Sunday, August 23, 2015

THE PSALM 34 CHALLENGE


I read and put Psalm 34 into practice last Wednesday morning. First I studied and underlined the words and phases that stood out and touched my heart. I've typed and paraphrased them below. Then I prayed the Psalm into practice and experienced it.

»» I sought the Lord for help, and He answered me. He saved, rescued and delivered me from all that I feared. This poor, afflicted, and broken man cried out to the Lord in desperation, and He heard me, saved me, and gave me victory over my many troubles and distresses.

Truth is that, even though I can’t see him, the angel of the Lord camps around me, and he protects me. Amazing!

As if this wasn’t enough, the Lord Himself actually sees me: His eyes are always upon me. He really listens to my prayers. Though it sounds too good to be true, His ears are attentive and honed in to my cries for His help. In Genesis 16:13, Hagar experienced God in this same way!

Your Holy Word promises and assures us that You are especially close to all brokenhearted people and that You find joy and delight in rescuing those whose spirits are crushed. That’s because as believers we have many problems, afflictions, and difficulties that are the result of living in broken and dysfunctional world. However when we pour out our hearts to You and lay these burdens at Your feet, You rescue us from them and give us the strength to carry on.

Thank You Lord that as You redeem and ransom the lives of Your servants’ that not one person who trusts and takes refuge in You will be judged as guilty.

As an application of Psalm 34 I spent 20 to 30 minutes calling out to Jesus and making a list of things I wanted Him to rescue and deliver me from. I laid each one of these burdens at His feet. As a result, I went into my day feeling much lighter and freer. I followed David’s example by taking my burdens to Jesus and asking for His help and victory over the things that were troubling and stressing me out.

Let me encourage you to accept the Psalm 34 challenge by spending a morning this week with God making a list of the things you want to be rescued and delivered from and laying each one at His feet. If you accept this challenge, I’d love to hear your experience of Psalm 34 at L2G.Forum@gmail.com.  

Sunday, August 16, 2015

HE'S ALREADY ALL YOU NEED


“Asking where You are, Lord
Wondering where You've been
Is like standing in a hurricane
Trying to find the wind.
And hoping for Your mercy
To meet me where I am
Is forgetting that Your thoughts for me outnumber the sand.


You filled the sun with morning light
You bid the moon to lead the night
You clothe the lilies bright and beautiful.

You're already all I need
already everything that I could hope for
You're already all I need
You've already set me free
already making me more like You
You're already all I need 
Jesus, You're already all I need.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zByzjJ4nvH8

Do you ever find yourself struggling in your walk with Jesus … feeling all-alone, fearful, seeking Him and waiting for Him to show Himself, when, truth is, He already has and is? Where are you at in finding Him to be all that you really need?

“Already All I Need” is performed by Christy Nockels from her album “Into the Glorious” released on April 3, 2012 by Sparrow Records and sixstepreconds. Download this song today from iTunes, Amazon, or your favorite music downloading service.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

My Love Will Bring You Home


"Alone in a world of your own, have you really forgotten the love that brought you home? Where did you loose the faith you had? Did you put it into something that has only left you empty and sad?

My heart is breaking; it’s been long enough … patiently waiting for you to look up!

Now My arms are open wide. Love is right here by your side; you’ve never been alone; no, no! There’s no need for you to hide or understand the reasons why … no matter where you go My love will bring you home.

Changed in a moment in time by a single breath from heaven our love was brought to life. And now, there is nothing in this earth that can ever come between us … I gave My life to show you what you’re worth!

So why keep on searching? The answer is clear. All that you’re needing has always been here!

Now My arms are open wide. I Am right here by your side; you’ve never been alone. There’s no need for you to hide or understand the reasons why … no matter where you go My love will bring you home.

Now My arms are open wide. I Am right here by your side; you’ve never been alone; no, no, no! There’s no need for you to hide or understand the reasons why … no matter where you go My love will bring you home. My love will bring you home!"

My Love Will Bring You Home
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-CWI9J5lkY

What did God communicate to you through this song?

Chris Eaton, Brian White, and Don Poythress wrote this song. It was sung by Nicol Sponberg on her album “Resurrection.” Released on August 10, 2004, 2007 Curb Records, Inc. Purchase your copy of this moving song on your favorite music downloading service.

Monday, August 3, 2015

DELIVERED by DIVINE DELIGHT


“I will love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies” Psalm 18:1-3. 

“It pleased holy David more that God was his strength, than that God gave him strength; that God was his deliverer, than that he was delivered; that God was his fortress, his buckler, his horn, his high tower, than that he gave him the effect of all these. It pleased David, and it pleases all the saints more that God is their salvation, whether temporal or eternal, than that He saves them: the saints look more at God than at all that is God’s.” Written by Joseph Caryl as quoted in the Treasury of David by C.H. Spurgeon. 

“He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me” Psalm 18:19. 

“Free grace lies at the foundation. Rest assured, if we go deep enough, sovereign grace is the truth which lies at the bottom of every well of mercy. Deep-sea fisheries in the ocean of divine bounty always bring the pearls of electing, discriminating love to light. Why Jehovah should delight in us is a question without an answer, and a mystery which angels cannot solve; but that He does delight in His beloved is certain, and is the fruitful root of favors as numerous as they are precious. Believer, sit down, and inwardly digest the instructive sentence now before us, and learn to view the uncaused love of God as the cause of all the lovingkindness of which we are the partakers.” Treasury of David by C.H. Spurgeon.
--------------------
I love you Father God because You first loved me. Thank You for pursuing me at a time in my life where I was so utterly lost in sin and shame (in 1970) … for pursuing me in my drug addiction and then rescuing me from myself. Thank You for setting my feet upon You as my Rock!

If this was not enough, You kept on pursuing me. As we returned from Spain in the summer of 1996, You gave me a promise from Psalm 18:19 … that ‘You were going to bring me into a broad and spacious place.’ I still remember reading the second part of Psalm 18:19 …  in my self-hatred I thought, ‘oh sure, I'll bet God delights in me. No … He just puts up with me because I prayed the prayer.’

Then, a couple of years ago, You communicated with me that ‘You knew me and saw me before You created the world … and that You created me to be doing exactly what I’m doing today.’ Somehow, it gives You pleasure to allow me to take part in Your mission as revealed in Isaiah 61:1 to Your broken people in North, Central, and South America. And so I am compelled by You to agree with You and say, ‘Yes, You did rescue this lost and broken man because You decided to delight in him/me.’ Thank You for choosing me to belong to You! I am overwhelmed by You!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The New Bourne Again Identity


For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water.  Jeremiah 2:13

Do you remember the spy-book thriller The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum, popularized by the three movies starring Matt Damon? It is the intriguing adventure of how amnesia victim Jason Bourne discovers his true identity.

We live in a highly performance-oriented society where the essence of our identity is determined by a combination of how successful we view ourselves combined with what the significant others in our lives think about us. As Christians we usually spiritualize this formula by determining our worth based upon our spiritual performance. We may evaluate our significance by our fruitfulness in God’s work, how well we do in some creative endeavor, or the position we hold.

Since none of us are able to consistently perform to the level of our expectations, we begin to somehow feel less than others, inferior, and inadequate. Even when our performance reaches our expectations, the satisfaction we yearn for somehow escapes us.

In his book, Abba’s Child, Brennan Manning describes this struggle:
“In my experience, self-hatred is the dominant malaise crippling Christians and stiffing their growth in the Holy Spirit. … Negative voices from our family of origin, ‘You will never amount to anything,’ moralizing from the church, and pressure to be successful transform expectant pilgrims en route to the heavenly Jerusalem into a dispirited traveling troupe... ” 1.
“When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions.  The real trap, however, is self-rejection.  As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, ‘Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody.’” 2.    
Abba’s Child is one of the best books I’ve read on this subject. The gist of the book is that most of us bend toward man to define who we are. Finding our identity by looking to man is what the author calls the false-self. Since we were created in the image of God, we really need to look to God to discover our true identity. For me, the most challenging phase in the book is a quotation by John Eagen:
“… The heart of it is this: to make the Lord and His immense love for you constitutive of your personal worth. Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. God's love for you and His choice of you constitute your worth. Accept that, and let it become the most important thing in your life.” 3.
The bottom line question in the issue of identity is how to move from a performance-based identity {a human-doer} to a love of God-based identity {a human-being}. Two things seem to stand out as necessary.
  • Get in touch with what you really believe about yourself. The lies you believe must be exposed before they can be transformed by the renewing power of God’s truth. Ask God to reveal to you what you really believe about yourself and your identity.
  • Plan a half-day alone with God. Ask Him specifically, what are Your thoughts about who I truly am? How do you identify me? It is impossible to truly hear God’s voice in the agitated life-styles that many of us live. From Abba’s Child:
“The indispensable condition for developing and maintaining the awareness of our belovedness is time alone with God. In solitude we tune out the nay-saying whispers of our worthlessness and sink down into the mystery of our true self. Our longing to know who we really are – which is the source of all our discontent – will never be satisfied until we confront and accept our solitude. There we discover that the truth of our belovedness is really true. Our identity rests in God's relentless tenderness for us revealed in Jesus Christ.” 4.
Define yourself radically as one beloved by God!

NOTES:
 
1.       John Eagan, A Traveler Toward Dawn.
2.       Henri Nouwen, The Wounded Healer.
3.       John Eagan, A Traveler Toward Dawn.
4.       Brennan Manning, Abba’s Child.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Practicing His Presence


On Friday afternoon I did some work around the house. Things weren’t going well and I got angry, impatient, and extremely frustrated.

Jesus, I ask afresh for Your forgiveness and for You to speak to me and help me walk in more constant communion with You. I need You every hour of everyday and night. In Your name, I command all other voices to silence and non-interference, and ask You to come, commune with me, and be my closest friend. Would You be pleased to commune with me now and throughout the day?

“It would please Me to be in communion with you throughout each and every day but it requires active participation of your part: focusing on Me, being present to Me, looking to, and for Me.”

Would You help me in the details of work around the house today … and to be patient, steadfast, joyful, and in communication with You? “Yes. I will be with you - listen for Me!” Lord, I Need You!

“I am for you, My son … fear not for I Am with you, be not dismayed for I am your God … I will strengthen you, yes I will uphold you …” Isaiah 41:10 “Hold My hand and I will hold yours. Reach out to me each and every moment of the day. I Am is your God … and there is none (no other) like ME. Hold My hand.”

LORD, I NEED YOU

I'd love to hear things you are learning about practicing the presence of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. L2G.Forum@gmail.com

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Humble Yourself

I spent some extended time with God on Saturday regarding why I was struggling in an area of desired spiritual growth. I was surprised by what came into my mind after I poured out my heart to the Father: “I dwell with the contrite and lowly of spirit … first, you need to humble yourself before Me.”
 
So I goggled "humble yourself" and discovered "Twelve Ways to Humble Yourself" by Janet Chismar on the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. I've linked it if you'd like to take a look.

But most helpful were several verses of scripture that had a transformational impact on my heart:

“Humble yourselves therefore beneath the mighty hand of God, so that at the right time He may set you on high” 1 Peter 5:6 Weymouth N.T.

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up” James 4:10 NIV.


"And it will be said, 'Build up, build up, prepare the way, remove every obstacle out of the way of My people.' For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, 'I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite'" Isaiah 57:14-15 NASB.

I also ran across several quotations that I inserted in the "Quotes of the Week" on the right side of my blog below.

"A man can counterfeit love, he can counterfeit faith, he can counterfeit hope and all the other graces, but it is very difficult to counterfeit humility." - D. L. Moody

"Grant, O Lord, that I may look for nothing, claim nothing; and that I may go through all the scenes of life, not seeking my own glory, but looking wholly unto you, and acting wholly for you." - John Wesley
O Lamb of God, who, both by your example and precept, instructed us to be meek and humble, give me grace throughout my whole life, in every thought, and word, and work, to imitate your meekness and humility. Mortify in me the whole body of pride; grant me to feel that I am nothing and have nothing, and that I deserve nothing but shame and contempt, but misery and punishment. Grant, O Lord, that I may look for nothing, claim nothing; and that I may go through all the scenes of life, not seeking my own glory, but looking wholly unto you, and acting wholly for you. - See more at: http://prayer.knowing-jesus.com/Prayers-for-Humility#sthash.7DZV1bpN.dpuf
O Lamb of God, who, both by your example and precept, instructed us to be meek and humble, give me grace throughout my whole life, in every thought, and word, and work, to imitate your meekness and humility. Mortify in me the whole body of pride; grant me to feel that I am nothing and have nothing, and that I deserve nothing but shame and contempt, but misery and punishment. Grant, O Lord, that I may look for nothing, claim nothing; and that I may go through all the scenes of life, not seeking my own glory, but looking wholly unto you, and acting wholly for you. - See more at: http://prayer.knowing-jesus.com/Prayers-for-Humility#sthash.7DZV1bpN.dpuf