Just a quick blurb this morning to share a couple things and hopefully, there is someone out there that needed to hear them as much as I did. I am in the midst of recovering from a collapsed lung. I am also in the midst of preparing to share the Word in front of a group of Sisters from my home church next weekend. I cannot tell you how God has used my fear over this weekend to strengthen my faith nor can I adequately paint a picture of the way the enemy has tried to twist it in my mind.
We have encountered obstacle after obstacle where this retreat is concerned. You name it and the Biddinger Crew has looked it square in the eye. Enough so that I have wondered if I had reached outside my bounds, if I was trying to labor in a field that God hadn’t called me to or stepped outside my appointed area of influence. My mind has tried to run amok with this thing time and time again. But over and over, God has been there putting the Sword of the Spirit firmly in my hand and giving me Scripture to engage in the combat. Time and time again, He sent my Nehemiah Man to the wall for me and sent Sweet Friends to refresh my heart.
This morning, as I was contemplating all of this, the thought came into my mind that I had been given the perfect way to gracefully bow down to my fear. I could simply say I didn’t think my recovery would be far enough along. And I began to turn this over in my mind and mull the idea that perhaps this was exactly what God had intended. And all of this before my feet even hit the floor this morning. The enemy appears to be an early riser but . . . . The God of More, the One who takes my anxious thoughts and gives me peace, He never sleeps or slumbers. His eye is always upon His own.
Ever patient with me and bringing to life the Truth that His mercies are new every morning, He set about again to chat with this thick-headed child. I just can’t help but marvel at the fact that He doesn’t constantly deep sigh at me, cross His arms, and tap His Holy foot in my direction. But He doesn’t. He continues to work with me. It’s no wonder I giggle and relate so well when Paul tells the Philippians, “Oh I don’t mind repeating myself. Perhaps this time you’ll catch it.” (Marilyn Paraphrase)
So, with no deep sigh and no Holy foot tapping, God began to speak to me by combining the Truth of His Word with the obedience of His saints.
First, I got a series of beautiful texts from my Sweet Girl before 7:30 this morning.
“Mrs. B! You won’t need to find a standing stone to remind you of God’s strength and healing in this situation! It’s literally written on your chest! How cool is that!?!”
She had no idea that the theme verse for the retreat is Proverbs 3:3 and the very thing I had been studying the evening before was His Testimony written on the tablet of my heart. But I had not considered the stitched up gash left behind by the chest tube. You are right Sweet Girl – How cool is that!?!
Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
Proverbs 3:3 (NIV, 1984)
“I hope you get to spend time delighting in the Lord this morning Momma, because oh! He is delightful!
Listen to this:
Lam 3:27-33 “It is good for a man to beat the yoke while he is young…Though [the Lord] brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.”
How God wishes we could learn the easy way, but He would rather bring us into His best for us as soon as possible than let us be comfy but unsatisfied! Praise the Lord for His mighty works this morning Mrs B!”
She did not know that the introductory teaching session will involve the “yoke of __________” we hang around our necks in place of God’s love and faithfulness. She did not know that I was grasping for understanding of this affliction — trying to discern the purpose of God.
She did not know – but He did.
Moving on to my morning devotionals. I receive the verse of the day which was Psalm 121:1-2 today, Girlfriends in God, and one other.
Opened the first one and read the opening lines:
In Christ, you are enormously gifted. You have an unseen enemy who is after that gift. 2 Tim.1:14 “Protect that good thing entrusted to you.” – Beth Moore
Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you–
guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
2 Timothy 1:14 (NIV, 1984)
Ok Lord, I’m listening. Those thoughts are my own fears and I will not succumb. I’m announcing to the heavenlies that I’m standing firm in JESUS. Dressed head-to-toe in Him, fully armored up and believing that the prayers of the saints are at my back, I will be brave. I will cast every anxiety on you because you care for me. And I will not shrink back. Nothing, absolutely, nothing is beyond Christ Jesus and I refuse to sell Him short.
Faith isn’t about my feelings but, I confess to you that I love the sense of His Good Pleasure falling on me. No deep sigh to be heard. No crossed arms vibe in the room. No floor tremor from a tapping foot.
He took my anxiety, my prayer and my petition, and He gave me His peace. He took my less-than, who-wants-this junk and He gave me Himself. He is always the God of More. I cannot say it enough.
So God had reassured me through the obedience of the saints and His Truth. But He wasn’t quite finished yet. He had one more thing to say on the subject. I opened my last devotional and read Romans 12:11 (NLT). . . (don’t you love HIs humor)
Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.
Marilyn paraphrase again, “Child, you’ve been hanging around in your uncertainty long enough. Go to work. ”
I have to believe that while the name at the beginning of that sentence may change, the message is meant for every Sister reading this post. Beloved, don’t you let the voice of the enemy shout you down–You declare that Love speaks louder. Don’t you let those doubts make you feel small–You proclaim that Truth is bigger. And don’t you let that serpent tell you that you are less-than because Girlfriend, YOU SERVE THE GOD OF MORE!
(Written with much love for my Sweet Child and thankfulness for her inability to keep the goodness of her God to herself. I love you Punkin!)