Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Refuge in the Lord

The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.
Psalm 37:39-40 NIV

Does the word righteous bother you?  I had a conversation with a person a long time ago who was confusing self-righteous behavior with righteous behavior.  Mr. Webster's definition of righteous is :  1) acting in a just, upright manner; virtuous 2) morally right or justifiable.  It doesn't mean "holier than thou".    Self-righteous means regarding oneself as being morally superior to others; smugly virtuous.

The apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 2:3-5 NIV Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.......  I encourage you to take time to open your Bible and read verses 1-11 of Philippians 2 as Paul teaches us how to imitate Christ's humility.

  Before we can take refuge in the Lord, we have to be aware of His presence and acknowledge it.  Truly believing what is written in these two verses in Psalms gives us great comfort.  Yes, there will be troubles, but we know that as we live life on purpose for the Lord, He will help us and deliver us.  We can accept temporary inconvenience and trouble, because through it, God is moving us forward to a better place.  We can accept this discomfort because we can trust God and we can trust ourselves, too.  When the troubles of life get our attention, we can face them with dignity, gratitude and peace as we trust God to help us and deliver us.  As God helps us lay the building blocks of our spiritual foundation, we quickly get the upper hand on trouble as it comes.  Taking refuge in God is an awesome place to be!

In case I didn't tell you, my first experience in church was in a small, rural community in a Southern Baptist  church.  After Allen and I married and went to Germany, there was a period of time we didn't go to church, but when we were assigned to a base in Illinois, we joined a Presbyterian church.  Upon our move to Virginia, as we searched for our next church, again, God led us to a Presbyterian church.  God guided our steps as we moved to Florida.  It would be a United Methodist church where we worshipped for 10 months and then God saw fit for Allen to retire from the Air Force.  We then moved back to North Carolina and joined a United Methodist church.  Since December, God has led us to a Presbyterian church.  We dearly love all the people in these churches.  We've never had conflict with anyone and we truly believe it is through God's guidance we are currently attending the Presbyterian church.

Why am I telling you all of this?  I want you to know that I have complete faith in the Lord to put me where He needs me when He needs me there and for as long as He needs me there.  For me, it's not whether I am labeled as one denomination or another that matters.  We all serve the same God.  I've never felt that I have left one church for another.  When God calls, I obey.  It's that simple.  The thing to remember is that I have a happy heart as I trust in the Lord to lead me, guide me and direct me.  I am always aware of His presence.

You are in my thoughts and prayers.  Love, Nan

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