Thursday, May 31, 2012

Scripture Memory Verse 11

I'm posting this a day early.  Hope y'all are doing well.  Keep on memorizing.  Don't give up now.  You are almost half way there.  Whoo hoo!!  Here is my verse for June 1st...

"If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," -Psalm 139:11 (NIV)

What about you?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Rays of Sunshine Even In The Darkness

A dark storm cloud moved in and parked itself right over our lives at the beginning of May.  We all watched as my dear mother-in-law suffered with a neurological disease, and there was not one single thing any of us could do to stop it or fix it.  On May 15th, we found ourselves in the eye of the storm as Mrs. Judy passed away.  We were relieved she was no longer suffering, but were heartbroken at how quickly her life ended.  She was 66-years-old when the Lord healed her body and welcomed her into His holy presence.  For comfort we remind ourselves she is now home, pain free, healed by the mighty hand of God, and has seen the face of Christ.  I tremble as I type that sentence as I can't begin to imagine what that must've been like.  A privilege that He allowed her to experience first before any of us. 

These are all thoughts that should offer comfort and do at times, but I can't help but miss her.  Deeply.  Tremendously.  My darling firstborn said it best.  With tears rolling down his face after receiving the news of his beloved grandmother's death, he said, "I just wish I could see grandma one last time.  Just one last time, mom.  That would really lift my spirits."

It's true what they say about grief.  It comes in waves.  One minute life feels almost normal again.  And in the next minute the sting of her indefinite absence jabs your heart with such force, it almost takes your breath away.  I find it so interesting, though, that even in Mrs. Judy's death, she is still teaching us so much.  The Lord never wastes a hurt.  And although I could write on and on about the many things her passing has taught us about life, about death, about our God, I want to honor her and what the Lord has done through her by focusing on this one thing.

Everything we experience here on earth - every hardship, every blessing, every trial, every joy, ALL of it - has an eternal purpose. 

"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes NOT on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." -2 Corinthians 4:17-18  

What a tragedy it would be to suffer on this earth only to die at the end of our suffering.  What a tremendous loss that would be if our suffering was for nothing!  If our pain meant nothing, if our tragedy served no purpose.  I used to say I didn't understand why God allows suffering.  I used to say I didn't understand why He would choose to heal some and allow others to die.  The truth is I'm not entitled to that information.  Only the Creator of Life is privy to that and I should be thankful.  We should ALL be thankful that's how He has it set up.  But when it's your loved one, it's only natural to question God, to wonder if He truly exists, to ask why.

Even in the middle of a dark storm cloud, the sun can peak through.  As the rays of sunshine jolt down from Heaven onto the ground, so does God's love, peace and comfort.  With each glimmer of light that He allows to break through the darkness of the storm cloud, I'm reminded of how His own Son suffered for my sake, of how each trial on this earth does indeed have an eternal goal, of how He has gone before us to prepare a place for us and had that not been true He would have told us.

I have to trust and believe all of these things, because if I didn't what else would I have to hang onto?  Without Christ and His promises, I'd have nothing.  And though I know not everyone believes as I do, and as tempting as it sometimes is to disregard the promises of God because of all the pain and suffering the world has provided, I choose to believe and trust Him anyway.  For me, it's worth being wrong about Him.  I figure I have everything to gain if I'm right and nothing to lose if I'm wrong.   Plus, I take Hebrews 11:6 pretty seriously, "And without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." 

I can almost hear Mrs. Judy's voice now.  She's saying, "Believe, Lindsey, believe.  It is so worth it."

Father God,
Through my tears and heartbreak, please hear my cry.  Strengthen my faith.  Give me eyes that see and a heart that believes.  Help me to keep my eyes on You so that I can set my heart on You.  A Mighty Fortress is our God.  A Sacred Refuge is Your Name.  Your kingdom is unshakable.  With You forever we will reign.  Through my anguish, I say HALLELUJAH ANYHOW!  Send forth your Spirit, my Comforter.  In Jesus' Name - Amen.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Scripture Memory Verse 10

My beloved mother-in-law passed away yesterday.  So, I am a day late on getting my memory verse up.  I hope to post soon about her passing, but for now here is my verse for May 15...

"even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast." -Psalm 139:10 (NIV)

Eager to hear from you who are still memorizing.  Haven't heard from many of you in a while.  Don't give up.  Keep staying in His Word.  It is what gives us hope.


Monday, May 7, 2012

A Faith Crisis

  Faith - a word that we throw around often in our day-to-day conversations.  Yet, it is a word that is hard to define, hard to even explain.  A couple of months ago my oldest child asked me, Mom what is faith.  I thought for a moment and put a couple of thoughts together in my mind.  I have no memory of what I actually told him.  Then a few weeks after that conversation with my child, our Sunday School teacher came in on Sunday morning and asked us all to justify our faith in Jesus Christ.  Faith - there was that word again.  And once again, I had trouble putting words together.

You would think at this point I would have gotten the message, but no.  Not quite yet.  An opportunity presented itself where I was asked to teach a group of ladies on - you're never going to believe this - faith!  So, to the Word of God I went.  I found some great passages on the topic mostly in the New Testament.  I was even able to put my thoughts into 3 clear points so as to not confuse this group of women.  ( I didn't want a repeat of the conversation with my 7-year-old.)  I felt pretty good about the information I had collected on this interesting subject - faith. 

It never occurred to me that the Lord was lining all these circumstances up to prepare my heart for what would be one of the biggest tests of my faith ever in my life.

We all hear about others around us who are struggling.  Their struggles all look different.  They all come in different packages - relationship struggles, financial, health, job struggles.  But there is one common denominator - they are all struggles.  When you're looking at others' struggles from afar, it is easy to assume what you'd do if you were in their situation.  It's easy to point the finger.  It's easy to judge.  It's easy to criticize.  Some of us are even bold enough to offer our unsolicited advice to those who are struggling assuming that our advice is exactly what they need to hear and will, with no doubt, fix their problem(s).

But when it's YOU that's actually the one in the midst of the struggle, things become different entirely.  Our family is in the middle of a health crisis at the moment.  We have a dear sweet loved one who can't get well.  We've tried everything.  She's been to all types of doctors, had every possible test run on her ailing body, and still - nothing.  No improvement.  No better.  There are some days where her pain gets so intense, it's just unbearable to witness.  Nothing feels more helpless and hopeless than when your loved one hurts and suffers and there is not one thing you can do about it to make it go away.  So, you do what you know to do - pray.  A lot.  In fact, there are moments where the prayers often involve pleading than petitioning.  But it's all you know to do.  So you keep on doing it.  Over and over and over.

(Enter faith crisis.)

What do you do when your prayers aren't being answered?  When your loved one continues to get worse day after day and the pain becomes intensified and the doctors become even more stumped over her medical condition?  Then what?  Then what do you do?

I think...

You return to the One who created you. You continue believing.  You ask for your faith to be strengthened.  After all, you need only a little (the size of a mustard seed is what the Bible says).  You face that mountain head on and you command it in Jesus' name to MOVE!  (Matthew 17:20-21)
Then finally, you ask God to help you keep an eternal perspective.  You remember that your time on this earth is just a blip on the timeline of eternity.  That our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal goal that far outweighs them all.  You try each day to fix your eyes upon what is forever, what is eternal.  You remind yourself that everything else is just temporary.  And you hope and you pray.  You don't want to give up trusting and believing.  Because you know that giving up on the One who has the power to save you from death would be foolish.  You beg for a miracle and try hard to not get mad when that miracle doesn't happen.  You remind yourself that eternity with the One who gave it all just so you could have eternal life should be and is a miracle in and of itself.   And you pray that fact, alone, would be enough.  You know what else you do?

You have faith.  You have faith that God will not forsake His children.  You believe that one day this will all make sense.  You believe that in the middle of this faith crisis it is all about Who you know rather than what you know.  Because what you know is too hard to accept.
And that's where I am today.  It's a choice I have to make each day and sometimes I have to make that choice every minute of each day.  It doesn't come easy, but it's what I believe.  Thank you for letting me share my life with you.  It's risky but it's worth it.

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess for he who promised is faithful." -Hebrews 10:23


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Song That Reminds

When I know the Lord has called me to serve Him with my life, but I can't seem to make sense of what that looks like at times.  When the mighty task of which I've been called doesn't seem mighty and doesn't feel mighty, He uses a song to remind me.  Friends, our season is coming.  For now, we are to stay rooted in Him.  For now, let's spend our time growing the branch that will one day bear the fruit.  Through the storms of life, we'll stand.  While the world wants us to be concerned with what we look like on the outside, we'll let the Lord perfect our strength and beauty - all for His splendor.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Scripture Memory Verse 9

Well it's May 1st, and that means only one thing today - Scripture Memory Verse 9!  If this is the first you've heard of Scripture Memory on this blog, please know it is NOT too late to join us.  We have committed to memorizing two verses a month for the entire year.  Some of us have been doing it since January.  Others have just recently joined in.  And you may think you shouldn't since it's already May.  Please know we'd love to have you join us now no matter if you've ever memorized a verse in your life.  Here's how it works.  Simply comment on this post with...
1.  Your name.
2.  Your verse - please type it out in case one of us would like to memorize it too.
3.  Your verse's address.
4.  The translation in which you're memorizing from.

Here is mine...
Linds is memorizing Psalm 139:9 (NIV).  "If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea..."

My verse seems choppy this time around, but just so you'll know, I've committed to memorizing the entire Psalm 139.  The chapter has exactly 24 verses making it easy to learn the whole chapter in one year.  I can't tell you how many times this passage has brought joy and peace to my heart.  You never waste one second in God's Word.  Time spent in Scripture never returns void.  Won't you join us in making investments in our Spiritual Banks?!  Lord knows we need it!!