Sunday, December 6, 2015

HIS VAST STRENGTH

Ephesians 6:1 "Finally be strengthened by the Lord in His vast strength."
In His vast strength...I have never had vast strength...never. Not as a little girl , being the last to be chosen for the kickball team. Not as the runner I wanted to be in college who could never find a running buddy who ran slow enough to keep up with me. Not when fighting off terror. Not when being disappointed, saddened, mournful...I have not been strong. But I do know that the Lord is strong. And it is in His strength that any thing worthy of the name "strong" has ever occurred in my life.
A failed marriage...you're so strong...no, I'm not. But Jesus is.
A child on an operating table...you're so strong...no, I'm not. But Jesus is.
Life as a single mom, hardship, loneliness...you're so strong...no, but Jesus is.
A baby....a blessing ....gone before I could hold her...strength? No, but Jesus gives it.
Sickness in my family...strong...not at all...but Jesus is vastly strong...VASTLY. I love that word....it implies an unknowing of the entire amount of strength that is available from the Lord for us.
How to get that strength is not an attainment, an achievement...it is a gift. Given by Jesus because you belong to Him and He loves you. And that relationship is a gift given once you ask Him to forgive you, to fill you, to let you serve Him, to be your Lord and Savior and King.
"FINALLY BE STRENGTHENED BY THE LORD IN HIS VAST STRENGTH." - Ephesians 6:1

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Rests Within A Song

The name of this blog is "In The Whisper" and it is based on I Kings 19: 11,12 which says, " And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD: but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice."
These verses to me mean that I need to not be looking for a loud voice from the LORD...for an audible sound or message or voice. They mean that the LORD is mighty in power...His mere presence of passing by in this passage of Scripture caused strong winds which broke rocks! And earthquakes! And fires!
But in all of this the LORD was not in it...He was in the still small voice. The quiet voice of the Holy Spirit.
How can you hear someone whispering if you have a loud TV blaring all the time? Or loud music playing all the time...even Christian music? Or are so busy that all you hear are people and yourself talking?
Many times Jesus withdrew from the crowd to be by Himself and talk with His Father. We need quiet in our lives. We need alone time. Time without noise to sit quietly and listen for what the LORD is communicating to us. We need to study His Word and meditate on it day and night.
Tonight at choir practice we did a song with rests. Musicians know what I mean. You sing....and then you stop singing...no holding on to the notes. You just stop singing...until time to come back in and sing again. The rests are written into the music because they are important...the quiet gives time for the message of the song to sink into the ears and hearts of the listener.
We need rests in life so that we can allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us and let what the Word says "sink" into our hearts.
Life right now is filled with a lot of loud things, shouts for my attention. In order to have peace...the peace of God...I have to spend time in quiet with Him.
Is your life busy and loud right now in the holiday season? Try to make some time to be quiet by yourself ...just you and the LORD.
Today I heard the whisper of God in the rests within a song.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Contrite Spirit...

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, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, " says the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your thoughts. " Isaiah 55: 6-9
I can get sidetracked by what I think will glorify the Lord. I think that healing will glorify the Lord, so I focus on healing. And healing can glorify the Lord...but His glory can also be found in the faithfulness of one of His children in suffering. His glory can be found in the truth that we do not understand His thoughts or His ways ....and we are not entitled to do so. He is worthy of praise because He is God. Our lives here are to glorify Him and how we respond to circumstances, to trials, to temptations, to struggles will either glorify Him or not.
This week I was faced with a temptation...I knew the answer. I knew what I had to do. But I was tempted.
I had ordered a Christmas present from Walmart. They sent me two. I only paid for one. It was a mistake. The temptation was to keep the other one, sell it and use the money for medical bills. Just being honest as to the thought....but I emailed the company back and told them what had happened.
I got a return email that said, "We will be happy to issue a refund of your money to you." (What?)
I emailed them again, "No, I do not need a refund. I need to know how to return this because I did not purchase two, only one, but was sent two and not charged but for one."
I received another email , "Please allow us to send a replacement item to you. Sorry for your inconvenience."
At this point, I'm thinking ....perhaps this is not a temptation but a blessing! (I'm rationalizing...debating myself...but I know the answer).
I go to my husband and tell him. "Yes, keep trying." I go to my parents and tell them, "Yes, keep trying."
So I sent one more email...hoping they would say, Just keep the item, our mistake.
This time someone knowledgeable read my emails. "We are sorry for the inconvenience. We will send you a prepaid return postage printout. Thank you for resolving this problem. If you would like to keep the extra item, please let us know and we will charge you for it." (No thanks)
So I will be putting it in the mail to be returned. The right thing to do is not always easy even when you know it is right. But would the Lord be glorified if I had not tried to right the mistake? No.
I know some people are probably saying, "Well, is the Lord glorified by your telling that you were tempted?"
I think He is...because He won the battle. He defeated Satan who is the tempter. So He is glorified despite me and my temptations...because He is the overcomer and gives me power to overcome as well.
"Let the wicked forsake his way..."
It is an ongoing forsaking...an ongoing following...a daily dying to self. I am glad that the Lord promises to have mercy on me..
It doesn't matter what you have done or not done....Jesus is willing to save you ...but not just save you...He wants to be Lord of your life... so it isn't just about being "saved". It is about following the Lord. Many people believe in Jesus...even the demons in hell believe in Jesus and know He is the Christ, the Son of God...but they will not be in heaven. Only those who have given themselves to Him as Lord and follow Him in the hard times too.
"For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: 'I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." Isaiah 57: 15

Friday, September 4, 2015

Hands Ready for War...(War Room Reflection)





Last week I read the book and saw the movie "War Room".  This story impacted my mind and my heart in a positive way.  I pray...I consider myself a person who "prays without ceasing"  (I Thessalonians 5:17).  I pray when someone asks me to pray for them...I really do.  I pray for the people on our prayer list at church.  I pray for things that come up from day to day.  I don't just ask God for things, either, now...I praise Him. I love to praise Him.
But to think of prayer as the way we do battle?  I have not truly been a prayer warrior...maybe a prayer worrier...one who worriedly prays about things.    But that is not being a prayer warrior.  

The point that I thought was made so clearly in the story "War Room" was that we can ALL as Christians be prayer warriors ...because it does not matter how long we have been a Christian.

It does not matter how young we are.
It does not matter how old we are.
It does not matter if we are in good health or poor health. 
It does not matter if we are fluent in speech or stutter.
It does not matter if we are puny or pumped with muscles.
Anyone....anyone...can be a WARRIOR in prayer...because the key thing to remember is the battle is not ours!  It is the Lord's and our call to pray is how we wage war against the enemy...and not against each other...but against the devil...the real enemy. 

With one of my sons today at the doctor, we have been praying for him.  Praying and praying.  And the difference I have seen is that I realized I do not have to be afraid that God will not answer my prayers.  That is a tactic of the enemy.  I realized that my prayers are to line up with God's will and glory...and when I ask Him things...He gives me strength to accept His answers.  He gives me wisdom to accept His answers.  He gives me power to praise Him in His answers.  And those answers are not always what I think they should be.  But when I am close to the Heavenly Father on my knees and in the Word, then He gives me what I need...even if I do not know what that is myself.  I can trust Him to give me good things because He is good.  

I was reading in Psalms tonight, praising the Lord for a prayer that was answered about my son when these verses struck me:

 Blessed be the LORD my Rock,     
        Who trains my hands for war,
             And my fingers for battle ---
                   My lovingkindness and my fortress,
                         My high tower and my deliverer.
                                  My shield and the One in whom I take refuge.       - Psalm 144:1-2

As I read these verses I thought about my hands that the Lord is training for war...He is training them to be praying hands.  The war is fought through prayer...and my hands folded in prayer and submission is how the Lord will train me to fight.
The Scripture goes on to say He trains my fingers for battle.....My fingers are what I use to turn the pages of my Bible and read His Word, the Sword of the Spirit.  His Promises.  His Truth.
My fingers are what I use to point to verses as I read, poring over each word of His that has been written down for me.  My hands pray and my fingers turn the pages of the Bible.  These are the weapons God has given me for war!!  Amazing!!
And the fact that it is He that is fighting for me is shown in the rest of these verses.  Because I know that I am weak...I know that I am nothing...I know that I am a sinner...BUT (don't you just love the word "but" sometimes :) )....BUT  HE is my fortress and is my strength.  HE is my high tower.  HE is my shield.  HE has defeated the enemy already and will continue to fight these battles for me as I do my part which is to praise the Rock,  "Blessed be the Lord!!!'
And to pray...."Who trains my hands for war"
And to study His Word..."Who trains my fingers for battle"
And to trust in Him..."Who is my high tower, my fortress, my shield"
And to run to Him immediately...not try to fight on my own..."He is the One in whom I take refuge".
Praising the Lord for being good all the time, for being true to His Word, for teaching me how to fight with my hands in prayer and my fingers in the Bible and my knees on the ground as I submit to Him as my Shield!
Praise God!  Praise God!

Today I heard the whisper of God in prayer, in hands, in fingers.  Where did you hear His whisper today?



Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A Simple Nail and Pennies





Last Saturday I eagerly took a journey to a beautiful part of our county out in Ellenboro to a place called Parables Homeschool Book  Shoppe.  A sale was going on; I had not been there since the store had been built.  I was as excited as could be to see what kind of wonderful things I could pick up for Eli's homeschooling adventure this year.

Part of the joy of the trip was the scenery.  Beautiful trees, trees, trees with grassy pastures surrounded by beautiful painted wooden fences.  Streams rambling beside the road and at points changing sides provided a sense of peace that only the flowing water of a creek over rocks can give. High fluffy white clouds in a blue sky framed the beautiful bluish mountains in the background.

The drive itself was like a gift from the Lord to me :)

When I reached the Book Shoppe (at 515 Cub Creek Road, Ellenboro, NC for any homeschoolers looking for a wonderful collection of used curriculum to choose from), the driveway was beautifully lined with trees spaced at perfect intervals on each side and a beautiful fence.  I drove up to the shoppe and was just amazed at how pretty the store was (and I was not even inside yet!).  As I took my books out of the car to take inside to put on consignment I was met at the door by the kind and gentle owner.  She had a strong young well-mannered grandson who was happy to help me unload another box of books from my trunk.  It is always a joy to be around a young boy who has manners!

I was made to feel at home and instructed in how the store was laid out.  The sale included several tables of free items, which I did find a couple of things for free.  The prices were wonderful!  I was able to make purchases for our year that completed everything I was looking for plus a few for next year.  And throughout my shopping experience, the young boy checked on me to make sure I was "okay" and if I "needed anything?"

It was just a wonderful place to browse, spend time, talk with other homeschoolers and actually just relax a little for me.

I came away with many treasures...but one in particular has been a big hit.  It is called 365 Simple Science Experiments with Everyday Materials, published by Scholastic.
Eli and I have been doing some pretty fun science experiments.  Today we took some old, dull copper pennies and placed them in the bottom of a small glass dish.  We then squeezed the juice of two lemons over the pennies and added a pinch of salt.  We let this sit for 3 minutes.  We then took a well cleaned shiny silver nail and dropped it down into the lemon juice, salt and pennies.  We then had to wait.
After about ten minutes we noticed the shape of the nail floating on the top of the liquid.  But we still had to wait.  After thirty minutes we took tweezers and picked the nail up and dried it off.

No longer was it a shiny silver nail....it had been transformed!!!  Now it was a copper-plated nail!!
Eli was ecstatic to add this this copper plated nail to his "nuts and bolts and nails" collection.

What happened was this:  Copper from the pennies interacted with the acid of the lemon juice to form a new compound called copper citrate.  When we put the nail into the solution the compound plated the nail with a thin layer of copper that cannot be rubbed off.

I thought about how this experiment could exemplify two parts of the Christian life.
1)    2 Corinthians 5:21 says "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God."

We are the dirty, dull pennies in this experiment and Jesus Christ is the new shiny nail.   When Jesus gave His life, His blood for us for forgiveness of our sins, He took our sins on Himself.  It was His shed blood for us that allowed Him to take on the sins of the world so that He could pay the price for sin which was death...for all of us.  He was perfect but on the cross His work was to take on all the sin of the world...like the nail was taking on the copper of the pennies.  Only instead of lemon juice being the active agent that caused the change...it was the very life blood of Jesus Christ.   I noticed that those pennies were a lot shinier than when they went into that solution.  They were changed too because of the change in the nail.  And we can be changed because of the blood of Jesus.  We can be forgiven and free.

2)  The second way I thought about seeing God in this experiment is that in 2 Corinthians 5:17 we read that "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;  the old is passed away, and the new has come".    When we are covered by the blood of Jesus we do become a new creation...just as the nail became a new creation.  It was once just a silver nail...but under the work of the solution it became copper plated.  We were once sinners headed towards eternal torment and separation from God...but under the work of Jesus Christ's sacrifice, we are now seen as "righteous" in the eyes of God.  He sees us as a new creation, one sanctified though the blood of Jesus

As I continued reading tonight in 2 Corinthians 5 , I read about how we should try to reconcile others to the Lord as we are ourselves reconciled to Him.  When we have experienced something wonderful we want to share it with others.  Salvation is the most wonderful gift of all!!  What is holding us back?  Nothing should be.

Today I heard the whisper of God in a shiny nail, lemons and some old, dull pennies.  Where did you hear the Lord today?