HOME

Home is such a lovely word and brings to mind precious memories to many.  For me, Home is a place I have never been — a longed for place that my soul misses — a place of rest, a refuge.

Today my quiet time and Bible Journaling was in this passage in II Corinthians 5:1-5:

 For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.(Emphases mine).

I am groaning — groaning for HOME — groaning to be with my Savior.

I am groaning and burdened by this world and wait, impatiently, for HIM to come and gather me away to my Heavenly Home.  I am groaning to be swallowed up by LIFE because it says, “HE has prepared me for this very thing…and given me the HOLY SPIRIT as a seal!”

I am burdened…come quickly, Lord Jesus, come quickly.dogwood

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…but, for their salvation and HIS Glory?

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Is the suffering worth it, if they come to Christ?

That was the question…”Is your suffering worth it, if just one comes to Christ?”  He answered my question with a question.

My question, “Why does God allow people to suffer and die?  Why does he allow little girls to be molested and sexually abused?  Why does he allow boys and girls to be human-trafficked?  Why did he allow the last two years of her life to be filled with pain and suffering? Why did HE allow a young man to put a gun in my face and threaten to kill me?”

I supposed I was asking a rhetorical question…one of those, “Yes, I know God is sovereign…yes, I know He can do as He pleases…yes, I know about Job!”  But, my heart screams, “WHY?”

He answered with a non-rhetorical question…a question rightly deserving the right answer…a question that really asked what God asked Job, “Will you even put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be in the right?” (Job 40:8)  Dave asked, “Tammi — is the suffering worth it, if one comes to Christ?”

Like Job, I felt shame…who am I to question a holy God?  Yes, of course, Dave…of course, LORD, it is well worth it!  Just at the time of the hurting and the darkness and the unending pain…at the time of utter exhaustion and grief and devastation…I forgot myself.  Instead, I sought HIM…I begged of HIM…why, LORD, please help this child understand?

In complete surrender, I bow and confess my ignorance:

“I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything. Nothing and no one can upset your plans. You asked,’ Who is this muddying the water, ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing my purposes?’ I admit it. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me, made small talk about wonders way over my head. You told me, ‘Listen, and let me do the talking. Let me ask the questions.’ You give the answers. I admit I once lived by rumors of you; now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears! I’m sorry—forgive me. (Job 42:2-6)

I don’t think God really minds my questions…HE certainly understands my heart…HE gave us Job’s account because HE understands that we would ask from time-to-time.  The lesson to be learned is that God does know, HE is not unaware of the suffering, and HE is acquainted with our sorrow.

Suffering has a purpose…it is for our good and HIS GLORY!  In Genesis 50:19-20 Joseph said it best, “But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not fear, for am I in the place of God?
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.'”

The truth is that I am not Job or Joseph…I’m just Tam.  My heart hurts for so many things and I don’t have all of the answers to all of the whys…I don’t even really have some of them.  I only know that God must love me quite a lot to allow HIS Son, Jesus, to die on the Cross of Calvary for me.  He has entrusted me with the Mysteries of Himself and then, in that great love, has allowed me and others who know HIM to suffer a bit so that others can witness HIS grace and love measured through us in that suffering.

We are funnels of HIS love — we were created in His image to KNOW HIM and then to love others by allowing them to see us walk through the messes in life…somehow with grace…but all for HIS Glory.  So, the question is….

IS THE SUFFERING WORTH IT, IF THEY COME TO CHRIST?

ANSWER:  YES, LORD, YES!

The Father’s Restoring Love

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The Holy Spirit has been impressing on me the Father’s restoring love.  Throughout Scripture, in the testimonies of His saints, we see His restoration…His love.

The particular passages that led me to these thoughts were those of Ezekiel and the Valley of Dry Bones.  There are so many lessons to feast upon in Ezekiel 37; however, I think Ezekiel’s tellings of God taking him to the Valley of Dry Bones is so rich.

BEFORE CHRIST (B.C.)

There is such a beautiful picture in this passage of our lives before repentance…when we are dead in our sins.  Without Christ, we are dead…we are dead spiritually…there is no life, no hope, and we are nothing but a Valley of Dry Bones.  BUT GOD, sent His only begotten Son (John 3:16) because He loved us.  He desired in that GREAT LOVE to restore us to Himself through the death and resurrection of Christ.  He pursues us, relentlessly, because He desires a relationship with us.  When we repent of our sins and allow Jesus to be Lord of our life, He restores us…completely…and finally.

IN CHRIST (I.C.)

Restoration doesn’t stop after we accept Christ.  Chuck Swindoll once said, “Life is so daily!”  I love that because it is true!!  Life can sometimes come crashing upon us and shaking us to our very core.  It can be finances, the death of a spouse or a child, a job loss, or, even as we are facing today in Florida, a Hurricane Matthew.

Sometimes these “shakings” can seemingly plant us right back into that Valley of Dry Bones…we might feel that God has forsaken us..but I assure you HE.HAS.NOT.  He said, “I will never leave you; nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)  This is a promise with certainty.

Keep pressing on…God has promised that He will restore you…as He did with the death of His Son…but He also promised it in Ezekiel.  When you feel that you have no usefulness to God or even, as sometimes I can feel, unworthy to be used of God, don’t forget that He has set you a part…He has called you out of that valley.  He is our Restorer.

Sometimes He allows us to walk through valleys to teach us –to make us stronger–we need to be refined.  However, He DID NOT call us back to that valley of dried up bones…HE.DID.NOT.  We are no longer dead…we are ALIVE in Christ Jesus…”O you dry bones, hear the Word of the Lord!  Don’t just hear it only, apply it!  God is not slack concerning His promises.

Fall into the Father’s Restoring Love –let Him breath a fresh wind into your dried up bones!

 

 

Lessons I Learned from the Nursery Rocking Chair

Joshua and Mommy

 

I remember the special-ness and sweet-nesses of rocking my Joshua at night…the smell of him (all of it…even his breath)…he would say, “Mommy, rock-a-me” and I would oblige with all of my heart. “Singing Jesus Loves Me” and a song I made up for him that goes likes this: “Mommy loves you Joshua, Mommy loves you Baby boy, Mommy loves you Joshua! Joshua, Joshua, sweet baby boy.” The song continues with Daddy loves you and then Jesus….in the stillness of evening….after the busyness of the day….I held a wee bit of Heaven in my arms…somehow my heart, so wooed by the Holy Spirit Himself, understood Solomon’s words, “Life is a vapor” and I clung to Joshua…breathed him in….and let the “irritation and exhaustion” evaporate before the moment did. Solomon was right, I found, and now my Joshua is a man…making man decisions in a much crazier world than I had hoped for him….and, so, the moments, laughter, tears, boo-boos, first fist-gripped weeds of adoration, first words, first haircuts, first refrigerator pictures, first lost teeth…they are securely locked away with the key of gratefulness…grateful that God entrusted me with that little soul in the first place. So, now, I get the grand privilege of storing away new memories…those of earthly value and most importantly those of eternal value — his Salvation (I am so thankful he came to Christ early in his life), his surrendering to full-time ministry, watching him serve the Lord…here and in China….studying him, as he begins to seek God on a future wife. As mothers, aren’t we blessed to have a special lens to view our children with? We have a God given, special capacity, to see our children’s souls, I believe….when the day is done…when the babies are fast asleep, when the dishes have all been tucked away in the cupboard, when the toys have been picked up and we…when we are at full capacity….God refreshes us with Himself….His tenderness toward us moms….because He knows we are exhausted and at full capacity…He then allows us to “Be still and rest in Him” because He knows He gave us the most difficult and special job assigned on earth and that is to prepare little souls for His Kingdom! What a blessing! Thank you, Father! I pray, sweet Momma, that you awoke this morning feeling a new energy for your day and those precious, little souls that you get the grand privilege of cultivating!

Joshua working in China