Monday, October 6, 2008
Stephen or Tin Punch, More Ramblings and Revelations
Get your coffee first, because I'm really on a roll! Getting up at 6:00 to load cattle will do that to a woman, plus the thought that I have a whole hour and a half (almost guaranteed) of just quiet time to reflect, read, pray and actually be able to finish a thought, which means I have to deal with some icky things sometimes. Especially when I woke up, again, with the thoughts of real joy and how to obtain it and contentment in my life. Maybe it is closer than I know, and I am too busy whining and chasing the "American dream" to realize it.
I am now on to Acts, and to one of my favorite accounts in the Bible. The story of Stephen. As I started to read, I flipped back a couple of pages to Acts 2:28 to a passage I have been pondering a few days "you will fill me with joy in your presence". Does this mean, then, that as we go deeper with God, essentially being in His presence, is when we will discover joy. Maybe it is not just a feeling, but something deeper, something that can't be compared with a trip to Walmart? That's what I want. That joy. To be in His presence.
The reference went back to Psalm 16. What sweet words from the Lord this morning. I obviously have read the passage before, as I had underlined some things, but how it spoke to me again."Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge." Translation, keep me from my own sinfulness, my own wicked heart which is beyond compare, from my own run-away emotions that determine to destroy good things. I am my own worst enemy sometimes."You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing." No good thing? Then why do I still seek the world's "good" things? Why do I not seek God for His good things?"Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places." What a mighty God I serve. He also knows how my heart deceives and leads me astray so quickly, and He Himself has set the boundary lines. He Himself has laid out the path for my life. My lot is secure, in Him. The boundary lines are good. My shortcomings are good, they lead me back to Him. Constantly.
"You have made known to me the path of life; you WILL fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." What a promise from a God who will not disappoint.(Are you still with me?)
So where am I going with all this, only to my own shallowness, because in the midst of all this my mind still went to "Hmmm... I wonder what color of tin punch I should pick when the time comes that I can order my cabinets, and who could build them for me, and how much would it cost, and how could I work that much to get that much money?" Shallow, shallow, shallow! Does the Bible describe Stephens kitchen? Or what color his tin punch cabinets were? No! It describes his spirit and his wisdom, and how his face looked like that of an angel as he spoke. Even as they were stoning him, his heart was intent on God. How I long for a taste of what he had. How I long for joy in His presence! As a wise and learned friend encouraged me the other day, she said that as we grow in our faith it only gets harder. It makes heaven look all the sweeter.Here they all come. Time to get back to real life. I need another cup of coffee!