Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wordy Wednesday

Since FAITH is my focus word for 2013, it would seem that the Lord is continually reminding me of this through scripture. The following scripture was one I leaned on a lot last year. This year has been no exception. It always seems that when I'm feeling discouraged, the Lord gives me "courage" verses. Verse 9 seems to pop up quite often in things I'm reading or listening to. So I will share it with you in this week's Wordy Wednesday (which I almost forgot because I've lost track of what day it is!!)

“Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them.  

Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. 

Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. 

This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:6-9

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Burdens: How Much is Too Much?

Burdens. Heartbreak. Affliction.

All of these words bring about a heaviness on my soul when I hear them. Perhaps it's because I can clearly identify the emotional struggles that go along with those words. I've witnessed it firsthand in friends struggling to care for disabled family members or severe health issues and people with extreme financial problems. In my own life, I've experienced these burdens when a succession of problems and tough times were dogging my every waking moment. It's that point when I started to cry "Uncle." The weight of the burdens were too much to bear on my own.

I've been thinking on this issue for many months now. After a friend confessed that she felt as if the Lord will sometimes give us more than we can handle, I really wrestled with this issue. After all, I don't like to see people struggling under the weight of those burdens.

There's a prevailing thought in the Christian community that God wants us to always be happy and free from difficulties, living an abundantly blessed life. Sounds very appealing, but I don't buy into that sort of theology. After all, the scripture clearly says we will have trouble. I've written about that in a previous post.

I do agree that God does want the best for his children, but the word best is key to this issue. For one person, best may mean all those great things for a season. For his next door neighbor, best may mean struggling to make ends meet.

There are a variety of reasons why we end up in these situations. We might be thrown into the situation by someone else's choices, our own actions may bring about consequences, or we may not know why this side of heaven. It's really a soveriegnty issue because God wants to accomplish something different in everyone. Who am I to say that I know better than God what's best for me?

The good news is that we don't have to bear these burdens on our own. See Galatians 6:2 and Matthew 11:28-30.

I recently read a very good article by Dr. Charles Stanley on this topic. I think he does a very good job of explaining what burdens are and how believers are to respond to them. Please take a few minutes to read this short article called Taking Care of Burdens.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Power of God

I mentioned last month that I felt as if God wanted to teach me about His power this year. Since that time, I've been actively watching for these moments in scripture as well as day-to-day events. I thought I'd share three scriptures that I've run across that clearly demonstrate God's mighty power.

“Then the earth shook and quaked,  
The foundations of heaven were trembling
And were shaken, because He was angry.  

From 2 Sam. 22:8. This was David speaking of the Lord's deliverance from his enemies. David speaks of God's deliverance many, many times. He witnessed God's powerful hand at work in his life and against his enemies. The entire earth was shaking to it's core. That's power! David goes on to describe even more powerful attributes of God. And it's all because God loved David and wanted to protect him.

When God spoke from Mount Sinai 
his voice shook the earth,
but now he makes another promise: 
“Once again I will shake not only the earth 
but the heavens also.” 
This means that all of creation 
will be shaken and removed, 
so that only unshakable things will remain. 
Since we are receiving a Kingdom 
that is unshakable, let us be thankful 
and please God by worshiping him 
with holy fear and awe.  
For our God is a devouring fire. 

From Hebrews 12:26-29. At the beginning of this chapter, the writer of Hebrews talks about this great cloud of witnesses--the faithful examples who followed God. By the end of this chapter, the writer warns believers to be very careful to listen to God. A reminder God's voice now must be listened to now with even closer attention and faith than even the Israelites heard through the law at Mount Sinai. It's easy to treat God's Word lightly, but this is a reminder that we should remember God's awesome power and holiness.


 When the Lamb broke the seventh seal, 
there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. 

From Revelation 8:1. The scene: Thousands upon thousands are standing before God in heaven crying out "with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb (Rev. 7:10).” Angels and elders are on their faces before God saying, "Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen (Rev. 7:12)." This is a huge worship service! When the seal is broken on the scroll which contains the judgment to come, the gravity of the situation and the evidence of God's sovereignty and power is so magnificent that all of heaven is hushed for 30 minutes. Complete silence. That's such an amazing picture to me of power. When was the last time something happened in your life that caused you to be completely quiet and still for that long? Incredible.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Wordy (Valentine) Wednesday

In honor of Valentine's Day, this week's Wordy Wednesday post will be about love.

Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God
is indeed God. He is the faithful God 
who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations
and lavishes his unfailing love on those 
who love him and obey his commands. 
~ Deuteronomy 7:9

Those who accept my commandments 
and obey them are the ones who love me. 
And because they love me, my Father will love them.
And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.
~ John 14:21 

Happy Valentine's Day.

Sunday, February 10, 2013


"Perspective is never just what you see.
Perspective is how you view
what you see." ~ Tony Evans

From my perspective, things can look distorted or overwhelming or never-ending.

I recently read an interesting example of this: Two mountain climbers looked at the mountain they were about to climb. They spent all day climbing up the mountain. Finally at the top, the exhausted younger climber said to the experienced climber, "We finally made it to the top!" The experienced climber pointed over the other climber's shoulder and said, "No. This is just the top of the first hill. The real mountain is over there."

Life challenges are often like that climbing experience. We're anxious to get to the "end of the road" or the "top of that hill" so that we can see what's on the other side, move on, and enjoy the view from the top. The climb can be exhilarating at times and other times it's simply exhausting. We finally get to what appears to be the top of the mountain only to discover there's still more climbing to be done.

From the climber's perspective, life (problems or the future) can seem impossibly far, unbelievably high, or much too big. God has a different perspective than we do. I've touched on that subject before on this blog. From His sovereign position, God is able to see things from a much different perspective. He can see from the beginning of time to the end; the past and eternity at a glance.

It's hard to imagine that perspective with this human mind. Centuries are like the blink of an eye to God. Gigantic mountains are little more than an ant hill from God's perspective. Evenso, God understands our limitations for understanding this perspective. After all, He came to earth in the human form of Jesus Christ to live among people. Gratefully, He extends mercy to us when we whine and complain about those mountains and long journeys. 

Once again, it seems to boil down to a matter of trust. We have to trust that God knows what He's doing, that He's equipped us for the journey, and that He's right there climbing with us just like that experienced climber in the story. We have to see things from God's perspective and if we cannot see the path before us, we have to trust the Lord to guide us step by step.

"Trusting the Lord means looking 
beyond what we can see to what God sees. 
David won the victory against Goliath—an
experienced, intimidating warrior—because
the young shepherd saw the conflict from the God's perspective." ~ Dr. Charles Stanley

Mount Goliath is intimidating. It's often more than a day's journey. It can stretch into weeks, months, or even years. The climb becomes so tiresome that I'd rather just camp out at the top of the hill I'm already on (or even turn around and go back). After all, the view on this hill isn't so bad. But...

I know God has a better view in mind for me. I have also learned that if I stick close to my Guide, He is more than willing to encourage me the whole way. I couldn't make it up that mountain without Him.

I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides
in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, 
for apart from Me you can do nothing. - John 15:5

Friday, February 8, 2013

Just for laughs

It's Friday and it's time for a laugh. I thought I'd share a few pins from my Pinterest board. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wordy Wednesday

God's Love...

"And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. " - Romans 8:38-39

Monday, February 4, 2013

Be Still and Know Redux

Shortly after I first started this blog (April 2012), I wrote a post called Be Still and Know. During that time I was struggling for answers and upset over a turn of events in my life. As I sought answers from the Lord, He brought up Psalm 46:10 to me, over and over again. Just be still, my daughter, and know that I am God.  The Word provided comfort and peace to my battered soul. It didn't give me the immediate answers I wanted, but apparently answers were not what I needed at the time.

Fast forward to January 2013. The Be Still verses are back. After seeing this same verse pop up several times over the course of a few days, I began to ponder the meaning. My circumstances are much different these days. I'm not distraught or upset. Sure, I can always use a little extra peace in my life--who couldn't!. The Lord has been healing the emotional wounds that I experienced last year. He's also been teaching me much about faith, hope, love, prayer, perseverance, and trust (with an emphasis on the faith and trust portion). So, that left me wondering why I am again seeing these two verses everywhere:

Be still, and know that I am God!
    I will be honored by every nation.
    I will be honored throughout the world.” 
- Psalm 46:10 (NLT)

"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." 
- Exodus 14:14 (NIV)

I asked the Lord to help me understand. I'm not sure yet that I know the answer, but I am trying to be still and be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. He's the best teacher. I do believe that the Lord is reminding me He's in charge--if I let Him be. God also desires to do good things for His children (Ps. 103:2) and He wants to receive the honor and praise. (Psalm 46:10 goes on to say just that.)

The verse before Exodus 14:14 helps me understand the context:

"Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. 
Stand firm and you will see the deliverance
the Lord will bring you today. 
The Egyptians you see today you will never see again."
-Exodus 14:13

The Lord was about to deliver His people. Pharaoh and his army were pursuing the Israelites. God wanted to reassure the people to fear not, to stand firm, and watch Him deliver His people from the hands of their enemy. God was about to do something big! The meaning behind Be Still in the 14th verse here is to cut into or inscribe, like a plow. It seems to be saying to dig in and stand firm!

Although the Hebrew word used in Psalm 46:10 for Be Still is different (to let go, relax, cast down), the theme of this Psalm is similar--God is their Help and Deliverer. God is their refuge and their strength so they need not fear. Let go of the worries and trust that God will have their back.

What it boils down to is that no matter what circumstances I (or you) may be in, these verses are sound advice. How this applies to my life at this time remains to be seen. But it is rather interesting to imagine what God may be up to!