I am overwhelmed by my study of the Day of Atonement in Leviticus 16 to the point I am physically reacting to it. Translation is like playing chicken with God. After being blown away by His holiness, I recorded this cry of my heart, and I believe He wanted me to share it. So here it is. It is a fresh piano inspiration in Cm. “Be filled with the spirit . . . making melody in your heart to the Lord.” Ephesians 4
The more we feed on corruptible things
The more our bodies are broken down by it.
The more we feed on eternal things
The more our bodies are renewed by it.
I came to understand this, bless the Lord who is merciful and just, after a week where He gave me a specific directive, “No chocolate.” It wasn’t even words. It was merely a feeling deep within my spirit, as He was inviting me to follow his leading in a deeper non-verbal way. I thought of chocolate, and knew I was not to eat it. But what was weird was, I could eat it, and He said it was okay. The first day of school–Monday, I turned down a chocolate cupcake that was apparently “divine” according to all my other friends. The entire day, I ate no chocolate, no coffee, just ordinary food. And to celebrate the blessing of Monday, I ate chocolate. The next day, my hand and my arm were scraped up from a nasty fall, and I had one of the most chaotic chorus teaching days in my career. I ate a bit of chocolate each day for the next four days, and the week ended with a class of discouragement, and lethargy and longing for the weekend, and feeling dismal about my work.
I have been reading The Refiner’s Fire with my wife at night, and as we read last night, T. Austin-Sparks wrote:
“Dependency on the Lord is a governing and an abiding law of true spiritual power.”
Examples of this in practice involve feasting upon eternity at the cost of the material. Fasting serves this purpose. Silence, waiting, giving, sacrifice, all of these things exercise the heart to lay hold of what really matters, to avoid the snare of the empty corruptible resources of this world.
In common terms, have we not even seen that foods that are natural are full of nutrients, but the more they are processed by the devices of men, they are stripped of their nourishment? The life is the same way. If you feast on God, you will not only be satisfied, but even your hungry times will be hopeful. If you feast on the devices of man, you ingest the woeful product of man’s corruptibility, which more often than not works for a temporal and fleeting end, rather than a spiritual and eternal one.
Even now, on this day of rest, as I write this work, my body reels for more caffeine, but my heart is growing strong in its absence. Not because chocolate is any evil thing. It is merely temporal, but God has bound up eternity in the heart of humanity. This is why it is so true that, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” It is the breath and thought and person of God which sustains our souls for life.
The reason I feel I must publish this, is I see more and more the T-shirts with the cute slogan which helps us laugh at our Christianity translated through American Culture. “I can do all things with Christ . . . and Coffee.” I would laugh, but the matter is too grievous. I do not judge the practice of eating or drinking. I do not have that right. What I do judge is the proud display of Jesus + something else, as the basis for our life. To lean on anything at all beyond just Jesus, is the very spirit of idolatry which breathes corruption into our daily lives.
Do you not know the flesh wars against the spirit,
And that the spirit wars against the flesh?
What provision do you make for the flesh that you may fulfill it’s desires?
Do you caffeinate your body so it can function in a society based on too much work, noise, and business?
Isn’t the church called to more than that?
One of the hindrances to power in the church today, is that we do not know how to be utterly dependent on God.
We are afraid of what from ourselves or our possessions that would cost us.
Christ + Coffee is a house divided against itself. It cannot stand.
Do not be so simple as to think I’m really talking about Coffee as being an inherent evil. If you think so, I think you are looking for fault in what I say in order to preserve your own affection or dependence. And yet, why is it that the Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians, “Do not be drunk with wine, which is dissipation, but be filled by the spirit.” I think we could have a modern translation of that, “Don’t live on coffee, which is dissipation, but be filled by the spirit!” “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.” If you are not feeling liberty in your life, I would suggest you are walking in something less than God’s spirit.
I have written this for myself. I sit here in a quiet place, waiting on the Lord. I step out on faith that the energy I do not have is supplied by God for what I need. And if I look to Coffee, it will let me down. If I look to chocolate, it will let me down. Time is too short, to live a dis-empowered spiritual life, because you have substituted holy joy for entertainment, and spiritual power for caffeinated power. Both will be tried by fire, and there will not be enough coffee to put out that fire. It is an all consuming fire. All that remains is what is of eternity. When your life is burned up before the presence of a Holy God who judges the living and the dead, how much will be burned up because it was based on coffee, and how much of it will survive the trial because it was based on nothing but Christ Himself?
There is a bride
Her under-developed body
Is cold, weak, shoddy
From lack of Spirit’s animation
Her imbecile consciousness
Is slowed by dimming influence
From lack of Spirit’s illumination
Her frame too frail
To through travail
Give birth to Spirit’s progeny
Her heart cringing fear
She curls up to look “in here.”
Closed up to the Spirit’s guidance
Clothed in dirt
Worms her dessert
Mixing sin with Spirit’s holiness
Where’s her father?
Where’s a lover to romance?
Where’s a coach, trainer, or brother?
Where’s the Savior?
Here comes a minstrel
His song is sweet,
Her ears receive
Her mind perceives
Her heart conceives
Her body breathes.
Then comes a play mate
His games are fun
Her feet can run
Her eyes see sun
Her heart has won
Her chains undone
Then comes a father
His name is hers
His words she heeds
His strength she needs
Her mind he feeds
Her heart he kneads.
Then comes a lover
He gives up Himself.
Her face beams
Her eye gleams
She races streams
Her heart sings.
Then the Spirit and the Bride say:
All feels lost
Warmth is steady
Clouds raging linger
Pyres point the finger
Please dull the stinger
Storms are slackening
Fires are blackening
Soul is flattening
Hush! Little wind and be calm
Brush! Feed the fire and keep warm
Thrush! Shells crush, but do no harm
Sea of glass as flat as a plate
Soft embers blown by love not hate
The strength of words now marked in slate