In the Father's Embrace

The reason for this sunset shot,
taken from our front window, being blurred and foggy
is because in Brisbane there have been some fires...
hence the strange effect


"And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off,
his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.' 
"But the father said to his servants, 'Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'"
Luke 15: 20-24 (NKJV)

This Scripture verse spoke to my heart a few days ago. In the past week or so I've felt more strongly then ever my short-comings and coldness of heart, my spiritual lukewarmness. I've found I was making reading God's Word and prayer, a mere duty... something that ought to be done. I made my daily actives distract me from sitting at the feet of Jesus, hearing His Voice and learning from His Word.  You know, when we're in such a state, our hearts cry out inside of us, yearning for that closeness with the Lord again, that desire to be in Communion with Him again. And yet our sins flash before us, our doubts and failings... and the devil tells us, "You have trampled upon the Lord' grace and do not deserve nor may you ask for forgiveness." He tells us that we're too defiled to enter our Beloved Saviour's Presence..."you're a hypocrite while on your knees because soon... you'll for sure sin again." All the while, our Beloved Lord Jesus, with His pierced hands stretched out towards us, continues to call us to Himself. Call us away from the world, its glamour and sin... and all that defiles us... He calls us away from the 'broken cisterns that can hold no water' and beckons us to drink from the living Fountain of Water freely... He wants us to come into His bosom, like the Prodigal Son, and weep at His feet and cry in His arms. He wants us to place all our trusts in Him, lean on Him and put our hands into His and never let go.

Our pride and sin, the sneaky weed growing in our hearts that holds us back from fellowshiping with the Lord and sitting at His feet, chocks and plunges its thorns and thistles into our hearts so that we cannot remove them of ourselves... like the Dragon Eustace (The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis), only Aslan could save him and tear the dragonish skin off him... it is the same with us. Without Him we can do nothing! How often we strive in our own flesh, in our own 'good works' but without Him, we can do nothing, and are nothing.

As I read those words from Luke 15, I felt the Holy Spirit convicting me of my lukewarmness and coldness of heart and that I was falling into despair over my sin when Christ is more than a match for the darkest sins of my heart! He has conquered over sin and death! And over my sin. While I... fearful and cold of heart, wasn't running to Him in repentance. As I read, I saw that the Prodigal Son, who had wasted his life and lived in sin, in depravity... couldn't expect more than to be received as a servant... and yet, his Father's love, forgiveness and compassion completely engulfed him. He was forgiven, and clothed in 'the best robe' (the garments of Salvation) and received with many tears and a feast like none that had ever vested his Father's House.... the Father's love is so amazing... and to think... that our Heavenly Father has loved us, forgiven us, and made us His children (1 John 3)! His corrections are for our good, and He will always lead us, and be our Guide. And praise the Lord, for there is victory over the sin and flesh through our Lord Jesus Christ! He has won the victory... and Satan has no power over us. We have been bought with the blood of the Lamb....

Here is a poem from the book, "The Christian Book of Mystical Verse" compiled by A.W. Tozer that reflects this wondrous love of the Lord, to us, and the heart's yearning for purity of heart and communion with our Heavenly Father.


I Thirst, Thou Wounded Lamb of God

I thirst, Thou wounded Lamb of God,
To wash me in Thy cleansing blood;
To dwell within Thy wounds; then pain
Is sweet, and life or death is gain.

Take my poor heart, and let it be
Forever closed to all but Thee:
Seal Thou my breast, and let me wear
That pledge of love forever there.

How blest are they who still abide
Close shelter'd in Thy bleeding side!
Who thence their life and strength derive,
And by Thee move, and in Thee live.

What are our works but sin and death,
Till Thou thy quick'ning Spirit breathe?
Thou giv'st the power thy grace to move;
O wondrous grace! O boundless love!

How can it be, Thou heavenly King,
That Thou shouldst us to glory bring;
Make slaves the partners of thy throne,
Deck'd with a never-fading crown?

Hence our hearts melt, our eyes o'erflow,
Our words are lost, nor will we know,
Nor will we think of aught beside,-
My Lord, my Love is crucified.

~ Attributed to John Wesley, 1703-1791


Be blessed in the Lord today.
In His love
~Joy

P.S. Sarah has just posted a really lovely post entitled, "He is Alive!" on her blog, "Gems in History". I WON'T tell you what the post is about... you can go and check it out yourself if you like. If you do not have an invitation to view her blog, please either e-mail me or leave a little 'sweet comment' below and Sarah will be sending along an invitation soon :). 

Comments

  1. Dear Joy,

    These words blessed me so very, very much today. The Grace and Love of the Lord is a priceless, incomparably beautiful gift... blessed be His Holy Name. It is amazing, what you shared has been in my heart so much this week, too. The Lord convicted me through this post very deeply. Oh yes, He is more than a match for the darkest sins of our heart! It is so true. All praise to Jesus.When our hearts are stale, we truly do cry out for that communion with Him, that regeneration and renewal through the washing of His precious blood. And satan attacks us at those vulnerable moments with self-condemnation, doubt, fear... ultimately, with a disbelief in the grace of God. His precious, UNMERITED grace, offered so abundantly whilst we were yet sinners. Oh, that we would cast all human striving and thought aside and flee to Him, drinking from the precious Living water, and weep at His feet.

    Hallelujah, our precious Redeemer lives! His mercies are new every morning!

    May He call you this day dear Joy, to abide in His Presence with rejoicing.

    Much love from your sister in Him,

    Maddy

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  2. How true it is, Maddy! I am so grateful that the Lord has been convicting and guiding me and that He has done the same with you. Lately I've been realizing this very much that when I fail or depart from the Lord's presence, I am so troubled and beset by the doubts and fears that the devil plants in my heart and I find myself shrinking away from returning to the Lord's Presence and as you said, "disbelief in the grace of God" and His power to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    Dad always shared that with us how Satan will tempt us to sin because as he says, 'oh, even if you sin, you are saved by grace and He forgives... so it's okay" but then when you DO sin, Satan screams at your face, "You cannot repent or turn back the Lord... you have trampled under foot His mercy and grace and now there is no room for repentance like Esau..."

    But praise His Holy Name, Maddy, that by His Blood there is redemption of sin, and no sin is too big for Him. I love this verse in 1 John... "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness"! Oh praise Him indeed! And yes, He is ALIVE!

    I am so thankful for your friendship too, Maddy, and your encouragement. You are a dear sister in the Lord to me.
    Lots of love,
    ~Joy

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  3. By the way, Maddy,
    I'm sorry not to have replied to your e-mail yet. But now that I've got a week's holiday I'll reply asap Lord willing!

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  4. That will be lovely, having a week's holiday! Harry and Guy are enjoying that :). I love that verse too. He is faithful and just... by His amazing grace we are saved. Praise the Lord! Thanks for sharing sister.

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  5. Yes, I am certainly looking forward to that :). God bless you, dear sister...
    ~Joy

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  6. Dear Joy,
    Thank you so much for sharing this. The Lord has been convicting me of this also lately. My studies have really occupied me heavily and I feel my heart has become cold, yet my heart cries out for that closeness to the Lord that brings us so much joy.

    Praise the Lord for His loving mercy and grace for wretched sinners like you and me! The Lord has been reminding me this past week of Peter when He denied His Lord and how the Lord restored him and gave him a second chance. The song I've posted, 'He is Alive', really reminded me of that. Also the one I've posted today too is very similar (have a look: http://gemsinhistory-sarah.blogspot.com/2011/09/i-love-you-lord.html )

    The Lord is so good to us.

    I love you, dear sister, and may the Lord grant you that closeness that you so desire.
    In Him,
    Sarah

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  7. Dear Sarah,
    I agree! The Lord's loving mercy and grace to us is truly amazing... That story of Peter is truly a reminder to us... I loved the post you had on your blog "I Love You Lord"... I'll comment soon!

    Yes, the Lord is so wonderful! Thank you, Sarah, and I pray the same thing as well for you. May the Lord be your dearest Treasure and the Desire of your heart.

    Love in Him,
    Joy

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  8. Wow, this is so true, Joy.
    I've been feeling, (and this is amazing 'coincidence'!) that I'm not spending enough time with Jesus. Everything he has done for me, and still it is like a schedule, as you said. How can we change this? How can we have that absolute desire to just want to wake up every morning and be with Him? I'm praying that one day I will be so close to Him.... Just writing this makes me feel like I'm talking myself up, like I'm not good enough.
    BUT JESUS HAS SET ME FREE FROM THESE DECEPTIONS. HE LOVES ME.
    And that is enough to help me to feel that perhaps I am good enough; Jesus gave his life for me, so perhaps there is a real special purpose. (Of course there is! You say. But when you are like me, you can't see that sort of stuff. Just trying to stay close to Jesus is the main goal in my life at the moment!!)
    Haha, perhaps that didn't make 100% sense. But that's okay. Your blog has spoken to me today, and perhaps that will be a little bit of encouragement for you.... Keep up the good blogging!!!
    Love Jess.

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  9. Oh, Jessica,
    I was so blessed hearing from you! I know... I feel the same way too, and understand very much what you mean in... EVERYTHING! I also find I'm not spending enough time with Jesus, reading His Word and praying and being in His Presence. Often I find myself getting myself distracted from seeking the Lord... and I know, because it makes you feel so sad, and unworthy... which we are! But yes, Jesus has delivered us, and we can say "NO!" to Satan when he tries to tempt us away from our Lord Jesus. But Jesus has washed us and cleansed us with His Blood... Me too, that's my desire and prayer that I draw closer to Jesus and dwell in His Presence all the day...

    You know, Jessica, we are NOT good enough of ourselves... we can NEVER be... but Jesus is the Perfect One, and He has given us His Righteousness and He has made us Accepted in the Beloved and His own children! I just feel like praising Him for that, and for everything He has done for me... He is so Faithful... my Rock and Fortress!

    :), The Lord has an infinite purpose for you, Jess, like He has for all His children, and yes, we may not see it now, but we can lean on Him and trust... and I want to stay close to Jesus too! Thanks for sharing so much, Jessica, I was sooo blessed by reading what you said! Thanks, by God's grace, I'll persevere with blogging!

    Lots of love, and
    God bless,
    Joy
    P.S. I shall be starting that letter soon I promise Lord willing!

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