Looking Back [Noval]

You are my Light and Salvation, my Hope and Joy and Confidence.  In Your presence is fullness of joy-set me in Your presence forever! In my mind’s eye I see the wake of a huge ship, like a cruise ship, trailing back in the water behind  the stern, a blue and white streak of foam reaching back to the horizon.  On either side are mountains, like we’re in a huge channel or bay.  I’m listening, Lord. 

It’s really good sometimes to look back: 

at your successes 

at your failures 

at My faithfulness 

at the riches and fulness of your life’s experiences 

at lessons learned

at obstacles overcome 

You shouldn’t dwell in the past- I’ve called you to too much today for that- but an occasional visit is healthy for the soul. 

In Moses’ farewell address to the people he loved so much, he left them with challenges and exhortations and encouragements about the life that lay before them in the Promised Land, but he laid all of that on the foundation of a history lesson- of the previous 40 years in the desert, mostly. “Remember”, he charged them over and over. Remember what God did for you. Remember the consequences of failure to obey God. Remember the successes that followed repentence and faith. But again, the memories weren’t to be a dwelling place, but a series of stepping stones into the destiny I held before them.

Memories can be a rich blessing, adding texture and flavor and spice to life. But they have a deeper purpose than pleasure. They invite you into a life of deeper faith, deeper trust in My character, into the adventure of obedience, of taking my gracious hand and stepping into the unknown, creating powerful memories for generations to come. For memories aren’t just for individuals; they’re for marriages, families, communities and cultures. That’s why Mr. Santayana’s observation that “those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it” was so significant. Memory teaches, if you let it.

History- your nation’s, Israel’s, your own- should never be enshrined, idolized or worshipped, but it should be studied with hearts that are open to the ancient wisdom about Who I am, what I have done and the kind of life I reward.

Zeal for My House-Sheryl

In John 2:16-17 You drove out the buyers and sellers and said this was the Father’s House.  Psalms 69:9 said zeal for Your house consumes You.  My first thought was of churches that have bookstores, etc, but I don’t think that is it is it?”

“My house today is in each believer.  The building is just where you meet.  In the Old Testament I promised that My Presence would be with My people in the tabernacle, then the Temple.  Today each believer is the Temple of My Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) as is my corporate body.  It is this house and body I now have zeal for.  I don’t want it polluted by sin for it is to be a house of prayer, the home of My Spirit.”

I Want to Know Your Ways-Sheryl

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (Jer. 29:13)

Lord, I just want to hear Your voice for whatever You would tell me, however You would direct me.  I love You, Lord.  My very life is in Your hand.  I depend on You.  I want to represent You well and fulfill whatever purposes You have for me.  Teach me.  Guide me.  Heal me.  Bless me.  Prosper me.  Use me.

 

Where shall we meet today?  I see the heavenly walkway.  It is all white marble, but it is decorated here and there with colorful flowers.  Surrounding the walkway are blue skies and bright sunlight.  I see the New Jerusalem in the distance.  You come walking toward me and I kneel and kiss Your dear hand.  But You raise me with a smile.  Heaven is in Your eyes. I could get lost there.

 

“Come, let’s sit in this alcove.”

 

What is on Your heart today for me?

 

“You are My beloved child and sister-friend.  You try very hard, but your greatest need is to sit quietly with Me.  You keep your mind so busy with so much.  But only this time with Me will truly help you in living each day well, for ministry to others, for keeping in touch with My Spirit.  Only spending this time with Me will enable you to stay connected for all the issues of life.”

 

I know that’s true.  Yet, I have this compulsion to fill all the small spaces and use up the larger ones without enough thought.  Holy Spirit, help me in that. I need You, Lord.  I need to stay connected so I can hear Your voice as I talk to or pray for others.  I am too advanced in age to still be in need of such elementary lessons.  I want so much to make a difference for You.  And I wonder if I have or still can.  Live through me, Lord!

 

“I love you, dear one.  You make differences where you do not know.”

 

I feel I don’t know how to carry out Your commission.  I so want to speak Your healing over people and point them to You.

 

“For that You do need this and much more time with Me to know My heart, to hear My voice, and to know My ways.”

 

I so want to pray aright and in power for friends, relatives and others.  I so want to see people healed.  Why do my prayers for people seem to not be effective or answered?  You never had unanswered prayer.

 

“You need correction, time spent with Me, time in My Word, not just listening to sermons, though those are good.  I do know you have much to do, but use those spare moments to commune with Me.  I love you and want to see you fulfilled as well.”

 

I want to know Your heart for the ones I pray for.  Please show Me how to pray.

 

“I never turned anyone down that came to Me for healing.”

 

And You said You want to use us so why do we not see answers?

 

“Speak life to and into people.  You needn’t beg or plead.  I hear you.  Speak life into and over them.”

 

Give me the right words, Holy Spirit.  I ask in Jesus’ Name.

 

Jesus, You would spend all night or longer in prayer with Your Father.  Then You went back and ministered and taught.  I don’t know how You did that without sleep.  I would find myself spiritually, mentally, and physically exhausted. But what I do see is I need to spend much more time seeking Your ways and Your heart.  You healed and taught out of compassion for people.  Hard, hypocritical hearts, political and religious spirits angered You.  You provoked those things to expose them.  But You healed all who came to You.

 

It somehow does not dawn on us that just doing some reading in the Bible and giving You our list of things we want to see You do isn’t enough or what You are after and we need.  We need to long for Your heart and to know Your ways.  We really do need to seek You with our whole heart.

 

Phrases in Luke 6, verses I had read many times, stood out to me today.  Verse 30 “Give to everyone who begs from you.”  How many times do I pass panhandlers by, judging their motives or lifestyle?  And in verses 34 and 35 “Even sinners lend to sinners expecting back the same amount…lend expecting nothing in return and your reward will be great.”  And verse 46 “Why do You call Me Lord, Lord and do not do what I tell you?”  I need to meditate more and really allow You to work Your truths into My heart.  I need to truly better understand Your heart and ways then maybe mine will better reflect You and I will see Your answers when I pray.  I need You.  This country needs You.  This world needs You.  Help Your people to hear and truly know that when we seek You with our whole heart we will be found by You.

With You and In You-Sheryl

I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. (Matt. 28:20)

I praise Your Name, oh Lord! Holy are You.  You invite me to the lake today.  Where are You?

 

“I AM everywhere around you and I AM in you.”

 

Your Spirit is always with me.

 

“And there I AM also together with the Father and the Spirit.”

 

Yes Lord?

 

“You see Me when you quiet yourself and focus on Me, but I would remind you that you are never alone.  Never.  We love you and will strengthen and guide you.  We know your heart.  Take comfort.  Leave the big things to Us.  Just keep your heart and spirit open to Us.  Lean in.”

 

Thank You.  I do enjoy our times when I see You and we can more closely fellowship.  It seems I most clearly hear You then.  Perhaps my focus is better.  Now I see You sitting on the boat and inviting me over.”

 

“What would you like to talk about”

 

When You were baptized the Holy Spirit lit upon You and the heavens were opened to You. (end of Matt.3) That is a picture for us too, isn’t it, Lord?

 

“You know you receive the Holy Spirit when you acknowledge Me as Savior and Lord.  You obey My lead and My word and are baptized.  Yes, now you live under an open heaven.  That was further demonstrated when the curtain was rent in the temple when I died.  Those under the old covenant, like Jacob, sometimes were aware of an open heaven, but My people always live under one. They become aware under the power and revelation of My Spirit when they seek Me.  My thoughts, gifts, fruit, power are all available to you as you seek Me with your whole heart.”

Anchor [Noval]

https://gonautical.com/8610-tm_thickbox_default/black-steel-ship-s-anchor-6-.jpg

 

In Your Presence is full joy.  You are Life, Hope, Peace.  You are a Shelter from the storm, a Tower of deliverance.  Cover me with Your blood, Lord.  My hope is in the righteousness You alone can give. 

Shield my soul from the snares of my enemies-pride, greed, lust, insecurity, shame, the fear of man.  Let your shalom reign in this house. 

I spoke at length about peace on the night I was betrayed.   All hell was about to break loose on my disciples-betrayal, confusion, suspicion, fear, violence, cowardice, remorse, bitter shame.  and yet I told them not to let their hearts be troubled!

There is a place in the soul, a quiet place of connection to Me that shelters you.  My goal for you is that you get your soul so anchored in My love that nothing rattles you or disturbs your peace. 

Does this seem unrealistic to you?  I commanded My disciples not to let their hearts be troubled.  I’m not unjust or unfair-  I don’t issue commands that are beyond your capacity to keep. 

This is more than psychodynamics- trying to command unruly emotions.  It has to do with a choice of where you fix your hope.  If your hope is fixed on human institutions, human relationships, the power of your own soul to do good, you’ll get disappointed more often than not.   But when your hope is fixed on My character, My faithfulness, even your own personal history with Me- then your anchor will hold. 

You asked Me earlier not to let your enemies triumph over you- enemies like pride, resentment, the fear of man.  Those enemies are defeated by the choices you make to fix the eyes of your heart on My character.  People-including you- lose their peace and their hope when they get distracted by circumstances.  When the eyes are fixed, hope yields endurance, resilience, peace, even joy. 

Don’t let your heart be troubled. That’s a choice I’ve empowered you to make!

When grief threatened to overpower My servant Horatio Spafford at the news of the loss of his children, he chose to thus anchor his soul.  He didn’t deny the pain as he set pen to paper: 

When sorrows like sea billows roll…

Though Satan should buffet…

Though trials should come… 

But what he did was make a choice to anchor his soul in the eternal: 

Let this blessed assurance control,

that Christ hath regarded my helpless estate

and hath shed His own blood for my soul. 

It is well…

Show Me Your Face [Noval]

 

Psalm 34:11 Come, children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 Who is someone who desires life,
loving a long life to enjoy what is good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from deceitful speech.
14 Turn away from evil and do what is good;
seek peace and pursue it.

You are my Shalom. Show me what it means to seek shalom and pursue it.  I know it’s more than personal comfort, inner calm and freedom from dominating passions, although I guess it includes that. 

But I know that true shalom also involves righteousness- healthy relationship between You and me and than flowing outward to my spouse, my family, my community. 

Like so much in life, the external flows out of the internal.  Shalom starts with peace between us, which starts with reconciliation and justification, which starts at the Cross.  The shed blood of My Son laid the foundation of all true peace.  Think of all the internal and external impediments to true shalom– fear, insecurity, shame, enmity, bitterness…none of that stuff was left undealt with at the Cross. 

Just as the external flows from the internal, so the horizontal flows from and is supported by the vertical:

                                                      GOD

                                                        P 

                                                        E

                MAN          P          E          A          C        E              MAN

                                                                                       

                                                        C

 

                                                        E

                                                      MAN

 

The best way to put down the gavel of angry self-righteous judgement is to meditate on how I put down the gavel of holy, righteous judgement at the Cross. 

The best way to shed the debilitating cloak of fear and anxiety, including the fear of intimacy, is to meditate on how, at the Cross, I secured an eternal future for you of complete shalom– perfect security and inner freedom.  As the soul gets settled in eternal shalom, so you are able to love without conditions, serve without expectations, live in joy that transcends circumstances. 

So, seeking shalom means, first and foremost, seeking Me. 

Lord, let Your Presence so transform my heart that it transforms my lifestyle and relationships.  Show me Your face so that I might reflect Your love to those around me! 

I showed My face when I sent My Son to humble Himself and take on the sin and brokenness of the world as the ultimate Servant and Burden-bearer, all for the sake of love.  You want to see My face?  Look there.

Holy, Holy, Holy [Noval]

COLOGNE CATHEDRAL

In my mind’s eye I stand in one of the great cathedrals of Europe, maybe Notre Dame, or Chartres, or Cologne.  Massive granite walls, soaring columns, huge stained glass windows with images of saints, their hands raised in blessing. 

Isaiah sought comfort in such a holy place when King Uzziah died.  He wasn’t looking for an unsettling encounter with My holiness, but that’s what he got. 

I’m guessing he felt pretty vulnerable- frail and insignificant- as he considered the impurity of his conversations! 

Many of the old European architects were men of faith. They built as acts of worship- to remind themselves of My transcendent holiness, purity, wisdom, righteousness.  Recall the Greek root for holy means to cut or separate.  I’m altogether Other from your comprehension.  I’m better than you think- and bigger and wiser.  My anger at sin and my love for the sinner burn hotter than you think. 

So the Apostle Paul prayed for his disciples, that the “eyes of their hearts” would be lit up with a deeper comprehension of who I Am.  One of the purposes of worship is to help you move closer to reality in your thinking and comprehension.

The fuller your awareness is of who I really Am, the healthier your soul becomes.  Fear, pride, lust, obsessive thinking, greed- all flow out of a kind of spiritual amnesia.  Truly knowing Me is the answer to every malady and distortion of the human heart .

Isaiah initially flinched when I got near him in the temple.  But once he submitted himself to My cleansing, healing, atoning, transcendent authority, he stepped into his destiny:  “Here am I, send me!”  

Lord, I want to understand Who You really are!  Let me taste and see Your goodness.  Let me tremble at Your righteous judgements.  Permeate my soul with the awareness of Your holiness.

I AM With You-Sheryl

images

I need Thee, O I need Thee
Every hour I need Thee
O bless me now, my Savior
I come to Thee

Lord, I am heartsick for America.  We are on a path to the destruction of our original values and Yours in this country and not even all of those who call themselves Your people see it.  We need You.  If ever we needed You, oh Lord, it is now.  Keep us and deliver us for Your Name sake and for the sake of Your people here.  Guide us, direct us, strengthen and uphold us in Jesus’ Name.

In my heart I am kneeling before You, resting my forehead on Your knees.  Would You mend my heart and set me on Your path?  I am Yours.  Build Your throne in my heart.

Peace child.  Allow My peace to envelope you.  You don’t need more favor from Me .  You already have it.  You are one of My favorites, don’t you know? 😉  I love you with an everlasting love. I see you.  I see My people in America, in the world.  America has made it for 245 years and there will be changes–many of them.  Those changes will go back and forth.  As long as My people are present I will be present among you. Pull together not apart.  You will begin to see who is really for Me and who is against Me.  Keep spreading peace.  Speak My Word as you can.  Continue to be light and salt.  There are many who are losing their saltiness, allowing their light to grow dim.  Continue meeting together in My Name. When you meet each other in whatever place encourage one another in My Word and in love.  Bear one another’s burdens and rejoice with one another.  Go forth in victory and expecting victory for I am with you.”

Our God Still Reigns-Sheryl

Header Christian Glory in the heavens

           But as He Who has called you is Holy you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written you shall be holy as I am holy.                           (1 Peter 1:15-16)

Lord, You have been having me read 1 Peter over and over for weeks.  With the results of this election it stands out even more when I consider the Roman emperors who ruled when Peter wrote his epistle.  Your people have been crying out to You for our nation for a long time, even more as the election drew near.  We don’t understand how You are working or what You are saying especially in light of 2 Chronicles 7:14.  Would You please talk to me about this?  I feel so sad and grieving for my nation.

 

“Come walk with Me.”

 

We are on the dirt path or road.

 

“But there are whole cities and nations just over the horizon.  There are many waiting for Me, waiting to hear, waiting for they don’t know what.  Many have taken My Word out.  Many have sent them.  Many never think of those waiting but only of themselves.  I do have a large remnant who are awake, aware, praying, and going, but the body has been slow to move, having lost momentum long ago.  This is the fallout.  The Tower of Babel arises again.  Night is returning.”

 

Is there no hope?

 

“Of course there is hope–always.  There is local hope, one on one hope.  There is hope surrounding each one of My people.  You can each reclaim or at least influence the garden or world around you.  You may not influence the world on a large scale, but the world around you can still be thankful that you are there representing Me, bringing hope and love that some may believe.  Your assignment hasn’t changed.  Times can be harder or easier due to governments and leaders, but you are still the Light of the World.  I passed that mantle on to My disciples before I returned to heaven.  You are still My ambassadors.  I still send you out to tell the good news, heal the sick, and yes even raise the dead.  Get your news and assignment from Me and not from the world.  You don’t have the right to change it because you may not do it well.”

 

Strengthen Your people, Lord.  Equip us for every good work.  Send home those who are out of place.  Send forth Your missionaries and ambassadors.  Give us Your heart, Your joy, Your love because we know Who truly rules and reigns. I ask in Jesus’ Name.  Amen.

Attitude is Everything [Noval]

Wisdom’s Worth

My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
listening closely to wisdom
and directing your heart to understanding;
furthermore, if you call out to insight
and lift your voice to understanding,
if you seek it like silver
and search for it like hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and discover the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

I see a grand old Victorian mansion, sitting atop a little hill, surrounded by a vast, green manicured lawn.  It’s painted in bright colors.  The windows are clean and sparkle in the sunlight.  It’s a stately picture of prosperity, establishment.  There’s something solid and wholesome about the whole scene.  

In My Sermon on the Mount, I compared a life well-lived to such a house- sturdy, built on a solid foundation.  For most folks, adversity, misfortune, rotten luck, whatever- isn’t their biggest problem.  Storms come for everyone.  Heat and drought occur for all.  As Solomon put it, time and chance happen to everyone. 

The big problem is the foundation.  Foundations for a successful life are built in the mind.  The key is attitude. Bitterness is an attitude. Paralyzing fear is an attitude.  Pride, greed, lust are attitudes- symptoms of an unrenewed mind.

The keys to fruitful, productive, overflowing life are not in events- what happens to you- but in how you handle events, and how you handle events flows out of how you see them.  Perspective is everything.  So Paul argued that transformation of your life comes through renewed thinking (Romans 12:2). 

The purpose of My word is to transform how you respond to life by transforming how you perceive.  Think of II Timothy 3:16-17:

All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

In teaching, the word shows you what right thinking looks like.  In rebuking, wrong patterns of thinking, relating and behaving are confronted.  In correction, you are invited into new, healthy ways of thinking.  and in training in righteousness, you are invited and guided into new patterns of behavior, of relating and living, based on your new outlook and thought patterns.  The essential meaning of repentance (Greek, metanoia) is a change of behavior based on a change in thinking.  The Proverbs describe a similar process (see the text at the top of the post):  

Based on exposure to true knowledge, the mind gets renewed (understanding- synthesis of knowledge into new patterns of seeing the world), with the outcome of a transformed lifestyle- wisdom (Hebrew chokmah, skill in living).  Elsewhere in Proverbs, these three elements are described as the components of building a house. A house- and a life- well- built, built on the Rock- stands when the storm comes.  Attitude is everything.