Thursday, January 19, 2017

What Were They Expecting?

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” -- Daniel 3:16-18

This morning I was reading in Daniel 3. Part of that reading contains the verses above, which I read and pondered and prayed about. I felt God say some personal things to me which I wrote in my journal, and then I went on with my day. As I was blow drying my hair it hit me just how much these verses went along with what God was showing me yesterday... see yesterday's post.

What were these men expecting as they stood before King Nebuchadnezzar, whom they had just disobeyed openly? They knew the consequences of their choices. Death had been declared for anyone who would not serve the gods of King Nebuchadnezzar or who would not worship the gold idol he had erected. They expected God to save them. But even if He didn't, their trust was fully on Him. They knew Him. They didn't just know about Him. They knew Him, so they were able to fully trust in Him in all things, in every situation, no matter the outcome.

Lord, help me to really know You, not just know about You, so that I can fully trust You in all things.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

What Are You Expecting?

An anology God gave me today:

Today I was baking coconut cream pies for my dad's birthday. The filling was in the crusts cooling and I was cleaning up the kitchen. As I was cleaning, I saw a glob of what looked like coconut cream pie on the counter -- so I quickly grabbed it, anticipating that sweet, silky coconut flavor. Wrong! Instead it was cold, salty, cheesy flavor. It wasn't at all what I was expecting.

You see, my daughter Josie had been fixing her lunch as I was making the pies. She had warmed up some leftover mac 'n cheese and that was what I had eagerly popped into my mouth all the while expecting coconut cream pie. Do I dislike my mac 'n cheese? No! Is it good? Yes! But, it was not what I was expecting.

Doesn't this happen to us in our daily lives, too? We go to an event, meeting, day with family, date with our husbands, our marriages, kids, etc and we have certain expectations as we walk into these things. And then what happens when it is not at all what we were expecting?

My story about the pie/mac 'n cheese turned out not so bad because I like mac 'n cheese.... but what about the time when I was a little girl at a family potluck? There sat a pretty glass plate with the cutest little pickles on it. I grabbed one, my mouth anticipating the salty, dilly goodness of a dill pickle (which I love). As I bit in and the sweet, brineyness of a Baby Gherkin filled my mouth. I nearly threw up! Yuck! I hated it! I quickly spit it out and threw it away. Are Baby Gherkins bad for you?  Do they make you sick? No. Do I like them? No way José!

So, what's the point? What do I do when my expectations are met with something completely not what I expected, or when it is something that I don't like at all? I don't know about you, but I can get upset, hurt, angry, disappointed, started blaming others, give up... the list goes on.

But, what does God's Word tell me?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. -- Proverbs 3:5-6

He fills my life with good things. -- Psalm 103:5

He knows everything about me. -- see Psalm 139

He knows the plans He has for me -- plans for hope and a future. -- see Jeremiah 29:11

He loves me! I can trust Him! Nothing can happen without His permission! (Lamentations 3:37)

His purpose is to give me a rich and satisfying life. -- John 10:10

He guides my steps. -- Psalm 139:10

He works all things together for my good. -- Romans 8:28

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life. -- Psalm 23:6

He is for us, not against us! -- Romans 8:31

So, when things don't go the way I expected them to, whether I like the end result or not, I can rest in knowing and reminding myself of all that God's Word says is true. I can trust the One who formed me in my mother's womb, the One who know the plans for me, the One who created the stars and knows each of their names. He holds my future, He knows the whole story, beginning to end. And, oh, does it end well!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Mom in the Middle

In my journey of mothering I am finding myself in a middle place. No longer a brand new mom of many little ones, and not yet anywhere near the finish line, I am smackdab in the middle. I am no longer drowning in diapers and longing for a full night's sleep. I am done potty training and only have one left to teach to read. But, I am by no means done either. I have graduated my firstborn and have four more to go. There are driver's licenses to get, first jobs to find, entrance exams to take. There is Latin to meander through, Algebra, fractions, and Logic. I am finding myself a bit weary, and longing to be where some of my friends are in their journeys. Several of my friends are almost done and dreaming of what the next season of their lives is going to look like. That sounds so good at times. Way too good. 

This feeling has been persistent and I am hearing myself repeating the same old song in my head and outloud. "I am tired if this." I am not feeling excitement about mothering, homemaking, or even homeschooling. I feel blah and uninspired. Then I feel ashamed of feeling that way and try to figure out how to get more disciplined and scheduled and return to a place of joy and inspiration. It always sounds so good in my head, but when it comes to actually working it out....

Don't get me wrong, I love my life, my kids, my husband, and my home. I wouldn't change any part of it. (Well, maybe that's not completely true... There may be a few things I would change...) But, during this past year I found myself a bit lost in the sea of three Challenge aged kids and two Foundations (one also in Essentials) aged kids. (We are a part of a wonderful Classical Conversations community.) I wasn't sure of my role anymore and found myself feeling a little lost. 

I was sharing a little of this with a friend yesterday. As I was talking, she started saying the words, "Do not become weary of doing good." She said this with grace and kindness shining from her eyes, and I felt myself nodding in understanding. The Lord was whispering to my soul, "You are weary, Christa. I understand. Come to Me. Tell me about it. I will give you rest and I will restore you." 

May we never tire of doing what is good and right before our Lord because in His season we shall bring in a great harvest if we can just persist.  
So seize any opportunity the Lord gives you to do good things and be a blessing to everyone, especially those within our faithful family.  
-- Galatians 6:9-10 VOICE

So, this mom in the middle is feeling hope. I see my need to turn from my weariness and turn to my Saviour. The verses below are all verses He sent my way today. I pray they feed your soul as much as they are feeding mine. 

Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard? The Eternal, the Everlasting God, The Creator of the whole world, never gets tired or weary. His wisdom is beyond understanding.  
God strengthens the weary and gives vitality to those worn down by age and care.  
Young people will get tired; strapping young men will stumble and fall. But those who trust in the Eternal One will regain their strength.  
They will soar on wings as eagles. They will run—never winded, never weary. They will walk—never tired, never faint.  
-- Isaiah 40:28-31 VOICE

Abide in me, and I in you.  
-- John 15:4 KJV

I have been crucified with the Anointed One—I am no longer alive—but the Anointed is living in me; and whatever life I have left in this failing body I live by the faithfulness of God’s Son, the One who loves me and gave His body on the cross for me.  
-- Galatians 2:20 VOICE

I know that in me, that is, in my fallen human nature, there is nothing good. I can will myself to do something good, but that does not help me carry it out. 
I am absolutely miserable! Is there anyone who can free me from this body where sin and death reign so supremely?  
I am thankful to God for the freedom that comes through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One!  
-- Romans 7:18, 24-25 VOICE

So now, my little children, live in Him, so that whenever He is revealed, we will have confidence and not have to hang our heads in shame before Him when He comes.  
-- 1 John 2:28 VOICE

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Word, Strength, and Rest -- Joshua 1

Let the words from the book of the law be always on your lips. Meditate on them day and night so that you may be careful to live by all that is written in it. If you do, as you make your way through this world, you will prosper and always find success. 

This is My command: be strong and courageous. Never be afraid or discouraged because I am your God, the Eternal One, and I will remain with you wherever you go. 

-- Joshua 1:8-9 VOICE

“Remember what Moses, the servant of the Lord, commanded you: ‘The Lord your God is giving you a place of rest. He has given you this land.’"

-- Joshua 1:13 NLT

Saturday, May 31, 2014

True Joy

It’ll be like that for those the Eternal One ransomed from captivity to return to Zion, Jerusalem. And they’ll come singing with joy. 

Overwhelming, never-ending joy will crown their heads with happiness and delight while desperation and depression melt away. 

Eternal One: I am the One who comforts you and gives you peace. So why are you afraid of human beings? The children of men are only grass; they’ll wither and die. 

Have you forgotten Me, the One who made you and the whole world, who stretched out the skies and made sure the earth’s foundations?

Yet you constantly worry about others—how they hate and might harm you. But their anger counts for nothing. In an instant, those who cower in fear and trepidation will be free to go in confidence; they won’t die in chains or suffer from hunger.

Because I, the Eternal, am your God, I can make the oceans roil with storm and roll with great waves.They call Me, the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies. 

I have given you My words to speak and protected you with the shadow of My hand. I am the One who pulled the skies tight and made the earth rock solid. And I am the same who said to Zion, “You are indeed Mine!” 

-- Isaiah 51:11-16 VOICE

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Singing of Your Strength in the Morning

But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. 
You are my strength, I sing praise to you;
you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely. 

-- Psalm 59:16-17 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Wrapped in Light

There is a sure way for us to know that we belong to the truth. 
Even though our inner thoughts may condemn us with storms of guilt 
and constant reminders of our failures, 
we can know in our hearts that in His presence 
God Himself is greater than any accusation. 
He knows all things. 
My loved ones, if our hearts cannot condemn us, 
then we can stand with confidence before God.
-- 1 John 3:19-21 VOICE

My thoughts fill my head
Blocking my way
Mists of words swirl
I am blinded 
Feeling lost and alone

You, Lord, You are Light
You hear my heart's cry
You, God of the angel armies 
Wrapped in a cloak of Light
There is no darkness in You

You take my hand
You show me the steps to take
As I walk in Your Light
I draw close to You
Close to those around me

Bless the Lord,  O my soul! 
He holds my hand
He calls my name 
He gently leads me in the way I should go
Bless the Lord, O my soul!

"I am the light that shines through the cosmos; 

if you walk with Me, 

you will thrive in the nourishing light that gives life 
and will not know darkness." 
-- John 8:12 VOICE

The Lord wraps himself in light as with a garment. 

-- Psalm 104:2 NIV

God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 

-- 1 John 1:5 NIV

I will take you by the hand and keep you safe.

-- Isaiah 42:6 VOICE