Friday, December 26, 2008

In God's hands...

The storms may rage, the winds may blow - 
The cares of life come against my soul.
In troubled times I know just where to stand;
No safer place to be but in God's hands

In God's hands, 
I'm in good hands.
My soul is safe and secure.
In God's hands, 
sweet assurance.
It's good to know I'm in good hands.

Sometimes it seems the trial lasts too long;
It's scarcely past and I must face another one.
But when I've done the very best I can,
It's time to leave it in God's hands. 

Weary and feeble I'll turn to the solid rock strong and firm...

In God's hands, I'm in good hands.
My soul is safe and secure.
In God's hands, sweet assurance.
It's good to know I'm in good hands. 

Unknown word and photo credit. 

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Answers for a hurting heart...

It's a Saturday morning, and I'm enjoying the rare opportunity to just take the morning off. Completely. To think, to pray, to read, to write.... To ponder life. Hopefully some of these ponderings will touch someone's else's heart, as God has used them to touch mine this morning. 

In my last post, I shared a quote from a book I've been studying lately. It dealt with the crucibles of life. Suffering, pain, trials, heartache... We all have them. Some in greater forms then others, but any who is a child of the King has a Father who loves enough to bring them through hard times, destined and designed to make them a pure, shining reflection of Himself. It is natural to cringe from them. Claustrophobic pain and anguish sometimes wrench the cry from our hearts, "Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest." Ps. 55:6-8

Sometimes a wilderness sounds much more pleasant than the pain we may be walking through. Every fiber in us wants to run away, to escape the cause of our hurt, to find an easier path.... This cry came from David's heart, and at the end of Psalm 55, he gives the answer to the hurting heart. "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved." Ps. 55:22

Psalms 55 and 56 have been a tremendous blessing to me these past several days. Both of them speak of oppression in the Christian life. Crucible experiences. This oppression may come outwardly - in this case, he was betrayed and hurt by a close friend. There were those after his life. There were times he felt forsaken by man and God alike.

"Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up: he fighting daily oppreseth me. Mine enemies daily would swallow me up: For they be many that fight against me..."

Oppression can also come inwardly. Satan's attacks against the heart can be just as painful as searching as those that come outwardly. Feelings of inadequacy. Lack of ability to be what God desires. Feeling like you will never attain. Discouragement. Depression. These feelings are meant to tear down, to destroy, to weaken... 

"Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication. Attend unto me, and hear me... Because of the voice of my enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked."

There are circumstantial crucibles that man cannot control. Within the last hour I received a phone call that my dear mother just came out of surgery successfully. God's asked us to lay our Isaac upon the altar once again. Literally... For the last two month we have been rejoicing in the hope of a new baby in July. We were hoping for a boy. We were going to name him Isaac. Yesterday upon the 12-week check-up, a molar pregnancy was discovered. Early surgery this morning brought a finality to the death of another dream. Another crucible. Another opportunity to turn to the Lord. 

"What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee: In God I will praise His word, In God have a put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me...thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle; are they not in thy book? When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know, for God is for me..."

When that precious phone call came, assuring our hearts that no complications had occurred in the surgery, phrases of a well-known song I was somewhat familiar with started floating through my head. Upon looking up the lyrics, I was blessed as I pondered the amazing magnitude of God's care for me. They fit perfectly with the three crucibles I brought out. 

"Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
would care to know my name; 
would care to feel my hurt...?

Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin
would look on me with love,
and watch me rise again?

Who am I, that the voice that calmed the sea
would call out through the rain
and calm the storm in me?"

Not because of who I am, but because of what Christ has done.
Not because of what I've done, but because of who He is.

Whatever man may tell you, whatever Satan may tell you, whatever circumstances come your way, stake your trust down on this promise. "If God be for us, who can be against us?" Rom. 8:31

Somehow, through the crucibles, through the pain, through the testings, through all my failings, I am still His. He loves me, He cares, and He call me His beloved child. 

How can a soul ever get over that amazing fact??

Saturday, December 13, 2008

More precious than gold...

Suffering and glory go together. (Romans 8:17-18) You can't have one without the other. Thus, God likens our suffering to the purifying of silver and gold. Neither metal is pure in it's natural state. Both are mixed with all sorts of things which make them impure. 

Silver and gold need to be refined before they reveal their beauty. So do we! The process of refining includes the melting down of the metal by fires, designed not to destroy the metal, but to bring forth it's beauty. 

So it is with you, beloved. God breaks you and puts you into the crucible of suffering for one purpose and one purpose alone - to make you into His Image. He is preparing you for glory. Whether you have known it or not, God has been there through every trial, pain, and hurt. He has carefully watched so that it would not destroy you, all the while knowing that eventually it would work together for your good. 
-Kay Arthur

"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:" I Peter 1:7

Friday, December 05, 2008

Another Tidbit

Coming back here, I'm reminded how long it's been since I've posted! Without busyness as an excuse this time, let me just say I've been doing much more pondering and praying lately than writing, sharing, and obviously posting. When the time is right, some of the lessons and gems of late will come forth.

For now, though,  let me give you a morsel that I found to be such a blessing tonight. Though I didn't write the actual words, I could have. They are an echo of some of the many thoughts that have been swimming around in my head lately. 

Ponder, and be challenged. 

I’m afraid we’ve gotten so used to what falsehood looks like that we don’t even recognize it when we see it show up in Church on Sunday morning. In fact we are almost jarred when someone is real and honest. The Church should be so full of reality that the fakers stick out like sore thumbs. This is going to include being honest about sin and current struggles, but I’d really like to see some honest confessions about the amazing goodness of God. Doesn’t He deserve that? If we actually believe that every single good thing that our lives produce is the result of Him, we would be constantly sharing what He’s been accomplishing, and we wouldn’t even think of being proud of it. 

When we have put forth our greatest effort, and performed the very best we can, God says it looks like a heap of rags. I can’t see anything to be proud of there. It is only when the Life of Jesus is being worked out in our bodies, when in our daily actions God sees His beloved Son, that He is well pleased.