Thursday, December 31, 2015

Conformed and Transformed

I am currently sitting in what used to be our oldest daughter's bedroom.  She bought her own home, and as soon as she signed the papers, we began to formulate an idea and plan for this space in our house.  We both had idea what we wanted the room to look like, feel like and function as.

We began the process of agreeing on a paint color, picking out chairs, a table and other items to go in this room, which will function as a study for us.  Eventually the room will go from a plan and a collection of ideas to an actuality.  The room is being transformed.  It hasn't happened overnight, it has been a gradual work and indeed, it isn't finished yet.

As Christians, we are also a work in progress.  We are being transformed.  The Lord is working every aspect of our lives into His plan and purpose to conform us to the image of Christ.  There is not one single thing that happens in our lives, which the Lord cannot in some way work to our very best.  How powerful He must be!

It is His plan and purpose to conform us into the image of His Son, to renew our mind and for us to "prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

Just as our room is being changed for a specific purpose, the Lord has a specific plan and purpose in His transformation of us.  All we need to do is to look around the beauty of the creation in which we live to know that what He will do in and through us will be completely amazing.

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 
What shall we then say to these things? 
If God be for us, who can be against us?"  
Romans 8:28,29,31

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Exceedingly Abundantly Above

Today is our 37th wedding anniversary.

I have lived with my husband longer than I ever lived without him.  My life before I met Glen is but a faint memory.   In fact, it seems as my life only really started when we met.  I could have never imagined as I stood at that altar as a young woman of 21 the wonderful life which awaited me.  It has been exceedingly abundantly above all I could ask or think.

Another such revelation awaits not only me, but all who have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior.  One day we will be physically with Him.  Either by death or by rapture, we will be called into His presence.  At that time we will fully know joy unspeakable, peace which passes understanding and love unending.  Not for one millisecond will we pine for our mortal lives here.  The beauty, grace and mercy which we know in His presence will cause this life to seem gray and dim by comparison.

This means that no matter how wonderful our days here, our best, most glorious days are yet to be.  We should look toward our future with great expectation and hope for we cannot even begin to imagine what awaits us.

"Now unto Him that is able
to do exceeding abundantly above
all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,  be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.
Ephesians 3:20,21

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

She Can Do Anything!

"She can do anything," was a comment made recently about our daughter-in-law.  

Indeed, she is a unique blend of creative talent, practical experience and intellectual ability.  She is clearly one of the most remarkable women I have ever known.  In my estimation there is hardly anything she can't do.  

As much as I admire and respect Jessica's abilities and talents, there is One who truly is omnipotent, He can do anything as along as it is in keeping with His character and nature.

Our Lord is the architect of the universe.  Architects plan a building in regard to its form, space and ambiance and the world in which we live is perfectly designed in that respect. Think only of the different types of places we have on our one little planet.  If you love mountains, we have them.  If you like verdant forests, you can visit them.  If you prefer the sea shore and crashing waves, there is an abundance of shoreline.  If you prefer rivers and creeks, they are here.  Our world has been designed with such wonder and beauty it would take more than one lifetime to view it all.  And that doesn't begin to include all the other stars, planets and galaxies.

But God is also the artist of the universe.  He could have easily made our world without color, using only shades of grey, which would have eliminated the necessity of creating the cones in our eyes.  Thankfully though, our Lord desired the beauty of our world around us to reveal to us His eternal power and Godhead. He even created beauty in places rarely seen as manifested in the myriad of beautiful and colorful sea creatures at the depths of the oceans.

"For the invisible things of Him 
from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, 
His eternal power and Godhead; 
so that they are without excuse:"  
Romans 1:20

A creation needs more than an plan and paint, it needs precise structure. God is the engineer of that structure.  His precision and detail are seen in every corner of creation. 

In watching new construction I am amazed at the details which go into such structures.  These plans must include every stud, every nail, every wire, every pipe and things that I don't even know of which go into creating a building.  How much more the details involved in millions of stars, solar systems, planets, people, animals. . .just planning the insects alone would be a massive undertaking.  Yet our Lord spoke the worlds into being, "And God said. . ." 

As our world is made more beautiful by color, it is also enriched by sound and God is the musician of creation.  People of every culture seem to love music in one form or other.  I have rarely held a baby who could not be soothed with a gentle lullaby.  The mathematical structure of music cries out to all that it could not have just magically appeared, no it sings that has a Creator, and our Lord is that Creator.  We love music because He loves music.  In fact the Scriptures tell us that one day He will "joy over" us with singing.

God is also the accountant of His Creation.  The Scriptures tell us that the "very hairs of your head are all numbered."  How amazing is that fact, that our Lord and Creator loves us enough to count the hairs of our head.  Since the number of hairs on our heads are always changing, the Lord must keep an ongoing count.  Now, I love my husband, children and grandchildren very much, but I have never wanted to -- much less attempted to-- count the hairs on their heads.

Our Lord keeps track of all His creation.  The Bible tells us that not one Sparrow falls to the ground without our Heavenly Father.  If He is with the Sparrow, how much more is He with us.

Let us take time often to consider how Great is our Lord, how worthy He is of our praise and how very much He loves us.

The kingdoms of this world 
are become the kingdoms of our Lord, 
and of His Christ; 
and He shall reign for ever and ever.
And a voice came out of the throne, saying, 
Praise our God, all ye His servants, 
and ye that fear Him, both small and great.
And I heard as it were 
the voice of a great multitude, 
and as the voice of many waters, 
and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Revelation 11:15, 19:5,6

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Sweetest Song

During the Christmas season one of our favorite events to attend is the Christmas Concert of Mobile's Singing Children.  This choir is made up of children from the second to the twelfth grade and showcases an incredible degree of talent.

The Mobile's Singing Children Choir

The Christmas Concert is traditionally held in the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in our downtown area.  This Cathedral is one of the most beautiful buildings in Mobile, but of more important on this occasion is its wonderful acoustics.

As the older choir begins to sing, usually acapella,  the blending of the voices is so beautiful that tears begin to stream down my face.  I love listening to their harmonies and angelic melodies and I especially love hearing their voices echo off the walls of the large and beautiful cathedral.

This year as the choir began to sing I thought of the day when all we all stand before the throne of God and Christians lift their voices together to praise the Lord Jesus Christ.  What a glorious choir that will be and what harmonies will spill forth from those glorified vessels.  I thought also of how the sounds of that choir will thrill the heart of God who finds the voices of His children sweet in his ears.

Even as this thought was warming my heart and shedding hope to my soul I had another thought.  As sweet as the melodies and harmonies lifted from a myriad of glorified voices  is to our Lord, there is an even sweeter song to Him.  When His children find themselves in painful, perplexing and pitiful situations, the shaky, quiet song of faith they lift up to Him is perhaps the sweetest, most precious sound to His ears.

"By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name."
 Hebrews 13:15

When we are in difficult situations, when we find ourselves in pain or need, and we lift up our hearts to our Lord with thanksgiving and praise, we encourage our fellow Christians around us, we give  our own ears fodder for faith and we bless the heart of God.

Let us remember the example set for us by Paul and Silas, who after they had been arrested, beaten, scourged, set in stocks and placed in the inner part of the prison, at midnight "prayed and sang praises unto God."  Our Lord has promised to give us the songs in the night, let us by faith open our lips to offer Him this sacrifice of praise.

"I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: 
I will sing praise to my God while I have my being."
Psalm 104:33

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Devised and Directed

In the month prior to our recent hike on the Appalachian Trail, I checked the weather forcast for that area almost daily.  Mainly I was looking to see how cold it would be at night and the predictions for rain.

As the days passed  by, of course, the forecast changed.  About a week before we were set to leave the forecast was for clear - and not too cold - conditions.  But the forecasters probably didn't expect Hurricane Patricia, then churning around in the Pacific, to make landfall in Mexico and send her remnants barreling through the southeastern United States.

The night before our hike was to begin, we again checked the weather.  This was a little harder to do in Hot Springs, NC, because there was no telephone reception and Wi-Fi  was spotty at best.  We could see enough to know, though, that rain was coming and at least part or all of our four day hike would be in the rain.  Having had a wet three days on our last hike, we weren't too keen on being soaked again. 

Our choices were pretty clear. . .don't hike or hike in the rain.  We looked at alternate parts of the trail, to move our hiking location, but at some time all the southeastern portion of the trail would receive rain.  That morning we prayed about what to do and as soon as we lifted our heads, another, different thought came to Glen.

We were pretty sure we would have one pretty day and perhaps part of the next before the rain would arrive.  We decided to hike the trail in the opposite direction, going northward from Hot Springs instead of hiking to Hot Springs.  As soon as we finished our breakfast of scrambled eggs and kale (kale is a pretty big thing up in Hot Springs) we met the gentleman whom we had arranged to shuttle us to our trailhead, and told him we wouldn't be needing his services after all.  Then we donned our packs and began our hike.  The Appalachian Trail near Hot Springs briefly runs along the beautiful French Broad River.  We hiked along, listening to the water joyfully dancing on the rocks, and seeing before us the most beautiful canvas of reds, oranges and yellows painted against a bright blue sky.  It was so amazing we could hardly take it all in.

We hiked until we knew we had reached the half-way point timewise.  Then we retraced our steps.  We made our camp on the banks of the French Broad River and spent a, not-too-cold, not-too-hot night listening to the river rush by.  Once I heard the soft sprinkling of rainfall on our tent, but it was light and short lived.

It was probably the most perfect day of Autumn to be hiking.  The temperature was perfect, the fall colors abundant and the trail, for the most part, unchallenging.  Even though it was much shorter than we had planned, we both agreed it was just about a perfect hike.  I was reassurred even more that we had made the right decision when I checked the weather upon returning from the trail.  Along with the forecast for rain was a high-wind warning.  I don't mind getting a little wet, but I don't want to be camping when all there is between me and high wind is a thin nylon tent.

We had made our hiking plans months ago, planning each step of the trip.  But the Lord had other ideas.  We had to change the date of when we would visit our friends in NC and GA, but both were as accomodating as could be.  We even ended up hiking Sawnee Mountain with our friends in Georgia and that day was as beautiful as the day we had hiking in North Carolina.

While we made our plans, we didn't lean on our own understanding.  With each step of the way, each twist and turn in the road, we acknowledged and trusted our Savior and He did indeed direct our paths.

"When through the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sincerely in the trees,
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze.

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!"

"A man's heart deviseth his way;  but the Lord directeth his steps."  
Proverbs 16:9

UPDATE:. Typos corrected

Friday, July 10, 2015

Always on the Clock

On night at work we became very busy admitting patient after patient.  Looking at the scheduled cases for the day we knew the next shift would be as busy, or even busier, than we had been.  Then, with less than an hour before the next shift would begin, one of the day-shift nurses called in.

It was necessary for us to call the on-call nurse in to take her place because otherwise there wouldn't be enough staff.  This nurse had to come in and work because the other nurse wasn't going to be on the clock.

We never have to fear a time when our Lord is not "on the clock."  He is always working for us, in us and through us.  He is always working in our lives.  He is the Author and Finisher and the Alpha and Omega.  There will never be a time when we are disappointed with His work ethic or with His attendance record.

"O taste and see that the Lord is good:  blessed is the man that trusteth in Him.  O fear the Lord, ye His saints: for there is no want to them that fear Him."  (Psalm 34:8,9.)

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Mr. Harry's Smile

In one of the nursing homes where we do Chapel Services there is a gentleman named Mr. Harry.  Now he tells me that it is his father who is named Mr. Harry and his name is just Harry.  But Mr. Harry is the sort of person who deserves the greatest amount of respect I can show him.

Mr. Harry is a handsome man with a winsome smile.  He is gracious and kind to everyone around him.  I saw proof of this one day in our meetings.

The meeting had already started when one of the aids pushed Mr. Harry's wheelchair into the room right next to Mrs. Loretta.  Mrs. Loretta has been forlorn for the last few months since her husband died.  When Mr. Harry's wheelchair came next to hers, he put out his hand to her and her face brightened with a huge smile.  It was the first time I had seen her smile in weeks.

Why did Mrs. Loretta smile?  Because Mr. Harry loves the Lord, he seeks to walk in a way pleasing to his Lord and in doing so, he spreads love and joy to those around him.  I can just imagine that his days are spent encouraging those with him in this facility, comforting them, sharing joy and contentment with them everywhere he goes. 

Wherever the Lord puts us is where he wants us to bloom and grow and shed joy to those around us.  We may not feel happy about where we are, but we can know He has a purpose and a plan for us being there.  It is no doubt to me that the Lord has Mr. Harry where he is to be a minister of joy and comfort to those around him.  

Let us follow his example and joy in the place the Lord has planted us.  Let us live our lives in ways that glorify our Lord and honor His Son.

"Not that I speak in respect of want: 
for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, 
therewith to be content." 
Philippians 4:11

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

I've Seen You on the Inside

Often in my job as a Labor & Delivery nurse, I have to be the scrub nurse on C-Sections.  I set up the sterile tables, pass the instruments to the physician during the case and clean up afterward.

During one case, I had met the patient when helping another nurse to admit her.  After the surgery I went to her room to check on her and to offer assistance to her nurse.  The patient made a comment about all the nurses knowing her well.  

"Well," I replied, "I've seen parts of you that YOU have never seen, because I have seen you on the inside."  The patient chuckled in agreement.

Such it is with us and the Lord.  He knows us better than we can ever know ourselves.  He knows the truth of our hearts, our motives, our desires, our fears, our dreams, our disappointments.  There is nothing in us that He does not know because He sees us "on the inside."  

He is this very minute acquainted with every cell in our body and every atom that makes up those cells.  He knows if our blood count is high or low, He knows our cholesterol and the status of the blood vessels supplying oxygen to our hearts.  He knew my mother's cancer was there long before we knew it.  He knew my father's arteries were blocked long before his fatal heart attack.  He knew.  He knows.  He will forever know.

If there is someone I am going to trust about my health, and my family's health, it will be the One who knows every cell, every organ, every bone in our bodies.  We do not need to embrace the temptation to fear about our future because, even though that path is hidden from us, He knows every step of it.  And we know it is His perfect will to work all things for our good and for the conforming of us to the image of His dear Son.

Let us trust the Great Physician to heal where He knows best and to give grace and strength and comfort where it is not best to heal.  He is our Comforter, He is our Strength.  Let us run to Him and be glad.

"I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. 
The Lord redeemeth the soul of His servants: 
and none of them that trust in Him shall be desolate." 
(Psalm 34:3, 22.)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Quartet

In the 1970's Glen and I attended Dauphin Way Baptist Church.   We were blessed to hear great exposition of the Bible and also blessed to hear great music.  Beside the wonderful choir, there were several trios, ensembles and one great quartet.

Each member of that quartet had a fine voice individually, but when their voices blended together it was something bigger and better than simply the sum of the individuals.  Their personalities spilled out through their music and they were a big favorite in the church.

The Scriptures tell us that the Lord Jesus "ever liveth to make intercession for us."  They also tell us that the Holy Spirit "maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."   The Father receives and responds to these prayers.

We tend to think that prayer begins when we first open our lips to offer a prayer to our Father in heaven.  The truth is, prayer is always in existence between the members of the Trinity.  It is as if a holy Trio is singing and we step up to the microphone with them to add our harmony to the mix.

This is exactly what the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit want, for us to join in with them in agreement with their intercession and acceptance of that intercession.  They desire the Trio to become a quartet.  The addition of the prayers of the saints to the prayers of the Trinity becomes a choir unlike any we could have ever heard.

Keeping this wondrous thought in mind, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16.)


My favorite song performed by our quartet in those days was "John the Revelator."  I could not find a video of the Dauphin Way Baptist quartet, but I think you will enjoy this one by The Cathedrals.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Alisa's Sigh

(Dedicated to my dear friend and colleague, Alisa, whose sweet spirit displays the Lord's love and kindness.)

In the Labor & Delivery unit where I work, I am the oldest nurse.  On night shift the younger nurses generally view me as another "mother."  They often come to me for advice and problems, involving their patients, their computers and sometimes their lives in general.

When we come on the unit to work each night each nurse has an assignment.  She may be taking care of a laboring patient, she may have a few postpartum patients or she may be assigned to be the scrub nurse.  The scrub nurse is responsible for performing all the quality assurance controls in the unit and also scrubs in any Cesarean Section performed.

One night I had a few observation patients and Alisa was the scrub nurse.  Terri, our third nurse, came out of her room to tell us the physician had decided to do a C-Section on her patient.  Standing by Alisa I saw her shoulders very slightly droop. I doubt anyone else even noticed it.  I stepped up to our computerized pharmacy machine to remove the preoperative drugs Terri would need and I heard a soft, barely audible, sigh.

 It was Alisa's sigh.  You see, Alisa is ten weeks pregnant.  She has days when she feels really good and days, like this day, when she feels, well, not so good.

I looked at her and asked, "Do you want me to scrub it for you?"

I could tell she really wanted to say "Yes" but she also didn't want to feel as though she was putting me out in any way.

"I don't mind at all," I tried to make her choice a little easier.

"If you do, I'll love you forever!"  she enthusiastically stated, "And I'll bake something for you!"
You see, Alisa makes some of the most delicious cupcakes I have ever eaten.

"You don't have to bake me anything, just love me forever," I joked with her.

Our relationship with the Lord is much like that.

The Scriptures tell us, "And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer, and while they are yet speaking I will hear." (Isaiah 65:24.)  

The Lord is paying attention to us every second of every day.  "The eyes of of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry." (Psalm 34:15.)  He is aware of our every need and He desires to meet those needs. He sees when our shoulders slump and He hears our soft sighs.  He provides for us before we ask, but, we must be paying attention to know He has provided.  Our eyes and ears must be watching Him.  As the writer of Hebrews implores us, we must "consider Him."

Our relationship with the Lord should be one of mutual communication and response.  As we look "unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith," and we will always find His gaze already upon us.

"They that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing."
Psalm 34:10


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

So. . .

Each day our daughter comes to us and shares what has happened in her day.  Often she will start the conversation with the word "so."  It is as if she is just continuing the last conversation we have had.  We love these times when she opens up her world to us, we look forward to this time of sweet fellowship with her.

".. . the prayer of the upright is His delight." (Proverbs 15:8)

If we want to know what delights the heart of God, we must look no further than our own voice.  Our prayers delight Him.  Our prayers don't just please Him, they don't just make Him mildly satisfied, they delight Him.

The dictionary defines delight as "great pleasure."  The synonyms are pleasure, happiness, joy, glee and gladness.  This is what we cause in the heart of God when we pray --any time we lift our attention and our prayers to Him.

Knowing this, how could we ever approach prayer as a duty, or as a drudgery?  Prayer is not a duty,  it is an opportunity to delight the heart of One who has given His most precious Son that we might have the freedom to enter into a conversation with our Heavenly Father.

How much more should this thought cause us to bow our hearts and open up our world to Him.  How much more precious is our voice in His ears than any voice can be in our own ears.

Let us seek times often during the day when we can delight the Lord, perhaps even beginning our conversation where we left off, "so. . ."

"Pray without ceasing." 
1 Thessalonians 5:17

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Inside-Out Work

In my daughter's backyard is a pear tree.  The limbs are heavy with clusters of pears waiting to be ripe enough to eat.

Generally, a pear tree will bear fruit when it is four to six years old, depending upon the soil conditions and the amount of rain and sunshine the tree receives.  It takes time for the tree to be mature enough to make fruit.

With us, when we become Christians by trusting in the Lord Jesus, His Spirit comes to live inside of us and God begins to do an "inside-out" work of making our character more like Himself.  It is this work of the Lord in us that produces fruit on the tree of our lives. 

Everything that is not consistent with the character of the Lord Jesus will be pruned away and everything that is consistent with His character will be cultivated and nurtured.  He is the Master Gardner and He has a plan and a purpose specifically for each one of us. He wields His shears carefully and only removes that which is contrary to His plan and purpose.  He is a tender Gardner and loves and cherish that which is to remain.

"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." 
(2 Corthians 3:18.)

Friday, June 26, 2015

Baby Steps

If you have been a regular reader of this blog, you are aware that for several months I have been plagued with plantar fasciitis in both feet.  A visit to the podiatrist, some well-applied tape, and a lighter walking schedule helped my feet to feel much better, but not perfect.

Before our hike on the Appalachian Trail last month, I was concerned how my feet would fare walking over rocky terrain all day for three days.  I anticipated they would be sore, perhaps very sore, but I never anticipated they would be much, much better!  I was amazed that they did not hurt at all on the trail, nor for several days after we returned.

After our return home, I decided to buy some new trail runners, as mine had way too many miles on them.  While at a local outdoors shop the shoes specialist gave the best piece of advice I have heard regarding my feet.

"Sometimes your feet just need a change to heal, perhaps a change of shoe or even just a change of stride."

"A change of stride."  That was precisely why my feet were so much better on the trail, because my stride was constantly changing.  The rocky surface of the trail meant you could not take the same size stride for any length of time.  The changing stride put pressure on different parts of the foot and gave the sore tendon it's due rest.

Coming home, I have tried to remember to take "baby steps" as we were out walking.  In doing so I found that not only did my feet stop hurting, but I was able to go faster with the shorter steps.

When we first become Christians, we want to grow as fast as we can and do great things for Christ.  But in the beginning we are just babes,  and as babes we are "unskilful in the word of righteousness."  

Just as our earthly babies must sit then crawl then stand and finally walk, we as Christians must follow a similar progression.  It takes much time with the Lord and study of His Word to be at a point where we can run.  Many "baby steps" make us grow faster and the Lord clearly expects our growth in Him. Remaining a baby is no more acceptable in the spiritual realm than it is in the physical realm.

So if we find we are merely sitting as a Christian, let us press on to crawl.  If we crawl let us press on to stand, and then to walk and finally to run, remembering that it is the Lord  who worketh in us "both to will and to do of His good pleasure." (Philippians 2:13.)

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith; 
Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, 
despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1,2

Thursday, June 25, 2015

THE Biography

Our family has enjoyed the PBS television series, "Downton Abbey."  Set in Yorkshire, England in the early 1900's, this series portrays the story of the fictitious Earl of Grantham, his family and the servant who work on their estate.

I took some fiction writing classes in college and I know authors of fiction will often create full biographies of each character in their books, including where they grew up, where they went to school and where they have worked.

Some authors will even create large boards containing the biographical information of each character.  Lines will show how each character interacts with others.  All this information will not make its way into the book, it is meant to make sure the portrayal of each person stays true to their history and character.

The Bible, while not a book of fiction, gives us a faithful and true narrative of the biography of God.  In fact the very first words of the Bible tell us more of the Lord's history and character than we can ever imagine.

"In the beginning God created. . ."  (Genesis 1:1.)

This tells us that God was present before the worlds were made, that He was already there at the beginning of mankind.  It tells us that He is a creative person and that He has the power, the strength and the ability to create.   It tells us that He fulfills that which He desires to do.

The Scriptures go on to reveal the person, work and heart of God as revealed through the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Just as an author has more detail about each character than is revealed in his book, there is so much more to know about the Lord than is revealed within the pages of the Bible.  We will spend all eternity searching out the incredible person, work and character of our Lord, and be thrilled in doing so.

"But as it is written, Eye hath no seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him."  
(I Corinthians 2:9.)

Friday, June 19, 2015

A Little Pregnant

When I was pregnant with our first child, I was excited when I finally had reached the point in the pregnancy I could wear maternity clothes.  

I remember the first day I wore some to work.  I was on the elevator with several other nurses in my unit and one commented on how pretty my top was.  When I told her it came from the maternity store she replied, "You aren't pregnant enough to wear maternity clothes."  Her words hurt my feelings and took the wind out of my sails that day.

The truth is from the moment of conception changes and processes begin in the woman's body to stamp her as pregnant.  She is no less pregnant at eight weeks than she is at forty weeks.  It may be more evident to everyone at forty weeks that she is pregnant, and she will know her pregnancy more and the effects of the pregnancy on her body, but she is no more pregnant than she was in the beginning.

As Christians, believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, He will never be more in our spirits than He is in this very minute.

"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.  In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:  In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit."  Ephesians 19-22

Our spirits are a holy temple for the Spirit of God and when He enters, He fills us completely.  He joins Himself to us in a way the Scriptures compare to a husband and wife, and calls the result "one spirit."

"But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit." (I Corinthians 6:17.)

We can rest upon the fact that the Lord Jesus indwells us by His Spirit regardless of what we do and don't do.  What we do can never change the fact of who we are in Him.  Just as I may stop having fellowship with my son for some reason (God forbid,) it will never change the fact that he is my son.  His sonship and my parenthood are imprinted on his very DNA.

Our sonship in Christ and the Father's parenthood of us are forever imprinted on the hands and feet of the Lord Jesus.  If we are tempted to doubt this -- and most Christians are at some point -- just remember those nailscarred hands.  They are our "adoption papers" signifying that we belong to the Lord, forever and ever.  We are not a "little saved" we are fully saved and sanctified unto the glory of the Lord in Christ Jesus forever.  

By the which will we are sanctified
 through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
 Hebrews 10:10

For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Hebrew 10:14

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Zeal, Will and Underdone Potato

The other day Glen and I were at the gym.  We had already done our walk for the day and perhaps walking in the heat had taken some away some of our enthusiasm for our weight workout.

At one point Glen came up to me and said, "I don't have much zeal for this today."

My reply came out of my mouth without me realizing I had said it, "Better the will than the zeal."

"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do 
of His good pleasure." (Philippians 213.)

"Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, 
that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,  Make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in His sight, 
through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. 
Amen. (Hebrews 13:21.)

Zeal involves feelings.  Will involves choice and belief.  I can have plenty of zeal and not be acting in the will of the Lord.  I can feel absolutely no zeal, but continue in the Lord's will.  Our feelings are part of that fleshly part of us, easily swayed, easily distracted and easily deceived.  

As Scrooge said to Marley regarding why he doubted his own senses, "Because little things upset them. How do I know you’re not a mere – indigestion? A hard gristle of chop, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato? You’re no more than a stomach upset."

Our feelings can often be changed by "a fragment of underdone potato."  But our will to do the Lord's will is a matter of choice through which He can work in and through us to do "His good pleasure."

Let us have faith that He is currently work in us to will and to do of that "good pleasure" and that He will continue to work in us that which is well-pleasing in His sight.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Hidden From the Storm

On our recent hiking trip on the Appalachain Trail, the forecast was for rain and scattered thunderstorms.  We had checked the radar on our drive to Amicalola Falls State Park, where our shuttle was to pick us up and take us to our starting point.  It wasn't clear if the storm would just skirt pass us or hit us directly.  Much depended upon our hiking speed.

We hiked through rain for much of our trip but never had any indications of thunderstorms until the second day.  As we walked we increasingly heard the rumbling of thunder far way (at least we hoped it was far away.)  While crossing a foot bridge over a creek we heard the first crack of lightening.  Having observed many fallen trees scarred along their trunks with lightening, this was not a comforting experience.

I had read several times the things to do, and NOT do, when one encounters lightening on the trail.  Just past the creek we crossed was an area matching the description of a "less dangerous place" (I refuse to call any place on a mountain "safe" during a thunderstorm.)

As we sat and waited it out, we ate a snack and listened intently to the quiet between the claps of thunder and the cracks of lightening.  Finally the quiet between thunder and lightening grew farther and farther apart.  We were able to continue on with no more evidences of thunderstorms.

As we hunkered down from the storm, I felt quite hidden.  Small trees encircled us with taller ones behind them.  We could hear the gentle sounds of the creek bubbling in harmony with the thunder and lightening.  It reminded me of the chorus of a great hymn, "A Wonderful Savior," written by Fanny Crosby:

He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
That shadows a dry, thirsty land;
He hideth my life in the depths of His love,
And covers me there with His hand,
And covers me there with His hand.

We have a friend who frequently prays for others that they might be found in the center of the Lord's will.  If we are in the Lord's will, at the place where the Lord wants us to be, then we can not be safe anywhere else.  No matter how much thunder rolls around us, or lightening flashes near us, we must affirm to be content where He has placed us and trust Him to work out His eternal purpose in Christ Jesus in and through us.

"And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, 
What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?"
Mark 4:41

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

How Great Thou Art

Aware that Glen and I have recently been hiking in the mountains, I was asked exactly what it was that I liked about hiking.  Almost without hesitation I answered, "the stilltness, the sound of the birds in the trees, the sound of the creeks, and the sheer aloneness of it."

Then today one of our sweet gentlemen at one of the nursing homes where we do services sang "How Great Thou Art."  When he got to the second verse, it echoed in my heart:

"When through the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees,

When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze:

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee:

How great Thou art! How great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee:
How great Thou art! How great Thou art!"

In the city we are surrounded by there are so many man-made things shouting at us, we can barely hear the soft, muted sounds of the created things.  In the mountains, with man-made sounds miles of ascents and descents away, the simple sounds of birds singing and brooks bubbling are a loud cacophony of praise to the One who brought them into being.   There is no where you can step workout seeing, feeling, hearing or smelling His handiwork. Our hearts swell with praise and join with all in praising the One who created and sustains us all.

If for one moment the Lord could open our ears to understand the sounds of the mountains and forests, I believe this is what they would be saying:

 "And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever." (Revelation  5:13.)

How great Thou art, indeed. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Pro Se

A person who represents themselves in a court of law is said to be acting pro se, a Latin term meaning "for oneself."

Our daughter is an attorney and spends a great deal of time preparing before her cases go to court.  If one of her clients tried to walk right up to the judge and speak for themselves the judge would immediately have something to say about it and I don't think it would be positive.

In most legal proceedings, one does not just approach the bench unless asked to do so, or instructed to do so by the judge.  Each client must have a mediator on their behalf, an advocate between themselves and the judge.  Likewise, we cannot ourselves go to God to represent ourselves in regard to our sin.  We must have an advocate, a mediator.

"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:" (I John 2:1.)

"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; "(I Timothy 2:5.)

The Man, Christ Jesus, is our advocate.  He "ever liveth to make intercession for us."  

Not only do we have an advocate, but He has also paid the entire penalty of our sin.  And He is the beloved Son of the judge. 

What can we have to fear?