Sunday, March 8, 2009

Fall Down Like Rain

Do you ever get a song stuck in your head? I have had the most beautiful song stuck there all week! I don’t even know all the words, but I have had only a few lines running over and over again. I found my heart humming it, desiring it deep within, and washing my mind with it as well. “Fall down like rain, I don’t want blessings—I want You…” So I guess this is why I have been all the more aware of rain as I was reading scripture this week. This must also be why I became all the more blessed with the rain this morning falling gently from the sky. I feel like it has been raining inwardly all week—this soaking, gentle sort of rain. Today I can see how my inside has felt all week. It’s funny because usually I don’t care for rainy days. They seem depressing and sad. My own way of making rainy days happy was to wear fun rain boots and use happy umbrellas.

Previously, I have put crying and rain together, but this week it has been different. For some reason there are no tears involved in the picture. It is more like health in that just as rain is needed for the growth of the barren trees and bushes surrounding us, bringing about spring, so too does my soul need rain—I need God! I need blossoms and new growth. I see the earth about to erupt with the tiniest buds of twisted green or red, waiting to unfold their beauty and grace us with those fresh garments of spring. To hang God’s majesty beautifully draped in greens and yellows, pinks and reds dripping from every tree and rising out from the very ground beneath us. Reminding us of He is creativity and taking our bareness like the gray trees, and astounding us with a fresh new leaf or bud at every turn and twist of our branches. I want that sort of life. One that is fresh and blossoming, full of health and vitality—alive with the display of God at work.

“Rejoice…for the rains He sends are an expression of His grace.” How beautiful is that?! Not weepy, but full of rejoicing! Rain is an expression of His grace. Saturated, and fully absorbed by His grace. Isn’t that the sort of rain that makes you want to go for a long walk in it? It makes me want to go barefooted with no rain boots, raincoat or umbrella, but to let it thoroughly drench and soak me to the bone. Saturated in grace, ah, what a lovely thought. Do you feel it with me? It is not the ugly, cold winter rain. It is that perfect temperature rain that is almost warm. There’s no chill, or anything that distracts from enjoying every drop. Each drop makes you crave the next. It is designed for growth, not destruction, ruin or fury.
Whenever rain falls onto a plant, it causes it to grow. If it falls on weeds—weeds grow. If it falls on potatoes—potatoes grow. “Plant the good seed of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of My love.” How amazing! I have heard “righteousness” defined as right thinking. Inserting that into that verse reads: “plant the good seed of right thinking and you will harvest a crop of my love.” Does that speak anything to you? It does me. For one, if you read it conversely it is: “Don’t plant the good seed of right thinking and you won’t harvest a crop of my love.” That seems like a waste of a perfectly good harvest. Secondly, it says to me that right thinking about God produces a harvest of love, which seems too good to pass up! Do you ever feel like you know God loves you biblically or in your head, but you do not feel He loves you in your heart? For you, it may not be feeling unloved; it may be feeling unaccepted or uncared for. Each of us has some sort of lie we believe that affects how we are behaving. According to this verse, planting the seed of right or wrong thinking may be how we are thinking about God. Wrong thinking about God hinders our ability to feel in our heart what our head says or reads in scripture. We have to think right about Him.

As we think right, the rain will fall on those seeds—even if at first they are only as small as a mustard seed. They will grow and multiply. I don’t have mustard seeds in my pantry, but I do have flax seeds. They are soooo small. It is befuddling to my brain that God would even be aware of something so small in me—that little bit of faith honors God! With that little bit, He sees it and has something to water and work with—He, with something that small, can move mountains! It reminds me of those tiny little specks that you put in water to soak and they grow to be the size of the bucket. Or those Chia-Pet things that look like nothing but become a crop of “fur”. Our faith can virtually look like a speck or a baldish form, but when permeated and filled with God, it becomes enough to move what seemed like a mountain of unbelief and not just a bucket full or a fluffy fur ball.

It is no wonder that Satan keeps our unbelief or wrong belief about God his number one priority. It has been his method of operation since the beginning of time—he is not creative. I have had wrong thinking about Satan as well. I realized that I thought he was creative but realized that only God has that character—He alone can create out of nothing. He shares that creativity with His creation…us! I think Satan only has the same old bag of tricks. He is not creative—crafty, yes but not creative. I have given him too much credit. He hates us to expose his lies, but the best way to expose them is with the light of truth for he is a liar. When he speaks, he does so with his native tongue. There is no truth in him at all (John 8:44).

I just read a definition of righteousness: “right action”. I have a problem with that! I cannot do right unless I think right! My doing is contingent on my thinking. I carry out what I believe. What we believe affects how we behave. To say behave right without believing right is impossible. Wrong thinking leads to wrong behavior. We must think right to behave right. “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” It is even more than what you think in your head, it says, “As he thinks in his heart”. God knows we can think one thing in our head, but our heart is really where we confirm or reject it—so it is with what we believe. That is why when I read another definition of righteousness: “right thinking about God”, it rang true. If I think right about God and believe, this produces right actions. It may be put: “right beliefs about God in our hearts that lead to right actions in our life”. It is in right belief that more right belief is produced. OR in wrong belief, more wrong belief is produced. What is being watered is what will grow. If I accidentally put corn in the row of beans, corn is going to grow there. If the packet was missed marked as being beans rather than corn, corn is still going to grow. It is what is inside that makes the difference.
Yesterday was a gorgeous day. The rain of the previous day turned into huge snowflakes outside our window, piling up in a most beautiful way. As our hunger grew, we all decided chili sounded like the perfect meal. I made it, but it wasn’t as great as I had hoped. No one really remarked that it was all that delicious so I threw away the rest of it and chalked it up to finding a better recipe next time. However this morning as lunch grew near, people started looking for the chili to reheat. They were so surprised to hear that I had thrown it out. “Why did you do that? We wanted it! We were looking forward to warming it up today.” My wrong belief—that they did not like it—led to the wrong action of throwing it away. What I believed affected my actions. Wrong thinking led to wrong actions. What we believe wrongly about God affect our actions. What we believe wrongly about our mate, our kids, or our chili affects how we behave as well.

Believing wrongly about chili has little overall impact. I can make some more. But believing wrongly about God can have huge ramifications. He is the only God there is! People that worship idols become what they worship (Psalms 135:18). If they worship a god that cannot hear, they become deafened to the needs of others. If they worship a demanding god, they too become demanding. Do you see what that means? If you have wrong beliefs about God, it will affect how you relate to others. If you feel God does not accept you as you are, you’ll have a hard time accepting others as they are. If you feel God does not have power over things, and that He has not been powerful in your life, then you will step in and try to take control of it yourself. Our wrong thinking leads to wrong behavior—it waters it in us and it grows a distorted, perverted, messed up god. Notice I did not capitalize god there because it is a false god—not the God Almighty, Maker of the universe, Lover of our soul. Then that is not honoring to God, it is not who He is. He is whole and true. There is nothing messed up about Him. He wants us to know Him for who He really is, what He is really like, and how He really feels about us. He is crazy about us. But don’t believe it because I said so—listen for yourself. Ask Him “True Lord Jesus, what do you want me to know?” Let Him rain down on you, allowing truth to grow in you, through you, and around you. Let’s see what blooms of beauty will grow in more than just our yards and trees this spring. Are you ready to sprout?

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