Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Stone walls

Good morning!

Here it is a beautiful Monday morning, and I am finally sitting down to write. You are probably wondering why you haven’t heard from me lately, but it has been quite a year. It started out with major surgery, followed by 2 college classes that started the next day, an awful toothache, that led to half of a root canal, oral surgery to remove a piece of bone in my jaw, a wisdom tooth pulled, and the other half of the root canal and a crown still to come. When I sat down to read, this verse just jumped out at me, because it felt so much like the first three months of the year…

“So many enemies against one man- all of them trying to kill me. To them I’m just a broken down wall or a tottering fence.” Ps. 62:2

I know many of you have also been feeling “under attack” lately, with health issues or circumstances that seem to come one after the other, so maybe you can relate as well. Maybe you are feeling like that tottering fence.

“I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.” Ps. 62:1

This morning, as Scott and I were walking, I noticed the stone walls in the state forest, walls built about 200 years ago. They are still as solid as the day they were built. It was a reminder to me that our lives are built upon the rock, the fortress where we will never be shaken loose from His love and care. We’re not the tottering fence, here for a season then rotting away. What God is doing in us is even more enduring than these New England stone walls.

“Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken.” Ps. 62:5,6

I can’t say I understand why I have gone through all of this, but I sense with the changing of the seasons a fresh start, and a new sense of “all that I am waiting quietly before God” to see what this season will bring. In childbirth, transition is the most difficult and painful time. As the season change in our spiritual lives, doesn’t it follow that these transitions will sometimes be difficult as well, until we learn to push with the contractions and cooperate with what God is trying to birth in us?

“My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in Him at all times. Pour out your heart to Him, for God is our refuge.” Ps. 62:7,8

There are times when we are feeling shaky but He will be our strength. The Psalmist, knowing we are human, tells us to pour out our hearts to Him, all our cares and concerns, our hopes and fears, and come to Him for refuge in the midst of the battle. He tells us to trust Him at ALL TIMES, remembering that God has a plan for us, a plan for victory and honor.

I have spent quite a while struggling with the WHY, and don’t have the answer. But I am learning to turn to the WHO and starting to see Him shape the “all that I am” and all that He wants me to be. I know this is a season of change in my life (not just the menopause that I got thrown into with surgery) but in all areas. I’m seeing changes in my marriage, my attitudes, and the possibilities for the future. This often difficult time of rototilling in my life is preparing the soil of my heart for what is to come, my own personal victory garden in the hands of the Master Gardener. His fruit is always good.

May the soil of our hearts bring forth fruit a hundredfold, all for His glory.
With love and prayers, Cheryl 4/14/08

everyday miracles

This morning, as I was reading in John chapter 2, Jesus was attending a wedding with his mother and some of his disciples. They ran out of wine, and His mother comes to tell Him about it. She tells the servants to do whatever He says. Here it is at the beginning of His ministry, and He hasn’t done any miracles yet, so why does she bring this problem to Him, and expect Him to solve it? It got me thinking about what it must have been like for Mary, having Jesus as a son.

Scripture records Joseph being with the family when Jesus was 12, and history suggests that Joseph probably died before Jesus’ began His public ministry. As the oldest son, Jesus would have been responsible to continue the family carpentry business and care for his mother. Mary would have been coming to Jesus with all those little problems around the house, and she knew she could count on Him to find a solution. She was already in the habit of coming to Him with her concerns. She was learning to rely on Him.

I often wondered why Jesus began His ministry at age 30. Jesus would need to experience the everyday life that we go through, living through the joys and the hardships. Jesus was the loving, obedient son, who learned not just from His earthly father, but also His heavenly Father. He learned how to care for His family and be faithful in that realm long before He began His public ministry. Maybe that was God’s gift to Mary, for all she had gone through, to allow her to have those 30 years with Him.

It was a strange first miracle, asking Jesus to solve the problem of people running out of wine at a wedding. Yet Mary knew Jesus could meet the need, she had learned to rely on His wisdom and probably seen Him come up with some pretty unusual solutions to things over the years. I’m not sure if she was expecting a miracle, or yet another one of His amazing ideas on how to solve the problem. But a miracle she got, and the wedding celebration continued.

Mary could be doing her dishes and turn around and talk to Jesus. But so can we! Think about it. He is just as close to us, even though we can’t actually see Him. We have His Spirit in us, and can talk to Him whenever we want. Somehow we don’t always think of it as up-close and personal, like talking to someone while you are doing the dishes, or cooking the dinner, but it can be. Why have I never thought about it that way?

Are we like Mary? Do we have that ability to turn to Him in the middle of our day, and just talk to Him about ordinary things? Are we in the habit of relying on Him? Is our first response, when there is a problem, to turn to Jesus? Do we look to Him for His wisdom on the small things as well as the big ones? Do we, like the servants at the wedding, do whatever He says?

This chapter sent me thinking in unusual ways this morning and I don’t really have a fitting conclusion for this blog. Maybe that is what we need to do, as we read the Word, is let God write our conclusions for us. We read something we’ve read so many times before, and we need His spirit to bring new light and life to it, something we can apply and learn to our lives. Then continue chewing on it throughout the day to see how we can use and apply what we’ve learned in practical ways. The sermon is not done (over) until it is DONE (action).

Be doers of the Word.

In His love,
Cheryl 4/23/08