Another New Adventure

Since this blog is all about living, learning and thriving, it ends up being mostly about the adventures, good and bad, encountered along life’s broken road.  Today begins a new adventure for my husband, and so for me, too, since we are “one”(Matthew 19:5-6).  He has taken his first job NOT in sales after over 30 years in marketing and sales of computers and computer software.  He mentioned the good feeling of knowing that he will arrive at his work place today not ready to be rejected or looked at suspiciously because he is a salesman, but will be looked at as someone coming to help them out and give advice(he is a business consultant now).  There will be a long commute involved to get used to and more time away from home to deal with, but there will be a better income for our family.  We all are so thankful for God’s provision; and we know He will give us all the strength we need to make the adjustments necessary for this new phase of our lives.

Change comes on us whether we are ready or not.  It is part of living.  Let’s face change with trust in our Unchanging God and Savior who gives us what we need to do all He calls us to do in this ever changing world!

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Be Strong and Courageous

This has been “one of those weeks”!  On Wednesday, I felt like it should be Friday because of all that had been done in just three days!  I’m sure you all have days and weeks like that, too.  Each day I asked the Lord for strength to do what He called me to do, and each day He was faithful to give me what I needed to do what I was supposed to do.  In the middle of it all, though, I would feel a sort of panic creeping in on me.  It was sort of an overwhelming feeling of drowning or not getting enough air.  Too many things to remember and do!  As I felt that coming on, I cried to the Lord and acknowledged His power, His sovereignty, His strength, and His promised presence with me, His child.  Immediately that pushed back the panic and I could go on.  His grace was and is sufficient for every circumstance of our lives.  He waits for us to acknowledge who He is and what He can do in the midst of our lives.  It’s not that He takes us out of difficult circumstances or rescues us from the world’s problems, but He does show up in our lives and He is faithful to help us in our times of need.

This week in our Precept Bible study we were to look up  2 Chronicles 32:1-23 to give us some context for Micah chapter 5.  This passage is about what king Hezekiah did when the Assyrians were surrounding Jerusalem and mocking them for thinking their God could save them when all the gods of the surrounding nations who had been destroyed, had not saved them.  Hezekiah gathered the people and told them to be strong and courageous and know that the One with them was greater than the “arm of flesh” that was with the Assyrians. In verse 20, we are told that Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah prayed and cried out to heaven.  Then the next verse said the Lord sent an angel and destroyed all the mighty warriors, commanders and officers of the Asyyrians,  and the leader, Sennacherib, returned to his own land where he entered the temple of his god and his own children killed him there!

When you face those seemingly insurmountable oppositions, remember your God, who He is and what He can do.  Trust Him and entrust yourself to His care.  He hears and He sees!  He answers your cry for help!

Something New

Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it?  I will even make a roadway in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.  The people whom I formed for Myself will declare My praise. ( Isaiah 43:19, 21)

I love Christian weddings!  This weekend I was privileged to be part of one.  My part was reading the chosen Scripture reference(the one above).  For verse 21, the couple  inserted their names where it says “The people”.  It was such a picture of God’s mercy as these two people combined their two families.  Much brokenness and darkness had been in their past, but God brought them together for something new, and to bring glory to Himself.

Isn’t that just like our Lord and Savior to take our broken lives and bring healing to them so that we might proclaim His glory!  Jesus is the only One who can truly heal our lives and make them new as He works in us by His Spirit.  Where once there was a wilderness with no road, He makes a road there for us to travel.  And where there has been a desert, He makes rivers of living waters.  May He bring healing and renewal in your life today as you turn in repentance and humility to Him who can make all things new.  You, too can have a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert!

He makes a road in the wilderness.

He makes rivers in the desert.

Watch Expectantly

But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord;
I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.(Micah 7:7)

We are living in volatile times!  Every time I turn on the radio, something is happening in the Middle East.  Joel Rosenberg calls it the “Epicenter”, because Scripturally, God says Israel, more specifically, Jerusalem, is the center of the world.  It says in Ezekiel 5:5 – “Thus says the Lord God, ‘This is Jerusalem; I have set her at the center of the nations, with lands around her.” Are you watching?  Do you pay attention to what is going on there?  You may think you are too busy or too overwhelmed with your own life to take any time and effort to stay abreast of all that is happening, but I believe we need to watch it carefully and prayerfully.  Be like that beautiful deer; keep your ears and eyes open.  Jesus told the disciples what the times would look like just before His return.  Matthew 24:32-33 tells us to learn from the parable of the fig tree.  When its leaves begin to show, everyone knows summer is near.  In the same way, when we see the things described by Jesus,in Matthew 24, coming to pass, He tells us to recognize that He is near, at the door!

What do we do, though, besides watch and pray?  How do we carry on in the midst of these things taking place?  Does God’s Word tell us what to do?  I Thessalonians 5:1-22 says we are to be alert and sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.  Go to the reference and read all the instructions given there for those waiting for Christ’s return.  We are not to just hide away and wait.  We are called to encourage one another, build one another up, but also admonish the unruly( literally, warn those who are not acting as soldiers should) and encourage the faint hearted(literally, “small-souled”).  Also, we are to help the weak and be patient with everyone.  Then the passage ends with rejoicing always, praying without ceasing, in everything giving thanks to God, not despising the putting forth of God’s Word, but examining everything carefully, holding fast to that which is good, and finally, abstaining from every form of evil.  That’s what we are to be doing in these last days!  Keep watch!

 

John Knox and More

Some of you may know the name John Knox(no, he didn’t invent gelatin), most do not, unless they are familiar with the Reformation and the people most well known from that time period(1500’s).  I bring up John Knox because we had a guest speaker kick off our Precept Bible study year  yesterday and he spoke about him.  Our speaker was Douglas Bond, who has an extensive biography, including the fact that he has written 20 books( at least one being about John Knox), leads Reformation tours in Europe,  and  is an award-winning high school teacher at Covenant High School in Tacoma, Washington.

Mr. Bond’s talk really made me think about how God’s Spirit can work through some of the most unlikely people.  John Knox was a timid, weak, short, sickly man, but as a Spirit-filled preacher, he was known as “The Thundering Scot”!  At one time in his life he had Bloody Mary(Queen of Scotland) wanting his head!  Yet, he continued to preach the truth.  He was first and foremost a preacher and teacher of the Word of God.  He “thundered” against the tyrants who kept the poor ignorant and unable to read the Scriptures themselves.  He actually was the first person to set up a public school system; he did this for the express purpose of helping all children learn to read so that they could read God’s Word them selves.  He was so concerned with how error and heresy could creep into the church when only the leaders were able to read Scripture.  He said that since the people are taught by men, and not angels, people needed to “keep the Word of God open on their knees”.  Between the years of 1560 and 1572 more people were converted to Christ through his preaching than had ever been converted to Christ in that short of a time  span.

However, the sad news is where Scotland is today, as far as their spiritual condition is concerned.  Their churches are full of error, heresy, and wolves in sheep’s clothing.  How could that happen with such a rich heritage of preachers like John Knox who, by God’s grace, preached the true Gospel?  C.S. Lewis put it well when he wrote in The Screwtape Letters, “The safest road to hell is the gradual one.” I guess the same thing could be said about the churches in America.  What has happened is false and corrupt opinions have been slowly introduced little by little until it is difficult to know the actual starting point, and it is difficult to recognize it as error because it has come in so slowly and inconspicuously.  How do we, as church goers, know what is truth and what is error?  Just as John Knox fought for the people in the pews to be able to read the Bible for themselves, we also need to fight to keep the “Word of God open on [our] knees”.  We must make reading, studying, knowing and living out God’s Word a priority in our lives as individuals.  Then we need to pray for God’s Spirit to help us use God’s Word always as our plumb line to measure all that is said in our churches.  If what is preached or taught does not line up with Scripture, then by God’s grace and help, we need to speak up, challenge what is not Scriptural and stand on the Word of God.  John Knox knew what Paul was talking about in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 and we need to remember that, too, if we feel weak and timid.  May God give us boldness, as He did to John Knox, to stand for Him and His Word!

A Merry Heart

“A merry heart doeth good [like] a medicine..” Proverbs 17:22a

If anyone even half listens to the news these days, they could become quite discouraged and even depressed over what they hear.  Besides that, their own circumstances are likely to be difficult, challenging, or even horrible.  Diseases such as cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease all seem to be getting more common rather than less, even with all the billions of dollars spent on research for possible cures.  Throw a vigorously antagonistic and emotionally charged political year into the mix and one has a recipe for anything but a “merry heart”.  We hear studies on stress and its devastating effects on our health, yet we can do little to stop stressful situations from coming into our lives.  Where do we find a way to cultivate a “merry heart” in this broken, hurting world?  Why should we even seek to have a “merry heart”?  How is a “merry heart” connected with medicine(literally the word means “cure”)?  Does a “merry heart” give us better health?  If so, how does that happen?

I think about these things often.  Don’t think I have the answers, though!  I just want to get some of my ideas out there for discussion, or maybe just get them organized a bit.  Since this whole discussion was triggered by the verse in Proverbs, let’s go there!  Are there other verses in the book of Proverbs that relate to a “merry heart” and health?

I found two verses in the King James translation which are similar to Proverbs 17:22:

A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. Proverbs 15:13

All the days of the afflicted [are] evil: but he that is of a merry heart [hath] a continual feast. Proverbs 15:15

I really like the Proverbs 15:15 verse!  It makes me think that even in the midst of afflictions, one with a “merry heart” can have a continual(all the time) feast(joyful celebration).  How does that work?  I guess we need to know how to get a “merry heart” in the first place, don’t we?

I went to blueletterbible.com and searched the word “joy” to see if that might help me see where joy comes from, according to Scripture.  “Joy” and “merry” seemed close enough in meaning and there were way more entries for “joy”.

Acts 13:52 says the disciples were continually filled with joy.  We know they did not have easy lives.  They were persecuted and treated harshly for their faith.  Yet, they had joy continually.

Galatians 5:22 says that one of the fruits of the Spirit is joy.  Since the Holy Spirit dwells within the Believer, He produces joy, among other wonderful fruit.

That is where the joy comes from!  God’s Spirit within us produces joy even in the midst of difficult times!  OK, so that is our source of joy and, therefore, a “merry heart”.  Now, how does that translate to health, or does it?  I know doctors say a good attitude can often make the difference between a quick recovery and a prolonged recovery from an illness or surgery.  It’s not like joy in the midst of difficulties changes the difficulties or makes you healthier necessarily, but there is something there.  For me, it’s more of an attitude of “this is not my home”, God is in control of all that affects me, and I choose to trust Him in it all.  I can have a joyful(merry) heart because I am filled with God’s Spirit and He produces the joy as I continue trusting and leaning on Him.  Health is such a fleeting, fragile thing here in this broken world, but we can have lasting joy that will continue into eternity when we are children of our heavenly Father who is in loving control of our lives here on earth.  So, a “merry heart”(which really can only come through the Lord), does do us good like a medicine, but it doesn’t heal our bodies necessarily.  It is a gift from our gracious Lord and Saviour that fills our heart to overflowing because we know He is faithful to fulfill His promises for us and will take us to Himself in His time.

We can rejoice ever more! 🙂

 

 

 

Christ The Solid Rock

My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;

I dare not trust the sweetest frame,

But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ the solid rock I stand:

All other ground is sinking sand.

This song has been running through my head lately.  It was written in the 1800’s, but is still just as wonderful and profound today!  How true the words are that my hope is built on Jesus and His blood and His righteousness!  I am so thankful that my hope is not in anyone or anything in this world.  He alone is the solid Rock.  Try using the blueletterbible website to do a study on the word “rock”.  It is a word used to describe God all the way back in Deuteronomy 32:4!  Then in the New Testament, in 1 Corinthians 10:4, we are told the rock in the wilderness that the Israelites drank from was Christ.  I won’t rob you of more discovery on you own, but I encourage you to find out all about our Rock!  All other ground is sinking sand!

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