Tuesday, February 22, 2011

In the shadow of His hand

  "Then Abraham waited patiently, and he received what God had promised. Now when people take an oath, they call on someone greater than themselves to hold them to it. And without any question that oath is binding. God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary."
                                                                                                    Hebrews 6:15-19 nlt


Has He given you a vision?
Would your heart arise to go,
With a burning and a passion,
It's fulfillment now to know?

Yet your way is dark with questions,
And you sense no open door.
Are you waiting in the silence,
Doubting what you heard before?

Wait, the vision though it tarry
Keep your heart at rest and still;
Knowing that the Father's sovereign,
And His will He will fulfill.

Think of Abram, giv'n the promise,
Of a son, though very old.
Then the many years of silence,
'Fore the promise did unfold.

And of Joseph, given visions,
Then sold into slavery;
Prison but a door to throne rooms,
Trustful waiting was his key.

In these clouds of unknown waiting,
God is present, still endure.
For our faith in His own timing,
Makes the vision, given, sure.

And though darkness seems to linger,
Tis' the shadow of His hand;
And the vision He has given,
Will unfold as He has planned.
                              --- Rachael Lofgren

Saturday, February 19, 2011

It's worth the risk

     "We can believe that God alone is our security and love is always worth the risk and there is no better investment than reaching out to someone and locking arms and unlocking your heart. No better investment than finding the time for friendship and the courage to be real and the humility to say we’re sorry. And distrust can cost us the very richest life of all and the price for being safe can be too expensive and friendship is the only thing that will show up at our funerals."
                                                                            Ann Voskamp

Friday, February 18, 2011

Though the fig tree shall not blossom

"They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. he that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."
                                                                                       Psalm 126:5-6

Though the fig tree shall not blossom,
Though the olive’s labor fail,
Though a murrain, sore and grievous,
Smite the herd on hill and dale -
Yet my soul shall bless and praise Him,
And my faith shall still prevail!

Though the earth be filled with violence,
And the Dove of Peace has fled,
While the land and sea are groaning
‘Neath the burden of their dead -
Yet, amid the awful tumult,
I rejoice and lift my head!

Though the vision seem to tarry,
And the waiting time prolong,
Though my faith be strangely tested
In the conflict fierce and strong,
Yet His grace shall be sufficient,
And the burden of my song!

Though He slay me, I will trust Him,
Though my very heart He break,
For I know with loving wisdom
He has planned the way I take -
Thus my dying breath shall bless Him,
And I’ll praise Him when I wake!

From Poems of Dawn (c) 1915
             Habakkuk 3:17-18

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Door to Victory

PD Photo.org

     “Faith is dependence upon God. And this God-dependence only begins when self-dependence ends. And self-dependence only comes to its end, with some of us, when sorrow, suffering, affliction, broken plans and hopes bring us to that place of self-helplessness where we throw ourselves upon God in seeming utter helplessness and defeat. And only then do we wake to find that we have earned the lesson of faith; to find our tiny craft of life rushing onward to a blessed victory of life and power and service undreamt of in the days of our fleshly strength and self-reliance.” 

                       James H. McConkey, quoted by Louse Harrison McCraw in James H. McConkey, p. 51

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Be strong

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 "Be strong through the grace that is ours in union 
                      with Christ Jesus...
Take your part in suffering, as a loyal soldier 
                           of Christ Jesus.
 If we have died with Him,  we shall also live with Him;
 If we continue to endure,we shall also rule with Him;" 

                                                                                        ( 2 Timothy 2: 1b, 3, & 11b-12a Good news for modern man.)

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Friday, February 4, 2011

Believing when I cannot see

                           "For we live by believing and not by seeing." ( 2 Cor. 5:7 NLT)

     I stir in the semi-quiet and stare groggily at my alarm clock. The large red numbers register 8:35 and I know it's time to get up. I stretch and push back the warm covers.  On my way to the mirror I look out the window into the winter morning.  The sky is blue and the sun is shining brightly.  "Good. It's sunny. It ought to be a good day."  I think to myself as I hurry on to prepare for the day.
     I've been thinking of late about faith and feelings. How easy it is to carry these thought patterns over into the spiritual realm - To base one's well being on how one feels. To put one's trust in "secure" circumstances. When life continues smoothly and all goes well we may not realize just how far we've slipped. It's when the storm hits and our lives spin out of control that we realize whether we walk by faith or feelings - And it is in those crisis moments that we realize just how vital the foundations of faith really are.
     As human beings we are naturally prone to basing our perceptions of life on the tangible world. Things we can experience with our five senses and explain with our intellect. Faith operates in direct opposition to these natural tendencies.  It requires us to forfeit the comfort zone of the explainable and step out into a world of  belief in the unseen and unexplainable. To trust in the sovereign wisdom of God even when we do not understand.  But it's foundations are sure for it based on trust in the unchanging all powerful Creator of the Universe and the solid everlasting truth of His word.
     Faith is the very essence of Christianity, the foundation on which everything else is built. Belief in God and in His goodness, based on a heart relationship of trust and dependence, a face turned to the face of the Father and a hand clinging tightly to His no matter what comes our way.  If we would truly be used of God we must follow Him without question wherever He calls and this unswerving obedience can only flow from a heart anchored by  faith in Christ.
   We must live in an atmosphere of faith. As James Conner writes "Faith is a muscle, a diaphragm for breathing, and needs to be worked." If we do not breath faith we will suffocate in doubt and smother in fear. We must claim His promises and live accordingly, no matter how desperately incongruous our circumstances and the results of our obedience may appear.
    Faith is believing when I cannot see.It is the acceptance of things I cannot understand.  It is going on in obedience when I feel as if all my work has been in vain. Trusting  in the goodness and victorious power of God when evil seems to prevail, knowing that in the end He will triumph and His purposes will come to pass.
     In my own inadequacy it is clinging to the hand of my Father. In failure it is embracing His forgiveness through the cross, His redemption through repentance and the resurrection. In the night of grief, it is acknowledging His comfort. And in the bitterness of betrayal it is finding grace to forgive, to find beauty for my ashes.  In my weakness it is finding His strength, Moving beyond my pain into the freedom of His purpose through the pain. It is believing that He does work all together for good for those who love Him in the midst of a broken and dying world. That He will be with us through fire and flood, bringing us forth as gold.
     This is faith- Believing that He is, Believing that He will, and abiding there in that place of believing. Trusting His Father Heart and trusting His perfect plan.