Though you Slay me

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Worth it all!

Well, GOD is good....he averted the hurricane.  But you know what? Even if he hadn't, he would still be good!!

This is going to be hands are throbbing --each finger goes every which way and there's a lot of swelling....common for me. Common for other people with RA.
And I keep smelling truck fumes ==an olfactory hallucination.... Common for people with SZ. ( I want to know why do I never smell roses? )

Today I read the end of Daniel, Amos and Joel....all that end time prophecy....And then was reading my last Charisma magazine, an entire periodical dedicated ( in this issue) to end times and prophecy... The Blood Moon, the Shemitah and the horrible events to come.  I am sure this awful flooding of the East coast is the consequence of the Blood Moon.

The events to come are frightening.  Just yesterday that shooter in Oregon took out ten people who confessed their faith to his query.  Ten Christians dead.  Will this be considered  a hate crime? It certainly was that...but in this climate, it is common for Christians to bear the burden of being hated.  And it will only get worse.

I think ahead and I tremble.  But I think of the Final outcome....and  God wins!! And all those who confessed his name before men will enter and rule in his kingdom..and there will be peace for 1,000 years. And then the Enemy is released from his captivity and he brings a battle against God's people in Israel and here it comes!  GOD wins hands down...and best of all the enemy is destroyed in a lake of fire ---never to torment again!

We MUST keep the end in sight, no matter how bleak and hopeless it all appears.  No matter how frightening, no matter how  vicious the violence becomes...."It will be worth it all, when we see Jesus!" 

So take heart ...what ever you are going will come to an end and fade into a distant memory when Jesus restores all things to himself.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Whether Weather

The will of God will never take you to where the grace of God will not protect you..

Daniel 9: 18
18 O my God, incline Your ear and hear! Open Your eyes and see our desolations and the city which is called by Your name; for we are not presenting our supplications before You on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion.

Phil. 4:6
  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

I heard news  of an impending hurricane, to top off 4 straight days of rain which has left thousands flooded.  We do not  have a generator.  And if the power goes out, our sump pump stops and the basement which is full of drums, exercise equipt ,. my clothing and much much more, would flood and ruin everything.  

My first inclination was to panic.  Then I realized, I am powerless to do much to prepare....I cannot manage the  12 steps down in to our  basement and do not have the stamina to move things to higher ground.  So I am powerless.  Except that I have the ear of the only One who  can mitigate this disaster.  I began to pray and the Lord led me to these two verses that  you see above.  And the  quote listed first was something a friend posted on Facebook which really struck me.   

It has also occurred to me that, as Daniel did, I can intercede for my neighborhood and city, confessing the sins of the community and bearing them, as though they were all mine, before the Lord of Hosts and pleading for his mercy.  I can appeal to the Compassion of the Lord, who is longsuffering, patient (to  a point) and completely loving to hear my prayers on behalf of "my people."

We, as a people, have sinned most grievously  and deserve to have God's hand heavy on us....but his heart is kind and forgiving....he longs to respond to our prayers...if we would only  pray ! 

This week I've been reading Daniel and in the "story" of the lions' den, it struck me that Daniel, when he heard of the king's edict that forbade anyone to pray to any god other than to the king himself and promised a stint in the lions' den should they disobey... went to his house, to the upper room and prayed at his window AS WAS HIS CUSTOM three times daily.

 Daniel did not wait for  a disaster...he prayed regularly three times a day.  I'm sure Daniel, being one of three leaders under the king, was very busy.  But he made time for prayer. ... And I do believe that the miracle God wrought for him in the lions' den, was in response to his holy habit of prayer.  

I confess, my prayers have a bit unfocused lately.  Mostly arising from some need.  But as Philippians states above, we cannot neglect faith and calmness of heart and also thanksgiving in our prayers.   I intend now to refocus my habit of prayer and to be faithful on good days as well as bad ones.

And yes, I am praying that this hurricane weakens or turns away.  And I will not allow my heart to worry about what I'm powerless to avoid.  I will keep a heart of trust in the loving provision of God. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

My Tower of Strength

From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. 

For You have been a refuge for me,
A tower of strength against the enemy. 
Psalm 61:2,3

-- My enemy is not flesh and blood...but the evil one who uses mankind for his designs
1 Samuel 12:23--  Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you; but I will instruct you in the good and right way.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Captivity : Thoughts on Ezekiel

The depths of God’s holy rage against his sinful, impenitent people, are terrifying.  The suffering he inflicted on them is unimaginable.  And once he was spent, he was once more willing to forgive should they humble themselves.  “The Lord will judge his people. It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the Almighty God.” (Heb. 10:31)

'The book of Ezekiel details all of the suffering God planned to bring about to his people for their disobedience and betrayal...They  had fallen so far into idolatry that they were even burning their babies alive as a sacrifice to Molech -- a pagan god.  God had had enough...he now planned to destroy bring them to captivity and to those who did not go into captivity he brought famine so severe that his people were cooking and eating their babies.
I never ever want to anger him…not even slightly….and I know that the blood of his beloved Son protects me…he absorbed God’s rage by his suffering at Calvary.  I’m so very grateful to Jesus for his death which made it possible for me to be God’s beloved—secure from his wrath. But it is not only God’s wrath that bids me obey.  I never want to be responsible for God’s pain.

  God has been bringing to mind, like flotsam in a pond floating to the surface, memories of past sin.  There are sins committed in my childhood which I have dealt with…but more and more are rising.   I deserve God’s wrath.  I deserve the punishments he poured on Israel.  I quake with horror at the thoughts of past dishonesty and other things too heinous to mention here.  I have prayed and asked God to bring to mind things that I need to seek forgiveness for.  And he is doing that…but only one or two memories of unholy behavior and words at a time. I am grateful not to see the full story of my sins…I would be swept away by the sorrow and regret.

I am so thankful for God’s willingness to restore me to himself.    It was a horrible price that he paid in order to call me daughter….or his bride.  It was not only God’s anger that is evident in Ezekiel…but his heartbroken sadness at the betrayal of his children …this is hard for me to read.  I know that God’s heart broke when I spurned him and tried to rescue myself from mental illness. The anger I felt toward him –wrongfully blaming him for the disaster that was my life is a horrible thought to me now.  I rejected my only Hope.  I turned my back on his Peace.  I was entirely cold to his Love.  I lost every ounce of my Faith…. all but one ounce.  God would not put out the smoking wick –he fanned it into flame over a period of years…until I was able and ready to be his child once more… I never stopped being his child -- once God’s; always God’s—I just did not acknowledge him as FATHER.  The Lover of my soul…

I’m feeling grateful today for a God who has every right and the complete power to squash me like a bug---but who instead clothes me in white and waits to welcome me in the home he has prepared for me.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

From Suffering to Hope

Romans 5:3,4
And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations,
 knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 
and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; (NASB)

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, 
for we know that they help us develop endurance. 
And endurance develops strength of character, 
and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation (NLT)

These verses were the Verse of the Day that BibleGateway sends me. I think most of you know my history...but maybe not. Maybe you just landed on this post and have no idea why these verses are important to me.  I suffer from three AutoImmune diseases....two forms of severe arthritis that has twisted my hands and my spine.  I have had two hips replaced and one of my  shoulders--with the other one waiting in line.  That combined with Degenerative Disk Disease, make me something of an expert in pain. And these verses grant me a hope that belies my circumstances.

These verses are a pyramid of sorts.  The widest part: the base, is our suffering, or even our minor troubles and trials. And it is as we endure these problems or suffering than it is upon this foundation that the creation of our character rests.

Or you can say that the suffering is the speck of sand in a oyster that produces irritation.  And the oyster creates layer after layer of a secretion that makes the irritant endurable.  And in the very end of the process, a thing of beauty and value is created.  According to the verses above, our response to our suffering is what makes it either a thing of value or allows it to destroy us.  Endurance, The oyster endured the pain and irritation and this endurance is what produced a thing of value.

What is character?  The roots of the word mean "to cut or engrave." or an instrument for marking
And this is very very interesting.  In an old Webster's dictionary that I have, the first meaning is to affix a label onto something to indicate ownership, as in a brand stamp (or  as we would say, "a Logo"); Quality, position, rank of capacity; the aggregate of distinction;  belonging to an individual or a race (or a faith perhaps?); reputation or repute; moral vigor or firmness as acquired through self-discipline.

So it can be said that the first means or the first necessity is suffering.  The next step, endurance--not trying to escape the trial--not to avoid the pain of life through drugs, alcohol, sex or any other distraction or blunting of the sensation of suffering, but to accept and endure it, in fact to rejoice in it, knowing that it is creating a thing of value in us.

And this endurance; this response to suffering is what marks us as God's children.  Not everyone is God's child--only those who have received his call and responded...then he engraves his image on us.   As a coin, a thing of value, has the image of a great man in our history, so we too bear the image of the Lord Jesus... The engraving process can be painful...but it is our response that is so critical. If we desire to have the character of Christ, then suffering and endurance are a necessity, and we must submit to the discipline and the difficulty if we have any hope of looking and acting like our role model, Jesus.

There is a video (which I will post here) of Shane and Shane singing "Though you Slay me" and in the middle of the song, Rev. John Piper interjects and says in essence that NO suffering that we undergo is meaningless.  The loss of loved ones; their illness; our illness or loneliness or any other trial --ALL serve a purpose and that purpose is to have the character of Christ, his Image, engraved upon our own so that all who see us can see to whom we belong.

And ultimately the reward for all of this anguish is the "Hope of Glory"...eternal bliss...and the joy of being with and seeing the One who suffered primarily to give us this hope.