Sometimes we are frozen in our own landscape. Like this leaf, encased in our trials.Are we frozen? Whether it be through homeschooling planning, parenting moments, marital bliss or not so, financial stress or family issues that appear beyond repair, inner anger and bitterness, prevailing sadness and the list goes on and on. These are a reality, trials.
We can remain an icicle, frozen in time or allow the cold layers to slowly melt with the touch of a loving heavenly father.The recent ice storm destroyed many aspects of lives, temporary or perhaps more long term. I took many reflective walks and took note of the path of destruction. All of which can be cleaned up over time, but the landscape will be forever changed. Similar to our own lives when trials come (not IF because they do come...) Perhaps to the majority around, your current state remains a mystery and they can't see how you are truly frozen. The only way, our only hope is bringing our requests before our creator. Resting in his sovereign will.
As my sister blogged recently about God nudging us...I often am reminded as she is, multiple times through the same message. Whether it be reading the bible, through other people or sermons. The same theme is repeatedly placed in front of me! God wants to reach us and get our attention. Lately for me it has been the book of James.
Our message at church today was on just that (no surprise!) Here our visiting missionary from India was told to preach on well, pretty much anything. That in itself is a big job! He chose James 1:1-12. I almost knew going into church today that somehow God would confirm this with a message he wanted me to hear. Oh, yes God is a personal God. He spoke to me through our visiting missionary. Evidence that I am His daughter, He loves me and He cares enough about little old me that He would speak to me to confirm His great love for me. What struck me this morning was the reminder that the future rests in His hands, God is in control.
All these 'blue' pictures are the wee hours of the morning when the house was still, all but Toby Mac!
Here are some of my quick notes from this morning based on James 1:1-12
First, here is James 1:1-12
"...count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kids, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like the wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass, he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So, also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits. Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life."
Notes from today:
What is testing my faith right now?
- trials are ongoing, a reality
- God is in control - the future rests in His hands
- these trials produce robustness, stamina in the Christian life
- we are being strengthened in faith
- we have His grace
- trials expose character flaws, our weakness
- ask God and be humble
- live a godly life
A lot spoken, much to receive and think on....
Drawing on the wisdom that James writes for us is a challenge. I think the hardest part for me is truly engaging in joy when we meet trials of various kinds. But... I still would rather experience a trial with Christ as my Lord than all the world could offer.
Frozen Landscape turned into snowy landscape:
The inner joy I have as a Christian comes from my hope in Christ.
Here is one of the hymns that closed our service today. I can't help but be changed as I reflect on Sunday morning...
God Moves in a Mysterious Way
God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs and works His sovereign will.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take; the clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break in blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err and scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter, and He will make it plain.
Words: William Cowper, in Twenty-six Letters on Religious Subjects, by John Newton, 1774. Music: Belmont C.M. (Gardiner), William.