Man – The Dwelling Place of God (Sunday Quote)

“From man’s standpoint the most tragic loss suffered in the Fall was the vacating of this inner sanctum by the Spirit of God. At the far-in hidden center of man’s being is a bush fitted to be the dwelling place of the Triune God. There God planned to rest and glow with mortal and spiritual fire. Man by his sin forfeited this indescribable wonderful privilege and must now dwell there alone. For so intimately private is the place that no creature can intrude; no one can enter but Christ; and He will only enter by invitation of faith.”
A.W. Tozer
(Man: The Dwelling Place of God)

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What I Can’t Do

What I can’t do, LORD, do for me
When weakness is my only strength
In faintness be my Energy
In battle, LORD, be my defense.

What I don’t know, teach through Your Word
Keep me from earthly wisdom’s bait
Help me trust Scriptures where You’re heard
Lean on Your Spirit while I wait.

What I can’t see, through plank-filled eyes
Illuminate for me today
See others’ specks through grace not pride
Remove my blinders in the way.

What I can’t be, LORD, be in me.
Transform my heart, my soul, my mind
Burn dross and my impurity
Until my silver is refined.

What I owe You, I cannot pay
Can’t be nor do the things I should
In Christ You made for me a way:
He paid for what I never could.

Hebrews 10:14
“For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those
who are being sanctified.”

(Pictures and Poetry, Heidi Viars, 2019)

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Breathing And Other Luxuries — Unshakable Hope

Please check out Bill Sweeney’s latest blog post. You will be encouraged.

Most people don’t think of breathing as a luxury, after all, even the poorest among us can breathe. They wouldn’t be among us otherwise. Luxury: a condition of abundance or great ease and comfort. After almost twenty-three years with ALS, which greatly affects my ability to breathe, I believe the above definition of luxury perfectly…

via Breathing And Other Luxuries — Unshakable Hope

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Deconstruction

I am sitting here in the middle of summer, bogged down by winter.
In early spring our roof partially collapsed from the weight of ice and snow.

We noticed our dilemma in the middle of April after the snow finally melted. Since then we have been busy with insurance adjusters, structural engineers, desk adjusters, and eventually a builder. All have come to the same conclusion, namely that a complete tear-off is necessary before more snow comes. This process includes the removal of the entire roof structure. Shingles, decking, rafters, fascia boards, and gutters all have to go. At this point we hope we don’t have to remove insulation, ceiling joists and ceilings. Our insurance claim for the de- and reconstruction of the roof has moved from a regular desk adjuster to one who handles catastrophes.

The term deconstruction was recently used by a Christian who examined his faith by taking it apart and ultimately rejecting it. The word comes out of philosophy and was popularized by a scholar named Jacques Derrida. According to Wikipedia, “Deconstruction denotes the pursuing of the meaning of a text to the point of exposing the supposed contradictions and internal oppositions upon which it is founded—supposedly showing that those foundations are irreducibly complex, unstable, or impossible.” While carefully considering and critically thinking about a text are important, deconstruction’s teardown of meaning seems to me a catastrophic endeavor.

I am eager for my contractor to get here and take down our roof. I am even more eager to get it put back together. There are many concerns I have. Are long periods of rain causing damage while the roof is gone? What about all the debris? Will the ceilings stay intact? Can we stay here while the construction is going on? How long will it take?

What is far more concerning than the deconstruction and reconstruction of my house is the deconstruction of the Christian faith and Scriptures that some are performing. In the case of my roof, we hired someone who knows much more about construction than we do. Our builder knows how to read an engineer’s report, about weight distribution, and knows his math. He has a measuring tape and knows how to use his tools. When it comes to faith, we have a Master Builder who is able to answer our doubts and questions. He invites us to reason with Him and come to Him with lament when the world doesn’t make sense. Tearing down faith without consulting and trusting the One Who knows us might leave us without a roof over our soul and eventually out in the cold.

 

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 

 

 

“And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
Colossians 1:17

 

 

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
Hebrews 11:6 

 

 

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Change

The other day my teenage daughter came to me with a photo of her when she was a toddler. Because we adopted her when she was older, I didn’t know her back then. She told me what she remembered about the photo and the circumstances. It made us chuckle at the changes that have taken place between then and now.

I am reminded of this conversation as I am processing the news of a well known ex-pastor who renounced his faith. Many years ago his message on dating had swept through Christian circles like a wildfire. Today, he has apologized for the message of that book and has changed his mind on Jesus altogether. 

I must admit it scares me a little. When those who made undeniable commitments to relationships, spouses, and their faith suddenly walk away, what is one to think and do?

The fact is that humans change. From the time we are conceived to the time we leave this earth we are in the constant process of change. Good and bad. Beside the physical changes that occur, we become different friends, spouses, parents, and different followers of Christ. I am not the child I used to be, nor the wife I was 30 years ago, nor the mother I was to my babies. I am also not the Christian I was when I first gave my heart to Jesus.

As Christians we are to look to the One who doesn’t change and His unchanging Word. He has chosen to pour out His eternal, unchanging message through imperfect, changing vessels. While we are encouraged in the Word to be Holy as God is Holy so that the love of God can be seen, we must also understand our depravity before God without Jesus. 

The Gospel does not change. It was set in place before God created man and always will be the only means by which we can approach His throne for all Eternity. The messengers change. The message does not. 

When I grow in the knowledge of such amazing news and in the understanding of my depravity, the Gospel becomes greater. The awareness of God’s grace to me becomes an ever-increasing gift. This awareness of God’s unchanging love toward me may continue to change me toward more Christlikeness. However, I must let humility do its changing work. 

While we may become frustrated with the changes in our lives and the people around us, we can be assured that God and His Gospel do not change.


Numbers 23:19
God is not human, that he should lie,
    not a human being, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
    Does he promise and not fulfill?
~
“Lord, everything around me seems to change continually. 
Please keep me from making idols of flawed ideas and feeble people.
Keep me steadfastly chasing after Christ and Your Word, which stand forever.”

(Pictures and Devotional, Heidi Viars, 2019)

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Up to my Ears


I awaken with shoulders pulled up to my ears,
Greet the morning with worries, with plans and fears.
I walk with my back in a terrible mess –
“Please hurry! I’m busy! Don’t add to my stress!”

I better get on it, spend time in the Word
Plug in to the sermons that everyone’s heard.
Must listen to views on You-tube from preachers
Must squeeze in “the Spirit” from all those teachers.

The newest conclusion in Christendom
Has five million hits, “I should listen to him”
At the end of the day I fall into bed
Can’t recall a thing that anyone’s said.

Too tired to think, too tense to remember
That my life is all Christ’s – My need is surrender.

“Lord, lessen the weight of the noise of the day.
Spirit, whisper to me through God’s Word as I pray.”

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
    for my hope is from him.
 He only is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
    my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

Trust in him at all times, O people;
    pour out your heart before him;
    God is a refuge for us.

Psalm 62:5-8 (ESV)
~

(Poem and Pictures, Heidi Viars, 2019)
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The When-Thens

Beware of the When-Thens. I tell you they are dangerous. As a matter of fact, I have been invaded by them and am only slowly recovering. They are the tiniest creatures, lurking about to discourage their unaware hosts. Like a virus on a cruise ship, they are bent on taking over entire endeavors. When-Thens get into your head and attack your vision. At first you will hardly know you have been infected. Symptoms range from moderate feelings of a need for leisure to laziness and can eventually produce a deep sense of meaninglessness ineverything. In some cases, as in mine, the When-Thens convince their invaded victim to do meaningless tasks to distract her from the most important.

When-Thens derived their name from their most powerful tool. When a When-Then gets into the head of the host, it releases a sense of doubt and tells the unsuspecting victim to put something off until another significant event occurs or something gets done. When-Thens sound like this: “When you get the house clean, then you should sit down to write!”  

Please pray for me to recover fully. I have had a severe case. These When-Thens have gotten into my head and I have heard things like,

“When you get the cracks in the hardwood floor cleaned, then you can write.” 

“When all the kids’ college loans are paid off and the house is renovated, then you should do something fun!” 

“When fall comes, then you should plant an apple tree.” 

“When spring comes, then you should plant an apple tree.” 

(The last two When-Thens have been around for 18 years since we moved in. Unfortunately we have not had a harvest of apples.)

I finally went to my Maker to inquire about a cure. That in itself was reason enough for the When-Thens to launch a blitzkrieg. “When you get some rest, then you should schedule some time with God!” He wrote me a prescription and has told me I better come see Him every day.

Just in case you are dealing with When-Thens here is some of my prescription. But you better go see the Doctor soon!

Luke 12:16-21
And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 

And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ 

But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’

So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

Lord, teach me to seek you in this very moment. Keep me from chasing things and moments that have not come yet. Let me not waste the gifts of today on the worries of tomorrow. 

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