4.30.2014

Quote - on trusting God.

"I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages."

                                        ~ C.H. Spurgeon

4.28.2014

Locking my gaze in the right place.

Several weeks ago our pastor made a comment that grabbed my attention.  It had very little to do with the main point of his message, but I found it incredibly profound, and have been thinking about it ever since.  

He reiterated the story of Lot's wife to illustrate the consequences of disobedience, and said this:
"Her feet took her one way - her heart took her another."

And he is right!
Her feet were going the right way - towards obedience - where she would find the safety and security God promised Lot.
Her heart, however, kept looking back - toward the lure of sin that consumed the city - where she would be destroyed.

She KNEW what was going to happen!  There was no guessing, no ambiguity.  God had already promised He would spare her, her husband, and her daughters.  And He asked only one thing: Don't look back!

With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.
When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”  Genesis 19

Lot asks to flee to a closer city, they say "yes" and he obeys.  
But his wife ...
instead of letting wisdom lead, she allowed her emotions to direct her steps ...
and the consequence was severe.

But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.  Genesis 19

This is such a frustrating verse isn't it?  Lot's wife knew exactly what she was supposed to do - where to go - how to go.  And she blew it.  Why couldn't she just keep looking forward?!?
Because ...
"Her feet took her one way - her heart took her another."

This quote sounded poetic when it first touched my ears, but the more I thought about the words, they began to haunt me.  I couldn't figure out why until it hit me upside the head in a moment of clarity.
I am Lot's wife!!

I desire to love, honor, and obey God.
I want to look like Christ.
I KNOW what He requires of me.  He has given crystal clear instructions in Scripture.  There are no secrets, no surprises.
When sin is crouching at my door, I know where to flee for safety.
He tells me not to look back: But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3:13,14
And yet ... the lure of the world continually pulls me back, fighting to keep my focus on what it has to offer.  Because when I am looking at the world, I can no longer see my Savior.

And I am the only one who can choose where to lock my gaze.

Let your eyes look straight aheadfix your gaze directly before you.
Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.
Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.  Proverbs 4

Oh, Lord - please, please, please teach me how to keep my heart, mind, and eyes fixed in the only place that offers joy, success, comfort, hope, wisdom, discernment, knowledge, total forgiveness, and truth ...
Your Son - Jesus Christ.

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.  Hebrews 12

4.15.2014

I want to see the gold!

In the past few weeks I have heard, read and discussed the topic of "loving your enemies."  And I have learned in my forty two years of living that when the Lord puts something in front of me multiple times it is because He wants to teach, challenge, and convict me in that specific area.

I do not know what this season of study will look like, or what it will produce, but after searching the Scriptures to find what loving my enemy looks like, I am confident that He is about to take me on a long and difficult journey through my heart attitude, my motives, and my pride.

I will admit ... I am a little uncomfortable about stepping into this new territory.  A lot uncomfortable actually.  Whenever motives and pride are investigated by a holy God, nothing is left unnoticed or overlooked.  He will search me out, and He will reveal everything that is ugly, selfish, and impure.
But -
I know I will come out on the other side - refined.  Because He promises me I will!  

So that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor 
at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  I Peter 1:7

Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.  
Isaiah 48:10

The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.  Proverbs 17:3

But He knows the way that I take; when He has tried me, I shall come out as gold.  Job 23:10
And isn't this our ultimate goal as believers?
To rid ourselves of everything that looks like us so that we can look more and more like Him?

Though I am not 100% willing to enter into this season, I am going to be 100% obedient – and trust Him for the rest.

Loving my enemies.

Who are they?
What does loving them look like?
Where am I being faithful?
Where am I blind?
And how in the world is it possible to show love - a sincere, godly, unconditional, Christ-like love - to those who do not, will not, or cannot love me in return?

Lord, I can already see where you are taking me.  It has been a long time coming.  But it will be in the details that you reveal Yourself, Your purposes, and Your ways ... and ask me to follow in obedience. Whether I like it or not.
May I be faithful.  May I be humbled.  May I see victory.

I want to pass this test, Lord, because I really, really do - want to come forth as gold!

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.  Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.  Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.  Never be wise in your own sight.  Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.  If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.  Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”  To the contrary, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 12:9-21

But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you
To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.  
If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.  And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.  And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount.  But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.  Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.  Luke 6:27-36

4.06.2014

He is always faithful to remind us who He is!

This morning while I was sitting in the sanctuary reading my Bible and waiting for church to begin, one of the children's Sunday school teachers sat down and said she wanted to tell me about one of our boys.

There is a little boy in Josiah's class who has some physical challenges.  He is incredibly loving and sweet, and you cannot help but fall in love with him the moment you meet him.

This is her story about that precious little boy and our Josiah:

A couple of weeks ago, she (the teacher) was sitting behind her group of first graders while our children's pastor was teaching.  About halfway through the lesson she noticed that this little boy was getting fatigued and needed to rest.
She teared up at this point and declared, "Sorry, but I am going to cry!"

Josiah scooted towards his friend and put his arm around his waist to hold him up.  This sweet little boy leaned back ... and rested in Josiah's strength and embrace.  Our son held his friend tenderly until he was strong enough to sit on his own - and then he let go.

The teacher looked at me with tears in her eyes and exclaimed, "I will never forget it!  It was such a beautiful picture of how we are to abide in the strength and security of our Savior!"

I thanked her for taking the time to share her story with me, and told her it was a huge source of encouragement to my heart as a mother.

I smiled each time I reflected on this story today, but it was her comment, "... a beautiful picture of how we are to abide in the strength and security of the Savior" that affected me the most.

And then, as He is always faithful to do, the Lord showed me a verse that placed the sparkling ribbon on an already beautiful gift ...

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26

Thank You, Lord, for these sweet, simple moments that draw our eyes back to heaven and remind us of the tender love You have for Your children!