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Bind Us Together, Lord

7 Apr

 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

For many years, I thought this verse meant if we just kind of sit and wait patiently, without striving, God would renew our strength to help us get through those tough times when we are worn down to nothing.

But. No.

The word wait, qavah, means to bind together by twisting. When we bind ourselves together with the Lord by twisting, He renews our strength. Renew written in the tense it is written, the Hiphil Imperfect, means that God will exchange our strength for His.  It is through the binding together that this happens.

BIND US TOGETHER, Lord, Bind us together
With cords that cannot be broken.
Bind us together, Lord,
Bind us together,
Bind us together with love.

 

Eternity in our Hearts

25 Mar

For me to live is Christ [His life in me], and to die is gain [the gain of the glory of eternity]. Philippians 1:21 Amp

At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door.  We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure.  We cannot mingle with the splendours we see.  But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so.  Some day, God willing, we shall get in. – C.S. Lewis

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He also has planted eternity in men’s hearts and minds [a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy], yet so that men cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

Como, James T. C.S. Lewis at the Breakfast Table and Other Reminiscences. New York: Collier, 1979. Print.

Wonder

23 Apr

IMG_7378I pray I never lose my sense of wonder.

The great temptations which thine eyes saw, and the signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the stretched out arm, whereby the Lord thy God brought thee out: so shall the Lord thy God do unto all the people of whom thou art afraid.  Deuteronomy 7:19

Although we usually think of wonders as miracles–what is more wonderful than His Creation, which attests every day to His attention to detail and His love of beauty and His creative power?  The Lord has brought us out, out of slavery to sin, and His wonders attest to His power to deal with the fears in our lives.  Rest.  Enjoy the wonders about you.
(The picture is of our grandaughter, Galilee, during her visit to Costa Rica last month.)

Summer Rain

25 Feb

summer-rain-243616

Do you know what a summer rain is?

To start with, pure beauty striking the summer sky, awe-filled respect absconding with your heart, a feeling of insignificance at the very heart of the sublime, so fragile and swollen with the majesty of things, trapped, ravished, amazed by the bounty of the world…

Just as tear drops, when they are large and round and compassionate, can leave a long strand washed clean of discord, the summer as it washes away the motionless dust can bring to a person’s soul something like endless breathing.

That is the way a summer rain can take hold in you–like a new heart, beating in time with another’s. ~ Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Sing to the Lord with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp.  He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills.  Psalm 147:7,8

**NOTE:  For those of you in the throes of winter, I’m sorry.  It is clouding up to a nice summer rain in Costa Rica right now.

Photo credit: nature.desktopnexus.com/wallpaper/1179350/

A Big, Big God

3 Jan

IMG_704519 By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations,
by understanding he set the heavens in place;
20 by his knowledge the watery depths were divided,
and the clouds let drop the dew.

21 My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight,
preserve sound judgment and discretion;
22 they will be life for you,
an ornament to grace your neck.
23 Then you will go on your way in safety,
and your foot will not stumble.
24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.  Proverbs 3

Reading this today, my heart swells  with how big my God is. It’s so easy to cram him into a little corner…but he brings the refreshing dew to our lives. And sweet sleep. He laid the foundation of the earth.  He.  He.  He.  Not me, me, me.

A New Year’s Thought

31 Dec

IMG_6868I’ve spent a lot of needed time in 2012 realizing how much I NEED God–I have such a ridiculous tendency to depend on myself.  My son, Doug, has been realizing the same.  Here’s a stanza from a poem he recently wrote:

I start by asking for help of heavenly realms

so my voice can carry my story, my psalm

about a slave knelt down at the foot of a throne

then stretched out and laid out prone

down on the raw, bare balls of my palms

thoughts born of a storm far from calm.

Drawn off experience and painted in red

these words are not written–but bled.

~ Doug Handwork

My New Year’s resolution??  To know Him, embrace Him intimately, and trust Him more.

God: The Strength of My Heart

10 Oct

The other day I wrote about Psalm 90:11 which discusses the fear of the Lord.  Let’s take a look at the verse 12 today.

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Psalm 90:12 KJ

The meanings of the first phrase in Hebrew are self-evident, but the second phrase has some interesting shades of meaning:

The word apply, or bow’, means to lead in, to carry in, bring in, gather, and cause to come.  The word gather reminds me of something that is fragmented, like our heart which needs to be united to totally fear the Lord about which I wrote about the other day.  It sounds like we need a sheepdog to herd the fragments of our hearts together to be able to apply them to wisdom.

The word heart includes all of the innermost parts of us–our minds, our souls, our consciences, our emotions, and our wills.  It is incredibly easy for these parts to fragment, isn’t it?  This verse says that we can apply our hearts to wisdom when we learn to number our days due to our fear of the Lord.  It seems that the fear of the Lord is key to so much.

I can only relate this to the way I felt about my dad.  I respected him totally.  I had him on a pedestal.  I didn’t want to do anything to make him think less of me.  And so I worked and worked hard to gain his approval.  He loved me either way–but I still worked due to fear that I would lose His approval.  I tend to approach God the same way–with work.

Then I read the following verse and I gave a sigh of relief:

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the Rock and firm Strength of my heart and my Portion forever.  Psalm 73:26

God is the fragment gatherer.

Fear of Rejection

29 Jan

According to Robert McGee’s book, The Search for Significance, the fear of rejection limits the intimacy of our relationships.  He says that “Turning to others for what only God can provide is a direct results of our acceptance of Satan’s lie:

Self worth = Performance + Others’ Opinions

I was thinking about this in relationship to our roles as parents.  Could the equation be rewritten thusly:

My self-worth = Performance of my Children + Others’ Opinions (of me and my parenting)

People who believe this, and I believe that we all do sometimes, forget about the free will.  I remind others–and myself–that God was the perfect “parent,” if you will, to Adam and Eve in the Garden.  Yet we all know what became of that.  Are you living in Satan’s lie today?

And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach.  Col. 1:21-22

Advent-urous

23 Dec

I was looking up the word adventurous in my favorite dictionary (Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language) and it’s related to the word advent which means “to come to.”  Jesus came to earth for us.  I love this poem I found this morning about the Advent of Christ:

Light looked down and beheld Darkness.

“Thither will I go,” said Light.

Peace looked down and beheld War.

“Thither will I go,” said Peace.

Love looked down and beheld Hatred.

“Thither will I go,” said Love.

So came Light and shone.

So came Peace and gave rest.

So came Love and brought life.

And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. ~ L. Houseman

One of the definitions of adventure is “an enterprise of hazard; a bold undertaking, in which hazards are to be encountered, and the issue is staked upon unforeseen events.”  The best adventure we can have is to whole-heartedly follow Jesus.  It’s advent-urous because we don’t know what’s ahead,  but thankfully HE DOES.

The Word became flesh
and took up residence among us.
We observed His glory,
the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father,
full of grace and truth. John 1:14 HCSB

Fear

28 Nov

“But he’s a master of that art.  It’s his whole life.  I doubt if he himself has any idea what it’s like to be so paralyzed by fear that you feel small and insignificant.  But he knows just how to arouse that fear and spread it, in people’s homes and their beds, in their heads and their hearts.  His men spread fear abroad like the Black Death, they push it under doors and through mailboxes, they paint it on walls and stable doors until it infects everything around it of it’s own accord, silent and stinking like a plague.” ~ Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

We must remember the source of our fears.  It is the enemy who spreads fear and doubt among us.  Last night I was teaching a women’s Bible study at church.  I’m doing a year-long series on family.  Last night the theme was, The Family is a Refuge.  The text I used was Matthew 25:34 – 40, when we serve others–even when we don’t see results–we are serving Christ.  I used the examples given (clothing the naked, visiting the sick, visiting the prisoners, feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, and taking in strangers) in both their straightforward and metaphorical senses.  For example, a prisoner can be in the county jail or can be a prisoner to anger, pride, drugs, etc.

What I saw on the faces of the women I taught last night was fear and discouragement.  They had little hope that situations in their families would change.  They did not seem encouraged that even when we don’t see results we are ministering to Jesus.  Their fear is in control.  However,

He has given us the privilege,

74 since we have been rescued

from our enemies’ clutches,

to serve Him without fear

75 in holiness and righteousness

in His presence all our days.  Luke 1: 73b – 75