Teach us to Number our Days

January is more than half over and I am still contemplating what my goals should be for the new year. I attended too many funerals last year. There were at least half a dozen. January brought even more. It is a sad reminder that life is fleeting.

I have been settling in for the long haul and God reminds me that this life is just temporary. Heaven is waiting. This life that I cling to so fiercely will be but a flash when I am finally home with Him.

So what are my marching orders as I live day to day here? My husband pointed out to me the most mentioned command in the Bible. I was sure it was something about loving God and our neighbor. Ready?…

“Do not be afraid”  or “Do not fear”

God said it again and again. He said it to Abraham, Jacob, Joshua, Moses, the nation of Israel. He said it to Hagar, a slave girl, who was afraid her son was going to die of thirst in the desert.

The Psalms are full of the command.

Psalm 23:4 “…I fear no evil, for You are with me.”

Many of the prophets said it multiple times. (Isaiah 35:4; 41:10; 41:13)

God sent angels to give the message to Daniel, Zecharias, Mary, Joseph, Shepherds, women at the tomb.

Jesus also repeated it often to his disciples. Reminding them that they were worth more than the sparrows. (Matt. 10:31)

The command applies to me as well. “Do not fear!”  – Why? Because I have a God who is with me and guiding my steps.

He doesn’t promise that my path will be easy. There will still be trouble and funerals and dark days, but He is with me.  …and someday there will be no more crying. There will be no more sin. There will be no more fear.

For now I need to trust him with today. I need to have courage that he will provide the strength for what he has called me to do. I need to believe that this God, who cannot lie, will do more than I can ask or think. Knowing that this troubled life is but an instant compared to eternity.

 

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

“Say to those with anxious heart, Take courage, fear not…” Isaiah 35:4

“For I am the LORD your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, Do not fear, I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13

Psalm 23 – American Plains Indian Version

In my Wisconsin wanderings I came across a path beside a river.

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It led to this covered bridge which led to…

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This tiny chapel which was only big enough for about 20 people. (I apologize for the blurry picture.)

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We followed the path that led behind the chapel and found a series of small frames set on posts.

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Not all of the plaques were still readable so I have typed a copy below. I hope you enjoy reading Psalm 23 in this Plains Indian Version.

 

The GREAT FATHER above a SHEPHERD CHIEF is.

I am His and with Him I want not. 

He throws out to me a rope

and  the name of the rope is love

and  He draws me to where the grass is green 

and the water is not dangerous, 

and I eat and lie down and am satisfied. 

Sometimes my heart is very weak and falls down

but He lifts me up again and draws me into a good road. 

His name is WONDERFUL. 

Sometime,

it may be very soon,  it may be a long, long time. 

He will draw me into a valley. 

It is dark there, but I’ll be afraid not, 

for it is in between those mountains 

that the SHEPHERD CHIEF will meet me 

and the hunger that I have in my heart  all through life will be satisfied.

He gives me a staff to lean upon.  

He spreads a table before me  with all kinds of foods. 

He puts His hand upon my head  and all the “tired” is gone. 

My cup He fills till it runs over. 

What I tell is true.

I lie not. 

These roads that are “away ahead”  will stay with me

through this life and after;

and afterwards I will go to live  in the great house

and sit down  with the SHEPHERD CHIEF forever.

~Isabel Crawford (Missionary to the Indians of the plains)

 

Safe

Safe in the arms of Jesus.

Safe?! You call this safe?

Hush, I’m safe. I’m safe.

Are you mad?! Look around you!

I tell you I’m safe!

But the storm! Look at the storm!

I know, I’m with the one who made it.

Don’t you see this could be the death of you?

Even so,…I’m safe…I’m safe.

 

“In whirlwind and storm is His way, And clouds are the dust beneath His feet.” Nahum 1:3b

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For further study: Nahum 1:7, Job 30:22, 40:6; Psalm 83:15; Jonah 1:4;

Surviving Trouble

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A few years ago my family was going through an extended crisis.

My sister wrote the following letter to me on one of her handmade paper cards. I have kept it as a reminder of God’s faithfulness and care. I ran across it again this past week and wanted to share it with all of you that find yourselves in discouraging and/or impossible circumstances.  Now, a few words from my sister, Nancy.

“Dear Karen,

I’m writing to tell you that I am praying for the safety and well-being of you and your family. Today I was reading I Kings 18 & 19. Elijah had just defeated the 450 false prophets by calling down fire on his sacrifice. But then he got scared off by Jezebel and “ran for his life.” He was in the wilderness asking God to let him die. Did God give him a sermon? No. He sent an angel with fresh hot bread and a jar of water, and gave him a good sleep. Then the angel came a second time with food and drink. After that Elijah was able to go on in strength for 40 days and nights.

Karen, I am praying for those 40 days and nights for you.

Love, Nancy”

My family and I survived the crisis. It wasn’t easy, but as I look back the only explanation was that God helped us. God didn’t just give us strength for 40 days and nights, but God gave us strength for months that turned to years. He can do the same in your life.

Whatever circumstance you find yourself in today. God sees and hears you. I pray you would receive the supernatural help you need each day you walk this path.

“’Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

Behold, all those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonored; Those who contend with you will be as nothing and will perish.

You will seek those who quarrel with you, but will not find them, Those who war with you will be as nothing and non-existent.

For I am the LORD your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’”

Isaiah 41:10-13(NASB)