..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Whatever Happened to Relationship with Jesus?

I wonder what someone would look like, sound like, be like if they were just about "being with Jesus" and not about "everything else" in the culture of Christianity, or even Evangelical Christianity or especially even charismatic or postmodern or emergent Christianity. Hey, if I'm about to spread buckshot, I might as well spread it evenly! :)

In the blogosphere, as well as in Christianity at large, it seems important to have a niche and be properly labeled, like it used to be in high school. Only now we don't grow out of labeling, we develop it until it glows supremely in the dark. This makes some folks "in," some way "out," some "slithering reptiles," some "adorable rodents," some just regular folks and some, well, "wascally wabbits." Y'all are just too funny.

Where would the apostle Paul land in today's dog pile? At http://mars-hill.blogspot.com? Where would John? (I guess they never did get a decent ISP on Patmos, which left him lots of time to experience and record the Book of Revelation... I begin to rest my case!) More importantly, where would Jesus be found as He waits for His Bride without spot or wrinkle?

As I have tried to make my way into the exploding world of the Christian blog sphere I find it a not-so-miniature and completely ready for prime-time version of modern day Christianity in all its vast (dis)array. I find unlikely bedfellows everywhere: little bubbles of people here, large balloons of people there with cross alliances that put the cast of Survivor to shame. I see lots of politics and faith: Republicans and "of course" kind of faith; other-than-Republicans and "we're Christians, too," kind of faith. Sorry, I just "calls them as I sees 'em". But wouldn't it be a great testimony to have one long, long blogroll of people who "just follow Jesus wherever He goes", no further labels?

I see people who once were A's and then became Z's now becoming reformed M's or maybe Emergently Reformed AMZ's which is nothing like the AoG (Rich?) because of their more "modern" redemption theology which puts them all the way back to being nearly Catholic because of an alliance made with the ZMA schism which broke off of the Episcopal sector, American side, that is.

I'm suddenly humming, "What if God were one of us, .... just a stranger on a bus, trying to make His way"....well, around what everyone is claiming to be His kingdom or His blogdom. It is very easy to try and make God in our own image. But God is an Image Smasher and a good One at that. "And you thought I was just like you" (Psalm 50:21).

I still want to know what someone would look like if they just worked on developing mature, deep and intimate relationship with Jesus? You know, just loved God with all their heart, soul and mind? No politics except those of the Lord's Prayer, not able to discuss theology until it had been made flesh in them: simple, unadorned relational faith. You know, "hearts strangely warmed." A radical, seemingly quaint thought, and one that might produce poor blogshares ratings and no feed subscriptions at all. :( When Jesus returns, will He find faith in the blogosphere?

God deserves our wholehearted attention: every ounce of who we are. Maybe we all won't, and aren't meant to, look exactly the same cloned way once we give Him our "all and everything," but maybe we all would look a bit more like Him or what He is looking for in His Bride. I'm hopelessly old-fashioned, I know. But God never changes and that makes Him more eons more old-fashioned then me. He seems keep telling us, "Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with God" (Micah 6:8). What do you think?

Monday, October 30, 2006

Caeli enarrant gloriam Dei
"The heavens declare the glory of God"

God Calling: The Race is Not To The Swift

The race is not to the swift. The battle is not to the brave, but the victory is for those who fear Me. Your eyes have not yet seen all that I plan for you. You will look back and say, "Who but the Lord could have done this?" And your face will be radiant. Yet it is deeper and wider, and yes, more hidden and invisible than you think. Like the pearl of great price I will hide you in a secret place, away from harm. Know that I do this in My wisdom and My great and exceedingly love for you. Dwell continually in Me. Make that your priority. For I am jealous over you with deep, deep love. Come to me continually. I watch for your coming and you bring me great joy. I tell you again, dwell continually in Me. Gaze upon Me. I will uphold and protect. I will accomplish all that I have purposed in My heart for you. Ah, dear one, it is a good plan, indeed! Let us go, I wish to take you further down the path.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The inward stirring and touching of God makes us hungry and yearning; for the Spirit of God hunts our spirit, and the more it touches it, the greater our hunger and our craving. --Jan van Ruysbroeck, 1273-1381.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

To Be Like God: Forgiveness & The Stoning of Stephen

Forgiveness: a living principle born in the depths of the very heart of God! The experience of forgiving is one of the pre-eminent experiences of God toward mankind. When God asks us to forgive He wants to engage us in something fundamental to Himself. That engagement is not a mental concept but a life force! In calling us to forgive, God is asking us to be like Himself in the most radical way possible. What an opportunity to honor Him and follow Him!

In the last few weeks I have been reading Acts 7 where it recounts the stoning of Stephen. I have been overwhelmed with what it is saying, and challenged so thoroughly that my socks seem to spontaneously fall off! :)

Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, delivers one of the most challenging sermons ever preached, stirring up such passion and hatred that a crowd decides to stone him to death. His response is reminiscent of His Lord's magnanimous response: "Lord, do not hold this sin against them" (Acts 7: 60) (compare Luke 23:34). Stephen dies forgiving, he also dies beholding "the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God" (Acts 7:55-56). It says he simply, "fell asleep" (Acts 7:60).

Perhaps he felt the pain of the stones, but death, as we generally regard it, is not an accurate word to describe his passing into eternity. He "fell asleep" basking in the glory of God. He entered into a full experience of forgiveness. He imitated His Lord in the most glorious fashion.

And do you know what? I have a deep sense that there is a direct link from this act of forgiveness to the conversion of a young onlooker of the stoning. That young man's name was Saul, who shortly thereafter, became the apostle Paul. Saul got something that day, or perhaps I should say, something got him. He didn't know he got it, but I sense that what he saw and experienced in Stephen's death was powerfully working in the deepest part of his heart. His mind was confused, but this supernatural act of forgiveness was deeper than that, and it was bringing him to Jesus, the One he had been persecuting, hidden, or perhaps not very hidden at all, in Stephen.

This is the kind of experience God wants to bring us into. We see forgiveness as something we "must" do, and no doubt about it, we must forgive. What we do not so clearly see is that we GET to forgive and that this kind of forgiveness is the cornerstone of the Kingdom of God. Somehow I think when someone harms me or crosses me that I should defend myself or somehow protect myself, either offensively or defensively. This is human thinking. God calls us past that to divine experience. He offers us an opportunity to be like Him.

If God alone can forgive sin, and God alone can, why does He want us to engage in acts of forgiveness? He wants us to enter into His nature, to see and understand things from His perspective and to actually feel in our human bodies what forgiveness is all about. Do we not feel unforgiveness in our bodies? Tightness, coldness, darkness--we know about that. God wants us to "feel" forgiveness, not for the sake of a novel emotional experience, but to experience the transformational power of what forgiveness brings. When God forgives us, we are changed--body, soul, and spirit. When we forgive, we reflect who God is, we become like Him by valuing what He values, by doing what He does, by making a way possible when there is no way.

When Jesus says, "go the extra mile," "turn the other cheek," "give them your cloak, too," He is calling us into the radical stream of the Kingdom of God. These words are not a game of psychology but an expression of who He is and how He lives toward us. They are the kingdom of God here and now. So often when something bad happens we tend to think, "I'll be glad when this old world ends and the kingdom comes." Guess what? The Kingdom has already begun to arrive and you and I, as we follow God into radical forgiveness, are it! Or at least its beginnings!

One day everything will be put under His feet! Thank God! But He is asking us not to identify with the old regime, which is the Law at best, and the kingdom of darkness at worst, but with His very forgiving and universe-transforming nature. We do not clearly see the value of so great a love! We do not see clearly how or even why, good triumphs over evil. The prince of darkness lures us into playing his way, a way of retribution and revenge. You have felt the death of it, perhaps now you can begin to see why. God chooses to invite us to look for the humble little path, which if followed, opens up to a wide place where we "see the heavens opened, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God." The Evil One promises instant retribution, he fails to say what comes with the package. It is not life.

We get opportunities to forgive all the time, but we don't value them as opportunities. We don't respond as sons and daughters of Forgiveness . I'm not sure why we as humans are such a grumpy lot. But I do know that I see more clearly what an opportunity God is holding out, so gently, yet so powerfully to me. And I want to be like Him, I want to side with Him, I want to expand His Kingdom with Him, I want to honor Him and show no allegiance to anything dark. So I close by saying that I want a life that is so wrapped with God that He will recognize Himself in me.

It says, "Stephen, full of the Holy Ghost,"...and that is what it will take to get it...being "full of the Holy Ghost". For this kind of life, and this kind of forgiveness originates in and is powered by God alone. We cannot do it, that is plainly evident. We merely have to surrender to Him. But that is a joyful, albeit challenging, thing. I'm not saying that He won't roll us down the hill pretty fast to shake the darkness loose from us. I'm not saying we won't have to be martyred to get there. I'm not saying anything but that is where I plan to be headed and that is where I want you to be headed, too. You can go as far down this path as you want to, the choice is yours. So don't say I didn't warn you. Dare say we will scarcely recognize each other when we get there, which is probably a very good thing.

Forgive. Be like your God.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Seeing Miracles

The miracles of the church seem to me to rest not so much upon faces or voices or healing power coming suddenly near to us from afar off, but upon our perceptions being made finer, so that for a moment our eyes can see and our ears can hear what is there about us always. --Willa Cather (Death Comes for the Archbishop, 1927)

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Forgiving Like God Forgives

Forgive, forgive, forgive is the continuing word given.

As Christians we are commanded to forgive, but we can fall into the trap of glibly saying "I have forgiven" or feeling like we ought to, yet still have a heart full of misery and bitterness.

From Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe, comes this unnerving quote: "I forgive you, Sir Knight, " said Rowena, 'as a Christian.' That means, "said Wamba, "that she does not forgive him at all." I would love for you to say that this "rings no bells" with you but, alas, it very well might. Brothers and sisters, we must do business with God. I am not saying that forgiveness is easy nor that it comes immediately or without cost. Nor am I saying that Christians are any worse at forgiving than non-Christians. I am saying we must set our hearts to forgive wholeheartedly, no matter what. Was it easy, or quick or without cost for Jesus to forgive?

God tells us that we MUST forgive but we should also WANT to. I don't think we totally, passionately value what Christ did to win our forgiveness. Even as He won our forgiveness He was in the act of forgiving (Luke 23:34). What if His forgiveness was given and then He took it back? What if when He was safely back with the Father He started to rethink, and said, "On second thought, They've treated me poorly, Let them reap what they've sown. I'm taking back the sacrifice. That will show them! " God forbid!

We do not want to imagine such a horror! So likewise, may we also find it unimaginable to not forgive. What are we trying to prove? What do we need to set straight? Who am I to judge "another man's servant"? We live or die unto God, He will be the judge. Allow Him to be. We see forgiveness as something we must give in order to benefit someone else. Forgiveness is to benefit US! Our forgiveness not only releases God's forgiveness to us, it is an unequalled opportunity to become like our Heavenly Father! How will Christ bring "many sons to glory" if not through this process of our entering into the good nature of God? Shall we act like God or like a child of darkness? Heaven is watching, and Hell, too.

We do not know the ways of God as we should. At best we know them in part. We often wonder why He allows waywardness to go on. Perhaps we wonder what He is waiting for. As much as you think He is waiting for others, He is waiting for you and I to follow Him into his mission of mercy and forgiveness. For whatever we may not know about God, we do know how He feels about forgiveness. Let us press on to forgive as God forgives.

The goodness of God leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). He waits, not counting this as weakness, but as mercy, as a second chance for us to turn our shriveled and broken lives around. Unforgiveness is like a rusted lock, it prevents the storehouse of mercy from being opened. It dwarfs our growth, shrivels our spirit, troubles our already troubled minds. May we ask the Lord to pour a balm on our hearts so that they might be soft toward Him and toward each other.

Do you have a good memory for grievance? Please, let it go. It frightens me to death when I hear people recalling, in great detail, grievances that happened in 1974 or 1947! You don't need that kind of memory! Ask God for a dose of godly forgetfulness, a divine case of amnesia, so that you will not remember alleged or even actual wrongs done to you. May it all slide off our backs like water off the well-oiled feathers of a duck. May the oil of the Holy Spirit drench us so that unforgiveness cannot stick and our feathers do not get so easily ruffled. What freedom not to be in the bondage of unforgiveness to any man or woman! What freedom to be the bondslaves of God alone: to have lost our rights to be right and to not need to exact our pound of recompense.

Brothers and sisters, God has freely forgiven us. He has given us so so many second chances that we ought to have worn out His grace by now. Yet He keeps beckoning, calling, leaving the door open. So may we also leave the door open for others. If doing that bothers you, throw yourself at God's feet and sit there a good long while. Sit there until nothing bothers you and until all you see is Jesus! Do not doubt that this can happen or that it will make you a Caspar Milktoast. A Lamb rules in heaven. The meek inherit the earth. These are glorious things.

The prodigal son returned to His Father's house because he knew the door was always open, even after he had "mucked up" royally. But, we say, how can we live in the house after the wayward son has returned home? It is the temptation of the "good" son to resent the return of the prodigal. Yet, the Father's heart makes room. The household of God, rightly administered, should keep slackers on their toes. We are not to condone sin, but to cover the sinner with such grace that there is a clear path for him to repent. And are we not all forgiven sinners in our Father's House?

Leaders, lead into forgiveness. Lead by forgiving. Lead with forgiveness. Lead as one forgiven. Lead with the courage to forgive and you will reap more authority to lead into greater depths of forgiveness. Leaders, lead down into the depths of forgiveness and of letting go, so that people might be set free to soar on the heights of mercy and grace. One day God will judge all men. Will we be judged a "way maker", a son or daughter of forgiveness, or will we judged as a stumbling block?

There are two other things to consider. Jesus said, "He who is forgiven much, loves much" (Luke 7:47). If we are unable to forgive, perhaps we have a bigger problem, perhaps we are unwilling to be changed by God's forgiveness to us! Perhaps we have spurned God's fiery love toward us and blocked it from invading our heart. Perhaps we are loveless. For when God says, "Go and sin no more," do we ignore His advice? Unforgiveness has fast growing roots. Its tentacles latch on and spread, like crabgrass, soon choking the life out of the healthy plant of love. The Lord wants to set us free like a bird from a cage. The cage is bitterness and the snare that leads us there is unforgiveness. Watch out!

Guess what? Unforgiveness itself is sin and a serious one, at that! It is the Lord's Prayer that implores God to "forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us" (Matthew 6:12). I forgive you, God forgives me. The need for forgiveness does not take God by surprise. He incorporated the "drill" for forgiveness into something that needs to be done daily or even more often! God leads us by forgiveness, with forgiveness, and to forgiveness. It is something that He practices not once in awhile, but continually and with a long history. For the need for forgiveness first arose quite a long time ago, no? He has been at it longer then we. He payed a bigger price with regard to it. Don't ever forget that. So go start forgiving as God forgives so that He can forgive us all of something we can't forgive ourselves: our sins! Let's have at it!

P.S. And if it doesn't seem like a big thing, forgive it anyway before it becomes one! Forgive as a God forgives. Let's honor the Lord and His Name in a way that He deserves, not in a way that the world can question.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Afire with God!

Earth's crammed with heaven,
and every bush afire with God;
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
the rest sit around it and pluck blackberries.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

God Calling: Called to Trust God

Not many wise. Not many rich. Not many of good report. I have come to call sinners and not the righteous. Who can stand before Me as blameless? Who will come into My Presence without sin? I am the LORD. I search every heart. No thought goes unnoticed, no tendency of the heart goes unobserved. Come to Me. I ask you to come not because I AM the Lord of Hosts but because I want you to live. I come to you as a Servant. Please choose to listen to Me. My ways bring life. I choose good for you if you will but give up your own ways and come to Me. Let go of reasoning and earthly knowledge. Let go of needing to appear right. Let go of control, and it's illusions. Nothing is yours to hold onto, yet all is safe with Me. Trust Me. Trust is not hard--even a child, ESPECIALLY a child, is able to trust. Do you hear what I am saying to you? Then please listen and trust.

Friday, October 13, 2006

God Calling: Pouring Out the Mercy of God

I pour out mercy on everyone. The meek receive it, knowing their need. It is often wasted on the children of this world, for they ignore it and cast it aside. I tell you, on them it is wasted.

So I waste, and they waste, but in very different ways. You must learn to waste as I waste.
Not as the world. Pour out mercy by the bucket. Let it spill over, more than is needed.
You are afraid of such waste, but I am not. There was one who "wasted" her oil and poured
it out all over Me. Only those without eyes to see thought it was wasted. Mary knew it was
not. The fragrance was far-reaching, life-changing. You never know who will receive the overflow you pour out. Pour out, pour out mercy as if it were your life's oil poured out on Me.

I have said, "I desire mercy and not sacrifice". Now I say unto you, "I want the sacrifice of mercy."

It is not about how much mercy you need: there is ample supply. It is about how much you are willing to receive and then, in turn, pour out on others. Some people receive mercy but then are not willing to show mercy. You know how I feel about that!

Let mercy flow from your inner well, like a fountain. You will never run dry if it comes from My spring within you. It is my mercy, and it is for me to pour out--even to waste. Let me, not you, judge if it is wasted. Do not try to stop the well or direct the flow. It is meant to flow freely. If you feel dry of mercy, come up and watch me pour out of my supply. Mercy is for me to waste so that all men have the chance to come to me, and so that all men will be without excuse in that Day.

Would I ask you to walk the second mile if I had not already done it? I have walked way past the second mile with the world. Make My heart glad by walking along the path of mercy with Me.
Let My mercy pour through you. Let it gush out so that it's fragrance will permeate wherever you go.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

O Most High,
How I love Thee!
How I long to dwell in Thy secret place,
Filled with the divine reflection of Thee.
Swallow me up with holy desire.
Reign in my heart as King.
Abide in me that I might abide eternally in Thee. Amen.
-----Smith Wigglesworth

Monday, October 09, 2006

More Forgiveness: Heaven & Hell Amongst the Amish

Ok, while I was composing the last blog entry on forgiveness, I decided to talk about something else that bothers me. First off, the families of those dear little Amish girls that were murdered have my complete and total sympathy. The young girls who stepped forward and said, "Kill me first" acted completely as Christians. I hope that would have been my reaction in the same situation. What a witness to the world. How warmly must they have been embraced in our Father's loving arms as they too quickly left this world to meet Him.

I guess what I want to talk about is how we glorify the Amish lifestyle wholeheartedly without really knowing that it has a darker side. People pour millions of dollars into Lancaster County to go and see what they think is a pure, simple lifestyle. The sad fact is that human nature is human nature and no matter how much you try to escape from the evil ways of man, you can't do it.

For at many of those the lovely Amish farms, apparently glowing with peace and godliness, are untold horrors in the barn. It is a well-documented but little known fact that the Amish run some of the most inhumane and hellish puppy mills in the United States. Just type "Amish puppy mills" into Google and see what you find. Click on these to get started:
Heart United for Animals
Humane Society,
New Jersey Consumers Against Pet Shop Abuse;
Puppy Mill Articles and TV Reports;

Read them and weep. These poor animals are kept in atrocious conditions, abused and living in nothing short of a hell for the sake of greed. Is this the picture of the Amish that you have? Perhaps we all need to look a little deeper. I am not saying that all Amish are like this. But the facts speak for themselves.

There is no excuse for what happened to those innocent girls. There is also no excuse for what is happening to thousand upon thousand of innocent animals in Amish communities. God sees all. Nothing escapes His notice. Nothing in anyone's religion, much less Christianity, would find this conscionable. We are meant to be caretakers of the earth, not pawnbrokers, torturers, and murderers! Pray for God's mercy and the end to such atrocities. I'm going back to my article on forgiveness and work on it doing it some more. May God have mercy on all creatures, great and small.

God on Anger & Forgiveness

Forgiveness, forgiveness, forgiveness, forgiveness, forgiveness! Let go!

Anger and forgiveness are always issues on God's A-List. Recently I witnessed something awful that bothered me enough to make sure that I was walking in forgiveness. Here is, more or less, the conversation that took place between God and I. I do believe that we can talk with God and get a direct answer. I also believe we "see through a glass darkly" and so do not claim that every word is purely God's. I do try and judge and discern things to make sure they are scriptural in content. Please read this with that in mind. The bold, italicized text in yellow are what I feel to be God's questions and answers to my questions and answers.

What do you think your anger accomplishes?

It creates boundaries to get away from someone unpleasant. It shows my non-connection with them. It is my way of "snarling" at them. God, if you would do the snarling, I would let you, but do You snarl? What do you do?

A snarl is a threat of action. I don't snarl. I don't need to threaten. I act or I wait. If I wait, it is to allow grace to work.

What should I do while You are waiting and showing grace?

Know that the grace is not all softness, it is a serious test, so don't count it as softness or inaction on My part. What you should do is wait and watch--not them, but Me.

What if I don't really want them to repent?

Then you are watching them and not Me.

What if I am afraid I am going to be like Jonah and get mad at you for showing grace?

Are you without sin? What would you tell someone who wanted Me to withhold grace from you?

I would tell them it is none of their business, especially if they don't have the best interest of my soul at heart.
Okay, so, it's none of my business.

I told you your business is to look at Me. Consider the parable of the workmen. if you have an issue with Me, take it up with me. That is more important to resolve.

What if you don't answer my questions?

I always answer. For you to understand the answer, now there's the rub. Understanding the answer can take time, deeper perspective, wisdom made flesh.

How will I know I'm looking at You and not just avoiding my anger?

By disciplining yourself to sit with Me no matter what.

What is the nature of forgiveness?

An act of the will: not blocking My work in another by interfering physically or in the realm of the soul. Applying pressure to a recalcitrant heart does not cause it to soften. Exerting any sort of force from your soul does not work. Grace is an "anti-force." It cracks the hardness by drawing the soul in another direction, sometimes violently, this causes the hard shell to fall off, that is, if it is going to fall off. People still have their choice.

What if I think nothing will happen unless I stay mad?

That is both a lie and the truth. Nothing will happen between you and I and the situation if you stay mad. Your anger will keep the situation at a standstill in the spiritual realm and you will go no further with Me.

Do I hear you saying that you think I will not act without your anger to fuel it? THINK AGAIN.

Is forgiveness wishing them well and being at peace with what has been done, knowing You are in control? Is it not judging so You can judge?

Forgiveness is letting them go into My hands and being able to be at peace with Me, to receive My peace, because you see the larger picture. Jesus was on the cross and said, "Father, forgive them for they don't know what they are doing." He saw the bigger picture and chose the redemptive part of it. He could have said, "I can't wait until you judge these people and send them all to hell." Yet He was in the middle of the redemptive act that made all forgiveness possible! Why would He work against that? He was still looking for the few last ones that could be salvaged, still holding the door open. It is time for you to leave the house of justice and live in the house of mercy. Trust Me, it is not a soft way.

Talk to Me Only of Christ

Talk to me only of Christ.
I need it.
Enough of the nothing of everything else.
All of that nothing is too heavy to bear.
I want to hear of Him.
Only Him.
Of Him. Through Him. With Him. In Him.
Talk to me only of Jesus.
Tell me you have touched Him with your hands.
And heard Him with your ears.
Saw Him with your eyes.
And felt Him move in your heart.
Tell me. Over and over.
Tell me. All you know.
Talk to me only of Christ.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Loving God with Wild Abandon

Do we follow God and have relationship with Him in the same way we have relationship with spouses and friends? In human relationships nothing is perfect. We love our friends and we love our loves, yet mixed in with that are things that we do not love or like in them. Do we love God in that same way but won't admit it? Do we love Him but find things about Him that we are not "crazy about?" When we think of God do our hearts melt within us? Are our hearts "strangely warmed"? Or are there some slivers of disappointment, disagreement or even dislike there?

If He is not ALTOGETHER lovely to us, if some doubt or question lingers, we will not be able to love Him wildly and with total abandon. We must bring all our disappointments, questions, doubts and fears to Him. If we can admit that there is a "shadow of a doubt," or perhaps even great doubt, we are closer to honest relationship. If we can admit that there is something that He has done, or allegedly done, that bothers us, we are closer to wild abandon then if we hold our holdouts politely concealed. For they are not concealed to God! He knows how we feel toward Him! If human beings can write lamentable love songs like, "I should have known by the look in your eyes, there was something missing" then how much more does God know when our love toward Him is measured or cool?

Let us be man or woman enough to bring our uncertainties to Him. Until then we cannot say we are entirely His. Until then we cannot love Him with wild abandon--something He longs for, and so richly deserves. There is no fault in Him, He is altogether lovely. May we all discover that completely.

Jonathan Edwards on Holiness

Holiness, as I then wrote down some of my contemplations on it, appeared to me to be of a sweet, pleasant, charming, serene, calm nature; which brought an inexpressible purity, brightness, peacefulness, and ravishment to the soul. In other words, that it made the soul like a field or garden of God, with all manner of pleasant flowers; enjoying a sweet calm, and the gently life-giving beams of the sun.

The soul of a true Christian appeared like such a little white flower as we see in the spring of the year; low and humble on the ground, opening its bosom to receive the pleasant beams of the sun's glory; rejoicing, as it were, in a calm rapture; diffusing around a sweet fragrancy; standing peacefully and lovingly, in the midst of other flowers round about; all in like manner opening their bosoms to drink in the light of the sun.

There was no part of creature-holiness that I had so great a sense of its loveliness, as humility, brokenness of heart, and poverty of spirit; and there was nothing that I so earnestly longed for. My heart panted after this--to lie low before God, as in the dust; that I might be nothing, and that God might be all, that I might become as a little child. --Jonathan Edwards