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Thoughts Toward Us
"For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, thoughts of peace and not evil, to give you a future and a hope," * I read. I have that verse in Jeremiah on a card taped by computer. I'm looking at it now, and I wonder why I didn't see it sooner.
Do you see what I mean by the wrong emphasis? Here I was concentrating on holding onto my faith in this hard time. I was concentrating on pleasing the Lord with my reactions.
And what was He doing? He was having thoughts of peace toward me; he was having thoughts of my future. He wanted me to be filled with hope. It wasn't that I was wrong to hold onto my faith or try to please God in the midst of the crisis. I prayed, and He answered my pleas for help. But I could have had more. I could have had the peace I found without so much stress and wasted energy. While I was reaching up, He was reaching down. I just missed the direct connection. Two of my "life" verses come from college days:
"Faithful is He who calls you, who also will do it." **
"Being confident of this very things, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." ***
These share a common thread with Jeremiah 29:11. I've always applied the first to my teaching. I know how He has brought that to fruition. The second
I have applied to my salvation. Today I see all three verses in a different light. I don't need to struggle so much in executing my faith. I have the promises and the daily help of the God of the Universe and the Saviour of my soul.
What I need to do is to practice resting in what I already know instead of re-inventing the wheel at every turn. I often talked to my students about the cause and effect verses in the Bible. God promises us blessings, but he doesn't offer them in a vacuum; if we are to receive them, we have to be a part of the process. I still believe that.
However, I also see that the reverse is also true: He has a part in things that I often try to accomplish on my own.Dog gone! It's hard being human! I thank God for His faithfulness, for the way He teaches me, for the way He lights my way and carries my load especially when I let Him!
* Jeremiah 29:11
** I Thessalonians 5:24
*** Philippians 1:6
For Further Consideration:
Instead of verses this week, I am including this poem. You simply can't
take it in at first glance. It takes rereading and prayerful thought. I hope
it offers you the encouragement it has given me.
Be All at Rest, My Soul
Be all at rest, my soul, O blessed secret,
Of the true life that glorifies the Lord:
Not always does the busiest soul best serve Him,
But he that rests upon His faithful Word.
Be all at rest, let not your heart be rippled,
For tiny wavelets mar the image fair,
Which the still pool reflects of heaven's glory
And thus the image He would have you bear.
Be all at rest, my soul, for rest is service,
To the still heart God does His secrets tell;
Thus will you learn to wait, and watch, and labor,
Strengthened to bear, since Christ in you
For what is service but the life of Jesus,
Lived through a vessel of life's fragile clay,
Loving and giving and poured forth for others,
A living sacrifice from day to day.
Be all at rest, my soul, so then you'll have the
To those who question, "Who is God and where?"
For God is rest, and where He dwells is stillness,
And they who dwell in Him, His rest will
And what will meet the deep unrest around you,
But the calm peace of God that fills His
For still a living Voice calls to the weary,
From Him who said, 'Come unto Me and rest.'"
* Freda Hanbury Allen
In Streams in the Dessert by L.B. Cowman and edited by James Reimann
September 12 entry