Tag Archives: trusting God

Snake on My Toe!

brown firewood
Photo by Paula on Pexels.com

The six cords of wood are now stacked in neat piles in our backyard right beside my clothesline. (I have the type of line that is looped around pulleys so you stand in one spot, hang the clothes, and pull the line for more space.) As I’m standing there, I hear the tarp atop the wood rustle. My mind instantly wonders what made the noise, and visions of the snakes we found there while moving the wood into our garage came into view. Then, I felt something on my flip-flop covered foot! SNAKE! Of course, I jumped and looked down to see the extra rope from my clothesline brushing across my foot.

Now, I really don’t mind snakes. To be honest, if I had looked down and seen a huge hairy spider on my toe, the jig would have been much more exotic! Fear can be paralyzing, literally paralyzing! For just a moment the fear of a snake coiling around my leg overtook my senses.

What do you fear?  What is your worst nightmare and has it come true? Oh, the agony and dread that situations—real-life situations—put us through! One of my favorite phrases that I often heard from my mom was this, “I don’t see how people get through life without God.”

Last evening, as we watched an episode of “Little House on the Prairie” I was amazed at what I heard. The Ingles’ son had just died (Yes, I realize that was an addition from the original books); he was only a few months old. And as they stood there in the doctor’s office, Charles holding Carolyn his arms, he began to quote Psalm 23. Wow! As he quoted it, even my heart became quiet!

“There is a place of quiet rest—
near to the heart of God.
A place where sin cannot molest—
near to the heart of God.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UnFNHWJ0tA

One of the most amazing verses in the Bible is, James 4:8:

Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

Do you see what this says?  It doesn’t say…

“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh…

  • If He has time
  • If you deserve it
  • If He thinks you are serious
  • If you…

You fill in the blank! The only requirement—and it is a serious one—is to draw close to God. How do you do that? This post is long enough. Maybe I’ll study that one out for next time!

But remember, as a born-again child of God…

The worst can never happen because I will never be forsaken by God!
(Quote from Jennifer Marks :))

Upside-down Lunch

68039351-480pxWhat a life! The Nuthatch comes to my feeder, selects his lunch (or in this case, breakfast) and swoops to the trunk of a nearby tree. He then faces downward and starts cracking the nut, pinning against the tree. Over and over again, he comes and repeats the exact same habit, except perhaps to eat at another tree.

Why does he do that? Why does he face downward? How would you like to stand upside-down and eat? No thank you! Perhaps he does it to keep the crumbs out of his nose! That may be a byproduct of his habit but mostly he does it because that is how God made him.

Birds are amazing creatures. They certainly are creatures of habit! I remember one poor mother birth that had made her nest in a break in the soffit near our kitchen window. When we fixed it, she came the following spring and was all “kerfoodled.” She sat on the edge of the porch looking with confusion at the place she had always built. Poor birdie!

What circumstance has God put you in that is not comfortable? Are you facing life with a handicap? Is it difficult for you to go home at night and face the challenges awaiting you there? Or perhaps life is just not what you expected it to be?

As born-again believers we have a great “secret ingredient” for life—we have the power of God! Wow! When we apply it to life, peace comes into our hearts! The circumstances may not change, the challenges are still waiting, but we face them with our dearest Friend who holds all the answers we will ever need.  The question is, are we listening? Are we examining our hearts to see if there’s something that God wants to teach us? When our slate is clean, our sins are forgiven, and our will is yielded to our heavenly Father, we can face life—even if we need to do it upside-down.

1Corinthians 2:16 … But we have the mind of Christ.

Colossians1:27 … Christ in you, the hope of glory

The Joys of Childhood

And said, Verily I say unto you,
Except ye be converted,
and become as little children,
ye shall not enter into
the kingdom of heaven
.
Matthew 18:3
portrait photo of three smiling girls
Photo by Di Lewis on Pexels.com

Today, I was once again reminded of this verse. We often think of its meaning for conversion, but perhaps we would do well to apply it to life! Become as a child—what does that mean or look like? Well, a little child…

  • Is completely dependent on her Father
  • Does not pay the bills
  • Does not plan the future
  • Does not buy the groceries
  • Is blissfully ignorant of all life’s trials. Mom may be secretly shedding tears of grief and anguish as a child chatters on about all that is important to her.
  • Does not worry about problems
  • Smiles a lot
  • Enjoys simple pleasures
  • Does not expect great things
  • Simply trusts

That’s where I need to be. I’m not talking about shirking responsibilities or having my head in the sand, but there are so many disappointments that I cannot change. This is especially true in the ministry.  I cannot make folks come to church, read their Bibles, make right choices, be unselfish, think of others. All I can do is live it before them, pray for them, and perhaps give a word in season to them. How freeing is that!!! Sigh! Oh, how nice to be God’s child!

And now, little children,
abide in him;
that, when he shall appear,
we may have confidence,
and not be ashamed
before him at his coming.
1 John 2:28

Lovely Childish Ways

And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3

sammy.jpgToday, I was once again reminded of this verse. We often think of its meaning for conversion, but perhaps we would do well to apply it to life! Become as a child—what does that mean or look like? Well, a little child…

  • Is completely dependent on his Father
  • Does not pay the bills
  • Does not plan the future
  • Does not buy the groceries
  • Is blissfully ignorant of all life’s trials. Mom may be secretly shedding tears of grief and anguish as a child chatters on about all that is important to her. (I wonder if my heavenly Father sometimes feels like this! 😦 )
  • Does not worry about problems
  • Smiles a lot
  • Enjoys simple pleasures
  • Does not expect great things
  • Simply trusts

That’s where I need to be. I’m not talking about shirking responsibilities or having my head in the sand, but there are so many disappointments that I cannot change, especially in the ministry.  I cannot make folks come to church, read their Bibles, make right choices, be unselfish, think of others or a whole host of other things that will help them to shine as they draw closer to God. All I can do is live it before them, pray for them, and perhaps give a word in season to them. How freeing is that!!! Sigh! Oh, how nice to be God’s child!

Jesus! I am resting, resting
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.

~ Jean Sophia Pigott

Florence

eye of the storm image from outer space
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This week my husband and I were to spend a long-awaited few days basking in the sun and enjoying God’s creation at Virginia Beach. Reservations had been made months ago. Schedules were cleared and, with a bit of trepidation, we packed our bags while keeping an eye on Florence. I also prayed. We serve a powerful God. Couldn’t He just blow from the west and steer that swirling knot of horror away from the coast? Of course, He could! If He could turn the sundial back ten degrees for Hezekiah (2 Kings 20:10-11), He could certainly move a bunch of clouds!

He didn’t. As time moved on, so did our plans. My heart sank as the visions of warmth and sun slowly puddled at my feet! We fought discouragement and confusion.  What should we do? We could just cancel the whole thing, but we both felt a great need ( I was going to say, ‘desperate’ but the poor folks that are in the path of Florence have the right to use that word, not me!) to have some downtime.

I started searching the internet from Maine to D.C. struggling to keep my attitude right. After all…

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

we quote Romans 8:28, but do we really believe it? Somewhere in all the confusion and frustration, I discovered a great truth:

LIVING OUR FAITH AND BELIEVING GOD’S WORD ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS!

I’d say that most born-again believers would say they believe that God will work all things together for good, but what happens when it goes from a favorite Bible verse to reality? Life is falling apart and we can’t catch all the pieces! How can this be good? What is God doing? Can I know what He’s doing? Can I understand? CAN I TRUST HIM? Folks, that’s what it all boils down to—can I trust God?

Can I trust God? Can I trust God? Can I trust the One who…

  • Created everything I see
  • Controls every aspect of my life
  • Knows the beginning from the end
  • Sees me—all of me, all the time
  • Knows me and still loves me
  • Loves me so much that He
    • Allowed Himself as Son to come to this world
    • Live here in worse conditions than most of us could ever imagine
    • Was rejected by His own chosen people
    • Suffered the pains of the cross and the agony of sin for ME!!!

Can I trust Him? I’m ashamed to even type those words!

And today, as I sit in this cozy spot in Lancaster, PA enjoying comfort and beautiful surroundings, rest and relaxation (and lots of good food!) I am ashamed of my sin of forgetfulness and unbelief!

And I’m reminded of a poem that I wrote a while back about Martha’s similar plight. Take a look, and the next time you are called upon by our dear heavenly Father to LIVE your faith, remember Who He is and that you are not facing those difficult realities alone! Praise God, don’t “keep on swimming,” but pull up the oars and let Him drive!

Dost Thou Not Care?

God’s Timing

potiphars_wife-250w-tnJoseph is my favorite Bible character and is certainly a type of Christ. There is no record given in the Bible of any wrongdoing on his part, but he did do a lot of good. For example:

  • He was an obedient child, walking nearly sixty miles as a seventeen-year-old boy when his father told him to check on his brothers. (Just a side, I wonder about Jacob’s judgment. Certainly, he saw the envy and jealousy his older sons felt toward Joseph! Perhaps he trusted them more than he should have—a lesson within a lesson for us!)
  • God favored him with prophetic dreams. Twice, God predicts his future through dreams. Again, it may not have been wise to share those dreams with his brothers and father, but the fact that he did reveals a trusting heart.
  • As a slave in a foreign land, he does his work well, and God blesses even the heathen nobleman, Potiphar, because of Joseph.
  • He bears the flirtations of a married woman, never accusing her to anyone or setting a trap to malign her character, but flees when she seeks to trap him!
  • Now in prison, Joseph once again faithfully does what he is told to do—the work of another! He is not bitter with his God but proclaims Him when pharaoh’s butler and baker come with their dreams.

But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and shew kindness,

I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house:

For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews:

and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon.

Genesis 40:14,15

However, the butler did not think upon Joseph or, if he did, he kept silent. I can understand his plight. He had offended pharaoh–so much so, that he was thrown into prison. I’m sure he was treading lightly. But two years later, hi confession tells us that he had forgotten Joseph.

Then spake the chief butler unto Pharaoh, saying, I do remember my faults this day. Genesis 41:9

Have you ever felt forgotten? Does it feel as though your heavenly Father isn’t listening or paying attention? Ten years ago in March, Steam Valley Bible Church’s pastor resigned after 35 years of faithful service. In May, we moved into the area, but it wasn’t until November that we heard about the church’s need of a pastor. Within a few short weeks, we were called to this ministry. Through that time of wandering, we claimed this verse:

And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day. Exodus 14:13

 It seemed like forever as we worked in a factory and lived in my uncle’s cabin, waiting to hear God’s next marching orders, but when it came it came quickly!

I often wonder why we couldn’t have skipped the summer and just went straight into this ministry! I still don’t know but God does! Yes, I can see reasons why the waiting was good. God certainly sharpened our entire family. It was a very difficult time, but God was directing the whole thing! The question seems to boil down to this: can I trust God to do what is best?

This weekend our ladies had a retreat, and the theme was The God of the Impossible. We studied the attributes of God. While putting together the devotional booklet, I came across a list of God’s attributes which included a synopsis of each attribute and proof texts. Here is the information about God’s attribute of goodness:

One of the most intrinsic attributes of God is His goodness. God is not good because it is attractive for Him to be so, nor does He follow after some sort of standard for goodness. God is actually so good that He is the source of goodness; He alone is the rule and measure of what we truly know to be good. To the Christian, the goodness of the Lord is a security. The Christian knows well that he has been bathed in the death and resurrection of Christ and now stands wholly righteous before God; and this being so, he also recognizes all that God will work in his life will be for his own good — for a good God would never work circumstances to the peril of the righteous. Romans 8:28 tells that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” This is the believer’s rest and assurance. But not so for the unbeliever: the goodness of God demands all circumstances to work together for the bad of those rebellious and hateful towards God. God’s goodness will manifest itself in a wrathful justice against those who are defiled of holiness, for True goodness cannot abide evil.

PROOF TEXTS:

  • Exodus 34:6-7 — The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.
  • Psalm 25:8 — Good and upright is the Lord.
  • James 1:17 — Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

(www.blueletterbible.org/faq/attributes.cfm)

Somewhere along the way, Joseph had learned this truth and it served him well. It will serve us well too, especially when the way is dark and dreary with no end in sight! God IS good, His timing is perfect, and all the He is doing is for my good. Can you believe it?

Just a Taste

chocolate-meio-amargo-alfarroba-melhor-opcao-para-dieta-58878As I face another good-bye, I’m working HARD to keep focused! Our youngest son and his little family have been here for a week now. The Lord has blessed us with perfect weather and wonderful opportunities to pack in the memories! Now, it’s time to get back to “normal.”

Normal—what does that look like? Well, for me, it means one son and his family living 1,292miles away, this son and his family 674 miles living away, and our daughter and her family just down the road eleven miles. Up until March, our oldest son was just twenty miles down the road. We’re a close-knit family. We love to be together. One of my favorite family activities is singing together. We’ve ministered together, and for years that was “normal.” But it’s not normal now, and I’m still struggling to adjust to my new normal. How can I do that?

O taste and see…

I’ve “tasted” that sweet manna of my family all around me, so how do I settle for less? How do I settle for flavored chocolate when I’ve eaten Ghirardelli’s?

Little by little, the pieces fall into place, and I’ve come to realize that part of the healing process in any situation is understanding the pain. Why am I struggling so? Why can’t I just get over this? Why can’t I just be happy with where I am in life? Do you find yourself asking those questions? Well, I have the answers! NOT! But… I do know Someone who does, and He has taught me a few things:

  1. Get the labels right. This new normal is not less perfect than the old normal because it is God’s normal for me! How can a spouse endure the loss of a lifetime best friend unless he or she embraces this thought? How does a person endure a career change when he has lost his dream job? How does a mom deal with an injury that leaves her healthy child crippled? How can we cope when a teen chooses to stray down a deadly path?

O taste and see that the LORD is good…

In Psalm 34, David tells us to “taste and see” that the Lord is good! David wrote this psalm while he was running from Saul. He ran to Gaza, a major city of Israel’s enemies, the Philistines, and ended up feigning madness to escape. Great circumstances, don’t you think? He had enjoyed great success, but now he was a hunted man, and yet he gives us so many nuggets of true faith in this psalm.

  1. Live in the moment. That might sound like worldly advice but it is good advice. When we live in the past or live for the future, we miss today! Another way to put it, which is not original to me, is “keep your mind where your body is.”

Later, when David longed for the waters of Bethlehem, three of his valiant men risked their lives by breaking through the Philistine battle lines in order to grant his request. Longing for the past or hoping for the future can be deadly! At the very least, it makes us miserable today. It can also bring on depression and bitterness—two of Satan’s sharpest and deadliest weapons!

  1. Trust, trust, trust! Do I really believe that God knows best or are they just words?

O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. Psalm 34:8

Spurgeon writes this:

“No one knows how sweet honey is till he tastes it, and even so the sweetness of true religion cannot be learned by mere hearing, we must try it for ourselves.  O Lord, help all in this family to prove the power of faith in Jesus, and the efficacy [effectiveness] of prayer to God for themselves.”quote

Trials will taste bitter unless we look past them to the One
who holds the spoon! Then we
see the love in His eyes, and His look sweetens the bitterest pill. We hear the love in His gentle voice, and we know that it is good because He only does what is best. We are blessed because we trust Him!

The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing. (v. 10)

Again, Spurgeon writes:

“Lions are strong, fierce, and crafty, yet they hunger; men of the world are also very cunning and full of self-confidence, yet they are not satisfied.  But humble believers, though often weak, and in the world’s judgment, very foolish, are yet blessed with every needful blessing by their gracious God.”

Can you be a humble believer? Can you yield to whatever God puts in your path?  That’s the question that I ask myself, and I’m afraid to say, “no!” More than that, I don’t WANT to say, “no” because…

The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

AND…

The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. (16-18)

One last note from Spurgeon, who fought what was called “causeless depression” most of his life:

“What a blessing to have a tender sense of sin.  We have heard of persons dying of a broken heart, but if repentance breaks our hearts we shall live eternally.”