Drawn to Quiet Waters?

I closed out my Facebook account yesterday. It is something I have sensed for a while that God wanted me to give up, but it was difficult to surrender to that being God’s will. I use FB a lot to keep up with things going on in family and friends lives and for ministry, so it did not make sense to me. But I know God does not have to explain His directives to me and that there are times when the whole point of an exercise is obedience, so after several days of sure confirmation that it is Him I am hearing, I obeyed. And I knew I was not just to deactivate. I was to close it out completely.

It has been difficult since I left FB. In just one day away from there I have realized that I am addicted to the stimulus and to knowing that people are a typed note away. I find myself wondering, “Wow. What am I going to do now?” I also find that the authors of FB know this fact, and thus they give 14 days for closing out the account. All you have to do to stop its closing is to sign back into your account. Fourteen days to decide “God’s will, or my addiction.” Hum….

WOWThe thing that comes to heart as I think on this is, “I called, but you did not answer; I spoke, but you did not hear” ~ Isaiah 65:8.

God still wants time with His chosen people, just as He did in the garden. And He desires for me to be … “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; when shall I come and appear before God?” ~ Psalm 42:1-2.

He is calling me to “seek, aim at and strive after first of all His kingdom and His righteousness – His way of doing and being right, and then all these things taken together will be given you besides” ~ Matthew 6:33, AMP.

God always has a purpose for what He calls us to and what He allows us to go through. We don’t always understand it, but we can all know that as we live the words, “We must obey God rather than men,” we will find Him faithful to His promises. For “we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Acts 5:29; Romans 8:28)

Thus God is saying to me, “If then you have been raised with Christ to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead, aim at and seek the rich, eternal treasures that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. And set your minds and keep them set on what is above, the higher things, not on the things that are on the earth” ~ Colossians 3:1-2, AMP.

God has called me to the study and writing of His Word. That has been true for a very long time. Our day is strategic and the time of Christ draws ever so near, so the wise use of our time and talents in the place God has placed us is vital. He is calling me to seek Him in prayer for the things going on in the earth. His desire is for me, wanting time with me, so He calls me to lay down the things that hinder me and rob of all He desires for me and to spend the time I have seeking after Him. Thus, “I opened my mouth and panted with eager desire, for I longed for Your commandments” ~ Psalm 119:131. To which He responds, “Open your mouth wide and I will fill it” ~ Psalm 81:10.

“And they waited for me as for the rain, and they opened their mouths wide as for the spring rain” ~ Job 29:23.

God often calls us to or places us in situations that are hard for us to understand. He wants us to trust, long Quiet-w-Godfor and seek after Him in those times, knowing that He will bring it to a good end that glorifies His name and works His eternal purpose.

Has God caused you to sit down by quiet waters, Beloved?

“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart. …For He satisfies the longing soul and fills the hungry soul with good.” (Psalm 37; Psalm 107:9)

Joy is Strength. Right?

I read a devotional thought by Joyce Meyer yesterday that spurred concern for the people of God who might read it without understanding. Now I have sat under Joyce’s teaching for many years and I know her heart was on target, but for someone who may not know the Lord well or be one who will look at the scripture for themselves, this particular devotional fell short of where it needed to be, as I see it.

The_Comforter2In this particular devotion from her “Power Thoughts” devotional book on February 10, Joyce is covering a thought from Proverbs 17:22, “A Happy Heart is Good Medicine.” In her thoughts on the subject, she says, “Joy is vital! Nehemiah 8:10 tells us joy is our strength.”

I agree 100% that joy is vital to us, as vital as unconditional love and peace that passes understanding, both of which come from God alone. We will struggle to make it in this life without these: peace, love and joy. But it is not joy that is our strength, it is the joy of the Lord that is our strength.

“Then he said to them, ‘Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength’” ~ Nehemiah 8:10.

There are many things that can bring us joy: people, relationships, sporting events, hobbies, books, movies, etc. But each of these can also let us down and bring us to much grief. We can feel stronger at the time we are enjoying these, but when some grief comes along, the joy is robbed and strength is gone.

The joy of the Lord transcends all other joy we may have. There are two things I know about the joy of the walking-with-godLord that makes this a joy beyond understanding and comprehension, just like the peace Jesus leaves us and the love that God is. This joy finds its supply in the very storehouse of God. It is not dependent on anyone or anything but God who freely gives it; therefore no heartache on earth can rob us of it. This joy is not even dependent on my emotional state or my ability to possess it. It is found and received when God is our delight, bringing us to seek after and trust Him first and foremost.

Rejoicing in the Lord comes from knowledge of Him that brings us to trust Him despite the trouble that comes our way in this life. Rejoicing in the Lord comes from the knowledge of His presence that is always with us and for us, and will never leave us or be taken away from us. Rejoicing in the Lord comes when we trust His hand knowing that despite the fires of testing that often come, He has a good plan for us and He is working all things for the good of those who truly love Him and are called by His name, as a bride takes the name of the Bridegroom.

There is a teaching in the religious right today that does promote joy in itself as strength. It has people feigning rejoicing in hope of gaining a little strength, then feeling let down by God when the strength they find is fleeting. The only true joy that will be with us despite any grief and will strengthen us is the joy of the Lord, fully focused on and supplied by a close, trusting, loving relationship with Him that transcends to overcome the world.

Love is Not Jealous

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-5, NLT.

This is one of those passages that, without the Holy Spirit to instruct us, makes scripture look like it is contradictory. Here it says that “love is not jealous”. But “God is love” and God, “whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God”. So what’s up with that? (1 John 4:8; Exodus 34:14)

As I read it this morning, I see the movie “Sleeping with the Enemy” in these words of instruction. You see, God does love us fully, and He is only jealous when we take other gods in His place. For example, God does not mind that I really love and cater to my husband, because He knows my heart has Him in first place even as I love on my man. In fact, it is my love for God that thoroughly equips me to love my man in right ways. But when Father slips to second place in my affections and loyalty, that is what leads to Him becoming jealous over me. I have given myself to Him as my First Love. I belong to Him even before my husband. And He has every right to be jealous when I take that part of me that is His alone and I give it to another.

The jealousy spoken of in 1 Corinthians 13 is not a righteous jealousy, like when God is jealous. It is unreasonable. That type of jealousy says, “If you even look at another, though you are innocent in intent, I will lash out at you with jealous fervor.” This jealousy refuses to trust the love of another. It is suspicious, accusing, and vicious. It has nothing to do with truth or true love, and everything to do with unrighteous possessiveness that too often and easily seeks to rule over the object of its wrath, demanding to be as a god in their lives. It is unreasonable and only truly giving of love to self as it either demands its own way at the expense of the need of the other, or it holds oneself back from the other out of false perceptions that breed insecurity in the relationship.

Unrighteous jealousy can lash out in obvious ways, like the enemy Julia Roberts’ character found herself sleeping with, or it can be more subtle, like so many of us who are sneaky in our ire. Joyce Meyer often tells of when she was jealous of the time her husband spent enjoying sports, how she would decide to vacuum the floor in the room where he was trying to watch a game. We can be sneaky in our jealous tempers, but it is as evil toward the one we profess to love as when those who are overtly jealous beat their mate for their perceived offence, because jealousy of this type breeds discord, hardship, bitterness and anger.

Do I have a right to be jealous if my husband enters into a bad relationship with another woman, or even with an overboard focus on sporting events that rob me of him? You bet I do. We have a license that makes us exclusive as a couple both with God and with man, and we each have right to the others time and attention. There are certain ways in which he is mine alone, and I alone have right to him in those areas of life. There has been a time when I had to warn him that I could tell that another woman was after him, and he was shocked when he discovered it was true. Forewarned was forearmed and he stood faithful. Instead of the other woman’s obvious attraction to my man making me jealous in harmful ways, I knew my rights and was used of God to prepare my mate for the challenge by simply mentioning that she was enamored with him and he needed to be on the alert. I did not badger him or make demands of him. I simply warned him. He was honestly shocked and could not believe it, but when her advances took a clear turn, he was ready with the right response.

My husband went from working mostly with men to a job where he is working with a lot of women and there have been times when I had to deal with the green-eyed monster within; but there have also been times when the jealousy I felt had a righteous seed to it. When he started this job he worked with a very friendly, fun loving man, who was very flirtatious toward women. On one occasion I observed my husband seemingly to fall into that flirtatious fun. Yes, I had to fight off a little jealousy there, and with the Lord’s help, when we were alone, I gently told him that his joking around with them came off to me as flirting. I told him those single women are in the market and that they could well perceive the “fun” as flirting, just as I did, and think he is available, which could end in temptation for him. My husband had an obvious Tim-the-tool-man, aha moment that changed the way he behaves.

Jealousy can be a warning that leads us to realize and take action in protecting our rights, or it can be an ungodly emotion that leads us to behave in ways we have no right to. This emotion we often deal with requires the Spirit of God to instruct us in realizing which jealousy we are in and how to properly address the issue at hand.

So there are two lessons in today’s ponderings:

One, jealousy can be a righteous right, but often is unrighteous and destructive when we fail to get God’s heart on the issue. It is important that we discern the difference and follow God’s example and the Spirit’s lead so we give true love to those around us.

And two, scripture can appear to contradict itself, thus we need the Rabbi-Spirit to instruct our hearts so we know the truth that sets free indeed and realize the continuity of God’s teachings.