11/18/16

God Keeps Me, Even When I Blow It

"I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth" (Psalm 121:1-2, ESV).


I was struggling. I thought I was having some measure of victory, but my food addiction reared up to challenge me again. Frustrated, I woke up early the morning after a major food binge and decided to sit in our Jacuzzi to pray through where I'd struggled the night before.

Tears mingled with perspiration as I sat there, thinking and praying. "Lord," I said, "I really need your help."

"Yes, you do," I sensed. And then the scripture quoted above came to mind. I decided to meditate on those words while doing exercises in the water.

(1) "I lift up my eyes to the hills." How fitting. As the sun seemed to slowly creep over the hill behind our house, I found my eyes lifting toward the rising sun.

I thought of the psalmist, David, and why he might be looking toward the hills. Matthew Henry* believes David, some distance away from Jerusalem and possibly in a soldier's camp risking his life, was looking toward the hills where the Jewish Temple was built. David was saying in the midst of his circumstances, "I am lifting up my eyes and looking toward the special presence and power and provision of God."

The Lord spoke to my heart: "Dawn, you haven't been lifting your eyes to me. You haven't been seeking my presence. You've been looking down at your circumstances and at your temptations, trusting in your own strength and rehearsing your failures."

I had indeed been looking to the strength of my own flesh. (And every time I do that, I eventually fail.)
Whenever I try to "gut it out" by myself, I fail to rely on the sufficiency of God in Christ.
I forget "I am crucified with Christ." It's no longer me who lives, but rather it is Christ who is alive in me (Galatians 2:20). 

My life is hidden in Him, and He is producing death in me to my old fleshly lifestyle of selfish thoughts, selfish desires and selfish choices. I am learning I can say "no" to sin.

The God-centered choice is pivotal. And it's personal. I have to lift up my eyes. No one can do that for me.

(2) "From where does my help come?"

Some translations interpret this phrase to mean, "Does my help come from thence?" (From the hills? From anyplace and anyone here on earth?)

I have a library full of books, including a shelf on Christian dieting helps and devotionals. They are all good. But it's far too easy for me to trust in self-help books, "overcomer" manuals and just about anything other than the Lord (Hebrews 4:15-16) and His Word.

Some other scriptures the Lord brought to mind that morning:

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts, 
and I am helped...." (Psalm 28:7a)
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help
in trouble" (Psalm 46:1).
"I have stored up your word in my heart,
 that I might not sin against you" (Psalm 119:11).
"For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war 
according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are 
not of the flesh but have divine power 
to destroy strongholds" (2 Corinthians 10:3-4).

When David asked, "Where am I going to find this help I need?" He quickly answered ...

(3) "My help comes from the Lord...." 

David is clear about that. He had assurance based on his past experiences with the Lord, first as a shepherd boy, and then as as a leader.

I have to be clear about that too. MY help comes from the Lord.

David knew God as the Helper because he experienced God's presence. God is with us to help us (Deuteronomy 31:6; Joshua 1:9; Matthew 28:20). We can count on His presence! God takes hold of our right hand and leads us (Isaiah 41:13). The Spirit of God is the Helper Jesus promised; He's not only with us, but in us (John 14:16-17).

And then David adds this powerful affirmation about God: He is the One ...

(4) "...who made heaven and earth."

The One who created the universe certainly knows how to help and relieve me in my troubles. He who made all things out of nothing can take charge of my desires and weaknesses and give me consistency and transformation.

He is my helper, my protector, my strength - and anything else I need.

I keep forgetting that. I'm human. I'm going to battle sin until God calls me home. I may have binges, but Lord willing, they will be fewer. I realize I can choose to eat foolishly, but I can also choose to eat with wisdom. I may have meltdowns, but God will continue to be my shield of protection and the "lifter" of my head (Psalm 3:3).

God, who has His eye on me even when I take my eyes off of Him, will continue to patiently and intentionally work with me. He will perfect that which pertains to me (Psalm 138:8) and accomplish His purposes in me (Philippians 1:6).

Bit by bit, choice by choice, the Father is making me more like His Son (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 John 3:1-2).

I am so thankful I can lift up my eyes and heart to Him, the One who keeps me, even when I blow it.

* Matthew Henry, Psalm 121 - http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/psalms/121.html 

11/10/16

Post Election "Note to Self"


NOTE TO SELF ... and anyone else who agrees:

1) Don't gloat. Be grateful and honor God.

This is the time for humility and thankfulness to the Lord for great mercy.

2) Don't believe that wolves in sheep's clothing have suddenly lost their fangs. 


We can be so gullible. Why do we expect the Enemy (Satan) to suddenly accommodate us? Why do we think those who stand against all we value biblically and Constitutionally have suddenly changed?

3) Don't feel guilty because Trump won, no matter how many progressives try to dump that false burden on you!


This happens every time conservatives win. Let's get smart and learn how to appreciate victories.


4) Pray for Republican leaders who are too quick to capitulate to calls for "unity" at the cost of standing for what we fought so hard to win. 

We can compromise where it's helpful tactically, but compromise isn't always a virtue. 
Pray for discernment.

5) Stop being a wimpy Christian. 


There's no need to be an in-your-face Christian, but absolutely we can get some spiritual guts and move forward with wisdom and courage. 

My one cry is for revival - corporate and personal. And I'm asking the Lord what that might that look like.

For me ... it's time to pray more, love my neighbors more, stand for biblical standards more, seek the Lord and revival more, and ask Him how I can make a difference in the years ahead.


Those are all ACTION words.


This is NOT a time to follow the pack. 

IT'S A TIME TO SEEK THE LORD.

  • "When You said, 'Seek My face,' my heart said to You, 'Your face, O LORD, I shall seek" (Psalm 27:8).
  • "Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face continually" (1 Chronicles 16:11).
  • "Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the LORD, and He will have compassion on him and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon" (Isaiah 55:6-7).
  • "I love those who love me, and those who diligently seek me will find me" (Proverbs 8:17).
  • "Sow with a view to righteousness, Reap in accordance with kindness; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the LORD until He comes to rain righteousness on you" (Hosea 10:12).
  • "You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13).


11/9/16

Post Election - Our Hope is In the Lord

I don't know about you, but I fell asleep last night thanking the Lord for mercy. I was overcome that He answered so many prayers.

And yet there is sadness. There is a huge divide in our country. I know many on both sides of the political spectrum (and in-between) were praying, "God help us!" Some were sarcastic, and some were sincere. And the truth is, He HAS helped us.


Only God CAN help America find her way in these tumultuous days.

Christians must now pray the Lord surrounds our President-elect and Vice-President-elect (Yeah, Pence!) with men and women of wisdom.  

In days of victory as well as uncertainty, God is sovereign and our surest hope is in Him—not any person or political party!


"For You are my hope; O Lord GOD, 
You are my confidence...." (Psalm 71:5)

It's time to build bridges in our broken nation, but Christians must not get complacent and forget to rebuild their broken bridge to the Lord. We desperately need revival among God's people.

And that will take brokenness ... genuine humility ... to recognize He is God and we are not

We best stand when we arise from our knees.

Going forth, we need to stand courageously for truth in our culture. To stand for God's Word and will and ways.

My marching orders for today:


"Be strong. Take courage. Don't be intimidated... 
God, your God, is striding ahead of you.
 He's right there with you. 
He won't let you down; he won't leave you." 
(Deuteronomy 31:6, MSG)

10/1/16

America Has a Hope Problem


"But those who hope in the Lord 
will renew their strength. 
They will soar on wings like eagles; 
they will run and not grow weary, 
they will walk and not be faint." ~Isaiah 40:31

Forgive us, Lord, when we place our hope in people, governments, or our own strategies. Our Hope must be in You!

"Rest in God alone, my soul for 
my hope comes from Him" (Psalm 62:5)

"I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, 
and in His word do I hope" (Psalm 130:5).

"Blessed is the nation 
whose God is the Lord...." (Psalm 33:12a).

Oh, that we might seek Him, and place our hope in Him alone.

9/28/16

The Evolution of an Affair


I appreciate Tim Challies' commitment to biblical truth. He often posts "flashback" posts from his blog - articles with lasting impact.

As I read his flashback post today, "How an Affair Really Begins" (from September 28, 2015), I thought of a number of Christian friends who progressed down the path he describes, the evolution of an affair.

"Affairs do not begin with sex," he says. "Falling into bed with a man who is not your husband or a woman who is not your wife is never a sudden, unplanned event. Instead, it is a culminating decision in a long list of terrible, self-centered decisions." (Emphasis mine.)

My heart grieves for these friends... cries out to the Lord for their marriages.

And I recognize within my own heart the sinful seeds of destruction as well.
We must all guard our lives, renew our mind in the Word of God and commit our hearts afresh each day to our spouses.
Challies ends his post with this reflection by John Owen on Hebrews 3:12-13:

"Take heed ... use all means, 
consider your temptations, watch diligently..."

That is my prayer for marriages today. Let us, especially, who name the name of Christ, take heed ... consider... and watch!"

Read Challies' post, and consider:
Are you on the path that leads to an affair? 
What will you do about it?

Some Related Scriptures: 

Hebrews 13:4 - "Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous."

Proverbs 5:15 - "Drink water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well."

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 - "For it is God's will that you should be holy: You must abstain from sexual immorality; each of you must know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in lustful passion like the Gentiles who do not know God."