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Entries in Trouble (6)

Saturday
May042013

Soldiers at War

I fell this week and broke a bone in my knee.  I knew immediately I hurt something but also prayed immediately that God would spare me a broken bone.  He didn’t. So, I’ve spent the week learning to adjust to pain, an immobilizer,crutches, the inability “to do” (on many levels), having no energy and not being able to concentrate.  Wow!  Who knew one broken bone could cause such a ruckus in one’s life. 

Thankfully, because I know the God of the Word, I can rest in the truth that He allowed this to happen and since I know all of His dealings with me are good, I can trust He will purpose this event for my good and His glory.  God’s Word also tells me why trials come,what they produce and how I am to respond (James 1).  Isn’t that awesome?  Because I know these truths, I no longer have to walk around acting as though some strange thing is happening to me as a result of breaking a bone (1 Peter 4:12).

This broken bone hasn't been brought into my life to slow me down or stop me. No!  It’s to test my faith which produces endurance.  I need to learn torun with endurance and how to fight the good fight of faith.  Yes, I need to take care and give my body time to heal.  But, slow down? Are you kidding me?  This week’s news included the fact that without parental consent, 15 year old girls can purchase and take the “morning after” pill and the Air Force announced that leaders of all levels (including chaplains) may not "promote their personal religious beliefs to their subordinates or to extend preferential treatment for anyreligion." The penalty is court-martial.  Slow down?

For far too many years I pursued the things of the world rather than the things of God. Fight?  Hardly.  Because I didn't fight, I'm part of the reason truth has literally stumbled in the streets. Much ground has been lost. So,today as I sit here with a broken bone, I also remind myself I am in God’s boot camp because I need to learn endurance.

Here’s how todaysmilitary.com describes boot camp basic training and combat training.  I think this relates to being in God's army.It says: "Basic training prepares recruits for all elements of service: physical, mental, and emotional. It gives people the basic tools necessary to perform the roles that will be asked of them for the duration of their tour." Yep,this will preach! This is exactly how God intends to use the various troubles and trials that come my way! It goes on to say: "combat training is a journey of self discovery...discovering inner strength and learning valuable skills that will help them succeed as soldiers in the army and in life." Preach it some more! God has certainly used the troubles and trials in my life to help me to discover HIS strength as well as teach me valuable skills that ARE helping me to succeed as a soldier in His army. Oh, how I need to remember that life here is not about me, my comfort, my anything. It's about Him and advancing HIS kingdom. No longer do I want to play the role of the harlot princess pursuing the "good life"and the riches of this world or who whines and complains and wishes she were anywhere other than where God has her. That me didn't even know she'd been recruited into God's army - let alone boot camp. I'm embarrassed that I can say I totally get where Private Benjamin is coming from in the below scene from"Private Benjamin." No more...

I might have a stint in a leg immobilizer but I’m still mobilizing forward! How about you (whoever is reading this)? Are you in or are you out?


Saturday
Jan282012

Howl it out!

We used to have a white Boxer named Boomer.  Oh, the funny stories I could tell you about that dog.  In fact, if I ever need a good belly laugh I watch a video of Boomer being Boomer.  Before Boomer, I'd never had or heard a dog who howled.  When Boomer howled, the whole neighborhood heard him.  He'd get his boxer snout all wrinkled up and throw that head of his back and out would come this howl.  He only howled when he wanted his condition changed.  Like when it was raining and he wanted in the house (rather than go into his dog house).  Boomer's howl was pitiful and attention getting.  I found this visual on YouTube.




With that visual in mind, think about how we sound when we cry out to the Lord.  In our despair, we howl.  Oh, we don't often have the luxury of throwing back out heads and letting go so the whole neighborhood hears us.  But, what about those times in the shower, the closet, the car...  Or the times when the howl is deep in our hearts and we open our mouths but no sound will come?  In Psalm 18, David shares this:
"In my distress I called upon the Lord, And cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, And my cry for help before Him came into His ears.
A beautiful example...in our distress, we can call upon the Lord!  We can howl out for help.  And you know what?  He hears our voice, He hears our howl for help - it comes into His ears.  Oh glory be.  I needed to be reminded of that truth today, didn't you?  And, it does not stop there.  David goes on to paint the most beautiful picture of God responding to our howl out.  He says God rides on the clouds, He rides on the cherub to our rescue.
"Then the earth shook and quaked; And the foundations of the mountains were trembling And were shaken, because He was angry. Smoke went up out of His nostrils, And fire from His mouth devoured; Coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also, and came down With thick darkness under His feet. He rode upon a cherub and flew; And He sped upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness His hiding place, His canopy around Him, Darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies.From the brightness before Him passed His thick clouds, Hailstones and coals of fire.The Lord also thundered in the heavens, And the Most High uttered His voice, Hailstones and coals of fire. He sent out His arrows, and scattered them, And lightning flashes in abundance, and routed them. Then the channels of water appeared, And the foundations of the world were laid bare At Your rebuke, O Lord, At the blast of the breath of Your nostrils. He sent from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters." (Psalm 18:7-16)
Wow!  Listen to Psalm 18 and let the words dance about you, grab your heart and cause your spirit to soar so that the next time you are in distress....howl out before the Lord and then wait for He hears and He will act on behalf of the righteous! Look up - He rides on His clouds.



Thursday
Apr092009

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

Monday
Feb162009

I need courage

Life and the emotions of life have been coming at me a lot lately. I have a list of things that concern me. Real things, situations and circumstances that need divine intervention! The thing is - where I am in my thinking and emotions - I don't expect much will get scratched off the list today. In fact, the list will probably be longer by the end of the day. It just seems to be one of those times when things seem to be going this way. You know what I mean? Because I have a tendency to make things all about me, I find myself wondering before the Lord...Where are you?....What are you doing?...What in the world is going on?....I don't understand...

I must keep taking time to get God's perspective on my situations and circumstances, or my thinking will spiral downward and my emotions and attitudes will follow (not pretty). Well, wouldn't you know I picked up my favorite little devotional book and opened it to "Courage." Just the dose of truth I needed to hear, remember and LIVE out.

"My people shall not go mourning, for I the Lord will be their rejoicing and their song. They will not be a complaining people, for I will take away the murmuring from your streets. Will I lead into the battlefronts an army of weeping women? Will I ask the fainthearted to war? No, but I shall give my people brave and courageous spirits, and I will make them strong of heart. I will give them the spirit of the martyrs, for they will be My witnesses of resurrection power. They shall be stalwart. They shall be steadfast. And I will remove from the ranks those who are timid and those who desire comfort and security. My way is a way of sacrifice, and the rewards are not in worldly honors. So take upon you the full armor f God; the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the loins girded with truth, feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, having shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit. Yes, My people this is a hand-to-hand combat. You shall stand against the foe face-to-face. You will not turn in retreat lest you be slain; for there is no armor to protect the back. The coward will perish. You have not wrestled in any measure such as he, the Lord Jesus. You are not prepared to enter into this conflict as long as you are absorbed in the luxuries and the personal comforts of normal life. For every soldier must give first place to his obligation to the armed forces, and second place to his own private life and wishes. Even so you must do, if you would be My followers. Even so did Jesus during His earthly ministry. His entire life was subordinated to the Father's will. As it is written, 'Even Christ did not please Himself' (Romans 15:3). How dare you risk allowing the flesh to manifest its desires? They can be only evil continually. No good thing can come out of a deceitful heart. As the old hymn says, 'The arm of flesh will fail you - you dare not trust your own.' Only that which is generated within you by the Spirit of God can bring forth righteousness 'do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God' (Romans 12:2)."

Come Away My Beloved by Frances J. Roberts

Sunday
Jan182009

God's army

I spoke truths at a seminar yesterday that I need to be reminded of OFTEN. One truth that I seem to so easily forget is that in this world, I WILL have troubles (John 8:44) and so I shouldn't go around acting as though some strange thing is happening to me when troubles and trials come (1 Peter 4:12). Really, it's a miracle of God that anything good happens in this world. I mean, after all, the ruler of this world is our adversary, the devil, who prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking to devour us, our families, marriages, children, churches, and communities (1 Peter 5:8). Boy, it is SO important for me to remember where I am (the world) and to stop and get God's perspective on my troubles and trials. Joseph understood that even though what happened to him was meant for evil - God meant it for good in order to bring about His results and to preserve many people alive (Genesis 50:20). I pray God will help me keep this same perspective - no matter what!

The other truth that I need to remember is that everyday, there is a spiritual battle raging. Far too many years I pursued the things of the world rather than the things of God. Fight? Hardly. Because I didn't join the fight, I'm part of the reason truth literally stumbled in the streets. Much ground has been lost. I shared with the ladies yesterday some facts I found on at todaysmilitary.com re boot camp basic training and combat training that I think relate to being in God's army. It says: "Basic training prepares recruits for all elements of service: physical, mental, and emotional. It gives people the basic tools necessary to perform the roles that will be asked of them for the duration of their tour." Yep, this will preach! This is exactly how God intends to use the various troubles and trials that come my way! It goes on to say: "combat training is a journey of self discovery...discovering inner strength and learning valuable skills that will help them succeed as soldiers in the army and in life." Preach it some more! God has certainly used the troubles and trials in my life to help me to discover HIS strength as well as teach me valuable skills that ARE helping me to succeed as a soldier in His army. Oh, how I need to remember that life here is not about me, my comfort, my anything. It's about Him and advancing HIS kingdom. No longer do I want to play the role of the harlot princess pursuing the "good life" and the riches of this world or who whines and complains and wishes she were anywhere other than where God has her. That me didn't even know she'd been recruited into God's army - let alone boot camp. I'm embarrassed that I can say I totally get where Goldie Hawn is coming from in the below scene from "Private Benjamin." No more....I'm mobilizing for war! How about you (whoever is reading this)? Are you in or are you out?