Monday, July 11, 2011

Hummmm. . . .!

It is a glorious thing to know that your father God makes no mistakes in directing or permitting that which crosses the path of your life. It is the glory of God to conceal a matter. It is our glory to trust Him, no matter what. ~ Joni Eareckson Tada

I saw Joni at FBC in Jackson, MS in 1976. That evening, I listened to her testimony of how God turned an unexpected diving accident resulting in quadriplegia into a ministry for Him. While she spoke she held a Flair pen with her teeth and sketched. As a senior Physical Therapy student at the University of MS Medical School, my skills evaluated her abilities and her obvious paralysis. Her artistic talents exceeded my expectations. Certainly her testimony of accepting adversity and making positive strides challenged me as a therapist, her example was one of faith and courage.

In the fall of 2005, I read Joni's very personal story in her book, The God I Love. I found her honesty refreshing as she described the many years that she had hoped for a miracle yet grew  a ministry that touched thousands. And, again, a few days ago, I ran across her quote in my "stash" of other people's words. This time ~ summer 2011, I sit with her words and evaluate the meaning of this kind of faith and courage. Accepting God's directing or permitting . . . trust[ing] Him, no matter what is sometimes difficult. I do, however, believe His Purposes will never fail, and His Faithfulness will not end. Perhaps my trust in God can only be grounded in the very character of God. God's Promises are BEST! 

As for circumstances that I do not choose? I am reminded of Paul's words to the Corinthians:
In everything we do we try to show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. Romans 6:4 NLT
~ dho

Monday, July 04, 2011

Fruits of Freedom

One Nation Under God . . . America the Free! If we think back to our beginnings as a country, freedom to become our own country, to govern ourselves echoed across the Atlantic to England and grew roots in this new land. We still cherish this freedom and proudly claim that America stands for liberty and justice for all. A civilization's freedom comes with a price. We honor those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom.

In God we trust still marks our money, despite those who champion its removal. America's coins and paper money pay iconic homage to some of the leaders who helped make this freedom possible. As Christians, we recognize that our true freedom is about faith and hope and love. A soul's freedom must also be purchased. We trust in our great God, and King, whose Plan for Freedom rings still. We worship Christ, the One whose sacrifice offers everlasting freedom.

What are the fruits of freedom? To the soldier, they are peace instead of war, wholeness instead of battle wounds. To the leader, they are certainty instead of probability, unity instead of division. To the parent or spouse or child of a soldier, they are presence instead of absence, joy instead of anxiety. To a country, they are liberty and justice for all. To the Christian, they are these same things ~ peace and wholeness, certainty and unity, presence and joy, liberty and justice for all. Because we serve a God who is Loving and Faithful and Righteous in ways we cannot understand, we can find true freedom in His Grace.  To the goodness of God, the Author of Liberty, we owe everything.  ~dho

. . . the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23