Tuesday, October 8, 2013

noiseless clarity

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee." ~Isaiah 26:3

O master, let me walk with Thee
In lowly paths of service free;
 Tell me Thy secret, help me bear
The strain of toil, the fret of care

In hope that sends a shining ray
Far down the future's broadening way,
In peace that only Thou canst give,
With Thee, O Master, let me live. 

I'm feeling in desperate need of finding my true north (again) today.
Life for me is spinning 'round and there's a weight on one side that is causing the balance to suffer and I'm on the verge of spinning chaotically out of control...if not for the subtle checks of the Holy Spirit.

The above verse and hymn are from the boys' devotion that I read to them every day (Leading Little Ones to God by Schoolland- though, it leads mommies to God oftentimes also.).  Part of the prayer today: "Help us to understand how wonderful it is to fill our minds with thoughts about You and Your Son Jesus."  Yes, Lord, help me to come back to center.

Streams in the Desert, Oct. 3

"And after the earthquake a fire; and after the fire a sound of gentle stillness." (1 Kings 19:12)

A soul, who made rapid progress in her understanding of the Lord, was once asked the secret of her easy advancement.  She replied tersely, "Mind the checks."  And the reason that many of us do not know and better understand Him is, we do not give heed to His gentle checks.  His delicate restraints and constraints.  His is a still, small voice.  A still voice can hardly be heard.  It must be felt: a steady, gentle pressure upon the heart and mind like the touch of a morning zephyr in one's heart, but if heeded growing noiselessly clear to your inner ear.  His voice is for the ear of love, and love is intent upon hearing even the faintest whispers.  There comes a time also when love ceases to speak if not responded to, or believed in.  He is love, and if you would know Him and His voice, give constant ear to His gentle touches.  In conversation, when about to utter some word, give heed to that gentle voice, mind the check and refrain from speech.  When about to pursue some course that seems all clear and right and there comes quietly to your spirit a suggestion that has in it the force almost of a conviction, give heed, even if changed plans seem highest folly from the standpoint of human wisdom.  Learn also to wait on God for the unfolding of His will.  Let God form your plans about everything in your mind and heart and then let Him execute them.  Do not possess any wisdom of your own.  (Emphasis mine.)

Oh, how I appreciate the gentle checks and am so thankful for those rather than the humiliating, harsh discipline of rebellion.  My heart is to rebel, of course, because its default is that it is deceitfully wicked; but my heart renewed in Christ is to not rebel against Him, but to please Him...in all I do.  Awash in politics and current events - a place where I feel called - I often overwhelm myself by focusing and dwelling too much there.  And it is in these times - when the spinning top is swirling off-balance and is about to tip on its side and roll erratically this way and that, difficult to catch before it falls of the ledge - that God blows a gentle zephyr to cause pause.  In this pause, I realize my focus is off.

The whole purpose of my calling is to bring him glory, to win souls, not to win the argument.  Yes, I want to be true and right, but for what purpose?  It is this I must keep my sights on.  I must keep my eyes on the goal...and not be distracted by worldly pursuits of admiration, putting another "in their place," and just making myself look good.  "Do not possess any wisdom of your own."  Let everything be His.

I do love Him, and am so glad to know that I do.  I know this because I do hear the "noiseless clarity" of His checks.  It is surprising to me, because so often I feel like I am running heedlessly in my own wild direction; but there is a divine sensitivity within me that senses when things are going awry.  He is gentle.  He is love.  He does not wish us to be humiliated, but to be gently reminded.  My job is obedience.  This is His greatest desire of me.

My works will get me nowhere.  But my obedience to Him is key.

"You are My friends if you do whatever I command you." (Jn. 15:14)

"Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord:  Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams." (1 Sam. 15:22)

"With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the High God: Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?  Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, ten thousand rivers of oil?  Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?  He has shown you , O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?"

My ministry, my calling, my work - these things become idols when not checked.  They become idols to me.  And so His gentle checks come.  Obedience more than the sacrifice of time spent proclaiming truth; more than fighting, fighting, fighting for righteousness in the nation.  He does not NEED me.  He WANTS me and let's me serve Him.  But I am not necessary.  His will will be done in spite of whether I am involved or not:

"For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place..." (Est. 4:14)

"The she sent and called for Barak and said to him, 'Has not the Lord God of Israel commanded, "go and deploy troops at Mount Tabor; take with you ten thousand men of the sons of Naphtali and of the sons of Zebulun; and against you I will deploy Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army with his chariots and his multitude at the River Kishon; and I will deliver him into your hand.'  And Barak said to her, 'If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go!'  So she said, "I will surely go with you; nevertheless there will be no glory for you in the journey you are taking, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.' Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh.  (Jdg. 4:6-9)

He can and will use anybody.  If it's not me, then someone else.  I am dispensable.  But, I choose to not pass the buck, but to do my duty...so long as I can allow it to not become idolatry.

I know this is not the first time this imbalance has occurred in me.  I cycle through this all the time.  Ever since I took on politics and public policy, I find this.  A desire for my knowledge to be current.  A desire for politicians to stand for what is right and what is Constitutional.  A desire to urge others to do their part.  It becomes obsessive.  And when that occurs, God sends His subtle checks.  If only I could live in the balance and not swing so far to worldly extremes and overwhelming politics.

Father, help me.  And thank You for your gentle, quiet voice that beckons me to return to you and to rest.  "The world is too much with you, My child.  Your mind leaps from problem to problem to problem, tangling your thoughts in anxious knots." (Jesus Calling, May 25)  Yes, it does.

"Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Php. 4:6)

It really is that simple.  Here it is.  Clear.  Concise.  Am I anxious?  Then lay my anxieties before Him.  Then, peace will come and it will guard my heart and mind...the very things that are off-balance.

Obedience solves everything.  I keep telling my kids that.  This child needs to recognize her own disobedience.

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