Sunday, March 29, 2015

Tears of Blissful Acceptance, A Grief Completed

Stage theory in grief is nothing new. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s (1926–2004) work acknowledged, there are myriad manifestations of grief in the human experience.
I favour seasons and fluctuations of grief over stages, as grief carries with it such an unpredictable cycle as to render us frozen at the least anticipated moment. It is wonderful, however, when we reach that safe landing of blissful acceptance; the unanticipated seasons and fluctuations seen only through the rear view mirror. Such a state of being is hard to describe — for the thankfulness that goes ahead of us into the heart of God, in and of itself, can only be accepted.
These tears had confirmed something real in the experience. They are genuine and they are salubrious.
Salt water taste in the mouth,
Tears mingling with mine sorrow,
The taste of chlorides in the nose,
Eternity for the memories,
Waiting now’s the game,
Time is left to borrow,
There’s no one I can blame.
Tiredness will do it,
Brings me to my knees,
That salty taste of tears,
All the emotions in their degrees.
Something therapeutic,
Occurs as I wistfully smile,
The eyes have been worked out,
The tears have been worthwhile.
Tears of blissful acceptance — a grief ‘completed’ no less — are the visible evidence of a process accomplished by the grace of God.
Those we grieve over never leave us. And this is a key to acceptance; the grief completed. For grief can only be completed when we accept its place in and through us.
When we venture into the memories of our lost ones, with willingness for an experience with God and not in trepidation, that is acceptance; a grief completed.
Such a possession is blessed. God blesses us with an abundance of strength.
We are made better for our losses that are now beautifully memorialised.
The requiem of our repose in loss are tears not of overcoming pain, but of richness of experience with God’s Presence.
God becomes real the very moment we encounter the truth in our sorrow.
God’s Presence — living and active — comes in through the reality of our experience, experientially, of a completed grief.
And what grief is ever truly completed? The sanctity in grief is that God is always transforming us from glory to glory in it; because of it.
The Presence of God is made realer and more manifest for the pain we bear.
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Thank God for Jeremiah 29:11

“And I will devise for you a device of peace, and not evil, to bestow upon you these good things.”
— Jeremiah 36:11 (LXX)
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
— Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
Exegetes of perfection will denounce the use of national prophesies cast two-and-a-half millennia ago as we bring them forth as meaning for our hope today.
Well, tell that to the Compassion child who drew hope from such a Scripture in the midst of squalor in the Mathare slums of Nairobi. Tell that to the person who is within the throes of their existential finality. Tell that to the panoply of persons over the earth who cry out to God daily for a little relief from their veritable hell on earth. The literal exegesis of Jeremiah 29:11 — original context, alone — may appear to quench the spiritual appetite. But doesn’t all Scripture read us? Isn’t the Holy Spirit living and breathing through his Word?
Have we any right to despoil the person their experience of God’s grace?
God can, and does, work any way he pleases! He even works though bad exegesis to make as fools expert exegetes — if and as he wishes. (Now is the point of time to hear the echo of 1 Corinthians 1 and 2.)
God’s Word speaks to us in infinite ways.
Jeremiah 29:11 (36:11 in the Septuagint [LXX]) is the hope God is eternally wishing to communicate to all his exiles. We are all exiles at one point or other. When we face our very own exile, and we are hiding away in our deconstruction and reconstruction phases, for we don’t readily know who we are (again) yet, God seeks to buoy our hope. He wants us to know that the ‘70 years’ won’t last forever; that he is raising us even as we read his words. His plan is ever more being unveiled.
We ponder just what that could mean; being raised! A myriad of images are daubed over the screens of the eyes of our hearts. Each of these betokens the long sought after grace we, of our souls, cry out for.
For the person desperate for hope, should we disparage that hope? Never. Even if the person is incorrect (and how are we really to know?), would we be their disappointment? It cannot be.
We have a role when the ailing are before us; to encourage, not offend; to build-up, not criticise; to urge the person onward, not stop them in their tracks.
Jeremiah 29:11 means something very specific in the Bible, but it also provides millions hope every day. What is the greater application? What is the greater use of his Word?
God does have a plan for our lives. A plan to prosper us and to give us a future we hope for. Jeremiah 29:11 is a faithful beacon for all who lack hope, vision, and peace.
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Endurance – the Greater Miracle

Miracles still happen. They always have. We all have the need of miracles in our lives and in the lives of our loved ones. We all have desires that need to be met; desires right and appropriate — for health and spiritual prosperity. When it comes to the miracle we so richly need, we stoop with immediacy in prayer:
I prayed, I prayed to my God above,
To be healed of this wretched disease,
I prayed, I prayed whilst down on my knees,
“Lord, show me this, your love!”
But the Lord did not accede to my prayer,
He didn’t choose to take my disease away,
He gave me the forbearance to meet each day,
He gave me endurance to bear.
There are miracles of healing, just as there are miracles of forbearance.
Endurance is the greater miracle, because it’s a work of God’s grace in us each and every day to bear with pain and all the despairing fragility that pain brings.
Endurance, especially in weakness, is a divine acquisition unfolded to the maturity that only grace can procure in us. We may present as willing and surrendered — and we need to do this; our bit — but the miracle of being able to bear that which we previously could not is a gift; one most sincerely sought.
If we are able to see the benefit in endurance, meaning we believe in its value, God will see and reward our faith. We will be able to endure, one day at a time.
Some might attribute our endurance as an ongoing effort of human strength, but the miracle takes place when we perceive that endurance has gotten easier. We think on it less. We get on with our days. We continue to serve, despite our limits. We make less of that which used to cost us much anxiety. The miracle is the edge is taken off the pain, or the pain, somehow, has less capacity to cripple us.
Endurance is the choice for joy on the uphill leg, for soon the plateau will arrive.
Endurance is the mysterious quality of God’s providence when we are called to endure pain. It may not be accepted with delight, but we do accept it when it’s given.
Endurance is the greater miracle than a healing done once-for-all, because it propounds God’s provident grace every single day.
If we are to have fortitude,
In order to endure our pain,
God will help with our attitude,
To bear with both sunshine and rain.
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Beyond Cognitive Torment, Peace Between the Ears

Many young people, and certainly some who are older, can attest to either the presence of or the memory of a mind that insists on working into overload. The burden seems gargantuan, especially when there are pressures from multiple genres of life. I suffered greatly from this. But then I, by God’s grace through diligent obedience, overcame it. In this article I juxtapose what it was like with what it’s like now, using a journal record from January 4, 2007.
I write:
There’s still too much going on for me devotionally! I seem to always battle with too much; information overload; too many quotes or sayings; I can’t simply land on one and stick with it — it just doesn’t seem to be enough. Wisdom is so rich... it is too rich; I wish ONE word, or one phrase did it for me, but it doesn’t and it probably won’t ever.
I read into this passage above — with eight years behind me — a sense of exasperation at the inability of mind control, because the heart is still searching for itself in God.
Back then I was very much still seeking ONE word that would be the be all and end all.
But I also struggled to find mental balance; flitting from one thing to another to another, not according to divine will. Coming out of this was by accident — a certainty of grace.
Battling tiredness I decided in about 2010 to devote myself to napping during the day — two ten minute naps usually did the trick. I loved the alertness I was able to achieve, simply in the habitual control of emptying the mind. It was hard to do initially, but the more I practiced this technique of relaxing my eye lids, as if no weight were on them at all, I was helped by God above. He gave me command over the emptying of my mind in order to surrender to tiredness.
Like rebooting a computer (older computers, when they got slower, often benefited the user in being stopped and started again), my mind was rebooted simply by surrendering its consciousness — even momentarily. I usually found it would take at least five minutes relaxing my eye lids and the muscles of my body and emptying my mind before I’d give way to unconsciousness. (Yes, I found a quiet place in my workplace to do this during the work week.) A few moments to a few minutes to five minutes maximum was enough.
Gradually, over the years, I have found that less and less has been the cognitive burden, for the pure fact of the practice I seem to have mastered — emptying the mind.
Hope beyond the despair of excessive mindfulness is manifest in the practice of emptying the mind, the learned practice. It is most possible to achieve mind control.
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Enduring the Unrelenting, Lonely Ache of Singleness

A time, not so long ago, I was single and detesting it. At the very same time, though I didn’t know it, my wife was also in anguish about her singleness. Neither of us were cut out with the ‘gift’ of celibacy. Not that many are. Until we found each other there were a great many lonely times. We each even had the same Baptist Ministries coach, who may well have thought, “These two should get together!”
Well, we did.
But, as I recount those horribly desolate days of clinging to God’s promises — the desires of my heart — putting his Kingdom and his righteousness first, and still not getting any ‘answers’ — I am comforted that God placed me there for a good several reasons. Just like God allows us all that time of not knowing if ever we will settle down to live happily ever after.
There were quite a few times when I cried myself to sleep. There were many times when my wife did the very same thing. There is something very irreconcilable about being alone.
Being alone means we feel alone.
Nobody can quite understand, because we don’t see any point in investing in those relationships — our parents, our siblings, our friends — they will be there for us. But we want to be wanted by another.
We want to be heard by another. We want someone else to be interested. And that someone else is just out of reach or invisible.
The anguish of singleness is palpable in that it is nebulous; a real type of ambiguous loss and complicated grief. We have lost a baby to stillbirth recently, but that is no harder than being single with ambiguous hope — like, “it’ll probably happen, but may not.” All our grief is relative. The death of Nathanael was of a sense some sort of closure for us (if, indeed, closure is actually relevant to resolving grief).
There are no easy answers. There is no pat advice we can give, other than bear the day with a joy in what we have been given, and continue to hope upon God — to practice actually putting the Kingdom and his righteousness first.
At least if we put God first in our lives we have a chance at a happiness only he can provide. But we also need to be pragmatic. We need to get out there and make sure we are diligent in paving the way for a relationship.
There is no shame in developing potential relationships.
Having been single at one period for three years, I know the lonely ache of singleness is unrelenting. But I never made growth connections toward God more than when I was single. Those lessons I learned back then I retain today, and I’m ever thankful.
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Light Yoke and Easy Burden of Jesus

Jesus said, Come to me all you who are weary and carry heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am unassuming and of humble disposition, and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is comfortable, and my load is light.”
— Matthew 11:28-30 (USC)
In Jesus, and in life, God calls us to suffer. But we only grow if we learn to suffer ‘gladly’ as Jesus did. Of course, Jesus didn’t suffer gladly! He hated suffering as much as we do. But he obediently endured what he — in his sinless state — had to endure to fulfil his mission. That’s a clue for us in our suffering; endure it to fulfil our mission.
Indeed, life can only seem to make sense — when we are suffering — from the position of taking gladly the sufferings God would so blessedly send our way.
The Western rationalism, however, wants the ‘blessed’ life; the life of ease and of its own joy. But the blessedness of God is the antithesis of this. Its own direct opposite. The Western rationalism is into, in Bonhoeffer’s words, cheap grace.
The meaning of life: when suffering comes, suffer gladly that which God knows you can endure — in him. And even if we can’t endure today, rest. It will be better in the morrow.
We learn nothing for the equipping for the future spoils of anguish if we don’t bear under the weight of this now.
Jesus’ yoke is easy when we trust Him with all our heart. Jesus’ burden is light when we willingly release our burdens upon Him who, alone, can bear them.
The abundant life is not an easy life. Life in all its fullness is not without its burden. But we are blessed to have a burden-carrier: our Saviour and Lord Jesus — King over all creation. And Jesus’ yoke is easier than straining under the world’s yoke of numbing oppression.
Jesus gives us entry into life in all its fullness, which is a life replete with reality.
And whilst reality may seem to be a cruel taskmaster at times, we have a friend in Jesus for our aloneness when we look alone to him in our suffering.
Jesus bids us, “Come to me... learn from me.” What else could he mean when his life was most a requiem of suffering? “‘Learn from me,’ how to endure under the onerous excruciation of your cross, for I’ve borne mine.” “‘Come to me,’ when people say all kinds of wicked things about you... and you will find rest.”
Jesus’ yoke is only comfortable when we allow it to sit over our neck without fidgeting. Jesus’ load is light only when we submit ours for his.
You, who have nothing to lose, could do much worse than to give Jesus your fullest commitment.
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.
Note: USC version is Under the Southern Cross, The New Testament in Australian English (2014). This translation was painstakingly developed by Dr Richard Moore, a NT Greek scholar, over nearly thirty years.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Power of the Word of God In Defeating Temptation

In no way can we — in what we say, think, do, and are — resist every temptation perfectly. Only Christ was able to achieve such an end. And he is the means to that end for us.
As we read the famous recounting of Jesus’ temptation in Matthew’s gospel (4:1-11), we can’t help be struck by the fact of Jesus’ reliance — he relies on the Word in diligent service of the Father.
That’s our task; to be of diligent service to the Father. We rely on Jesus, our Mediator before the Father, to do that very thing, by the Presence of the Holy Spirit impelling us forward.
Jesus always operates principally through the Word. He is the Word. But his power comes channelled via the Holy Spirit. And when we bring the invocation for the Spirit to bear through his Word — the Bible — we find that we have our foundation for power, through poverty, meekness, humility, and fatigue — in sum, weakness.
The Revelation of Temptation In the Mode of Weakness
The Holy Spirit can help us know we need him because of our temptation.
When we are weak, we are closer to the revelation of temptation — Jesus is trying to tell us we are close to the line of disobedient offence. The Holy Spirit is trying to pique our conscience toward action. That’s power! Add to this power of awareness, the power of faith. Then add to the power of faith the power of an insistent peace.
That is, the choice to be at peace!
We cannot do that of our own volition or will. We can only achieve such a thing as the experience of peace by rejecting the desire to covet such a thing. If we ardently wish for it, and, are prepared to do anything to obey Christ to get there, we will have it.
A fine line is this: the bearing of weakness without succumbing to it. What a balance!
We only know the help of God when we are pressed in by temptation — when we perceive testing. It’s only then that we rely. We must not reject our weakness but embrace it.
In being tempted, whereby we rely, we show the work of the cross of Christ, the raising of Christ by the Father, and the power of the Spirit, in our lives.
It is good to be weak, for then — by Christ, the Father, and the Spirit — we are strong.
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Father and Mother Heart of God In Grief Through Love

Grief is the child of love — and, in that way — love bears what grief brings.
Love is the parent, so love does what needs to happen to ensure grief isn’t left stranded. Love is necessarily strong, but not in the traditional way. It is strong in the way of God. Love is God.
The Father Heart of God is all-powerful, all-wise, and all-loving. The Mother Heart of God is all-tender, all-nurturing, and all-providing. God is all these, indeed, everything.
The Father Heart of God in grief through love is the empowerment to get through a self-perceived hell. God is our righteousness. He will not let us down if we obey him by joining right action with his blessed intent over our lives. God is the Lord of the heavens, the Lord Almighty. Nothing is beyond his touch. He sees everything and knows everything, and everything will be repaid. He who does not leave nor forsake us will get us every last inch of justice, if not now, in the time to come. His righteousness underpins his justice. In this justice there is a safe and provident love.
The Mother Heart of God in grief through love is the equipping of the sufferer, and their encouragement. God as Mother cannot let us go without what we need. God provides and heals. God is present. God is our peace. God is practical. As we devote ourselves to this peculiarly maternal shape of love, we notice that our cooperation with the Father’s will bequeaths us the blessings of the mother’s touch. In the nurture of God — that which perfects every depth of kindness in a mother’s love — is the sense that God never lets go, and is ever reliable like the best of mothers is.
God is the completeness of love, as also love is the completeness of God. Love is perfection sacrificed for imperfection. Love is so devoid of fear, but replete with wisdom, that if treads boldly and securely exactly where it should.
If grief is the child of love, love must be strong to bear it.
Love never gives up and never lets up. It continues patiently and faithfully no matter how unfaithful and impatient her children are.
Grief is the reality of the pain having been birthed because love was lost. Yet, love is so perfect it cannot resent grief, because it is one of her precious children.
Love suffers the bruising incredulity of loss meekly by soothing the pain through acceptance. Love wishes to do a work of acceptance in every one of us.
If life was fair it would not give us over to grief, but, then again, without grief there can be no love! And with no love there is no life.
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Enduring the Tests of Life Tougher Than Any We’ve Faced

Courage is a virtue that comes into its own when we need it; not beforehand. It stays dormant until the time of testing arrives. And though we may hardly ascribe our responses to the tests of life as “courageous,” the simple fact of our being under trial is the very testimony of courage — to withstand the temptation to give up by giving in.
Tests have about them the character of burden to the extreme. It is rubbish that ‘God won’t allow us to be tested beyond what we are capable’. That’s an awful representation of Paul’s 1 Corinthians 10:13.
The truth is we are blessed to finally be overtaken by testing, for finally we discover we cannot do this life on our own. It never feels good in the process, however, and that which is excruciating is ultimately the making of us, spiritually.
It is never a good thing that a life would go untested. Most of us cannot learn proper empathy until we have passed through the flames of our very own incineration. There are some, however, who are blessed with such empathy and compassion to not need humbling. That certainly wasn’t me!
God will get our attention one way or another if we are genuinely his subjects. In a massive irony, God will show lesser interest in the ‘Christian’ (of appearance) than a Christian who has avowed to growth. Shudder to think that we pray very serious prayers of discipleship to then be tested.
But now this: Christian character must be tested. Testing is the approval process.
I have written a little poem on the present subject below:
The biggest fight for life,
Isn’t against a treacherous foe,
It’s the battle of inner strife,
Within each of us we should know.
Not depending anymore,
On our strength of independence,
It’s shattered what’s more,
Upon God now is our dependence.
Finally life starts again,
From safer and certain ground,
Better women and men,
Upon God we are finally found!
Faith’s biggest test,
Isn’t borne on the wings of ease,
Faith comes out best,
When it’s only God that we please.
So it beggars our belief,
Now to stand up in the trenches,
To rely on God what’s more,
On Him alone who avenges.
Against the flow of sense,
Our faith learns to stand on its feet,
Only faith withstands offence,
Learning to sit still within our seat.
Despite threats of insane thought,
Where clamour and despair are ours,
Recall the price with which we were bought,
Endure through the darkest hours.
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Interdependence of Grief and Sacredness of Memory

Pain’s perspective is hardly something accurately portrayed across the expanse of humanity. We all experience pain so diversely given many variables at play.
As I’ve written about before, I have a ritual of visiting with the memory of my deceased son — a journey through photographs, videos, journal entries, articles I’ve written — all as a means of keeping his precious memory alive. Such a ritual causes me no ‘pain’ so-to-speak. I’m blessed. This is the case because God never fails to touch me in my innermost parts. I’m shown different nuances of the journey as I go back there and enjoy the memory of my son, in collection with the memories we, as a family, had of that time.
One such recent revelation involved the photo above (that has been cropped by request of my wife). This photo was taken the moment I held Nathanael Marcus for the first time.
I was, of a very real sense, meeting him. I was meeting him how any of us new mothers and fathers meet our babies—“Well, who do I have here then?” The relationship begins! From that moment, the ‘getting to know you’ processes blossoms and we are forever cast as divided again in our identities to assume room for this little one. It’s about as precious as life gets.
And there is also a very special nuance to this particular photograph.
My son had passed away some six to eight hours beforehand, due to a prolapsed cord with shoulder presentation. He had died. I have the corpse of my son there, and I do hope by saying it that way that I do not bring you, the unsuspecting reader, any pain.
I was meeting my son, thinking, “Just what have you been through?” “My poor little man, I wish it could have been different for you.” “I love you, sweet Nathanael.” These are the types of things I could write as captions to describe this photo.
And then, as I look at myself, remembering how weird the experience was, and how much courage it took for Sarah and I to traipse that road together — the delivery, I mean — I am thankful to myself for the courage I had, but ever more thankful to God that he got me/us through!
Our pain is precious to God, and our Lord will bring healing from within the site of our pain if we will let him.
This pain that I experience is a most precious grief that I cannot live without, because it is the sacredness of memory that has come to be part of me now.
There is an interdependence between the enduring grief of missing Nathanael and the sacredness of his memory. This is such an ingenious gift to carry through my days; a most treasurable compensation for our loss.
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Hold On, Hold Fast, Breathe, Keep Stepping

Never think that this literature, below, is navel-gazing stuff. There is a whirlwind for one and a torrent for another. Whether we are buffeted into oblivion by the whirlwind or swept away with the torrent matters little — the same consequence is borne.
It comes to most at least once in their lives... great pressure and strain, with pain unrivalled in previous experience. We feel worse than death, for in death at least the pain is over.
Something never leaves you,
As you boldly face the dark,
Uncertainties may be stark,
But God holds you ever true.
Silent faith it faithfully stands,
Humbly meek yet ever so strong,
The pain may well be long,
But our lives are in God’s hands.
And what of this noxious pain,
Just how will we contend?
Let’s certainly not pretend,
So as to let this evil reign!
Loneliness there it’s borne,
In the depths of this wry grief,
No sure direction to relief,
Left groaning and forlorn.
Now we may also see,
How the tumult of dire being,
Is the precursor of a state that’s freeing,
Ironically it’s the place to be!
Hold on in that hope,
For all this, too, shall pass,
God will turn around this farce,
If only in between we can cope.
Don’t give up in the trial,
Don’t despair when all at sea,
Afloat He will ensure you’ll be,
His covenant He’ll not defile.
Let’s surrender all our baggage,
So God can bring around our ship,
Stiffen the bottom lip,
And don’t allow Satan to disparage!
As one day makes for night,
And we rest there humbly content,
Life is much more than lament,
When we believe in the Saviour’s light.
Faith will do with the impossible what is only possible with God.
And, whilst we necessarily fall in love with this sort of hope-fuelled literature, there is a purpose in it, at least for the present season — be it a day, a month, a year, a life.
There is no estimating what God will do for the person who has suffered for his Name’s sake. Don’t we think that bearing our weaknesses patiently will get us a reward? Surely it will. One hundred fold will be the reward for the losses incurred in this life, with rewards gained here, but with persecutions, said Jesus (Mark 10:29-30).
Jesus never promises us a trouble-free life; indeed, he promises trouble! But he was also overcome the world! (John 16:33)
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

What Self-Fulfilling Prophesy Are You Curating?

Much thinking is good, but, with much thought inevitably comes a fall into the pit of despair. The capacities of the mind’s heart are not so easily overwhelmed, but when they are, great is that collapse!
The shimmering beauty of the mind rendered obedient to the development of virtue.
The dark disgust of a mind given over to the realm of evil; the production of hate.
The horrible waste of a mind sacrificed to the gods of games and recreation in the name of relaxation — to the ends of nothing.
And the splendiferous majesty in a mind of the one who hears God’s call for their life and thinks with purpose to strive for that destiny.
What do we consume ourselves with in our thought lives?
What is it we spend most of our time thinking about? Is it the share price, or the temperature tomorrow, or of delusions of grandeur, or the sensibilities of space? Is it the glory of God’s creation, how you’ll get through the week without money, or why life has come to be the way it has? Maybe it’s the fact of your busyness and tiredness? It could be your unbridled joy — thankfulness for such a season. Perhaps it’s envying and striving and cursing that has your cognitive attention. You may just be tired of thinking. Or it could be that you’ve striven to overcome the propensity to analyse everything, and you’ve found some strategies that work? Have I nailed it, or is there something else? You’re obsessed about a relationship issue; something that’s not quite right, irredeemable, scary, or unjust... perhaps.
The point I’m trying to illustrate is, if we are to pounce upon the capacity of our thinking to help us in the way we are going, we need to become aware of the thoughts we are preoccupied by.
What we think about most will influence us incredibly.
If we are virtuous in a feministic way, where we defend the rights of women, if we haven’t handled our own brokenness we may well be tarred with the wrong brush. We see this being done and it reinforces our worldview: “Men are pigs.” But if we are a man, beaten down by a life where “everything goes to the woman,” we are bound to attract a reputation as angry and obtuse.
What he and she are broken by, and are still resistant to be healed of, becomes their worldview, and they come across as damaged goods. And every time they come to be “judged” they find themselves further and further pigeonholed. They hate what they have become deep down, but they are equally unable to claw their way out.
It is best to make our thoughts captive to Christ; to debunk our baggage; to seek his healing touch.
When our thoughts become healthy, we begin to nurture a productive self-fulfilling prophesy for our lives.
What we ponder most becomes us. Ponder God. Become God’s you.
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Spirit Who Is With Us In Truth

Reflecting on a conversation with one I consider the epitome of men, I felt hurried in my responses to his questions as to “how things are.” As a result I offered a mishmash of answers, part truths, due to good intent, were the best of it.
Some questions — particularly the answers of which may most betray our truth, and hence our cause, because they are not thought over — require more deliberate consideration.
Whenever we cannot fundamentally represent the truth — because we are hurried and feel there isn’t the time, or if we feel guilty or ashamed for some reason, or we are tired, etc. — the Spirit’s Presence might as well have departed.
The Holy Spirit will only abide in us to the extent of truth. The Spirit of Truth gives us cues and motives to speak our truth, but we must trust his Presence and act out the divine nudge we have borne.
We know it is God’s Spirit leading us when we obey with conviction and poise. We should only ask a question in public if we genuinely seek the answer. Sometimes I’ve been tempted to ask a question to show off some way. But the lack of authenticity shown has meant there was a lack of conviction and poise in my delivery of what I said. I was acting not as an agent of my own carefully nurtured truth. Such contriving faith is the sin of attention; the seeking of approval.
But, the Holy Spirit will make it certain what a believer is to do.
If we do what the Spirit tells us, we abide to the truth in us, but if we do not do it, we betray our very own truth. In effect, we, of our subconscious and our own integrity with ourselves, judge ourselves.
This is not to say that there are not times when the Spirit might nudge us for someone else.
The context of this article, though, is the communication of the Spirit in and through a believer, for that believer’s own obedience — for Truth has spoken.
To enjoy the Holy Spirit’s empowering we must first honour our truth. The truth that is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit.
God’s Presence is manifest powerfully when we are at accord with his revealed truth in us.
1.     When do you find it hardest to obey God’s call to speak or act out the truth he’s spoken to you? When is it easiest?
2.     Ideally, we are to wait until the Spirit calls us to speak. How easy or hard is it for you to restrain yourself? Have you experienced this calling nudge, and, if so, how?
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.