Saturday, July 16, 2011

I Have Already Done It

Glen and I were discussing Abraham and Sarah the other day, specifically regarding Abraham's choice to hearken to the voice of his wife, and to go unto Hagar her handmaid, resulting in the birth of Ishmael.  It is clear from the Scriptures that Abraham loved his son, and clearly wanted to this to be his "son of promise", but that was not God's plan.  All along the Lord had planned to to give him a son, Isaac, from Sarah.
Gen 17:15  "And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before Thee! And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him," (Genesis 17:15-19).
Abraham had wanted to see the fulfillment of God's promise to him, but he hadn't been patient enough to wait for God to fulfill His word.  Abraham took things into his own hands to do it.    When he learns that it is not Ishmael who is to be the fulfillment of the promise, he cries out with "O that Ishmael might live before Thee!"

I love how the Lord answers Abraham about Ishmael:

"And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation," (Genesis 17:20).

Notice the verb tense in this verse.  Not I will bless him, but I have blessed him.  The Lord had already done it.  He had blessed him and already decreed he would be the father of twelve sons.  The Lord had taken care of it already.

How many times do we cry out to the Lord about something, in anguish, in fear, in pain, not realizing that the Lord has already taken care of the very thing we are so distressed about?  Yet the Scriptures are clear to console us that, ". . .it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear," (Isaiah 65:24).

We have a great and mighty God who doesn't just tolerate us,  He doesn't just like us.  He loves us with a love that is infinite and past our understanding.  It is His desire to "give us the Kingdom".  We can have great confidence that He has and will meet our every need "through His riches in glory through Christ Jesus."

Even as our tears are rolling down our cheeks and our lips are speaking out our feeble cry, let us remember He has already done it.  He has already taken care of it. 

He is the Lord of eternity past and eternity future.  He is the Lord of our past and our future, and if He cares enough to count the very hairs of our heads, He surely will provide for us according to His eternal purpose in Christ Jesus as we trust Him to do so.

Monday, July 11, 2011

beyond the bow -- Trip 43 July 7, 2011

This was to be a quick, and hopefully easy, trip.

We decided at the last minute to head out, and we only had a certain amount of time before sunset.  We
The raw satellite imagery shown in these image...                                                                  Image via Wikipedia
decided to put in at Polecat Bay, because we could be in the water in the shortest amount of time if we chose that put-in.

The water was calm, the temperature was up and the air muggy.  We headed first toward Mobile Bay, but one glance past the Causeway, showed us the wind was kicking up the waves there more than we wanted to deal with.  We decided to head North and just paddle easy for a bit, turn around and come back.  That's exactly what we did, sort of.

We headed up Delvan Bay easily and gently.  There were hardly any waves and we were definitely going with the current.  We only paddled a little more than 2 1/2 miles.  Then we just sat still and rested, chatted and enjoyed the sounds of the birds and the water.  Even in that short amount of time, we were both sweating in the hot, humid weather.  I kept splashing water on myself in an attempt to keep cool.

Finally, we decided to turn to go back.  All the while we had been sitting still, our backs had been to the West.  When we turned around, we were greeted with the most beautiful sunset just beginning.  We paddled a way down before I stopped to take out my camera and snap the first pictures.  Then I would paddle a bit, with my camera strap between my teeth, and then stop to take a few more pictures.

We had been expecting sunset to occur at 8:10pm, but apparently someone forgot to tell the sun, because it was looking as if it was going to set much sooner than that.  I looked ahead to see we had almost a mile to go before we reached the put-in.  I have to confess, in the back of my mind was the fact that every time we have been out this season, Glen has remarked how much slower I am this season than last.  Having had hand surgery in January is a tiny part of that.  Not returning to the gym since my surgery, however, is the big part.  I was very aware I am not as fast a kayaker as I once was, and I have never had any desire to be reaching the put-in, or loading the car in the dark.

With those thoughts, I adjusted myself in my seat, braced my feet (wearing my new water-shoes which I absolutely love!) and  determined this would not be a slow trip back.  To distract myself from how much farther I had to go, I began to count.  Those of you who are familiar with my compulsive nature, will not be surprised at that.  First I counted each stroke to twenty.  Then to thirty.  To Forty.  Fifty.  Sixty.  My last count went to 130.  At that point we had crossed under the Bay-Way and were back in Polecat Bay.  We decided to stop for a few minutes to relax as now we only had yards to go to the put-in and could easily judge both the light and the distance.

As we sat in that still little body of water, with the traffic whizzing by so high above us, we felt remote and isolated from the world they represented.  Occasionally a trucker would honk his horn at us and we would wave our paddles in response, greetings linking us back to the world we would soon join once our little boats were safely stored in the back of the car and we were on our way home.

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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Nothing Wasted

Swordfish - 2001-11-09 From Jon Sullivan's pdp...                                                     Image via Wikipedia
I live with a bunch of "foodies".  If you are unfamiliar with the term,  a "foodie" is defined as "someone who has an ardent or refined interest in food."

In the past, one might have used the word epicurean or gourmet instead of the more trendy "foodie" of today.  A foodie not only likes food, likes to eat food, but is sincerely interested in food and wants to learn about food.  Living with some serious foodies, I have been exposed to more than my share of cooking shows in my lifetime.

I remember on one of these shows, the chef prided himself on wasting nothing.  Everything was utilized,  even scraps of vegetables and bones were saved for the stock pot.  Frugality was the watchword of his kitchen.  Much the same can be said for God.  While He does not determine all that happens in our lives -- because clearly there is still sin in this world and man has a clear choice whether to sin or to follow God -- He does take advantage of each situation, so if we trust Him, nothing is wasted.  As the Scriptures tell us, "we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose," (Romans 8:28).

I was initially prompted to think along these lines the other day by fear.  There is a particular fear to which I have been tempted for some time now.  I believe with all my heart that if this one thing were to befall me, I would have all the peace and joy and comfort that the Lord of Heaven and earth wants to and does bestow lovingly upon His children.  However, the tempter still places the temptation to fear in front of me.  As I was thinking about this issue, I thought back on my life with a singular comforting realization.

There has been nothing that has occurred to me that seemed bad at the time that the Lord did not use for some great good in my life.  He has not wasted any opportunity to teach, to chasten, to correct, to lead, to provide, to direct or to conform me to the image of His dear Son.  Everything is utilized, even what appears to be rubbish, is saved "for the stock pot".

Realizing this about the past created a great sense of confidence and freedom about the future.  Indeed, as we turn and look back at the path our lives have been traveled upon, it is often only then we can so clearly see the Lord's leading and directing, His taking advantage of those bad choices of others, and the bad choices we have made as well, working everything together for our own good.  If He has provided for us and taken care of us this far, we can have sure confidence that "He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ," (Philippians 1:6).

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