“The Eye of Joy’s Hold”, a worship poem from L.Willows (Joy, beholding God, God’s Glory)

 

 

 

The Eye of Joy’s Hold

What is this joy but a moment that sees,
Glimpses the time when all hindrances free.
All of our cares, when the burdens we bear,
Lift from our hearts and there our lives share.

Love in the fellowship, sweet honeyed noon.
All of us swaying to the music in a swoon.
Lifted with faces that shine with delight,
Oh, I can see this, I see it tonight.

What is this Life that the heart can behold,
Held in a moment, with the eye of Joy’s Hold.
Come let us join, let us share in the sweet fold,
Kept in that joy, in the story here told.

© 2019 Linda Willows

Isaiah 25:9 – “It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

Hebrews 2:12 -“Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

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“Grace Floods to Its Fullness”, a worship poem from L.Willows (grace, the fullness of joy, peace, reborn)

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Grace, peace like a river, swells dear in my heart.
Cover, that bends, lends all to impart.
Joy, sweet as rare honey, how I lavish the taste,
Here, here in God’s garden, I walk, I pace.

Grace comes with mystery’s partings, there, after times of the long night.
Birthed now in beginnings; aching in the wonder of sight.
Hopes wrapped in yesterday left and freed like its’ cares.
This, in the dawn of a new day, born in the light of First Prayer.

Grace floods to its’ fullness- swelled and born again in overflow.
How deeply I am poured like a vessel bent There to go.
Sent like Gods’ fine wine, into vast, vast sea deep below.
There, in sweet His River, I live in His wondrous Love’s Glow.

© 2019 Linda Willows

Psalm 1:1- “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he doeth shall prosper.”

Psalm 16:11 -“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

John 1:16 -“For from his fullness we have all receivedgrace upon grace.”

“C.S. Lewis quote: the Horse learns to Fly”, The Flying Horse from L.Willows (redemption, miraculous living, long for Christ)

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C.S. Lewis on Niceness & Transforming a Horse into a Winged Creature

“Niceness” — wholesome, integrated personality — is an excellent thing. We must try by every medical, educational, economic, and political means in our power, to produce a world where as many people as possible grow up “nice”; just as we must try to produce a world where all have plenty to eat. But we must not suppose that even if we succeeded in making everyone nice we should have saved their souls.

A world of nice people, content in their own niceness, looking no further, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world — and might even be more difficult to save.

–For mere improvement is not redemption, though redemption always improves people even here and now and will, in the end, improve them to a degree we cannot yet imagine.”

“God became man to turn creatures into sons: not simply to produce better men of the old kind but to produce a new kind of man. It is not like teaching a horse to jump better and better but like turning a horse into a winged creature. Of course, once it has got its wings, it will soar over fences which could never have been jumped and thus beat the natural horse at its own game.

But there may be a period, while the wings are just beginning to grow, when it cannot do so: and at that stage the lumps on the shoulders — no one could tell by looking at them that they are going to be wings — may even give it an awkward appearance.” (pp.183-84) Mere Christianity.

The Flying Horse from L.Willows

Last week, our Pastor, Tom Holliday repeated the challenge “Do you want to live like a “Flying Horse”? Really? How are you going to do that?”

I loved the image of a Flying Horse! He told the story of the C.S. Lewis quote weeks before. I was intrigued. He dared us to live like Flying Horses. Could we be challenged to live with radically transformed hearts? In lives that soared beyond and above fences that we had not even dreamed lifted and towards heights far beyond and above what our imagined “ceiling” was?

Are you sensing how it captured my heart? I even turned it into a song. (privately) Enjoy my passion. The image of a flying horse, of being transformed into one – made me thoroughly filled with joy.

We all need to lift off – to grow wings. We need to become Flying Horses.

What does that mean?

The horse in the story is us as we move through spiritual transformation. More, it is about Miraculous Living and how to overcome hindrances by redemption. We can only Fly through the power of Christ in us. His Spirit is the agent of our transformation. His Heavenly Father, our God draws us towards Himself. He sent His son to live amongst us and drew him back to the Heavenly Places, calling us lovingly to rise from the fallen- become the ‘new man’, the redeemed, grow “wings” and answer His Call. 

Lewis speaks about the hindrances within each of us that we face when we try to fly using “other means”. We ask for power to rise above.

We try to be kinder, nicer more pleasant people seeking all means of adapting to fit this world. We “work” at it. We depend on our own ability to improve our status in this world. We keep trying to improve the status of being kinder and continuing to “better ourselves”, gaining ground of status; similar to a horse in a race horizontally. Yet Lewis suggests a better way. Let the horse grow wings.

There is only one way to grow Wings. We become a New Creation.

 
He describes the awkward stage when the wings are still growing. At this stage, when the wings are just beginning to grow, they are like “lumps on the shoulders”. No one could even tell that one day they will be wings. I get that lumpy shoulder stage. How many can relate to that? Spiritual transformation, breaking through to the “Lift Off” can be experienced in many stages of joy, challenge, quest, trust, hope, effort, trial, and joy again.

2 Corinthians 5:17: “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!”

Inevitably, we become witnesses to the old, everything that ‘becomes old’ in ourselves and in our environment- experiencing a form of death. It starts to pass away as we ourselves become a new creation. The work of Christ “works” in us. Our work ceases to “work”. We surrender to Him, our lives surrender and we trust in him, completing the work that He began in us with the gift of Grace.

Trust in God allows Miracles to Take Flight.

When we trust in Christ, we begin to learn to Fly. We become Flying Horses.

We must trust in him to complete the work he began in us as he prepares for the coming day, new creations in a new heaven and earth.

What forms does that trust take? What does it look like?

Trust happens inside of an intimate relationship. It is honest. When your heart is honest before God, it can relate in an intimate and trusting way. It is the ability to form a two-way dynamic. There are many examples of Trusting God in Scripture.

Look for the examples of the prophets in the Old Testaments and the apostles in the New Testament. I love Moses in Exodus. What do you find? Trust in a relationship requires honesty, listening, and humility. Are there more qualities that you notice? Do we need perseverance? How is trust built? What is it built upon?

  • Learn to form an honest dialogue with God. Seek Him out as your most important Consultant and Source of Wisdom and Discernment. He Is.
  • Bring your heart to God and ask Him to search it. Ask for help knowing that you do not have the ability to “see” your own heart. He will answer you. Let Him lead you.
  • Pray. Seek God in prayer as the most important part of your life. It is the most intimate relationship to cultivate in life.
  • Find God in Scripture. Know Him through His Word. He is there. Allow the Holy Spirit to bring it to your heart by praying before reading.
  • Seek God’s guidance and wisdom in all things. Let God lead you in life. Know that He sees the details as well as the whole, the before and the after. Listen.
  • Trust in His Promises (Scripture). Keep them with you all the time.
  • Keep encouragement and Encouragers near to you all the time. Notice that He places this near to you. Recognize it and express gratitude.
  • Express and cultivate Joy. Generate Joy in your heart and in your surroundings.

See and become God’s Goodness and God’s Love. Though we fall short of His Glory, we glimpse it.

We are Trustees of His Goodness.

1 Corinthians 13:12 “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”

Become A Flying Horse. Having glimpsed His Glory – Leap Towards It.

We long for Christ. That longing is one that propels the heart with such a surge, it can make “a horse fly”, it can change the most ordinary life into one that is extraordinary.

Prayer that was dry becomes vivid with the Presence of God. Hearts that were lost are found. Broken places are healed. Revival becomes a word with new meaning. It starts to shake the foundation of self like a wondrous new birth. Something winged emerges. A joy that cannot be suppressed takes hold even in the midst of challenges. The Longing is like nectar that grows so sweet, life seems dim without it. It, The Promise of His Holy Blessing and Return becomes Hope, a Hope deeper and more glorious than any other.

Fly. Fly. Fly. (still singing)

© 2019 Linda Willows

“God is With You – All The Time”, from L.Willows (justice, Overcome, stand with Love, do no harm)

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Hearts that have been broken by trials and challenges can be lifted by God. They are given the strength to be stronger than before.

Sealed and healed by His power to walk forward in Love, we are given grace upon grace to walk beyond and through worldly circumstances.

Are there any of us that have not faced forms of brokenness? We all have examples from life, whoever we are, wherever we live. There are personal stories that line the insides of each of our hearts.

We pray that God is with us during these times; that His Goodness is greater than the experience of what is visibly broken.

God is With You, All the Time

Looking closely, we see that since we are living in a broken world – one that is not yet redeemed by Christ, in which, we ourselves, grateful for the gift of grace in Christ; are not yet fully redeemed (not perfect and removed from all sin), we are subject to personal brokenness and trials that recur.

Romans 8:19- “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption…”

Recently, I have listened to hearts sharing courageously about the corruption of evil, the forms it takes and how that feels when it becomes a ‘like a mountain’ in your path as you are trying to walk forward- even on behalf of your family or for others that you serve.

2 Peter 2:9- “They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.”

1 Peter 5:10- “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”

Revelation 3:20- “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”

He is The Door to Freedom from Brokenness

Our lives are each so different but our hearts are similar. How we face God is similar and the way that it feels to go through a short or long season of inner brokenness in this world or one’s own “inner world” is similar. We live as God’s family. We are His children, His Beloveds. God is with us- all the time.

Joshua 1:19- “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

For one moment I need to be specific. Sadly, our culture and world today call out some things that families and communities face in degrees of severity regardless of where they live or what their status is. Evil, which is the opposite of Love seeks to win the ‘battle’ for our hearts and lives. Evil, which is Sin, is the equivalent of death. Love, which is Christ – is Life.

The Choice between Life and Death; Deuteronomy

See What Kind of Love The Father Has

Recently there have been numerous accounts of bullying. This may sound sensational and blown up on the news, taking on perspectives and short interviews but it is far more personal and with far-reaching for the hearts involved. It is an assault on the spirit. Bullying happens to people of all ages. It is aggression towards those perceived to be vulnerable.

  • It wounds his or her trust and sense of innate protection and safety of self.
  • It violates the boundaries of his outer and inner heart and mind.
  • It places a false shame upon the identity of the individual because it causes one to question “why me?”.
  • It potentially violates the natural progression of trust in peer, and or authority relationships.
  • It potentially shakes trust in the caretakers that were supposed to be in the role of protectors, this includes spiritual figureheads, mentors and inner “promise keepers” that one looks to. (sometimes people that are harmed unknowingly lose faith in “God the Protector” as well, questioning why He did not prevent the harm)

This has equal implications for all ages. People in their 30’s, 40’s, even seniors can be on the receiving end of bullying.

How is bullying defined? It is a form of aggression that inflicts harm on the vulnerable. 

It is described as the action of seeking to harm, intimidate or coerce someone that appears to be vulnerable. This breaks my heart because vulnerability to me is a quality that is appealing. It is often the sweetest part about a kind and open person, not only a child but someone with a soft and pure heart; especially a Christian that has an intimate relationship with God.

Psalm 105:15- “Saying, “Touch not my anointed ones, do my prophets no harm!”

Romans 13:10- “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”

Christian “weakness” is Strength in the Sovereignty and Infinite Power of God.

The interesting thing is that the worldly definition of vulnerability is that one is open to attack but the Biblical definition of vulnerability is very different. Christian vulnerability is allowing God’s power to be supreme and sovereign!

2 Corinthians 12:9- “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

2 Corinthians 12:10- “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Romans 8:26- “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”

I could go on into hundreds and hundreds of scriptural quotes but there is no room! The Old and New Testament are filled with the encouragement of God’s Sovereignty and Divine ability.

In this article, I only mentioned bullying as a form of agression that inflicts harm. Please consider how much goes on in this world – all of the trials that our neighbors face. There are so many things that attempt to steal our spirit and take away purity of the heart.

Aggression and forms of anger are like underground streams of toxic waters that are often unknown to us. Sometimes we have to stumble into the result of them before we know that they exist. Then we respond, we feel, we want to repel, understandably.

We Must Choose to Stand With Love

Can we pray that we are more loving and kind to one another? If you sense that there is even a seed of unkindness, bullying or aggression of any nature – know that its source is evil, that there are currents pulling in powerful directions in our world today but really there are only two directions. One is for good and the other is the opposite.

Where will you stand? We must choose to stand with Love.

1 Corinthians 16: 13-15- “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”

1 John 4:16- “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”

Romans 11:22- “Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.”

Ending with these thought-provoking quotes from scripture, I have few words to add except that when I read Romans 11:22, I am reminded that the kindness of God is gracious, full and good. I am grateful that I abide in Him as a Christian and have been given the gift of salvation. It isn’t something that is to be taken for granted or that is a ‘once in a lifetime offer’. It is a daily, hourly, heart-altering journey that brings me humbly before God knowing that I need to ask that my heart be searched, reviewed, seen by His Spirit. I am not the judge or the arbiter of my destiny. I am not the one that is in control. I am not the one with the power or the strength to “do life”. I confess vulnerability. I go to God, to Christ, to His Spirit for “all things”, for wisdom, for help and in most especially in challenging times. I pray that He is sovereign in my life, in all life.

Isaiah 30:15- “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.”

Zephaniah 3:17- “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”

God is With You. He is Good. Behold, He is The Door

I am so grateful that God is with us, all the time! Behold, He is at the Door. How could we navigate this life in any other way – with anyone else at the Door?

Revelation 3:20- “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”
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© 2019 Linda Willows