Affliction, Need, and His Grace . . .

Friday, July 16, 2010 1:54pm

You have led me to the sadness
I have carried this pain
on a back bruised, nearly broken
I'm crying out to You

I will sing of Your mercy
that leads me through valleys of sorrow
to rivers of joy

When death, like a gypsy
comes to steal what I love
I will still look to the heavens
I will still seek your face
but I fear You aren't listening
because there are no words
just the stillness
and the hunger
for a faith that assures

I will sing of Your mercy
that leads me through valleys of sorrow
to rivers of joy

alleluia, alleluia
alleluia, alleluia

while we wait for rescue
with our eyes tightly shut
face to the ground using our hands
to cover the fatal cut
though the pain is an ocean
tossing us around, around, around
You have calmed greater waters
higher mountains have come down
[all of the above: jars of clay....the valley song]

During this afternoon...I’ve realized this in part.
It is only because of God’s amazing, wonderful, steadily-there Grace...
That we don’t become a horrible animal of a human, ready to slash everyone to pieces and swear off the sun after healing from a wound. A loss. A tragedy. A great pain. Affliction.
It’s only because of His grace.
And oh, how thankful I am for Him.
How grateful I am for His gift.
It’s amazing.
We would shrivel up like a scab over a wound if not for His grace.
Because of His grace, we can, someday, look upon hard times and extreme pain as a life lesson of sorts..
We will one day be able to look back and see a beautiful scar.
A beautiful wound that hurt worse than anything . . . being the cause of us shoved over a cliff into His arms. Depending on only Him for staying alive.
Because if pain killed, we’d all be dead.
We can’t change on our own; we can’t clutch the broken, shattered, ugly pieces of our life and hurts to ourselves. We can’t keep them. We have to begin with giving Him something. Something. Otherwise, we’ll choke on it one day.
And many of us have reached that ‘one day’ several times...
I wonder how long and how many times it will take for some of us to get a hint?
To get a clue that the mystery is not what matters, but how much we need to depend on Him?


A Conversation with God...

Moses said to the LORD, "See, you say to me, 'Bring up this people,' but You have not let me know whom You will send with me.  Yet You have said, 'I know you by name and you have also found favor in My sight.'  Now therefore, if I have found favor in Your sight, please show me now Your ways, that I may know You...
Consider too that this nation is Your people."

And He [the LORD] said, "My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."

And he [Moses] said to Him, "If Your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here.  For how shall it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people?  Is it not in Your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and Your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?"

And the LORD said to Moses, "This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in My sight, and I know you by name."

Moses said, "Please show me Your glory."

And He [the LORD] said, "I will make all My goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you My name 'The LORD'.  And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will show mercy to whom I show mercy.  But," He said, "you cannot see My face, for man shall not see Me and live."

~Exodus 33:12-20
(photo courtesy of Fotolia)


Behold The Lamb

Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, "Father?" "Yes, my son?" Abraham replied. "The fire and wood are here," Isaac said, "but where is the lamb for the burnt offering? Abraham answered, "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." Gen 22:7-8

From the very beginning, the first book of the Bible, the promise has been a lamb

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29

Did you read that? Jesus Christ, the Lamb, who takes away the sin of the world

That pertains to you and I. Today. Washed clean by His blood. 

A pure.
Unadulterated lamb. 

Because we were unclean. 

Were unclean. 

The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture: "He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. Acts 8:32

He didn't even try to avoid our penalty. He went before the mass of those screaming "Crucify!" willingly. No cry of desperation, or plea for someone to let Him go.

The cross. Calvary. Nails.

For this? 
An innocent Lamb

Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 1 Corinthians 5:7

{What is this admonition? Get rid of the old yeast? Perhaps to remind us that we are a new creation, and because of that slain lamb we can live like a new creation. Unleavened and full of the Spirit. }

They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Revelation 12:11
There we find it. The answer. We overcome by the blood of the Lamb.
Jesus Christ, our passover lamb. Who died, then rose again. We would not have the ressurection had he not have been taken to the Cross first. Never discount the blood that was shed there. Never shrink back in horror at the death He bore so that we might have eternal life. 
Rejoice in Calvary. Weep at Calvary. Because it was there that your debt was paid. 

The sin of the world required blood, and blood is not pretty. {If you have a hard time understanding why, as Christians, our penance had to be paid with such a price, I would encourage you to find a Bible and read Leviticus. It's not too difficult to understand, and you will see the history of the sacrifices and what was required for each sin. Our Jehovah God is merciful, yet requires much.} 

Let the weak say, "I am strong"
Let the poor say, "I am rich"
Let the blind say, "I can see"
It's what the Lord has done in me

Hosanna, hosanna
To the Lamb that was slain
Hosanna, hosanna
Jesus died and rose again
Through the river I will wade
There my sins are washed away
From the heavens mercy streams
Of the Savior's love for me
I will rise from waters deep
Into the saving arms of God
I will sing salvation songs
Jesus Christ has set me free
Hosanna, hosanna
To the Lamb that was slain
Hosanna, hosanna
Jesus died and rose again

As you reflect this Easter Sunday, and you think about all that our Savior, the Lamb, did for us. Rejoice in the resurrection, but don't forget to rejoice in the crucifixion also. As Believers in Christ, our victory is at the foot of the Cross. Our ability to overcome and not be defeated, is there. It's not in naming and claiming, nor is it in confessing, professing, or any other action we might try to do on our own.

It is simply in faith in the finished work of Christ. You cannot and absolutely will not overcome what has you held, until your faith is there. You will not be victorious through any work of your own kind. Oh, you can try.

More than likely you have, and probably have been disappointed by the short term results. It doesn't mean you're not saved! You might just be struggling with your very own self.

After such a sacrifice on His part, Let Jesus have you completely. Your failures and all.

I promise He knows what to do with them.

{Photo credit goes to Melinda at Abounding in Hope. Many thanks to her for so graciously letting me use her pictures of their family farm's sweet baby lambs to portray the Innocence of our Jesus.} 


I will praise You in the storm

by Heather E.
"I was sure by now God You would have reached down and wiped our tears away, stepped in and saved the day."

How often have we thought this. Why isn't God rescuing me from this sorrow? Why is He silent?

"Once again, I say Amen and it's still raining"

I love this line! Even when we don't understand and nothing makes sense. With tears in our eyes and sorrow in our heart, we can say Thy will be done.

"As the thunder rolls, I barely hear You whisper through the rain, I'm with you. And as Yuor mercy falls. I'll raise my hands and praise the God who gives and takes away."
And in that surrender, God blesses us beyond all imagination--That is when He showers us with mercy and grace. And that is how Job could say after losing everything, " "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord." (Job 1:21b)

"I will praise You in this storm. I will lift my hands. For You are Who You are, no matter where I am."

God is good, faithful and He never changes. No matter what our circumstances are, His truth is always the same.

"Every tear I've cried, You hold in Your hand, You never left my side and though my heart is torn. I will praise You in this storm."

The world wonders how we are able to keep our faith. It's because He never leaves our side. How could any of us continue if we didn't know that God was going to see us through it?

"I remember when I stumbled in the wind, You heard my cry, You raised me up again. My strength is almost gone, how can I carry on? If I can't find You. "

How awesome is it that God picks us up again and again. I know I stumble so many times. God is always there to raise me up.

"As the thunder rolls. I barely hear You whisper through the rain. I'm with you."

Sometimes it's hard to hear God when it's raining. You have to listen closer but He's there. Never believe Satan's lie that Christ doesn't care. The Bible says He cares for the sparrows, so how infinitely more He cares for you, His own precious child.

pictures from google.

Lyrics from Casting Crowns



I went for a walk this afternoon in the brilliant cold. I was feeling rather pointless. Very pointless. (because I had nothing I so wanted, even though I have so much to be thankful for already)
Jesus came with me.
“You walk with me through fire…” –Healer
As I was walking, praying about this pointlessness.
A picture of me: standing on a precipice, a deep dark ravine is below me.
Jesus stands, arms open wide, waiting a mere frightening jump across the ravine to the opposing cliff side where He waits.
I can’t jump holding what I want. What (I think) I need. To have purpose, to be so, so happy.
A husband.
A mission.
A baby.
A home.
A country.
An ideal.
Myself even.
All of it must fall into the endless cold darkness below. To die.
But Jesus waits and can I resist?
"Trust Me." That wonderful word again, Lord?
A man, baby, missions, home of my own, adventures, change, and all such purposefulness are lovely, and would/will be very nice. But they will not satisfy. Only Jesus will. Is satisfying.
So I jump.
Tears wet my cheeks, having surrendered for the millionth time. Trusting again.
But now I’m free.
And Jesus holds me.
Oh, He loves me.
Oh I love Him.
I love Him.
This love makes it all worth it.


Content in the Valley

by Heather E.

When you're on top of a hill, it's very easy to see. The blue sky, the fresh air and sunlight are all visable. In a valley it's much harder. You know the sun must be there but sometimes you can't see the light. It's gets frustrating as you stumble along. It's very easy to get discontent. You want to see the sun and sky and breathe in the fresh air.
God wants us to be content in the valley. There are life lessons to be learned in the hard times. Things that you have to experience.
You can't be refined without fire.
God has promised to be there. Psalm 23:4 says, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death: for thou art with me; thy rod and they staff they comfort me."
So if you're in a valley embrace it. Let God work and refine you.
When you get to the top of the mountain, it will be all the more amazing for having gone through the valley.


Reader Recommendation

A few weeks ago, I ran across Marmee's Pantry. A blog written by a sweet lady named Kim. The first post of hers that I read was entitled A Solid Foundation in a Shaky World - in which she discussed our role as mothers in regards to our children's education. After reading it, I was so encouraged by her graceful presentation of the Word, I kept reading.

I haven't stopped! If you notice to the right I've added a button that says Marmee's Pantry, click on it to head on over to her site. Her profile reads as such:

I am a Christian wife & mom. We homeschooled for 16 great years, & even though my heart will always be in the homeschool community, I feel the need to expand & move on into another area that is close to my heart~frugal living...including, but not limited to, money-saving tips; homemade food, personal care, health care, home cleaning; working w/& growing herbs, etc. I am also a writer & speaker on homeschool & Christian women's issues & I would be glad to speak to your group or at your retreat! Atempting to honor the Lord in all I do. 
Her blog is always a pleasure to read, and after getting her permission, she agreed to let me link back to her here. We can all use encouragement, can we not? For all women, young and old, single or married, mothers or grandmothers - you know how fulfilling it is to be apart of a group of Sisters in Christ, who have one goal in mind; to honor the Lord in all we do.

So, head on over to Marmee's Pantry. Learn how to make your own cleaning supplies, or soak in her pictures and stories about life in a German Baptist community. Regardless of whether or not you are, or have been, or never were home schooled, I just know you'll appreciate this womans heart!