Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I am the Lord Your Healer

Our scripture today is Exodus 15:26 from The Living Bible:

If you will listen to the voice of the Lord your God,
and obey it, and do what is right,
then I will not make you suffer the diseases I send on the Egyptians,
for I am the Lord who heals you.

If we are in obedience to Exodus 15:26 then we can have confidence that God is our healer. We can personalize this scripture and say: "Because I heed the Lord and do what is right in His sight, He is the Lord my healer." If we aren't in obedience, repentance is only a prayer away!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Opening Our Hearts to God

Opening my heart to the Lord and submitting what is in it is something I have been practicing during a long season of weariness. Here is the scripture I mentioned before that has been important to my recovery. Ps 142:2 NIV reads, I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble.

Does that surprise you? It sure did me. The Lord says, "pour out your complaints to me, tell me your troubles. Be real with me. Tell me how it really is when you draw near to me. Bring even your negative feelings and bad attitudes." He doesn't say, "Stuff it!" He doesn't say, like we often do to someone who offends us, "Forget it. It was nothing." He invites us to be gut level honest with Him.

Complaining / Submission?

Obeying this scripture pleases God because we are trusting Him with our deepest stuff. It's a form of submission, not holding anything back from Him. It causes our trust in Him to grow. Ps. 64:1 NIV is a supporting scripture where the psalmist says, Hear me, O God, as I voice my complaint.

Pouring out my complaints to Him deepens my relationship with Him. It helps me depend on Him as my burden-bearer and experience His mercy, grace and rest. When I do this I leave his presence lighter and brighter. There's a spring in my step because I leave my burdens with Him. (Matt. 11:28-30) I used to try to cast my burdens on Him without doing this and, for me, it was incomplete, it didn't work very well. Now I "cut to the chase" and let it all hang out. I say, "This is what happened, this is how I feel about it."

Humility Necessary

If we approach God with a healthy respect for who He is, we are in no danger. If we have a humble attitude of, "This is how I see it. How do you see it?" If we are willing to forsake our opinion for His, we can tell Him anything. At least that has been my experience. I do it regularly and have lived to tell about it, even prospered body, soul and spirit!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

God's Rain Restores and Confirms

Previously, we saw in vv 9-12 of Ps 68 in the Amplified Bible that weariness is cured when God sends rain that restores and confirms. He then releases the Word of power. We saw also that our part is to ask God for what we need and to wait on Him. Another way to put it would be that our assignment is to be in position to hear when God is ready to speak.

In the Meantime

But what do we do in the meantime, while we are wearily waiting on God to send the rain and the Word? A poet/preacher friend of mine used to say, “In the meantime, in the in-between time, don’t get mean.” And he was right. In some trials, we can count it a victory if we simply hold our position, not giving up past gains, not going back to old ways. If we do backslide, spending a lot of time agonizing over it does not help. (It’s hard to receive from God while throwing a pity party!) Once when I was in the midst of telling God how bad I had been, He spoke these two words: "Start over!" Oh! Could it really be that simple? Not always, but that time it was.

Recovering from Weariness

I was in a dry season where the spiritual disciplines I had depended on in the past weren’t working. I didn’t want to pray and I didn’t want to praise and forcing myself to try harder just made things worse. Burn out happens when we continue to do the same old things the same old way with no positive change. If you’ve gone off every morning for days, weeks, months, years to a job you didn’t like, you know what I mean. It’s not that we don’t exert ourselves or deny ourselves. Those things are required (2 Pet 1:5&6). But there is a balance to all things.

At first, nothing I tried helped my spiritiual weariness. But I knew I couldn’t give up. Gals. 6:7&8 shows us a Kingdom principle that we have to sow to the Spirit to reap from the Spirit. And I desperately needed to reap from the Spirit. Without His moving in my life, I would only sink lower. So what did I do? I decided to approach God in a new way. Although He appeared silent in this dry time, it seemed to me that the thing He most wanted was for me to simply come to him daily and honor Him (SS 2:10). It also seemed wise to ask for what I needed, to give thanks and to stay in His Word. (Ruth 2:12) I gave up trying to use any kind of format and I just presented myself before Him. I opened the book of Psalms and read out loud the phrases the psalmist used to praise God, since my own didn't seem to have any life in them. Sometimes I read from a relevant book. I practiced opening my heart to God and submitting what was there. I had earlier learned an important scripture that helped me do that. I’ll give it next post and share about how God put a new spring in my step.

Comments Are Welcome

Input is welcome. Now that I am familiar with the settings, I have taken the restrictions off the comments section. Now anyone can comment, not just registered blogspot users.

Thanks for stopping by! I am sharing what worked for me in a dry time. It isn't intended as a pattern to follow but as a testimony to encourage others. Faith is an individual thing. Someone else in my position could have petitioned the Lord and been led differently. Please use the comment section to share your own testimony.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Have You Ever Been Weary?

I’m talking about a weariness of spirit that erodes patience and zeal for life, makes us snap at others (especially little ones) and sets us against our mate or best friend with an attitude of “What’s your problem?” when the truth is we are the problem. Weariness is the problem. Psalm 68:9 shows this is the state of the psalmist just before God gave the word of victory that we looked at yesterday. Verse 9 in the Amplified Bible reads like this: You, O God, did send a plentiful rain. You did restore and confirm your heritage when it languished and was weary.

Just when we feel like we have failed God and those closest to us, just when He seems nowhere on the premises, He restores and confirms us. Verse 10 says that in His goodness He provides for the poor and needy.

God's Glory is His Goodness

One of my favorite passages is in the last part of Exodus 33 when Moses says to God: “Show me your glory.” And the Lord not only is pleased to do what Moses asked but He defines his glory as His goodness: I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you and I will proclaim my name…(Ex 33:19 NIV). He then further defines His goodness as mercy and compassion.

Much has been said, sung and written about the glory of God. And rightly so. But God’s own definition of His glory in this passage is His goodness, His mercy and His compassion. Psalm 23 bears this out. What is it that “surely follows” us all the days of our lives? Goodness and Mercy.

James 2:13 tells us that “mercy triumphs over judgment.” Sometimes weariness is lifted by remembering these verses and the truth of God’s goodness and mercy and then choosing to receive his mercy and release it to those around us. And, perhaps most importantly, to ourselves.

The Cure for Weariness

But for the real cure for weariness we need to go back to Psalm 68:9 and see that it is the rain that God sends that “restores and confirms” and precedes the release of the Word of power. If we are living in the “languishing and weariness” part of this Psalm, we need to ask for “plentiful rain.” Ask for the refreshing, restoration and confirmation that we need. Ask for the word of power that will defeat our enemies. Whenever possible we need to “tarry” with Him (V 12 Amplified Bible). Seek Him. Listen for His word expectantly. If a next step is needed, we should go to one of those described in Verse 11 as a “great host” who bear and publish the word of power and ask for special prayer support and fellowship until God “restores and confirms” and gives us our own word of power. He will. He always does what He says He will do.

I'll share in the future about my own recovery from weariness.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Women of the Word, Women of Power

The first time I read Ps 68:11 & 12 in the Amplified Bible I was in a season of my life where I was home full-time. And what I read stunned me. Was God really saying I could have a powerful life that impacted others even though I was a "homebody"? I didn't have to do something significant like be a foreign missionary? Or president of the PTA, or march in the street, or head a corporation?

Yes, that's what it says -- a woman who "tarries at home" (vs. 12) can have a life of power that causes the enemy to flee. She can plunder from him and divide the spoils with those around her.

The key is that God gives the word. It's His word entrusted to her that provides the power. As she carries it and releases it, His power is released. In this way she partners with God in a unique and personal way. Through this partnership, victories are won -- victories that not only benefit her but others as well.

How does she get this empowering word? By fellowshipping with God, by submitting herself to Him, by making time with Him a priority. This life-changing word comes out of relationship. And it is available to all women who will make time to draw near to him, not just homebodies. Later I went on to a career in publishing. And now I'm in a new season and at home again. Along the way I've learned that whatever the season -- it is still the time spent alone with Him that brings victory and power to my life.

The Word Released Works

After finishing the above post, I realized it wasn't complete without an example. So I prayed about what would be appropriate to share. This is the memory that came to me: My sister and I were traveling together in Arizona. We began to fellowship around Jehovah Rapha, the Lord our healer, and proclaim scriptures out loud such as "By His stripes I am healed" (Isaiah 53:5) and "He forgives all my sins; He heals all my diseases" (Psalm 103:3). We spent the third night of our journey in a tiny log cabin perched on the edge of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Sometime in the night I awoke when my sister cried out. She had gotten up to go to the bathroom and, in that moment, God had restored sight to her blind right eye.

Now back to Psalm 68:11 and 12 for a summary: God had given the word of power. We had carried His word with us and published it (proclaimed it, released it, shared it with each other.) The result was victory over darkness and disease. My sister literally "saw" the results! Later God healed her of MS, a healing verified by an MRI that showed the lesions noted by previous MRIs gone. She testified to that, prayed for others and saw more healing take place, in perfect demonstration of our scripture verse.