BLOG site of Amy R. Maxwell

I am the wife of B.J. Maxwell (married August of 1997) and mother of our four adopted children.
I am blessed with the awesome privilege to care for & love my husband, invest in & love our children, and keep our home.
May I steward these gifts well, for the glory and praise of Christ Jesus our precious Lord & Savior!

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus . . . sweetest name I know!

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Do you believe ALL of God's Word is truth?

 I have been thinking about the following question a lot the past couple of months:
Do I believe ALL of God's Word is truth? 
During life's most difficult trials, I often find myself asking this question. I think we are left with two options.
(1) Yes. I believe God's Word is truth. Therefore, I must obey all of it and worship!
(2) No. I don't believe all of God's Word to be truth. If this is the case, it doesn't matter how I live.
When you are on your death bed . . .
When you experience the death of a child or someone else you love & cherish . . .
When you feel the darkness of depression and nothing seems to break the sadness . . .
When you are tempted to stop for a moment on a channel to enjoy nudity or perhaps your fingers are tempted to search the internet for things that damage the soul . . .
When sickness is your companion night & day and you long for death to take the pain away . . .

When you feel the sting of sin & pain, I believe you are often left with the above question. Are you going to bet everything on Jesus or not?

If I say “I am a follower of Christ” than my life should reflect & smell so sweetly of Jesus. This does not mean I live a life of perfection. Nor does it mean my life becomes void of pain & trials. But my life should be radically different from the world. Even my response to sin & suffering are radically different from the world.

I remember lying in bed one day (in the midst of a major trial) asking myself, "Do I really believe Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light? Of all the religions in the world . . . of all the "saviors" . . . is Jesus THE only way to Heaven? Is He the Savior of the world?" Yes. I believe He IS the only way. So, what does that mean for me? It means I must obey & believe ALL of Scripture for Jesus is "the living Word" and we are commanded to obey it/Him. Therefore, my response to sin & suffering is hope. My response is worship.

The Bible has MUCH to say about suffering yet we often choose the world (and not believe Scripture) when we face seasons of trials & heartache. How often do we reject truth when we put-on a self that is waist deep in worldly muck & grime? Is Jesus and the truth of Scripture our hope and comfort? Do we look to Christ for wisdom & help? Do we long for the day when our eyes will close in death and open again to see the Word of God in the flesh! Hallelujah! Maranatha!!

Let's take a look at Scripture. What does God/Jesus have to say about the Word and how we should obey it in all areas of life?

Hebrews 4:12 says,
“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

In Psalm 119,
“Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord! Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways! You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently. Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes!” 

And Jesus himself says in Luke 11:28 and 14:15,
“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

He also says in John 14:21,
“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him."

So, who are you betting your life on? Who will be your savior?

If you believe Jesus to be the Son of God and you believe God's Word to be true, than begin today by living a life that reflects what you believe. This is your life. This is your eternity. What you believe to be true about God is the most important thing about you. It will be what sustains you through life's most difficult trials & suffering.

I choose Jesus and I am betting everything on Him!!

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Joy in Suffering

"Consider it all JOY, my brethren, 
when you encounter various trials."
James 1:2

"When God calls us to suffer He is not 
calling us away from JOY but into JOY."
John Piper

As I look back on 2013, the last word I would have used to describe it would be “joy”. This past year has been really hard. We have shed many tears, questioned God, questioned ourselves, raised up our fists in anger, fell on our knees in exhaustion & despair, and wondered if the trials would ever end. We have been more than ready to leave this year behind in hopes that brighter skies are just around the corner in 2014. But, the more I reflect on this year, the more I am humbled at God's goodness & faithfulness.

If I believe God's Word to be true, He has a lot to say about trials & suffering. In fact, in I Peter, we are called to “share in the sufferings of Christ” and “rejoice” (4:13). In Romans 5, verse 3, Paul says we are to “exult in our tribulations” knowing that this will ultimately produce the glorious fruit of “hope”! Paul even goes as far as saying we should boast in our weaknesses (and boy do my weaknesses flow in abundance during trials) so that “the power of Christ may dwell in me”. How can this be? Because His “grace is sufficient” and His “power is perfected in weakness” (II Corinthians 12:9).

Ahhh, this makes me reflect upon a beautiful hymn Charles Wesley composed in 1738, And Can It Be?
Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Lydia Brownback says the following in her book, Trust: a godly woman's adornment:
Real faith is the conviction that God is good, no matter what He does.

This statement has stuck with me a lot this past year. Our suffering (which has been quite minuscule) has pushed me time and time again to ask myself, “Do I believe God is good and glorious in all that He does?” And every time, I am brought to my knees with an astounding, “YES!” Oh Father, You ARE good and You are ALWAYS faithful!

For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:5

Barbara Hughes, in her book, Disciplines of a Godly Woman, reflects on this glorious truth as well:
“When the path ahead was unclear and it seemed as if God were silent for a long time, or when circumstances overwhelmed me and I felt like crying enough! this verse [Luke 22:32] turned my heart from fear to faith. God's purpose for the sifting was to prove and perfect my faith. That perfection is not to be completed in this earthly life. But here and now, He gives everything we need to face whatever sifting HE allows – He gives HIMSELF.”

Comforting & glorious, isn't it?

As I reflect back on 2013 I desire to praise God because He says that the testing of my faith “develops perseverance. And perseverance must finish its work so that [I] may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:3-4) However, this new me (being mature and complete with nothing lacking) has very little to do with me, but everything to do with Christ Jesus.

Oh how my soul desires to be more like Him. But often my flesh gets in the way as I whine and complain about these silly ol' trials. How I pray to keep my eyes on Jesus – “the author and perfecter of [my] faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” May I “consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that [I] will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:2-3)

So, I will boast in Jesus and REJOICE as 2013 comes to a close.
Come and see what God has done, how awesome his works. Psalm 66:5

God is good, glorious, and faithful in all things!
He is faithful in sickness (in kidney stones, stents, skin cancer, dry sockets, pinched nerves, seizures, viruses, failing health, heart disease, and nagging coughs.)
He is glorious in the destruction of reputations, hurtful slander & gossip, and the loss of dearly loved family & friends.
He is good when children die, when adoptions fail, when jobs are lost, when bank accounts are empty, when cars are totaled, or the house starts falling apart & needs repairs.
Yes, this is what God has done for us in 2013. He has been most glorious and gracious!

From the hymn, On Jordan's Stormy Banks, written by Samuel Stennett (1787),
On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand,
And cast a wishful eye
To Canaan’s fair and happy land,
Where my possessions lie.

I am bound for the promised land,
I am bound for the promised land;
Oh who will come and go with me?
I am bound for the promised land.

When I shall reach that happy place,
I’ll be forever blest,
For I shall see my Father’s face,
And in His bosom rest