Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I took my eyes off of Him

Yesterday I was overwhelmed and overcome by my situation and my agony.  I forgot the LORD's character.  I believed how I felt, and I felt as if He had forgotten me in my trials.  All I wanted was to get home to my sanctuary so I could cry out to God and tell Him how I felt, so I could completely cry tears of utter hopelessness.

But He already knew how I felt as I was driving home.  He was already carrying me and keeping me from crying in my hopelessness.  As I drove, I would remind myself over and over again of His faithfulness and how He would not have forgotten me.  Even though I felt certain ways, I knew in Whom I trusted!  I knew I could not trust my feelings.

I have learned that this life is so real, but that He is working behind the scenes in amazing ways that we can't even fathom.  He is working behind the curtain on people's hearts.  We are fearfully and wonderfully made, and this includes our inner-most person.  He is working even when we see no change.

I came home to share with my Beloved my overwhelming feelings.  He assured me and I agreed, that even though I felt great fear and also abandonment of the LORD, that this was not the truth.

I turned to the scriptures, but I could not think of where to find comfort from Him.  My mind went to the Psalms, and to Psalm 31 where He met me right where I was in my fear and wrong thinking.  It was just what I needed to hear to be reminded that He has not abandoned me.  I can not trust my feelings, but I can trust in the LORD my God.  I need to keep my eyes on Him even when I am overwhelmed and overcome in my feelings.

Praise to the LORD God Almighty!

In You, O LORD, I have taken refuge;  Let me never be ashamed;  in Your righteousness deliver me.  Incline Your ear to me, rescue me quickly;  Be to me a rock of strength, a stronghold to save me.  For You are my rock and fortress;  For Your name's sake You will lead me and guide me.  You will pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me, for You are my strength. Psalm 31:1-4

You can find comfort in Him in your situations also.  Run to Him and seek His face.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Time for a Story; Inspiring Tales of Love, Hope, and Faith

This sweet story book has been excerpted from Great Stories Remembered, compiled by Joe Wheeler in 1999 for Focus on the Family.  I highly recommend this five-stories book, which is sure to encourage everyone from child to adult.  Not only are the stories charming, but the illustrations are beautiful.

The stories are:

Birthdays are Lovely, author unknown from 1928

At the Eleventh Hour, by Eunice Creager from 1916

How Patty Earned Her Salt, by W. L.Colby from 1913

The Widened Hearth, by Fannie H. Kilbourne, unknown year

Joseph’s Coat, author unknown from 1929

Although I enjoyed each story, my favorites are Birthdays are Lovely and How Patty Earned Her Salt. The first story shows the love and devotion of a child raised well, along with the innocence of a child.  The second story reminds us to be careful of what we say, especially when others can hear, and how we tend judge others by apearances; mercy triumphs over judgement.  We could all use these poignant reminders.

"For judgement will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy;  mercy triumphs over judgement."   James 2:13

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Joys of Sewing and Other Handiwork

I love to sew.  I love other handwork also, but I love to create things out of cloth most of all.  I used to make wonderful dresses for my daughter and myself; now I love to make doll clothes and be as intricate as possible.  It is a joy to be able to carve out time to be able to sew.  I love the planning, the cutting, the machine sewing and the hand sewing.  I love it all.  It is a joy, and I feel, a gift from God.  I say this not only because I find so much joy in it, but because I began handiwork when I was very young.  My mother, obviously attuned to my abilities, had handiwork for busy-me to do even before I could read.

In latest issue of Sew Beautiful, Martha Pullen has a devotion concerning worry.  Here is a portion:

…Many times in my Sunday School classes I have said, “ I do not know what the future holds, but I do know who holds the future.”  I know this to be totally true---so why do I lapse into worry?  Joshua1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

I will share with you that sewing has been a soothing time for me my whole life, a time to pray and to forget my worries.  I know that many of you have the same experience.  We must remember to thank God for giving us the joy of sewing in this complicated world we live in and to always praise Him for making most of our lives good.  Do you remember the little song “count your blessings, name them one by one”?  Let’s make a pact that we will, indeed, count our blessings not our worries; okay?…   (March/April, issue no.135,2011, volume 25, number 2, page 7)

In Joshua chapter one God is speaking to Joshua and His people, the Israelites, as they now must go into the land He has given them.  That would have been very worrisome!  But God was there with them and He encouraged them in that.

We also can count on the LORD being with us in all of our worries.  We can cast our cares on Him and He will sustain you even if your worst fears come to fruition.  We can count on Him.  He is our rock that is higher.

“Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” Psalm 55:22

“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.” Psalm 61:2

In my own life I have sometimes felt like I have been too shaken, and I have felt that I have been left on a rock that is lower than I.  But the reality in which I do come to realize, is that He has carried me so much more than I have ever thought.  He has been there for me even when at the time I have felt He hasn’t been there.  He is our solid rock.  We can not count on our feelings, but we can surely count on the Word of God which explains His true character.  We can count on God.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

For Keeps and Everything

“Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body."  Ephesians 5:22-23

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing;  but that she would be holy and blameless.  So husbands ought to also love their own wives as their bodies.”  Ephesians 5:25-28

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”  Genesis 2:24, Ephesians 5:31

“Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.”  Ephesians 5:33

From his book, Shepherding God’s Flock: A Handbook on Pastoral Ministry, Counseling, and Leadership, Jay E. Adams explains on pages 247-248 beginning with the “Problem Session”:

1) Future Family Relationships:

Not only should the pastor emphasize the need to make a break with the counselees’ parental homes, but he must be careful to note that one of the principal reasons for the break is that marriage brings into being a new decision-making unit that is directly responsible to God, and that in this unit the husband and wife are responsible also to put each other first before any other human beings.

Again, it will be important to show the need for this break with former parental authority to be a clean break, Christian in every way. Frequently marriages begin with clouds hanging heavily over the young couple because the break with one or both of the families was not effected properly. This must not be so. Any marriage today has enough other pressures exerted upon it that it can ill afford to have to bear up under these strong emotional strains as well. Therefore, the pastor should probe carefully and fully to be sure that all difficulties or conflicts with parents may be uncovered and resolved before the wedding.”

Must I say any more?  As Christians we should be the first to behave rightly when letting go of our adult children, especially as they marry.  It is a detriment for the young couples who must live under such bondage as parental control.  What joy for them to create a new decision-making unit before God and to put each other first!

Marriage is for keeps and everything.  Let us choose to live rightly in our own marriage and encourage our children to choose this also.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ultimate Safety

Psalm 31:8

“You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place.” NIV

“And You have not given me over into the hand of the enemy; You have set my feet in a large place.” NAS

“And have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy; You have set my feet in a wide place.” NKJV

A Spacious Place, a Large Place, a Wide Place. When fear overtakes us, we can remember that the LORD is our ultimate safety place.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


In my last post, in which I cited Jackie Alnor, she used the term “Pauliannas” when she was speaking of certain false teachers (who copy Paula White) tickling the ears of undiscerning women.  It was a humorous, morphed use of the term “pollyanna” as I usually see it used.

Normally this is how I hear the term “pollyanna” used:

“So and so is just a pollyanna”; in other words, she is in a dream world of the goodie-goodies and not in reality.

Perhaps I live in a dream world because I have never used it that way.  Instead I would use “pollyanna” in a good context to express a person’s good outlook on life even when the chips are down; trusting God no matter what.

Pollyanna, by Eleanor H. Porter, is one of my favorite stories from childhood and, in fact, as an adult.  Having just reread it this January, I am reminded of its sweet charm.  The story was written in 1913 and, although the past seems to have a simple charm of its own, we do know that sin was running rampant even then.

Pollyanna showcases an orphaned little girl who was named after two of her mother’s sisters, Polly and Anna.  She is the remaining child of the daughter whose family didn’t accept her choice of husband, and Pollyanna has come back to live with Aunt Polly who is doing her "duty".

Throughout the story, Pollyanna tells other people about the “Glad Game” which her father had taught her.  In the game, you are to think of something to be glad about in the events that have happened to you.  The worse the situation, the better the game of thinking of what to be glad about.

Talk about capturing your thoughts! (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

As my life has unfolded I can see how this story has helped me shape my biblical thinking as well.  Instead of looking at all the bad side, let us look on the good side in what has happened.  This certainly keeps a person from growing bitter roots.

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”  Ephesians 4:31-32

I love using Pollyanna as an example of trusting God in the good times and the bad.  He can mold us, when we are willing, into His image as we are crying out to Him.  Although I would never want pain for others or myself, I surely have learned that in my agonies I have been helped to mature in the LORD.

As a caveat:  Other people I have known have not liked the 1960 Walt Disney movie, Pollyanna, because the story was changed a bit from the book.  But for me?  I love the movie as well as I love the book.  I am “glad” it is different!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Let no one take you captive

“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” Colossians 2:8
I feel like an enigma.  I suppose it is because I am blessed with a husband who is biblically discerning and so I read, hear, and see more than most women in my small circle of life.  
I am sure if I didn’t have my Beloved all these years, I could have easily slipped into deception, mainly because I don’t investigate everything - and this is to my shame.  I am basically a follower, not a leader.  
“But examine everything carefully;  hold fast to that which is good;  abstain from every form of evil.” 1Thessalonians 5:21-22
“Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.”  Acts 17:11
Here is a short list from my limited observations of many Christian women: 
1) They tend to follow others in what sounds good, and this is especially true if their husbands do not lead or are not discerning. 
 2) They tend to protect their little ones voraciously until a certain age (preteen or teen), and then let them go until it is difficult to tell their children from the world’s children.
 3) They tend to gravitate to what sounds good, and then fight to protect it even if lovingly counseled that it is not biblical. 
“The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick;  Who can understand it?”  Jeremiah 17:9
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”  2 Timothy 2:15
When today's churches have fashion shows instead of Bible studies for their women, or bring in cosmetic surgery consultants to speak to the ladies, you know we've entered the new era leading to the formation of the Great Harlot. I mean why not? Nothing like a whore on a horse to represent today's modern 'Christian' imitator of the likes of Paula White, Juanita Bynum and Jan Crouch. As a woman, this grieves my spirit because I know the Holy Spirit grieves over this compromised carnal church. The teaching of holiness and sanctification in these circles is met with scorn and ridicule. One who brings the Bible message of holiness is told they have a religious spirit. These Pauliannas are the ones doing the mocking and stepping on what's holy. 
Jesus wept.

As God's handmaidens, we need to recognize deception; let us heed God’s word:
“The LORD’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but  be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape form the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”  2 Timothy 2:24-26 
Oh, and by the way~~~~don’t try to pull the wool over my eyes ~~~they’re open now.   If I don’t know or understand, then I know where to look.