Georgetownrose

…from glory to glory

Archive for the tag “rest”

When I am Weak…

spiritual battleI have not blogged for many weeks not because I have been particularly busy. I have not been traveling to far away places and enjoying limitless social gatherings with relatives and friends. Although I have not been busy in the culture’s understanding of what “busy” is nowadays, I have been occupied with living one day at a time–prayerfully, joyfully and thankfully. Truthfully, it has been a fight–a good fight–but nevertheless, a fight to do so. I have not been able to engage in the battle without the mercy of some medication, because the “good fight” I face every night and every day is anxiety disorder. The “good fight” broke out over 15 years ago, and God has mercifully granted me the blessings of an isolated few who have accepted me and prayed for me. He has also provided the blessing of therapists who not only respect but also identify with my Christian Biblical orientation for living in Christ with this kind of infirmity. But I am, after many years in one church, in a new church with new challenges to “connect” and with innumerable “opportunities” to exercise my gifting to serve–and most of all the greatest challenge to finding a sister or brother in Christ who is a local praying friend, unashamed to be my friend, understanding when I cannot join the throng of retreats, church socials, and ministry commitments, and willing to take time to pay a personal visit to our home.

I have not found very much in Christian literature or church counseling publications on the truth of what the weakness of anxiety disorder does to a person who loves Christ and longs to serve Him in the Body of Christ in response to that zeal, consuming fire and love. Today, in my quietness, I came upon this article published by another Christian, one whom I greatly respect, whose articles and teaching I have found at other times and on other topics come from the heart of the Word of God. He is also one whom I did not suspect as being a victim of the “pox” of anxiety. His name is Tim Challies. Some of you may know of him.

After another one of the series of nights struggling to rest without resorting to medication, I yielded to God’s merciful provision and was rewarded with sleep I have not experienced in a long time. Today, I found Rev. Challies’ article entitled “Some Things You Should Know about Christians Who Struggle with Anxiety.” He posted it on his blog site in August 2016. I believe today was my day to be encouraged and exhorted in a way no other fellow Christian has had the courage to talk to me. So I am sharing the link with you. Some of you know and experience this “good fight” firsthand;  others of you do not struggle with this weakness, but you have dear ones about whose inexplicable periods of uncharacteristic introversion or perpetual tiredness you are always finding a puzzlement and frustration. Rev. Challies explains it courageously and graciously.  I could not have said it better, but I am encouraged by this offering of his to be forthcoming with others in my family in Christ when I need to decline the many good “opportunities” for the sake of the best which equips me to fight the “good fight.” Here is the link to the article:

Some Things You Should Know about Christians Who Struggle with Anxiety – by Tim Challies

I close with a verse from Isaiah 30.15 which has become a living verse, a capable weapon in my “good fight,” and a continual blessed comfort in a culture which is opposed to any such exhortation:

In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”

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Always Christmas; Never Winter…

Jesus Christ has come in the flesh! (John 1.14, 1 John 4.1-3) Glory Be to God!

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Praying you are all staying well amid the frantic flurry of seasonal activity.

For some of you there might have been an empty chair at your table this year. For those who read this for whom that is the case, I am praying that God is showing you how able and ready He is to fill the empty place in your heart with His magnificent love. Many in our country are struggling with loss of home, belongings, livelihoods and loved ones from fire, storms, floods and mass shootings. As I consider the devastation in the wake of these sorrows, I pray that those among the suffering who know the Lord Jesus Christ will demonstrate their hope and faithfulness to trust in the God who provides for our needs in all circumstances and by their quiet and thankful trust, will strengthen and encourage others. I pray that everyone who benefits from all avenues of humanitarian assistance will realize that it is by the mercies and Providence of God that they receive it—and be thankful to Him: for “The LORD giveth and the LORD taketh away; blessed be the Name of the LORD.” (Job 1.21b).

Speaking of Job 1.21b, I took some time off from teaching children’s Sunday School in November, thinking I would have time to just chill out a bit. I felt plenty guilty about asking for some Sundays not to be teaching the children; and I had a sinking feeling in my kishkes (yiddish: inner parts) that the separation would be painful–a new twist on “separation anxiety.” I had no expectation of how busy my heart and soul and mind would be in the stillness. God does some pretty extensive work in a person’s life when she sits down and stops the busy preoccupations with trying to keep up her momentum in ministry. It’s not that I neglect daily time in the Word of God and prayer. Everyone who has known me since I came to faith 30+ years ago knows that the Word of God and prayer are like breathing for me. However, when a time of transition comes to call, it takes some extra time to be prepared for it and to learn courage and discipline to face it and follow through.

One of the aspects of the time of transition was a reluctant and somewhat surprising change in congregations. After 14 years at my church, this change has been painful–increasing my “separation anxiety;” but God is using it to bring about growth in my life.

Be careful what you pray for; I had been praying for growth, and God is answering it “in spades.”

I am learning more and more in this time of transition into a new, larger church body that Christ’s grace is sufficient for me (2 Corinthians 12.9). Those who know me and correspond with me regularly via e-mail know that my signature line most often includes the quote from Scripture: 

I count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Messiah Jesus my Lord, that I may gain Messiah and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Messiah, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings…”

–Philippians 3.8-10

This time of stillness and transition has been a test as to whether I truly do count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord (Philippians 3.8-10). And it has all come at the advent of the Christmas season…

The Christmas season has always been a challenge for me for a variety of reasons, none of which I can describe to fit the post-modern reader’s tolerance for words. I will summarize by saying I owe it all to the Word of God. My studies in the Word of God this year have changed my Christmases forever; this year I have been mining deeply into the truth of Jesus’ coming in the flesh. As a result, the impact on my mind and heart has made my celebration of the incarnation of Christ impossible to contain in one season of the year. The Scriptures say,

“But will God indeed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built!”

–2 Chronicles 6.18.

Well, that’s how I feel about trying to hold the enormity of Messiah’s coming in the flesh to one binge season. The declarations of John 1.14 and 1 John 4.2-3 are greetings that can be shared every day of the entire year. Of course, if you want to say, “Merry Christmas!” along with the words of one or both of those passages, that works, too: because, in Christ it is always Christmas and never winter…

I am praying that the “smorgasbord” of seasonal sensations will not have eclipsed the length, height, depth and breadth of the love of God through His good and perfect Gift of Christ in the flesh.

Greetings and Blessings at the Feast of Tabernacles…

1890 Holman Bible - Tabernacle with Scripture

Graphic: Public Domain, The Tabernacle in the Wilderness; illustration from the 1890 Holman Bible
http://thebiblerevival.com/clipart/1890holmanbible/color/thetabernacleinthewilderness.jpg
Bible verse added by user

…On this Festival of Our Joy, sending a greeting and blessing to all fellow image bearers of the God of creation…

While you sojourn in this wilderness world in an earthen vessel, may you know the blessing of God’s true presence in Messiah Jesus, our Immanuel, wherever God takes you, whatever God ordains for your life this side of glory…

While you wait for what next unfolds in this wilderness experience, may you rest confidently in the knowledge of the purpose God has breathed into your life in all things…

While you walk through this world of shadows and barren places, may you drink deeply from the wells of the sweet water of salvation in Messiah Jesus…

While you contend boldly with the consequences of life in a fallen vessel, may you embrace walking in the light of the gaze of a holy God bathed in the oil of the joy of the Holy Spirit, clothed in the pure righteousness of Messiah Jesus…

May you know the joy and peace of His Kingdom and Government increasing in your heart and life.

Sukkot – Feast of Tabernacles

L’Chaim b’Yeshua – To LIFE in Jesus!

Pray for Awakening…

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem…” –Psalm 122.6

AUTUMN’S DESIRE

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“Be still,” He said, whispering gently to the expectant wood,

The Mighty, Holy Author of all light,

“Cease your leafy labors bearing food.

Let the quiet chill of autumn’s night woo your brilliant beauty to a head.

Delight Me as I fashioned you of old,

Your golden, crimson plumage to behold.”

 

They heard His holy whispers lilting like a hymn, all the verdant leafy columns of the wood,

And yielded, as all nature will attest,

To the Voice of Him whom they understood,

The Master of their seasons of industry and rest,

And surrendered every one, each leaf and limb, to the lullaby of Him who planned of old

That autumn’s light be wreathed in radiant gold.

 

Rejoicing as their foliage flamed in glorious hue, and wond’ring at mankind’s ceaseless, frenzied pace,

They to their Master lifted up their cry,

“Would that men could see You face to face,

And would upon Your Sovereign Will rely,

As they were fashioned to delight all ways in You,  and hear Your call to rest as they behold

The splendor of Your handiwork in autumn’s radiant gold.”

 

“Some men will,” He answered as they cried, “behold My face and love My sov’reign plan as do you,

In your obedience to My voice and My design.

You’ve been created by and for My Son who foreknew

Each frantic, sin-sick soul who sees your golden shine,

And hears My Spirit’s witness that for each He died, upon a tree bearing countless sorrows and untold.

For these His crimson poured, in season, op’ning Heaven’s gold.”

 ©Patricia Stachew, November 2004

In the strength of the Lord…

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_assignment/writing-101-free-write-one/

I woke this morning not feeling well–not feeling well at all. My entire night was a series of brief sleep periods interrupted by pain which I began experiencing earlier in the evening. I cannot put my finger on any one thing which might have triggered the pain which was accompanied by a persistent, but low-grade queasiness and a general feeling of un-wellness. I suspected that my thorn in the flesh, aka chronic fatigue syndrome, has reared its ugly head after a relatively long period of remission. Diagnosed with this, my own private adversary, nearly 30 years ago, I am no stranger to its devious tactics, attacking at the most unsuspecting times. It’s fickle; it retreats for awhile, lulling a “type A” into shifting recklessly into high gear. It blindsides when it re-emerges, wreaking havoc on all the momentum gained during its retreat, and somehow manages to confuse its victim about its visitation when the collection of its tools of torture begins its work of eroding both body and soul. It wrenches all the motivation and strength out of its victims, leaving them caught on a wicked tightrope between illness and wellness–it can go either way at any time…

Facing the day caught in a body tormented by the weakness and uncertainty about whether I was going to function at any level or simply cling to my bed was not my idea of a good morning. Had I not spent time praying in the night during those intermittent wakeful times between sleep, I would have missed God’s answer to my prayers when I felt His prodding to take courage and make a start this morning. Just enough of His strength to move my reluctant body out of the bed, planting my feet squarely on the floor and take the first step…

god strength2

Hot tea! That was my first thought upon discovering I could move without pain, although the queasiness was still stalking me. Thanks to my husband’s own eagerness for morning tea, I heard the comforting, merciful whistle of the kettle beckoning me to come and find therapy in the steamy, mellow blend brewing in my mug. I couldn’t help thanking God for so simple and basic mercy as the hot tea… And as I sipped and savored it, feeling the warmth flow through my aching being, I realized that I could take the next step, as God wooed me to trust His strength. I found I could stomach some toast with the tea; it did not turn to pain as I feared it might… Then I discovered I could consider putting on my jeans and working quietly for just a little while in my garden. God blessed me with the help of my husband, who, suffering with his own chronic pain and weakness, set a goal which we both could manage in the strength of the Lord…

Onward we went together, the Lord and I, a step at a time, throughout the day–a little bit of work and time to rest; no thoughts of retreat into my bed. My heart was encouraged by the triumphs of God’s presence, help and strength in my weakness; He won the victory for me over my inclination to hide, waiting and hoping for a painless day before I would walk with Him…

This evening, my thoughts don’t come so easily as I exercise my brain to put words to this day’s tender mercies. Nevertheless, I sense the presence and strength of the Lord to simply add a description of this moment in my life to the journals of the many lives in this community of writers. Someone out there is feeling weak in a world that has no patience with weakness. May my weakness entrusted to the strength of the Lord encourage someone among my readers who needs The Strength that the world cannot supply nor can the inner self summon.

I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD…

–Psalm 71.16a

When there are just too many thoughts…

Today I had sincere intentions to share and express something that adds my voice to other voices of encouragement out there in the big wide world. I simply have too many thoughts to be of any good; but, I guess that’s okay, because God knows every one of them and exactly how they will emerge out of the fractal web that is my current mental condition… I praise Him for all the wondrous things floating around in this big old clay pot that I am, and trust Him for a timely expression.

My little Word Press prompt at the top of my posting window says, “Draft saved. Keep on goin’!” Well, I can’t keep on goin’. My grey cells need a break… So, may God grant the increase to this little bit of what can trickle out of my stream of consciousness… Stay tuned for updates…

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If anyone else out there is experiencing this phenomenon of having more to say than can be articulated, my prayers are with you today… I’m going to go rest my little grey cells for a bit, and listen for the voice of the Lord… “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” –Isaiah 30.15

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