Tag Archives: power

A Closer Walk: The Kingdom Business of ABIDING

I wonder if I am in the church’s majority, or minority, when it comes to this Kingdom business of “abiding.”

Does anyone else struggle with this as much as I do?

I mean, I am really lousy at it.

It doesn’t seem like it should be that tough, but if you’re a recovering (and I use that word loosely) workaholic, like I am? The whole concept of “rest” goes down the hard way.

Abiding in Christ

I’m not good at rest. (I stink at it actually.)

I like being busy.

Even when I manage to keep my body still? My mind is, going, going, going. Perhaps that is the curse of being a writer, and one who has been given an “off the charts” measure of creativity. (So Myers & Briggs tells me.)

No fooling.

I once interviewed for a bookeeping job with my church. I had to take one of those canned tests that’s supposed to evaluate your temperment/apptitude for the job. I had the work experience. I’d done the job before, but when the gal came back into the room with my test results? She looked at me like I was crazy and said, “Why in the world would YOU want to do this job?”

I thought, “You’re kidding right? Uh, how about money. Paying bills. You know, stuff like that.”

(I suppose I was looking at her like SHE was the crazy one.)

Well, that’s when she gave me the good-news-bad-news speech. She said they tried to graph my creativity, “But, …the line ran off the page!” She then showed me the door, informing me that from henceforth, I should never waste my time (or anyone else’s I guess) interviewing for repetitive, redundant-type jobs.

My point is this, I always thought “abiding” pretty much meant “doing nothing,” and as I said, I am really lousy at that.

But I have discovered that isn’t what abiding means.

When Jesus said, ” Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” [John 15:4John 15:4
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4 Remain in me, and I in you. As the branch can’t bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you, unless you remain in me.

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] He was actually telling us to: continue, remain, or stay on.

In his book, Abide In Christ, Andrew Murray wrote,

“There are two natures in the believer, and so two ways of seeking holiness, as we allow the principles of the one or the other nature to guide us. The one is the carnal way, in which we put forth our utmost efforts and resolutions, trusting Christ to help us in doing so. The other is the spiritual way, in which, as those who have did and can do nothing, our one care is to receive Christ day by day and at every step to let Him live and work in us.”

It’s not about our doing, it’s about being. It’s about flow!

As a writer “flow” is a VERY big deal to me. When I’m in “flow-mode,” the words are coming out of my fingertips and onto the keyboard without stress or struggle. I love flow!

Conversely, I can always tell when I am totally “off-track,” because instead of the words flowing, they feel like I am trying to pump them out.

Kingdom Business of Abiding(That means I need to step back, rethink, and cool my jets.)

I am learning, albeit a little late, that our Kingdom Life is all about flow. Letting The Flow of Life, that is the indwelling power of The Holy Spirit, effortlessly flow out of my joy-full serving.

I learned this the hard way.

Crashed and burned my first 90 days on church staff.

I still remember being in my church late one Saturday night. Nothing had gone right all day. I had tried everything I knew, but the problems still weren’t getting solved. I remember throwing my hands in the air, and in total frustration shouting at the ceiling, “I can’t do this!”

Into that silent room came His Still Small Voice whispering, “I know… but I AM going to do it THROUGH you.”

Abiding is about flow. Flow is about, through. Through is about His energy, His power, His life, flowing from our simple, continual—abiding.

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LISTEN AND LEARN

You are learning.

This power you need comes from a life of abiding.

It isn’t difficult; not really. As you obey Me, you discover that out of your weakness is flowing, My Life! When you yield, you abide. When you obey, you abide. When you love… and on, and on, it goes.

What is too difficult to understand?

My children become tired and worn out because they still have that childish, “I can do it myself!” spirit on them.

(You know yourself this is true.)

But, you are beginning to see how futile self-effort is, yes?

(Especially in My Kingdom.)

Oswald ChambersWhy do My children think they can do My work without Me? It is impossible, but oh how they try! (…and try, and try, and try.) It is a heartbreak for Me to be left out of so much that My people call “ministry”. They pursue their own agendas, all in My name of course, and so much is mere vanity and pride!

Child, listen and learn…

I AM not a taskmaster! I do not run brickyards! I AM Faithful Shepherd. You will never feel the sting of the whip from My hand!

Come, receive wisdom, understanding what the will of your LORD is. I AM gentle and humble in heart. I give rest to your soul. I AM in front—leading.

If you feel driven?

You can be certain it’s not Me.

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“He gives power to the tired and worn out…”

Isaiah 40:29Isaiah 40:29
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29 He gives power to the faint; and to him who has no might he increases strength.

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A Closer Walk: Getting To Know Someone

I knew “the basics” about Someone called The Holy Spirit: Comforter, Teacher, Guide. The Third Person of the Trinity. I knew, too, that He would “whisper” to me on occasion. The Still Small Voice mentioned in the Bible, 1 Kings 19.

faint whispers of The Holy Spirit

I would hear these faint whispers from time to time, usually while I was reading my Bible, but, a full-on conversation? No. My life was normally crammed with lots of activity and noise. To sit completely still in total silence? This was something new and foreign to me.

And I confess, I didn’t like it much.

I was addicted to activity. Nevertheless, here I was, feet nailed to the floor. My illness, and the resulting accident had left me injured and so weak, I couldn’t walk across a room without steadying myself against a wall. My legs were again beginning to feel like they belonged to my body, and my hands were becoming steadier, but my headaches were constant and excruciating. I spoke as little as possible, because the vibration of my own vocal cords, made my head feel as if it would explode!

For these reasons my daily routine changed to one of complete stillness and quiet, and it was from this enforced quietness, a couple of realities soon became apparent.

He is A PersonFirst, I realized in a startling and fresh way, that The Holy Spirit is indeed, A Person. He is not some weird abstraction. He is a someone we can speak our hearts to. Someone who listens to our innermost thoughts. He will respond to us, if we will allow Him, and enter into the still quiet that is necessary for us to hear Him speak.

Secondly, because of the headaches, I had difficulty focusing my eyes on a page. Even journaling was difficult. Consequently, these “conversations” at times will sound a bit one sided, but that’s because I would “think” my responses, more than write them. (I apologize for this resulting economy of words.) Since The Holy Spirit is our “inside God” He would speak to my slightest disbelief, disagreement, or doubts, and I would journal what He said, not what I thought. (Though I hope my thoughts seem obvious.) This way of “conversing” felt very strange at first, but as these encounters became daily, I would simply listen, and then journal what I heard.

By My Spirit

One more thing—and this is BIG.

Let me say for the record, if you “hear” a voice, but you have no personal relationship with Jesus Christ as your Savior? If you have not professed your own desperate need of a Savior, confessed your helplessness and hopelessness without Him, and asked Him to come into your heart, and change your life? Whatever “voice” you may be hearing, it is NOT, The Holy Spirit.

Today, The Holy Spirit is the promised gift, given only to those who have come to FAITH in Jesus Christ, and have given over ownership and control of their lives to Him. If you have not done this? You need to. Now. Today. The Bible tells us, tomorrow is promised to no one.

Today is the day of salvation

This is so simple.

Jesus Christ will forgive and cleanse all sin to any who sincerely ask Him. The Holy Spirit will come with new power and strength, as He makes your heart His home. Your faith is now in Him for everything, and as I was learning anew, faith is the key to all powerful believing.

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THE FUEL

“What is faith?” Hebrews 11:1Hebrews 11:1
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11 1 Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, proof of things not seen.

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It’s a good question isn’t it?

My children have examined and re-examined this question, but what do you say My dear friend?

(It is Power child.)

Corrie Ten Boom

That is why the enemy of men’s souls works night and day to destroy their faith ~ your faith.

(He knows.)

Now you know, too.

Faith is the steam that drives your engine. It is the stuff; the fuel that fires your life! You can’t go anywhere, do anything without it.

And, without it?

I said, “…without it, it is impossible to please Me!”

Now, next question.

Where does it come from?

(Ah, another good question—where indeed?)

So Will IIf you said, “From Me…” you are half right, but only half. Actually it is born. It is created in the TIME we spend together. The more time together ~ the more faith. The less?

Well, you see My point. If you want to move mountains you must generate Holy Steam.

Power!

(And, for Power you must spend time with Me.)

The days you do these little “hit-and-runs”?

Well, you see the results. No Steam. No Power. Your mountains tend to fall on you, rather than getting out of your way.

(Just an observation.)

Maybe the next time you’re tempted to tell Me, “Later.” I should ask you…

“What is faith?”

(Just a thought.)

power from on high

What do you think?

(Me, too.)

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To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.

 Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in POWER; not one faileth.   Isaiah 40:25, 26Isaiah 40:25, 26
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25 To whom then will you liken me, that I should be equal to him? says the Holy One. 26 Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these, who brings out their army by number; he calls them all by name; by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power, not one is lacking.

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A Closer Walk: Closet Control Freak

closet control freakI always believed, “I am NOT a closet control freak—I am a person of order.” A place for everything and everything in its place. That’s my motto. Chaos of mind or situation is NOT my thing. I have been accused many times of being a control freak, and to some of that I plead guilty, but guilty with good reason.

(She said smiling.)

I grew up in chaos, so I learned early in life, that if I was going to have any sense of peace or order I would have to create it myself.

my messy life

I have tried to come to some sort of truce with myself about all of this; to “give myself a break” because a child does the best they can with what life hands them, and sometimes—the coping mechanisims that were our friends in childhood—become our enemies in adulthood.

Ah, but giving them up… there’s the rub!

There isn’t anything inherently wrong with an orderly life. There’s actually a scripture that calls for us to live that way.

Again, the difficulty is that many times chaos in life is not the exception, it is the norm. Life, especially in our day and times, is full of unexpected catastrophes of endless variety. Control is only a cherished illusion. Much as I hate it, it is a truth that must be faced with honesty—but also with faith and hope.

Yeah, life goes crazy on us, but though we must acknowledge that we are not in control of anything, we can still place our faith and hope in a God who is in control of everything.

faith NOT fear(Selah?)

So, if God is in total control, then why did He allow my disaster to happen you might ask?

And to that, I give you one key word: AGENDA.

We have an agenda for our lives, but God has His, and when our agenda collides with His, well guess who wins every, single, time?

God is in control

I like what John Koessler said about agendas,

Jesus is an equal opportunity disappointer. Jesus was a disappointment, not only for people like those of Nazareth, where they drove Him out of the synagogue and tried to throw Him off a cliff, because He wouldn’t perform miracles for them, but for people in Korazin and Bethsaida, where He did perform miracles. Jesus was a disappointment to friends and foes alike… we are disappointed with Jesus because we do not see what He is really doing. It turns out that we have been laboring under a major misapprehension. Jesus came for us, but that does not mean He came to please us. Jesus came for us, but He does not answer to us. Jesus came for us, but He will not subject Himself to our agenda, no matter how good that agenda might be. Instead, Jesus demands that we submit ourselves to His agenda.   (Why Jesus Always Disappoints)

When I talk to others (like myself) who are struggling with disillusionment and disappointment with God, there is this reoccurring issue; this matter of control—God’s agenda vs. ours.

Oh, we don’t come right out and say that we think we know better than an Omniscient God. But scratch the surface of our best Christian facade, and you will find a closet control freak, fighting to get out.

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IT’S NOT MAN’S WAY

I know how much you hate it ~ being weak.

You want to conquer this thing you’re struggling with.

You want to be in control again, yes?

God in control

No… but “No.” with an explanation.

Listen My dear child, if strength were the best thing for you right now, would I not give it? You know I always do the best thing for your growth and perfection. (But, My definition of perfection, not yours.)

You want to be perfect—I want to: perfect.

(It’s not what you wanted Me to say.)

I know.

But you know Love does the best thing, not necessarily the easiest thing.

God in our ruins

(Yes, you’re right.)

It would be easy to give you this thing you’ve requested.

But, do you want the dream your way?

Do you know what the cost would be, to yourself, to others?

Do you want this dream to be less than it could be?

These are questions only you can answer. To be perfected from suffering you must yield to it ~ not clench your fists and stiffen your neck. You decide if you want everything you have asked Me for.

God's mission: partnership

I’ll wait right here, as I have been, since this tug-of-war started between us.

You must decide, whether you are to be powerful, or I AM to be powerful in you.

This is the way My Kingdom works.

It’s not man’s way, it’s Mine, Decide.”

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“…No. But I am with you; that is all you need. My power shows up best in weak people.”

2 Corinthians 12:92 Corinthians 12:9
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9 He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Most gladly therefore I will rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest on me.

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My Grasp

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 Your days are appointed by Me—I have numbered them.

Therefore, your life is in My hands.

Who can prevent Me?

All I tell you shall come to pass.

You are held firmly by Me and My love surrounds you.

Look to My promises when doubts arise.

Peace little one.

I AM the One who never leaves you.

I give and I take away.

Look to My word—My hand is there guiding you.

All is well.

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The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. Isaiah 52:10Isaiah 52:10
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10 Yahweh has made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

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My Grace

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Always bring your wings under My Grace.

My wings are Omnipotent.

There is no difficulty you face that I will not have an answer for.

Think of your little wings this way:

One is peace, the other is prayer.

You bring Me your prayers—I give you My peace. And, praise arises from the two. Whenever your peace disappears, come to Me in prayer. We will work it out together.

I AM your refuge—Your safe haven.

When you don’t know what to do, come to Me.

Quiet the storm on the inside first. As you do, you will ask and I will give you all the wisdom and favor you need to deal with your outer storm.

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For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9Ephesians 2:8-9
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8 for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, that no one would boast.

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A CLOSER WALK: Weakness As My Strength

It has taken me a long time to learn what great power there is in weakness. For most of my life I was like the world I grew up in. I was not a fan of weakness or vulnerability.

shy thinker type

Weakness and extreme shyness were not admired traits in my home. As I said before, I grew up in a house-full of boisterous and outgoing people of sanguine temperament.

For those of you who are not up on the lingo of temperament analysis, Sanguines are “the life of the party” types.

Those fun-loving non-serious and bold types.

I, on the other hand was the very serious contemplative type.

Yeah, born a misfit (I believed) as an out-of-place, “What’s WRONG with you?” solitude-loving, thinker-type.

life of the party type

Put me in a room full of strangers and watch me melt into the wallpaper, tongue-tied, and looking for the nearest exit!

Hardly “life-of-the-party” material!

So, naturally I longed, no maybe that’s not quite right—I LONGED to be more outgoing.

Why is it God often will “call us” to that VERY THING we are convinced we CANNOT do?

(I think there’s something a little mischievous about that!)

Yet, in my own ordeals with my personal weaknesses, that is the very place God wants to use me—right in the spot I feel most helpless.

Here’s what God had to teach me.

He does not want us “out there strutting our stuff” where we feel all capable, and ready to take on the world.

In my own case it’s in those areas where I feel strongest that He will pull back hardest on the reins.

And, where I feel the weakest?

He cheers for me with gusto and abandon!

Actually our so called “strengths” are our weaknesses, and visa-versa our weaknesses, are our greatest strengths from a Kingdom point of view.

The Apostle Paul knew all about this upside down way things work. In 2 Corinthians 12 he tells us, “Three different times I begged God…” He had a weakness he desperately wanted to be rid of. God’s response to his prayers? “Each time He said, ‘No. But I am with you; that is all you need. My power shows up best in weak people.” [vs. 8, 9 TLB]

From God’s point of view our weakness is the place where He can shine. I don’t like it. (You probably don’t like it either.) But that’s the deal. Where I am weak? God’s power is perfected in me.

Where your hands shake, your voice quakes, and your knees wobble?

Yep, that’s the spot, where you will cling to Him for all you’re worth!

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YOU ARE READY

All eyes will be upon you now.
(Don’t be frightened.)
You are ready.
Your whole life has been in preparation for the door you are about to enter. Keep your eyes… (Oh, those beautiful eyes!) Keep them on Me. You know I have called you. Your suffering has made your calling sure. If you ever doubt it, you have only to look in the mirror. It is there, staring back at you. Your greatest weakness will become your greatest strength!
The world hates brokenness. It hates weakness. This you know quite well. But, now you see, when brokenness and weakness link up with Me, and My Spirit, power is the result!
My power. (Mightier than split atoms!) is perfected in weakness. This you have been learning. This you now know!
There will be many who will say I have not called you. (Forget them.) Look in the mirror. Remember, mighty are you in My Kingdom child. Angels will be at your beck and call. I AM in you. You are in Me. Vine and branch; potence and Omnipotence!
I will be at your side. I have have gone ahead of you, into your future to secure it, and I have your back. You are My child. No one can take you from My hand! Be strong. Be of a good courage. You can change the world.
You are going to change the world.
You are My beloved child.
Nothing, and no one, can ever change that!

“I the Lord have called you to demonstrate my righteousness.” Isaiah 42:6Isaiah 42:6
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6 I, Yahweh, have called you in righteousness, and will hold your hand, and will keep you, and give you for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;

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