Canaans Rest

Canaan’s Rest represents a quiet place “set apart” for the purpose of hearing God's voice, growing in intimacy with the Lord, and being renewed in soul and spirit.

Month: November 2010 (page 1 of 3)

Dec. 1st

Devotions from Michael Molinos in The Spiritual Guide

Do we often feel scattered and that our internal parts are moving from one thing to another?   How do we collect our internal being?  How do we keep our thoughts from wandering in all directions?  It helps to sit in His presence in quietness and with the purpose of loving Him…..like coming to Him without asking for anything but just to rest in His love. As we unbusy our thoughts we can move away from our rational logic and just seek Him. We need to give up to God all our troubles and wandering thoughts and return to Him. Even when we don’t think anything is happening to us, He is in control. Sometimes much later we will find He has indeed touched us. But our part is only to still ourselves inwardly and wait on Him, turning to Him with our hearts. The final fruit is up to Him!

November 30th

Devotions from Michael Molinos book, The Spiritual Guide

When the Lord wants to purify our souls He can use a rough file but it is always for our spiritual profit.  At such times we need to be quiet before Him and see these times as great gain in our lives. That is not always easy. Often we are injured by another person who may be a believer. The sin of the other person may be against the Lord but He can work it for good in our lives and bring purification. We can think of Jesus and how the wickedness of Pilate caused His death but yet it was for our salvation  So even though we are hurt by others we can still have peace from Him, knowing He is doing deep things within us. Perhaps our soul never really loves and believes more than at those times when it is afflicted. Every one of God’s children must pass through such times. It can keep us firm in our relationship to Him and give us greater confidence in Him.

November 29th

Devotions based on Michael Molinos’ book, The Spiritual Guide

Sometimes God allows periods of darkness ( not due to sin) to illuminate our inward spirit. It is not a time to get upset or to feel God has left us and doesn’t love us. These times of darkness are a sign that God is seeking to bring us closer to Him and we should embrace them since they are for our spiritual good. Often in these times of dryness, we receive wisdom and stronger love. It is also a time when our self nature is dealt with and our senses are purified.

We need to continue to come to Him with quiet attention and not to look for some emotion or a way out of the darkness. We need only to express out desire to do his will and to love Him. Otherwise we simply go around in circles and do not grow in our inner life with Him. An emotional experience with him must not be our goal, for it is not His goal. Let us go on to become more like Him!

Disappointment in God

Pat Morley who founded “Man in the Mirror” has written many books to help men find meaning and purpose in life.  In his book “Pastoring Men” he makes this intriguing statement concerning men.  “Most men only know enough about God to be disappointed with Him.”  What do you think of such a statement?  Is this true for you?  Do you know other men in church or on the margins of the church who would express these same sentiments?  My sense is that a lot of men would say they are disappointed in God, but are not willing to share this secret, that has been held for years in their hearts. My question is – why would this be true?  I have a three observations regarding his statement.  

These two observations are my own.  So they can certainly be challenged.  First, I wonder if a lot of church men have merely a “head knowledge” of God.  A man can know through reasoning that God loves him.  But that will not convince him that he is OK in God’s sight.  Men are filled with shame-based guilt that comes from not being able to measure up to a preconceived standard.  This standard  drives men to prove they are worthy of God’s love.  It simply cannot be done.  After a time men will begin to see God as demanding to much of them.  Again, I say to men, we have to learn to “receive” God’s love for us.  It is the Good News – something that is too good to be true.  We don’t  have to prove anything to God or qualify for his love by our performance.  He simple lives us for who we are.  We are in the words of David Benner “beloved sinners.”

The second observation is simply “spiritual laziness” that is induced by a resignation brought about by having tried to measure up, then failing, which in turn produces a sense of failure.  So the thought is “What is the use, I can’t change who I am.  I will just go into coast and function outwardly as a “niece” Christian guy.  I will do my “duty” as best I can at home and church.”  In the work place the battle has already been lost.  In cases such as this, God is seen as upholding a standard that can never be reach.  While in one sense this is true, the good news is that God does not expect us to keep the rules on our own.  We need his Spirit to motivate, change and empower us.  We have to come to the point of admitting our weakness ( 12 steps – my life is unmanageable).  For when we are weak, then in God we can be strong.  Take heart from Jesus words to Paul, “My grace is enough; It’s al you need.  My strength comes into its own in your weakness” (II Cor 12:8 – The Message)

My third observation is wondering if men come to this point because we have a hard time rightly processing our “pain.”  Let’s face it, men.  Life will be hard.  There will be the dark and lonely times of pain, when we will try to endure the pain on our own.  Jesus says to us, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world” ( John 16:33).  A man can easily blame God for his pain, when the pain is meant to bring him to God for strength.  We might not get the answers we want to the pain we are enduring.  But God will take our pain and the situation we are in, and teach us whole new ways to respond.  “At the time, discipline isn’t much fun.  It always feels like it’s going against the grain.  Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in thier relationship with God’  (Heb 12: 11 – The Message)

November 27th

Devotions based on Michael Molinos book, The Spiritual Guide

On our journey when the Lord deals with us it is first as a child. We have pleasant outward experiences and life seems delightful and exciting. But there comes a time in our walk with Him that appears dry, dark and desolate and it is a time of purification. We don’t know what God is doing and it’s like a veil is over us. Dry spells are an instrument of God for our own good.  What do we learn from these times?  We learn the gift of perseverance which has many advantages. We will develop a weariness to the things of the world, and the desires of our past life lose their strength. We learn to focus on the new things of God and our attachments to earthly pleasures are cut. We will grow in our willingness to suffer and to do God’s will. We will have a sense of peace within and a confidence in God’s sovereignty.  We may not feel all these things when we are in prayer but later in His time these attributes may appear. This is the way to true spiritual growth.

November 26th

Devotions thoughts taken from Michael Molinos book, The Spiritual Guide

Are we caught up in our prayer life by making requests, meditation, reasoning, and straining to find God without?  God is within us!  St. Augustine summed it up by saying, “Lord I went wandering like a stray sheep, seeking you with anxious reasoning weighted within me. I wearied myself much in looking for you without. Yet you had your habitation within me…I went around the streets and squares of the cities of this world and found you not, because in vain I sought without for you who were within.”  We will not find God without by means of reasoning and logic. Each of us has Him present within us for we are His living Temple. Let us enjoy Him who lives within us and rest in his care for us.

November 25th

Devotions based on Michael Molinos’ book, The Spiritual Guide

As we go along on our spiritual journey sometimes if feels like we are making no progress and actually going backwards. We may feel like we are walking in darkness and dryness. But God may be calling us to walk by faith and not dependent on our feelings and reasoning and efforts. Instead He wants our humble submission to His will, dying to our own natural efforts to know Him. At such times we need to trust Him even though it feels like we are blindfolded. We come to Him silent, believing, suffering, and with patience. As we place our life in His hands and resolve to do nothing except what His will is, then we can rest in Him for our relationship is most secure!

November 24th

Devotions based on Michael Molinos’ book, The Spiritual Guide

Our spirit is the very center, our inward temple of God. He reigns upon His thrown in that place so we may keep our hearts at peace. Troubles may come to us in the form of temptations, trials, subtle suggestions etc. but we can still be at peace in that innermost place.  We might think of it as a divine fortress that defends and protects us. Even when surrounded by enemies we only need to retreat into that place. For there all is quiet, peaceful, secure and calm.  We have this strong castle that will make us triumphant over our enemies!  That place is a deeper place of prayer and love for Him alone. When we are attacked, we need to retreat to that place of peace. When we are discouraged or stressed or afraid we need to seek His face.  “Seek silence in the midst of the tumult, seek solitude in the masses, light in the midst of darkness; find forgetfulness in injury, victory in the midst of despondence, and courage in the midst of alarm, resistance in the midst of temptation, peace in the midst of war.”  Let us remember our inward invincible fortress!

November 23rd

Devotions based on Michael Molinos’ book, The Spiritual Guide  ( 1675)

“The deep things of God are not invented things, nor are the teachings to be proven, but rather only to be received.” The deep things don’t come through hearing or reading books, but by the Holy Spirit who wants to communicate to those that are “humble in their mind and lowly in the use of their reasoning.” The author talks about the inward way, how to go beyond mental rational prayer to a deep resting in Him. That means laying aside everything and going to that deep inward place where we find quiet and peace. As we go to this center we find He gives us strength and power to love Him more, even in hard circumstances. When we are on a journey toward a deeper relationship with the Lord, we may come to the place where reading books is tedious if they don’t deal with inward matters, or we may want to lay aside outward prayers, or we may have a growing knowledge of our own self nature. These are signs the Lord is wooing us to a deeper relationship with Him. As we conform to His leading we will know peace like never before.

November 22nd

11-22 On Saturday we had 8 “Wildmen” at Canaan for retreat and I think of them as passionate for God. It reminded me of an article I read by Chila Soychik who describes a passionate woman but I think it applies to both sexes.  Persons that are passionate for God have a thirst for Him that is the driving force of their lives. They care little for fame or fortune, recognition or reward but have experienced a personal relationship with Him.  They hunger for truth in this mixed up world where wrong often seems right. They go to the Word every day as their necessary daily food.  They love others with a godly passion and model unconditional love. They don’t portray themselves as having arrived but as someone who knows where they are going. They encourage others to join them too. A passionate person lives today with tomorrow in mind, knowing their life is a drop in the bucket of time and eternity.  They live each day to the fullest and are vibrant and  committed. They avoid sin so they can gain intimacy with God. None of us have boundless energy, super-human strength, or superior spirituality.  In fact, we are ordinary ones who fail, fall, and are tired at the end of the day.  But have we seen God work,  heard Him through His Word,  experienced peace and answered prayers, and enjoyed the comfort of the Holy Spirit? If so, we can call ourselves “Wildmen” or “Wildwomen” who are passionate for Him.

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