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Over the past few years my blog has been visited by people from all over the world. Very few know me, or of me, they simply are looking information concerning the Bible and discover my blog. After many years of intense study and teaching, I've come to believe we are vulnerable to misguided and incorrect teaching if we don't understand for ourselves the teaching of God's Word. My 'hot buttons' are - grace, sovereignty, exhortations and sanctification. If you understand these basic principles of Scripture, and apply them to daily life, you will understand what it means to have peace, joy and absolute security in any circumstance.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 - COULD IT HAVE BEEN BETTER?

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"  Mary Oliver from her poem 'The Summer Day'

Life, wild and precious - I love that! We are told that life isn't a dress rehearsal and there are no 'do-overs'. Who has led a perfect life?  Only Jesus, and the reason He was able to do that is that He is God. We are not, so we struggle. We need the basics of life - food, shelter, and terribly important, love and acceptance. In our own personal 'humanness' we also need purpose and meaning in our life. We need someone or something greater than ourself to feel complete.

The Christian understands the futility of self-effort and the inability to 'make-over' who we are. We come to realize that only God can change our circumstances and change us - from the inside out. We also need to know the events of our life, those we judge as 'good' or 'bad', have happened for a reason. The Lord has put the painful as well as the joyous in our life to mold us into the person He has planned for us to be.

Corrie ten Boom was a Dutch woman whose family risked their lives to protect their Jewish friends from the Nazis during World War II times. She survived the concentration camp, lived into her 90's, wrote a book, The Hiding Place, traveled the world to share the gospel and spoke faithfully about God's forgiveness. My husband and I visited her home in Haarlem, Netherlands, while on a mission trip near Brussels in 2002. The home, upstairs from her father's jewelry shop, is now a museum. I had often read the poem 'My Life Is But a Weaving' when I taught Bible study in jail, but didn't know who had written it. I was thrilled to see this poem framed and hanging on the wall of the dining room in the ten Boom home. Now I knew its origin.

"My life is but a weaving between my God and me,
I do not choose the colors, He works so steadily.
Oft' times He weaves in sorrow, and I in foolish pride,
Forget He sees the upper, and I the underside.
Not until the loom is silent, and the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas, and explain the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful in the Weavers skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver in the pattern He has planned."

I couldn't have spent so many years - and still am - and hundreds of hours in jail sharing the Bible with inmates if I wasn't convinced that knowing Jesus as Lord can change a life and that He has a perfect plan for each of His children who come to Him. With God all things are possible - Mark 10:27.

As we reflect on this past year, think about what you've learned about yourself. 2016 was my first year as a widow; life changed. I knew I wasn't alone, the Lord was keeping a watchful eye on me. My first instinct was to panic when faced with a problem I had no idea how to solve. I came to know the Lord would lead me to a solution if I was patient and trusted Him.

Remember, the saints of old were not perfect people - Abraham lost faith in God's promise and took matters into his own hands, hence we had the birth of Ishmael. Abe also had some trouble telling the truth. Moses murdered and had to leave Egypt, and most famously, King David, the one who wrote so many beautiful  treasured psalms, committed adultery. Why did God raise up those who weren't able to live life perfectly? Maybe He wanted us to see our need, everyone's need, for a Savior.

It's good to be positive and have an attitude of "I can do this!" But, if you are counting on yourself alone, you'll probably be disappointed in your power to resist temptation and overcome evil with good. There will come a day of 'perfection' and we will live eternally in a perfect place - it's called heaven. God has placed His Spirit - the Holy Spirit in each believer. Let Him be your guide so you can "...live a life worthy of the calling you have received." Read Ephesians 4: 1-7, you will be blessed and encouraged. I believe this is how we can have a truly HAPPY New Year.

Could 2016 have been a better year for some of us? No doubt it could have, but celebrate the coming year in full confidence knowing God's plan will unfold just as He designed it and He has a wonderful plan for your one 'wild and precious life.' Trust Him.

"...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
Philippians 1:6

Thank you Lord for who you are and all that you do for those who love you, and come to 'Abba Father' - you never let us down.