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17 Aug
2013
Posted in: Practicing Praise
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The Joy of Worship

My son is singing in a local worship arts festival today, so I prayed heavily during my morning devotions for him and their band, ‘Ascention’ (yes, the ‘t’ instead of the ‘s’ is intentional).  I asked the Lord to be my son’s sole focus, that all he does would be out of love and adoration of his Redeemer.  In His goodness, God chose to respond with Nehemiah 12, which I providentially read immediately after praying heavily for the worship event today.   I believe God’s hand is on these kids. 

Nehemiah 12:27-29, “Now at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought out the Levites in all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem to celebrate the dedication with gladness, both with thanksgivings and singing, with cymbals and stringed instruments and harps.  And the sons of the singers gathered together from the countryside around Jerusalem, from the villages of the Netophathites, from the house of Gilgal, and from the fields of Geba and Azmaveth; for the singers had built themselves villages all around Jerusalem.”

Nehemiah 12:36, “and his brethren, Shemaiah, Azarel, Milalai, Gilalai, Maai, Nethanel, Judah, and Hanani, with the musical instruments of David the man of God. Ezra the scribe went before them.”

Nehemiah 12:40-43, “So the two thanksgiving choirs stood in the house of God, …. The singers sang loudly with Jezrahiah the director. Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and the children also rejoiced, so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard afar off.”

Nehemiah 12:46-47, “For in the days of David and Asaph of old there were chiefs of the singers, and songs of praise and thanksgiving to God. In the days of Zerubbabel and in the days of Nehemiah all Israel gave the portions for the singers and the gatekeepers, a portion for each day.”

After reading Nehemiah chapter 12, I noticed I missed something in my morning prayer.  I never asked the Lord that the kids would take great joy in their worship.  Nehemiah chapter 12 is all about loud and mighty rejoicing with singing and instruments.  God wants these kids to have an awesome time praising Him!  This doesn’t seem very deep and spiritual, but it’s fun to thank God!

God is interested in our little, seemingly insignificant, lives. When He shows His interest in my little life, or, in this case, the life of my son and the other kids, I look up, and I can’t help but wonder why He cares at all.  Then I fall down in praise because, day by day, as I seek Him with diligence and faith, day by day, He reminds me of His great care.

16 Aug
2013
Posted in: Practicing Praise
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Every Moment An Opportunity

Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.  Eph 5:15-17

I can not write this post right now because I must get my daughter ready for her soccer game, which starts at 9:00 am.  It is 8:05 am.  I must make the most of this moment, understanding what the Lord’s will is.  It is for me to stop writing, yet I greatly wish to continue because there is so much to say and perhaps I’ll forget it later.  Trust in the Lord; He will provide exactly what He means to provide.

It’s been days since starting this post and that’s quite okay only because God holds time, and all that I have comes from His hand.  Therefore if I am frustrated with time, I am actually frustrated with its Creator.  Time is not a burden, nor a hurdle, nor a crutch, or a brick wall, and it is not a cruel master.

Acknowledging and submitting to my limitations makes me rich with opportunity each hour to sacrifice to the Lord; laying down my plans for the moment to gladly accept His can be a beautiful act of worship to the Creator of time and limitations.  He called the day ‘good’.  “And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.”  Gen 1:4

Is the day good?  Do I welcome limitations as opportunities to consecrate what is “mine” as holy unto the Lord?  Perhaps these questions would be better answered by my children.  Does mom agree with God on Sunday morning, just before church?  Does she get panicked and frantic about the time?  Are you shipped from one thing to the next?

Can you picture Christ rushing around, frantically getting from one thing to the next? Absolutely not! Jesus was, and is, Lord of time, and all other limitations, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” Mark 4:41.

Each of us have the same number of moments in our day; the hours equalize us, level us out, we are all subject to time, whether peasant or king.  I have little money that I am able to give to my Lord, but I have just as many moments in my 24 hours as a rich man.  I can freely and cheerfully give all my moments to my God.  In practice, though, I find my attempts to give each moment to God to be difficult at best. “The spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak” Mat 26:41b.  I am tired, I am cold, I am hungry, I have a headache, I need to get somewhere, I need to sit down, I need, I want, I am.  I am what?  I am my stomach and I am sick of me.

I am a worm.  You, oh God, You Are.  Today, be Lord of all my moments.  I desire to die to myself right now, in this moment, and give it to you, God of my salvation.  Jesus, today, might my dull thoughts be turned heavenward.  Might I welcome manual labor as opportunity to sing praises to you, might I see each colored leaf as a gift from above, and might my smile and laugh be born out of thanksgiving.  When my children ‘interrupt’ my work, might I recognize the appointment to be a divine.  May my words be few and carefully spoken, might they always build and mend and praise.  Keep complaining thoughts and a dull mind far from me, Lord.

Heavenly Father, I ask for opportunity to give to others, to sacrifice my own needs for the needs of others.  I desire to show your kindness where ever I am, be it at the grocery store, or here at home with my family, or on the road, or at church.  Might I have eyes to see, and ears to hear your still small voice.  Might I realize today when you’ve gifted me with moments to be low and humble, to prayerfully mourn, to hunger for righteousness and keep close your holy Word, to have mercy on others, to uphold purity, to make peace, and to be rejected for your sake.  And when you’ve answered this cry, might I understand your providence, so your glory and my joy can multiply all the more.

5 Aug
2013

The Virtue of Faith, “I Believe, Help my Unbelief”

Swallowtail“…the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.”  Mark 9:24

“…the wind blows where it will, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell from where it comes, and where it goes; so is everyone that is born of the spirit.”  John 3:8

A little while ago the Lord brought it to my mind that faith is a virtue, and as such it is a part of His goodness, His Character.  We cannot know Him unless we also know faith.  “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”  Heb 11:6.

Faith is beautiful.  This is why so often the things of God are hidden, because with His cover of mystery He draws this beautiful virtue out of us; hidden things require faith.  Being all beauty and all good, He can do no less.  And faith is beautiful.

I wrote down the above verses to memorize and the Lord used this effort the very next day on two separate occasions.  My little 8-year-old confessed to me today that she wondered if God was real at all.  And that if He was not real, then our family must be “really weird”.  I knew she was struggling because over the last few months what once gave her joy now was dull, she has been uninterested in the things of God.  I was praying for her daily, that the Spirit would stir in her soul, and today I saw the fruit of those prayers.  I was so thankful for her confession and held her tight, reassuring her that I was pleased with her honesty.

And the Lord not only used those verses above for my little girl, He also intended them for Crystal, the Hardings worker I met in the parking lot today.  I was picking up some groceries for dinner and I was praying for open eyes and a ready heart, to speak to someone there about the things of God, as He permitted.  After introducing myself and inviting her to church, I asked Crystal if she had any questions about God.  Providentially, she told me that lately she was thinking heavily about such things and that she just really didn’t know if He existed or not.  I asked her what her church background was and she said she didn’t have one, but perhaps she should start there.  I asked her if she had a bible at home and she said she did, but that she didn’t read it.  I told her to start there, in the Gospel of John.

The Lord had prepared me the day before for both the conversation with my daughter, and the conversation with Crystal, my new friend from Hardings.  On the same day, the Lord used Mark 9:24, “Lord, help my unbelief”, as the call-to-action for faith that is wanting.  I explained to both Crystal and to my little girl what the Lord had just spoken to my heart the day before, about faith being a beautiful virtue.  “And these three remain, faith, hope and love.”  Faith is essential to knowing God because it is good, and God is all good.  Or, put another way, because faith is a virtue and as such it is good, so God would be less good if He could be known without faith.

Update:

Lately I have had to reduce the amount of time my daughter has been reading her Bible, she has been doing it so frequently other things are getting neglected, and I have been praising God for her new found zeal.  Faith is lovely.  It is the hope for things unseen, the beautiful life-giving things, the things of eternity.  Faith is essential.  Desire it. Long after it like a hungry man longs after food.  Then ask and you shall receive.

So how does one acquire faith when it seems so out of reach?  Ask.  All things are possible with God and He graciously gives us our desires.  If we do not desire God, He stays away.  If we do desire God, He provides.  But we must desire Him, and as already stated, faith is good, God is good, so faith is essential to knowing Him.  We can not ask Him to prove Himself so that we would have faith.  That is not faith in the least; it is cheap and quick and of the flesh and knows nothing of God.  We must really desire God, and so really desire faith, not the proud and loud ‘proof’.  It is so simple, yet many will never understand it.

13 Jul
2013

Refuting Universal Salvation

the worldI’ve found that the verses the Universal Salvationists use to support their theory can be easily explained by considering the times of the apostles.  “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” 1 Cor 15:22.  When Paul says ‘all’, he is telling us that Jesus came for the salvation all people, as opposed to God’s plan being restricted to only the Jewish nation.  It was a really amazing concept back then, that God had it in His plans to spread His offer of salvation to the entire world, Gentiles too.

The book of Acts is all about how Jesus came for the entire world, not just the Jews.  Read about the vision of Peter in Acts chapter 10, and also read Acts, chapter 15, to see how this shook everyone as completely strange.  They didn’t know how to react to such an outpouring of love from the Father.

“For God so loved the world” doesn’t mean the entire world will be saved, but that God made His plan of salvation available to the entire world.  Acts 13:48 “And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.  And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region.”

Room for Speculation?

Maybe there is a bit of room to speculate, and only speculate, that perhaps all people will have equal opportunity to hear of God’s plan for salvation, and that perhaps that will be after the resurrection of the dead.  I am gathering this speculation from Acts 3:23, when Paul is speaking about the restitution of the world, he quotes Moses saying, “and it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people”.  It is somewhat understandable that one might speculate that perhaps every soul will have opportunity to either accept or reject the prophet.  However it is perhaps more probable that the verse simply means that every soul which did happen to have opportunity to hear the prophet, and then reject him, will be destroyed.

Also, looking at John 5:28, 29, we see that those who have done good here and now, go to eternal life at the resurrection of the dead, and those who have done evil here and now, are condemned at the resurrection.  “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”   This verse makes me strongly doubt the gospel will be preached after the resurrection of the dead.

And even if this speculation were correct, one would still need to account for Jesus declaring that the road to destruction is broad and many go in by it, Mat 7:13, and so very many other verses about the small number who are saved.  And for a direct answer from Christ concerning the question at hand, just see Luke 13:23 & 24.  After reading those verses we can be done with the entire discussion because Jesus doesn’t leave us with any mysteries.  “Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.”

I also argue that Scriptural language such as ‘everlasting destruction’, ‘utterly perish’, ‘eternal fire’, and ‘unquenchable fire’ certainly carry a sense of finality.  Some Universal Salvationists say hellfire will be used to refine the sinner.  This language of finality shows us the fire consumes utterly, which is not at all the type of fire that refines.  Scripture strongly and irrefutably declares that there are no other chances for the fire cannot be quenched.

Fair Verses Grace

‘But that’s not fair’, some cry out to God.  May I humbly submit to you that it is very fair that we who sin should, indeed, perish.  When we despise God by sinning, we do not deserve the life God has granted us.  As the Lord gives, it is His to also take away.  It would be fair if God would simply destroy us the instant we engaged in sin.  Wouldn’t the world be a far better place if God would just be fair to us?  No more war, no more adultery, no more child porn, no more hatred.  It’d be a perfect world if God were only fair.

How thankful we should be that God is not fair!  He graciously gives man time to repent; even the incredibly wicked man often has numerous days to turn to God.  Each sunrise is a testimony to the outpouring of mercy from the Lord upon both the just and the unjust.  And I am so thankful that God was not fair to His only begotten Son.  For He did not spare Him but, rather, “He made Him who knew no sin, to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”  2 Cr 5:21.  The Savior of the world took the blame for our crimes.  That is not fair.

12 Jul
2013
Posted in: Listening to God
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Where Can I Go from Your Spirit?

Church Begins“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?  If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.”  Psalm 139:8

I read this verse yesterday online and chewed on it here and there throughout that day.  This morning I woke far too early, around 5:00 a.m., with this wonderful verse floating around in my head, looking forward to meditating on the verse during my upcoming devotions.  At 6:15 a.m., I began my devotional time with prayer, asking our Good Shepherd, who knows “my sitting down and my rising up”, and “understands my thought afar off”, to graciously speak to me by His Word.

Then, without any intention of doing so, I immediately opened to Psalm 139, not realizing at first the significance of what I was reading.  When I read, “where can I go from Your Spirit?”, I knew I was reading the very verse that the Lord awoke me with this morning at 5 a.m.  Keep in mind that I had read that verse online yesterday, and I had not recently visited any part of Psalms in my bible, and that page in particular is no favorite, but a rather ignored one.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?   Where can I go where You are not there, Spirit of the Living God, my best thought by both day and night.  You, Creator of the mind, why are you mindful of us?

Beautiful ‘God Things’ Between You and Your Savior

 

Prase God‘God Thing’ # 1, A Call to Study the Book of Daniel: Saturday, June 8, 2013

I don’t understand the book of Daniel.   Yesterday morning I read Daniel 9:26 and decided I needed to better understand it, especially the part about a flood.  “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.”  I decided to start a bible study in Daniel at my own pace, thought this one by It Is Written might fit the bill.  I printed up the first lesson, ready to come back to it at the right time.

Providentially, the following morning at church, our pastor left the book we were working on (Revelation) and preached on the book of Daniel, quoting the above verse.   …Okay, Lord, I’m listening, but I’m very slow to understand so it will take time to digest this book, but you have my attention.  This will be my first serious attempt to study biblical prophecy.

‘God Thing’ # 2,  Answered Prayer at Church: Sunday, June 9, 2013

On to another “God thing” from this morning, as many call it in my circles.   Months ago I asked a woman at our church if we could get together for a meal.  We exchanged phone numbers, then I promptly lost the number, and haven’t seen her at church since (we go to a big church).  Over the past few days I’ve been feeling convicted about this and so this morning, before church, I prayed for her and wrote her name in my to-do list, fully intending to look for her number even if it meant cleaning out my entire closet.  If you have ever seen my closet, you know just the thought is a grand undertaking.   Then, while at church, though I barely recognized her because it has been a while since I saw her last, there she was right in my path.  I told her I had just prayed for her that morning.  We exchanged phone numbers again and this time I recorded her number in my day planner right away.  Thank you, Lord.

‘God Thing’ # 3, Better Health by God’s Hand: Sunday, June 9, 2013

And another “God thing” that just happened.  I’ve been praying for a friend at the nursing home, who is paralyzed from the neck down from a terrible disease.  Over the past month, I’ve had the privilege to see God grant her better health after years of going down hill.  At one point her health was so bad she had to have all her food mashed up and she could only get out approximately two sentences within a half hour of my visiting.  Her mind was all there but she had no way of communicating, it was terrible.

She loves the Lord and she’s thrilled about feeling better.  Though still paralyzed from the neck down, now she can communicate far better and it feels so good.   My daughter had her bible class praying for her, and, of course, she prays for herself, and I pray for her regularly.  I believe prayer moved the Lord to heal her as much as He did because the disease only goes one way, and that is downhill.  It is a gift from God that she can communicate again, it’s another ‘God thing’.

She has a lot of faith & it is beautiful.  Since we saw so much improvement over the past month, she thinks God will do a miracle and give her the ability to walk, “I’m going to do cartwheels” is what she tells me.  She insists that I help her get out of bed, and I go along with it until I feel like its gone too far & she could get hurt.  If God’s going to do a miracle, He won’t need me to help her.   We then discuss God’s will, and praise God that Kathy will most certainly be doing her cartwheels in heaven, because of the work of Christ on the cross.

‘God Thing’ # 4, God’s Encouragement to Walk Circumspectly: Monday, June 10, 2013

Light ShineAnyway, Kathy and I speak on spiritual matters and yesterday she asked me about sin in my own life.  I told her that I am always learning, and growing in Christ.  That I strive to ‘walk circumspectly’ with the help of the Holy Spirit.  When that word came out of my mouth, I thought it a strange choice, then I was privately amazed it somehow got from my mind to my mouth without it being butchered because I’ve never actually said it before, and I’m not a gifted speaker by any means.  Okay.  I just used the word circumspectly.  Cool.

Before this morning could not have told you where ‘circumspectly’ was in the bible.  Though I probably could have told you it was somewhere in the epistles, it certainly isn’t a favorite verse or a well worn page.  And though I wasn’t thinking about what I said yesterday, this morning I opened my bible to Ephesians 5, and when I got to 5:15, “See, then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise…”, I recalled the word falling from my mouth yesterday.  Curiosity got the best of me, and I decided to look up the word on Blue Letter Bible to see how often it is in Scripture.  “Circumspectly” is only used in Ephesians 5:15.  Cool.  Another ‘God thing’.

Best not to over analyze about what the Lord is ‘trying’ to say to me when He does this kind of thing.  Best not to read hidden messages into a very simple and obvious one.  He is the Good Shepherd, and He guides us with loving encouragement, or, sometimes, sharp rebuke.  I’ve learned to just smile, and look to heaven, thanking the Lord of creation that He should be mindful of man, of me, and then look for the next good thing He has already prepared for me to do.  He’s amazing.

Looking for Your Own Wonderful ‘God Things’

If I were to only tell you one of these ‘God things’ you might brush it off as just coincidence, and I would understand because I would do the same with only one such experience.  That is why, dear friend, I am trying to maintain this journal.  But I can’t keep up with God, I simply cannot write down all the ‘God – things’ that happen each day.  This entry is nothing special, it is a typical daily walk with the Lord.  There was a time when I was a believer but I didn’t see God at work in my every moment.  At that time I could go a week without praying or reading Scripture, and think I was just fine, though maybe I’d feel a little guilty because I neglected my Lord.  If I were to do that now, I know I would miss so much!  My eyesight would become dull, God would let me go my way, and oh, how I’d miss His guidance!  Ours is a walk with God.  Ours is an intimacy with God, this is our claim as children of the Most High.  “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost…”  Heb 6:4  It is impossible for the believer to go any other direction but toward God because it is such a wonderful journey!  If you haven’t seen God in your daily life, then, by all means, jump on board and seek Him with everything you’ve got!

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”  Heb 11:6.  God still rewards those who diligently seek Him in faith.  And the best part is that often His rewards are simply reminders that you are walking with Him, He rewards faith with Himself.  I write these things down because it is my prayer that you would read this and start to believe that if Hebrews 11:6 is relevant for a simple stay-at-home mother of 4, it is also relevant for you.  I sincerely hope you will get excited about the Lord and want to seek His will with all that is within you.  And as you seek first the Kingdom, with opened eyes ready to see God at work, I am confident God will reward you with your own seemingly little ‘God – things’.  Wonderful things that will remind you God is there, that you are walking with Him, that He is your friend, beautiful ‘God – things’ that are just between you and your Savior.

14 May
2013
Posted in: Biblical Mindset
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A Faithful Witness; Costly Gold

“…Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you” Rev. 2:13.   This word, ‘martyr’ is Strong’s G 3144 and is used 34 times in the New Testament.  It’s original meaning was simply ‘a witness’.  The KJV translates this word into ‘martyr’ twice, in Acts 22:20 referring to Stephen, and in Revelation 2:13 referring to Antipas.  A more literal translation would be “…Antipas was my faithful witness, who was slain among you”.

Witness.  Martyr.  I’d rather be a witness than a martyr, yet Scripture does not distinguish between the two.  They are one in the same.  Witnessing was not a light decision in New Testament times; the activity was dangerous and the cost had to be counted.  Yet Jesus counsels them (and us) to buy from Him “gold tried in the fire” because to him who overcomes Christ Himself will give ‘hidden manna’ and ‘a white stone’ with a new name written on it.  This is desirable, precious, rare and perfect gold.  So rare and precious, in fact, that it has never been physically handled.

FruitBut how does one go about purchasing this gold from Christ?  There is much to consider when we are counseled to buy something.  First we must decide if we really want it.  It is recommended to us as something that will benefit us, but do we trust the Counselor?

Before purchasing an investment, we look over the creditials of the broker recommending the investment.  Has he demonstrated that this investment is worthy of our purchase, has He demonstrated that He is worthy of our consideration?

Once we have determined this then we start to desire this thing we intend to buy, we desire it so much, in fact, that we are willing to give up something else in order to attain this other thing we desire.  We go without in order to afford the thing we desire, believing it will bring us a solid future investment.  So how do we purchase this gold from Christ?

1. We trust the Counselor that it is a worthy investment.  Have faith…

2. We desire the gold He offers.  Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desire of your heart.

3. We set aside other things in order to afford this one thing.  Count the cost and carry our cross.

4. We ask Him for it.  Ask and you will receive.

Finally, we ask Him for it.  The final step to purchasing something is the actual transaction.  We must let Him know what it is we desire to buy, and He will give us the desire of our hearts; this heavenly gold we have set our heart on.  He gives us good things, bread and not a stone, fish, not a serpent.  This is good gold, though costly.   We ask carefully, with calculation.  We have already counted the cost, we understand what it is we are asking.

In Matthew 20:20-23, a woman asked our Lord if her sons might sit at His side in heaven, Jesus told her she did not know what it was that she asked; had she really counted the cost?  She was asking for heavenly gold; that costly gold.  Yes, she understood; it would cost her sons extreme tribulation.  We must be caculated when we ask the Lord of such things.  We seek gold.  Careful, Christian, ask only when you are ready.  Lord, might I be worthy of less of me, more of you.  Might I be counted worthy of tribulation for your Name’s sake.

28 Apr
2013

The Eternal Significance of a Turtle

 

(Journal Entry: 6-12-2010)  A Turtle’s Journey Across the Road

Yesterday I prayed for an eternal opportunity for the day. I got through much of the day without seeing the opportunity, and was praying about it in the car driving to pick up the pizza.  Then I noticed a little turtle crossing the street.  It was trying with all its might but it was very slow and didn’t have much of a chance.  I drove past with a strange notion that maybe that was my opportunity that I had been praying for; maybe God wanted me to save that turtle.  It seemed a bit impractical because I was suppose to be picking up the pizza, not saving turtles, so I hesitated and drove by it. 

Though I drove past, I continued to feel compelled to go save the poor thing so I turned the car around.  I was too late.  After finding it smashed on the road, I had the sinking feeling that God had prompted me to save it in the first place, and if I had been more careful to listen to Him, right now the little turtle would be happily continuing his little turtle journey to the pond on the other side of the road. 

The Lord graciously reminded me that my hesitations can bring much bigger consequences than smashed turtles.  I must learn to respond immediately when prompted by the Spirit. 

(Journal Entry: 6-13-2010)  Do Not Ignore It

Update: I opened to Deuteronomy 22 today, and God used verse 4 to speak plainly regarding yesterday’s lesson.  “If you see your brother’s donkey or his ox fallen on the road, do not ignore it.  Help him get it to its feet.”  I believe I was suppose to get that turtle.  Maybe not so much because its wrong to let a turtle die, but because I felt a nudge of the Spirit, and ignored it until it was too late.  Seems the Lord is training me to recognize what that nudge feels like, so that in the future I can respond immediately.

(4-28-2013, Almost 3 Years Later)  To The Street Corners

This morning during prayer I became grieved over my own lack of vision and joy.  Christ suffered so severely in my place and my life is hidden in Him for all of eternity, and I lack vision and joy?  I considered various times recently I could have become dead to myself and alive in Christ, but chose to be dull instead.   

On Friday the 26th I was picking up the pizza and saw a woman wandering down the street, not trying to get any place quickly.   I had the notion to stop to speak to her about the things of eternity.  Though it would have only been a 5 minute stop, I was concerned the pizza might get cold and so went on my way. 

This morning I felt strongly that I had ignored the Spirit’s nudge that Friday, and so asked for grace.  God, in His mercy and kindness, chose to respond to my prayer by providing Matthew 22:9 & 10.  When I read “Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.  So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find…”, I knew Christ was speaking plainly to me regarding that woman on the road.  I believe I was suppose to have stopped, as the Spirit had prompted.  

This whispering of the Spirit in Mat 22 “go to the street and invite to the banquet anyone you find”, reminded me of three years earlier, when He confirmed His prompting to save the turtle by providing Deuteronomy 22, “If you see your brother’s donkey or his ox fallen on the road, do not ignore it.” 

I marvel at how He cares.  Why are You mindful of me, Lord?  You.  Infinite and Almighty, you are there with me while I pick up pizza, prompting me to stop for both turtles and souls.  Who am I that You should care and see and record each deed, each word, each thought, “a scroll of remembrance was written in His presence”  Malachi 3:16.  Because of your love and grace, You are mindful of me, God Almighty; Oh, that I would more mindful of You.

Coincidence: The Thief that Stole the Glory Due God

 On Wednesday, March 13th, I awoke with Hebrews 11:6 on my mind and my heart.   The quiet darkened bedroom a lovely sanctuary containing this unspoken verse, spoken only to my soul. 

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

And then in the moments that followed, still in the darkness of that quiet morning, the Lord began the conversation.  Though I had not read that verse recently, and though I rarely read Hebrews, and though by no means intended to, I opened my bible precisely to Hebrews 11 and the first thing I laid my eyes on, the very first thing I read, was Hebrews 11:6. 

A chill ran down my back as thanksgiving poured from my mouth because the blessing of His presence was so evident.

The next day, on March 14th, I spoke to an ‘atheist’, though I think she was probably more of an agnostic.  She told me that both of her parents were born-again believers.  Being a mother myself, my heart was heavy for these believers who were most likely heavily praying for their atheist daughter.  She told me that her parents became Christians on their honeymoon, by the same evangelist, on the same day, but at separate times during the day and without knowledge of the other one’s decision.  It was only later in the day that they realized they both had the same experience. 

After telling me that she said, “isn’t that cool?”  And of course, I agreed enthusiastically and proceeded to ask her how she perceives such evidence for God’s providence.  She shrugged her shoulders and quickly answered with one word, “coincidence”. 

What a thief this ‘coincidence’ word is to the glory due God’s name. 

God Provided the Donkey and Colt

I told her that it couldn’t possibly be coincidence.  The Lord then used my experience the morning before to explain to this young lady that not one sparrow falls to the ground without the Lord knowing about it, that it is all Providence, not coincidence.  I recounted heartily how God had spoken the morning before, how the verse was on my heart while I laid in my bed and then the Lord provided it exactly that morning during my devotions.  I described the chills that ran down my back, that I knew beyond any doubt that it was God, not coincidence that gave me that verse in the quiet and then in the written word. 

And she said, “but that has never happened to me personally”. 

I told her just because she hasn’t personally experienced God, that others haven’t had personal experiences.  I told her she has never truly sought the Lord for herself, but has depended upon her parent’s faith, and so now she has concluded something that isn’t so.  

She was, in fact, experiencing God at that very moment, if she’d just have the faith to see it.  The Lord used the very verse He provided the morning before, that “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”  That verse was actually intended for her, it was not only mine!  She had not personally experienced God because she has never diligently sought Him for herself. 

She agreed with me that it was true she had never diligently sought God for herself.  I left her with a hug and a 15 page packet about the scientific evidence that God exists. 

I have no doubt that all this occurred because God truly does reward those who diligently seek Him.  I am sure this young woman’s parents have been praying for their daughter, that she would come to a personal faith in Christ.  I believe that was why I woke with the verse on my heart on March 13th, and then I immediately opened to the verse for my devotions, and then the next day was given opportunity to use the experience for the glory of the Lord in the life of another.  The Lord works in mysterious ways, and He most surely does reward those who diligently seek Him.  Please pray that this young woman would come to faith because the Lord’s hand is upon her already.

16 Mar
2013

Praying for the Peace of Jerusalem

For a couple of weeks now I’ve been praying that the Holy Spirit would lead in what to pray.

Though I normally get right to my morning devotions, this morning I rather randomly checked my email first and opened only one message before beginning to pray.  The email was from the Jerusalem Prayer Team concerning what is happening right now in Israel.

In the email Mike Evans, the founder of this organization and a personal friend of Prime Minister Netanyahu, says, “I am leaving in the morning for Jerusalem to stand in the gap as your Ambassador. Please pray for me on this trip. President Obama will arrive in a few days to promote his “peace plan” that calls for dividing Jerusalem and returning most of Judea and Samaria (the so-called “West Bank”) to the Palestinians. This is a spirit battle that you must fight with me. ”

This news was laid heavily on my heart and I cried out to the Lord on behalf of Jerusalem and the Lord’s chosen people, praying earnestly for the peace of Jerusalem as scripture commands in Psalm 122:6. sacrifice

As always, I then asked the Lord to lead me in the reading of His Word, and He did.  I never know where He will lead.  I never know if He’ll speak about what I just prayed about, or if He’ll bring up something from days ago, or if He’ll rebuke, or teach, or direct, or comfort.  I only know He’s there, and that I’m there with Him because of His grace.

Immediately after praying about this threat to divide Jerusalem, the Lord provided comfort and answers through His Word.  By the hand of Providence, I unexpectedly opened scripture to Ezekiel 36 & 37, chapters of prophesy which are very applicable to our time, and to this very hour…

The first words given this morning were Ezekiel 36: 1-6, “And you, son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel, and say, ‘O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the LORD!  ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Because the enemy has said of you, ‘Aha! The ancient heights have become our possession,‘  therefore prophesy, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Because they made you desolate and swallowed you up on every side, so that you became the possession of the rest of the nations, and you are taken up by the lips of talkers and slandered by the people“—

‘therefore, O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD! Thus says the Lord GOD to the mountains, the hills, the rivers, the valleys, the desolate wastes, and the cities that have been forsaken, which became plunder and mockery to the rest of the nations all around—’therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Surely I have spoken in My burning jealousy against the rest of the nations and against all Edom, who gave My land to themselves as a possession, with wholehearted joy and spiteful minds, in order to plunder its open country.”

I believe America will be open to the wrath of God if we continue down this path of enmity toward Isreal and toward God, and it greives me greatly.  I fear what will become of us as a nation.   Our only hope is in Christ, who has made a way of salvation for those who believe.  Maranatha.