October 12, 2014

Psalm 108

It is a blessed Sunday morning, and I am at home resting. I took another Sunday off from church (I know -- doesn't that sound awful?) so that I could catch up on my school work and my essay grading. Something is definitely wrong when you cannot attend church because of the amount of papers you have to grade (LOL!) Still, I praise my Gracious God who knows my frailty. He knows what I can and cannot do, and He gives me the grace to say "let it be, let it be!" Yes, Lord, I cry out with David this morning as I shout Psalm 108:13:

With God's help we will do mighty things, for he will trample down our foes.

Though I know that David was fighting against a real enemy, and I am just fighting against my growing to-do list, still my God is able to do mighty things, to help me overcome the pressures and the powers that seek to control and to consume my peace. He is able to do all things abundantly better than I could ever imagine or attempt (Eph. 3:20). Yes, my God is good, so very good. He is good to me, so very good to me.

As I sit here today, in the peaceful quiet of my office/nook, I am contemplating on the "good" that the Lord has provided to me. I cannot thank Him enough for His presence in my life. I cannot thank Him enough for His power over everything that desires to control me. I give Him praise and honor for His mercy is new -- it is new every single day! I lay my life at His feet, I worship Him alone as God, and I rest in His blessed sufficiency today.

Yesterday was a good day for me. I can say that now because I am on the backside of the panic and worry leading up to this weekend. Let me explain...

It is now week 8 of my semester study at Regent University. I am at the mid-way point, and this is the time when the first major projects are due. I have already started a number of projects in my COM 507 Social Media and Internet Marketing class. These are applied projects, which just means that they are not pure research, they are research and application combined, and as such, are less intensive than a major research paper. My first major research paper is due today. It is for my COM 701 Historical-Critical Research Methods class. This paper is a research prospectus or a paper that suggests a research project based on a site visit to a library or archive. It is informal in that it is to be written in a first-person narrative style (hooray!), but it is specific in that the type of prospectus requires significant research and a scholarly approach. 

To say I was panicked about my timeline for writing it -- is an understatement. I was consumed by anxiety and worry over whether I had followed the parameters for the site visit (I chose to visit the Heard Museum in Phoenix), and whether I had "enough" research material to propose a scholarly project. I was filled with angst over the content, and I was pressured to complete the assignment by the due date. I was not confident that I would make it, that I would be able to complete the work and turn it in on time.

I pushed the writing of the paper off until Thursday. My plan was to start writing it two weeks ago. I had it down on my calendar, and I had worked out the details so that I would be able to easily write this paper and turn it in on time, without any panicking. Of course, that didn't happen. No, I didn't anticipate how many papers would need grading, and how many other projects (applied) would also be due. I found myself drowning in paper work, and I thought "Lord, I am not going to make it."

The funny thing (not as in humorous) about the Lord is that He never makes a promise He won't keep. He had told me (yes, in Spiritual confidence) that I didn't need to worry about these assignments. He gave me boldness to write my prospectus, to lead weekly discussion, to complete the myriad of other items on my to-do list. I was working my way through all my assignments for Regent, and keeping up with my teaching responsibilities -- yes I was tired, yes I was intellectually drained, and yes I felt like I was going to sink -- still the work was getting done, somehow it was getting done. I cried out to the Lord for His help, and He calmed my fears. He told me to "let it go, let it be" and He asked me to rest. I listened to His soothing voice, and I let it be.  Miracle of miracle, the Lord kept His Word to me. He gave me the strength, the discipline, the fortitude (I love that word) to do what needed to be done. He did it, He completed the tasks, and He gave me the grace to rest. God is good, so very good.

So yesterday I finished a 15-page site prospectus -- a darn good one I might add -- well within the timeframe required. I still need to spell check and grammar check it, and I have to review my citations, but the work is done, it is completed, and I am blessed to be moving on.

My to-do list just got a little bit shorter (LOL!) I still have many more things to do, but for this day, I completed the big project, the one thing that was worrying me the most. I did it, and I give all the praise, the honor, and the glory to the One who is my EVERYTHING!

Now, I make the turn into Week 9, and I can see the end in sight. The semester end is there --> right over there --> and with it will come three blessed weeks of rest. I feel empowered to crank through the rest of the semester, to not give up, to stay focused, and to push on through the night and into the blessedness of the beautiful day!

The Lord has me well-covered. He knows me so well. He understands my needs, and He loves me completely. I panic, I stress, I worry, I doubt, and I allow myself (often) to be consumed with thoughts of inadequacy, with feeling less than "perfect," with criticism (in my head and sometimes from others) who want so much to keep me down, to make me feel less than worthy of the call on my life. The latter is what stinks the most -- I know it -- criticism from outsiders, individuals who are not Christian, who do not understand the high calling of serving the Lord. Yes, those remarks sting at times, and while I rarely let them hurt me, it is always at times of high stress that they seem to zing the most (I am sure it is a plan of the enemy). When my guard is down or when I am overwhelmed by work -- this is when criticism seems to hurt the most. No matter how often we tell ourselves not to listen, not to believe what others say about us, we seem to give in when our backs are against the wall, when we are facing our 'giants.' We know that the time for us to fight is at this very moment, when we are facing our giant, when we are at the end of our strength.

This is the moment when we confess to the Lord our weakness, and we rest in His strength, in His ability. This is the God-moment when He shows up, and He claims victory for us. Time and time again, the Lord acts valiantly on our behalf. He is our victor and our champion. He triumphs over our foes, and He wins the battle. Still, we cower in the corner feeling as though we are helpless and alone. Never! May it never be! We are with our Lord, our Mighty King -- it is just that we forget to look up, to remember who He is (and who we are). The Lord is our strong tower, our refuge, and our strength.

I look up this day and I see that the Lord has everything under control. Yes, my list sits next to me (well, there is a sleeping cat laying on top of it right now), and I know that there are many items on it that need to be completed today. I rest in His ability to see me through those check boxes, and in doing so, I give Him the praise now for the work He will accomplish for me this good day.

The Lord is worthy to be praised!

Psalm 145
A psalm of praise of David.

1 I will exalt you, my God and King,
    and praise your name forever and ever.
2 I will praise you every day;
    yes, I will praise you forever.
3 Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise!
    No one can measure his greatness.
4 Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts;
    let them proclaim your power.
5 I will meditate on your majestic, glorious splendor
    and your wonderful miracles.
6 Your awe-inspiring deeds will be on every tongue;
    I will proclaim your greatness.
7 Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness;
    they will sing with joy about your righteousness.
8 The Lord is merciful and compassionate,
    slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
9 The Lord is good to everyone.
    He showers compassion on all his creation.
10 All of your works will thank you, Lord,
    and your faithful followers will praise you.
11 They will speak of the glory of your kingdom;
    they will give examples of your power.
12 They will tell about your mighty deeds
    and about the majesty and glory of your reign.
13 For your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.
    You rule throughout all generations.
The Lord always keeps his promises;
    he is gracious in all he does.
14 The Lord helps the fallen
    and lifts those bent beneath their loads.
15 The eyes of all look to you in hope;
    you give them their food as they need it.
16 When you open your hand,
    you satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing.
17 The Lord is righteous in everything he does;
    he is filled with kindness.
18 The Lord is close to all who call on him,
    yes, to all who call on him in truth.
19 He grants the desires of those who fear him;
    he hears their cries for help and rescues them.
20 The Lord protects all those who love him,
    but he destroys the wicked.
21 I will praise the Lord,
    and may everyone on earth bless his holy name
    forever and ever.

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