Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Will You Trust Me?

I am honored to have my sweet friend Nicole Doran guest post today at His Table For Two. Nicole is a breath of fresh air. Every time I see her I feel a little lighter and my heart feels brighter. She refreshes the hearts of the saints. Truly. "...you have refreshed the hearts of the saints." (Philemon 1:7)

I am excited that she will refresh your heart in Christ today, too! 

"...refresh my heart in Christ."
Philemon 1:20
Here's Nicole....

Nicole, Bob and their sweet cherubs

I am truly humbled and blessed to be guest writing for His Table For Two. Sharon is a treasure in Christ, and she has been a blessing in my life. I pray this entry, and all others so carefully transcribed, finds Him meeting you right where you are. ~ Nicole

"Will You Trust Me?"

Have you ever felt like a turtle without its shell? Did you know without its shell, a turtle cannot survive? 

Have you ever felt so backed into a corner that you couldn't see the way out? 

Have you ever felt like you were buried with fear? 

I have felt these things from time to time, and more so recently, as I look at the state of our world. 

Why am I telling you this? Because, I want to tell you what The Lord asked me. He asked, "Will you trust 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

"Will you trust Me?" Well, Lord, of course I trust You; You are in control, but...

"Will you trust Me?" Well, Lord, of course I trust You; You have a plan, but...

"Will you trust Me?" Well, Lord, of course I trust You; You foresaw all of this, but...

"Will you trust Me?" Well, Lord, of course I trust You; You love me, but...

Is any of this familiar to you?

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you...
thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."
- Jeremiah 29:11

Hmmm, "For I know the thoughts I have toward you...to give you a future and a hope, not to harm you." What does that mean? Does that mean that we will never experience trials? Does that mean that we will never go through valleys? Does that mean life will always be simple? 

Put simply, no. 

But...here's the Good News...He is with us...through all of it! When we are like the turtle, when we are riddled with fear, when we feel cornered... He is there!

"Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me."
- Psalm 139: 7-10

Ok, so He's always with us. Then why do we feel these ways sometimes? Some will say it's condemnation from the enemy. Others will say it's sin which separates us from communion with God. Still others will suggest it's a test of faith. 

We may hear that it's conviction from The Holy Spirit. Or maybe we are told it's a season of being "stretched". 

What do I say? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. And, Yes.

Yes?...Yes. It is not for me to say which of these are true for someone else at any given time.  That is only for The Lord to say. 

What I CAN say, is that all of these have been true for me in my Christian walk. And ultimately, where do I wind up? On my knees, seeking His face and praising Him for His grace, His glory, and His love for this doubting, ungrateful, sinner. He alone can only truly know the heart of His children. It is to our hearts that He speaks His truth...softly, gently, clearly and lovingly in a language He knows we will understand.

"And He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you:
for My strength is made perfect in weakness.
Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities,
that the power of Christ may rest on me." -2 Cor. 12:9

I will glory in my infirmities? Yes. Because it is during those times that we are drawn closer to Him. It is during those times that we come to know more of His nature. It is during those times that we come to understand how much He loves us and how perfect His plans are for us. And even more, it is during those times that we learn just how strong or weak our trust in Him and our love for Him are. Then we become aware of the cover of His shadow, and the comfort of His rod, and the guidance of His staff.

And we realize: we never lost our shell. He was always covering our circumstance.

He is the way out of the corner if we just follow His lead.

He tells us 365 times in His Word "fear not..." as He extends His hand for us to walk with Him.

Let's trust the Shepherd together. ~ Nicole

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever."
- Psalm 23

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Resolution or Transformation

"'Resolve to honor My name,' 
says the LORD Almighty."
Malachi 2:2

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
Romans 12:12

A new year! A time for reflection and for looking ahead for growth and change.  Lasting and fruitful change. Transformation. That can only come through the perfect Word of God. "Every word of God is flawless..." Proverbs 30:5

Transformation. A surrendered heart pursuing holiness. A willingness to yield to the bittersweet process of purification through the washing of the water of the Word. "...offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness." Romans 6:19

Resolutions can tend to be self-centered. Resolutions often are about me, my strength and my commitment. Transformation is Christ-centered. Transformation comes from the renewing of our minds by the washing of the water of God's Word. We surrender and yield to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives and allow His transformation to take place in our lives through the Truth of God's Word. And WOW...He transforms us into His image! "You have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator." Col. 3:10

"And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Cor. 3:18

"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me."  Psalm 51:10 

The condition of my heart before the Lord moment-by-moment is most important to me. God creates a pure heart in us. God renews a steadfast spirit in us. My responsibility is to keep my heart before Him in humility. I want to always have a teachable heart. I want to be willing to be broken."The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18  
"Every time we open the Word of God, it should be for the purpose of being broken." - Nancy Leigh DeMoss
“I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite." Isaiah 57:15

As I daily surrender my heart to His truth, He creates a pure heart in me and transforms my heart to be more like His. Wow! That sure is humbling and awesome.

If we resolve to do anything this year, let's resolve to honor His name and be  transformed by His Word. "...'resolve to honor My name,' says the LORD Almighty." Malachi 2:2   This resolve is too lofty for me to attain on my own.  Only by HIS grace and Word can it be so.  His divine power gives us everything we need for life and godliness. (2 Peter 1:3)  Thank You, Lord. 

"I delight in Your decrees; I will not neglect Your word."
Psalm 119:16

Your Devotional Journal

Saying Grace ~ Bring your heart to God in prayer.

Your Portion ~ Where has God met you in His Word today?

Nourishment ~ How does God want to mold and change my heart?

Second Helpings ~ How does God want me to be a doer of His Word today?

Time for Dessert ~ What can I go and share with others today?

"You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
and praise the name of the LORD your God,
Who has dealt wondrously with you..."
Joel 2:26