Wed 11-28-12

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Woke up this morning feeling overwhelmed…with…everything!

It’s amazing how quickly humans can go from trusting in our Sovereign Lord to despairing at the thought of taking a tire off an ATV, as if that was too much to handle when I have the Almighty “on my side” to support me through anything!  Oh how faithless and weak I am!  How worldly I live!  How easily discouraged I become!

I was opening my favorite devotional book this morning to read (I really feel my need for the Lord today… I NEED Him every moment, so feeling that need is a GOOD THING!) and read a wonderful devotional  based on this verse in Pslams:

Ps 27:14 Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.

 

“   ‘Be of good courage!’  Alas, how can one be so, when all sense and feeling tend to dishearten the mind and deject the soul?…Remember thy calling:  It is to live by faith, to honor they Lord, and be obedient to His word.  Thou hast the sentence of death in thyself, that thou shouldst not trust in thyself, lest thine heart depart from thy Lord.  Not frames and feelings, but God’s love and promises in Christ Jesus to sinners, are the foundation of hope!  These are abundantly sufficient to inspire the soul with courage, yea with good courage, to go on in th ways of the Lord.   Here is the steadiness of faith; to cleave to Jesus, to abide by the truth, steadily to persevere in the paths of duty in the course of obedience to Him… The Lord’s word is our rule of duty; His promises our support; His grace is sufficient for us; His strength is made perfect in our weakness.  If our hearts are weak… so much the more reason have we for our souls to wait on the Lord for the times of refreshing from His Presence.  He will strengthen our hearts, “for He giveth, and to them that have no might He increaseth strength.” Is 40:29   “Wait I say on the Lord.”… God has promised, expect fulfillment!  Here is the exercise of faith, trust in the Lord Christ for what we stand in need of:

of Hope, expecting to receive all from him;

of Patience, waiting continually upon Him.

Most precious promise!  “

 

Isaiah 40:31 But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.

Joshua 1:9  Have not I commanded you? Be strong, vigorous, and very courageous. Be not afraid, neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Psalm 25:2 O my God, I trust, lean on, rely on, and am confident in You. Let me not be put to shame or [my hope in You] be disappointed; let not my enemies triumph over me.

 

Psalm 37:5 Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass.

Psalm 62:8 Trust in, lean on, rely on, and have confidence in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is a refuge for us (a fortress and a high tower). Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!

Proverbs 3:5 Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.

Isaiah 50:10 Who is among you who [reverently] fears the Lord, who obeys the voice of His Servant, yet who walks in darkness and deep trouble and has no shining splendor [in his heart]? Let him rely on, trust in, and be confident in the name of the Lord, and let him lean upon and be supported by his God.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.) 

Earlier I was thinking again about how upset I am with myself for all the mistakes I have made over the years with my kids, and how I wish I could wipe that all clean and start fresh.  Then I realized that’s how dogs live, and that is possible to have a “do over” with them.  They know I love them (though imperfectly) and they are so forgiving… they teach me much about living without dragging the past into each moment of the present and even the future.  Learning from mistakes is vital, but once you do that, there’s no need to continue to focus on them and “dig around in the dung pile”.  

As I turned the pages of my devotional book, I found a loose piece of paper with something I had previously written while on the ferry.  After missing the earlier boat and being really frustrated and impatient, the Lord taught me something that day that He re-taught me upon reading it today (and will probably need to re-teach me 100 more times in the future!). Yes, the Lord even uses the WA State Ferry System for my spiritual good!  Here is part of what I wrote:

“   ‘Plead the perfection of His righteousness to every demand of the law’ (not sure where I got that quote)- I see my sins and despair… I go inward and avoid spiritual thoughts altogether because of my guilt.  Instead, I should think and repent of my sins like this:  I am so selfish, but Jesus is self-sacrificing; I am so critical, but Jesus is so forgiving and encouraging and loving; I am so impatient, but Jesus is perfectly patient with all my sins (even the ones I fall into over and over again); I am so proud and arrogant (acting as if I am King of this world and all things should behave and occur exactly as I wish!), but Jesus was perfectly humble in all of His Sovereign Father’s plans while living out His sacrificial life on the earth (that He created!); I am so impatient (I know, I said that one already!), but Jesus was willing to wait to be in Heaven, His rightful home again, after completely all that the Father called Him to do on behalf of His undeserving children.

So (because these are Christ’s attributes and I am right now in Him by grace) ALL OF THESE FRUITS are MINE TOO!  It is as if I had lived my life the way He lived His- Perfectly!  As if I was without sin completely, because I am in the One Who IS Completely Without Sin! Instead of trying to be like Him (“What would Jesus Do?”) which any honest person knows is IMPOSSIBLE and DISCOURAGING, I can REJOICE RIGHT NOW because my sins truly have been wiped away by His perfect atonement for each one of them!  He is mine and I am His!  He has covered, cleansed, wiped out ALL my sins…REALLY!

(Here’s the key for me) As long as I look at my sin, I am DISCOURAGED 100 fold, BUT as long as I look to Him, I am transported to His Side where I am safe and holy and forgiven…and His Joy Flows to My Heart!

Goal: Don’t ignore my sin (stuffing it down and seeking out distractions from this world in the form of pleasures or entertainment or vanities that will eventually let me down anyway) AND don’t look at it too long!  (Which is what I’m doing with trying to train my dogs and love them and interact with them perfectly… I’ve ‘blown it’ and feel hopeless when considering going forward, now that He has convicted me again of more of my sinful heart)  Take it to Jesus, dwell on His Perfect Atonement for me and on His Perfections as Man and as God/Savior… and LEAVE THEM ALL THERE with Him to dispose of!  AS long as I look at Him, I will be at Peace.  As long as I look anywhere besides Him, I will be in despair!  It’s That Simple!”

The other thing I’ve been led to consider this last day is how ultra-serious I can be over things that quite frankly don’t matter that much!  I’ve been blessed to be a recreational musher with a small team of rescued Siberians.  Yes, I want to train them well.  Yes, I want them to be in shape and healthy and physically and mentally prepared to run and specifically for this upcoming race.  Yes, I want them to perform well and be polite on the trails.  Yes, I have a LOT to do before January.  Yes, I have at least 5 lists going right now that aren’t shrinking (and may in fact be growing!).  BUT, there is nothing eternally significant about any of this… it’s supposed to be for FUN!  My goal has always been for my dogs to be fulfilled doing this sport!  Their enjoyment of running is a big part of why I do it!  How much more would they enjoy it if I approached running with their attitude?  What if I had so much fun that instead of becoming frustrated because I took a wrong turn and ended up in 2’ of cold water, I acted like Tkope and ran around play-bowing and rolling and literally laughing at it?  What if when I got tired I flung myself on my back and flopped around like Tana in the snow, not waiting for the team to stop before she started her “routine”?!  What if I was acutely aware of all the “fun” lurking in the shadows behind the trees and sought it all out with ears held high like Galena?  What if I enjoyed myself so much that I couldn’t under any circumstances stop shreaking from the moment he sees me put my hair back under a hat all the way to hook-up like Lance?  What if I enjoyed it so much that I smiled every time I was pet at a break or shared one HUGE lick on the face every time I was given some water like Tozi?  What if the thought never occurred to me that this may be too much and threw my entire body into the air over and over again to get moving down the trail like tiny Cicely?  Well, I’d have to say they would enjoy it MUCH MORE, as would I!  This “lighter” attitude is MUCH improved than my feeling like I need to get “everything right” on the trails and my dogs need to get “everything right” on the trails!  It takes a LOT of the fun out of it.  I am a perfectionist and have heard my patient husband remind me to just “relax” on more than one occasion… I need to learn to “lighten up”!  Once again, the Lord has used my precious dogs to continue to teach me something I’ve been trying to learn for years.  This is one reason I love Siberians so much… they are pretty much always filled with Joy and Silliness that just can’t be contained!  Oh how I need to not just be more “dog-like” but more “Sibe-like”!  Thank You Father, and may You bless my pups with JOY from YOU, going through me, as I interact with them!   May You now guide me as I tackle the day’s challenges and lessons and events with a sense of what’s important (and what really isn’t) and a sense of freedom, righteousness and new starts in Christ Jesus, leading to real peace and lighthearted JOY IN YOU! 

1 Thessalonians 5: 8-24   … put on the breastplate (corset) of faith and love and for a helmet the hope of salvation.  For God has not appointed us to [incur His] wrath [He did not select us to condemn us], but [that we might] obtain [His] salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) 10 Who died for us so that whether we are still alive or are dead [at Christ’s appearing], we might live together with Him and share His life11 Therefore encourage (admonish, exhort) one another and edify (strengthen and build up) one another, just as you are doing… 14… encourage the timid and fainthearted, help and give your support to the weak souls, [and] be very patient with everybody…16 Be happy [in your faith] and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually (always); 17 Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly]; 18 Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]… 23 And may the God of peace Himself sanctify you through and through [separate you from profane things, make you pure and wholly consecrated to God] … 24Faithful is He Who is calling you [to Himself] and utterly trustworthy, and He will also do it [fulfill His call by hallowing and keeping you].

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