Monday, February 22, 2010

Lessons From the Fast

On "day 30" of the fast, I had a very difficult day. ( ) And on days "36-37" I had a rough night and day "health-wise" and thus ended the week, not by totally abstaining from food, but by eating a little during the day (it had been a "day-time" fast - only fasting during the day and then eating supper.) But still, I continued to drink only water, black coffee, or unsweet tea.

But, this is what I learned from the fast. (And this only came at the very end.)

I've learned that I must change how I talk. What I have been saying may ultimately "mean" the same thing, but in order to clarify what I'm saying (especially to myself) I need to change my vocabulary. (Mainly, it's an "attitude" thing.)

Background: During the fast, in addition to my other studies, I read Charles Stanley's "Handling Adversity." At the very end of the book he talks about "Jesus living in me." And through that, I came to say that I didn't want to "follow Jesus" anymore (with the emphasis on "ME" doing the following.) Instead, I want Jesus to "live in" me (with the emphasis on HIM doing the doing!)

Then, I read "Experiencing the Spirit" by Henry and Mel Blackaby. The whole book is good, but following on the heels of the Stanley book, I began to see that "I must decrease, and He must increase."

When I've said in the past that I wanted to "serve Him", I think I meant with Him doing the leading, but I must be more deliberate and say, "Use me, Lord" or "Do Your work in me." No longer "what do You want me to do" but "what do You want to do in and through me?"

Take me out of the picture Lord, till others only see You. Just make me the "pipe" Lord, that "through" me will flow Your living water.

It's all a matter of emphasis. And I want none to be on me, and all to be on Him.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

When "I am in trouble, Lord!"

I just had a moment this morning… I was just going to look quickly at my e-Sword (Bible Study software) for just one quick thing because, “I had other things to do…” but…

When I opened the software my “Daily Devotion” popped up, and the words of F.B. Meyer (written in the 1930’s – during the “Great” Depression) caught my heart, and I knew that I had to share them.

He uses as his Scripture Isaiah 38:14b which in the New Living Translation says (rather bluntly) “I am in trouble Lord. Help me!” And then Meyer goes on to say:

"THIS PRAYER is so indefinite that it will suit any emergency, and yet brimful of faith that God will undertake all responsibility. Are you oppressed with the sense of failure, with temptation, with the consciousness of sin?

Or oppressed with poverty, or debt, or the fear of unemployment, or with inability to find work? Or cast down with bitter persecution within or without your home? Or sorely beset and hindered by ill-health, the hopelessness of recovery?

All these eases of oppression are included in this petition, and may be handed over to your faithful Creator, with the certainty that He is as willing as He is able to undertake for you. He is never weary of hearing your cry; the Everlasting Arms are never tired; and our God neither slumbers nor sleeps.

What may we expect from a prayer so simple, yet so comprehensive? We shall know God."

Read the familiar story of Hezekiah’s cry when God (through Isaiah) told him that he was going to die. We remember Hezekiah’s turning to the wall and crying, but we may not know that later in that chapter we are told what he actually prayed.

Meyer goes on to say:
“At the pit we learn God's Love. How can we measure God's love? They say that a man's fist is the measure of his heart. Come and stand beneath the stars! There is God's hand! Now judge His heart! It is illimitable!

By that love He has put our sins behind His back into the ocean depths!

With that love He has drawn us out of the pit of our sins!

By that love He bears with our cold response and languid petitions!

Through that love He will bring us to glory! His is a love that will never let us go!

Then he ends with:
"Take the hand of Jesus to steady you; look down into the hole of the pit from which you have been redeemed, and then look up to the Throne of God to which He passed at His Ascension, and recall His own words: "where I am, there shall ye be also." Trust Him to undertake for your little life!"

Part of his prayer closes with:
"May I trust more than I know, and believe more than I see; and when my heart is overwhelmed within me, lead me to the Rock that is higher than I."

To which we add… Amen!

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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Now What

So, it's been 30 days (see ) and now I'm feeling like John the Baptist. (Matthew 11:3ff and Luke 7:18ff)

Did I really hear God? Is this really what He wants me to do? I'm cold, I'm hungry, I'm tired, and I'm depressed. (However, I don't think I'm awaiting beheading... maybe not...)

I've been fasting ("daytime" fasts) for 30 days now, and I'm discouraged. Like John, I want, I need to know if I "heard" correctly. I was so sure when I started. And indeed, for the first week I seemed to hear God more clearly in scripture... but now...

Now, I'm back to the same ole struggle. Just what am I supposed to be doing? Where's the door? If God really wants me to serve, then where's the door?

I'm discouraged over our church and our denomination. But, there's nothing I can do about it.

I've told our children over and over, "Just pray about (whatever) God will show you an answer..." And I do believe that... in my heart.

"Lord I believe, help Thou my unbelief..." and forgive me.

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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

There is another prayer

I used to say that I had to be in the “mood” to write… maybe that meant that I had to be “inspired” to write.

Maybe, I needed to be in God’s presence to write (although I didn’t know it at the time…) Perhaps now, I need to be in God’s presence to really pray.

“God is Omnipresent,” you say. “He’s everywhere. We’re always in His presence.” And maybe we are – but is He in ours?

Every time my mind is “still” (if even for the briefest of moments) my thoughts turn to prayer. I say “Thank You” or “Praise You” or I lift up a name that’s on my heart.

But, is that really prayer?

“Yes it is,” I argue. And I am right; it is a type of prayer. It is, what I call, “a prayer of aware-ance.” I am continually “aware” of the presence of God. But, in this prayer, “I” set the tone and “I” set the time. And I tell God, “Here I am! Let’s talk now.” And then I tell God when I’m finished, and I close the door and get on with “life.”

But… there is another prayer.

And that is the prayer of immersion – where (most times unexpectedly) I feel myself engulfed, surrounded, enshrouded by His Presence. Where God doesn’t just poke His Head into my world, but instead, I am “allowed” entrance into His Court.

It’s like a fog slowly rolling in. At first, you barely “see” it. And then before your mind fully comprehends what is happening, you are embraced with such wonder that first catches your breath, and then makes you want to breathe deeply, and be filled as completely within by His Aura, as you are enveloped without, by His Arms.

At times like these you want to cry out, “Oh God! What an awesome gift of Your Love. Thank You for tearing that curtain down!”

Do we really realize what a privilege we have been given? No, I don’t think we do. At least, not very often…

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