Hiding in the cave of despair? Do what David did

 Deir-Dubban Entrance SM
The entrance to a cave in Deir-Dubban, six miles southwest of Bethlehem on the border of the Philistine plains and at the foot of the Judean mountains. There are a number of vaults about 15 to 20 feet deep, and perhaps David and his family lived for a time in one of the vaults.

I cry out to God Most High,
    to God, who vindicates me.
He sends from heaven and saves me,
    rebuking those who hotly pursue me—
    God sends forth his love and his faithfulness.

 

 

I am in the midst of lions;
    I am forced to dwell among ravenous beasts—
men whose teeth are spears and arrows,
    whose tongues are sharp swords.Psalm 57:2-4

This Psalm may represent David’s anguish when he found a cave in Abdullam to hide from the king of Achish in Gath.  1 Samuel 22

Desperate to get away from Saul, David fled to Gath, a key Philistine city, enemy territory. The Philistines recognized him; he pretended to be insane, and he fled to the cave. In all likelihood, Saul’s rage against David extended to his family, and they joined him in the cave.

Huddled in the cave, David talks with God and states the facts in the first verses of the Psalm.

  1. God vindicates him.
  2. God saves him.
  3. God rebukes those who pursue him.
  4. He lives among his enemies.
  5. His enemies speak fierce words against him.

David turns his thoughts from his enemies to God.

Be exalted above the heavens, O God;
Let Your glory be above all the earth. Psalm 57:5
Back to his problems. He’s in the pit, the cave. Selah may mean a pause, a crescendo, or a musical interlude. In this Psalm, it is a turning point.
They have prepared a net for my steps;
My soul is bowed down;
They dug a pit before me;
They themselves have fallen into the midst of it.          Selah.  Psalm 57:6
David turns his thoughts from his problems to God and determines what he will do.
My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises!
 Awake, my glory!
Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.
 I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to You among the nations.
 For Your lovingkindness is great to the heavens
And Your truth to the clouds.
 Be exalted above the heavens, O God;
Let Your glory be above all the earth.
David has will-power. In the middle of problems it’s not easy to do what he chose to do.
  1. He will keep his heart steadfast.
  2. He will sing praises.
  3. He will awake the dawn.
  4. He will give thanks.
  5. He will sing praises again.

Why will David take these actions?

  1. God’s lovingkindness is great to the heavens.
  2. God’s truth is great to the clouds.

Whether it’s finances, work issues, sickness, marriage problems, a prodigal, this is a psalm to turn to. David found the formula.

  1. He cried out to God and acknowledged God’s faithfulness.
  2. He stated the problem.
  3. He turned his thoughts on God’s works.
  4. He exalted God.
  5. He stated his problem again.
  6. He decided to sing praises and give thanks to God.

He exalted God.

Deir-Dubban Inside
Fleeing the king of Gath.
Running from Saul.
Huddling in a cave with his family.
Singing praise to God.
David … a man after God’s own heart.
Whether it’s finances, marriage, sickness, family, work, or relationships, cry out to God. He is faithful. He is our great Provider and Healer. Turn your eyes to Him.

My prayer for you

Father in heaven, You are faithful, Your lovingkindness is great to the heavens. Thank You that You listen to our heart’s cry and that You provide all we need; You heal our marriages, our families, our relationships and our diseases. That’s why in the midst of our troubles we can sing praises to You. You are in control and have already worked out things in our best interests.  Be exalted above the heavens, O God. Let Your glory be above all the earth.

Full Disclosure

Whoever eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. John 6:54. I’ve been chewing on that for the past two weeks. John 16 is another way of saying it. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit, possessing His promises, partaking in the divine nature. What a privilege and blessing we have! Thank you, Jesus!

Pluck the pleasures from God’s right hand!

Calamansi

You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. Psalm 16:11

Keith and I lived in the Philippines for three years in the late 1980s. We enjoyed calamansi, small citrus fruit that is also known as the Philippine lime. The taste is a cross from a tangerine and a lime … sweet but tart.

We’ve not seen them in the grocery stores, nor in restaurants. I mentioned to a coworker who was traveling to the Philippines how much we squeezed calamansi juice on our papayas, fruit, mahi mahi and just about everything when we were there.

We wished that we could buy these little balls of delight here in Southern California.

She said her tree was loaded with them and that she would bring me some.

You can grow them here?

Of course!

This weekend, I purchased a calamondin tree … different name but same fruit. The tree was just 1/2 mile down the road.

I wonder how many blessings we long for, sometimes for years, and they are just around the corner if we look for them and take them.

My prayer for you

Father, thank You that You show us our path. Your presence brings us fullness of joy. Your right hand holds out pleasures beyond measure … all for our taking. May we dwell in Your presence and pluck the pleasures from Your right hand that only You hold out to us. We love You, Lord.

From pounding cabbage to healing focus

Cabbage2Today, I crushed juniper berries, shredded three huge cabbages, tossed the shreds with salt and juniper berries, squeezed the water out of the cabbage, dumped bowls of mixture into the fermenting crock and pounded until more water appeared. Then, I covered the mixture with a cabbage leaf and pressed weights onto the leaf. Lid on, I poured boiled water around the lid to create a seal. Three to six weeks after the crushing, squeezing, pounding, and darkness, savory sauerkraut will reward my tastebuds.

As I prepared the cabbage to become Vitamin C-rich sauerkraut, I was reminded of how fibromyalgia crushed my spirit and twisted my nerves and muscles into knots of pain. I was reminded of Job.

“And now my soul is poured out within me;
Days of affliction have seized me.
17 “At night it pierces my bones within me,
And my gnawing pains take no rest.
18 “By a great force my garment is distorted;
It binds me about as the collar of my coat.
19 “He has cast me into the mire,
And I have become like dust and ashes.
20 “I cry out to You for help, but You do not answer me;
I stand up, and You turn Your attention against me.
21 “You have become cruel to me;
With the might of Your hand You persecute me.
22 “You lift me up to the wind and cause me to ride;
And You dissolve me in a storm.
23 “For I know that You will bring me to death
And to the house of meeting for all living. Job 30-16-23

26 “When I expected good, then evil came;
When I waited for light, then darkness came.
27 “I am seething within and cannot relax;
Days of affliction confront me.
28 “I go about mourning without comfort;
I stand up in the assembly and cry out for help. Job 30:26-28

Intense nights crawled.

“Lord, where are You?”

Weary mornings shouted.

“Lord, help me get up.”

Demanding days disheartened.

“Lord, I can’t do this.”

Crushing  commutes castdown.

“Lord, I’m so tired.”

Piercing pain pervaded.

“Lord, I want to quit.”

Praising Psalms prevailed.

“Lord, Your lovingkindness endures.”

Eager eyes examined.

“Lord, Your Word is life.”

Listening heart refocused.

“Lord, You are my desire.”

Then Job answered the Lord and said,

“I know that You can do all things,
And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.”
‘Hear, now, and I will speak;
I will ask You, and You instruct me.’
“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear;
But now my eye sees You;
Therefore I retract,
And I repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:1-6

12 The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; …17 And Job died, an old man and full of days. Job 42:12-17

God healed Job when he turned his eyes off his sickness and loss and onto the greatness of God.

God healed me when I gave up and told the Lord that all I wanted was more of Him. At that point, the Holy Spirit empowered me to present my body to the Lord as a living sacrifice.

My prayer for you

Father in heaven, You are all we need. Heal our lives, our bodies, and our spirits. Father, pour out Your Holy Spirit upon us. Enable us to see You as You are. Enable us to present our bodies as living and holy sacrifices to You. We love You, Lord and bask in the light of Your glory.

What will be the fruit of your crushing and pounding?

3 years … HEALED!

Low V

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

Today, marks the third anniversary of the Lord’s healing of my body’s fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Three years, pain free. Three years, proclaiming the miracle. Three years, demonstrating the miracle. Three years, Christians and non-Christians marveling.

The first year, God enabled me to return to work full time. He empowered me to climb the Great Wall of China six months after His healing. Eleven months after He healed me, a blog dedicated to the Lord was born.

The second year, my husband, Keith, and I traveled through six countries on two separate study abroad trips. I had the privilege of sharing the story of the Lord’s healing with a Hindu and American students. I also prayed with students.

The third year, co-workers and executives witnessed this former fibro patient get on a wire 4 1/2 feet from the ground, join hands with another woman, press into her hands, and lean forward as we inched out on the Team Building Low-V until we fell into the hands of our peers below. They cheered. I tearfully revealed the miracle. They marveled.

How did this happen, Karen?

The Lord healed me on November 21, 2010.

Did you change your diet? Did you do anything differently?

I did nothing. The Lord healed me.

There is one thing that I remembered later: I waited on the Lord. The word for “wait” in Isaiah 40:31 is qavah. It means to look for, to hope, to eagerly wait for. It’s an active waiting.

Keith and I waited upon the Lord.

We devoured Scriptures on healing; we read books on healing; we prayed for healing; we thanked the Lord for healing, we waited in anticipation; we went forward for the laying on of hands and anointing with oil, and we walked in faith when the Lord touched my body with healing.

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

It’s a promise we can count on.

I participated in an outdoor team-building cooking exercise the Thursday before I was healed. I was in so much distress that one of my peers escorted me back to my hotel room early.

Tuesday evening, I made tiramisu in a similar outdoor exercise. I reminded my supervisor of the evening three years ago as well as the person who escorted me back to my room that evening. They had not realized that Tuesday was close to the third anniversary of the Lord’s healing. I left the evening exercise and dinner late, celebrating health and the Lord.

God planned Tuesday evening.

God is good … all the time!

The freedom from pain and fatigue is awesome. God healed me to bless me. God healed me to show His reign over nature. God healed me to demonstrate renewal. God healed me to show His goodness.

That’s what signs and miracles are all about. They happen today to point people to Jesus.

Are you eagerly waiting upon the Lord?

My prayer for you:

Almighty God, thank You that You are a God of renewal. You are the Sovereign One who heals, empowers, and strengthens. Manifest Your renewing love in the lives of all who call upon Your name. May they seek after You in eager expectation of Your promises and Your work in their lives. Thank You for loving us so much that You gave Your Son to pay the price for our sins. We love You Lord.

Is God asking you to step into the unknown?

River2Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is crossing over ahead of you into the Jordan. … And it shall come about when the soles of the feet of the priests who carry the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off, and the waters which are flowing down from above shall stand in one heap.” Joshua 3:11-13

Camping, circling in the wilderness for 40 years.

Stepping into the Jordan River, waters standing in one heap.

Walking on dry land.

Carrying the ark of the covenant to the middle of the river.

Scurrying past the ark of the covenant and the priests.

Reaching the Promised Land.

Returning to the middle of the Jordan.

Heaving stones on shoulders.

Remembering God’s work.

Creating a memorial.

All the Israelites who had escaped Egyptian slavery and crossed the Red Sea on dry land died in the wilderness, except for two, Joshua and Caleb. The Israelites born in the wilderness lived under the coolness of God’s cloud by day and the warmth of God’s pillar of fire by night. They ate God-supplied manna and drank God-supplied water. All they knew was the provision of God.

Now was the time for the priests to take up the ark, put their feet in the water of the Jordan and walk out to the middle. The Israelites scurried to the other side, the Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey and inhabited  by giants.

Forty years earlier, Moses led their parents across the Red Sea on dry land into the wilderness. Now, Joshua led them on dry land to the Promised Land.

The Israelites had a choice that day. They could stay in the land they knew, or they could obey God and step into the unkown–with the promise that God was with them and would provide for them. They chose to step into a land where they would encounter battles, a land where they would work to eat, a land impossible to possess without God, a land of promise with God.

Is God asking you to step into the unknown? He’s with you. Jesus promised never to leave you or forsake you. God showed the Israelites the path they were to take in faith, and He will do it for you.

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11

My prayer for you:

Provider of all that is good and right, please guide us into all that You have planned for us, for we know that Your plans for us are filled with eternal pleasure and joy. Empower us to step out in faith, so that through Your great strength and power, we will point others to You.