Saturday, 15 December 2012

With Mine Eye

I will instruct thee and teach thee the way in which thou shalt go; I will counsel thee with Mine eye upon thee. (Psalm 32:8)
I'm depending on You, Father. You know I can't find my own way.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

From the Wilderness, Leaning

Who is this that comes up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved? (Song of Solomon 8:5)
Between the leaving of Egypt and the Promised Land lies a wilderness. Jesus' step out was his baptism, and he went directly into the wilderness, where he was hungry and tempted. When he returned, there was no turning back on the road to the cross. After Joseph's dream came betrayal and Pharoah's prison. Moses, after admitting his identity as a Jew, became an exile in Midian. Elijah, after proving the power of God openly, went running into the wilderness to hide from an angry Jezebel. After he was named king of Israel, David was on the run from Saul for years, living in the woods and hiding in caves. Paul, after meeting Jesus on the Damascus road, was taken away to Arabia.

Why the wilderness? I don't know. The length of time is different for everybody, and maybe so is the purpose...except for this one: they all seem to come out leaning. Even Jesus, Son of God, was ministered to by an angel.

Let me too, Father, come out of my wilderness leaning on my Beloved. Keep me from complaining and hopelessness and restless wishing. Lead me, too, by cloud and fire. Come with me through this wilderness. And help me to remember that this is not the end, but the way You have planned to the place You have promised.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Learning to Dance

I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, and in his word do I hope. (Psalm 130:5)
My soul, wait you only upon God; for my expectation is from him. (Psalm 62:5)
...our fear is that the very things our Lord stood for— love, justice, forgiveness, and kindness among men— will not win out in the end and will represent an unattainable goal for us. Then there is the call to spiritual perseverance. A call not to hang on and do nothing, but to work deliberately, knowing with certainty that God will never be defeated.
If our hopes seem to be experiencing disappointment right now, it simply means that they are being purified. Every hope or dream of the human mind will be fulfilled if it is noble and of God. But one of the greatest stresses in life is the stress of waiting for God. He brings fulfillment, “because you have kept My command to persevere . . .” Revelation 3:10. (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest)
It's like learning to dance, this watching and waiting and moving along with God. I've never been good at dancing. Instead of understanding, it takes training. Trying. Failing. Trying again. But the pipers are piping, and I've avoided this dance for a long time, and the Lover of my soul holds out His hand again. He is patient with my stumbling and overstepping and I am embarrassed but grateful, and there is grace in this waiting, stepping, stopping, turning. Jesus bends low. He takes me by the hand, and how can I tell Him, "No"?
My soul faints for your salvation: but I hope in your word.(Psalm 119:81)
And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation. (Isaiah 25:9)
 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart: wait, I say, on the Lord. (Psalm 27:14)
And this Gospel? It doesn’t come wrapped in twinkling lights and satin bows; it comes straight into our pitchest black. The Gospel of Christ, it’s a messy, bloody thing and this is how God was born, bloody and bruised, and that’s how God chose to die, bloody and beaten. And our God, He knows the comings and goings of our blackest bloody battles, and this is exactly where He meets us. (Ann Voskamp,
My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise. (Psalm 57:7)

Wednesday, 5 December 2012


Father, I don't know what You are doing, but I know that You are Good and merciful. My mind runs in circles and I cannot trust myself or my understanding. I don't know how to see, but take me Your way. I am in Your hand. Hold me when the tension grows great and I am tempted to squirm and scream. Fold me in grace and continue to give me Your Good.
Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the word of his servant? Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God. (Isaiah 50:10)

I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. (John 12:46)

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Into Your Hands

No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all his efforts to search it out, man cannot discover its meaning. Even if a wise man claims he knows, he cannot really comprehend it. So I reflected on all this and concluded that the righteous and the wise and what they do are in God’s hands, but no man knows whether love or hate awaits him. (Ecclesiastes 8:16, 9:1)
The Lord will perfect that which concerns me: your mercy, O Lord, endures forever: forsake not the works of your own hands. (Psalm 138:8)
Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble: my eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my body...I am like a broken vessel...But I trusted in you, O Lord: I said, you are my God. My times are in your me for your mercies' sake. Let me not be ashamed, O Lord; for I have called upon you...Oh how great is your goodness, which you have laid up for them that fear you; which you have wrought for them that trust in you before the sons of men! You shall hide them in the secret of your presence from the pride of man...For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before your eyes: nevertheless you heard the voice of my supplications when I cried unto you. (Psalm 31:9, 12, 14-17, 19, 20, 22)
When the devil comes with His subtle questions and insinuations, refer Him to your Lord, in whose hands your times are placed. When you have a lawsuit, the opposite side will likely come and talk with you, to see if they can get something out of you. It will be your wisdom to reply, “If you have anything to say, say it to my solicitor.” If the devil comes to you and you get into an argument with him, he will beat you, for he is a very ancient lawyer and he has been at the business for so many ages that you cannot match him. Send him to your Advocate! Refer him to the Wonderful, the Counselor! Always shelter beneath this fact, “My times are in His hand. I have left the whole business to Another and I cannot dishonor Him by meddling.” Satan knows the Christ too well to go to Him—he knows the taste of His broadsword, of, “It is written.” He will not contest with Jesus if we leave Him to plead the causes of our soul! (C. H. Spurgeon)
Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment. (John 12:3)
I cannot, like Mary, touch You, Lord Jesus, but accept these tears as my ointment poured out. You alone know the cost. I fall at Your feet. Lovely feet, pierced for me. How can I doubt You?
"At any cost, by any road" means nothing self-chosen in the way God brings us to the goal.
There is no possibility of questioning God when He speaks, if He speaks to His own nature in me. Prompt obedience is the only result. When Jesus says, "Come," I simply come; when He says, "Let go," I let go; when He says, "Trust God in this matter," I trust. This work of obedience is the evidence that the nature of God is in me....
It is through the discipline of obedience that I get to the place where Abraham was and I see who God is. God will never be real to me until I come face to face with Him in Jesus Christ. Then I will know and can boldly proclaim,
"In all the world, my God, there is none but Thee, there is none but Thee."
(Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, November 17)
Jesus Christ will not help me to obey Him, I must obey Him; and when I do obey Him, I fulfil my spiritual destiny. My personal life may be crowded with small petty incidents, altogether unnoticeable and mean; but if I obey Jesus Christ in the haphazard circumstances, they become pinholes through which I see the face of God, and when I stand face to face with God I will discover that through my obedience thousands were blessed. When once God's Redemption comes to the point of obedience in a human soul, it always creates. If I obey Jesus Christ, the Redemption of God will rush through me to other lives, because behind the deed of obedience is the Reality of Almighty God. (Oswald Chambers)
"Rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings." 1 Peter 4:13
The sufferings of Christ are not those of ordinary men. He suffered "according to the will of God," not from the point of view we suffer from as individuals. It is only when we are related to Jesus Christ that we can understand what God is after in His dealings with us. It is part of Christian culture to know what God's aim is. In the history of the Christian Church the tendency has been to evade being identified with the sufferings of Jesus Christ; men have sought to procure the carrying out of God's order by a short cut of their own. God's way is always the way of suffering, the way of the "long, long trail."
Are we partakers of Christ's sufferings? Are we prepared for God to stamp our personal ambitions right out? Are we prepared for God to destroy by transfiguration our individual determinations? It will not mean that we know exactly why God is taking us that way, that would make us spiritual prigs. We never realize at the time what God is putting us through; we go through it more or less misunderstandingly; then we come to a luminous place, and say - "Why, God has girded me, though I did not know it!" (Oswald Chambers)
Jesus, all for Jesus,
All I am and have and ever hope to be.
Jesus, all for Jesus,
All I am and have and ever hope to be.

All of my ambitions, hopes and plans
I surrender these into Your hands.

All of my ambitions, hopes and plans
I surrender these into Your hands.

For it's only in Your will that I am free,
For it's only in Your will that I am free,
Jesus, all for Jesus,
All I am and have and ever hope to be.
I bend to You, Lover of my soul. Break me in shards, as You will, and heal me because of Your mercy. Take my yesterday and my today and my tomorrow. Spend them all on what those who count things call "waste". I am all Yours. All Yours.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Help My Unbelief

Jesus said unto him, If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes.
And immediately the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help my unbelief. (Mark 9:23-24)
Like this father, I believe. I believe all the pieces: God is good. God cares for me. God gives nothing but Good. He is kind and merciful, and He will never let me go. All these things I know to be true. Why, then, can I not seem to do the math? Why is it so hard to say "Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight"? Why am I so full of fear? Why am I so foolish?

Lord, look in my heart and see - I believe! And help my unbelief.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

How to Train Your Dragon

Father. My heart cries out day after day, "Where are you? Don't you see me? Can you stand by and let me feel like this?" and with my rational mind I am horrified at my own foolishness and impudence...and somewhere deeper than mind or heart, I know that Jesus cried his own questions on the cross - "Why have you forsaken me?" and that is where I trust You and love You, and from there, I am sure that there is something waiting for me just beyond this heavy curtain that dims my view and dulls my sense of You.

I am so lost and confused, and I don't know what You are doing with me. Something in me complains incessantly and I just want it to be quiet, but it takes time to train this dragon of a heart. I don't know what I should be doing. Am I making this worse? Should I fight it out, or just wait? Should I put on a smile and pretend everything is fine, or try to talk it out, or just keep as quiet as possible? Should I try to protect my weakness, or run on and expect You to take care of me? Do I struggle to accept this bitterness, or do I instead spend my time searching for the sweet? 
And shall I pray Thee change Thy will my Father,
Until it be according unto mine?
But no, Lord, no, that shall never be, rather
I pray Thee blend my human will with Thine.
I pray Thee hush the hurrying eager longing
I pray Thee soothe the pangs of keen desire.
See in my quiet places wishes thronging,
Forbid them, Lord, purge, though it be with fire.
And work in me to will and do Thy pleasure.
Let all within me, peaceful, reconciled,
Tarry content my Well-Beloved’s leisure,
At last, at last, even as a weaned child.(Amy Carmichael)
Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith? 

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Who Shall Deliver Me?

It takes time to change a heart. I thought I could make a choice, will myself to bend, and God would work a miracle in me. But as it turns out, miracles aren't like magic that happens with a wave, and this learning to bow isn't something I can do once and for always. So this may be a long road. Today I will learn to bend my will before God. Tomorrow, I will choose to learn that lesson again. How long will it take? Are we there yet, Dad?

Here I am, Lord. I am willing for this - willing for today's bending, and tomorrow's, and the next day's. I will trust you to help me on this long road. I am tired already, but strengthen me. I will wait for my change. I will choose you again and again, until the enemy in me has been fully defeated, the rebellion in my heart fully put down. 

Overcome me, Jesus. You have the right, as my Creator, as my Saviour, and as the One I choose. Let me be willing to pour out my life for you...even if it looks wasted. Before You who gave all, can there be any waste? Let me pour out, drop by precious drop, my life, my heart, my all. You know how poor my worship is, and how dim my vision, but make me - even me - delight in You. And then I shall be free.
Who Shall Deliver Me?
God strengthen me to bear myself;
That heaviest weight of all to bear,
Inalienable weight of care.
All others are outside myself;
I lock my door and bar them out
The turmoil, tedium, gad-about.
I lock my door upon myself,
And bar them out; but who shall wall
Self from myself, most loathed of all?
If I could once lay down myself,
And start self-purged upon the race
That all must run ! Death runs apace.
If I could set aside myself,
And start with lightened heart upon
The road by all men overgone!
God harden me against myself,
This coward with pathetic voice
Who craves for ease and rest and joys
Myself, arch-traitor to mysel ;
My hollowest friend, my deadliest foe,
My clog whatever road I go.
Yet One there is can curb myself,
Can roll the strangling load from me
Break off the yoke and set me free
(Christina Georgina Rossetti)