The Pursuit of God A.W Tozer

I recently finished another Randy Alcorn book titled Hand in hand. In it and other of his writings he references the writings of Aiden Wilson Tozer. This past Wednesday at the library I checked out The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer.

I just finished the end of chapter 3 so I’m not very far in but I wanted to share with you a few things.

One, his prayers that he ends each chapter with are really inspiring. Inspiring as in I want to make them my own prayers! At the end of chapter one which is titled Following Hard After God, he prays,

O God, I have tasted your goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscience of my need for further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, The Triune God, I want to want you; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me your glory, I pray you, that so I may know you indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.” Then give me grace to rise and follow you up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Chapter 3 is titled Removing The Veil. I won’t write a summary of it I just want to share a hymn it reminded me of. A brother in our church introduced us to this  hymn written by Charles Spurgeon. It is to the tune of “When I Survey The Wondrous Cross.”

Amidst us our Beloved stands,
And bids us view His pierced hands;
Points to the wounded feet and side,
Blest emblems of the Crucified.

What food luxurious loads the board
When, at His table, sits the Lord!
The wine how rich, the bread how sweet,
When Jesus deigns the guests to meet!

If now, with eyes defiled and dim,
We see the signs, but see not Him;
Oh, may His love the scales displace,
And bid us see Him face to face!

Thou glorious Bridegroom of our hearts,
Thy present smile Thy grace imparts!
Oh, lift the veil, if veil there be,
Let every saint Thy glory see!

Think about these words, read them slowly and worship The Bread of Life asking for your eyes to opened to see Him!

 

Advertisements

Contentment and idols of the heart

At the moment I am enjoying a serene moment with my children sitting in the sandbox playing and me sitting in a lawn chair. This lovely moment really feels like a gracious gift from the Giver of all good things. The gentle breeze, the sound of geese in the distance, my children’s imaginations, the freshness of the air, the serenity of the woods. These are extravagant gifts from God that I am so unworthy of and yet I often fail to even notice them. To be honest when I stepped outside with the children I was feeling pretty grumpy because I was looking at all the yard work that’s not done and thinking what a mess the yard is. If I’m perfectly honest what came into my mind was a friends recently purchased home with a beautiful yard in a cooler area of the country and what came into my heart was covetousness or as the Bible also calls it, idolatry. (Col. 3:5)

What pricked my conscience so badly and grabbed a hold of my idolatrous heart and yanked it back into repentance and thanksgiving was this poem I’ve never read before by 8 year old Fanny Crosby who was accidentally blinded by a physician as an infant; (I read it in Randy Alcorn’s book Happiness)

Oh, what a happy child I am,
Although I cannot see!
I am resolved that in this world,
Contented I will be.

I’m ashamed that a blind 8 year old would choose to be happy in spite of her disability when I so often fail to even have that same resolve.

As a child Fanny told her mother that even given a choice she would choose to remain blind so that the first face she would see would be the face of God.

Oh to have faith like a child!

Try inserting your own trials into this poem. For me it would look something like this;

Oh, what a happy child I am (child of God in this case since I’m an adult!)
Although I bear the grief of child loss and the daily struggle of a chronic disease
I am resolved that in this world,
Contented I will be

Then use your God given imagination to replace these trials with the glory of endless bliss and healing in eternity with Christ.

Fanny looked forward to the primary joy of seeing God and the secondary joy of restored sight. Just think, in the presence of God surrounded by the family of God I’m going to get to see my child alive, find out what color his eyes are and taste food with out injecting insulin. What a cause for celebration! What gifts the Father has lavished upon me! What hope and joy and happiness I experience today because I’ve been promised that coming day!

2 Cor. 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

1 Thess. 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Dear Heavenly Father, The Creator and Giver of all good things,
Forgive me for covetous thoughts and discontentment. May things I desire never become idols, distracting me from seeing all the good things You’ve given me. Thank you for my life, for my family, for my home, for food and clothing and all the endless provisions in my life. Most of all, thank You for the provision of Your Son Jesus who was crucified on my behalf and rose again, forever making intercession on behalf. Make me to be content with my life and circumstances. I believe Your word when it says that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me and that I can be content in whatever state or circumstance I am in. Work the power of the Holy Spirit in me. In the name of Jesus my Saviour I pray, A-men

Prayer walk

The first half of the year I felt I was doing really well in the area of prayer. I had a prayer journal and I was diligent to take it out and pray for the people and situations that I had listed for that day of the week. And then my prayer journal went through the dryer and was torn into lots of tiny pieces I had to pull off the clothes (don’t ask how that happened!) I went through a period where I thought it was probably for the best that I was probably relying on the journal too much. Except, I stopped being faithful to pray and I would forget the things I wanted to pray about.

I bought a small pocket sized notebook and used those sticky dividers that go on the paper to create sections. I used the acronym ACTS- Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication and wrote down Bible verses to read as I prayed through each of those categories. I lost the notebook. I don’t even know where it is right now.

I’ve been convicted lately that I need to spend time in prayer and I need to be more faithful and I also need to know how to talk to God without relying on notebooks or phone apps to help me.

I did something yesterday that I enjoyed so much that I did it again today and I can see myself keeping this as a habit and a joyous part of my day.

Early in the morning before my kids were up but the sun had started to come up so I could see, I went outside and walked some.  I have to be close to the house because my children are inside but usually they don’t wake up until 6:30 or 7:00 or later so I can slip outside around 5:45 for 15 minutes no problem. It’s always been peaceful to me to be outside early in the morning and honestly being outside helps me turn my thoughts to the majesty of God and get my thoughts off my own self. Being outside means I’m away from distraction as well. I’m not near my phone or looking at the bed that needs made or anything else. Just a short sweet time with God. I love it. I kept thinking back to that time through out the day yesterday and it was one of the best parts of my day.

Questions: what helps you to be faithful in prayer? Are you naturally spontaneous in prayer or does it take effort for you to be faithful? Have you created any routines that help you spend time talking with God each day? How has your prayer life changed depending on what season of life you are in?

And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.” Mark 1:35

 

An answer to prayer?

Tuesday we got back from visiting my family in Connecticut. It was really good to see everyone and I’ll have to wait and see but it may have been an answer to prayer. I haven’t written anything about what may be happening because I still don’t know if anything will come of it or not but I may as well share…
My husband has applied for a job in the United Arab Emirates. Yep! The other side of the world! We are still waiting to learn more details about the job. He was offered a position but they needed his passport info before they would give more details. We should know by the end of next week.
Going to CT I believe was an answer to prayer because we bought plan tickets to go back at the beginning of the year then he applied for the job and he thought things would move a lot faster and thought that possibly we would be moved by July. I prayed and asked God that if we were going to move over seas that we would get to go to CT first to say goodbye in person to my family.
It’s a long story but the kids and I got our passports pretty quickly but my husbands passport turned into a big paperwork and deadline fiasco. Lots of strange things were happening that kept delaying him from getting it. When we got back from CT it was in the mailbox and last night I got a text from the realtor that someone wants two full hours to spend looking at our house today. Is all this a coincidence? I’ll let you know if anything happens with the job but I am starting to feel that the trip to CT was a gracious gift from my loving Heavenly Father to His daughter. So pray for us as we may have some big decisions to make.

I better get going- gotta get this place show ready! Have a blessed day!!

What do I want out of today?

What do I want out of today?

love. I want to give it and receive it. I want to feel it, to engage all my senses in receiving any bit of it my children or husband offer me. I want to be willing to receive it their way. My 1 year old gives love by feeding me pretend food and curling my hair and lately, giving me way too sloppy open mouth kisses. I want to not be too busy or too distracted to receive that love.

I want to give love how they receive it. My 4 year old wants me to engage in elaborate games of make believe. I will make what is important to her important to me because I love her.

I want to believe. I want to believe God loves me. I don’t want to just hope that God loves me or know intellectually that God loves me I want to experience and taste of the love of God.

I want to hope. I scan the sky for Christ’s return. I want more than that though, I want hope in God for today. If He does not return today I want hope in Him, trust in Him, experiencing Him to be what fills and delights this moment. I want this moment and this day to be wonderful because I am savoring the presence of a loving God who extends friendship.

I am not alone. I want to believe that today and I want it to put a smile on my face, a joy in my step and happiness in my heart. Loneliness is crushing to me. When I could find no one available or around to be with me yesterday I felt so alone. I am never alone though, Christ is the friend that sticks closer than a brother. He lives within me, is all around me. He offers to me fullness of joy in His presence. Did you read that!? Fullness of joy- as in it can’t get any better than this- He offers me all the joy in the universe and tells me it will be enough, it will fill me. Fullness of joy, my cup overflowing with happiness because I am in the presence of the living God.

I don’t want to complain today. I read a Psalm of Asaph this morning and he said that he complained and his soul was overwhelmed. My complaining is what is making me overwhelmed. God, give me Your grace and strength not to complain with my heart or lips but instead offer thanksgiving to You and those around me. With the help of God, I will not complain about child rearing, about messes, about those who have hurt me, about the sufferings in my life.

Instead today I say, thank You God. Thank You that Your mercies are new every morning. Thank You that I am forgiven today. Thank You that You do not hold the sins of yesterday over my head in condemnation but instead You say that the righteous falls seven times yet gets up and keeps going every time. (Proverbs). Thank You that I’m not relying on my own righteousness because I am an ugly sinner. Thank You for blotting out the hand writing of ordinances which was against me and nailing it to Your cross. Thank You for wanting me to have life and have it more abundantly. I receive Your life today.

 

Passionate Prayer

I’ve been struggling with prayer lately. I’ve been doing it but lately my time talking with the Creator for some reason I’ve felt emotionally dry as toast. I know that faith and emotions are not the same thing. I do believe God hears and answers my prayers even when I am emotionally uninvolved but at the same time I want to feel and experience God with my emotions. My emotions are a part of my being, a part of who I am.

I’m reading through the Bible chronologically right now and it has been really encouraging to me as I am reading through 1 Samuel to read the Psalms as they were written. To read what situation David was in and then to immediately read what he wrote and spoke to God in response.

I want so much want to desire God like Moses did and to love Him with the passion and zeal of David. I want to obey and trust Him like Joshua. I want to live humbly and virtuously like Ruth.

I want to know God and I know He desires for me to know Him but often my flesh gets in the way. My mind is mentally lazy, my flesh desires entertainment, escapism and comfort.

How can I have more passionate prayer? I don’t entirely know the answer. I know the place to start is by asking God for passion for Him. I can do nothing without Him, not even love Him without His help.

Another thing is spending time in prayer. Purposefully cut out distractions and entertainment so that my mind is uncluttered enough to think about God. It’s important for me to not listen to secular music (very often) or my mind dwells on that instead of on worship. What we invest our time in becomes important to us.

Faith comes by hearing God’s Word so it’s important to fellowship with other believers who can speak the Word to me. Also it’s important when I am with other believers to use that time wisely and talk about the things of God and not just goof off.

Time in the Word will teach me about God and His will. Memorizing scripture is huge.

Obedience to God, His Word and His Spirit is essential. I know there has been a situation in my life that I needed to do something about and until I took care of it every time I tried to pray all I could feel was conviction until I made the situation right.

Something I haven’t been doing lately but I’ve been thinking about is a need for me to switch things up. What I mean is, if I pray the same prayer list sitting in the same spot at the same time every day maybe that’s contributing to me feeling like my prayer life is artificial. If I felt like my relationship with my husband was getting in a rut I’d do something different! I’d plan for us to do some new activity for us to experience together and our relationship would grow stronger because of it. Maybe I should view my relationship with my heavenly Beloved the same and learn to talk to Him and worship Him spontaneously. To think of Him always.

Think about calvary. I hope to spend some time this morning amongst the business of caring for children during church to truly appreciate and reflect upon Christ’s death and sacrifice on my behalf as I break bread with other believers in remembrance of God’s gift of salvation and what it took to purchase it. Reflecting on the shame of my sin and the holiness of God and the truth that God bore that shame upon His own self should never loose it’s ability to humble me and to make me rejoice.

Just some thoughts I’ve been thinking. Jesus is knocking, I will open up to Him and He promises to sup with me.

Do these thoughts resonate to you? Do you feel like your prayers are full of passion or are you in a spiritual or emotionally dry place? What are your thoughts on emotion and it’s place in the Christian walk?

A testimony

I had something really amazing happen to me this week that I haven’t shared yet with anyone but my husband. I want to write it down so I can remember it myself but also to tell you that God is so good and really real! 

I wish I could share all the details to make the story more fluent but because it involves someone else I’m not going to use their name.

Earlier this week the thought came into my mind to pray for this specific person. I care about this person but we are not really close and don’t even live in the same state so I don’t really think of her all that often. I wrote her name down in my prayer journal that morning.

Through out the week it kept coming into my mind at random points to pray for this person. I didn’t know specifically what to pray for so while I raked leaves in the back yard I prayed for this person to know God and for God to help her etc..

The next morning while texting a family member about something unrelated she asked me, “Did you hear what (this person I was praying for) is going through?” When I saw that text come through  my heart kind of jumped and I felt adrenaline rush through me. It was the over whelming feeling of- ‘wow God, thank You for speaking to me and showing me I belong to You and that You care for me!’ It was an amazing feeling to realize that the living God had actually been speaking to my heart!

This family member preceded to tell me what a really heart breaking situation this person is in and I realized that God loves this person and has had me praying for her while she was going through this hard thing I knew nothing about.

My encouragement to you is this- if you don’t hear God’s voice, keep praying. Pray in faith. There have been long periods in my life when I don’t hear God’s voice and I don’t know why but then something like this will happen and I realize, maybe He has been speaking to me other times as well and I just didn’t know it. Like the other times I’ve felt prompted to pray for someone or times when a scripture has come into my mind at just right time. Remember,

John 20:29
Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

what I’m working on..

I haven’t been writing lately although as I go about my day I usually think of so many things I want to write about! It’s a busy season having a 1 year old and a 3 year old. Both ages are requiring a lot of attention and to quote the people I meet in town, “I have my hands full!”

I had written at the beginning of the year how I want to work on scripture memory. I was working on a verse a week and saying it to a woman at our church either on Sunday or if I saw her some other time in the week. One of my sisters in Christ was telling me this past Sunday that she has a goal to memorize the book of Philippians and asked if I would want to join her and keep each other accountable. I’ve wanted to for a long time to memorize Colossians but have stopped and forgotten what I started. We decided we were going to call each other and say our verse that we are working on which we did yesterday afternoon. As of this morning I have memorized the first 7 verses of chapter 1. I’m excited! I would love to be able to say all 4 of the chapters of Colossians. I love the “big picture” of eternity in Colossians and the poetic language.

I’m also working on passing out gospel tracts again. It’s something I haven’t down for a long time but is so important! I ordered some of Ray Comfort’s “Why Christianity” tract/ small booklet and this week God has helped me to pass out 5 of them. The first time I attempted to pass one out was when I brought the kids to the zoo Saturday. I was so nervous I was shaking and ended up leaving without passing any out. It’s so silly really, what am I so nervous about? Some one might say, “No thanks?” Read it and then give it back because they don’t agree with what it says? With each track I did pass out this week, with prayer, it has gotten easier. It’s really not that hard to say to the cashier who I’ve been making small talk with, “Can I give you a gospel track?”

I’m also working on praying more. I have this urgency in my spirit that God is wanting me to pray. I’ve felt like that for a while now and the men in our church have been teaching on prayer which has really been motivating me to start obeying and practicing it. At the encouragement of a brother in the Lord sharing what he does, yesterday I wrote up a prayer list of people and things to pray about for each day of the week. I think it’s going to help me be more focused and disciplined in prayer.

In my job as a mom of little ones, behavior and obedience are the main issues I’m working on with my kids right now. T.J learned to climb up on the kitchen table yesterday and teaching him not to do that took a lot of time yesterday! We’ll see what he does when he gets up.. he’s persistent, I wouldn’t doubt it if he tries right away to see if the rule still applies today!

I had started working on a list of family rules. I put them up in our kitchen and as I was going through out our days I was trying to edit the list to better fit our family and our needs. Some of the rules I wrote out I was finding were too broad and others too specific. While searching around the internet for other’s ideas I found “21 Rules” by Greg Harris. (Father  of the author Joshua Harris.) These were the rules that he wrote up for his family when his kids were young. (I don’t have time to include a link but if you google Greg Harris 21 rules it will come up)

I’ve had them up on our fridge for I think a week or so now and they are really changing our family in a positive way! First they are changing our family because they are changing me! I have to make sure if I’m teaching these rules that I have to follow them closer than anyone! A few challenging one’s for me that I am working on are, “when someone is sad we comfort them.” If my kids are whiny my natural response is to want them to just get over it. Now I’m working on stopping and taking the time to offer a hug or a solution to the problem in their world. (fixing the broke toy or whatever.) It’s also been a really big change for me to consistently clean up one thing before going onto another. I can be a scatter brain and the trail of random stuff I leave behind me shows that. I’ve had to really get organized and make sure everything actually has a place so that when I want the kids to clean up they know exactly where stuff goes and it’s easy to put it away. This has meant getting rid of a lot of stuff as well. I’ve also been working on speaking to my family with a respectful voice. AKA not yelling when I’m irritated.

As for my marriage challenge, there are 6 more days in January. (Including today.) This challenge has proved more challenging than I thought it would be but has also reaped some good fruit. Mostly I’ve realized how little I had been working to do nice things for my husband and how the all consuming task of motherhood has pushed things aside marriage wise. Before having kids you hear how it’s easy to neglect your spouse while parenting but until you’re in the thick of it it’s hard to know how true that is. Maybe (no promises!) at the end of the month I’ll write a “ways to bless your husband” post with different things I’ve come up with this month. It’s hard to come up with the creativity to do something different every day!

There’s more I want to share with you but it will have to wait for another day as it’s nearing 7:00 and I have to hurry to get dressed before my kids wake up!

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

God’s presence in my life…

http://www.epm.org/blog/2017/Jan/11/cultivation-god-consciousness

I read this post on epm.org this morning and I’m going to chew on this idea through out the day.

Prayer is an area of my life I feel God has been working in. I really struggle to pray. I have become more faithful in prayer through writing down my prayers, it keeps me focused. I really feel though that God wants me to take the next step and learn how to talk with Him and be in His presence. I want to come to a place where I practice praying continually like the Bible tells us to do.

1 Thessalonians 5:17

Pray without ceasing.

Snow, a day of spring and what I’m listening to

I’ve been listening to To Kill A Mockingbird by Lee Harper on audio. I couldn’t find it on audio at the library but it’s on Youtube. I feel like an emotional mess as I’ve been listening to it! I’ve saw the movie so long ago I couldn’t remember the details of how it ended. I have one more chapter to listen to. It is one of those books where I’m on edge waiting for it to end but I also don’t want it to end because I am so engaged.

While the movie focuses on the trial, which is the main focus of the book, the book also focuses quite a bit on education and the failure of the public school system. Reading between the lines I am picking up on a powerful pro private education message.

After I recover emotionally from reading the book I’ll have to rematch the movie and compare!

Yesterday we were blessed with a beautiful almost 70 degree day, just 5 days after we were playing in the snow in less than 20 degree weather! I couldn’t believe I was out walking with the kids, no coats on! Here’s a snow pic I said I’d share,

img_7274

Snow’s in the snow!

This morning there are a lot of people I have on my heart that I am so burdened for. It seems that every where I turn people I love are hurting and struggling. God is good and I believe He will prevail and get the glory in all these situations. I know that’s vague but it’s what’s on my mind right now.

That’s all I have time to write today, I’ve got a little guy calling for me to come get him out of his crib. Blessings in Christ Jesus!