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?

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VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

JOURNALING WITH AN EYE TO KEEPING THE SABBATH

12/25/2015

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 12.57.10 PMSo, I start this adventure of training myself to keep the Sabbath. And, it will be training for I have no thoughts of how to achieve it. It is not something I can feel my way into either, it must be an act of my will. “You do not wait until you feel…you make yourself” (ref#189, Nov 12th).

Presently my Sundays are composed of attending church in the morning, but I am so involved in the service (coffee table, soundboard, slide presentation, etc.) that I rarely find myself in GOD’s presence. Even after the service I have little time to encourage or admonish or confess my sins to my sisters and brothers because I am involved in packing up the equipment since we have church in a local school building. And, what’s worse is that in the little time I have after church I do not encourage, admonish or confess, but usually just do the surface conversation stuff.

The afternoon includes eating, napping, and activities with my husband. Evenings sometimes consist of visiting others but mostly sitting in front of the boob tube exhausted.

Usually in the afternoon I have a little time to read Christian non-fiction or Scripture. GOD, in His mercy, sometimes apprehends me powerfully, but mostly I read and simply enjoy the new knowledge gained. Now you know why I’m longing to explore the full benefit of the Sabbath observance.

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

PILING UP GOD’S PROMISES—NOT GOOD

2/9/10

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 12.07.54 PMMy name is Bonnie, I’m a pessimist. My fleshly members seem to be never happy and my selfish nature pouts because of it. Sin has a natural grip on me as I continue my longing to be happy—as I continue to envy positive-thinking people.

I want to experience joy but I can’t find it naturally. However, I must thank GOD for making me a pessimist because in my state, I can’t pretend to have the joy of the LORD. When I have joy, I know it is His spiritual joy.

So, let me acknowledge my melancholy-ness and confess how sin easily entangles me. Then let me turn to buffet myself. If I seek true joy, I will find it only with much effort. Buffet, buffet, buffet.

Here is another note as I was care-giving: In trying times reading Scripture will not do—meditating on a verse or two, will. Singing songs will do if they are simple enough and repetitive enough that I can grasp one concept.

Piling up GOD’s promises—just collecting them in my brain gives me a knowing of the greatness of GOD but only by concentrating on one or two can I embrace them enough that they lift me out of the misery of this world.

If I don’t force myself to settle on one or two wondrous works I get ADD—like my 5-year old grandson at Wall-mart when I said he could buy anything he wanted. Everything looked so good he couldn’t make a decision.

FATHER, today Your mercies are new—every morning Your mercies are new. Great is Your faithfulness. I come desiring to discipline my mind—subject it to You that You might renew it so I’m able to think eternally—able to see the big picture that will make my problems for today seem non-existent.

I desire to look over the top of these earthly struggles and fix my eyes on CHRIST, the One who rules all things with abundant, unending love—who continually watches over my every move and is able to overcome the sin that assaults me.

So, this latest care-giving episode is just another example of the enemy binding me and GOD loosing me to find joy once again. This will always be the story of my life. It’s the valleys and mountaintops—the two extremes of living on earth. Joy comes in the morning, oh praise GOD! Yet, I will never be free of the black nights. Praise GOD for those, too, for they test the genuineness of my faith (1 Pet 1:7).

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

PUZZLE PIECES ON THE CHANDELIER

5/19/14

Screen Shot 2015-10-24 at 5.03.57 PMYesterday was much worse than I anticipated. I knew it would be frustrating but not overwhelming.

I was up at 5AM anxious to start learning my new computer. (It was an absolute necessity to replace the old one if I was to continue writing my book.) But the trouble began Sunday when I picked up the new computer from the Geek Squad. They reminded me of a car dealership. Great relationship to sell, then contemptible service. I took it home thinking I would just learn everything by Internet video tutorials.

So, back to 5AM yesterday—by 6AM I had the computer so messed up it wouldn’t even turn off. Then I went off to visit my cell phone provider to get my email working. But, they couldn’t help with that. Called my Internet service provider – they didn’t help either. Each blamed the other. Oh, yes, now I remember about computers, service providers and tech people!

I had had enough. I walked away and went to working on a jigsaw puzzle. But my mind had not walked away and suddenly the puzzle pieces were scattered around the room and I was screaming, “Ok devil, you win.” I determined right then and there to return the computer and never touch another one again.

As I laid in bed sobbing, I realized that if I had to disband working on the book there was nothing I could turn to to occupy my time. That was the only thing I presently lived for! Desperate is too mild a word. GOD was quiet. The devil kept bombarding me. I did go pick up the puzzle pieces but cried the rest of the day.

So, maybe GOD wants me to stop spending time on the book. I’ve been enjoying doing it, maybe I’m doing it just for my benefit—you know, working for GOD with my own efforts. Should I return the computer and sit on my doorstep waiting for GOD to tell me what to do next?

I went to bed not hearing a peep out of GOD. I only determined I would hold off the rash decision to return the computer. I would get through this transition by pure grit. After all, I kept reminding myself that my plans were to take the month of June off from writing and just learn the new computer.

Truly, I was disappointed I had heard nothing from GOD. But, His silence did not shake me. I knew I still and always will stand on His strong foundation and nothing can remove me—even losing my head over a stupid computer.

By the end of the day yesterday I had a list of questions for the Geek Squad. So I have made an appointment to see them this afternoon. And now, waiting for time for the appointment I sat down to enjoy an Oswald Chambers book—“Still Higher for His Highest.”

GOD spoke—in His time, He spoke. Imagine that! I am not doing this book for my satisfaction. My heart is His. Has He not brought me into a “vivid, personal, overmastering relationship to Jesus Christ” (ref#157, Jan 9th)? I have given my life to GOD, no wonder I could not think yesterday of one other thing to do but book writing. I don’t think about satisfying myself. In 10 pages of reading Chamber’s book, GOD has addressed every accusation the devil made to me yesterday and proven his lies.

Oh, how difficult this world is but how sweet GOD’s truth is when He chooses the perfect time I need to hear it. He isn’t silent, but speaks encouragement to me exactly at the right time. Do I praise Him, or what?

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

SCRIPTURE DID IT

9/18/13

Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 9.59.53 AMToday my FATHER has encouraged me greatly. Let me record the scenario here.

The enemy of my soul gave me a thought of listing my present failures. I quickly named four. And the rest of the morning was spent confirming them in my head.

Influenced by such thinking I made the decision to give up writing the daily devotional book I was working on. It wasn’t going well anyway.

I was at a pivotal point in writing. With the first draft finally completed, I really looked forward to using it in my devotions while working on the next draft.

But, after the first week’s use, I did not experience the great awesome joy of the LORD I was expecting. Confidence shaken, I continued with the second week’s pages only to, after working and re-working, throw out two of them.

How many others would I have to throw out? How could I, at the end of the year, have enough written to complete a devotional book?

Little did I know as I went off to prayer meeting that GOD had already determined to change my thinking. The following Scripture was read:

“To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power,” (2 Thess 1:11 ESV).

FATHER, You have turned my heart with Your life-giving Word! I know You have called me to write. Today—right now, I gladly resolve to write.

Have You called me to write a complete book so You can draw Yourself to others with my words? I don’t know. But, today, with a great amount of happiness, I’ll continue to pursue writing.

And, by the way, I DO have faith in Your power. So, I will think no more about not having enough pages to complete the book.

Desk chair here I come!