Posts Tagged ‘Is Your All on the Altar’

Psalm 91:1–My dwelling transformed

June 21, 2014

Forestwander.com

The Verse of the Day for June 21, 2014 is taken from Psalm 91:1 (KJV):

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

A number of years ago I recall hearing a message “God is Looking for a Dwelling Place,” and I was inspired to write the following poem which uses Psalm 91:1 as its introductory verse.

 My Dwelling Transformed

 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

Psalm 91:1

 

Despite perilous times embroiled in confusion and strife,

I continue to learn that everything has its own price,

As I pursue the ultimate goal, I offer my life:

A first-born son, presented as a living sacrifice.

With clean hands and a pure heart, I prepare a dwelling place.

To attract You, I must provide a pleasing ambiance:

As your songs of love flow from the depths of my inner space,

A habitation designed and arrayed for your entrance.

To walk by the spirit of life I am driven to pursue.

I dance to my own music, softly playing in my mind,

And strive to understand that You alone make all things new.

As the eyes of the Lord scan this green planet, may they find

My dwelling transformed into a place of simple beauty,

As I offer all that I am and ever hope to be.

 

After completing the poem, I thought of Yolanda Adams, who offers a version of the traditional hymn sung so often during my childhood and beyond, as she asks, “Is Your All on the Altar?”

Many fellow believers are earnestly seeking to situate themselves to be in position for the next “move of God,” yearning for a fresh visitation from the Lord. While to bask in His glorious presence would bring with it unspeakable joy, the innermost yearning of my heart is to experience an unprecedented visitation that goes on without interruption, a move of God extending indefinitely. Francis Frangipane reiterates this point, “Let us also keep in mind that the goal of a visitation from God is that we become the habitation of God.” Three years ago while driving about town, I noticed a billboard on a neighborhood church with this message: “2011: Make this a year of transformation.” Even though three years have passed, the exhortation applies to the current year and to every year for that matter. The poem “My Dwelling Transformed” expresses my desire to see times of visitation transformed into times of habitation.

Imagine this scenario—You have a good friend who sometimes comes by to visit. You would like to have that individual come by more often, so you prepare a place for them to stay when they’re in town. In a similar way, the Shunamite woman and her husband prepared a special abode for Elijah, who visited them periodically. You know what your close acquaintance likes and doesn’t like, so you have what he/she likes, so you custom-design and appointed the place to suit your visitor.

It is no different with God. We endeavor to provide the perfect atmosphere, the ideal conditions that will welcome Him so that He shows up often and stays long. In fact, our ultimate desire is to turn a visitation into a habitation, but how is this accomplished?

When God makes visiting a habit, then visitation becomes habitation. God visits so often and enjoys Himself so much that His visits become more and more frequent, and He stays longer and longer until His visits are a habit, and He decides to abide. Our heart’s deepest yearning for intimacy is expressed in this poem:

Times of Visitation

As you once visited Abraham, our father,

and sent angelic hosts to reinforce your pledge,

in these times of barrenness and seeming defeat,

where are the times of visitation set for us?

We offer our heart, a place prepared for you to meet.

As you sojourn, may you find in our lives a place

so prepared for you to come with friendly intent

that on each occasion where you show up

that your ultimate purpose is most apparent.

As you clearly reveal your promise to fulfill

your will, receive our obedience as sacrifice,

and favor shall be our portion as faithful sons.

 

May you find us yielded vessels, clean and fitted

for the glory of your presence that you might pour

blessings without measure to overflow and flood

our soul, as we commune with you in perfect peace.

May we never squander times of visitation

but shut the door in face of the enemy,

as we open wide the portals of our spirit

and transform our heart into your habitation.

 

As I concluded these comments, the lyrics from a cherished hymn from childhood days and beyond came to mind:

Abide With Me

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

Abide, O Lord, abide with me.

The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge provide a stirring rendition of this hymn which is the musical expression of our heart’s desire:

Facing and overcoming disappointment in 2011–Part 2

January 22, 2011

In searching for a definition of disappointment, I “happened upon” a most insightful discussion of the term in a motivational article in Nazareth on line by Dr. Francis, a pastor who states, “Disappointment is often defined as a feeling of dissatisfaction that results when your expectations are not realized; it’s a deep emotion felt when a strongly held expectation is not met or proved to be wrong.”

Disappointment occurs when our expectations are not met as we thought they would be.

Disappointment is one of three toxic emotions, a potentially deadly triumvirate of Disappointment–Discouragement—Despair. These three dangerous emotions, if unchecked or not countered, can precipitate a most destructive downward spiral that can sabotage the destiny of a believer. Once again, we must neutralize disappointment with expectations according to the Word of God. We look to Our Great God with “Great Expectations” which is much more than a novel by Dickens.

First of all, we must remember this:

Numbers 23:19

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said,and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? [KJV]

Proverbs 23:18 reminds us:

For surely there is a latter end [a future and a reward], and your hope and expectation shall not be cut off.  [AMP]

Jeremiah 29:11 also informs us of God’s concern for our future or “final outcome”:
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. [NKJV]             

The Amplified Bible expresses this truth this way:

 For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome. [AMP]

 The Psalmist reiterates that our hope and expectations are in God, not in our circumstances, not in what we have or do not have:

Psalm 39:7

And now, Lord, what do I wait for and expect? My hope and expectation are in You. [AMP] 

Psalm 62:5

My soul, wait only upon God and silently submit to Him; for my hope and expectation are from Him. [AMP]

Dr. Martin Luther, Jr. also reminds us of the proper attitude we should have toward disappointment which I characterize as the first of the “Deadly Ds”:

The statement by Dr. King expresses a profound truth regarding the difference between disappointment and hope.

As believers, we “silently submit to God”—not with wailing and bemoaning, not criticizing, not condemning nor complaining. We submit ourselves under the mighty hand of God and resist the Devil, who tries to convince us that God disappoints us and never fulfills His promises. We draw close to God and He draws close to us (James 4:7-8) 

So often we are plagued by disappointment when we pray, and God does not answer our prayers in the way that we think that He should. I once heard an account of a woman who prayed and was blessed in a most unusual and unexpected way. A statement was made at the end of her story regarding three possible responses to our prayer requests, which inspired this poem which includes the quotation: Sometimes we pray and find that the answer is “yes.” Other times we find that the answer is “not yet.” Or God may say, “I have something better in mind.”

So often we are plagued by disappointment when we pray, and God does not answer our prayers in the way that we think that He should. I once heard an account of a woman who prayed and was blessed in a most unusual and unexpected way. A statement was made at the end of her story regarding three possible responses to our prayer requests, which inspired this poem which includes the quotation: Sometimes we pray and find that the answer is “yes.” Other times we find that the answer is “not yet.”Or God may say, “I have something better in mind.”
                           We Pray—God Answers

 Wherefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray,

  believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

 Mark 11:24 

 

                                                                                        

 We pray, asking to receive and seeking to find.

 If we knock, the door shall be opened all our days,

 For God answers prayer in one of three sovereign ways:

 Sometimes we pray and find that the answer is “yes.”

 In Christ each promise is “yes” and “amen”,

 For God is not a man that He should lie.

 He has already spoken—What shall we say then

 But give thanks, for when we call Him, He hears each cry.

 Other times we find that the answer is “not yet.”

  We need more patience so that after we have done

  All the will of God, as sons we might be instilled

  With confident assurance given to each one,

  Set as an empty vessel, yet to be fulfilled.

  Or God may say, “I have something better in mind.”

  Before we abandon hope, feeling left behind,

  Though it may seem we cannot pass another test,

  But if we stop and think a moment, we will find

 God, our all-wise Father, really knows what is best.   

In part of a stanza from “Stone upon Stone: A Psalm of Remembrance” I describe a place where “disappointments and stillborn dreams lie at my feet,/wet with red, splattered with blood of miscarried sons.” I recognize that past disappointments and failures are many times difficult and seemingly impossible to get over.

But then I happened to think of a statement made by Dr. Dale Sides, who led a workshop in Columbus, and offered this candid advice for those who had been wounded by traumatic circumstances and devastating disappointments of the past:“Get a life; get a verse,  and get over it!” 

As I continued to work on this blog,reflecting on his remarks, I smiled and modified Dr. Side’s comment to say “Get a life; get a ‘life verse’ and get on with it!” For me, my “life verse” has been Romans 8:28:

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.

As I face the rising sun of a new day begun, I must move forward and forget the past, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are ahead, I must press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

I must place all my past disappointments and failures on the altar. During such times often I think of a song from my childhood days and way beyond which asks, “Is Your All on the Altar?” Here is a very moving rendition by Yolanda Adams:

        

Edith Lillian Young has found a simple way of countering disappointment simply by making a small change which can result in a big change in our attitude toward this particular “Deadly D.”

Disappointment

“Disappointment – His appointment,”
Change one letter, then I see
That the thwarting of my purpose
Is God’s better choice for me.
His appointment must be a blessing,
Though it may come in disguise,
For the end from the beginning
Open to His wisdom lies.

“Disappointment – His appointment,”
Whose? The Lord, who loves me best,
Understands and knows me fully,
Who my faith and love would test;
For, like a loving earthly parent,
He rejoices when He knows
That His child accepts, unquestioned,
All that from His wisdom flows.

“Disappointment – His appointment,”
“No good thing will He withhold,”
From denials oft we gather
Treasures of His love untold,
Well He knows each broken purpose
Leads to fuller, deeper trust,
And the end of all His dealings
Proves our God is wise and just.

“Disappointment – His appointment,”
Lord, I take it, then, as such.
Like the clay in hands of potter,
Yielding wholly to Thy touch.
All my life’s plan is Thy moulding,
Not one single choice be mine;
Let me answer, unrepining –
“Father, not my will, but Thine.”

If we truly believe that the Lord, our God, is good and that His mercy endures forever, and if we know that He always keeps His promise, and that as a good Father, He knows what is best for us, then we will release any disappointments we may have experienced and hold fast to His goodness and mercy which follow us all the days of our lives. Eliza Tabor offers this perspective of some of the positive effects that this seemingly negative emotion can have. “Disappointment to a noble soul is what cold water is to burning metal; it strengthens, tempers, intensifies, but never destroys it.”