Sunday, December 7, 2008

Monday Morning Cover to Cover December 22nd - Conscious & 15th - May the eyes of your heart be opened to the immeasurable Power toward you - Eph 1:17.

MONDAY MORNING COVER TO COVER DECEMBER 22nd - "CONSCIOUS OF GOD in the MIDST OF SUFFERING"
It's the week before Christmas and I am wondering, am I conscious of God in the midst of being spoken to harshly or am I more conscious of myself and wanting to just endure it? Am I conscious of God in the midst of arguments with my husband, anger with my world? No profit in enduring says the verse. “For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God.” I Pet 2:19. I think I grew up for a lot of my Christian life thinking real life was about enduring through hardship. The missing link for me was that I was so bent on fighting the good fight of faith and enduring, that I missed the very presence of God when I’m angry, when I’m hurt, when I’m offended. I was bent on dealing with it and not being that way. I was more concerned about how I felt and what I wanted to come out of the situation. I wanted to endure it gracefully. But am I conscious of God? At some point, something happened in me and suffering has made me way more conscious of Him than ever. What about this place in my life? Am I conscious of God in the midst of whatever I am dealing with? If so, what is He saying to me? I Peter 2:25 - you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your soul—while we return once for our salvation, we have to keep on repenting and returning every day. I Pet 2:19 lingered with me so much this week. God made me want to keep on living in the present moment dealing with the fray of my own heart. I love Him so! Trying to get ready for a trip to Seattle for Christmas. If I can get to the rest of my notes, I'll post them later. Love to all of you on the day we celebrate Life. It cost Him His Life for this moment we have.
Peace "for all the people."
MONDAY MORNING COVER TO COVER DECEMBER 15th - "FAITH BIRTHED IN MY DESERT"

I am shooting from the hip this week. Misplaced my notes with my checkbook, oh dear! This is what really moved me this week in what I read from the chronological readings.

AM I LIVING FOR THIS WORLD OR FOR ANOTHER COUNTRY?
“We who are strong have an obligation to bear the weaknesses of those without strength.” Wonder who I can find to build up? Wonder if I am more willing to think of their needs and live for another country or am I bent on my own seasonal needs in living in this world? Rom 15:1. Please others, not self. “May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace in believing.” Rom 15:13. That so shakes my soul. The God of hope. It’s not dependent on me trying to find hope and make hope and have hope. We “overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Rom 15:13. I've thought long and hard about the theme of HOPE as we read this week. Way too much, we want to kill hope rather than walk into the future in faith trusting a good God to provide in whatever ways He so chooses. Hope is one of the most dangerous commitments we make for it draws us to Him to sacrifice without any guarantee of fulfillment in this world. But we live for another country, don't we?

AM I REALLY LIVING IN THIS PRESENT MOMENT? ALIVE or DETACHED
from the moment? “But I count my life of no value to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24. We all want this but are we really alive? Makes me think of Frederick Buechner’s words:“People are so apt to drift along on the surface of their lives, not really seeing or hearing or feeling very much because most of the time they are little more than half alive, the rest of the time dazed, dreaming, or detached. But in Christ, as we read about Him, and as we thought about Him, there is this terrible quality of full life. Most of us escape so much by being less than fully alive, but He seems to escape nothing.” He was vulnerable to the pain that was all around Him, not just the pain of the crippled and bereaved, but the slow, unspoken pain of being human.

IS OUR GOAL TO BE GODLY OR NICE?
I've thought this week about how Paul stood up and responded to the Sanhedrin in Acts 23:3 - Ananias ordered that Paul be struck on the mouth. Paul’s response: “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!” Now I wonder, if someone today who is in authority spoke like that to another authority, would people think that this was a weighty answer or a disrespectful answer or what? Seems to me today that we are stuck in an economic place of being way too “nice” to people when we do need to say weighty words. The goal is godliness not niceness. I love love love how this reading ends…the LORD stood near Paul and said:“TAKE COURAGE.” Seems like that’s all we would need to hear in our hearts. So what does it look like for us to take courage in our hearts today for our LORD is near?
WHEN I REFLECT ON MY PAST, DO I SEE THE PAIN OR REDEMPTION?
"Take courage, for I have faith in God." Acts 27:25. It's a busy season but what is the beat of my heart? Is it for the faith of others? Who can I give courage to this week? I do have faith and believe Him because I know how HE has redeemed good in my life in the past. I have an anchor of trust in my beautiful God that is shored up and that no one can pull up. All that my present dilemmas can do is plunge me into present deeper depths of doubt where brand new faith is being reborn. If we don't have that anchor of trust, then we really are thrown into confusion when people let us down and unexpected unwanted things happen to us---confusion about our ID, confusion about our place in this world. What God has done for me in my past may not take away the pain of the present moment but "faith birthed in the dessert" (as one of my friends calls it) frees me to remember my past, remember the loss, and remember redemption. He so deepens our trust that our redemption draws nigh. It will dawn tomorrow morning as we awake as we trust the One Who is faithful and true. Maybe you have a friend who needs your faith. Maybe you need a little of mine. Take courage. HE is waiting to dawn on your day.

DO YOU KNOW THE HOPE HE HAS CALLED YOU TO?
I really struggled when my husband lost his job three years ago. I lost hope. I killed hope. But it's foolish of me to not anticipate the future and fear the failure again. A friend told me: The more we hope, the more we lean into the future risking the present to secure the dreams that entice us. Just like you, I'll keep on risking for nothing else is worth living for but HIM and His life! I hold so much hope in my heart at this place in my life, and am so humbled before my beautiful God for what HE has done for me! And my prayer for you is the mighty words that Paul penned in his opening letter to Ephesus. May the Father of Glory give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of HIM. May the eyes of your heart be enlightened this present moment to know the HOPE He called you to and the immeasurable greatness of His Power toward YOU.

9 comments:

Nise' 12/15/2008  

I was reading a series of books this week and when a character would say, "I'll try", a fellow believer would say, "don't try with your own strength, do with the Holy Spirit's help". I want to BE godly and quite trying to be nice in my own strength. He has made me to be a new creation, therefore, with His HS, I am nice.
His IS near!!

Michelle V 12/15/2008  

Bev,

I love what you said about being detached and not really living in the moment. It spoke volumes to me today!

Blessings
Michelle

Mary Lou 12/15/2008  

Bev, what a thought provoking post. Very deep. I am really pondering on what you wrote. Struck some very deep things within me that I am not sure how to voice, so I won't. I love your Christmas heading. Hope the site I emailed you about, was a help. We are looking at the possiblity of freezing rain today and tonight...which will bring alot of things to a halt...how I am praying that it does not come in. Praying for your holidays. Blessings on your day...you are special to me..Love you in Jesus...Mary Lourha

Karen 12/17/2008  

well, I know I posted a comment yesterday but I don't see it here today. I wonder if my "delightful" computer skills have mucked things up again.

Once again I am touched by your words. You have such a gift.

May your day be blessed!
love,
karen

(I finally got my post up. It's been a long week.)

annette 12/22/2008  

Feeling His presence in the midst of our suffering--for me just or unjust, probably deserved of late...yet I feel distance during those times. Your awareness in the moment of suffering that He is with you is a gift I will ask for. I know He is there, but my awareness is too self absorbed to see it. Your reminder that He gave His life for this very moment causes me to pause to ponder. I have been very aware that He is the "I AM" of the moment and of eternity, and each day becomes holy as we recognize His presence in it. Enough rambling. Just suffice to say, I love your beautiful heart for Him. Have a safe and blessed Christmas in Seattle. Hope to visit with you before you go! Love, A

Mary Lou 12/22/2008  

wow, Bev..."am I conscious of God in the midst of my suffering" or am I just trying to endure and fight the good fight. That is some powerful thinking. I will be pondering that for days to come. Praying for travel safety for you and yours. Praying for Him to bless you in the coming days and in the coming year, abundantly,exceddingly more than you can imgaine or think. Your sister in Christ...Mary Lou

Nise' 12/22/2008  

You just may have a white Christmas in Seattle! Have a Merry Christmas.

Bev Brandon 12/23/2008  

Darling Friends!
It's Bev and I am overwhelmed in this moment with the presence of my beautiful God in the midst of some small suffering. And I am sitting here thinking of all of you who did Monday Mornings this year and thinking about how all of our lives changed because you opened the Word of God and let it sink in and settle. We don't find Life in psychologizing (as my kids call it) or in the best advice or in what works. You have found it in the Living Word! And one day we will sit or stand or sprawl before Him. On that day, in that Eternity, we will know that life was worth facing and embracing and living...truly living. So grateful to God for the privilege to have met each of you on this journey! So very grateful!

Toknowhim 12/28/2008  

Bev,

Thinking of you today, and am thankful that we met this year through blogworld. I hope to get to meet you someday in the future for real... Hey, if you are going to be in Illinois, you must let me know.

Love ya, and hope you had a wonderful Christmas..

Looking forward to 2009 and what the Lord will do through His people...

Praying for Our Friend Joanne Psalm 131:3 Waiting on God. Hope Now. Hope Always.

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I've met some amazing women through blogging. I would love to hear from you. My personal e-mail is:
sixbrandons@gmail.com
I have another blog where I blog daily as a small group of us read through the New Testament this year. It's called A String of Pearls. We carry each other on mats (when we just can't walk anymore) to Jesus and sweet things like that.

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