and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

In My Mind

       We just had another conflict, and I was the one more at fault since I allowed my boundaries to be crossed without stopping it.  Because of that, my response was worse than it should have been- which didn't help our already tentative relationship between mother and daughter.  Still, as she came in tonight I heard the words I've come to expect, "I love you,"... "Goodnight"
       Sometimes I'm not sure she means it or if she's really just making sure that if I drop dead, the last thing she said was kind, but then I think on my own feelings and I do love her even when she is acting obnoxious, doing wrong, or driving me crazy!  I may not FEEL loving, but my love remains.  Perhaps she really does understand that now as an almost adult.
       Still, she continues to injure me with words and actions as do I to her because we are human.  All relationships are like that because they take place between flawed human beings.  But there is a relationship we can have where at least one party never fails or injures the other, and it's our relationship with the Lord.  He doesn't act obnoxious toward me, do wrong or drive me crazy; instead He reminds me of my own failures so I stop exalting myself above other's human flaws. 
      Human relations can be difficult... yet into the sad and discouraging times we can sometimes find ourselves in, He speaks these words of life to us:
I love you!
For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rm. 8, 38,39
But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love with which He loved us Ep. 2:4
Behold what manner of love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God... 1Jh. 3:1
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!  If I should count them, they are more than the sand; when I awake, I am still with You. Ps. 139:17,18

Friday, September 27, 2013

Parched Land

      Sometimes it feels like we are walking in a parched land.  We turn on a different path hoping for water, but find none.  We try another road, but it is also barren.  It seems no matter which way we go, the land can not give us the water we need, and we feel like we are dehydrated and dying.  I'm 46 years old and I don't know anyone who hasn't been in a parched land at one time or more in their lives.  So, how do we get through?
...I will help you, says Jehovah, and your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel...
The poor and needy seek water, and there is none; their tongue fails for thirst, I Jehovah will hear them, I the God of Israel will not leave them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.  I will plant the cedar in the wilderness, the acacia tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree. I will set the fir tree in the desert, and the pine, and the box tree together;  so that they may see, and know, and look on, and understand together, that the hand of Jehovah has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it.  Is. 41:14,17-20
       Notice in these verses just what God is able to do for those who are poor (depressed, afflicted, humble, lowly) and needy (in want, destitute, beggar, poor).  It says He will help (surround, protect, aid), He will hear us (1Jh. 5:15) and will not leave us (Hb. 13:5).  But also, there are miraculous things He is able to do for us. 
Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens belong to Jehovah your God, the earth also, with all in it. Dt. 10:14
I have made the earth, and created man on it; I with My hands have stretched out the heavens; and all their host have I commanded. Is. 45:12
Whatever the LORD pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. Ps. 135:6 ESV
He is able to loosen rivers on barren hills (high places).
He is able to open springs (fountains) in the plains or valleys.
He is able to make the wilderness a pool (pond, marsh) of water.
He is able to bring fresh springs out dry land.
   -Water is a necessity of life, refreshment, quenching thirst.
He is able to make trees of all kinds grow in the wilderness and desert.
   -Trees that provide food, oil, shade, durable building materials, glue, etc

       Surely if God can do these things for the Israelites, He can do them for us for we are His children, adopted into His family, and He loves us too.  So those times when we are wandering in parched land unable to find water, shade and such, we need to remember WHO God is and what He is able to do.  Then we must seek His provision out- in His Word, in His presence, in His hand, and though we may remain in the parched time for a while, He can make that place of refreshment and life in the midst of it.
Thank You Lord that You continue to provide for my needs as I walk in parched lands!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Metal Worker's Narrative

       My job is in metalworking, and we begin working early in the day.  My boss is a kind man, but usually saves the best jobs for himself.  All day today I worked the boring job of forming nails out of iron bars.  Get the fires burning hot enough, lay the bar inside until it is malleable, carefully take it out and hammer two sides so that it begins to point.  Then continue these actions until the nail has four sides tapered down- at the specific size needed- into a point.  After that, the nail is separated from the bar, put in a vice, and the nail head is hammered down.
       Today I am making five inch and seven inch nails.  I don't understand what the rush is about, but the boss seems stressed over these nails.  Earlier, he was constantly looking over my shoulders to ensure they were done properly, but now he sees my work is fine and is relieved.  After a while, it becomes a rhythmic, relaxing process that I begin to enjoy.
       Whistling a tune aloud, I continue long into the day with only a couple of breaks, and that is when he asks me to work until the sunset as he has to finish his other jobs but the job I am doing is important.  This is fine with me because as I work I think about my life and how good it is.  My health is fine as my wife's and children, I have a good job, an adequate house, and income to meet out needs.  The government takes to much in taxes, but isn't that always the case?  Still, life is good.
       When I finally finish, satisfied in a quality job, he tells me to come in early because he needs me to deliver them.  He says the customer is in the next town over, and I'll have to deliver them before six.  Next morning I load them up on the cart and I begin my journey.  Riding into the cool morning, I ponder the wonders of working with metal, forming it into necessary items useful in society.  I am proud of my work, and to be a metal worker.  The ride is relaxing after a hard day's work.
       With half an hour of delivery time, I arrive in the town which seems to be riddled in crowds, conflict, confusion, and general craziness.  People are angry, some are sad, while others are rejoicing in what is happening, but no one seems to be able to explain exactly what that is.  I arrive at the destination only to be told I need to go elsewhere, outside the town.  Once there, I give the nails to the man in charge and he pays me for them.  Finally, I can take a break and I walk up a hill to see what the commotion is all about.
       At the top is a most gruesome sight- there are criminals being put to death, one after another.  Some stand nearby weeping that their loved one is about to be killed, though they wouldn't be there if they were innocent, would they?  Then I look into the face of the one they cry for, who is laying on the ground on a beam, and his eyes do not look like a bad man.  They seem to stare into my soul and a fire burns in my heart.  There is something different about him.
       Who is he?  What did he do?  I hear rumors that he did nothing but good to the people, that he had compassion, and did impossible things, but who can believe all that?  Why would they sentence a man like that to death?
       I see my beautiful nails handed to a soldier who takes one of the five inch nails and pounds it into the suffering man's arms.  Then he takes another and pounds it into the other arm.  The man cries out as my beautiful, handmade iron nails are driven through his flesh into the wood.  I watch his blood ooze from his new wounds.  My nails did that!  They lift him up until the beam hangs at the top of a pole, and they take my seven inch nail to pound it into his feet, and the agony is clear upon his face. 
Oh, how I wish I'd never climbed this hill!
       Astonishing words come from his mouth, words of forgiveness to those who put him in this situation, but I think he looks at me; does he know the nails that pierced his arms and feet are mine?  Is he forgiving me for my part in his coming death?  Surely I feel responsible just as if I had pounded them into his flesh myself.  Sadness envelopes my heart.   From his painful position he shows compassion on a convict beside him, and some of those watching near me.  I am confused by the sign that says he is a king.  A king of what, I wonder?
       The last words I heard him say were, 'It is finished.'  Everything after that became chaotic as the sky grew dark and the earth shook.  What was finished?  I don't understand.  I hear someone nearby say that this was Jesus, the Son of God and that he willingly died (Jh. 10:18) for our sins (1Cr. 15:3).  Really? My sins?
I must learn more about this man;
       the one whose hands were nailed to the cross with my handmade nails.

Lord, thank You for giving Your life in place of ours.  It was our cross, our death sentence that you died in place of.  It was our whipping You endured, our burden you carried, our nails piercing your flesh.  There, You bore the price of our sin, paid in full (Jh. 19:30).  Thank You!

*This is a narrative based on as much historical fact as possible, but there can be no absolute guarantee that the research done by others is accurate as none of us were there.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Does God Need Man to Give Him Glory?

Creation glorifies God
   -The heavens declare the glory of God... Ps. 29:9
Angels glorify God
   - Lk. 2:13,14
God already has glory:
~His actions are glorious
   -His work is honorable and glorious... Ps. 111:3
~His glory is great
   -...for great is the glory of Jehovah. Ps. 138:5
~He glory is in character, praises and deeds
   -...Who is like You, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? Ex.15:11
   -...Yours is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty...
~His name is glorious
   -And blessed be His glorious name forever... Ps. 72:19
Glory is His forever Him be glory forever! Amen. Rm. 11:36
Glory is His because all is His
   -For all in the heavens and in the earth is Yours. 1Ch. 29:11
God's glory is illuminating
   -And the city had no need of the sun, nor of the moon, ...for the glory of God illuminated it... Rv. 21:3

       God doesn't NEED us to give Him glory, for He is already glorified.  But God is our Creator, the Creator of all the universe.  He gives us life, breath, allows our hearts to beat, our eyes to see, and our minds to think; therefore we should give Him what He is due!  How do we give Him glory? Basically by who we are (His creation), what we say, think and do.  Let's look at what the Bible says:

Declare His glory
   -Declare His glory among the heathen... 1Ch. 16:24  
Do all for God's glory
   - ...whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1Cr. 10:31
Confess Jesus is Lord
   -every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Php. 2:11
Accomplishing His will
   -I have glorified You upon the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. Jh. 17:4

One day we shall all see His glory
   -and the glory of Jehovah shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together... Is. 40:5
I am Jehovah; that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to graven images. Is. 42:8
For you shall worship no other god. For Jehovah ... is a jealous God; Ex. 34:14

On the day that we see Him in all His glory, will we dare deny Him His rightful due?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Hezekiah's Testimony

       Someday I hope my testimony is as good as this one of one of the kings of Judah, the southern kingdom of Israel:
He trusted in Jehovah, the God of Israel, and after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor who were before him. For he clung to Jehovah. He did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which Jehovah commanded Moses. 2Kn 18:5,6
     -He trusted Jehovah
Trust in Jehovah with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Pr. 3:5,6
     -He trusted Jehovah more than any other king in Judah
     -He clung to Jehovah
Therefore, choose life, so that both you and your seed may live, so that you may love Jehovah your God, and that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him. For He is your life and the length of your days, so that you may dwell in the land which Jehovah swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give it to them. Dt. 30:19,20
     -He did not depart from following Jehovah
You shall walk after Jehovah your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments, and obey His voice, and you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. Dt. 13:4
If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there also My servant shall be. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. Jh. 12:26
     -He kept Jehovah's commandments
By this we know that we love the children of God, whenever we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome. 1Jh. 5:2,3

And Jehovah was with him. He was blessed wherever he went. (v.7)