Category Archives: Seeking God

Have Thine Own Way, Lord

This morning in prayer, with many deep and unresolved needs on my heart, the old hymn Have Thine Own Way came over my heart.

 Have Thine own Way, Lord! Have Thine own way…
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay…

It’s a hymn I have loved for many years; this morning what moved me, broke me, was the drawing nigh of a certain Spirit that enabled me to pray this, not for my own attainment, but for the Potter’s own sake, for the love of the Potter.  Do you know what I mean?

In His Presence and Spirit I felt such conviction; oh how unaware I am that my motives are often quite selfish; I seek the things of God just for my own sake. But the Spirit, with God’s own interests at heart, drew nigh and inspired me to pray, “Have Thine own way, Lord… that You may truly have Your liberty in my life, the desire of Your own heart in my life.”  I felt so broken by how deeply God longs for this in each and every one of us… yes, for our own benefit, but for His own as well.  The vessel is, after all, for the Potter. He greatly longs for full expression in us, for He  knows our needs more deeply than we ourselves do, and knows that only He can meet them.

And so, He will continue working in our lives till He has helped us to totally forsake all our own efforts and strivings to attain to Christian fulfillment, or resolve our problems… and yield it all to Him, and become totally surrendered in His hands, so that He can mold us and make us to be what He wants us to be, and have His own Way and desire in our lives—and do what He wants to do.

In a vessel such as this, He Himself lives and moves and has His being among men once again, for He Himself is present with men once again—in you and me—just as He was in His only begotten Son.  This is His own hope in all His dealings in our lives, in all His moldings, shapings… that, instead of our own workings to resolve the problems around us, we ourselves become the Potter’s own workmanship, and the things we do His own workings among men.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works which God hath before prepared that we should walk in them.

How precious a hope this is to Him, and if the beauty of this purpose of the Potter has laid hold on us, we share it with Him. He knows (and surely you and I know also) that it is He Himself those around us must encounter—He and His own workings.

We are His workmanship—the project most special to His heart, His great handiwork—created in Christ Jesus to walk in works that He has prepared for us to walk in, beautiful works that accomplish far more than we could ever think of accomplishing by our own efforts.

The thing is—and this realization in the Spirit overwhelmed me this morning—oh how deeply I need the Spirit of Christ! Only He can cause me to see the beauty of the Lord, and motivate my heart aright.  My heart is small and cold… and He comes, draws nigh, and suddenly I am feeling afresh the flame of His own desire, and am seeing as He sees.  How I need You, dear Lord Jesus!  How deeply I need Your Spirit afresh!  You kindle renewed desire, and the flame of Your Spirit… oh, how it consumes the bonds of the yoke my heart is bound under.  I am bound by nature to… to myself.  I need so deeply the operation of the Spirit of Christ which alone can set me free.  No work of my own can do it!  I need Your Spirit, Lord, Your Presence, that beautiful Presence that steals upon me, and motivates me out of Your very own heart.

Come, Lord—come and abide! Why do You come…  and then hide Yourself again?  How I need Your beautiful Presence… You Yourself, to come and abide.  I need You to abide, Your beautiful free and freeing Spirit in whom the Law of grace reigns, the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus that sets me free from all toil, and labour, and striving, and spinning, and causes me to rest.  As You have promised:  “I will shepherd My flock, and I will cause them to lie down…”

 But now, O LORD, Thou art our Father; we are the clay, and Thou our potter: and we all are the work of Thy hand.

Yet where is the touch of Your hand, my Potter? Why have You left me like this?  The clay feels forsaken, unfinished.  Has the Potter forsaken the work of His own hands?  Am I still on Your wheel?  Am I still pliable, moldable, shapeable?  I feel hard, brittle.  When will You take me in hand again, and finish the work You started in my life?

And with such thoughts as these… they are not doubts, they are longings… I find myself longing for, aching for, the kind of working and walk that is not my own doing, but the Potter’s own workmanship in the earth in a yielded vessel who is walking in those prepared works of His, the kind of walk that satisfies the inmost longings of the heart—both His heart and mine—and meets every impossible need.

But the Potter has not forsaken the work of His own hands. How can He deny Himself?  The longing I feel… it is His own, and He will not forsake His own longings.  Nor His own work.  In fact, He has already guaranteed this kind of walk for me, cutting a Covenant with His own beloved Son on my behalf.  The Son of God walked this kind of walk on my behalf that He might send forth His Spirit into my heart, the Spirit that alone can break the chain in which I labour, and bring me into the Bond of the Covenant, liberating me into the longed-for total surrender of myself into the hands of the Master Potter, that He might have His Way… and total liberty to do as He wishes in my life, do just as He pleases—and reveal Himself to men as He is.

Is that not just what the hymnist, too, longs for? “Christ only always living in me,”  having His own way in me, manifesting Himself and His love in me, doing through me what He alone can do.  This, I know, will accomplish what nothing else has ever been able to accomplish.

I know also that I will make a discovery then. When He has His own way in me, I will find the desire of my own heart beyond my fondest dreams.  In fact what I had previously conceived in my own mind, and hoped for, and tried to accomplish, will make me blush.  For, when the Potter has His own way in me, I myself will find beyond measure, exceeding abundantly above all I could ever ask, or even think.

And under His absolute sway shall discover a paradox: a liberty I never dreamed of.  In total surrender to the Master Potter I enter a realm of, oh, such liberty—a walk in the Spirit that can only be described as walking “on the wings of the Wind.”

And so, dear Lord, please be merciful to me… and never leave me to myself, never leave me pursuing anything less than this. Save me from living a life in which You Yourself have not had Your way, a life that has sought fulfillment, but in which You Yourself, when all was said and done, felt unfulfilled.  I cannot bear the thought, Lord.  I cannot bear the thought.  Please return me continually to this old refrain in the fresh empowering of Your Spirit:

 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!
Wounded and weary, help me, I pray!
Power, all power, surely is thine!
Touch me and heal me, Saviour divine.

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

Adelaide A. Pollard, 1907

I’m Not Tired Yet

I mentioned a while ago that I hoped to share with my readers some things that were opened to me about the realm of the Spirit during a time of fasting.  It’s still on my heart to do that, but my leading is to first emphasize what the Spirit of the Lord is emphasizing—that at this particular juncture in the purposes of God when many are finding it very hard to go on, and prayer is difficult, and there is so little of His Presence with us, our Lord is saying strongly, “Keep seeking Me earnestly!  Don’t quit!  Don’t give up!”

We’ve had several confirmations the last while that this is what He is urging upon us.  I sensed that again earlier today—that our Lord is bursting with hope for each one of us in the same way we would be cheering and shouting encouragement to our favourite runner in a marathon race.  I don’t know how He manages to make each and every one of us His favourite runner, but He does, and He wants to see us finish and win the prize.

The shape this is taking in my own thinking is along this line:  although we have a measure of this now, God is about to bring His people into a realm of the Spirit and a walk in the Spirit more wondrous than anything we have ever known.  But necessary to this is the time we are now in—a very grievous time of spiritual drought and famine in which many at times can’t find enough of the water of the Spirit so much as to wet their tongue.  So there is a lot of weariness and discouragement.

Part of the reason for this dark and desolate time, I believe, is that it emboldens the evil spirits to come out and make their play, like the psalmist said when the sun goes down and it is night, “wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth” (Ps. 104.20).

There are certainly a lot of beasts creeping around these days seeking their prey.  And not just out there in the “world.”  They are finding their prey even in many churches.  In fact this is the hour when the man of iniquity is being revealed in the temple of God “shewing himself that he is God” (2 Thes. 2.4).  He’s beginning to reveal himself, manifesting signs and lying wonders, and many are being deceived by it all.

And so it’s a very difficult time for the true of heart, and our Lord wants to reassure us.  Don’t give up!  Don’t quit!  Keep seeking me!  I am with you more than you can know, and what I am about to do with your help will deal with all this like a snail in the sun.

It’s a wonderful prospect.  BUT.  We are being very foolish if we think we can just wait for this and meanwhile fill our lives with earthly things.  If there was a time when a Christian could keep his or her walk with the Lord on the back burner and just enjoy the earthly life, that time is gone now.  We have entered a time when, as my friend Terry said recently, “if we are not in the Spirit we are going to be dead meat.”   To trust the arm of the flesh to get you through something is to court total disaster.  We are entering a time—have already entered it—when our own wisdom and earthly zeal will no longer get us through things.  Our own strength will fail us.

And it’s for this very reason, I think, that God has permitted the great spiritual drought we are in.  That’s how I’m beginning to see things.  He has dried us up, has caused our own strength and zeal to shrivel, because He knows it just won’t cut it in the day that’s coming.  So He dries us up to prepare us for what He has in mind to bring us into– a totally spiritual provision, a totally supernatural strength and sustenance, with no admixture of the earthly whatsoever!

Perhaps that’s a fearful thought.  Personally I find it exciting.  And why should it be less than exciting to the new-creation man?

So, with this in mind, the other day I was looking for a song on YouTube.  (I go to YouTube very very cautiously, by the way; there are beasts there ready to eat you if you let your guard down even for a second.)  I was looking for that old song, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.”  That’s what I have been wanting to do more fully—trust Him with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding.  Anyway, somehow I came across a song called, “I’m Not Tired Yet” by the Mississippi Mass Choir.  Please forgive me: I was intrigued by the title, so I listened to it.  🙂  My old ear couldn’t make out the words, but “I’m not tired yet” was the continual refrain.  I thought, they’re singing what God is saying: “I’m not tired yet.”  Amen, I said to myself, God never gets tired.  He’s not discouraged.  He’s going to do what He said He would do.

I wanted to get the words to the song so I searched for the lyrics.  When I found them I was a little disappointed.  They were along the lines of… well, here they are, read them for yourself:

Been working for Jesus a long time.
(I’m not tired yet.)
Been running for Jesus a long time.
(I’m not tired yet.)
Been working for Jesus a long time.
(I’m not tired yet.)
Been singing for Jesus a long time.
(I’m not tired yet.)
Been running by day and praying by night.
(I’m not tired yet.)
I’ve gotta get going it’s a mighty hard fight.
(I’m not tired yet.)
No… I’m not tired yet.
No… I’m not tired yet…

There’s more, but see what I mean?  I wondered if it was just human zeal boasting about a conflict they’ve never engaged.  I know by experience that a painful revelation awaits those who zealously lean on the arm of the flesh in the trials of life.  But then I thought… I’m probably not being very generous here.  These people are no doubt singing because they have been through a lot and actually have discovered the secret of never growing tired.  And that old familiar passage in Isaiah came to me.

Hast thou not known?  Hast thou not heard?  That the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?  There is no searching of His understanding.

So, yes, it’s true—and we need to remember this—God never gets tired.  It’s a very difficult hour and it’s going to get even more difficult.  But God is not tired yet.  God is not tired yet.  He is going to finish what He started.

“Well and good,” you say, “He is God.  What about me?  I’m starting to get so tired.”  Let me say that I too know what it’s like to grow very weary in the trials of life.  At times I have been filled with such inner emotional pain that I have said, “Lord, please just take me home, I can’t do this anymore.”  Even the apostle Paul spoke of being “in weariness, and painfulness.”  Christians are not made of plastic, and the Lord knows it.  He Himself knows our frame.  He remembers that we are dust.  But when Isaiah reminds us that God never grows weary and never faints, he is leading up to something.  This God who never gets tired, what does He do?

He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength.

He gives power to whom?  To the faint.  To them that have no might.  Can you relate?  These are the ones whose strength He increases in a day when the strong and the zealous are falling and fainting on every hand.

Now the verse we all love:

Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength: they shall mount up with wings as eagles: they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.

We love that old song, don’t we.  “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength…”  In other words, no matter what they are going through, those who are waiting upon the LORD will be able to say, “I’m not tired yet.”  Why?  Because they have tapped into a hidden strength, the resources of Almighty God Himself.  Human zeal and strength—the arm of the flesh—will never carry the day.  But those who wait upon the Lord will, because they have exchanged their strength, as the Hebrew word renew means.  They are no longer walking in an earthly realm.  They are walking in a spiritual dimension, and are being sustained with an entirely spiritual strength—God’s own strength.

And as I said, more and more we are entering the day when this is not optional.  We are up against such complex problems, such grievous things, such difficult things, and forces in a heavenly dimension… forces that are far too great for us, far greater than any human resource can deal with.  We must be in the Spirit, meeting all things with spiritual provision. This is what the day at hand is calling for and requires.

But if it is required, this can only mean that God has it for us, beloved!  He has the provision for us to run this race and not get tired, to walk and not faint.  And it begins by waiting upon Him, looking expectantly to Him… and mounting up into the realm where the eagle flies—the realm of the Spirit, the realm where we discover the wind under our wings, and find those thermals in the Spirit that draw us upward, upward, upward… and we have loosed the surly bonds of earth.

Let’s not be afraid of this.  Maybe it’s frightening, the prospect of being so totally in the Spirit that we have none of the familiar earthly moorings to hold on to any more.  But oh… what an adventure is before us!

…As it turns out this blog entry wasn’t a detour after all.  In fact it’s already leading into what I have been wanting to share about the realm of the Spirit.

 

Staying Alive In The Famine Of The Word

I’ve been seeking to pay closer attention to the larger context of Bible passages, and it paid off this morning when in a time of prayer I read Psalm 33.

I noticed that it starts out with a call to rejoice in the LORD, and to praise Him “on an instrument of ten strings.”  The number ten in Scripture usually signifies trouble and testing.  “Ye shall have tribulation ten days…” (Rev. 2.10).  Some people—like this psalmist—love to praise the Lord so much that even their troubles become an instrument on which they praise Him.  They say, “Give me that thing; I can make a tune on that!”

Then in verse four I noticed why the psalmist was rejoicing.

For the word of the LORD is right; and all His works are done in truth (in faithfulness).

The psalmist is rejoicing in the Lord and praising Him because of His Word.  In all His troubles he had something solid to stand on, something reliable, something faithful and sure in a fickle unstable unfriendly world.

Then he says this:

By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.

This is the verse that stood out for me this morning.  “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.”  Notice this—“the word of the LORD… the breath of His mouth.”  Have you ever tried to speak holding your breath?  It can’t be done.  The words you speak are carried by your breath.  The word of God by which He created the Heavens and all the host of them was a word from His mouth, a word borne by His breath—His Spirit.  It was a living creative word.  And so the psalmist continues:

Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
For He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.

This is why the psalmist was rejoicing.  In the creation right before his eyes he had evidence that God’s word—the kind of word that His breath impels—is right.  What God says is done; what God commands stands fast.

Now the reason why I said it paid off to read the verses of this psalm in their larger context.  Toward the end of the psalm are these verses:

Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear Him, upon them that hope in His mercy;
To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.

Considering the context of the psalm, he is not talking about literal famine.  As grievous as that is in our world there is a greater more serious issue—the famine of hearing the words of the Lord.  For, “man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Mt. 4.4).

It’s quite familiar these days, but let’s remind ourselves of that prophecy in Amos once again.

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:
And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it (Amos 8.11,12).

We are in that famine right now, fellow Christian.  These days it’s very difficult to hear the kind of word that is a living word—the kind of word that is borne by the His Breath and proceedeth from His mouth—the kind of indispensible word we need this day for our daily bread.

But the psalmist rejoices.  He has the promise—and God’s word is right.

Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear Him, upon them that hope in His mercy;
To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.

“Behold,” he says.  Do we see this?  What a comfort to see this—His eye is upon them that fear Him, upon them that hope in His mercy.  He will deliver us from the state of death that so many around us live comfortably in—for the moment.  He will keep us alive in famine.

How does He do this?  As long as things are going okay in our lives it doesn’t seem all that important to be hearing a living word from God.    As long as we are prospering in peace we do quite nicely, thank you.  It doesn’t matter to us that we are not hearing from God.

But when things start to unravel–maybe we are not quite there yet, but we are going to be– and when people get desperate… and get thinking… and become aware they are out of touch with God, and run to the church on the corner and go away to look elsewhere (for sadly all too often His living word can’t be found in the church on the corner anymore) they will end up running here and there frantically to find a word from Him.

And will not find it.

Let this perilous neglect not be our testimony.  Let us be numbered among those who fear Him, who recognize continually our need for His lovingkindness and mercy—and seek Him earnestly today for the daily bread that keeps us alive.

We have the promise of the psalmist– who proclaims that the word of the Lord is right– that we shall find it.

Believing That God Is

The writer of Hebrews commends to us Enoch, who “by faith was translated (transferred) that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him.  For, before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God” (Heb. 11.5).

I wonder why the word for is there.  “For, before his translation…”  That seems to be the emphasis of the Spirit-inspired writer.  Enoch was translated because before he was translated he pleased God.  But then the writer goes on to say:

But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Heb. 11.6).

Meaning, if Enoch had the testimony that He pleased God, it could only be because he was walking by faith.  For without faith it is impossible to please Him.  Enoch was translated because in his day-by-day walk with God, he entered into a faith that enabled God to do something very powerful, transcendent, prophetic.

The other day I was dwelling on this passage and wondering if there wasn’t more to believing that God is than merely believing He exists.  It seems so obvious we must believe He exists that it hardly needs stating.  Suddenly the “light bulb” came on.  It’s easy enough to believe that God was.  What about believing God is?  We have countless testimonies from the past of the wonderful and mighty things God did in a previous day.  Our present-day denominations are proof that God was.  He was the God who restored justification by faith to His church; He was the God who restored baptism by immersion. He was the God who moved mightily in the days of the Wesleys; He was the God who returned Pentecost to His people—the baptism of the Holy Spirit; He was the God who opened His heavenly storehouse and lavished the gifts of the Spirit on His people—the charismata.  We love to read the stories of the mighty healing evangelists of yesteryear.  In more recent decades He raised up powerful ministries of teaching.  All this and more was opened up for our enrichment by people who in their day believed that God is.  They believed.  They sought Him diligently.  They were rewarded for their faith and seeking.

But the same God who to Christians of a previous day was the God who is… do we have the same expectation of faith in our own day?  Or has God become for most of us the God who was.  All around us we see churches that owe their existence to the God who was.  And we are thankful for what God has done in the past, and rejoice in it.  But it was with a plaintive note that the psalmist came to God reminding Him of what He had done in the days of his fathers:

We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work Thou didst in their days, in the times of old (Ps. 44.1).

In other words, what about my day, Lord?  What about  today?

It’s interesting how the Genesis account about Enoch reads.  It says, “Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah” (Gen. 5.21).  Then it goes on, “And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years…”  This is a dramatic change from what is recorded of the other patriarchs.  Of them it reads only that they lived after they begat an heir… not that they walked with God.  The record of Enoch stands out in blinking lights.  Enoch, we read, “walked with God after he begat…” (Gen. 5.24).

This has to imply that Enoch was not just living life as it came along like the others were.  When he woke up in the morning he expected to walk with the living God—and who knows the potential involved in this.  He believed in a God who is… day after day after day.  Enoch’s God was not confined to yesterday’s revelation, nor to yesterday’s experience.  The God with whom Enoch walked yesterday… he continued to walk with Him each new and unfolding day.

God was pleased with him because of it.

Let this same desire to please the living God be our own pursuit.  Let us believe that He is.  Let us seek Him.  He will reward us.  We’ll still rejoice for what He did yesterday.  But we’ll be rewarded with what He greatly longs to do today.

And what does He long to do today?  The answer to this question will be discovered only by those who come to Him, believing that He is, and therefore diligently seeking Him.