In the Hard

We each come to moments that catch us by surprise, hard moments from which we cannot see anything but brokenness on the other side. In the hard we can become strangled by fear or self pity, but in the hard there is hope if we simply readjust the focus of the lens through which we look.

It’s in the hard moments that God reveals Himself as He can in no other. It’s in the hard moments that we can see more clearly. As our view zones in on the sharpness of the pain we are experiencing all that exists outside fades and the hard clearly reveals God’s presence. It’s like looking through the keyhole and seeing what’s inside.

Over the past several months I’ve experienced some of the hardest moments of my life, but God has remained faithful and true. “Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations.” Deuteronomy 7:9

Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” Deuteronomy 31:6

In the hard I find God faithful, in the hard I find Him true to His promises. If not for the hard I would never have known His presence as deeply as I do now. In the hard I see Him so clearly.

“The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” Psalm 34:18

How is it that I Forget

In the quiet moments of heartache that come in the middle of the night, those moments when sleep seems so difficult to embrace how often have I forgotten that I am not alone. In inner turmoil I cry and I hold on to the darkness that covers me with its cold blanket of fear. Yet, sitting one whisper away is the voice of the most high God, waiting for me to lift my cry to Him. Within me waiting for me to call out, the Holy Spirit sits quietly longing for me to remember. The Son of God waits in the throne of glory eager for me to look up so that he might make intercession for me. Lovingly they sit in the quiet stillness of my fear, one whisper, one upward glance away. So, how is it that I forget? How is it though numerous times before I have found them to hold true to the very promise of God’s Word, how is it that I forget?

1 Chronicles 16:12
“Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;”

Psalm 63:6-7
“When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.”

Psalm 143:5
“I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.”

Restoring the Marvelous

There is little that can compare with the excitement of a child, the marvel that is expressed as they view the butterfly that pauses upon their finger, the giggle of delight as the cool water trickles over a toe dipped ever so slightly into the incoming ocean tide. The marvel with which the young child views the world around them is a treasure that all too soon fades away, for somewhere along the way the marvel starts to fade just as new silver exposed to the elements of this world loses its luster.

The children of Israel lost their marvel, they forgot all of the marvelous works that the Lord had done for them. They began to look upon the world around them and instead of seeing the wonder of it all they saw all of the struggles, all of the difficulties, all of the challenges that lay ahead. They took their eyes off of what God had done, turning their attention to what lay ahead. They no longer focused on the marvelous working power of their Lord.

“Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth” 1 Chronicles 16:12

“Marvellous things did he in the sight of their fathers, in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.” Psalm 78:12

Even though He parted the Red Sea and He brought them safely out of the land of Egyptian bondage, they forgot the sense of marvel. They forgot the marvelous works that God performed on their behalf.

“And they sinned yet more against him by provoking the most High in the wilderness.” Psalm 78:17

With the cares of life we often become like the children of Israel, we lose our sense of marvel. We lose sight of all His marvelous works, the victories that He has brought about in the past fade from our memory.

“Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth” Psalm 105:5

We need to stop, to pause and allow the wonder of who God is to fill our hearts and minds. We need to allow God to restore within us that sense of marvel that we once felt.

“O sing unto the Lord a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory. The Lord hath made known his salvation: his righteousness hath he openly shewed in the sight of the heathen.” Psalm 98:1-2

“Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.” Habakkuk 1:5

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” 1 Peter 2:9

He has called us to be the avenue by which His works are made known. We have been called to bring the light of who He is to a world in darkness. In Him we have been given the power of all the marvelous workings of His hands.

In the hustle and bustle, we need to seek His face lifting our faces upward to the marvelous light that He has revealed to all that seek Him. In that light we can find restoration of all that is marvelous, to experience the marvel once again.

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” Psalm 139:14

Complete in Him

There’s that sweet saying that a husband or wife might say to their spouse, “You complete me”; but the truth is they do not. Even when we meet the love of our life and our marriage is bliss, aside from God being the center of who we are, we are not complete. There is still a crucial part missing in our heart and lives.

“And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power” Colossians 2:10

Aside from Jesus Christ being Lord and Savior in our lives we we are incomplete. Nothing we attempt to do will be fruitful, no accomplishment will matter until God is the central part of all that we do.

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:4-5

Our lives are meant to be lived in the finished work of Jesus Christ. He has performed that which we were unable to do and in Him alone we can be complete.

“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” John 17:3-4

“And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it : that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.” John 17:26

In Him we are complete, He came that we might live in Him. He came that we might have the love of God and His righteousness within us, the element that completes us.

“Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” Colossians 4:12

Our Potter

“Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.” Jeremiah 18:2-3

I have always been fascinated by the ability of a potter to form and create an object from a lump of clay. I’ve been told that often the potter knows what the clay should be based on how it feels in his or her hands; but sometimes the potter has a particular vision in mind and selects a particular type of clay for the intended purpose. Either way, watching a potter at work as they mold and shape the clay to bring what appears to be a useless lump into something useful and/or beautiful is truly an amazing thing to see.

The reality is though, it is completely up to the potter to create and shape the object based on his predetermined need or desire. The clay does not identify itself as this or that or the other thing, the clay is in the hands of the potter.

“Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?” Romans 9:21

There are times when the clay becomes marred by debris from its surroundings and must be reshaped into something new. Often sin enters our lives or we rebel against our intended purpose and the potter has to reshape us to bring us back as a useable vessel.

“And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.” Jeremiah 18:4

There are times when the potter simply cannot rework the clay and must cast it out. The clay becomes unworkable, just as the person that is unwilling to submit to the potters hand and finds themselves unusable for the work of the Lord.

“And he shall break it as the breaking of the potters’ vessel that is broken in pieces; he shall not spare: so that there shall not be found in the bursting of it a sherd to take fire from the hearth, or to take water withal out of the pit. For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.” Isaiah 30:14-15

They rebelled and as a result God cast them aside, broken and unusable for any purpose. This thought brings fear to my heart as I think of so many times in my life when God could have very easily become wearied with my rebellion. Yet, when I returned to the potter He heard me and brought me back. I am so very thankful that He didn’t throw me away when I became broken; He simply molded me once again into a vessel that could be used for His honor and glory, for that my heart is humbled by gratitude.

“But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.” Isaiah 64:8

Striving to be Perfect in an Imperfect World

I remember all to well when I learned I was going to be a Mama for the first time. I remember all of the thoughts and plans, each with the lingering expression of hope that I would be a perfect mother. During my pregnancy I tried to do everything I could to provide for my new baby ensuring it had what it needed to grow and develop. I was striving to be perfect, yet it didn’t take me long after holding my little one for the first time before I realized that striving to be the perfect mother was a very lofty goal. It was in reality a goal that I fell short of many, many times.

Each time I fell short it was because I was relying on myself for that perfection. I failed because I was looking for human perfection, within my own strength and that simply isn’t possible.

“God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect.” 2 Samuel 22:33

Being made perfect is only possible in and through the strength of God. He alone can make us perfect, through the work of His Son. The only perfection that exists is Godly perfection.

“Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.” 1 Kings 8:61

In walking in the commandments of God’s word we can be perfect even in an imperfect world. Our lives are to be the result of the work that God is doing, it is when we attempt to follow our own ideas or rely on our own abilities that things fall apart.

“The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.” Psalm 138:8

Anything that I ever accomplished in following God’s Word was made perfect by Him. There is nothing within me that is perfect, and there never will be until I set foot in Heaven; but, in Him I am perfect because He is perfect.

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48

When we show forth our Father through the work that we do for Him we show forth perfection in an imperfect world. He is able to take all that we are in our own limited abilities and make us perfect, because He is perfect. Even when we do not see perfection because we see as man sees, God is working all things to His will and purpose. In that there is perfection in an imperfect world. When others see God in us they see His perfection.

“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21

Striving to be perfect in an imperfect world, though humanly impossible as we view things, is to be perfect in the completion of the work that God called us to do.

From Darkness to Light

Watching the news, though important from time to time, can be a frightening thing to do. It can cause us to become fearful and afraid as we observe all of the evil and darkness that have become so prevalent in our day. The threat of darkness can be felt growing all around us.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12

If we stopped here, if there was nothing beyond this, we would find ourselves in a hopeless place; but God in His merciful love toward us prepared a way to escape this darkness.

“To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” Acts 26:18

Jesus came that we might have a way by which we could be removed from the power of the darkness of Satan. The truly amazing thing is that we don’t have to wait for eternity to be removed from the power of that darkness, we experience that as soon as we accept Jesus as our Savior. Jesus delivers us from darkness to light. Satan no longer has power over us, that is why when he comes at us to discourage us we need only quote scripture to drive him away.

“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins” Colossians 1:13-14

God brings about the power of light within us. “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12

The Forbearance of God

For many, forbearance has made the difference between losing a home and being able to maintain through the treacherous financial difficulties brought about by the pandemic. Mortgage companies and government assistance have provided forbearance opportunities that forgave individuals inability to make payments that normally would have been required.

The meaning of the word forbearance is the refraining from the enforcement of something (such as a debt, right, or obligation) that is due. It is through the forbearance of God that our debt and obligation to pay for our sin has been covered.

“Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” Romans 2:4

Through the knowledge of God’s love and His plan of forgiveness of sin through the death of His Son as payment for our sin debt, we are brought to Him. When we see the goodness of God in contrast to who we are, we should all fall on our faces in acknowledgment of who He is and what He has done for us.

“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” Romans 3:24-26

The forbearance of God is a beautiful gift, far greater than the forbearance experienced during the current pandemic. God’s forbearance is of eternal value, it has no end date.

Being Mindful

“That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour” II Peter 3:2

What does it mean to be mindful ? According to Webster it means to be aware of something, to be conscious of what is occurring around us.

In a day when it’s so easy to become overwhelmed, to be caught up in the tide of never ceasing tension and discord, God has instructed us to be mindful. He wants us to be aware of what is going on and to be mindful of what He has told us would come to be as time continues. He wants us to use this knowledge as a way to remain focused on what is yet to come, to be mindful of His promises as we see His words coming to pass.

“He is the Lord our God; his judgments are in all the earth. Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand” I Chronicles 16:14-15

When it seems that sin has gained complete control around us, when it seems that wrong is prevailing, we are not to lose hope but to be mindful of what God has promised.

“Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” II Peter 3:17-18

“For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” Romans 8:6

All Things Precious

We all have that which we consider precious, something we hold on to that reminds us of a dear loved one or something made by the loving hands of one of our children. All through the Bible we are reminded of that which God sees as precious.

A Good Name Ecclesiastes 7:1 KJV
“A good name is better than precious ointment”

A Gift Proverbs 17:8 KJV
“A gift is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it: whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth.”

Godly Wisdom Proverbs 3:15 KJV
“She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.”

The Death of the Saints Psalm 116:15 KJV
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.”

The Gospel Psalm 126:6 KJV
“He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”

Our Faith 1 Peter 1:7 KJV
“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ”

The Blood of Christ 1 Peter 1:19 KJV
“But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot”

Jesus, the Cornerstone 1 Peter 2:6 KJV
“Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.”

The Promises of God 2 Peter 1:4 KJV
“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

In looking at all things precious according to God, we can learn much about what we should view as precious. No matter what this world gives to us or takes from us, none of it compares to that which we have been given and promised by God Himself. All things precious come from the one that created us, loved us and made a way by which we could be saved. All things precious are of Him, by Him and from Him; and He has promised them all to us.