Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Lord surrounds His people

"As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people."  Psalm 125:2

"You have enclosed me behind and before; You have laid Your hand upon me."  Psalm 139:5

"And I, declares the Lord, will be a wall of fire around her, and I will be the glory within her."  Zechariah 2:5

These verses all came from today's lesson in Beth Moore's book Stepping Up.  It was a timely lesson that I didn't know I needed, until it brought unexpected tears to my eyes.  That third verse in particular was one I had never read before, and it floored me.  Wow, God, is all I can say.

How amazing to know that my God is all around me, protecting me, and fighting for me.  We are comforted by believing that God is with us....and He is.  But today I'm faced with the truth that He's not just with me.  He's before me, behind me, all around me, within me...and He's for me.  And I stand in awe of that, and of Him.

The photo above is not of the mountains surrounding Jerusalem.  It's actually of the mountains surrounding Juneau, Alaska -- where I will be in less than 3 weeks from now.  As this journey gets closer and closer, I'm very excited, but also nervous and at times, even afraid.  It's so unfamiliar.  And so far.

Today I'm incredibly thankful that wherever I go on this earth, my God is with me.  As the huge, strong, immovable mountains surround Jerusalem -- and Juneau, too -- He surrounds me.

Monday, March 18, 2013

hold all things loosely.

Abraham knew without a doubt that Isaac was from God -- that God had given Isaac to him (Genesis 17).  Yet then God said, sacrifice him.  Give him up.  Let him go.  He was the promise child, the answer to their prayers, the gift of God.  And God said, let go of him.  Abraham's response was obedience.  It was "God knows what He's doing," and trust in Him.  Abraham was committed to obey the Lord.

The result... it was a test of Abraham's faith, loyalty, and obedience.  It strengthened his faith!  It demonstrated his commitment.  And Isaac remained, because God stepped in.  "Now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son."  (Genesis 22:12)

"Until God had Isaac, He did not have all of Abraham there was to have."  --sermon notes

Sometimes God finds it necessary to loosen our grip on certain things, things we may be holding too tightly.  He might, in His sovereignty, take it away completely...or He might, in His lovingkindess, let it remain.  But we have a tendency to keep too tight a grip on the things we care about -- a job, a relationship, security, money, our plans, etc.  We want to hang on, because we're scared if we let go, God will take it away.

But clinging isn't pretty.  Neither is God having to literally pry it out of our white-knuckled hands.  Surrender is hard, but beautiful.  The story will be much better if we loosen our fists and let God do His thing in His time, and trust that the results will be His good and perfect will.  "Hold all things loosely."

Monday, March 4, 2013

on house-sitting, Alaska, and Keith Urban.

I'm sitting in someone else's recliner, in a house that is not mine, after cooking dinner and cleaning in an unfamiliar kitchen.  The country music TV channel is playing, which is nice because we don't have this channel at home.  A strange cat is sleeping now after following me around for most of the afternoon.  Two teen girls are in the other room doing their homework -- girls whose well-being I am responsible for for the next 3 weeks.  I'm getting sleepy, and need to figure out where clean sheets are kept, before going to sleep in an unfamiliar bed.

I also have quite a lengthy list of things I need to work on before leaving for Alaska in 6 weeks, so I'm hoping to get a lot of that done during this time I'm house-sitting and staying with these girls.  That is... if I can stay focused and motivated to be productive... why are TV and Pinterest so distracting?!

Did I just say that I leave for Alaska in 6 weeks?  Yeah, I did.  Six weeks from today, I will be on a plane with 2 friends who are also working at Echo Ranch... flying west.  And north.  Northwest.  Three thousand miles.  To stay for 5+ months.  Is that crazy, or what?

I really don't know what God's got in store for the next 5-6 months.  I know it's gonna be something amazing, because I have full confidence that He's the One leading me to this place.  Some moments I'm scared silly, and other moments I'm crazy excited.  One thing I know -- okay maybe two things -- A) this is going to be a God-sized adventure. and B) God has been teaching me so much in the past few months, just in the waiting and preparing time.  Big stuff.  Stuff about Him, and about trusting Him.  A word of encouragement if you find yourself in a waiting season..... waiting is frustrating.  It stinks.  But open your eyes and heart to what He wants to teach you in the midst of it.  It's not without purpose.

And a random thought to close with:  I just found out tonight that Keith Urban is from New Zealand.  Who knew?  Okay.  I'm going to find a snack and clean sheets and go to bed.  Thanks for taking a few minutes to read my little musings.. :-)