Meditation: God’s Goodness

Meditation from Psalm 107. God is good and his mercy endures forever! I am redeemed! He is restoring my soul day by day. He meets me in grief. He rejoices with me. I praise His name. I can say, “Happy is the woman, who is forgiven!” Restored

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,

O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,

whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy;

His mercy endures forever.

O that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,

and for His wonderful works to the children of men!

For He satisfies the longing soul,

and fills the hungry soul with goodness,

O that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,

and for His wonderful works to the children of men!

And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving,

and declare His works with rejoicing.

O that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,

and for His wonderful works to the children of men!

Let them exalt Him also in the assembly of the people,

and praise Him in the company of the elders.

O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;

For His mercy endures forever.

From Powerful to Powerless??!??

Power is intoxicating. Always has been. Eve wanted to be like God knowing good and evil. Taking on a role that did not belong to her, she ate the forbidden fruit to find wisdom. Isn’t that what we want? We want to be in control of our lives in every way. forbidden fruitShe wanted exactly what we want, “to be like God.”

We are in control.  If I keep a tight control over my house, I can control my children. If I love my husband, then he must love me back. I am in control of my life, knowing what is right and wrong. I have a strict code of do’s and don’ts. If I follow them, God is obligated to reward me with the desires of my heart. I’ve got my routine. I’ve got my goals.

Then life throws me a curve ball. That old hurt of a broken self-image roars to life.

That’s ok. I’ve got this. I just need to lose weight. I will try harder!  I’ll come up with a better routine! I just need to focus more. It’s all the toxic people around me.  I need a new job, house… husband.  I need to get more involved in church, more prayer, more bible study, more responsibility!!!!!!

Exhausted!!!!

Many of us are in denial about our lust for power to control our lives and the people around us.

altogether

See. I got it altogether! No messes!

We find euphemisms to hide behind as we disable our feelings to keep up the image. We build walls around us, so that people can’t see the hurt. We are constantly drained of energy. We isolate ourselves to keep others from hurting us.  We’ve been in pain for so long, relying on ourselves and our abilities.

In so much popular women’s ministry today, there is a voice that initially will sound right. I’ve been to a lot women’s conferences, where I was told I am worthy. I am beautiful. I am powerful. I’ve heard things like this,

“The arm of the Lord is not too short to deliver you, to provide for you, to vindicate you, to promote you. You’re about to see God take you where you couldn’t go on your own.”

“God’s not trying to take something from you; He’s trying to get something better to you. If you’ll trust Him and do what you know you need to do, you’ll come into a new level of your destiny.”

Who doesn’t want to be beautiful and worthy? Who doesn’t want a new level of destiny to be achieved by our good works? I want to be healed by the Presence of God without confession or repentance. A quick miracle, and my relationships are healed. I don’t have to admit that I was wrong. Forgiveness doesn’t cost me anything. In 2 Timothy 3, Paul warns us that there will be people who hold to a form religion but deny its power. If I alone am beautiful, worthy, and powerful. What do I do with Revelation 4:11?

“Our Lord and God, You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because You have created all things, and because of Your will they exist and were created.”

What do I do with Romans 7?

For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I do not do the good I want to do…

We have to admit that we are powerless to control ourselves and our world. The first step into God’s presence is submission and repentance. No one gets to skip this step. We have to uncover ourselves by confessing we’ve been living for ourselves. We are weak. We are filled with all kinds unrighteousness. When Paul writes a list of possible sins, adultery, envy, and murder are listed right next to disputes, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful, and disobedient to parents

God will not override our normal operating system.

He is compassionate, not wanting to humiliate us.  Look at the story of Adam and Eve.  After they sinned, they heard God walking in the garden, and hid themselves.  God did not expose them. His presence alone didn’t heal them. He didn’t overwhelm them with his power.  He gently called them to come out.  Adam and Eve had to choose to come out from behind the bush of denial and admit they were powerless to resist evil.  They chose to humble themselves. God loves us so much that he doesn’t want us to exhaust ourselves being powerful.  He confronts us, so that we can stop hiding from Him and enjoy His presence. 

Are we enjoying God’s presence? Or, are we still trying to be powerful, trying to control our world and the people in our world?  Are we disabling our feelings? Then there is a stronghold there. Some of us blend Animism with our Christianity. If we say or do certain things, then God will respond in certain ways.  If we tithe, God will bless us.  If we pray, God will do what we ask.  My flat tire this morning happened because I yelled at my child before school.  I know a lady with a drawer full of fortunes from Chinese fortune cookies that thinks God is using them to speak directly to her. She leads a women’s ministry at a church. We ascribe spiritual significance to the material world.  Essentially, we as Christians believe that we are powerful enough to control God and the world around us by human means.  We’ve used Christian language to dress up our quest for power over our world.  

Everything in us will resist admitting that we are powerless, especially, if we’ve been made to feel powerless.

We try, but we cannot draw a straight line from our good deeds to blessings or bad deeds to suffering. Sometimes bad things happen.  Sometimes really good things happen.

Jeremiah cries out to us,

They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious.

                                                ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.

God’s truth is that in Christ we are acceptable and chosen, and He has the power to heal us! What are we in denial about today? What are we trying to control or manipulate?  Are we still struggling to admit we are powerless to save ourselves?  Are still trying to be good enough to be accepted? Are we more focused on our self-worth than God? Is there a stronghold we need to face?

Meditation: A Lamp And A Light

Today, we start a new series at McElwain Baptist Church, RESTORED. Sadly, I’m missing the first sermon because I’m home with “stomach” cramps. I can give testimony to His restoration! I am being restored! I am so thankful that Jesus redeemed me and is continually using His word to restore my life. This is my meditation for today. I need to be reminded that the Word of God is sweet and pure because sometimes it cuts deep, exposing my depravity. I must not fear the truth because as God cuts away my selfish desires I more clearly see His love for me.Restored

Meditation: A Lamp And A Light from the hymnal

Isaiah 40:8,2; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12; Psalms 19, 119

The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the Word of our God stands forever!

All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

The Word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword.

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.

The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.

The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the hear.

The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever.

The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous.

They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; In keeping them there is great reward.

Teach me knowledge and good judgement for I believe in your commands.

I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.

Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.

Praise be to You, O Lord; teach me Your decrees with my lips I recount all the laws that come from Your mouth. I rejoice in following Your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.

My heart is set on keeping Your decrees to the very end. Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law.

I meditate on Your precepts

I consider Your ways.

I delight in Your decrees.

I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You. It is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

What is in a name?

Most of us in America are named because our parent’s like the sound of the name, it’s a family name, or it’s a popular name. What I love about many other cultures is that most people know what there name means. In the Bible God’s name is significant. We are even familiar with some of them. Abba means Daddy, Jehova Jira the Provider, El Shaddai, God Almighty. God proved himself to be the “God Who Sees Beforehand.”Chairo

Kai Marshall, being the fifth child and fourth boy of a family, where all the children’s first names start with hard K sound and the middle name starts with an M, not many names are left. Coming up with a name for him was not easy. As if that wasn’t enough, he was conceived during very difficult times for our family.

Determined to celebrate that the Lord granted my request for another child, I searched for a meaningful name. During the Young Adults Bible study in Philippians 4, I was reminded of the Greek word for Rejoice, Chairo (said with a hard K). Jon and I played with it for a while. I told one of my friends, and she looked at me without missing a beat and says, “Chairo… You’re going to name him after the capital of Egypt?” Um…No.

My spiritual dad from Hawaii says, “Name him after my Hawaiian name. David is Kawika.” So, we started looking at Hawaiian names, and came across Kai meaning water. But this is the time of relativism, and things mean what you want them to mean, right? We took Chairo and shortened it to Kai, reminding us to rejoice no matter the circumstances.

Sunday morning, June 22, the puzzle pieces came together. As we sat, in our grief, trying to see through the tears, I heard my friend’s voice from that Young Adult Bible study say, “Maybe we don’t have peace because we’re praying, but we’re not being thankful.” Philippians 4:4-7 overwhelmed my soul. How do I have peace when I am so broken? How do I breath? How do I rejoice? How does my heart not become bitter and angry? How…How…HOW LORD DO I HOLD ON TO YOU?

Lift one hand to the Lord in prayer. Taking all your petitions and worries and griefs to the Lord in pray. Don’t leave one thought or feeling or worry hidden from His presence. Cry out to Him in the anguish of your soul. Lift up the other hand in thanksgiving. One steady theme has emerged for me in my reading of the scriptures. It’s like God has grabbed my face and said, “LOOK at Me. Worship Me. Hope in Me.” When I begin to view my life with eternity in mind the present sufferings are becoming smaller because I can see the Glory of the Cross. I can be thankful that MY GOD IS BIGGER than anything that I face. Thankfulness that God sought me and bought me with His redeeming blood!

It’s amazing that the very verses that have brought me hope and peace are the very verses that I found Kai’s name.

Chairo in the Lord always. I will say it again Kai!