Steal, Kill, and Destroy Part 2

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10 KJV).

The first time I heard Annie Johnson Flint’s story was during a Gaither Homecoming program. Gloria Gaither told the story of a courageous woman who supported herself through writing, even though she was stricken with debilitating arthritis that eventually left her an invalid.

In the end, when she couldn’t hold a pencil, she held a piece of chalk and wrote on a board suspended above her bed.

When you read Annie Johnson Flint’s poems, you do not hear “Woe is me” in her verses. What you hear, is a steady peace, an active joy, and a quiet trust. Annie learned faith as a child, as a woman she learned to trust.

The difference?

Faith believes God can, while trust rests in knowing He will. Many have learned faith, but struggle with trust. “I believe God can do it. I just don’t know if He will.”

And there’s the problem.

When my peace is disturbed, my joy dwindles. My focus turns inward. I no longer offer sacrifices of praise, but worship at the altar of self. My trust waivers. I question God. How long? Why? When? Will You?

Jesus never lied to His listeners. He promised troubles and tribulations. But the object is to overcome them, not be overtaken by them.

Annie knew that joy, like peace, is a fruit. It isn’t found in happy circumstances.

It’s found in Christ Jesus. It is proof of His Spirit working in our lives. It is us decreasing, Christ increasing.

Annie understood.

When the winds of adversity blew, rocking her to and fro, Annie, like a tree used it to her advantaged and sent her roots deeper into the softened soil. She raised her limbs heavenward and soaked in the Son. She drank the water of the Word and ate of the Bread of Life. She did not bend to self-pity but was strengthened by God’s Spirit. Her fruit remains with us today, a testimony to His faithfulness. And what a testimony it is!

What God Hath Promised~ Annie Johnson Flint~ Public Domain

God hath not promised skies always blue;

Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through;

God hath not promised sun without rain,

Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.

But God promised strength for the day,

Rest for the labor, light for the way,

Grace for the trials, help from above,

Unfailing kindness, undying love. Read more here

You can read more about Annie Johnson Flint by searching her name or her poems and songs, What God Hath Promised and He Giveth More Grace.

XOXO

Gail

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Can You Praise Me, Now?

For I am the LORD, I change not (Malachi 3:6 KJV).

 

Praise, like water cascading over a mountainside, spews forth in times of prosperity and victory. Yet, it is the disciplined mind focused amid conflict, disruption, and affliction that is able to sing the praises of Him Who has called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light. This distinction separates the seasoned from the novice.

It is a lesson not easily learned. But, once learned the benefits are unforgettable.

Paul and Silas knew the secret. They sang at midnight while in prison! Although the enemy had disrupted their lives, he had not stolen their peace!

 

True Story

In 2004, I had a physical problem that just wouldn’t go away. No one knew exactly what it was. Poison Ivy? Poison Sumac? Poison Oak? Whatever it was nothing worked on it!
It consumed my every thought.
Nothing I tried helped. And believe me, I tried several remedies. I went so far as to try a home remedy. No. Vinegar didn’t work. Yes, I smelled like pickles.

It seemed like the more I prayed the worse it became.

Now, we all know a battle easily won is not always remembered. But a battle of attrition will eventually bring you to the end of yourself. And guess what. That’s where you’ll find God waiting.

In my affliction, God was teaching me something—and giving me something.
While lying on the floor, begging for relief, I heard a still small voice. “Can you praise Me now?”

At that point, I was willing to try anything! I began to praise Him while still on the floor. Then something arose inside of me as memories of His faithfulness rolled through my mind. No longer was I focused on my problems, but on the One Who could change my circumstance.

The itching and the pain eased. It wasn’t too long after that every sign was gone.

From that experience came healing and the song ” He Is Still God.”

 

Reflection

If you’re in the midst of a struggle and nothing has helped, try giving God praise. Recall what He has done. Then declare:

As His child, God directs my steps.
He orders my life.
I will yield to His hands.
I will claim His Word.
I will cling and declare His promises.
I will stand believing.
He will deliver me!
I will not accept defeat!
I will think on His past faithfulness.
For by His grace, I will finish this race victoriously!

Press On!

Centering

But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand (Isaiah 64:8 KJV).

Jasper_Ware,_Nelson_Atkins_Museum_of_Art

Jasper Ware Wiki Commons

When I think of pottery, I usually think of the beautifully painted pieces purchased in a store. What I don’t think about is the process clay must go through to become those beautiful pieces.

That was until I saw the similarities between my life and clay.

For instance, have you ever felt as if your world was spinning out of control? I have. For years, I struggled with this problem. Until one day, I realized it wasn’t my world spinning out of control. It was me. I needed anchoring! I needed to quit succumbing to my circumstances and set my eyes on my Deliverer.

In pottery, this process is called centering.

Centering

Wikicommons

Wiki Commons

In centering, the potter moistens the center of the wheel and throws the clay atop it. Then, he smacks the ball of wet earth a couple of times removing the air bubbles from beneath it.

Then he begins “coning” and “flattening” (friction). This process prevents the clay from spinning out of control. The idea is the same as being in the eye of the storm. Read more here...

As a child of God, I’m like a piece of clay. The wheel is my life, the instrument the Potter uses to better mold me. It isn’t the wheel I’m to conform to but the pressure of His hands holding me steady.

As with the piece of clay, the choice is mine. Do I yield to His hands and move upward, or be carried away with the centrifugal force of the wheel and move outward?

Thankfully, I’ve come to realize when I surrender to his hands, I fulfill my design and function. When I succumb to the wheel, I thrash about and eventually shatter from the pressures of my life.

Reflection

Have you ever thought about the similarities of your life and clay? Remember, as His child, you are always in His hands!

Promises: Deuteronomy 31:6; Psalms 46:1; Isaiah 26:3; Jeremiah 32:27

Lord, hear my cry. Help me to see the need of centering in You each day. To daily seek Your face, the Author and Finisher of our faith, for the answers I need. Place within me the desire to transform into Your likeness. Be the center of my life that I may know You and Your will for me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.