Friday, December 30, 2005

Just Weights

“Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have.”
Leviticus 19:36a

It has come to my attention tonight through a conversation I shared with friends today how that my balances may be a little uneven. I may have too much of something good in one of my cups of measurement, so that it eclipses the other good I have measured in the other cup. A little confused? Well, I think I am, too, but let me try to explain.

See, I have some rose-colored glasses on when it comes to the ministry work of my past. I have some recollections of fond memories from the church I belonged to in America. I see those experiences through the romance of my time of love with my Savior—you know, those beginning fires baby Christians get when they first give their lives to Jesus. Those fires many of us, including myself, struggle to stoke again.

In Romania, I see the church I am a member of here through another set of glasses. A set filled with cracks and scratches that have developed from falling on the ground too many times and from simple wear and tear. I see my Romanian church experiences through a pair of these glasses, where even reality is distorted just a little bit toward the negative.

So where does this idea of an unjust weight come in? Well, I think I may have one experience on a pedestal where it does not belong, bringing this time of my church experiences in Romania down lower than it deserves to be. There are other things put on this pedestal, as well, but suffice it to say, I am left with a very unbalanced perspective. And my sin in this? Well, perhaps this imbalance has given my heart over to worshipping an idol of sorts. The idol of “an ideal church” filled with “ideal people.” And this idol has been preventing me from falling in love with the people in this church as I ought. But most importantly, it has limited my fellowship with and love for my Savior Who needs to be the just measure from which all things are weighed anyway.

All I’m saying is, I was humbled tonight that perhaps I am a little off balance. That my vision needs to be healed. That my weights need to be remeasured.

Father, as the new year approaches, clear my vision, and help me get my balances right, so I may learn everything You have for me as this year ends and the new one begins.

Vietnam (Spring 2000)

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Near Unto Him

"A people near unto him."
Psalm 148:14

"A people near unto him," that is, near unto our blessed Savior. In these five words, there is so much dew from heaven. Is there not salve in this portion of God's word for those who think they're alone? For those needing someone to talk to? For those needing to know what it feels like to have someone love them perfectly?

He loves His people, and because I am saved, I know that I am one of His and, therefore, can also lay hold to the truth that I am included as one of those near unto Him.

However, I know that if I willingly sin against Him, my spirit will not be near unto Him. I know His nearness to me will always be the same, but my own fellowship, my own closeness to Him, will suffer if there is sin between me and my Lord.

So, Lord Jesus, You know my sins, and You know those things that need confession. I ask You, then, to help me in humbling my flesh to receive any correction and exposure to sin I need so that I may lay those sins down at Your feet and receive all the benefits of being a person near unto You.

(Originally written September 15, 2004)

Tescan, Romania (May 2005)

Friday, December 16, 2005

Tears unto God

“Mine eye poureth out tears unto God.”
Job 16:20b

O Lord, thank You for letting us do this to You. Thank You for the joy You bring as You carry us through. Thank You for the times of sadness, where we press, as it were, our faces toward You, letting our sorrows fill Your throne room. O Lord, let Your throne be a repository of all our tears and all our joys. Let Your throne be a place where we can lay bare our most secret thoughts, our inner most desires, and our sins. Only there Lord is a place of the most profound peace. Take my face, Lord. Cup it into Your hands, and let me, I pray thee, cherish every moment, every tear, and every smile that is placed within Your palm. Let me rest a while. Let me love a while. Let my sinful flesh be put aside for the briefest moment in which I can cast away all my pretenses, all my fears, and let You wipe away every single tear. O, my God of Heaven. O lover of my soul. How deep is Your love, my water brook.

Tescan, Romania (May 2005)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Walk Worthy

“… walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Ephesians 4:1-3

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”
Ephesians 4:29

Yesterday and today have been darkened by many discouraging thoughts. As those thoughts came up, I would pray, “Lord, give me grace for help in this time of need” and “I ask for your peace Lord.” I, then, would quote, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto to you: not as the world giveth, give I unto to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)

And so, even this morning, as I cry out to my Lord because of a particular burden to my soul about my church and my failings in my walk with Him, I can sense His grace, His love for me, settling my heart, and, I believe, communicating with me and telling me a few things about how to approach this particular hurt in my heart about the way this church of mine in Romania proceeds.

First, I believe He said to me in a still small voice that this is my church, and whatever the problem I may be having with it may be, it is mine. With that in mind, He revealed to me that I am a part of this church and that I am to try and make it work like a marriage.

So, this is where the above verses to this devotion fit in. I forgive and forbear, all in love. Whatever issue with this or that person grates on my nerves or raises my cackles, I am to forbear, to be longsuffering, to love, and to lead by example.

And then, the last thing I want to mention is how I am supposed to use my words, letting no corrupt thing escape my lips, but only words that are good, to be used for edification, so they may minister grace unto the hearers.

I am supposed to have a beautiful mouth.

All this, again, reinstates this idea that I am to lead by example. To grow in my own walk, not to point out what I see are the faults of others. In that growth process, as much as my example follows the Lord Jesus Christ, I will, then, lead by example.

Jesus, help me to have a good example in front of others “with all lowliness and meekness” (emphasis mine). You can use it to strengthen the unity of Your Spirit in our church, in Your bond of peace. Oh, my, Lord, Jesus Christ, I am weak and beggardly in the face of this task, and I ask that You be the strength in my weakness that the task at hand will be used for Your glory.

(Originally written on November 21, 2005, in response to my discouragement in the church I joined in Romania. To give an honest background, this church was in large part a ministry to the Romanian Gypsies, who are a culture so different than my own. I was simply struggling to love them as I should. I have great respect to the Morgan Family, who have been missionaries to this largely unreached population. A lot of mission-fields are challenging, and I got to experience first-hand the challenges of working with the poor and Gypsy population in the town I lived while I was in the Peace Corps.)

Rupea, Romania (August 2005)

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Thought of the Day

Today's thought comes from Charles Spurgeon's morning devotion for November 19. I read it this morning (actually, technically, it was yesterday morning) and have been meditating on what he was trying to convey about "avoid[ing] foolish questions" from Titus 3:9. Here is an excerpt from his devotion.

"Our days are few, and far better spent in doing good, than in disputing over matters which are, at best, of minor importance. The old schoolmen did a world of mischief by their incessant discussion of subjects of no practical importance; and our Churches suffer much from petty wars over abstruse (not easily understood) points and unimportant questions. ... Questions upon points wherein Scripture is silent; upon mysteries which belong to God alone; upon prophecies of doubtful interpretation; and upon mere modes of observing human ceremonials, are all foolish, and wise men avoid them. ... and if we observe the apostle's precept (Titus 3:8) to be careful to maintain good works, we shall find ourselves far too much occupied with profitable business to take much interest in unworthy, contentious, and needless strivings. ..."

He did say that there were questions we should ask, though, and I quote him directly:
  • Do I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?
  • Am I renewed in the spirit of my mind?
  • Am I walking not after the flesh, but after the Spirit?
  • Am I growing in grace?
  • Does my conversation adorn the doctrine of God my Savior?
  • Am I looking for the coming of the Lord, and watching as a servant should do who expects his master?
  • What more can I do for Jesus?
This devotion was a good gentle rebuke for me today.

Psalm 91:1, 4a

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty … He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust.”Psalm 91:1, 4a

God bless the child whose upward leaning hastens to view Jesus Christ as the person under whose shadow she abides protected. Not only that, but if the child of God seeks after the covering of Christ’s wings, she will be truly blessed. God asks that we trust in Him. How many worried nights would depart from us if we truly trusted in our God?

Imagine this scene. “Trust me,” He says. “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” And listen to how He calls us. “I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.” It’s when we truly hear our Lord and fold our wings under His care, that He brings us under His shadow for divine protection. He blesses us with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus. He covers us with His feathers. But listen - “And under his wings shalt thou trust.”

Jesus is not asking us to “go it alone.” No friend. He’s asking us to trust Him under His loving protection. And in that trusting, He feeds us, clothes us, and fulfills His desires for us.

Sibiu, Romania (December 2005)


Let me introduce to you the initial ideas I have for this online journal of mine. A little over two years ago, I had it in my mind to create a Web site entitled, "Under the Shadow of His Wings," to encourage women who are of my faith or similarly minded in the Lord. The main way I was going to do that was to post my devotions online that I have written over time during my daily Bible readings to help them fall in love with their Savior.

I have two inspirations, well three, if you count my Lord Jesus Christ, for this endeavor. The first inspiration is Charles Spurgeon's Morning & Evening daily devotional. His insights into the Scriptures and his love for God's word have inspired me to have the same regard toward the Bible. The other inspiration comes from the author Francine Rivers. In the "About the Author" sections of her books, she has noted over and over again, that she worships Jesus through her writings, and that worship, in my opinion, spills over into her stories. I have since wanted the same in my own writings.

And so, over the course of about three to four years now, I have written devotions to verses that God has used to speak to my heart about one issue or another. I haven't written one every day, but I have written quite a few. Because of this, and the "blogging" technology, I think now is the time to begin such a task.

I also want to include links to Web sites that will encourage study and growth in the Lord, as well as a space to discuss important issues that may come up. I am in no way unique in this task, but perhaps the Lord can use my ability to write to glorify Him - namely by helping others walk near Him ... to reside ever and always under the shadow of His wings.

For His glory,

Onesti, Romania (May 2005)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...