As we moved through our week of Solemn Assembly, a time of seeking God in repentance, I was thinking about why we need to repent. Of course it's because of sin but what is the basic, bottom-line, essential reason we need to repent?
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The Book of Nehemiah is not just history. It is full of rich treasure for our daily walk with God. A few of the jewels shone out and impressed me again with their fire and clarity.
9:36 - We are slaves in the land of our inheritance; slaves in the very land You gave us to rule.
It seems to be the worst of times. For several years now Al's health has gone downhill with blow after blow. As he struggles to cope in one particular, another difficulty is added; and so it has gone. For a man who was always so strong and physically active, this was a bitter pill to swallow. Nevertheless we still hoped that the light at the end of the tunnel was not an oncoming train.
In addition to surgeries, the exhausting, seemingly endless round of doctors, tests and hospitals wreaked havoc on any schedule or routine in our lives. Week after week got more discouraging; it seemed that the more we prayed, the worse things became. Early one morning as I cried out to the Lord from my aching heart, He said, "Joy cometh in the morning." At first I thought He meant that very morning but that day certainly brought no improvement. Then things got much, much worse. A line from a hymn was skittering around in the back of my mind.
"Jesus knelt to share with Thee the silence of eternity, interpreted by love."
I spent some time in God's Presence, meditating on these wondrous words. When there is no apparent response to prayer, when it seems that God is silent, do I need to probe that silence?
Is there something of eternity in that silence, something which personally affects me? Can I share the silence with God? Just silence ... with Him.
Just silence ... drinking in His unfailing Presence, His tender closeness ... needing only to know that He is there. How will I interpret this long silence -- by judging God as unfair or uninterested or far away? Or will I interpret the silence by Love and sense the mystic joining with eternity and learn that it is truly the silence of eternity, not the silence of rejection?
On this long, dark pathway it's often hard to recognize God's love. And yet ... I don't have to fully understand all things in order to truly know the vital things. God is love and God is my environment. Therefore, no matter how the circumstances attempt to deceive me, I am enveloped, surrounded,overshadowed,protected by Almighty Love.
The point that gives the Book of Job meaning for us is to grasp that not only did Job not know, everything hangs on the fact that he was not meant to know! If he had understood, there would have been no place for faith and he could never have come forth as gold. Job's real message is that there are some things God cannot reveal to us at present. If He did, the very revelation would thwart His purpose for our good. There is an explanation.
God will reveal His purpose -- maybe!
But ... He will reveal Himself!!!
Once again I confirm my stand on Psalm 145:17; The Lord is too wise to ever make a mistake and too loving to ever be unkind.
The morning of joy will come ... in God's way ... in God's time.
In the meantime, WE CAN TRUST HIM!
With love & prayers,
A thought from an old, Scottish preacher draws me again to consider and pursue "on the other side."
Jesus had been in prayer, alone with His Father.
It used to be difficult for me to reconcile "He carried all our sicknesses and sorrows" with Christians dropping like flies from cancer, heart attacks, seemingly senseless and tragic accidents and so much more .................
They dried off around the fire. They stretched their aching muscles. Then Jesus said, "Breakfast is ready."
So often I have fantasized about being at that breakfast on the shore. Wouldn't you like to have been there that early morning?
It was cold and damp and depressing in that dark dungeon. Foreboding shadows worked strange patterns across the floor and walls of the cell. John was a man of the desert, free as the wind and captivity was unspeakably grievous for him. Time passed slowly in the shadows of the prison during his lonely struggle with doubt.
When Jesus mentioned His burial, Judas's last hope of a kingdom position was gone and his wicked, greedy, thieving heart determined to get something out of it. Since Jesus would not fit Judas's mold, Judas would try to destroy Him and make a little profit in the bargain.
We often groan under the load of trials, pain and uncertainty. We long for that time when we will finally reach the golden shores of Heaven and experience the full richness of unsullied joy when we see Jesus -- actually look upon His face and worship at His nail-pierced feet. But for the present there are mounting difficulties; when it seems like things can't get worse, they do. However we also remember --
A rod is a good and useful thing for a shepherd.
He uses it to protect, defend and guide the sheep.
Moses used his rod well and he was startled one day when God asked, "What is in your hand?" "A rod," Moses replied. The Lord said, "Throw it down." "Why," asked Moses, "it's just a stick?"