Daniel Fast Day 14

My mom went through many trials during her life on this earth.  She lived years in an abusive marriage.  Her young son, 23 years old, was killed in a logging accident.  One dark night she stood outside and watched her house and almost everything she owned burn to the ground.  She was a single mom who worked hard to make ends meet, and to feed her children. In spite of all these trials my mom was a fighter.  That doesn’t mean she was never knocked down, after all, each of the above horrors would humble even the strongest among us.  No, she hurt, she cried, and she fell many times, but she always got back up. 

As a child I witnessed many of her struggles, and I witnessed the pain she endured through each one.  I remember seeing my mom cry more than she smiled, but the one thing she made sure of was that I knew how much she loved me.  I never doubted my mom’s love.  It was her love that carried me through the trials of my childhood, and even though she has passed, her love still lives within me and carries me every day.  

I am at awe of how she made it through each trial.  Sometimes I try to put myself in her shoes and I wonder how I would’ve handled domestic violence, seeing all that I owned burn to the ground, and the death of a child. I feel confident I would have lost my mind.  

Since I’ve been on this fast, I have been thinking a lot about my mom, and about the testimony she had among those around her.  She was always kind, and always willing to help anyone in need.  Everyone on Wood Street knew if they came to Bessie Hardy with a need that she would do everything within her power to supply that need.  That was just who my momma was.  

There’s one verse in the Bible that I heard her recite over and over again, and I will always attribute it to her.  Ephesians 6:13-14 “Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand.  Stand therefore…”  I remember my mom saying that one day when she was ready to give in to all the pain God lead her to this scripture.  Verse 14 continues, but on that particular day, God gave her a different perspective and she read it as “Having done all to stand, stand.”  God was telling her to just keep standing, and He would be her strength.  And that is what my mom did her whole life.

While on the Daniel Fast, I’m reading a book that coincides called…of all things…The Daniel Fast by Susan Gregory.  Each day, of the 21 days, has its own devotional that is filled with the promises of God.  One being Isaiah 40:31, “…They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” 

On this fast, over and over I am led to the idea that God is working in my life, even if I don’t see it, or feel it.  God has given assurance that He is with me, and that He has plan for me, but I must be patient to wait for his perfect timing.  In the midst of financial insecurity, I feel him whisper, “…having done all to stand…stand.”   Another portion of scripture that has cropped up over and over is James 1:3-4, “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.  But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”  

I have a week left of eating a restrictive vegan diet.  That part of my journey has gone well…and I confess my body feels better.  I have lost about 7 pounds which is a nice added benefit.  I’m planning on continuing some of the good habits I’ve learned such as eating more “real” food and less processed food…no artificial sweeteners, to go easy on the sugar…and to nurture the spirit as much as I nurture the body.  

However, I can visualize that first cup of coffee and of it I can’t wait to indulge.

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FOWC-Visualize

Daily Prayer

O sons of men, how long will my honor and glory be [turned into] shame?
How long will you love worthless (vain, futile) things and seek deception and lies? Selah.  [God]

Psalms 4:2

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Mankind in his/her greed rapes God’s creation every day.

My Prayer:  God, forgive us for destroying your beautiful world.  Mankind stands guilty before you.  I stand guilty before you.  Please forgive us.  Please Lord, help me to do my part to mend your creation.  Thank you for the gift of your son, Jesus, who taught us how to walk in love upon your earth.  In his name I pray, Amen.

(Walk Through Psalms Series)

Waiting on God

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Walking Through the Book of Psalms

Psalms 4

David was a writer and in that I find kinship. The more I read his writings the more I like the guy.  His work is poetically beautiful, but it is also brutally honest. David wasn’t afraid to question God.  He wasn’t afraid to complain to God.  He admitted to sin, depression, guilt, shame and his lack of patience.  I’m beginning to wonder if I were David in a previous life!  David, like me, was also goofy!  In II Samuel 6:16 we read about David bringing the ark of the covenant back to  its rightful home, Jerusalem.  David is ecstatic  and so as the ark enters the city he breaks out in a dance.  His wife, Michal, looked out the window of her home and saw her husband “cutting a rug.”  Did she go out to dance with her husband?  No.  What did she do?  Check it out:    “… Michal, Saul’s daughter [David’s wife], looked down from the window above and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she felt contempt for him in her heart [because she thought him undignified]. So, either David couldn’t dance or his wife walked around with a stick up her butt.  Perhaps it was little of both.  Which ever, suffice to say David could be goofy and I think that’s pretty cool!

In today’s scripture we don’t find the goofy David. Rather, he’s in the wilderness, perhaps in a cave, hiding from a son who wants him dead. Not a pretty picture.  How often have we been there, seemingly alone, desperate and facing horrible family problems?  I can relate.

Of  the scholars I’ve read, all agree that Psalms 4 is a continuation of Psalms 3.  The third Psalm is often called, “The Morning Psalm” and the fourth called, “The Evening Hymn.” And so, it seems logical, that David wrote Psalms 3 in the morning and wrote Psalms 4 the same day, but in the evening.  I would imagine that to have been a long day for David.  In the early morning he had cried, “Arise, O Lord; save me, Oh my God” and yet as evening approached David still faced a future, uncertain.  As far as David could tell, God had done absolutely nothing to help him from his troubles.  When I’m in that “waiting-kind-of-situation” I too become impatient and with David I want to cry from the top of my lungs, “Get up God…do something!”  This we can do, but ultimately, just like David, all we can do is watch and pray.  One of my favorite verses that I’ve quoted many times over is Isaiah 40:31 which says, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

It’s so hard to wait on God.  I like what Joyce Meyer writes on the subject,  “Trusting God often requires not knowing how God is going to accomplish what needs to be done and not knowing when He will do it. We often say God is never late, but generally He isn’t early either. Why? Because He uses times of waiting to stretch our faith in Him and to bring about change and growth in our lives… But the truth is, waiting is a given—we are going to wait. The question is, are we going to wait the wrong or right way?”

So how did David wait?  As evening approached, David laid himself down upon a make-shift bed to pray and as a result we have Psalms chapter 4.  In his prayer he first acknowledges the power of God by saying, “Hear me, when I call, O God of my righteousness.”  Here David is giving God the glory for everything good in his life.  He’s actually saying, and I paraphrase, “God, every good thing I have accomplished in my life is all because of you.  My righteousness is not mine but yours.”    Paul from the New Testament felt the same way when he wrote, “For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus  for good works, which God prepared beforehand , so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)   Anything and everything we do that is good is a testament unto God and not ourselves because we are His “workmanship.”  God considers each of us His work of art.  You and I are one of a kind, there are no replicas. David understood this, and so as he lay upon his bed, he reiterated it to himself and to God by saying “..Oh God of my righteousness…”

David didn’t know what his tomorrow would hold, but this one thing  he did know;  God was his God.  As Christians we can know the same.  Our Father, God, loved us so much that he gave us Jesus; and once we truly know who we are in Christ, we can know His peace in times of waiting.

It’s not about us, dear friend; it’s all about Jesus.  When Jesus cried out from the cross, “It is finished” He really meant..“It is finished!”  Everything has been taken care of and there’s nothing else to do.  Jesus has already won the final battle and the proof of this is in is his resurrection from the dead.  We are complete, secure and greatly loved by Jesus.  Jesus wants us to know …our life is hidden with Him in God.  (Colossians 3:3)  I don’t think we can get any more secure than that.  David hid in the wilderness but thank God, we can hide in Christ.

David, while in the wilderness, was secure in God’s love.  He knew his strength would come from Him.  By faith, we can know the same.

What else did David do in his waiting?  That’s a story for the next blog.

My Prayer: Oh Lord, sometimes waiting can be so hard…so frustrating…especially when you’re quiet and it seems as if you’re doing nothing.  In these times, please remind me of your love…remind me that I am your child.  Give me your strength.  Give me your peace. May I rest in the Christ who gave his life for me.  In His name, Jesus, I pray, Amen.

“Thus with my thoughts composed to peace,
I will give mine eyes to sleep; Thy hand in safety keeps my days, And will my slumbers keep.”

Psalms 4

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 This is also my participation in Scripture Sabbath Challenge and Devotional Friday Event.