and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, December 07, 2013


        For 3½ years my husband was laid off.  Despite the fact we had some income (thanks to God and the union), for a while it wasn’t enough to cover our bills and due to medical reasons I couldn’t work.  We couldn’t afford to fix the house or cars, had to watch every dollar spent, tightened up on food.  Clothes weren’t purchased, food was cut back, wants were ignored.  Christmas/ birthday present limits were laughable, and it made me sad to always have to say ‘no’ to the kids even when what they wanted only cost a dollar.  But we survived…

       I can’t imagine the lives of people who suffered more loss than us in the economic downturn: homes, families torn apart, medical crises and no money to pay for healthcare.  In other parts of the world there were natural disasters of great magnitude, lives lost, countries lost infrastructure, contaminated drinking water, etc.  Life is tough.  It is weird though how when people here go on mission trips in some of these devastated countries, they return saying how the people there are so happy.  Perspective on what’s important I guess…

Though the fig tree shall not blossom, and fruit is not on the vines; the work of the olive fails, and the fields make no food; the flock is cut off from the fold, and no herd is in the stalls, yet I will exult in Jehovah; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. Jehovah the Lord is my might, and He sets my feet like hinds' feet, and He will make me to walk on my high places. To the chief singer, on my stringed instruments. Hb. 3:17-19 LITV

       Here, Habakkuk sings a prayer about God.  These verses start out in a way that should make one miserable.  Trees not able to produce fruit, no grapes/ wine, no olives or oil, no food in the fields, no flocks or herds… these are devastating losses to a people, yet Habakkuk doesn’t see just the misery.  He rises above it to see His God, and who He is.  ‘Yet I will exult/ jump for joy/ triumph in Jehovah’.  ‘I will rejoice/ spin around/ be glad in the God of my salvation/ liberty/ deliverance/ rescue/ victory.’

       Seems like Habakkuk is quite content and full of joy, in the Lord.  He sees His God still in control and powerful (in earlier verses) so he rejoices in God who is able to deliver and bring victory.  Not only is God his might and strength, but God will make him overcome the challenges affecting him or worrying him with strength, agility, and success.  Is it possible for us to be this way, so focused on God we overcome at least mentally the same way?

       Those people in devastated countries can attest, but so can I.  The longer I am with Christ, the more I learn about surrender and focus on Him first and the more I keep my eyes on Him.  Really, I didn’t worry or fear while going through the lay off.  Only occasionally was it sad to see my kids go without, but I could also see it build a different kind of strength in us as well.  And though we should have been in the deep valley, He made us walk in the hills above the problems, dancing lightly over the troubles of life.  There is no better God able to deliver His people.  Blessed be His name!!!

Friday, December 06, 2013

The Longest Bible Study

       Have you ever noticed how enjoyment or interest changes the feel of time movement?  About a year after I was born again, I was attending a non-denominational church that had solid teaching and moved in the Spirit.  Our services generally lasted a couple of hours as there was worship, an informative sermon, then there was more worship and perhaps ministry of some kind.  I truly enjoyed it and felt like it was never long enough. Back then there was even Sunday evening and mid week services, and I liked to hit all three...
       My best friend's dad went to a church (occasionally) where from start to finish, the service was usually 20min. yet he felt the service was too long if it went over that short time.  Obviously he didn't enjoy or find it interesting, but was going just to do his duty- which he did confess to me once.  For him, time was moving far too slow and every moment there stretched out longer.
       These days, I love to study the Word as much as I am able, but it wasn't always that way.  For many years I was very inconsistent with reading the Bible; sometimes you could write in the dust on its cover.  It often grieved me to be that way, but it was as if no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't change.  If I had been in the longest Bible study, I wonder how fast I would have felt time move.
(Ezra brought the Law) And he read in it before the street in front of the Water Gate from the morning until noon, in front of the men and the women, and those who could understand. And the ears of all the people listened to the Book of the Law.  Nh. 8:3
       The word for morning actually means light, so this is a potential six hours of listening to the Word, the Law being read.  There were way over thirteen people (v.7,8) helping the listeners understand the words of the law during the hours they listened.  Imagine that!  Such a huge crowd all there listening and present to learn and understand the Word for that long!
       How did the people enjoy the study?  "...all the people wept when they heard the words of the Law." (v.9)  The people were mourning and grieving, possibly because they hadn't heart it or understood it before that time.  Then later they were rejoicing "because they had understood the words which were declared to them." (v.12)  Later, we read they were obeying the Words they heard (v.14 on) and they spent seven days listening to the Word.
I wonder how many of us would listen to the Word and its explanation for six-ish hours, rejoice in the learning of it, go out and obey it, and then do it all again for seven days?

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Not Just for Joshua

       My son was asking me yesterday why I am always studying or reading the Word because he sees it those times he is home.  The truth is that I love the Word: there is so much in there that helps me in my daily life but also just some really interesting things.  Anyway, he wasn't understanding so I simplified it and said, I spend so much time in it because it contains the words of life.  Well, he didn't want to hear anymore after that!
        Yesterday though, I was reminded of that fact when the Lord brought me to one of my favorite passages, but brought out new meaning to me.  (How awesome is that- 2000 year old writing and all...)  He always knows just the right thing for the moment.  I was pondering once again His plan for my life when He directed me to this:
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Js. 1:9  NKJV

     -strong: strengthen, prevail, obstinate, be courageous, firm, resolute, bold
     -courageous: alert, courageous, steadfast mind, brave, bold, strong, determined
     -frightened: fear, dread, tremble, be terrified
     -dismayed: shattered or broken by violence or confusion or fear
       Sure this verse is for the big things God wants us to do, but now I think it is also how He wants us to live our lives- everyday.  When I was young I was so shy to speak to anyone that I didn't have many friends.  Had I been bold and courageous, thrown my fear and dismay aside, I would have enjoyed my childhood more.  Back to today, we are not meant to cower in a corner from life.  We are meant to remember that He is with us every second of every day, (yep, He's there watching even in the midst of our sin) and because He is with us, we have His strength to lean on.
       So we shouldn't hold back in doing right, speaking up, getting proper service, sharing, saying 'no', saying 'yes', trying new things, loving, etc.  We should boldly and courageously face this life, and banish (TLB) fear and dismay away.  For "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has torment..." (1Jh. 4:18), God is love (1Jh. 4:8) gives peace (Ps. 29:11), and it is His Spirit that dwells (makes His home) in us (Rm. 8:11).
       "...that the power of Christ may overshadow me. ... for when I am weak, then I am powerful (strong). (2Cr. 12:9,10)  We are strong enough to do anything God wants, not because of our own strength, but because of His power and that He dwells in us.  When I consider that He dwells in me, what do I have to fear?  We have 'the man' with the ultimate power backing us up. 
In applying this, I realize it will be done one step at a time, so by faith Lord, here I go...

Monday, December 02, 2013

The Smallest Bits

       Would it surprise you to know that atomic theory was postulated around 400 BC by a Greek teacher name Leucippus who believed everything is composed of imperishable, indivisible elements called atoms, and further elaborated by his student Democritus?  Humans didn't see these particles until Thomson saw the electron in 1897, Rutherford saw the nucleus in 1910, and Chadwick saw the neutron in 1932.  Imagine millenniums going by with no proof of atomic proof.
       Now we know of kaons, pions, leptons and quarks.  Quarks are indivisible and the smalled matter in the nucleus.  If the atom is one million times smaller than a human hair, and the proton is 100,000 time smaller than the atom. Our current understanding is that the quark is a point-like particle with no spatial extent!  Interesting?  Crazy?
       See, right now we think the quark might be the smallest, but at one time we thought the same of the atom and we were wrong.  We get things wrong all the time: remember, we did think the world was flat at one time!  But as the quark is a thing, it must be made up of smaller things, at least that seems logical to me.  At some point, it may become impossible for man to see 'smaller' on the scale, but just because it is so small we can't see it doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.
       Long before man knew any of this, God knew it; after all, He made the universe and everything in it from the largest of the large to the smallest of the small.  He knows what the smallest thing in the universe really is.  Imagine that!  He set the physical laws in motion that keep the earth and universe 'alive'.  It all works because of Him. 
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Gn. 1:1
(about Jesus) All things came into being through Him, and without Him not even one thing came into being that has come into being. Jh. 1:3
(about Jesus) For all things were created in Him, the things in the heavens, and the things on the earth, the visible and the invisible... And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist (bring or band together). Cl 1:16,17
(about Jesus) ...upholding all things by the word of His power... Hb. 1:3
...the ages were framed by a word of God, so that the things being seen not to have come into being out of the things that appear. Hb. 11:3
       Lord we thank You for all that You've given us, including our thirst for knowledge and  creativity to make tools to discover new things.  Forgive us for our arrogance in thinking we know better or more than You, and help us to be humbly in awe of Your greatness.  Thank You for the quarks that form parts of the atoms that make our cells and other parts, which live and breath and move and hold together- all because of You.  Thank You!!!