Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Released


What Jesus has done for us:


Isaiah 61
1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed meto bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified. They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.

Friday, November 20, 2009

You Can Have What You Say


A quote from Charles Capp's minibook "God's Creative Power for your Finances", where he quotes instructions that the Lord gave him during a time of prayer:


"Study and search My word for promises that pertain to you as a believer. Make a list of these, and confess them aloud daily. They will build up your spirit over a period of time. Then, when these truths are established in your spirit, they will become true in you."


That's the way it works! It applies to health, finances, mental and emotional wellbeing: every area of life. The word of God will work in our lives, if we will give it place.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Reminding Myself


It's time to remind myself of what I've learned the last couple years of my journey.

Namely, that God is not my enemy. He is not doing bad things to me, but wants to deliver me- to help and to heal me. God is good. This seems simple enough to understand, but you must know that when thoughts enter a person's mind like: "God won't help you, He doesn't care." and, "God isn't answering your prayers- He isn't going to either." then a greater answer is needed than just "oh yes, He does." Truth is needed! I've learned that I must store up the word in my heart, until it overflows out of my mouth in faith, and then it will come to pass in my life. I've learned that I can have whatever I believe, not just what I know mentally. When it's in me in abundance, and I can speak it out of my mouth, totally believing that it will come to pass, then I am using my faith. But if I don't believe it in my heart (if I only believe it mentally), then the only answer is to go back to the word, and keep feeding it in: to keep putting it into my eyes, into my ears, and into my heart.

When I focus on the physical problem, I magnify it; I am sensitized to it, and become more aware of it. However, when I focus in on God, I become aware of His greatness, and His goodness- then I give Him place to move in My life. My attention is less on the problem, and more on the love that God has for me. When I focus in on what is hurting me, and what's going wrong, I perpetuate it! I create at least a mental habit that keeps going over its wounds again and again! But when I focus on the love of God (in worship), and focus on others (in serving them in thinking about how they feel), I find I do have just a bit more strength that I can offer Him. I find that I do have enough love to love someone other than myself.

When something has come against our physical bodies, or our minds, it is tempting to despair, or to be selfish- to think only on what's wrong in our lives, and how to fix it. It can even seem like the right thing to do: like a person who discovers that they have celiac disease, who begins to focus on how to bake gluten free. This can seem like the right thing to do, right? Because it is best for that person's health; and they are doing it to heal, so they can be there for their family, right? But I think what can happen is that the focus is also on all those words like: "celiac, gluten free, disease, diahrea, sick," etc. etc. So if the focus is not on Christ, and His healing word, then we don't make progress! We just stay in a habit of researching: always trying to find a cure; always seeking an answer! The search for natural treatments is inexaustible- seemingly. But the word of God is inexaustible, truly!

And I know now that I can change my expectations. I don't have to let my mind go down every little bunny trail of what can go wrong, or what it is afraid of. I can speak God's word; I can pray; I can on purpose decide to expect something good. I can hope! This may seem out of reach to someone who is deeply depressed, but we are never beyond the reach of God's word, and we are never too sick to be affected by it! Even if a person can't read the bible, they can still play it on cd. Their spirit can hear it- it is the Seed, and it will Produce! The word of God itself contains the power to bring itself to pass, just like a cucumber seed has the power to bring forth a cucumber. But someone has to plant it! We must expose ourselves continually to God's word, in order to renew our mind! When we reach the place where God's word is changing what we think, then it will transform our lives! I've learned that when I focus on the little lying thoughts that come against my mind, and try to answer them with reasoning, then I exaust myself, and feel defeated. But when I answer them with God's word, I don't need to fight the battle- the word itself is doing the work.

Again, and again, I've learned that I can't sleep in and hope that some extra rest will do me good- I have to get out of bed and seek God through His word; I need Him. Even more than sleep.

I've learned that I am happier, more peaceful, and more content when I yield to Him (obey Him, submit to His Holy Spirit), even when it doesn't seem right, or fair, or as if anyone appreciates my sacrifice. He sees, He alone truly appreciates. He made a Sacrifice too.

I've learned that I can comfort myself with the psalms. I've learned that when this world seems overwhelming, that there is a Place I can go to be reassured, to be strengthened. I've learned that He is the ultimate Teacher; Lover; Provider; Healer; Forgiver; Strengthener; Standby; and Grace. I can't do without Him, and He doesn't expect me to. He will meet me. He will answer when I call.

Psalm 56: 8-11

You have kept count of my tossings, and put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book? Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise (in the Lord, whose word I praise), in God I trust, I shall not be afraid.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Run as to Win


I went for a jog this morning. It's not a long circuit, and I don't jog fast; but at the beginning of autumn, I could barely walk it.

So I talked to myself as I jogged/walked about how much easier today was than yesterday, and how much easier yesterday was than Wednesday. "Self, I want you to remember that exercise is easier and more fun, the more often you do it!"

That made me think suddenly of prayer. Could prayer be easier, and more fun, the more often I do it?

I know this to be true about my bible reading. If I take a break from it, it can be hard slugging to get back on track. Just like exercise: if I take several days to rest, eat up, and relax; then it can be hard slugging the next time I set out for a walk.

Yesterday was intensely windy here. I'd had a difficult night, and I knew that if I was going to have strength for the day, I would have to do two things:

1. read my bible

2. get some exercise

So I set out for a run in the wind. I ran mostly to get it over with faster.

You know, I found it really difficult. My head throbbed, my eyes watered, my feet were sore, and I was making slow going in the wind. But I kept self talking: "I'm not giving up; I'm not quitting". I was half talking it, half praying. I needed to apply it to every area of my life at that moment. But that run didn't last forever, and I was happy and refreshed when it was done. Also, I was stronger.

Shall I admit that occasionally my "quiet time" with the Lord can be that way? Sometimes I have to make myself focus on the words I'm reading again and again. Sometimes I have to start over, and read it aloud to myself to make sure I'm listening! Sometimes I have to cry. Sometimes I have to repent of the same things, over and over. Sometimes...... Sometimes I feel alone, and as if all this self discipline in my bible reading is making no difference.

BUT. When I was feeling that way yesterday, the scripture came into my mind:

The Word of the Lord is living, and active: sharper than any two-edged sword: penetrating to the dividing assunder of the soul and spirit; the joints and marrow; and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Living and active... Yes, that's right. Even when I don't feel it, the word is working on my behalf! It is a seed, that I planted in my heart, my mind, my life.

Sometimes when I plant my garden in the spring, it is cold outside; windy; drizzly; discouraging. But this makes no difference to the seed. It is buried dead, beneath the unassuming earth, BUT. The bible says the ground produces of itself! Soon the dead seed begins to swell with moisture, soon it begins to break. In its brokeness it sends out a root, and a tender, pale shoot. For awhile, you can see nothing, even though the seed is alive. You could go out to my garden two weeks after I've planted my carrots and say: "There's nothing there. It's not working."

But I can testify to you here, that it has always worked. I have always gotten carrots. This year, I had more carrots than I knew what to do with! They are still in buckets in my cold room, and we will eat off of that harvest for many months!

Can the bible be like that? Yes. Jesus said that the sower sows the word. That means that the one who desires a harvest in any area of his (her) life must plant the word of God. Sometimes when we do, it is raining in our lives. Other times, it is sunny and warm. Either way, we recoginize our need to seed. And we get up early one more time, reading His word.

Just the same, we recognize our need for energy, health, and strength, so we go out and jog, wether it is sunny or windy.

We just don't quit, and we expect a harvest. Living, and Active.

Yes.