Monday, June 4, 2012

Peace

“and the way of peace they do not know” Romans 3:17

As a child, peace was what I desired when there was conflict in my family. As a young man, peace became the absence of war. Much of my generation thought peace and love would free the world. In fact they sought peace through rebellion and civil disobedience. Their quest for peace and a unified spirit was sought with the aid of drugs.Free love was part of their protest against the rules of society which had created war. So peace and love were sought through riots, sedition, anarchy, drugs and sexual promiscuity. There was a very real war fought for peace in America. How Ironic that this was done to protest a war against Communism, which was being fought to protect freedom and have peace. “The wisdom of man...!”

As a young, married, businessman, peace meant that I was productive and earning an adequate income to support my family. Again, ironically, my hard work produced long hours away from my family. This caused emotional stress and conflict because they wanted me - and the adequate income. So there was civil disobedience at home while I was out trying to earn peace.
Twenty years later, peace began to mean time away from the demands of of work and family. Peace became escape or avoidance of conflict. My experience proved to me the futility of seeking peace in work family or even escape. So peace began to mean an emotional security and sanity within myself. During all my striving for peace with every available means, I found there was no peace anywhere. In fact, I found that my best thinking and hardest work seemed to be yielding only more stress and conflict. At this point, I stopped trusting my wisdom judgement and adequacy. I was defeated and lost. Only after I had tried everything possible did I consider that God was not just part of my search but was in fact the only way to peace.
Every person's story is unique but the bottom line truth is always the same. My life is unmanageable  because of over work, over eating, over spending, too much or too little sex, too much escape or self-medication with alcohol, drugs and gambling. Some people may be serving humanity or church too much. There is no end to the lethal combinations of means and ends used in man’s search for peace. Many people never find their exit off this frantic interstate highway. Their final destination becomes the end of every addiction; incarceration, insanity or death. Frequently, there is a multi-vehicle accident with many injuries before their journey ends.

Thank God that I came to accept the fact that I needed help. Thank God that I believed He existed, that He cared and that He could and would like to help me. Thank God that when I found there was nothing left but God - God was ALL I needed. My peace in life required peace with God. I found I must agree with Him that He was God and I was not. I found His way was the only way. I needed to tell Him what He never misunderstood. I needed His help. I needed to surrender, to admit defeat and become a servant to Him. There, He assured me I would find rest. In that rest, I would also find love joy peace and all the abundant fruit of His Spirit.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Heavenly Recipe

This morning I have been given a dish of God's consummate preparation. In my quiet time, (extended because He made it available) I feasted upon what may be best described as a heavenly Waldorf Salad. The ingredients were not classic; diced apples, grapes, raisins, chopped walnuts and mayonnaise. Instead these were probably selected from Brother Lawrence's kitchen where The Practice of the Presence of God occurred. God's ingredients included: The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer; two 31 Days of Praise(Power) by Ruth Meyer; Jesus Calling by Sarah Young; With Christ in the School of Prayer by Andrew Murray and Christ in the Bible Commentary by A.B. Simpson (on Galatians). I may have over eaten but I believe I avoided gluttony.

Mr Tozer  observed that, "the Saints were not all alike. Yet they all walked, each in his own way, upon a high road of spiritual living ... the one vital quality .. they had spiritual awareness and that they went on to cultivate it until it became the biggest thing in their lives... They acquired the habit of spiritual response...As David put it .. 'When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek' The sovereignty of God is here ... Michelangelo confessed this in a sonnet:

My unassisted heart is barren clay,
That of itself can nothing feed:
Of good and pious works Thou art the seed,
That quickens only where Thou sayest it may:
Unless Thou show to us Thine own true way
No man can find it: Father! Thou must lead. 


Ms. Meyers said: " Enable me instead to be preoccupied with You, my holy God.. and; How grateful I am that You have linked me to the greatest possible purposes, the highest of all reasons for living: to know and love You .. to show Your love for other people .. to glorify You .. and to enjoy You now and forever."

Ms. Young said, "Limitations can be liberating when your strongest desire is living close to me."

Mr Simpson was teaching on "Free Grace in Sanctification." Since his teaching was from Galatians, he naturally referred to the fruit of the Spirit which will manifest itself in us.  Because we are crucified with Christ and now we live by faith in the Son of God, who loved us and gave Himself for us; that living Spirit in us will naturally show the fruit of His Spirit."It is beautiful to notice that  all the graces mentioned in Gal 5:22-23,are so many forms of love: joy is love exulting; peace is love reposing; patience is love in action; faith is love confiding; gentleness is love with bowed head; self-control is true self love. These are not so many fruits, but like the lobes of an orange they form together one fruit which is only love." All of these come from one Presence who is love.

 In all these devotionals, my heart was being led to a place of spiritual awareness, divinely appointed; indeed to a preoccupation with a desire for His Presence living close to me. Mr. Murray directed this to a place of abiding with God and having His Word abide in me so that I could participate with Christ in His high priestly prayer (John 17). In this place of unity, my spirit would seek the same requests as Christ. Then, I would pray in the power of His name for perishing men. Murray's prayer was; "Blessed Lord! Be it here, as through all the spiritual life: Thou all, I nothing.... he that has and seeks nothing for himself, receives all, even to the wonderful grace of sharing with Thee in Thine everlasting ministry of intercession." Thou all, I nothing! I would be one with Christ.

Friday, February 10, 2012

"..more .. depth .. one on one"

"I need more. I need more depth. I need more one on one." These words stayed with me as I left the hospital room. What can we say to a mind clouded by pain - to a focus that is blinded by tribulation, known and unknowable. Surely this is a place I have been before. The details were different but the need was the same. I need more!!

The blessing of trials and afflictions are, even now, awaiting me. Those blessings from the past comfort me. Thirty years ago, I was crying out to God for the same thing. At that time, I might have called it peace, health or a clear mind. My goal was to meet the needs of my world and hold on to my idols. My idols were "good" idols. All I wanted was to meet the needs of my family, the demands of my job and to save my marriage. One night, I was overcome by frustration and anger realizing that I had no clue to the puzzle of my life. I was also inebriated. Obviously, this was a perfect setting for a quiet time with God. Angrily, I picked up my Bible and selected my text by "the let it fall open method." God, who is the I AM, WAS in that moment - and ever shall be.

The complexity and the mystery of God revealed His mastery of the most minute detail. I was given the promise of Jeremiah 29:11 that night. I couldn't miss it because it was underlined. It was my Bible but I had no memory of that verse. When I read it, my body shook and every hair I had stood up. It seemed as if an electric current had just run through me. GOD HAD SPOKEN TO ME!! John Newton has said, "God works powerfully but for the most part gently and gradually." That moment was powerful. The next thirty years has seen God work gradually but also relentlessly. The gently has been hit or miss. I'm sure that if I listened better He would have treated me more gently.

Today my walk with God is still seeking the "..more .. depth .. one on one" of my hospital visit mentioned earlier. Today, I more completely trust God in and for all things. Today, I seek His will because I know my will is usually bad for me. In the future, I pray to seek His will because my desire is more of Him, more depth in Him and more one on one time in His presence. Today, I confidently say that my every need, my every question, my every hope and my every prayer has the same answer; "I AM!" "In Him (I) we live and move and have our being." Acts 17:28 "Jesus!" is the prayer that I breath many times in my day. "Father!" is the prayer He speaks for me every time. "I AM!" is the answer always!! Thank you father for your faithfulness!!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Recipe for Revival: Elijah, Virgo, Lanphier, Piper and Warnocks

God has been sending me the ingredients used in a recipe for revival through Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

He, the Holy Spirit, has used various messengers including:

1 - John Piper http://twitter.com/JohnPiper

2 - Jeremiah Lanphier http://ow.ly/hDGT

3 - Terry Virgo http://ow.ly/hB55

4 - Steve Harvey http://bit.ly/19syA9

5 - Andrew Murray: RECEIVING POWER FROM GOD

6 - www.AdrianWarnock.com

7 - www.ChuckWarnock.com

Curious! Two gentlemen whose last name is Warnock have been involved as messengers.

Since I have a huge headache at this moment, I am going to postpone the task of combining these ingredients proportionately. I am confident in saying that God is speaking. I am listening. If you choose to follow these cyber links, you will begin to stumble onto the the path I am following.


Jeremiah Lanphier (see #2 above)

Take one inexperienced layman, an old dying church, plus a heart for God, and you have the ingredients that sparked the Fulton Street Revival of 1857.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Intimacy with God

God's pattern and plan, today, are continually shown in the natural world, relationships, the still small voice whispering in your heart and His word. He is always ready to give this to us and patiently creates or allows the time and circumstance where our hearts thirst to receive it. A psalmist may have said (paraphrased), "Give it to me or I die!"
The "it" is the very presence of God, the word of God, the spirit of God, the righteous right hand of the protector God, the wisdom and provision of God and an almost infinite list of the attributes or character traits of God. The seeker thirsts after, what I understand to be, the Personal presence of God in the fullness of His power and glory as the source of the seekers very life, but certainly includes all the fruit of the Spirit; love joy peace, patience et al. In a physical picture this might look like a wife saying that the presence of her husband is REQUIRED by a physical, spiritual or emotional emergency. What the wife and seeker desire is life found in the intimate relationship with and presence of their husband/God! Is not this intimacy WITH urgency?
After this inadequate effort at portraying intimacy with God, I will begin to attempt to share God's lesson to me from this mornings class.
Our efforts begin with a God given impulse to seek and to love the Lord our God. Intimacy with God is available first and only because HE seeks it. ONE venue for this process is prayer. A Spirit inspired choice to seek and love would precede the prayer but desire must have words. A love must be sought and wooed using words. With God this is prayer.
Prayer to God must come from a broken, humble and contrite, servant heart.
John Piper wrote, "Any servant who tries to get off the divine dole and strike up a manly partnership with his heavenly Master is in revolt against the Creator. God does not barter. He gives the mercy of life to servants who will have it and the wages of death to those who won't. Good service is always and fundamentally receiving mercy, not rendering assistance. So there is no good service without prayer."
It seems to me that HIStory and the Bible are all about God seeking to make Himself known to people. His purpose for that is to receive glory, the love of His people and much more. God IS love and love serves and protects its own. Love seeks its own. Love rejoices with, contends for, reasons with, spends time with and is made full with the joy of reciprocal love resulting in a unity of spirit - or intimacy with its own.
As a human being, I have found too often that flesh seeks flesh: First) for love, acceptance, affirmation, significance, forgiveness and belonging; Second) flesh seeks flesh, my own or a significant others, to meet my daily physical needs/dependency! In this effort flesh finds nothing and remains a beggar. In the flesh, which is involved in a relationship, sometimes we might slam a cabinet door, throw a dish to the floor or pick a fight because we are deeply disturbed by the intimacy level or direction of our love. BUT GOD allows the natural and common experience of life with its trials and pains to serve this purpose.
These dramatic moments should serve to get our attention, to refocus our life and cause us to seek the presence of God. We should choose (actually be driven to choose) to seek a healthy,
joyful, peaceful and deeply loving relationship with the lover of our soul. After all, He serves as our protector and provider and demands to be the first and highest of our affections; our Lord God, expressed through Jesus Christ, crucified and risen; and personalized by the INDWELLING Holy Spirit. "For (it is) in Him we live and move and have our being" Acts 17:28 Since this is true, what is there in His absence; outside, separated from Him. Surely we are then a fish out of water with a short and miserable life span. A fish out of water might say with the paraphrased psalmist, "Give it to me or I die!"
Intimacy with God is our next breath, our next prayer and our next expression of his glorious attributes, character and mighty, miraculous deeds. Intimacy is, "By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of PRAISE to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving THANKS to His name." Heb, 13:15 KJV. Intimacy is the joy of praise, worship and service with the body of Christ, HIS church. Intimacy is whispering back to Him the words of love and promise that He has given us. Intimacy is loving the unlovable as He did with us. Intimacy is believing every word from His lips whispered into the ears of the authors of the scripture so that what they wrote was divinely inspired. Therefore I believe Zephaniah 3:17, "The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you (ME) with singing." As I receive and believe Him; as I meditate on who He is and what He promises ME as one of his children, my heart MUST blend with His. This is my very life and everything I receive or experience in life is "intended for the (my) good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." Rom 8:28 In response to this, I choose to say; "Whatever, whenever, wherever Lord, my answer is yes. YES and AMEN"
From this place it is possible for me to feel and become separated from the presence of God. Restoration of intimacy comes from asking God to search me and convict me of my inadequacy (sin) so that I may be restored by His promise; "If we (I) confess our sins, HE IS faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9
Lord forgive any error in this, whatever it may be, and protect those who read from any untruth!

Re: Depression or for more on John Piper, the following link will take you to a wonderful essay on Charles Spurgeon: A Pastor's heart; Preaching through adversity.
http://www.founders.org/journal/fj23/article1.html

Disclaimer:This is not intended to be a complete treatment of the subject because the Subject is understanding and revealing God. He does all the revealing and is the author of any understanding. I only type today what I have prayerfully attempted to correctly receive and share today.