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.

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VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

2 POINTS 2 REMEMBER

3/12/2016

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 4.40.12 PMWhy is it I come to this prayer closet, sit down and start crying? It’s worship—or I should say the lack thereof. Again I’m downcast because my keyboard playing this morning failed to draw me into worship.

I can worship silently in my heart and I do and love to magnify the great King of the universe. For reasons unknown, He takes care of me. But worship at the piano feels like I’m alone in a desert.

Why so downcast O my soul? I am sitting in my closet with only hot, burning sand around me—wind whirling sand so I can’t see two feet in front of me. I am so alone with only the sturdy foundation of CHRIST holding me. But, that is enough. This too, will pass.

Today I’m sensing I need taken care of in all areas of my life. The strangest thing is happening. Jerry and I are babysitting a dog for the week. No big deal, right? For some reason I’m out of sorts so I’m blaming it on the dog—that sweet, sweet dog, I love him, but he’s bothering me. I can’t seem to get my life on a path I like.

Journaling always seems to help so I’ve brought the computer into the closet. But, even in the few minutes before getting the computer GOD began His revelation. He didn’t tell me why I was crying. But He impressed upon me that I am out of sorts for a reason. I can blame it on the dog but no matter, I need to be undone, defeated, and convinced I can’t navigate my world by myself. Out of sorts is the perfect ground for Him to speak and me to listen.

As I started saying, worship is the subject that bothers—playing the piano and worshipping specifically. Not long ago I thought I had found the way: play and sing with YouTube videos. But today that didn’t even work.

I know I can do nothing without the SPIRIT and that definitely includes playing piano and worshipping. So, the reason I’m crying is the SPIRIT is nowhere to be found.   Can I beg Him to come? It hasn’t worked so far.

So what is my option as I wait for the SPIRIT? “Purposeful” comes to mind. And I turn my attention to You, FATHER, and review in my mind some activities I read in Scripture about You.

With this journal entry I’ll write down two activities to pursue. It is Your advice to me for learning how to worship with fingers on the piano keys: You say to me, “Recall My excellences and worship in your heart and continue to practice piano. You remind me again that You have previously directed me to consent to everything my piano teacher suggests. So, when the SPIRIT is not present I’ll hunker down, think of You and simply play the piano.

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

REREADING THE JOURNAL

6/16/09

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 9.44.35 AMNote: This is an amazing entry as I reread it today and perceive how close I was to the LORD then and how now I’m not. How encouraging. How I yearn now to be that close again.

***

I awoke disdaining the thought of doing anything in the natural realm with my own strength. I have no more tolerance for human actions. My desire it to look for supernatural activity—like answered prayer.

GOD works in power—that would be in the supernatural realm where I have no affinity. I’m content to not do any more of my usual Christian activities. Instead, I want to sit back and see GOD work. How I’d enjoy just making much of Him.

Could I be a John-the-Baptist? “Go through, go through the gates; prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway; clear it of stones; lift up a signal over the peoples” (Isa 62:10 ESV).

Here in Isa 62 You have defined Your purpose, LORD, that I shall be called by You, “my delight” (Isa 62:4)—a holy one redeemed of the Lord. You shall call me “sought out—not forsaken” (Isa 62:12).

This is Your purpose and with it You have promised to fulfill it. May I, for Zion’s sake not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake not be quiet, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch (Isa 62:1).

Show me Your striving with me. Bring Your reward. You promised. I will wait for my righteousness so that I will go forth as brightness—as a burning torch.

My arms hang limp. I have no strength. My good deeds are as filthy rags. I admit I distance myself from You by my good works. Only You can make me as bright as a burning torch.

My work is not Your work but my work is preparing Your way. Let me go through, go through the gates; preparing the way for the people; building up, building up the highway; clearing it of stones; lifting up a signal, broadcasting to all the world: “Look! Your Savior comes, ready to do what he said he’d do” (Isa 62:10-11).

I will give the Lord no rest until he completes His work, until He makes Jerusalem the pride of the earth (Isa 62:7). I will give You no rest, I will not be silent. Day and night I’ll keep praying, and calling out and reminding You to remember Your promise.

I wait with no hope until You fulfill Your promise. Make my righteousness goes forth as brightness, and my salvation as a burning torch.

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

A CHEERLEADER FOR THE SABBATH

3/1/2016

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 3.22.17 PMAnother Sabbath came and went with nothing to report. All is quiet on the Sabbath front—not even a lone chipmunk running across the dry landscape. Seems I’ve just begun making my Sabbath holy and now everything is dried up. The path forward has evaporated.

I’m wandering. I identified it this morning. Taking my mind back through recent history, I see I’ve been moving away from my daily routine.

I could blame the start of drifting on no longer lighting a candle in the prayer closet. (My closet scent is no longer manufactured and I haven’t decided on a new fragrance.) I no longer get up ½ hour before the start of my day to spend it with the LORD. Since my daily “work” is with the LORD, I have rationalized closet time not a must-do.

But, my “work” has lately been too much replaced with other obligations making me a little nervous about my approaching blogging deadlines. I’m even allowing myself to entertain the stressful thought of not having anything to post about the Sabbath.

I keep saying to myself I’ve got to get back organized but just as the day ends and I’m too tired to do my exercises, I find I’m still not keeping up with my “work.”

But then there is GOD—the One Who surprises me and I react in irrepressible joy.  So He started with me today.

I had not met Him in the prayer closet but was, out of habit, reading Scripture while eating breakfast. (There is something to say about habits. For me, more often than not, Scripture over breakfast is the door He comes through to meet me.)

So there was Joshua, the Old Testament leader of Israel after the death of Moses. He knew he was GOD’s chosen:

“And the LORD commissioned Joshua…’Be strong and courageous, for you shall bring the people of Israel into the land that I swore to give them. I will be with you’” (Deut 31:23 ESV).

With the LORD’s words fresh in his ears, he led the people across the Jordon River and into their first battle victory over Jericho by specifically following the LORD’s commands. Then Joshua sent men to spy out the next town, Ai. He anticipated another battle victory as the spies came back with an optimistic estimate of the challenge.

Not. They were soundly defeated (Josh 7:4). Why? “…there was…the apparent negligence of Joshua…in failing to seek divine direction for the Ai campaign…” (ref#125, p404, [Josh 7:10-12]).

I thought, “how quickly he forgets.” But then I have forgotten GOD, too, by moving away from my daily routine.

Before I finished breakfast I received a text from my friend. Periodically she will text me saying she is praying for me. Today I text back a prayer request about my retreat from the LORD. So now I have made myself accountable therefore I am spurred to address my drifting. I smile as I understand the LORD’s orchestration of my situations.

***

Now it’s 4:30PM. I have just come from my prayer closet. Wondering why it is I ever resist the morning time with my FATHER. I have emerged totally psyched—totally refreshed—enough to get me through the rest of the week, I’m sure. I had no idea I was so spiritually cracked and dry until my DADDY recharged me. He has given me enough strength and faith and reason to get back on schedule. Boy, do I feel better—and I didn’t even know I felt bad!

And, moreover, I know that rejuvenation is one of the very important reasons GOD initiated the Sabbath. Indeed, because of His leading today I can again be a cheerleader for keeping the Sabbath.

“…The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27 NASB).

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

SPEAKING ONLY SPIRITUAL THINGS

1/3/2016

Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 3.10.33 PMIntent to develop my spiritual nature and contribute to my brother’s and sister’s spiritual growth, I entered church prepared. It was the time of year to talk resolutions. I’d start the conversation by telling about my spiritual goal of learning how to keep the Sabbath. And then ask if they had thought of any spiritual resolutions.

But, I have not trained myself in the art of talking spiritual stuff, physical stuff just rolls off my tongue. And it rolled off today. Walked out of church thinking all I did was commiserate with friends about how “out of sorts” we were feeling.

It wasn’t till 4PM that the godly thought came to ask my out-of-sorts friends why they were out of sorts and offer to pray for them. And through texting we have talked to each other and have promised to pray for each other.

So GOD has just taught me that one can’t divide the physical from the spiritual. Activities of the physical world can become the point where spiritual encouragement as well as admonishment begin. My friends and I would have had nothing to pray for it we hadn’t shared our struggle in the physical world.

***

It’s evening now and GOD has reminded me of something else I learned by talking physical stuff after church. Something is coming up this Thursday at school that I can pray for. And so I have made a note in my prayer journal.

LORD, I thank You for pointing out that my actions yesterday were not all failures. I long for the day when the SPIRIT works encouragement and admonishment through me in real time and not just through hindsight. I certainly would like to do all I can for that to happen.

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

HE MAKES A WAY

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 11.57.56 AMIt’s 4PM and I’ve failed at keeping the Sabbath:

  • Slide presentation was difficult this morning so worship was only thought of never implemented
  • After church I did speak to one person about spiritual things, but many others I did not
  • After lunch I started reading a good non-fiction Christian book, but fell asleep
  • Then, napped too long

Conclusion: to this point I’ve been in GOD’s presence maybe four seconds

*****

At breakfast I read in 1 John that a Christian should not find GOD’s commands burdensome. I immediately thought of His command to keep the Sabbath holy. This is a very sensitive subject for me since, through my blog, I’m about to showcase myself to the world attempting to keep this commandment.

To keep the Sabbath holy in theory is not burdensome to me. In fact, it is one of my greatest desires, but when thinking of actually doing it, I find no confidence at all. I can’t fathom succeeding. It looms as an impossible task. Keeping the entire day holy boggles my mind.

What faces me right now as the day dwindles is the fear of going into the next week drained of spiritual strength—strength that should come with proper Sabbath-keeping. I know GOD can energize in a nanosecond—propelling me from the valley to the mountaintop in the blink of an eye, but so far this day my human nature has trumped and I’m sitting here with the computer but no GOD.

So, what do I know? I know I have sinned. I could have stopped the frazzle-ment of the morning. And, this afternoon I could have not allowed myself to fall asleep. Yes, but the thought never occurred to me to do that. My sincerity remains intact. Am I excused? Possibly, but certainly GOD’s will is that I do better next Sunday.

I have definitely proved the point that I, within myself cannot be righteous; within myself I cannot keep the Sabbath. I stare at this computer screen sorry for my sins.

Suddenly though, I am able to think about GOD and not my sins. My heart is flabbergasted at all the rich, amazing thoughts my head is holding of His greatness, His never-ending work, His fullness, His coming to me…He has graced me with a nanosecond.

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

PILING UP GOD’S PROMISES—NOT GOOD

2/9/10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTPS

BURYING MY HEAD

5/28/13

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 11.13.31 AMAnother week of care-giving mom has been to my benefit. Whether it is pure mercy from GOD or my striving to make a better habit, I rejoice in the outcome. Two notable situations I want to record.

The first: I found myself very often into my familiar scenario of how to best plan for mom’s future. Yet, my mind did not go far until I was aware of the old rut I was in. Once aware I threw myself on GOD and ceased planning. It amazed me how many times GOD’s words to me were, “Wait before you draw conclusions.”

This faith I was able to cling to encouraged me. I was able to stay trusting GOD’s counsel and reaping its benefits—that is until another precarious situation arose and I was back scenario planning about what I need to do if… But, I would hear again, “Wait before you draw conclusions.”

Second: early on I asked the FATHER that I might just bury my head in CHRIST’s breast. I admit I just wanted out of the approaching situation. I knew I was just coping out—trying to avoid my responsibility, but, hey, this was the desire of my heart. And, as it turned out, this was exactly what I needed.

The request turned into a vision in my mind and through the days I often went to dwell in the vision and bury my head in CHRIST’s chest. At the time little did I realize the vision made it possible for me to let situations go and let GOD handle them. I see now this was exactly His plan all along.

A few times a situation called for suggestions from me and decision-making from mom. Past experience proved such situations did not go well. I would get frustrated and mom would get mad.

But ignoring the past, I prayed and clung to CHRIST and suddenly found myself through the situation with an agreeable compromise between mom and me. I don’t quite know how to explain it but I know GOD did something miraculous.

FATHER, it’s now time again to go back home to continue with my own life. I rejoice that You have carried me through this time here and have convinced me through the ups and downs of the care giving that You have kept me sane and mom secure in Your hands.

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

PUZZLE PIECES ON THE CHANDELIER

5/19/14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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