September 5, 2017 “Clarity”

Clarity

A heavy fog is a dangerous impediment to orderly travel.
Some drivers ignore the fog and continue to drive at their normal above-the-speed-limit speeds, a practice that is very hard to understand.

  • Fogs turn the presumed safety of multi-lane highways into a blinding menace. In the fog brakes scream and smoke, crashes, unseen but clearly heard, fill the thick air and lives slide and crash as our suppressed terrors become real though still unseen.
  • Daylight brings the horror into view, cars and trucks frozen at odd angles up and down, often merged into mangled sculptures of meetings missed, promises broken, lives interrupted, ended or hanging by a thread, and the occasional miracle of someone simply walking away unscratched.

Even on a clear sunny day, life can become a fogbound journey.
The way ahead is obscured by clouds hanging low to the ground, even to our shoe tops and we cannot see which step to take next.

We need clarity.

We need a fresh wind of the Spirit of God to blow our way, clearing the path before us.

Jesus told us the Holy Spirit moved like the wind in ways beyond our understanding but obvious in their effect in our journey. Like a morning fog, the warmth of the Word and the soft breezes of the Spirit can clear the air for us at the beginning of each day.

Why do we choose the fog over the sweet clarity of the Word of God?
It is not as though all our questions are answered.

  • Mysterious remain, things about God or life that lie just beyond our ability to understand.
  • But mysteries never form a fog bank. They are high flying clouds that momentarily hide the sun only to see it reemerge in light and warmth.

Mysteries cast only fleeting shadows on the path before us. The light behind them is constant and clear.

Of course, we must not be a fogbank to others.
In prayer ask the Lord to show you if your witness has clarity. Let the wind of the Holy Spirit breathe away any fog in your way of living that diffuses the light He has put in you.

Clarity from Him and clarity in witness to Him are ministries of the Holy Spirit.

Scriptures:
John 3:7-8
The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
Job 28:23-28
God understands the way to it and he alone knows where it dwells, for he views the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens. When he established the force of the wind and measured out the waters, when he made a decree for the rain and a path for the thunderstorm, then he looked at wisdom and appraised it; he confirmed it and tested it. And he said to man, ‘The fear of the Lord-that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.'”
Job 37:21-24
Now no one can look at the sun, bright as it is in the skies after the wind has swept them clean. Out of the north he comes in golden splendor; God comes in awesome majesty. The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power; in his justice and great righteousness, he does not oppress. Therefore, men revere him, for does he not have regard for all the wise in heart?”
Psalm 68:1-3
May God arise, may his enemies be scattered; may his foes flee before him. As smoke is blown away by the wind, may you blow them away; as wax melts before the fire, may the wicked perish before God. But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.
Psalm 135:6-7
The LORD does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths. He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; he sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses.
Jerermiah 51:15-16
“He made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding. When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar; he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth. He sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses.
Acts 2:1
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting…

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, You are my constant source of light. When clouds of circumstance hide Your light from me, it is only for a little while. The Bible clearly states that nothing has and nothing ever will extinguish Your light. If today should be one that is overcast, send the refreshing winds of Your Spirit to blow away the cloud cover. And Lord, help me today that I will not cloud the vision of anyone else; not a seeker desperately seeking Your light or a fellow believer looking to me for help. Keep us all safe on the dangerous roads we must travel even when the fog rolls in. Safe in You, Lord Jesus. Safe in You! Amen.

Song:
Open My Eyes that I May See
Words and Music: Clara H. Scott

1. Open my eyes, that I may see
glimpses of truth thou hast for me.
Place in my hands the wonderful key
that shall unclasp and set me free.
Silently now I wait for thee,
ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my eyes; illumine me,
Spirit divine!

2. Open my ears, that I may hear
voices of truth thou sendest clear.
And while the wave notes fall on my ear,
everything false will disappear.
Silently now I wait for thee,
ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my ears; illumine me,
Spirit divine!

3. Open my mouth, and let me bear
gladly the warm truth everywhere.
Open my heart, and let me prepare
love with thy children thus to share.
Silently now I wait for thee,
ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my heart; illumine me,
Spirit divine!

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

May 28, 2017

Seen

Some things are so beautiful they have to be seen to really know them.
The Northern Lights are like that. My father saw them in Alaska in WW2 and he told me about them. I was fascinated. Over the years film and pictures failed to help me see them. A few years ago on a teaching trip to Alaska I stood on a hillside in Kotzebue, inside the Arctic Circle. While the heavens danced over my head, a verse of Scripture repeated in my heart: “The heavens are telling the glory of God.”

Now I can say I have seen the Northern Lights—I have experienced them for myself.

When something has been “seen,” this often means more than a visual recognition of it. We use the word to also mean “understanding,” as in “I have seen the light!

How many eyes do we have?

  • the mind’s eye,
  • the eyes of the heart,
  • the eye for beauty, and
  • the eyes of our understanding.

In a biblical sense, all three parts of our humanity have their own kind of vision:

  • the eyes of the body see the reality of creation,
  • the eyes of soul see patterns of human behavior, the intricacies of mathematics and logic, and wide-screen technicolor movies of our imagination, and
  • the eyes of the spirit, the God-conscious part of us, see the throne of God.

With these eyes we perceive the world, we understand what is observable in life, and we obtain by the Holy Spirit an inner vision of the world beyond our senses and our minds.

This wonderful impartation of inner sight is the work of the Holy Spirit.
It happens when we worship God.

  • As we give God the glory due His name, He enables the eyes of our spirit to see Jesus.
  • To see Jesus is to be changed. To behold Him, to contemplate Him. is to be changed from glory to glory.
  • This is a Bible promise and it really does happen.

Seeing is knowing.
On this Lord’s Day when it is time to sing to the Lord, let’s give it all we’ve got! There is no greater enterprise for the expenditure of our energy. What other activity can open the eyes of our heart? Is there another One we can behold and be changed into His likeness?

When we have seen with the eyes of our own spirit, then we will know as never before because, like those dancing streams of light in the Arctic sky we will have gone beyond the testimony of others or even the high definition photos others have taken. We will have seen for ourselves that God is good and His mercy endures forever, even to our generation.

Scriptures:
Psalm 63 NIV
O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. They who seek my life will be destroyed; they will go down to the depths of the earth. They will be given over to the sword and become food for jackals. But the king will rejoice in God; all who swear by God’s name will praise him, while the mouths of liars will be silenced.
Psalm 34:8 NKJV
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
Isaiah 6:5 NIV
“…my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
Isaiah 9:2 NIV
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.
John 1:14 NIV
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 14:9 NIV
Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.
John 20:18 NIV
Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
2 Corinthians 3:18 NKJV
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Prayer Songs:
Exalted Lord
Words and Music: Steve Phifer

I came into Your holy presence loaded down with care and fear,
Just one hope that something good might happen for me here.
As I hear Your people singing songs of worship, songs of love,
Something stirs within my heart; by faith I’m looking up.

I lift the eyes of my heart toward Your Holy Temple.
I lift my heart with heaven’s songs of love.
I lift my soul to see a throne of majesty and then
I see You, Lord, high and lifted up!

Exalted Lord, I hear Your angels singing,
“Holy, Holy! Holy, Holy!”
I join their song for You alone are worthy.
Exalted Lord, You’ve come and lifted me!

Open My Eyes that I May See
Words and Music: Clara H. Scott

1. Open my eyes, that I may see
glimpses of truth thou hast for me;
place in my hands the wonderful key
that shall unclasp and set me free.
Silently now I wait for thee,
ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine!

2. Open my ears, that I may hear
voices of truth thou sendest clear;
and while the wave notes fall on my ear,
everything false will disappear.
Silently now I wait for thee,
ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my ears, illumine me, Spirit divine!

3. Open my mouth, and let me bear
gladly the warm truth everywhere;
open my heart and let me prepare
love with thy children thus to share.
Silently now I wait for thee,
ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my heart, illumine me, Spirit divine!

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved