Saturday, January 29, 2011

Truth, Whatever Way You Say It

The steps of the righteous are ordered by the LORD,
and He delights in his way.

Psalm 37:23

I love this verse. Sincerely, it is one of my favorite of all the wonderful verses in the Bible. It's one I find myself quoting with a decent amount of regularity. Over the course of my walk with the Lord, I have probably quoted it hundreds of times.

Many times I have stated it, "The steps of the righteous are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way."

The righteous, that's any of us who have made the exchange of our righteousness for His. As a believer, I am righteous, not in my own doing, but because the Lord died to give me His, to make me right with the Father. Deep sigh of relief, I am righteous in Christ. I am thankful that that means this promise is mine to claim because of that truth.

There have been many times I have quoted this scripture to myself or another like this, "The steps of the righteous are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way."

Ordered. I'm a girl who suppresses her potential Type-A personality for the sake of her children (translation: if I expect life to be orderly and clean with three kids, I will have to be a gestapo to keep it that way). The reality however, is that I really love order. If you can step outside of my messy home, you will find in my cell phone my contact list is extremely ordered,and in my computer my files follow a very obvious logic, even my Facebook friends list is broken down into categories: church friend, high school friends, internet friends, etc. Order in the midst of chaos is appealing. And often in life we find it far easier to find the chaos then the order. So there is peace to be had knowing the God is in charge of what we don't easily understand. In my little world I crave, "a place for everything, and everything in it's place," so it brings comfort to my heart knowing that when things seem out of place, they aren't because God has placed them there for His purpose.

"The steps of the righteous are ordered by the LORD,and He delights in his way." That's one of my favorite ways to quote it. So often in my life, I feel like I am failing and falling horribly short. My heart often aches at my overwhelming sense of insufficiency. I am too short with my children, my house isn't clean enough, I spend lots of days feeling like I haven't accomplished anything of any purpose, much less anything of any eternal purpose. So when I stop for a moment to remember and realize that my heavenly Father is always looking fondly upon my stumbling efforts, it gives me a sense of value that far exceeds any possible sense accomplishment I might have in getting caught up on all my laundry or having a clean bathroom. God's delight in me, warms my soul.

But lately, I've been quoting this scripture like this, "The steps of the righteous are ordered by the LORD,and He delights in his way." I've heard myself a lot lately quoting it this way, both to myself and to others. Life is very uncertain for many these days. I would almost dare to say "for most," but I'll err on this side of presumptuous. But I do know many are living in a world of uncertainty. I know much of my life feels very uncertain these days.

It gives me great comfort that the Lord leads His kids one step at a time. Too often I, and many others I suspect, want to run ahead. We want God to give us a bigger picture, and a giant peephole into the future. We don't say it quite so plainly, perhaps, but many of us I am sure would like to say, "Lord, show me what's going to happen, and I will absolutely trust you." But it doesn't work that way.

Mercifully, God doesn't show us the big picture. Truth be told, I suspect if He did, we would just argue with Him about how we have a better plan anyway. No, he doesn't give us a long term plan toward an ultimate goal. What He does do is direct us one step at a time. He asks for just enough obedience for the very next step. It doesn't mean that it isn't ever a very big step, maybe even a leap (of faith), but it does mean He only asks for one at a time. Hand in hand, Him in the lead, He desires to direct our very next step.

Not to say this is an easy way to live. Truthfully, it requires a lot of patience and faith, it requires a surrender and trust that is not easily given. Sometimes the steps may seem illogical, or may even be into a dark pathway, sometimes they will be so close to an edge, you cannot imagine how you will not stumble and fall.

The thing is, the terrain we walk is unknown territory to us. The pathway may twist and turn in ways we cannot anticipate. Truth be told, we can't even be certain exactly where the path is leading to, or where we may detour along the way. The Lord, on the other hand, is extremely familiar with the territory. He knows the peaks, and the valleys and He walks securely and with strength of them and every area in between. He knows every twist and turn, and He is not only Expert on it, he is the Designer of it. Holding His hand one step at a time is the wisest choice we can make.

When we don't know what the future holds, we have to choose to remember who holds our futures. It behooves us also to remember He not only holds the future, but He is the God who is a "very present help in trouble," (Psalm 46:1) and in His love and care for us, He longs to guide is all along the way. When we let Him, in the end we not only end up where we ought to be, but we come out with a much deeper relationship with our Guide.

But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’
Jeremiah 7:23

Yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The LORD God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.

Habakkuk 3:18-19

Monday, January 24, 2011

Be Still

I feel like I'm in the eye of a storm. You know the place, the quiet in the middle of the chaos. Everything surrounding me is in turmoil, uncertainty. I feel like I'm almost under a cone of silence. The sounds of the storm seem muffled, and I feel almost detached from everything I see swirling about. It's a little surreal.

Perhaps it's the "peace that surpasses understanding" that God promises in the bible. (Philippians 4:7) I have been praying a lot. Since the first of the year I've been consistent in my devotionals, constant in my prayer journaling. I have been continually drawing near. It makes me wonder if that's the source of my "cone."

The voice of the Lord seems somewhat muffled too though. Sort of.

It's sort of like being inside the house on a stormy night. Here in California, it makes me think of the nights when the Santa Ana winds blow. You can hear the eerie distant sounds outside. You can hear the power, but you don't feel it. Then suddenly, the wind will slam something against the house, and the suddenness of it shocks you. You are suddenly awakened from the mesmerizing sound of the storm.

That's what the voice of the Lord has been like. Sudden, shocking, and then it's muffled again by the muted sounds of the storm. But in the moment, it's profound.

Looking outside my cone reminds me of the scene from The Wizard of Oz. Remember when around the house things went swirling about? Antennae, trees, a chicken coop, even the mean old neighbor on her bicycle. Except unlike Dorothy, I feel completely stationary, still.

The Lord tells us to be still. "He says, “Be still, and know that I am God..." Psalm 46:10 Still.




Because He is God.

He is God of the storm.

He is Lord over the wind.



He is not moved.

He is the cone.

The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Psalm 46:11

The Lord is near. Philippians 4:5

The things I've heard Him say, will not be easy. When I think about it with my own practical wisdom, it says "NO!" to what I hear the Lord saying.

But practical wisdom aka wisdom of the world aka common sense, has no power over the storm.

Thus my heart was grieved,
And I was vexed in my mind.
I was so foolish and ignorant;
I was like a beast before You.
Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You hold me by my right hand.
You will guide me with Your counsel,
And afterward receive me to glory.

Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish;
You have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry.
But it is good for me to draw near to God;
I have put my trust in the Lord GOD,
That I may declare all Your works.

Psalm 73:21-28

I will be still, I will listen.

He is God.