Saturday, December 30, 2017

Nothing Beyond?

At the beginning of each new year for the past decade or so, I've taken some quiet time to pray and consider a key word of expectation and direction for the coming year. When I look back upon each year, my chosen word has turned out to be surprisingly appropriate.

As I stumble into or tiptoe gingerly or am catapulted into 2018, I am aware that at each beginning my attitude is a determiner of what I receive. I can eagerly look forward and anticipate more of God's goodness and mercy and lovingkindness and hold out both hands to receive it, or fail to see that there is anything more to have. “I've been there, done that. Thanks, but I'm good,” in the jargon of the day. As for me, I continue to choose the former stance.

I wrote the following in my first anthology of verse Life! Stop Crowding Me! in my early years, 

 “Before Columbus sailed to America, the coat of arms of Spain carried the motto: Ne Plus Ultra which was a declarative statement: “There is nothing beyond.” But Columbus, a man of Faith, with both evangelistic and material motives, envisioned undiscovered worlds beyond. He braved the terrors of the then unknown and uncharted seas to prove the science of that day geographically incorrect and changed it forever. After his discoveries, the Ne was dropped from the coat of arms leaving Plus Ultra: There is more beyond!”

I'm taking Plus Ultra as my God-word for 2018 with both hands held out in anticipation of receiving abundantly the implications of God's promise in Jeremiah 29:11 and beyond into verse 14. I'm aware that the promise was originally for Israel, nevertheless the principle and nature of God's desires for His people reveal His character here.

Ne Plus Ultra?

Is there nothing beyond?

my soul cries to God.

No more heights to scale,

no more depths to explore?

Really? No more?

“Come higher!” He calls,
Always there's MORE!

“Don't pitch your tent

On man's pleasant plateau.

In Me is All Fullness

beyond earth's foothills below.

Leave beyond the fainthearted.

Brave the unknown.

Keep pressing upward

'though climbing alone.

“My Spirit draws onward
Always there's MORE!"

“Set your heart on things above....” Col. 3:1

“I press on toward the goal for the prize

of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:14

I want to keep digging deeper, stretching further, reaching higher, even climbing beyond the limits of man-made boxes, if God's Spirit leads. (Phil. 4:8) I want to keep living in the MORE while I'm still in my earth suit body on earth knowing that the ultimate fullness is in God's presence after the Finish Line. If the apostle Paul confessed that he had not yet attained, neither do I dare say that I have, even as a nonagenarian. Attainment is to be realized in our Eternal state which Jesus is preparing for us as He promised. (John 14:1-3)

I called my autobiographical faith sequel Trilogy the Land of MORE series, and titled the third book, Still MORE! (Plus Ultra!) However, the term Land of MORE refers to more than my Christian ecclesial identity. I meant it to characterize my lifetime of seeking more of what God has given us in Earth life—more to learn, more to experience, more to know of Him and His ways while I “press forward” as in the verse above.

So “Heave Ho!” I want to pull up the anchor and sail off, as Columbus did, to yet undiscovered lands and uncharted seas in 2018. For sure there's more beyond!

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