Plan and Plant for Harvest

 

 

One thing I’ve learned in my many years is that there can’t be a harvest unless something is planted – usually seeds – and many more than you expect to grow.

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Beyond My Understanding

 Beyond My Understanding

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.    Proverbs 3:5

Way beyond my understanding.
All I know is
It was a miracle that remains
And the miracle was a gift
Delivered to crumbling doorstep
Outside my sagging door locked tight
Nailed shut,
Yet breached,
It sat inside on rotting floor
Shining to be opened.
To be believed past unbelief
By miracle, not my doing.

Gift

It is salvation wrapped in grace undeserved.
The gift of faith to see hope once unseen.
A new heart unchained

Full with compassion
And repentance like a changing wind.
Heart to feel abundant love long unfelt
And mirror eyes to see myself as I am seen
Then others too, the same.
And mercy, charity, a call to pray,
A heart to sing, a heart to praise,
Hands to raise, a Book to read

All unwrapped and taken out,

When gift, upon gift, inside gift, unveiled
Then took away all fears and doubts
Healed my aching soul complete
And full and whole, then more, and more
A heart to tell of gifts and Glory,
Of His Great Love,

Holding out poor offerings,
And gratitude, a heart of thanks, 
I thank you JESUS, thank you LORD!

That You should care for me.
To rebuild my house,
To give me gifts,
To give me Yourself.

Oh, Miracles beyond my dull understanding,
Though nothing is beyond Yours,
I can but sit in rejoicing gratitude.
And no better gift
Nor more precious treasure
Could forever enter
Through my splintered door.

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Boiled Down

 

I have taken a hiatus, of sorts, from writing during this demanding season, but the heat has at least served to boil something down for me.  Today, while doing the most mundane work, wrapped in sweat and dirt, I was given renewed purpose and also a new way to express my purpose:

To come to know my Father-God’s GLORY in new, deeper, more exciting, more relevant terms, whether the individual revelations be particulate or magnificent;  and then, in my own way, with His guidance, to constantly make known that GLORY to all the people who have eyes to see, and for all nations who have the ears to hear.

I have faith in His faithfulness to bring this to be in me.

Solid stone heart made tender and pliable.

Unworthiness made righteous.

Dreary unforgiveness fading as the grey flees sunrise.

His Selfless Love replacing selfish “love”.

To come to know and, in the knowing, to make it known…..

Yes, this will be do-able.

He boiled it down.

 

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An Open Letter To My Brother(s)

My dear, dear Brother,

It has been in my heart to write you,  brother that I love, whom I have known all my life, whom I have known for a time, and whom I have not yet met….  That sounds kind of mysterious doesn’t it?!  This letter is about helping you to understand some important things.  You may have been wondering how my life turned out.  Well, it has been quite a trip!

I have seen and done a full range of amazing things.  I have experienced defeats and victories I did not imagine possible when we were “younger boys”.

I have been in places no one should go and also in places of unfathomable beauty.  I have found love, lost it, found it again, and kept it;  been hopelessly discouraged and blissfully happy.

I will forbear detailed descriptions, my brother, for something has happened to outshine, overpower, and truly transcend everything else – every person, place, and experience – that has happened to me in this world.

It is only that sight, that victory, that glorious place and transcendent state of being that I wish to speak of now, for I found what I had never found before, what I hadn’t even sought, (at least not that I knew of) though it was in plain sight.  I had been blind.  Ignorantly arrogant.  Arrogantly ignorant, too.

Then, through God’s Grace, I saw what I had refused to see and went where I hadn’t allowed myself to be.  It was a miracle.  A gift.  A discovery.  A Divine Revelation.  Suddenly, I BELIEVED GOD and I BELIEVED IN GOD!  I BELIEVED IN MY RESCUER and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST!  Those were names I rarely repeated, even as blasphemy.  They just didn’t exist in my vocabulary.

I discovered Who and Whose I Am and that has made all the difference in my life.  I became a BELIEVER.

Of course you might be thinking things like, “How could you do this?  How could you be one of them now?  You were such a good, skeptical agnostic.  A cynic.  You liked atheism.  You are a scientist.  You demand proof.  You are not a superstitious person.  You demand truth.  Don’t fall for The Great Delusion.  Be logical, be reasonable!  Come to your senses, man.”

I have said and thought the same things myself.  Many times, self-righteous unbeliever that I was.

Yes, I am a scientist who loves logic and truth, and I’m a Christian too.  A Christian first.  Let me explain….

(Oh, I wish this were easier for me to explain.  Can you read between the lines?  I’m trusting you to read with an open mind – open to my deep caring and concern for you – and that I wouldn’t try to lead you into any bad place.  If you love me, remember, love engenders trust.  Just trust that your welfare, your good, and your very Life, have been paramount in my mind and heart for at least seven years.)

PROOF

I can offer you no scientific proof that my God exists.  Science can’t prove His existence.  It can’t disprove Him either.  That is not the “job” of science anyway.  Science is a system of knowledge dealing with the operation of general, physical (natural) laws.  However, God created nature.  He is above nature.  He is supernatural!   (No, not “that” kind of supernatural, lol.)  I can’t prove He created nature either.  That requires us to pre-suppose that He exists.  So, we are at an impasse.  I can’t prove to you what I unequivocally know to be the truth.

I’m now beginning to realize what a daunting task I’ve taken on, trying to convince you of the legitimacy of what I now believe with all my heart.  You are blessed with a superior intellect and can easily rebut my every attempt to convince you, if you so desire, (in fact, we do have a spiritual enemy who would be delighted if you do just that) however I only beg your patience, and forbearance.  In respect for our history and if you care for me, please, at least try to suspend your disbelief just for the duration of this letter, like you would for an incredibly imaginative sci-fi movie, as I try to explain.

METAPHORICALLY  SPEAKING

I like metaphor.  Figurative speech.  You and I have carried on whole conversations by substituting oblique words and phrases for “real” ones.  That makes me smile when I think about it!  One of my favorite movies, “Contact”, is loaded with metaphor.  Ellie’s struggle is a metaphor which conveys the struggle of an evangelical worker like me to present the truth of Jesus’ story to an unbelieving world.  Here is a bit of  dialog from “Contact” illustrating how difficult it is to explain the kind of transcendent thing that happened to Ellie Arroway, and to me:

I’m betting you know the storyline.  If you don’t, you should watch this great movie.

Michael Kitz: Wait a minute, let me get this straight. You admit that you have absolutely no physical evidence to back up your story.
Ellie Arroway: Yes.
Michael Kitz: You admit that you very well may have hallucinated this whole thing.
Ellie Arroway: Yes.
Michael Kitz: You admit that if you were in our position, you would respond with exactly the same degree of incredulity and skepticism!
Ellie Arroway: Yes!
Michael Kitz: [standing, angrily] Then why don’t you simply withdraw your testimony, and concede that this “journey to the center of the galaxy,” in fact, never took place!
Ellie Arroway: Because I can’t. I… had an experience… I can’t prove it, I can’t even explain it, but everything that I know as a human being, everything that I am tells me that it was real! I was given something wonderful, something that changed me forever… A vision… of the universe, that tells us, undeniably, how tiny, and insignificant and how… rare, and precious we all are! A vision that tells us that we belong to something that is greater than ourselves, that we are not, that none of us are alone! I wish… I… could share that… I wish, that everyone, if only for one… moment, could feel… that awe, and humility, and hope. But… That continues to be my wish. 

(The italics are mine.)   Yes, I  had an absolutely profound experience.  I can’t prove it, but I can try to explain it.  My Lord wants me to do that – over and over as long as I live on Earth.  Unlike Ellie, I know exactly what happened.  Yes, everything I know as a human being and everything that I AM tells me unequivocally that it was real and is real.  I was given a wonderful gift – one that changed me profoundly and fundamentally forever.  I was, and am, convinced that I am a unique and precious creation of God – His child – and being that, I am loved by Him beyond my understanding.  I am not alone and never have been.  Most importantly, I do wish to share that message with everyone, especially with one as close to me as you are.  That is my wish, my purpose, my duty, and His will for me.

In a future letter, I would like to describe, if it is even describable, what happened in that one precious, spectacular, miraculous, breathtaking, moment when belief replaced unbelief.  But for now, I need rest.  This is exhausting!  But, just know  that I would exhaust myself to my very end to help secure your immortal Life against complete destruction and into the never-ending peace and wonder of God’s kingdom.

With sincere love I wish you well,

Peace upon your House!

Your Brother

Be Careful What You Name Your Kids

Hi friends, Chaff Rantley here agin. How are y’all?

I jist wanted to say i fergive all ya’ll who made fun of my name. I know what my name means. It is the husk of the wheat grain and it don’t have much value. It is thrashed off and blowed away and the Bible likens the wicked and evil doers to chaff. But God made them good to begin with and they made theirselves worthless by their choices and by listening to the evil one. Sometimes a persons name can bring him down. God would like them all to get back their value and they can by turnin around and makin Jesus the Lord of there life instead of there own sorry self bein lord. God’s grace is a valuable gift and when you get it, that makes you valuable agin, but you can only be eligible for to get it by choosing Jesus. You have to sign up to win the grand prize.

I dont know why my folks named me Chaff, i hope it wasnt to be mean but i dont know. Some people give kids goofy names jist to be different. They think they’s bein clever, but that aint funny. All I know is that Jesus is the name above all names and if i believe in His holy name mine dont matter much, but lotsa people dont know that yet.

So, folks if yer expecting a new little one, give some serious thought to the name he or she will have to carry around all their life.  Forgit all  them fad names or the name of the latest popular Hollywierd star.  Forgit yer whim of the moment or spelling Heaven backwards.  Neveah aint no kinda name.  Fergit namin them after common objects like “brick” or “mortar” or “chainsaw”.  And especially dont name them “chaff”.  Why add a burdensome name to all the other burdens they will have to carry through life? Ask God what to name them.  Why not give them a uplifting name?  This is Chaff and like my cousin says – I’m jist sayin………

About The Music Links Below

I don't own, and have no claim on, these music videos. The following are simply links inside my website pointing back to the original locations of the videos. The names of the creators of these videos are cited wherever possible, and only "embedding-enabled" selections are used.

The Basic Christian Library

"Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis. This is fundamentally what Christianity is all about.

"The Case for Christ" by Lee Strobel. Another converted atheist presents His compelling case for believing in Jesus.

"Left To Tell" by Imaculee Ilibagiza. This profound work is her own extraordinary story of endurance, discovery of the Holy Spirit, grace, healing, and an astonishingly compelling account of the necessity for forgiveness.

Compelling Christian Fiction Reads

"The Circle" 4-book series by Ted Dekker.
A man is the bridge between two very different worlds. Sound familiar? Can he save both? This T.D. work is brilliant in my book.

"This Present Darkness" and "Piercing the Darkness" by Frank E. Peretti. Tales of spiritual warfare from a unique perspective. Stirred a small controversy, but sold millions. What are we Christians afraid of? Hey, it's fiction!

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