December 24, 2010

What a Present!!

"God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble"
Psalm 46:1

I want to share a devotional from Faith's Checkbook, by Charles H. Spurgeon.  When I read this, it seemed so appropriate for this time of year---when most everyone in the world is going from "here to yonder" shopping, looking for the most special presents for their loved ones.   After reading the devotional below, I'm sure you'll agree that the very best "present" is our God---Who is our refuge, our strength....He's always ON TIME....more than near, but abiding within us!  Doesn't that make Him the very BEST Present after all!? 
Even if you may not have any presents under the tree---if you have God---your Heavenly Father, Jesus, your Savior---The Holy Spirit---Comforter and Divine Enabler---You have the very best Present~Who is PRESENT within your own heart!
I wish you all a Very Merry Christmas!!

Enjoy the following devotional from C.H. Spurgeon's "Faith's Checkbook."

December 22

Immediately Present

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble"
Psalm 46:1
A help that is not present when we need it is of small value. The anchor which is left at home is of no use to the seaman in the hour of storm; the money which he used to have is of no worth to the debtor when a writ is out against him. Very few earthly helps could be called "very present": they are usually far in the seeking, far in the using, and farther still when once used. But as for the LORD our God, He is present when we seek Him, present when we need Him, and present when we have already enjoyed His aid. He is more than "present," He is very present. More present than the nearest friend can be, for He is in us in our trouble; more present than we are to ourselves, for sometimes we lack presence of mind. He is always present, effectually present, sympathetically present, altogether present. He is present now if this is a gloomy season. Let us rest ourselves upon Him. He is our refuge, let us hide in Him; He is our strength, let us array ourselves with Him; He is our help, let us lean upon Him; He is our very present help, let us repose in Him now. We need not have a moment's care or an instant's fear. "The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge."

Christmas Hugs and Hershey Kisses! 

December 14, 2010

A Wise Woman's Hands

She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.  Proverbs 31:20

I was reading in Proverbs the other day and paused when I came to this verse.  The Holy Spirit prompted me to do some "digging deeper," so I began to look at that verse.  Immediately I noticed a few words:  "hand," "poor," "hands," and "needy."    In our modern language, we think of poor and needy as being "one in the same."  But the Lord has hidden something special for us.

Look at the word "hand"---"she stretcheth out her HAND."  The Hebrew word for hand is:  kaphaph~ which means "hollow or flat of the hand, palm."  

The word "poor" in Hebrew is:  anah, which describes someone who is afflicted or depressed, brought "low" or "humbled." 

Things began to get interesting when I looked up the word "HANDS"---plural.  The form of this word is referring to an OPEN hand, as opposed to the first "hand" in the verse--which depicts a closed hand. 

A discouraged or depressed person needs someone to walk with them, hand in hand, by their side, to minister to their emotional needs.  While walking hand in hand with this "poor-in-spirit" person, the virtuous woman sees them through the eyes of her Father, and will point them to Him..for only He can truly meet their deepest need in such dark and discouraging times.  

She stretches out her hand to the discouraged heart because more than likely that person has withdrawn from others.  Do you know anyone who has withdrawn from their normal day-to-day routine?  Despair pulls a person away from a source of Godly strength:  other Christians who are walking in the Spirit.   Stretch our your hand to this one, and then don't let go.  Walk with them, listen to them, or just be there in silence, as the two of you walk hand in hand through the darkness until the Son-shine breaks through the clouds.

The last part of this verse refers to her hands being OPEN....always giving to the needy---the person who is "in want"---actually NEEDS something.  The virtuous woman will have the means to meet the needs of others who are lacking....and she keeps her hands open constantly outpouring her gifts to others in need.  The Lord sees He can trust her with big blessings because she doesn't keep her fists closed; instead she's always reaching out to others, giving, not taking.

Her hands are an extension of the Father's.
During the Christmas season especially, there are many "poor" and "needy" people around us.  Someone may have lost a loved one and this is their first Christmas without that loved one.  Life's circumstances may have them completely overwhelmed and seemingly with "nowhere" to turn, except within.   STRETCH out your hand, take their hand and walk with them.  Be there for them.   There may be others who wonder how in the world they will meet their monthly bills, much less give their children a few gifts under the tree.  Do you have something to share?   A meal?  A box of Christmas cards with stamps, that they may not even be able to afford to send this year?   It doesn't take much, especially when they have so many needs.  Relief is only an outstretched hand away.
"Is there anything I can do for you?"

What a wise woman she is.  And God can safely trust her because her eyes are looking outward, to others.  "How can I be a blessing to a broken heart?  How can I meet a need today?"   This is just one verse in the description of a virtuous read the entire description and try to "measure up" to her can leave a woman's heart feeling defeated.  HOWEVER, I believe that each morning she met her Heavenly Father in the quiet hours before dawn, and asked Him to direct her steps and keep her "eyes peeled" for Divine Appointments, and being totally dependant on the Divine Enabling of the Holy Spirit to accomplish His will through her willing heart.   She first reaches her hands up to the Father for Him to fill them with whatever she will need to pour out that day.   This indeed is a virtuous woman.  

She looks to Her Provider to fill her hands with something she can give to others.
There's another pair of hands I'm thinking of right now. . .the hands of our Savior. . .He walked with the poor and discouraged, ministered to their needs, and then opened up His hands and stretched them out to be nailed to a tree...the cross of Calvary.  The outpouring from His hands was His precious blood---the blood that cleanses us from all our unrighteousness!  Let's remember our hands are an extension of His.  Each day we are to die to "self" and as we do, we'll become more like Him.  We can extend His gift of salvation to everyone around us if only we'll lift our hands to our Heavenly Father and ask Him to fill us with every need and enable us to share the outpouring of His dear Son's sacrificial gift on Calvary.

(from Photobucket)
Thank You dear Father for this precious hidden treasure...all You wanted me to do was a little digging..and there it was, a wonderful visual and valuable lesson to learn.  Help me be more like this virtuous woman.  So many others are hurting and lonely, or are in dire straits financially.   Please help me be a blessing to these hearts, especially during this Christmas season---what better time than when we celebrate the Gift of Your Love to us---Your dear Son, Jesus.  
In Jesus' Name, Amen.

December 13, 2010

A Little Story

" quietness and in confidence shall be your strength..."  Isaiah 30:15

She had once again come to her "closet"---the place she sought refuge and quiet time with the Lord.   There wasn't much to this closet~ just four tiny walls and a floor.  Although the floor was cold and hard, she always felt this place was a refuge because the Lord would embrace her with His wings.

Her heart felt battered and beaten, and her eyes were welling with tears. "Would others even notice? Would they even take the time to sense her pain? Or would they just see only what their eyes observed and come to a judgmental conclusion...a false one?"

It didn't seem to matter because the Lord showed her "in quietness and confidence shall be your strength."  Normally she'd run to a friend to unload her burden, even though that usually made her feel worse--(to hear herself repeat her circumstances would be like having to swallow the same bitter pill all over again). This time was different. It was just between her and the Lord. As she sat there, tears rolling down her face, He reminded her of a request she had made earlier that year:  to be tender and compassionate. When she made that request of Him, she knew that probably meant her heart had to be pounded, beaten nearly to a pulp---just like the meat tenderizing process.

Just as the ocean pounds at the shore and begins the erosion process, the heart's tenderizing process changes its shape too~~chipping away the stony edges of the "protective wall" she had built. When the Lord is the One in charge of tenderizing, we can trust that the outcome will be good. The changed heart will be molded into His image. Knowing this in her heart didn't take away the pain though. She still wondered at the seemingly indifference of others. That's when He came. Just as the Lord intended to pass by His disciples in that storm-tossed fishing vessel, He passed by her in her stormy heart.

When He spoke His tone was gentle but with great certainty. "Dear child, you're feeling entangled by circumstances. For so long you've been waiting for My deliverance. You've felt so alone while others passed you by. As you're entangled, and drowning, silently begging for someone to help, you've wondered why you're still all alone? Yes, I have the means to untangle you; but I've let you struggle, I've pounded at your heart until it is tender enough to receive what I want to tell you: Look around. Others around you are drowning, entangled by the seaweed of sin. So many do not even realize that they are drowning, and eternally shackled by their sin---they owe a debt that they can never repay. Yet, you hold the wealth of knowledge within the very heart strings of your soul. Why do you not reach out to them and offer them the wealth of hope that I am?"

Her heart overflowed with the pain of realizing how true His statement is. She asked Him to help her remember this lesson, and begged for a chance to offer the wealth of the gift of His salvation to others.

There is no mistaking when the Great Shepherd passes us by and calls out to us in the midst of our darkest storms. Even through the raging seas and howling winds, His voice is loud and clear, yet somehow remains as gentle and as pure as a snowflake gliding through the crisp winter air.
She knows His presence is always with her, yet sometimes He remains silent. The silence can be so heartbreaking....but she learned He is silent to cause us to seek Him, to call out to Him, to beg for His help. And when He does speak, it makes the length of the silence worth it!

The above little "story" was just something the  Lord gave me to share. 
Dear Father, make me a blessing to someone today.  I may not have much material "things" to offer, but I hold within my heart the very wealth of Your eternal salvation through Jesus.  Instead of rushing to the nearest mall or toy store to buy gifts for someone who's likely to toss it in a corner of their room within a matter of weeks, why can't we rush to our neighbors to bring them The GIFT of HOPE through Your Son?  This doesn't cost us anything except a little bit of time.  We prepare our lists, but where is the heart of our lost loved one or neighbor, whose entanglement by sin's debt could mean an eternity apart from You, on that list??  Offering hope to a lost and dying world should be on the top of our To Do Lists. The things of this world fade, but Your salvation is eternal and everlasting.   Please allow me the chance and courage to share Your Son, The One true Gift of Christmas, with others, for Your glory.   In Jesus' Name, Amen.