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Friday, January 23, 2015

Inspired by . . . continue

 

Just before the new year I started one of YouVersion’s reading plans. New thru 30: a plan that has you reading through the New Testament in 30 days. I knew when I started it that I wouldn’t be able to keep up, but at the time I had no idea I’d be quite this far behind. I just completed day, um, four.

The new year has brought the new routine of visiting my dad in the hospital/rehab facility every other day or so. This, in turn, has wreaked havoc with every other schedule in my life. But I have been trying. Trying to do a bit here and there. Trying to breathe despite the weight of sadness, trying to hear God’s voice in the dark. Trying not to miss what He has for me, even during this difficult time. Because I know that God doesn’t waste anything.

 

WaterLilyBlossom

 

Many of you know that there is a great weight of weariness that accompanies you when you’re in a valley. This weariness can make the reading of the Word meaningless and routine. So as I read the words {of the New Testament which} I’ve read so many times before, I’m trying to see the words with new eyes.

Day five of my reading plan begins with Mark, chapter six.  We learn here that when Jesus taught and performed miracles in His hometown He was not honored. We learn how He called the twelve disciples to Him. How He instructed them and sent them out to preach, cast out demons, and to heal. Then, oddly, between verse 13 and verse 30 when the disciples return to Jesus, we have the story of Herod beheading John the Baptist. It seems that this tragedy had happened previously, but Mark chose to include it here in his narrative. I wondered why.

Many of Jesus’ disciples had first been disciples of John the Baptist. I’m certain that their grief over John’s death was worsened by the senseless manner in which it occurred. I don’t know why Matthew and Mark insert the story where they do in their narratives. Perhaps there is no other reason than to address one of the rumors that Jesus was John the Baptist brought back to life.

 

LilyPadPod

 

But as I pondered this, the placement of the story story spoke to me, personally.

Sandwiched in between Jesus sending out His disciples, and their returning to Him, we read of a terrible tragedy.  We hear of John’s disciples claiming his body and laying it to rest. It is a time of sadness and grief. And yet the scene before and the scene after tells of Jesus’ disciples carrying out the work of the Kingdom. They are preaching the Good News. Freeing people from bondage. Healing people from their afflictions. It was a time of great rejoicing and thanksgiving.

These things can, and do, exist in the same space in time.

The work of the Kingdom didn’t stop when John the Baptist died. Nor should it. Nor would John have wanted it to. The work of the Kingdom doesn’t stop when tragedy, grief or pain comes into our lives either. It doesn’t stop, but it might change or look a little different for awhile.

For example, for me these last few weeks, reflecting Christ has been more about honoring my dad in some very public settings than it has been about writing here on this blog. There are times when actions proclaim the Truth more profoundly than words. And when God gives us the strength to act in times of weakness, His name is glorified all the more.

 

But His answer was: "My grace is all you need, for My power is greatest when you are weak."

(2Co 12:9)

 

I want to encourage you, if you are experiencing a time of tragedy, grief or pain. It’s natural to narrow our focus. To go into survival mode.

But God calls us to do more than survive. He calls us to thrive!

 

Worry_tenBoom

 

Ask Him to give you what you need to continue on. To continue His work.

He will do it. He will give you the strength you need.

And soon, you’ll be looking DOWN into the valley from a higher place.

 

Blessings,

June

 

 

Sharing inspiration here:

#GiveMeGrace

#TellHisStory

Sandra Heska King - Still Saturday

9 comments:

  1. First & foremost, I completely understand, as someone who knows both you, and your beloved father. I continue to pray for his healing and your strength.

    Secondly, the past 10 days have been similar for me, as I may have mentioned to you. I had a blood family member go "under the knife" 9 days ago, for what was supposed to be a simple robotic incision, early detection, colon cancer surgery. And it turned in to an effort to save a life with a vascular surgeon being called in to fix a severed artery.

    There were tears and fears, but God carried my loved one through, and they will return home today, in a far away city that circumstances don't permit me to visit.

    I love the picture post about worry for tomorrow; adore the passage references in which we are to continue our work; And mostly that we will receive His strengths to carry on, simply by asking for what we need.

    You inspire me, and so many others, my dear friend.

    I'll continue to pray for you, and know you will continue to do so for me.

    Anothet Inspiration By June that really strikes a chord in my soul.

    Carry on, sweet friend! XO

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  2. In the middle of the storm, you are sailing strong, lovely friend. May you find Him delightfully present as you lean into this new season ...

    Praying for you even as we speak.

    Hugs!

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  3. I know exactly what it's like to have your "agenda" upended as I have just came out of such a season myself. My blog posts were one of the first things to go, and now in this season of "catching up" I'm still not quite on track. But God is doing something bigger and better. You have the rest of your life to succeed at New through 30, but you can minister to your father now. Stay in the Word as best you can and worry about reading plans in a calmer season. Blessings to you!

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  4. Thank you, friend, I do believe I am being carried along by the gentle flow of your prayers, and the prayers of others. Have a blessed day!

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  5. Thank you for your encouragement, Lisa!

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  6. I understand perfectly the thoughts of wanting to shut down when facing a time in the valley. Thank you for the encouragement admit your own struggles to remember that Jesus calls us to thrive. Beautiful post! You are in my prayers June!

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  7. Thanks for stopping by, Mary! I value your prayers. Blessings!

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  8. Beautiful quote by Corrie ten Boom. It's one of my favorites. Thanks for the words of encouragement. May the Lord bless and keep you!

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  9. Thanks, Bethany! I've always admired, Miss ten Boom, but after reading The Hiding Place for the first time last I simply cannot get her out of my mind! Thanks for visiting!

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If you read something here that inspired you, I’d love to hear about it. Please know I appreciate every comment! Thanks so much for stopping by! Blessings, June