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.

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VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

WRITING CONTINUES

4/9/12

screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-8-52-09-amI’ve become discouraged again by listening to people. First blow was comparing myself to a Christian missionary involved in evangelism. By carnal thinking, listening to her experiences dulled GOD’s glory in revealing Himself through my writing. My conclusion: “Leave off writing and get out there with people.”

Second blow (all in the same day) was comparing myself to other’s concepts of doctrine. Listening to their articulate reiterations dulled GOD’s glory in revealing Himself through my writing. My conclusion: “I am slow of learning. My naivety smarts. What possibly worthwhile can I put on paper?”

How many times has this kind of discouragement about my writing happened? Because of such repetitions I have maintained an underlying faith to keep at writing but my mind could find no way at all to support continuing it last night.

I went to bed discouraged. Not devastated-ly discouraged because I knew from experience in the morning prayer closet my DADDY would tell me which way to go. I would wait until I knew the thoughts in my head were His—the SPIRIT would attest to His words.

But, this day DADDY surprised me by addressing my concern between my shower and the prayer closet. I was sitting on top of the commode letting my toe nail polish dry and picked up Man, God’s Dwelling Place, by A. W. Tozer. And through his words my DADDY spoke:

“That writer does the most for us who brings to our attention thoughts that lay close to our minds waiting to be acknowledged as our own” A.W. Tozer (ref#103, p92).

Is this not exactly what the LORD is doing through my writing? I’m recording the info that has influenced my mind—those words that so encourage me and make me realize I’m not alone in my thinking.

May You, FATHER, bless the ones I was jealous of and forgive my selfish brooding. I will continue to write.

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

REAL OR FAUX CHRISTIAN

screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-4-21-43-pmNOTE: This post is directed to all my sisters and brothers that have at least at one point in their life questioned their salvation. If you sit in the pew and never question GOD’s saving grace to you then I would question your Christianity. The enemy only puts stumbling blocks in the path of believers.

7/17/2016

A thought has become clear enough that I can form the words into questions: Am I puling myself up to GOD with my bootstraps? Does my attempt to draw close to Him come solely from my effort? Am I more a faux Christian than real? This line of thought began a few days ago while reading this quote:

“…the very nature of love…is always active…the real trouble with the person who is seated there in his study reading beautiful…books about love and who feels that he is…a fine Christian is this: What is really happening to that person is that he is simply in love with himself, because he appreciates these elevating thoughts” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p116).

I earmarked page 116 and went back to it later and seriously asked GOD if I was sinning in this way. (I really do love to create at my desk and do not enjoy so much being active out in the madding crowd.) At that time He convinced me that I was okay, but now in my reading today I am again asking. The questions reoccurred as I read:

“Worship is the submission of all our nature to God:

The quickening of conscience by His holiness

The nourishment of mind with His truth

The purifying of imagination by His beauty

The opening of the heart to His love

The surrender of the will to His purpose” Will Metzger (ref#79, p156).

“Yes, Yes,” I thought, “I want to submit all of me to GOD.” I want to, but am I? Is it really happening? Or am I only wishing it so? Am I just sitting at my desk dreaming I’m a good Christian?

Is GOD quickening my conscience by His holiness? Is He nourishing my mind by His truth? Is He purifying my imagination by His beauty? Is He opening my heart by His love? Is He…or am I pretending He is—do I just finding joy in dreaming that I’m like that?

My thoughts continue. I have a precious 1984 vision of me worshipping GOD with abandon burned in my mind and I have been seeking its fulfillment ever since. Am I allowing Him, in His time, to bring it about or am I attempting to self-fulfill it on my own?

These past few day the questions drive me further and further from my FATHER into my own conclusions that I really am, all these years, been a faux Christian! I have made a case for my failure as a lover of GOD. But…

But, the disappointment of it all drove me back to the beginning. What am I living for? What am I seeking? I sat in my prayer closet this Sabbath afternoon and wept while writing—my pen expressing my heart:

“I want to find the fulfillment of flat-out expressions of wonder toward GOD—of absolutely letting my heart define, to its capacity, the joy of being adopted by GOD. What a longing I have to exalt Him uninhibitedly—to possess total concentration on the object of my worship and make habits of various ways to magnify the TRIUNE GOD Who for some reason, chose, before the foundations of the world, to plant His very nature in me.

“This alone is all I live for—all I covet. There is no plan B or other options; I will entertain nothing else. This is the only prayer for myself—that I might find contentment with continual praise.

“And, FATHER, this is a prayer You will answer for You have put the desire in my heart (no matter what my thoughts tell me), and You, in Your time, will bring to fruition that request.

“JESUS, I shadow You—may I routinely confess my sin so I am prepared to let You infuse my brain with practical ideas of holiness. I now tell myself to be fervent, diligent and disciplined—keeping my body armed and ready for a sudden deployment to praise. Here I am—LORD, here—show me, show me righteousness that I might respond with abandon.”

I am not a faux Christian!

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

FEAR, A GOOD THING

5/31/12

screen-shot-2016-10-18-at-3-59-28-pmThis is an attempt to record the benefits of my last episode of caregiving:

I’m back now but still as soon as I awoke this morning, my spirit yelled for GOD to help me get through the day—a knee-jerk reaction stemming from my last two weeks.

Unfortunately repeated caregiving situations does not make me a better caregiver. I do not come home less shell-socked or more peaceful and rested.

I have been thinking of CHRIST on earth, living in a frightened human body but overcoming it by walking in the SPIRIT. I wonder if His human nature panicked every morning knowing that the FATHER would require Him to perform beyond human ability even though His spirit found exceeding joy in knowing His FATHER’s plans.

As an unbeliever and even as a young Christian when faced with situations my human nature could not handle, it took the course of avoidance—refusing to walk straight through the situation.

But, then GOD graced me with enough faith to believe 1 Cor 10:13* so I no longer refused, but still walked through situations frightened to death. This is where I continue to be today—sidestepping situations is not an option but living in fear still is.

Will I ever find enough faith to not be frightened to death? I wonder if CHRIST’s human nature ever got over being frightened to death. I wouldn’t be surprised if His motto was. “You will keep me in perfect peace when my mind is stayed on You.” (Isa 26:3)—which should be my motto.

Now home from caregiving I question myself: Have I walked by the SPIRIT? I certainly prayed for Him plenty. And I experienced His answer to small prayers like making 6 drumsticks fit in a small omelet pan. He reminded me of His presence with my songbird singing and the smell of my candle every morning during devotions.

Now, as I reminisce, I see His grand work as I review the entire caregiving stay. He has, over a two-week period, brought mom back to being able to live alone again and wasn’t that my initial prayer?

I see why You, FATHER, didn’t commission the SPIRIT to answer my prayer immediately. If You would have I would only marvel at the miracle and not get to know the miracle worker.

Through these days I have thrown myself into Your arms—learned what pleading felt like—strengthened my faith in You by knowing I could find help in no other place. Through answering slowly I have naturally lived in Your presence—able to thank You properly by remembering tiny progresses. I have learned to calm myself in Your presence—reduce my anxious thoughts making me able to be patient and not to be easily moved. I have glorified You by demonstrating CHRIST’s fruit before mom and others. You have worked Yourself through me. I praise You for what You have done in me.

Human nature fear has kept me alert; it has exhausted me but also kept me alert. I looked for Your miracles—depended on them. Overwhelming circumstances made me run to hide under Your wing—making me not want to lead, making me plead You lead. I surmise fear can be a good thing when I run to You because of it.

*”The trials that you have had to bear are no more than people normally have. You can trust God not to let you be tried beyond your strength, and with any trial he will give you a way out of it and the strength to bear it” (1 Cor 10:13 JB).

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

ALL EVENTS THE SAME

6/1/12

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-3-49-57-pmMy valleys are rising and my mountaintops are falling. I am reaching a plateau where I am able to regard all events the same—constantly possessing that perfect peace staying my mind on Thee (Isa 26:3).

Calamities do not put me in the valley and days of rest no longer put me high on the mountain. Everyday is becoming the same—a day to call upon the LORD for help so I might praise Him for what He gives in that day.

Am learning to take my hands off manipulating the day and reminding myself that thoughts of future comfort to my human nature is useless. There is no happiness in longing for something that may never be.

Calamities have taught me. Because in them I am convinced I cannot carry myself through. In the past I have sat tight and endured calamities by looking forward to better times. But as each calamity comes and goes the realization sets in that my life will never possess constant “better times.”

Reality has set in and I make a habit of calling on the LORD continually. I desire His presence in the good times and bad. I choose Him for my constant companion and look very much forward to seeing Him face to face.

NOTE: As I post this the thought of it seems like priggish piousness. True, I would love to embrace everyday with no anticipation of it being good or bad, but if I was there in 6/1/2012, I am not there now. But, maybe now I am spiritually deeper in others areas than I was in 2012.

This journal entry proves that GOD is longsuffering and is not put off to continually teach me. And it proves the importance of journaling and rereading the journal. If I was there then, I can again get back there.

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

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]).

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.