Friday, April 28, 2017

Growing Cats


He who promised is faithful

Hebrews 10:19-25
"...since we have confidence to enter the holy place 
by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way 
which He inaugurated for us through the veil, 
that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God,

let us draw near with a sincere heart 
in full assurance of faith,

having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience 
and our bodies washed with pure water. 
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering,

for He who promised is faithful; 

and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 
not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, 
but encouraging one another; 
and all the more as you see the day drawing near."

Blessed Assurance

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight!
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above,
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blessed;
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness
Lost in His love.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,

Praising my Savior all the day long.

-Fanny J. Crosby



Thursday, April 27, 2017

Living One Day at a Time: Grieving #7








I have to admit that although I may look like I have it all together, although I seem to be handling my sorrows so well, in reality, sometimes actually feel like I am barely hanging on.

*Remember that 70's poster, "Hang in there" with the little kitten holding onto a rope or a tree branch? 

I feel like that kitten looks.  

Oh, LORD! I cry out to You!  I don't even know what to say, but I know You understand where I am in myself at any moment, I know You know it all.  All my sorrows, all my trials,  all my rollercoaster emotions, even when I'm in the world and I am smiling, but grieving so much inside.

I certainly know that You hear me, that You hold me, that You are working in me. 

I may look like a "Super Christian" fighting the good fight 24/7, but I am so weak where He is so, so strong.  If you think I am a super Christian, praise the LORD for it is His strength and comfort shining through me.

Grieving is wearing.

I feel worn out.  I feel like I can't do another day. But I then realize that I am only to live today.  Tomorrow has enough trouble of its own.  

I MUST only live in today, and TRUST Him for tomorrow when it comes.

*

A precious missionary just responded to my recent silly e-card which I sent to many people I know just to give them a smile.  I said only "to give you a smile", but when she wrote back to me she said something so significant.

She said she prays.

She reminded me that she prays continually for me and our desperate agonies. How precious...her sincere love and kindness to me was a gift from God when I haven't say a word about our trials in years to her.   She knows pain, she understands longstanding trials.

Never alone.

The LORD is ALWAYS with me and He is with you also when you are His child.  We can feel alone, we can feel like a kitten hanging on a rope, frightened, and lost, but we have Him.  Sometimes He reminds us by giving us encouragement from other Believers.  Mostly, He reminds us in His wonderful Word.  

We MUST be in His Word often.

P.S.  Just so you know there are NO "Super Christians" even if they look like it---just humble Believers who TRUST in the LORD God Almighty no matter what is happening in their lives.  

You can be here with us, too.  

Are you His child?  Have you given over your life to Jesus?  Do you live here in this fallen world, but you TRUST Jesus with your very life?  You can look like a super christian, but in reality, be a weak, humble child living in His mighty strength.

All the glory goes to Him!


Even when you are sad...







Snoopy can bring a smile.

Monday, April 10, 2017

An improved you with greater faith

Consider It Pure Joy

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance."           
James 1:2-3
  
A trial is not just an assault to be withstood, it is an opportunity to be seized. And this little verse in James is intended to inspire, showing us that trials are opportunities to prove our love and enhance our faith. With this perspective, life becomes inspiring -- not in spite of the trials but because of them.
  
The soldier who is called to the front lines is stimulated at the chance to prove his skills. The officer who is given a position of higher responsibility is roused by the rugged demands of his task. You and I are soldiers in the same way. If you are tempted to slack off from praying and instead you remain faithful, your faith develops perseverance. If you are tempted to feel sorry for yourself, you instead start thinking of the needs of others, and your character becomes refined. 

The result? 

An improved you with greater faith, and a closer fellowship with the Savior.
  
And this is where the joy comes in!
  
It's going to happen to you scores of times today. God may test you. The Devil may tempt you. And you decide the outcome. Because you can choose to either backslide or advance. You can either fudge the truth or stand firm on the facts. When it happens, consider each test and temptation an opportunity to be seized, a chance to prove your faith. Your goal? A closer friendship with God.
  
Lord, my lifetime on earth will be the only chance I will have to prove my faith, to show You how much I love You. When I go to heaven, the chance will be gone. Help me to consider it pure joy to face each trial as a glorious opportunity to be seized.


Blessings,

Joni and Friends
Diamonds in the Dust, April 10

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

#6 Grieving: A living death


This world is not my home.   Every day seems to make this truth even more true.  My home is with the LORD.  We who trust Him with our lives, those of us who have Jesus as our Savior, we find our safety in Him right now, this very moment.  We live here in this fallen world, but we are safe in Him no matter what happens here.

Psalm 12
Help, Lord, for the godly man ceases to be,
For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.
They speak falsehood to one another;
With flattering lips and with a double heart they speak.
May the Lord cut off all flattering lips,
The tongue that speaks great things;
Who have said, “With our tongue we will prevail;
Our lips are our own; who is lord over us?”
“Because of the devastation of the afflicted, because of the groaning of the needy,
Now I will arise,” says the Lord; “I will set him in the safety for which he longs.”
The words of the Lord are pure words;
As silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times.
You, O Lord, will keep them;
You will preserve him from this generation forever.
The wicked strut about on every side
When vileness is exalted among the sons of men.
*

We find His peace among the chaos of our lives.  We find our safety in Him even when everything is falling around us.  He gives us a sense of calm in the tumult of traumas.

The world continues to disappoint us.  This fallen world continues to hurt us.  The only thing which helps us is our relationship with the LORD God Almighty.

Psalm 118
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting…

…Oh let those who fear the Lord say,
“His lovingkindness is everlasting.”
From my distress I called upon the Lord;
The Lord answered me and set me in a large place.
The Lord is for me; I will not fear;
What can man do to me?
The Lord is for me among those who help me;
Therefore I will look with satisfaction on those who hate me.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
Than to trust in man…

…you pushed me violently so that I was falling,
But the Lord helped me.
The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation.
The sound of joyful shouting and salvation is in the tents of the righteous;
The right hand of the Lord does valiantly…

…I will not die, but live,
And tell of the works of the Lord…

…This is the gate of the Lord;
The righteous will enter through it.
I shall give thanks to You, for You have answered me,
And You have become my salvation…

…O Lord, do save, we beseech You;
O Lord, we beseech You, do send prosperity!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord;
We have blessed you from the house of the Lord.
The Lord is God, and He has given us light…

…You are my God, I extol You.
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
*

The LORD ultimately protects us, but in His ultimate wisdom He allows the evil of the world to affect us, to touch us personally.  As we deal with the horrors, the traumas we come to Him more and more as we learn to draw closer to Him among our trials.  The sadnesses cause us pain, but we learn of Him as each day wears on.
We have been told that our own agony is a "living death".  The solution is no where in sight,  the grieving drags on with no ending date.  The pain is only added on and on as the time continually marches forward.  There is no solution, there is no ending so we have nothing to hang on to or to let go.  Our only hope is our Great God.  The LORD is the best place to be.  His love never fails us.

Psalm 136:23-26
Who remembered us in our low estate,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,
And has rescued us from our adversaries,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting;
Who gives food to all flesh,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Give thanks to the God of heaven,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
*

You may feel like your life is something like I have described.  You may feel like you have nothing to hold on to.  Your situations may feel like a "living death", something you can never get away from, with no closing, and no ending.

Psalm 62
My soul waits in silence for God only;
From Him is my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken…

…My soul, wait in silence for God only,
For my hope is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.
On God my salvation and my glory rest;
The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.
Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us…

…Once God has spoken;
Twice I have heard this:
That power belongs to God;
And lovingkindness is Yours, O Lord,
For You recompense a man according to his work. 

It is a numbing.  Time just goes by and you forget where you are in the time. Yes, you live, but the days fly.   A decade flies by and you wonder how it all happened.

I know that I have truly lived this "more-than-a-decade", but the blur of time is something I can not grasp.  I know it all happened.  I know I lived each day to its fullest for the LORD, and I know I more than survived, all because of the LORD.  He has been my strength, my comfort.  He has been my boldness, and I think, He has allowed me to more than survive by allowing me not to hold on to every fleeting moment.  

The facts of not realizing that the time is flying by can upset me, because it just doesn't seem right, but I must let it all go.  Perhaps the LORD has been allowing me to let go of this "blurring" and not hold on to the fleeting of time so that I will more than survive this "living death",  instead of "holding on" and grieving way too much, and ultimately becoming bitter.  I have seen BITTERNESS and it is abhorrent, it is gross.  If bitterness has overcome you in your agonies - run to the LORD! and have Him be your Helper to flee from bitterness!
*
Precious sister, if you feel numb, allow the LORD to hold you.  He is allowing the pain into our lives.  We must trust that His reasons are to draw us closer to Himself, to make us more into His image.  The numbness, although we feel afraid of it, may be a blessing He has bestowed on us to protect us from the full brunt of our agony.  He surely would not be allowing our pain unless it was for a good which we will someday know when we are with Him in glory. 

Psalm 63
O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly;
My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You,
In a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.
Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips will praise You.
So I will bless You as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.
When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches,
For You have been my help,
And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.
My soul clings to You;
Your right hand upholds me.
But those who seek my life to destroy it,
Will go into the depths of the earth.
They will be delivered over to the power of the sword;
They will be a prey for foxes.
But the king will rejoice in God;
Everyone who swears by Him will glory,
For the mouths of those who speak lies will be stopped.
*

Yes, we would love to "fast forward our pain" just like on a DVD (see Charlie Brown below), but our Great God is working in us in ways we would marvel at if we only knew. 
Let's marvel anyways.
  
I have found that I do not have to know the answers.  
I am satisfied to KNOW the LORD and that it is He who is in charge.  He is holding  me so tightly, so safely. When you are His child He holds you this way also.

Let us embrace our God as we allow Him to work in our lives, knowing all of our hope in Him is a treasure worth all our sufferings. 

The glory belongs to Him alone!
*

1 Peter 2:9-12
you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, 
so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, 
but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.
*