I woke up this morning with my heart in my throat, so I know it’s time to write. I am not quite sure why I feel this way today. Maybe it stems from this morning’s news broadcast…the division in our country…the questions and unrest over recent “sweeping legislation”. Or possibly it is the burden I feel for Mrs. Barbara whose husband passed away this past week, and for Julie whose Dad has apparently suffered a stroke. Quite possibly it is simply the Holy Spirit ministering to my heart. As soon as I typed this last statement, I realized what an oxymoron it is. There is nothing simple about the way the Holy Spirit ministers. The ministering may come about in a gentle, quiet manner…but even then there is such a power, such an humbling sense of awe when encountering His presence that the term “simple” does not seem to fit.
I was asked the other day how I know God truly exists, and if He does exist, how do I know that He cares about the seemingly insignificant details of my life. My answer – I know because I have experienced His divine presence. Not only have I experienced it on my own, I have encountered His presence in a mighty way as believers gathered together with purpose and of one heart and mind earnestly seeking and welcoming God’s holy presence. In such a setting He has given me a glimpse of His holy, mighty power, and it is like nothing this earth has to offer. It reaches beyond sheer human emotion to a place deep inside of your soul that is nothing but undisputable, inexplainable pure fact. The fact that He is God. The fact that He is all powerful. The fact that He created me, and He loves me. The fact that He has great wonders for me that I cannot even begin to understand. The fact that He loves me with an everlasting love.
It is because of these encounters that I am assured beyond a shadow of a doubt that I need not fret whenever the powers of this world pass legislation that I may or may not agree with. I need not worry when criminals and the unthinkable acts they commit seem to monopolize the press promoting fear and the false notion that evil is in control. I need not worry when the news media appears to be biased in its views and attempts to set the tone and agenda for our country’s values. I need not fret when Christianity is presented as being based on outdated, prejudicial bias. I need not worry when our culture appears to have lost all sense of values and direction. I must be concerned, and I must act when called to action, but I need not fear. I can rest assured that God cares for those who are hurting. I understand that He feels our pain. I know He offers and is capable of providing a comfort and peace this world cannot provide.
I have seen a glimpse of God’s power. No president, congressman, CEO, king or government posseses a power like this. I have experienced His peace and His comfort during periods of deep loss. I have experienced His protection and divine intervention during times when by the world’s statistics I was destined to fail, or worse, to die. I have witnessed the fulfillment of His promises through my children…the very children who by the world’s odds stood very little chance of success. I have seen God use them to reinforce His promises to me…the very promises I shared with them as children but somehow in my humanity lost sight of. Most precious of all I have seen the depth of His forgivness and His grace.
Yes, perhaps the Holy Spirit is simply at work in my heart. As a result of His presence, I am assured that my heart is safe…even when it rises to my throat and the tears threaten to fall. I know I can rest in the fact that “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.Come and see the works of the LORD, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire. “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Psalms 46
“Thank You, Lord, for the power and the gift of Your Holy Spirit. Thank You that because of Your power, I can rest assured that my future, my children’s future, and their children’s future is in Your hands. I know that nothing happens in my life that is not first filtered through Your loving touch. Although I may not always understand, I realize that we live in an imperfect, sinful world. I choose to trust You because you created me. You know me better than anyone in this world, and You know Your plans for my life. I ask that You help me whenever it is hard for me to trust. Forgive my unbelief at times, but thank You for giving us the capability to question and to reason. I love You, I need Your forgiveness, and I need Your help in living this life the way I should. I realize I cannot do this in my own power, so Lord, please help me to live in such a way that people can look past me and the senseless mistakes I make to see You and the love You have for them. In Jesus name I entrust my life into Your hands. Amen”
One of my goals for this year is to begin the process of reading the entire Bible from start to finish. I have studied the Bible for most of my life, but I have yet to read consecutively from Genesis through the book of Revelation. So I have made a commitment to read at least one chapter a day until I have completed this goal.
I am thoroughly enjoying the journey, but I seem to have a little trouble with staying on task. It seems that each time I read a chapter, I find a great passage that I want to investigate further. I find myself following scripture references, and I tend to get a little off course. So I have had to discipline myself to reading the entire chapter before going off on a treasure hunt.
That being said, while reading last night God revealed this sweet little jewel of His character. It is in Genesis chapter three. Adam and Eve had let temptation get the best of them and had eaten fruit of the one tree from which God had instructed them not to partake. Now, isn’t that just like us?! God had provided them with everything they could ever want or need, and He asked only one thing in return. But here comes Satan with his smooth tongue and his sly, little lies, persuading them to disobey God’s one and only command. This one act of disobedience brought seperation from God, sin, death, pain and heartache to not only them, but to all who came after them.
Adam attempts to pass the buck for his actions on to Eve. Eve, in turn, blames it all on the serpent. However, God in His infinite wisdom knows that each party is responsible for his or her own actions, and He assigns consequences to the serpent and to Adam and Eve as well. Then here comes the jewel. Genesis 3:21 says, “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” It seems like such a simple statement, but it struck me as profound.
God looked past their disobedience and met their need. He didn’t have to provide them garments of skin. He could have let them wander in shame and need until they figured out how to properly clothe themselves. He could have turned His back on them allowing them to struggle hopelessly unprotected from the elements. Instead He provided for their need and their protection.
The Bible says He even went one step further. He not only made the garments for Adam and Eve, but he clothed them. He didn’t just leave them on their own to figure out how these garments were supposed to be worn. He clothed them. They did not have to clothe themselves in and of their own power. No, He clothed them in much the same way that He desires to clothe us. He wants to clothe us in His love, in His power, in His peace, in His protection, in His grace and in His mercy.
Thank You, Lord, for Your provision and for Your divine help. Thank You that even while you hold us accountable for our actions, You offer us Your mercy and Your help in our deepest time of need. Please help me to be willing to submit to Your guidance. Help me not to fight against You in an attempt to do it all on my own. Help me to submit to Your divine power and to allow You to work through me. And please forgive me when I fail. In Christ’s precious, Holy name I pray, Amen.
Maybe it’s because I’m older, or maybe it’s because I’m from the country, but I grew up hearing and repeating this saying. I never thought much of it really, until I began hearing it repeated by my little grandson a couple of weeks ago. I guess someone way back when had a horse named Buck, and Buck must have gotten a little rowdy and had to be reigned in. I can remember both my father and grandfather trudging behind a horse and old plow getting their gardens ready to plant each spring and fall. Many was the time I heard the phrase “Whoa Buck” when that horse would lose his concentration or get a little ahead of the game.
This phrase was not limited to horses and mules, however. Let my grandmother’s pots and pans fall out of the cabinet whenever she was reaching for something way in the back, and what would she say?…”Whoa Buck!” Or let the basket of clean clothes slip from your hands when you were struggling to get them inside after taking them off the clothesline tumbling white sheets and pillowcases into a pile of dirt and pine straw, and what do you say?…”Whoa, Buck!”
Well, it seems that the phrase has been passed on to a whole new generation. I got a call from Chelsey this past Sunday morning. It seems that while she was getting Mr. Randy ready for church, he decided to pick up the spray water bottle his Momma uses to fix his hair , pointed it at her, counted to 2, said “Shoot!” and sprayed her good. And what does he say as he throws his head back giggling?…”Whoa Buck!” I can almost see the twinkle in my grandma’s eyes and hear my grandpa’s chuckle. (Sorry Chelsey…I promise I didn’t teach him the water bottle part 🙂