Be Still My Soul (He’s On Your Side)

You have a sincere desire that the Lord be first in your life. Your heart echoes with the Jesus words found in Luke 10:27, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

You’ve taken seriously His instruction of Matthew 6:33 to make the Kingdom of God and His righteousness your highest priority.

Your decision was excellent. You felt it. You meant it. You set yourself on a course of forming a habit that would align your actions with your soul’s desire.

Then as you began enjoying this new mindset and lifestyle, you drifted away from your heart and into your head. You started over thinking and second-guessing yourself. You allowed the whispers of your inner critic question you. You wondered if you were entirely sincere enough to please the Lord.

Suddenly, during a recent early morning quiet time, the Holy Spirit brought a song to mind. In was the group Selah’s version of, “Be Still My Soul.”

You’d pre-determined the course you were going to follow for devotion this particular morning. Instead of following through with your plan, you became distracted. It wasn’t a sinful temptation. Instead, you watched a YouTube video of one of your favorite people you’d been following. (Aventures in Nomadic Living). The thought was that the video was short. You’d watch it for fun, then move into your time with the Lord. But, now, you felt discouraged that you hadn’t made focused time with the Lord your priority.

Then the song, “Be Still My Soul” was on your mind. At the same time, you heard the inner thought, “The Lord knows everything about you. He knows what you enjoy. He is very familiar with the desires of your heart.”

IMPORTANT POINT:

The most sincere heart is not able to go from zero to sixty in two seconds no matter how determined they are. The Lord knows this.
He is the reader of hearts. He understands each person’s own twists and turns of mind and soul.

Paul tells the Corinthians (1 Cor. 4:3) that he is not critical of himself. Self-judgement does not burden him. That’s one of the devil’s favorite tools to impede a Believer’s progress.

The person that has made the quality choice to make the Lord number one in their lives will be on a journey of intent. That’s what the Lord sees and knows. That’s what the Lord loves.

Don’t be discouraged! As they say (whoever ‘they’ is), “Just keep trukin'” Stay the course. The Lord knows you, your heart, and your desires.

“Be still my soul, the Lord is on your side.”

Gary

Know Jesus: Experience Life

You and I desire to have a good life, right?  That’s what a good father wants for his children.  It’s not any different with our Heavenly Father.

To find a good life, we have to go to the source of life…it only makes common sense, right.

Jesus told the Pharisees that they argued so much because they mistakenly thought that life was found in having a good grasp of correct theology and doctrine. I am convinced that Jesus would be saying the same thing to many Christians today…sincere Christians…that have learned to love their understanding of the Scriptures more than the actual God who inspired the Scriptures.

The Source of life (Jesus) is experienced, in His most basic essence by coming to Him as a child.  Once that is established, the Spirit of the Scriptures breaths life into the Scriptures.

The song by Don Moen, “I Just Want To Be Where You Are” describes the heart of a child, and it’s most basic pulsing.  That is how to approach the Father.

The child’s heart says, “Daddy, there you are.  I just want to sit next to you.  You don’t have to say anything unless you want to.  I just want to be next to you.”

A daily relationship with the Lord of our lives starts in that same way…that simply.  Imagine it for yourself, and you will learn to experience it for yourself.  That simple beginning sets the tone for the day.  As a child is enjoying his/her Father’s presence, He may choose to “speak” by His Spirit something to His child.

The Father’s “voice” will, most often, be a quiet impulse of desire in His child’s heart.  A scripture thought my alight.  An emotion may arise.  A curious hunch my about something may occur that isn’t simply a mental distraction but a curiosity that leads a person deeper into understanding the heart of God.  It may also come as an impulse desire to read a passage of scripture, and then study it more deeply.

When we set the ‘baseline’ of our day, for an amount of time you’ve pre-determined, it sets the course for a “good life day” whether or not all of the circumstances of that day are enjoyable. Usually, all things in anyone’s day are not without challenge.  However, with the ‘baseline’ established, wisdom that comes from God is more accessible.

The point is not a segmented life where we have our “devotions” for a time in the morning and then exit to live our ‘real’ lives.  The objective is to get used to experiencing the nuances of God’s presence and learn to carry that through our daily lives so that knowing His Presence (His Face) is always right there for the entrance.

I would love to hear your thoughts!  Feel free to comment!

Gary

 

 

The Results of Spiritual Dehydration

What are you looking at today?  Where is your focus of attention?  What do you “binge watch”? The answer is found in your feelings.

Someone put it this way…

(1)  If you focus on YOURSELF, you will become DEPRESSED.
(2)  If you focus on the WORLD, you will become DISTRESSED.
(3)  If you focus on JESUS, you will be at REST.

Being depressed and distressed is, has always been, and always will be the result of one’s misplaced focus.

It may also be that you just feel “empty” and not truly fulfilled.

If you are a Believer, you have the Holy Spirit’s ever-flowing stream of living water within you.  The thirst of being distressed and depressed is not the kind of life you want, and it’s certainly not God’s will.

The promise of “never thirsting again” (John 4) is to those who drink and keep on drinking of the living water.

Are you dehydrated?  Are you drinking enough water of life to keep you hydrated with peace, confidence, and joy?

It’s not complicated.  It’s merely a shift of attention.  The Holy Spirit is there to meet your need.  Look to Him.  Acknowledge Him.  Drink.deeply.now.   He will quench your thirst, as you connect to the living water that is already yours for the drinking.

 

 

 

 

 

His Glory In Everyday Life


Glory is one of those words you’ll repeatedly hear in Christian circles through songs and testimony.  The Believer’s heart desire is to “bring glory to God.”

What does that mean?

Like so many words we use in our faith, it is spoken or sung from a sincere heart but little depth of practical meaning.  The more we are specific in our understanding, the more powerful the actual reality in our lives.

Hebrew Words (Old Testament):  Kavod.   Comes from a word that means weight.  By implication, it is used for something having great honor.  The opposite word means to make light of or dishonor.

The second Hebrew word is Shekinah.  The words Shekinah Glory are used when it refers to the glory that has an emotional or physical response.  The feeling that comes with perceived beauty is often the fruit of God’s felt presence.

Greek (New Testament):  Doxa.  As with many attempts at translation from one language to another, doxa is a word that cannot be understood with one description.  Magnificence is a word that brings the meaning to light.

Whether or not we are speaking of the Hebrew or the Greek words for glory, they all are very similar in description.

Practical Results

Translating academic understandings of ‘glory’ into practical, daily demonstration is what brings value.  What God desires is that we learn to ‘practice His presence’; another way of saying ‘giving God glory.’

The essential definition of who and what God is, according to the Scriptures, is Love (1 John 4:8).  I will leave the study and meditation of the Scriptures to discover the depth, height, and width, of love’s details for yourself.  Suffice it to say that God’s love is an infinitely faceted diamond.  It is deep feeling that drives practical action.  To reduce the idea of God’s love to “being loving” without clear, practical description is the reason so many people have the belief that God loves, but are not able to hold on to it for themselves.

Search the Scriptures.  Search on-line study helps.  Ponder over and ask the Holy Spirit to give you supernatural, personal, practical understanding.  Ask yourself and the Lord the question, “What would love look like in my life.”

Love and Glory

Glory looks like God’s love manifested in and through you.
(Be specific…being general isn’t helpful and won’t bring about God’s and your desired change) 

May the beauty, magnificence, delight, and weight of His glory be a demonstration of His love in your life.

Gary

 

 

 

 

Waiting On God: What Does It Mean?


The idea of “waiting on God” is found multiple times in the Scriptures.  Unfortunately, a great many Christians have interpreted the meaning ‘waiting’ solely using Webster’s English Dictionary and contemporary culture rather than the Scriptures.

To ‘wait’ is typically thought to mean:  the action of staying where one is or delaying action until a particular time or until something else happens.

Notice that I previously used the word ‘solely’ as a modifier.  The typical meaning is not inaccurate; but incomplete.

Biblical Perspective

Scriptural insight on what it means to ‘wait on the Lord’ is far richer than I will point out in this blog post.  However, I’d like to polish a couple of the facets that you may not have seen clearly:

Wait for – Hebrew: qâvâh,

This is the Hebrew word you will typically find translated, ‘wait.’  It includes the idea of ‘standing still’…but not in a depression, stress, or frustration.  From God’s perspective, waiting doesn’t mean to ‘white knuckle it’ till things get better.

Other words

Wait is not the only way qâvâh is translated into English.  Other words that are used include ‘hope’, ‘look for’, and ‘gathered’.

As I’ve explained in other writings, ‘to hope’ from God’s perspective is often different than what many people mean when they are hoping for something.  Many (and maybe you) have reduced the idea of hope to wishful thinking without any sense of surety.  However, to hope in the Lord is a thought of confident expectation.

It is also important to point out that looking for is focused on the Lord’s faithfulness and not looking for circumstantial change.  We must turn our eyes away from circumstances and unto the Lord.  (Hebrews 12:2)

Circumstantial change will come when we are not obstructing our faith by looking at circumstances.

Gathered

The first mention of qâvâh/wait/hope is found in Genesis 1:9,

And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

Waiting on the Lord includes the idea of gathering together, thinking upon, and declaring to ourselves the character and faithfulness of God as seen in His Word.

I declare (out loud) statements like Psalm 27:1, “The Lord is where my life is safe so that
I will be afraid of no one!”  I’ve learned to keep my tank full rather than waiting for a crisis and only finding fumes to burn.

Besides Scripture verses, I intentionally remember testimonies (mine and other’s) of God’s deliverance, and manifest answers to prayer.

Psalm 27:14, “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” (NIV)

Waiting for the LORD is what makes us strong with the ability to take heart.  When we wait on, hope in, and gather up remembrance of God’s character and goodness, we receive a spirit-level transfer of strength and confidence that transforms our emotions.

Waiting on the Lord, from God’s perspective, will totally transform the way you face life.  It has mine.

Gary

 

 

 

 

The Soul’s Anchor: The Sacred Space

We try to point to circumstances.  We say, “I wouldn’t be drifting about crashing into things if it weren’t for (this or that).

The real reason we float precariously about has one cause:  Our soul’s anchor has come loose from the Rock that held it secure.

How we “set the anchor” has been called all sorts of things.  Devotions.  Quiet time.  Meditation.  It is sometimes called in the Scriptures, “The Secret Place of the Most High.”

I happen to call it, “My Sacred Space.”

No other soul can go there with me.  The “sacred space” is a time that is private.  It is the place my anchor is secured.

It is not a complicated issue.  A child can find and enter the sacred space…alone.

How do I enter my sacred space?

Different days, different ways…if we’re talking “steps.”  There are no formulas.

I normally include a little quiet music while I munch on my favorite scripture of the moment.  I then simply stand still, cover my eyes, and with anticipation and patience wait for “the dove” to land on my still shoulder.

(Covering my eyes isn’t a religious ritual.  It’s blocking out external light and helps the eyes of my spirit see more clearly impressions that light on my imagination)

Unmeditated impressions, images, and inner feelings gently light.  I pay attention.  Paying attention is an art that is learned only by practice.

That’s my sacred space.  I enjoy it more every day.  At times “nothing” seems to happen and I probably get too impatient and disengage.  But, I find that patience grows with practice.  I make the choice to wait for the “dove” to light.  The Holy Spirit does all the “work.”

Honestly, it’s so simple an approach to relationship with the Lord that it offends many of the “more mature.”  But, I like being a Kingdom Child.

You, too, have a sacred space designed – uniquely for you – by God.  It is the anchor for you soul.  It is a miraculous haven of peace and power for your life.

Gary

 

 

 

 

Powerful Faith: Where It Begins


“When the eyes of the soul looking out meet the eyes of God looking in, there heaven has begun right here on earth.” – A.W. Tozer

Jesus, connects the act of Mary of Bethany (sitting at the feet of Jesus) as essential to the spread of the Gospel world-wide.  Between her quiet devotion, and Martha’s busy activity of service, Jesus said that Mary’s choice was the best.

It’s important to note that Martha was, in fact, a woman of faith.  In the record of John 11:22-23 we read, “Then Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give to You.”

Her faith in Jesus was not the issue.  She had faith.  And she demonstrated her honor for Him by great service of hospitality.

But, her faith and her service was not the part that Jesus connected to the heart of the Good News.

Jesus connected Mary’s passionate love and devotion for Him as that which would remembered where ever the Good News was proclaimed.

She “delighted herself in Him.”

If you (we) desire a transformed and transforming life that produces transforming good news in our sphere of influence, it is essential that we be like Mary, not a perfect woman without flaw, but a woman of singular devotion that delights ourselves in Him.

It is from that essential connection with Jesus that we take on his “favor and aroma.”  It is from that fundamental oneness with Him that our lives are transformed into sons and daughters that truly reflect and re-present Him.

We become effective and powerful on multiple, practical, daily levels of life as we, as the moon reflects the sun, become the kind of clay vessels that reflects the treasure that is within us.

He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above and beyond any and everything we could ever ask or even imagine according to the power that works within us that’s been activated by our intimate devotion with Him.

And now abides, faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love which is rooted in our love relationship with Him before it becomes acts of love to those around us.  Without the intimacy of relationship where we love Him with everything about ourselves, we stand zero chance of re-presenting His love.

What is required is the choice to separate oneself on a regular basis of intimate devotion until the choice morphs from duty to delight.