Though He Slay Me

“Though He slay me …” Job 13:15 

Have you ever wondered how Job must have felt when he went through his trials? His friends made fun of him. He lost his health, family and possessions. He lost everything and it appeared that God had abandoned him. His situation looked hopeless. Yet Job never turned his back on God. Instead he proclaimed, “Yet will I trust in Him.”

Trusting in the Lord when trials and tribulations come into our lives is a daunting task. Often, self wants to have a pity party. Sometimes we whine and complain to our friends. Sometimes we just hold it in and worry. None of these are a “trusting in the Lord” response. 

Trials will come into our lives. That is a guarantee. James 1:2 reminds us to, “consider it pure joy … whenever you face trials of many kinds.” 1 Peter 1:2 says we should rejoice when we suffer grief in all kinds of trials.

Thankfully, when trials come into our lives, the calamity is usually not as extreme as the one Job faced. However, we can still feel worried, hopeless and sometimes abandoned. Overwhelmed by emotions, decisions or uncertainty, we can often feel like the Lord is not listening to our prayers.

It is hard when the Lord is silent. Job did not have the Lord encouraging him as his friends expressed their dark opinions. Elijah discovered that God was in the gentle whisper rather than the wind, earthquake or fire. I believe that it is often challenging to wait for the gentle whisper. Too often we feel consumed by the wind, earthquake and fire.

When you are in the midst of the tempest, pour your heart out to the Lord. He never forsakes us. In fact, I believe He takes delight in our coming to Him. He is the Father listening to His children’s concerns. He orchestrates the best for His children, even when it seems like that is not happening. He uses these trials to mold us into His character, if we let Him. He is our Daddy God who loves us with an immeasurable love.

“If God is for us, who can stand against us?” (Romans 8:31)

~ Marianne Wright

The Pathway

Once upon a time there was a little girl who had to stay in the castle because a great malady had come over the land. She filled her days with reading books and spending time with the Lord. He became her best friend. They would have deep conversations.

forest-clearingOne day He asked the little girl if she would like to go on an adventure with Him. She enthusiastically responded and asked where they would go. He told the little girl to trust Him, took her hand and said, “Follow me.” 

Soon they came to the edge of the forest. The woods were thick and wet from the recent rain. The little girl hesitated because it seemed like there was no way to pass through the thick undergrowth. The Lord, sensing her dilemma, told the little girl to just trust because there is always a way. As He held her hand they both stepped in the underbrush. Continue reading

Memorial Day

This video (despite the goofy background music!) brought back lots of memories of the time we lived in Newfoundland, Canada.

Robert Russell Wright

Quantico National Cemetery

In the 1960s, my dad, Robert Wright, was stationed there as a navy pilot in VW-13 (the sister squadron to the video’s VW-11, but same air base, planes and mission). Although I was in elementary school, I remember well many of the scenes shown in this video!

My dad’s mission was to fly Super Connies over the North Pole for early radar detection as part of the North American missile defense system. While there, he and my mom encountered Jesus (or maybe I should say that Jesus encountered them) and their lives became devoted to advancing His Kingdom while also serving our nation.

Later, he did two tours of duty in Vietnam as a Naval aviator and squadron commander, where he saw combat and lost friends while also earning two Presidential Unit Citations and being awarded the Air Medal. He also was exposed to Agent Orange and suffered heart damage which eventually contributed to his service-related death decades later.

This Memorial Day, let’s not forget those who served with honor and gave their lives to defend others.

~ Jim Wright

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Prayer and Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day in the United States, I have always felt, is our nation’s most significant holiday.

It is the least commercial and the most focused on acknowledging God’s providence over our land by calling on His name as sovereign Lord and expressing gratitude to Him.

Don’t lose heart. God desires to bless not just individuals who love Him, but whole nations. He holds the destiny of nations in His hands and is bigger than any headlines or trends.

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Garden of Delight

Working in my flower gardens is one of my favorite delights. I love to watch them change from mere soil into beds filled with beautiful flowers. I believe that the Lord is the Master Gardener. He delights in transforming dry, dead, dismal gardens into works of art.

my_gardenThe Lord frequently speaks to me through prophetic pictures and many years ago He showed me that I was like a lifeless, desolate garden. His picture was not pretty.

In the Lord’s picture I opened a garden gate expecting to find a beautiful garden, but instead what He showed me was a brown, dried up, dead enclosed garden that did not have even one sprig of green. I was not instantly encouraged by the Lord’s picture!

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Take A Plunge On The Wild Slide

Have you ever experienced the thrill and excitement of going down a giant water slide at a water park?

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the joy the Lord and I experience by plunging down the slides He places in my life.

water slide 2The plunge comes towards the end of the journey, after lots of preparation.

First, I need a destination by choosing which water park. I can’t just hope to arrive without knowing where I’m going.

On my spiritual journey I also need a purpose. I can’t wander aimlessly hoping that somehow I will make a difference in God’s kingdom.

Once I have chosen a location, I must pack a few essentials for the trip. Suntan lotion, beach towel and swim suit are the bare minimum.

I believe that the Lord only has one essential for my journey with Him. I need to pack the attitude that I am willing to do whatever He asks.

That is a tough one to fit into the pool bag because self often wants something very different. Sometimes it seems like I have to keep shoving the desire to be obedient back into the bag when it tries to escape.

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Pain and Restoration

Jesus used every day events to help his followers understand more about the kingdom of God and I believe that He still weaves our daily activities into teachable lessons for us.

Since I broke my elbow in February, I have been going to physical therapy (PT). This has been my first experience with PT and I have been PT2thinking about it a lot.

The reasons someone needs to have PT are varied. Usually it is one step in recovery from an accident or disease because the body has been injured or harmed and is not working up to its full potential.

The therapist uses many methods to help the body return to maximum flexibility and efficiency. But it takes time.

There are no quick and instantaneous exercises that will miraculous restore your health; however, with much patience and diligence your body does become whole again.

So it is with our walk with the Lord. There are many times when we are emotionally hurt and spiritually broken. Sometimes it feels like we have been mutilated and destroyed. Other times our pain or confusion is less severe, but we are still broken and need repair.

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The Unexpected

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

~ From The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

Each day we have the privilege of choosing which road we will travel. It often really is our choice. Do we want the path that is smooth and drama free or are we willing to journey on the path that is frequently covered with pot holes?

the road not taken

The Road Not Taken

Throughout our lives there are times when each of these roads is a viable option. I must confess that, for whatever reason, the road I usually find myself on is bumpy, covered with overhanging branches and contains many twists and turns.

I would like to suggest that there is also a third path that can emerge. The sign post on that road reads “The Unexpected.” The unforeseen journey down this road brings with it the potential for destruction or immeasurable growth. When the unexpected occurs you might be tempted to ask, “Why, God?” or try to second guess what you could have done differently.

Jim and I have been traveling the Unexpected Road since January 6. In fact, all the family members who live in our house with us have been active participants on the unexpected journey. One man from our fellowship group summed it up best when he jokingly said, “Isn’t it a sad state of affairs when Joy (our dog) is the healthiest member of the Wright clan?”

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A Love Story

Tonight, Marianne and I will have a romantic dinner at the country inn where I asked her to marry me.

Marianne

Marianne

Our friends often kid us, because we take time to celebrate key events in our life together. Our first date, our engagement, our wedding, and other anniversaries are important to us.

We don’t go on anniversary dates to create intimacy and passion between us, but to express the amazing, ever-deepening intimacy and passion that continues to grow between us – from the first time my heart unexpectedly fluttered at the sight of her, to the profound thrill I still feel when I see her.

There is a love between us that I seldom see in others. It, and our marriage, are testaments to the power of God to redeem lives.

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Abundance

Abundance often emerges from the impossible. Many times the very fact that the impossibility exists creates the opportunity for the Lord to bring forth His abundance.

starsSometimes an act of faith is required. For Abraham, he had to believe in the midst of impossibility that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the heavens.

Abundance wears many faces. Some assume that abundance implies health, wealth and prosperity and for some people that may be true.

However, God’s abundance does not come with a guarantee of those things. The churches of Macedonia experienced great trials of afflictions, but they possessed an abundance of joy even in the midst of deep poverty.

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Bearing One Another’s Burdens

The other morning a young man stopped by the house.

burdenHe had been struggling with emotional pain and bondage, and said he hadn’t come earlier because he didn’t want to be a burden.

I shocked him by responding that he and his problems were a burden – that there were other things I could be doing that morning. But, I explained with a huge grin, it was my joy to be burdened by him.

He paused and thought about it, then nodded as he realized I was being totally transparent and real with him. Thus started an amazing time of talking, sharing and ministry.

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Trust

Probably at some time in our lives we have all wondered what it means to trust the Lord.

Trust can be elusive. It is not something that we magically create, but it is something that the Lord develops in us over time. It usually requires walking through difficult circumstances for the Lord to implant trust in us.

bungee jumpingI believe that trusting God is like bungee jumping. You jump as a choice of your will, while you are connected to a large elastic, bungee cord. In the same way, we trust as a choice of our will while we are connected to the Lord.

For those who enjoy bungee jumping, the thrill and excitement come from the jump and the resultant rebound. Often when the Lord asks us to trust Him, it is difficult to experience the joy and the excitement that could be ours if we are willing to jump with abandon.

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Voices from Jail

A rap/poem by a brother in fellowship in the local jail, who is learning to become the man God created him to be.

A Brother in Jail

A Brother in Jail

Perfect Wisdom

When I reached out
You took me in
When there wasn’t a soul in sight
And all I saw was you
You took me in
Dusted me off
Cleaned me up
Asked me if I’d yet had enough?
Knew about my past
Had been there through the struggles
Said you’d carry my burdens
If I’d give you my troubles

I grabbed to my shirt
Expressed a cold smirk
Yeah I’d heard that before
Seems never to work

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Pastoral Counseling

Several ministries are offering a free class in Pastoral Counseling on Wednesday evenings in Prince William County, Virginia, beginning April 17, 2013, from 7:00 to 9:30 pm.

The class is open to all members of the Body of Christ from local churches (not just “pastors”!), and likely will run about twelve weeks.

To give some idea of the type of counseling we will be teaching others to do, I’ve reprinted below a blog about one session I had with a deeply troubled man last year.

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Storing Up Riches?

walking_with_JesusYesterday, as some folks in our fellowship prayed for me, I had one of those rare times when I heard the Lord very directly speak to my inner man.

He said I had laid up many treasures in heaven from a life spend serving Him and His people.

He let me know I could begin a new season of life, in transition toward my life to come, with the settled peace of His pleasure and honor.

Then He asked, however, if I was willing to spend those treasures, over whatever remaining time He chooses to give me, by investing them in others?

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Patience

The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience… Gal 5:22

The King James Bible calls patience long suffering. Somehow to me patience sounds like a virtue to desire, but long suffering… well that sounds tentjpgtoo much like Job!

I think everyone would love to be able to say that they are patient, but probably none of us enjoy the process of long suffering that is required to actually become patient.

I believe the only way to grow in patience is to experience times of trials, disappointments, frustrations and failures. It is during these difficult stretches that the Lord enables the fruit of patience to grow strong.

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Discipleship

Marianne and I have the greatest privilege in the world. God allows us to introduce Him to those who have reached the end of themselves, and then allows us to walk with them towards healing and wholeness.

We have the privilege of then seeing those who some consider the discards of society grow in the Lord to become mighty men and women in His Kingdom.

But the highest privilege of all is this: To call them friends.

This is the story of so many when we first met. Listen, and may the Lord move your heart to compassion.