Friday, September 28, 2012

Confidence, Courage, Clarity and Favor

Dear Ones - I hope you have all had a wonderful week.  I have, and the Lord laid something on my heart this morning that I just have to share with you.  Are you ready?  I'm excited.

I have shared with you before that Frank and I pray together each morning before we leave.  Those prayers are sometimes very funny depending on what the previous conversation has been.  I am quite sure the Lord thinks they are funny, too.

For instance, one morning this week, as we were getting ready to leave, he jested that the junk mail on the kitchen counter was too much trash lying around (acting like he was upset about it because I am always telling him he is too anal---hate that word but don't know how else to say it--- about cleanliness).  He said he just didn't know how we could live like this.

An aside:

When we were younger I didn't think this part of Frank was so funny.  Now, I've learned to embrace it (most days), be thankful he cares (I never have to pick up after him), and laugh off the extreme parts.  By the way, wives and husbands, the sooner you get to that point about things that bug you about your spouse, the better you will be in many ways.  Just sayin'.

OK, one more thing about that.  I will never forget hearing Dr. Tim LeHaye advise a group of couples that we should never resent God-given attributes and talents in our mates.  We should embrace them, not try to change them, but ask the Lord to strengthen, balance, and refine them. So, go forth and appreciate what until this very moment might have caused you great angst.  LOL

Back to the point:

So, after he commented that he didn't know how we could live like this, I didn't miss a beat by saying how worried I was about the dirty sink, etc.  Rarely do we walk out together, but this morning we were ready at the same time.  Frank grab my hands and began praying, " Lord, thank you for this dirty house, dirty laundry room, dirty back porch; thank you for letting us have a sense of humor, "but most of all thank you for giving us the Confidence, Courage, Clarity and Favor with others for your sake as we rest in you while we work today." 

I am going to repeat that---"but most of all thank you for giving us the Confidence, Courage, Clarity and Favor with others for your sake as we rest in you while we work today." 

I don't have the pages or the time to write what the Lord has done in both of our lives through that one simple, powerful prayer.  I believe the key is asking for those things for His sake.

CONFIDENCE - Phil 1:6 - Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.  

Oh my goodness, what a stress reliever.  When events aren't about me, and I have the confidence in my Heavenly Daddy to perfect every work He has begun in me, I can truly move through any circumstance with that peace that passes understanding.

People are drawn to that peace, and that gives the Spirit of God in me the ability to draw others to Him.  Reminds me of I being in the way, the Lord led me. (Genesis 24:27)

Why did it take me so long to see the simplicity of what it means to just be the vessel and why it is so important that the vessel is clean and yielded?  I've known that all of my life.  Maybe, it's because I am not really sure I have ever specifically prayed for Clarity before.  That is a perfect example of clarity, right?

COURAGE - Joshua 1:9 - Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good Courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.  I don't think I really grasp what that means or I would never be fearful again.  I also believe that courage can mean not only a lack of fear, uncertainty or intimidation, but it has a physical and moral aspect as well.

I believe physical courage can mean being able to be strong in the face of physical pain, threat of death, or ongoing physical hardship.  Moral courage for me is the ability to dress and act in a right way (especially as a woman) in the face of temptation for attention or seduction in this sorry ole' world, and the courage to make the right decisions about any kind of right and wrong scenario no matter the consequence.  What would that mean for your daily walk in the circumstances your face?

God forbid I think I don't have the ability to fall, because as surely as I think I don't, I will.  The only reason I should ever be afraid is if I attempt life without the resurrection power of Jesus Christ.

CLARITY - Prov 24:3-4 By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.  I love that verse.  A precious, life-long friend of mine is a wonderful artist who scripted and framed that verse for me when Frank and I first married.  

It has a powerful message.  To me, knowledge is knowing something.  Understanding is knowing what is means, and wisdom is knowing how and when to use it.  Now here is a fact, a tidbit of knowledge that I saw for the first time in Proverbs 8 about a year ago (after having read through Proverbs hundreds of times).  

Proverbs 8:35 says For whoever finds me [wisdom] finds life and obtains favor from the Lord;  Please read that whole chapter.  It says that before anything existed, wisdom (feminine gender for all of you egalitarians out there) was there and that when everything was made -- the heavens, the sea and its shores, earth, fields and primal dust, wisdom was there.  

God Almighty, the great I Am, Alpha and Omega,  OMNISCIENT and OMNIPRESENT did not attempt to create anything without walking with wisdom. The thought of that burned in my soul the power and importance of wisdom.

Here is what that tells me.  If God would not attempt to do anything without wisdom, is the servant greater than the master? What a powerful testimonial for the importance of wisdom.

Here is where I get clarity  - Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.  It is as basic and powerful as knowing God through His Word, having the spiritual oxygen through prayer to find clarity of purpose in every day circumstances.

FAVOR - Proverbs 8:35 says For whoever finds me [wisdom] finds life and obtains favor from the Lord; Proverbs 3:3-4 - Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of our heart. So, you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.

It has become clear to me (clarity) like never before that favor is the outgrowth of courage because of the Holy Spirit, confidence in the power of the Holy Spirit in me to use my God-given gifts, talents, and knowledge I have gained by knowing and obeying what I know to be true about God.

Mmmm - emote that sound in five syllables with the inflection that comes naturally, and you will understand "groanings that cannot be uttered" because I am just overwhelmed today with the joy that comes from knowing, trusting, and obeying.  

(People can't help themselves, they will just love us when we do all of that.  Just Kidding - a little flesh welled up in me.) 

I am approaching a day full of responsibility with the joy of the Lord.  Are you?  I wish I could see your sweet faces.  Love to all.  Mecca