Monday, April 30, 2012

A Same But Different Sea - Dinner #55

     Sometimes we’re faced with a brand new trial, we’ve never known before.  Sometimes we’re faced with a trial that is the same, yet, somehow different.   Joshua 3:4 says, “. . . that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore.” My own family is facing a “fork in the road”.  We have been for several months now.  Some weeks we feel as though we have peace about a step in a certain direction, and then, all of a sudden, things change again.  As a woman, my heart desires  STABILITY!  I have the peace and the certainty that my husband wants what is best for our family, but any talk of moving ANYWHERE or changing ANYTHING has been very unsettling to me, lately.
      This past Sunday night, I had the opportunity to hear some of the Crown College “Preacher Boys” in our pulpit.  One of them preached from Matthew chapter 14.  “And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go . . . But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.” (Matthew 14:22, 24-25) This young man pointed out that some of these disciples had done this before! They were fishermen, and had gone across this sea many times - but this time it was different.  That thought really stuck with me.  You see, I, too, have a “sea” before me that I’ve crossed many times – but this time, it’s different . . . My husband keeps talking about the possibility of us moving or changing jobs.  That is NOT a new sea to me!  I’ve moved SO many times in my life!  My dad was in the military! But this time, it’s different . . .  I don’t want to leave the first home of our married life! Everything from the carpeting to the cabinets has been just right for us! We’re close to grocery stores, a library, parks, church, friends . . Perhaps, God won’t have us actually move.  But, even if we don’t, a job change is frightening, too! I’ve been through job changes before, but we have a baby now! What about health coverage? What if we find out we’re having another baby, before new insurance goes into place? In many ways, we “have not passed this way heretofore.”
     The young man preaching on Sunday night, went on to say that this sailing in the boat was a journey to COME TO CHRIST!  Matthew 14:28-29 “And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come . . .”  Lord, if it is YOU . . . I must be assured in my heart, that if GOD has us move or change jobs, then it will be a journey to DRAW US CLOSER TO HIM!  In Exodus 33:13, Moses begged the Lord, “Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee . . .” Is this what You would have our family do, Oh Lord?  Please show us the path to KNOWING YOU MORE!  Exodus 33:15 continues Moses’ conversation: “And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.” If You’re not going with us, Lord, then please don’t move us! May we only move or make a change, if YOU will be with us! That should be our prayer!
     Are you facing a familiar sea with a different type of storm than before?  Praise God, that our Lord is the OVERCOMER of storms!  “ . . . for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.” (Luke 8:25)  “He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.” (Psalm 107:29) Jesus may tell us to “go” out into the sea, but He will also be there to reach out His hand, and to say unto us, “Come” . . . As a lovely Wild’s song says, “Draw me close to Thyself, O Lord, And give me peace in the midst of my storm...”  If it is a sailing journey of GOD’S choosing, then it is a journey to draw us closer to Himself!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Continuing On - Dinner #54

     “Dinner’s In The Oven” has been a devotional journal of what God has shown me and taught me, week after week, and month after month – from struggling financially as newlyweds, to finding out we were having a baby, to caring for a young infant in our home.   There have been so many times that I have wondered – Should I keep trying to do this?  I send the devotionals out as emails and post them as notes on Facebook, but the blog itself only gets visited by about 15-20 people a month.  Is it time for me to just close out the blog? Should I take a break from these devotionals, entirely?  But sometimes I see 4 readers in Russia, 1 in Latvia, or 2 in France, on my blog’s statistics for the month.  Do they just happen upon “Dinner’s In The Oven” articles by accident?  Do they even understand English?  I have no way of knowing.  But it could be that there is a lady, hungry for God’s Word, all the way on the other side of the world, who waits for me to make another post each week . . . How can I stop sharing what God is teaching me?  Galatians 6:9 exhorts, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”  II Thessalonians 3:13 seconds the motion by saying, “But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.”  No.  For now, I know I’m meant to keep writing.  It’s a ministry that the Lord has given me! Sometimes, I may not see many “likes”, “shares”, “comments”, and “replies”, but only GOD knows what He is doing through His Word!
     The Lord declares that if you’re giving out His Word to people, it will NOT return void!  Isaiah 55:11 “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” In I Corinthians 15:58, Paul writes, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
     Are you, too, trying to share the Bible with others?  In I Corinthians 3:9, Paul declares, “For we are labourers together with God . . .” We are working WITH God, doing HIS work!  How can we become “weary in well doing”, when GOD is on our side? Does it feel like NONE of the children in your small group are listening?  One of them may go home and teach their unsaved parents a new Bible song, this week!  Does your work on that Sunday School bus or in that nursery room seem insignificant? As the song goes, “Little is much, when GOD is in it . . .”
     Why should we continue on?  If it is a work that God has given you, then it is important to Him! Sometimes we do not KNOW the influence we are having on someone else.  Sometimes we never find out until we “get to the other side”.  I’d like to think that maybe there will be a lady or two in heaven, because God helped me to share His Word, over the internet, from my little home in the United States, each month.  What is YOUR special ministry and “labour of love” (Hebrews 6:10)?  Are you sometimes tempted to “give it up for a while”?  I Corinthians 12:22 tells us, “Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary.”  Your work may not seem like much to you, but God says it IS necessary!  Hebrews 13:20,21 “Now the God of peace . . . Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight . . .”  While you are working with others, God is working IN YOU!  Philippians 1:6 declares that we can be “. . . confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”  Don’t give up what God has given you to do!   While you are doing that important work to Him, He’s still working ON YOU!  “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Light In The Darkness - Dinner #53

     Sometimes you can look at where God has brought you, in your life, and find yourself asking, “What has He been preparing me for ?”  I still get excited anytime I hear the very mention of the word “Africa” . . . Nearly all of my childhood and youth, and even the majority of my college years, I researched, wrote about, made bulletin boards of, and prayed for AFRICA!  It was very much my heartbeat!  But then I met a young man who became my heartbeat.  His burden was for a country in an entirely different part of the world – Central Asia.  I fell completely in love with Brandon, knew he was the right one for me, and tried to take his burden as my own . . . But to this day, I often wonder and ponder in my heart, “If we’re meant to go to Central Asia, then why did God give me such a love for Africa?! Why did He let me stay on that path for so long?  Why does it make me want to cry whenever I think of going anywhere else?”  I do not know the answers to these questions, but I know that God does!  What a LOVING and CARING God He is!  He won’t leave me in the dark!  He WILL show me His perfect plan, in HIS perfect timing! 
     Psalm 143:10 says, “Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good . . .” How good our God truly is!  I recently came across a passage in Nehemiah, which talks about all that God did for the children of Israel, those 40 years in the desert.  “Yet thou in thy manifold mercies forsookest them not in the wilderness: the pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to shew them light, and the way wherein they should go. Thou gavest also thy good spirit to instruct them, and withheldest not thy manna from their mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst.  Yea, forty years didst thou sustain them in the wilderness, so that they lacked nothing; their clothes waxed not old, and their feet swelled not.” (Nehemiah 9:19-21)  Do you know what happened as they waited to reach that land that God had promised them?  He provided for their every need! He took care of them! He made sure that their FEET DIDN’T EVEN SWELL!  Does God care for MY needs and lovingly lead ME, when I do not know the way? Yes, He does!
     In Isaiah chapter 42, our Heavenly Father promises us, “And I will bring the blind by a way which they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight.  These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.” There are times when we do not understand what God is doing, but God is WITH US in the dark, unknowing times!  He is right there to make everything light and everything straight! Daniel 2:22 “He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.”
     The Psalmist David prayed during a time of uncertainty, “Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk, for I lift up my soul unto thee.” (Psalm 143:8) We ALL have periods in our lives where we feel very much “in the dark”.  But, Praise the Lord! In John 12:46, Jesus said, “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.”  Jesus Christ not only gives us light, He IS the Light!  He not only shows us the way, He IS the way! He is the Resurrected Savior! John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” As I think of that verse, I can hear the words of a precious hymn, in my mind . . . “ ‘ Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, Just to take Him at His word; Just to rest upon His promise; Just to know, Thus saith the Lord. . .” You can trust Him!  He IS the Way, the Truth, and the Life!  You can trust Him for salvation! You can trust Him through the dark times! You can trust Him to always show you the way!   
      Happy Resurrection Sunday, Ladies! God Bless!