Comments Off on Meditations on Wholeness in Christ: Power to Grasp His Coming
The glory which You have given Me I have given to them,
that they may be one, just as We are one;
I in them and You in Me,
that they may be perfected in unity,
so that the world may know that You sent Me,
and loved them,
even as You have loved Me.
— John 17:22-23 NASB
The incarnation of Christ is staggering. That the creator of all worlds yearns to be our Father and gave Himself to us in such a special way in His Son – the Son whom He sent into our dark world through the womb of Mary to grow in the form and flesh of man – is something to be grasped only
as the Father Himself gives the power. And we, like Mary, believe in order to receive that “Holy Thing.” Then we find ourselves as extensions of the incarnation by the pouring out of God’s Spirit on us. This too we can only grasp as our Father gives it to us, pouring out on us our personal Pentecost. Even then it is staggering to the imagination. That the God of all that is not only redeems but reveals His mysteries and presence to mite-sized people is almost more than the human mind can at first receive. 
As Christmas morning draws near, let us be ready for sacred moments when the Father gives power to grasp His Son’s coming. This power is often subtle and unexpected and must be embraced in order to fully receive what He is giving. Whether a gift of tears, an impulse to sing, a conviction to repent, or a prompting to extend His love to another, our believing hearts respond to these simple movements of His power. We cannot choose to grasp the reality of Immanuel, but we can choose to believe as His power opens our hearts and minds. Let us be ready to receive Him, for He is coming! Alleluia!
Holy Father, Son and Spirit, Glory to You in the highest! Come in power, make us keen to respond and ready to believe. Bless our liturgies, our celebrations, and every good ritual and symbol of Christmas with Your radiant presence. Thank you for granting us the power only You can give, that we might be taken higher up and deeper in to Your incarnation. We long for You, we praise You, we love You, for You have loved us and brought us into Your love.
Comments Off on Meditations on Wholeness in Christ: The Advent of Incarnation
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him –
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord –
and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.
They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.
— Isaiah 11:1-3, 9 NIV
In Him we become fully human. In Him we begin to do His works. This involves incarnation, a descent of the Spirit into our deepest being and lives. In Him, the will, intellect, imagination, feeling, and sensory being are hallowed and enlivened. We begin to fully live, to participate in the eternal, the immutable, the indestructible.
We live in a day, however, when few – even among those who call themselves Christian – believe in Christ’s Real Presence with us. Pope John Paul II made the sobering statement that for modern man, the sense of God is vanishing from the earth. 
The sense of God is vanishing from the earth, but in these four weeks of Advent, faithful followers of Jesus of Nazareth defy that non-sense. We rouse ourselves so that this most important sense – our apprehension of the Incarnation of the Son of God with, within, and among us -will grow sharper. We practice His presence in a special way, watching for and receiving His appearance as His Spirit works within us. Even as we cry out for the Anointed One to enter our personal corners of non-sense, we also offer ourselves that He might come through us. We long for that glorious day when the earth will be utterly saturated with the knowledge of Him, and His descent enables us to participate in that eternal goodness today — alleluia! Rather than languishing with the blind and deaf world, let us celebrate Advent as the peculiar people who look intently to the Unseen Real.
Father of lights, we lift our longing hearts to you. We confess that, apart from Your life within us, we would turn away from Your Son’s appearance. Come, Holy Spirit and quicken our belief that You are here. Fill our lives with the knowledge of You, Holy God. Grant us to see the unseen that we might join the angels filling the sky with worship of the Anointed One. Hallow and enliven us in this Advent season, that we may be channels of Your incarnational Presence for our loved ones, the strangers we encounter each day, and even our enemies. We thank You, we praise You, we love You for giving us life, and we ask now for even more of You.
Comments Off on Leanne’s archive – Light of the world
from her December 1980 newsletter
“The Lord is our Righteousness.
“He shall see the fruit of the travail of His soul and be
satisfied; by His knowledge of Himself [which He possesses
and imparts to others] shall My . . . righteous One, My Servant,
justify and make many righteous – upright and in right standing
with God; for He shall bear their iniquities and their guilt
[with the consequences, says the Lord].”
~Isaiah 53:11 Amplified
December 22, 1980
To: Dear Ones scattered over this wonderful planet Earth
From: Leanne Payne
Greetings in Jesus’ Name, and Season’s greetings as well: Joyeux Noël, Feliz Navidad, Fröh Weihnachsten, Wesłych Świat Bozego Narodzenia and Alleluia: How wonderful it would be to really know these and other great languages. Living in Milwaukee where so many of the old country customs and languages are not only preserved but very much alive makes one all the more wish to be able to communicate in the different tongues. What a sound will go up when all the nations gather to praise and worship God! (Rev. 15:4)
I just glanced down the radio fare for one Sunday here, and Serbian, German, Croatian, Italian, Greek, Slovenian, and Polish programs were featured. The other night I was privileged to attend a festive and joyful dinner in a Polish home. The family had made the Christmas decorations, and the table linens were the exquisite work of Polish fingers. It was the home of my friends, Dr. and Mrs. Bernie Klamecki. Bernie, a Milwaukee surgeon active in the healing ministry, is also Roman Catholic and as such presides over a family where Polish national and religious customs are observed. Later, when I was thanking him for the experience of his “world,” he told me (with quiet excitement in his voice) of another custom he and his family observe, and that on Christmas Eve. They go to church ready to give thanks for all the good things God has blessed them with throughout the year. That is a custom I plan to adopt – permanently. How exciting and wonderful to do that! And what a great preparation for the New Year’s Eve Eucharist. At this service it has long been my custom to go to church prepared to offer up as special intentions new goals for the new year. These have come as a result of waiting quietly before the Lord, and listening to Him – pen and prayer journal in hand. These sheets in my prayer journal never seem to grow old, for God keeps on answering and honoring these petitions. Like the bread and the fishes, God multiplies and blesses to us all that we ask in His Name! Glory be! What a privilege, what a heritage we have as children of God. “Oh for a Thousand Tongues to Sing” – in praise of His Name, in thanksgiving to Him. My list of blessings to give thanks for will be so long that it will take from now until Christmas Eve just to prepare it.
God the Father, speaking through His prophet Isaiah, foretells the coming of His Son into the world, and that He would “reveal truth to the nations.”
I have given You for a covenant to the people,
for a light to the nations
to open the eyes of the blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon
and those who sit in darkness from the prison. (Isa. 42:6b, 7)
Unlike Isaiah, we live on “this side” of Christmas – of our Lord’s first advent. And we who are Christians know that He came, and that “in Him was Life and the Life was the Light of men.” We know this because He who is our Light and our Righteousness indwells us, and that the truth He came to give to the nations lives as a permanent shaft of light within our very souls.
The second advent of our Lord is the great Christian hope. He is coming for those who love Him, and “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” But this coming is pictured as a terrible day for the many who have despised the Light (Joel 2:1-13; Isa. 13:9-11; Rev. 19:11-21). The Scriptures give a terrible description of what it means to be finally separated from all that is good, all that is Light.
I had a dream recently that brought this absence of Light – the awfulness of it – home to me. I was sitting, looking out upon a black, black sea and horizon. There was no light, not even a star in the black sky or a candle upon the earth. Then I saw a great light rise (like a sun) over the horizon. It was a great ship cautiously coming into port, and its huge beam was the only light. It was almost to shore when it was suddenly blown to smithereens. There was a great fire and explosion – then no light. As I prayed about this dream, the thing that was borne in on me was that there was no transcendent light, not even from moon or stars, and that the only light was man-made. And God began to speak to me through the prophet Habakkuk. In verse 1:7, “[The Chaldeans] are terrible and dreadful; their justice and dignity proceed only from themselves.” One has only to think of the Nazis, the Kremlin, and our own newspaper headlines to know what a dreadful scourge the Chaldeans would bring on the unprepared or defenseless nation. In verse 11, “They (the Chaldeans) load themselves with guilt, (as do all men) whose own power is their god.” This is in contrast to the marvelous image of God approaching from Sinai, His glory filling the heavens, the earth full of His praise: “And His brightness was like the sunlight; rays streamed from His hand; and there (in the sun-like splendor) was the hiding place of His power” (Hab. 3:3, 4). God has continued to speak to me through this night vision – about the growing darkness in the world and especially in the minds of men, about what happens when the “light” of man’s wisdom is separate from and even replaces the light of God’s presence and truth in congregations of God’s people. There again we must in the power of the Holy Spirit be channels of the true Light, and remind them of what faith in the Son of God really claims:
“Think what faith in Jesus Christ claims – that He can present us faultless before the throne of God, unutterably pure, absolutely rectified and profoundly justified. Stand in implicit adoring faith in Him. He is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption'” (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, Nov. 13). All of this inherent in the gift of the Christ Child, the gift of Christmas.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Image: 1864 Aivazovsky Meer anagoria” by Ivan Aivazovsky – anagoria. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1864_Aivazovsky_Meer_anagoria.JPG #/media/File:1864_Aivazovsky_Meer_anagoria.JPG