My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. - Psalm 73:26, ESV
It’s hard to believe two years have passed since I’ve written anything for this blog. So much has changed in these last two years.
My husband resigned as pastor of the church where we had served the Lord for nearly 20 years. The last years were difficult, challenging and painful. My husband is not the type of man who quits anything; so stepping away from the pastorate was a hard decision to make. In fact, he struggled with the decision for over 5 years. Unless you’ve been there, it was tougher than most can imagine. An incredibly huge change!
When a decision like that is made in one area of your life, it always affects other areas. Your friends change. People who had been part of your life for so long are no longer there. A few friends remain, but you lose many. Sometimes, people are hurt by your decisions and so they just stay away. You lose touch with others simply because your paths just don’t cross anymore. This brings hard, emotional changes!
We no longer live in the house where we raised our five older children. With the decision to leave the ministry, our finances changed as well. We decided to rent out our beloved old home and moved into a smaller apartment to reduce our cost of living. Space changes!
In an attempt to provide for our family while we wait to see what God has planned for our future, my husband started a construction company. Another change! Guess who does all the office work? Yes, me! An even different change.
We also had to find a new place to worship. We were blessed to find a church about 45 minutes away that has sound biblical teaching. It is still hard to integrate into a new church family, though. This was an enormous change for me!!
A very pleasant change happened in September of 2017. Our little Jude had open heart surgery to repair his heart defect. This has brought happy health changes for him.
So everything changed. Some changes were welcomed and others I didn’t like. In the midst of the changes and chaos, I would often seek out songs to help calm my mind and refresh my spirit. One of the songs was “Trust in You”, sung by Lauren Daigle.
Letting go of every single dream
I lay each one down at Your feet
Every moment of my wandering
Never changes what You see
I try to win this war
I confess, my hands are weary, I need Your rest
Mighty warrior, king of the fight
No matter what I face You're by my side.
We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.
- 2 Cor. 3:18, HCSB
What is the glory of the Lord? It's one of those Christianese phrases we say a lot, but what is it? What is Paul talking about in the above verse?
Let's jump back to the Old Testament, to Exodus 33 & 34. Here Moses asked the Lord to teach him God's ways (33:13). Then a few verses later, Moses asked to see the Lord's glory. The Lord responds by telling him to get in a rock crevice and that Moses would be allowed to see the trailing edge of the Lord's glory.
In chapter 34, the event is described for us. The Lord told Moses to prepare two stones and go up to Mt. Sinai in the morning. Moses did what he was asked and the Lord passed in front of him (34:6). As the Lord passed, He listed some of His attributes: Yahweh is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, rich in faithful love and truth...but will not leave the guilty unpunished. So, the Lord directly tied His glory to Who He was and is - to His attributes. His attributes are His glory.
Immediately, Moses bowed down and worshipped. This is the first time the Scriptures say that Moses worshipped. He had seen a burning bush, had been given a huge task by God to lead out a captive nation, had taken on the leader of a major world power at the time, had brought plagues to that powerful nation, had seen an army drown in the Red Sea, had participated in the celebration following that event, had seen God work miracles to keep the Israelites fed and watered in a desert, but this is the first time he worshipped! The end result of this encounter with the Lord is that Moses' face was somehow changed. He had to wear a veil over his face so people wouldn't be frightened.
Paul refers to this event in 2 Corinthians 3, stating that with unveiled faces, we look at the glory of the Lord as we would look at a mirror and we are changed - transformed - just as Moses' face was transformed when he looked at the Lord's glory.
This truth really challenges me. Am I busy serving the Lord, even singing His praises, but not truly worshipping Him? Have I been changed by my encounter with the Lord? Do others see a difference in my countenance, my appearance because of this transformation? Do I reflect (as a mirror) the Lord's glory, being compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, rich in love but always speaking truth and not going along with sin?
If not, why not?
Let Your glory fill this place, Hallelujah.
Let Your glory fill this place even now.
Do a work in each heart, let it show on each face
Let Your glory fill this place.
- Geraldine Turner
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us hold on to grace. By it, we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe. - Hebrews 12:28, HCSB
Stress! It's a word we hear or read a lot about. Medical professionals are concerned with the effect stress has on our bodies. Mental health professionals are concerned with the long-term effects on our personality, our temperament, and our spirit. Stress affects every area of our lives - our relationships, our jobs, our down time, our health - you name it, stress shows up.
So how do we deal with stress as Christians? The advice and opinions available, both on the internet and from books, is overwhelming, and much of it seems to conflict with a Christian perspective. So again, how do we deal with stress and live confidently in grace so we can serve God acceptably?
First, maintain an attitude of worship. A. W. Tozer said, “To maintain a lifestyle of worship, we must attend to it on a daily basis. If you regulate worship to a once-a-week event, you really do not understand it, and it will take a low priority in your life.” Worship is not a service we attend, but it is an act of the will. I must choose to worship daily. In each moment, I decide to honor Christ, or to act on my own without thought of how my actions affect Him. We are commanded in the Scriptures to "take every thought captive to obey Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5). I can't say that it is easy, though. It takes determination and a conscious choice to learn to worship moment-by-moment. I will say that it becomes easier the more I practice, and the practice is so worth it! The greatest benefit is the joy of staying focused on Christ. A wonderful side-benefit is that it is nearly impossible to feel stressed when I'm worshipping throughout the day.
Second, don't be afraid to seek help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. We are commanded to bear our own load (Gal. 6:5), so we should not expect to have everyone do everything for us. Yet, while we do everything we can to the best of our abilities, there are times when we need assistance. That's why God also commanded us to bear one another's burdens (Gal. 6:2). In Philippians 2, we are told to think about what matters to others, not just about what matters to us. Be honest with yourself. Can you truly carry this load? Sometimes, we take on more than we should in an attempt to gain the approval of others. Or, we feel that we are the only ones capable of handling the burden. Either approach is incorrect and will lead to defeat.
If you feel stressed, stop what you're doing, or at least stop what you're thinking! Re-focus. Start with saying "thank you" about something - anything. Then, thank God for something else. Move to phrases of adoration, like "I love You, Lord, for saving me, for never abandoning me". Soon, you will be worshipping God, even if silently in your thoughts.
Next, don't be afraid to reach out to a trusted friend or advisor. In doing so, you are obeying the Scriptures, and obedience is never a sign of weakness.
It's your choice!
Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.
- written by John H. Sammis
When I am afraid, I will trust in You. - Psalm 56:3, HCSB
My youngest son was born premature with many health issues, the most concerning one being a serious issue with his heart. We have known since the day he was born that at some point in his life, he would need open-heart surgery.
God blessed us with a wonderful pediatric cardiologist. The care regimen that she set up for Jude allowed for him to grow and flourish in spite of his serious heart condition. Most folks would never know by watching him that such a critical problem resided inside the active child they saw.
This past summer, a new procedure was offered to us that would be minimally invasive but fix the problem for Jude via a catheter instead of opening up his chest. It was wonderful news and we agreed to let the hospital try this new procedure.
The night before the scheduled procedure, I didn't sleep at all. I discovered something rather unpleasant about myself. I struggle trusting!! I've always had difficulty trusting people because of past hurts and betrayals. Yet, I was struggling trusting God.
Now, God and I have been through many dark valleys together. At times, I have felt I was drowning in oceans of despair, but not once did God fail me. Don't get me wrong! Those dark experiences were difficult and in the middle of the furor, I did lose sight of God's comfort and help. Still, looking back, God did not fail!
So why was I struggling so hard to trust God now? I wanted to trust Him. Desperately! I wanted the words from the songs that echoed in my mind to be true. I wanted to go through this experience with absolute confidence in my Heavenly Father, but I struggled. All night, I wrestled with my fear and lack of faith. I repented over and over again for my doubts, but still the struggle raged in my heart.
An esophageal echocardiogram revealed that Jude was not a good candidate for this new procedure, so we are still looking at open-heart surgery. I don't know exactly how I'll handle the days before that happens. I'd love to think that I would rest confidently in my Father's love.
However, if that doesn't happen, if I find myself gripped with fear and doubt, I will trust. Notice that is an action, a deliberate choice. I will trust! Even if I must choose to trust again and again, every moment as the battle of fear goes on in my mind, I will trust. Why? I remember the dark times we've been through. I remember the answered prayers. I remember His incredible mercy in saving me. I remember His grace that I live in every day. So, in spite of the storm, I will choose to trust!
No matter the storms that come my way
No matter the trials I may face
You promised that You would see me through
So I will trust in You.
(written by Michael Popham, Regi Stone)
Copyright: kevron2001 / 123RF Stock Photo
My name is Lynn Pauley. I'm just a normal woman, with normal struggles. Any success I've found comes from following the Scriptures. I'll update this blog as time and inspiration permit.