Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Does God Get Discouraged?

He will not fail nor be discouraged, till He has established justice in the earth (Isa 42:4)

We often remind ourselves about God's ultimate victory, and the fact that He does not, can not, will not fail.

But how often do we remember that He does not get discouraged?

What a glorious, beautiful truth this is!

As Pastor John Piper reminds us, God's own happiness is the basis for our happiness. And God is happy for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that He cannot be thwarted in any way.

He will not be discouraged.

Is it safe for me to assume that many of you are easily discouraged, just like I am? Or perhaps, even though it's not easy to discourage you, it has happened anyway because things have simply become too overwhelming. At times like that, for people like us, it's helpful to remember God's victory, of course. But how much more assurance we can feel when we see His matchless self-confidence!

He will not be discouraged.

He has known from eternity past where the planets would be in their orbits right at this moment. And He has known just as long the alignments of governments and world powers. He has known the fall of the sparrow in the forest, and the hairs on our heads. What's more, He has not only known these things, but has ordained them. If you're a serious student of the Word, you know all of that. But it's not very encouraging to look at those facts if we picture our God as downcast, gloomy, irritable and frustrated because he's not certain how everything will turn out.

He is certain.

He will not be discouraged.

My mother was never calmer than when one of us needed to draw courage from her. I've seen wheedling parents pleading with their distressed children, whining like children themselves, and their children never fail to fall completely to pieces when they see their parents so undone. I'm sure you've seen this kind of scene: two children fall and scuff their knees a bit. Neither one begins to cry, because it wasn't really that bad. The mother of one child calmly says, "Well, it's okay. You're all right," and the child happily trots back to his playing. The other mother runs in a near panic, frantic over what has happened, and her formerly calm child dissolves into tears. If Mother thinks it's a tragedy, it must be one!

Our Heavenly Father has no fears about what is happening in your life right now, or in mine. I do not mean that He is callous or indifferent. I mean that He is utterly confident and perfectly competent to fulfill His promises to us.

He will not be discouraged.

To be discouraged simply means to lose one's courage, and it's a dangerous thing. Fear lashes out like a wounded animal that attacks its would-be rescuers. It isolates us in a prison with walls thicker than any ever made with brick and mortar. Cowardliness leads to lying, to cheating, to blame-shifting, to avoidance of even healthy risk. Fear protects itself at any cost, while love counts no sacrifice too great. It's true that perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18), and a little careful thought will show the inverse to be true as well. Where fear grows stronger, love is increasingly lost.

The great Scottish preacher George H. Morrison (1866-1928) tells us:

"We never can be patient without courage, and without courage we never can be pure. It calls for a little courage to be truthful, and it calls for a little courage to be kind. And sometimes it takes a great deal of courage just to say what we ought to say, and sometimes it takes more courage to say nothing. Do you know the commonest command in Scripture? The commonest command in Scripture is Fear not. Times without number in the Word of God it rings out upon us, Thou shalt not be afraid. For courage is at the roots of life, and it is the soil in which every virtue flourishes; it is no isolated or independent grace, but is the nursing mother of them all."

Do you know that God will not be discouraged?

I admit I never thought about the courage of our Lord until I was talking to my sons about the atonement a couple of years ago. My middle son, who is autistic, listened in silence until I talked about the crucifixion, and the fact that Jesus went willingly to Calvary for us. My son's eyes widened at that, and he said, "He was brave!"

Out of the mouths of babes!

Morrison says again, "I suppose there was never anyone on earth quite so courageous as our Savior Jesus Christ. Yet give a pagan that life of His to read, and I do not think he would say, How brave He was! He would say, How loving He was—how infinitely patient—how radiantly peaceful in the teeth of calumny; yet love and patience and radiance and peace were but His matchless courage in disguise."

Jesus' courage of course came from his own divine resources. But do you know that He can encourage you from the depths of His own courageous heart, the heart that faced Pilate without wavering, faced the Roman scourge and screamed (no doubt) under it's agony - but without faltering in His purpose, and faced Calvary without flinching?

He does not go to some celestial storehouse to find a box of courage to hand to his people when they need it. He has limitless stores of it right in His own heart, and He gives it liberally. Can you see it now, how it marks His features with a calmness and peace and confidence that seems to lighten your load as you look at it?

He will not be discouraged. And because of His courage, and His encouragement, we need never be discouraged either.

"Consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls." (Heb. 12:3)

He will not be discouraged!

(Photo taken by Betsy Markman in Colorado Springs, Colorado)

True Friendship

For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established—that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. (Rom 1:11-12)

What is Biblical friendship?

Some examples immediately come to mind, of course. David and Jonathan are the first ones I think of, and that's probably true for many of you as well. What made their friendship so special?

  • It was certainly divinely appointed to start with
  • It developed a deep bond (their souls were "knit together.")
  • Their loyalty led them even to risk their lives for one another
  • Their bond was deeper than the bonds of family
You could probably think of more than that. Such qualities are to be treasured, and such friendships nurtured wherever they are found. But the kind of qualities I listed, as rare and wonderful as they are, still need something more before they can fully embody the beautiful ideal of Biblical friendship. And the apostle Paul hit it right on the head in the verses above.

The deepest, truest Biblical friendships have God as their foundation, their feast, and their future. I think David and Jonathan would say that that was true of them.

"I long to impart some spiritual gift to you." It isn't only apostles who can feel such a longing. This kind of gift-giving doesn't spring from superiority, as if Paul wanted to condescend to bless the Roman Christian peons. Far from it. Love gives. That's just what it does. "For God so loved the world, that He gave..." For some people that sort of generosity comes naturally. The rest of us need to work on it, deliberately and very prayerfully, until it becomes natural to ask ourselves, "how can I be a blessing to you?" Oh Lord, help me become the sort of Christian who loves like that, like You!

"So that you may be established." No politically-correct, self-esteem building motivation exists anywhere in Paul's writings. He doesn't say, "So that you can feel good about yourselves," or "So that you can kick back and have a good laugh," or anything like that. Not that Paul was against laughter. He just never would have been content with mere happiness. He set his sights much higher than anything the world could provide. So he didn't just encourage, he encouraged in the Lord. He didn't just point his friends toward temporal happiness, but pointed them always toward the deep, inexhaustible joy of Christ. He didn't stroke anyone's self-esteem, but rather stoked their God-esteem (and his friends were much better off because of it). He rebuked, sometimes harshly, when he saw his friends wandering off on dangerous paths. He wept with them when they wept, and wept for them whenever they began a fruitless search for joy in the passing pleasures of sin. He fasted and prayed for them. He endured beatings, imprisonment, and finally death in his zeal to share the Lord with them and to see them "established in the faith." No wonder his friends wept bitterly when he left them on his dangerous last journey to Jerusalem!

That I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. Once again, this was a humble friendship, one that joyfully acknowledged and anticipated the mutuality of the benefits they would receive in each other's company. There was no strained atmosphere of religiosity forced on their meetings. Their shared faith was a feast, a banquet table from which they loved to dine together.

Of course they were just human, like us. They had their foibles and their squabbles. But the richness of this friendship could not be denied, and the love that the first-century Christians had for one another soon became legendary in its day.

Put a bunch of strangers in a room for a business lunch, and the atmosphere will be similar to that in many church socials. Polite manners, small talk, etc. But let two of those businessmen fall into conversation and discover a shared interest, and everything changes. If the commonalities are strong enough, the conversation quickly deepens to the point that no one else even exists. Contact information is shared, and future meetings are planned.

The gathering didn't cause the friendship, it only facilitated the meeting. The mutual interest is what fanned the new friendship into flame.

There isn't a single church program that can make true Biblical friendships grow. There is no formula for producing them. They're simply too authentic for that. Such friendships are the inevitable result when genuinely God-centered, Spirit-filled, Christ-loving people (complete with all of their failures, sins, and "warts") discover their shared passion for the Lord.

Join with me in thanking the Lord for the godly friends He has given us. And pray with me that we might all grow more and more in love with our Lord, so that whenever we meet brothers and sisters in Christ, the bond would cement us instantly, joyfully, and eternally.

(Photo from Stock.xchng by Mart1n)

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Astonishment of Angels

Has a nation changed its gods, which are not gods? But My people have changed their Glory for what does not profit. Be astonished, O heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid; be very desolate," says the LORD. "For My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water. Jer 2:11-13

How seriously does Heaven take our sin?

There is an awesome solemnity in these verses. Can you not hear the collective gasp of the angels, who day and night cover their faces and worship before the throne? They who bow in adoration for untold ages without ever exhausting their impulse to praise could they not be astonished when we cast aside our Glory in favor of what does not profit?

How seriously do we take our sin?

Do we truly hear the words of our Lord through the apostle John when he said, "Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him" (1John 3:15)? Do we hear the thunder of Heaven in Paul's assertion that coveting is idolatry (Col. 3:5), or in Samuel's declaration that "rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry (1Sam. 15:23)?

How seriously do we take our sin?

Do we, like Ezra, grieve to the depths of our soul over sin, and "sit down astonished" (Ezra 9:3)? Does the sight of our sin make us cry out with Paul, "O wretched man that I am" (Rom. 7:24)? Do we, like Paul, truly hate the sins that we commit (Rom. 7:15)?

Do you protest, "But we're under grace! It's all forgiven, all under the blood, so don't talk to me about it"? No one knew grace better than Paul, but he called himself a wretch in Romans 7, right before writing one of the most beautiful treatises on grace ever written (Romans 8). If Paul didn't wink at sin, how dare we?

What if Paul was only capable of writing Chapter 8 because of what he wrote in Chapter 7? What if we have to see our own wretchedness and despise it before we can appreciate grace?

Do you wish you could find a magic formula to create more fervor in your worship? Do you wish there was some newer bit of music, some more intoxicating rhythm that you could sway to in church to help create a mood, to work up something that will pass for zeal on a Sunday morning?

God forgive us!

May we be on our knees pleading with God to give us a holy hatred for sin! May we seek true repentance, even though we have to get there by way of godly sorrow (2Co. 7:10)! May we pray for a fresh vision of Calvary, because it is there that we see most clearly how seriously Heaven takes our sin. Let me say it again. If at Calvary we see only the grace of God, we have not seen Calvary at all. The grace poured out there is precious beyond words, never to be belittled or overlooked in any way. But who is it who belittles grace, if not the very one who refuses to acknowledge the awfulness of the sin from which grace saves us?

Never forget that God the Son wasn't the only person of the Trinity at Golgotha that day. God the Father was there, too, and He was not passive. "It pleased the Lord to bruise Him, He has put Him to grief (Isa. 53:10). Nor was Jesus a helpless victim of a vindictive deity, for He agreed with the Father in everything, even on the Cross. "Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit," he said, and those are not the words of defeat. They are the ringing cry of victory, just as powerful as "It is finished!" For the Son hates sin just like the Father does, and took it so seriously that he willingly agreed with the sentence of wrath handed down upon it.

And He absorbed that wrath in our place.

Oh, precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow!

No other fount I know

Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Oh, may we take our sin seriously, not so that we can become beaten-down and miserable, but so that we can love and delight in our Savior more passionately, so we can rejoice in grace wholeheartedly, and so that we can keep from throwing away our Glory and making Heaven gasp in astonishment and horror.

(Photo from Stock.xchng by tomdef)

Monday, July 28, 2008

What's this "Cloud of Witnesses" about?

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us (Heb 12:1)


I hate feeling pressured.

This verse used to have that effect on me. Of course I knew that these witnesses were the people mentioned in the great "Hall of Faith" in the previous chapter. They were superheroes of the past who were tortured and martyred for their faith in God. I would read about them with awe. Then I would arrive at Chapter 12, and I would read about them forming a great cloud of witnesses, which was supposed to make me keep pressing on in my own race toward the finish line.

Teachers would tell me that those people were all surrounding me, watching my progress and cheering me on. But I couldn't believe they would actually be cheering for me, since I knew I wasn't making any great strides at that point in my life. So the thought of all of those spiritual giants surrounding me and watching me quickly became oppressive. Instead of making me want to endure, it made me want to quit, knowing I could never be as strong and brave as they were.

Ok, so maybe I was weird, but that's really the effect it had on me. Did it have that effect on anyone else?

Anyway, over the past few years I've been greatly enjoying the teaching ministry of Pastor John Piper, and if there's any one thing that Piper is known for, it's God-centeredness. That's a well I love to drink deeply from, and it has given me a whole new perspective on this verse.

Jesus said, "You shall be My witnesses" (Acts 1:8).

Paul said, "For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. " (1Co 2:2)

Peter said, "To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins." (Acts 10:43)

Paul and Barnabas said, "Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness." (Acts 14:17)

Ananias (the devout one) said to Saul of Tarsus, "For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard." (Acts 22:15)

Jesus said to Saul, "But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. " (Acts 26:16)

Of course there are other verses that use the term "Witness" to refer to other things. But there does seem to be a strong trend toward God-centeredness when speaking of witnessing. And since the Bible is indisputably a God-centric book, that's not surprising.

So what's with this cloud of witnesses? Well, perhaps they do cheer us on. That's a happy thought. But with what do they cheer us? To what do they witness?

If God opened up my spiritual ears right now so that I could hear what those witnesses were saying, I'm sure I'd be encouraged if they said things like, "You're doing great." In fact, I wouldn't only be encouraged, I'd be astonished! But I think I'd also be disappointed if that was most of what they said. You see, if their focus was centered on me, and they were witnesses of what I was doing, or of my worth, it wouldn't be enough for me. I would have plenty of reasons to doubt their assessment, since my own sin and failure are so clear to me. I would feel, frankly, like they were no better than the pop-psychology gurus of our day who go around stroking everyone's egos, convinced that the greatest thing anyone can do is worship his own reflection. That's shallow. I don't want it.

I wish I could hear those witnesses. Do you know who I think they would witness about? Do you know what I think they would be saying with all the conviction of their hearts and souls, with all the joy and fervor and love that fills everyone in Heaven?

"God is worth it all! He is so worth it! His beauty and His love and His perfection and His grace and His hope and His peace really are enough to sustain you and give you joy, even if they take all of your things and your family abandons you and you're tortured and imprisoned and killed. We know! We've been there. We're just ordinary people, but God came through for us! When we went through our tribulations, He drew closer to us than we ever could have imagined, and He'll do the same for you. When He reveals Himself more fully to you in your heart, you will be so glad to count all things as loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord! You will never regret it, because He is so wonderful!"

That, my friends, is the kind of "Cloud of Witnesses" that makes me want to pick up my weary feet and run some more. May we be such God-centered witnesses even before we leave this earth!

(Photo from Stock.xchng by Mordoc, edited for this site)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Devoted to Devotions, or to God?

Today's reading from "My Utmost for His Highest" (Oswald Chambers) is almost mind-boggling to me. Here is an excerpted segment:

His purpose is that I depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay in the middle of the turmoil calm and unperplexed, that is the end of the purpose of God. His end is the process -that I see Him walking on the waves, no shore in sight, no success, no goal, just the absolute certainty that it is all right because I see Him walking on the sea. It is the process, not the end, which is glorifying to God. His purpose is for this minute, not for something in the future. We have nothing to do with the afterwards of obedience. God's end is to enable me to see that He can walk on the chaos of my life just now. If we have a further end in view, we do not pay sufficient attention to the immediate present: if we realize that obedience is the end, then each moment as it comes is precious.

Please don't confuse this with a zen-like "Living in the moment" philosophy. We do not put our faith in the moment, but in the God who ordains each moment. This God who ordains every tick of the clock has also "declared the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I shall do all my pleasure.'" (Isa. 46:10) We do not lull ourselves to sleep with assurances of some benevolent Force or faceless providence, but find our strength in the great I Am who reigns from Genesis to Revelation and beyond.

But why is that quote from Chambers mind-boggling to me? I guess because I still find the present so hard to cope with. I tend to like the big, sweeping view. I take comfort in God's overall master plan, in His declared purposes, in His promises for the future. It's today's mountains of responsibilities and hardships that send me reeling. I guess it's hard to remember that the pages of my life fall between Genesis and Revelation, too. So I tend to hide away in the comfort of various pleasurable distractions, to the exclusion of too many of my daily chores and responsibilities.

Don't get me wrong. My family isn't totally neglected. But fear of being overwhelmed by my responsibilities has always sent me into hiding far too much of the time, whether in writing a novel or short stories, or playing at some other thing. When I began to grow closer to God, my devotional time became an escape as well. Something that I read from Chambers a little while ago rebuked me for that:

To live a remote, retired, secluded life is the antipodes of spirituality as Jesus Christ taught it. The test of our spirituality comes when we come up against injustice and meanness and ingratitude and turmoil, all of which have the tendency to make us spiritual sluggards. We want to use prayer and Bible reading for the purpose of retirement. We utilize God for the sake of getting peace and joy, that is, we do not want to realize Jesus Christ, but only our enjoyment of Him. This is the first step in the wrong direction. All these things are effects and we try to make them causes.


So where does all this lead me?

Lately I've been retreating more than usual and allowing the housework to really pile up. So I decided that yesterday, which was a Saturday, would be a serious workday. And I came to the startling realization that I needed to NOT have devotions that morning.

Now, before you denounce me as a heretic, hear me out.

When I have devotions, I get so wrapped up in them that an hour or two can easily go by. And, because I tend to abuse devotional time and make it an escape from reality, I find it hard to "tune in" and engage the real world once I'm done. That's no fault of devotions, per se. It's only the result of years of misusing them.

I definitely do NOT need less time in the Word. But I do need to start having it with a heart that wants to take those truths into the day-to-day grind. I need to learn to bring the sacred into the secular.

So I decided to combine my morning and evening devotions into one, all to be done in the evening. I won't have less time in the Word. I'll just have it at a different time. Why? Because if I don't start my housework almost right away, I lose all momentum and don't start it at all. So Saturday morning, after taking just a few minutes to practice a few memory verses, I had to start in on the day's chores, challenges, and responsibilities with the goal of doing everything on my list if at all possible. I had to try to be God-centered in the midst of thankless drudgery and squabbling children and the special challenges of children with autism and ADD and bipolar disorder. I had to start seeking true godliness, rather than some sort of suburban monasticism.

It was kind of scary. It's a bit scary to think of doing it again tomorrow. It's also absolutely necessary. And I am trusting in the God who gave me a family to care for, to take me by the hand and walk with me as I face more and more of the burdens that I've been afraid to shoulder all these years. I'm also confident that He will make my devotional times MORE precious to me than they already are, as He teaches me to enjoy them the way they were meant to be enjoyed.

I guess it all boils down to this: it's impossible to pursue loving the Lord your God with all your heart, and soul, and mind, and strength, if you're busy avoiding loving your neighbor as yourself. Jesus said those were the two greatest commandments, and He tied them pretty closely together (Matt. 22:36-40).

I'm not saying that anyone else in the world needs to change what time they have their devotions. And I'm not saying it will have to be this way for me for the rest of my life. I am saying that I am hungry for more of God than I can find while seated. I want to get out of the boat and walk on the water, needing only the sight of Him walking on the sea with me. Then, in the evenings when it's finally time to sit down and enjoy my time in His Word, I hope I'll be able to approach it with the perspective of someone who has gotten her feet a lot wetter than usual.

(Photo from Flickr by Independentman)

Who am I? - "At The Well."

I am actually writing this on November 10th, but I'm dating it back to July 27th. Are you wondering why? Read on.

I'm writing this in response to this week's "At The Well" meme. The question asked was, "Who are you?"

I almost chose not to participate in this meme. There are so many things going on in the world right now that burden my heart and prompt me to pray and to share serious matters with my readers. I've been writing about things like the results of the election, and the need to repent, and the problem of false assurance. These things matter a great deal.

The trivial details of my life just pale in comparison.

I was afraid to have such trivia on the front page of my blog. So that's why I fluffed the date on this one. It will be buried in obscurity. Call me weird, but it's the only way I could bring myself to write this.

Who am I? I was a daughter and sister first. Daughter of a man whom I believe was unsaved, but who called himself a Christian; and of a believing but very downtrodden, emotionally abused woman.

Sister of my sister and brother, who bear scars like mine.

I was also privileged to be the granddaughter of some really great people. My grandparents were flawed, of course, but oh how much I owe to them and their love for the Lord and for me! I hope you'll take the time to read more about them here.

I've already shared about my experience of being unsaved for many years...completely self-serving, unloving, prideful...while thinking myself saved, and the fact that during those years I knew my Bible well and spouted a lot of good stuff to others. (God was so unimpressed!) I've shared how He held me even while showing me how incredibly hostile my heart really was toward Him. And I've shared how He finally brought me to Himself.

I haven't talked much about my family, though.

I have been married to John for 18-1/2 years (give or take a few months...I didn't feel like doing the math). We met at church in Tampa, Florida and were married there. At the time I was a Location in Hillsborough County and the state ...Image via WikipediaSpeech Pathologist (my Master's Degree was earned at the University of South Florida). I did most of my work in nursing homes and hospitals, doing speech/language/swallowing therapy with people who had had strokes or other debilitating conditions. My husband was pursuing his Computer Engineering degree at USF while working full time as a computer technician. Our firstborn came along in 1995, and God granted my lifelong dream of becoming a stay-at-home mom. (The career track never appealed to me.) Shortly thereafter my husband graduated, and immediately was let go from his job because his degree made him overqualified.

His job search (and job find) led our family to Marshalltown, Iowa, where our next two sons were born in 1997 and 2000. Location in IowaImage via WikipediaNow, you have to try to imagine what a shock it was for this Florida girl to move to Iowa in the winter. I was 31 years old, and I had never seen snow in my life (except for a light dusting on a trip excitement over that dusting made the locals laugh). We moved to Marshalltown the day after a blizzard. LOTS of white stuff, everywhere! I had also never experienced Fall, except for one trip to see the foliage in the Blue Ridge mountains back in the '80's. So my first Fall in Iowa was a thrill.

It was while we were living in Iowa that the problems became evident.

Our firstborn was an extremely bright but quirky child. Our middle son showed some unusual traits that, with my training in Speech Pathology, caused me to wonder about autism. But he was developing normally for the most part, and the pediatrician laughed at the thought of him being autistic. I abandoned that thought myself when he grew into a very sociable, talkative toddler. By this time I was expecting #3, and was extremely exhausted. I slept a lot during that pregnancy, more than I should have. But I honestly felt as if someone slipped me sleeping pills every day. I simply couldn't function as well as I needed to. By God's grace, my children didn't suffer any harm during one of my involuntary naps.

Then came early 2000. Autism descended on our home, right about the time youngest son arrived (an unrelated event, of course). My precious middle son disappeared, and was replaced by a screaming stranger whose hands flapped before his eyes, who no longer communicated, who only screamed, and screamed, and screamed.

He'd seem to do better for a while, and then things would get really bad again. There was no escape for me, no rest. No sleep, even at night. Just screaming for months on end. I wrote some free verse about that time here, so I won't go into it again.

During that time I descended into a pretty significant depression that lasted for years. I can honestly say I spent years just hanging on by my fingernails. In addition to autism, Phillip was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder (the reason why he fluctuates so incredibly), and my oldest son began unravelling until we had to seek help for him. Turns out he has Asperger's Syndrome and ADD.

Those were very dark years, and much has faded into a blur of non-memory. But so much of the trauma was of my own making, because I retreated further and further into myself instead of learning to trust in God more so that I could love more. It's only been relatively recently that the depression has lifted and God has been making changes in who I am. I have a long way to go, but I'm learning to love Him and trust Him as never before.

For what it's worth, that's my story.

Cautious First Steps

I'm starting this blog with a bit of trepidation. As anyone who knows me can attest, I find it much easier to think than to act, to write about God's Word than to live in its light. Writing is a wonderful gift, and I'm thankful to God that He has allowed me to enjoy it. But it's too easy to abuse it, to make it a way of escaping from the harsh realities of the world around me. That is not His desire for me.

Spurgeon said, "The practice of truth is the most profitable reading of it." If that's true, and I believe it is, then I've done a lot less profitable reading than I'd like to think. So I realize this may not be the wisest time to start a new blog.

But at the same time, I do have devotions regularly, and the Lord often blesses me during those times. If I can share some of those blessings, just pass them along as they come my way, I think the Lord is pleased with that.

So, when I take notes during my private devotional times, I might just as well put some of those thoughts here, too. And then perhaps you all will pray for me that I'll live those truths in my crazy day-to-day life, and I'll make it a point to pray for all of you, too.

(Photo from Stock.xchng, by Keira)
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