3 The LORD your God Himself will cross over ahead of you. He will destroy these nations before you, and you will take possession of their land. Joshua also will cross over ahead of you, as the LORD said.
6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you."
8 The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
As I wrote those words I glanced over at a pamphlet on the table with the title that said:
HARD TIMES ARE COMING... An ominous feeling came over me as I continued to write the rest of the verses God was giving me...
The Song of Moses
30 And Moses recited the words of this song from beginning to end in the hearing of the whole assembly of Israel:
Deuteronomy 32: 1-4
1 Listen, O heavens, and I will speak; hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.
2 Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.
3 I will proclaim the name of the LORD. Oh, praise the greatness of our God!
4 He is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He.
I turned the page of my journal to write the next passage the LORD gave me:
1 Timothy 6 Paul's Charge to Timothy
11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession .... [all emphasis mine]
It was at that moment as I finished writing those words of "Fight the good fight of faith" that my dog, Chloe, began barking out the back window. It was - still dark - so I could not see well. She just whimpered in panic at the back door. I looked out the window kneeling on the living room sofa and asked God to show me what was wrong. There were no deer there. I had thought perhaps the blue heron had been in the pond stealing my last two fish again - but saw no signs of him or anything. I prayed and waited a bit longer til the light dawned a little brighter - before hooking the leash on Chloe to walk her. We went out the back deck and did our normal routine walk around the left side of the backyard. I took note of the beautiful moon sliver - reminding me of God's covenant love for me. As I looped around taking Chloe to her pen, she continued to whimper like a scared child. I put her inside her pen and latched the gate. I heard leaves rustling and saw something scurry through the woods. I ran over to that side of the woods to see if it was a flock of wild turkey's that sometimes walk through that part of the yard. Nothing. Then, as I turned to walk toward (the goose) Louie's pen to let him out - I saw it. A turkey vulture had killed Louie. His feathers were strewn in a circle where the struggle had taken place.
This is not what I had longed to write about today. This is not what I desired to deal with today. But God (in my tears) has walked me through the entire situation. I was able to piece together all that had happened. My son came over right away, then two friends; one who dug the hole to bury Louie. I asked God who I should call and he showed me - they came - he dug [with a brand new pick ax that I found in my shed with the sticker still on it - one that I had never seen before - God provided] - we buried - we prayed.
Yesterday marked my final day of teaching in Newfield for the summer.... [satan] always comes against me after a time of fruit and blessing.... but he cannot win. My God is bigger and stronger. And I will not be discouraged or afraid because the LORD my God is with me. Our struggles are not against flesh and blood - they are against the spiritual forces of evil [Ephesian 6:12].
Many of you have walked through this journey with me as God continues to unfold His plans for my life. I praise Him for Who He IS and what He is doing.
The passage that I was writing from 1 Tim. 6:12 when the dog began to bark finishes with these words... in the presence of many witnesses.
"The LORD giveth and the LORD taketh away; Blessed be the Name of the LORD!" Even Louie 'fought the good fight'. God will even use the life of my pet goose to praise His name forever. [Louie was 11 years old in July].
Choosing JOY in sorrow,
Stephanie [I AM the BELOVED of CHRIST]