Thursday, 19 December 2013

Dear Pilgrim, do you realize you are wearing a ring on your finger?

Dear Pilgrim, do you realize you are wearing a ring on your finger? Hold out your hand….do not feel embarrassed by showing your hand, dear Pilgrim, for it is no longer filthy but clean, because He has washed you...look…it is a ring of royalty! How beautiful it is! It is gleaming, shining, a magnificent jewel!

Do you remember how it came to be there? You recall how you came home to your Father, hoping that He might take you in as a servant in His house, when your eyes were opened to the reality that you were eating the food of pigs? You remember when you were still a long way off, He saw you coming, ran to embrace you and kissed you? You then said to Him "Father, I have sinned against heaven and against You and I am no longer worthy to be called Your son."  Do you remember His response? He called His servants to bring the best robe and put it on you, the robe of the Righteousness of His Son! Oh, mercy! But don't forget He called His servants to also put a ring on your finger (Luke 15:22).

Pilgrim, take the time to look at this ring. This is a ring that confers dignity and honour. It is a ring that attests to an inheritance. Do you see? The prodigal son squandered his earthly inheritance, throwing it away in Vanity Fayre. Yet the Father gives him a ring as a sign of another inheritance, an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade, an inheritance in Christ.

For His Son has been appointed heir of all things (Heb 1:2). Just as Pharaoh took the signet ring off his own finger and gave it to Joseph as a sign that he was giving all authority to him, so too the Father has given all authority to the Son. The nations are His inheritance, the ends of the earth His possession (Psalm 2:8). When He returns, every knee will bow before Him and every tongue will confess that He is Lord.

But it is the people He redeemed with His own blood, the people of Mount Zion, who are His own inheritance (Ps 74:2), those in whom He will be glorified when He returns! For He has given us the glory that the Father has given Him (John 17:22). “Here am I, and the children God has given me” (Heb 2:13). We, who have been made children of God, are His treasured possession (Mal 3:17)! We will sparkle in His land like jewels in a crown when He returns (Zech 9:16)! We will shine like the brightness of the heavens, like the stars for ever and ever (Dan 12:3)!

Furthermore dear Pilgrim – take heed – since you are His child, the Father has not only sent the Spirit of His Son into your heart (Gal 4:6), but He has also made you an heir (Gal 4:7). For Christ Himself is the Signet Ring – the sign and seal of the Father – the radiance of God’s glory, the exact representation of His being.  And so the Spirit is the seal, the deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession. Though we were responsible for the Heir being killed, that His inheritance might be stripped of Him if that were possible (Mt 21:38), yet in Christ we are seated with princes and inherit a throne of honour (1 Sam 2:8)! A throne of honour! Oh, Pilgrim! What a gospel!

This throne of honour….these words I am about to share with you, precious Pilgrim, I can hardly take them in myself. Truly, as He enlightens the eyes of our heart to know the hope to which He has called us, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, this can be overwhelming. Listen, Pilgrim, to the words from His own lips: “To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with My Father on His throne" (Rev 3:21). Pilgrim, I would be content to lie face down forever at His feet in His Kingdom….now I discover that He will give authority over the nations to the one who is victorious and does His will to the end, just as He received authority from His Father (Rev 2:26).

Look again at the ring on your finger. This ring makes you an heir of God and a co-heir with Christ. This ring points to your inheritance. It points to Christ, to the seal of His Spirit in your heart. Fix your eyes on Christ. He endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. We are co-heirs with Christ if we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory (Rom 8:16-17). If we endure we will also reign with Him (2 Tim 2:12). For the King of Kings wore a crown of thorns to point to His Kingship, and no servant is above his Master. Yet as you endure, precious Pilgrim, remember His abundant provision of grace and the gift of righteousness that will enable you to reign in life (Rom 5:17)! It is this that will enable you to be victorious, to continue to the end, to persevere, to overcome! 

And remember, precious Pilgrim, that the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son (Gal 4:30). Ask Him to enable you to walk in freedom through the grace He has given, that you may reign in life even as you share in His sufferings. Do not allow the thief to steal your inheritance from you! He would see you stripped of your rightful inheritance on the mountain of the Lord (Ex 15:17), he wants to prevent you from possessing the mountains (Isa 65:9). Resist the devil and he will flee, Pilgrim.  You will then find that the boundary lines have fallen for you in pleasant places, that you have a delightful inheritance. And you will walk into an inheritance that is exceedingly and immeasurably beyond your comprehension.

Then I saw 'a new heaven and a new earth', for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then He said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. 
(Rev 21:1-7)

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Dear Pilgrim, does Christ dwell in your heart through faith?

Dear Pilgrim, does Christ dwell in your heart through faith? Are you asking Him to strengthen you out of His glorious riches with power through His Spirit in your inner being, that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith (Eph 3:17)? I ask that He will do this for you and for me, Pilgrim friend, for we need Him there as we walk this pilgrim path!

You may be thinking to yourself how can Christ dwell in my heart, when the heart of man is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked (Jer 17:9)? How can Christ dwell in my heart, when out of the heart come evil thoughts – murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander (Matt 15:19)? Maybe you are thinking, as I did for so many years, that you will not be blessed by seeing God for your heart is not pure (Mt 5:8). If so, the cry of your heart is the cry of the Pilgrim throughout the ages: “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me" (Ps 51:10)!

Oh Pilgrim, lift your head! Come, lift your eyes to the hills, to the mountains, from where our help comes, and come with me to the Word. What does He say?

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; 
I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
(Eze 36:26)

Do you see, Pilgrim? That deceitful, wicked heart – He has removed it! The heart out of which come evil thoughts – He has removed it and given us a new heart! To those who hear the Word of Christ and respond by believing the gospel - the glorious gospel news that whilst we were still sinners, Christ died for us, being delivered over to death for our sins and raised to life for our justification - He purifies their heart by faith (Acts 15:9)! A new heart! Blessed be His Name!

Oh, but there is more, Pilgrim. Not only does He purify our hearts – He blesses those with a pure heart that they may see God. For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ (2 Cor 4:6). The glory of God! Oh, Pilgrim, have you seen this? Have you been emboldened as was Moses to ask of Him "Show me Your glory?" Pilgrim, this is a request He will honour...and when He will be undone. When His light shines in your heart to give you the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of will not be able to stand in His presence. Glory! Bow down! Oh, Lord, it is overwhelming….

But Pilgrim, there is still more. For He writes His law on our hearts (Jer 31:33). Not just in our minds, bringing an intellectual assent – no, He writes on the fleshly tablets of our human hearts. His finger writes not with ink, but with the Spirit of the Living God (2 Cor 3:3). Pilgrim, this is a fiery work, painful – as He writes, you will undergo a baptism of fire. For those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Gal 5:24).

Pilgrim, dare you believe me when I say there is yet more? Remember we are feasting in the abundance of the house of the Lord! For He has anointed us! He has set His seal of ownership upon us (2 Cor 1:21-22)! He has adopted us as sons! And because we are His sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father’ (Gal 4:6). The Spirit is calling out! The Spirit is one who testifies, He cannot stay silent! The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children (Rom 8:16). And the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father will testify of Jesus (John 15:26). He will glorify Jesus as He takes what is His, what is His Father’s, and declares it to us (John 16:14-15). Those of us who believe in the Son of God have this testimony in us (1 John 5:10)! Oh Pilgrim, this is not the testimony of any man - this is the testimony of God Himself concerning His Son! And this testimony is in us! In us - us who could only bring to Him our wicked, deceitful hearts....and He gives us a new heart into which He sends the Spirit of His Son calling out 'Abba, Father', testifying of Jesus, declaring to us all that is His. What a truth. What a glorious truth. The riches of our inheritance! Can you believe this? It is true! The hope of glory!

Oh, Pilgrim, when there is such a bounteous feast of abundance here, how can we respond in any way other than walking by the Spirit, that we may not grieve Him? How can we respond in any way other than by daily crucifying the flesh, and boasting in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to us, and us to the world (Gal 6:14)? Oh, Pilgrim, let us encourage one another to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord! And as we continue on our path, we have this hope - that we will see God revealed in all His Glory on that day when He returns! And as we await our blessed hope, let us walk with Him on the road to Emmaus, and may our hearts burn within us as He talks with us and opens the Scriptures for us!

And this is how we know that He lives in us:
we know it by the Spirit He gave us.
(1 John 3:24)

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Dear Pilgrim, will you come to the table?

I am honoured to be able to share with you today this guest post by a dear friend of mine, Becky Pliego. Be blessed as you read, Dear Pilgrim, and may you come to the table!

Is your soul longing to be satisfied? Is your flesh fainting? And your eyes weary of crying?

Then I am happy to be here today to encourage you to turn your eyes, your soul, and your whole, undivided self to God’s Sanctuary in prayer, and there, before Him, open your Bible and eat.

The table is set, all is good, rich food awaits, it is a blessed banquet, one that satisfies the deepest longings, and God wants you to come and eat before Him. He has called you, even now He is calling you! Come and eat!

I can almost hear you ask, “But how do I come to the table?” “Where can I wash my hands from my unclean deeds, my feet from going astray, my mouth from unclean words, my mind from darkened thoughts, my heart from filthy intentions?” I say, don’t let them keep you from coming to the banquet! Have you so quickly forgotten that there is forgiveness in Jesus? Have you not read that our Father doesn’t despise but welcomes a broken and contrite spirit (Psalm 51)? Have you forgotten that the Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18)?

Eat these words today, dear Pilgrim; “
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9).  Here is where the banquet starts: Jesus doing all the washing of feet and hands and hearts.

The devil does not want us to come to the table, he wants to deceive us into believing that we can make our own bread out of rocks (like the time he tempted Jesus, remember?). But that bread, the fake one, the one we desperately eat in the dark will never satisfy. Remember this, dear Pilgrim, the food in exile, the food of self-righteousness, the bread made out of rocks, will never, never, satisfy us. It only feeds the idols of our hearts but never our soul. All bread made with our own efforts will always leave us empty, it never nourishes us, it will always kill us.

Now come and eat, there is no need to hunger when He has laid down His very own life so that we can feast at His table and be satisfied. Do you have a Bible, a place to pray? Then you have the banquet at your disposal. Be merry and be satisfied! His Word is sweeter than honey, taste it and see how good the Lord is to His children! Oh, dear Pilgrim, do not be delayed anymore! Do not resist His voice when He calls you to feast at His table! Today is the day! This is the appointed time!

By Becky Pliego ©

About the Author: BECKY PLIEGO is a happy wife and homeschool mom of four children; three of whom are already in college, and one is still at home receiving all of Becky's attention and teaching focus.
Becky loves to read big and small books about theology, food, and how life is lived as a story woven in God's heart.
Her favorite place to be is always around her table full of hungry people to feed, with a big stack of pumpkin pancakes to pass around.
Becky can be found at Daily On My Way To Heaven.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Dear Pilgrim, are you hungry?

Dear Pilgrim, are you hungry?

The Lord our God is the perfect host. There is a feast forever on offer from the abundance of His house! He created a Garden for man, overflowing and teeming with good food from the trees, watered as they were by the rivers of the Spirit, the rivers of delight. How it was His desire that we should eat and be satisfied, that we would delight in the overflowing abundance of all He freely offered.

Yet man turned his back on the feast of faith - and ever since the ground has been subject to a curse, such that only through painful toil can man now eat food from it. Thorns and thistles now point to the glory from which man has fallen. All the toil of man is for his mouth, yet his appetite is not satisfied. With a heart set on earthly things, even the riches of the promised inheritance from the Lord are sold for a pot of stew. Yet still man’s appetite is not satisfied.

For food that spoils can never satisfy. But there is another food – and this food endures for eternal life. It was in the desert as men gave in to their cravings that this was revealed, as they tested the living God by asking “Can God really spread a table in the wilderness?” Is the arm of the Lord too short? Can He not instruct His ravens to bring bread and meat to His servants? So the merciful Father opened the doors of the heavens, He rained down manna from heaven, and man ate the bread of angels.

Dear Pilgrim, are you hungry? There is One who has food to eat that we know nothing about. His food is to do the will of His Father and to finish His work. As the Bread of Affliction hung upon the cross, He purchased salvation for you and for me by giving His flesh for the life of the world. As the Living Bread was raised to life, He gives us eternal life and promises to raise us up at the last day.

Dear Pilgrim, are you feeding on Him? For man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart.  Are you feeding on Him? When His Word comes, will you eat it? For His Word is our joy and our heart’s delight. His Word is as sweet as honey. Will you open your mouth and eat what He gives you? For He will fill the hungry with good things, but the rich He will send away empty.

Dear Pilgrim, do you see the table He has prepared for you? This table is in the presence of your enemies – but precious Pilgrim, there is no need to fear. Be strong! For the Bread of the Presence is always at His table. Oh, let Him lead you to the banquet hall! Pilgrim, take your seat. Ah, I hear your protest to Him: “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?”  But remember, even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table. Oh, Pilgrim, is it possible to grasp the full glory of the inheritance into which He has brought us – that we are to eat at the King’s table like one of the King’s sons? Is it possible? Can this be true? Oh, Pilgrim, yes, this is true! Sit no longer in the shadows, grateful simply to be in His company, longing for a glance to come your way from His table, yet not daring to hope that He might notice you – come, take your seat at His table, eat and drink with Him! Look at Him full in the face! Speak to Him, and delight in the sound of His voice speaking to you.

And precious Pilgrim, you who have been watching for Him, waiting for Him, you who have been wise and have taken oil in your lamp to keep it burning…can this be? Look, He has dressed Himself to serve…He makes you recline at His table….He is coming to wait on you! The One before whom every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord, to the glory of the Father….He is coming to wait on you! This is our God! Oh, Pilgrim…when He reveals these truths in His Word…..the abundance, the love He lavishes on us….sometimes it is almost too much to take in. The riches of His glorious inheritance…let us fall to our knees in worship. Who is like our God?

Oh, Pilgrim, come, come with me to Mount Zion! This is where the feast is laid out before us! Come, come with me, let us feast in the abundance of His house! Oh come, come with me! And let us go to the street corners and invite anyone we can find who has ears to listen to come and feast with us at this banquet!

On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare
    a feast of rich food for all peoples,
a banquet of aged wine –
    the best of meats and the finest of wines.
(Isa 25:6) 

Friday, 1 November 2013

Dear Pilgrim, do you need building up?

Dear Pilgrim, are you discouraged by so much of what you see in the visible church? By those who profess to know Him and yet neither proclaim Him in truth nor worship Him in spirit? Surely the need has never been greater for the wailing women to come to mourn and lament over the ruined houses (Jer 9:17-19). 

But Pilgrim, take comfort as you look out across the devastation of the landscape - for He is shaking created things, He is shaking the idols from the land, so that what cannot be shaken may remain. And precious Pilgrim, do not neglect to take heed of this word of wisdom: “Build yourselves up in your most holy faith!” (Jude 20)

Build up, build up!

It is only in your most holy faith that the building up can take place. When man builds apart from God, looking to make a name for himself, it leads to judgement (Gen 11:4). Yet even when David desired to build a house for God to honour Him, the Lord told him that He would build a house for David, and establish the throne of his kingdom for ever (1 Chr 17:10). So the Temple was destroyed and raised again in three days (John 2:19) – and He Himself laid as a foundation in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation.

He brought revelation that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God to man, and on this rock He began to build His church. And just as He began to build His church by the revelation of Jesus Christ through faith, so too the church is built up in the same way (Col 2:6-7), through the ministry of the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:4-16, 1 Cor 14:12,26) and the word of His grace (Acts 20:32).

But some have built on the foundations with wood, hay and straw - and the walls are in need of repair. The word of God is like a hammer that breaks a rock into pieces, the word of God will destroy the false idols - land, land, land, hear the word of God! Otherwise, He will breathe on the walls of wood, hay and straw with the fiery breath of His mouth and they will be burnt up.

Build up, build up!

The walls can be built up again. The Repairer of Broken Walls will rebuild the walls of faith. He will reveal Himself to those who believe He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. To those who do not refuse Him who speaks, to those whose hearts and flesh cry out for the living God, to those who come to Him as children asking Him for His good gifts, He will manifest Himself. He will not quench a faintly burning wick. He will breathe upon it and say “Receive the Holy Spirit” and it will be fanned into flame. To those who tarry in Jerusalem, acknowledging their lack of power, and their absolute need for His outpouring upon them, He will come! To those who see their emptiness, their brokenness, their need to be filled, to be empowered by Him, to be emboldened by Him, to be directed by Him and instructed by Him, He will come! To those who are not ashamed of their thirst or their hunger for Him, He will come! But we must wait upon Him! We must seek Him! We must ask Him! We must keep knocking at the door! Oh, for a touch from Him! Tarry, dear Pilgrim, tarry in Jerusalem. But come, He will. And the mustard seed of faith will grow and bear beautiful fruit unto Him.

Build up, build up!

Dear Pilgrim, unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain. Indeed, it is the Father Himself who is seeking for those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth, through the Spirit of Truth. So come to Him, dear Pilgrim, come to Him. For Jesus Christ is a living Stone, He is the Master Builder, and we are His house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast. Pilgrim, do not lose heart! Do not be discouraged! You who call on the Lord, give Him no rest and give yourselves no rest until the building is complete. Let us offer Him our broken spirits, our broken, contrite hearts! He will not despise this! And may it please Him to build up the walls of Zion.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Dear Pilgrim, have you need of a friend?

It is my greatest honour to share with you today this guest post by a very dear and precious friend of mine, Elizabeth DeBarros. May you read and be blessed, dear Pilgrim!

Dear Pilgrim, are you lonely?

Are you bruised? Have all your elders and betters left you? Are you longing for some comfort in your short time here on earth?

Have you need of a friend?

Then pray. Ask of God. If He can arrange the sun, moon, and stars and by the breath of His mouth hold them in place, then surely He can send a raven to feed the hungry. I know this to be true! He has brought me meat and bread when there was none. And how do you suppose?  By coming on the wing of a friend who was at the ready, bringing me a cool drink after the brook had dried up.

O Pilgrim, lift your head. Cry out. Ask of Him. A friend is one of heaven’s good and perfect gifts, and certainly your Father knows how to give such. He knows what you need. Will you trust Him?

Now, may I offer you some friendly counsel?

It is not unusual to long for a companion, someone with whom to walk alongside on this world-weary, dust-laden trail. Heaven knows the birds do not talk back, the winds murmur and return to the hollow, and the feet grow stiff without the earnest and stirring warmth of a faithful companion. But gems are rare, and they are even harder to find. After years of searching, the soul tends to take to itself, and grows forlorn in the desert. How dim the light can be! This is where malaise can set in, a hardening of the heart, a sort of soul-sickness producing a coldness that becomes all too tempting. Don’t allow this. It will be a cancer for which there is no cure. You must keep your heart ever tender, ever yearning, ever believing that God knows what you have need of, and He will take the best of care and in due time.

This moment begs a question: Could it be that, in this lonely time, God might want you all to Himself? Does not your Father have the right to draw you aside, bring you into His chamber, and teach you what it means to lean on the arm of no man save His own? This, too, is a faithful wound, one that yields strength and promise for those dark, wintry nights of the soul. Find in Him this friend, one who sticks closer than brother, and your journey will lighten, the road will open up, the mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

O, but to have someone like yourself — yet different — to confide in is among the best of comforts. A friend to lean on in times of trouble, to reveal old scars and fresh wounds to, now this is most assuredly a heavenly gift! It is as though a sunbeam has been appointed to shine downward upon you, like the sending of good news from another country altogether! This, the tall glass of water you’ve been thirsting for, after all the many disappointments and mirages, is the genuine friend who fulfills the order tenfold.

Dear Pilgrim, when He sends a friend to bless, there is no trouble added. This heavenly bond is reserved for His saints, wherein abides a mutual affection found in Christ. Ask Him for this kind of friend and you will be drinking the dew of heaven.

By Elizabeth DeBarros ©

About the Author: ELIZABETH DEBARROS makes her home in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in northern Virginia with her husband of 24 years, their two sons, and beloved cat, Adagio. She cares deeply for people, words, theology, Darjeeling, and likes taking long walks in any kind of weather. She can be found at Finding the Motherlode sharing her thoughts, observations, poems, and the occasional firebrand.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Dear Pilgrim, have you clasped the feet of Jesus?

Anointing His Feet by Wayne Forte © (used with permission)

Dear Pilgrim, have you clasped the feet of Jesus in your worship of Him? Do you recall the response of the disciples when the risen, victorious Jesus came to them and said “Greetings!”

Note, they are not scrabbling in the dirt at His feet. They clasped His feet. They gripped, and clung onto, His feet. Pilgrim, have you clasped the feet of Jesus in your worship of Him?

We have a beautiful picture of this in the story of Ruth. Her mother-in-law Naomi, says to her “My daughter, should I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you?” To find rest and provision, she points Ruth to her Kinsman-Redeemer, and tells her “go and uncover his feet and lie down, and he will tell you what to do.”  Uncover his feet, lie down at his feet. Dear Pilgrim, have you uncovered the feet of Jesus? Have you lain down at His uncovered feet and waited for Him to tell you what to do?

These feet….feet of which we first read in Genesis 3:15…where we find out that His heels will be bruised by Satan. We read in Psalm 22:16 that His feet will be pierced. We read in Revelation 1:15 that the feet of the risen, victorious, ascended Jesus are “like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace”. Does this not remind us of the brazen altar in the tabernacle, with its grate where the fierce fire of the Lord would burn up the sacrifice to enable the worshippers to be put right with God? But was it not bronze which was able to withstand the fiery judgement and wrath of the Lord when the rebels brought their own incense before the Lord (see Num 16:35-39)? Does this not all point to the cross and the way in which He suffered for our iniquities –it is because of our sin that these feet have suffered, it is because of our sin that these feet have been bruised and pierced, it is because of our sin that these feet have been through the fires of the furnace of God’s wrath.

Oh Pilgrim, clasp these precious feet! Clasp these feet and weep, you who would worship Him! Cover them with your tears! Then wipe His feet with your hair. Wipe the tears away. For He was not defeated by the sacrifice He made - look, He is robed in splendour, and strides forward in the greatness of His strength! “It is I, proclaiming victory, mighty to save!”. Replace your tears with kisses: “Kiss the Son!” And then pour out your perfume on His feet and fill the room with its beautiful fragrance – the perfume He has given – the prayers of the Holy Spirit, who intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express – these prayers which rise like incense before Him.

Now that you have uncovered His feet, dear Pilgrim, wait and He will tell you what to do. Listen: “Your sins are forgiven…Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Allow Him to wash your feet – yes, Him, your Creator! – allow Him close enough to wash your feet that you might not only be forgiven, but cleansed. Allow His Spirit to come into you and raise you to your feet, and you will find that He makes your feet like the feet of a deer, enabling you to stand on the heights. Then allow Him to put sandals on your feet that you might be ready to go forth and proclaim the full gospel truth as He wills. And you will find that the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet – as He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet, when they will become the footstool for these most precious of feet. 

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Dear Pilgrim, do you long to see clearly?

Dear Pilgrim, do you long to see clearly? Do you desire to have clarity of vision? Oh, Pilgrim, you have set your heart on a noble thing…but this is a painful path to tread.

Are we not like the idols we worship – with our eyes plastered over so that we cannot see? Are we not feeding on ashes, misled by a deluded heart, helpless to save ourselves? Are we not like the blind, groping along the wall, feeling our way like people without eyes, stumbling at midday as if it were twilight? Are we not walking in darkness, living in a land of deep darkness?

As you open your eyes which have been released from their captivity, light rushes in to your eyes. Light! But having lived in a land of deep darkness for so long, this sudden rush of light sparks a painful reaction! The pain! Oh, the pain! The darkness….it somehow seems more appealing than the light. The is familiar, it is safe, it is what you know…..the land of the shadow of death.  As the light brings more sight, you see something….but it scares you, it frightens you. You see people walking around….yet they do not look like people. They look like trees. You are confused, frightened, bewildered. You shut your eyes again, the sting from the light made them water, you wipe the tears from your cheeks. Denial feels safer than the truth.

You face a choice now, dear Pilgrim. A choice to stand where you are, or to run away. A choice to trust Him, or to hide in the darkness. I can see your struggle, dear saint. And now I can see realization crossing your closed eyes as you whisper to yourself "If I say 'Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me', even the darkness will not be dark to you, the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you." You continue to stand where you are, holding onto a mustard seed of faith that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.

Oh, glory! For once more He reaches out and puts His hands on your eyes. You feel the touch. You feel safe in His hands. You hear Him say to you “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” You feel safe. Safe. You dare to open your eyes again.

Oh, precious Pilgrim! Now your eyes are opened, and your sight is restored, you can see everything clearly! The people no longer look like trees walking around – they look like people! You can see them plainly! The sting of pain has gone from your eyes! You have bought salve from Him to put on your eyes so that you might see – salve, ointment, that initially brings the sting of pain, but if only we will resist the urge to brush it away, to persevere, then, oh Pilgrim, then He brings the comfort, the refreshing balm, the soothing touch to take away the pain, to restore sight. Allow Him to brush away the tears from your cheek.

And now that you can see, dear Pilgrim….let the light of His face shine upon you

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Dear Pilgrim, how are you clothed today?

Dear Pilgrim, how are you clothed today?  As you have walked this pilgrim path, He has lifted you out of a slimy pit, out of the mud and the mire; you have fallen face down before His glory; you have been made to lie down in green pastures; you have struggled against the rulers, the authorities, the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms;  you have crossed through valleys and scaled mountain peaks; you have stood on the heights. May we take a look at your garments?

Oh, dear Pilgrim – don’t hide your face in shame. Weary from your pilgrimage, you believe you are bedraggled, unkempt and stained…come, let me comfort you, I know how you feel. But take reassurance from this – that whilst the unrighteous know no shame, for they do not even know how to blush, it is those who are His, who know Him, who cry out “Let us lie down in our shame, and let our disgrace cover us. We have sinned against the Lord our God, both we and our ancestors; from our youth till this day we have not obeyed the Lord our God." But Pilgrim, take this nugget of truth to heart:  Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered

Oh, precious Pilgrim – how He has clothed you – but He hasn’t patched up what was already there, for no-one tears a piece out of a new garment to sew on an old one.  No, He has given you new garments. Jacob came dressed in the clothing of his brother to obtain his father’s blessing. We have been dressed in the clothing of our Brother and have received the blessing of our Father.  Jonathan, the son of the king, gave his royal robe to his friend, David, whom he loved.  The Son of God has given His royal robes to us, His friends, whom He loves. Esther, bride of the king, clothed herself in royal robes to enter the presence of the King to seek his favour. We, as the bride of the King, come clothed in royal robes to enter the presence of the King, and we are assured of His favour, for this is the Year of the Lord’s favour!

Just as the father called for the best robe to be brought for the prodigal son upon his return and clothed him with it, so our Heavenly Father has called for the best robe to be brought for us to wear – He has clothed us with Christ Himself!

And Pilgrim – take in a deep breath. That fragrant aroma - His robes in which He has clothed you are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia.  This fragrance – the myrrh and cassia - does it remind you of the myrrh and cassia used in the fragrant blend of the sacred anointing oil in the tabernacle, which was poured upon Aaron, the high priest, to consecrate him for service to the Lord? This precious oil, which was poured on his head, and ran down upon the collar of his robes? The dew of Mount Zion! And what did our High Priest proclaim? “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.”  Pilgrim, do you see? The fragrant aroma – it is the Spirit of God! He has clothed us with the Spirit of God!  Is this not why Adam and Eve knew no shame when they were in the Garden of Eden, naked – for they were clothed with the Spirit of God? And in this clothing they were able to walk with Him, speak with Him, hear His Voice speaking to them! Oh Pilgrim, listen to His Voice speaking to you: “The fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon”  - the beautiful fragrance of the cedars of Lebanon! You, Pilgrim, are clothed with the Spirit of God! Take heart, Pilgrim, that as you continue to walk the pilgrim path, just as the robes of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were not scorched from the fiery furnace, and there was no smell of fire on them, so the fragrance of your robes will remain pure as you walk on – the power of the Spirit of God!

Come, Pilgrim – let Him take away your shame. Every last part. Show Him your wounds, your broken heart, your sin, allow Him to come and cover all of you. Ruth’s kinsman-redeemer, Boaz, spread the corner of his garment over her. Let your Kinsman-Redeemer cover every last part of you. And as you look up into His eyes, the eyes of Jesus, our Brother, Friend, High Priest, King, as you look to Him you will be radiant, and your face will never be covered with shame.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Dear Pilgrim, do you tremble at the shaking?

Dear Pilgrim, do you tremble at the shaking? The shaking you currently see, the shaking that will come? Come, as we walk this dusty pilgrim road together, let us contemplate the mountains.

Ancient, from old.  How they rise from the plains, imperious, towering, majestic. Silent, brooding, not speaking of all they have seen over the years. Solid and unyielding, their presence inspires awe as we make our way along this path. They remind us of our fleeting presence here on earth, of our insignificance, our smallness. They point us to the greatness of Him – for He created them by the power of His Word. The mountain peaks belong to Him, all of them. They depend on Him for their existence – for He sustains all things by His powerful Word – all things. They eagerly drink from His hand – for it is He who waters them from His upper chambers. They even sing for joy before Him as He comes to judge the earth.

But take note, Pilgrim. As He looks at the earth, just looks at it, it trembles, and as He reaches out His hand and touches the mountains – they smoke before Him. As He comes in judgment, can it be? The mountains – look, Pilgrim! They are melting like wax before Him! The earth – it gives way, and the mountains – they are falling into the heart of the sea! The mountains are quaking – quaking in fear, Pilgrim – quaking, as the waters of the sea roar and foam and surge. Oh, Pilgrim! Even the mountains are as nothing before Him, His might, His justice, His holiness! It is no wonder, Pilgrim, that as He comes in judgment, the wicked will cry out to the mountains and the rocks “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?”

But God has a mountain of His own. Just as He is making distinctions amongst the people, He is making distinctions amongst the mountains. And on this particular mountain, His holy mountain, He has installed His King! He will establish this mountain as the highest of the mountains, and it will be exalted above the hills

It is no wonder that Mount Bashan, that majestic, rugged mountain, is gazing in envy at the mountain where God chooses to reign, where the Lord Himself will dwell forever.  For the Lord loves this mountain more than all the other dwellings of Jacob. It is on this mountain that the Lord bestows His blessing and life forevermore. It is on this mountain that there will be deliverance

Yet this mountain is called an outcast. No one cares for her. Hear the word of the Lord, you mountains, you people! This is the mountain over which the Lord burns with jealousy, and He will return and dwell in her.

Mount Zion.

But who may ascend this mountain of the Lord? Oh Pilgrim, we have confidence that we can, for we are trusting in His King, and He has cleansed our hands and He has purified our hearts! And as we continue to trust in Him, Pilgrim, He makes us like Mount Zion which cannot be shaken but endures forever! Other mountains will be shaken and fall – but Mount Zion will remain! We, too, like Mount Zion, may walk this pilgrim path as outcasts. Those with no understanding will envy that His Spirit dwells in us, that as King He reigns over us - yet rejoice, Pilgrim! Rejoice, for how great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God! And Pilgrim, oh, even your name points to this! For those whose hearts are set on pilgrimage, whose strength is in Him, are blessed – they will go from strength to strength till each appears before Him in Zion!

Pilgrim, fear not at the shaking. It is necessary, so that what cannot be shaken may remain. And so the redeemed of the Lord shall walk in Zion, those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing, everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away!

Friday, 5 July 2013

Dear Pilgrim, is your thirst desperate?

© Elizabeth DeBarros 2012 - "Womb of the Morning"

Dear Pilgrim, is your thirst desperate?

In His grace has He made your thirst for Him so desperate that you would spend a precious night before Him, panting for Him, your eyes staying open through the watches of the night, rising before dawn, crying out for help from Him? For darkness covers the earth, thick darkness is over the peoples. Our need of Him has never been so desperate.

Let me take you to the Cave of Adullam, the cave of Refuge, which points to the One who is our Rock, our fortress, and our deliverer, our Rock in whom we take refuge. See here David, sheltering in his Rock as he seeks to defeat the enemy in the Valley of Rephaim, or giants. See how he becomes aware that he is thirsty, how he longs for some water to drink. 

Listen! “Oh that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem!”

Do you see - even sheltering in the cave of Refuge, it is possible to still be thirsty. For it is His desire that we come to Him as children and ask Him to quench our thirst! It is His desire that our eyes be opened to the greatness of our need, that we might cling to Him, that we might see Him and behold His power and glory! But dear Pilgrim, we need to ask! Oh, how we need to ask!

Watch! Three mighty warriors are stealthily breaking through enemy lines, seeking out water from the well of which David spoke. How they are risking their lives! How they must love David, to be ready to lay down their lives for him to satisfy his thirst in this way! See their success as they bring the water back to the one they love.

Look! David is chastened. He sees the love of his friends, their willingness to lay down their lives for him to quench his thirst. He cannot drink of this water. He pours it out as an offering before the Lord, seeing the water for which he longed as their life-blood which they were willing to sacrifice for him.

Dear Pilgrim…has your gaze been shifted towards Calvary, to the cross on which One willingly gave His life for His friends? To the Roman soldier now coming to thrust a spear into His side…that blood and water might pour out? Do you see how He willingly poured out His blood that He might quench our thirst? But this is not water drawn from a well, my friend. Now that He is risen, ascended and glorified, He can send rivers of living water to us. Oh, Pilgrim, do you see - not even just the water from one river, but the water from many rivers! What abundance He has to offer us! Oh, Pilgrim, He has made us thirsty that we might drink of the abundance of the rivers of living water that are available in Him!

Come, Pilgrim. David could not drink of the water, for that water would only satisfy his physical thirst. His pouring out of the water before the Lord speaks to how he was looking for water to satisfy his spiritual thirst. How desperate we are for this spiritual water! Oh Pilgrim, how desperate we are! How we need to wait for Him more than watchmen wait for the morning.  But Pilgrim, take note of this blessed picture, that when He comes knocking during the night, His head is drenched with dew - He brings with Him the blessing of the early morning dew that speaks of Him quenching our thirst. 

Precious Pilgrim, will you help me? Will you remind me of my desperate thirst? Can we encourage one another to seek Him with all of our being, so that if in His grace He should come calling during the night to meet our thirst, He will not find us asleep? As we shelter in the Cave of Refuge, can we seek Him together? For just as the three mighty warriors point us to the Quencher of our Thirst, so too they give a beautiful picture of the blessedness that comes from seeking for water from Him in unity. The dew of Mount Zion will fall upon God's people seeking Him in unity.