Archive for 2010

December 10, 2010 – Higher Ways

The past few months I have found myself questioning the purpose of things that have happened in my life and in the lives of those I love.   I am always praying and seeking God’s will, but it just seems as though the purpose is so concealed, so hidden.  I believe I have heard people say they wonder if their prayers go higher than the ceiling.  Yes, that has been my thought process lately.

This is especially true when there is someone who is needing salvation from their pointless, dark, and destructive lifestyle.  I’m not always led to pray for everyone, but every now and then, a ‘someone’ is put in my path, in my life, and then in my heart in such a way that I cannot NOT keep praying for their souls, their lives, their spirits, their minds.   Yet, there is no evidence of any changes in their life or if there are, in my case, it seems as if the issues become worse!  As I sought out the Lord regarding this, He reminded me of the verse in Zechariah,   “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the YHVH of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).

Of course I stare at the words and realize that I want something, some evidence of fruit through my prayers and my actions.  Yet, that is not how the Lord of Hosts works.  He then reminds me of his words to Isaiah,  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares YHVH. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Of course these words always bring my lofty thoughts back down to earth where I actually live and breathe realizing to Him I sound like a little field mouse telling the big lion what to do.    God works in ways that well, I don’t.  I may want someone’s  eyes opened today to the spiritual blessings of knowing Yeshua, but maybe tomorrow or next week or next year would be the better time.  I’m impatient.   Yet the following verses in Isaiah 55 hold a promise:

“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without water the earth and making it bud and flourish so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my Word that goes out from my mouth:  It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10-11).

The point, I’m realizing, is that the Word, when I speak it, write, it, share it so another can hear it, will accomplish what YHVH desires it to accomplish, not necessarily what I think it should accomplish.  It will not return to Him empty though for me, it may seem that way.  Until He’s ready to open MY eyes,  I can only be the willing vessel and take His Word to that ‘someone.’

“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 6:7-9).

©2010 Tentstake Ministries

December 9, 2010 – Come Out From Them

Bored again!  I sat in my Sunday school class bored as always.  As had become the norm in my life for several years, I lost any interest in the discussions that went on around me in that class or any other we attended.     No one ever talked about anything substantial and so much was repetitive or pointless.  I was already saved by grace, but it seemed like that is all anyone talked about.  Salvation.  Grace.    I was hungry for more, but there was never more.   My mind would wander or I would look ‘interested’ by opening and reading my Bible.

For several years, my husband and I had been searching out the Jewish roots of our faith.  We had been learning about the Sabbath and the Festivals of the Lord and tried desperately to incorporate them into our Christian lives.  We shared what we could with others in our church only to be looked at strangely or told we were ‘falling away’ from the grace of God and His salvation.  Without knowing anyone else who was seeking these things, we always felt alone.   We continued with our Sunday activities because we were warned about ‘forsaking the fellowship,”  but there was always something missing – FELLOWSHIP.  This particular boring day changed the course of our walk with the Lord.

“Therefore, come out from them and be separate,’  says the Lord.  ‘Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.’  And, ‘I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty.  Therefore since we have these promises dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God” (2 Corinthians 6:17-7:1).

I could barely contain myself.  I wanted to whisper in my husband’s ear; I wanted to shout to the class the things I had just read about what it meant to be a son or daughter of the Father.   This was the most exciting moment in Sunday school history for me!  I looked around the room and knew none of them would have the same eyes to see or ears to hear.  I re-read the verses and wondered about some of things that I did not understand.

What did it mean to contaminate body and spirit?  What did it mean to purify OURSELVES?  What did perfecting holiness out of reverence for God look like?  What was clean?  What was unclean?  I turned to my little Concordance for ‘unclean’  and began reading in Leviticus 11 about animals that were considered food and animals that were not.  My eyes opened.  I saw that there were things like lying, lust, and anger that contaminated the spirit, but now I saw that there were things like unclean foods and behaviors that contaminated the body.

Later that day, I shared my new-found understanding with a soon-to-be seminary student.  Needless to say,  his response was less than encouraging.  He came at me from every angle under the sun to refute any ideas I might have regarding my own responsibility in a relationship with the Lord.   According to him, the relationship was one-sided.  Jesus had done everything on the cross that needed to be done, and that which he hadn’t done, the cross removed from our lives.  We just have to believe, that’s all.  No other response. He continued his rebuke saying that if  I would choose to eat the foods that God called clean, I would put myself back ‘under the law’ and would need to be ‘circumcised.’  My head spun.

I opened my Bible again to 2 Corinthians. The words stared back at me.

“Therefore come out from them and be separate,’ says the Lord.” Those words suddenly took on a new meaning.  YHVH was speaking directly to my husband and I.    It was time to obey and come out from ‘them.’  It was time to purify ourselves from everything that did not bring forth holiness out of reverence for God whether or not we completely understood.    It was time to stop forsaking fellowship with our heavenly Father out of fear of earthly men.  It was time to submit to God and learn His thoughts and His ways and receive His promises.

That was in 1994.  We have never looked back.

 

©2010 jsixrock

December 8, 2010 – My First Bible Verse

When I was in fifth grade, my parents went ‘church hopping.’  (This isn’t a new concept as this was in the late 1960s.)  We finally went, for a short time, to a Church of the Brethren which was very different from our Lutheran background.  I don’t remember much about the church, but I do have one memory of one Sunday school class.

This particular day I was given a slip of paper by the teacher.    On the paper she had written a Scripture verse.  I stared at the verse.   It was the first time anyone had ever given me a Scripture and I read it over and over.   I’m sure that teacher had no idea how I valued that strip of paper. That verse planted the most important seed in my life.  It became the foundation of my walk and understanding of the Lord.  I kept that strip of paper in my Bible for about 35 years until I gave it to my oldest daughter when she turned 12.

“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever”

(Isaiah 40:8).

December 7, 2010 – Psalm 143

“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground”  (Psalm 143:9-11).

Psalm 143 takes me back to a time when I was about 16 years old.  I grew up in church and went to church every time the doors were opened.  Though I loved God, I  felt that church inhibited my social life in school.  This particular night was a Lenten service and I was just plain ol’ sick of attending church.  I fought with my parents and even told them I hated God.  I went to my room, took my Bible and stomped on it over and over with tears in my eyes.  My argument failed and I still had to go to church.

That evening was different than the previous weeks.  For whatever reason, we read a Scripture corporately before entering the sanctuary.  This was highly unusual because I do not remember reading Scripture at ALL growing up Lutheran.  Everything was in the hymnal or pre-printed.  So, reading an actual Scripture (pre-printed though it was) was different.

As I read through Psalm 143, I really began to cry.  The words “answer me quickly, LORD, my spirit fails” were nothing but the truth at that time.  “Rescue me from my enemies” also seemed to fit the suffering I  believed was happening in my teen life.   I clung to “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love for I have put my trust in you”. The morning did bring a surprise, but even that ended too soon.

Psalm 143, however, became THE Psalm in which I knew God was talking to me or at least hearing my cry for help.  Thirty-six years later, I see how He did answer my cry – not the cry of a teenager whose world was built on social and emotional foundations, but the cry that person whom the Father knew was crying inside of my spiritual being desiring to be set free.

For the past 30 plus years, God has been teaching me His incredible will through His Word and His Spirit has been leading me on not only level ground, but firm and stable ground.  He has taken my life from a pit of deception and given me an incredible life in Him.  I have learned about His goodness through the preservation of my life in times of serious illness and miscarriages.  I have witnessed Him silence not only my enemies, but also THE enemy that endangered my life and the lives of my children.    I have come to know His unfailing love in so many circumstances that seemed to make no sense, but had great purpose.   Today, I read Psalm 143 with victory and assurance of my faith, hope, and love in Yeshua, my salvation.

“I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.  I spread out my hands to you …” (Psalm 143:5-6).

Archives

You are currently browsing the Tent Stake Ministries blog archives for the year 2010.