A Form Of Highest Praise

I was gazing at my favorite painting of Jesus while soft music played in the background.  This posture is what you might call a standard protocol for my morning quiet time.

The words seemed to form in my mind, “It is ultimate praise to me when you function as I made you.  I enjoy that very much!”

Then, a short time later as I was “soaking” in that thought, another impression arose in me, “The seeds of inspiration are mine.  Taking dominion over the seeds is yours.”

Note:  The Lord designed me with the calling of writing.  The same truth can apply to any person’s function in life applied to their talents, desires, and motivations.

Therefore, we give ultimate praise to the Lord when we function as He designed and gifted us.  I am reminded me of a quote by former Olympian runner, Eric Liddel, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast!  When I run, I feel His pleasure.”

Jesus said to me, “The seeds of inspiration are mine.  Taking dominion over the seeds is yours.”  An example of me, as a writer, taking dominion over the seeds would be the finished thought,

“I give you the seeds of inspiration, not the mature plant.  You take dominion over the seeds of inspiration by fashioning and transforming them into thoughts of truth, power, and beauty, that, in turn, breaths life into others.”

This complete thought is a demonstration of what might be called, ‘inspirational partnership.’  I encourage you to develop your relationship with Jesus by opening your mind and heart to those seeds of inspiration that apply to your own life.  It is one of the highest forms of praise and brings joy to both you and Jesus.

Gary

 

 

 

 

Seeking You And Finding Me

This morning, I was sitting quietly.  Soft instrumental music was playing, and the focus of my mind and heart was on fellowship with Jesus.  I was merely talking to Him.  In the process, I could feel that a two-sided conversation was taking place.

I have begun to recognize that, as I am focused on worshipping and talking to Jesus, His thoughts and my thoughts often mesh together sounding alike.  I have to learn to pay attention to, what seems like, random ideas taking place in my mind.   In so doing, I’ve begun to recognize when a conversation between us is taking place.  Without sensing the distinction, I could come away thinking that it had just been me doing all the talking.

“As I pursue You, I find myself”

I said those words to Him, but it then dawned on me that, although I was speaking to Jesus, He was also speaking them back to me:

“As you pursue Me, you find yourself”

I understand that every desire and design that is “Me” was initially in Him.

As a people, Western society emphasizes the pursuit of individual purpose.  We have been influenced to believe that discovering our mission is the Master Key to happiness and fulfillment.

I would not deny the importance of knowing what makes you…you.  It’s important to realize what ‘makes you tick.’  However, I also believe that we often have our method of discovery backward.  Instead of pursuing our purpose as the most important discovery to realizing abundance in our lives, seeking out our fullness in Jesus needs to be at the top of the list of pursuit.

In so doing, I realized one day (well, actually over a period of time), the most fruitful method was not as a theologian.  Although learning about Him has essential value, getting to know and experience Him, with the attitude of a child, is the starting point. In the process, I often find myself curious about researching meanings of words and culture; especially if, during my conversations with Jesus, I’m impressed with specific scripture verses and passages.  Otherwise, a much more straightforward, child-like attitude is my goal for those more relational morning times — or whenever in the day, or evening I pursue a relationship with Him.

“As I Pursue You, I Find Myself.”

As I invest time in developing my own relationship with Jesus, as I would with anyone I really want to know, I am discovering an increasing sense, deep within, of what motivates me, and what gives me a sense of satisfaction.  In other words, what makes me tick; what gives me a deep sense of satisfaction, peace, and joy.

Is it valuable to use other tools to discover our gifts and talents; our design and God-given purpose?  Sure.  The highest priority, however, is realizing who we are in Him.  As we pursue a relationship with Jesus, we increasingly sense where and how we harmonize together.  Experiencing His personality reveals our personality.  It is a marvelous mystery that brings inner clarity.

This truth is something learned by wrapping your heart around it, by faith,  rather than attempting to wrap your head around it rationally.

I invite you to find yourself by pursuing Jesus.

Gary

 

 

Encouraging Journey – Episode 5 – “The Mystery of Encouragement”

(To Listen, select the YouTube Audio Version Below)

Motivational speaker, Les Brown, is quoted as saying, “When life knocks you down, try to land on your back.  Because if you can look up, you can get up.”

The New International Version of Hebrews 3:13  instructs us to encourage each other daily.  Not just once in awhile, or when we feel like it; but every day.  In other words, make it your life-style to be one who encourages others.  Speak to each other in ways that refreshes, or re-strengthens.  This is something anyone can do, and it’s vital ministry.  There’s plenty of discouragement out there.  Be an atmosphere changer…just with the kind of words you broadcast.

You might be thinking, “What if I’m discouraged, myself?  How can I give what I don’t have?  Good questions.  The answer would fall under the category of taking steps of faith.   One description of faith is, ‘Believing a kite can fly even when there’s no wind’…or give encouragement when you, yourself, are discouraged.

And so, feel like it or not, we learn to speak simple words that carry the power of encouragement to others; whether you think the person deserves it or not; whether they seem to receive it or not.

Then you’ll discover something mysterious beginning to happen.  Your own feeling of discouragement begins giving way to a fresh breath of strength within yourself.

Discover, for yourself, the power of encouraging others.

Encouraging Journey – Episode 4 – Prayer: “When You Don’t Know What To Say”

(To Listen, select the YouTube Audio Version Below)

I read a post on Instagram recently that caught my attention.  It said, “Dear God, I don’t know what to say to you, right now, with words.  So, could you please listen to the feelings of my heart, instead.”

Romans 8:25-26 (NIV), “If we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.  In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, (while we are waiting) but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”

If you are of a Pentecostal persuasion, you will assume that I’m going say that this is referring to praying in tongues.  Now, I’m not denying that interpretation.  I believe in praying in tongues.  However, there’s more to be understood.

Up until the 1700’s, prayer was also a matter of heart communication and not just the product of a rational construction of words.  The prayer took the form of heart feelings that were focused, with minimal words, toward God.  Sometimes the pray-er would see and feel the “as if completed” answer as their heart feelings poured out before the Lord.

When Paul was speaking to the Romans, he indicated that the Holy Spirit would partner with the person using – what he called – deep groans, or sighs.  Those are words describing the heart language of emotion.

When you don’t know what to say with words, let the feelings of your heart talk to God.  Don’t put so much confidence in the right words.  Let the deep feelings and visions of your heart articulate your request.

Select YouTube Player to Listen:

Encouraging Journey – Episode 3 – “Where Are You Looking”

(To Listen, select the YouTube Audio Version Below)

Are there shadows in you life right now?

Somebody said, “As we turn our faces to the sun, the shadows fall behind us.”

The same reality is found in the Bible in Hebrews 12:2, “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.”

Have you ever misplaced your car keys?  One day I had an important appointment, and couldn’t find the keys to my car.  In the grip of frustration I said to my wife, “I have to get going and I can’t find my keys!”  As she’s asked me before, “Where have you looked?”  She then made a suggestion…and there they were.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result.  It’s also looking in the same places for you lost car keys expecting them to suddenly re-appear.

Like the car keys, if you need to find encouragement today, my friend, let me ask you, “Where are you looking for it?”  As the song says, “Looking for love in all the wrong places.”  Are you looking for encouragement in all the wrong places?

We find fresh courage…of the real, lasting kind…when we turn our inner eyes away from, and make ourselves stop rehearsing the weight we feel, and instead fix our attention on Jesus the one who authors and completes our confidence.

Be encouraged on your journey, today, by letting Jesus saturate your vision.

(Click Below To Listen)

Encouraging Journey – Episode 2 – Finding God’s Will

(You may select the YouTube Audio version below)

I was recently speaking with someone who had asked me to join them in prayer. They wanted to know the will of God regarding a very important matter.  Maybe you’re in that place right now.

When we’re on a journey of discovering God’s will, we’re usually thinking about some sort of specific.  (What is His will for this or that thing or situation?)

But the place we need to start is in realizing the essence of His heart.  That’s the ‘Master Key’ to the specifics.

In fact, in Scripture, the original words translated ‘will’ also mean ‘desire’.

As is recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, (7:11) “If you being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more, will your Heavenly Father give good gifts to those that ask Him”.

Be encouraged in your journey.  His will is not about knowing His demands, but about increasingly experiencing a Father’s heartbeat for His child.  A revelation of the specifics, in your life, will come together.

As you delight yourself in Him, He will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)

Gary

(Click Below To Listen)

 

Encouraging Journey – Episode #1 – Helping Hope

(YouTube Audio Below Script)

As I was growing up, one of the songs we often sang at my church was, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”.  The second stanza began with the words, ‘Here I raise my Ebenezer”.  My young mind was always puzzled at what it meant to raise an Ebenezer.  The words always brought to mind the old curmudgeon Ebenezer Scrooge?  (I sang along, anyway)

Our minds and hearts are affected by increasing reports as well as personal experiences of what seems like quicksand conditions of the world we’re living in. However, the Author of Hope tells a different story you and I can stand firmly upon.

In the Bible in 1st Samuel 7, God’s people were under siege by a powerful enemy. As they had experienced many times, when they turned to Him, God demonstrated His power on their behalf, and the result was a great deliverance.  The prophet Samuel set up an altar in remembrance and named it, Ebenezer (Stone of Help).

The writer of Hebrews counsels us to “look away from circumstances and unto Jesus.”  A helpful way to do that is Raising our own Ebenezer memorial symbols that trigger memories of our victories with God.

Begin raising your own Ebenzers and discover renewed hope in trying times.

Gary Ellis

Click For YouTube: