Monday, September 22, 2008

October 22 - Keeping the faith

"Faith is the center of the target for trials." All throughout the Word we learn that our faith is refined in this way. There is a special passage I share with my Pinky buddy in 2 Timothy and it was the subject of today's 2nd paragraph. I found it "GOD" because the last two nights, I have asked my hubby to read me the book of 2 Timothy. Again, as I read today's devotion, that VERY 2nd Timothy song by the Sons of Korah was playing on my iPod (out of a list of about 100 songs). So there you have it, three confirmations on this 2nd Timothy passage, "I have fought the good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith." And by that, I do not mean that I have done these things, but that such prayer TO DO these is imperative. That when the time comes, this can be said with confidence, with Paul.

Thank God that Jesus prays for us to keep the faith! I doubt we could otherwise. We are sifted in a sieve as today's verse confirms. A second "God"... yesterday I read p. 172 of Beside Still Waters entitled Sifted in a Sieve. It talked about how this refining produces a brave and hardy race. "Whether rich or poor, we must look on our present condition as a test in which God would make known to us whether we are solidly in Christ and in the work of the Holy Spirit or just superficial professors having a name to live, but who are dead." Ouch. But so important to really count the cost of our temperament...His purpose or our sin? Is His work being accomplished in you?

"Faith must be tried, and seeming desertion is the furnace..."

The Psalmist often spoke of God's seeming absence. Desertion. I feel it often. When I sink into the depths of depression, I feel so alone...helpless...and hopeless. Two days ago, I thought, how can I do this godly?! I was exasperated and sick of myself. It is a horrid thing to be sick of the very person that you are. That is when I asked my hubby to read to me 2 Timothy. Paul says that God gives us a sound mind. A sound mind. A sound mind.

It is odd that in my darkest hours, I find it difficult to read two words together, let alone sentences. So I think, I must rely on my spotty memory to fall on His Word...but then my memory fails because I cannot think in such a fog. And so, a few phrases cut the thick darkness, and I cling to them...
...He has not given us a spirit of darkness but a sound mind...
...Where does my help come from, my help comes from the Lord...
...In Him who is my strength...

And, through prayer, and the prayer of those that love me, I fumble through another day...clinging to phrase and faith.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sept. 10 - Purpose

"the Lord will fulfill His purpose for me"

I found today's reading in Psalms 138, very encouraging. I admit I have been a worrier as of late. I have worried over any and every detail...and I must say that it is exhausting to do so. I think that I get very frustrated when I don't get my way. How sad that I am still in such a 'toddler' state of mind.

I seem to take on the pain of others and feel devastated. On one hand, I know that it is this deep concern that turns me to the cross in prayer. But it is a fine line to watch; are my eyes turned toward Him or are they turning inward...toward my own strength? It is easy to get caught up into thinking that there is more I can do, or should do. I had a counselor once tell me, " 'should' on yourself." Should can be a very dangerous word when used out of God's context. I should pray; I not be discouraged.

...for let the circumstances be what they may, it seeks only for God and His will, and it feels assured that God is making everything in the universe, good or bad, past or present work together for its good.

Oh, the blessedness of being absolutely conquered."

Please join me in praying for my dear, sweet friends as one prepares for a double mastectomy on the 16th (less than a week from now) and the other nears the one year anniversary of her hubby's death in this world and his entrance into the Kingdom of God.

Pray for me to be supportive and submissive to God's will...that I will not fight for control, but acquiesce to His will. Thanks you.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Aug 17 - I believe God

Today's passage shows a clip of George Mueller's faith. Then we read in Acts 27, a clip of Apostle Paul's faith. What treasures we have in the lives of those that have gone before us in faith.

What I know of George Mueller, to date, comes from a children's picture book. Yet, every time I read it, I get goose bumps and tears in my eyes. "At ninety-two George Muller died while sleeping peacefully. He'd helped ten thousand orphans through his life, which we can see was lived as an example of what each of us can do--If we will put our faith in God and let Him use us too. Whever God may lead us, whether it be near or far, as George discovered, through one girl: be helpful where you are." (George Muller: Faith to Feed Ten Thousand by Renee Taft Meloche)

In Acts 27, we read of Paul as the leader on a ship destined for destruction. He does not out-rank the others on board, in fact, he is a prisoner. But the difference between him and the other passangers (with the exception of Luke who is recording the event) is that Paul has HOPE. And in the absence of assurance, when those on board are desperate, their eyes turn toward the one who has HOPE. What else do they have? Their choice is clear: death or HOPE. [I am reminded of a young athlete who day after day would dispute the gospel with my pastor, who at the time was the young athlete's coach. One day, he ran to my pastor (his coach) and declared that he had proof that there was no God. He explained with excitment his reasoning. The argument he presented paled in comparison to the real issue which was presented by my pastor in this way: "Why are you so excited to prove that you have no hope?"]

Verse 29 says that those on board 'prayed for day to come.' "Some Bible versions use the word wished instead of prayed, but the Greek word that is used always implies prayer (Disciplers Bible Study, 2001)." These men on board were actually praying with Paul, soldiers, crew and prisoners, alike.

Mueller, likewise, found his hope in prayer, and in faith that could move mountains (in this case fog). He tells the captain, "I have known m Lord for 57 years, and there has never been a single day that I have failed to get audience with the King." While we can each and every one of us say the same thing, do we? Do we revel in the fact that we 'get audience' with our Lord every time we seek Him. That He has and will never turn us away. What a cause to rejoice. How many times have you called a friend, a place of business or even a family member, and found that you were unable to 'get audience' that minute, hour, day, week, etc. But with our Lord, we have audience even when we have no clue. God said, "Consider my servant Job" because God Himself 'considered' Job. Likewise, He 'considers' us. We must make time to 'consider' Him in return. It is shameful for me to think of how much time I spend actually 'considering' God. Thankfully, God has blessed me with family members and friends who love to talk about God, who help me to keep God at the forefront of my thoughts. (thank you mom, Edie and Suzie) Nevertheless, I fall short. I know by His word, that I am not alone. We all fall short...and therefore, the CROSS.

Lastly, as I read today's Streams passage and Acts 27, a particular chorus rang out in my ears. It actually, began yesterday and now I realize its signifigance. You see, yesterday was my grandmother's birthday, although she celebrates in heaven now. But, when she was still here, she would break out in hymn every time I saw her...every time. So, in her memory, I leave you with the chorus that has been ringing in my ears since yesterday, and so fittingly claims these passages in Streams and in Scripture.

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, What a glory He sheds on our way! While we do His good will, He abides with us still, And with all who will trust and obey. Trust and obey, For there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise, Not a cloud in the skies, But His smile quickly drives it away; Not a doubt nor a fear, Not a sigh nor a tear can abide while we trust and obey. Trust and Obey, for there's no other way To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

But we never can prove the delights of His love until all on the altar we lay; for the favor He shows and the joy He bestows are for them who will trust and obey. Trust and Obey, For there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet, or we'll walk by His side in the way; What He says we will do, Where He sends we will go, Never fear, only Trust and obey. Trust adn obey For there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey."

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Wisdom will me???

I have, of late, been more acutely aware of how I fall short of the mark (God's mark) in every aspect of my being. It's not a particular's more an awareness of sinfulness. Spurgeon's commentary on Psalm 51, verse 6, lifted a huge weight from my spirit. David wrote:
Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.
And Spurgeon writes: Behold. Here is the great matter for consideration. God desires not merely outward virtue, but also inward purity. The penitent's sense of sin is greatly he...realizes how far he is from satisfying the divine demand...You desire truth in the inward parts. Reality, sincerity, true holiness, and heart fidelity, these are God's demands. He cares not for the pretense of purity; He looks to the mind, heart, and soul...To God, the inward is as visible as the outward and He rightly judges that the essential character of an action lies in the motive. And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom. The penitent feels that God is teaching him truth concerning his [the penitent's] nature...the love of the heart, the mystery of its fall, and the way of its purification, this hidden wisdom we must attain. It is a great blessing to BELIEVE that the Lord will make me to know wisdom. No one can teach our innermost nature except the Lord, and He can instruct us to profit. The Holy Spirit can write the law on our heart, and that is the sum of PRACTICAL wisdom. He can put the fear of the Lord within, and that is the BEGINNING of wisdom (Prov. 9:10). He can reveal Christ in us, and He is ESSENTIAL wisdom. Such poor, foolish, disarranged souls as ours WILL YET BE ORDERED ARIGHT, and TRUTH AND WISDOM WILL REIGN IN US. (ALL CAPS emphasis, mine.)

Friday, May 2, 2008

May 2 - Winds

"The only safety is, in everything, to love and trust and praise." -Mark Guy Pearse
Thankfully it does not say to be happy. My soul lingers where I do not want to linger. As of late, I have begun to grumble---'I'm tired of feeling like this'--I've been grumpy and discontent. How good it is to be reminded that HE brings every wind and no one else. Better yet, how humbling it is to be reminded that HE sacrificed His life for me to have this wind. Psalm 103 is so beautiful and worthy of repetitive daily...also, it is one of the songs sung by Sons of Korah.

Monday, April 14, 2008

April 13 - Rest

Some things that stood out to me in Ezekiel 1-3: God tells Ezekiel that He is sending him to a rebellious people; He tells Ezekiel that they will give him "looks" and He tells Ezekiel not to be afraid! If God tells you not to be afraid, you can bet it is going to be scary. So, if God knows they will not hear what Ezekiel will say, then why does He bother sending him at all? 2:5 explains that the purpose is for Israel to know they they have a prophet among them. It's almost like our "due process." He also explains to Ezekiel that Ezekiel himself will be saved by proclaiming the Words of God. It is interesting to think of God calling His 'chosen people' a "rebellious nation." It makes me think of our churches today - there are many that do not proclaim the Word of God. They are rebellious; not wanting to be scorned by a rebellious people, they preach what the people want to hear. They do not want to offend the sinner, lest he not come to church. But at what cost do these churches keep the rebellious sinner in their midst? They threaten the children among them and their very own flock. And, then, sin begets sin. Where does the line get drawn in omission of offense? Jesus offended when He came. He endured scorn for our us, how much more shouldn't we endure scorn and 'looks' for Him? Proclaiming God's word is not negotiable.

God tells Ezekiel that the blood of the rebellious will be on Ezekiel's hands if He does not proclaim the Words of God. He says it twice in 2:18 and 20. In contrast, He says that if Ezekiel does as God instructs/obeys, Ezekiel's soul will be delivered.

Streams uses Ezekiel 3:22 as a springboard for rest in God. Although I do believe that God provides many passages for such admonition, I don't think this is one of them. I don't see Ezekiel getting much rest. I see him being tested in his obedience to God. There in the plains, Ezekiel sees God's glory and falls on his face! Rest? If you consider a quickened heart rate as rest. On the heels of seeing God's glory, he is sent out of the plains, back to his house where he is told that he will be shut in and bound in ropes. It doesn't resonate 'rest' with me...I think God was increasing Ezekiel's faith to prepare him for the hard work ahead of him. I'd love to hear your comments/perspective.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

April 8 - Thorns in the Flesh

“Shew me that I have climbed to Thee by the path of pain.

:Shew me that my tears have made my rainbow.”

-George Matheson

What is at the end of your rainbow?

A cloud or a pot of gold?