Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Forward March

Isaiah 59:19

19 So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.

Just a short and hopefully sweet post here about letting the Lord fight the battle.  Sometimes after experiencing a mountaintop, the valley seems to come right up and smack you in the face.

And "enemy" seems like such a strong word.  We all know there is an enemy of our soul - but can we truly blame everything on him?  I would like to think I have no earthly enemies - although there has been a time or two that I've wondered.  A lot of times it is just life!  It happens!  In that case the enemy is discouragement and disappointment.

So, regardless of whatever "enemy" we face, if we get up, shake ourselves off, praise the name of the Lord, He will fight that enemy.  When we feel weak from our introduction to the valley, He will lift up a standard for us.  Forward march!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Psalm 51:10

Psalm 51:10

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

This is one of my favorite verses to pray.  I have learned over the years that you also have to be careful, truly, of what you ask for - I have, a time or two, prayed this somewhat nonchalantly.  There is nothing nonchalant about God's plan or will for us.  If you think about it - how would one have a clean heart created in them?  How would one's spirit be renewed to be right? 

Well, I can tell you.  It is not an overnight process.  Yes, God can speak things into existence, however; some things would not be what they are without a process.  In this case, I think it is safe to assume that the opposite of a clean heart is an unclean heart, and a right spirit - one with issues.  So, by my own experience (still continuing, I might add) the process of having a clean heart created in one's self is the painful digging out of the old stuff.  The stuff that keeps one held back from complete openness and communion with God.  Through the "process" of God creating a clean heart - our spirits can be renewed.  This frees us from the things that keep us down and tears down the walls that we build up for protection from hurts, etc.

While the process can be painful, the result is a closeness with God that replaces the walls that we build.  The things that the unclean heart and wounded spirit once struggled with become blurry through the haze of the presence of God in our clean heart and right spirit. 

If you have been here and done this - you are a witness of these things.  If you have never been here, pray this scripture and then let God begin the will not regret it. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

God and Great Things

Job 37:5
(New Century Version)

God’s voice thunders in wonderful ways;
    he does great things we cannot understand.

I have always believed that God is God and being so, He is worthy of my praise and worship regardless of my circumstances.  When I've gone through rough spots and didn't feel like worshipping - I would praise anyway because He is God and worthy and that is a good enough reason to worship!  I would remind myself that He didn't need to actually do anything for me to deserve it - He just is God.  Period, end of story. 

Only, I realized recently that while this is certainly true, I cannot separate out who God is and what He does.  He does great things because He is God.  He is God and so He does great things!  It is who He is! 

I also found it interesting that the passage I chose is from the book of Job.  Job, of all people, knew what it was like to worship God in spite of his circumstances.  We may not always understand the way God does things.  Sometimes, we probably miss the great things because of our limited perspective.  But, this we do know - He is God, and He does great things.  The two are not mutually exclusive - in fact, they are one and the same.  He is worthy to be praised and worshipped for it!  

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Nothin' but a Thing

Jeremiah 17:7-8
(Living Bible)

But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and has made the Lord his hope and confidence. He is like a tree planted along a riverbank, with its roots reaching deep into the water—a tree not bothered by the heat nor worried by long months of drought. Its leaves stay green, and it goes right on producing all its luscious fruit.

As I was reading in Jeremiah this morning, I read over this passage and the meaning jumped out at me in such a way that I had to share. 

We all know, and I have written about it ad nauseam in this blog, life is full of trouble and trials, etc, etc.  While, of course, I do not  minimize anyone's problems, even my own, I can see that God has been gently speaking to me about my trust in Him.

Over the past week or so, I have been thinking about how doubt is really a form of believing - just a choice of what one is believing.  I have been contemplating my own doubts, which have been many...some of which included doubts about God. 

So, this morning when I read this, my soul jumped at the opportunity to trust with confidence.  To have the kind of trust that stands up to the heat and drought of life and just goes right along like those things are nothing at all. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Day!

Lamentations 3:22-23
The Living Bible

22 his compassion never ends. It is only the Lord’s mercies that have kept us from complete destruction. 23 Great is his faithfulness; his loving-kindness begins afresh each day.

January 1st, a day the majority of us reflect on the previous year, and look toward the new year with goals, dreams and plans.  Reflection is good.  It helps one build on the good things and learn from the bad things. 

In another sense, though, this day is just like every other day of the year.  In respect to the mercy and grace of God, His loving-kindness and compassion.  Every single day of this past year, I have counted on these things.  And in reflecting upon the year, I can see He has remained faithful.  I suspect that January 1st means a lot less to Him than it does to us.  He begins each day for us with a new, fresh dose of these things that we cannot live without. 

I look forward to this new year, to each new day, to more opportunities to know God's mercy and faithfulness.  Happy New Day!

Friday, December 6, 2013

How To Cast

1 Peter 5:6-7

7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

You may notice that my scripture reference includes verse 6 but that the verse is not included in my opening.  If you continue to read this post, you will see why and understand. 

Having grown up "in church" I have heard this verse quoted and re-quoted, and repeated, and re-repeated.  I came to a point in my life where I really needed to cast my cares on God...and I realized, to my embarrassment and shame...I didn't know how.  

I didn't know how!!  I felt like I would "cast" them...and they would fall right back on me.  Obviously, I was missing something.

Thankfully, since I did grow up "in church", I remembered something my dad always used to say about when you don't understand something in scripture, to look at the previous scripture(s) to figure it out.  So, in my desperation, I read verse 6.  Here is what it says...

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

Anyone who has read my blog all along, may know that God tends to speak to me in a sort of jumping out way.  This was another one of those times.

First of all, I noticed that there was a colon at the end of verse 6.  Now, I am not an English major or anything like that, but I do know that a colon means that a thought or concept is continued or explained.  In this instance, verse 7 was never meant to stand on its own!

As I read verse 6, and I let it flow into verse 7, the jumping out part happened.  One cannot cast care anywhere without first doing what verse 6 says to do.  In fact, as I humbled myself under God's mighty hand that very day, (i.e. His power over and in my life), I found that my cares sort of cast themselves on Him!  It was just a natural result of saying, God, I give my life to you, whatever You let me go through, whatever You put me through, I trust in Your power and Your timing.  That is how you do it!!

I cannot sit here today and write this without confessing to having days of un-humbling myself.  As a human with a finite perspective on things, it is a process that needs to be done regularly.  My natural inclination is to worry and stress.  But when I remember to take a minute to bow to His power and plan, I find the cares of life are lifted.  I will never again hear verse 7 quoted without remembering and knowing that verse 6 must be done in order to cast my cares on Him. That's when, and only when I will know and sense the care He has for me.  

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

No Man's Land

Romans 12:6-8
The Voice
Since our gifts vary depending on the grace poured out on each of us, it is important that we exercise the gifts we have been given. If prophecy is your gift, then speak as a prophet according to your proportion of faith. If service is your gift, then serve well. If teaching is your gift, then teach well. If you have been given a voice of encouragement, then use it often. If giving is your gift, then be generous. If leading, then be eager to get started. If sharing God’s mercy, then be cheerful in sharing it.

I have spent a lot of time worrying about not being able to live up to my own expectations.  Recently, I have been dealing with some disappointment and a feeling of being in "no man's land" and unable to be all I think I should be, so I decided to turn to the Word to find some encouragement.

I came across this passage and, of course as usual, the Word spoke to me and is helping me to regain my focus.  I may not live up to my own expectations of myself...or anyone else's, however; according to these scriptures it definitely seems clear to me that the focus should be on what I do have to give and whether or not I am willing to utilize the gifts that God did give me. 

My suspicion is that most of us look around us and see the gifts that others have and somehow think that we should be able to do the same things, and if not, we are lacking in some way.  This would naturally distract one from their own gift!  And as a result, one's own gift would suffer from inaction.  Another negative result is that our families, circle of friends, and churches would become sterile and stagnant.  We need each of these gifts to be operating within us and around us to fully fulfill the plan God has for them in the first place! 

Maybe you and I do not completely know what our gifts are, maybe we don't need to know...maybe God created within us a natural instinctive desire to reach out in these individual ways.  I'm thinking that less worry about what we can't do and more reaching out in the way God leads us to is really all we need to be concerned with.  That "no man's land" feeling could just simply be God's prompting to use the gifts He gave you - and me!