Tuesday, September 6, 2016
“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God,” Matthew 5:8. Promise. Hope. Peace of heart, mind, and soul. That is what we Christian women absolutely need these days, isn’t it? It is ours for the taking. Let’s dwell here for awhile.
Why do we struggle when God offers us such an awesome blessing? People all around us are hurting deeply. Maybe you are one; or one of your family members.
I am still lingering in Isaiah for my daily study these days. Just think! Thousands of years ago God, through the the Holy Spirit, inspired Isaiah to pen exactly what you and I need today.
Let’s look at Matthew 5:8 for a moment before delving into Isaiah. Jesus took His disciples aside and warned them about the temptations that they would face for following Him—mourning, hunger, and persecution. Not fame and fortune, ease and pleasure, not to be a socialite and gain prestige. The beatitudes tell us that we are blessed. Jesus used the word “blessed” to mean the experience of hope and joy, independent of outward circumstances. Jesus explained that His kingdom and the worldly kingdoms differ immensely. What are we living for? Selfishness or sacrifice, pride or humility, self-sacrifice or lust for monetary gain? What are we striving for? How do we qualify to receive God’s blessing?
The 30th chapter of Isaiah causes us to examine our own “manner of life” as we read about God’s dealings with Judah. Verse one immediately catches our attention with the penetrating word “Woe.” What is the red flag? The Lord declares it to be independence from Him. “Woe …to those who carry out plans that are not mine.” In our dilemma and searching for answers, we seek advice from everyone but God. We search for comfort, advice, relief, hoping to find an easy way out of our troubles. God yearns that we consult Him. He says, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” ( Matt.11:28). Note the assurance of verse18, “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you…Blessed are all who wait for Him.” Yes, He gives help in emergencies, but He longs to be our Helper and Guide throughout our lives. When we do it His way, we have a bond with God that provides ceaseless stability, even when we hurt.
Carefully note Isaiah 30: 15-19. The sovereign Lord made it clear to His people that they would have had salvation, quietness, rest, and strength if they had turned to Him. They said, “No, we will seek our own means.” For that, the Lord struck His people with the bread of adversity and the water of affliction.
Friends, I am writing this from my heart, but I don’t feel that I am adequately expressing myself. This particular study in Isaiah has hit me just where I need it, because I’m one, who, at times, rushes ahead of God to be “Mrs. Fix It.” I don’t mean to be. I’m well aware of the fact that God wants me to lean only on Him. It just happens before I know it. (I am learning.) PTL! Only as we come to God in quietness and trust can we experience God’s grand design. We have nothing to say but thank you. Yes, I really believe that. I pray you do to.
We go to Him in prayer and God comes to us with fulfillment of His promises to teach us and guide us during hard times. It is that we might grow in His image and thus glorify Him.
In closing, note that God reminds us of His abundant graciousness as well as His compassion, justice, and patience when we wait on Him (verse 18).
And now a quote from my Life Application Study Bible: “The Lord gave his people the bread of adversity…but he promised to be with them, teach them, and guide them during hard times. God expects a lot from us and many times following him can be painful; but he always acts out of his love for us. The next time you go through a difficult time, try to appreciate the experience and grow from it.”
“How quickly we organize our lives around human advice [or our own ideas] when dealing with our problems while we neglect God’s eternal promises…Satan tries to confuse or deceive us. People don’t necessarily need to be sinful to be ineffective for God: they need only be confused about what God wants. To avoid Satan’s deceit, study God’s Word carefully and regularly. When you know what God says, you will not fall for Satan’s lies” (LASBible).
Norma speaking as a result of recent experiences: let God lead. Cooperate with Him. His way is perfect.
Friday, August 19, 2016
"God does not direct year by year, nor even day by day, but step by step my path unfolds; my Lord directs the way. Tomorrow's plans I do not know, I only know this minute. But He will say, "This is the way, by faith now walk ye in it." And when tomorrow comes, His grace shall far exceed its care. What need to worry then, or fret? The God who gave His Son holds all my moments in His hand and gives them one by one."
Monday, August 15, 2016
Friday, August 12, 2016
What is troubling your heart at this moment? Remember when trouble comes to threaten your peace, your Peacemaker is ready and longingly waiting to help you. He has made a promise that He will keep you in perfect peace when your mind is stayed on Him (cf. Isa. 26:3).
Monday, August 8, 2016
While the three previous blogs have focused on the outer person, this blog is primarily going to focus on contentment within the heart, and the mind, and the soul of a woman. God’s word will be our main source of instruction. There is nothing else so reliable or penetrating, is there? So we will approach our study seriously, won’t we?
We seniors develop strange mind sets, habits, thoughts, and ideas; and we get “set in our ways,” which absorbs our lifestyle. In some cases it crowds God out. That is dangerous and should never be. The Word of God must become our lifeline. That takes discipline and lots of it. The termites of life hinder us from gazing on Christ.
Question. How can we rectify that? If we have become absorbed by filling our previous multiple workaholic activities with multiple time-filler activities — even profitable activities — it is possible that love for God and His penetrating Word has been squeezed to second or third place. If that has happened, we must, by God’s help, change our ways. There are ways to do that. Following is one suggestion.
The book of Philippians stabs my heart and punctures my soul every time I open to it. I am there often. It is not normal to stay on spiritual track without God’s help is it? Note God’s encouragements and challenges: 2:5 “Your attitude should be that of…”; 3:13 “Forgetting those things…”; 4:4 “Rejoice …”; 4:12 “I have learned.…” These are a few from my readily available written out list that I often refer to. Perhaps you would like to turn to the references to complete these helpful reminders. How rich! How challenging! Why not set the knitting needles and the golf clubs aside and dig deep into the beneficial riches of God’s Word.
I have another list from 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Peter. You can do the same with any Bible book. This time I have made statements rather than quoting verses. I Pet 1:3, We have an inheritance in the Lord Jesus Christ. 1:5, We are shielded by God’s power. 1:14, Do not conform to evil desires.
Seniors often say, “I am so busy now that I have retired. I don’t know how I did it all before.” For me that puts up a bright red flag that spells inventory time.
Andrew Murray’s account is extremely impressive. He wrote,
“I was very much struck a time ago in an infant school examination, with the practice a little class in object lessons was put through. A picture was shown them, which they were told to look at carefully. They then had to shut their eyes and take time to think and remember everything they had seen. The picture was now removed and the little ones had to tell all they could remember. Again the picture was shown, and they had to try and notice what they had not observed before; again to shut their eyes and think, and again to tell what more they had noticed. And so once more, until every line of the picture had been taken in. As I looked at the keen interest with which the little eyes now gazed on the picture, and then were pressed so tightly shut as they tried to realize, and take in, and keep what they had been looking at, I felt that if our Bible reading were more of such an object lesson, the unseen spiritual realities pictured to us in the Word would take much deeper hold of our inner life. We are too easily content with the thoughts suggested by the words of the Bible, though these are but forms of truth, without giving time for the substantial spiritual reality, which the Word as the truth of God contains, to get lodged and rooted in the heart. *Let us, in meditating on the image of God in Christ, to which we are to be conformed, remember this. When some special trait has occupied our thoughts, let’s shut our eyes, and open our hearts; let us think, and pray, and believe in the working of the Holy Spirit, until we really see the blessed Master in that special light in which the Word has been setting Him before us and carry away for that day the deep and abiding impression of that heavenly beauty in Him which we know is to be reproduced in us. Let us gaze and gaze again, let us worship and adore; the more we see Him as He is, the likelier to Him we must become. To study the image of God in the man Christ Jesus, to yield and set upon our inmost being for that image to take possession and live in us, and then to go forth and let the heavenly likeness reflect itself out of our life among our fellowmen, —this is what we have been redeemed for, let this be what we live for.”Andrew Murray has given us a challenge for our retirement years. I entrust his lengthy quote to God’s gracious care in you as well as myself to grow ever closer to Him for His unspeakable glory.
In the world tribulation, in Christ peace. Do you have peace right now? If you by faith know Jesus Christ as your Savior, He is waiting to give you a peaceful countenance. Stop whatever you are doing. Sit down. Be quiet. Talk to Him about your situation and by all means wait for Him to talk to you. No, not in an audible voice, but by His Spirit communing with your spirit. "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." That's a promise!
Friday, August 5, 2016
Day by day and with each passing moment, strength I find to meet my trial here. "Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:6-7).