I saw Dad’s restlessness when I arrived for my night’s stay in the hospital. He had a look of fear and bewilderment in his eyes. The look that always broke my heart.
After the nurses finished their rounds and things began to quiet down, I changed the channel on the TV to one of those meditative stations the hospitals make available. As the beautiful photography and soft instrumentals drew him in, he began to relax. He watched for over an hour. I’d look at him from time to time and he’d catch my eye… giggle a little… then cry.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been so moved before,” he said. “I keep praying the same words over and over, ‘Forgive me, Lord…forgive me, Lord…forgive me, Lord.'”
Some might wonder at his confession, but I think I understood his meaning…
When we are weary, bone-tired, dazed, and confused, wondering if the dark night of the soul will ever end; then, suddenly, we catch a glimpse of His beauty — the wonder of His creation, the soothing sounds of His music — the truth of knowing He is in control hits us.
We are awestruck.
We turn. We refocus. We repent.
He is greater than all our fears. We know He loves us…more.
My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign;
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
I love Thee because Thou hast first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
In mansions of glory and endless delight,
I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
“Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God
whose ways you may not understand at the time.”
– Oswald Chamber
“No one is good but God”
“Let not your heart be troubled;
Trust in God. Trust also in Me.”
“I and the Father are One.”
-Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the Living God
Heavenly Father, I thank You that even when I do not understand what You are doing, or how You are working Your plan in this world, I do know YOU. I do know You have revealed who You are in Your word and through The Word. I can read all that You have revealed through the Law and the Prophets, for the Jewish people have kept it intact, throughout the ages, so that the world may know. I can read about Your Son, The Word of God sent to save a sinful world. I can understand the path of salvation, for I know He is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. I praise Your Name for making the way clear, for speaking the truth through Your servants, and for making eternal life available to all who believe, in the Name of Jesus…
At this time, when all the world seems to be falling into more and more chaos, with each passing day the devastation caused by hatred and greed is further revealed; help us, O Lord, to rest in Your plan. Remind us of Your goodness and mercy and wisdom. Let us remember Your lovingkindness and Your faithfulness toward us who believe. Help us see that we serve a good God who holds all of the world in His loving hands.
Please, Father, lift the veil of unbelief. I know You do not wish for any to perish, but for all to come to You. You have chosen to save the world from our sins. Bring us to our knees before You, trusting in Jesus’ sacrifice and in His bodily resurrection, through Your awesome and mighty power. Find us to be loving servants, and empower us through Your Holy Spirit so that we may overcome in these difficult days…
Keep us faithful, Lord. Bring us before You restored, confirmed, strengthened, and established in Him on that glorious day.
I ask all these things in Your Son’s precious Name, Jesus the Christ,
We must learn to live in the tension between the real and the ideal.
It is in the tension that the beauty of salvation is seen.
~a paraphrase from Andy Stanley
When he said that yesterday, I felt more grace flood my soul than I have felt in a very long while. For someone to recognize the tension between the real and ideal, and then allow for a “less than perfect” reality … Well, I haven’t heard that kind of grace spoken much recently.
Another gracious word from a discussion over the weekend:
Satan calls you by your sin.
God calls you by your name.
And that’s when I remembered, this is warfare.
The names I’ve been called reveal the disappointment others feel toward me.
And the names I’ve called myself reveal my own disgust.
It feels like a flesh and blood battle when flesh and blood people are speaking the words. But, I must remember that we do not war against flesh and blood. Satan can speak through people, without them even realizing they are being used. Remember Peter? One moment he’s declaring Jesus is the Christ and the next, Jesus tells him to “get behind me, Satan!”
It wasn’t that Peter turned into Jesus’ enemy, it’s that he didn’t understand the Father’s plan for Jesus’ life. And in his misunderstanding he spoke.
We do this all the time when we assume we know what God is doing in someone’s life. We imagine we can see where they need to be headed, and yet, only God knows the plans He has for each of us. He is the One working out our salvation for His good will. He is the One empowering us to do the “good works” He has planned for us to accomplish from the foundation of the earth. He is the One who sees all the intricate details of each of our lives and is directing our paths as He sees fit.
Remember, Beloved, when others speak untruths concerning you, when you are “labelled” as they see fit, know that is not My name for you. I call you Beloved. I call you Redeemed. I call you My Child. Stand firm in the armor I’ve given you.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,
but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness,
against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Use every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil,
so that after the battle you will still be standing firm.
Stand your ground, putting on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness
For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News,
so that you will be fully prepared.
In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan.
Put on salvation as your helmet,
and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all Christians everywhere.
God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise;
God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;
So that no one might boast in the presence of God.
He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus,
Who became for us wisdom from God,
And righteousness and sanctification and redemption,
In order that, as it is written,
“Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
~from 1 Corinthians 1
Know this first of all,
That in the last days mockers will come with their mocking,
Following after their own lusts, and saying,
“Where is the promise of His coming?
For ever since the fathers fell asleep,
All continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”
For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice
That by the word of God the heavens existed long ago
And the earth was formed out of water and by water,
Through which the world at that time was destroyed,
Being flooded with water.
But by His word
The present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire,
Kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved,
That with the Lord one day is like a thousand years,
And a thousand years like one day.
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness,
But is patient toward you,
Not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
~from 2 Peter 3
Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men:
“See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones
To execute judgment upon all,
And to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds
Which they have done in an ungodly way,
And of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”
These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts;
They speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage.
But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand
By the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ
That they were saying to you,
“In the last time there will be mockers,
Following after their own ungodly lusts.”
These are the ones who cause divisions,
Devoid of the Spirit.
But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith,
Praying in the Holy Spirit,
Keep yourselves in the love of God,
Waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.
I keep reading about finding myself — knowing who I am and what I want in life. Many of us are in search for answers to life’s hardest questions. We don’t understand what to think in a world of philosophies ready to be grasped. It’s really quite easy…we just need to keep looking among the myriad philosophies of man to find the one that best suits our desires because…really…it’s all about what we desire….right?
I’m feeling nauseous thinking about all the not-so-subtle illusions of creating our own gods.
So many are doing it.
Why can’t I?
Sure. Yes. Go right ahead.
Create your own sacred space.
Commune with the moon…
Be your own voice of wisdom.
Find your own unique path to god because that’s what he told us to do.
Can you see it?
That’s what he told us to do.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God really say, …?”
“You won’t die!” the serpent hissed.
For God knows that in the day you eat it your eyes will be opened,
You will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Eat that sweet morsel of forbidden fruit.
It won’t kill you!
And so we partake. We reach out and look at the beauty of the philosophy we so desperately want to believe is Truth.
But, it’s not. It’s a lie. The oldest of lies.
We are not our own god.
We are not goddesses in need of enlightenment.
We do not need to develop our own sacred space to find peace in this world.
The Sacred is in us.
His Holy Spirit resides in us.
The mystery in a nutshell is just this:
Christ is in you,
therefore you can look forward to sharing in God’s glory.
It’s that simple.
That is the substance of our Message.
So why do we look further?
Why do we try to create beyond The Creator?
Are we still listening to the crafty god?
“My god wouldn’t…
My god says to me…
My god wants me…
That’s not my god, the god I serve wouldn’t say fill in the blank…”
Choose the god you desire,
but know this:
The God of the Universe is not bound by us.
We do not get to create Him in our image.
He created us, not the other way around.
Get to know Him.
He revealed Himself from Genesis to Revelation.
He has sent His Word for us to see The Truth.
So the Word became human and lived here on earth among us.
He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.
And we have seen His glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father.
At the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW,
of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue will confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus is our Sacred Space.
In Him all the fullness of God dwelled in bodily form.
Through His Spirit we have become partakers of the Divine Nature.
In no other god will you find Life.
It took me a year to admit what I had done to my family.
I admitted it to God, to my counselor, to a couple of close friends, but my family had no idea what had caused me to retreat further into myself.
The tension in the home, needless to say, was intense. Finally, after thinking I might go crazy, I asked my husband if we could separate. I needed time alone to think. I needed to have a place where the constant stress of life wasn’t felt. After living in my self-imposed desert, I needed an oasis to begin to rehydrate so my mind would clear.
I needed to think clearly…to hear from God…
And now, Phat knew why I felt the need to leave. I confessed to committing adultery, but I wasn’t willing to end the friendship. It took another five months of being alone to come to a place of submission to God’s will. Many sleepless nights with demons screaming into my mind, I tried to see through the fog.
Today, I am so thankful for the truth of God’s word,
“He will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are stayed on Him.”
I knew many evil things could happen.
I knew my mind was under attack from the enemy.
I knew my world was falling away faster than I ever imagined it could.
He is El Shaddai, our All-Sufficient God.
In the darkest moments I cried out to Him and He heard my plea.
He showed me His sufficiency, His sustaining grace that will never end.
I truly could’ve lost my mind in those dark days. I know how close to the edge I came. Yet, He would not leave me alone for His promises are true. His Word will be accomplished and He declares He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. For His Name’s sake He will answer in the day of trouble. He is my God and He came to my rescue.
Even though I lost my husband as a consequence of the sin I had committed, I did not lose my God…
It’s not my righteousness, but His, that endures.
It’s not my will, but His, that is accomplished.
It’s not my peace, but His, that will keep me…perfectly.
.He restores my strength
He leads me down the right paths
For the sake of His reputation.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.
Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.
If you do this, you will experience God’s peace,
which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.
His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.