Tag Archives: Oswald Chambers

Hands of Time

10 Jan

My times are in Your hands.
Psalm 31:15a

Life is full of illusions, each one based on perspective…especially when it comes to time, don’t you think?  As a little girl, I vividly remember that summers were long and seemed to never end … going fishing with my Daddy,  playing board games on the front porch with the neighbor kids, riding my bike, catching lightning bugs in the dark, and reading until I fell asleep each night.  Then I think back to when I was expecting my two children.  Despite being sick at all hours of the day or night along with the aches and pains from sharing my body with a growing baby, I thoroughly enjoyed being pregnant!  But even with all of the excitement and anticipation, those were truly the longest 9 months ever, with the biggest illusion of all time following … the next 30 years were but a mere blink of an eye!

According to the dictionary, an illusion is an erroneous perception of reality.  Of course, every day in the past 30 years truly had 24 hours each, and some of those hours were long and grueling.  In fact, the teen years seemed to last forever … not sure if the next moment would have attitude or a gesture of affection.  But here we are, over a decade later, and those crazy years seem like yesterday…

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Hebrews 13:8

I have even come to realize as I walk hand in hand with Jesus, that my own spiritual pathway can be full of illusions.  Countless times through the years, the circumstances of life have literally knocked the breath out of me, leaving me frightened and anxious, not knowing what to expect as I round the next corner of my journey.  That’s where faith comes in … and I mean blind faith.  The kind that leaves me no other option but to hang on to the Hand Who promises to strengthen when I am weak.  The kind of faith that trusts when there is no understanding.  My personal perspective of total and complete disaster has always been salvaged by the redeeming Hand of Jesus …

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time
(this present life)
are not worth being compared with the glory
that is about to be revealed to us
and in us and for us and
conferred on us!
Romans 8:18 Amplified

A little over a year ago, Kim, Lillianne and I spent a few days with my mom in Indianapolis.  I was reminded during those brief days together how life is full of illusions, and how quickly time seems to slip through our hands.

Keep His decrees and commands,
which I am giving you today,
so that it may go well with you and your children after you
and that you may live long in the land
the LORD your God gives you for all time.
Deuteronomy 4:40

Oct 2012
Each hand represents life …
life that continually reaches out
Mimi Wells, Mimi, Momma, and Lillianne

Today is January 10th … and tomorrow is already an illusion.  Where does time go?  The following is the devotional reading from Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest from December 31.   Won’t you join me in leaving the Irreparable Past in His hands, and reaching out into the Irresistible Future with Him?

Security from Yesterday. “God requireth that which is past.” At the end of the year we turn with eagerness to all that God has for the future, and yet anxiety is apt to arise from remembering the yesterdays. Our present enjoyment of God’s grace is apt to be checked by the memory of yesterday’s sins and blunders. But God is the God of our yesterdays, and He allows the memory of them in order to turn the past into a ministry of spiritual culture for the future. God reminds us of the past lest we get into a shallow security in the present.

Security for Tomorrow. “For the Lord will go before you.” This is a gracious revelation, that God will garrison where we have failed to. He will watch lest things trip us up again into like failure, as they assuredly would do if He were not our rereward. God’s hand reaches back to the past and makes a clearing-house for conscience.

Security for Today. “For ye shall not go out with haste.” As we go forth into the coming year, let it not be in the haste of impetuous, unremembering delight, nor with the flight of impulsive thoughtlessness, but with the patient power of knowing that the God of Israel will go before us. Our yesterdays present irreparable things to us; it is true that we have lost opportunities which will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past sleep, but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ.

Leave the Irreparable Past in His hands, and REACH out into the Irresistible Future with Him.

Leave the past to the mercy of God,
The present to the love of God,
The future to the providence of God.

Surely Goodness and Mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalm 23:6

 

God’s goodness and mercy are no illusions … I’m grateful that they will follow me all the days of my life.

Until next time,
Debbie

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Every Day Matters

24 Sep

Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life
will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it
for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?
Luke 9:23-25

 

I’m down to the final days and the final room of unpacking boxes.  Yes, I know. It has taken longer than it should have to get settled.  But I have set a goal for myself that by this time next year, when our year lease on the big brown house is up, I will have substantially gotten rid of a lot of stuff.  Stuff that I have kept for the sake of keeping it.  You know, “so and so gave that to me” or better yet … “I have kept this all these years but do not remember where it came from.”   In order to weed through things like that, it takes time. 

So back to my final days and the final room.  This room was saved for last because I knew it would take me the longest.  It is officially called ‘the office’, but there is very little office work accomplished in this room.  There are two desks, filing cabinets, receipts, pens, paper and paper clips … oh!  And stamps.  But little else that could give someone reason to call it an office.  In truth, it’s more like the Taco Bell/KFC/Pizza Hut combo restaurant!  Ours is the Office/Library/Museum Room.  Along with the office, which we have already covered, is the Library.  I have a very large bookcase, which is full of all sorts of books, from Chilton mechanic manuals to Little House on the Prairie, and everything in between.  My assortment of reading material mostly consists of books regarding the Christian life, written for a variety of different readers … woman, wife, mother, Grami, friend, husband, son, the troubled, the sick, the young, the old, and much more.  The final part of our trilogy room is the Museum.  Cows, plaques, pictures, magnets, forks, mugs, special notes, candles, pillows, old computers, footballs, posters, peacock feathers, a walking cane, forks, and SO much more.  I love people, I love memories, and I love to be surrounded by it all!  This is my room of treasures.  (except the old computers … they belong to desk #2, but still qualify as part of the Museum!) 

So back to my final days and the final room.  Yesterday afternoon, I was working on a bulletin board that I have always kept at my desk.  It was full of pictures of my family, cut out and cropped to fit a gazillion photos in one area so I could be blessed every time I looked at it.  Several years has gone by since I created this collage, and life has brought a couple new faces into our family.  So, I took out a few outdated photos and added a few current ones.  I was also combining little trinkets and special treasures from another board I kept at my desk at Higher Ground.  From that board, I peeled off the words  “Every Day Matters”   and stuck it to the bigger board I was working on.  This small three-word phrase comes from J.C. Penney’s sales ads and catalogs.  I remember the first time I saw it and thinking how true it was!  Every day does matter. 

 Here are some excerpts from my favorite devotional book, My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers  ~  July 28

“We have the idea that God is leading us toward a particular end or a desired goal, but He is not. The question of whether or not we arrive at a particular goal is of little importance, and reaching it becomes merely an episode along the way. What we see as only the process of reaching a particular end, God sees as the goal itself.

What is my vision of God’s purpose for me? Whatever it may be, His purpose is for me to depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay calm, faithful, and unconfused while in the middle of the turmoil of life, the goal of the purpose of God is being accomplished in me. God is not working toward a particular finish— His purpose is the process itself. What He desires for me is that I see “Him walking on the sea” with no shore, no success, nor goal in sight, but simply having the absolute certainty that everything is all right because I see “Him walking on the sea” (Mark 6:49). It is the process, not the outcome, that is glorifying to God.

God’s training is for now, not later. His purpose is for this very minute, not for sometime in the future. We have nothing to do with what will follow our obedience, and we are wrong to concern ourselves with it. What people call preparation, God sees as the goal itself.

God’s purpose is to enable me to see that He can walk on the storms of my life right now. If we have a further goal in mind, we are not paying enough attention to the present time. However, if we realize that moment-by-moment obedience is the goal, then each moment as it comes is precious.”

Every day matters.  Yes, ultimately Heaven is our goal, but it is the journey that really makes the difference.  We must recognize that God is walking on the seas of our lives and that we must allow Him to be the God of our winds, waves and even the calm and peaceful days.  If we don’t allow Him to be the Lord of it all, then scripture tells us that Heaven will not be our end.  Every day matters.

So back to my final days and the final room.  My goal is to have less stuff in a year, and what I do keep will be carefully gone through and well organized.  But a few weeks ago as I helped carry box after box after box into the moving truck … and then back out again two days later, my projected goal and its task seemed daunting.  A year from now will show the difference, but it will be the every day between now and then that truly matters. 

There are countless circumstances in our lives where every day does matter.  Relationships, our jobs, our health, …  you finish your own list.  Please join with me in all these areas of our lives to embrace the truth that Every Day Matters.

Until next time,
Debbie

Special Blessing

10 Mar

 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble…
Be still and know that I am God.
Psalm 46:1 and 10

 

An incident took place the other day that stole my “Be still and know that I am God.”    That evening was filled with shared responsibilities, high expectations with a goal of perfection, a quickly approaching deadline, and too many confused emotions that snowballed out of control.   I should’ve taken a step back, committed the moment to God, and said what needed to be said in His time and confidence. Instead, frustration expressed itself and 20 minutes later gave way to a very heavy heart.  One that kept me awake most of that night, stirring me around 4:00 am to crawl out of bed to meet Jesus. 

In a room filled with black and white cows, vanilla scented candles, mementos, CDs, books, snowflakes that hang from the ceiling, pictures of my friends, and countless other things that are dear to my heart, I find Jesus often … right here on the couch in my little office at home.  Early Saturday morning was no exception.  With a heart that was hurting and not sure which way to turn, my Guide was quick to respond.  As I mentioned a few days ago, I’m reading in the Old Testament … for weeks now, rules, regulations, laws, and stats given to Moses and the Israelites.  Nothing to really sink my teeth into for days!  Out of nowhere, the Lord decided to give a special blessing:

May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you His favor and give you His peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

A sense of awe began to fill my spirit that had been troubled since the night before.  I continued my daily routine of devotions to Our Daily Bread, where the reading took me to one of my most favorite passages of scripture ~ Philippians 4.  For those of you who know me best, I’m a big fan of the book “The 4:8 Principle … the Secret to a Joy-filled Life” by Tommy Newberry  ~  based on Philippians 4:8.  Of all the scriptures to be on my to-read list for that day …

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
think about such things.
Philippians 4:4-8

 

How more obvious can God be than to put into writing right before my eyes the words …
Do not be anxious about anything … and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


Excited to see what God had for me next, I opened Oswald Chambers  ~  My Utmost for His Highest.  Check out the very first sentence!!

“When you have no vision from God, no enthusiasm left in your life, and no one watching and encouraging you, it requires the grace of Almighty God to take the next step in your devotion to Him, in the reading and studying of His Word, in your kitchen, or in your duty to Him. It takes much more of the grace of God, and a much greater awareness of drawing upon Him, to take that next step, than it does to preach the gospel.”

The word kitchen nearly took my breath away.   How many times do you think that one word is used in this devotional book?  I actually did a search…only this one time.  The day that I needed to see that one word is the only day it is written in the book.  How does God do it?  Does He go through and miraculously reprint all of the existing Oswald Chambers and stick in the word kitchen so Debbie Van Hook can read it and know that He loves her?  I don’t think so.  That word has always been there.  It’s just this time, I was still long enough to know that He is God.

The reading continued …

“…Ask God to keep the eyes of your spirit open to the Risen Christ, and it will be impossible for drudgery to damp you. Continually get away from pettiness and insignificance of mind and thought.”

Oh my!  I was suddenly humbled to tears as I realized how very much God loves me.  It was just a few hours after I allowed circumstances to cause fear and panic to grip my soul.  I may have temporarily failed to keep the eyes of my spirit open to my Risen Christ, but he certainly had not failed me.  All night, as I tossed and turned in my bed, He was right here on my little couch waiting for me to come to Him.  He had a special blessing for me.  One of understanding, correction, unconditional love, and mercy.

I know that life is full of moments.  It always will be.  Some will be moments of joy and happiness while others will be brimmed with overwhelming frustration and anxiousness.  Won’t you please join me in continually striving to live in the “Be still and know that I am God”?

Till next time,
Debbie