VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

PRIDE, LOVE OF SELF

6/26/2016

screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-1-58-45-pmMy Sabbath day was going pretty well until 10:00PM. The afternoon was particularly satisfying as I was pulled into a good book—a commentary on the Song of Solomon. So good the reading was that I continued into the evening.

Instead of the usual commentary depicting CHRIST and His church, the writing is an allegory of CHRIST and a single member of His church. It reads so personal that it brought out my own heart’s desire and I pretended I was the “bride” and it was my interaction with CHIRST.

The “bride” in the book was so in love with CHRIST that she followed Him everywhere, satisfied with every stage of their developing relationship. It reminded me of a quote:

“Sometimes there is nothing to obey, the only thing to do it to maintain a vital connection with Jesus Christ…” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, March 25th).

The author of the commentary alluded that obeying commands can be done outwardly—without being changed inwardly, but being in love with JESUS changes everything. Obeying commands are not even thought of, they are followed without any thought.

Being in love with JESUS made the “Bride” think of nothing but her “Bridegroom.” She thought no more about caring for herself; she would not take her eyes off her lover. She died to herself, becoming lost in CHRIST.

I fancied I had obtained that goal in my Christian walk and was happily brushing my teeth before bed when GOD dropped in my conscience a small request that made me recoil. Immediately my dreams of succeeding in my relationship with CHRIST vanished.

I was back with my eyes on myself! I did not want to do what He asked. My resistance not only destroyed my imagined delightful relationship with CHRIST but it put me all the way back to willfully resisting obeying.

Well, after a short amount of thinking I did do what He asked. But that did not restore my thoughts about a good relationship with Him. The “bride” in the Song of Songs did a lot of assuming she was ready for marriage only to find out the “bridegroom” had more to teach her.

So, I end this Sabbath day being further behind in my relationship with CHIRST than I thought. However, His mercy has not let me fall off the foundation He is building in our relationship but He has certainly humbled me by pointing out my pride.

I could be discouraged but His unseen assurance keeps me in pursuit of Him. I am glad for this Sabbath even though I’ve been justly convicted of my love to self, more than love of GOD.

Advertisements

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

WORSHIP IS TO PLEASE GOD

7/18/2016

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-2-32-11-pmI’m certainly proving that I can do nothing without the LORD. I survived the last three weeks of daily socializing by looking forward to these next two weeks of setting at my desk researching, organizing and writing in the LORD’s presence.

Today I start. I will spend it alone—totally with Him but I am quickly realizing I’m not prepared. I’m lonely; I’m out of practice using my mind. I’m remembering that desk work is work, and the work is overwhelming with papers from the last three weeks piled high.

And then there is music. I’m pursuing songwriting yet have no desire to play and sing anything. My body is in pain, my mind so very sluggish, and I have no desire to pursue what GOD is calling me to. Looking forward to this day for the last three weeks has kept me going but it has arrived and I’m disappointed. How much this situation screams that I can do nothing without GOD.

Thus I chuck my plans and go to the prayer closet to sit. Though I feel it not, I know there is unending joy for me embedded in the privilege of His attention. And I have proof in my memory that His covenant promises to me will never be broken. Just the promise of eternal life with Him—someday being free of these earthly struggles… These things are enough to find the needed strength to face this day with energy.

Suddenly I’m on the mountaintop. I don’t necessarily feel it but these thoughts have given me enough gumption to begin. I can walk out of this prayer closet—put one foot in front of the other with anticipation. Here I go, and the first step is toward the piano.

As I approach I am thinking two thoughts about the piano: (1) all I see behind and ahead of me is failure: no progression in talent, no opportunity to preform. I feel I should give it up and concentrate my expression of worship with just words and not song.

The other thought is just the opposite: (2) I should continue with songwriting and piano, remembering how GOD, periodically over 30 years, has encouraged me at the piano. Yet…

30 years He has strung me along. My flesh wants to quit. I, with pleasure, will admit defeat instead of taking more embarrassment, but my heart cries with just the thought of ending. I’m in the valley with my mind’s logic to quit yet my heart refuses to listen to common sense.

Before I arrived at the piano I picked up the guitar and sang with a three-week, out-of-practice voice. My ears heard something unpleasant but the LORD heard not my voice but my heart. I had forgotten this songwriting desire was for the pleasure of GOD not that I might get good and please others or myself.

All my writing has been to help me draw close to GOD even though it is available to the public. And so my music should also be to help me draw close to GOD. Is there anything better than to be close enough to sing Him praise?

I do love to express my love for GOD in music. I love to please Him in song—magnifying Him. Song is certainly a higher way to magnify Him than words.

Seeing that my spiritual gift is encouragement, it makes sense that it should spill over into my interaction with the LORD through song.

“…the great object of…worship is to please God…” William S. Plumer (ref#183). From GOD’s perspective: He waits for me to bring Him joy. He created me that I might bring Him pleasure (Rev 4:11).  Now I’m really on a mountaintop!

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

 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.

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

TAKING A TIMEOUT

3/29/2016

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 5.46.35 PMThe absolute last-resort activity when I’m about to lose it is reading. If I rushed past reading I’d run out the door and keep running until I moved myself right out of society. I would make a total fool of myself and have to apologize to many many people if I cared to reenter the civilized world. People would never look at me the same but they would forgive me. I know. I did the above once and I had to apologize to eleven people. It was a long long ago and I have moved on in the world convinced that people have forgotten my actions and me.

Through my long life GOD has been quite merciful to me by giving me the desires of my heart that mainly has included creating objects to glorify Him. I have been always busy and have had only fleeting moments of boredom.

But I have been in this situation perhaps a month now where I am nearing the end of one project and have a specific project in mind for the next. Even though GOD is stringing me along with ideas here and there, the ideas are not creating a whole. I feel fragmented—even tossed and turned. As each day goes by I feel more desperate for a conclusion and a starting place for this next project.

Writers block is when one faces a blank page. I feel a blank page in front of me but it is not a white blank page but a black page. The enemy craftily puts in front of me the image of complete darkness where I am commissioned to do nothing.

That fear was with me when I woke up this morning. However I finally got out of bed by deciding I needed to practice to perfection my upcoming piano lesson piece. I figured I could at least do that. NOT.

I couldn’t count the intro right. That’s when I turned off the keyboard and went to the back of the house to find something to read. The book that won out was my devotional. It starts out with “Notes” which don’t pertain anymore to the devotional, but my eyes fell on that page:

Through experience, when the SPIRIT is present everything is spiritual; I find joy in everything I read in this devotional. But some days I find, and you the reader will find, these prayers just lie flat on the page and are no help or worse they seem hypocritical, self-righteous, and pious. If this is the case know that you have stepped away from the SPIRIT.

Don’t go any further in reading. You need a “timeout”—time to get yourself again willing to submit to GOD. When that time comes (for me that could be hours) go before GOD and honestly discuss your feelings. You need to repent—ask forgiveness for your attitude—attest to Him that you approve of what He is doing in your life—beg Him to bring joy into your heart again. In other words, be right with GOD, and these prayers will always be a pleasure to pray.

It’s easy to forget the LORD shall do whatever pleases Him and we are responsible to act in support of Him.

I took a timeout. After crying a bit before my GOD, He suggested I scrap the written intro to the song and compose a new one for my piano lesson piece. I’m about to go back to practicing again but, GOD needs credit for He has opened my eyes once again in the valley and given me a path to take to the mountaintop.

I know I will learn the piano song. And also I know GOD will lighten my darkness. He is teaching me to wait for Him. Something I have done very little of in my life and know I don’t handle waiting well.

How I praise Him for encouraging me when I am about to crash myself. He knows just how much I can take from the enemy and from my weak flesh. I am going to make it to the end because He wills it. And, I may even someday be a happy clam satisfying the desires of my heart once again with a new project.

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

BEING-PLACED-ON-THE-SHELF LEARNING

11/4/12

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 11.02.15 AMI have been put on the shelf with an upper respiratory infection for almost two weeks now, so what have I learned?

I have been mistaken to think I need to surround myself with GOD facts. (It only strengthens the temptation to pride—boasting in the knowledge gathered.)   I only need GOD to surround me. I go back to the J.I. Packer quote hanging on my wall, “Trustful acceptance of life as it comes, and keeping on doing what I should, are the two keys to happiness.” I need to get back to basics.

I have discovered my naivety is much greater than I imagined. In college I put in time sitting at my desk and thought that was all it took to study. Too, I thought that reading was all I had to do—pronouncing each word in my head—and not thinking at all about understanding what I read. So now, I find I’m doing the same thing: writing and reading prayers with no thought of internalizing them.

I suppose all this faulty thinking comes from being steeped in Pharisee-ism—being an actor on the stage of life—outward activity with no inward conviction.

I’ve been reading and writing too fast—like gathering and stuffing food in my mouth but not digesting it. I’ve been rattling on to GOD so much that I’ve not allowed GOD to make any comments back to me. I have a couple acquaintances that talk so much they forget to stop to let me answer. This is exactly what I have been doing with GOD!!

In the wake of being laid up not able to research and write, I have gone to memorizing Scripture. But, I have been doing the same thing with memorization!—I’ve been memorizing but not using the thoughts of Scripture productively in my life.

I have left the SPIRIT in the dust—using my brain to guide me instead of the SPIRIT. Again it’s my flesh, my natural mind that thinks it can move faster than the SPIRIT can move me and I fall into the trap of, “I want to be a spiritual giant, now.”

But, my head knowledge is doing nothing for me. The SPIRIT knows how to strengthen my spirit. I have been graced with the revelation—I need to wait for the SPIRIT to animate my spirit.

I perceive now that a season of praise can remedy leaning on my flesh. Waiting for the SPIRIT to awaken my spirit can do that work. Come SPIRIT, come and direct my heart to my FATHER. Come, lead my heart to rejoicing. Come, teach me how to wait. Come.

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

WANTING TO BE WISE

11/15/08

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 2.59.28 PMYour display of love is enough—a nanosecond is enough to satisfy all my present needs. Your love—it soundly silences natural Bonnie. I am of one mind—able to think toward one direction—toward You.

This is what makes the presence of the SPIRIT so crisp and refreshing—the ability to think in one direction. It’s not having to say, “should I do this or that?” I have only one desire and that’s to run with CHRIST. When the SPIRIT is present there’s no other choice.

The boldness that I long for and need to defend JESUS will come as You allow me more and more to comprehend Your love. I see the progression in our relationship. Your love is too strong to be grasped all at once. You have made me too weak to grasp it. In order for me to gain strength enough for the purpose You have set me apart for, I must over and over storm heaven and desire You come to me.

And I must come without natural Bonnie. Because I so easily revel in Christian pride, natural Bonnie wants to right now run up and bang on Your door again. Natural Bonnie would love to have You reveal Yourself to her more than just a nanosecond.

She loves it so she’d permit the enemy to mimic GOD. What more could natural Bonnie desire than to be able to speak wisely about GOD? It’d be the ultimate in Christian circles—to be a leader in wisdom.

“Give me boldness now. I want to be superior now.” As I write this I see so much of what I’ve written in the past is Christian pride. I thought it was a true desire to know GOD. But it wasn’t. It was only natural Bonnie wanting to be a superior Christian. My exuberance was wanting to learn something new—gather more knowledge for myself.

All my life I’ve wanted to know God because it pleased me to get to know Him. I was attempting to draw close to Him for my benefit. Now, He’s opening a way for me to really know Him and be known by Him. And, it takes my breath away.

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…

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

HE CLOTHES HIMSELF WITH ME

3/6/2016

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 5.46.58 AMOn the way home from church I was vowing not to eat chocolate again, but then added, “until I forget the bad experience and eat it again.” How many times have I thought, “Oh, yes, I remember, I didn’t want to do that again,” after I just did it again. It’s discouraging when you suddenly realize you are repeating yourself doing something you once determined never to do again.

So if I forget the bad things I don’t want to do can I also forget the good things I want to do? Do I quench the SPIRIT by forgetting? Apparently.

I love reading testimonials about the HOLY SPIRIT workings. I save those kinds of books for special occasions. Today after lunch I filled my mouth full of chocolate bits and sat down with, “The Way to Pentecost,” by Samuel Chadwick.

It didn’t take me long to be “sabbathed-up”—so full I could not accept another spiritual thought. My reading stopped at this sentence: “He [the HOLY SPIRIT] clothes Himself with sanctified men and women” (ref#195, p54).

He led me to dwell on that word picture…. I am His clothes. It’s Him but He looks like me. It’s the same word pix as me the conduit and Him the water. But, I have forgotten that word picture and so He reminds me again using this time, clothes.

Before I came to this computer I sat a long time confirming I quench the SPIRIT by forgetting. How many times has He put on my clothes to honor the FATHER?—many, and with good results. The union with the SPIRIT has always started well. But…

CHRIST is so longsuffering with me. Over and over He reaches out and draws me again to His breast. I definitely am a sheep who strays.

As the SPIRIT is again creating a fire within me my mind will not leave the idea of worshipping GOD through the piano and singing but I don’t know where to go with that.

***

It’s now Monday morning. Went to bed at a reasonable hour but could not sleep—my mind in turmoil about worship. Got up at midnight to worship. Turned on the keyboard and put in the earbuds. Nothing. No sound. I tried everything. Finally went back to bed with a very sad heart.

The last piano tune revealed a small crack in the soundboard. And now my keyboard doesn’t work. Devastated. “Maybe I am to give it up, it’s such a frustration anyway.” Devastated. Devastated. All night long, sleeping or not, I grieved. In the morning light I was completely convinced my life would be worthless if I could not praise Him.

In the morning I turned the keyboard on to show my husband that it didn’t work. It worked fine.

I am humbled—just humbled. What a demonstration of the power of GOD in my life. If the SPIRIT is to work in my clothes, they must be well-fitting clothes—not too tight, not to lose and definitely not dirty. The clothes will fit the SPIRIT when I am contrite.

FATHER, You promise the SPIRIT will call to remembrance all that You speak to me (John 14:26). This spiritual fire that has started inside me, fan it that I may be so awestruck at Your power I tiptoe in Your presence—experiencing fear and joy—the oxymoron unique to closeness to You.

Here I sit worshipping You—without the keyboard or piano. This certainly proves that worship does come from the SPIRIT. He does not need the prop of an instrument to create praise. He only needs contriteness and He has moved me to it.

I make the mistake of placing myself in a preconceived situation for worship like sitting at the piano and playing decent. My clothes are too tight when I create what I think is a proper situation to worship.