Dusty Faith

Here are more great quotes I’ve come across in recent months.

O God, when my faith gets overladen with dust, blow it clean with the wind of your Spirit.  When my habits of obedience get stiff and rusty, anoint them with the oil of your Spirit.  Restore the enthusiasm of my first love for you.  –Eugene H. Peterson

When the Ark of God was carried to the Tabernacle in Jerusalem, three men were given the honor of directing the choir for the festivities:  Asaph, who wrote many psalms; Heman, who wrote Psalm 88; and Ethan, who wrote today’s psalm [Psalm 89].  In Psalm 88 Heman holds a dour view of life–basically, “Life’s a mess and then you die…”  But Psalm 89 starts by singing the mercies of God.  We get three-quarters of the way through Ethan’s song before we realize anything’s wrong…”Oh, the kingdom of Israel is falling apart,” Ethan says, “but God is good.  His unfailing love will last forever.”  Ethan’s name means “steady, rock-solid,” and you can tell that his perspective keeps him steady through the storms of life.  No matter what happens, he sees God’s great mercy, and he sings about it.  You should also know that Ethan later changed his name to Jeduthun, meaning “the Lord is steady.”  Because of the Lord’s steadiness, we can live with a solid confidence, whatever our circumstances might be.  —One Year Book of Psalms, 7/14

I love that!  It isn’t enough to have a name that means you’re steady.  We aren’t steady and calm, but God is!  We can trust Him when everything else is falling apart.

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Buckets

Here are the final quotes this week.  Aren’t they great?

God fills heaven and earth, just as the ocean fills a bucket that has been submerged a mile down.  The bucket is full of the ocean, but the ocean surrounds the bucket in all directions.  So when God says, “I fill heaven and earth,” He does, and heaven and earth is submerged in God as well.  He further says that the heaven of heavens cannot contain God.  You see, God is not contained; God contains, and there is a difference.  In Him, we live and move and have our being.  We have this habit of trying to put God into our life.  We have our own boundaries, and we think God should fit into them.  That is contrary to the very nature of God.  Nobody can control God; and therefore, God does not do the bidding of any person.  God is busy performing His purpose and will.  –A. W. Tozer, My Daily Pursuit, pg. 207

Regarding Exodus 17:8-13:

Whenever Moses raised his staff, the Israelite army succeeded.  Whenever he lowered it they started losing.  Moses’ arms grew too tired to hold the staff, however, so Aaron and another man held his arms steady.  In the original Hebrew, the word for “steady” in that story is the same word that appears in Psalm 89:8 as “faithfulness.”  This word also appears as “faith” in Habakkuk 2:4, where the prophet denounces the proud people of his day:  “They trust in themselves and their lives are crooked; but the righteous will live by their faith.”  This psalm recognizes that faithfulness is at the very core of God’s character.  And it’s not just that he will try to do what he promises–he is mighty enough to do it.  His arms are strong enough by themselves; the doesn’t need helpers to hold them up!  The psalmist tosses around other characteristics of the Lord:  righteousness and justice, unfailing love and truth.  All of this combines to paint a portrait of a God you can count on–even when everything else in your life seems to be falling apart.  As we steadily trust in God’s steadiness and faithfulness, we find life, even when the powers of death surround us.  He holds us up in his mighty arms and he will not let us down.  —One Year Book of Psalms, 7/15

Sparrows

I have some more great quotes from my journal for you this week.

Pain, sorrow, and disappointment are transmutable; we may climb the rainbow through the rain.  Our pilgrimage should be a continuous triumph in and over our circumstances.  –W. Graham Scroggie

If God cares so much for sparrows, won’t he care for you, too?  You are worth more to God than a whole flock of those birds.  Jesus wasn’t saying that the sparrows would never fall, and he wasn’t saying that his followers would never suffer physical harm.  But he was saying that God watches over us and cares for us.  Sometimes God rescues his people from their predicaments, and sometimes he allows them to suffer and even die–but he never lets them out of his sight.  They remain in his presence eternally.  —One Year Book of Psalms, 7/5

Blessed is any weight, however overwhelming, which God has been so good as to fasten with His own hand upon our shoulders.  –F.W. Faber

When irritated by interruptions, remember you’re not in charge of your day.  God is.  –Charles R. Swindoll

 

Words of a Song

Often the words of a song are exactly what the heart needs to hear.  When I was still hurting from a bike accident three weeks later, these words of a chorus were wonderful to hear:

He knows my name.

He knows my every thought.

He sees each tear that falls

And hears me when I call.

–Francesca Battistelli

There are so many great choruses and hymns.  I’ve been writing many of the individual lyrics into my journals this year:

O God, our Help in ages past,

Our Hope for years to come.

Be Thou my Guide while life shall last

And our eternal Home

–Isaac Watts

What have I to dread?  What have I to fear?

Leaning on the everlasting arms!

I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,

Leaning on the everlasting arms!

–Elisha A. Hoffman

Israel’s strength and consolation,

Hope of all the earth Thou art.

Dear, desire of every nation,

Joy of every longing heart.

–Charles Wesley

 

Encouragement

Here are more of the quotes that encouraged me while recovering from a bike accident this summer.  Sometimes encouragement comes from a book, from something a family member shares, or from a post on Facebook.  These quotes were just what I needed to hear:

He gives the best, and brings sweetness out of that which is harsh, forbidding, and wholly unpromising.  –Derek Kidner

Faith is not primarily a function of how you feel.  Faith is living out and believing what truth is despite what you feel.  –Timothy Keller

To avoid facing our low sense of worth, we try to compensate by building self-esteem.  Self-esteem is a way to be in control of our image in order to protect our sense of something missing within our hearts.  Through self-esteem, achievements are a way of creating hope.  Esteem for self rises and falls based upon the grade of our last performance.  Sadly, we forget that our value is inherent at birth.  –Chip Dodd, The Voice of the Heart, pg. 29

Never stop believing.  Miracles happen every day. –Unknown

 

Help When In Need

As you may know, I had a bicycle accident in Jackson this summer.  I ended up with two sprained wrists, a sprained ankle, bruised ribs and a contusion of the liver.  Since I was alone at my dad’s house I had to drive myself to the hospital and back, and didn’t get to bed until 3:30am.  In addition to being unable to breathe deeply for the next three weeks it was extremely painful.  While at the hospital I was not able to take any pain killers because I would need to drive myself back to the house.  When I arrived home and tried to open the bottle of pills I couldn’t twist the cap or hold it to twist with the other hand.  I thought, “What would Daddy do?” and put the bottle on the kitchen counter and whacked at it with a hammer until I got it opened!

That week was difficult; I could barely get in and out of bed, walk, breathe or even stay awake.  I’d arranged for a plumber to come to the house for repairs, but slept most of the time he was there.  My body was really in shock.  It helped me relate to what my dad had suffered with COPD, and what my mother had undergone with cancer regarding CT Scans and awaiting results (the doctor had originally said that I had a blood clot in my liver completely unrelated to the accident, but later decided it was trauma related).  When I drove back home to Buffalo (normally a 6-7 hour trip) it took 10 hours because I had to pull over to sleep so often.

I’m doing much better now, although I’m still strengthening my left wrist and hand through occupational therapy.  My problems were nothing compared to what others have:  I pray every day for friends that are dealing with cancer and other serious illnesses, and can’t even begin to relate to the struggles and fears they may have.

But I do want to share about the faithfulness of God in my hours of need when I wasn’t even sure I could get through the night.  In my normal, daily devotions He spoke very clearly and assuredly to me.  The first verse is the one I read while lying in the emergency room, awaiting various tests, and it gave me the peace and certainty that He was in this with me and would see me through it.  It was June 26 so I’d looked up Psalm 26:

Examine me, God, from head to foot, order your battery of tests.  Make sure I’m fit inside and out so I never lose sight of your love, but keep in step with you, never missing a beat.  –Psalm 26:2-3 (MSG)

From there, everything else I read the rest of the week was equally timely and encouraging, and was right in my regular readings each day:

Just as Joseph and the psalmist keep turning to God and trusting Him to turn evil into good, so we, too, must keep looking to God in difficult times.  —One Year Book of Psalms, 6/27

Since all that I meet shall work for my good, the bitter is sweet, the medicine food:  though painful at present, ’twill cease before long; and then O how pleasant the Conqueror’s song.  –John Newton

Show us your mighty power, come to rescue us!  Turn us again to yourself, O God.  Make your face shine down upon us.  Only then will we be saved.  –Psalm 80:2b-3 (NLT)

Now I will take the load from your shoulders; I will free your hands from their heavy tasks.  You cried to me in trouble, and I saved you; I answered out of the thundercloud and tested your faith when there was no water in Meribah.  –Psalm 81:6-7 (NLT)

Happy the child who in thunder-claps detects the Father’s voice.  There is no fear in love, because perfect love casteth out the fear that hath torment.  –F. B. Meyer

Yes, there were thunderstorms that week in Jackson when I was sleeping nearly all day and night.  And yes, that last quote had my Word of the Year in it–“cast!”  I”m thankful He met with me in my need and assured me of His presence.

 

 

Purpose

My final quote in this series of Great Quotes is this next one, straight out of the Bible.  How amazing is it to know that, no matter your situation or struggles, talents or insecurities, failures or successes, you don’t have to “measure up” or “finally arrive” at some expected place of “being good enough.”  It’s all about our Savior, not about us.

I do not consider myself to have “arrived,” spiritually, nor to I consider myself already perfect.  But I keep going on, grasping ever more firmly that purpose for which Christ Jesus grasped me.  My brothers, I do concentrate on this:  I leave the past behind and with hands out-stretched to whatever lies ahead I go straight for the goal–my reward he honor of my high calling by God in Christ Jesus.  All of us who are spiritually adult should set ourselves this sort of ambition, and if at present you cannot see this, yet you will find that this is the attitude which God is leading you to adopt.  It is important that we go forward in the light of such truth as we have ourselves attained to…But we are citizens of Heaven; our outlook goes beyond this world to the hopeful expectation of the Savior who will come from Heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ.  He will change these wretched bodies of ours so that they resemble his own glorious body, by that power of his which makes him the master of everything that is.  — Philippians 3:12-21 (PHI)