April 26, 2014

in Christ alone

This is my favorite of my little 'proverbs', my favorite song, my life goal; the sum of who I am and all I ever hope to be.

It goes without saying, but I will say it anyway: Christ is my Savior, my All-in-All, my Lord, my God, my King, my Brother, my Friend. He is the listening ear that hears me through any thickness of mountain walls, from any distance, at any and all times.

Living in Christ alone is my one lasting hope and dream.

I am a fickle creature - it is part of the curse of sin - but my God is ever faithful to draw me back to Him, to my First Love.

No man compares with Him. Nor anything the world can have to offer. His wisdom is worth more than all of the gold, silver, and precious gems in all the universe - and that covers only one of His many glorious attributes.

My body needs sleep, food, coverings, but my soul needs only Jesus, and He provides all of my needs - both earthly and heavenly - and cares for me more than many sparrows.

"On Christ the Solid Rock I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand...
All other ground is sinking sand"

He is forever faithful, and I owe Him everything.

April 25, 2014

patience, time and prayer

Around Thanksgiving I wrote a blog post about one of my 'proverbs', a saying I repeat to myself as a timely word of wisdom: 'treasure the little things'. One of the others which I like to repeat quite often is 'patience, time and prayer'. Usually, there is no better remedy for a difficult situation than obeying the implications of this little proverb; to wait for the Lord to act and in the meantime to pray without ceasing, to not lose faith in Him but trust that He knows best and will accomplish not necessarily what is for our comfort, happiness, or anything at all that we want... but that which is for our good, and His glory.

Of course, there are times when we are in situations when we have to act ourselves. I am not a great fan of the popular phrase 'Let go and let God' because it implies complacency, a fatalistic attitude - as though God will do whatever He wants anyway so it doesn't matter what I do, or the fluffy theology that we can simply float on throughout life and everything will turn out just fine.

God's Word specifically calls believers to action on more occasions than one, possibly the greatest being to 'love one another' - to be selfless, to put others' needs above Your own, which is Christlike behavior, and might I add, much easier said than done! So, the complacent 'castle in the cloud' theology is out. And so is that attitude of fatalism. What we do most definitely does make a difference. Every person who ever lived is going to have to give an account to God for whatever righteousness or evil was committed by them during that time - no exceptions. So don't waste the time you have. Don't fall into the temptation of believing it doesn't matter, because after we die, the rest of eternity begins, and by then, there is no going back, no remedying what has been done. The time for mercy will be over. And this is important: Doing what is wrong is just as bad as not doing what you know is right.

"Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin."
James 4:17

And now, back to my point.

I have found the phrase, 'patience, time and prayer' to be immensely comforting over the past several years of my life. I have held it close, repeated it often, recited it to friends countless times. When I feel least in control, it helps me remember that God is. He is the Author of time, the Answerer of my prayers, the Master of long-suffering; I have much to learn, but He is a wonderful Teacher.

Be patient while waiting or while suffering (James 1:2-4; Colossians 1:9-12).

Take the time to read God's Word, have your mind renewed by its God-breathed power and truth (Romans 12:2; James 1:22), and remember that He is in control and works all things together for good to those who love Him and believe in His Son, Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord (Romans 8:28; Romans 10:9).

And finally, pray like the dickens! (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

April 24, 2014

weather or not

I am not much of one for beating around the bush, so here I go...

Whether or not others agree, I have - all winter and spring long - been finding the occasional snow to be quite a treat; whether or not some or all others complain that April is no time for snow and we 'deserve' better weather, I firmly say, "It is God's prerogative to send us whatever weather He so desires. Whatever He deems best is best, and I am not clay to argue with the Potter who formed me."

Last Saturday night, my mother read aloud a most excellent excerpt from Jerry Bridges' book, Trusting God. I am so glad that she felt led to share it with me and my sisters, and I feel led right now to pass along the blessed words to you. Hang on to your hat, unless you find yourself guilty.

"Complaining about the weather seems to be a favorite American pastime. Sadly, we Christians often get caught up in this ungodly habit of our society. But when we complain about the weather, we are actually complaining against God who sent us our weather. We are, in fact, sinning against God (see Numbers 11:1).
    Not only do we sin against God when we complain about the weather, we also deprive ourselves of the peace that comes from recognizing our heavenly Father is in control of it. [...] Whether the weather merely disrupts my plans or destroys my home, I need to learn to see God's sovereign and loving hand controlling it.
    The fact is, for most of us, the weather and the effects of nature are usually favorable. The tornado, the drought, even the snowstorm that delays our flight are the exception not the rule. We tend to remember the "bad" weather and take for granted the good. However, when Jesus spoke about the weather, He spoke about the goodness of God: "He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous" (Matthew 5:45).
    Though God sometimes uses the weather and other expressions of nature as instruments of judgment (see Amos 4:7-9), He most often uses weather as an expression of His gracious provision for His creation. Both saint and sinner alike benefit from God's gracious provision of weather. And, according to Jesus, this provision is not merely the result of certain fixed, inexorable physical laws. God controls those laws. He causes His sun to rise, He sends the rain.
    God has indeed established certain physical laws for the operation of His universe; yet moment by moment those laws operate according to His direct will. Again Alexander Carson put it so well when he said, "The sun and the rain minister to the nourishment and comfort equally of the righteous and the wicked, not from the necessity of general laws, but from the immediate providence of Him who, in the government of the world, wills this result."
    We as Christians need to stop complaining about the weather and instead learn to give thanks for it. God, our heavenly Father, sends us each day what He deems best for all of His creation."

Very good stuff. In fact, I would have written all about this in my own words, but I really could not have said it better myself.

So, whether or not creation is yielding weather to your liking, please choose to be thankful and even praise God for the "bad" weather. He knows best.
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