Sunday, April 20, 2008

Monday Morning Cover to Cover

I thought I was supposed to go to a John Eldredge talk this week but it cost $10 and we are pinching pennies. I went anyway, at the last minute, with no ticket, and no money in my wallet. As I walked in the door of an unknown Dallas church, a man approached me and handed me a free ticket without a word. Like it was supposed to be that way. I looked up to see a video screen in the hall, and the first words out of John's mouth was that he thought Jesus was saying tonight for us to "come close." That's why I was there! For my God so showed up in just two words. This week has been the most difficult battle for me, but I heard my God saying to me this week that I am not alone in this battle. Here's what lingers with me as I read the chronological Word of God this week. Share a comment with us of what lingers with you as you read the Word this week.

THE BATTLE IS GOD’S - N O T A L O N E... My beautiful God is fighting for me tonight in the midst of how the circumstances fell this week. No jobs open. In 24 hours or so, my husband's car died forever, my cell broke and he lost his, another of our cars broken into, internet suspended, some of the worst dreams I've had in ages---small things in the scheme of things, but I love I Chron. 5:20 - "They were helped in fighting their enemies because they cried out to him during the battle." We cry for mercy and He is so showing up.

I Sam 15:12 - Saul set up a monument in his own honor—WHAT!!!!— and says to Samuel that he has carried out God’s instructions. “What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears?” Saul, what do you want more than the love of your Christ?” Saul wanted fame, recognition, success more than he wanted God and I do believe God turned Saul over to Satan. 15:17 says "Once you were small in your eyes but no longer. I'll make something of myself, my name, my glory. Samuel replied “to obey is better than sacrifice.” Am I really being obedient or just doing the right things?

18:9-12 Saul was angry for his people credited David with tens of thousands and Saul had only slain thousands. He kept a jealous eye! Hurled a spear at David then he feared David cause God was with David and he was successful God is not the author of evil nor brings evil. Saul brought it on himself. In 22:6, Saul says "no one tells me when Jonathan hooks up with David. None of you are concerned for me. I love the courage in Ahimelech in 22:14 when he stands up to Saul about David and his loyalty. Saul responds by killing Ahimelech, his family, the town of Nob, and 85 priests. What do I do with my jealousy? Don't seek great things for yourself.

20:33 Courage continued to rise up in Jonathan as he protected David from his father even to the point that he became the target for his father’s spear. Yet Jonathan was ashamed of his father's actions 20:34 and concerned for David more than he was concerned that his father tried to kill him. I would be so consumed with that. You know, when we are more concerned about others than we are about ourselves like in this story, we are really free. Jonathan helped David find strength in God. I Samuel 23:16. How beautiful!

PSALMS FROM DAVID'S PEN - L I S T E N T O M E!!! I couldn't wait to read the Word today for I have been so brokenhearted over some things that happened. I opened to Psalm 34 and it read me..."your Lord is near to the brokenhearted, those crushed." 34:18. I sobbed. No shame here. Psalm 34:5 "Those who look to me are radiant, their faces are not covered with shame. Come, my child, listen to ME. My ears have been attentive to the cries of your heart this very day. Oh My Word!

I attached myself to strong speakers, weighty writers, faithful friends, a stable husband, and an awesome pastor! No more! Verse 13:5 - I trust in your unfailing LOVE. The word trust in the Hebrew is “batah” and trust means “attach” in the OT. Huge paradigm shift over here. No longer attached to approval of others or for people to come through for me. And really, they are not. So, I still “wrestle with my thoughts” 13:2 and want answers from God 13:3 but no demands. Confident expectation that God will come through. David faced death when he spoke these words in this psalm. “Give light to my eyes.” 13:3. May God open all our eyes and we attach to HIM only. Keep me as the apple of your eye. 17:8 And my prayer for each of you is 17:14 - May your strong God still your hunger for He cherishes you so!!!

David felt God was far from him and silent. Psalm 22:2. Don’t we all, at times, think the same thing. God is not here. God is not good. Or this wouldn’t be happening. All my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax, melted away within me. My strength is dried up. 22:14,15. O My Strength, COME QUICKLY, to help me. 22:19. And what is our God saying back to us? Come close. No action plan just a desire for holiness. For He is delivering me from my troubles 54:7. The word “delivered” in the Hebrew means:
stripped off of myself.
Yes, that is what HE is doing to me—stripping me off of Bev. Attaching me only to HIM.

And then in the sequence of events, what happens in I Sam 24 where David has an opportunity to kill Saul, who comes unknowingly into his cave, but David is “conscience-stricken.” Forbid that I should do such a thing to God’s anointed—-the person who wants to kill me. David was attached to his King and left things in God’s hands. 22:12. Do I want to take matters in my own hands?

And the only way I can make my life work is to cry out for mercy to God Most High Who fulfills His Purpose for me. Psalm 57:2. Pour out my complaint beofre HIM and tell HIM my troubles. Psalm 142:2. I've been looking for someone with "skin on" to tell my troubles to. No more! "Look to my right and see---no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge. No one cares for my life." Psalm 142:4. God, you are my refuge. Psalm 142:5. Set me free from whatever my "prison" is that I may praise you. Psalm 142:7. Set me free!


annette 4/20/2008  

As always, your beautiful words glorify your beautiful God. You wear Him so well, my radiant-faced friend. As usual, I have so little to say, so I stayed up late to finish writing my thoughts here and I could have written more. I know, pathetic. Brevity was never my strong suit. Love you girls! Blessed week in Him. Annette

Angela Baylis 4/21/2008  

Good morning girls! I feel badly for having to do a quick recap of what lingers. I cannot wait to get home tonight so I can read your insights (and probably add a little more to mine). I LOVE reading our Bibles with each of you! Bev, I'll be back. Still praying for you! Love to all of you on this Monday morning!
Angie xoxo

Karen 4/21/2008  

What a blessing it is to share this journey with you. I love how God reveals Himself to each of us! To see my comments on these passages, visit my blog.

Nise' 4/21/2008  

There is so much conviction in the question, "What do I want more than I want Christ". There are many times I must fall on my face and confess that I want that instead of Christ, even though it may be a "good" thing, I must not want it more than I want Him!!

I hope in my effort to not write a book my thoughts are not a confusing jumble of wordshere.

Anonymous 4/21/2008  

Wow...Bev...I just say wow every week when I come back here...can you imagine if you were not in the Word in this this time...God has prepared your way...even in a ticket...He knows your needs and He is mighty to provide...thanks for reminding me of that!

This week...there was so much but I just love that we are reading the psalms of David as we read his I focused on Psalm 34 this week...
I don't have my cheat sheet near me to put the link so just click my name and come on over when you get a chance.

I have loved reading all the posts from all of you wonderful inspire me and keep me going...


Oh Bev, I think I may have caught a glimpse of you during a Life Today show...last week...kind of cool.

Mary Lou 4/21/2008  

Oh, Bev, how God has shown you that He's already in your tomorrow's. He had the ticket right there for you when you needed it. What a comfort to you and to the rest of us. "fear not tomorrow, God is already there". I loved I Chron. 5:20...there enemies were defeated because they sought Him first and went out "to battle" praising Him. How He inhabits our praises. He truly does show up when we beg for mercy. He has done that for me numerous times in the past and I'm sure He will in the future. I too have asked Him to keep me as the apple of His eye. God is so good to speak to each of us when we read His Word.
I too, think that I caught a glimpse of you in one of the tapes of Life Today. Praying for you as I go...that He will meet all of your needs above anything we could ask or think or imagine..Eph 3:20. Blessings on you sweet Bev as you seek Him and draw close to Him.

Laura 4/21/2008  

Your struggles humble me. I wish you were close so I could give you the hug of friendship, the gift of relationship to strengthen you! But instead, you rest in our Daddy's arms! You are in my prayers faithfully.

Bev Brandon @ The Fray 4/21/2008  

Annette, You never cease to amaze me. You are such a beautiful writer from the heart. Let us be humble and inwardly trasnformed----holy lives not an action plan is what he wants to give us. Loved your "take." And where did this vacuum cleaner come from???

Bev Brandon @ The Fray 4/21/2008  

Ang, "Never grieved for choosing you." That won't ever happen for you are cherished, adored, and treasured beyond measure. There is something about you that I see every week that is so intriguing and I just can't even put "it" into words!

Bev Brandon @ The Fray 4/21/2008  

Nise - I am so grateful to God for finding you or you found us. You contribute solidly every week with such weight and wisdom. And it's not just about getting direction or insight, but it's about your relationship with HIM that changes everything! Love you my dear! Bev

Bev Brandon @ The Fray 4/21/2008  

Helen, I don't know where I would be tonight if I hadn't found God in these past months...HE has helped me so much to be more concerned about others finding hope rather than what they are doing to me. He is setting me free! And I am free in ways I have never been! I just deeply enjoy the fellowship with you! Thanks for such great substance and sustaining words!

Bev Brandon @ The Fray 4/21/2008  

Hey Mary Lou!!! How similar our paths are these days. The enemy would just love to discourage us, wouldn't he. I loved 5:20 too and wrote your name by it in my Bible. Praise HIM! In the midst of the battle, we pray to find HIM not the absence of struggles but the Presence of HIM, always! Love you Mary Lou!!! You so encourage me~

Angela Baylis 4/21/2008  

I'm back, Bev. I loved your recap. I loved how you said that you have been looking for someone with "skin on" to tell your troubles to. I admire you for your obedience even in these difficult days! Keep praying and I will for you! You are an amazing woman and I respect you so much!
Love you,
Angie xoxo

Bev Brandon @ The Fray 4/21/2008  

Laura, You have walked away from your past in need of healing and guidance but with such a deeper holiness and it so shows!
Your life humbles me.

Mary Lou 4/22/2008  

Bev, if you will email me your email address I will forward a great devotion by Max Lucado. I've emailed you before but I think you had a hard time getting it,or something, anyway. When I read this devotion I thought of you and know you would be blessed by it. We are officially closing my husband's office on May 15th and moving it home. Praying for you as I go. Blessings on your day.

Alana 4/22/2008  

Bev, I want to invite you and others over to read my latest post. It is about what God has been doing in my life through Cover to Cover.

Love ya!

TeriAnnElizabeth 4/22/2008  

Thank you for encouraging me on my post. You, in the midst of so much find time to encourage. What a true example of what a Christian really looks like.
The early Christians always encouraged one another in times of suffering and persecution.
You do that, Bev.

Do you remember in one of Beth's Bible study's that she said a season of her life felt like she was standing on a tiny piece of concrete while everything around her was being broken up? Everything that was her life and looked familiar was being taken away?
HE was choosing to give her something different in her life and for that she needed to learn that complete dependence in a deeper way.
GOD may be doing that with you. I will pray that even though we don't understand, we know HE does and HE will give you that peace but also that hunger for HIM alone.
I want to always feel like that passage in Exodus when Moses says to the LORD - "If YOUR presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here".
Only HIS presence, nothing less will do!

Prayers and love,

Bev Brandon @ The Fray 4/22/2008  

Alana, just left a way-too-long response on your blog. But wanted to say here to you and everyone Titus 1:1 - we are all servants of the Word of God for the faith of our friends and family, for the knowledge of the Truth that leads to godliness---changed lives. Why are we reading the word together? It's all about holiness, not about guidance or direction. It's all about being in love with the Living Word. The Word made flesh who dwells among us all. Sure do love you!!! So encouraged by your choices! So encouraged by you!

Bev Brandon @ The Fray 4/22/2008  

Oh Teri! Your comments ministers to me very deeply in dark places in my heart. Places where I wrestle with wondering what in the world is going on. So touched by the Exodus verse and that you chose that one! Thank you for beautiful words that have fallen all over me tonight. I did not know that quote from Beth. So intriguing to me. I think of the psalm that says our God is in the heavens and HE is doing exactly what HE pleases. And it is so very very good in my life for I am at a better place with HIM than I have ever ever been! So thrilled to know you! Thanks for sharing!

Fran 4/22/2008  

I love ya Bev! This sick girl is back to life and ready to get back into the word with the girls.

He told you to come close. He's been telling me the same thing. The scary part was....I was scared.

But I trust Him Bev. I just have to.

Anonymous 4/22/2008  

John Eldredge is AWESOME! Is it okay to be jealous of things like that?

Unknown 4/22/2008  

Hey Bev, I just wanted you to know that I have tagged you with a fun MEME over at my blog... So, come on over, check it out and pass it on! Love ya'!

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

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