Category Archives: TRUSTING GOD

“Troubles, trials, distress, and frustration.”

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

Image result for Free Picture of OatmealThe “tribulations and trials and distress and frustrations” of being human had filled the first hours of this day. As I ate my oatmeal, I felt guilty for sleeping late although health issues required extra rest right now. Irritated that negative thoughts, which had led to depression in years past, now swirled in my mind, I asked myself “Are these health problems going to drag me back toward the pit? I am doing the best I can, Lord, but it is really hard.”

“Lord, surely in this world we do have troubles, trials, distress and frustration. Help me be of good cheer, like You said, and to remember that You have overcome the world for me.” I paused. “Even though it surely does not feel like it today!”

Next, after 45 minutes at the computer, I hit save, bagged up the garbage to toss in the dumpster and headed out the door for my daily short, and slow, walk.

“I’m frustrated about the writing, too, Lord. You always give so many thoughts and I want to include so much of the Bible, but I read that people do not want to read long blog posts. And there are so many projects I want to write but my back cannot take long hours at the computer like before.”

“Oh, Lord! Forgive me for complaining! It is such a gift and a privilege to serve You and live for You.  I know You will guide, Lord, and show just what to do each day. Help me focus on Your truths and not my fears and frustrations!”

God speaks through nature. “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.” (Psalm 19:1-2, NIV)

Image result for Free Picture of Neighborhood StreetI started walking slowly down the short street bordering my building, striving to put my heel down first, as the physical therapist had coached me to do, noticing again how the trees along the sidewalk formed a straight line all the way to the first intersection, which abutted the neighborhood elementary school. When I walked earlier in the morning, several men in work clothes stood together, waiting for a ride to their work, but by late morning, like today, it was just me and the Lord and an occasional cat, napping under a broken toy wagon next to the sagging and soggy yellow couch and the splintered bookcase.

My walk usually ended at the intersection but the wind blowing through the trees along the small, gravel track at the elementary school enticed me. I sidled through the open gate and walked to the green wrought iron bench. Still feeling tired and discouraged, I texted a friend whose husband was facing yet another surgery and another friend whose teenager was being, well, a real teenager.

As I looked, the wind kept moving the overgrown grass in rippling waves, fluttering the leaves of the trees, murmuring in my ears, bringing back the pure pleasures of childhood, like the feel of Florida’s sugary soft beach sand curling around bare toes,  the cool touch of the conch shell pressing  into my ear, and the sound of the ocean’s power echoing within its twisting chamber. Finally, I really looked. Finally, I started listening to God.

Who can know the path of the wind? Who can know the way of God? Part of Psalm 103 bubbled up from within: “As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.” (NIV) 

“Lord, surely, I am indeed a blade of grass. Teach me, oh Lord, to “number my days aright” so I can live wisely. (Psalm 90:12) Help me remember that I am here on earth, and You are there in heaven, ruling and reigning over all things. Help me remember I cannot understand Your ways any more than I can tell which way the wind will blow next, like that verse in Ecclesiastes I memorized so long ago, that as I “do not know how the body is formed in the womb, so I cannot understand the way of God, the Maker of all things.” (Ecclesiastes 11:5). Help me stop trying to figure everything out, which I know makes me feel in control. Help me trust You when things seem to be going all wrong.”

Image result for Free Picture of Wind In WheatI looked intently at the grass. The green of the bottom two-thirds blended into yellow and pale brown, with dark brown spikes at the top of each stem, like mature heads of wheat, pulling the entire strand of grass over in the moments the wind was still. The up, then down, left, then right, then swirling patterns made the path of the wind visible.

“How many strands of grass?” I wondered, “cover this little track, the in-field, the surrounding areas up to the fence and then toward the playground. Thousands? Millions? Yet they all move as one when the wind touches them. Each blade is so fragile, but together they make a grand symphony of motion.”

The way of the word in the heart. “Oh, Father! Please help Your silly child. Help me get in the right rhythm with You again, to “keep in step with the Spirit” (Galations 5:25). Help me return to depending on You and not my own strength to keep myself together. That is what I was doing the last few days, right?  Help me yield to Your ways and Your leading, just as these blades of grass yield to the wind and in so doing are beautiful. Help me yield, Lord! Help me trust! I trust You, Lord! Help me trust You more! “

“I know every single person also has loads of troubles, trials, distress and frustrations, just as I do. They are just different for each person. Help me honor You, Lord, in my individual life, this day, this hour. Help me be cheerful, and take courage and be confident, certain, and undaunted, as You told your disciples just before Your arrest and trial and crucifixion.  Help me remember that You have overcome the world and that it cannot harm me because You have deprived it of that power. Help me fix my mind on heavenly things and KEEP it set, because that is where my real life is, with You, not here on earth.”  (And set your minds and keep them set on what is above—the higher things—not on the things that are on the earth.” Colossians 3:2, AMPC)

When I got back home, I looked up the verse about the wind. “As You do now know the path of the wind or how the body is formed in the womb, so you cannot understand the way of God, the maker of all things. (NIV) Then I read verse 6.

Image result for Free Picture of Sowing SeedSow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.”  

“Wow, Lord! Those two verses together mean to me that we are to work steadily each day, all day, because we do not know whether which one or all of our tasks will succeed any more than we can predict where the wind will blow next. Oh, help me, Lord, to do “whatever my hand finds to do” with all my heart, knowing I am working for You (Colossians 3:23 and Ecclesiastes 9:10).  Yes, Father, even if that is a morning of frustrating phone calls and an afternoon of doctor visits and errands. Let the deep meaning of Romans 8:28 resonate inside my heart. Assure me that You are a partner in my labor and that everything is fitting into a plan because I love You.”

“We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor], all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.” (AMPC)

“Remind me that You are a partner in my work. Help me live each hour with that awareness.”

“Help me remember that “the Lord delights in the way of the man whose steps he has made firm” and that “though he stumble, he will not fall for the Lord upholds him with His hand.” (Psalms 37:23-24, NIV). And as the Amplified says You busy Yourself with his every step. That, truly, is remarkable!”

“Believe in the Lord your God and you will be able to stand firm. (2 Chronicles 20:20a) (NLT) As I tidied up before heading out the door, I saw my battered copy of the NLT open on the kitchen counter. From my daily Bible reading that morning, it was to open to the story of King Jehoshaphat’s victory over the combined armies of Moab, Ammon and Mount Seir.  Although Jehoshaphat was initially terrified to learn that the armies were surrounding him, he “begged the Lord for guidance. He also ordered everyone in Judah to begin fasting.” (2 Chronicles 20:3, NLT)  He stood before the people and prayed a powerful prayer in verses 6-12, praising God for His power, reminding Him of His promise to hear their cry, admitting their powerlessness and looking to Him for help.

Then “The spirit of the Lord came upon one of the men standing there” and Jahaziel told the people not to be afraid or discouraged  because “the battle is not yours, but God’s” (v. 15) He said they only had to take their positions and stand still and “watch the Lord’s victory.”  Verse 18 and 19 records that King Jehoshaphat bowed low to the ground, as did all the people, and then they all worshipped God.

‘Give thanks to the LORD; his faithful love endures forever.’ (Psalm 136:1, NLT) Early that morning, before troubles, trials, distress and frustration invaded my mind, I had drawn a box around verse 20, where Jehoshaphat had encouraged his people saying:.

“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)

After that, Jehoshaphat had placed “. . . singers ahead of the army, singing to the LORD and praising Him for His holy splendor. This is what they sang: ‘Give thanks to the LORD; his faithful love endures forever.’ (Psalm 136:1)

IImage result for free picture of jehoshaphat stood at my clean kitchen counter and continued re-reading the story. At the very moment they began to sing and give praise (emphasis added), the LORD caused the armies of Amon, Moab and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves. (v. 22)” The story continued, telling that when the “army of Judah arrived at the looking point in the wilderness, all they saw were dead bodies lying on the ground as far as they could see. Not a single one of the enemy had escaped.” (v 24).  

“Yes, I see that, Lord, and thank You! At the very moment they started to sing, You fought for them.”

I smiled, copied verse 20b on a folded piece of printer paper—”Believe in the LORD your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in His prophets, and you will succeed. I could memorize that much while I waited at the doctor’s office. I walked out the door, saying, from the heart.

“Oh, Lord! How I do thank You! Your faithful love surely endures forever. What wonderful things You do for Your children!  Thank You for Your Word, that gives such clear guidance and encouragement. Thank You for being with us each moment of every day, thank You, Lord, thank You, for . . . ”

Image result for free picture of father holding childs hand

God’s Arsenal for Peace and Security

Image result for free picture of swords, guns and shieldsOverview:

  • God’s weapons for spiritual warfare.
  • Why these particular verses?
  • Why in this particular order?
  • How to use the key word sentences.
  • Why meditate?
  • Why memorize?
  • Why the AMPC?
  • God’s Word has power to change your heart and your life.
  • How does God’s Word change your heart?
  • As God’s truth increases in your heart, lies and darkness decrease.
  • A word of encouragement about meditating and memorizing.
  • God’s Arsenal for Peace and Security – List of Verses

God’s weapons for spiritual warfare. The power of God’s Word– the power of Truth–restored my mind after a long season of severe depression. According to Webster’s online dictionary, https://webster-dictionary.org/definition/arsenal, an arsenal is a “military structure where arms and ammunition and other military equipment are stored and training is given in the use of arms.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sample of How to Use Key Word Sentences

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

By the way, I did not deliberately put these verses in this order. Holy Spirit did that, by “accident” as I searched the Word! He is our perfect Teacher.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gods Arsenal for Peace and Security

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

 

 

 

God notices you – always

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image result for free picture of child leaving school“Nana!”, he yelled. “I knew you were coming!”

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

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

A personal request

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

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

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

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

The next blog post, “The Arsenal of God’s Word” will give a list of Scriptures that will lead you toward peace and explain more about how the Word works in your heart.

Image result for free picture of bible study

 

 

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

 

 

God Promises His Presence IF . . . Part Five

Review:Image result for Free Picture of Clouds

  • Part One – God’s presence is often termed “God’s face”, He tells us to seek His face, it is a vital need for us, and He will help us.
  • Part Two – Basic truth’s about God’s presence. He promises His presence if we love and obey Him.
  • Part Three – Some of the many ways we can love God.
  • Part Four –  We sometimes see God’s face and sometimes not because God is sovereign. He initiates our awareness of His presence, He responds to our reaching out, and He withdraws temporarily. There are also hindrances to His presence over which we have some control.

PART FIVE: HINDRANCES TO AWARENESS OF GOD’S PRESENCE

Unfortunately, in our less than perfect world, many things can block us from being aware of God’s presence, even though He is right there with us. Here are a few we will consider.

  • Sin.
  • Our lack of love.
  • Our physical condition.
  • Our soul’s condition.
  • Our lack of experience or knowledge.
  • Pride must go.
  • Hidden sin we of which we are unaware.
  • Sometimes we just have to wait.
  • Lies from the enemy.  (Part Six)

Image result for Free Clip Art of SinSinWhen I reviewed the final draft of this blog post, it grieved me that I had first labelled this heading “Disobedience.” It is easier to think of ourselves as disobedient to God, rather than thinking what is true, that we sin against God. What a dangerous and damaging trend when “less offensive” or
“politically correct” vocabulary is used instead of the stern vocabulary of the Bible, which includes words like sin, iniquity, evil, guilt, and damnation. If God had wanted to use gentle words and thoughts when talking about sin, He would have used the tender, loving words He uses in, for example, Zephaniah 3:17 or Psalm 103:14. Sin is serious. It IS a matter of eternal life and death. God wants us to take it seriously. He came to earth and died for us because of our sin, as He says in John 3:16. I believe that God makes hearing about sin unpleasant to us so that we will pay attention and do all we can to avoid  it.

Isaiah 59:1-2 motivates me, mightily. It teaches me that sin separates me from God, hides His face from me, and stops His ears from hearing me. That motivates me to love God with all my heart and strength. (Deuteronomy 6:4-5). Love includes obedience. In Chapters 56 through 59 of Isaiah, God is speaking about the horrific sins of Israel during those times, such as “. . . the profaning of the Sabbath, the gluttony of Israel’s leaders, its widespread idolatry with its vile practices, the punctilious fasting while practicing flagrant injustice”, (Halley’s Bible handbook, page 389). And He explains for us the consequences of sin. He says:

“Surely, the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear, BUT (emphasis added) your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. (Isaiah 59:2,NIV).“

Oh, Lord! Help us all to live a life pleasing to You!

Our lack of love. I had heard the story of the sinful woman who was so grateful for Jesus forgiving her many sins that she poured costly perfume on His feet and kissed and wiped his feet with her hair. (Luke 7:36-50).  When others criticized her extravagant display of love for Jesus, Jesus taught His listeners that people who have had a great debt paid for them, love greatly but that  “. . . he who has been forgiven little, loves little.” (Luke7 :47b, NIV).

In my opinion, one implication of that is that if we are aware of the immeasurable debt Jesus paid for us while we were yet sinners, if we remember what He suffered for each of us, we will have deep, passionate love and gratitude for Him.

Image result for free picture of woman kissing the feet of jesusThat love will be deep, whether we found Jesus at a young age or when older. I know people who were saved while still preschoolers who have a passionate love for Jesus. In my own case, because I did not accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior until the age of 29, I had experienced walking in darkness. I desperately wanted to stay in His light, and I was desperately grateful. I also fell desperately in love with Jesus. Like the sinful woman in Luke 7, I was keenly aware of how sinful my life had been.

Oh, Father! Help each of us remember the price Jesus paid and help us seek to love You accordingly!

One of the biggest blessings of writing is that it makes me really search the Scripture and seek God for understanding for myself. In seeking to understand this story about loving God, I noticed the cause and effect indicated in Verse 47a: “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for (emphasis added) she loved much.”  To me, this says that part of why our sins are forgiven is that we love God.  And just look at the promise Jesus gives her.

 “But Jesus said to the woman. Your faith has saved you; go (enter) into peace [in freedom from all the distresses that are experienced as the result of sin] (Emphasis added). (John 7:50, AMPC)

Image result for free clip art of healthy habisOur physical condition. Sometimes conditions of our body block our awareness of His presence. Poor health, mental and emotional stresses such as depression and anxiety, fatigue, grief, and loss all affect the body which affects the brain. It is much easier to be aware of God’s presence when I have adequate rest, follow a healthy diet, and reduce stress as much as possible. And God always helps when I try to take care of my earthly temple.

Our soul’s condition. Sometimes our soul is simply disturbed.  Distractions, some we can stop and some we cannot stop, steal our awareness of God’s presence. We cannot control the world, but we can ask God to help us reduce distractions in our life, so we can focus on Him better. Some things that steal my peace are a messy house and surroundings; when I am lazy or neglect to do what I know I should; and sloppiness in daily life, or not doing things with excellence.  I can see that each of these is disobedience. God does things orderly (I Corinthians 14:33—He is a God of peace, not confusion);  He tells us to do our work (Ephesians 4:28), and He says do whatever we are doing as if we were doing it for Him (Ecclesiastes 9:10, and Colossians 3:23).

What things in particular disturb your soul that you can ask God to help you change?

Image result for free picture of child with hurt kneeOur spiritual condition.  If a spiritual matter is blocking our awareness of God, it is essential to get quiet and alone with Him so that we can hear Him and so that He can show us our spiritual condition. If we stay busy, even if we are desperately searching for Him the best we can, we might not hear Him until we find a measure of His peace. In that peace, we can hear Him. We can be like a small child crying and screaming over a scraped knee, when all we need to do is calm down and let God take care of us. He tells us “Seek peace and pursue it.” (I Peter 3:10-12; Psalm 34:12-16).

I am learning that anger in particular blocks my awareness of God’s presence. And my anger is so often childish. When I calm down and take a realistic, adult view of the situation, I usually can see my wrong thinking or else, if need be, can express my upsetting feelings to God, ask for forgiveness if needed, and accept His love and His help to be at peace again.

In what ways are you consciously pursuing peace?
Do you regularly take time to just sit in silence with God?

Our lack of experience or knowledge. I clearly remember as a young believer craving the steady peace and victorious living I saw in older saints. So, I read and obeyed what I learned about God’s presence. It took a while but, it has been worth each moment a thousand times over. Unfortunately, the enemy tries to steal this blessing, because that is his nature (John 10:10) and he sometimes does that by shooting arrows, or fiery darts–lies. (Ephesians 6:16) The enemy does not want us to be aware of God’s presence. (Part Five addresses that important topic).

Image result for free clip art of god hates pridePride must go!  Satan so often works through our pride. I think that might be because he knows that James 4:6b tells us clearly: “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (NIV) Proverbs 6:16-19 lists things God hates; at the top of the list is a proud or haughty attitude. We do well to ask God to reveal pride in our hearts.

Hidden sin we are unaware of – a personal example. I had a personal  struggle for several days – with pride unbeknownst!  Funny, I began this blog post 29 days ago, feeling upbeat and confident about finding the Lord’s presence. Since then, I felt up and down emotionally for several days, sometimes sensing His presence, but more often not. And day by day, I became more discouraged in general than I had been in a long while.

I thought I could finish this writing in two days, but as the days stretched on, every time I sat at my desk, I felt worse and worse, miserable that I was not feeling God’s presence, like I usually do when I write. And the more I focused on that, the less I felt His presence – AND – the more out of balance the rest of daily life became, especially in the areas that disturb my peace the most – a messy house and not keeping on top of things.

Therein, I think, is an essential lesson. We are to seek God, not feelings, just as we are to live by faith, not by feelings. Day by day, as I was writing about this topic, my foot got caught in the snare of going by feelings, and I became frustrated because I could not feel His presence like and when I wanted.  It is good to want to feel His presence– of course But, if you analyze it too much or overthink it, AND if you think you SHOULD be able to feel Him, AND/OR  if you subconsciously think that you deserve to feel His presence because you have in the past and you are doing so many good things for Him and being so good—you find less and less. At least I did.

Thankfully, as I trusted God, He released my foot from that particular snare (Psalm 91:3). When I got to the end of my emotional rope, I gave up, had a good cry with the Lord, and just asked God for His help to restore my soul (Psalm 23:2). Only then did I see how my pride, as described above, had hidden His face (Isaiah 59:2). I confessed my pride and asked God to cleanse that.

As I write this, I can only say “Thank You, Lord!”  for continually cleaning and pruning us. Our own hearts deceive us because they are desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). Only God can clean us up. While I was in fact being prideful, I did not think I was. Also, I did not realize I was feeling entitled. Surprise! We are in grave danger when we think we are doing fine (I Corinthians 10:12). Only God knows what is really inside our human hearts.

“I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.” Jeremiah 17:10, NIV

Confession is, indeed, good for the soul. As I sit here now, writing, nothing external in my world has changed but it all looks okay again because I am focused on God, trusting in Him, not myself, and doing my work of writing for Him. When we trust Him and do good–whether that “good”  is our own particular work for Him or the business of a daily life that reveals God to unbelievers (I Peter 2:12) –then we can “dwell in the land and enjoy safe pastures.” (Psalm 37:3, NIV).  And truly we are then fed and well fed!

Image result for Free Picture of Child WaitingSometimes we just have to wait. Lamentations 3:1-20 talks of the trials Jeremiah has endured, even to the point that he said “Perished is my strength and my expectation from the Lord.” (v. 18, AMPC). However, when Jeremiah changes his focus in verse 21 he says,

“But this I recall, therefore have I hope and expectation: It is of the Lord’s mercies and loving-kindnesses that we are not consumed, because His (tender) mercies fail not. They are new every morning; great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness” (v. 21-23)

In verses 24-25, Jeremiah then sets his mind to wait and hope for the Lord.  Verses 24-25 give great comfort and strength while we wait. The NIV phrases it this way: “I will say to myself ‘the Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’ The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”  The rest of Lamentations 3 explains why it is good to hope quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Read it and see for yourself!

So, in times when we do not feel God’s presence or His peace, we can bring to mind that it is because of His great love that we are not consumed. Then, like Jeremiah, we can wait for Him with confident expectancy because we know “the LORD is good and His love endures forever; his faithfulness throughout all generations (Psalm 100:5, NIV)

Image result for Free clipart of God's QualitiesWe can wait for God with confident expectancy because we understand His nature.   

 

 

 

 

 

In Part Five, we will look at some of the flaming arrows (lies) the enemy uses to keep us from dwelling in the shelter of the Most High, and from resting in the shadow of the Almighty. (Psalm 91)

God Promises His presence IF. . . Part Three

Review: In Part One on this subject, we learned that God’s presence is often termed “God’s face”,  that He tells us to seek His face, that it is a vital need for us, and that He will help us.  Part Two covered learn basic truth’s about God’s presence and the fact that He promises His presence if we love and obey Him. In Part Three, we will examine some of the many ways we can love God.

5. HOW DO WE OBEY AND LOVE GOD?

Image result for Free Clip Art of QuestionsSo, if God tells us to seek His face: What do we do to find Him? Why do we sometimes feel aware of Him and other times not? What makes it more, or less, likely?

Summary:
How we behave when we truly love another human instructs us how to obey and love God.

  • If we love Him. . . we will obey His commands.
  • If we love Him, we will . . . meditate on the Word.
  • If we love Him, we will . . . talk with Him – all day
  • If we love Him, we will . . . live our life for Him and do our specific work for Him each day
  •  However, there is no magic formula.

Image result for Free Picture of Father In ParkHow we behave when we truly love another human instructs us how to obey and love God. We will do work for those we truly love, like a parent lovingly labors to provide for his family and does special works of love as well. A mom will stay up late, making a Ralph S. Mouse costume for book character day. A dad will take his kids to a park, even when he is exhausted.

When we love a person, we will also do what they ask, we will think about the words they say, we will talk with them when we are with them, we will sing that person’s praises to others, and we will simply dote on them, as when a parent takes a child into their lap and cuddles them or when a husband and wife embrace. If we truly love God, all these things will come naturally, just as they come naturally when we love a human.

The most important thing, however, is obedience.  God clearly says that if we do not obey Him, we do not truly love Him.

He who has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me.“  (John 14:21, NIV)

If we love Him. . . we will obey His commands. God told Old Testament believers how to seek Him. Psalm 24:4-5 gives God’s first requirement of those who would seek Him. We are told to have clean hands and a pure heart,  to not worship idols (be sure God is first in our life), and never tell lies (Psalm 24:4, NLT) And verse 6 in the AMPC clearly says “This is the generation [description] of those  who seek Him  . . . ) (emphasis added).

If we love Him, we will . . .  meditate on the Word. If you really love someone, you think about what they said they wanted you to do right? That holds true whether that is a child, a friend or a spouse. God tells us what He wants us to do in His Word. For every believer, it is essential to think on His Word all day. He tells us to in Deuteronomy 6:7 and numerous other places in the Bible. Why? So we will live like He wants us to rather than yielding to the temptations of the world, “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” (I John 2:16, KJV)

Another reason, I believe, that God commands us to ponder on His Word constantly is that thinking about God’s Word all day keeps our human mind safe from fear and worry, which are more of a problem for some of us (like me) than others. Also, if we are always learning some new Bible truth about issues that trouble us, we will gradually learn the Bible principles pertaining to that issue or at least enough to master it with God’s grace.

Image result for Free Clip Art of ShieldGod’s Word in my mind is a shield around my mind.

If we love Him, we will . . . talk with Him – all day. Perhaps you have heard of the classic little book “The Practice of the Presence of God”? Written in the 17th century, this small book shows us how to be aware of God’s presence throughout the day, every day. Brother Lawrence, the author, shows that the most important thing is to simply to talk with God as we go about our everyday tasks of life. The Bible models this behavior for us. Consider Abraham, whom God called His friend. You certainly talk with a friend. Consider Enoch who “walked with God”; surely when we walk with someone, we talk with them! Consider David, who obviously talked with God often!

“Brother Lawrence insisted that, to be constantly aware of God’s presence, it is necessary to form the habit of continually talking with Him throughout each day.” (The Practice of the Presence of God, p. 11)

Whenever I feel distant from Him, I usually find I have stopped talking with Him during daily life, and, that simply to begin talking with Him again restores my soul. It is amazing that I so often forget this simple thing, but I can only thank God for always reminding me to talk with Him and for telling me clearly that He does not condemn my human weaknesses (Psalm 103:14).

IImage result for free clip art of workf we love Him, we will . . . live our life for Him and do our specific work for Him each day.  Throughout the 29 days it has taken to write this, Holy Spirit has edited heavily! One essential truth I left out in the first few drafts was:  We find His presence so often when we are just doing our best to live our individual, simple daily life for Him (I Peter 2:12, I Thessalonians 4:11).

We also find God when we are doing our specific work for Him, letting our light shine into the darkness (Mathew 5:16). We find the joy of His presence as we serve Him.

The love, the joy, the peace, all the good fruits that He showers on us every day as we live for Him are all part of His presence, and they are Him. God is love (I John 4:8), He is our peace (Ephesians 2:14-18), His joy in us gives us His strength (Nehemiah 8:10), and on and on.

Image result for free clip art of fruits of the spirit

We cannot outgive God! When we give Him a daily life that pleases Him and when we do the work He told us to, He surprises us with good things, like awareness of His presence and the indescribable pleasures that His presence brings.

However, there is no magic formula, even when we do all we can. There is no magic formula to make ourselves aware of God’s presence. God is God! He is in heaven, and we mere humans, His creations, are here below on earth. It would be presumptuous to think we have control over anything at all, much less anything concerning God, the Almighty, the Creator, the First and the Last, the Alpha and the Omega!  Take heed and stand in awe of God. Let us remember our proper place, at His feet, in constant, grateful worship and swift readiness to obey His slightest command.  Remember Micah 6:8? We are to walk humbly before our God.

But, let us at the same time, remember He does tell us to seek his presence and He does tell us how we can do that.  So, why are we not always aware of Him?

To be continued in Part Four.  Be blessed as you seek God’s presence today!

God Promises His Presence IF . . . Part Two

Review: In Part One on this subject, we learned that God’s presence is often termed “God’s face”,  that He tells us to seek His face, that it is a vital need for us, and that He will help us. In Part Two, we will learn basic truth’s about God’s presence, and we will see that He promises His presence if we love and obey Him.

3. BASIC TRUTHS ABOUT GODS PRESENCE.

Image result for royalty free picture of god watching over usHere are some basic truths about God’s presence. This is just a start on what is very long list.

  • God is always, always, always with us, watching over us, whether we are consciously aware of His presence or not.
  • God’s presence is a HUGE blessing.
  • God’s presence is a gift, not something we can earn.
  • God’s presence is a mystery.

God is always, always, always with us, watching over us, whether we are consciously aware of His presence or not. (Deuteronomy 31:6; Isaiah 41:10, and Zephaniah 3:17). Because we know God is always with us, we can go ahead and live our daily life, by faith, and enjoy our life, whether we feel His presence or not.  To me, Psalm 37:3 says that if we trust Him and do good, we will then (because of trusting Him and doing good) dwell in the land (which means to me, the promised land, the place where His promises are manifested in our lives.) Then, He will be faithful to us and we will definitely be taken care of.

“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, NIV). I like to dwell on “truly you shall be fed.”

God’s presence is a HUGE blessing. In Psalm 16 we hear David taking refuge in the Lord, praising God and thanking God for His goodness, which includes the joy of His presence. David affirms his commitment to the Lord and tells Him “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11, AMPC). The blessings we have when we are in God’s presence are countless. Three of the most precious to me are peace (Exodus 33:14-17), the reassurance of protection (Joshua 1:5; Isaiah 43:1-2), and that joy David speaks of in Psalm 16:11.    The most important of these for me, at this moment in my life, is peace.

What blessing of God’s presence do you most need right now?

God tells us specifically that He rewards us when we earnestly seek Him. “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6, NIV)

Image result for royalty free picture of a giftGod’s presence is a gift, not something we can earn. Being aware of God’s presence is an indescribable privilege and a gift, not to be taken lightly and not to be thought of as something we are “entitled” to or that we can earn.  We are to have an attitude of humility before the Lord.

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8, NIV)

In John 7:37-39, Jesus promises the Spirit to those who were thirsty for Him. Notice that those who believed in Jesus would receive the Spirit and that the Spirit would be given.

“On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’ By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given since Jesus had not yet been glorified.” (NIV)

God’s presence is a mystery.  As a human, I cannot expect to completely understand the mystery of being aware of God’s presence. Job 24 says that the wonders God does with the sky and seas are but the “outskirts of his ways or the mere fringes of His force”  so “Who dares contemplate or who can understand the thunders of His full, magnificent power? (Job 26:14 AMPC).  I can only reverently ponder God’s mysteries and be grateful for His mercies and His lovingkindness.

“Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.” Psalm 109:6, NIV.

In my opinion if we did understand it more, or could in some measure control it, we would likely misuse it, like we humans have misused our advanced understanding of human sexuality. I will be content with God’s reassurance that

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and godliness.” (2 Peter 1:3, NIV.)

However, I will continue to seek His face – always!

4. GOD PROMISES HIS PRESENCE IF WE LOVE AND OBEY HIM

If God promises something, we can be assured He will keep his promise. God does not lie, He does not change His mind, and He does what He says He will do. (I Samuel 15:29)

  • One purpose of the Upper Room Discourse.
  • God promises He will reveal himself to us and let Himself be clearly seen by us.
  • God promises He will make his home in us.

Image result for royalty free picture of upper roomOne purpose of the Upper Room Discourse.  Chapters 13-17 of the gospel of John are called the Upper Room Discourse, the last time Jesus addressed His disciples as a group. He invited them into a closer, more intimate relationship with Him. And He clearly told them, and us, how to have that intimate relationship. Ponder that fact. Jesus knew the disciples would especially remember what He said to them on that night, and He chose that time to invite them into a closer relationship with Him.  Why?

At the end of his discourse, Jesus explains why He had said these things.

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

Jesus knew what His disciples would face, and He was making sure they would know how to find His peace.

Jesus knew the trials each of us would face in this world, and He told us clearly how to live in His peace.

Image result for royalty free picture of fogGod promises He will reveal himself to us and let Himself be clearly seen by us. Jesus told his disciples:

“The person who has My commands and keeps them is the one who [really] loves Me; and whoever [really] loves Me will be loved by My father, and I [too] will love him and will show (reveal, manifest) Myself to him. [I will let Myself be clearly seen by him and make Myself real to him.]” (John 14:21, AMPC)

This was one of the verses that helped me overcome depression and fear that had lasted two years. During the healing process, I learned the benefit of meditating on the Word all day long. I carried this verse, and others, everywhere. I repeated the last part of this promise– that He would let me see Him clearly–over and over. That brought comfort when nothing else seemed to.

Knowing I would be able to feel His presence gave me hope, because I knew from experience that the slightest touch from God brings deep peace and joy.

I desperately needed to be aware of God’s presence during those long months and moments of emotional turmoil.  During those moments when all I could feel was fear and sadness and hopelessness, that verse always gave hope and a measure of peace, because I knew God would keep His promise, even if it took a while. Sometimes that “while” was part of a day, sometimes much longer, but He always did—and still does—allow me the unspeakable privilege of seeing Him clearly. He helps me feel I am not alone.

God promises He will make His Home in us. Jesus promises that if we love God and obey His commandments, He will make his home in us.  Jesus gave one of the most comforting promises possible when He said

“. . . If a person [really] loves Me, he will keep My word [obey My teaching[; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home (abode, special dwelling place) with him.” (John 14:23)

Image result for royalty free picture of child opening doorThat means, that even when we cannot feel His presence, He IS living in us and He IS with us. He is always with us because He makes his home, his living place, with us. I liken that to when a child walks through the front door, calling out “Mama!” That child knows Mama is there—because Mama is always there. Mama lives there, Mama makes her home there, with that child, and that child knows if he calls to her, he will hear her voice and he can go find her.

I think (and this is just my idea, not a specific example from the Bible) it could be like God and I live in the same home, but sometimes we are not in the same room, and I have to go find him or, the other way around!  We are with Him and He is with us in the same house, but we are not in His presence until we go to where He is. And, like the perfect parent He is, He always responds to our calling out for Him. If we go where He is, we will see His face.

When I bring my grandsons back to their house after a visit, they call out “Mama! Papa!” as soon as they walk through the door. Papa might be in the back yard, and Mama might be using the computer in the bedroom, but my grandsons know their parents are somewhere in the house, ready with a hug and an ear to hear what they did. And my grandsons want to be in their presence, to see Mama and Papa – face to face.

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God Promises His Presence IF. . . – Part One

Image result for Royalty Free Picture of Crepe Myrtle Pink BlossomsAwakened by His presence. In the dim light of early morning, before the sun had risen above my line of sight with the buildings east of the window, I sat at my computer, tracing out green and brown intricacies of tree branches. Holy Spirit had woken me up early this morning. Half awake, at 6:30, I was simply aware of His presence, aware of being loved and aware I felt at peace. This early morning gift of a special awareness of His presence has happened several times since last year when depression and fear motivated me to desperately pursue God’s presence. It has happened at other times, too, most often when writing. However, this time, for many days I had been unable to feel His presence at all, much less that blessed intense awareness of His love for me.

Still enveloped in that peace that had covered me like a soft blanket while I was lying in bed,  I watched clusters of fuschia blossoms and seed pods at the ends of slender branches, swaying in the gentle morning wind.

“Hmmm,” I thought. “Only the branches on the edges of the trees catch the breeze, only those that reach out, like an unfurled sail.”

Image result for Royalty Free Picture of SailboatJust beyond the grasp of memory, I saw a motivational poster, an aerial shot of a solitary sailboat, sail hoisted, on a large lake, with something inspiring in large letters across the bottom, something like “If you don’t hoist your sail, you’ll stay stuck” only it was worded positively.

As I rocked in my desk chair, sipping iced coffee, I pondered how that paralleled reaching out to God. Although I am not a sailor, I know that even with the wind blowing hard, until a sail is hoisted, a boat will only drift with the tide and current. I pondered. . . God is always, always with us but until we reach out, we sometimes do not feel His presence.  Was that right?

How this little book grew. This book began a month ago as a short blog post that grew like Boston ivy! When I began writing, I felt close to God most of every day. But through the month, trials added up, and awareness of His presence wobbled. The times when I felt separated came more often until finally, I felt panicky and discouraged three days in a row, unable to feel God’s presence. That entire month I was working on this little book, studying and learning about His presence and His peace.

One blessing from that trial was discovering a spiritual emergency kit for finding the peace of God’s presence. As I reflected, I realized three simple things never fail to restore me to the secret place of the Most High:

  • Thanksgiving and praise,
  • Just talking with God throughout the day, and
  • Meditation on the blessed Word of God.

Details about the emergency kit are in a blog post entitled “My Spiritual Emergency Kit.” The goal of this little book about God’s presence is to bring deeper understanding of God’s presence and how to find and stay in “the shelter of the Most High.” (Psalm 91)

An overview. Listed below are the main points of this discussion. These are only a starting point for your own Bible study on this essential topic.

      1. What do we mean by God’s presence and His face?
      2. God tells us to seek His face.
      3. Basic truths about God’s presence.
      4. God promises His presence if we love and obey Him.
      5. How do we love and obey God?
      6. Why we sometime do not sense His presence.
      7. Hindrances to awareness of God’s presence.
      8. Lies from the enemy about God’s presence
      9. If you do not feel His presence.
      10. Do not give up no matter what or how long!
      11. Take courage!
      12. Wait with confident expectancy!
      13. “My deliverer is coming!’
      1. WHAT DO WE MEAN BY GOD’S PRESENCE AND HIS FACE?

Seeking the face of God means to seek His presence. A common Hebrew translation of “face” is “presence”. ( www.gotquestions.org) In this writing, when I talk about seeking God’s face or His presence, I mean seeking the conscious awareness of His presence. He is always with us, but the topic of this writing is being consciously aware of His presence.   Pastor and teacher John Piper says we do not seek God because he is lost. Rather

“. . . there is always something through which or around which we must go to meet him consciously.” (“What Does it Mean to Seek the LORD?” at www.desiringgod.org)

2. GOD TELLS US TO SEEK HIS FACE.

  • Seeking His face is a vital need.
  • He will help us.
  • Seek Him like David did.

The Bible tells us over and over to seek God’s face.  Psalm 105:4 says “Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.” (NIV)

Image result for Royalty Free Picture of Seeking God“You have said, Seek My face [inquire for and require My presence as Your vital need]. My heart says to You, Your face {Your presence}, Lord, will I seek, inquire for, and require [of necessity and on the authority of Your Word]. (Psalm 27:8, AMPC.) 

Seeking His face is a vital need. Notice that God says to seek His face, to ask for and insist upon His presence as our vital need, or something without which we cannot survive. Because this is clearly God’s desire, we can ask for help and be confident He will give it. I John 5:14-15 assures us about “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.”  (NIV) The wording of verse 15 in the Amplified Classic is even more reassuring.

And if (since) we [positively] know that He listens to us in whatever we ask, we also know [with settled and absolute knowledge]  that we have [granted us as our present possessions] the requests made of Him.”

He will help us. If God tells us to doImage result for royalty free clipart of i can do all things something, we can do it because His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9), so we can confidently say with Paul “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13, NIV) That “everything” includes being aware of God’s presence. We may “approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16) We can call upon God for help because Jesus is our great High Priest who has “been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet without sin.” (v. 15).

Jesus sympathizes with our weaknesses. He understands our difficulties, and that includes the difficulty we have sometimes in doing what God says.

Seek Him like David. Read all 14 verses of Psalm 27 and see how David felt about the presence of God. In the first stanza (v. 1-3), David praises God and expresses gratitude to Him for taking such good care of him. In the second stanza (4-6), he expresses confidence that if he seeks God’s presence, God will keep him safe; and in the third stanza (7-12), David voices deep yearning for God’s presence. Finally, in the fourth stanza (13-14), David says He is confident He will see God’s goodness while he lives on earth, and he encourages himself and the listener to “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” God is everything to David. No wonder David longs to be in the presence of God!

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My spiritual emergency kit

Image result for Royalty Free Picture of Emergency First Aid KitMy spiritual emergency kit.  Three tools are in my spiritual emergency kit. I use them when I lose my peace, that is to say, when I lose the awareness of God’s presence “. . . for He Himself is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14). These three Bible-based tools are guaranteed to help us be conscious of God’s presence and His peace, no matter the circumstances. What are they?

  • Praise and thanksgiving,
  • Talking with Him, and
  • Meditating on Scripture

Why this post and why now?  I struggled this past month to write a blog post (that has turned into a small booklet) about finding the presence of God. The month began with walking in victory, feeling God’s peace pretty much all day. But then as trial after trial happened, peace and awareness of His presence wobbled. With each trial, I felt separated from Him for a longer time. Then came a series of progressively downward spirals that left me panicky and discouraged three days in a row, unable to feel God’s presence.

What was happening and why do we all need an emergency kit?

God must train us to keep ourselves calm in hard times. With the “troubles, trials, distress, and frustration” of this world (John 16:33, AMPC), we Christ followers must be able to keep ourselves calm.  This essential ability comes only with training. “Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man whom You discipline and instruct, O Lord, and teach out of Your law that You may give him power to keep himself calm in the days of adversity, until the [inevitable] pit of corruption is dug for the wicked.” (Psalm 94:12-13, AMPC). 

He uses trials to trains us all. I believe God allows circumstances to press us hard sometimes . . .

. . . so that we will wobble. . .

. . .so that the effort to regain balance can strengthen us.

Image result for Wobble Board ExercisesBeing forced to work hard to regain our peace strengthens the mental and spiritual muscles that keep us walking in step with the Spirit (Galations 5:25) just as balance practice strengthens our body. Physical therapy for a broken ankle, which I have had, includes standing on a wobbly board (which is actually called a “wobble board”) so that injured muscles affecting balance must work harder. In doing so, muscles as well as nerve connections are strengthened.

God trains us all where we need it most. Losing conscious awareness of His presence tilts my world.  I believe that, in order to strengthen me where I am weak, God purposely withdrew awareness of His presence often this past month. And I say OUCH! But I also thank God, because it know it is necessary and it is turning out for my good (Hebrews 12).  God alone knows the human heart, and He knows just where each of us needs to be strengthened the most. Where do you need to be stronger?

Image result for royalty free picture of pruningGod also must constantly prune our flesh away (John 15:1-7). God had to shear off more pride from my heart this month. This entire past month, I labored to finish the piece about finding God’s presence, so I could pursue my own agenda—two books I wanted to get online and put on the Resources tab. But the little manuscript kept growing and growing. Instead of praying and asking God what he was showing me with the delay, I kept trying to do His work my way, according to my plans. Can you see the pride? God was training me to let Him lead in His work. He was also hacking off pride and stubbornness I could not see.

So, as the month went on, with trials steadily coming and being unable to find God even when I was writing, I grew desperate!  That showed me I needed a definite plan for what to do when I lost awareness of God’s presence and His peace.  I needed a spiritual emergency kit. As I prayed, I realized three simple spiritual disciplines never, no never, no never fail me!

Image result for royalty free picture of tabernacleGuarantee Number One: Thanksgiving and praise. In Psalm 100:4, God tells us to “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” To me, that says we take the initial step toward God, or go through the gate, by giving Him thanks. Then, once inside the gate, we may draw nearer. As we praise Him, from inside the gate now, we may enter into His courts, where His presence is.

When I have lost awareness of God and His peace, I start thanking Him for what is right in front of me—being healthy enough to carry my laundry to the little laundry room, having all the clothes I need, not having to do the laundry by hand, etc.  As I keep thanking Him, He uplifts my head (Psalm 3:3), just as He did for David when he was fleeing from countless enemies, including his own son, Absalom.  I find His rest and then confidence in God replaces the fear (Psalm 3: 5-8).

Image result for royalty free picture of sweating person with cold drink of waterFeeling God’s presence after a separation brings such relief that praise follows automatically.  When someone gives you a cold drink on a hot day, you say thank you and then “Man, that hits the spot!” You talk about how relieved you feel. You are, in a sense, praising or appreciating and admiring that drink of cold water. So, when I feel separated from God I can  offer my sincere thanks to Him and then praise Him by expressing my appreciation for what He does and my admiration of who He is, just like I would verbalize appreciation for a cool drink. That, of course, gets my mind off my problems and I start thinking on the countless wonderfulnesses of God.

When a small child gets upset, a loving father takes that child into his embrace, and calms the child by getting his little mind on something else. In the deepest sense, I think I am like that.

Image result for royalty free picture of takling wit hJesusGuarantee Number Two:  Just talk with Him! It takes effort to develop the habit of constantly talking with God all day. In the little book “Practicing the Presence of God”, Brother Lawrence shows us how to do that, and he admits it was a challenge for him, too, at first. He said “. . . a little effort was needed to form the habit of continually conversing with God, telling Him everything that was happening. However, after a little careful practice, God’s love refreshed him, and it all became quite easy.” (The Practice of the Presence of God ,p. 14)

Simply talking with God, and especially out loud,  is one of the quickest ways I know to feel God’s peace. Yet so many, many times I forget and let my mind spin and spin, worrying or overplanning or whatever else is not worth thinking about!  I have learned, though, to just start talking with God about whatever is right in front of me.  If I try to think of something important or proper to say, the mind keeps on spinning. Like Brother Lawrence, I have learned to talk with Him about whatever I am doing at the moment. And sometimes it seems talking about the little things helps most.

I do not know why this “works” but God says He wants us to be at peace and He wants us to abide, or live with Him, constantly. This “just talking” with Him is, of course, one form of prayer, but for me it is separate from regular devotional times. I think this is one way to “Pray continually” (I Thessalonians 5:17, NIV)

Image result for royalty free picture of open ibleGuarantee Number Three: Meditate on His Word.  I have learned, the hard way, that if I keep a Bible verse in the front of my mind for even a few moments, I feel better. When attention is focused on the Word, there is no mental space left for negative feelings or problems. I either repeat verses I know or ones I am currently working on memorizing. For me, memorization requires repeating a phrase over and over and over yet again. And, as I do that, God gives more understanding than when I just read that verse or passage. But you do not have to try to memorize the verse or verses. Just think about them and turn them over and over in your mind, talking with God about what they mean.

God tells us many times in the Word to keep His Word in our conscious mind all day long. When I forget, feelings turn ugly and discouraging. But every time I get my mind on the Word, His Word successfully accomplishes God’s purpose in my life (Isaiah 55:11), because God’s Word is “alive and powerful” (Hebrews 4:12, NLT).

Image result for royalty free clip art of speech bubbleYears ago while in Al-Anon and before I knew Jesus, I learned that I can only think about one thing at a time, that I have one mind, and I can choose to think about good things or about bad. Learning that concept was necessary to survive that troubled time in my life. The same understanding helps me today.

We have to, of course, live daily life but while we work, exercise, drive, take out the trash or whatever we are doing, we can keep our mind on a Scripture.

Image result for royalty free picture of kitten in a carrierA personal example. While writing this blog post, I once again proved to myself the effectiveness of the emergency kit. I paused in the writing to take my new kitten to the veterinarian where I learned he still has ringworm, as well as another skin problem, will need two more weeks of treatment (after four weeks already) and there will be another big bill. I FELT deflated as I drove home, with loud meows all the way. However, in between the meows, while poking my finger through the carrier’s wire sides, trying to soothe the kitten, I chose to thank God that I had the kitten, that there was enough money to cover the expense, that cures had been discovered, etc.

Then, as we walked up the stairs, I just talked with Him about my fears and asked Him to help me have faith about it all. Finally, as I gave the kitten a treat and rested in the rocker, Holy Spirit and I returned to my current memory passage, Psalm 27, where it says “He makes my feet like hinds’ feet [able to stand firmly or make progress upon the dangerous heights of testing and trouble]’ He sets me securely upon my high places.” (AMPC)

“Lord, this is a time of testing and trouble but I know You are making me stronger through this concern about my kitten’s health and about finances. I know You are teaching me to stand firm and to keep moving forward with our life together, even though . . . “

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Holy Spirit, kitten and I had a peaceful evening together.

 

 

Think about Eden

“Think About Eden”

Image result for Royalty Free Picture of Sunset over housesGod changes the world, twice, for you each day.

He dims the light

softens the sound

cools the air

and flames heaven with patterned colors,

all to delight your soul, calm your spirit, and give you rest.

As a tender parent, He blankets earth, and you, with soothing peace.

Stop. Still your hands. Let your Maker tell you of His love for you.

Pause in your rush to do. Listen.

He says “Be with Me” as He said to Adam and Eve in Eden.

Honor His love for you.

Pay attention.

Image result for Royalty Free Picture of Trees At NightLet Him show you how He turns green branches into inky black filigree.

Let Him delight your ear with birdsong and thrumming silence.

Let Him cool your skin with gentle whispers of wind that slide through the sheltering trees.

Breathe deeply. Take in the fragrances floating in cooler air.

Let Him give your body rest.

Simply stop. Open your heart and your eyes to your Maker.

And thank Him.

You will feel His presence.

You will know His love.

Image result for Royalty Free Picture of Sunset over housesIn the gloaming. I looked up, tapped my pencil on the slate-board in my lap, and smiled into the sky. Broad bands of carnation pink and dusty blue arched high above from east to west over the play area in the center of Marquis Apartments. From our second-floor balcony, I saw my daughter swinging with the daughter of our next door neighbor. This was my favorite time of day, next to the actual time I picked her up from daycare. We had come home, read two Dr. Seuss books, done homework, had supper and now, in the cool of the evening, in the minutes before the gloaming, I had a few moments to relax and watch her play.

As a believer only months old, I was devouring everything I could about God. Having not seen the light of God’s truth until the age of 29, I had experienced walking in darkness and I desperately wanted to stay close to this wonderful Jesus I had found. Reading a devotional called “God at Eventide” had taught me to stop and practice waiting for God’s presence. And, during that particular eventide, Holy Spirit had given thoughts that formed into words and more words as I wrote.

The poem “Think about Eden” flowed out, in less than ten minutes, with only a few crossed out phrases. Astounded, I stared at the page and reread the words. “Oh! Thank You, Jesus! Thank You, Lord!” I breathed quietly.

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“That is so beautiful, Lord! How did You do that?”

How God touches our mind. Well, dear reader, I am still pondering that question and similar questions thirty-plus years later. How does God put such clear thoughts into our minds? How does He give us ideas to solve problems, to do creative work, and to live our daily lives? How does He make His Word speak to us? How does He bring into conscious thought the precise Biblical principle we need in any given situation?

I may never know, but this I know. . . I will not fully understand this side of heaven just how God communicates with us so clearly but I know His Word is one powerful way.

When loneliness attacks, I hear “And behold I am with you and will keep watch over you with care. I will take notice of you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land.” (Genesis 28:15, AMPC) When discouragement seeks to distract me from pressing on in my work for God and in doing all my daily tasks as unto Him, I hear “Wait and hope for and expect the Lord. Be brave and of good courage and let your heart be strong and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.“ (Psalm 27:14, AMPC).

There is a time . . . there is a season. . . As I thought how to wrap up this little devotional (so it would not spin into another little book, which by God’s grace keeps happening lately!), I thought of the verse” God has made everything beautiful in its time.” (Ecclesiates 3:11, NIV). I thought of that because I had lost the “God Calling” poem over the years, one of the few pieces of writing I have ever lost. I tried to rewrite it several times over the 30-plus years since that tender evening with the Lord, watching my daughter play. But I never could get it “right.”

Well, for two weeks I have been working on a piece called “Finding God’s Presence.” So, today, with my mind soaked in thoughts about His presence, it was time to prayerfully attempt to recreate that long-ago “God Calling” poem. This version is not identical, but it is what my heart says now.

This version, at this time, is what I know of the beauty of simply waiting on God, setting aside time just to be in His presence, taking time to appreciate what He is showing me and letting Him have the pleasure of soothing me when I need it, just as I have had the pleasures of soothing my daughter and my grandsons. And just as their choosing to sit with me greatly pleases me, so I know my choosing to sit with my heavenly Father greatly pleases Him. Truly, everything is beautiful in its time.

Won’t you take time, today, to sit with our Heavenly Father and just let Him love you?

Image result for Royalty Free Picture of Parents Hand Reaching Out To Child

 

 

All-Seeing, All-Knowing

Image result for Royalty Free Clip Art of Quill PenThis writing thing. Well, fellow pilgrim, I must say this writing thing is an adventure, with many twists and turns along the way. I intended this poem to be an easy blog post because, lately, writing time has been reduced. Then, I found an answer to something I  have pondered for years– how to make poetry more useful.

Writing poetry blesses me because Bible truths come to my mind, but I could not see how to ensure readers saw the underlying Bible truths. Today, I saw the obvious, i.e., just add the explanation into the  poem. So, here we go.  First, the entire poem alone, and then the poem with Bible truths added in.

And would you do me a favor please? Let me know what you think about this format, either in the comment section below this post or by sending me an email (on the “Email me” tab.) God bless you as you read!

“All Seeing, All Knowing”

All seeing, all knowing, how great is Your name!
It wipes out all fear, all guilt, and all shame.
Oh! Thank You, my Dearest, my beloved Sweet One,
for new life in my soul, through Jesus, Your Son.

May He live deep within by the Spirit’s great grace.
May He guide and correct as I run this great race.
He’ll help me press on. In His strength I’m made whole
forgetting the past, made new in my soul!

No more of old me! That person is dead.
I’m risen with new life, Lord, just as You said!

I’m risen with . . .

. . . new life that arises and shines from within,
that shines through the darkness and keeps me from sin,
that reveals the desires of the flesh and the eyes,
that reveals deadly pride and helps me walk wise.

How I thank You, my Jesus, for all that You’ve done,
for abounding new life, for making us one!
No more are we split by sin’s great divide,
We’re one in the blood that flowed from Your side,

Yes, when I walk in Your way,
when I carry Your Name,
all things are made new, yes, nothing’s the same!

“All Seeing, All Knowing” — Bible Truths Included

All seeing, all knowing, how great is Your name!
It wipes out all fear, all guilt, and all shame.
God sees and knows everything. (Isaiah 40:28-29) That is His nature, part of His name or attributes. A name is a word by which we know or describe someone or something. God’s name means His nature. This is helpful to remember when pondering Scriptures with the “name” of God. For example, Psalm 33:22 (“In him our hearts rejoice for we trust in his holy name”) shows that when we trust in the name, or nature of God, in His good qualities, our hearts will be happy.

Image result for Royalty Free Picture of CrownWhen we are adopted into His kingdom, when we bear His name, all fear, guilt, and shame are wiped out. (I John 1:7)

Oh! Thank You, my Dearest, my beloved Sweet One,
for new life in my soul, through Jesus, Your Son.
May God, who gave us new life through the blood His only begotten Son Jesus, shed on Calvary (John 3:16), be the “Fairest of Ten Thousand” to our souls, as the 1881 hymn “The Lilly of the Valley” by Charles Fry says.

May He live deep within by the Spirit’s great grace.
May He guide and correct as I run this great race.
Before Jesus left this earth, He told us that if we truly love Him and obey His teachings, He and the Father will love us and make their home in our heart. (John 14:23)

Image result for royalty free clip art of feet runningLet us long for Holy Spirit’s guidance as we endeavor, like Paul, “. . . to throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and run with patience the race set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1, NIV)

He’ll help me press on. In His strength I’m made whole
forgetting the past, made new in my soul!
Like Paul, let us remember that although we will never attain perfection on earth, we can “press on” toward maturity, putting all our confidence in Christ as we strive to “. . . take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of” us. (Philippians 3:14)

 No more of old me! That person is dead.
I’m risen with new life, Lord, just as You said!
As we learn in Romans 6:1-23, when we were baptized into Christ Jesus, our old self was “. . . crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be done away with in order that “we should no longer be slaves to sin “ (v. 4- 6)

So, we can “count ourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore . . . “ we do not have to let sin reign in our mortal bodies. (v. 11) As we follow Jesus, He frees us from enslavement to sin. We are free from its power. (NLT)

Image result for Royalty Free Picture of Empty TombI’m risen with . . .
. . . new life that arises and shines from within,
What a promise 2 Corinthians 5:17 contains. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (NKJV) The AMPC says, “. . . the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away.”

that shines through the darkness and keeps me from sin,
God’s Word cuts through the darkness of our world and lights the way for my next few steps (“Your Word is a lamp to my feet. . . ”) and it also shines light further away, along the path (. . . and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105.) Jesus is the Living Word and when He lives in our hearts – what a bright light we are privileged to have! As I John 1:5b teaches us “. . . God is Light, and there is no darkness in Him [no, not in any way]” AMPC.

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that reveals the desires of the flesh and the eyes,
that reveals deadly pride and helps me walk wise
With the light of God–Light that is God–in our hearts, our eyes are enlightened to see sin as sin. And when we use the Sword of God’s Word (Ephesians 6:17), that Living Word penetrates to the deepest part of our hearts and shows us whether the thoughts and purposes of our hearts are good or evil.

“For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immoral] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12, AMPC)

How I thank You, my Jesus, for all that You’ve done,
for abounding new life, for making us one!
Although the enemy of our souls, the devil, always seeks to steal, kill, and destroy, Jesus came to give us a “rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10, ESV) We have that life when we are one with Him. “But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.” (I Corinthians 6:17, ESV)

No more are we split by sin’s great divide,
We’re one in the blood that flowed from Your side,
Sin separates us from God. It is a huge chasm we cannot cross on our own. Isaiah 59:2 tells us that our iniquities have separated us from God; our sins have hidden His face from us, so that He will not hear. But, when we are united in purpose with Jesus, when we are one with Him, when we strive to live like Him and pour out our life for others as He did, our life is united with Him in His life, His blood.

Image result for royalty free picture of walking with jesusYes, when I walk in Your way,
when I carry Your Name,
all things are made new, yes, nothing’s the same!
When we strive, with all our heart, soul and mind, to walk, or live, like Jesus did, when we make His purposes the focus of our life, we share in His likeness. We carry His likeness, His nature, His Name, to the world. As God shines His light and love through us, He uses us for the sake of His Kingdom. And His presence in our life overflows us with blessings.

Once we give up our old life of sin, we are new creatures, and nothing is ever the same again. It just gets “sweeter as the days go by”, as James Poyser attested in his famous song. May we strive to be “. . . to God the sweet aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” (2 Corinthians 2:15, Berean Study Bible).