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“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Monday, November 30, 2015

The bubble of blessedness

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.” (Isa. 26:3).
 
When we were kids we like to play “Crack the whip”. We would line up in single file, latching our hands onto our neighbor’s wrists. We would face opposite each other alternately down the line. For this game we would need all the grabbing power possible. Then the leader would begin the forward motion, and the rank would pull with him. He would slowly get the train of kids up to a pretty fast speed, which would contain a lot of momentum. Then he would turn on a dime, bringing the line of kids back onto itself. The kids at the front of the rank would see their compadres pass by them, glee meeting glee, expectancy meeting expectancy, as we would keep pushing hard to keep the speed up. Then, it would happen. The end of the line kids would feel more and more G-force as the line turned on a dime and back onto itself. Finally, the last person felt the most G-force, which overcame his strength to remain holding onto his neighbor. And the last person went flying.
 
This game illustrates the way the devil works this world. Without our realizing it, “the cares of this world” (Mark 4:19) move in and begin to speed up our daily activities. Over time, our days become a whirl of events. We have no time for eternal things. All the natural vitality which we inherited is spent as we try to navigate the obstacles to success, barely averting many catastrophes, and barely surviving many disasters.
 
Even if we have learned of God’s unmerited goodness to us, and spend some time each morning seeking Him, “the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful” (Mark 4:19). The rush of life, the chasing after this world’s dreams and the idols that multiply around us, prevent the work of redemption that God desires to do in our hearts.
 
“The things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2Cor. 4:18). We need to see the things that are unseen and eternal, but we are not able.
 
“And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: for this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” (Matt. 13:14,15).

This is Christ’s warning to us. It is the shot over the bow of our ship that is coursing its way to deliver another boatload of merchandise for a big profit in this world. But, all His biddings are enablings; and He only wounds to heal. There is always mercy in His justice; there is always grace in His truth. All of His threats contain hope; and all His curses are blessings, if heeded. They are meant to strike fear into us and to stop us in our tracks before we fly off of His radar, sailing over the ledge of this life’s horizon. We need to throw the throttle to “full reverse” and bring our momentous ship to “All stop”. Once we are dead in the water, then the Lord can speak to us.
 
“A vineyard of red wine.
I the LORD do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day.
Fury is not in Me: who would Me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together.
Or let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me.
He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.” (Isa. 27:2-6). Precious promise.
 
It isn’t enough for us to have a devotional time each morning. We need to tremble before eternal destruction. Quality, sanctifying time in the morning with Jesus comes only after close calls with eternal judgment. “All Thy waves and Thy billows are gone over me.” (Ps. 42:7). Without suffering under and submitting to overwhelming trouble and conviction, we can’t appreciate the time with Jesus because we can’t realize the eternity with Him that we almost lost. But, once He has saved us from eternal loss and justified us, then we count it a privilege to sit at His feet and can hear Him from His word.
 
We are Jesus’ vineyard. He saved us from the “great red dragon” (Rev. 12:3). Our red wine represents the blood of His self-sacrifice splashed all over us, because we let Him be our sacrifice. From then onward, the Lord keeps watchful care over us “day and night”. And He waters our soul “every moment…lest any hurt it”.
 
We must choose whether or not to wage war against “the Spirit of Christ” (Rom. 8:9), “that holy Spirit of promise” (Eph. 1:13). We can “set the briers and thorns against” against Jesus; or, we can bow our self-will and pour our sorrows on Him. We can receive  “…the promise of the Spirit” (Gal. 3:14), “the blessing of Abraham…through faith”.
 
If we have been seeking Him, He will not overwhelm us with fury. His full fury is toward Leviathan, the great red dragon. But we will certainly feel the heat of their battle over us. “And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead.” (Mark 9:26). Yet, we can be of good cheer. In the world we will have trouble, for Jesus is overcoming the world in us.
 
If we will be drawn to Christ’s will and the yoke that He offer us, then He will keep us day and night, protecting us from the sinful world around us. His constant intercession before His Father will be, “I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth.” (John 17:15-17).
 
When we will finally have enough of our idolatry we will throw away our idols; we will loath them. We will see our apparently beautiful hearts to be really an overflowing ashtray. We will awaken from our drunken stupor; the spell will be broken. The promising wine of our idolatrous celebration will have turned into an embarrassed, gagging mouthful of floor sweepings. We will spew it out of our minds, and never return to it again.
 
“For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: He will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when He shall hear it, He will answer thee.
And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers:
And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.
Ye shall defile also the covering of thy graven images of silver, and the ornament of thy molten images of gold: thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth; thou shalt say unto it, Get thee hence.” (Isa. 30:19-22).
 

Our painful lives will find a healing retreat in our Creator. Our Lawgiver will be our paradise resort. The promise is good for us, “Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with Me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43). We will live in the world, but be protected from its influences that lure us away from the Creator of all life, physical and spiritual. He will be our protective bubble.



When we were kids, my older twin sisters had a way of dodging a lost argument. They would snap their fingers twice, and in delightful unison they would proclaim, “Protective bubble!” Then they would turn and walk away, ignoring the peeved protestations of my brothers and I. My sisters created an imaginary bubble that our complaints could not penetrate. My sisters acted as though deaf to our anger. Our grievances were helpless to get at them.
 
Jesus desires to give us a protective bubble. His bubble is a bubble of love, humility, and faith in Him. We are in our own little world, but part of the great, big world. Our own little world is a sweet world; one under Jesus’ warm guidance and exciting providence. “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” (Col. 3:3). Our thoughts and intents are from Him and of Him. The cravings and clamorings of our fallen nature sleep the sleep of death. “Our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 3:20). “The Father…hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:12-14).
 
“O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.” (John 17:5). Jesus desires to be our protective bubble; He wants to wrap us in His arms like His Father wrapped Him in His arms. He wants to give us what He had, He wants us to be “made partakers of the Holy Ghost, …the powers of the world to come” (Heb. 6:4,5).
 
We won’t be oblivious to our surroundings, yet will be unaffected by the anger, selfishness, oppression, pride, and distresses. We will have another reality and future hope, and always be of good cheer. Though living surrounded by the rat race of life, which everyone else suffers under, we will live above it. Jesus will “[raise] us up together, and [make] us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6).We will be blind and deaf to the wicked presence of Satan like Jesus was. “Who is blind, but My Servant? or deaf, as My Messenger that I sent? who is blind as He that is perfect, and blind as the LORD’s Servant? Seeing many things, but Thou observest not; opening the ears, but He heareth not.” (Isa. 42:19,20). Our minds stayed on Him and His word, great peace will accompany our hearts; and nothing will offend us.
 
Jesus was consumed with His Father’s statutes and judgments. He lived by every word that proceeded from His Father’s mouth.
“O that My ways were directed to keep Thy statutes!
Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all Thy commandments….
Thy word have I hid in Mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” (Ps. 119:5,6,11).
“I will praise Thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned Thy righteous judgments.” (Ps. 119:7).
 
He lived in His Father’s protective bubble, and He could only be gentle and kind. Even His clear, convicting reproofs came from a heart uninfected by any internal fury and poison. His truth was always mixed with grace. His heart ever remained undefiled, living in the bubble of God’s blessedness. “God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him.” (John 3:34).
 
We can all have this.
 
 “All things are yours; whether [it be] Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” (1Cor. 3:21-23).
“For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God…. While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2Cor. 4:15,18).

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