The Pit and the Wilderness

“Oh, Lord, how long will you leave me helpless in a weary land.”
The Lord is good and has blessed me, but I was again feeling low and downtrodden.

This scene years ago was one of my days of wandering in this wilderness.  The feeling was unexplainable and very real.  Prayer and God’s Word are very real also, but feelings sometimes seem to have the upper hand.

“O Lord, hear.  O Lord, forgive.  O Lord, hearken and do.
Defer not, for thy own sake, O my God.”
  (Daniel 9:18)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

At the time of His choosing, He answered my prayer.

When life seemed so bleak, the Lord heard my cries and spoke as He often does by His Spirit. In the middle of my distress was the assurance of His presence.

Yes, this world is a wilderness; but
I have brought you out of the pit.”

The vision I had was of a desert with nothing living; no people; no trees; no vegetation, only dead weeds; and only a lonely existence with cloudy skies.  I was there to endure this barrenness, and to experience His grace in the middle of it.

The Pit

In the distance was a wide black cavern.  It appeared wider, deeper and darker as He led me closer.  Around the cavern was a tall fence, and He led me to look through the slats into the pit below.

Leaning against the sides of this black hole were ladders. On these ladders were people trying to get out.  The ladders were too short and the people could not climb over the fence.

Even though there was a stench, I was drawn to see the depth of the blackness and, by His light, to see the people.  Those in the bottom of the pit were watching with amusement the wickedness being committed in the darkness.

The cries of others were mixed with the sounds of corruption.

I was reminded of the words in 1 John 5:19  the whole world lieth in wickedness.”
The ESV translates, “The whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”

It was in this vision that my view of the wilderness changed.  It became a reminder for the remainder of my pilgrimage that the wilderness is the place God provided for our first parents when they were ejected from the Garden; this wilderness through which He would bring me to Himself for eternity.  Here is where the Glad Rule was established for Jerry and me.

The Psalmist’s words became mine as I was reminded of the miry clay and the rock.

He brought me up also out of an horrible pit,
out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock,
and established my goings.
Psalm 40:2

As I watched, there were some being airlifted by His Holy Spirit.
It is God who brings us out and leads us to rejoice in this wilderness.

  My soul melteth for heaviness:
strengthen thou me according unto thy word.
Psalm 119:28

“In the pits” is a common expression to describe the feelings of depression.  “Down in the dumps” is another means when things are not going well for us, or when some physical malady brings us down.  We sometimes stay there without trying to get out ~ unless God works through our circumstances to bring us out.

Other times we look for help, either by sharing our feelings with someone; or we use alcohol, drugs, or some other method.  The world offers many kinds of therapy for this condition.

Many times, even from childhood, this malady was part of my life.  As with other children who grew up with parents who have lived through the Great Depression of the 1920s, our environment was not always a happy one. Not taught the principles of the promises of God, we were prone to look for the worst in everything.

God was gracious in my childhood to introduce me to His Word, though it was not what I relied on as a child. During the 1940s, public schools were free to pray and speak of God, but He was not the main theme. God was not the principal but men promoted what the world set forth for their own benefit.

In addition to the Depression, my parents grew up with the superstitions of their day ~  black cats, ladders, bad luck, etc. Then my generation added Mother Goose Rhymes, Pop Goes the Weasel, and such songs that have no reference to God and His promises. I saw my generation as the lost generation.

Even though a war had ended, we were left with only the ashes of hope. For most families, God was not known, even to those who attended houses of worship. The church was only a place to congregate and share each other’s woes.

According to the preaching of hellfire and brimstone, all our troubles were the results of our own doing. If only we would turn from our sins, God would be gracious to us and make life better. But, even those who had believed, been baptized and joined the church had no better hope than those who did not believe. They did not live by faith in God’s provisions, but by sight, according to the circumstances of the day.

“The pit” is a horrible place to be and sometimes this is the only place some people know. Their whole life is a pit and they have no control over their circumstances. Until a person comes to faith in God, through the redeeming work of Christ, life on this earth is but a pit, a preface to the eternal pit that is prepared for the devil and his angels.

Things may seem to go well at times ~ when we have accomplished something on our own ~ or someone has been good to us. But these are only temporary. We cannot place any hope in other people or these things.

Our only hope is in God our Father through His Son and His Holy Spirit ~ knowing Him, His promises, His presence, and power for our deliverance and guidance through this life.

(This post in two parts is an excerpt from The Pit and the Wilderness and Other Visions of God’s Grace. Visions and poems are few and far between for me. They are never spectacular but simple and usually to the point of a special truth He wants to reveal. Part Two explains more of the Lord’s plans for us as we live in the wilderness, trusting Him and waiting for the new heavens and new earth.)

Dear Father, thank you for your truths by which you minister to us in this wilderness; for your Word of Life in Christ and the power of your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Images: Pixabay

Words of Life ~ ARMOUR

(If you have not read our last post which leads into this one, here is the link.)

The Old Testament uses the word ARMOUR as relating to physical warfare – the dress of a soldier and his weapons. The New Testament uses the word ARMOUR in reference to spiritual warfare using the weapons of God.

Old Testament H3627
Strong’s Concordance defines ARMOUR kĕliy kel·ē’; from H3615; something prepared, i.e. any apparatus (as an implement, utensil, dress, vessel or weapon)

We share two references, the most commonly known is in 1 Samuel 17:38 where David was at first armed with Saul’s armour, which David could not wear. He faced Goliath with only a stone and slingshot.

And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail. 1 Samuel 17:38

Jeremiah 50:25 speaks of the Lord’s armoury and the weapons of His indignation.

The Lord hath opened his armoury, and hath brought forth the weapons of his indignation: for this is the work of the Lord God of hosts in the land of the Chaldeans.

New Testament G3833
Strong’s Concordance for ARMOUR panoplia pä-no-plē’-ä; full armour, complete armour, includes shield, sword, lance, helmet, greaves, and breastplate|

The Armour of Light

The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Romans 13:12

The Armour of Righteousness

 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 2 Corinthians 6:7

The Armour of God

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Ephesians 6:11

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Ephesians 6:13

 We stressed in our last post the need to Plan Your Day Around God’s Word. It all starts with God’s Word. We would not know of the need or the means of the Armour of God except through His Word. The whole armour of God is necessary for protection and surviving the warfare against Satan. Paul may have used the analogy from seeing soldiers in his imprisonment in Rome. Every part of the armour had its purpose as does the armour of the Christian, if we are to endure to the end. The belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and prayer are all worn together.

We cannot go anywhere without these, else Satan will catch us unaware, find us defenseless, and overcome us.

I will not speak of each of these parts of our armour but for a more detailed description of each of these, I share a link for Charles Spurgeon Commentary on Ephesians 6.

Many Christians remain in despair or doubt about how to live in this world of sin and temptation. We need to use the manual to learn who we are in Christ and how we can overcome the work of the enemy in our lives.

Gracious Father, You promise to share your glory with those who overcome the enemy. Draw us more closely to you, train us and fit us with a graceful armour according to your design, for the victory you give us in Christ our Lord. In His name, we pray. Amen.
Fran
Image: Google

PRAYERS That Bring the House Down

It is a delight to share our newest book.
PRAYERS That Bring the House Down is the eighth blessing (akin to having more grandchildren) God has given in answer to our heart’s desire to preserve what He is still teaching us of His goodness, grace and glory.
Father and Family Books are specifically published for our children, grandchildren and future generations to know of the legacy of our Father’s kingdom, and available on Amazon to all who are interested in how He has been working in this seventy-eight year old heart and life. We receive no benefits from sales, even if we ever recoup our expenses. Priced very reasonably, any profits are designated for missions and charity. Fran

“Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.” Psalm 71:18

Holding On and Letting Go

Since August 29, 1992, the Lord has led me in a different path than the former years ~ with a new heart, new spirit and new life.

We have together chronicled this path, leaving traces, patterns, and clues on the way. We have filled notebooks and file boxes, written letters, emails, blog posts and books with what He has been teaching me.

Celebrating these last twenty-five years has been a joyful experience as we continue through this wilderness in the power of His promises; in faith and the strength of His will to reach that eternal destiny to which He has called us.

At the age of seventy-eight I am near the riverside, having seen and tasted the glory of the Lord through His gift of grace. Through this pilgrimage, we come to a point where we no longer look back but toward the horizon to where He waits for us.

The Lord has these years in His service, been holding me and teaching me to hold to Him and all that He has given. He has shown me His plans for me, and with it the direction and wisdom in which to go, with the assurance to be with me all the way.

These last six months it seems that we have not gone forward but waiting for His instructions. During this time, we have been able to write sparingly through these blog posts. We have enjoyed being a part of the WordPress Christian Community, caught up with reading and commenting on other blog posts.

As Jerry’s appointments have lessened, though his foot is still not healed, we are now formatting and getting PRAYERS That Brought the House Down ready for publication. Thriving Under Oppression is the next project to finish ~ a continual work for the last three years. Our major work is not to promote and sell but to write and publish what we have already written, and finish others that we have started.

All are witness to God’s grace and His Glory in proclamation of the legacy of His kingdom. Under the name of Father and Family Books, these are the testimony of “laying hold of eternal life” to which He calls us. To continue on we must let go some of the things we have been doing these last six months. We cannot keep up the pace of reading and responding to other blog posts if we are to hold on and continue the work God has for us. I have read more blogs than I have written. We will visit as often as we can, but not on a daily basis as we have been this year.

Holding on means with both hands, eyes and face forward to the upward call. Letting go means not spending as much time where we have been.

We will still post occasionally and we are committed to finish our series on Contentment as the Lord leads.

My main role is as Jerry’s full-time caregiver. The Lord provides the time between our duties for writing and publishing. Please pray for the Lord’s leading and His holy will for all that we do in the service of His kingdom. Our books are Christian non-fiction, except for one book of short stories. They are for encouragement for Christian living and spiritual growth as we look to the hope that is set before us. We will post updates as often as possible.

If you are interested in any of our books on Amazon (one is free), remember that profits are designated for missions and charity. The Lord has provided for all our needs so that all our work is for His kingdom and glory.

Gracious Father, thank you for the precious friends you have given us here. I pray for your guidance for us all to continue holding to what you have given us; to let go the things of this world that would hinder our growth and continued progress in the way of your kingdom and eternal life. Show us your ways , O Lord, teach us your paths. Lead us in your truth and teach us. For you are the God of our salvation. On you do we wait all the day. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.  

Related article: Laying Hold of Eternal Life

God’s Grace and Glory (2015)

So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me,
until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.”

Psalm 71:18

It has been a blessing these last four years to share online the immeasurable gift of God’s grace ~ grace that abounds toward us in wisdom and prudence; and redounds in thanksgiving to His glory. Praise the Lord for His abundant life given through His Son, our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. “O, that men might praise the Lord for His goodness, and His wonderful works to the children of men.”

 After seventy-five years each moment, hour, and day is counted as His blessing. Twenty more years would not be enough time for me to express all the grace and goodness He has shown to Jerry and me. I understand what John meant when he said, Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” John 21:25

My main role is still as wife/caregiver for my husband of fifty-three years, and as a keeper at home; but the Lord blesses in a few minutes here and there to write about Him. In this fifth year of blogging there are still many things on the back burner waiting for me to finish. Books that were begun years ago are being completed. It seems that the shorter articles that come day by day posted on this blog are the overflow of this river of living water. The Lord moves in mysterious ways according to His own will, and this is the beautiful part of our relationship with Him; to experience His working above, in and through our own. The series of Little Books About the Magnitude of God* are developing more and more; the most recent one, What Is God Doing in Your Life?

This series was developed due to the content of my writing. Most are longer that an article and shorter than a regular sized book. Each one is more exciting for me that the last. I can’t seem to finish one before the Lord gives another, but He has given the assurance that He is able to complete what He begins. Then, there is the music file; trying to include Scripture Tunes ~ Have This Mind Among Yourselves, God’s Word put to music; a recent new hymn, plus recordings of Hymns and Psalms that have been lost in the last generation. So I would ask that you, the reader, pray for His working in me for obedience of faith, so that He can continue to pour forth through my heart that river of living water by His Holy Spirit.

This blog serves as an archive in which to store this legacy for my family in future generations. Publishing the books may come after my demise. On this site my desire is not for followers or “likes” but for sisters and brothers in Christ to come along side, living and walking by the Spirit, to support by prayer the work that He is completing in my last days here. My promise for you is not that I will follow, but that you know I am striving side by side with you for the faith of the gospel. I enjoy reading other blogs and my prayers are for you to witness of God’s working of His grace in your life.

My books are unpublished. If you are interested in reading, proofing, reviewing or editing any of these please let me know.
The Lord bless you and keep you by His grace, for His own glory.

*Series of Little Books About the Magnitude of God
**Finished Manuscripts

**Two Full Plates ~ Learning to be a Caregiver
**Prayers That Brought Down the House
**The Purpose and Delight of Bible Study0001Mj_2
**Waiting is Not a Game
**Child Keeping ~ The Blessing to Parents
**One Month to Live ~ A Father’s Last Words
**A Study of Light in God’s Word
**A Study of God’s Word in God’s Word
**A Study of Life in God’s Word
**God’s Grace ~ God’s Glory
**Short Stories of God’s Grace
**Poems of God’s Grace
**A Review of Andrew Murray’s Humility
**Notes on Paul’s Letter to the Romans
What Is God Doing in Your Life?
God Is Our Goal
Husband, Cherish and Preserve Your Bride
Focus, Balance and Order
Rejoice, Request, Rest, and Remember
Three Facets of God’s Glory That Every Christian Needs to See
God’s Grace in Times of Grief
Legacy of the Seven Psalms + One
Filled With Grace ~ Wrapped in Glory

 Other Books:

**Journal Through Hebrews
**The S.S. Perspective (middle school curriculum for Bible Study)
**Summer of Psalms (workbooks for the seven Psalms)
**Where Do I Fit?  (Study of Ephesians for Youth Discipleship)
Worship That Springs From the Heart of God ~ A Sheep’s View
The Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ
In Prayer and In Touch ~ The Ministry of Intercession
Growing Up and Growing Old, Gracefully
Words of Life ~ From A to Z ~ The Ordinary Vocabulary of a Christian
The Words of Christ
Red Clover and Silver Tap Shoes ~ Autobiography

Music:
Have This Mind ~ Scripture Tunes
God Be Merciful to Me a Sinner (new hymn)

Crying Out Loud

imagesHow often have you as an adult wanted to cry aloud, but could not? Either you were too reserved, too prideful, or not desperate enough. At a certain time in our lives we pass the stage of childhood and forget what it was like to cry. We don’t know how to cry, nor to whom.

What good does crying do? Nobody wants to hear it, not on this earth anyway. It is not the proper thing for a sane person to do. If this is your thinking I pray that you will reconsider what it means to be a child of God. He knows our needs, our weaknesses, our failures, and our helplessness. He has saved us in Christ and brought us to Himself to hear from us ~ not just our praises, but also our cries.

A baby doesn’t know why he is crying. A child of God doesn’t always know why he needs to cry. We find much weeping, as well as joy, in God’s Word. This wilderness is not the happiest place in the universe; and He expects us to cry to Him in times of distress.

 “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed:
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

Psalm 61:2

We should not cry all the time; but in those times when we are overwhelmed He wants to hear from us. His heart is moved, and His Spirit responds to our needs, even when we don’t know what we need. He is able to lead us out of the temptation and danger.

“Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him:
God is a refuge for us.”
Psalm 62:8

When we hold everything inside, or when we turn to some other source, we will not receive what He has prepared for us. Crying and calling to Him are proofs that we trust Him in all our circumstances. More than this, it is during these times of dire need that He reveals more of Himself and His blessings to us. It is through these times that He brings us to know His joy.

0002z5Heavenly Father, draw us to you today.  Enable us to open our hearts to you, to cry to you, and receive what you have for us as your children.  Turn our weeping to joy as you hold us and feed us with the truth of your word.  In Jesus’ name I pray.   Amen.