God’s will is the very best//Lindsay

As a senior in college, I struggled with what job to take after graduation. I felt the pull of the Holy Spirit to intern with Cru, yet the pull of my flesh was to take an Event Coordinator position. One meant raising financial support; the other meant earning a salary. Interning felt daunting, impossible, and shaky. Taking a salaried job felt more acceptable, stable, and comfortable. 

Considering obeying the Lord and interning with Cru was so scary. Ignoring His voice and taking the full-time, salaried “business world” job was so appealing.
Have you ever been torn about whether to obey the Holy Spirit’s quiet voice 
or pretend like you never heard it? I was. 
I will never forget my campus leader’s advice one day when processing this with him. As I shared my fears with him, he didn’t try to tell me what job to pursue. He also didn’t try to tell me what he thought God was saying to me. Instead, he simply listened and gently offered this gem of advice: “Lindsay, You are never more financially stable than when you are in God’s will.”
His words struck me at my core. It’s been almost 10 years and I still reflect back to his words in ever-changing situations. 
“You are never more financially stable than when you are in God’s will.”
Let me clarify: To walk in obedience with God’s will, to follow what I know to be the Holy Spirit’s leading… THIS is true security.This is true financial stability. I could lose a fancy job at any moment; security in the things of this world is an illusion. True security is found in walking with God, listening to His voice, depending on Him and His promises.
By God’s grace, I interned with Cru the following year. And the next. Then, I joined staff for the long haul. It’s been almost 10 years since that decision and I have never been in need. God has amazed me by His provision and His goodness to me. I love my job! A short time after I declined the position as the Event Coordinator at that company, I learned some things about the company and the position that were less than desirable. I wouldn’t have been happy there. As it turns out,God knows what is best for me – better than I do.
My leader’s wisdom can be applied to many other aspects of our lives. Here are a few other ideas for you to consider:
You are never more satisfied than when you are in God’s will.

You are never more of who you are meant to be than when you are in God’s will.

You are never more free than when you are in God’s will. 
Can you think of other ways that walking with God changes 
our perspectives and our realities??

Psalm 29 {Lindsay}

Pretend for a moment that you have no previous knowledge of God, about what He is like or how He acts. Now read Psalm 29. 

Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings,
    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
    worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.

The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
    the God of glory thunders,
    the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
    the voice of the Lord is majestic.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
    the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon leap like a calf,
    Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord strikes
    with flashes of lightning.
The voice of the Lord shakes the desert;
    the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord twists the oaks
    and strips the forests bare.
And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”
The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
    the Lord is enthroned as King forever.
The Lord gives strength to his people;
    the Lord blesses his people with peace.

Let’s look at some brief observation and interpretation of this Psalm, starting with the opening verses: 
  • Ascribe simply means give, attribute something to. Creation is to give and attribute the worth due this God.
  • This God is so great that He is to be honored for who He is, not just by people or animals or earthly things, but specifically here by even the angels
  • We learn that this God is full of glory, strength, and holiness (like no other). 

Then in verses 3-10, the psalmist describes some of the actions and abilities that set God apart and make Him deserving of awe. 
  • The power of the mere voice of God to cause lightning, earthquakes, floods, and other massively powerful acts. 
  • Pay attention to some of the verbs here: thunders, breaks, makes leap, strikes, shakes, twists, strips bare, and sits enthroned. The imagery is so powerful. The God of the Bible is King over the flood, the forest, and the skies. 
  • The only appropriate response is given in verse 9 by those in His presence, crying out, “Glory!” Imagine your heart jumping in your chest when you are amazed by something or someone, when you just want to scream in awe or tell someone else about it. 

And then there is verse 11. Psalm 29 closes with an encouragement and truth about where God’s affections lay and how He interacts with those recipients of His affections. 
  • God… gives (I thought all giving was due Him?!)… 
  • He gives strength (the Source of all power and might gives of His strength?!)…. 
  • To His people (this worthy God associates with simple, broken, messed up people?!). The Lord gives strength to His people. To those who trust in Him and not in themselves. To those who know their own weakness and rely on His power to save them and help them. Yes, God is a generous God and He shares strength with His people.  
  • There’s more. In contrast yet not contradiction, verse 11 goes on to say that this same God blesses those same people with peace. The same God whose spoken word can shake the earth and snap a redwood tree, also gives peace, comfort, and wholeness to His children. 

We are told in Hebrews that if we want to know more about what God is like than we can look at the person of Jesus
Psalm 29 reminds me of Jesus’ power and authority over creation, when He displayed control over winds and waves with just His words, when He made eyes that were blind able to see clearly again, when He raised a dead man back to life again, and ultimately when He conquered sin and death on the cross.
Psalm 29 also reminds of Jesus’ gentleness and care, when He stretched out His clean hand to love and heal the untouchable leper, when He gave comfort and hope to the criminal on the cross beside Him, and when He ultimately made peace between sinful man and a holy God by sacrificing Himself. 

Psalm 29 describes God as both all powerful and peace-giving
He is enthroned above all acts of nature, and He cares about the storms of our hearts and minds. 
Through Jesus, we have access to the strength and peace of God.  

For me, this Psalm has specifically encouraged me about pregnancy and childbirth (Lord willing, Brandon and I will meet our baby boy in November!). Honestly, I am scared and feel out of control. I can’t keep this baby alive and I seriously can’t imagine pushing this kiddo out of my body in a few months! What I need that is beyond myself is strength. And peace. Both. Not just one or the other. Strength for the journey and the task, and peace for my fears along the way. The God who made all of creation made me. Jesus is willing and able to give me strength and peace. I need it!!!

For most, if not all of you, pregnancy and childbirth aren’t readily on your stress-list! What about you though? Are you living afraid of something? Are you feeling especially weak or unable for something you know is ahead? A new semester is about to begin – new classes, perhaps a new roommate, possibly new hardships, and also fresh joys. Pause and reflect on this reminder that in the midst of all that is ahead, God is God, and you are not, and that is very good. He gives strength and He gives peace. 

Free from “bad news” {Lindsay}

There’s a particular verse from the Bible that Brandon, my husband, and I tell each other often in our home. God has used this one sentence to truly and radically carry us through some rocky trials. The opportunities for it’s immediate application have been abundant, whether a financial loss, a long awaited call from our case worker, an update on a family member’s health and that of our own also, and so on. 

There’s a tie that binds us all as people – hardships and struggles. Life is full of throat-punches, isn’t it? Just when you think it’s all too good to be true… man, you’re right. Your car dies. Or you get that test score back. Or your roommate announces she is transferring. Or, maybe currently your life really is just great and you’re happy, yet you almost expect something to hit the fan at any moment. We were made for perfection, but we are not perfect and neither is this world we live in, yet as disciples of Jesus, we long for the day when it will all be made right again. Until then, we struggle and we play, we rejoice and we mourn. Life is not one without the other; Life is a “both – and,” not an “either – or” for any of us.  

So, what’s that verse I mentioned that is repeated in my home often?

He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.
Psalm 112:7

That’s it. That little sentence is packed with solid ground to stand on in this both wonderful AND painful life we spend on earth. Let me break it down a bit to squeeze just a bit of the goods out of it. Here are a few brief observations and remarks on Psalm 112:7: 
  • Who is the “He?”– In context, this psalm is describing a righteous man. The “he” here is a righteous man, which instantly disqualifies you and me. So how can we apply this verse? We are qualified as a righteous one if we have trusted in God’s saving work through Jesus. According to Romans3:21, we have been given the righteousness of God because of Jesus’ death and resurrection! So, the “he” can be ‘she’ or ‘I’ for the sake of application. If you know Jesus, you are a counted as a righteous woman. 
  • “He will have no fear of bad news” – This does not read “he will have no bad news,” rather that he/you/I can be without fear, and even experience peace in the face of bad news or in the waiting for potential hard news. 
But how can this be?! How can I possibly not fear bad news? How could I not be afraid that the doctor’s report, my final exam grade, my parents’ divorce discussion, or my boyfriends’ true feelings about me could actually be bad??
  • “his heart is steadfast” – The ESV says, “his heart is firm,” and the NLT says, “confidently trusting.” These all speak to a steady, unwavering, stillness to the righteous man. I imagine this person as being anchored and stable through life’s storms, rather than mysteriously avoiding the waves and winds.  This is a real person, with real stability and steadfastness amidst real difficult circumstances, harsh criticism, and painful relationships. 
If you are like me, at this point, you are thinking, “well, if righteous wasn’t disqualifying enough, then the attribute of steadfastness described here is!” But, hang with me just a bit longer. This next part is the meat and potatoes, or just the relief to the high standards of internal fortitude aforementioned. 🙂
  • “his heart is steadfast, trusting”– His/her heart is so stable in the face of bad news, only because he/she is trusting in the Lord. The righteous man is certainly not hoping in the outcome of the news, or his circumstances, or even his own personal strength or resilience. This not a form of self-help psychology! This steadfastness isn’t so much about the person, as it is about the object of the person’s trust. Your and my heart can actually, really, be steady and at peace if we place our hope in something other than our circumstances or ourselves, and more specifically in our hope in Someone. 
  • “trusting in the Lord”– Yes, that Someone is He who is Himself the essence of steadfastness, He who never changes (James 1:17), He who made the world by the power of His word (Hebrews 11:3), He who knows every one of our days before one has come into being (Psalm 139:16), He who demonstrated His incredible love when He gave Himself up for us (Romans 8:32). We can anchor our souls to the Lord Jesus (Hebrews 6:19).
Our natural inclination as we await news or as we receive bad news is to fret, to be afraid. I encourage you to memorize this verse and repeat it to yourself in those moments, or better, declare it (even while still afraid) to a friend. Repeat. Get it down in your gut. Remind yourself why you can experience peace and on whom you are laying your cares. God is trustworthy – He is worthy of our trust. You can take that to the bank. Now go, and learn to be free from fearing the next “bad news” in your life.