“You know, bicycling isn’t just a matter of balance,” I said. “its a matter of faith. You can keep upright only by moving forward. You have to have your eyes on the goal, not the ground…”

—Susan Vreeland

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My “quiet time” reading this week is in the last part of Luke 8. Today I’ve been thinking about the people in the country of Gerasenes.

You may know the story about how Jesus was compelled to travel by boat and even press through a storm to get to the country of Gerasenes [aka Gaderenes] in order to heal a man filled with demons. Jesus indeed healed Him at the expense of a herd of pigs when the legion of demons begged him to send them into the herd of swine, thus rushing them to their death.

Instead of the people of that country responding with joy at what Jesus was able to do in their midst, with the pigs gone, they began to fear what else they would have to give up in order to be healed. So they asked Him to leave.

Here are my thoughts:

“Pigs” are the things in my life I keep trying to hang on to—having long discussions with God over, often trying to get Him to change His mind about—that keep me from embracing the perfect plan He has for my life.

This plan that He has isn’t just a random set of circumstances that God pulled out of his LG—life is good—file and has chosen to put into motion so I can get on in the world.

It was intentionally and uniquely designed with one thing in mind, and that is to bring me back from death to life…not the generic, cardboard LG life the world has to offer but that dynamic Abundant Life that rids me of the unclean filth in my heart that is clogging my spiritual arteries—the very life of Christ Himself.

His plan is often one that is antithetical to the “perfect life” my flesh has dreamed for itself, and is certainly opposed to the ideology of entitlement.

It is sad to think I would ever choose to hang on to my unclean herd of swine, a symbol of my preeminent desire for worldly ease and affirmation, and tell Jesus to get back in the boat because I don’t really like His plan—that I would rather keep slopping my pigs.

I mean, God forbid that this following Jesus as the path to God should cost me something.

But there is a far greater expense involved in sending Him away, and that is this: I constantly am having to manufacture a false peace because the Prince of Peace, Who stood ready to enter my heart and heal me, has been set a sea.

I have my pigs in the pigpen and am ever busy trying to manage them, but I am restless and empty—more or less have become a selfish pig myself, indifferent to what God wants to do in and through me—miserable in my sin.

Even the prodigal eventually came to his senses and, seeing the error of his ways, ran to embrace the Father in repentance and trust.

God was his portion; and He was enough!

God help me to come to my senses and, in trusting you, choose to pursue Peace over the pigpen!

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  • Sandi

    your commentary does present an ugly picture. I saw myself in the center of it. Very descriptive and a visual description I will not forget. Thank youReplyCancel


Wearing this lovely scent today…that my sister gifted to me several years ago…yumminess in a bottle!

“Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing.” 2 Corinthians 2:15 NLT
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This is what I’m eating for lunch right now…as I type…what are you having for lunch today?

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1. something that deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected
synonyms: oddity, peculiarity, abnormality, irregularity, inconsistency, incongruity, aberration, quirk, rarity

I’ve been waffling—trying to logically figure out something that I have no business trying to figure out. The Lord is calling me to deep [for me] waters. For some, we are probably talking about the shallow end of the pool known as the “baby pool,” but my flesh thinks we’re talking middle-of-the-ocean deep; it keeps insisting I am going to drown if I dare take another step into that place He wants me to go.

I used to think when God called someone He sent them to a foreign country or domestic city or called them to a ministry with a title —you know, like “she’s a homeschool mom” or “he’s involved in street ministry” or “she teaches third-grade Sunday school or women’s Bible study” or even “she’s a stay-at-home mom”…things like that.

How many times have I said, “I just want to know my calling” or “I just want to make a difference” or “I’m your gal, God; let’s go!”

Well, He’s been talking to me, asking me to join Him where He’s at work, and it’s not like He’s asking me to go out and do any “thing.” He is asking me to “be” —who I am where I am—where He’s chosen…even if who I am deviates from the standard of the place I’ve been called to go and the people there.

We’ve been talking about this—me and God. I’ve been telling Him how I think it would be best for me to find a place to serve where I will thrive—”fit in”—you know, be more effective, not so “different.” And He’s been telling me I don’t really know what true servanthood is. The last thing He said to me before I came here to write this post was through Oswald Chambers’ February 25th entry in My Utmost for His Highest:

“Natural human love expects something in return. But Paul is saying, ‘It doesn’t really matter to me whether you love me or not. I am willing to be completely destitute anyway; willing to be poverty-stricken, not just for your sakes, but also that I may be able to get you to God.’ ‘For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor…’ (2 Corinthians 8:9). And Paul’s idea of service was the same as our Lord’s. He did not care how high the cost was to himself— he would gladly pay it. It was a joyful thing to Paul.”

Maybe he’s calling me to a place where He can work in others’ lives to bring them closer to God—reveal Himself to them more deeply—use the anomaly of “me” to, perhaps, open up a dialogue between Him and them to talk about their judgements, prejudices, insensitivities— their own flesh.

Or maybe He just wants me to experience and know Him in the reality of what Oswald Chambers wrote. Maybe He wants to finish that conversation about 2 Corinthians 8:9 that He started with me  waaaaay back in 2002 that I wrote about here.

Maybe…just maybe he does want my flesh to drown in the shallows—to be baptized—immersed until the life is sucked out of it—because He wants to teach me to be a champion swimmer—one who consistently swims by His Spirit in the “deep-end” of the ocean of Grace.

Maybe I need to realize what a high calling He has given me and, like Paul, be joyfully willing to let Him use me in my deepest poverty!

I don’t have to know all the details right now….I just need to trust and obey—to say, “Here I am, Lord; send me”—and trust that His ways, although past finding out, are indeed, perfect!

Okay……I’m taking the plunge! See you at the deep-end!!

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