“Yet I will rejoice”

I’ve had this passage from Habakkuk in my mind since last week.  Initially I wasn’t sure why – it was just a passage I happened across as I was searching for another verse in my Bible.

Habakkuk 3:17-19

“Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    he enables me to tread on the heights.”

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This idea of praising God even when current circumstances look bleak is what has been rattling around in my brain.

Life has been rough lately (maybe I’ll share in a future post) – and yet God keeps gently reminding me to look to Him rather than the circumstances.  To praise Him.  To trust Him.

“Yet I will rejoice.”

I thought the last part of this passage interesting- “…he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.”   Like what does this have to do with the part before it?  This part shows up in the Bible three times – also in 2 Samuel 22 and Psalm 18.

The more I think about it and research it, the more I see the two ideas are connected – rejoicing in God in spite of any circumstance, and God enabling us to walk close to Him “on the heights”.  I think the connection piece is the joy.

Nehemiah 8:10  “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” 

We must choose to rejoice in all things.  In return, God gives us strength to deal with all that life throws at us and to “tread on the heights”.

And what does “tread on the heights” mean?  It gives a picture of living our lives above the din of our circumstances – getting God’s perspective from a higher vantage point.  As I researched mule deer and mountain goats – they live in high terrain because it keeps them safe from the predators that live in lower elevations.  That’s what God wants us to do – to not get caught up in our circumstances (predatory though they may be!).  Through choosing joy and the resulting strength from Him – we are enabled to see life from His perspective, keep our eyes on Him, and walk closely with Him.

Thank you for the hope we have in you, Jesus.    

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Weakness (God’s Abundant Life, Part 3)

“God’s grace is sufficient for every weakness. When you come face to face with weakness, it is not the time to back down and surrender to feelings and emotions. That lack of trust is like saying to God, ‘I don’t think you’ll come through for me, so I’ll take matters into my own hands.’ Instead, bathe yourself in the Word of God. Memorize it. Go with what you know about the eternal God, not with how you feel at the moment. And ask him to give you his strength.” (Babbie Mason)

One of the things that’s been revealed to me in this year of learning about God’s abundant living is that in my weak areas, I have the perfect opportunity to experience God’s abundant living!

The big decisions in my life have generally been easy to turn over to God and follow Him.

I haven’t been so good about turning over the little things, though.

I think it’s because with the big things – I know I’m in over my head.  I naturally know I need his help to figure it out.  With the little things, though, it’s much easier to say to God, “I’ve got this.”

And so those little things have been the things I’ve struggled with the most.  For me, they’re things I’ve written about before – emotional eating and responding with less than God’s mercy and grace to my children when they are stomping on my very last nerve.

Because when I leave the little decisions up to me – I have a tendency to do what FEELS right at the moment.  In other words, I respond not in the way God would necessarily want me to, but instead what comes naturally.  Bad idea.

So I love that quote from Babbie Mason.  It’s a reminder to tap into God for even the little things – those areas I know are weaknesses.  And in doing so, I can see his grace and the abundant life he desires for me.

 

2 Corinthians 12:9

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

 

Opportunities (a.k.a, God’s Abundant Life, lesson 2)

Yesterday the Holy Spirit led me to this passage and it was so timely.

 

Ephesians 5:1-15

 1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.[a] 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said:

“Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

 

(no wonder God tells us in John 14:26 that He will send the Holy Spirit as our counselor to remind us of His promises!)

The last verse, especially, spoke to me and that’s why I have it bolded above.  Very often I mother in survival mode – just trying to make it.  But God calls me to more than that.  I am to make the most of every moment with my children – to bring them up as men and women of God.  There is much evil in the world and if I am not actively working against that influence in my kids’ lives, then that evil can influence them very easily.

As parents we cannot be apathetic.  We cannot be indifferent.  We cannot be passive.

When my kids were infants and toddlers, I looked at the years ahead that I would have with them and it felt like an eternity.  No longer.  Those years are passing by much too quickly – and soon they will be gone.

Make the most of every opportunity, of every morning, every afternoon, every mealtime, of every bedtime.  Each moment is precious.

Will we as moms have moments where we feel desperate to get away?  Yes.  Moments that we cannot wait to end?  Yes.  Moments that are complete failures and serious screw-ups?  Yes.  And that’s ok.  I am determined not to dwell on feeling guilty about those.

Just every once in a while I am determined to come back and center myself on God’s fabulous calling – to raise these children of His to know Him and love Him and serve Him for their whole lives.  To focus myself on God.

And try again to make the most of every opportunity.

God’s Abundant Life, part 1

If you remember, one of my resolutions was trying to live a more abundant life.

I have a feeling God is going to reveal things about this to me all year, so I wanted to share these things with you as well.

The first thing he showed me last week (and this is not a new idea to me, but the wording and circumstances and perspective are new) – abundant life is ONLY through Him.

In our world, abundance can take on a whole lot of meanings.  Monetary wealth, overflowing possessions, food.

But he revealed to me that the way that He means abundance – the fullness of life and joy and all the things he gives us – is experienced only through seeking Him.

Matthew 6:33 came to mind as I wrote that… Seek Him and His righteousness first…

When we seek Him, however, there is a self-discipline that is necessary.  Through His spirit and His strength, not my own.

Often I don’t intentionally neglect Him;  I just allow myself to be overwhelmed with the demands of life.

So I need to begin each and every day placing Him where He belongs:  in my head, in my prayers, on my lips, and in my heart.