Twelfth Month 31

It is time to seek the LORD – Hosea 10:12

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We started the year with this text.

It’s not a bad way to end it, either.

Maybe there’s just no escaping.

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Here is free Grace indeed, free Love indeed: O! do you but yield yourselves the Subjects of his Love, and he will set your Souls at Liberty, that Sin shall not have Dominion over you, only obey his Voice, and he will soon subdue your Enemies for you, and remove that which letteth out of your Way, and that you may know when the Time of Visitation is upon you, I’ll leave this Mark with you, even then when you feel the Son of God knocking at the Door of your Hearts, that he may come in and sup with you, then I say is the Time, when the Year of Jubilee is approaching to you, when those that are in Bondage may be set at Liberty, which if you refuse to accept of it, and will not be set free when the Year of God’s Release is proclaimed unto you, how can you expect any other, but that your spiritual Task-master will obtain Leave to bore your Ears to the Posts of his Doors, and make you his Servants for ever? (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)

 

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Twelfth Month 30

His throne was fiery flames, and its wheels were burning fire. A stream of fire issued and flowed out from his presence. A thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood attending him. The court sat in judgment and the books were opened. Daniel 7:9-10

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For a moment, I thought we were still in the book of Revelation.

In some ways, I see the Bible as a great workbook – take the whole collection, but feel free to argue with it, to ask “What if instead of X, so-and-so had done Y or Z …” to wonder if so-and-so really did interpret a dream correctly or act rightly … or to even say, “I cannot accept that view and here’s why.” That’s even before we get to the question, “Did it really happen?” Much less, “Did it really happen that way?”

As I look back, I find myself less concerned with historical accuracy and ever more focused on the reported experiences of a lived faith, especially as it strives increasingly toward an alternative society of peace, justice, and equality. Not just a society, at that, but a whole world – one renewed in Universal Love.

Look who sits at the head of the court there, then.

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For this I write in the Openings of Life, and from the Motion of the good Spirit of my God, do I declare unto you, viz. That none of ye were absolutely excluded from Eternity; well knowing, that a Measure of his Grace hath been freely tendred to every one of you; because his Love extendeth universally, and he is crying, Ho, every one that thirsteth come ye to the Waters of Life: And he that hath no Money, come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy Wine and Milk, without Money and without Price. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)

 

Twelfth Month 29

A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And the child was snatched up to God and to his throne. – Revelation 12:1-5 (NIV)

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The Nativity stories we hear repeated and preached each Christmas are the ones in Matthew and Luke. This one, however, with its cosmic scope and fiery combat, is largely overlooked.

There’s no time in this vision for Magi or gift-giving. We need to act quickly. We need to be vigilant. And we need to remember the safety of our Savior.

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O! come, come away, haste out of Babylon, while the Deliverer is near you, so will he turn back your Captivity like Rivers in the South, and conduct you to Canaan, the Land of everlasting Rest, where Praises shall spring up in your Souls, to the Glory of his Name, even to all Eternity. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)

 

Twelfth Month 28

In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. But we see Jesus. – Hebrews 2:8-9 (NIV)

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In our own time, we are left to see Jesus in other people – those who are filled with the Holy Spirit. Often, they appear where we least expect. Be ready, all the same, and welcoming.

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Yea, it is that Word of Reconciliation, which God hath committed to such as himself hath called, to make them Ambassadors for his Son Christ Jesus; by the Ministry of which, they turn People from Darkness to Light, and from the Power of Satan unto God, that they may receive Forgiveness of Sins, and Inheritance among them that are sanctified, through Faith that is in Christ Jesus. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)

 

Twelfth Month 27

Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 18:3

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In the traditional liturgical calendar, today in the Third Day of Christmas. (And many of you thought it all ended on Christmas morning?)

Here’s a reminder of how much of the season revolves around children. I appreciate that gift of the Christ Child!

Pay special attention, then, for their examples of how we may more fully live in delightful obedience to the Holy Spirit.

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And with this I’ll leave you, though much more might be said; yet when all is said that can be, ’tis the feeling Sense of the inward Operation of this Divine Principle, that alone can satisfactorily inform ye; which that you may experience in yourselves, and so be happy, is the hearty Desire of your Soul’s Friend, who writes this unto you. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)