Category Archives: ANXIETY

Little paper hearts

“Oh no!”

I stopped shaking out the bunch of artificial white carnations and lilies as I leaned over my second-floor balcony, watching three rosebud pink paper hearts spiral and flutter all the way to the ground, as concerned as if I had just dropped the ruby ring my daughter gave me down the sink.

I ran, well at least I moved fast, to retrieve those three little paper hearts. They had nestled in the vase of white flowers next to my kitchen sink for nearly four years, extras from when I worked part-time in the children’s department of our church. Four years ago, God was just beginning to draw me out of the pit of deep depression.

He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. 17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. 18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. 19 He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” (Psalm 18:16-19).

Read all of Psalm 18 and take time to thank God for something He has rescued you from. Understanding how God fights for us is deeply comforting.

The messages on those paper hearts. Three messages are printed in the center of those little hearts:

  • God made me and He loves me.
  • God listens to me and He loves me.
  • God takes care of me and He loves me.

Pondering Bible truths such as these day and night (Psalm 1), healed depression and gave me a new, undepressed mind (Romans 12:2) when nothing else worked.

Constant reminders.  We all have our weaknesses. Some of us, like me, need reminders all day long to depend on God and not worry. Some of us, like me, need reminding that no matter how I feel, I am not alone. That’s why those little pink paper hearts reside in that vase of flowers by my sink. What do I think of when I read those three little messages?

God made me and He loves me. In Psalm 139:13-16 David talks with God about how God created him. David says to God:

13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,  I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;

Verse 16b says “all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” How comforting to know that our all-powerful God has our life planned and that His plan is for our good.

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

“. . . And He loves me” In verses 17 and 18 of Psalm 139, David gives us another detail about the way God loves us – He thinks about us all the time.

“How precious to me are your thoughts,] God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you.”

I can only echo The Enduring Word commentary: “David was filled with amazement and adoration by considering how God knew and cared for him. It is precious that God should think of us at all; it is beyond precious that He would think well of us and think so often of us.” (emphasis added)

God takes care of me and He loves me. I have an extremely hard time writing about the phrase “God takes care of me.” Why? I have too much to say! Since April 1981, when I gave my heart to Jesus, God has abundantly supplied all my needs “according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19, NIV). He truly has never, no never, no never failed in any way (Hebrews 13:5-6, Joshua).

By God’s grace, when I was saved I determined to put my relationship with God first and to obey Him fully. Everything else—every day of the past forty-three years–followed from that. God continues to give steady spiritual growth, heart and body healings, and miraculous provision of every physical, mental, emotional and spiritual need. All it takes is loving God above all, obeying Him, and serving Him with your whole heart.

Consider now Hebrews 13:5-6. Verse 5 tells us to love God first, more than material things, and be content with where we are and what we have. Why? God, the Creator and Sustainer of all that is, promises to never fail us in any way. I highly recommend imprinting these two verses on your heart by pondering on them.

 Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down ]relax My hold on you)! ]Assuredly not!]

So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me?

Image result for public domain picture of father listening to childGod listens to me and He loves me. Many years of seeing God do personal miracle after personal miracle has built up my faith. From the miracle of courage and strength for daily life to miraculous physical healings and provision, He has never failed. Yet, being human, sometimes dark clouds of loneliness and self-pity close in, threatening a destructive emotional storm. Though surrounded by loving family and friends, in moments of special stress or fatigue, the enemy sometimes flings flaming arrows of thought. “You are all alone. No one really cares. How could they? You are such a mess, you are . . . “

By grace, I’ve learned to quickly identify the voice of the enemy. When thoughts like that come, I say “Satan, it is written in James 4:7 that if I submit myself to God and resist you, you must flee, so I command you to flee now!” Then I immediately turn to praising God and keeping my mind on Him. “Father, thank You that You are far greater than the enemy and that You are in me, Your Spirit is giving me all I need for life and godliness. You are keeping me in complete and constant peace because I am keeping my mind fixed on You. Thank You for teaching me Your Word. Thank You that I live in America where I can have a Bible and worship You in freedom. Thank You for my family, for food to eat, clothes to wear, a car to drive. Thank You for the bird I hear chirping outside. . .”

This has never, no never, failed to restore my peace. Try it.

Another weapon against the poison of loneliness is Genesis 28:15.

And behold, I am with you and will keep (watch over you with care, take notice of) you wherever you may go, and I will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done all of which I have told you. (AMPC)

Keep the truths in this Scripture in mind as you go about your daily life and simply talk with God about whatever you are doing. Be aware that He is listening—all day long—specifically to you. You will find it helps you feel His presence.

Returning to whole-hearted seeking. Jeremiah 29 contains a warning and a precious promise about God’s mercy toward us. Jeremiah 2­9 is a letter God wrote through Jeremiah to the captives exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem because of their wickedness and unrepentant idol worship. In the first nine verses, God told the captive Israelites to settle down and work for the good of the place they lived (Babylon) because “its welfare will determine your welfare.” (V. 7b, NLT). God told them they would stay in Babylon 70 years, which was until their punishment was completed. (Notice how God is taking care of them, even while they are being punished, by telling them how to have a better life.)  In verse 10, God promises that after 70 years He would return them to Jerusalem and “do for you all the good things I have promised.” (v. 10b).

And then comes the well-known verse, Jeremiah 29:11: “11 For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.” (NIV). Especially notice verses 12 through 14.

12 Then you will call upon Me, and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear and heed you.

13 Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me [as a vital necessity] and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. (emphasis added)

14 I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will release you from captivity and gather you from all the nations and all the places to which I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I caused you to be carried away captive.” (AMPC, emphasis added).

God reassures His rebellious people that He has good plans for them, and that their final outcome will be one where they love Him whole-heartedly and find Him as well as enjoy freedom again.

This teaches me that I move toward captivity –to my fleshly nature and/or Satan–when I start depending on or loving anything more than God. I make that thing an idol. It also teaches me that God is ever ready to deliver me when I seek Him with my whole heart, as if my very life depended on Him, which it does.  God brings me back to Jerusalem, to the beautiful condition of the heart that comes from peace, when I call on Him whole-heartedly.

I believe this process of sin-captivity-judgement-restoration applies to any scale of time, from our “little” failures that take us away from God part of the day to unrecognized and/or unconfessed sin that steals our closeness and our peace for months or years.

Free Bald Eagle Perched on Tree Branch Stock PhotoFather, thank You so much for teaching us how to stay in peace. Thank You for Your clear guidance in the Word. Please forgive me when I give in to doubt or fear. Thank You that You are growing me up and those times come far less often.

And from Psalm 91 I say, Lord, help me always dwell in the secret place so that I can remain continually under the shadow of Your great wings. Remind me to say of You, “The Lord is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I [confidently] trust!” (AMPC)

When I do that, Lord, I know You will cover me with Your feathers, just like a mother hen fiercely defending her little chicks.

And when I am under Your wings, I will be able to snuggle in close and find the trust and refuge I so desperately need.  Truly Lord, Your “truth and faithfulness are a shield and a buckler.”

 

God’s Arsenal for Peace and Security, Revisited – Part Two

In Part One, we were reminded that the truths in God’s Word are our weapons for spiritual warfare. Some Bible verses in particular will keep us in peace and feeling secure if we keep those verses uppermost in our minds and hearts. We considered the benefits of meditating upon and memorizing God’s Word.

Part Two covers the following topics.

  • Why the AMPC?
  • God’s Word has power to change your heart and your life.
  • How does God’s Word change your heart?
  • As God’s truth increases in your heart, lies and darkness decrease.
  • A word of encouragement about meditating and memorizing.
  • God’s Arsenal for Peace and Security – List of Verses

Why the Amplified translation of the Bible? Here is the description of the Amplified translation from www.lockman.org, the publisher.

“The Amplified Bible is a Literal Equivalent translation that, by using synonyms and definitions, both explains and expands the meaning of words in the text by placing amplification in parentheses, brackets, and after key words. This unique system of translation allows the reader to more completely and clearly grasp the meaning as it was understood in the original languages. Additionally, amplifications may provide further theological, historical, and other details for a better understanding of the text.”

Image result for free picture of dog with a boneTo meditate means to ponder, consider, to roll something over and over in your mind, and to work at it like a dog works at a bone or a cow chews her cud.  Compare the translations of Isaiah 26:3-4 below.

  • NIV – “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast in You because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.”
  • NKJ – “You will keep in perfect peace Whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever. For in Yah, the Lord, is everlasting strength.”
  • NLT – “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, whose thoughts are fixed on You. Trust in the Lord always, for the LORD GOD is the eternal rock.”
  • AMPC – “You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You. So trust in the Lord – commit yourself to Him, lean on Him, hope confidently in Him—forever; for the Lord God is an everlasting rock—the Rock of Ages.”

Picture of All Punctuation MarksYou will see that the Amplified has more words than most other translations.  These “extra” words—those set off in dashes, braces, brackets and parentheses –are shades of meaning that the original readers of the Bible would have automatically understood when they heard that word or phrase. Slowly, carefully reading these phrases in the Amplified is one way to meditate. It slows the mind down and guides the thought process. If I meditate on Isaiah 26:3 in the NIV or the NKJ, for example, I will come up with my own ideas about what “perfect peace” and a “steadfast mind” and “trust” mean, but the “extra” words in the Amplified are, I believe, the first thoughts we should  dwell on as we meditate on a verse or passage because they are, I believe, levels of meaning that God intended when He inspired the writers of Scripture.

So, using the Amplified has two clear benefits for meditation. First, it will force you to slow down and spend more time as you meditate. Second, it will help your meditation uncover more completely, in my opinion, what God is saying in His Word.

One clear example is the word trust in Isaiah 26:3-4. Isaiah 26:3 tells us to trust in the Lord and verse 4 defines trust in the clarifying words of the Amplified, the words between dashes. Verse 4 says “So trust in the Lord—commit yourself to Him, lean on Him, hope confidently in Him—forever. . .”  That means to me that when I see God use the word trust, He means “to commit myself to Him, to lean on Him, and to hope confidently in Him.”  Using my own thoughts, I did not think of those three layers of meaning.

I suggest you try using the Amplified translation to memorize. If, after a sincere effort, you are not blessed then use a translation such as the New King James or New International. I also recommend using the Amplified Classic edition. Later editions leave out some of the amplifying phrases.

God’s Word has power to change your heart and your life. The power of God’s Word will “fix” your heart no matter if your problem is addiction, anger, self-control, loneliness, depression, or fear. Then, as your heart changes, your life will change.

Image result for public domain picture of judge with gavelHebrews 4:12 tells us that God’s Word is alive and full of power, and that it “judges the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (NIV) One thing that phrase means to me is that God’s Word in my mind enables me to discern, or to judge, whether thoughts and feelings in my heart are good or bad, true or false, beneficial or detrimental, holy or corrupted, whether they are from God or from the devil, and whether they lead toward life or lead toward death.

When I was deeply depressed and cowered down by fear, most of my thoughts were negative. The enemy and my own downtrodden heart generated thoughts and feelings of hopelessness and discouragement, day after day. Only when I began studying the Word for myself in my areas of need and then consciously kept those verses in my mind minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, did the healing begin.

The verses in “Your Basic Arsenal” are listed in the order in which I studied and then memorized them during that season. What I needed most when I first began was peace, so I kept repeating God’s promise to keep me in peace if I kept my mind fixed on Him (Isaiah 26:3).  The truth of that Word made the lies in my heart flee, little by little. The light of truth chases the darkness of lies away, just as dawn chases the darkness of night away (Proverbs 4:18).

How does God’s Word change your heart? Here is one example of how the Word changes hearts. Whispering SilhouetteIsaiah 26:3 is true. It is a fact that God will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in Him, whose thoughts are fixed on Him. (NLT) But the enemy tries to make us believe things that are not true. He tries to make us believe his lies, just as he did with Adam and Eve. I became and stayed depressed because, although I knew a lot of the Word, the enemy shot lying thought arrows into my heart, thoughts like “I will always feel bad and stay depressed. God cannot heal me. I am too messed up. I have wasted too much time. I have disappointed God, and He is mad at me.” If you hear something often enough, you can start to believe it, even if it is not true.

But because God’s Word is “alive and full of power,” it is active, it operates in our hearts, it energizes our hearts, and it is effective in our hearts. (Hebrews 4:12, AMPC). As soon as I heard even one short statement of truth (for example, God will never fail me in any way), the light that comes from that truth drove away some of the darkness–immediately. As I kept repeating that truth and thinking about it, pondering what exactly it meant, more light came into my mind and then my feelings.

As I searched the Bible for verses about peace, God led me first to Isaiah 26:3 and Hebrews 13:5. I started trying to keep the truths in those verses in my mind, by reading them repeatedly, then by repeating them over and over all day long, day after day, and thinking about them phrase by phrase, thinking about what each phrase meant, what each word in the phrases meant.

Image result for free picture of dawnAs God’s truth increases in your heart, lies and darkness decrease. When we meditate on God’s truth, truth and light start to take up more space in our thoughts than lies, so that truth becomes dominant, or foremost.  That is like changing undrinkable salt water by adding more fresh water until it becomes drinkable. Really, it is more like a desalinization plant because the salt, or lie, is actually removed, not just diluted!

I believe that is one reason God tells us, many times, to think about His Word all day long. As we keep His Word in our mind, hour by hour, day by day, we begin to think about life and situations like God thinks about them because we have more of the truth about life and those situations in our hearts. We start to walk in truth, to live in truth, to think like God and to act in a godly way.

As we keep diligently studying the Word, building up our library of knowledge about life as it really is, as God explains it in His Word, we grow up spiritually and grow stronger, and we fall for Satan’s lies far less often.

A word of encouragement about meditating and memorizing. You do not have to actually memorize the verses, although it will benefit you more to do so. You will find that if you ponder, think about, and puzzle over what each phrase means, you will nearly have it memorized without even trying. If you have an especially  hard time memorizing I urge you to give it your best effort, with prayer, for at least a week, with just one verse. If you really feel you cannot memorize, then do work faithfully to at least develop the habit of meditating on a specific verse or two each day, hour by hour intentionally rolling it over in your mind.

Image result for public domain picture of workbootsI heard a story about a man who worked as a laborer, with no way to pause and read the Word of God during the long hours he labored with his hands and back. But that man deeply loved God and the Word, so he memorized what he could of one verse each morning and meditated on that all day. The pastor who told the story said that man had a deeper understanding of God’s Word than many of the formally educated pastors and theologians he knew. The point, to me, is:  try the best you can, with all your heart, to study the Word and God will make your efforts succeed. Study Psalm 1 and selah – pause to think about what it says!

Remember the table below “God’s Arsenal for Peace and Security” is available as a printable Word document on the Books and More tab at www.wordsofhopeandhealing.com.

“Grace and peace to you from God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Corinthians 1:3, NIV)

Gods Arsenal for Peace and Security

Scripture Reference Key Thought – Memory Cue
Section One  
Isaiah 26:3 1. Peace
Hebrews 13:5 2. never fails
Isaiah 30:15 3. to return
Psalm 91 4. to the secret place.
Section Two
Lamentations 3:25-26 5.  God is good,
Genesis 28:15 6. He is near, so
Psalm 27:14 7. I can wait,
Isaiah 41:10 8. and not fear,
Psalm 94:12-15 9. And keep myself calm!
Section Three
John 16:33 10. I can be of good cheer!
Psalm 18:30-36 11. (because) God is perfect.
Psalm 1 12. I can think about Him all day.
Psalm 107 13. And I can thank Him.
Section Four
II Chronicles 15:2 14.  I will find Him
Philippians 4 15. as I rejoice, and
Psalm 103 16. and praise Him.
2  Chronicles 16:9 17. He longs to strengthen me.
See the “Books and More” page at www.wordsofhopeandhealing.com for a printable Word document of this table.

God’s Arsenal for Peace and Security, Revisited – Part One

The power of God’s Word– the power of Truth–renewed my mind (Romans 12:2) after a long season of severe depression. Although I had known the Lord for many years, I did not have the habit of meditating on His Word all day long. This post and the next show how God changed that, and how easily He can do the same for you.

This is a reprinting from October 1, 2020, nearly four years ago.  Through all this time, meditating on God’s Word has kept me free from depression. For sure, there have been emotional dips and seasons of feeling discouraged and afraid. But every time I returned to the habit of pondering the truths of God’s Word all day long, God gave me “again a settled place of quiet and safety.” (Jeremiah 15:19, AMPC). He has a settled place of quiet and safety for you, too.

Part One covers these topics:

  • God’s weapons for spiritual warfare.
  • Why these particular verses?
  • Why in this particular order?
  • How to use the key word sentences.
  • Why meditate?
  • Why memorize?

God’s weapons for spiritual warfare.  According to Webster’s online dictionary, https://webster-dictionary.org/definition/arsenal, an arsenal is a “military structure where arms and ammunition and other military equipment are stored and training is given in the use of arms.”

God’s Word contains every truth a child of God needs for victory in this world, and His Word trains us how to use those truths. His Word is a weapon, and it is also a place of training. His Word is an arsenal.

Diligently studying His Word equips you to “put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (Ephesians 6:11, NIV) The Word teaches you how to put on and use the pieces of spiritual armor God has prepared for us that include truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, and “the sword the Spirit wields, which is the Word God.” (Ephesians 6:17, AMPC).

Image result for free picture of peaceWhy these particular verses? The verses given here are a fundamental part of the arsenal of God’s Word because they will help you fight for peace and for confidence that God loves you and will always take care of you. We all need peace, every day, and we all need confidence that God is with us and will take care of us.  These verses will help build that peace and that confidence. I discovered these verses as I searched the Word for healing from depression and for courage to face my everyday life.

Why in this particular order? When I began studying the Word for myself in my areas of personal need, I started studying verses about fear. However, I soon discovered that studying about peace helped more. While I studied, I selected the verse that seemed most comforting and meditated on that verse, phrase by phrase, all day long, until I nearly memorized it, which often took days. When I realized I was memorizing almost by accident as I meditated, I decided to try a bit harder and intentionally memorize the verses.

So, while memorizing the current verse, I kept studying, searching for Scriptures in my areas of need. Once I had a verse memorized, I went on to the next Scripture I had found during study time. Soon, I had a long chain of Scriptures I could play in my mind when negative thoughts and feelings threatened to steal my peace. But I forgot them when I did not have my list with me or when I could not take time to read it, for example, when driving.  What to do?

How to use the key word sentences.  As I kept trying to remember the list of verses, I saw that the key word or thought in each verse formed a sentence.  Look at the sample below. The left column gives the Scripture reference, and the right column gives the key word or thought of that Scripture. If you read straight down the right column, you will see that the key words form sentences, which are themselves comforting truths. For example, “Peace never fails to return to the secret place.” That thought reassures us that we can always find peace when we stay in the secret place.

 How to Use Key Word Sentences

Scripture Key Word Sentences
Isaiah 26:3 Peace
Hebrews 13:5 never fails
Isaiah 30:15 to return
Psalm 91 to the secret place.

On the “Books and More” tab of this website you will find a printable document called “God’s Arsenal for Peace and Security.”  This list contains four sets of verses. Please do not be intimidated!  Take it one verse at a time, at your own pace. Although I suggest you for sure do the first two sets, you do not have to do them all. You might find Holy Spirit leading you to a different chain of Scriptures or adding to these. Let Him lead you. He knows exactly what you need. (Psalm 139)

Why meditate? We know we are to think about and meditate on God’s Word all day, every day. God tells us to meditate, in Deuteronomy 11:18-21, Joshua 1:8, Psalm 1, Proverbs 4:20-23, and Philippians 4:8. Meditation is good for us  and can be health to our bodies if we are diligent with it. (Proverbs 4:23). Thinking about God’s Word throughout the day helps keep us far from sin and close to Him in our thoughts and actions. Hearing, and believing, God’s Word will change the way we think, feel, and live.

Image result for free picture of flaming arrowsWhy memorize? As described earlier, as you meditate on a verse or passage, you are more than halfway to memorizing it anyway. Having what God’s Word says about life’s situations available in your memory is powerful. I compare God’s Word in your mind to having a huge bodyguard with you 24/7. If you have planted the Word in your mind, then Holy Spirit, like the perfect Guardian and Protector He is, will bring the Scripture you need to your conscious mind in each situation you face. The Word keeps the enemy out of your mind. He may shoot flaming arrows of thoughts, but even the worst of his “lie arrows” bounce off the shield of Truth and do you no harm.

As I described above, if you take one verse a day phrase by phrase, going over each phrase many times during that day, you will nearly have it memorized. If it is not fixed in memory during that day, focus on that verse another day. Memorizing God’s Word weaves it into the fabric of our very being so that it guides our actions. A child who has been told often enough to “Say thank you” finally starts doing so automatically. Hiding God’s Word in our heart works the same way. It helps keep us acting as God wants. Hiding His Word in our heart keeps us from sin (Psalm 119:11).

In Part Two, we will consider how using the Amplified Classic Bible can enhance your meditation and how God’s Word works to change your heart.

God notices you – always! – Revisited

Note: Dear friend, this blog post is a repeat from September 29, 2020. With all that is happening in our world right now, it is a reminder that I personally need.

Image result for Jacob Ladder to Heaven“Behold, I am with you and will keep [careful watch over you and guard] you wherever you may go, and I will bring you back to this [promised] land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Genesis 28:15 (AMPC) – Part of God’s promise to Jacob, when he left his father Isaac’s house.

“Behold, I am with you.”  I stepped out of the front door of my daughter’s house, noticing that her key chain had a heft mine did not. Cool air caressed my face, and I inhaled deeply, relishing the crispness of it, and hoping the chilly days of February would extend well into the springtime.

I climbed into my daughter’s SUV and put my purse, thermos of water, and two napkins (which my grandsons would put in their laps to, somewhat, catch cracker crumbs from their after-school, on-the-road snack) in the passenger seat, my usual weekday routine. As I backed up and drove down the neighborhood street under the oaks that nearly met overhead. I started repeating the phrases of Genesis 28:15, my current meditation verse.

Father, that phrase ‘Behold, I am with you’, starts with ‘Behold’, which means to pay attention to something, to stop and take notice, like when the angels announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds. You really want me to stop and realize You are with me, don’t You?”

Tears moistened my eyes. My throat tightened. “Thank You, Father that You know how I feel. You know I still feel so small and unimportant and so guilty sometimes that I wasted two years being so depressed and fearful. I am so, so grateful that You are healing the depression as You give me the strength to keep my mind on You and Your Word all day.

And to know, to have You say to my mind almost audibly through that verse, that You are right here with me in this car, that You are here with me in all my failures and fears, well, Father, it is more than I can understand but I thank You so much for letting me feel Your presence. Thank You, Father, thank You. If You are with me, everything will be okay. Help me remember that.”

Image result for free picture of street with brown trees and grass“I will keep watch over you with care.” I turned left on Stassney, then right on Manchaca, heading toward school, driving through streets surrounded by faded brown winter trees and grass and a low, gray sky above. Leaving the heater gave the air inside the car a pleasant, brisk bite.

And the thought, Father, that You keep watch over me, why that is a military term, isn’t it? You want me to think of You like a soldier standing guard through the night and the day, purposefully focused on keeping that which he is guarding safe from all harm. And You say you keep watch over me with care, which means diligently, paying attention to each detail. And it is You, You, Lord, Who made and sustains the entire universe, You are the One who is keeping watch over every detail of my days, every day. That is just too wonderful for me to understand, Lord.”

“I will take notice of you wherever you may go.” The familiar road dipped down then up then turned left in a slow arc as I drove by offices and stores. Excitement and pleasure built, as it always did, when I was about to see my grandsons.

Image result for free picture of parent and child in woods“Lord, there is something about that phrase “take notice of you.” I know it means to pay special attention to, or to be interested in, and the dictionary said it means ‘to observe with special attention.” Father, the picture that comes to mind each time with that phrase is of a parent noticing the tiny things her child is doing and how much that little child wants the parent to notice them, to pay attention to them, to help build a block tower or to take a walk in the park to find roly-polies and pinecones.

I guess that’s why that phrase means so much to me, Lord. You know the hurts of the past that You are still healing. You know I felt unnoticed and unimportant growing up. I did not feel loved, even though I was. And You know how the enemy has used those same lies for all my life to torment me, to steal good things from my life and to get me depressed and discouraged so often through the years.

Thank You, Father, that Your Word, Your truth, is changing my heart at the root level as I keep thinking about Your truths, over and over a hundred times a day even with the same truth, like now, that You, You, Lord up in heaven, are noticing me, right now, this very moment. And that what I am doing—this ordinary, mundane thing—is precious in Your sight. You are noticing how I have prepared the little snack the boys love, You notice how I love the cool weather You’ve given, You notice that I am trying to memorize Your Word, You notice that I am trying with all my heart to please You and do what You want all day long.

Image result for free picture of daytime skyYou notice me, Lord! Help me never take that for granted.  You notice when I feel I have failed, and the truth of Your wonderful Word tells me that Your love for me is as high as the heavens are above the earth, that Your love has separated my sins—and that includes my failures—as far as the east is from the west. Your Word tells me that You do all that because You love me and have compassion on me like a father loves and pities his children, and that You have imprinted on Your heart that I am just dust, a frail human being.  Thank you, Father, for those comforting truths in Psalm 103.

Thank You, Father, thank You. To know that You notice each thing I do, that You observe me with special attention is comforting. It gives me strength to keep going and to trust that You will continue the healing.”

“. . . and I will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done all of which I told you.”  I parked on the street bordering the school, along with other parents and grandparents, then walked up the sloping hill to the school entrance, slowly to avoid getting too short of breath. Sitting on the bench encircling a grandfather oak, waiting for the bell, I saw Ansel, head swiveling as he walked out, third behind his teacher. He broke out of line, said something to her, then, as she saw me, she nodded to him, bumped fists, and he ran toward me, backpack wobbling from side to side, his face lit up.

“Nana!”, he yelled. “I knew you were coming!”

We waited on Ben’s class, then the three of us walked to the car. As we drove home, I listened to their brotherly chatter in the back seat. I also listened to what Holy Spirit whispered in my heart as I repeated the last phrase of Genesis 28:15-16.

“Thank You, Lord.” I silently prayed as Ansel asked Ben if he had seen the new swings on the playground,  “Thank You that I know You will finish the good work of healing You have started in me. Thank You that I know You will be with me every moment, just as You are right now.”

A personal request

Dear, dear reader, I wish I could adequately explain what a difference keeping God’s Word in my mind has made for me. The scene described above happened years ago now, when I had just started the habit of studying the Word of God, diligently, in my areas of personal need and meditating upon and memorizing the verses Holy Spirit showed me. During the months of doing that, God healed deep depression and fear. Counseling and medicine had helped, but life remained a daily misery until God’s Word began its healing work.

And the healing came, hour by hour, day by day, week upon week, as I kept studying and meditating all day long on God’s truths about peace and His loving provision and other healing truths. The truth of God did its work as I drove to work, got groceries, spent time with my family, and most of all when I was home, alone with God, facing the struggle of reclaiming the happy and productive life depression had stolen for two years.

It is worth noting that meditating on God’s Word has kept me free from depression for nearly four years now. There have been brief times of discouragement and moments of despair when the path led through dark valleys and over mountains that looked impossible. But as I tried, no matter how feebly, to think on God’s Word, His Word never once failed to comfort and deliver.

God’s Word will heal your life. Your problem may not be depression and anxiety, but whatever it is, God’s Word will heal your heart and your life. I beg you to start the habit of constant, all-day and night meditation upon verses from the Bible that address your needs.

Usually, a piece of writing seems to end itself. But I only know how to end this one by pleading, once again: Please make getting God’s Word into your heart a daily priority.  God’s Word will make your heart whole and sound. God’s Words truly are “ . . . life to those that find them, healing and health to all their flesh.” Proverbs 4:22, AMPC.

The next two blog posts, “God’s Arsenal for Peace and Security – Revisited – Parts One and Two”  give a list of Scriptures that will lead you toward peace and explain more about how the Word works in your heart. Image result for free picture of bible study

 

 

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” (Philemon 25)

 

 

Opportunities for great joy

In the early hours. . . I squinted, then squinted harder at the glowing red numerals. Four o’clock. Not drowsy at all. No chance of going back to sleep.

“Well, Father, You say in Ecclesiastes 5 that dreams come when there are many cares. I think it was some kind of dream that woke me up.”

I reached out for my phone and opened my audio copy of the Bible, knowing I needed to hear some psalms. For the next two hours, I lay in the dark, moving the heating pad from neck to back to ankle.

“Thank You, Father, that I can listen to psalms with my whole heart and make those words my own prayer. Thank You for all the reassurances of Your love for me and all the reminders of Your power for those You love.

Father, I cannot fix everything that has happened these last two weeks. I know the enemy seeks to push me into worry and fear and then depression. So I am casting all my cares on you. I will stay alert and resist him (I Peter 5).

Satan, I command you to get behind me and flee away! It is written that if I submit myself to God and resist you, you must flee (James 4:7) and I am submitting myself to God, trusting in Him and following Him with my whole heart.

I praise You, Father, that You are in me and You are greater than the evil one (I John 4:4). I praise You that all things are in Your hand, that You busy yourself with the details of the lives of those who live in right standing with you (Psalm 37:23). I thank You that You are my strength, my personal bravery and my invincible army! (Habakkuk 3:19).”

With that I got out of bed and began the day.

How to Fight Discouragement | Kelly LangstonEveryone is having “troubles, trials, distresses and frustrations.” (John 16:33) Revivals are breaking out across the country as God’s Great Awakening continues. God is exposing evil throughout the world. And the devil–“filled with fury because he knows his time is short” (Revelations 12:12)—is doing all he can to torment believers. You are not alone!

What to do “when we face trials of many kinds”? I know your tale of worries and woes is much like mine. Yet, the Word gives us light for our next steps and the path ahead (Psalm 119:105). So, what does God tell us to do when seemingly surrounded by troubles that seem to have no solution?

[1] Actively consider it all joy.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4, NIV)

The New Living translation says: “Consider it an opportunity for great joy. . . “  Although that is not how my feelings initially react when hard things happen, thinking on this Scripture stirs my faith and lets me say “God, I trust You in this. I choose to believe that You will use this for ultimate good.” Whenever I take that simple step, God’s peace starts bubbling up from inside. Obedience brings blessing (Deuteronomy 30:2).

So, I pray: “Father, I know this is an opportunity for spiritual growth. I thank You for the faith You have given me and for loving me enough to help me grow. Help me have the attitude You want me to have about it all.”

Image result for PUBLIC DOMAIN PICGTUR OF PRAYING HANDS[2] Present your specific requests to God.  Philippians 4:6-7 gives specific instructions not only about difficulties but about how to live every day. God says—in everything–rather than worry, to pray specifically, giving thanks to Him as we pray.  Then we will have His peace, which will protect our hearts and minds.

6 Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.

And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (AMPC)

So, I pray:

I present this situation to You, Lord. I thank You for the good things in this situation and I thank You for all the countless blessings Your pour on me every day. Thank You for salvation, for Your presence, for food to eat and clothes to wear, for the health You give me. Thank You that as I hope confidently in You, and keep my mind fixed on you, You will “guard and keep me in perfect and constant peace.” (Isaiah 26:3).

Image result for PUBLIC DOMAIN PICGTUR OF THE BIBLE[3] Remind yourself about some basic truths from God’s Word —meditate on the Word. God is very clear: meditating on His Word leads to prosperity and success. Yes, it can be hard to keep your mind on God and His Word when the distresses of life cascade one after another or when an affliction continues on and on, but consider these two passages:

“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. (Joshua 1:8, NIV, emphasis added)

And. . .

“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.  But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do. (Psalm 1:1-2, NLT, emphasis added).

God’s Word covers every situation you will face. Meditating on the Word is one of the best ways to obey Philippians 4:4-8 and fix your mind on good things.

So, I pray:

Father, I know You are working everything out for good (Romans 8:28). I know You will never fail me or leave me helpless in any way so I am comforted and I am encouraged and I say “with confidence, ‘The LORD is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5 NLT) I know that You have good plans for me (Jeremiah 29:11) I know that You have put understanding and joy in my path and I will find them as I keep walking (Psalm 97:11). I know that You draw near to me whenever I draw near to You (I John 4:16).

Oh Father! Help me not lose heart, because I know You are working in my heart and that these troubles are light and temporary compared to the eternal things You have prepared for me. Help me fix my mind on unseen things, which are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18).

It helps immeasurably if you have the Word “hidden in your heart.” The verses you know will come to mind, like water gurgling up out of desert sand. For a deeper discussion of this topic, see the booklet “Diligent Meditation” on the Books and More page of this website.

[4] “Trust in the Lord and do good.”  Psalm 37:3 tells us: “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.”  When hard times come, we are not to sit down and worry and give in to fear and dread. Actively trust God and go on with the next thing that needs to be done in your life. Seek out something good you can do for someone. Keep living the godly life God has called you to live. Trust God and do good.

Below is a link to an encouraging post about Elisabeth Elliot, the well-known Christian missionary and author whose missionary husband was martyred. When Elisabeth “. . . didn’t know which way to turn or what to do next. Elisabeth kept re-committing herself to trusting Christ, then she got busy doing the next right thing she knew that the Lord commanded in Scripture. Elisabeth didn’t let go and let God; she trusted Jesus and did good like Psalm 37:3 teaches. Her faith in Christ was active, not passive.” (For the entire post see Do the Next Thing: Elisabeth Elliot – Words of Hope (wohbm.org)

What if we are confused and do not know what is the next right thing?” God promises to direct our steps in life (Proverbs 3:5-6) if we trust in Him with all our heart. That includes times when our personal world seems to fall apart. He also promises to give us wisdom if we ask with faith (James 1:5-8). Another verse I lean hard on when I am confused about anything – what steps to take, which task to do first this day—is Proverbs 16:3: “Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed.” (AMPC)

You know what a relief it is when someone strong takes a heavy package out of your hands. You lean forward, release your grip and suddenly the weight is gone. God promises: “Commit to the Lord whatever you do and He will establish your plans.” (Proverbs 16:1, NIV). When I ask God, sincerely, to have His way with whatever it is, big or little, He promises to make my thoughts “become agreeable to His will” and to establish my plans.

Sheep Grazing in the Mountains at Sunset | Best Pictures in the World[5] Dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture while you are doing the next right thing. I like how Joyce Meyer summed up this part of the verse. She says be bold enough to trust God and enjoy your life WHILE He solves your problems. As the years, and trials, go by (and they both do, you know) I am learning to let go of worry before I see solutions and enjoy the blessings that are right in front of me. Each trouble I go through teaches me more about God’s faithfulness and His loving kindnesses.

I implore you: prayerfully study Psalm 37. It is filled with reassurances about God’s faithfulness to help and deliver the righteous “because they take refuge in Him. (Psalm 37:40, NIV)

So what were my problems? Here is a brief account of experiences that led me to ask three questions.

Within Our Grasp | Jesus christ images, Pictures of jesus christ ...Opportunity to trust #l. Upon Whom am I really leaning?   When my car’s “Check Engine” light came on, I took it in for an oil change, which makes that light go off unless there is something else wrong. That shop (not my regular one) said the car needed struts and a UV joint. For $2100. But, they had a six months, same as cash program. I gulped, took the opportunity to witness to the young man and drove down the road to my regular car shop. There, the estimate was $1500 – but no payment plan. I took that chance to, as I have before, thank the young man at my regular shop for being honest, went home and prayed. And looked at my stash of cash and the savings account.

I could pay for the repairs but it would nearly wipe out my stash of cash and the savings, both carefully accumulated twenty dollars at a time, for years. I thanked God for the wisdom to have been saving regularly and for the honest car repair shop and asked Him to help me not worry.

What I learned (again) regarding financial troubles: I did not realize I was trusting in the money I had saved, rather than trusting God. As long as I had that stash of cash I felt I could make it a few weeks, if financial catastrophe happened. While it wise to have savings, I am to lean on God for all my needs, finances included. Because I am so very human, I often do not see that I am leaning on something, or someone, until that thing or person is removed. The problem with the car led me to start writing about these trials.

Opportunity to trust #2: Can I trust God when the enemy strikes my flesh? The next day, I woke up with a painful rash around my nose, where the CPAP mask sits. I also had a painful rash at the corners of my mouth. It hurt to even open my mouth. And the burning on the bottoms of my feet, long-standing, off and on, was nearly unbearable. All this on top of the usual aches and pains and other physical challenges so many older people have.

Mercifully, I obtained an appointment with a dermatologist the next day. He quickly diagnosed all three issues and gave prescriptions. It was a blessing that the other two rashes finally led me to see a dermatologist because I had struggled with the feet issue for many months, thinking it could not be athlete’s foot because there were no blisters or redness, as my father had had.  The face rashes cleared almost immediately but addressing the feet issue has required much time and energy and money – treating all shoes and socks, new shoes, special washing instructions for laundry and the feet, and on and on it seems.

Opportunity to trust #3: Can I trust God when the enemy hurts my loved ones? Just as I was beginning to feel more stable, one of my loved ones passed out, had to have CPR and spent four hours in the ER getting stabilized and receiving three units of blood. Doctors are now trying to find the cause. The next day I learned another of my loved ones is facing a job change and drastic cut in pay.

I have worked on this blog post since the problem with the car. Blessed I am to have instructions from God on what to do right in my hands. I know God loves my loved ones far, far, far more than I ever can, and I know He is working all things together for good. I know He is loving in all that He does. I know His mercies are new every morning. I know there is nothing too hard for God. I know God is good and His mercy and loving kindness never, never, no never end.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.  (Psalm 136:1-3, NIV)

Christian, know that God understands when things fall apart and you do, too. He does not get angry or criticize. Rather, He is “close to the brokenhearted.” His compassions are new every morning. He has the utmost tenderness toward you. “Great and abundant is His stability and faithfulness.” Meditate on Lamentations 3:18-26.

Jesus hugging lamb, so precious. Prophetic art. | Jesus christ images ...

Do you know what happens when you love God?

Image result for free clip art of CAUSE AND EFFECTPlease note: This is a reprint from April 8, 2021.Life has been blessed – and busy!

The “if-then” nature of God’s promises. While studying Psalm 91, God has taught me much about the “if-then” nature of His promises. I am very grateful! In all the years I have studied the Bible (and I feel I have only begun understanding how to study this last year) I do not recall being so aware of how often if-then, because, for, therefore, thus, and similar words appear. Perhaps that is because two years mired in the muddy pit of depression imprinted a zeal to understand what God wants me to do so that I can remain safe in “the secret place of the Most High.”

As we conclude our exploration of Psalm 91, let’s review what we learned about the “if-thens”, when we began this study of what is often called “the soldier’s psalm.”

The “if-thens” of Psalm 91. A clear example of how God rewards us for seeking Him is found in Psalm 91. The AMPC has this footnote for Psalm 91: “The rich promises of this whole chapter are dependent upon one’s meeting exactly the conditions of these first two verses.”  Here are the “thens” that follow verses 1 and 2, along with the “becauses” in verses 9 through 16, (using the 1965 Amplified Bible) :

IF I dwell in the secret place AND SAY God is my refuge AND TRUST in Him (verses 1 and 2)

  • THEN God will “deliver me from every trap” (NLT),
  • THEN He will cover me,
  • THEN His “faithful promises will be my armor and protection”,
  • THEN I will not be afraid of anything evil, at any time,
  • THEN “No evil will touch me” (NLT) though people fall all around me. (phrases in parentheses are from the NLT)

. . . the “because” point the way to promises, too . . .

  • BECAUSE I make God my refuge and dwelling place (which repeats verses 1 and 2), “no evil will conquer me”, (NLT) and that is true because “He will order His angels to protect me wherever I go” (NLT)

(and finally, verses 14-16):

  • BECAUSE I love God and trust in His nature, He will rescue me, protect me, answer me, honor me, give me a long life, and show me His salvation, which includes deliverance, as well as redemption from sin through the blood of Jesus.

Image result for free clip art of GODS PROMISESPsalm 91: 14 through 16–eight thundering “I wills! Eight powerful “I will” promises conclude Psalm 91.

14 Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he knows and understands My name [has a personal knowledge of My mercy, love, and kindness—trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never forsake him, no never] 15. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him My salvation.

Let’s look at these promises once more, in list form:

(Because he has set his love upon Me, THEREFORE:

  • I will deliver him,
  • I will set him on high,
  • because He knows and understands My name
  • I will answer him when he calls on me,
  • I will be with him in trouble,
  • I will deliver him,
  • I will honor him,
  • I will satisfy him with long life, and
  • I will show him My salvation.

Image result for FREE PICTURE of sun moon and starsWhen we set our love on God. Notice that these eight promises apply to us when we set our love upon God. I see God’s fairness in Verse 14 in that when we set our love on Him, he sets us on high. How do I “set my love” on someone? “To set” means to put something in a specific place or position, like setting a book on the table. I like what Webster’s 1828 online dictionary says, “To put, place, or fix in any situation. God set the sun, moon and stars in the firmament.” That means something is permanently fixed and secured in a particular place. And that is how we are to love God—permanently and unshakably. If we do that, God promises to deliver us, which Webster’s 1828 defines as “to free or to release, as from a restraint; to set at liberty, as from captivity” and also “to rescue or to save.” The enemy of our souls always intends us deadly harm, but we have the promise of Almighty God that He will deliver us IF we meet His conditions.

Image result for FREE PICTURE OF HIGH GROUNDIf we set our love on God, God will deliver us and “set us on high.” It is good to be on high ground during a battle, and we know this life on earth is a battle! “Setting on high” also implies being lifted up from having fallen down or being in a low position. Job 5:9-16 lists a few of the kind things God does, one of which is “The lowly He sets on high, and those who mourn are lifted to safety.” (V. 11, NIV). God will keep us fixed and secured in a high, or safe, place.

Stand in awe of the Word. I think a word of loving caution is needed here. I do not pretend to know exactly how God works, but I do know He tells us to study His word diligently, 2 Timothy 2:15 clearly instructs us to “Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly] handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth.” That includes understanding the context of a verse upon which you are relying. I have heard and read many instances, as I am sure you have, where a verse is obviously used incorrectly. However, we all need to be on guard against mishandling the Word in subtle ways. I have done this in the past, but by God’s grace, I now work diligently to ensure I handle His Word correctly.

Image result for FREE PICTURE of bibleSearching out context helps prevent such subtle as well as obvious errors. At a minimum, I read a few verses before and after. Preferably, I read the entire chapter and peruse an outline of the book of the Bible in which the verse is located. This does take extra time and effort, but it is a safeguard for us. Below is a link to an excellent article about handling the Word of God correctly at knowableword.com The Dangerous Consequences of Ignoring Context (knowableword.com)

Because we know and understand what God is like. . . “Because he knows and understands My name [has a personal knowledge of My mercy, love, and kindness—trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never forsake him, no, never]. (Psalm 91:14b, AMPC)

The AMPC translation of verse 14-b teaches us what it means to “know and understand” God’s name, which means His nature or what He is like. The phrases in brackets state “has a personal knowledge of My mercy, love and kindness—trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never forsake him, no never.” So as we personally experience God’s mercy, His love and His kindness, we will be able to truly trust and rely on him because we will know—through our experiencing it—that God will never, no never, no never forsake us. (Now is a good time to meditate afresh on Hebrews 13:5-6 in the AMPC)

Image result for free picture of sick woman in bedI may have heard that someone with whom I have a casual acquaintance (let’s call her Sandy) is a kind person, but when Sandy brings soup and other food and medicine to my house when I have the flu, I know—through personal knowledge and experience—that Sandy is kind.

Perhaps one reason God tells us to consider ourselves blessed when we have trials (James 1) is because trials give us chances to experience God’s love and faithfulness. After we have walked through a few trials and seen God deliver us, we can have the confident hope and expectation of the writer of Lamentations. In the first part of Chapter 3, he remembers all his afflictions, the “wormwood and the gall” (AMPC) but in Verse 21 he remembers something that gives him hope and expectation—which is that “Because of the LORD”s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning. (NIV)”

Image result for free picture of sunrise

We will have all we need. The other six “I wills” cover everything we need in this earthly life. If we set our love on God and come to know Him through experiencing His love and mercy, God says:

  • I will answer him when he calls upon Me;
  • I will be with him in trouble;
  • I will deliver him and
  • I will honor him.
  • I will satisfy him with long life,
  • and I will show him My salvation. (Psalm 91:15-16, AMPC) (Besides the theological definition of “deliverance from the power and penalty of sin.” salvation also means “saving or protecting from harm, risk, loss, destruction, etc.” (www.dictionary.com).

In these promises I hear God’s thundering voice, but I also hear Him gently, quietly, pleading with us, urging us to set our love on Him, to put Him first. Why? Because He loves us and knows what is good for us. Oh, how great the love of God! Dare we offer Him anything less than total, passionate, faithful love, obedience, and devotion?

Look how Matthew Henry talks about these promises :

Whatever happens, nothing shall hurt the believer; though trouble and affliction befall, it shall come, not for his hurt, but for good, though for the present it be not joyous but grievous. Those who rightly know God, will set their love upon him. They by prayer constantly call upon him. His promise is, that he will in due time deliver the believer out of trouble, and in the mean time be with him in trouble.

The Lord will manage all his worldly concerns, and preserve his life on earth, so long as it shall be good for him. For encouragement in this he looks unto Jesus. He shall live long enough; till he has done the work he was sent into this world for, and is ready for heaven. Who would wish to live a day longer than God has some work to do, either by him or upon him?

Image result for free picture of heavenA man may die young, yet be satisfied with living. But a wicked man is not satisfied even with long life. At length the believer’s conflict ends; he has done for ever with trouble, sin, and temptation.” (from the Matthew Henry commentary on Psalm 91:9-16 at www.biblehub.com

Is it any wonder that so many of us memorize all of Psalm 91? Selah, selah, selah!

 

 

 

Do I really need God?

Image result for public domain picture of white cats pawsHow much do I depend on God? Eyes closed. I’m snug and warm under the covers. The blanket edge flops  over most of my face. On my cheek comes a velvety soft fluttering, a tap tap tap, tappity tap, tappity tap. Lily, my sweet cat, is waking me a bit early. I turn on my back and she climbs on my chest. Nothing happens, so she administers more tappity tapping. After a few ear rubs she jumps to the floor, but not for long. In thirty seconds, she again sits on my chest, tappity tapping my cheek.

Then I was out of bed, heading to the bathroom, getting a drink of water, washing my face, getting dressed, walking to the kitchen, putting on water for tea. Through all of that, Lily was right there within three feet, looking at me with her beautiful eyes, intently watching my every move. The moment I reached for a can of cat food, she meowed and ran back to the bedroom, to sit in front of her two white feeding bowls. Focused and persistent she was.

Why? Lily needs me, for her very life. I am essential to her, a vital necessity. Without me, she has no food and no water.

Do I need God like I need breath? The Word is filled with verses where God tells us to seek Him with all our heart.  In his farewell address before the Israelites entered the Promised Land, Moses warned that they would be scattered and many of them destroyed if they worshipped idols. But Moses told them that even from that place of idol worshipping they could still be saved if they sought God desperately. “But if from there you will seek (inquire for and require as necessity) the Lord your God, you will find Him if you [truly] seek Him with all your heart [and mind] and soul and life. (emphasis added, Deuteronomy 4:29, AMPC).

Lamentations 3:25 instructs us that “The Lord is good to those who wait hopefully and expectantly for Him, to those who seek Him [inquire of and for Him and require Him by right of necessity and on the authority of God’s word.] (AMPC, emphasis added)

This verse tells me that I am to wait for God with hope and expectation. It also tells me that my need gives me the right to ask God for help and that I can do so with confidence when my need is covered by the Word. And God promises to “supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.”  (I Corinthians 4:19, NLT)

All I have to do is remember the many times God has come through for me and I can lean on God with confidence and trust Him while He works out my problems.  Ponder Psalm 9:10.

And they who know Your name [who have experience and acquaintance with Your mercy] will lean on and confidently put their trust in You, for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek (inquire of and for) You [on the authority of God’s Word and the right of their necessity].

hands, pray, prayer, praying hands, faith, folded, hope, meditation ...Do you see that God is telling us again that we can ask for God’s help based on the authority of the Word of God and that our need gives us the right to ask?

Being desperate for God is a blessing. It is good when God lets be aware that we have, in some way, turned our face away from the light of His truth. I have a built-in safeguard in that regard because all kinds of negative feelings start if I let my mind drift.

Despite the miraculous healing God did of life-long depression, it is still sometimes a struggle to maintain emotional balance. Through many failures, many times repeating the lesson, I have learned that I need God as I need breath. I learned that if I do not keep my mind on God and His Word all day long, that the enemy’s destructive lies can quickly flood my mind with darkness. My fleshly tendency is to feel afraid, to worry, and to grumble and complain, about the little as well as big “troubles, trials, distresses and frustrations.” Jesus warned us we will have in this world (John 16:33)

Free Images : landscape, tree, nature, path, grass, light, sky, night ...If I do not immediately reconnect with God and let the truth of His Word light the way for my next steps, I continue stumbling along in the dark, listening to the enemy’s taunts of doubt, fear, and hopelessness. With every step, it is harder to turn back to the light of God’s presence and the peace and joy He has stored up for me. My foot has been trapped in the snare.

I wish I could say this never happens anymore, but it still does because the enemy of our souls, satan, is exceedingly evil and cunning and always seeking to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).

How has he attacked lately?  Like many fellow believers, I have struggled with several health problems for many months now, praying and believing for healing and doing all I can to improve my health. However, despite a good diet, medicine, exercise, and physical therapy (with God’s hand evident in each of these), it has become progressively difficult to keep writing. Problems with my back, neck, eyes and hands, energy and mental clarity – the very things I need to write – have continued for months now, one new difficulty after the other.

What to do when hope dies. Somewhere along the path of the last few weeks, I failed to keep hope alive. Subconsciously, I began to doubt that God would be able to keep me writing. This was layered of course over other ongoing burdens, like unsaved loved ones, bills, repeated plumbing problems, and of course the darkness of our present world we all are facing.  Every day, climbing out of the mire of negative thoughts grew harder. I grew irritable and short-tempered with traffic, neighbors and every little annoyance.

Fortunately, I kept seeking God, asking Him to guide me, show me what to do, and to restore my soul. I read and listened to Psalm 25 through Psalm 33 repeatedly. One morning I felt so desperate that I made repeating two passages of Scripture all day long my only goal.

Psalm 28:7 The Lord is my Strength and my [impenetrable] Shield; my heart trusts in, relies on, and confidently leans on Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song will I praise Him.

Psalm 33:18-22 – Behold, the Lord’s eye is upon those who fear Him [who revere and worship Him with awe], who wait for Him and hope in His mercy and loving-kindness,

19 To deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.20 Our inner selves wait [earnestly] for the Lord; He is our Help and our Shield.

21 For in Him does our heart rejoice, because we have trusted (relied on and been confident) in His holy name.

22 Let Your mercy and loving-kindness, O Lord, be upon us, in proportion to our waiting and hoping for You. (AMPC, emphasis added)

That day was, by grace, better and I kept persisting, being honest with God and leaning on Him for His strength because my strength was gone.

I must guard my expectations of how deliverance will come. I think I was expecting God to do as He has done countless times before, to open a passage of Scripture for me or let me hear a bit of music or catch sight of a bird or flower or hear an encouraging word and all of a sudden get my heart back in the right place.

Winding Path – Clean Public DomainBut this time, this time I think God was lovingly letting me develop more spiritual muscle. I have had to patiently plod along, one hard step at a time, one day after another, doing what I know to do, and reminding myself of all God’s previous deliverances (Psalm 107:43).

The following three passages of Scripture especially helped.

Philippians 4:4-7 – “wonder-working power.”

 Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, gladden yourselves in Him]; again I say, Rejoice!

Let all men know and perceive and recognize your unselfishness (your considerateness, your forbearing spirit). The Lord is near [He is coming soon].

Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.

And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (AMPC)

This verse tells me to:

  • choose to be glad in the Lord,
  • think how to help others, and,
  • rather than upsetting myself with worry, to ask God specifically for what I need in every situation and to thank Him.

If I do that, He promises to keep me in peace and guard my heart. He will build a permanent fortress around my heart. That’s how carefully He will protect my heart.

Jeremiah 15:19 – blessedly firm conviction about doubting God.

Therefore thus says the Lord [to Jeremiah]: If you return [and give up this mistaken tone of distrust and despair], then I will give you again a settled place of quiet and safety, and you will be My minister;

and if you separate the precious from the vile [cleansing your own heart from unworthy and unwarranted suspicions concerning God’s faithfulness], you shall be My mouthpiece. (AMPC, emphasis added)

As He told Jeremiah, God clearly tells me that if I return to trust and hoping in Him that He will give me “again a settled place of quiet and safety” and I can go about my work of living for and serving God. Furthermore, the Lord clearly tells me that it is a vile thing to have “unworthy and unwarranted suspicions concerning God’s faithfulness.” He is lovingly but firmly rebuking me for doubting Him, just as the Israelites did in the wilderness over and over, despite all the times God had forgiven and rescued them. But the verse also shows me that it is precious to God when I trust Him and have faith in His faithfulness.

Habakkuk 3:17-19 – renewed hope and strength.

17 Though the fig tree does not blossom and there is no fruit on the vines, [though] the product of the olive fails and the fields yield no food, though the flock is cut off from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls,

18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the [victorious] God of my salvation!

19 The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!

The example of the prophet Habakkuk is a model of the right attitude to have while living in desperate times. Habakkuk said that no matter how hopeless circumstances look (v. 17) we can choose to be exceedingly glad in the Lord and to have an attitude of victory. Why? Because God IS our strength, God IS our bravery when we have none, and He IS our army that can never, never, no never be defeated. When we are weak and afraid, God Himself will be strong and brave in us. He Himself will fight our battles.

An Ode To The Magnificent Feet Of Mountain Goats | Gizmodo AustraliaDespite all life’s troubles, sufferings, and responsibilities, God gives us the ability to walk right through them all and to make spiritual progress because of and on top of the very troubles themselves. Just like a mountain goat moves forward in its daily travels across rugged terrain.

What are your troubles? Dear friend, on the authority of God’s Word I can tell you that if you are seeking God, He is right there with you (2 Chronicles 15:2). Your life may seem small and insignificant, like my quiet, retiree’s life does, and troubles may have nearly swamped your little boat, but the God Who made and controls the entire world loves you and His compassion for you is as high as the heavens are above the earth (Psalm 103).

He understands exactly what you are going through, He feels it with you, and He has prepared a way ahead of time for you to escape into His place of safety and peace and, yes, even rejoicing.

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure. (I Corinthians 10:13, NLT, emphasis added.)

All that you have I have to do is wait, with confident expectation and loving obedience, on our all-mighty, forever loving God. He will renew your strength.

Image result for public domain picture of flying eagle over mountains28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, does not faint or grow weary; there is no searching of His understanding.

29 He gives power to the faint and weary, and to him who has no might He increases strength [causing it to multiply and making it to abound].

30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and [selected] young men shall feebly stumble and fall exhausted;

31 But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired (Isaiah 40:28-31, AMPC, emphasis added).

Did things get better? Outward circumstances have changed little but, by grace, I have a grip again (which is to say I have a grip on God’s hand. He never, no never, no never for one second let go of me). And you know, while I was writing this blog post for you, on a gray cloudy day, I felt the warmth of His touch on my heart again, after many days. As the song says, “Oh, how He loves you, oh how He loves me, oh how He loves you and me.”

Daddy’s Hand - Daily Devotions | CBN.com

 

 

 

You can do it!!!

Dreading your daily work. Well, Lord, I am going to try to sneak up on it, on this outlining I am dreading, sort of get into it before I have time to think about. So let’s do a short devotional time first thing this morning and a longer one later. I’ll just sit here with You, watching the sun coming up over the rooftops, just being with You, trying to cast this care upon You and leave it there because I know You care mightily about me and everything I do (I Peter 5:7). 

And, I do recall Proverbs 16:3, where You say:

Roll your works upon the Lord
[commit and trust them wholly to Him]
He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and]
so shall your plans be established and succeed.” (AMPC)Father, I do roll this writing thing all upon You and I trust You to do what Your Word says. Amen.

Divine little reminders. I stood up, walked over to the desk area and the big pad of paper on which I had outlined Chapter Four. By chance (ha!—see Ruth 2:3-4), I happened to glance at the little card taped to the top of the hutch cubby. Creased in half, with the edges partly rubbed off from having been carried inside my billfold for years, the front of the card was a picture of a glorious sunset over ocean, with Romans 11:36 at the bottom: “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever!” (NIV)

“Soli Deo gloria.” Tears came, those tender tears that always come when we are deeply aware that God is saying something to us.

Thank You, Father,” I murmured. Four times in the past few days I had read of people who used this motto specifically to dedicate their work to God: authors Jan Karon and Tracie Peterson and composers George Frideric Handel and Johann Sebastian Bach.

“Soli Deo gloria is the motto that grew out of the Protestant Reformation and was used on every composition by Johann Sebastian Bach. He affixed the initials SDG at the bottom of each manuscript to communicate the idea that it is God and God alone who is to receive the glory for the wonders of His work of creation and of redemption.” What Does “Soli Deo Gloria” Mean? (ligonier.org)

Loving Father Carrying His Child Stock Photos - FreeImages.comI finally heard what God was saying.   As I paused and just rested with God, I finally understood what I think God was saying to me through circumstances. I think God was reminding me that I had dedicated my life and my work to God and that I am doing all I can for Him, the best I can, so I can know that He IS indeed leading my steps. Furthermore, far from condemning my weaknesses, such as a tendency to dread hard things and to fret, God feels great compassion toward me and He will help me with my specific weaknesses , just as a father watches and knows just when his toddler needs to be picked up and carried.

Dear Father, I choose to believe and fix my thoughts on the truth that You are leading each step of my life, and that includes my work for You. I know You are in control of that as much as anything else in the world. And I know You will accomplish Your purposes in my life and my work for you as I simply do my little part and walk holy before You, with my whole heart.  And I know this applies to each minute and each aspect of my life, not only our writing.

What about your work and your life? Some of us can point to a specific task that is our work for God. For some seasons of life, however, our main work for God is more dispersed, like being a stay-at-home mom, working to support your family, or caring for a sick loved one.

Regardless, all of us have some specific gift we are to exercise.  And all of us are commanded to live our life for God, to be a living sacrifice for Him. That is the real day’s work for all of us. In Romans 12:1 Paul tells us: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” (NIV).  And in Colossians 3;17 we hear “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”

You can, this very day, live for God, whether the main work in your life is in an office, a factory, a home with children, a church, a rock mine, or living your life for God while residing in a retirement community. You can do the same even if you are in a season where you must rest and get well, or where everything is happening too fast. You can purposefully choose to give this day to God. You can choose to live it for Him and for His glory.

Public Domain Clip Art Image | Calendar | ID: 13924942213430 ...“The trouble with life is that it is so daily.” (Chuck Swindoll) I must remind myself often that the everyday tasks of daily life—making breakfast, fetching home the groceries, housecleaning, paying bills, getting the car repaired—are as much a part of my life for God as when I am privileged to be seated at my desk writing. I must remember that God cares about the minutes and hours of the activities of my daily living as much as when I am doing something specifically for Him.

For that reason, I periodically reread the small book “The Practice of the Presence of God”. Written by Brother Lawrence, this short volume shows us how to be aware of God’s loving presence during all the hours of daily life, simply by turning to God with a humble, thankful heart.

“You can do it!!! As I turned toward my desk with refreshed determination and confidence, I saw the Leggo cat note holder one of my grandsons had made me for Christmas. On it he had written “you can do it!!!”  Notice the three exclamation marks. When I opened his gift Christmas morning, I knew it would be one of the things that has a permanent place on my desk.

This precious gift is, I firmly believe, another Divine “happenstance.”  My frail heart needs encouragement constantly and my heavenly Father knows that. So, God moves me to meditate on the numberless verses in the Word that strengthen the weak heart, He sends encouragement every day, and He sends courage through little pats on the head, like seeing that worn-out card and Ansel’s note holder today. God reminds me, and you, that, in His strength – you can do it!!!

Father, I ask that You send special tokens of encouragement to Your children today, in whatever way touches each one most deeply. Let someone they thought takes them for granted say thank you in a notable way. Let them see their favorite bird as they walk in to the office one more time or, one more time, start on a messy house. Let the flaming crimson and gold of a sunset warm their heart. Let a sense of well-being blanket them as they sit down for their evening meal.

Although we live by faith, not feelings, bless them this day with the awareness that You are right there with them, that Your love for them is higher than the heavens are above this beautiful earth. Let them know that You take delight in their love for You, that You sing over them, that You have written their name on the palms of Your hands. Make Your face shine upon them and give them Your peace that is more than we can understand.  Let them know that You are with them when they are with You.

Open their eyes, Father, and let them see signs of Your love and Your specific encouragement for them. In the mighty name of Jesus, amen!

The message on the back of that card was:

Everything comes from God. He designed it, He created it, and He sustains it. There’s nothing that’s beyond His imagination. And He wants to pass that optimism on to us. When He gives us a job to do, He wants us to know that it’s not too big for us. He’ll enable us to do whatever He asks us to do. We can serve Him with confidence, knowing that He chose to put us into this situation because He knew that – with His strength – we could do it.

Friend, in God’s strength, you and I can do it!!!  If you have given your heart to Him, the same One Who tells the oceans where to stop is busying Himself with the details of your life. And He really, really loves you.

Waves on the seashore seascape image - Free stock photo - Public Domain ...

 

This Arctic blast did not surprise God

Winter Storm Free Stock Photo - Public Domain PicturesThis Artic blast did not surprise God.  This current Artic blast has brought dangerously cold temperatures to much of the United States, including Texas. In situations that could cause fear, it is comforting to remember God’s omnipotence. Just do a search on your computer for “Scriptures about God’s omnipotence.” I also love to review Chapters 38 through 41 in the book of Job. Notice especially Job 38:22-23, when God asks Job:

“Have you entered the storehouses of the snow
or seen the storehouses of the hail,
 which I reserve for times of trouble,
for days of war and battle?

As Matthew 8:23-27 tell us, “even the winds and the waves obey” Jesus.

God foretold this Artic blast.  It is also comforting to know that God foretold this current weather. He did that through Hank Kunneman, a modern-day prophet. Watch the January 16, 2024, Flashpoint podcast, starting at about minute 41 to hear the prophecy.  Copy and paste the link below into a search engine.

https://rb.gy/9wr18x

A clip of the comments is also available on Rumble. Search Rumble for Flashpoint and the clip titled “Prophetic Word: Deep Freeze, Water, and Divine Change.”

Buchanan Dam. Texas. | Texas places, Texas hill country, Places to goPray for our dams and waterways.  Also on the same Flashpoint podcast, Dutch Sheets shared the need to pray for protection of our dams and waterways from terrorists. Curiously, Facebook declined to post Dutch’s “GiveHim15” podcast, but you can see Dutch’s comments at about minute 38 of the January 16 Flashpoint podcast, as well as on Rumble.

Will you pray? After hearing Dutch’s comments, I decided to pray for our nation’s waterways and dams, and particularly those in Texas, where I live. I was stunned when an internet search for a list of waterways and dams revealed that Texas has 7,000 dams, more than any other state. I printed a list of those dams and the waterways in Texas and I am “spreading it before the Lord,” as King Hezekiah did with a threatening letter he received from the wicked king of Assyria (2 Kings 19:14-19).

Will you join in praying for the protection of our nation, and in particular for our dams and waterways?

And be assured: “Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and in all the ocean depths.” (Psalm 135:6, NASB).

Sea And Sky Free Stock Photo - Public Domain Pictures

Are you fearful, like me?

O Little Town of Bethlehem - Point of View - Point of View

 

The following poem can be sung to the melody of the beloved Christmas carol “O, Little Town of Bethlehem.” Try it.

[1] My fearful heart, my fragile soul, why do you doubt and fear?
for God your King is powerful, and He is very near.
He watches over you with care, takes note of where you go,
so wait and hope and expect Him. He’s helping you to grow.

[2] Here in the silence of my heart I’m learning to depend.
He’s teaching me from His great law to hide myself in Him.
He’s working all things for my good. In all things He is faithful,
to teach my heart to follow Him, to trust Him as I should.

[3] When life in this old evil world brings torment without cease,
our God wants our minds fixed on Him, safe, guarded, kept in peace.
He knows our every weakness, He knows our hearts are frail,
and so He sent Emmanuel. In Him we never fail!

[4] When you are feeling all alone, like you don’t have a friend,
remember Satan’s lies are lies, and trust makes darkness end.
For every time we call on Him, He answers us with light,
and on His strength we can depend!
We’re girded in His might!

Sea Surf Waves Beach Free Stock Photo - Public Domain Pictures“Are you fearful, like me?” is a trick question, sort of. I wanted to get your attention. I am not fearful in the sense that I know God is sovereign, I know that He is loving and faithful, and I know that not one word of all His promises ever fails. Yet, because I am human, feelings of all kinds occasionally splash up, like waves on seaside rocks. And, sometimes if I do not run to God quickly enough, feelings overwhelm my soul, as surely as the tide overwhelms (ah! but only temporarily) the ever-shifting shoreline.

We all have similar feelings. As the Word tells us, we humans all have similar feelings. Look at 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 in the New Living Translation.

12 If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. 13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure (emphasis added).

The context for this comforting verse is Paul’s warning that the believers at Corinth not repeat the mistakes Israel did, when the Israelites “set their hearts on evil things” (v. 6), when they were idolators, adulterers and grumblers and tested the Lord. All these died in the dessert, never making it to the Promised Land.

Paul says “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come” (v. 11). In light of that, Paul says we must be very careful, if we think we are doing well spiritually, to be careful and not fall into sin, because we are all subject to the same temptations.

12 Therefore let anyone who thinks he stands [who feels sure that he has a steadfast mind and is standing firm], take heed lest he fall [into sin].

13 For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man

[that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear].

But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature],

and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure,

but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out

(the means of escape to a landing place),

that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently. (I Corinthians 10:12-13, AMPC).

Note that the emphases and the spacing are my interpretation and not included in the original text.

Son running into father's arms - Preaching MagazineGod will provide a way of escape. How comforting that last part of Verse 13 is! Read it again. No matter what temptation we face, God has promised He will not let it be more than we can endure and He will make a way out of it, a “means of escape to a safe landing place.” I like to think of that as a child running into his father’s strong and loving arms.

Why we must always be running to God.  Verse 14 is connected to what came before the “Therefore” that starts Verse 14. Because of what we just saw in Verse 1 through 13, we are to flee from idolatry, which means to shun, to consistently avoid loving or honoring or respecting anything or anyone more than we do God. Read this verse in the AMPC.

14 Therefore, my dearly beloved, shun (keep clear away from, avoid by flight if need be) any sort of idolatry (of loving or venerating anything more than God) (emphasis added).

So, verses 1 through 14 tell us if we are appropriately aware of our human tendencies–of all kinds, not just fear–we will seek, inquire of and for, and depend upon God as our first and vital necessity.

I think God is lovingly telling us here, as a father would tell a beloved son embarking on a journey: Now, remember, you cannot see in the darkness. You must walk only in the light.

Unrecognizable young man praying, kneeling on the floor, hands on his ...And how do we do that? By keeping His Word in our mind – constantly. Three years ago, I was just starting to learn how to maintain healing from life-controlling depression and fear. What brought healing? Diligent, daily meditation on God’s Word. Desperation led me to meditate on comforting Bible verses hour after hour, all day long, during every free minute, every day, week after week, month after month. As I did that God’s Word healed my heart when all else had failed.

God has maintained the healing and helped me grow. How? By moving me to continue delighting in His law and diligently meditating “on His law day and night.” (Psalm 1:2, NIV).

Still desperate about His Word. I am still desperate about His Word because I have learned I can do nothing without Him but that “I can do everything through Christ Who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13, NLT) By His grace I can now say to my loving, gracious Father:

I will keep Your law continually, forever and ever [hearing, receiving, loving, and obeying it]. And I will walk at liberty and at ease, for I have sought and inquired for [and desperately required] Your precepts. (Psalm 119:45, AMPC)

Other carols for consecration.  If you like the poem above, and the idea of more verses for your favorite Christmas carols, see “Carols for Consecration” on the Books and More page of this website or the link below.

Carols-for-Consecration-.pdf (wordsofhopeandhealing.com)

I pray you will be helped to meditate more and more on God’s powerful Word. And find more and evermore peace during this season, this blessed season when God  Himself came to earth to bring peace on earth and “good will to men.” (Luke 2:14, NIV).

O Little Town of Bethlehem - YouTube