VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

BENEFITS OF JOURNALING

08_22_08

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 2.09.40 PMI am excited what the future holds—excited and fearful. My senses are prepared to hear my heavenly FATHER. Am I adequately prepared to be His servant? Samson or Pharaoh did not prepare themselves. GOD just used them. He will do what He will do with me.

But, I am like Moses in that I am intrigued with the burning bush. I’m sure he knew GOD was in that burning bush—the more he looked at it the more he knew. And then he went closer.

He had a call on his life—for 40 years he knew he had a call on his life. I too. The specifics of the call are never known. Faith is the way to walk with GOD.

I don’t want to spend time waxing eloquent here, but I need to set some things in stone. I am to the point where I am aware of the burning bush and GOD has me in a position where I will not refuse to go up and look at it closer.

As I write I will guard this morning quiet time as if my very life depended on it. I will secretly pray that GOD continue to reveal my hidden sin to me. Oh, I am so fearful of pride. I cannot control it. I must place myself in GOD’s hands.

You know, I’m sitting here making a great effort to get everything right. But, as I’m doing it I realize I cannot. This vessel will never be fit to serve my GOD. GOD will use my failures.

Oh that I may just give it all up and run to my FATHER and cling. Oh that He would just break me every morning. Oh that flesh would wrestle with Him and lose—that my suffering would be flesh dying…

Take me and use me LORD, that would bring me my greatest joy.

 

Note:

3/10/16

Wrote the above a long time ago. It was a period when I was spending a lot of time with my heavenly FATHER. Certainly the most beneficial aspect of journal-writing is going back and rereading—and seeing that Jehovah’s truth is changeless.

Oh that I may just give it all up and run to my FATHER and cling. Oh that He would just break me every morning. Oh that flesh would wrestle with Him and lose—that my suffering would be flesh dying…

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VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

REREADING THE JOURNAL

6/16/09

Screen Shot 2016-05-14 at 3.05.08 PMNote: This is an amazing entry as I reread it today and perceive how close I was to the LORD then and how now I’m not. How encouraging. How I yearn now to be that close again.

***

I awoke disdaining the thought of doing anything in the natural realm with my own strength. I have no more tolerance for human actions. My desire it to look for supernatural activity—like answered prayer.

GOD works in power—that would be in the supernatural realm where I have no affinity. I’m content to not do any more of my usual Christian activities. Instead, I want to sit back and see GOD work. How I’d enjoy just making much of Him.

Could I be a John-the-Baptist? “Go through, go through the gates; prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway; clear it of stones; lift up a signal over the peoples” (Isa 62:10 ESV).

Here in Isa 62 You have defined Your purpose, LORD, that I shall be called by You, “my delight” (Isa 62:4)—a holy one redeemed of the Lord. You shall call me “sought out—not forsaken” (Isa 62:12).

This is Your purpose and with it You have promised to fulfill it. May I, for Zion’s sake not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake not be quiet, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch (Isa 62:1).

Show me Your striving with me. Bring Your reward. You promised. I will wait for my righteousness so that I will go forth as brightness—as a burning torch.

My arms hang limp. I have no strength. My good deeds are as filthy rags. I admit I distance myself from You by my good works. Only You can make me as bright as a burning torch.

My work is not Your work but my work is preparing Your way. Let me go through, go through the gates; preparing the way for the people; building up, building up the highway; clearing it of stones; lifting up a signal, broadcasting to all the world: “Look! Your Savior comes, ready to do what he said he’d do” (Isa 62:10-11).

I will give the Lord no rest until he completes His work, until He makes Jerusalem the pride of the earth (Isa 62:7). I will give You no rest, I will not be silent. Day and night I’ll keep praying, and calling out and reminding You to remember Your promise.

I wait with no hope until You fulfill Your promise. Make my righteousness goes forth as brightness, and my salvation as a burning torch.

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

REREADING THE JOURNAL

6/16/09

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 9.44.35 AMNote: This is an amazing entry as I reread it today and perceive how close I was to the LORD then and how now I’m not. How encouraging. How I yearn now to be that close again.

***

I awoke disdaining the thought of doing anything in the natural realm with my own strength. I have no more tolerance for human actions. My desire it to look for supernatural activity—like answered prayer.

GOD works in power—that would be in the supernatural realm where I have no affinity. I’m content to not do any more of my usual Christian activities. Instead, I want to sit back and see GOD work. How I’d enjoy just making much of Him.

Could I be a John-the-Baptist? “Go through, go through the gates; prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway; clear it of stones; lift up a signal over the peoples” (Isa 62:10 ESV).

Here in Isa 62 You have defined Your purpose, LORD, that I shall be called by You, “my delight” (Isa 62:4)—a holy one redeemed of the Lord. You shall call me “sought out—not forsaken” (Isa 62:12).

This is Your purpose and with it You have promised to fulfill it. May I, for Zion’s sake not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake not be quiet, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch (Isa 62:1).

Show me Your striving with me. Bring Your reward. You promised. I will wait for my righteousness so that I will go forth as brightness—as a burning torch.

My arms hang limp. I have no strength. My good deeds are as filthy rags. I admit I distance myself from You by my good works. Only You can make me as bright as a burning torch.

My work is not Your work but my work is preparing Your way. Let me go through, go through the gates; preparing the way for the people; building up, building up the highway; clearing it of stones; lifting up a signal, broadcasting to all the world: “Look! Your Savior comes, ready to do what he said he’d do” (Isa 62:10-11).

I will give the Lord no rest until he completes His work, until He makes Jerusalem the pride of the earth (Isa 62:7). I will give You no rest, I will not be silent. Day and night I’ll keep praying, and calling out and reminding You to remember Your promise.

I wait with no hope until You fulfill Your promise. Make my righteousness goes forth as brightness, and my salvation as a burning torch.

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

MY DEEPEST LONGING

9/30/13

Screen Shot 2016-03-26 at 2.26.48 PMSomething written in day 31 of a devotional attached itself to my heart making me want to put my feelings into words. Writing the feelings will allow me to come back to them in the future.

As I read, my feelings morphed into a desire. I wanted something more than I had.

I’m not good at give-and-take relationships. An island describes me. But, the following statement made me not want to be an island: “The deepest longing of the human heart is to be known completely and accepted unconditionally” James P Gills (ref#149, p385).

I can recall situations where my “island” label is put away.   When I compare picture-taking alone to picture-taking with my husband going along, my choice is fellowship over being alone. My heart wants a similar fellowship with GOD.

“’Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters…And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him’ (Gen 5:22,24). Someone commented that one day as Enoch walked with God, they ended the day closer to heaven than to Enoch’s home. And God just said, ‘Come on, Enoch, and go home with Me’” James P. Gills (ref#149, p387).

Oh, to talk to GOD when I think, not to talk to myself when I think. I want to work enough each day to meet my needs and not be sidetracked by worldly activities. I want to be “engulfed in His presence” James P. Gills (ref#149, p388). “The Hebrew word translated intimate means ‘to share secrets, deep, inward counsel, in audience with a person’” James P. Gills (ref#149, p385).

So, FATHER, my deepest secret presently is to confess all my known sins to You and watch You not flinch one bit. My deepest desire is to let go of my hold on my life when You press me to Your bosom. It truly will be my greatest joy to lose myself and choose some great attribute of Yours to dwell on.

I’ve identified my longing in this writing. Now I strive to walk hand in hand as Enoch. And is not discovering a new attribute of GOD better than reviewing the ones I know? To discover I must be with Him.

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

ASKING AGAIN FOR THE SPIRIT

4/27/2016

Screen Shot 2016-05-14 at 2.42.08 PMAm reading notes about the Sabbath again and realizing that I have slipped in my determination to keep it holy. It’s a little discouraging. It certainly tells me that I cannot order my days in any spiritually productive way.

As with most everything, I must drop to my knees to tell GOD once again that I have failed—failed to be led by His HOLY SPIRIT. Once again He proves to me that there are too many opportunities in earthly living for me to choose what is good for me and glorifying to Him.

I may establish a righteous pattern but it never is set in concrete. Autopilot kicks in without my notice and before I realize the righteous pattern has morphed. Life is too fluid for me. So GOD spends a lot of time calling me back to Himself.

Reviewing, rehearsing, remembering is so necessary. But even knowing and striving to accomplish spiritual renewing is impossible. May I never accept personal pride in all my routines of renewing myself, for such does not keep me in my FATHER’s will.

Nothing keeps me in my FATHER’s will but my FATHER. His HOLY SPIRIT knows the way I should go. Not only do I need help from Him for my inadequacies I know, but for all I can never think of.

SPIRIT, I thank You for Your surprising words in my life. You tell me remarkable secrets I do not know (Jer 33:3). So, how long has it been since I asked for the FATHER for the SPIRIT (Luke 11:13)?

As far as keeping the Sabbath goes, it is not that I have forgotten about keeping it holy; I review what I know the dawn of each Sunday. The problem is that I’ve forgotten some things and the things I do remember I have ceased purposeful preparation. The slide into disobedience is so slow I don’t notice—I don’t notice until I am reminded again.

FATHER, thank You for reminding me today. I sat at the table and spread out my gathered notes with the goal of organizing them so I might write out more blog posts on the Sabbath. You have allowed me to organize but also You have been kind enough to dispatch Your SPIRIT to remind me of my slipping.

What a great GOD You are! It’s all-praise. How the culmination of all events leads to all-praise. The keys of the piano are not the only place I can praise You. The keys of this computer can draw me to it, too.

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

A CHEERLEADER FOR THE SABBATH

3/1/2016

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 3.22.17 PMAnother Sabbath came and went with nothing to report. All is quiet on the Sabbath front—not even a lone chipmunk running across the dry landscape. Seems I’ve just begun making my Sabbath holy and now everything is dried up. The path forward has evaporated.

I’m wandering. I identified it this morning. Taking my mind back through recent history, I see I’ve been moving away from my daily routine.

I could blame the start of drifting on no longer lighting a candle in the prayer closet. (My closet scent is no longer manufactured and I haven’t decided on a new fragrance.) I no longer get up ½ hour before the start of my day to spend it with the LORD. Since my daily “work” is with the LORD, I have rationalized closet time not a must-do.

But, my “work” has lately been too much replaced with other obligations making me a little nervous about my approaching blogging deadlines. I’m even allowing myself to entertain the stressful thought of not having anything to post about the Sabbath.

I keep saying to myself I’ve got to get back organized but just as the day ends and I’m too tired to do my exercises, I find I’m still not keeping up with my “work.”

But then there is GOD—the One Who surprises me and I react in irrepressible joy.  So He started with me today.

I had not met Him in the prayer closet but was, out of habit, reading Scripture while eating breakfast. (There is something to say about habits. For me, more often than not, Scripture over breakfast is the door He comes through to meet me.)

So there was Joshua, the Old Testament leader of Israel after the death of Moses. He knew he was GOD’s chosen:

“And the LORD commissioned Joshua…’Be strong and courageous, for you shall bring the people of Israel into the land that I swore to give them. I will be with you’” (Deut 31:23 ESV).

With the LORD’s words fresh in his ears, he led the people across the Jordon River and into their first battle victory over Jericho by specifically following the LORD’s commands. Then Joshua sent men to spy out the next town, Ai. He anticipated another battle victory as the spies came back with an optimistic estimate of the challenge.

Not. They were soundly defeated (Josh 7:4). Why? “…there was…the apparent negligence of Joshua…in failing to seek divine direction for the Ai campaign…” (ref#125, p404, [Josh 7:10-12]).

I thought, “how quickly he forgets.” But then I have forgotten GOD, too, by moving away from my daily routine.

Before I finished breakfast I received a text from my friend. Periodically she will text me saying she is praying for me. Today I text back a prayer request about my retreat from the LORD. So now I have made myself accountable therefore I am spurred to address my drifting. I smile as I understand the LORD’s orchestration of my situations.

***

Now it’s 4:30PM. I have just come from my prayer closet. Wondering why it is I ever resist the morning time with my FATHER. I have emerged totally psyched—totally refreshed—enough to get me through the rest of the week, I’m sure. I had no idea I was so spiritually cracked and dry until my DADDY recharged me. He has given me enough strength and faith and reason to get back on schedule. Boy, do I feel better—and I didn’t even know I felt bad!

And, moreover, I know that rejuvenation is one of the very important reasons GOD initiated the Sabbath. Indeed, because of His leading today I can again be a cheerleader for keeping the Sabbath.

“…The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27 NASB).

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

SPEAKING ONLY SPIRITUAL THINGS

1/3/2016

Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 3.10.33 PMIntent to develop my spiritual nature and contribute to my brother’s and sister’s spiritual growth, I entered church prepared. It was the time of year to talk resolutions. I’d start the conversation by telling about my spiritual goal of learning how to keep the Sabbath. And then ask if they had thought of any spiritual resolutions.

But, I have not trained myself in the art of talking spiritual stuff, physical stuff just rolls off my tongue. And it rolled off today. Walked out of church thinking all I did was commiserate with friends about how “out of sorts” we were feeling.

It wasn’t till 4PM that the godly thought came to ask my out-of-sorts friends why they were out of sorts and offer to pray for them. And through texting we have talked to each other and have promised to pray for each other.

So GOD has just taught me that one can’t divide the physical from the spiritual. Activities of the physical world can become the point where spiritual encouragement as well as admonishment begin. My friends and I would have had nothing to pray for it we hadn’t shared our struggle in the physical world.

***

It’s evening now and GOD has reminded me of something else I learned by talking physical stuff after church. Something is coming up this Thursday at school that I can pray for. And so I have made a note in my prayer journal.

LORD, I thank You for pointing out that my actions yesterday were not all failures. I long for the day when the SPIRIT works encouragement and admonishment through me in real time and not just through hindsight. I certainly would like to do all I can for that to happen.

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

ACCEPTABLE SABBATH TALK

5/5/09

Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 11.39.03 AM“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Col 3:16 ESV).

Admonish one another… It does not mean pointing out specific sins to one another—or specific ways to improve. Yet, this is exactly my tendency when my old nature is ruling me.

It must be that my human nature thinks it can be successful if it dissects the commandments of GOD and works on keeping them one at a time. I make much to-do to be as perfect as possible. I preach to myself (and others). “This is what you should be doing.” I bemoan my sin—making much about my flaws. I never run out of ways to tell myself (and others) how to shape up.

The only thing my old nature can do it work hard, then judge myself better than others. Period. Old-nature-work puts me in the valley by pointing out my failure to help my sisters and brothers.

Admonishing should have nothing to do with specific actions, instead, its keeping my sisters and brothers accountable for their relationship with JESUS—with the intention to increase their affections for JESUS.

May I let all songs and words and actions point to the joy in a relationship with CHRIST. Admonish by making others long for a relationship like you have with CHRIST.

Note: This entry is important direction to myself as I concentrate on acceptable talk with my fellow Christians.

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

WORSHIP REVIVAL

2/7/2016

Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 3.23.03 PMJerry thought I was on my way upstairs to take a nap—that’s what I told him. But, I passed by my office and dediced to read. ”I could try it; if I fall asleep then I’ll nap.”

Sunday afternoons usually consist of trying to read and falling asleep. Feeling exhausted, I figured I was about to repeat the scenario. So far the day was playing out like most Sundays—until…

I chose a book about the HOLY SPIRIT:

“The Church still has a theology of the Holy Ghost but it has no living consciousness of His presence and power….The answer is in the demonstration of a supernatural religion, and the only way to a supernatural religion is in the abiding presence of the Spirit of God” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p18-19).

This knowledge was nothing new but by hearing it again the spiritual coals inside me became a flame. I was no longer tired. I felt ecstatic like I do when I’m confronted with a situation I’ve been longing to repeat.

“Perfect, this is perfect. GOD is meeting me this Sunday. I won’t fall asleep and will have something neat to record in my journal.”

 

And, what happened next? I fell asleep reading; woke and tried to stay awake but after repeating the scenario many times, gave up and went off to nap.

I did eventually get up but walked past my office and the book to set up the keyboard and speaker. With nap over the HOLY SPIRIT was still burning and it was music that drew me.

I had recently discovered a much easier way of learning a new song—playing it with someone else. I would play and sing with the Youtube version. The short pre-nap reading about the HOLY SPIRIT, was influencing me.

Someone who only leads occasionally lead worship this morning. It was a certain song lingered upon that reminded me of my rare abandon worship that only takes place in a large worship gathering where everything is so loud that I cannot hear myself. At that moment I realized how anemic my worship had been lately. Yes, I realized my longing for HOLY SPIRIT inspired worship—a heart revival—something I could dive into with abandon.

Youtube is the music to keep me in worship: steady beat, never stopping because of mistakes, able to continue to the end of the worship song, enabling me to stop singing and just play or stop playing and just sing, and sing any note in the chord… and be one with the Youtube singers. And… SING at the top of my voice! WORSHIP REVIVAL!

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

NEVER ANTICIPATED

11/15/2015

Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 1.04.16 PMCan’t divulge what sent me to the valley, but the means by which I found myself again on the mountaintop is worth recording:

Back home after church I changed clothes and ate but still was out of sorts—unnerved maybe would be a better word. Yes,—out of sorts and unnerved.

Sat down to read in an attempt to get over the morning—hoping to just move on. Opened the devotional at the bookmark where I last read and was drawn to the words I had underlined yesterday:

“Fear happens when I look at myself…and conclude that I do not have what it takes to do what God is calling me to do…To the degree that you forget who God is,…fear is your default emotion” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Aug 26th).

Then the next page provided these words:

“You were created by God to be dependent on him, but sin makes you rebellious….Sin makes you think you’re capable of what you cannot do” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, August 27th).

That was enough for the SPIRIT to convict. How many times did I pray about this morning’s assignment? And, in attempting that assignment, not once did I consciously depend on my FATHER.

No wonder I have come home shell-shocked. I walked into the enemy’s territory without any protection at all.

And, if Paul David Tripp’s words were not enough to sober me out of the poor-me valley, on the next page he writes:

“The agenda of grace is to transform you into a person who humbly recognizes your need for authority…” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Aug 28th).

And so it is, His grace has done its work. I am drawn to a familiar verse as I admit my need for Him:

“…’In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength’…” (Isa 30:15 NASB).

NOTE: GOD’s moves are always mysterious, engaging me in ways I do not expect. His coming can never be anticipated though sometimes I wait for Him. How shall He reveal Himself on upcoming Sabbaths?