firm foundation

Thoughtful post considers the many aspects of our identity, concluding that the only firm foundation in life is our secure identity in Christ. (Isaiah 43:1) http://adivineencounter.com/firm-foundation

Identity

I could definitely live here.

Perhaps I will one day. I can already imagine what my little beach bungalow might look like. I can even picture myself curled up in an adirondack on the deck facing the ocean, laptop out, writing away hour after hour.

It’s a nice little daydream, isn’t it? Something about that identity draws me, beckons me. Lofty, it’s not. But there’s a certain romantic element I can’t help but be attracted to.

On the other hand, it’s not lost on me that the real life I get to live every day, though quite different, is just as wonderful. The idyllic shoreline scenery is replaced by a mountain landscape I adore. We don’t have an adirondack chair, but I’m pretty enamored with my front porch rocker. There’s no time to write for hours on end, but there’s never a lack of books and papers spread across our kitchen table as I homeschool my three children.

Perhaps this identity is not as distinguished as that of a beachside author. But it’s one I’m thankful for nonetheless.

Instability

I stood at the water’s edge this morning, my feet firmly planted as I reveled in the ocean view.

Actually, “firmly planted” is a pretty generous term for all the near stumbling and almost toppling and constant repositioning that occurred.

As you might expect, despite my best efforts to be firmly planted, my feet constantly shifted as the grains of sand ebbed and flowed beneath them.

Sometimes the shifts were subtle. Slight nuances barely noticeable until the water had etched a tunnel beneath me. A tunnel that collapsed under my weight sooner rather than later.

Other times, bigger waves crashed up to my knees and shoved the sand from under my feet in one fell swoop.

Such is the nature of planting myself upon the sand, no matter how firmly.

As I stood pondering this, I considered children who might build a castle on the sand…how quickly it would disintegrate under the slightest pressure from wind or rain or tides.

And then I imagined the best architects and builders coming together to build a house upon the sand, determined to plant it firmly. To build it solidly. Taking every effort to secure it as no other house had been secured in the history of houses being built by men.

It wouldn’t make a difference, would it?

Because no matter how stable the structure seems, or how firmly it appears to be planted, it makes absolutely no difference if the foundation itself is built on sand.

Constantly shifting. Changing with the ebbs and flows of life and relationships and choices and hard things.

There’s so much sand in the world, isn’t there? Unstable…erratic…volatile material completely unsuitable for the foundation of a life.

No matter how loudly money shouts, or how boldly the world touts.

No matter how fame allures, or how power assures.

And no matter how firmly you and I cling to these things or how solidly we think we’re building upon them…

they’re still nothing more than sand.

I tend to build upon the sand of identity.

I label myself as this, I call myself that.

I view myself this way. But not like that.

Perhaps you can relate.

And it could be that you and I need to consider the enormous pressure we put on ourselves by doing this. Pressure that accompanies an attitude that says I can be all things to all people. Or at least a lot of things to a lot of people.

Perhaps we also need to realize identity can be an idol – something we grip and grasp and glorify at all costs.

Because here’s the thing…

when my eyes are focused on who I am rather than who He is, I’m the one who misses out. Because can “missing out” get any worse than missing Him?

And when my hands are occupied with clutching all of my dearly-held identities,

they aren’t free to reach out to Him.

Immutability

The truth is, though I could come up with a dozen or more titles for myself, they all equate to shifting sand, completely undependable for the foundation of my life.

Except one:

I am His.

And whatever He decides to add to or take away from the rest of who I am and what I do and who I love and how I serve…

well, that’s up to Him.

My only Solid Rock and Sure Foundation.

Thoughtful post considers the many aspects of our identity, concluding that the only firm foundation in life is our secure identity in Christ. (Isaiah 43:1) http://adivineencounter.com/firm-foundation

Written by Jennifer Clarke

 

learn…love…lift in prayer: 27 prayers for slaves

Informative and inspiring post listing 27 prayers for slaves, straight from the Bible. (John 10:10) http://adivineencounter.com/learn-love-lift-in-prayer-27-prayers-for-slaves

Over the past several months, I’ve asked you to take action on behalf of the 27 million slaves in the world today.

Each month, on the 27th of the month, I’ve highlighted a particular aspect of human trafficking and slavery.

I’ve asked you to become more aware.

I’ve asked you to support ministries that help trafficking victims.

I’ve asked you to consider the issue of human trafficking around the corner

and around the world.

And I’ve asked you to pray. More than once.

But not quite like this.

I tend to think there aren’t many prayers more precious to God than when His children pray His Word back to Him.

It reminds Him that we have taken the time to learn it.

And maybe even to love it.

It indicates to Him that we are aware of its value.

And its power. 

These prayers for slaves are taken straight from the Word of God; I’ve included the references for you. There are 27, in honor of them

the 27 million who don’t have a voice.

Who don’t have a choice.

Will you take a moment or two or a hundred and lift these prayers on their behalf?

Informative and inspiring post listing 27 prayers for slaves, straight from the Bible. (John 10:10) http://adivineencounter.com/learn-love-lift-in-prayer-27-prayers-for-slaves

1.)Ask God to be a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. (Psalm 9:9)

2.)Claim on their behalf God’s promise to be near to the brokenhearted, and to save those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)

3.)Pray that God would redeem the slaves in the world today from man’s oppression, that they may keep His precepts. (Psalm 119:134)

4.)Ask God to vindicate the afflicted, to save the children of the needy, and to crush the oppressor. (Psalm 72:4)

5.)Pray that God would execute justice for the oppressed; give food to the hungry; set the prisoners free; open the eyes of the blind; raise up those who are bowed down; love the righteous; protect the strangers; support the fatherless and the widow; and thwart the way of the wicked. (Psalm 146:7-9)

6.)Remind God of His promise to hear the desire of the humble; to strengthen their heart; and to incline His ear to vindicate the orphan and the oppressed, so that man will no longer cause terror.  (Psalm 10:17-18)

7.)Ask God to arise on behalf of the devastation of the afflicted and the groaning of the needy. Beg Him to set them in the safety for which they long. (Psalm 12:5)

8.)Praise God for this claim from the psalmist: “LORD, who is like You, Who delivers the afflicted from him who is too strong for him, and the afflicted and the needy from him who robs him?” (Psalm 35:10) No one cares for slaves the way He does!

9.)Pray that God would move the hearts of the enslaved to cry out to Him in their trouble, and that He would save them out of their distresses. (Psalm 107:13)

10.)Ask God to prompt His people to act on behalf of the oppressed by vindicating the weak and fatherless; doing justice to the afflicted and destitute; rescuing the weak and needy; and delivering them out of the hand of the wicked. (Psalm 82:3-4)

11.)Pray that God would accomplish His will in the world by working through people who would open their mouths for those who have no voice, for the rights of all the unfortunate, and that they would defend the rights of the afflicted and needy. (Proverbs 31:8-9)

12.)Pray that the Lover of their souls would restore them. (Psalm 23:3)

13.)Ask God to rescue them from the kingdom of darkness (physically and spiritually) and bring them to the kingdom of His Son. (Colossians 1:13)

14.)Ask God to lead them toward accepting the His gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:23)

15.)Praise God that Jesus came so people might have life, and have it abundantly. Pray that those enslaved in the world today would be freed to experience an abundant life. (John 10:10)

16.)Praise God for His sovereign purpose as described in Isaiah 61:1-3, and pray that it would be fulfilled: “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion — to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”

17.)Thank God for coming to seek and to save the lost. Ask Him to save those who are enslaved and lost. (Luke 19:10)

18.)Ask God to give power to the faint, and strength to him who has no might. (Isaiah 40:29)

19.)Pray that God would preserve the lives of the enslaved and in the midst of trouble, and that He would stretch out His hand against the hand of their enemies, delivering them with His right hand. (Psalm 138:7)

20.)Ask God to work righteousness and peace for the oppressed. (Psalm 103:6)

21.)Claim Psalm 40:1-3 on behalf of those enslaved: “I waited patiently for the Lord; He inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.”

22.)Ask God to restore their health and heal their wounds. (Jeremiah 30:17)

23.)Recount to God that He has a future for the enslaved, and ask that their hope would not be cut off. (Proverbs 23:18)

24.)Praise God that with Him, nothing is impossible. (Luke 1:37) Ask Him to bring an end to prostitution, to slavery, and to human trafficking. Beg Him for the health, restoration, and freedom of the enslaved. Plead with Him for their salvation.

25.)Ask God to restore to the enslaved the years the locusts have eaten, that they shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord, and never again be put to shame. (Joel 2:25-26)

26.)Thank God that He is greater than he who is in the world (I John 4:4), the same one who has come to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). Ask God to show Himself strong and mighty on behalf of the oppressed.

27.)Pray that God would heal those enslaved, and that He would redeem them and crown them with steadfast love and mercy. (Psalm 103:2-4)

Written by Jennifer Clarke

eliminate the competition

An eye-opening post based on real-life experience, challenging us to consider how innocent habits can keep us from trusting God alone. (Psalm 62) http://adivineencounter.com/eliminate-the-competition

“In Christ alone my hope is found.”

Many Christ-followers would recognize this familiar worship song.

I’ve sung it many times. I’ve relished it’s soaring melody and profound lyrics.

I’m challenged by these simple words…and I can’t help but wonder how true they really are for me.

I’m not talking about what I believe. I’m talking about how I live…and what that reveals about what I truly believe.

Will you join me at Satisfaction Through Christ today? I’m sharing about my baby girl’s habit…and what I’ve learned about my own. Here’s an excerpt:

 

“Pinkyyyyyy! I want Pinkyyyyyyy!”

My youngest is a loud child anyway. But when she starts wailing…

well, I wonder whether earplugs might be a good investment.

And yet, I couldn’t help but sympathize with her. She was devastated because I had taken away her beloved Pinky…

Read the rest here, just a click away!

An eye-opening post based on real-life experience, challenging us to consider how innocent habits can keep us from trusting God alone. (Psalm 62) http://adivineencounter.com/eliminate-the-competition

Written by Jennifer Clarke