pass a patch
of subtle turquoise and silver
to step
in step,
languishing in the garden of God.

Upon awakening, i too walk to earthly windows and watch outside with my earth eyes.
i watch first thing in the morning, and last thing in the evening.
Today, out my window at the settling of the day,
children play down by the pond,
the neighbor’s cat sits on the porch waiting
for something else to happen,
a misty haze comes to settle on the mountains
as it always does.
Seeing out my windows,
the days of long ago come to mind.
i ponder about how soon we lose heart in our fascination with shiny things.
Funny how sometimes
around the edges of the memories,
there is a nudge of disappointment over
…things which once were shiny,
but were rarely all we fancied them to be.

When we take it upon ourselves to look in the windows of God’s house,
the Eyes of God,
He invites us to peer into the rooms
where the fruit of righteous judgment is stored,
where the bright imagery of His promises play
in a continuously looping movie,
which extends to us all the invitation
to join Him in the celebration of “more” and rightness of character.
i am convinced darkness is SO wrong, that the mere presence of rightness causes inky darkness literal pain.

i imagine,
what if i looked closely
in the Eyes of God,
what would i see?

In my imagination
i think i would see the occasional lightning flash,
paintings of victory and intricate sculptures of His righteous army,
fearlessly marching,
led by the Famous One on a white horse.

In the mirrors in the hallway
i imagine i could see the reflection of His eyes
overseeing the campfires of the righteous
waiting for their call,
and bands of warriors
praying in the evening,
in the late dim light
of solemn tents of meeting.

At the trumpet call to arms,
not one praying warrior would retreat,
not one foot turned away.

Through the windows of God’s house
i’m certain i would see,
although i personally have not seen it,
a living book on the Fathers writing desk,
about the Lily of the valley,
His beauty born among thorns,
with glory in His heart
the righteousness of the Son,
like the glow of sunrise transfiguring the whole landscape
of eternal possibilities forever. c

Windows: Somewhere More

i never knew that my eyes needed to be opened, until my eyes were opened.
i didn’t know i was searching, yet i was searching
i needed something but didn’t know what that something was
until i found the most unique someone who was more than a mere something.
i didn’t know i was nowhere until i was somewhere,
my eyes opened by the power of THE someone who is not just anyone.
Sure i thought i was here
and there
but it was really not where
i dreamed somewhere was,
until my windows were opened.
i thought they were open, truly the vision was only a dream.
When the Lord liberated my soul, i realized my windows had been shut,
tight,
with no light or fresh air entering, not even a crack for more to slip through.
i think i always knew there was more or else i wouldn’t have been looking for more,
it just wasn’t apparent what more meant.
The concept of more, from God’s perspective,
is likely different from ours, in light of the idea
that no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
not even has the heart of those who love Him even begun to imagine
what the Lord has prepared for us.

Unless the Lord unshutters the ports to our soul,
our windows,
no one’s windows
are enough for the soul gripping comprehension of His glory.
When God gives us more,
and His more takes us into the real somewhere,
into the beyond of the beyond,
only then do we grasp the magnitude of His testimony,
that it is genuine
by the vision,
at His disclosure,
we know positively what He speaks is true.
Jesus is the true true, for reals.

Everyday

It is an odd thing these days.
Everyday i am glad to walk 3 miles round trip,
and everyday at the half way point,
i am momentarily irritated that i have walked way out here,
and now i must walk back.
Silly man. Ha!
Everyday, i think, i could just not walk so far,
and everyday i imagine how disappointed i would be
to allow myself to be cheated by my laziness.
Everyday i am glad to leave on foot,
and everyday i am glad to get back,
and everyday, i have the same silly conversation with myself,
even if it is just fleeting.
Silly man! Ha!

c

Doors


DALET: When i was young i dreamed of doors and windows of all different kinds.

Dreams of doors in black and white,
often in color
fuzzy and clear
sometimes faded,
seemingly saturated, and over-pixilated.

Most of the time i was outside, observing…
In other dreams i was inside looking out beveled door glass as the world went by outside.

Some were like castle doors,
some ornate doubles,
others like hall doors neatly in a short row,
or a simple entrance with side lights.

There was, though, a consistent door.
It was cut so small
in the wall,
it was lonely looking, but yet,
i could smell wildflowers at the threshold.

i liked the way the wood felt under my hands. It had beautiful carved medallions cut-in at the middle head, and high on the left and right jambs.
i often knew the door, but couldn’t think how i knew the door, or what it meant.

Sometimes in the dreams i would just stand in front of that humble little door, with its smell of wildflowers, feeling the ground under my feet. i had the idea there was a garden on the other side, but didn’t know how to enter.

There was no knob to pivot, and no hinges to swing.
i would often wake up with the smell of wildflowers still in my nose,
wondering what sort of strange dream that was…”

*            *          *         *

What Lies Beyond The Door
     by Jean Louis Mondon
While I was still dreaming
Contemplating the blushing dawn,
My Father, the Master Gardener
Drawing me from my sleep
Invited me to step beyond,
The threshold into the deep.
With a Word of his mouth
and a twinkle in his eye,

Come with me to my garden…
We will stroll down the path
where the cool breeze
Exhales its subtle perfume
Splashing the light
Dispersed in diaphanous tones.

Together we will rejoice walking
On this earth, your temporary home
My good and beautiful creation

Behold, the most exquisite flower
One that grows toward the sun
Of a matchless love
In Jesus Christ my beloved Son

The soft warmth of the rays
Emanating from his eyes
Filled with mercy and compassion
Calls the humble and contrite at heart
Even the most broken: “Come and rest in me.”

Its fragile beauty will never fade
But dying, bears lasting fruit in its season
For the spring of life that feeds her
Never, ever runs dry.

The Substance of Certainty

In the last years there has arisen a resurgence in interest concerning the supernatural. Kids cartoons are no longer kids cartoons….watch and see for yourself….most of the “cartoons” involve superpowers being used or invoked somehow with the implication that it is the person who is supernatural and possesses powers beyond regular people. Also, it seems a lot of people are interested in demons, witches, spiritualists, and other occult phenomena. Here’s a good question to answer to ourselves: Why is it easier for people to believe in the power of the devil and evil than it is to believe in God? Those demonic images seen in horror movies? Where did people get the idea that’s how it all looks? Who told them that? Where did they get their information?

As pertaining to faith, one big difference between natural faith as the world sees it and the Holy Spirit gift of faith is between that which is bound by the limits of this world…. in contrast to the substance of belief in the sphere and domain that is above and beyond the reach of what is found in simple nature. Our faith in Christ is supernatural in and of itself without even speaking of the gift of faith for miracles, it is above and beyond the reach of what is found in the world around us.

At the heart of faith is the idea of certainty and firmness. Faith means not seeing in order to believe, but resting in the strong arms of a parent who supports the child.
The very root Hebrew word for good faith is the word Amen or ah-man, which we use often meaning truly, steady handed, on good footing, and high fidelity.
The Lord and His faithfulness is the pillar which we the children of God rely on. The same Hebrew word used of believing and trusting God is the same word used in 2Kings18:16 for pillars, which paints a picture of faith as a pillar which supports the house. And maybe that is what is alluded to in Isaiah7:9 when Isaiah spoke the word of the Lord saying “if you will not believe and trust the Lord, then you haven’t got a leg to stand on” (my paraphrase). Unless we stand firm in our faith in God, we are unstable and on poor footing….or “not a leg to stand on” as Eugene Peterson puts it.

In John11:43, Jesus called out, “Lazarus, come out of there!” Even though Lazarus had been dead and was decomposing in a hole in the ground, life came back to his body and he was restored. He came out still wrapped in the grave clothes, only now, by the power of the Lord, he was alive. Many believed in Jesus that day. !But! in an unbelievable display of hard heartedness, and overwhelming blindness there were others who ran to tell the Jewish leaders what happened, like a bunch of childish tattle tales, possibly for the reason of gaining favor with the local leadership: “Rabbi, Rabbi! Jesus is down there raising the dead! What will you do Rabbi, this is really scary?” “Just go home to your family little flock, we will take care of it. Lock your doors and windows and rest assured we’ve got it all handled. Thank you for your time, we will consider your report carefully.”

…. rather than acknowledge their unstable ways, they renewed their efforts to kill Jesus. To me, that is simply amazing. Jesus told Martha in John11:40 that if she believed, she would see the glory of God. From what He said, we can surmise that believing results in seeing. Verses 45-46 reveals there were others who witnessed the same incredible miracle and did not believe. Seeing is NOT believing, believing is seeing, because, again, if we don’t stand firm on our faith in Christ, the truth, is we don’t have a leg to stand on.

The fact that we believe God and take Him to be faithful and true is, in itself, supernatural. Our faith is because of God and not based simply on events that are experiential. You know, even if people don’t believe God it doesn’t mean He isn’t who He is, it just means they don’t believe Him and don’t have a leg to stand on. We believe Him against all odds; we believe Him when things don’t go well; we believe Him when what we thought would happen didn’t; we believe Him when life is good and when it’s not. There is the substance of certainty in us which testifies of God’s reliability, causing us to be sure, and we know that we know that in Him we are established. We are stable and always have a leg to stand on because He is stable and is firm in His footing.
Heb11:1 says that faith is a substance, it is the evidence of things not seen. As much as my flesh may scream that what i believe is not real, my heart says my faith is strong and sturdy. The Greek word for “substance” means the “concrete essence or reality, and assurance”, and the word “evidence”, means the proof and conviction.
Here’s a sticky statement:
Faith is our woven together material composing the concrete essence and conviction of reality.

Our faith is real and productive….and according to Heb11:1, our faith is actually the greater reality…it is no rainbow illusion or a fancy daydream. It is the reality of all realities, so much so, our lives have been reshaped around our faith, causing us to align with the divine.

Ahhh, but faith, supernatural faith, as spoken of in 1Cor12 is hidden in us like “leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”, the more we do it, the more we do it until eventually, that supernatural mode of operation is just the way we are…..i can no more stop being supernatural than i could decide to not look like myself anymore.

At the heart of faith is the idea of certainty and firmness….. and the sound of faith is the sound you make before you actually make a sound….it is about intent, how you lean in your heart toward God. From faith comes a flowing fountain of wisdom, making us stand up right before God. Friends, by faith the glory of God is in us, when we speak we have weight, and without faith in the Son of God, our words are like voices in a vacuum, and everybody knows sound does not travel in a vacuum. Sound in a vacuum is something so faint it doesn’t even cast a shadow…that’s us without faith, weaker than shadows with not a leg to stand on.