Monday, June 23, 2008

I interrupt this normally predictable blog... bring you word that the author thereof has been finding increasing busyness necessitating a slight withdrawal for the present. Summer's full fury has struck with adequate warning, nevertheless, the predicted results remain the same. Headlines give some insight to the extent of the seasonal onslaught. Further details will be forthcoming as the deluge of previously committed responsibilities decreases to the point of online sanity becoming once more possible. 

Thank you very much for your attention. 

Monday, June 09, 2008

Keeping Hope Alive During the Dark Seasons in Life - Pt. 4

When God is silent and we don't know the way before us that we ought to go
When we've attempted to do His will And yet His silence continues still....
Then it's time to trust. Yes, it's time to remember that the Lord is
faithful to His own.
If we hope, we shall be yet be praising once again for His silence never means that we're alone.
When God is silent and all seems lost, As o'er the waves our boat is temptest tossed
When answers fail us and doubts arise But God seems distant, hid from our eyes...
Then it's time to trust. Yes, it's time to remember that the Lord is faithful to His own.
If we hope, we shall be yet be praising once again
For His silence never means that we're alone.

-Jeanine Drylie

Thank you, Leah, for sharing this tidbit!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Keeping Hope Alive During the Dark Times in Life - Pt. 3

Faith Vs. Feelings

"Faith is a decision. It is not a deduction from the facts around us. Faith is an act of the will, a choice based on the unbreakable Word of a God Who cannot lie, and Who showed us what love and obedience and sacrifice mean in the person of Jesus Christ." E.E.

"It is not a deduction from the facts around us..."

The facts say that God doesn't feel near. God's word says, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

We feel as if our spiritual life is at a standstill, and God has given up on us. God's word promises, "that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." Phil. 1:6

We feel as if our prayers are availing nothing and our greatest efforts at diligently seeking the face of God are producing no fruit or providing no relief from the oppressive burden we are carrying. God's word says, "And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the Lord." Jeremiah 29:13-14

I believe God allows these times of dryness to test what our faith it really based in. Is it rooted in an unchangeable God whose promises never fail, or does it deduce facts from our fickle and changing feelings and impressions about life? When everything, even God seems against us, are we going to remain unwavering and faithful in trusting the truth of God's Word? Are we going to look back and remember the faithfulness with which God has led us in the past, and trust Him for the same now and in the future?

Where does this faith that trusts God amidst these dark seasons in life come from? Listen to the words of counsel from one who faced years of unfulfilled desires, months of solitude in an uncaring and threatening jungle, widowhood twice, and countless other seasons of trials and darkness never recording in her writing and speeches.

Christianity is no lyricism. The faith that bore those heroes (referring to the later part of Hebrews 11) down into the depths of darkness and suffering was not - and I hope you will remember this if you remember nothing else - that faith was not their own thing. They didn't drum it up. They didn't somehow work themselves up to it by getting to know themselves or love themselves or by doing what they felt like doing. It came from a Source outside themselves, outside the sphere of this world's understanding, from the One who said, "Without me you can do nothing." -E.E
This sort of faith takes divine grace outside of anything we can muster up. It takes faith based not in our abilities, supposed spirituality, feelings, or the circumstances around us because every one of these things will fail and disappoint us. This faith must be anchored in the Rock, our Savior Jesus Christ, as this is the only place that will not be shaken and moved when the inevitable storms of life beat and tear at the moorings of our life.

Consider the feelings David penned in Psalm 77 and observe his journey from a feeling-based reaction to a faith-based confidence in a Sovereign and faithful God.

"I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search. Will the Lord cast off forever? and will he be favorable no more? Is his mercy clean gone forever? doth his promise fail forevermore? Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High. I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonder of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings. Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God? Thou art the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people. Thou hast with thine arm redeemed thy people..." Psalm 77:6-15

Notice how the Psalm changes from David communing with his own heart and feelings, to speaking directly with and praising God! The sequence of events is so beautiful when pondered! This change occurred when he started pondering the faithfulness of God in the past, and chose to trust Him for the same in the future.

Satan so desires us to live our life being ruled by the fickle feelings and emotions of human nature that he will bring every imaginable unfavorable circumstance against us to shake us from confidence in God's promises. When those times come, a deliberate effort must be made to set our faith firmly down in the Word of God, for it is only there that our confidence will stand secure. 

When darkness seems to veil His face
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.