Chasing Joy

"I am guiding you on the way of wisdom and I am leading you on the right path." Proverbs 4:11

how to save a life

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I would have stayed up with you all night,
had i known how to save a life.
-The Fray

but it’s been a long time since i’ve been a witness to His working in that way i spoke of.  and i had forgotten all about it until yesterday when He gave me those words.

and i began to grow weary and i began to ask all the questions.

and i began to loose sight of the only Goal worth having; which is to know Him deeper, wider, more.

and i began to lose heart.

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There are those for whom prayer is all i’ve got left.  and apparently if i don’t believe something is working, than i fail to see it’s value.  which reveals to me that prayer had become merely a means to an end.  and it reveals how little i really know.

i wasn’t there when earth’s foundation was laid.  and i don’t know how to save a life.  but there is One who knows the number of hairs on my head and His Eye is on the sparrow.

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Then Job replied to the LORD:
“i know that You can do all things;
no plan of Yours can be thwarted.
You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures My counsel without knowledge?’
Surely i spoke of things i did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.

You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
I will question you, and you shall answer me.
My ears had heard of You
but now my eyes have seen You.
Therefore i repent in dust and ashes.

Job 42

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the invitation

 

Amelia Taylor…. ever heard of her?

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Amelia Taylor, the beloved sister of Hudson Taylor, was a faithful supporter of her brother’s ministry through prayer. …In 1859, Amelia Taylor married Benjamin Broomhall (1829-1911). This marriage led to the deep-rooted and long-lasting affiliation between the Broomhalls and China.”

The Broomhalls and China

long before Hudson even had a ministry, Amelia faithfully supported her wayward brother with prayer…

Some little time after [my conversion], I picked up a pocketbook exactly like one of my own, and thinking that it was mine, opened it.  The lines that caught my eye were an entry in the little diary, which belonged to my sister, to the effect that she would give herself daily to prayer until God should answer in the conversion of her brother.  Exactly one month later the Lord was pleased to turn me from darkness to light.

-Hudson Taylor-from his autobiography

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From Amelia, i see the invitation into something invisible.  something unknown.  something powerful.
It’s prayer.

would i be content to be as she?  faithful in prayer, unseen and unknown by most.  content to be known and seen by my Father alone?

i’m getting there….i’m getting there.

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there are those times, when another is sharing from their heart the amazing thing their Jesus has done.  and i wonder if the gasp is audible.  i have their name written by those very words in my own Bible-and i’m left to wonder;

did i do that with my prayers?  or did You simply invite me into the plan You were executing in their life?

i don’t know the answer to those questions.  but i do know that He prompted the pouring out on their behalf.  and He granted a witness to His answer.  and my view of Him is higher and deeper-

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He invites me into this intimate communion.  this sharing of mysteries too much for me to grasp.  it’s hidden, unseen, known only to Him and i.  the fruit of which is beyond anything i could conceptualize-as i’m sure was the case with dear Amelia.  Her heart was stirred for her brother-that was all.  and millions in China will never be the same because of it.

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Who is a God like our Lord?
Oh the depths of the riches of
the wisdom and
knowledge of God.
How unsearchable His judgments,
and His paths beyond tracing out!

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in sickness

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But I have not found myself that illness makes prayer easier, nor do any of our family who have been ill tell me that they have found it so.  Prayerfulness does not seem to be a flower of the spirit that grows of itself.  When we are well perhaps we rather take it for granted that it does, as though what is sometimes called a “sick-bed” offered natural soil for that precious flower.  I do not think that it does.  A bed can be a place of dullness of spirit as well as of body, and prayer is, after all, work-the most strenuous work in all the world.

Amy Carmichael | Rose from Briar p.55

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Signposts

market kampala

 i like to take pictures of signs-i don’t know why, but i always have.  this week as i’ve been reading on the beginning of Israels’s journey from Egypt to the Promised land, i began to see signposts-marked out for them along their way.  i saw God’s purposeful bringing them to the end of their abilities, inviting them to know Him.  i saw truths for the battle that is within, and the battle from without.  and it all relates so much to prayer-the knowing and the battling. all opening my eyes to more pieces of the puzzle of who God is and the signposts left for me on my own journeying through this life to the promised land.

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Look to God for direction and provision.

stop one is 3 days without water, and then water is found that is not drinkable.  Moses cries out to God and God provides him with a solution.

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seek to know the Lord my God

Next up we have the problem of food in the desert.  “The LORD said to Moses, ‘I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites.  Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread.  Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.’”

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obey without understanding, because the God i’ve come to know is the One giving the instructions

The instructions for gathering the manna are very specific-along with an introduction into the concept of Sabbath:  each day only gather one day’s worth, any extra will spoil.  except for on the 6th day-then you can gather 2 days worth and it won’t spoil.

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write it down, take a photo, keep a souvenir.  do something to help me remember the ways He guided and provided.

“This is what the LORD has commanded: ‘Take an omer of manna and keep it for generations to come, so they can see the bread I gave you to eat in the desert when I brought you out of Egypt.’”

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Every need is an opportunity to experience God’s character.  His provision.  His help.  His nearness.  Himself.

again we have the need for water.  again a situation that we cannot solve ourselves.  God lead them here-they are completely in His will.  and they are thirsty.  it’s not a small problem, but a major concern.  and they are asking; “Is the LORD among us or not?”

big. sigh.

um, well, there is the parting of the red sea, the water that came out of a rock, that daily stuff that just appears for food.  but if a legitimate and major need for survival is not being met-what else is one to wonder?  oh, how many times and in how many ways have i been asking this very question?

 

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Strength for the battle comes from the Lord’s power.  Victory comes from the partnership of those on the front lines and those praying.

So those other’s were signposts for the battle that is within.  Now they are faced with the Amalekites attack-the battle without.  Joshua and his men fight in the battle as commanded, and Moses, Aaron and Hur go to the top of a hill.  As long as Moses holds up his hands, Joshua and his men are winning.  When Moses grows tired, Aaron and Hur hold his hands up for him.

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write it down-it is something to be remembered.  but not only that-this is training for Joshua who will one day lead Israel into battle.  He doesn’t know this, but God does.  And God finds it important for Joshua to understand how this battle was won.  i too need to understand this-and so do my children.  when they are ‘on the front lines’ (off at school) and there is victory in their day-and i have been home praying for them-we all need to ‘review the report’ and make note of where the victory came from….lest we think it’s from ourselves.

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.”

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Repeatedly Israel faces problems that they are not able to solve by themselves-divinely purposed!  Repeatedly God gives them more pieces of the puzzle of Who. He. Is.-divinely invited!  Their journey is my journey too….my journey specifically with prayer. and these are signposts along the path showing me the way through:

 looking to God for provision, seeking to know Him,  obeying without understanding, remembering the ways He guides and provides, allow my neediness to usher me into a deeper experience of Who. God. Is., know where my strength comes from, when my ‘arms are too tired’ ask other’s to pray for me, remember where the victory comes from, and write it all down.

In Your unfailing love You will lead
the people You have redeemed.

In Your strength You will guide them
to your holy dwelling.

to draw further in: Exodus 15-17

all photos taken in Uganda in 2010- it was fun to have a reason to share them.

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the impact of knowing

“The Christian Life is a dynamic journey of knowing Him-anytime i am living out of old pains and drives to achieve means i’m missing a piece of the puzzle of who God is.”
 -Robbie Ankarlo

if i believe God to be distant and annoyed with me-my prayers (or lack of prayer) will reflect that.

if i believe God to be near and delighted to be so-my prayers will reflect that as well.

Each aspect of His character i’ve come to know influences the way i am communing with the One who invites me to call Him Father.  Each reminder of who He is that i give to my heart draws me deeper into authentically relating with this One who invites me into His Throne Room.

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As time goes by i find myself more and more aware at how very little i know about life, about my own life.  i don’t know what is in store 5 minutes from now.  i don’t know how my children interpret my words and behaviors.  i don’t know what God is doing in the places He’s told me to go.  This One who knows everything has whispered to me time and time and time again; “you don’t need to know”

today, this One who makes Himself known is adding to that statement; “you don’t need to know about all the things. You only need to know Me.”

Learning from Beth

 Harney Peak, S. Dakota

To Paul prayer was part of the necessary means even to a divinely foreordained end.  Philippians 4:6 says “Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything”  That means that everything can be affected by prayer.  Prayer is not an art we can master because we cannot master the Artist we approach.  Growing in prayer is a lifelong quest, but quests are good because they keep us from getting stale, bored and arrogant.

Beth Moore

Prayer that is easy

zeke sick

when i called, i didn’t know to be worried.  when they start asking me questions, I begin to put 2 and 2 together and realize that they are worried….and so i pray.  when she put the oxygen thingy on his finger and decides to try another because of the reading, my heart beats a little faster and i remember this very scene 11 years ago when he almost died.  and so i pray.  tests come back negative and it looks like he just has a virus that needs a couple more days to run its course-which is where i started in the first place.  and so i pray.

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i hear news of the struggle in their marriage  and the way he’s running.  i take it in and move about the day until my heart is just overcome and stopping in the midst of things to pray requires no thought or effort-it just happens, continuing as time keeps moving along and change is not forthcoming.

and then there is that malady that is wreaking havoc on another dear one’s body and  keeping him up hours upon hours with no name or treatment.  we, his sheep, have laid hands and prayed to the One who knows everything.  healing hasn’t come and he’s still not able to shepherd the flock the Lord has stirred love in his heart for.  some nights when sleep evades me i find myself overcome and prayer on his behalf is as breathing-simply a response of the heart as i remember him.

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seeing as i drive the majesty of these mountains i’ve grown accustomed to and i scarce can take it in.  praise to the One who formed these peaks and colored these trees happens without effort.

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the list goes on and on; moments the light catches my daughter’s hair;  glancing over at my husband working hard. There are no more lists, but intercession still happens-when His Spirit moves within and i can’t help it.  I try to force it at times and as i’ve said here-that isn’t working anymore.  desperate moments as a mama, friend, wife, and prayer flows easy; Beauty that overwhelms and prayer flows easy…..when it does flow.  God is not Aladdin and I cannot command my heart to be stirred, or His Spirit to move.   in the waiting i ask Him to bring warmth to the coldness and light to the darkness.  and when He does.

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i breathe deep in wonder and say thank you.

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Learning from Andrew

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     Many a person had turned to his place of prayer, under bitter self-accusation that he has prayed so little, and has resolved for the future to live in a different manner.  Yet no blessing has come-there was not the strength to continue faithful, and the call to repentance had no power, because his eyes had not been fixed on the Lord Jesus.  If he had only understood, he would have said: “Lord, You see how cold and dark my heart is…..I lack the urgency and desire to pray.”

     He did not know that at that moment the Lord Jesus in His tender love was looking down upon him and saying:  “You cannot pray.  You feel that all is cold and dark.  Why not give yourself over into My hands?  Only believe that I am ready to help you in prayer…..do not seek the victory in your own strength….be assured of this-I will teach you how to pray.”

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     Our whole relationship to the Lord Jesus must be a new thing.  I must believe in His infinite love, which longs to have communion with me every moment, and to keep me in the enjoyment of His fellowship.  I must believe in His divine power, which has conquered sin and will truly keep me from it.  I must believe in Him who, as the great Intercessor through the Spirit, will inspire each member of His body with joy and power for communion with God in prayer.  My prayer life must be brought entirely under the control of Christ and His love.  Then, for the first time, will prayer become what it really is, the natural and joyous breathing of the spiritual life, by which the heavenly atmosphere is inhaled and then exhaled in prayer.

Andrew Murray
The Believer’s Prayer Life p.34,35

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Learning from Oswald

 


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It is not part of the life of a natural man to pray.  We hear it said that a man will suffer in his life if he does not pray; I question it.  What will suffer is the life of the Son of God in him, which is nourished not by food, but by prayer.  When a man is born from above, the life of the Son of God is born in him, and he can either starve that life or nourish it.  Prayer is the way the life of God is nourished.  Our ordinary views of prayer are not found in the New Testament.  We look upon prayer as a means of getting things for ourselves; the Bible idea of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself.

Oswald Chambers (emphasis mine)

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Mimosa

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in the 1920′,  a young Indian girl from a Hindu family named Mimosa was briefly introduced to her Father in heaven.

…something had happened on that afternoon when she heard for the first time about a living, loving God, whom we had called Father, who had made everything in the world, and the sun and moon and stars.  She had understood that He loved her.  And a strange thing had happened.”

It is a story worth reading.  today i just want to share with you a few words from the end;

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And this …[story] that is still being written goes forth with a great joy and with two earnest intentions-to comfort, if it may be, some who, depressed by the perplexities of these days, are almost tempted to think our Lord is not in His world now as He was in olden time; and to win help for those who need it.

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Can one consider this solitary Indian woman-protected, comforted, sustained, fed with bread the world knew not of, given to drink of fountains in the desert-without feeling that the love of God has many ways of working, and may be working now unseen through all the clamer and sadness of a foolish generation?  Is not such a story a witness to the Invisible?

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Are there those for whom we have long prayed for, who seem beyond our reach now?  Love will find a way.  Are we discouraged because we do not see our expected signs, and the solid rocks seem to be sinking under shifting sands?  It is not so.  Love is mighty and must prevail.  Terrible in judgments, marvelous in loving-kindness, Love will find a way,

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Out in these corners of the earth, those who are face to face with the old elemental forces of sin know what it is to shiver at times with a sense of the almost omnipotence of the god of this world.  Is there not comfort for us in this story?  In and out of the deep, dark places of heathendom-yes, and as truly among the garish lights of a Christendom that has lost its first warm love-wherever there is the least, the faintest response to Love, there Love will follow and find, for nothing in heaven or earth or under the earth is impossible to Love.

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And will not my second intention find fulfillment somewhere?  Will not prayer that can be as a shield in battle, as dew in heat, as a cool wind on a breathless day, as the light of moon and stars at night, be round about any anywhere who, enchanted by a glimpse of the loveliness of Christ, are following Him today-dear, unknown fellow-lovers?  For God has other Mimosas.

-Taken from the book Mimosa by Amy Carmichael; p.17, 159-161

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