Snippets from My Journal #9 Sept. 25, 2018

Nov. 16, 2014

A new perspective on Psalm 139 – it’s a psalm for disciples. I never saw it that way before.

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First the Lord tells me that He knows me…really knows me…in verses 1-6.  Looking up the Hebrew was enlightening. The words He uses mean that He knows me intimately, better than I know myself.

God is like a detective, tracking even my most mundane activities, watching me when I think I’m alone, understanding what makes me tick and why I do what I do.  He penetrates past my ‘best foot forward’. He has such a grasp of me that He knows precisely what I will say or do next as if it had already been said and done.

He knows my heart, my thoughts, my dreams, my motives and my frustrations.  He knows my past, my present and my future.  He understands me. He ‘gets’ me.  He has me pegged better than I do.  I think my motive for doing something is this when God knows it’s that.

And with all that, He LOVES me….simple, everyday me….unconditionally.  In His kingdom there’s no such thing as a ‘nobody’.  Amazing love!

Secondly, He pursues me.  David is astounded and so am I! Verse 6 literally means ‘this is beyond me; it’s overwhelming!’  How true!

David’s reaction – and mine – to such incomprehensible love is a holy fear.  “Where can I hide?”  (vs. 7-12)  He knows what I did last week, last year, yesterday…but He tracks my path.  He doesn’t let me run away (vs. 10), not to point an accusing finger but to give me grace.  He wants to remain involved in my life – simple, everyday me!

Why? Because He wants me….He wants me…Incredible love, how can it be?  It makes me think of the story I heard about a little girl with a cleft palate. She was convinced that nobody outside her family could love her.  One day at school, the teacher was conducting hearing tests. The little girl had to stand with her back to the teacher, cover one ear and then the other,  She expected to hear something like ‘What color are your shoes?’ or ‘What’s your favorite food?’ Instead, the teacher whispered, ‘I wish you were my little girl.’

That’s how God loves us. Whatever things about ourselves we see as ugly, He still whispers, ‘I want you to be My little girl or My little boy.’  Reminds me of the scripture,‘Unless you become as little children, you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.’

Thirdly, God Himself made me – vs. 13-16 The words ‘knit together’ made me think of my Mom who was a seamstress. How many times I watched her create beautiful wedding gowns, with intricate details, one stitch at a time, a labor of love.

It fascinates me that in the Hebrew, vs. 13 literally suggests that after God made me, He threw away the mold! No duplicates, no assembly line!  Totally unique – all of us are one of a kind.  There’s never been and there never will be another me.  He chose the personality, the abilities, the spiritual gifts and the specific purpose that sets me apart for Him.

So when I look in the mirror and find fault with what I see, I need to repent and say with David, ‘I am fearfully and wonderfully made.’  That’s the only reasonable response if I’m a disciple!  My life is about doing His will; it’s not about me.

Fourthly, He has a detailed plan for my life (vs. 16-18)  It blows my mind that God wrote a book about me, long before creation! (Jeremiah 29:11) He wrote it with boundless love besides! He mapped out the details of my life; in fact, in the Hebrew it says that He literally created each day of my life, tailoring the circumstances, establishing boundaries and fashioning opportunities for His glory and for my good.

And He didn’t just write the plan and then forget about it. He greets me every morning with fresh and new opportunities; He’s prepared to walk through each new day with me because He decided that He loves my company.  How incredible is that!

Lord, I repent for every time I allowed another human being to define me. I repent for drawing conclusions about myself based on their opinions or even my own opinion of myself.  As truly as you turned a Saul of Tarsus into a Paul the Apostle, you change each of us by your indwelling Spirit.  I want to agree with who YOU say I am!

I am not my own; I’ve been bought with a supreme price!  Jesus didn’t take out a mortgage on me so that I’m half His and half my own. He paid full price!

My ONLY reasonable response is to live my life as one huge ‘YES’ to Him, to seek Him, to come to know Him and to love Him with every fiber of my being.

Snippets from My Journal #7 9/17/18

December 28, 2016

Jesus said: There is so much more I would like to say to you, but it’s more than you can grasp at this moment.  But when the truth-giving Spirit comes, He will unveil the reality of every truth within you. He won’t speak his own message but only what He hears from the Father, and He will reveal prophetically to you what is to come.  He will glorify Me on earth for He will receive from Me what is Mine and reveal it to you.  John 16: 12-14

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We have received only two commandments regarding the Holy Spirit:

Do not quench the Spirit. I Thess. 5:19

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30

To grieve the Spirit is to refuse to allow Him to BE what He wants to BE in and through us.

To quench Him is to refuse to allow Him to DO what He wants to DO in and through us.

The Holy Spirit never pushes Himself; He is never rude or demanding.  He is the still small voice in our spirits that leads and guides us.  We must adjust to Him; He does not adjust to us.

If I’m driving down an unfamiliar road and get lost, my destination doesn’t move to where I am.  I must consult the map, figure out where I went wrong and adjust the route to reach my intended destination.  Sometimes the Holy Spirit acts as my map – He gently points out that I’m off course and I need to turn around and get back on the right road.

Perhaps God chose to depict the Holy Spirit as a dove because the turtledove is a very shy, harmless, innocent bird.  The word ‘harmless’ used here means ‘pure and morally innocent.’  It describes someone who has not been corrupted. The Holy Spirit is pure wisdom and grace.

The dove is quite different from these pesky pigeons we deal with all the time in Israel. They’re not the least bit shy, they make a mess of our balconies and waddle right up to the window and look in.  A dove would never do that!

Lord, train me to be more sensitive to the Holy Spirit within me.  I know that I don’t lose my salvation when I grieve Him but I certainly do lose the sense of His sweet presence. It is written of Jesus that the Spirit of the Lord descended upon Him and remained with Him.  John 1:32  The Spirit remained with you because You, Jesus, never grieved Him nor did you ever quench Him.

Make me like You, Lord. I throw myself on Your grace asking that You will empower me to be promptly obedient to the voice of Your Spirit within me.  So work in me that your Spirit will feel at home with me like He did with you, Jesus.

To become more and more like You, Lord, is to be conscious of the Spirit’s presence within me and to order my behavior in such a way as to give Him a comfortable home in my spirit.  It’s impossible in my own strength; so I throw myself on Your unending grace and I ask You, Jesus, to do that work in me.

Snippets from My Journal #6 9/11, 2018

January 27, 2017

I heard the Lord say: My people live as though their bodies are their own and they can do what they please with them. Why do they not see that this is the very argument of the abortionists?  My people abort what I have deposited in them – My very Presence – by indulging the flesh as if it was their private possession.  “But you have been bought with a price; you are not your own.  Therefore, glorify God with your body.”  I Cor. 6:20

Forgive me, Lord, for indulging my flesh. Forgive me, Lord, I repent.

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More important than the fact that You created me, more important than the fact that You sustain me, is the truth that You bought me at the cost of Your precious Blood.  That is the most powerful reason for seeking holiness.

You paid an enormous price. Not with silver and gold did You purchase me. You took the punishment that was due to me.  You bared Your back to the whips, said nothing when they crowned You with thorns or when they drove in the nails, suffered the insults of those who mocked You as You were dying and prayed only, ‘Father, forgive them.’  I shudder to think how many times You have said those three words since.  How many times have You turned to the Father and said, “Father, forgive her”?

The price was priceless.

As certain as I am saved by Your shed Blood, just as certain is it that I was bought with a price and therefore am no longer the landlord of my body and my possessions.

The greatest event of my biography is not the day I was born, but the day I was born again; the day I accepted that I had been bought with an exceedingly high price, the day I began to learn that there is no ruler as tyrannical as my ego.  “Self ” is a fierce dictator, a terrible oppressor, and a cruel slave driver.

My five senses were not given to me to injure or pollute what Christ has paid for.  He did not save me to waste my time on worthless pursuits. He did not purchase me to pamper myself.

Jesus did not take out a mortgage on me – He paid in full.  Therefore I am not partly His and partly mine, as a house is partly mine and partly the bank’s.

Therefore, the commandment is clear: “Glorify God with your body.”  I Cor. 6:20b

Lord Jesus, Your word says that my body is a temple of Your Holy Spirit. Cleanse this temple, arrange and re-arrange however You want to, re-decorate this house to Your liking, clean out whatever needs to be cleaned out and make this house of my body a place that You find pleasing and comfortable to live in.

I throw myself on Your unfailing grace for it is You – and You alone – who are at work in me to will and to do Your good pleasure.  I trust You as the owner of everything I am and have to make me into what pleases You, Jesus.

 

Snippets from My Journal #5 9/4/18

April 15, 2016

The topic that never stops demanding from us……forgiveness.

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A young Joseph, the darling of his father, is betrayed by his brothers, thrown in a pit and then sold to slave-traders.  To add insult to injury, he is later falsely accused of sexual impropriety at a time when life had just gotten better for him.  The false accusation lands him in prison for several years.

Finally he is vindicated and not only that, but raised to the second highest position in the land.  Life is really good now – a palace to live in, a new wife to love, an authority to exercise over the nation.  His wisdom is the talk of the town; his administrative decisions are followed to the letter.  Famine is coming and he prepares the nation for survival.

Then one day travelers show up from the nearby land of Canaan.  Joseph recognizes them immediately – his brothers, the very ones who betrayed him. They have no clue who he is for no son of Jacob would ever be expected to look and dress like an Egyptian.

Fast forward to the day that Joseph is revealed himself to his brothers.

Joseph put everybody else out of the room so there was no one with him when he revealed his true identity to his brothers.  (Gen. 45:1)  He let his brothers save face.

Do you suppose the Joseph was immune to the temptation to take revenge – or at least to embarrass his brothers in front of the Egyptians? Do you suppose that Joseph never had the thought of ‘getting even’ go through his mind?  Of course he did – he was human. But through his years of suffering he had learned a few things and we get the benefit of seeing what it’s like when a servant of God has a sanctified tongue.

Our flesh is inclined to get even with those who have hurt us by destroying their credibility.  We can’t stand to see people who’ve hurt us be admired by others.  The flesh wants to make sure that they “feel guilty” and are “very sorry” before we forgive them.

Joseph had plenty of reason to feel that way but he chose to protect the self-worth of his brothers instead.  He did not shame them in front of the Egyptians.

As if that was not impressive enough, he took it a step further and even protected their dark secret from his father.  He would not let them tell Jacob what had really happened.  (Gen. 45: 9-11)  And he provided for them all – they and their families – throughout the remainder of the famine.

Total forgiveness says I no longer hold this against you, I will not keep bringing it up and I will not going around telling everybody what you did to me.

Too difficult?

Think of it this way.  Has God ever tattled on you to someone else?  Or does He forgive you when you repent, wash away your sin and promise to ‘remember it no more’?

Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.  Matthew 5:12

Joseph is a great example of total forgiveness, but there is an even greater One – the Lord Himself.

Why do you think He included that verse in the Lord’s prayer?  Because He knew that we would get hurt.  It’s part of life! It just happens.  Many times it’s not deliberate and other times it is.  That’s not the point with Jesus.  He just says, ‘Forgive as you have been forgiven.’

If you’re struggling today with a hurt or an insult whether it was recent or happened years ago, give it to Him. Let Him take it, heal you and set you free from the prison of unforgiveness.

It may be the greatest thing you do for yourself this Tuesday.