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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!

Friday, April 13, 2012

A Precious Gem

As I enjoy the beauty of this new day from the Lord, I reflect upon His goodness; both to me, and to you all. He holds every second of our lives in His hand, and does so rather efficiently. :) I too often do not appreciate my Heavenly Father, nor do I know Him as is possible. This fact is to my shame. He has wondrously given so much: life on earth, salvation through His Son Jesus Christ, marriage for two opposite but complementing-when-together-under-His-control creatures, children, friends, family, counselors, preachers, ministers, dogs, cats, birds, knowledge...Every thing. Just starting to list things causes me to muse upon Him more. It initiates appreciation for my Lord. Today, in particular, I appreciate God-fearing folks who give wise counsel. I appreciate that God has put them in our lives, in one way or another, to see us conform to the image He desires. Without wise counsel, I would be a wandering fool. Though not always "pleasant," the counsel is good if it is true to the Lord. Good counsel is hard to come by these days, whether for political correctness, pleasing people, or selfish comforts. Godly, wise counsel is a precious gem I cannot afford to refuse. I am glad to receive that which I need in order to be the right kind of woman for God, Dear, & co. So, as I sit here, looking out at the gorgeous day, I reflect upon what the Lord has given. Today, I especially thank Him for His Word, His counselors, and for His work in my life. Thank You, Lord.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Provoked

     Today, like all days, is a day wherein I may reflect upon the fact that I am a blessed lady. No matter the storms of life, I am in the very capable hands of my precious Heavenly Father and Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. I have eternal, unchangeable, unmeritable salvation in Him who died in my stead...Blessed indeed!
     For the past month, I have rarely written outside the "Better-Body-Steward" series. The "break" was refreshing, though I did feel out of the loop. I still do, since we are still without a working laptop. Nevertheless, we are supremely blessed to have free use of our brother's iPad!
     I have been reading the book of Romans for my devotional time this month. The book prior was Revelation. Coupled with those two books, I have been dwelling upon Christ's return more. It causes a multitude of thoughts and emotions.

Let me share.

     I am saved, praise Christ, through His incomprehensible work of free salvation unto all who believe! I know that I am going to dwell with Him some day; be in Heaven, the new Jerusalem, the new earth, get to see Him face-to-face, sing to Him, hear His voice, receive a new name from Him, plus see/meet all other justified saints. There is so much awaiting for His blood-bought children, (of which I may lay claim), that my mind cannot absorb the thought! Can you?
     Of course, whenever I start mentioning, inwardly or outwardly, those blessed joys, I get weepy. I am overcome with emotions inexpressible. Getting to meet the One in whom I put my trust, in person.... There are other thoughts that enter my mind. Though getting to be with Christ, Dear, and other saints, forever, is indeed a joyous some-day reality, I know that it is only for some. I know that there will be folks: family, friends, acquaintances, strangers, grocery store clerks, enemies, who will not be there. It is their choice, yes.
     Yet, I feel a strong urgency to tell them: whether as a reminder, or for the first/last time, that He is coming again; and, when He does, He is coming as King, not as Lamb. Those thoughts burden my soul. I know I am limited in my capabilities, compared to God. I also know I can do more to ever be a witness for Him.
     Though My station is at home, I can do much from the fort. I can send letters, give calls, PRAY, etc. I can be fully submitted to the Lord so that His light, His joy, HE may shine from me. I just need to be willing, and then do. I cannot help but fear for those who choose to stay in their sins. To not desire the precious gift of God, but rather desire to be judged upon their own works--how frightening! The Lord says all have come short, and those not in the book of life will be tossed in the lake of fire.
     Oh, how precious, how blessed is my salvation in Christ! How wonderful to know that "It is finished," and that I am no longer under His righteous wrath! Though I will spend forever with my God, (another incomprehensible thought), I know I will see works be burned in the trying fire. I am terrified to suffer loss that could have been avoided by simple, joyful obedience. Yet, that is my lot. I do seek to do what I can with what time the Lord spares for me to be a sweet child and servant unto Him.
     Though feelings come and go, I want His spirit to sustain and direct me, not my heart. Then, when I see Him, I may not suffer too much loss. So many thoughts, too little time and space! I could continue sharing all the wondrous, terrifying, humbling thoughts that come at the thought of Christ's return!
     When I hear a distant noise: "Is that the Lord? Is it time to go? Oh, what about those I love, who I KNOW don't have His salvation?!". How my heart is breaking even now at the thought! To be caught up in the air with Him, yes, brings such joyous rapture and excitement!
      However, my heart breaks at the loss of those left behind. Oh, how I long to see all put their faith in Christ, live a complete living sacrifice for Him, and give Him glory forever! I must do more of it myself, as reading these two great books remind me. Musing upon God, what He says will happen, what is happening, and what has happened, is a great provoker unto love and good works. I thank Thee, Lord, for provoking me!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Better-Body-Steward, Days 26-30

Wow! A month has passed already since starting my journal of being a "better-body-steward." Time sure does fly! Today would be the 31st day, and I have already done my exercise routine. It is still the same. I still am finding more mobility, endurance, energy, flexibility, etc. I have also started noticing slight weight loss! I have even seen improvements in my BMI & such, since our scale gives those read-outs. Praise God! I am definitely going to keep up this pattern. Though I will not be regularly recording my fetes on here, I will record things from time to time. Please keep me in your prayers; they HAVE been helping! I know part of the success is by getting better at what we eat around here. Our pantry & refrigerator are not how they used to be. We have gotten even better at weeding out the junk. I find that my body desires fake sweets less and less, and that it desires the wholesome sweets more (fruits, honey). I still have to get into the habit of choosing those over what I have normally done, but I know God has me on the path of victory! Each day is a golden opportunity! God also has been shrinking my tummy. When I try to eat portions like I used to do, I am in a world of hurt. I do much better eating smaller, and more frequently. If I do have a regular meal, I try to eat even slower, ensuring that I pace myself and eat the right amount. Again, I have not perfected it, but I am on my way with the Lord! Coffee is becoming less and less desirable to me, even the frappuccinos. I was a poster child for the latter drinks! I still enjoy them, but am preferring chai and herbals teas, with honey (&, at times, milk). Mmm, gingerbread chai tea latte, anyone? :) Well, I must bid adieu for now. Thanks for keeping abreast of my journaling journey. I am so blessed with you all!
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