A Word Fitly Spoken

apples of gold

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. Proverbs 25:11

I can’t believe how long it has been since my last post. So many things have occurred since then. I had been traveling and we had no internet service where I live. Keeping up with a toddler doesn’t leave much for inspiring posts. Not to mention, after so much time I thought “maybe it doesn’t really matter anymore”. In fact, it’s is time to renew my domain name and I pretty much though maybe it’s time to let the blog go. I was a bit discouraged over not having time to write nor have something fresh to say. I think they call that “writers block”.

 

I was just contemplating not renewing my domain name when I received the most encouraging email. A darling sister, who I have never met, told me to keep writing and sharing what God has done in my life. It was God’s personal word and encouragement to me. It’s so amazing how God is so detailed and personal in our lives. This woman didn’t have any idea what I was contemplating and yet God used her to send me an email that He knew I needed to inspire me to continue on.

 

I want to encourage you today. Maybe there is someone you are thinking about or you have some word of encouragement that God has put on your heart for someone. It could be a waitress, a boss, a relative or a co-worker who needs to hear the words of comfort or encouragement that God has given you. Tell them, make the call, send the email, write the note and along the way you find God refreshing you.

 

Proverbs 11:25

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

Till next time.

Citizenship

forest

Philipians 3:20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

Ever since I can remember, I have always been intrigued with the plight of the Jewish people during WWII. I remember watching the documentaries on the labor camps and how they struggled to stay alive. They helped one another even though they were strangers. It was enough to know they were fellow Jews. The oppression was fierce but the unity among them was greater. Nothing could strip them of their identification as Jews even though their oppressor tried. He tried over six million times but each one of them died as being identified as one who belonged to the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob.

I just watched a film last night called Defiance.  It is an unbelievable true story. It’s practically a modern version about Joshua and what he went through in leading the nation of Israel to Canaan.

The year is 1941, and the setting is Nazi-occupied Belarus. The Final Solution is in full effect, and the Jews of Eastern Europe are being slaughtered. Three brothers have miraculously managed to escape into the dense surrounding forest. Having played in these woods since childhood, the brothers have a distinct advantage over their adversaries, and soon decide that simply surviving is not enough. In order to make a difference, they must take action, but in order to take action they will need support. As whispers of their bravery take wind, others like them appear determined to lay their lives on the line for the cause of freedom. Tuvia has become the de facto leader of the group, but he’s still somewhat reluctant to take on such a heavy responsibility.  With winter setting in, everyone works to create a functioning community that will help them endure the frigid months that lie ahead. I won’t tell you how it ends because I hope you will see the movie yourself.

If you have committed to following Christ and you are identified as being one of His, you are in a war. Tuvia wasn’t perfect and he never expected to be used of God to lead his people through the forests of Belarus. Our Pastors are the Joshua’s and Tuvia’s to lead His people. They aren’t perfect and maybe didn’t even want the job. Joshua was Moses’s assistant but after Moses died he was needed to continue the plight.

I remember in the movie Tuvia exhorted the members in the forest community that everyone needed to work without exception. Everyone was needed and they needed to work together to survive. Several times they had to flee because the enemy was approaching. They had to grab all their necessities and relocate and build once again their log cabins. What a metaphor of the Christian life. If we aren’t busy working for the Lord we are a hindrance to the work. Not everyone is called to go to the front lines like street evangelism but kid’s need to be taught, the church needs to be cleaned and the wounded need to be greeted when they walk through the door. To carry out the great commission isn’t the job of one man. If you aren’t busy serving in the Lord’s work; you or someone could become a spiritual casualty.

The journey to Canaan for the Israelites wasn’t a smooth one, that is why God consistently God told the people Be strong and very courageous. The people in the forests of Belarus were struggling daily to get to rest and freedom. We too have to understand we have enemies on every side and there is a great struggle to make it to the end. Today is a reminder to encourage your pastor and ask him how you can be used in the work; our plight to our promised land where Christ dwells and is waiting to welcome us home.

There was a scene in the movie when a member of the “forest community” reminded the leader Tuvia that yes they needed to be strong but they needed something else…community. In the midst of defending themselves each day for survival they found time to commune together, enjoy wedding celebrations, babies being born and chess games hand carved from the trees they used to build cabins. No matter where we are, we are to find joys to refresh us to keep up the good fight. But, we should always have in the forefront of our minds that we are in a battle and this is not our home.

House of Mourning

tears

“It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.” Ecclesiastes 7:2

We live in a day and age in which the old fashioned values of our parents, grandparents and greatgrand parents have almost ceased to exist. If you just look at the news or social media outlets you can ascertain what we now value as a world culture. Everything is designed to escape the hardships in life. Beauty to escape aging, vacation to escape work, movies to escape boredom. Previous generations didn’t consider aging, hard work nor boredom things to be dreaded. They were considered stages and aspects of life to be experienced. In fact, if you spend the majority of your time pursuing the former it would have been considered superficial, jovial or immature. I guess that’s what the newer generations have become; a bunch of work loathing, pleasure seeking, age defying loafers.

Remember the old adage “ If it feels good just do it”. That’s become our highest virtue. But, here we have in Ecclesiastes something altogether different. Solomon was saying that’s it’s better in the “house of mourning”. So he is suggesting being in a place of pain is somehow better than “the house of feasting”.

I find myself at times breaking down in tears. I feel like a valve giving way to pressure built up. It’s the grieving process that I am going through since the death of my son. God in His wisdom created human beings to dispense of our grief in steps. Although we want it now, since we don’t want any kind of pain in our lives, it is something that takes time.

Solomon talks about how in the house of mourning we realize that is the end of all men. One day our lives will come to an end. That’s something that, without hope in God, we all dread. It says, “the living will lay it to his heart.” It means to reflect upon or to ponder.

I can say that in this time of mourning God is building something in me of deep meaning and value. I now desire to use my time for things that have purpose and will have effect long after I am gone. The trivial and transient things in this life no longer have an appeal for me. Mourning truly has a purpose. It clarifies our priorities. It helps us to aim for higher in life. It builds our character to become people who can make a difference in the life of someone else for the good.

Sometimes going to the house of mourning just means taking the higher and sometimes painful road. God may be asking to make the harder choice. It’s going to cost you something. But, know it’s going to do a deeper work in your life. Let Him walk with you every step of the way.

Gift of Loss

glass

“But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.  Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ” Philippians 3:7-8

Loss of any kind can be so unsettling. We don’t like it when things happen to us that weren’t planned. It shakes us, throws us off, gets us off balance. Some losses are greater than others. It’s the “greater” ones I am talking about. The kind that rattle us to the core. Maybe it’s the loss of a relationship. Your heart was invested and it didn’t turn out like you had hoped. Now that person is no longer part of your life. It’s a loss. It’s grieving to the heart.

How about a big financial loss? I remember my husband and I invested in a business that closed after just two weeks. We invested not a small sum of money. It was a deal gone bad. It was disheartening. We felt jilted. It takes the wind out of your “sales” (literally).

How about loosing a loved one?  I remember when my son died after 33 days I wondered how God could work everything for good. I think when we go through trials we ask the wrong questions sometimes that can leave us perplexed & without resolution. So I just started to ask God through His own word. In Psalm 127:3 “Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.” I started to ask God how my baby was a gift.

The day of Isaac’s funeral I gave the eulogy. God showed me how he was a gift in my life. This is what I shared that day:

My darling Isaac,

You were the gift I never expected. You came as a baby but left as God’s chosen vessel. He used you to lead me into the immensity of God’s love and to know Him who stands with us in the furnace. We suffered together like two soldiers in battle but the captain of our souls slew the roaring lion. We both entered the glory hole but you came out first. Just like the One who is made higher than the heavens, you were sent to give but not meant to stay. My cries aren’t tears of defeat but tears of joy remembering the gift I have in you.

In 2 Corinthians it says “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” If you have ever studied glassblowing you will recognize “the glory hole”. After glass is put in a crucible, it’s put into a second furnace which is the glory hole. We are like glass and Jesus is making and forming us to be a beautiful vessel to reflect Him. This comes through trials and sometimes loss.

It can be so painful but know that God is making you into a beautiful vessel. He is not putting you through this to break you but to make you. He says, “A bruised reed He will not break and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish” Isaiah 42:3

May our great Comforter be with you during whatever trial or season of loss you are facing.

The Watering Place

jordan

O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.

Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.

Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.

Psalm 42:6-8

I just love to discover the meaning of places in the bible. It’s like finding hidden treasure. These verses contain so much. The place called Jordan means the watering place. It’s where the Israelites crossed when God delivered them from their enemies. Hermonites means sanctuary and the hill of Mizar means smallness.

I remember when my newborn baby Isaac was in the NICU struggling to live. My husband was faithfully teaching bible studies during the week and on Sundays. He had to commute four hours between the church and where our baby was being hospitalized. I felt I needed to attend a midweek service. I hadn’t left Isaac since he was born but I believed it was time to be an example to the fellowship of what it looks like to trust God during a severe trial. Believe me, it wasn’t because I had the strength. But of course, taking that step of obedience opened the door for God to minister to me.

The church that night was the Jordan, the watering place where God refreshed my heart. I was in awe of God during worship. In His great and awesome presence, I felt small and so did my trial. He being so awesome consumed the weight of my yoke. I felt lighter, revived and joy in His presence. He was my watering place.

Our God is able to refresh you during the most pressing of trials. Worship the King. He will revive you, strengthen you and lighten your load. Let him take you unto himself as you worship our Lord.

 

Jesus, Your Advocate!

court

It’s constantly on my mind to write something to you that is a “word in season”. It’s so easy just to type up something and post a note just to keep it up; just to check something off my “to-do” list. But my heart is only to write whatever the Lord would have me share. My hope is that it would be a timely message for a dear saint looking for something to refresh their heart. So here it is:

“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;
 Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret—it only causes harm. For evildoers shall be cut off;
 But those who wait on the Lord,
They shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; 
Indeed, you will look carefully for his place,
 But it shall be no more.” Psalm 37:7-10

I recall many years ago I had started a new job. I worked in an office and my manager had been there for over 25 years. Over time, I can’t tell you what caused a change but my boss started to be very malicious toward me. I can’t recall doing anything to provoke her harsh treatment of me. It was becoming very difficult to work there. But, I sensed God just wanted me to abide and trust him to be my defense. I was very respectful but steadfast that God was going to fight my battles. He knew how difficult it was mentally and emotionally to work under such oppression.

You may be facing something similar today. Can I tell you that you have an advocate with the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ. He goes before the grand jury to defend you. Rest in your innocence. God is a just judge and he will deal with those who are bringing their wicked devices against you. God says, “ For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more”. The deliberations are almost over and the injustice will soon end.

I remember one day when I went into work, my manager was nowhere to be found. It was announced that she had been terminated. I couldn’t believe it. She had been a friend of the family and worked for the owners for 25 years yet, she was terminated. God removed the one who was oppressing me unjustly.

Just like verse 7 says, “Rest in Lord, and wait patiently for him.” He will fight your battle toward victory. Be encouraged.

Vine of Hope

vine3

“Though the fig tree does not bud
 and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.” Habakkuk 3:17-19

It’s amazing how easy it is to talk ourselves out of something. You have some idea, goal or new project. You have prayed about it, thought long and hard and have counted the cost. Everything about it seems so right. It’s something that God has impressed upon your heart to do. So we start out with all the enthusiasm. Overtime, the wheels are turning slower and slower. The results just aren’t seen yet. It’s so tempting to toss in the towel.

Haggai spoke to Zerubbabel about his work for the Lord. This is what the Lord said to Zerubbabel, “Who of you is left who saw this house in it’s former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing? But now be strong, O Zerubbabel, declares the Lord.” Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”

Just like Zerubbabel, our efforts can seem like nothing but God is telling you to be strong and continue. He says ‘work’! Just keep going until you see the end result of what God is going to do through your efforts.

Look at God’s promises to us as we labor to fulfill His plan for our lives:

“Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit. From this day on I will bless you.” Haggai 2:19

Always remember to commit your plans to the Lord and He will bring them to fruition.

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans” Proverbs 16:3