Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Weak? Fearful? Discouraged?


"This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite it day and night, so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do. Haven't I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."    Joshua 1:8-9

Friend, do you ever feel weak...as though you are being dragged along behind the car of "life" and can't seem to stand, let alone walk or run?  Do you ever feel fearful about how a certain situation is going to play out or what the next day, week, month or year holds for you? Are you prone to discouragement when the burdens of life, both the ordinary and unexpected, seem to sit on your shoulders and fill every nook and cranny of your brain with thoughts that tell you "this is too much to bear", "you deserve some time for yourself", "you shouldn't have to put up with this", and "this is not how life was supposed to be"?

When my own heart is battling weakness, fear and discouragement I often find myself wandering around in a fog. "Please help me, Lord" is my cry...but I have learned, I can't stop there. I can't continue to wander around in the muck and mire of my own "wisdom," or lack thereof.

You see, the Lord has already helped me. He has given me His Word and His Holy Spirit which both point me to the path of life and enable me to walk on that path one step at a time! He is not a God who is far off, but One who is so very near! And, I don't know about you, but there are very few rooms I can go to in my house that don't have His beautiful Words tucked into the nooks and crannies of my bookshelves, desks, nightstands and coffee table. Having a Bible at my disposal is not the problem...opening it up and believing, with all my heart, that it truly contains the Words of life, is another matter. O Lord, help my unbelief!

Yet, when I open God's precious Word to read, listen and meditate on His truth, the fog begins to lift, my heart begins to worship as I look into the face of my beautiful Lord and fear, worry and discouragement are put back into their proper place...covered by a Sovereign God who has ordained my going out and my coming in and will accomplish His good purposes, even through trials, tears and pain. He is the same God of whom Moses declared many thousands of years ago:

"There is none like God, O Jeshurun who rides through the heavens to your help, through the skies in His majesty. The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms." 
                                                                                                                        Deuteronomy 33:26-27a

In those moments, days and even weeks when we find ourselves giving in to fear, worry, discouragement or a combination of all three...may we hold fast to the Word of God which speaks the voice of God to the children of God. And, through those pages, might we see and believe that there truly is none like our God. May His truth fill our hearts with hope as we cling to Him...our Help, our Refuge and our Rest!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Anchor of our Souls



ANCHOR:
- a device usually of metal attached to a ship or boat by a cable and cast overboard to hold it in a particular place by means of a fluke that digs into the bottom

something that serves to hold an object firmly


"...we, who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to seize the hope set before us. We have this hope - like a sure and firm anchor of the soul - that enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain..." Hebrews 6:18b-19

"Therefore, brothers, since we have boldness to enter the sanctuary through the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that He has inaugurated for us, through the curtain (that is, His flesh); and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful."  Hebrews 10: 19-23

I love the imagery that God gives us throughout the pages of Scripture. There is something about having a visual, either before my eyes or at least in my head, that helps cement the truth that is being taught: cattle on the hills, sheep, a spark, storms, sand, a house, and, in this case, an anchor. 

In Hebrews we see this beautiful picture of our souls being like boats. And the only way to have our souls stabilized, to have our souls kept from drifting and wandering off course is to have them attached to the anchor of hope. And, of course, true hope does not disappoint us because it is deeply lodged into the seabed of God's love expressed through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross and sealed by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). 

Yet, how often do I find myself disappointed? What about the times I feel my emotions rise and my soul feels anything but stable? Or the moments when joy seems illusive. What then? 

I must recognize that my heart is an idol-making factory that often seeks to put it's hope in what is seen instead of what is unseen, what is temporary instead of what is eternal, what will never satisfy instead of the Bread of Life. It is impossible for those things to lodge my soul into the seabed of God. Their chains are too short and their anchors are too light, leaving my soul disappointed, dissatisfied and dejected. 

"Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation." Psalm 42:5

Hope in God. That is our anchor. Hope in God....the One who: 

-spoke the world into existence and breathed life into our dead hearts

-did not spare His own Son but gave Him up so that we might be declared righteous

-has given us access to come before His throne day and night through the blood of Jesus

-promises that nothing can separate us from His love

-will bring us home to Heaven to be with Him forever

And if that small glimpse of our great God doesn't already have you dancing around the house, rejoicing and praising at the top of your lungs, here is another reality that will help get you off your feet and fill your eyes with tears of thanksgiving: Ultimately, hope does not disappoint and our anchor is firm because we are held by God, in Christ. Nothing and no one can ever take us out of the Father's hands (John 8:29). We are secure, not because of anything we have done but because of the mercy and grace lavished upon us. Our souls can rest secure in deep, abiding hope, through any and every storm because Christ will hold us fast! 

He Will Hold Me Fast

“When I fear my faith will fail
Christ will hold me fast
When the tempter would prevail
He will hold me fast
I could never keep my hold
Through life’s fearful path
For my love is often cold
He must hold me fast

Chorus:
He will hold me fast
He will hold me fast
For my Savior loves me so
He will hold me fast

Those He saves are His delight
Christ will hold me fast
Precious in His holy sight
He will hold me fast
He’ll not let my soul be lost
His promises shall last
Bought by Him at such a cost
He will hold me fast

CHORUS

For my life He bled and died
Christ will hold me fast
Justice has been satisfied
He will hold me fast
Raised with Him to endless life
He will hold me fast
Till our faith is turned to sight
When he comes at last

CHORUS”
— ORIGINAL WORDS VV 1-2 BY ADA HABERSHONNEW WORDS AND MUSIC BY MATT MERKER©2013 GETTY MUSIC PUBLISHING (BMI) / MATT MERKER MUSIC (BMI) (ADMIN BY MUSICSERVICES.ORG)