Category Archives: TRUSTING GOD

All-Seeing, All-Knowing

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

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

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

“All Seeing, All Knowing”

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

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

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

I’m risen with . . .

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

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

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

“All Seeing, All Knowing” — Bible Truths Included

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Afflicted by an itch – for my good! Part Four of Four

Image result for Royalty Free Clip Art of ConfusionConfusion leads to more confusion. In spite of the dizziness, I continued editing the manuscript, adding a comma here and removing an extra space, all the while pondering, “What does taking Your Word like medicine look like for me, Lord?” Still without an answer, I decided to review the basic passages I had memorized that had healed the depression and fear, my arsenal as I called it. I walked to the side table by the rocker and, underneath a yellow note pad, two devotionals and one Bible, found the nine sheet-protected pages binder-clipped at the left top corner. I reviewed each phrase of Isaiah 26:3, in the Amplified, until I could once again, as I had in previous weeks, repeat the entire verse to myself.

After lunch and an hour of lying down, trying to ignore the itching, I again returned to the manuscript, hoping to keep my mind off “the” problem. Instead, the buzzing whir of questions and fears intensified.

“Should I just stop the Prednisone? What if it is like an antibiotic and you are not supposed to. But it has not helped the itch that much, and I am not that dizzy. Well, I guess I am. Oh, what should I do?”

Then “Zing!” The enemy shot one of the poison-tipped arrows he uses against single believers. “Well, everything is so hard for you because you are alone. If you just had a husband, this would not be so hard.”

“Hmmph!” I said to myself, as I leaned forward, elbows on knees, gently pressing my temples. “Lord, as You say in Isaiah 54, You are my Creator and You are my husband. You are the LORD of heaven’s armies. You rule the entire earth. I will trust in You because I know You have always rescued me, and I know You love me. (Psalm 91)

Image result for Royalty Free Picture Of Sun Through Clouds\Trust brings clarity. Then came the clear thought, “Just call the pharmacist.” So, I did. She said, “Just stop taking it if it makes you dizzy.” I slid off the couch onto the floor, burying my face into the bumpy softness of corduroy cushions.

“Thank You, Lord, thank You!” Tears darkened an irregular circle in the cocoa-colored fabric of the couch.

“This is how I have handled sickness my entire life, isn’t it, Lord, even after I knew You? When I think I am catching a cold, I take two kinds of cold medicine, or more, to control the symptoms. Years ago when I was a runner, I tried orthotics, taping my arches, different shoes, extra stretching, strength training and everything else to “fix” my feet so I could keep running like I wanted to. When allergies began a few years ago, I began taking medicine every single day. Oh, sure, I prayed, and asked others to pray. I learned to anoint myself with oil, and to make declarations of health. But I was always trusting in something doctors could do or that I could do for healing.

And, Lord, I think I was afraid to trust You with my body. I panicked when I felt sick, and in the fog of panic, listened to the all or nothing lies of the enemy, lies like, ‘This is the start of a terrible sickness. You will not be able to work or do anything. You will be miserable. You must fix this now. Call a doctor. Get some medicine – quick! Hurry! You are in danger.”

I doubted You would really heal me. Forgive me, Father. I am so sorry. How could I have been so blind and doubted You so long? That must have deeply grieved Your heart when I subconsciously doubted Your love for me. It would be like Sharon thinking I was keeping good things away, when I did everything a single parent could possibly do.

I know from Your Word, Lord, that life is filled with troubles and You say rejoice because You have overcome this world. Yet, I also know that because we live in a fallen world we will have sicknesses and other afflictions of the flesh.”

With hips beginning to ache, I got up off the floor and sat on the couch. Sunlight blazed white off the blinds and dispersed into long slats on the oak veneer floor. The thump, thump, thump then slam as my upstairs neighbor returned home interrupted the squawk of a blue jay swaying on the branch outside the window.

Image result for Royalty Free Picture of Natural RemediesTrusting God first and using natural remedies. “Lord, obviously You are telling me to have more faith and to take Your Word like medicine. The only way I know to do that is refreshing my basic memory verses and adding more. I trust You, Lord, for more direction about how to use your Word like medicine. But I also think maybe I should just try natural remedies. I know people in Bible times used olive oil and other natural products for healing.”

Yesterday, my friend had texted to try ice packs and calamine lotion. Well, I disliked ice intensely and, although I had purchased calamine, it sat in the bag on the counter where I dropped it beside my purse when I returned home.

Now, I pulled an ice pack out of the freezer and winced as I applied it. In only a few moments, the itching began decreasing. I sat in the bathroom, gratefully relocating the ice pack to the itchiest spots. Next, I applied a thin layer of calamine lotion. In thirty minutes, the rash was nearly indistinguishable and the itch? Nonexistent.

“Thank You, thank You, thank You, Lord!” I kept repeating, as if I had just been pulled out of a raging river. “I appreciate it! That feels so much better.”

A few minutes later, my tummy growled. The enemy of our souls growled, too, seeking to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10) However, this time, with a more sober mind and greater alertness to God’s voice, I resisted him and stood strong in my faith.

“Lord, You are healing the rash. The tummy upsets are no harder for You to heal. Nothing is too hard for You, as You say in Jeremiah 32:27. Please show me what to eat.”

In the refrigerator, I saw my two-day home-made chicken and vegetable soup, glad now that I had not thrown it out. When the itch and tummy upsets began simultaneously two days ago, I thought too much turmeric might have been the cause. For the last few weeks supper had been that soup with lots of onion and garlic and a big dose of turmeric, in a desperate effort to “fix” worsening allergies.

Image result for royalty free picture of healthy habitsOne problem, many messages. The small bowl of soup I ate settled just fine, no burping, no gas, no bloating. While washing the soup bowl, spoon, and the morning’s oatmeal bowl, another gentle thought came. “Large meals also cause GI problems.” It was not only too spicey soup. It was having two large bowls, as well as the rest of supper, then later a large bedtime snack, rationalizing I needed it to fall asleep. And, to be honest, self-pity often surfaced as I faced the night alone. A treat made me feel better, even though I knew lying down after eating often led to hiatal hernias, which often causes digestive problems.

Other thoughts flooded in about changes I needed to make for my health. I had gained ten pounds during the coronavirus lockdown because I whined that the gym was closed and I could not do my usual exercises. That had led to feeling stove-up, as my Dad used to say, and stiffer than I ever had. Bedtime had become irregular and too late, which led to arising after sunup, therefore missing the pre-dawn writing time that worked like a tonic every day.

Image result for royalty free picture of dad pointing finger Loving chastening, for my good. With deep gratitude, I saw that God had used the health problems for my good. They had taught me to depend on Him first for healing and to adjust some health habits. That would help me finish my years with good health, able to write and serve others, which was my heart’s desire.

A successful maiden voyage of a little ship of faith. Two days Clipper Ship Artlater, a bad earache helped exercise my new level of faith. As the right ear throbbed, I pulled my hair back and looked in the mirror. The outer edge of the canal was swollen and red.

“Oh, Lord!” was my initial thought. “Ears are really serious. How can I mess around with my ear?” But I prayed, with my mustard seed of faith (Luke 17:6), looked up natural remedies, applied ice packs and tea tree ointment (which fortunately was in the house already), sat on the couch and reviewed four more Scriptures in my arsenal until I could again recite them. After an hour or so came a measure of relief, and I went to bed, propped up to reduce fluid in the area. By midday the next day, the ear was remarkably better. Praise God! I knew healing did not always come so fast but, praise God and His great grace, it had this time!

I knew not to stop the blood pressure medicine but I could certainly make an, uh, honest effort to lose weight and exercise regularly again. Hmmm. . . maybe this could be a way to learn about long-term healing.

This light and momentary trouble (2 Corinthians 4:17-18) Regarding problems, perhaps there are a few basic lessons we believers learn—once we really learn them– and then spend the rest of life applying those lessons, by God’s grace alone, in new situations. I believe some of those lessons are:

[1] God is sovereign. (Psalm 113:1-6, Jeremiah 32:17)

[2] He loves us more than we can know this side of heaven. (John 3:16, Psalm 103)

[3] Everything He does and that He allows He will use for our ultimate good and the good of the Kingdom. (Romans 8:28, James 1:3-4, Genesis 50:20)

[4] He uses hard times to train us, and He does it because of His great love for us. (Hebrews 12:1-12, James 1:2-17)

[5] When we stray, He does whatever is necessary to woo us back to His loving heart and His safe pathways. (Luke 15, Psalm 107)

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[6] He will sustain us through any and everything, as we put our trust in Him. (Isaiah 26:3, I Peter 5:6-11)

[7] He died to give us an abundant life, on earth as well as in heaven, and it is His will that we live with love, joy, and peace each day. He will enable us to do that as we obey and trust Him. (John 3:16, John 10:10, Philippians 2:13).

God’s timing is perfect – ALL the time. That evening . . . “Lord, it is so funny how You hide things beneath all these books and writing papers until I have learned a particular lesson. When I first read “God’s Medicine Bottle”, I understood that Derek Prince taught that IF we give focused, reverent, and believing attention to Your Word, that Your Word will be medicine to us. But I somehow forgot how he said to take Your Word like medicine, so when I asked You I felt led to refresh my basic arsenal of memorized Scriptures, to add more Scriptures, and to meditate on Your Word even more all day long.

And now tonight, re-reading the book, I found where Derek said he “took” the medicine of Your Word by reading it three times a day, after meals, as you take other medicine.

So Lord, I am thinking this reading three times a day should be separate from other Bible study and reading, something I do specifically to seek Your healing. So, I think we should start with . . . The End

Image result for royalty free picture of woman on couch reading

Afflicted by an itch – for my good – Part Three of ??

Image result for Free Picture of child Taking Medicine

Hmm. . . taking the Word like medicine. . . The next day’s morning routine went slower than usual. I still itched, though not as much. Dizziness forced me to sit down in between feeding Barny, brewing chamomile tea, giving Barny his morning catnip, brushing him, and morning devotions.

“Oh well, Barn,” I said as I stroked the sleek mink-colored fur along his sides, “Maybe it’s the blood pressure. Maybe it is just too low. Should I try some caffeine?”

I picked him up, held him close, and nuzzled my face into the cream-colored fur of his neck, breathing in the clean, animal smell.

“Yowww,” was his soft reply. I placed him gently on the floor and walked, slowly, to the rocker by the window.

After morning devotions, which included skimming “God’s Medicine Bottle”, I sat at the computer and resumed proof-reading “Affliction, God’s Loving Chastening.” With decades of office experience typing medical dictation, proof-reading letters, memos and reports my supervisors had written, then a few years writing minutes for the Board of County Commissioners and proofing my own minutes as well as those of other recording secretaries, and finally, after five years of evening classes, writing, editing and proofing my own emails, reports, and articles in professional journals, I could proof-read on automatic pilot, leaving my mind fairly free to think.

So, as I whacked an occasional unnecessary word here and deleted an extra space there in my little manuscript, I pondered. And I asked God, ““Lord, what does ‘taking Your Word like medicine’ mean for me, personally? How am I to do that? I paused. “Well. I know You used Your Word to heal my heart of depression and fear, so maybe the process of physical healing is similar?”

Healing began with getting the Word into my mind and heart. “Okay, Lord. I know healing started when I began doing two things. One, diligently studying your Word, for myself, in my areas of personal need, and, two, when I began memorizing those verses that You highlighted for me as I studied.

Image result for Royalty Free Clip Art of DiplomaHealing through diligent study of the Word. I kept thinking about how God had changed my approach to and attitude about the Word the previous year, 2019, when so much healing had happened. Although I had studied my Bible diligently, actually frantically, as a new believer there were seasons when my passion for the Word dimmed. Periodically, for a few years at a time, I put the Word higher in my priorities but never like I had as a spiritual newborn. The last five years or so I had read and studied the Word less and less, compared to previous times. As for meditation, that had been shallow and sporadic, throughout my life.

I prayed, “Forgive me, Lord, oh forgive me! And thank You for using the depression and fear to show me that I live only by every Word that comes out of Your mouth, Lord, as You say in Deuteronomy 8:3, not by things of this world. Oh, how I regret not listening to You, Holy Spirit! Thank You for Your patience.”

“Thank You, Lord, for all those winter and spring mornings last year, when I first began sitting at the desk, taking notes, like I was in school again. It felt so lonely, with both grandchildren in school, but as I sat with You, morning sunshine slanting through the blinds, You led me to look up verses on fear and courage and peace and worry and fretting and Your love and care and provision and protection. You led me to read the whole chapters those verses were in, to look up cross references, and take notes like I was studying for a final exam. Thank You, Lord, for teaching me how to feast from the meat of the Word directly like that, rather than being fed by others. Thank You for helping me do my best to correctly handle the Word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15.)

I paused and sat very still as I pondered upon the second way His word had healed my spirit and soul of depression and anxiety, by hiding the Word in my heart. (Psalm 119:11)

Image result for Royalty Free clip Art Of Stacks Of PaperHealing through Memorizing. ”You remember, Lord! With Your help, and Your Spirit giving me the desire to do it (Phillippians 2:13), we memorized verses about peace, like Isaiah 26:3, and verses where You promised to take care of and be close to Your children, like Genesis 28:15 and Isaiah 41:10. I copied the verses by hand, using the Amplified Bible, and I carried those pages of Scripture everywhere, each day, wherever I went, as one carries a lucky charm, almost frantically pulling them out while standing in line at the grocery, while riding the recumbent cycle at the gym – any time my mind was not engaged in some task or conversation – because when I pondered Your Word, I had peace. But when my mind was idle, fear and viscous self-criticism flooded in.

“It took many weeks to memorize our basic arsenal of Scriptures, but through that I know You did indeed make my mind new, Lord, because I think and feel and act differently. Keeping Your Word in my mind changed me into a new person by changing the way I think, like You tell us in Romans 12:1-3.

“I know, Lord, that keeping Your Word in my mind so many hours of the day as I worked to memorize was a big factor in Your making my mind new.” Then I thought about meditation.

Healing through Meditating. “Lord, memorizing from the Amplified was a form of meditating, wasn’t it? Or at least a good start?” I knew meditating meant to roll an idea over and over in your mind, to reflect upon it, and to ruminate upon it, to work on that piece of the Bread of Life as a cow works on its food, to mash and tear and grind and analyze, then let it rest and do it all over until it is broken down small enough so the body can absorb it. Maybe repeating verses phrase by phrase, over and over was one way of breaking down the Bread into small enough pieces so my mind could absorb it, just as a cow chewed and crushed her food until her body could absorb it!

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“Wow, Lord! I was taking Your Word like medicine, just like You told Derek to do! I was giving Your Word my undivided, diligent attention, desperation did give me an open, believing heart, and I did keep Your Words in the middle of my life, all day long, as a shield against the arrows of fear and sadness and hopelessness. That was why Your Word penetrated and did its healing work!

“Was that the “secret”, Lord, of how You healed my mind and emotions of depression? Had I, unknowingly, done it right? I had studied as hard as I could to understand Your teachings, then I had been meditating on them while I memorized them, and—Wow!!– they had penetrated my heart because all that time I was “whetting and sharpening them”, just like You tell us to do in Deuteronomy 6:7.

“Did healing come because Your Word pierced the depths of my heart, because it penetrated to “. . . the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal spirit], and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature]” (Hebrews 4:12, AMPC). Derek Prince said Your Word penetrates when a surgeon’s scalpel and a counselor’s words fail. Like a surgeon’s sharp scalpel penetrates flesh and bone, is that how the sharpened sword of Your Word penetrates to where our soul and spirit meet, to our innermost being?

Image result for royalty free clip art of mirrorAs I sat in my chair, hands frozen on the keyboard, hindsight said that for most of my walk with God, in regard to His command to meditate on the Word daily, I had been like the man in James who, though hearing the Word and seeing what he looks like, as in a mirror, goes away and immediately forgets. Over the years, Holy Spirit had gently reminded me that I was not meditating and had done so only briefly when a new believer. However, fully as prideful as King Saul, I had not listened to God and had persisted in my own way, reading several chapters a day, studying sporadically, and feeling that was okay or good enough.

I kept sitting quietly, tilting the chair back and forth with one foot on the floor, listening, waiting for more thoughts from the Lord. The fan whirred, cool air blew on my neck as the air conditioner ka-plunked on. Barny stood up and yawned, revealing pink gums and that tiny, pale pink, sandpaper tongue. I rubbed my thumb and index finger together, waiting in the silence.

Is this how meditation works? “Hmm,” I reflected. ”I need to look at that verse, not just repeat it in my mind.” I opened my Amplified to Hebrews 4:12,

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

Image result for Sword ClipArt   “Ok Lord, I sense there is something more here about penetrating our heart that I do not see yet. Let’s break that down, phrase by phrase. . . so, if we sharpen Your Word by meditating on it (Deuteronomy 6:7, AMPC), then it will separate, or split asunder as the King James puts it, our soul and spirit AND it also separates our joints and marrow, the deepest parts of our nature. Then it exposes, sifts, analyzes and judges our heart. So, Your Word penetrates to the dividing line between:

  • the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit
  • Your Word also penetrates between joints and marrow (which are the deepest parts of our nature),
  • and Your Word exposes, sifts, analyzes, and judges the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.

So, for example, when I was deeply depressed, my soul would have been thinking “There is no hope for me. This will never change. No one can fix my messed up heart and life. God is disappointed in me because I have gotten depressed again.”

But, after weeks of reading, and speaking, and thinking what Your Word says about these things, Your Word got all the way through, divided my soul and spirit, then did those four things. Your Word, alive in my innermost being:

  • exposed the darkness,
  • sifted out the lies, as a gardener sifts rocks out of soil or a baker sifts lumps out of floor,
  • analyzed, or examined in detail, my soul and spirit, and
  • judged the thoughts and purposes in my heart.

 Hmmm, how did the Word judge? A judge in a courtroom hears and examines evidence, then declares a person guilty or innocent and sets them free or sends them to jail. When I judge something I call it good or bad and then, if I have the authority, I throw out the bad and keep the good, like picking through cracked pecans or walnuts.

So! Your Word in my heart exposed, sifted, analyzed and then judged the lies the enemy had planted for what they are, and banished them by replacing them with Truth.

  • Where I had thought “There is no hope for me”, the truth of Your Word in my heart judged that a lie, and Jeremiah 29:11 told me You had good plans for me, including a future and a hope.
  • Where I had thought. “No one can fix my messed up heart and life,” the truth of Your Word in my heart judged that a lie, and Isaiah 41:10 told me not to be afraid because You are my God and You will strengthen and help me and hold me up.
  • Where I had thought You were disappointed and mad with me because I was depressed again, Your Word in my heart judged that a lie, and Psalm 103 told me You loved me as high as the heavens are above the earth and that You had compassion on me, just as a father has compassion on his children.

I had known those verses but had not sharpened them by meditation, so they were, in my hands, a dull blade, an ineffective sword that did not penetrate to the dividing line of soul and spirit. But, diligent study, memorization, and meditation sharpened them for me personally so that they did indeed penetrate, like a scalpel, to the root of the lies that had caused depression and fear and had cut them out.

That was how the Word had healed depression and fear. Truth had set me free and as I kept the Word in my heart it had kept me free and enabled me to walk and live in truth so that gradually my habitual attitude was hopeful, peaceful, and confident that God would help me rebuild our life, and I felt deeply loved all “just” by hearing and believing the Truth.

I stared out the window a long time, simply thanking God for the healing and for helping me understand, at least partly, how the Word worked healing in the heart.

“Thank You, Lord, I understand emotional and mental healing better now, but what about physical healing? How do I take Your Word like medicine for that? And please help with this dizziness. I think it is getting worse. I love You, Lord, and I trust You. Thank You that You have done such a healing in my heart and blessed me in countless ways. Help me honor You in all things. You are so good to me, Father! I love You!”

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What Prophecy Can Do for You . . . What You Can Do for Prophecy

What Prophecy Can Do for You . . . What You Can Do for Prophecy

What prophecy can do for you. Friend, if you do not know what is happening with prophecy today you miss the chance to:

  • Stay calm as God shows you, through His current-day prophets, why so many unbelievable things are happening,
  • Hear what God is doing behind the scenes that the fake news never reports,
  • Increase your faith as you see Biblical as well as modern-day prophecies fulfilled, and
  • Pick up your spiritual weapons, take your God-appointed place in God’s army, and FIGHT “ . . . against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12, NIV)

Resources about the prophetic. Following is a list of resources to acquaint you with what God is doing today in the prophetic realm. I have found these resources to be truthful, honest, and aligned with God’s Word.

https://marycolbert.us/nation-builders-prayer-host/ – Mary Colbert. Author, Christian activist, ordained minister – National prayer lines dedicated to prayer for the U.S. and for the wisdom of God.

https://elijahlist.com  – Prophet Steve Schultz, began this website decades ago. – Prophecies from around the world, news, prophetic resources, etc.

https://sordrescue.com/ – Prophet Mark Taylor – Prophecies, commentary. He predicted President Trump’s election before he was even running. See Mark’s website for details.

www.comemnistry.org – Denise Williams (hosts one of Nation Builders Prayer Calls) – Apostolic intercessor, Prophet, Chaplain and more. She “shares podcasts . . . with teachings, prophecies and words of knowledge as instructed by Holy Spirit.” (from her website.)

https://www.jpost.com/breaking-news (The Jerusalem Post) – Provides breaking news from Israel, the Middle East and the World. Learn what is happening with Israel so you can intercede. Remember Genesis 12:3, where, speaking of Israel, God says, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse those who curse you.” (Genesis 12:3, NIV)

An urgent plea: Please stop listening to the lies and fear tactics of mainstream media. Even if you just skim headlines, you still hear lies that twist your thinking, fill you with fear, and darken your heart to the truth. Get your news from some of the resources above and so-called “far right” sources, like Sean Hannity and Jay Sekulow.

How to Get Involved

  • First, start getting informed. The list above is a good starter list. Ask Holy Spirit to lead you.
  • Second, join some of the world-wide intercessory prayer calls, available every day, at various times (see Mary Colbert above.) You can listen silently and agree in prayer; you do not have to pray out loud.
  • Third, in your daily life pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Pray for our President Donald J. Trump! Pray for our nation and our world! Pray!

 

Standing strong, like the hummingbird

Image result for Royalty Free Picture of Hummingbird Feasting on God’s Presence. In the corner of my bedroom, on top of the cherrywood chest of drawers where my father put his watch, wallet, and keys every night and where, twenty-five years later, I changed my infant daughter’s diapers, stands a light maple jewelry chest, a gift from my daughter. A three-inch hand-carved wooden dog, also my father’s, leans against the jewelry chest. Behind the jewelry chest, a tall, slender faux crystal vase holds a spray of white flowers. On the wall above, where the eye is naturally drawn, hangs a gilt-framed picture of a ruby-throated hummingbird, hovering beside the open face of a crimson day lily, feeding on its nectar.

That picture is my reminder that, as the hummingbird must eat five to eight times per hour to survive, so my soul and spirit must feast continually on God’s presence and God’s Word. Hard experience imprinted that truth on my heart.

Although it was difficult, I thank God for the months of affliction that taught me to seek, to inquire for and require God as my necessity and to truly seek Him with all my heart and mind and soul and life (Deuteronomy 4:29) I now understand why we must always seek the sweetness and strength of His presence. I can truly say that “Before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now I obey God’s Word.” (Psalm 119:67, NIV)

Image result for royalty free picture of woman with jesus We can be strong in the Lord. “In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides.] (Ephesians 6:10. AMPC)

Toward the end of his letter to the Ephesians, Paul writes “In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides.] Notice verse 10 says that our union with Him is what empowers us and makes us strong. We draw our strength from Him, and His strength is boundless, without measure, because it comes from His very nature, His omnipotence.

In the months required to overcome fear and depression, I learned that God’s presence—being in communion with Him– kept me strong. Only God kept me at peace and gave me hope and perseverance, though the path was often rocky.

How did I learn to stay in His presence more often? (I say more often because I still strive to make it constant.) By keeping my mind fixed on Him (Isaiah 26:3), keeping His Word in my sight and within my heart (Proverbs 4:21), and constantly praising and thanking Him for His goodness (Psalm 119:164). Practicing these three disciplines never fails to restore me.

How gracious is our God to give such fullness of joy in His presence so that we, like the hummingbird, may ever be drawn to that nourishing sweetness!

Image result for Royalty Free Picture of Trophy God makes us successful.Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies, that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil”. (Ephesians 6:11, AMPC)

God gives us weapons to fight this great spiritual battle that is the life of every believer. Verse 11 says that I “may be able successfully to stand up against ALL the strategies and deceits of the devil” if I use all the armor God has provided. That spiritual armor includes: truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation and His Word as well as prayer (from Ephesians 6:14-18). Read the passage from verse 10 through 20. It shows us that victory as a believer requires drawing our strength from God and using the armor He provides, which includes prayer, and standing strong in our place. To fight the good fight, I MUST have the constant, strengthening nourishment of God’s presence and His Word . . . like the beautiful, delicate but mighty hummingbird.

God knows we face impossible odds.For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere. (Ephesians 6:12, AMPC)

Hummingbird, Flying, Portrait, Wildlife It seems impossible that any living creature could manage to feed itself five to eight times per hour for all its life. God knows hummingbirds face impossible odds in feeding themselves, so God gives His tiny birds the means they need to obtain their 120 to 192 meals each day. He gives them a heart that beats 1200 times a minute; wings that beat 50 to 200 times a second; and aerobatic skill to fly forwards, backwards, sideways, and straight up. They can hover for 50 minutes, and furthermore, do instant 180s while hovering. (www.worldofhummingbirds.com) Possessing those amazing attributes, mature hummingbirds have almost no natural enemies. They simply outfly and outmaneuver them.

Faint of heart! (I am talking to myself here!) How much more then has our all-loving, all gracious, tender-hearted, compassionate, and adoring Heavenly Father given us what we need to face and conquer our impossible odds in the spiritual realms? His Presence and His Word are available to all His children who ask. “God is with you when you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you (2 Chronicles 15:2, NIV).

Image result for royalty free picture of roman soldier standing guard God enables us to stand our ground in hard times. “Therefore put on God’s complete armor that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger]; and having done all the crisis demands, to stand firmly in your place] (Ephesians 6:13, AMPC)

To “stand your ground” is a battle term. It means to stand and fight to defend the ground on which you are standing when the enemy attacks. Think about that and think about it in light of verses 10 through 12. Do you see that drawing on God’s strength and using the armor He gives us enables us to resist the enemy and keep standing, firmly in our place, keeping our life settled and safe?

The Word says we will be able to stand firmly in our place. That means we will not lose one inch of our ground. We will fight, yes, but our feet will stay firm, planted, in our own place. We will not grope around with our feet, seeking a firm place to support us. No! With our God we can not only stand firm but with our God’s help we can advance against a troop! We can scale a wall! (Psalm 18:26)

If we, like the hummingbird, constantly seek out the life-sustaining sweetness of God’s presence, as if our life depended on it, we will draw on His boundless strength and, thus, we will stand, firmly, in our place. Image result for royalty free picture of hummingbird

 

There’s TRUTH in them ‘ thar hills!

Here I sit. . . Here I sit, surprised by a gift from God! As I write the Image result for Free Pictures of Gold Rushfirst draft of this blog, it is Friday, April 17, 2020, the day after President Trump announced his plans to start reopening our country after the coronavirus shutdown. (Finished this today, 4/29/2020 : – )

So, here I sit, with back and shoulders stiff because my home exercises do not help as much as those at the gym and using the gym’s pool. Here I sit, wheezing although I am taking asthma and allergy medicine to fight spring pollen. I am mindful that asthma, and, uh, age, categorize me as high-risk but I am so grateful for God’s protection and knowing that, if I get the virus, He will take care of me. So, here I sit, day after day, like you, struggling to maintain a semblance of daily life BQ (before quarantine), frustrated with weight gained during extra sedentary time, battling negative thoughts more than usual because relationships with family, friends, and usual activities outside my home are changed.

Image result for free clip art of messy lady at a deskYes, here I sit, my hair REALLY interesting, like yours might be since hair salons are non-essential during our corona virus lockdown. Also, my living space is tangled up since I spend so much time here now and asthma has caused fatigue, another good excuse. Besides, housekeeping, much less house fluffing, was definitely NOT my gifting anyway.

Yet I am also, like you, I hope, trusting and relying on God, keeping my heart on Him all day long, proclaiming aloud my gratitude and dependence on His sovereign and loving nature, knowing this will end and that He is turning it for good all over His world.

So, dear reader, today while I sat at my desk, in my distinctly non-glorious surroundings, writing and digging deeper and deeper into the Word about a topic that keeps expanding, doing my writing work for God, Holy Spirit gave me a gift I want to share with you.

Digging deep is a gift. While writing about affliction (a booklet is Image result for free picture of gift with blue bowcoming!) and digging deeply into Isaiah 30 today, I froze and stared out the window. The ding! in my mind as the lightbulb went on was nearly audible. I realized that Holy Spirit had been able to explain what Isaiah 30 meant about despising God’s Word because I had stopped and dug deeply, pondering, meditating, thinking hard about what He meant in those verses, looking up definitions, using other translations, etc.

What a gift this gift was! God confirmed that my way of studying the Word, for myself, and the way I study when I write for Him, is the right way for me! I tend to be insecure, so having that thought as tangible as a white box with a huge Tiffany-blue bow on top was a true treasure.

Image result for Free Clip Art Of Man Digging a Deep HoleSo what is digging deep? I remember Bible study as a new believer. One of the first times I sensed Holy Spirit giving me understanding (little old me!) was late at night, after my daughter had been bedtime-storied three times. Stretching my exhausted, single-parent self on the bed, I resumed my Bible reading from the night before, with Proverbs 2:1-5:

  • My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you,
  • turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding,
  • and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,
  • and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure (underline added),
  • Then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. (NIV)

I remember staring intently at verse four. Then I rested the open Bible on my chest, the navy blue New International Version my Mother had given me when I found Jesus. I stared at the ceiling a long time. Thoughts rolled through my mind. “How do you dig for silver? And hidden treasure? Ah! You have to dig and keep digging. You do not find silver or hidden treasure without hard work.” I was thrilled that God would use His Word to speak to me directly. And it is just as thrilling each time, after all these years! How good God is to us!

That night, I understood the passage on a surface level (no pun intended) and have pondered it often, each time, gaining more insight. But today, it was like brand new, as I thought more about it. 

Image result for free clip art of man digging a deep holeDigging deep takes time and effort. You do not search for silver or hidden treasure  by digging one scoop of dirt, flipping it to the ground, then walking 10 yards and digging another shallow scoop, and so on. Neither do you find treasure by walking over the land and scuffing the surface with the toe of your boot. You find treasures in God’s Word when you do like He says and search for it because it is covered up, hidden, and you cannot even see it, much less pick it up and claim it as your own and profit by it, until you do a lot of digging. And! You will not dig deep unless you have faith that something is there, waiting for you, lovingly prepared by God. And! you will not even be there trying to find treasure unless you have faith. It is all by faith!

God has an abundance of truth treasures stored up for each of us. Proverbs 2:7 says, “He hides away sound and godly Wisdom and stores it for the righteous (those who are in right standing with Him); He is a shield to those who walk uprightly and with integrity.” (AMPC)

How to search–DIG DEEP– for wisdom. Many beloved pastors, Bible teachers and other mature saints  have found God’s gold and silver and shared it with us. How do they tell us to mine for wisdom in the Word? Below is a composite of suggestions that have helped me greatly.

[1] Before you begin, pray and ask God for wisdom (James 1:5-8) and commit your study time to God.

[2] Find a list of Scriptures about your biggest area of personal need.

[3] Dig deep and keep thinking and talking with the Lord as you dig.

[4] Meditate on and memorize the verses that Holy Spirit emphasizes for you the most.

[5] Collect your personalized verses in one place and review them regularly.

Five steps to dig deep. Below are details of the five steps that work well for me. If you have used other methods and want to share them, please email me by using the “Email me” tab on the website, or the comments section below this blog post.

Step 1: Before you begin, pray and ask God for wisdom (James 1:5) and commit your study time to Him. If you “commit to the Lord whatever you do. . . He will establish your plans, (Proverbs 16:3, NIV). As the NLT phrases it, “. . . your plans will succeed.”)

Image result for free clip art of a list Step 2: Find a list of Scriptures about your biggest area of personal need (e.g., worry, anger, faith, etc.) To make your list, use a concordance, the alphabetized index in the back of most Bibles. You can also use the internet to find a list of Scriptures by typing into the search window, for example, “Bible verses about anger”. But BE CAREFUL! Your search results will include several internet addresses to click on that, in addition to listing Bible verses about your topic, also give someone’s ideas about that topic. Unless you know or can easily see that the individual shares your faith in the God of the Bible, just write down the book and verse and move on with making your list. Even if you do know that person is sound in the faith , it is far better to get your list, then go directly to the Word, God and you alone, and let Holy Spirit speak to you, personally, through the Word.

I also recommend that, unlike the dude in the clipart above, you make just a short list and then dig into the Word. Do not obsess about the list! 

Trust God’s ability to communicate with you more than you trust your doubts about yourself. God will lead you to find just the verses you as an individual need. He is the same One who led Israel, who numbers the hairs on your head, who has written your name on His heart and Who holds the universe in place. If you seek Him with all your heart, He promises you will find Him. (Deuteronomy 4:29, Jeremiah 29:13).  God cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18).

Image result for free picture of person sitting with a bibleStep 3: Dig deep and keep thinking and talking with the Lord as you dig. 

  • Read your first verse or verses slowly, over and over, and the verses before and after it that seem connected. Pay attention to connecting words, like: therefore, because, for, since, for example, that, then, in order that, so that, so, etc.
  • Then, be still and just think about what it means. Ask God to show you. Take time for just you and God and His Word.
  • After, and only after, you have paused to think, with God, about what the text means,  use other tools. Look up cross references noted in the text. See what a Bible dictionary and an English dictionary say. Look up not only the definition but also synonyms and plug those words into the verse. Look up antonyms. If God uses figurative language, like comparing the work of Holy Spirit to the wind, as in John 3:8, pause and ponder what you know about wind or look it up. Ask God to explain, and He will, just as Jesus explained His parables to His disciples.
  • Use commentaries and other study aids, but again, use caution because all  writers are  human.  Commentaries and Bible handbooks can be a great help because they describe cultural context, customs, geology, archeology, church history, etc. So, do use them. I recommend the highly respected Halley’s Bible Handbook, which has sold more than 6 million copies. However, there is no substitute for trusting the God of the Word of God to speak directly to you. Ensure that you spend the bulk of your study time in the Word, rather than any other book, no matter how good it is. Use other non-Bible time to read those supplemental writings. 

 God obviously is The Supreme Teacher, He loves to teach, and He loves to fellowship with you, to be close to you. He wrote you a love letter, and He is longing to explain those parts that you do not yet understand. Why? It helps you, helps others, and it brings Him pleasure to be closer to You. And do not worry that the enemy might lead you to misunderstand. If you make mistakes, God will correct you. Imagine a young son asking his carpenter father to teach him how to build a bench. Would that not give both father and son great delight? And would not the father show his son the best way to hold a hammer and saw a board?

See the source image

  • Keep chewing on your thoughts about those verses, just like a contented cow in a field, working on her cud. Keep thinking and asking Holy Spirit to help you understand. If you seek wisdom, you will not be disappointed. In Proverbs 8:17 wisdom is personified as a woman who says “I love those who love me, and those who seek me early and diligently shall find me. Proverbs 8:17, (AMPC)
  • And I urge you, dear friend, please do not say that this will not work for you because . . . you are not studious by nature, not able to hear God, lack time or self-discipline, not smart enough or any other flaming arrow of untruth (Ephesians 6:16) the enemy might shoot at your mind! Holy Spirit will show you personally how to dig deep into His truth, and you will know it when He does it. He will use whatever things are available to you and work for you.

Image result for Free Clip Art of Cow in a fieldStep 4: Meditate on and memorize the verses that Holy Spirit emphasizes for you the most. Digging deep is part of meditating, pausing, taking time, thinking about, pondering, and exploring what God means in a Bible passage or a word or a phrase so that you can apply it to your own life. Meditating brings blessings (Joshua 1:8, Psalm 1:2, Psalm 105:2)

Meditating on God’s Word is part of loving Him with all our being. Deuteronomy 6 in the NLT is labelled “A Call for Whole-hearted Commitment.” I urge you to read the entire chapter. Moses reminds Israel that they are to follow God’s laws carefully so that things would go well with them and their children. Moses reminds them that the LORD alone is their God, then he says, “And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.” (verse 5)

Image result for free picture of phylacteries

Notice that right after Moses tells them that, he then tells them to meditate on God’s Word all day long. That says to me that doing so is part of loving God with all my heart. Moses said the people must commit themselves wholeheartedly to God’s commands. They were to “Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your foreheads as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Verses 7-9). Then Moses goes on to talk about the blessings God will pour out on them.

Writing some of your personalized verses on index cards, taping them around your house and car and carrying them with you sounds, to me, similar to how Moses instructed Israel to keep God’s Word visible to their eyes all day long. Doing so tremendously blesses me and lots of others I know. Notice the picture of the hand and arm phylacteries above. They were certainly visible reminders, to the person wearing them and to others who saw them.

Image result for free picture of college classroom[5] Collect your personalized verses in one place, and review them regularly, so they do not fade away. I like to think of Bible study as the privilege of being in  school with God as my teacher, for all my life. Throughout a school year, teachers lead students step by step through the basics of a subject, often pausing to repeat and review what was just taught. Why? Review and repetition imprints new knowledge more deeply into the mind. Quizzes and tests serve the same purpose because students are required to recall what they have learned, thus making a deeper neural pathway in their brain. Part-way through the school year, students have reviewed the basics so often that they know them. They can then build more knowledge on top of that solid foundation imprinted in their minds.

Digging deep brings innumerable blessings. Chapters 1 through 9:12 of Proverbs explain the benefits of wisdom and how to obtain it. Can you hear the earnestness of God’s heart? This discourse begins with God pleading “Come and listen to my counsel. I’ll share my heart with you and make you wise.” (Proverbs 1:23, NLT). Halfway through, God says “Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgement.” ( Proverbs 4:7, NLT). God summarizes this discourse on wisdom by saying:

“And so, my children, listen to me, for all who follow my ways are joyful. Listen to my instruction and be wise. Don’t ignore it. Joyful are those who listen to me, watching for me daily at my gates, waiting for me outside my home! For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord. But those who miss me injure themselves. All who hate me love death.” (Proverbs 8:32-36)

One last observation. Proverbs has 31 chapters. Each month has 31 days. Hmmm. . .

Image result for free picture of calendar on wall

My Father is the strongest! How to abide in peace

Image result for royalty free picture of awe“God is bigger than all my problems” (“Bigger than any Mountain” by Bill and Gloria Gaither) “But you tourists are all so rich, you must buy some.” The man’s voice was harsh and accusing, venomous with sarcasm.

“No! I said I do not want any!” Anger and fear throbbed in my friend’s voice.

“Hey!” I said in a loud, low tone as I squinted my eyes, stared at the man, and stepped in front of my friend. I was profoundly glad to be six feet tall, with a solid frame. Sharon was now hidden behind me, and I towered over the man.

Our tour guide had instructed us to ignore overly aggressive peddlers, but when our group was temporarily halted, Sharon’s gentle manners had apparently lured her into conversation.

“We do not want any” I said and took a small step toward the man. “Now leave us alone.” I had no idea what I would do but I knew showing fear would only draw out more aggression.

Suddenly, the man disappeared. Our tour guide, a six foot four, sturdy young man, had stepped in front of me. Broad shoulders blocked my view completely, up, down and on both sides. I said, “Wow, thank You, Lord!” under my breath and took Sharon’s hand to lead her quickly back to the group.

That was 15 years ago, but I can still feel the heavy peace of feeling safe that blanketed me. I believe God wants us wrapped in that peace of feeling safe, not just when we know we need Him and run to Him, but always. That peace is where He wants us to dwell. “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [whose power no foe can withstand]. (Psalm 91:1, AMPC)

Young children boast, “My Daddy can do anything and he’s bigger than anything!” As believers, God wants us to remember who He is when the world, our fleshly weakness, or the enemy of our souls comes against us. Selah!

Image result for royalty free clip art of gods throne

God wants us to have the peace of knowing He is omnipotent—more powerful than anything or anyone.

6 “One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. 7 The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.”

8. Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”

9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied.

10 Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hand, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

12 The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”

Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.” (Job 1-6-12, NIV)

Image result for royalty free picture of bible on desk with papers The Bible tells me . . .  Thirty plus years ago, as late afternoon shadows lenghtened,  I paused, staring blankly at the bookbag and red sweater on the couch across the room. The sweet sound of laughter came from the balcony of our apartment, where my daughter and my neighbor’s little girl played together came through the window beside the desk. As a new believer, I was reading my way through the Bible each evening after supper. That day I was starting the book of Job.

“Wow!” I mused. “So, Satan has to get permission from God before he does anything. So that means God is more powerful than Satan! That’s good to know.”

It was indeed good to know that truth, and to know it from my own personal Bible study, not just second-hand from Bible teachers, early in my walk with Jesus. Since that day, this truth together with the truth that God loves me personally, have garrisoned my frail heart with bedrock peace (Philippians 4:7, AMPC) while I learned, through the mistakes of many years, how to live in victory over the world, my flesh, and the enemy.

Image result for Royalty Free Picture of LightningThinking about God’s power is calming. Why do people and animals alike quake at the explosive sound of thunder? It is the sound of power that we instinctively know is far greater than we are. I believe God’s Word so often urges us to consider nature because it reminds us of His power. Psalm 8 says the whole earth tells us of God’s supreme kingship, or majesty. Psalm 19 says the heavens and the skies make known God’s magnificence. And when God wanted to strengthen Elijah, who had become discouraged after having been very zealous (I Kings 18), God showed him a “great and powerful wind (that) tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD”, then an earthquake, then a fire (verses 11-12). “And after the fire, came a gentle whisper.” (verse 13) In everything God does, He remembers that we are mere humans (Psalm 103:14), so when God shows us His awesome power, He also shows us His tenderness toward us. (Isaiah 40:11) It is like an earthly father’s big hands tenderly holding a baby. If human fathers know how to be gentle, how much more does our Heavenly Father know?

Remembering God is near brings peace. Keeping the mind on God’s greatness and nearness calms the human soul. Because my father was the superintendent of a rock mine, he wore heavy boots to work. Each evening when he stepped through the door, he leaned over and removed those lime-rock encrusted boots, and my heart was at peace. The prototypical strong, silent type, my father loved his family and was home each evening. The house was so much quieter then. Shouting was rare and fights were few, with Daddy’s quiet presence a calming oil upon troubled waters. I adored my Father and just thinking about his work boots by the door brings me peace, even now.

Friend, our all-powerful, tenderly loving Heavenly Father is with us, this very moment. May we both find rest in His presence.

Image result for royalty free picture of jesus holding a child

 

God is so, so, so, so good to us!

Image result for royalty free picture of a rose

God does great things beyond our understanding (Job 37:5)   God is so so so so so good to us! Who but God could show me a wild red rose, growing up a corner wall, as I walk around the building, just to get out of the house? Who but God can make me just happen to look in that direction at the right moment? Who but God can let me see that the red of the rose is far, far deeper and richer than the most costly cloth ever made by the hand of man? Who but God can make me know that only the softness of a baby’s skin—also made by God—can rival the softness of the petals?

Who but God can pause my feet and arrest my thoughts, causing me to know that every hue of every color, every fabric, every building, every microscopic-sized invention, every application of knowledge have all sprung directly from one of His blueprints?

How can I not pause and consider the heavens, so high, so blue, that He holds lovingly in place over the whole earth, while we humans scramble to understand one tiny virus? How can I not know that the peace in my heart– in the middle of the biggest changes our modern world has seen–comes from Him? How can I not praise Him, admire and respect and applaud and lavishly thank Him? How can I not honor and worship this One who deserves all the glory?

Image result for royalty free pictures of majesty in natureAs I consider who He is. How can I not give Him all of my heart, all of my soul and all of my strength when He has done such awesome things for me and the whole world? How can I put anything else before Him in my affections? I simply cannot, when I consider who He is and who I am. I can only confess my weakness of fear and doubting and rebellion and lift grateful hands to heaven and my eyes to the hills, where my help comes from, from this Holy One of Israel, this Yahweh, this great and high and holy one, the Great I AM, Who was and is and is to come, the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega, the firstborn from among many brethren, the risen Savior and our soon-coming KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS!

Image result for royalty free picture of jesusAll glory, all praise, all honor to the Lamb that was slain, Who alone takes away the sins of the world, Who dwells in unapproachable light, but also in the hearts of those who love and obey Him, this One who sets eternity in the heart of man but dwells with the meek and the lowly!

I will not fail to praise Him, lest the rocks cry out! (Luke 19:37-40). How can we fail to praise the One Who, out of love, made us so that if we love Him and keep our minds on Him, our hearts are steadfast and strong? (Isaiah 26:3) How can we fail to trust, lean on, rely and be confident in the One who makes obedience lead to blessing? (Deuteronomy 11:13-32) Hw can we fail to rely on this compassionate, kind, gracious and everlastingly loving One who promises to give us all that we need, and to never, never, no, never fail us in any regard? (Hebrews 13:5)

HE IS all we need. (Philippians 4:19) How can we not turn to Him and rely on Him, with confident trust, when He is the One who made us, the One who gives us life through His breath, the One who chooses to dwell in human hearts, the One in whom we live and move and have our very being, this One who rides through the heavens to come to our aid, this One whose touch melts the mountains but Who whispers His love to us in the darkest night? How, I ask, can we fail to love such a One as this? He is:

  • Elohim, God My Creator
  • El Shaddai, God Almighty
  • El Elyon, Most High God
  • EL Olam, God Everlasting, God Eternal
  • El Roi, God Who Sees
  • Adonai, Lord, Master
  • Yahweh (YHWH), GOD
  • Jehovah Jireh, The Lord Provides
  • Jehovah Nissi, God, My Banner
  • Jehovah Sabaath, Lord of Hosts
  • Jehovah Mekeddeshem, Lord Who Sanctifies
  • Jehovah Shalom, The Lord our Peace
  • Jehovah Shammah, The Lord is There
  • Jehovah Tskkenu, the Lord our Righteousness.

(from Names of God Study for Kids, https://rachellarkinblog.wordpress.com)

This Most High and Holy one, is our God, and He says:

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

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How much does God love you?

Image result for Royalty Free Picture of Grand PianoA few notes into the pianist’s prelude, and I knew what the choir would sing. Eyes closed, shutting out all distractions between me and God, Holy Spirit was right there with me. I felt I could almost touch Him. With the rich harmony of many voices, the familiar melody and words rippled along:
“How many times must I prove how much I love you?
How many times must I show my love for you?
How many times must I rescue you from trouble
for you to know just how much I love you?”
(from “So You Would Know” by Al Hobbs.)

Smiling, I lifted my face upward and raised my hands, murmuring, “Oh, Father!” as tears trickled down. God’s voice continued . .

“Didn’t I wake you up this morning?
Were you clothed in your right mind?
When you walked in on a problem didn’t I step right in on time?When you got weak along life’s journey My angel carried you,
so you would know just how much I love you.”

I shook my head slowly as I recalled how many times God had miraculously come through for my daughter and me during ten years of single parenthood. God’s voice continued. . .
“How many days must I be a fence all around you?
How many nights must I wipe your tears away?
How many storms must I bring you safely through for you to know just how much I love you?”

Image result for Royalty Free Picture of CrucifixionAfter giving my heart to Jesus, three years into single parenthood, the lifetime loneliness had greatly lessened as I sat alone with Him, after Sharon was asleep, looking out the window at the stars. I was so grateful I could feel His love, so grateful He showed me how to take good care of Sharon. God’s voice continued. . .
“Didn’t I put food on your table?
Show up when your bills were due?
When the pains were racking your body didn’t I send a healing down to you?
When you were lost in sin and sorrow, I died to set you free,
so you would know, just how much, I love you.”

I stood, hands lifted, face upturned, as more tears poured down. How many times had God sent an unexpected check for us? How many times had family and friends bought clothes for Sharon, taken us out for dinner, and paid for school activities? How many times . . . That was decades ago. All these years have only added more times to remember how clearly God has shown how much He loves me.

 God reassures us of His love, so many times. The powerful song “So You Would Know”, written by Al Hobbs, trumpets God’s gentle reminder of His love for His children. The melody and words show God’s gentle patience, like a father answering his child, “Yes, sweetheart, how many times do I have to tell you. . .” Why does God reassure us so often, in so many ways?

God knows how we are made. God knows that we, being human, would like to actually see and hear Him, especially during trials, and especially during times like the whole world now faces. Psalm 103:14 reminds us “For He knows our frame, He [earnestly] remembers and imprints [on His heart] that we are dust.” That says that God, seriously and with intensity, always remembers our humanity. He knows we need constant reminders of His love, His presence, His provision, and His power. Let’s look at some things God wants us to know about His love, presence, provision, and power.Image result for Royalty Free Picture of Sunrise

Reminders of God’s love. How loving He is to inscribe into nature itself two visible reminders of His love for us: the height of the heavens and the distance between east and west. “ for His unfailing love toward those who fear Him is as high as the heavens are above the earth. He has removed our sins from us as far as the east is from the west.” (Psalm 103:11-12, NLT). Step outside and selah.

Image result for Royalty Free Picture of Jesus Holding PersonReminders of God’s presence. Isaiah 41:10 says “Fear not [there is nothing to fear] for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice. (AMPC) When I remember that the God of the universe is right here beside me and living in me, when I remember that I have, indeed, made Him my God by loving and obeying Him, His peace descends like a warm blanket over my troubled soul.

Reminders of God’s provision. Hebrews 13:5b tells you and me to “. . . 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!]. Dear fellow believer, let us take God’s Word like the medicine it is and read this verse, out loud, to ourselves, 10 times or more until we feel His peace, right in the midst of this trial!

Image result for royalty free picture of earthReminders of God’s power. In Jeremiah 32:27 God says, “Behold I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is there anything too hard for me?” Let us imprint this fact about the nature of our divine God on our hearts, just as He has imprinted each detail about our human nature on His heart. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1), He holds all creation together (Colossians 1:17) and God says, “I am the LORD: there is no other god.” (Isaiah 45:1, NLT)

NOTHING IS TOO HARD FOR GOD!!!

“Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD” Psalm 150:6,NIV. Choirs give a glimpse of what praise will be like in heaven. There is nothing so powerful as the sound of many voices, singing in harmonious praise to God. Search the internet using the phrase “So You Would Know” and worship and honor God along with the Brooklyn Tabernacle and the Radio Angels, right there in your home, with Holy Spirit.

As you worship, put fear to flight (Joshua 10:10-11), glorify God (Psalm 96), enthrone Him on your praises (Psalm 22:3), worship our mighty God, our KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS, (Revelation 19:16), Who alone sits encircled above the circle of the earth (Isaiah 40:22), Whose plans never fail (Psalm 33:11), in Whose presence the mountains quake (Nahum 1:5), and in Whose name demons flee (James 4:7). This Holy One of Israel, this Wonderful One Beyond Words, He is our God, the One we serve, the One Who cares for us each moment, and the One who will bring us home to live with Him for all eternity! “Let everything that has breath Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!” (Psalm 150:6, NIV)

“The Lord is good, a Strength and Stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows (recognizes, has knowledge of, and understands) those who take refuge and trust in Him. (Nahum 1:7, AMPC)

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Are you affectionate with God?

Image result for royalty free clipart of affection“I love You, I love You, I really just love You! Thank You again, Father, for a wonderful day!” I paused a moment, eyes closed, face tilted upwards. “I simply just love You, Lord!” Then I resumed typing.

That was the evening of Day Four of our President’s guidelines to quell the coronavirus, a truly wonderful day. Up at six to feed Barny and have devotions; then shopping for things I might need for two weeks, like allergy and cough medicine; finding Reese’s Easter eggs and Hershey bunnies for the grandsons’ Easter baskets and other little delights to surprise them with when they spent afternoons with me while school was out; then, finding new nuggets in the Word as I worked on a booklet about worry.

I sometimes touch my grandson’s foreheads with mine, make googly eyes, and say, “I love you, I love you, do you know I love you, don’t forget I love you, did you remember I love you. . . etc.”

I am affectionate with my grandsons because I have an intimate relationship with them.

Should we be affectionate with God? The short answer? YES!!! In the Amplified Classic Bible (AMPC), verses 1 and 2 of Psalm 134 tell us:

“Behold, bless (affectionately and gratefully praise) the Lord, all you servants of the Lord [singers] who by night stand in the house of the Lord. Lift up your hands in holiness and to the sanctuary and bless the Lord [affectionately and gratefully praise Him]!”

Notice the parts I underlined. One of many reasons I love the AMPC is that it spells out what people living in Bible days would have understood as implicit, or taken for granted, when they heard a word. Words in both Hebrew and Greek, the languages in which the Bible was originally written, have more shades of meaning than English, like the word snow means more than just one thing to Eskimos.

Image result for Royalty Free Picture of The BibleGod’s Word tells us to be affectionate with Him. A searchable, on-line Bible website, like Bible Gateway, shows 23 times in the AMPC when the word affectionately is used to amplify the meaning of “bless the Lord.” Look them up.

Start each day by taking time to be affectionate with God. Notice that most of the findings for the word affectionate in the AMPC are in the psalms, which are so often used for daily devotions. Psalm 145:10 tells us, “All Your works shall praise You, O Lord, and Your loving ones shall bless You [affectionately and gratefully shall Your saints confess and praise You!]”

Image result for Royalty Free Clip Art of Cat Looking upThink about it. Can you be affectionate with someone if you are in a rush? It just does not work. Your actions say “I love this thing I am rushing off to (work, the kickoff on TV, an errand) more than I love you.” No, with affection, you give the object of your affection your full, focused attention. You cannot even give your dog or cat a really affectionate pat on the head if you zoom by.

Be affectionate with God as you go about your daily life. Another instance where the Bible talks of affectionate love for God is when Mary gave Jesus her very best as she kissed His feet, washed them with her tears, dried them with her hair and anointed them with costly perfume.

Image result for royalty free picture of mary washing jesus feet“… and as she stood behind Him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and poured perfume on them.” In verse 45, the AMPC says that Jesus told the Pharisee that Mary had, from the moment He came into the room not stopped kissing His feet “tenderly and caressingly.”

Reading the whole story as recorded in Luke 7:36-50, shows us that Jesus obviously approved of the affectionate way Mary demonstrated her love for Him. Today, you and I can likewise show God our affection by giving our best effort, for Him, all day, in whatever we are doing. (“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might (Ecclesiastes 9:10a, NIV). We also give Him our best by loving Him with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our might (Deuteronomy 6:5).

An awesome reason to be affectionate. Next, notice that, in 1 Corinthians 11:24, during the Lord’s Supper, when Jesus had given thanks, He broke the bread, and said “Take, eat. This is my body which is broken for you. Do this to call Me [affectionately] to remembrance.” And He repeats His request when the wine is taken, in verse 25. “Similarly, when supper was ended, He took the cup also, saying, This cup is the new covenant [ratified and established] in My blood. Do this as often as you drink [it], to call Me [affectionately] to remembrance.” Every time I take the Lord’s Supper, Jesus wants me to remember Him with affection.

I knew that believers in Jesus observe the Lord’s supper to honor and respect Him by remembering His incomprehensible sacrifice for us. However, until I read this verse in the Amplified as I wrote this blog, I did not know that Jesus specifically asked us to remember Him with affection.

He could have, very appropriately, said to call Him to remembrance with respect and awe and fear. This is certainly part of the way we should approach God and it is the most basic, foundational way to think of God. But He clearly wants us to think of Him with affection, too. If you have deep respect and awe and appreciation for Who God is and what He has done for us, if you know Him well and pursue a close relationship with Him, eventually your love for Him will also include affection.

See the source imageI believe that Jesus was, as always, putting us above Himself here because He knew thinking of the agony He endured for us could make us sad. I understand that because I would, if he were alive, affectionately kiss and hold my earthly father’s hands, hands roughened by years of operating heavy equipment, covered with sun-bronzed skin and scars. I would gaze with fondness at the tan lines on his forehead and arms, acquired through decades of loving labor for his family. I would do the same for my mother’s soap roughened hands. And so, when I think about what Jesus did for me, I am affectionately grateful, and privileged to come so close to Him.

We are only affectionate with those we know intimately. Synonyms for intimate include private, personal, secret, innermost, cherished, familiar, dear, devoted, and deepest. Help us, Father, to be more intimate with You!

Being affectionate with the Lord did not come naturally at first for me. As a new believer in Jesus, I had an overly formal attitude toward Him. I had the proper reverence and fear (Deuteronomy 13:4, I Chronicles 16:25, Psalm 2:11) but I also had an unhealthy subconscious fear that I was not doing enough, fear that I was not worthy, and fear that God would one day abandon me because of that. Those wounded attitudes were caused by events in the past, obviously the work of the evil one, but God (whose power no foe can withstand, Psalm 91:1, AMPC ) brought those hurts, with the shame and guilt, into the light of His love and forgiveness. Over time, He helped me learn to ask Him into each moment of my day, including the undignified times (like exercising or scrubbing the bathroom) and times when I fail Him (like in traffic or when I lose patience with someone.)

Image result for royalty free clip art of a little bookMy search for closer closeness with the Lord led me to read the little book “The Practice of the Presence of God”, written in the 17th century by a friar called Brother Lawrence. I cannot recommend it highly enough. It helped me overcome the last remnants of over-formality with God. In this dynamo of a book, Brother Lawrence talks about chatting with the Lord while he worked in the monastery’s kitchen, for example. Brother Lawrence said “. . . during any daily duty, lift your heart to Him (God), because even the least little remembrance will please Him. You don’t have to pray out loud; He’s nearer than you can imagine. . . We can make our hearts personal chapels where we can enter anytime to talk to God privately. These conversations can be so loving and gentle, and anyone can have them” (page 36).

Slowly, I began talking to God more and more during the day, finding that as I drew near to God, He drew near to me (James 4:8) and that He was with me when I was with Him (2 Chronicles 15:2).

This will work for anyone. It took a long time, with countless failures and trying again. However, continually seeking His moment-by-moment presence as Brother Lawrence suggested has brought deep settled peace and the confidence that my loving Heavenly Father will always, always, always help me run into His presence and regain my peace, no matter what I do or what happens around me.

Fellow seeker, we can be confident He will come closer to us as we try to come closer to Him. He reassures us in I John 5:14-15 that:

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that HE hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him” (NIV).

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If there is any doubt in your mind about this, it is a thought arrow of the enemy designed to keep you from your rightful place with God. Lift up the shield of faith and take the sword of truth in hand. Keep pressing on and pressing in until you reach the promised land of delighting yourself in His presence!

God is affectionate with us. Finally, beloved, God says He “. . . cares for us affectionately and cares about us watchfully.” I Peter 5:7 says, “Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and He cares about you watchfully.”

This is not the only place in the Bible where God clearly shows His affection and the depth of His love for us. As you pursue your daily personal Bible study, make note of these places and imprint them on your heart, i.e., memorize them! Some of my favorites include particular verses in Psalm 139, Psalm 136, John 3, John 14, Joshua 1, Isaiah 26, 2 Chronicles 14, and Ephesians 3. . . The Bible overflows with God’s love. It is, indeed, God’s love letter to us, as someone once said.

Ponder God’s affection for us. Would a baby in Jesus’ arms have a single worry or concern—ever? What a wonderful thought as we all walk through the challenge of the coronavirus. God Himself is with us. In Genesis 28:15, God told Jacob, and us: “And behold, I am with you and will keep (watch over you with care, take notice of) you where 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.”

Ask, seek, and knock. If you ask, God will show you how to love Him more affectionately. The Bible tells us so!Image result for royalty free picture of jesus holding a child