Tag Archive: faithfulness

I AM A CHRISTIAN

This caption expressed some of my feelings after the shooting

This caption expressed some of my feelings after the shooting

Once again, our nation is rocked by a mass shooting on a college campus, this time in Oregon. According to survivors, the shooter asked those who were Christians to stand, then murdered them. I’ve thought about how I would respond. I don’t think we really know until we are in that situation. But I pray that in such a trial God would give me the grace needed to stand true to Him.

The students who were shot and/or killed could have remained in their seats, or even sat down after the first person was shot. They didn’t. They stood firm to the end.

I can’t help but wonder what went through their minds as they waited seconds, minutes for their deaths. Did they think of beloved family, friends, boyfriends or girlfriends? Did they think of seeing Jesus momentarily? Were they in shock? Whatever went through their minds, these individuals honored their Lord by standing for Him.

Let us pray for families and friends who are suffering the horrific fall-out from this evil. I can’t imagine the shock and anguish of these families, and on the school campus. Pray for comfort, peace, and hope–all of which take time. Yes, hope in God’s promises …

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 NIV

Jesus was there in that classroom with the professor and students. They were not alone.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:10 NIV

Persecution of Christ-followers is not new. The Apostle John wrote to the church in ancient Smyrna (today’s Izmir in Turkey) who were going through severe persecution. “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer … Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I (God) will give you life as your victor’s crown.” (Rev. 2:8-11 NIV)

He gave His life for me, and for you

He gave His life for us!

These deaths are a tragedy for all of us. They are an even greater tragedy for those who have lost a loved one. But the murders were not carried out in a vacuum. God was THERE.

He gave His life for me, ransomed me from sin, and promised me eternal life. May I remain faithful through life and to death.

I AM A CHRISTIAN

BUT GOD …

P1090285Like most of us, I want to live with purpose. And yet at times I find my purpose wavering … I’d like a rest; I’m not equipped to deal with that issue; that person’s pain is too much for me to handle.

But that’s the beauty of God’s empowering. Many challenges are too much for me to handle. I am inadequate. I don’t know what to do. But our pastor reminded me this weekend that God will enable me if I take one step at a time, believing He will meet me at the next one.

I experienced many God-moments when my first husband was waiting for an organ transplant in Florida. Three thousand miles from home, we needed housing, local support, and insurance approval. In one email to friends I expressed the challenges we faced, then listed some of the ways we had seen God’s empowering.

“We are in big trouble on our own (health, costs, housing, ongoing tests) … it isn’t a bed of roses …

BUT GOD … allowed Jerry’s test results Friday to be positive, removing a potential obstacle to transplantation …

BUT GOD … ensured final dollar authorization for the dual transplant …

BUT GOD … led our California pastor to connect us with Pastor X here in Gainesville, with whom we’ve already started to have wonderful fellowship and support …

BUT GOD … led Pastor X to follow up with us and to allow us to share with his church body, which is actively responding to our needs.

BUT GOD … has shown us His faithfulness over and over through people we’ve met, the kindness of strangers in antique shops who’ve offered us housing or suggested resources, and by giving us incredible opportunities to connect with people and share our lives and His faithfulness with them.”

Dr. Helen Rosaveare was a single missionary working in the Congo from 1953 to 1973. During the political instability of the 1960s she was brutally gang-raped by rebels. As she tells it, during that terror one word kept recurring in her mind. “Privilege.” She had the privilege of suffering for Christ. That is truly beyond one’s capability, strength or adequacy.

But GOD empowered her to survive that and continue to minister for Him.

Grace. It’s all God’s grace. It’s not good when someone is raped, murdered, terminally ill, depressed, or insecure. But it is grace, the grace of God that shows up when we most need it, that empowers us to take one step at a time, experiencing His presence which then empowers us to take the next step. Sometimes I think I’ve done something of value … but Rene reminds me that it is all about the grace of God. He uses our availability even more than our ability.

So what are the “But Gods” in your life? I’d love to hear.

Carol’s Song of Praise

For the women’s Bible study I’m part of, we were asked to write our own “Magnificat”, our praise to God. This is following studying Mary’s Magnificat after she was told by an angel that she would bear a Savior who would save his people from their sins. This is my humble Magnificat today.

My soul rejoices in the Lord, Creator of heaven and earth.

 I gaze across the fertile green fields, hear the birds whistle, watch the hawks soar above me,
and see the cirrus clouds miles above.
The sun shines on the land you have made and I thank you for the rain you have brought.

I praise you for your glorious works, my Savior, Lord, Friend.
You created those verdant hills that I see;
You made the birds and gave them their melody.
You own all the vast expanse of the universe, yet you love ME. You are too marvelous for me to comprehend.
You knew me when I was in my mother’s womb.
You molded me from before birth, gifted me to serve you in specific ways.
Awesome that you would take a shy, quiet child and give her something to say!
You knew every day planned for me. You know the end from the beginning.
You know intimately the joys and pain that have been part of my life.
You have loved and wooed me, simple as I am.
My soul praises you, my God.

O Lord, I offer you my thanks.
You know everything about me.
You know when I sit or stand or feel angry with someone or am prideful.
You know the words that will come out of my mouth before they leave my lips.
Oh, God, let them honor you.

I cannot hide from you.
I don’t want to hide when I see your goodness in the land of the living,
When I rejoice in the peace and stillness of the day,
In the joy of a loving moment with my husband.

I do sometimes want to hide when pain throbs in my soul,
When people misunderstand me
Or judge me
Or tell me I’m wrong.
“What Lord? How could I be such a basket case? So selfish? Such a poor ‘Christ-follower’?”

And yet those scenes are never hidden from you
And you faithfully continue to love me
Even as you work to change me – my heart, my thoughts.
When I was in the midst of a raging storm
You held me fast though I had no strength with which to hold onto you.
You knew my frame, my weakness.

You were there when Dad left us for heaven. He saw you before leaving, and was radiant at your call!
You were there when Jerry passed into your arms and I fell onto his chest, sobbing.
You were there when I flew home with ashes in place of a husband,
With only a body pillow to hug at night.

You were there in the family and friends who were your arms of love to me as they
Cleaned the house for my return
Weeded the yard and installed sprinklers after nine months of neglect
Checked on me daily and let me cry, made me laugh
Traveled with me so I wouldn’t be alone
Allowed me to be numb even as you were re-knitting me together through the agony of grief.

You were there when a beautiful red and white dog entered my home and heart, breathing life into an empty home.
You were there in a widow/widowers’ grief recovery group when I met another man to whom I would bond in love and life.
You are amazing, God!

The heavens declare the glory of God ...

The heavens declare the glory of God …

With you, I am never alone
You have kept your promise to guide me in all my ways.
And as you have done in this life, so you will faithfully lead when my end comes,
You will draw me to yourself for all eternity –
To rejoice in your everlasting love
To praise you for your glorious deeds
To love you forever.
Joy!

Have you ever tried to write a note of praise to Jesus? Why not do it now.