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 MOUNTAINTOPS

HOW DO I SMELL?

10/26/2015

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 12.17.48 PMHave the computer in my prayer closet today because I need to confess a sin and learn from my failing. I am at the SPIRIT’s sway—knowing I need forgiveness—seeking His correction.

The incident took place yesterday after church. I was at the door as a family of visitors exited. Not having opportunity to speak with them yet I wanted to say something even as I knew they were already thinking of their next activity. So I simply said, “Enjoy this nice weather.”

Wrong thing to say; I had time to run after them and correct myself, but I didn’t. It would be strange; they wouldn’t understand. And so I watched them walk to their car.

This was a moment the SPIRIT communicated a boatload of understanding to me in a nanosecond.

Putting His wisdom in words, it went something like this: “This is not what you should be saying. Today on your blog site sits your entry about the Sabbath and how it should be observed. You didn’t blog ‘Enjoy this nice weather.’…”

I could have run after them and said something like, “Enjoy this nice weather as you renew your fellowship with CHRIST on this Sabbath Day.” I had time.

I know the SPIRIT would have chosen the perfect words to say. But I hesitated. I rationalized—too late. That would seem weird.

Indeed, that would seem weird and I would embarrass myself. But wait, who cares if I embarrass myself. I would probably never see them again since they were just visiting to support a family member who had a one-time part in the service.

I sit here now in this prayer closet with hindsight-thinking. The comment I made was typical—what they would expect to hear—so common that they would immediately forget it.

But, the comment the SPIRIT had for me to say would, quite possibly, have been strange to their ears. Thus it would have carried the opportunity to be remembered.

Standing in front of the backdrop of the world I am to be noticed, not blend into the backdrop. I can’t just smell like the backdrop, but must have a unique scent.

“For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life….” (2 Cor 2:15-16 NKJV).

FATHER, today I am very saddened by my response to the church situation yesterday. I smelled like the world. But here with the SPIRIT today in my closet I am encouraged for not only do I know you have forgiven me but You promise to give me other chances and other activities to express the heart You gave me.

Set me apart for Your service by leading me in consecration so that I do not blend into the backdrop of the world.  See this Wednesday’s CONFESSION post (12/16). The subject will be “Consecration.”

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

DUPED AGAIN

8/2/09

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 9.23.12 AMI did it again, after vowing not to, after being informed—after knowing I shouldn’t, I still did.

I went to church and let what people said discourage me. I wasn’t going to do that because one of satan’s tactics is to point out my failings. I wasn’t going to let him ruffle me today, but I did.

There was something said about a subject I addressed in my book. I concluded I had arrived at the wrong conclusion. It was at that point I began to listen to satan. And then it took only minutes before he had me thoroughly convinced that all I would do is lead people astray if I published the book.

One may say that depressed people—people who can easily be swayed by the enemy, are deprived, but, not so. I came to lunch feeling very inadequate about my ability to glorify GOD. But, this is a good position to be in for I unconsciously give JESUS the invitation to come and encourage me.

It amazes me that JESUS is closer to me than satan but rarely do I recognize His presence unless I get into discouragement. Sure enough over lunch JESUS encouraged me as I read in Isaiah:

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to…grant to those who mourn…the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit:…that he (GOD) may be glorified. Isa 61:1,3

JESUS, You grant me gladness and the ability to praise along with everything else! Why am I wallowing in my inadequacies? I need to stop boohooing and let You do Your work. GOD needs to be proclaimed.

FATHER, Your Word has lifted me from the pit and I thank You for it. Yet, I can’t just skip away thinking only how blessed I am that You lift me from the valley and set me once again on a rock (Ps 40:1-2).

No—Let me say, “Praise be to You, GOD, who vindicates Your holy name (Ezek 36:22).” Then, let me remember my evil ways and deeds in the valley and loath myself (Ezek 36:31) for it is not for my sake You act but for Your holy name (Ezek 36:32)!

I will correct my mistake in the book and go on.

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?

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

DISHWASHER FAILURE

2/9/10

Screen Shot 2015-10-24 at 4.47.20 PMThere was nothing left to do but throw a tantrum. I had done my out-loud yelling at myself to no avail. In my exhausted state, heart beating in my ears and eyes crossing, I had only one more task to complete before I could fall into bed. Starting the dishwasher would finish my care-giving obligations and I’d be going home tomorrow. But the dishwasher didn’t start.

“Just let me finish this one thing. The least I can do is work. Seems I’ve failed at everything else. But, no. So I threw myself into bed and slapped the covers over my head.

I had come to Ohio praying desperately to keep my mind on CHRIST. I had never succeeded keeping my mind on CHRIST while care giving. So, through the years, that had become my Ohio-bound goal.

But, there breathing the stale air under the covers, I admitted to myself this time that I had been more of a failure than ever before.

So, instead of enjoying a step toward Christlikeness, I fell on my face with failure—again. But, it was not just another failure. There was finality about it. In my honesty, I conceded I would never be able to move forward in CHRIST—certainly not in a care-giving situation.

I grew up in the church; therefore I don’t have a memory of a precise time of my salvation. Did I ever really accept CHRIST or have I been all these years just pretending I’m a Christian?

2/10/10

Well, I did get my face out of the covers and am home now. So, let me type in some notes I took during the weeks of care-giving:

“Does not GOD keep the drowning waters just below our noses? Is there anyone who can cling to victory more than fleeting moments? How often did King David break out in praise to His GOD? Yes, the Psalms are full of His praises, but what was his life like between the times he took up his pen to write?”

At my desk now, a little more under control, I recall King David’s life history recorded in I Chronicles and I and II Samuel. He went through similar circumstances as my care giving. He failed in many situations but this is what You, LORD say of David:

“…I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart,…” (Acts 13:22 ESV).

Oh…!

This is me, too! You love me, FATHER, and my heart loves You!!

Don’t I wish I had read that yesterday? I would have identified with King David—in his failures—in his praises.

FATHER, please, I don’t want to ever be so dejected as yesterday. Thank You for placing in Your Word a few of David’s Psalms that starts with his struggles and end in his praise to You. You do keep the drowning-water just below our noses so we can cast off our efforts and cling to You.

“How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

 “Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, ‘I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

 “But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me” (Psalm 13:1-6, ESV).

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

SCRIPTURE DID IT

9/18/13

Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 9.59.53 AMToday my FATHER has encouraged me greatly. Let me record the scenario here.

The enemy of my soul gave me a thought of listing my present failures. I quickly named four. And the rest of the morning was spent confirming them in my head.

Influenced by such thinking I made the decision to give up writing the daily devotional book I was working on. It wasn’t going well anyway.

I was at a pivotal point in writing. With the first draft finally completed, I really looked forward to using it in my devotions while working on the next draft.

But, after the first week’s use, I did not experience the great awesome joy of the LORD I was expecting. Confidence shaken, I continued with the second week’s pages only to, after working and re-working, throw out two of them.

How many others would I have to throw out? How could I, at the end of the year, have enough written to complete a devotional book?

Little did I know as I went off to prayer meeting that GOD had already determined to change my thinking. The following Scripture was read:

“To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power,” (2 Thess 1:11 ESV).

FATHER, You have turned my heart with Your life-giving Word! I know You have called me to write. Today—right now, I gladly resolve to write.

Have You called me to write a complete book so You can draw Yourself to others with my words? I don’t know. But, today, with a great amount of happiness, I’ll continue to pursue writing.

And, by the way, I DO have faith in Your power. So, I will think no more about not having enough pages to complete the book.

Desk chair here I come!