Part 4: Chapter 1 – Day 1: Preserved in the Wilderness

Welcome to Day 1 of Part 4‘s Chapter 1. Today, Bettie is bringing forward our first free will offering of acacia wood – incorruptible humanity in Christ Jesus. May you be blessed and uplifted, as Bettie shares the comfort and encouragement God gave her through His Word with us all. Open our hearts to receive Your Word to us today, oh LORD.

Some days the weight of my own humanity feels too much to bear. I am altogether aware of every shortcoming, every wound, and every stain. The trial has seemed to blaze a scorching onto my bare head, and I want to run for cover.

Perhaps you have felt the same?

If we could just hide away, somewhere dark and cool, find a cave in the midst of this desert, we think that we will be safe. Oh, but the enemy of our souls hides in those darkened caves also. He follows us back into the corners, and whispers his lies over us:

“You will never make it out of here alive! You are weak and scrawny. Look what this desert has done to you. You are nothing but skin and bones. And you think there is life for you after this place??”

But there is ONE who speaks a sweeter word over us. For it is in this very wilderness that our Lord has created an oasis.  He sings a song and the scent of blossoms wafts up to stir our senses. In the place where it seems nothing good could ever come, the Lord of the desert has planted his sturdy young acacia trees. He brings us His hope that stirs a longing for life in the deepest wilderness.

Are you lost in a wilderness today? Or perhaps you’ve found yourself huddled in the corners of a cave where the enemy’s taunts have fallen on your head.  Listen for the tune of a song being sung, and the scent of a fragrance wafting on the breeze. There is a LOVER calling us to His oasis today.

Preserved in the Wilderness of En Gedi


Blazing sun
Glaring sand
Baking heat
The Wilderness prevailed.

Burning pain
Stumbling gait
Weary heart
The Wilderness consumed.

Wandering warriors
Hiding caves
David’s men
The Wilderness protected.


When the curse fell on me
When the evil one shouted
I saw the shadows of defeated soldiers
Huddled in the back of the cave
I joined them, longing to be free.

The rock of parting
It had finally come to this
Forever separate from my home
Longing for those days of youth
Stranded here, starving for life.


Thru the night a voice fell
A lover was set loose
With a scent of life in the air
North wind awakened
Perfume too fair to tell


And I looked from the height
Where the cave opened
Onto the cliffs
Acacia trees small but strong
Pointed to a glimmering light

En Gedi with Henna blossoms
Singing a Lover’s melody
Drawing me out of the cave
Lifting me out of the desert
Into my lover’s bosom

Only in the wilderness heat
Will the cave protect
Will the Acacia grow
Will the Oasis rise
Will the healing stream
Will the Lover meet.

Oh Glorious Lover so sweet
So far above the schemers curse
You brought me here
To find your choicest gifts
And to search the caves calling
Other weary soldiers, “Come and eat.”

“My lover is to me a sachet of myrhh resting between my breasts, my lover is to me a cluster of henna blossoms from the vineyards of En Gedi.”                        Song of Songs 1:14

“Then Saul broke off his pursuit of David and went to meet the Philistines. That is why they call this place Sela Hammahlekoth (the Rock of Parting.) And David went up from there and lived in the strongholds of En Gedi.”  1 Samuel 23:28-29     

Dear Lord, 

Will you open our eyes to see your strong and sturdy Acacia Trees growing in the midst of this wilderness place?  Show us how they point the way to the springs of life set up in the midst of the caves of hiding there.

For you are strong and incorruptible like those Acacia Trees. You are the Sign given by your Father to point us to Life Everlasting. You are the choicest of gifts, the blossoms of the Henna Plant with fragrance of life not death.

Thank you for the healing water that flows from your throne in Heaven, reaching even unto us. 

Amen

Part 3: Chapter 4 – Day 1: The Light Shines in the Darkness

Welcome to Day 1 of Part 3‘s Chapter 4 of Arise and Shine. Today, Bettie is bringing forward our first free will offering for Chapter 4. She is sharing what the LORD showed her about His light in her about two years ago, when she prepared to go through an infusion for osteoporosis. The LORD is leading us to republish an old blog post of hers, written in the winter of 2019 as Day 1 of The Golden Lampstand.

“Can I ask you just what an infusion is?”  I have had several friends ask me that question lately. As I have tried to answer that question, my heart suddenly realized it was another of those questions that is actually being asked of me by the Lord.

What does it mean to be infused?

The Oxford Online Dictionary has this definition for infusion:

infusion — Medicine
The slow injection of a substance into a vein or tissue.‘a four-hour intravenous infusion’   (from the Oxford Dictionaries, online)

By the time this post is published, I will probably be on my way to receive the first of several infusions.  The Osteoporosis medication has been approved for infusion today.  The timing has been in God’s hands, as experience has shown me (this is a repeat dosage from two years ago,) that I will be dealing with the after-effects of nausea and flu-like symptoms for about a week, and hoping to recover before the new RA infusions might be approved later this month.

Of course “infusion” comes from the words “to infuse,” which has a deeper meaning here:

  1. Fill; pervade.‘her work is infused with an anger born of pain and oppression’
  2. 1.1 Instil (a quality) in someone or something.‘he did his best to infuse good humour into his voice’  (from the Oxford Dictionaries online)

While I was getting a call from the Hospital approving that infusion, a dear friend was typing a prayer over me. She asked for the Lord “to infuse Bettie with the light of Your love.”  How could she have known the conversation that was transpiring right then?

His mysteries surround us every day, every moment. Just as His light is shining His love on us:

the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.  1 John 2:8

While the snow and icy cold seemed to cover most of the Country’s midsection this week, it felt that we were locked into a deep freeze that might never end. But the sun always breaks through, and the light begins to thaw the hardest ice with a soft melting.

2019-01-2-22-28-15

Is there a parallel between the physical infusing of medications and the heart infusing of my Lord’s life and character into my very being?

Are there places of ice and stone in my heart where He would long to infuse me with His soft-hearted compassions . . . places where He would turn me inside out, and fill me up?

My Soul Was Tipped And Spilled



When I was a child

I used to wonder . . .

If I could be turned

   inside out

What would my soul

   look like?

 

For all the years I wore

   the mask,

Was it to keep my soul

   from tipping out?

 

Because underneath the aching

   of a hurting heart

Lay a trusting child

   in love with God.

 

So when my soul was

   tipped and spilled,

What did God see

   bubbling thru?

 

A

   gift

      of

LOVE

            created

               by

                  HIM.

 

Surrender to spill

   Songs for singing

      A Savior’s Call . . .

–bg

I offer this paraphrased version from the Message translation as my prayer this week. I come before you my friends, acknowledging that I have still despised this place of being in so much need. I have felt ashamed of carrying this disease in this body that won’t tolerate medications.  And yet, as I bow before my Lord, asking His forgiveness, I hear Him singing His song of Love, infusing my neediness with HIS own pure light.

May God our Father himself and our Master Jesus clear the road to you! And may the Master pour on the love so it fills your lives and splashes over on everyone around you, just as it does from us to you. May you be infused with strength and purity, filled with confidence in the presence of God our Father when our Master Jesus arrives with all his followers.  1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 (Message Translation)

May we allow our Lord to soak and pour Himself into us, because “His love and compassion give us so much life.” (words shared from another Dear Loved One this week.)

Part 3: Chapter 3 – Day 6: The Song of My Father

Welcome to Day 6 of Part 3‘s Chapter 3 of Arise and Shine. Today, Bettie is sharing a free will offering in a testimony the LORD gifted her through her weakness and need. It testifies to the blossoming staff of Christ’s holiness that leads and comforts us through the valley of the shadow of death, shedding the old for the new, as He calls us into His rest and peace.

Over 20 years ago I had a dream that is still crystal clear in my mind today. In the dream, I was carrying a baby, and walking through a church parking lot. Standing under the awning at the Church’s entrance was an older man who was singing this song:

I will pour on you

the oil of gladness in the morning,

I will pour on you

the oil of my joy.



I will burn off all the dross

Stir up what remains

And I will pour on you

the oil of my joy.

As the man sang, it was the most beautiful voice that I had ever heard, and somehow I knew it was an angel singing God’s own song over me. However, I barely paused to listen and hurried on my way to complete my task. In the dream I returned to the parking lot, still carrying the baby, and as I walked past, the man was still singing the Father’s song over me. And then I awoke.

~~~~~~~~

All these years later, I recognize the voice of my Father calling me to come with Him, to allow Him to pour out His oil over me. He has stilled my busy caring and serving, and I have been brought to a place of rest at His feet.  Yet, even in the resting, the pain and fatigue have threatened to steal every drop of joy that I have known. In the instinctive reaction to physical pain, there are days that my arms are curled into my side, hunching my shoulders and neck into a place of self-protection.

The spasmed fascia in my neck shows how that hunching and curling has contributed to yet more pain. Last week as the physical therapist gave my neck and spine the gentle prodding and stretching that is part of the Myofascial Technique, suddenly I realized my arms were pulling up to my chest as a flaring of Rheumatoid Arthritis pain in my wrists was triggered.  But in that jerking, the Lord of Love brought a release.

“Offer the pain up to Me now,” He invited.  And He reminded me of the word that He has been speaking to me all summer: Incense.

And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. Revelation 5:8 NIV

 Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. Revelation 8:3-4 NIV

As I thought about the incense and the prayers of the saints, and as I thought about the anointing oil, neither the incense nor the oil was created without pain. The spices for both were ingredients that were scraped, chiseled or gathered from various trees and herbs. They were then crushed, and pounded, and boiled through a distillation process to remove the dross before they were finally pure enough to be used for the proper purposes. (You can read more in Exodus 20 for the Lord’s specific instructions.)

I have become acquainted with crushing and burning and boiling away the dross of my life.

During the time when that dream was first given, I was deeply burdened and interceding for dear ones in a former church. Some of that intercession was never acknowledged, in fact, it was rejected and spurned.  I returned my prayers back to the Father, and found forgiveness for those who had rejected me.  But I never understood that the pain could be offered as a gift also.

I tucked the pain down deep, moved on, and asked God to show me His next steps in my life. But the explanation of the setting for the dream was never fully understood until just this week when these verses came to mind:

 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because[g] the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:22-27 ESV

Truly, those prayers that I carried felt like a kind of labor pain, Holy Spirit birthed praying. And through all those years of serving and praying, I carried those babies–those prayers–close to my heart. It was a natural, instinctive reaction to the pain that I felt.  But the Lord now whispered a gentle invitation to me from within my place of resting here:

Offer that labor pain, that baby, up to Me now, letting My Holy Spirit carry the incense of your prayers to Me fully. Allow My Holy Spirit to carry what you were never meant to hold onto. The pain is too heavy, it will always leave you hunched and curled. But I will pour my oil of joy on you as you release the incense of your prayers and pain.

“Incense”



The prayers of God’s people

rose

The smoke of incense wafted

behind

The Holy of Holies curtained

between



The priest in anointing oil

covered

Entered the curtained room

unveiling

Cloud of incense fragrance

trailing.



And the Father sang His song over His people.



As the fragrance of our Savior

wafted

the offering of His pain

became

the prayer that rescued our souls.



His blood shed for me.

His pain borne for mine.



My pain and prayers lifted as

offering

Fragrance wafting with Savior’s

joining

Gift of rescue now

delighting.



And the Father sings His song over His people.



My heart now covered in oil

anointing

Enters into His Holiest Heart

releasing

Cloud of incense fragrance

trailing



The oil of HIS joy is pouring.

And while the Father has been singing His song over me, He has been pulling the pain up from those hunched over places. His oil of joy has been seeping into every hunched and curled place.

Are you acquainted with crushing and pounding and hunching and curling?

Could you hear the Father asking of you the same thing He has been asking of me?

Sing with Me here.  The pain and prayers have always been woven together, and I long to hear your voice singing with mine.

From within my own place of weakness here, I offer His song back to Him now, and I ask Him to bring to you the blessing of His oil of joy flowing over you:

Dear Father,

We come before You now confessing our weaknesses and seeing the dross that has accumulated. We long to lay down the pain that has been too heavy for us to carry. Will You open our hunched and curled arms to lift this incense up to Your Holy Spirit to carry now? Thank You for allowing us to join You in the prayers we have carried. Oh, but thank You that You see the weight that was never meant to stay on our shoulders. Receive the offering of this pain now. We give to You the prayers and the pain alike. Pour the oil of Your joy upon us now, as we rest within Your singing love.

In the precious name of Jesus, we pray,

Amen.

Part 2: The Living Water of God

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come tome and drink. John 7:37 (ESV)

Welcome to Part 2 of Arise and Shine: The Living Water of God. Today, Bettie is opening part 2 with a devotional, including a poem and prayer. She shares a personal testimony on the gift of God’s living water that washes us in the truth and grace of our God.

May God bless you richly today, as you sit at His feet with us to listen and drink deeply of His living water in your weakness and need. May God pour out rivers of living water in our midst, out of each of our hearts, as He awakens fresh faith in us, through the power of His living and active Word.

“Oh, Lord, I will never be washed clean enough!” The words escaped from my lips as yet another sore erupted on my body, the result of some type of allergic reaction to a bug bite.  Chronic illness and the weakness that followed it had brought to me another physical reaction out of my control. And yet, I took up the blame I heard the enemy whispering in my ear:  “Surely this is your fault. You should have taken better care of yourself. You should have seen these things coming. Surely you could have done something!”

Why did I take upon myself this endless load of responsibility? Had I become self-sufficient to the point of neglecting my own dependency on God?

“From the sole of your foot to the top of your head there is no soundness— only wounds and welts and open sores, not cleansed or bandaged or soothed with olive oil.” Isaiah 1:6

“The person to be cleansed must wash their clothes, shave off all their hair and bathe with water; then they will be ceremonially clean. After this they may come into the camp, but they must stay outside their tent for seven days. Leviticus 14:8

A year passed, and the strange reactions to the bug bites had become a distant memory.  When more medications were tried, and failed, the Doctor called me in to begin yet another injection. Humiliated, I was forced to show the Doctor the rash that had come back, a huge welt and ugly bruise around each bite.

When I heard his quickly uttered response: “There is no infection here. But you have a bleed under the surface, probably caused by a reaction to the latest medication,” something within me marked those words to ponder later.  

Why had I assumed, once again, that the rash was my fault? Why had I tried to “get by” when a medication was so obviously not reacting well with my own body? 

Those wounds on my flesh caused me to feel like an outcast, covered in shame. I wanted to clean those ugly sores; oh how I wanted to wash them away. I didn’t want them seen! But God had exposed those outer wounds to show me the deeper truth: there is a soul cleansing and a heart healing that I cannot provide for myself. 

I know it all too well, now, here in this Season. He has taken away my own methods of preserving my flesh, and brought me to a place where cleanness of heart is a gift to be granted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Hebrews 13:11-12

How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! Hebrews 9:14

The burning wounds 
They glare
My arms ache
From the scrubbing.

How can I be clean?
Where is my purity?
When did I lose my wholeness?

Seeing here the blemishes I
Bear
Crying out for wholeness
Has become a daily chant

But what if
My wounding is not meant to
Leave
While my weakness is revealing
A deeper sore?

My own pride I lay it
Down
My own strength I
Surrender

There is no good in me
Covered here with sores
From head to foot
I am sinful born

Jesus comes.

He takes the basin and the
Towel
He lifts my feet and plunges
Into water deep

Wash me here whiter
Than snow
You see me pure
You call me clean

Where once I walked in my
Own strength
Self-sufficient
All the way,
Beauty now has come to me
Washed by You alone.

Dear Lord Jesus,

We lay ourselves, wounded, sore, and bandaged, before You now. We cry out for Your mercy in this place, because we know that we cannot cleanse ourselves. Forgive us for trying to take up that responsibility. And forgive us for believing the lie that the shame of those woundings is ours to bear alone.

Oh precious Lord, thank You for taking up the basin and washing clean what had been incurable. Thank You for taking on Yourself what was our responsibility, and freeing us from that load! Oh the depth of Your mercy overwhelms us. May we receive Your Love and Grace today. 

In Your sweet name we pray,

Amen.

He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. Titus 3:5

Join us for each chapter of The Living Water of God, as we add it here below, each week. Each chapter includes daily devotionals, prayers and/or poems.

Part 2: Chapter 1 – Silver Redemption

Part 2: Chapter 2 – Bronze Judgment

Part 2: Chapter 3 – Gold Perfection

Arise and Shine: Beloved, You are Mine

This is 
My Word
Flowing
Through you
In truth
Kissing grace
I'm declaring
My children
Mine.

Each word
You pen
My song
Is singing
In Spirit
And truth
My children
A hope
And a future
In every Promise
I AM
Declaring.

Sealed
In My blood
And raised
From the tomb
Feast now
In broken bread
And new wine
Flowing into
New wineskins:
Mine.

For, My goodness
And My mercy
Has been
Chasing you
Beautifully opening you
More and more
To love
From the hands
And feet of
Your servant King
Who loved you
First.

For, I've
Anointed you
Not to boast
In your pride
But in your
Weakness
That My
Perfecting work
May now rise
To sing.

For, in
Christ alone
Your offering
A free-will
Offering
Has Become
For I build
My Temple
In truth
And grace.

Sing of how:

My Body's tears
I gather
Into joy
Transforming.

My Body's fears
I uncover
Into awe
Exchanging.

My Body's doubts
I lay bare
Into faith
Transforming.

My Body's pride
I uncover
For My pride in them
Exchanging.

My Body's hurt
I release
Into My oil of mercy
Transforming.

Don't you see?
I've anointed you
Refined you
In fires pure
Washed you
In living water
You are
My gift of Hope
To the world.

Now go!
Awake
Don't hide the lamp
I've given you
Under a bushel
But shine your light
Brightly
On My hill.

Let Me lift the veil
To reveal
My Beloved Bride
Unto the world
That I may
Come unto her.

For, I am 
Pouring out 
My jealous love 
Upon the altar
Of My Broken Body.

I am laying her 
Before Me open
Freely and wholly
In My living sacrifice 
Holy and pleasing
I AM
Lifting her up
Unto Me
Alone.

See and smell
My sweet incense
Raising Christ
Awaking
My living stones
Building
A spiritual house
Acceptable
In Christ alone.

Arise and shine
Beloved
You are Mine!
Come, hold my dear friend, Bettie’s hand, as she invites Jesus to pray through us, today. Bettie Gilbert kindly accepted my request to pen a prayer to accompany this poem. You can find her prayer in written form below.

Dear Lord Jesus,


Thank You for making us your very own dear children, and calling us by Your name. We are humbled and speechless because we have felt our nameless-ness. We see our weaknesses that rise to the surface here. And in this place you wash us with Your blood freely poured for us. Our foreheads are sealed with the name given by Your Holy Spirit now. We scarce can take it in: we are Your Beloved.


Oh, how our hearts long to sit at Your feet, to wash Your feet with our tears. Those tears that were born in the pain of the refining and the purifying, they are caught here, each one saved in Your bottle of remembrance. For we have joined in Your suffering, eaten of Your bread, and fellowshipped with You, our sweet Savior.


And now we receive, in this place of brokenness, the merciful oil of Your intercession for us. Our prayers become mingled with Yours, and the incense of Your presence wafts over us here. Oh, that others could know the joy that we have tasted with You! Let Your name be known among our loved ones, those ones who have always been Yours first, before You brought them to us. Our prayers rise for them now.

We will rise and run in the path of Your commands–Your Words spoken over us and created within us–as Your Spirit carries us. We praise You, our Holy and Righteous Lover of our Soul.

In Your name, Jesus, we pray, Amen.