Monday, February 13, 2006

"Thy God hath sent forth strength for thee"

This was another "word in due season" from Edges of His Ways...a Devotional book of Amy Carmichael writings:

Ps 68:28 “Thy God hath sent forth strength for thee."

Many of us know what it is to receive a word in the early morning that lasts all through the day. We live on that word; we “feed on faithfulness.”

These few words from the Psalm for the Day have been with me all through the hours. “Thy god hath sent forth strength for thee.” The day lies before us. It will bring us things that in our selves we have no strength to meet. That does not matter. Our God has already sent forth strength for us. It is like that other word, “My God with His lovingkindness shall come to meet me.” Strength and lovingkindness – what more do we need? That duty, that difficulty, which we see coming to meet us, what of it? Our God hath already sent forth strength for us, and before the thing we fear can meet us on the road, our God with His lovingkindness shall meet us there.

This definately has been (and will continue to be) food of faithfulness for me! I love the idea of feeding on opposed to all the other things I could feed on. That makes this word all the more appropriate and meaningful to me where I am right now.

The temptation for me is definately to be fearful about failing...again. Three times last week, i woke up and vowed to begin a new and do better than I had the day before and three times I fell flat on my face. I felt very powerless...much the same way I did every time I attempted to do the diet thing all those times before. Honestly, it scared me. I felt like I'd lost something or undone something. Like the day before I took the first step on this journey of repentance, I felt like I was at a point of no return and what lay ahead was insurmountable.

That feeling is just as much a lie now as it was then.

That last morning of the Flesh-a-palooza, I woke at my normal time and opened the Word to read. My Psalm for the day "just happened" to be my flagship verse...the one the Lord gave me when this all began:

1 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up[b] as by the heat of summer.


5 I acknowledged my sin to you,

and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,"
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.


6 Therefore let everyone who is godly

offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
surely in the rush of great waters,
they shall not reach him.

7 You are a hiding place for me;
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with shouts of deliverance.


This was the part where *I* paused after reading it the first time. Then I desperately needed the promise of "shouts of deliverance."

But, the Psalm does not stop there...and "the rest of the story" is what I desperately needed now.

8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
9 Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
or it will not stay near you.
10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.
11 Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous,
and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

He will instruct...He will lead. I need only be willing to follow - even through my failures, even when He seems to "tarry", even when the results are not all I might have hoped. So long as my heart is upright and desires to be obedient (which is purely His doing for nothing good dwells in me) He will respond in kindness as He has done consistently through my inconsistency. If the time comes when I am not willing to follow...I will feel the pain of the bit in my mouth.

Not that there haven't been consequences thus far...there have. But I have regarded them as just and they have been followed by lovingkindness and mercy and more grace. In fact each failure, each revelation of my utter weakness and inability to do even the smallest thing I set out to do on my own has given me a deeper understanding of how unfathomable His love and grace and mercy are.

This Saturday, we sang a song called "The Glories of Calvary". The first verse of it goes like this:

Lord, You're calling me to come
And behold the wondrous cross
To explore the depths of grace
That came to me at such a cost
Where You're boundless love
Conquered my boundless sin
And Mercy's arms were opened wide

As the words "explore the depths of grace" came out of my mouth, I felt the Lord impress upon me that that is part of what this whole period of struggling is about. Greater revelation of my weakness is leading me into a greater revelation of His grace and faithfulness...leading me to explore the unending depths of grace.

And this also was the food of faithfulness to me and remembering it this morning is another way the Lord has "sent forth strength" for me today.

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