AUTHOR – BILL TAYLOR
COPYRIGHT 2017 – BILL TAYLOR
PUBLISHED BY BILL TAYLOR AT Shakespir
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Special thanks to Shila and Pragna for their encouragement and inspiration
Race horses while competing, wear “blinders” to prevent them from being distracted. For our four legged friends, staying focused on the job at hand is the goal. Well, we are not race horses but according to the God, we who call Christ Lord, are running a profoundly important race of massive eternal significance every day of our lives.
As we compete, we likewise should desire to remain focused but that’s where the similarities between us and horses begin to part ways. The horse is trying to ignore others of the same ilk that surround it, while we are called to walk in a keen awareness of those who cross our paths. The horse’s focus is on the finish line. Our finish line has already been established through the cross of Jesus, thus our focus is on the immediate. The “right now”. The one standing next to us in the moment. Therefore it stands to reason: We must see them!
When we don’t, we tragically choose to wear “blindfolds” and become introverted, closet, faith walkers. Blindfolds are self-produced and self-applied to help us keep our eyes on US along with our perceived best interests!
Walking “blindfolded” by choice, is a condition that finds its dwelling half way between ”not in” and “all in”. To recognize the danger of such an approach consider a race horse running with its eyes closed!
Awareness Of The Big Picture
To state the obvious: Blindfolds are meant to blind but not entirely! If you were to take a piece of cloth and cover your eyes, in short order you will notice something of a profound nature.
YOU become all that exists in your mind! Everything else gets enticingly vague while YOU find yourself pedestalled as the center of your existence.
Interestingly, while being blinded to others, you can still see YOU. Our short-sightedness can become acute over time! It can transpose itself into a sense of normal thinking with a certain degree of justification. After all, everyone else is doing it! Opportunities to bless come and go unnoticed as if irrelevant. Everything is effected as our lives become “small picture” when God is offering an overwhelming “big picture” perspective for us to live in.
As mentioned: “Everyone else is doing it”. Well maybe, but Jesus didn’t and it’s He we follow!
Rather than living from the inside out, as prescribed by our Lord, we become inverted and live from the outside in. The late Keith Green so beautifully penned: “It’s so hard to SEE when my eyes are on ME”. The truth is, it’s impossible!
A Weekend Spent With Eyes Wide Open
I‘m writing this book on Monday morning while still basking in the wonderfulness of the past weekend. Life in Christ is meant to be amazing and amazing it is when we walk in it aware of its divine importance. Us followers of Jesus are not simply putting in time as is the status quo way of existing. You see we don’t exist, we LIVE because Christ lives, thus LIFE in Christ!
We are exquisitely privileged to be allowed and trusted to participate in heaven’s story as we walk with eyes wide open. It’s a massively magnificent story of immeasurable magnitude with complexities beyond our imagination’s abilities to comprehend!
The plan was that I would be baptizing Shila in the lake. Not going “old school” for the sake of it though. The Lake Ontario waterfront at Port Hope has special significance to both Shila and I.
Back in the day so very long ago when life was truly crazy, many a tear had been sobbed while staring out at these same waters, we would now be celebrating Christ imparted “new life” in.
Therefore, the location was personally perfect. As it turned out, Friday got much bigger as did the importance of the location. Here’s a little recap for your hopefully spiritual edification.
After Shila and I joyfully finished with “our plan” the “real plan” in its entirety began to reveal itself. While packing up the car before taking a walk through the lovely town of Port Hope, we met a wonderful man with a heart to match named Ian, who had been sitting on a picnic table near the water observing Shila’s baptism. Ian was a resident of Port Hope, fifty two years of age, a Lutheran Christian, and had MS.
We spent about forty five minutes of God appointed, anointed, and blessed time together, during which we sang:
Here I am to worship
Here I am to bow down
Here I am to say that you’re my God
You’re altogether lovely
Altogether wonderful to me
Ian sang along as if it was one of his favorites. Actually, I think Ian initiated the impromptu worship service! Before we went our separate ways with a shared embrace, the three of us held hands and prayed that this amazingly beautiful “Altogether Lovely One” who we had been singing about, would transform Ian’s obvious issue of concern ( MS ) into His glorious healing touch.
As we embarked on our walk Shila mentioned: “You know Bill, as much as it’s true that we came to Port Hope for my baptism, God had something far more intricately complicated in mind. We came to pray for Ian! How amazing is God that He orchestrated and choreographed this entire day, and we without knowing, simply walked into it and responded!”
Folks, you simply can’t have that insight while wearing a blindfold! May it be our prayer: “Open our eyes Jesus, to see[* *]YOU in every moment because YOU are in every moment and invite us to join YOU in those moments”!
I’m convinced these, “Mountain Top Moments” when we find ourselves aligned with the plan of heaven are always available for those who desire to see what is always there in the unseen.
As Shila said so beautifully: “We don’t create them, we simply walk into their God provided reality”! Two worlds operating simultaneously under the sovereignty of God’s orchestration!
And we get to participate as if in a divine dance with our Creator! Our Creator leads and we the created, follow. Amazingly privileged! At day’s end Shila’s final words on her special day: “This is a day I’ll never forget”! Indeed, nor will I Shila, nor will I! It was quite a day! It was LIFE at its finest!
Ian, his wife, Shila, and myself, all walked away from our encounter with “a story” of “God’s glory” to be shared with others. You folks would be some of those others!
Isn’t it interesting how God’s reality always has a “rippling effect” like a stone being dropped in water.
I’m thinking: On Friday Shila was the stone contacting the water and God provided the ripples.
Hello And Good Morning!
Sunday morning arrived with me suffering a little with self-inflicted discomfort from over eating at my Son’s home the day before as we celebrated Father’s Day on the Saturday. I, now being a fully entrenched bachelor, “real food”, is not something I seem able to consume in any way that remotely resembles moderation. I don’t cook as others would perceive cooking to be. My oven is spotless. When I go grocery shopping the cashier has to wear gloves to prevent frost bite, so you get the picture! I’m seriously dysfunctional in the kitchen!
But it was Sunday morning and I wanted to attend church. So to the shower I went with a hope and prayer that somehow the cascading water beating on my body would help. Well, as was the predicable it didn’t help but it did wake me up. The twenty minute walk to church would be just what the doctor ordered I thought, so off I went.
South on Markham Road was my often travelled route. But this Sunday would be different as I said, “Hello And Good Morning” to a young man in his thirties heading North on foot. Usually, “Hello’s” are expressed with everyone’s feet still moving. A quick greeting with somewhere to go as the motivation to its non-stopped mobility.
But this “Hello” had all four feet involved ground to a sudden halt by God as my new friend and I spent a rather long time sharing the goodness of God together. It interestingly turned out that David was returning from the exact same church as I was heading to. It’s amazing how you can lose track of time when immersed in God’s designed plan for your moment of ministry.
I arrived at church just in time to turn around and go back home! I had missed the entire service although thankfully, the walk did wonders for my physical discomfort and there was David, that seemed much more important in the immediate!
I sat for a few moments to catch my breath in the AC comfort of my church’s lobby thinking: I really did want to be here today while recognizing the very real value of my time with David.
I felt God impress on my heart this truth: Wherever I am is church. Church is an ALIVE spiritual organism and a 24-7 lifestyle, not a Sunday only thing experienced in a building. That’s not to demean attending church in any way. But isn’t it true: Going to church and being the CHURCH can be two very different things. The first can be accomplished “blind” through habit, while the second calls for voluntary, “in-sightful”, activity with every breath we take.
It’s where “amazing” resides! It’s where God’s stories of intervention are exposed! It’s the place our eyes are opened wide to see the BIG PICTURE of a life lived with a BIG GOD! It’s a dwelling, no one should miss and is available to all!
For The Desirous
The super natural moving of God can be a very uncomfortable realm for some, so available to all doesn’t necessarily mean all are interested. In that you can’t control it translates to avoiding it for many. God’s impromptu moving can be inconvenient. It can happen anywhere and at any time. Therefore the one who God is using can’t be selective nor can they free-wheel. They can’t censor what God would have said or done. They become totally reliant on God’s Spirit. They see their role as privileged by grace and treat it as such.
I believe there are those who are interested, but are also intimidated by a misguided sense of their under qualified status. For those, I have good news. It’s God that qualifies!
Think of Peter: He didn’t know how to walk on water but he did. He didn’t know how to heal a cripple but he did. He didn’t know how to raise a young dead girl back to life but he did! Could he have given lessons after the fact on “how to”? Absolutely not! So, how qualified was Peter?
He was qualified to be a fisherman and that’s it. But here’s the key: Peter was desirous that God would take his paltry life and glorify Himself in and through it. God did the rest but to be noted, God could do nothing without Peter’s permission and submission. There seems to be a cost to being used. Peter had no conditional terms attached to his desire. That mindset is what led Peter to a place called amazing!
All Peter actually did was keep showing up with a burning desire to be used, and God used him. Peter never healed a soul, God did through Peter. Once the Holy Spirit became the driving force in Peter’s life, Peter and his plan ceased to exist. We sing a chorus: ‘My life is not my own, to You I belong, I give myself way, so You can use me”. Peter lived it with the reward of surpassing worth!
The bible stories are endless of those who recognized what was available in God and gladly gave up Themselves for Himself. They all took the little they had and said: “God it’s not much but if You can use it You are welcome to it”. We now refer to these as the great men of God.
God made them great folks! He’s still doing it today. He would like to do it with us! To reveal his true magnificence to a world needing desperately to see His reality explode through His people!
We can’t express what we’ve never seen so let’s take off our blindfolds of religiosity and casual complacency and dive into the deep end of God’s welcoming reality! The world can find religion is any number of places but “reality” can only be seen through us!
Let’s boldly gaze at the wonder of our Creator and then be totally overwhelmed by this truth: That which we NOW SEE, resides within us!
Matthew 4 – 16: “The people living in darkness have SEEN a great light. On those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned”.
Let’s live lives fittingly appropriate of those who have “SEEN” a great light! It’s IN US to do so. It’s our rightful inheritance. To settle for less, as previously mentioned, is tragic!
God would have that none of us would arrive in heaven and sadly realize what could have been but never was, because we refused to remove our blindfolds of assumed comfort!
Blindfolds that we imputed to ourselves as excuses why we couldn’t, rather than looking to our God as our reason why we could.
Perhaps we think that what we see, we will be accountable for, so it’s best not to see. It’s quite the diabolical ploy of the enemy, who would love to rob us of your rightful, radiantly impactful, life in Christ. He knows that once we SEE we will never put that blindfold on again!
That would make us dangerous! Let’s be dangerous folks! Radically dangerous!! Every time we are used by God, it means someone isn’t being abused by the enemy!
“Lord, open our eyes that we may see, that you have birthed in us all, the heart of David waiting to explode on our Goliath’s in victory. Your victory Jesus, in and through us! No one can and no one will stand against you Lord. Replace our self-conscious timidity with Your boldness”.
To remove the blindfold will mean seeing the need, but it will also involve seeing the “Meeter Of The Need”! A visual more than worth it! Jesus is called “altogether lovely” for a reason folks!
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