Monday, May 23, 2016

Live like you're in Heaven




I am coming to the end of a season of great joy, and seemingly, entering into a season of heartache...

A lyric from a pop song by Green Day, "Closing Time", aptly depicts this fact of life...

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.

As you all know, I enjoyed over two years with my daughter, son-in-law and now 14 month old granddaughter living with me and my husband.  I will be forever grateful to the Lord for allowing such a blessed season in my life.  The joy of having my daughter and son-in-law around, and the sheer delight of cherishing every day of my granddaugther's first 14 months.

The time is approaching where they will be moving into their own place.  We don't know where or when exactly, but some time soon...  This will be a very exciting time for them.  A new beginning...

As a parent, you always feel blessed to see your children go off and live their lives successfully, fully dependent on the Lord.  But of course it is bittersweet as well...

That will mark the official emptying of the nest.  {I've experienced my daughter moving to California, but my son was still home.  When my daughter moved back in, my son got married and moved out.} 

The empty nest will be more profoundly felt as my granddaughter will be part of the flight...

Contributing to this season of heartache, my daughter and son-in-law's beloved German Shepherd, Dakota, who has lived in our home a majority of his life, is coming to the end of his days, more than likely in the next couple of weeks...  It is always so hard to say goodbye to a pet.  And Dakota, well he is just a member of the family.  He has such a gentle spirit and has brought us so much joy.

I realize I'm not the only one who is in a season of heartache, such as life...

I know of dear sweet brothers and sisters in the Lord who are enduring unimaginable heartache...  My heart grieves with them...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We are just pilgrims here...  

Chosen to live in a time and space carved out by the Lord...  

With Kingdom work to do...

Joys to experience...

And trials to walk through, coming through the Father's loving hand, to draw us close to Him and remind us...

We are just pilgrims here...

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
    in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
As they go through the Valley of Baca
    they make it a place of springs;
    the early rain also covers it with pools.
They go from strength to strength;
    each one appears before God in Zion.
Psalm 84:5-7

The King James Version uses Valley of Weeping in the above verse.

I was always struck by the subsequent verse, "They go from strength to strength", because sadly, too often, I go from worry to worry...  

When I am going through a trial, my fretting leaves me so distracted that I can hardly focus on anything.  Housework, blogging, Bible study and prayer time, all are left by the wayside, as I go from worry to worry...

Why???  Why do I do that???  What is that possibly accomplishing! It is silly to be so distracted by worry that I don't even pray or spend time in the Word when that is the source of my strength!

As I reflected upon my besetting weakness sin, I was reminded of one of my favorite passages in the Bible,

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den.
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.
Isaiah 11:7-9

Being someone who loves the outdoors, I find these verses so comforting, reminding me of a time when there will be no more night, when I will always be outside in the constant presence of the Light of my God and Father   

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”
1 Corinthians 2:9

In reflecting upon Psalm 84 further, not to sound morbid, but tomorrow is not guaranteed for any of us.  We could be worrying about something that will happen tomorrow when in fact tomorrow we could be in the presence of the Lord, enjoying the scene described in Isaiah, and having our last tear wiped away when there will be no more dying, mourning, weeping, or pain.

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God;1 believe also in me.  In my 
Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take
 you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
John 14:1-3

Your hearts should be consumed with the knowledge of the highway to Zion.  

As you walk through the Valley of Weeping, you can live like you're in Heaven.  

Memorizing and meditating upon passages that describe our Heavenly home will cause springs of hope to grow up in the valley.  

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Revelation 21:1-4

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
Revelation 22:1-5

You will walk from strength to strength, and live like you're in Heaven.


"A few more rolling suns, at most,

Will land thee on fair Canaan's coast."

Thy head may be crowned with thorny troubles now, but it shall wear a starry crown ere long; thy hand may be filled with cares--it shall sweep the strings of the harp of heaven soon. Thy garments may be soiled with dust now; they shall be white by-and-by. Wait a little longer. Ah! how despicable our troubles and trials will seem when we look back upon them! Looking at them here in the prospect, they seem immense; but when we get to heaven we shall then

"With transporting joys recount,

The labours of our feet."

Our trials will then seem light and momentary afflictions. Let us go on boldly; if the night be never so dark, the morning cometh, which is more than they can say who are shut up in the darkness of hell. Do you know what it is thus to live on the future--to live on expectation--to antedate heaven? Happy believer, to have so sure, so comforting a hope. It may be all dark now, but it will soon be light; it may be all trial now, but it will soon be all happiness. What matters it though "weeping may endure for a night," when "joy cometh in the morning?"

{Excerpt from Charles Spurgeon's Morning and Evening}




Is your heart consumed with the highway to Zion?

Do you make your Valley of Weeping a place of springs?

Do you go from strength to strength knowing you will one day appear before the God of Zion?


How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place
Scottish Psalter

Bless’d are they in thy house that dwell,
they ever give thee praise.
Bless’d is the man whose strength thou art,
in whose heart are thy ways:

Who passing through Baca’s vale,
therein do dig up wells;
Also the rain that falleth down
the pools with water fills.

So they from strength unwearied go
still forward unto strength,
Until in Sion they appear
before the Lord at length.


Let it be so in our lives Lord, Let it be so...




**HOUSEKEEPING NOTE**  

I will be taking a blogocation the week of May 29th and will return with an all new post on Monday, June 6th.  :-)

Blessings,

Karen

You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me GraceA Little R&RTestimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday, Reflect His Love and Glory  Words of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsTGI SaturdaysSitting Among Friends Encourage Me Monday Words with Winter Essential FridaysSo Much at Home Family, Friendship & Faith House to Home Intentional Tuesday ,Wonderful Wednesday , Monday of Many BlessingsLiteracy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceSHINE Blog Hop Dance with JesusGive Me GraceBooknificent Thursdays UNITE Cozy Reading SpotMaking Your Home Sing Monday Social Butterfly Sundays  Let Us Grow Small Wonder Link-up Winsome Wednesday Growing in Grace Thursday After My CoffeeRewind Friday

Monday, May 16, 2016

A Call to Simplicity



My husband and I have been prayerfully considering a new church home; one that was closer to our house so that we could more easily be a part of the fellowship, and to serve more effectively.

Recently, the Lord brought to my mind a local church...   One that I was familiar with through some young mom friends whose children attend their AWANA program.

I mentioned this church to my husband who it turns out knew the Pastor through seminary.   We both agreed that it would be a good idea to visit the church.

As soon as I sat down in the pews of this small, humble church, listening to the Pastor speak from his heart with such joy and humility, opening Scripture, welcoming the congregation to worship our great God and Father, followed by the organist playing a familiar hymn, music I had missed hearing so very much, I felt like I had come home...

And then the preaching...  Preaching that I soaked up like a dry sponge...  Preaching delivered without presupposition or editorializing...  Preaching spoken with power that the Word of God brings...  Preaching in the frank, purity of the Word...  Preaching that provided much wisdom and insight...  Preaching that convicted and encouraged...  Preaching that lasted for an edifying hour, that I didn't want to end...  Preaching that I thought about the rest of the day and during the week... Preaching that I desperately needed back in my life...

Fast forward to this past Sunday, Mother's Day, when I felt like I had stepped back in time...

The elderly women in the congregation, donned in their spring bonnets; the sweet children's choir of four precious ones that sang, as if there were 10, songs in honor of mothers; the beautiful Scripture embellished totes filled with a bouquet of brightly colored daisies and a ribbon adorned bag filled with delicious chocolates, given to each of the ladies present that Mother's Day morning; and then the guest Pastor, with guitar in hand, leading the congregation in some of the old Spirituals like "Do Lord, Do Remember Me; In the Sweet By and By; Swing  Low Sweet Chariot and When the Saints Go Marching In".

In the sweet simplicity of that service, I walked away feeling loved, fulfilled and rich, rich in the fellowship of the Saints and rich in the grace and love of the Lord Jesus   I felt that I experienced a glimpse of the Sweet By and By...


There’s a land that is fairer than day,
And by faith we can see it afar;
For the Father waits over the way
To prepare us a dwelling place there.

Refrain:
In the sweet by and by,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore;
In the sweet by and by,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore.

We shall sing on that beautiful shore
The melodious songs of the blessed;
And our spirits shall sorrow no more,
Not a sigh for the blessing of rest.

To our bountiful Father above,
We will offer our tribute of praise
For the glorious gift of His love
And the blessings that hallow our days.
Sanford F. Bennett

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, 
that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity,
 not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.
2 Corinthians 1:12


The Apostle Paul issues a call to simplicity...  Simplicity in our hearts, our minds, our actions, our homes, and most especially culminating in our churches...

...church, where the saints gather in the simplicity of the Gospel.

But it seems that the church experience I described above, in all its simplicity, is becoming harder to find these days...  Having been replaced by concert settings with brightly colored spotlights and loud music; with a bent toward pleasing the world in order to entice people into the church... That may seem harsh, but when you boil it down, isn't that what is happening?  Rather than trust in the simplicity of the Word and the Gospel, churches are resorting to all sorts of entertainment in order to "get people in the pews".   Once there, the message is so watered down, that people walk away with no true understanding of what Salvation in Jesus is saving them from!  Hell is a topic considered taboo now.  But why??   There is no Good News without mention of the very hell that Jesus death has rescued us from.

 That IS the Good News!

Jesus suffered the wrath of God's judgement for the sins of the world so that we who believe are forgiven, and our sin debt paid.  We do not need to fear death and hell because our eternity is secured in Heaven.

He Himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours alone,
 but also for the sins of the whole world.
1 John 2:2

 Is there sincerity in preaching that avoids topics like sin and hell??

That in simplicity - (ἐν ἁπλότητι en haplotēti.) Tyndale renders this forcibly "without doubleness." The word means sincerity, candor, probity, plain-heartedness, Christian simplicity, frankness, integrity; see 2 Corinthians 11:3. It stands opposed to double-dealings and purposes; to deceitful appearances, and crafty plans; to mere policy, and craftiness in accomplishing an object. A man under the influence of this, is straightforward, candid, open, frank; and he expects to accomplish his purpose by integrity and fair-dealing, and not by stratagem and cunning. Policy, craft, artful plans, and deep-laid schemes of deceit belong to the world; simplicity of aim and purpose are the true characteristics of a real Christian...

...Not with fleshly wisdom - Not with the wisdom which is manifested by the people of this world; not by the principles of cunning, and mere policy, and expediency, which often characterize them. The phrase here stands opposed to simplicity and sincerity, to openness and straightforwardness. And Paul means to disclaim for himself, and for his fellow-laborers, all that carnal policy which distinguishes the mere people of the world. And if Paul deemed such policy improper for him, we should deem it improper for us; if he had no plans which he wished to advance by it, we should have none; if he would not employ it in the promotion of good plans, neither should we. It has been the curse of the church and the bane of religion; and it is to this day exerting a withering and blighting influence on the church. The moment that such plans are resorted to, it is proof that the vitality of religion is gone, and any man who feels that his purposes cannot be accomplished but by such carnal policy, should set it down as full demonstration that his plans are wrong, and that his purpose should be abandoned.
Barnes Notes on the Bible

I have had several young adults, those outside the church, say to me when we visited a modern church together, "Church should be church".   They were actually uncomfortable in the "concert" type setting.

I think in general, people outside the church expect church to be different.  They expect church to be church.  Can we honestly say it looks that way now?...

I know that there are differing opinions on this topic.

I also know that there is much being accomplished for the Kingdom of God in many modern churches today.

But my fear is that church leaders are assuming that they need to reinvent church to be more relevant, especially to the younger generation, but in the process, have lost the simplicity of tradition and the Word of God.   What will become of the next generation growing up in the church?  Will they crave sound doctrine or is the modern church actually training them to be entertained?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I understand that everyone worships differently, and I don't want to come across that I am judging one way over the other.

I am just concerned that the modern church is on a slippery slope, sliding farther and farther away from simplicity, Godly sincerity and wholly depending on the Grace of God.

What if the church would return to trusting in the simplicity of the Word to accomplish what it says it will...

It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
 It will accomplish all I want it to,  and it will prosper everywhere I send it.
Isaiah 55:11

...rather than forms of entertainment, multi-media presentations and me-centered messages...

Is the church's conscience clear?

Is the church conducting itself as a body standing on holy ground, set apart, a royal priesthood, whose focus is God, not on me and entertaining ears?

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
1 Peter 2:9

I am concerned that we as believers will have less and less tolerance for sacrificial, God-centered services, with in-depth teaching and preaching, preferring me-centered wants and desires to be satisfied during the service, to the detriment of our daily walk...

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.
2 Timothy 4:3

As a result, will we look any different than those who do not know Jesus, who live only for themselves and their selfish desires??

Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform
 you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know
 God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Romans 12:2

Is my conscience clear?

Am I behaving in the world with simplicity and Godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom, but by the grace of God?


The church's one foundation 
is Jesus Christ her Lord; 
she is his new creation 
by water and the Word. 
From heaven he came and sought her 
to be his holy bride; 
with his own blood he bought her, 
and for her life he died. 
Samuel J.  Stone

We as believers are the church.

O that we would return to the simplicity of conducting ourselves both individually and corporately as God's holy bride... For His blood has bought us, for our lives He died...


You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me GraceA Little R&RTestimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday, Reflect His Love and Glory  Words of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsTGI SaturdaysSitting Among Friends Encourage Me Monday Words with Winter Essential FridaysSo Much at Home Family, Friendship & Faith House to Home Intentional Tuesday ,Wonderful Wednesday , Monday of Many BlessingsLiteracy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceSHINE Blog Hop Dance with JesusGive Me GraceBooknificent Thursdays UNITE Cozy Reading SpotMaking Your Home Sing Monday Social Butterfly Sundays  Let Us Grow Small Wonder Link-up Winsome Wednesday Growing in Grace Thursday After My Coffee

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Ancient Paths



Where have the tradesmen gone?

The hardworking men that built this great nation, with blood, sweat and tears, minute by minute, hour by hour, brick by brick, wood plank by wood plank, with mortar, hammer and nails.

Where have the artisans gone?  Those men and women who used primitive means to handcraft works of art in furniture, pottery, clocks and jewelry.

They have been replaced by computerized technology...

Technology that allows precision recipes for mortar, and machines to mix.

Technology that pre-fabricates wood frames, and power-drives nails.

Technology that mass produces furniture, pottery, clocks and jewelry...

It's all about answering demand and fiscal responsibility; meeting production quotas with less employees on the payroll.

I wonder, do people who work in the modern day version of the trades, programming machines that actually do the work, and monitoring their output, feel the same sense of accomplishment and pride that the tradesmen and artisans felt when they handcrafted their pieces?  Is the work fulfilling or does it become monotonous?

{I realize there are still some tradespeople out there, but due to a reduction in the trades and the resulting lack of apprenticeships, tradespeople seem to be a dying breed.}

My son-in-law is a representative of that dying breed.  He just started his own home improvement business.  He has been doing masonry, carpentry and everything in between since he was 16; an apprentice early on before honing the skills to work independently.  I see the great pride he takes in his handiwork, and the happiness the finished product brings him.   It's as though the work of his hands is relaxing, not in the true sense of the word because it is certainly hard work, but in the ownership of his time, the satisfaction of the work, and the seasoned skill and wisdom he possesses.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thus says the Lord:
“Stand by the roads, and look,
    and ask for the ancient paths,
where the good way is; and walk in it,
    and find rest for your souls.
Jeremiah 6:16

Are we as believers a dying breed when it comes to practicing the trade of meaningful prayer, in-depth Bible study and sharing the Gospel?

An excellent woman [one who is spiritual, capable, intelligent, and virtuous], 
who is he who can find her?
Proverbs 31:10

Have we, as modern day Christians, forgotten the ancient paths, the good way to walk in where we find rest for our souls?

Have we forgotten to sit as apprentices under older Christ-followers who have trodden the ancient paths of tradition?

Have we allowed our personal prayer and Bible study time to become rote and mechanical?

Have we allowed ourselves to fall into the monotony of instant gratification and short attention spans?

Have we forsaken our First Love for technology and social media?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Let us return to the Good Way, continually looking with gratitude to the ancient path that our dear Savior walked in obedience to Calvary, where He willingly gave up His own life so that we could have eternal life.

You shall walk in all the way that the LORD your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess.
Deuteronomy 5:33

Let us not forsake the wisdom of the older generation, thinking it irrelevant for today.

Is not wisdom found among the aged?  Does not long life bring understanding?
Job 12:12

Let us intentionally seek the Lord in prayer and Bible study, mining the depths of God's Word, as Christ's tradesmen, retrieving beautiful pearls...

 The Parable of the Pearl of Great Value
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls,  who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
Matthew 13:45-46

And let us then become approved tradesmen of the Word, training ourselves to be diligent in the memorization of Scripture to draw upon every minute of every day, for it's direction, admonition, and wisdom, seeking to make apprentices of all those we meet along the path...

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Psalm 119:11

Let us cast aside our dependence on technology and social media, and return to our First Love by sitting under the feet of the Greatest Tradesman as His dearly beloved masterpieces so that we can walk in His work that He planned for us long ago...

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, 
so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Ephesians 2:10

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A prayer for those who are feeling mechanical and rote in their prayer life and Bible time; who feel spiritually dry...

Dear Heavenly Father, 

I thank you that I am fearfully and wonderfully made; that you formed my inward parts before one of my days came to be, and prepared works for me to do in advance for your Kingdom.

O Lord, don't allow me to fall into complacency and monotony where my walk with You is concerned, but light a spark in me to seek you with all my heart, soul, mind and strength; to look to the great Saints before me as spiritual mentors, and follow them on the ancient paths that lead to the good way where I will find rest for my soul.

In Jesus precious name,
Amen


The Woman Who Fears the Lord

An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,

and let her works praise her in the gates.
Proverbs 31:10-31


You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me GraceA Little R&RTestimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday, Reflect His Love and Glory  Words of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsTGI SaturdaysSitting Among Friends Encourage Me Monday Words with Winter Essential FridaysSo Much at Home Family, Friendship & Faith House to Home Intentional Tuesday ,Wonderful Wednesday , Monday of Many BlessingsLiteracy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceSHINE Blog Hop Dance with JesusGive Me GraceBooknificent Thursdays UNITE Cozy Reading SpotMaking Your Home Sing Monday Social Butterfly Sundays  Let Us Grow Small Wonder Link-up Winsome Wednesday Growing in Grace Thursday

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Lord's Got This!



In 2010, I entered into the most "out of control" situation of my life - the deployment of my then future son-in-law to the front lines of Afghanistan.

It was a similar feeling to when I put my children on the bus to Kindergarten for the first time.  That feeling when your child is no longer under your constant care, and you are entrusting them to the care of the bus driver and ultimately the teachers at school.

Yet it was a completely different feeling because I was seeing my son-in-law off for nine months, with no guarantee he would return alive.  I don't add that for dramatic effect...  Indeed, his battery lost five Marines during that deployment...

And instead of entrusting a child I loved to a bus driver and teachers, I was entrusting my son-in-law to the care of my Heavenly Father.

I find that in the "out of control" times of my life, situations that are just too big for me to handle on my own, the only thing I can do is trust the Lord...  {I realize I should be trusting the Lord in ALL situations, and ultimately I do, but there is that struggle with self where I try to figure things out on my own before I actually pray.  The Holy Spirit is helping me with that though...}

Prior to my son-in-law's deployment, I searched the Scriptures for protection verses and formulated a prayer using them.   I printed the prayer off and laminated it; giving one to my son-in-law to carry in his pocket while deployed, and one for me.  I wanted him to remember every time he felt that laminated card in his pocket that I was praying for him, but most especially that the Lord was his strength.

The verse I found the most comfort in praying over my son-in-law was Isaiah 40:29-31

 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This weekend, my Pastor shed a whole new light on the above passages, an insight that would have taken the out-of-control feeling I described earlier regarding my son-in-law's deployment to one of complete rest and surrender.

Our Pastor is currently working through the book of Matthew.  We are currently in the portion that addresses the end times.  The Pastor was sharing about many of the situations that are going on in the world that certainly can cause Believers, especially, to feel discouraged.

The systematic removal of God from every vestige He once held; the deterioration of traditional marriage; the breaking apart of the family unit; the killing of thousands upon thousand of unborn babies, wars and rumors of wars; calling good bad and bad good; the persecution of Christians; and the martyrdom of more and more Believers.

Yet the Pastor encouraged us that "Things are not falling apart.  They are actually coming together!  Just as God planned..."  

You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.
Matthew 24:6

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

Like me, I'm sure many of you are very familiar with those words from Isaiah...  

He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak...

...but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

quoting and praying them often...

But when the Pastor opened up the verses leading up to those very familiar words in Isaiah, it was then that I realized I was focusing on the strength and power that would be received; not on the Power of the One who was giving it.

Why do you complain, Jacob?
    Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord;
    my cause is disregarded by my God”?
 DO YOU NOT KNOW?
    HAVE YOU NOT HEARD?
  {emphasis mine}
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
Isaiah 40:27-28

Our Pastor aptly summarized those verses into a very practical statement about the state of the world today...

THE LORD HAS GOT THIS!!

The Lord is not surprised by the attacks on Christians, marriage, family, the unborn, morality, His very name!

Our Lord and Savior is still on the throne and has never lost control.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

DO YOU NOT KNOW?

HAVE YOU NOT HEARD?


THE LORD'S GOT THIS!!!

Your worries, your cares, your anxieties, your bitterness, your depression, your anger, your sicknesses, your trials, your tribulations, your addictions, your fears...

Your husbands, your wives, your children, your grandchildren, your relationships, your jobs, your finances, your homes...

NOTHING about our lives is hidden from the Lord...

O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it.
7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.
Psalm 139:1-12

And NOTHING touches us without coming through His loving hands...

"When we put ourselves in God's hands, there is space for us to relax knowing that He has everything under His control."

Jarrid Wilson

This quote perfectly describes how I was able to relax as the months of my son-in-law's deployment went on.   Whether my son-in-law lived or died, I knew that the Lord had everything under His control, for His good purposes.

The Lord saw fit to abundantly bless my prayers for my son-in-law with not one, but three miracles where he escaped death in ways that could only be explained supernaturally - through the power of God's perfect will.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When you feel yourself becoming weary or discouraged, whether it be about the state of the world or circumstances in your life, remember the Lord's got this!  He is your refuge and fortress, your God in whom you can trust.

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”



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