Monday, December 2, 2013
God chose Mary to be the mother of His Son, the Lord Jesus. Doesn’t that boggle your mind?
When did God choose Mary to be the mother of the Lord Jesus? Revelation 13:8b tells us that the “Lamb (Jesus) [was] slain before the foundation of the world.” Mary must have been chosen way back then. Mary was the “virgin” of Isaiah’s prophecy (Isa 7:14) which was written hundreds of years before Christ was born. God prepared and committed this most delicate task to Mary. Mary was in the mind of God before the world was created. You and I were in God’s mind that far back also (Eph.1:4). Unfathomable but wonderful!
Why did God choose Mary? Again God’s prophecy gives us the answer. Both Mary and Joseph, her legal protector, were descendants of David (Luke 1:20,36). This fulfilled the prophetic requirement. Mary was a Jewish princess, but the royal line was not ruling at that time so she considered herself of “lowly manner” (Luke: 1:48).
God endowed Mary with the beauty of humility. She was the absolute one for such an honor as were Ruth, Sarah, and others. Doesn't that encourage us as we note how God has chosen faulty material to accomplish great things? It is all of God’s grace; not our worthiness.
As we look at Luke 1:38 we see another endowment of Mary which prepared her to be a worthy vessel of the Lord’s choosing. Mary was submissive. “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to Thy word”. What must have crossed her mind as she uttered her words of surrender, “according to [your] word?” Realize the embarrassment of her position. Think of her stigma of unwed motherhood. How could she explain this to Joseph? Certainly he would realize that the child to be born was not his. She would be accused of adultery by everyone. Adultery was an offense punishable by stoning (Deut. 22:13-21). Yet she graciously submitted to God’s will.
As we turn to the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55), we are impressed that Mary’s heart and mind were saturated with the Word of God as she quoted from the Old Testament. If she had not been familiar with O.T. scripture would she have realized that she was part of God’s plan to send the Messiah? Her knowledge of God’s Word led her to give up her plans and follow God. Are we so prepared?
From the human standpoint let us consider what Jesus’ birth cost Mary. Nagging thoughts must have put question marks in her mind. Will Joseph believe my story? Or will he allow my stoning? What will the townspeople think? Then there was the trip to Bethlehem which must have made her cringe. At birthing time there was no privacy: only hard ground, unpleasant smells, no medical help, no friends, and an unsanitary environment. But there were compensations. An angel chorus announced the event and shepherds came to worship the Jesus.
“Christmas was a costly affair to God.” We are the beneficiaries. “He (Jesus) came to pay a debt He didn’t owe, because we owed a debt we couldn't pay.” His Christmas gift to us. Let us rejoice and thank the Giver of such a costly gift.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
“This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” Psa: 118:24. “Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say rejoice” Phil. 4:4.
As I sit down at my computer this morning, I am going to bare my heart as God directs, trusting that He will bless your heart as He has mine during these past three weeks while I have been on a spiritual roller coaster.
Too many times we hide our feelings, our emotions, and our thoughts because we are afraid that people will judge our spiritual tenor if they find out. If we first go to others instead of the Lord, we have gone to the wrong source. God’s Word assures us that He has the answer. My many years of walking with Him assure me of that also. We must evaluate our motives. Is it pride that keeps us from baring our heart, or are we taking our need to our heavenly Father because we know that there is no one who knows just how we feel? Because we are convinced that God has the answers? That God will help us through?
The last three weeks have been different from any that I have ever experienced. My husband has been in the ER three times and has had surgery for an abdominal aortic aneurysm. I stayed with him in the hospital for five nights. My weariness affected my emotions. I knew that my Father was where He always is -- on His Throne, caring for me, aware of my need, and that He would restore me in His own perfect time and way. Each morning I told Him that I was claiming His promise, “As thy day so shall they strength be.” There is a verse on our kitchen door that confronts me every time I go to our garage -- “Be still and know that I am God” Psa. 46:10. That was all I could do and that was all that I needed to do. “Delight thyself in the Lord, and He shall give thee the desire of thine heart” Psa. 37:4 My desire, my desperate need,was joyful peace. In the meantime, I clung to fact, not to feeling. I knew He would restore me in His own perfect time. And He did! Oh, how great is our God! He will restore our soul.
Why am I telling this to you? Reason: perhaps you need to be restored, encouraged, assured. The nights are dark and long. Your days and night flow into one long muddle. Your bones ache from weariness. Your heart is downcast. You are discouraged and in despair. Don’t allow yourself to stay there. Read the Word whether you understand it or not. Pray to your heavenly Father even if you feel like it or not. Even if you think He is not listening. He has not left His Throne. He has not forgotten you. He is ready and waiting to work His perfect work in you. Believe His promise that He will never leave you or forsake you. He will restore you to gladness and rejoicing in His own perfect time and way. You will have a new song to sing and a strong testimony of victory that only He can give. Other troubled ones need to hear you.
PRAISE HIM FOR HIS CARING, MIGHTY POWER. HE IS ON HIS THRONE.
P.S. My dear husband is growing stronger each day. Praise the Lord.
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
“For thus saith the high and lofty One who inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also who is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (Isa. 57:15).
It was while my husband, Robert, and I were missionaries in the Philippines with the China Inland Mission (now Overseas Missionary Fellowship) that we received this letter from our director, J. Oswald Sanders. It is rich and needy today. I want to share it with you.
“This spacious text which expresses the attitudes that are compatible with the greatness of our God, tells us four things about Him. His Transcendence. ‘The high and lofty one.’ What had surprised Isaiah was the elevation of His throne, infinitely higher than any earthly throne. He learned that God is greater than our highest conception of Him, greater than all majesty. ‘He is ABOVE all,’ said John. ‘God OVER all,’ said Paul. His Holiness ‘whose name is Holy’ and His name is His nature. His throne is the blazing centre of all moral purity. His is a holiness that dazzles and blinds and prostrates. Perhaps the reason that we are not dazzled is that cataracts may be growing over the eyes of our soul. His holiness should awe us, and will certainly reveal the tawdriness of our highest attainments in that realm. His crystal purity is in startling contrast to our dinginess. The glory of His absolute holiness, meditated upon and presented to our hearts with power by the Holy Spirit, cannot but make us humble and contrite. His Eternity ‘which inhabiteth eternity’ ‘I fill heaven and earth.’ These claims are infinitely more intelligible to us than to any previous generation -- a universe vast beyond all imagining.
A recent authority wrote: ‘The stars and planets exceed in number all grains of sand on all seashores.’ How insignificant is man! How great is God! Man, a prisoner of time and space. God, the uncreated Master of eternity. His condescension. Our God who is great beyond all imagining, deigns to take up His abode in a humble and contrite heart. ‘God has two thrones,’ said the old Puritan, ‘one in the highest heaven and one in the humblest heart.’ The Infinite condescends to become the intimate, terrible and yet tender. The immensity of His stoop staggers the imagination but warms the heart. Let us love, and sing, and wonder that the Transcendent God who fills eternity makes Himself small enough to fill my heart when it is humble and contrite. ‘Contrite’ means ‘pulverized, shattered’ -- self-reliance broken. ‘Humble’ means that all illusions about self are gone. Are we longing to see God work? He tells us the type through whom He delights to achieve His purposes. ‘TO THIS MAN will I look, even to him that is of a humble and contrite heart, who trembleth at my Word.’ Lord make me a man [woman] like that!
“Why does the high and lofty One dwell in the humble and contrite heart? ‘to restore ... to revive.’ Is this our need? Here is the panacea.”’
Have you been smitten by this Self-portrait and Self-revelation of God before you as I have been? Have you lost yourself in wonder, love, praise, and thanksgiving? Thanks for responding.
Monday, September 30, 2013
Do you ever feel alone? You don’t have to feel that way. If you are a believer, Jesus has promised that He will not leave you comfortless. Turn to John 14:18. His gift to us is comfort. It may be natural to be sad and lonely, but it is unscriptural. His love secures His presence to you. Open your heart, and your mind to His promises. The Bible is full of them.
Monday, September 23, 2013
Those of us who are in spiritual leadership carry a heavy responsibility. Whether we lead a Bible study, teach a church school class, or hold a church office, preparation and prayer may mean a sacrifice of pleasure. “Whatever you do, do all for the glory of God” I Cor. 10:31.
Monday, September 16, 2013
Monday, September 9, 2013
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
“And we know that ALL things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).
Oh what undeniable assurance from the heart of God, our Father, Himself, to our sometimes quaking emotions. No, we are not to live on emotions, but they sometimes get in the way of producing something beautiful or useful or both.
The night that I stood by the casket of my husband, dear friends in their desperation to say something comforting, would hold my hand and say, “Norma, we don’t know now, but someday when we get to Heaven, God will tell us why.” That episode was more than 40 years ago, so I have had years for God to graciously grow me. That midnight when four people came to my home to tell me that his dead body had been found on the street (evidently by a heart attack) God graciously whispered to my heart, “ I do all things well. I don’t make mistakes.” However, as days followed, reality set in. I’m a widow with sons aged 12 and 14. What is next?
What happens to people when they find it hard to trust God in hard times? In their despair their first question is “why?” Not a good question -- because it belittles God. God does not owe us an answer. It is as though we are putting Him on the spot. “I need an explanation before I can trust You.” Suffice it to say, He is God Almighty, the great I AM, all sovereign, totally trustworthy, holy. He never makes a mistake. The clay does not ask the potter, “Why are you doing this to me?” Clay rests in the potter’s hand and the finished product displays the maker’s expertise. The Lord is our rock, fortress, deliverer, our strength, shield, salvation, high tower (cf. Psa. 18:2).
Our church family recently experienced an excruciating tragedy when the church bus of children returning from camp overturned. The youth pastor, his wife, carrying an unborn baby, and a mother of five were killed. Where was God at a time like this? He was where He has always been -- on His Throne! Directing the affairs of His own! That is what Romans 8:28 is shouting out to us. “I do all things well. I make no mistakes.” Do you believe? Can you take Him at His word?
When we are suffering tragedy, heartache, bereavement, frustration, and disappointment, we wonder how any good can come from it. God uses the deepest experiences to bring us ever closer to Himself and to conform us “into the image of His Son.” The impersonal forces of luck, chance, and fate do not control our lives. Our wonderful Lord, who is “too loving to be unkind and too wise to err,” cares for His own individual children for whom He has individual plans.
Paul, in his instruction to Timothy, gives us a glimpse of the majesty of our God. At the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, God shall display Himself as our Potentate (Tim. 6:15). Oh what a strong word: He is the One who has unlimited authority and influence. Our Sovereign, our Almighty our all-knowing, our all-powerful, God who is “too loving to be unkind and too wise to err.”
Thank you, Father! We will trust you. You do ALL things well!
Monday, August 26, 2013
“Take heed to your spirit” Mal. 2:15. Jesus was humble, meek, patient, forbearing, kind, and forgiving. And Jesus becomes more specific when He says, “except you forgive men their trespasses, neither will my heavenly Father forgive you.” We can do all things through our loving Savior Who supplies us from His reservoir of strength. He has promised.
Monday, August 19, 2013
Monday, August 12, 2013
Do you ever feel discouraged about your walk with the Lord? Don’t you want to grow stronger and deeper? I do. No plateaus. No regressions. God has a comforting promise in Phil. 1:6. Read it. God began His work for us when Christ died on the cross. His work in us began when we believed. What God starts, He finishes! His Word tells us what we must do.
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Victory is not in ourselves, but in the Holy Spirit. Note the change of emphasis between Romans Chapter 7 and chapter 8. Note that the personal pronouns which were so prominent in chapter 7 largely disappear in chapter 8 where Paul’s heart is now controlled by the Holy Spirit. “ There is, therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (v.1). Hallelujah!!!! We are justified by God’s overwhelming grace through Christ’s sacrificial blood that was shed on the cross at Calvary. Christ is our substitute. We, with our sin, should have been nailed on that cross. “Nothing in my hands I bring; simply to Thy cross I cling.”
The believing woman is free from the law of sin and death (v.2). She is now identified with Christ who is her All and in All. Grace has succeeded so that she is no longer under the bondage that overcame her in Romans 7. She is identified with Christ; free from the law of sin ad death.
Keeping a set of laws will not change us no matter how hard we try. Jesus Christ has set us free! He has done the perfect work. Why then do we think we can perfect ourselves? If we believe in the work of Christ in our stead, then we are under a new covenant. That covenant gives us the Spirit of God who lives within us. Why would we put ourselves under bondage again? There is no condemnation because God through Christ is at work.
“Free from the law -- oh happy condition! Jesus has bled and there is remission; Cursed by the law and bruised by the fall, Grace hath redeemed us once for all” (P.P.Bliss). Praise the Lord!
Since the law could not save us, why do we expect it to sustain us once we have received the righteousness of Jesus Christ? When we received Christ as our Savior, the Holy spirit came to dwell within us. He is the One Who can and will control our life. He “groans” to develop Christlikeness in us. Oh, yes, we are vitally involved. We don’t sit on our lees.
Keeping a set of laws cannot change us nor give us an inner sense of being right with God. “The law is a court of justice, but the Gospel a throne of grace” (George Swinnock). We must not disparage the law. It had its function. “It was added because of transgression, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made” (Gal. 3:19). The Seed (Christ) has come and we are in the dispensation of grace. Jesus Christ won the victory at Calvary.
“Many truly converted persons are more occupied with themselves, and in trying to improve their own condition, than in seeking to learn the grace of God” (C.A. Coates). God tells us that if we walk by the Spirit, we will not fulfill the lusts of our flesh. That is step-by-step victory! Our Father does not expect us to be perfect, but He does expect us to grow in Christlikeness.
We are in Christ and Christ is in us constantly performing His perfect work and fulfilling His immutable promises. As we believe His Word and cooperate with Him, we have victory.
“...and thanks be to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”(1 Cor15:57). Praise Him with exuberance. HE IS WORTHY!
(to be continued)
Sunday, July 28, 2013
Do you have a special Bible verse for the year 2012? I have. Instead of a personal verse, it is for my family -- children, spouses, grands, and great grands. Yes, and for my husband and me, also. Phil. 1:9b-14. I pray for (1) an understanding of God’s Word; (2) gaining spiritual wisdom; (3) pleasing and honoring God; (4) bearing good fruit,; (5) growth in the knowledge of God, and much more.
Sunday, July 21, 2013
Monday, July 15, 2013
Monday, July 1, 2013
Dear friend, do you ever identify with Paul as you read Romans 7: 15-25? A godly woman who is yearning to grow in the will and ways of the Master does identify with Paul from time to time.
The more we walk in the Word, the more we acknowledge that there are still cesspools of sin in our soul. We talk to God about our frustration over such repetitions. But we repeat the same offenses again, and again, and again. What is wrong????
Perhaps you are plagued with such a question. The godly apostle Paul describes his struggle. “Oh, wretched man that I am” (v. 24). Certainly there is an inner conflict between the two natures that war within.
Harry Foster explains Paul’s frustration this way: “Here was a man, struggling to achieve holiness by personal effort, struggling with all his might to fulfill ‘God’s holy and righteous and good commandments only to discover that the more he struggled, the worse his condition became. It was a losing battle, and no wonder, for it is not in the power of fallen nature to conquer sin and live in holiness” (Toward the Mark, p. 110).
The personal pronouns are extremely prominent in these eleven verses; -- at least forty times! Someone has said that, “People who go through this Romans 7 experience have taken an overdose of ‘Vitamin I.’” I, me, my, myself.
Most Christian psychological counseling focuses on the counselee’s inner self. Christians need to know and remember that we died with Christ and now live in newness of life with Him who is our Overcomer. So we focus on Him and His power to deliver. “Be still and know that I am God” (Psa. 46:10). “In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength ” (Isa. 30:15).
“I am the Lord, I change not” (Heb. 13:8). Jesus assures us that He has the same wonder-working, delivering power for us that He had when He raised Jesus from the dead, and He yearns to use it to meet our need. He assures us with, “I am immutable!” Even the word itself sounds reassuring. Our Lord’s attributes never change.
Jesus is forever and always the same in all the glories of His power. Instead of introspecting, let us turn our eyes upon Him and adore Him as our all-divine, wonder-working Lord Jesus. Let us cling to His immutable truths that we may find comfort in Him when our “earthly gourds wither and our cisterns are broken.” He is the same as when our hearts were first exuberant with His love. “I am the Lord, I change not” (Mal. 3:6).
“For the love of God is broader
Than the measure of man’s mind;
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.”
From hymn -- There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy, F. W. Faber
(to be continued)
Monday, June 24, 2013
Monday, June 17, 2013
Monday, June 10, 2013
Monday, June 3, 2013
How can God put up with my inconsistent prayer life, laxity in Bible study, lack of concern for the lost? How can He listen to my big promises to do better when time and again He has seen me fail? How can He? How can He? Why doesn’t He write me off as a bad debt? A failure?
Have you ever been there? Is that the way you are thinking right now?
It is at such times I run to the Word and He reminds me that as His child He still cares for me. He has promised to never leave me nor forsake me. I am the apple of His eye. My Father reminds me that He adorns each lily of the field. He notes a tiny sparrow’s falls. God is so concerned for me that He has the hairs of my head numbered. He will keep on caring for me until He calls me home when His whole scheme of things will be revealed. Hallelujah!
I’m reminded of God’s continued love for unfaithful Israel (Exodus 32:9-14). Because of His people’s unfaithfulness, God was going to destroy them. But He must be true to His promises with the patriarchs; therefore He relented of the punishment that He would have inflicted on His people.
We born-again-believers have a magnificently greater basis for forgiveness than the Old Testament saints. Yes, we are undeserving. We are inconsistent. We are undependable. God and His Word are low on our priority list. We grieve our Father God. It is then that Jesus is at the Father’s right hand pleading for us. God is grieved, disappointed, perhaps even angry with us to the point of casting us out, but Jesus is at the Father’s side interceding for us. He opens His garments and says, “Look Father, at this deep scar in my side. Blood and water flowed out of this wound for Norma (put your name here). Forgive her again.”
It is because of the incomparable price that was paid, that God reaches down, folds me in His arms of love, binds me to Himself, and forgives. Instead of casting me away, He begins another renewal program. He puts another building block on my pyramid of life. What form does that block take? Perhaps the form an experience -- just the kind He knows I need. If I take careful steps to get the most out of that correction, I learn and I grow.
Here is an example of what I am talking about. On January 8, 1991, while living in our motor home in Florida a severe thunderstorm hit. I remarked to my husband, “We are undoubtedly in the safest place one can be since we have six rubber tire to ground us.” Later that evening we noted that our electrical outlets were not working. I remarked to friends that I could see no reason for such inconvenience. A few days earlier I had spoken at a ladies’ meeting with two points. #1 - God is in control even in the minutest details. #2 - God has a learning purpose for every detail He brings to us. When we pass lightly over them or we ignore them we miss the purpose of God’s planned lesson. Think of it! I had put my confidence in the security of six rubber tires instead of God’s protection! Hard to imagine! God could have burned down the motor home and its valuable contents. Instead He extended merciful protection as well as mercifully and one more time giving me an experience that would set my mind on Christ. God is ever faithful!
(to be continued)
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Will we ever be totally contented? Not on this earth! God is daily growing us for earthly good. And He is preparing us for Heaven. “Whom the Lord loves He chastens” (Heb. 12:6 ). “Crosses are not curses.” I used to call God’s disciplines “dark strokes” on my canvas of life. Not at all! As I have drawn closer to my heavenly Father and have more carefully absorbed His Word and His love for me, I have come to realize that His acts of discipline are “love strokes.” I thank Him for every one of them even though they excruciatingly hurt at the time. “Whom the Lord loves He chastens.”The Lord chastens us because He loves us! This should help us to not mistake the purpose of our afflictions. Our afflictions are really mercies that often blossom and bear fruit. “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness ( Heb. 12:11). “With God it is alright. He is really very kind.” He sanctifies us through pain.
We considered Psalm 37:5 last time. Commit, trust, wait, do not fret, delight yourself. Have you applied that to your personal life situations this past month? If you did, without doubt you have paeans of praise to give to your heavenly Father. Do you have a wayward child? Or a needy husband? Are you worn with grief over the thoughts of their destiny? Has it helped? No! Of course not. You have not committed the matter to the only One who can handle it. Think of it this way. Yes, you bore your child and he/she has your blood flowing through the veins to sustain the body. That child is yours, but your influence is limited. That child is on Christ’s mind to a greater concerned and loving degree than on yours. He shed His blood to save that soul. Your child is more His than yours. The Father loves him/her more than you do. Don’t you believe that He can do the better job? Without doubt He can! That is practicing/fleshing out the Word. “Be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10
God warns teachers of His precious Word to be extremely cautious that they practice what they teach. But teachers don’t live on the mountain top all the time. The enemy goads them just like he does everyone else. Scripture tells us that he is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Pet.5:8). God has reasons for allowing him to attack us. I have a confession to make. I started my day with a discontented heart a while back. I knew I could not remain in that condition after all I have been saying to you. Furthermore, my discontentment was extremely grievous to the Lord. I was leaving Him out. What did I do? My first thought was, “What have I been saying to those women out there?” I knew I had been directing you to the Word, so I went back to Part 3 of this series to find out exactly what I said to you.There it was -- Isaiah 40:28-31; also 41:10. It is not easy to relate this, but I want you to know that I’m not on a spiritual pedestal. Our Father deals with each of us for several obvious reasons. Always for His glory.
“I will call upon Thee; For Thou wilt answer me” (Psalm 86:7). “For Thou art great and doest wondrous things.” David prayed this with complete confidence and with full assurance in the Lord. Confidence in Him is contentment. Be assured that God is and that He will answer for our good and for His own Name’s sake. For His own honor and glory. He knows your heart cry even before you utter it. He longs to hear and to answer. Jesus groans for your need.
“Day by day and with each passing moment, strength I find to meet my trials here.” Because He victoriously lives.
What have you been learning about contentment in your life?
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Someone has said, “Remembrance is the hallmark of gratitude.” Gratitude is the back bone of contentment. It is profitable to look back and consider what the Lord has done for us. We were slaves of sin and under the curse of God. But God, who is rich in mercy loved us even when we were dead in trespasses and sins, saved us by His amazing grace. The days of our first love were delightfully exuberating. Our blood-bought hearts basked in God’s love. We were cleansed and made pure for the Master and we indulged in that. In fact, it was such a delightful experience that we could not keep quiet. Others just had to hear. Perhaps your zeal has declined, perhaps your joy has faded, perhaps your prospects have overcome you. You are discontented. Of course! That is to be expected! God’s Word gives us answers to finding peace and contentment.
In Hebrews 10:32-39 God counterbalances our dilemma with grave warnings. Our new-found faith gives us new joy and anticipation. We recall those precious former days when we were illuminated to such a degree that in the midst of great struggles and sufferings we didn’t “cave in.” We sang, “O God, our help in ages past, our hope in years to come. Our shelter in the stormy blast, and our eternal home.” God has not changed.
Let’s take a look at Psalm 37:5-7, as I said we would do in our last session. “Commit your way to the Lord, trust in Him . . . wait patiently for Him . . . Do not fret.” That is a BIG chunk when we are in the middle of the muddle! First of all, God advises us and reassures us in the powerful words of verse 4. “ Delight yourself in the Lord.” The battle is not yours, but God’s. Don’t attempt to figure or fight. He will take care of you and do for you what you can’t do for yourself, even if you try. On top of all those care packages He still has more. He looks inside and gives you“the desires of your heart.” Assurance! Take God at His word! What an awesome God is He. “Immortal, invisible, God only wise.”
We would do well to flesh out verses 5-7.When you are slandered, misjudged, falsely accused, misunderstood, or misquoted, commit the entire matter to the Lord. Roll the weight onto Him. Let Him act in your behalf. Leave it there. So trust. Now, having done the above, rest in Him.
Since He is carrying your burden, it is not necessary for you to bear it also. That is exactly what we too often do. We take our burden back. How foolish! It is God’s will that you should cast on Him your every care. He also bids you not to cast your confidence away. But oh, we are so foolish when taken unawares. We cast away our confidence and carry all our cares. Verse 8 tells us not to fret because it only causes harm. Health advisors list the devastating effects that worry, fear, anger, and such have on our bodies. The Lord tells us what they will do to our hearts, minds, and souls. God has the remedy (Philippians 4:6). Read it, pray, ask, be thankful. He gives peace.
Did you note the one more pearl that we must add to our string of contentment? Wait.There’s more. Wait patiently. More. Wait patiently for Him. Yes. Waiting is the thing we find hardest to do. Waiting is the thing we do least. God has a time table that will precisely fit not only our need, but will importantly accomplish His purpose in us and for us. Note that our resources, as believers, are in the Lord. “Trust in the Lord (v.3). Delight in the Lord (v. 4). Commit your way to the Lord (v.5) Rest in the Lord (v.7a). Wait patiently for Him (v.7b).”
(to be continued)
Monday, March 4, 2013
I am an octogenarian who would like to share with you the blessed experience of cultivating contentment in Christ in our senior years of life. No, I'm not telling you that I have worked out all of it and am ready with all the answers. I'm finding it to be a daily learning experience accompanied by victory as I dig ( and I do mean dig) into God's Word for answers. God has wonderfully blessed my years with health, strength, and vigor, which He has channeled into multiple venues of service for Him. I had found it hard to ever realize my age -- until recently. I can now begin to identify with many of you who have been telling me what it is like. So, let's think together positively about the "glory of aging."
It goes without saying that the first answer to this phase of life is found in God's Word. Do open your Bible and carefully/reflectively read the comforting words found in Isaiah 40:28-31. Oh yes, you are familiar with it, but as you read it, claim it for how you feel right now. Now, ip over to 1 Corinthians 4:16 where we are told that although our outward [person] is decaying our inward [person] is being renewed each day. My husband, John, reminds me that God does not do for us what we can do for ourselves. "Renewal is not automatic, it is major life activity" (Francis Grubbs, The Glory of Aging, p. 93).
How and where do we start to be daily renewed? It starts with the mind which affects our heart. Yes, and it involves the will, as well. Our sinful mind, heart, and will must be transformed. We may deeply/desperately yearn and even try to be better and to do better. Our efforts will fail. Only God, by the power of His Holy Spirit, can effect this change. He is our overcomer. He gives victory. He has promised, "Commit your way unto the Lord; trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass" (Psa. 37:5). We will go deeper into this study on our next blog post.
Let's take a lesson from an eight-year-old girl who was blinded at birth by a quack physician. "Oh what a happy child I am, although I cannot see! I am resolved that in this world, contented I will be! How many blessings I enjoy that other people don't! So weep or sigh because I'm blind, I cannot -- nor I won't." (Frances Jane Crosby)
It is our unfailing hope in God and our ever present blessed hope of spending eternity with Him in glory that floods our spirit with unspeakable joy. Joy is fulfillment!
To " Set your mind on...Christ" (Col. 3:2) and His promises, is a dictate that serves us well in our declining years. He is our refuge. Underneath are His everlasting arms. He will faithfully carry us through every stormy blow, every weakness, every fear! He will never fail! He has promised!
" Even to your old age , I am He, and even to gray hairs I will carry you! Even I will carry, and will deliver you." God is speaking directly to you and to me through the pen of Isaiah (46:4).
(to be continued)
Monday, February 25, 2013
Monday, February 18, 2013
“I have a goodly heritage” (Psa. 16:6). Our Lord Jesus and all of us who follow God’s will find that it leads to pleasant places in our journey of life. Ultimately our heritage will be to share His glory with Him forever. Doesn’t that make your heart beat with anticipation? It is worth it all!
Monday, February 11, 2013
“The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance” (Psa. 16:5). Our Lord Jesus appropriated ALL that the Father made available to Him and His joy was full. He wanted nothing beside. Why are we so joyless, so fraught with anxiety? We don’t really possess our possessions in Christ Jesus. He and His Word are totally sufficient to carry us through the darkest hour. Thank You, Father.
Monday, February 4, 2013
I am thinking about, pursuing, and practicing the Word of God to bring to you these meditations on contentment. Each morning my husband (Jack) leads me to a devotional thought for the day. We have been greatly blessed and stretched by “Daily Remembrancer,” (ISBN 981-05-3518-X), a book first published in the 1800s by Pastor James Smith. He wanted the people of his parish to daily “think upon these things” so he produced these reminders in book form for their use. The book has been updated and revised by editor Dr. S. H. Tow of Singapore. Each page offers a thought provoking message that is not to be ignored.
As I read, study, ponder, and pray about this series on contentment, certain treaties jump out at me that I just have to share. Page 488 of the above mentioned book is one of those messages which so eloquently states what I would like to direct you to. I have read and reread it several times. It is based on Job 5:8 and follows:
“ ‘UNTO GOD WOULD I COMMIT MY CAUSE.’ There is no sounder advice than this. It is the counsel of a real friend. It is much better than seeking unto men, or poring over troubles, or indulging the imagination, or giving way to fears. Troubles generally look worst in the distance: they are seldom found to be as bad as they appeared to be. My friend, I know not what may be your case, but if I were in perplexity, I would seek unto God for wisdom. If I were in sorrow, I would seek unto God for comfort. If I were in weakness, I would seek unto God for strength. If I were under guilt, I would see k under God for pardon. If I were in doubt and fear, I would seek unto God for confidence and a sense of His favor. If I were under the power of unbelief, I would seek unto God for faith. If I were harassed by Satan, I would seek unto God to lift up a standard against him. If I were afraid of falling, I would seek unto God to uphold me with the right hand of His righteousness. If I were fearful of death, I would seek unto God to turn the shadow of death into the sunshine of God’s morning. Whatever you want, seek it of God. Whatever you fear, carry it to God. Whatever troubles you, lay it before God. You cannot seek Him in vain, or without profit.”
What more can I add? Just a few thoughts from Scripture should be helpful. When discontentment comes to our mind, heart or emotions, our stabilizing source is the Word of our Father God, Who knows all about it even before we talk to HIm about it. Let’s take a look:
“Cast your burdens on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved” Psalm 55:22. God has promised, dear believing friend. Talk your heart out to Him. He longs for you to do that _____. He groans for you to do that________.
“ . . . I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content ...” “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4: 12, 13. My search helped me to understand and appreciate the Greek meaning of the word “strengthen.” It means “to put power in.” Because we are believers in Christ, He infuses us with His strength and sustains us until He sends provision.
Song -- “I’ve got peace like a river in my soul.”
“ The peace of God . . . shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:7
PiC -- Positioned in Christ
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard; neither hath it entered the mind of [woman] the things that God has prepared for them who love Him” (1 Cor. 2:1). That’s Heaven! Doesn’t that boggle your mind? It does mine! I can’t comprehend it, but God has said it. I believe it and can hardly wait. Trust Him. He means what He says. Be patient.
Friday, January 4, 2013
Undoubtedly there were varied reactions to the four-part series of A Window for Women in which we considered “The Wealth of God’s Word.” For some it was, “I already do daily dig and find priceless nuggets that I apply so that I may grow in the grace and knowledge of God.” I trust others were challenged to a new discipline of a daily “watch” with God
This series will be entitled Cultivating Contentment in Christ.
Perhaps heart stretching, heart rending, heart breaking, heart searching things have happened to you in the year 2012. Your responses and needs have been many. In some cases you have experienced God’s gracious gift of victory. In other cases you are still seeking relief. I trust these carefully and prayerfully chosen thoughts will give relief, direction, release, and a glorious experience as you walk and talk with your Lord, and as you allow Him to direct you by His Word and by His Holy Spirit.
We bond with David as we read the Psalms. At times he was on the mountain top and at others he was very discontented. At times he was cultivating contentment in a big way, “My heart is fixed. Oh God, my heart is fixed” Psalm 57:7. As we read the verse in its context, we find David in deep distress as he went to the right resource -- His God! Not his friend’s ear, not a computer, not a counselor, not a “How-To Book.” He went to his God right away.!
At the same time we must beware lest we possess formidable foes to a contented heart -- foes such as selfishness, thanklessness, murmuring, stress, sin, fear, selfishness, TV, a web site, face book, hobbies, wantonness -- add your own.
Aren’t you thankful that we can approach our faithful Father who helps us take steps toward contentment? Our steps may be faltering; non-the-less, He will carry us through and build us up.
What are some of those steps? Focusing, praying, disciplining, calling, casting, trusting. Are you ready?
We do not demand contentment as if we have a right to expect it. We ask it as a mercy from our heavenly Father who knows our need.
A woman who is sure of God will have contentment. Thus, we become useful channels of blessing.. We become a manifestation of God’s faithfulness. We become an example to someone else. We can be a friend who inspires someone to move closer to God.
( to be continued )