Table In The Wilderness

“Thou preparest a table for me in the presence of mine enemies.” Psalm 23:5

In one of the most famous Psalms, David writes about his valley experience. Reading this, it is evident that there is value in the valley. We learn the following things: 

1. The Lord is our Shepherd

2. He will provide our needs

3. He is a Leader who take us to a place of peace and down righteous paths. 

4. He is a Restorer. 

5. He is with us in the face of evil. 

6. He is a Comforter.

7. Even in the midst of our enemies, He will provide. 

8. He will annoint us with oil. 

9. Our cups will remain full. 

10. Goodness and mercy will follow us until the end of days. 

11. We will dwell in His house forever. 

No wonder this Psalm is so well known and loved. The comfort it offers is palatable. Is there anything that He won’t do for us?! 

Not only does He prepare, meaning to produce, arrange, and assemble a table for us, He does so in the presence of our enemies. The preparation alone suggests that it won’t be an ordinary setting. Because it has been prepared by the Lord Himself, it would be a table unlike any other. 

And He sets this beautiful table in the middle of the valley, a place of despair and woe. Imagine if you can, walking through a valley and beholding a table set specifically with you in mind. A table in the wilderness is certainly not a typical sight.

In backdrop of this table is all of your enemies-literal and figurative who serve as witness to the overwhelming, everlasting love that God has for you. He doesn’t restore you back to life in secret, He does so openly and intentionally in the presence of those who despise you. 

God is a Provider who takes care of what belongs to Him in both mountain and valley moments.  His people are fed spiritual manna known fittingly as the Bread of Life and drink from overflowing fountains of Living Water. 

He invites all who are hungry, thirsty, despairing, and vulnerable to sit at His table and get rest for our weary, burdened souls. 

Only one question remains, will you accept the invitation? Will you dine with the Lord? 

He Who Finds

“He who findeth a wife, findeth a good thing.” Proverbs 18:22

Many women are frustrated at their single status. But in my humble opinion, most are approaching marriage wrong. The book of Proverbs clearly says “He who FINDETH a wife…” That means that it is not up to the woman to locate a husband. Thus the man must do the searching and procuring. 

And when we do go looking and find, what we do land is usually not worthy of us. We are cautioned not to throw our pearls before swine for a reason. This pattern is repeated over and over-searching and finding with terrible results. 

A godly man who is actively pursuing a wife is guided by the Lord. A woman looking for a husband is often guided by loneliness, fear, a biological time clock, financial stability or all of the above. You can end up with unnecessary heartache when you are unequally yoked-trust me on this one. 

In the meanwhile, ladies, are you worth finding? Are you a Proverbs 31 woman? If the answer is no, it would be wise of you to redeem the time and develop yourself in order to be a worthy wife. Every woman with the title is qualified or deserving. Marriage is a holy institution of God and should be approached with reverence. 

Our Father has a future and a hope for us all. If He put it in your heart to be a wife, it will happen. He already knows whose rib you were fashioned from. He knows whose “helpmate”He designed you to be. 

Remember, there is beauty in every stage of life, even singlehood. You can be used by God like no other time before. Embrace the gift. And before you know it, you will be found by your God ordained mate. 

Paint the Sky

“I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.” Genesis 9:13

 
Last week we had an evening rain shower. While there isn’t anything usual about that considering it’s autumn in Indianapolis, the aftermath was a sight to behold. Thankfully my door was open and I was able to revel in the splendor of the Most High.  

The picture fails to do it justice. It was eerily beautiful. The sky was a myriad of magnificent  hues from His paint brush. It glowed as if a ultra-violent lamp had been positioned over earth. I was awestruck and near tears. I haven’t seen a rainbow in years. 

I’ve often felt that God speaks to me through His majestic skies and that day His message, the storm is over, was loud and clear. The feeling was so palpable that I half expected Him to appear. 

I felt such peace and gratitude that I was able to see the Master Artist at work again. And in the form of the rainbow. That rainbow renewed my belief that although “weeping may last a night, joy cometh in the morning.” Psalm 30.5 He painted the sky, no doubt, as a visual reminder to me that my troubles won’t last always. 

We serve a God who keeps His promises; He who is as constant as the Northern Star He formed. Thank You Father for this lovely reminder which was like water for my parched soul. 

 

Thankful Thursday 

“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

I find so much joy in simply waking up in the morning. I am thankful that God chose to breathe the breath of life into me. Everyone did not receive this new morning mercy. 

Most of us are “rich” in ways we take for granted. Our first world woes have no comparison to the real disparity of third world countries. What they live through we could never endure. We wear out the knees of our pants and they wear out their knees, to paraphrase a line from The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. 

But even when we are living in lack, bearing an illness, dealing with wayward children, working  stressful jobs, and facing rejection among other pressing issues, we have to find something to be thankful for. We are asked to give thanks in “everything.” The concept is a hard one to fathom. For who can be thankful in the midst of a divorce? Debt? Domestic violence? Homelessness? Infertility? Hunger? Depression? War? Poverty? Racism? Terrorism? Injustice? Addiction?

I’ll admit, I am not always thankful for my trials. However, one thing I have learned from them is that they draw me closer to God like nothing else. When things are going well, I tend to place God on the back burner. But as soon as things fall apart, I’m racing to Him for solace. 

Cliched, but true, gratitude is an attitude that must be cultivated. Bad times serve to make us appreciative of the good. When we have this healthy balance it is easier to deal with trouble as we know it doesn’t last and can be used for our good or someone else’s. 

I’ve also learned that we can be thankful in everything because what we go through can help someone else. This alone can make hardship worthwhile. 

And lastly, a trial is soul refining. It purges impurities and gets you ready for the next battle. 

This week, remember these three things as you consider your attitude about the troubles you face: 

1. They humble you. 

2. They make you whole. 

3.They make you hunger for God. 

Fear Not

“You shall not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flies by day.” Psalm 91:5

There have been some heinous recent world events. The senseless violence has left many shaken. When I first heard about the attacks in Paris, I felt breathless. Helpless. Hopeless. Devastated. Terrorism is a growing problem all over the world. 

But I quickly encouraged myself by remembering that the Bible says “Do not be afraid of sudden terror, Nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes” Proverbs 3:25-26. We are also cautioned that we will face “perilous times hard to deal with.” That’s why it is important that we walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” Ephesians 5:15-16. 

So how do we count it all joy? Especially when it seems that the terrorists are winning? The answer is more obvious than it appears. As Christians we know that we can’t look at how things are. We have the hope of Christ which in turn gives us the faith we need to believe for what we can’t see. 

Even with everything going on around us we can still be of good cheer as the Prince of Peace instructs. ISIS may be winning battles, but the Lord will win the war because He has overcome the world. He is the Great I Am. 

But what we can do is pray. And pray. And pray some more. We can pray for the kingdom of God to come. For His will to be done. On earth as it is in heaven. We can pray for those preying on the innocent. We must pray for their forgiveness from the Father for they clearly know not what they do. Woe to them. They have no idea of the magnitude of the repercussions they will shortly face. To borrow the title of a Tolstoy short story, God sees the truth, but waits. That I have no doubt of. 

I pray they we are all able to take heart, brace ourselves, and seek comfort in the Lord. He sees. He knows. He will deliver us in His perfect timing saints! 

Thankful Thursday

“You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” 2 Corinthians 9:11
I decided to change this weekly post up a bit. Instead of focusing on the day, I decided I’d discuss what I’m thankful for the entire week. So let the gratitude begin!

1. I’m thankful that I made it to church and was able to fellowship with likeminded believers.

2. On Wednesday I woke up late. Thankfully, a coworker graciously covered class for me.

3. I don’t have a lot of friends, but I have a couple that I can count on in lean times. We support each other on a regular basis via text messages, phone call, and literal face time.

4. I made it to vote for our city’s new mayor. Being able to do my civic duty is a blessing.

5. I was able to assist someone with their needs.  It was a great feeling that God used me to accomplish this mission.

6. The weather has been really delightful this fall season. I’m thankful for the extra days of sunshine.

7. Even though I’ve been super tired lately and certainly didn’t feel like going grocery shopping, I’m truly thankful that I was able to afford to do so. Our pantry, refrigerator, cupboards, and deep freezer overflows. Thank You Lord.

8. I took my boys to have family portraits made. Although it’s just the three of us, I am completely grateful to have the children I do. I enjoy spending time with them. And the pictures are quite lovely.

9. I was able to buy two precious new babies, Giselle and Madison welcome gifts.

Try This

Today while driving an idea popped in my mind. I started using signage to praise and recall the word of God.

 For instance, I saw the motel Drury Inn and thought of the scripture “And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7 I thank God for His gift of Christ-the Prince of Peace. Even in the midst of the last days, there is still power in His holy, mighty name! 

The next sign I saw was for Church Brothers Collision Repair. “For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.” 1 Corinthians 12:12. We are to serve others in order for the church to function. The church is an earthly representation of the literal body of Christ. We are His Hands and Feet on earth while He reigns in heaven. Many of us forget this precious truth-myself included. 

Then I saw Nail Art. “So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” John 20:25 We are made whole by the many holes He suffered on our behalf. A perfect being who took on the transgressions of the world. He is our hope. The way. The truth. The life. The light. 

And Heritage Christian School. “And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” Acts 11:26 We are His earthly followers and namesakes. Through him we receive strength to continue His ministry. It is our job to spread the Good News to the ends of the earth. I’m proud to be a member of the body of Christ! 

Seeing Starbuck’s made me recall “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” Matthew 2:2 His star can’t help but shine forth with the miracle of the resurrection! With Christ, anything is possible. He has left His star to light the way for His people.