Thursday, June 12, 2008

"You, O Lord, will preserve him from this generation forever"

"The godly and faithful have disappeared from the earth. The wicked strut about on every side..." (Ps 12)

"We have no more than five loaves and two fishes; except we should go and buy food for all this people." (Luke 9)

"I know...that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the kings..., whom you utterly destroyed. When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath." (Joshua 2)

"The words of the Lord are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times. You, O Lord, will preserve him from this generation forever." (Ps 12)

Yesterday we were robbed. It sounds insignificant to explain to someone else, but it hurt us - left us shaken and upset. Someone took our load of laundry from the laundromat. The load included our very favorite clothes - including all three of Nicholas' dive t-shirts... a new pair of jeans... two sets of his dress clothes... and most of my underwear ;o

Our reaction wasn't very sweet... we felt like pounding the person(s) who took our clothes.

This morning when I opened my Bible to Psalm 12 I felt like shouting with the Psalmist, "THE GODLY AND FAITHFUL HAVE DISAPPEARED FROM THE EARTH... THE WICKED STRUT ABOUT ON EVERY SIDE...!" It's true. We live in a fallen and perverted world!

Then the thought occurred to me: it was this world that Christ came to save. Life for me on earth is pretty good. Even living on a tight budget, I have SO MUCH happiness and joy. But that's because I don't know what it's like on the other side... As my former pastor used to say so often, "The best we, as Christians, have on earth is our ONLY hell..." This is as bad as it's gonna get. It will only get better!

But Jesus Christ CHOSE to come to this lowly, wicked world. He loved me that much!

So then when Christ asks me to take up my cross and follow Him, what is my reaction? Most of the time I'm like a little bird in a cage, fluttering and falling, trying to get out... trying to find my wings and fly to my own destination. I'll cry out wimpishly, "Oh Lord! Help me out here!" But it's only when I really let go that He does the impossible.

Watchman Nee stated "We only see what WE can do. We shut our eyes to God and His inexhaustible resources. But God is not to be measured by us. Never mind what we can do or cannot do; He is waiting to show us His miracles."

We will probably never get back our *precious* clothes. ;) That's extremely unfortunate for us, but the thing that I'm stuck on this morning is that the Lord, who preserves His word as silver tried and refined seven times, will preserve my husband and me from this generation. It will only get better.

The Lord will cut off the wicked but He will preserve His own from this generation. In the meantime, we can't shut our eyes to God. Why? Because He's waiting to show us His miracles... :D

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

There Is A Place By Me

Sometimes life is challenging. Maybe not beyond bearable, but just challenging. As a newly married couple we want to be in the center of God's will but that's much easier said than done. And sometimes we feel like we are doing God's will but it's not always black~and~white.

In times of struggling and reasoning together we have one Rock, one real source of Absolute Strength: Christ.

This morning as Nicholas was at work I sat down at our tiny little table to partake of my english muffin and Nick's left-over coffee. With open Bible and journal I sought God's face. The words that God gave to David in Psalm 11 and to Joshua as he became the leader of Israel spoke comfort and encouragement to me! God is very interested in blessing the one who seeks God's face... and most often His will is not made known to us by a loud voice from heaven. Rather, it is in doing the things He's already commanded us. The every day obedience of seeking His face reveals His day-to-day will in our lives.

When I was finished, I opened up a little book by Amy Carmichael which just captured what I had been praying about and reading in my Bible. It is called "There Is A Place By Me":

His Thoughts Said, "Before me continually is the grief of wounds, confusion, suspense, distress."
His Father Said, "Behold, there is a place by Me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock."
Then, as a frightened child on a storm-swept mountain-side would gratefully take his father's hand, and stand on a rock in a place by him, fearing no evil - so it was with the son. For he knew that though the earth be removed and the waters be carried into the midst of the sea, that rock by his Father would never be moved. And he remembered words about things that can be shaken and things that will remain. And though no small tempest lay on him, he said to the multitude of thought whose voices sought to disturb him, "Sirs, be of good cheer; for I believe God that it shall be even as it was to me. For as His majesty is, so also is His mercy."

Our Sunday school teacher recently said that faith doesn't grow when life is easy - or words to that affect. I've remembered that truth as Nicholas and I have talked about living in faith. It's never easy to live in faith. We have to continually look to Christ's face and stand with Him upon the rock or we will fall into the abyss of failure.

So each child of God has a choice to make: either try to live on your own and experience mild satisfaction in your own strength or stand in the place by Christ where life is rarely easy, but long-term success is guaranteed.