Friday, June 3, 2011

Our Strength, Our Fortress, Our Refuge

“O Lord, my strength and my fortress, my refuge in time of distress. . .”

Jer. 16:19a (NIV)

Jeremiah used three different words to speak of God’s protection over himself. Do we understand the Father’s different roles in our times of need?

The prophet sees God as his strength. When we experience weakness as we face something that causes fear, we can call upon the Lord to help us through and be victorious over those issues that cause us pain and uncertainty.

Jeremiah sees the Father as his fortress. When enemies come at us, we can run to Him and seek protection from whatever puts us in harm’s way. All we have to do is call His name and He will wrap His arms of safety around us.

The son of Hilkiah refers to the Lord God as his refuge. A refuge is a haven of peace we seek out when something about daily life gets us down. It could be just our taking a walk or even a nap and finding we are refreshed afterward. Or a nice chat with a friend about nothing in particular-just catching up about your days activities.

God protects us according to what we need. He keeps us safe from the events of life as He sees our desire or even our longing.

Sometimes, we have to accept the condition that life throws at us and give that circumstance to God to let Him do with it what He will. Several times in my life I have had to do this. God was with me during those times. I still had some difficult moments but He sustained me. By being there as my strength, He brought me joy.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Being Filled With Joy

“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” 1 Peter1:8 (NIV)

We live by faith. Because of our humanity, our vision is limited to what is right before us.

We learn to love Jesus as we read God’s Word, as we hear that Word preached, as we rely on Him.

God rewards our faith with special blessings. When we receive these favors from our Lord, we can’t always put our feelings into words. These blessings become definite memories, almost benchmarks for our later reflection.

During the first Gulf War, A dear friend of mine went through a season of depression. Her second daughter, their youngest child, got activated into the active Army after she joined the Army Reserves. My friend had to rely on the Lord to get through this difficult time. One day she told me God had reminded her of several times in her past that He had worked in her behalf.

Another friend can tell others of God’s healing powers. Her husband had a massive heart attack and after two eventful weeks in the hospital, he came home. Her husband later had another scary surgery which God brought him through. This lady KNOWS God was there for her and her family.

I, myself, have had times where my belief in God has kept me going in face of some harrowing circumstances. All I can say is that He was there for me and my family.

We have no idea how much God does for us in our daily life just because He loves us and we believe in Him. And we haven’t seen Him, yet. How much more will our joy be when we look into His face?

Monday, May 30, 2011

What Causes This?

I participated in a discussion online about the lack of modesty shown in young girls' clothing. Below are some of my thoughts.

When I shop, I see young girls’ clothing that makes me wonder. I see things that embarrass me. The styles of clothing for our tweens and our teens make me ask certain questions.

#1. Why do parents purchase these ghastly outfits for their daughters? I realize, I am not an authority on raising girls, my only child being a son. I can’t help but notice how distracting the clothing has become. A young girl sees her ‘idol’ wearing something she thinks is ‘cool’. She immediately wants to look like that celebrity. Young girl talks about wanting a certain outfit until she gets her way. Her parents want their daughter to be ‘happy’, so they don’t say the ‘bad word’; they don’t say, “No.” Parents have to remember their job isn’t to be their daughters’ friend. They are to teach these girls how to become ladies.

#2. Who pays for these clothes? Most tweens aren’t old enough to have jobs. A lot of teens only work part time. Clothes can be expensive. These days most parents have to be on a budget. It may help if they share with the daughters the reason behind this tool of living; it helps keep the family finances in order. If they want an item that is expensive, they have to save for it.

Back in my day, I had a mother who sewed and, when she didn’t have the time, she kept her eyes on the dress department at the store where she worked. I am glad she did these things for me. Nowadays, young girls seem to be the ones who are in charge and they get to dictate to the parents how they want to look. Why do parents allow their young girls to degrade themselves by looking like they do?

#3.What can be done about this?

As I see it, mothers have several options. Mothers could:

A. Spend time looking at the styles available.

B. Discuss the issues they see with their daughters.

C. Go shopping together and see what looks appropriate for the daughters.

Distracting clothing caused such an issue in our city’s public schools, the school board made a ruling in the spring of 2007 that all students would wear school uniforms. The boys’ uniforms consist of black, navy blue, or khaki trousers and a polo shirt in any color. The girls’ uniforms are slacks, skirts or jumpers in any of the same three colors with a polo shirt. These outfits can have only approved logos or markings on them.

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...