Category Archives: DAILY LIFE

Freedom from frustration and fretting

Image result for royalty free picture of tow truckA flat tire and frustration. Bang, clang, bang clang! The noise began then intensified as my car drew alongside the big cement mixer.

“Wow”, I thought. “I never saw one make that much noise!”

Then I realized it was my little sedan that was making the noise and was also now shaking, all this at about 65 miles an hour. I said, “Jesus! Help!” slowed, pulled off at the exit ramp only, providentially, a hundred yards ahead, called AAA, witnessed to the tow truck driver (who witnessed right back to me, praise the Lord!), spoke of God’s mercy to the man at the tire store who gave me a good price on four new tires, and was at home in less than two hours. Yet, in spite of God’s great mercy, I felt frustration and, I admit it to my shame, angry. In those two hours between the gym and school pickup, I had planned to finish a blog post and get it on the website. I can only say that it is indeed, because of God’s great and unfailing mercy, loving-kindness and tender compassions that we frail humans are not consumed! (Lamentations 3:22)

Frustration can cause fretting. This morning when icy roads thwarted my plan (notice the “my”) to go to swim class, frustration flared again. Hot on its heels came fretting as I tried repeatedly, but unsuccessfully, to settle down and take advantage of the forced day inside.

Image result for royalty free clip art of couchGod is the only remedy!  Finally, I decided to rest on the couch, pray in tongues, and review some of my basic meditation Scriptures. Then, I decided, I would wait and listen to God, a spiritual discipline I have worked on recently.

I had only prayed in the Spirit a few minutes when thoughts started bubbling up. I stayed still and “listened” (avoiding my tendency to jump up and grab pen and paper), as Holy Spirit showed me a gap in His protective wall around my heart. Specifically, when I am frustrated, I tend to start fretting, which if allowed to continue, leads to sin.

As I remained on the couch, John 16:33 came to mind.

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.] John 16:33, AMPC)

Surely, I thought, all of us living in February 2022 face constant frustration. We all need to be admonished to handle frustration correctly, rather than letting the enemy use frustration to ensnare us into fretting and further evil.

Fretting leads only to evil. Three passages of Scripture came immediately to mind.

Image result for royalty free clip art of antique bottle of tonic [1] Psalm 37:8, b — “Do not fret—it leads only to evil.” (NIV) Please read all of Psalm 37, which is a protective daily tonic for the world’s present situation. In Psalm 37 God says “Do not fret because of evil men. . . for like green plants they will soon die away.” (v.1) Rather than fretting, we are to actively trust Him and do good BECAUSE

The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; He is their stronghold in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them, BECAUSE they take refuge in Him.” (v. 39)

[2] Isaiah 8:12-14 — This verse speaks clearly to today, when America is being threatened by evil as surely as Israel was threatened by Assyria in the time of Isaiah. The message of God through Isaiah was:

(12) Do not call conspiracy [or hard, or holy] all that this people will call conspiracy [or hard, or holy]; neither be in fear of what they fear, nor [make others afraid and] in dread.

(13) The Lord of hosts—regard Him as holy and honor His holy name [by regarding Him as your only hope of safety] and let Him be your fear and let Him be your dread [lest you offend Him by your fear of man and distrust of Him].

(14) And He shall be a sanctuary [a sacred and indestructible asylum to those who reverently fear and trust in Him]; but He shall be a Stone of stumbling and a Rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 8:12-14, AMPC)

Notice that verse 13 teaches that we honor God when we consider Him as our only hope of safety and that we offend Him when we fear man and distrust Him. Selah, selah and selah! Consider also Jeremiah 15:19-21.

Image result for royalty free picture of peace and safety[3] Jeremiah 15:19-21 – It is vile to distrust God’s faithfulness.

(19) 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. [But do not yield to them.] Let them return to you—not you to [the people].

(20) And I will make you to this people a fortified, bronze wall; they will fight against you, but they will not prevail over you, for I am with you to save and deliver you, says the Lord.

(21) And I will deliver you out of the hands of the wicked, and I will redeem you out of the palms of the terrible and ruthless tyrants.

 Verse 19 warns us that it is a mistake to yield to distrust and despair. Further, it is a vile thing to suspect or doubt the faithfulness of God. Vile means disgusting, dreadful, horrible, offensive, abominable, repulsive. Oh, merciful God! May Your Holy Spirit engrave the truth in Isaiah 8 and Jeremiah 15 on our hearts!

Worry and fretting – disguised forms of fear, which IS sin.  Many of us have said, “I am just a worrier. I cannot help it.” Well, God says fear, which includes worry and fretting, is sin. God commands us not to fear over and over and when we do not follow His commands we sin.

As I ponder this truth, it pierces my heart and motivates me to further study. It also shows me how great the Father’s love is that He takes care to teach how to guard against fretting and worry, the more subtle forms of fear which are tempting to excuse in ourselves.

Freedom from fretting and frustration. I pray we all are warned to cling closely to God when we encounter frustration and are tempted to fret. Here is what I plan to do. I will:

  • Stop what I am doing and set aside time to reconnect with God.
  • Remind myself that:
    • God is SOVEREIGN, (Isaiah 46:9-11)
    • He has every day of my life already planned (Psalm 139:16)
    • He does not make mistakes (Deuteronomy 32:4)
    • When I make mistakes, He makes even them turn out for good because I love Him and am living whole-heartedly for Him (Romans 8:28)

In yielding myself to the truth that God is sovereign and choosing to believe He is directing the details of my life (Psalm 37:23) for my good, I am submitting myself to God and resisting the temptation of the devil to doubt God. And the Word tells me that the devil will then flee from me.

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7, NIV)”

Image result for royalty free picture of shepherd's rodThe loving correction of His Rod. I write these words gratefully! His Rod of loving correction imparted to me a much-needed lesson, as He used the apparent disruption in my plans. He has sharply reminded me to catch the little foxes that spoil the vines (Solomon 2:15) and to:

“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” (I Peter 5:8, NLT)

How blessed we are that the Lion of the tribe of Judah is on our side! Let Him roar!  Let His Spirit within us rise up!  Let us stand firm in our positions and hold our ground. God Himself fights for us and He always, always, always wins!!

Listen! I hear Him say:

“Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord Who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!” (Nehemiah 4:14, NIV) 

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Under His feathers – ALWAYS!

Image result for free picture of eagle soaring over nestSoaring, ah! I stretched from spine out to fingers and toes, like a cat, then curled back up.

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty (Whose power no foe can withstand) . . .

I opened one eye. 5 a.m. I pulled the white thermal blanket over my head.

“I will say of the Lord, He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I [confidently] trust! For then He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. [Then] He will cover you with His pinions and under His wings you will trust and find refuge.” (Psalm 91:1-2, AMPC)

My eyes popped open. My habit for many months has been to start repeating the Bible passages in my basic arsenal of Scriptures as soon as I wake. (See the October 2, 2020, blog “God’s Arsenal for Peace and Security). This morning, though, I heard something new.

“Lord, I picture You as an eagle, hovering, circling over its nest. So long as we dwell in the secret place of Your Presence, the shadow of Your hovering wings covers and protects us. And, Lord, when our words and actions say, “You are my Refuge and my Fortress, my God and on You I lean and rely and in You I confidently trust” then You deliver us out of the devil’s snares.  But, Lord, for an eagle to cover its eaglets with its wings, the eagle must descend from above and fly down to the nest.

Image result for free picture of eagle soaring over nestWhat a beautiful picture, Father! You carefully watch over us as we live in close communion with You, but when danger comes, You swoop right to where we are and spread Your wings wide—so You can draw us close to Your very heart. When You cover us with Your feathers then we feel the trust and find the refuge we have declared!  Oh, the thought! Nothing, no nothing, no nothing is going to harm an eaglet under an eagle’s pinions!

A prolonged attack. That tender wakeup with the Lord was three weeks ago, when all was well. Then came a prolonged attack and my soaring as an eagle stopped. (Actually, it just felt like it. Keep reading.) What happened?  Each of my family had covid for a week, then, the day I could see them again, I got it. I stayed in victory the week my family was sick and for most of the week I was sick but  gradually slid toward the pit of depression.

Not the pit – again!!! Feelings and thoughts of discouragement, dread, fear, hopelessness and self-criticism descended. I asked friends for prayer as I struggled mightily to do things that had kept me free for nearly three years– talking with God, meditating on the Word, being grateful, praising and worshipping, keeping my mind on God and not the worsening feelings of depression.

Image result for free clip art of pitWell, dear friend and fellow pilgrim, I failed. I could not focus. Prayer and Bible reading turned into staring out the window. Meditating on Bible passages as I did chores spiraled into negative, self-critical thoughts. Oh, woe was me for quite a few miserable days!

Ever faithful, ever true, ever loving! Our Father in heaven is ever faithful, ever true, ever loving and so very mighty to save!  Yet our loving Father again delivered me from the snare of the fowler. How did that happen and what did I learn? On reflection, here is what I learned and re-learned.

Image result for free clip art of stumblingWe all often stumble. “For we all often stumble and fall and offend in many things.” (James 3:2a, AMPC).  While depressed these last few days, my undercurrent of thought was that it was my fault because I had not meditated or prayed or trusted enough or not done something enough. That lie, of course, bred guilt and shame which remained, subconsciously, until a wise friend reminded me that there is no formula guaranteeing we will not sometimes fall into our own individual weaknesses. I had not been thinking I was perfect but I had, at some level, felt that I could avoid future occurrences of depression. Once again, I learned why Paul warned “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (I Corinthians 10:12, NIV)

<< When under severe enough and long enough attack we are all susceptible to stumbling into personal weaknesses. >>

My tendency when under severe attack is to become depressed and fearful whereas others might yield to an addiction, anger, or compulsive spending. My recent, and blessedly brief, plunge into depression reminded me that God does not condemn or blame us for our human frailties. Far from it!

God shares the feeling of our weaknesses. God does NOT condemn our weaknesses or punish us for them. Rather than condemning our weaknesses (which we tend to do to ourselves), God “understands and sympathizes and has a shared feeling with our weaknesses.”  When we lose awareness of God’s presence, it is good to examine ourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5) and ask God if we erred. Sometimes we do feel separated from God because of our sin (Isaiah 64:6-7). However, even then He is always with us! (Matthew 28:20, Hebrews 13:5) and there is NO condemnation from Him! After we confess and turn away from our sin, any guilt and shame come from the enemy – NOT God! Resist those lies and arm yourself with the knowledge that:

“As a father loves and pities his children, so the Lord loves and pities those who fear Him [with reverence, worship, and awe]. For He knows our frame, He [earnestly] remembers and imprints [on His heart] that we are dust. (Psalm 103:13-14, AMPC)

Image result for free picture of father walking with toddlerPicture an adoring young father, leaning over, walking carefully, holding the hand of a wobbly toddler. If loving earthly fathers hone in on the needs of their children, how much more does God! Selah!

Ponder these two verses as well:

For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning. (16) Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it]. (Hebrews 4:15-16, AMPC)

Read that again. God shares in our feelings and wants us to approach Him boldly and confidently because He has just what we need when we need it!

In those miserable days of depression, I subconsciously felt I had done something wrong, and that God was disappointed in me. Now, I see the lie for what it is but it felt true when darkness atttacked. Our enemy is crafty (Genesis 3;1), which means skillful in the use of subtlety and cunning (www.merriam-webster.com) He is a master of schemes and lies  ((2 Corinthians 2:11; John 8:44).  But, we can rejoice because “The Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.” (2 Thessalonians 3:3, NIV). God did indeed strengthen and protect me. As I simply kept battling in my mind, God lifted me up and out of the pit.

Image result for free clip art of ROMAN SOLDIERThe Battlefield IS INDEED the Mind.  You may have read the excellent book by Joyce Meyer “The Battlefield of the Mind: Winning the War in Your Mind.”  My copy is marked up and tattered from being toted everywhere. I understand and have applied that teaching for years – however – this recent experience sharpened my understanding of the importance of immediately taking every wrong thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) immediately. I plan to review that teaching regularly. Until you get your copy of the book (hint. . .  just google “Battlefield of the Mind verses” and be amazed as you study. With the lies and deception of the last two years, keeping our minds filled with truth is essential.

Is God purposefully strengthening us all? Perhaps God is now deliberately strengthening the entire Body of Christ, as He strengthened me through this latest trial. Why? The greatest awakening and soul harvest of all time has already begun. We must be about our Father’s business, equipped to stand against evil. God knows the coming turnaround will include even harder times. I believe He is providing extra training so we can not only survive but thrive in this next season for America and our world.

Besides God’s concern that we be equipped, God needs strong warriors!  The modern-day prophets whom I have followed for a long time all say that God will soon bring an end to the wickedness attacking our world. I urge you to examine the “What is God doing?” page on this website if “modern-day prophets” sounds strange to you. You will find links to reliable sources providing the truth of what God is doing in our world today. I also urge you to see the February 9 podcast of Flashpoint at www.flashpoint.com.

In these dark times, we must be bold about our faith and be engaged in the world around us. Although God has been patient with sinful America and weak believers for decades, the prophets are saying judgement is coming, to the Body of Christ as well as the world. No more standing on the sidelines. Thomas Jefferson said, “Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.”

I must ask myself, “Am I strong enough to do my part in this battle? Am I embracing the struggles of daily life as God’s loving chance to grow stronger in Him?”

Strengthen your feeble arms, Freda! Take time to read Hebrews 12:1-13. God tells us to consider all Jesus endured so that we “may not grow weary or exhausted, losing heart and relaxing and fainting in” our minds. (Hebrews 12:3b, AMPC). He explains that discipline is for our good and in verses 12-13 tells us to man up. God says, “Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.” (verses 12-13).

See the source imageTo me, this says that if set my heart to live for the Kingdom as Jesus did—if I get my life in order or “make level paths for my feet”—then as I run my appointed race, my “lame and halting [limbs] may not be put out of joint, but rather may be cured.” (verse 13b, AMPC).

In other words, living for the kingdom, which includes enduring trials with our eyes fixed on the joy set before us as Jesus did, strengthens our weaknesses! As—in proportion to our effort—we trust God and bear up under His training, the very things we thought were too hard will help and heal us! Woo hoo and go God!

This encourages me to purposefully repair any broken walls as I take the words of Nehemiah to heart. I will not be afraid of the enemy. I will, as Nehemiah urges:

“[earnestly remember the Lord and imprint Him [on your minds], great and terrible, and [take from Him courage to] fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your homes.” (Nehemiah 4:14, AMPC)

Notice that we can take our courage from God,  Who is indeed great and terrible. Our God is awesome in battle and mighty to save!  “But the salvation of the [consistently] righteous is of the Lord; He is their Refuge and secure Stronghold in the time of trouble. And the Lord helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they trust and take refuge in Him.” (Psalm 37:39-40, AMPC)

Image result for free picture of eagle on nestAlways under His feathers. As we go forward with our individual race, let us remember that as—in proportion to—we habitually live in the secret place of close fellowship with God, we will remain stable and fixed. He—Whose power no foe can withstand–will hover over us. And as we say, and our actions say, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, on Him I lean and rely and in Him I (confidently) trust!’ THEN—because we have done all that—He WILL deliver us and THEN He will come very near to us, He WILL cover us with His wings and we will be able to trust with all our being and find true refuge. (from Psalm 91, AMPC)

We will all fail at times and we may feel alone—as did many great Bible heroes—but the truth is that God is always, always, always with us. We may not feel like it but if we earnestly seek Him, we ARE snuggled close to His feathers. How loving God is to reassure us of this as we step out and take our part in His great awakening and harvest!

Image result for free clip art of confusion and crazyP.S.  Just to make it more challenging, the very day I began writing on this blog post, Thursday, February 3, came another round of testing and trials. Just as I was feeling better after covid, a four-day stretch of below freezing temps with possibly “wintry mix” was forecasted. Having stocked up and prepared for a four-day isolation, since I do not drive when roadways are icy. I had a great first day alone at home, writing and talking with the Lord all day. But the next day came an episode of tachycardia (which means lying down, with a scary heart beat, and waiting for hours until the medicine takes effect.) Well, that took all of Friday. But I kept my good attitude. Saturday morning I was at  the computer, back in the saddle, enjoying writing and being alone with God when a migraine headache began, which I have not had in many years. Well, that lasted the rest of Saturday and into the late evening.  Sunday I was tired!

But Monday, by God’s grace I resumed work on this blog post, wanting even more desperately to hear what God is saying to me about these trials so that I can find words to encourage you, too

Beloved, I say, with new hope:

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13, NIV)

Stand, dear friend, stand! Stand with hope, confidence, peace and the very power of God indwelling you! There are countless more with you than are with the enemy! We win! God never, no never, no never fails us in any regard! (Hebrews 13:5).

Image result for Free Clip Art Of News. Size: 212 x 106. Source: clipart-library.comAnd “this slight distress of the passing hour” we all face? Why, we do not become discouraged because this distress is creating something far, far greater for us as we look to the things that are unseen and eternal. Let us look to Jesus, the One Who gives us His strength for all things!

(16). “Therefore we do not  become discouraged (utterly spiritless, exhausted, and wearied out through fear). Though our outer man is [progressively] decaying and wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day after day.

(17) For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory [beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!],

(18) Since we consider and look not to things that are seen but to things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting.”  2 Corinthians 4:16-18, AMPC)

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Are you sharing God’s burden?

Image result for free picture of one person harvesting wheat

Below is a sketch of what I believe God wants me to say to you today, dear friend.

  • God uses dreams.
  • A dream about the burden of God.
  • God’s burden – to have equipped laborers.
  • God’s burden – to have laborers aware they are NOW in a ripe harvest field.
  • Are you ready to share your faith?
  • Are you even fishing?
  • How to fish – at every opportunity.
  • Do you know how to catch a fish?
  • Helping someone grow up in Jesus.
  • What the dream did for me
  • God says “The workers are few”.
  • God says the place where you are standing in is a field ripe for harvest.
  • I must ask myself. . .

Image result for Free clip art Of PERSON SLEEPINGGod uses dreams. God gave us many examples of how He communicates with us through dreams. Consider the four well-known dreams of Joseph as recorded in Genesis. Consider Matthew 1:20, when an angel told Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, in a dream, to marry Mary.  Consider Peter’s dream in Acts 10-11 that salvation includes Gentiles. For good examples of how God uses modern-day dreams, listen to some of Dutch Sheets’ “Give Him 15” podcasts. These are excellent 15-minute devotionals available at www.givehim15.com.

Because I rarely remember dreams, any dream I do remember is special, and when I believe God is speaking through that dream – I pay attention. When God gave the dream described below, I got out of bed and wrote it down – right away! Here is the dream.

A dream about the burden of God.   I was in a meeting of the altar workers at my church. The dream was not of a church building I had ever been in, but it was a small and old church. The man who had led the altar workers team had just left the room after announcing he was quitting and moving away. All of us in the small room were sad and shocked. Another member asked me to speak. I do not think I would have spoken had someone not asked me to. I walked to the front and stood at the small, rough-hewn lectern, gripping it as I leaned forward and began to try to speak.

Image result for free pictureof old wodden lecternI could only whisper, though I was trying to yell with all my might because of the intensity of the message. Deeply weeping, in a forced whisper through tears, I said, “After all this time, we still have not been trained in how to lead a soul to Jesus or to the baptism in the Holy Ghost. We still are not equipped to help new believers learn to walk with Jesus.”

Next, the hallway was filled with the buzz of conversation. Someone said, “If you want to hear more, go ask what Freda just said.” But I was still weeping and could not speak when others, besides those on the altar workers team, came into the room and asked me what had happened. Then the dream ended.”

Important background: The day before the dream, I had read in “Born for Battle” by R. Arthur Mathews (an excellent book) that our prayers are so often requests rather than a quest for God and His will, and that we should ask God what is on His heart when we pray. Right then, in my car waiting to pick up my grandsons after school, I was deeply convicted and asked God to start showing me what was on His heart when I prayed. He answered the same night, through this dream.

God’s burden – to have equipped laborers. I believe God is telling me, and you, His burden is to have workers prepared for and working in the harvest field – but they are not. I know this is a call to me, and maybe to you, too. God is asking: Are you ready to lead someone to Christ, and the baptism in the Holy Ghost and on to maturity?

God’s burden – to have laborers aware they are NOW in a ripe harvest field. I believe His burden is also that we be aware the harvest is NOW, that the Third Great Awakening has already begun. The shaking our nation has undergone these last two years has made people desperate. Hearts are ready for Him. Are we aware of that and are we ready to show them the way to Him?

Image result for free picture of hippiesIn the last great awakening in the 1960s, Holy Spirit came upon people so powerfully that they spontaneously began worshipping and praising God in parks, stores, and classrooms. Unfortunately, when these sincere people, many of them hippies, went to churches to find out more about God and what had happened to them, they were turned away because of their appearance.

America cannot make that mistake again! We must be ready to welcome hearts eager for God—no matter the external appearance. And we must be ready to teach them and show them about Jesus. The prophets are saying the biggest harvest of souls in all time is coming soon. The Third Great Awakening has already begun.

Are you ready to share your faith? I think God is weeping that so many of us have never won a soul to Him, that we never intentionally prepared to do so and that so many are scornful of the gift of speaking in tongues, which includes His power to witness and to live a holy life.

So, I have three questions. (1) Are you fishing – for souls? (2) Do you know how to catch a fish – how to lead a soul to Jesus? (3) Do you know how to help that born-again soul start growing up in Jesus? Can you tell them the basics of what they need to know so that they can press on and do not, like so many, pray for salvation and then fall back into their old life and be lost?

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Are you even fishing? You may say “But I am not called to be an evangelist.” Or “I have no training.”  I say an emphatic PHOOEY to both those statements. We are ALL called to witness and to share our faith – and to share our faith at every opportunity, “making the most of the time because the days are evil.”  We are all called to heed Paul’s admonishment:

Be very careful, then how you love—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16, NIV)

As for the second excuse that you have no training, online resources and books abound on how to lead someone to Jesus.

Opportunities to witness abound all around us – with friends, family, casual acquaintances and with strangers. Strangers? YES, strangers! I believe each of us should plant and water seeds throughout every day. Some of those encounters will be planting and watering spiritual seeds planted by someone else but sometimes we get to reap, too! (I Corinthians 3:7-9)

So, how do we “make the most of every opportunity?” We can work God into nearly all conversations if we pray and practice. How? By drawing fish in the sand.

Image result for Free Picture of Christian Fish Symbol. Size: 234 x 98. Source: clipartmag.comHow to fish – at every opportunity. I whole-heartily attest that if you ask God, He will give you ways to work Him into every conversation you have with friends, family, casual acquaintances and even strangers. And He will guide the conversation as to whether the person is open to hear more about Him or whether you are just to lovingly pour a little water on their thirsty heart. He will help you talk about Him and He will show you when someone is not ready to hear about Him.

So, what is this drawing a fish? In New Testament times, believers were persecuted for their faith in Jesus and many were killed. Believers would sometimes trace a fish in the sand when talking with people they did not know. If the other person also drew a fish, it indicated that person might also believe in Jesus.

Ask God and He will show you how to, like early believers, make casual mention of Him in your interactions with people. He will enable you to give a clear sign to each stranger you meet that you are a believer. If they are one also, they will respond with positive comments about God. If they are not yet a believer but are open to hearing about God, they will listen and you will have planted or watered spiritual seed and, sometimes, even more.

I estimate that more than three-fourths of people for whom I “draw a fish”—at        work, the gym, repair shop or wherever—respond positively.  Less than a fourth say nothing or abruptly change the subject (at which point I follow their conversational lead). In more than 40 years of consistently drawing fish every chance I get, only one person has voiced anger (although I pray many were deeply convicted inside).

Image result for Free Clip Art of Groceries. Size: 104 x 137. Source: clipart-library.comHere are two examples. As I walked to the dumpster yesterday, I saw a man standing beside a plumber’s van. I said “This is a beautiful day! Do you like this cooler weather?” He smiled and said “I sure do!”. I replied, “Me, too! I am glad God gave us such a nice day.” And today at the grocery checkout, I asked “How has your day been?” The young man said, “Real good. How about you?” I replied, “Mine has been good, too. God gave me a wonderful time of Bible study and now I am doing errands before I get my grandsons.”

It has been far, far too long since such an interaction led to salvation but I am praying about that. And quite often these casual mentions of God lead to quick conversations that encourage fellow believers.

Do you know how to catch a fish? Have you prepared yourself to share your faith and lead another soul to God? If not, do so – now! As I said earlier, books and internet resources on evangelism abound. Study and then practice in front of a mirror. For an excellent brief teaching on how to share your faith, search for the “Go and Tell” podcast from November 1, 2021, on the www.givehim15.com website. Or use this link November 1, 2021 (givehim15.com)

Image result for free clip art of index cards with notesYou need to memorize the basic Bible truths necessary for salvation so that you can lead someone to Jesus even if you do not have notes with you. You can, of course, easily find “The Roman Road” plan of salvation using your phone to browse the web. However, if the Roman Road or another plan of salvation is in your memory, you can answer questions as those questions come up naturally in conversation. Rest assured, however, that “just” reading the plan of salvation also works! God will use your efforts, no matter how inexpert you feel.

Until you have the five short verses of the Roman Road or another plan memorized, they fit easily on an index card in your wallet.

Image result for Free Picture of Child and Adult. Size: 221 x 108. Source: confidenceandjoy.comHelping someone grow up in Jesus. When God gives you the gift of leading someone to Him, can you tell them the next steps? You may not feel like it, but your knowledge of God is far greater than someone who just received Jesus. They are newly born spiritually. They need you to take their hand or at a minimum, point out the way to them.  Can you briefly explain Bible study, prayer, worship, fellowship, witnessing, and praying in the Spirit? The baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues gives power to witness and power to live a holy life. More writings on this vital topic will follow soon.

What the dream did for me: I believe God used this dream to urge me to:

[1] Refresh my knowledge of how to share salvation and speak about the baptism in the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues.

[2] Pray, earnestly, for Him to send souls to me who are ready for harvest. To my shame and regret, I had stopped doing this somewhere along my selfish, self-focused life.

[3] Put other writings on hold while I finish what He urged me to write for this website several weeks ago – the plan of salvation and the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues.

(By the way, this is a good example of why more of us are not winning more souls. It takes effort to get and keep ourselves prepared and to be focused on witnessing. It is easier to do other work for God instead of the detailed Bible study and practice necessary to get and stay equipped to win souls. I am deeply grieved that I neglected this focus so long but eternally grateful for God’s loving conviction and correction.)

God also used the dream to tell me to be more bold about sharing His burden to have His laborers equipped and alert. That is why I am sharing this writing with you. I earnestly pray that you hear-and heed—what I believe the Lord of the harvest is now saying.

Image result for free picture of one person harvesting wheatGod says “The workers are few”. Mathew 9 describes miracles of healing that Jesus did as He went from one place to another, “through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness” (Matthew 9:35, NIV) But listen to what Matthew says next:

“36 When He saw the throngs, He was moved with pity and sympathy for them, because they were bewildered (harassed and distressed and dejected and helpless), like sheep without a shepherd.

37 Then He said to His disciples, The harvest is indeed plentiful, but the laborers are few.

38 So pray to the Lord of the harvest to force out and thrust laborers into His harvest.” (Matthew 9:36-38, AMPC)

Just as much now as then, God is moved with pity and sympathy for the masses of people TODAY who are “bewildered (harassed and distressed and dejected and helpless), like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36, AMPC) I pray God forces us all out of our comfort zones and thrusts us, as His anointed, zealous laborers, into His harvest.

God says the place where you are standing in is a field ripe for harvest. In John 4, even though He was weary, Jesus took time to give the Samaritan woman the gift of “Living Water.” When His disciples returned and offered Him some of the food they had gone away to purchase, Jesus said:

“My food (nourishment) is to do the will (pleasure) of Him Who sent Me and to accomplish and completely finish His work. Do you not say, It is still four months until harvest comes?  Jesus told His disciples “Look! I tell you, raise your eyes and observe the fields and see how they are already white for harvesting.” John 4:34-35, AMPC

Jesus was telling His disciples two things that I believe He says to us today: (1) doing God’s will, sharing the good news of salvation, nourishes us. (2) The very place each of us are standing in—the world we interact with every day—is filled with souls ripe for harvest.

I must ask myself. . . I must ask myself—am I equipped to share God’s burden? Am I working in my harvest field?

Image result for free picture of one person harvesting wheat

Update and praise report!!!  I began writing this November 24th, the day after the dream and prayed about when to post it. With two days until 2022, I think God said today.  Will you add “fishing more” to your 2022 plans?

I have studied and written the plan of salvation in my own words so I could put it on this website. I wanted to have something ready for people to review, when God put me in the path of someone ready to give their heart to Jesus. (That little booklet “The Remedy for Desperation”, will be posted soon.)

And, I am so blessed to tell you that in His very great love and kindness and mercy, God sent me a soul to pray with for salvation! Words cannot express the joy I felt and still feel.

God needs His laborers! Pray, prepare diligently and reverently, and watch, with faith! Woohoo and go God!

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The wisdom and safety of giving thanks

Cleaning of White Ceramic PlateHammering another verse in. “. . . and they will diligently consider the mercy and loving-kindness of the Lord.” I kept my dripping hands over the sink and leaned to the left, where my printed verses lay open, far enough away, hopefully, to prevent their being splashed as I washed the oatmeal bowl, mug and spoon.

“Hmm,” I murmured as I cleaned out the sink, “Lord, You know I want to be diligent in what I do for You and I do want to diligently think about all the merciful and loving and kind things You have done for me and for all Your children.”

I picked up the paper and carried it with me to the bedroom, putting it on the edge of the bathroom sink while squeezing toothpaste.   “So, I see that if I “observe and heed” these things You will count that as diligently considering Your mercy and loving-kindnesses. And I see that it also must be a truly wise thing to do, so I think that would mean especially wise. Oh, Lord! Help me get this verse into my head!”

Why is it wise to be thankful? Sometimes it does indeed feel like I have to hammer verses into my head before they stick – but oh! It is so worth it!  Such truths bubble up inside as I meditate/memorize.  For example, in Psalm 107:43 I hear God saying that it is truly wise to be thankful and to remember all He has done. Psalm 107:43 tells us:

Whoso is wise [if there be any truly wise] will observe and heed these things; and they will diligently consider the mercy and loving-kindness of the Lord. (AMPC)

What are “These things” the truly wise person will observe and heed? “The marvelous deeds He has done, His miracles and wonders, the judgements and sentences which He pronounced upon His enemies, as in Egypt” (Psalm 105:5, AMPC).

Image result for free picture of warning signsWisdom—and loving warnings: Psalm 105 to 107. I believe Psalm 105, 106 and 107 can be profitably be considered as one message (although Psalm 106 concludes Book IV of the Psalms, and Psalm 107 begins Book V). I see a thread of God’s teaching woven through these three psalms–the wisdom of earnestly, carefully, whole-heartedly, diligently remembering all He has done for us.

Psalm 105 opens with the command “O, give thanks unto the Lord, call upon His name, make known His doings among the peoples! (verse 1). We are told to “Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; meditate and talk of all His marvelous deeds and devoutly praise them.”  Then we are told to seek Him, to crave Him and His strength and His presence “CONTINUALLY – EVERMORE.” (emphasis added)

Next, Psalm 105:5 through Psalm 106:42 recounts the many times God delivered Israel. Then we read, “but they were rebellious in their counsel, and sank low through their iniquity.” The psalmist is speaking, of course, about Israel’s history of rebelling against God. Yet am I not, in the seemingly small ways I yield to the sinful bent of my human nature, grievously guilty of the same? Time after time, God forgives and graciously delivers me when I repent and cry out to Him, as Israel did. Their doubt, disbelief and idolatry seem so appalling that I might think “I am not as bad as that”.  The piercing truth?  I am that bad. We all are.  Jeremiah 17:9a reminds me: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly perverse and corrupt and severely, mortally sick! “

Nevertheless, God . . . Psalm 106:44 says that, in spite of Israel’s repeated rebellion and wickedness,

“Nevertheless, He regarded their distress when He heard their cry, and He [earnestly] remembered His covenant, and relented their sentence of evil—comforting and easing Himself—according to the abundance of His mercy and loving-kindnesses [when they cried out to Him.] (Psalm 106:44-45, AMPC) (emphasis added)

Image result for free picture of dictionaryNotice the detail the Amplified provides here. Earnest means zealous, ardent, eager, or passionate. That is how God thinks about His covenant with us and how He responds to our sincere, repentant cry. Read Psalm 105 to 107 in the AMPC and notice how often “earnestly” appears. God earnestly remembers His covenant with us so we are to earnestly remember what He has done and our covenant with Him.

Notice also, an essential truth about God that is unveiled in the clarifying phrases of the Amplified translation.  Consider the words set off by dashes—comforting and easing Himself”–in the middle of Psalm 106:45 above. That tells us that  it “comforts and eases” God when He keeps His covenant with us and does not give us the consequences our evil actions deserve. Why?  It discomforts Him and troubles Him to cause us pain or suffering.  “For He does not willingly and from His heart afflict or grieve the children of men. (Lamentations 3:33, AMPC) God is reminding us here that “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” (Psalm 103:8, NIV)

Remembering these truths helps get me through trials, whether they arise from Satan, the nature of our fallen world or the nature of my human nature. For the former, I remember the things Jesus told His disciples at the Last Supper and that He said I can have peace because He has “overcome the world and deprived it of power to harm” me.  (John 16:33).  As for the problems that result from my human nature, I bear in mind that God must at times administer corrective discipline–because He loves us and He is a good, good, good Father. I  often ponder Hebrews 12, especially verse 6:

“For the Lord corrects and disciplines every one whom He loves, and He punishes, even scourges, every son whom He accepts and welcomes to His heart and cherishes.”

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Did you catch the last phrase? God does not just accept us. He welcomes us to His heart and CHERISHES us. He adores us.

Oh, that we would thank and praise God! Next,­­ read Psalm 107 slowly. Psalm 107 opens with a call, a shout, an outburst of joy: “O give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His mercy and lovingkindnesses endure forever! (AMPC) The whole psalm gives examples of His goodness, mercy and lovingkindnesses to Israel. Read Psalm 107 again. Do you see that some verses are nearly identical, specifically verses 8, 15, 21, and 31? After each passage of recalling God’s goodness and mercy, comes another exclamation and outburst of joy:

“Oh, that men would praise [and confess to] the Lord His goodness and loving-kindnesses, and His wonderful works to the children of men”

These outbursts are followed by more reasons why we should give God thanks. Clearly, we who are redeemed by the blood of Jesus, God’s only begotten Son, we “whom He has delivered from the hand of the adversary” are to SAY SO! The NLT says it this way: “Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others He has redeemed you from your enemies. (Psalm 107:2) Re-read Psalm 107 one more time. Do you see in these rescue stories parallels of times God rescued you, though you had rebelled against His Words and “spurned the counsel of the Most High”?

A shout, a shriek and a yell. The psalmist obviously feels intensely about what he is saying because the sentence is an exclamation, which can be a shout, a shriek or a yell. This idea is important! O, that we would all be that excited, daily, about what God has done!

“Confess to the Lord” – ?? We are to praise and confess to the Lord “His goodness and loving-kindnesses, and His wonderful works to the children of men!”  Webster’s 1828 online dictionary defines confess as “To own, avow or acknowledge; publicly to declare a belief in and adherence to”. It holds the same meaning as in Matthew 10:32-34: “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before me, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.”

Jesus Talking to Little BoyThat phrase “Confess to the Lord” means we are to talk to God about His goodness and loving-kindnesses and what He has done. In my praise and worship, public and private, am I really talking to and with God? Is my full attention on Him? Am I mindful the Creator and Sustainer of all that was and is and is to come is eagerly waiting to hear my voice? Have I taken time to quiet my mind and shut out distractions so I can give Him my best? Have I prepared my heart to be with Him as carefully as I would prepare my home for a visit with a dearly loved human friend? Jesus, the impassioned Lover of my soul, deserves nothing less.

Safety in giving thanks — what? If I am deliberately mindful of all God has done—throughout history and throughout my personal history, I will be at peace. And if I voice (or “confess”) my love and appreciation and gratitude to Him, if I respect and reverence Him, if I “notice Him, regard Him, honor Him, prefer Him, venerate and esteem Him, defer to Him, praise Him, and love and admire him exceedingly” (from Ephesians 5:33, AMPC) I will surely be in His presence – safe.

Do you hear Him? Listen. God responds when you express your love for Him to Him. Can you not hear the voice of the turtledove? Does a human beloved not respond when you pour out your love and respect and admiration? How much more does God respond when we pour out our love and respect and honor and reverence upon Him?

Still your soul and listen. Hear the Lover of your soul.  He says:

“Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me. My dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding places on the mountainside, show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.” (Song of Solomon 2:13b-14, NIV)

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O, that we would all be truly wise and daily praise and give thanks to our ever merciful and kind and loving Father!

 

Diligent Meditation – Part Two

Last week we considered points 1 through 3 below. Today, we cover point 4 – why do we meditate?

  1. Meditating on the move.
  2. So, what is meditation?
  3. Meditation can heal your heart and your life
  4. Why do we meditate?
  5. HOW? Start with what you need
  6. HOW? Practice and persist in your practice.
  7. HOW? Diligent study first.
  8. HOW? Then diligent meditation – ???
  9. How does God’s Word renew your mind?
  10. Why memorize
  11. The power of God’s laws

Image result for Free Clip Art of Why. Size: 60 x 110. Source: www.clipartpanda.com[4]       Why do we meditate?  First, God tells us to. That is enough for me!

The second reason is that God promises blessings if we meditate on His Word. Joshua 1:8 gives a succinct summary:

This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success.  (AMPC) (emphasis added)

So God is saying that talking and thinking about His Word all the time will lead us to obey His laws and then—because we obey His laws–that will make us prosperous, be wise and successful. This same promise is repeated in Psalm 1. Part of the godly life described in Psalm 1:1 is to “desire His law and find delight in it and to “habitually meditate (ponder and study) by day and by night on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God.) (paraphrased)”

Image result for free picture of tree by waterIf we live that godly life in verse Psalm 1:1 and meditate by day and by night—constantly:

  • We will have a constant supply (“like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water”),
  • we will do the right thing at the right time (“ready to bring forth its fruit in its season”);
  • Our “leaf also shall not fade or wither” and
  • we will be successful in all we do (“everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity].” (Psalm 1:2, AMPC)

One more benefit of meditation is wisdom. Slowly read Proverbs 1 through 8. See how important wisdom is for the believer! Pondering verses 8:34-36 tells me that seeking and finding wisdom daily leads to life and God’s favor. To miss wisdom, is to hurt ourselves and “court death.”

<<How God feels about meditation.>> For more proof of how strongly God feels about meditation, consider the entire sixth chapter of Deuteronomy. In the opening chapters of Deuteronomy, after they had wandered in the desert forty years because of doubt, unbelief and rebellion against God, the children of Israel were finally about to enter the Promised Land.  At that point, in Chapters 1:6 through 5:34, Moses reviewed the history of God’s goodness to them in spite of their doubt and rebellion and he “expounded the law”.

Image result for free picture of mosesIn his second address, Moses urged the people to follow the decrees and laws of God, repeated the Ten Commandments, again urged the people to obey God so that they and their children could prosper, and then he tells them that for God’s blessings to continue, each must “. . . love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:5, NIV). Then the very next thing in verse 6 through 9, Moses explains how to do thatby meditating – all day long.

“These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. “(Deuteronomy 6:6-9, NIV).

 <<Meditating is part of loving God.>> The fact that God’s command to meditate comes immediately after His command to love Him with all our heart means to me that keeping His Word constantly in my mind is part of how to love Him with all my heart and soul and strength. Let’s look at God’s commands in these verses in more detail.

“These commands . . . are to be on your hearts.” If something is on my heart, it colors everything I do. When my loved one is sick, he is on my heart, in the forefront of my thoughts, all day long. I am preoccupied with his well-being. I cannot get him off my mind. That is how we are to be about God’s laws. If I have been trained in the laws of good manners, those laws are on my heart, and I will say please and thank you in every situation, all day, every day. It will be natural for me to do so.

Impress them on your children.” Israel was instructed to impress God’s laws on their children. That means to imprint or fix God’s laws in their minds. How to do that? By talking about God’s laws ALL DAY LONG, which means at home and away from home, from getting up to going to bed. Then God says put reminders of His laws on your hands (so that as you reach out to do anything, you will think how God’s law applies to what you are about to do) and on your forehead, symbolizing that your every thought is to be controlled by God’s law.  Furthermore, God said write them on your doors and gates so that you see them when you enter your house and when you come and go from home. That will also be a reminder and witness to your children and others.

Image result for free picture of parents and children talkingChapter Six concludes by telling parents that when their children ask what the laws of God mean, they are to explain how God delivered them from slavery “with a mighty hand” to bring them to the promised land, how He commanded them to obey all His laws and to fear Him so they would “. . . always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today.” (V 24)  Parents were to tell their children that “If we are careful to obey all this law before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.” That way, when the children hear their parents talk about God’s law and when they see the visible reminders, they will also remember that God promises blessings for obeying. God was working to ensure that each succeeding generation would give Him and His Word first place in their hearts.  He put that there for you and me, too.

For the rest of this blog post. . . The rest of this vital topic is posted on the Books and  More page of this website. Please do not feel obligated to pay. This is a long and detailed piece of writing and the rest of it seems to fit best in that format.  Blessings and heart peace to you!

Freda

Diligent Meditation – Part 1

Image result for free clip art of quill penHello – This long piece of writing began as a blog post but grew and grew. Trying something new, I will post the first two sections as blog posts then put the remainder on the Books and More page as a booklet.  Why so many words about this topic? God says it is important! And it totally changed my life. Here is an outline.

  1. Meditating on the move.
  2. So, what is meditation?
  3. Meditation can heal your heart and your life
  4. Why do we meditate?
  5. HOW? Start with what you need
  6. HOW? Practice and persist in your practice.
  7. HOW? Diligent study first.
  8. HOW? Then diligent meditation – ???
  9. How does God’s Word renew your mind?
  10. Why memorize
  11. The power of God’s laws

Meditating on the move. “The Lord is good to those who depend on Him, to those who search for Him. So, it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord. Lamentations 3:25 and 26. (NLT)”

I looked once more at the half sheet of paper, folded it in half once more so it fit into my purse, then walked out the door, repeating “The Lord is good to those who depend on Him, to those who search for Him. So, it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Lamentations 3:25 and 26. The Lord is good. . .”   As I walked down the stairs, my frayed blue and white paisley gym bag, the one my daughter Sharon had used in high school, banged against my knee.

 “Hmm..” I half moaned as stiff hips complained. “Lord, thank You that I live on the second floor. That gives more exercise for the hips and low back. Help me, Lord, not complain!”

Image result for free picture of flock of sparrowsA slight breeze moved cool morning air over my face as three chestnut brown sparrows flushed into the dense bushes bordering the sidewalk, chirping in chorus as they flitted from sight. I put my gym bag in the back seat, my purse in the front, pulled out my verses and read them again, slowly, before backing the car up.

 “It is making a difference, Lord, it really is. Your Word pops into my mind so often now when the enemy shoots thought arrows of fear and discouragement.”

 “The Lord is good to those who depend on Him. . . uh. . . “The Lord is good to those who depend on Him. . . uh. . . mmm.”  Up and down the little hills on First Street I struggled to remember the next phrase. Finally, at the stop light, I glanced at my paper. “to those who search for Him. So, it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Lamentations 3:25 and 26.”

 “Ah! Yes, that was it! ‘The Lord is good. . . ‘” During the five-minute sprint on the interstate, where there were no stoplights, I managed to repeat the whole passage in my mind. During the next hour of stretches, weights and recumbent bicycling, I repeated that passage and talked silently with the Lord about it.

Well, Lord, that says to me that You want me to depend on You and wait for You, with patience, and to keep searching for You. So, how do I depend on You today, right now? If I am depending on You, then I will not worry about . . . “

 That scene happened more than two years ago, on a morning in April 2019. That was the year God dramatically healed my life-long struggle with depression and anxiety. What brought about the healing, when nothing else had worked?

Taking God’s Word like the medicine He says it is healed depression and fear and renewed my mind. (Romans 12:2, Proverbs 4:20-22.)  Since I began diligently meditating God has kept me in His peace, even in these troubling times. Yes, I’ve stumbled a few times but God always gets me back in peace as I get my mind back on Him. If meditating is a daily habit, I rejoice with you! However, many are like I was, far from God’s mark regarding meditation.

Image result for free picture of arrow missing targetSo far from the mark. That morning back in April 2019 God began unveiling this invincible weapon that Satan had hidden for most of my life as a believer. I was ignorant of what God means by meditation and taking his Word like the medicine it is until I was actually doing it.

Some reasons we fail to follow God’s clear commands about meditation are:

  • Meditation does not come naturally. Forming new habits requires discipline and self-control. We may not even know how important it is. How often do you hear about meditation?
  • Our enemy knows how dangerous and powerful the Word in the mouth of a believer is and he sets roadblocks using lies, distractions, and our flesh. How often I said, “I just do not have time” or “I just cannot remember” or “I tried but it will not work for me.”
  • Pride blinds the eyes of the heart. 1 Corinthians 10:12 warns us, “So, if you think you are standing, be careful that you don’t fall!” (NIV)
  • Image result for free picture of grand pianoComparisons also blind us to the truth. It is tempting to think we are doing fine because we are “doing more” in some areas of spiritual life than someone else. We are unwise if we compare ourselves with others and use ourselves as the standard of measurement (2 Corinthians 10:12b, NLT). A piano tuner uses a tuning fork, not another piano.
  • I had to confess a very ugly, very bad attitude. I remember thinking that constantly thinking about God’s Word was for people who are “far out” there with God. Wow was I in danger! Fortunately, God convicted me, I confessed and turned away from that attitude, and by His grace, I do the same thing that I, to my great regret, spurned for so long.

 [2] So what is meditation?  To meditate is “to dwell on anything in thought; to contemplate; to study; to turn or revolve any subject in the mind.” (www.webstersdictionary1828.com). Synonyms include to ponder, muse, brood, concentrate, be lost in thought, think deeply and carefully upon–and my favorite—to chew the cud! Cows chew their cud up to eight hours a day, chewing each mouthful 40 to 60 times so the grass will be digested properly and absorbed by the body. The cow eats the grass and then, later chews it. We read the Word, and then, later, we think about it until it is digested.

Image result for free clip art of cow chewing cud<<Meditation on the Word changes us from the inside out.>> To meditate means to ponder and think about a verse or passage so long that it becomes part of you. Grass, properly chewed, becomes part of a cow. The Word, properly meditated upon or thoroughly chewed and swallowed, becomes part of who we are. The Word changes our innermost being. It renews our mind (Romans 12:1-2).

Meditation is NOT yoga. When we meditate, we do not repeat a mantra. We are thinking about and talking with the God Who made heaven and earth, the Most High, and His Word to us. We are purposefully thinking, not trying to turn off our thoughts. We are pondering on, contemplating, thinking about God’s law – His instructions to us on how to live.

[3] Meditation can heal your heart and your life. The power of God’s Word will “fix” your heart whether your problem is addiction, anger, self-control, loneliness, depression, or fear. Then, as your heart changes, your life will change. Hebrews 4:12 says God’s Word is alive and full of power, and that it “judges the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (NIV) That phrase means to me 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.

<<The light of truth chases the darkness of lies away, just as dawn chases the darkness of night away (Proverbs 4:18).>> While 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 healing begin.

Image result for free picture of dawn<<As God’s truth increases in your heart, lies and darkness decrease.>> When we meditate on God’s truths, truth begins occupying more space in our thoughts than lies, and truth becomes dominant, or foremost.  You eventually make salt water drinkable if you add enough pure water. 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 because we have more of 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 more godly ways.

As we keep diligently studying the Word, treasuring up truths in the storehouse of our mind, we grow spiritually, we step into Satan’s snares less often, and strongholds constructed of his lies crumble.

To be continued. . .

Your love for God pleases Him

Image result for free picture of jesus hugging a childDear friend, one morning Holy Spirit woke me up, with clear ideas for this piece of writing. I knew it was for a dear, dear friend, a precious saint at the Joshua 14:12-15 stage of life. A few days later, I felt it was also for another friend. That is when I saw that it was also for you, and for me, for all of us who whole-heartedly love God and are pressing close to Him with all our heart, and soul and mind and strength. We do not have to be perfect for God to feel this way about us. We just have to love Him with all our heart and do the very best we can to obey Him and stay by His side, hour by hour. We have no way to understand how much He loves us!

I wrote this a month ago but find myself needing this comfort today. I pray these words comfort you. Here is what I wrote for my friend.  .  .

See the source imageI believe the Lord is deeply touched by your love for, your dependence upon, and your trust in Him. I believe He sees you as a sweet little girl, walking along a beautiful garden path with Him, holding on to His hand and looking up at Him with adoring eyes.

It pleases Him greatly that you choose to just be with Him, to stay in His company and to walk close by Him, each day, all day long and through the night.

On your way along the garden path, when you grow tired—or sometimes just because He loves you so very much—He picks you up into His strong arms, gives you a sweet kiss on your cheek and holds you in a warm, tender embrace. You tell Him, “Thank You, my Father!” He looks into your eyes and says “I love you, my precious, my beautiful daughter. You are my delight.”

Image result for free picture of sparrow on handThen, He carries you a while, close to His heart, and He sings a sweet and tender melody over you, softly and slowly. As He walks with you in His arms, He points out a busy little gray squirrel here, a yellow butterfly there, a resplendent gathering of flowers over there, and a tiny, perky sparrow chirping on the swaying branch of a little sapling.  He holds out His hand and the sparrow flits to Him, perching on His finger as He lets you stroke the velvety feathers.

He says to you, “My beautiful child, I watch each moment of the life of every creature I have made, and I care for each of them. And, my beautiful daughter, far more—so very much more than you can imagine—I watch each moment of your life and I care for you. I delight in your devotion to Me, your faithfulness in little and big things, My love that you give to others, and the way you walk with Me, in integrity, in your home. It is My delight that you simply want to be with Me.”

As He continues walking, still with you in His arms, He explains how each flower and each tree grows and just where each little creature finds its food and makes its bed at night. He delights at the delight in your eyes and in your shared pleasure. He enjoys the pleasure of your company as you enjoy His.

Image result for free picture of jesus and little girl

 

 

 

“I love those who love Me,
and those who seek Me early and diligently
will find me.”
Proverbs 8:17, AMPC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fresh focus for www.wordsofhopeandhealing.com

FRESH FOCUS. There is a renewed focus for www.wordsofhopeandhealing.com, which is  to give you hope and help in your daily life so that you can,
>>   live a holy life before God,
>>  press on to spiritual maturity,
>>  and take your position in the great awakening God has already begun.

Image result for Free Picture Of Focus. Size: 156 x 100. Source: www.pixelstalk.netDEAR FRIEND, this website is changing. When I began blogging in 2016, I aimed to share hope and healing for emotional and spiritual hurts through stories showing what happens to an ordinary person who uses God’s Word like the medicine it actually is. (Proverbs 4:20-22).  However, as I dug deeper into the Word, I fell deeper in love with God and more convinced of the power of His Word to change lives.

Sensing God’s loving direction, the inspirational, short-story type writing focused more on the Word and on spiritual maturity, not only on emotional healing. All the while, as I asked God to grow me up, as I joined in on intercessory prayer calls, God urged me to learn more about current events from His perspective and more about modern-day prophets and spiritual warfare.

That is how I found fresh fire, fresh focus, and my personal assignment in the Kingdom.

Trying to cope with this world can so damage and infect your soul that coping becomes your main focus. I aim to focus you on God, His Word and Holy Ghost power. In so doing, I pray I can help you fulfill the one purpose of your life as a believer.

Image result for free Picture of Vessel of Honor. Size: 158 x 110. Source: www.slideserve.comYOUR ASSIGNMENT AND MINE. We both have an ASSIGNMENT in God’s Kingdom, not a purpose, rather an assignment.  What? You say you already know your purpose? Listen to Mario Murillo in his must-read book “Vessels of Fire and Glory”.  Mario says that:

“Jesus is the one with a purpose and we have an assignment within that purpose.”

“What is Christ’s purpose on earth? First John 3:8 says, “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”

Your assignment in the army of God is your individual expression and extension of Christ’s destruction of the works of the devil. You are a destroyer of the works of the devil. God will give you a way to do it that is all your own.

Until that gets through to you—until you admit and agree to those terms—God will remain silent about your assignment.” (p. 116-117)

That is what I experienced, and let me tell you: once you find your assignment, look out! God will pour out on you more than you can ask or imagine or even dream about. What you have now of God in your life will be as a trickle compared to a mighty river. Zealously, passionately give God all you have, and watch what He does.

Don’t dare entertain doubts about qualifications or lack of time, health or other resource. Someone said, “God does not call the equipped. He equips the called.” Beloved, God has called each of us into the harvest. He WILL equip you.

I aim to help you grow even more than you have, to help you learn how to apply the Word and Holy Ghost power more effectively, and to help you fulfill your assignment in our world today.

HOPE AND HELP FOR YOU. I offer you hope and help—concrete, practical help—-as you grow in maturity and consistency. Living a consistently victorious daily life, growing up in God, and finding your assignment is hard work. We all need all the support we can get! There are no shortcuts but I aim to shine the light of God’s truth on the path before you. Though not perfect, God has—through His Word and Holy Ghost power–trained me to keep fairly consistent victory.

WHY LISTEN TO ME? If your spirit does not bear witness with what I say, then do not listen. But if you are stirred and desire to know more—more about consistent, victorious living, more about applying God’s Word, more about the Spirit-filled life and understanding God’s activity in our current world—here is what I offer.

HELP IN WALKING AND WARRING. I am offering to help you keep growing, to walk in the fullness of the Spirit and to start engaging in the battle. Regarding things of the Spirit and the spiritual battle waging today, as a Spirit-filled believer for 40 years, I explain, from a foundational level, what might seem strange, even unbiblical to you if you have not been around Pentecostal believers. You may have doubts and fears about talking in tongues, laying on of hands, words of knowledge, prophecy and other facets of Pentecost. Let me assure you: they are all Biblical. You may have seen God’s gifts misused and even some counterfeits, but His gifts are in operation today in millions of hearts across His beloved earth.

Image result for Free Picture of Holy Spirit. Size: 206 x 110. Source: standrewsgreencastle.orgDO NOT BELIEVE LIES ABOUT GOD’S HOLY SPIRIT! One key point–Do not believe the enemy’s lie that such things are not biblical. C.S. Lewis said one of Satan’s most effective lies is that he does not exist. Satan uses the same tactic to keep people from using the unlimited devil-smashing power source of the Holy Spirit for fruitful witnessing and living a holy life.

Though not an expert, I understand one thing thoroughly enough to explain basic facts and teach Biblical guidelines–how to apply the Word and Holy Ghost power to mature the sincere believer into consistency.

I can also help you start learning what God is doing in our world and point you to people with decades of experience and knowledge about that, people with whose work I am acquainted.

HOW DID GOD GET ME ON THIS PATH? Desperation led me to apply God’s Word like the medicine it is to break the bondage of depression and fear so severe that they were life-controlling. Continuing in the Word and the power of a Spirit-filled life trained me to maintain victory and to be about my Father’s business, rather than my own featherweight purposes.

In all the writings, I show how all that looks in clear, easy to follow steps, saturated with practical application of God’s Word and fully leaning on Holy Ghost power.

Image result for Free Picture of framed in House. Size: 153 x 110. Source: www.flickr.comWE ALL NEED A FOUNDATION FOR NEW THINGS. Having a framework of basic understanding about anything helps you progress faster. This is especially critical if what I have been saying is new or just plain strange-sounding to you.

Learning and retaining and applying what you learn works best when you have a framework to which you can attach new ideas. If you hear teaching and do not understand the basic terms and principles of that topic, you will have nothing to help you retain and apply that knowledge. Try building a house by nailing horizontal wooden beams to vertical beams made of cardboard. I can provide a solid foundation of vertical beams for you to build upon.

I can provide that framework because I have been there, skeptical and uneducated in these matters but wanting desperately to please God. I am mindful of what might need explaining. Also, because I am an ordinary person, I am assured that what worked for me will work for you. I strive to communicate clearly, step by step, what God did as I followed Him. I know how helpful simple summaries of complex topics can be as well as previews, definitions, diagrams, flow charts and memory tips

Image result for Free Picture of Child jumping into father's arms. Size: 112 x 106. Source: forwardfertility.comHEALING AND GROWING. I am offering to help you grow, which includes having the Word and God’s spirit occupy their rightful place in your heart and your conduct. We do not know what that feels like until we start doing it. If you now struggle with emotional problems, all this might sound too strong for you right now. Be assured: it is not! The way to healing is to jump into God’s arms and let Him heal while He grows you up in ALL areas, not just where your heart now hurts. He did that for me, and I want to share those stories with you.

Just as God had a bigger assignment for me, so He has for you, no matter the struggle that may now hinder you. He has an assignment for you in this world-wide revival now happening. Yes, you!

ARE YOU ENGAGED IN THE WORLD? Believers today must participate in the world-wide revival now going on because that is what God is doing in the world today. You can participate by targeted prayer, getting informed and telling others, and in many other ways. If you listen to mainstream media, if you do not hear news from godly sources, and if you do not follow God’s modern-day prophets, you might not perceive the fierceness of the battle taking place all around us in the unseen, spiritual realm. You also might not know that world-wide revival has begun. This is what many are calling the Third Great Awakening.

Image result for free picture of jesus and the worldTHE THIRD GREAT AWAKENING. It has already begun—the greatest spiritual awakening earth has seen. The prophets are saying this awakening will be even greater than the one that started the Jesus movement of the 1960s, when Holy Spirit simply overwhelmed people outside churches and hippies walked into churches, wanting to know more about God and what had happened to them.

These last few years, while God has worked mightily behind the scenes to clean up and to expose the evil and filth in our nation and the world, He has already begun this greatest move of God, starting with thousands saved and miraculous healings in tent revivals in California, one of the most left-leaning, anti-God states. These revivals are spreading as God sends His Holy Ghost power. Pastors are smashing denominational walls as they gather together to equip and encourage each other to take their part in this awakening.

The darkness and evil of our present world has made people desperate for light and all that is good. The fields are ripe. God has already begun His harvest. World-wide revival is upon us.

WILL YOU PARTICIPATE?  If you do choose not to participate in this next great move of God, you will be not just be on the sidelines. Jesus says in Matthew 12:30 “He who is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with Me scatters.” Trying to stay neutral and uninvolved in the battle now going on means you are against God.

If you decide to join the battle (and I pray you do!) you do not have two years to conquer addiction or depression or other life-controlling problems, to press on to maturity, to learn to walk in the fullness of the Spirit, and to find your place in God’s mighty army. God is doing great and fearsome and wonderful things NOW. God needs ALL His warriors engaged in the fight NOW. That is why the focus of this website is more than ever on helping you grow and mature.

I aim to point out snares in your path so you can drink deeply of Living Water and feast on the Bread of Life as God grows you up and helps you walk further along that narrow path.  Notice I said as “God grows you up”, not me. I am even now nudging you toward Him as hard as I can. Righteousness with God and skill in applying His Word and His Holy Ghost power is necessary to overcome this world and destroy the works of the devil.

God is exposing evil and has already begun the Great Awakening. We must fulfill our assignments! Sharing what I learn is one way I am gratefully fulfilling my assignment. I am excited beyond words to share this new and deeper hope, this new and deeper healing and fulfilling of God’s purpose, the reason He sent Jesus for us—to destroy the works of the devil. (I John 3:8)

Image result for free picture of pressing on to the goalLet us follow Paul as he followed Christ (I Corinthians 11:1) and press on to maturity. Let us make Philippians 3:12-16 our aim. Let us say, with Paul:

12 Not that I have already obtained it [this goal of being Christlike] or have already been made perfect, but I actively press on so that I may take hold of that [perfection] for which Christ Jesus took hold of me and made me His own.

13]Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,

14 I press on toward the goal to win the [heavenly] prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

15 All of us who are mature [pursuing spiritual perfection] should have this attitude. And if in any respect you have a different attitude, that too God will make clear to you.

16 Only let us stay true to what we have already attained.

Image result for free picture of praying hands and bibleIf you think I am too “far out”. If talking in tongues, prophecy, the laying on of hands for miraculous healing, and other elements of the Spirit-filled life offend you, you might reject my words, for now. I pray, though, that when you get desperate for the power of a Spirit-filled life, you will be back.

Whether you use this website now or not, I pray God stirs you up mightily and gives you no rest until your heart burns—and remains–white-hot with holy zeal!

Grace to you!
Freda

When the enemy has wearied us

Image result for free picture of a winding pathJust keep going. Dear friend, I want to encourage you to just keep going forward with God, just keep waiting in active faith and expectation, no matter what your current circumstance. Yes, life is hard at any time but especially in these turbulent days when evil is being called good and good is being called evil (Isaiah 5:20-21), these times when Satan is seeking to steal, kill, and destroy us in many ways, including just plain “wearying us out.” (Daniel 7:25). He is vicious in the world, and he is vicious in our individual lives. Although you may face giant-size problems, like David, you can run to the battle, confident in your God, and see the giants in your life fall.

A word of caution about this blog post.  Today, a fellow believer requested prayer because—having been ill all week—she was feeling weak, tired, fragile, anxious and teary. I have so often felt the same way. As I prayed, I felt led to write down some Scriptures for her and also to write what I believed God might want to say to her.  What I wrote follows. I pray it comforts and strengthens you as you continue to “Fight the good fight of faith” (2 Timothy 4:7-8)

Image result for Free Picture Of Checklist. Size: 139 x 204. Source: pixabay.comPlease hear me: I wrote this for someone whom I know is pursuing God with all her heart and obeying everything God shows her to do. If that is you, then I believe God might say the words below to you.

However, if that does not describe your relationship with Almighty God, I know He would still be loving and tender and compassionate with you, because that is part of His unchanging nature (as He clearly tells us in Psalm 103 and countless other Bible passages.)  But if you are not seeking Him with your whole heart and obeying Him in everything you know to do, I know He would also have words of loving correction (Hebrews 12) because He loves you. “A father disciplines the son in whom he delights.” (Proverbs 3:11-12).

So, I urge you to carefully and prayerfully examine yourself, as Paul admonishes us to do in 2 Corinthians 13:5 before you read the words below and take them as applying to you.

Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it. Test and prove yourselves [not Christ]. Do you not yourselves realize and know [thoroughly by an ever-increasing experience] that Jesus Christ is in you–unless you are [counterfeits] disapproved on trial and rejected? (2 Corinthians 13:5, AMPC)

He will guide your steps. If you are sincere and approach Him with reverence and awe and a heart sincerely seeking Him–as is our only reasonable way to approach God–He will guide your steps (Proverbs 3, especially verses 1-8.) If you need correction, He will supply it. Regardless! Call on Him and He WILL answer, as Psalm 145 tells us.

The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.
19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry for help and save them.
20 The Lord watches over all who love Him, But He will destroy all the wicked. (Psalm 145:18, NASB)

What I believe God might say when the enemy has sought to “weary us out”. So dear friend and fellow pilgrim, the following is what I believe God might be saying to those who pursue Him whole-heartedly and have become weary.

See the source image“Come, come to Me, My little child. Feel My strong arms of love around you. Let Me comfort your heart and calm your worried soul.

Do not think MY child, that because you are suffering that I am displeased with you or that I have abandoned you in any way. I will never, no never, no never forsake-not for a moment—those who fear and revere and obey Me as you do.

Yes, My precious little one, My sweet child, you are in a mighty trial but know—keep in your conscious mind—that I AM in it with you and when it is done, you will shine forth as gold, stronger, and better equipped for the battle and able to stay closer to Me than ever.

Tell Me, little one, is this—this greater closeness, this greater equipping—is this not that for which you have beseeched Me? I give good gifts to those who seek Me out of a pure heart and true devotion.

This present circumstance that has brought you so low in heart is for your good. Though you cannot see this fact with the eye of flesh, believe that I AM with you and that I AM even now delivering you, for I deliver the righteous from all their troubles, though their troubles in his world be many.

Image result for free picture of the heartI AM with you. Behold, My darling child, listen to Me and be strengthened in your inner man—that secret place where we dwell together—behold

  • as I was with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
  • as I was with Joseph in all his trials and with Moses at the Red Sea and all through the wilderness,
  • as I was with David, Daniel, the three Hebrew boys, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah and all my faithful prophet,
  • as I was with My only begotten Son and the Twelve,
  • as I was with Peter, James, John and Paul as they established My church – even so, My child, I AM and I WILL BE with you.
  • I AM and I WILL BE your Healer, Provider, Protector, Comforter, Savior, Deliverer, and your best friend.

These present trials. These present trials have not touched the spirit within you. Though you cannot see it, simply in standing fast and waiting with hope, you are moving forward. I AM with you and I delight in your trust. I rejoice over you with singing.

This will not harm you. It will turn out for your good. Wait, I say, wait on ME! Expect, look and long for Me for I AM delivering you.

I AM delivering you. I AM helping you, training you, in loving discipline, “as a father disciplines the son he loves.” I am training you SO THAT you can better perceive your weaknesses and, because of that, learn to lean more on Me and not your own strength, or that of any other.

Image result for free picture of pruningYou have done well My child, and I am training you so that you can learn—even better–the habit of exercising, of using, your faith. I AM pruning away branches that bear no fruit and the branches that do bear fruit, I am pruning in order that you may be even more fruitful. (John 15:1-17) I call you friend, My child, because you do what I command. I “chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. “

Your own heart determines what you feel. Yet, even though you are safe in My arms and carried close to My very heart, it is your own heart that determines what you feel. “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Though it cost everything you have, learn—in the midst of trial–to fix your mind on me and my truth and wait with confident expectation, because:

  • I AM your deliverer, I AM your Healer, I AM delivering you NOW, I AM healing you NOW.
  • I have seen your faith and I AM rewarding your faith because you have believed that I exist and that I reward those who diligently seek Me. (Hebrews 11:6)
  • As the man who believed yet asked for help to believe, so you have prayed and I AM answering.

The way IS narrow. Your way, My beloved child, is indeed narrow but in this narrow path–precisely because the narrowness forces you to look to ME—I am giving you greater ability to make progress upon the dangerous heights of testing and trouble (Psalm 18:33).  I AM, even now, giving you hinds feet, in order that, having ascended your mountain, your feet may be beautiful as you and I descend the other side, bringing good tidings to others. (Isaiah 52:7)

Image result for free picture of eagle soaring over mountainsI am training you how to renew Your strength in me as the eagle’s strength is renewed, in order that you may be able to mount up with wings like the eagle and soar on high, and with your eyes as an eagle, detect your food from afar (Job 39:27-30). You will soar on high, and from those heights, be enabled to search for and find food for your soul—fresh, living food, food that has the blood of life, the breath of life in it.

As eaglets in the nest feed for a time upon the flesh its parents bring, and are nourished by it–though that flesh be unclean, lacking as it does the living blood of life– so you have been nourished. But even as the eagle stirs up its nest and leads its young to soar, so I am stirring you up. Why? Because I love you, and I have called you to feed on that Living Water that bubbles up from within and that precious Bread of Life I have given for you. (John 6)

Image result for Free Picture of Two Doves. Size: 127 x 100. Source: clipart-library.comCome to Me! So come, come, My precious child! Come to Me. I AM your delight! I AM your reward!  I AM all you need!

 “My beloved speaks and says to me. Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For, behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing [of birds] has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.

The fig tree puts forth and ripens her green figs, and the vines are in blossom and give forth their fragrance.

Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.” (Song of Solomon 2:10-13, AMPC)

Verses for meditation. Below are just a couple of verses for when you feel weak, fatigued, fragile, and teary. Emphasis has been added using all capitals or underlines.

Strength for weakness

Isaiah 41:10   10 Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I WILL strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I WILL help you; yes, I WILL hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.

Isaiah 40:31  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.

Refreshing for fatigue

Matthew 11:28-29   28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I WILL cause you to rest. [I WILL ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]

Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you WILL find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.

Compassion as a father for our fragility

All of Psalm 103, especially 8-14

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy and loving-kindness.

He will not always chide or be contending, neither will He keep His anger forever or hold a grudge.

10 He has not dealt with us after our sins nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great are His mercy and loving-kindness toward those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him.

12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father loves and pities his children, so the Lord loves and pities those who fear Him [with reverence, worship, and awe].

14 For He knows our frame, He [EARNSTLY] remembers and IMPRINTS [ON HIS HEART] that we are dust.

He sees and feels each tear

 All of Psalm 56, especially verse 8 – You number and record my wanderings; put my tears into Your bottle—are they not in Your book?

Hope and expectation

He will give hope and expectation as we recall His mercies in the past and choose to hope in and wait for Him, even though we feel like verse 17.  Lamentations 3:17-26

My prayer for you is that –

“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26 NASB 1995)”

 

Am I consistently joyful in my walk? Part Two of Two

Image result for free picture of walking with jesusLast week as we considered how to consistently “maintain a joyful Christian walk”, an investigation sparked by Andrew Murray’s jewel “The Ministry of Intercessory Prayer”, we covered points one through 9 in the outline below. This week we will finish with points 10 through 15.  I pray these words help you draw closer to the One who loves us so, so, so very much.

  1. Practicing His presence.
  2. “As you do not know the path of the wind. . . “(Ecclesiastes 11:5)
  3. The message of the hummingbird.
  4. Drawing nearer to God includes pulling away from the world and self.
  5. Steps to wholeness of healing, which is this joy of depending only on Him.
  6. STEP ONE:
  7. “But I am already living a holy life”, my flesh says.
  8. More pruning produces more fruit.
  9. Too straight and too hard?
  10. Are You my vital necessity, Lord?
  11. Am I (still not yet) a slave to righteousness which leads to holiness?
  12. STEP TWO
  13. STEP THREE
  14. ONE LAST “STEP”
  15. I know You will guide me, Lord.

Image result for Free Picture of Bread and Water. Size: 158 x 105. Source: thecatholicspirit.com[9]       Are You my vital necessity, Lord? 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)

Let’s look closely at 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.”

Image result for free clip art of the plans i have for youGod 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. I think God gave them this encouragement because He knew it would take some of them the whole 70 years to seek Him whole-heartedly. Verses 12-14 concern the “then” time or “in those days,” meaning when the captives are returned to Jerusalem. God says “in those days” His people will pray and He will hear, and when they seek Him as their VITAL necessity and seek Him with ALL their heart, they will find Him and He will bring them back to Jerusalem.

Perhaps the lesson for me, regarding spiritual growth, is that when my life includes putting other things before God—which is idol worship—I will get my consequences, as the Israelite captives did. And I will live with my consequences until God’s righteous judgement on my sin of putting things above Him is completed. And then, after I have learned my lesson through the harsh, but righteous circumstances of my sin, I will then be free FINALLY to seek God, inquire for God, and require God [as a vital necessity] and search for Him with my WHOLE heart. And then—when I truly have no other gods before Him—then is when I will find God and He will return me to my own Jerusalem, my own fortified city where God dwells and truly reigns, my own life where I have the light of peace in my heart.

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 on-going, unrecognized and/or unconfessed sin that steals our closeness and our peace for many months or years.

Image result for free picture of slave to righteousness[10]     Am I (still not yet) a slave to righteousness which leads to holiness? (Romans 6:19-23) God makes it clear that “when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? (Romans 6:16, NIV). So as long as we serve and obey our own flesh or the enemy, we are enslaved by our flesh or the enemy. The consequences of our voluntary enslavement is that the enemy takes us “captive to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:16, NIV), and we are unable to “maintain a joyful Christian walk in God’s way”, which is a symptom of the diseased condition of our heart. I have to ask myself, “Is my heart still not totally submitted to obedience to God?”  Am I carried away to Babylon sometimes, made captive and my will controlled by the cruel enemy, because I still sometimes “offer myself’ to sin?

Perhaps we weak humans simply do not truly learn what seeking God whole-heartedly and with our whole heart is, i.e., as if our life depends on it, until we are in desperate circumstances.

First by force, then by choice? This is why I say God blessed me with depression–it forced me to keep my mind on Him and His Word constantly. My case is not as extreme but it reminds me of the book “Shadowlands.”  When his new wife had cancer, C. S. Lewis was so driven to constant prayer that he said prayer was all he could do and that he had to pray to survive.

Image result for Baby Leaning On JesusPerhaps, after circumstances force us to lean constantly on God, the next quality of character to be developed is to choose this constant leaning, even when we feel we can manage “without thinking about God while we visit with family, spend an afternoon at a museum, etc.  I ask myself, “Freda, is that not self-confidence and self-sufficiency?” This voluntary constant leaning Andrew Murray speaks of costs “self-will, self-pleasure and self-confidence.”  I do have to give up all of self if I am to give all my heart to God.

Although I have lately been spending more time in prayer and Bible study and meditating more consistently during waking hours, trying to grow closer, I sense that asking God to “heal me” in this way is a definite, concrete step, much like the very first time you tithe and must trust that God will meet your needs that month though it looks impossible if you give Him ten percent.

I am certain God will help me in this. As He promises in Romans 6, if I offer myself continually to Him to obey Him, I will be a “slave to righteousness”, which means I will be under the control of righteousness.

16 Do you not know that if you continually surrender yourselves to anyone to do his will, you are the slaves of him whom you obey, whether that be to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience which leads to righteousness (right doing and right standing with God

17 But thank God, though you were once slaves of sin, you have become obedient with all your heart to the standard of teaching in which you were instructed and to which you were committed.

18 And having been set free from sin, you have become the servants of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in thought, purpose, and action). (Romans 6:16-18, AMPC)

Image result for Free Picture of Sitting with Jesus. Size: 86 x 107. Source: www.pinterest.com.mx[11]     STEP TWO: The second step is to “look to Him as your only help.” (p. 84) We must say, like the lame man at Bethesda “I have no one to put me into the pool” (John 5:7). We must know that there is no help for us here on earth. We must confess our weakness and “know there is no hope for you unless Christ in His mercy heals you.” I think that is something else I must say to the Lord and keep on saying. I do understand that every good thing comes from Him, as James 1 says, and that even our desire to please Him, comes from Him working in us as Philippians 2:13 tells us.

[12]     STEP THREE: The third step is to respond in faith. As the lame man at Bethesda believed Jesus and obeyed and walked, so too must we believe that there is “truth and power in Christ’s word.” (p. 85) “If we fix our gaze on Christ. . . we will have courage to obey.” (p. 85) Yes, I must believe that even I, with all my weaknesses, I can walk in the way God intended. I can exercise my faith which is “. . . being sure of what we hope for and sure of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1, NIV) and I can, like Abraham, believe “. . . in the God who brings the dead back to life and Who creates new things out of nothing.” (Romans 4:17, NLT)

Image result for free picture of rain on fields[13]     ONE LAST “STEP”. Andrew Murray then wisely warns about forming false expectations, to not, for example, expect “to be all at once be proficient in prayer or any part of the Christian life.” He concludes the chapter by saying that, like learning anything, we must start at the beginning, but we must start. I will heed this warning because, as a perfectionist in some areas, I can expect too much of myself and get discouraged. I will take the attitude of James 5:7 and be patient as God works in my heart. I can wait “. . . for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains.” (NIV)

[14]     I know You will guide me, Lord.  Thank You, Lord, for the grace I feel to yield and not struggle with the idea of this greater pruning of self. But I do need Your clear guidance, Lord. I will meditate on and pray Psalm 25 with greater intensity, and I will declare it.

You know, Lord, in this matter of living my whole life for You, in the past I have been too zealous in some ways, like staying up too late reading the Word, sitting at the desk too long when I need to go exercise, or depriving myself of so many pleasures that I became resentful and frustrated with the lifestyle I created for myself in trying to put You first.

I know I need adequate rest and exercise and time with family and friends. And I have learned it is essential to invest at least a bit of time regularly in keeping my home and surroundings tidy. But, Father, what about “leisure time”? Lord, I do not want to spend too much time on that but neither do I want to become unbalanced and eventually frustrate myself and cause discouragement.

Image result for free picture of praying handsI paused, but only a moment before a clear thought came. “I can spend time praying in the Spirit for direction about this.” I have learned recently (although I think I knew it in years earlier and ‘forgot’ it) that when I faithfully set aside time each day to pray in tongues about something specific, He answers clearly.

“Yes! Lord! I know You will answer!”

And, another thought came then, one I was not so excited about.

“Lord, is the healthier diet You recently led me to part of all of this? I have fallen away from it lately. Is this part of the things that seem “too hard and too straight”? Well, I will include prayer and prayer in tongues about that, too. As Paul said in I Corinthians 14:15, “I will pray in the spirit, and I will also pray in words I understand. I will sing in the spirit, and I will also sing in words I understand.” (NIV)

“Father, You know this will be a new and exciting adventure. Thank You for leading me to that book through my friend. Something has not seemed quite right between us for a while, and I think it is what I have heard some Bible teachers and preachers say, that You sometimes pull away so that we will press on further and follow You into new places.

Dearest Father, with the psalmist in Psalm 27:4, I say:

One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek, inquire for, and [insistently] require: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord [in His presence] all the days of my life, to behold and gaze upon the beauty [the sweet attractiveness and the delightful loveliness] of the Lord and to meditate, consider, and inquire in His temple.

Yes, Lord! Keep me close while I grow!

 Note: For more about “Standing Strong Like the Hummingbird,”see the May 9, 2020, blog post. May our loving Father grant both of us grace to stand strong and to move forward with Him in our personal growth. Amen and so be it, Lord Jesus!

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