VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTIOPS

ONCE SAVED, ALWAYS SAVED????

2/6/11

Screen Shot 2015-11-07 at 11.48.39 AMLast night I read a devotional by Otavious Winslow pointing out all the ways we can know for sure we are saved (ref#61, Sept 13th). In the present moment I know I am saved, but how can I know I will make it to the end?

I revisited the time I felt I needed to plead with GOD daily lest He would let go of my hand and I would not make it to the end. I remember the fear…

This revisit hurt. It rushed upon me and I was quickly captured by it.

But, after I turned out the light and got comfortable in bed the answer I desperately needed came. Because He has set His affection on me, I will endure to the end! He has chosen to love me! This has nothing to do with me loving Him. He takes the initiative (John 10:28).

Up until last night my thinking was along the line of me, myself, and I enduring until the end—as if I had the power to keep myself out of hell! Now that He has provided an understanding to me, I wonder why I didn’t get the concept long ago? He has His reasons. Indeed, how the enemy deceives and I am soundly deceived until GOD chooses the time to turn on His light and I see clearly.

Winslow talked about spiritual fruit as an indication of GOD’s regeneration. As I lay in bed how pointedly my FATHER revealed the growth He has given me. Can I count on once saved, always saved? Absolutely!—because it’s not up to me!

“There is nothing for which we can take credit.  All praise, honor, worship, and service go to God and God alone,  He sought us.  He birthed us.  He sustains us.  He matures us.  He protects us.  And he will finally deliver us.  To him be the glory. Amen.”  Paul David Tripp

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VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

THE BENEFITS OF SINNING

3/24/15

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 2.37.38 PMWell, I need to write this. Maybe I can get it out of my system so I can go back to bed and sleep.

The situation was something difficult for me; I knew I didn’t have the talent to preform it well. So, I practiced—and practiced, setting everything up in a way that I could get through the morning.

But, I wasn’t directing the morning. Immediately there were events that I didn’t anticipate. By the time the second change happened, I lost all confidence in getting through the situation successfully.

How I had prayed that GOD would be glorified. How I wanted to lose myself in the task and enjoy His presence. But all thought of GOD crumbled when I knew I was going to fail at what I committed myself to.

Because I knew I was going to showcase my failure in front of 50 or so people I was panicked—numb, unable to think straight. I wanted to concentrate and memorize the changes in the situation so I would not fail so badly, but my panic would not let me. The little bit of thought panic allowed, was my realization I was crashing into the self-pity pit.

You know sometimes you think you can hide your feelings. Well, I knew I wasn’t hiding my feelings. Everyone around me knew I was out of sorts. My lousy attitude even incited a friend to speak cross words to me. All I wanted to do was run out the door but pride caused me to set my jaw and go through the situation.

But, wonders of wonders. Me, totally sucked into deep sin, experienced GOD blessing people through my wickedness. Thank You, FATHER!

Thirty some hours later now, the SPIRIT has pointed out many sins. And, He probably still isn’t done. I am so anxious to get to tomorrow so I can see my friend and ask her to forgive my bad attitude.

And, what have I learned from all this?—that I fall into sin and will always fall into sin. The prince of this world can dupe me. But, thank You, FATHER, You use my ugliness to move me toward holiness.

If I had not sinned, and the SPIRIT had not convicted me, I would not be now begging to come into Your presence to be healed. All these little incidents of failure, I pray, teach me to come into Your presence sooner and sooner.

 

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

EATING AND BLOWING MY NOSE

…9/2/2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 12.51.16 PM…Another lunch where I cry between my bites of food. Oh, this struggle hurts; it has gone on so long. Today it is more a cry of sadness than anger.

What brought me to tears was pinching my finger in the desk drawer, but the real cause was the computer again. Hum, it’s just like life—three steps forward, two back.

But my mind is on the steps back. I accomplish something on the computer and then turn around and can’t do it again.

I cry even though I know these circumstances are GOD’s choice for me. But, that doesn’t stop the hurt. I read Scripture over lunch and the words, although true, are so pious, so all-together sounding reminding me that I am not.

I was so discouraged I stopped reading and just ate and blew my nose. Then my mind caught on a thought: “Read prayers about GOD you have written.”

The thought came from my blog prep. I had just written a page about “Moods.” When discouraged, I suggested reading only the prayers that tell of GOD’s greatness.

Just that thought itself stopped my crying for I remember how well throwing my thoughts on GOD keeps me from drowning in my thoughts about being miserable.

Now I’m back at this computer—humble and possessing much more patience. How amazing it is that just thoughts of GOD puts things back in the right perspective.

 

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

DOWNFALL: REVIEWING SINS

…2/16/12

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 8.19.43 PM…Am being reminded lately of some failures in my person that I really would like to become successes. I am missing opportunities to tote CHRIST. I watch my friends take advantage of every opportunity. I’m a little dunce-y—unable to think of anything to say or do. Some friends are really good making me look really bad. What do they think of me?

The old pride is rearing its ugly head—I want to keep up with my friends—at least not be so far behind I’m out of their league. I don’t want to lose them as a friend. I certainly don’t want them to view me as a “project.” This pride pushes me into picking events to share that make me look good. That’s not good.

I need to be more purposeful. But, how can I be when my mind is empty. I see opportunities—lulls in conversation where I could open my mouth—but, searching my mind yields nothing. My corporate prayers are halting and simple—only presentable because I premeditate them.

And, darn, I can’t get down those piano songs. The more I practice the more I make a habit of the mistakes. I feel so far away from my FATHER playing the piano because I can’t hit the right notes. The harder I try the further I am from Him. How can I teach the kids about worship when I’m still stuck in my life-long problem of having to think about the song so I cannot think of the LORD?

Okay, I see what I’m doing—reviewing my flaws—and the enemy is helping me find more than I realize I have. This is the wrong road to go down.

So, forgive me, FATHER, I’m letting my old nature revive and get into my head. CHRIST has rendered my flesh inoperative by His death on the cross. I believe that and will turn my thoughts elsewhere.

I am not who my friends are. Their gifting is different than mine. Dare I say, I’m a writer—self motivated, willing to spend long hours researching, loving every minute of collaborating with You, FATHER. And, for who’s benefit? It doesn’t matter. Behind my desk is my home—my second prayer closet. You are there and this is where You draw me to. Is this not enough to shove flesh back in the grave and laugh when pride tries to talk?

I worship You continually because that is always my desire. Feeling close to You while playing the piano is only something flesh wishes it could accomplish. And, I worship You even when I must put all my concentration on trying to hit the right notes and feel a thousand miles away from You.

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

BEFORE I CALL HE ANSWERS

…9/20/2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 12.02.44 PM…I went to bed Saturday night (see 9/26/post) with the happy anticipation of what the LORD would lead me to Sunday. At 1:30AM I woke with piano playing on my heart. The fullness of the thought made me go to this computer.

Piano—the very thing I thought of quitting eight hours before—the very thing that started my slide into the valley for I love piano but, there cutting up water chestnuts for dinner, I decided it was the logical thing to eliminate from my busy schedule.

So it happened, in the early morning hours GOD took away my weariness and gave me the strength for another week with just the forward thought of playing piano after church today. How does He do that?

GOD’s timing. Usually my excited soul must wait for His move but now He answers before I call (Isa 65:24). As I sit here thinking of piano I decide it is His revealed love for me personally that flies me to the mountaintop.

VALLEYS TO MOUTAINTOPS

CHANGED AS I WRITE

…9/19/15

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 11.28.13 AM…I expect hard circumstances, but when they turn out to not be what I was expecting, or last longer than I expected, my faith erodes giving the enemy a chance to shoot accusations at me. Satan’s shooting now and I’m not moving out of the way.

When playing competitive basketball, we were instructed to gang up on an injured opponent. So swiftly the enemy has taken advantage of me. It doesn’t take long to get to the valley as I begin to believe what the enemy is saying is true.

I hate the valley. I’m in it so often. Defeat hurts. I maintain myself by entertaining thoughts of abandoning the situation that is discouraging me.

He’s on the subject of me failing again. Why can’t I accept that I fail? Why can’t I accept I will never be looked upon admirably?

As I type I see a lot of I’s on this computer screen. Ok, okay, I admit I’ve taken a tangent to feel sorry for myself. But, I’m just tired of struggling—tired of always having more work in front of me than I can do—just tired. I’m tired of listening to the enemy, tired of hurrying to get everything done, tired of struggling and getting no where—just tired.

Spent the entire day listening to sermons on the Sabbath. Last week somehow I fell into GOD’s will by deciding to write a blog for Sunday and so now I have to research and be responsible to get facts about the LORD’s Day correct. And then I have to be responsible to follow my own advice!

If you are thinking that this is my “hard circumstances” I’m complaining about, you are wrong. Actually, what has happened, as I’m writing, I have identified my problem and keeping the Sabbath is the answer. In the writing of this paragraph GOD usurped the enemy and challenged me to believe the Sabbath is to be my mountaintop.

And what is tomorrow? It’s the Sabbath! It’s the day GOD desires I set aside to commune with Him. Can He take away my tiredness? You betcha. He has done it before—by an act of supernatural power His SPIRIT has refreshed my spirit and I’ve had enough strength to work for six more days!

How many ways does GOD have to get me to the mountaintop?—as many as the sand on the seashore. How I will look forward to tomorrow!  And, as I wait for Him to refresh me I find even now I have the strength to dodge the enemy’s accusations. GOD has not even waited until Sunday to move me toward the mountaintop!

 

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

STOOL KICKING

2/22/14

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 12.39.24 PMGOD has made a point to show me Him and myself in a very pointed way. I don’t want to write about it because it reveals my black heart but, because it glorifies Him I will do it.

Yesterday was Friday—just one day before I had to have music down for Saturday worship team practice. My back was hurting so I determined to practice piano before doing anything else. I figured I could do devotions afterward with a sore back. (Actually I was planning to incorporate my book-writing work with devotions and final proofread the 30th week of my draft, which tells you a little about where my heart was in regards to getting into my FATHER’s presence.)

First thing that happened was I leaned wrong and my stool moved away from the piano. I stopped playing and kicked it. I should have realized my anger right them and dealt with it for that stupid stool moves a lot but this was the first time I purposely got up and kicked it.

I had practiced all week and still needed more practice possibly more practice than there was time to practice. Hence, my solution—go at practice with more determination.

But, the chair thing set the tone for the day. Nothing went right. I cemented bad piano playing into bad piano-playing habits.

Last night my husband even prayed that I have a better day today; that clued me I was disrupting him with my attitude. (Imagine that.)

Unfortunately this morning was a repeat of yesterday. I left the piano in a huff and stomped to my office. I would quit the worship team. It seemed the smart thing to do.

As I sat, a thought surfaced suggesting I go to my prayer closet. My answer to it was, “Why?” But, I went. I certainly knew enough not to go back and try to practice piano.

On the shelf was week 30 of my book ready to be proofed. So figured I might as well read through it.

The first three pages contained worthwhile information but they did nothing to influence my hostile heart. Then I picked up the “Confession” page. The title of the entry was “Anger.”

Funny how you never think of your heavenly FATHER being right beside you when you are making a fool of yourself being angry. Not only do I understand once more how my FATHER is involved in every detail of my life but how unholy I am. Suddenly making a favorable impression at worship practice is not top priority.

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

IT’S NOT SIN THAT CAUSES ME TO FALL AWAY

10/26/12

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 12.27.00 PMFATHER, I woke up frightened about what I was thinking. “I can’t wait for You, FATHER. I don’t know how. I have no patience for it.” I deduced failure in every situation I thought of; another week of care-giving put me in panic mode.

I am so vulnerable now—trying to get my footing on the Rock but knowing I don’t have the wherewithal. Re-reading a couple entries of my years-ago journal I find I’m in the same place I was many times before. This does not help my panic.

Sigh. It’s true, as changeable as I am I often do not change. Some days I do all right, some days, not. And none of the days next week promise success.

Indeed, FATHER, it’s true; I’m unable to control my panic. So it is that You create me to fall away from You and I do it well. It’s clear that it’s not a particular sin that causes me to fall away; but it’s simply who I am.

However, at breakfast I read in Nehemiah about the people admitting they are unable to rebuild the wall (Neh 4:10) and I think about my condition.

Under the direction of Nehemiah, the people rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem knew they would not be able. Nehemiah reminded them not to be afraid, but to remember the LORD who was great and awesome and who would fight for them (Neh 4:14,20).

PROMISE-KEEPING, UNCHANGEABLE GOD, as changeable, yet unchangeable, as I am You never change. Now I get it.

This is why You made me changeable so You can showcase Your unchangeableness! I’ll walk into this week of care-giving depending on You—knowing You will accomplish Your desire. I may panic all through it but in it You will showcase Yourself. Who am I to beg You to eliminate my panic? Ah, let me now just bow in submission to You.

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

The LORD’s Progression

  1. HE MOVES; I TRUST

    GOD the FATHER, GOD the SON, and GOD the HOLY SPIRIT took seven days to create the earth—no “poof” and it was done.

  2. GOD’s covenant to His creatures started in Genesis 3:15 with only the promise of a Savior and was built upon throughout the Old Testament Scriptures until its culmination in JESUS CHRIST.
  3. Now GOD continually conforms His people progressively into the image of His Son (Romans 8:29).
  4. I’ve rewritten this post at least 10 times.

So very frequently the Unchangeable GOD changes my situations.  He asks me to trust Him (Romans 1:17) as He leads me down to valleys and up to mountaintops—down, up—down, up. In valleys my FATHER is looking to see if I turn to trust Him. On mountaintops my FATHER is looking to see if I continue to trust Him.

Progression, progression, all is progression.

These Monday posts are journal entries of how GOD progresses me. Note that it is GOD Who provides the progression; I don’t progress. Some days my faith is strong, other times, not.

“Few understand that the Christian life is a process of change, neither perfection nor defeat” Paul David Tripp (ref#5, p340).

Whether you are presently a superstar-saint or a common-sinner Christian, consider joining me, for together we are all a people for God’s own possession (1 Peter 2:9) being built by Him as a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:5).

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