Friday, April 30, 2010

Meditations on James

One of the benefits to scripture memorization is the ability to redeem seemingly idle time. As I was rocking my sick baby to sleep, I was meditating on some verses in James.
Jam 1:2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,
Jam 1:3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
Jam 1:4 And let  endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Trials is what according to verse 3? It is the testing of your faith. Anything that tests your faith and remember according to James 1:13-15 that all things are trials unless we respond sinfully to them then they are temptations.. As Hebrews 14:23 states that all things not of faith are sin, so we are to respond in all things in faith.

What happens in the testing of faith is endurance. We will be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. What a promise! Something to remember when I struggle with just the routines of a day. Character is built in routine, mundane routine. Not only that, I am being tested to become perfect and complete.

What does James 1:12 say? Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

What happens after perseverance/endurance? Once approved, we receive a crown of life. Crown is a picture - the eternal blessedness which will be given as a prize to the genuine servants of God and Christ: the crown (wreath) which is the reward of the righteousness (Strong's). What is the crown of life - it is the proof of salvation. It amazes me how often proof of salvation is in the Bible when you look for it.

Look at verse 12 closely, who is the crown for. Yes for those who endure, but also to those "the Lord has promised to those who Love Him". It is a PROMISE to those who love Him!! Yet it is only given to those who endure. What a beautiful picture here! Those who love God will endure!

It supports verse Philipians 1:6. He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion.

God sees the whole picture - the end result. He is at work, even now. Respond to trial in faith to cooperate with God's work. Rejoice,believer, God is there with you in trial to His glory. To His glory we will receive the crown of life.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

My dreamiest spot

My daughter and her husband moved out of our small town to about 15 minutes in the country. One of my favorites things about the change is the drive. The back way from our house to hers takes me by my favorite spot. It has hills and you can actually see them. Usually there are so many trees, it is hard to see anything for very far.

I dream of owning a country house out in those hills. I dream of cows, chickens, goats, a horse and a huge garden. I dream of being able to feed my family off the land and getting back to the basics. I dream of it so deeply sometimes, I can feel an ache inside.

I read a quip, probably on facebook, a little while ago that said, "God's gifts are better than man's best dreams!". Isn't that comforting!! I don't know why we don't have that perfect house in my perfect spot. However, I do know that God is sovereign and His love is perfect. He knows so much more than I do.  He knows whether my dream would bring joy or sorrow. He knows whether my dream would build or destroy my character. He knows whether it would bring pleasure or hardship. He is so good!

I can learn to be content in His perfect will.
Hebrews 13:5
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
1 Timothy 6:8
And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.

Be content. That is an impossible command in our human flesh. However, in God's strength, in His working in my heart, it is not only possible but very probable. I can trust in the perfect Father to provide for me perfectly. If I never see that dream house here on earth, I know I have a mansion over the hill with a Father that owns the cattle on a thousand hills.

Friday, April 16, 2010

God is enough!

Testing! Trials! Stretching! Hardship! Pain!

Those words don't seem to bring vision of much joy. These are things I would like to avoid at all costs. Yet, scripture has them in a different light for a believer. They bring growth. Much growth if we submit to the trials God brings. He allows them to strengthen us and to draw us to Him.

I have endured much pain in the last six weeks. Trials that have cut deep into my soul. Piercing far more than I thought would be what I could bear. Times I was so perplexed in it. Can sin in another's life bear fruit in ours? A resounding YES if I choose to respond in a way that God would desire. It is hard to respond as God would chose though. It is hard to honor Him when our souls are so raw that the slightest brush causes to writhe in pain.

Yet as He heals me with His love and washes me in His word, my mind begins to clear. I see His goodness in the timing of a well spoken word, a sermon preached just for me, the gently comfort of His Spirit. God is enough! If all friends leave me and no one is left to stand by my side, God is enough! If I lose all I have and in the eyes of the world seem destitute, God is enough! I am beginning to see that maybe that is what He wanted me to learn all along. His sovereignty chooses those to enter my life, the turns my life will take and maybe just to show me ... God is enough! Oh how glorious to realize and all praise belongs to Him as I really understand who HE IS to even be able to say something so deeply profound as... God is enough!

Sheltered Kids

Spring! The time for planting. Have you ever planted a small tree? It needs extra protection. Many times you will see a fence around it to protect it from nibbling animals. Often it will have a stake next to it to support it. It just needs the time to establish the roots. It is unable to protect itself or weather the disasters, natural or man-made, that happen to come along.

I couldn't help but think how that reminds me of being a parent. It is my job to shelter my kids until they have deep enough roots to weather life's storms. I am to protect them just as God protects us. 1 Corinthians 10:13 
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. He doesn't give us more than we can handle.

When a tree is small the fence covers almost all of it, as it grows the branches start to poke out and expand over the edge of the fencing. Eventually the fence comes down, if the roots have been deeply watered and healthy, the trunk strong, it will be ready to weather many a storm and give shade to many.