Thursday, April 24, 2014

April 25 "The Annals of Eternity" I Chronicles 3-4

He had 19 sons.  

Some were a joy:  Solomon and Nathan (probably named after the mentor that changed his life, Natha).  

Some were a grief:  Absalom, Amnon, and Adonijah.  I Chron 3:3.  

And from this family came the Christ.  It seemed good to God.  
He uses broken people, you know.  

From one son Nathan came the Christ---hearts for God, no matter what.
From one son Solomon came kingdoms---17 descents in this family.

May our own years go down in the annals of Eternity.  
Doing what seems Good to God, for His Glory.

COME BOLDLY:  Timeless Prayers
Father, I do not want to miss out on what you have as we roll through this life.  David has faced much opposition in his life already but it's about to come from his sons, now.  Nothing worse. Rejection.  Distance.  Misunderstandings.  All so hurtful.  May we find deeper love, fuller trust, greater grace.  

PHOTO:  Rolling through the Hill Country of Texas.  Oh! May we stop long enough to reflect on the Grace of Your Word.  Make our day fall into the annal of Eternity.

April 24 "Dig A Well. Pray Down the Rain" Psalms 43, 44, 45, 49, 84,85, 87

Why do I fear in times of trouble? The sin of those who cheat me surrounds me. Psalm 49:5
I am afraid that they won't change soon enough.
I am afraid that they will get off without any verdict.
They'll be passed over while I'm diligently working.

My situation shouts to the cheaters whose sins bump up against mine this day.
Maybe, they have wealth and can ease their way through.
Blessed are those whose strength is in God, not in their wealth or position or ease.

Where is my own heart this day? A highway to God?
The psalmist's heart was set on God, set on a pilgrimage.
"The very map to Jerusalem was written on that heart.
His Love for God and for His house helped him make right decisions in life so that he did not go astray.

...The Valley of Baca is a name for any difficult and painful place in life,
where everything seems hopeless and you feel helpless, like the pit of despair." W. Wiersbe
The people who love God expect to pass through this valley and not remain there.

"They dig a well."

"They pray down the rain." W.W.

"They go from strength to strength." Trusting God no matter what.  Psalm 84

PHOTO:  It's the street where they live.  Bob's dad.  Bob's sister and family.  Knock-dead view of Mount Rainier.  Where you don't have to pray the rain down.  It falls just about every day.  Where you live from strength to strength.

and to  

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

April 23 "A Sovereign Word Calling Me" I Chronicles 1-2

We are all created by one God from one man, Adam. Remarkable. 
Today, we join scores of men and women who have faced life, 
as we do this day, and tried to spend it the best they could. 
I Chronicles 1. Are we giving our best this day? 
How can I speak into this world of mine---this day, 
where there is staggering sarcasm and demesne distance. 
No temptation overtakes you except what is common to man. 

Some quit. Some conquered. Some quietly blipped on the earth.  So many have gone before us---a little more than all who are alive today.  Think about those who have gone before us. Think about David, Samuel, Saul. How do I want to live in light of what I know, in light of what my heart yearns for. What do I want someone to know about me?  How will I fit in God's Genealogy.

We are all on common ground. Holy Ground. No big people and no little people in this celebrity society where we walk.  But that's not what my world tells me, every day.  And what do we do with this LORD Whom we silently hear. Whom we see like a gossamer, such a fine piece of Silk. Whom we glimpse in a becoming beautiful world.  Whom we forget about and can't live without.  Whom we know is disrupting our personal world for such Good.

All that is truly valuable consists of favor, peace, and a life spent to His Glory, promoting others and their welfare---not our own. Matthew Henry

    COME BOLDLY:  Timeless Prayers
    Dear Father, Some days I feel so invisible.  May I not choose to live this day by how others treat me but by how You love me.  Make me care more about Your Sovereign Word calling my name than I care about this world naming me a lasting legacy.  In the genealogy of this day, may we see history so much clearer and purer and kinder.  Imbued with Grace.

    PHOTO:  I kneel alone on this beach. No, Never Alone. And I pray for clarity in the midst of chaos. It's rather small suffering in the scheme of things.  But it is oh-so-real in my life.  And I have to let things go.  I trust.  And on the other hand, I'm thunderstruck with a God Who has done beyond all words for me.  And is doing!

    April 22 "But You" Psalms 6, 8-10, 14, 16, 19, 21

    Be gracious to us all, O God.
    We are languishing.
    Heal us , O God. 
    Our bones are troubled. 
    Our souls are greatly troubled. 
    But You, 
    O Lord.  
    How long?
    Psa 6:1-2

    David knew. 
    Do I?
    Do I see the Hand of God in even this. 
    This thing I am going through. 
    There are unutterable things. 
    And God is in the midst. 

    COME BOLDLY Timeless Prayers
    Father, open our eyes to see You standing in our midst. There are problems so complicated and issues so convoluted, we don't know what to do. And, how long?  Not BUT just AND. Our surrender. Help us to ask the right questions. Not how long or how much but will You, O God disrupt is where needed and invade us deep down where our trouble sits. 

    PHOTO:  It's Mount Rainier.  My husband's family lives at the base of the mountain.  It's a knock-dead gorgeous place to visit.  An old shut-down logging town.  Inspired with every visit, I find that God has left some things alone in me.  How long?  I don't know.  I trust.

    April 21 "Mourning for your Enemy" 2 Samuel 1-4

    Here David sat in a city with his 600 men.
    Defeated and distraught.  At a low.
    And the news comes . . . Saul is dead.
    "The blow which opened David's way to the throne was given about the time he had been sorely distressed.  Those who commit their concerns to the Lord, will quietly abide his will.  It shows that David desired not Saul's death, and he was not impatient to come to the throne."  Matthew Henry

    David mourned the deaths of Saul and Jonathan.
    Yet, the houses of David and Saul still warred against each other.
    David mourns Abner's death.
    "And all the people took notice of it, and it pleased them, as everything that the king did pleased all the people." 1 Samuel 3:36

    David's life is so beautiful.  And we know the rest of the story.  He is just a man who needs God just as much on a balcony secretly watching Bathsheba as in a cave hiding from a King, his own father-in-law.  No man is to be worshipped high on a pedestal.

    David has already faced strong temptation in such distress and degradation.  What does it truly mean to encourage ourselves in the Lord, as David did?  What does it look like to not touch the garment of the anointed one, even when you could justify revenge.

    The funeral song, "The Bow," says nothing of Saul's righteousness or goodness.  But it does speak of two souls knit together in a strong bond of love---Jonathan and David.  They both would overlook the carnal man that resided in both.  Love covered their sins.  It's interesting that Jonathan would never see the side of David that we are about to see.

    COME BOLDLY:  Timeless Prayers
    Father, help us to live by those convictions that we hold dear.  When we face haunting temptations this fresh new week, may we cry out for more of you and less of us.  Make us into the people you have called us to be.  May the song we sing this day be of praise to you and honor to all we know, even those who have done us wrong.

    PHOTO:  Annette's Fig Tree.  Jesus cursed the fig tree when it would not produce.  Wondering about that story.  Wondering about life.

    Saturday, April 19, 2014

    April 20 "The Cloth is Folded" Psalm 21, 23-25, 28-30

    Where does my help come from, really?
    From men & temples?
    David has just spared Saul's life twice.
    Samuel has just died.
    Saul still bemoans David's popularity.
    David's friends revolt.
    And David lifts up his eyes to the hills.
    His Help comes now.
    God will never let his foot be moved.
    He does not slumber.
    He, Who keeps Israel, also keeps you.
      Psalm 121:  1 - 3.
    Those who trust are like Mount Zion.
    Can't ever be moved.
      Psalm 125:  1 - 2.

    And the folded cloth lying in an empty grave tells it all. It is a finished work. Though I sin again, my life is covered because of Calvary. This Resurrection Sunday. It is what our whole faith rests on.

    COME BOLDLY:  Timeless Prayers
    Father, may the Holy Spirit raise utterances too deep for words as we contemplate on this Easter Sunday what the Resurrection means to our very lives this moment in history. The trembling rolls on to this very day. Alleluia! HE IS RISEN, INDEED!

    PHOTO:  Standing next door to Richmond's relatives in the little town of Eatonville, I snap this shot of Mount Rainier.  Where does my help come from?  Not from the mighty mountains; not from strong men in my life; not from success in whatever I touch; not from herald reputations.  My help comes from the LORD.  The cloth is folded.

    Friday, April 18, 2014

    April 19 "Light Up My Darkness" I Samuel 28-31, Psalm 18

    The mantra. 
    The theme.
    Look at this. 
    "Saul has struck down his thousands.And David his ten thousands." I Samuel 29:5

    You know, that looks good on paper that David's success looms large.
    David's success also costs him greatly: His two wives have now been taken captive.
    "And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him---those who hailed him as a hero. No more. You're too much of a risk to us, David.

    And they were "bitter in soul" for their own sons and daughters. And how I love David's response. May it become our holy mantra: "David strengthened himself in the Lord, his God." I Samuel 30:6. That's it!!! How do I talk to myself? What will I say to myself this day? Either I will move toward dependence or distance. 

    Will I speak these words of Psalm 18, the ones that David grabbed hold of in deep distress, losing wives, friends, comrades, and his community. "I love you Lord, my Help, my Deliverer.
    For it is You Who lights my lamp, the Lord my God lightens my darkness." Psa 18:28

    COME BOLDLY: Timeless Prayers Father, this day, may we let this Word rule our hearts. Spirit of God blow your whistle, Col 3:15, over our ways as we encourage ourselves in You Alone. Give Light to our darkness. Let our steps find broad paths. Illuminate our lives this day. We trust.
    PHOTO: The view from my bedroom window in the hill country.  It's dark out there.  And there are dark places in my own soul this night as I fold my apron.  And I think of the One Who folded his cloths in a tomb, saying "It Is Finished."  What He has done for me, that Resurrection, covers all my darkness.  I will see Light---a little more Light this day than the last one.  It's dark outside but a tad Lighter in my soul.  I know.  Looking forward to Resurrection Sunday.