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!!