Saturday, December 22, 2012

In the Belly of the Big Fish

But the LORD provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights. Jonah 1: 17

Sometimes, while in the middle of running away from God, He provides an opportunity for us to pause and reconsider our desire to flee His presence and His will. Like Jonah, who did not want to abide by the Lord’s command for him to go to Nineveh and preach salvation unto them so they could leave their lives of wickedness only because Jonah didn't think they deserved God’s forgiveness; we sometimes are in disagreement with our Heavenly Father’s wishes and we try to run away. The Lord’s plan, however, will unfold, in spite of us and our unwilling hearts. 

No matter how much we cover our ears to block God’s whispering  He always finds a way to catch our attention, even if it requires placing us in the belly of a great fish. This big fish may have different shapes for different people. For some, the big fish is a hospital room. For others it may even be a jail cell. For many it is, perhaps, being laid off work having to be stuck in the house alone. Some others find themselves in shelters after losing everything to a mighty storm. And sometimes it might be something less dramatic like being snowed in for a few days or having a cold. It could really be anything, but the Lord always “provides” a place and a moment where and when we have no choice but to listen to what He has to say to us, ponder it and eventually, move to action.

My most recent “big fish” has been my own house. I've been forced to be in my home with my family for a few days due to a delay in our Christmas plans. We were supposed to leave for my country of birth, Panama, 4 days ago, but the Lord had other plans. Our flight was cancelled and there were no other flights to Panama until 5 days later. We found ourselves driving back home with nothing to do in our calendar so that’s exactly what we have been doing. In the midst of the busiest time of the year for a mother of 2 young boys, God has provided a respite of 5 days of doing nothing and it has been wonderful.

The trip to Panama meant a lot of stress for me due to the difficult circumstances that wait for me there, so even though I long for my family, I was not looking forward to the things I had to do there during the days leading to Christmas. Instead, the Lord changed it all and He has provided my family and I with a few precious days to refuel our energy, enjoy each other’s company, calm our nerves and specially, to listen to His voice.

The last few days have been quiet enough for me to sit down and hear what He has to tell me. For years now, I have been struggling with forgiveness. Particularly during the days in preparation for our trip to Panama, the resentment I feel for those who have wronged me has increased. Our Merciful Lord, however, has provided this opportunity for me to reconsider my grudge. I have heard Him telling me about the need to find forgiveness in my heart even if I think those I need to forgive don’t deserve it. No one ever does! That’s the point. I don’t deserve to be forgiven either, but by His Grace I am. The same way I must extend that undeserved forgiveness and grace to those around me. God is working a change of heart in me the same way He worked it out in Jonah inside the belly of the fish.

As Christmas approaches at the speed of light, I pray the presence of the Lord is born in us again and that no matter where we are right now, we take the chance to listen to His whisperings because chances are; He has placed us where we find ourselves today, for just that very purpose.

Friday, December 21, 2012

God's Secrets

I am the kind of person who likes to know and understand the direction of things. If there is a plan, I want to know what it is so I can be aware of what’s coming. I am not much of the “go with the flow” type. I like knowing where this “flow” is going to take me. It’s not so much that I am a planner. Not really, I am not. I just like being in the loop. It doesn’t bother me not being the one in charge of making the plans. I just want to know what the plan is!

I’m the same way when it comes to God’s plan. I wonder about it all the time because it kills me that I don’t necessarily “know” what it is. I wish I knew and understood His plan perfectly so I could just sit back and relax while I watch it unfold. It’s not a control issue. I don’t want to make the plan. It is a knowledge issue. I just want to know what it is. It doesn’t work like that, though.

The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law. Deuteronomy 29:29 

The truth is that God does have things that He doesn’t reveal to us because they are not for us to know. They are meant to be secret. He is God and it is His will to not fully reveal it all in detail. He reveals what He has planned to reveal and what is necessary for us to have a full life in Him. For instance, He has told us that He does have a plan and that it is good and meant to bring us goodness, not harm. (Jeremiah 29: 11) He has revealed that we need to sit still and let Him be God. (Psalm 46: 10) And He has, very often told us, to not be anxious, but to trust in Him at all times. (Philippians 4: 6) We can trust Him, for He is faithful and unchangeable. (1 Corinthians 1: 9; Malachi 3:6)

However, it is not for us to know all the details of His plan. Jesus warned us about this. He told His disciples right before He ascended into Heaven, when they asked Him when He would restore the Kingdom to Israel that,

“It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1: 7-8 

God’s timing is not our own, as it isn’t the full extent of His plan, but He does give us needed revelations, like the fact that the Holy Spirit will come upon us and give us power to carry out His great commission, to be His witnesses. Jesus revealed to us through His words to the disciples that even though we are not entrusted with the specific dates of when the events of His plan to restore His Kingdom will occur, we are responsible, in the meantime, to tell the world that it will happen.

As another year comes to a close in the coming days, it is important once again to remember this commission. “To the ends of the earth” means as far as our voice can reach. It might be our own homes and family, places of work, schoos, church, community, country and/or abroad. It doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that we do it with the means that the Lord has endowed us with. I don’t know how to do it or even where to start. But one thing I know is that He will equip me if I have a willing heart. I have no clue where I’m going or a panoramic/all-encompassing view of the plan, but I know whom I serve and I know He who began a good work in me will see it to its completion for His glory. (Philippians 1: 6)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

O Come Emmanuel

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. Revelation 21:3

Well, I’ve been out of commission for such a long time now that my fingers can’t keep up with my ideas, and I’m having trouble formulating coherent sentences in my mind. A lot has happened since the last time I had some “alone time” with my laptop and my thoughts, and now that we are back together again, I don’t even know how/where to start.

I sort out my mental chest of recent memories and I decide to begin by turning my eyes toward Jesus, the One who we celebrate this season but must worship every day. As I focus my distracted eyes back on what’s important, I go to one of my favorite Christmas songs, O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

I don’t know what it is about that song. Perhaps it is the haunting melody which makes me think of ancient cultures. Maybe it is the dramatic performances by groups like Selah that captivate me. I think what draws me to it is, however, the Biblical prophecy the song holds. Hearing about the promise of the coming of the Lord, His second advent, intertwined in the beauty of this melancholic tune becomes a bright ray of light and hope which cuts through the thick gloom of such days like these.

After days, weeks and months of walking in the valley of the shadows, and thirsting for the living water, hearing about the Emmanuel, the God who is with us, surely refreshes my weary soul. By mortal standards, 2012 has not been a good year for me; however, by eternal perspectives, the pain has been nothing more than the glorious pain of growing in His knowledge and love.

Even though the loss this year has been great, the gains had by far outweighed it. Tasting the dirt-flavored bottom of the mythical but all too real pit has allowed me and those around me to rejoice in the victory of seeing the light again after been pulled out by the merciful hand of the Almighty. Victory is won because He has overcome the world and He is in me. He is the Great I AM and He lives in me, therefore, it doesn’t matter how deep the pit is or how dark the shadows that entangle the valley are or how final a last breath may appear, the sweet taste of resurrection can only be savored after death.

A new day is coming because He is alive and with us. He will come back again as He is already here. Spring will indeed come and bring cheer, for He has promised and He is Faithful. I hang on to that faithfulness. It is my only hope.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer 

Our spirits by Thine advent here 

Disperse the gloomy clouds of night 

And death's dark shadows put to flight. 

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel 

Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Trust in the Lord

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own
understanding.  In all your ways
acknowledge Him, and He will make your
paths straight.  Proverbs 3: 5-6

We seek your Kingdom and righteousness and trust in Your promise that all our needs will be met.  As Your adopted children we seek to see You and pray for strength to,

Do not conform to the pattern of this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of [our] mind.
Then [we] will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will.  Romans 12: 2

As we face a potentially transforming election today, we trust that You will calm our fears as You calm the storm, and that You will empower us, Your children, to stand by You as we renew our minds.

You are sovereign. You reign for ever and ever.  Your love endures forever! Our Tower of Strength. Our source of True Hope.  May Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.  

Monday, November 5, 2012

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He chose for His inheritance.  
Psalm 33: 12

On the eve of such an important election, I stand on the promise that this land belongs to Our God and that as such, we are under the protection of his perfect will. 

From His perspective, the decision has already been made.  Victory has been won! From ours, we still wait in anticipation of the outcome.

Regardless of what happens, we trust for we know that we will overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony, as seen in Revelations 12: 11.

We trust for we know that You, the Holy One of Israel, the Most High God, is also the Lord of this land and have the power to heal our nation:

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.  2 Chronicles 7: 14

Therefore, we humble ourselves before You, pray and seek your face.  We come to You with our nation in our hearts and pray that our beloved land that You so graciously have given to us be healed and be a nation where Truth reigns, life is respected, and where Your people are free to worship You without having to choose between obeying the laws of men or the laws of God for they are one.

I surrender and take refuge in YOU, Lord, as I repeat in my mind and soul:

In You, O LORD, I  have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame.  Psalm 71: 1

I am going to cast all my anxiety upon You, Lord.  You are King!  The Lord will reign forever and ever.  Exodus 15: 18

Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You.  Psalm 9: 10

Remember to say a prayer as you "pull the lever"

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Lord Stays Near the Brokenhearted

A couple of weeks ago, after Sunday school I saw that Grant, my older son, had a big, fat band aid on the back of his hand. I worried, so I immediately asked him, “what happened?” He looked at me confused, so I pointed at the band aid on his hand and he said, “o yeah, Jane gave it to us to remind us that God heals the broken hearts.” I nodded in agreement as I looked at the oversize band aid that covered most of my son’s hand. “Yes, indeed,” I thought… “He sure is the only one who can really heal a broken heart.  He does carry around some super size band aids to do so.”

As the Word says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147: 3) He binds up or bandages the wounds of our hearts and He ultimately heals them too. He takes the pieces of our brokenness and glues them together in a way that makes them stick like new. In the process of binding up our wounds and healing, He also stays close to us. As Psalm 34:18 says, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” His loving presence is with us as our wounds heal. This implies the need for time. It is not automatic. God uses time as the band aid that binds up the pieces of our broken hearts. And as time goes by, He stays near.

While He heals us, though, it is important to remember that suffering is meant to make our lives significant. Being a Christian, having been chosen to follow Christ, does not mean that life is going to be easy and comfortable, without problems or challenges. On the contrary, the hope that we have in Christ is not the false hope of an idyllic and care-free existence. The hope that we have in Christ is that when, not if, when life becomes more than we can bear, He is there to hold us, to heal our brokenness, to bind up our wounds, and also to carry our burdens. Our suffering, our brokenness becomes our sacrifice, the sacrifice that we surrender at His feet as our offering. And this sacrifice He accepts and carries for His glory, as Psalm 51:17 tells us, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”

We are called to live lives of significance where the power of Christ shines through as we stand as witnesses of the victory we have in Him! When we go through trials by the Hand of Jesus, nobody can take credit but Him as the Merciful Healer who tends to our wounds for His glory. That is our hope, and we know that hope does not disappoint.

“We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Romans 5: 2-5)

Today, I think of that big band aid on Grant’s hand and I can’t help but to be nervous when confronted with the thought of him having to suffer the pain of a broken heart one day. But I also find comfort in knowing that the Great Healer will be right there, close to him, applying the soothing balm of time as He binds up the pieces and makes it new again. The Lord will bind up my boy's heart with the oversize band aids that He carries around : ) It is the truth. He is near the brokenhearted. That is our hope, and hope does not disappoint. Don’t ever doubt it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Hiding in the Cleft of the Rock

It’s “funny” how the Holy Spirit works in us. I use the word “funny” for a lack of a better adjective since His inexpressibility and inexplicability have hit new heights in my life during the last few weeks. Hidden among a piling mountain of unexpected and rather unfortunate events, the Holy Spirit’s whisperings have slowly become louder, of perhaps I’ve just finally began to pay more attention lately.

The thing is that a few weeks ago I started thinking about my need to get back to the blog, but I have been so stressed out and busy that I have been postponing it until today. Health issues on one side, and work issues on the other, sandwiched in heart issues to make a truly messy “sloppy Joe’s.” In the midst of all these, the thought of hiding became very appealing to me.

I have wanted to hide from all the complications of life. I’ve wanted to quit. I’ve wanted to find a safe place where I could just collapse. I’ve wanted to hide in the arms of my Savior and forget about the world. As it happens, however, we can’t just run away from problems and difficulties. They have a way of finding us until we have properly dealt with them. What we can do, however, is to be still and know that He is God and that He is love. (Psalm 46: 10) As a loving God, He does provide a place of hiding. As the storms get stronger, He carves a cleft in the rock where He hides us until the storm is gone and we can come out again or until He calls us home.

He who commands the winds and the waves, He who created the winds and the waves, is on my side. His name is Faithful. He has been faithful before and He will be faithful again. He carves a place in the rock where we can rest protected. Just like He did with Moses when His glory was going to pass by, He placed Moses in the cleft of the rock and covered him so he would not be harmed by the power of the LORD’s presence. (Exodus 33: 22) The same way, the Lord, who is the Rock, carves a cleft, a hiding place for His beloved during times of hardship, until the sun comes out again, and darkness dissipates.

As I peak out of my hiding place, I see the radiance of His Light as He’s passed by. He takes care of His children. He does have a plan, and His plan is perfect even when we cannot understand it. He who began a work in me will see it to completion. (Philippians 1: 6) He is not done with me yet. His hand is upon me and I will trust in His unfailing love as I wait for daylight, for I know that “Joy comes in the morning!” (Psalm 30: 6)

Monday, September 24, 2012

In You, I Trust

Today, as I continue to fret and anguish about the nation and the future that awaits us and specially our children, I realize that my struggle to remain hopeful is rooted in my lack of trust. I do cling to all Scripture that speaks to me about the truth of how we can rely on the unshakable faithfulness of our God. In times like these, however, when the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel is yet to be seen, my trust falters.

It is, in times like these, therefore, that I must acknowledge my diminishing trust, repent, pray for a fresh word and go back to the Bible in search for renewed faith. It is there where I find my battle cry in the words of David when he says:

But I trust in you, Lord; 

I say, “You are my God.” 

My times are in your hands; Psalm 31: 14-15 

“You are MY GOD!” the Lord, My God, the Faithful One. The One who is Good and who is Love; in You I trust. My times are, indeed in your hands; and in times like these, your hands are the only safe place to be.

I breathe in the peace that comes from the realization that You are on Your Throne and that You command my destiny as well as the destiny of our nation. Regardless of how I feel, You are worthy of my trust and You will deliver us from evil as we put our faith in You, and You alone.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Increase Our Discernment, Lord!

As I continue to keep our dear nation in my prayers, the words of Paul in his letter to Timothy come to mind with the piercing force of a freshly sharpened blade.

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 1 Timothy 4: 1 

I shudder at Paul’s clarity.

The deceiving spirits that the Apostle talks about surely seem to be among us now. Everywhere I look deception, double talk and outright lies make my soul churn in pain and blush in shame. The enemy boldly sends out his demons to deceit those who do not dwell in the truth, leaving behind a casualty trail filled with the lost and the betrayed.

That is why today I pray, Lord, that you will grant us clear vision to see the way of the truth so we may not ever fall for the road of falsehood. In the days that are to come, give us a full measure of discernment that we may recognize the truth and follow it to the end. Please, Lord, increase this discernment in us as we approach the day of decision and as we walk in the wilderness of wrong choices.

And as You give us eyes to see, give us also the courage to stand for the truth regardless of what may come, regardless of the consequences that may be ahead for us. Remind us that You are with us and that at the same time, You are seated on the throne. Your sovereign purpose prevails in the midst of uncertainty. Nothing happens that surprises You. You have the reigns in your hands and I trust that You will conduct us to a place of greater good for the sake of your perfect will.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Praise You, Lord, With All My Soul

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” 
Revelations 21: 5a 

In the midst of deceit, turmoil, loss and mourning, my soul seeks refuge in You, Lord. Pain and tears belong to this world, but to You, the Most High God, I sing praises with all my soul. I praise You for I have nowhere to go. I praise You for You are my Redeemer, My Lord.

Praise the Lord, my soul;

all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—Psalm 103: 1-2 

I praise You, because it is written:

 “The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.” Psalm 103: 6 

I praise You, because You are compassionate and Grace abounds in You. I praise You for you are Good and I find comfort in your Word that says:

he does not treat us as our sins deserve

or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103: 10-12 

I praise You for you are my loving Father and,

As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust. Psalm 103: 13-14 

We are dust, indeed, and as such we have soiled the land You so generously gave us. We have soiled it with our sin. We have turned our backs to the light and now the whole world has fallen prey of the dark. But even so, I trust You and Your Word that tells us:

The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all. Psalm 103: 19 

Therefore, as I trust in You, who makes all things new, I join in the chorus and sing your praises even while in the pit of despair, even while in this dark world, even as I wait for the Light to come.

Praise the Lord, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
who obey his word.
Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will.
Praise the Lord, all his works
everywhere in his dominion. Psalm 103: 20-22

Friday, September 14, 2012

Blessed is the Nation Whose God is The Lord!

After spending a week consumed by the international turmoil which has added so much tragedy, fear and worry to our already deeply troubled nation; I have decided to obey the nudging of the Holy Spirit and begin a series of blog entries dedicated to praying for our beloved country.

My heart sinks heavily in my chest and for that I seek to see the light of hope that only the Lord can provide. The world seems to be on fire and the USA is under siege; what is there for us to do? Unequivocally, the answer comes back: pray. I will pray His Word back to Him and trust in His perfect will for the future of those who He has given me and for all who bear His name.

I lift up our beloved nation to You, Lord. I pray that we would become, once again, a nation whose citizens seek Your face, Your presence and Your Holiness because we know that,

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance. Psalm 33: 12

You, Dear Lord, look down from Heaven and watch over us. And until the day of Your deliverance,

We wait in hope for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love be with us, Lord,
even as we put our hope in you. Psalm 33: 20-22

Even in our times of concern and sorrow, we put our trust in You, for You are the Only One Mighty to Save! May your Morning Star shine brightly in the dawn of this new day so we can see the way that will lead us back to You.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Do You Remember?

Do You Remember?
Some people are able to remember exactly what they were doing the day President Kennedy died. Some others remember what they were doing when they heard WWII was finally over.  I remember what I was doing when the attacks of September 11, 2001 happened.  

I remember the confusion.  I remember the shock of the realization of what had just happened.  I remember the fear.  

I had life inside of me.  I was 10 weeks pregnant and I remember wondering what kind of world my child was going to be called to live in.  I remember wondering if I'd be able to protect him from the pain that was ahead.  

I remember the bluest of skies up above.  Not a cloud in sight...not a jet stream crossing the horizon...nothing...and then I remember that there was hope.  There was hope in the shape of a cross, a rugged cross...a metal cross that emerged out of the rubble.  The hurt and the sense of loss eased by two pieces of charred beams that reminded us of the most perfect sacrifice of love...Jesus on the cross.

Christ is our only source of Hope and our Sure Foundation.  He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  
Do you remember?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Love Lifted Me

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 
1 John 4: 8

I was at the sink doing the pots and pans after lunch when I heard my husband’s voice singing upstairs.  He was practicing for a short program he was going to be in at church later that afternoon with our Men’s Chorus for the retirement party of our Church Secretary (that deserves an entire blog onto itself, so I’ll write about that later : )  The medley of lovely hymns was a welcome relief from the greasy suds, the dreary day and the gloomy state of my soul. 

I did not grow up with hymns.  At my home church down in Panama we sang songs with a more “tropical” flavor.  And being so self-conscious of my lack of singing abilities, I didn’t even sing at all back then.  That’s why traditional hymns and I are fairly recent acquaintances, which causes me to struggle with the appreciation of anything more obscured than “Amazing Grace” and the like.  God, however, has a way of reaching me through music, and hymns are not excluded from His divine play-list.

Therefore, as my husband cheerfully proceeded with the medley of verses from “There’s Power in the Blood,” “Wonderful Grace of Jesus,” and others alike, I began to breathe in the melodies and even attempted to sing some tunes softly to myself.  Then I heard him begin the lyrics of “Love Lifted Me.”  With my hands deep in a sauce pan, I half-heard the words of the song, but then he hit the refrain and I quietly joined in again.    

More because of the beauty of the music and not really paying attention to the words, I sang the first round of the refrain:

Love lifted me! Love lifted me!
When nothing else could help
Love lifted me!

By the time he started to repeat the refrain, the power of the words finally grabbed me,

Love lifted me! Love lifted me!
When nothing else could help
Love lifted me!

Quickly Dan moved into the next song in the medley, but I was struck.  The high notes were still resonating in my mind and my thirsty soul drank the words, “Love lifted me!”

Dan continued practicing, enduring relentless mockery by our 10-year-old until he was done with the entire selection.  I was drying my pots and pans now, with the song firmly engraved in my mind still.  I wondered then about the verses I had missed since I wasn’t really listening while he was singing… “Danny, would you sing Love Lifted Me again,” I asked him.  Dan got the white binder and lovingly serenaded me with the entire hymn as I finished putting away the pans.  This time though, as the words joyfully danced around in my kitchen in perfect tune, I listened:

I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore,
Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more,
But the Master of the sea, heard my despairing cry,
From the waters lifted me, now safe am I.

Love lifted me! Love lifted me!
When nothing else could help
Love lifted me!

All my heart to Him I give, ever to Him I’ll cling
In His blessed presence live, ever His praises sing,
Love so mighty and so true, merits my soul’s best songs,
Faithful, loving service too, to Him belongs.

Souls in danger look above, Jesus completely saves,
He will lift you by His love, out of the angry waves.
He’s the Master of the sea, billows His will obey,
He your Savior wants to be, be saved today.

Thank You Lord for You surely knew I needed lifted out of the waters, and it is Your love what has lifted me.  It is YOU who have lifted me, for You are Love. 

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. 1 John4: 16a

Later that afternoon, we went to church and I heard the Men’s Chorus sing the now familiar medley.  The kids and I sat in the pews and watched Daddy be part of a wonderful program.  I smiled as my soul rejoiced because, for one more day, I had been faithfully lifted by Love again.

Linking with Weekend Whatever

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Work In Progress – Being Content

Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.

After a restless night, I reluctantly get up at six o’clock in the morning. It’s hard to find anything to wear that feels comfortable. My feet hurt too, so shoes are another issue. Blindly I move around the bedroom, get dressed and go downstairs to fix the boys’ lunches. “What day is it today, anyway?” I wondered briefly only to hear my older son ask, “Mom, where’s my uniform?” “Aha! Uniform day…it must be Wednesday, then.”

Still moving at a slower pace than normal, I finish lunches, impart commands, check last minute e-mails, see the kids out the door to catch the school bus, kiss my husband good bye and head out the door to face the rest of my day. It’s seven thirty in the morning and I am already spent.

The almost 45-minute drive down the country roads that take me back to work find me thinking about being content. “The secret of being content,” Paul tells us is to trust in Him who gives us strength and to know that in Him we can do all things. (Philippians 4: 13) That’s what Dan and I tell our sons pretty much each day as they walk out the door to go to school in the morning. We trust that the Word would become ingrained in them with repetition; but is it becoming ingrained in me? If it is, why then does discontent so often sting me?

Once again I come back around to the issue of trust, my most important unfinished issue; my perpetual work-in-progress.

Psalm 37: 3-4 tells us,

Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart. 

As I think about these verses I pray that the Holy Spirit will speak to me and continue to guide me on the path to acquiring contentment in a life where dissatisfaction seems to creep up and attack my soul in alarming ways. “Give me ears so I can hear, Lord!” I plead. And He speaks. He repeats,

To trust in the Lord: to rely on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, faithfulness of God. To have confidence in Him, in who He is, in His love, power and ability.

To take delight in Him: to take great pleasure and joy in Him.

Therefore, have confidence, trust Him and enjoy Him for He will give me the desires of my heart.

The Holy Spirit also leads me to the concept of dwelling as seen in Psalm 91: 1

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

To dwell: to be a permanent resident. Not just a visitor, but to live forever in His shelter and rest in His soothing and refreshing shadow, so I can finally say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91: 2)

Lord, You are my strength, only in You I can do all things. Allow me to trust You for You are Trustworthy and Faithful. May I have no doubt of that. Lead me so I may take delight in You and dwell in Your shelter and declare that You are My God, in whom I trust!

The day goes by bouncing from classroom to classroom trying to do my work the best that I can. I come home to direct homework, figure out dinner and run to soccer practice. I skip laundry and after showers and prayers, I finally get to stretch out in my comfy chair. I close my eyes for a minute and feel the breath of God breathe on me again. Praise you Lord.

Linking with Work in Progress Wednesday

Monday, September 3, 2012

So Long, Summer

Seating outside in our back porch I see my summer break come to an end right in front of my eyes, in the heat of this year's Labor Day evening.

The tomato plant that my sons and I so excitedly planted in early June is barely hanging to life, just 6 tomatoes left in the withered vines.  The beautiful potted annual flowers that so proudly I kept all through the summer months, are now showing the signs of irreversible damages that comes with the approaching fall.

The sun sets to my right and my heart feels the melancholy of farewells.  Farewell to a summer that brought the unexpected sorrow of loss, the pain of health issues and the struggles of recovery, but that also brought in the joy of family time, the comfort of friendship, the blessing of time off and the beauty of carefree days in the sun and nights without strict schedules.  Farewell to the clothes hanging on the lines and to the time passed daydreaming on the tree swing.

Tonight I say goodbye to it all as I wait for the new day to usher in the stress of early mornings, work outside the home, house keeping, homework, scheduled meals, baths and bedtime.

I pray for strength, wisdom and endurance to get through the coming days of a brand new season in our lives.  May the Lord be with us.  May He help us do it all as if unto Him and with a cheerful heart.  That we may honor Him in what we do and be His face for those who we meet on the way.  Praise You, Lord, for the summer time left behind and for the days that are yet to come.

Night has fallen on us.  It's time to come back inside.  I shut the door behind me and sigh.  It's time to get ready for the new start.  Praise the Lord for the hope of new beginnings and for the promise of a new day.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

First Day of School

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. James 1: 5-8 

Well, another school year has begun. This past Monday Dan and I waved goodbye to our sons as they boarded bus #67 which carried them to the first day of fifth and first grades.

I stood at the end of the driveway and watched the bus disappear at the bend of the road. My heart sank. My sons are out of my hands.

Once again I was faced with reality. The illusion of control vanished. They don’t really belong to me. They are not really “in my hands.” I can’t really protect them all the time. I pondered these hard-to-swallow truths and I realized that even though I can’t keep them behind a protective glass, all wrapped in bubble wrap-even there they won’t be 100% safe as they’ll asphyxiate-there is something I can do to ensure they’ll be safe. I can release them to the Lord.

They belong to Him. He is the One who let me borrow them for a little while. He allowed me to have them for a season to love, care for and teach them about Him, so one day they would walk on their own and find their own faith. He is the One who loves them more than I ever could. And He knows their destiny because He tells us,

“I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)” 

Therefore, trusting that when God says “you” He means my sons, I release them. I release them into the loving hands of their Creator and trust in His perfect plan for them. I hesitate, for I have control issues and I struggle with letting go; but I’m resolved to release them, so I do. And as I take them back, I release them again, and again, and one more time. Every time I feel anxiety creep over me, I release them once again, casting my anxieties upon Him and praying for the Lord to increase my faith.

Being a Mother surely is not for the faint of heart. I thought I was tough, but I am weak. The good news is that we have a Strong Father, an Ever-Present Savior and the Spirit of Truth and Wisdom in us. We are victorious in our battles for He fights with us and often times for us. Therefore, I can say

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6) 

My husband and I slowly walked back up the driveway trying to take our minds off of the boys by talking about the need to do some serious landscaping. We entered a really quiet house and silently acknowledged the inevitable passage of time. It’s time to trust.

“in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?“ Psalm 56:11

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

It's in His Hands

“Mama, what’s divorce?” My almost-to-be-seven-year-old son Dylan asked me a couple of days ago as we were driving somewhere around. Before I could formulate any coherent thought in my head, my ten-year-old Grant responded in his characteristic professorial tone: “divorce is when the parents split up.”

Even without looking at his face I could sense Dylan’s puzzlement in the air. So I promptly added, “you know? Sometimes, unfortunately, parents don’t stay together and they do have to live in separate houses.” Grant must’ve also sensed his brother’s growing concern as he cheerfully added, “Don’t worry, Dylan, we don’t have to worry about that happening to us…”

I took a deep breath and swallowed hard to untangle the tight knot that had formed in my throat. Then I said, “well, with God’s help, Grant is right and we won’t have to worry about Daddy and I splitting up for as long as we live.”

I looked out the window at the familiar country scenery that surrounded us and prayed with all my heart that the Lord would, indeed, keep our family together “until death do us part.”

As Dan and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary yesterday, I continued to beg God to be with us in our marriage. Certainly 18 years ago I could not have anticipated the roller coaster that marriage was going to be like. The emotional intensity I’ve experienced these past almost two decades is yet to be surpassed by anything else other than itself. But I wouldn’t have it any other way – well, other than me having a completely different personality, as I’m sure Dan would appreciate a kinder, nicer, gentler wife. There’s still hope, though, as the Holy Spirit is not yet done with me : )

But anyway, my point is that God doesn’t make any mistakes. I don’t presume to understand everything about God. I am VERY far from beginning to comprehend the unsearchable ways of God for,

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” Romans 11: 33

I believe that He is who the Bible says He is, though, and according to His Word, He is Faithful! “God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.” 1 Corinthians 1:9 And as a Faithful and Loving God, He knows what He is doing, how He is doing it, why He is doing it, and when He is doing it.

Even if our marriage, for some unforeseen reason, ends up in divorce one day, that will not surprise Him. He knew the fate of our marriage even before we began to think about the possibility of anything being wrong with it. He knows the choices we are going to make before we’ve thought about any one of them. His eyes saw our unformed body, says Psalm 139, and

“All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139: 16

Nothing surprises Him about our bad choices, and even if our marriage does not have a fairy tale ending (whose does, anyway?) we continue to trust Him and to place all our endeavors in His Faithful Hands for He will lead us to the riches of His reward if we surrender to His irresistible grace.

We are His since before we were born! “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139: 13-14

“And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” 1 Corinthians 2: 7

So as we place ourselves in His Hands, we trust.

I don’t know what the future holds for my marriage. I don’t know if my son’s words will remain true and they won’t indeed have to worry about his parents splitting up so they can grow up in a stable home, with one less thing to worry about in this dark world. But I have to trust Him. I have to believe that if we stay committed to Christ and to each other we will improve our chances.

Back in the car, I finally gathered my wits, stretched my neck, and stole a quick glance at my young son on the rear view mirror. He seemed satisfied with the answers and was back at playing with his toys. I turned to Grant and he was looking out the window deep in thought, as he often is. I wondered what he was thinking. It’s in God’s hands...I sighed silently, and kept on driving.

I'm linking with Soli Deo GloriaMarital OnenessMarriage MomentBeauty in His GripOn Your Heart TuesdayTime Warp Wife

Friday, August 24, 2012

"Mama, Hug"

His left arm is under my head and his right arm embraces me. Song of Solomon 8: 3 

“Mama, hug,” I hear my now almost 7-year old son Dylan say to me as I walk away after having yelled at him for misbehaving. I turn and see him standing with arms stretched out wide and a sad face. Of course I go back to him and hug him tightly feeling rotten inside for having spoken harshly to him earlier. The healing power of hugs, however, makes us both feel better.

I don’t know what it is, but a hug can really make a difference. There are several studies out there that assure us that hugs can actually keep the doctor away. They release some chemicals in our bodies that are responsible not just for improved mood and reduced stress, but for actual physiological reactions like changes in blood pressure and improved heart health! Crazy, huh? A study at the University of North Carolina found that levels of cortisol, the hormone produced when we’re under stress, were significantly lowered (particularly in women) when subjects hugged their partners for at least twenty seconds. (Via That’s enough for me to want to give my husband more than one 20-second-long hug a day! Well, there are other reasons for me to want to do that too…but this is an added bonus! : )

At any rate, I wasn’t really aware of the power of hugs; but my son Dylan has proven to me that it is, indeed, a healing tool that the Lord provides to us in the midst of this world of hurt and pain. I don’t really need to read any studies, for now I have living proof that hugs do the trick. Throughout the day, I hear my little boy’s tender voice saying, “Mama, hug” regardless of whatever. Sometimes, he doesn’t even say anything, but spontaneously just comes to me with outstretched arms and gives me a blessed hug. And at that moment, I feel the weight of the world lift up from over my shoulders as my soul smiles and rejoice.

Praise the Lord for Dylan, who has understood the power of the embrace. As he grows up and walks through life craving that loving touch, he is touching my heart and teaching me about the love that I am supposed to feel and display in my own walk, perhaps to help lighten and brighten a little this valley of tears and sorrow.

I'm linking with Beholding GloryFriday Favorite Things

Thursday, August 23, 2012

If I Don't Have "Love"

The Lord does make everything work for good. (Romans 8: 28) He is able to bring usefulness out of idleness and that’s exactly what He is doing in my life right now. As I do a lot of sitting around all day He is redeeming my time by giving me a chance to do some thinking on His Word. Today I’ve been thinking about first things, first steps.

Living out our Christianity in this dark world is becoming increasingly challenging. As I see it, the first thing, the first step necessary for us to stay grounded is to truly recognize our need for a Savior. It might sound simplistic, but in a secularized and humanistic society many toy with the idea that we are OK and any thought of salvation is reduced to the need for a hefty savings account. The culture is so pervasive that even Bible believing Christians may fall for a worldview that denies the existence of the Spiritual realm and relies on works as a measure of goodness.

Romans 3: 23 becomes, therefore, a must read for anyone who finds himself/herself wondering whether or not they might need a Savior:

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.

If this is not clear enough and we rather believe that our good works ought to count toward saving ourselves or even as a mean of some sort of collective salvation, let’s take a look at Isaiah 64: 6,

We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.
In case we are still wondering if being “a good person” may have something to do with salvation, Romans 3: 10 confirms it again,: “As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one…” And where is “it” written, you may ask? Well, let’s take a look at Ecclesiastes 7: 20 “There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.”

Everyone saved or not, is capable of doing good once in a while or even a lot of the time; but not all of the time. Nobody is perfect, remember? So then what? We are supposed to be perfect and blameless in the presence of God - So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 2 Peter 3: 14- I don’t know about you, but I can’t fit this description on my own. How do I become blameless? I cannot do it on my own. There is only one way, in Christ:

But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation. (Colossians 1: 22)

…for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. (Phil 2: 13) 

The truth is that there are a lot of “good people” who won’t make it to heaven. Good works that please God (and are not just “filthy rags”) are the result of a saved soul. The good works that honor God come out of the love that we express for our neighbor and are a sign that we are saved, not a way to salvation. We love because He first loved us. (1 John 4: 19) We do the right thing because, as children of the Most High God we are moved to do the right thing.

Our faith becomes dormant without our actions of love, but the faith comes first. James is particularly strong when he points out the importance of actions of love and righteousness and a life dedicated to good works for those who have already been adopted into God’s royal family. He says in James 2: 26 “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.” And later in 4:19 he says: “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” This admonition is conditioned to “knowing” the right thing. Who knows the right thing to do but the one in whom the Holy Spirit dwells? Only those who have the Spirit, have the truth that brings freedom. (John 8: 32)

James is talking to those who are already saved. He is presenting what might be the earliest practical guide to Christian living. And of course striving to do good deeds is high ranking in that process. But you have to be part of the family already for it to have any impact in your reward. For, as Paul tells us in Eph.2:8,9, salvation is a gift, a gif of grace, “For by grace are ye saved through faith, not of yourselves...not of works.” (Also see: Rom.3:20, Rom.11:6 Gal .2:16, 2Tim.1:9, Tit.3:5)

I don’t know the heart of man, that is only God’s privilege, nor I pretend to begin to comprehend the immensity of the heart of God; but I believe Scripture and good deeds are not the way to salvation for anyone. There is only one way, Jesus! He Himself answered to Thomas’s inquiry regarding how to find the way with some of the most important and profound words in the entire Bible: Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14: 6a) This is the only guaranteed way. Jesus promised that "Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. (Matthew 10: 32)

As a matter of fact, for those who enjoy the “easy steps” process, the Bible has a two- step program to eternity in Heaven:

That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10: 9

“Do I really need a Savior?” Can only be answered, then, with a resounding, yes! We all do. It is impossible for man to save himself, but on the other hand, nothing is impossible for God. (Mark 10: 25-27)

Coming to terms with our need for a Savior, and accepting the fact that it is a gift that we don’t deserve: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us,” (Romans 5: 8) wrap up the first step to a Christ-focused walk guided by the light of Scripture shining brightly in this dark world. Let’s see where else the Lord steers my thoughts next time.

For now, I will leave with this you read it, remember who "Love" is...

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

1 Corinthians 13:1

I'm linking with Denise in BloomThankful Thursday

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hiding from Ministry?

I am too weak, too tired, too busy, too stressed out, too antisocial, too self-conscious, too young, too old, too much of a sinner (you fill in the blank with your perceived circumstance) to be able to perform effective ministry at this time. Have you ever used any of these excuses to exempt yourself from being active within the body of Christ? Personally, I have used all of them and many others in order to get out of actively participating in the building of His Kingdom here in His church.

Particularly lately, I have found myself pulling excuses out of my deep bag of tricks. Many are recycled; but some are new. I have recently discovered myself hiding behind circumstances, which have resulted in my distancing from His Holy House. As I comfortably recline on current situations, I’ve fallen out of track and I’m finding it very difficult to get back on it. I feel adrift and I struggle to figure out my role in the church once again.

Even though I did need a break of sorts, the truth is, I am NOT comfortably reclining anywhere. The problem with taking a break from the church, however, is that sometimes you find it is hard to come back. But finally my inactivity is catching up with me and I am starting to realize that I need to take a deep look inside of me to figure out what’s going on, and find out a way to get back in the field.

How do I do that? I wonder. Well, I guess I better head out to the compass of my life to seek guidance so I can find my way again. I’ve always studied how God uses imperfect people all throughout the Bible in order to accomplish His plan. Ordinary people with ordinary lives of sin become instruments for good in the hands of God to perform extraordinary things. Their lives have been immortalized on the pages of the Great Book not for their benefit and fame, but for ours.

They are our examples of how to lead extraordinary lives within ordinary bodies. Of course Jesus is our prime role model and goal. He is, indeed the only true hero in the Bible, the only one worthy of praise and worship. He is our way, our truth and our life. The rest of the people in the Bible, however, illustrate what a simple, regular person can achieve and become, when surrendered to the will of God. And that’s what I am striving for right now.

So yes, I might be too old and tired; but look at Abraham and Moses. Even Elizabeth and Zachariah were in their old age when God called them to bring forth the one who would announce His Son.

Though I am at a weak spot in my life; I have but to look at David to realize that God’s strength is made perfect in my weakness.

Maybe I am not in the best of health at the moment; but what about the countless sick people in the Bible who sought after Jesus’ healing hand and wasted no time to get up and begin to walk again as soon as He touched them. I think of Peter’s Mother in Law who sprung out back into service the moment Jesus healed her.

Who is not stressed out today? I certainly am, very much! But then I think of Mary; so young and helpless, carrying the Savior in her womb and the weight of prejudice on her shoulders. All the stress of the world didn’t keep her, however, from glorifying the Lord. Even in the midst of her troubles she got over her own sense of significance and said, “be it unto me according to thy word.” (Luke 1: 38)

Everyone is busy; and so was Martha, but even this famous multi-tasker was able to pause long enough to hear her Lord and acknowledge that He is the Christ.

And yes, I am a big sinner, but so were all of the above.

As I see it now, I have no excuse for my inaction. I have no valid reason to just sit out this season of my life and hide away from service and ministry. Even John the Baptist, a noted antisocial who lived in the wilderness and fed on bugs had enough sense to obey Him and show up to the Divine appointments arranged by His Lord and got busy pointing people to the Son of God.

Therefore, rather than hiding behind my current circumstances, I should offer myself as a living sacrifice, open my heart to God’s will and let Him decide what the next steps in my service will be. Perhaps He will design a way for me to minister in a different capacity than before. But that is for Him to determine. My responsibility is to have a willing heart and to trust that He will enable me to perform His task and purpose for me with the riches of His grace.

I'm linking with Walk with Him WednesdayA Wise Woman Builds Her HomeHaven of RestWork in Progress WednesdayWednesday in the Word

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16: 34

Well, yesterday, I got behind the wheel for the first time after more than two weeks. It was a bit surreal. I felt strange. I couldn’t believe how something so mundane like backing out of my garage felt so completely unfamiliar. As we rolled down the driveway, my older son asked me one last time, “Mama, are you sure you’re allowed to drive?” My younger admonished me, “remember you are not supposed to drive!” As we pulled out I reassured them that the doctor had said I could drive after 2 weeks and it’s been longer than that. As we got going on the road, and I turned the radio on to K-Love they settled down in the back seat and a sense of normalcy began to cover the three of us.

It sure has been a strange few weeks after my surgery and I believe we are all ready to breathe in some normalcy again. Though “normal” sometimes could be relative, it is good to reclaim a bit of our routine after it has been stripped off from our hands. It is funny how I always find something to complain about in my life on a daily basis, but then once my busy routine gets disrupted by unplanned occurrences, I miss my frantic days and wish I could go back to them, for they give me a sense of stability and control.

Mainly control, that’s what I’ve missed. As I slowed down to recover from my surgery, I didn’t really miss the hectic running around and the constant rushing of my “normal” days. I’ve missed the fact that while rushing and running around, I was in control, or so I thought. I’ve missed being in charge. I’ve missed being the one behind the wheel.

The days I’ve been sitting in my “recovery comfy chair station” I’ve enjoyed the care and attentions of my “boys” day in and day out. But, by the same token, I’ve felt helpless. At times I’ve felt consumed by uselessness and dependence. And I’ve many times wondered if there is a way to speed up recovery time so I could get back to being myself again.

I know, however, that we serve a God who is Good all the time and who has a perfect plan for each of His beloved children. As one of His adopted daughters, I share in this perfect plan and for that I am eternally thankful. He is Merciful, Compassionate and Faithful. He does not abandon us in the depth of the pit. He pulls us out. He rescues us. He brings us back into the light of His presence and into a new day of hope.

Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 

He rescues us from ourselves and shows us that regardless of our circumstances, we are in His hands and He will never let go. He reminds us that He is in the business of changing souls and bringing people back to life!

Today I praise Him for who He is, and for His path for me. I know that as long as I walk beside Him, I will not get lost because He leads me…He is at the steering wheel. I know that as long as He holds my hand, I should not be afraid. I know He deserves my praise and worship and that all the glory belongs to Him, forever!

Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. Psalm 115:1

By the time we pulled back into our driveway after running a couple of short errands, Dylan was singing to the tune of a praise song and Grant was asking me if we could go to another store the next day. Sitting behind the wheel of my beat up Honda Civic didn’t feel surreal anymore. And even though I had to take a nap after my first drive, (I felt silly, I was so exhausted) it was a good run.

Psalm 92:1-3 

It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High, to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night, to the music of the ten-stringed lyre and the melody of the harp.

Friday, August 17, 2012

My Boys' Laughter

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,

we were like those who dreamed.

Our mouths were filled with laughter, 

our tongues with songs of joy. 
Then it was said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy. Psalm 126: 1-3 

In days like today, when the whole world seems dreary, gloomy and dark my spirit gets a boost from hearing my sons laugh. When clouds cover the sunshine and an eerie stillness ushers in the prelude to a storm, my sons’ laughter in the background rekindles my joy. I don’t know why they are giggling, I probably wouldn’t even understand; but it doesn’t matter, because one of my favorite things in life is the heavenly sound of my children’s laughter.

They call it "Trampoline-Ball"? I guess...I'm not sure exactly what it is, or how safe it is, but it sure is fun for them and it brings a smile to my face.  Certainly another of my favorite things!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Never Shaken

Truly my soul finds rest in God; 

my salvation comes from him. 

Truly he is my rock and my salvation; 
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. 

Psalm 62: 1-2 

After feeling sorry for myself this morning, I began searching for Bible verses that spoke to me about how God is in control of all things and how I must rest in Him. I read at least a couple dozen inspirational verses, but a short phrase kept coming back, sticking to my brain and pulling my eyes to it-“I will never be shaken.” (Psalm 62:2b also found in Psalm 16:8)

“I will never be shaken.” The power of that statement made me tremble. In some versions, like the Amplified Bible, it reads something like, “I shall not be moved,” which is just as equally loud, mortifying and sobering as the NIV version. I just can’t get over how that statement makes me feel.

In a day like today, when life seems blah and feelings of inadequacy, frustration and even fear threaten to overcome me, reading the fierce and defiant words of King David, shouting to the world that The Most High and Almighty God is his Rock, his Salvation, his Fortress and for that he will never be moved or shaken make my heart skip a beat. More overwhelmingly yet, to realize that King David’s words can and should become my very own, completely baffle me.

“How in the world am I to adopt Psalm 62’s words as my own?” I wondered. I began to question myself. Being a person who lives in a constant state of fluctuation between worry and fear, only slightly sprinkled with small doses of peace; how am I ever going to pronounce that “I will never be shaken” with conviction? Needless to say, I was feeling terribly convicted.

I scrolled upwards again, to be able to read the eclectic collection of Bible verses that I compiled earlier and my eyes stopped on the first verses of Psalm 62 again. I also went to Psalm 16: 8 looking for some spark that may light my path to understanding how to undertake such daunting task…and I saw it. My soul will only find rest and peace in the Lord once I allow Him to be my Rock. That’s how I will never be shaken nor moved. If I stand on Him, who is The Rock, my ground will never shift, shake or move; hence I will be unmovable too. He is the One who is never shaken nor moved. Therefore, I need to stand on Him to be like Him. And the only way to do so is by never taking my eyes off of Him. It is, indeed, all about Him! My job in all these is to die to myself and my sorry/spiritually unhealthy habits, be obedient and do what He says.

“I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16: 8 

There is no other way. I need to be intentional about it. I need to remember to always keep my eyes on Him for if not I sink! I need to pray to for the empowerment of the Holy Spirit in order to be reminded day in and day out that my eyes must be turned upon Jesus or else I get lost in the maze/mess that is my life without Him.

I pray that, with the help of my Holy Guide, The Spirit of Truth, I will be able to catch myself climbing down from the Rock of my salvation and looking away from Him, so I can redirect my sight and climb back upon my Solid Rock, because it is only with Him at my right hand, that I will never be shaken.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand, 
All other ground is sinking sand.