Can’t Post

I knew this would eventually come. But I can’t get out of bed, nor muster up any post for today. (Tomorrow doesn’t look good either). Very severe depression has nailed me, and all I want to do is sleep.

Lynn has been quite understanding, bringing me soups and sandwiches. She is a wonder.

Please do pray for me.

ybic, Bryan

Caving Into the Presence

 

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“Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.”

Hebrews 10:22

 I have never really understood “caving”.  Some consider it a sport, but I guess I really don’t see the athleticism of it.  People actually seem to derive some satisfaction and thrill from exploring muddy caves in the dark.  I guess I can try to grab the basic idea of it, but to me it’s a whole lot like “parachuting”.  Why jump out of a perfectly decent airplane, when you can sit in a Starbucks with a vanilla latte?  It doesn’t compute.

But there is a sense about caving that resonates with the hunger in a man’s or woman’s heart.  Hebrews tell us that we are to enter the presence of God.  The keys will be sincerity and trust.  In other words, a honesty, and a trust that will open up the passage.  Spiritual spelunkers in a quest for His glorOUCC-Cave-Climbingy.

Sometimes something will block a person.  Depression is a barrier for us.  Essentially it effects our passion and strength.  Our pursuit of God is nullified by the corrosive facets of depression and melancholy.  There is no longer any zip or zeal for His presence.  The fire of zeal we once had just fizzles out.  But to reach our goal, we need to squeeze beyond the blockage. There is a spiritual resistance.  Our infernal enemy is working against any progress.

So much involves patience and humility.  A person must continue to probe ahead but slowly and patiently, taking their time and monitoring their progress.  Humility is necessary.  An awareness of self and our dimensions in tight spots.  “Am I small enough to squeeze through that hole?”

Our scripture tells us that we have a key to the throne room of God.  Our guiltiness and our defiled conscience have both been cleansed or sanitized from anything that would corrupt us.  We haven’t done a thing.  And we are exhorted to be very bold.  Jesus has made us pure.  We are clean.

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Peanut Butter, Hot Lunch and Dreams

Warning: Rambling post, very tedious. Don’t operate heavy equipment for two hours after reading this post.

I grew up in a big, brick house in Northern Wisconsin. Our beautiful home hid our desperate poverty, and it was quite difficult. My father and mother scraped by enough each week to feed and clothe us. But just barely.  Mom would take some elbow macaroni, and mix it with stewed tomatoes (from a dwindling supply she tried to manage.)

I was oblivious to our precarious situation.  I carried a plain peanut butter sandwich to school for years, but I had a simple dream of getting “hot lunch.” I was tired of peanut butter, as I watched all the other kids eat pizza, hamburgers and (my fav. mashed potatoes with a pat of butter.) I ate PB for several years.  You could stucco a house with what I ate.

I wasn’t really settled in my heart or thinking.  I developed into a bipolar childhood that had quite a bit of depression, and a load of impulsivity.  I was an impossible child, and I  was out-of-control. I was either terribly manic or profoundly depressed.  My Mom and Dad simply didn’t know or grasp my mental illness and how it was effecting me.

A repeated nightmare worked its claws into my thinking. I would wake up sobbing, almost inconsolable. I had this dream several times in my teens, and can still 40 years later taste the panic. In this dream, I would be lifted up and laid on a slow conveyor belt.  I would be on my back, and I would see over my feet a giant roller.  This roller had big nobs on it and it was rolling over what the conveyor belt brought to it.  In this dream I was paralyzed, unable to escape this giant crushing roller.  I kept fighting, and trying to escape.  But, I was completely frozen.

I would waken just as my feet met the roller.  The fear I had was as intense as any I ever had.  (Except when I had to go down to the basement, but that was more reasonable.)  I would repeat this dream several times, and it was always the same.  I haven’t had this dream for 30 years or more, but it still has a potency and fear to make me edgy.

Over the many years I have thought about this.  I certainly don’t want to mysticize it, or try to force an interpretation out of it.  But it has struck me as a metaphor of my life to some degree.  In this dream I was moving toward an inevitable crushing.  The paralyzing panic was a fair description of where I was at spiritually.

This explanation may sound childish and simplistic.  But it is so workable, and brings a certain comprehension to these terrible moments of fear. And our dreams, well, they are funny things.  All of us, somehow, and in some strange fashion are treated to a surrealistic and fantastical mini-story as we sleep. But what does it mean?

Much of the time, upon awakening, we try to piece together both the chronology and the meaning of what we had just dreamed.  It’s hard to do, most of the time it justs slips away.  Yet, our inner heart always wonders if that particular dream was “good, bad or ugly.”  There are rare times when we can grab on a sequence of events, and relay it to a close friend.

Some things will never be revealed in this lifetime.  But I believe there are certain things in our dreams that the Holy Spirit chooses to bring to light.  We are never sanctioned to seek the meaning of our dreams, but only the Lord Himself.  We should never lean on our understanding, but on our Father and His Word.

P.S. I realize in writing this, I don’t like peanut butter at all.

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The Lord Is Our Shepherd

This is what is called a “found poem,” which means that every line of the poem was found in some other writing. In this case, all of  the lines of this poem are found in the Bible, from the Old Testament prophets, the words of Jesus, and all the way through Revelation.

The lines of the poem do not appear in the order they do in the Bible, but are arranged to illustrate how Scripture maintains a consistent Biblical theme of the Lord as our Good Shepherd watching over His lost and straying sheep.

Lost sheep, may you find yourself in the arms of our Shepherd today.

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The Shepherd

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
Hear us, O Shepherd of Israel,
You who lead Joseph like a flock;
You who sit enthroned
between the cherubim.

Like a hunted gazelle, like sheep
without a shepherd,
each will flee to his native land.
Save your people and bless
your inheritance; be their shepherd
and carry them forever.

He had compassion on them,
because they were harassed and helpless,
like sheep without a shepherd.
This is what the Sovereign LORD says:
Woe to the shepherds of Israel
who only take care of themselves!

Should not shepherds take care of the flock?
The LORD is my shepherd,
I shall not be in want.
“I will place shepherds over them
who will tend them, and they will
no longer be afraid or terrified,
nor will any be missing,” declares the LORD.

Then I will give you shepherds
after my own heart, who will lead you
with knowledge and understanding.
They will follow my laws
and be careful to keep my decrees.
And David shepherded them
with integrity of heart;
with skillful hands he led them.

For you were like sheep
going astray, but now
you have returned to the Shepherd
and Overseer of your souls.
And when the Chief Shepherd appears,
you will receive the crown of glory
that will never fade away.

For the Lamb at the center
of the throne will be their shepherd;
He will lead them to springs
of living water. And God
will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
So the LORD’s people will not
be like sheep without a shepherd.

But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
out of you will come a ruler
who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.
“I have other sheep that are
not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also.
They too will listen to my voice,
and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”

He will stand and shepherd
his flock in the strength of the LORD,
in the majesty of the name of the LORD
his God. And they will live securely,
for then his greatness will reach
to the ends of the earth.

“I am the good shepherd
who lays down his life for the sheep.”
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

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