Ode & Lament

ODE TO My Stolen Bible

It is not without deep sadness
Since you slipped from my careless hands
That I consider your location
I never thought I took you for granted
But looking back I know I could have known you more
Yet you’re gone
And I can only pray
You are found
By one who needs you
Who treasures you
More than I ever did

You were my precious possession
And I am lost
That you are lost
And Pray you find the lost-
Or the lost finds you
Where are you?
In a dumpster…
A graveyard for filth
Covered in the feces of mankind?
Are you in a dark corner?
Waiting on brokenness to peer at you,                                                                                       Just glance your way?

Is she lost and lonely?

Poor and wretched?

Is he ready for freedom?

will you feed those with a pattern of past predicaments and pain?

Lord, let the Spirit that makes all things new

Beckon a broken soul to the pages created from your precious breath

Let my loss be someone’s eternal gain.

I miss my Bible
Even though I have 4 on the shelf.

Listen to Grandma!

Now this is Grandma wisdom

“You can worry or you can trust…you can’t do both at the same time.”

James 1:2-4 states, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

I did not understand what that meant until now.

Now, let me tell you what the dictionary.com definition of the word “understand” -just so you understand what I’m saying

 

1. To perceive the meaning of; grasp the idea of; comprehend…
After an intense spell of anxiety, I began to consider my current trial as joy.  It wasn’t a sudden loss of anxiety; it was a purposeful dispelling of it.   Am I going to worry OR am I going to trust?  I mean, I claim to trust God everyday.  But, isn’t this trial testing that claim?  Will it be proven right or wrong?
2. To be thoroughly familiar with; apprehend clearly the character, nature, or subtleties of: to understand a trade.
Well!  I don’t know about you, but I am thoroughly familiar with trials.  But, I am also thoroughly familiar with the fruit of perseverance.  The character of  trials of any kind is to put one in a position of choosing a response.  Will my response be defeat—and what is the consequence of such a response?  The consequence of pressing on is a stronger faith in God and a realization of His Sovereignty.
3.To assign a meaning to; interpret…
How have I interpreted my trial?  Often times I interpret them as my failure.  The result of that interpretation is depression, anxiety, loss of security, and fear.  Most the time, however, at the end of a trial, I’ve seen that God allowed it to happen in order to bring me out of my stale faith and/or to answer long awaited prayers.  Yes, what I am saying is-trials are the answers to our prayers.  Why do we think God is going to answer our prayers without doing any work in us?
4.To grasp the significance, implications, or importance of…
Clearly Paul is saying here that trials are given to us to develop perseverance so we lack nothing. Can you imagine lacking nothing?  No, really.  I mean lacking absolutely nothing.  What price will you pay to lack nothing?  Think of the price God paid to make you whole! Trials are of utmost importance for your spiritual maturity and the depth of intimacy with the Father. Do you think you’re going to mature without growing?
5.To regard as firmly communicated; take as agreed or settled…
Once you find the joy in the midst of a trial, and experience a flood of peace and inner delight even though nothing about the circumstances have changed, God’s love is firmly communicated.  There is nothing that trial can do to separate you from that Love and there is nothing the Enemy can do to snatch that joy.  Is it hard?  Of course!  You have to work to “consider it pure joy” because of the faith you have in a God who  in all things works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Rom. 8:28). Yes, your trials are a calling of God according to His purpose.
You are My provider.  I am not left wanting.  I rest in your comfortable peace, soaking in your living water.  I’m walking through the valley, but I will not fear, because you are with Me. You are always with me! You comfort me.  Your goodness will continuously follow me throughout my life’s journey until I enter into Your house (Ps. 23).  I therefore humble myself under Your mighty hand, so that You may lift me up in Your time.  My anxiety is now in your hands, and I know you take it and replace it with the fruit of Joy because You care deeply for me. (1 Pet. 5:6-7). Even now, I rejoice. Thank you. 
*Would you rather worry or trust?
You can’t choose both.

Let this be our truth

 You are found in me and I am found in You

I seek the Lord in my devastating blows, waiting;

I see the lamp, dull, due to my procrastinating.

Yet He beckons me to dig deeper into the truth

seeking the promises I’ve heard since my youth.

Each step of my path has been purposed to fulfill

the destiny He set for me – to submit to His will.

Even my failures are pointing towards His glory;

each one overcome – they are part of my story.

Ashamed I am not; my head does not hang low.

His grace sustains me through every last blow.

He is my God, my Savior, Redeemer, and friend.

I receive His grace and love that has no end!

With that in my heart, I know just what to do-

Love! For You are found in me and I am found in You.

Guest Writer-Testimony

A friend of mine was baptized this morning.  This is his testimony:­­

Hi my name is Mike and I’m a Christian …

I’m here today to be baptized as a public proclamation of my faith. Like many, I was baptized as an infant; but have never made the personal decision to partake in baptism.  I would say I was a peripheral believer my whole life, but never really personalized my faith until High School .  Even then though,  there were still some aspects of my faith that I continually struggled with and battled- pieces of the walk I never fully bought into.

About two years ago, shortly after moving to Muncie,  I really began to look deep at my faith – which aspects were important, and which pieces I was struggling with.  More and more I just couldn’t get past a roadblock that I had never crossed over – the one aspect of my faith that I’ve always battled: Forgiveness.

My entire life I’ve always been able to forgive others easily. It’s definitely a spiritual gift that God has blessed me with. But, there was one person I’ve never been able to forgive, that I’ve never let go; and that’s myself.  I’ve always held myself hostage to my past mistakes and former life, believing that I somehow did not qualify for the gift of grace.  To me it has always been too easy and I was too undeserving.  It was for everyone  else but not me.  I would lie myself constantly telling myself things like “If everyone only knew” or “it’s different for me.”

So today, I am not only here as a personal public proclamation of faith, but also to be washed anew in forgiveness.  After wrestling with this topic for my entire life I’ve finally submitted to the Grace that God has freely given to me. I’m opening my hands to the forgiveness that I have in Christ knowing that He is my qualification -not my former life -living  confidently in Romans 8:1 that there is no condemnation for those in Christ.   Today …I’m washing off my old self and moving forward, forgiven.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your constant grace and forgiveness.  Thank  you for the gift of life.  Thank you for raising us from the dead with the same power of the Resurrection.  Forgive us as we forgive others, and ourselves.  Show each of us that your love and forgiveness is unique to each of us individually. Baptize our minds, hearts, and bodies as we publicly and privately proclaim your name daily. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJMnoRC3l5k

 

On Approaching a Decision…

“Focus on Jesus and He will lead you.”

There are two approaches to decision-making.  Well, actually there are more than two; but there are two approaches I take to decision-making: slow and quick.

The slow approach:  I recognize the choice in front of me and pray for clarity, discernment, and an answer.  I wait for an answer.  When I get an answer, I pray again in order to understand that it is the answer.  This is not an indicator of lack of faith, it is a process that leads me towards certainty.  Some decisions should take time to make.  They should be prayed over, shared, and respected for their weightiness.  God is a God of waiting and sometimes in waiting to make a decision, we wait for God’s provision, timing, or blessing to fall before a move is made.  The slow approach is very comforting because once the decision is made, I know I am certain that it is the right one.

The quick approach: I recognize the choice in front of me and realize that it is immanent.  The answer is in the presentation of the choice.  Choosing is compulsory and inevitable, even.  Choosing not to do anything is just as much of a choice as choosing to make the choice is.  In contrast with the slow approach, these sorts of decisions need to be made in the moment they are given. God is a God of action, and in making the decision to trust Him, we expect His provision, timing, and blessing to fall as the move is made.  The quick approach is comforting only in our identity in Christ and in our confidence of knowing His voice.  With this confidence, we know that the decision to be made is the right one, because His voice is clear.

When a choice is given, the first thing one must do is choose to acknowledge that there is a choice in the horizon.  The second thing is to determine the urgency of the decision-making process.  Is this a decision I need to pray about and seek counsel about?  Is this decision something God is wanting me to make right this moment?

Is the decision supposed to be kept secret between He and I until or after it is made?

Ben Franklin had an excellent method for decision-making.  He would get a piece of paper and fold it vertically down the middle.  On one side he would write all of the pros; and on the other, the cons.  Whichever side had the longest list determined the outcome of his decision.  This method is very careful and self-protective, and it caters to the Type A personality.

However, does God want us to make all of our decisions in that way?  I don’t think He does.  I think when He presents us with a choice, His will is already in it.  The outcome of the decision could look completely foolish and reckless, or like blind faith; yet He will remain faithful.

It is in these decisions that God can be glorified.

In fact, every decision we make is an opportunity to glorify the Lord.

So, my question is: how do we make the decision on how quickly we should make a decision?

It depends on the choice.

It depends on His command.

It depends on our maturity.

It depends on His timing.

May the Lord bless you in your decision-making.  Just make His voice known by you, and His will be revealed to you in ways both great and small.  May you have peace in every decision you are presented with as the Lord gives you the gift of choosing Him daily.  Dwell in His promise, living faithfully to fulfill His purpose in each and every aspect of your life knowing that every situation, choice, person, and gift you are given is an opportunity to be obedient. Praise God in every circumstance, for it is He who gave it to you.  Trust Him and Him alone.  Be at peace with every decision you make; and if you are not, seek Him for peace.  Know when to seek counsel, when to wait, and when to move.  Always trust Him.