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O that I had wings like a dove…

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Have you ever wished you could just fly away to someplace where the cares and burdens of this life could not reach you? Or perhaps have your own remote island, far away from the noise and vitriol that envelops us today?

I must confess that escaping to such a place, where evil and hurt  cannot be found is becoming an all too frequent wish of mine. 

When I think of the fear, anguish, and overwhelming anxiety so prevalent in the world today I am drawn to thoughts of a place that Jesus said he had gone to prepare for us.

In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.   [1]

That sounds like exactly the place I’m longing for. Truthfully, I don’t even care about the mansion part, it’s that last part that has me captivated.

Trouble, pain, and fear don’t only come calling to the average person like you and me, of course. The Psalmist David also knew what it felt like to have the world come crashing in all around him.

Having fallen from the lofty heights of the throne of Israel when he committed adultery and murder, David was surrounded by his enemies, including those of his own family.

Out of his anguish and distress he cried aloud “O that I had wings to fly like a dove, for then would I fly away, and be at rest. Indeed, I would wander far off, and remain in the wilderness”. Selah  [2]

I cannot begin to tell you how compelling it sounds to be able to wander far away and remain hidden, away from the evil turmoil of this age. Can any of you relate?

Of course, one does not have to commit adultery, murder, or any other egregious sin in order to feel the pressures of life weighing heavily upon them.

Life, all by itself, is often more than enough to cause us to become weary and discouraged. The oppressive isolation brought about due to the pandemic for example has left many of us drained and stressed. Who among us hasn’t felt this way?

Thanks be to God, however, that we can rise above the feelings of hopelessness and despair. David himself reminds us that God is our sustainer and burden bearer.

Cast your burden on the Lord,
And He shall sustain you; 
He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.   [3]

It’s true, many of us would rather take to the air and fly away from all of the problems this life presents to us. Unfortunately, the last time I checked that was not an option. Instead, we can look to Scripture for support and encouragement.

Paul, in his wonderful exhortation to the Ephesians, tells us the position we must take when facing the storms of this life. He told them no less than three times to “stand”.   

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.   [4]

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.   [5]

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,   [6]

Indiana Audubon Society

So, rather than wish we could fly away like the beautiful doves that are always at my house, God has called us to make our stand with Him.

I encourage everyone to spend an hour or two this week searching the Scriptures for examples of how that our God is a helper and sustainer to those who call out to Him.

I believe you will come away strengthened and encouraged by what you find.

Be blessed in Jesus name!

Ron

[1] John 14:2,3

[2] Psalm 55:6,7

[3] Psalm 55:22

[4] Eph. 6:11

[5] Eph. 6:13

[6] Eph. 6:14

Can you handle it?

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Life, that is. Can you handle life with all its twists and turns, its ups and downs?

Sometimes it doesn’t seem that we can, does it? If you’ve ever been to the place where you thought that if one more thing happens you’re just going to lose it, then this post is for you.

All of us go through seasons of disappointment. As a matter of fact, one of the things that we all share in common is that just as sure the Lord makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust [1], we will all experience our share of trouble in this life.

It is in these seasons that we will hear the enemy begin to whisper to us that it’s OK to take a few steps back, that it’s OK to sit on the sidelines for a while. After all, everyone needs a break from the stress of life, don’t they?

Or maybe the voice you hear is telling you to leave the ministry you’re currently involved in, one where greener pastures await you. This same voice says that because of all the hardships you’re struggling with, God is finished with you here and has a new opportunity “over there” where the battle isn’t so hard.

If this is you, then take heart my friend. Instead of stepping back or stepping down, instead of searching for greener pastures, how about instead we take to heart what Paul said to the church at Ephesus.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.  Eph. 6:13

Sometimes God calls upon us to simply STAND. Stand still and wait upon the Lord to come to your aid. Stand firm upon the promise that greater is he that is in you, then he that is in the world. [2]

It can be tempting to want to take a timeout from life’s problems. I know because I’ve wanted to ‘check out’ many times myself. Those greener pastures look so inviting, don’t they? The enemy of our soul likes to paint an idyllic picture of rest and ease that is ours for the taking, if only we’ll step back just a little bit.

My prayer for all is that you will be strengthened and encouraged to stand firm in Him. Take up the whole armor of God so that you can answer the question “Can you handle it?” with a resounding YES! because greater is he that is in you, then he that is in the world.

Be blessed,

Ron

[1] Matt. 5:45

[2] 1 John 4:4

 

The Power of a Praying Wife

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Thousands have no doubt read the book “The Power of a Praying Wife” by Stormie Omartian.I cannot say that I am among them,although I have seen the book in my house.I think it was given to my wife some time ago,and I’m not even sure if she has read it!

No matter,for as great as that book may be,I have my own story of the Power of a Praying Wife. A real life story.One that I live every day.

Especially today.

Let me back up just a bit and let you in on what’s been going on in my work life.While most who read my blog know that for the past nearly forty years I have been actively involved in about every facet of ministry there is,I also have a full time secular job with a very large company.

I wear many hats and have a great deal of responsibility,which of course also means I sometimes have a great deal of stress in my life.Like for the past several weeks.

I have been involved in an assignment that has pushed me to the brink on more than a few occasions and the associated stress has affected me in a not so good way.Tired,not pleasant to be around,consumed with a million details.You get the picture I’m sure.

So,what do most men do when faced with the sometimes overwhelming pressures and stress of business?

They push harder of course!

Which gets us what?

More stress of course!

Doesn’t seem to matter if you’re a saint or a sinner,I think men are just wired this way(sorry guys!).

Until you reach the point that you know you can’t do this anymore.

Not this way.

Something has to change.

My work day started at 6:00AM and almost immediately I was faced with a situation that overwhelmed me.And trust me…that doesn’t happen often or easily.

All day it was more of the same,and actually it grew more intense as the day went on.I text-ed my wife that I was downright frustrated,mad,and disgusted with dealing with this situation and that I had had enough.

Enter my praying wife.

Who promptly told me that this was nothing more than an all out attack of the enemy and that I should begin praying right now,because she was praying mightily for the very one who was the source of the stress.

Now I must confess that this was not my first thought.Praying is always good and yes,I am fully aware of the scriptures teachings concerning prayer.After all,I’ve taught others about it for nearly forty years!

So why did I suddenly forget all I knew in the midst of this battle?

Because that’s what the enemy does to us. All of us.He strategically gets our thoughts so consumed with something that we forget that SOMEONE has promised that “greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world”.

The enemy is a joy killer. He is a destroyer of hopes and dreams.  He is a thief who will steal even our very souls from us if he can. What he does mostly however is create situations that consume us to the point of getting our eyes off of Jesus,if even for a little while,so that he can tempt and discourage us.

That’s why I am so thankful,so grateful to be married to a praying wife!

The power of MY praying wife cannot be measured and it is a treasure that I am not worthy of.We have been through so much in our life together and we have come through it all because of her unyielding faith in the Lord.She is a precious gift that for reasons yet unknown was sent into the life of a lonely man one day many years ago.To say that I love her does not do her justice.I need her.I depend upon her.She is my right hand.

She reminded me today of a very powerful truth that bears repeating here:there is no new way.The old way works.Get back to it.She was talking about prayer.

It really does work.

Especially when it comes from my praying wife.

By the end of the day the stress was gone and the meeting I had dreaded for so long went wonderfully.My presentation went well and I breathed a huge sigh of relief.It was as if the entire stress charged atmosphere had been changed.

And it had.

Because when you have a praying wife who is in the midst of the fight with you,and you bring the Lord into the battle as well,victory is assured!

Be blessed,

Ron