and the One who walks with me on it.

Friday, March 06, 2015

On Her Own

       Our last child has embarked on her solo life.  I can’t say much since she has graduated college and has been working full time for over a year.  Besides, as I watched her grow up I noticed the same independent streak that was in her birth mother was in her.  Sometimes I wanted her to stay my little girl, but other days I wanted her to move on so that constant struggle over everything would end.

       One thing I wish along with many other parents is that our children would listen to the wisdom we have on various topics of life.  We only want what’s best for them, and so we try to hint or advise but it seems to land on deaf ears.  So we watch after our kids get into one mess after another, hoping and praying they will see the light and choose a better path.  As for my daughter, I think she must have developed a taste for Frank Sinatra and his song “I Did It My Way”.  (Curiously I just noticed the first 3 letters of his last name…)

       I know the pain and frustration she is headed for, but cannot stop it because she is old enough and she has to suffer the consequences of her own choices.  Hopefully, she will learn quickly, but there are many things I have taken years to learn…  Anyway, she wants to do it her way, on her own, without the advice of experienced adults because her close friends and society know much better.  They have the wisdom that works…

       It gets very frustrating as a parent who sees the truth but cannot stop the train.  At what point do we totally give up trying?  At what point does our heart stop hurting for them?  When do we just not care anymore?  NEVER!!!  We never give up because they are ours and we love them more than life, even when we are angry with them.

       To be honest, I can’t say that I’m all that dissimilar to my daughter.  That same stubborn streak to do things my own way has interfered with the relationship I have with my Heavenly Father for years.  ‘I know best,’ ‘I don’t need Your opinion or advice,’ My way is better,’ ‘I want to control my own life,’ ‘I’ll do it my way!’  None of these things were ever expressly stated to Him, but they were always there in my actions: prayer towards the ends I desired, choosing my own path and crying to Him when it didn’t work out, believing my own wisdom was good enough, often not asking Him first, etc.

Lord, help me to continue changing and giving over all to You.

There are many purposes in a man's heart, but the counsel of Jehovah shall stand. Pr. 19:21
"This is what the LORD says, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: "I am the LORD your God, who teaches you how to succeed, who directs you in the path by which you should go. Is. 48:17 ISV

The Lord has never given up on me…

He’s never stopped caring…

for I am His and He still loves me…

       even those times He chastises me.

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; therefore be zealous and repent. Rv. 3:19

"My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and He scourges every son whom He receives." Hb. 12:5,6

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Do you want to understand?

       Personally, I have always wanted to understand everything in the Bible; after all, it is through the Word that we know the Father, Son and Spirit.  Of course I do my best to learn what I can with the help of the Spirit (1Jh. 2:27; Jh. 14:26; 1Cr. 2:9-13), but I don’t think I’ll understand it all until I walk with the Lord in the end.  Still, I will continue to make every effort…

As you read the Scripture below, ask these questions:
     -What two groups of are with Jesus?
     -What is their proximity to Jesus?
     -What is given to them?
     -Who is not given ‘it’ to understand?

When he (Jesus) was alone* with the Twelve and those around* him, they began to ask him about the parables. He told them, "The secret* about the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside, everything comes in parables so that 'they may see clearly but not perceive, and they may hear clearly but not understand, otherwise they might turn around and be forgiven.'"  Mr. 4:10-12 ISV  
*G2651-katamonas- apart, alone  *G4012-peri- around, near   *G3466- musterion- hidden, secret, mystery

       Isn’t it interesting that Jesus is speaking not only to the 12 ‘apostles’ but to the other disciples that have drawn near.  Those who long to understand draw near to the Savior in order to hear Him better and be closer to Him.  They stick around Him, never straying far away lest they miss something important.  It is to those who draw near and stay around Him that Jesus gives them the ‘secret about the kingdom of God’ which is not the emphasis of this post.  But it does make me want to know: if I draw closer and stick around Him, can I learn more ‘secrets of the kingdom’ too?

       All this calls into question a few things in my own life.  Do I draw nearer to Jesus every day in prayer, in the Word and spend time in His presence at home -not just at church on Sunday?  Do I actually stick around Jesus all day every day or do I allow troubles, worries, my desires and worldly interests: money, relationships, success, status, things, etc. increase the space between us?  Are there things I do, think or say that I would be embarrassed for Him to know?  Am I REALLY making good effort to know Him…

       And let us not forget those who are not given ‘the secret’.  Those on the outside who choose not to draw near or stick around Jesus.  (Hopefully it is not due to the lack of our own enthusiasm for Christ!)  Doesn’t that explain (somewhat) why people in the world do not want to listen to us speak about Jesus.  They don’t perceive or understand His Word thus it is all nonsense to them.  How can they begin to know what we, ourselves are unwilling to push for?

Perhaps we should question ourselves.

       Do I hear God speak and if not, could it be because I don’t draw near to Him enough?  Do I think hearing and understanding is only for special people in ministry or do I understand that I can be one of ‘those around Him’?  Do I turn away from those things which keep me from sticking with Him or do they continue to keep me from His side and listening to Him?

Then Jesus spoke again to them, saying, I am the Light of the world. He who follows* Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. Jh. 8:12
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow* Me. Jh. 10:27
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 
*G190-akoloutheo- to follow behind, to accompany, be His disciple

Monday, March 02, 2015

Where are you Vicky?

       So many times I return the third chapter of Genesis and ponder its meaning in life.  I am certain that if any of us had been the first man or woman, we would have made the same terrible mistake.  The most amazing part of that chapter to me though is not the deception, the fall, the curse, the forgiveness, or the first indication of salvation through Jesus but rather this simple part, “…they heard the voice of Jehovah God walking in the garden in the cool of the dayAnd Jehovah God called to Adam and said to him, Where are you?(Gn. 3:8,9)  Adam and Eve had sinned, God already knew before they did it that they would for He is omniscient (all-knowing) (Ac. 1:24; 1Jh. 3:20; Is. 46:9,10; 1Kn. 8:39) 

       Adam and Eve were not shocked at the arrival of God thus it had occurred before.  They were not freaked out by hearing His voice thus they were used to that as well.  I can only imagine how cool it would be to walk with Jehovah God outside in the cool of the day, to see Him face to face and speak as friends who finally get to be together after much time.  That is my greatest personal desire.

       What I think is funny is when God, who knows all, says to Adam, “Where are you?”  As if He didn’t know!  As if He didn’t know what happened!  As if He didn’t know Adam’s very heart, thoughts and actions…  It’s like my mom calling to me after I broke something and was hiding as a child, feeling shame…  But God knew…  He always knows!

Where are you Vicky?

       You know where I am God, still here.  I was broken- with health issues, my mom’s health issues, my adult children’s choices, their struggles, and so many difficult trials that occurred the end of last year.  This time I didn’t get angry at You for it, but I did go into hiding, not out of fear of You seeing me in my state, but of the deep feelings I often experience in Your presence and not wanting to face them.  You understood.  You stayed with me all the way.  You held me in my sadness and reminded me of Your great love for me all without pushing me to enter in where I wasn’t ready to go.  You waited patiently for me to return.

Where are you Vicky?

       I am here; ready to start again in the new reality with which I am faced.  I’m not hiding anymore, not even from those deep feelings.  And somewhere during this time I have realized that all my trust must be placed in You for only You can redeem our bodies, my relationships, and stir my family to know You.  You are infinitely patient and I am proof of that.  You are truly good even when we don’t believe it.  You, Jehovah God, are everything we need and more important than breath or mortal life.  I am forever grateful that You are my Father.

Where are you Vicky?  

I am here now.  

     Present…    with You.