Shaken or Steadfastly Stirred?

“Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever.  He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.”  Psalm 112:6-7

A number of years ago, I was shaken by the news of my mom having cancer.  The first in our family, the aggressive nature of this strain made for moving quickly.  The thought of losing a dear loved one to something so out of my control for me was a lesson in trust and prayer.  My initial response was asking, sometimes even yelling at God to get answers to the growing question of “why?”  My fist was spiritually drawn and raised a number of times in the deepness and darkness this horrible incident brought upon my mom.

And now, years later — and mom cancer-free — I find myself once again facing a more personal crisis.  The cover looks the same, the story is just a bit different.  Every word is written on the pages of grace and forgiveness, penned by the Author.  And while I don’t really know the ending to this one exactly, I am confident in knowing it will be very similar.  How do I know?  Well, here is what He said about that . . .

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28

It’s great knowing the ending, it helps in living through the pages of life.  But, how do I live off those pages when I come to a chapter that “rattles my cage?”  How do I keep reading?  How do I keep the book open and read on?

It’s easier said than done, but the Truth is that the words I read off my pages of life are more than just words.  What it is my eyes see cannot be trusted — but knowing who authored my story from the beginning, from cover to cover is imperative.  In whom do I trust?

David reminds us that a righteous man will never be shaken and will not fear bad news.  It’s all in how I live — where is my faith, do I believe in the Author and Finisher of my life?  Or am I trying to write each page?

This means that my life is not in my hands, but rather, in the hands of my God!  The pages are being written by Him.  Getting shaken is placing trust in myself to get through the bad news, to figure out my own way to process and “deliver” myself from the worry and fear.  But that’s not trusting — that’s acting like Adam!

So, God — when I face the pages in my life that reflect strife, present crisis, face rejection, bear fear, instead of being shaken, help me . . .  HELP me be steadfastly stirred by those moments but not shaken.  Remind me of who I am IN YOU and THROUGH YOU, and that my heart be, as it is, steadfast to withstand the storms I face each and every day!

Amen!

by:  Mark Cruver

Pardon Me

Before The Throne of God Above

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea.
A great high Priest whose Name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
King of glory and of grace,
One in Himself I cannot die.
My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Savior and my God!

Watch and listen (computer only) here:  http://youtu.be/yoPyLcY6Zv4

thank you JD!

posted by:  Mark Cruver

In Christ There is No Cowardly Lion

“The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.”  Proverbs 28:1

Crisis can bring out the wildest of thoughts, don’t you think?  Somehow, someway we feel like running and running as far away from the pain or hurt.  It feels like that would solve the very existence of the massive discomfort in our hearts — but does it?  Not at all!  We grapple with the idea that sweeping the circumstances under the rug will somehow hide the reality of the crisis from our routine — but does it?  Not at all!  When we flee the seemingly unconquerable crisis, we never actually leave it behind, we only add to the pain, extend the hurt and create a further chasm between the truth and facing the truth.  When we flee the hardship and overwhelming odds we somehow manage to always trip over the “lump in the rug” from where we merely swept it for the moment.

So how do we stand firm in our crisis and face the truth?  How do we conquer the giant?  How do we keep from becoming the cowardly lion?  There’s really only one way.

The 16th century author, Thomas Brooks said it best in his book Heaven On Earth:

“Your strength to stand, and your strength to withstand all assaults — is from your communion with God.  Communion with God is that which will make you stand fast, and triumph over all enemies, difficulties, dangers, and deaths.  Communion with God will make a man as courageous and bold as a lion, yes, as a young lion which is in his hot blood, and fearless of any creature. . . . Communion is a reciprocal exchange between Christ and a gracious soul.  Communion is Jacob’s ladder, where you have Christ sweetly descending down into the soul, and the soul by divine influences sweetly ascending up to Christ.  Communion with God is a shield upon land, and an anchor at sea; it is a sword to defend you, and a staff to support you; it is balm to heal you, and a cordial to strengthen you.  High communion with Christ will yield you two heavens, a heaven upon earth, and a heaven after death.”

You own this!  You already own the courage of Joshua — captain of the Lord’s army!  You already have the strength of Samson.  You already own the boldness and bravery of David.  You can conquer Satan like Job.  You already have direct fellowship and union with the Father like Adam.  You own this because you know Him!  It is through their communion with God that gave them the ability — living God through themselves — gave them the courage and gave Him the glory!

But when their communion with God was distracted and neglected, not a single one of these men stood firm.  God wants our communion!  In Christ you are no cowardly lion . . . you hold in your hands the keys to heaven on earth, the armor of God and the power of His resurrection!

Be fearless in Christ and in bold communion always!

May God, through His fellowship . . . His communion, live through me today in fullness and boldness!  It’s who I am!

by:  Mark Cruver

Hope In Crisis

In the midst of my crisis (or anyone’s crisis) hope is something we cling to tightly.  It, at best, appears to be the last string of relief to our grief.  Hope is the emotional state which promotes the belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one’s life. We all want a positive outcome — more than life itself!  But often, our limited minds, deceitful hearts and what the Scripture calls “flesh” somehow turns the tide on hope and ushers our minds, our hearts and eventually belief to despair; the opposite of hope.

My friend just texted me on how I was doing in the midst of my personal crisis.  Yesterday I found myself hopeless, full of despair — sinning!  I completely neglected the fact that Christ’s blood covered that for me already and brought us hope in Him!

My hope is flawed, it has holes and withers as the wind blows.  But the hope found in the life of Christ is never changing!  It’s firm as a rock — in fact, it IS the rock!

So, my answer to my friend was this.  As long as I continue to hope in the outcome of my future through me and my own abilities, I will continue to doubt because I can do nothing without Christ who strengthens me.  That being said, my hope is not my hope at all, it is the Hope of the One Eternal, the Hope of God Almighty, the Hope of Glory . . . that’s the Hope I can trust!  That’s my Hope in crisis!

by: Mark Cruver