Sunday, June 28, 2015

On a Breezy Thursday Morning


Romans 10:17 says, “And this proves that faith comes from a Message heard, and that the Message comes through its having been spoken by Christ” (Weymouth N.T.).

After exercising the authority of Christ over all of the other voices I ask, what faith-instilling message do You have for me this morning?

Outside my window, I see the wind blowing in the trees and am reminded about the conversation You had with Nicodemus in John 3. He sought You out and You responded by saying, “unless a man is born anew he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

As Nicodemus questioned what You meant, You responded: “Unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. Whatever has been born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever has been born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished at my telling you, ‘You must all be born anew.’ The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. So is it with every one who has been born of the Spirit.”

Jesus would You cause the wind of Your Holy Spirit to blow across the embers of my heart to rekindle the fire, gifting, and passion for You that You placed within me and reignite my zeal, passion, love, pursuit, joy, and single heartedness in my relationship with You?

Holy Spirit, You brought 2 Timothy 1:5-8 to mind: “For I recall the sincere faith which is in your heart … For this reason let me remind you to rekindle God's gift which is yours through … [Robin, Carl, Will, and others who mentored me] … For the Spirit which God has given you is not a spirit of cowardice, but one of power and of love and of sound judgment. Do not be ashamed then to bear witness for our Lord and for me His prisoner; but rather share suffering with me in the service of the Good News, strengthened by the power of God.”

Then You reminded me, “For He saved us and called us with a holy call, not in accordance with our desserts, but in accordance with His own purpose and the free grace which He bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before the commencement of the Ages” (Weymouth N.T.). Remember my message to you in 2012 that "before you were even born I chose you to belong to Me and to be doing what you are doing today …”

Father, thank You that You saw me when I was so lost, without direction, and heading in the wrong direction (when I was in the Army back in 1970). By pure grace and unfailing love You "drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure" Psalm 40:2 (RSV).
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I’d love to hear your story … where you are at in your relationship with Jesus, what are you yearning for, and what is He communicating to you. Drop your story in a short note to L2G.Forum@gmail.com.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

L2G: Is God Really Communicating with Me?


I chose to still myself and listen for a Word from God about a week ago. After praying through the Listening to God Guidelines, and asking God to speak, below is what I jotted down:

“I Am for you My mighty warrior … do not forget that it is I who chose you to belong to Me and not visa versa … and that I have gone before you and will empower and use you in the lives of My people as it pleases Me. Go in strength that you have! I will work and no one will be able to prevent it!”

How do I know this is really You?

Our doubtfulness that the holy God of the universe would actually communicate with us is not a phenomenon reserved for the 21st century Christian. Abraham struggled with it in Genesis 17:17 when he “fell facedown; laughed and said to himself, ‘Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?’ And Abraham said to God, ‘If only Ishmael might live under Your blessing!’”

After preparing the way for the Messiah by baptizing thousands, John the Baptist doubted He had really heard from God in Matthew 11:2-3.

Then there was Gideon in Judges 6:12-17: The angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior.”

Then Gideon responded, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles that our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

The Lord looked at Gideon and said, “Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?” Feeling insecure Gideon reasoned with God, “O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.”

The Lord encouraged Gideon when He said, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man.”

Gideon’s skepticism lingered as he said, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who is speaking with me.”

In spite of the fact that “the angel of the Lord” physically appeared to Gideon (which in and of itself would seem to be enough confirmation that God was communicating with this timid but mighty man of valor), Gideon wanted a sign that what he heard was really from God.

When you dedicate time to listen to God, do you struggle with doubts that God is communicating with you? I sometimes do. I’d love to hear what your experiences of listening to God are like. Drop a line to: L2G.Forum@gmail.com

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Gravity - Beached in Buffalo

~ 10 am - June 16, 2015: Stranded at the airport in Buffalo, New York ~

My 2 pm flight back to Colorado Springs was delayed ten times and cancelled last night at about 9 pm. So I found a 'not so hot' motel and spent the night in Buffalo ... a victim of physical gravity.

"Gravity" is also a song by Shawn McDonald. It begins like this: "The ways of this world are grabbing a hold ... won't let me go, won't let me fly by. Taking its toll down on my soul, 'cause I know what I need in my life. Don't let me lose my sight of You ... don't let me lose my sight!" The refrain cuts in: "I don't want to fall away from you ... gravity is pulling me on down."
Click on this picture to watch & listen to "Gravity"
As I spent hour after hour as a victim of physical gravity (I can't fly), a different kind of gravity began to pull at my soul. This heavier tug on the soul is described well by the next lines of Shawn's song: "This world keeps making my cry, but I'm gonna' try, gonna' try to fly high, gonna' fly high. Don't wanna give into the sin, want to stay in you until the end. Don't want to lose my sight of You ... don't want to lose my sight." 


Funny thing, last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I was carried on eagle's wings as I taught a group of 35 about a deep area of passion in my heart ... 'listening to God as applied to our inner healing' ... and later talked to a mix of prayer ministry leaders and elders. But Monday and Tuesdays' 'beached in Buffalo bummer' experience quickly brought me back to a world full of trial, dysfunction, and temptation. 

My plight helped me to remember something Jesus said to His disciples: "I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world." John 16:33 Amplified.   

"I want to fly into the sky, turn my back on this old world and leave it all behind. This place is not my home. Its got nothing for me ... only leaves me with emptiness and tears in my eyes."  

Drop me a note and tell me about your experiences with gravity. L2G.Forum@gmail.com

Sunday, June 7, 2015

May 29 & 30, 2015 Listening Prayer Conference Report



Last weekend 150 of us gathered at the Suburban Christian Church in Corvallis, Oregon.  Cynthia and I team taught about listening and inner healing prayer as outlined in the book this blog is all about: A Guide for Listening and Inner Healing Prayer (Meeting God is the Broken Places). And God met with us in a very special way.

Here are a few highlights people reported:
  • He brought up places that have needed healing for a long time that I had no idea about!
  • He spoke to me about my anxiety and the way I use control to try to feel better. He called me to surrender and trust. 
  • I was so encouraged by how God not only spoke to me but others. He revealed Himself in so many different ways. 
  • So tenderly He came to my broken heart. He carried me to a place of healing. Revealed my idolatry. Showed His heart to bring “trust” into my life again.     
  • Despite my cynicism coming into the conference (I was skeptical of the listening prayer process), He showed me a lot about myself now and how some current behaviors have been set since I was a child.  
  • Loved God’s heart to speak to us! Prayer is a two-way conversation. Anyone can hear from the Lord. His heart is for the brokenhearted. To set the captives free!    
  • God is replacing my anger with joy, my bitterness with peace, my aloneness with His presence, my unworthiness with purpose.
The underlying goal of listening prayer is deeper and deeper intimacy with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It’s like what Jesus said in John 17:23: I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.

We'd love to hear from you. Write us at L2G.Forum@gmail.com. Tell the world about something precious that God has taken the time to communicate with you! 

Special note: Click on “Events” above to get information about future seminars in Ontario, Canada or Grants Pass, Oregon.    
 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Search Me O God


What occurred inside of us in the midst of painful childhood events is often hidden and buried outside of our awareness (stuffed, unconscious, difficult to discern). In the same way, what goes on deep within us in the midst of difficult life experiences in the present is hard for us to recognize and fully grasp.

But here’s the Good News. You haven’t been abandoned and left all alone. If you know Jesus, the Holy Spirit resides in your innermost being. He can reveal these things to you if you will only ask Him.

The Holy Spirit searches out everything and shows us God's deep secrets.
       HE was present when you were wounded.
       HE knows what happened down deep inside of you:
       What you came to believe.
       Whether you made an unbiblical vow.
       If you began to follow a defective strategy.
       He also knows how to heal your heart.
       As if this is not enough. HE also has the power to communicate with you in a way that can set you free.

Look at these helpful passages from God’s Word:
The Holy Spirit searches all things and reveals the truth to the heart as in Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way. Psalm 139:23-24 NASB
But as the Scriptures say, No eye has ever seen and no ear has ever heard and it has never occurred to the human heart all the things God prepared for those who love Him. God has shown us these profound and startling realities through His Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep mysteries of God. 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 Voice

Would not the True God have known it? For He can see the hidden places of our hearts. Psalm 44:21 Voice
The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be. Jeremiah 17:9-10 MSG
Ask GOD if there’s an area you’ve been struggling with that He’d like to communicate with you about.
  • Ask Him to help you clarify what you were feeling?
  • Then, Lord Jesus, what happened down deep inside of me?o   What did I come to believe? 
    o   Was there a vow I may have made? 
    o   Is there a strategy I may have began to follow? 
  • What life giving truth do You want to communicate with me?
We’d enjoy hearing what God is doing in your heart, any feedback you might have, questions, or other comments. Either leave a comment below or write us at L2G.Forum@gmail.com.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

L2G Forum Visitors, Nations, & Favorite Posts


The “Listening to God Forum” was created in September of 2011. So far there have been 194 new posts or 1 post per week over a period of 3.7 years.

To date there have been 121,877 page views from 142 nations. The top ten countries that view the L2G Forum are as follows:

1.    United States
77649
2.   Ukraine
5518
3.   Russia
4590
4.   France
2581
5.   United Kingdom
2100
6.   Canada
2094
7.   Germany
1779
8.   Argentina
1127
9.   China
1013
    10.  Mexico
767

The most popular Posts so far have been as follows:

VISITORS
DATE of POST
TITLE of POST (Click to View Post)
10,883
08/07/2011
5,154
08/11/2012
2,196
05/13/2012
1,900
09/23/2012
1,530
07/17/2012
1,357
08/05/2012
1,181
05/12/2013
1,173
07/22/2012
867
01/06/2013
596
01/12/2014

Here is a complete list of the nations that have visited the L2G Forum. If your nation is not on my list, please drop me an email to L2G.Forum@gmail.com and I'll add you.

Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Austria, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo [DRC], Costa Rica,Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Curacao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, Fiji, France, French Guiana, Ghana, Georgia, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guam, Guyana, Haiti,Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Macedonia (FYROM), Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar [Burma], Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Palestinian Territories, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Réunion Island, Romania, Russia, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Sint Maarten, Somalia, Slovakia,Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan,Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

We'd love to hear from you. Write us a L2G.Forum@gmail.com
Tell the nations about something that God communicated with you! 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Creative Power of the Voice of God: Satan – No. 7


Satan deceived Eve, and Adam joined in her rebellion by eating of the forbidden fruit. Adam and Eve had been given clear instructions by God, but were given a choice regarding whether they would follow them. They chose to disobey. 

God in His mercy, wisdom and love for His creation made a way for our redemption and the defeat of Satan through Jesus Christ. In temptation, Jesus gave us an excellent example to follow when he responded to Satan by saying, “it is written.” 1  We can also employ the written and authoritative word of God against Satan when he seeks to tempt us: "Be gone, Satan, for it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.'"

Click on the roaring lion to hear " Lies" by Keith Green
The “father of lies” 2 is constantly seeking to put doubt and disbelief in our minds. 1 Peter 5:8 in the NET version exhorts us to “be sober and alert” because our “enemy the devil” is “on the prowl looking for someone to devour.” It compares Satan to a “roaring lion.” 3

The second stanza of “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” was written by Martin Luther in 1529. It proclaims the secret to emerging victorious in our battle with Satan:
“Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.”
This is the seventh part of some thoughts I wrote in the fall of 2012 in an attempt to capture the incredible power, glory, splendor, radiance, and majesty of God speaking in the creation as well as the rebellion of Lucifer and his fallen angels. I'd enjoy any feedback you might have: L2G.Forum@gmail.com. ~ Rusty Rustenbach © 2012
FOOTNOTES

1    In Matthew 4:10, Jesus responded to satanic temptation by wielding the authority of the Word of God, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" Jesus also did this in Matthew 4:4 and Matthew 4:7.
2    John 8:44 says that the devil “is a liar and the father of lies” and that “there is no truth in him.”
3    “The Pulpit Commentary” notes that the following about the devil: “He is called a serpent to denote his subtlety, a lion to express his fierceness and strength.”