Archive | March 2016

I Shall See God

 

Yet In My Flesh Shall I See God…   

Job, sitting in dust and ashes — Job, curse God and die! Faithful Job, grieving the loss of all of his beloved children he prayed for. Every. Single. Day.  Job, his wealth all gone. Job, covered from head to foot with sores. Job, smarting under the accusations of his only friends, yet he has a statement of faith.

There is one thing he knows. One thing in his life is unshaken. Unmoved. Unchangeable. He states it defiantly. His words ring like bells in my heart today. Thousands of years later, I want to shout it out from the highest mountaintop.  As I write, Christians in many places are laying down their lives for this truth.

I KNOW that my Redeemer lives!

Four (and many more I don’t know of) beautiful people were murdered this week for translating Bibles for their oppressed, enslaved nation. Loving their people for Jesus’ sake ushered them through gates of splendor.  You can find the stories at http://www.mnnonline.org. You need to read these stories, unsung by the star-struck media!

After my skin is destroyed…

With chronic, long-term illness in the house, you watch the destruction of your loved in 3-D on a daily basis.  The pain. The new meds. The gradually increasing list of symptoms.  Like a giant snowball gathering size and speed as it rolls down the hill, you know that the physical worst is yet to come.

In my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and MY eyes shall behold…

Job grapples with despair. He states that God has forgotten him. He weeps. He grieves. He cannot find God’s presence. Yet the Spirit of God in him will not let him give up. Right in the middle of his pooling words of sorrow rings this Satan-defying, in-your-face statement of faith.  I love it, Ladies! I could not wait to share this with you this week.

He shall stand at the Last Day upon the earth…

Last Lord’s Day I could not keep the tears from rolling down my cheeks as I heard the pastor simply read the powerful words of Revelation 19:11-21. “And He has on His robe and on his thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”  Evil will be destroyed!  For His people pain and suffering will be abolished. Truth. Goodness. Beauty. Righteousness. Peace.

How my heart yearns within me!

One day these bleak days will be a distant dream.  So let’s talk. Let’s pray. Let’s keep encouraging each other, sisters. May the glory and beauty of Christ be displayed in our lives as we love Him.  If we love Him truly, we will love one another.  I want to meet each one of you on the other side of those gates of splendor.  Most of all,  I  yearn to meet Him. I’ve only seen Him with the eyes of my heart. In my flesh I  shall see God. Job 19: 25-27

The Maze of Suffering: week 11

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When life seems like a maze and you wonder what is going on, you are not alone.

I am going to give you another book recommendation. Thanks to the kindness of a friend, I have been reading The One Year Book of Discovering Jesus in the Old Testament. Author Nancy Guthrie must be no stranger to suffering as she and her husband cohost a GriefShare video series. I don’t know her story, but I am going to post part of her devotional for your encouragement and mine. Her March 6th entry is titled, “Fruitfulness in Suffering”.

” At the very beginning of his covenant relationship with his chosen people, God told them about the tremendous suffering that was ahead for them: ‘You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be oppressed as slaves for 400 years.’ (Genesis 15:13)

God’s people would suffer, but it would not be wasted, meaningless suffering. It would be fruitful suffering. They would emerge from Egypt with great wealth and great in number. How would they become ‘strangers in a foreign land’? Through the suffering of Israel’s beloved son, Joseph. 

Joseph suffered the abuse of his brothers’ jealousy as they sold him off to a caravan of slave traders heading for Egypt. There Joseph worked as a slave until he suffered as a result of the false accusations from Potiphar’s wife that put him in prison. He suffered being forgotten in prison for many years before he emerged to become second in command to Pharoah.

But, when he was released, his suffering did not leave him embittered. In fact, he celebrated what God had done in his life through his suffering in the naming of his sons: ‘Joseph named his older son Manasseh, for he said, God has made me forget all my troubles and everyone in my father’s family. Joseph named his second son Ephraim, for he said, God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief.'(Genesis 41:51-52)

Joseph was able to look at his suffering and see that it was not wasted; it was fruitful. God was accomplishing something good through all the hardship and hurt he experienced.

Likewise, Jesus, the greater Joseph, was willing to suffer, confident that his suffering would bear much fruit. The writer of Hebrews captured the fruitful suffering of Jesus: ‘Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him.’ (Hebrews 5:8-9)”

I had already mentioned my hero Joseph in another post. His statement in Genesis 50:20, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good,  in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” This is the Romans 8:28 of the Old Testament! All those years of pain and hardship did not make him arrogant or bitter.

Remember, dear sister in Christ, you are not alone. Praying God grants you faith and encouragement today in the middle of the maze.

 

Week 10: Tell Me, Why?

One question that you and I ask, if we are honest, is why. Why? Why do we suffer? That is one of life’s toughest realities. Disclaimer: this post is not claiming to fully deal with this tough subject!

Dear fellow-sufferer, I am excited to say my reading this week has blessed me with materials for multiple posts that encouraged me. I must share! Comfort is meant to be shared. Last night I could not sleep for hours. To be honest, I was battling anxiety. I needed my feeble faith to be encouraged. Turned my Kindle app on, and there was a book I hadn’t finished, hadn’t looked at for weeks. Joni Earickson Tada and I fellowshipped through the night watches until my weary soul found rest.

To give you a tiny overview, Joni has been wheelchair-bound for about forty years. For many years she did not experience pain, but learned to deal with the extreme limitations of a quadripelegic. Joy. Triumph. Abundant usefulness. Blessing. Joni and Friends is a ministry that has blessed thousands of disabled people.

After so many years of being severely disabled, Joni’s body has deteriorated to the point of extreme chronic pain. It is an excruciating new chapter in her life of suffering. She shares her struggles openly in her book  A Place of Healing: Wrestling With The Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God’s Sovereignty.

“Every day of our short lives—even every hour—has eternal consequences for good or ill. Eternity—and the way we’ll live in it—is somehow being shaped by our moment-by-moment responses to the life we have before us to live right now. And so it is only fitting that God should give us some sense of the stakes involved. I’m so grateful that life for us is not an easy road. If it were, if the Lord did not occasionally give us a taste of hell’s splashover, you and I would soon forget that this world is not our home. I’m also grateful that He opens our eyes from time to time to the magnitude of this spiritual war we are in. He does this by giving us wonderful foretastes of glory divine in the joys we experience, and He does it by allowing us foretastes of hell in our suffering. Whatever we are experiencing today, we can be reminded of the eternal stakes involved. That, too, keeps me going. It’s not easy “going on” right now in my life—but I must go on and I will go on, until He calls me home.”

There it is! Did you catch that? One reason for suffering. A taste of “hell’s splash over” reminds us not to make this world our home. Reminds us not to forget the spiritual warfare we are in. The stakes are high. Keep pressing on in faith, dear reader. Stay tuned as I am excited to share a couple more nuggets of comfort found this past week. Share your comfort in the comment section below.

Citation (MLA): Tada, Joni Eareckson. A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God’s Sovereignty. David C. Cook, 2010. Kindle file.

 

 

Week 9: Five Ways To Keep Up Your Courage, Dear Heart!

Here we are, ready to face another week and new challenges. In morning worship today Matthew 6:34 caught my eye…”sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Yep, a new day, and I’m in trouble again! 😅

I have a friend I am hoping will guest post for me. She spent many years caregiving for her husband. He passed away a little over a year ago. She is a lovely, joyful Christian lady. Her prayers have and do mean the world to me. So, stay tuned for some pearls of wisdom and encouragement from a caregiver who has finished her course in caregiving. I hope!  Meanwhile, here are a few ways, simple, but tested and true, that I rely on to encourage my heart when things are tough. In my case, that seems to be frequently!

  1. Write down one of God’s promises or attributes and repeat it to yourself at least five times during the day. Sounds kooky, eh? Well, in Psalm 136, “His mercy endures forever, ” is repeated 26 times in 26 verses. Our Father, the best and most perfect of parents, is driving home an important truth to our busy, burdened, distracted hearts. Repetition has power! Instead of believing any lie that is told often enough and loudly enough, pack some truth in those dark moments.
  2. Go out for some fresh air and sunshine when available. Vitamin D helps fight depression, and if you can find a beautiful spot outside for a walk, go for it! Or, look for your city’s botanical gardens or find a spot with lots of plants and greenery to enjoy. My daughter and I have even used the “free zoo”, i.e., PetSmart to help beat the winter blues. Little critters can be so entertaining.
  3. Find a simple way to bless someone else.  I really do mean simple. When you bake, share a few pieces with a neighbor or friend. Put a card in the snail mail to encourage someone. Take a few minutes to e-mail a friend. Little things can mean a lot. It is more blessed to give than to receive. I feel so needy so often, but giving is an important reminder not to have tunnel vision and be focused only on my own problems.
  4. Listen to beautiful uplifting music.  Remember how young David soothed the troubled King Saul of Israel by playing beautiful music for him? I highly recommend the Psalms set to music. You can find many beautiful settings published by Crown and Covenant. However, the array of beautiful music at our very fingertips through iTunes, etc., is astonishing.
  5. Talk to a trusted, godly friend and ask for prayer. Always talk to our Father in heaven first. He uses His children to wrap His loving comfort around our hearts, so you and I should open up to a select circle of trusted friends. Trust takes time to build. Maybe you don’t have a trusted friend at the moment. The very overwhelming load you carry means time is a limited resource. Pray about this, too. In the past year I have spent some very sweet moments praying for a few minutes at a time with some lovely ladies. We send short notes. “Praying about…x, y, and z.” Initiate! Ask. Can we pray together for a few minutes this week?

Believe it or not, this is my short list. I could go on. Tell me how I can be a better encouragement to you. What is your biggest fear or discouragement? If you have posted here, you are in my thoughts and prayers.