Yoke bearing and stillness

Matthew 11:28-30
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Psalm 46
1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.
6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
8 Come, behold the works of the LORD, how he has brought desolations on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
11 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

God is a constant being of apparent contradictions. He is both full of mercy and judgment. He is both all-powerful and humble. He is both invisible and everywhere.

The Christian life, as well, is full of these same apparent contradictions. We are to both work for the Lord with all our hearts and to wait patiently upon Him.

But as I see it, this is where the greatness of God leaps out at us. As we humble ourselves, as we cast all our cares on Him, as we take His yoke upon us, this is where we find rest for our souls. This is where we are still and know that He is God and that we are not.

Sisters, my right elbow/arm/hand is really acting up and I am trying to figure out how I am going to be able to “keep at it.” How am I supposed to keep typing, writing, driving, cooking, phone talking, cleaning, and disciplining with only my left arm?

And this is where God grabs me. This is where the rubber meets the road. Is He sufficient? Is His strength made perfect in my weakness? Will I be still and know that He is God? Will I be thankful for two working legs and a working left arm?

This is where the choice is made. I have to choose to take up His yoke, to cast my cares on Him, to humble myself, to make my requests known to Him.

Lord, thank You that You are the giver of rest and peace and life to the fullest. In my weakness is your strength made perfect. As I humble myself, I am exalted. Magnify Yourself in me. Father, I pray You would use this time of weakness to show Yourself mighty, both to me and to the world who is watching. Whether this is displayed in healing me in an amazing way or in blessing me with a gentle and humble spirit, please Lord work in me to exalt Yourself. Sustain me and my family by Your grace and love. Amen.

The wise man or the foolish man?

20131018-103130.jpg“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:24-27

My kids and I first memorized Matthew 7 years ago – when Noelle was just a baby. It is such a beautiful passage filled with contrasts and ideals.

I am so loving my Scripture Typer Bible Memory app. It is equipping me to remember passages I thought I’d long since forgotten.

In reviewing this passage, this section really struck me. It is an example of a comparison and contrast paper like I might have written back in high school.

Both men heard Jesus’ words.
Both men built houses.
Both men’s houses suffered from rain and flooding and wind.

The wise man did what Jesus said but the foolish man didn’t.
The wise man’s house was built, founded, on rock while the foolish man’s house was built on sand.
The wise man’s house did not fall while the foolish man’s house did – and great was the fall of it.

I think there’s so much we can learn here. Just listening to the words of Jesus does not cause our house to be built on the rock. We are not to merely listen to the word and so deceive ourselves. We are to DO what it says. (James 1:22-22).

We are all building our houses and we might even think we are building them well. The house itself may be beautiful and strong and well-built but if it’s foundation is not solid, it will fall when the storms of life come.

And indeed, the storms of life will come to us all. Those storms are frequently used by the Lord to show us where our heart is. That storm that displays God’s power and glory and might in one person’s life can be the very same struggle that causes another man’s life to crumble.

And now I ask you – on what are you building your LIFE? Remember, He has set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose LIFE that you and your offspring may live.

I love you, sisters. Press on. Remember, whoever hears these words of mine and does them is like a wise man who built his house on a rock.

Life and death

This weekend I was telling a friend how black and white I see life … And yet I somehow also see life as a series of ideals. This just didn’t make any sense to me. How could I have it both ways???

For example, I truly believe that homeschooling is the best way to train up our children. Black and white.

And yet, I also know that not everyone is able to homeschool for one reason or another and I know without a doubt that God can work good in even the worst of situations. I remember how hard it was for me when my son went to our local public school for part of his 2nd and 3rd grade years. Yet, I am firmly convinced that God used that time for each of our good.

I am loving my Scripture Typer memory verse app. One of the passages I am working on is this:
“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” Deuteronomy 30:19-20

In this passage, I see that black and white. That life vs death. That blessing vs curse.

Yet I also see that series of ideals – that loving the Lord, that obedience to His voice, that holding fast to Him.

I can already hear some of you screaming, “What??? That’s still black and white!”

And yes, that is still black and white. We are each either in obedience or disobedience. We are each either loving Him or not loving Him. But I have learned that each of us in our daily lives are being called to a different ministry, a different deed.

Noah was called to build an ark and he obeyed. Abraham was called to leave Haran and strike out on his own, to go where God told him. David was not called to build the temple, but his son, Solomon, was.

We each are called to walk in the obedience of faith. Each of us have life and death, blessing and curse, laid before us. All of us are commanded to love God, to obey His voice and hold fast to Him and yet that may look different from the outside for each and every one of us. All of us are commanded to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbor as ourself. This is black and white. Yet how that is lived out will look different for each of us.

So, I tell you, as your sister in the Lord, CHOOSE LIFE! Make the tough choices. Obey His voice for He is good. Hold fast to Him. He is your life and length of days. I desire to see you in the land of the living. I desire to walk alongside you as each of obey the Lord’s call.

Pleasing God

Don’t all of us want to please God? I think even when I didn’t believe God existed, I would have wanted to please Him if He did. (Does that even make any sense?)

God has placed in us an inborn desire to please Him.

And yet, in our natural state, I find that we want to please Him by following some kind of list, by checking all the boxes, by doing all the right things and making ourselves acceptable to Him. This is rooted in PRIDE, sisters, and God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. No wonder He desires us to come to Him as little children.

Here is how God says you please Him — by FAITH, by BELIEVING that He exists and BELIEVING that He rewards those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). But that is too simple for us. No. That is too extraordinary for us. That is too humbling for us.

Today I found myself diving into Galatians 3. I would encourage you to read the whole chapter – or several chapters – or the whole book today. (It would be profitable for each of us to make reading the book of Romans from beginning to end a regular part of our Bible reading time. But I find that Galatians is in many ways a condensed version of Romans, especially Galatians 3-5.)

I can’t get over Galatians 3:3 “Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”

When my old self died and I was born anew, this was a miraculous act of the Spirit. There was nothing I could DO to make myself righteous before God. Nothing. No single act or series of acts could cleanse me of a lifetime of sin. God gave me a new heart as I came to Him humbly and asked Him for it.

And yet, I find in myself, that now I somehow think that I can be “good enough,” that I CAN earn it.

O foolish Kim! Who has bewitched me? Having begun in the Spirit, am I now being perfected in the flesh? Does He who supplied the Spirit to me and who works miracles before my very eyes do so by works of the law???? Or by hearing with faith???

Please join me, sisters, in walking by the obedience of faith, submitting our lives to Him and His calling on us, not trying to earn salvation as our wages, but believing in Him who justifies the ungodly. (See my former posts related to Romans 4:4-5 on Wages Due)