Clouds

“The clouds are the dust of His feet” ( Nahum 1:3  ). God reveals Himself to us in the clouds.  The next time I look up to see the clouds I will look at them a little differently.

My Utmost for His Highest, July 29:

It is not true to say that God wants to teach us something in our trials. Through every cloud He brings our way, He wants us to unlearn something. His purpose in using the cloud is to simplify our beliefs until our relationship with Him is exactly like that of a child— a relationship simply between God and our own souls, and where other people are but shadows. Until other people become shadows to us, clouds and darkness will be ours every once in a while. Is our relationship with God becoming more simple than it has ever been?

Finding my voice

Last Sunday I (along with several others) was given an opportunity to speak of God’s love and how his love has filled our lives.

The last time I had the opportunity to speak was a couple of years ago when I was explaining to the youth why I would no longer would be their youth pastor.  Back then I spoke of the deep pain I was experiencing through the tragedy of divorce and now a divided family.  I spoke then of how I had nothing inside to give. 

Through many dark days and nights over the next year or so – God was there.  It was hard to see and hear Him but he was.  There were many nights I prayed, “Don’t let me wake up tomorrow!”  I hated the loneliness and the emptiness my life was experiencing.

All the while, God was there.  He was helping me.  In so many different ways he provided.  During that time, He led me through the mine-field of life.  Through the years prior – God had given me some valuable friends who all helped lay a foundation of faith in my life.  It was through this tough time that all the teaching I had done over the years was put to the test.

Today, I am experiencing growth in my life like never before.  I don’t even know how to communicate the hunger, the excitement, and the thoughts that race through me.  I know the deep well of pain has been replaced with His love and grace.  The past year has been one of the most challenging and growth-filled spiritual times in my life!  And today I can say, “This is the time of my life!” I can’t explain it.  I don’t know where all of this is leading… but I am going to ride the wave!

“In the spiritual realm, God only allows us to have as much of Him as our foundation, or life in Him, will support. If we want a powerful ministry that is Spirit-anointed, our house must be built on the Rock.  So when the storms come (and they will) our house will stand.”  A Cry in the Wilderness, Melody Green, xii.

I recall my friend Joel while speaking of Dean say, “Dean has found his voice.”  I am praying at this time I will find my voice and proclaim Him boldly.

I just want to “be”

God, you are amazing!. I am so thrilled that You love me. I know sometimes I get so caught up in my desire to “do” but today – I just want to “be.” I like the wording of Oswald Chambers today, “The only thing that exceeds right-doing is right-being.” If I could I would be somewhere without all the distractions life brings and just sit in Your presence – being. Lord, I know one day I will meet You face to face… it’s on that day that the ultimate state of being will be… for eternity.

“Sometimes it’s hard to see. Sometimes it’s hard to get through to me. But, I want to do all that You ask me to. Help me to follow through. Make everyday a devotion to you. ‘Cause it’s dust to dust until we learn how to trust…”

…I’m putting Your armor on. I’m finding myself so suddenly drawn. Like a moth to a flame whenever I hear Your Name… Keith Green, “Dust to Dust”.

“If you are My disciple, you must be right not only in your actions, but also in your motives, your aspirations, and in the deep recesses of the thoughts of your mind.” Oswald Chambers, Utmost for His Highest, July 24. See Matthew 5:20.

Time to shine

I have always valued the opinion of others tremendously. I understand there is a lot of value in the counsel of others when it comes to making decisions. Over the years, I have probably put too much stock in what others have had to say. To the point of not doing anything – out of fear of what someone may say about what I was attempting to do. (Writing on this blog has helped me some what with this).

There is a place we all must come to in following Christ. The place where we need to be is where we put aside the many voices telling us what we “ought” to do and follow what, “Thus says the Lord.”

I wonder how many believers there are filling up churches in America who are not living out God’s potential in them because of what someone else has said that discouraged them from living in obedience.

I’m afraid the number would be great. I think often times its human pride – the fear of failure – that keeps most from launching out into the deep waters of obedience. The fear of what others may think or say leads us to pleasing others and not the Lord.

Paul explained his meeting with the leaders about his call to preach to the Gentiles. He was sold out on what he was to do and yet felt compelled to make sure that James, Peter, and John were on board with him. But at the end of the day – Paul was going to do what, “Thus says the Lord.” Galatians 2:2 lets us know Paul’s meeting with them was out of obedience to God’s leading. “I went there because God revealed to me that I should go.”

I know I have had some crazy ideas and dreams during my lifetime. Some have been encouraged and some have been questioned with the thought, “I hope he knows what he’s doing!” Some dreams have been fulfilled and others well… who knows what happened to them? 

I was having dinner with a friend the other night. His college aged daughter was there too. She was making her plans for her next trip overseas. His comment to me was, “Don’t you just wish you could go back to her age and dream like that?” Her response was, “These aren’t dreams – these are plans!”

Well, she shut both of our mouths wide opened!

But that’s just it… too often we operate our lives off of our dreams (fantasies) we have. When in reality we need to live in what, “Thus says the Lord.”

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Greater love…

I’m overjoyed… I’m over taken with His love tonight.  This love God has for me… for you… for them.  The love he has to give leads us to respond, “Here am I. Send me!”  To respond to His love any other way would be to deny Him.  I am thankful God has seen fit to love me and that He has chosen me for Himself. 

When you close your eyes and pray, who do you see?  Do you see faces of people he draws your mind to?  My heart is drawn to the men and women serving our country.  I know what I think this means.  I’ve got a few things yet to see Him move. 

I had a moment yesterday much like the moment I had this past Saturday while at a get together.  I sort of just wandered away from the moment to pray.  As I prayed, my mind saw those serving our country overseas.  As I stared at an empty ballfield yesterday and a swimming pool with children playing Saturday – I wondered as to what they (the soldiers) were looking at.  I’m overtaken with this love for them. 

My thoughts have been on those who have gone – and been wounded in battle.  There are hospitals with those who have been wounded in combat in need of God’s love for healing: physically, spiritually and emotionally.  There are others who’ve never seen the hospital – yet they are wounded in heart… emotion… and mind.  There is a great need here. I can’t even begin to imagine.  John 15:13 comes to mind:

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

 

“Here am I. Send me!”

After reading Oswald Chambers on Sunday, Isaiah 6:1 has stayed on my mind.  Here it is almost 1 AM and sleep is difficult to find.  So, I decided to read the rest of the chapter.  I recall listening to Keith Green while laying on my living room floor during my last semester in college.  The song, “Here Am I. Send Me.”

Keith Green challenged so many people to, “Go!”  I recall before attending Lee College stopping by what used to be the Shell gasoline station on Tennessee Street to see my good friend Darrell.  He handed me a pamphlet he had been reading, “Why YOU should go to the mission field“.  This was Keith Green’s final message.  If you have never read it I encourage you to take a few moments to click on the link and read it.

One of the quotes from Keith’s message was, “this generation of Christians is responsible for this generation of sinners.”  This struck me back in the mid 80’s and it does the same now at 1:38 AM in 2008.  We have become comfortable in our Nation.  Too comfortable in our churches and our perfect little lives. 

Isaiah was given a gift as a man to look into heaven and see the Lord seated on the throne.  He was given the incredible pleasure to listen in.  This is what he heard,

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.  Isaiah 6:3.

Isaiah immediately confesses his sin and was forgiven. 

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
      And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”  Isaiah 6:8

We are all called to GO!  For some it is across the street or across town… for others it is across the world.  When you hear the Lord say, “Whom shall I send?”  Don’t delay.  Be like Isaiah in your response.