13 July 2018

This 'n' That

There are nights when I turn off my lights, ready to drift into (hopefully) sound sleep, and I realize that my room is still bright, awash with the glow of the moon. Other nights, I awaken in the wee hours of the morning wondering who is shining a flashlight in my face, only to recognize that another beautiful, full moon is beaming through the panes and the blinds.

Thankfully, the light doesn’t keep me awake, and I almost welcome the heavenly radiance. Night can be a time when our trials overwhelm us, when the “what-ifs” can dominate our waking and sleeping thoughts, and when regrets or doubts seem to gain the most traction in our tired minds. Waking to find my room gleaming with the moon’s brightness reminds me that I serve—and indeed am a daughter of by gracious adoption—the One who Himself is light!
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (John 1:1-5)
Even the blackest night is pierced by the light of the moon and the stars. And, at the risk of overusing a tired analogy, even in the darkest moments of our lives, the light of Christ shines through. Further still, the brightness of His beams reminds us even in the joyful times that He is sovereign and that He watches over and cares for His own.

God is transcendent, high, and lofty, yet personal and near to His children. He is not disconnected from our lives. He is indeed the Light.

Well, it looks like tonight we'll have a new moon, a supermoon, in fact, though it sounds like there won't be much for us to see. Regardless of what the night brings, I hope you’ll take a few moments today to relax and enjoy your week in review (kind of):

06 July 2018

This 'n' That

When I sat down yesterday to draft this post, I didn't know what to write. Honestly, it's not been a great week and I'm dreading what today will bring. Some of you may know the details, most of you probably do not. It's been a very stressful few months and just as I was anticipating some things easing up, another shoe dropped. Still, God, in His amazing goodness, offered great encouragement yesterday. As I anticipate today, I am thankful for yesterday which, in the context of this week, was a really good day.

When things blindside us, it's really easy to ask, "Why?" I've done it a lot this week, even knowing the foolishness of doing so. In the end, though, the "why?" doesn't really matter. What does matter is, "How? How am I going to get through this?" and there's only one answer to that: God. He wasn't blindsided and His grace and strength are sufficient to carry us through whatever path He has sovereignly ordained for us to travel.

Once we've established the "how?" we must quickly move on to, "What next?" lest we become paralyzed by our circumstances. This is where I'm thankful for the way God has wired our bodies. The shock and numbness that we can sometimes experience in times of trial are indeed gracious mechanisms granted us by the Lord. It allows us to plow through or jump over each hurdle, make difficult decisions, and even appear strong when inside we feel like a sobbing, helpless child. And we cannot move forward with that "what next?" without prayer. Over the past few days, I've wondered how this circumstance is supposed to help my prayer life, because I find myself unable to pray and not knowing what to say. But God knows that.
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27)
That's a good and gracious God. And in the end, things could always be worse!

So, friends, if you're so inclined, I'd appreciate your prayers in the coming days. In the meantime, it helps to focus on other things, so I've still gathered a few links for you. As we greet this first Friday in July, I hope you enjoy your week in review (kind of):

29 June 2018

This 'n' That

My apologies for the late posting of this week's roundup. It's just been one of those weeks, and today has been one of those days! Is it just me, or does it seem like we have more and more of "those weeks" and "those days"? Oh well, I suppose it just keeps our eyes fixed heavenward!

I'll keep the introduction short this week for two reasons: (1) I've already made you wait long enough, and (2) I don't have much more to say! So grab a tall glass of iced tea, sit back, and enjoy your week in review (kind of):

22 June 2018

This 'n' That

I also drove a yellow Beetle for a time,
but the green one was better!
I used to drive a green Volkswagen Beetle. I loved that car. I mean, is there any better mode of transportation for a girl in high school? No, there isn't, or at least, there wasn't all those years ago when that girl was me. And that flower vase by the steering wheel? Oh yeah, I used it.  The best part? As a birthday present one year, my brother gifted me a personalized license plate (we lived in a state where you only had to pay the fee for a vanity plate one time, so it was really a fantastic gift). Did I mention I loved that car?

Sometimes I wish I still had that green Beetle but, like most things from my youth, it is long gone. I have a much more practical car now which, like many other things in life, is reflective of the maturing process. Over time we all mature physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Remember when you were first saved? I daresay you knew little of the doctrines of grace, and probably could not adequately articulate the marvelous grace of propitiation, justification, sanctification, adoption, or other theological beauties. All you knew was that you who were once dead in sin were now alive in Christ. You, once destined for damnation, were now heaven-bound because of the sacrificial death and triumphant resurrection of your Savior.

The maturing process never stops. In this life, we'll continue to mature physically and emotionally and, Lord willing, spiritually. It's all part of the process as we prepare to one day step from this life into the next. And while aging in this life is not often fun, what a joy it is to see our spiritual selves mature. Praise God for His sanctifying Spirit and HIs transforming Word!

Well, summer is officially here, so grab a glass of iced tea and sit back while you enjoy your week in review (kind of):

19 June 2018

Happy Birthday to Two Faithful Preachers

Though a version of this post was originally published five years ago, it is undeniably still relevant today. Birthdays don't change, after all!

Today, two prominent preachers in the history of the Church celebrate their earthly birthdays. One of them has long gone to glory with his Savior, while the other faithfully continues his call and commission to preach the Word (2 Timothy 4:2).

15 June 2018

This 'n' That

Saul was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty two years over Israel.

Now Saul chose for himself 3,000 men of Israel, of which 2,000 were with Saul in Michmash and in the hill country of Bethel, while 1,000 were with Jonathan at Gibeah of Benjamin. But he sent away the rest of the people, each to his tent. Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. Then Saul blew the trumpet throughout the land, saying, “Let the Hebrews hear.” All Israel heard the news that Saul had smitten the garrison of the Philistines, and also that Israel had become odious to the Philistines. The people were then summoned to Saul at Gilgal.
Now the Philistines assembled to fight with Israel, 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horsemen, and people like the sand which is on the seashore in abundance; and they came up and camped in Michmash, east of Beth-aven. When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait (for the people were hard-pressed), then the people hid themselves in caves, in thickets, in cliffs, in cellars, and in pits. Also some of the Hebrews crossed the Jordan into the land of Gad and Gilead. But as for Saul, he was still in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling.

Now he waited seven days, according to the appointed time set by Samuel, but Samuel did not come to Gilgal; and the people were scattering from him. So Saul said, “Bring to me the burnt offering and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering. As soon as he finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him and to greet him. But Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “Because I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the appointed days, and that the Philistines were assembling at Michmash, therefore I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not asked the favor of the LORD.’ So I forced myself and offered the burnt offering.” Samuel said to Saul, “You have acted foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you, for now the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not endure. The LORD has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.” (1 Samuel 13:1-14)
Saul was impatient, putting it mildly, and it cost him dearly.

I don't know about you, but I can be fairly impatient at times, about big and small things. My impatience has never cost me so much as it did Saul, but it's unbecoming nonetheless. And while I believe it is possible for us to be antsy for a resolution without actively sinning, ultimately, our impatience betrays a bigger issue, namely lack of trust in God. Once we are at this point, we are most certainly in disobedience.

God is sovereign over all things. This means that, not only are circumstances ordained by Him, so also is the timing of those circumstances. Since God is perfect and good, His timing is perfect and good and far better than whatever we could design (cf. Isaiah 55:9). Better still, His outcomes are always for the good of His children and for His glory, no matter whether they bring sorrow or joy (both of which are temporary anyway). So, when I find myself growing impatient, I find myself subsequently turning to Christ (see how He's already worked that out for my good and His glory?), for it is when my eyes are turned away from myself and my circumstances and are instead fixed on Him that I find that peace and joy prevail, regardless of the outcome, or lack thereof, of my situation.

Still, I know that most of you have probably been growing a little impatient for your weekly roundup (who wouldn't?!), so I hope that you enjoy your week in review (kind of):