Saturday, November 10, 2007

hurt

as I've looked around lately, it seems that there are so many hurting people around me.  I shared with some friends the other day that the last twelve months of my life have by far been the most difficult of my life. after spending some amazing, intimate time with the Lord last fall, it felt like satan came at me with an ak-47 sniper rifle trying to blow me to pieces. he has attacked me personally, my family, my family's health, my friends, our church, and just about anything else you can think of.  it seems like I continually found myself saying, "it can't get any worse than this," and sure enough it did.  I think we all fall victim to (at times) thinking that we're the only ones going through something difficult and that no one else understands.

if we were given a choice of the bad or difficult things that we could go through, I don't think any of us would choose the cards that have been dealt to us... but what would we choose? would we choose divorce? would we choose cancer? would we choose loss? would we choose betrayal? would we choose heartache? how many of those things sound easier than the others?

so, now that we are left with the cards that we have been dealt, and the situations that we are given, we have to remember that God is faithful.  we may never understand why we go through what we do, but we serve a God who is completely and wholly sovereign.  He is who we run to in our time of need, no matter what the concern or circumstance.

psalm 62:8

"trust in him at all times, o people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge."

it's truth... so why do we have such a hard time doing our part?  we so often ask God to change our circumstances and answer our prayers, but are we pouring our hearts out to Him?  are we seeking His face?  or are we just asking for what we believe is the solution to our problems?

as a staff, we're going through the book of nehemiah.  I don't think it's one that I've ever completely read before now, but it's an incredible book.  in chapter one, nehemiah is dealt a difficult blow when he finds out that the city of Jerusalem and the people who are left there are in terrible trouble.  the walls of the city are collapsing, and there is only a remnant of the Jews left.  at this point, nehemiah wept over the loss of his people.  "when I heard these things, I sat down and wept.  for some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.  then I said..." (he then continues on in a prayer) neh. 1:4-5.

how often do we weep over the circumstances in our lives or in the lives of those around us?  then, after we do that, how often do we mourn, fast, and pray over those needs?  I was so convicted by this passage.  what is our response in times of trouble or difficulty?  we often go to our friends to talk about it, but never seek the Lord on our faces for his wisdom and guidance, for his healing hand, for his restoring touch, or for his peace.  or maybe we ask once and then expect God to take care of things.  the power of prayer is a mighty, powerful tool that we have been given, but which has been under-utilized in our lives.  I pray that we would become a generation of people who pray... who seek God daily for his direction and guidance, and who run to Him in times of trial because He is our refuge.  He is our strength, and He's the only one who can rescue us.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

beauty

I remember hearing matt chandler preach at a college bible study a few years ago about the beauty of the Lord. he reminded us that as we are outside, in the midst of the busyness of life, to see God in the things he created... to see those things as a reflection of his beauty and majesty. this is something that I remember oftentimes when I see something really incredible outside, but it's something that's easy to forget in day-to-day situations. today I had the chance to spend the day in sherman for our staff retreat and I was so amazed by the beauty of what I saw. we got to take 4-wheelers out on the property and drive all over several hundred acres of land. It was one of those freeing moment... I gunned the throttle, wind blowing through my hair, and went as fast as I could. I even caught some air going over a hill... SO much fun!! all that to say, I was amazed at the beauty of the Lord today reflected in the tall grass, the beautiful blue texas sky, the animals we saw, and the peacefulness of the ranch. it was awesome to be able to take a day off and just have fun. it really was incredible and I wish I had pictures to post up here, but my camera took a nosedive to the ground the other day and isn't working right. I'm a city girl, but I love the country... what an amazing escape.

I actually got to spend last weekend in louisiana, which was also an awesome getaway for me. I love my family and it was awesome to spend a weekend with some of them. I got to hang out with my cousin julie in alexandria, her sister (jody) and her family (brad and the 3 kids - jordan, briley, and braden) in ruston, and also got to see my aunt jean and uncle ronnie. we shopped, played, went to the state fair, and just sat and talked. it really doesn't get much better than that. I almost went hunting saturday morning but they left at 5am and I decided I would pass! maybe next time...

I'll leave you with a verse that so describes my day...

“One thing I ask of the Lord,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to seek Him in His temple.”
Psalm 27:4