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Posts Tagged ‘Direction’

Alright I admit it. I just love 1980’s Christian Hard Rock music.  There I said it. I love everything by Petra.  I saw their On Fire tour a long long time ago (1991 I think) in Auckland with my mate Rob.  It was an awesome experience!

Part of one of their songs ‘Stand in The Gap’ has always stuck with me:

Stand in the gap
Coming boldly to His throne of grace
Stand in the gap
He will hear you when you seek His face
Put your weapon to its use
And believe it will produce
Stand in the gap

I haven’t spent much time in the gap. I’m the first to admit that I’m not really that good at being present.  I find it hard to stop and be fully present. I’m not sure why.  Perhaps it’s easier to live in the past or dream about the future. Sometimes being present, really present, is something that is necessary.  Even when I write this I’m thinking about what I will do tomorrow, and replaying what I did today. It probably shows in my rambling.

Over the last few months I keep running into this verse in the bible. It just keeps appearing everywhere, like when you buy a new car (OK a used car)  and keep seeing the same car everywhere. 

In their hearts humans plan their course,  but the Lord establishes their steps.  ~ Proverbs 16:9

So I’m trying to be present in what this verse means to me.  I’ve been standing in the gap between planning what I’m doing (particularly with my writing and poetry) and waiting for God to direct my steps. It’s a curious place to be and a new experience for me. By being there and being present I’ve discovered God there too and found some opportunities for my hopes and dreams for the future, shaped by my past experiences, and honed by my present presence – in the gap.

Do you have a gap you need to explore between the now and the not yet? 

Here’s my reflection on minding the gap.

Stand in the Gap

In the gap
Between the bound and the free,
Help me see more of you
And much less of me.

In the gap
Between the now and not yet,
Let me plan my course
But Lord direct my steps.

In the gap
Between heaven and hell,
Draw near to me
As I draw from your well.

In the gap
Between souls lost and saved,
Stand with me Lord
As I live through your days.

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Yesterday, I caught myself running up the stairs in our house.  Why was I running and what for?  I really can’t remember.  It was nothing urgent, so why the rush?

Sometimes I rush through the day and at the end compliment myself on all the busyness I rushed through.  It must have been important because I was so very busy.  Did I miss something?  Yes. I missed the sunrise and the sunset, I missed the wind and sun on my face, I missed so much by rushing into my busyness.

A good friend of mine who had just had a baby asked me my advice on parenting once.  He asked me, “If you had one piece of advice to give me what would it be”.  I remember my reply, “Walk and don’t run”.  I heard my own advice ringing in my ears yesterday as I rushed up the stairs to do something I can’t remember.  I have made a mental note to slow down. It’s easy to rush into the day and not stop, be still, be present, and appreciate life for what it is.  Do I need to take my own advice, you bet!

Simon and Garfunkel put it well in their song “Feeling Groovy”

“Slow down, you move too fast.  You’ve got to make the moment last”

So what are you rushing into?  What are you busy with?  Do you have to run when you could walk?  I’m spending the next few days  slowing down, listening more to God, and feeling groovy.   Here’s my reflection on what God might want me to see:

Slow Down, You Move Too Fast

The faster you go
The bigger the mess.
Ain’t that so true,
I was quick to confess.

So why do you rush
Right into your day?
There is so much to see
Just stop, sit and stay.

Stay in my presence
I’ll show you such sights.
My bright and bold sunrise
My clear and crisp nights.

Smell the rain on the grass
Feel the wind in your hair.
See my crimson red sunset,
Just stop, look and stare.

So as you rush through your day
Stop, and give me a nod
Take time to be still,
And know that I am your God.

Be still, and know that I am God
~ Psalm 46:10

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A quick google will tell you that the average human being has around 60,000 thoughts per day?  That’s about one thought per second, assuming you think while you’re asleep? You do think when you sleep right?  Either way it’s still a lot of thoughts to think about.

I find this factoid really interesting.  First of all, I’d really like to meet this ‘average human being’ (aka John Doe in the US, The Man on the Clappham Omnibus in the UK, or the typical Kiwi in NZ). Secondly, I’d also like to know where the number 60,000 comes from?  Is this an average?  Maybe it’s really just one thought that grows arms and legs and takes a drive down through the Avenue of the Mind (one of my earlier poems). Anyway, I’ll take it for granted that someone has spent some time to work this out so let’s just say this is true.

How many of our thoughts are positive or negative? What’s the split?  I know that what I fill my mind with usually starts coming out my mouth pretty quickly.  I try really hard to surround myself with positive people and think positive thoughts, because I really believe you become what you think.  As Henry Ford once said, “If you think you can or you think you can’t – you’re right!”  It’s about that simple really.

What are you thinking about right now?  How many of your 60,000ish thoughts today were good, noble, and pure?  How many were just neutral (most of mine fall into this category), and how many had you travelling in reverse? 

Here’s some of my thoughts on this:

What Was I Thinking?

Unchecked thoughts
Flow through my mind.
Filling it fast
In a split second of time.

True thoughts?
Some do appear,
Of a moral compass
For my ship to steer.

Noble thoughts?
There are a few,
Of a royal kingdom
With mansions new.

Right thoughts?
There are some left,
They lead me straight
Through life’s hard test.

Pure and lovely thoughts
Are clearly there,
I cling to those
As the day draws near.

Admirable, excellent and
Full of praise?
These thoughts are first
And fill my days.

Of the thoughts I think
They change my view.
Perhaps one day
They’ll change me too.

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.
~ Philippians 4:8

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I’ve decided that it’s time to admit to myself that I am now a writer.  I write poetry.  I have had my poetry published, and now I’m half way through putting a book together, all in the space of about eight months. My writing defines part of who I am, it defines my approach to my life and my faith. I have discovered many other writers that are travelling down this same road.  It’s easy to think we are all alone, but there is great support if you know where to look.

Like most writers I sometimes get writers block.  I get stuck and sometimes I’m not sure if something I’m working on is barely started or  half-finished.  I guess that would depend I whether I see my glass half full or half empty.

Generally I don’t like to do things by half and I get great satisfaction when something is complete.  I’m discovering with writing that a half finished poem is something great to come back to later and rework and look at again through a different lens, change and adapt.
I have a lot of poetry and writing that is finished and I have a lot that’s half done, I have even more that are just at the idea stage and haven’t really progressed much further.  No doubt there is more that I haven’t even thought about yet. I hope so.

I wrote a poem about my half-finished book, the lonely existence of a writer and how sometimes it plays on my mind.  If you’re a writer or someone who just wants to finish something, then some of these words may just resonate with you.  I’d be interested in your thoughts, fully cooked or half-baked. It may just be time to start work on the other half.

Unfinished Business

On my bookshelf
Of half-finished dreams
Lies my hopes and my fears
At least that what it seems

I’ve journaled my faith
Many words I have rhymed
But now I’m stuck fast
In the malaise of time

I’ve toiled with my time
Sweated blood, hopes and fears
My dream remains only half-baked
It brings me to tears

I feel half awake
In my struggle for self
As cobwebs and doubts
Bury my dreams on the shelf

I feel so alone
Isolated and cold
Wondering if anyone cares
As I write and grow old

I have journeyed alone
Taking long leaps of faith
I now need your prayers
As I stray life a waif

You can help me my friend
Pray I wake from my dream
Pray my words see the light
And the lights go all green

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It’s no secret, I am and have been for some time a big fan of Amy Grant.  She seems to be one of those artists that has a song for every occasion, every struggle in life and every celebration. 
 
In a classic song by Amy Grant called ‘All I Ever Have to Be’  there is one verse that does it for me: 
And all I ever have to be
Is what you’ve made me.
Any more or less would be a step
Out of your plan.
I’ve been thinking about God’s plan for my life lately, specifically: (a) if he has one, (b) what is it, (c) am I in step with it, and (d) all of the above.  The answer though may not be multi-choice.   It’s always been comforting for me to know that God is in control and that all I ever have to be is what he made me.  Still, I do keep wondering about the big questions though:
 
  • What am I here to do?
  • What is my ministry?
  • What is my calling?
  • Am I in or out of God’s will?
  • What is the desire that God has placed within my heart?
No doubt some, if not all, of these questions I’ll be working on for most of my life.  I do think I’m starting to get some answers too. I’m starting to realise that dealing with big questions is just a part of life and this is OK and is a helpful thing to do. 
 
This week I read the Old Testament book of Micah.  It just so happened to have a list of three things that God requires of us.  They are reasonably large things, but there are only three.  What are they?  Skip to the end of this post and have a look.  
 
So, I might just have a crack at this over the next few weeks and months and see how I get on.  So what about you?  Have you found what you’re looking for?  What questions and answers are you working on? 
 
Help Required ,  Apply Within.
 
Show me what you require
In my walk with you.
Down the road, the narrow way
Where the travellers are few.
 
Help me to love mercy
As I go about my days.
Let me take the opportunity
To help others on their way.
 
Help me to act justly
In all that say and do.
Broaden my horizons
Lord help me change my view.
 
Help me to be humble
As I walk with you.
Down the road, the narrow way
Where the travellers are few.
 

He has shown all you people what is good.   And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. ~ Micah 6:8.

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In his last devotion before David Wilkerson passed away last week he focused on belief and faith without sight (James 20:29).   You can read it here.  David summed it up this way

God has never failed to act, but in goodness and love. When all means fail – his love prevails. Hold fast to your faith. Stand fast in his Word. There is no other hope in this world

I often get discouraged when God doesn’t seem to answer my prayers.  I think I’m pretty good at believing but I get discouraged when I don’t see the results.  What I do know though is there are lots of things I pray for that are answered that I don’t see or even know about.  Why do I know this?   Simple, I have faith, and it seems like something God would do because it is all really about him extending his kingdom and not really at all about me.

After all, my faith is about being sure of what I hope for and certain of what I do not see (Hebrews 11:1).  

So what are you certain about – what you see or what is unseen?

Beyond Belief

Do you see today
The answers to your long prayers
Do you hope to see

When all hope seems lost
It’s not because you are blind
You trust beyond hope

The enemy will
Make you believe that your God
Has not answered you

Blessed are your prayers
Know that your prayers never fail
When all hope seems lost

For if you don’t hear
The answer to your long prayers
Know this, you are heard

You have believed because you have seen, but blessed are those that do believe and have not seen ~ John 20:29.

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The Narrow Way

You have hidden deep in my heart
A mystery that I’m yet to find,
Dreams that slumber in my soul
Sleepy visions in my mind.

I see the signposts on the road
They whisper in my heart today,
My soul stirs when I hear your voice
As we walk the narrow way.

I know if I saw your final plan
I’d be blinded by your light,
But how it would illuminate my day
By chasing away the night.

Help me to trust in you my Lord
As I step out in faith with you,
You hold my hand, you lead me still
Along the narrow way.

 
 For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
~ Matthew 7:14

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