His Hand Prescribes

by Mary Beth on June 8, 2021

“Nay, all by Thee is ordered, chosen, planned;
Each drop that fills my daily cup Thy Hand Prescribes,
for ills none else can understand:
All, all is known to Thee.”
~A. L. NEWTON.
*

 We often struggle to understand and receive all

from the hand of God.

God has revealed within His Creation and within His powerful Word,

to understand and to know Him-

that He is abundantly generous

and wise with His goodness,

rhythm and order in all things.

 His sovereignty and divine attributes

of goodness, immutability, eternity,

and holiness speak into our ordinary lives day by day.

For underneath are the everlasting arms of God;

His abundant steadfast love greets us each day.

Yet, many in our decadent society demand foolish entitlements to live in their preferred individualistic, grade school mentality, of branding and renaming anything or everything that threatens their idolatry or false freedoms of sexual lifestyles, identity, or feelings.

Thomas Schreiner writes,

“Human beings must recognize that they are not

masters of the universe.

They cannot supplement what God has done or reverse

what he has ordained.

They are to acknowledge his greatness and fear him.

Human beings do not manage their lives; life manages them.  

Vanity and futility and absurdity characterize human life.

Life is unpredictable and unfair.

The famous poem on time, in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8,

emphasizes that human beings must respond to life as it occurs.”

*

An earlier blog post,

“It Is Time”

reflects on this very point

of a time for every season.

As Scripture encourages us to walk in the fear of the LORD,

let us remember God our Creator,

and to enjoy life to the glory of God.

Find joy in God’s daily gifts,
receiving from his hand the
new mercies He graciously gives us
each resurrected day.

*

“Qohelet argues that God keeps us ignorant about the future

in order to convince us that we cannot manipulate God in that way.

That is the essence of what it means to ‘fear’ God:

to recognize that God’s favor cannot be controlled

by anything we humans do.”

Is this not grace, to stand in His great hand?

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Chosen Friends

by Mary Beth on April 3, 2021

“{Pain} removes the veil, it plants the flag of truth within the

fortress of a rebel soul.”   ~C.S.Lewis

Holy Week or Passion week

we remember our Lord Jesus,

our suffering Servant.

Jesus suffered as a thing to be despised; 

rejected by man, a man of sorrows,

 and familiar with suffering.

The Prince of Peace was perceived as someone punished,

struck by God and brought low.

Jesus suffered for us, Luther writes.

“Son to the mercy of sinners.” ~Is. 53:2-5 & Lam. 1: 12, 16, 21

*

-Jesus endured suffering.

Even His own disciples failed to understand His mission and kingdom rule of sacrificial love for God’s glory.

By their actions, they added to His pain.

-All the disciples left him and ran away. ~Matt. 26:56

Jesus loved enough to patiently endure this pain of betrayal.

Likewise as followers of Christ,

we’ll encounter painful trials of rejection,

betrayal, misunderstandings and

“bruising” from those closest to us;

even chosen friends.

*

-By His grace we’ll endure suffering.

As a writer and poet,

  writing Chosen Friends provided

a healing process for me,

 after a painful betrayal

experienced from a friend.

Through the obedient life of our great Shepherd;

His gentle and creative guidance,

specifically while observing Lent-

provided a balm that gently blew a

new perspective into my soul like none other.

From Genesis to Revelation,

we understand the painful depravity

experienced within our humanity.

Christ offers His example and strength to love patiently;

to endure trials through prayer, forgiveness, and seek

godly counsel to discern if any response is wise or beneficial.

Often we need to pray with David,

that our words and meditation would be pleasing to the Lord,

especially to navigate through challenging relationships

and in our society

that encourages an individualistic and bravado attitude.

Help me to understand such love and courage.

*

Chosen Friends

Chosen friends are but trouble,

Unless walking side by side.

The soul exposing an imposter; a double.

Truth that sharpens, cuts and divides.

Many claim boldly to love.

Offering a shadow of service,

What is the kiss?

Betrayal or an honest answer?

Conditional, upon the well they sip.

God of all comfort & compassion oversee,

A boldness must breathe, rest and plea,

Content in our deeper soul, I pray.

Mighty Warrior of the soul,

Tear the veil;

chip away, and awaken our hearts.

Reign through your beauty and art.

                                                                     ~mba

bleeding heart logo

“But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, 
and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
                     ~2 Corinthians 3: 17
*

-Perseverance of the Saints

“Therefore, my brothers, therefore, sisters dear,
However I, troubled or selfish,  
fail in tenderness, or grace, or service clear,
I every moment draw to you more near;
God in us from our hearts veil after veil
Keeps lifting, till we see with his own sight, And all together run in unity’s delight.”
~George MacDonald, Diary of an Old Soul

The gospel message of Christ,

the sacrifice of His life and death on the cross,

speaks volumes about God and His gracious offer both of

forgiving love, and His serious wrath to all sin.

Both love and wrath meet at the cross.

Both mercy and grace join together at the cross of Christ.

God’s tenacious love, truth and merciful call

for our obedience to be holy, will show forth as fruit on a tree.

Job personally and painfully experienced this costly truth,

which sharpened his soul among friends.

*

As Rabbi Abraham Heschel states: 

“Faith like Jobs cannot be shaken

because it is the result of having been shaken.”

Our experiences of betrayal or trials

are significant and painful struggles.

Suffering presents a theater of questions

that perhaps encircle our beliefs;

often to potentially shake the foundation of our faith.

How might we be hopeful when the winds blow,

or when we feel like we’re drowning, or the skies darken?

We will stumble. We will err. We will fall. We will grieve.

As Job, how might we learn from the wrestle,

to grow our trust in God’s providential love and watchful care?

To trust within the deep waters,

the hard to understand questions of the soul.

Questions flood into our minds and hearts with a force like an

ocean wave, regarding suffering and His sovereignty;

questions about our eternal God who sees,

knows, and hears all things.

We must encourage one another in His multitude of mercies,

to be among the perseverance of the saints.

Then we’ll proclaim as Job,

“I know that my Redeemer lives.”

*

 “How painful are honest words! 

Does he not see my ways and count my every step?

       If I have walked in falsehood or my foot

has hurried after deceit

—let God weigh me in honest scales and

He will know that I am blameless

                     –if my steps have turned from the path,

if my heart has been led by my eyes,

or if my hands have been defiled,

                      then may others eat what I have sown.”

                                                                       ~Job 6:25, 31: 4-8

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Pester & Taunt

by Mary Beth on March 31, 2021

Pester: to annoy, badger, demand.

Taunt: to scoff, ridicule, deride.

 Lent is a season of mercy, often blowing into our lives like the forceful winds and cold rain storms of March and April.

Lent season like Springtime, offers an opportunity for spiritual renewal to engage with geniune faith and repentance. A season for listening. A season for biblical understanding and wisdom. A season to remember Jesus, to savor His presence.

Yet we often face subtle opposition without and acute struggles within, as we press on to know the Lord.

From Scripture we know

Nehemiah had circumstances filled with ridicule,

constant scoffing, and he was badgered by enemies

in his calling and work for the Lord.

He remained loyal in prayer and wise

in his astute leadership to the Judeans.

The Judeans had returned from exile

to reestablish their community.

Within his leadership,

Nehemiah held a commitment of steadfast prayer,

and strategic leadership skills to remain faithful.

 Jesus faced evil taunts, pestering and mockery from Satan,

despite ongoing opposition he faithfully

surrendered to the call of God.

As Christians, we too will face similar opposition

of being mocked, taunted and pestered

especially as we follow God’s call to make disciples of all nations.

Likewise, we are not unfamiliar with opposition,

be it subtle or blatant.

In our devotion to Jesus Christ,

walking with other believers or encouraging

our family and friends,

 we will and do face opposition in the world,

against ourselves and with others.

As Nehemiah was confronted with mockery, taunting and ridicule,

he continued to be faithful to his calling

trusting the providential hand of God

in constant prayer and practical wisdom.

Satan aims to tempt us towards

compromise and complacency

in our obedience to God’s will, His timing and ways.

Our minds, souls and hearts are tempted to short-circuit,

to live our lives for pure pleasure and self-gratification.

All to aim and separate us from our heavenly Father,

by disloyalty, distrust, disobedience, etc.

 Until the Lord sheds light into our darkness,

we often don’t see opposition with spiritual eyes.

In the moments of vulnerability,

we need to stand firm against the ongoing whispers

and resist the temptation to compromise with darkness.

Light reveals darkness in its aim to taunt, pester or to mock.

*

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,

but against the rulers,

against the authorities,

against the powers of this dark world

and against the spiritual forces of evil

in the heavenly realms.”  Ephesians 6:12

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