VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

HOLY SPIRIT – unholy spirit

5/27/2015

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-12-58-31-pmIdentified the problem that was making me feel miserable. But it wasn’t the current problem.

Each day I was moving further away from the SPIRIT who I beheld so clearly over the weekend. He was fading like the morning dew. And there was no way I could find to go back treading the wet grass with Him. The ground was dry.

I definitely feel like I’ve lost a best friend. I mourn—longing for the exhilaration of “knowing” I was beside GOD Himself and able to obey Him exuberantly. The joy of it was addicting. Who obeys exuberantly when we’re in the room with just ourselves?

My journal is full of mountaintops and valleys where GOD is close, and then gone. My life marches to those ebb and flows. So, the logical question is, “How can I get myself again close to the SPIRIT?”

But, as soon as I ask that, I must be cautious reminding myself that the SPIRIT is like the wind (Acts 2:2)—hard to capture. And, I’ve read enough about revival to know mankind gets in trouble seeking to keep the SPIRIT after He’s made Himself known in an extraordinary way.

So the answer does not have anything to do with what I can do to get him to stay or to return. And, does it do any good to make a conscious effort to wait for Him—just sit and wait until I feel Him once again? Well, I have done that and sometimes it has worked.

Indeed, I’m instructed to ask for Him (Luke 11:13), but “waiting”—sitting and waiting is risky. It’s the same as in the great revivals where people loved His appearing so much they forgot all about who’s Spirit He was and only concentrated on Him. But, the SPIRIT does not initiate anything. He is obedient to the FATHER and the SON. So, I cannot wait expecting something from the SPIRIT directly.

The enemy is the great imitator. He is quite able to act in all the ways man has enjoyed the HOLY SPIRIT. But, he is the unholy spirit acting without the FATHER’s or CHRIST’s authority.

So now the question becomes: “How can I distinguish the real SPIRIT and guard against following the devil?” The words, “Holy, Holy, Holy” begin to give me the answer.

The Godhead, three in One, is “holy, holy, holy.” And I am not; so because I’m sinful I will be unable to feel myself in the SPIRIT’s presence continually. My journal entries do not lie—ebb and flow is how life is.

I flail around in the valley and continue to do so until I act in faith. I get that opportunity to act when the LORD puts spiritual information in front of my face. By faith only am I transported to the mountaintop.

A true mountaintop is always achieved by operating in faith; it is never achieved by waiting to “feel” the SPIRIT move. True, I may be aware of the SPIRIT when I am on the mountaintop but faith provided the foundation for Him. Faith always forms the foundation for the SPIRIT. Faith is a spiritual act; it is never accomplished by my human fleshly nature. The below quote helps me distinguish between the HOLY SPIRIT and the unholy spirit:

“Carnal pleasure, worldly profit and honor, the things of sense and time, are the things of the flesh…The favor of God, the welfare of the soul, the concerns of eternity, are the things of the Spirit” Matthew Henry’s Commentary of the Whole Bible (ref#18, [Rom 8:5]).

Advertisements

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

GRACEBEARERS_3

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 3.28.04 PMNOTE: This journal entry contains portions taken from the book, The Journal of Ann Schultz, (ref#217). (Ann’s assignment at GraceBearers was to read Scripture and give the ending prayer.)

2/19/08, Tuesday

GraceBearers is over. After all my preparation—thinking this way and that—it, of course, played out nothing like any scenario I came up with while planning for it.

I walked into the room with my own list of how I’ve grieved the SPIRIT. And fell into the challenge of stifling sobs when Alice mentioned a few more that I hadn’t thought of.

For my part (Scripture reading and prayer after Alice’s talk), I simply indicated to the women that they refer to the “Scripture and Prayer” print-out at their convenience, and suggested we take the time to contemplate how we grieve the SPIRIT and privately confess.

Alice ended the meeting by allowing women to come to the microphone and confess their personal grieving the SPIRIT. So many did, that our dismissal was quite late. I sat in my chair frozen with grief long after dismissal. I couldn’t have chit-chatted with anyone if I wanted to.

Seems every GraceBearer’s meeting I can’t get beyond grieving over my sin of offending such a holy GOD.

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

PRAYING FOR GRACEBEARERS_2

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 2.43.34 PMNOTE: This and the following Monday’s journal entry contain portions taken from the book, The Journal of Ann Schultz, (ref#217). (Ann’s assignment at GraceBearers was to read Scripture and give the ending prayer.)

2/13/08, Wednesday

Another day to pray for the GraceBearers women. I woke up thinking about it.

This was a day that I had no obligations outside the house. It seemed like a day that I could relax and take my time praying every which way for the women. But, in the prayer closet the SPIRIT began by calling to remembrance activities I should and shouldn’t do: fasting. I complained bitterly—I didn’t even get enough to eat yesterday.

(I’ve never had such a struggle with fasting as I’ve had with my involvement in GraceBearers. I do not like to fast at all. In the past GOD enabled me to rise above my complaining stomach, but now it just seems to distract me.)

FATHER, I do want You to be my substance and not food. Food just satisfies Ann and keeps me comfortable. For a few days I can survive quite nicely without food. It doesn’t harm me physically at all. So I’ll fast.

Totally forgetting why I entered the closet I the first place, my thoughts went to Monday night. Alice is going to talk about grieving the SPIRIT at GraceBearers. I’m feeling that what I’ve prepared will not be what the SPIRIT wants to do. So I’m trying to get Him to tell me so I can be prepared—so I can do His will eloquently—perfectly. I’m forgetting that He can get His will accomplished by using creatures that don’t even talk. He doesn’t need me.

I think of Peter preaching to the Gentiles and the SPIRIT falling on them before he was even done. LORD, You don’t need me. I have to repent. Let me let You take care of what You want done with GraceBearers.

Presently, in this closet, I think my job becomes the work of not leaving You. Right now I’m so uncomfortable that I long for an interruption. I have to laugh, interruptions come when I don’t want them and they don’t come when I do.

I’m rambling. Let me get back to my kneeling stool.

Well, another 10 minutes has passed with no revelation at the kneeling stool. I only got colder and hungrier. And the more I thought about being cold and hungry the colder and hungrier I got.

I keep thinking of quitting this prayer vigil. But, I can’t even think of what I would do if I quit—except find a warm spot and eat. My back hurts sitting here writing and the more I think of the pain, the more the pain comes. My back doesn’t hurt when I’m kneeling but I freeze kneeling. I’m so uncomfortable. How I’d welcome an interruption.

My back will be fine if I can run with You. My hungry stomach and my freezing legs, feet, and hands will be too. Am I feeling more and more need to be apprehended by You. Help, I’m in misery. Save me.

My interruption has come. I’ve agreed to take Jewel to pick up her kids. So I’ll be comfortable for a couple hours. Should I have consented? I’m not sure. I have a feeling I shouldn’t have. If not, then I need to get much quicker in touch with my GOD while I’m asked to make a spur of the moment decision while on the phone. But, for now, I’m off to pick up Jewel. I hope I’ve not disappointed You, LORD.

Back again, but not without incident. I ran into heavy snow and began to wonder if I could make it home. Five hours later I’m back. Should I have done it? You leave these decisions up to me, don’t You LORD? So, I did what I did and now I’m back desiring to seek You in earnest prayer once again.

I’ve moved out of the prayer closet to my desk. Wrapped in blankets and housecoat over three layers of clothes, I’ll attempt to stay warm. My feet can usually stand it best under this desk stuck in a paper bag. So, here I am.

LORD, ready my GraceBearer sisters. There, it has taken five pages and hours to finally pray what is needful to pray.

Ready me; ready my sisters for Your arrival. Revival and repentance go together.

I pray You bring a sobering, heavy countenance upon us as Alice speaks. Make us feel the graveness of grieving the HOLY SPIRIT. Make us more than ready to get the burden of wronging the SPIRIT off our back. Make us anxious to repent.

“The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Ps 51:17 RSV).

“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves guiltless in the matter” (2 Cor 7:10-11 RSV).

“Submit yourselvesto God….Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts,…Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to dejection. Humble yourselves before the Lord….” (James 4:7-10 RSV).

I just talked to Alice and she thinks I’m on track and gave me the above Scriptures. So she was an encouragement that the SPIRIT has moved me to the subject of repentance. It is in such a different direction than what I had decided and obtained approval previously.

LORD, I pray that You bring or begin to bring GraceBearers women to the point of desperateness by revealing to them how they grieve Your SPIRIT. This also goes for the leadership of the church for Alice asked me to pray for them, too. And I pray for Alice as she is the one You are apprehending to bring the message of grieving to us. I pray that she speak clearly for she’ll need prayers since I’m sure You’ll burden her with her own ways of grieving Your SPIRIT. And I will need prayers for that, too. Right now remembering my incidents of grieving You makes me collapse in a puddle of tears.

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

PRAYING FOR GRACEBEARERS

…NOTE: This and the following two Monday’s journal entries contain portions taken from the book, The Journal of Ann Schultz, (ref#217). (Ann’s assignment at GraceBearers was to read Scripture and give the ending prayer.)

2/12/08, Tuesday

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 12.43.17 PMTonight I come to prayer under the influence of the HOLY SPIRIT. He comes presently as a small ember flaring up deep within. Even as a small ember, He drives me to my knees in repentance. He cracks the door to the spiritual world and I see the seriousness of earthly life.

Life is not for me to squander. It’s not even for me to take lightly and allow myself a few sins here and there. It’s about life and death—eternal life and eternal death. And, since He so graciously has given me life, it is about the death of my fellow creatures.

I can complain all day about how natural Ann keeps me from obeying—how I try to pray, but can’t. That doesn’t change the fact that I’m held responsible for following GOD. If I can’t pray then I better wait in His presence until I can. Never mind that worldly life is going on. Spiritual life is much more important than my earthly agenda.

Do I really think that my daily plans are more important than getting on my knees and waiting for the door to open into the spiritual world? This is my life blood—being able to develop my spiritual life. Without it I die.

FATHER, You’ve given me grace upon grace and with it responsibility upon responsibility. You command that I pray for my GraceBearers sisters.

Some stand before You as I once did not very long ago—seekers of You, but unable to enter in. Human effort from a heart desiring to be spiritual only produces frustration. So many, I perceive, of my sisters are stuck in this wanting-to-but-failing mode. And if they are as stuck as I use to be, they believe the circle of sinning and asking forgiveness is all Christianity is. LORD, for women in this category I want to plead for in prayer.

Another condition that describes some of my sisters is a condition of wanting more of You, LORD, but unable to reach You because they are bound by medical, or physical, or spiritual causes. Their condition in this world holds them—especially with its busyness that now is so fashionable.

The last group I pray for is my sisters who have not experienced You in any degree of fullness. They are the ones that are not serious about seeking You. But, if You have moved them to come to the GraceBearers meeting, You are beginning to draw them.

For all these groups of precious women, LORD, come. Come show Yourself in ways that will revive each of us.

I keep thinking of the valley of dry bones—Your words through Ezekiel for the house of Israel. Do we not need the same mercy from You as they do?

I see all of us before You as bones that You have put sinews, flesh and skin on and have made us to stand and You have given us breath.

Tonight LORD, I look out and see Your creation. I see real women who long for You to draw them to Your breast. I see women who long to live spiritually, not grieving You. I see women who want to be free to worship You in spirit and in truth.

LORD, as Ezekiel’s prophecy was for the Jewish people, I ask for the same for the GraceBearers women standing here tonight. Put Your Spirit within us.

“And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live,…then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken, and I have done it, says the LORD” (Ezek 37:14 RSV).

LORD, I have drifted off into a prayer for GraceBearers night. Is it one I should use? I will not jump and say “yes” yet. If Ezekiel’s dry bones is for Mon. night, then I’ll contend in prayer until You give me not only the assurance that it’s the Scripture passage You have chosen but that You will send out Your Spirit to apprehend the women.

We know we are great sinners—but You have given us great promises. I will hold You to Your promises. I’m desperate to hold You to Your promises. Make me realize more desperateness.

LORD, I plead for more determination to be determined to endure in prayer. I will not be able to live with myself if nothing happens in GraceBearers this year—not because You didn’t come through, but because I didn’t preserve in prayer. You’re making my calling clear—and it’s prayer. Your SPIRIT has graciously led me in choosing GraceBearers Scripture but I can’t quit there.

If I run after GOD properly, I’ll not have time for prideful thoughts that always want to turn my head in the wrong direction. He’ll have me constantly pleading for something. O FATHER, teach me to pray—teach me to not leave Your throne room—teach me to cling desperately to You. Oh, to pray without ceasing.

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

DRIFTING

7/9/2016

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 3.13.25 PMThe SPIRIT has set me straight again. So easily I drift. “Drift” is such a good word; it conjures up an image of unnoticed moving—like fishing in a huge lake without an anchor—like falling asleep in a moving vehicle on the Interstate.

I have ended up back to my default, earthy nature—so unnoticed. I could have tried harder to end the drift—stayed awake, paid more attention, but, speaking from experience, it could not have been prevented.

Without the intervention of GOD I am just as lost today as I was the moment before it was His pleasure to regenerate me. I cannot control myself any more now than I could as a blatant sinner. Folks who believe they need JESUS one time only to forgive their sins and welcome them into heaven are deceiving themselves. The need for Him is perpetual.

I realized my drift in a commentary on 1 John. I became more and more contrite as I read the words. For the umpteenth time the SPIRIT laid out His plan for my earthly sanctification—how to become a partaker of the divine nature (2 Pet I:4).

“…what accounts for most of our failures in Christian living is our failure to realize what we are. It is our failure to realize what God has done to us….We must think less and less of doing and more and more of being. If we only are what we ought to be, then the doing will more or less look after itself” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p87, underlining mine).

How earthy nature strives to be righteous; it’s all about doing. In my natural state I work hard to accomplish something impossible and get exhausted and cranky in the attempt. When my focus centers on trying to succeed I can be assured that I am drifting.

The SPIRIT ended my drift by revealing the following truth: I am a partaker in the divine nature. My activities reflect my family heritage; I’m a child of GOD! I’m either living like CHRIST or want to be living like CHRIST. This is who I am regardless of my failure or success at spiritual activities.

Today I praise GOD for making me who I am and, with pleasure, I’ll keep my ears open for suggestions from Him. My eyes are off my activities and on Him. It seems like accomplishing nothing but praise, accomplishes everything else.

So, today no more earthy nature strivings—at least until I get lulled into another drift.

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

SINGING WITH GOD

5/6/09

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 4.03.01 PMIn prayer today I thought of this wonderful scene—me reaching, Him plucking me out of the death-trap-world and both of us singing.

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing” (Zeph 3:17 ESV). GOD sings a continual song over me!

My son and his family have experienced five-star treatment in a five-star lodging. All the attention was a bit unnerving because they were not use to it.

The times I’m aware and lift my hands for Him to rescue me, I can sing with Him—harmonizing to His song—knowing I’m at one with Him. But, I’m not use to it. Yet is that not a wonderful truthful thought—having GOD’s constant attention? My heart rejoices exceedingly as I make this my goal: to recognize His song and sing with Him.

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

PRIDE

5/8/2016

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 11.57.35 AMA friend once said that she had to solve the problems of the world before she could fall asleep. I liked that reasoning and stole her comment for I often take as long as two hours to fall asleep. Through the years that comment has become my input in any sleep conversation. I even said it today.

This evening’s piano playing energized me so lying in bed did nothing to help falling asleep. I thought of my pat comment about solving the problems of the world but just as quickly wondered what I was really thinking. GOD quickly summarized it for me: pride. And, it didn’t take me long to admit it.

Weaving scenarios of how I can impress people keeps me awake, not solving the world’s problems. And the more scenarios I come up with the more awake I get. Piano playing went well tonight; with that happy thought I wander here and there pretending to speak and act graciously, perfectly, with authority, etc. in all kinds of situations.

I am ashamed now that GOD has made me aware of my actions—and, more ashamed than usual because of my afternoon reading. Samuel Chadwick, in his book, The Way To Pentecost, informs me that the HOLY SPIRIT and I are not completely separate entities.

“The Spirit of God…indwells sanctified men and women. He becomes the spirit of their spirit, the mind of their mind, the heart of their heart, the strength of their strength, and the life of their life” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p97).

CHRIST, fully man, was indwelled by the SPIRIT as He walked the earth. He was tempted by sin but unlike me He never sinned. I sin and my sin grieves the SPIRIT that lives with me. He does not separate Himself from me, but must endure the grief.

Sorry, I’m so sorry, SPIRIT who loves me enough to bond with me…

As you see, I’m at my desk writing instead of remaining in bed entertaining myself with all-about-me scenarios. GOD has my focus on pride so I will confess more of it:

You know if I did not play the piano well tonight I would be lying in bed downhearted. I’d be thinking about how I un-impress people. My propensity for pride would be creating scenarios about what I could do alone where I would be sheltered from making mistakes people would see. Again, it would be all about me. I’d be shunning the SPIRIT who is the One who can show me how to focus on GOD and not myself.

Just a little thought concludes that pride separates. I either see myself better and aloof from others or worse and hiding from others. And sadder yet pride breaks my relationship with the Triune GOD.

So, please forgive me SPIRIT, and lead me to the FATHER and SON that You and I might fall asleep tonight united in purpose.

(Now if I can just go back to bed and not think about how good this journal entry is…)

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

THE PURE-LOVE GOD

9/27/07

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 10.09.41 AMIt’s late, and I have to get up at 6AM, but try to sleep when you suddenly realize the King of the universe gives you everything He has!

“…God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts,…Now we are no longer slaves but God’s own sons. And since we are his sons, everything he has belongs to us,…” (Gal 4:6-7 TLB).

The SPIRIT chooses some time to illuminate the power of Scripture. I was just planning to play piano and worship a few minutes before bed. And now, who cares about sleep!

I have the resources of my elder brother, JESUS! This is not something new to my ears, but what has struck me is that the CREATOR of the universe is willing to give little, selfish me everything.

Again my FATHER has blessed me by rending the veil between the spiritual and physical so that I’ve received a glimpse of Pure-love Him.  And a dash of Pure-love makes me unable and unwilling to think of anything but Him who is praised forever, Amen. I’m so unworthy yet I scarf up the pleasure His openness has presented to me.

It reminds me of a poster I had pinned to my closet wall in MN where I formally lived. It was a picture of a field of daises.   (I wonder where that poster is?) It was on the wall to remind me of a dash of pure love He gave me 35-40 years ago.

I was in a remote area fossil collecting, walking along, hands on my knees searching the rocky ground. My eyes meant a lone flower and I thanked GOD for placing it there just for me to see.   Then I stood up to stretch my back and before me was an entire field of the same kind of wildflower. It was as if GOD, in Pure-love abundantly spilled Himself out by handing to me an entire field of flowers.

This love He sporadically pours out makes me so thirsty for more—and keeps me awake all hours—and makes me want to do nothing but honor Him.

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

 EXCEEDINGLY ABUNDANT ANSWERS TO PRAYERS

4/19/2016

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 6.11.33 AMGet a little nervous and I don’t crave sweets anymore; get a little nervous and I don’t depend on myself anymore. Stress here and there in life is good.

The most recent stress that rose like an insurmountable wall was so immense it seemed like there would be no life beyond it. I never thought of finding myself on the other side. I never thought of what I’d do if I survived. But, here I am—still breathing, body suffering the adrenalin-withdrawal repercussions, but given time I will become myself again.

The wall represented a 4-day encounter with a special friend that I had recently learned was in mental anguish. I couldn’t stay away from planning all the “what ifs” in order to help her. My GOD-given gift of mercy caused misery for me as I thought on her misery.

This entry, first off, is to proclaim GOD and how He answers prayer. The more anxious I got preparing the more prayer-warrior friends I asked to pray for me. And did GOD ever answer the desires of my heart! No, He went way beyond that.

GOD does not let His children in the lurch. He shows His Fatherly help plainly to ones who need such a display of His benevolence. This wall experience will go down in my personal history as one of the more obvious displays of GOD’s compassion specifically given to me.

“Now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think…to Him be the glory…” (Eph 3:20-21 NASB).

This is how GOD answered my prayer and the prayers of my prayer warriors: I used none of my previous “what-ifs”. (When will I ever learn to not fall into the “what if” thing.) By the time it came for our meeting GOD had done a work in her and she was no longer in anguish. Yet, I still helped indirectly through conversations with others in her hearing and even made comments to TV programs we watched.

The entire wall experience was one happy time—for both of us. But, GOD made it more than a happy time. It enabled us to draw closer in relationship. And that relationship will be the foundation for an even closer relationship in the future.

I prayed for the situation to go well. GOD provided, and then set the stage for future relationships to go well. GOD answers prayer more exceedingly abundantly than I can ever imagine!

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

READING MY OWN WRITING

4/13/2016

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 5.01.25 AMI was succeeding in keeping myself from thinking about an upcoming event because it required a great deal of unfamiliar organizing that might as well not be done until closer to the time of it. I had volunteered for something I know I’m not good at but was feeling pretty proud of myself for refusing to maul the “what ifs” over and over in my mind.

Less than a week ago I found out a few things that will make the situation harder for me. No, actually impossible for me. So I’ve spent most of the last few days hollering “help” to my FATHER.

And, GOD has answered. My FATHER has brought to my mind helpful ideas and I’m making a point to remember them. Yes, I was keeping away the cloud that so wanted to settle over my head. Until I lost something that I deemed essential for success.

Seems the still yet shaky foundation I, with GOD, was building collapsed.   It was enough to make me cry whenever I thought about the fast approaching situation. And I thought and cried back and forth all afternoon. I knew GOD would not leave me alone in the venue but the erosion had started.

I began to turn away from clinging to my FATHER to become more concerned about myself. This took the form of accepting thoughts about how miserable I was feeling. So I began to cling to ideas that would comfort me in the situation. I was engaging in the “poor me” thing and not even realizing it. Until…

I was interrupted by an email alert on my phone. It was a reminder that someone had commented on my today’s post. I would have to moderate it (accept it) before it would show up on my blog site.

Since I wrote the post years ago and scheduled it on my blog site months ago, I had no idea what was posted for today. I would have to read my own post to understand the comment.

The post was titled, Discipline, but it might as well have been called, Bonnie, Your Drifting, Let Me Call You Back to the Truth. Below is a portion of the post:

FATHER, I will praise You because You discipline me in just measure (Jer 30:11). You promise I can always endure whatever circumstances You put me in (1 Cor 10:13). You are with me to save me (Jer 30:11). You give me power to keep myself calm in the days of adversity (Ps 94:13). Enduring the disciplinary trial proves my faith and produces perseverance and steadfastness and patience (James 1:3).

FATHER, commit to my understanding the fact that You issue discipline because You love me (Heb 12:6). When I go astray You call me back to You with discipline. Your steadfast love will not depart from me (2 Sam 7:14-15). You will not be false to Your faithfulness, nor violate Your covenant or alter the word that goes forth from Your lips (Ps 89:33-34). You chasten and scourge me because You cherish me (Heb 12:6).

Needless to say, I have stopped crying.