Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Joy Of The Lord Is My Strength

     I am never so refreshed as when I am coming out of a dry spell in my life. The Word of God is always more refreshing, more invigorating, once I come through a dark valley; or, when I am nearly out of one. Has that been the case for you, too?
     Most days, I feel like both a total failure and some great theologian for the Lord...It is not attractive, but true. I am always battling my flesh's desires, lusts, thoughts, feelings; all the while seeking to press on for the Lord according to His desires. Aargh, such a battle!
     When those times arise in my life, it never fails that the evil starts working on me. Now, in times of great clarity and soundness, I will be the first to quip, "Just do as the Lord did when Satan tempted and tormented Him--go to the Scriptures and rebuke him in the Lord's name!" One would rightly think that I have the strategy cemented within me, considering that I have been in this war zone for nigh on 18 years...
     Unfortunately, I am still rather, um, simple, when those difficult times come. My mind becomes cloudy in its ability to think clearly, rationally; all it does is fill with emotional, non-sensible "rationale." Yet, I have enough wits about me, to the Lord's credit, to desire my answers from the Bible, even though I am still waging war with my easier-than-I-would-want-easily-manipulated emotions.  I wish they would function decently and in order, and I know that they can. Just like the tongue, they need a bridle, and that bridle is my God.
     Back to what I was saying...As I battle free-range emotions, I find the best thing for me is to keep my mouth shut. It is already to my disadvantage that my face is a mirror to them, I need not my mouth be their blow horn. So, to the Lord I seek refuge; 'till His cleansing, soothing words refresh my soul, as well as admonish me.
      Aah, His Fatherly care for me! Once a particular battle is successfully won by the Lord, another seems to arise from the midst! This time, quicker than the last before. The devil is not giving me any respite. I must remember to be patient in tribulations...
     Oh, but the weariness emotional turbulence brings to me! Yet, as always, God is quick to get me to the Holy Scriptures before I wash away in the vast sea of tumultuous emotional waters of despair! Again, I am encouraged to fight, leaning on His Word, ever trusting His strength as opposed to my own (Of which I fail to remember far too often), and experiencing the strength in the joy of the Lord, again! God sure is faithful. :)
     Then, as I read His Word daily, my soul is revitalized by it. It is hungry, ready to be admonished, exhorted, loved, encouraged--strengthened and better prepared for ensuing battles. Indeed, battles with evil are not of flesh and blood, but with principalities and rulers of darkness. Only the Lord can defeat them for me!
      So, as I read today to get my Daily Bread, I could not help but appreciate the Lord keeping me in my place. He. Is such a good Dad, if I may say so. I just finished Romans, of which I desire to tell in another post. Today I have started in 1 Corinthians. So much for me in the first chapter! In particular, I especially needed the latter half of this chapter today. In order to squash any pride, and to strengthen my heart, I read:

 1 CORINTHIANS 1:18-31   
 "18For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.    19For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.    20Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?    21For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.    22For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:    23But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;    24But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.    25Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.    26For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:    27But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;    28And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:    29That no flesh should glory in his presence.    30But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:    31That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."

     As I clearly saw, in God's perfect mirror, is that there is no glorying to be done, save in Him. It is HE who educates me, not myself. It is HE who strengthens me, not myself. Though I may have received a certificate in theological studies, or graduated high school with a college prep focus, and though my "book smarts" may be well...All the world's wisdom is foolishness compared to God's wisdom. Any true wisdom I have is from the Lord, and is to be used however and for whomever HE wishes. I need not worry or boast. 
     Oh, how I love the Lord! He can mold me, use me, encourage me, and humble me; all in the same passage! I appreciate that He guides me through this life. I appreciate that He has put within me a desire for His truth above anything else, or anyone else. I appreciate that He still uses me, even though I strayed from a holy life for a few years. I appreciate that He nips pride in the bud, time and again, in my life. I appreciate that He gives me all that I have, all that I am, and all that ever will be. His gospel of Jesus Christ indeed is the power of God. His joy indeed is my strength. 
     His wisdom indeed is wise, and the wisdom of this world indeed foolish. I desire to always take the preaching of the word of God from a backwoods, ill-educated man than the finest, most highly-educated theological scholar who has not Christ. God's way of doing things is perfect, and excites my soul. His way with me blesses me more than I can say: that He would consider me, just a mortal creature, and give me love, a life full of trials and His joy, Himself as my Saviour, strength to live according to His good pleasure, and so much more--what an awe-inspiring, love-constraining Lord!

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"Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man." Colossians 4:6

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