Archive | May 2009

Solitude

Solitude liberates us from entanglements by carving out a space from which we can see ourselves and our situation before the Audience of One.  Solitude provides the private place where we an take our bearings and so make God our North Star.” ~ Os Guinness

One of my favorite hymns is  In the Garden (right click to open in new tab/window).

Here’s the heart of it:, “I come to the garden alone…

And he walks with me,

                                       and He talks with me,

and He tells me I am His own.

                      And the joy we share while we tarry there none other has ever known.” 

Solitude…say it out loud….Solitude.

                            It’s a 4-letter word to someone who hates to be alone…

    …but a lifeline for the Christian.

Beloved, come away...”  Songs 8:14

Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.”  Matthew 11:27-28

Make the time.  “Carve out a space”, as Os Guiness said above, to go to a “private place” where you can “take your bearings and so make God [your] North Star.”

Peony Faith

Peonies, Hidcote Garden, Cotswolds, Gloucestershire taken by UGArdener, a flickr photo

“But thou, O LORD, [art] a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. Psalm 3:3

“…thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.” Psalm 18:35

You can open the following link in a new tab/window to hear Fernando Ortega sing  Give Me Jesus while your read…

A sad sight caught my eye as I left my neighborhood this morning.  It tugged at my heart-strings.  All along the road the beautiful blooms on my neighbors’ peonies  had been smacked down to the ground by yesterday’s driving rains, like the peony in the photo above.

The gardener in me wanted to stop the car, run over and lift up their pretty pink and yellow faces.  I wanted gently shake the water off, and restore their dignity, poor things.

Often the driving rains of life smack me face-down into the mud, too.  Just when I’m in full bloom and the weather’s fine, along comes a downpour.

That’s when I need a little help, ’cause, no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to lift myself back up again.

I have to call for the Gardener to save me.

And when, in particularly desperate times, I add fasting to my pleas, it seems to hurry him up.

He lifts me up, shakes off the rain, restores my dignity.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” 1 Peter 5:6

Snowshill Manor, Cotswalds/ a "UGArdener" flickr photo

Let’s pray:

Oh, Father in Heaven, I’m so glad to be one of the flowers in your garden.  You are the Master Gardener.  You provide all I need to grow  — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. ( Galatians 5:22)

Take over today, Father.  May I be a bright, beautiful flower that brings You and the people around me pleasure to be around.  In Jesus’ name, Amen

P.S.  Know any flowers you wish were in God’s Garden?  Take a moment to pray for them. 🙂

P.S.S. Click on the fasting links to the right for lots of tips and encouragement to get growing!

Dive!

Right click on song title, open in a new tab/window to hear   DIVE!  while you dive into the treasure chest of verses and quotes below…

“Oh the depths of the riches of both the wisdom and knowledge of God.  How unsearchable are His judgements and unfathomable His ways…”   Romans 11:33, NASB

“When exercised with a pure heart and a right motive,  fasting  may provide us with a key to unlock doors where other keys have failed; a window opening up new horizons in the unseen world; a spiritual weapon of God’s providing, ‘mighty to the pulling down of strongholds.'” ~ Arthur Wallis

“…and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.  For the Lord gives wisdom and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.”   Proverbs 2:3-5

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”   Matthew 6:21

“”Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”   Matthew 6:19-20 

Dive!

       Go to the depths.

               the depths of His love

                           the depths of His peace

                                     the depths of His grace…..

Rock Climbing (fasting)

Right click on song title and open in a new tab/window to listen to On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand while you read if you like.

Join me this Sunday, May 24 – Sunday, the 31st for a Rock climbing expedition — The Vision Fast.**

“Lead me to a rock that is higher than I.” Psalm 61:2

 “I love you, Oh, Lord , my strength.  The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock,  in whom I take refuge.  He is a shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”  Psalm 18:1-2 NIV 

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Matthew 7:24

**Starting next week (Sunday) I’ll begin a 1 week fast.  I’m calling it a Vision Fast, ’cause I want a clearer vision of God, and what He wants for my life.  If you’d like to join with me and others for support and prayer, leave a note below.  “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work...” Ecclesiastes 4:9   Click on the fasting links to the right for lots of tips and advice to help you design a fast that works for you.  Remember, it’s not what you’re fasting from that’s as important as Who you’ll be quickly running toward.

Fasting Can Change Your Life…

“The discipline of fasting releases the anointing, the favor, and the blessing of God in the life of a Christian. So if you are not content to go throught this year the way you went through last year, now is the time to fast in order to see breakthroughs.
~ Jentezen Franklin, Christian author

“Every time I fasted I established a new spiritual demension in my life and had new spiritual authority with people.” ~George Pitt

“If you say I will fast when God lays it on me, you never will.  You are too cold and indifferent.  Take the yoke upon you.”  ~ Dwight L. Moody, American Evangelist

“I’ve experienced more significant breakthroughs in my life through prayer and fasting than through any other way.”  ~Cal Rychener, pastor, Northwoods Community Church,  Peoria, IL.

Follow the new link at the right, “Fasting Basics”, for more helpful advice and encouragement.

What’s your fasting testimony?  Share below.

Orion Faith

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orion is my favorite constellation– the exultant warrior!  He dominates the winter sky.  The three stars of his belt are easy to spot — unless you’re near the city, then the glare blocks his glow.

 But drive out in the country, away from the lights, and there he is again.

Of course he’s there all the time, but easier to see away from the competing lights.

That’s what fasting does.  Combined with extra time reading the Bible and praying, it takes us away from the glare of the day-to- day so we can see the One who’s been there all the time — the Light of the World, the victorious Warrior who exults over us with shouts of joy!

“The LORD your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior.  He will exult over you with joy… He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” Zephaniah 3:17

Follow the link to the right for a 3 week fasting schedule with recipes (for juices and smoothies and such).  Starting next week (Sunday) I’ll begin a 1 week fast using the first week of the 3 wk. plan.  I’m calling it a Vision Fast, ’cause I want a clearer vision of God, and what He wants for my life.  If you’d like to join with me and others for support and prayer, leave me a note below.  “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work...” Ecclesiastes 4:9

Baby Steps

 Any steps we take toward the Lord, no matter how fumbly or stumbly, will be met with open arms.  His big strong hands will gladly hold our small outstretched arms and hands and lead us along.  Remember the prodigal son?  Jesus said he came home weak and smelling like a pig sty, but his father came running  to greet him with open arms. 

God is the perfect father, so it makes sense that he’d do the the same and better for us as we take our first steps of faith toward him with fasting. 

You don’t have to live off dry bread and water all week.  Just take baby steps.  Maybe you just skip lunch and read the Word instead and pray, or only eat fruit and veggies for lunch all week and read the Word and pray, or skip sugar and white flour all week, or skip Starbucks.  The possibiblities are endless.  It’s the heart that matters.   

It’s not so much what we’re walking away from when we fast that’s important, but Who we’re walking toward.

Baby steps… “My heart says of you, ‘Seek his face!’ Your face, O Lord, I will seek.”  Psalm 27:8

Mountain Faith

DSC_0186

Before you read, pray…“Father in heaven, please open my ears to hear.  Give me eyes to see.  In Jesus’ name, amen.”

“…Jesus…took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray.” Luke 9:28

Fasting is a hard discipline for most christians.  I compare it to mountain climbing  — It can seem intimidating at first,  but the view at top is awesome

The reward at the end (whether it’s skipping a meal, or skipping a week of meals) is a better view of God’s power, a better view of His might,  a better view of His love.                                                                         

At the beginning of this year, my church did a 3 week fast.

  Participating in it changed my life. 

In fact, I can’t wait for next year’s fast, because I crave a better view of my life, of my potential, of all the possibilities of all I can do through and for Christ!  And, more than anything, I want to SEE Christ, in all his glory;  to really know Him and hear His voice.

Are you with me?!

Oh, the mountain air; the fresh breeze, the awesome trees, there’s no compare.

So come with me. Begin the climb. It won’t be easy, but the view is fine.”

 

In the days ahead this week,  I’ll provide some why-fors and how-to’s of fasting to help you take some baby steps, or giant leaps if you want.   So, strap on your hiking boots and prepare to climb…

“You have not come to a mountain…that is burning with fire;to darkness gloom and storm…But you have come to Mount Zion…You have come to God…”  Hebrews 12:18, 23b

Sunflower Faith V

more sunflowers

more sunflowers

Right click on song title, open in a new window to hear Give Me Jesus.

Sunflowers will cheerfully grow in any old soil, but they prefer good over bad.
The same, it is,  with truth.  It thrives in good soil (hearts).
Jesus compares our hearts to soil in the “parable of the sower”. Read about it here:  Mark 4:14-20
What makes soil good
The experts say two things are key: good drainage , balanced by an ability to retain just the right amount of water.
Following that model, may I present to you a recipe for a good heart, one in which the truth is able to thrive…
1. drainage/prayer: to keep your heart from becoming polluted with lies and compacted with worries, we need to daily (hourly, minute-ly) pour our hearts out to the Lord. “…pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord.Lamentations 2:19
Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.1 Peter 5:7
Take a minute to pour your heart out to the Lord.  What are you worried about?  Tell Him.  Out with the bad, in with the good…
2.water retention/verse memorization: A good heart retains the truth.  Thinking about and memorizing God’s Word is key.
I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.Psalm 119:11 
The more truth we hide in our hearts, the more room we have for more truth.  It doesn’t make sense, but it does!
Memorize a verse  to start preparing your soil, like 1 Peter 5:7 above.  That’s a good one to remember when you’re heart’s full of worries — just cast them out to the Lord!  He’ll replace them with peace Phil. 4:6-7
“like seed sown on good soil, [they] hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop-thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.” Mark 4:20

Sunflower Faith IV

Right click on the song title, open in a new window/tab to listen to  Give Me Jesus while you read.

Sunflower Faith is resilient.  It grows wherever it’s planted, as long as there’s plenty of sun.

And have you ever noticed how their pretty faces seem to be praising the sun all day?

Let’s be sunflowers —  Lift your pretty face, and praise the Son! 

Start by reading these verses out loud to the Lord“I love you, Oh Lord, my strength.  [You are] my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; [You are] my rock, in whom I take refuge.  [You are] my shield , [the One who saves me]** my stronghold.  I call to [You], who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.”  (Psalm 18:1-2 NIV)

Repeat after me: Thank you, Lord for the times when you’ve been a rock for me to stand on, or hide behind, when I’ve needed one.

Do you need a shield today;  a refuge from the storm?  Take a moment to call to Him, who is worthy of praise, and may you grow, and grow, and grow, wherever you’re planted.

**”…horn of my salvation…”