Saturday, September 22, 2012

God is Good, All the Time

I had a professor in college who would sometimes begin class by saying, “God is good…” to which we would reply, “All the time.”  Then he would say it again in reverse order – “All time time…” and we would finish with “God is good.”

Sometimes in the midst of trials or difficult circumstances it seems hard for us to believe that statement.  Can God really be good, even in this?  It is at times like these that we must counsel our heart according to the truth of God’s Word.  Our feelings are not always true, and they are often circumstantial.  But God never changes.  The Bible tells us that Jesus is “the same yesterday, today, and forever.”  No matter what – He was, is, and always will be good.

There is a young woman in our church who is heavy on my heart right now.  Her husband just passed away in a diving accident.  She is ready to deliver their first child in a couple of weeks.  This should be one of the happiest times of her life, but it is overshadowed by deep sorrow.  She is now a young widow.  She will give birth alone.  She will raise her daughter…alone. 

And I found myself asking why this had to happen – to her, right now.  But then I remembered that God is good.  All the time.  Even in times of sorrow.  Certainly when we don’t understand.  And as believers, we can find the joy and peace of God in knowing that He is sovereign, He is in control, and He still has a plan.

I had my own share of difficult circumstances this week.  Nothing to compare with losing a spouse, but hard none the less.  I didn’t feel like rejoicing or thanking God.  I didn’t feel like He cared or was in control.  But I had to remind myself that He is.  His Word says He is.  I just have to believe it.

God is good, all the time.
All the time, God is good.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Token for Good

I remember vividly a chapel message from Bible college.  It was on this verse,

“Shew me a token for good; that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed: because thou, LORD, hast holpen me, and comforted me.”   ~Psalm 86:17

The preacher, who I remember not-so-vividly, explained that sometimes it’s okay to ask the Lord for a token of good.  Something little or special that the Lord does for us, or a prayer that the Lord answers, to remind us that He cares for us.  To show us that He is involved in our lives.  To encourage us when things seem hopeless and overwhelming.

My friends and I used to pray for these tokens.  Or sometimes, usually at the lunch table, we would declare, “This is my token for good!”  I think that chocolate was a frequent token for good in the girl’s dorm!  But sometimes it was something more intangible – an encouraging word, a certain verse that spoke to us in our devotions, a favorite song in the chapel service.

Last week God gave me a token for good.  I was having a bit of a rough day.  A friend came over to go over some plan for an event at church.  When she left she slid a bag across the table and said, “These are for you guys.  Hope you like them.”  It was a dozen bagels. Brooklyn bagels.  And they were delicious.  A special treat we couldn’t have afforded, especially on that day.  But it was a little encouragement to me – a token of good – that God saw everything going on in my life, and He was still there, and He still cares.


It sounds silly – bagels are a token for good?  But at the right moment, in the right circumstances, God can use even bagels to be a token for good.  You can ask God for a specific token of good, or you can just ask Him to show Himself.  Then you get to be amazed at the token He chooses.

What is your token for good?

Monday, September 10, 2012

He Knows My Path

Psalm 142 3 jpg

Even when I can’t see what is ahead. 

Even when it is hard to trust.

Even when I am discouraged

I can have hope – because God knows my path!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Adorn it with Modesty

I've been reading in Titus recently.  Today as I re-read chapter 2, about the instruction which older women are to give to younger women, I was challenged.  And I was sad.  Because we don't seem to be as concerned with these characteristics anymore. 

Here are some thoughts.  As I read the characteristics in Titus 2, I realized that many of them are in real shortage today.  I may step on some toes.  But verse 15 says to speak these things. I am not claiming to be perfect on any of these areas.  We can always improve.  But I want my life...and "adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things" (verse 10).  If that means that we need to change something, then so be it!
I have ben kind of discouraged lately by the utter lack of modesty that I find all around me.  I expect it from the world.  But I expect the church to be a safe place on this topic...a community all in agreement with God's principles of dress and modesty.  As I talk with others I find that this apparent disregard for modesty is everywhere.
:: Behavior that is Holy (verse 3)
This encompasses so much!  My words, my attitudes, my child rearing.  The books I read, the movies I watch.  My time management, and how much time I spend in God's Word.  And the things I wear.  Holy means set apart.  Set apart from the world and unto God.  I cannot be holy if I am blending in with the current fashions and trends in clothing.
:: Sober (verse 4)
Serious minded.  Not flippant.  Not foolish.  Not happy-go-lucky in all things.  But considering the serious ramifications of choices that we make.  It doesn't mean we have to be stern or grumpy or never smile.  But I do think we could use some more soberness when it comes to mothering, child-rearing {and discipline}, homemaking, and yes, even clothing.  Let's get serious about what our choices in apparel reveal about our heart.
:: Discreet (verse 4)
I struggle with this area.  I don't always keep secrets well.  Sometimes I say things I shouldn't...because I feel like I need to say something.  Discretion also encompasses clothing.  I selected the picture at the top of this post because I think that we could all use more discretion in how we dress.  We need to consider with each garment whether or not it will be a stumblingblock.  Will it cause a brother in Christ to struggle with his thoughts?  It's not just about pants vs. skirts, or high necklines and loose clothing. It's about discretion.  Does this dress "adorn the doctrine of Christ?"  Or does it cause me to blend in with the world?  Is it modest, and holy?  Is it discreet?
:: Chaste (verse 4)
This is a word we don't often use anymore.  It is defined like this:  pure in thought and act, modest.  Our clothing choices must be chaste.  Many times I blush in embarrassment for others at how much their clothing reveals.  Too many times I have to warn my husband not to look.  And it's not just in society any more.  Sadly, sometimes it is at church too.  Let's be the kind of chaste women who dress how we would want other women to dress around our husbands.  Let's start a new trend of chastity and modesty.  Let's be above reproach, "that the word of God be not blasphemed" (verse 5).  Let's give no room for someone to point a finger at us.  Let's choose to put aside our own likes or fashion desires for what God wants, and for what will benefit our Christian brothers and sisters.  Is it really such a sacrifice to give up an article of clothing that may be "on the line?"
I remember when I was growing up that everyone at church dressed the same way.  It was a safe place.  Everything we were doing, in an effort to line up with God's Word, was supported by a community within the church that was doing the same thing.  I didn't feel awkward in my long dresses and high necklines.  Everyone else dressed the same too.  Now it seems as if we try to "push the envelope", getting as close to the line of immodest as we can without actually stepping over.  But many times we do step over.  Let's not flirt with sin.  Let's steer clear of the line.  I think it's time to be Titus 2 women.