and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Not Enough Hours in a Day

        There’s not a person reading this blog that doesn’t understand and live those words at times.  How is it possible that we fill our days with much labour (Ec. 1:8), going many places, speaking to many people and complete an endless number of chores that never end?  My intention is to have my posts done the night before and scheduled to ‘print’ at 9:30 am the next day.  The reality is that I rarely accomplish that, and these days, end up writing later than 1pm on the day I post.  It seems like there are just not enough hours in the day.

       Perhaps if I had enough faith I could do something about that.  What do you think?  Ah, well, the truth is, we would just expect to accomplish more and so still never cease from our labour.  But there was at least one time in history when God ordained that the day needed to be longer.

(5 kings of the Amorites surrounded Gibeon and Joshua / Israel were told by the Lord to go fight and not fear them)
So after an all-night march from Gilgal, Joshua attacked them by surprise.
The LORD threw the Amorites into a panic right in front of the army of Israel, which then slaughtered many of them at Gibeon. The Israeli army chased them... While they were fleeing …the LORD rained down huge hailstones on them as far as Azekah, and they died. More died because of the hailstones than were killed by the Israelis in battle.
Later that day, Joshua spoke to the LORD while the LORD was delivering the Amorites to the Israelis. This is what he said in the presence of Israel: "Sun, be still over Gibeon Moon, stand in place in the Aijalon Valley" So the sun remained still and the moon stood in place until the nation settled their score with their enemies. This is recorded, is it not, in the book of Jashar? The sun stood in place in the middle of the sky and seemed not to be in a hurry to set for nearly an entire day. There has never been a day like it before or since, when the LORD listened to the voice of a man, because the LORD was fighting on behalf of Israel. Jos. 10:9-14 ISV

       So the sun was in no hurry to set.  Did the earth spin backwards, the sun stop moving, the poles shift, or did some other miracle happen?  We may never know until we reach Heaven, (hope we can watch some of history somehow) but I know that God is powerful enough to use any method He desires to use. 

But Jesus looked on them and said to them, With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.  Mt. 19:26
For the Lord God omnipotent reigns!  Rev. 19:6
Ah, Lord Jehovah! You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and stretched out arm. Nothing is too great for You.  Jer. 32:17
God has spoken once; twice I have heard this, that power belongs to God.  Ps. 62:11

       By these scriptures we see that God is all powerful, and His power can be seen in creation.  Obviously, if He wants to change/ defy the ‘laws’ of physics in the earth, He is able to.  He can make the 'impossible' happen.  It’s funny to read scientific minded people figure out how certain things happened Biblically speaking- and they could very well be right… but they could also be completely wrong.  God is God, He is El Shaddai- Almighty God, and He can follow the ‘laws’ He set in place, or He can change them up, or He can totally stop them.  If he couldn’t then He wouldn’t be the all powerful God of creation.  I guess if God wanted to, He could make more hours in my day… but I’d rather not have more workload anyway.

Oh Lord,
     You are such a COOL God!!!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Conversation with a Friend

       This morning I got to talk to my bestest friend.  As we get older, it becomes more difficult to keep communication lines open, but we will always remain friends.  It is so good to hear her voice.  I only wish we lived closer so I could see her more often, but at least there are telephones.  So we spoke for a while and then we had to hang up and I realized I’ve been missing adult discussion time lately.  (Gotta do something about that!)

       Of course, that gets me thinking how much I miss just talking with my friends- especially since our lives are busy with, well, you know- everything.  I wish we could just stand on the transporter pad and zap over for a visit whenever we want to, so we can talk face to face.  That gets me thinking about Moses.  In His Word the Lord said this:

And Jehovah would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he turned again to the camp. But his servant, Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not leave the middle of the tabernacle.  Ex. 33:11

       Jehovah spoke to Moses as a man speaks to his friend.  How do I speak with my best friend?  First, we get comfortable, stop distractions (like tv) and then give our complete attention to each other.  Then I listen and she speaks or visa versa.  We discuss whatever topic, share thoughts, views, opinions, beliefs, feelings, etc.  Sometimes we agree, sometimes we agree to disagree.

       We laugh, we joke, we get mad, we cry, we open up our hearts and ‘let it hang out’ knowing the other person loves us and will not stop loving us because of anything we shared.  We question, try to understand, advise, chasten, “faithful are the wounds of a friend…” (Pr. 27:6), cheer up, encourage and verbally remind each other how much we care.  Nothing can be hidden when we are face to face because we see every line, furrow, sadness, and attempt at concealment.

       Best of all, I just love being with her, spending time with her; my precious, funny, extraordinary inside and out friend.  When we are together I see her heart- and let me tell you, it is a masterpiece of beauty.  Being with her is better than chocolate AND ice cream!  In her company I find the peace of a longtime and loving friendship.  I cherish all the memories we have.

       It also makes me a little sad, because that’s the same kind of face to face friendship I want with the Lord too, and I don’t always strive to make it happen.  I know He’s always waiting, but I let so many things get in the way- and sometimes when we’re together there are far too many distractions.  If I want to know the Lord’s heart and know Him better, I need to change the haphazard way of my friendship toward Him and start spending more focused time in His presence.  He is, after all the bestest of all best friends.

My mind recalls your word, "Seek my face,"
so your face, LORD, I will seek.
Ps. 27:8 ISV

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine’s Day Lord!

       Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.(Jh. 15:13 KJV)  Lord, You laid down Your life for us while we were yet sinners (Rom. 5:8).  I’d say that makes You the world’s best Valentine of all.  It will forever astound me just how wide, how deep, how great Your love is for us. 

that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height, and to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, forever. Amen.  Eph. 3:17-21

       Lord, You have proven what great love You have for us by staying with us through our trials (Is. 43:2) and You have never turned away from us or left us (Heb. 13:5).  Nothing can ever separate us from Your great love when we are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:38,39).  Lord God, how awesome You are!!! (Ps. 47:2)  Your words are sweet as honey in my mouth (Ps. 119:103), and I long for the day we will forever be face to face… and therein will be my satisfaction (Ps. 17:15).

O God, You are my God; I will seek You earnestly; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You, as in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; so I have seen You in the holy place, seeing Your power and Your glory. Because Your loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You.  Ps. 63:1-3

Forever Yours,

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Just A Thought

       It’s one of those days when my brain can’t focus on any particular topic, and so I sit here typing in thought after thought only to select and delete everything typed.  So I think I’m just going to go with the flow and see what comes from it.

       A friend of mine struggled with debilitating depression all week and I didn’t know.  Partially it was because I was struggling with increasing pain but also ‘brain fog’ that obscures my view as to what is going on around me.  And deep in my heart I know there are many other believers struggling out there probably feeling all alone in this big ol’ world. 

       But I wonder where all the support is: those helping us bear our burdens.  Sure we can reach out to others in our need, but sometimes our hands have grown too weak and they can’t even move.  Remember Moses, Aaron, and Hur? 

   But Moses' hands became heavy. And they took a stone and put it under him,
   and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur held up his hands  Ex. 17:12  

       When did we stop calling, visiting, making an effort to find out where people have been when they go ‘missing’ from church for a while, etc?   Jesus told a parable of a king:

For I was hungry, and you gave me food; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you took Me in; I was naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.  Mt. 25:35,36 
(the people denied helping the king, but he replied)
And the King shall answer and say to them, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brothers, you have done it to Me.  Mt. 25:40

       So we see that whatever we do to others, it is as if we are doing it to Christ Jesus- our King of Kings.  The Bible is clear on us helping one another, comforting, and what it comes down to is if we really love one another we will go out of our way to reach out- showing them our love in action-

   Therefore comfort one another, and edify one another  1Th. 5:11
   Bear one another's burdens  Gal. 6:2
   Confess faults to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed  Jm. 5:16
   Do not be concerned about your own interests, but also be concerned about the interests of others.  Php 2:4 ISV
   But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.  Heb. 13:16

       Share my time.  Make more effort.  Pay better attention.  Sacrifice some of my unnecessary tasks to show more love in action to my brothers & sisters.  I think I’m going to start increasing relational efforts this year.  What good is my life if it doesn’t show the love of Jesus Christ to others? 

Note to self- stop only thinking of self!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sackcloth, Dust and Ashes

       What do you do when you are distressed, grieving or mourning?  In the past my old habit was to sit alone on the couch with a warm blanket to cover me, a full box of tissue at my side, an empty garbage pail at my feet, and a large supply of chocolate, goodies and ice cream to smother the pain.

       The reason I didn’t run directly to God is I figured He could have kept the grievous event(s) out of my life, but He obviously (I erroneously thought) didn’t care enough to do that.  So I would sit, groan, occasionally scream and rail, interspersed with heavy bouts of crying, nose blowing and cramming sweet stuff in my mouth.  In hindsight, it wasn’t the best way to deal with my overwhelming emotions as it brought no peace, but it did tend to tire me out enough I could usually fall asleep and wake up in a better state of mind.

       In the Bible you can read about many people who are distressed, grieving or mourning.  Often they will wear sackcloth, a course, uncomfortable material meant to humble themselves before God and pray for His mercy; even important people would wear sackcloth either outwardly or inside their clothes.  Some are:

   Jacob (Gen. 37:34)          David- all with him (2Sm. 3:31)              -and elders (1Ch. 21:16)
   Ahab (1Kn. 21:27)                    Hezekiah (2Kn. 19:1)                   Daniel (Dan. 5:3)
   Household manager, scribe and elders of priests (2Kn. 19:2)         2 witnesses (Rev. 11;3)

       Sometimes there was another component to their wearing sackcloth.  It involved either dust or ashes: both symbolize man’s frailty and mortality (Gen. 18:27; Job. 30:19).  Dust on the head (after the defeat of Israel at Ai Jos. 7:6) was for mourning, sitting in it usually meant extreme affliction (Is. 47:1) and licking it meant abject submission (Ps. 72:9).  It is dust the merchants of the end times will through on their heads in grief at the fall of Babylon (Rev. 18:19).  When I read that, I wondered that they didn’t use ashes only to realize both were used, and dust more often.  But more often, ashes lend a bit of difference in meaning.

Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.  Job. 42:6
And I prayed to Jehovah my God, and made my confession… Dan. 5:4
For word came to the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne. And he laid his robe from him, and covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.  Jn. 3:6

       Although there are times ashes indicated great mourning such as when the Jews were in danger during Esther’s day (Est. 4:1-3), there was another action indicated when ashes were used.  Isaiah 58:5 speaks about sackcloth and ashes not being what God wants, but a change in actions/ attitude towards obedience to Him (v.6,7).  Sounds like repentance to me.

       In seeking God, Daniel made confession (first step of repentance) and after Jonah prophesied to Nineveh, the king wisely humbled himself before God and ordered his people do the same in order to beg God’s mercy.  “…And let them each one turn from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.(v. 8).  Jesus says that the cities of Tyre and Sidon would have repented in sackcloth and ashes if they had seen the miracles Jesus did (Mt. 11:21).

       So we see that sackcloth with ashes often indicates sorrow for having done wrong and repentance by turning from evil ways.  Because of their repentance, Nineveh was saved by God’s mercy.  We can be brought to a place of peace with/ in God when we repent.  “…In returning and rest you shall be saved; and in quietness and hope shall be your strength…”  (Is. 30:15).  And it is Jesus who came for our healing, liberty, and to give us beauty (Heb. peer- meaning headdress, tiara, diadem) for ashes, turn mourning to joy and distress to praise:

to appoint to those who mourn in Zion,
to give to them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning,
the mantle of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
so that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of Jehovah,
that He might be glorified.
Is. 61:3 (Lk. 4:18)