VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

A SUNDAY EXPERIENCE

2/24/2016

Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 2.21.13 PMTwo days ago I sat in Sunday school about this time of day and tried my best to let go and let GOD. I had just finished practicing with the worship team. Too much of the time I had to scramble to get the right chord played. The sounds in my ears at church are always so different than at home practicing. It frazzled me just enough that I hesitated, looked at my hands, lost track of where I was in the music, and didn’t get the chord played right much of the time. Figured I could muddle through the service without disturbing anyone’s worship but I was hoping for more.

Sunday school sandwiched practice and church so I sat listening and praying—listening to the teacher talk about depending on the HOLY SPIRIT and praying I’d depend on Him next hour. The request to my FATHER was to relax and to let the SPIRIT lift me into irrepressible joy.

It didn’t happen.

Today I realize my prayer reflected my sinful nature. I so wanted an enjoyable experience—the experience of playing well and feeling the touch of the SPIRIT. But, GOD did not answer that prayer request. (I now see His wisdom and praise Him.)

If He would have answered the way I wanted I would have had only a temporary joy that would have faded quickly. Instead, He gave me failure and has prompted me to sit here today and write this journal entry.

He first addressed my yet unanswered prayer request with a quote from my morning devotional:

“…A man worships God in spirit, when, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, he brings all his affections, appetites, and desires to the throne of God; and he worships him in truth, when every purpose and passion of his heart, and when every act of his religious worship, is guided and regulated by the word of God” Adam Clarke’s Commentary (ref#15, [John 4:24]).

Spiritually I’m okay. I worship in SPIRIT and truth. Did not GOD confirm it when someone in Sunday school quoted the two greatest commandments? I do love GOD with all my heart and there is nothing more important to me than the spiritual welfare of others. Just because I could not recognize or feel the HOLY SPIRIT when I played with the worship team doesn’t mean I’ve failed to worship in the SPIRIT.

What I need to do is get better at piano and not judge myself spiritually. How clearly I see now that my idea of worshipping in the SPIRIT was just desiring a good feeling and not desiring the GOD of the HOLY SPIRIT at all.

And, as far as relaxing and enjoying playing with the worship team…maybe it will come as I experience more piano practice and more worship team participation but it is enough that I find joy today in the revelation of my GOD through this entry.

So two things to remember: GOD has made me a new creature. I will bring forth new creature spiritual fruit. I don’t have to worry about doing the right things spiritually as long as I continually humble myself before GOD. The second thing to remember is to continue practicing piano and to be a part of the worship team any chance I get. Oh thank You, FATHER, for Your delayed answered prayer.

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VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTPS

BURYING MY HEAD

5/28/13

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 11.13.31 AMAnother week of care-giving mom has been to my benefit. Whether it is pure mercy from GOD or my striving to make a better habit, I rejoice in the outcome. Two notable situations I want to record.

The first: I found myself very often into my familiar scenario of how to best plan for mom’s future. Yet, my mind did not go far until I was aware of the old rut I was in. Once aware I threw myself on GOD and ceased planning. It amazed me how many times GOD’s words to me were, “Wait before you draw conclusions.”

This faith I was able to cling to encouraged me. I was able to stay trusting GOD’s counsel and reaping its benefits—that is until another precarious situation arose and I was back scenario planning about what I need to do if… But, I would hear again, “Wait before you draw conclusions.”

Second: early on I asked the FATHER that I might just bury my head in CHRIST’s breast. I admit I just wanted out of the approaching situation. I knew I was just coping out—trying to avoid my responsibility, but, hey, this was the desire of my heart. And, as it turned out, this was exactly what I needed.

The request turned into a vision in my mind and through the days I often went to dwell in the vision and bury my head in CHRIST’s chest. At the time little did I realize the vision made it possible for me to let situations go and let GOD handle them. I see now this was exactly His plan all along.

A few times a situation called for suggestions from me and decision-making from mom. Past experience proved such situations did not go well. I would get frustrated and mom would get mad.

But ignoring the past, I prayed and clung to CHRIST and suddenly found myself through the situation with an agreeable compromise between mom and me. I don’t quite know how to explain it but I know GOD did something miraculous.

FATHER, it’s now time again to go back home to continue with my own life. I rejoice that You have carried me through this time here and have convinced me through the ups and downs of the care giving that You have kept me sane and mom secure in Your hands.

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

HOW DO I SMELL?

10/26/2015

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 12.17.48 PMHave the computer in my prayer closet today because I need to confess a sin and learn from my failing. I am at the SPIRIT’s sway—knowing I need forgiveness—seeking His correction.

The incident took place yesterday after church. I was at the door as a family of visitors exited. Not having opportunity to speak with them yet I wanted to say something even as I knew they were already thinking of their next activity. So I simply said, “Enjoy this nice weather.”

Wrong thing to say; I had time to run after them and correct myself, but I didn’t. It would be strange; they wouldn’t understand. And so I watched them walk to their car.

This was a moment the SPIRIT communicated a boatload of understanding to me in a nanosecond.

Putting His wisdom in words, it went something like this: “This is not what you should be saying. Today on your blog site sits your entry about the Sabbath and how it should be observed. You didn’t blog ‘Enjoy this nice weather.’…”

I could have run after them and said something like, “Enjoy this nice weather as you renew your fellowship with CHRIST on this Sabbath Day.” I had time.

I know the SPIRIT would have chosen the perfect words to say. But I hesitated. I rationalized—too late. That would seem weird.

Indeed, that would seem weird and I would embarrass myself. But wait, who cares if I embarrass myself. I would probably never see them again since they were just visiting to support a family member who had a one-time part in the service.

I sit here now in this prayer closet with hindsight-thinking. The comment I made was typical—what they would expect to hear—so common that they would immediately forget it.

But, the comment the SPIRIT had for me to say would, quite possibly, have been strange to their ears. Thus it would have carried the opportunity to be remembered.

Standing in front of the backdrop of the world I am to be noticed, not blend into the backdrop. I can’t just smell like the backdrop, but must have a unique scent.

“For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life….” (2 Cor 2:15-16 NKJV).

FATHER, today I am very saddened by my response to the church situation yesterday. I smelled like the world. But here with the SPIRIT today in my closet I am encouraged for not only do I know you have forgiven me but You promise to give me other chances and other activities to express the heart You gave me.

Set me apart for Your service by leading me in consecration so that I do not blend into the backdrop of the world.  See this Wednesday’s CONFESSION post (12/16). The subject will be “Consecration.”

JOURNALING

10/10/2015

Screen Shot 2015-10-10 at 1.15.16 PMThis social-antisocial thought that is in front of my mind needs expression. Three days ago GOD put me up to it and I concluded I really do enjoy mingling with people outside my house—but, only as long as the conversation is friendly or spiritual.

So now I sit before GOD and ask, “And how can I enjoy meaningless chatter, or searing affronts to my character?” This is why I’m antisocial.

He invites me to step back and explore my antisocial belief about myself. And I quickly name three facts.

I hate being social because:

  1. I will be vulnerable.
  2. I am not a good talker.
  3. I’m weak, fragile, and sensitive.

I’m laughing now because I think of Moses as I read over the three points I just wrote. And, what did You, LORD, do to Moses?

When I started writing this I had a faint notion that my answer to the question would be to just buckle down and let You, FATHER, make my face like flint. But suddenly You have taken me right out of that thought.

You will do with me what You want. Moses made it to the end of his life; he accomplished Your will. I’m sure he would have written his life’s passage different than You wrote it, but You wrote it and he made it through. And You will do what You will do also in my life.

I will bow my knee to You now and give up writing here details of how You will improve me. I don’t want to be slowed down by the process.

Journal writing right now is finished. Learning eclipsed; joy of Your presence sought.

JOURNALING

10/7/2015

Screen Shot 2015-10-10 at 12.48.12 PMGOD always takes me to the mountaintop but He might go for days before He reveals the specific valley truths from whence I came.

For instance, I recently sat in a familiar valley of judging-myself-lacking. I have long since concluded I like staying in my house and don’t like doing anything outside of it.

With that backdrop my longing to be a better witness never finds fulfillment because how can I share CHRIST if I resist leaving my house? Many times I have stated to others that I love people but I hate being social. I have truly believed both parts of that statement.

Yesterday the SPIRIT prompted me to review what I had just experienced in the grocery store. We recently changed stores so the check-out lady was new to me. I engaged her in surface-level conversation with the goal of establishing a relationship so as to open future spiritual conversation.

Was it hard and difficult? No. Did I enjoy it? Yes, because she responded in conversation.

So, yesterday I enjoyed being out of the house. This thought made me think of similar past experiences. Conclusion. I don’t dislike talking to people; I enjoy it when they seem to enjoy what I have to say. Connecting is actually quite rewarding now that I think about it.

But, then, of course, I’ve had conversations that didn’t go well. Ah, that’s another subject for later (possibly Monday’s journal entry).

But, to end this subject, I conclude my long-standing thought of myself just fell apart. I do like to socialize when the conversation goes well, and particularly when it turns spiritual. I can no longer pin “antisocial” on my chest.

FATHER, thank You for Your mountaintop revelation. I realize it will take a new habit to change my antisocial thinking so I ask for Your help. I thank You for the ability to journal. Please prod me to read over this entry often. How I love Your kind influence in my life!