"In everything God has a voice..."

     Yesterday, while walking though the beautiful city of Oslo I discovered a small coffee shop that offered a deal for that day on a sign that read we could get a cinnamon bun and coffee for 50 Kroner.  For Norway, the second richest nation in the world, that’s pretty cheap.  50 k is about $4.  Cheap?  Yes, for Norway where gas is about $11 per gallon.  So, I purchased their special for Linda and I and took a seat on a little bench just outside on  very busy street and we did one of the things we love:  People watch. And share our hearts with one another.  While enjoying ourselves, getting over a little jet lag as well as preparing for our first night of ministry with the students at the base, I notices a blind woman escorted by her dog.  I watched closely while Linda remarked, “You know.  On this busy street with traffic flying by, she really has to have a lot of faith and trust in her dog.”  Yes.  Obviously.  And then I received from God a thought that truly I am a blind man and I have to trust the Holy Spirit to be my guide just as she trusted her dog.  I sat for a long time meditating on what it means to be led by the Spirit.  I remembered so many days last year at The Journey where I left the cafe and thought, “LORD, we just don’t know how to live.”  And then concluded, “… and that’s because we don’t know how to live by the Spirit and be led by Him.”  I prayed that for the rest of my life, which grows shorter every day, that He would reveal what it means to live a life led by the Spirit of God.  The blind woman helped me enormously.  She trusted her companion to lead everything.  Even when she stopped at  a busy intersection with people all around her and the dog held her there by the curb until the light changed… "O God.  May we be like her O Lord, stopping when you stop, and only going forth in life as you lead.”

A coffee and cinnamon roll with The Babe… 

 
Norway Linda.jpg
 

And then God speaks through a blind woman and her dog… 

 
Norway Woman.jpg
 

“Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” Romans 8:14-16

Reflections from sitting with Jesus // Reading and digesting Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest / April 13th, 2017)

Recently someone asked me why I liked Oswald Chambers' writings and devotionals so much. After over forty-six years of daily study of My Utmost from His Highest (well, perhaps 95% of 365 days a year!), Chambers has been the most consistent source for unfolding the scriptures for me. I quickly responded that he is a teacher that has helped me see God in the Bible (Romans 10:14-15).

“For Chambers, the Christian life is authenticated when the indwelling Spirit applies the principles of Christ to the particular circumstances in which the believer is placed. It is doctrine in work clothes…” (Publisher’s Foreword, Sermon on the Mount)

That one sentence sums up our school at A Place for the Heart, The 18 Inch Journey; You really don’t fully know or understand God's principles and doctrine until you’ve experienced it.  Experience is the “work clothes” that comes from applying His truth to our lives.  So, why did I think of you this morning?  Why was I so burdened from the Lord to write this?  

Love.  Love for Him and love for you that you might get it. 

Today’s Chamber's devotion (April 13) had a particular significance that might relate to the world you live in.  Yes, the world you work in and move through. The world in which you touch lives and daily have to overcome unsurmountable difficulties and challenges.  

Please read this particular devotion from My Utmost for His Highest.  If you don’t have the book, buy it.  If you can’t afford it, I will buy it for you.  Or, Google it online; it’s free! But before you read it, give yourself a break. Please, please, let Him have all of you. I know how hard that must be with so many pressing things around you.  Perhaps what God is really doing is telling me to pray for your daily life, that somehow you can find time and space to sit with Him as He daily knocks on the door of your heart and asks:

“May I come in?  I want to dine with you and have a moment, however brief it may be. You can look into my eyes and read my heart for you.  I want you to know that I am your burden-bearer.  I want to carry your burdens more than you can imagine.  It hurts me when you do what you do without my help.  I died for the privilege of BEING everything you need and more.  Yes, I long for you to learn how to live by my Spirit and live in my Power, too.  I told you that once the Holy Spirit had come you would have power. I want you to have the power to do what my servant Ken Helser was prompted by me to share with you.  Yes, my servant Oswald Chambers learned this in his lifetime and has written it for you.  So, read it with me.  Again, this is my heart for you…”

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR BURDEN IS OVERWHELMING // April 13
“Cast all your burdens on the Lord…” (Psalm 55:22)

"We must recognize the difference between burdens that are right for us to bear and burdens that are wrong.  We should never bear the burdens of sin or doubt, there are some burdens placed on us by God which He does not intend to lift off.  God want us to roll them back on Him–– to literally “cast your burden,” which He has given you, “on the Lord…”  If we set out to serve God and do His work but get out of touch with Him, the sense of responsibility we feel will be overwhelming and defeating… for many servants set out to serve God with great courage and the right motives.  But with no intimate fellowship with Jesus Christ, they are soon defeated.  They do not know what to do with their burden, and it produces weariness in their lives.”

As I copy this word for word (not copy and paste), I am fully passionate about the wisdom that God wants to teach me, first of all. If I don’t get it for myself and merely push it off on you, well, I am not very loving am I? No, I must always be careful to let the sword of the Spirit do surgery on me before I slice you with it!  Gosh, that’s big. But I sense with love and desire to pray for you, that you get this wisdom. We must learn the difference between burdens. Some burdens the enemy presses on your shoulders to carry through condemnation, especially religious condemnation that often screams, “YOU CAN DO MORE!”  And then there are burdens pressed upon you by God.  The burden of the Lord is one that you carry just enough of to see it and understand it in order to roll it over upon Him.  I love that Isaiah saw this about the Savior: "the government will be upon his shoulders” (Isaiah 9:6).

I am simply passing on the life I got this morning while I’ve been sitting with God in my “Jesus chair”–– that’s the one I have set aside to be with Him in His presence. This is where I listen, pray, love, worship, study, journal, process, whatever–– just to hang out with God. He wants to hang out with me much more than I want to hang out with Him.  He loves these times more than I do.  And He loves your journaling–– the writing of your most honest heart and then your writing of His voice back to you as you hear Him.  He enjoys that more than you do.  Why?  The answer is what I recently texted to a friend, who I was trying to convince to take time to learn to journal:

Journaling is more valuable to God than to you.  That’s not a rebuke, it’s just true.  He loves when His children allow Him to write the thoughts, wisdom, knowledge and plans of His heart over them.  Over and over again He has spoken to me, “I get more out of this than you do.” How? How does God get more out of it than we do? Well, don’t you love it when your own children want to hear what you have to say?  When was the last time one of your children jumped up on your lap and asked, “Daddy, what’s on your heart today? Please tell me. I want to write it down, so I can go back, read it, remember it and keep it for the rest of my life!” Don’t you just wish...

It’s harder to relate to the above if you don’t have a child, but try to find a young child this week–– perhaps a grandchild, nephew or niece–– and set them in your lap. Ask them if there’s anything they’d like to know about yourself or life.  Watch the joy that comes to them simply because you want to spend time with them, just them. That’s intimacy.  God wants you to enjoy such intimacy that you are able to distinguish the burdens He wants you to carry and the ones He longs to free you from.  

“Cast all your burdens (cares or anxieties) on the Lord because he cares for you" (I Peter 5:7).

From the Heart of Papa Ken

Vision and Reality : Part II

Part II: “Our vision is about what we are going to do, but God’s vision is about what we are going to become…”

When Dustie’s husband, Andy, asked if he could search through our attic for something he intended to use to honor Dustie for her 50th birthday last week, I wondered what it would be? But when he came down with one of Dustie’s early creations–– furniture she designed for children–– I knew his message would be a word from Oswald Chambers:

“What we see as only the process of reaching a particular end, God sees as the goal itself.” My Utmost for His Highest, July 28th

The little furniture set Andy found spoke volumes, as he recalled that “Character is living out a commitment once the emotion is gone.” Dustie was not a quitter even though financially she never prospered from her furniture, or from the many remodeling jobs she did. but the important thing was that during those times of hard work, there was something bigger growing in Dustie’s heart. She kept feeling like she was to find and old building in Asheboro, remake it into some kind of business. What kind of business changed constantly, but she never quit searching. For nine years a vision grew in her heart.

One day she found an old brick building that she knew was perfect for her dream. Broken windows, a collapsed roof, water soaked walls and floors — the building was far from perfect, but she bought it anyway, not exactly sure what she was going to use it for. But she was so pumped with excitement while always asking, “Daddy, what is God telling you about my building?” And I’d always answer the same way, “Nothing.”

This continued for a long time until finally, she’d had enough. “Daddy. God speaks to you all the time giving you words for people all over the world, yet you get nothing from God for me,” she blurted out in frustration.

That did it. I wondered myself why I could hear God for everyone but my own daughter. I went to God and before I could verbalize my prayer He answered. I wrote down His answer in my journal and headed straight next door to Dustie’s, and before I could even knock on her door, she met me.

“Daddy. I finally understand. This morning God told me why He’s not speaking to you about my plans. He wants me to hear Him for myself. Just like you’ve always told me,‘God wants to speak to me more than I even want to hear.’ Isn’t that true, Daddy?”

We both hugged each other for a long and wonderful time.

 
 

I smiled at the little ensemble of table and chairs, while tears of joy ran down my face. Andy found them to recall all of Dustie’s hard work while never giving up on her dream for a business in Asheboro were people could sit and fellowship around a table. Yes, her vision became a reality. But God’s vision was for much more. His vision was to free His daughter to come to His Table and sit and fellowship with Himself and hear the plans of His heart…

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13

Vision and Reality : Part I

I shoved hard to get the rusted metal door to slide just enough for me to squeeze into the old two story brick building the city of Asheboro was going to tear down and make into parking deck. That was the intent until my daughter, Dustie, presented them a proposal they could not resist. A project of restoration.

Dustie opened their eyes to see what was previously invisible.

As my eyes adjusted I really wanted to turn around and go back outside because everything in sight was ugly & grotesque, but I caught my eye on an old metal chair and sat down. As I was observing the neglected building, I was reminded of a conversation which took place five years ago when my little girl called, “Mom. Dad. Come quickly. I’ve found it. The perfect place. Please hurry. Can’t wait to show it to you. Just what I’ve been looking for.”

When we arrived, my heart sank. The “perfect place” was a dilapidated, ugly brick building with broken windows that needed three sticks of dynamite, immediately (personal opinion). Jumping around like she did when she was five and got the green Schwynn bicycle for her birthday, she beckoned us through the front door that was about to fall off its rusted hinges to see the luxurious inside. Did I say “luxurious?” We couldn’t go much further than the doorway because the place was filled with two inches of yucky water that settled into the moldy walls where the roof had collapsed.

I tried to feel Dustie’s excitement but instead spoke my mind: “Dustie. Listen to me. This can’t be your ‘dream come true,’ cause this place is a disaster. Tell me you aren’t serious?” She paid no attention and just kept describing how she could see the front part filled with customers and how she envisioned people sitting out at the brick patio with little tables and umbrellas and…THERE WASN’T A BRICK PATIO. I stood beside my ecstatic daughter and knew right then this was the place where her vision would become a reality.

And it happened. One year later, The Table opened its doors to an overflowing capacity crowd that has not ceased.

So, sitting amongst the rubble of a new vision, I was overcome with peace in knowing that Dustie sees what no one else can. That’s when the lyrics of her brother’s (Jonathan David) song, “I See”, began ringing in my ear.

I see a mountain, You see a miracle
 I see wasteland, You see a garden
 I see dry bones, You see an army
I see impossible, You see everything, Everything
I see a seed, You see the harvest
I see the water, You see the wine
I see the broken, You see your Body
I see my enemy, You see your footstool…

“That’s it,” I thought.
I see a headache. Dustie sees a place for people to rest.
I see a multitude of problems. Dustie sees a place of future success.
I see debris and ugly. Dustie sees beautiful.
As I was wandering around in the rubble of the dreary place, Dustie approached me and asked with exuberance, “How do you like it daddy? Doesn’t it have incredible possibilities?”
Without answering, I motioned her outside and pointed up into the brilliant blue sky.
“Dustie, do you see the magnificent stars?”
She paused, giving me an incredulous look, wondering if I had lost my mind. But then she began to smile and turned to look into the sky.
“No, Daddy. I can’t see them. But that doesn’t mean they are not there!”
Awed by her faith, I pulled her close and hugged her tightly, giving her a Father’s blessing.
“We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” II Corinthians 4:18

Spencer’s Perspective: Over the years I have been able to witness the creative power the Lord has blessed my Aunt Dustie with. I remember when she first pitched her idea of The Table to me. I wasn't skeptical. I was just curious as to how she was going to pull it off. However, I never doubted her ability to make something beautiful out of nothing and neither did our family. Once we saw that she was serious about this endeavor, everyone jumped on board with support, whether it was tangible or by genuine encouragement. There’s a quote that I love from Jim Valvano, which says, “My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.” For Dustie, she had complete confidence in knowing that not only did her earthly father support her plans, but her Heavenly Father did as well. I am truly mystified by her gift of being able to envision something beautiful out of that which is broken and deformed.

Coming Soon - Part II: Our vision is about what we are going to do, but God’s vision is about what we are going to become…

This morning, January 20th, I read My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers. Then I wrote my prayer:

Yours, O Lord, is a never ending supply of everything we need for life, and by partaking of Your food we are made fresh everyday for all things. I am not sure I understand this but OC makes a distinction between freshness and obedience?

“Freshness is not the result of obedience; it comes from the Holy Spirit.” OC 1/20

“The Lord writes in the register of the peoples, ‘This one was born in Zion.’ And as they make music they will sing, ‘All my fresh springs are in you.’” Psalms 87:7

So, my question, O Lord, is how does a person (myself) stay fresh in the Spirit of the Lord? Speak, my God, for I am wanting to hear from You…

Father’s Voice:
You have nothing to fear. Through my Grace, I always want to speak to You more than you want to listen, but wanting to listen is key to freshness. Just as in hunger you eat, and the more the hunger pains, the less choosy you are as to what you eat. It is when you are full that you go for choice portions on a plate, but when you are really hungry it matters little as to what is put before you.

Back to my prayer as dialogue flows between the Spirit and I…
Lord, I heard last night that Donald Trump is not choosy in what he eats (he prefers meatloaf as much as he likes steak) but I pray he begins to realize in his inner person that there are only so many hours in a day and he cannot move forward if he pays attention to the media more than he listens to You. Make his highest priority in the office of President to listen and heed and obey Your voice. O God, make him to be a wise man on behalf of the United States of America.

Then the Lord showed me from the book of Proverbs what a wise man is and I pray over each one of these points that Donald Trump would be arrested by them:
Pr 9:8 Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you.
Pr 9:9 Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.
Pr 12:15 The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.
Pr 14:16 A wise man fears the LORD and shuns evil, but a fool is hotheaded and reckless.
Pr 16:14 A king’s wrath is a messenger of death, but a wise man will appease it.
Pr16:23 A wise man’s heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction.
Pr 21:11 When a mocker is punished, the simple gain wisdom; when a wise man is instructed, he gets knowledge.
Pr 21:22 A wise man attacks the city of the mighty and pulls down the stronghold in which they trust.
Pr 24:5 A wise man has great power, and a man of knowledge increases strength;
Pr 25:12 Like an ear-ring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is a wise man’s rebuke to a listening ear.
Pr 29:11 A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.

Father’s Voice: 
My longing in raising up my servant and my son is that he would become a wise man but he has to go through what ever follower of mine has to experience: Brokenness that leads to wholeness and his pride has to be broken for that to happen. So, your prayer should be that he puts around him believers that are equally as wise if not more wise than himself. Pray for humility that comes from the rebuke of wise men who seek Me for their wisdom and not the media of public opinion.

O Lord, I will pray…

And Linda and I join together now, after taking a short break so watch our new president to be sworn in, who gave quite strong vision for the days ahead, so strong that it can only take place by the strength, blessings, favor of God’s Grace, that we commit each day for the next four years to lift up our president, our government, and our nation to God in prayer.

After hours of hard labor, unable to figure out the GPS unit on the new car my wife and I were buying, the salesman, about my age, throws up his hands and says, “I quit. Take it home and get your grandchildren to show you how it works.” I did. And Cadence Helser, in less than 10 minutes got it going.

That’s cause the younger generation speaks the technological language of today.

So, while I was trying to figure out the best way to communicate my heart on social media, my grandson Spencer has stepped in to save the day for his Papa. Home from YWAM, Kona, and an incredible outreach in Nepal, Spencer was looking for a part time job before he goes back to staff a new school in April. I got him at a deal to help work with me on setting up some blogs, videos, and podcasts on A Place for the Heart web site.
This is only a beginning, and let me give you a hint: If you don’t have My Utmost for His Highest, a devotional book by my friend for 46 plus years, Oswald Chambers, go get one. Please. More later.

Am I excited? Yes. At 72, having buried four friends in the last two weeks, I am so aware of the adage, “You can’t take it with you!” But you can leave some good things behind–– the wisdom you get from chasing hard after God and learning Him by the way you live. I want that to speak way after my grave. In the last quarter of the last quarter of the game, what a joy to head toward the finish line with my grandchildren behind me cheering me on.

Personal note from Spencer: Wow. What an incredible opportunity Papa Ken has presented me with! When he asked me if I would be willing to help him with something, in my mind I said yes before I even knew what the project was going to be. He said he needed help setting up a page where he could blog some of the revelations the Lord has shown him over the years. Of course, my answer was an immediate, “Yes, Papa. I’d love to.” As we began scheming what method we were going to use to present the blog (Facebook, Wordpress, etc.), I began thinking about how blessed and privileged I was to be in this position. I get to assist my grandfather, a man with an unbelievable amount of Godly wisdom, in publishing some of the discoveries he's made in Christ throughout the years. I felt an overwhelming sense of peace over this new endeavor because I know this is something he’s been wanting to do for some years now. One thing I’ve learned about Papa Ken is that he practices hearing God’s voice daily. After being around him for 20 years, I can attest that he always, and I mean always, finds time to spend with the Lord every single day. Not only does he dwell with the Father in the secret place, but he applies what he’s learned to every day life. So when He told me it was time to begin publishing his thoughts, I knew it was not only Ken’s timing, but the Lord’s as well. These stories are just an overflow of his unique, deep relationship with Jesus. They portray his hunger and passion for living out what he boldly professes. I am overjoyed to embark on this new journey with him and cannot thank him enough for the impact he’s had on my life. Love you, Papa. –– Spencer Daniel Wilson

“Until you want someone else to live the life you’re living, you don't have a very powerful witness.” - Papa Ken