Perception Depends On Which Direction You Look!

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 
For by it the elders obtained a good report.  Through faith we understand that
the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen
were not made of things which do appear.
Hebrews 11:1-3

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Looking at the picture above you can well understand what the word perception can entail.  In moving ones eyes from left to right, the whole picture changes.  Moving eyes back again to the left you notice how gradual the change was. Where the picture changes from one view to the other is almost seamless. You can only see the significant difference on each side of the picture.  The in between or the middle is almost imperceptible without taking notice.

A thought came to me this morning after praying these past several days about the event that took place in the last post.  From the first day I struggled with overwhelming fear, which I knew immediately was from the enemy.  The fear stemmed from events of my past. Abandonment, disorientation, lack of understanding, uncertainty of the future.  All of these feelings are universal in any distressing occurrence that takes you by surprise.  We are shocked, then we are confused and questioning, then we grieve or become angry.

Ask anyone who who has learned that a loved one has died suddenly, or someone you cared about has fallen into immorality, maybe you learn that one of your children is addicted to drugs or alcohol or your mate has walked away from the vows that they took with you in front of God and family.  There are many more examples  but in almost all cases you go through a similar process.  How is it that each one of us can relate to this?  Each human being put on earth has the ability to feel all of those emotions and more. Why?  Why did God program these emotion into our bodies?  What use are they?  How do we cope when they overcome us to the point of shutting us down?  Incapacitating at times.  How do we get through it and remain standing? 

 
I do not claim to have "the answers" but I do claim to know the One who does.  His Word gives us so many answers but often we ask but don’t seek them out.  Which brings me to the thought I had this morning….I had seen the picture above years ago and when I saw it again, this thought kind of rolled around in my head for quite some time but it was not until this week that God inspired me to write it down.  It has to do with "Faith" and why we so often talk about it but we do not apprehend it or grab hold of it. 

To have faith in God is to believe in Him even though we can not see Him physically with our eyes.  To have faith in His Word, is to not only believe in its truth but to walk in it and apply it.  To have faith is to simply believe God and take Him at His Word.  How do we get to this kind of faith in God? We have to know Him!  His character, His nature, His will and His love.  Take the subject of emotions I touched on before….if I have faith in God, have faith in His Word and I apply that faith then those emotions will not overcome me, they will not shut me down and they will not incapacitate me.  Instead my faith will strengthen me, it will stir me to draw closer to Him and it will give me what I need to remain standing.  I found this line in a commentary I read on the great chapter of faith in the New Testament, Hebrews 11.

"Faith proves to the mind, the reality of things that cannot be seen by the bodily eye. It is a full approval of all God has revealed, as holy, just, and good. This view of faith is explained by many examples of persons in former times, who obtained a good report, or an honourable character in the word of God. Faith was the principle of their holy obedience, remarkable services, and patient sufferings." (Taken from Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on Hebrews 11)

Depending are where you are in your faith is how you will view or interpret that distressing occurrence that comes into your life suddenly.  You will go through the emotions and the feelings but just as the picture changes moving eyes one way or another so does your perception of the circumstance.  If our faith is small we will see a wall in front of us…no way around, over or through…as the left side of the picture might represent.  If our faith is huge, then we will be as the ship on right, boldly forging ahead without any obstacles to keep us from trusting God with all that is ahead.  It is not just hoping, but knowing that Jesus, our Lord, is in the boat and will calm the storm with one Word. 

How do we get huge faith?  The picture also may have an answer to that.  Time and distance, gradually growing in Him.  Look back from where you are in your walk with Jesus and take notice of the gradual, almost seamless, changes in your life.  He begins to build our faith from the moment we ask Him to be Lord of our lives.  Every storm, every trial and every blessing comes through Him, teaching us something about Him.  Stopping to take notice of what He has done in your life will not only prove to you that He is who He says He is but will give you the confidence to stand in your faith and face whatever is before you!

with much faith I pray much grace to you….

Shell

Changing Landscape!

Charles Spurgeon said,
"To seek aid in time of distress from a supernatural Being is an instinct of human nature.  I believe in the truthfulness of this instinct, and that man prays because there is something in prayer.  As when the Creator gives His creature the power of thirst, it is because water exists to meet its thirst; and as when He creates hunger there is food to correspond to the appetite; so when He inclines men to pray, it is because prayer has a corresponding blessing connected with it."

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This week my world shifted again.  Some changes that I was not expecting came into the life of friends and myself.  I spent the last four years going through so many changes it was hard to know what the world around me even looked like, so at first thought, I was not ready for things to be different.  I sensed God giving me back my strength and passion for Him and His Word in this new year.   This current change is hard to put into words because it knocked me off balance.  I am seeking God’s wisdom and understanding instead of mine. 

I just started a Discipleship program at our church and I know it is no coincidence that this week lesson is on Prayer.  Reading that quote by Charles Spurgeon stirred me.  It gave me a reference from which I can view this change, that everything that comes into our life is ordained of God.  Will we question His sovereignty in things that creates pain in our hearts? Or will we go to Him, seek His face and His will for whatever He has next.  I can not deny the fear that overwhelms me at facing an uncertain future but I can accept that God’s ways are higher than mine and He is after all in the boat in spite of the height of the waves! Isn’t He? 

He drew me to Psalm 25. And every word lifted me to a higher level of intimacy with Him. My hunger and thirst for His comfort came not from the change itself but from the emotions warring inside me, the unanswered questions and uncertainty of the next corner.   So if indeed Spurgeon words can be applied here then it is only natural to expect the blessing that God will bring.

1 Unto thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul.

 2 O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me.

 3 Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause.

 4 Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths.

 5Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.

 6 Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old.

 7 Remember
not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy
remember thou me for thy goodness’ sake, O LORD.

 8 Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way.

 9 The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.

 10 All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.

 11 For thy name’s sake, O LORD, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great.

 12 What man is he that feareth the LORD? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose.

 13 His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth.

 14 The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.

 15 Mine eyes are ever toward the LORD; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net.

 16 Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted.

 17 The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring thou me out of my distresses.

 18 Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins.

 19 Consider mine enemies; for they are many; and they hate me with cruel hatred.

 20 O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee.

 21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee.

 22 Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.

The Ultimate Valentine!

"For God so loV ed the
world
,
       That He
g
A ve

             His
on
L y

             BegottE n

                   SoN

                 T hat
whosever

        Believeth
I n
Him


           Should N ot
perish
,

        But
have
E verlasting
life."


                                   John 3:16

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Stand With Wisdom & Understanding!

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I
have been caught up in watching all that has to do with our election
process for President of the United States.  I am not sure why it has
become my past time of late.  Watching debates, pundits and the great
political commentators late into the evening.  Someone told me that I
was becoming obsessed.  I have found it thrilling on many levels.  I
was observing this morning how much like a sports commentator some of
the political analyst are….the play by plays, the speculations, the
excitement in their voice at the upsets to their predictions…it is
really almost comical.  But intriguing…

I guess
being age 45, I have come to a place in my life where the issues of the
day have grabbed me.  I want to know what the candidates are talking
about, how they are saying things and what is between the lines of
their passion.  No matter what side of the fence you are on, one can
not deny the place in history this election will mark.  A woman, an
African American, a former POW, a Baptist Minister and a Mormon.  Wow!
Have we not come to a place where this election says "America". 
Personally, I think it reveals the dreams of our fore fathers.  Freedom
to become. And men and women, who came after, moving forward to that
dream, giving life to their words and passion.

As Thomas Jefferson penned in the opening of the Declaration of Independence….

We
hold these truths to be self-evident , that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights
that among these are
Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

And later in in the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 that predates the US Constitution by seven years…

Article I. All men are born free and equal, and have certain natural,
essential, and unalienable rights; among which may be reckoned the
right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of
acquiring, possessing, and protecting property; in fine, that of
seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.

In 1850 by Abraham Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address…

Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this
continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the
proposition that all men are created equal.

And no one will ever forget the words that continue to ring out, spoken on August 16, 1963 by Martin Luther King, Jr…..

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the
true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident:
that all men are created equal.

Later in a Day of Affirmation Speech  in 1966 given by Robert F. Kennedy said these words

"Few will have the greatness to bend history; but each of us can work
to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts
will be written the history of this generation … It is from
numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is
thus shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve
the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a
tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different
centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can
sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."

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In
a 1964 televised campaign speech that has been referred to as the
speech that launched Ronald Reagan’s political career he said…..

If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the
last stand on Earth. And this idea that government is beholden to the
people, that it has no other source of power except to sovereign
people, is still the newest and most unique idea in all the long
history of man’s relation to man. This is the issue of this election.
Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we
abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual
elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we
can plan them ourselves.

These
words, I believe, ring more true today than they did then…as my MSN
friend JW Leigh so eloquently stated that we must be apart of the
change, we must make a stand against injustice and we must use our God
given right to choose.  To vote…to be informed and to vote wisely.  I
hope all of you will make the effort to make that stand and let your
vote count!!!!!!

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 To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;  To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;
 To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.

Proverbs 1:2-4