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Archive for November, 2010

The Old Hymns…

It is such a joy to recall the old hymns I grew up hearing.  I’m fortunate to have my mother nearby who knows all the words and can join me in singing those hymns.  That’s what we were doing last night and this morning, singing!  Her voice cracks, mine is a little off key, but we sing anyway!  We sing to Yahweh a song of joy!

Last night we were singing, Heaven Came Down!  Here’s the link to the tune and lyrics: http://my.homewithgod.com/heavenlymidis2/heaven.html.

“Heaven came down and glory (JESUS) filled my soul, when at the cross the Savior made me whole; my sins were (HE) washed away and my night was (HE) turned to day, heaven came down and glory (JESUS) filled my soul!”  Additions are mine.

You know, when we get discouraged there’s nothing like singing the truth!  Maybe you are there today.  I pray He lifts up your soul in song.  God bless you, dear one!

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Unsettling

This morning the Lord pointed out the word “also” in Hebrews 12:1.  Also.  It’s so easy to read over it, to fly passed the word without considering its value among the other words.  We need to chew on them awhile.  To linger over their meaning.  To allow the Spirit to expand on their significance.

“Hebrews 12:1-2, “Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us ALSO strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us ALSO run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us, looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” [Amplified]

Also… As they walked by faith they had to strip off and throw aside every encumbrance to run the race set before them…  Abraham threw off his comfortable surroundings and family connections in Ur and went out not knowing where he was going.  He had to throw off encumbrances and sins in order to take steps that God was asking him to take.  He threw off idol worship, unbelief and human logic.  Sarah had to cast off doubt and unbelief and manipulation.  Moses threw off insecurity and ambition and the approval of man…  Joseph threw off self-pity and impatience…  All of them stripped off their will and embraced the will of God.  They didn’t do it perfectly–their mistakes are also vividly described for all to see–but they pressed on and were persistent in the race set before them and they finished the race in flying colors of glory!  They crossed the finish line.  They made it home rejoicing in God!

Also… Absolutely none of them knew in advance the course their race would take.  Moses had some inkling of his future role of leadership when he killed the Egyptian soldier, but it didn’t come to fruition until God called him out of obscurity and shame.  And think again about Joseph.  When he shared his dream with his brothers, he probably thought the fulfillment of the dream was just around the corner.  The only thing around the corner for Joseph was betrayal and suffering.  Imagine the shock and disappointment and discouragement–all of which he had to throw aside.  If Joseph had carried all that weight with him on the race, would he have been able to carry out the unfolding of the dream?  Would he have embraced his brothers?  He threw off every entanglement and weight so as to run the race set before him.

Also… In the most dramatic way, their testimony elicits our response.  Today.  Right this very minute.  Are they not serving as divine solicitors who come knocking on the door of our heart–giving testimony to God’s faithfulness.  All of them, by their testimony, are saying to us, “Just as I laid aside my will and ran unencumbered, following after Yahweh, you too are called to do the same.  So run!  Run unencumbered.  Throw off anything that hinders you and run the race set before you–fixing your eyes on Jesus!  He knows the way…”

Also… None of us can fully anticipate what we will be throwing aside.  Nor do any of us know where God has to take us so we can clearly see what it is we need to strip off.  Far too often we make the mistake of assuming our life will be just a straight line in the same wonderful direction.  Complacency is a great encumbrance.  Complacency is where our will builds a nest and our will roosts and settles upon it.  A home perfectly designed for our flesh.  And so God brings a cold, north wind and knocks us right out of our orderly, quaint little nest and blows the living daylights out of it…..so that we will get back in the race and run, or fly as the case may be.  That’s the grace and the mercy of God to catapult us out of our comfortableness and complacency, because both are incredibly numbing to the call of God.  Nothing dulls us more than settling.

All this reminds me again of Lilias Trotter’s words…”It is an older faith that learns to swing out into nothingness and drop down full weight on God–the broken-up nest of former ‘experiences’ left behind–nothing between us and the abyss but God Himself.”

And why do we fix our eyes on Jesus?  Because He writes our faith!  He shapes our faith with His glory in view!  He leads us along paths of righteousness, for His Name sake, by faith.  Brilliant truth.  It reminds me of a song by Fernando Ortega, If I Flee On Morning Wings,

If to heaven’s heights I fly, You are still beside me,
Or in death dark shadows lie, You will stay close by me.
If I flee on morning wings, far across the gray sea,
Even there Your hand will lead me, Your right hand will guide me.

Onward…

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I used to think of revival in sort of experiential terms, where everyone experiences the mighty presence of God and suddenly their whole orientation is changed.  That’s true.  The other repeated occurrence during a time of revival is a wave of conviction as a result of sensing God’s awesome holy presence.  With the conviction comes repentance.  Though revival includes the conviction of sin, it goes even deeper than that…  It exposes the matter of our will.  Stripped bare.  Am I willing to be stripped bare of all human ambition?  And to endure the “dark night of the soul” to surrender my lot, my will to God?

I think the following quote from A.W. Tozer puts the stripping process in perspective.  “Now let us keep our theology straight about all this. There is not in this painful stripping one remote thought of human merit. The “dark night of the soul” knows not one dim ray of the treacherous light of self-righteousness. We do not by suffering earn the anointing for which we yearn, nor does this devastation of soul make us dear to God nor give us additional favor in His eyes. The value of the stripping experience lies in its power to detach us from life’s passing interests and to throw us back upon eternity. It serves to empty our earthly vessels and prepare us for the inpouring of the Holy Spirit.

The filling with the Spirit, then, requires that we give up our all, that we undergo an inward death, that we rid our hearts of that centuries-old accumulation of Adamic trash and open all rooms to the heavenly Guest.” http://www.cmalliance.org/devotions/tozer?id=1562

Bend me, O God!

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Testing

The moment God reveals something to us and we step out in faith and obedience, we will be tested.  It just goes with the territory.  Expect it.

But here’s some more good news (being tested is good news), God is faithful.  No seriously, He’s really faithful.  That’s not just words.  It’s true.

Once we put our hand to the plow, as the Scripture says, “don’t turn back.”  Keep on…

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In power and wisdom and grace and truth, “God leads His dear children along…”  I woke up this morning with those words on my mind.  The old hymn was written by George Young in 1903.  “Sometimes on the mount where the sun shines so bright, God leads His dear children along; sometimes in the valley, in darkest of night, God leads His dear children along.”

Some through the waters, some through the flood,
Some through the fire, but all through the blood;
Some through great sorrow, but God gives a song,
In the night season and all the day long.

Do you know what’s so wonderful?  God knows our steps.  He knows.  “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tried me (as through fire), I shall come out as gold” Job 23:10.  What a promise.  What a blessed assurance for every single child of God!

O and then, earlier this week I was considering 2 Corinthians 2:14, “But thanks be to God, Who in Christ always leads us in triumph [as trophies of Christ’s victory] and through us spreads and makes evident the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere…” (Amplified).  The words the Lord emphasized to me were “…always leads us in triumph…”  Always.  Leads us.  Always.  I know it doesn’t always look like it’s always, but it’s always according to God.  His perspective matters most.  And if He says Always He means always.  Amen.

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King Solomon wrote about times and seasons, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven; a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot..” Ecclesiastes 3:1-2.

That’s life.  We love permanence, but life gives us plenty of change.  Life will always give us change.  Once we plant something we want it to live forever.  However, the day comes when we have to uproot the very thing we planted.  The tomato plants we put in the ground in the spring are dug up in the fall…  A lot of things last longer than tomato plants, but eventually life brings change.

But oh, the most wonderful truth is the God never changes!  Glory hallelujah!  “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17.  And “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” Hebrews 13:8.

Isn’t that the most incredible news!!!  In the face of all the change we experience over a lifetime, Jesus Christ never changes!  Hold onto that, dear one!  Grasp the living daylights out of that truth, because Christ is your anchor!

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