Saturday, February 16, 2008

Communicating Peace

God is longing to baptize me with His peace. When I experience God's kind of peace, it delights God when He sees me pass that peace on to others. That doesn't mean that the people I attempt to share God's peace with will accept it but the effect on me of being a channel of God's peace to others is a real blessing to me.

I just read the following (for the 5th year) and it really impressed me. I pray it can bless you as well. (The 'blue' comments are my present definitions of particular words) .
"The time has come when it is our eternal interest to believe in Christ. . . . He is the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin (takes away my choosing any will other than God's will for me) of the world. He says, "I will . . . write [my law] (love God supreme because He first loved me and then be the channel of God's love to love others as one's self) in their hearts." He will create in those who come to Him in faith (attitude, resulting in action when the opportunity presents itself, of accepting God's will in my life) a divine principle of holiness(complete unity, harmony, with God in thinking, choosing, acting) , which shall rule in the soul, enlightening the understanding (the intellectual part of me) and captivating the affections(the experiential, passion part of me). . . .
Christ Triumphant 52

I think part of what really impressed me was that this message is for me right now.
Now only is God in the business of taking away my wrong attitudes - leading to wrong thinking and acting as the opportunity presents itself - but He is in the business of replacing that with something much, much better. He is hard at work to put His love in me. My present understanding is that Peace is at least in part the consequences of accepting God's plan as stated above for me - filling me with His love law.

When God fills me with His love then two primary parts of my mind are also 'renewed'. God enlightens my intellect, my understanding. He doesn't just give me the right 'facts' though. That last sentence just jumped out at me. God is in the business of captivating my affections. God loves me and it makes Him sing for JOY when I respond to Him by returning love I have received from Him. Wow! That is just a little bit about the God I am learning to love more. God is more interested in me than what I have been in Him or even in myself. I suppose that is one reason that one of God's names is 'Prince of Peace'.

If you are reading these words I ask God to open your mind to His kind of peace. I also ask my Wonderful Counselor to bring a special, even surprise, gift of Peace and Joy into your felt experience. God is encouraging you by this promise. "Call upon me and I will answer you and show you great and hidden things you don't know anything about yet."

Someone I have been emailing with for several years has long stressed (according to what I have understood anyway) the need to base one's spiritual experiences on the intellectual (which they also believe to be the same as spiritual) part of the human 'mind'. According to what I have understood from them, that as nice as emotions might be (or even as unpleasant as they can get also) they can't be depended upon for anything of real value - for the real valuable is intellectual.
After reading their recent email I read the above statement. That last sentence really jumped out at me. He will create in those who come to Him in faith a divine principle of holiness, which shall rule in the soul, enlightening the understanding and captivating the affections . . . . That is awesome to me.

I pray that as you read these words that God will captivate your affections as well as enlighten your understanding and give you His Joy, His Peace and His Love inside of you.

Bringer of Peace

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Peace - a choice

The kind of Peace that the Creator God gives is based on a choice.
"Great Peace have they which love Thy Law and nothing shall offend them". Psalm 119:165 That Bible verse describes a choice that I can make. I can choose to accept God's love in my heart, allowing it to 'bathe' me in it's transforming power, changing me from someone in trouble to someone in love. As I focus my mind on what God is really like, He promises to give me His characteristics. God is love and as I focus on His love I am enabled to love Him in return and share His love also with others.

God's law is like a picture of His character - what He is really like.
Jesus said His Father's law is to 'love God supreme and others as myself'.
According to the above promise that kind of experience is what gives me real, genuine peace.
The result of that kind of peace is that 'nothing - a peeled zero - will be able to break up my peace.

That is awesome. But since I have been learning about God that isn't the only thing awesome about Him.

My brother just wrote some very interesting comments (line is on the right) that to me went along with some of my thoughts.

God has also been working on getting me to understand more about how some choices I made earlier in my life need to be negated and refuted in order for me to have God's kind of peace now.

Right now I have commited to 'find' special time daily to talk with God alone at least three times a day. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." "Evening and morning and at noon will I pray and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice. Psalm 55:17

I have always intellectually assented to the premise that prayer is necessary. But I must sadly confess that I have not always put it 'first' in my spiritual experience. God is delighted and He has been doing a number of things to draw me to Him in a deeper intimacy. I have become more aware that true Peace is knowing God close up. I want ever more of that experience as mine.

But Peace is one of those attributes that is best shared. So, if you have read this far, I would like to encourage you to ask God to share His peace with you. It may not always include external experiences, but God's kind of peace can be in your heart even in the worst of storms.

Bringer of Peace

Friday, February 8, 2008

A good Storm - showers of heavenly blessing

A friend has shared with me a recent prayer of hers. I liked it so much I've decided to share it here.
My friend has been praying that God would send a whole 'rainstorm' of blessings to the ones she is praying for.
The more I began thinking about it the more interested I became in praying the same type of prayer. God says He will pour out blessings so much that we won't be able to receive. That means that the person receiving the blessings from God are not only immersed in blessings from God but those blessings flow out to those around as well. Isn't that fantastic!! I think so too.

It is amazing to see God working as He finds people like my friend and I who are willing to claim His blessing for others.

Not long before this I had, while studying Psalm 42 and Psalm 43, been impressed with God's remedy for when the devil tries to depress and/or discourage me. Depression occurs when I look at the problem(s). David would 'start' 'grumbling' with subsequent 'depression' but then, almost ubruptly, he takes his eyes off of the 'self-based problems' and focuses his eyes on Jesus. What is the result? Simply this: with God's JOY (which is His strength for me) and PEACE (His Peace passing all understanding) flowing through the heart and changing one's attitude leaves no room for the devil's lies leading to depression and discouragement.

So, for whoever might read this I would encourage you to join me in claiming a good storm of peace and God's Joy based blessings for those whom the Lord impresses you as needing an intercesser to pray for them.

May you have a beautiful Sabbath.

Bringer of Peace

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Peace and Passion

A few days ago I received a phone call from someone I had tried to help several years ago. We chatted a bit (I couldn't even remember who she was until after I hung up the phone) and then she began to ask me how things were going in our family. In short, she told me she would pray for us. I very much appreciated her call. Then, shortly after that call, another lady called who I had met and gotten to know better at campmeeting this past year. She has been a spiritual encouragement to me in the past and this time was no different. She also asked how things were going and also told me she would be praying for us. She asked me some very personal spiritual level questions about my relationship with Jesus and encouraged me to persevere in taking more time with Him daily.
My Lord has been nudging me along in this line through other avenues as well. Things I had been reading and others who I feel confidence in have also mentioned similar things to me.

After the above experiences I asked the Lord what was His priority for me at this time. I was impressed to commit myself to taking time three times a day (minimum), to 'stop' other activities and spend time with Jesus. I chose a time to begin and decided to 'help' myself by writing down at least some of what transpires during those times. After about a day or so it seemed that the 'middle' of the day time was getting 'forgotten'. I was concerned about the trend and was praying about it. The Lord reminded me that the first time I 'missed' I had thought something like 'O, I'll do it later' and my brain simply 'erased' that 'weak' committment.

I asked the Lord to forgive me and I re-pented (chose to come back within God's will ['pent' - within peremiters],) and asked God to give me the determination to spend that time with Him each day. I noticed that when I made that choice, the impression to stop in the middle of the day was again there. This time I did not think 'I'll do it later' but rather 'When is the best time I can do it, if not right this moment', or similar.

The first time that happened I was getting lunch for Duane. I was impressed to take just a few minutes right then, which I did. When Duane got home I shared with him a concern I had abouta matter relating to our place and we ended up praying together also about this situation. It wasn't the situation we are praying for so much that impressed me but the fact that when I stopped, even for a few minutes, I believe the Lord blessed and enabled us to pray together as well as my personal time with Jesus alone.

This evening I had already jumped into bed when I realized that I had missed my time with the Lord. I decided to get up to talk with my Beloved even though it was getting late.

As I began to look back over this past day the devil tried to get me to be discouraged. While I was 'unpacking' Psalm 43 this morning, I had noted that David had similar temptations.
I am beginning to believe Jesus wants to mentor me as to how to 'act' in my life as I listen to how David handled similar circumstances in his life. It is short so I'm going to put my whole paraphrase as I understand the meaning of it here as well as in the link to the right. I was impressed with how much passion David expressed. I noted also words that describe how God felt toward David (and me). A few of those words include 'defend', 'Supreme', 'Strong' and the phrase "Your happiness and trustworthiness transport me into Your sacred, uplifting Presence where You reside".

Psalm 43
1. Govern me, Strong and Supreme God, and defend me before those who are not religious, kind or courteous. Slip me away from those who are false and distorted.
2. My Supreme, Strong God and Defender, why do I feel You are failing me or letting me go? Why am I so distressed because of those who are hostile to me?
3. Let Your happiness and trustworthiness transport me into Your sacred, uplifting Presence where You reside.
4. Then I will come into agreement with the Almighty God who loves me to be in His presence. With music I will dance with intense emotions while lifting my hands to You in worship, O my Supreme God.
5. Why do you sink down in depression, O Self? Why is there so much tumult and clamor inside? Be patient and hope in my Supreme God. I will continue to raise my hands in worship to Him who delivers me, makes me joyful and is MY God.

I am sensing more and more that God is passionately in love with me. And not only is He in love with me but He also looks at everything I do (or don't do) through that passionate love for me.
As part of my 'quiet' time with my Lord this evening I was asking God what He thought about 'my day'. Did He see me as 'lazy'? No. What about what I considered 'disorganized'? Not really. So how did He see me? He sees me as His daughter whom He loves very much. He also sees me as who I am becoming through His love flowing through me. WOW! He also sees me as one of His children who hasn't had a good mentor here on earth who can 'show' me what it means to respond to His love as well as how to share His love through me to others. But as I have been opening up the Psalms God has been using David to help me learn at least some of those lessons.

Verse 5 above is a good verse to illustrate that. Why do you, (Olive), sink down in depression, O Self? Why is there so much tumult and clamor inside? Be patient and hope in my Supreme God. I will continue to raise my hands in worship to Him who delivers me, makes me joyful and is MY God.

When that kind of Joy - the deepening realization that God loves for me to be with Him - is combined with the quiet realization that because God loves me, I have genuine peace enabling me to wait patiently in and on Him and restfully hope in His will for me as I see what He is doing in me and for me and through me. That is Peace and Passion combined and that is real power.

May the God of peace bring you ever closer to Him and enable you to experience His passionate love for you as well.

Bringer of Peace

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Thoughts on Psalm 42 and more

It seems that I have been occupied with other things than posting recently. I have thought about it but that is about as far as I have gotten to putting anything in here. I'll share a few happenings but first I want to comment on my study of Psalm 42

I had learned to sing Psalm 42 years ago and when I began recently studying it I had a fleeting thought that I knew pretty much what it 'said'. As usual, when I began to 'unpack' the deeper meaning it became much more personal than simply the KJV version I had learned long ago.

This particular Psalm expresses some of David's feelings concerning what we call today depression. I don't think I have had as much 'depression' as some folks, but it is still a challenge. It sounds to me that the author, which I believe to be King David, was here expressing his feelings during a time when depression was pressing itself on him.

If you are interested in my current understanding of the whole Psalm you can click on it at the link on the right, but I am going to share some here as well.

It impressed me that the very first expression of this Psalm begins so passionately. "As the male deer is passionate for a female (in 'heat'), so am I passionate for You, My Creator."

David goes on to strengthen his position by adding "My whole being craves to see God."

In looking back at my past life experiences I realize how little emotions I have allowed myself to experience when it comes to my relationship with my Creator. (That is one repeating theme I have been seeing as I have been studying through the Psalms - passion of God for us and our responding passion for God)

I find the next expressions in this Psalm to be almost a 'contrast'. David started out by saying how passionate he was in getting to know God. But then he delineates some challenges he has met up with in reaching his goal. These also sound familiar in my life as well. Yet while I have heart longings, even with tears, folks keep asking me "Would God treat you this way?" or "Where is your God?"

David goes on to vent some of his frustrations as well as the effect of people's negative comments on him. "Why am I so depressed?" As usual, though, after David has expressed challenges that face him, the end of the Psalm ends in praise and expressions of confidence in God.
"I choose to agree with the Almighty God. I lift my hands in reverent worship to Him and focus on what He is really like, for He is The One who saves me, delivers me and makes me victorious."

That is faith - agreeing with God's will for me for God has already declared that He has saved me and has obtained victory. Praise the Lord!

Other things have been happening in this part of the world as well. Here's a few of them.

A man and his son needed a place to stay for a little while. He plans to go to Peru in June. In the mean time we agreed they can stay here. He is a carpenter and also does plumbing. He has promised to help us get some remodeling projects worked on and hopefully completed. One of our top priorities is the bathroom on the main floor. The toilet and sink are working but it would be nice to get the shower finished and the walls and ceiling finished as well.

This fall and winter we have gotten more rain - a real blessing after months of almost no rain. We have also had a little bit of snow, but for the most part so far this winter it hasn't been much or for long. The last 'storm' was rain - some of it freezing - but at the end it warmed enough to melt everything.

Our church has been getting some remodeling done. A new rug was installed in the church meeting area and new vinyl - that looks like wood - was put in the basement. Most of the walls were painted and currently the baptistry is getting repaired. It looks a lot nicer. A dream of mine - since I am one of the musicians for the church - is a new organ. The organ we have is possibly 30 years old and some of the inner parts are 'wearing out'. A man from an organ company came by and did show me some settings that sounded 'better' but he told me that parts for that old of an organ are no longer available. To get a 'regular' type organ would begin at around $10,ooo and up for a small one. There are some possibilities of used organs as well. I have also been looking at what is available in the line of keyboard combinations. I don't think any of us really need (or even use) the musical foot pedals so keyboards are one of our options too.

I have a goal of getting the farm straightened up but thus far it has been painfully slow. We have been able to get several loads of 'junk' removed recently but there is still a lot more to go.

A few weeks ago I got my hair cut. It is the first time I can remember getting my hair cut without also getting a permanent curl at the same time. I actually like the looks of it better now than the way I've had it before. I have a slight natural wave and with just a little time spent on the style of hair above my eyes it seems to look pretty good most of the time. I like it anyway.

Well, I have much to do today so will close for now.

Until I write again I wish on anyone who reads this the blessing of God and His peace be poured into your life and heart.

Bringer of Peace