Category Archives: God’s immutability

lately

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God’s been working lately.  invasive open heart quadruple bypass surgery.   Through each cut of the Surgeon’s knife, through each stitch of the needle, I’ve been reminded of my Father’s tender care. 

 

Through a deep, dark valley of confusion, He led me.  Through some of the worst migraines of my life, God faithfully upheld me.   the beginning of Lamentations 3 (verses 1-18) talks about sitting in dust and ashes and feeling hopelessly left there.  Last week alone, I think I used an entire box of Kleenex.  But Psalm 113 reminds me that my God lifts me up from my ash heap.  What hope!  Though in some ways, the harvest is “over” and there is still no fruit, my God has not and will not forsake.  He is faithful. 

 

“My help comes from the Lord, who made the heavens and the earth! He will not let you stumble and fall; the one who watches over you will not sleep. Indeed, He who watches over Israel never tires and never sleeps. The Lord Himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not hurt you by day, nor the moon at night. The Lord keeps you from all evil and preserves your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go—both now and forever.” Psalm 121:1-8

 

He won’t let me stumble.  He, the uncreated God of eternity, the amazing Creator of the universe, the sovereign Ordainer of redemption, the tender Sustainer of my weak soul… He will not let me fail.  He watches over me.  Every step.  Each step I take.  When I’m tired, He never fails.  When I’m so weary I can’t see clearly, He watches over me.  When I hurt so bad I’m too weak to stand, He stands beside me as my protective shade.  When the heat is scorching, He promises it will not hurt me.  When the night is dark, He promises to keep me from evil and to preserve my life.  He keeps me as I come.  He keeps me as I go.  Now.  and Forever. 

 

Its impossible for me to meditate on those truths and not find comfort for my soul.

I read an article this morning by JR Miller entitled “Guarded from Stumbling.”  This article was written in 1906, but is equally as helpful for today as it was then.  I’d encourage you to read it here.   Below is an excerpt from the article:

The Bible gives many assurances of protection to the children of God, as they pass through this world. They dwell in the secret place of the Most High, and abide under the shadow of the Almighty. They take refuge under the wings of God. …A mother, after a sore bereavement which changed all her life, was grieving at having to leave the old home where everything had grown sacred. Tears filled her eyes as she took the last look at the familiar scenes—house, grounds, trees, and hills. Her little boy tired to comfort her, and as he looked out of the window of the car, he said: “Why, mother, God’s sky is over us yet. It’s going right along with us.” We never can get beyond the blue of the heavens; we never can get out from under the shadow of the Almighty. Wherever we may have to go—we shall always have the love of God over us.

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a God of certainty

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“Wait on the Lord.”
Psalm 27:14

It may seem an easy thing to wait, but it is one of the postures which a Christian soldier learns not without years of teaching. Marching and quick-marching are much easier to God’s warriors than standing still. There are hours of perplexity when the most willing spirit, anxiously desirous to serve the Lord, knows not what part to take. Then what shall it do? Vex itself by despair? Fly back in cowardice, turn to the right hand in fear, or rush forward in presumption? No, but simply wait. Wait in prayer, however. Call upon God, and spread the case before him; tell him your difficulty, and plead his promise of aid. In dilemmas between one duty and another, it is sweet to be humble as a child, and wait with simplicity of soul upon the Lord. It is sure to be well with us when we feel and know our own folly, and are heartily willing to be guided by the will of God. But wait in faith. Express your unstaggering confidence in him; for unfaithful, untrusting waiting, is but an insult to the Lord. Believe that if he keep you tarrying even till midnight, yet he will come at the right time; the vision shall come and shall not tarry. Wait in quiet patience, not rebelling because you are under the affliction, but blessing your God for it. Never murmur against the second cause, as the children of Israel did against Moses; never wish you could go back to the world again, but accept the case as it is, and put it as it stands, simply and with your whole heart, without any self-will, into the hand of your covenant God, saying, “Now, Lord, not my will, but thine be done. I know not what to do; I am brought to extremities, but I will wait until thou shalt cleave the floods, or drive back my foes. I will wait, if thou keep me many a day, for my heart is fixed upon thee alone, O God, and my spirit waiteth for thee in the full conviction that thou wilt yet be my joy and my salvation, my refuge and my strong tower.”

 

“Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed.”
Jeremiah 17:14

“I have seen his ways, and will heal him.”
Isaiah 57:18

It is the sole prerogative of God to remove spiritual disease. Natural disease may be instrumentally healed by men, but even then the honor is to be given to God who giveth virtue unto medicine, and bestoweth power unto the human frame to cast off disease. As for spiritual sicknesses, these remain with the great Physician alone; he claims it as his prerogative, “I kill and I make alive, I wound and I heal;” and one of the Lord’s choice titles is Jehovah-Rophi, the Lord that healeth thee. “I will heal thee of thy wounds,” is a promise which could not come from the lip of man, but only from the mouth of the eternal God. On this account the psalmist cried unto the Lord, “O Lord, heal me, for my bones are sore vexed,” and again, “Heal my soul, for I have sinned against thee.” For this, also, the godly praise the name of the Lord, saying, “He healeth all our diseases.” He who made man can restore man; he who was at first the creator of our nature can new create it. What a transcendent comfort it is that in the person of Jesus “dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily!” My soul, whatever thy disease may be, this great Physician can heal thee. If he be God, there can be no limit to his power. Come then with the blind eye of darkened understanding, come with the limping foot of wasted energy, come with the maimed hand of weak faith, the fever of an angry temper, or the ague of shivering despondency, come just as thou art, for he who is God can certainly restore thee of thy plague. None shall restrain the healing virtue which proceeds from Jesus our Lord. Legions of devils have been made to own the power of the beloved Physician, and never once has he been baffled. All his patients have been cured in the past and shall be in the future, and thou shalt be one among them, my friend, if thou wilt but rest thyself in him this night.

from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening (August 30th)

The God of the broken-hearted

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(J. R. Miller, “The Beatitude for the Unsuccessful” 1892)

“The Lord is near the broken-hearted.” Psalm 34:18

The God of the Bible, is the God of the broken-hearted. The world cares little for the broken hearts. Indeed, people oftentimes break hearts by their cruelty, their falseness, their injustice, their coldness–and then move on as heedlessly as if they had trodden only on a worm! But God cares. Broken-heartedness attracts Him. The plaint of grief on earth–draws Him down from heaven.

Physicians in their rounds, do not stop at the homes of the well–but of the sick. So it is with God in His movements through this world. It is not to the whole and the well–but to the wounded and stricken, that He comes with sweetest tenderness! Jesus said of His mission: “He has sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted.” Isaiah 61:1

We look upon trouble as misfortune. We say that the life is being destroyed, which is passing through adversity. But the truth which we find in the Bible, does not so represent suffering. God is a repairer and restorer of the hurt and ruined life. He takes the bruised reed–and by His gentle skill makes it whole again, until it grows into fairest beauty. The love, pity, and grace of God, minister sweet blessing of comfort and healing–to restore the broken and wounded hearts of His people.

Much of the most beautiful life in this world, comes out of sorrow. As “fair flowers bloom upon rough stalks,” so many of the fairest flowers of human life, grow upon the rough stalks of suffering. We see that those who in heaven wear the whitest robes, and sing the loudest songs of victory–are those who have come out of great tribulation. Heaven’s highest places are filling, not from earth’s homes of glad festivity and tearless joy–but from its chambers of pain; its valleys of struggle where the battle is hard; and its scenes of sorrow, where pale cheeks are wet with tears, and where hearts are broken. The God of the Bible–is the God of the bowed down–whom He lifts up into His strength.

God is the God of those who fail. Not that He loves those who stumble and fall, better than those who walk erect without stumbling; but He helps them more. The weak believers get more of His grace–than those who are strong believers. There is a special divine promise, which says, “My divine power is made perfect in weakness.” When we are conscious of our own insufficiency, then we are ready to receive of the divine sufficiency. Thus our very weakness is an element of strength. Our weakness is an empty cup–which God fills with His own strength.

You may think that your weakness unfits you for noble, strong, beautiful living–or for sweet, gentle, helpful serving. You wish you could get clear of it. It seems to burden you–an ugly spiritual deformity. But really it is something which–if you give it to Christ–He can transform into a blessing, a source of His power. The friend by your side, whom you envy because he seems so much stronger than you are–does not get so much of Christ’s strength as you do. You are weaker than him–but your weakness draws to you divine power, and makes you strong.

“He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

Too Busy?

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The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love. Lamentations 3:21-25,31

I was reminded of these verses this morning. How I am grateful for the great faithfulness of my God and abundant mercies that are new every morning. If I were to describe this week as crazy, that would be an understatement. But I’m aware that the craziness is only beginning.

This week at work has consisted of long hours training my replacement for my current job, completing the tasks that have been on the “back burner” for months and finishing the training manual on how to do the tasks I do on a daily / weekly / monthly basis. It is a critical week for Monika (my replacement) because beginning on Monday, I will be swamped with learning my new job and will not have much (if any) time available for her training.

My relationship with God has slipped. Or better stated, plumeted off a cliff. To my shame, I’ve found myself “too busy” to read about God, “too tired” to pray and “too overwhelmed” to approach the only One who can assist me.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42

As I’m sitting here, distracted by all the preparations that need to be made, I have, like Martha, forgotten the main thing. Though its true that preparations need to be made, they cannot be my main focus. In my desire to end my current position with excellence, I cannot forget that my ultimate responsibility is not to my manager. My ultimate goal is not to properly train Monika. My ultimate task is to look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith.

My coworker, Jay Tee, just walked by singing in his typical fashion. He either sings Christmas songs, or the good old-time-y gospel hymns. Today, He walked by my desk singing “all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.” (excerpt from “What a Friend we Have in Jesus”). Its exactly what I needed to hear.

I have a friend in Jesus.
He cares about my business.

He wants to reveal more of Himself to me through this time.
He gives abundant mercies to cover my loads of cares.

He is still my Refuge.
He is my Shield.
He bears my griefs.
He listenes to my prayers.

He strengthens in my weakness.
He patiently loves and simply reminds me to get back in line.

He reminds me what truly is necessary.

Gratitude (part one)

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I was challenged this morning to take the next two weeks offering up thanks to God for how He has abundantly and lavishly cared for me this past year.

Here is post one… (more thoughts will follow over the next few days)

James 1:17
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

(my paraphrase of James 1:2-18)
Rejoice, my friends, when your life is full of trials and tests. Those trials are being used in your life to grow your faith in God. That faith will result in a more steadfast trust in Him as your Provider, and the end result of that is you being most perfectly changed to reflect the glory of His image.

When life doesn’t make sense, ask God for wisdom. He lavishly gives without reservation to those who ask. But don’t doubt His goodness, or you will find your emotions being tossed on the sea of trials. When this happens, you lose your stability and look around hopelessly for an answer.

When God has brought you to the end of yourself, rejoice. When you are rich in blessings, look to Him as the Answer because your physical blessings will pass away like grass. When the next trial of heat comes, that gift could be gone. If you live for temporary answers, they will fade away like flowers in a drought.

But if you remain trusting in the Lord in the midst of trials, you will be blessed. The result of your faith will be a beautiful, unfading crown of life that God promised to those who actively pursue and love Him. Don’t look at your trials as temptation from God. Don’t accuse God of tempting you, but rather, acknowledge that your own heart is what is drawing you away from your True Love. Your heart will deceive you subtly but will ultimately bring death.

Don’t allow your heart to deceive you like this. Every good and perfect gift is from God. He does not change like the seasons do. He brought you to life and has given you an inheritance far beyond what your deceitful heart promises.


God has been working OT in my heart this past year. When I look back, it is hard to believe that Na07 was only a year ago – it feels like 5 years! I believe that God has been working through me to display His power. I think in order to do this, He had to make me weak first though. That’s not a fun process, and I feel like every day I go through the same thing over again. But He promises that His power is made perfect in weakness. He’s been showing me that my weakness is not merely a suggestion, but that He designed me to be that way. His plan for me is to be nothing on my own so that He can be everything through me. His desire is that my desires match His instead of seeking my own self-advancement (aka idolatry). But He’s also been reminding me that He is loving. That He is good and kind and delights when I come to Him needy and desiring Him to fill me. It brings Him joy to answer that prayer.

God’s blessings today in my life:
A really cool roommate. :) God has really changed the friendship between Christa and I from the apartment days where we didn’t understand each other and tolerated or made fun of each other’s differences to one where we really enjoy each other. Its been a subtle shift but dramatic nonetheless. God has used her in so many areas of my life – teaching me what discipline and grace motivated change looks like, to see what steadfast trust and hope-filled faith looks like. I’ve enjoyed seeing the world through a different perspective (if we look at the same thing we always come away with two vastly different views). Its been helpful as I work through areas in my own life, seek to serve others and seek to love all my friends more.

I will miss the Thomas family when I move on. When I moved in there, it was because I needed a place to go and they had a room available. How that has changed. I am grateful for Lucia’s input as she pours into my life. I’m thankful for Rick’s caring leadership and sensitivity to my weaknesses. I’m actually having fun with the kids too!

More blessings later…

Valley

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I woke up this morning not feeling well, completely giving into worry and feeling overwhelmed. I stayed up way too late working on an OSM project and didn’t want to get out of bed this morning… my head and leg are hurting… my eye still burns from when I accidentally got rubbing alcohol in it last Friday at work. can you say ow-ie? i can!

That’s how I feel.

But this is what is true…

My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Selah

One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving. Surely you will reward each person according to what he has done.
Psalm 62

Waiting… in hope

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My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness…

not a hope in a pain free day… a hope as a result of my salvation as a work of Christ alone on the cross.

I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus name…

I can’t trust my own ability. I can’t trust my health. But I can trust His promises. They never ever change though my feelings do.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand all other ground is sinking sand.

My hope is not dependent on my trust. Or my circumstances. It is wholly reliant on the Rock that is under me. The support that I’m so often unaware of. Everything else, everything other than the Unchanging Eternal All-Powerful God, the Creator of the Universe and Lover of my soul, everything else is temporary. It may be pretty like a sand castle on the beach but when the waves come, that beauty and “fortress” of sand is washed away. My trust is in a Rock that is greater than any storm. A Fortress that is “mighty to save.”