Devotional 6 - "Hidden"

Good Morning, friend!  It's so good to have you back.  Can I take you back to a time in 2004 in my life?  Our devotional from today is connected to a memory I had at that time.  

But first things first!  Let's grab a Bible and read the following scripture:

Isaiah 49:2 (NIV)
2 He made my mouth like a sharpened sword,
in the shadow of his hand he hid me;
he made me into a polished arrow
and concealed me in his quiver.

Psalm 27:5-6 (NIV)
5 For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.
6 Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the Lord.

Psalm 31:19-20  (NIV)
19 How abundant are the good things
that you have stored up for those who fear you,
that you bestow in the sight of all,
on those who take refuge in you.
20 In the shelter of your presence, you hide them
from all human intrigues;
you keep them safe in your dwelling
from accusing tongues.

Colossians 3:2-4 (NIV)
2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

It was 2004 and my husband, two boys and I had recently relocated to South Carolina.  I'd like to tell you that the move was exciting and hopeful, but in truth, we had to move.  I'd made some desperately sinful choices in my life and in my marriage and put it simply...needed a change of scenery.  New days.  New roads to drive down.  A fresh start.

I was terribly broken at that time.  My heart was shattered and I was taking what I know now were the first God-ordained steps towards true repentance.  I hated myself.  I hated looking in the mirror.  I just had very little hope that things could be truly better.

We had visited a nearby church and I saw a ladies Bible study advertised.  As you know from my other postings, I'd already had a history with Bible studies and so I knew that this may be a route that would be helpful.  It didn't seem like a "normal" ladies Bible study, though!  It was called "Prasso".  That is a Greek word for "Practice".  The goal of the Bible study was to first, discover the person of Jesus Christ.  Then, to discover who we were and where we were falling short in a Christ-like life.  We learned new ways of obedience to God and how to practice them every day.  Along with memory verses and a small intimate group that met after the lecture, we were offered, from one of the dearest women I'd ever met, Mrs. Laura Baker, a chance for a new beginning.

I'd read all of the promotional literature.  I even called Miss Laura to make sure that her view of Christianity was on the up and up!  Ah...the audacity!  Honestly, I was looking for every reason NOT to go to this study.

I pulled up in the parking lot the first night and I remember it like it was yesterday.  It was dark and rainy and I saw the big staircase that was leading to the upper room of the study.  I laid my head on the steering wheel and debated with myself.  "I don't think I can do this, Lord.  I can't face who I am much less face the chance that THEY will see who I am.  I'm scared that this won't work.  I'm worried that they will be standoff-ish and I don't think I can handle that right now.  I can't deal with more rejection-even if I fully deserve it."

It had to be the grace of God alone that made me open that car door and ascend those stairs.  I wanted to throw up!  When the door opened to the upper room that night, another door opened to a new start in my life.  Three beautifully warm women were waiting on the other side and I wasn't in the room for 10 seconds before a spunky, spiked-haired, energetic woman named Linda had me in a warm embrace.  She will never know what that hug did for me on that night.  What was a simple gesture towards a stranger to everyone else, was the beginning of believing that I would be loved again.

I cried throughout most of the first lecture.  My defenses were down and the words that were spoken from scripture that night and every Monday night that followed, were the balm of Gilead for my bruised soul.  My small group was generous and accepting and in time, I confessed where I was in my life.  They became a catalyst for my strength to take risks and start to serve again in our local church.  

I restarted that Bible study at least 5 times, maybe more, while we continued to live down South.  I've taught it here in Illinois many, many times and I think I stopped counting at 12 times that I worked through the Prasso book.  The Biblical truths in those pages have changed my life forever.  I cannot shake them.  Satan cannot take them from me.  They are MINE!  

Side Note:  If you have a prodigal child, sibling, parent, friend, spouse, etc. and they are not living near you, let me encourage you to take heart.  There is a Messiah and it's not you!  Praise God?!  God has ambassadors in His name-everywhere!  You may not be nearby to minister and encourage them but you have no idea who God is bringing into their lives to hug them back to Him.  Mine were Linda, Ginny, Laura and Lynn, Julie, Nicole, Marilou, my life-long friend, Steph...(and SO many more...)  These unexpected soldiers for Jesus aren't unique to me!  God has got your loved one covered!  He will provide exactly what they need to bring them home.

I share all of that to share with you one of the truths that I learned in Prasso.  It will be brief but it is so powerful!  It helped me with a lifelong struggle with fear.  My fear was debilitating at times- many, many times, and this concept helped me breathe in my most anxious moments.  

Let's read:
Colossians 3:2-4 (NIV)
2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Laura would read this verse to us and then she would demonstrate it by taking three envelopes.  The large one had God's name on it.  Tucked inside of it was another envelope with Jesus' name on it....and hidden way down in that one, was our name on another paper.  She would remind us in our times of trials and tribulation to remember where we were...

Hidden in God, in Christ.  Perfectly safe from anything that would not be good for us.

Understanding also, that anything that was to touch us, had to first get the permission of God and  then the OK from Jesus before it could come into our lives.  We could know that ALL things were there out of true love and a divine purpose to make us more like Christ.

Simple but so reassuring, right?  I know, I may still be wrestling over if you are OK with God's plan of good!  The answer to that struggle is found in the very first part of that verse:

"Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things...."

I once heard a woman explain, "You will never grow your faith by looking at what God is doing."  His ways are not our ways...His plans are much better and higher than our understanding! She went on, "You will only grow your faith by looking at who God is."


Stop trying to figure out what God is doing why He is allowing it in your life!  You will never understand it fully and it will only make you very angry with Him.  Instead, study who is behind all of the things in your situation!  Learn about Him.  See what He is all about.

When you do- you will find that tucked deep into His protective wings of sovereignty- you have never been safer!

God Bless!


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