My hope is unchanged

Hi friends. Just wanted to let you all know real quick that I still won't be able to get online for a few weeks more. But I wanted to share this song that has been the lyrics of my heart these past few weeks.

Christ Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever!

Hope to be back to soon.

So glad He found me ,

Isaiah 51:3

Taking a break

Hey friends.

I'm going to be without a computer for awhile and so I won't be posting except for maybe on a rare occasion for probably the next month.

Lots of changes going on in my world. Mountains falling into the sea, earth crumbling beneath my feet, but my God is a sure refuge and He doesn't crumble!

I'll explain more later as the Lord leads, but for now let me just pass onto you a section of scripture that really ministered to me this morning and ask you to pray for me and my household as the Lord may lead you.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. - 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

See you soon! Keep your eyes on eternity ladies!

So glad He found me ,

Isaiah 51:3

The Only Hope

The Only Hope - Bebo Norman

I want to run, it's my nature to run
And I want to fight, it's my nature to fight
And I want to live, but you tell me to die
I have resolved that I'm much better off
In your hands than mine

I'm begging you to hold on tight
Begging you to hold on tight
Begging you to hold on tight
Begging you to take my life from me
I want a crumb, but you are a feast
I want a song, but you are a symphony
I want a star, but your a galaxy

And I have resolved that I'm much better off
In what you have for me
I'm begging you to hold on tight
Begging you to hold on tight
Begging you to hold on tight
Begging you to take my life from me
So tell me you won't let go
Tell me you won't let go
Cause you are the only hope for me
Take my life from me, It's the only hope for me
Take my life from me, It's the only hope for me
And I'll never want for more
I'll never want for more

I'm begging you to hold on tight
Begging you to hold on tight
Begging you to hold on tight
Begging you to take my life from me

So tell me you won't let go
Tell me you won't let go
Cause your the only hope for me
You're the only hope for me
Yeah, your the only hope for me

Bebo wrote that song for me!!!

So glad He found me ,

Isaiah 51:3

From Elizabeth Elliot

Responsible to Praise

The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, "Surely this was a righteous man." - Luke 23:47

We cannot always or even often control events, but we can control how we respond to them. When things happen which dismay or appall, we ought to look to God for his meaning, remembering that He is not taken by surprise nor can his purposes be thwarted in the end. What God looks for is those who will worship Him. Our look of inquiring trust glorifies Him.

One of the witnesses to the crucifixion was a military officer to whom the scene was surely not a novelty. He had seen plenty of criminals nailed up. But the response of this Man who hung there was of such an utterly different nature than that of the others that the centurion knew at once that He was innocent. His own response then, rather than one of despair that such a terrible injustice should take place, or of anger at God who might have prevented it, was praise (Lk 23:47 NEB).

This is our first responsibility: to glorify God. In the face of life's worst reversals and tragedies, the response of a faithful Christian is praise--not for the wrong itself certainly, but for who God is and for the ultimate assurance that there is a pattern being worked out for those who love Him.
Oh may the pattern of His innocence be worked out in me!

So glad He found me ,

Isaiah 51:3

Josiah Conder, 1836

" 'Tis not that I did choose Thee,
For Lord, that could not be;
This heart would still refuse Thee,
Hadst Thou not chosen me...

My heart owns none before Thee,
For Thy rich grace I thirst;
This knowing, if I love Thee,
Thou must have loved me first."

Oh can you hear my heart!? I love You Jesus, but only because You loved me first!
So glad He found me ,

Isaiah 51:3

Gaining a heart of intercession while you bear your cross

It is rightly said that for us to take up our cross and follow Jesus is not to endure trials in and of themselves, but rather a WILLING act on our part to obey and glorify God in bearing the offenses, rejection and wrongs of others with intercessions for them.

As I've been faced with a familiar cross lately, God is helping me to see how to bear my cross not with a, "Poor me I'm a rejected Christian..." attitude, but rather with a heart of intercession for the ones that I love.

He's been teaching me to remember that unlike Jesus, when I take up my cross and follow Him I can't say I have not sinned or caused damage to others because of my sin. Jesus' heart of intercession is totally a pure expression of who He is as God. My heart of intercession comes from Jesus dwelling in me and is helped by remembering that my sin required not only the death and suffering of Jesus while He interceded for me and ever lives to do so, but also that my sin has damaged others in this life and that I myself have been like the ones I am hurt by.

"And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others."
-Ephesians 2:1-3 NKJV

When we sin we aren't the only ones to experience the repercussions of that sin. It impacts those around us like a rock thrown in a lake. Seeing this doesn't make me drown in condemnation, it makes me get on my knees and labor in intercession for the ones in my life that I see going astray, yet realize my own sinful life has in some way contributed to where they are and why they don't see Jesus for who He is.
Nehemiah and Ezra were used to lead an effort to rebuild the city of God and the wall around Jerusalem and their motivation was to no longer be a reproach to the surrounding nations. They were aware that they, as God's people, were responsible for how the pagan nations around them viewed their God. They took responsibility for their sinful ways and had a heart that desired others to see the glory of God in their lives (Nehemiah 2:17).

This leads to the ultimate motivation He's developing in me for interceding for others: Desiring nothing more than for God to be glorified in my life.
When I want others to see Christ through my life more than anything else, more even than I want them to be "converted", my heart is pure... it's not polluted with a less than pure motivation. Yes, I want them to be saved! Yes, I want them to see their desperate need for Jesus! But even more than that I want my Jesus to have the glory He deserves in my life in their eyes. Whether on their part they reject the glory that shines on them, or bend their knees to it... only let Jesus be magnified and exemplified in me! This pure desire in me causes me to plead all the more that God would do a work on behalf of these that I love, because I want Him to have glory... even if they reject it!

If, on the other hand, my motivation is only that they be saved and not first that God be glorified, I'm going to get tangled up in trying to appeal to their flesh... trying to make God cool, trying to make Him relevant and digestible. I cheapen the mystery of God when my motivation is a person's conversion rather than God being magnified on the earth. It's seeing God for Who He really is (that is seeing His glory) which brings about true repentance and saving faith. This is why the greatest command is that we love God with all that we are FIRST and then SECOND that we love our neighbor as ourselves. Loving God with all our being, desiring to bring Him glory with our lives, does not abandon the souls of those we love around us... for God is THE intercessor. Loving God with all our being, desiring to magnify Him causes us to not condemn those around us but intercede for them.

"Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: "Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do." -John 17:1-4 NKJV

This is the trail the Author of our faith has blazed for us. As He lives in us, this is what He is always compelling us towards: Glorifying the Son in our lives that we might bring the Father glory.
And its to that end that in the process eternal life might be given to those God has given us to take up our crosses for. For after He prayed for the Father to be glorified in Him He said, "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent."
Desiring to bring God glory with our lives results in those around us being interceded for, and results in God revealing Himself through our broken, earthen vessels to them. What an amazing truth! God chooses to quicken others to eternal life in knowing Who He is and knowing Jesus Christ and He chooses to bring about this knowing through us taking up our crosses and following Jesus.

Oh Father, glorify YOURSELF in my life that I might magnify You in this day, in this home, to my husband and children and around every person I am around, that they might get just a glimpse of Who You are and Who Christ is. Somehow God do this. You are able, I am not! You are the God who gives life to the dead and calls things which are not as though they are. Give life to this body of death that I dwell in. Call me and make me like my Lord Jesus that those around me might smell the aroma of Your presence. Even if it means my crushing. Even if it means my rejection. Magnify Yourself in me. Bring light to those You've given me that they might be led to YOU!

So glad He found me ,

Isaiah 51:3

When everything falls apart

God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn. - Psalm 46

There are good things, the earth, the mountains, waters, etc., all good things that God made. Good things that are the substance of our environment. Good things that shouldn't fall otherwise we will perish. You can't hang around when the earth is removed. You can't go about daily life when mountains are earthquaked into the sea. But even though those things God made are good, and to be enjoyed, there comes a day when even those things are removed. And when that happens only what is hiding in God and dependent upon Him for a place to stand will survive.

When your health perishes. When your marriage crumbles beneath your feet though on your part you've done all you know to do before God to keep it standing. When your children rise up against you. When your income is no longer coming in. When mountains, the earth, those things that are good, made by God and necessary for a healthy existence on this planet perish, your real strength has opportunity to shine and is discovered. God gets to shine and be discovered.

For there is a faithful, steady stream of life giving waters which supply the city of God... the place where God dwells in you and me. God is in the midst of us and we shall not be moved though our health, our marriages, our friendships, our family relationships, our jobs... though they all crumble, God will help us. He will rescue us just at the break of dawn! Just in time! Don't give up... He's coming soon! Bring Him glory with me!!!

So glad He found me ,

Isaiah 51:3

I'd be lying if...

...I only posted my "happy face" posts and didn't let you know when I'm struggling. Actually, I feel like I struggle more than I'm "happy" which is probably a testament to my immaturity in Christ. Nevertheless I'm compelled to share what lifted my head amidst the tears today.

"But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." -Hebrews 11:6

Did you catch that last part: God is a rewarder! He gives rewards to those who diligently seek Him! Do you believe this?

The test of whether I believe this is now. Now, while all I can seem to do is cry. Now, while the one I seek to win to Christ by the pouring out of my life is harder than ever to Him. Now, while my kids require so much constant attention and training and my body is exhausted. Now, while I'm desperate to be held and led in Christ. Do I believe that God is my rewarder?

My motivation is unveiled. If I can "recall the former days in which , after I was illuminated, I endured a great struggle with sufferings," (Hebrews 10:32), the true motivation of all I do, of why I remain faithful, of why I keep reaching out, of why I keep speaking the truth to my kids, of why I keep going on alone comes to light. It's because I seek God to reward me.

This isn't earning my salvation. This isn't what I speak of. I'm talking about my motivation. What is keeping me here. What is keeping me going forward. What is giving me hope. I already know I can do nothing to rescue myself from the destruction my flesh and all creation is heading for. Jesus did that for me. He took the heat for me. He is my answer to all that condemns me. But what keeps me desiring to obey His will when nothing seems to be going the way I thought it would when His will is obeyed? It's Jesus saying undeservedly to me, "Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in the small things, now I give you greater things to enter into. Enter into the joy of your Lord." (my paraphrase version).

Oh how I thirst for His reward and that is why I know my life is pleasing to Him. Because that's what faith is: believing that God is, and that He is a rewarder, not a punisher, not a criticizer, not a scrutinizer, a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

As I read through the messages spoken to me by the great witnesses in Hebrews 11, I'm most impacted by those who are un-named in verses 35-39:

"... out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again. And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented-- of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise... -Hebrews 11: 34-39 NKJV

I have not seen some glorious, physical miracle worked through my life. My calling is not for abundance but for "trials of mockings", wanderings, for "not accepting deliverance." As Watchman Nee wrote, piercing me with conviction:

"So there is your problem. You feel that were you to follow in that other brother's steps- were you, shall we say, to consecrate yourself enough for the blessing but not enough for the trouble, enough for the Lord to use you but not enough for him to shut you up- all would be perfectly all right. But would it? You know quite well that it would not."
My testimony of faith, the road by which I come to God believing that His is and that He is my rewarder as I diligently seek Him is one of being consecrated for "the trouble" and for the Lord to "shut me up."

Sometimes I fall for the lie that because the race God has called me to is one of trouble and quietness, that I am not being used by God and that He has rejected me. But the truth is my Lord has sent me a message through the great cloud of witnesses, that He calls some to a race of faith through which they see blessing, deliverance from lions, birth rather than barrenness, etc. and some He calls to a race of faith through which they see trial after trial, and rejection, loneliness, prison, and "shutting up."

I've forgotten in my downcastness these past weeks that God is my rewarder. It may defy all logic. All reason. Nevertheless it's true. He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Maybe you're downcast today. Put your hope in God with me. Not in your situation. In God. Don't look for rewards here. Look for them in God. Press on with me believing until He comes that He is going to reward us, though we know we don't deserve it. He isn't rewarding us because we've got it all figured out. He isn't rewarding us because we did everything right. He's rewarding us because we come to Him diligently and we simply believe He rewards that.

Oh God of heaven. Father of my Lord Jesus. You know me! You knew me before I ever tasted of who You are. Be the lifter of my head. Be the lifter of my sisters' heads. Fix our eyes on Jesus. I cast down the lie in Jesus' name that says that because things aren't the way we thought they'd be that You are punishing us or rejecting us and that You are critical of us. You are the rewarder of those who diligently seek You. We must come to You believing that. Help us to be believing in Your mercy and grace, not unbelieving.

So glad He found me ,

Isaiah 51:3

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