The Immutability of God

Now what does that exactly mean?  Immutable means: Fixed, set, established, doesn’t change, constant, static, enduring, permanent.  I absolutely love this!

God’s unchanging nature has always been one of the most precious qualities to me.  He will not change.  He cannot change.  He isn’t loving today and hateful tomorrow.  He doesn’t forgive me today and hold a grudge against me tomorrow.  He isn’t kind today and evil tomorrow.  He cannot change.  It isn’t in His divine nature, friend.  Isn’t that comforting to know?

Psalm 103:8 says, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy.”

Verse 17 goes on to say, “But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting.”

James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

Psalm 107:8-9 says, “Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness and for His wonderful works to the children of men!  For He satisfied the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.”

That’s the character of the God I serve.  He is good.  He is merciful.  He is just.

“Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”

 ~ I John 4:7-8

He is loving.  These Scriptures demonstrate and reveal to us the unchanging character of God.

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today and for ever.”  ~ Hebrews 13:8

He will not change.  He cannot change.

He has loved us with an everlasting love.  (Jeremiah 31:3)

When my circumstances change, my God does not.  When my seasons change, God remains constant.  When my bank account changes or my relationships change, God is steadfast, unmovable in His love and grace for my life.

“I will love thee, O Lord, my strength.  The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.”  ~ Psalm 18:1-2

I challenge you today, friend, to dig into the Word of God and see God’s character for yourself.  “O, taste and see, that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8). Do not neglect the Scriptures because the task seems tedious.  Our lives can become so hectic and fast paced that we lose sight of the true source of our strength.  Get into the habit of daily reading the Word of God and not merely checking off a reading list.  God is more interested in your spiritual growth than how many chapters you’re rushing through each day.  Read His love story to us and watch your spirit soar and your walk with Christ grow in ways you never knew were possible!

Blessings, my friend!  May we continually grow in His grace.  And may you be reminded of God’s constant character and steadfast love.

Joy in the Storm

A friend recently asked how I was managing with some challenges and all I could muster was that I was relying on God’s strength.  I said, “All I have is God … and He is more than enough.”  I also said that sometimes you simply keep placing one foot in front of the other.

Of course, my daily devotions spent in the Word of God and prayer are what sustain this weary heart on the difficult days.  Despite the storm clouds that surround, “My anchor holds within the vale.”  I have a deep, wellspring of joy on the inside that is not conditional on my circumstances but is a true gift from God.

It is possible to have peace and joy regardless of the dark clouds that rage.  This world is not our final destination.  During times of struggle, I especially love to listen to praise and worship music.  When we worship God, we are inviting His presence into our lives and into our situation.  I firmly believe that.  And, how I need Him.

John 16:33 says, “In this world you will have tribulation but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.”

Life continually has its valleys and mountain tops.  We cannot prevent either from happening but we can control our responses to each.  We can determine in our hearts that no matter what happens, we will dig deep in His Word for wisdom, instruction and comfort.  No matter what, we will pray and praise God for Who He is, not just for what He does for us.

When we focus on our blessings more than our problems, there is a shift in our attitude and perspective.  Whatever we face, God is bigger.

What if we recall the countless times in the past that God has delivered us and answered prayer?  What if we praised Him in advance for all that He has planned in our lives?

What if, even through the storm, others could witness God’s strength and power demonstrated in our lives?

Joy is possible in the darkest of nights.

Peace is available too.

Faith is the seed that makes these a reality in our hearts.

…Instead of searching for the nearest exit during your storm, why not praise God for what He will teach you through the challenging circumstances?  Why not ask Him to shine through your darkness to be a blessing to others around you that they may glorify God?

What if you are going through a trial and it’s not even about you but to help somebody else?

When we are able to change our perspective, we are able to change our reality.

Trust God.  Pray.  Praise.  Watch Him work in your life in amazing ways.

Rinse.  Repeat.

I Will Catch You

As I lie on the CT scan table, the gracious and very thoughtful technician gave me these simple instructions – “Just fall back in my arms and I will catch you and very slowly lower you.”  Me, in my pain wracked state just one day post-op from my hysterectomy, said, “Are you sure?”.

He assured me he was more than capable of supporting my weight and making the transition as gentle and easy as humanly possible.  I was deeply touched by his compassion on me and empathy as I endured this ordeal.

His instruction required trust on my part and the ability to fully place my life in his arms.  I was reminded of this scenario yesterday after I received a phone call from my health insurance company notifying me of a cancer support program they offer.  Anything from wigs to out of state hospital and lodging requests to community resources, etc.  The representative on the phone was very chipper and upbeat as she reiterated all of the wonderful facets of this program and the fact that I do not have to go this road alone.  As she concluded our mostly one-sided conversation, she felt the need to add that with a diagnosis like this, “Perhaps it causes us to pause and contemplate our priorities and the important things in life.”  I’m sure it was an attempt to comfort and encourage, however, what she doesn’t know is, I’ve been a deep thinker all of my life and since losing my mother when I was 23, I’ve perpetually considered life’s true priorities.  At any rate, we ended the conversation with me thanking her for the call, despite the fact that I was left with the feeling that certainly this should’ve been directed toward someone else, not me.

As I stood in front of the bathroom vanity, tears began to fall as I told God that I could not take this cancer journey.  His reply: “Just trust me.”

I said, “I’m not strong enough.”

God said, “In your weakness, I am strong.”

I retorted, “I don’t want to go through this.”

God said, “If you don’t, many won’t see your testimony of my goodness.”

Trust.

God said, “I will be with you.  I will never leave you.”

Clearly I have some work to do in the trust department.  I have walked with God for forty-one years and we have overcome some real mountains, giants and obstacles that I thought surely would swallow me alive.  They didn’t.  I’m still here.  Cancer won’t overcome me either.  Ever since I received the news just nine days ago, God has constantly been assuring me that He will walk this journey with me and that I will get through this.

Yesterday I actually felt somewhat well enough to unload the dishwasher and noticed a 3×5 card I taped to the inside of our kitchen cabinets as I put the plates away, which read:

“When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” ~ Isaiah 43:2

Later in the afternoon, there was a loud knock on the front door.  My son peeked out the front window and noted it was our neighbors, a young couple in their early 30’s and their year and a half baby girl.  I happily greeted them as they inquired about how I was doing.  They also shared about a time when they were newly married, the wife was referred to an oncologist due to some highly irregular lab work.  It turned out to be nothing in the end but they wanted me to know they understand the emotional ups and downs of news like this.

I was very encouraged by their little visit and touched that they would take the time to stop by and see how I was doing.  God has orchestrated such timely encounters over the last several days to combat the discouragement and fear of the unknown.  When it all comes down to it, do any of us know the future?  No.

I had a great aunt who was a little eccentric, let’s just say, but we loved her dearly.  She never married and lived to be 89 years old, despite having long survived a brain tumor the size of a grapefruit!  She was very stubborn.  Perhaps that was her secret to longevity, along with good genes.  She was my grandmother’s sister and my grandmother lived to be 98.

This great aunt said something I must’ve thought profound because it has stayed with me for many years:

“It’s a good thing we don’t know what’s ahead of us.  Just do the best you can.”

For a simple, country woman who used to raise chickens, she sure had a lot of wisdom.  No truer words were ever spoken.

Life sometimes throws us curve balls.  No one can anticipate them.  They simply come.  Our response must be trust.  God will catch us if we merely trust.

The Empty Chair

A figure hobbled into the elegantly appointed kitchen complete with granite countertops and new cinnamon spice wood cabinets.  She set a saucepan of water on the island cooktop in hopes of a pleasant cup of decaf black tea to soothe her sore throat.

As she waited for the pan to come to a rolling boil, she spotted in the living room her favorite cream color, tufted back, reading chair.  You see, she just had surgery and has been on bed rest for two weeks now.  In addition to that, she has had two subsequent emergency room visits due to reactions to the pain medications, etc.  The first episode happened the night she was discharged from the hospital when she could not stop vomiting.  The doctor was concerned there was a bowel obstruction so she was re-admitted 4.5 hours after the initial discharge and scans and X-rays were run.  Thankfully, all were completely normal.

The second episode happened at home when she nearly passed out after taking pain medicine.  Ironically, she was preparing for her post-op doctor’s appointment.  Instead, she was taken via ambulance to the hospital.

And, as if all of that were not enough, she contracted a horrible cold/virus complete with fever and chills likely from germs in the ER.  It’s been a rough run of late.

She’s only been home for three months now after caring for her ill father out of state for four months.  Her father lives with her now and his new, tan leather recliner sits on the other side of the room.

Her favorite reading chair has significance because it is the spot where she began her day with a cup of coffee, her Bible and a prayer on her lips.  She has a written prayer list as a guide to what she wants to talk to God about each day and has seen a number of those prayer requests answered in just the last year.  It’s amazing the situations that loom so large soon become unimportant and resolved, seemingly on their own.  But she knows better.

Yes, the reading chair beckons as a symbol of normalcy, routine and intimacy with our Heavenly Father.  When will I resume my daily routine?  At present, it seems light years away.  But I know that in God’s timing, He has a way of working things out and soon…yes, soon, I will find myself seated in my favorite cream colored, tufted back, reading chair.