INTIMACY WITH GOD JOURNAL
Opening - Family Fun
Degrees of Loneliness - How can it be?
Growth Bigger Than Obstacles - By Guest Columnist Randy Bixby, KHOP, Des Moines, Ia.
Quad Tour of Iowa - Watch for developing news regarding our spiritual CPR Meetings! (See Annc.)
Women’s Hermitage: Oct 14-17th (See Annc.)
Mike & Linda Schreurs
In the above photo, Mike and I are on a pontoon boat ride with all three of our adult children along with their families, in addition to two friends who were traveling through Iowa, fourteen in all.
A few years ago we began a new family tradition of renting a pontoon boat for half a day, packing a picnic lunch along with bathing suits, and cruising Big Creek Lake. One thing for sure, you can’t get too far from each other on a watercraft like that! Each year we have a blast and this year was no exception. We have good quality time together and lots of laughs. These are family memories that will last a lifetime!
It all makes me wonder how many family reunions may be taking place during these summer months. Some really enjoy them. Others may feel dread because of certain family issues. Whatever your feelings, they certainly do make memories.
God’s Word always has such profound statements in it! Consider Isaiah 43:18-19, “Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold I will do something new, now it will spring forth, will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.” In order to forget former things or issues that have clouded family relationships, let us be on high alert for new things the Lord is doing. If we dread seeing certain family members that may stir negative emotions, why not instead exhibit forgiveness, mercy, love and kindness that was given to us by our King of glory?
Keep God’s Word near and dear to your heart and you will find victories in relationships you didn’t think were possible. If you are truly walking the life of a follower of Jesus, then you are a new creation! 2 Corinthians 5:17 aptly states, “Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” Wow!
You may not be able to change any family member at your gatherings, but certainly you can show a change in your own attitude, disposition, actions and reactions according to the love of Christ within you. It will make all the difference in the world to those around you. So have fun and enjoy your reunions! It is the Lord’s will.
LONELINESS IN THE HOUSE
“And He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest awhile.’ (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.) And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves.” Mark 6:31-32. In the opening story of this month’s IWG Journal, I describe our family’s outing on a pontoon boat. We were definitely by ourselves away from crowds and our daily schedules to ‘rest for awhile.’ This is also one of the reasons I lead people into the hermitage experience. (See Announcements)
Dear friends in Christ, I’m sure many of you can relate when I say that even in the House of God, there can be loneliness in one’s soul. Surrounded by many people in church or at the work place, or even in our own homes, there can be a sense of loneliness and abandonment. But we must come to realize the different kinds and depths of this emotion that can grip one’s heart and mind.
For me personally, most times it’s simply the insatiable longing for more of the Lord in my life, and I grapple with how to achieve that. Scripture testifies how our Beautiful Savior would often go to a lonely place to be with His Father. One of my favorite passages is Mark 1:35, “And in the early morning, while it was still dark, He arose and went out and departed to a lonely place, and was praying there.” Did you know that this kind of loneliness can cause one to do things you wouldn’t normally do? But this, my friend, is a good thing! It will cause you to fast, pray more fervently, worship more radically as desperation overtakes your soul for an even greater depth in your relationship with the lover of your soul!
King David’s loneliness
I’d liken this to King David’s over the top dancing wildly before the Lord in 2 Samuel 6. When his wife sees this, she is highly offended. But he tells her that this is nothing compared to other ways he will celebrate his life in God! What a guy!
He was not afraid to stick out in a crowd being ferociously in love with the Redeemer of his soul. How many lonely hours, days or months did David spend tending sheep on dry, dusty hills? Surely these were the moments when his soul knew its greatest intimacy with God. He could never forget those times and always sought to go higher, deeper and wider in his relationship with the Lord. It didn’t matter to him if he had to walk that path alone.
The climb up the mountain of God can be a very lonely one. Moses felt that as many wanted to look, but were unwilling to go over rocky obstacles to climb further. (Ex. 24) Similarly with David, it was his pure joy to seek after the King of kings in any given manner that brought him closer to His divine heart saying in Psalm 63:1, “O God, Thou art my God; I shall seek Thee earnestly; my soul thirsts for Thee, my flesh yearns for Thee, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”
Just how thirsty are we for more of the Lord? Are you and I willing to climb over any obstacle? Are we willing to look ridiculous to others in our hot pursuit of God? Or, do we hold back because of what they may think? We really ought not to count the cost. It’s all or nothing. It’s hot or not! (See Rev. 3:16)
Channeled through God
Before I delve any further into the holy aspect of loneliness, let me just say that when it’s not channeled through our Lord, it can become an emotional devastation. I’ve seen far too many single people, widows, or those in difficult marriages with an overwhelming sense of feeling so forsaken that they struggle greatly in their walk with Jesus.
Most certainly there can be very difficult circumstances in those dry places. But the Lord Jesus used even this kind of loneliness. When He learned of the savage murder of his cousin, John the Baptist, Matthew 14:13 tells us: “Now when Jesus heard it, He withdrew from there in a boat, to a lonely place by Himself.” He wanted time alone to process His grief at man’s inhumanity to man, and to ponder more intimately with the Father His mission to save depraved souls! No wonder in the very end, He withdrew alone a stone’s throw away from the disciples to pray in Garden of Gethsemane. He certainly sought solace in God the Father at such an excruciating time. We must do the same.
It’s important for us to remember that Jesus did not stay in those desert places! He looked upward and onward to God the Father who strengthened Him for every mile of life’s journey. He’ll do that for us too!
There’s an old song written in 1868 that’s still profound today that speaks to this issue of aloneness. Some of you may not be aware of it, but many are. It’s called, In The Garden, by C. Austin Miles:
I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses,
And the Voice I hear falling on my ear,
The Son of God discloses,
(Chorus) And He walks with me
And He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known. (My emphasis)
Our Lord knows that kind of devastating emotional abandonment having been taken into the wilderness to be tempted and tried by Satan himself! He was hungry, lonely, and assailed by wild beasts, but came out of the experience with authority and power being anointed with glory! (See Matt. 4; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4) Do you desire this for yourself? We can have this kind of anointing! Trust Him. Believe Him. Love Him. Worship and adore Him. Your best days are ahead of you!
Isn’t it time to USE your dry, lonely times to grow deeper in your relationship with Jesus? Let’s use pain for gain, not allowing the enemy of our souls any satisfaction whatsoever. Don’t waste your trials. Turn every tear into a rainbow of promise for potential greater depths of knowing the Lord intimately.
I’ve seen many dear saints use their aloneness to great advantage. One of my favorite examples is our dear friend Jill Austin of Master Potter Ministries who passed away in 2008. Here was a never married single woman who became a living firebrand for God! She did not whine or complain that she was alone (as so many seem to do!). On the contrary, she used everything the Lord kept depositing in her and brought many souls into a vibrant relationship with Him. Great is her reward!
It’s a desperate and hungry soul that reaches out for more of the Lord’s Presence and power in their lives at any and all costs. Some of my own journal entries are as follows:
I feel an agony in my soul, a struggle…for what’s next - I simply do not know.
I’m feeling lost and my heart hurts. I feel alone. I’m feeling transition but don’t know what it is. I’m realizing how far I’ve missed the mark when it comes to the ‘fields are white unto harvest.’
Holy Spirit, do not leave me here in this place. I hurt. My soul is in agony…feeling stuck, immoveable. Why does my soul pine away? This struggle is between me and Thee, O Lovely Lord of all! Massage my heart back to life, abundant life, full and productive life! I feel I want to hide. My inadequacies are stark reality. Why does my heart ache so much? What is this condition of my soul? Where did it come from? How did it get here? How do I get out of it? Come Holy Spirit!
Again another time:
Lord, my heart is broken for You! It’s shattered for You, every bit, every piece – given for LOVE – given to You, broken for LOVE…broken to be small, to be humbled, to be completely dependent on You. The alabaster box of fragrant perfume was broken for love. (John 12) Your life was shattered for LOVE - for me. I can do no less.
What is the deeper, O Lord? What is deep and deeper still in the depths of Your sacred heart? How can I find that place? What is it? How is it in that place? Can I go there? O God, my desperate plea is for You to take me there!
I can’t stop being excruciatingly hungry for more of You! Wash my face anew. I need Your glow and Your go! Throw Living Water on my face, awaken me to LOVE, refresh me, wash me again in Your deepest Living Waters.
Plagued with holy desire
Friends of God, if your heart is trembling within for the depths of the Lord’s holy heart, continue to pray with me from my personal journal:
O Lord, set my heart to LOVE, to love deeply, much more deeply. I am plagued with holy desire for more of You! Give me a divine heart attack! Arrest me for Your glory!
Bring forth the holy heat from heaven. (Acts 2) Bring forth heaven’s holy heat wave warming hearts everywhere to love with godly love. Turn up the heat of passionate desire for the holy things of God. (Rev. 3:16) Capture and catapult our hearts to desire godly purity and holiness that sets us on fire! Give us the fire of desire for the pleasure of Your divine company and the holy, reverential fear of the Lord. Come Holy Spirit FIRE and fall on us!
The summer lightening bugs are out and what a delight they are! O Lord, light up my soul! Bring revelation, insight, understanding and anointing. Light up my eyes to SEE what You see, HEAR what You hear, and SAY what You say. You are the Divine Light of the world. (John 8:12) You light up my life with songs of love and deliverance. What sheer delight You are, O magnificent King of glory!
Thunder through my soul and shake me to the core of my being.
…Broken, shattered, and lonely, I sit before You, O king of majesty, power and utter splendor. Whatever or whoever I am in You, show me! For I desire nothing else but You and You alone. Your face is my total exquisite joy beyond all comprehension. My heart is fulfilled only in You!
A prophetic word:
Phenomenal, divine portions are being given out to those who humble themselves before You, O Master Designer of our lives! Holy! Holy! Holy! (Gen. 42:54 & 45:22; 2 Kgs. 2:9; Ps. 119:57; Lam. 3:24) “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (My emphasis; Ps. 73:26)
Again, continuing from my personal journal:
Thy power has not changed. It’s still here to deliver, heal and save the sickest body and vilest sinner. (Ps. 103) Repent and LIVE! Repent oh people, and know Your God to save your soul!
Thy divine song has entered my heart and I am overjoyed at the sound of Thy holy footsteps! You are near. You are here! Glory Hallelujah!
Let the sneezes come! (2 Kgs. 4:32-37) Let the mouth to mouth resuscitations of God come as it did with Elisha and the little boy raised to life. Let the CPR MEETINGS begin! Revive the people in the land! Thy Word is nigh unto our mouths. (Deut. 31:14) The glory of God abides and abounds in His people, His own, in His children who are called by His Name. Legitimacy and honor are ours who belong to God the Father who loves us forever and ever! (Rom. 5 & 6)
Penetrate my soul with the holy, divine Sword of the Lord. Cut away every blockage of fiery love for You, O Lover of my soul, for I desire nothing else but You. Prune my heart to LOVE as you love, withholding nothing, not even life itself.
I am broken and destitute for divine love that surpasses anything of this world. O Holy Spirit come and caress my soul, massage it back life and love for Thee to a new degree!
Float downward, then upward
One final portion from my personal journal:
In the dissertation in John 7 and 8, I would have listened to You, Jesus! I would not have argued with You as did they. But even today people still argue with You! Lord, help us!
O people, stop in your tracks! Praise Jesus. Love Him, praise Him, adore Him! He is our all in all. (Col. 3:11)
(As I slowly and deliberately began to kneel, I wrote…) Lord, float me downward as I kneel before You. Then float me upward, gently, softly, leading me low and lower still in humility that I may gently rise upward into heavenly things. Let me float like a gentle breeze on the wings of the Holy Dove so I may ascend to new heights in Your divine heart. I love you so! Like bubbles with prisms, let me see Your Covenant glories manifest in my life – all Your precious and true promises. O hallelujah to our Most High God! He reigns forever and ever!
Use your loneliness
In conclusion, let us use our loneliness to envelope an insatiable hunger for God because He responds powerfully to that kind of heart. Our cry should be that of Psalm 25:16, “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.” God knows. He sees. He rewards just as Psalm, 67:5 states: “God makes a home for the lonely; He leads out the prisoners into prosperity.” (My emphasis) What can be better than that?! Let us stop our whining and pining and seek after God as the First Commandment says with all our heart, all our strength, all our mind. Life is absolutely wonderful and fulfilling in Christ Jesus!
GROWTH BIGGER THAN OBSTACLES
By Guest Columnist, Randy Bixby of the Des Moines House of Prayer.
Early this year I heard the Lord say to me, “Randy, I’m going to grow you bigger than your obstacles.” That was a welcome word as I found myself five years into establishing the Kingdom House of Prayer and feeling stuck, like a failure, unable to consistently move the mission forward. Perhaps you can relate. Have you ever found yourself feeling powerless, tired and inadequate in the pursuit of your dreams? Maybe even depressed or despairing over what seems to be unreachable in spite of your very best efforts… stalled in the face of giant obstacles. You may be in a similar place like many in the body of Christ. I hope my journey can encourage you.
While I had trained my brain and confession to be, “God is good, He will come through, everything happens for a reason, things are about to change, God’s working on me, I will persevere and this house will be established…” I was unaware that my heart believed something else and that belief was sabotaging my success.
Then Brian Klemmer brought me the word of the Lord. Proverbs 23:7, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…” The inverse of this scripture is perhaps more revealing. ‘So is he, as he thinketh in his heart.’ In other words, I am today what I truly think, believe, and agree with in my heart. My mind and my words may say different, but I am today what I truly believe, think and agree with in my heart. I may want a very different reality than the one I have now. However, I have today what I truly believe, think and agree with in my heart. Sobering!
This is the James 1:23-24 power of the Word of God being like a mirror. What you see in the mirror of your life today is truly what you think in your heart. The condition of your life in God, your marriage, relationships, financial situation, stress level, physical health, joy, passion, depression, struggle, fear and love are all at the place they are in you today because of what you think in your heart.
When I understood that I was experiencing what I really thought in my heart, I knew I had to encounter God in Romans 12:2, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” I needed to recognize what thinking was wrong (lie) and replace it with right (truth) thinking and I needed God’s help in doing so.
Here’s what I found. Drill down far enough and you will find that people think what they think and do what they do out of love or out of fear. Every person’s greatest fears are the same… the fear of not being loved, accepted, protected or significant. Answer the question, “What do you think makes a person loveable, accepted, worthy of protection and significant and you will know why you think what you think and do what you do.
For me, I learned that I believed in my heart I had to be right to be loved. Being “right” to me meant winning, being smartest, best, most successful, perfect, patient and disciplined. The wiring in my heart told me that if I was right I was worthy of love. (lie)
Problem is, I am not all of these things all of the time. No one is. Life comes at you hard and it is here where we choose what to believe in our hearts. We can agree with the enemy and blame God, resulting in distrust and fear. We can agree with the enemy or ourselves and blame us, resulting in self hate. We can agree with the enemy or ourselves and blame others, resulting in a self righteous defensive attitude. In every case, if we agree with a lie we make ourselves a victim and enter a powerless mindset that leads to fear, depression and deception.
Ok, deep breath… here is the good news. 1 John 4:18 says ‘there is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear’, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. When our greatest fears are quenched in receiving the love of the Father we can live from love instead of living for love. Living from love instead of fear changes everything. When our thinking and living is rooted in love we are unshakeable. When our thinking and living is rooted in fear we are unstable and blown in every direction away from love and truth.
Living from fear makes us victims and steals our power to partner with God to do the impossible. Fear makes us friends with excuses, mediocrity, doubt, self hatred and accusation. Love conquers fear! Love trusts, hopes, does not seek revenge, doesn't blame others but is able to take personal responsibility in every situation no matter how "fair" and empowers us to live above the battle. Love makes us friends with peace, power, hope, joy, forgiveness, blessing and abundance as we live in the "everything is possible with God" realm. 1 Cor. 13.
I pray that you live from love instead of for love today. May you be empowered to fulfill your destiny in Christ Jesus as you overcome every obstacle.