While browsing through the blog updates I get every morning, I saw a post from a dear friend whose hopes seem to have been dashed to bits. My heart instantly went out to her because I too have had those moments in my life. Moments when you get some type of news that seems to deflate you on the spot. My most recent was just this past week.
Our five-year old daughter had been hurt on our trampoline (dont’ get me started on the guilt and regret I feel for letting her do front flips in the first place…) and the doctors told me she’d broken her tiny shoulder. Knowing in my gut that the treatment they’d sent us home with wasn’t enough, I took her to Children’s Hospital over an hour away. I knew that something wasn’t right, but I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach when they told me that the treatment the county hospital had done was actually making the break worse! So many emotions ran through me in that moment; sorrow, disbelief, anger (well more like rage if I’m going to be honest), but mostly I felt overwhelmingly guilty. I had let her jump on that accident waiting to happen. I had taken her to the county hospital known for their uncanny ability to misdiagnose almost everything. I had taken her back to that same hospital a second time, wasting precious days, all the while their treatment was actually harming my precious baby. In that moment, I could barely breathe thinking on my role in this very common childhood injury.
My ‘go to’ verse for times when life seems to be suffocating me is from my favorite book in God’s Word, 1 Peter 1:6-7:
” 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
The old saying: “Everything has its season” has its roots in this verse. I know my daughter won’t have a broken arm for the rest of her life. It will heal. (It’s already healing quite well in fact, Praise God!) My dear friends’ hard times won’t last forever. All things work for His good, and these times, these moments, they only come to strengthen our faith. And I thank God that He thinks I’m strong enough to go through this right now, and I know to lean on Him when it gets too hard for me to breathe.
“All the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted.” — Ezekiel 3:7
Are there no exceptions? No, not one. Even the favoured race are thus described. Are the best so bad?—then what must the worst be? Come, my heart, consider how far thou hast a share in this universal accusation, and while considering, be ready to take shame unto thyself herein thou mayst have been guilty. The first charge is impudence, or hardness of forehead, a want of holy shame, an unhallowed boldness in evil. Before my conversion, I could sin and feel no compunction, hear of my guilt and yet remain unhumbled, and even confess my iniquity and manifest no inward humiliation on account of it. For a sinner to go to God’s house and pretend to pray to Him and praise Him argues a brazen‐facedness of the worst kind! Alas! since the day of my new birth I have doubted my Lord to His face, murmured unblushingly in His presence, worshipped before Him in a slovenly manner, and sinned without bewailing myself concerning it. If my forehead were not as an adamant, harder than flint, I should have far more holy fear, and a far deeper contrition of spirit. Woe is me, I am one of the impudent house of Israel. The second charge is hardheartedness, and I must not venture to plead innocent here. Once I had nothing but a heart of stone, and although through grace I now have a new and fleshy heart, much of my former obduracy remains. I am not affected by the death of Jesus as I ought to be; neither am I moved by the ruin of my fellow men, the wickedness of the times, the chastisement of my heavenly Father, and my own failures, as I should be. O that my heart would melt at the recital of my Saviour’s sufferings and death. Would to God I were rid of this nether millstone within me, this hateful body of death. Blessed be the name of the Lord, the disease is not incurable, the Saviour’s precious blood is the universal solvent, and me, even me, it will effectually soften, till my heart melts as wax before the fire.
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them” (Psalm 127:4-5a)
Call me crazy, but I just love kids. Therefore, making the decision to homeschool our four children wasn’t difficult. It was simply a result that grew out of love. What did seem crazy, however, were the countless, negative remarks I received from people who felt bogged down by the responsibilities of parenting. Such comments like, “Why in the world would you want to stay home with your kids?” or “I can hardly wait until they’re ready for school, so I can enjoy my life again,” seemed as crazy to me as my homeschooling did to them. In response I thought, “Why wouldn’t you want to spend time with the people you love most?”
Treasuring the blessings of children is a foreign concept to most. Although many couples love and enjoy their children, there are also couples who view children as an inconvenience. Wanting to get ahead in the world, they only have time to enjoy their children in small doses and pass off the major responsibility for their children’s care, education, and entertainment to others. However, the Lord’s view on children is different. God calls them blessings and “rewards” (Psalm 127:3). Through the eyes of children, you appreciate the wonder of God’s world and maintain a heart that is soft and compassionate. Children also teach you to forgive easily, love unselfishly, and enjoy the blessings of the moment.
How are you feeling about your children today? Do you view each one as a blessing, even in the toughest times? Admittedly, homeschooling your children is a huge responsibility that requires a great deal of self-sacrifice. However, even in the worst of your homeschooling moments, the blessings they bring far outweigh any burden involved. Ask parents who have been homeschooling more than a few years, and they’ll tell you the same story — their children are their greatest treasures. What about yours?
Father, forgive me when I take the world’s view toward my children. Just as You treasure me as Your precious child, humble my heart and teach me to love my own children, too. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
“Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.” — Psalm 119:49
Whatever your special need may be, you may readily find some promise in the Bible suited to it. Are you faint and feeble because your way is rough and you are weary? Here is the promise—“He giveth power to the faint.” When you read such a promise, take it back to the great Promiser, and ask Him to fulfil His own word. Are you seeking after Christ, and thirsting for closer communion with Him? This promise shines like a star upon you—“Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Take that promise to the throne continually; do not plead anything else, but go to God over and over again with this—“Lord, Thou hast said it, do as Thou hast said.” Are you distressed because of sin, and burdened with the heavy load of your iniquities? Listen to these words—“I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions, and will no more remember thy sins.” You have no merit of your own to plead why He should pardon you, but plead His written engagements and He will perform them. Are you afraid lest you should not be able to hold on to the end, lest, after having thought yourself a child of God, you should prove a castaway? If that is your state, take this word of grace to the throne and plead it: “The mountains may depart, and the hills may be removed, but the covenant of My love shall not depart from thee.” If you have lost the sweet sense of the Saviour’s presence, and are seeking Him with a sorrowful heart, remember the promises: “Return unto Me, and I will return unto you;” “For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee.” Banquet your faith upon God’s own word, and whatever your fears or wants, repair to the Bank of Faith with your Father’s note of hand, saying, “Remember the word unto Thy servant, upon which Thou hast caused me to hope.”
“Noah did everything just as God commanded him” (Gen 6:22).
When God chooses to do something on the earth He uses a man or woman to accomplish it. It is a partnership that is very one sided. God got the worst part of the deal.
God got to a very bad place with the human race. He decided to start over. He was going to wipe out the entire population and begin afresh. He chose one man to place His entire strategy around. Can you imagine that? God placed His entire plan around one man. Why? Because He could trust him. The Bible says Noah did everything just as God commanded him. He didn’t argue with God. He didn’t take short cuts. He listened and he obeyed.
Who was this man Noah? “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God” (Gen 6:9-10). When it came time to execute God’s plan, He chose Noah to build a big boat. However, Noah had no idea what a boat was or how to build one. So, God told him how to build it. He gave him the dimensions; the height, width, space requirements – everything he needed to complete the task.
God will instruct us in performing our work too. God is in partnership with us in our working life. He has given us the tools, the creativity, and the drive to accomplish what He placed us on earth to do. That partnership requires us to listen to our senior partner though because He knows the exact way our project is to be done. And when you follow His direction that project will be excellent in every way.
“Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, The Holy One of Israel: ‘I am the LORD your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go'” (Isaiah 48:17).
Do you need God to show you how to succeed in your call? Ask for His wisdom and understanding. God says he will give it generously (James 1:5).
“The LORD is King for ever and ever.” — Psalm 10:16
Jesus Christ is no despotic claimant of divine right, but He is really and truly the Lord’s anointed! “It hath pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell.” God hath given to Him all power and all authority. As the Son of man, He is now head over all things to His church, and He reigns over heaven, and earth, and hell, with the keys of life and death at His girdle. Certain princes have delighted to call themselves kings by the popular will, and certainly our Lord Jesus Christ is such in His church. If it could be put to the vote whether He should be King in the church, every believing heart would crown Him. O that we could crown Him more gloriously than we do! We would count no expense to be wasted that could glorify Christ. Suffering would be pleasure, and loss would be gain, if thereby we could surround His brow with brighter crowns, and make Him more glorious in the eyes of men and angels. Yes, He shall reign. Long live the King! All hail to Thee, King Jesus! Go forth, ye virgin souls who love your Lord, bow at His feet, strew His way with the lilies of your love, and the roses of your gratitude: “Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all.” Moreover, our Lord Jesus is King in Zion by right of conquest: He has taken and carried by storm the hearts of His people, and has slain their enemies who held them in cruel bondage. In the Red Sea of His own blood, our Redeemer has drowned the Pharaoh of our sins: shall He not be King in Jeshurun? He has delivered us from the iron yoke and heavy curse of the law: shall not the Liberator be crowned? We are His portion, whom He has taken out of the hand of the Amorite with His sword and with His bow: who shall snatch His conquest from His hand? All hail, King Jesus! we gladly own Thy gentle sway! Rule in our hearts for ever, Thou lovely Prince of Peace.