Friday, February 10, 2012

Faith. Hope. Love: Chapter Nine

Generally speaking, I do not like to shop. I know. Hard to believe. I have even been asked if I am really a female because of my strong disdain for the subject but department stores and malls are torture to me and why would I torment myself like that? Now, I find quick browsing tolerable but fifteen minutes is usually my max.

Mixed within the typical chit chat at work circulated a rumor of a fire sale of sorts…or maybe “rummage sale” would be more accurate. Luxurious, well made articles of clothing at grossly discounted prices. But the selection did not cater to everyone and one had to scour through the racks and piles of garments to find anything. It was first come, first served and the individuals who had made the discovery waited a couple days before sharing news of it.

It was there I bought a sleek, black blazer (with a double row of large buttons) made of a thick fabric and lined on the inside. Another gal had found it but it was not her size so she pointed it out to me and it was love at first sight. Fitted and comfortable, it did not leave much room for any growth on my end but I had someone else in mind whom it would fit perfectly. I took my three or four items to the check out area and made off with my score before irritation began nagging at me. I gave the blazer to a loved one and a couple years later it made its way back to me. I kept it, a pin striped skirt suit, and a long, straight, sleeveless, light weight, stretchy brown dress (with black and cream color patterns throughout) for ten years before finally giving them up to an organization that collects items for disabled vets and their families.

It was the Hong Kong leg of the travel plans that really interested me in the field of apparel. Silk suits were said to be top of the line there and I was told I should indulge while I had the chance. But the opportunity would never come.

Often times I am completely dumbfounded by the way God operates and what He ordained (even before the foundations of the earth). It is rarely what I would expect (Isaiah 55:8) because His ways are not like my own. But one of the most difficult lessons I had to learn about God is it is better to take refuge in Him than to trust in man (Psalm 118:8). In one of the most difficult seasons of my life (James 14:4) the following verses were my constant companions:

Romans 8:28: And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Psalm 42:5: Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation

Ephesians 3:20: Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,

Ephesians 6:10-20: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

Philippians 4:4-8: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
And, a quote from Alan Redpath which states:

“There is nothing – no circumstance, no trouble, no testing – that can ever touch me until, first of all, it has gone past God and past Christ right through to me. If it has come that far, it has come with a great purpose, which I may not understand at the moment. But as I refuse to become panicky, as I lift up my eyes to Him and accept it as coming from the throne of God for some great purpose of blessing to my own heart, no sorrow will ever disturb me, no trial will ever disarm me, no circumstance will cause me to fret – for I shall rest in the joy of what my Lord is! – That is the rest of victory!”

Faith. Hope. Love: Chapter Nine
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