February 21, 2014

Positive About The Future

Psalm 52:8-9 (NIV)

But I am like an olive tree
    flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God’s unfailing love
    for ever and ever.
For what you have done I will always praise you
    in the presence of your faithful people.
And I will hope in your name,
    for your name is good.

Today is a good day! I will praise the Lord forever, and I will hope in your name, for your name is GOOD!

It is a good Friday, sunny and warm, and lovely here in Phoenix. The weather promises to be pleasant today, not too hot, and yet, not too cold. February/March is the perfect time to visit Phoenix. The flowers are in bloom, and the days are perfect for hiking, biking or golfing. It is good to be here, and to live in such a place. I am blessed, so very blessed with such a good, good life.

As I consider my future, I am awestruck at what the Lord is doing through me. I am amazed at His presence and the way He empowers me to do His work. I find that while I struggle, and I do most of the time, the actual process of work goes very smoothly. For example, last night I worked on my take home quiz for my statistics course. To say that this is a statistics course is a understatement because it is graduate/doctoral level statistics and research methods course and it is very, very difficult. Yet, I sit here and I look up the definitions or read the explanation and while not easy to digest, I am getting it, I am understanding the concept. This is HUGE for me because I am not a math-y person. I don't particularly like math, and I struggle with understanding the Algebraic equations used in statistics.  But God is good, and He helps me -- I cannot say it any other way -- He simply helps me understand these concepts.

The work is incredibly difficult and I spend hours pouring over texts, Googling on the Internet, seeking to find the best way to grasp something. In the end, I just do it. I write the answer, I explain the concept, and I don't know how I am able to do it. I give Him all the Praise for I believe that it is He who empowers me to understand and to know these concepts. I thank Him for the grace to do this difficult work, and I humble myself before Him clearly confessing that I don't know how to do the work, and I don't understand how to even go about learning "how to do the work!" God in His Mercy permits me, He allows me to grasp it. In doing so, I am overcoming, and I am learning new content that will help me do the specific work He has called me to do. I give Him praise for He is so very good to me this day!

What does this mean for my future? I am not certain other than to say that I have full confidence in the Lord that He knows what He is doing, and because of who He is (God), I can rest and rely on Him to provide for me. There are so many unknowns right now, but I am not panicked over them. I was panicked the other day, and I was stressed just thinking about tomorrow (my future). Then something happened, and it all disappeared. I felt this peace come over me, and I was filled with contentment. I am content. I am happy, and I am at peace. It is a neat feeling, and I am glad that He has given me His peace. It does truly surround me, and it provides such comfort to me. God is good that way. He is so very good to me.

As I think about tomorrow (my future), one thing is certain: God has a plan, a good plan (Jer. 29:11) and in that plan, there is hope. I feel it in my bones, so to speak, and I know in my head that His plans are good. I see His hand, His fingerprints on my life, and I see the path I have traveled -- how far I have come -- and where He is leading me into the future. I see the entire spectrum of my life, from my birth through to my death, and while I cannot see the exact details (dates and events, for example), I see this plan with my name on it. It is blessed. It has been blessed since childhood, and it is continually being blessed. It is an awesome thing to consider the blessing of God. God in His Grace and Mercy chose to bless me, to care for me, to cover me, and even though I disappointed Him, sinned against Him and His Word, He still loves me. Yes, He still and always will love me. I love this fact, this truth that no matter what I have done in the past, and no matter what I do today or tomorrow, I cannot run away from His great love. Oh, how He loves me...

Now I sit here today and I praise His Name. I look to Him and I trust Him. I rest in His Name, and in His Person -- the very Person of the RISEN AND EXALTED Jesus Christ. He is Risen indeed, and because He is exalted, I too can live a risen and exalted life. This means that I have within me, through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, the ability to rise above my circumstances, and to overcome the challenges and obstacles that are in my path. Yes, He is able to do everything that concerns me this day, and He is able to overcome whatever might appear to be a blockage. He will do it, and by trusting and resting in Him, I am able to do it as well.

So what does this mean for me today? I think in practical application it means that there is nothing that will prevent me from accomplishing the Lord's will for my life. Nothing, Nada, Nil. God has planned my life, and He has purposed me for a specific work. So long as I remain in His will, and committed to His way, I will accomplish what He desires for me to accomplish. I will overcome. I will achieve. I will excel. I will do all things through Christ who is the RISEN AND EXALTED ONE.

Exciting to think about it considering the magnitude of what I face today:
  • Escalating debt (school loans)
  • Considerable hardship with no significant income on the horizon
  • Continual struggle through doctoral coursework leading to original research and qualification exams -- dissertation
  • Heartache over ruined relationships and closed opportunities for reunion
  • Weariness with carrying multiple responsibilities for myself, my son, and my parents
At times, I am overwhelmed. At times, I think it is impossible to continue on. At times, I want to run and hide. And at times, I want to chuck it all in and give up -- quit.

Then He calls to me, and He calms my fears. He tells me that I am well covered, and that the plans He has for my life are very good. I trust in His voice. I hear His voice and it is sweet and wonderful. I think it is OK, and that He is trustworthy and faithful, and I march on. I pick up myself, and I plod on, I move forward in the direction of His calling, and I know that I will be OK, and IT will be OK.

Yes, God is good, so very good. He is wise, and He knows me well. He knows that I will be faithful to Him, and I that I will trust Him. I might falter, and I might shirk back in fear for a short time, but in the end, I will plod on. I will follow Him, and I will go where He is sending me. I will do this work, this very difficult work, and I will learn to lean upon Him, to abide in Him. And throughout the struggle, I will come to know Him, to know Him well, and to REST in Him. He is good, so very good, and I will rest in Him because it is good for me to do so.

May God be praised today and forever more. Praise His Name all you saints of the Lord! Give Him the Praise that is due His Good Name!!

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