The TRUTH Will Set You Free

Truth Will Set You Free

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For HIS Name’s Sake…not mine

For His Name's Sake

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Put On Christ

Put on Christ

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1001

Wow.  I just saw a notification that said, “You have made 1000 posts on dayuntoday.”

That’s really hard to believe.  And here I was just talking about aging.  :)

Maybe not all of them have been uplifting, but I do hope that at least one of them at some point connected with someone, pointing them toward the Lord.  If it hasn’t happened yet, I pray that it will.

Many times I have wondered about the wisdom of posting my thoughts for all the world to read.  It’s a vulnerable thing to do, because someone may actually read them.  They may even disagree.  But really, it doesn’t matter.  Because it’s not about me.  It’s for His name’s sake.  Everything is.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
 Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.

The SKIES proclaim the work of his hands.  How can I remain silent?

 

And so I carry on.

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A Leaf in the Snow

A couple weeks ago, the picture on my homemade calendar caught my eye.

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It’s a striking picture, taken by a dear friend of mine. I wasn’t sure at first why I liked it, but as I looked at it through the month, I realized something.

The leaf isn’t perfect.   Far from it, in fact. It’s shriveled and curled and a few pieces have broken off. There’s really nothing remarkable about it—a leaf, no longer needed, carelessly cast aside.

And sometimes I feel like that.

Maybe you have, too.   At times it seems that you’re just…dry.   Everything worthwhile has been used up, and You Got Nothin’. Do you know that feeling?

Like the leaf, just lying there empty.

But the leaf is lying on a perfect, unbroken, spotless bed of snow.

And that’s what happens with me, too.

When I feel used up, spent, completely dry…when I am Just Done…I can fall back on my Savior, who is perfect, unspoiled, full of fresh beauty. And I can rest.

And you know another thing about that leaf? There were lots of other leaves out there, right? This certainly wasn’t the only leaf on the tree. But this one—this is different. It’s lying on top of the snow. This leaf clung tenaciously to its twig until the bitter cold set in.   It didn’t give up. It didn’t fall at the first tug of a breeze. It hung in there.

And I can, too.

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Flourish and Grow Brighter

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
    they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
planted in the house of the Lord,
    they will flourish in the courts of our God.
They will still bear fruit in old age,
    they will stay fresh and green,
proclaiming, “The Lord is upright;
    he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”  

                                      Psalm 92:12-15 NASB

Aging. It’s a weird thing to be talking about. It’s hard to believe that I have lived for over fifty years. It is always a bit of a shock to look at my body and realize how much it has failed, because in my mind, I don’t feel older. Our spirits do not age.

In our society, aging is seen as a handicap. We look with pity on old people–how difficult it must be to become feeble! Have you ever considered how much value we place on the the outward appearance, and how quickly we judge by it? And more than just pity, the young often view older people with a certain degree of contempt. How often do you hear someone dismissively speaking of an elder as “out of touch?”  We hear that older people are ‘declining’ physically and often mentally as well, and we might assume that it also applies to the spiritual.

But God’s Word doesn’t paint that picture.  The righteous will flourish.  They stay fresh and green, and as the Complete Jewish Bible puts it:  still full of sap, still bearing fruit!  They grow and THRIVE. They may have lost their strength and youthful beauty, but they are still growing. The fact that an older person may not be up to speed on the latest technology or can’t remember what they had for lunch does not mean that they have nothing to offer.

Advancing age does not take away our purpose and passion, either. God uses the aged.  We all know the stories of Noah and Sarah and Moses and various other senior citizens in Scripture who God used for His wonderful purpose.  But what about me?  Is God satisfied with allowing ME to saunter off into my “sunset years?”

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But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
shining ever brighter until full daylight.         Prov 4:18 CJB

Brighter and BRIGHTER. Old people are supposed to shine more and more brightly as they approach the horizon!  There are no “sunset years” for the righteous!  When we finally reach full daylight, we will see our Savior’s face.  And there will be No More Night.

No Sunset!  Just ever brighter…

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Suffering Sharpens the Spirit

Well, my third cup of coffee has disappeared, and I have really done enough of my Bible study for the day, and the morning is nearly gone. I think that I have no excuse to keep sitting here, and should get busy and clean my house. But.   My brain is racing with how amazing God is. Last week my BSF lesson didn’t grip me. I read through it, answered the questions, and thought, “meh. I knew all that.” When I thought about suffering, I mostly just felt a little bit guilty. After all, God’s people should expect to endure suffering in order to share with Christ, and I just don’t suffer. My life is pretty much perfect. I have lots of blessings and few trials. It made me wonder if I were missing out on what I am really supposed to be doing.

Then I went yesterday and listened to the lecture, and three different points made by the speaker jumped out and nailed me to the wall.

  1. If you aren’t personally suffering, realize that God is calling you to come alongside someone who is.
  2. Sometimes God does not want us to understand. Eve stumbled because of her desire for knowledge that God had not intended for her! I need to focus on what I do know, and trust Him for what I don’t.
  3. A knife is useful when it is sharp, but use will dull it. The only way for it to stay useful is to be sharpened—nicks must be shaved off, the edge must be ground down…over and over. In order for me to be sharpened, there must be constantly less and less of me!

Those things don’t seem to be related, exactly, but they all affected me strongly. My guilt over not having any recent suffering was eased as I realized that suffering along with others could be a glory to God. My innate desire to know and understand everything can be a stumbling block, and I need to pray for more acceptance and trust.   And less of me…well, obviously I want to be refined and honed, and that is a lovely way to look at it!

This morning I began to read the notes for the lesson and realized that this week is making up for my blah reaction to last week. I highlighted so many things that the page began to look ridiculously cluttered. I snapped a picture, and a friend suggested laughingly that maybe I should highlight the parts that I didn’t like so well!

It wasn’t until I sat there reading, underlining, meditating, and doodling for about an hour that I realized something. This morning I woke up with quite a bit of pain. I was sitting there with a warm rice pack on my neck, stretching out the kinks, and massaging my temples as I read about suffering. It occurred to me that this was suffering, too. The physical aches and difficulties of aging are a very small bit of suffering compared to the trials some people face, but they are a constant reminder that life on this earth is winding down, that little by little, my body is decaying.

Maybe this is part of the sharpening of the knife. As my physical vigor is whittled away, perhaps it is perfecting a new edge in my spirit. Am I allowing Abba to grind away the nicks and burrs of my imperfect self and expose the next level of usefulness in me?

More tomorrow…

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