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I was twenty-years-old and spending my first summer in Asia. The sub-tropical heat forced me indoors, so I retreated to my third floor room to spend solitary time before the Word of God and a singular, rotary fan.

 

All summer, a certain long-distance relationship had remained forefront in my mind. He was tall, dark and extremely cute, with a sense of humor that often caught me off-guard. Despite our happenstance first encounter on an airplane, we’d exchanged numbers and I’d seen him several times before this summer missions adventure.

 

He too was spending his summer overseas, with an assignment similar to mine, albeit in another country. His aerograms were filled with joy and depth, stories and Scripture, affection and interest. I’d heard him pray in person and now as I read his prayers put to pen, they only increased the growing interest I felt for this extraordinary young man.

 

As I listened to the oscillatory hum that afternoon, memories of childhood flooded my mind. Since my thirteenth birthday, I’d been praying for a future mate. Beginning with a request that he could wash dishes (since my dad did not), my requirements had grown over the years. Now, I included elements of prayer, Scripture, and leadership with this guy perfectly fitting the bill.

 

“Give Me this relationship,” came God’s Voice, so clearly I could almost hear Him audibly. Startled, I diverted my eyes to the open Bible on my lap. God spoke again in print.

 

“Take now… (the one) whom you love…and offer him there as an….offering” (Genesis 22:2).

 

I balked at such a request. “Wasn’t this exactly what I’d prayed for? Wasn’t this a relationship that could please God fully?”

 

“Give Me this relationship,” came the Reply.

 

I don’t know how long I hesitated. Nor how long I argued. The thought occurred to me that maybe I could just offer this to Him and He would stay my hand at the last minute — just like He had in Abraham’s case. But this, He did not do. As He continued to lead me up this mountain, it became crystal clear He wanted me to lay down the relationship. Finally and completely.

 

In an anguish of soul I hadn’t experienced to date, my prayer reached the appointed plateau. As an act of my will, I placed this relationship before the Lord and felt it severed from my soul. Sobbing and exhausted with internal distress, I lay him before the Lord.

 

Then, in a radiance whose memory still causes my heart to pulse, I saw the Lord. With brilliance of Light and glow of Presence, He lifted me into His rest. Splendor so filled my heart that any lack of the previous moment vanished amidst His fulness. Like sinking into a warm whirlpool on a frigid day, my entire being was immersed in His bathing Light. Resplendent, nourishing, invigorating, strengthening, His Light absorbed every dark place, gleaming without glaring. Diamond-brilliant without blinding.

 

His Light was worth it all. His Grandiose Presence was far better than my granulated present. None else could compare. I gazed with wide-open spiritual eyes at His Remarkable Countenance, realizing that in the very glimpse of Glory I was being transformed. He was crystal, transparent, flawless, brilliant, incorruptible….yes, indescribable. I bowed awe-struck and speechless, and to this day remain unable to fully describe His glory.

 

What is your well-loved Isaac? What do you need to lay before Him?

 

He asks for your gift 

in order to give Him room

to fill you to overflowing.

Holy Father,
   Praise You that You are Light and in You there is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5). You are not afraid of the dark and go boldly into darkness so that Your radiance shines there (John 1:5). As I stand in Your Light, I clearly see the dark places still residing within me (Psalm 36:9). Send out Your Light and Your Truth to lead me into further Light (Psalm 43:3). I want to focus on Your remarkable Countenance with wide-opened eyes, so as to be filled with Your Glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). Enlighten the eyes of my heart to truly know You (Ephesians 1:18). In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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distractions

 

I wonder if you know how truly valuable you are? Unseen forces above and below haggle over your life.

 

This should come as no surprise. The evil one knows that if he keeps you unsettled, all your heavenly resources lie unrealized. His object is to keep your mind and emotions distracted away from Christ and thus unproductive.

 

Busyness, anxiety, and entertainments “draw us away in differing directions.” In fact, this is the very definition used for the word “worries” in the parable of the sower. “And the worries of the world…enter in and choke the Word, and it (the Word) becomes unfruitful” (Mark 4:19). Aren’t we constantly drawn away in different directions?

 

Like a restless bee seeking the next drop of nectar, our minds buzz from one diversion to the next. Unsettled and uneasy, we are seduced into thinking our racing thoughts are natural and reasonable. After all, we do not alight on that which is blatantly evil.

 

Yet, in willingly allowing our thoughts to be sidetracked, we climb onto a self-inflicted rack of torture. More deadly than we realize, we voluntarily submit our mind and emotions to satan’s diversions. Thus, positioning our emotions for fear and dislocating our focus into anxiety.

 

The evil one whispers that we have no choice. This frenzied and feverish pace is simply our lot in life. But “what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul” (Mark 8:36)? We’ve stopped fixing our eyes on the glorious image of the Divine and settled for the false image of the world (Psalm 106:20). When we excuse our diverted lifestyle, we too have “exchanged the truth of God for a lie” (Romans 1:25), for “whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23).

 

Oh my precious. Although the battle still rages against your soul, “you have been bought with a great price” (1 Corinthians 6:20). The Holy exchange has been made. “He made Him Who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Because His life is now yours, the peace of God stands ready to protect your heart and mind with a holy, military guard from all hostile invasion (Philippians 4:5-7).

 

The question remains: will you believe? Will you set your mind daily on things above, not the things of this world (Colossians 3:2)? Will you take “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5)? Will it be done to you according to your faith or according to your doubt (Matthew 9:29)?

 

The choice is up to you.