“Love’s Grace Extolled” a worship poem from LWillows

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Love’s Grace Extolled

Love finds me falling into its grace deep,
a winsome warm wave of sweet callings keep.
Oh follow this near, I could not part far,
from this Heart of Love’s reap,
not by distance nor star.

Find me in the shining of far light above.
It hovers, yet reaches to come near to love.
Like the twilight that arises as sister to the moon,
Love comes near to touch; I fall into a swoon.

Love finds me falling through celestial scroll
tendered with prayers that invoke Gods’ extol.
Turning my Face to the beauty of Thee.
I am washed, filled within, with the soul of devotee.

©2012 Linda Willows, republish 2018

“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

“His banner over me is love.”
Song of Songs 2:4

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“Reaching to The God of Love” Testimony from LWillows…we love Him because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19

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Reaching to the Love of God

“And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.” 1 John 5

Recently I experienced a fervent increase in prayer for the experience of God’s Love. Reading and diving deeper into scripture provided a rich ground for my appeals.

I have been taught that the great intercessor, The Holy Spirit would guide my prayers, even cleanse the veil of tears that cloud my own unknowing. My great Shepherd, Christ Jesus is listening.

Ephesians 6:1
With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.

With my arms reaching up and hands extended, fingers themselves pointed towards an invisible yet tangible one that I sensed could see their tips though I, could only vaguely sense through my belief and conviction that these endearing and vastly loving eyes held a gaze upon me as I worded my prayer.

“Father, I know that you are there. By the power of your Spirit, help me to know your Love. I need You, only You and nothing more. My entire existence depends only on You. Anything other than You can and will fall away, shift, fail, lose and die. You alone are Life. I can rely on nothing but you…

My own heart sees and knows nothing and no thing. Apart from You I am nothing. Help me to know you. Help me to see You and to feel you in my heart. Open my eyes to the depth of You. Lead me to Your Love. Father, in this hour I must know you and meet with Your Love. I hold open my arms, my hands outstretched waiting for you. This is the hour that I must know Your Love and receive You. I am waiting, Father. Lord Jesus, I bid your Love.”

It was nighttime. I waiting in a sustained stillness. I lay in the dark with my arms lifted in a cupped reach. My heart wept as I persisted in prayer speaking to The Lord in appeal, waiting like a child for one that made a promise that he would keep. I believed His promise. I don’t think that I had ever before in my life had so much belief that my Father would keep his promise or that he saw and heard me than in these waiting moments.

I could only hear my breath and feel the flush of my own river of tears. Then in a soft shift, I felt my nostrils open and the air around me open as if I were in a new atmosphere. I began to breathe in with an experience unknown to me. I noticed that my chest was rising and falling with a new fullness as if something other than me were drawing breath in and out from a source beyond me. Air, rarified and magnified by something other than oxygen seemed to ventilate itself into me. I was the recipient.

Job 27:3 For as long as life is in me, And the breath of God is in my nostrils.

Softly, I did not feel like the “Breather”. It felt like I was being breathed by Spirit or perhaps Love. I did not know. I was gently overcome by peace. “It” as breath or air,  seemed able to sweep into my being. I felt “lifted” as if weightless and carried but still in the same place where I lay. My heart and chest felt opened and I experienced a sense of “parting” down the center where the Breath seemed to circulate and then turn back to its source which was far beyond to the One that I had prayed to. I kept gazing towards Jesus Christ during it all.

 Isaiah 42.5 “Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and its offspring, Who gives breath to the people on it And spirit to those who walk in it.”

I did not know how long this lasted at the time. I felt a sense of timelessness and expansiveness. I experienced complete Peace unlike any other I ever have known. I remember noticing afterward that it was not a “feeling”. It was not something that could come and go or rise and fall as we experience with our mortal heart or senses. This Peace was far beyond and something of an eternal nature.

After an unknown amount of time, The Breathe and Breathing receded like a gentle flow motioning itself back to where it came from. I recall the difference of my own breathing as it returned. It was so limited by comparison. But the gift of this blessing remained.

My first thoughts were of gratitude. I also felt great joy. I thought about scripture and much went through my heart of The Promises of God. It is all true, I thought! I could see the word lifting of the pages of Scripture. Living True. My own form had been blended with Spirit, the same Loving Spirit of God that I found in His Holy Word. I had read that scripture was “God-Breathed”. Were we God-Breathed by His Spirit of Love? This was the beginning of many new searches throughout scripture about the nature of God.

Acts 17:25 “nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since
He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things.”

I had asked to know the Love of Christ Jesus. The answer came as I was given His Peace by the Power of His Holy Spirit. His Presence was undeniable. His Love was not to be questioned. We question Him but it is our own veiled heart that puts the question mark there. God’s Love has never receded. He has always been there. He is faithful. He is the Great Shepherd.

The next morning I soaked in the verse from
1 John 4:19 “We love him because he loved us first”.

It answered my prayer. Everything came in a beautiful windfall. I asked to be loved but I already was. I had been reversing the order. Like a child, or as the Bible describes us- I had still kept part of the “orphan” mentality. I saw myself as “not unified with Him basking in His Love. I was asking With Him. Yet I have received Grace. I was sanctified and justified by Faith. He already Loved me. I was the one asking the wrong question. I was the one whose “face” was seeing a distortion in the mirror.

1 Corinthians 13:12 “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”

He loved me first. Jesus lived a sinless and sacrificial life for me, he suffered and bore all the sins of mankind on the cross and was resurrected so that I could be born into His Grace and know a Love as great as His, as great as His Father’s Love for HIm.

1 John 3:1
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

John 15:9
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.

And so I remain.
It has been many days since that night of prayer and the experience of “being breathed”. But my heart is altered. I know that Love is peace. I have experienced that being Loved by The Lord causes us to Love. Belief heightens and Faith grows brighter like the Light of a torch in the heart that we carry on this mortal journey. That Light will both convict me of my failings and lead me to my Great Shepherd. The silence in my heart will still me so that I can hear His Voice calling me.

Lord, help us all to remain in your steadfast love. Lead us by your gentle and sweet calling in all nights. Let your Light Shine before us. Be the breath of Spirit that causes us live according to your will.

© 2018 Linda Willows

“Upon Prayer’s Bended Knee”, a worship poem by LWillows

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Silent O the morning
in light’s beautified slant
Each tree branch held bended
felled wanting
cupped sweet.
Leaves groomed as green lace
display sky and God’s breeze;
whispering prayers scent
Love’s aroma advent.

Surely for God,
only His, this for all.
Life swept aside
in the grandeur of the hours.
Silent hearts heightened
Holy reaching, towers to us
in the slant of light’s glimmer,
we are hallowed, we are tilled
at Glory’s day’s break, we are tended,
we are stilled.

Lend Holy song’s blush
In the grace of shade tree
Love reaches, falls softly
Upon prayer’s bended knee.

© 2018 Linda Willows

Psalm 17:6
I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray.

Psalm 116
I love the Lord because he hears my prayers and answers them. 2 Because he bends down and listens, I will pray as long as I breathe!

“Liberty to be Transformed” from Bob Hoekstra’s ‘Day by Day Grace’

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Liberty to be Transformed

Bob Hoeksra ~ Day by Day Grace Blue Letter Bible, Daily Devotionals

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

Living day by day under the new covenant of grace embraces the spiritually liberating work of the Holy Spirit. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17). When the Holy Spirit is relied upon, there is liberty to be transformed.

This transformation process is for every believer who lives by the terms of the new covenant: “But we all.” The terms are simple: renounce self-sufficiency (“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves”-2 Corinthians 3:5a) and rely on God’s sufficiency (“but our sufficiency is from God”-2 Corinthians 3:5b). Those who reject human resources (the flesh) seek God “with unveiled face.” They come humbly, without any veils of pretense or self-justification.

Coming to the Lord in this manner brings an ongoing blessing: “beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord.” Three mirrors reflect the glory of Christ from heavenly places into the experience of the redeemed here on earth: the creation, the church, and the Scriptures. The universe declares His glory. “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork” (Psalm 19:1). Also, the Lord can be seen living in His people. “For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh” (2 Corinthians 4:11). These two mirrors are helpful, but they can be distorted by sin. The mirror that reflects the Lord’s glory flawlessly is His word. “The law of the LORD is perfect…these [the Scriptures] are they which testify of Me” (Psalm 19:7; John 5:39).

As we humbly seek the Lord in His word, we behold His glory therein. The wonderful consequence is that we “are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory.” From one area after another, from one degree to another, we are being changed into the likeness of the glorious Savior we are beholding. This process is carried on as only the Holy Spirit could do it: “just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

Dear Heavenly Father, I long to be more like Your Son. Forgive me for neglect of Your word. Please draw me consistently to the Scriptures, that I might humbly behold the glory of Jesus. Thank You for the work of Your Spirit, who is able to transform me into a growing Christlikeness, Amen.

“Praising, words raising” a worship prayer from LWillows

 

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“Praising, words raising”

My heart parting open, like rivers to You
Oceans becoming, with gratitude due.
My God, O my Lord how you hear our night calls;
Power reaching, rekindling and sweeping through all.

Faith climbs like a fire with flames growing bright
Embers are glowing still warmed by Your Light.
My God, O my Lord how I bend to your knee
Praising, words raising all life before Thee.

© Linda Willows 2018

Psalm 145
1I will extol You, my God, O King,
And I will bless Your name forever and ever.
2Every day I will bless You,
And I will praise Your name forever and ever.
3Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised,
And His greatness is unsearchable.