Category Archives: ENCOURAGEMENT

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

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

Part Two covers the following topics.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gods Arsenal for Peace and Security

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

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

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

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

Part One covers these topics:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 How to Use Key Word Sentences

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

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

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

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

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

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

God notices you – always! – Revisited

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A personal request

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

Opportunities for great joy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[1] Actively consider it all joy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, I pray:

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

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

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

And. . .

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

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

So, I pray:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How many roses has God given you?

His love gifts are everywhere. Predawn coolness filled the room. I closed my eyes, relishing the feel of it on the bare skin of my arms. I pressed my palms around the mug of tea just the right temperature for sipping. Inhaling the cool air deep into my lungs, I put the tea on the window ledge and picked up the pencil, ready to continue my journaling with the Lord. My eyes paused, finally, on the profusion of pink roses swaying just outside my window. That’s when conviction came, that piercing within as you realize you have hurt someone you love most dearly,

“Oh, Father! I am so, so sorry! Forgive me! I remember the thrill of first seeing that this wild rose bush had climbed all the way to my second-floor window, letting me see two roses while sitting in this very chair. That delight lasted for days. Looking at them with gratitude was a thing between us, just You and me, throughout the day. And look at how many more roses You have caused to grow and blossom! Just look at them! Oh, when was the last time I thanked You for these beautiful flowers!”

How often do I take His specially chosen love gifts for granted?  That morning, I counted 22 roses in bloom or in bud. When had I begun taking this precious gift from God for granted? How would a human husband feel if his wife plunked the carefully chosen bouquet of her favorite flowers in a corner and never looked at them again? How many times the past few weeks since the roses began blooming had God nudged me to stop and sit down with Him and just thank Him, to just spend a few minutes specifically thanking Him for those roses?

It is fitting and appropriate to give thanks, to praise and to worship the Lord. The Bible is filled with verses telling us to give our thanks and our praise and our worship to God.  I Thessalonians 5:18 says: “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (I Thessalonians 5:18, NIV)

Why? It is appropriate.

 Rejoice in the Lord, O you [uncompromisingly] righteous [you upright in right standing with God]; for praise is becoming and appropriate for those who are upright [in heart]. (Psalm 33:1, AMPC, emphasis added)

Why is it appropriate? One of many reasons is because “God is good and His love endures forever”!   This fact is so vital for us to keep in mind that God repeats it multiple times in the Word, especially in Psalms. He even included an entire psalm that repeats this teaching. The phrase “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever” appears in each of the 26 verses of Psalm 136. Selah!

God delights in our praise and thanksgiving and worship. It pleases me greatly that praising God, thanking Him, and obeying Him whole-heartedly are gifts I can give to Him, little of course and by no means anywhere near what He deserves. However, when I keep Him first in my heart and love Him with all my heart, I know that gives Him delight

The Lord takes pleasure in those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy and loving-kindness.  (Psalm 147:11, AMPC)

Being ungrateful is spiritually dangerous. When I complain—about anything—I open a door to the enemy. I am making a way for him to steal, kill and destroy the good things God has prepared for me, including an intimate relationship with Him.

God hates complaining. Read Psalm 78 slowly and prayerfully. Do you see how many times God was merciful and forgave Israel and did not destroy them? But do you see that eventually they got what their actions deserved?

Why do we become ungrateful? We get distracted by many things, our own desires, someone else’s agenda, and the ways of this dark world. This world is filled with “troubles, trials, distress and frustrations.” Just before Calvary, Jesus lovingly told His disciples that they would have “troubles, trials, distress and frustration” in this world. But He also told them “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 16:33b, AMPC, emphasis added)

God understands and “imprints on His heart” that we are just frail human beings (Psalm 103) so He always, always, always provides a way to escape from temptations. That includes those that come from within our desperately wicked hearts (Jeremiah 17:9)  as well as those that come from living in this world. Paul told us:

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (I Corinthians 10:13, NIV).

Praising and giving thanks protects me. When I consciously, purposefully, tell God “Thank You” for the little things that are right in front of me – a Bible to study, food to eat, a home to live in – I begin feeling gratitude, peace and hope. Expressing thanks to my heavenly Father helps me think about His great love toward me and about Who He is. How can I fear or complain when I am pondering the fact that the One Who holds the world in His loving hands dearly, dearly loves me? Like all His commands, the command to give God thanks is good for us.

Like gifts from a child. One of the first gifts a child gives is the head of a flower plucked from the back yard and lovingly presented in a chubby fist. Like the little drummer boy “I have no gift that’s fit to lay before a King” but I can give Him the very best of my heart. I can give Him my gratitude and my conscious awareness of Him. I can just sit down with Him and say,

“I love You Father! Thank You for those roses! Thank You for teaching me from Your Word. Thank You for leading me to have a closer relationship with You. It is so good to just sit in Your presence, Father. I love the peace I feel when my mind is on You.

Help me remember, please, to stop the busyness of my hands and sit down with You. Thank You that I feel Your love when I do that. Show me how to please You more, Lord.  Show me how You want me to live every hour of every day You give me on this earth. I love You Lord, I just love You. . . “

A stained white garment

A Communal Communion | Pictures of jesus christ, Communion, Jesus picturesStained, again. “Oh, no! Not again!”

As I closed my Bible and put it on the side table next to the rocker by the window,  I looked down at the little spatters of burgundy on my favorite white everyday top. I must have, once again, held the tiny communion cup too close when I’d opened it.

There have been seasons in my life where I take communion at home with the Lord every morning. For years, I used grape juice and bread or crackers, but a few months ago I purchased a box of pre-filled communion cups and wafers, like those used in many, perhaps most, churches. The plastic lid covering those cups is hard to remove.

In other seasons of life, I have taken communion at home as the Lord leads like, for example, when I am deeply convicted of sinning against the Lord or another person in some way, like this morning or when I want to commemorate or  celebrate something with the Lord.

God cares very much about celebrating important things by doing something concrete, like the Lord’s Supper and meeting with Him at church on the Sabbbath day. Consider also the feasts, the festivals, all the altars He commanded to be built in the Old Testament. And how about the twelve stones taken out of the river bed of the Jordan to celebrate the miraculous crossing of the river described in Joshua 4:1-11?

God’s ways to deal with sin. I hasten to say that this is my personal habit, something Holy Spirit has put on my heart to do after I heard about it from others. There is no verse in the Bible that tells us we must take the Lord’s Supper each time we are convicted of sin. The blood Jesus shed on the cross paid the full price for sin once and for all. By faith in His sacrifice my sins are forgiven and forgotten by God. The practice of bringing a sacrifice for sin to the temple was for God’s people before Jesus came.

Then Jesus came to earth and fulfilled the Law with His life, and His death, burial, and resurrection. Jesus made the way for us to be cleansed of sin and to have eternal life.

“For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.” John 3:16, (AMPC, emphasis added.)

After Calvary, the age in which we now live, the God-prescribed way for believers in Jesus to be cleansed from sin as we go about our daily life is found in 1 John 1:9. God promises us: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (NIV)

5 Reasons to Use Hydrogen Peroxide for LaundryGetting those stains out. So what happened to my favorite everyday top? I remembered a household tip learned when I was a secretary for the Sheriff’s Office. Once when a deputy—wearing a snowy white uniform shirt—was fixing a jammed stapler he somehow got blood on his sleeve. Another deputy retrieved hydrogen peroxide from the clinic, poured a bit on each spot and rubbed. As she kept rubbing the liquid into the fabric, the hydrogen peroxide foamed away the blood stain. Completely.

I see several spiritual lessons in that process.

[1] Sin is an unavoidable part of being human, just as accidents are. In Romans 7:14-25 the Apostle Paul describes his struggle with sin. If you have never studied this passage, read it over first in the NIV or the NLT, then do a thorough study. In this passage Paul explains that, although he wants with all his heart to do what is right,  his human, sinful nature always fights against that. Yet Paul rejoices that God, through Jesus, delivers him. Paul says,

“(v. 21) I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. (22) I love God’s law with all my heart (23) but there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. (24) Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? (25) ‘Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: in my mind I really want to obey God’s law but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin. (NLT)”

I clearly remember the relief I felt the day I first understood the next verse, Romans 8:1.

“Therefore, [there is] now no condemnation [no adjudging guilty of wrong] for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1, AMPC, emphasis added).

 God does not condemn me for how my human nature reacts any more than He condemns me for how my physical flesh reacts when I fall and scrape my knee.

[2] God has prepared the way to deal with all our sins. When we genuinely repent and turn away from our sins and toward God, our sins are blotted out (Acts 3:19). We are born again, as Jesus explained to Nicodemus in John 3:1-21. Then, as we live this new life of serving God, as we walk in the light, the blood of Jesus purifies us from all sin. How does that happen? As we saw earlier, when we confess our sins to God He forgives us. Look at this section of First John, which the NIV labels “Light and Darkness, Sin and Forgiveness.”

(5) This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. (6) If we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. (7) But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.

(8) If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. (9) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us form all unrighteousness. (10) If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word is not in us.” (NIV, emphasis added)

General Ledger No. 1 Gold - NYPL's Public Domain Archive Public Domain ...[3] It is best to confess our sin immediately. Perhaps you have heard “It is best to keep short accounts with the Lord.” This pearl of wisdom comes from the Word. Leviticus 5:5 tells us “When you become  aware of your guilt in any of these ways, you must confess your sin.” (NLT)  Psalm 32:3 shows what happens when we refuse to confess our sin. “When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long.”(NLT)

If I had let that blouse with the grape juice stain sit in the laundry basket for a few days, it likely would not have come out. I had to interrupt what I had planned to do, find the prescribed cleaning agent, then take time to follow the prescribed procedure.

[4] We must be ever vigilant against sin. Whenever I wear my white blouse, I am extra careful about possible spills or stains and I glance down at it several times a day to be sure it remains unstained.

Once God cleans us up, He changes our basic habits and attitudes. He gives us a new nature, a new garment so to speak as He covers our sin with His righteousness. In the Bible, garment is a “symbol of covering, evil or righteous, defiled or beautiful.” (Interpreting the Symbols and Types, Kevin J. Conner, p. 144)

I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of His righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Isaiah 61:10, NIV, emphasis added)

Once we are robed in His righteousness, we must watch daily to keep our garments clean, to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12).

And look at what Jesus promises in Revelations 3:5:

“The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and His angels. (NIV)”

In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, recorded his musings upon the purpose of life. He told us to keep ourselves pure, to keep our garments white.  In Chapter Nine, after Solomon concludes that good and evil, death and life happen to everyone, he says it is best to go ahead and live your life. “There is hope only for the living. . . ‘It’s better to be a live dog than a dead lion!” (Ecclesiastes 9:4, NLT). Then Solomon continues:

“Go your way, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a cheerful heart [if you are righteous, wise, and in the hands of God]; for God has already accepted your works. Let your garments be always white [with purity], and let your head not lack [the] oil of gladness]. (Ecclesiastes 9:7-8, AMPC, emphasis added).

In Verse 10, Solomon counsels: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.” (NIV).

That says to me that I am to live my life, with joy, keeping my heart pure before God by living in the light that comes from understanding the Word of God. I am to keep my heart clean before God by confessing any sin as soon as I am aware of it.

Washing with the water of the Word works. After rubbing out those stains on my blouse, I laid it across the back of the couch to dry out before putting it in the laundry basket. When I got back from errands, I picked up the blouse. I looked at every inch and could find no trace of stain. It was completely white. Consider these verses.

(25) Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church, and gave Himself up for her, (26) So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, (27) That He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such things [that she might be holy and faultless]. (Ephesians 5:25-27, AMPC, emphasis added).

            Selah, oh my soul, selah! God loves me so much that He compares me to His bride. God has made the way—despite my frail human flesh—for me to be holy and without blame in His eyes. “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14, KJV).

Do I really need God?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The following three passages of Scripture especially helped.

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

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

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

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

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

This verse tells me to:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daddy’s Hand - Daily Devotions | CBN.com

 

 

 

Are you fearful, like me?

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(the means of escape to a landing place),

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

O Little Town of Bethlehem - YouTube

I didn’t feel like being grateful

Image result for Public Domain Picture Of Gray skies. Size: 139 x 104. Source: www.imageafter.comI didn’t feel like being grateful. My right foot began to throb as I depressed the brake, waiting at the light. I ran my thumbs over the smooth curve of the steering wheel, impatient.

“I am so tired of all these physical problems!” I moaned to myself. “Is part of the foot pain coming from the low back, like that one doctor said? Or is it something else? And if it is, how am I supposed to pay for the decompression treatments he said would likely help?”

The gray, overcast day reflected my mood. For days, impenetrable murk had hidden the shape of God’s vault of blue heaven above. Instead of feeling lifted up and free upon stepping outside, oppressive gray clouds weighed heavily on the mind, closing you in, stealing the chance for an upward, hope-giving glance at that inverted bowl of blue and the majestic mountains of white clouds.

Across the intersection, I saw a gray-haired man in a wheelchair, also waiting for the light. Time flashed back thirty years, to one of those moments that, when you experience it, you know you will always remember.

Pin on Graphic Design Art FashionThirty years ago I had been driving home from my secretarial job where I sat outside the door of a sarcastic, mean, and hyper-critical boss. I was feeling sorry for myself, dreading sitting down with the bills when I got home where I would have to stretch my single-parent income beyond belief, and angry that my daughter, at age 15, worked at McDonald’s so she could have extras like magazines, make-up to experiment with and an occasional movie. There, bumping along on the side of the road, in the uneven dirt, was a young man in a wheelchair. There were no feet propped on the footplates of the wheelchair.

Instantly a saying from Al-Anon days came to mind. “I complained because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.” That day, through tears, I had counted my blessings, literally, all the way home.

Now, as I sat at the light, looking at that old man in the wheelchair, recalling the lesson God had written on my heart so long ago, I knew something was really wrong. I still did not feel like being grateful, even after such a direct message from God.

Why was I floundering? The immediate reason for my sour mood was that I was returning from the gym, to which I had driven for the swim which aways eases my back. But three minutes in, they closed the pool for chemical rebalancing. The light changed. I resumed my fuming.

“I have to exercise more than anyone else I know and I still have so many physical problems. That is not fair!”

As I pulled into the parking lot, light finally penetrated my darkness.

“Lord, You promise to work good out of everything so I am going to see what lessons You have for me in this experience. I am going to get good out of this. Please help me get my attitude right, Lord! I am sorry but I am really mad about everything!”

I inhaled deeply as I walked toward the stairs, enjoying the smell of the drizzle that was starting and the slight chill in the air that gets pleasantly into your bones, so refreshing after months of sticky heat. As I unlocked the door, insights flooded in. I was reminded of the series of blog posts I had just finished on Isaiah 30, which teaches that all the time we have turned away from God He is eagerly waiting, looking and longing to be gracious to us (Isaiah 30:18) and that He fights our enemies for us when we return to resting and depending on Him.

Sun in the Sky with Clouds Picture | Free Photograph | Photos Public DomainLike a pouting little child stamping her foot, I had, finally, looked up at my Heavenly Father and raised my arms to Him. And, like the father of the prodigal who was eagerly watching for his son to return, God ran.

The blessings of insights from God. How blessed we are that God invites us to talk things over with Him. In Isaiah 1:18 He says:

“Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, they shall be like wool. (AMPC.)” And James 4:8-11 tells us “Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up. (NIV)

Prayerfully I reviewed what had gotten me into such a vile state of “unworthy and unwarranted suspicions regarding God’s faithfulness.” (Jeremiah 15:19, AMPC). For days, I had tried to be grateful, to just talk with Jesus about the problems, ignore those fickle old feelings and just move forward. For days I had been unable to feel His presence and His peace. So, despite strong effort, worry, fear, anger and resentment settled into my heart.

Animals Eating Grapes listOh, those foxes, those little foxes! [My heart was touched and I fervently sang to Him my desire] Take for us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards [of our love], for our vineyards are in blossom.” (Solomon 2:15, AMPC). When I look back now, now that I have, by grace, regained peace, the problems that made me stumble seem so little. I am sure you could write a similar list. Mine was ongoing and worsening back problems; no funds to cover the treatment that might help; ongoing and worsening foot problems related to that; the need for minor foot surgery in two weeks, surgery that would further complicate all the back problems when I could not exercise for a while afterwards; having to wait three weeks for insurance to cover new eyeglasses; worsening eye pain and strain each day, not knowing if that was caused by the need for new glasses or cataracts or dry eye, the expensive remedy for which insurance also did not cover.

It seemed that everything I use each day, to just live and to write, which is a great joy, was falling apart. Another contributing factor to self-pity and irritability was the lingering week-long cold.

“Why couldn’t I be grateful for all God had done?” I asked myself as I reviewed the blessings God had showered on me this week: stopping the blood thinner, which had caused much fatigue for an entire year; getting me unstuck after weeks of struggling with a hard chapter in the next book; and showing how to modify some daily activities so as to help with feet and back issues.

Besides all of that, there were the huge, huge blessings that are a part of daily life: salvation, a close relationship with Him, some of my family being saved and faith to believe for the others; living close to family; living in America; money for all my needs and many of my wants; deliverance from depression; training in keeping emotions stable; and the knowledge of how to return to God when I sin and/or bad things happen.

God’s deliverance. So, here is what I told myself to do.

Where Do You Begin? | Steve Dieringer[1] Ask God to forgive me for my wrong attitudes and complaining and ingratitude. Two verses I greatly value are: 1 John 1:9, which says “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (NIV)” So simple. So necessary. The second is Proverbs 28:13 which teaches us that “Whoever conceals their sin does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” In doing that, we humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand and He will lift us up in due time, as He promises in Peter 5:6-7.

Confessing our sin is doing what James 4:7-10 commands us:

7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

[2] Make up my mind to God thanks for everything I can think of, no matter how I feel, and to praise Him. I Thessalonians 5:18 tells us “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (ESV) Psalm 100:4 tells us to approach God with thanksgiving and praise in our hearts. Consider this quotation from Debbie Przybylski on www.crosswalk.com.

God inhabits our praise. The word “inhabit” or “enthrone” (yashab) means to judge in ambush. When we praise God, He will seat himself right in the middle of our lives and judge the enemies that are surrounding us. The Japanese translation of Psalm 22:3 is: “When you praise God He brings a big chair and sits there.” Think about that! God is seated in the center of your life. The enemy cannot dethrone you because God cannot be overthrown!” https://rb.gy/fz4791

Heart,hands,sunset,beach,public domain - free image from needpix.com[3] Ask God to impress the lesson of this painful experience deeply on my heart. Psalm 103:18 in the AMPC has a vital lesson for me. Verse 17 says that “. . . from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear Him. . . “(NIV) The thought continues in verse 18: “to such as keep His covenant—hearing, receiving, loving and obeying it; and to those who [earnestly] remember His commands to do them [imprinting them on their hearts] (emphasis added). To me this verse says that when we earnestly, whole-heartedly, lovingly obey the Lord we imprint, or write, His word on our heart. This is part of the new covenant we now have through Jesus that God explains in the book of Hebrews. In Hebrews 10:16 God says “I will imprint My laws upon their hearts, and I will inscribe them on their minds (on their inmost thoughts and understanding.)” (AMPC)

Taken together, these verses reassure me (and, oh how I need that reassurance!) that as I follow God’s commands God imprints them, like a brand, on my heart and mind. This is part of how He works in my heart to give me godly desires and enables me to live a holy life (Philippians 2:13). He is changing my nature so that I want to love and serve Him even more.

Verse 14 of Psalm 103 is also instructive in this matter. It says that God understands exactly how we are made. “For He knows our frame; He [earnestly] remembers and imprints on His heart] that we are dust.” (AMPC). This says to me that if God imprints on His heart how much we need His compassion, we should imprint what He wants us to do on our hearts. If He loves us so much, how can we not respond appropriately? Selah. See what Holy Spirit tells you about these two verses. And all of Psalm 103.

When is the Best Time to Prune Fruit Trees and How Do You Do It?[4] Thank Him for His loving discipline (Hebrews 12). In times of trial, whether we are partly the cause or not, it is well worth taking time to ponder the truths of Hebrews 12:1-13 and John 15:1-17. God uses hardships to train us, for our good, so that we may share in His holiness (Hebrews 12:10b). He trims or removes from our lives the things that bear no fruit and He also works with the things that do bear fruit so that those things may bear even more fruit (John 15). Clearly, some of my branches needed to be cut off and thrown away. However, God was lovingly working with my heart so that the faith, hope, trust, and self-control I had would increase.

Two thoughts to keep in mind. So dear friend and fellow oh so human human being, here are two thoughts that I pray will ease your heart as they do mine.

One, God knows exactly how you feel and has deep compassion on your fleshly tendencies whether you are a new believer or 50 years old in the Lord. He included many stories in the Bible about mature saints who yielded to complaints, worries, and fears. And He included how He loved and worked with them every time when they sought Him. Consider the failings of Moses, Elijah, David, and Jonah, just for starters.

And two, God is not mad at you for automatic, instinctive reactions of your flesh. Pinch my arm and my flesh reacts with physical pain. Pinch my circumstances and my flesh reacts with negative emotion. It is a trap of the enemy to feel guilty about such feelings and let them continue, subconsciously feeling we have failed Him and He must be mad at us.

father-comforts-son – Hurt2Healing MagazineEven when we, being so very human, let wrong thoughts stay in our heart, God is not mad at us any more than a parent is mad with children who react in childish ways. He just longs to lift us up and restore us to His side. Think of how often He forgave the Israelites as they wandered in the wilderness and then when they lived in the land He had promised.
When you see a little child stumble and fall and you hear that piercing wail of distress you want to pick up that child, hold him close and tell him everything will be alright. You feel that child’s pain. That is compassion.

How much more does God feel compassion for us when we stumble? In Isaiah 49, God says His love for us, and His consciousness of us, is greater than that of a mother with a tiny infant. In Isaiah 49:16 God says “See I have engraved you on the palm of my hands;” (NIV)
Beloved one, “The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.” (Psalm 145:8, AMPC). To be filled with something is to have no room for anything else. Do a word study on God’s compassion.

No matter what is happening in your life, no matter how your feelings have reacted, humbly present yourself to God. He will lift you up “. . . for He is good; for His mercy and lovingkindness endure forever.” (Psalm 118:1b and 29b, NIV) Every verse in Psalm 136 repeats that statement. Think about why God did that. He did that for you.

God will always raise you up, to make you more than you can be, because He loves you. Ponder that as you listen to “You Raise Me Up”.

 

Be as the birds

Fields of White Avalanche Lilies bloom in late July along the trail in ...The lilies that live in the field,
the birds that fly through the air,
They blossom, they soar and they sing,
in freedom, unburdened by care,
for God did not give them a spirit of fear
Save only to flee when danger is near.

The rest of the time, like a child, they just live,
waiting, depending, to see what God gives.
They grow and they sing, just happy to be,
to be what God made them, joyful and free.

Can you, oh my soul, not be as the birds?
Can you not believe the truth you have heard?
Your Father has told you that He will provide.
Your Father has told you He’s right by your side.
Your Father has shown you He protects from all harm.
Your Father has shown you the strength of His arm.
Your Father has opened the eyes of your heart.
Your Father has shown you the thing that’s your part.

Image result for publiic domain p;icture of child with sparrow

Your part, oh frail soul, is to be as the birds,
just living, no fretting, no worry, no care,
for the Great One Who made you
Is mindful you’re dust
and He only requires that you love Him and trust.

Yes, serve Him, adore Him, flood your mind with His truth.
Through serving He’ll lead you just as He led Ruth.
When you yield and you love Him and make Him your Lord,
He’ll bind your heart to Him with strong and great cords.

Then, safe in His shelter, ‘neath almighty strong wings
you’ll abide in His peace, whatever life brings.
So be as the birds, my dearest blessed friend.
Cast all your care. All worry will end.

Eagles nets art – Destiny Eastgate Ministries