Known and Unknown

I believe one reason we fear silence and stillness is we do not want to know ourselves and what God has to say about us. If we could only trust Him in a small way we would learn that He loves us more than we love ourselves. In fact, He treasures and adores us.

The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing

Zephaniah 3:17 NRSV
Stefan Kunze Upsplash

The writings of Oswald Chambers contained in the book noted below were excerpted from articles published by God’s Bible School in Cincinnati. The articles were taken from his classroom lectures and Bible studies and published in the school’s periodical God’s Revivalist.

What does the Bible mean when it says to be an example to the flock of God? You must be a walking example of what you believe, in every moment of your life, known and unknown. You must bear the scrutiny of God until you prove that you are indeed a specimen of what He can do. Then He will send you out to disciple all nations.

Oswald Chambers, September 18 selection from “Devotions for a Deeper Life”

Every moment known and unknown. Things done in secret. I do not think this refers just to shameful things. Our deepest wounds are often kept private. The healing the Lord may give from those wounds is also usually given in private. The deep formation of a disciple usually takes place in private.

But whenever you pray, enter into your inner room and shut your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Matthew 6:6 NIV

Your Father who sees in secret. He hears every whisper or shout of a prayer. Your Father knows you inside and out. He will not require that you share with others what He does in your secret place of prayer. There may however, come a time when you want to shout His work from the rooftops.

Matt Hanns Upsplash

Dietrich Bonhoeffer captured my attention writing in The Cost of Discipleship when he emphasized that we each walk alone with God.

Every man is called separately and must follow alone. 

Bonhoeffer, Cost of Discipleship, Discipleship and the Individual

Many of us admire other Christians but we know little or nothing about what it takes for them to be public Christians. We have no clue what happens between them and the Trinity in private. No idea the depth of their wounds or the strength of the healing times the Lord has sent to them. All most often occur in private.

You interact with your Father in a private place, even if you are kneeling in a sanctuary packed with other people. We can share our experiences with others but we are essentially alone with Christ in our walk. Yes, He encourages fellowship with those who are like minded, but in the final analysis we are each alone with Him. He reads our heart. He corrects our course. He convicts us when we go astray. He gives us His righteousness. He suffered and died for our salvation and for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despised the shame and sat down at the right hand of the Throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2 NRSV)

Public, private, the deepest things occur in a private place with your Holy Trinity God.

Steffany Gretzinger in her song “Forever Amen” sums it up for me. “I was made to love You. Let me hear the sound of Your voice…”

I would strongly encourage you that when you hear the sound of His voice, go running to a quiet place. Listen up! For unlike human parents, the Father does not waste His breath. He speaks to us with power, love, meaning and transformative powers.

Mr. Lake and Friends

Brandon Lake published/released a new CD called “Help!” in May of this year. The writers have nailed the hearts of so many Christians with these insightful lyrics. One song is written from God’s point of view instead of ours. The title is “Don’t You Give Up On Me.” With so many seeming to turn their backs on God this is a timely and true call to come back to the Shepherd of our souls. He loves us more than we love ourselves or each other.

The writers are Michael John Fatkin, Benjamin William Hastings, and Brandon Lake. Part of the lyrics read:

I see you child
Though you can't see me
And I know your thoughts
Before you even think
I heard every last prayer you prayed
Though I answered all the time
You just didn't hear my reply
And I know it's not easy, oh

Don't you give up on me
'Cause the darker the night gets
The brighter the light hits
Don't you give up on me
You ain't seen what I promised
Child we're just getting started
Oh There is so much more

That is just a portion of the lyrics. When I heard the song the first few times I thought he sang, “I heard every last prayer you prayed, Though I answered all the time, You just didn’t heed my reply.When I actually printed the lyrics I saw it was written “You just didn’t hear my reply.” Hearing and Heeding.

Just as we are called to trust and obey, we are also called to hear and to heed. What good is hearing His reply but not heeding it, not walking in step with His will and ways?

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

James 1:22-25 NIV

The line “I heard every last prayer you prayed” has a different emphasis from any other line in the song. Trust me, I have listened to this one repeatedly. The writing is genius. Even after I have listened I sometimes hear this one line echoing in my spirit, “I heard every last prayer you prayed.”

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
 You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
 You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
 Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.

You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

Psalm 139: 1-6 NIV

Have you been tempted to turn your back on God and run with the ways of the world? Have you ever known a reliable source in the world that can say the following?

I'll be your way
Whеn there's no way out
And I'll be your strеngth
When your strength runs out
And if you walk into the fire
I'll be right there in the flames
I wouldn't have it any other way
'Cause loving you's easy, yeah

We are also reminded that God is not finished with us yet.

Open your heart, open your hands, open your eyelids
I've got more dreams, I've got more plans, I've got more blessing
Don't lose your hope, don't lose your faith, that's where your fight is
I've got more dreams, I've got more plans, I've got more blessings

Here is Brandon speaking about how they wrote this song over Zoom. If you wait there is a few seconds and the link will play the song.

Fed Up With Waiting on God?

A friend sent me this link recently.

I pray for Brandon Lake often. He is such an anointed servant of God. His message is always pure and based on God’s Word. He needs our prayers. We have seen other talented servants like him snatched from life before their time. So please pray for Brandon and his family that the Lord will protect them from every work of the enemy.

You can see the girls got some of his curls!!

He encourages us to wait for the Lord, especially in hard times. Are you willing to do that? Watch that video again and pay special attention to the lyrics. Who are we to say that God is done?

I see you child
Though you can't see me
And I know your thoughts
Before you even think
I heard every last prayer you prayed
Though I answered all the time
You just didn't hear my reply
And I know it's not easy, oh

Don't you give up on me
Don't you give up on me
'Cause the darker the night gets
The brighter the light hits
Don't you give up on me
Don't you give up on me
You ain't seen what I promised
Child, we're just getting started

I'll be your way
When there's no way out
And I'll be your strength
When your strength runs out
And if you walk into the fire
I'll be right there in the flames
I wouldn't have it any other way
'Cause loving you is easy, yeah

Open your heart
Open your hands
Open your eyelids
I've got more dreams
I've got more plans
I've got more blessings

Don't lose your hope
Don't lose your faith
That's where your fight is
I got more dreams
I got more plans
I got more blessings

Don't you give up on me
Don't you give up on me
When the night's at its darkest
That's when the light hits the hardest
Don't you give up on me
Don't you give up on me
'Cause you ain't seen what I promised
Child, we're just getting started

Open your heart
Open your hands
Open your eyelids
I got more dreams
I got more plans
I got more blessings

Disarm me with Your Love

Have you ever been naughty and you knew it while you were being naughty. Not just in childhood, but have you done things as an adult that you knew were not good for you? But you did them anyway.

Recently we were watching the “Untold story of C. S. Lewis” about how he resisted and ran from being a Christian for much of his early life. How he used reasoning and thinking to try to avoid the Living God. I was delighted that authors like George MacDonald introduced him subtly to the power of the Holy Spirit.

This morning I opened another old devotional book that is a collection of quotes, poems and stories. This one was collected by Mary Wilder Tileston entitled Joy & Strength. First copyright was 1901. She quotes a poem by George MacDonald.

Lord, to Thy call of me I bow,
Obey like Abraham;
Thou lov'st me because Thou art Thou,
And I am what I am.

Doubt whispers, "thou art such a blot
He cannot love poor thee,"
If what I am He loveth not,
He loves what I shall be.

Isn’t that wonderful? Paul wrote in Philippians 3: 12 “Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own.” God has plans for us. He loves us and what we shall be.

Tileston went on to quote a paragraph by Juliana H. Ewing.

We may hate ourselves when we come to realize failings we have not recognized before, and feel that there are probably others which we do not yet see as clearly as other people see them, but this kind of impatience for our perfection is not felt by those who love us, I am sure. It is one’s greatest comfort to believe that it is not even felt by God. Just as a mother would not love her child the better for its being turned into a model of perfection at once, but does love it the more dearly every time it tries to be good, so I do hope and believe our Great Father does not wait for us to be good and wise to love us, but loves us, and loves to help us in the very thick of our struggles with folly and sin.

Juliana H. Ewing

Juliana was on to something here. God wants us to try and keep on trying to be obedient to what He tells us. He does not love us less when we fail. Someone coined the phrase “God will never love you more than He does right now.” Yes, He loves to help us ‘in the very thick of our struggles.’

I have always believed that God disarms me with His love. If I dig in my heals about something He does not fight with me. He loves me and melts my armor and my arguments against Him. I can resist and pout if I want. He is still moving towards me with love.

Can you see some of the chains you have put upon yourself? For years Lewis determined to have nothing to do with ‘religion.’ He resisted the Father and the Son, but he was no match for the Holy Spirit. God loved what Lewis would become. He disarmed Lewis with His love.

God has plans for your life, too! He loves you now. He will love eternally. Have you yielded to His love for you? Are you willing to bend your ways to His? Lewis was not enamored of church. Let’s face it, Anglican hymns leave SO much to be desired. Yet he went where he thought he should go to find God.

There is great value in being with other Christians. You will not like all of them. If there were a perfect church and I walked into it, it would not longer be the perfect church. Yet we need each other. We need to grow and learn and pray and struggle together.

We each have failings we likely have not recognized up to now. Go to church anyway. Start watching a variety of sermons on line until you find a local place to attend. Then go regularly and find ways to grow there. The Trinity will rejoice and eventually you will, too!

Ewing wrote: “our Great Father does not wait for us to be good and wise to love us, but loves us, and loves to help us in the very thick of our struggles with folly and sin.”

Haunted Again by Music

I have been playing by collection of CDs by Christy Nockels. I love her voice and the lyrics are wonderful. Then I will find lines rolling through my mind and I have to go look up which song I am remembering.

The hem of your robe is where our healing lies
The wounds in your hands are where our life resides
Your love is moving, moving among us

We're desperate to see the beauty of your face
We're longing to know the wonders of your grace
Your love is moving, moving among us

So we reach, we reach our hands to you
Our God, you are here and your mercies are new
We fall, we fall in worship to you
Our God, you are here and in your power you move

The faith in our hearts is how we welcome you
The joy in our lives is your love breaking through
Your love is moving, moving among us
~by Christy Nockles

Yes, His love is moving among us. Will we reach to Him? Do we recognize His movement among us?

I wrote that Charles Martin taught us about the wings of His healing and hem of His garment. https://wordpress.com/post/treasures-in-plain-sight.org/8757 The hem of His robe is what I need daily, touching His power and presence with me. Receiving His healing because my view and interpretation of things is so often skewed.

So here is another way to reach His power and love for us. I like her lyric “Faith in our hearts is how we welcome you.” So much power in this song. I think it deserves more than one listen.

Not my Will, But Yours Be Done

The Daughters grave stone makes me remember that His will is supreme. This song blesses me.

David Crowder nailed it on this one and having Mandissa sing with him drives it home. Part of the lyrics are below.

So let it rain, let it pour
Lord, I need You more and more (I need You more)
Let it rain, rain down on me (Rain on me)

Every day, whatever You want
Not my will but Yours, Lord (Not my will)
Let it rain, rain down on me
(He brought the sunshine, He brings the rain)

So let it rain if You want
You are God and I am not
Let it rain, rain down on me
(Oh, let it rain)

Every day whatever You want
Not my will but Yours, Lord
(Not my will but Yours)

Let it rain, rain down on me
(He's working on me)
Let it rain, rain down on me
(I know my God is working on me)
Let it rain, rain down on me

These lyrics, when from the heart will undoubtedly require change in each of us. If we are to become like Christ Jesus, we must let go of our ways and adopt His.

being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:6 NIV

for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose.

Philippians 2:13 NIV

The Shepherd and Some Bible Verses

There have been many songs recorded over the years about Psalm 23, including the words from the actual Psalm in various translations. Here is one of my favorites composed by Walt Harrah.

A Shepherd looks at Psalm 23 has these Scripture quotes in Chapter one.

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Colossians 1:15-20 NIV

1 COR 6:19-20 NRSV   Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.

1 PET 2:5 You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

ROM 8:34  NRSV Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.

JN 15:26 NIV  But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

JN 10:11 NKJV I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.

JN 10:14-16 14  I am the Good Shepherd. I know My own and My own know Me, just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father. And I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice. So there will be one flock, one Shepherd.

LK 19:10 NKJV “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

MT 11:28   “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

JN 14:27   “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

MT 16:24   Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.           Also in MK 8:34 and LK 9:23

MT 7:22-23   On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and cast out demons in Your name, and do many deeds of power in Your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’

I hope you are encouraged and challenged by the song and the verses. Make them your own. Look to Him in all things. May the blessings of God the Father be upon you, Molly Lin

A Lamb in Childhood

When I was a child my parents had a small farm and fishing lake in Loveland, Ohio. The lake was a pay lake called “Lake Cast-A-Line.” (It has since been drained to make a subdivision.) I can still remember being allowed to give a lamb a bottle of milk in the kitchen. That lamb was one messy eater, but I was delighted! I was perhaps 4 years old? Due to my Dad’s poor health we had to move by the time I was 5.

The milk was mixed from powder and perhaps explains why that scent draws me to this day?!

Has the Lord assigned someone to feed you? Here is your challenge: Have you thanked them?

Here is John Michael Talbot singing Psalm 23. I wore out the album, I bought the CD. I about wore that one out also. I listen to this collection regularly even today!

Trust in the Lord. He will keep you, feed you and shepherd you forever.

But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.

2 Thessalonians 3:3 NIV

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 NIV

Powerful Oldie, Still Pertinent Today!

Amy Grant recorded this song years ago. It was written by Bannister E. Brown. The contrast Bannister draws between the old creation and the new creation is worth thinking about and is mentioned many times in Paul’s New Testament writings. Are you making decisions to walk in the New? Jesus made a way as the “second Adam” for us to choose this new way of living.

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 

Galatians 5:16-17 NIV
The You Tube link is below.
Old Man’s Rubble Lyrics
Are you living in an old man’s rubble
Are you listening to the father of lies?

Are you walking with unnecessary burdens
Are you trying to take them upon yourself?
If you are, then you’re living in bondage
And you know that’s bad for your spiritual health

And are you trying to live by your emotions
Are you putting your faith in what you feel and see?
Then you’re living just to satisfy your passions
And you better be careful ’cause you’re being deceived

CHORUS: Are you living in an old man’s rubble
Are you listening to the father of lies?
If you are then you’re headed for trouble;
If you listen too long you’ll eventually die

Are you puzzled by the way that you’re behaving
Do you wonder why you do the things you do?
And are you troubled by your lack of resistance
Do you feel that something’s got a hold on you?

Well deep within you, there’s a spiritual balance;
There’s a voice of the darkness and a voice of the light
And just by listening, you have made a decision
’cause the voice you hear is gonna win the fight

CHORUS

If you’re living as a new creation
If you’re listening to the father of light
Then you’re living in a mighty fortress
And you’re gonna be clothed in power and might

But are you living in an old man’s rubble
Are you listening to the father of lies?
If you are then you’re headed for trouble;
If you listen too long you’ll eventually die

If you’re living as a new creation
If you’re listening to the father of light
Then you’re living in a mighty fortress
And you’re gonna be clothed in power and might

But are you living in an old man’s rubble
Are you listening to the father of lies?
If you are then you’re headed for trouble;
If you listen too long you’ll eventually die

But if you’re living as a new creation
If you’re listening to the father of light
Then you’re living in a mighty fortress
And you’re gonna be clothed in power and might


Our choice. Daily. Even hourly.

Your Choice, rubble or obey the Father of Lights!

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

James 1:17 NIV

Have You Abandoned Nest You Built?

but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, but with gentleness and respect

1 Peter 3:15

Sanctify – set apart as holy. When you first came to Christ did you build a sanctuary in your heart for Him? Did you frequent that sanctuary for fellowship with Him?

Have you ever used a dictionary to look up Sanctuary? https://www.thefreedictionary.com/sanctuary

sacred place, holiest part of a sacred place, condition of being protected or comforted, a place of refuge or asylum, a consecrated building or shrine, protection provided from such a place

Now I would like you to go to that dictionary site and read the list thinking of the place in your innermost being where you meet with the Holy Spirit. Dwell in that place for a few moments. Can you imagine ever abandoning that place for the things of this world?

Empty nest – abandoned

If we abandon meeting with our Trinity in our place of sanctuary we are well on our way to darkness and confusion. Have you spent time there lately?

I tell people I do not care where you go to church, whatever denomination or non-denomination. But, do you know Jesus and have you spoken with Him today?

Why is this important?

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.

1 Corinthians 6:1-2 NRSV

Some place inside you there must be a place where the center down silence can flourish. A place where you close your mouth and open your ears for the whispers of that still small voice. A sanctuary where you can meet with God. An altar where you can offer your sacrifices of praise, a contrite heart, put to death your pride and arrogance, sit with His loving arms around you.

In the article at https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/bible-study/reasons-god-appeared-to-elijah-in-a-gentle-whisper.html, author Clarence L. Hayes, Jr. says:

If there is one thing that is required for God to show up and speak in this manner it is this. You must make room for his presence and you must tune your ear to his voice. What I mean by this is that the ones who hear God speak most often are the ones who have prepared themselves to listen. Most people will not hear God speak audibly; you may hear God speaking to your heart through prayer, or you may hear God speaking to you through reading the Bible. Jesus has left us with an advocate and helper who lives within all believers, the Holy Spirit. 

I would encourage you to take moments of stillness. As powerful as God is, his presence so often shows up in the most gentle, loving fashion. Like he did with Elijah he wants to meet you in your personal space. A hidden treasure in the significance of God appearing to Elijah in a gentle whisper is that God met with him one on one. Regardless of your situation, God cares. He is not too busy to meet with you. In fact, he invites you in. He wants to meet with you one on one and help you with your most pressing situation. Don’t worry he’s not coming with earthquakes and fire. He’s coming with gentle compassion because he loves you and cares for you and wants to meet you right where you are.

Crosswalk, Clarence L. Hayes, Jr.

Create that sanctuary within you. Build your own altar. Begin to inhabit that place of abiding, dwelling with the Lord of All.

As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

1 Peter 2:4-5, 9-10 NIV

This is your calling as a Christian. It is not just for the educated, the appointed, the priests, deacons and bishops only. This is for you. Yes, you!

How is that nest coming along? Do not abandon it even if you have not visited there in a while. The Lord is waiting to meet with you there.

So Close - music below
The great wind's blowing
And the rock's tore loose, but I
Couldn't find You anywhere
And the earthquake came
And the fire raged, but I
Couldn't find You anywhere

[Pre-Chorus: Brandon Lake]
Then with the whisper You came
Gently reminding me
To never be afraid

[Chorus: Brandon Lake & Amanda Cook]
Heaven's closer than it's ever been
I can feel You so close, so, so close
When it feels like my world's caving in
Oh, God I need You so close, so, so close
Verse 2: 
You can turn this cave
To a holy place, you won't
Let a tear herе hit the ground
You're the guard who stays
Till thе morning breaks
And all of my fears go crashing down
Oh, oh-oh

Chorus
Heaven's closer than it's ever been
I can feel You so close, so, so close
My ever-present, never failing friend
I can feel You so close, so, so close

[Bridge: Amanda Cook with Brandon Lake]
You're the end of all anxiety
The safest place for suffering
Remind me once again that You're enough
Speak into these empty lies
Revive my heart, renew my life
Remind me once again that I am enough
And I won't waste another breath
On fear of never, fear of death
Even when I second guess Your love


I pray that on this Sunday you can make time and space for a little more closeness with God.