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DON’T’ TELL ME ABOUT ‘DOING’!

May 26th, 2009

 

For what seems like a very long time now, I have had this unquenchable thirst for more of God.  I absolutely must know more about His ways, and I am desperate to hear His voice more clearly, and more often.  I am unwilling to travel through this life without His constant leading, and I am unable to understand His ways on my own. 

Although it is a very good thing to be hungry and thirsty for more of Him, it can also be quite frustrating.  I find that the more I read and the more I learn, the more questions I have, and the more pressure I experience in my spirit to know and understand Him better.  It is a sweet problem to have; however, I find that most of the time I feel like I am on the cusp of something big but I just cannot quite grasp that golden ring.  There is no doubt in my mind that God is the instigator of this drama, and that He is continually drawing me closer, inviting me to dive into deeper intimacy with my Maker.  Since I am in training for eternity, the rewards will no doubt be worth the effort.  The more intimate I become with my Abba, with my Beloved Jesus, and with my best friend Holy Spirit, the greater is my reward here and in the hereafter.  So, as I continue my pursuit of the deep things of God, I will take pleasure in the joy of the hunt for His hidden treasure.

During my continual search for resources, I happened upon a book with a title that talked about satisfying that ravenously hungry place in my soul.  I was excited about my find, and I could hardly wait to dig into it.  I took the book with me on vacation, looking forward to the enrichment it had to offer.  But much to my dismay, it turned out to be another ‘doing’ book.  Do this – do that – prepare yourself – say the right words – worship this way or that way – implement this activity to attain that result.  How exasperating – and how exhausting! 

(I am already an over-doer; that is part of my problem.  Because I grew up with very little comprehension of my value to God, or to anybody else for that matter, I always assumed I needed to do twice as much to be half as good as everybody else.  Consequently, too often I find myself trying to do more, or do better, or do something else – in what seems like an attempt to induce God to love and accept me more.  My brain is too often on overload, striving, and frustrated.  I absolutely do not need one more new methodology, or one more thing to do!)

Admittedly, that book had some good points, and I incorporated a few suggestions into my basic mindset.  But I cannot describe how infuriating it was to have one more author suggest that my failure to have a deeper relationship with God was the result of my not doing enough of this or that.  Disgusted over what I was reading, I closed the book and threw it in the corner.  Once again, I had to stop and remind myself that I was not a failure simply because of my lack of knowledge, or my inactivity.  There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

So, there I was, crying as I leaned over the veranda of our cruise ship stateroom, looking out at the stunning beauty of the ocean … still searching … still hungry even after recently gorging myself with the ship’s fare … still desperately in need of a new encounter with God … and out another twenty bucks spent on one more book.  Deep in my soul, I knew there was more to intimacy than devising a routine of ‘doing.’  I am convinced that once I have invited the Lord to come in His glory, He will not first ask me to say more or do more.  The Word says that if I draw closer to Him, He will draw closer to me.  Unlike witchcraft, I do not need to set a better atmosphere or recite certain words or conjure up a more emotional drama to get His attention.  Instead, deep calls unto deep.  He hears my heart cry and that touches His heart, causing him answer my call and draw nearer to me.  Why do I continue to try to make this so difficult?  Is it because I really do not believe that He is as anxious to fellowship with me as I am to fellowship with Him?  Do I think He is too busy for me, or that He enjoys hiding from me to see how long I will beg for His attention?  This is most definitely not the character of a Daddy who loves me and made me in His own image.  And yet, it seems that much too often I open a new book or listen to another teaching, and am inundated with more about ‘doing’ and less about relationship.

Determined to shake off this heaviness, I curled up on the sofa and began to call His name.  Nothing happened.  I paced back and forth in that tiny stateroom and then sank back into a chair.  I called again.  Nothing happened.  I resisted the urge to beg or plead, or worse yet, to fall prey to some religious ritual that may have seemed to catch His eye some other time.  I took a deep breath and settled deeper into the cushions, determined to remain there until peace came over me.  As I waited, a holy calm seemed to drape over my body and I felt like I had been enveloped in a cloud.  After a while, a ‘knowing’ came over me and I began to realize that I still had not yet learned how to wait on Him.  I had to admit that usually, after about two minutes of waiting, I get impatient and my brain begins to wander off to the next item on my mental calendar.  Who knows how many times Jesus has responded to my call, only to find that I have already moved on to the next event?

Sometimes I simply give up and fall asleep.  Jesus asked His disciples to wait for Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, to watch and pray.  But they fell asleep.  He asked Peter, “Could you not keep watch for one hour?”  Sometimes I cannot wait a few minutes, let alone an hour.

Perhaps the key to solving my dilemma is as simple as that:  watch and pray.  And wait.  I do not wait well.  Lord, teach me to wait on You.  Teach me to watch and pray and wait for You to reveal Yourself to me.  Teach me to linger in Your presence, to bask in Your glory.  Pour out Your Spirit; teach me to drink deeply of that sweet wine that is my reward for waiting.  Refresh and restore me, fill my emptiness until I am overflowing, but please never quench my longing for more of You.

 

 

Psalm 63:1

O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.

Isaiah 44:3

For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, and My blessing on your offspring.

Psalm 73:28

But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all Your works.

James 4:8a

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

Romans 8:1

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

2 Samuel 22:7

In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry entered His ears.

Psalm 42:7

Deep calls unto deep at the noise of your waterfalls; all Your waves and billows have gone over me.

Isaiah 45:3

I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the Lord, who call you by your name, am the God if Israel.

Matthew 13:44

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

 

OH, THAT YOU WOULD FIND ME WORSHIPPING YOU!

December 11th, 2008

 

 

Lord, let this be my humble prayer:  “Oh, that You would find me worshipping You! – in hard times and good times, in dark days and in sunshine, in famine and in plenty.  Every time You cast Your eyes upon me – Oh, that You would find me worshipping You!”  My heart’s desire is: to demonstrate those things my mouth declares that I believe; to affirm Your goodness at all times; to ensure that my spiritual foundation remains unshaken, no matter the circumstances.

 

When I walk in the door after work, and the evening news is reporting another loss in the stock market, and Congress is asking for another bailout package – Oh, that You would find me worshipping You!  First, I will thank You because I still have a job, and my company cancelled bonuses and holiday parties instead of eliminating employees.   Then I will worship You, the Provider of all my needs.  Lord, Your economy does not work like that of the world.  You made everything.  Your word says You own the cattle on a thousand hills.  When You provide more, the increase does not weaken what already exists (like when government prints more dollars without adding more gold to the Treasury).  I desire to live in Your promise that You will provide all my needs according to Your riches in glory.  And as You lovingly watch to see how I will react to the news – Oh, that You would find me worshipping You!

 

When sickness attacks my body and the doctor gives me a bad report; when my soul is tempted to come into agreement with that word – Oh, that You would find me worshipping You!  First, I will thank You for science and medicine and health care, even though the cost increases and the coverage decreases every year.  Then I will worship You, the Healer of my body.  Your Word says that the stripes laid on Jesus’ back paid for my sickness and disease.  You have taught me that I can reject the spirit of infirmity, and I can claim Your healing power.  When You remove sickness from my body, I can declare total freedom, rather than settle for a diagnosis of remission.  Plus, when You heal me, You do not allow scar tissue to remain.  I desire to seek You first for my healing, rather than apply Your promise as my last resort.  And even before You respond to my cries with Your healing touch –  Oh, that You would find me worshipping You!

 

When a terrorist plot is executed abroad, and simultaneously another one is uncovered very close to home – Oh, that You would find me worshipping You!  First, I will thank You for national security, for our incredible armed forces, and for continual watchfulness by dedicated servants.  Then I will worship You, my Protector.  You have promised that if we remain under Your covering, we will be protected, and we will not need to be afraid of the terror by night or the arrow that flies by day.  You have taught me to reject fear and to trust that You have everything well in hand.  No matter the circumstances, I can rest on Your promise that all things work together for good for those who love You and are called according to Your purposes.  I desire to stand on that promise whenever fear threatens to overtake me.  And as You hedge me in and hide me in Your stronghold – Oh, that You would find me worshipping You! 

 

As we draw closer and closer to the end of this age, the Church must stand on the promise that our God knows the end from the beginning, that He has given us a roadmap in Scripture to be able to discern the times and the events, and that He has a plan to protect His own from the perils we see on the horizon.  Mike Bickle (Kansas City International House of Prayer) reminds us that God’s burning love for us causes Him to use the least amount of pressure, for the shortest amount of time, to bring in the greatest harvest of souls without ever violating anyone’s free will.  I like that!  I pray that as I watch the signs in the heavens and on the earth, when I hear of death and destruction, when my soul is troubled by the increase of evil all around me, and when it appears that many in the church have compromised their values, I will not lose heart.  And at the end of the day, Lord, as You lovingly cast Your eyes upon me – Oh, that You would find me worshipping You!  Amen.

 

 

John 4:23

“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.”

 

Genesis 22:14

And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

 

Psalm 27:5

For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.

 

I Peter 2:24

Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed.

 

Psalm 103:2-3

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits; who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases.

 

Psalm 18:2

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.

 

Isaiah 46:10

Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.’

MY SECRET PLACE

October 15th, 2008

 

 

My, what a day I have had!  My world is spinning as I try to accomplish too many things in too little time.  A reactionary, that is what I have become.  It seems like I cannot even find enough time to prioritize the order in which I should put out the fires.  As I take a deep breath and turn my attention to the next job, I remember the story of a trial lawyer with whom I once worked.  He constantly complained that the office work assignments were not being appropriately prioritized, causing him to miss filing deadlines.  Finally our secretary provided him with bright red folders to wrap around his work assignments that needed her immediate attention, a solution that greatly pleased him.  The very next morning, he greeted her with a large stack of work, every assignment wrapped in a red folder.  So much for effective prioritization.

 

That is how I feel today:  every task comes at me sporting a red folder.  I try to remember my Lamaze coach breathing techniques so I do not hyperventilate.  How do I get into such predicaments?  How does life pile on me like this?  I offer a silent prayer that I would not run out of steam before the most demanding items are addressed.  I promise I will never again let myself get this far behind, and I really mean it.  Meanwhile, I guess I will dig in and get done what I can.

 

I press in and finally get through the day’s stresses and pressures, and I am bone weary.  My head aches and my stomach is still tight, even after a relatively quiet ride home.  I climb into my lounging clothes as quickly as possible, more than ready to find rest for my weary soul. 

 

Ah, this is my favorite part of the day, I say to myself, as I head in to my secret place.  For me, that secret place is a bedroom converted into a prayer room.  I turn on some worship music, stretch out in my recliner, and pull a blanket over me.  The warm sun soothes me as it pours through the west window.  I stretch, breathe deeply, and sigh.  The day’s drama begins to fade away as I take in the sweetness of the moment.

 

O Lord, I have waited all day long for this precious time with You!  Come and wrap Your glory all around me, as I snuggle into Your chest.  Where can I go but to You?  Who else knows and understands me, who else comforts me before I even speak?  I close my eyes and sing along with the music, welcoming the joy that soothes my weary soul.  I smile, knowing I am truly blessed beyond measure.  Oh, how I love the peace of God that passes all human understanding!

 

Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”   I acknowledge that I am desperately in need of a time of rest for my body and soul.  A brief “unwinding” will not cut it for me; I need a few moments on a daily basis when I can encounter that deep Sabbath rest only He can deliver.  I can speak or sing or worship, or I can quietly sit in His presence and bask in His glory.  When that time is over (my, how I resist letting that time end!), I can return to my workload with renewed vigor.  As I leave my prayer room and head for the kitchen, I wonder why I do not arrange for more time in that sweet place.

 

Do you have a secret place?  It does not need to be an entire room.  It might be a closet or a corner, or it may even be under a tree or on a porch swing.  For many, a prayer shawl simply pulled up over the head is their secret place.  All I know is this:  if I prepare a place, make the time, and extend an invitation, Jesus will come and meet with me, each time in new and deeper intimacy.  He will indeed offer me that sweet rest that can only be found in Him.  I have learned that I must set aside time for that encounter and guard it with my life, because otherwise the hordes of hell will resist me and undermine my best laid plans.

 

If your day is much too full, if you are entirely too busy and way too tired, stop for just a moment.  Allow yourself to breathe deeply and rest in the arms of a loving God, Who has been inviting you to this secret place for years.

 

 

Matthew 11:28

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

 

Philippians 4:7

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

 

Psalm 91:1

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

 

Psalm 31:20

You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence…“

 

Jeremiah 31:25

“For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul.”