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Archive for February, 2012

Psalm 37:3-5
Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:

The Lord spoke to my heart this morning.

“I am giving you the desire of your heart, you desire to know Me, and I am right here.”

So no matter what my circumstance is, He is giving me the desire of my heart.

Because He knows the desire of my heart, the deepest desire that I have, the desire that overshadows all my other desires…. is to know Him.

And here He is, in the middle of all this.

In the middle of relationships that seem to have a long way to go before the are completely healthy;

in the middle of my weakness and failings; in the middle of projects and dreams and goals that I have longed to see come to completion and I wonder if I will have the strength and stamina to carry them out and see them through.

In the midst of my heartbroken prayers that He would open the eyes of those blinded to His goodness. 

Here is Jesus in the midst of it all.

On days of exhilarating passion for Him, or in days of fog and blurred vision; in days of confidence or days of wanderings…here He is, and I can know Him. Each situation, each moment is perfectly designed for me to find Him, to know Him, and to rest in knowing that He will never leave me; knowing that I am loved now, right now. And that is, after all, the desire of my heart.

Psalm 10:17
You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,

Psalm 21:2
You have granted him the desire of his heart and have not withheld the request of his lips.

Psalm 145:18,19
The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.

What peace comes to my heart when I recall to my mind, (this mind that is so “prone to wander…” check out the hymn “Come Thou Fount” got to love it), that my true desire is to dwell with Jesus; to abide in Him and to rest in Him; to hear from Him and receive all my guidance from Him. My desire is Jesus. This desire the Holy Spirit planted in my heart the day He first woke my soul to believe in Jesus and to love Him. When I stray to the falseness of other desires, other dreams and aspirations that I wrongly believe will give me rest, peace, satisfaction…a sense of well being, God’s Spirit faithfully and patiently reminds me…

Psalm 103:5
…He satisfies your desires with good things.

It is this “ahhh, that’s right”, that I find myself sighing these days, followed by a  “Thank You, oh, thank You Beloved”. 

Psalm 20:4
May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.

Lord reveal to my heart if I have any desires, any “plans” for my life greater than knowing You.

2 Pet 1:3
His divine power has given us everything we need…(every desire)… for life and godliness through our knowledge of him…

Psalm 73:25
Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

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Journeys

Just this morning I could hear the sigh of a hurting friend as she began her e-mail: “ I am on a journey….”.

I talk with many women who are on journeys.

They want to be kinder to their children and they struggle with the habits of anger and weariness.

They want to be loving wives and yet daily stumble through tangles of unforgiveness and the disappointment with these men and with themselves for not knowing how to give them the fresh start they so need.

They are heartbroken over the choices their children have made or are making.

They want to walk in love and to learn the difference between approval and acceptance.

They want to live in the present, hearing their Shepherd’s voice to guide then through this day and learn to reject the noises of the past that howl in their ears.

They want this day to be light and simple and all that they thought following Jesus would and should be.

But they walk in shadows of all the aforementioned and more…

It is a journey. Yes it is. And I, like my sisters, often miss the fact that in the daily “one-step-at a-time” of our journeys, the point might not be to get through it to some perceived end, but to look up and see that:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow…. Thou art with me.”

You, Jesus, You are with them; You are with me.

You are guiding me through this day to love and to forgive and to serve.

To not just get through it, but to hear You in the journey, to know You in the journey, and to worship…to worship You right here in the midst of it.

Psa 23:1  A psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not be in want.

Psa 23:2  He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,

Psa 23:3  he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Psa 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Jesus showed me something here….

In verses 1-3, during the “lying down and quiet waters” of the journey, during the “restoring of my soul and the walking on righteous paths” of the journey,  David sings of Him in the third person. “He” …over there.

But when it gets to the shadows, the “I don’t know where to put my foot next” part of the journey, the “He” becomes “You”, first person, right here.

Psa 16:11  You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

What does it mean to be filled with “joy in His presence”?

We labor under the delusion that joy will come when the addiction is conquered, when the children are whole, when the finances are stable when the healing comes; when we are understood and appreciated; when they finally get it, when we finally get it…then we will be at peace, we will know joy.

Heb 13:5,6  …be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

In the Greek, the word “content “ means “to raise a barrier”, as if to build a wall around us. It gives the picture that to be content means that we have recognized that nothing has to come into our lives or nothing has to be gotten rid of from our lives in order for us to be at peace. Be content, it is an instruction to build a wall. Right now, in the midst of this journey. Why? Because He will never leave us or forsake us. He is with us. He is here, and that is enough.

Yes, we are on a journey, and we don’t need to panic or hurry through this part of it.

Interesting that David sings: ” even though I walk through the valley of the shadow…”  he is walking in the shadow season of his journey, I think I’d be running, I know I have before. But David walks, and he fears no evil, because he knows his Lord is with him, and that is enough.

And that, after all, is the purpose of the journey.

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River Time

Sometimes mornings are hard for me.

Sometimes I wake trying to make sense of the dreams I have had, sometimes my thoughts remind me of what I need to finish or repair from yesterday or they shine a spotlight on what I need to do today.

I am so grateful now for my morning “river times”.

It all started last summer while camping with my family. I found myself waking early, before anyone else in the campground was up. There was no one to talk to, no internet access, no e-mails to answer or projects to work on, no chores to attend to except the lovely ritual of boiling water for my tea and starting the campfire to ward of the early morning chill. Nothing to do but wrap up in a blanket and meet with the Lord.  He spoke to me during those precious early dawn mornings through His word and through the brothers and sisters who had written the stack of books that had been waiting (some of them for years) patiently in my book bag. Ah, lovely mornings, the only noise was the river, which had been singing to me all night. Those mornings revived me, inspired me, comforted me. I heard Jesus there. When I returned home I purposed to not start a day without hearing from Him, hence “river times”. So different from the “I know I should read my Bible before I start the day” times, but “river times”, times with Him that are never long enough.

And so I would like to share with you the menu I have been feeding upon these last few months.

“Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young

This jewel of a journal is the vulnerable sharing of a woman who, though she had loved and served the Lord for many years, yearned for a relationship that would change from a  “monologue to a dialogue”. The result was her journal. She recorded here the times in which she would still her self before Jesus and listen to what He had to say to her for that day, each time directed from and confirming in the Word. To be honest, I resisted it at first, not wanting to give credence to someone else’s idea of what God would say, I knew that only the scripture is to be our source for that. But the scripture tell us that:

The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.  John 10:3,4

“They know His voice”

As I read the scripture references for each day and then the encouragement that she received from the Lord, I too became encouraged and felt invited into a time in which Jesus was calling me. 

“Streams In The Desert Volumes 1 and 2” by Mrs. Charles E Cowman

This classic devotion is one that I remember my mother reading. A collection of stories and articles that truly brings me to the feet of the “Fathers and Mothers of the faith” that we are so sorely lacking today.

I love to give these volumes to my family and friends and talk with them about how the Lord has spoken to each of us through them on that specific day.

“Reaching Toward the Heights” by Richard Wurmbrand

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand and his wife Sabina were the mentors that laid the foundation for my husband and I in our college years. They taught and modeled for us what it means to be loved by God and to love others. They pastored in the underground churches of Romania during the Nazi and Communist invasions and were imprisoned and tortured for their faith in Jesus. During these years God revealed Himself and His love for them. He used them to love their enemies. Their lives were a road map for us, personally and as they recorded their journeys in their many books. Probably the most well know and influential to us was “Tortured For Christ”. This is not a book of gruesome details but a window into the miraculous power of the love of God. This biography is literally second to the Bible in our home. “Reaching Toward the Heights” is a daily devotional that Pastor Wurmbrand wrote towards the end of his life. But it will be appreciated more after reading their biography. Please do.

“Hymns For the Family Of God” Brentwood-Benson Publishing

In this book are some of the treasures that were sown into my life in my childhood.

The hymns… what can I say.

Here we have the words of praise, of comfort, of exhortation and worship that have been passed down from believers to believers for centuries. They are our native tongue…we must learn this language and sing them with our children.

Eph 5:19  Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,

Col 3:16  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

Hope you linger long at the river.

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