fruitage of the spirit's journal

Expressions from the Heart

Staying Spiritually Alert

Isaiah 38:1-7

 

j0438492Maintaining a state of spiritual alertness may be difficult when we’re faced with challenges, particularly if we were unprepared spiritually or emotionally. Last week’s study revealed how there is a great divide between seeking God’s will and true worship of Him; this week’s lesson shows us how we bridge the gap. To worship God in truth involves knowing God’s heart and remaining in His presence (by keeping alert of our spirituality). Maintaining spiritual alertness requires that we adhere to certain truths about our Lord.  In our study of Hezekiah, we learn that he maintained spiritual alertness, despite the troubles facing him.

 

Staying spiritually alert requires an ever present awareness of the following seven principles revealed in Hezekiah’s life (Outline by Sandy Maddox)

 

1.      Vs 1: In those days Hezekiah became mortally ill. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him and said to him, “Thus sys the LORD, ‘Set your ousein order, for you shall die and not live.’

God Speaks Personally – God spoke “personally” to Hezekiah.  God speaks to us through his word, our friends & family, a pastor giving a sermon; or sometimes He communicates directly to our heart and moves us to action or understanding. The important lesson in this scripture is to hear God’s voice when He is speaking to you.

 

2.      Vs 2: The Hezekiah turned his face to the wall…

Position Yourself – Hezekiah physically moved himself to be in a quiet place with the Lord; after the terrible news, he needed a moment with God. How do we bring ourselves to a moment with God? Is our first reaction to call a family member or friend when we’re faced with a problem? “Turning to the wall” signifies that Hezekiah did not want to call on anyone but his God of salvation.

 

3.      Vs 2: …and prayed to the Lord.

Petition the Lord – Hezekiah went straight to the source where he knew he would find comfort. He appealed to God, seeking Him. He had witnessed God’s mighty hand and knew that He is the only one to deliver him from death that was called upon him.

 

4.      Vs 3: and said, “Remember now, O LORD, I beseech You, how I have waked before You in truth and with a while heart, and have done what is good in Your sight.”

Present your past and your purpose – Hezekiah knew he was a faithful servant. Unlike his father, Ahaz, who didn’t trust in God and sought the help of a nation that God would soon bring judgment upon, Hezekiah only looked to the Lord.

 

5.      Vs 3: And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Pour out – Hezekiah cried out to God. He had no anger, bitterness or resentment; but he had tears of agony. Hezekiah had just been told he was going to die; he believed it because he believes in God’s promises; he had nothing left to say or do. He already pleaded his case before the great Judge and there was nothing left to do. How many times have we felt defeated in our situations – where there is nothing left we can do but pour ourselves with ourcries.

 

6.      Vs 4&5: Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah, saying, “Go an say to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the LORD, the god of your father David, “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will add fifteen years to your life.”

Prayers are heard – Although there is no telling how long before God told Isaiah He would add fifteen years to his life, we know that Hezekiah remained faithful and spiritually alert during the difficult time. How long are we willing to wait before we lose faith in our Lord? God hears prayers before they are prayed! Isa 65:24. Knowing this truth about our Lord helps us maintain spiritual alertness.

 

7.      Vs 7: “This shall be the sign to you from the LORD, that he LORD will do this thing that He has spoken.

Promise of His presence provided – God is a keeper of promises. When we know this truth, there is no disconnect between seeking God’s will for us and worshiping Him in truth.

 

*As we model a lifestyle of spiritual alerness, we open ourselves to receiving God’s grace, guidance and the ability to discern His perfect will.

 

Thank you, Sandy, for another great lesson! We look forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts on this lesson. Blessings.

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March 30, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Place of Silence

I received an endearing email from my “spiritual soul” sister.   The message I received from Sue was in line with the passages in Isaiah I covered earlier, mainly that the people of Judah needed to find their strength in “quiet confidence” in God (Isa 30:15). This is an amazing testimony of one who was blessed to experience being in the presence of God. With Sue’s permission, I have published her message that she sent me so that others may also be encouraged and be moved to finding their “quietness”with God. 

Linda, I just have to share with you something that happened to me this morning. I needed some “be still time” myself (yes, I remind  even myself of that quite often …not just you! LOL) and I felt led to go to a prayer chapel that my friend showed me. It seems like lately I have felt so much like I am constantly going to God in prayer for things that we need and in prayer about all of the things that are troubling me right now both personally, for others, and for our Country.  So I just felt this overwhelming feeling of wanting to be alone with God for a while.

The Cathedral is absolutely beautiful and really the closest thing to the big cathedrals that I saw in Manhattan when we were there.  The chapel is located directly behind the huge sanctuary and you have to walk down the side of it to get to the chapel in the back.  The organist was playing beautiful music in the cathedral and no one else was around the church at all. At that moment in time I almost felt like all of that was there just for me alone.  As I walked in to the doors to the little chapel there is a sign that greeted me that says. “This is a place of silence. Please maintain silence at all times.”  So I sat down in the pew and did just that. I was silent.  Not just in my voice, but in my mind.  I didn’t feel like talking or thinking or feeling anything. And what was on that sign was my lesson for the day.

I didn’t do anything except just sit there in the quiet stillness of that beautiful place but before long an overwhelming sense of Gods presence came over me.  I knew that “I knew that I knew” that God was right there with me. There were three other people in the prayer chapel and they too just sat there in silence. I wondered if they felt what I was feeling.  It was as if the rest of the world while still out there was closed off from us.  We were on Holy Ground and we had been drawn there by a loving Father that wanted to just spend time with us.   And it was amazing that all of the desire to seek answers to the things I have been praying about was gone.  I didn’t feel that I had to say a word.  I felt like all that God wanted from me was my presence. And He was thrilled that I was there.  I could honestly feel His joy.  And the most wonderful part to me was that all that I wanted of Him was His presence. And being there gave me such joy too!

My thoughts turned to those of a loving parent who’s children have grown and gotten busy with their own lives.  It seems like they only call or stop by when they want or need something.  And I could almost feel how much that parent would love it if they just came by to spend some time with them without wanting a thing. How much joy it would bring if the children would come by just to be present to the parent and not seeking anything and needing any help.  I wanted to do that with my Heavenly Father this morning.  I felt like I was actually giving God something very special.  And the amazing part was that it was a gift of…..me!  I can not tell you how much joy came over me when I came to realize that God loves me so much that He really desires to spend time with me.  It is as if I have always known this in my head, but today it got through to my heart.  And as I gave Him that gift, He gave me the gift of His presence in a very real way right back to me.  He only wanted to be with me and not ask anything of me or need anything from me.  He literally lifted all my cares on to his shoulders without me saying a word.  I didn’t have to even ask. I didn’t even realize that He had done it. But I could feel that He understood every care and I have such a compete trust that He is taking care of it all and doesn’t need my help.  “Cast all of your cares upon me, for I care for you!”  What a blessing!  He actually took my cares without my having to even “cast” them His way.  What a simple lesson.  “This is a place of silence.  Please maintain silence at all times.”    I have such an awareness of God’s love for me that I know now that all I need to do is truly….”Be still and KNOW that I am God.”  Come into His presence.  I get it now in a deeper way then I have ever before.  He created us for His own pleasure.  We only have to open ourselves to being present to Him.  I want to learn how to do that every day all day long.  Surely it is not just something He wants from us every now and then?  There must be more to learn about this Linda. I just feel it.

Linda, I so wanted to share all of this with you.  I hope that it will encourage you.  I so want you to feel how much God really loves us in the same way that I felt it today. I feel that my lesson on being in God’s presence is not over yet.  There is more to it.  But in God’s time He will open my eyes and my heart to it.  I have a feeling I will return to that prayer chapel very soon.  I love you.  Sue

March 22, 2009 Posted by | Expressions | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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