Shirley’s Soliloquy #21
12/26/04
 

“Inveterate Murmurers”

I was reading the Bible this morning in the Amplified Version and was intrigued by what I read in Jude verse four.  Jude described certain men who “crept in stealthily (gaining entrance secretly by a side door).”   How easy it is for things which are not of God to creep in unawares.  What a visual picture this is of the way half-truths can creep insidiously into our minds.

Jude continued by saying these false teachers were like hidden reefs –how disastrous it is for a person in a boat to run into a hidden reef.  Those of us who have been in boats near reefs can understand this dramatic picture.  He continued this graphic imagery by saying that they were like clouds without water, trees without fruit, wild waves of the sea, or wandering stars.  What picturesque language!  ‘Kinda like counterfeit money, or “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.”  Maybe it’s like “talking the talk, but not walking the walk?”

I kept reading, and verse sixteen elaborated further, “These are inveterate murmurers (grumblers) who complain (of their lot in life), going after their own desires.”  As a good friend and retired preacher said facetiously when a group of us were around the table talking, “Now you’ve quit preaching, and started meddling!”

When we think of these evil men coming into the church, we certainly are not thinking of anything like murmuring or grumbling!  Certainly that cannot be mentioned in the same breath as those false prophets!  But he continued writing that these agitators (murmurers) cause divisions.   When I stopped to think about it, I thought how often this is true.  Just some grumbling or murmuring can be a spark that kindles a flame as James puts it.  And yet, how easy it is to grumble ‘just a little bit.’  But it only takes a spark to start a fire.

Lord, help me this coming year to be aware of my thoughts, deeds, and words.
 
 

“Let the words of my mouth
And the meditations of my heart
Be acceptable in Thy sight,
O Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer.”
Psalm 19:14
 

Shirley’s Soliloquy #20
12/19/04
 

Amazing Gift!
 

I was thinking during the early hours of the morning about Christmas day which will be here in less than one week.  My mind went back forty years ago when a professor at Malone College, Professor Milford Henkel, expounded on “the fullness of time” as recorded in Galatians 4:4.  I had never heard that before.  And even to this day, every time I hear my husband expand on God’s perfect timing, it continues to thrill my heart to think what a great and mighty God we serve!

Just think!  It was the perfect time for Jesus to be born.  First of all, the Roman Empire had control of so much of the known world.  This meant that there was an ironhanded control, an outward peace that they hadn’t had before.

Secondly, the world had become ‘desperately wicked.’  Cynicism and abandonment to vice were everywhere.  Families were breaking up.  There was prostitution of both males and females on a wide scale, even involved in heathen worship practices.  It was not a pretty picture.  The world was ready for a savior.

Thirdly, they had a common language of commerce, ‘Koine’ Greek.  What better time for the Lord to be born, the message could spread so all could understand!

Lastly, it was during the decree from Caesar Augustus that the people were to go to their own birthplaces to be registered.  This brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem, the place that the prophets had foretold in Micah 5:2 that He Who would come would rule in Israel, “Whose goings forth have been from of old, from ancient days (eternity).”  So Scripture was fulfilled.

We might say, what a place – Bethlehem.  Such an insignificant place, wouldn’t it have been better to have been born in Jerusalem or even Rome?  No, it was in a manger.  The Son of God born in a manger?  Wouldn’t a palace have been better?   But no, He was born in an insignificant way, so that all, even the poorest among us could feel free to come to Him.  And then on top of it all, He came at such a terrible time!  There was evil and corruption all around.  Man’s inhumanity to man was everywhere.

But God’s ways are not our ways!  The mystery of it all!  Everything was timed perfectly so that we might have His gift, the gift beyond all gifts!
 
 
 

Thanks be unto God
For His unspeakable gift!
2 Corinthians 9:15
 
 

Shirley’s Soliloquy #19
12/12/04
 

Amazing Love

This afternoon I attended a lovely Ladies ‘Christmas Tea.’  The decorations were festive with the greens and reds.  The tables set for four with the lovely china, starched tablecloths, and attractive centerpieces set the stage.  The subdued lighting created by the candles and tiny lights around the room completed the atmosphere.  The ladies arriving in their pretty outfits were in awe over the extent of the preparations made in their honor.  Everything was beautiful.

In her closing thoughts at the end of the “Tea,” one of the young ladies mentioned the hustle and bustle of the season, and how it was getting to be quite dreadful.  She urged us not to forget what Christmas is all about.  She contrasted this stress with Philippians 2.  It’s mind boggling to think of the magnitude of God’s love for us.  He gave His only begotten son (John 3:16).

The Bible gives us an illustration in the life of Abraham.  God promised him that he would have a son.  This isn’t unusual.  But He said that Abraham’s seed would be like the sands on the shore and the stars in the sky.  Wow!  That’s some promise!  But the trouble was that as he and his wife grew older and older, that promised son didn’t come.  In fact, after many years it became impossible for them to have a baby.  The Bible tells us, Abraham believed God.  And finally, miraculously, they had a son!  How they must have praised and thanked God as they watched the babe grow into a child, then into his teen years!

 But the story doesn’t end there.  Remember how one day God came to Abraham and told him to take his son, and offer him as a sacrifice?  What agony!  How could Abraham give up his only son?  What thoughts must have passed through Abraham’s mind then!  ‘God!  How could you ask me to give up my son after we waited so long for him?  He’s our pride and joy!  Do I really have to do this?’

But the Bible doesn’t record it this way.  The Bible says that Abraham believed God, and so he obeyed Him.  It is a tiny picture of the magnitude of God’s love for us.  He gave His only Son!  How much greater must God’s anguish have been knowing what His Son would have to be going through!  Yet, He loved us so much even before we even thought about Him!
 
 

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us,
And sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1 John 4:10
 
 

Shirley’s Soliloquy #18
12/05/04
 

Condescension & Exaltation

When I was reading the passage in Philippians 2:5-8 in the Amplified Bible this week, I felt myself fall anew at the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ.  My heart bubbled within me with enormous thanksgiving for the extent to which He actually humbled Himself and all that He gave up in order to come to our earth as a baby.  What amazing Condescension!

“Let this same attitude and purpose
and (humble) mind be in you
Which was in Christ Jesus
(Let Him be your example in humility:)
who although being essentially one with God
and in the form of God
(possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God),
did not think this equality with God
 was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained,
But stripped Himself (of all privileges and rightful dignity),
So as to assume the guise of a servant (slave),
In that He became like men and was born a human being.”

Then he grew up into manhood, performing miracles and telling the people to repent for the kingdom of heaven was at hand.  However, he was ridiculed and was put to death.

“And after He had appeared in human form,
He abased and humbled himself (still further)
And carried his obedience to the extreme of death,
even the death of the cross!”

Yes, he died, but He rose again!  Individuals and crowds saw him for about forty days.  Then while people were watching, He ascended back to heaven.  While they were watching, an angel appeared and promised that He would return again, but as a victor!  Every knee will bow before Him and confess that He is Lord!

"Therefore (because He stooped so low),
God has highly exalted Him
And has freely bestowed on Him the name that is above every name,
That in (at) the name of Jesus every knee should (must) bow,
In heaven and on earth and under the earth.
And every tongue (frankly and openly) confess and acknowledge
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.”

What Exaltation!  My heart overflows with love and gratitude to Him!
 
 

Shirley’s Soliloquy #17
11/28/04
 

Thanksgiving

For all these things are (taking place) for your sake,
So that the more grace
(divine favor & spiritual blessing)
Extends to more and more people
And multiplies through the many,
The more thanksgiving may increase (and abound)
To the glory of God.
2 Corinthians 4:15
 
 

While I was cleaning the shower and tub the other day, I slipped and fell hitting many parts of my body on the way down.  I couldn’t believe that nothing seemed to be broken, but oh, was I hurting the rest of the day.  I expected to be even more sore the next day, so I took a Tylonol PM and slept.

The next morning, when I woke up, I didn’t hurt anywhere!  I got up, and I still didn’t hurt anywhere, it was as if I hadn’t fallen in the tub!  I couldn’t believe it!  Then I realized the Lord was showing me a few things again!  Wow!  What a God!  What a Savior and Friend to have!  He is totally in control of our lives!  Even when we think things might be hopeless, (I should have had many broken bones!), He is in control!  He answers our prayers even before we utter them!

So when I read this verse this morning in my regular Bible reading, it struck me in a new way!  Yes, God allows all these things to happen so that we will realize again that He is in control of our lives.  He allows “these things” so that we will rejoice with thanksgiving over His goodness to us and give Him glory!
 
 
 

For all these things are taking place so that…
thanksgiving may increase to the glory of God.
2 Corinthians 4:15b (Amplified Bible)
 
 

Shirley’s Soliloquy #16
11/21/04
 

Be Still & Know that I Am God
 
 

While I was reading the book by Jennifer Kennedy Dean, “He Restores My Soul,” the Lord spoke to my soul through the following words, “We are learning to find our joy and highest good at His feet.  His voice will awaken us and we will find ourselves celebrants of His nearness.”

How true!  How wonderful to sit at His feet, and have joy awakened in me!  I celebrate His nearness.

Sitting in a canvas chair in the backyard patio of our rented house here in Mobile, I sense God’s nearness.  It is the same feeling as when I’d be out on the beach in Gulf Shores.

But what a contrast with the condo on the beach!  There, I’d be out hearing the roaring and crashing of the waves on the shore.  But here, in this patio, it is secluded with trees and bushes enclosing the yard.  The only sounds in the quietness are the birds chirping, squirrels scampering, insects humming.  All of God’s lovely creatures are reminding me of His care and nearness – His omnipresence.

Not a sparrow falls, but He knows about it.  Every hair on my head is numbered.  He is with me – He is in me – His presence fills me with His peace.  He is here – I am content.  Thank you, Lord.  Show me what you want of me in this location.  Use my hands, feet, mouth, intellect, and my love for Your glory.
 
 
 
 

Be still & know that I Am God.
Psalms 46:10

I have learned to be content
In whatever state I find myself.
Philippians 4:11
 
 

Shirley’s Soliloquy #15
11/14/04
 

One Body, but Many Members
 
 

This past weekend was the Fall Regional Conference of the Stonecroft Ministries here in Mobile.  Many of my dear sisters in the Lord came in spite of the problems they are facing due to the recent damage to their homes and properties caused by hurricane Ivan.  My heart was heavy listening to all they are going through.  But even in the midst of their difficulties they still were rejoicing in the Lord’s provision, protection, and preservation!

The conference was absolutely what we all needed!  The Lord was working in a mighty way touching lives.  He knows the wonderful things that will come as a result of this conference, and I can’t wait to find out some of them!  We look to Him for His leading and direction!

One very special aspect of the conference was the unity we experienced.  We were many different ladies, from all walks of life, different ages, different communities, and even different states.  But just as the Apostle Paul wrote about in his letter to the Corinthians, we are many members, but one body in Christ.  If one member of the body suffers, all the members suffer with that one.  And if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.  The family relationship we have one with another in this great body of Christ is something that seems to knit us all together.
 
 
 

Even as the body is one and yet has many members,
And all the members of the body,
though they are many are one body,…
The members should have the same care for one another.
And if one member suffers,
All the members suffer with it;
If one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
Now you are Christ’s body,
And individually members of it.

1Corinthians 12:12, 25-17
 

Shirley’s Soliloquy #14
11/07/04

Building Sand Castles
 
 

We visited our beloved Gulf Shores in Alabama on Saturday.  My heart was heavy seeing the destruction there.  The pavement was lifted up in places and sank in other places.  Pavement, that had been so sturdy that cars and trucks had driven on it every day, was like cardboard that had been manhandled into shapeless forms.  The amount of sand, piled around everywhere waiting to be sifted so it could be put back on the beach, looked like giant children had been trying to make their own structures.  Sand was all over buildings, streets, driveways, --everywhere.  Roofs had blown off, parts of buildings gone. Some buildings were cracked, broken, and some no longer standing at all.

I had just finished reading the gospels, so our visit immediately brought to mind how Jesus used everyday things in His teachings.  In Matthew 7:24-27, He said everyone who hears His teaching and acts upon them would be like the sensible man who had built his house on the rock.  When the rain fell and floods came and winds blew and beat against the house, the house still stood, because it had been built on the rock.  Some of the condos were still standing.  They had been built on bedrock.  Yes, windows, roofs, sides of buildings were gone, but the buildings were still standing!

Jesus went on to say that everyone who hears His words and does not do them would be like a stupid man who had built his house upon the sand.  Of course when the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat against that house, it fell!  And its fall was great and complete!  Matthew 7:24-27.

Sometimes people don’t think much about the teachings of Jesus because most of the time they suppose He was speaking only to the Jews.  But oh, how we need not only to listen carefully to what He said, but also to apply it to our lives today.  We need to remember that ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable…. (2 Timothy 3:16).  Revelation, chapter three states over and over,
 
 

He who is able to hear,
Let him listen to and heed
    what the Holy Spirit says…
 

Lord, may we be willing to open our ears, hear, and obey Your will for our lives!
 
 
 

Shirley’s Soliloquy #13
10/31/04

“Any mans death diminishes mee,
Because I am involved in Mankinde;
And therefor never send to know
For whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.”
John Donne, early 17th century
 
 

I was thinking of the recent death of our good friend, Don Huelett.  In a way his “death diminishes me,” because he will be sadly missed.  But I can’t help being really happy deep down for him though, because it’s such a nice warm feeling knowing he’s so very contented being near our Savior!

Yet, sitting in church, I saw the back of a man’s head, and my mental thoughts said, ‘Oh, there’s Don, but I don’t see Lee (his wife)….’  Then almost immediately I realized Don was with the Lord already!  How we’ll miss him, how the church will miss him, how Lee will miss him!

‘Any man’s death diminshes me.’  Truly no man is an island.  Everything we say or do affects others.
 
 
 

”For none of us liveth to himself,
and no man dieth to himself.”
Romans 14:7
 
 

Shirley’s Soliloquy #12
10/10/04

“No Man is an Island”

“No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe,
every man is a peece of the Continent,
a part of the maine;
if a Clod be washed away by the Sea,
Europe is the lesse,
As well as if a Promontonie were,
As well as if a Monnor of thy friends
Or of thine own were;
Any mans death diminishes mee,
Because I am involved in Mankinde;
And therefor never send to know
For whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.”
 
 

This 17th century poem by John Donne speaks so eloquently of a truth that was brought home to me the past couple of days.

I got a pneumonia shot, and it affected me like no other shot had before.  I had pain all over my body and a fever, and sat shivering in a recliner with a sweater on and with a robe over me.  I took a couple of Tylonol PM’s last night and thankfully this morning I feel near normal again, but it was a couple of miserable days.  During that time I talked with our son, daughter, my sister, and of course my husband.  And clearly, I felt their pain in knowing I was suffering.

So in those early waking hours this morning, I was thinking how even though I was quiet and tried to be normal talking with them, they could sense something was wrong.  No man is an Island.  No matter what we do behind closed doors, it reaches out to our loved ones, and they hurt with us.
 
 

“For none of us liveth to himself…”
Romans 14:7a
 
 

Shirley’s Soliloquy #11
10/10/04

“Where’s the Piccolo?”
 
 

What IS the role of the Church in the 21st Century?  My husband was invited to speak and was given the topic, “The Role of the Church in the 21st Century.”  So in the middle of the night when I wake up, I wake up thinking!  That’s when I get lots of ideas.  I was mulling over in my mind, “What is the Church?”  Often times when we think of a particular church, the mind goes automatically to the beautiful building we see.  But is that really the church?  No, that’s just a building made of wood and concrete or bricks.  Empty.

It’s the Christian people in that building that is “the Church.”  It’s living!  How alive it is depends on those people who make up the church.

My mind went to the story of the symphony orchestra.  It was a beautiful moving rendition of a particular piece of music.  All those magnificent instruments working together to make beautiful music!  But all of a sudden, the conductor stops…, and demands: “Where’s the piccolo?”  The person who played the piccolo thought he wasn’t important.  He was so small, nobody would miss him if he stopped for a little rest.  But the conductor knew something was missing.  He was important!

Every single person is important in order to make the Church in the 21st Century alive, vibrant, and effective.  I think it’s going to be increasingly necessary for each of us to be a living testimony for Jesus Christ.  The building is impersonal, cold by itself.  It’s the people who make up the Church!  With all the religions of the world becoming so visible and militant, Christians need to take a stand and be counted.  What good is it to simply stay behind closed doors?
 
 
 
 

“For all things were created by Him,
and all things exist through Him and for Him.
To God be the glory forever!  Amen.
So then my brothers, because of God’s great mercy to us
I appeal to you.
Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God,
Dedicated to His service and pleasing to Him.
This is the true worship you should offer.”

Romans 11:36; 12:1 (G.N.B.)
 

Shirley’s Soliloquy #10
10/03/04

Putting First Things First
 

C.S. Lewis said, “Put first things first and we get second things thrown in: put second things first and we lose both first and second things.”

What a profound statement!  I was reading Haggai this morning, and this statement by C.S. Lewis came to mind.  The Jews had returned from exile to their land, and they were busy building their houses and making them really nice.  Finally after 18 years of being in the land and “sprucing up the place,” God said to the prophet Haggai, “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while this house of the Lord lies in ruins?”  Then God reminded them that they had sown much, but reaped little, they ate, but didn’t have enough, drank, but didn’t have their fill, clothed themselves, but no one was warm, and the money they did earn, they put in a bag with holes in it!

What picturesque language.  God really does get our attention, doesn’t He!  So He told them to rebuild His house, and He would be glorified.  They had put themselves first, no wonder they were never satisfied!

So Zerubbabel and Joshua not only listened to God, but they obeyed Him!  (I like the way the Amplified Bible states it):  “…not vaguely or partly, but completely, according to the words of Haggai the prophet.”  So the people finally turned to the Lord.  And the Lord their God told them to be strong and courageous and work, because He was with them.  He went on to tell them that they could look forward to it being greater than the former, and He’d give peace and prosperity, and bless them.  Wow!

Forgive us, oh Lord God, for becoming so preoccupied with this world, that we put you in second place!
 
 
 

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God,
And His righteousness;
And all these things shall be added unto you!”
Matthew 6:33
 

Shirley’s Soliloquy #9
09/26/04

Knowing & Loving God

What would be the most important thing to share with young children?  Henry felt led to start an indoor soccer program as an outreach ministry at Parkside Bible Church.  He wanted a ten-minute Bible lesson at the beginning of each session.  So I began to think…what is the most important thing any child would need to know?  First of all they need to know and love Jesus.  I thought of the “I Am’s” of the Gospel of John.  Jesus used everyday things to illustrate His truths.  He said:
 

“I am the light of the world…”  We need light to show us the way…
“I am the door…” In order to get in, we need to go through the door…
“I am the Good Shepherd…” The shepherd gives guidance, protection, & care…
“I am the Bread of Life…” He satisfies our basic need…
“I am the Vine, you are the branches…”  We get everything we need from Him…
“I am the Way, the Truth, & the Life…”  He shows us the way to go, what to believe, and the results!
“I am the Resurrection and the Life…”  Wow!  Even if we die, we’ll have life that never ends through Him!

Thank you God, for giving us your only unique son, so we can know and love you!
 
 

For God so loved the world,
That He gave His only begotten Son,
That whosoever believeth in Him,
Should not perish,
But have everlasting life!
John 3:16
 

Shirley’s Soliloquy #8
09/19/04

Prayerful & Thankful

During the early morning hours before dawn, I woke up and started thinking about the recent hurricanes.  We have so many good friends and also our son, grandson, daughter, and son-in-law all living in Florida and southern Alabama, right in the path of the hurricanes.  A mother realizes the traumatic effect this can have on a person!

So on Wednesday, at our Ladies Bible Study, we prayed for all of them, specifically that the Lord would lessen the intensity of the hurricane.  Later, I realized He did do just that.  But it still left much devastation.  Thankfully so far as we know, our family and friends are all ok.

Philippians 4:6-7 came to my mind.  So I checked it in the Amplified Bible which is a paraphrase that I’ve come to appreciate.  Its preface says that its “genius lies in its rigorous attempt to go beyond the traditional “word-for-word” concept of translation to bring out the richness of the Hebrew and Greek languages.  Its purpose is to reveal, together with the single English word equivalent to each key Hebrew and Greek word, any other clarifying meanings that may be concealed by the traditional translation method.”  This is such a blessing, I wanted to record it here:

“Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything,
 but in every circumstance and in everything,
 by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving,
 continue to make your wants known to God.
And God’s peace (shall be yours,
that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God
and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is,
that peace) which transcends all understanding
 shall garrison and mount guard
 over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7
 

Thank you, Lord, for your peace in the midst of so much turmoil!
 
 
 

Shirley’s Soliloquy #7
09/12/04

Winds & Waves

It’s so good to know that the Lord is in control.  He knows all about the hurricanes that are wrecking havoc here on this earth, the tremendous power of the winds and the water and the destruction they can cause.  In Isaiah 51:15 the prophet records the words of the Lord God when He said, For I am the Lord your God, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar and Who by rebuke restrains it.

How wonderful to read Psalms 107:29 and realize along with the Psalmist, He hushes the storm to a calm and to a gentle whisper, so that the waves of the sea are still.  Didn’t Peter and the disciples find this true (Matthew 8:26) when they thought they were going to perish in the storm, but all the Lord said was, Why are you of little faith?  Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great and wonderful calm.

He’s given us so many examples of His mighty power.  After all He’s the One Who made the earth and set the "sun, moon, stars and winds in motion."  It’s a great and mighty God we serve.

Yet sometimes I wonder if the Lord might be using some of these forces of nature trying to get our attention about something.  Maybe we have to be more on our knees, searching our hearts and being more serious in committing ourselves to Him.

Search me O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139:23-24
 
 
 

Shirley’s Soliloquy, #6
09/05/04

He’s Always Listening
 

I called our daughter yesterday asking about some things in her life.  But it was obvious she was distracted.  I asked if she was busy.  She told me that she was watching a movie.  That explained it!

I remember my parents made a study out of a downstairs bedroom for my sister while she was attending Hope College.  I was ten years younger than she, and loved her dearly.  I remember running into her study to share something with her.  However, she was studying, so she would simply say, “Oh, that’s nice.  Um hum,” seeming to agree with me, but I knew she wasn’t listening to me.

Then this morning this verse in Psalms struck my attention.  I saw it in a new way, so very comforting!

The Lord listens and heeds when I call to Him!

Psalm 4:3b, Amplified Version

Thank you, Lord!  You are never so distracted that you ignore me.
 
 

Shirley's Soliloquy, #5
08/29/04

God’s Handiwork

I just finished leading the last study in our summer series of Ladies Bible Study Coffee Hours.  We were focusing on what God is like.  What a blessing!  It came to my mind many times how God has not only revealed Himself through His holy written Word, but also how he has revealed himself through His creation!

I love to be outside, marveling in His handiwork.  I think about the mighty ocean where He “sets a boundary for the waters” so they won’t keep going on the shore flooding the earth.  Or I think of the sound and beauty of the springs that trickle through the woods.  I think of the refreshing breezes cooling us during the hot summer days.  I even appreciate the rain that the plants eagerly receive, because they seem to thrive much better with God’s water than the water in my watering can!  I remember the joy of being allowed to run outside in those gentle summer rains.  And I love the “sensational sunshine” that follows.

Thank you Lord, for all Your goodness to me!

O Lord, how many and varied are Your works!
In wisdom have You made them all;
The earth is full of Your riches and Your creatures.

Psalm 104:24 Amplified Bible
 
 

Shirley’s Soliloquy, #4
8/22/04

Rebellious Children
 

The Apostle John said it so well in 3rd John verse 4:
"I have no greater joy
Than to hear that my children walk in truth."

But, oh, the anguish and crushing feeling of the heart when one’s own
children or grandchildren turn away from God and from us. When those
little ones, or teens, or even older ones go their willful way instead of
listening to our counsel, it breaks our hearts. We know what will happen
to disobedient children, regardless of their age. We can foresee what
lies ahead, but it does seem that they need to find out for themselves.

It was startling to me the first time I read the Scripture in the first
chapter of Isaiah, that God, Who is the perfect Father, has rebellious
children.  We can hear His heart cry in Isaiah 1:2 when He anguishes:

"Hear, O heaven, and give ear, O earth!
For the Lord has spoken:
I have nourished and brought up sons
and have made them great and exalted,
but they have rebelled against Me
and broken away from Me."
Isaiah 1:2
 

Shirley's Soliloquy, #3
8/8/04

Face to Face
It has been such a blessing to read through the Bible every year. However
after a couple years, I realized that since much of the King James
Version was so familiar, I would skim and recite from memory various
passages quickly. For this reason I decided several years ago to read
God’s Holy Word in a different translation each year. This year I’ve
chosen the Amplified Bible. What a blessing it’s been!
When I was reading 1 Corinthians 13:12, the translation given by the
combined knowledge of these godly Hebrew and Greek scholars really struck
me in a new and wonderful way.  It reminded me of the surprise it was
after Dr. Arendshorst removed the cataracts from my eyes! After he
removed the cataract from the first eye, I put my hand over the good eye
leaving only the sight from my bad eye! It was as if I were looking
through a brown curtain! Then a week later, after he had finished the
other eye, it was such a striking contrast! I could hardly believe it!
Everything was so bright and distinctly clear. I marveled in the various
shades and intensities of the colors around me! Our home wasn’t as dark
as I had previously thought! I even realized that I (and my husband and
friends) had wrinkles!!!
Wow!  But when I read this passage, I realized that my experience was
only a "drop in the bucket" compared to when we see Jesus FACE TO FACE!
For we are looking in a mirror
That gives only a dim (blurred) reflection
(of reality as in a riddle or enigma),
but then (when perfection comes)
we shall see in reality and face to face!

1 Corinthians 13:12, Amplified Bible
 

Shirley’s Soliloquy #2
8/6/04

Perfect Peace
I was overly tired when I went to bed, and fell asleep immediately.
However, I kept waking up. Around 3:30 AM, I seemed fully awake. At other
times like this, I’ve found these moments to be wonderful for praying.
It’s quiet and there are no interruptions. So I began thanking the Lord
and then praying for each of our three children and our seven
grandchildren. Then my thoughts went to many of our friends who have
special needs, so I cast them also on Him. By this time my heart was
overflowing with gratitude to God for His presence and help. These
following thoughts came to mind, and I got up and wrote them down.
It’s dark
It’s quiet
I’m tired
Can’t sleep.
Talk to the Lord,
He gives peace.
Rest to the weary,
Sleep for the soul.
God’s peace
Wraps me
Like a warm, soft, blanket.
His presence
Surrounds me
His peace
Quiets me
His care
Encourages me
His guidance
Comforts me.
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on thee:
Because he trusteth in thee.

Isaiah 26:3
 
 

Shirley’s Soliloquy #1
7/24/04

Psalms 145:18 "The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call
upon Him sincerely and in truth."

Question: What would I do without you, Lord???

I’m thinking of last week when I drove up to Howard City to visit my
sister. I realize now that it was an opportunity for me to learn another
lesson.

On the way home, about a half an hour into my return trip, I was feeling
quite proud for having gone up there and back again by myself. But as
mile after mile ground endlessly past, I began to think I should be
heading west toward the "lake" to get to Holland. Soon I came to road
construction and a sign saying, Muskegon 96. So I quickly turned.
After about ten minutes of enormous self-confidence, I suddenly realized
the road wasn't looking familiar. Then I noticed the sun was on my left.
That meant I was going north! I felt some anxiety, and then I remembered
that "the Lord is near to all who call upon Him." So I quickly prayed for
help and guidance. In a few minutes, I saw a turn off to Grand Haven. I
knew that was closer to home than Muskegon! I quickly took the turn off
ramp west, and soon was enjoying a lovely drive along familiar roads. I
was so grateful, and kept thanking the Lord for His guidance and
protection during those anxious moments. Especially I praise Him for His
loving presence even when I was so assured of myself. He was reminding me
again that I need to call upon Him. He loves it when we depend on Him.

What would I do without you, Lord???


To Return to
Home Page