Do You Not Know?

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
                                                                                                                        Isaiah 40:28-31

Calling On Jesus

How faithful is our Savior. (yes, I meant that as a statement) Once again we’re going to dig a little deeper into my faith. My family has been having a rough time of it. Somethings, as rough as I knew they would be, I prayed for and had been prepared. Others, seemed to come out of nowhere.

I wondered if the old me would rear its ugly head. At times it tried. When someone messes with a cub, the mama doesn’t mess around, even if the cub wasn’t playing where he/she should. I’ve taken some emotional beatings this week. The whole family has. But God has blessed us greatly in ways I didn’t expect.

Today was one of those emotional days. I’ve continually taken deep breaths to keep from sobbing. Not that sobbing is always a bad thing, but I feared I wouldn’t come out of it. It was difficult not to let the darkness of depression take me down into the abyss. It wasn’t a good time. Actually, no time is a good time, but especially not now.

The house began to settle into the quiet of the night and I knew I was standing on the edge. Each breath brought me closer to falling over. I took a shower, which was challenging since the hot water heater gave out earlier today, but it was a necessity. As odd as it may sound and probably a little TMI, It’s my prayer closet. A place I go and sing praises to the Lord (hey, everyone sings in the shower, right?) I also pray.

A peace began to settle, but the haze was still there on the horizon. One soppy commericial and I would have been a goner. So I sat at the computer. “LORD, I need some help here. I need some hope.”

I surfed on over to Pandora Radio and guess what the first song was. Nicole C. Mullins’ Call On Jesus. It’s one of my all time favorites. I’m having a difficult time embedding the video and adding a link so if you want to hear it you’ll have to google, believe me it’s worth it. I’ve added the chorus, written by Nicole C. Mullins, below.

But when I call on Jesus,
All things are possible
I can mount on wings like eagles’ and soar
When I call on Jesus,
Mountains are gonna fall
‘Cause He’ll move heaven and earth to come rescue me when I call

I tend to call on the Lord in the small things and hold the big things to myself. What about you? Are you accustomed to calling on Jesus in all things? Or only when things seem impossible?

Fragments of Hope

What an amazing God we serve! I tend to use one scripture as the focus for my works in progress;

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.

Realistically, even though that scripture fits in every aspect of life, I can’t use it for every book. I’m a linear kind of person when I want to be, well, not exactly, but I’ve found I am more productive in my writing when I write in a linear fashion. For me that means, praying, plotting, praying, plotting . . . Once I get to the actual writing, I like to have a scripture in mind that will encompass my story. I can’t seem to actually write words until I know what that scripture is. So I spend a lot of time praying and chewing over ideas. If nothing comes to me, then I don’t move. It’s probably a mental block, but I just can’t seem to move.  Since I’m participating in NaNoWriMo not moving isn’t an option unless I want to fail. Yesterday was day one. I should have written 1667 words, but I didn’t. I didn’t move. I couldn’t move. Today, being day two I knew I had to do something. But what?

PRAY!

I didn’t know exactly what I was going to pray, I just knew that I had to. God was calling me to at that particular moment.

As I bowed my head to pray, I felt led to read Psalm 71. I read it over a few times and a particular passage kept popping out at me.

Psalm 71:19-21 Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, you who have done great things. Who, O God, is like you? Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me again.

Such a beautiful passage. I believe this passage was given to me for my story. I can’t go into the details because they are top secret, but I can say both my hero and my heroine suffer many troubles, physically and spiritually. Their honor will be questioned. Their faith in God will be questioned, by members of their congregation as well as by themselves. Through it all they will continue to praise God and in the end they will be restored.

NOW, I feel released to write!

The following is an excerpt from my hero’s journal that I wrote several months ago.

Fragments of Hope
Reverend A.C.’s Journal

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise — the fruit of lips that confess his name.
Hebrews 13:15

July 30, 1856
How shall I praise thee now? Easy it comes to the lips when circumstances are like butter on a warm piece of bread. Yet, when the cow refuses to let from the teat and the churn breaks, how is it I am to praise you oh, Lord? How is it that I shall confess of your goodness when the bread is stale and weevils nest in the caverns?

If honesty is to be had betwixt us, I do not feel an utterance of praise is possible. Especially when my natural inclination is to shake my fist and rail at the injustice of my circumstance.

Alas, I will not. For I know I will wallow in the cauldron of self-pity, even if only for a moment. Perhaps tomorrow, when my tears have been shed and my mourning complete, I will arise with the sun and praise your Holiness-for I can not help recall your word, O Lord.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

Reverend A.C.

Combating Feelings of Worthlessness

If you look up the word insignificant in the thesaurus you’ll find terms like meaningless, unimportant and worthless. Yesterday, I blogged about the tamarisk tree and how insignificant it looks at first glance. Upon closer inspection it is so much more. It provides food. Many believe that the manna from Heaven came from the tamarisk. A gift from God. It provides drink  and shelter (my geekazoid gets all excited about this process).

The tamarisk’s cooling mechanism has to do with its status as a halophyte, a plant that thrives in salty soil. Foliar salt glands excrete salt particles onto tamarisk leaf tips and, to verify this fact, just lick a bundle of tamarisk leaves; you will come away with a lastingly salty impression. During the night, air moisture condenses onto the salt particles caked on the tamarisk’s leaves. Then, as the weather warms during the day, this same moisture evaporates back into the atmosphere, cooling the air beneath the tree in the process.

Propagating Kindness

Now, I’m not writing this post to repeat what I wrote yesterday. No, I’m writing it with a greater purpose in mind. YOU!

I’m no stranger to feeling insignificant. I’ve often heard “you’re worthless” chanted loudly inside my thoughts. Sometimes, I’ve even misconstrued other people’s words. Things like, “you’ll do better next time” turn into “you’re worthless”. And of course, I’m sure there have been times when I’ve actually heard those words. Giving the speaker the benefit of the doubt, they were most likely said out of anger and not meant from the heart, but still . . . it doesn’t mean they hurt any less.

I haven’t quite mastered “take captive every thought” (I Corinthians 5:10), but I’m trying.

Again, this isn’t really what this post is about. Not really. When the feeling of overwhelming worthlessness enters our minds, we do need to take those thoughts captive and toss them into the fire where they belong, but we also need to combat the mental roller coaster with intellect, Godly wisdom. If we don’t understand our worth in the eyes of God, then how can we capture the thoughts of worthlessness and do away with them?

First we must understand our worth according to God.

 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you  when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Psalm 139:13-16

I love Psalms 139. The entire passage speaks of God’s loving care from before our first breath and through out eternity.

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Luke 12:6-7

Do you see that? Not one sparrow is lost to God, and if He cares enough to know the whereabouts of such tiny creatures, does he not care for our beings? Yes, yes He does. Luke says we are worth more than many sparrows. He even knows the numbers of hairs on our heads!

For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

1 Timothy 4:4

I know. I know. Most people coin 1 Timothy 4:4 with food and drink, but those things are temporal. I am eternal. You are eternal.

So let’s break down this passage with eternal beings in mind.

For everything God created is good. I am good. You are good.  We are not worthless. We are good. Nothing is to be rejected. Not me. Not you. Yes, I realize there is an if inserted, which implies a condition. That condition being nothing is rejected if it is received with thanksgiving. Let me assure you, if you are reading this blog post, you, my friend, are being received with thanksgiving. I am thanking God for you as I write these words, because I’m praying for you. Whether you have a personal relationship with God or not, I’m praying for you. I’m praying that you’ll see your worth through God’s eyes. I’m praying you’ll no longer see yourself as insignificant. I’m thanking God at this moment that you have been set apart (consecrated) by His word and by prayer.

WE. ARE. NOT. WORTHLESS. No matter how many times we hear it in our heads, God says otherwise.  Now that we understand our worth in God’s eyes what is the second way we can combat feelings of worthlessness?

Understanding we have a purpose in life.

You see, I believe we were created for a purpose, and when we aren’t fulfilling that pupose we tend to allow, and sometimes dwell on, thoughts of worthlessness.

From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.

Acts 17:26

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:10

. . . by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, . . .

2 Timothy 1:8-9

I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills his purpose for me.

Psalm 57:2

Like the tamarisk tree, we can seem so very insignificant. And too, like the tamarisk, upon closer inspection we see a purpose for our lives, a purpose, which may be buried beneath feelings of worthlessness. There are layers and depths to our purpose that even we, ourselves, can not comprehend. Those layers are revealed to us as we draw near to the Lord, which can only come through prayer. He desires for you to know Him. You are worth more to Him than silver and gold. He thought you so significant that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

 So, how do we combat the feelings of worthlessness?

1. Understanding our worth through God’s eyes.

2. Understanding we have a purpose in life.

3. Take every thought captive.