But, today I thought I'd take a minute to just share that things are going okay here. Mark's work is more consistent again. We wish it were more, but consistency is probably the main goal right now. If you think of us, keep praying for that, as well as growth. We've also made a decision to try to replace our huge conversion van. The gas costs are literally milking us dry. We kept putting it off, hoping that our circumstances would improve before we made that kind of change, but the truth is.... we could either keep putting the money into the gas executives pockets, OR put it towards a smaller vehicle. So, we've chosen the latter. God has even arranged for that need through our wonderful daughter-in-law's father. He has a car business and he is looking for a good deal on a car that gets great gas mileage. (He, by the way, is a Christian and an HONEST car dealer just a short drive from here... let us know if you are in the market for a used or new car and we'll give you his info.) Two days after deciding we needed to make this change, we got a message from someone interested in buying our van, as well. So, that could make it even better!
Another thing I wanted to do today, is share more from my Psalms of the Ascent studies with you. In particular, a quote from the study guide that comes to my mind again and again:
but the circumstances of our hearts are changed
in the midst of them through a keen sense of God's presence
and a lively perception of His activity.
These words are so perfect, I cannot think of a better way to explain the last two years to you. In spite of circumstances that are challenging, scary, up and down, and illogical, I have great joy! Most of the time, I have a peace that defies human logic. We have witnessed so many miracles and amazing displays of God's care, His provision, and His love. That "lively perception of His activity" has been HUGE in our lives. It makes the trial all worth while. It is something I wish for every Christian. The drawing closer and closer to Him, because you find you cannot stand on your own.... there is nothing like walking in true dependency. I now know, what people mean, when they say you cannot truly learn to trust God until "whatever it is you trust in", is taken away. A bank account. A job. A paycheck. Health. Home. Family. Christians know they need to trust God, but I think for most of us it is more theory than practice... until issues come up that really test our faith and force our hand.
In all honesty, there are days when circumstances begin to overwhelm me with fear and strip me of my peace. The enemy begins to whisper deceitful words to me and it can cause me to become negative and doubtful! But, turning to God.... no, running to God, is my answer every time. Psalm 8:1-2 says:
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
above the heavens.
From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise
because of your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
Notice that second part, will you? Do you see it? We can silence the foe and the avenger! How?... go back up to the first two lines and there is the answer. THROUGH PRAISE! We can force Satan to zip his lips simply through our praise! If you find that you are being attacked by Satan, if you find your peace being stolen away, your joy being elusive, and/or are filled with thoughts that cause you to take your eyes off of God and onto your worldly circumstances.... just get on your knees and praise Him! I find that thought so amazing... to think that we can open our mouths in praise, and it causes Satan and his dominion's mouths to be "glued shut". It is an amazing weapon available to us for spiritual warfare.