Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Week Thirteen - Loosed

Beside the Well

            Do you still follow along in your Bible when the preacher is preaching?  I think it’s a skill that is being lost because so many are relying on the projection of the Scripture instead of looking at it in print.  Well, I’m sorta partial to seeing the text for myself and I have a habit of reading some of the verses around the text the preacher is using as well. 
            On Sunday, Pastor Gritts was preaching about the triumphal entry and had some fantastic analogies built around the loosing of the colt in Luke 19:30, 31.  We, too, are tied by sin. We need someone to bring us to Jesus—to loose us.
             Then, he referenced Acts 2:22,23 and that’s when my habit kicked in.  I didn’t stop at verse 23, I read the next verse and my heart began to dance.  Acts 2:24 reads, “Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.” 
            The wording of King James is so cool – “he should be holden of it.”  Christ could not be bound by death—it could not hold Him!  No stone, no soldiers, no effort of Satan could keep Him in the grave or restrain the God-life power resident in our Saviour.  The pains of death had to be loosed!
            I could imagine Christ coming back to life in that dark tomb—but wait!  It probably wasn’t dark because the Light of the World was inside!  He stood up, shook off those grave clothes and tossed aside the stone because God "will not suffer the Holy One to see corruption." (verse 27).  He arose!
            Easter is the affirmation of resurrection power; the same power resident in believers.  We, too, were tied by sin, but we were brought to Jesus and he loosed us.  Nothing will be able to restrain us in the resurrection.  We will not be holden of death!  Praise the Lord!  Jesus’ resurrection is confirmation of our resurrection.

            “Oh death, where is thy sting?  O grave, where is thy victory?  The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57).

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Week Twelve - Shh!

Beside the Well
            I greatly benefit from good music and stillness. Satan knows that, so he produces noise using everything he can to interrupt and distract.
            When my children were younger, they were a distraction—a loved distraction, but nevertheless a distraction.  As teens, they remained a distraction, but this time they were more of an interruption as the business of their lives tried to intersect with the business of my life.  There was little stillness!  And music?  Well, that’s another story.
            Today, though there are only two of us in the house, Satan still manages to bring interruption and distraction that breaks into my soul’s much needed stillness.  He tries to keep me from the joy of focused study or quiet time with my Lord keeping my mind preoccupied until I struggle to hear the still small voice of God.
            Noise is a tool Satan uses on us all.  Our young people are constantly barraged by texts, phones, Instagram, video games, etc. until now their attention span is so small they cannot concentrate for any length of time without a break. 
            An IPad, or some sort of gadget, entertains our youngest children to keep them quiet.  We are not teaching them to master their behaviour, we are just appeasing them with an electronic toy. 
            Even adults, myself included, are easily drawn away by the ding on the phone or the blip from the computer that tells us we have a message.  We drop everything and turn to that noise as if it had priority.
            When we add the pressure of jobs, workmates, time restraints, and everyday background noise, we find more than we can handle.  It is all screaming for our attention—and winning the majority of the time.
            I know I struggle.  Even with an empty house, the noise of my own unbridled thoughts can distract me from stillness.  Music—good music—helps, but even some of it is just noise with no real value or genuine Spirit to be heard. 
            I yearn for quiet communion.  I relish the Spirit dancing in my heart and the freshness of tears in my eyes.  Those times are precious, and far too few, for as soon as they come, noise interrupts.
            Lord, I want to hear you more clearly.  Help me to recognize your voice above the noise and bring my heart and mind into stillness with You.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Week Eleven - Those Little Stars

Beside the Well      
            Is your Bible marked with notes and stars like mine?  I find it a blessing to see the little personal reminders and recall God’s voice speaking to me through His Word as I do my Bible reading.
            I came to I Thessalonians the other day and there was a star by 5:18, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  You probably have that verse marked too!  But in the lower margin, I had also written three questions and three responses.

            What has He done in the past? 
                        Answer—Thank Him.
            How is God showing love and care today? 
                        Answer—Thank Him.
            What is God able to do in the future?
                        Answer—Thank Him.

            I know God has been good in my past.  There is no question about that.  I can look back and see his love and care for myself, my family, and in our ministry.
            I see Him at work around me each day and I truly believe He will continue His goodness into my future.  I might wonder what it will look like, but I know He will be there, just as he was in the past, and is today.
            As I read on, three little stars stood by I Thessalonians 5:24 “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.  I remember claiming this promise in my missionary career years ago, and He has proved Himself to be faithful in every instance fulfilling what He called me to do.  He was faithful in the past.  He is faithful today.  And I know He will be faithful in the future.
            I am finding thankfulness the most positive and strengthening attitude I can have. When I feel anxious, I start looking to see where I can be thankful.  It is my wonderful place to rest my heart. I am so thankful to serve a God who never changes.  Let’s put a star by that!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Week Ten - Excuse Me for the Interruption

Beside the Well

            Do you get up each morning with a basic plan for your day?  You have to be at work for a certain time, catch a certain bus or train, follow a basic pattern throughout your workday, and then catch that same transport home?
            Well, my life is completely different.  Each day is like a venture into the unknown.  Oh, I have some things that happen regularly, but for the most part, each day is different.
            However, I do like to live by a plan.  I have a preferred structure and I like to reach each day’s goals with some sort of order.  But, more often than not, my plan can be sent out the window by a simple phone call or text.
            Yesterday was one of those days.  I got up with a plan, started, and my husband said, “Wanna go somewhere for breakfast?”              
            I learned from my grandmother, years ago, to always drop what I’m doing and go when he asks.  Her reasoning was work can always wait, dishes will be there when you get back, but the opportunity to spend time with the man you love is more important. 
            So, I dropped my plans and headed out with him for breakfast, which carried on to a shopping trip, which went on to run some errands, and we got home in the middle of the afternoon.
            Well, there went my plans for the day!  But God had His own plan.  He was at work all day answering prayer.  I guess He needed me out of the way!  He found a home for a homeless girl, brought a weary soul into counseling, engaged a family to action to help a hurting member, and brought strength to some who needed to take a stand for Christ. 
            When my head hit the pillow that night all I could do was thank Him for working out His plan and answering so many prayers, even if my day seemed sidetracked.

            The secret to not becoming frustrated or inconvenienced by interruptions and delays is to view them as from His hand.  Unexpected events are not unexpected to God.  He works in ways we cannot see to accomplish things we never could.  Don’t get so determined in your own plans that you cannot give time to the Man you love.