April 28, 2011

Standing Still

"The Lord was not in the wind. . .The Lord was not in the earthquake. . .The Lord was not in the fire. . . And after the fire came a gentle whisper." I Kings 9:11, 12

As I sit here this morning, it's dark outside.  On the east coast we're awaiting the storms that have been tearing through several states, causing catastrophic damage and widespread loss of lives.  The way the weather is causing such record-breaking damage in such a short amount of time, it's definitely getting lots of attention, and hopefully causing people to look up---past the clouds and straight to the Maker of all creation~ God. 

Maybe you've endured a terrible storm and are left, standing in the rubble of what once was your life.   And, as usually is the case after a terrible storm, all is quiet.   You're left to wonder what went wrong?  How did this happen?  OR--- WHY did God allow this to happen?
In the silence, you listen for some Divine explanation, but you hear nothing.    God's Word tells us to "Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth."  Psalm 46:10   When I read Barnes' Notes on the Bible, it says:
  • Be still - The word used here - from רפה râphâh - means properly to cast down; to let fall.....to be relaxed....especially the hands:  It is also employed in the sense of not making an effort... and then would express the idea of leaving matters with God, or of being without anxiety about the issue. . . 
  • And know that I am God - See, in what I have done, the evidence that I am God.  See a work accomplished which none "but" God could effect. . . .
  • I will be exalted among the heathen - That is, among the nations. The nations abroad that do not worship Me, but worship idols, shall see in these deeds full proof that I am the true God, and that I am worthy of universal adoration. . .
  • I will be exalted in the earth-In the lands abroad; all over the world.  
Just be still, knowing that God is in control.   And, if you're one of "the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28), then He has promised you to work this, yes, even THIS, out for your GOOD and His glory.   

I was reading in my "Joy and Strength" devotional today the following, and thought it would be helpful to add:
"Jesus STOOD STILL, and commanded him to be called." 
Mark 10:49.  

"Don't we sometimes feel, in trial or storms, that others would be a help to us if only they'd stop and listen?  But they won't, and in their constant hurry we know it's little use to speak.    Let us note this lesson for ourselves--and give what WE ask:  leisure to hear, attentive, concentrated, not divided~ but calm, patient consideration for others in their time of need.    It may be our 'busy work for the Master' overcrowds our lives that we don't have the time for this 'standing still.'  Sad eyes meet ours, but we can't stay to read their story.  Some look to us for help in battles which WE fought long ago, but we can't turn aside to see how it fares with them in the strife, or to even whisper the secret of victory.  God would have said, 'Even though some plans of your own for My service were put aside, you have done it unto Me."  (H. Bowman)      

Jesus took the time to stop and listen. . . to get in the "trenches" with the people who were suffering and needy.  It's just like my big bathtub.  I can not lean over it, from the outside, and scrub the entire thing.  Nope...I have to actually GET IN THERE and scrub the dirt away.  Same with people and the storms of life:   Sometimes we have to get in there...we can't stand from the sidelines and offer help "from afar."  

So this lesson is two-fold:
  1. If YOU are left standing in the rubble of your life, after a terrible storm ~ God wants you to be still and know. . . just trust that He is going to work even THIS out for your good and His glory.  
  2. And if by chance, you're on the outside, looking in on someone who's IN the trenches, in the fight of their life---yes, you may be busy about the Master's business...but sometimes it's best to Stand Still (as Jesus did) and stop what you're doing. Offer a shoulder to cry on,  a comforting word, a strong arm to lean on, a guiding hand that will point them to God.
Father, You want us to be still.  This is so difficult to do, when we're overrun by anxiety.  Yet, Your Word offers us a command, not a suggestion, but a command---to be anxious for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let our requests be made known to You.  We want to do Your will, just as Jesus came to do Your will.   Either we are IN a storm, standing in the rubble from a recent storm, OR we are bystanders.  The way life is, we are going to be in one of those categories at some point or another all throughout life.  Please help us to remember to be willing to Stand Still by trusting Your Sovereignty and taking the time to listen to someone else who may need an encouraging word.   In Jesus' Name....amen.

April 23, 2011

Look and Live!!

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all [men] unto me.   John 12:32 (KJV)
It's a beautiful morning here in Virginia.  Birds are chirping as they welcome the sunshine.  This is the "day in between."  The day when the followers of Jesus were in solitude, sadness, and maybe even some confusion as to what had taken place yesterday.   Why had He, the One Who promised the kingdom of God, their Master and King, willingly gone to the cross and died such a violent death?  He had done nothing wrong, so why did He not even resist the soldiers??  Why hadn't He done a miracle and come down from that cruel cross?  How could this possibly be the way to usher in the kingdom of God? 
Now is the day to be thinking. . . wondering. . .and waiting.   "Didn't He say He would rise again on the third day?  What did all of this mean anyway?"   Nothing made any sense.
Had you and I been there, we would have been feeling the same way.  What we need to realize is Jesus willingly placed Himself on that cross by laying His life down as an example for you and for me.  As the soldiers raised that cross, they did not realize that they were in fact lifting up the Son of God.   Jesus had said, "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up..." (John 3:14)  The only way for us to be cured of our sin is for a perfect sacrificial Lamb to have been offered.  When those soldiers lifted Jesus on the cross, up on Calvary's hill, the sacrificial Lamb was being offered to God as payment for our sin debt.  
"...The blood of Jesus cleanses us from ALL unrighteousness."
I John 1:7
Jesus said, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am [the one I claim to be] and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me." John 8:28 (NIV) 

On this "in-between-day," let us also sorrow and grieve---not for our Savior. . .but for OUR sin.   Let us realize that Jesus willingly giving His life and STAYING on that cross gave a perfect example of what our Father expects of us too.  Looking back to that day on Calvary, we can see God declaring, "Sin is punishable by death!"   We too need to acknowledge that "sin in me must die so that the Son of Man may rise from within  my heart."   When we die to self daily, and declare "sin to be dead," that's when the resurrected life of Jesus can burst forth from our hearts, for all to see. 

Just as the followers of Jesus did on this "in-between-grief-and-celebration-day," I urge you to remember and reflect.   Back then, on this day, Jesus was, for the moment, quiet. . . all that His followers had left was the memory of His Words.  

Today, Jesus is quietly waiting.  He wants us to remember His Words.  "If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to Me."  "When YOU have lifted Me up, THEN you will KNOW that I AM a reflection of the Father, for I and the Father are One.  I do only those things that He tells me." 


Are we a reflection of the Father?  Do WE declare sin to be what it is? ~ S I N!  Have we placed our sinful nature on that cross?  Are you and I willing to take up OUR cross and die daily so that the Son of Man may be lifted up and resurrected in our lives too?  

Today, as we await the Easter celebration, let's listen.   It is silent.  Is the resurrected life of the Son of God evident in our lives?   I pray it to be so!

Dear Father, this day, so many years ago, all was silent.  The only things left were questions and sorrow from a devastating loss.  Thank You for willingly becoming the One and Only Way for us to be set free from sin, by sending Your Son to die on our behalf.   Just as You declare sin to be punishable by death, we too declare that our sinful nature must die!  As we willingly place OUR sin on the cross, we pray for You to lift up Your Son in our hearts.  Make His resurrected life evident to all men, Father, so that they may be drawn unto You!  Thank You, dear Jesus, for performing a miracle on that cross---You stayed there, out of Your miraculous love for the likes of us!  You stayed there out of complete obedience to Our Father.  You took our sin upon Yourself, and took our place!  Thank You for performing the most miraculous miracle ever known to man!   Father, I pray for Your dear Holy Spirit to lift up the resurrected life of Jesus in each of our hearts!  Draw all men unto You, Father, for the sands of time are quickly sinking.   In Jesus' Name, Amen.

"Look and Live"
Dear sinner, turn your eyes from the direction you are going
and look UP to our Savior and God.

P.S.   F.Y.I~~I added several pictures in today's post, but for some reason they are not here.  Anyway, it's not important. . .what is important is what we do with His Word.  :o) 

April 18, 2011

Don't Forget This 'Accessory'--It's a Must!

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 
I Thes. 5:18 (KJV)

The other night I felt led to actually do something I've not done in a long time---and that was to draw a picture... nothing fancy---just something simple.   I was overtaken by the idea that our thoughts really have an affect on how we behave.   It's almost as if the devil has placed a "target" on the side of our head---each morning, before our feet even HIT the floor, he's got his bow and arrow aimed directly at our minds.  That's why it's just as important for US to have our hearts calling out to the Lord to protect us and  help us. . .as soon as our feet hit the floor, the enemy begins shooting those fiery darts, doesn't he?  So while we're getting dressed, physically, we really need to be putting on the whole armor of God...so that we can withstand the onslaught of our enemy's fiery darts.
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench
all the fiery darts of the wicked.

Ephesians 6:16 (KJV)

I am an auditory learner---I learn by hearing, but sometimes it really helps to visualize things... I guess that's why the Holy Spirit impressed upon my heart to get out a notebook and begin to draw.  What He gave me to draw was something like the following picture.   However, at the top, I had a few arrows, pointing towards the target, and for each arrow, there was a little "balloon" that I wrote a negative thought.   So, at the red arrow, pointing towards the target, I want you to think of some negative thought that you've been battling.  Could be a feeling of worthlessness.  Could be a thought of hatred (or an unforgiving attitude) towards someone who's done you wrong. 

Allow the Holy Spirit to point out SOME NEGATIVE thought that you're battling on a daily basis. 

Okay...now that you've done that....allow the Holy Spirit to point out the negative behavior that has been "born" from that negative thought.   Been thinking you are  worthless?  Maybe the resulting behavior is an unmotivated, lazy spirit.    Thinking negative, unforgiving thoughts towards someone who's wronged you The resulting behavior could be a bitter attitude towards not just that person, but everyone around you.  You are just in misery.    Feeling like your situation is too big for God?  Then you'll stop living by faith, and maybe even stop praying and seeking God through it all.   

Give the Holy Spirit some time to really help you nail down SOME negative thought(s) & resulting behavior(s) in your own life. 

We need to be aware
that our enemy targets our minds
and thought-life
If we allow negative, discouraging thoughts
to take up residence in our minds,
this will have a direct affect on our behavior
This is one tactic that our enemy will use to
render us inaffective in our Christian walk with God. 
We will never be living life
"to the fullest," as our Lord intends
for us to be doing. (John 10:10)

Okay, as I was looking at the diagram that I had drawn with some negative thoughts and resulting behaviors in my own life, I thought, "Goodness, I wonder if there's a way to place an invisible, protective shield around my thoughts and mind?"    Hmmm..."Funny you should ask that question, Tam." LOL   :o)  As soon as I pondered that thought, the Holy Spirit reminded me of "In everything give thanks." (I Thes. 5:18)  Then He proceeded to remind me of another verse that says, "Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep (guard) your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Phil 4:6, 7 (KJV) 
Ahhh! That's the key: In everything, give thanks! Then His peace will guard our hearts AND our minds,through Christ Jesus.

So now, draw a dotted line around the entire cartoon "profile picture."  That dotted line represents God's peace.  But it's only placed there when we are thankful in everything. 

So... let's apply this.   When someone does me wrong...I mean, REALLY does me wrong. . . if I immediately say, "I will give thanks to You in this, Father, for I know that THIS is Your will for my life-You may not have CAUSED it, but You have ALLOWED IT.  You will do something wonderful from this, and get glory from this, if I am called according to Your purpose.   I am, therefore, I can actually THANK YOU for this situation."   Then as soon as I give thanks to God, He gives me His peace to guard my heart and my mind (thoughts)----and then my behavior is going to reflect a peaceful heart and a thought-life that is victorious through Christ Jesus!!

I will begin to BE that "new creature" that He has made me!
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
II Cor. 5:17.


As soon as I entertain ONE negative thought---out the door goes the thankful heart!   In the door comes the enemy to take me DOWN, down, down.   
And it's a LONG way down isn't it?!

The peace of God comes to our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus, if only we'll be thankful in everything, talk to Him in everything, tell Him all our troubles.  Take every thought captive and ask Christ for HIS perspective on that situation.  Ask and it shall be given!  As soon as we ask Him "what would YOU think about this~or~that?" and we open His Word,  we'll begin to receive more of "the mind of Christ."   This is a key to living a victorious Christian life through Christ Jesus.   Being THANKFUL.  

If you have children or grandchildren, maybe they've watched the Veggie Tales movie "Madamme Blueberry. "  She had an ungrateful heart. . .and she was miserable...never satisfied.  Everyone around her was affected by her ungrateful attitude.  After she learned the lesson, they sang a song, "A thankful heart is a happy heart. " 

One final note:     Notice in Ephesians 6:16, we are told:  "Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked."  Look at the verse AFTER I Thes. 5:18 ~ (verse 18 says, "in everything give thanks....")   Verse 19 says, "Quench not the Spirit."  Seems like it'd take a lot of faith to be thankful in everything, wouldn't it?  Guess what?  We are either quenching the fiery darts of the wicked by having faith and being thankful ~OR~ we are quenching the Holy Spirit when we're not giving thanks in everything because we have no faith in GodLetting our negative thoughts have control over us results in bad behavior, which ultimately results in quenching the Holy Spirit ~ and guess who's in "Open Season" ??   We are.

I'd like to add:

"A happy heart is a great place to start
walking victoriously through Christ Jesus."

Father, we thank You---for this is Your will for our lives---to be thankful in everything.  You want to give us Your PEACE, which passes all human comprehension.  This peace of God will provide ultimate protection to our minds.  Father, we are under attack non-stop!  Our enemy knows JUST WHAT BUTTONS to push, and what "thoughts" to give us. . . Please help us to NOT entertain those thoughts....because this will result in bad behavior, quenching Your dear Holy Spirit....rendering US useless as the church, the Body of Christ.   So many people are going to hell because the rest of us are wrestling our negative thoughts, and becoming inaffective as Christians.   Please grant us a thankful heart, in everything, Father.  We need Your protective peace to guard our hearts and minds!   Give us the mind of Christ, Father, so that we may know His perspective on every situation we are allowed to go through.  We ask this in Jesus' name, Amen.

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  I Thes. 5:23 (NIV)

April 13, 2011

A Lesson from 'The Lost and Found'

And ye shall seek me, and find [me], when ye shall search for me with all your heart.  Jer. 29:13  (KJV)

Have you ever lost something, and looked all over the place for it---in every place imaginable, but lost hope in ever finding it?    I have.   The time and energy spent searching can prove to be exhausting, not to mention frustrating.   Then there's the feeling of "am I losing my mind?  Why can't I remember where I put that??"   

Remember the lessons from "The little lost zebra?"  (you can read about them here and here)  Well, the day before yesterday I noticed my daughter's old book bag ~ one that she chose to "recycle" by stuffing it full of some of her "things."    Hoping to not find any old snacks (LOL), I reached in to find a few books, a pocket calendar, some manicure things.  Then as I reached into another "zippered compartment" I thought I felt a pair of raggedy old socks.  As I pulled the "object" out of the back pack I realized I was holding "baby zebra's" raggedy nose!  

Imagine my surprise to see that zebra had been found!! 
He had NOT been donated, as previously thought!

Oh, Thank You, Lord!  You knew all along where this little zebra was!   You allowed this to happen for a reason. . . and through the time of "not having zebra," He taught me several lessons.   But what in the world could He teach me from zebra being FOUND?   Hmmm.  

"What lesson can I learn from this, Father?"
Almost as soon as I finished asking, the Holy Spirit reminded me of "Ye shall seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all of your heart."   Then I replied, "But I wasn't actually 'seeking zebra' when I found him." 

Then the Lord gave me this thought: Sometimes I seek God for an answer, I mean I really seek after Him to the point of what could be labeled "pestering." (I know He's not pestered by us, but from a human stand point, I'd have been pestered by me.)   Anyway, I finally "release the issue" and basically "give up my grip" on the situation then sometime down the road, the Lord pops in and COMPLETELY surprises me with an answer. Total Shock!   It seems as though God likes to surprise us with good things....

"Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father above..."  James 1:17

Could it be that maybe He even wants to see us do the "right thing" by seeking after Him...then after a long while of seeking to "no avail," a change in our hearts take place:   We loosen our grip, and just relax in the "sea of His sovereignty."   Then maybe He sees a peaceful calm overtake our hearts.  That's when He sees His reflection---then He says, "Okay...she's waited long enough...now I'll give her a surprise answer that will bless her socks off!"    I don't know....could be.  

Are you gripping on to something so tightly?
Asking God for an answer, but feeling like He is not there?

Just let go and relax in the "sea of His Sovereignty." 
Soon His peace will come over you,

and He'll begin to see
His reflection in your heart.

Could it be that's what He's been waiting for?
Oh Father, Thank You for using some every-day-"life occurrences" to teach us deep, valuable spiritual truths.   Please search our hearts, as we've been so desperately seeking You for some answer.  Our hearts have been troubled, wondering "why You've not answered us."  Yet, all along, you've just wanted us to release our tight grip on the "situations of life" and let go.   Help us to relax in the "sea of Your sovereignty."  Allow us to realize that You are sovereignly in control of every single detail of our lives.  As we let go and just relax, we can float peacefully in Your Sovereign control.  That's when we hope You will find us to become more and more a reflection of Your dear Son.    We pray for help in releasing our grip and relaxing in Your Sovereignty this very day!  In Jesus' Name, Amen.
 I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me.  Jer. 32:40

April 6, 2011

Overcoming De-feet of the Enemy

This is what the LORD says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, 'We will not walk in it.'   Jeremiah 6:16  (NIV)

Have you ever felt like you were just "going in circles"---wheels spinning 'round and 'round, but you're gettin' nowhere, fast?  

Maybe as a child of God, you've found yourself knocked down, experiencing a temporary set-back; you've slipped up, and are feeling the agony of defeat...or make that the agony of "de-enemy's-feet" doing the "happy-dance" all over you.   You can hear him tauntingly say:  "You've done it again!  You'll never BE the person God wants you to be!"   Now you're feeling like the rut you're in is getting deeper and deeper with each second that you struggle to get free.     Spinning in circles, but getting nowhere fast.   *sigh*

As the world turns, you're in your own world, feeling helplessly lost, with no aim in life.  No direction.   Of course you and I can remember how our Lord promises to direct our steps, if we acknowledge Him in everything. . . He has also promised to make our path straight. .  to lead us in plain paths.    

So how can we overcome this agonizing feeling of "de-feet-of-de-enemy" stompin' all over us?   

God's Word tells us in Jeremiah 6:16 to STAND ye in the crossroads.    Well, it appears the first thing to stopping this "out-of-control spin cycle of defeat" is to get up and stand.   Brush yourself off.    Don't let the nasty De-Feet of De-Enemy continue to stomp on you anymore.   What if you can't bring yourself to stand?   That's okay....Just begin to praise the Lord, out loud.  Claim a Scripture out loud.   That will throw the enemy off his "de-feet" and give you enough time to STAND UP.   
In the process, you'll be hearing yourself speaking positive praise~~truth about our Awesome Creator, and you'll be infusing the atmosphere with "positivity!" (Is that even a word??) LOL

Now, what you'll find is you're at a crossroads.   But how will you know which way to go?   ASK. Just like when we're lost, and we finally decide to STOP to ASK for directions~we're hoping to ask someone who's familiar with the area and can quickly point us in the right direction~~we've got to ask someone who's already been headed in the right direction.  To name a few:  we can look at Abraham, Noah, Moses, Paul---goodness knows we've got some serious FAITHFUL Trailblazers ahead of us.   But, let's take it a step further:  ASK GOD for wisdom.  He has promised to "go before us" (Deuteronomy 31:8)  SO He is the Ultimate Trailblazer!  In fact, Jesus  has already gone before us, walking on this earth perfectly before our Heavenly Father.  So let's go to Him and look in His Word to find out which way He says to go.  His Word is a Lamp unto our feet right?  Well, then, by all means, you're standing up, now look at the Map of Wisdom to point your "toesies" in the right direction!    :o)

Um, don't you think it's time to ask for some directions, dear??
Ask God to bring your eyes into focus of the GOOD WAYS, the upright ways, and then when He does, ask Him to help you to WALK in them.   Walking depicts an every-day, step-by-step, movement.  One day at a time. . and surely we can know that our enemy will be trying to throw obstacles our way, to cause us to trip.  So if we do trip up, and he starts "doing the happy dance" with his de-feet all over us again, we just have to stand up, ask God for directions, and then begin walking again.    
Now who's turn is it to do the Happy Dance??

One thing I've noticed is whenever the enemy begins to encircle my atmosphere with negativity, I think of the minus sign:    -   That represents negativity to me.   But if I'm at "rock bottom" and cast my eyes upward, gazing towards my Heavenly Father, I can see the line then going through that negativity and making it a positive sign:   +     Do you see what just happened?     I see a picture of a cross!!    
When our world is spinning out of control,
we must look to the cross! Jesus IS the answer.

If only everyone who is unsaved around the world would realize that they are spinning out of control and would just STAND UP, and ASK, and then someone who IS on the right track would just TELL THEM--POINT THEM TO JESUS, then our world may just begin to spin in another direction...one that would be glorifying to our Lord. 
Looking unto Jesus, the Light of the world,
is our only hope for a new beginning!

Lord Jesus, I'm tired of the enemy's ugly de-feet stomping Your children into the ground!  Whenever we're feeling defeated it is no doubt because his ugly feet are stomping on us.  Please give us strength to STAND UP, LOOK UP, and MOVE UP to higher ground with You, for Your glory...but also for our good too.  For we know and we claim this very promise that You made:  You began this work, and You will be, WILL BE, faithful...FAITHFUL, to complete it.  Thank You for every circumstance that touches our lives, for we know it's all being worked out for our good and Your glory.  Thank You that You're not bound by time, like we are. . and that You understand we have this treasure of salvation in leaky vessels.  Please make us sincere---without any patches, and fill us back up to the brim and spilling over with Your power, through Your Holy Spirit.  In Your name we pray, Amen.

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. 
Romans 16:20

April 1, 2011

When Something Special is Lost. . .

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Psalm 34:18  

Okay....so as an update from my last post, regarding the "lil lost zebra," I am here to say that it seemeth that zebra is goneth forever. . .   *sigh*    But GOD.   He has promised to make something good come from the seemingly "bad" that happens.   So...there's a lesson...actually many lessons to be learned:

  1. Be sure to keep the "to be kept" pile separated from the "to donate" pile.   ;o)  
  2. Double-check the bags before you toss 'em in the back of the truck to drop off at the thrift store.
  3. Even if your children don't have much to do with their keepsakes on a regular basis, they have formed a special attachment to them, so handle with care.
  4. But on a deeper lever, What spiritual good can come from this?  Romans 8:28 gives us a promise for God to work out all circumstances, even the "littler" ones for our good and His glory, if we want to serve His purpose for our lives.   
  5. Is there anything that we're holding closer to our hearts than we should be?  If we lost everything we possessed, but still had God, would we crumble under the grief, or would we stay strong and remain faithful?
  6. I am learning that even though our children are growing older, they are still going through each phase of life for the very first time, so every day is a learning experience for them too...and it's a time for us to weave the things of God into each of their circumstances.   
When God allows something to be taken away, we can know that there's a purpose for Him allowing such a loss.   I told my daughter that God loves children and would never allow anything to cause hurt or pain without some reason (or blessing) hidden in the circumstance.  Make it a habit to seek Him in every circumstance. 

"What would You have me to learn from this Father??" If He sees fit to bring that something special back into your life, then He will. But if not, it's because He has something better in store for you.

When He allowed my sister to pass away suddenly, I claimed Romans 8:28, wondering what good could possibly come from losing my only sister.   When each anniversary of her death would come, I would imagine placing the grief of her loss on one side of a scale, and then putting the "good" that He brought from her loss on the other side.   As the years passed, I could begin to see more and more good that He had brought from her untimely death. . .but for many of those years, the grief of her loss always outweighed the good.  Then, around the 10th year, the grief and good began to balance out

However, last year, on the 13th anniversary, I "broke out the dusty scales" and placed the grief of her loss on one side.  Then as I began to put all of the good on the other side, the Holy Spirit gently spoke, "Tammi, one 'good thing' that I have given you throughout all of this is Myself.  I was there, carrying you when you couldn't bear to lift your weary head.  I have never left you.  You've been given Me throughout all of your grief, and because of this, your faith in Me is stronger now than it was before May 1, 1997."   When I placed HIM, the Great Comforter on the good side of the imaginary scales, the scales tipped completely to the good side!!    Cha-Ching!  :o)  
The ultimate good that can come from ANY loss, is that we "get more of God" by allowing His Holy Spirit to begin ministering to our hearts, by binding them up; comforting our hearts by holding us close to His; carrying us until we're able to stand on our own, and once we are standing, we will not want to stray very far from the Great Comforter because He's become our All in All.   

He is the "Something Better" that He will give us
when we've lost something special.

So...what's the lesson in the lil lost zebra?   Remember how God redeemed us through the blood of His dear Son, Jesus..and by His STRIPES we are healed.  Was it any surprise for me to go to the thrift store, in search of lil zebra, only to find sitting on the shelf her stuffed baby lamb she had donated a month ago?   My eyes began to tear up, as I saw her little handwriting on it's name tag. . .and I asked the store clerk "how much is this?"  Knowing why I was there, she said sympathetically, "Just go ahead and take it."  

I went there looking for a black and white striped zebra, and found her little lamb instead.   Thanks to our Lord for becoming our Lamb---the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world!!  And even if we never see zebra again, we've got her lil lamb---as a visual reminder of our Lamb that was slain:  Jesus.  Because He willingly became Our Redeemer, WE'LL never have to be eternally separated from God, if only we'll accept His gift.   And because of Jesus, we'll never have to endure a loss, as long as we and our loved ones are in the family of God~ there's never goodbye, only "I'll see you later."

Thank You Father, for understanding the heart of a young girl who is going through many phases in her life, learning even slightly about loss and grief.  We know You never make mistakes and that You love us more than we can ever comprehend.  Thank You for allowing me to find her little lamb sitting on the shelf at the thrift store. . .for it is a reminder to me of Your Precious Son, Who is our Lamb.  I pray for anyone else who may be experiencing a much deeper loss. . .Father, please draw them closer to You as You draw closer to them.  Bind up their broken hearts and save their crushed spirit, as You have done for me.  Increase their faith in You..Whisper gentle comforting words of hope to their hearts as they place their feeble hearts in Your hand.    Even if we have a lump in our throats, we can thank You through it all, for You have promised us to work all things out for our good and Your glory.   We want to serve Your purpose in our lives. . .so we claim Romans 8:28 tonight. . and we ask this in Jesus' Name....Amen.

Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. Isaiah 53:10