Move

Only God can move mountains, but prayer and faith move God.          E.M. Bounds

If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there” and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you, however, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.                            Matthew 17:20-21

And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing , you will receive.  Matthew 21:22

And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  John 14:3

 

Why

“Finally, when all has been said that can be said in the relief of the intellectual problem involved, it must be confessed that beyond the revealed purposes of God there still remains much of mystery.  And for this there is no answer except the attitude of worship in which we humbly acknowledge that a sovereign God cannot be required by men to give all the reasons for what He chooses to do”. 

(Study notes from the NKJV New Scofield Study Bible on Job 42)

There are times in our lives when the question “Why?” simply has no answer.  And when we ask the question of God, as much as we want the explanation and the justification and the reasoning and the logic for whatever is happening in our lives, sometimes He chooses not to tell us. 

And I need to be OK with that.

At the end of the day, my response needs to be simply…trust.  Trust in a God who knows a whole lot more about things than I do.  Trust in a God who has promised me that He’ll work all things together for good for those who love Him.

I can find peace in not having the answers I want or think I deserve.  But the peace can’t come if I’m still fighting or sulking or over-analyzing.  I simply need to find that attitude of worship…and “humbly acknowledge that a sovereign God cannot be required by men to give all the reasons for what He chooses to do”.

God knows what He’s doing, and that’s good enough for me. 

Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, And how small a whisper we hear of Him!  Job 26:14

Why do you contend with Him?  For He does not give an accounting of any of His words. Job 33:13 

Oh, the depth of His riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are His judgements, and His ways past finding out!  Romans 11:33

 

Certain

Not a single word deceived, disappointed, faded, died away, fell short, was inadequate or deficient or was left undone that the Lord had spoken to Sharon Virkler. 

OK, so that’s not really the way Joshua 21:45 reads, but I like personalizing verses in the Bible when they contain a truth about God that can be applied to all of us.  The actual verse says, “Not a word failed of any good thing which the LORD had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass”.  My version came about when I studied the definition of the Hebrew word for failed.  

I can be certain that not a single promise from God fails.  Not one.  They cannot deceive, disappoint, die away, fall short, be inadequate or deficient or be left undone.

He has spoken.  And He will do it.

And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed.  Joshua 23:14

God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?  Numbers 23:14

He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. 1 Thess 5:24

 …it is impossible for God to lie…  Hebrews 6:18

Treasure

The shoreline of Point Peninsula, located on a bay off of Lake Ontario in northern New York State, isn’t exactly what you’d consider a beach.  It’s mostly rocks – big ones – the kind you have to constantly rearrange your lawn chair on to avoid falling into a crevice.  My family loves it.  It’s our summer shoreline (at least a small piece of it) and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

But this year, something changed.  Strange tides or storms or other geological changes brought some chunky sand up in between our rocks.  It looked like a mixture of gravel and crushed shells – kind of hard on the feet. 

One morning a few weeks ago as I was enjoying a wonderful summer holiday with my family, I was jumping from rock to rock, watching the waves come in and rearrange the would-be sand in between them.  And then I saw it: a bright flash of blue.  I caught it before the next wave washed it away.  It was a cobalt blue piece of glass.  It made me wonder if there was other “beach glass” in the new landscape.  Sure enough, I found tiny pieces of green and amber and clear glass hiding amidst the broken shells and stones.  Treasures!  This was the start of a new vacation activity – searching for “gems” in the sand.  My sisters and I would wander the shoreline, excitedly picking up these miniscule, but beautiful shining bits of glass that looked like sapphires, emeralds, amber and diamonds.  It was fun to wonder where they had come from, which bottles or jars had been uncaringly tossed into Lake Ontario, churned by the waves, broken into tiny colorful fragments and deposited on our shore.

There were some obvious life lessons here, lessons about something beautiful coming after being pounded by waves and storms, or lessons about looking for the treasures in experiences that have been painful to walk through.   But one lesson kept coming to mind, one that makes the other lessons possible. 

As I held those pieces of glass in my hand, I was reminded that there are treasures and promises in God’s Word that I need to be just as diligent to seek out.    I should be just as excited and hopeful in searching my Bible for the riches God has waiting for me – the riches that bless and encourage  in the midst of crashing waves and changing landscapes, and delightfully surprise me when life seems ho-hum.

Our beach glass collection now sits inside a pretty jar in the window.  But the treasures I’ll find in God’s Word will always be in my heart – right where they should be – available before, during and after the storms.

I rejoice at Your word as one who finds great treasure.  Psalm 119:162

If you seek for her {wisdom} as silver, and search for her as hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.  Proverbs 2:4

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  Matthew 6:21

I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the LORD, who call you by your name, am the God of Israel.   Isaiah 45:3

 

Grip

Satan trembles when he knows your faith is firm and strong, but if it is tottering and trembling, then he sounds the note of triumph and seeks to lead on his hosts to make a full end of you because you are beginning to relax your grip of your shield.

Charles Spurgeon

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.   Ephesians 6:11

Above all, take the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.  Ephesians 6:16

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  1 Peter 5:8

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  James 4:7

In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?           Psalm 56:11

Still

Adults need to take back the idea of retreats.

In my younger years, going on a “retreat” meant cramming into a bus with fellow high school students, driving to some obscure location and spending a weekend involved in group activities and games and competitions and too much eating and not enough sleep.  And in between were special speakers or devotionals designed to keep us  – or get us – on track spiritually.  Those were good times. 

A few years ago I rediscovered the idea of a retreat.  Only now it means going away by myself somewhere, with just my Bible and my journal and lots of quiet time with God.  No games or silly competitions.  No special speakers.  Just me…and God.

My adult retreats give me time to be still, time to get away from the distractions of life and responsibilities.   A few weeks ago I took a long overdue retreat to seek God about some things going on in my life.  After a time of emptying my heart before the Lord, I sat looking out the hotel window that overlooked the Intracoastal waterway. An early summer evening lightening storm lit up the skies.  And I was still.  And I realized that was exactly what my soul needed – to be still in spite of the storms in my life.    No matter what I’m facing or worried about or wondering about, my soul can be still. 

Rediscover the value of a retreat.  And let your soul be still.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

 “Be Still My Soul” –  Katharina von Schlegel, 1697