Jesus and Journey

I couldn’t sleep, woke up at 4:15am… I know crazy for someone who doesn’t do mornings!  I tried hard to go back to sleep, but God kept calling me awake.  I got up sat on the deck and prayed for the church, the leaders and the finances, people in my life, and people I don’t know that I have been asked to pray for, I prayed for myself.

I checked my e-mail, and this new book “Kingdom Journeys” was offered to me from Seth Barns, Adventures in Missions.  I down loaded to my kindle and scanned through “Take a Look” on Amazon… this is what jumped out at me. 

 Jesus and Journey

A journey is an act of leaving – process of physical abandon that teaches us how to do the same spiritually.  Perhaps, to find your true identity you need to abandon everything else.

We know that Jesus said about the journey to which he invited his disciples on:

  • To discover the kingdom, you have to lay aside your possession and go on the road with him (Mark 10:17-27)
  • To find your calling, you have to quit your job. “Leave your nets,” he says to us. ‘Follow me… and I will make you fishers of men: (Mark 1”17-18).
  •  To see the dead raised, you have to leave the funeral, “Follow me,” he commands.  “Let the dead bury their own dead” (Luke 9:60).
  •  To become rich, you have to give up everything.  If you want to be perfect, go, “sell your possessions and give to the poor.”  You will have “treasures in heaven.” The come, follow me (Luke 2:33)
  •  To get what you want, you have to abandon desires.  “Whoever want to be my disciple must deny himself and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

We go on a journey because he tells us to go – to leave.  In physically leaving, we discover spiritual possibilities.  Jesus spent three years leaving places, leaving people before finally leaving life itself.  To know Jesus, you have to learn how to leave.  In the end, the leaving is the finding.  You abandon your earthly treasure; you receive a treasure in heaven. You abandon your father and your mother; you get the family of God. You abandon your life, and like a seed that dies and grows a hundred time its size, you find new abundant life.

You know how I love adventure, so I have asked God to give me wisdom and discernment, and what this means to me and why he woke me to see this – this morning.  

Just thought I would share…. thanks for listening…. I am excited to read “the rest of the story” as Paul Harvey always said.

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Break Down – Break Through

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My red dot started last night, but I did not realize it.  I am getting ready to go on my Haiti Mission trip in 16 days, 9 hours, 23 minutes, and 40 seconds.  So be praying for our team while we are gone.

As I was going through some of my past mission trip to assign different duties to the team, I I ran across the last oversees mission trip Skip and I took… lots of memories, great times, beautiful memories.  Then this morning I was trying to recreate a time line from a deal from last year for the  real estate commission.    As I was going through electronic files back in March 2011, I ran across some scanned files from e-mails of when I ordered Skip’s memorial bench and other things that I had forgotten or more likely hid away that I did not have to deal with.

Much of last year is still fuzzy for me, I have mentally compartmentalized most of it – one of my coping mechanisms.

All of a sudden, I said I needed to go to pick up lunch, my normal diet food I brought was not cutting it today.  I did really well and ordered a half grilled chicken and lettuce salad with a diet coke.  As I drove back to the office I took the scenic route, then started crying…. realizing that the many things I cannot not or unconsciously will not remember from last year had crept up when having to put time lines on things.

Then, I thought why did I buy this lunch although it was healthy,  I was no more hungry for that food than the food I had brought to work equally has healthy.  That is when it hit me I was buying it to put salve on my wounds, to heal the hole in my heart, to bury things from my past, to —- you fill in the blank!  I came to the True (capital “T”) realization that I AM AN EMOTIONAL EATER!

Although I had a break down, I also had a break through… that sometime we do the right things for the wrong reasons.

I did not eat the salad for lunch albeit was healthy, it was purchased for the wrong reasons.

These are times when you draw near to God, He will draw near to you.  Today he drew near to Me.

Psalms 39

Psalm 39:4-7

Amplified Bible (AMP)

  • 4Lord, make me to know my end and [to appreciate] the measure of my days–what it is; let me know and realize how frail I am [how transient is my stay here].
  •     5Behold, You have made my days as [short as] handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing in Your sight. Truly every man at his best is merely a breath! Selah [pause, and think calmly of that]!
  •     6Surely every man walks to and fro–like a shadow in a pantomime; surely for futility and emptiness he is in turmoil; each one heaps up riches, not knowing who will gather them.
  •     7And now, Lord, what do I wait for and expect? My hope and expectation are in You.

... In all instances, always remember, life is too short not to just live it and love it. Cherish those around you and spend living life fully, being the best you possible.

David knew his days were determined by god. We know this also because of God’s Word:

Job 14:5 Amplified Bible (AMP)

  • 5Since a man’s days are already determined, and the number of his months is wholly in Your control, and he cannot pass the bounds of his allotted time–

Job 7:1 Amplified Bible (AMP)

  •  1IS THERE not an [appointed] warfare and hard labor to man upon earth? And are not his days like the days of a hireling?

Job 14:14 Amplified Bible (AMP)

  • 14If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my warfare and service I will wait, till my change and release shall come.

Because of what we know about God and His Word, we know that the number of our days are fixed and determined by the Lord. His life was full of trouble and sorrow and he was anxious to know when his life of suffering would be over. Just because David asked this question does not mean it was a wise question. God knows the times and seasons of our life and all we need to know is that we can trust Him. It seems that David is longing for his life to end. In his troubled state, he felt that the only way his troubles would end was for his life to end. Instead of trusting God, he becomes impatient for his death. Job expressed these same feelings in his writings.

Job 6:8-11 Amplified Bible (AMP)

  • 8Oh, that I might have my request, and that God would grant me the thing that I long for!
  • 9I even wish that it would please God to crush me, that He would let loose His hand and cut me off!
  • 10Then would I still have consolation–yes, I would leap [for joy] amid unsparing pain [though I shrink from it]–that I have not concealed or denied the words of the Holy One!
  •     11What strength have I left, that I should wait and hope? And what is ahead of me, that I should be patient?

I believe that David knew these were not good words. But in a time of weakness and despair, he pours his heart out to God. It is during these times that we must remember that we must leave our life completely in the hands of God.

Psalm 31:15 Amplified Bible (AMP)

15My times are in Your hands; deliver me from the hands of my foes and those who pursue me and persecute me.

The word “handbreadth” is used in verse five to denote anything that is very short or brief. It is one of the smallest natural measurements. He also said that his life was as nothing, or non-existent before God. This is true for even the longest life. Our days are few and short when compared with eternity. When we understand the work we have to do for the Lord, the life we have to live for our families, and the impact we have to make on our generation, our life is indeed short. When we consider what God has committed to our trust and what He requires from each of us, again, our life is surely short. When we feel the obligations that are pressing against us, the opportunities that are presented to us and the chances we get to do good, we must confess that our life is as nothing before God. Our life is only a very small part of God’s eternity. Knowing how brief it is, we must cherish it and make the most of it.

A LACK OF FAITH WILL DISTORT OUR VIEW OF LIFE

Psalm 39:4-7 Amplified Bible (AMP)

  •  4Lord, make me to know my end and [to appreciate] the measure of my days–what it is; let me know and realize how frail I am [how transient is my stay here].

  •     5Behold, You have made my days as [short as] handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing in Your sight. Truly every man at his best is merely a breath! Selah [pause, and think calmly of that]!
  •     6Surely every man walks to and fro–like a shadow in a pantomime; surely for futility and emptiness he is in turmoil; each one heaps up riches, not knowing who will gather them.

All the striving and accomplishments of man seemed to the Psalmist to be of no worth. Matthew Henry said, “We vex ourselves without any just cause and the occasions of our trouble are often the creatures of our own fancy and imagination.” Fretting over what we cannot control or change is fruitless and we disquiet ourselves in vain. All of our groaning and feeble efforts will not change God; after we have grumbled and complained, things will still be the same.

  • 6… each one heaps up riches, not knowing who will gather them.

If we had no trouble and gained the riches of this world, it would still be in vain. After we are gone, we know not who will enjoy or squander it. It is surely vain to gather riches and know not what will become of them after we are gone. The story is told of a French millionaire that wanted to make sure his riches were safe. He dug a deep hole in the wine cellar of his home and put a spring-loaded door to protect it. He went missing and no one could find him. Time passed and he was declared dead and his house sold. The new owner was in the process of tearing down the old house and discovered the deep cave. He went down and discovered the body of the millionaire on the ground with a candlestick nearby. Searching farther, all the riches were also found. The rich man had gone down to admire his wealth and somehow the door closed and trapped him and he perished for want of food. He had eaten the candle and gnawed the flesh off both of his arms. He died a horrible wretch in the midst of the treasures he had heaped together.

  • 6Surely every man walks to and fro–like a shadow in a pantomime; surely for futility and emptiness he is in turmoil; …

In his time of trouble, David had a one-sided view of life. He saw man as a mere shadow, having no power or life in himself. It made no difference what happened, God had ordained everything to bring life to nothing. Again, this is the talk of trouble, not faith.

SEEING LIFE AS A JOURNEY

  • 4Lord, make me to know my end and [to appreciate] the measure of my days–what it is; let me know and realize how frail I am [how transient is my stay here].

Life is never stationary; its wheels never stand still. We are moving toward fresh scenes each day. The events and circumstances of this life are all passing. We can retrace our steps, but we can never relive them. Each day we are walking a path to which we will never return. The wise man will understand this, if he does not, his life will be in vain. Our journey must be with the end in view. This earthly life does have an end; we are all traveling toward the grave. The eagle bearing down upon its prey, the arrow speeding toward its mark, or the clouds flying before the wind do not move as swiftly as a man’s life. Every moment is important and needs not be wasted. Most of us are not facing the reality of our life. That is why the Bible says it seems as just a show. What a shame to spend life ignoring reality and living in the realm of fiction. God did not create us for vanity and shame; He created us for truth. Too many are hiding the reality of their life in vain shows of excitement, pleasure, wealth, fame and so-called knowledge. These are mere shadows that we pursue. That is why God says we are ever seeking and never finding. Only in God can a man be true and find truth. Only through Christ can a man be in a blessed union with God. When we are restored to God through Christ, we are restored to ourselves and we are able to live in reality. That is when we find true rest and peace. Living in and for God reveals to man what is real and earnest.

David lost his patience with life because of its brevity, its vanity, and its sorrow. Such words from the lips of a Christian are both unwise and sinful. It is unwise because such words make us unfit to bear our burdens. It is also unwise because it takes into consideration only a small portion of our life. We must never forget God’s promise of Heaven. It is sinful because it shows a lack of faith. But David and other men of his time must not be judged in the same way we are judged. We have the complete Word of God and they did not. Had David known all the truth that you and I know today, he would not have spoken so foolishly. He would not have seen life as utter vanity. After death has quenched the flames of our sorrow, we will know that God truly does all things well. Without the promises and the example of Jesus, the Old Testament Saints could not help but allow their suffering to sink deeply into their heart. Job asked the Question, “When a man dies, will he live again?” You and I see the simple answer, but that is because God has blessed us with a Saviour and a whole Bible. It is only the wonderful grace of God that keeps this short and miserable life with all its injustices from causing our soul to despair. But even without the clear promise of the Blessed Hope, David puts many of us to shame as he speaks these words of faith:

  • 7And now, Lord, what do I wait for and expect? My hope and expectation are in You.

How sad that we are so quickly brought into despair by our light afflictions while we have been promised the great hope of glory. Considering how his revelation was compared to ours, this Psalm should be a rebuke to our lack of faith. God help us to value the Old Testament, especially the Psalms. There we find the records of Godly men, faced with trouble and sorrow, yet still holding to their faith in God. We see their sins, their doubts, their sorrows, their conflicts, their defeats, and their victories. May these examples warn and encourage us. God help us also to see how different this life appears since Jesus has lived, died, and risen again. He has abolished death and brought us light and life eternal. And may God help us to see that by the help and grace of God we can and will have a victorious journey.

PRAYER IN TIMES OF TROUBLE

And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee. Deliver me from all my transgressions: make me not the reproach of the foolish. I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it. Remove thy stroke away from me: I am consumed by the blow of thine hand. When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth: surely every man is vanity. Selah.  Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were. O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more. Psalms 39:7-13

As we speak of prayer here, we are not speaking merely of asking for what we need. We are speaking of the total communication experience with God – asking, confession, expressing our dependence, thanksgiving, praise, and adoration. As low as David had sunk in his misery, he had not lost his hope. When we are the most miserable, the medicine that can sustain us is hope. I have seen many throw away everything because they lost hope. We can rise from great depths to see great victory if we retain hope. Hope is the fire in the soul, the glimmer of light in misery’s darkness. After crying out to God that man and all his pursuits are nothing but vanity, David sets his face toward God, his only hope. There is no hope in man, but man always has hope in God. David believed that his troubles were from God’s hand, he complained bitterly about those troubles, but in his despair, he looked to and trusted in his God. God help us to realize early in life that there will be times when God’s dealings seem harsh, mysterious, and painful, but as the songwriter said, “Where could I go but to the Lord.” In our deepest trials, there is no one else in whom we can place our trust. He is all-sufficient and His grace is indeed sufficient. Back in verse two David was silent because he did not want his words to bring reproach to God. In this verse he is silent because he is submitting to God’s hand and will. Sometimes we don’t agree with God, yet we keep silent. But God help us to face our troubles knowing that God is in control and His ways are always good. David goes from dissatisfaction and complaint to trustful submission to God. That submission takes away his desire to complain. He got to the point that he bowed before God, knowing that his afflictions and sorrows were by God’s hand, and he made God’s will his own. When we understand how wise, loving, tender, and strong God is, we will put aside our complaining and say, “It must be good because God did it.”

Today I trust in your mighty hand
Knowing my sorrow comes from Thee
I bow beneath your chastening rod
Knowing that it is love that bruises me

I read where a man was walking through a cemetery and came upon the grave of three children that had died of scarlet fever. On the tombstone was engraved, “Thou Didst It.” There are no words that could more strikingly express the faith of a believer that these words. It is proof of calm submission. We can submit to Him freely or by force. Many times God has to force our submission by the folly of our rebellion. Our sin compared to His perfection will cause us to shut our mouths in submission. We are wretched; He is perfect in wisdom, goodness, and faithfulness. With those attributes He rules in our lives. There is great benefit in God-ordained affliction. Once it has accomplished its intent, we will humbly say, “He hath done all things well.”

A MODEL PRAYER FOR DELIVERANCE

Deliver me from all my transgressions: make me not the reproach of the foolish. I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it. Remove thy stroke away from me: I am consumed by the blow of thine hand. When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth: surely every man is vanity. Selah. Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were. O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more. Psalms 39:8-13

David Prayed For Forgiveness Of His Sin

His enemies were using his afflictions as proof that he was wicked. They reproached him with their accusations. He believed that if God would forgive him, his afflictions would be lifted and the reproach and the accusation of his enemies would be brought to an end. David saw his personal sin as the cause for his sufferings and troubles. That is why he asked for forgiveness before he asked for relief from his trouble. The Christian would be wise to take this approach in his trouble. When our sins are removed, the cause of our suffering will also be removed.

David Prayed For The Removal Of His Affliction

David viewed his afflictions as God’s correction. Many times, if we are completely honest with ourselves, we will see our sufferings as God’s chastisement for our sins. When in love He corrects us and we repent, His work is accomplished and there is no longer a need for the sorrow in our lives. That is why God says:

Proverbs 3:11-12 Amplified Bible (AMP)

  • 11My son, do not despise or shrink from the chastening of the Lord [His correction by punishment or by subjection to suffering or trial]; neither be weary of or impatient about or loathe or abhor His reproof,
  • 12For whom the Lord loves He corrects, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.

As severe as his afflictions were, he knew that God could remove them. As low as his sin had brought him, he knew that God could raise him up again. Because of this knowledge he turns to the hand that wounded him for healing; he turns to the hand that brought him low to lift him up.

David Prayed For Renewed Vigor Before His Death

He pleaded for his troubles to be removed so he would be cheered up, strengthened, and invigorated before he died. He prayed for comfort before death. He was pleading for God to look upon him in his suffering with compassion. We have said many times that tears are the language that God understands. David was counting on that. We have that same hope:

James 5:11 Amplified Bible (AMP)

  • 11You know how we call those blessed (happy) who were steadfast [who endured]. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the Lord’s [purpose and how He richly blessed him in the] end, inasmuch as the Lord is full of pity and compassion and tenderness and mercy.

David confessed that he was a stranger and pilgrim, one that had nothing of his own, one that was totally dependent on God. When we cast ourselves on God’s goodness and faithfulness, we are always met with His grace. There are times when our burden seems greater than our strength can bear and we can do nothing but cry out to God. Even if our words do not always come our right, He is able to interpret them and supply what we need. His love and care is unfailing and He is worthy of our trust.

Moving From Fear to Faith

GRACE ADVENTURE

 

Do you ever feel like God is not hearing your prayer? The prophet Habakkuk did. He looked at the injustice around him and wondered why God did not seem to change the situation. “It’s not wrong to ask why as long as you ask not with a clenched fist, but with a searching heart.” You can say the same words and only God knows sometimes whether the heart is searching or clenched.

God is the One who searches our hearts and God is the One who knows.

  • Are we asking with a clenched fist?
  • Are we angry at God?
  • Are we accusing Him?
  • Are we demanding that He do things our way?
  • Or are we asking out of a humble, earnest, honest search for God?

We do know that Habakkuk, regardless of what was his heart in those early questions, through the course of the book comes to…

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New Normal

GRACE ADVENTURE

This past year I have been living in a “New Normal;” becoming single, changes in who I am as a person, challenging my whole thought process of who I am as a woman, and learning my greatness in God who created me.  Everything I was that was “Normal,” which was turned upside down, is no longer.  It has been a fascinating ride, a great year of discovery, and an amazing adventure.

My sister says this is your “new normal,” my doctor told me this is your “new normal,” and even words from the bible are telling me this is your ”new normal.”

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Galatians 6:15
Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation.

If the Bible tells me that the old has gone, and the…

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The New Year

I am the New Year.

I am an unspoiled page in your book of time

I am your next chance at the art of living

I am your opportunity to practice what you have learned

about life during the last twelve months

All that you sought and didn’t find is hidden in me

waiting for you to search it, but with more determination

All that good that you tried and didn’t achieve

Is mine to grant you with fewer conflicting desires

All that you dreamed, but did not dare do

All that you hoped, but did no will

All the faith that you claimed, but did not have

These slumber lightly, waiting to be awakened by

the touch of a strong purpose

I am your opportunity to renew your allegiance to

Him who said, “Behold I make all things new”.

~~ Author unknown

Laney 1-1-12

Peace

GRACE ADVENTURE

I spent the morning shopping with all the frantic people trying to get everything in on the last shopping weekend before Christmas. As always, this was the weekend that I started and finished all my shopping. Usually I get a little panicky and even a little faint feeling with the crowds. But that day was different; I was at peace.

I purchased a little Christmas decoration for Skip’s memorial bench. After I put it together and cleaned up some of the old stuff, I just sat there with the warmth of the sun coming down on me; the air was cool, and the view amazing. The sun was beginning to set, not quite dusk… I just sat there in peace.

I talked with Skip about what I got for the kids and I was fine, which almost came as a surprise to me. Then I remembered the verse that says…

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