Tuesday, February 26, 2019

If you're in a tunnel of fog


As my sister and her husband strolled along the beach, a fog descended on them and grew denser with every step. The thick blanket made it hard for them to determine their location by sight. She could hardly see her hand in front of her.

For some reason, my brother in law took out his phone and snapped a picture, maybe just to see how it turned out.

She sent me the photo, one of the most extraordinary images I’ve ever seen. I offer it to you exactly as she sent it to me. It has not been altered in any way except the addition of my website.
 


They felt they were in a soupy fog, but unseen to them, the picture revealed an arc of fog underneath a brilliant blue sky.

We may feel in our lives we’re in that tunnel of fog. We're unable to see our hand in front of us and that we've lost our bearings. I know there are several circumstances in my life that seem that way.

It’s comforting to know just beyond the haze, the sun shines and all is clear. He sees. He knows.

That great saint of God, Corrie Ten Boom, once said, “Faith is like radar that sees through the fog―the reality of things at a distance that the human eye cannot see.”

Oswald Chambers also addressed this, “Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One who is leading.”

The apostle Paul who may have drawn the metaphor in the following verse from his travels wrote, “We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!” (I Corinthians 13:12 The Message).

So, if you’re squinting right now, continue to love and trust God. He’s got this.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

When you're looking for peace


The tuxedo Wilbur occasionally sleeps in his own bed . . .


But more often than not, he’s in Lucy the Aussiedor's space,
night . . .

 
. . . after night.

 
And sometimes, Carl even joins them.



Poor Lucy. She can’t even get her bed to herself, but she doesn’t seem to mind.

Lucy is Wilbur’s home plate, his touch point. In this house, where you see Lucy, you will most often see Wilbur. It never occurs to Wilbur that Lucy outweighs him by sixty pounds and that she could puncture him with her giant teeth. Wilbur trusts Lucy without reservation. He is at peace with her.

Lucy sees Wilbur as a member of her pack. In the past, if another animal showed malice to Wilbur, Lucy was quick to defend him so as Wilbur lies there, his tummy exposed in his most vulnerable position, he is without fear. He knows Lucy will protect him.

All analogies break down at some point, but in a much greater and far more important way, the relationship between these animals causes me to remember God wants us to be at peace with him. He desires for us to be in such a trust relationship with Him, that in our most vulnerable moments, we know our defender will rise up on our behalf. He wants us to know peace in the core of our being . . . no fear.

This past week, Jerry wound up in the ER with cardiac issues, which after a few days of testing in the hospital turned out to be atrial fibrillation. It was the least of several issues they were checking him for, so we were glad no further procedures were required and we could leave the hospital with only a medicine change. For a man who already has several heart stents, this was great news.

I said all of that in just a few sentences, as if it were no big deal. However, in the middle of the process, with him still having cardiac symptoms and doctors having no answers, I had to make a decision about whether I was going to trust God or have myself a little freak-out. In my vulnerable moment, the freak-out was awfully appealing. However, I opted to trust and not allow myself to fall victim to controlling fear.

I reminded myself of what I wrote about last week that God is faithful. God has never abandoned us. God saw this coming and had a way through it. And He did.

Our hearts are full of gratitude for all God has done and what He continues to do.

So, my friend, you may be going through something right now, and be tempted to have your own freak-out. You may be feeling incredibly vulnerable. I have two words for youtrust God. Don’t let the fear win. No matter what happens, God can enable us to hold on to peace no matter where we are . . . in the emergency room or any room.

Remember Wilbur and his upturned white belly lying next to that big brown dog, and take comfort God watches over you. Curl up next to Him. 

Shalom.

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you” (Isaiah 26:3).
 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

If you're looking for faithful


I love this collection of Valentines. The two larger ones were sent to me from my grandmother when I was child. The three smaller ones were given to my dad by schoolmates in the 1930’s.

One of the attributes we most desire in our Valentine is to be true to us, to be faithful. Faithful is a word I’ve been pondering the past few days.

Replacing our roof in January allowed me to get rid of buckets in my office I’d used in the weeks previous when it rained. But of course, the damaged ceiling from the leaks needed to be replaced, too.

To clear the way for the workers to tear out and replace the sheetrock, I needed to move nearly everything. Since I did, I decided to sift through files and toss a few things.

I neared the bottom of a container when I spied two journals from so long ago, I’d forgotten they existed. They were from the years just before I surrendered my life wholly to the Lord.

When I cracked them open, I read about a woman who was confused, lost in sin, nearly in despair, and felt in the dark even when standing in a sunbeam.

I remembered I initially kept those journals as reminders of how awful those years were, in case I was ever tempted to go back.

But praise God, it has been decades now, and I have never been back. Oh, I’ve messed up plenty of times, and I’ve been down, but never without hope. My way has been cloudy, but the light of Jesus has always been with me. I have never, ever been lost again, because I know who I belong to and where my true home is. None of this happened because of me, but because God is faithful.

So, I had myself a victory party.

I ripped the pages from those journals and shredded them, and said, “Take that Satan. My God is faithful.”

As I reflected on those journals, I remembered a song, “He’s Faithful” by Carol Cymbala from the Brooklyn Tabernacle.

It’s been the soundtrack in my brain for several days.

Later, as I read the scripture readings for a Bible study I’m doing, I came on these words from a man who knew the faithfulness of God, “He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (I Corinthians 1:8-9).

And here from The Message, “. . . God himself is right alongside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped up by Jesus. God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that.” (I Corinthians 1:8-9)

This Valentine’s Day, if you’re looking for someone whose love is always faithful, let me introduce you to Jesus who embodies the heart of God. Take encouragement from these words, my dear friendsNO MATTER what the future holds, God is faithful. No situation will surprise Him, and none will be beyond His ability to handle. He will never give up on us. His love will never fail.

God. Is. Faithful.

Have a happy Valentine’s Day and take a moment to watch, “He is Faithful" by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.

 

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Keeping Company


You’ve had the experience.

You’re reading verses you’ve covered many times, and one pops out like a 3-D topographical map.

It happened in verse eight of Psalm 13 last week. “… for God is present in the company of the righteous.”

First, let’s point out we have no righteousness of our own. As believers, Jesus has imparted His righteousness to us because of His work on the cross. If God is present with us, it’s not because of what we’ve done but because of what He has done.

When I read this verse, I remembered a turn of phrase my mother used. “Are Sally and Tim keeping company with each other?” she would ask. Keeping company is decidedly an old-fashioned thing to say. Maybe she got it from my grandmother who still used Elizabethan English for some words like holp instead of help.

Today people hang out together. I think I like keeping company better. How wonderful to think of God keeping company with us.

photo courtesy Brent Smith


When I read this verse, a song from a few years back also came to mind―”You Raise Me Up.” Two of my favorite renditions are from Selah and Josh Groban. I love the lines about inviting someone to come and just be with us for a time. Sometimes it helps me during difficulties to have an empty chair near me as a reminder when I’m praying that God is present―He’s keeping company with me.

Most of all, I believe God being present in the company of the righteous is a promise in the same way as words we find in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” We don’t have to wonder about this. It’s written in red in my Bible, so God himself has made this declaration. I pray for a greater realization of this promise in my own life.

I'm so thankful for kept promises, keeping company, and His presence.

And let me not forget . . . 3-D verses.

Selah "You Raise Me Up" video

Now available in print! Good news, The Key to Everything, previously only available as an ebook is now available in print HERE.

 
 



 



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