Not a moment too soon….

In the New Testament there are 290 references to the love of God, 290 times when God had declared His love for man. But in the same chapters and the same verses there are more than 1,300 references to the atonement, 1300 assurances that salvation can be had through the blood of Christ. —G. Franklin Allee

Abraham was a man tested by God. Over an over God came to him & asked him to go here or there, do this or that, say something or keep quiet. Abraham listened to God. He understood when it was truly God that was speaking and not just his own thoughts or the thoughts of those around him. Abraham wasn’t perfect however; he pushed forward with the said blessings of God by having a child with someone other than his wife, thinking that this child would be “the one” that God had promised. While God still protected this child, Abraham had clearly not waited for God to fulfill his promise. After a little while, God did come through for Abraham & Sarah, in blessing them with a son Isaac. In their old age, Sarah & Abraham love their little boy fiercely. They would have never guessed that this little boy would become the center of yet one more test of faith for them.

God spoke to Abraham and told him to sacrifice his son Isaac. If this was a message to me, about my own son, I probably would have hidden Isaac & tried to keep him safe…but Abraham didn’t do this. The Bible says that he immediately went out & made preparations for an altar & the three day trek to the mountain of the Lord. On the way up the mountain, Isaac humbly asked his father where the lamb for the alter was, to which Abraham responded that “the Lord will provide the lamb himself.”

I expect that he had great pain while saying this, trusting that God knew how the situation would end, and all the time Abraham following without understanding. It doesn’t say that Isaac struggled while his father tied him up & placed the boy on the alter. This surprises me, and says a lot to the relationship of trust Isaac had with his father! Just as Abraham raised his armed hand to slay his only son, the Angel of the Lord came to him & told Abraham that God had seen how he feared the Lord. Just then, Abraham noticed a Ram that was stuck in the bushes. God himself had provided the sacrifice of atonement.

…Faith obeys completely the Word of God. –Abraham trusted in God’s voice, and acted immediately.
…Faith surrenders the best to God, holding nothing back. –He surrendered his only son, the one he had prayed fervently for and had seen God provide.
…Faith waits on the Lord to provide all one’s needs. –Abraham knew that God would provide for him, whether through this son as a sacrifice or with something else. God had promised to make him a father of many nations, and Abraham trusted that whether it would be through Isaac or someone else, that God would bring that to pass.

“A true worshiper of God holds nothing back from God but obediently gives Him what He asks, trusting that He will provide. The key idea of the entire passage is summarized in the name Abraham gave to the place: Yahweh Yir’eh, The Lord will provide.”

It is hard to put your all onto the alter. To open up yourself completely to our God, though we should know deep down that He WILL provide. It is still difficult sometimes. A true test of God will ask you to do something that doesn’t make sense. It forces you to rely solely on him and not on your own power. I struggle to do this some days….and who am I kidding….most days I struggle with this. Simply in knowing that God will provide for me in EVERYTHING I need.

It is then that I remember that God has already provided a sacrifice for me, and that He has already provided all that I need. He has given me a new life, a clean slate, the forgiveness for my sins through the atonement His one and only son paid for me on the cross. Through trusting in Him, and even before I trusted in Him, He had given me and all of us forgiveness.

I loved this thought I read while studying about God as our sacrificial Lamb….”When does God meet our needs? Just when we have the need and not a minute before. When you bring your requests to the throne of grace, God answers with mercy and grace “in time of need” (Heb. 4:16). Sometimes it looks like God waits until the last minute to send help, but that is only from our human point of view. God is never late.

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Fading out…and in

Is it odd when you suddenly realize that not so suddenly you’ve stopped doing things that are important to you? When you see your life in a perspective not seen for a while, or through a vision that you’ve lost sight of? What about when you remember the things you used to wait for, long for, savor moments of and you realize that you’re not waiting for those things any more.

I’m not the only one…a cupbearer of the Pharoah’s says what I feel like lately “Today I am reminded of my shortcomings….” (Genesis 41:9) When you keep going, and everything’s “fine” and then you get a little jolt. Ha…you thought everything was fine, but look once again. Did you forget about me? I feel like a gentile when Paul wrote “I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another. I have written you quite boldly on some points, as if to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles with the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:14-16)

I don’t know what to compare a good reminder to….it’s like one of those really great things, that you know is good for you, but you forget how much it hurts at the same time…it’s like, ‘Oh yeah! Thanks for reminding me….but ouch, did I really go there?’

Slowly fading in & out….up & down…..one shade to another and back again. I love what it tells us in Hebrews 10:32 “Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering.” This is exactly what I need to do. and as I ponder, “I remember your ancient laws, O Lord, and I find comfort in them.” (Psalm 119:52)

Remind me Lord, of your great glory, your power, love & omnipotence. Remind me of your faithfulness, and how you satisfy my thirst. You are my Light….”Light is sweet, and it pleases the eyes to see the sun.” (Eccl. 11:7)

Expectation-2

A while ago, I wrote about expectations, the ones that people have for us, the ones we have for ourselves and ones we have about other people. But what about those expectations that you fight yourself not to have, the ones that you know better than to have, but yet somewhere inside you, when the expectation isn’t filled, you realize that it was still there….though you tried to deny it.

It’s like no matter what you do, there’s always some expectation as to what will happen….either good or bad. Justified or not, your expectations are there, and get you excited or nervous or anxious or hesitant or whatever it is that you feel about an upcoming event or situation, and it just is what it is. So what do you try and do? Not get excited, or nervous, or anxious, or hesitant. You try really hard to tell yourself it’s not a big deal, just calm down, take a breath…it’s just whatever. But it seems to have an opposite effect. It’s like if you tell yourself it’s not a big deal, it really becomes one. You tell yourself not to get anxious, but then you do. If it’s something not to worry about, somehow it worries you.

Then it happens. The day comes, the moment comes, and it’s here. No more expectations, because what is IS, anticipation becomes anti-climactic. You find yourself rolling with the twists of the day, and pretty soon it’s over. Done. All cleared up & you’re through. And what of your expectations? Nothing. Except that somehow you feel like nothing really happened, and so then it comes to the surface that you really DID have expectations…yep, those you kept telling yourself you didn’t have. Well, la-di-dah, they were there, and now you feel a little let down that you had those expectations and nothing really changed. Nothing for the worse, nothing for the better…just okay. And you’re okay with that, honestly okay. But just okay. Not thrilled, not angry, just okay.

The next question is, how do you get past those feelings of expectation that you had, denied, felt, accepted & now are trying analyze? I guess that’s where faith comes in…trying to see that the faith in Christ that you have, will come through again, taking those expectations & doing SOMETHING with them. Putting my expectations in my neat little packing boxes, under the shelf, and waiting to see what God has in store for the next day, or month, or year. Waiting to see what will develop, what wont, where he’ll take you, where you’ll stay, what you’ll learn, what you’ll wonder about, who you are and who you’ll be. Expect something, expect nothing, but whatever you expect, expect that God will be there, when the expectations that you don’t expect, leave you expecting something more….

When I can’t feel You…

I haven’t been writing recently, due to many things, but mainly it’s because I really only write when I feel God trying to teach me something, or if there’s a big revelation that has taken off some blinds.  There has been this wall that felt to me like it was growing wider & wider, keeping me from something, anything that had life in it.  I’ve been seeking this life, but it felt so distant, far away & unreachable.  Things kept coming at me that would make me to feel it, cut to my core & make me uncomfortable in where I was…unsatisfied.  Some of this unsatisfaction is a good thing, a good reminder that my life cannot be about me but about other people & helping others who can’t help themselves.  Yet those twinges of sickness, about the depravity of abandoned children or sickened friends, came in highs & quickly would depart from my mind.  This is something that I noticed, and it seems that if loving is a lifestyle, there shouldn’t be such drastic desires & then thoughts of nothing….right?  Anyway, I’ve been really loose in my quiet times with God, really not making it a priority, though in my mind it really is….yet actions say more than my thoughts ever will.  Once again, He has spoken to me through voices that surround me daily, friends who continually speak into my life….more than they may ever know.  Also, a song has given me the words I’ve forgotten to sing.

It says “There’s a distance in the air and I cannot make it leave, I wave my arms’ round about me and blow with all my might. I cannot sense you close, though I know you’re always here, but the comfort of you near is what I long for. When I can’t feel you, I have learned to reach out just the same, when I can’t hear you, I know you still hear every word I pray. And I want you more than I want to live another day, and as I wait for you maybe I’m made more faithful.”
You see, I haven’t been faithful….to this amazing Father that has given me everlasting life & abundant joy, I have been the one to leave the way, to stray & forget that these relationships take lots of work.  Even when I get busy, there’s gotta be time that is set apart to dwell in the goodness of Christ, his grace & peace.  Without seeing Him all around, I lose vision, passion & direction.  It’s like driving in the dark, without lights….how will you learn to drive, let alone get anywhere without looking for the light?  
God, I need you now more than ever….Thank you for being the faithful God that you are, ever present & willing to hold me when I come back crying out for your mercy.  

Nothing to Say—

Do you ever have so much to say that you don’t say anything? Can’t say anything? Would rather shut up than say what you’d like to?

Are the thoughts so vivid & alarming that you shock yourself…or you think that no one would really understand? And you wonder if God is preparing you for yet one more thing while crying because you think that your last weekends memories were just that…preparing you for what happened yesterday?

Since I really have “nothing” to say….at least not here anyway (I just need some deep conversations with God right now)…I’ll give you some verses that I’ve been thinking on.

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another –and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:23-25)

“Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult & persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.” (Hebrews 10:32-35)

This is the hope I hold onto. This is something I know to be true & evident in my life and in those around me. Let’s encourage one another, though we suffer….let us remember Who Christ is…that is our hope.