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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Luther’s Carol for Children

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I LOVE Christmas — the music, the decorations, the memories of years gone by, the songs and the stories. I have especially been gathering books about Christmas. One book that I’ve enjoyed is a collection of poems, songs and excerpts from longer writings.

In my reading today I found a Christmas carol that Martin Luther wrote in 1534. I really liked the following stanzas.

All hail, Thou noble Guest, this morn,
Whose love did not the sinner scorn!
In my distress Thou cam’st to me:
What thanks shall I return to Thee?

Were earth a thousand times as fair,
Beset with gold and jewels rare,
She yet were far too poor to be
A narrow cradle, Lord, for Thee.

Ah, dearest Jesus, Holy Child!
Make Thee a bed, soft, undefiled,
Within my heart, that it may be
A quiet chamber kept for Thee.

Praise God upon His heavenly throne,
Who gave to us His only Son:
For this His hosts, on joyful wing,
A blest New Year of mercy sing.

How I long for my heart to be an “undefiled” place for the Lord. By His grace and through His longsuffering patience with me it becomes that place for Him. It’s all Him doing His work in His vessel!

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

My Jesus is too human

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I have been reading from and about Psalms 23. Perhaps one of the classic works on this psalm is Philip Keller’s “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23.” My mentor of over 30 years gave me a copy of this book back in the 80’s — I started to read it today. (embarassing!) But I don’t think this book could ever be more important to my walk with Lord than it is right now. I have been struggling with some questions as of late that I have never deeply dealt with before.

God has been faithful to meet me in His Word or through others saints who have tread similar paths and lived to write about it. I haven’t gotten the answers I need yet, but I feel God is leading me toward them.

Part of that journey included coming across this excerpt of Keller’s book,

When He was God incarnate amongst men, He declared emphatically, “I am the good Shepherd.”

But who was this Christ?

Our view of Him is often too small — too cramped — too provincial — too human. And becasue it is we feel unwilling to allow Him to have authority or control — much less ourtight ownership of our lives.”

Is your view of Christ too small, too cramped, too provincial, too human? Talk to me. Walk with me.

His hope is realized

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“But hope that is seen is not hope at all; for who hopes for what he already sees?” — Romans 8:24

My father-in-law, Joseph Ducanis, Sr., now sees his Hope. He no longer waits for it. It is not unseen any more. He no longer has hope because his hope has been realized. Paul says it is not hope if you see it. Dad Ducanis now sees, he stares and worships what was once hope but is now reality. He is with his Savior, Christ Jesus.

As I have been thinking about our study of hope and Dad’s passing, heaven has become more real to me. Jake, BJ’s 22 year old nephew, was waiting for Dad Ducanis when he arrived. They are not hopeful people any longer. They have no need to be. They are with Jesus.

I love the thought of Jake being with his granddad. The two of them waiting on the rest of us. Those of us who are left . . . still hoping.

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