Snippets from My Journal #16 November 13, 2018

November 13, 2007   (exactly eleven years ago today)

Lord Jesus, it was written of you in the book of Hebrews that You are ‘the radiance of the Father’s glory, the exact representation of His nature’.  Heb. 1:3  So I guess I could say that you are the mirror image of the Father.  How incredibly awesome is that!

But You say that You want us to be a mirror image of You.  I feel so inadequate! I want to and yet how often I stumble.  Will I ever be able to be a reflection of You, Jesus?

mirror

I heard the Lord reply, ‘No, you won’t; you’re not able but I am.  It is My life within you that will make you a reflection of Who I am. Do not take on a responsibility you are incapable of fulfilling.  Just take Me and let Me do it in you.’

Lord, I’ve given myself to You a hundred times – maybe a thousand times over the years – and I still get frustrated when I want to be like You and I fail.

Jesus: ‘Did you listen to yourself? Did you hear what you just said? It is not by your effort; it’s by your surrender that you become like MeSurrender means to stop resisting, to yield, to give in, to cave in, to back down.  To surrender to Me is a moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day habit of yielding to what My Spirit says to you and what My Word teaches you. It’s actually simple on the one hand and extremely demanding on the other.  The principle is simple; but to live it consistently is where the challenge lies.

I realized as I pondered what the Lord said that the key to living a surrendered life is learning to hear the voice of the Spirit within.  I can’t submit if I don’t hear the instruction.  I can’t yield if I don’t hear the warning.

Lord, I cry out to You for the ear of a disciple. My mind talks too much; it never stops.  It’s as if I have this ‘radio’ on within me, always ‘broadcasting’ thoughts, ideas, feelings, opinions.  How do I turn it off so I can be quiet in Your presence and hear what You say to me?

Yes, Lord.  I heard that. The more I spend time in Your Word, the more my mind will come under discipline.  Thank you, Jesus.  Grant me grace to be faithful.

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Snippets from My Journal #15 November 6, 2018

February 28, 2017

And looking at them, Jesus said to them, ‘With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’  Matthew 19:26

impossible

Lord, forgive me for all the times in my life when I thought that the solution to a situation or circumstance was ‘impossible’.  Forgive me for small thinking!

This present circumstance is only impossible when I measure it by my limited thinking and my limited understanding.  But Your Word says that I ‘have the mind of Christ.’  In Your mind, Jesus, there’s NOTHING impossible about this present situation – absolutely nothing!

You have unlimited ability and creativity to resolve situations and turn circumstances around to Your purposes for my life.  My frame of reference is so limited; yours is limitless.  When I think something is ‘impossible’ it’s only because I’m using limited human measurement or perspective.  Forgive me, Lord, for my limited thinking.

You are outrageously GOOD! You are unlimited and unstoppable, and You delight to do what is beyond our imagination, what exceeds our dreams, and what overwhelms our small thinking.  When You act according to Your infinite wisdom and love towards us, we fall on our faces in awe and wonder at Your greatness and Your glory.

Lord, I love it when You surprise me! I love it when Your answers to my cries are so ‘out of the box’ of my thinking that I am reminded again of how great, how awesome, how loving, how compassionate, how merciful and how utterly amazing You are!

Jesus, I don’t want to live by my human understanding.  Nor do I want to live by the so-called wisdom of this world. I want to live by Your wisdom, Your understanding and Your perfect timing for I know that ‘impossible’ is not in Your heavenly dictionary!

Lord, You know my deep desire – You know the burden of my heart at this time. Lord Jesus, please surprise me again. I cast down every imagination of how You will answer my prayer; I choose to wait on You with full expectation of another heavenly and delightful surprise, for You act according to Your holiness, Your righteousness and Your boundless love.

I love you, Lord. By Your Holy Spirit, grant me grace to fulfill what the Father wrote in my book.

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Note to my readers:  Whatever is happening in your life right now that seems impossible to you, I challenge you to move out of the ‘impossible’ mindset and lock on to God’s limitless possibility and creativity.  There is NOTHING too hard for God; NOTHING impossible with Him.  And His ways are far beyond anything we can imagine, so trust Him and He WILL make the impossible, POSSIBLE!

And He’ll do it in such a way that only HE gets all the glory!

Snippets from my Journal #3 Aug. 21, 2018

Early this morning I asked the Lord what He wanted for this week’s post. When He impressed me to pull out a journal from 20 years ago, I was stunned.  And then when He impressed me to put out the following entry, I was even more stunned – and to be honest, rather hesitant for though I had not reviewed this journal entry for some time, nevertheless I remembered it well and to me, it’s very personal.

But the Lord made abundantly clear that this message was not just for me, but for every devoted disciple of His, particularly in these days, twenty years after He spoke it to me.  So….here goes.

upwardcall

August 21, 1998:  I remember it well.  I was in England, preaching in a number of churches there.  One morning, as I looked out the window to a typically lovely English garden, I felt the Lord’s impression to pick up my journal and wait on Him.  Over the next several minutes, I wrote what I heard in my spirit. I pray it will challenge you as it challenged me that day and has continued to challenge me ever since.

“Since I have called you to be like Me in your spirit, I will draw you into a life of crucifixion and put such demands of obedience upon you, that I will not allow you to simply follow what others do.  You will wonder why other good people do things that I will not allow you to do.

Other Christians and ministers who appear to be very effective may promote themselves, work schemes or pull strings to carry out their plans, but you cannot.  If you do, you will meet with such failure and rebuke from Me as to make you deeply penitent.

Others may be allowed to succeed in making great amounts of money, or have many luxuries, but I will be your daily supply because I want you to have something far better than gold – a helpless dependence on Me so that I may provide your needs from My unseen treasury.

Others may be honored and put forward, while you remain in the background for the choice and fragrant fruit of My Spirit is best produced in the shade.

I will let others become great while you remain small.  I will let others get the credit for what they do for Me, but you will work hard while others get the credit for what you have done, in order that humility may grow and increase in you.

My Holy Spirit will put a strict watch on you with a jealous love and will convict you for little words and feelings or for wasting your time, things which appear small but are the very building blocks of learning to live by My Spirit.

So make up your mind that I am your King, your Lord and the Lover of your soul, and I have the absolute right to do as I please with My very own.  I will not explain everything to you; at times you will be perplexed, puzzled, even dismayed at My dealings with you.

But know this, just as you take Me at My Word, I also take you at your word. You have asked Me to conform you into My image and that is precisely what I intend to do.

Settle it forever that by submitting yourself to Me, I am now in charge.  My Spirit has the right to lead you, to tell you when to speak and when to be quiet, what to say and what not to say, where to go and where not to go.  My Spirit is a Master Teacher to school you in My ways and transform you into My image.  Be thankful for His guardianship over you and resist not His management of your life, for in so doing, you will find the very vestibule of heaven.

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Phil. 3:14

May His word and His ways be manifest in all of our lives.

The Presence of God #2 June 5, 2018

“When God shows up, there is no limit to what can happen,” said the preacher one summer evening many years ago.  His statement floated back into my mind as I was pondering this week’s lesson.

There is no doubt that when the manifest presence of God invades a community that has gathered for worship, that gathering becomes not only memorable but life-impacting for each person present.  I had the privilege of being in just such a gathering last night.  I will never forget it.  Miracles of soul and body occurred, including the healing of a woman who had been afflicted with MS for thirty-one years!  The joy of the Lord invaded the place as the worship ascended powerfully and passionately from the people to the very throne of Almighty God.  It was a night to remember and the tangible sense of His presence still lingers nearly 24 hours later.

manifestpresence

We love the manifestation of God’s presence in our midst and pray to be ever open to however He chooses to grace us with such a tangible Presence.  What we must know just as convincingly, however, is that His ‘unconscious’ Presence is every bit as real as when we feel His closeness.

God has unique ways of letting us know He is with us.  He shows up in unpredictable and unprecedented ways during times of awakening and/or revival.  But the fact remains that He is just as much at work in us and for us when we are UNCONSCIOUS of His presence as when His Spirit blows through our congregational meetings in such power that we literally feel His presence.

We are very much like Peter, James and John on the mount of Transfiguration. Having seen the glory of God as Jesus was transfigured before their eyes, Peter said, “Lord, it’s good for us to be here.”  We would like gatherings like the one I was in last night to be the norm of our experience. But like Peter, James and John, after a powerful worship experience, we have to ‘come down the mountain’ and back into daily life.  Does that mean we relegate what we experienced to a place in our memory and turn away to ‘mundane’ living?  No – what it means is that we take His presence with us into what we otherwise view as ‘mundane’ living.

The unconscious presence of God only means that we don’t feel Him close to us yet He is ALWAYS with us and His presence is more real than what we can see with our eyes or touch with our hands.  It is only the ‘sense’ of His presence that we sometimes lack, NOT His Presence itself!

I am reminded of Jacob.  He left home to run away from his brother, Esau, who wanted to kill him.  Having reached “a certain place” (Gen. 28:11) Jacob took a stone to use as a pillow and went to sleep, tired from his journey.  There was nothing spectacular about the place, no sign that said, ‘This is a sacred spot’.

But as Jacob slept, God visited him in a dream which made Jacob know that the God of his grandfather, Abraham, was his God as well.  The promise God made to Jacob in that dream was too good to be true! (Gen. 28:11-15)  Jacob’s life was radically changed from that moment on.

But notice – Jacob was at a place where he felt nothing at first – no sense of God’s presence, no heavenly music, no fellowship with others of like mind. Just Jacob with his head on a stone, falling asleep.  Yet that very place was pivotal not only for Jacob but for countless millions throughout history.  The name of the place was Bethel, which means ‘the house of God’.

After he woke up from the dream, Jacob said, Surely the LORD is in this place and I did not know it.’ (Gen. 28:16)

Jacob’s declaration is one that we could make many, many times throughout our lives: God IS in this place but I was not aware of it!

The FACT of God’s presence with you twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year is an absolute reality whether you ‘feel’ Him or not.  It’s NOT that He is with us when we feel Him and has left us when we don’t.  NOT AT ALL!

He is with you when you’re struggling and when you’re having fun.

He is with you in your most embarrassing moment and when you have it all together.

He is with you when you’re tired and afraid and when you feel like you could kill a lion with your bare hands.

He is with you when you’ve messed up and when you’ve won a great victory.

He’s with you!  He’s promised it and God cannot lie.

I will never leave you nor forsake you.  Hebrews 13:5

I am with you always, even to the end of the age.  Matt. 28:20

He’s just like that – always with you. Why? Because He passionately loves you and provides you with everything you will ever need to become like His beloved Son.

To enjoy His presence, we all must learn to appreciate His unconscious Presence and honor it by faith even when we don’t feel it.  For without faith it is impossible to please God. Hebrews 11:6

I wish that all of us would frequently experience the kind of gathering we enjoyed last night where the manifest, tangible Presence of God swept over an entire congregation, where everybody was engaged with it and lifted higher in worship and praise.

But I pray as well that our worship and praise, our confidence and trust would be just as  passionate when FAITH is the vehicle rather than feeling.

Keep seeking His Face!