Monday, September 29, 2014

POSTCARDS FROM THE BIBLE


Postcards from the Bible?

Here's some I think you'll never see:


"Sunny skies as far as the eye can see!  Noah"

"Having a whale of a good time.  Wish you were here.  Jonah"

"We should arrive in the Promised Land any day now.  Caleb"

"Delilah thinks I need a trim.  Samson"

"Enjoying my retirement years being a shepherd.  Moses"

"No plans  just on the roof sunbathing.  David"

"Life is good.  Job"


Yup, these would number among the most unlikely postcards ever.

Sentiments that were proven wrong in short order.

Heading in one direction, each of these people experienced a great reversal in their lives.  Life took a huge turn in another, completely unexpected, direction.

The Bible is like that.

Not full of contradictions, but filled with plenty of re-directions.

Unlikely circumstances that lead to blessed outcomes.  Setbacks that become divinely-planned appointments.  Desperate situations that bring great leaps of faith.

And what about the people?

The Bible contains a motley crew of misfits who somehow bear the image of God, and are used to advance His purposes in the most unusual ways.

Sometimes when people doubt the veracity of the Bible, I think about this fact.

Who in their right mind would compose a book full of flawed heroes, scared prophets, foolish servants, evil kings, stubborn messengers, impetuous disciples, and disobedient men and women?

Well, I guess God would – for that is what He has done.

He has written His love story truthfully.  Interwoven with real people, with real flaws and real problems.

And, in His divine wisdom, all the ragged and unraveled and frayed ends of thread that look like a chaotic mess somehow weave together to a specific end – a beautiful tapestry of intentional purpose.


I'm thinking about my own life.

And the lives of others.

I love Blog Land.  I struggle with Blog Land.  For in my travels I come in contact with many people and many stories.

Many of those stories are uplifting and inspirational.

But I am also deeply touched by some really hard things out there, too. Cancer, death, depression, physical illness, wayward children, addiction, job loss…

The list could go on.

Maybe your story fits in there somewhere, too.

And at times I am overcome by sadness at what I read.  Dismayed by the difficult twists and turns that life can take.

I sometimes wonder…

"Where is God in all of this?"

Most likely, He's right where He's always been – behind the scenes, weaving and weaving.

(Think of the book of Esther.  God's name is never mentioned.  But does anybody have any doubts that God wasn't behind the scenes orchestrating every single moment?)

For yes, God is a God who allows unlikely circumstances, great reversals and setbacks, desperate situations…

But always for a reason.

He has intentional purpose in everything that happens.

Whether we understand it or not, nothing is changed.  His will is accomplished as a foregone conclusion – for God has already gone to the future.


So God is always working His purposes out – and always working them for good.

I believe this statement…intellectually.

But my feelings doubt it all the time.  How can bad circumstances work good purposes?  How can pain bring sanctified blessing?  How can suffering bring about something wonderful?

I think the answer must lie in perspective.

Long-range perspective.

The kind that God possesses – outside of time, eternal, all-encompassing, omniscient, perfectly holy and wise.

How do I know this?

Well, I'm pondering another rather unlikely postcard from the Bible:

"I have a plan for the sin of mankind.  Sending a baby.  God"

Huh???

Would you have picked this plan?

Who would have thought that a baby who couldn't feed himself, couldn't clean himself, couldn't stay alive without nurture and care would end up saving the world?

Um, I guess God did.

And this is the Truth that I hold on to as I face my own struggles, and read about the ones that you are facing.

This one stunning reversal of fortunecradle to crucifixion to conqueror – this is the shocking truth that I hold on to so tightly.

It is the one truth that gives me hope when circumstances unravel, when plans and dreams fray, when emotions become ragged.

The end of the story has not happened yet – not mine, not yours, not the Lord's.

The threads are still being woven.

His purposes are being worked out in the most unlikely characters, in the most unusual ways, and in just the right timing.

I've got proof!


Noah's stormy skies didn't prevent him from saving a remnant of God's creation.

Jonah's boat ride and whale-watching expedition didn't keep him from saving an entire city of repentant people.

Caleb's wilderness trek of 40 years didn't exclude him from the Promised Land.

Samson's haircut didn't stop him from destroying the Philistines.

Moses' age didn't impede his role as the leader of an entire nation.

David's sin didn't disqualify him from the kingship that God had ordained.

Job's obvious and terrible suffering didn't thwart him from winning a terrific victory against the devil.


And my trials, my suffering, my struggles, my doubts – nor yours eitherwill avert God's ultimate purposes for our lives and our roles in His story.

No thing, no one, no how!

And someday, there will be an end to the story, for it has been written by God Himself.

It WILL happen…

In just the right way, and just the right timing.

We can hold on to that Truth when we're in the middle of the book.  Keep your eyes on the epilogue, for the story has a very happy ending.


Here's one more unlikely postcard:

"I win.  The Enemy."

Uh no, you don't.






History is His Story.
The future is already written.
And the story ends
with
happily ever after!



"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11, ESV)

"O LORD my God, you have performed many wonders for us.  Your plans for us are too numerous to list.  You have no equal.  If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them." (Psalm 40:5, NLT)

"Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan." (Ephesians 1:11, NLT)

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." 
(Romans 8:28, NASB)

"As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good..." 
(Genesis 50:20, ESV)

"Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NLT)

"But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us." (Romans 8:37, NASB)

"'I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me.  Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.  But take heart, because I have overcome the world.'" (John 16:33, NLT)

"...'Lord, to whom would we go?  You have the words that give eternal life.'" (John 6:68, NLT)



Are you confident in the way the Story ends?  How does that affect the way you live out today?



Linked with:

SHARING HIS BEAUTY, PLAYDATES WITH GOD, UNFORCED RHYTHMS, MONDAY'S MUSINGS, MONDAYS AT SOUL SURVIVAL, SALT & LIGHT, TELL ME A TRUE STORY, UNITE, SOLI DEO GLORIA, TITUS 2 TUESDAYS, TESTIMONY TUESDAY, WHAT YOU WISH WEDNESDAY, WHIMSICAL WEDNESDAYS, WHOLEHEARTED WEDNESDAYS, CAPTURE YOUR JOURNEY, SO MUCH AT HOME, WINSOME WEDNESDAY, TELL HIS STORY, A LITTLE R & R WEDNESDAYS, WORD FILLED WEDNESDAY, COFFEE FOR YOUR HEART, WOMEN HELPING WOMEN, THOUGHT-PROVOKING THURSDAY, THRIVING THURSDAY



BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, September 22, 2014

HAMSTER SURGERY


OK, yes, this has a backstory.

Years ago, my sons had hamsters.  Cute and cuddly little guys. 

We (I) enjoyed taking care of them – cleaning out the cage, changing the water, making sure they were fed.

But, there came a day when we faced a dilemma – vacation.

Obviously we couldn't take the critters with us – even though this decision was vociferously opposed. 

So, what to do?

Well, I decided to do what I always did when I needed some extra help – I asked Mom.

My mom is the best.  She was the only babysitter that I ever had for my kids.  I was lucky.  She lived close by – and I actually think she just might have sat by the phone all the time waiting for the opportunity to *watch the boys!*

I called her.

"Mom, would you be willing to watch the hamsters for us while we're gone on vacation?"

"Of course."

Then I shared with her how one of the hamsters had some sort of skin thing growing on his back.  It was making me nervous, and I didn't know what to do.

Mom, precious Mom, had an immediate answer:

"Don't worry.  I'll take care of it."

So, cages and food and sawdust and bedding fluff was dropped off at Mom's house – oh, and also two little furry bundles of fun.

And we left on vacation.

When we came back home, I called my mom to make arrangements to pick up the hamsters.  And to see how the "skin thing" was doing…

And then I found out what my mom had done.

In our absence, she had found and called a local vet by her house.  She had taken the hamster in for a visit.  And then, she had decided to have the vet perform surgery on the hamster to remove the growth.

Yes, surgery.

On a hamster.

Surgery that cost her (way back then) over $300!!

I couldn't believe it.

Mom had done an incredible thing.  I was amazed, though I shouldn't really have been.  My mom is just that sort of person.


I write about this story because I was thinking about it the other day.  I can still vividly remember the sense of relief I had handing over those hamsters to Mom.  Total peace of mind, no worriescalm thoughts and calm heart.

The reason I was thinking about this is because of the struggles that I've had lately letting go of stuff.

I pray – oh boy, do I ever pray!  But I just can't seem to let go.

I want so desperately to have that same peace of mind that I had with my mom.  I want to know that serenity.

So, I started thinking about WHY I was able to have peace about the hamsters.  Here's what I came up with:

1.  I completely trusted my mom.  I knew that I could count on her, that I could leave something in her care, and not give it a second thought.  I was well-acquainted with her character, and she had always proven trust-worthy. 

2.  Mom knew me in-and-out.  I knew that she wouldn't do anything to hurt me.  She would handle the situation just like I would.  She would do the right thing.

3.  Mom understood my heart.  She always cared about what I cared about.  The things that were precious to me were precious to her.  My concerns were hers, and my heartaches were borne in her heart, too.

4.  Mom was willing to take on the responsibility of taking care of things.  She shouldered the burden instead of me.

5.  Whatever it took, whatever the cost, Mom would do it out of love for me.  Her deepest desire was to bring me joy.


OK, that's a good list.

So, I'm asking myself – do I feel the same way about God?

The most honest answer I can give to this question is – yes and no.

I agree that all the things I said above about Mom also apply to God, too.

But, here's the rub.

Sometimes God lets things happen that are terribly difficult, painfully sad, achingly confusing…

In other words, not everything that God lets happen in my life is good.

(At least not by my definition).

Yes, He is trust-worthy.  Yes, He knows me in-and-out.  Yes, He understands my heart and cares about what I care about.  Yes, He has promised to bear my burdens.  And yes, He did what it took, paid the cost, just to bring me joy.

But I am not always joy-full.

So I have to admit that in the way that I live out my life, I do not trust God to guard me from suffering.

O.U.C.H.  

(Honesty hurts…)


A few years ago in Bible Study, I heard this thought (my paraphrase):

Whether God will or will not do something is up to Him.  Our part of the bargain is to decide whether we believe He is ABLE.

And, my friends, that is the crux of my problem.

I do believe with my whole heart that God is able to do anything – even the impossible.

But, when He doesn't do something that I think He should or could, what then?

Is He still good and worthy to be trusted?

Life, and the enemy of my soul, work very hard to convince me otherwise.

But, unless I'm willing to give up on Truth, I have to believe that God is trustworthy.  I cannot tolerate any inkling that He is a cruel despot or uncaring observer.


So what to do?

Here's some thoughts that I've come up with:

1.  Trust really isn't trust when things are going good.

2.  Trust becomes true trust when it is tested.

3.  Trust continues to believe in something or someone even when things go wrong.

4.  Trust is relying on someone’s character and not on the outcome of circumstances.

5.  Trust is believing something contrary to our feelings.

6.  Trust refuses to be side-tracked by lies.

7.  Trust should be based on what God has done in the past, and what He will do in the future – (think *the cross* and *eternal life*) – not on the current struggles.


And finally, trust must go beyond my own understanding of things.  If God is God, and I believe He is, He WILL do the best and good and perfect thing in my life...

EVEN. IF. IT. HURTS.

That is Truth, and that is Trust.

I'm asking the Lord to grant me the same peace of mind that I so remember from that episode with hamster surgery.  I am craving the same release from fear and worrying.

For I do know that He loves me – actually way more than even my mom does.

He died for me.

Oh, I can picture myself sitting at the foot of the cross, looking up at the broken body of a Savior, desperately searching His swollen and pain-filled eyes for some sense of peace.

And then, if I am quiet in my soul, I can hear Him whisper, inaudible to anyone else but me:

"Don't worry.  I'll take care of it."

And in tears, I know it's true.






He is the Great Physician.
The Master Healer.
The One who restores
the crushed in spirit,
and mends
the broken heart. 



"When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.  The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.  Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all." (Psalm 34:17-19, ESV)

"He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds." (Psalm 147:3, NLT)

"'The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free...'" (Luke 4:18, NLT)

"'Healthy people don't need a doctor - sick people do.  I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.'" (Mark 2:17, NLT)

"...he healed all the sick.  This fulfilled the word of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah, who said, 'He took our sicknesses and removed our diseases.'" (Matthew 8:16-17, NLT)

"And [Jesus] went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people." (Matthew 4:23, ESV)

"When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick." (Matthew 14:14, NIV)

"'Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?'  And Jesus answered them, 'Go and tell...what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.  And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.'" (Matthew 11:3-6, ESV)

"By his wounds you have been healed." (1 Peter 2:24, ESV)

"Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working." (James 5:16, ESV)

"He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces...for the LORD has spoken.  It will be said on that day, 'Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.  This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.'' 
(Isaiah 25:8-9, ESV)

"I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, 'Look, God's home is now among his people!  He will live with them, and they will be his people.  God himself will be with them.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain.  All these things are gone forever.'  And the one sitting on the throne said, 'Look, I am making everything new!'...And he also said, 'It is finished!  I am the Alpha and the Omega - the Beginning and the End.'" (Revelation 21:3-6, NLT)

Amen and amen!



In what ways do you struggle with trusting God completely?



Linked with:

SHARING HIS BEAUTY, PLAYDATES WITH GOD, UNFORCED RHYTHMS, MONDAY'S MUSINGS, MONDAYS AT SOUL SURVIVAL, SALT & LIGHT, TELL ME A TRUE STORY, UNITE, SOLI DEO GLORIA, TITUS 2 TUESDAYS, TESTIMONY TUESDAY, CAPTURE YOUR JOURNEY, WOMEN HELPING WOMEN, WHAT YOU WISH WEDNESDAY, WHIMSICAL WEDNESDAYS, WINSOME WEDNESDAY, A LITTLE R & R WEDNESDAYS, WHOLEHEARTED WEDNESDAYS, TELL HIS STORY, WORD FILLED WEDNESDAYSO MUCH AT HOME, COFFEE FOR YOUR HEART, THOUGHT-PROVOKING THURSDAY, THRIVING THURSDAY, EVERYDAY JESUS, HEARTS FOR HOME, GRACE AT HOME, FAITH BARISTA, FRIENDSHIP FRIDAY, LIGHT FRIDAY HIT LIST, ESSENTIAL FRIDAYSFAITH FILLED FRIDAYFELLOWSHIP FRIDAYS, MAKE MY SATURDAY SWEET, FIVE FOR FRIDAY, SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS, COUNTING MY BLESSINGS, STILL SATURDAY, WEEKEND BREW, RECOMMENDATION SATURDAY, SATURDAY SOIREE, GIVE ME GRACE, SUNDAY STILLNESS



BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, September 15, 2014

AARON AND HUR ARMS


You know, we're not meant to live life alone.

Of course, our lives as believers are inextricably intertwined with the Lord.  He is beside us, before us, and within us.  We are forever linked…

But, while we walk on this earth, we can sometimes feel awfully alone.

Alone with our thoughts and feelings.  Alone with our struggles and suffering. Alone with our fears and temptations.

We pray…oh how we pray.

But sometimes, we can still feel alone and helpless and distressed.

I find myself feeling this way lately.

My friends, I am in a season of wildernessa dry and difficult season.  I know I have shared before, and I certainly hope I'm not belaboring the point, but it's true – I am struggling.

This is supposed to be the year of JOYand yet, I cannot remember a more difficult year.  The details are not important.  I know you've felt the same. Times when it takes energy to explain the circumstances, and you're *just not feeling it.*  That's OK, because what's really important is to let someone know how you're doing...how you're really doing.


So here I am.

Letting you know.

I actually just wrote an email to a friend of mine, asking her to pray for me. In it I mentioned that I needed some *Aaron and Hur arms* to help uphold me.  That got me thinking.

So I checked out the story from the Bible:

"So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill.  As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.  When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it.  Aaron and Hur held his hands up – one on one side, one on the other – so that his hands remained steady till sunset.  So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword."  (From Exodus 17, NIV)


Yes, Joshua overcame.  And Moses helped…with the added aid of some very close friends.

I love that the Lord doesn't expect us to walk the journey of faith alone.  In fact, He calls us to be in community:

"And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near." (Hebrews 10:25, NLT)


In the past, I have gone through years when I didn't go to church.  And it was hard.  I believe that the enemy of our souls likes it that way.  It seems to me that he enjoys "isolating us from the herd" his attacks are more effective when we aren't in fellowship.

Why?

Because community brings the solace and encouragement and strength that we desperately need and seek.


Let's look at that story from Exodus again:

Moses was undoubtedly doing exactly what God had called him to do. God had instructed Moses time and again how to utilize the staff to accomplish His purposes.

So I'm pretty sure that God told Moses to hold up that staff.  And I'm betting that He told Moses what would happen if he did.

But, here's the part that I love.

Moses, his heart willing, his actions obedient, was doing what God told him to do.

But, he grew tired.

(Don't we all??)

So Moses needed help.


Read Matthew Henry's commentary:

"[Note] the care that was taken for the support of Moses.  When he could not stand any longer he sat down…when he could not hold up his hands, he would have them held up.  Moses, the man of God, is glad of the assistance of Aaron…and Hur…We should not be shy either of asking help from others or giving help to others, for we are members one of another.  Moses' hands, thus stayed, were steady till the going down of the sun…"


Moses relied on the assistance of others to sustain his efforts at doing what God wanted him to do.

For he was tired and weary.

His spirit was willing, but his flesh grew weak.

This is when the Body of Christ is most needed, most greatly appreciated, and most richly rewardedwhen we stand alongside each other, supporting each other with prayer, and sometimes with a helping hand, listening ear, or shoulder to cry on.


More from Matthew Henry:

"The church's cause is, commonly, more or less successful according as the church's friends are more or less strong in faith and fervent in prayer."


The church united in intercessory prayer is a powerful weapon. Friends supporting others during difficult times become emissaries of the Lord Himself.  They bring His comfort and peace and encouragement.

They become the Spirit of the Living Lord to each other.

This is Biblical truth, I believe.  We know that the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us when we accept Jesus as our Savior.  And so, in some mysterious way, the presence of God can literally be experienced in the company of others.

The Aarons and Hurs in our lives are the arms that uphold us when we are weak and weary.  They are the ones who strengthen us, and help us stand firm.


And so, I am turning to you guys.  

Would you pray for me?

Could you be the arms that help me hold up my hands in faith?

I'll tell you why I'm asking.

Because I need it…

…and because it works!

So, how can I also pray for you this week?




In Christ we,
though many,
form one body,
and each member
belongs to all the others.



"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." (Proverbs 12:25, ESV)

"Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble.  Say to those with anxious heart, 'Take courage, fear not.  Behold, your God will come…He will save you.'" (Isaiah 35:3-4, NASB)

"All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful…Therefore strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed." (Hebrews 12:11-13, NASB)

"So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing." (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NLT)

"Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them." (Ephesians 4:29, NLT)

"Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.  If one person falls, the other can reach out and help.  But someone who falls alone is in real trouble…A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer.  Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken." (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12, NLT)

"'For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.'" (Matthew 18:20, ESV)

"…may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another…" 
(1 Thessalonians 3:12, NASB)


And here are the words that Jesus prayed over us:

"'…Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.'" (Luke 22:31-32, ESV)

"'I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.'" (John 17:13, ESV)



How can I pray for you?  

(Please leave a prayer request in your comment)



Linked with:

SHARING HIS BEAUTY, PLAYDATES WITH GOD, UNFORCED RHYTHMS, INSPIRE ME MONDAY, MONDAY'S MUSINGS, MONDAYS AT SOUL SURVIVAL, SALT & LIGHT, TELL ME A TRUE STORY, SOLI DEO GLORIA, UNITE, TESTIMONY TUESDAY, TITUS 2 TUESDAYS, WINSOME WEDNESDAY, A LITTLE R & R WEDNESDAYS, WHOLEHEARTED WEDNESDAYS, THREE WORD WEDNESDAY, TELL HIS STORY, CAPTURE YOUR JOURNEY, WOMEN HELPING WOMEN, SO MUCH AT HOME, WHAT YOU WISH WEDNESDAY, WORD FILLED WEDNESDAYCOFFEE FOR YOUR HEARTWHIMSICAL WEDNESDAYS, THOUGHT-PROVOKING THURSDAY, THRIVING THURSDAY, EVERYDAY JESUS, GRACE AT HOMEHEARTS FOR HOME, LIGHT FRIDAY HIT LIST, FRIENDSHIP FRIDAY, FELLOWSHIP FRIDAYS, FAITH FILLED FRIDAY, THE FRIDAY FIVE, ESSENTIAL FRIDAYS, SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS, COUNTING MY BLESSINGS, MAKE MY SATURDAY SWEET, STILL SATURDAY, WEEKEND BREW, RECOMMENDATION SATURDAY, SATURDAY SOIREE, GIVE ME GRACE, SUNDAY STILLNESS



BLOG = “Blessedly Leaning On God!”

Monday, September 8, 2014

I'M BESIDE MYSELF


Yup.

Beside myself.

Know what I mean?

I looked up this phrase to better define it.  Here's what I found:

"Why do we describe a distraught person as being 'beside himself'?  Because the ancients believed that soul and body could part and that under great emotional stress the soul would actually leave the body.  When this happened a person was 'beside himself.'  (In an extreme state of some emotion)."


Have you ever felt like that?

Like you're two people living in one body?  Like your mind and your heart are warring against each other?  Like how you're feeling just isn't meshing with what you believe?

This sums up what I've been feeling for the last few weeks.

Gripped in a state of anxiety that is battling for my thoughts.  And yet, holding on to what I know is true, and in what I believe.

Fearful thoughts and trusting heart.

Can they exist in the same person?

Evidently so, for this is the conflict that I've been experiencing lately.

I find this co-existence exhausting.

You see, I'm an interesting mix of feelings and thoughts.  I have a big heart, I'm very sensitive, and I care about things deeply.  I'm a feeling person.

But, I'm also a thinker.  Thoughtful in my approach to life – analytical, pondering, ruminating – always searching for answers.

So, I have an interesting way that I'm doing life.

Something will happen.  It causes deep feelings.  Sometimes confused by these emotions, or feeling out of control of them, I try to figure them out. You see, to me it seems that if I can understand what I'm feeling, then I can manage and deal with it.

But sometimes life isn't that straightforward.


This year has brought so many things.  And my feelings are out of control.  At least it seems that way, for I cannot always understand why I'm feeling what I feel.  And that just increases my sense of anxiety.

On the other hand, my faith is deepening.  Gradually being strengthened by an unshakable belief in a God who is there.  A God who is in control.  A God who loves me without reservations – unconditionally – with His whole heart.

A God whom I love the very same way.


So, I feel like a split personality.

Two people in one.

The emotional person and the thinker.  The fearful person and the believer.  

The *wearied-by-being-me* person.

I'm hoping someone can relate.  I hope someone understands.  I hope there's some *two-in-ones* out there in Blog Land like me.

I do know there was someone in the Bible like me.

His name was Paul.

Paul struggled with the two natures that lived within himself.  The sinful nature, and the Spirit-filled nature.

He knew what it was like to feel torn apart by warring thoughts and feelings.

"The trouble is with me...I don't really understand myself..." 

(Romans 7:14, 15, NLT)



Two people…

Helpless and hopeful.  Scared and secure.  Confused and confident.

And, in the end, it boils down to this dilemma…

Sinner and saint.


Yeah, beside myself.

And yet, beside my Savior, too.

Digging in close to Him, though I cannot figure out my life or myself.  I still want to understand, and I'm still trying to understand, but failing in both.

So, this is what I'm praying for:

That He will bring to my tired mind and helpless emotions the restful repose found in the hope that only He can offer.

That He will free me from my fears and fruitless worrying by reminding and reassuring me of the security I possess because of His salvation.

That He will replace my internal confusion and desperate need to understand myself with the confidence that He knows my heart, knows my name, and knows what He is doing.

And through it all, I truly want Him to become greater.

Paul understood that, too, and said it this way:

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." 

(Galatians 2:20, NIV)



You know, I think I'll always be a bit confused by all the paradoxes that exist within me.

I think I'll always be a unique (and often frustrating) mix of feeling and thinking.

And I know that the battle between my flesh and my Spirit-filled nature will rage on until I am made complete in eternity.

You too??

Take heart – we are not alone in the battle.

We are promised a High Priest who understands – our dear Jesus.

For He was also a *two-in-one*…

God and man.  Divine and human.  Infinite and finite.  Humble and glorious.

The death that saved us, and the Life that lives on within us.

In Him all things come together and are made complete.

And someday, all the warring and confusing and paradoxical things that exist in us will be united and perfected.  

For in the twinkling of an eye, we will become all that He has intended for us since before the creation of the world.

One day, we will be like Him, for He is coming back.

Maybe today!!






Sometimes calm, sometimes mad,
Sometimes happy, sometimes sad -
Sometimes the person I want to be,
Sometimes chagrined at being me.

But I am saved, and one day I'll see,
All that God has in store for me -
And I will become like His loving Son,
And the battle will finally be over and done!



"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding…Be not wise in your own eyes…" (Proverbs 3:5, 7, ESV)

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." (Proverbs 9:10, NIV)

"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin." (Hebrews 4:15, ESV)

"He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less." (John 3:30, NLT)

"Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is." (1 John 3:2, ESV)

"And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory." (Colossians 3:4, NLT)



What is something paradoxical that exists in you?  



Linked with:

SHARING HIS BEAUTY, PLAYDATES WITH GOD, UNFORCED RHYTHMS, MONDAY'S MUSINGS, MONDAYS AT SOUL SURVIVALTELL ME A TRUE STORYSALT & LIGHT, TITUS 2 TUESDAYS, SOLI DEO GLORIA, UNITE, TESTIMONY TUESDAY, INSPIRE ME MONDAY, WHIMSICAL WEDNESDAYS, CAPTURE YOUR JOURNEY, WOMEN HELPING WOMEN, A LITTLE R & R WEDNESDAYS, WHOLEHEARTED WEDNESDAYS, THREE WORD WEDNESDAY, TELL HIS STORY, WORD FILLED WEDNESDAY, COFFEE FOR YOUR HEART, THOUGHT-PROVOKING THURSDAY, THRIVING THURSDAY, EVERYDAY JESUS, FAITH BARISTAHEARTS FOR HOME, GRACE AT HOME, FRIENDSHIP FRIDAY, FRIENDSHIP FRIDAYS, FAITH FILLED FRIDAY, ESSENTIAL FRIDAYS, SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS, COUNTING MY BLESSINGS, MAKE MY SATURDAY SWEET, STILL SATURDAY, SATURDAY SOIREE, WEEKEND BREW, RECOMMENDATION SATURDAY, GIVE ME GRACE, SUNDAY STILLNESS



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