Friday, May 27, 2011

Some "R & R" from God's Word

“They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations”
 (Isaiah 61:4).

For many people, summer brings anticipation of vacations and long-awaited “r & r” – rest and relaxation. While reading this verse in Isaiah, I noticed some other “r” words that benefit me more than any vacation.

This passage describes what God’s redeemed people will do. They will rebuild, restore, and renew. Although I am very familiar with these words, I looked up the definitions again. To rebuild is to remodel extensively or reconstruct with new parts. To restore is to bring back to a former condition, health, or strength. To renew is make fresh or strong again or to revive.

How do these words impact my own life? There are ruinous old thought habits that need to be reconstructed- thought patterns of fear, despair, negativity, and hopelessness. They need to be replaced with the truth of God’s Word which reminds me that God’s Spirit and power are within me, giving me the courage and strength to fight old ways of responding to my problems. Although in this life my body may not be restored to the health of years past, God is able to restore my soul and give me fresh strength to endure my earthly trials until I receive my new and perfect body in eternity. I need God’s Word and Spirit to revive me when I feel I’ve had all I can take of pain, suffering, and disappointment.

Sometimes my health conditions limit my traveling abilities. A summer vacation may not always be a possibility for me. And many times my aches and pains keep me from really feeling restful and relaxed. But these words in Isaiah are truths I can claim regardless of how limited I am, how much pain I’m experiencing, or how devastated I feel my life is. Praise God for His wonderful “R & R’s”!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me hope and faith to trust You for the rebuilding, restoring, and renewing that I need in my life. Amen.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

God's Protective Canopy

“The Lord God will create. . . a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over all the glory will be a canopy. It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place form the storm and rain”
(Isaiah 4:5.6)

Each spring my husband puts up a canopy over our patio. It provides a lovely place for me to sit and enjoy my birds and flowers.

When I read the above verse, I think of this canopy. Our patio receives the afternoon sun. During the summer months it would be almost unbearable to sit there without the covering the canopy provides. And although it protects me from the intensity of the heat, I am still able to see and enjoy my surroundings. It is not a suffocating, imprisoning protection at all. God’s covering over me is much the same. He is my shelter and protection from Satan’s attacks of despair and depression. He covers me when I am afraid, gives me room to grow and learn while under His protection, and constantly gives me glimpses of His love and bits of heaven through His creation.

My canopy not only gives me protection from the sun but from the rain as well. When the storms of my life threaten to beat me down and drench me with many negative thoughts and emotions, God’s canopy is there to be my refuge and hiding place.

I think it would have been wonderful to have seen the visible signs of God’s presence in the cloud and smoke. Many times I long for a physical sign from God to encourage me. I may not be able to see my Lord face to face at this moment, but His presence is with me through my pain and suffering even as He was with the Israelites through their desert wanderings. Just as the glory of God’s canopy was their constant companion on their journey, His protective canopy will cover me continually until my longing to see His face is fulfilled.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to willingly accept and follow your path for my life, knowing your loving and protective canopy is always over me. Amen.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Child of the King

“You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God”
(I Peter 2:9).

I recently watched the royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. Although I enjoyed the pomp and majesty of the surroundings, what struck me most was the couple themselves. They are a stunning couple – physically attractive and in seemingly excellent health. Part of me rejoiced with them and prayed for God’s blessing in their lives. Yet I must admit part of me struggled with envy, not simply for their surroundings but for their physical health and appearance as well.

As I dealt with these thoughts, God brought to mind some Biblical truths. I remembered that I have access to the throne room of God, who loves me in ways I cannot even comprehend; I am a daughter of the King of the Universe and the Prince of Peace is my constant companion; Buckingham Palace cannot compare to the splendors of my eternal home; the wedding feast of the Lamb will be beyond any earthly banquet I could ever imagine; when I meet my Bridegroom face to face, my body will be perfect and complete inwardly and outwardly.

Part of me still longs to look and feel like this royal couple. Pain, age, and medications have taken a toll on my earthly body. Yet I also know that even now I am clothed with the garments of salvation and arrayed in a robe of righteousness, and have been given a crown of beauty for ashes and a garment of praise for despair (Isaiah 61:3,10). God is enthralled with me (Psalm 45:11) and I am part of God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved (Colossians 3:12).

For those of us who know God, our royal wedding is still to come. Our days of pain and suffering are our preparation for that divine Marriage Supper of the Lamb. May we let perseverance finish its work so that we will be mature and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:4).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, no eye has seen the wonders that You have prepared for me in your eternal kingdom. As I await that day while facing my daily struggles, give me the strength and desire to live as a child worthy of the King. Amen.