Tuesday, November 20, 2012

  But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! Isaiah 43:1 NAS

It seems I have been doing a lot of confessing lately. Here comes another one...I am terrible at remembering names. It has nothing to do with getting older. I have always been really bad at remembering. Now it has morphed into a fear of making introductions.  I've prayed about it from time to time. I've even read a few articles with tips on "How to Remember Names," but I guess it has just never been a priority with me.  I believe this time God is bringing it to my attention that I need to repent, and start applying the power and sensitivity of His Spirit to correct it. If I have to tell someone I need to be reminded of their name, I am going to humble myself and do it.
Sunday my pastor called me by name to make an announcement to the congregation. Right after my announcement was our time to greet one another. I saw a visitor on my left that I wanted to speak to and headed in his direction. A teenager on the right side of the aisle looked at me, stuck out his hand and said, "Hello, Carol." I was really taken aback that he had remembered my name especially since from his speech pattern it appeared he was handicapped in some way. I shook his hand and welcomed him. As I turned to walk away he said, "My name is Josh." I was cut to the core that I had not asked his name. I mean I was smitten in my heart. I was so aware that I am handicapped as well. There was something so plaintive in the way he said it. He knew my name and he wanted me to know his. I should have asked and at least this time I remembered.
We are human beings made in the image of God. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. I know that I will never get things down perfectly, but if the Supreme Ruler of the universe has bothered to know my name should I not make a genuine loving effort to remember people's names?
The morning after my encounter with Josh I opened a book I was reading and the chapter title was, "He Knows My Name." God has no problem letting us know what He wants to help us work on does He?
Lord, please help me to consider others as better than myself. Help me to make every effort to look at them,  really listen, and esteem them highly enough to remember their names. I want to be like you. You have called me by name and I am Yours.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Calm and Quiet Soul

A Song of Ascents. Of David. O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forever.

I love this short Psalm; so much said in so few words. In my Bible I have verse one marked with a Matthew Henry comment about haughty eyes, "Don't look with envy at those who are above me, or disdain those perceived to be below me." Thoughts are as loud as words in heaven and pride is a fearful enemy.

I am not one who struggles with a lot of "whys." It isn't because I haven't been blindsided nor had unexplainable loss, because I have. Early on I was taught about the sovereignty of God. This passage from Job pretty well sums it up for me. It has kept me from occupying myself  with things too great for my smallness and limited view.

 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me.
Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding." Job 38:1-4

God is God and His ways are past finding out. He has made many great and exceeding precious promises to His people. As the song says, "When you can't trace His hand, trust His heart." So it seems in the big things I tend to trust him.

It's the smaller things that trip me up. As it says in the Song of Solomon
"Catch the foxes for us, The little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, While our vineyards are in blossom."
It's my plans not working out or someone laying something on me that I didn't expect. It's the volunteer not showing up when they promised they would. I find myself going into "what now?" mode. That always makes me vulnerable to losing my peace and slipping into an attitude that doesn't reflect who I am in Christ. It is a sudden jolt that makes me forget to send up a prayer for wisdom and insight for a solution that will help me to move forward with a good attitude. It is here that we are working hard right now. "A calm and quiet soul," weaned from thinking it must all be under my control or work out the way I planned it. What a stress reliever it is to know that He is sovereign over this as well. It makes me lean in, take a deep breath, and know that it will work out. It may not be pretty, but it will be taken care of, and I can stay calm and more importantly quiet. No murmuring or fouling the air with my petty remarks. I so want to walk in this perfectly consistently. Don't you? Just picture a child weaned and content being born along by a loving parent who knows growing up can be hard.

My prayer: Lord, you knew these surprises were on the horizon. It has not caught you off guard.  Help me to stay calm and quiet with full trust that You've got this, and I don't. You want me to turn to you in quietness and confidence and there I will find strength. In Jesus name, amen.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mercy's Eyes
            The Lord will perfect that which  concerneth me: Thy mercy O Lord, endureth forever:
 forsake not the work of Thine own hands. Psalm 38:8 KJV
 This is a confession. There is a godly woman in my life, and I don't like her much less love her. I need to say that she has never done or said anything mean to me. I just find her annoying. She is what I would call a sandpaper sister. She rubs me the wrong way. There was no "They will know us by our love," going on. I think because we don't go to the same church, and just occasionally cross paths in social situations I haven't dealt with my attitude. Oh, but the One who will perfect that which concerns me didn't let it slide, and I am so grateful.
Yesterday I was driving into town having a conversational prayer with the Lordwhen seemingly out of nowhere, she came to mind. This question came to me,"What do you think she was like as a little girl?" I tried to imagine her carefree and playing. I know it must have happened, but as an adult she reminds me of the Veggie Tale© song “I'm busy, busy, dreadfully busy; you've no idea what I have to do. Busy, busy, shockingly busy; much, much too busy for you." It was hard to think of her unencumbered. Then a second question came to mind. “Do you think she was praised and loved just for who she was?”  I think the answer was, "No." I realized I was seeing her through Mercy’s eyes. I cried for her brokenness and mine. My heart was grateful that He will continue His work on both of us. He will not forsake the works  of His hands. I don't think I will ever view her in the same judgmental way again. Mercy led me to look through His eyes, and it changed me.
Am I the only one? Is there anyone you need to view with His eyes? Lord, be Thou our vision.