“Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions.” Proverbs 18:2
When I read this verse today, I immediately wanted to hide in shame. How often have I acted, spoken, written, lived foolish? Way too long. To stay in that place would have been just what the enemy wanted. So I did what the scriptures say, what God says and told Him the truth, confessed my sin. And just like He promised, with His new morning mercies, I am forgiven and clean. Back up on my feet, out in the light again I come. Another verse emerges as words of encouragement. “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” (Proverbs 13:20). I know of no one wiser and no safer place to be than in His Presence and here I will stay.
“Love is willing self-sacrifice for the good of another that does not require reciprocation or that the person being loved is deserving.” -Paul David Tripp
I could not have found a more perfect definition to define my husband on his birthday. He seems to have been born to love. When I see him sacrifice daily, knowing this is not normal and requires a dying to what comes natural, I see love. Putting someone else first, not questioning their worthiness is supernatural, but you do it with ease. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit, given to each one of us upon declaring Jesus Christ as our Lord, is this possible. For most of us, it doesn’t seem to happen overnight, but as the years go by. However with you, maybe you learned this sooner. You have been this way since we met.
So this year as we celebrate you, thank you for giving us the gift of your love. We are not the same because of it. Happy Birthday!
“We walk into the future in God-glorying confidence, not because the future is known to us but because it is known to God. And that’s all we need to know. Worry about the future is not simply a character tic, it is the sin of unbelief, an indication that our hearts are not resting in the promises of God.” -Kevin DeYoung, Just Do Something
The sin of unbelief took center stage and was dealt with this morning…again. The frustrating part being that word again. How many times does the dragon of unbelief need to be slain? What will finally crush it, never to rise again? A daily choice until heaven to believe God. The news can say what they want, opinions flying like vultures. Unknowns can come and go with threats of darkness abounding on every side. Today in confidence that brings glory to God, I choose to believe He knows and that is all I need to know.
“He knows the way I take; when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:10
There is such comfort in remembering that the God of all creation knows the way we take. Our sight is so limited, our feelings so loud, but He knows and can be trusted. As a parent this is reassuring, for He knows the way our children take as well and the time of being tried they will go through. No matter the age, giving up is tempting because the process can be painful and uncomfortable, but we can choose to remain. We can choose to have hope. And when the flames of refining cool, we walk out as gold. These gold ones can encourage the ones being tried to keep going and pray powerful prayers that sound a bit different because they know the flame. And I have a feeling we are going to see more and more gold in the days to come!
“At the same time, you need to know that I carry with me at all times a huge sorrow.” Romans 9:1
What sorrow do you carry with you at all times? The one you cannot seem to be unburdened? Paul, the author of Romans, said his sorrow was the people of Israel. He wanted salvation, not religion, for them and it caused him great sorrow leading to action.
Yesterday while grocery shopping, my youngest asked something that almost made me cry right there on the cookie aisle. She said, “If I act good, can I get a toy?” It is not an act I want from any of our children. I want a response to unconditional love and trust. You better believe she got that five dollar toy and words that reminded her of my love and trust. Performance or an act is not sustainable and is never quite perfected. You can never do enough, be enough to be granted lasting approval and that is what makes salvation from God so life giving to me. I have His unconditional love and trust because of Jesus and will spend my life sharing this with others. For my sorrow is this, that others are trapped in a performance mindset and held captive in approvals prison. Any chance the Lord gives to share the freedom of Jesus, I pray I take and know the sorrow is worth it. For it serves as a great reminder of His sorrow over me when I was not yet free.
“As for me,’ God says, ‘this is my covenant with them: My Spirit that I’ve placed upon you and the words that I’ve given you to speak, they’re not going to leave your mouths nor the mouths of your children nor the mouths of your grandchildren. You will keep repeating these words and won’t ever stop.’ God’s orders.” (Isaiah 59:21 msg)
The Bible is full of promises and God does what He says He will do. Knowing this about who He is and in reading a verse like this, I am given so much joy. The promise of passing down life giving, eternal, kingdom words to my children and grandchildren is almost too much. However, there is an important part to note. It is the words He has given us to speak that get passed down. If we want our words to matter, we ask for His. With this promise, I do not think we will ever run out of things to say when we gather with our families!
This verse is so beautiful to me. It holds such humility, surrender and hope; no surprise because it was spoken by Jesus himself. He was telling story after story of the great love of our Heavenly Father, wanting each one listening then and now to come home. He knows our need and the poor substitutes we look to in order to make our life and ourselves meaningful. He knows how enslaved, how homeless we really are out here on our own and sent Jesus to open the door for us to come home. Home is the presence of our Heavenly Father and we never have to leave. Home is safe, abundant, peaceful, full of perfect love, joy and purpose. Once you’ve sat down at the table, it is almost impossible not to invite others. What you have tasted seems to overflow into every aspect of your life. You know the homeless, hungry look for you saw the same reflection years ago in the mirror. So now that we know, lets get busy loving others well and maybe just maybe they will accept an invitation to the table sometime.
“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:13
When I see someone who loves well in the way they serve others, I know I am looking at a free brother or sister. And these precious ones have no need to be recognized, they just want you to receive. The more I investigate, I see people who have been refined by fire and now recognize others who are being refined. They know the fire leads to freedom, but the process is painful. They have this way of coming alongside to encourage by serving you in love. It does not diminish the flame, but it helps you to keep going. Then when your turn comes to move into whatever the next phase the Lord has for you, your eyes are trained to look for those on their way to freedom. It becomes a privilege to serve them with the love you now carry.
“The Lord will always lead you, satisfy you in a parched land, and strengthen your bones. You will be like a watered garden and like a spring whose water never runs dry.” Isaiah 58:11
Each of these promises has so much care, protection, provision, healing and love. What I notice is that it also requires action on our part, letting the Lord lead. How many times do we charge out ahead and then end up in a mess because, in our immaturity, we thought we knew the way? Time and time again I can look back and see pure grace in how the Lord saved me from myself. I see now how He was caring for me all along, waiting for me to recognize the dry place I had wondered. Maybe it is when we get really thirsty for what is pure, not man-made and weak that we appreciate what He provides all the more.
The older I get, the more evidence there is of God’s faithfulness. I need to look back at these events when it is time to move forward. There are so many things that seemed so big and I could not see how they would turn out. Time and time again I can say that it was better than I could have even dreamed. It is the first step that seems to be the scariest. I have found that not going alone makes that step more less scary. And who knows what God will surprise us with this time! We are ready!