Friday, July 27, 2007

A Cycle of Faithfulness

I usually find myself studying the gospels or Paul's epistles, and rarely am I immersed in the books of history or prophecy. I guess I find them a little . . . dry or harder to understand.

I'm trying to break out of my comfort zone, though, and over the last year or so, I've studied Joshua and Judges, and now I'm in a study in Hosea.

Know what I've learned? Throughout recorded history, there's been a cycle of God's faithfulness to His children. In Judges, there is story after story of how the people of Isreal turned away from God, faced difficulties, and then cried out to the very God they'd rejected. And God faithfully cared for them. Over and over.

And now in Hosea, I see the same thing: God's people, those whom He loves abundantly, turn away from Him, reject Him, turn to other idols . . . and yet, even as God rightfully disciplines their disobedience, words of hope shine through.

Come, and let us return to the Lord;
For He has torn, but He will heal us;
He has stricken, but He will bind us up [the NASB says that He will "bandage" us].
After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live in His sight.
(Hosea 6:1-3)

I use a study Bible that tells me the concept of "on the third day" refers to a "quickness of healing."

We don't deserve God's love or healing or reconciliation. I know I don't.

But how grateful I am that God is faithful. How grateful I am that He loves me with a love I can't begin to understand.

How grateful I am . . .

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Trust and Obey

Okay . . .

I have to be really honest with you. I've been feeling a bit discouraged lately. I mean, I know that God is in control and that He has a plan and that He loves me. I know this.

But it's hard when the thing that is most dear to my heart--my husband's salvation--is so OUT of my control. And the thing that I struggle with most--my health--is equally out of my control.

My husband seems no closer to coming to faith (and in fact, this weekend we had a few talks, and he seems farther than ever). And after a few weeks of feeling relatively well, I've taken several steps back with my health. So, I question why (seems like a recurring theme in these blog postings, doesn't it?).

Then this morning as I drove into work, I was listening to a podcast from Dr. Charles Stanley. He was talking about fully trusting God. Even though I don't audibly hear God's voice, He does speak to me, and He spoke to me this morning:

Do you really trust Me?

Do you really want to do whatever I ask of you?

Even if it's not what you want yourself?

I'd love to tell you that I responded with a resounding , "YES, Lord!"

But no . . . I have to say that I struggle with this. If I truly trust Him, then I have to accept that it may be His plan that Russ not come to faith for a very long time . . . If I truly trust Him, then I have to accept that I may never be fully well . . .

And am I willing to do that? I pray I am.

I pray that I am . . .

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

God's Amazing Grace

I'm in between group Bible studies, so along with my regular time of personal study, I've been reviewing a wonderful Kay Arthur study, Lord, I Need Grace to Make It that I did several years ago.

In the introduction, Kay writes, "Amazing grace . . . Grace that enables you to make it . . . no matter your need, no matter the circumstance, no matter the pull of the flesh or its weaknesses. The Lord is there with His grace, grace sufficient to make it."

I have to be honest with you . . . I've been feeling a bit discouraged lately. My health has taken a step back, and I'm bone-weary. I'm burdened for my husband as he traverses a valley or two--and as he seems far from faith. I'm disheartened by a silence I feel regarding the Lord's plan for my ministry. Sometimes I just have to wonder what He's doing . . . and when He'll do it.

I question why . . . why can't I feel better?

Why can't Russ find Jesus and thus find peace?

Why can't I clearly see God's direction?

And then I have to stop and remember how God has blessed me.

I have to stop and remember His overwhelming grace and mercy--and a love that flows over me even when I far from deserve it.

Indeed . . .

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me . .