Take With You Words

 

Pain

Pain….I’ve been living with that most unwelcome visitor lately.  Having moved in and made itself at home, it is a very demanding visitor!

The problem with pain is that it wants all of your attention!.  It hurts!   It is hard to ignore it. What is causing it? How can you get rid of it?  If it leaves for a while, is it going to come back?.  How many pills are left in that bottle? Will there be enough to get through ’til the insurance kicks in again?  Doctor appointments; Google; WebMD; Symptom Checker, vitamins & herbs; icepacks; hot packs; OTC everything … On and on it goes.  Just how can you make it stop?  Make. It. Stop. The reality is that it changes your life and your focus.  It begins to become the center of your reality; it can become your identity.

More than a little discouraging, it is depressing.  Life is not what it used to be. The drugs mess with your mind and you emotions, so you begin to question your thoughts and feelings.  Like little foxes, pain spoils the fruit on your vine.

This little fox has run off with my words!  It’s hard to write; it’s hard to pray; it’s hard to praise!  My heart feels like a rock. My tongue seems frozen to the roof of my mouth. Where are my words??

I’m sure that some of you have felt that way at times when you’ve experienced wrenching loss and grief, or health problems. Maybe your son or daughter is in trouble.  Perhaps someone you’ve loved with all of your heart has betrayed you. We suffer on this earth.  And we know that Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation, but, be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33 KJV   Sometimes it just seems too hard to be cheerful. It’s not that you don’t believe it, it’s just that pain has come for a visit, and is clamoring for all of our attention, and our words have left us…words of prayer; words of praise; words of warfare and victory.

It is hard to go to the Lord without words.  Hosea tells us to take with us words and turn to the Lord!

Hosea 14:2 Take with you words and turn to the Lord: say unto Him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so we will render the calves of our lips. 

Calves?  The calves of our lips, you say?   Yes, just like they took offerings of cattle to sacrifice to the Lord, we now offer Him our words.

Hebrews 13:15  By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

Sometimes it IS a sacrifice to offer our words.  Sometimes we must dig deep, cast the stones out of the well, to get the river of praise and prayer to flow again.  We may be tempted to just sit down and not make the effort…because it IS effort.  We must be intentional about bringing our words to the Lord.

Paul had a “thorn in the flesh” that he asked repeatedly for God to remove.  Was it physical pain?  A discouraging, besetting trait?  Was it an emotional hurt that beleagured him?  The Bible never tells us for sure what Paul’s thorn was, but this is what Paul wrote about the answer to his prayer:

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”    2 Corinthians 12:9 & 10

The Apostle Paul surely experienced pain in his  life, his body, his fellowship, his ministry…but he never seems to have been at a loss for words!   He wrote most of the New Testament!  Plus, he mentions other letters that we have not seen.  He prayed; he exhorted; he corrected, chastised, and encouraged. But most importantly he praised!  Beautiful heartwarming, inspiring praises and prayers.

So, when I am stuck with no words of my own, I am going to start with Paul’s words!  Or ANY of the WORD words.  And I am going to speak the Word aloud, not just read them in my head. I am going to loosen my tongue with the Word of God.  I am going to break up my fallow ground with my praise plow, until the rain of heaven falls again and His strength is made perfect in my affliction.

Let’s pray:  Lord Jesus, Word of God made flesh, Let Your Word be made flesh in our stoney hearts.  Help us to come to you with the calves of our lips that we may be whole again.  In Jesus’ name,

AMEN! 

Remind Yourself!

So…I am back at the keyboard again after a short “Martha” break.  Being busy about a multitude of things; cumbered  by so many details and provisions.  Honestly, I had been feeling that perhaps the Lord had set me on a shelf to watch as He completed His work on earth.  But, no! He isn’t finished with me yet, but He has taught me a few lessons about myself and my journey in recent weeks.  I need to remind myself!

So, I am reminding myself of something He spoke to me earlier this year.

Rain righteousness

Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground for it is time to seek the Lord till He come and rain righteousness upon you.”  Hosea 10:12 KJV

                                                               Never forget to seek the Lord!

How should we seek the Lord? you may ask.  Maybe we should check the instruction manuel!  🙂  Let’s take a look at Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, who displeased the Lord by doing evil in the days of his reign. His mother was an Ammorite woman who worshipped Molech, the fire God. (whose sacrifices included babies and children.)   His maternal heritage did not have to be the recipe for disaster that it turned out to be.  Rehoboham had a choice!   2Chronicles 12:14 says: “And he did evil because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord.”

We must think of our hearts as a field to be prepared for the seed of God’s Word.  It needs to be plowed fieldplowed, broken up, all the stumps and rocks removed.  How do we do this?   Hosea 10:11 says, in part, Judah shall plow.   The translation for the name Judah is “praise.”  Praising and worshipping the Lord will help to break up the fallow, dried-up ground of your heart. Put on some good praise music.   Read in the  Psalms about  God’s works, and attributes. Tell Him what He means to you!  Sing to Him; speak to Him; shout to Him!  You are plowing!  Find a friend who loves Jesus and talk to them about Him. You are plowing!  Read a book about the names of the Lord. You are plowing!  Think about His goodness, His passion, His love. You are plowing! Preparing your heart!

Is that all there is to seeking?  No! That is just the preparation of the heart!  The  Apostle Paul, in the book of Acts tells us this:

“…They should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us. For in Him we live, and move , and have our being….”             Acts 17: 27 & 28

Some translations say “grope for Him.”  I must admit that sometimes I have felt like a blind person groping my way back to God.  But, thank God, Paul goes on to say that He is “not far from every one of us.”  He is even “in us, and we are in Him,” if we have opened our hearts to Him.  But, “feeling or groping for him” suggest a purpose. An intensity. Even a desperation! Not a casual inquiry, but a diligent seeking.  A determination to find Him.

I am asking myself today:  Am I desperate?  Am I diligent?  Am I determined?

Remind yourself with the Psalmist:  Psalm 73: 25 – 26 “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.  My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.”   KJV

Let’s pray:  Oh Father in heaven, We are so grateful for your longsuffering and compassion; that you are there to lift us when we fall; to draw us back to you when we wander away; to breathe on us when we are discouraged.  Our hearts and flesh fail us often, but You strengthen us again.  You restore our souls, and make us to know that we truly belong to You.  Be our portion forever.  In Jesus’ name,

Amen!