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 darkness...it 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.