Boast In The Lord January 5th, 2023

Eph 1:18-19, "I pray that the eyes of my heart may be enlightened, so that I may KNOW what is the hope of His calling.  What are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.   These are in accordance with the working of the strength of HIS might..."

I grew up in a Christian home in Bergen County; I witnessed the salvation of my parents and the dramatic change that took place in their lives. I went to Taylor University where I met my husband of 53 years and was led to come back to New Jersey.  So, I am a Jersey girl through and through! 
My parents were the most spiritual influential factors in my life.  We believed in the Bible.  And by that, I mean we lived by it, depended on the Lord through some very difficult times and praised Him through the hard and easy times.  
My father had a large business and we had to depend on work coming in and people paying their bills so he could pay his men.  That was our way of life.  For us, trusting Jesus was like breathing.   Jesus was part of our family.  He was so real that He seemed to be almost physically present each time we sat down for dinner.  I have much to thank God for and very much to thank my parents for in their wisdom in raising me and my sister (who now lives in Texas).
Boast in the Lord?  How could I not?  The key verses I live by are ones you know.  Prov 3:5-6.  Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and do not lean on your own understanding…..He will direct your paths.   He will!!  His Spirit will bear witness with my spirit towards that road we need to follow; despite the fact that it may not make sense or be easy.  Just trust… and keep trusting through it all.  
Bruce and I have had our share of hardships: extended illness, loss of 5 children, depression, loss of jobs, bewilderment.  We have endured many things, and I’m sure as many as you have had to endure if you’ve lived as long as us.  We have seen God do miracles, answer amazing prayers, and bless us beyond what we ever could have expected.  He definitely has blessed us with a wonderful family, which we do not take for granted, all of whom also follow Jesus and His Word.
I have experienced God expecting me to walk out on a gangplank, not knowing what on earth He was asking me to do.  Then He would provide, step by step (using all the talents he built in me thus far) and open doors which led to 30 years of ministry, of which involved public speaking, which was my worst nightmare.  But I learned to just go forward with my fear and expect that He would meet me when I stepped on the platform to speak.  I always prayed in advance, “Jesus if you were standing here…what would you tell this group?”  And He would give me the message and the words; both so amazing and sometimes downright frightening.
If we trust….then Psalm 23 is true.   “Surely goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives”, and eventually “we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”  
I have discovered along life’s way that God is very smart!  He goes before us and lays out provision, protection, direction in life, before we even know we need anything.  I saw this play out in how God provided every detail, down to the very day my Dad passed into Glory.  Wow!  If another day had passed, we would have made a serious mistake with his care - a cumbersome one.  I am now watching the Lord take care of my 94 yr old mother, who is failing slowly.  But I watch her, like I watched my Dad.  The way she still lives Boasting in the Lord.  She knows Him so well.  She has no doubts that God will see her through to Glory and will provide all the ever-changing details of her care ...till that day comes.
I boast in the Lord because He Lives and we live in Him and will be with Him one day.  The HOPE (confidence) is real!
It truly has been an exciting adventure with the Lord.  We fear sometimes….but we don’t need to .  He is always ever-present!  We learn this from experiencing God in intimate ways time after time. Every new situation builds faith.  So if God took care of the last one, then surely He will take care of this one as well.

Lord make me your servant, pliable in your hands to do the works and plans that you have for my future. (I am still young at heart!)  Help me to surrender the rest of my life and cause it to produce much fruit for your Glorious namesake.  For from you and back to you I give God the Glory.

Karol Hess

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