Category Archives: TRUSTING GOD

Little paper hearts

“Oh no!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Part Two covers the following topics.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gods Arsenal for Peace and Security

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

Do you know what happens when you love God?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(and finally, verses 14-16):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image result for free picture of sunrise

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

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

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

Look how Matthew Henry talks about these promises :

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Do I really need God?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The following three passages of Scripture especially helped.

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

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

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

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

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

This verse tells me to:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daddy’s Hand - Daily Devotions | CBN.com

 

 

 

You can do it!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The message on the back of that card was:

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

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

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

 

Are you still praying for Israel?

Image result for public domain free picture of newspaper and cup of coffeeSo much is happening in our world. So much is happening in our world, the pace of events is accelerating, and much of what is happening seems horrible. But be encouraged! Yes, seemingly terrible things are happening “but our God is in heaven. He does whatever pleases Him.” (Psalm 115:3, ESV). God is still and will always, always, always be sovereign. He is allowing some evil things to be exposed, and He is allowing that for many reasons.

For a Biblical view of what is happening, and to help keep your heart safe in His peace, I recommend watching Victory News (https://victorynews.govictory.com, daily at 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.) and Flashpoint (https://flashpoint.govictory.com, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at 7:00 p.m.).  Another truthful and up-to-the-minute source for news from Israel is www.jerusalemprayerteam.org.

So much to pray about! There is much for believers to pray about and trust God for. Two especially helpful resources for prayer are the “Give Him 15” daily podcasts by Dutch Sheets and the Intercessors for America website. One thing we must pray about is Israel.

God tells us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! May they prosper who love you [the Holy City]!
May peace be within your walls and prosperity within your palaces!
For my brethren and companions’ sake, I will now say, Peace be within you!
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek, inquire for, and require your good. (Psalm 122:6-9, AMPC)

And God promises to bless those who bless Israel.

And I will bless those who bless you [who confer prosperity or happiness upon you] and curse him who curses or uses insolent language toward you; in you will all the families and kindred of the earth be blessed [and by you they will bless themselves]. (Genesis 12:3, AMPC)

Are you still praying for Israel? The world was horrified when Hamas attacked Israel on October 7 of last year. And Satan is still attacking Israel through Hamas and through  stirring up world-wide anti-Semitism. We need to pray for the protection of Jewish people world-wide. We also must pray for the enemies of Israel. Read Genesis 12:3 again and notice – God says He will curse those who curse or use insolent language against Israel.

And we must pray for the nation of Israel, that God will cause the enemies of Israel to be defeated (Deuteronomy 28:7), that Israel will totally destroy Hamas. Victory News includes a daily update from Israel where you can hear what is really happening.

IDF soldiers operating in Gaza. | IDF soldiers from the Naha… | FlickrAn important prayer for Israel. The military arm of Israel, the Israel Defense Force, needs our daily prayer. In 2005, I was privileged to visit the Holy Land. While there, I learned the powerful prayer below. Will you join me now in praying for the IDF?

God of our forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, may You bless the fighters of the Israel Defense Force who stand guard over our land and the cities of our God, from the border of Lebanon to the desert of Egypt, and from the great sea to the approach of the Arabah, on the land, in the air, and on the sea.

May Hashem cause the enemies who rise up against our fighters to be struck down before them. May the Holy One, blessed is He, preserve and protect our fighting men and women from every trouble and distress and from every plague and illness, may He lead our enemies under their sway, may He grant them salvation, and may the Scripture be fulfilled for them that says, “For it is Hashem your God Who goes with you to battle your enemies for you to save you.”  (Deuteronomy 20:4). Now let us respond, Amen.

How to help in a concrete way. The Israeli people also need our financial support. There are many organizations helping Israel. One such organization that I trust uses the money for helping Israel, not for personal gain, is www.jerusalemprayerteam.org.

Every prayer and every dollar help. I must ask myself, “Am I doing my part?”

Israel Flag Wallpapers - Wallpaper Cave

Are you fearful, like me?

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(the means of escape to a landing place),

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

O Little Town of Bethlehem - YouTube

God says: Soar!

Image result for public domain picture of soaring eagleThat soaring hawk. The waiting room was quiet, but I was not waiting quietly, at least not on the inside. Then came the blast of the Keurig machine and that wonderful penetrating aroma of fresh coffee. I knew that machine was there in the reception area because one half of this large office did cardiac stress tests, including chemical stress tests where people sometimes had a reaction that was helped with a simple cup of coffee. I had experienced that last year.

“Oh, Lord! I hope the doctor does not tell me I need another one of those this year!”

Tired of sitting, I walked over and stood in front of the floor to ceiling windows on the second floor of the doctor’s office. Since third grade, being even one floor above ground brings me back to the first time I was in a home with a second floor, when our Florida family visited my paternal grandmother in Nashville. I can still see Granny, smiling and leading us all through the side-entrance and up the narrow, carpeted, tunnel-like stairway to her second-floor apartment where, wonder of wonders, you looked right into the branches of trees.

The simple charm of that came back as my eyes traced the wave-like line of treetops. Then I saw it, just a spot at first, in the distance. Moving in narrow arcs from side to side, the hawk drew closer. As it drew closer the width of those arcs increased. The bird soared, wings fully opened, moving only to change altitude or make a turn and even then, only making slow, gentle flaps as its body angled into the turns.

Like many modern doctors’ offices, the entire wall was floor to ceiling windows.  I watched as that hawk flew left and right, back and forth, turning just as it was about to go out of my sight and going back in the other direction, over and over and over. Like it was performing, dancing in the air, just for me, it flew. Effortlessly.

“Lord, thank You. I get it. That hawk is soaring, as an eagle, just by spreading its wings. It is riding on the wind. I know You want me to mount up over the difficulties of life this day to soar with You, as You say in that verse in Isaiah 40. I know You want me to enjoy this day and be glad because You have made this day for me. It is no accident.” (Psalm 118:24)”

Image result for Public Domain Picture of Diamonds. Size: 122 x 104. Source: publicdomainvectors.orgIsaiah 40,“a grand chapter.” Isaiah 40, which contains that well-known verse about mounting up like an eagle, “is a grand chapter” as Henry H. Halley said. Verses 1 through 11 speak of the coming of Jesus. Verses 12-31, the rest of the chapter, speak of “the infinite power of God, and the eternal youth of those who trust Him” (Halley’s Bible Handbook, p. 385). To read the entire chapter is to walk, not on a field strewn with diamonds, but a field comprised of diamonds. We will pick up but a few diamonds of truth in this short writing, just enough to get the context for Isaiah 40:28-31, the passage we will focus on.

Isaiah 40 is the first chapter of a lengthy passage (chapters 40 through 56), that presents God’s promises of the coming deliverance for His people. God starts this discourse with “Comfort, comfort My people” (Isaiah 40:1, AMPC) and then He tells them to get ready because He, their sovereign Lord is coming “with power.”

Image result for public domain picture of c reationThen Isaiah shifts into one of the many sublime passages in the Word that describe God’s power. We hear the same thunderous truths we hear when God addresses Job in Job 38 through 41. In Job 38, God asks Job “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundations? (v. 4)  Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place? (v. 12), Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? (v. 18). In Job 39, God asks Job “Do you give the horse its strength or clothe his neck with a flowing mane? (v. 19). “Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom and spread his wings toward the south? Does the eagle soar at your command and build his nest on high?” (v. 26-27). (NIV)

Similarly, in Isaiah 40 we hear God ask:

Verse 12-15. “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, or with the breadth of His hand marked off the heavens?” and “Who has understood the mind of the LORD, or instructed Him as His counselor?” Then God says that “before Him all nations are as nothing; they are regarded by Him as worthless and less than nothing.” (v. 12, 13, and5a).

Verse 21-24. God asks haven’t you heard? Don’t you know that God reigns over all that is, and that He is omnipotent, omnipresent.  “He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers.” 

Starry Sky - Image AbyssVerse 25-26. With that in His listener’s minds, God, our Holy and loving God, then asks, “To whom will you compare Me? Or who is My equal?” Look up at the sky and think about Who made the heavens. Think about Who calls each star by name and keeps them all, right where they are.

Verses 27-31. God then asks, in view of all that, why do you think God is not watching you? “Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, ‘My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God.” (NIV) God asks haven’t you heard, don’t you know, that “The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.” And He never tires, He understands everything, and He gives strength to those who are weak. Even when human strength fails, God gives new strength to those who hope in Him. Then they soar and move forward like the most majestic creature of the air. They run and do not grow weary.

What does waiting mean? Let’s look at Verse 31 in the Amplified Bible

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

That word wait is rendered, in various translations, as wait, hope and trust. I’ve most often heard it quoted as wait. Notice that “waiting for the LORD” means to “expect, look for, and hope in Him.” In our humanity, we want to obey God and immediately see results. We want to read a verse, do what it says and see God move immediately, certainly within a day or two. But waiting, by definition, means a time of staying where you are until something happens. Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines wait as “To stay or rest in expectation; to stop or remain stationary, till the arrival of some person or event.” So, we must trust God, and wait for Him—with patience and expectation and hope. Then comes the result.

How does God say to wait? We are not only to wait. We are to wait with hope and confident expectation. While we wait with confidence in Him, God helps us and that gladdens our heart. Consider Psalm 28:7. “The Lord is my Strength and my [impenetrable] Shield; my heart trusts in, relies on, and confidently leans on Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him.” (emphasis added, AMP).

Sermon: Finding the Mustard Seed in the Arboretum of Faith | Leah D. SchadeBut what if we have no hope? What if we are not confident God will answer? God understands the heart. That is why He told us It only takes a mustard seed size bit of faith (Matthew 17:20).  I believe that is why He included Mark 9:14-25 in the Bible, that story of the boy horribly afflicted by an unclean spirit. When Jesus told the boy’s desperate father anything is possible, the father cried “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.” (NIV) That’s how honest we must be with God.

And if we do not feel even that much faith, He will give us the desire to feel it. In Philippians 2, Paul reassured people who were continuing to grow in the Lord that God would give them not only the strength and, power to do His will but the desire as well.

 [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight. (Philippians 2:13)

Living, active faith. Do you see that this waiting God requires is not passive, but rather active? There is an if/then, cause/effect link between God’s kind of waiting and the rewards He promises. We hope confidently in Him. Then we wait. Then He renews our strength.

Father And Sons Jumping In Lake Stock Photo - Download Image Now - iStockWe start the process of waiting with hope and expectation by taking a leap, by choosing to believe and by saying I will trust that God will rescue me. Consider Psalm 91. If we dwell in the secret place of the Most High (verse 1) and if we sayGod is my refuge and my fortress and I trust Him with confidence’ (verse 2), then all the promises in the rest of Psalm 91 apply.  I must declare, or say explicitly, that I am trusting in God, with confidence. That is active faith.

We see the same principle in Psalm 33:21. If you invert the clauses in that verse you get something like – because we have trusted, relied on and been confident in the Lord’s holy nature, our heart rejoices in Him (Psalm 33:21, AMPC paraphrased).

Again, this is what Jeremiah does in Lamentations 3:19-28. Because Jeremiah knows God is good to those who wait for Him hopefully and expectantly (v. 25) Jeremiah’s heart cries out, he takes a leap and says, “The Lord is my portion or share, says my living being (my inner self); therefore will I hope in Him and wait expectantly for Him.” (v. 24) Jeremiah is saying he is trusting God as His allotted portion in life, just as the priests in Bible times received their sustenance from the people because God was their portion, their provider. The rest of the Israelites, the non-priests, worked in the fields to get their food, but the priests were provided food by God, through the other Israelites, because the priests spent the hours of their days serving Him. God was the portion of the priests (Numbers 18:20).

Eagles leap, then soar. While writing this blog post I looked at slow motion videos of eagles soaring. Then I wondered how do they start soaring? God embeds deep teachings in nature. Eagles start soaring by taking a leap. Although they can, somewhat passively, simply stretch out their wings when they soar, they start soaring by taking a leap.

I will not soar with God, resting in His strength, until I take a leap and choose to hope in Him, with confidence, expecting that He will come through for me.

Watch the video at the link below or find another one by typing “slow motion video of eagle taking off” into a search engine. Do you see that initial leap the eagle takes? As the eagle leaps, he starts spreading his wings. Look at the strength and power in those wings, and those bones in those wings, arms and elbows so to speak, as they bend and reach out, the muscles and corded tendons contracting then stretching out. See the feathers unfurl and spread.

https://rb.gy/pm0gtn

Mount up with wings as eagles by DraytonShores on DeviantArt

Notice how the wings change shape. See how very, very wide the wingspan is in proportion to the body. Notice how high up the wings reach and then how far down. “Eagles fly by utilizing their impressive wingspan, muscular bodies, and specialized flight adaptations…including a wing structure designed for maximum efficiency and the ability to manipulate wing shape and angel for lift and energy efficiency.´ How Do Eagles Fly? Revealing the Secrets of Their Soaring | Learn Bird Watching

Such a symphony of complexity, yet eagles leap then soar with ease because God made them with that capability.

You can do it!  God commands the eagle to soar (Job 39:26) but within that command is the command to leap. It may not feel like it in some circumstances, but God has made us with the capacity to take leaps of faith and soar, with Him, above the worries of this earthly life. It all begins with choosing to believe His Word, by taking a leap. Friend, you can do it because God is working in you.

Eagle Flying Over A Forest Free Stock Photo - Public Domain Pictures

 

I didn’t feel like being grateful

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Be as the birds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eagles nets art – Destiny Eastgate Ministries