Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Oh God, I have tasted Thy goodness...

"Oh God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscience of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, that so I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, 'Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.' Then give me grace to rise up and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wondered so long. In Jesus' name. Amen"

A. W. Tozer

Saturday, April 3, 2010

That's up to Him

In a book I’m reading called How to Worship Jesus Christ by Joseph Carol, he shares this story:

On one occasion, I loved in the home of a woman who had seven children and a very unsympathetic husband. She had lost two other children at birth. Though she had a large home o care for and attended to the family business in her spare time, I never saw her disturbed once. There was always the fragrance of Christ about her life, and I marveled at it.

While staying in her home during a conference, one morning about five o’clock, I noticed a light filtering in past the door; so I opened it very quietly and saw this women kneeling by her piano. I quietly closed the door. The next morning the same thing happened, and the next morning the same thing again.

So, I asked her, “What time do you rise to seek the Lord?”

She replied, “Oh, that is not my decision. I made a choice a long time ago that when He wanted to have fellowship with me I was available. There are times when He calls me at five; there are times when He calls me at six. And on occasion, He will call about two o’clock in the morning, think, just to test me.”

Always she would get up, go to her piano stool, and worship her Lord.

I asked, “How long do you stay?”

“Oh, that’s up to Him.” When He tells me to go back to bed, I go back. If He doesn’t want me to sleep, I simply stay up.”

Am I willing to make that choice? I know that I desire to. I know that if I do He will hold me to it. Lord, give me the strength and desire to be able to make this choice, that I would make myself completely available to You when You desire fellowship. May I count all things loss and rubbish that I may gain Christ and be found in Him!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Jesus! I am resting, resting...

Jesus! I am resting resting
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For, by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole.

I desire so greatly to be able to sing the first few lines of this song; to be able to say to my Lord Jesus that I am completely resting in Him, and in the joy of who He is. It seems that I find myself too busy to truly rest in Him. Joseph Carroll, in his book How To Worship Jesus Christ, talks about the lessons that the Lord taught on prayer and the first being that prayer, “…is aloneness, secrecy, communing with God on the basis of a blood-sprinkled mercy seat.” It was coming to understand what that meant that he says his quiet time was revolutionized. It wasn’t a time of trying to get through his prayer list within a certain amount of time. Instead, he states, “I simply knelt down and quietly meditated upon the fact that I was in the presence of the Lamb of God and worshiped Him.”

I allow my life to be filled with too much noise to allow for that amount of aloneness and quietness. My Lord is holy, and great, and mighty, and beautiful, and has a loving-kindness that endures forever. “Love can only be cultivated adequately in aloneness with the one you love,” according to Carroll. How do I get that aloneness? How do I cultivate that love? These are the things I desire to learn. It seems like an easy thing to get alone, but I wish it were so. I feel the Lord many times calling at my heart, “Come. Just spend time with Me.” But, unfortunately I give myself to other loves.

The first commandment that the Lord gave Moses on that mountain top was, “You shall have no other gods before me.” Jesus, when asked what the greatest of the commandments was said that we are to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, out mind, our soul, and our strength. He is to be the first and foremost in our lives. He is to have preeminence over all other things.
Lord, please forgive me. I confess that I am an idolater and an adulterer. Just as you called the church at Ephesus to repent when they left their first love, I repent Lord. Teach more what it is to worship You. Teach me how to cultivate that love and intimacy with You. Lord, teach me to rest in the joy of who You are, that I might be transformed. Amen.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lessons From Marriage

So Mandie and I have been married for 5 months and 4 days now, and I can’t even begin to imagine a better 5 months in my life. Married life has been such a wonderful blessing, and my precious wife is the second greatest gift I could have ever received from the Lord (the first being my redemption in Christ Jesus). I’m really beginning to see what I’ve heard so many other married friends express about their marriages. Marriage really does teach you about yourself and your faults and sin. Those things are never an easy thing to have to confront. It reminds me of the subtitle to Gary Thomas’ book, The Sacred Marriage (wonderful read by the way). The subtitle says, “What if God intended to make you holy rather than happy?” Now don’t get me wrong, there is a great deal of joy and happiness in my marriage. Just thinking about and seeing my dear love brings a huge smile to my face, and those warm feelings in my stomach, but there is a lot that the Lord is teaching me.

One of the big things that I’m learning is from Philippians 2:3-4 which says, “3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” I’m starting to see how much this verse is contrary to the way my life is. The Lord is showing me how selfish and prideful that I really am. There is so much that I do for myself, thinking I deserve it and I could be doing more to serve my wife. For instance, we are in the process of moving. I came home yesterday from work, I was tired from the weekend, I had to go to a second job in a couple of hours, so I sat down, had a little dinner and took a nap because I was tired. That might not normally be a bad thing, but again, we were moving, my had been up just as long as I had, and was going to come home from work and start packing without a nap. I could have looked past my own tiredness and spent a little time helping get a few things packed. Instead I justified not doing it by saying that I was tired, I was fixin’ to go to work, and needed a nap. I could have counted her as more significant than myself, but instead, I was looking towards my own “needs.”
It’s like the first chorus line of Keith Green’s song Make My Life a Prayer when he says, “And I want to thank you know, for being patient with me. Lord it’s so hard to see, when my eyes are on me.” It really is harder to see how much I need to serve my wife when my eyes are fixed on me. Unfortunately, I know that I have a lot of learning to do in this area, and I am so thankful that I have a patient and loving Father as well as a patient and loving wife. So…as I continue in such a wonderful season of life in marriage, I pray that the Lord would not only give us a joyful and loving marriage, but also use our marriage to make us more holy, that we might cultivate a deeper passion and love for one another as well as a more intimate walk with our father.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Make My Life A Prayer

Make My Life A Prayer
by Melody Green

Make my life a prayer to You,I
want to do what you want me to,
No empty words and no white lies,
No token prayers, no compromise,

I want to shine the light you gave,
Through Your Son, you sent to save us,
From ourselves and our despair,
It comforts me to know you're really there.

Oh, I want to thank you now,
for being patient with me,
Oh, it's so hard to see,
when my eyes are on me,
I guess I'll have to trust
and just believe what you say,
Oh, you're coming again,
coming to take me away,

I want to die, and let you give,
Your life to me, so I might live,
And share the hope you gave to me,
The love that set me free,

I want to tell the world out there,
You're not some fable or fairy tail,
That I made up inside my head,
You're God, The Son, you've risen from the dead.

Oh, I want to thank you now,
For being patient with me,
Oh, it's so hard to see,
When my eyes are on me,
I guess I'll have to trust,
And just believe what you say,
Oh, you're coming again,
Coming to take me away.

I want to die, and let you give,
Your life to me, so I might give,
And share the hope you gave to me,
I want to share the love that set me free.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Just some thoughts

So…I’ve been thinking. Yesterday, Adam asked us why and how can and do we love God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength. That’s really been on my mind a lot this morning. I’ve really been thinking through the passage in Galatians 2 where Paul says that we are crucified with Christ, and it’s not us who live, but Christ who lives in us. As I think on that, I think about what Alan brought up about the passage in Deuteronomy and how God told Israel that they won’t love Him with everything, and just how I can’t love Him like that. The only way for that to be possible is that I surrender and step back and allow Christ to show that love. That’s really been a humbling and freeing thought to me this morning. On one hand, I’m am just so convicted about how much I get in the way, and though I try to love, so often it’s in vain. On the other hand, what a comfort that I don’t have to. I put it that way only because I know I just can’t sit back and be lazy about it. there is obviously the fact that I have to choose to love, but with that I have to choose to surrender and humble myself and allow the love of Christ work through me. Just some things that I’ve been thinking on this morning.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Who's in control?

I had an interesting thing happen to me yesterday. A couple of days ago a friend of mine was on the phone with a family member about some wedding plans for his wedding. I told him about some of the things the Lord had been convicting me about. I said that he needs to lay this in the Lords hands and let Him plan it and to just be obedient to what the Lord says. He is in control.
Well it’s amazing to know that the Lord will hold you accountable to what you tell other people. My fiancée and I have been trying to plan our honeymoon, and things just seem to keep falling through. As I was at my friend’s house yesterday, I was trying to get a place worked out and I guess I was showing my frustration. Well… my friend came up to me and said these words, “You know, a friend just told me recently that the Lord was in control and just to let Him plan things.”
Wow! What a reminder. Not even a whole day after I had just spoken those words to him, it was as if the Lord was checking to see if I really believed what I told my friend. I kind of shrugged it off, almost with a feeling of pride. Almost saying to myself, of course I believe that. But did I really?
I am so glad that my Father is an active pursuer of me; that He doesn’t just leave me in my sinful thoughts. I say that because today, more and more avenues kept closing in our destinations for our honeymoon and I’ve spent most of the day frustrated at this company my parents have been using to get us a place. It’s been easy for me to blame the company for everything, that way I can justify my feelings. But as I sit here at work, the Lord brought back to mind the conversation that I had with my friend yesterday.
I have to remember who is in control, and you know what? It’s not me. I might like to think I am or that I’m wise enough to make my own plans, but I’m really not. It just reminds me of what the Scripture says in Proverbs 16:9, “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” The book of James says this:
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. James 4:13-16

In each instance, no matter what I may plan, the Lord is ultimately in control. For me to even think that I can I know better, I boast in my arrogance, and that is evil.
Lord, please forgive me. I repent of my arrogance and lack of faith. Even in something that seems as small as picking a honeymoon destination, I know that you are in control and know what’s best for us. So I lay this in Your hands, and ask for Your grace and strength to help me to be patient, trusting, and obedient to what You have to say. Amen!