Sovereign Encounter

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1).

Sovereign Encounter

By Patricia Knight

It was a clear, cool, moonlit evening as I walked the pine needle strewn path toward the cabin in the woods. With each step I could detect the crunchy snap of exploding dry pine cones beneath my feet, the only distraction that pierced the quiet serenity of the evening. A full moon provided the illumination necessary to reveal the tranquil fresh water lake, a picturesque scene poking through the black silhouetted pine branches at twilight.

A thick plume of smoke emanated from the massive fieldstone chimney. Without a breeze on this calm evening, the smoke lingered in a vertical spiral, suspended high above the cabin roof, producing a pungent wood smoke permeating the surroundings.

I climbed the few steps to enter the screened-in porch, speckled with casual rocking chairs. In the silence I could nearly hear the relaxed conversations that had occurred in that intimate space over the span of many decades. A simple welcome sign replaced a lock on the front door. My tentative knocks resounded raucous in the silence of the night.

Upon entering the log cabin, I was greeted by rustic ambiance. A lively crackling fire filled the imposing fieldstone fireplace on the opposite wall. Fingers of heat reached out to entwine my cool body with penetrating warmth. Comfortable furniture encircled the fireplace, pieces obviously constructed of native materials, perhaps obtained from a nearby cedar swamp. Other furniture pieces were upholstered leather, a bulky style that engulfed a person who sat therein. Abundant blanket throws and casual decorative pillows scattered around the living space produced an emphasis of pleasant repose; the interior effused cheer and relaxation.

Once my eyes adjusted to the soft glowing lights, I viewed the form of someone snuggled into a high backed chair. As I spoke softly to avoid shattering the precious silence, perforated only by the sizzling of the fireplace logs, He arose to greet me. Though I had never met Him in the flesh, once we established eye contact, I readily identified the mysterious host as Jesus Christ, my sovereign Savior. Our glances locked in mutual acknowledgement. When I responded to His gesture to collapse in a chair close to Him, we conversed effortlessly, the manner in which best friends banter. Jesus had never been far away, for His main residence is my heart. This rare, personal encounter in a remote location afforded us an occasion of undisturbed fellowship.

There were no uncomfortable introductions or interludes communicated in our dialogue, only the magnetic affection of my Lord’s true character. I was in the presence of the Creator and sustainer of the universe, the Prince of Peace, and the Savior of my soul. Generously, Jesus was also my friend.

“You are my friends if you do what I command” (John 15:14). Jesus takes His friends into His confidence, just as He unconditionally welcomed my presence this evening. Interacting with Jesus in the tranquil atmosphere reinforced His authority and adoration; purity and perfection; glory and grace.

The minute Jesus uttered my name, my inner soul responded with excitement. Joy coursed through my thoughts and words. As He grasped my hands in His, I could easily detect the still-prominent scars on His palms, created from His heinous crucifixion two millenniums ago, a poignant reminder of His love and sacrifice willingly offered me, opening the way to boldly and confidently communicate with Him at any time.

Jesus was splendid and majestic, the King of kings who fully understood my human weaknesses. He verbally lavished me with love and grace, instructing me to continually grow in faith. Jesus reassured me of His intense interest in my development as His ardent follower, urging me to keep all of His commandments, and explaining that the more I love Him, the more my love will overflow for others.

He reminded me to share my interests and goals with Him, obediently depending upon His perfect plans and precise timing for answers to my prayers. He assured me that with every morsel of trust I place in Him, my Savior, I shall grow closer to Him.

James4-8-WoodBench-AutumnLeaves--AMP

“Draw near to God and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8, KJV).

As I evolve closer to Jesus in fellowship, He challenges me to remember, “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5: 16-17). I didn’t want our visit to end in the idyllic environment engulfed by peace and shared affection. Exuberance and hope produced from being in Christ’s immediate presence renewed my body and soul.

I chose the remote cabin in the woods as the perfect retreat from the stresses of daily life. Psychologists agree about the simple act of projecting one’s thoughts into a familiar, peaceful scene in order to lessen mental burdens.

At first consideration, it would seem my vivid imagination had clicked into overdrive. The truth is, God mentally transported me to the cabin in response to my earnest request: for weeks I’d attempted Scripture memorization, but the meaning of one particular verse eluded my full understanding. “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1). Repeatedly I had asked God to reveal the meaning of what seemed to be an odd expression in that verse.

As a result of my recent sovereign encounter, I now have a much greater understanding of the teachings in the verse I was struggling to comprehend. Once I physically dwelled in the presence of Jesus’ shelter, rest resulted from the overwhelmingly serene shadow that He cast across my life, reinforcing my trust in Him as the rock foundation of my life.

God desires that we seek knowledge of every teaching in His Word. Granted, His method of revealing truths to me for memorization purposes were unusual, but I must not limit my heavenly Father’s communication to my earthly expectations. “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3).

It is impossible to literally worship Jesus at His side until we live with Him in heaven permanently one day. On earth He graciously permits us the mechanism of prayer. As we talk comfortably with our Lord, we are mentally and spiritually transferred to any number of beautiful, tranquil vicinities that appeal to us individually. The cabin scene is one of unsurpassed luxury for me. Where will you go for shelter and rest to meet with your Lord? It could be as familiar as your back yard or as reminiscent as a childhood memory. The most important factors in abiding with Jesus remain our willingness and obedience to pray, connecting us to our Lord anytime, anywhere.

“Jesus told his disciples … that they should pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1). As we constantly share details of our lives with Jesus, we need withhold nothing from our trustworthy Lord and Friend. “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15).

Prayer-PTZ-Quote--AMP

Declare His glory, as you attribute to Him the splendor and majesty He deserves. “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always” (2 Chronicles 16:11).

BlogSL2-smallest

 

God’s Autobiography

Shared from Joni and Friends.

John1-1-MoonHaloSepia-AMP

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.”
 John 1:1

Novelist Robertson Davies once wrote, “To ask an author . . . if his work is autobiographical is like asking a spider where he buys his thread.” No author ever weaves words from someone else’s being. They are always his words, reflecting his soul.

God reveals His soul to man through the Bible in a way that no other book is able. The Bible is history, wisdom, and poetry. It is unparalleled as a compendium of theology, philosophy, and ethics. It is a gospel tract, distilling the essence of man’s relationship to Him but it is also an epic, introducing us to the immensity of an eternal God. 

Though the Bible contains all these things, it is at its heart, an autobiography. The Bible is all about God. Through even the most twisted and unlikely narratives, some even tawdry, we see God’s soul reflected to us. God is revealed as Jacob grasps after that which is rightfully his. God is showcased through the remorse over Ai, the complaint of Job, the anguish of Jeremiah. God is the voice behind the peoples’ shouting and singing over the new temple of Solomon; He is the echo behind the weeping over the rebuilt one of Ezra. God is the silence of the four centuries before Christ and the exultant glory in the night sky of Bethlehem.

Every word speaks something to us of His soul. It is not just from the prophets’ mouths that we hear His lament over Israel. We hear it in the very telling of the captivity itself. It is not just from John’s apocalyptic pen that we learn of God’s coming judgment. We can see God’s wrath reflected in the agony of His Son on the cross. It is not just from Jesus’ mouth that we learn of God’s love. We know from His daily walk with sinners like you and me.

Treasure His word today. In everything you read you will come to know the Soul of God, He who is the lover of your soul.

Father, write your words on my heart today that I might be your story written to a lost and dying world.

Blessings, Joni and Friends

Davies, Robertson. The Merry Heart, (New York: Penguin Group), 1996, p 27.


Copyright © 1998. More Precious Than Silver, by Joni Eareckson Tada. Published in Print by Zondervan, Grand Rapids. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version.

BlogSL2-smallest

What does the Bible say about worry?

Another good one from the GotQuestions? site.

Question: “What does the Bible say about worry?”

Answer: The Bible clearly teaches that Christians are not to worry. In Philippians 4:6, we are commanded, “Do not be anxious [do not worry] about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” In this Scripture, we learn that we should bring all of our needs and concerns to God in prayer rather than worry about them. Jesus encourages us to avoid worrying about our physical needs like clothing and food. Jesus assures us that our heavenly Father will take care of all our needs (Matthew 6:25-34). Therefore, we have no need to worry about anything.

Read the rest here.

BlogSL2-smallest

Never Changing; Always New

Never Changing; Always New

By Patricia Knight

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

Since WWII, the Baby Boomer generation, in particular, has adapted to an incredible surge of scientific discoveries and technological improvements.

For the first time, the speed of airplane travel exceeded the speed of sound, breaking the sound barrier, disrupting our lives with loud, shattering booms from the sky. Space exploration sent manned flights to the moon, with astronauts walking on its surface. Established international space stations remain in operation today, accommodating astronauts and conducting research. Unmanned computer-operated Drones gain intelligence information from our enemies and at times deploy armaments. Nuclear energy has provided a clean, efficient alternative to the use of fossil fuels.

The successful separation of Siamese twins divides and saves the lives of two children at one time, providing individual identity and function, while advancing the field of neurosurgery. Organs are now routinely transplanted from a human donor to a recipient, including the replacement heart of a newborn baby.

Cumbersome personal computers were designed, shrunk to laptop or hand-held proportions, and accessible today in the majority of homes. Most corporate and personal data is stored on computers. A click on the keyboard, the opportunity arises to achieve numerous tasks, including shopping, studying for a college degree, or paying bills.

Video cameras and cell phones provide the ability to record scenes that can be sent around the world via social media sites. Depending on the amount of interest the subject amasses, it may “go viral” in a few hours, traveling internationally among subscribers more swiftly than communicable viral diseases.

One electronic book stores thousands of volumes that can be read anywhere by holding a device smaller than a book in one’s hand.

A steadily expanding number of personal vehicles are now equipped with GPS (Global Positioning System), a navigation system that responds to inquiries for vehicular driving coordinates. A mechanical voice guides the driver until his destination is reached.

Consistently, from the earliest time in the history of the world, God has verbally communicated with His creation. His promises remain the same today as centuries ago. God not only hears our prayers, but He listens precisely to each word and to the intent of our heart. He knows what we will say before we utter a sentence. “For the Father knows what you need before you ask Him (Matthew 6:8).

Matt6-8-PrayingMan-25--AMP

God developed the marvelous method of prayer, permitting us to talk with Him in a two-way conversation, to glorify His name, to intercede for others, or to request our own needs.

Although God maintains foreknowledge of our thoughts, He still desires to communicate with us as any human father casually talks with his children. God wants to hear what is important and urgent to us, and the long-term goals we present for His input. More importantly, God desires our praise, our gratitude, and glory showered upon Him when we pray.

There are no electronic gadgets associated with prayer. Our messages need not bounce among a succession of cell towers before God’s hears us. Prayer delivery is instantaneous. Jesus, who lives in the heart of a believer, is sensitive to His host, aware of what we intend to say before we speak a word.

There is never interruption of prayer service due to a power outage or at times when an internet provider goes down for maintenance. Neither does prayer require financial remuneration. There are no limits to the number of times we can call God each month. We need possess neither address nor password. Our Father easily identifies our voice. Omnipresent, He is everywhere present at one time, capable of hearing and answering an unlimited number of prayers simultaneously, explicitly perceptive to our individual needs.

Prayer need never be uttered aloud. Nor does another person listen to or receive our message in error. Prayer is exclusively between us and our Lord, who has power to act on our behalf.

God is not merely a receptionist who assigns our requests to His angels to handle. We serve a personal, sovereign God who listens to us individually, who delights in each of us (Zephaniah 3:17), who promises to supply all of our needs (Philippians 4:19), and who joyfully lavishes believers with love and grace (Ephesians 3:1).

A computer has no emotions. It is incapable of responding to our most immediate needs. Only God can save and heal, reverse a selfish lost life to a new one of service, transforming us to conform to His command to magnanimously love others.

Prayer need not be formal, verbalized, or read. Free your mind to express your intimate thoughts and questions to God. Silent prayer in which only you and God are involved is preferred. Jesus instructed His disciples how to pray: “Go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:6).

All power resides with God. Because He created each of us, loves and cares for us, He utilizes His omnipotence to order and enhance our lives on earth. He strengthens and enables us with talents, and expects us to worship Him in the splendor of His majesty, commanding patience, obedience, and trust from all Christians who claim to follow His Son, Jesus Christ.

As Thanksgiving season approaches, let us praise God for the joys and blessings He has abundantly granted in our lives. Impatience and fear are inflamed by an instantaneous society, one in which our keyboard fingers, rather than our hearts, control our lives. Take advantage of any opportunity to relax your fast-paced life and silently talk with God, pouring out your heart of love and worship to your magnificent, awesome Lord.

Despite countless innovative discoveries that will enhance our material lives in the future, nothing will ever surpass God’s knowledge, power, or speed in responding to His children with action and love.

“’I the Lord do not change’” (Malachi 3:6).

BlogSL2-smallest

Family Prayer Request

My family

I have written about my family before. You can read about us here and here. The photo above was taken back in 1995. Obviously a lot has happened since then.

Mom went home to the Lord in early 2007. It will be Dad’s turn soon. 

In a couple of days I will be traveling to Florida to gather with my sisters so we can be with Dad, who has been faced with some severe health problems over the past couple of years. It seems Dad’s time here on earth will come to an end soon, so we want to see him before the Lord takes him home. He may not even recognize us but that doesn’t matter. We haven’t all been together for several years because I don’t travel well these days, especially by airplane which makes my migraines so much worse. However, we need to be together as a family now.

Beloved, I am sharing this with all of you to ask you to pray for us as we come together with Dad. I cancelled the posts I had previously scheduled to publish during the time I’ll be gone. I want to concentrate on being with my family without having to wonder about how things are going with this blog. I’ll be back soon. My family and I thank you in advance for all your prayers.

BlogSL2-smallest

When Routines Become Idols

Reblogged from the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW)

When Routines Become Idols 

By Christina Fox

From the moment we are born, our lives center around our daily routines. We rise with the sun and sleep when it sets. We work during the week and rest on the weekend. Our bellies are quick to tell us when we miss one of our thrice daily meals. We attend school during the fall, winter, and spring, and play all summer. We celebrate the same holidays year after year.

God created routines when he set the sun and moon in space. He organized our week by giving us a day of rest. He even provided the Israelites with yearly festivals, celebrations, and remembrances.

Pediatricians tell us that children thrive and feel safe when they have routines and structure to their day. Routines are good for us as adults as well. They keep us on track and organized. They give shape to our day and keep us from getting distracted. Indeed, routines are good. But routines can sometimes turn from a good thing to a not so good thing: when they become an idol of our heart.

Read the rest here.

BlogSL2-smallest