You Will Not Abandon Me



It's Saturday. Two thousand plus years ago on a day like today You were dead to us. Hidden behind a stone. You came to us full of grace and truth and we thought You'd make our circumstance right, right away.  But now it's Saturday and you seemed to lay defeated by our wrongs.  You were the only good Man and we killed you. And you didn't use your superpowers to save yourself from us.

If I was there, and I didn't have the Book and I couldn't read Psalm 16 or know the end of the story is glory and resurrection life, I would be as unbelieving as Thomas and the disillusioned followers you met on the road to Emmaus... and to my own shame, even though I do have the Book and I've heard the story and I've believed, so often I'm an unbelieving believer like Thomas and the slow of heart to believe on the road to Emmaus.

But I do have the Book.  Oh thank you for preserving your Word!  I can read, and I've heard that old, old story about a Savior came from glory.  How we didn't just kill him, but he willingly gave his life on calvary to save a wretch like me.  I heard about his groaning.  He didn't use his superpowers to save himself from me, rather His miraculous power was in His precious blood's atoning.

As I read Psalm 16 this morning, I thought about how You communed these words with the Father.  I wonder if there in the garden as the weight of the cup the Father gave you overwhelmed you and you cried out for another way, I wonder if then Psalm 16 was fleshed out in you as you said, "Not my will, but yours be done."

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. - Psalm 16:10

Even though the cup was more terrible than anything I could ever imagine, You knew the Father would not abandon you to corruption.  You knew, though you would have to suffer the forsakenness I had coming from the Father, though you would have suffer the totality of physical, emotional and spiritual death wrought by the sin of every fallen soul who ever has or will live, and though you would have to descend into hell and be dead to us for 3 days, you knew that the Father was good and that you would rise and bring many to life.

So now it's Saturday.  To me it seems since that day that I heard about your precious blood's atoning, at-one-ing me with You; since that day when I looked at You hanging on a pole- a curse because of me, all my sin in you hanging there, being put to death, paying the debt I owe- since that day life feels like Saturday to me.  I know one day You will come again.  I know one day I will rise.  I know because You've preserved your Word and I've heard Your story and by your grace I believe it.

And I wait, because Sunday came for You and it will come for me too!


I heard an old, old story,
How a Savior came from glory,
How He gave His life on Calvary
To save a wretch like me;
I heard about His groaning,
Of His precious blood's atoning,
Then I repented of my sins;
And won the victory.

O victory in Jesus,
My Savior, forever.
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew Him,
And all my love is due Him,
He plunged me to victory,
Beneath the cleansing flood.


I heard about His healing,
Of His cleansing power revealing.
How He made the lame to walk again
And caused the blind to see;
And then I cried, "Dear Jesus,
Come and heal my broken spirit,"
And somehow Jesus came and brought
To me the victory.

I heard about a mansion
He has built for me in glory.
And I heard about the streets of gold
Beyond the crystal sea;
About the angels singing,
And the old redemption story,
And some sweet day I'll sing up there
The song of victory. 

- Victory in Jesus by Eugene Monroe Bartlett 1939




 Quieted,
Sheila

The discipline of the Gospel is coming to God on His terms -Barbara Hughes


Determined not to complain, but rather give thanks in all things, I'm just going to share something that has spoken to me this week as I have been going through this season of Lent, meditating on what Christ has done for me:

 When asked how they know they are Christians, people often answer with "Because I accepted" or "I prayed" or "I went forward."  Notice the "I"?  All of these answers give prominence to what the person has done.  This is the root of the general confusion about the Gospel.  The Gospel is about what God has done!

Christianity is the only religion in which salvation cannot be earned.  Christians know our salvation has been accomplished by what God alone has done, not by what we have done... 
The Gospel belongs to God.  It is His Gospel. From cover to cover the Bible is about God's Gospel.  It was His idea and His plan: "The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: 'All nations will be blessed through you'" (Galatians 3:8)

The Bible, beginning in Genesis, reveals God's plan to restore us to what we were created to be- people made in His image, joyfully living under His loving rule and blessing.  But while it saves us, "the Gospel is not primarily about man and his needs, although these are not unimportant nor are they unrelated."  As good as it may sound, a man-centered gospel is not God's Gospel.  A gospel that primarily focuses on man's needs or guilt or feelings or wants or ambitions is not God's Gospel.  God's Gospel is amazing news about what His son Jesus Christ has accomplished on the cross.  It is about what God has done...

In a day when everything (including theology) is decided by popular opinion, how easy it is to believe another gospel.  How easy it is to shape our god according to what we think he should be like and not allow the whole of Scripture to explain Him...

Our part is to believe.  But we must believe in this Jesus- the Christ God has revealed in the holy Scriptures and not one of our own imagination.  Here I must ask: In what gospel do you believe?  Is your Jesus a messiah defined by your own imaginings or the promised Messiah defined by the Scriptures?  The Jesus of the Bible is utterly wonderful!  And His Gospel is the only path to godliness.

- Disciplines of A Godly Woman by Barbara Hughes

 Quieted,
Sheila

Quiet time

(My rockhound kids with his geode finds from Payson last weekend. More on that another post.)

I'm still here. It's been a full couple of weeks. Mostly full of sickness. UGH!

Tomorrow I get to teach the 3rd and 4th graders at Pathway one of my favorite sections of the Bible.  The part where the lady pours expensive perfume over Jesus head, causing quite the stir.  What others saw as a waste, Christ saw as an act of adoration.

I get to "waste" my life and all I have on responding to the love of Christ with my poured out life.  To some it will be a beautiful perfume.  To others it will smell like a waste.  Like death.

Monday, it's back to work.  This is the last stretch of time I get to spend with the kids and staff at Wildflower.  I want to leave it better than when I came.  I have a lot of work to do.

I was thinking the other day about how turned upside down my world has been the last few years.  I had a plan.  It didn't go my way.  And that's a good thing.  I am no Joseph.  But I agree with Joseph, things done were wrong, but God had a plan.  And part of that plan was to cause me to be refined.  It is good that I've been afflicted.  It's caused me to learn God's word even more.  Being a homemaker isn't about where you make money, or if you make money; it's about making a home that honors the Creator of marriage and parents and family. Christ-like submission is not weakness or slavery or doormatishness; it's Christ-like.  It's not submission to wallow in self-pity.  That's just pouting because I want things my way.  It's not submission to gladly do whatever you agree to.  That's agreeing.

Entrusting yourself to Him who judges justly.  That's Christ-like submission.  It's good that I've been and continue to be afflicted.

May Christ be magnified in me!

I've been off Facebook and Blogger quite a bit.  It's good.  I've wanted to write many things, yet I've had this whispering in my heart:

Learn in quietness.

Some will think that's a waste.  At least One will think is smells beautiful.



 Quieted,
Sheila

Open mouth. Insert bridle.

(Flattering and sophisticated we are) 

It's been a long day.  It started at 2 am with a cacophony of coughing.  I'm convinced that those people who do such things probably employ long nights listening to distressing coughs as a form of torture.  I'm hoping tonight is better.  So far they've been asleep for a little over an hour and I haven't heard a single cough.  I think they're waiting for me to lay down and close my eyes.

We went to Lake Pleasant today.  If I'm going to be sleep deprived on Spring Break with two coughing kids I mind as well take them out into the sunny spring desert.  It's better than being trapped in a house of germs.  We looked for geodes.  We found a piece of one actually.  I'm catching Ryland's rock hounding fever.

On the way to the lake I played a podcast from John Piper.  I enjoy listening to him teach.  I never finish listening without feeling as though I've had a chiropractic adjustment of my thinking or a surgical removal of dangerous-thought cells.  His message was about letting the authority of God's word be functional in your writing and talking.  It was powerful!

I don't post as many "meditations" as I used to here.  This blog has sort of morphed into a online journal about all sorts of things.  Even still, I do write about Christ and God's story and His word.  Looking back I've often gone off course from true Word when sharing my meditations.  When I read that passage in Psalms where the Lord says, "Don't be like a stubborn mule that I have to put a bit and bridle on so it will obey." I realize I've been an ass many times.  I've got the bit and bridle to prove it.

I was convicted, as I often am at church, of my self-centered myopia when it comes to expounding on God's word, whether in a Bible study, or Sunday School lesson, or talking with my kids, or writing a blog... even in my thinking.  It's not about me.  It's not about us.  It's about Him.  His glory.  His beautiful nature and plan.  His salvation.  His mercy.  His grace.  His truth.  His judgment.  His holiness.  His love.

I was so convicted, I decided to put it in the signature that automatically pops up with every post:

 2 Questions when it comes to God-thoughts, or meditations I've written: Is there a passage in the Bible that confirms what I've written? Is there a passage in the Bible that sounds contrary to what I've written?

Every time I write, I'll see the two questions and I can stop and run what I've written past the authority of God's word first.




It was beautiful out there in the desert today.  Spring in the desert is a parable to me.  God grows beauty and life out of dry, desolate thorns and rocks.  Amazing.  As the kids and I were walking back to the car, surrounded by gold, purple and green painted flowers I asked them, "What is the purpose of these flowers out here in the middle of nowhere?  What are they here for?"  Connor answered, "Beauty."



Yes!  "Yes!" I said, "Yes!  Beauty.  They simply here to be beautiful.  To speak of just a tiny flash of God's beauty.  God is beautiful!"

"One thing I have asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: 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 inquire in his temple." -Psalm 27:4




Quieted,
Sheila

Rx's and Rocks

I've had several post topics in mind but the last few days have not allowed for blog post time.

It really started last week on Wednesday night when my little guy with asthma coughed a terrible cough that keeps a mom up all night long.  I took him with me to work on Thursday (advantage or disadvantage to being a school nurse depending on how you look at it).  Friday and Saturday nights were repeats of Wednesday night plus fever.  So Sunday after church, when the fever was still there, I carted him to the urgent care.

This poor guy can't catch a normal cold and be done with it.  In the past 4 years he's had 3 bouts with pneumonia.  This time it was *just* acute bronchitis which sent his otherwise well controlled asthma into a tail spin.  Sunday he started on antibiotics, prednisone and a night time cough syrup so he could actually get a night's sleep (Doesn't help the mom though.  She still can't sleep knowing breathing is compromised with her little one).  My counter looks like the cough/cold isle in CVS.



I'm sick of sick.  Before Ryland got sick, I caught the respiratory crud.  I've been quarantined to the couch for a couple weeks because of my hacking through the night cough.  I did all the good nursing stuff you should do for a virus: fluids, fluids, fluids and more fluids.  About 10 days ago I'd had enough and broke down and went to the urgent care for a very painful lymph node, got started on some antibiotics for that lymph node infection and have been slowly getting rid of more mucous than... yeah, that's gross.  Not very lady like at all.

Monday was strictly a sabbath for me and the kids.  No work.  No chores.  Just lots of clear liquids, prescription medications and rest.  Ryland was in tears on Sunday cause he had his heart set on going rockhounding at Saddle Mountain over spring break (He heard you can find fire agate there).  I told him if there was no fever the rest of Sunday and thru Monday and his asthma symptoms were better I'd take him Tuesday.

And so it was that today was our real first day of spring break:  fire agate rockhounding.  It was a blast despite the fact that the crud I'm about rid of, and Ryland is fighting, seemed to begin it's torture with Connor.  He hacked and walked around while we found literally pounds of fire agate right under our feet.  Within 20 minutes he was asking me if he could go lay down in the car.  Ugh! I'm sick of sick!!!  So Ryland and I gathered up as much as we could find in 10 more minutes, packed up our stuff and headed back for the 40 minute drive home.









It's past ten and I'm worn but despite all the sickness and fatigue from coughing, today was a really cool day.  I'd drive 40 minutes into the desert to hunt for rocks with my boys any day over T.V. and video games.

Being out in nature invites all sorts of opportunity for talking about God and His Grand Plan.  I love it! We talked about how God is a Rock, and how reading the Bible is sometimes like looking for gems in the desert.

"But where shall wisdom be found?  And where is the place of understanding?... It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir, in precious onyx or sapphire.  Gold and glass cannot equal it, nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold... God understands the way to it, and he knows its place... And he said to man, "Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding." - Job 28


Quieted,
Sheila

Even if

Ugh, it's been quite the week. Besides the decisions that weigh heavy on me as a mom, and the energy expended as a school nurse, I've been fighting a virus all week.  And now the heavy production of mucous has caused me to develop an infected lymph node in my neck.

I finally gave up trying to cure myself with ibuprofen and hot liquids and went to the urgent care this evening. I regret it now. 

I remember when I was pregnant with Connor and working in Labor and Delivery my preceptor, a nurse midwife from England, told me, "When you feel like you just can't stand it anymore, you know it's almost over." But I (and many other pregnant women) still came in late at night thinking maybe these contractions meant it was time. We were wrong. Our late night tired-of-being-pregnant-and-contracting-with-no-results visit to the hospital only meant we were getting closer to delivery day. All I could do as a nurse was reassure.

The same thing happens with me when I get sick. I always do my best to wait it out and do all the at home care needed to get over a virus, but inevitably I end up with a seemingly endless sinus infection and can't stand it anymore and head to the urgent care with hopes of getting some antibiotics. And unlike labor triage, I usually walk out with the "baby" (antibiotics) I came in hoping for.  But I always wonder maybe if I had waited a little longer the symptoms would have gone away on their own.

Well tonight I couldn't stand it.  After a day out in the desert with the boys, on the way home I had such piercing pain in my left ear and a really tender lymph node underneath it.  I decided to go to the urgent care.  It was packed with sad, hacking coughs and sniffles.  After an hour and fifteen minutes and fifty bucks I saw the practitioner, was diagnosed with a lymph node and sinus infection and left with my script.  I stopped at the pharmacy to pick up my called in order and paused in the parking lot to thank my Lord for providing me with the means to so easily get seen by a doctor and medicine to help an infection.  

I confessed as I prayed that I feel almost scared that everything comes so easy for me- food, clothing, medicine, medical care, transportation, work, housing, etc.  I fear that I'll forget from Whom all these blessings come.  I fear that I'll be dependent upon the gifts and not the Giver.  I stopped to give that sacrifice of thanks because its the only way to not forget.  When I filled the script it was almost as though I got a direct answer of, "You're welcome.  I'm glad you want to be dependent upon me and not just the gifts I give.  I won't let you forget."   The cashier told me my antibiotic was $67.  "Sixty seven dollars!?  For an antibiotic?"  I gasped back.  Then I heard my prayer in my own head, "I don't want to forget You.  I don't want to be dependent upon the gifts and not the Giver." 

I elected to not fill the script until tomorrow after I try to get the doc to order a less expensive antibiotic.  I put off the complaint I so easily wanted to pitch about the cost of my cure and turned instead a smiling face upward and thanked the One who is good... even if the healing doesn't come.


Quieted,
Sheila

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