Monday, July 23, 2012

Trusted in the Master

Mom's Bible with a Red Rose - Her Favorite!

This day 4 years ago was without a doubt the most difficult day of my life. I said earthly good-byes to my precious Mom as she enjoyed the most glorious day and was perfectly healed of all cancer in Heaven. This has definitely been a year that I have missed her in some very big ways! However, I do not miss cancer and the suffering it caused her! Thankful that the Lord heals perfectly! I have been thinking of words to a Trip Lee song called, "Take Me There." It speaks of the desire and longing for Heaven and verse 2 perfectly describes my family's experience with Mom. The line that has come to mind over and over again when I think of Mom is this one, "She ain't scared of death cause she's trusted in the Master." Often, I have asked myself what have I learned since Mom passed away? This is definitely one of the big truths, trusting in the Master.

Yes, there was a point in my younger years where I trusted in the Master for salvation and believed in Him as the Lord and Savior of my life. That's what this song is mainly referring to, but since Mom has been gone, I have learned in an even greater way what it means to trust the Master. It was not a thing that I did at salvation and never had to do again, but it is something that I need to do every day. Who do you trust to provide breathe in your lungs? Who do you trust to provide for your needs of the day? Who do you trust when your heart hurts? The Sovereign God is the Perfect Master! He is Worthy to be trusted.

We are doing a series with the Student Ministry called The Bible Overview. As I have read through some big events in the Old Testament, it draws out 3 different thoughts: Who God Is, What God Does, and How God Works.

In 4 years and in light of cancer, this is just a small highlight of what I have learned----

Who God Is: The Faithful Father, Refuge, Promise Keeper, Comfort, Joy, Hope, and so much more! Look on the pages of Scripture, He is written all over it and it is TRUE! Yes, He is a God of justice and wrath when it comes to sin, but when it comes to those who belong to Him, He is GOOD and He is ENOUGH!

What God Does: He doesn't leave His children helpless or alone, but provides strength and comfort in the most difficult times. He reminds me that strength is found when I take delight and joy in Him! He uses the most difficult times to show Himself near and sanctify His children.

How God Works: For my good. I think Romans 8:28 is over quoted like as a light-hearted thing to say something Biblical to people during tough times. But if you have experienced a difficult time as a believer, the verse comes to life, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." He is Good and His Work is Good! No doubt about this simple, but profound truth.

In 4 years, I have been drawn near to my sweet Master and I am so thankful for that. As I reflect on my life with Mom and without Mom, my heart and head know this truth, God allowed cancer and Mom's death for His glory. It has been hard, but God has been good. For now, I anxiously await a reunion where I can worship the Master face-to-face alongside my dear Mom and other believers.

"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." -Revelation 21:3-6

Sunday, July 08, 2012

How's Married Life?

If Adam and I had a nickel for every time we have been asked, "How's Married Life?", we would have a lot of nickels... I think I probably get asked that question at least once a day, sometimes more often than that. As much as I want to give an answer that will catch people off guard (to be funny, of course.), most times I just reply with something like, "It is great" or "I really enjoy being married." While both of those are very true statements, it is hard to sum up the answer to that question in a short sentence or when someone wants to make small talk. (Truthfully, I am horrible at small talk.)

Adam and I are going through this Bible study called, "The Gospel-Centered Marriage." This study has been so good and at the same time very challenging. That's how I think marriage is! It is so good and so challenging. My favorite thought from the book (so far) has been this, "One of the great things about marriage is that God throws a fellow sinner into close proximity to us so that they walk all over our idols. So marriage is a God-given means of revealing and addressing our idolatrous desires." (p. 62). Since I get to live with a sinner, I'm thankful for the one God choose for me! At the same time God has used this short time to show the idolatrous desires of my heart.

A few years ago the Student Ministry I work with took a group to a conference concerning idols of the heart. Idolatry is not talked about to much in our culture, especially since we are not prone to make a statue and worship it. However, the idols are still there, they just take on different forms in a person that one idolizes, electronics, sports, or whatever it may be that captures your heart above Christ. Paul talked about this in 1 Thessalonians 1, "how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God..." One phrase that I wrote down during that time that still continues to challenge me is this, "Accepting Jesus is not just adding Jesus, it is subtracting the idols." That's how the Christian life is. Remembering that Jesus is the prize and the only One worthy of all of my worship and honor, anything that comes before Him is an idol. Married life has been much the same way, remembering that Jesus is the prize and the only One worthy of all my worship and honor while learning to put away my selfish desires and seeking the best for Adam, the one that God has entrusted to be my husband.

I love this song by Jimmy Needham, "Clear the Stage." The line that continues to convict my heart is this, "Anything I put before my God is an idol. Anything I want with all my heart is an idol." 

As a part of the bride of Christ, I pray that God continues to reveal the idolatrous desires of my heart and show me that He is the Great Treasure. So, "how's married life?" It is a gift from God. One of the best earthly gifts He can give. I pray that I am using the married life that He has given to me to make much of Christ. Marriage is His picture, His plan, for His glory.