Thursday, May 7, 2015

Hidden for the Future

In our family Glen is the present and I am the future.

What I mean is that we have a system of dealing with finances.  Glen pays the bills which are due and I save for those bills and events which are in the future.

I save for things which will come up later in the year, such as the flood insurance, or Christmas.  I save for things which may come up in a year or two, such as a vacation or special events.  I even save for things which will occur many years from now, such as my grandchildren's graduations.  To accomplish this, I set aside a certain amount from each payday for each of these specific things.  In a sense, this money is hidden away for the time it will be used.

When we read the Bible there is also a present and a future.

We read passages and they present the truth of the Lord to us in that reading.  We may not have a great illumination of any specific truth, but we know the Lord is still speaking to us through His Word.  That Word also becomes hidden away in our hearts, hidden for a future time.

As we read the Scriptures consistently, the word hidden in our hearts builds upon itself.  One upon another, little by little, or as the Scriptures themselves say, "precept upon precept; line upon line; here a little, and there a little." Before we know it, the Scriptures create a tapestry in our hearts revealing more and more of the Lord Jesus.

It may be that we have a particular question regarding a passage or issue in our lives.  As we create this hidden tapestry of Scripture, the Word begins to interpret itself.  Perhaps a passage we have read from the Old Testament complements one in the Gospels we are currently reading.  The one helps to illuminate the truth from the other.

As important as it is for me to plan and save for future events, how much more important it is to have a hidden vault of Scripture in my heart which the Lord can bring to my mind in times of need.

Glen wrote the other day in The Special of the Day. . . From the Orange Moon Cafe  how he loves to read and re-read the Sherlock Holmes books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He said that the stories provide "ongoing enjoyment despite my many and repeated readings of the tales."   When one loves a book, it is a pleasure to read it again no matter how many times one has read it in the past.  The same is true of the Scriptures.  We may know parts of passages by heart and still love to read them again.  This is how we hide that Word away in our hearts.

May we all begin to build that vault of Scriptures in our hearts for the future, whether it be one minute, one year or one decade.

"Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.  
I will meditate in Thy precepts, and have respect unto Thy ways.  
Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path."
Psalm 119: 11, 15, 105

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Learning to Swim

(Thanks to my dear friend, Peggy,  for bringing this memory to mind.)

My Dad was a tremendous swimmer.  As a young man he loved to watch the Johnny Weissmuller movies and patterned his swim stroke after the Olympic swimmer and actor.  

When my siblings and cousins were young we used to go to a place to swim which was part lake, part swimming pool.  There was a permanent raft in the lake part of the pool and my daddy would point at us from that raft.  Then he would dive in and swim underwater all the way to us in the shallow end.  I remember he looked like a huge shark coming at us under the water.  When he reached us, he would grab us and start tickling us.  It didn't impress me at the time (I was too scared watching him coming toward us) that he swam all that way on one breath, but it sure does now.

My dad's way of teaching us all to swim was to take us to that raft in the deep end and throw us off into the water.  He would then wait for us to swim back to the raft.   Having watched daddy swim, it seemed we knew how to imitate him enough to make our way back.  We all managed to swim and not a one of us drowned in the process.

It never really occurred to me before that my daddy was not afraid of the water, for himself or for us.

As a Marine Engineer, his whole life was about the water. He could swim well and he knew it.  He knew too, that if we started to show any sign of trouble in the deep end, he could be at our side in a flash -- or perhaps a splash. He knew the deep end would make us swim in a way the shallow end never could.  As long as He was on the raft watching us, there was no way we could come to harm.  Once we learned not to be afraid in the deep end, he would begin to teach us the mechanics of the swim stroke.  He taught us not only to swim, but how to tread water and how to float.

Our Heavenly Father is much the same.  There are times He knows we need the deep end.  We need to not be able to feel the secure footing under our feet so that we learn to swim, or tread water, or even just float as we trust Him.  As long as He is on the raft watching us, we can come to no harm.  Our time in the deep end teaches us to trust Him, to know His eye is always on us.  Then He teaches us how to tread water and to float resting in Him no matter the depth of the sea beneath us.

"For He commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind
which lifteth up the waves thereof."
Psalm 107:25

"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, May 5, 2015

Blood Drive

The hospital where I work hosts several blood drives each year.  As an incentive for employees to give blood, the hospital often sponsors a raffle.  Each blood donor's name is put in a drawing for a free vacation day.  Only once in the twenty-three years I have worked at the hospital and given blood, have I ever won the vacation day.

Incentives or not, I am always impressed at the number of employees, and even their family members, who come out to donate blood.

There are many people in my sphere for whom I would willingly give my blood.  My family, my co-workers, and of course the lovely people we have the honor of doing services for at several area nursing homes.  But the list of those I would be willing to give my life for is quite small.

When I think of that, it amazes me that the Lord Jesus Christ willingly gave His life for us all when we were ungodly and turned away from Him.

"For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Roman 5:6-8.)

It is one thing for someone to die for a family member or loved one.  It is quite another to die for those that hate you and refuse you.  Christ needed no incentive to give His blood, His very life, for our souls because His love was --and is-- that great for us.

 There is no way we can ever fathom the depths of that love.  It will be one of the great quests of eternity for us to ever delve into the wonders of Christ's love.

"For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; 
that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." 
(2 Corinthians 5:21.)

Monday, May 4, 2015

Don't Get Lost on the Trail

Glen and I are planning our next section hike of the Appalachian Trail later this month.  Last night I was showing him some video of the portion of the trail we plan to hike and he remarked that the trail didn't look very clear in that section.  

"We don't want to get lost," he said.

How true.  We want to make sure we look for those white blazes that mark the trail and carefully choose the right path at trail crossings. 

This is true of our Christian lives as well.  We want to choose wisely.

I tried to teach our children when they were growing up that there were consequences to every choice  they made.  I would often tell them, "If you make wrong choices, bad things happen."  

We have a myriad of choices to make every day of our lives.  Some are small and seemingly insignificant while some may be major and life changing, but each has consequences.  Some choices are clear, like the Appalachian Trail with it's characteristic white blazes.  Other choices may take much prayer, searching the Scriptures and seeking the counsel of other believers.  Whatever our choices, we must live with the consequences.

Like David, perhaps we should all pray "Lead  me, O Lord, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make Thy way straight before my face." (Psalms 5:8.)

May we all make the choices and walk along the paths that lead us to the summit of the mountain and to the shelter of our dear Lord.

"That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.  For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit." (Romans 8:4,5.)

Friday, May 1, 2015

He Hideth My Soul

  1. I love the hymn, "A Wonderful Savior,"  by Fanny Crosby. 

  2. The imagery of being hid in the cleft of the rock, covered by the Lord's hand is such a touching picture.  Fanny doesn't leave it at that, though, she adds that from that rock we look out upon "rivers of pleasure."

  1. Fanny Crosby's imagery is for the Christian, a moment-by-moment reality.

"For in Him we live, and move, and have our being;" (Acts 17:28.)

I cannot begin to suggest that I understand this, but I do find it a wonderful source of comfort and encouragement.  Whatever situation we face, wherever our path with the Lord takes us, whatever pain or sorrow we bear, we are in this moment in God.  In fact, the Scriptures say our life is "hid with Christ in God."

So not only are we "in God" but we are hidden there "with Christ."  I can think of no other safer, more blessed place to be than "with Christ in God."

Whatever faces us in this moment, let us remember, let us affirm, let us hold fast to this truth, that we are "with Christ" and "in God."

  1. A Wonderful Savior
  2. by Fanny Crosby

  3. A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
    A wonderful Savior to me;
    He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
    Where rivers of pleasure I see.
    • 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.
  4. A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
    He taketh my burden away,
    He holdeth me up and I shall not be moved,
    He giveth me strength as my day.
    • 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.
  5. With numberless blessings each moment He crowns,
    And filled with His fullness divine,
    I sing in my rapture, oh, glory to God!
    For such a Redeemer as mine.
    • 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.
  6. When clothed with His brightness transported I rise
    To meet Him in clouds of the sky,
    His perfect salvation, His wonderful love,
    I’ll shout with the millions on high.
    • 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.