I Will Know Him

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for reaching out and extending your hand to lead me. I love the look in your eyes, beckoning to follow, wooing my trust on the path you are leading me. When I think of the relationship I have with you, I realize this is the intimacy, trust, and submission I want to experience with the man you have prepared for me. I know the only way I can experience this close, deep intimacy with a man is if he is also in deep, close, abiding intimacy with You. I will see in his eyes the same gentle beckoning, coaxing to trust and follow. I will see You – I will recognize him by Your Holy Spirit. He will recognize me as his spirit relaxes into the comfort one feels with a dear friend because Your Holy Spirit is with me.

Thank you Jesus for all you are teaching me in this season and thank You for reminding me how much You love me. It is only with You and through You I will come to life everlasting. Guide me in all Your ways and keep me from the snares of the enemy. I pray this all in your precious name Jesus! Amen!

Refiner’s Fire

What is it like to be in the refiner’s fire? What is the refiner’s fire? I ask these questions because in my heart of hearts, I feel I am in the white hot center of the refiner’s fire. There is no where to move. There is no where to go, only to sit and burn.

The vision of the refiner’s fire is from Malachi 3:2. The words of the prophet speak of the coming of the Lord and how he is like a refiner’s fire. But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. Malachi 3:2 NIV

As God has opened my heart and asked me to trust Him fully and completely, I have experienced his love more deeply and more intimately. I am also challenged and tempted in the flesh to a greater degree. I give in too often, and I miss the intimacy and closeness with the Lord. When I indulge my flesh, I am naturally separated from the only thing which truly satisfies ~ my Lord, my God.

So I can waste time pleasure seeking, yet finding no pleasure at all, or submit and obey, deny myself, pick up my cross daily and follow Him. In this process, I must die to myself and submit to the refiner’s fire and allow Him to do His good and perfect work in me.

I ask for your prayers and welcome your experiences of the refiner’ fire in your life. Be blessed! ~♡

I Shall Not Want

As I have journeyed this year, through all God is teaching me, the 23rd Psalm has played a central role.  Over twenty years ago as a new Christian, I fell in love this Psalm and committed it to memory.  I would, and still do, carefully recite it in my head, or aloud, and wonder at all God is telling us through this Psalm.  

About two months ago as I was praying to Papa God, I heard myself say the words “more than anything else, I want…”.  “I want” stuck out to me, and as I continued to pray, I felt the Holy Spirit continue to draw my attention to how much I use this as I cry out to God in prayer.  Immediately I began to recite the 23rd Psalm, The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…(I shall not want, I shall not want).  He makes me to lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside the still waters, He restores my soul.  He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.  Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. 

As I commit myself and the rest of my life to Christ, what can I possibly want?  What has God not already provided for me as I walk through each day.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside the still waters, He restores my soul.  He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.  I have more than enough to sustain me through each day and each challenge I face.  He assures me, as I walk intimately close to Him, following where He leads, speaking the words He gives, staying still and silent, He guides and directs me.  I am walking in the path of righteousness for His name’s sake. He has prepared this path for me. 

I notice when I declare what I want, it is often when I have rushed ahead of Him, rushed ahead of the Shepherd, away from the flock.  I am out in the wilderness in places my Shepherd has not intended me to travel. 

My wants are often for the love of my own comfort, the fear of having nothing, or toward a life of worldly passions.  I know my Lord and Savior, my God, knows my heart better than I know my own heart.  He knows what I need as well as what I want, yet above all, He loves me and guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.  I have tasted the goodness of God and all He has prepared for me. What more could I possibly want

The first time I heard the song “I Shall Not Want”  by Audrey Assad, I wept as I listened to the words “Deliver me O God, from the need to be understood, from the need to be accepted, from the fear of being lonely, deliver me O God.”   I wept because these are the things I long for most… I want most, more than anything else.  I wonder if God is asking me to look the wants I declare as things driving me to run ahead of His leading.  Are these wants driving me off the path of righteousness, the path He has prepared beforehand that I should walk?

I know Papa God knows my heart.  He sees my desire to be understood, accepted, and not alone as I walk through this life.  These are very human emotions and fears, yet He is asking me to trust Him and seek first to be filled by Him.  He is reminding me to be driven first toward Him, and if these things are driving me to run out ahead of His plan for my life, my desires are out of balance. 

All I can do with this revelation is to turn to Jesus, my Lord and Saviour, and lay it all down at His feet.   I give to Him all my wants and desires as a sacrifice.  I tell Him I love and desire Him above all else and I trust Him because He knows me, understands and accepts me, and has promised He will never leave nor forsake me. ~♡

“I Shall Not Want”

From the love of my own comfort
From the fear of having nothing
From a life of worldly passions
Deliver me O God

From the need to be understood
From the need to be accepted
From the fear of being lonely
Deliver me O God
Deliver me O God

And I shall not want, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want

From the fear of serving others
From the fear of death or trial
From the fear of humility
Deliver me O God
Deliver me O God

And I shall not want, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want

No, I shall not want, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want

When I taste Your goodness I shall not want

Written by: Audrey Assad, Bryan Brown

Lyrics © MUSIC SERVICES, INC.

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

Intimacy with God

In a recent bible study I attend, the teacher talked about how God is like a woman in that He wants us focusing on and making Him the center of our hearts and lives.  The bible tells us God is jealous and does not want our attention or affection shared with anyone or anything else.  Exodus 34:14; II Corinthians 11:2

The speaker went on to say when a man really loves a woman, the only thing he sees in a crowded room is her… His attention is drawn fully to her, and the woman wants to feel like he only has eyes for her.  He said he imagines God is like this and he keeps this in mind in his relationship with God.  

I mention this analogy because I have been in a deep exploration and study of what true intimacy with God is and how it is expressed in our lives and our walk with God.

I know we are the bride of Christ, and as a woman, I relate to being a bride in my personal relationship with God.  I have spoken with some men who are puzzled by the intimacy I speak of in my relationship with God.  This has made me wonder and want to ask how a man relates to being the Bride of Christ and how he experiences intimacy with God.

After discussing this with several men friends, I found men shy away from considering themselves personally as the Bride of Christ or Jesus as their groom, stating the references in the bible are metaphorical and the bride is the church as a whole, not individuals.  I can certainly understand this perspective, and I understand the church is the bride of Christ, however, Christ died for His people, which encompass all the individual believers who are the Bride.  From this I see Jesus not just viewing us as a collective, but seeing, knowing, and loving each of us as individuals.  The individuals He gave His life for so we could be with Him for eternity (Savior, but also groom/husband).  Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

I am drilling down because I believe as we see ourselves as Christ’s bride in an individual sense, it can guide our behavior and walk with Him.  Please understand as I speak of intimacy with Jesus, I am not speaking of physical intimacy as we experience in the earthly human marriage, but of the deeply close relationship intellectually, emotionally, spirituality which exists in a healthy marriage and provides satisfaction, security, and comfort.

As an individual who relates personally to being the bride of Christ, I think about my desire for Him, always wanting more, and seeking after His presence daily.  Is this not also how a new bride longs for and desires her groom?  The marriage relationship is two becoming one, and where we invest the greatest amount of time, love, and resources.  I also easily see a godly man longing and desiring to spend time with God, be in His presence.  I see this longing and desire in David and his Psalms.  Isn’t David known as ‘a man after God’s own heart’? (Acts 13:22)

This verse also mentions David in the position of submission and obedience, which is called for from a wife in Ephesians 5:24. David’s position of obedience pleases the Lord, and He says ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’  

This is one of the many Psalms of David that expresses a longing and yearning to connect with God.  Psalm 42:1-2 NIV
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?

God desires an intimate relationship with us individually and longs to have us in communion with Him, so much so He gave His only son as a sacrifice to ensure we can return to Him.  I started to look through scriptures to support how much God desires us and longs to have an intimate relationship with us, with me; then I realized the whole bible is a love story.  The love story is about God, who created man, male and female, to be in relationship with us.  We broke His heart with disobedience, not trusting Him to guide our lives, telling Him we could do this on our own, now equipped with the knowledge of good and evil.  From that point on, the bible is a story of God relentlessly pursuing us to bring us back into sacred relationship with Himself.

I continue to seek deeper levels of intimacy with God and understand how to walk this out in my daily life.  The question I am asking is part of my yearning to know and understand intimacy with God, and also learn how others experience or seek to grow their relationship with Him.  I hear people expressing how they fall short and are disobedient and feel distant from God.  They long for a more intimate relationship, but their insecurities keep them from experiencing deeper levels of intimacy with God.

I agree our hangups and disobedience do distance us from God, but not because He moves away and shuns us.  I believe we distance ourselves from God out of our own shame for not living up to the endless love He has for us.  Just as Adam and Eve hid from the Lord God out of shame, we hide from God out of our shame.  The thing is, we no longer need to hide in shame when we fall short, are disobedient, and sin against God.  We need to run toward Him, taking all our fear, angst, shame, telling Him everything.  It’s not like we are hiding anything from Him by running away or distancing ourselves from Him.  He knows everything, sees everything.  Above all else, He sees us covered in the blood of His precious Son Jesus.  Everything separating us from having a deep, intimate relationship with God was destroyed when Jesus gave up His life as a sacrifice to pay our debt of sin. Matthew 27:50-51.

Over the past 22 years since accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I have been disobedient, continue to fall short, and struggle with my own insecurities.  This never seems to end, although I see how I have been broken down and allowed God to do His work in my life.  Through it all, I continue to run to Him, confess when I have sinned, and plead with Him for help when I get stuck in repeating behaviors I know are not a part of His plan for my life.  There is nothing I do that will keep Him from loving me.  He has promised He will never leave me nor forsake me.  He has promised He will follow me in the the depths of hell, so I know there is no need to hide my sin and shame from Him.  I rest in Him and find peace for my soul.  I cast my cares on Him, and He cares for me.  All of this, and I long for more because what I find in Him is good and abundantly above all I could ever expect.  Hebrews 13:5; Psalm 139:8; Matt 11:29; Psalm 34:8; I Peter 4:3; Ephesians 3:20

This article about intimacy with God, echos much of what God has been teaching me this year.  I encourage you to read it and see all the benefits of seeking an intimate relationship with our Lord and Savior! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.~ ♡


Submission? Not for me!

Well, this was once how I felt.  God continues working with me on the issue of obedience and submission, and has for many years.
I have a very rebellious nature and have had to face this in my walk with the Lord.  God’s word equates rebellion to witchcraft, which was quite an eye opener for me.  (I Samuel 15:23 nkjv).
Through this realization, the Lord walks with me, teaching about submission and obedience. He is helping me understand true freedom is found when I am in right relationship with Him.  Right relationship is where I willingly yield to Him and obey without questioning.  In this posture, I acknowledge Him as sovereign over my life.  I seek Him, and only Him as my source of love, self-worth, and approval.
I know many women struggle with the concept of submission and obedience, and we all prickle a bit reading Ephesians 5:22, instructing women to submit to and obey their husbands.  They see this posture and position as weak and powerless.  Yet are we  missing the truth?  True power and freedom come from God.  As we turn our lives over to Him, follow His plan and seek wisdom from His word, He will give us the desires of our hearts.  The thing is, most of us do not even know the desires of our own hearts.  We get caught up in pride, the political issues and social mores of the day, and we let these guide us.  However, God sees past our facade and blustering words.  He knows exactly what our hearts long for; an intimacy that touches both body and soul.
God has been using the image of a wild, untamed horse to show me the condition of my heart.  Over the years He has used this image again and again to lead and guide me in a process of healing my heart.  He is my personal horse whisper…the one who in peace and gentleness whispers to my heart until all I desire is to chase after Him.  In this chasing, I am completely free and unrestrained, yet no longer wild.~♡

Oh What Joy and Rapture!

The Horse Whisperer

Five white horses running in slowed motion along a sandy stretch of beach, their manes flowing in rhythm with their gate.  A single rider stands in the middle, each foot planted gently on the back of two different horses, holding the mane of one as his body moves in perfect rhythm and unison.  In another scene the same rider sits on the ground, a lone white horse stands right behind him, as one stands intimately close to their friend or love.  The man, relaxed and comfortable in a space most would consider unsafe, with a powerful animal able to stomp him where he sits.  The horse nuzzles his head as he enjoys her attention and gentle affection.   Several other scenes in this short film show him riding bareback, his hands free or gently holding on to the horse’s mane, or surrounded by the same five horses as they encircle him. He is comfortable and at ease, these beautiful, powerful animals in complete submission and obedience, yet free and unrestrained.

These mesmerizing scenes are from the short film The Horse Whisperer, in which Jean François Pignon, tells the story of how he was captivated as a teenager by a white horse named Gazelle.  From her, he learned to communicate with horses in a totally silent world of senses, where one must be calm and serene inside, completely free of tension.  Once in this state, one is able to communicate on a truly sensitive level.

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These images of the relationship between the horses and their trainer strike me as particularly beautiful.  The freedom, respect, and love exhibited in this relationship speaks to my heart.  These magnificent, powerful creatures, unrestrained, yet in complete submission to their trainer.  This is a beautiful example of the way I wish to experience complete submission and obedience to my Lord.

This is also an image I have held in my mind and heart of the relationship I desire to have with a man.  Moving in sync and harmony as he directs.  We are quietly sensitive to each other’s needs, aware of the power each is given, and moving with grace and complete unrestrained freedom.  Within this relationship is complete trust and respect. The trainer respects the power and freedom of the horse, trusting her to fully submit and follow.  She gives over her will to his in complete faith he will care for her and lead her well. The joy and freedom they experience is what I long for, both with the Lord and with my love. This becomes even deeper as I imagine the man I love and long for in complete submission and obedience to our Lord.  Oh what joy and rapture!

Perhaps these are lessons we can use in our walk with the Lord.  Entering into silence, away from the noise of our lives and the endless chatter inside our  heads, releasing tensions and the cares of this world.  Calm takes over, serenity and peace move in. Here we become sensitive to His Holy Spirit, the still small voice.  We sense His movements and His power.  His leading is gentle and we follow in complete faith and trust.  The deeper our relationship with God, the more open and receptive we are to healthy relationships.  The more we make God our center and source of love, acceptance, and approval, the less we seek these from others who can never fully satisfy the longing in our hearts. ~ ♡

Be Still and Know…

In every situation, pause and look for God. He is there, standing beside you in your pain and confusion waiting patiently to lead you. Patiently waiting for the roar of thoughts and emotions to subside until the still small voice breaks through, a fresh breeze soothing the soul.

Through submission, meaning and purpose are redeemed.

 

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