Secret

I’ve been hanging out in Psalm 25 this week. 

It all started with the fact that this past Sunday was September 25th, and when I wrote the date, I remembered that for years I’ve been reading Psalm 25 on that day. 

Long story.  Let’s just say that on a September 25th many moons ago, God used that Psalm in my life to get me on the road He wanted me on.  It’s a prayer for God’s guidance and leading and protection.

So I decided to stay with it this week, instead of just reading it on the 25th.  And this morning, I stopped in verse 14

“The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him…”.

When I think of a secret, I think of someone whispering something in my ear. “Psssst…..let me tell you something!”  It makes you feel kind of special when someone shares a secret with you.  Same thing in scripture.  The Biblical definition of “secret” suggests intimacy.  It’s more than just general advice.  It’s personal.  It’s confidential.

God wants to share His secrets with me.  With me?

I’ve known the Lord a long time, but sometimes it’s good to be reminded just how much He cares about me.  It’s good to be reminded that He longs to whisper things in my ear.  He longs to share with me His counsel and His ways and His path for my life.

And I need to be quiet enough to hear Him. Secrets aren’t usually shouted from the rooftops.  Secrets are whispered.  Secrets are shared when I’m not the one doing all the talking.

Ok, Lord, I’ll be quiet now.

 

His secret counsel is with the upright. Proverbs 3:32

No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.  John 15:15

Having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself… Ephesians 1:9

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints… Ephesians 1:18

 

  

Suffer

I admit it.  Sometimes I don’t think the verses that talk about “suffering” apply to me. 

“But may the God of all grace, who called us to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen and settle you.”       1 Peter 5:10

I love that verse.  It’s powerful and reassuring about God’s purposes in trials.  But as I studied it the other morning, the “after you have suffered a while” left me feeling detached. I’ve known people who have suffered.  Suffered with illness.  Suffered with overwhelming grief.  Suffered with losses I can’t even begin to imagine.   

My insignificant trials and testings and disappointments certainly don’t fit in the category of “suffering”.

Or do they?

Suffer:  “To be affected or have been affected, to feel, to have a sensible experience, to undergo.” (from The Complete Word Study Dictionary of the New Testament)

Of course it can mean to be affected with an awful illness, to experience the loss of a loved one, to be tortured for your faith.  But it also means that 1 Peter 5:10 could say, “after you have been affected by ___________, after you have experienced ___________, may God perfect, establish, strengthen and settle you.”

I’ll leave you to fill in the blanks.

I still think I’ll cringe just a little when reading verses about suffering, because I know that suffering is very real in many people’s lives and I have so much to be thankful for.  But I think I’ll look at those verses a little differently, and allow them to remind me that God cares about the things that affect me.

And He’s promised to use them to change me.  For the better.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.  2 Corinthians 4:17

But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.       2 Thessalonians 3:3

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

…if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard.  Colossians 1:23

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.                        1 Peter 1:6-7

 

Edge

I feel like I’m looking over the edge at something Big, and I’m not sure if God wants me to simply enjoy the view…or take some kind of crazy leap.

Hola.  Gracias.  Dios.  That’s about the extent of my Spanish abilities.  And yet something is happening between me and those whose who say everything       “en español”.

It happened without me in a way.  A few years after my book “Anticipatience” was published, a Christian publishing group wanted to reprint it in Spanish.  OK.  I don’t speak Spanish.  I took two years of French in High School and that didn’t go so well.  But OK. That’s pretty cool.  God must have a plan.

He did. 

And now I’m looking over the edge at Latin America and beyond. And the Spanish publisher wants to do an e-book and single women are writing to me in Spanish for relationship and faith advice and a group of 14 women in Venezuela just spent the last few months studying the book in a Bible study and and a new friend in Chile is translating this blog into Spanish…I could go on. 

But it’s the edge I’m concerned about.

Sometimes God asks us to do crazy things.  Sometimes He puts us in situations we didn’t ask for and didn’t seek and feel totally unprepared and unqualified to manage.  Sometimes He uses our stories to encourage people we would never have met without His intervention. 

Sometimes He brings us to the edge of our own understanding and abilities and dreams and asks us to jump.  I’m not sure what jumping looks like in this scenario.  It kind of freaks me out.  But God doesn’t ask us to jump alone.  (Makes me think of those first-time skydivers who jump with a professional skydiver strapped to their back.)

OK, Lord.  My feet are inching closer to the edge.  Give me faith for the next step.

Gracias 🙂

 

Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent…I am slow of speech and slow of tongue”.  So the Lord said to Him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind?.  Have not I, the Lord?  Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say”.  (Exodus 4:10-12)

Then the LORD put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the LORD said to me, “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth”.  Jeremiah 1:9

For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.  Matthew 10:20

 For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say. Luke 12:12

 

 

 

 

Detours

detour (noun):  a roundabout or circuitous way or course, especially one used temporarily when the main route is closed.

I got thinking about detours this morning.  It’s a little funny that I ended up thinking about them, because it was a detour during my devotional time that got me there.

I was flipping through my Bible trying to find something and came upon the story of Joseph and saw that I had all these notes written in the margin by the part where Joseph tells his brothers that all the things that had happened to him (slavery, unjust imprisonment, etc) were meant for something good by God. 

I had the words, “Divine Detours” written there with the date of 9/23/03. 

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know that I write a lot of dates in my Bible and often go back to try to find out what was going on in my life during that time.  So, of course, this morning’s detour to Genesis brought me to my quiet time journal from 2003.

Oh yeah.  A detour.  When I studied the concept of Divine Detours that morning, I had no idea I was about to take  one.  I wrote about where I thought my life was going that day. I didn’t know it at the time, but by that evening God had started me on a new path.   So here it is, 8 years later. Not where I thought I would be, and not with the people I thought would be on the journey with me.  My life is completely different than what I thought it was going to be on the morning of  9/23/03.

Because of a detour.  A Divine Detour.

But now I’m looking over my shoulder at the route God took me on instead.  And I get the sense that if I had taken the “other route” – the one that seemed best at the time, a whole lot of experiences and blessings and growth might not have taken place.

I do wonder about the people I thought were going to be on the path with me.  For some of them, I have no idea where they are, or why God allowed us to take different routes.  But I have to trust that He sees them and He cares about them and He knows why it was better for me to go this part of the journey without them.

Sometimes I don’t like the “circuitous routes”.  Sometimes I just want the route to be direct and clear and predictable.  But something tells me that wouldn’t be near as exciting as trusting God with the roundabouts.

I may have taken a detour, but God meant it for good.

So now it was not you who sent me here, but God.  Genesis 45:8

But as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.  Genesis 50:19

And we know that all things work together for good to them who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28

And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. Deuteronomy 8:2

For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.  Philippians 1:19