Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Test of Power

"A false witness shall perish: but the man that heareth speaketh constantly." Proverbs 21:28  [The Darby translation says speaketh unchallenged].

"He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour."  Proverbs 21:21

These are the verses that I heard on Moody radio this morning as I sat, parked in front of the courthouse nervously waiting for my hearing.  It was a sermon by Stephen Olford and it was exactly what I needed to hear this morning.

Olford said that the test of power is reality.  A false witness is a liar.  He lives in unreality.  He acts as if he is what he isn't.  The unreality is covered up by play acting.  He is a wonderful actor.  He is not real.  He is a phony. He acts so successfully that he fools everyone, including himself.  And unless he gets right with God and repents of his sins, he will perish.

This is honestly what I feel up against.  I'm not the most well spoken, despite the words that flow when I write.  I struggle with what to say... how to present my case.  I worry that I won't know how to combat the lies because they are so eloquently composed.

The man that heareth speaketh unchallenged.  Reality.  When you live in reality rather than falsehoods, your actions will speak for you.  Sometimes I forget that, thinking I need to compose the perfect explanations to defend myself.

"Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation."  1 Peter 2:12

Today, although the issues weren't completely resolved, things went okay.  I didn't have to say much, which was a relief to me.  I was thankful for the Lord's gentle reminder to just keep doing the right thing.  In this crazy, fallen world, I may not always see things go my way.  Sometimes the wicked seem to be the ones who prosper.  However, eventually all will be made right.  And living in reality, a clear conscious is huge and is a reward in itself.

Thank you Lord for encouragement along a sometimes difficult path to travel.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Blessed Be the Name of the Lord

"...the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."  Job 1:21

I think I really needed to write the post previous to this one because otherwise I may have forgotten everything I had just written about when I received some late paperwork this afternoon about my court hearing tomorrow.  It just seems that the system is set up in favor of the offending party.  I don't really understand it.  I guess that's how the world is these days.

I am one who likes to see justice done.  So much to the point where sometimes I wonder if I would be sitting under the gourd tree as Jonah did when God showed mercy on the people of Ninevah, angry that they didn't get what they deserved.

I don't like to see people treated unfairly.  I don't like seeing people taken advantage of or manipulated.  I don't like to see the wicked prosper.  Which is probably why I chose to study criminology back in my college days.  I like to see justice served and the wicked punished.  I try to remind myself that one day all will be made right and that what we see is not really all there is.

I don't know what will happen tomorrow in court, but I pray that the judge finds favor with me and the efforts that I have made to live responsibly and raise my two sweet boys on my own.  I am trying to remind myself of what I wrote about before.  The Lord will meet all my needs.  The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.

Blessed be the name of the Lord.

I remember reading Oswald Chamber's biography, Abandoned to God.  His widow, Biddy started compiling all of his speeches and sermons over the years into a book after he died.  In fact, she was actually the one responsible for the famous My Utmost For His Highest devotional... just a little know fact for you.  She did not desire any of the credit, though.  I love that about her.

Biddy rented a warehouse where she kept all of the books as they were printed, however she never purchased insurance on the facility because she lived by the words of Job 1:21.  One day, when the warehouse burned to the ground and all of the books were lost, she still remained faithful to the verse...

"...the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."

I have never forgotten that.  She lost everything she had worked so hard for and it was gone in a matter of minutes.  Yet she still praised God and was thankful for the time that God allowed her to work on the books.  When it was over, she moved onto something else.

I hope and pray that all goes well tomorrow.  Whatever happens, I just want to remember that God is still faithful.  And He is sovereign.  Who am I to question His ways?  The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.  Either way, blessed be the name of the Lord.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Neither Poverty Nor Riches

"...Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain."  Proverbs 30: 8-9

This week is an important one for me.  At this point, there is a big unknown, financially speaking, however I am confident that the Lord will continue to provide for me and my boys as He always has.  Thinking back, I can remember times when I was worried about how I would make ends meet or how a particular circumstance would work out but I cannot remember any time in my life that, when all was said and done, that God did not provide.  There have been times when the numbers didn't add up, yet all of our needs were still met.

Have you ever stopped to think about that?  Have there been any times in your life when God failed to provide?  Everything hasn't always turned out the way that I might have wanted it to, but the provision has always been there.

On Thursday, I have to go to court for enforcement of monies owed to me for the kids.  In the time leading up to it, I've had to fill out tons of paperwork and compile even more piles of documents that it now seems if I were ever to be audited, at least I have everything I would need.  As I was filling out the form that lists all of my income and expenses, I noticed that in the end I had quite a deficit that I had never realized.  I thought that surely I must have listed something wrong because I am still able to pay all of my bills and put food on the table.  So I went back through the items, line by line, to make sure there wasn't anything that was inflated in any way.  The figures were accurate.

I live pretty frugally for the most part.  I'm the crazy lady who gets four Sunday newspapers delivered in order to get all the coupons (I consider my four papers a mild number, actually).  Almost everything in my house has been purchased at yard sales.  I cut the kids' hair myself.  I use my one credit card mainly to get gift cards from my bonus points, which pays for the boys and I to go out to eat after church on Sundays.  However, I do draw the line at making anything out of an empty toilet paper roll no matter how many ideas I see on Pinterest!

Those things help, but they still don't make up the difference that I see on paper.  There is really only one explanation of how we make it ...

God Is Good.  All The Time.

Sometimes it seems like any time I get some extra money in, there is always something that comes up that I need to use it for.  I was excited for tax return time this year because I had plans to pay off my car with that money.  It was so frustrating to me that I had to use that money to pay attorney's fees instead.  Especially since the reason I had to go this route in the first place was because the money wasn't coming in.  Yet maybe the timing of this all happened because at this time of the year, I actually had the funds to get this taken care of without having to go into debt over it.

Give me neither poverty nor riches.

It takes a lot of faith, humility, and trust to pray a prayer like that.  "Give me neither poverty..."  That part is easy to pray.  But how often do you think of saying, "Lord, please don't give me riches."  Quite honestly, my prayers are more often, "Lord, please help me just get ahead so that I don't have to worry about money."  As if the money is what will meet my needs.

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. [Phil 4:19]

Agur knew in Proverbs 30, the character of fallen man.  If you have everything, then you have need of nothing.  That doesn't just go for money.  I think our culture and the technological advancements of our day prove that.  He also knew the temptations that come with poverty.

I honestly feel that I wouldn't deny God because of riches nor steal for lack thereof.  But then Peter honestly felt that he would never deny God, either.  We all have a fallen sin nature and it's a pretty grandiose thing to say, "Oh I would never..."  I think that's when we become the must vulnerable.

So Lord, I pray that same thing.  Give me neither poverty nor riches.  I pray only for my daily bread and contentment and trust in You.  Help me not to worry about tomorrow because I know that you have already figured it out and trust that You would bring me through whatever circumstances I face.  Thank you for your constant loving care over my life.  Amen.