We were reading Oswald Chambers this morning as part of our devotional time together and it was entitled “The Mystery of Believing.” During the past four years especially, I have written a good bit in the margins of this particular edition of Chambers and I have enjoyed re-reading these passages to see how far I have come in my walk (and in some cases, how far I have yet to go!).
Chambers said this in his devotional:
"Many a soul begins to come to God when he flings off being religious, because there is only one Master of the human heart, and that is not religion but Jesus Christ…It is a matter of indifference to God’s grace how abominable I am if I come to the light; but woe to me if I refuse…”
This morning, this is a part of what I read that I had written in response to Chambers:
Religion has harmed more souls from coming to a saving knowledge of Christ than sin may have. Too many so-called Christians have a super knowledge base about Christ but have absolutely no relationship with him. I think it is so much harder for a “life-time” religious person to come to a salvation experience than it is for those who have lived a lifetime without Christ and hear the redemption story for the first time.
This Sunday we’re to have a guest speaker from Lifepoint in Williamston, NC. “Damaged Goods” is his sermon topic—Dents don’t defind your identity & The Damage doesn’t discount the price paid for you—are the main points. As Care Team volunteers, we get sermon notes in advance.
We’re on a mini-vacation weekend due to attendance at the Brain Injury Conference in Columbia, SC and were in our hotel room on Friday morning doing devotions. I was reading aloud Psalm 71 and was stumbling over words, which is a very frustrating part of my brain injury. Then I came to this:
"14 I will always have hope…15 My mouth will tell of your righteousness…18 When I am old and gray do not forsake me O God, til I declare your power to the next generation…(I dissoved into tears at this point ) 20… though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again…from the depths of the earth you will bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again."
There is nothing religious about that! That is pure redemption. I cannot explain it. I cannot explain what it is like to know that my Saviour spoke to me words of pure love through scripture. But he did and it washed over me & caused Norman to kneel in front of me and pray for me and for us—to thank God for His love and to praise Him for all he is and has given us in His blessings and in each other. THAT is mystery!
As I pondered what I had written four years ago, I know these things: He has remained with me during these four years, as he promised he would and we have grown so much closer. He has healed my ability to speak as he promised he would. I have used my ability to write and speak to share His love and His promises with others and He has comforted me beyond anything I could have imagined.
And he has given us the promise of a new grandchild—a next generation of our own—who will enable us to be a part of sharing what has transpired in our lives and those before us as generations have done before.
The Mystery of Believing is saying “YES!” when we see God, know who He is and establish a relationship with Him as a result. God is who He says He is and His promises are true. He loves us! There is no mystery in THAT! But OH the JOY!
NO OTHER GODS
"In the year that king Uzziah died, I saw also the Lord." Isaiah 6:1
"Over and over again God has to remove our friends in order to bring Himself in their place, and that is where we faint and fail and get discouraged. Take it personally; In the year that the one who stood to me for all that God was, died,—I gave up everything? I became ill: I got disheartened: or—I saw the Lord…" Oswald Chambers”
It is a very sobering thought to understand on a gut level that God is quite serious when he says, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” And that means no thing and no one—no one—not even family. God must come first. If God does come first, then all our family obligations fit exactly where they are supposed to.
The man is Godly and the spiritual head of his household. The woman is Godly, putting her husband’s needs ahead of her children in the sense of knowing theirs do not come to the exclusion of the spiritual, emotional and physical needs he is due. And the children honor and respect the wishes and spiritual guidance of their parents, work hard as family members and are obedient to God themselves.
But submission and obedience to God—this comes first—otherwise, the rest falls apart.
Why was this not more firmly taught and supported as biblically, lovingly sound doctrine? Yes, it is hard! Yes, it is costly! But the price of NOT putting God first is deadly.
Over the past four years, we have lost six dear friends to death and just now, my best friend from high school and a new friend I have come to know are in the end stages of brain cancer—waiting now, with loving husbands, simply to be with Jesus.
I don’t want to lose more friends, Lord. But I know that death is a part of the journey we begin with our first breath. And I am more grateful to have and have had these friends in my life than I would have been to have never known them. The pain I have suffered as a friend is nothing compared to that suffered by the spouses and families of the persons who have died. It is still pain.
But I also know that with each one of these friends I have come to know and with each loss, and those sure to come, I have drawn closer to you. I have indeed ‘seen the Lord.’ I saw lives well lived, your face shining through the lives of each one and from those whose lives they touched.
I am certainly sad for the place that is empty that these friends no longer occupy. But I am encouraged because I know where they are and who they are with. In the not too distant future, I will lose both my parents, as they are now in their 90’s. It will be a profound loss. But I know where they will go and who they will be with. And though they will no longer occupy the place here—it will be empty—I will see the Lord where they once were—and that place will be full again.
beckisbookshelf said: Happy belated birthday! I send hugs and prayers instead of cupcakes. Is that suitable? :)
So much more suitable and both always welcome, to be sure! Thanks so much! Not sure why Tumblr is ignoring me; the rant is all in the name of humor, though.
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
"Come Thou fount of every blessing!" This favorite hymn of mine is the plea of every child of God and it’s beautiful words also shout his praise.
I waited 25 years and I’m still waiting.
I don’t usually reblog relationship stuff from other people.But this is one of the most beautifully stated posts I’ve seen on social media. I’ve heard it preached in my church. But not seen it very often HERE.
Putting Jesus first in relationship was something that I didn’t hear preached in a way that made any sense AT ALL when I began dating, or even before, really. So I had no foundation for that in relationship, or in marriage. And I was saved at the age of six. It just wasn’t preached. The commandment was STATED. Work done. Move along. Nothing to see here. Let’s talk about loving your neighbor….
Read this. Breathe it in. It just may save your relationship. Especially that part about no one can be everything…well…just read it for yourself…and the one you love.
TUMBLR…I DON’T UNDERSTAND!
You used to love me at the beginning. When I was all shiny and new, you plied me with such love and tenderness: 250 LIKES! you sent me! Then it was 500 LIKES! I was so excited by your attention, your enthusiasm, your overwhelming need to CONNECT with me! You sent me 1000 LIKES! notices so that I could share with everyone how much you noticed me!
And best of all, on my blog birthday, what did you do? You sent me the most beautiful cupcake with a burning candle! What could be more special than that?
But Tumblr—you’ve forsaken me!! No birthday cupcake for my second birthday…and I’ve over 3600 likes with nary a mention from you!!
It is a painful separation to be sure…but I can go on…because…because OTHER PEOPLE like me. I don’t need your approval, your reminders, or your flaming cupcakes! (Although, all of those things would certainly be very nice, should you decide to change your mind about the whole thing.)
This enchanting sculpture is outside the main entrance to the Main Branch of the Anderson County Library in Anderson, SC. I’m so sorry that I did not commit the sculptor, nor the actual name of the piece to memory; but I fell in love with it the first time I saw it.
Her complete absorption in her book, which is “The Fellowship of the Ring,” the way she plays with her foot unconsciously, (most of us fiddle with something while we read) is just so charming and reminds me so of most children I’ve seen and the child I was as I grew up with books in my hand more often than food.
As you can see, there is actually printing on the book, but because it is hard to read, this is what is printed there:
"All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.” J. R. R. Tolkien
If you are not lost, wander by your local library this week. There is much to be found there.