Sunday, January 21, 2018

Really Loving Myself

So shall they fear The name of the LORD from the west, And His glory from the rising of the sun; When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him. Isaiah 59:19

Have you noticed  the enemy raging against God's children in a present day tsunami? Have you sensed that something has changed, that life is not going on as usual? Especially around the time of the holidays I feel it in my bones: desperation as people search for happiness anywhere, everywhere, except the one place where they really could find it.

I used to think that loving myself was to indulge myself, to be a little selfish and to put myself first. That's the world's way, looking out for number one. But I find there is a different way to love myself spelled out in the Bible. In a simple Proverb, we learn that to love ourself is to allow our mind to be saturated with His mind.

He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; He who keeps understanding will find good. Proverbs 19:8
 If I love myself, I'll acquire wisdom. The only wisdom there really is comes from God and we are all given enough time to acquire it, that is, if we want it. But how easily we find other things that are more important. But the time is short. The accuser storms in like a flood. How can I ever resist him?

I overcome him by taking time to feed myself in the Word of God. It is not just a good idea, it's our life, especially in these last days. Jude 1:3 tells us we must earnestly contend for our faith. Satan is pulling out all the stops, how can we ever resist his wiles? How did Jesus resist him?

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.
Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread."
But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.' "          Matt. 4:1-4
Every word of God is important. I have one life, one life only. I was thinking the other day, I am in my midfifties. Say I live another twenty years. Roughly, I have about 7500 days left. That isn't a whole lot of days after all, is it?

Jesus mastered the Torah by the time He was twelve, so much so that all the teachers were amazed by His knowledge. One might object, "But He was the Son of God."

In Philippians 2:5-7 we are told that in His first appearing, Jesus laid aside His prerogative as Deity to fully identify with us as a man. If that is true, He did not use that Divine ability in learning the Torah, but His humanity learned it. And if He mastered it, then He wants me to do the same thing, as demonstrated in the story of Mary and Martha:

Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house.
And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word.
But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me."
And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.
"But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her." Luke 10:38-42
The part Mary chose, sitting at Jesus' feet and learning from Him, was the one thing that would not be taken away when she reached the end of her days on earth and faced eternity.

 My mind is not quite as sharp as in my thirties and forties. Today,  I was visiting Mom and stooped down to get something off the floor and I had to grab hold of something in order to pull myself back up. That wouldn't have happened ten years ago but each day a tiny bit of the physical vitality of the young me fades away.  Yet God's Word gives me spiritual vitality in spite of increasing frailty.
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

A complex time on Planet Earth requires God's Divine solution: humbling myself and my own preconceived notions and ideas and learning and leaning on His mind instead. That's what I'm here for, the one thing that will stand the test of time and eternity.

"And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.  John 17:3
He is the One I long for. To love me is to learn Him while I have my being. 

Dear Father, I ask that You would graciously incline our hearts to want to know You first and foremost in our remaining days. For the glory of Your name, Amen. 

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Me... and a Key

God thunders marvelously with His voice; He does great things which we cannot comprehend.
For He says to the snow, 'Fall [on] the earth'; Likewise to the gentle rain and the heavy rain of His strength.
He seals the hand of every man, That all men may know His work.  Job 37:5-7

 This is a story about losing a key twice, and how God is faithful and cares even about little trifles like losing keys, especially ones that are quite expensive to replace. You see, I have two keys for two cars on the same key ring. A couple months ago, somehow part of the chain that carried the key for the smaller car became separated from the main ring. That key was for the little car, but I was driving the big car that day and did not realize the little chain came off the big one. The next time I looked down, I realized part of the keychain was missing and with that the expensive car key for my little car. It was on a Sunday and I took my Mom to church that day.

I think it was a day or two later when I noticed it missing so I tried to backtrack in where all I had been since then, calling the diner where we had breakfast and the church. No one was at the church at the moment, but I did get hold of the pastor at his home number. I asked him if anyone had turned in some keys or if he had found some but he reported no. I told him thank you and told him not to make a special trip out there to look for it, as the weather was not the best that day.

I put a little note on my facebook with a small request that prayers could be made to find it, even saying it was a dumb request. Many wrote they were praying, and that it was not dumb at all to ask for prayer for such a tiny little thing as a lost key.

Though I thought the key was a goner, when my cell phone rang it looked like the number I called before. The pastor called,  he kindly went out of his way to go over and look for the key and found that it had fallen off my keychain just where I parked the car on Sunday morning. It was just laying there in the gravel and had my husband's tag on it, so there was no question it was mine. He gave it to my son, making a special trip to their house to give him the key. I thanked him profusely when I saw him the next Sunday and breathed a big sigh of relief.

You would think I would have learned my lesson, then, when I got my oil changed the other day and had to take the key for the little car off the ring.  Even though I could almost here a little voice saying, "You'd better put it back before you lose it," I put it off. I decided to ask my husband to do it because it is hard with small fingers to get that thick key back on the ring. I even put them out so he would see them, but forgot to ask him.

The next thing you know, I had to run an errand and needed to look for something in the little car before leaving in the big one. ] I looked for my item and then put the single key in my jacket pocket because I needed to leave. Little did I know but the key slipped right out of my pocket into the space between the driver's seat and the console.

Yesterday, when I realized it was gone, I went out into the bitter cold and looked everywhere in both cars for the key. It was so cold I could not stay out there long but finally my husband said to come in, that was enough looking though.  I stewed and stewed over the loss of the key until finally I realized I should just commit it to God.

 After I thawed out a bit, I again asked facebook friends to pray a second time, a few months later,  for that same lost key. I was so touched that many people responded and told me they were praying. Indeed, a friend from a writer's conference wrote out a beautiful prayer to God right then and there asking God to directly lead me to the key so that I would be able to go and do the things He would have me to do. I was touched by her taking the time to write that out and her faith that God would answer.

This morning, my husband again encouraged me not to worry. I put on my clothes to face the elements to look a second time and I decided to pray the same prayer silently that my friend had written on facebook.

 And then God came through, just like we asked Him. I climbed in the driver's seat, looked down in the little space between the chair and the console, and saw something black. I forced my hand down and the item moved, so I knew it was not part of the seat itself. I scrounged my hand around and picked up a very cold black car key.

I thought about it a bit. Here I put my dilemma out for so many to see on facebook. I thought that maybe when God answered, it would not only be for my sake but for the sake of others too. For my friend prayed specifically and God answered specifically. Not because I deserved or earned it, but because He is in control of all the details of our lives, even our stupid mistakes.

He showed me and my praying friends He is Immanuel, right there with us in all the little details of our lives. He not only answers the big requests but also the ones due to our own carelessness. After all, He is the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our distresses.

'Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.' Jer. 33:3