The Warning of Watchman Nee

I wish I had read the quote below as a young woman. But, I wouldn’t have been able to grasp the heart of it.

Spending time with God.

Deliberately. Always. All the time.

Constant, consistent Prayer.

Gut wrenching, pleading Prayer.

Hallelujah, jumping up and down, hands raised, singing Prayer.

Is the One you are talking to the convenient God you send arrow prayers to in the middle of traffic, or as you walk into a meeting?

Is He your backup, your last resort?

Is He the one you turn to when you just can’t face the day and what you know it brings?

I look back and realize that I have missed the point of talking with God many times in my life.

The One we are talking with is at the heart of the matter of Prayer.

I want this generation to know the reason we pray is the same reason we talk to our family, our friends.

Connection.

In order to keep our family and friend relationships vital, we connect as often as we can. In those relationships we are limited by the physical world.

But with God-He is present. Always. Even when we choose not to talk He is here. Now. When we believe in Jesus and His Holy Spirit is in us we always have access. We can always connect. Our relationship with Him that can not be severed

When we get busy, things are hectic and scheduled for us 24/7 we begin to ignore that connection. Like human connections- time passes and distance increases in our hearts and minds. We find more and more we are relying on our own abilities. And this is why this quote hit me in my conscience. I am guilty of just getting on with life in the everyday. I’m doing just fine under my own power.

Until I’m not.

In reading this quote I began to understand. I slip away under my own power. Deceived.

“He [Satan] will take away your prayer life little by little, and cause you to trust God less and less and yourself more and more, a little at a time. He will make you feel somewhat cleverer than before. Step by step, you are misled to rely more on your own gift, and step by step your heart is enticed away from the Lord.” —Watchman Nee

Only when I stay connected in prayer do I find my confidence, my trust in God increases. I can rest in Him. In knowing He does all things well. I stop being confident in myself and in the letting go I can be the me He designed me to be.

 “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6:18

Full Speed Ahead

Like tendrils of mist it comes creeping along, trailing out  behind  me. Swirling at my feet. I fear that if I’m still too long it will overtake me and take hold-this thing called aging.

It carries along with it various infirmities. Each one different, each one of us immune or subject to one or another.

They take silent hold on our lives, strands in the web of life. Slowing us down. Holding us back. Creating drag on forward momentum.

The mirror reflects the gradual change that’s been happening since we were born. Sometimes the speed of the change slows down or speeds up. Suddenly, one day, a look and we don’t quite recognize the face that looks back. More gray, a crease or crevice there, a dark spot that wasn’t there yesterday, a tiredness in the eyes.

Eyes that say “slow down. You need rest.” The body agrees; and less and less is accomplished.

All the while the mind bounds full tilt toward life like a dog greeting its owner at the end of the day.

So much to say. So little time. The words spin around in my head. I grasp at one here, another there. Finally a sentence is formed. If I rush, the wrong words tumble out. Safer to write them down.

Then sabotaged by the relentless spellchecker and auto-correct.

Can’t win.

It’s not until we see death approaching from a distance that we kick into high gear and have so much we want to say, to do, to see, to share with those we will be leaving here to soldier on in our wake.

How do we make the most of it then? How do I?

I find that I must grasp the moment I’m given and hold on. I must speak the words that matter. Must tell the next generation.

They must know Who they believe.

“This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.”- 1 Corinthians 2:13

“I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Saviour through your apostles.”- 2 Peter 3:2

Life IS Hard. Don’t be Afraid of the World

There are times when I wake up and I start reading all the email {insert coffee here} that came in overnight- well, truthfully reading essentials and trashing what I can and leaving some unopened for later when it’s convenient to read. Then there are the times I wake up, start reading the email and it’s just TMI {even with coffee}.

More than I can take in and process. It’s not that I don’t want to know what’s on sale at my favorite shopping spots on the web; it’s not that I don’t want to read a friend’s latest blog post; it’s not that I don’t want to know what’s been dug up by archaeologists and how that relates to scripture and history repeating itself. It’s just information overload. Those days I’m doing good to be breathing and vertical.

Those days I begin to think that having the slate wiped is not such a bad thing. All the way back to Tabula Rasa – the blank slate waiting to be written upon. For new things never thought before, never learned, never believed to be carved upon my heart and mind.  An in real life do-over. {how’s that for weird?}

However, can we un-have an experience, an emotion, a touch, a vision, an overheard conversation? Of course, we can’t. So we bumble along, a jumble of thoughts, memories, emotions, beliefs, likes, dislikes hoping that we don’t make a mess of it along the way.

Yet, we are here for a reason.  Jesus, in praying for the disciples and for future believers, says in John 17:18 “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.”

We have been sent. Right into the thick of it. Scary thought. Right?

 He also tells us: “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” John 14:27b.

I don’t know about you, but when someone tells me not to be afraid or troubled that’s about the time I start being troubled and afraid. Because, by the very way it is spoken, it implies that there are going to be troubling and fearful things we will encounter out there in the world.

The truth of it is that some days we will shut down whether from TMI or from the things at hand. Life is hard. And it doesn’t matter if you live in a pup-tent or a palace- the news of what’s going on in the world can send us over the edge of reason. 

The good news of it all is that Jesus told us that it will be hard, that we will suffer, that the world will hate us because it hates Him. He gave us fair warning of what we will face as His followers.  He knew what we would be facing whether in first century Christianity or in twenty-first century.  We are not alone and we are not blank slates.  “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26

So, we open our email, we trash the irrelevant, we answer the important, we save the ones we want to read later. And, we get on with the day.  We have much to learn about not being alone, troubled and afraid. He has much to teach us.

May all we hear and see and read and reach today remind us that He is with us and this is a life lesson He is teaching us.                

 Are you ready? School is about to start for another day.

Dear reader, thanks for reading my early morning rambling thoughts today.  What’s rambling about in your corner of the world this morning?

 

My Life in a Day

Easter approaches and it comes with the significance of The Substitution made for us and our debt paid for us. 

And today, the words like “we’re all terminal”, “we don’t get what we deserve” and “live each day as if it were your last” float around in my head.

I’ve lived half of my life, two-thirds of my life, three-quarters of my life-most of my life? Only God knows- I trust his timing is perfect.

I found myself thinking of those who’ve left this earth before me. Some much too soon, some lingered long. Some were a joy to be around, some were a joy to be away from. Some I never knew.

Confronting my age makes me more and more aware of the shortness of time we are all given. We are the grass that springs up, lives for a day and then withers back to the dust we came from to fertilize the next generation with what we received during that day. The impact most lives leave to others is fleeting for the most part- our sphere of influence is small and makes the biggest impression on those closest to us.

I feel like my life- the majority of it anyway- has been spent on trying to prove myself worthy, steadfast, faithful, or of some value all the while struggling to understand who on earth I am – on earth.

Out of step, out of place, out of time, uncomfortable in my own skin.

How then do I use this to fertilize and nurture and feed the next generation with what it will need to flourish?

I don’t.

Not with only me in my skin. But when I let the Living God Most High replace me with His Holy Spirit living in me I have all I need to give to the next generation.

And this is what that generation will need to flourish:

Breathe deep the Breath of God. Drink deeply of His Living Water. Bask fully in the Light of His Everlasting Word and sink your roots down into His Will to hold you where He wants you.

Then will my life have meaning for another.

When I show them God- no matter how long or short my day. 

Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants. Deuteronomy 32:2

 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” 1 Peter 1:23-25

Keep on Keeping on…

The past few weeks have been a blur. Since the end of September actually. {don’t tell the family- they think I have it all together in my head and heart}

I reached a low spot this week. After the news of last week’s horrible events- see I can’t even write clearly- I spiraled right down to the bottom.

There have been many things happening around me and in my home and in my life in general, most have been “ok”. If you know me and I say “I’m ok” then you know that I am indeed “ok”.  A few things have been stressful in negative ways, in “not sure where this is going” ways, and in good ways. In my usual internal reaction to input overload I found myself in a “stall”.  

You know, like an airplane stalls; it goes up at a sharp ascent then suddenly the engine just sputters and stalls out and the plane plummets toward earth at ear shattering speed. If the pilot is good, and the plane is better, then it is possible to pull out of the stall thus avoiding the inevitable splat and end of life as one knows it.

For me, this was an internal stall while I still bought groceries, took the cleaning to the dry cleaners, bought Christmas presents, went shopping and out to lunch with friends, baby sat and pulled out the Christmas decorations and started decorating the house.

Notice I said “started”. That’s where the stall became noticeable. To me. I began to see what was happening and the plummet had begun. I became a slug mentally. Emotionally. Spiritually. Thoughts were spinning around in my head so fast I couldn’t connect. The low point came yesterday when one of my blogging group friends asked if I was doing ok. Honestly, I had to respond “no, actually I was not.” Coming to terms with what you are feeling when in that tailspin is the first step toward pulling out. {Thanks, Shannon}

Not long after that, as I was reading input on a FB group, more dear ones {these intuitive ladies- I love you all- you know who you are}  began sending me messages telling me they were praying – Ah, God gives good gifts! Lo and behold, another one spoke of memorizing Hebrews 10. Timely words. Indeed. My curiosity was piqued. I read it not because it was in my mind to memorize it too, but because it comes right before Hebrews 11, in which my go-to verses reside:

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country —a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. Hebrews 11:13-16

When I start to spiral out of control these verses usually remind me that I don’t belong here and that there is something better waiting.  But, this time the Holy Spirit was whispering- read the one before. And I did, all because one friend remarked that she was memorizing this passage. (thanks, Donna)  Deep, down, in the middle of this passage, were the words that were written just for me in this moment in time: 

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. Hebrews 10:35-36

Those few whispered words there in that chapter were all I needed. He provided. 

But wait! That’s not the end of this story! 

Today, another blog friend (bless you) posted on another group about One Word Buttons for our blogs free from Melanie at Only a Breath- http://www.onlyabreath.com/2012/12/theyre-here-free-one-word-blog-buttons/

and then from there I was taken to One Word 365- http://oneword365.com/about/  Where Alece asks folks to choose one word to focus on for the year. This is what she says: “One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live or what you want to achieve by the end of 2012(3). One word that you can focus on every day, all year long. It will take hard work, and will require intentionality and commitment. But if you let it, your word will shape you and your year. It will guide your decisions and help you grow. Discover the big impact one word can make.   One word.    365 days.”

And, that dear friends, is how I came to choose my one word:

Persevere

I end here with Paul’s words to the Philippians (3:12-14)- Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

So, in the coming year, when you see that I’m not quite myself, do me a favor, whisper this one word in my ear?

Persevere

What one word would you choose to propel you forward in 2013?

 

The Battle Within


Battlefields.

The lines are drawn. The soldiers are engaged. The populace is watching. Waiting. Waiting for what? A winner? A loser?

Does it feel like this in your heart? Are you watching, waiting, wondering who will win this time? Can you make it through another battle? What or who is pulling at your heart? Who wants to claim it as their territory? Do you even realize a battle is raging?

The way I see it, there can be only one winner. 

As a believer I’ve struggled so much within to maintain control without. I think I’ve allowed myself to be deceived by thinking what I want is what God wants. After all, I read the Bible, I pray, I study with others regularly, I do my best to walk the walk.

But if the devil can claim victory in the small things-every day things, our resolve in the really big things can be worn down. We compromise and don’t even realize it- our filters are out of focus.

To have the filters in focus 100% of the time I must be surrendered to God’s control 100% of the time. That does not require self-assurance of my own ability to see and know how to choose. It does require total dependence on the Holy Spirit. 

Because all things have consequence and are significant.

God made this world whole and complete to provide all we need. He guarantees it in His word:

“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” Genesis 1:31

“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” Genesis 2:2-3

“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” Matthew 6:31-32

But in my own bull in a china closet mentality I continue to struggle with doing it my way; even when I know it hurts another’s feelings. Of course, once the damage is done, I stop. And realize – I’ve done it again!

 

Exactly what I wrote about not doing just 10 minutes ago. Where are MY filters? In the heat of the moment, in the heat of the battle of will, my ears are closed to the Holy Spirit. But as soon as it’s over, I’m cut to the quick with regret and repentence. And back I go to the Throne asking forgiveness for hammering in that nail:

Knowing I provoked something, that really, I shouldn’t.  

Knowing that I’ve injured another’s heart.

Knowing that I will ask their forgiveness as well.

Knowing that just because my insecurities about not having my way and wanting my opinion respected are boiling up inside doesn’t mean I let them out to wreak havoc.

Knowing that I’ve turned a deaf ear, even when He is saying don’t go there.

Knowing that I’ve been disobedient and have not only caused pain for another person I’ve wounded the very One who died to cover the sin I just committed. 

Knowing I’ve truly missed the mark. Again.

Because it really isn’t all about me. Surrender to self is not an option. It’s about winning the battle to let go of me to become me in HIm. 

The battle is raging-put your armor on.