Some days I just feel weary and discouraged….
And just as an extra treat, I thought I’d share God’s gift from last night. This was probably the most incredible, most gorgeous, most intense sunset I’ve ever seen. Deep red and the deepest brightest orange set against the darkening sky….that lasted for many minutes. As my friend said, “Yes, God, we SEE You!”
After I heard someone talking about this on KWVE radio, I
forced recommended cajoled encouraged my Life Group to Read the Bible in 90 Days. We are not participating in their program but are following a schedule, and during our weekly get-together, discussing what we read. It is, and will be, a streeeeeetch to complete this task in such a compressed period of time, but it seemed right to do this. I had started reading through the Bible last summer/fall, but I know we are going to grow so much from this intense, dedicated time in His Word. So far, we gotten through Genesis, and I already have a lot to think about and write about what He’s already shown me. Now I just need the time. Not a lot of time left over after such an intense reading schedule. *Insert smile*
During the reading, I found a note in the version I was using. And even though, the goal is to just READ and not be distracted by notes or stopping to research something that is intriguing (we’re supposed to keep notes & study later), these particular words grabbed me for a few reasons. One, I’ve always struggled with what I call the Moses-Syndrome. “Who am I, that I should……” whatever I feel God is telling me to do/say. Two, someone said something similar to me a few months ago.
God’s presence in Abram’s life does not appear to be based upon any special meritorious qualities that Abram himself might possess but simply because God chooses him as the man through whom he will bless all of mankind.
Simply because God chooses.
17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
That passage has been sent to me several different times, several different ways over the past couple of months…..especially verse 18….and I’ve quoted it to a friend of mine that I really felt need to hear it. Along with Psalm 147:3 and Isaiah 61:1.
Maybe I need to back up a little.
A few years ago, a friend of mine persuaded a small group of women to read the book Listening Prayer: My Sheep Hear My Voice by Dave and Linda Olson, which outlined a very new concept to me. To talk to Jesus and actually expect Him to answer in a very real way. Imagine that! In fact, this book addressed learning how to listen to Him in our daily lives, a DIALOGUE rather than a monologue, and even emotional healing through listening. We actually had a couple of listening sessions with some of these women, but for a variety of reasons, didn’t pursue it for long. (Maybe the enemy had something to do with that?)
Somewhere along the line, I picked up the book Victory over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ by Neil Anderson that “emphasizes the importance of believing and internalizing the cardinal truths of Scripture as a base from which to renew the mind and fend off Satan’s relentless attempt to convince us that we are less than Christ empowers us to be” ….but never read it. And last year sometime, I had found a free Kindle book on Amazon called A Guide for Listening and Inner-Healing Prayer: Meeting God in the Broken Places by Rusty Rustenbach….I skimmed through a couple of chapters and thought “It would be good to work through this book” and put it aside.
As Psalm 34:17-18 kept popping up, I remembered that a print that I bought from an artist Jonathan Rogers (check out more of his artwork and his statement), who came to our church years ago to talk and exhibit his work, had the reference Psalm 34:18 on it! When I originally saw the print, I was just totally drawn to the image. All these things started to come together. I suggested to the friend mentioned above, that I would be willing to go through a “listening prayer session/sessions” with her, as outlined in the books…so we did one. I felt it was pretty awesome, and I believe she did, too. So we have more sessions in mind.
My next step is a little mini-retreat for myself. Time to delve more into this PERSONALLY….know I have some broken places that need binding up and the healing touch of Jesus’ love so that His love can pour out to others. Learning to Be is still a journey.
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Satan called a worldwide convention. In his opening address to his evil angels, he said, “We can’t keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth. We can’t even keep them from family values. But we can do something else. We can keep them from forming an intimate, abiding experience in Christ.
“If they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken. So let them go to church, let them have their conservative lifestyles, but steal their time so they can’t gain that experience in Jesus Christ.
“This is what I want you to do, angels. Distract them from gaining hold of their Savior and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day.”
“How shall we do this?” shouted the evil angels.
“Keep them busy in the non-essentials of life and invent unnumbered schemes to occupy their minds,” he answered.
“Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, then borrow, borrow, borrow. Persuade the wives to go to work and the husbands to work six or seven days a week, ten to twelve hours a day, so they can afford their lifestyles. Keep them from spending time with their children. As their family fragments, soon their homes will offer no escape from the pressures of work.
“Overstimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still, small voice. Entice them to keep the TV, the DVD, and their CD’s going constantly in their homes. Tempt them to spend more time on their computers, especially watching internet pornography.
“Fill their coffee tables with magazines and newspapers. Pound their minds with the news twenty-four-hours-a-day. Invade their driving moments with billboards. Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, sweepstakes, mail order catalogues, and every kind of newsletter and promotional offering, free products, services and false hopes.
“When they meet for fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences and unsettled emotions. Crowd their lives with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from Christ. Soon they will be working in their own strength.”
RESPONSE: Today I will live in awareness of Satan’s subtle tactics to keep me from victory. I will stand against him and he will flee.
PRAYER: Lord, help me remain close to You today and not allow the “things” and “busyness” of life to crowd You out.
For Christmas, my mother gave me a beautiful little leather devotional book with my name stamped in the leather – Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. So far, it’s confirming what I believe Jesus IS CALLING me to this year. Well, actually what’s He’s been calling me to for quite a while, but it seems to be more urgent, more focused….His timing + my readiness + my willingness = what He wants from me. Let me quote some sentences of what I’ve read so far this year (written in the First Person of Jesus….hence the book’s name Jesus Calling):
I realize that there is nothing really new about any of those statements. But believe me, there are tons of GC’s in there for me. Including a Bible passage in the book that has come into my little world many times over the past month or two that I will be addressing later.
Two or three years ago, there was a popular secular song that had, unfortunately, a VERY catchy little tune with lyrics that certainly didn’t jibe with my beliefs. I didn’t even listen that much to radio stations that would play it, but it was everywhere….including my head! One night, as I lay awake with this song playing over and over in my head, like It’s a Small World After All (you’ll probably be cursing my name for the next couple of days HA!), I prayed “Please take this song out of my head. Give me a new song….”
Immediately, “Don’t Get Comfortable” by Brandon Heath came to me and I started singing it in my mind. I was floored when I “sang” the words “this is your new song. ”
I’m reminded of this song this year. I really do feel that I am being called out of my comfort zone into a new adventure. A new path that I referred to in my previous post. I’m “standing on the edge” like Brandon sings. The lyrics “So afraid. But you don’t have to be afraid, even if you make mistakes” so speaks to my thoughts, my feelings. Even “Can you feel the call of love. Is it moving you to be a child of God, of love?”
So much in my head right now….
For several years, I feel that God has given me a “theme verse,” and those still apply to my life! But the One Word concept has really focused me. Last year’s word was BE…which obviously shaped this blog. I’ve been trying to re-focus myself after all the busyness & craziness & “holiday events” over the past couple of months….He’s still been talking to me, but I haven’t been able to truly process it all…until I started back journaling again. I missed it.
After a couple of false starts for My One Word, it’s become clear that my word for 2013 is FAITH. And that my “theme verse” is 2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” Lots of GC’s!!!! Including a sermon last week entitled “The Key to 2013: Faith.”
You see, I’m pretty sure that I am being directed along a path that God has been guiding me to for years…preparing me, teaching me, etc. A path that either I tried to ignore/deny or that it just wasn’t His timing yet…I’m not sure. But either way, I know that it will require me to just take Faith Steps one at a time & trust Him to do His work in me.
Should be some interesting scenery along the way…