Monday, August 24, 2009

trying times

Yesterday evening my "20 something" daughter shared with me that she was experiencing fear about her uncertain future and struggling to remain hopeful and peaceful. We talked and hugged and cried, but I could not alleviate her pain and suffering. During the night I woke up feeling restless, so I got out of bed and found a comfortable place to study God's Word. As I began the next lesson in my study guide I was surprised when I discovered the lesson was full of scriptures that specifically spoke to my daughter's heart! God's Word boldly and powerfully spoke to how Katelyn was feeling!

God so specifically ministered to my daughter and I through Scripture that I am compelled to write His words on my heart and remember them always and to share them with others who may be struggling. May God bless the reading of His word!

"The Father is with me, so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I've conquered the world!" John 16: 33 (The Message)

"When life gets really difficult, don't jump to the conclusion that God isn't on the job. Instead, be glad because this is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner."
1 Peter 4: 12, 13 (The Message)

"Consider it a gift when challenges come at you from all sides. Under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way."
James 1: 2 (The Message)

How does Christ support us in tough times? (The Message)
(1) He holds me steady with His firm grip. (Isaiah 41: 10)
(2) He prays for me that I will not give up or give in. (Luke 22:32)
(3) He strengthens the inner man through His Spirit. (Ephesians 3: 16)
(4) He stands with me. (2 Timothy 4: 17)

"Lord, write these words on my heart that I may live them out in faith."

Your daughter,
Faith Blue

Monday, June 29, 2009

Is Goldilocks in Your House?

Do you remember the story of The Three Bears? Goldilocks searches for the perfect porridge, chair and bed, and she is not satisfied until she finds the ones that are "just right." I was reminded of this story in a study guide I picked up this summer entitled Cultivating Contentment. The title caught my attention, because I find myself so often wanting more - more clothes, more home improvements, more time with my children. I want to lease a car so I can keep the latest model, update my home decor and add the latest styles to my wardrobe. Discontentment seems to gnaw away at my sense of peace and satisfaction.

In the midst of this struggle my heart was pricked when I read the author's suggestion that many of us, like Goldilocks, are searching for THE thing that feels "just right". For Goldilocks the search was quick and simple, however, many of us spend a lifetime searching. The things we've acquired do not bring us the fulfillment we anticipated they would. We discover that what we have is "too hot" or "too cold", "too soft" or "too hard". Even something we decided was "just right" only a couple of months ago no longer holds for us the satisfaction it did initially. Consequently, we find ourselves searching again and again for that thing which will satisfy the hunger in us. For example, how often do we change our minds about our home decor whether it be furniture, drapes or paint color? One of the latest and hottest trends is updating kitchens. Do I really need a gourmet kitchen? Will the ultimate kitchen bring me that "just right" feeling? How about clothes? Are we satisfied with the style of clothing we purchased only a couple of years ago? Do any of us frequently rearrange furniture because something about the room doesn't seem "just right?" What will it take to satisfy us? Are you content? Or like so many of the rest of us, are you complaining that what you have is "too hot" or "too cold" or "too soft" or "too hard?"

Throughout scripture God warns us about how to respond to our appetites. In Ecclesiastes, Solomon warns the Israelites their appetites would never be satisfied as long as they tried "to fill the void with empty things, things that do not profit." (Ecclesiastes 6: 7) The prophet Jeremiah tells God's people they had "changed their glory for that which does not profit." He explained the cisterns they built for themselves were broken and could hold no water. (Jeremiah 2: 5,8,11,13) In other words, as much as they tried they would never be able to fill them. The prophet Haggai reprimands the Israelites for going after things of this world and not being satisfied with what they had. "You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes." (Haggai 1:6) Isn't God's Word powerful!? It seems God is clear on the subject. God rebukes His people's attempts to fill their hunger with earthly things, and He warns against being overindulgent in their possessions. Notice, it was their response to wanting more rather than the desire itself for which God condemned His people.

I believe Scripture teaches us that as long as we are in this earthly body we will have a hunger for more. Why? Because we are created for eternity! We are made for so much more than this world could ever begin to satisfy! Scripture tells us that God has "set eternity in our hearts!" (Ecclesiastes 3: 11) Yes! We are eternal creatures living temporarily in an alien world. Our souls thirst for the living God! (Psalm 42:2) Scripture states our "citizenship is in heaven." (Philippians 3: 20) So, while we are here in this physical in our earthly tent our souls are longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven. (2 Corinthians 5: 1-8) "How long must I wait?" says the Psalmist. Even creation groans and eagerly waits to be redeemed and made complete (Romans 8: 22-23)
With eternity set in our hearts the human heart/soul cries out for heaven! Nothing or no one can quench our thirst! As long as we remain on this earth our souls will be restless, and we are unable to find true contentment until we see our Savior face to face.

From this perspective if we recognize that each twinge of dissatisfaction we feel is God's call to us to search for Him our yearnings may actually have redemptive value!
That hunger for more that we are trying to satisfy is actually a yearning within us to be filled with the very presence of God! To the Goldilocks in all of us I want to say "this world is not our home!" We are created to be with God by being reconciled through Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 5: 16-18) Wow! I am so thankful God wants me!!! Instead of seeking worldly things when I feel a hunger for more, I want to recognize God's call in each twinge of discontent and to turn to Him for fulfillment. I am thankful for the restlessness in my soul, because with it God is stirring up my longing for heaven by reminding me that this world is not my home! I pray God will continually grant me a heavenly perspective on my journey of desire by reminding me that my thirst for more is the size of eternity* which only God Himself can satisfy with His goodness. (Jeremiah 31: 14; Psalm 36: 8) So, to all the Goldilocks out there I say, "forget things of this world created by men!" The fabled Goldilocks can have all she wants of porridge, chairs and beds! The mansion my God creates for us in heaven will far exceed any dwelling made by man! In fact, scripture tells us God is preparing to fulfill our sense of hunger far beyond what we can even imagine! (1 Corinthians 2: 9; John 14: 1-3) May we settle for nothing less than a home in heaven! There will be plenty of the very best porridge and most comfy chairs! Beds will be equipped with those $5000 top of the line mattresses! Ahhh. . . . Seriously, will you join me in turning to God to fill you hunger with the knowledge, love and salvation that only comes from Almighty God? May we come to know Him and be changed by Him!

joy in Christ,
faith blue

Further Study: Psalm 145:16; Proverbs 30:8; Ecclesiastes 5:10; Proverbs: 23:4

Scripture for Prayer: Psalm 90:14; Psalm 65:4; Psalm 17:15

*Walsh, Sheila. "Cultivating Contentment", p. 10


Saturday, December 1, 2007

a long day

This week has been such a long one for the Harlows. It is so hard for me to be at home when Katelyn is in the hospital in Fort Worth. ( Katelyn is my younger daughter, and she was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was just 7 weeks old. She is now twenty-two!!!!) I feel I should be doing something with her and for her. Her sister Ashley has been such an AWESOME sister to Katelyn this week. I am so proud of her, and I am so thankful that the girls are close. She took Tuesday and today off from work to be available to help Katelyn and keep her company. Bob's schedule dictated how he and I would order our time with her. He took the first "shift" and was with her Wednesday through today. I was planning to go in the morning to spend the next 4 days with her. However, when I spoke with her today she told me she needed some time alone and would like to spend tomorrow by herself. No problem!! It's about Katelyn right now and what Katelyn needs. I truly respect her need to be alone. We are so much alike in that way. So, I will head out Sunday morning!

I tried going to work this week, but I was not able to concentrate and I was afraid I would make a mistake. My office is small and the walls began closing in on me after I had been there for just a few minutes. Waiting to see how Katelyn responds to her IV antibiotics really increases my level of anxiety. For some reason when I feel like this I have an inert need to keep moving. So, I left after only 1 1/2 hours. Sorry Shelli. I have spent most of my time alone the past 4 days. It is hard to be around people because I can't connect to what is going on in the outside world. To be honest, when I face the "demons" of CF that surface when Katelyn is hospitalized, I need it to be about me and my family. Deep down we are all really scared of where this disease process going. Most of the time we live our lives like everyone else and try not to think about it much. But, when the demon raises its beastly head, it takes our breath away and we have to work really hard just to keep breathing.

I have enjoyed so much Katelyn's blog. I am glad she is writing about what she is going through right now, and the pictures are definitely an added bonus for those of us that aren't there with her. Her optimism and strength are daily lessons for me.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

a nudge in the night

Awake again in the middle of the night. :( I was nudged by the Spirit to open God's Word. So, "I" decided to go back to Psalm 1, a place that had lain open on my table for serveral days, just waiting... Once again, thank you Spirit for not giving up on me. Truly , the mercy and grace of my God pours bountifully over me. His blood cleanses......His grace and mercy sustains!