Monday, November 28, 2011

I'll Never Be Bankrupt

Psalm 119:11(MSG)
I've banked your promises in the vault of my heart so I won't sin myself bankrupt.

Scurrying around the house putting up the Christmas decorations and taking down the Thanksgiving fan fare, I had nothing on my mind, but completing my task.  (No surprise to those of you that know me well, I'm sure.)  But on my fourth trip through the living room, my mission was interrupted by something on TV.  What had captured my attention and emotion was the sweet voice of a young lady and her brother.  I'm guessing their ages to be about 11 and 15 years old.  I thought I heard her say something like, "'s really not that bad to live on the truck."  Huh?  Live on a truck??!  

Ornament in hand, I walked right over and sat down on the edge of the coffee table to get a clarification on what I thought I had just heard.  Surely that isn't what she said!  As I sat there, perched on the edge of the wood, I realized that this was a news documentary interviewing a family who no longer has the ability to pay their bills.  They are surviving and attempting to provide for their needs the only way they can.  Currently, that means living in this delivery type truck.  They have been declared bankrupt.  

This sweet angelic voice went on to say that she had grown accustomed to this way of life and felt sad for those who are living on the street and don't have any shelter at all!!  She and her brother are continuing their education and she is determined to become a child defense lawyer so that she can help kids that don't have the ability to help themselves.  Her sadness was not for herself, as she described seeing other teens reacting poorly to their parents in disrespect.  She described watching those teens in their arrogant behavior and feeling very frustrated with them.  She said they should be appreciating all that they have been given and the privilege of having a home and loving parents!  Wow....

When the story was finished, I stood up and looked down at the ornament I had in my hand and the other forty bazillion (is that a word...nope just looked it's not in Webster's) in the box waiting to hang from my tree with lights "all aglow" and I suddenly remembered the truth of Christmas!

Webster's Dictionary defines bankrupt as:  a person legally declared unable to pay debts.  That's me...without Him.  Unable to pay my sin matter how "good" I try to act or be....just can't do it on my own.  Thankfully, as I found in my Bible reading this morning, I can bank this promise:
There is hope in His Word.
1 John 2:12-13(MSG)
I remind you, my dear children:  Your sins are forgiven in Jesus' name. 
1 John 2:14
Your fellowship with God enables you to gain a victory over the Evil One

Yes, this brief story from a financially hurting family brought it all back to plumb for me.  No more frenetic activity for me this season.  I am purposing to focus on the promise that I will never be bankrupt in Christ! 

Thank you for this sweet family and their humble spirit to share their painful story.  May you bless them financially and spiritually with Your presence today.  As for myself, continue to open my eyes and ears to the tangible ways through which I can share who You really are.
If you would like to watch this documentary you can click here .  (It is found at CBS 60 minutes Season 44~ Episode 10.)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Single Minded

Psalm 119:10(MSG)
I'm single-minded in pursuit of You:  Don't let me miss the road signs you've posted.

Having just returned from a four hundred mile road trip, I can really appreciate this verse tonight.  Driving without road signs would be pretty dangerous!!  Not only dangerous, but a real time waster and major disappointment if after purposing to arrive at a destination, you never manage to get there! 

I've been looking at this picture of the water that I took recently on one of my hikes in the woods.  The water is channelled between the banks making twists and turns and careening over rocks.  Some areas of the river are quiet and smooth, while other areas bubble with life and beauty.  Further still are those places where the water crashes into the rocks and falls harshly to the stones below. 

The river is so much like our life.  I know I have said it before in this forum, but it is worth mentioning again.  This verse is another gentle reminder that  I need to check my course frequently.  Am remaining on the path that I chartered when I set out on this journey?  Am I single minded in pursuit of God....or have drifted off course?

Thank you for giving me road signs through Your Word to guide me on the pursuit of You.  May I stay true to the passions of Your heart.  Thank you for Your loving hand to carry me through the rapids of life.  Bless those tonight who are struggling with life and searching for direction.  May they find You and the good news that You hold for each one of us!
In Jesus Name,

Monday, November 21, 2011

On My Knees

Psalm 119:9(MSG)
How can a young person live a clean life?  By carefully reading the map of Your Word. 

I'm listening to the cold rain fall here on this dark November night.  The wind is whipping up the trees outside of the window and it feels a little heavy in my heart.  I think it is because whenever I hear the words "young person", I think of teenagers.  Whenever I think of teenagers, I am jolted into a marginal panic for all that this generation has to deal with.  I remember back to the complicated feelings that I had at this age and then I multiply that times at least one thousand and I come up with about the number of trials these kids must face in our present age.  Phew!  It's enough to drive you to your knees for sure.

That's what I need to be doing for my kiddos.  I need to be on my knees...begging for His mercy and grace to be poured over each of them.  I am also asking that the Lord would open their eyes to His Word for direction and give them a blinding love for the things that matter to Him.  While I'm at it, I'm going to request that He give them a passion for pleasing Him. 

Yeap....I'm heading down to the floor....will you join me?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Don't Get Trapped

Ecclesiastes: 2:11(MSG)
Then I took a good look at everything I'd done, looked at all the sweat and hard work.  But when I looked, I saw nothing but smoke.  Smoke and spitting into the wind.  There was nothing to any of it.  Nothing.

The thing about taking a detour is that it allows you to see things that you wouldn't have seen if you had stayed on the usual route.  In addition the bypass will take you around an obstacle and deliver you to where you were wanting to go.  Now, having said that, I am definitely going back to Psalm 119, but before I return, I saw something this morning in my time in the Word, that I wanted to share.  It came from the book of Ecclesiastes.  It is understood that the writer of this book was King Solomon, the wisest ruler in the land.  It was penned toward the later part of his life.  In the past when I would finish reading this book, I would always feel a bit depressed.  Sort of like....well what's the point of life....we live and then we die, right?

Today, my eyes were open in a whole new way.  Perhaps because of the post from two days ago or maybe because I am getting older and realizing that seasons come and seasons go, but as I began to read through this book, I finally understood what the writer is saying.  His huge point.....without God as the center of your life.... we may as well just spit into the wind! That uncomfortable void we all feel at some point in our life will NEVER be filled by anything or anyone but God!  The book of Ecclesiastes uncovers the basic premise that we need God revealed to us through His Son.  Once we have that revelation, all other meaningless, arrogant, and ignorant pursuits will be exposed and our energies can be spent on what matters to the one true King!  The book ends with these words:

Ecclesiastes 12:11-14 (MSG) 
The words of the wise prod us to live well.  They're like nails hammered home, holding life together.  They are given by God, the one Shepherd.  But regarding anything beyond this, dear friend, go easy.  There's no end to the publishing of books, and constant study wears you out so you're no good for anything else.

The last and final word is this:  Fear God.  Do what He tells you.

And that's it.  Eventually God will bring everything that we do out into the open and judge it according to its hidden intent, whether it's good or evil.

Yeap.... I so often view detours in my life as an inconvenience or a time of unplanned chaos....but every time I have had a literal detour on the road or a figurative detour in my life, I always see or learn something new.  I think I will start viewing detours from a different perspective from now on.  I sure don't want to spend the rest of my existence down here being tossed about in the wind and ending up entangled in the trappings of this world like this kite.  I am going to try to apply a little of this in my life today.  What else do you want me to see today, Lord? 

Help me to follow all of Your detour signs today and teach me to be aware of what is going on around me from Your angle....not mine.
In Your Name~Jesus,

Friday, November 11, 2011

Freedom Isn't Really Free

Proverbs 28:2(MSG)
When the country is in chaos, everybody has a plan to fix it-
But it takes a real leader of real understanding to straighten things out.

Taking a brief detour through a Proverb honor of Veterans and all of the men and women who serve our country.  Remembering what was said yesterday at a ceremony to acknowledge those that have sacrificed so much for each of our privileges.  The speaker said, "Freedom isn't really free!"  So true.....

I am thankful for those that have given so much so that I could have the freedoms that I have.  Help me to never take that for granted.  Praying today for the leaders of our country to stand firm in You for guidance, understanding, and courage during these times of great challenge.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Don't Ever Walk Off And Leave Me

Psalm 119:8(MSG)
I'm going to do what You tell me to do;  don't ever walk off and leave me.

I was probably about four years old, but I remember the fear that swept over me as if it happened just yesterday!  One minute I am standing in an aisle looking at a toy with my Mom next to me and the next minute I am still looking at the toy, but there is no Mom!  In my hyper focus on that single object, she had continued down the aisle and I didn't even notice she was gone.  Panic set in immediately.  Thankfully, she quickly realized I was not in tow and returned to retrieve her youngest charge.  

The statement, "Don't ever walk off and leave me", conjures up that very same sense of isolation and tangible  terror within my heart.  The very idea of the Lord walking off and leaving me behind without me even noticing He has departed, makes me shutter.  Could I become so distracted with something that I might miss Him moving and not follow? 

I never want to be alone in the spiritual sense.  Not ever.  The idea of attempting to walk down here without the leading of the Lord seems pointless at best and futile at the worst!  It's as if the psalmist is bargaining with God.  Something about the way he says, "I will do what you're telling me to do, just don't walk off and leave me", seems desperate to me. 

That made me wonder who the writer of this Psalm was?  Turns out most scholars agree that this Psalm was written by Ezra.  Ezra was considered an extremely Godly priest and scribe from way back in time....even before Christ. (BC)  He apparently had an unwavering passion for the Word of God.  I'm guessing from this information, that he knew without the strong hand of God upon His life, he was rendered helpless.  As such, he would be unable to accomplish much of anything. 

The New Living Translation Bible states it this way:  Psalm 119:8~"I will obey your principles.  Please don't give up on me!"

I'm thinking that the Psalmist is basically begging God to not give up on us.  It seems to me that Ezra is asking the Lord to continue His presence with man, even though we will mess up....again!!  The writer has declared that he will continue to walk on the path the Lord has sketched out for him, but he certainly will continue to fall short and won't be able to proceed unless God is right there by his side.  What a humble spirit within a very wise man!   

I am thankful today for a God who doesn't ever give up on me despite my inability to always be glorifying to His name through my actions and thoughts.  Even when I am not always in a spirit of worship, He remains close to me.  I need only to be listening and learning with a submissive heart.  Thankfully Christ has told us, that He will be with us the very end...

Matthew 28:19-20(NIV)
Then Jesus came to them and said,  "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."  (Italics mine.)

I know that I can become distracted quite easily.  When I was four, it was the toy.  Now that I am older, it is the ever growing list of things that I have on my "to do" list.  Help me to prioritize my life in such a way that You are always first and I am attentive to following close behind You.  Teach me, as Your Word taught Ezra, to live a life that is empowered by faith in You and spurred on by hope, revival, reform and restoration.
In You I trust,

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Giving Thanks

Psalm 119:7(MSG)
I thank You for speaking straight from Your heart;  I learn the pattern of Your righteous ways.

It has been a simply gorgeous fall here!  The trees are taking on their brightest colors and the crisp breeze brings a chill to the air.  A walk was most certainly in order!  As I meandered along a winding trail with my husband, daughter, and son, I became overwhelmed with thankfulness for all that the Lord has blessed me with! 

It is always a perfect day to praise the Lord for He is so loving, gracious and kind.  The blessings of health, family, and friends are just a few of the things that come to my mind.  I am also so thankful for His Word that, as the verse says, speaks  to us straight from His heart, so that we have a pattern to model our life after. 

I saw a bumper sticker again know I am drawn to reading these if you've read very many of my posts.  This one said....."JESUS IS".  That's it.  That's all there was.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.  I like that bumper sticker....enjoy the rest of your day or night...with a voice of praise and thankfulness to the Lord...because...He is! 

A day can hold a lot of things.....but we know who holds the day!!
I am not always as thankful as I should be.  I am sorry about that.  Please help my mind, heart, body, spirit, and soul to take on a stance of praise and worship to You throughout each and every moment that You allow me to have down here on Your earth. 
Praises to Your name~