Monthly Archives: July 2012
WEATHER: I don’t have to tell most of you that this country is in an extreme heat and drought situation. Living in farm country, every day the news tells us how much damage the crops are suffering because of the lack of rain. It’s easy for the untrained eye to see it as the corn stalks wither and brown in the heat. Farmers struggle to keep their hogs cooled. Gardeners usually fight Japanese Beetles this time of year are also struggling to keep their gardens watered sufficiently. It’s not “fun” to be outside, especially in the sun. And at night we can’t even enjoy a fire either because of the heat or the burn ban restrictions. When a cloud appears in the sky or there is the slightest breeze or drop in temperature our hopes soar that rain and cooler weather are coming.
NEWS: It’s very discouraging to listen to the news these days from two innocent girls missing in Iowa to the inexplicable shootings in Colorado, suicide bombers, robberies, life-altering illnesses – the list continues. We look for any glimmer of hope in the tragedies.
David was in a similar situation when he as in the wilderness of Judah. He was feeling totally drained and L-O-N-G-E-D for God’s presence. David lived a life being hunted by the king, hiding in the desert and not being able to go to the Temple to worship God. Psalm 63 describes some of that longing. David remembers that he has seen God in the sanctuary and gazed upon God’s power and glory. He praises God for His unfailing love and care.
Have you ever been in a spiritual wasteland where you are struggling for nourishment? I have. Following my husband’s heart procedure and other issues, I felt drained. I KNEW God was there caring for me and even carrying me through the tough times, but I couldn’t FEEL Him. Somehow the inner assurance seemed to have evaporated in the heat of trials. After I wrote Practice! Practice! Practice! a dear friend reminded me of a simple book that I hadn’t looked at for a while – Invitation to Solitude and Silence, by Ruth Haley Barton. I picked it up again and have been enjoying my morning time with God just BEING in His presence.
There is such a blessing that occurs from spending time with God – not on the fly as our guest pastor said Sunday; praying on the go, listening to Christian music, quickly reading a 2 minute devotional – all of which are good. But there is an importance of being thoroughly drenched and refreshed by BEING in God’s presence. Whether it is simply picking up His word and reading a verse or a portion of scripture and then just sitting there, thinking about it, thanking God for His word, listening to what He might have to say.
As much as we are physically craving rain to water the earth these days, how much more should we be thirsting, longing, craving for God to fill us spiritually?
I want to encourage you – and myself – to spend that much needed time IN God’s word, WITH Him – just BEING in His presence and letting Him minister to your needs. It’s not easy and it’s not just sitting there. It is actively waiting and listening for what God will place on your heart. Watch, pray. It’s incredible how God blesses, not only in those moments, but continues to shower you with His love, grace and care in the hours and days following your time with Him.
I thought I’d share a song from one of my favorite musicians is Fernando Ortega. He has captured Psalm 63 beautifully in O God, You are My God. I pray that you will be blessed with some time this week just BEING in God’s presence and letting the Holy Spirit fill you to overflowing so that you are spiritually refreshed and nourished ~ Faye
I’ve just finished reading this post and wanted to share it with you if you haven’t already seen this beautiful testimony to God’s love and presence in the midst of a terrible storm.
I hope and pray you and many others are as blessed by these words as I have been following the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado.
Blessings for God’s peace and presence to all who are impacted ~ Faye
Years ago I took piano lessons. I hated doing scales and wanted to just sit down and play the songs I enjoyed. Of course, those who play piano realize that practicing those arpeggios is what helps to make the fingers move with greater dexterity over the keyboard. My mom would set the timer, set it on the piano and I would begin practicing. I know there were many times I moved the timer a minute, and the next day two minutes faster, and so on. I HATED to practice, I just wanted to PLAY.
I was reading the July/August Worship Leader magazine, and a few things caught my attention.
Spontaneity often comes from practice being made perfect. Seems like an irony, but listen to this quote from Ben Patterson on the honing of our skills and spontaneity in our worship: “A good metaphor for the true freedom of disciplined Christian worship can be found in the dancer’s art. Nothing looks more free and spontaneous than a great dancer performing. But beneath all of that freedom and spontaneity are years of drills, repetition, sweat, strain and more drills. Sunday morning worship is to the rest of our lives what cultivation is to a garden. We weed, prune, water and feed to the end that the garden may be beautiful – spontaneous – gardens are not; disciplined – gardens are.” (go.wlmag.com/wlpatterson)
In an article by Rick Lee James, titled Billy Joel Taught Me How to Pray, James tells how Joel shared his routine for writing songs. He would sit at his piano for at least one hour a day. He’d play scales, familiar tunes, or anything that came to mind. Sometimes that period of time would drag on when no creativity surfaced, but other times one hour turned to many more as he showed up at the piano, got involved and waited for something to happen. Joel noted that “If I hadn’t been there, I would have missed it.” James likens this to spending time with God. How often does God want to shower us with His blessings, encourage us with His words, or enfold us in His love but we are too busy running. Some of the things we are so busy with are good things like taking kids to their next practice or leading worship a worship service. But we’ve allowed the busyness to encroach on our personal time with God. Just spending time with Him. Meditating on who God is. Being filled with Him.
Sometimes we are so busy doing things for God that we don’t take the time to just BE WITH GOD.
At times it is very frustrating to continue bringing the same requests for a loved one to God in prayer when it seems like the prayers are never answered. In reality, those requests are not unheard. They are shaping, preparing and posturing us in our relationship with God. So many times during the quiet periods from God where it seems like He isn’t listening we grow frustrated and want to quit spending time with Him. When in reality if we keep “showing up” for time with God He surprises us in ways very unexpected and often more meaningful.
Our church is encouraging each other to share the gospel message of God’s salvation plan through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. This can happen off the cuff in conversations, but more often than not, the conversation flows much easier when we’ve spent time with God. For me sometimes the hardest thing to do is sit still with NO distractions and just BE in God’s presence. However, when I “practice” it on a regular basis – it becomes more precious and incredibly spontaneous, personal worship occurs.
Due to some personal challenges recently, I’ve had to lean on God a lot, and yet I have felt so drained because I let the busyness of the circumstances steal my focus on just BEING before the face of God. I need to get back to my Billy Joel teaching – “If I hadn’t been there – I would have missed it.” I need to spend much needed time with God, for when I do – He blesses me in ways that are too wonderful for me to comprehend. One of those was standing at church yesterday talking with two precious friends and receiving their reminders of God’s love and grace through the difficult times and the blessing of just BEING with God.
Celebrating the abundant blessing of God’s encouragement to “Practice, practice, practice!” ~ Faye
What a blessing to know that the best is yet to come. God is saving the absolute best gift for us – when we will see Him as He is. God will be revealed to us in ALL His resplendent glory. Moses saw only a glimpse of the backside of God and was transformed by His radiance.
Exodus 33:17-23 – The Lord replied to Moses, “I will indeed do what you have asked, for I look favorably on you, and I know you by name.” Moses responded, “Then show me Your glorious presence.” The Lord replied, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will call out My name, Yahweh, before you. For I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose. But you may not look directly at My face, for no one may see Me and live.” The Lord continued, “Look, stand near Me on this rock. As My glorious presence passes by, I will hide you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove My hand and let you see Me from behind. But My face will not be seen.”
Exodus 34: 29-30 – When Moses came down Mount Sinai carrying the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, he wasn’t aware that his face had become radiant because he had spoken to the Lord. So when Aaron and the people of Israel saw the radiance of Moses’ face, they were afraid to come near him.
The people all knew Moses had been in the presence of the Lord because God’s splendor shown on Moses. Can you imagine what happens the day we stand before God? We will be transformed – in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye.
God blesses our lives with so many good things – family, friends, His grace and mercy, wisdom, insight, joy and peace to name a few. But there will be a day when all the pains and difficulties of this life will be left behind. We will receive the ultimate healing in life – those who believe in Jesus Christ, as their Lord and Savior, will stand before Him and He will show us His face. The Lord’s face will shine on us and His countenance will shine upon us and we will be filled with His grace and peace.
We have incredibly abundant blessings today through God’s grace. However, we go through each day knowing that the best is yet to come – when we will see God face to face ~ Faye