Saturday, June 27, 2020

Sabbath Sanctuary: Sabbath Thoughts

Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves” {Ps. 127: 1-2 NASB}.

“The point the Psalmist is making is that we should not carry our cares and anxieties to bed with us. Beds were made for sleeping, not for worrying.”[1]

“Of all the thoughts of God that are

Borne inward unto souls afar

Along the Psalmist’s music deep

Now tell me if that any is,

For the gift of grace, surpassing this—

He giveth His beloved sleep.” Elizabeth Barrett Browning

“Those whose spirits are stirred by the breath of the Holy Spirit of God go forwards even in sleep.” Brother Lawrence

 “God is my portion and my joy,

His counsels are my light;

He gives me sweet advice by day

And gentle hints by night.” Issac Watts

“O Lord, we have a busy world around us. Eye, ear, and thought will be needed for all our work to be done in the world. Now ere we again enter into it, we would commit eye, ear, and thought to Thee. Do Thou bless them and keep their work Thine, that as through Thy natural laws our hearts beat and our blood flows without any thought of ours for them so our spiritual life may hold on its course at those times when our minds cannot consciously turn to Thee to commit each particular thought o Thy service, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.Dr. Arnold 

“All experience goes to show that the quality of our night’s rest depends in large measure on the frame of mind in which we go to bed and compose ourselves to sleep. I shall conclude by saying this—and it is something of which I have continually to keep reminding myself: Every man who calls himself a Christian should go to sleep thinking about the love of God as it has visited us in the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” [2]
Rest well this Sabbath.

[1] John Baillie, Christian Devotion (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1962), 100.
[2] Ibid., 107.
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Sunday, April 12, 2020

Resurrection Sunday: He Is Alive!!

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, ‘Why do you seek the living One among the dead?  He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again” {Luke 24: 1-7 NASB}.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Pet. 1:3 NASB)

The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying’” (Matt. 28:5-6 NASB)

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See my series on the Jesus and fulfilled prophecy here
See my series on A Protestant's View on Stations of the Cross for Lent here

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Sabbath Sanctuary: Crucible Hill—Living Through A Crucible

I intended to write a Lenten devotion, Crucible Hill to study and reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus leading up to Resurrection Sunday, yet I find myself in a crucible quite unexpected; my attention focused elsewhere {I am still penning Crucible Hill, just for the Lent season next}.

Oxford Dictionary defines crucible as a situation of severe trial, or in which different elements interact, leading to the creation of something new. I find myself in such a trial. 

My view from my husband’s hospital room is the magnificent Rocky Mountains which serve as a reminder of the Majesty and Awesomeness of God.

I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple” {Is. 6:1 NASB}.

I gaze out over the parking lot and the buildings toward the majestic peaks and it is peaceful, even though I know that the bustling world below 
continues to spin unaware of the pain from behind the window.

We have found ourselves in a place we never anticipated. My husband had a seizure for the first time in his fifty-six years on this earth. He was found at church unconscious, laying on the floor {he is the building superintendent at the church we attend}. I was there that day as well and ran to where he lay unconscious. Though his eyes would open intermittently, he was not home; he was completely unresponsive. He was rushed to the emergency room and the CT revealed a brain tumor. A brain tumor. This is something one hears happens to other people; one never imagines that this happens in their own family.

While having the seizure he somehow broke his left ankle. Surgery was imminent—within twenty-four hours. The tumor too, immediate removal. Two surgeries in two days. His left ankle cannot sustain any weight-bearing pressure (he can not use or walk on it) and the right is numb caused by the seizure, tumor, and surgery. T
he whole tumor could not be removed surgically, now radiation is next every day for six weeks.

Life can change in a day. There were no symptoms, no red flags, nothing indicating this was coming. One day he is fine, the next he is seizing and bed-ridden. Life can change in a moment. He was in a meeting one moment and feeling fine, and ten minutes later, unconscious on the floor. Our whole world turned upside down.

I don’t know how this happened—how we got here to this place. I don’t know why we had no warning and why our world changed so drastically. What I do know is that God is good; true; just; faithful; righteous; gracious; lovingkindness; sovereign; holy; merciful; patient; love; omnipotent; omniscient; omnipresent; omnibenevolent; all-powerful; all-mighty; and immutablethe same yesterday, today and forever {Heb. 13:8}. I know that we are in His strong hand and nothing can snatch us from Him. I know that to know that you have faith in God means that faith is tested—forged in fire to bring forth gold.

So that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” {1 Pet. 1:7 NASB}

How do you know you have faith if you never have to fight? How do you know God as your healer if you are never sick?

I know that we live in a fallen world where sometimes bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people.

“…for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” {Matt. 5:45 NASB}.

I may not understand everything this side of eternity but I can trust in His goodness and mercy which He poured out in abundance in all that transpired that day. The previous week he was on the roof fifty to sixty feet in the air in which he could have fallen from during the seizure or laid there for hours without anyone knowing where he was and without aid, and was also forty feet up in a lift changing light bulbs in the sanctuary. He made it to the top of the flight of stairs before having the seizure instead of half-way which would have incurred a brutal fall. Just an hour before, he drove both of us to church—thankfully it did not happen while driving. Numerous scenarios could have made this more tragic than it was. God is so good; we both felt His protection through and through—and now feel His grace more than ever.

I believe God is a healer. I pray for my husband’s healing every day. I prayed while awaiting the paramedics; I prayed in the car on the way to the ER; I prayed while waiting for the CT scan, MRI, X-rays, and blood tests. I prayed while waiting for surgeons to fix his broken body. I believed God that this was not a tumor but something small and that he would emerge from surgery with nothing on his brain baffling doctors. Though I did not receive the outcome I prayed for I know that whatever is ahead for us God will walk with us through this crucible of faith...The Lord is my Shepherd… God is good regardless of whether I receive the outcome I desire.

We await the pathology on the portion of the tumor the docs were able to remove, whether it is malignant or benign. I am believing that the tumor is not malignant and I stand on God’s healing power. I believe that though his healing is for our good, it is for His glory…to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Crucible; a severe trial…leading to the creation of something new.

Regardless of the path ahead and the news we receive, we are in the grip of His grace and He will strengthen us and do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. I know that my Redeemer lives.

Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him...” {Job. 15:15 KJV}

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See my series on the Jesus and fulfilled prophecy here
See my series on A Protestant's View on Stations of the Cross for Lent here