“…Good offerings initiate from a pure heart. A heart that is willing to release the best to God’s altar—the fat portions, the first yearlings, the choicest lambs… even the diseased flesh— is a heart ready to see the exponential increase of the Father’s kingdom. Such lavish surrender reaches the portals of heaven and burns as sweet aroma before the throne. As it arrives and moves into the loving heart of the Father, it then becomes a sacrifice for all humanity, which begs a further question.How is faith connected to a good offering?Surrendering for surrendering’s sake—as a formality or as good, religious practice—isn’t an offering of faith. An offering of faith believes forward, beyond the act of surrender to take hold of God’s bigger picture. Good offerings made in faith understand that, in God’s hands, the law of multiplication is at work. When faith gives with God in mind, an enlargement takes place, not just in our own hearts but in the grander scheme of God’s greater purposes. When we release our best to God, he takes the gift, breaks the gift, and begins to share it with the world. Our small sacrifices seed largely into God’s soil of increase.We may not be privy to the resulting grace around us; God’s work and ways are mysterious to most. But we can be certain that as we lean into our good surrenders, God willingly uses them for his good, his glory, and his gain. The kingdom increases when we give our good offerings to God. Not only are we changed, but the world around us reverberates with the witness of our sacred contributions.”(ElaineOlsen.4-26-11.allrightsreserved.)
Inclinations of the mind, heart, and soul that bend in the opposite direction of God’s peace as darkness begins its descent upon a day’s worth of doing. Hidden agendas that bury beneath the brilliancy of the sun’s witness but that overtly and willingly take the stage to blanket the landscape of the moon’s illumination.
Fretfulness. Tearfulness. Anxiousness. Tensions. Confusions. Consumptions. Considerations. Manipulations.
When was the last time your “tucking in time” gave way to nighttime desperations? Why do they seem to wait until the cover of darkness to speak their witness? What is it about a night’s pause that offers up fertile soil for our desperations to take root and breathe and flourish into a stress far grander than the daytime will allow?
Why did mother always say, “Things will look better in the morning.”?
I’m not sure she knew the reasons behind her proclamation. I think, perhaps, she spoke from experience. I think we all could… speak from experience. Many of us could testify to the difference between a night’s wrestling and a morning’s peace. Some of us closed our yesterdays with full-grown and on display desperations. Most of us probably woke up to our todays with a lesser portion of struggle, less angst, less confusion, and more tempered understanding. The dawning of a new day has brought better perspective, not always perfect answers and certain peace, but better perspective.
A perspective not so cluttered by the night’s quiet and cover of darkness, but instead, a perception bathed in the radiancy of the morning’s crescendo.
There’s a holiness that surrounds the birthing of new day… a sacred mention of the Creator that cannot be overlooked or shrouded by our desperations. The light is too bright to miss; too big to hide; too loud to silence. It will not be trumped by the dark deliberations of a night’s pause. Certainly, we can pull the covers over our heads, keep the lights off, and close the blinds to the announcing of a new day, but doing so won’t change the fact that the light has come to lay hold of the night.
And with the light, comes life… another day to flesh out sacred understanding beneath the watchful gaze and warmth of a sun’s embrace.
A Son’s embrace.
Not long ago, there were a few disciples who understood the length and breadth, width and depth of a nighttime desperation. The silence and cover of darkness held their hope captive and threatened to claim previously held truth. Their “tucking in time” gave way to fretfulness; tearfulness; anxiousness; tensions; confusions; consumptions; considerations; manipulations. Their night perspective was too shallow to contain the possibility of the morning’s promised light. Instead, they gathered their fears, collected their tears, and hovered beneath darkened perspective, certain that the night was too long in its witness. Long forgotten were a Father’s words about things looking better in the morning. Their night stood in stark contrast to his previously spoken truth.
But as with all nights, regardless of their desperations, morning broke through. Light came, and the Son rose to take his rightful place above their cluttered considerations and painful conclusions. Christ shattered the darkness with the witness of his illuminated presence, and heaven’s morning crescendo has never birthed more brilliantly.
An Easter morning to replace all nighttime desperations. A once-and-for-all reasoning to bridge understanding regarding the difference between a night’s wrestling and a morning’s peace.
How thankful I am for that morning. How thankful I am for this one… these early, beginning hours that breathe easier than the closing ones I experienced last evening. With the sunrise, the Son has risen to his rightful place in my mind, heart, and soul, and things are, indeed, looking better. How I pray to live in that better throughout my day and into the night hours. Resurrection living is intended for them both. Thus, I pray…
May the light and witness of Calvary’s crescendo illuminate our days and penetrate our nights with the truth of your Son’s embrace, Father. Fill our desperations with the promise of morning’s arrival. You are the candle that keeps company with our days and nights. You are the flame that blazes the path before us, marking our way home to you. Even so, come Lord Jesus and light your fire in our hearts this day as we pilgrim to the Easter cross and fall beneath the weightiness of your truth and grace. And grant us your peace… always Peace for the journey ahead. Amen.