I can do all things through . . .

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This week has been hectic deluxe. When this morning showed up I was just overwhelmed at how little week was left and how much there still was to do. I came to my office and just told the Lord that I didn’t have enough to get it all done. I opened up my bible to Psalms, my usual place for solace. But it didn’t click. I switched over to Isaiah and found myself in chapter 40 and at the very end of the chapter there was my solace.

“Yet those who wait (hope) for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not get weary.” (v.31)

God’s Word revealed the true nature of my heart — that I am still determined to do all things on my own, instead of through Christ. Weeks like this one push me to the place where I just feel like I can’t do more and when in final desperation I talk to the Lord about it He calms my heart and points out that my problem is my self-reliance. My hope was in my efforts, not the Lord.

How true is His word when it says, “Revive me O Lord, according to They word.” (Ps. 119:107)

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This I KNOW

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This I KNOW . . .

. . . That regardless of the events of my life God is aware of them. He knows of them and plans to use them for my good — whether that is in this life or the next, His good is better than my best!

. . . That any event can be used by God to draw attention to Him and give him fame and glory.

. . . That God is deserving of ALL fame and glory, not for all that He has done but simply because of who He is!

. . . That He extends grace sufficient for the moment that will carry me in any circumstance.

. . . That my choices make a difference. Although I may not see the ripples of my choices or know who encounters them, they go out from the moment of decision and can not be taken back or undone.

. . . that God makes beauty from ashes, good from bad, awe from awful.

. . . That God is so good to me and even when the difficulties of the day seem to much to carry He stands with me, carrying my burden for me when I give Him permission to. He is So VERY VERY good to me.

. . . That I can never thank Him enough. I am humbled by His goodness.

How much comfort would it give us if our “whys” were answered?

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This year I have come to love and appreciate Psalm 23. I’ve read it over and over. Used it at funerals. Read other authors about it.

One author that I’ve really enjoyed is Haddon Robinson. His short book, “Trusting the Shepherd: Insights from Psalm 23” has been a great read! Discussing verse four that says, “thy rod and staff they comfort me,” Robinson asks us to consider what we would gain from asking why.

“Why the road was icy just then? Why was the loved one on that fatal flight? If God merely gave us answers –scientific or philosophical explanations for our bruising questions — how much comfort would that give us? A child isn’t comforted by being told why his toy broke or why her finger was bruised in the car door or why he must be given the shot. The child is comforted by knowing that his mother loves him and believing she can do something about his hurt.”

You can clearly see in Robinson’s illustration that the comfort a child depends on rests on his faith that his parent is there for him and has his best welfare in mind. God’s strength — His rod and staff — give the sheep a sense of comfort knowing that strength is used for the good of the sheep.

God has been proving Himself strong in my life. At the moment, the “whys” have faded to black as the goodness, mercy and grace of Jesus have shown through all the static of life.

Thank you Lord for your goodness to me, so undeserving, yet so grateful!

God’s grace at work in my life!

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It has been a great season of spiritual growth in my life as of late. I can’t explain it all, I don’t understand it that well. I can’t point to any one thing. Instead I think it is the cumulative effect of lots of things going on in life that play on my sin nature and the fears that constantly try to overwhelm me coupled with my time in the Word and the work of the Holy Spirit in my life.

The result has been peace. Overwhelming peace in the midst of circumstances that just a few weeks ago would have totally sapped away my vitality for ministry, family and life in general. My gratitude for God’s grace is unspeakable. I’m overjoyed at what God is doing in my heart and mind.

“Remember your promise to me; it is my only hope. Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles.”
Psalm 119:49-50

The Courage of a Sheep

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I love the Psalms. 119, 139, 73, 25 and Psalm 23 — are all favorites of mine. This morning Psalm 23 was the flavor of the day.

Yes, this is the funeral Psalm. The one they read at funerals and in the rosy red lights of the funeral parlor this Psalm is pretty somber.

But this morning, as it has been many other times, it was not somber but very encouraging! It was verse four that was so good to read today.

“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.”

Haddon Robinson in a short book on Psalm 23 that he wrote said this about verse 4,

    Undoubtedly, as David wrote this psalm, he could remember how as a boy he had led this own flocks through the valley of deep darkness.

    Just as the sheep trusted David for protection, so he had learned to trust God to protect him.

    What kind of courage does a sheep need? A sheep does not need courage to fight its enemies. The most courageous sheep in the world would be an easy victim of the smallest wolf or mountain lion. What a sheep needs is courage to trust the shepherd. When it senses that a predator is near, it looks up to see the shepherd nearby, and then it goes back to grazing again. That takes courage!

    What kind of courage does a Christian need? We don’t need courage to fight our own spiritual battles.

    We need courage to trust the Shepherd. If we know that He is nearby, we simply trust ourselves to Him and go back to grazing again. And that takes courage!

Isn’t that good news! My Shepherd, our Shepherd, is nearby. And no matter what might seem to be licking its chops waiting to devour us, He stands guard over us.

There are days or even weeks when the uncertainty of life wants to overwhelm us. Today is one of those for me. But for today I have chosen to keep on grazing and trust myself to the Shepherd!

Minimum Service

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A guest at a hotel was in a hurry to check out when he realized he did not have his briefcase. He went to the bellhop and said, “Would you please hurry to room 1203? I think I left my briefcase there. My limo for the airport leaves in six minutes, so please hurry.”
The man checked out, and after a few minutes the bellhop came hurrying across the lobby. “Yes, sir,” he said. “Your briefcase is still there in 1203.” He did just as he was told.
Many people do the minimum, spending just enough effort to get through the job or life. These people are often unhappy, cautious, suspicious and without much thought or feeling about what they are doing. There is no joy in minimum performance.
Biblical faith, however, challenges believers to live life to the maximum, to “the max.” Paul urged the Corinthian Christians, “As you excel in everything — in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us — see that you also excel in this grace of giving” (2 Cor. 8:7).

From preaching.com

The Christian Faith is . . .

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“The Christian faith is, at its core, not about ethics or religious experience, but a message about a God who has gone to extraordinary lengths to be and remain on our side, to become the-God-with-a-name, Emmanuel, “God with us.” Christians are not primarily mystics (those who experience God in a special way) or activists (those who live the way of Jesus). We are mostly witnesses of who God is and what he has done and what he will do in Jesus Christ, the God who in Christ has “a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth” (Eph. 1:10).”

Mark Galli from his article, “The End of Christianity As We Know It”

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