Friday, April 29, 2011

In The Heavenly Places

I received a very special gift during the first raw months as I learned to embrace the thought and reality of Rick's cancer. A year later, I continue to glean from the depth of heart and wisdom in STREAMS IN THE DESERT. This powerful devotional written from Mrs. L.B. Cowman's rich experiences with life still draws me in day to day. It's abundance speaks pure peace. Today, I drink of the well of tranquility In The Heavenly Places.

"But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ . . . and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." 
Ephesians 2:4-6

This is our rightful place, to be "seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus," and to "sit still" there. But how few there are who make it their actual experience! How few, indeed think even that it is possible for them to "sit still" in these "heavenly places" in the everyday life of a world so full of turmoil as this.

We may believe perhaps that to pay a little visit to these heavenly places on Sundays, or now and then in times of spiritual exaltation, may be within the range of possibility; but to be actually "seated" there every day and all day long is altogether another matter; and yet it is very plain that it is for Sundays and week-days as well.

A quiet spirit is of inestimable value in carrying on outward activities; and nothing so hinders the working of the hidden spiritual forces, upon which, after all, our success in everything really depends, as a spirit of unrest and anxiety.

There is immense power in stillness. A great saint once said, "All things come to him who knows how to trust and be silent." The words are pregnant with meaning. A knowledge of this fact would immensely change our ways of working. Instead of restless struggles, we would "sit down" inwardly before the Lord, and would let the Divine forces of His Spirit work out in silence the ends to which we aspire. You may not see or feel the operations of this silent force, but be assured it is always working mightily, and will work for you, if you only get your spirit still enough to be carried along by the currents of its power.

~Hannah Whitall Smith

This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel says:

"In repentance and rest is your salvation, 
                  in quietness and trust is your strength."  

  Isaiah 30:15

Thursday, April 21, 2011

When God lets us see

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1

It had been nearly a decade since we began asking God to save him. Husband and I, through faithfulness of love, presented grace prayers, unceasing, full of fervency, full of hope, and beckoning mercy, to the One who calls His children by name. (Hebrews 4:16).

By name.
Yes, He knew his name. From before creation, He knew his name.
"This day they will meet...", God spoke, "...husband's father and my Son, the King."
And so it was done.

Today is the day. 
Everyday is the day.
Today I pray. Today I hold hope. Today I wait. Expectantly.
Everyday God is working, even when I don't see.

Yet, there are those treasured occasions in the life of a believer when God lets us see.
Priceless reward of labor, of faith prayers and witness, of speaking forth life breath and truth that seems to dissipate into blank stares; heaven-induced labor, man weary, but Spirit strong, that lead to divine fruition.
The reward of healing, of restoration, of receiving. Of salvation.
These things, these holy gifts, God Himself delights in daily; for His good pleasure, He says, "Yes", and sometimes He says, "Yes" to us and graciously lets us see.

Deep tears flooded to surface as his nervous steps took forth proclaiming his heart choice to believe. Past memories of love rejected, heart-sinking "No's" afflicted, immediately transformed into what God had been working on all along. (2 Corinthians 6:2). This is the substance in which I hope, faith in God's work, not my own. Faith in God Alone. 

My mouth speaks loud, intercepting with words of truth, inadequate. At best, I am half crazy to not give up the fight. By sight, I see spent opportunities, painted thick with too much of this and laid thin with not enough of that. But, the Master takes with which I have offered, imperfect attempts and seemingly defeated plays, and perfects each one with inconceivable grace, showing Himself as Sovereign Ruler and Faithful Redeemer of all days. 
Today, God lets me see.

Christian, never think for a moment that you have nothing of worth to offer to the thirsty, that truth words seemingly spoken "in vain" are wasted; that love actions are useless, that God doesn't hear. Every seed planted, every plant watered, in time, in God determined time, will bear life, because God is working everyday, and sometimes He lets us see.

"For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry." Habakkuk 2:3

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I am so tired of being strong.
Strong for myself is more than enough,

It is too much at times.

The wars I have fought, stripped naked of secure purity white
Exposed, invited evil, death and sin multiplied.

Knuckles grip tight to sheets covering young helpless innocence, Set apart for Him.
So tired of being strong, my heart screams loud,
For God to help me hold on.

Safe haven boundaries torn down and chastity defile,
Forgotten child-like smile;
Desperate hands of purity survival build strong walls of  Resentment and false love, suspicious eyes.

Lost people, wicked leisures, this child must bear,
I am tired.

I am lonely.
Who is out there?
Who cares?

My heart is written, in Word, in blood
I am His, I am holy, to the end of days, He says.
O, my God, please forgive me, I'm perverted by his ways.

Tired of being strong, choosing right, ending wrong;
Tired of leaning on worthless rules, or morals,

Ya, that's what they're called.
Tired of encouraging deaf ears, blind eyes,
Tired of warring for holiness sake,

I am weak,
I am weak.

Hold your head up, stop crying, get over it,
It's time to enjoy the day;
But I can't remember how it goes, to live and to play.

I am so tired of being weak,
Given into self and to lie, unbelief, sin hard;
I can't do this, I need Jesus, to stand strong, to war on.

I wonder if I am a fraud, prodigal perfectionist, making laws;
I wonder how long this life will last,
Patience empty, broken path,
It goes on and on..
I wonder if I will make it, running this race, he is after me;
Please, Lord, help me remain in You, and may You always remain in me.

   In You, LORD, I have taken refuge;
   let me never be put to shame.
 In Your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me;
   turn your ear to me and save me.
 Be my rock of refuge,
   to which I can always go;
give the command to save me,
   for You are my rock and my fortress.
 Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked,
   from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel.
  For You have been my hope, Sovereign LORD,
   my confidence since my youth.
 From birth I have relied on you;
   You brought me forth from my mother’s womb.
   I will ever praise You.
 I have become a sign to many;
   You are my strong refuge.
 My mouth is filled with Your praise,
   declaring your splendor all day long.
  Do not cast me away when I am old;
   do not forsake me when my strength is gone.
 For my enemies speak against me;
   those who wait to kill me conspire together.
 They say, “God has forsaken him;
   pursue him and seize him,
   for no one will rescue him.”
 Do not be far from me, my God;
   come quickly, God, to help me.
 May my accusers perish in shame;
   may those who want to harm me
   be covered with scorn and disgrace.
  As for me, I will always have hope;
   I will praise You more and more.
  My mouth will tell of Your righteous deeds,
   of Your saving acts all day long—
   though I know not how to relate them all.
 I will come and proclaim Your mighty acts, Sovereign LORD;
   I will proclaim Your righteous deeds, Yours alone.
 Since my youth, God, You have taught me,
   and to this day I declare Your marvelous deeds.
 Even when I am old and gray,
   do not forsake me, my God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
   Your mighty acts to all who are to come.
  Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens,
   You who have done great things.
   Who is like you, God?
 Though You have made me see troubles,
   many and bitter,
   You will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth
   You will again bring me up.
 You will increase my honor
   and comfort me once more.
  I will praise you with the harp
   for Your faithfulness, my God;
I will sing praise to You with the lyre,
   Holy One of Israel.
 My lips will shout for joy
   when I sing praise to You—
   I whom you have delivered.
 My tongue will tell of Your righteous acts
   all day long,
for those who wanted to harm me
   have been put to shame and confusion.

Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
PSALM 51:7