Gasping for God…

There’s a story about a young man who came to Socrates in his quest for wisdom. The great philosopher told the young man to follow him, which the lad did submissively. Together the two men walked through town to the edge of the ocean, then continued their way into waist-deep water. Socrates stopped, but he instructed the young man to continue walking. Obediently the lad continued walking, looking back occasionally for reassurance he was doing it the way the teacher wanted him to do it.

Soon the young man was submersed beneath the water’s surface. Intent on following the instruction of the master, he stayed under for as long as he possibly could. His mind was racing to understand the lesson. Finally he burst from the water, gasping for a breath of air. He was agitated and perplexed by what seemed to be a mockery of his quest. But the lesson was simple. “You will find wisdom,” Socrates reassured him, “when you crave it as much as you did a breath of air.”

We know how to crave. We do it all the time. But we crave the things that satisfy our second nature. Things like being happy, for instance, or an addiction to sports, or a love relationship with Mammon. Cravings of the flesh squeeze the life out of our relationship with God and with our family and friends. Yet we feed our craving . . . (un)naturally.

What will cause us to crave life the way we crave entertainment and our comfort and looking good? What will make us crave life the way the young student craved a gulp of oxygen? What will compel us to pore through the Scriptures with a fervent desire to find our daily connection with our Creator? Usually the craving for a deeper life in God is the result of some kind of disruption in our lives. We need something to awaken us from our slumber. We need something to pinch off our air supply of self-sufficiency.

(Excerpt from Holy Libido, to be published by WinePress)

Jesus…Stripped of the Insignia of Majesty

Jesus stripped Himself of the insignia of majesty, humbling Himself by dying on the cross…so that we can have LIFE, now and eternally!

All He asks in return is that we strip ourselves of our self-reliant arrogance…and humbly bow before Him…receiving Him as Savior and serving Him as Lord, setting aside our flesh-stained perspective of things in exchange for His perspective…moment by moment throughout our chaotic day.

Now…how difficult could THAT be?!

Blessings to all my family and friends around the country and throughout the world who are seeking God’s Way with all their heart (or ‘desiring’ to seek His way with all their heart)  ~ may we live beyond our spiritual means…equipped and enabled to live by the flow of God’s Spirit within us…for our good and His GLORY!

I remind myself often that God is the One who will finish the work He began in us. May we keep our eyes riveted on our Commander-in-Chief. He never promised us a calm passage through life…but we are ensured a safe and joyful landing!

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” ~Philippians 1:6

In the Battlefield…things aren’t always as they seem ~

When life throws me a curve ball, it often stops me dead in my tracks! The shock of bad news, or the exposure of something I thought was simple and genuinely “real”, but in an instant was revealed to be complicated and disruptive, can be disconcerting at best. It is at these crossroads…these moments in time…that I stand still. My initial tendency is to try to “fix” the problem, to find solutions that make logical sense in my limited understanding. It’s my first reaction…my human nature. It’s the way I’m built. But I soon realize I must seek strength from the Source that has the power to do what I cannot do on my own. When I’m in the middle of a spiritual battle of unprecedented proportions…in my own strength, I am as good as a dead man walking. I’m reminded I do not have the ability to “fix” anything! My heart feels the heaviness of the spiritual warfare.

As the day breaks and the sun rises, I welcome the warmth of the sun’s rays on my face. As I step out of my home and begin my morning walk, I can feel my heart beating faster and faster as I pick up my pace. The cool morning breeze seems to bring a calm that allows my spirit to breathe. I find myself sweetly broken and humbled as I continue to walk and pray. Soon, hope rises like a wellspring from within. It takes over where doubt and fear had invaded my heart. My mind catches up to what the Spirit is trying to reveal. It is then that faith takes over, and the revelation of what God is going to do in the midst of this battle begins to take shape.

It is from the center of my heart that I cry out. It’s in my brokenness that I truly let go! My longing to hear His voice always takes me back to His Word. It is there that God declares His truth, His plan and His purpose. Papa God hears my cry for wisdom and discernment…He knows my desire to take the next step in the footprint of my Lord and Savior. With every fiber of my being, I long to sense calm in the midst of this storm. And so I cling to the Vine…knowing that at anytime, all hell may break lose. Or possibly it already has. My prayers must remain fervent…my supplication to my Mighty Warrior God must be constant. The battlefield is drenched with the blood of those wounded by the blows of the enemy. He is present…prowling around like a hungry roaring lion, seeking to devour…to steal, kill and destroy.

Over and over again my heart cries out to my Heavenly Father, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Let the cleansing begin with me…let your Holy Spirit be quickened in me so that not only I, but those that are afflicted, may be able to withstand the gales of the storm. Let your power be seen! Let us find comfort in knowing that the Enemy will taste your vengeance. Allow Your Spirit to speak boldly through my reaction to the circumstance. Your word is clear–You are the One who will take revenge; You are the One who will pay them back. In Your Word, You tell me, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads. Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” (Romans 12:19-20)

You, my God, want me…you want us…to extend grace! You tell us to love the unlovely…to watch as You stretch out your hand to the ones that are suffering in bondage. You want to use us to accomplish your purpose. And so I cry out to You Lord, “We cannot do this in our own strength. We need You Lord! Go before us and strike down the enemy’s walls! Tear down the strongholds that bind, and release your children from the enemy’s grip.”

And so we come before you today, calling out to You heavenly Father. Hear the resolve of our heart: “We will put on all of God’s armor so that we will be able to stand firm against all of the strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, we put on every piece of God’s armor so we will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle, we will still be standing firm. We willstand our ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, we will put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that we will be fully prepared. In addition, we will hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. We will put on salvation as our helmet, and take hold of the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. We will pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. We will stay alert and be persistent in our prayers for all believers everywhere.” (Ephesians 6:10-18)

If you are facing a battle today…invite your heavenly Father to replace your fear with faith! Know that He is our mighty warrior! He has already won the battle! Surrender your cares at the feet of the cross! This is my prayer for each of us who find ourselves in the midst of the battlefield! – IN HIS STRONG LOVE – rose


Surrender in the Storm…

The storm rages, the winds blow, a blanket of darkness seems to envelope us. We enter into the valley and find ourselves desperate and alone. We thirst and hunger…our tanks are empty. Our anxious thoughts unnerve us. We make an attempt to run…to hide. We seek shelter from the storm, but to no avail. Our efforts eventually prove to be futile. The rain continues to pound…and we become weary.

We carry our  baggage around with us while we waste time seeking answers from man, rather than from our Creator. We’re burdened by our “what ifs and what could have beens.” We wallow in our own self-pity, wasting yet more time.

But then…something miraculous happens. Something breaks through the clouds. Are those prayers we hear? Is someone interceding on our behalf? Could it be?  The Light breaks through…the SON illuminates the sky and the rain clouds part!  We fall on our knees….humbled…broken. Finally…a moment of sweet surrender! We take our burdens to the cross and fall into the arms of the One who came to rescue us! We lift our eyes heavenward and cry out…”Search me O God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, lead me in the way everlasting” Psalm 139:23-24.

And he gently and tenderly reminds us, “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing”  Zephaniah 3:17.  He takes us by the hand…dusts us off as we rise from the ashes–and illuminates our path once again. The sweet break through! We praise God for answered prayers! Hallelujah indeed! ~ IN HIS STRONG LOVE ~ rose

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