Saturday, February 29, 2020

God With Us

A few months ago I researched the Scripture passages that inspired the lyrics to the wonderful hymn How Firm a Foundation (Words: John Rippon, 1787; Music: Joseph funk, 1832; hymn information from The Cyberhymnal,  Here are those verses and Scriptures again, for encouragement in every season of life:  

Scripture references for the hymn How Firm a Foundation: 

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you. Psalm 89:14
So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic. Isaiah 28:16

He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure. Isaiah 33:6

In every condition, in sickness, in health;
In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:11-13

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
 Isaiah 41:10

The bolts of your gates will be iron and bronze,
    and your strength will equal your days.
Deuteronomy 33:25

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
Isaiah 43:2

When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:7

This third I will put into the fire;
    I will refine them like silver
    and test them like gold.
They will call on my name
    and I will answer them;
I will say, ‘They are my people,’
    and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’”
Zechariah 13:9

Even down to old age all My people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.

Even to your old age and gray hairs
    I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
    I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
Isaiah 46:2

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you;
    never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

... I am with you always, to the very end of the age.  Matthew 28:20

Friday, February 7, 2020

Keep Silent and Pray

It has been nearly two weeks since my mother's funeral, and each day I've felt strongly that now is not the time to address issues regarding various things that are worrying or upsetting me. I am to keep silent and pray.

The experience of laying a loved one to rest triggers deep emotion that, unmonitored, can do harm to the tender hearts of others who may be navigating grief-paths of their own.  Grief can tilt one’s perceptions.  Until I am more certain of the accuracy of my responses (well, especially until then),  I need to keep quiet!  I've made a  list of do's and don'ts to review daily for this time:
  • The death of a loved one and the grieving that follows may bring seemingly unrelated emotions to the surface, and worse, can tilt our perceptions toward inaccurate conclusions as we attempt to reconcile the level of pain we are experiencing with our actual circumstances.  We may feel like blaming other people for the hurt.  If you have to field negative words or actions, turn the other cheek and table the issue until later.  Time and prayer are the solutions for any problem that arises; now is not the time to confront issues.  Keep silent and pray.  Entrust your loved ones into the Lord’s hands. 
  • Assume the best of one another.  Give each other the benefit of the doubt.  Encourage one another.  When someone acts or speaks in a way that is hurtful, look for the need behind the behavior. You may find a need to belong, to prove oneself, or a desire to be admired or accepted; bear with one another in love.  
  • When you are hurt, cry the pain out to Jesus, and not to another human being.  Human beings can’t help you or offer healing.  The Lord can do both.  
  • If you feel you are being shortchanged, overlooked, or treated unfairly, look for the Lord’s provision.  In His perfect love and virtuosity, the Lord is able to balance all of our needs and to bless each of us with the outcome. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

A Gentle Unfolding

The photo background of this meme is the lane that led to my mother's childhood home.  We always called a visit to this, my grandparents' farm, "Going down home."   

Walking the path of grief over my mother's death is a complicated process. There are many layers to traverse, not only grief, but also a struggle to assess the changes that have occurred in my life over the years I was Mom's primary caregiver, an assignment which lasted nearly a quarter of my life.

Yesterday I used my iPhone's "Find My Friends" feature to see whether my daughter had arrived home safely from a shopping trip.  I had a brief, humorous urge to look up my own name to see where I am.  There is a sense of needing to gain my bearings as I prepare to move forward to the next phase of my life.

I didn't need to fear this time of grieving as I did.  The Lord's grace has seen me through the funeral and each day since.  And it is so precious that instead of my being bombarded with the full weight of all I have to face, each day another issue, lesson, or grief has been revealed.  In this way I have not been overwhelmed.  I've been allowed time and space to pray  through each "lesson of the day" and have received the Lord's comfort and instruction.

I am grateful for this gentle unfolding.

Today’s lesson is that Mom is at home.  It's wonderful how the Lord made this truth real to me as I looked at a sympathy card with a photo that reminded me so much of the lane that went "down home" to my grandparents' house.  The Lord's presence is more blessed, beautiful and perfect than any earthly home we've known; in Him we are perfectly at home.

The Lord is so good to us.  Blessed be His Name.


My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.  
Exodus 33:14