Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What a Mighty God We Serve.

Am I the only one who grew up in a small Baptist church whose youth choir would sing a song by the same title as today's blog post? Alrighty then.
For the last few weeks this has been the almost constant "theme music" running in the back of my mind. I guess it started in early July when the family of Hannah Johnson Rinehart began telling so beautifully a story of our mighty God at work in her life. I have known Hannah since college so while this is a new chapter, she has been a beautiful example of overcoming the odds and giving God the glory for many years. I would encourage you to praise Jesus and pray for Hannah's continued healing if you are not already doing so.

There are days when I become so overwhelmed by the bigness of my Savior that it's difficult to imagine that the same God who created this
also created this

And not only did He create that little red-headed mess, He loves it [me!] infinitely and knows it [me!] better than anyone on this planet will ever love and know it [me!]. What's most amazing about this realization? The depth of his love and knowledge is limitless and is for all of His children, not just yours truly.

Because He knows us so personally and deeply, He knows exactly what we need. Since He's the God who provides [Jehovah-jireh for those of you who enjoy the many names of God], not only does He know what we need, He provides what we need...when we need it. Am I the only one who is blown away by that? Sure, we grow up in church hearing this over and over again but do we really believe it? Do we believe it when the odds are seemingly stacked against us and there is no way out for as far as our short-sighted human eyes can see? Honestly, I am better at believing it some days than I am during others.

This morning these were the 3 verses related to my morning devotion:
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." -Proverbs 3:5-6

"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." - Romans 5:1

"Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you." - 2 Thessalonians 3:16

When I'm completely honest, I didn't think to myself "hmm, I wonder how I am going to incorporate this scripture into my life today". But as the day progressed and events unfolded, I did take comfort and find peace in the truth in those words.

And then. [I love "and then's".] Over my lunch hour I worked on my Bible study. Y'all, Beth Moore is like a Bible study drill sergeant. Don't get me wrong, I love it, but she is intense and requires lots of homework. I'm going through her James study right now and my verses today were James 1:5-8:

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does."

Today I needed wisdom. Who am I kidding, I need wisdom every single day that I live, but especially today. Did anyone here notice that James tells us that we are to ask God for wisdom? Why should we ask for wisdom when He knows our needs and thoughts better than we do? Why doesn't He just automatically provide us with wisdom?

Maybe it's because true wisdom comes from God so that by seeking Him and asking for wisdom, we are in a better position to combine wisdom with knowledge to make good choices. Maybe it's because as soon as we think we are capable of doing something all by ourselves that is contrary to what we know about Godly wisdom. We are absolutely incapable of anything without God's hand in our lives but because of God's hand in our lives, we can overcome seemingly insurmountable trials and tribulations. Or we can just make good choices. Not all matters in life are major, but God wants to be in all of them - major and minor.

Today I am thankful for the reminder to pray for wisdom. I need to filter my words and actions wisely when being a friend, or an employee, or any other role that I fulfill from day to day. If I want to tell God's story through my story then I cannot leave Him out of the decision making process. Trust me, I've done it and those are not the kind of stories that I want to share at dinner parties. They are, however, the kind of stories other people love to share at dinner parties. And who here really wants to be a dinner party conversation topic? Exactly.

This passage also tells us what to do about doubt. This is no mystery: don't do it. Why not? Because didn't I just read this morning elsewhere to trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding? I believe that I did. What happens when I lean on my own understanding? I fall flat on my face. Not literally but the image that comes to mind is of me literally falling flat on my face because my understanding is about as strong as one of those super super skinny dowel rods that I always asked for each time I went to the hardware store with my dad when I was little. [Whatever, I was kind of a nerdy kid.] What? When we acknowledge him in all ways, he directs our paths and makes them straight? Oh, got it. So a straight path leaves little room for doubt doesn't it? Ok. So that means that I'm not supposed fix things the way that I wish I could? Perhaps maybe my role is to sit quietly and pray without ceasing [and speaking!]? Hmm, well that's wise, now isn't it?

This really isn't rocket science and I applaud you all who never ever struggle with this kind of stuff. For those of you like me who finds peace and assurance in knowing that God is in the details even when the details seem very small, perhaps this will serve as a reminder that while something like a morning devotion or lunch hour Bible study may just be our routine, it may come to us on a particular day and at a particular time in which we are to use and apply to something that so much greater and bigger than just ourselves.

"For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen!" -Romans 11:36