November 30, 2010

A Remedy for Losing Hope

Would you be able to recognize the Lord if He passed by you in your storm?

But the needy will not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted ever perish.    Psalm 9:18 (NIV)

Still in the final weeks of the semester and three more tests...but I wanted to drop a note to say hi to everyone.   Sometimes when we're in the midst of our darkest times in life---storms or trials, it's comforting to know that the Lord will pass by us, just like He did with his disciples--who were in the little fishing boat, in the darkest of the night, while a storm was raging all around them.  The Lord passed by them, walking on the water, probably with the intention of them to recognize and call out TO Him.  However, they feared Him, thinking He was a ghost!   He had just calmed the seas not long before that, and earlier the day before had fed the multitudes of people....all while the disciples were there, handing out the baskets of food. (Mark 6:45-52)

Has the Lord brought you through a difficult time in the past and it strengthened your faith?  Certainly He has done this for me and my family!  However, why is it that when another storm rages, and the skies are darker than ever, we tend to "LOSE HOPE" ???   Ever had that sinking feeling?  I'm sure the disciples did too! 

I wrote those two words down the other night...and just looked at those letters....and that's when the Holy Spirit began to minister to my heart.    I hope to be able to share what He revealed to me in a clear way so that you too will receive a blessing.

L O S E   H O P E        What happens when we lose hope?  Actually what CAUSES us to lose hope?  Well....take the letters L and S from the word LOSE.    When we Look at our Situation with (and here's the O and E) Our Eyes----with Our Eyes!   Look at the Situation with Our Eyes, and we'll probably lose hope.

Look at the word HOPE now:     When we put Our Expectation in His Promises we receive HOPE.  Faith is Our Expectation in His Promises ~and this brings HOPE!  

No matter the circumstances we're going through, let's stop Looking at the Situation with Our Eyes, and place Our Expectation in His Promises!     I can guarantee that THIS will bring HOPE to any heart that has lost all hope. 

This storm you're in could be a test.  The Maker of all Creation is walking on the stormy sea! 
He's passing by---do you recognize Him and call out to Him for Help and HOPE? 
 Do we look at life with Our Eyes?  Or with Our Expectation in His Promises?  But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.  Hebrews 11:6 (KJV)

I know that the letters aren't in any special order...but the lesson's there.  Maybe it's just like in life:  we can't always LOOK at it with our common-sense-eyes, but have a little faith that sooner or later He'll make GOOD SENSE out of ALL of this!  :)

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Dear Father, forgive me for looking at our situation with my eyes.  I place my Expecation in Your Promises to take good care of us....thank You for teaching me these lessons, even when I feel the "situation" is far from the best.   Under the direction of Your Holy Spirit, Paul reminds us...urges us to give thanks, in everything... He was in prison...He didn't wait til You released him to give thanks, nor did he give up HOPE~for his expectation was in Your Promises!  And You Honor Your Word.  I believe that You ARE.   You stay true to Your Word, for this is Who You are!   Thank You for "passing by" me the other night, and wanting me to RECOGNIZE YOU in this storm.   I do!  And I call out to You, for my expectation is in You.
In Jesus' name, Amen

November 19, 2010

Hide and Go Seek

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 
For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.  Colossians 3:2, 3 (NIV)

Just a little note to let you all know that I'm still "out here."  Just have a lot going on, with the semester winding down...well..let me rephrase's not really "winding down"--that sounds like things are slowing down.  HA.  On the contrary!  Whenever it ends it'll be more like it's "Coming to a screeching halt."  LOL (But not for long!)

Anyway---so much has happened, and every now and then I jot a mental note "this would be a good blog post,"  but the time's not been afforded me to sit down and actually write it.  Maybe one day.  :o)

We have one last practical (Lab Exam) on the upcoming Tuesday.  It's gonna be a doozy!  SO, that's why you've not been hearing from me...It's pretty much "crunch time" til the end of the semester.  Hard to believe that it's almost MUNCH time...Thanksgiving--- So much to be thankful for, even in the trying times. 

"This is embarrassing," says Betsy, the VW.

I was thinking last night about how ironic it is whenever we're feeling "stripped down to the basics" that's when we really begin to APPRECIATE those basics in life.   Then I pictured a car, being stripped down for a new paint job.  It's old layers of chipped paint, dings, rust from the elements---all are being removed, smoothed out, stripped away for one purpose:  to reveal the basic skeleton of the car.  But why?  Well, hopefully to begin the priming stage, to prepare the body of the car for a new shiny coat of paint.

Are we feeling stripped down by the elements of life?  Are we feeling pretty banged up from the pot holes on life's road?  Has our "windshield" been hit by a large "rock" or "flying missile" from that dump truck in front of us and now we "can't see clearly"~~ we're dented and looking not-so-new?  Makes us want to hide, right?  Maybe it's time to seek a highly qualified Mechanic.   The Lord knows what He's after...and when we're feeling stripped down, "not-so-shiny and new," dinged up, rusted out---He's preparing us, priming us for a new paint job.   He's after something.  It's good to get stripped down to the basics sometimes---albeit very humbling, I know.  But take heart....God's not going to leave us exposed and feeling vulnerable---He's after much  more:   to make us NEW....more like His Son.

"Ahhh!  This is MUCH BETTER~and well worth being temporarily
stripped down to the basics," says Betsy the Shiny Red VW.

Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the
kingdom of God like a little child will
never enter it.” Luke 18:17
So, no matter what---this Thanksgiving, even if things are bare, and we're feeling pretty humbled by the "outward appearance of our circumstances" REMEMBER our Creator is priming us, preparing us for that new coat of paint.  Things will begin to look up... and UNTIL THEY DO, it would do us ALL SOME GOOD to LOOK UP to Him ...with trusting eyes, knowing He's up to something special in our lives, no matter where we are on the "Rocky Road of Life."

Thanks for your friendship and checking in on me.  Your comments over the past few weeks have been received with such a heart-felt gratitude that the Lord has brought y'all into my life, and how He's using this vessel to be an encouragement to YOU.  :) 

Like Jesus said, we are "hidden in Christ," so let's be sure to set our minds on things above (on HIM) and not on our circumstances.    Kind of gives a new meaning to "Hide and Go Seek" doesn't it?  :)   
If I'm not able to write again...I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving.  No matter the size of the feast on your table, remember the Unseen Guest Who is there and be sure to tell Him THANK YOU for all He has done, and what He is GOING to do too!  (I'm still diggin' trenches, y'all!)  :)
Thank You, Father, for the times of being "stripped down"---for we know that You are busy working on us, just like You promised~~You will finish the work You started on this Body of Christians.  We're all in need of Your skillful hands to make us brand new in Christ!  Help us to remember that we're HIDDEN in it's important to remember that others need to see HIM, and not us when they're looking at us. . .and as we're hidden in Christ, help us to SEEK YOU in everything...for YOU ARE in everything.. You allow every circumstance that touches our lives---even the ones that may bring a ding or a scratch---all of these things are allowed by You, so please get the glory in every aspect of our lives.  In Jesus' name, and for His glory and sake we ask...Amen.

Thought since we had a "bug" theme going, I'd add a pic of me and some of my SR classmates in 1989, with what they referred to in the yearbook as "Bug Fever."  LOL
BTW, "Betsy" was my little "yellow bug."  Mom and Dad bought her the Friday before I was born and I was driving her when she "clicked over 100,000 miles." 

It was a special moment.  LOL

November 5, 2010

To Dig or Not to Dig~A Question of Faith.

“And he said, Thus says the Lord, Make this valley full of ditches. For thus says the Lord, You shall not see wind, neither shall you see rain yet that valley shall be filled with water, that you may drink, both you, and your cattle, and your beasts. And this is but a light thing in the sight of the Lord: He will deliver the Moabites also into your hand.” 
2 Kings 3:16-18 (KJV)

One of my favorite "old" devotionals is Charles H. Spurgeon's "Faith's Checkbook."  Today's particular devotion has been a favorite of mine, since 2001.  Bryan was out of work from a ruptured disc, and awaiting back surgery.  We had two "itty bitty" children, ages "nearly 3 and almost 1"---and no paycheck coming in..whatsoever!   Our youngest needed baby formula, and we didn't even have enough money to buy a container of formula.  After reading the above-mentioned verses in the devotional, we prayed and "dug the trenches," having faith that God would fill them, somehow..  Next day arrived, and nothing out of the ordinary happened, and I remember as the sun was setting, with no "sign of water" in the "trenches," just wondering, but still trusting.   The phone rang, and it was Bryan's dispatcher, who has since passed away.  He called and asked if he could stop by.  He came by and said, "You know, I thought that maybe you might like to get out of the house sometime and go to Wal-Mart." (He had given us several boxes of groceries a few weeks before.)   He continued, "I got to thinking that maybe I've not brought something that you need, and it would do you some good to just get out of the house a while."   He handed us a gift card to Wal-Mart.   Bryan and I both began to cry.  We shared with him how we needed baby formula, and had prayed just the day before for the Lord to provide somehow.  Bryan's dispatcher was unsaved at the time, but he was a tool in God's hands to provide for us. . . and we were able to share this with Bryan's boss, and later led him to the Lord before he passed away in 2006.

Anyway, ever since then, I can look back, and remember how God brought us through, when we literally had NOTHING, except of course, TWO little children who looked to us for their daily needs.  I've often considered the verses in Deut. as God's promise for meeting our PHYSICAL, MATERIAL needs. All we have to do is "dig the trenches,"  trust Him---and prepare for Him to unload His provision for our daily needs.  
"Give us this day our DAILY bread."

However, this week, even though economy has pinched our wallets, pockets, and everything, AGAIN, and the pressure of the "upcoming holidays" and "birthdays" loom in the not-so-distant future, the Lord opened my eyes to something else:  

Have you ever felt you were in a wilderness?  A "dry spot"---maybe even a place of non-blessing? ?  Perhaps you'd wandered off into a "wilderness" away from fellowship with the Lord?   Trials brought you in to the valley of discouragement, and you'd run dry??   Take heart!!   In verses 7 and 8, King Joram asked Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, to go with him to fight Moab.  When Jehoshaphat agreed, King Joram asked, "Which way shall we go up?" and the reply was:  "The way through the wilderness of Edom." 

I don't see how ANY OF THIS can be a "Means" for a blessing  ?? 

Does your wilderness seem to be a way "UP" ? ? ?  Probably not!    They were going UP to fight a battle.   Our tests and trials are a BATTLE, but they WILL take us UP~~to the One Who can FIGHT and WIN our battles for us.  

We've been TOLD to DIG trenches...and SEE that HE will provide WATER.  This is not only for our physical needs, but our SPIRITUAL~~We NEED to be FILLED with the Living Water, the Power of the HOLY SPIRIT, in order to WIN ANY BATTLE, or do ANYTHING for the Lord!  We must be completely EMPTIED of ourselves in order to PREPARE for the FILLING of the Holy Spirit, THE Living Water.   They did dig the trenches~~but before that, they had to BE THIRSTY?  ARE YOU?  If so....Have YOU dug the "trenches?"  Are you PREPARING for a BLESSING from above??  We tend to wait for Him to bless us, and think that "Once we see the blessed Rain begin to fall~~THAT's when we'll prepare to receive the blessing."  NOT SO with FAITH!!  You and I must dig, prepare, and then BELIEVE He will bless.  . . Even in the dry wilderness~~The "Land of NO HOPE."   (See, He's not telling us to get out the shovels in order to bury us!)  There IS hope!!!   ;o)

Are we ready for a blessing from ABOVE??
The key is what do we do each morning?   Verse 20 says " the morning, when the meat offering was offered, that, behold, there came water by the way of Edom, and the country was filled with water."   How can WE offer a meat offering to the Lord each morning, when HE HIMSELF has already become our Lamb?  We can take THIS very wilderness~ the discouraging, overwhelming trials (even our desire to be filled by His Holy Spirit), and offer them to Our Heavenly Father as a our meat offering!  That's when our trials, coupled with our humble spirits, offered up to Him as worship, becomes a sweet smelling savor to our Father.  As Spurgeon says, this is "Our Duty!"   The Divine Omnipotence has allowed this for our good, and now we can become a reflection of HIM by doing Our Duty: availing ourselves to HIS power! 

Are we a reflection of HIS power? 
Being STILL and being FILLED
by His power is the way to reflect HIM!

Are we willing to dig trenches?   What happens when I get squeezed into the midst of Divine Grace??  You see it don't you?  The word D.I.G.   Hmmm....Think I better go find me a shovel!   :)  The faith to dig is given to us by Divine Grace.  So let's get in the middle of it....and start digging!  Trust HIM for not only our daily material needs, but most of all for our SPIRITUAL need---to be emptied of ourselves and FILLED by His Living Water!! The Holy Spirit!  Moving water has POWER...has ENERGY!    Make no mistake, when the Holy Spirit moves, there is POWER....DIVINE Energy!   

OK...since He does say all we need is "Faith, the size
of a mustard seed,"  I'll accept it if you choose this size. 

I'm ready to start diggin'...
how 'bout you? 

What size shovel are YOU going to grab?  

But for me, I think I'll grab one of these:

Now, LET'S Start DIGGIN'!!!    :)

Dear Father, Thank You for revealing even DEEPER truths from the very same passage I've read every November 4th for years in my devotional today.  It's so easy, Father, to get BURIED by the troubles in life~be it financial, marital, emotional, physical---just to name a few!  But Father, You don't want us to be BURIED, but to be DIGGING~~Preparing the dry, dusty wilderness to be WATERED!  You can bring forth much fruit from even the driest of lands, Father.  Here we are, a thirsty people. . .but we come, shovels in hand, to start digging the ditches.  We trust FULLY that You can and WILL fill these empty, dried up trenches with everything we need to be a blessing to others, bearing fruit, MUCH fruit, for Your glory.  And You'll do it by using no "ordinary means" too!!
In Jesus' Name, Amen.

I encourage you to click on Faith's Checkbook and read the devotion by Charles H. Spurgeon.  I'm sure it will be a blessing to your heart!  November 4th's is the one I'm referring to.  :)