Finding the Unsearchable

Have you ever searched for something and found it only after you stopped looking?

I had that experience a couple months ago.

I don’t know when it began or why. I had searched for a verse, using both my memory and Google. Both failed me.

A few days later, I had a conversation with my brother on the phone. Somehow we got into the subject about not knowing what we don’t know. In fact, his very words were “You don’t know what you don’t know.” He’d gotten the motto from someone else, but unfortunately, he’d forgotten the speaker’s name (another unknown lost to the weakness of memory). I wish I could give credit to the person responsible for the quote because his words brought me back to the verse I had been searching for earlier in the week—and to the same frustration.

The frustration of finding the unsearchable.

It bothers me when I don’t know things. There are so many things I want to learn. But it’s hard to know where to start.

How do I learn what I don’t know?

Who wants to waste time scrolling down endless volumes (or web pages) of information if it has no practical value in your life?

Not me.

My time is critical. I’m sure yours is too.

There’s an endless supply of knowledge just waiting for me on the Internet—all at the disposal of my fingertips.

Except for that verse.

But at the end of the week, when I stopped looking, it came to me.

Saturday morning, my cousin Jason Frank posted a video on Facebook titled Criticism & Dispute: An Inspirational Look at How Creators Can Respond.

You can find the YouTube link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdkG9xzw5oA

I watched and listened as my cousin detailed an approach to criticism that I found very needed in my own life—knowledge I could use.

And then, the unsearchable came to me.

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3 NIV

After Jason shared the verse in Jeremiah, he stated what had been true for me that week: “How many times do we think, in today’s world, that we can just Google our problems and get some great piece of advice?”

So true! Even when our hearts crave a specific Scripture, it doesn’t always come to us at the click of a mouse.

But God knew. God knew I needed that verse. And so, when I least expected it, He gave it to me. How personal is our God!

This led me to a time of deep prayer, where I laid before Him exactly what I wanted to know.

I won’t give you the long-written out version, but here are few things I asked of Him:

I asked Him for General knowledge—knowledge of global and national things, history, and current events.

I asked Him for specific knowledge for my writing, for my current Work in Progress.

I ask Him for practical knowledge—knowledge that would be helpful to my family and in the home, like cooking and household maintenance.

And last but not least, I asked Him for Biblical knowledge—*knowledge for spiritual wisdom and understanding—*to walk in step with His Spirit and also to bless others in my job, at home, and for all those He sends my way.

Thankfully, God wasn’t done teaching me what I didn’t know. He reminded me of something that I often forget.

The very next day, a prayer from my *daily devotional beamed back at me in all caps:

“GOD, HELP US TRUST YOU FOR WHAT WE DON’T KNOW.” https://odb.org/2016/11/19/skywatcher

Yes, that was exactly what I needed to know.

Maybe you do to?

 

Dear Heavenly Father,

*Your understanding has no limits. *Thank you for continually guiding me and teaching me what I need to know.”

In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.


Verses used in this blog post:

*Jeremiah 33:3 NIV

*2 Corinthians 2:12-16

*Galatians 5:25

Verses used in this blog post prayer:

*Psalm 147:5

*Isaiah 58:11 and Psalm 32:8

Our Daily Bread Devotional quote taken from the website’s sharable image and prayer: November 19, 2016 Our Daily Bread devotional (online version)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comfort in the Night

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.” Luke 2:8 NIV

The great darkness over Israel—
sin
pain
despair
death
wearied God’s people.

A promise brought light
of the dawn to come.
But before the dawn,
darkness.

In the midst of darkness,
while night shadowed the world,
a Father declared His longing:
“Comfort, comfort my people.”

Prophecy foretold,
But Israel slept on.
sin
pain
despair
death

One final night,
shepherds,
nearby, keeping watch,
met
the Shepherd
nearby, keeping watch.

The Bright and Morning Star revealed—
Forgiveness.
Healing.
Peace.
Life.

God,
Our Shepherd,
Comforting, Comforting,
His people.

Forever.

Heavenly Father,
No one comforts like You. In the midst of our darkness, You are here. Your perfect love and mercy is revealed in Your Son, Jesus. Thank You for always keeping watch.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

The Weakness of Desire

I examine my desires.

The things I want.

The things I pray for.

And I see weakness.

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What I want is good.

Good for my marriage.

Good for my family.

Good for others.

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But desires have problems.

Desires have difficulty.

Desires have hardship.

Desires have weakness.

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If I had what I wanted, I would not desire it.

I don’t have what I want, so I desire it.

But I am weak to attain it

on my own.

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So I ask.

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The answer reaches in and pulls.

My heart is revealed

In none other

than weakness itself.

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Weakness.

Hidden at my core.

Revealed as strength.

Perfected in love.

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His love.

His strength.

His power.

Resting on me.

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So I ask.

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Give me the desire

to boast in my weakness,

to boast in Your strength,

to boast in Your love.

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The weakness of my desire,

perfected in His power.

In weakness, I desire.

In weakness, I boast.

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“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV)

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Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for giving us holy desires. Guide us in each one. Teach us to delight in weakness and boast in Your strength.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Hard Work

“Did God work hard to create the world?”

This was the question my preschool daughter asked me years ago when we hiked the Oregon Coast.

I can’t remember exactly how I answered her, but I’m sure my response was too complicated for her simple faith. Thankfully, my inadequacy didn’t deter her. She simply replied, “I think He did.”

She’s right. God did work hard to make the world, but not in the sense we humans look at hardship. The Bible tells us nothing is too difficult for the Lord. (Jer. 32:17)

But to say God didn’t work hard to create the world could be taken as an insult. For the Bible also says we mere humans were “fearfully and wonderfully” made.

The Lord, mighty and powerful, without sweat, breathed us into existence. God did not work hard in the physical sense, like man, who sweats by his brow.

But it did cost Him something.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son . . . (John 3:16)

Love was the cost. Love was the work.

Hard work.

To love initially what would reject Him eventually required scorn, shame, arrest, abandonment, and death.

Even sweat.

Sweat like drops of blood. (Luke 22:44)

Every drop for you and me.

Did God work hard to create the world?

Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him. (Mark 15:16-20 NIV)

I think He did.

Dear Heavenly Father,

You’ve loved us from the beginning, knowing we would reject You. Teach us to become like little children, always in awe of Your creation, always following your perfect example to love others.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Other Scripture references: Psalm 139:14

The Hidden Reserve

Winter separates us. It keeps us inside. The bitter winds strike trees, take out powerlines, and break pipes. At the end of the day, darkness pushes out the light, and we seek shelter.

When all outside connections freeze, the well of Living Water still moves.

Opportunity arises.

A Bible-reading challenge. Pages of a prayer journal to be filled. Time in His presence.

Winter blahs shatter into a thousand rays of light when we take the time to learn from the One who never leaves us, no matter what the season.

And when we find ourselves stuck, the roads closed, the windchill factor too difficult to face, the hidden reserve of purpose deepens.

“The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water,
    but a man of understanding will draw it out.” (Proverbs 20:5 ESV)

Isolated, but not alone, we draw from the deep water of the Living Word—burdens are lightened, wounds are healed. We gain understanding.

In the secret places of our heart, the hidden reserve grows. 

We cry and our eyes clear.

We probe with questions, and we are answered with peace.

We are filled with the joy of refreshment, filled to refresh others.

Patiently and expectantly, we wait for spring.

The creeks and streams flow again. Our feet sink into the mud as we cheerifully head out to see each other once more.

Our hidden reserve is deep and full. We pray for men and women who will draw from us what He has put in us.

Fill us, Lord. In the dark and cold of winter, fill us.

Dear Heavenly Father,
Keep the waters of my heart clean and clear. Make me the kind of person people can draw Godly counsel from. May the purpose of my heart always be sure, always a reflection of You.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

For Unto Us . . . A Child

She looked at her master. Proud, strong, defeatless. A true warrior. Honor followed him. Loyalty surrounded him. From time to time, anger consumed him—or worse, rage. But who could blame him?

Her master, Naaman, was a successful man scorned by a terrible skin disease.
A pain so deep, so binding. A distraction from an otherwise good life.

To see him walk among his men—valiant, in command, and winning their respect every time —it troubled her to see him suffer. Though only a girl, a mere child servant, she longed to see her master well, to see him thrive as a healthy and happy man.

If only he would see the prophet.

But would he listen to her?

She must try.*

***
Naaman could hardly believe his ears. Could it be true? Could he be healed, once and for all? Never to flinch from the sores, or itch as they passed—only to have the process begin again.

But he would try. And be healed. His skin like the flesh of a child.

All because of a child.*

***
“Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”*

Healed by His wounds. Saved because He died. Whole because He was broken.

Peace beyond understanding because He was stricken, smitten, afflicted.

If only we would see Him, listen to Him.

Be healed by Him.

Once and for all.

He did more than try. He died.

For us.

For unto us . . . a child.*

When was the last time you learned something about God from a child? How did it deepen your faith? Think about the many ways Jesus provided the perfect example to live out this command: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

This Christmas season ask God to give You the childlike faith to see Him with fresh eyes.

Dear Heavenly Father,
You’ve given us the best Gift of all. Give us a keen awareness of the Christ child and what it meant for Him to walk among us, to grow, to make friends with us, only to experience the pain of rejection. Thank you for healing us. Thank you for seeing deeper than our mere surface wounds — You’ve reached the heart of our deepest need: You.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

*Scriptures used in this devotion:
2 Kings 5:1-14
Isaiah 53:5 (NIV)
Isaiah 9:6 (KJV)

Merry Christmas from the Roberts Family

Merry Christmas from the Roberts Family

Known

Rebekah is her name, and her family is known and respected. She walks with purpose, her calling sure. Young, beautiful, pure, she lives her life in confidence. She is the daughter of a camel owner, and she does what a good daughter must do. In the cool of the evening, with the rest of the women in the city, she goes to the well.

But this day, she is not alone. A stranger waits for her. He knows nothing about her, but hopes she’s the one. As she draws closer, he sees her beauty and her kindness comforts him. He believes she’s the one, a wife for his master. He adorns her with jewelry. She will soon be a bride. His master, Isaac, the son of Abraham, will be full of joy.*

Years later, another woman is born. Her name is unknown. Five husbands have come and gone, and the man she lives with now does not call her his wife. Tainted, broken, useless, she finds no thrill in the life she lives. Romance is gone forever. Shame is the new normal. Still, every day, she must keep on living, keep on breathing. Every day, when the sun is most intense and no one else will see her, she goes to the well.

But this day, she is not alone. A stranger waits for her. He knows everything about her. As she walks closer, He sees her potential beauty and His kindness overflows. He is the chosen one, and He longs to adorn her with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.* She will soon be part of a family he calls His Bride. He is the Master, and she will be full of joy.*

We are known. No matter our background, rich or poor, young or old, vibrant or weary, proud or ashamed, we are pursued every day. He sees us. He knows us. He wants us.

Go to the well today. See the One who waits for you. He is not a stranger. He is Jesus, the Source of Living Water. Our Friend. Our Savior.

Lord, You are our Source of Living Water. Teach us how to return to the well of hope You provide each day. May the spring of joy You’ve put in us bubble up so mightily that no one can deny Your presence in our lives. Thank You for knowing us and loving us.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

*Genesis 24
*John 4:4-28
*Colossians 3:12 (ESV)