Wonderful Counselor

come-lionGoing ‘through the mill’ is something I’m familiar with.  I came to the Lord in October 2006  at a time of great trial.

I had come north to live on the family’s 10 acre property following my father’s death.  I loved the place too much to sell, and at the time it seemed like a great adventure.  Stepping into my father’s shoes, getting a half-finished house completed, establishing a dairy goat stud (my idea), were all challanges that I ran with.  As a career soldier, my father had great all-round abilities – fencing, planning, building, planting.   I took all that on, and though I had the major fencing done by a contractor,  I was soon using the fence strainers and skillsaw – all helped by my mom, just as she had helped my dad over the years..

But by 1997 it became clear that my mother’s mental condition was deteriorating, and before long she was diagnosed with alzheimers.  There followed 10 years of caring for her sole charge.

I would be lying if I didn’t say that these were trying years.  Gradually, my options in life foreclosed.  From a past career as a highly-paid lawyer in government,  I had become a ‘handmaiden’.  Much as I loved my mom, that did not go down well.  My various options for making an income foreclosed also, though I clung tenaciously to the artistic skills I’d nurtured from childhood, and they and the internet helped me keep my sanity.  There were times when I considered running away – but to what?  My assets were all tied up in the land.  And with a horse, 2 dogs and 4 cats?

I won’t go into the dramas, the worries and the uncertainties.  These are well documented in the blog The Alzheimers Carer, which I wrote at the time.

My mom passed away in February 2007, and I was left with debt and a host of problems.  It was a blessing that I was ‘born again’ – above all else I had that lifeline.

Over the years I’ve been helped mightily by the Lord.  But right now I am in strife, following a decision in September 2014 that it’s time to move from here.  A huge step.

Something that Separates Us from God

Since then, I feel like every problem in the book has been thrown at me, from health issues to dramas around getting the place in order for sale. It has been a nightmare.

Why?

Without actually realising it, I have allowed myself to come under ongoing stress – in other words, attack.   Attack centered on my own feelings of guilt that I hadn’t maintained the property up to scratch during my mom’s illness – as if that were possible when she wouldn’t let me out of her sight.

The accuser has stood alongside, ceaselessly pointing the finger and finding fault.  Though intellectually I know better, I have let him do it.  He is already defeated, and I have been giving him power.  How foolish is that?

And though I ask the Lord for guidance daily, I know I have never really ‘let go’ on this particular issue.  And we absolutely have to do that:

come-poster-700

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Knowing that and actually doing it, are two very different things.   If we do not let go, He cannot help us.  And that is where I am at.

Lack of faith of this type is actually a sin (by definition, something that separates us from God).

I’ve just enrolled for notifications about a Video Course called “Wonderful Counselor”, starting on 17 October.    Though the course can be bought, there is a brief opportunity to watch the video series free at this time, which is what I am going to do.  I’m passing this information on on for anyone who may feel need of it.

Note – I am not an affiliate of the Christian Leadership School – I have nothing to gain by recommending this.

Blessings
Patricia

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Advertisements

Where Were You

job-38-iiconThis was not, of course, a question – it was at most a rhetorical question.  A reminder of who we are and Who the Almighty God is.  A call to sanity, if you like.

We know the trials Job went through – and they were huge.  Almost more than any human being should be asked to bear.  The loss of everything – wife, family, possessions, home, business.  Ill health, reduced to dust and ashes.  And if that wasn’t enough, three of his friends who came along to ‘commiserate’ and, as can be the way with friends and enemies alike, ended up dumping their own prejudices and making the whole thing so much worse.

But, reduced as he was to nothing, Job stood strong on what really is the most important thing in this short earthly life – faith in his God.  Throughout all the many trials, physical and mental, his faith did not waver.

And one would think that having proved his faith in these ultimate tests, he would have been entitled to an answer to the one question so many ask, so often:

“Why?”

He didn’t get his answer.  That answer is not available to us in this earthly life.  And there is no reason why it should be.  Instead, Job got reminded of his place in the scheme of things vis-a-vis the One he was questioning:

job-38-_700

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?”   (Job 38: 4-7)

With all our intellectual achievements, we forget that our knowledge and understanding are not those of The Creator.  A good look at the sky on a clear, starry night, and a very small appreciation of the intricacies of balance that set the universe in motion and keep it moving in its age-old pattern are enough to remind us of far greater forces than we have at our disposal.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  (Isaiah 55:8-9)   …

job-38-products

The Father, like human fathers at times, does not answer all questions.  And while that can be hard on His children, life is not intended to be a bed of roses.  We cannot be forever fed on milk.  If we respond correctly to those trials that come across our path, we will come to realise that the hard knocks bring us closer to the true heart of the Father – which is LOVE.

And while the hard knocks of this life are but for a season, the Father’s love is for eternity

Patricia

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Trust In The Lord

trust-iiconHow often do we hear this phrase?  Almost to the point where we brush it off without thinking too hard or without really applying it when we should.

Then when big trouble comes along, we start scrambling around looking for worldly resources and human help.  It’s as if we look upon the supernatural powers of the Heavenly Father as something not really strong enough to cope with the physical issues of this important human life that we lead.

How wrong is that?

The problem is not that God’s arm isn’t long enough to reach into our lives – it is that we do not ask properly.  James knew the answer to this.  Speaking within the wider context of human desires he said:

You do not have because you do not ask.   When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”  (James 4: 1-3)

We either fail to ask because we do not trust God, or we offer prayers that are in fact laundry lists of the things we want.  How rude!

If we genuinely submit our lives to Him, then He will ensure that our needs are met:

trust_700

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.”   (Proverbs 3:5-6)

In fact, He knows what we need before we ask Him – and it isn’t always what we think we need, either.  And therein lies the bind.

Are you really willing to hand your life and your needs over into His care?  If you are not, if you want to keep control, then He will simply take His hands off and let you carry on.   That is when people complain that their prayers are not being answered.

Remember that Jesus said, “ For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.(Luke 9:24)  

Jesus wasn’t saying He expects everyone to die physically for Him – he was saying we need to die to the things in our lives, to our selfish desires and self-important egos.  And THEN we will find the joy, peace and victory of a life in Him.

That   Takes   Faith   And   Self-Discipline.

trust-products

Artwork and Products available in my Damascus Road Gallery. Or click on the images.

Patricia

http://damascusroad.news

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Wings Of The Morning

wings-of-morning-iconIf anyone knew how to live life dangerously, it was David the Psalmist.  Slaying a lion, a bear, and Goliath as a boy was not even the start.  He had already been secretly anointed as king of Israel by the prophet Samuel at God’s command, while another king was on the throne.

As David’s fame grew, so did the jealousy of King Saul, so that by the time he reached manhood, he was forced to live in hiding in the hills and caves of Judea, or in exile, with a band of followers, on the run from the king’s wrath, fighting against the enemies of Judah and Israel, risking his life daily.  It is notable that twice during this time he had the opportunity to slay Saul, but did not because he would not lay his hand upon the Lord’s officially anointed one.

Even after Saul died in battle and David became king, danger was ever-present.  There was much work to be done in war and diplomacy, uniting and consolidating Israel, building up her army, and defeating her many enemies. He established Jerusalem as the capital and built his palace there. Finally, he had to deal with revolts against his kingship, including those by two of his sons, one in David’s old age.  He left a huge national legacy.

wings-of-morning2_700

Out of this tumultuous life, and rooted in his years as a shepherd boy tending his father’s sheep, comes the Book of Psalms – an expression of many emotions, from joy to sadness, from hope to despair.  But above all in these 150 songs, the prevailing theme is trust in the Lord.  David was a sinner at times (like us, for those who like to point the finger) – but he was “a man after God’s heart” precisely because of his faith and trust, his love of God and the word, and his willingness to repent and ask forgiveness.

Let us remember that God does not require perfection – He knows we cannot hope to attain anything even close to that on our own.   In fact the only words of condemnation ever used by Jesus were spoken against the established religious leaders of His day who thought they were perfect and influenced others to have the same opinion.

God asks only for a willing spirit of devotion that He can work on “from glory to glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

wings-of-morning-products

Artwork and Products available in my Damascus Road Gallery. Or click on the images.

Patricia

http://damascusroad.news

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

So What?

“Well,” you may say, “so what?  This man Paul got hit by some kind of lightning bolt, and thought he had a mission.  So what?”

Well, the proof of the pudding, as always, is in the eating.  Paul was born some time in a 20 year period around  the birth of Christ.  His Damascus Road experience can be pinpointed between 31 and 36AD, so he was approaching middle age when his real career began.  He was executed by Emperor Nero in Rome around 65 AD, by which time he was at least in his late 60s.  For over thirty years, then, he traveled the Mediterranean, by boat and on foot, preaching the Gospel and setting up and supporting groups of believers which were called ‘churches’, but because of the dangers of the times they were really house groups.

He was the subject of enmity from the Jewish priests and their followers, from expatriate Jews, from followers of pagan religions, from the Roman authorities, and from people in his churches who tried to steal his standing with those he had converted.

Many of the passages in his letters that seem strange to us on first reading become clear when we appreciate that not only was he dealing with the specific qualities of the locality (eg  troublesome Corinth – a wealthy, bustling, cosmopolitan city where surplus meat from pagan sacrifices could end up for sale in the market), but also with countless disagreements between individual followers, and serious attacks on his own integrity.

Here is his account of some of the trials that befell him during those years:

“Five times at the hands of the Jews I received forty lashes less one: (40 lashes was a death penalty) three times I was beaten with rods: I was stoned once, shipwrecked three times; I passed a day and a night on the sea. I traveled continually, endangered by floods, robbers, my own people, the Gentiles; imperiled in the city, in the desert, at sea, by false brothers; enduring labor, hardship, many sleepless nights; in hunger and thirst and frequent fastings; in cold and nakedness.”
2 Corinthinns 11: 24-27

He was also imprisoned three times, and traveled in chains from Jerusalem to Rome.

So – from being the Persecutor, he became the Persecuted.  From being the highly educated fount of knowledge, he became the troublemaker.  From being securely established in his understanding of ‘the Law’, he entered the swirling waters of dispute and backbiting to convert and then nurture souls in a brand new concept of faith.

How many people would gladly make that change, take on that role, pursue it so long, and suffer that fate without some very strong conviction?

Patricia

http://damascusroad.news