Posted 16 October 2010 - 12:10 PM
I don't know what to say.
Where do I begin?
Holy Spirit, give me the words to write this prayer. Direct it, annoint it as I come and lift my heart before the Father, wanting Him, needing Him, having Him.
Things are happening very quickly Father. I can barely eek out the words, "You're up to something, Lord", before I get caught up and swept in the next whirlwind.
The reason I know You're up to something is because after all those months of construction and all the chaos that created...after feeling a burden to set that aside because You are more important than any earthly thing and I was starting to feel like I was spiritual beginning to starve and needed to 'feed' on Your Word, I closed the door on all the busyness of life and was ready to sit down with You and get back to what I need, which is more time with You...through prayer, through Your Word, through fellowshipping with Your other children, etc etc etc.
'Your ways are not my ways, Yours are much higher'. I know that Scripture Father and You know that its truth is very confusing sometimes...Your ways don't always make sense when You're in the middle of doing something in our lives, and yet when it's all said and done, and we look back at what You alone have done, we see the holiness, we see Your power, Your love, Your mercy, Your grace, Your desire to grow us, teach us, on and on I could go.
So anyway Father, I closed all those doors that had been open for months and *I* was ready to focus on You and You alone.
I get a call from a dear friend who shares some things with me that alert me to the fact that something is desperately wrong and that she won't be with us much longer. I find out yesterday that someone I loved very much...to the point that I would call her 'mama', went home to be with You. Last night, after spending time with my youngest daughter, we came home and I went to attend to the animals. It was late, it was dark and as I walked towards them with a flashlight I discovered that my baby goat had died sometime during the day. I don't know why...she was fine the day before, but there she lay...gone.
My mom's close friend hasn't slept in her home for 5 months. She's stayed by her husband's side in the hospital all these months, refusing to leave him for more than a few minutes to take care of various things, and he is slipping away quickly.
Just when I was trying to arrange my life so that I could get centered again and back on my feet with You, You've allowed hit after hit after hit.
The first hit left me in tears the whole day. The grief in my heart would not subside. I figured that a good night's rest would strengthen me to face the next day, but even that was illusive...just a couple of hours sleep that barely let me rest but at least I wasn't crying and expending that exhausting energy.
And then the 2nd hit came and the 3rd, and then something very holy began to happen.
As I geared up to begin grieving once again, a little upset that I was barely able to catch my breath before the 2nd hit came, I reached down into my heart to let the pain release and the tears fall. For me and my personality, that's like a pressure valve...it releases the pressure inside and allows me to breathe. Anyway, I got the tears all the way up from my heart to my eyes and they were just beginning to fill up when You hit me with Your peace.
Now, I tease You sometimes when You do that, about how I need to cry and release that pressure, but Your peace is so consuming that I can't eek out one tear. I kind of wrestled with You about that because it didn't make sense. I was experiencing heart loss after heart loss and it was to be expected in that type of situation that someone would grieve. A couple of times I tried to focus on the pain to well up the tears but Your peace trumped my pain. It was as if we were arm wrestling (am I nuts or what? to try to arm wrestle my Heavenly Father? geeeeeeeez...), and of course, You won.
The hits continued to come throughout the day, and the power of Your peace increased. This morning, as I mentally began to view the events over the past few days, pondering this peace that is even stronger this morning than it was the day before, I began to see that Your peace is not only something that calms the heart and mind. I'm beginning to see that in Your holy peace there is a strength because I feel very strong at the moment. Your presence, Your power, Your peace radiate in my heart and I sit here amazed that I tried to even reject that for tears. That's the human part of me Father...that's the part of me that I know well...tragedy = grieving. But You're teaching me something that I intuitively know will be needed in the days ahead as the hits get bigger and stronger and annihilate all we've ever known. When that happens, Your peace will still sustain us. It will be one of the ways You will keep us standing as the approaching storms settle over us.
This is why I'm taking the time to try to explain this in this prayer. People keep checking on me because they're concerned as they see me take all these hits and it feels very strange to tell them honestly that I'm fine. I'm even surprised as I have no choice but to tell the truth. I'm fine only because the power of Your peace is flowing like a river through my heart and my mind.
This morning I was remembering how years ago...after I hit that harsh bottom and I cried out to You...I remembered the scriptures You gave me a few months later that caused me to sob and sob and sob. I sobbed Father because every word in that chapter described the hell I was just coming out of, the reasons You had allowed it, and the promises You were making to me at that moment, that would last all the days of my life.
You are God, You are holy, You are faithful because I'm shocked that even though I'm so undeserving, You have upheld Your promises to me that You gave.
So this morning, I was recalling one of the promises You gave me back then. It was something I had never had in my entire life, but it was one of the hugest gifts You gave me, and have continued to give me. You said to me:
So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again.
Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
You have been faithful to that promise Father. You are such the one constant in my life. You are the one true dependable, devoted, enduring, honorable, incorruptible, loving, sincere, steadfast, tried and true, true-blue, trustworthy, truthful, unchanging, unswerving, unwavering, upright presence in my life.
And I love You. More today than yesterday.
Bring all those I care about and love, Home Father God...to the foot of the Cross where Christ gave us life eternal. Remove the blindness from the eyes and hearts of those who are swept up in those earthly winds, and bring them safely Home to You. Christ has paid the price Father, to ransome their lives, even if they don't know or accept that yet. But You are God and greater than any blindness or obstacle that stands in their way. So in Your incredible mercy, that I don't think we can completely comprehend, have mercy on those that You have laid on my heart, whether it be family, friends or strangers. There is nothing I can say or do to open someone's spiritual eyes, but You can.
Anyway Father, I'd like to get the first few verses of Chapter 15th posted today. Bless all who read this and may the words I have written glorify You and convey how much I love and trust You.
In Jesus name I pray,
1. Now we that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
2. Let each one of us please his neighbor for that which is good, unto edifying.
3. For Christ also pleased not Himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproacheth Thee fell upon Me.
4. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that through patience and through comfort of the Scriptures we might have hope.
The rvbv writes: "The first seven verses should have closed the preceeding chapter, as they continue and close up the subject there considered.
Verse 1: Now we that are strong ought to bear [literally, are in debt to bear] the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
In Chapter 13:8 the word here translated "ought" (Greek, to owe), is used in forbidding a Christian to be in debt to others except in the way of love. Paul here addresses the "strong," being himself of that number; in which company may we also be found! It is those who are "spiritual" who can show love to others (Gal. 6:1). Note most carefully that it is not bearing with the infirmities of others that Paul is speaking of. The old lady said in the testimony meeting, "I have always got a lot of help out of that Bible verse that says, 'Grin and bear it!'" And the little California girl was heard singing, "When all my neighbors and trials are o'er!" We are apt to think of others' weaknesses and infirmities as a burden we must put up with, for the Lord's sake, - as "our particular cross," for the present! Instead, God's Word here teaches us gladly to bear, to take over as our own, these infirmities! "Bear ye one another's burdens," is the "law of Christ"! (Gal. 6:2). How our blessed Lord bore the infirmities of His disciples! - infirmities of ignorance, of unbelief, of self-confidence, of jealousy among themselves, - until the disciples came into a state of loving trust in their Lord which made even Thomas say, "Let us also go, that we may die with Him"; and Peter: "Lord, I will lay down my life for Thee." Our Risen Lord again set the example of such "bearing." For even after they had forsaken Him in Gethsemane, in the upper room the Risen Lord appeared to them with, "Peace be unto you," - and never a mention of their utter failure! It is this ability, manifested by Divine grace in us, constantly and without end to bear the infirmities of others, to take thought for, and excuse their weaknesses; and to endure for them anything and everything, that manifests Christ; and wins the trustful devotion of our fellow saints. (It is this heart-hunger for sympathy, - for some one to take over our burdens, that has always made Romanism such a refuge (albeit a false one!); and is now making Buchmanism, commonly known as the "Oxford Movement," such a deadly danger. The Romanist unloads the story of his sins and failures in the ready ear of his "father confessor": while the Buchmanites gather in so-called "house parties," and "share" their inner secrets with their deluded comrades. Both the Romanist and the Buchmanite feel a great sense of "relief," after the confessions. Indeed, the Buchmanites make a great parade of testimonies of those whose lives have been "changed" through this process of "sharing." Certainly! But John Bunyan, in the seventeenth century gave the right name to Buchmanism: "Changing Sins"; - that is, exchanging one sin for another. It is not by unburdening my conscience to my fellow man, whether "priest" or friend, that peace with God, and eternal safety come; but by deep conviction of both my guilt and my helplessness - of my lost state; and revelation to me, by the Spirit, of the shed blood of Christ as my only refuge and hope, - a Christ who bore God's wrath against sin, and provided the only ground on which a holy God can deal with guilty man. Resting in God's Word about His Son whom He raised from the dead, I have salvation. Salvation is not at all by "confession," - either to God or man; but by faith in the vicarious sacrifice of Christ. Even the thief on the cross made no "confession" of his sins, either to God or to Christ: - for lo, Christ was just then bearing his guilt! and it was not by means of his confessing it that sin was put away, but by God's placing it on Christ. Although this thief, in speaking to the impenitent one, recognizes his crimes in the words, "We suffer the due reward of our deeds"; yet he simply hands himself over to Christ as he is - "Lord, remember me": and our Lord's words are, "Today thou shalt be with Me in Paradise." (By the way, friend, that thief not only did not "confess" his sins; but he never was baptized; he never "joined the church"; he never went to "mass"; and he did not go to any "purgatory"; but he went straight to Paradise, - that day! And, further, Mary the mother of Jesus was standing right there: but our Lord never mentions her to this thief! But says, "Today thou shalt be with Me." What do you say to that! That thief is a perfect picture of you and me, as regards salvation!).
Meyer well says, "In themselves strong and free, the strong become the servants of the weak, as Paul, the servant of all." "Pleasing ourselves" is the exact thing each of us will do unless we set ourselves to pursue, to follow after, love, until our Lord comes back!
Verse 2: Let each one of us please his neighbor, in what is good, for [his] edification. Of course Paul does not mean here to exhort us to man-pleasing in the way of selfishly seeking man's favor. He himself says, "Am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God or am I striving to please men? if I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ" (Gal. 1:10). There is a man-pleasing spirit that is very obnoxious to God. We may be "nice" to people for our own selfish benefit. But remember that this exhortation to please our neighbor "for his benefit unto edifying," indicates a studied care for others; laying aside our own preferences, and pleasing them in every way that will in the end benefit them spiritually. This, of course, does not mean that we are to compromise with any evil our neighbor may be doing, by having fellowship with him in a worldly path in order to "win" him. The expression "unto that which is good," shuts that out. Paul puts it beautifully in I Corinthians 10:32 to 11:1: "Give no occasion of stumbling, either to Jews, or to Greeks, or to the Church of God: even as I also please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of the many, that they may be saved. Be y imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ."
Verse 3: For Christ also pleased not Himself: but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached Thee fell upon Me - Christ never "looked after" Himself: the whole world knows this! "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the heaven have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head." Yet His whole life, from early morning till late at night, and often into the night, was occupied in ministry to others! The multitudes found out with joy that here was One whose whole business was "going about doing good." The constant drawing upon Him by the multitudes, - upon His time, His love, His teaching, His healing, was a marvelous proof that they could count on the absolute absence of self-pleasing, in Him!
The Psalms, which give the inner heart-history of our Lord, reveal, (as, for instance, does the Sixty-ninth Psalm, from which Paul here quotes, - the great "Reproach" Psalm), how difficult was our Lord's path in a sinful, selfish, God-hating world. Yet it is written of Him: "He pleased not Himself."
(Let us follow this word, "reproach," in this 69th Psalm and others:
Verse 7: "For Thy sake I have borne reproach."
Verse 9: "The reproaches of them that reproach Thee are fallen upon Me."
Verse 10: "When I wept, and chastened My soul with fasting, that was to My reproach."
Verse 19: "Thou knowest My reproach, and My shame, and My dishonor."
Verse 20: "Reproach hath broken My heart."
Our Lord upon the cross cries that He is a "reproach of men" (Ps. 22:6). In Ps. 31:11, as we find so carried out in the gospels: -
"I am become a reproach,
Yea, unto Me neighbors exceedingly,
And a fear to Mine acquaintance";
while in Ps. 109:22-25, He says He is "poor and needy," heart-wounded, gone like a shadow, tossed up and down, weak through fasting, His flesh failing, "a reproach unto them."
But it was always, "For Thy sake I have borne reproach," - the reproaches that fell upon God - upon the Father, whose will and works Christ was doing, and whom man was learning the more to hate as "the beauty of Jehovah" was manifest more and more in Him. Now, if it were so with Christ, whose goodness was constantly reproached, shall we complain or stumble if even our good be evil spoken of? Let Christ dwell within us, as the Father dwelt in Christ, and let us cease from self-pleasing!
Verse 4: For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that through patience and through comfort of the Scriptures we might have hope. ("Those who neglect the Old Testament Scriptures may well remember that this expresses the Christian experience of an inspired apostle!" - (Schaff and Riddle). For it was the Old Testament Scriptures of which Paul spoke here.)
Note these four words that God has joined together: "learning...patience...comfort of the Scriptures...hope": "learning" is heart knowledge, as our Lord said: "Every one that hath heard from the Father, and hath learned, cometh unto Me" (John 6:45). "Patience" follows, for, knowing God, we can wait for Him to work. Next is "comfort of the Scriptures." It is astonishing - something beyond human conception, this "comfort of the Scriptures"! We have all seen saints poor in purse, accounted nothing at all by men, and perhaps suffering constant physical pain, sad bereavement of loved ones, and complete lack of understanding by other professing Christians: yet comforted by poring over the Scriptures! Hearts happy and hopeful, despite it all! You can step from any state of earthly misery into the glorious halls of Heavenly peace and comfort! Praise God for this! "Be ye comforted," writes Paul in II Corinthians 13:11.
It is ever good to be going over God's dealings, not only with Christ, but with His Old Testament saints; marking how He is continually bringing them into hard places, where they learn to trust Him more! Joseph, in prison for righteousness; David, anointed of God, but hunted for years "like a partridge in the mountains"; Jeremiah in the miry dungeon; the three in Nebuchadnezzar's furnace, and Daniel in the den of lions: not to speak of the New Testament story - James and Stephen killed, the apostles in prison. You may ask, How does "hope" spring out of such trials? We do not ask such a question if we have learned the lesson of Romans Five: "Knowing that tribulation worketh steadfastness; and steadfastness, approvedness; and approvedness, hope," - witnessed to by the shedding abroad of God's love for us in our hearts! Therefore let us seek that comfort and hope which this verse tells us the Scriptures work in us if we patiently learn them. When we get thus learningly to verse 13 in this chapter, we shall find ourselves abounding in hope!"
I have been working on this study for 3.5 hours, having interruption after interruption trying to interfere with it being done. I must admit I did have a fleeting thought of just closing this post off and doing it another day when Your Spirit rose up that brat in me, defying the wiles of the enemy trying to keep this study from posting in its entirety.
So thank You Father God. I'm glad I got this done. I feel a peace that is over and above the constant peace You've been placing in my heart and it is special.
There was so much that I received myself from doing this study today...so much I needed to read and see. I loved the 'finding comfort in the Scriptures' because I relate to that so much. Anytime I open Your Word, I begin to feel Your presence and peace floods my soul. I've mentioned this before but I don't know how many times I'll go to sleep with my bible held tightly against my heart, wanting and needing to feel closer to You. Whether being read or just held, Your Word brings comfort in so many ways.
I have so much to do Father, so please help me get these necessary things done. And blessings Father...I pray blessings over my family and friends and the sites where this study is shared.
In Jesus Name I pray,
"One day, we’re going to stand before the gates of Heaven. Some of us want to be able to walk up there in a white robe and we want to sing Abba Father and Amazing Grace and we want to say to the Lord, “I worshiped You.” But I want you to think about this: Heres the way I want to enter the gates of Heaven. I want to come skidding in there on all fours. I want to be slipping and sliding and I want to hit the gates of heaven with a bang. And when I stand up and I stand before Christ, I want there to be blood on my knees and my elbows. I want to be covered with mud. And I want to be standing there with a ragged breast plate of righteousness. And a spear in my hand. And I want to say, “Look at me, Jesus. I’ve been in the battle. I’ve been fighting for you.” Ladies and gentlemen, put your armor on and get into battle. God bless you." ~ General William G. Boykin, U.S. Army (ret.)
Posted 19 October 2010 - 11:33 AM
The thief brought nothing to Jesus but the acknowlegement of having failed and a plea to be remembered. Beyond His incredible pain and the burdens Jesus bore, He replied graciously to the dying man. He included him into The Kingdom. We are to follow His lead, in the small ways we are called.
MtRider [ so many tempers flaring; stresses pressing; words flying outta mouths that oughtta be closed; thing being done that ought not; things not being done that ought....God forgive us our sins as we forgive others.... <img src='http://mrssurvival.c...efault/pray.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='' /> ]
Edited by Mt_Rider, 19 October 2010 - 11:38 AM.
cuz it glitched out my paragraphs again..
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