Sunday, October 30, 2011

My God Is Near To Me

This morning we were singing 'You Never Let Go' at my practically-home church, Heritage Park Baptist. 
Two weeks in a row and at two different churches in different counties, I've been hit square between the eyes with "being anxious for nothing" goodness. 
here's the link to last week's thoughts: Don't Worry, Be Faithful

This week was Philippians 4:4-7
 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!  Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

While I'd love to just type out the sermon word-for-word, I won't. 
I'll summarize:
   The Lord is near (As in, CLOSE BY TO YOU!), and when you keep your eyes and your mind focused on Him, then (and only then) will your heart be guarded and protected by His peace.
There's no other way to obtain that supernatural, spiritual peace you're longing for.
The kind of peace that kept Daniel from having a heart-attack in the lions den. 
The kind of peace that gave Paul and Silas a song in the night.
The kind of peace that Jesus demonstrated as he graciously took our pain and suffering on the cross. 
The kind of peace that comes from knowing that God is sovereign over all and he truly cares about me, my hurts, my future, my family, my hopes, my very life.
   Anyways. I started off with a sentence that probably up to this point seems completely unrelated, and since I have the power of editing, I should probably have just cut that and found a new opener. But as you can see, I haven't. My writing style was born to be confusing (and unfortunately for you, I do a pretty good job keeping it that way).
Well, I want to pull that thought in NOW. (yes, go ahead back up to the top to read it again, if you already haven't)
I've loved that song since I first heard it, probably 5 years ago, but today one phrase in particular jumped out at me that never has before:

"I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on"

It was like a "DON'T GIVE UP!" shout from my soul. 
Right now, I'm going through a lot of waiting and wondering about what I should be doing and where I should be going with my life (among other things), and I feel like God's been awful silent for an awful long time. But I cannot give up, because there is a light coming for the heart that holds on. And there is a PEACE that will be given me while I'm waiting and even when the waiting is over, if I keep my eyes focused on my Jesus. 

That reminder gave me the "umph" to make it another hour, day, week, month, year..... because I know My God is Near To Me.
looking unto Jesus,

You Never Let Go (Complete with subtitles... i'm guessing portuguese?!)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

the perfect hymn

I sing the mighty power of God, that made the mountains rise,
That spread the flowing seas abroad, and built the lofty skies.
I sing the wisdom that ordained the sun to rule the day;
The moon shines full at God’s command, and all the stars obey.

I sing the goodness of the Lord, who filled the earth with food,
Who formed the creatures through the Word, and then pronounced them good.
Lord, how Thy wonders are displayed, where’er I turn my eye,
If I survey the ground I tread, or gaze upon the sky.

There’s not a plant or flower below, but makes Thy glories known,
And clouds arise, and tempests blow, by order from Thy throne;
While all that borrows life from Thee is ever in Thy care;
And everywhere that we can be, Thou, God art present there.

[I Sing The Mighty Power Of God by Isaac Watts]
In my own (and very humble) opinion this belongs in the “perfect hymn” book. Every single line and phrase is, well, perfect at directing my thoughts to praise my Creator. I’ve been meditating on it lately and am just in awe at all that God has done and at how he cares for what He has created. He is sovereign. He is good. He is just. He is God.

Which hymn(s) would you add to the “perfect hymn” hymnal?


Monday, October 24, 2011

Don't Worry, Be Faithful!

Today I visited Calvary Bible Church in Ft. Worth. I was really blessed, and I want to share with you some of my thoughts on Pastor Brent Osterberg’s message from Matthew 6:25-34.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, o you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying ‘what shall we eat?’ or ‘what shall we drink?’ or ‘what shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do no be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
His title was Drowning Your Worry in the Ocean of God’s Faithfulness, and his focus was on five truths we can use to drown our worries.
The first thing that was made very clear was something I needed to hear: Worry Is SIN! even though we tolerate and excuse it much more easily and often than things like murder, adultery etc. We must look at worry how God sees it- as sin. Why would worry be considered something wrong? Isn’t it okay to be greatly concerned about situations and people and things in our lives? Well, I think yes and no. It’s fine for me to show concern, and to give attention to things, but when it becomes something I worry about( aka obsess over, fixate on, etc.), it means that I have begun to doubt that God is a faithful and caring God, that He can take care of it. It’s outright unbelieving God. ouch. 

Some one-liners I have written in my notes are as follows:
Worry is trying to take your life into your own hands.
Worry gives you spiritual tunnel vision- you miss out on the peripheral God’s giving.
Worry keeps us from serving God well.
Here are Pastor Brent’s collection of five truths to drown worry, from Matt 6:
1. Life is more than the things we worry about. it's about God. Worry gives you spiritual tunnel vision, and you miss the things God wants you to see, by being consumed with the one thing that worries you.

2. We don't have to worry, because our Heavenly Father values and cares for us. More than the birds of the air (which he feeds) and the grass of the field (which he clothes). He knows each sparrow that falls to the ground, and how much more does he care for you and me?

3. Worry doesn’t pay off. “Can anyone by worrying add a single hour to his life?” I starred this one-- *Bethany, you’re not making progress toward a solution when you worry. Bethany, you’re NOT making progress toward a solution when you worry. BETHANY, ARE YOU LISTENING? YOU MAKE NO PROGRESS WHEN YOU WORRY.*

4. God will provide for those who seek Him. For crying out loud, He’s already done the hard part, He already sent His one and only Son to die on the cross for our sin. Why wouldn’t he be able to take care of these menial every-day needs? Why do we trust him for eternal life, but not for our daily needs? Do I really think that I can do a better job taking care of my life than God could? If I do, there’s a major problem.

5. Tomorrow is in God’s hands. “Tomorrow will take care of itself.” as in, God took care of today, and he’ll do the same tomorrow. 
The question is: Do you trust him?

There’s so much more I learned, and so much more that I didn’t even have time to write down. It really spoke to me, because I’m such a natural worrier. Some people joke that if there’s nothing to worry about, I’ll make something to worry about. Or if I’m not worried about anything, I’m looking for the next thing to worry about. It’s a terrible habit of mine, and I’ve been working at it for years now. I feel like this sermon gave me some great ammunition against worry. And it came down to one all-encompassing thought for me: Bethany, If you’re going to be faithful to God, you must not worry. 

I'm hoping this speaks to you in some way, and if it does I'd love to hear that I'm not the only one!

In other news: 

Here are two songs I've been thinking about today:

Time for me to post this baby and catch a few zzz's...
Have a blessed week, and don’t worry, be faithful!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

From God, to Spurgeon, to Isaiah

Today’s an eclectic mish-mash of lots of things on my heart.
Think for a second about how many people you passed on your way to school/work today. Can you remember any faces? I was making note of the ones behind me at stoplights today as I was praying, and this blew me away: Just think- you’re in one city out of hundreds, if not thousands in your state/country alone. Multiply that by every other country, and it’s nearly mind-boggling. There are countless people with a life- a background, a present and a future filling up this earth. Now think about this- God is intimately acquainted with each and every person. Their genetic make-up, their personality, their dreams and desires, their struggles and failures. EVERYTHING. not only that, he intimately CARES about each and every person. That’s one great, big, amazing God. With Him there is no partiality (Rom 2). The only thing differing from person to person in relation to God’s intimate knowledge and attentiveness is how we respond to it. And so I asked myself today, “how am I responding to God’s care and concern for me? Do I ignore it, or do I appreciate it?”  “How am I showing Him my gratitude for loving me, and not getting tired of it, but continuing to love me through the good and the bad...always being there?”
I just had to tell Him like it is, “God, you never cease to amaze me!”

From Morning & Evening by Spurgeon, for Oct 7th. I’ve been thinking about this, and rejoicing in it for the past several days.

“In whom do you now trust?” Is 36:5

Reader, this is an important question. Listen to the Christian’s answer, and see if it is yours. “In whom do you now trust?” “I trust,” says the Christian, in a Triune God. I trust the Father, believing that He has chosen me from before the foundations of the world; I trust him to provide for me in providence, to teach me, to guide me, to correct me if need be and to bring me home to His own house where there are many rooms. I trust the Son. He is very God of very God-the man Christ Jesus. I trust in Him to take away al my sins by His own sacrifice and to clothe me with His perfect righteousness. I trust Him to be my Intercessor; to present my prayers and desires before His Father’s throne, and I trust Him to be my Advocate at the last great day, to plead my cause, and to justify me. I trust Him for what He is, for what He has done and for what He has promised still to do. and I trust the Holy Spirit- He has  begun to save me from my inbred sins; I trust Him to drive them all out; I trust Him to curb my temper, to subdue my will, to enlighten my understanding, to check my passions, to comfort my despondency, to help my weakness, to illuminate my darkness. I trust Him to dwell in me as my life, to reign in me as my King, to sanctify me completely, spirit, soul, and body, and then to take me up to dwell with the saints in light forever.”
What blessed trust- to trust Him whose power will never be exhausted, whose faithfulness will never fail, whose wisdom will never be overruled, and whose perfect goodness can never be impaired!
You are happy, reader, if this trust is yours! So trusting, you will enjoy sweet peace now and glory later, and the foundation of your trust will never be removed.

IN other news: an absolute favorite song of mine, especially when i don't know what to do and my new passage for memorization:

Isaiah 55 (ESV)
  "Come, everyone who thirsts,
   come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
   come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
   without money and without price.
 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
   and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
   and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
    hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
   my steadfast, sure love for David.
 Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples,
    a leader and commander for the peoples.
 Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know,
   and a nation that did not know you shall run to you,
because of the LORD your God, and of the Holy One of Israel,
    for he has glorified you.
  "Seek the LORD while he may be found;
   call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
   and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him,
   and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
   neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
   so are my ways higher than your ways
   and my thoughts than your thoughts.
  "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
   and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
    giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
   it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
   and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
  "For you shall go out in joy
   and be led forth in peace;
 the mountains and the hills before you
   shall break forth into singing,
   and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
   instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the LORD,
   an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off."
Stumbling and getting back up,

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mornings, Evenings and Little Wonderfuls

it’s been a while since I last wrote, and I still don’t have time now, but I’m writing anyway!

Here’s some of what’s been going on:
I recently started revamping my time with the Lord, because it was slowly moving down the line of priorities. I really wanted to spend time in the Word before I started my day because that helps give me a good starting perspective, but I also wanted to spend time at night, so my thoughts would be good and my dreams (hopefully) sweet as I drifted off to sleep. However, doing both sounded overwhelming because I had no structure to use, so often I'd end up skipping. (I’m a person who loves schedules, check-lists, etc.) *sigh*
When I ran into this book, I got so excited, it’s just what I’ve been needing!
The Book: Morning and Evening
The Authors: originally Spurgeon’s thoughts on the KJV, now modernized by Alistair Begg using the ESV.
It’s one full page per day, and that’s it! half in the morning, half in the evening, like the title says. Spurgeon expounds on a verse, or a few verses in each section, and it always gives me something to chew on. Then I’ll supplement it with readings from the Psalms or one of Paul’s letters, and it’s suddenly so much easier for my whole day to stay on track, from start to finish!

God knew I needed to find that book when I did, and I’m so glad He led me to it. It’s been a huge blessing.

And then, there have been those little wonderfuls I’m so fond of recording for you all.
Like, one day I was craving a Sonic lemon slush, like you wouldn’t believe. The next day, I was craving it even more while I was at work. So much, in fact, that I was considering posting about it on FB and seeing if anyone nearby wanted to bring me one. Well, I dismissed that idea pretty quickly as I thought of all the possible complications to posting a drink request on FB. I kid you not- it wasn’t even ten minutes later, my coworker walked in and said that our director was stopping at Sonic on the way back from an appointment and wanted to know if I wanted anything. How COOL is that?! God was, hmmmmm, “romancing” me i guess I’ll say. He was doing those sweet little things that only someone who truly, deeply cares about me on every level would know about and do without my asking.
Then, the very next day, He was sweet, but in a practical way. You see, my office is on one end of the education wing in HPBC, and the chapel (where I teach lessons) is on the other side. If I forget to bring something from my office, it’s not so fun to walk back and get it... and when there are already kids in the chapel, it’s impossible to leave at all. So that day, I only forgot one thing: my phone. It’s my clock while I teach. There’s no other clock that I can look at in the chapel. Well, at least there wasn’t before. So I realized my phone wasn’t there, and I couldn’t leave the chapel because there were kids... what was I going to do?! Well, I looked up to ask one of the teachers to give me a five minute warning and low and behold, BLARING from the back of the room was a new, giant, bright red digital clock! I couldn’t help but laugh at how sweet God was being to me!
He cares so much about me, and I love spending time with Him. I’ve been learning to surrender every wish, desire, hope and dream to Him trusting that He will only give me back what is His best for me. I only do this because I know that I know that I know He loves me. He continues to prove His deep and undying love for me every day, even though He really already did enough to prove His love when he sent Jesus to earth to pay the penalty for my sins. 
Something I’ve been singing a lot to Allie lately is this:
God is so good
God is so good
God is so good
He’s so good to me.
It’s true (:
God is good, even when I am not. God is faithful, even when I am unfaithful. God is love, even when I am unlovely. There are no words to say how thankful I am that God is unchanging and that I am His.
just living,

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Not Out Forever

“what if i stumble, what if i fall, what if I lose my step and I make fools of us all. Will the love continue when my walk becomes a crawl? what if I stumble, what if I fall.” 
yeah. it’s an old DC Talk song, but I don’t think it’s only that - I think it’s a thought that lives inside of most believers. 
I’m the kind of person who isn’t a perfectionist in the sense that everything around me has to be “just so” all the time, but I’m a perfectionist in the sense that when I fail, I don’t let myself off the hook easily. I constantly have to fight the desire to beat myself up inwardly when I make a mistake. I often fail at that, and chide myself for failing and worry about the next mistake I’m going to make. It’s a vicious cycle, really. But if God can forgive me (which He can and does), I need to be able to forgive myself, turn away from what I did and keep striving after His ways.

My life’s desire is to glorify God, but I mess up so much it’s a wonder He can use me. As I’ve been reflecting on these past few months I’ve spent in SK, there are so many moments flashing in my memories, that I wish I could take back and do over again. Then there’s the attitudes I wish I could erase. And the words I wish I would have swallowed, not spoken. I think most people, if not all, who’ve observed the Summer I’ve had would say it’s been a great one, full of wonderful activities and such, (and I would, too) but I’m the only one who looks at my heart as well, and says, “oh, but there I was grumpy on the inside and smiling on the outside” or I just know I wasted an opportunity or time somewhere because I was feeling selfish and wanting to do my own thing, not God’s.
You see, I see all these things, all these little fails and I often find myself wallowing in them, which sometimes inhibits my ability to see all the wonderful things that happened. There are so many things I wish I could take back, but can’t. And I’m learning it’s of no use to hold on to them either. I need a good dose of forgiveness, for myself.
This song’s been playing in my head and heart the past couple of days, 
“We lose our way,
We get back up again
It's never too late to get back up again,
One day you gonna shine again,
You may be knocked down,
But not out forever,

So, I made mistakes. So, I may have had/have consequences from them. So, that’s no excuse to let them dictate the rest of my life.

God’s been revealing my immaturities to me, one after the other lately. And I know it’s not to make me feel so useless or sin-ridden, but to reveal what He’s working on changing next. So my question of myself has been, “are you going to let Him work on these problems?” Letting God work on my weaknesses involves me letting go of my pride and surrendering.
Surrender in the Christian life isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s an act of maturity. Surrender means admitting that I’m not capable of winning in a certain area. But the best thing about this kind of surrender, is that once I surrender myself, I’ll find freedom, not captivity!

I know that He has the best plans for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me. Plans to give me a hope and a future. Not that when I surrender, things will all of a sudden turn perfect for me... but I know I’ll be able to see things in a better, Christ-centered light.

I took a long walk this morning and talked and talked and talked with God. I’m really bad at praying, I always get so distracted without having someone nodding back at me, acknowledging that they’re listening. But I think one way that God reminds me of His truths and promises is through song, and that’s why my posts are often full of songs. The songs that He brought to my mind on the walk today are the two I already used (What If I Stumble, and Get Back Up) and also, one of my all-time prayers, ‘Every Breath’ by Gateway Worship, which talks about surrender and living for God.

So getting back to that first thought before I end-- What if I stumble? What if I fall? What happens then? Well, that’s clearly up to me. I can let myself suffer under my own condemnation, or I can surrender to God and let Him work His goodness through that mistake, shaping me more into the person He wants me to become. There are so many beautiful things God gives us to enjoy along the path of life, so staying in the rotten ruts of old-nature is just foolish. Someone slap me when I start to do that again, please!

I’m posting the three songs here, but in case you don’t have time to listen to them all, here’s the lyrics from ‘Every Breath’
Lord, you’re so amazing to me. How can I find the words 
To convey what your love means; I’d give all I have and more
In the times I am weak, you come rescue me 
Through the words that you speak over me 
In the depths of my soul, Lord I want you to know
That this life that I live is for you
Every breath, Lord, all that I am
I want my life to bring you glory
Every moment, with all that I have
I want my life to bring you glory
Forever, I surrender
Forever, I surrender




When I lose my way, I’ll get back up again because this life that I live is for God.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Oh, Oh, we need each other!

i’ve now officially crossed to the other side of the world, and the only time i have to write seems to be at 5am in the morning, when i’m wide awake because of TMJ and Jet Lag. 
I realized something yesterday. You see, i’ve been reading Scripture my whole reading life, and I love Scripture, BUT there was always something weird going on with the book of Proverbs. It’s one of the only books of the Bible that I would literally have to force myself to read. And I would just read it in hopes that the words would stick, even though I wasn’t enjoying it.

Well, my dear Rachel and I have been reading a chapter from the New Testament and a chapter from Proverbs every morning, and yesterday, it occurred to me that I really looked forward to what wisdom we might find in Proverbs that day. And as I read through the chapter, my mind was constantly “check-marking” good ideas for me to apply. 
Basically, some time in the past few months, I’ve fallen in love with the book of Proverbs. Finally, after twenty-billion years of reading scripture. (yay! it’s about time :P)

I think it has a lot to do with a book called “Girls Gone Wise in a world gone wild” by Mary Kassian. The way that Mary presented the wisdom found in so many proverbs made me crave for more wisdom, more insight, more knowledge of how to please God. More wisdom on how to bless others, live right, and live well.

There are just some things in my Christian walk that I don’t quite understand why they are so hard for me to do, but then overnight, they’ll become my favorite thing! Along with prayer for a changed heart, it takes the right kind of encouragement, at just the right time for this to happen. Like how Mary Kassian was there in my life at just the right time, I so want to be in other’s lives at just the right time.

It’s such a good reminder to get into other people’s business (in a sweet and loving way, of course) because you just might be that one person at that one time that makes the difference their life was needing. And when you are, the glory goes to God, because you have followed His leading, and changed a life for His Kingdom’s sake. 
That’s what I want to be- a person who steps in and out of lives, according to God’s Will. Having the right things to say and knowing the best ways to encourage. I know i can never be perfect at it, but I am getting better at it, every year. And I learn by experience, from those around me who feed Godliness into my life, by those who take the time to care about me, my problems, my weaknesses, my joys. 
One of the best teachers is experience, so let’s go around making each other’s experiences worthwhile, especially in the body of Christ. 
Cause as the lead singer from Sanctus Real says (I’m blanking on his name this early in the morning) “Oh, Oh, we need each other!"

Thank you, every believer who has made a difference in my life, who has put time into teaching me, correcting me, encouraging me. I’d be nowhere good, if you hadn’t! 
Keep up the good work... or join in, if you haven’t already!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"If.. then hear."

 I haven't read through the whole Old Testament in quite a few years, and when I picked which book to start with, I was drawn to 2 Chronicles, because I was searching for wisdom... So, why not look for it in Solomon's story? Well, in this chapter (2Chron6)so many things jumped out at me, stood out, did flips, whatever, that I just decided to post it all, in case you would get something out of it too. Usually I highlight the parts that stuck out to me, but this time, I left it all the same, so that you can have an unbiased reading of it (other than the version, of course, which is ESV, same as my Bible was this morning)

Anyway, it's amazing what God chooses to do when we turn to Him, stretch out our hands and ask...

Then Solomon said, "The LORD has said that he would dwell in thick darkness. But I have built you an exalted house, a place for you to dwell in forever." Then the king turned around and blessed all the assembly of Israel, while all the assembly of Israel stood. And he said, "Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who with his hand has fulfilled what he promised with his mouth to David my father, saying, 'Since the day that I brought my people out of the land of Egypt, I chose no city out of all the tribes of Israel in which to build a house, that my name might be there, and I chose no man as prince over my people Israel;  but I have chosen Jerusalem that my name may be there, and I have chosen David to be over my people Israel.'  Now it was in the heart of David my father to build a house for the name of the LORD, the God of Israel. But the LORD said to David my father, 'Whereas it was in your heart to build a house for my name, you did well that it was in your heart. Nevertheless, it is not you who shall build the house, but your son who shall be born to you shall build the house for my name.' Now the LORD has fulfilled his promise that he made. For I have risen in the place of David my father and sit on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised, and I have built the house for the name of the LORD, the God of Israel. And there I have set the ark, in which is the covenant of the LORD that he made with the people of Israel."

 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and spread out his hands. Solomon had made a bronze platform five cubits long, five cubits wide, and three cubits high, and had set it in the court, and he stood on it. Then he knelt on his knees in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands toward heaven, and said, "O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven or on earth, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart,  who have kept with your servant David my father what you declared to him. You spoke with your mouth, and with your hand have fulfilled it this day. Now therefore, O LORD, God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father what you have promised him, saying, 'You shall not lack a man to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk in my law as you have walked before me.' Now therefore, O LORD, God of Israel, let your word be confirmed, which you have spoken to your servant David.
 "But will God indeed dwell with man on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, how much less this house that I have built! Yet have regard to the prayer of your servant and to his plea, O LORD my God, listening to the cry and to the prayer that your servant prays before you,  that your eyes may be open day and night toward this house, the place where you have promised to set your name, that you may listen to the prayer that your servant offers toward this place. And listen to the pleas of your servant and of your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. And listen from heaven your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive.
 "If a man sins against his neighbor and is made to take an oath and comes and swears his oath before your altar in this house, then hear from heaven and act and judge your servants, repaying the guilty by bringing his conduct on his own head, and vindicating the righteous by rewarding him according to his righteousness.
 "If your people Israel are defeated before the enemy because they have sinned against you, and they turn again and acknowledge your name and pray and plead with you in this house,  then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your people Israel and bring them again to the land that you gave to them and to their fathers.
  "When heaven is shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against you, if they pray toward this place and acknowledge your name and turn from their sin, when you afflict them,  then hear in heaven and forgive the sin of your servants, your people Israel, when you teach them the good way in which they should walk, and grant rain upon your land, which you have given to your people as an inheritance.
  "If there is famine in the land, if there is pestilence or blight or mildew or locust or caterpillar, if their enemies besiege them in the land at their gates, whatever plague, whatever sickness there is, whatever prayer, whatever plea is made by any man or by all your people Israel, each knowing his own affliction and his own sorrow and stretching out his hands toward this house,  then hear from heaven your dwelling place and forgive and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways, for you, you only, know the hearts of the children of mankind, that they may fear you and walk in your ways all the days that they live in the land that you gave to our fathers.
 "Likewise, when a foreigner, who is not of your people Israel, comes from a far country for the sake of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm, when he comes and prays toward this house, hear from heaven your dwelling place and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to you, in order that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and that they may know that this house that I have built is called by your name.
 "If your people go out to battle against their enemies, by whatever way you shall send them, and they pray to you toward this city that you have chosen and the house that I have built for your name, then hear from heaven their prayer and their plea, and maintain their cause.
 "If they sin against you— for there is no one who does not sin—and you are angry with them and give them to an enemy, so that they are carried away captive to a land far or near, yet if they turn their heart in the land to which they have been carried captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captivity, saying, 'We have sinned and have acted perversely and wickedly,' if they repent with all their mind and with all their heart in the land of their captivity to which they were carried captive, and pray toward their land, which you gave to their fathers, the city that you have chosen and the house that I have built for your name, then hear from heaven your dwelling place their prayer and their pleas, and maintain their cause and forgive your people who have sinned against you. Now, O my God, let your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayer of this place.
 "And now arise, O LORD God, and go to your resting place,
   you and the ark of your might.
Let your priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation,
   and let your saints rejoice in your goodness.
O LORD God, do not turn away the face of your anointed one!
    Remember your steadfast love for David your servant."

Monday, May 9, 2011

Do not divert. Do not divert.

Well, these babies are going to continue to come fewer and farther between, as I’m getting super busy spending my last few weeks in the US and then, I’m off to the Slovak Republic for a few months. I’ve got packing lists, planning lists, shopping lists, visiting lists, all sorts of things going on all at the same time, but it’s AMAZING to see how God is slipping His own unique fingerprint into every part of my week. 
I can see him E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E.
for instance, my calendar is quite full of all sorts of things, but God in His graciousness kept a certain pocket of time open, (literally filled every other spare second around it with jobs and planning activities), so i could say yes to spending a bit of time with some good friends by going to a small concert in the area. 
I can’t tell you how cared for that made me feel, when I went to check my calendar, to see if I could go with them, and that was like, the ONLY spot open for seven days in a row!
I’m just overwhelmed, *personal confession time* because I know I haven’t been giving God my full attention, and best effort, yet He’s still giving me His best. I am humbled. And a bit ashamed, BUT it’s such a wonderful feeling to not be condemned because of my mistakes.
I’m SO easily distracted, that it’s quite simple really for the devil to divert me from the path God’s laid out for my day... like, let’s say I have a list of things I need to get done in a morning, and on my way to finish gathering verses for a program I’m speaking at, I bump my hand into the wall and break a nail... well, then i have to go and fix it, of course. and after I’ve located the nail file at the back of my sink drawer, well i notice that the drawer really could be reorganized. then after it’s reorganized, i think “well, why not the cabinet too?” and so on and so forth, until i glance at the clock and realize that I have to leave for my chiro appointment in five minutes, or I’ll be late, and I haven’t even picked up my Bible yet. you know, typical “if-you-give-a-mouse-a-cookie” scenario. only, this isn’t a cute kids book, it’s my life.
These little diversions make me CRAZY when I realize they’ve prevented me from what I was needing to do. 
That’s something I’m working on-- recognizing a diversion and resisting it through the strength of Christ. I’m truly REALLY bad at it. But I’m hoping to get better. 
You see, we Christians aren’t made to stay in one place in our walk with Christ. It’s an ever-changing, ever-rising lifestyle, and it keeps us on our toes and on our knees at the exact same time. So as I’m working to avoid distractions and keep on the right path this week here’s the passage of Scripture I’ll be meditating on: 
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of Go, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication...” Ephesians 6:10-18
well, that’s all the time I have right now! Need to get a few hours of shut-eye before this enormous week starts. And now that I’ve said all of this, not that I believe in jinx or whatever, but I know that it will very likely be an even greater battle for me this week because I’m aware of it, and wanting to overcome. That’s just how these things seem to work. So pray for me, if you think of it. :) and let me know if ever I can pray for you.
Currently undistracted,