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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Thoughts from the Past - Immediate Results

 

June 27, 2007 [edited]

Immediate Results

The following passage is the explanation from the parable of the sower. Note how often the word "immediately" appears:

Mark 4:15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. 16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended. 18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, 19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. 20 And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred. (Emphasis added.)

We live in a time when so much happens so quickly that patience in the Lord's work has become "outdated". People want immediate results. They want to "see souls saved" and "the altar filled"; they want to see the pews filled, but they chafe constantly that it doesn't happen sooner. They have no desire to "get their hands dirty" in the work of cultivation or tending young plants. Many in the Lord's church today are "outcome based." They are "result oriented" and "seeker sensitive." Some have rightly referred to this as "microwave Christianity."  "They want what they want when they want it", to paraphrase an old song.

Notice first in the passage that Satan immediately taketh away the word that is sown in the hearts of the people by the wayside. There is someone who works immediately in this parable, and it isn't the sower, nor the seed. Remember that!

Next, notice that it is the ones in stony ground who immediately receive the word with gladness. There are those who will seem extremely glad to hear the truth, and yet they have no root. They are not connected to anything that will support growth and fruit - they are not true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Too often these people are grabbed by the "soul winners" to set forth as proof that God is "using them" (meaning the soul winner). The new “convert” may be rushed into baptism and church membership, but sadly they only endure for a time. As soon as affliction or persecution comes in relation to the word of God, these people are immediately offended. Then the preacher or "soul winner" blames the person, frets and stews and acts frustrated; OR they ignore the fact and go charging on in their numbers game of "who can win the most." (You can't stop counting the ones who "don't stick", you know, or you'll start falling behind.)

Now notice how the ones that are sown among thorns go. They become unfruitful through the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches and the lusts of other things. They are choked by the thorns. This is a slower process. The unfruitfulness is not noticeable for a while, so the "quick fruit" seekers would be even more deceived in this matter, and possibly more disappointed later.

But, last of all, notice those in good ground. These hear the word, receive it and bring forth fruit. This does not happen at microwave speed, friends. Grain grows slowly. The crop is not ready two days after planting. It takes time for the seed to sprout, to grow good roots to support the plant, to shoot forth and finally to bear fruit.

Notice also that the amount of fruit is not the issue. It comes in varying amounts - some thrityfold, some sixty and some an hundred. Those who bring forth thrityfold are not condemned and those who bring forth an hundredfold are not exalted above the others. They all bore fruit! This is the point.

Finally, we must remember Who is in charge of "results" in the first place.

1Corinthians 3:7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. 8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. 9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. (Emphasis added.)

It is not our responsibility to "get results." It is especially not our responsibility to get them immediately. It is not our place to even be claiming "results." God giveth the increase. We don't need to be, and should not be, fretting over the results or how soon they come.

The East Africans have a saying: "Hurry, hurry has no blessing." In this case it applies well. You can't see quick results where growth is required to produce fruit.

James 5:7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

Let's not be carried away with the "hurry up" attitude that is so preeminent today. Plant where you can. Water where you can. Be faithful and patient and let God bring forth fruit to His glory in His time.

Scattering precious seed, doubting never,
Scattering precious seed, trusting ever;
Sowing the word with prayer and endeavor,
Trusting the Lord for growth and for yield.

William Ogden

Friday, September 28, 2012

Show Us Thy Grace – A Poem by Annie Johnson Flint

 

One of my absolute favorite poems…

Show Us Thy Grace

Show us our need, O Lord; how lost, how hopeless,
How poor, how sunk in sin our carnal hearts;
Show us how vain to change our sad condition,
Our best endeavor and our utmost arts;
Show us how weak we are, and how dependent,
How multiplied defeats our pride abase;
And then -- O Lord, lest we despair too wholly --

Show us Thy grace!

Show us Thy grace, the great, the all-sufficient,
Infinite riches for our poverty,
Mercy of God for uttermost salvation,
Weapon that turns defeat to victory;
Gladness unspeakable and full of glory,
Beyond our needs, a vast unmeasured space.
Lord, as we never yet have seen or known it,

Show us Thy grace!

- Annie Johnson Flint

Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Quick Meals – BLT Quesadillas

 

Here is a quick meal that does required a few precooked items.  You can use your own, previously cooked ingredients.  The amount of what you will need will vary depending on how many you are cooking for, the size of your tortillas and how much you like bacon. ;-) 

You will need:

Cooked flour tortillas  (We actually buy raw flour tortillas at Costco and I cook them at home because they have the fewest ingredients of all the store bought tortillas, they don’t bother my “attentive stomach”, and they taste and smell incredibly better this way.  See more info below)

You will need:

Cooked bacon – Plan ahead: Cook extra when you’re cooking bacon anyway, and reserve what you need to make this meal later (pre-cooked bacon can be frozen for later use).

You will need:

Fresh tomatoes
Lettuce
Cheese, sliced
Mustard and/or mayonnaise if desired
Garlic powder, optional

Fold the tortillas in half.  Spread the inside with mustard or mayo and sprinkle lightly with garlic powder, if using.  Add sliced cheese and bacon inside the tortilla.  Cook on a hot griddle or in a frying pan.  It should be fine to do this in a dry pan, but if the pan tends to stick at all wipe it with some oil first.

Cook, turning at least once, till the cheese is melted and all the layers are heated through.

Just before serving open one side and add the tomato slices and lettuce.

These would be great with guacamole on the side.

--------------

Regarding the tortillas: The raw flour tortillas that we purchase from Costco come in a large quantity. (NOTE: We Do Not Recommend the corn tortillas.  We had a bad experience with those, but never with the flour ones so far)  To deal with this quantity, we take them out of the packages; separate the tortillas, putting a small square of waxed paper between each one; place them in freezer bags; date them and put them in the freezer.  The reason we go to all the trouble of inserting waxed paper between each tortilla is that we found they stuck together after they thawed if we didn’t do this.  With this method we’ve had little trouble with that and they keep well in the freezer for several months.

MMmm.  I think I need to make these again soon! :-)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Laying Aside Weights – To Everything A Time, Part 1: Chronophobia

 

Other posts in this series.

Psalms 89:48  What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? Selah.

1 Corinthians 15:26  The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

Unless the Lord comes first, every one of us will eventually die.  Death is a great enemy of the human race, and it is the last enemy that will be destroyed.  Revelation 20:14  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  Even our Lord Jesus was effected by death in this life.  When He saw the grief of those who were mourning Lazarus it says, Jesus wept.  John 11:35

Chronophobia is the fear of the passing of time.  It often stems from a fear of death and acute awareness of the passing of time.  This is often related to the fact that there’s a limited amount of time and then life is over.  For me I think it came from constant reminders that we need to “redeem the time” coupled with a strong tendency toward scrupulosity [disclaimer on some content in this link] and toward general anxiety.  Aging along with the thought that my parents’ lives are nearing their end have been a significant issues to me in recent years.  Thankfully, the Lord gave me a husband who mostly views life as a journey towards heaven, so to him each day, each week, month or year, each meal is just “one less” to go till we get to heaven. :-)

Redeeming the Time

Ephesians 5:15-16  See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Redeeming the time is important and good, but we can allow it to become a burden too heavy to bear.  For example, sometimes mothers don’t value their time with the children like they should.  Perhaps they “wake up” to this at some point, or perhaps other mothers observe this.  Then these mothers go overboard with it and become obsessed with treasuring every little moment.  Children are a gift, but we can wear ourselves out making sure we fully value every second we have with them.  There has to be moderation or we will drive ourselves crazy.

How can we have a restful, trustful and yet appreciative view of the passing of time?  There has to be a balance.  Time is precious, but in God’s final plan, it is unnecessary!  Revelation 10:5-7  And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer: But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.  We never read that Jesus “made haste”.  He was never in a hurry.  I think the key to value time properly is walking daily in God’s will.  If we would walk an unhurried life yet redeeming the time also, we need to walk in God’s time frame – each for our own lives.

He That Believeth

He that believeth shall not make haste
In useless hurry his strength to waste;
Who walks with God can afford to wait,
For he can never arrive too late.

He that believeth shall not delay;
Who carries the word of the King on its' way
Keeps pace with Jehovah's marching tune,
And he can never come too soon.

He that believeth shall walk serene,
With ordered steppings and leisured mien,
He dwells in the midst of eternities,
And the timeless ages of God are his.

Annie Johnson Flint
[altered]

Isaiah 28:16  ...he that believeth shall not make haste.

Psalm 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.

The Lord has shown me more than once that my times really are in His hand. Psalms 31:14-15 But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in thy hand…  There have been times when I didn’t get something done when I thought it “should have been” done, or when we didn’t “get going” when I thought we should have.  Once a “very late” gift to a friend “happened” to arrive on a very difficult day when she needed it much more than she did on her birthday.  More than once when we were “running late” we’ve gone by the scene of a recent accident.  Had we been “on time” we might have been involved.  These  are reminders that, though time is “running out” our heavenly Father is still in control of it – even when we feel “off schedule”!  (By the way, don’t allow yourself to be in bondage to keeping a schedule. Schedules can be useful tools when used wisely, but I know that sometimes we can get totally stressed out when things don’t happen when they were “supposed to”.)

“Keeping Up”

One complication we have to deal with is the pace at which life is lived now.  It’s a known fact that this is causing stress, anxiety and even depression.  We get too much information, there’s too much to “miss out on”, there’s too much information required from us, and it’s a constant strain to “keep up” with the new and “important” things.  As much as is possible, I think we need to lay aside the bustle and hassle of modern life’s demands.  We need to let go of the driving urge to “keep up” with everything that’s going. 

Slowing life down several notches will have a positive effect in giving us more time for the things that really matter.  Less time keeping up with Facebook means more time to read to the kids.  Simpler meals means more time to take a walk with your spouse or a friend.  Less time watching T.V. means more time to read (especially the Bible), pray, call someone who is hurting, make something with the kids, etc.  I had one friend whose family decided to get rid of the their television.  She said she literally watched 5 hours of T.V. a day.  She sat down at 5 pm after they’d had dinner, and watched till 10 pm when she went to bed.  Awhile after they had gotten rid of the television she found her life so full of other more important things that she couldn’t imagine how she’d had time to spend that much time watching T.V. each day!  What about you?

Constant straining forward to some future event also keeps us from using today or right now properly.  I know this from having been single till I was 38 years old.  I regret the time wasted fretting and pressing toward the time when I would be married.  How much more I could’ve done and enjoyed!  How much less I could have worried about the passing of time!  I’m inclined to say that half the battle in redeeming the time is in not worrying so much over every passing moment – not trying to cram every single minute as full as possible.  That may sound counterintuitive, but there is something to it.  For one thing, we wouldn’t become so weary in well doing (2 Thess. 3:13).

Let It Go

Hebrews 2:14-15  Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

The bondage of the fear of death will keep us weighed down no matter how it comes out.  But, whatever the reason for it, the fear of the passing of time is a weight we need to lay aside.  Whether it causes constant fretting, overachieving or immobilization, it is not helpful.  When we are running against time it is hard to run patiently the race set before us.  We should be running for the glory of God.  Beating ourselves up constantly over every little “wasted” minute is counter-productive.  We need to stop watching the clock and just run.  We need to keep our eyes on Jesus instead of the finish line on this earth.  Philippians 3:14  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.  We need to let God do His job of ordering our steps and keeping our time.  We need to let Him direct us according to His good purpose.

Ecclesiastes 3:1  To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

Do you need help ordering your days?  Ask the Lord about all of it.  “Lord, what should I do today?  What should I do next?”  He won’t lead you astray.  Proverbs 3:5-8  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.

Matthew 6:33-34  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

John 6:51  I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever…

----------------

Laying Aside Weights – To Everything A Time, Part 2: The (not so) Good Old Days

Monday, September 17, 2012

Short Thoughts – An Important Choice

 

Ruth 4:10 Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day. 

Boaz was going to marry Ruth and bring up a child in the name of  Mahlon on his inheritance.  This he intended to do in obedience to the Law of God. (Deuteronomy 25:5-10, Matthew 22:24).  However, God over-ruled in this, as we see in Ruth 4:21, Matthew 1:5, and Luke 3:32, giving Boaz himself credit for Obed.  Thus, Boaz was placed in the line of Christ instead of Mahlon.  The other unnamed kinsman missed out on this blessing when he chose his own inheritance over fulfilling his lawful duty, Ruth 4:6 And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it. 

What blessings are we willing to turn down in order to keep our pet things nice or “unmarred”?  It may be a bigger blessing than we know at the time!  If we refuse His blessing, God will find someone else to give it to who will obey Him.

1 Samuel 15:22 ...Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Thoughts from the Past - Follow Your Heart?

 

Sept. 14, 2006 [edited]

Follow Your Heart?

"Follow your heart," the world tells us. "If you follow it you can't go wrong. Your heart will always lead you right."

God has a different thought on that -- as is usual where the world's philosophies are concerned. (By the way, a research on Google showed that this phrase is popular with New Age type people. That should tell us something.)

Proverbs 28:26 He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.

You might want to read that again. That first part is a strong statement, and there's no getting around it. If you "follow your heart" you are a fool. God said so.

Why would the Lord God say a thing like that?

The answer: Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Our hearts are deceitful above all things. There is nothing more deceitful than the heart. Wow. That's a pretty amazing statement, and yet history has proved it absolutely true. I am not an exception. You are not an exception. (And, your wonderful boyfriend or darling son/daughter is not an exception either, by the way.) We are all sinners, and our hearts are not trustworthy.

My grandpa used to say that our hearts are so deceitful we can deceive ourselves and not know it, even when the people around us do know we are deceiving ourselves. Scary, but true.

God has a solution, though. He always does. (That is one of the proofs that He is God Almighty.)

Psalm 119:80 Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed.
Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Now, we might ask, "Since our heart is not trustworthy, how can we trust in the Lord this way or keep our hearts for Him?"

1John 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. 20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.

God is greater than our heart! What a wonderful comfort that is! Even if our heart condemns us unjustly, God is bigger and stronger, and He cannot lie! (Titus 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;) The Lord knows if we are saved, if our real desire is to follow Him, and even if we are deceiving ourselves. There is no problem in our heart that is too big for Him!

To "follow your heart" then, is truly folly. We can only be safe in following our Lord, for only He knows and understands our hearts.

Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

1Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

We Rest on Thee – A Poem

 

We Rest on Thee

"We rest on thee" - our shield and our defender!
We go not forth alone against the foe;
Strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy keeping tender,
"We rest on thee, and in thy name we go."

Yea, "in thy name," O Captain of salvation!
In Thy dear name, all other names above:
Jesus our righteousness, our sure foundation,
Our Prince of glory and our King of love.

"We go" in faith, our own great weakness feeling,
And needing more each day Thy grace to know:
Yet from our hearts a song of triumph pealing,
"We rest on thee, and in thy name we go."

"We rest on thee" - our shield and our defender!
Thine is the battle, thine shall be the praise
When passing through the gates of pearly splendor,
Victors - we rest with Thee, through endless days.

Edith Cherry, ca. 1895

2Chronicles 14:11 And Asa cried unto the LORD his God,
and said, LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with
many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD
our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go
against this multitude. O LORD, thou art our God;
let not man prevail against thee.

Ephesians 6:11-12  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Thoughts from the Past - Prevented by the Lord

 

Feb. 28, 2008 [edited]

Prevented by the Lord

David wrote in, Psalm 21:1 The king shall joy in thy strength, O LORD; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! 2 Thou hast given him his heart's desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah. 3 For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head.

According to Samuel Johnson's dictionary, "prevent" means, "...To go before as a guide; to go before, making the way easy...To go before to be before...To anticipate...To preoccupy...to attempt first...To hinder; to obviate; to obstruct..."

The last meaning is almost the only meaning used now, and was even in Johnson's day. However, some of the earlier meanings are interesting in light of some of the verses in the King James Bible that use the word "prevent". (Try looking them up. There aren't many.)

In the verse above it seems like the meaning used is that of going before. The Lord went before David with blessings of goodness.

This gives us several comforting thoughts. First of all, the Lord is already in the future before us. He is already occupying the place where we will be. He is ahead of us in every way, therefore, He anticipates our needs. He is a guide and so, in His wisdom, He will lead us to and through the future. Psalms 23:3 …he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.  We can also trust Him to obstruct anything that would not be for our good.

2Thessalonians 2:16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, 17 Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.

"Prevent" is a good word for the child of God to be comforted and stablished in. God is going before us with blessings of goodness and surely it is a good blessing that the Lord prevents us in the complete meaning of this word!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Just for Fun – Totally Random and Mostly Useless Things

 


“Bullwinkle” slippers my brother got for his some-teenth birthday.

Not Your Average Name

Monkey’s Eyebrow, Kentucky

Things Not to Name Your Kid – This one is ripe for commentary, but I’ll refrain on this occasion. :-)

Something to Maybe Eat – Possibly – If you’re starving….

Dice’s Poverty Soup – Or not.

How to Butcher and Fry Rattlesnakes – Not for the faint of heart, and probably illegal in most places. (No pictures.)

Far, Far Away

Tristan da Cunah – They even have a newspaper….sort of.  Don’t read the dates, though. :-)

Clovelly, North Devon

A Different Kind of Party 

Holidays in September – I’d like to draw your attention to “Be Kind to Writers & Editors Month”.  Ahem.

A Squid Shaped Birthday Cake – I feel so deprived.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sour Cream Raisin Pie


My poor dad has been hankering after sour cream raisin pie for years.  The recipe is in my mom’s “write-in cook book” in his hand writing, but I think she said she’d never made it!  Well, last February, I decided to give it a go as a surprise for his birthday.  He was very happy. :-)

Sour Cream Raisin Pie

1 C. raisins, finely chopped
1/2 C. sugar
1 1/2 Tbl. flour
1/8 tsp. salt
2 eggs, separated
1 C. sour cream
1 tsp. cinnamon or lemon juice

1 9” pie crust, baked

Combine sugar, salt, flour and cinnamon (if using).  Beat egg yokes and add dry mixture.  Pour into a large sauce pan.  Stir in chopped raisins and sour cream (and lemon juice, if using). Cook over medium heat till it thickens, stirring often at first and constantly at the end.

Pour filling into the baked pie crust.  Preheat oven to 325F.

In a mixing bowl beat egg whites till stiff peaks form.  Add 4 Tbl. of sugar and mix in well.  Spread egg whites on pie.  Brown meringue in oven for 10-12 minutes, or till lightly browned on top.  Remove from oven and cool.  Serve at room temperature or refrigerated.

Note: You could probably get good results from this recipe with dried cherries, cranberries, currents or blueberries in place of the raisins.

It’s a rhinoceros.  Well, anyway….I just want to say I don’t actually remember if I followed the recipe exactly or if I looked up a more ample meringue recipe.  It looks to me like it may be more than two eggs’ worth of meringue, but I can’t remember.  February is too long ago and I failed to take notes if I did change it.  So, do whatever you think you’d like. :-)

If yours doesn’t look quite like mine, I think I used our own free range eggs.  This would partly account for the dark golden color.  If you use store bought eggs it will probably be lighter in most cases.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Thoughts from the Past - A Sun and Shield

 

I wrote this post shortly after we moved to Texas before my husband and I were married.

July 20, 2008 [edited]

A Sun and Shield

Hot, hot, hot! Welcome to Texas. The land of heat, wasps and dead grass - well, at least it is this year since this area is presently having a bit of a drought.

Today I was walking down from my future house to the house of my brother and sister-in-law where I'm presently staying. The two places are next door and connected by a longish driveway which makes a great path for walking between them. There is more or less sunshine on this driveway depending on where the sun is in the sky, and since the sun is so hot here right now I generally try to walk in the shade as much as possible. Some people might wonder at my apparently erratic course when I'm walking between the two places because I don't follow the shortest distance between two points, but the shortest distance between two shadows. So, I tend to zigzag somewhat on my journey.

This afternoon the temperature here was apparently hovering around 100F when I made the trip down that path. I could actually feel the change in the temperature when I walked out of the sun into the shade, there was that much difference between them. In thinking about that it brought a verse to mind, and other thoughts as well.

I looked up the part of the verse I thought of and here is the passage it comes from - Isaiah 32:1 Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. 2 And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.

I believe this is probably speaking of the Lord Jesus in the Messianic sense. He is a man who is a hiding place and so forth. He is also a shadow of a great rock in a weary land. On a day like this I can appreciate this thought. It truly is a weary land here today. If you had to spend much time out in this heat it would make you tired. It would make some of us very tired.

I also think of this verse: Psalm  84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

The Lord is both a sun and a shield because at different times we need both. Sunshine is very necessary to me in dealing with the anxiety disorder that I have. In the winter time in Tennessee it was not uncommon for me to struggle through days when the sun didn't shine and I could not get this important ingredient, especially if there were several cloudy days together. The sun's rays supply us with vitamin D and probably other things that are essential to our health both physically and mentally/emotionally.

In that respect, the Lord is a sun to us. He supplies us with necessary things that we need to keep us healthy spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. As it says in Malachi 4:2, But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. The Lord, in the role of providing spiritual sun for us provides us with the growth and health that we so much need.  The idea behind a calf of the stall is that it never wants for anything.

But, thank God that He is also a shield! He does not burn us up with His strength, glory and power as the physical sun would if we were subjected to too much of it. The Lord provides protection and comfort as well as light and growth. The shadow of a great rock, a covert in the tempest, water in a dry place, a hiding place from the wind - these are all things that represent protection and comfort for the weary and struggling. What a blessing that when the way is too long, the struggle too hard, the heat too great we can step into the shield of the Lord and find protection and a time of rest and refreshing!

Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand,
The shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land;
A home within the wilderness, a rest upon the way,
From the burning of the noontide heat, and the burden of the day...

I take, O cross, thy shadow for my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of His face;
Content to let the world go by to know no gain or loss,
My sinful self my only shame, my glory all the cross.

Elizabeth C. Clephane

Psalms 91:1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. 3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. 4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.