Tuesday, June 11, 2019

20. Growing in Prayer – The Learning Tree – (2) God’s Word Sharper than a Two-Edge Sword

12For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as the division of the soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart.”  --Hebrews 4:12

Yes, the Word of God is like a two-edged sword.  Ask anyone who has repented and fallen before the Cross of Jesus and asked for forgiveness of their sins.  I have and it was very painful; God’s Word cut me to the quick.  My soul was penetrated to “both joints and marrow.”  As it says in Romans 3:22-24, “....since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God...."

Jack Hayford wrote in a study article, “The absolute authority of the Bible over our lives is based in our conviction that this Book does not merely contain the Word of God, but that it is the Word of God in its sum and in its parts.”  The mature Christian believes Psalm 19:7, “The law of the Lord is perfect (flawless) restoring and refreshing the soul; The statutes of the Lord are reliable and trustworthy, making wise the simple.”

Anyone from the 1960s now understand the profound societal change.  Our country changed from the Gospel of Jesus Christ to “every man did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6).  II Timothy 4:3-4 says, “…. they will turn their ears away from the truth…...”  We believe the truth is in God’s Word.

We have often wondered when Jesus said, “When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).  Will He?

From an article by Billy Graham long ago, “A revival among Christians could change the whole process of history and reverse the immoral tide.”

We cannot help thinking our enemy (devil, Satan, or whatever you call this fallen angel) is rejoicing that he has us fighting and falling away from the Word of God.

I am one of the fortunate ones; I was raised in a loving home with loving parents and a loving older brother.  They lived God’s Word and I wrote in my Bible beside Proverbs 17:27, “My Daddy.”  It says, “He who has knowledge spares his words; and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.”

The only way we can stabilize ourselves and this Nation is to receive God’s Word.  God gave us His Great Commandment in Deuteronomy 6:5 and He went on to say, “These Words, which I (God) am commanding you today, shall be written on your heart and mind.  7You shall teach them diligently to your children….” (Deuteronomy 6:6-8).

Let us pray that the mature Christian (Luke 8:15) will rise and proclaim (loud and clear) the Word of God, and those who defile the truth of HIS Word (Titus 1:15) will hear the call of God’s Word through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

19. Growing in Prayer – The Learning Tree – (1)God’s Word, Perfect in its Accuracy

16 All Scripture is God-breathed [given by divine inspiration] and is profitable for instruction, for conviction [of sin], for correction [of error and restoration to obedience], for training in righteousness [learning to live in conformity to God’s will, both publicly and privately—behaving honorably with personal integrity and moral courage]; 17 so that the man of God may be complete and proficient, outfitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.”   --2 Timothy 3:16-17

We believe in the infallible Word of God.  That it was God breathed to guide us and direct our paths.  The Word of God is complete and sufficient to completely answer anything we need to know about eternal salvation or practical wisdom concerning relationships, morality, character, finances, and conduct.  The one requirement is obedience.  We have never sought an answer that we did not find the answer in God’s Word.

One Core Value of Compass – finances God’s way, is the obedience of God’s Word.  If we are not obeying God’s Word, we will be unable to accurately understand and apply it and unable to teach others.”  We stand on that truth!

We must realize our faith in God’s Word does not deny the reality of difficult times, circumstances even tragedies, it declares the power of God in the face of all that can happen here on this earth.  I quote Roy Hicks, “When facing great challenges, do not permit your lips to speak unbelieving words.”  “We cannot help what we see and hear, but our refusal to speak doubt and fear will keep our hearts more inclined to what God can do, rather than to what we cannot (Proverbs 30:32).”

We are to live a life exemplifying God’s Word.  We refuse to be led astray by politics, unbelievers, and false gods.  We speak with integrity who we are in Christ Jesus.  Jesus confirms that every word of Scripture is given by God, every truth is to be held in reference, and that the Scriptures are eternal and credible.  We grow as we model God’s Word…...Jesus was conceived by the Spirit; He is the living Word of God.  The Spirit working within Him brought forth the fruit of good character (Luke 2:52).

To confess our faith in God’s Word, we are saying we believe in the promises of God and humbly stand before our God our Father; Your Word is truth, we worship You for your love, goodness, mercy, and kindness.  

Let us pray in thanksgiving for God’s Word.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

18. Growing in Prayer – The Learning Tree – (2) The Heart Is Deceitful

The heart is deceitful above all things and it is extremely sick; Who can understand it fully and know its secret motives?”   --Jeremiah 17:9

We continue with our discussion of the heart.  Last week we discussed the morally good heart.  This week we venture into the deceitful heart.  First, we must understand “deceit”.  Deceit is when we take action or practice deceiving those around us by concealing or misrepresenting the truth.  Many folks even deceive themselves so well they can be convincing to others their own beliefs and actions of the heart.

I use as an example collateral damage.  When others do to you that brings harm, the one harmed reacts to the hurt.  A deceived heart begins to justify their actions to harm the one that did the collateral damage.  The true heart takes responsibility regardless of circumstances for their own actions and turns to Jesus for their hurt (Philippians 4:13).

There are many scriptures defining the heart.  As we mentioned last week the heart is the whole person, thinking, acting, remembering, feeling; all our human activity.  God works within the heart; we may have a tender, soft heart or we may have a heart of stone (Ezekiel 11:19).  We must understand how our heart deceives us.

One may say, “I don’t have a hard heart.”  When we reject God’s teachings, we have entered the Harding of our heart.  We do this to ourselves.  For instance if you have unforgiveness in your heart that unforgiveness grows into anger, bitterness, and resentment .  The longer it stays within our heart, our heart begins to harden (Matthew 6:15).

Sometimes God hardens our heart.  I use for example the Pharaoh of Egypt (Exodus 7:3, 9:12).  Why did God harden Pharaoh’s heart?  Could it be that God uses the hardened heart to show His mighty power; He is God all Glory and Honor to HIM.  Paul had a hard heart toward Christians and God used him to bring the Good News to the Gentiles (Acts 22:19-21).

You may say what has this to do with prayer?  I had rather come to the Thorn of Grace with a true, clean, and pure heart (Psalms 51:6) than a heart of stone, wouldn’t you?

Let us pray for those in darkness and let Christ bring them to the Living Water (John 7:38) and His light (John8:12).

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

17. Growing in Prayer – The Learning Tree – (1) The Understanding Heart

21 For where your treasure is, there your heart [your wishes, your desires; that on which your life centers] will be also.  --Matthew 6:21

We talk often regarding knowledge of the mind and understanding of the heart.  In long ago Blogs we have explained this thoroughly in the concept that we understand.

We of the Western world think of the heart as a physical organ that pumps our life-giving blood in our bodies.  Not so in the Biblical sense.  The ancient Hebrews understood the heart as a physical part of our bodies but far more they understood the heart is the very soul of a person.  All things thought or done comes from the heart.  The Heart is the Center of Hidden Emotional-Intellectual-Moral Activity. "Man looks at the outward appearance, " says Samuel, "but the Lord looks at the heart" (1 Sam16:7).

The heart's reasoning, as well as its feeling, depends on its moral condition.  If we think bad or evil things our mouth speaks what is in our hearts (Mark 7:21; Matthew 12:34; Luke 6:45).  For instances if one has unforgiveness in their heart, the mouth speaks it though the one speaking may not mention the thing that they do not have forgiveness.  What folks do not realize the hatred, resentment, and revenge shows in an outwardly way.

Our emotional state of the heart affects us in the rest of our person.  Proverbs 15:13 says it well.  “A heart full of joy and goodness makes a cheerful face, but when a heart is full of sadness the spirit is crushed.”  Proverbs 17:22 says “A happy heart is good medicine and a joyful mind causes healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.”

Our heart thinks (Matthew 9:4; Mark 2:8), it remembers, and meditates (Psalm 77:5-6; Luke 2:19).  God made our hearts to understand, to discern and give us insight.  An understanding heart cannot be separated from our morals.  We intercede for those in our prayers to have eyes that see and ears to hear.  What we see and hear we take into our heart unless we have the power of the Holy Spirit to reject what is wrong or evil in God’s sight.  James 1:5 says to ask for wisdom in our circumstances and it will be given to us.  James 1:6 says we must ask in faith without doubting.

To be in God’s Will our heart must be pure and clean (Psalms 51:10).  We must have a heart that is receptive to God’s Word and His direction to live as we are purposed in our Mother’s womb.  The Holy Spirit teaches us to discern, understand, the statutes and God’s guidance to live a life in Jesus.

Our mouth reveals what is in our heart, the ear determines what we receive in our heart.  In Proverbs 2:2-6 says “So that your ear is attentive to [skillful and godly] wisdom and apply your heart to understanding . . . “.  With the power of the Holy Spirit we have wisdom and with that wisdom we understand the knowledge of the glory God (Habakkuk 2:14).  We cannot have a pure and clean heart without the power of the Holy Spirit to teach us an understanding heart.  

God gave us the greatest commandment: “and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul (life), and with all your mind (thought, understanding), and with all your strength’ (Mark 12:30)  If we do this, we understand the fullness of God’s love for us.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

16. Growing in Prayer – The Learning Tree – (3) Prayer and the Holy Spirit

16 May He [God] grant you out of the riches of His glory, to be strengthened and spiritually [connected to God][1] energized with power [Holy Spirit Power] through His Spirit [Holy Spirit]  in your inner self, (indwelling your innermost being and personality), 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through your faith. And may you, having been (deeply) rooted and (securely) grounded in love, 18 be fully capable of comprehending with all the saints (God’s people) the width and length and height and depth of His love (fully experiencing that amazing, endless love); 19 and (that you may come) to know (practically, through personal experience) the love of Christ which far surpasses (mere) knowledge (without experience), that you may be filled up (throughout your being) to all the fullness of God (so that you may have the richest experience of God’s presence in your lives, completely filled and flooded with God Himself)Ephesians 3:16-19 (AMP)

We want to begin this week’s Blog with this definition of God’s grace.  “Grace describes the undeserved kindness by which salvation is given, but it is also the power-word describing the Holy Spirit’s operational means.  Grace is a force as well as a favor, a verb as well as a noun.[2]  John 1:16, “And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.”  “The fact that John states that grace comes from His fullness teaches that grace is more than God’s disposition or impersonal favor.  It is God meeting us at our point of need in the Person of Jesus Christ, including all His power and provision.”[3] 

We first learn knowledge in our mind, but the understanding becomes wisdom of the heart.  We use Ephesians 1:17-18; Isaiah 6:10 and Proverbs 2:2 for our thoughts. 

It is our understanding, the fullness of God is the understanding in our hearts the incredible, magnificent, and glorious love God has for us.  God’s fullness is the fullness of the Holy Spirit’s salvation by the regenerating work in us, born again, (Romans 10:9-10) and power (Acts 1:8) to give our hearts the understanding of His love and to do our mission.  God’s love is the full measure of who we are in Jesus Christ (1 John 4:7-21).

In Paul’s prayer he says, “to be strengthened and spiritually energized with power through His Spirit in your inner self.”   We quote John Piper, “The fullness of God is experienced, he says, as we are given the ‘strength to comprehend’ the love of Christ in its height and depth and length and breadth—that is, in its fullness. This is remarkable: The fullness of God is the spiritual apprehension (experience) of the fullness of the love of Christ. This love is the grace and truth that fills the Son of God and pours out on us.”[4] 

We cannot experience the “fullness of the love of Christ” without the baptism of the Holy Spirit’s power received on Pentecost.  By the power of the Holy Spirit, we can experience the breath-taking miracle of God’s love. 

We are baptized by water in our confession of faith, we believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God, lived, suffered, died, and was raised from the dead so that we might know God the Father and eternal life with HIM.  When we received Jesus as our Savior, He cleansed us of our sins, and He came into our spirit as life. Thus, because Christ is in us, our “spirit is life because of righteousness.” (Galatians 2:20; II Corinthians 13:5; Romans 8:10)

When we ask, we are baptized with the power of the Holy Spirit to do our purpose and mission here on earth.  When we receive the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:31) God’s presence gives us understanding in our hearts the love (I John 3:1; 4:7) He has for His Children.

Let us join in Prayer as Jesus’ followers joined in praise and prayer in Acts 4:31. Let us shake our very core by the power of the Holy Spirit.

[1] Charlsey’s interpretation in brackets
[2] Spirit Filled Bible, Note, p. 1647
[3] Spirit Filled Bible, Note, p.1444
[4] John Stephen Piper (born January 11, 1946) is an American Reformed Baptist continuationist pastor.  Continuationism is a Christian theological belief that the gifts of the Holy Spirit have continued to the present age.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

15. Growing in Prayer – The Learning Tree – (2) Prayer and the Holy Spirit

But you will receive power and ability when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be My witnesses [to tell people about Me] both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth.”  Acts 1:8 (AMP)

As we continue in our discussion of the Holy Spirit, we share these words from Scott G. Bauer author of The Baptism with the Holy Spirit, there are two different works of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life.  (Romans 8:2) “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”  This is the new birth.  It says in John 3:3, “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 

We receive the Holy Spirit upon receiving Christ as our Savior…. new birth…. born again.  According to Scott G. Bauer in The Baptism with the Holy Spirit, there are two different works of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life. 
I continue to quote Scott G. Bauer; “As the Baptizer with the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:16), Jesus’ instruction to His followers in Luke 11:13 to ‘ask’ for the Holy Spirit and to wait until they received power is pertinent to all believers for all time.  All who believe are to ask and expect God to fill them with His Spirit and to be empowered (Acts1:8) for their mission to serve Him.  This is the fullness of God.

Pentecost is the day of empowerment of the Holy Spirit.  We all need the Holy Spirit empowerment if we fulfill our purpose that God created us.  We confess our sins and receive our salvation the Spirit of life; by the regenerating work in us (Romans 8:11-17).  All we must do is ask God for the power to do our mission.

Zechariah4:6-9, Zerubbabel, the leader of Jewish exiles, returned from Babylon to rebuild the temple.  Great discouragement fell on him and he was told by the prophet:  6 So he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty. 

God is giving instructions and encouragement that the temple would be rebuilt by His Spirit and it would be done.  The Scripture goes on to say in Zechariah 4:7, 7‘Who are you, O great mountain (what God wants to do through us)? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain!  And he shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”’”

Do we try to remove the mountains in our life without the power of the Holy Spirit?  Do we have the faith moved to action believing that we can have that power in us to move the mountains of life?  Remember the scripture Luke 11:13, “13 If you, then, being evil [that is, sinful by nature], know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask and continue to ask Him!”

We have the privilege of prayer to our Heavenly Father and we can ask for the power of the Holy Spirit.  Hallelujah!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

14. Growing in Prayer – The Learning Tree – (1) Prayer and the Holy Spirit

26 “But when the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of Truth who comes from the Father, He will testify and bear witness about Me.  John 15:26 (AMP)

We have just had a weekend of celebration!  The celebration of our risen Lord.  Jesus promised us the Holy Spirit to bring the Spirit of Truth to us who believe in the risen Christ.  Prayer is essential, but effective prayer is all important to bring the promises of God to fruition (Matthew 18:18).  We cannot have effective prayer without the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

I begin this Blog with the quoted words of author John Bevere with Addison Bevere; “I began to see the Scriptures in a new light as God opened my eyes to many wonders of His Spirit.”  “I soon discovered that the Holy Spirit is the most misunderstood Person in the Church.   Truer words have never been spoken.  I do not believe the average person really understands the power we can have in our prayer life, the power of the Holy Spirit.

This is what I understand about the Holy Spirit!  When we repent and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior (Romans10:9-10), we receive God’s Spirit of Grace, the Holy Spirit, goodness beyond what we deserve.  God’s character is mercy/grace. 

When Christ ascended to His Father, He promised the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts1:8) in order for those of us to do the mission (Matthew 28:19-20) Jesus gave to us. 

Is there a difference between the saving Grace of the Holy Spirit and the Power of the Holy Spirit?  Are they one and the same?  Are there two Spirits of Grace or one?  These are questions that I asked myself.  Ephesians 2:8 speaks to us regarding God’s saving grace (the Holy Spirit), “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.”  Goodness beyond what we deserve. 

When we accept Jesus Christ as the Lord of our life, we receive the Holy Spirit (Spirit of Grace), “Goodness beyond what we deserve.”  We receive our salvation, justification.  Salvation is threefold.  We are saved, justified, when we first trust Christ; we are being saved sanctification as the Holy Spirit continues to work in us; and we will yet be saved, glorification as we share in the Lord’s final triumph.[3]  This is God’s saving grace which is the Holy Spirit in us . . . New Birth.

Christ gave new birth to the disciples before his ascension in (John 20:21-22). The Disciples received new birth, New Life, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Grace.

Join us next week as we continue with the Holy Spirit!

[1] Spirit Filled Bible, Note, p. 1647
[2] Spirit Filled Bible, Note, p.1444
[3] Spirit Filled Bible, Note, P.1688

Saturday, April 20, 2019

13. Growing in Prayer – Easter

The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the deadlives in you.  And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the deadhe will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.    --Romans 8:11.

This time of year, many people think of the Easter Bunny and Easter egg hunts, new and fancy clothes…...new shoes and in the South one begins wearing white shoes.  But this time of year, is the celebration of the risen Christ!

Just as Romans 8:11 says the Spirit of God raised Jesus from the dead and lives today in our very Christian core; all who repent and receives Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  We have a celebration that is good, loving, and the grace of God.  We do not deserve the goodness and grace that He bestows on us for we all fall short of the Glory of God.

Jesus gave us HOPE and that lives in us as we live a life that Jesus gave us.  We all are born with a purpose and to live that purpose is the life given us in Jesus Christ.

I quote you from an article written in “Decision” magazine by Paul Blackham.  The Apostle Paul was caught up in mere self-improvement before he knew the power of the death and resurrection of Jesus.  When we trust Jesus, we press on, work hard, and run with all our strength—not because the Lord, Jesus Christ, calls us (and draws us) to the finish line to give us the prize freely (Philippians 3:14).”

This doesn’t mean we don't live the consequences of our actions as Ruth Bell Graham says regarding the thief on the cross beside Jesus, “He died the thief and yet, before, he’d cried for mercy and, what’s more, his tortured soul had found relief.  He got death that he deserved; a Life that he did not.”

One may feel desperate in this life on Earth, but we have the Hope of Jesus.  All one must do is accept by faith in the risen Lord, Jesus Christ!

I close with this quote from Paul Blackham, “This very day, no matter how dead our heart might feel—Christ and the power of His resurrection can bring us back to life.  Back to fruitfulness and joy.”

Let us celebrate this Easter with power and might in prayer of thankfulness and praise to our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ.

Let us pray!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

12. Growing in Prayer – The Learning Tree – Pharisee’s Condemn Christ

“Father forgive them for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34).  

It is Easter time and it is that time we study the scripture anew.   

A number of years ago, driving home from work during Lent season, Chuck Swindoll was giving a blow by blow description of Christ’s suffering and death on the Cross.  It was a life changing experience to hear all that Christ physically, emotionally and mentally went through from the time the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might kill him, the Garden of Gethsemane to His asking forgiveness for us.  The piercing pain in my heart I had never experienced.  For the first time I really zeroed into the pain Jesus suffered, and tears flowed freely down my face.  Not only was I experiencing His pain, I realized a love for me (and all peoples) that humbled me prostrate before the Lord of my life.  I knew the story in scripture.  I had heard and read the scripture before, but this day, the Holy Spirit touched me and my knowing became incredible understanding in my heart of a love that goes beyond anything we know on this earth.

For the next week and a half as we approach Easter, we would like to share with you this scripture, all Christians for sure and many non-believers, have heard repeatedly throughout a life time.  Our prayer is that once again hearing this scripture, you will experience a new miracle, a new revelation in the inner depths that reveals new understanding where you are in your walk with the Lord.

After 400 years between the Old and New Testament Christ is born, “For God so loved the world . . . .” (John 3:16).  His Sermon on the Mount is a compilation of His moral teachings and Christians believe that Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant (Hebrews 8:6).  He began His miracles when He turned water into wine, John 2:11.  Jesus continued to do greater and greater miracles and signs until that day the Chief Priests began to plot the death of Jesus. (John 11:45-53).  Their concern was, “If we let Him (Jesus) alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.”  Caiaphas, the High Priest, said, “consider . . . is it not expedient for us that one man die for the people than a whole nation should perish and then from that day on, they plotted to put Jesus to death.”  That was their reasoning for killing Jesus, a Man that spoke peace and never fell short of the Glory of God

The Chief Priests became fearful in their hearts and in selfishness and greed they sought to prevent losing their prestige and position.  They feared the people would believe in Jesus as their Messiah.  The Gospel of Mark tells us they used trickery (deception) to put Jesus to death.  Their deception waited until after the Passover because they feared the reaction of the people (followers of Christ).

Let us ask you, were you ever placed in a position that someone premeditated to cause great harm to you by deception and lies?  You are innocent! Yet because of the evil in the heart of another, great pain, damage to your character comes to you.  Once a person speaks a lie, it is exceedingly difficult to prove truth.

We can stand on the same truth that Jesus Christ stood, His Heavenly Father.  Christ is sent into the world with a love beyond comprehension.  The Father had given Him a mission and the Father was with Him, through the power of the Holy Spirit, giving Him strength, courage, and assurance that He (Jesus) would finish the mission for which He was sent.  Jesus Glorified God, “I have glorified You (God) on the earth, I have finished the work which You have given Me to do”. (John 17:4) The High Priests may have lied, cheated with trickery and deception, and schemed until Christ was to hang on the Cross.  Truth prevailed in the resurrection of Jesus, the Son of God, that we may know life eternally.

Regardless of what man can do to us, in the truth of the cross our mission will be complete in the dignity and honor we have in our Lord Jesus Christ.  Let us Pray!!

Friday, April 5, 2019

11. Growing in Prayer – The Learning Tree – (6) Submission

17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.  –Ephesians 3:17

All my life I felt I was a Christian, then came the day I submitted my life to Christ.  This submission did not come easy.  In reviewing my reactions to collateral damage in my life, I had come to the Garden of Gethsemane.  During that time God gave me a poem and named it, “God’s Video Tape.”  The words of this poem raged in my head, it would not go away.  For two days I cried and walked the floors . . . the poem raging in my head.  The pain I experienced during this time is indescribable.  It was intense.  On the third morning I sat down at my computer and began to write the words God was giving me.  The words flowed swiftly.  I wrote in paragraphs before I realized it was a poem.  I wrote the words exactly as I received them …. not changing a word.  When I had finished, I realized the message God was trying to give me.  We, as Christians, do not justify our actions by what others did to us.  We stay faithful to God our Father and submit in faith to His will.  Many years went by and I did not share this poem.  I felt it was too personal, too intimate.  Through the years, I began to understand the depth and meaning of this poem.  As I read my Bible through these years, I came across scripture for every line and verse God had given me.  I realized there are times when people all around me live a life of this poem.   I share my God given poem at the end of this Blog. 

After receiving this poem my life changed completely.  My reading of God’s Word became more focused and reading became study.  Then there was the day I honestly began to let go of self and seek only the Will of God.  In that time-frame I said, “Lord I will do anything and go anywhere you send me.  Just don’t send me to China.”  I submitted but not my ALL.  My walk in the Garden of Gethsemane did not end with the poem.  I struggled for several years relinquishing ALL to my God.  Then the day came when I experienced God’s view of submission.     AT that point in my life I confessed, “Lord, I will do anything and go anywhere you send me.  I will even go to China.” 

This submission was not my twelve-year-old confession of faith.  It was not the years I was confident that I was a faithful Christian.  This was the adult, mature Charlsey who gave her life to Christ Jesus in total submission.  At long last I realized through the eyes of my heart what Christ Jesus wanted me to understand.  In the core of my being, I experienced His love in my Garden of Gethsemane!

When I had written the poem as God gave me the words, in an audible voice, God said: “you be faithful to Me; I’ll take care of the rest.”  I read over the poem and began to realize whatever happens in life, collateral damage, choices, mistakes, errors of heart, self-will; we must meet our God in the Garden of Gethsemane.  He calls us to submit to His Will, teachings, and grow in His character.  We must confess and repent of our own falling short (sin).  We cannot live in justification, blaming others; “I wouldn’t have done that IF……”  We cannot continue to excuse self as my little two-year-old daughter once said over a broken toy, “Kitty Tom did it.”  We are responsible for our own actions and no one can do our own submission.  We close with Ephesians 4:1-3.  We claim this scripture with our God given passion.

This is submission!  Have you walked your Garden Gethsemane?

God's Video Tape

God played the videotape
Of the life I've lived on earth.
The things I've said the choices made,
In all their height and girth.
As I watch I ache inside
Because I failed Him so.
The things I see, the pain I've caused
Was not my heart's intent.
My faith is real I love Him so;
It was love I really meant.

I found fault, I complained, I judged,
Anger I displayed.
Frustration grew, sin came in
In sinfulness I swayed.
I lost sight of the love I meant;
The pain grows mightily.
What others do or say
Free choice is theirs to make.
Now I know I cannot judge
God will undertake.

The video plays on, my tears freely flow.
My soul is bleeding too.
He takes my hand and talks to me;
A sweet voice soft and true.
I see the light around His face
And comfort fills within.
He wipes my tears and tells to me
A truth we all should know.                                    
"I shed your tears, I bled for you
I cleanse you white as snow".

I humbly bow before my Lord
As the video tape plays on.
He wants me to see the future;
He wants me to know the dawn.
"Your path is different now
Your eyes are set on Me".
"Your Love is with your heart's intent;
Goodness fills your soul".

Forgiveness in His eyes I see;
Forgiveness is my goal.
Because he cried and bled for me
And love is my intent.
Forgiveness must begin with me
And dwell with me
The reason He was sent.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

10. Growing in Prayer – The Learning Tree (5) Submission

But God clearly shows and proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  –Romans 5:8

We have left out a great deal regarding the Passion of Christ, but the message is this; I quote Warren Mueller, The Passion of Christ Bible Study.  His words so express our feelings and passion for Christ.
“The life of Christ has set a pattern for living a passionate life for Him.  Believers in Jesus experience a spiritual birth that results in the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3; 1 Corinthians 6:19) therefore, believers have everything needed to live a passionate life for Christ.  Why then are there so few passionate Christians?  I believe the answer lies in the fact that, so few Christians follow the pattern of Christ’s life[1].” 

Christ totally submitted to the Will of the Father.  Nothing less is asked of us.

I believe our submission begins with understanding in the heart of how much God loves us.  “Christ’s love for us is not dependent on a quality in us that makes us lovable.  He loves because He is love regardless of our strengths or weaknesses.”[2]

We submit to that love.

Once I was told I was too passionate [for the Lord], the words from one I loved and respected, pierced me deeply.  I was devastated.   I was in a state of quandary.  Can one be too passionate for Christ?  God is good and when you seek Him, you will find Him.   I feel God led me to a sermon written by Steve Saint.  Steve Saint is the son of Nate Saint.  Nate Saint, a pilot, served with Jim Elliott and three others as missionaries in Ecuador on the Pacific side of the Andes. These men were attempting to evangelize the Waodani people in the jungles of Ecuador.  In 1956 during one excursion the Waodani Indians killed these missionaries.

I began to read and as I read this sermon by Steve Saint my heart quicken.  Steve Saint had searched his heart and felt he did not have the passion needed to bring the story of his dad and the other missionaries to the world.  He prayed, “Lord give me passion.”  Reading these words my breath came in sharp gasps; and I lifted my voice to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and humbly thanked HIM for my passion.

Steve Saint portrayed his dad, Nate Saint, Jim Elliott, and the other missionaries in the movie, “End of the Spear.” 

We have had several years to think about our passion for Christ Jesus.  Does it not grow when we begin to relinquish self and submit to our Heavenly Father?

[1] Warren Mueller, The Passion of Christ Bible Study
[2] Lloyd John Ogilvie, Ret. Chaplain, the United States Senate, “The Call to Unity in Christ’s Body”.