VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

DRIFTING

7/9/2016

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 3.13.25 PMThe SPIRIT has set me straight again. So easily I drift. “Drift” is such a good word; it conjures up an image of unnoticed moving—like fishing in a huge lake without an anchor—like falling asleep in a moving vehicle on the Interstate.

I have ended up back to my default, earthy nature—so unnoticed. I could have tried harder to end the drift—stayed awake, paid more attention, but, speaking from experience, it could not have been prevented.

Without the intervention of GOD I am just as lost today as I was the moment before it was His pleasure to regenerate me. I cannot control myself any more now than I could as a blatant sinner. Folks who believe they need JESUS one time only to forgive their sins and welcome them into heaven are deceiving themselves. The need for Him is perpetual.

I realized my drift in a commentary on 1 John. I became more and more contrite as I read the words. For the umpteenth time the SPIRIT laid out His plan for my earthly sanctification—how to become a partaker of the divine nature (2 Pet I:4).

“…what accounts for most of our failures in Christian living is our failure to realize what we are. It is our failure to realize what God has done to us….We must think less and less of doing and more and more of being. If we only are what we ought to be, then the doing will more or less look after itself” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p87, underlining mine).

How earthy nature strives to be righteous; it’s all about doing. In my natural state I work hard to accomplish something impossible and get exhausted and cranky in the attempt. When my focus centers on trying to succeed I can be assured that I am drifting.

The SPIRIT ended my drift by revealing the following truth: I am a partaker in the divine nature. My activities reflect my family heritage; I’m a child of GOD! I’m either living like CHRIST or want to be living like CHRIST. This is who I am regardless of my failure or success at spiritual activities.

Today I praise GOD for making me who I am and, with pleasure, I’ll keep my ears open for suggestions from Him. My eyes are off my activities and on Him. It seems like accomplishing nothing but praise, accomplishes everything else.

So, today no more earthy nature strivings—at least until I get lulled into another drift.

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

SINGING WITH GOD

5/6/09

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 4.03.01 PMIn prayer today I thought of this wonderful scene—me reaching, Him plucking me out of the death-trap-world and both of us singing.

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing” (Zeph 3:17 ESV). GOD sings a continual song over me!

My son and his family have experienced five-star treatment in a five-star lodging. All the attention was a bit unnerving because they were not use to it.

The times I’m aware and lift my hands for Him to rescue me, I can sing with Him—harmonizing to His song—knowing I’m at one with Him. But, I’m not use to it. Yet is that not a wonderful truthful thought—having GOD’s constant attention? My heart rejoices exceedingly as I make this my goal: to recognize His song and sing with Him.

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

THE PURE-LOVE GOD

9/27/07

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 10.09.41 AMIt’s late, and I have to get up at 6AM, but try to sleep when you suddenly realize the King of the universe gives you everything He has!

“…God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts,…Now we are no longer slaves but God’s own sons. And since we are his sons, everything he has belongs to us,…” (Gal 4:6-7 TLB).

The SPIRIT chooses some time to illuminate the power of Scripture. I was just planning to play piano and worship a few minutes before bed. And now, who cares about sleep!

I have the resources of my elder brother, JESUS! This is not something new to my ears, but what has struck me is that the CREATOR of the universe is willing to give little, selfish me everything.

Again my FATHER has blessed me by rending the veil between the spiritual and physical so that I’ve received a glimpse of Pure-love Him.  And a dash of Pure-love makes me unable and unwilling to think of anything but Him who is praised forever, Amen. I’m so unworthy yet I scarf up the pleasure His openness has presented to me.

It reminds me of a poster I had pinned to my closet wall in MN where I formally lived. It was a picture of a field of daises.   (I wonder where that poster is?) It was on the wall to remind me of a dash of pure love He gave me 35-40 years ago.

I was in a remote area fossil collecting, walking along, hands on my knees searching the rocky ground. My eyes meant a lone flower and I thanked GOD for placing it there just for me to see.   Then I stood up to stretch my back and before me was an entire field of the same kind of wildflower. It was as if GOD, in Pure-love abundantly spilled Himself out by handing to me an entire field of flowers.

This love He sporadically pours out makes me so thirsty for more—and keeps me awake all hours—and makes me want to do nothing but honor Him.

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

PESTERING-TO-DEATH PRYAER

7/5/09

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 10.21.08 AMI’m holding it high over my head—the last puzzle piece that locks all the other pieces of my life in a tight fit. Oh, the ebb and flow of earthly living will eventually scatter the pieces again, but for now I see a completed picture-puzzle. I understand the difference of going from the tossing and turning, no-foundation, “blind” faith to reaching-across-the-chasm, “knowing” faith.

The piece that bridges that gap—that missing piece is prayer. (This is so simple I’m almost embarrassed to write it.)

Elijah said to Ahab, “Go…for there is a sound of the roar of a heavy shower.” Elijah had prophesied that it would not rain, and it did not. But, three years later, in 1 Kings 17:1, he prophecies it will rain.

He could’ve just stood there and waited for GOD to deliver, even though there was not a cloud in the sky. In blind faith he could’ve said, “GOD promised,” and just folded his arms and waited.

I can say, “GOD will bring about revival,” and fold my arms. Oh, but this would be blind faith—hoping only faith—no positive assurances as to when. Blind faith is accomplished by refusing to be in relationship with my FATHER.

Elijah prayed until GOD formed a cloud. He prayed until he knew GOD was going to answer. The repetitive, pestering-to-death, reiterating-the-promises, prayer is the piece that makes for me a “knowing” faith.

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.