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Entries in Trial (3)


I've a long way to go, baby!

In my last post, I made reference to the feminist movement of the 60's and 70's.  One of the old Virginia Slim's commercials used the slogan:  We've come a long way, baby!  A great reminder to us women (baby) that things weren't what they used to be!

As I've been listening to the book of Job, I reached a point and my first thought:  I've a long way to go, baby!  Why?  Job's response to the devastation of losing his sons, daughters, livestock and home.  Did you know that after he tore his robe and shaved his head (a sign of mourning), he fell to the ground and worshiped?  Rewind...he did what?   He fell to the ground and worshiped!  And, in his worship, he declared "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord."

Okay, wait a minute. I want that. I want to know God like Job knew God so that no matter what devastation and loss comes my way my response is one of worship and one that blesses the name of God.

But wait a minute...as I listen on,  Job's devastation doesn't stop there.
     Next came sore boils.
     Then came friends to sit in silence with him as his physical pain was very great.
     They babbled on and on - convinced that Job needed to fess up and get right with God.

After about 10 chapters of listening to these so-called friends go on and on I found myself saying - enough already!  Ah, but then God speaks...

Oh my!  What God reveals about Himself in the midst of Job's pain, suffering and despair are some of the most incredible insights you'll ever find about God. I believe Job 38-41 are some of my favorite chapters in the Bible.  At the beginning of Chapter 41, Job says:

...I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge? Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. Hear now, and I will speak; I will ask You, and You instruct me. I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You; Therefore I retract, And I repent in dust and ashes. Job 42:1-6
God showed up and revealed Himself to Job in such a way that he "saw" God.  In the midst of Job's physical and emotional pain, God spoke to Job and told him wonderful things he did not know.  The visual picture that God painted for Job allowed him to "see" God in a fresh and deeper way.  Look, see - God's power and might are seen in creation!  He is everywhere, he sees everything - He knows everything.  I love this one...
Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said, Who is this that darkens counsel By words without knowledge? Now gird up your loins like a man, And I will ask you, and you instruct Me! Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, Who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it? On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone, When the morning stars sang together And all the sons of God shouted for joy? Or who enclosed the sea with doors When, bursting forth, it went out from the womb; When I made a cloud its garment And thick darkness its swaddling band, And I placed boundaries on it And set a bolt and doors, And I said, ‘Thus far you shall come, but no farther; And here shall your proud waves stop’?" Job 38:1-11
Alrighty then.  I'm good - how about you?  I've a long way to go...but God's compels me through His Word - keep going, come closer, look...see...worship!


Danger, danger!

This past weekend I traveled to CA, attended various meetings & gatherings and to assist Miss Kay. On Friday night and Saturday morning, she spoke at a conference hosted by Friends Church where over 1200 women (and a few men) attended. Right from the get go, she challenged us by asking: "Do you really want God to speak to you or do you want to bury your head in the sand?" Then, went right into the idiom of the ostrich burying its head in the sand...making its very large back side a very large target! Oh yeah....I've definitely resembled that remark!

Yes, I did really want God to speak and speak He did. Our handout was Chapters 1-4, 11 & 12 of Hebrews and boy did I learn alot. I was also reminded in a fresh and powerful way of why studying the Bible inductively is the ONLY way to study! I have "read" Hebrews so many times. While doing other inductive studies, I've even studied certain chapters in Hebrews. But, it's only in CAREFULLY observing the WHOLE book did I get the WHOLE picture.

For instance, as I read through Hebrews, I circled every reference to you which made the details about the people being written to JUMP OFF THE PAGE. You know what I found out from doing this? These folks were:
...Working for the Lord
...Ministering to the saints (6:10)
...Had endured a great conflict of suffering (10:32)
...Been made a public spectacle through reproaches & tribulation (10:33)
...Been imprisioned
...Shown sympathy to prisioners
...Had their property seized (10:34)

BUT, I also learned they were in danger! They were in danger of:
...Drifting away (2:1)
...Falling away from the living God (3:12)

Boy, did that ever get my attention. How is this possible? Well, asking the 5 W's & H questions once again showed me. They
...Had become dull of hearing (5:11)
...Ought to be teachers/mature but needed milk; couldn't handle solid food (5:12-14)
...Had need of endurance (10:36)

Wow - details so easily missed. Had I not been reading asking who are these people and how are they were described, I'm absolutely convinced that once again I would have missed these very important facts.

Now, I really get Hebrews 11 - the faith chapter. Because they were in danger, they needed to be encouraged to keep the faith and to hold fast until the end. Now, I understand why the author went into such detail about Jesus as our high priest. They needed to be reminded that not only did Jesus understand but He symphatized. AND, they could draw near with confidence to the throne of grace and mercy and find help in their time of need.

Oh my - listen to this....because their attention was no longer on Jesus but on their situations and circumstances, they weren't growing spiritually. They were in danger of falling away. If that happened, it would prove that the word they had heard (the gospel) had not been united by faith. That's just plain scary.

It was REALLY interesting and attention getting to note that the author kept reminding them of what they had heard, were hearing and the importance of what they did with what they heard - how they responded to what they had heard. HERE'S THE BOTTOM LINE:

They heard the word. Week after week I hear the word. They....me....will respond in one of two ways.

...Harden my heart (do not believe by faith)
...Accept by faith = live by faith

These truths became so clear to me. So simple. So black and white. And, they cut right to my heart! Just like the author of Hebrews says...."the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart." Hurts so good!

You know what? If they were in danger then I am too. Fixing my eyes on Jesus...

"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross..." Hebrews 12:1-2


One little dog

In 2006, my parents moved up here from Georgia. It was a major lifestyle change and move for them. Rarely do "southerners" move north (especially at the age of 86)! Plus, they sold practically everything they owned, moved in with us and gave up most of their independence. With them came the cutest little black toy poodle named Chipper. It seems that on a January morning 1.5 years earlier, my mother said: "I want a puppy." Within days, daddy presented mother with her puppy. The fact that my daddy lived to please my mother is a blog for another day.

During my parent's packing and preparation to move up to PA, it became obvious that something was going on with my mother. Because she had grown more and more fragile during her 80's we wondered if the move wasn't just too much for her. It was much more than that. Within a week of their arrival, we had mother in the hospital were she was diagnosed with brain cancer. We brought her home and were able to keep her here until the angels came for her three months later.

In Georgia, Chipper he had been an "only child." At first in PA, he seemed to enjoy his new home and new "sibling." But, as mother got worse, he grew more anxious. He hated the wheelchair the moment it arrived and would yip and bite the wheels. Eventually, we'd have to kick him out of the room or bathroom because he would pitch such fits. I'm pretty certain this is when Chipper started to dislike me. It was at this point that Chipper's goal in life and full time job became protecting my parents from ME. I would walk in the room and he would growl. Every chance he would get he'd charge me. Let me tell you....little 6.5 dogs have a LOT sharp teeth. After mother died, he got even more protective of my daddy. Now, if Chipper hears me move in the house he gets testy. If I approach my father, he charges. If I attempt to enter daddy's "space" - forget about it. Chipper goes balistic. He hates me. His daily dose of prosac helps a little. But, his behaviorlist said he'd rather die than submit to me. Because my daddy is legally blind, I do a lot of things for him and so have to interact with him often during the day. Each time, it's a battle with Chipper.


So, what's my point? One little dog has been used by God to show me that I am not at all the person I thought I was.

But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does. If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. (James 1:22-27)