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I need a joy saturation every morning . . . and all throughout the day. So I make sure to take “breaks” where I lean back against the Lord and just breathe in His love.

Like many, I start out good, but need a regular breaks of nourishment from heaven — even as we pause for meals through the day. I found the following very inspirational.

George Muller lived the first 20 years of his life in a most ungodly manner. Then following his conversion for next 10 years he did better, but not too profitably.

When he was 30, he ran across a biography on the life of George Whitefield, which majored on “Bible Meditation.” George Muller immediately incorporated this into his daily devotions. It transformed his life. Because God is no respecter of persons, it can do the same for you and me. Following is his testimony when he was 36, which even is an improvement on George Whitefield.

SOUL NOURISHMENT FIRST – George Muller (p. 152, his autobiography)

It has pleased the Lord to teach me a truth, the benefit of which I have not lost for more than fourteen years. The point is this: I saw more clearly than ever that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord (remember this is 1800s language, so happy is more probably joyful as we think of it today). The first thing to be concerned about was not how much I might serve the Lord, or how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man might be nourished. For I might seek to set the truth before the unconverted, I might seek to benefit believers, I might seek to relieve the distresses, I might in other ways seek to behave myself as it becomes a child of God in this world; and yet, not being happy in the Lord, and not being nourished and strengthened in my inner man day by day, all this might not be attended to in a right spirit. Before this time my practice has been, at least for ten years previously, as a habitual thing, to give myself to prayer after having dressed myself in the morning. Now I saw that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the Word of God, and to meditate on it, that thus my heart might be comforted, encouraged, warned, reproved, instructed; and that thus, by means of the Word of God, while meditating on it, my heart be brought into experimental communion with the Lord.

I began therefore to meditate on the New Testament from the beginning early in the morning. The first thing I did, after having asked in a few words the Lord’s blessing upon His precious Word, was to begin to meditate on the Word of God, searching as it were into every verse to get blessing out of it; not for the sake of the public ministry of the Word, not for the sake of preaching on what I meditated upon, but for the sake of obtaining food for my own soul. The result I have found to be almost invariably this, that after a very few minutes my soul has been led to confession, or to thanksgiving, or to intercession, or to supplication; so that, though I did not, as it were, give myself to prayer, but to meditation, yet it turned almost immediately more or less into prayer. When thus I have been for a while making confession or intercession or supplication, or have given thanks, I go on to the next words or verse, turning all as I go into prayer for myself or others, as the Word may lead to it, but still continually keeping before me that food for my own soul is the object of my meditation. The result of this is, that there is always a good deal of confession, thanksgiving, supplication, or intercession mingled with my meditation, and that my inner man almost invariably is even sensibly nourished and strengthened, and that by breakfast time, with rare exceptions, I am in a peaceful if not happy state of heart. Thus also the Lord is pleased to communicate unto me that which, either very soon after or at a later time, I have found to become food for other believers, though it was not for the sake of the public ministry of the word that I gave myself to meditation, but for the profit of my own inner man.

With this mode I have likewise combined the being out in the open air for an hour, and hour and a half, or two hours, before breakfast, walking about in the fields. In the summer sitting for a little on the stiles, if I find it too much to walk all the time. I find it very beneficial to my health to walk thus for meditation before breakfast, and am now so in the habit of using the time for that purpose, that when I get into the open air, I generally take out a New Testament of good size type, which I carry with me for that purpose, besides my Bible; and I find that I can profitably spend my time in the open air, which formerly was not the case for want of habit. I used to consider the time spent in walking a loss, but now I find it very profitable, not only to my body, but also to my soul. The walking out before breakfast is, of course, not necessarily connected with this matter, and everyone has to judge according to his strength and other circumstances. The difference, then between my former practice and my present one is this: formerly, when I rose, I began to pray as soon as possible, and generally spent all my time till breakfast in prayer, or almost all the time. At all events I almost invariably began with prayer, except when I felt my soul to be more than usually barren, in which case I read the Word of God for food, or for refreshment, or for a revival and renewal of my inner man, before I gave myself to prayer. But what was the result? I often spent a quarter of an hour, or half hour, or even one hour on my knees, before being conscious to myself of having derived comfort, encouragement, humbling of soul, etc., and often after having suffered much from wandering of mind for the first ten minutes, or quarter of an hour, or even half an hour, I only then began really to pray. I scarcely ever suffer now in this way. For my heart being nourished by the truth, being brought into experimental fellowship with God, I speak to my Father and to my Friend (vile though I am, and unworthy of it) about the things that He has brought before me in His precious Word. It often now astonished me that I did not sooner see this point. In no book did I ever read about it. No public ministry ever brought the matter before me. No private intercourse with a brother stirred me up to this matter. And, yet now, since God has taught me this point, it is as plain to me as anything, that the first thing the child of God has to do morning by morning is, to obtain food for his inner man. As the outward man is not fit for work for any length of time except we take food, and as this is one of the first things we do in the morning, so it should be with the inner man. We should take food for that, as everyone must allow. Now, what is the food for the inner man? Not prayer, but the Word of God; and here again, not the simple reading of the Word of God, so that it only passes through our minds, just as water runs through a pipe, but considering what we read, pondering over it, and applying it to our hearts. When we pray, we speak to God. Now, prayer, in order to be continued for any length of time in any other than a formal manner, requires, generally speaking a measure of strength or godly desire, and the season, therefore, when this exercise of the soul can be most effectively performed is after the inner man has been nourished by meditation on the Word of God, where we find our Father speaking to us, to encourage us, to comfort us, to instruct us, to humble us, to reprove us. We may therefore profitably meditate, with God’s blessing, though we are ever so weak spiritually; no, the weaker we are, the more we need meditation for the strengthening of our inner man. Thus there is far less to be feared from wandering of mind than if we give ourselves to prayer without having had time previously for meditation. I dwell so particularly on this point because of the immense spiritual profit and refreshment I am conscious of having derived from it myself, and I affectionately and solemnly beseech all my fellow believers to ponder this matter. By the blessing of God, I ascribe to this mode the help and strength which I have had from God to pass in peace through deeper trials, in various ways, than I had ever had before; and after having now about fourteen years tried this way, I can most fully, in the fear of God, commend it. In addition to this I generally read, after family prayer, larger portions of the Word of God, when I still pursue my practice of reading regularly onward in the Holy Scriptures, sometimes in the New Testament and sometimes in the Old, and for more than twenty-six years I have proved the blessedness of it. I take also, either then or at other parts of the day, time more especially for prayer.

How different, when the soul is refreshed and made happy early in the morning, from what it is when, without spiritual preparation, the service, the trials, and the temptations of the day come upon me.

May 9th, 1841.

My Life Song


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Me playing for a city-wide concert in 1970.

December 1st is the day I call my “spiritual birthday.” It marks the moment when Jesus surprised me with His invitation into a deeper relationship. This morning I wrote this in my journal as I considered the past 44 years of my spiritual journey.

THANK YOU!

Abba, Jesus, Holy Spirit —

Thank You for invading my life with Yours.

Thank you for purpose — my reason to live well.

Thank you for joy. No more mourning.

Thank you for making all things new.

You put me on a fast track into the pleasures of Your presence — a road that no one or nothing could hinder the pre-established course You determined for me long before time began.

Thank you for the Cross, and Your blood — my default position and fountain of cleansing.

Take me lower — into the heights of Who You are.

Take me deeper — into the mysteries and treasures You have hidden for me to discover.

Take me wider — to the know the breath of Your love.

Take me further — way beyond what I hoped for or imagined possible…by Your immeasurable grace.

Thank You Abba, Jesus, Holy Spirit — for adopting me permanently into Your home. I love belonging to You and I love being loved by You.

Let my life be a song of gratitude to You that always — in every situation — says, “Thank You!”


May 29 2011

In the deep of night

When fears are magnified

And darkness can be felt

When weariness displaces

Clarity of mind

And all the senses are dulled

In the deep of night

When sleep paralyzes every muscle

And dreams come without invitation

With eyes wide open

When the head nods involuntarily

Begging to lie down

In the depths of unconsciousness

It begins…

The ceaseless whispers of fear

Startling every cell to awaken

The body slowed in its sleep-mode

Thrown in reverse with a quickened heart

And a terror response

To the sinister voices—the chatter of hell!—

“You are doooooooomed…!

This is it!

Your end has come….”

It echoes repeatedly

With full-color images to prove its validity

And in the deep of night

I struggle against its strangling reasonings

Gasping for air

Grasping for Truth—

The only One who can deliver me,

The Most Powerful One,

The Almighty! Blessed be He!—

The One who is Light

Displacing all darkness,

All fears,

All terrors in the deep of night.

In a pitiful whimper

I call out loud

As the tears fall

And my heart meditates—

He will have the last word—

Yeshuah  ישועה —“salvation.” 

I speak His name

And consider the Truth

My soul knows oh so well.

His presence releases penetrating Light

And in Him

There is no darkness, or terror, or doom.

In Him is the fullness of all my joy.

In Him is my freedom from all fear.

My eternal dawn has already broken:

“I trust in You alone, Jesus,

In the deep of night.”

With a swift, backhanded, teeth-shattering slap,

All is silenced

As I hear His power-words crush the lies

And scatter the sinister ones:

“Who is this that dares speak lies to my bride?”

His voice thunders across the realm

His Presence quiets me

His Face shields me

And His radiance dispels the darkness with Truth.

“My Beloved!” my heart sings out—

Every cell of my being

Now fully awakened

To praise.

He alone is my life

And He alone holds my day and the deep of night—

The Great I AM.


It seems the normal human response to life frustrations and relational exchanges are best termed in a Yiddish word “kvetch.”

Kvetch /k(ə)veCH/

kvetchedkvetch·ingkvetch·es

To complain persistently and whiningly.

n.

1. A chronic, whining complainer.

2. A nagging complaint

There are large sections of the Bible, however, that demonstrate how God feels about such responses and it would be good for us to pay attention to our own responses of life.

I think the “normal” response can be trained to respond from a higher level, that is, seeing our life with new eyes – from God’s perspective. What would that look like in your own life? I’ll share my testimony of God’s work in my heart on this issue.

The “No Kvetching” Rule

Three years ago Ron and I instituted a core value that we now live by. We call it our “no kvetching” rule. We embarked on an ambitious and very exciting 50-day “walk” through Europe in 2009 and we knew it would be so necessary to live from another place other than out of responses to external things that we would experience. So, from the moment we left our home until we returned 50 days later, we did not kvetch about anything, or anyone, for any reason whatsoever. You can be sure that our resolve was sorely tested, but, for the most part, we were successful. The fruit of this “experiment” was exceptional.

And you know what? Living with a determination not to kvetch really works! I suggest that you try it yourself for a day, a weekend, a week, a month…then make it a lifestyle! This will change your life! Once instituted, you will have new eyes with which to process the world around you. You see people differently—you see only the treasure in them, and not the negative stuff. (It doesn’t take a genius to see people’s faults and weaknesses, by the way.) Instead, you see only how beautifully God made them, and you see the goodness of God working on your behalf, and are not bothered by circumstantial pressures. It is quite simply a different—and much better—place to live from.

Since that Europe/Middle East trip, Ron and I have adopted the “no kvetching” rule as our core value—and we just live there all the time. It makes every day a beautiful day, and every person we meet is a treasure.

Sing a New SongEveryday

But you have to replace the kvetch habit with the opposite: thanksgiving! Another core value I live by is maintaining a vibrant heart of thanksgiving. The way this works is that I choose to see God’s goodness in everything, and I sing a new song to the Lord every day, in all situations, no matter the stress or issues I’m going on. My life–like yours–is far from stress-free or trouble free by any means. I have the same health, financial, relational issues that everyone else has. I have had to train myself to choose how to respond from a core value of thanksgiving–singing a new song to the Lord, instead of focusing on the negative. As a result, I do not have a bad day!

I share this with you to give a backdrop.

Sing to the Well

After many experiences of desert wanderings with God, kvetching (grumbling, complaining) about food, water, and life-circumstances, the Israelites got it right. Their history finally convinced them: God is our Provider—our Sustenance for every need. He always gives us a good water source; He always provides nutrient-rich foods to keep our bodies strong, and He provides all we need—supernaturally—direct from Heaven.”

As the tribes of Israel moved into the land of Moab, they needed water—again. But interestingly, this time, they did not react violently towards Moses or Aaron or with unbelief towards God. Apparently, they decided that returning to Egypt was not an option anymore.

Abraham’s well in Beersheva

From there they went to Be’er, the well the LORD told Moses about, “Gather the people so that I may give them water.”

Then Israel sang this song:

Spring up, wellsing to it!…(Numbers 21:16-18, HCSB)

Instead of complaining about what they did not have, the Israelites chose to trust God – and their leaders. They chose to sing to their provision—in joy!—with the expectation of an answer to their need.

And God provided so miraculously—enough water to care for all the tribes of people, cattle, etc…in the middle of nowhere, from an unexpected source. That’s our God.

There’s a lesson here. It is yet another example of responding with thanksgiving in every situation—instead of kvetching.

What would happen if we do likewise—singing to our well in joy—with an expectation of God’s provision? Think about your most pressing need today. Your song today could be:

  • The check’s in the mail…la, la, la
  • His mercies are new every morning…
  • Bread of Heaven, feed me til I want no more…
  • Spring up O well within my soul, spring up O well, and make me whole…

By now you have a long history with God. You know full well that the provision for all you need—however desperate—is already on its way. That’s a great start.

But, it is what we do in the meanwhile that demonstrates our current relationship with God—and our core belief about Him.

Moving up to the High Places

In all the places God led the Israelites, we see that they renamed it, appropriate to their God-encounter. Look at the three places they traveled to after their well experience.

They went from the wilderness to Mattanah, from Mattanah to Nahaliel, from Nahaliel to Bamot, from Bamot to the valley of the territory of Moab near the Pisgah highlands that overlook the wasteland (Numbers 21:18b-20, HCSB).

I was so intrigued by the Hebrew names of these places God led them:

  1. Mattanah – which means “gift”
  2. Nahali’El – which means “river of God”
  3. Bamot (Pisgah) – which means “high places”

It seems the people of Israel had a graduation: they moved from the desolate places of the lowest wastelands on the planet—in their kvetch mode—to the heights of the Moab mountainous plateau—singing to the well of provision. From the peaks of Moab, the Israeli’s had a major paradigm shift of their present situation. They now had a spectacular view of where they had come from and where they were headed—the Promised Land. And, what a vista it was!

While living in Jerusalem, I could actually see the mountains of Moab from my Jerusalem home balcony on a clear day. They were stunning in hues of pink, blue and purple. The Israeli tribes saw their inheritance for the first time in breathtaking sunrise and sunset colors.

Living From Heaven to Earth

God intentionally led the Israelis from the salt and mud pits of desolate wilderness places to the heights of beauty and provision. They called this place “a gift,” the “river of God,” the “high place.”

Likewise, our inheritance in Jesus positions us in “heavenly places” on our life journey where we too can experience a paradigm shift–particularly of our mind set. If we live from this vista position, everything in our life will be in its proper heavenly perspective.

Determine that in the very next life test your “kvetch” meter will be in the “off” mode, causing you to journey right through the salt and mud pits of desolate, wilderness places.

Sing to your well today, and watch God bring up refreshing waters from the artesian deep springs of His generous provision, all while He repositions you on the heights of His love and blessings. Enjoy the view!

Song: O Taste and See (Brian & Jenn Johnson, Bethel Music)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4Md-hEvjz0&feature=relmfu


(Drawing by Ron Cantrell – “Shal-Hevet-Yah”)

I had a beautiful revelation while reading Psalm 19:4b-6 the other night:

“In the heavens He has pitched a tent for the sun.

“It is like a groom coming from [his] bridal chamber; it rejoices like an athlete (lit. in Hebrew, “hero,” or “champion”) running a course.

“It rises from one end of the heavens and circles [its circuit is] to their other end; nothing is hidden from its heat.”

As I read this, I was suddenly transported into a picture of Jesus’ celebration over His Bride.

I saw an Olympic champion having just completed the long, long marathon, he enters the stadium, crosses the finish line with his hands raised high in the air, and grinning from ear to ear, he runs his victory laps while the whole stadium crowd stands wildly to their feet, screaming their deafening cheers. The champion runs from one end to the other, giving thumbs up to the cheering crowds.

This is Jesus when he captures the heart of His bride in holy union-communion!

As I shared this with my husband on our deck the next morning, Ron wrote this meditation from this particular Scripture passage:

“In them He has set a tabernacle [tent] for the sun [Son], which is as a Bridegroom coming out of His chamber [wedding tent] rejoicing as a Hero-Champion who won His race [union with His bride].

“His victory laps are from the end of the heavens and the circuit to the very ends of it; nothing is hid from that heat [passion].”

In ancient Jewish tradition, the bridegroom emerges from the union tent with the wedding sheet (proof of the purity of the bride) and the families go wild with glorious joy at the new couple’s future. Their holy union stands in sharp contrast in an unholy world.

Who comprise “the crowd?” All the hosts of heaven cheering wildly, ululating angels doing the wave, cartwheels by the heavenly host, cherubim braying fire, seraphim blowing a fire canopy over the couple…wild celebration.

The Son is married and in holy union with His Bride forever.

The above drawing was done by my artist husband Ron as he meditated on this. The Hebrew word שלהבתיה  “Shal-hevet Yah” is from Song of Songs 8:6 which is the vehement flame of God – the furious, phosphorous-like, fiery passionate love of God, which once ignited, cannot be extinguished, not even by water.

Written around the couple in the drawing:

I have bound a thousand hearts into a temple of passion for you, my love.

I’ve enshrined you there in glorious bliss.

Set me as a seal on your heart,

Furious love,

Unquenchable fire,

Shalhevet-Yah.

There is nothing more powerful in all the universe than the intimate exchange of the Lover and the Beloved. All of Hell will unleash its forces against this union and its power. But Jesus is our Champion with a vehement passion for us…He always wins.

The Lord is the Bridegroom celebrating His love over you today. You are forever His, and nothing – or no one – will ever separate this unquenchable love.

Jesus Culture – “You Won’t Relent”

Embraced by Love


Everything you do

We do

As one—

I in you,

You in Me—

Held together

In a tight embrace.

We’ll make an exchange now

(Heartbeat to heartbeat)—

Of Life-energizing faith.

Where I go

I bring you with Me.

You hear My heart-whispers—

The thoughts I think

Are in your mind.

The secret mysteries

Are unfolding

As fresh revelations

Made clear

From My heart

To yours.

My dreams are desires in your heart—

Dramatized in the night seasons.

Your words are Mine…

A kiss of encouragement passed on,

A Spirit-song I breathed into you.

We are one,

As Father and I.

The attention of your heart

Arouses My love response—

Your gaze captivates Me—

And my eyes are locked on you

Forever.

You have fallen helplessly

Into the ocean depths of My Love,

And you will never escape

Its grasp.

Majesty Unveiled


My face turned upwards in stunned silence,

I am starring into pure Glory

Beyond the veil—

A crystal clarity

And blinding brilliance—

The flames of Love’s Fire

Are in Your Eyes.

A gasp escapes my lips,

And joy erupts

At this fresh invitation

To come,

Explore,

Discover,

Encounter,

And experience

An ecstasy of delight—

A colorful burst of unimagined breathtaking vistas

Set to the ongoing musical score:

Eden—

Revealed in one Word

You speak.

Every cell of my being

Responds

In the adoration chorus

To

Majesty unveiled.

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