Wednesday, October 30, 2013

He will refine you, prepare you, and call you forth...Promises for the Wilderness #12


Moses fled into the wilderness.  His attempt at becoming Israel's deliverer in the power he had as a prince of Egypt was not received well.  But the education Moses had received as an Egyptian was part of God's plan - Moses' confusion never negated God's purpose.  In fact, when Moses ran to the wilderness, he ran straight into a divine appointment - right into the home of the priest/prince of Midian.

Who can deny God's hand in this simple "Godcidence"!?

Jethro, the priest, was a priest of the Most High God.  There is a probability that the title "prince" could mean ruler or governor, as the word is also translated as such, but other ancient non-Biblical writings have used the title of "prince" for Jethro.  Jethro is very similar to the character "Melchizedek" who was both priest and king.  They both served God and acted in His authority.  Moses was trained in the ways of Egypt; now he would be trained in the ways of the Spirit.  The wilderness would now become his "proving" ground.

Jethro = "his abundance" .  Jethro's name comes from the word  yathar; meaning properly, an overhanging, i.e. (by implication) an excess, superiority, remainder; abundant, cord, exceeding, excellancy(-ent), what they leave, that hath left, plentifully, remnant, residue, rest, string, with.

Moses ran out of the splendor of Egypt straight into "His abundance".  Moses found God's excess, superiority, the remainder of what was needed (more preparing), the abundance of what was needed (God is able to provide all that we need), His "cord" that could bind all Moses' life's experiences together, exceeding far more than he could think or imagine.  Moses came to a place and person of excellency, and his preparation would result in excellency.  God showed forth that even in the wilderness, traces of His work and Presence are abundant, He always holds a remnant in reserve, there is a place of rest (in His Presence), and He provides the string or thread that ties our lives to His (think of the red thread of redemption that is found throughout the Scripture).  This is the "tether" that ties us to Him, giving us stability in the storms of life just like a tent cord anchors the tent to the firm ground and stabilizes it.  Moses is always connected to God, even when he doesn't realize it, and so are we...

Moses ran right into the priestly prince of his time in the wilderness...this is a type and shadow for us to see what Jesus intends for us...He is our priestly prince, already in the wilderness when we flee there and lovingly He continues the refining, preparing, the equipping for the call...

The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But the LORD tests hearts.
Proverbs 17:3

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ...
1 Peter 1:6-7

For God's gifts and His call can never be withdrawn.
Romans 11:29 NLT 

and receive these words from Jesus, that He spoke to Peter:

...but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, 
when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.
Luke 22:32  

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Path to Worshipping in the Wilderness...Promises from the Wilderness #11

I wonder if the wastelands burst into bloom when the entire congregation of Israel gathered at the foot of Mount Horeb and the Lord descended to speak with them? Were they surrounded with the response of the earth to His life giving Presence...as even the evil queen's dwarf declared in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe  "spring has arrived because Aslan has returned"? Could this picture have inspired these words: "The wilderness will rejoice and blossom..." Isaiah 35:1?
As I have been looking for verses of promise for this series, typing the word " wilderness" in the internet search engines...one theme keeps coming forward...

The wilderness is for worship...

The biggest, bravest, most memorable wilderness journey ever began with a request for worship:
Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, 
“This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 
‘Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the wilderness.’ 
Exodus 5:1

 and

...they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. 
Now let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness 
to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God...”
Exodus 5:3

Festivals and sacrifices - these are the foundational makings of the great Feasts of the Lord
that He gave His people in order that they may find their ultimate rest in the Presence of one person, Jesus Christ.

In the final test of Jesus' personal wilderness experience, He summed up the total purpose of the Spirit's leadings and satan's testing in these words:

 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 
‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’
Matthew 4:10

Indeed, the path through the wilderness will refine our worship, and the way to "make it through" is to remember the great things He has done on our behalf"...


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

He guides us safely...Promises for the Wilderness #10

I love the image of Jesus as my shepherd; safe, secure, tended to gently, guided, sought for when lost, watched over and spoken to...

Then Jesus told them this parable:
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. 
Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?
And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’
I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep 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 are not of this sheep pen. 
I must bring them also. 
They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.


The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;  
You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,  
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Psalm 23 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

He has gone on before us...Promises for the Wilderness #9

Processed with one layer of Kim Klassen's "Re-entry" set on multiply blend mode.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

Monday, October 21, 2013

You can persevere...Promises from the Wilderness #8

Since He reminds us that we have a great
cloud of witnesses who have gone before us,
we can be encouraged to lay aside the problems
we think we have, and press on,
running with patient endurance
along the path He has set before us...

"My Presence will go with you"...Promises for the Wilderness #7

The crowd of those who have experienced the wilderness is extensive. Even though the wilderness is a lonely place, you are not alone in your experience!

The history of God working in and through wilderness in the Scripture is striking and compelling.   This is just a quick and partial list.

Jacob fled to the wilderness to be safe from his brother and wrestled with God there.
We can hide from others in the remote lonely places, but God has designed a divine appointment.

When God freed the Israelites from Egypt, He led into the wilderness; 
and when they were hardened and disobedient, they stayed wandering in the wilderness. 
The wilderness has an end, but you can stay there longer if you want to be stubborn.

God prepared Moses in the wilderness as he shepherded sheep for his father-in-law. 
He also called Moses to lead from there as he hid out and tended his sheep. 
God always knows where you are in the wilderness.

David, “the king after God’s own heart (1 Sam. 13:14),” was also a shepherd 
and was also equipped to lead in wild places. 
David waited till God said his wilderness preparation was over before He left the wilderness.  
Will you?

Elijah the prophet was also familiar with wilderness and met God there.
He went there by himself to rest and recover from his enemies. 
You can learn to appreciate the gifts found in the wilderness.

John the Baptist lived in and ministered from the wilderness.
Sometimes a prophet needs the wilderness to send the message the people need.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Friday, October 18, 2013

I am teaching you the way of wisdom... Promises for the Wilderness #5


So often we think we have done something terrible when we find ourselves there, in the wilderness that is, I do at least, even though I know better...

I know the law of sowing and reaping...
I know the truth that "from the fruit of our mouth, our stomach is filled..."
I know that "life and death are in the power of the tongue"...
I know that even though "me and my house have chosen to follow the Lord", I very often follow my own flesh; my own desires; my own inclinations...

How many times will I fail, how many times have I eaten from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and I am expelled from the garden of peace and blessing and fellowship...

but the truth is, that God leads us into the wilderness, usually very soon after we have been saved and delivered and are marked by His Spirit (and periodically as we walk along this life in the Spirit).  It isn't punishment for the sins of our past or even the mistakes of our present, but 

it is the means to move us from the place of our past to the place of our promise.

God is with us in the wilderness, to guide, comfort, lead, and to be there for us to lean on...sometimes just His Presence is all that we can comprehend, and sometimes we cannot even do that...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I will come for you...Promises for the Wilderness #4

 I wanted to give this photo a painterly feel, so I ran an oil painting filter, used two layers of Kim Klassen's "Framed" at soft light and luminosity blend modes, and added the text in 1942 report font...I really like the look!

Wilderness is defined by the Encarta Dictionary as “a mostly uninhabited area of land in its natural uncultivated state, sometimes deliberately preserved like this, e.g. a forest or mountainous region.” In other words, wilderness is very real and tangible. The Encarta Dictionary also defines wilderness as “an uncomfortable situation, a place, situation, or multitude of people or things that makes somebody feel confused, overwhelmed, or desolate” (Encarta Dictionary: English, North American). To state this last definition differently, and to make the point, wilderness is not just a place; it is also a metaphor for something more.  (As written at Adventure Discipleship).

This "something more" is described in an article by the American Bible Society:
The wilderness of the Bible is a liminal space—an in-between place where ordinary life is suspended, identity shifts, and new possibilities emerge. Through the experiences of the Israelites in exile, we learn that while the Biblical wilderness is a place of danger, temptation and chaos, it is also a place for solitude, nourishment, and revelation from God. These themes emerge again in Jesus’ journey into the wilderness, tying his identity to that of his Hebrew ancestors.
 And since Jesus is our brother, the first born among many brethren, we are tied to His journey as well...we can have assurance that He understands our confusion, our sense of betrayal, our anxious thoughts, our fears, because He has experienced this place too...He will not leave us as orphans, He will come for us...

Monday, October 14, 2013

Promises for the Wilderness...#3

Be encouraged...it is only God's sons and daughters who are led into the wilderness...

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Promises for the Wilderness...#2

A little child, climbing over the rough terrain, frightened perhaps, but still moving forward - her loving father walking right along beside her, her hand gripped in his, to keep her assured that all will be well...

That is the image that forms in my mind, my spirit, as I read the above verse - and I think of how a child might keep her eyes on the terrain, on the ground right where her foot needs to step next in order to keep from falling...perhaps forgetting that there is One holding fast to her hand.  But if she looked up, instead of down, she would see his loving, gentle face and how he is guiding her - able to see further and with more understanding than she can possibly have in her limited perspective...

I must remember to always seek His face!

Faith is just as necessary in the wilderness as in other times of our lives; maybe even more necessary...the wilderness is a place of testing, of refining, of developing trust in Him and His ways...

The Psalmist proclaimed an eternal truth - even when "evidence" seems to be saying the opposite, God is always with him...and He is always with us as well!  Right there - in the harshness of the wilderness - He is there, walking through the "walking through" of whatever we are facing with us.  We must simply remember that...

 
Psalm 73
A psalm of Asaph.

1Surely God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.

2But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.

3For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

4They have no struggles;
their bodies are healthy and strong.a 
5They are free from common human burdens;
they are not plagued by human ills.
6Therefore pride is their necklace;
they clothe themselves with violence.
7From their callous hearts comes iniquity ;
their evil imaginations have no limits.
8They scoff, and speak with malice;
with arrogance they threaten oppression.
9Their mouths lay claim to heaven,
and their tongues take possession of the earth.
10Therefore their people turn to them
and drink up waters in abundance.
11They say, “How would God know?
Does the Most High know anything?”
12This is what the wicked are like—
always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.

13Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
and have washed my hands in innocence.
14All day long I have been afflicted,
and every morning brings new punishments.

15If I had spoken out like that,
I would have betrayed your children.
16When I tried to understand all this,
it troubled me deeply

17till I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their final destiny.

18Surely you place them on slippery ground;
you cast them down to ruin.
19How suddenly are they destroyed,
completely swept away by terrors!
20They are like a dream when one awakes;
when you arise, Lord,
you will despise them as fantasies.

21When my heart was grieved
and my spirit embittered,
22I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you.

23Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.

24You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.

25Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

27Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
28But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.

{Italics inserted by myself}

{Joining in the "31 Day" challenge a little late, but the response to these promises is pressing me forward -
I hope you don't mind!}
 


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Promises for the Wilderness...

I have been a little absent - a much needed rain + storm knocked out our internet for several days!  Plus, I have been writing the small group discussions for our church lately - and much of my writing time is taken up with that!  I have decided to start sharing the notes and the sermons here, as soon as the weekly podcasts are up...

This past Sunday, "the wilderness" was mentioned in the message, and it got me thinking on wilderness passages...and how some of the fields near us have that look right now...

Processed with an iris blur and 2 layers of Kim Klassen's "Savor" texture, one at multiply and one at soft light.


The wilderness and the desert will be glad, 
And the Arabah will rejoice and blossom; 

Like the crocus It will blossom profusely And rejoice with rejoicing and shout of joy. 
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, 
The majesty of Carmel and Sharon. 

They will see the glory of the LORD, The majesty of our God. 

Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble. 
 Say to those with anxious heart, "Take courage, fear not. 

Behold, your God will come with vengeance; 
The recompense of God will come, But He will save you." 

Then the eyes of the blind will be opened And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. 
Then the lame will leap like a deer, And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy. 

For waters will break forth in the wilderness And streams in the Arabah. 
The scorched land will become a pool And the thirsty ground springs of water; 
In the haunt of jackals, its resting place, 
Grass becomes reeds and rushes.

A highway will be there, a roadway, 
And it will be called the Highway of Holiness. 
The unclean will not travel on it, But it will be for him who walks that way, 
And fools will not wander on it. No lion will be there, Nor will any vicious beast go up on it; 
These will not be found there. 

But the redeemed will walk there, 
And the ransomed of the LORD will return 
And come with joyful shouting to Zion, With everlasting joy upon their heads. 

They will find gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away.

Isaiah 35:1-10

Isaiah 35:1-10
The wilderness and the desert will be glad, And the Arabah will rejoice and blossom; Like the crocus It will blossom profusely And rejoice with rejoicing and shout of joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, The majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the glory of the LORD, The majesty of our God. Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble. read more.Say to those with anxious heart, "Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; The recompense of God will come, But He will save you." Then the eyes of the blind will be opened And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy. For waters will break forth in the wilderness And streams in the Arabah. The scorched land will become a pool And the thirsty ground springs of water; In the haunt of jackals, its resting place, Grass becomes reeds and rushes. A highway will be there, a roadway, And it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, But it will be for him who walks that way, And fools will not wander on it. No lion will be there, Nor will any vicious beast go up on it; These will not be found there. But the redeemed will walk there, And the ransomed of the LORD will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion, With everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away.
- See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Wilderness#sthash.KEOuWvQS.dpuf
Isaiah 35:1-10
The wilderness and the desert will be glad, And the Arabah will rejoice and blossom; Like the crocus It will blossom profusely And rejoice with rejoicing and shout of joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, The majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the glory of the LORD, The majesty of our God. Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble. read more.Say to those with anxious heart, "Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; The recompense of God will come, But He will save you." Then the eyes of the blind will be opened And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy. For waters will break forth in the wilderness And streams in the Arabah. The scorched land will become a pool And the thirsty ground springs of water; In the haunt of jackals, its resting place, Grass becomes reeds and rushes. A highway will be there, a roadway, And it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, But it will be for him who walks that way, And fools will not wander on it. No lion will be there, Nor will any vicious beast go up on it; These will not be found there. But the redeemed will walk there, And the ransomed of the LORD will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion, With everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away.
- See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Wilderness#sthash.KEOuWvQS.dpuf

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

She could still hear the echoes...

Processed with Kim Klassen's 1402 and 1402 majic + a bokeh overlay from Media Militia and music brushes by Easy Elements.  The font is VTPortableRemington
Still playing around with violin shots...and techniques.  In this image I was trying for a sort of dreamy effect...now that I am looking at it and writing, I am thinking of one more thing I could do to make it more "dreamy" - but for now I am posting!  Any suggestions in the meantime?

Here is what is inspiring me:
In my mind, I see a woman looking at this old violin, thinking of the "Touch of the Master's Hand" and remembering back to the days of being used mightily by Him over the course of her life...and now, even tho' the world, even the Christian culture, has set her aside as "too old", her heart is as young as ever (see Joshua 14:7-12), there is fire in her bones, and she longs to be grasped in the Master's hand again, His bow ready to touch the strings...

Can you see it?  Let the passion to be used by Him flame on!