A Hunger for God

 

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
 
 
  
“One might think that those who feast most often on communion with God are least hungry. They turn often from the innocent pleasures of the world to linger more directly in the presence of God through the revelation of his Word. And there they eat the Bread of Heaven and drink the Living Water by meditation and faith. But, paradoxically, it is not so that they are the least hungry saints. The opposite is the case. The strongest, most mature Christians I have ever met are the hungriest for God
…It might seem that those who eat most would be least hungry. But that’s not the way it works with an inexhaustible fountain, and an infinite feast, and a glorious Lord. When you take your stand on the finished work of God in Christ, and begin to drink at the River of Life and eat the Bread of Heaven, and know that you have found the end of all your longings, you only get hungrier for God. The more satisfaction you experience from God, while still in this world, the greater your desire for the next. For, as C. S. Lewis said, “Our best havings are wantings.”

…The more deeply you walk with Christ,
the hungrier you get for Christ
the more homesick you get for heaven…
the more you want “all the fullness of God”…
the more you want to be done with sin…
the more you want the Bridegroom to come again …
the more you want the Church revived and purified with the beauty of Jesus…
the more you want a great awakening to God’s reality in the cities…
the more you want to see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ penetrate the darkness of all the unreached peoples of the world…
the more you want to see false worldviews yield to the force of Truth…
the more you want to see pain relieved and tears wiped away and
death destroyed…
the more you long for every wrong to be made right
and the justice and grace of God
to fill the earth like the waters cover the sea.
..If you don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Your soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great.

God did not create you for this. There is an appetite for God. And it can be awakened. I invite you to turn from the dulling effects of food and the dangers of idolatry, and to say with some simple fast: “This much, O God, I want you.

Fasting is an offering of emptiness to show where fullness can be found. 
It is a sacrifice of need and hunger.

It says, by its very nature,

“Father, I am empty, but you are full.
I am hungry, but you are the Bread of Heaven.
I am thirsty, but you are the Fountain of Life.
I am weak, but you are strong.
I am poor, but you are rich.
I am foolish, but you are wise.
I am broken, but you are whole.
I am dying, but your steadfast love is better than life (Psalm 63:3).”

 
——————————————
 
My heart is challenged and convicted by Piper’s words.  Please change me way down deep on the inside Father, where only You can see.
 
Paula
 
Thank you Lord for #38-47

38: A special Mother/Daughter time with Hannah: buying her an ice cream cone then snuggling soft puppies
39: The satisfaction of decluttering and letting go of “stuff”
40. The freedom of forgiveness
41. Prisms hung in the window splashing rainbows on the wall
42. Family laughter shared watching an old Andy Griffith Show and time together at the end of the day learning a new game
43. One daughter making the stovetop and kitchen sink sparkle while the other gathered toys outgrown to give away

“Blessings” By Laura Story

Blessings: By Laura Story

“We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering

All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops?
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near?

What if trials of this life
Are Your mercies in disguise?

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough

And all the while You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near?

And what if trials of this life
Are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us, when darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It’s not our home

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears?
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near?

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst
This world can’t satisfy?

And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise?”

Psalm 62: 5-8

Psalm 62:5-8

King James Version (KJV)

 5My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.

 6He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved.

 7In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.

 8Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.

 

It ends with “Selah” which means “Think about that”.  Yup, I need to think about those truths alright. I’ve  decided to memorize and meditate on Psalm 62: 5-8 next.  Anybody want to join me?

In Him,

Paula

http://www.biblestudycharts.com/HH_Leaning_On_The_Everlasting.html

(“Leaning on the Everlasting Arms”: Hymn and History)

One Thousand Gifts

I am about 1/2 way through a book that I am enjoying, “One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are” .  The author initiates the exercise of naming blessings God brings to her each day.  God uses thankfulness in the midst of difficulty to transform her. Here is the author’s website if you are interested: http://www.aholyexperience.com/   I am listening to the lovely music on that site as I write this.  May God do the same radical heart surgery on me, using whatever tools He deems best including teaching me gratefulness in the midst of cancer and pain.
  
A friend emailed me these direct quotes from the book: 
when I realize that it is not God who is in my debt but I who am in His great debt, then doesn’t all become a gift?
-here dies another day during which I have had eyes, ears, hands and the great world around me; and with tomorrow begins another.  Why am I allowed two days?  Why lavished with 3? A whole string of grace days?
 

-the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord Job 1:21

-it’s just that the eyes are bad – my perspective.

-only because I was looking.  Because that list of one thousand gifts has me always looking for one more- to behold one more moment pregnant with wonder

-little nails and a steady hammer rebuild a life – eucharisteo precedes a miracle (and He took the bread and gave “thanks”… Luke 22:19. Eucharisteo. Root word charis meaning grace. Jesus took the bread and saw it as grace and gave thanks. He knew it to be a gift. Greek derivative chara meaning joy. Deep chara joy is only found at the table of the euCHARisteo – the table of thanksgiving.)

-Jesus enduring the cross for the joy set before Him

-His secret purpose framed from the very beginning is to bring us to our full glory 1Cor 2:7 NEB. He means to heal our soul holes to return us to our full glory before the fall.

– maybe it’s accepting there are things I don’t understand, but He does.

– God is in the details; God is in the moment.  God is in all that blurs by in life – even hurts in life. By naming the things we are thankful for we are recognizing God in that moment.  The moments will add up.

 ——— 
  
I think I will start naming some of my “One Thousand PLUS gifts” in this thread Another friend shared yesterday that she keeps a notebook out for her whole family to jot down blessings,  Maybe our family will do that too–I like that idea!
 
Here goes the start of my list:
 
1. Thank you Lord for a RIGHT arm that does not have an  “invisible tourniquet/inflated BP cuff” sensation on it 🙂  OH, the joy and blessing of having one arm that does not constantly hurt!  Two painful arms would be much harder for me than one.  Thank you Father for BOTH my left and right arm.  Some people don’t have any arms.   The two are blessings and gifts from You to me.
2. Clean sheets on my bed
3. My husband’s loving arms to hold me close
4.  Fresh starts available to me from God 24/7/365
5. Beautiful sunsets and rises 
Have Thine Own Way, Lord!
God’s beloved bald-headed Paula
(Can you pray that God will give me grace for the chemo induced sores, (“Mucositis” is it’s official name)?  They are thankfully clearing up on my scalp right now.  They are most irritating and uncomfortable to me when they pop out in my mouth and enlarge blood vessels normally not seen, creep down my throat, inside my nose, and in my ears–soooo, thanls Lord, for the blessing that they are mostly just on my scalp right now and are healing up) Don’t forget to count that simple blessing, friends if you don’t have any sores bugging you :).  There are so many gifts from our loving Heavenly Father that we take for granted.
*** See comments below in this blog entry: I will be adding to my “1000 gifts” list on a continuing basis down there***
——————————–
  

Have Thine Own Way, Lord” is a Christian hymn with lyrics by Adelaide A. Pollard and music by George C. Stebbins was first published in 1907, in the “Northfield Hymnal with Alexander’s Supplement”. Later that year, it also appeared in two other popular hymnals, Ira Sankey’s “Hallowed Hymns New and Old” and Sankey and Clement’s “Best Endeavor Hymns”.

 
 
Background For the Hymn:
 In 1902, Adelaide A. Pollard, a Bible teacher and hymn writer, was hoping to go to Africa as a missionary but found herself unable to raise the needed funds to make the journey. Greatly discouraged, she attended a prayer service one evening and as she sat there, she overheard an elderly woman say “It really doesn’t matter what you do with us, Lord, just have your own way with our lives.” The elderly woman inspired Pollard and she contemplated the story of the potter from Jeremiah 18:3 and, upon her return home that evening, wrote all four stanzas before retiring for the night.

Five years later George Stebbins wrote a tune titled “Adelaide” to accompany the text.

 Lyrics

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
      Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
     While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
     Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
     As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
     Wounded and weary, help me, I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
     Touch me and heal me, Savior divine.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
     Hold o’er my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit ’till all shall see
     Christ only, always, living in me.

Have Thine Own Way, Lord

 

Joni and Breast Cancer

 
Did you know that Joni Erickson Tada is dealing with breast cancer and chemo now after all these years of living with quadriplegia and chronic pain?  I didn’t.  A dear friend sent this inspiring and encouraging link to me.  You can both see an audio/visual of Joni sharing as well as read her message in the link.  It is excellent IMHO and I hope what Joni has to say is a blessing to you as it is to me.
 
Rejoicing in His goodness,
 
Paula

Prayer of Release

Prayer of Release
By Roy Lessin

I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return. 2 Timothy 1:12 NLT

“Heavenly Father, I release to You the burdens that I have been carrying, burdens that You never intended for me to carry. I cast all my cares upon You—all my worries, all my fears. You have told me not be anxious about anything, but rather to bring everything to You in prayer with thankfulness.

Father, calm my restless spirit, quiet my anxious heart, still my troubling thoughts with the assurance that You are in control. I let go of my grip upon the things I have been hanging onto, with opened hands I come to You. I release to Your will all that I am trying to manipulate; I release to Your authority all that I am trying to control; I release to Your timing all that I have been striving to make happen.

I thank You for Your promise to sustain me, preserve me, and guard all that I have entrusted to Your keeping. Protect my heart and mind with Your peace, the peace that passes all understanding. Father, may Your will be done in my life, in Your time, and in Your way.”
Scriptures: Psalm 55:22, 1 Peter 5:7, Philippians 4:6, Matthew 6, Isaiah 26:3, Luke 11:2

Psalm 55:22
New Living Translation (NLT)
 22 Give your burdens to the Lord,
      and he will take care of you.
      He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.

1 Peter 5:7
New Living Translation (NLT)

7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Philippians 4:6
New Living Translation (NLT)
 6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

Isaiah 26:3
New Living Translation (NLT)
 3 You will keep in perfect peace
      all who trust in you,
      all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

Luke 11:2
New Living Translation (NLT)
 2 Jesus said, “This is how you should pray:[a]

   “Father, may your name be kept holy.
      May your Kingdom come soon.

2 Timothy 1:12
King James Version (KJV)
 12For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

———-

Two songs that were a blessing to me this morning:

God will make a way:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zo3fJYtS-o&feature=related
You’re all I want
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CS2uPwKSeDo&feature=related

Some “CAN’TS of Cancer”

 
Recently I saw a little poem about what cancer can’t do (but can’t find it) I think I got a copy from the American Cancer Society perhaps. Last night I started a list of my own and added to it this morning.   I might make it a “running list” and add to it as I think of more. If you can think of additional things, feel free to join in and expand my list.  🙂
 
Some “CANT’S” of Cancer:
 
-It can’t rob us of making the most of every day: even the hard days after chemo can have splashes of joy in them.

-Cancer is very weak compared to the love we share with family and friends.

 
–Even though cancer is a nightmare, it CAN’T take away all my hopes and dreams for the future

–Even though the treatment of cancer has taken away my hair and that’s been hard for me, it CAN NOT take away a genuine smile on my face because God is always up to something good in my life

–It CAN’T MAKE ME have a “victim’s mentality”: I CAN grow to be a stronger and more compassionate person through this (and grow in many other ways)

Edit 7/21: (PLEASE NOTE:  In the comment section below I added in the poem mentioned above. I plan to add more “Can’ts of Cancer”  as I think of them in the future down in the comments sention of this post)

 
 
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

Amplified Bible (AMP)

28We are assured and know that [[a]God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.

ALL things working together for GOOD…even cancer.

Gratefully His,

Paula

Psalm 5:11

I was encouraged by this thought from www.365Promises.com
 
Psalm 5:11 KJV
11 But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy,
because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.


“Promise #199: I will blanket My protection over all who trust in Me.

In the NLT & NIV Bible versions of this verse, the psalmist asks God to ‘spread His protection over them‘. The Amplified Bible says ‘make a covering over them’. When I think of this promise, I imagine that Papa God spreads a huge canopy, a nice warm comforting blanket over us that provides warmth, protection and shelter all the days of our life.

The knowledge of a loving God that is brooding over us and protecting us will cause us to trust Him even more and fill us to overflowing with unspeakable joy. I chose this particular photo of cloud cover to remind me that just as the clouds can shield us from the heat of the sun’s rays, so God’s love covers us and shields us from the harshness that life can bring our way.  May each one of us snuggle under the blanket of God’s protecting love today and may our hearts be filled with joy knowing that we are safe and secure today and for the rest of our lives.”
Photo by Barry Adams

 
This quote was challenging to me this morning:
 
“The dominant characteristic of an authentic spiritual life is the gratitude that flows from trust—not only for all the gifts that I receive from God, but gratitude for all the suffering. Because in that purifying experience, suffering has often been the shortest path to intimacy with God. -Brennan Manning
 
 
My prayer today–
Father, I pray that You would help me to GENUINELY have a heart of gratitude, even especially and specifically for the suffering You are allowing in my life right now. It’s easy to be thankful and cheerful when things are going well and prayers get answered the way we desire.  I’m asking You to do a supernatural work in my heart, please change me Lord and conform me to the image of Your Son.  Please help me to be HONESTLY, DOWN-DEEP THANKFUL for this constant invisible tourniquet sensation on my arm and for the cancer, the treatment, and all this seemingly awful, rough stuff—knowing that YOU are the One  orchestrating all that You allow in my life and You are always loving, wise, and kind. I know You are the only One Who can take it all away and so far You have not chosen to do that.   Oh, how  I wish you would, Lord!  I am pleading with You to do that, asking in the name of Jesus for You to do that, crying out to You continually.  So far it seems You’ve either been saying “no” or “wait” to most of my prayers.  You must have a better plan for me than healing and relief from the arm pain, at least for right now.   Please help me to trust You completely, purify me, draw me into sweet intimacy with You; loving You will all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength–nothing held back.  Please help me not to waste a single thing You have for me in all of this, including the lessons and joys  that suffering can teach a child of God who is fully yielded to her Savior.  Please give me the grace I need.  Please help me to be brave and strong IN CHRIST instead of scared and weak like I am in my own flesh–make me completely soft and supple and surrendered in Your Hands.  I pray for joy, for peace, for contentment, for endurance, and patience–for all my hope and expectations to be all wrapped up in Jesus Christ alone.  I can’t do that work in me but YOU CAN, LORD.  I let go, I let go, I let go of my life Lord, and how I want things to be, and cling to You alone. 
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
 
God’s Beloved bald-headed Paula  🙂

Prayer for Guidance

“Fill your mind with the thought that God is there. And once your mind is truly filled with that thought, when you experience difficulties it will be as easy as breathing for you to remember, “My heavenly Father knows all about this!” –Oswald Chambers
  

Prayer for Guidance

By Roy Lessin

Heavenly Father, You have promised to guide me, instruct me, and direct my steps. I need to hear Your voice, know Your will, sense Your guidance. I acknowledge You as the One who is wholly and uniquely able and qualified to lead and direct my life. I thank You that You have not asked me to try and figure everything out, to trust in my own reasoning, or to rely upon my understanding of what is best for me.

Father, I receive Your wisdom, knowing that every decision You make is the right decision and the one that is always the best that can be made. You do all things well! I trust in Your timing to bring into my life the right things at the right time, and to keep from me anything I am not ready to receive, no matter how good it may appear.

I believe that as You guide me I will find strength in Your grace, power in Your Spirit, assurance in Your Word, contentment in Your provision, fulfillment in Your purpose. I ask that You will open every door that needs to be opened and close every door that needs to be closed. Lead me and bring me into Your desired place. I want to walk each day with Your peace in my heart. Thank You, Father, that no matter what, I can put my complete trust in You.

Scriptures: Psalm 23:1, Psalm 25:5, Psalm 32:8, Psalm 51:6, Psalm 119:133, Proverbs 3:5-6, Ecclesiastics 3:11, 2 Corinthians 12:9, Acts 1:8, 1 Timothy 6:6, Colossians 3:15, 4:3, Revelation 3:8

 

Isaiah 61: 1-3

Good News for the Oppressed

 1 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,
      for the Lord has anointed me
      to bring good news to the poor.
   He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
      and to proclaim that captives will be released
      and prisoners will be freed.[a]
 2 He has sent me to tell those who mourn
      that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,[b]
      and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
 3 To all who mourn in Israel,[c]
      he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
   a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
      festive praise instead of despair. (“a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness”)
   In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
      that the Lord has planted for his own glory.
—————-
 
 
 
Thanks for sharing those thoughts and Scriptural promises, friends.  They were a blessing to me. 
 
 What a relief to know just WHO is in control and that we can rest in Him, snuggle up in His love, and trust.
 
Yesterday was a very hard day for me.  I felt so spiritually, emotionally, and physically “spent”.  How I need Him, desperately need Him! 
 
In His love and mine too,
 
Paula
 
 

Prayer of Hope

It’s been kind of a rough week with typical after -chemo effects.  

A dear friend loaned me some excellent CDs “Always True” by James MacDonald so I’ve pretty much been in bed alot of the time listening to those,  trying to concentrate on God’s “exceedingly great and precious promises” to put my full weight on. 

Can any of you please share some of your  favorite promises of God?

Guys, this is really hard.  Thanks for praying.  I sure need and appreciate  lots of prayer.

Paula

Prayer of Hope
By Lessin

Father, thank You for being the God of hope and my hope. You alone are the source and the reason for my hope. Because of You, I can pray in hope; walk in hope; believe in hope; endure in hope; overcome in hope; live in hope.

When I look to the future I have hope because You are already in the future. I have a future that is secure because You are my future. Father, it is Your hope that frees from the despair of hopelessness and the insecurity of false hope.

When I look ahead, I do not see the details clearly, but I see You, the One who is in all the details of what is ahead. I believe in Your plan and purpose for my life. You have assured me that I will never be disappointed as I trust in You.

Thank You for the confidence Your hope gives me to be faithful today and to move forward in the pathway You have for my tomorrows.  I put my expectations, not in others, but in You. I am confident that all Your desires for me are good. The hope You give me brings happiness and rejoicing to my heart.

Thank You, Father, for being the author of all the chapters of my life that are yet to come. Thank You that my life will have a happy ending because I will be with You forever, in the place that You have prepared for me and for all those who have put their trust in Your salvation through Jesus Christ.

 Amen.

Scriptures: Psalm 31:24, 39:7, 71:5, 14, 130:5,7, 146:5; Romans 5:5, 8:24-25, 12:12, 15:13; 1 Corinthians 13:13; Galatians 5:5; Colossians 1:5; Titus 1:2, 2:13