Sunday, May 25, 2008

I remembered the Lord

The following is the verse and devotional for May 24 in Henry Blackaby's devotional, Discovering God's Daily Agenda:
"When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the LORD; And my prayer went up to You, into Your holy temple." Jonah 2:7

Bittersweet is a word that aptly describes the hard times when we turn to God and find Him to be all that we need. Think about those times when you've had nowhere else to turn but the Lord--and you weren't even sure He was listening or if He even cared. That was a bitter starting point, but the sweetness came in time. Oh, the circumstances may not have changed--the marriage may not have been rehabilitated, the child may not yet be walking with the Lord again, the chemo may not have done what you'd hoped and prayed for--but everything was different because of the sweet presence of your heavenly Father. It's all too easy to forget that we need Him, isn't it? It's generally during the crises more than in the peaceful times that we remember our dependence on God and prayerfully turn to Him. When it feels as if our soul faints within us--as Jonah's did--we remember our all-powerful, ever-faithful God and lift our prayers to Him. Whether your current circumstances are sweet or bitter or somewhere in between, lift up your voice to God today.

After reading the devotional I thought how that word--bittersweet--says it all sometimes. My very first thought was sweet...that God does hear me whenever I call out to Him...whether in a specific time of prayer or in a thought prayer many times during a day. Bitter, though, when my heart's cry is knowing only He is the answer...and that answer may not come in the timing I would choose. Then...again...sweet. How sweet to have that conviction that I can freely lift up my voice to Him and He hears. He knows, He understands my heart's cry...whatever it may be.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Always be prepared

"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." 1 Peter 3:15

We had spring revival meetings at church this week. The evangelist is very good...not to mention our fabulous adult choir! Sunday night his message was from 2 Corinthians 1:8-9:
8) For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; 9) indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves in order that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead;

He started naming some sayings that have been passed down over the years as if they came from the Bible. The last one he mentioned was "God will never put more on you than you can bear." He said you will not find that in the Bible. In verse eight Paul says they were burdened excessively, beyond their strength, despairing of life...but in verse nine he gives God's purpose in allowing hardships to come our order that we should put our trust in God who, by the way, raises the dead!

He named a few things that would be considered hardships for some, a few of which I can relate. I can fully testify that, though, I would choose not to deal with these things in particular, they have driven me to put my trust in the only One who is capable...the reason for the hope that is in me.