Monday, October 27, 2008

Psalm 27

Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.

When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.

Hide not thy face far from me; put not they servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.

When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.

Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.

Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.

I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.
-Ps. 27:7-14

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Hidden Service

Nothing disciplines the inordinate desires of the flesh like service, and nothing transforms the desires of the flesh like serving in hiddenness. The flesh whines against service but screams against hidden service. It strains and pulls for honor and recognition. It will devise subtle, religiously acceptable means to call attention to the service rendered. If we stoutly refuse to give in to this lust of the flesh, we crucify it. Every time we crucify the flesh, we crucify pride and arrogance. - Richard Foster

Saturday, October 18, 2008

"He bowed the heavens and came down: and darkness was under his feet. He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies." Ps. 18:9, 11

"Clouds and darkness were round about him: righteousness and judgement are the habitation of his throne." Ps. 97:2

Sometimes God puts us through the experience and discipline of darkness to teach us to hear and obey Him. Song birds are taught to sing in the dark, and God puts us into "the shadow of His hand" until we learn to hear Him.  

Pay attention when God puts you into darkness, and keep your mouth closed while you are there. Are you in the dark right now in your circumstances, or in your life with God? If so, then remain quiet. Darkness is the time to listen. 

As a saint of God, my attitude toward sorrow and difficulty should not be to ask that they be prevented, but to ask that God protect me so that I may remain what He created me to be, in spite of all my fires of sorrow. 
-Oswald Chambers

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

In the morning...

I had the tremendous privilege last week to hear the wife of a widely traveled evangelist give a message to the ladies of that set of meetings. Having prayed specifically to hear a message those two days on a certain subject, I was overwhelmed with God's love and mercy as the speaker announced her topic that evening. Losing your joy as a Christian is what she spoke on, and let me tell you, I was all ears!

My blog contains subjects upon which I have been thinking about, and lessons God has been teaching me. Many of you have probably noticed the frequency of posts the last couple months dealing with trials, suffering, and the hard times of a Christian's life. They've been there because it's been a very real part of my life lately. No details given, let it suffice to say the last two months have contained some of the hottest fires I've ever walked through.

One of the points given in this message I needed to badly hear. In the process of walking through this valley that God has sovereignly ordained for my life, I had somewhere got my eyes off of Christ's promises and ultimate purpose, and onto my circumstances. My eyes were consumed with the here and the now, the pain, the anguish, and the things I could not change. I had lost my joy in many respects, and I knew it was time for a refocussing. 

Losing our vision as a Christian can be a great joy stealer. We lose sight of the end of the race, the prize we are running for, the One who has made this pathway possible, and instead we fill our minds with self-pity, and consuming thoughts of the heartache and suffering we are facing. We forget that these things are just for a time, and for a purpose. Sanctification, Christlikeness - these are the things God is wanting to produce in us, with the end being an eternity in heaven with Jesus Himself. Thinking on these should be enough to fill us with joy so full and complete we cannot contain it...

Only for a time... Praise God that trials do not last forever! When I meditate on a Father who loves me enough to bring hard times into my life, my vision is renewed, and my peace and joy restored. As little children, we could not fathom what our parents could possible mean when they said they disciplined us because they loved us. Seeing the fruit it has produced now, and looking at the trials my Heavenly Father has allowed with the same perspective gives comfort and hope. "...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." Ps. 30:5b

That morning can start right now.