Timing is always up to God. And He has the ability to change our name and everything about us ? ⏤ Vol. 1, Ch. 44
The third verse that I listed as a gratitude verse is Genesis 21:1,2. You might question why this verse is my gratitude verse, but when one looks at the context. Wow! Just Wow!
"Then the LORD took note of Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did for Sarah as He had promised. So Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time of which God had spoken to him." Genesis 21:1,2
Sarai Personal Name Meaning: Princess
Sarah Personal Name Meaning: Mother of Nations
In Genesis 17:15-16 God changes Sarai's name from Sarai to Sarah. She became something that she was not, at that time.
We find Abram first mentioned in Genesis 11:26 "And Terah lived seventy years, and became the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran."
This is the lineage listed directly after the Tower of Babel fell. You remember the Tower of Babel ? (Genesis 11)
That big 'OOPS' we people made trying to reach heaven by building a tower... communications will never be the same after that little endeavor! Anyway, back to Abram and Sarai.
" 'For I know the plans that I have for you' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity.'" Jeremiah 29:11
Sounds like the best news on the newsstand, doesn't it? It really is, but it was given to the Israelites at a very low point in their history. And it was given after it was made clear they were about to experience even more really hard times.
You see, Jeremiah 29:11 wasn't given as a blanket statement available to soothe us out of bad times. No, instead it is given to build us into the hope we will need through the hard times. We use it in our minds as a free get out of jail pass.
If we look into the context of this verse we find it is given to Jeremiah after the false prophet Hananiah leads the people into a lie. A low point in the Israelites journey.
In Jeremiah 27 The LORD had specifically told the people not to trust anyone who told them that they didn't have to be servants under Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon. Not only were they to be servants under the King of Babylon's yoke.
Then in Chapter 28 the false prophet Hananiah comes and tells them they don't have to submit to Nebuchadnezzar any longer. Jeremiah counters back to Hananiah and says that a true prophet will be validated only when that which he has prophesied comes to pass.
I encourage you to read Jeremiah 27-29. It is an eye-opening revelation. And the end result of Hananiah the false prophet brought about his own death.
Afterwards, they were instructed by Jeremiah (a true prophet) to live under Nebuchadnezzar's yoke about seventy years. But even in this apparent low point in their story, they were encouraged to build houses, take land and grow gardens, take wives and have children. Basically, learn how to be content in this hard time. And when the LORD has determined your people will be brought out of exile it will happen. But be aware, it will not be quickly and it might not necessarily be that particular generation that is brought out of exile.
My friend Mary DeMuth author and blogger said it like this in her blog:
"God's heart in Jeremiah 29:11 is not that we escape our lot, but that we learn to thrive in it." I encourage you to check out her blog on this topic by clicking here.
A low point in my journey.
Me, a mother of three, June 22, 1990 divorce papers finalized.
That day I was in a room with real estate agents and my husband. He was buying a house. My husband's phone rang. He jumped up out of his seat and shouted with glee. "Whoop! Yes! Thank you for calling me with that information. Yes, we can move forward now."
It was his lawyer calling from the courthouse. Our divorce papers had just been signed by the judge. At the same time I was signing a paper releasing any rights to the ownership of the house that my now ex-husband was buying.
It would be our rental home (my children's and mine) for four years. I must say, there was an awkward silence that fell over the room after my ex-husband's news. I continued signing the papers, you do understand this, I was signing the papers releasing my rights... dark day.
A bit of backstory:
My husband separated from us about three months after the move and sale of our house in Cincinnati and move to Dallas suburb in the beginning of the year of 1988. We had remained separated until 1990. Then he filed for divorce. Immediately the following Saturday my children and I climbed into our van.
After a day of searching for apartments in the up and coming small suburb of Dallas and finding only one apartment complex with a year-long waiting list, I drove into the driveway of the disturbingly dark rental house we lived in.
We had moved into the rental after my husband announced his desire to divorce. We'd lived in this dark and disturbing house for almost two years. I had requested my husband to wait until I could get a University degree before he filed for divorce. He had agreed and that had lasted awhile. I was not finished with school yet. I had gotten grants and loans and was doing my best living on a child support income and a small paycheck for a part-time job at a day-care.
Things were more than bleak. I pulled into the driveway in a Soccer-Mom-Van that didn't fit my lifestyle any longer.
My kids had become as used to our separation as is possible, but not a divorce.
I had to tell them I didn't know that we would be able to live in the same town because my income would not allow me to afford renting a house in the area. With no apartments available for another year, it wasn't really going to be possible. So we would need to move closer into Dallas, or Denton. My oldest son asked, "What about school, and church? Will I have to make new friends?"
I was left with the only response available to me.
"I'm so sorry, honey. Yes."
I asked all three of my kids to go into the house, I would come in shortly. They filed out of the van and entered the house as if they were marching in a funeral processional.
I fell apart behind the wheel of that vehicle. Stuck in a place I had no control over I was filled with anger and frustration. I could not even comprehend what my children were going through. Living in an intact family my entire growing up life, I honestly did not know what to do. I cried out to God whom had gotten me thus far. After several minutes, He calmed me and I joined my kids.
Unbeknownst to me, my oldest son went directly into the house and called his dad. He asked his dad, (paraphrased from both he and his siblings because I wasn't there):
"OK, so just because you don't want to live with us any more doesn't mean we should have to change our school, our church and our friends. So, when are you going to buy a house here for us to live in?" my twelve-year-old son.
My son, a boy who was way too old for his age; and a boy who felt much more the protector than he should have ever needed to feel.
But it was what it was. And the day after that call, my soon to be ex-husband set about finding a house within walking distance of my children's elementary school. This was the house on the day our divorce was finalized he signed papers for. This was the house we rented from him.
I finished University in that house and got a teaching position in the same district that my children went to school.
I moved into the house in June and by the time the fall schedule for University had come out I was settled in. The first day my kids and I walked to their school from that house I received a card in the mail. It was from my mother. She had mailed it because I had been on her mind. I still have the card.
In the card she wrote:
My Dearest #4, Robyn,
I know that you are in a really hard place right now. But God is providing for you. I opened my Bible this morning and read this verse. I believe that God wants me to give this verse to you as a word of encouragement. I am praying for you . I love you. God does too. He knows what he is doing. Trust him. It is all within His timing and in His way.
This verse was scrawled in her hand:
" 'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me , and I will listen to you. And you will seek me and find me, when you search for me with all your heart. And I will be found by you,' declares the LORD, 'and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,' declares the LORD, 'and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.' " Jeremiah 29:11-14
Four years later I had graduated and gotten a teaching position.
I left the house and bought a house on my own, closer to all of our schools. We were then within walking distance of the Elementary school that I taught in, the Middle School where my youngest was attending, and the High School my two oldest were attending.
The days were better, but they weren't easy. We never celebrated a Christmas in that house that held anything but a sense of Heavenly Joy and Earthly pain. We rejoiced in Christ's birth, but were forced to deal with the hardness of a broken family and it was not an easy road. We lived a life of moment by moment miracles. We grew in our faith. We grew in our love for the LORD. We grew in the tough times and the hardships. We grew in His Grace.
I lived in that house until my children were all out on their own. They were grown and flying well with God. They were amazing in their faith and their trust in the God Most High. They knew He was their Father and that they were His children. They knew from first hand experience that He was the one that brought food to the table, put roofs on the house, gave us siding, rebuilt our fence... oh, the list goes on!
And I too leaned into this God that was with me every step of every day. He brought me through the fire of being a single mother. He fought for me and He blessed us in the beauty of family meetings to iron our arguments out, joyous concerts and football games, broken bones, operations, and graduations.
I put that house on the market in 2005, after God called me onto the foreign mission field. I left the United States, sold my house, prayed with and hugged my children, and flew off to arrive in Germany on January 15, 2006.
Never could I have imagined a life so full and filled with adventure. And yet, here I am at the beginning of my 60's and looking forward to more.
And now I look back on the last 40 years and realize He has restored my fortunes. He has gathered me from all the nations and from all the places where He has driven me.
You might now better understand why this verse means so very much to me. My mom just turned 89 years old. We talked about the card she wrote to me at that very bleak time in my journey. She smiled through the phone and confirmed that God had truly impressed on her how much I needed to hear that particular verse.
I am blessed to have a mom who listens to God. When she said goodbye she reminded me to hug my husband. Yes, God has blessed me in the last three years with a partner in Him. I have a blessed husband to share life with. The earthly love of my life.
He has brought me back to the place from where he sent me into exile. Because my exile began before I met my ex-husband....
And that is a story for another day.
I hope you have enjoyed this tiny story of healing and redemption. This story riddled with sadness and hope, thwarted dreams and surprising blessings, is a true story from this woman that loves God more than life itself.
And trust me, God has allowed me to thrive in life! It has been and continues to be a Wild and Wonderful Adventure.
This blog has been quite autobiographical in nature. I usually don't share as much of my own life here on these pages. I hope it helps you see beyond your circumstances.
I encourage you to hold onto this Jeremiah 29:11-14 passage remembering that your hope is built on Him instead of ease in the moment. You too might come through in 10, 25, or even 40 years, like myself, finding that the exile has given you a relationship with God which is beyond imagination.
I promised you two weeks ago I would walk through the eight thankful verses by:
Come back next Monday to find out what brings me to gratitude about Genesis 21:1,2 and scroll down if you missed last week's blog on 1 Chronicles 16:34. A little history into the Ark of the Covenant.
As I said last week, "I will share more on these eight verses I am grateful for next week. But, I hope to encourage you to delve into the word on your own too. Because in reality, His Word is what is more important than anything else. " :-)
Because He is the Great I AM, i am,
robyn rochelle cox
Robyn & Biff
On November 23, 2017 we in the USA celebrated our annual day of thanksgiving. Many cultures have a time or a day they celebrate the harvest season. This time of year is filled with celebrations. My country is not much different than others. Most cultures have their own gratitude celebrations. Ours has come a far way from its origin.
But beyond our season of gratitude, each of us have gratitude stories that line our hearts. Stories consisting of surprises and blessings. Stories of miracles and madness. Stories of beginnings and endings. So let's begin with one of the verses that King David gave us in 1 Chronicles 16.
"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; His love endures forever." 1 Chronicles 16:34
This verse is the 34th verse of chapter 16. It is a fantastic verse, but what is before it? What is after it?
When we look into Chapter 15 we find that David is concerned about the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark was built after Moses received directions from God while the Israelites were in the desert.
(The Ark was a gold plated acacia chest holding the Ten Commandments and carried by golden embossed staves. The Ark was to be carried 2,600 feet in front of the Israelites as they traveled. The staves were never to be removed. A golden lid was also constructed and it held a seat which Christian tradition calls "the Mercy Seat")
The Ark was always carried by the Levites and was always covered by a large veil made of skins and a blue cloth. It was never to be seen even by the Levitical priests who carried it. When the Israelite tribe stopped the Ark was placed in a sacred tent called the Tabernacle.
After Moses built the Ark according to the LORD's directions at the foot of Mount Sinai, the Ark shows up in the Scriptures crossing the Jordan River and during the battle of Jericho.
In the prophet Samuel's early years (1 Samuel 3:3) the Ark was kept in Shiloh. After a few years the Ark was taken into battle by the elders of Israel and it was captured by the Philistines.
Upon losing the Ark to the Philistines, the elderly prophet Eli fell dead. The Philistines kept it for seven months until they realized it only brought them defeat. They took it back to the Israelites and in 1 Samuel we find it being set up in the field of Joshua.
While there, out of curiosity, several people gazed upon the Ark and they were all smitten and struck dead. After that it was moved and then settled into the house of Abinadab, whose son Eleazar was sanctified and he kept it. The Ark stayed there for twenty years.
[an aside: I, Robyn, love that name, Eleazar: means God helps.]
King Saul misused the Ark of the Covenant and during his reign it was put aside and not used for the benefit of the Israelites. In 1 Chronicles 13:3 we find that the people were no longer consulting the Ark during King Saul's reign.
King David's reign, however, brought the Ark out of misuse. He brought it out of Kirjath-jearim and sent it on its way to the City of David. There was much rejoicing during this transition, however one of the men, Uzzah involved in the transfer, reached out and touched the Ark with his bare hands to steady it. Uzzah was struck dead for touching the Ark.
This created a great fear among the people and even with King David.
King David took the Ark into the house of Obed-edom. It stayed there for three months instead of continuing on to the City of David. (2 Samuel 6 and 1 Chronicles 13)
After three months King David heard that Obed-edom was reaping great benefit from the Ark being within his house and he realized it was time to bring it on to the City of David. He sent the Levites to carry the Ark into the Tabernacle he himself had prepared. A tent designed and meant just for God and a place to worship and glorify Him.
You might have heard the story of how King David put on his linen ephod and danced in the streets with joy. He was dancing and singing, rejoicing in wild abandon. Think about how happy King David was as they brought the Ark into the City of David and finally into the Tabernacle he had designed and set up for the Ark of the Covenant.
You can read about it all in 2 Samuel 6, 1 Chronicles 16, and 2 Chronicles 1.
We find this wonderful song of Thanksgiving sung by King David in 1 Chronicles 16: 8-36.
Can you just imagine King David with all the joy and happiness dancing in front of the LORD. So full of gratitude and thanksgiving. Singing at the top of his lungs this song which holds this verse:
"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; His love endures forever."
1 Chronicles 16:34
Within that attitude of joy and thanksgiving King David went home to bless his own home. Upon returning he began talking to Nathan and had the thought that he could no longer wait. He thought to himself, I live in a fine cedar house and the LORD resides in a cloth tent. I must build a house for the LORD.
He recognized the injustice and decided he, himself would build a proper house for the LORD to live in.
[And here is where I find myself falling in love with the God Most High all over again.]
As King David is speaking this to his friend Nathan, Nathan encourages King David to do what he sees fit to do. But that night the LORD comes to Nathan and tells him that he has another plan for King David. He tells Nathan to relay to King David all that He tells him.
[Oh this is so precious. The intimacy with which the LORD gives King David these words. So very wonderful. I cannot help but type this out for you to read. It is a gift of future blessing to King David for his honest and deep desire to worship the LORD in a place he thought would be more suitable for the GOD MOST HIGH.]
This is what the LORD told Nathan to say to King David:
7. "I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be a leader over My people Israel.
8. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make you a name like the name of the great ones who are in the earth.
9. I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and not be moved again; and the wicked will not waste them anymore as formerly,
10. even from the day that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel. And I will subdue all your enemies. Moreover, I tell you that the Lord will build a house for you.
11. When your days are fulfilled that you must go to be with your fathers, that I will set up one of your descendants after you, who will be of your sons; and I will establish his kingdom.
12. He shall build Me a house, and I will establish his throne forever.
13. I will be his father and he shall be My son; and I will not take My lovingkindness away from him, as I took it from him who was before you. But I will settle him in My house and in My kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever."'"
1 Chronicles 17:4-14 NASB
Do you see the beauty in this?
King David had trusted God from the time he was a boy. He had been faithful. Granted he had shown his human character and was proven not to be a perfect man, in fact, an adulterer and murderer. But he asked forgiveness and God forgave him. Giving King David even more reason to love, honor, and praise this Majestic Ever-loving God. And God blessed King David for his entire life and beyond. How beyond? Because God promised King David that a son of his would build God a House. (King Solomon) And that son would be blessed with God's lovingkindness forever, it would never be taken away from him.
If you have children of your own, you know what a great blessing this was for King David. To know that God would always be there for his son. Oh the gratitude that must have flowed.
And there you have the reason I consider these verses some of the most valid Gratitude verses in the bible.
I too am imperfect. I have failed in huge ways. I stand before God on judgment day with only the Blood of Jesus Christ to protect me from doom. And God has blessed me by forgiving me and stepping in with a miracle to protect my oldest child. And for that I will never stop thanking him.
And because I believe in God's goodness. And because I accept that his Love endures forever. I know that He will find me guilt free. I have the precious Jesus Christ as my Redeemer. Such a blessed assurance.
I pray that you too have that blessed assurance. If you don't, I encourage you to talk to your pastor, or contact us. I have talked to many about this. Jesus waits to receive all who desire to come. It would be a blessing to share with you.
I promised you last week I would:
Come back next Monday to find out what amazes me about Jeremiah 29:11-14.
I will share more of my own story next week. But, I hope to encourage you to delve into the word too. Because in reality, His Word is what is more important than anything else. :-)
Because He is the Great I AM, i am,
Robyn & Biff
Thanksgiving in the USA on November 23, 2017.
Where are you spending Thanksgiving?
We are having family in overnight. We are really looking forward to it.
I really wish I could have you over for a cup of coffee. We could share all of our gratitudes that we have been blessed in over this past year.
But since I can't, I thought this might be the next best thing.
This is the time of year for gratitudes and for preparations for the New Year. By encompassing both of these, I thought I could dedicate this New Year into a year of ‘Relaxing into Gratitude and Faith.’
I would like to take the next eight weeks to share some of my Gratitude passages. I hope you enjoy this tiny shift in our blog. I will begin today by sharing what they are. Next week, we will look at each one more closely and discuss some things about them. I hope you can relate to some of these. I hope you ponder why some of them made my gratitude list. I hope you come back throughout the next eight weeks and find out what makes them special to me.
Over the next eight weeks I will:
Here is a list of eight verses I am thankful for. I write them here for your perusal. I lay them out before you. Could you add to them?
1. "Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; His love endures forever." 1 Chronicles 16:34
2. " 'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me , and I will listen to you. And you will seek me and find me, when you search for me with all your heart. And I will be found by you,' declares the LORD, 'and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,' declares the LORD, 'and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.' " Jeremiah 29:11-14
3. "Then the LORD took note of Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did for Sarah as He had promised. So Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time of which God had spoken to him." Genesis 21:1,2
4. "See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him." 1 John 3:1
5. "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1
6. "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38,39
7. "Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed. O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called "knowledge" ⏤ which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith." 1 Timothy 6: 17-21
8. "For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord , or of me His prisoner; but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher. For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.
2 Timothy 1:7-12
So, come and join me in the next eight weeks to do a little investigation of each of these passages. I challenge you to begin finding our own gratitude passages and begin a list for making '2018 the year of Relaxing into Gratitude and Faith.'©2018
Looking forward to you being here.
Let's discover some gratitude in the most interesting places.
Because He IS the I AM, i am
robyn rochelle cox
Robyn & Biff Cox
RR&BC, LLC ©2016
Find out more about us by clicking: Reading, Reflection, and Bible Community
Gratitude: an attitude of thanks
Faith: the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. More easily understood “trusting in something you cannot explicitly prove.”
I have learned to be overly attentive when I run across the same verse or thought several times in a short time frame. It is like God is crying out to me. He is saying, "Robyn, listen carefully. I want you to remember this, ponder this, live into this, trust me in this."
This has been the case in the last few weeks with two little words: Faith and Gratitude.
Of course one always anticipates the word gratitude being used in abundance during this time of year. We are, here in the USA, preparing for our Thanksgiving Day feast.
It is a time of celebration and family. The most traveled time of year. That means the roads are filled with families traveling to get to their loved ones to gather for a few hours over a turkey, some dressing, and other family traditional dishes.
Mine as a child growing up consisted of green beans, mashed potatoes, candied yams (with marshmallows on top), and fresh baked rolls. And don''t forget the giblet gravy and the pies. Oh my, the pies! We had them all, pumpkin, apple, cherry, and chocolate pudding pie. It was a day of abundance and a day of thanks. Gratitude oozed from my mom and dad and from each of my siblings. We often had visitors and they smiled through the year's gratitude list we would each share before eating our dinner. Often they would join in with their own gratitude list.
Being the youngest of four siblings, my memories are a bit different than my older sisters. Don't you find that you had different parents than your older brothers and sisters did, or vice versa? And it makes sense doesn't it. There are almost 8 years difference between my oldest sister and me. I know that I have moved from Germany to Maryland in the last 3 years and that in itself has changed me. How much changed for my parents during those 8 years. A lifetime for some.
But I found my family lived in full gratitude on those Thanksgiving days. A day set aside for remembering how grateful we all were. From new bicycles to near-death-experiences, we always had our lists.
And I must admit, living in Germany for almost ten years, Thanksgiving was a holiday I greatly missed. Germany's culture has it's own form of thanksgiving, but not celebrated in the same way. And I missed my own culture's way. Not celebrating Thanksgiving for almost ten years gave me a powerful appreciation for this time of year.
Faith on the other hand is not so often heard or talked about specifically at this time of year. And yet I have had several occasions where Hebrews 11 has been referred to. And Hebrews 11 is known as the Faith Chapter of the Bible. I've even had faith and gratitude compared. Now that was when I really perked up and listened, pondered, and asked God to clarify what He was trying to say to me.
I grew up with my mom calling Hebrew 11 'The Hall of Faith Chapter.'
It is filled with both the definition of faith and bible characters that have earned their spot onto a fairly short list of the historically faithful followers of God.
For me, these men and women have always been fascinating. I have wanted to live a life of faith from the time I can remember. And they set the bar so high. I have never felt qualified to be considered for the faithful list.
Names like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob make my heart ache to join them. I've traveled with Joseph through his abandonment to his position of power. I've struggled with King David from shepherding days to his murderous confession. Between Sarah and her disappointments and Rahab's courageous acts I have found faith to always be an adventure. But not necessarily all that much to be put on a gratitude list and talked about with smiles, and full plates and slices of pie.
Faith is hard.
Faith is getting a call to do something that makes absolutely no sense, yet deep inside you know you are supposed to do it. Faith is stepping out and doing that thing that you are afraid of.
Faith is trusting that God will be there when you are in the midst of that hard thing. Trusting that you are being led in the right direction and that you will be given whatever is needed to conquer or finish what it is you have started.
Faith is asking for things that are impossible and believing that you will be standing on the other side of that impossibility thankful that God showed up and did it.
Faith is remembering that God is God and I am not. Faith is knowing that if I have asked for something and it hasn't been given to me, I can be grateful that God is always out for my best. I don't know how many times I have said to women that I mentor and to myself, "If God didn't give it to me, it must not be good for me to have." Faith is being grateful in the midst of the disappointment.
Gratitude is thanking God for what has happened.
Faith is thanking God before it has happened.
And that was what was put together for me yesterday in a sermon on Gratitude and Faithfulness.
I'm pondering how I can enter into more faith. I want to be a faith-filled woman. I want God to get the glory for all He has done and all He will do.
I want to praise Him for the miracles that He has already blessed me with and I want to shout from the rooftops in the future miracles that He will perform.
I want to say He has already done what He said He can do.
I want to bring an umbrella in the middle of a drought to a prayer meeting for rain.
Would you consider joining me in the new year with a combined heart of Faith and Gratitude?
Start praying about it now. I am.
I will ask this question in December. Consider joining me in relaxing into 2018 a year of Faith and Gratitude. You will be reading more about this in the next few weeks.
So glad you joined me here today.
Because He is the I am, i am
~Robyn Rochelle Cox
Robyn & Biff Cox
RR&BC, LLC© 2016
Consider joining us in this new year as we read the bible every day with our members of RR&BCommunity.
Death is not the end.
Death is never the end.
I wanted to write about victory and about joy this week. Since all I had to write about was the sadness of a man losing his son, I didn't.
As I entered the beginning of this week, death weighed heavily on my heart and on my mind. The tragedy of the massacre on Sunday was shocking. And it came on the tailcoat of my cousin's personal tragedy.
My cousin buried his son on Wednesday two days ago.
I now live on the east coast and my cousin now lives in Texas. My cousin buried his son in our family hometown ⏤ a small wheat farming town in Kansas.
We both lived in Texas as children. Both of our mom's (sisters) were implants to Texas from a German Mennonite wheat farming community in Kansas. Our moms were from a large family. But as small children we were cousins in a very small town in southeast Texas. As such we were only a few blocks away from each other in the late 50's early 60's. I remember spending many hours playing in either my yard our theirs. It was an idyllic childhood. Until it wasn't.
We moved from that tiny town when I was in first grade. My cousin's family stayed there.
Each of us had tragedy touch us in different ways at different times over those early years of life. Death was one of the tragedies we experienced. Aunts, uncles, cousins, friends the list was long. And for my cousin life changing. His mother, my aunt died in a horrific car accident and life was never the same for any of his family. My mom lost her dear sister. I lost my aunt, my uncle lost his wife and the mother of his four children, and my cousins lost their mom.
My cousins have never been far from my heart. As a woman that has never lived longer than a few years in one location, they were and are dear family members of my life. My cousin left Texas and moved back to Kansas early in his life. He met and married a wonderful woman and began having children and building a family. We touched base when visiting the family place. But in reality have not stayed in contact well until facebook entered our world.
But if you were to ask me who were the important extended family members in my life, I would have to say these cousins rank very high as dear family and wonderful friends.
News of his son's death shocked me. My heart has ached for him and for his wonderful wife. My heart has ached for his siblings and his aunts and uncles. My heart has broken for the sadness that covers so many of my friends that have lost children, or lost parents when they themselves were children.
It doesn't feel fair. It doesn't feel right.
And I don't have any answers. I don't have answers for the pain, for the sadness, or even for the grief. I do know who does. But saying that to those in pain and loss. What peace does that bring in the moment of sadness?
I'm sure that my cousin and his wife are walking in a fog. I'm sure his other adult children cannot believe this has happened. I know that when death or other tragedy has hit my world, I have walked in a midst of fog.
But, the stabilizer. The foundation. The rock. Has never changed.
God. God with family. God within.
God has stabilized.
Has there been anger? Yes. And I have stood with Job and been angry enough to speak my anger at God. And God has been big enough to speak His comfort to me. And sometimes the comfort has been, "Who do you think you are to question Me?"
Like Job, I have had to look to the Sovereign God and be reminded, I am not Him. He is not me.
He knows what He is doing. I don't.
Death does not win. Christ has conquered death. Jehovah in his mercy has received his children. They are not gone. They are not lost. They are simply not with us right now.
Death is hard. It is really hard for those of us left behind. But it is not the end. It has not conquered. It does not win.
I love my cousin. I want to make it better. I can't.
But God can. And I am sitting in this little Blue Moon trusting God to comfort and give rest to my cousin, his wife, their children. The aunts and uncles that have been touched by this sadness and others.
And I pray that as I write this blog of tragedy, those that read it will find the joy that Christ's sacrifice and resurrection has brought to this world forever.
I could have filled the spot with a pre-written blog. But it seemed false to me. And if there is anything I desire to offer from this blog it is authenticity.
I had several false starts. On Saturday, on Sunday, on Monday. But then I stopped trying. I just moved through my days and sat with God. I didn't even enter this blog to try to write anything from Tuesday until now.
As we work through the anger of tragedies, may we come back to the truth that God is God and we are not. That God is good and we don't understand everything. That death has not won. May God receive glory and honor in the midst of tragedy. My cousin's tragedy. The Las Vegas tragedy. The Southern Baptist Church tragedy. This list goes on and on and on...
And may we let fear drop away and embrace LIFE everlasting.
Thank you for being here.
I don't apologize for not being here on Monday.
But you find me here next Monday.
Hopefully the post will be filled with much lighter topic.
May God Bless you, right where you are.
Because He is the I AM, I am.
Robyn Rochelle Cox
with Biff Cox
"How have you been able to stay in the bible regularly for over 30 years? You aren't a theologian, you don't have a PHD, or a masters in ministry. You aren't even a preacher or a speaker on the bible. HOW do you continue reading and reading and reading?
I am a woman that loves God, you might love God too.
Since 1990, my world has leaned heavily on God's Word to steer me through my life. (read more)
People have asked me these kinds of questions for years.
Some have said things like, "I want to 'stay in the word' but I need a devotional or someone to tell me what I need to know from the words. Or, I need to have someone else inspire me."
"How do you keep getting inspired by just reading the bible?"
Recently a friend came to visit Blue Moon. He had some business in DC and made his way up to stay for a couple of nights with my hubby and I. After breakfast we shared some conversation about the RR&BCommunity my husband and I have been called to offer.
This business man took a look into the page offered for that day and said, "Robyn, this is something someone could take either hours or minutes to contemplate. Your questions are thought provoking. I can see getting real benefit by doing this."
I have discussed reading the bible and the importance of it for over 25 years now.
But this conversation made me stop and think? How? How have I stayed so deeply in the word almost everyday for the last 30 years. I am no more holy than the next guy. I certainly have not made all the right choices, nor lived some sinless life.
I still come to the word with an open heart, knowing that I need changing. That is probably the first thing. DAILY! I need changing. I need a renewed spirit.
People who have come to my bible studies have commented over and over again, "Robyn, you just present it differently." Or, "Your questions make me think." Or, "I always get more out of the Bible when I read it with you."
But, what brought me to it regularly?
How have I been able to hide his word in my heart?
I think God revealed it to me.
I am, by profession, a Reading/Writing Specialist. I apply what I teach in my own personal Bible reading.
I read thoughtfully. I am a thoughtful reader. I am a reading specialist. I learned how to read thoughtfully and I spent 13 years in the classroom teaching children how to read thoughtfully.
But children aren't the only ones that need to be encouraged to read thoughtfully. Many adults when desiring to read the bible daily find themselves relying on others to decipher what the bible says by reading devotionals, commentaries, or bible studies.
These within themselves are not negative options for reading the word of God.
But there is something very personal about reading the bible thoughtfully alone with God.
It is that special place that the Psalm 119:11 speaks of
"Your Word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You." NASB
"I have hidden Your word in my heart, that I may not sin against You." NLT
As a Reading/Writing Specialist, I teach people how to read thoughtfully and how to write creatively.
As a bible teacher I have spent over 25 years teaching people how to read the Bible thoughtfully.
That is what we do in our community. I help people read the bible regularly and thoughtfully. With the end desire to hide His words in their heart. And the end result of that is to not sin against Him. Not for any other reason than GOD CHANGES HEARTS THROUGH HIS WORD.
If you are someone that values reading the word but has never been able to consistently do it. Or someone that has difficulty finding anything really interesting in the word, but believe you should be hiding it in your heart. We ask you to come with an open heart to join us in this endeavor.
As this new year is just around the corner, consider becoming a member.
Some members have told me it is the most profitable $9.97 month expenditure they have ever invested in.
Would you find that valuable?
A one month membership has lead them to a six-month membership.
Other members have had their one month memberships lead to signing up for yearly memberships. These yearly memberships have encouraged me to continue offering this to the world.
Consider joining us on this thoughtful, prayerful adventure. Join Here
Psalm 119:25-32 NLT
25. I lie in the dust; revive me by your word.
26. I told you my plans and you answered. Now teach me your decrees.
27. Help me understand the meaning of your commandments, and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds.
28. I weep with sorrow; encourage me by your word.
29. Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your instructions.
30. I have chosen to be faithful; I have determined to live by your regulations.
31. I cling to your laws. LORD, don't let me be put to shame!
32. I will pursue your commands, for you expand my understanding.
Psalm 119:25-32 NLT
May you be blessed this week.
I will see you here again next Monday.
Robyn Rochelle Cox
Because He IS the I AM, i am.
Apologies for last weeks non-appearance... One week out of 38 ⏤ Dang it! Oh how pride commeth before the fall...
I was seeing my friends off that had come to visit from Germany. She is a young German woman that came to the LORD with me over 10 years ago. I mentored her while on the mission field. I returned to the states three years ago. She wanted to come and see me and my man and allow me to meet her husband and two-year-old. They visited for over a week. It was a blessing. She too cried when she told me she missed our bible reading times and is thankful for this site. It might not be on my couch, in my living room, but it is my heart ⏤exposed and shared.
Celebration of Discipline published in 1978 written by Richard J. Foster has helped millions of believers walk into a deeper understanding of the peace and joy God's relationship affords.
I picked this book up in 1998 as I was stacking books in the small family owned Christian bookstore I was working in. With three kids, a full-time teaching career, a part-time job to make ends meet, and no husband to help shoulder the load, I was in deep need of D-I-S-C-I-P-L-I-N-E.
The title was enticing. Celebration of Discipline. How in the world could I, this abstract-random thinker, find discipline a celebration? This is surely the book for me. I need to make discipline fun. If I can only find joy in the ins and outs of schedules and rhythms I would have this discipline thing down.
HA! I was all in. I failed to read the forward and bought the book.
I remember this book sitting on my ottoman for about a week. I finally picked it up and thumbed through it.
YIKES, this isn't a self-help book about organizational skills, this is a book about the SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES.
I had never read about these before. However, since I had earlier begun a powerful walk with the LORD through reading the Bible regularly, I thought it just like God to bring such a book across my path. The subtitle to this book is . The Path to Spiritual Growth. Don't ask me why I hadn't skimmed that as well as the title. But I wonder sometimes if God keeps us in the dark about things as He brings us into the light bit-by-bit.
This book is laid out in three parts. Within those parts four particular disciplines are explored.
These three parts look in-depth at the Inward, Outward, and Corporate Disciplines.
Within the Inward Disciplines meditation, prayer, fasting, and study are given their full due. These Inward Disciplines are the foundation of the entire spiritual foundation of the believer.
Without these operating well things get a little cattywampus. We walk, but we usually walk with a limp. My eyes were opened on so many levels when I read, with an open heart, how important these are in our spiritual walk I was blown away. I entered into a new experience and a new life-walk. I have never been the same.
Part II dealing with the Outward Disciplines of simplicity, solitude, submission, and service gave me much to think and pray over. And my actions began to change. Within eight years I was called onto the mission field. My children were all in college or married and I moved into serving in a capacity I would never have imagined myself moving ⏤but for GOD.
Part III deals with the Corporate Disciplines of Confession, Worship, Guidance, and Celebration. These Corporate Disciplines are so important for the body of Christ.
We are rounding the corner into Autumn. Here at little Blue Moon my hubby and I are entertaining house guests. Friends from Germany. The woman I met in Germany. I have known her for 10 years. She was in an unhealthy relationship and didn't know Jesus. She married a great guy and now has a child and one on the way. She is growing in her faith. She holds a very special spot in my life not only because she came to the LORD with me, but also because she became one of my closest friends while I was alone in a foreign land.
This couple arrived on Saturday having flown into NY city on Thursday. We have enjoyed them immensely. Biggest problem I deal with in these visits: falling back into the German language either in writing or speaking. Part of the bi-lingual dilemma. But, my Man tells me it is okay to be in the moment with my friends. He tells me it is good for me. He is my hero and my champion. And he too champions me. I am blessed.
As I leave this blog series I am grateful to discuss these four mentors that have helped me learn how to fear well. This last is truly come to be my favorite book written about spiritual practices.
My house guest is a direct result of this calling. And I praise God for Him teaching me over those early years in my 30's through implementing much of this book into my spiritual life.
I pray that your walk into a deeper spiritual life has been helped by these four mentors. They have given me many insights into how to fear God, thus creating an easier life. Because if I fear God, He will handle everything. And because I fear Him well I can live fear free of the world and its dangers.
May you be blessed this week.
I will see you here again next Monday.
Robyn Rochelle Cox
Because He IS the I AM, i am.
WE INVITE YOU TO JOIN US IN THIS DAILY STEP-BY-STEP ADVENTURE!
Sometimes we wander into treasure without looking for it.
That is how this next book came into my hands. A friend I'd known for years recommended it. She sent it to me and I was WOW'd by the depth and thoughtful words written. The book is only 100 small pages long, yet, these pages are filled with wise words of how to move more intimately into the relationship with Jesus on a Moment by Moment basis.
Now, this doesn't mean it took me only a few hours to read. Instead, I would say it gave me confidence that I would finish the book. But, it is one of those kind of books that needs chewing on. I could read a few pages and then chew on it for a while. Because it was a tiny book, I didn't have a problem with putting it down and coming back to it later.
We've been reviewing 4 Mentors that I dig into every year to prepare my heart for the New Year right around the corner.
We began with Eugene Peterson's A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.
The second mentor was Gordon MacDonald with his classic Ordering Your Private World.
And today I share one of the old, old classics. a tiny book entitled The Sacrament of the Present Moment by Jean-Pierre DeCaussade translated by Kitty Muggeridge.
Jean-Pierre was born in the province of Quercy in southern France on March 6, 1675. He taught Greek, Latin, and philosophy in various towns nearby Toulouse, and then returned to the university at Toulouse for further theological study culminating in a doctorate in theology.
Focusing on two chapters today, I will give you the titles of the sub chapters.
So, this slim book is jam-packed with big ideas and interesting thoughtful guidance.
And it only gets better in Chapter 9. 'The Secret of Discovering God's Transcendent Will in the Present Moment'
I am thankful for so many thought provoking ideas and concepts running from page to page throughout. Only eleven chapters, only 100 pages. Punching powerful and provoking questions.
Try it out. It just might be a little wisdom from an old wise mentor.
So glad you are here.
Have a great week.
I post here on Mondays.
Or daily as I review my life as a missionary in Germany:
on the Mutating Missionary blog. Click Here
Robyn Rochelle Cox
WE INVITE YOU TO JOIN US IN our DAILY STEP-BY-STEP ADVENTURE!
Last week I began a series of blogs revealing the four books that I read on a yearly basis.
These tried and true books have become my mentors over the years. They have reeled me in and reminded me of the end goal. And when I have my focus clear, I walk a little less afraid.
Last week, I shared the book by Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.
This week, I highlight a book by Gordon MacDonald entitled Ordering Your Private World.
There are very few pages in this book I have not filled with stars or underlined sentences. Some ideas I have blogged about in the past, so they have in the margin the word BLOG. I have repeatedly reached into this book and found wisdom to move forward into a new year.
On the first page in the preface entitled 'The Day I Hit the Wall' MacDonald writes as a counter response to the profitable and efficient busyness of a purposeful person:
"But there is also a busyness (a destructive busyness, actually) that reflects a chaotic way of life⏤a way of doing in which one is simply responding whether or not it has significance; it's just the next thing, and one does it because it's there to do." pg.1
A few pages later He, (a pastor of a sizable church) describes himself as "A young man with a fairly empty soul, rich in natural gifts but impoverished when it came to an inner space, from which there might flow a wellspring of wisdom, spiritual power, and Christian depth." pg 6.
WOW! What a vulnerable, honest description.
The rest of the book containing fourteen chapters are filled with how God sent him down a road of healing from chaos. MacDonald takes us on this journey of his drop into a sinkhole and shares how he believes the burn out could have been prevented.
Every chapter begins with a wise word on a note card. The notes are copy worthy.
Do you know what I mean when I say 'copy worthy?'
Copy Worthy are the words I jot down on a sticky note and put on my wall in my office, or the mirror in my office. Years ago, when I didn't have an office, I stuck them on my bathroom mirror and would read them as I was dressing for work.
The first Memo from the first chapter, 'The Sinkhole Syndrome', is to the Disorganized.
"If my private world is in order it will be because I am convinced that the inner world of the spiritual must govern the outer world of activity." pg. 10
Good stuff, right?
There are wise words like this:
"I manage time and command it best when I budget it far in advance."pg 98
"I think Jesus included a third element in His strategy of time budgeting, for He set time aside for the training of the Twelve. With a world of millions to reach, Jesus budgeted the majority of His time to be with just a few simple men." pg 84
And that is probably why I found this book so valid. It is rich with input on how to keep taking each step of my life toward the purpose I have been called to by God.
It is a study on how Jesus handled life as both a person and a leader. And every year I glean more wisdom from it.
I highly recommend checking this book out and taking some time reading it before the end of the year. It is a book that will help guide you down the road of purposeful living.
Having a purpose for our lives gives us a plumline. As we go through and check that plumline we are more quickly stabilized and led into peace. That peace that comes when we have a clear destination.
MacDonald challenges the driven leader and draws a line between the driven and the called. His clear guidance to determine where his reader lands is a great comeuppance. A pie graph/diagram is drawn from the beginning of the book walking each person through five slices of living. Use of time and Spiritual Strength are just two of the powerful pieces of the pie.
The book closes with a Study Guide. I didn't go through the Study Guide until my third reading, but when I finally did, I found it brought even more depth from the wisdom shared by MacDonald.
I encourage you to check this book out. If you have read it in the past, consider tapping into it again. You can buy it on line, it is even available on Kindle. I pray that this gives you an opportunity to build into your life a daily commitment to be reading the word of God.
And if you ever want to join us here for that regular commitment with our Reading, Reflection, and Bible Community, you can find us at
Because in reality, there is nothing so powerful in learning how to fear well, than by reading the Word of God. Within those book covers lies the peace that comes from resting in Him.
I post here on Mondays.
Or daily as I review my life as a missionary in Germany:
on the Mutating Missionary blog. Click Here
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See you next week.
Here on Mondays.
Robyn Rochelle Cox
Robyn Rochelle Cox
WHOSE AM I?