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Archive for the ‘between the porch and the altar’ Category

Knowing what to share here on the blog is tricky. (I just took down a rather personal post.)  Some times I feel like it would be a really great place to pour my heart out; to see if anyone else feels the same way about things.  Being in ministry with a rather high-profile church makes that tricky.  I don’t want to put anyone’s reputation in jeopardy, and I certainly don’t want people to have any more fuel to add to the fire of the current climate if they take something that I say out of context.

Sometimes though, the burden that comes from being a pastor’s wife and worship leader (less of a worship leader these days) is heavy.  Recently I heard someone say, “Leadership is lonely.”  That is so true.  At times it’s difficult to not be offended by things people say about your husband or your ministry.  I hold on to offenses way longer than my husband.  That leads to isolation and discouragement.  It’s in those times that I know that I must spend time a deeper time with God.  For me that means extra time reading the bible, more time on my knees, and taking every thought captive.  I can easily follow a dark road if I don’t stay keep my thoughts account current.  It’s the only way to allow my Savior to carry the burden of ministry.

Today I grab a go-to verse to carry with me.  I know you’ve read it on my blog before.  It’s Philippians 4:4-9.  It’s in the NIV.  I appreciate how in verse 8 it addresses “brothers AND sisters.”

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

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Today our pastor asked for our church to commit to 40 days of prayer. We are seeking wisdom about whether or not we should pursue “Plan A”, a permanent location with ample parking for our church.  We signed a commitment card agreeing to pray for this at least 5 minutes each day.  We are hanging the commitment cards up around the ministry center.  I’ve adapted my prayer this way, “Dear Lord, I pray for YOUR will to seen clearly by our leadership.  I pray for our hearts to lay humble before YOU, for revival, for YOUR people to genuinely seek YOUR face.”  These next 40 days are vital.  LORD, may YOUR Spirit move in ways that we never imagined.

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Today’s reading in Joel really has me thinking, especially with his use of the word REND.

Rend

Rend Your Heart

12 “Even now,” declares the Lord,
    “return to me with all your heart,
    with fasting and weeping and mourning.”

13 Rend your heart
    and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God,
    for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
    and he relents from sending calamity.
14 Who knows? He may turn and relent
    and leave behind a blessing—
grain offerings and drink offerings
    for the Lord your God.

Further down in the passage there is a call to the priests “who minister before the LORD” to gather EVERYONE, and it didn’t matter what the age or status, for a solemn assembly and to fast.   These leaders were to “weep between the temple porch and the altar.”  Through the mouth of Joel God is calling His people out; first and foremost His leaders.  What does this mean for me?

Rending my heart is not a passive act.  It is purposeful.  When I agree to rend myself before God I have to sacrifice.  I have to die to my own will and submit to change.  I am allowing my heart to be torn to shreds and be built back up again by God.

I will have to love  people who I don’t want to love.  I will have to forgive people who I see impossible to forgive.  I will have to say “no” to things that I want to engage in.  I must draw nearer to God’s word and His voice.

How does this rendering affect my relationships?  Will I seem different to people?  Will my family and friends respond differently to me?  What about those who don’t understand my faith?  Will my decision to go deeper with God alienate even more those whom I love?  What about those relationships that have fallen by the wayside due to life’s circumstances?

As I think on this, for me it comes down to two things: I am called to love people, (1 John 3:10) and to pray (1 Thessalonians 5:17).  If these things are not woven into the fabric of me then I need to render my heart.  By rending my heart I will grow to care deeply for those people I am called to love, and I will see prayer as I do breathing.  I cannot live without it.

Looks like I need to spend some serious time between the porch and the altar.

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In reading various commentaries on Joel 2, I came across a really good writing about prayer by evangelist Leonard Ravenhill.  He heart was all about prayer, especially in calling God’s people to pray.  He said,”…when the church of Jesus Christ is prosperous, she never has revival. It’s when she’s poor. Prayer is the language of the poor. “Bow down Thine ear and hear me, for I am poor and needy.”
The self-satisfied don’t need to pray.
The self-sufficient don’t want to pray.
The self-righteous cannot pray.

But the man who realizes,
“I need something outside of anything that’s human at all,”
he wants to bathe his soul in prayer.”He goes on to say, “Read the Acts of the Apostles and all you read about is prayer, prayer, prayer, prayer, prayer. When they had prayed the place was shaken.”  What does this mean for our current circumstances?  As a church we must be all about prayer.

To read the entire writing by Leonard Ravenhill check out this link.  I found it quite challenging.  http://www.ravenhill.org/weeping2.htm

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