Our dear friend Melissa Moore asked my husband to be a guest blogger today at her blog. What a thrill to have my husband enter a world I enjoy — the blogging world — and be part of my day! Thanks to Melissa for enlisting him, and click here if you’d like to check out Melissa’s amazing blog (the Living Proof Ministries blog which I routinely follow) and her and my husband’s thoughts on the Trinity today.
A couple of blogs back, I wrote about being caught in a Texas hailstorm back in 1995. I shared about how a song on the radio was comforting to me in that moment as the car was being crushed and I was afraid. I felt like the Lord was speaking to me in my moment of fear and panic through the song: “God is in control…. there is no power above or beside Him, we know….”
I always felt like God so clearly spoke to me that day in a way that I had never experienced before. (By the way, for those who read my blog and know how God uses music in my life, this was the first time — and the only time for many years — I had ever felt like God spoke to me in a song!) But there was also a part of me deep down that questioned that — was it just a “coincidence”? Does God really speak that way? Somehow in my growing up years, either I had missed it or it wasn’t talked about that God does speak to us. I tended to be very skeptical of anything like this. So I don’t think I shared it with anyone — but somewhere deep inside me, I knew it was the Lord that day comforting me through that song.
Fast forward to the summer of 2004. I was doing my first Beth Moore Bible study with some friends. It was called Jesus, the One and Only, and was a study on the book of Luke. To my surprise, I had been thoroughly enjoying this study and loving Beth Moore! I had heard about her for quite some time and been reluctant to do a Bible study that everyone else was doing — what is that rebellion in me all about?! I had all kinds of pre-conceived, yet so misguided, notions!
Anyway, each day had been showing me something new — isn’t that amazing about God’s Word — it does that. And He has given Beth Moore a gift of insights that seem to apply to anyone at any time, no matter the situation.
So it was late one evening and I was not in the mood to do my Bible study. This was a time in my life when I was still addicted to TV in the evening after I got my kids down. I would watch one show to the next, frittering my life away, not doing anything meaningful. I reasoned that I really didn’t need to do my Bible study that day… I had already learned so much the 2 prior days, how could there be anything else God had to show me?! Yes, I know, the arrogance I had is staggering!
So I started into another typical evening, Law & Order, followed by the news and on into Oprah was the plan… just mind-numbing activity. Well, when the news came on, my family was all in bed asleep already, and suddenly, a violent storm came up out of nowhere. The lights flashed and the TV blinked and the storm came. Given my fear of storms that still lingered now, I jumped up and debated, “Do I wake up the kids and bring them into the hallway for safety?” I rushed to wake up my husband who kept on sleeping after urging me that everyone was fine.
I then quickly decided I must be prepared, so I ran and put on my pajamas, lit a bunch of candles in case we lost power, and got everything ready for the worst. I then decided maybe it wasn’t such a bad time to do Bible study. I sat down at the kitchen table with my Bible, study book, candles lit all around, and me in my pajamas, ready for anything!
I could not believe it when I opened the study to that day’s lesson. It was titled “Keep Your Lamps Burning.” The verse was taken from Luke 12:35-36: “Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit. Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks.”
Do you see the picture? Be dressed in readiness with your candles burning basically. And there I sat, now dressed in readiness with my candles lit, a literal example of what my spiritual life should look like.
God showed me He can and does have other things to show me in His Word. It made me wonder whether watching TV each night was the best way for me to be spiritually prepared and ready for His return. I am to be a faithful servant, awaiting my Master’s return.
Well, needless to say, this was the second time in my life where I felt like God had just used some circumstances to speak to me. It’s interesting that both times were in the midst of real life thunderstorms. But He does that, doesn’t He? He enters into the “storms” of our lives to show us Himself and give us hope, to teach us and use those hardships to help us know Him.
I praise Him for that, that He is a personal God, so ready to speak, willing to use any of life’s circumstances to reveal Himself to us. I didn’t even ask Him to in these instances, but He graciously opened my eyes to Himself. I praise Him for that. I don’t think I’d ever asked Him before that time to reveal things to me, but I’ve found He does when I ask. I praise Him for that, too.
Praise You, Lord, for using the storms of life to reveal Yourself to us. I want to be Your servant, dressed in readiness, with my candles burning, expectant, responsive, alert, faithful, sensible, obedient, serving you as I await Your return. Not for me, but for You. Help me to go forward in Your strength and by Your power, to hear Your voice and see with Your eyes, and to obey You as I live in these days and wait for the certain hope of Your return. Praise You, Lord!
Today I feel full of praise and joy at the fact that my hope is in the Lord.
A group of ladies from work have been going through Beth Moore’s Psalms of Ascent study. The title of this week’s study was “My Hope Is in the Lord.” Psalm 130 and 131 encourage us to put our hope in the Lord and in His word. What perfect timing to reflect on that this last week.
One morning this week, after studying these psalms and focusing on the Lord being my hope, I went to the kitchen to fix lunches. I turned on the radio, and Chris Tomlin’s song, Jesus Messiah, was playing. I realized that though I had spent quiet time with the Lord, I hadn’t knelt down that morning to Him, so with that beautiful song playing, it seemed a good time to kneel before Him. As I did and started singing with the song, I realized the words I was saying, “All our HOPE is in You, LORD, All our HOPE is in You, LORD, all the glory to You, LORD…”
Then this morning, when I awoke and went to the kitchen, I flipped on the radio, and they were giving the election update. They then immediately played “Jesus Messiah”: “All our HOPE is in You, LORD, All our HOPE is in You, LORD.” Perfect timing, perfect reminder.
One other neat thing… for the last few days, a hymn has been flowing through my head. I thought the words might begin with “My Hope is in the Lord,” but it wasn’t familiar enough to know. I just now thought to look it up because it’s flowing through my head again, and yes, I found it, and here is what it tells me:
“My hope is in the Lord
Who gave Himself for me,
And paid the price of all my sin at Calvary.
Refrain: For me He died,
For me He lives,
And everlasting life and light He freely gives.
No merit of my own
His anger to suppress.
My only hope is found in Jesus’ righteousness.
And now for me He stands
Before the Father’s throne.
He shows His wounded hands
and names me as His own.
His grace has planned it all,
‘Tis mine but to believe,
And recognize His work of love and Christ receive.”
All our HOPE is in You, LORD. You are Jesus Messiah. You hold our lives and our futures. You have a purpose and plan. I trust You. And I love You. Praise You, Lord!
I just had an interesting follow up to a blog entry I wrote earlier. I had written about my friend praying a psalm for my husband a year or two ago, then him waking up in the night a couple of weeks after that feeling led to that psalm.
My daughter writes constantly (she is 8). I often walk over and find a poem or story or card she has put together all by herself. The other day, I found her, and she had just made a card for me and one for my husband. There was a verse on both of them. She apparently had decided to go through the Bible and randomly choose a verse for each of us. She chose a verse in Malachi for me. For my husband, she chose the first verse of that very same psalm! Out of all the verses in the Bible, that is the one she chose. I have to say, if I were my husband, I’d be giving that psalm some pretty close attention!
On another note, I started the Beth Moore Stepping Up Bible study on the Psalms of Ascent last week with some friends from work. The whole video this week was about song in Scripture and how that speaks to our heart. I’d never seen this in Scripture that much (that song accompanied creation, that God rejoices over you with singing, that Jesus will sing praises in the presence of the Father, etc.). It is its own language, and things can be expressed in song in ways that words cannot.
I find that to be so true. Praising God in song lifts our minds to higher places and even can change a bad mood to good or wrong thinking to right. I want to practice that this week and see again what God can do through praising Him and choosing to think on things above.
“The man who would know God must give time to Him.” A. W. Tozer
I am reading The Divine Conquest by A. W. Tozer, and I’ve been thinking a lot this week about this statement he made early in the book. This has been the key to my knowing God — spending time with Him each day in His Word (the Bible) and in prayer. How incredible to think that we have a God who can be known!
For many years of my life, I learned about God in church and at school, and I believed what I heard. But there were only small periods of time through the years where I would take the time to personally study the Bible on my own. I knew so much intellectually that I didn’t even realize that my heart was far from God. People thought I was nice and I thought I was doing ok.
Once I had children, I spent more time studying parenting books and reading baby magazines than reading my Bible! I was obsessed with having everyone healthy and absolutely fell apart in fear if my son got so much as a fever! I wanted to have complete control over everything, and I wasn’t even aware of the fact that I was desiring so many things instead of God.
When we moved to a new city, I began to study God’s Word. I joined Women’s Bible Study at my church. I studied things like the book of John, the book of Mark, and the book of Judges. I also participated in summer Bible studies with friends where we would typically do a Beth Moore Bible study, such as Jesus the One and Only, where we studied the book of Luke.
It didn’t happen instantaneously, but through the continued study of God’s Word and in prayer, He began to reveal Himself to me in power. No longer was I simply having knowledge of the Bible given to me by someone else; I was beginning to know God more and more and find that He can be known. In fact, He promises that in Hebrews 11:6 — He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
My faith used to be like someone looking in the rear view mirror. I would pray and then after the fact, look back and see what God had done. But now, God is right here with me, making Himself known as I pray about things and speaking to me through the Bible and through His Spirit in me. He walks me through life. He is not absent! He is here in my every day.
So I praise Him for the gift of salvation through His Son, Jesus. I praise Him for the Bible. I praise Him for prayer where, through Christ, I can commune with Him. And I praise Him for the gift of His Spirit which is given to those who believe on Him.
These are truly amazing gifts, too wonderful for words, too vast to comprehend, too marvelous to completely understand! But they are real, they are powerful, and they are freely given to those who believe Him and seek His face! Praise You, Lord!