Monday, June 21, 2010

He's There - Proclaim His Word

Hello Precious Ones!

As I have studied through "Lord Where Are You When Bad Things Happen?" I have prayed and asked the Lord to keep me focused on each of you. What is it that will help you on your journey of grief and also what will equip us to help other's who are suddenly thrust upon this unwelcome path?

Chapter Six holds the one necessary key to abundant life, daily, moment by moment, abundant, joyful life, irregardless of our tragic circumstances. It is the "one thing" that is needed - it is the "one thing" that has carried me and it will carry you.

"Mom, Let's be Mary's today!" I can still hear Melissa's excitement in her voice.

Chapter Six of "Lord Where Are You When Bad Things Happen?" begins with the story of Mary and Martha. I'm sure most of you are familiar with these two sisters. Mary loved to sit at Jesus' feet and listen to His Word while Martha was "distracted with much serving" and complained to Jesus about her sister. "And Jesus answered and said to her, 'Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.'" Luke 10:41-42

"But one thing is needed and Mary has chosen that good part" This phrase has an immediateness to it and it literally means "One thing is a necessity NOW! Mary chose for herself to be a partaker of it, that which is good, useful, pleasant, agreeable, joyful, happy and excellent!"

Very clearly this one necessary thing was to sit at Jesus' feet and hear His word. This and nothing less, this and nothing more. Mary knew how much her Savior loved her and she responded with adoration and complete devotion. The world around her disappeared as she looked into His face and listened to His Word. Her love for Him made her a willing learner who delighted in His presence and in His precepts.

Psalm 16:11 You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

This is the one thing that has carried me through my darkest valleys - it is the one thing that has given lasting strength, peace and fullness of joy. It is the one thing that continues to add excitement and passion for my life. It is the only thing that is needed and it is needed NOW for each of us. Melissa was able to walk through the valley of the shadow of death with beauty and glory because of her intimate walk with Christ. During the worst of her suffering I would hear her whisper, "Jesus" with love and adoration in her voice and I knew she was seated at His feet - Her favorite place to be. It was a habit in her life - it was and is a habit in my life and it is the ONLY thing needed.

Dearly beloved, remember that Jesus said, "But one thing is needed." Sitting at His feet, listening to His Word is all you need to make it through this life. He is always waiting for you and is willing to listen to your every care, every doubt or every fear. You can ask Him the tough questions as Habakkuk did and He will comfort your soul. Make spending time with Him your number one priority. Many times in our desperate need for help we run to every solution except Christ. Possibly you have tried Grief Share, Compassionate Friends or other grief helps or support groups to get you through. All of these may be good and helpful but do not let them take the place of sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to His Word. The solution for us is JESUS and the solution to the dear mom's we will be led to serve is JESUS.

This last week I spent some time with my son-in-law, Jeremy. I am continually blown away at God's amazing work in his life since Melissa's death. Last Tuesday he stepped out on the main stage at the Del Mar Fair and began to sing "Give Me Jesus." Just Jeremy, his keyboard and thousands singing, "you can have all this world, just give me Jesus." It was so powerful. Jesus, just give me Jesus! It's what has powerfully gotten Jeremy through the tragedy of his wife's death, it's what continues to carry me through and it is what will not only sustain you but will give you an abundant life! As Mary chose for herself to be a partaker of that which is good, useful, pleasant, agreeable, joyful, happy and excellent, so can we!

Let's be Mary's today!

Monday, June 7, 2010

He's There - There's A Purpose In It All

During times of trouble we have learned from Habakkuk to focus on the Sovereignty of God and His Character. Chapter five of our book study introduces us to a third component - There's a Purpose in it all! All three of these components work together to give us a proper perspective of life. So how can we know what God's purpose is? He tells us!

"I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and I will glorify Your Name forevermore." Psalm 86:12

"What is the chief end of man? Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever." I was musing on this thought while on my sickbed these past couple of weeks. I was totally knocked off my feet. I couldn't do my real estate work that I needed to do to help my husband, I couldn't do my Bible Study and fell behind in getting out my emails, I couldn't go to church, I couldn't serve anyone, I pretty much couldn't do anything except lie in bed, read a little, pray and muse. I was thinking about the people who are bound to a life that doesn't seem to have significance, doesn't seem to fit into the "God has a wonderful plan for your life" formula. Do you ever feel like you have to do something for God in order for your life to have purpose? What if you can't "do something?" does your life lose it's purpose? Have you ever felt like you needed to do something in order to give purpose to your child's death or to give their life meaning?

John 9:2 Now as Jesus passed by , He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him." "Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick." When Jesus heard that, He said, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it." John 11:3-4

I was thinking about the many times my husband has visited those who were very ill in the hospital. One lady in particular we will never forget. A year or so after Melissa's death Mark was called upon to visit a woman at the very same hospital. She just so happened to be in the same room where Melissa died. She was in despair. She had been in the hospital for a very long time, no one ever came to visit her, she couldn't understand why God kept her alive. She saw no purpose or significance in her life. Mark was able to share with her that her life did have significance and purpose. She was giving glory to God. Even if no one else was watching, God was with her, the angels were watching and were giving glory to God as she persevered. She could be confident that God was using her life for His eternal purposes. He was able to share with her Melissa's story and all the amazing works God had done in that special room. The Lord showed up that day to let a seemingly insignificant person know how special she was to Him and that her life gave Him pleasure and glory!

"to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord." Ephesians 3:10-11

Did you know that through the church (Believers), God manifests His glory to all those in the heavenly places? Think about that for a minute. God is showing Himself off to all the angels, all the principalities, all of heaven through our lives! "...there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repents." Luke 15:10 Heaven is watching and praising God as they observe God's wisdom manifested in us. Earth is center stage and we, Believers (the Church) are the stars. Whatever God is doing in our lives is for the manifestation of His glory!

As I laid in bed doing nothing, I praised God and trusted Him that He was being glorified through my life. I acknowledge that "I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and delivered Himself up for me" (Galatians 2:20) My life is His life and whatever He decides to do with it is His business. I don't have to DO anything except surrender my life for His! He will Do whatever He wills for His glory through me in His perfect timing. The one thing I know is that He will bring glory to Himself through my life because that is God's purpose!! I praised God that Melissa's life gave Him glory and that there was nothing I could do then or now to give her life more meaning, purpose or significance. She was His beautiful workmanship. He had a plan and a purpose for her life and the fulfillment of that is still ongoing. "Only You know Lord whether my life or my death will bring you more glory - so it is silly for me to worry about." (Melissa's journal) How amazing and beautiful to be so secure in God's eternal purposes and plans for our lives.

Just as God's purpose for my child's death was for His greatest glory in her life and in mine so you can be certain that the same is true for you. He obtained the greatest glory through your child's life and death no matter what the circumstances.
One day we will get to see it and we will be AMAZED - blown away I'm sure, by the "depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! 'For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor:' 'Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him?' For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen." Romans 11:33-36

Hang on dear one. Soon and very soon we are going to see The King!

Revelation 4:11 "You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created."

He's There- Remember Who He Is

Our last lesson taught us to trust in the sovereignty of God. He is in control. There is nothing that happens without God's permission. That may or may not be of comfort to you depending on your understanding of God's character. I recently met a woman whose son had just died of cancer. She told me that when her son got sick she joined the church, attended prayer meetings, fed the homeless and focused on doing good works, but her son still died. She wept and said, "I guess, I just didn't do enough penance." This dear precious woman understood that God was sovereign, that He was in control and that He alone makes the decision over life and death, but it did not bring her peace or comfort. Why?

"Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord . . ." 2 Peter 1:2 The word for "knowledge" in this verse implies a larger, more thorough and intimate knowledge of God. It also means precise and correct knowledge. Our peace, our comfort, our understanding and our stability is completely based on our personal, intimate, precise and correct knowledge of God. The more we really know God the more we know, comprehend and experience His grace and peace.

Jesus said in John 17:3 "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." This is a big deal! Knowing God should be and must be our number one priority. It begins with knowing Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. You can not know God without knowing Christ. Our knowledge of Him grows, matures and becomes more intimate as we spend time with Him through reading & studying His Word, through prayer and through faith as we learn to trust Him and believe what He says.

When Habakkuk was confused he rehearsed the character traits of the God he knew intimately. He reminded himself and He reminded God of Who He is. He had an intimate, precise and correct knowledge of God and this gave him peace in the midst of chaos. When that dear mom expressed her "view" of God, I reached out and hugged her and told her how precious she was to the Lord. That He was a God of love, mercy, grace and that He did not require "penance." I told her that the "enemy" was using her view of God as harsh to keep her from the very God that wanted to bring her peace and comfort. She needed The Word and a correct view of God in order to start the journey of healing.

"For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6 (Quoted by Jesus in Matt. 9:13; 12:7)

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives ... to set at liberty those who are oppressed." (Luke 4:18 & Isa. 61:1)

As Paul prayed for us to "increase in the knowledge of God" (Col 1:10) so I pray for each of us to increase in intimacy with precise and correct knowledge of our God and Savior Jesus Christ. May each of us know Him as our Merciful Savior, the Healer of our broken hearts and our Liberator who has freed us to live triumphantly, victoriously and joyously.

"but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 4:18