Saturday, October 8, 2011

Spiritual Dryness in The Quiet Place

There are times in each of our lives when our heart and soul can feel much like a dry barren desert. Our time of spiritual devotions can feel empty of fresh joyous vitality. 

We may have exhausted easily accessible inner resources due to any number of life related influences, and are becoming burned out. Spiritual and emotional burnout is not as uncommon as we would think. It is a condition that most of us would rather not acknowledge that we experience from time to time. For some reason it feels like we failed at something.  

It often happens gradually in our lives, and like a slow fading shadow at sunset, before we realize it, our zeal, inner passion, and sense of spiritual power is but a whisper of what it had been. 

When we reach deep within to seek God, or to find resources to cope with a trying set of stressful circumstances, our hands find only desert sand. 

Spiritual Dryness in the Desert

There was a time when David's life was full of hurt, confusion and doubt. His understanding of God's Purpose for his life, and how it played out in his daily experience, were hard to bring together. 

We can all face that puzzling sense of incongruity when what we understand to be God's Will for us, and what we are experiencing in our present circumstances, seem to be polar opposites.  

For David, it made no sense that God could promise one thing, that he would be the King of Israel,  and yet here he was hiding from King Saul, and fleeing for his life in the dry barren Desert of Judah. Weary and worn out, he prayed:

“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water." Psalm 63:1; 6

We can come to The Quiet Place to commune with God to satisfy our thirst and at times discover that our experience there has seemed unsatisfying, and we leave discovering that our throat is still parched and dry. 

We can be inundated with Bible resources, solid teaching, and worshipful music, but find that we are merely treading water of late in terms of our experience and enjoyment of God. We can be up, we can feel down, we can feel joy and then we can drift into a kind of apathy.

The experience of revival, and times of spiritual renewal, are wonderful, joyous, and sometimes overflow with euphoric emotion. However, God also wants to know if we can walk by faith, and not by mere feelings.... Even in the backside of a personal desert.

The Lure of a Mirage in the Desert

If we are not careful, we can equate a kind of "feeling" to be the compass of our spirituality. To follow a compass that has no True North, is like following a GPS that is locked into coordinates that are constantly moving, shifting location, and leading to one dead-end after another. It is in the pursuit of the lure of a mirage, that leads to disappointment and despair(See Jeremiah 2:13).

David himself cried out to God while in the desert,
“Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold.... I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God.”   Psalm 69:1-4

David was reminded every day, that any living thing that has no regular water source, can literally wither and die in the desert. It was also a stark reality for him. He was alone, afraid, and had nothing but God Himself to sustain him. He used a metaphor describing a deer experiencing a literal thirst for water, with his spiritual thirst for God. 

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long. “Where is your God?”  Psalm 42:1-3 

When was the last time that I thirsted for God with such desperation  and intensity?

 The Reasons for Spiritual Dryness

The experience of spiritual dryness happen to all of us at times, and there are several factors that may contribute:

  • It may be the result of missing out on our times of worship in The Quiet Place. 

  • .        Living too long on the milk of God’s Word and not getting into the meat and depth of Bible study, so as to discern how to deal with the tougher trials that may be happening.

  • .        It may be because of an illness, and the medications that sometimes blunt the physical and emotional edge in our lives. 

  • .        Long seasons of depression and medications to treat it can mimic a sense of spiritual apathy.

  • .        It can be the result of resisting God’s Will to be Lord in our lives, and then avoiding time with Him.

  •       Engaging in sinfulness, and refusing to repent and change, dims the passion of our heart for God.

  • .        Feeling angry or hurt by God, believing that He should grant something, and withdrawing from Him as a result.

  • .        Prolonged periods of trial, suffering and intense ministry can result in spiritual burnout.

  • .        Being tested by God to live by the truth of His Word, and exercise faith, even when our feelings do not experience joy and peace when we are walking in fellowship with God.

  •       Going through a time of pruning in our life whereby God shapes our heart so that our abiding in Him can be fruitful and unhindered.  

Spiritual Balance in the Desert
God's Word assures us that if we Draw near to Him, He will Draw near to us (See Hebrews 7:19-20; 24-26; James 4:8). Paul reminds us that the natural man does not discern Truth in the way that the spiritual man does. His use of the word, pneumatikos in I Cor. 2:15, for the word "...he that is spiritual.." is translated as: " who is governed by, or under the rule of  the Spirit of God." Vines NT Greek.

     It takes spiritual insight to discover that we can go through the desert, and feel that God is distant, not know why, but still hold on to God's Word, and the assurance of His promise. His Word reminds us that He will  never leave us, and that He will always keep us ever near His heart, even if we don't always feel that He is there (See Hebrews 13:5; Matt. 28:20 "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.").

     "The unfolding of your words gives light;  it gives understanding to the simple. I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands.”  Psalm 119:130-131

 In The Quiet Place there is an Honesty with God

     "You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.”  Psalm 139:1-3

      In The Quiet Place there is an Openness with God

     "Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:22-24

     In The Quiet Place there is Healing from God

     "Then you will call on 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. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” Jeremiah 29:12-14

     Within The Quiet Place God desires to commune with us, encourage us and strengthen us. Before long, a spark will alight in your heart, and then it will become a flame within. The reality of your living faith will create a miracle as God’s all encompassing love, pours out to you, comes alive in you, and then it will flow through you, to a dry and barren world. 

     Only God can quench the thirst of the human soul. The world is full of chaos, turmoil, political unrest and economic instability. Many people who sought for satisfaction and a sense of fulfillment in the world, have discovered that they are desperately empty, and have lost their way in the wilderness of life without God.. 

     The seasoned desert traveler can find these lost souls and lead them out of the desert to the true source of life…. Jesus Christ

"Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-9


Friday, August 26, 2011

Gaining new Strength in the Eye of the Storm

The chaotic onslaught of turbulent weather patterns and violent storms, detonate across the landscapes of the world every day. The Colorado State University Meteorologist Forecaster’s Team anticipate that there will be 17 - 25 separate tropical storms each year. Approximately 9-11 of those will become hurricanes during the apex of the storm season, that runs from June 1 to November 30. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, report that there appear to be an increase in storms lacing across the regions of the world in the form of Cyclones, Typhoons, Monsoons, Tornadoes, and Hurricanes (

The National Hurricane Center has a list names of worldwide tropical cyclones that and has projected storms that we can anticipate to impact other parts of the world from 2014-2019 (

Cyclonic Storms around the World

The Hurricane 

A hurricane is a powerful, rotating storm that forms over warm oceans near the equator in the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, or the eastern Pacific Ocean. 

The Severe Tropical Cyclone

A cyclone is a closed, rotating wind. Cyclones rotate counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Typhoon

A typhoon is a violent tropical cyclonic storm that forms in the Western Pacific Ocean. It derives its name from the Chinese word taaîfung, which means Great Whirling Wind.

Life Storms hit Everyone
Everywhere we look there are multitudes of recurrent Life Storms that are raging across people’s lives. These unexpected events impact financial resources, destabilize a family's economic security, and in some cases greatly affect their capacity to survive. Life Storms crash into us in recurring waves, just like the great whirling winds of cyclonic storms. 

Each wave envelopes us before we have fully recovered from the impact of the previous one. We often continue to cope with each storm the very same way we did the last one. We hunker down, hang on and try to survive the onslaught of the storm. It may be a death in the family, the foreclosure of the family home, the collapse of a business, or any number of tragic events.

Life Storms can Transform our Faith

You may think that God is punishing you, or isn’t taking care of you, but life storms hit everyone, and they often come without advance notice. When a storm hits your life, after a period of intensity, there will always be a period of calm. It often does not mean that the storm is over, for you just might be standing in the eye of the storm. Without tough times, faith does not grow. Stormy trials are periodic disruptions in our life to keep our faith riveted in God, and not our financial portfolio, our financial consultant, our 401 k or anything else that can easily become a false god in our lives. 

In the Eye of the Storm

On that day, when evening came, He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” 

"And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”  Mark 4:35-41

Restore your Faith in God
Like a howling hurricane, whose counterclockwise motion goes in a circle in the opposite direction from the way a clock moves, Life Storms cause us think through problem solving impulsively, irrationally and often not Biblically. The Devil likes to make us dizzy, overwhelmed, and confused during a Life Storm. 

Jesus had told the disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.”

They kept their eyes on the storm instead of holding firm to the promise of His word to them. He promised that they would make it to the other side, He just didn't mention that  a storm would hit them on the way to test their faith.

Surrounding the eye of the storm is the eyewall. It is a band of thunder clouds. The eyewall has the most rain and the strongest winds of the storm, gusting up to 225 mph.

The devil wants us to try to break through the wall of the storm in our own strength, or run away from it. That would be disastrous. Stand firm in the Eye of the Storm and look straight up, and you will see the sun shining in the sky above.

In the whirlwind and in the storm is His way, and the clouds are the dust beneath His feet.” Nahum 1:3.

Storms are not something that God cannot see you through. God will always show us how to respond Biblically in any situation. The details may vary, but principles from His Word do not (See Proverbs 3:5-6).

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. “ Psalm 119:105

Renew your Strength

In The Quiet Place we are able to draw strength from God’s presence, and be renewed through His Word. Give the burden of your Life Storm to God and lay it down at the Throne of Grace. ( See I Peter 5:7; Hebrews 4:16)

The psalmist acknowledged in the midst of a Life Storm: 

“My life dissolves and weeps itself away for heaviness; raise me up and strengthen me according to [the promises of] Your Word.”  Psalm 119:27-28  (AMP) 

Even the beginning of new seed faith in our trust in God gives spiritual awakening in our heart and produces renewed faith.
Pray to God to give you strength today for whatever Life Storm that you are going through. “In the day when I cried you answered me, and strengthened me with strength in my soul.” Psalm 138:3

Rest in His Word
There is a calm assurance that comes to one who has trusted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. That confidence comes through our daily time of worship in The Quiet Place as we pray and read the Scriptures. 

“Remember the Word to your servant, in which you have made me hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, that your Word has revived me.” Psalm 119:49-51

God will reveal how to get through the Life Storms that crash in upon any of us. He calls us to spend time with Him in The Quiet Place. He will show us how to stand firm in the Eye of the Storm, strengthened in our faith as we trust in His Word, to show us the way. God will always be faithful.

Take a few moments to listen to this very inspirational video. Remember, there is no storm so great, that takes God by surprise....He is right there...reach out to Him,,,

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Breaking Free From Depression Part II

The man sitting across from me appeared to be well adjusted, successful and good natured. Underneath the calm exterior, I later discovered, was a sea of profound depression and unresolved grief. From early childhood, he had lived in a place he called Shadowland, where everything was gray, and the sun was enshrouded in dark clouds. His parents had always chided him to smile, cheer up, lose the long face, and at least pretend to be having a good time. 

He discovered that he could pretend to be happy. When he acted out as a clown, people liked that, and laughed at his comedic ways. As the years unfolded, he discovered many ways to shield himself from appearing to be depressed. He had masks for every occasion, read joke books constantly to update his banter, and climbed the ladder of success. His wife and children were somewhat oblivious to this other side of the man, and so was everyone else.

He had recently received a promotion at work, with a generous bonus incentive, and was inundated with kudos from his team. Later that evening, he celebrated lavishly with family and friends. The next day, instead of driving to work, he drove instead to a favorite place along the Pacific coast. 

He carefully climbed a trail to the top of a rugged cliff face, and gazed out at the vast expanse of an indigo blue sea. The horizon was banked in dark brooding clouds, suggesting that a storm was headed inland.

“I stood on the edge of that cliff, and slipped off my tie and coat. I was about to end my life, and for some strange reason, it seemed important not to jump while dressed in a $1200.00 suit and a $ 250.00 tie. Ridiculous.”

The man did not jump that day. Instead, he began a journey that led to a process of healing from a lifetime of depression. Several months later, having embraced faith in Jesus Christ, and establishing his own Quiet Place he smiled and said, 

“I am beginning to rebuild years of negative thinking about myself.” He looked out the window of my office and continued, “Renewing my mind daily with the Scriptures, and the inner peace that has come with my new found faith, has broken the cycle of depression. I have a ways to go, but deep inside, I am free.”

Renewing the Mind in The Quiet Place 

As we open the Word of God in The Quiet Place our hearts are touched by His Spirit. He gives us His peace, and invites us to lay the burden of despair at His feet.
I pour out before Him my complaint; before Him I tell my trouble. When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who watch over my way. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life.” Psalm 142:2-3

In the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul outlines our part in transforming our thinking, and shows us that it is a process rather than a singular act of faith and obedience.

Aligning our will with God’s Will

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.” Romans 12:1

Paul urges each of us to yield ourselves to God unreservedly and unconditionally, and ties it to an act of worship on our part.  Our submission is directly linked to our need to bow the knee to God’s Sovereignty.

Acknowledging His Lordship in our Lives
With the submission of our will to His purposes, we are given insight into how to obey God and glorify Him, if we are committed to knowing and following His Will for our lives. The building blocks and mortar of God’s Will, are always found in the bedrock of God’s Word. 

He has broken the chains that had enslaved us, and has set us free. We can change....The key is in our attitudes. He will never lead us in a direction that is contrary to the Scriptures.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”  Romans 12:2

Changing Habitual Thought Patterns

Renewing: νακανωσις - a renovation, and a complete change: "To cause to grow up, new, to make new; new strength and vigor is given to one;  to be changed into a new kind of life as opposed to the former corrupt state."   Young's Literal Translation

Suffering through hardship, and physical pain, make it especially difficult to grapple with hopeless, depressed and pessimistic thinking. It is so painfully difficult to shift your mind to a positive optimistic outlook when your body is wracked by pain and suffering. 

The very nature of pain is that it is always more intense than pleasure. A person in continual pain, experiences it morning, noon, and throughout the long lonely night.

Arresting wrong thinking and shifting the focus to Biblical Truth, may not touch the level of a sufferer’s pain at all. Remember it is not about lessening physical pain, or even eliminating the suffering. It is in discovering that God is very near in the midst of the pain, and that a sweet fellowship with Christ is not only possible, it is real.

“Peace does not dwell in outward things, but within the soul; we may preserve it in the midst of bitterest pain, if our will remains firm and submissive. Peace in this life springs from acquiescence to, not in exemption from, suffering.“

Francois Fenelon

God’s Word illuminates the pathway that we are facing in the midst of trials, hardship and suffering, to reveal to us how to respond Biblically to it.

The choices before us are not easy today. They seem more gray than ever, and in a survival mindset, it always seems logical to take the easier path. 

“But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn that shines brighter and brighter until the perfect day.”  Proverbs 4:18

As you work through a time of depression that you might be going through right now, take heart, there is always God's way to sort it out, and it always leads to The Quiet Place.

The video which accompanies this song is from the film The Passion. It may be difficult for some viewers to watch. However, the Amazing Grace which gives us a new life in Jesus Christ, came with an incredible cost. His life in exchange for yours and mine…it is truly a gift from God. He paid a price that He did not owe, so we could have a gift that we could not buy.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

“…Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” 1 Peter 1:18-20

Be sure to turn off the regular music player on this site by just hitting pause. Then click the arrow on the video and watch the video. Thank you for visiting The Quiet Place