Category Archives: Faith

Watching the Wasps

wasp

But godliness with contentment is great gain.
1 Timothy 6:6

Today I saw several wasps and they were utterly engaging. I watched, with awe, as they industriously visited each trumpet flower in search of sweet nectar. And surprisingly, I marveled at how beautiful they were, in their own way. This may seem quite insignificant, yet you would be impressed if only you knew how much I detested wasps in the not-so-distant past. Granted, I generally love all of God’s creation, but there are certain creatures, wasps, for instance, that cause me consternation rather than pleasure. In all fairness, my wasp phobia was the direct result of being allergic to their stings, but that understanding did little to improve my attitude.

Why the sudden change?

As I have previously shared, the last several months have been quite difficult for me. My health had been in decline for quite a while, when a week-and-half ago, I landed in the emergency room with a  new, daunting challenge –one that will take a bit to overcome. As a result, I find that my physical senses are dulled. However, the opposite may be said of my spiritual and emotional senses —they have only been heightened.

My experience riding home from the doctors’ office was much like that of watching the wasps. I have always tried to be content living here, in the flatlands of the Midwest where God has placed me, but my heart has always dreamt of living in a cabin near cool mountain streams and flowered meadows, of hiking  through scenic mountain trails. Sometimes, if I close my eyes and shut out the sights and sounds of the city, I can almost smell the evergreens. This only deepens my longing. But today, much to my amazement, I looked  upon  this old, familiar scenery in a whole new way; it never looked as pleasant or as beautiful, nor have I ever appreciated it as much.

Physical challenges seem to have a way of changing our perspective, but why must it take something like this, I wondered, to allow me to fully enjoy certain things. I promptly repented for all the times I grumbled about my dull and unappealing surroundings. Yes, my heart will continue to dream of all the beautiful places that I would love to visit, but I have determined  to be more like the Apostle Paul who said, “I have learned to be content in whatever situation I am in.” (Philippians 4:11).

There is, after all,  great peace in contentedness.

Like A Flood

flood

 

Where have I been for the last few months, you might ask? Truthfully, I have been battling a rather serious health issue; one that has knocked me down more than once, but rest assured, I’m not down for the count. In fact, I plan to resume blogging now, despite my weakened condition. But first, I want to share a post from my archives because it seemed very appropriate amid the physical and emotional storms that so many are facing. I will share this post both here, and on my Rays of Light page, but check back soon because no matter what, God’s mercies are too great to keep silent and I will, Lord willing, be adding new posts to both sites very soon.

Today, as I gazed upon the brightest, most beautiful sky that I have seen in weeks, I couldn’t help but think of those living in flood-ravaged areas; and right now, there are plenty of those. I also wept for a few dear friends who are going through some very devastating storms in their personal lives. It seems that so many of us are going through heavy storms of one type or another. Don’t give up, friends, even when those storms seem to come against you………..

LIKE A FLOOD

Sometimes God calms the storm. Sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child.

This past weekend, the weather here was horrendous. We were hit with the whole gamut of storm threats, including tornadoes, hail and flooding. In fact the hail stone pictured –or should I say hail boulder- was one of many that pounded this region. There was quite a bit of property loss in our area, but praise the LORD, there were no serious injuries.

hail

I thought of the second half of Isaiah 59:19: When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him. However, the ancient Hebrew texts did not have commas, or paragraphs for that matter, so instead of reading:

When the enemy shall come in like a flood —the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him

the verse could just as easily read

When the enemy shall come in —like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.

What’s the difference? The difference is where you place the emphasis. Dear reader, when you are bombarded with the storms of life, do you focus more on the storm, or on the one who can calm it?

It is only natural to feel completely overwhelmed at times. Undoubtedly, many of the folks here that lost their homes in the tornadoes felt that way. I’m sure they could relate to the words of King David did when he penned the following:

My heart is in anguish within me;
the terrors of death have fallen on me.
Fear and trembling have beset me;
horror has overwhelmed me.
I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest.
I would hurry to my place of shelter,
far from the tempest and storm.
Psalm 55:4-8 NIV

But David didn’t stop there, allowing his situation to flood him with despair. Instead, he confidently proclaimed, “As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me” (verse 16).

Dear reader, I leave you with these encouraging words from the same Psalm; may they flood you with peace during your roughest storms.

“Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved (verse 22).

(Like a Flood originally posted April 2012)

Depths of Despair

cross on bible

“Can’t you even imagine you’re in the depths of despair?” Anne (of Green Gables) asked. “No I cannot,” was the reply. “To despair is to turn your back on God.”

Although I see Mirilla’s point, I don’t entirely agree. The Lord God understands all of our human frailty and our pain, even when we slip into the “depths of despair”  and I am very grateful that he does. Even though I am a person of faith, I felt pretty far down in those depths recently, because the last month has been an extremely difficult one; filled with an overwhelming amount of emotional pain.

Thankfully, the Lord never forsakes us in our time of need. While I sat in the therapeutic massage chair at my chiropractor’s office, feeling the wonderful relief of muscles relaxing, I enjoyed the soothing instrumental music. Aside from the sweet presence of the Lord, I was alone in the room at the time and therefore felt comfortable quietly singing the lyrics  to myself:

“… My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!”

Very gently, the Lord spoke to my heart and reminded me to nail my burdens to the cross and bear them no more. As a Christian, I know to do that, but sometimes, I get so distracted with pain and such, I simply don’t relax in the promises of the Lord; promises for peace and comfort. Can you relate?

Today, I am reminded of the thirtieth chapter of I Samuel. When King David and his men returned to their city and found it burned, and all the women [and children] carried away captive, David was “greatly distressed” yet he “encouraged himself in the Lord his God.”

Dear reader, we are only human; we will experience pain, and sometimes we might even feel that we are in the “depths of despair.” Surely, the apostle Paul felt this way at times, but he too encouraged himself in the Lord. I’m sure he never denied feeling despair, but he boldly denied its right to remain. We can certainly learn from his example. He encouraged others by reminding them, as I now remind you:

“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed…” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

<< To read the incredible account of  why   “It is Well with my Soul”  was written,  click here: IN THE MIDST OF PAIN, GOD! >>

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On My Knees

Cleaning: Getting More Soapy Water

Some day, I plan to buy a steam cleaner for my kitchen and bathroom floors. But I have to admit, there are times when I actually enjoy getting on my hands and knees and scrubbing them the old-fashioned way. Of course, I do have a mop and bucket, but once-in-a-while I just get that toothbrush-to-the-nooks-and-crannies, kind of urge to do some deeper cleaning.

Last week, while I was on my knees scrubbing away, it occurred to me that some of the most rewarding things in my life are done on my knees —playing with children, cleaning, gardening, and praying, to name a few.

If only I could get up and down like I used to!

Since I can’t, I find the time on my knees is becoming less and less frequent. And for that reason, I don’t even pray on my knees as much as I used to. This has never really concerned me though, since our Lord hears our prayers despite our physical position. Many times, the luxury of praying on bended knee is not afforded us. In fact, it was reported of General Stonewall Jackson, “While the battle was raging and the bullets were flying, Jackson rode by, calm as if he were at home, but his head was raised toward heaven, and his lips were moving evidently in prayer.”¹

Still, there is just something special about those times spent on our knees in prayer. Scripture informs us that even Jesus prayed this way at times. Thus, I leave you with the following words from the apostle Paul:

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. 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, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21).

¹ America’s God and Country, William J. Federer, p.27