Category Archives: HOPE

Diligent Meditation – Part Two

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Freda

Diligent Meditation – Part 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[3] Meditation can heal your heart and your life. The power of God’s Word will “fix” your heart whether your problem is addiction, anger, self-control, loneliness, depression, or fear. Then, as your heart changes, your life will change. Hebrews 4:12 says God’s Word is alive and full of power, and that it “judges the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (NIV) That phrase means to me that God’s Word in my mind enables me to discern, or to judge, whether thoughts and feelings in my heart are good or bad, true or false, beneficial or detrimental, holy or corrupted, whether they are from God or from the devil, and whether they lead toward life or lead toward death.

<<The light of truth chases the darkness of lies away, just as dawn chases the darkness of night away (Proverbs 4:18).>> While deeply depressed and cowered down by fear, most of my thoughts were negative. The enemy and my own downtrodden heart generated thoughts and feelings of hopelessness and discouragement, day after day. Only when I began studying the Word for myself in my areas of need and then consciously kept those verses in my mind minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, did healing begin.

Image result for free picture of dawn<<As God’s truth increases in your heart, lies and darkness decrease.>> When we meditate on God’s truths, truth begins occupying more space in our thoughts than lies, and truth becomes dominant, or foremost.  You eventually make salt water drinkable if you add enough pure water. Really, it is more like a desalinization plant because the salt, or lie, is actually removed, not just diluted!

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

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

To be continued. . .

When the enemy has wearied us

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strength for weakness

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

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

Refreshing for fatigue

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

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

Compassion as a father for our fragility

All of Psalm 103, especially 8-14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He sees and feels each tear

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

Hope and expectation

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

My prayer for you is that –

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

 

Waiting, hoping, and expecting – Part 2 of 2

Please note: The “What is God Telling You to Do?” post is available as a printable document on the “Books and More” tab. Please share  it with your friends.  Friends tell each other the truth, even when it hurts – Proverbs 27:6.

Image result for free picture of child waitingPart  One: Last week we began exploring Psalm 27:14 which tells us to “Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage, and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait and hope for and expect the Lord.” (AMPC) We saw how the phrase “Wait for and hope for and expect” appears six times in Psalm 25 through 33, and we are to “let our inner selves wait earnestly for the Lord.” This week, we will continue by looking at how God earnestly waits for us.

God waits earnestly to be good to us.

And therefore the Lord [EARNESTLY] waits [EXPECTING, LOOKING, AND LONGING] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [EARNESTLY] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]! (Isaiah 30:18, AMPC)

God IS just and fair, but He will treat us more than merely fairly. He will be merciful to us and show us lovingkindness if we reciprocate His earnestness by waiting, expecting, looking and longing for “His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship!”

This verse alone contains several sermons! It comes in the middle of Isaiah 30, after God’s people had spent all their resources trying to obtain help from Egypt (the world) rather than from God. God told Israel:

“In returning to Me and resting in Me you shall be saved; in quietness and in (trusting) confidence shall be your strength” (v. 15)

Image result for Free Picture of Resting in God. Size: 204 x 204. Source: quotesgram.comGod told them they would be terrorized when the enemy attacked them and that because of that, He is waiting EARNESTLY His children to return to putting Him first and depending on Him. And why is that? Because “the Lord is a God of justice” (v. 18) and we are blessed if we EARNESTLY wait for Him.” Clearly, “waiting for and hoping for and expecting the Lord” earnestly brings great rewards. Many other verses and passages teach this same cause and effect principle. And what are the benefits?

Waiting, hoping, and expecting, confidently and earnestly bring renewed strength and protection from despair. Renewed strength.  Dear friend, I urge you to ponder deeply Isaiah 40. In this magnificent chapter God comforts His people by explaining His infinite power and sovereignty. After teaching us about His infinite nature, God ends the chapter with a promise to change and renew the strength and power of those who wait for Him, who expect, look and long for and hope in Him (verse 31). Carefully consider each phrase of the well-known verse 31.

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.

Who are these who never grow weary? Those whoImage result for free picture of tired runner wait for and hope for and expect the Lord, with confident and earnest hearts. If we ever needed to take these verses seriously, it is surely today!

No more despair or discouragement. Another benefit of waiting for and hoping for and expecting the Lord, confidently and earnestly, is that it encourages us and prevents despair and discouragement. Lamentations 3 shows us that if we bring to our mind God’s mercies and loving kindnesses to us and His tender, never-failing compassions, we will have hope and can wait expectantly for Him. When he was in desperate circumstances, Jeremiah remembered God’s goodness and it strengthened him.

Lamentations is the prophet Jeremiah’s lament over Jerusalem, the city he tried so hard to save. In Lamentations 3, Jeremiah reviews all his troubles and then asks God to earnestly remember his afflictions. (There is that word earnest again.) Jeremiah says that thinking about his afflictions bows down his soul BUT as he remembers God’s mercies and loving kindnesses, he is moved to hope in God and wait expectantly for God. Jeremiah reminds himself that “The Lord is good to those who hopefully and expectantly wait for Him” and he says that “It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation—the safety and ease—of the Lord.” (v. 26)

This powerful passage shows me that God understands how discouraged we sometimes become by things that happen but that—in the midst of it all—we are not destroyed because God IS, WAS AND WILL ALWAYS remain merciful, filled with loving-kindness toward us, tenderly compassionate, stable and faithful as we “hopefully and expectantly wait for Him, and as we “seek Him-inquiring of and for Him and requiring Him.”

Verse 25 assures us that God responds with this goodness whenever we have a real need and we rely on His Word.

25 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].

Image result for free picture of bird under waterfallProtection and deliverance from the evil seeking to overtake the world today is a true need! And His Word never, ever, no never fails! I have set my heart to wait for and hope for and expect the Lord, earnestly and with confidence. I am convinced that, as I do my part by praying, declaring His Word, and doing whatever else God shows me, He will deliver me and keep me safely in His peace, right in the middle of whatever happens.

An artist once won a prize from a king for his drawing of peace. Other artists drew calm lakes and other pastoral scenes. The painting the king selected was that of a bird, because, as he said, true peace is being able to remain in the midst of hard things and stay calm in your heart.

Conclusion.  When God says something more than once, especially when His statements about something come close together, I pay careful attention. He urges us to “wait for and hope for and expect” Him several times in Psalm 25 through 34, as we have just seen. Notice that He uses the “wait for and hope for and expect” verbatim in Psalm 27:14 and in Psalm 31:24.

Psalm 27:14 “Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.”

Psalm 31:24 Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for and hope for and expect the Lord!

In doing that, in waiting and hoping for and expecting the Lord, I am saying “God is my refuge. Words carry power and when I declare God is my refuge, God IS my refuge.

Image result for FREE Picture of Spiritual Armor. Size: 179 x 102. Source: sunrisechapel.churchNotice also the word “let” in “Let your heart take courage.” That shows us it is an action we must take, like putting on our spiritual armor (Ephesian 6:10-18). “Let” means to allow or permit. That says to me that my heart—my inmost being, that place inside me where God Himself dwells—my heart knows the truth about God and if I allow that truth and His spirit within me to operate, I will take courage and I will be strong-hearted and able to endure. So, yes, I will “wait for and hope for and expect the Lord” confidently and expectantly!

Hope for today. In the middle of our world where it seems evil is overtaking everything good and godly, we can remind ourselves that the One who made and sustains everything that exists loves us fiercely, and that He Himself is fighting for us.

With that knowledge, we can wait for and hope for and expect the Lord and take refuge under His outstretched wings. We know that as a mother hen lifts herself up so that she may shelter her little chicks, so the Lord is even now lifting Himself up, eagerly waiting for us to rely–not on the world as His rebellious children did in Isaiah 30—but rather on Him, to save us.

. . . the Lord [EARNESTLY] waits [EXPECTING, LOOKING, AND LONGING] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [EARNESTLY] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]! (Isaiah 30:18, AMPC) 

Our loving, all-powerful God is ready, eager, to pour out His goodness upon us. He watches over us 24/7/365. “Indeed, He who watches over Israel never slumbers nor sleeps.” (Psalm 121:4, NIV) We never need to fear because the Creator and Sustainer of all that was and is and is to come adores us and watches over us. Let us declare Psalm 27:14:

I will wait for and hope for and expect the Lord; I will be brave and of good courage and I will let my heart be stout and enduring. Yes, I will wait for and hope for and expect the Lord!

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Waiting, hoping, and expecting – Part 1 of 2

Image result for free picture of coffee shopWaiting confidently. The sharp scent of coffee mingled with the aroma of fresh bread, pastries, soups and sandwiches. Soft voices hummed, and easy listening music floated above the clink of spoons and forks on stoneware mugs and bowls. I stared through the big window at Thursday morning traffic on William Cannon. “Thank You, Father. You know how I love studying in coffee houses. Thank You for Your presence here and for helping me see more in Psalm 27:14. . . “

I looked up and smiled at my friend as she slid into the booth. “I was just digging into Psalm 27. Do you know it says . . . “  Knowing me well, she indulged my excitement with this  latest discovery in the Word then she explained the unexpected long line that had made her ten minutes late.

“No problem!” I said. “I might not have seen this if you had not been delayed.”

And it truly was no problem because I know my friend, I know she does what she says she will and I could wait, confidently, until she arrived, just like I wait for a doctor’s appointment or in line for groceries.  Waiting is, of course, often a challenge. And no wonder! Waiting is an integral part of being patient.

Wait for and hope for and expect. . . confidently. Psalm 27:14 urges us to “Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage, and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait and hope for and expect the Lord.” (AMPC)

Image result for free picture of waitingThe message of Psalm 27. Considering all of Psalm 27 teaches why we can and must wait confidently for the Lord. Read the entire 14 verses for yourself. Notice that David first declares he is not afraid because he is trusting in God and would remain confident, no matter what, because he had obeyed God’s command to seek His presence as his vital need. David declares God would keep Him safe in His presence, he asked for continued teaching in God’s ways, and reflects that his life would have been awful if he had not believed in God’s goodness upon this earth. Then in verse 14 David urges his listeners to Wait for and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage. Let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait and hope for and expect the Lord.” Notice that David seems to pause, consider, and then say to himself “Yes” and then he repeats the phrase “wait for and hope for and expect the Lord” with which he began the verse.

Why to “wait for and hope for and expect” the Lord. Six verses between Psalm 25 and 33 address this idea of trusting in the Lord, of waiting for and hoping for and expecting the Lord, this notion of being confident in the Lord, either in those same words or words very similar.

  • Psalm 25:2             O my God, I trust, lean on, rely on, and am confident in You. Let me not be put to shame or [my hope in You] be disappointed; let not my enemies triumph over me.
  • Psalm 27:14  Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.
  • 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 31:24  Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for and hope for and expect the Lord!
  • Psalm 32:10  Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but he who trusts in, relies on, and confidently leans on the Lord shall be compassed about with mercy and with loving-kindness.
  • Psalm 33:21 For in Him does our heart rejoice, because we have trusted (relied on and been confident) in His holy name.

Psalm 34:22 shows the benefits of this waiting for and hoping for and expecting God: God redeems our life and we will not be condemned or held guilty.  “The Lord redeems the lives of His servants, and none of those who take refuge and trust in Him shall be condemned or held guilty.”

Image result for free picture of shelter from rainTrusting in God means taking refuge in Him, which is saying “God is my refuge” (Psalm 46:1-3, 91:2) or “God is my portion.” (Lamentations 3:24, Psalm 73:26)” Waiting for God, with confidence, or trusting God—waiting for and hoping for and expecting God–is a choice we make. It is like we choose to walk under a shelter, to have refuge from rain or noontime heat. We choose to take refuge in Him, knowing He will protect us just as a roof under which we take refuge protects us from pelting rain or blistering heat. I am not truly trusting God as my refuge until I say and act like it, not until, for example, I give tithes, alms and offerings even when it seems the paycheck will not last the month.

This waiting for and hoping for and expecting God also includes being earnest.

How to let our inner selves wait earnestly for God.

Psalm 33:20 “Our inner selves wait EARNESTLY the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For in Him does our heart rejoice BECAUSE we have trusted (relied on and been confident) in His holy name.”

Image result for free picture of child waiting for christmasIf we wait for and hope for and expect the Lord, if we trust in Him confidently, we will, like a child on Christmas morning, have an earnest expectancy. The night before Christmas a child exemplifies each aspect of earnestness. He has a longing desire, is warmly engaged, eager, zealous, animated, intent, fixed, and sincere (from Webster’s 1828 online dictionary.) As that child is—effortlessly– zealous in his waiting on Christmas, so we can be— effortlessly–zealous in our waiting for God.

Does a child waiting for Christmas say flippantly, “I am waiting for Christmas.” NO! His eyes will sparkle at just the mention of it, he will strive hard to be nice and not naughty, and he will be sure to set out cookies and milk. The certainty of reward makes the waiting exciting but also more bearable.

The same applies as we wait eagerly and earnestly for God. We will know—to the bottom of our being, our “inner selves”—that God is helping and shielding us, and we will be joyful BECAUSE we have trusted (relied on and been confident) in His character, or His nature, His name. We will be as happy as a child anticipating Christmas because we know He will be good to us.

Verse 22 of this chapter says that God’s mercy and lovingkindness will be “upon us in proportion to our waiting and hoping for” Him. That is a loving nudge, telling me to wait and hope for Him earnestly, whole-heartedly, every day, just like a child before Christmas or a bridegroom before his wedding.

And did you know that God says He also waits earnestly? We will look into that next week in Part Two.

 

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What is God telling you to do?

Image result for free Picture of Heaven. Size: 179 x 98. Source: getwallpapers.comThis title sounds arrogant, I know, but I pray you keep reading. Although not a “famous” Bible teacher or speaker, I have followed Jesus whole-heartedly for 41 years. I do know when Holy Spirit moves on my heart, and He did just that about writing this message.

What is this message about? For more than two years I have listened to what God is saying through modern-day prophets. If you do not believe in modern-day prophets, please keep reading. This pamphlet summarizes some of what God is currently saying through His prophets and some essential facts about our present world that God has revealed. However, you likely have not heard these things if you have been listening to mainstream media.

Please, even if you do not keep reading, work hard on drawing closer to God and hearing Him better – NOW.

Table of Contents

  1. Why listen to prophets?
  2. What are prophets saying right now?
  3. What mainstream media is not telling you and why.
  4. Who to listen to for the truth and how to catch up fast.
  5. What you need to be doing for God – NOW!
  6. Do you think prophets, miracles, speaking in tongues, etc. are not for today?
  7. Be encouraged!

Image result for free clip art of listening ear[1]       Why listen to prophets? Below are two simple reasons to listen to God’s modern-day prophets.

[A] God warns of coming judgement so people may change their behavior and avoid judgement. Amos 3:7 in the Amplified Bible says “Surely the Lord God does nothing [a]Without revealing His secret plan [of the judgment to come] To His servants the prophets.” The footnote for that verse explains: “God has always warned of coming judgment in order that people may choose to change their behavior and avoid it. (emphasis added). He warned Noah of the coming flood (Gen 6:13ff); Abraham and Lot of the future destruction of Sodom (Gen 18:17; 19:14); Joseph of the seven-year famine (Gen 41:30); Moses of the ten plagues on Egypt (Ex 7:1ff); and Jonah of the destruction of Nineveh (Jon 1:2; 3:4). . . Various prophets were told in advance about the captivities of the chosen people, and they came to pass because the warnings were disregarded. . . Jonah announced the destruction of Nineveh, but judgment was postponed following repentance. . . “

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He is still merciful, kind, loving, and gracious. He still warns of coming judgement so we can change and avoid that judgement.

[B] Believing in God’s prophets brings success. 2 Chronicles 2:20 says:

20 Early the next morning the army of Judah went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. On the way Jehoshaphat stopped and said, “Listen to me, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in his prophets, and you will succeed.” (NLT) (Emphasis added)

Image result for Free Clip Art Have Faith in god. Size: 150 x 110. Source: quotesgram.com2 Chronicles 2:20 in the NIV says “Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” 2 Chronicles 2 tells about a time when God’s people had good reason to be discouraged: they faced a vast army. God told them not to be afraid because the battle was His, and the next day He told, Jehoshaphat to encourage the people by telling them to have faith in God and to believe His prophets. Then Jehoshaphat ordered singers to go before the Israelites and praise God. And that was when God caused the enemy to destroy each other. The Israelites were victorious, and all they did was praise and sing to the Lord.

Even so today, without hope for a good future we get discouraged and stop pressing hard after God. Today, just as in Bible times, having faith in God and believing His prophets encourages us and gives us the strength to keep following God rather than standing still or retreating in fear and discouragement.

Image result for Free clip Art a Time For season. Size: 127 x 110. Source: clipartstation.comAn essential point about God’s ways, His timing, and so-called false prophets. You may have heard some prophets labelled “false” because they predicted President Donald J. Trump would serve two terms and SO FAR that has not happened.  Beloved, consider this: some things that prophets in the Bible foretold STILL have not happened. That does not mean prophets in the Bible were false prophets. Rather, it just shows that God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). As 2 Peter 3:8 reminds us, “. . . do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” (NIV) Also, remember that God—not us—has set “a time for everything.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, NIV).

[2]       What are God’s prophets saying right now? This is just a short list.

  • NOW is the time to focus on your personal relationship with God.
  • Our real President, President Donald J. Trump, will be reseated and will serve two terms. He is God’s instrument for this time in history.
  • The greatest awakening and revival there has ever been is starting. Holy Spirit will be poured out on people with such power that they will fall to their knees and cry out for God right where they are—–in parks, schools, businesses, and without sermons or messages.
  • Churches that have not welcomed the presence of God will not be part of this awakening.
  • Many spiritual leaders in high positions will be revealed as enemies of God and will be removed from their positions and ministries. This has already begun.
  • Evil will be exposed and judged world-wide, greater than you can imagine. God has allowed evil to increase—for a time—so that it would become even more obvious and more people would open their eyes and see their need for Him.
  • Image result for free picture of falling off fenceNo more fence-sitting. Jesus clearly said in Luke 11:23: “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. (NIV).  The Message translation says “This is war, and there is no neutral ground. If you’re not on my side, you’re the enemy; if you’re not helping, you’re making things worse.” If you support those who approve murdering babies, like Biden, you are opposing God. And if you fail to support those who are trying to stop abortion, you are the enemy, according to Luke 11:23. What else does your failure to “gather with” God allow? All manner of evil that the left and globalists approve of and promote, like homosexuality, pedophelia, human sex trafficking, drugs, violence and the list goes on.
  • Do you think they are not involved in these things? Would they tell you if they were, or would they hide it and call what is evil good and what is good evil (Isaiah 5:20)? Who do you think motivates them to say that we are being hateful if we do not accept homosexuality? Satan himself. Who and what helps them conceal their sins? Satan, our silence and our failure to act for God. What happened to those who failed to stop Hitler from taking Jews to concentration camps? Think about it.
  • Joshua 24:15 says you must choose whether you will serve God or the enemy. For too many years God’s church has overlooked and accepted sin and tried to remain neutral. There is no neutral ground. You are either with Him or against Him.

Image result for Free Picture of stacks of Money and Gold. Size: 190 x 204. Source: dreamstime.com[3]       What mainstream media is not telling you. A handful of incredibly wealthy people are working to shrink the population of the world so they can have it all for themselves. This is the deep state Marxist group that controls nations and political leaders, that is using the coronavirus for their evil purposes, and that tried to steal the 2020 election—which is NOT over yet! They gave “free” vaccines to African countries and those vaccines made the recipients sterile. These same ones have held back cures for the coronavirus while millions died.

  • Yes, covid is real and people have died from it, but why did nobody die of the regular flu since covid began? Why were cures held back? Why were churches considered non-essential during the lock-down when venues with far more contact were left alone?
  • Image result for Free picture of COVID Masks. Size: 77 x 100. Source: www.indulgexpress.comWhy did they say covid was spread by contact and then change their minds and say only masks worked? This covid and mask farce is a trial run, to see how much government control people will tolerate. The ultimate goal is socialist communism which always destroys nations. Consider the millions who died under Stalin and Hitler and other communist regimes.
  • These wealthy globalists control mainstream media, they seek to destroy all who oppose them, and they de-platform and cancel those who speak out. Is that not communism?
  • They seek to destroy America through the hatred and lies of BLM, Antifa, critical race theory, the LGBT agenda and more. Do you know the truth about these?
  • Why did they do nothing to stop the violence in the summer of 2020 and then give federal money in 2021 to mayors who had defunded their own police? Why did mainstream media fail to condemn the violence of 2020 but spread the lie that President Donald John Trump and his supporters instigated the takeover of the Capitol? Why did mainstream media not report that Capitol police were sent home before the “riot” began? Why did they not show video of Capitol police removing barricades, opening doors, and ushering people into the Capitol?
  • Image result for Free Picture of Jail. Size: 164 x 102. Source: getwallpapers.comThousands of illegal aliens, drug and human traffickers and other criminals are being allowed into our country since President Trump’s immigration policies were changed and the wall he had nearly completed along our southern border was not finished. Mainstream media fails to report this.
  • These are but a few of the many things the left and the media are actively covering up while manufacturing lies about anyone who dares oppose the evil going on in the world. Recently, Biden accused Facebook of killing people because Facebook did not censor comments about covid that the White House considers “misinformation.” The White House is urging social media platforms to censor those with opposing views.
  • The two people sitting in the White House and many other leaders are puppets of the deep state and will soon be removed from office and President Donald J. Trump will be restored to the seat for which he was elected in 2020.

I have learned all this and much more by listening to God’s prophets. They have been telling truth about things like the fraudulent election and covid long before mainstream media, which only in recent weeks has begun reporting a tiny bit of truth.

Image result for Free picture Of phone and laptop. Size: 161 x 107. Source: pxhere.com[4] Who to listen to for the truth and how to catch up fast: First, stop listening to all mainstream media. Get your news from sources like these listed below.

JUST FOLLOWING THESE THREE SOURCES WILL HELP YOU CATCH UP FAST. I recommend following them regularly, and following those on the list below whenever you can.

  • Intercessors for America – An on-line community of believers interceding for our nation. If you sign up, you will receive brief summaries of current events and the chance to agree with others in prayer.
  • Elijah list – elijahlist.com Daily strengthening, encouragement, and comfort through prophetic words, messages, and prophecies.
  • Elijah streams – elijahstreams.com – Sixty-minute program with in-depth interviews with prophets, with prophetic words and teachings.
  • Praying citizen – prayingcitizen.com –current events, from a godly perspective, why they matter and how to pray.
  • Other conservative news sources like Epoch Times.
  • Listening to a radio station that plays worship music will do much to lift your spirits Try air1.com.

 Prophets to listen to: You will find most of these prophets on the platforms listed above but they also have their own websites and/or churches. You can follow them on You Tube, Facebook, etc. as well.

  • Dutch Sheets – www.dutchsheets.org
  • Hank Kunneman -www.lohchurch.org
  • Kent Christmas -www.kentchristmas.org and www.regenerationnashville.org
  • Mario Murillo – www.mariomurillo.org
  • Johnny Enlow – restore7.com and often on Elijah Streams
  • Lance Wallnau – lancewallnau.com
  • Tim Sheets – timsheets.org
  • Amanda Grace – often on Elijah Streams

[5]       What to do for God NOW.

[1]        Image result for free picture of praying personFirst, focus on growing closer to Him and hearing Him better as your number one priority

[2]        Stop listening to mainstream media and start listening to media who present the news from God’s perspective, the sources listed in Section 5 “Who to follow and how to catch up fast”.

[3]        Pray specifically for what you learn as you start listening to the prophets and media that give God’s perspective.

[4]        Join in on a prayer call.  Intercessors for America is a good place to start.

[5]        Get involved. Ask God what to do and He will show you. You can start by sharing with others what you learn once you start listening to godly media and the prophets. God may be calling you to run for political office or support a godly candidate who is. I am writing this pamphlet in response to Holy Spirit’s prompting. This is one thing God has shown me to do.

[6]     Image result for Free picture Of Phone. Size: 127 x 88. Source: www.theverge.com   Call your senators and representatives and state your support for godly issues and your opposition against evil. When they make good decisions or statements, call and thank them. They do pay attention to their constituents. We have the power to vote them in again or vote them out.

[6]       Image result for free picture of small church modernIf you think prophets, miracles, speaking in tongues, etc. are not for today. . . Space does not permit a Biblical exposition showing that the whole gospel is for today, so please just listen to what I have personally experienced. Although I did not know Jesus until age 29, I grew up in a Southern Baptist church and knew nothing of the gifts of the Spirit and Pentecostal ways except that the “weird” church in town did “weird” things like raising their hands in worship and falling on the floor. A few months after salvation, I began speaking and praying in tongues and have not stopped for 41 years. It strengthens my spirit, assures me I am praying according to God’s will when I do not know what to pray, and brings peace.

As for other aspects of Pentecost, I have been healed, have been “slain in the spirit” (when you simply fall on the floor because the presence of God is so overwhelming), had someone fall on the floor when I was praying for her, have heard countless messages of encouragement through words of prophecy given during church services, and have given encouraging words myself, and have consistently felt the near tangible presence of God during Pentecostal worship and praise.

I could go on but I will just say please give God a chance and see a Pentecostal service. The Lord of Hosts church pastored by Hank Kunneman; Regeneration Nashville, pastored by Kent Christmas; and Oasis Church in Middletown, Ohio, pastored by Tim Sheets, are superb places to start. You have so much to gain and nothing to lose!

[7]       Be encouraged! God IS doing mighty things! But unless you have been listening to God’s prophets you likely have become discouraged and possibly even thought things were out of God’s control. Beloved, our God reigns. Period. Nothing has EVER taken Him by surprise, He makes no mistakes, and He cannot lie. God has already started radically changing this world, and you must get ready NOW if you want to be part of this greatest awakening ever.

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Woo hoo and go God! Go Body of Christ! We have the victory! “This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith” (I John 5:4, NIV)  HOOAH!

 

 

Note: This message will soon be available as a pamphlet on the Books and More page of this website so you can print it and share it. Or, if you are mad, you can have the satisfaction of ripping it up. Regardless, thank you for listening and please:  focus on drawing closer to God – now! Grace to you and may God speed!

Freda Farmer
www.wordsofhopeandhealing.com

 

Think you are walking well–Part Two (or. . . Been through the wringer lately?)

Image result for free picture of wringer washing machineThose wringer washing machines. With some memories, you know precisely where you were and how old you were. With other memories, time wears away precise location and time, while intensifying details   At some point in my latter preschool days, I saw either my Mother or an aunt using a wringer washer. She fed a towel into the wringer and, curiously, it emerged from the tiny gap between the two wringer arms not only flat but stiff, so stiff that it stood up like crumpled cardboard when it fell into the catch bucket on the floor. Going through that wringer surely changed that towel!

Developmental discipline? These last few weeks, life felt like going through a wringer washing machine over and over. I got another degree from UTD, the University of Trials and Discipline! I have written about trials, and I know the basic facts:

  • Trials are good for us, and
  • we have them because of the world, our flesh, the devil, and God’s loving discipline, which can be instructive or corrective.

The wringer experience taught me much about another aspect of God’s loving discipline, developmental discipline. By that I mean when God prunes us so that we may be even more fruitful (John 15:2-6).

I thought I was handling life, by God’s grace, fairly well through the many cycles of trials God and I had walked through since He healed depression and fear. But God used the hardships of the last few weeks to wring out more of self-confidence and to provoke me into growth, like an eagle removes the feathers from the nest to urge the eaglets to move to the edge and learn to fly. What happened? God caused me to become aggressive in spiritual matters.

Image result for free picture of defensive boxerAggressive in spiritual matters?  By that, I mean to confront and battle against the works of the devil rather than having a defensive attitude. Meditating on God’s Word healed deep-rooted depression and fear, but in that season of healing and maturing I was usually in a defensive posture.

Yes, we are to seek God as our refuge and hide in the shadow of His wings (Psalm 91). However, after God’s season of heart healing, He is calling me to learn to operate consciously, deliberately as the spiritual warrior He made us all to be.  From our abiding place under the sheltering Shadow of His wings, we must learn to fight aggressively, to advance and occupy the territory God has promised us as our individual destiny, our own promised land!

Fighting aggressively? By fighting aggressively, I mean:

  • to pray and trust God for discernment when I am being attacked (as opposed to when I just need to gird up my loins for things of daily life, like regular exercise, eating and sleeping healthfully, working to regain my good attitude, etc.)
  • to confidently declare, out loud, my God-given authority over Satan,
  • to bind the works of darkness and loose the things of His kingdom,
  • to wield my sword of the Spirit, to fight back by speaking Bible truths that apply to the need of the moment,
  • then to go on with the next thing to be done that day, actively praising God, actively meditating on His Word, and keeping my mind fixed on God and good things (Philippians 4:8),
  • and when not under attack, which is most of the time, to use the same spiritual weapons to take back stolen territory and to take new territory.

Image result for free picture of headacheThis most recent wringing out experience. While going through this latest wringer experience, I struggled and seemed to sink deeper each day into the mire of negative thoughts and feelings. The day that I, by God’s grace, stood up and fought, I felt nearly as bad as when deeply depressed more than two years earlier. It felt like something pressing down on my mind and on my head physically, from the outside. The burden of oppression had become that heavy. I could not think clearly enough to repeat my verses. Negative thoughts and feelings flooded in and stayed, no matter what I tried. I believe the attack had affected my brain chemistry at that point.

I knew, from much experience with depression, that our own negative thoughts and feelings can cause that feeling of heaviness and utter discouragement, but I also knew that sometimes that feeling comes from an attack of Satan.

Two days earlier and each day since, I had prayed, “Lord, I think this current struggle with negative thoughts and feelings and discouragement and all that old mess involves a chemical imbalance in my brain. I cannot seem to think clearly and I cannot remember to keep thinking on the Word. This is a legitimate real need I cannot fix for myself and I am asking for healing on the authority of the Word and by right of necessity as You say in Lamentations 3:25. I have tried for three days, Lord, and I cannot keep my mind on the Word. I truly need You, Lord. Please help me!”

Image result for free picture of worn out gym bagI awoke that Saturday with heavier than ever depressing thoughts, having slept very late again as I had been doing due to increasing fatigue. Skipping gym several days had caused much stiffness so, after my best, although weak, effort with devotions, I packed my gym bag and walked to the car, carrying my frayed bunch of papers on which I had typed and hand-written my personalized arsenal of Scriptures.

I kept trying to use the Word and to say it out loud. On the way to the car, I repeated out loud, to myself, Lamentations 3:19-23.

(19) O Lord] remember [earnestly] my affliction and my misery, my wandering and my outcast state, the wormwood and the gall. (20) My soul has them continually in remembrance and is bowed down within me. (21)  But this I recall and therefore have I hope and expectation:

 (22) It is because of the Lord’s mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness.”

Then I said out loud as I drove, praying the Word back to God. Lord it has truly been hard lately and I do ask You to earnestly think about this. I have been thinking about how hard things are and my soul has been cast down. But this I recall and therefore I have hope and expectation. “It is because of the Lord’s mercy that we are not consumed.  Great and abundant is Your faithfulness.” Then I began repeating those two phrases over and over. “It is because of the Lord’s mercy that we are not consumed.  Great and abundant is Your faithfulness. . . ”

As I kept driving and speaking those two verses out loud, I began thinking about God’s faithfulness. Into my mind popped a verse I had memorized early in this latest discipline process, several days earlier when I could still think a bit clearly.

Image result for free picture of grazing sheep“Trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) in the Lord and do good; so shall you dwell in the land and feed surely on His faithfulness, and truly you shall be fed. (Psalm 37:3, AMPC)

Now, as I drove down Interstate 90, I said, out loud, “Lord, Your faithfulness is truly abundant. You are taking care of all my needs so well, just like always. I am being fed and You say truly I shall be fed. I trust that verse, Lord, even though I do not feel like it right now. I am sorry, Lord. ‘I believe. Help my unbelief!  (Mark 9:24, NIV)’. And forgive my weaknesses.”

Persisting in speaking the Word and meditating. I walked into the gym carrying my stack of verses in my free hand, checked in, then went to the weight room and put my verses on the edge of the weight rack, resuming my recitation of Lamentations 3:19-26 with verses 24-26. As I stretched, I had to keep looking at the paper, which was frustrating. I had thoroughly memorized the passage weeks ago.

Image result for free picture of bible(24) The Lord is my portion or share, says my living being (my inner self); therefore, will I hope in Him and wait expectantly for Him.

(25) 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].

(26) It is good that one should hope in and wait quietly for the salvation (the safety and ease) of the Lord.

I repeated those three verses over and over as I lifted weights for 30 minutes, carrying the stack of papers with me from the free weights to the weight benches to the Precor machines.

A desperate plea. As I finished the last of the weights, I put Psalm 9:10 on top of the stack of weights and read.

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]. (AMPC)

Silently, as I walked upstairs to the stationary bicycles, I said “Yes, Lord, I do seek You, and in fact I really require You. Oh, Father! Let me not be presumptuous, but respectfully, I say You have to help because I truly cannot fix this by myself. I know You will help with this because I cannot go on without You healing this, and I cannot do it myself.”

Divine serendipity. Upstairs, as I pedaled, I skimmed through a book I studied during the depression season—“Healing from Trauma: A Survivor’s Guide to Understanding Your Symptoms and Reclaiming Your Life” by Jasmin Lee Cori, MS, LPC). She explained that after trauma, certain circumstances can trigger thoughts and feelings that accompanied the original trauma. When that happens, the person may experience the same thoughts and feelings all over again. When triggered like that into “trauma thinking”, you often feel helpless and hopeless because that is how trauma feels—helpless and hopeless.

I paused my feet a moment and stared straight ahead as truth well up from within. “I had indeed lost hope the last several days, perhaps even before that.” I was shocked.

Image result for free clip art of no“No!” I thought immediately and indignantly and loudly. “That is NOT true at all! I do have hope because I know what God has done before, for me and others and everything recorded in the Bible and more! I know God works. Absolutely no situation is too hard for Him. I do have hope! I do trust Him! I do have faith in Him, great faith! The lying, thieving enemy must have blinded my mind and my heart for a while. I do have hope and lots of it!

All the while, as I finished cycling, and then as I walked out to my car, palpable relief started. The feeling of something heavy on top of my head began to lessen.

“That is why I felt so bad! Isn’t it, Lord? I had lost hope again, just as I lost hope when I was so deeply depressed. Sometime these last few days, I stopped believing I would ever feel right and balanced and normal again. No wonder life had become such a dread and drudgery each day. No wonder I felt so bad and the fatigue was like walking through molasses. Thank You for Your grace in not letting it get any worse.”

As I drove home, I talked to God non-stop, “Oh Father! Forgive me! I did not realize I had been doubting You! You have always, always, always met my needs, all my life so faithfully, just like You provided for the Israelites over and over and over again, in spite of their sin and weaknesses.  You have done the same for me. You have poured out so many blessings. You have picked me up so many times after failures and problems and hurts and everything else we’ve been through together.

I admit it still feels impossible for You to once again fix my mind and my feelings because this time it is so messed up. I cannot get the wonderful things You taught me to do before to work this time, but I do trust You! I do have hope in You! I do have confidence in You! You are indeed good and merciful and kind and loving and faithful. . . “

Image result for free piture of god gives liigghtGod gives light to fight (Isaiah 30:26). Back at home, I tossed my gym bag in the corner and flopped into the rocker, staring blankly out the window. Then I found myself saying, as I had said a few times in the previous two or so days, only this time with strength: “Satan, I am submitting myself to God, and the Word says if I do that and resist you, that God will restore me after I have suffered a little while (I Peter 5:6-11). Well, I am resisting you and doing my part of this verse so you have to flee! In the name of Jesus, I plead the Blood of the Lamb over my mind and my life. I take authority over you and command you to leave!”

I got up, opened the door, yelled “Leave!” and slammed the door. Then I sat down in the rocker and began telling God every good thing I knew about Him and thanking Him for everything I could think of, over and over, and I prayed in the tongues when my mind snagged and I could not think. Each time I prayed in tongues a few moments, another of God’s innumerable good qualities came to mind.

After a long time, I noticed I felt better. I just sat quietly, silently this time, just telling God thank You and loving Him – and letting Him love me.

Image result for free picture of hard workIT WAS HARD TO PERSIST!  Dear friend, I want you to know that in those moments—as I drove to the gym and kept trying to repeat the Word, and especially right before the fog started to lift after I was home again, it took so much effort to speak the Word out loud and to try and believe.  I honestly did not think I could do it. It must have been simply, purely God’s loving grace that enabled me to keep speaking and to think clearly enough to perceive God speaking to my spirit, telling me what to say and do.

For days before that, I had often flopped on the couch, trying to pray, trying to repeat the Word—I had really tried—but my resources had become depleted and I don’t think I made a sincere, all-out effort.

However, that Saturday, I remember deciding when I left for the gym: “I am going to struggle, I am going to fight to believe, one minute at a time, just like when the depression was so bad. I am going to choose to believe, God will help me, He promises . . . ”

The importance of memorizing, meditating, and speaking the Word. This certainly reinforces that I must continue memorizing the Word! It also reminds me it is essential to repeat the Word over and over and over, constantly, hundreds of times, to get the Word memorized and to let it root down deep into your spirit, into the bedrock of your inmost being. When the Word has filtered down into your spirit and subconscious mind, to the root level of what you truly believe, from there God will work. (Romans 12:2, Proverbs 4:23, Luke 6:45)

Constant repetition, often over a period of days, is necessary to hide the Word in your heart (Proverbs 119:11). It is also necessary to constantly repeat the Word, for minutes, hours or even days when you are under attack, even though it feels nothing is happening. This constant repetition is one way of obeying God’s command to meditate on His Word from the time we wake up to when we fall asleep (Deuteronomy 6:7) and to think about His Word “day and night” (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2).

Joyce Meyer tells the story of a man who was having a terrible time with his thoughts, though he kept repeating the Word. Just when he considered giving up, God let the man see that every time he spoke the Word, a sword came out of his mouth. And so, he persisted speaking the Word, with renewed faith, until breakthrough came.

Image result for free picture of ripe pomegranate treeThe good fruit of all that struggle. About four hours ago, I left for the gym, desperately praying and quoting the Word. Nothing changed externally, not one thing, but now? Now, I feel life is on track again. Inside, I am totally different. Furthermore, I am outlining this blog post even though writing was impossible all last week.

To sum up:  Through permitting life to back me into a corner and wring out more of that toxic self-confidence, God has trained me to be more aggressive spiritually,

  • To take new ground and regain lost ground,
  • To fight back when under attack rather than being passive and retreating,
  • To intensify my work in memorizing Scripture in my areas of need and the needs of others,
  • To speak the Word out loud more often than before and,
  • To pray in tongues more often than before.

I will write more about these things as I study more–and no doubt, spin around on the potter’s wheel some more! (Jeremiah 18)

It has been a week and a half since that wonderfully awful Saturday, when I outlined this blog post. The days have been busy but productive in many ways. I finished this and other pieces of writing, the peace God gave that day has only deepened, and He is solidifying the lessons I learned. I am grateful!

Others are being wrung out, too—for their good! Two friends had similar experiences about the same time, and perhaps you have, too. In the middle of the world’s craziness in this summer of 2021, God is teaching His children about spiritual warfare. I think God is awakening many in the Body of Christ to explosive spiritual growth, which is part of the great awakening He has begun in our nation and our world.

Image result for free picture of niagra falls We will see outpourings of His Spirit such as has never been seen before, as God causes “justice to roll on like a river, and righteousness as a never-failing stream.” (Amos 5:24)

Are you in step with what God is doing and getting ready to do in America and our world? I encourage you to listen to three short podcasts by Dutch Sheets. They are another confirmation about God urging us toward more spiritual power.  Go to www.givehim15.com and see the three podcasts entitled “Releasing the Roar (June 15, 2021) and “Lions, to Your Feet” (June 16, 2021) and “Turn It Up” (June 17, 2021).

See the source imageFight for your families and loved ones! Dear friend, I think God is telling us what He told the Israelites through Nehemiah when the former slaves were rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem. How we live as believers powerfully affects our family and everyone with whom we come in contact. The more light we shine into the world, the more we help those around us, so:

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

And, as the AMPC phrases it:

Do not be afraid of the enemy; [earnestly] remember the Lord and imprint Him [on your minds], great and terrible, and [take from Him courage to] fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes. (AMPC) (emphasis added)

Is there any motivation greater? We may, if sore pressed, give up when we are the only ones endangered, but when our loved ones are threatened, as they are now by things we see happening, let us be like “a bear robbed of her cubs” (Proverbs 17:12, NIV).

Let love motivate you!Many waters cannot quench love; waters cannot sweep it away.” (Song of Solomon 8:7, NIV).  We have the love of God shed abroad in our hearts, (Romans 5:5), and we have God Himself living in us and working in us (John 14:23, I Corinthians 3:16, Philippians 2:13).  We have all we need to fight, for ourselves, for all our loved ones, and the world! Beloved, let us stand up and fight! Let us press on to maturity ((Hebrews 6:1-3) so that God may shine more of His light through us into the darkness of this world.

If Jesus lives in us, then, beloved, by and in and through Jesus, we also ARE the light of the world (John 8:12). We have within us, because of God in us, the truth and power and the Word of God that overcomes all darkness (John 1:5).  So, I say, with Dutch and Tim Sheets:

  • let us release the roar,
    • let us stand to our feet, and
      • let us turn up the power of God in us!

See the source image

Those old wringer washing machines

Image result for free picture of wringer washing machineDear friend–a quick note to say I will have a post next week.  I have been working on one for many days now, and I believe it will bless you.

The last few weeks have felt like going through one of those old wringer washing machines, over and over. I imagine you can relate to that because we know Satan is very busy right now BUT WE KNOW GOD IS IN CONTROL AND IS WORKING ALL THINGS OUT FOR OUR GOOD!  Hang in there! Hold on to your hope! Keep proclaiming and believing the Word and watch out for special signs of His love for you. He never, no never, no never fails us in any way! (Hebrews 13:5, AMPC)

So, until next week – Woo hoo and GO GOD!

 

 

Do you think you are walking well? Part one of two

Image result for free picture of jesus holding childEarly morning whispers. “If you think you are leaning well, take heed lest you start standing up straight.” I lay in bed, aware Holy Spirit was speaking. It was one of those mornings of getting straight out of bed and sitting at the computer—no splash of water in the face, no cup of tea, not even a moment of “formal” devotional time. I sensed God was saying something important.

I looked up the verse I knew Holy Spirit had used to make a little joke, I knew it was a HUGE teaching for me. “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (I Corinthians 10:12, NIV). In this verse, God lovingly warns against pride – because when we get prideful, about anything, a fall is coming. Proverbs 16:18 warns “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (NIV).

Image result for Jesus Holding Face of ChildWriters know that the less words used, the clearer the message. Mark Twain said, “I didn’t have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote you a long one.” Nevertheless, whenever I talk about staying in victory through leaning on Him, I preface my comments with some “extra” words, which are – even the leaning is BY GRACE ALONE. Why? I have (by grace alone!!!) learned the danger of thinking that walking well with the Lord comes by my effort. Here are four Bible-based reasons I know this is true.

[1] All we have comes from God. Romans 11:36 tells us “For everything comes from Him and exists by His power and is intended for His glory” (NLT). When King David was offering to God the treasures he had accumulated for building the temple. David blessed and adored the Lord before all the people. He acknowledged God’s greatness and God’s ownership of the heavens and earth:

Both riches and honor come from You, and You reign over all. In Your hand are power and might; in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. Now, our God, we give You thanks, and praise Your glorious name. But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.” (I Chronicles 29:13-14, NIV)

God repeats this truth often in His Word. Obviously, He wants it imprinted on our hearts. I believe He does that because it helps shield us against pride. James 1:17 tells us:

Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us His true word. And we, out of all creation, became His prized possession. (NLT)”

Image result for free picture of close to jesusAnd Ephesians 2:8-9 declares: “God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” (NLT)

[2] Only God can change the heart. You have likely heard Jeremiah 17:9, which says “The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly perverse and corrupt and severely, mortally sick! Who can know it [perceive, understand, be acquainted with his own heart and mind]? (AMPC)” The KJV says “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

So, who can understand the human heart? In I Chronicles 28:9 God says He understands the heart and the mind and every thought we have. In light of the natural state of our heart, how good it is that God promises a new heart!

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” (Ezekiel 36: 26-27, NIV)

Image result for Jesus Holding Face of ChildHow blessed we are that God not only tells us how to get a new heart but also a new mind. In Romans 12:2 He spells out:

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (NIV)

[ 3] Even our desire to please God comes from Him. When a crowd was arguing that Jesus could not really be the Bread of Life because they knew His father, Joseph, and mother, Mary, Jesus replied:

Don’t bicker among yourselves over me. You’re not in charge here. The Father who sent me is in charge. He draws people to me—that’s the only way you’ll ever come. Only then do I do my work, putting people together, setting them on their feet, ready for the End” (John 6:44-46, The Message).

Image result for free picture of leaning on jesusI Corinthians 1:30 firmly declares who is responsible when we finally think and when we finally live right. Everything that we have – right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start – comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. (The Message).” That is crystal clear!

[4] We are truly only humble servants. Could it be any clearer than what God says in Philippians 2:12-13, that it is God working in us that causes us to want to do His will and live so that we fulfill His purpose in our life? Spending some time prayerfully pondering Paul’s words in verses 12 and 13 using the Amplified version is beneficial here. Notice that Paul urges his readers to have an attitude of reverence and awe BECAUSE it is God who is working in them, giving them the power and desire to follow Him. Here is the AMPC translation:

(12)“Therefore, my dear ones, as you have always obeyed [my suggestions], so now, not only [with the enthusiasm you would show] in my presence but much more because I am absent, work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ). (13) [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.” (Emphasis added)

Image result for free picture of jesus holding childThus, therefore, consequently, because of the truths we just saw, for those infallible reasons in the Word of our awesome, compassionate and gracious God–we can have TOTAL confidence and faith and trust in God to keep us close IF we do our part by seeking Him. Why? Because being close to God requires that we live like Jesus, to the best of our ability, and God promises to never forsake those who base their requests for legitimate needs on His Word. We obviously need God’s help to live like Jesus. Consider these three verses.

[A] “Whoever claims to live in Him must live as Jesus did.” (I John 2:6, NIV)

[B] “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us-whatever we ask-we know that we have what we asked of him. (I John 5:14-15, NIV)

Image result for free picture of leaning on jesus[C] 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 by right of their necessity.] (Emphasis added)(Psalm 9:10, AMPC)

  • So, we are asking for something we know is God’s will (living like Jesus) because He tells us to do it, (1 John 2:6)
  • It is a genuine need (we can do nothing righteous in our own effort (Isaiah 64:6), and
  • We are basing our request on the authority of God’s Word (Psalm 9:10).

In sum, we are seeking to live as Jesus did, because God told us to, which is “the authority of His Word”, and our need for His help in doing that gives us the “right of necessity.”

Notice that this works for those who are seeking God. In the AMPC, the word “seek” often includes the phrases “inquire of and for and require”. This obviously means people who are desperately seeking God, people who have learned, by experience, what Jesus taught in John 6:36, that “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life (NV).”

Image result for free picture of leaning on jesusTwo powerful psalms to pray. Have you heard the verse, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me”? This is part of the psalm wherein David confesses his sin with Bathsheba and then sincerely, with his whole heart, repents. All of us have sinned and “. . . we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” (Romans 3:23, NLT). This psalm should catapult us all into humility, the only right attitude to have about living this life of leaning on Him alone.

Another comforting, reassuring psalm about asking God to keep us close is Psalm 25. I have pondered this psalm every morning for weeks now and never fail to be reassured that God is and will continue to guide me, with all my human failings, into the paths He has chosen for me. How beautiful are these words to the thirsty heart:

Image result for free picture of jesus holding child[9] He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way.

[10] All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of His covenant.

[11] For the sake of your name, O LORD, forgive my iniquity, though it is great.

[12} Who then is the man that fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way chosen for him.” (NIV)

One final thought. If you are leaning so hard you think you might fall over, you are probably walking well, for God has said—for our comfort, for our encouragement, dear friend:

My grace is all you need, for My power works best in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9, NLT)

Therefore, let us say, with Paul,

So for the sake of Christ, I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak [in human strength], then I am [truly] strong [able, powerful in divine strength.]” (2 Corinthians 12:10, AMPC)

And, lest you think I sound overly confident about not being overly confident, next week’s blog post will indicate quite the contrary, dear friend and fellow pilgrim!

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Can you give God each hour?

Image result for free picture of woman sleeping in bedroomWhen you (think you) lose some hours. “Oh!!” I groaned. Ten a.m. I had fallen back asleep, though I had planned to be at my desk by eight and stay till noon, for four uninterrupted hours of writing before the day fogged my brain. As I lay there, I became aware my back felt better.


“Hmm, Lord. Maybe I needed the extra rest?” While washing my face, feeding Lily, eating breakfast, and tidying up, I talked silently with the Lord.

Father, I give this day to You, although it is not going as planned. Help me stay with You this next hour as we tidy up and do our little walk. . . “ After the walk, “Father, I give these next two hours to You as we write.” After that, “Father, I give these next few hours to You as we get groceries, then pick up the boys and play with them.”

How did the day turn out? Wonderfully blessed! I got some writing done, and errands, and then, because I had decided to make the afternoon especially special for the boys, after pickup from school we curled up together on the bed and watched “The Lorax” on my laptop, then played Chinese checkers until Papa picked them up. Then, I devoted the three hours of evening to God, as we ate dinner, had devotionals and then some down time before bed.

Changing habits of the heart is hard. Plenty of my days do not feel as organized and purposeful as the one I just described, but by God’s grace, I am learning to better redeem the hours of my days. Ephesians 5:16-17 tells us to “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, (16) making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil. “(NIV)

Image result for free picture of being in loveGod keeps us in peace when our mind is stayed on Him (Isaiah 26:3, NKJV)–when we are stuck, fixed, infatuated with, embedded, smitten with, and preoccupied with Him. Initially, I became absorbed with keeping my mind on God – and off me and my troubles!– when God began healing depression more than two years ago. By His grace, I learned to take God’s Word like the medicine it is and meditate, speak and think about His truths all day, deliberately, until it became a habit. (This is the foundation of the book about depression on which I am working and for which I ask you to pray.)

Even so, sometimes discouragement, hopelessness, and feelings of worthlessness attacked, as did fear that depression and anxiety would ensnare me yet again. One day, while fighting those feelings through reading my Bible, an idea up: I can give each hour to God. I stared out the window and prayerfully pondered.

When I’m struggling, like now, I can focus on one hour at a time, like the “one day at a time” AA and Al-Anon slogan. I can get through anything for an hour if I consciously lean on and think about God and His Word.”

Image result for Free picture of Clock. Size: 188 x 105. Source: wallpaper.wikiAdvancing the Kingdom each hour. As a retiree, I was especially susceptible to feeling my life was unimportant, even though I knew better. But that day, I told myself:

Right here, alone in my house or as I run errands, I can do something that advances the Kingdom of God. I can praise and thank and worship God, I can write (my individual place of service for the Lord), I can pray for others, I can text or call someone, I can work God into the brief comments I exchange with the grocery store checker – AND IT ALL COUNTS FOR THE KINGDOM!!!”

Each hour of each life is cherished by God. The feeling that such things do not really “count” is just lies from the enemy! God is with us always (Hebrews 13:5. Every day (and that includes each hour!) has been ordained by God (Psalm 139:16). And Psalm 37:23 says:

Image result for free pictures of god watching usThe steps of a [good] man are directed and established by the Lord when He delights in his way [and He busies himself with his every step]. (AMPC)

God says He is immersed in and focused upon every step the righteous take.

Each word of our adoration and praise and trust is attractive, or comely, to God, it blesses Him, and advances His Kingdom. God tells us in Psalm 147, which is a jubilant hymn of gratitude and praise, to: Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God, for He is gracious and lovely; praise is becoming and appropriate.”

When David says in Psalm 34:1: “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth” he is showing us that when we praise God we bless God, and we actually do good for God. We make Him happy. Now, that is something to think about!

And Psalm 34:3 says: “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.” So when we praise the Lord, when we talk about His goodness, when we speak highly of the nature of God, we are magnify or increase the Kingdom. And that applies when we are alone and praising Him as much as when we are with others.

We can ALL give God each hour. No matter your situation, nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37) and we can purposefully give God each hour of our day. No matter how (apparently) limited or how busy your life may be–whether you are retired, living alone and struggling with health issues, a mom with four kids under five, a CEO, college student, a devoted dad working two jobs–you can give God each hour.

You may have to give Him segments of your day sometimes when you cannot stop to connect consciously with Him. If you have a job that almost literally leaves you no time to think until lunch or you have four straight hours of classes or you have little ones in your care, you can consciously at the start of your day, even if it is just a few words, give God the next four hours, the next portion of the day. Regardless, you can dedicate every activity of your day to God and include Him in it. If you are not free to speak out loud to Him, speak to Him silently in your heart; He knows your thoughts. (Psalm 139:5)

Image result for free picture of father walking toddlerGod promises to guide our steps. Ponder Psalm 25 over and over until your heart absorbs the same attitude—and confidence!–David had when he wrote this psalm. David depends on God and asks God to show him his ways, his paths, and the way chosen for him. David reminds himself that BECAUSE the Lord is “good and upright, therefore He instructs sinners in His ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way.” (v.8 and 9, NIV) Clearly, if we are trying to please God with our daily life, He will guide us! Praying this psalm to God each morning never fails to encourage my soul.

Key Bible truths to cherish:

  • Each hour of my life is planned by God. (Psalm 139:16)
  • God is with me every moment of every hour of my life.(Hebrews 13:5)
  • I can honor God with this one hour. Even if all my plans and hopes for the day fall, I can honor God, in some way, in this one hour, and then the next, until I lie down and He blesses me with His sweet sleep (Psalm 127:2)
  • God sees me this moment, alone in my house (or wherever I am alone) and “I will walk within my house in my integrity and with a blameless heart.” (Psalm 101:2b, AMPC)

Image result for free picture of purposefulPurposefully giving God each day and each hour helps us be focused, thoughtful and wise in using time. It helps us “number our days aright” so that we can live wisely (“gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12, NIV). At the start of this writing, we read Ephesians 5:16-17. Ephesians 5:16-17 tells us to:

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, (16) making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil. (17) Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.“(NIV)

Verse 17 in the AMPC says:

Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is.”

Image result for free picture of grasping god's handTo me, this means we are not to be vague in our approach to daily life. In other words, we are to give purposeful thought regarding the best use of our time and we are to be aware of and work in line with (to “firmly grasp”) the things God wants to be done, or what His will is.

These verses appear in a passage the NIV labels “Living as Children of Light” (Ephesians 4:17-5:21). They are one of many passages where the New Testament instructs us to how to walk in the light. Walking in the light has many blessings, as I John 1:5-7 tells us:

(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 yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by 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. (NIV)”

Deliberately, consciously dedicating our time

to God is wise!

A sample prayer of dedication for each hour or segment of your day:

Dear loving Father, I thank You and praise You for all You are doing. I choose to purposefully give You this hour of our life together here on earth. I know You will guide me regarding what to do, as You promise in Psalm 25 because I am asking You to. I know You will also give me your strength, as You promise in Psalm 68:35. Thank You, Lord, for Your compassions, which are new every morning and which never fail, as You tell me in Lamentations 3:22. I love You and I trust You!

Pics I Trust in You Lord