More and more I'm becoming aware of my "widowhood". Some days I'm not consciously aware of it, and other days it raises up and slaps my heart. For the first year after my husband's death, I still referred to myself as married (I'm still here but he has moved on). But no matter how I word it, the fact is that yes, I am a widow. I don't want to be; but somehow it has become a part of God's plan for me.
But still.....people like to "help" widows and I have this attitude that says "I don't want to be helped". Not to be nasty or mean, but I admit, that is how I feel most of the time. Maybe it's because for twenty years I was a pastor's wife... I served God under my husband's authority and I did it joyfully. If there was a need, I was there to help... When James died, it was like all of a sudden (actually it was just that "sudden") people were everywhere wanting to help me. Praise God for their willingness to do so. However, I'm the one who should be helping others, not the other way around.... Or at least that's what I thought. It's been hard to learn to accept help.
I can see why it's so hard for many pastors today to care for their flocks because they have people like me who don't always want to be helped.... OY VEY! Does that convict me? Yes, yes it does.
So as long as I'm rambling today, I have to ask myself what am I going to do about it?
The answer to that is, "I don't know". What I do know however is that I am making it a matter of serious prayer. I am going to search scripture to see what God has to say about our willingness to be served as well as to serve.
I love it when God challenges me like this....I love the questions that lead me to His written word.... Perhaps as you are reading this, you may have some thoughts of your own that can help me and others like me.. I pray that you will feel led to email me or leave a comment on this blog...
The struggle continues.....
My life before salvation was a mish mash of rebellion and disobedience. When I hit rock bottom I met Jesus.. He picked me up, had me to be still for a season, then He sent me out to the unknown. This is not something new that God does. In Genesis 12:1, God sends Abram out; in Genesis 12:4, Abram goes (obediently).
God sent me out to an unknown future.. A future that turned out to be better than any I could have planned for myself.
Fast forward to today....
After my husband's death, God put me in a place of "stillness" again so that I could heal. This stillness was not the result of disobedience but rather a result of God's amazing love.
As I waited on God, I realized that He was leading me to an unknown future once again. Like Abram, I didn't know where I was going, only that God would show me.
If I have learned anything at all during these past years, it's that God IS Faithful!
As a result of my obedience to Him, I am now secure in a new church home, with a new pastor and a new family (been there over a year now). There is no greater support group outside of the family of God.
My prayer for you today is that you have followed God in obedience, even to the "unknown", so you can experience for yourself, His Amazing Grace... but if you haven't, please consider it right now.. God Has A Plan
I am pretty sure that everyone, Christian or not, has heard the account of Noah's Ark, the flood and the rainbow. However, you may be the very person reading this that has never really seen what God really said.
Here in East Texas we get a lot of rain showers throughout the year. Some with thunder and lightning; some with heavy rain and some that lasts for days. Even as a child it was always exciting for me to see the rainbow that would appear after the rain. I remember well that my mom used to tell me that the rainbow is a reminder to us that God will never destroy mankind with a flood ever again. And that my friend is something that I carried in my heart for so many years..
As an adult believer, I learned that even though what mom told me, there was so much more to that scripture. Genesis 9:11-17 gives the account of this event... God's covenant with Noah and "all living flesh" on the earth. But wait.... take a closer look at verse 15. God said (speaking of His bow) "I will remember my covenant between you and me and every living creature of all flesh...."
The life changing words here are "I will remember"!
This is a promise from God and every time He sees His rainbow, it reminds Him of His promise. Think about how many rainbows you have seen in your lifetime. Now then, if every time you saw a rainbow you were reminded of God's promise, good for you.
My prayer for you today is that from this point on, whenever you see a rainbow, you will remember that God put it there as a reminder to Himself, and take time to simply say "Thank You God"..
Always remember, God DOES keep His promises....in His time and in His way....
The message of Noah's ark (Genesis 6-9) is so profound. As a child I sat amazed at how all those animals could fit in a "boat". But today as an adult I see so much more. Here are some phrases that have really resonated with me.
In Genesis 7 we see the destruction caused from mankind's disobedience to God. We also see that all living things on earth perished in the flood and (here it comes) "only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark". Genesis 7:23b... I can't even imagine what it would be like to be the only humans left alive. Just my family and no one else. Only Noah.... think about that for a moment... what if it were you? Only (insert your name here).
But it didn't end there... Genesis 8:1 tells us that "God remembered Noah...." There is no record of it, but do you think that Noah may have been just a bit scared? Maybe... however Noah always trusted God and was obedient to Him.
God always remembers us as well....He never EVER forgets. He leaves us in the "ark" until we He knows we are able to move on...
The other phrase that jumped out at me is found in Genesis 8:9. Noah had sent out a Raven to see if there was dry land and there was not. He then sends out a dove but she returned to him because again, there was no dry land yet. Look what Noah does... he put out his hand and brought her into the ark with him.
Look closer.... he, Noah, put out his hand (offering her a solution to her problem of no place to land); then he brought her into the ark with him. (Providing a place of safety and security).
Do you see where I am going with this now? Jesus puts out His hand, offering all mankind the gift of salvation and when we accept it, He brings us into His Ark where we find a place of safety and security....
It's just that simple....
My reading this morning took me to Genesis Chapter Three. How many times in my 70 years have I heard and read this account? Yet, every time that I do, I learn something new.
Verse 6 (ESV) reads in this way:
So, when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took and she ate....
Now then, we all know this true story, but have we ever really connected the dots?
This is what has jumped out at me today. (not that I didn't already know this, but today it appeared different)
There are three things that caused Eve to sin..But the very first thing she did is found in VS 1-5 where she carries on a conversation with the serpent and she "listens" to his lies,
Because she listened, then she saw, she recognized that it was a delight, and then she desired what it could do for her.
When I replace the word tree with the word sin, it really makes an impact on just what is going on here...
Sin is sin and there is no getting around it. Regardless of how much we reason, there will be consequences. In this case the consequence was immediate...not only that but those same consequences have continued throughout all generations...
Praise God our story doesn't end there. God sent His Son, Jesus Christ to take the consequences of our sin upon Himself... Because of His death, burial and resurrection, we now have the opportunity to choose Eternity with God or Eternal separation...
The choice is yours.....
**To read about God's Plan click HERE
*Refusing to act leaves a person paralyzed, exactly where they were previously. But once they act, they are never the same.
*Once I press myself into action, I immediately begin to live. Anything less is merely existing.
I can't seem to get away from these truths. My wonderful James has been gone for two years (November 10th). It's been an
emotional roller coaster for me. I continue to miss him more rather than less.
BUT GOD... But God has taught me so much and I realize that through this journey I have become stronger in my relationship with Jesus Christ. I have learned that obedience is a blessing even when I am sure I cannot go on.
At first I refused to act on God's word, and yes, I was paralyzed, staying exactly where I had been previously. BUT, when I obeyed God, my life changed. I learned to "press" myself into action (minister in the ordinary moments of everyday life). Looking back I see how I was merely existing....(not a good place for me to be).
But again, God has a plan for my life (and yours) and I shall continue to follow Him in obedience the very best that I can....
Psalm 8:3 & 4.....
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is mankind that You are mindful of them, human beings that You care for them?
Today I am thankful for the incredible creation that God Himself has provided for our enjoyment. Many who live in the cities are seldom able to see the stars due to the many lights....
But, out where we live, we have that opportunity to "look up" and not only see the stars, but to see God's fingerprints on all of creation...
Thank You God for creating such an amazing show of Your splender..night after night after night.....
How many times have you been away from home only to return and as you walk into the house you hear yourself say, "It's so good to be home".
I recently returned from a week long trip. It was amazing; not only did I have a great time but I also experienced new things. This trip drew me out of my comfort zone...it was all good.
Walking into my house, I uttered these very same words, "it's so good to be home". As I was getting settled in I kept thinking about that phrase. What does that mean anyway? What is a home and why is it always "good" to be there?
The Dictionary says a home is:
**the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.
**of or relating to the place where one lives.
**any place of residence
For me, home is where I feel safe, I can be me, it's a "no judgement zone" where I know that I am loved unconditionaly. I love my home, it's small and humble and I am content.
However, my physical home is not truly the home that I long for... There is another home, my final home where I can say "its so good to be home" and I will know that I never have to leave it again...not ever!
Here is another definition found in the dictionary: Home a place of refuge: a heavenly home.
Did you catch that? A HEAVENLY HOME.
God has promised true believers that one day we will all be coming "home"...
"In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.
1 Corinthians 2:9
But, as it is written,”What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Who wouldn't want to live in a home like that? My question to you is, are you sure that you will be going to the home that God has prepared for those who love him?
If so, then I can say to you now,
SEE YA AT THE HOUSE!
All the articles this far were written during the time period from the early 1990's to 2011. I chose to add them in this blog with the hope that they will help just one person.. My prayer is for that person to be you...
Living By Grace... Marti