Friday, January 29, 2010

Cultivate

The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. Then the Lord God said, "It is not good for man to be alone I will make him a helper suitable for him."
Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beast of the field. But for Adam there was no suitable helper found. Genesis 2:15, 18-20
How often does the Lord reveal a desire, sense of loss or incompleteness within our own heart He desires to satisfy BEFORE satisfying the desire or completing the task? Have you ever wondered why God declared, "it is not good for man to be alone," then gave Adam the task of naming ALL the animals, as if showing him his own incompleteness and need, as there was no suitable helper found? I have been thinking about this lately.
I don't want to presume too much for we do not know the mind of God. This post is purely speculative concerning the fascinating sequence of events documented in Genesis.
I believe sometimes God places within us a desire He is going to cultivate in His time and then opens our eyes to the need or desire before fulfilling it, so we might experience our human depravity and our inability to meet these desires and needs apart from God's divine intervention. I believe He desires for us to lay our hopes and dreams at His feet trusting in His declaration, "it is not good for man to be alone" and realizing that ONLY He has the power to fulfill our needs and desires that He himself has placed within us.
If you are struggling with infertility or a desire to be married. If you are suffering the loss of a beloved. If you are consumed with grief over the plight of the orphan or if God has given you a vision for your life that will not succeed without His divine intervention. God's desire for you is to surrender your needs to Him and wait for Him to take your need and cultivate something beautiful out of it.
God formed Adam out of the dust of the ground. He formed Eve from the rib of Adam. God took Adam's need and desire and turned it into something beautiful when He created Eve. He did all of this while Adam was sleeping. He did what Adam could not do and created something beautiful in His time and for His purpose. God brought completion to His creation by meeting the needs of a man. What needs does God desire to cultivate within you?
Pictures above: Me and my beloved on our wedding day.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Absorption

This is a fresh read for me today as I ponder all the sickness in the world. This is a re-post of an entry I wrote last winter. I wrote it while Hannah, my middle child, was sick for the fourth time with a high fever. I have re-titled this post, Absorption, due to my overwhelming desire to take her sickness upon myself.
This entry is also a fresh reminder of all Christ has done for us and His desire to absorb our sin and depravity.
Whenever one of my girls is sick, I am consumed with wanting to do whatever I can to make them feel better. Last winter, Hannah, was sick with a 104 fever. I was laying beside her on the couch stroking her head and feeling the heat radiating from her tiny body. All I could think about was wanting to absorb the heat so she wouldn't have to endure the pain. I didn't only want to cover her and care for her, I wanted to take her sickness upon myself. I wanted to heal her from her pain and sickness.
Knowing, I could not absorb it, I did my best to comfort her and reassure her of my love. I wanted her to know, she could trust me to take care of her and in the midst of her pain, I would not leave her. Even though, I was doing all I could do, it simply wasn't enough, for I wanted to heal her, to absorb the pain and take it upon myself.
I wonder if God felt the same way about the Israelites before Jesus came to take it all?
Seeing their sin and depravity He offered a way to cover their sin by sacrifices, burnt offerings and sin offerings. This is referred to as the "old order" or covenant. These sacrifices and offerings were never enough to completely take away sin but it was just enough to temporarily cover their sin.
Here is what occurred to me, I love Hannah so much that my heart's desire in the midst of her sickness was to absorb her pain not just to mask it or cover it.
You see, I was masking the pain with Tylenol and Motrin but as soon as the pain medication would wear off the fever would come back with a vengeance. The giving of Tylenol was the reminder that Hannah was sick.
As she was laying next to me, I wanted to absorb her sickness so I could endure it on her behalf. I wanted to take on her sickness so she wouldn't have to endure it. Although, I held her and comforted her it was not enough to take away her sickness and relieve the consequence of her being sick.
God referred to himself over and over again in Isaiah as Immanuel, God with us. He provided a way for us to be made perfect through the suffering of His one and only son, Yeshua (Jesus).
The name Jesus means, the One who saves. You see, it was out of His great love for us, He came down to dwell among us to reveal to us the truth and to ultimately die for our sins. His desire was to absorb our sin once and for all, so that we could be made perfect though His suffering.
Unlike me, He has the power to absorb our pain and heal the sickness of sin.
He endured a brutal death where every sin I have ever committed or will commit was placed upon him. He took on the punishment and absorbed the consequence of my sin.
He did it because I could not. He not only covers us in our time of need but He ultimately heals us by His death and resurrection on the cross.
Because He loves me so much, He wasn't satisfied to just cover my sin He wanted to take it upon Himself.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Fear of Things Unseen

I wanted to re-post this entry on Fear of Things Unseen. Again, I had to stare this fear in the face and despite my attempted bravery, I failed. If you struggle with fear and can identify with this post, I would love to pray for you. Just leave a comment listing your particular fear and I will pray for the Lord to dispel your fear and replace it with peace.
Fear is a form of worship.
As most of you know, I struggle with fear. I don't struggle so much with fear of the things that I can see but rather fear of the things I can't see.
For the longest time I had a hard time explaining why I was afraid. I would repeat over and over again to well meaning friends, "Yes, I know I have an alarm.' Yes, I know I can call my closest friends at midnight or later.' 'Yes, I know how improbable it is for someone to break into my house the one night my husband is away." But that is not what I'm afraid of, I'm afraid of the things I can't see." Coming to terms with this fear has been hard, for two reasons... one, not many people understand and secondly, I want to think I have enough faith to put away childish thinking. I have tried on many occasions to pull up my big girl panties and get over it.
As a child, I was afraid of monsters, ghosts and evil. I hated sleeping alone in my room. Most nights growing up, I would crawl into my parents room right after they fell asleep and sleep halfway under their bed so they wouldn't see me. Many nights, I would sleep on the floor with no pillow and one blanket. I feared that which I could not see but somehow knew existed.
Why do I tell you this? I tell you this because it wasn't until the Lord reprimanded me that I was able to understand the nature of my fear. The Lord's reprimand caused me to repent of my sin and ask for a fresh perspective. It also revealed the sin of unbelief that resides in my heart in the form of fear.
So what was the Lord's reprimand? Fear of Satan and of evil is in essence a form of worship. When you fear evil you are in fact worshiping it. Fear the LORD your God and serve Him only. Fear is a form of worship.
For instance, if I fear rejection I am worshiping man. If I fear pain, I am worshiping self. If I fear losing the things that I own, I am worship that which my hands have made. If I fear war or rumors of wars, I'm worshiping man. And if I'm fearing all the evil in the world than I am in fact denying, He who lives in me is greater than he who is in the world and I am worshiping and giving power to the enemy of the Living God. Power that is not due him.
Notice the wording in these verses.
You shall fear only the LORD your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name. Deuteronomy 6:13.
Notice in the verse the key word only. Why does God tell us to fear Him only? I believe He tells us this because He knows, what we fear will be what we will bow down to. Consequently, our fears will determine our actions. Fear will hold us hostage and keep us from doing what God has called us to do. Fear of God will encourage us to press forward in faith pushing past our fears of man, rejection, fear of things unseen, failure, and pressing forward toward a life of adventure and purpose while embracing an Almighty God and casting aside our fear. For Fear sets itself up against faith and renders us useless to the kingdom of God.
For thus the LORD spoke to me with mighty power and instructed me not to walk in the way of this people, " You are not to say, 'It is a conspiracy!' In regard to all that this people call a conspiracy, And you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it. "It is the LORD of hosts whom you should regard as holy. And He shall be your fear, And he shall be your dread. "Then He shall become your sanctuary." Isaiah 8:12-14
I could spend an entire entry on this one verse but for now, I will let this powerful verse speak for itself.
He will not fear evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. His heart is upheld, he will not fear. Psalm 112:7

Fear of the Lord keeps all other fears in check.

Monday, January 4, 2010

High Waters of Suffering



This is a re-post of an entry I wrote back in August. This entry is dedicated to the families wading through the high waters of suffering through sickness, the loss of a child or the fear of the unknown . It is also dedicated to the families that are in the midst of suffering for the sake of Christ, giving up all they have to follow a limitless God who loves them and has set them apart for His purposes and glory.

"Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered nor will they come to mind. Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accused. Isaiah 65:17,20
The verse above tells us to look forward to eternal things. To hold fast to the promises of God when we see suffering this side of eternity. Can you image a life where mourning the loss of a love one doesn't threaten to pin you down to the floor of despair. A life where the former things will not be remembered nor will they come to mind. That is our future when we choose Christ and set our minds on eternal things. But before the curtain call while we are on this side of the eternal stage we are called to remember.
A Call to Remember was the purpose of this blog. A call to remember the Lord's deliverance. A call to look back and ponder the big questions of life. A call to not only remember our times of joy but also our times of sorrow. Why? Because He wants us to remember our intimate moments with Him. He wants us to remember and see His footsteps in the sand. After all, our story is really His story. Our life is really about His grace.
When we have waded through the high waters of sorrow we are called to remember the Lord's faithfulness and deliverance. We are called to know that He not only parts the waters of sorrow but at times chooses to carry us through them. He picks us up and carries us to the other side so not even our feet get wet. He wades through the waters and tells us to rest a moment. And while He is carrying us through the high waters of suffering we are to remember the promise above and to trust in Him who is the author of our moments. An eternal perspective in the midst of suffering. Remembering, God, our mighty deliver who can do more than what we can ask or imagine. It is in our suffering, we find intimacy with God and experience fellowship with Him, we wouldn't have experienced had we not been carried through the high waters by an all powerful God who loves us and cares about our every need this side of eternity. Isaiah tells us that, "Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength." I trust in this promise. I trust that when I am weak I am strong for His power is made perfect in weakness. I'm glad that my Savior can identify with my weakness and sympathize with my heartache. After all, He came and dwelled among us. Paul tells us, "since we, the children of God, have flesh and blood, he too shared in our humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death-that is the devil- and free us who all our lives were held in slavery by our fear of death. The scripture also tells us that He was tempted in every way and is able to sympathize with our weakness. We know that he suffered greatly for our benefit. All of this He came and endured to have a relationship with us. To be made a merciful and faithful high priest. Who can and does sympathize with our human weakness."
Lord, bring peace and comfort to those who are wading through the high waters. Reveal to them, this very moment, your love and power to deliver them and restore their strength. Reveal Yourself mighty to save and intimate in your love. Lord, part the waters and carry them through the strong currents and calm the winds of fear and oppression. To you be the glory, forever and ever. We love you, Lord
Picture above taken by me at Watersound Beach, Florida

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Running to Stand Still

Running to stand still, is the way my mom described me growing up. Always, looking to the next thing instead of enjoying the moment. I am coming to realize, I haven't changed much. Maybe, my restlessness has taken a more adult form, never the less, it is still the same sin of discontentment wrapped up in a different package.
The Lord has been quiet lately, or maybe, the noise of the world has gotten louder. Whatever the reason, I have had a hard time hearing the still small voice that I have grown to love. In the silence, I have found that my tendency to resort to discontentment and restlessness remains. In this restlessness my focus shifts from Him to me. In my every day pursuits I am focused on the mundane and not the eternal. Filling my thinking with the what's next and the if only.
What I am yearning for right now is more of Him and less of me. Actually, much more of Him and a whole lot less of me. Awaken me Lord. Fill me with your unfailing love.
I'm thankful that my Lord is gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love. He pardons my sins abundantly and not reluctantly. Despite my faithlessness He is faithful and just to forgive me of my sins and restore me to Himself.
Lord, forgive me for my vain pursuits. Forgive me for filling my time with the insignificant. Forgive me for my selfishness and discontentment.
Use me despite my failures, not for my glory, but for yours alone. Thank you for showing me the sin that resides below the surface and reminding me that apart from you there is no good thing within me. That good without you is worthless and meaningless.
Now I'm running toward the One who tells me, not one will be snatched out of my hand and trusting in the one who holds me in the palm of His hand.