Tuesday, May 26, 2020

A Re-post...Praying in Jesus' Name

I have liked to consider myself somewhat of a prayer warrior...at least in years past.  Recently however I have struggled to pray.  I do not taste the sweetness of His presence as I have in the past.  Because He is good and he knows that I truly love him and will listen to his correction of my heart of prayer...he has continued to answer my prayers,, sometimes in astounding ways.  But the intimacy of the "prayer closet" is gone.

I have been reading a book by O. Hallesby called "Prayer" and have found it to be very helpful.  I'm reading a chapter now on the essentials of prayer and he has a section entitled "Praying in Jesus Name"  I will be honest.  I will be shockingly honest.  I have found myself eliminating that addendum to the closing of my prayers.  I failed to see the importance or the use of it.  I did not understand its significance....and here in this book I have found out why we are to insert the holy Mysterious name of Jesus and what happens when we don't.  Our prayer life begins to struggle, to weaken.  Our hearts seem to be too sinful to share the intimacy with the Lord that I once had and I felt unworthy  of time with HIM.

Mr (or Mrs.) Hallesby explained that dryness of prayer time, and a lack of worthiness all come as a result of our failure to append the name of Jesus into our prayers.  It is not a kind of silly format that we are to give to our prayers. It is rather, the understanding for us and the pathway for our prayers to make it to the Father's Throne.  This can only come by the holy name of the sinless second person in the Trinity.  He took on my sinful heart and bathed it in his blood.  It is He that grants entrance to the Father as He wore my sins on His beaten, bloodied back.

It is by His importunate  pleading on my behalf that brings  my prayer to the Father's eyes and it is with the Love the Father has for Jesus and through Him, for me that brings answers to my pleas as well as intimacy and sweet communion between my heart and that of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.   It is not merely like affixing a stamp on your letter....NO maybe it is exactly that.  You may have the most important letter in the world to be mailed...but without a stamp, it is going nowhere.  The stamp is essential.  Jesus' mysterious Name is equally essential. It is for certain that I will not send my prayers without adequate payment any longer.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

All Good Things Must End

I've been at my dad's house for a week and am returning home this coming Saturday.  I do not want to go back home (although my recliner is WAY more comfortable than this recliner (a.k.a. "instrument of torture") is here.  I can barely stand up from sitting on it and cannot do so without a cry of pain.

I am constantly appalled by how limited I am in walking distance tolerance...doing ANYTHING useful...can't even stand long enough to wash off more that 3 or 4 dishes  in the sink...Just now I walked into the kitchen ( I use Canadian forearm crutches) and the pain was so bad from that 20 second walk that I had to sit in a kitchen chair until I could bear to walk to the refrigerator.

Sometimes I feel guilty about being so challenged physically. And mentally too.  I tell myself I really should get a job.  Or clean and paint my daughter's bedroom and then  --I need to use the bathroom and barely make it back to the recliner before tears come.  If I can't sweep my kitchen floor...then no, Cynthia, you cannot work! And then I think of all of the things I once did, so easily --and it is heartbreaking to think I will never do those things again.  I just haven't gotten used to or accepted that reality.

I could never write another book.  My vision, hands and my brain are all in the way of that. You may have noticed wrong word substitutions or wrong tenses, or other errors. Years ago this would never have happened. Now I have to proof read every single sentence and the errors are so pervasive and sneaky, I sometimes miss so of them.  It could maybe be caused by brain fog from autoimmune disease. Or the encroaching damage to my brain from SZ (Schizophrenia) ...or  my medications.  Or ECT or all of the above.

I really need to seek to be filled daily with God's Spirit. I think that too much of what I do is being done by self-effort. Even here in the quiet --where i literally have a prayer closet, it is hard to focus; hard to pray.  Often it takes me hours in Penuel,  not because I am accomplishing much but because my brain is so inefficient and distractable.   I have been floundering in a sea of indecision about what to do next for Penuel (my "Quiet Time")  ..I finished the chronological Bible.  I want to do more memorization. I would really like to learn some longer passages - like chapters or even short books in the Bible but again I have been stalled by the "what should I do next?" problem.    I also want to study some passages in depth.  And also want to do some reading in the Christian classics.  But that is a HUGE bite to chew.  And maybe something will have to go. Tom Meyer (the "Bible Memory Man" --Google him!) said it takes him one HOUR a day of study and a month of that to learn one chapter. And over a year to memorize a book.   He knows 20 books by heart....Even tough books like Genesis (with all the geneologies and numbers of years each person lived.) and like Revelation.  I admire him to no end.  I have ordered his Study Memorization Bible and am waiting for it to arrive in the mail.

I will figure it out and I will spend some time listening and waiting for God to speak before I move forward in any direction.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

The Good Fight- a Repost

The following is a post I wrote in May of 2016.  I am glad to note that my struggles now are different than they were at the time of this post....but the struggles back then were real and were necessary to bring me to where I am today. I hope you find something in here that speaks to you at the soul level.
get daily verses sent to me by two different websites.  Today, I was really struck by one of them.  Here it is:

Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:12 NLT

I had just been crying out to the Lord for a passion for Him like the apostle Paul had.  My heart has been cold, hard, and dull.  And here--what do we see? Paul said to fight the good fight for true faith.  It is a struggle. A constant struggle with unbelief.  Unbelief is not only not believing in the existence of God.  It is also to live in a way that does not in any way take  into account the Living, Holy God -- who has called us for a specific purpose: to live a life of passionate commitment to Himself and His plans for our lives.   Or unbelief is to "throw God a bone" every once in a while; a "please help me" prayer or an "I'm sorry for ignoring you" and then to go on and continue to ignore Him.

No, God has called us to much more than that. He has called us to intimacy and wonder.  He has called us to worship and given us the magnificent gift of Prayer, by which we can profoundly impact our world.  If we don't live out these callings or take advantage of His gifts, we are living in unbelief.

Notice that Paul calls this struggle with our fleshly, sinful selves, a "good fight."  Why is it good? Wouldn't it be much better for us to simply obey and be faithful 100% of the time?  I don't think so.  While we are engaged in this battle we are under no illusions about the strength or the foulness of our own flesh (meaning the sinful self and its desires for comfort, pleasure, and conquest).  Fighting causes us to use spiritual muscle.  And as you know, when muscles are used, they become strong.

Fighting this strong opponent will mean that we do lose some of the skirmishes.  It will give us a healthy respect for the strength of the enemy. And it will cause us to rely  more heavily on God.  We will learn to cry out to Him and to learn from Him how to do battle.

So yes. It is a good fight.  It will make us or break us.  It will separate the chaff from the wheat.  This too is good.  It will clearly demonstrate those who truly believe and those who believe for a season but are scorched by the sun, or die from lack of root. (see Matthew 13). 

For me, today, it was a good word. I am feeling spiritually dry and frustrated. I know I deeply believe in and love the Lord. I know I would die for Him...but to live day and in and day out struggling to remain faithful? Struggling to pray and to study? Struggling against besetting sin?  This is where I'm being tripped up.  And it was a deep encouragement to me to read that this is a GOOD fight.  I'm not a failure as a Christian.  Rather I am a battle weary warrior, who after pausing a bit, will once more take up the sword and shield and go to it with the enemy and my own flesh and I will fight stronger and smarter with every battle.

So when you feel like you are failing to walk to the walk...failing, in the privacy of your own heart, to passionately pursue God...do not hate yourself and throw in the towel.  Pick yourself up ...allow GOD to pick you up, wipe the mud off your face and send you once more into the fray.

It is a good fight. And it is made all the better to see that Paul and Timothy had to fight the same battle.  It is good to know that God not only understands our weakness--it's part of how He made us.  No one springs from the womb fully grown and clad in armor.  We are born weak.  Dependent.  And our whole lives are to be dedicated to the pursuit of God and a life of holiness.  And it is a good fight.