Friday, November 30, 2012

Jesus is Your Christmas! It's All About Him!

There are many signs of the season everywhere you look. It’s the time of year where Santa is sitting in the malls and stores, waiting to visit with little boys and girls.  As it goes, if you’ve been good, Santa will bring you all that you desire.  I have photos of me sitting on Santa’s lap and of my children doing the same. Some years there were smiles of delight. Others there were tears of fear. Regardless, visit Santa is what all children want to do.

In the movie, A Christmas Story, Ralphie did everything in his power to get the one gift he so desired – a Red Ryder BB Gun! When he visited with Santa he went mute and was terribly frustrated as he called out to Santa at the last moment what he wanted most of all. Santa, like everyone else in his life shot out the reply, “You’ll shoot your eye out kid!”  

You and I are too old to go sit on Santa’s lap and hope for the best. We’re adults. We know the truth. We’ve resigned ourselves to trying to make others happy and make the best of Christmas. Oh we have our hopes and wants. We might even be secretly hoping that our spouse or another loved one heard us “hint” about that favorite gift we yearn for but for the most part we know that Christmas is for children.

Is it? Is it just for children? Is it just about Santa and toys and trees and reindeer? Is all the hope for children who’ve been good? What’s in it for us? Are we destined to relive our childhood and resign ourselves to a ho hum holiday? Is there nothing more than this?

Oh beloved, crawl up into your Father God’s lap and rest in His promises. He loves you so incredibly that He moved heaven and earth just for you!  Share all your heart with Him – your hopes, your fears, your wants and your desires. He knows you and He’s able to meet all your needs, whatever they are. He can take your holidays and make them into Holy Days. Hear Him speaking softly into your ear as he wipes the tears from your eyes, “I love you, you are my beloved, I made Christmas just for you. I AM listening to you and I have all the time in the world. I won’t rush you, I won’t push you away, I won’t rebuke you for your dreams and hopes. I AM your answer, I AM your greatest needs fulfilled,  I AM Christmas. Stay with Me and lean on My Word and together we will make this your greatest Christmas ever. I’ll always hold you close to me and love you all the way to heaven.

It’s not about the tinsel or the glitter or the presents or the food. It’s all about Jesus and His miraculous, breathtaking, magnificent Gift! You are loved, you are blessed and that’s all that really matters.

2 Corinthians 9:15  Now thanks be to God for His Gift, [precious] beyond telling [His indescribable, inexpressible, free Gift]! (AMP)

John 4:10 Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask Me, and I would give you living water.”

John 7:38  Anyone who believes in Me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”

John 12:46   I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in Me will no longer remain in the dark.

Jeremiah 31:3 Long ago the LORD said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.

John 14:1 Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in Me.

2 Corinthians 2:14  But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Let Christ Make Your Christmas Full of His Joy!

The Christmas holiday is approaching. It’s time to get the tree up and start putting packages underneath the boughs. When we were first married, Danny and I would go out to the woods to pick out a tree. It would end up in an argument because well…I always wanted a huge tree and he always said it wouldn’t fit! He was right of course. My eyes were always bigger than the space we had. Tree hunting was always one of my favorite activities. Many memories are of trees that had to be trimmed to get into the trunk of the car, then trimmed to get in the house and then trimmed one more time to have room to stand it up! With our new open floor plan there is no limit to where we can place the tree because it can be seen anywhere. 

To prep the house for the holidays we have to get out the ornaments and the yard lights and the tinsel and glitter. There are the nativities we scatter around the house and the santas and the angels. There will be stockings and Christmas towels and more. 

But in order to fully enjoy the holidays and prep our hearts, there are things we must put away as well. Who wants to see a bag of resentment hanging from the ceiling? Does anyone need a sock full of malice hanging at the fireplace mantel? Why would we want Santa’s bag to be full of quarrels and unforgiveness? Pack away those things that dishonor others, discard spitefulness and hurtful ways. While I’m cleaning out my cabinets and dusting the furniture, I also want to spend time cleaning out my heart and making room for the Babe in the Manger, the Crucified Christ, the Resurrected Lord.

Glitter will not make you happy, contented, or satisfied. It may help to cover up the truth, but in the end it’s just plastic. But giving your heart fresh and new to Christ and putting away those things that grieve the Holy Spirit will cause even the barest of lives to shine as pure gold. 

Oh beloved, I know it can be hard to celebrate the Season of Seasons when even within your own family there may be discord, anger, lying or more. You may be even suffering at the hands of one who is unhappy, unholy and unrepentant. You may be dealing with these issues in your own heart. But celebrate you must for God Himself is calling you to celebrate Him! He says to you this morning, My Peace is yours for I AM the Prince of Peace! My Joy is Yours for in My Presence is Fullness of Joy! My Victory is yours for I AM Victorious on your behalf. As you celebrate Me and all that I AM you will learn to celebrate all that you are In Me! Others may try to tear down your peace and joy but they cannot as long as you put your hands in Mine and keep your heart focused on Me. I AM your answer to sorrow, anger, resentment, and more.  I AM the one who will teach you to be useful, helpful, tender hearted and forgiving for I have forgiven you freely. Put those other things away and concentrate on Me! Together we will trim the tree, spread the joy and be a shining example of My Love!  Always remember, I love you and I AM your strongest ally. I will take care of the things that hurt you, the things that dishonor you and the things you cannot fix. I AM that I AM – and I AM yours and you are Mine!

Matthew 26:52 “Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword.

1 Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.

Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished (put away) from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind).  And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you.

Psalm 16:11 You will show me the way of life,
granting me the joy of Your presence
and the pleasures of living with You forever.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Listen! God Hears and He Answers You! Trust Him.

As our oldest granddaughter and I went to pick up chicken the other night, I received a phone call/prayer request. Talking with my friend on the other line, I finally just pulled into the parking lot of the restaurant and sat there a few minutes. As we finished our phone conversation  I prayed for my friend.  When we were through, I hung up the phone and prepared to move into the drive through to retrieve our supper.  My granddaughter began, “I have two problems with your prayer…” I said, okay, what’s up? She responded, “You said tah-morrah (instead of tomorrow) and you used the word folks. Who says folks?” I laughed as I asked her if she was a prayer “critiquer”. She laughed too! She said, no that it was just funny to hear the way I talked. We both laughed as I said that I was thankful that although we might speak in dialects that someone else might not understand or might think is funny, God hears and understands every word we speak to Him even the different common terms and enunciations throughout the world.  She agreed and off we went with our chicken back to the house full of family.

I don’t know about you but I have prayers that really need an answer. My friend on the other end of the line that night really needed an answer. People throughout the world need an answer. Whether they are foreign speaking maids, international dignitaries, northern farmers or southern wage earners, everyone is hoping and praying for answers. We might not all have the right jargon, the right posture, the right inflections but God hears us all. His desire is not that we come to Him “correctly” but that we come to Him!  He hears the heart, adjusts the desires and soothes the pulse of all who talk to Him.  He knows the desperate cries of the deepest hurts, desires, hopes and more. We are most fortunate that we don’t have to bow a certain number of times, walk backwards, be in fear or reprimand or worse…we just have to ask.

Oh beloved, if you’re like me, you have deep, deep concerns that only a Savior can understand. You may have been put on the chopping block of someone you love, the cinder block of he refiner’s fire or the cold hearth of the rejector’s rebuke. But God hears. He speaks to you and to me this morning and He says, “Are you going to trust Me? Are you going to let Me work this all out? Are you going to give your loved one, your trouble, your situation to Me so that I can do what only I can do? I AM trustworthy, faithful and true. What I said I can do I will do. Just lay it all before Me, turn completely loose of it and watch as I make it all work together for your good and My glory. I love you, I love to lavish My Answers on you because you are Mine. You may have to go through things that are unjust, unfair, unwarranted and unimaginable, but together we will be more than conquerors. Watch in peace and rest in My promises as I unfold the real story, answer the true prayers and give you more than your wildest imaginations can comprehend. I love you and I AM on your side – what else do you need to know?

Isaiah 59:1  Listen! The LORD’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is His ear too deaf to hear you call.

Psalm 91:15  When they call on Me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them.

Psalm 4:3  You can be sure of this: The LORD set apart the godly for Himself. The LORD will answer when I call to Him.

Psalm 62:8  O my people, trust in Him at all times. Pour out your heart to Him, for God is our refuge. Selah

Jeremiah 32:17 O Sovereign Lord! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you!

Isaiah 65:24  It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.

Zechariah 13:9  “And I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ And they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’”

Genesis 22:14 Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the Lord will provide”). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

He says to you and me "I AM your Rest and Peace"

I find that I am losing ground daily. Once I had a huge realm. All that my eye could see was mine, mine, mine. My husband was mine. My family was mine. My home was mine. My land was mine. My job, my hobbies, my habits, my future and more. All mine. I was a very influential woman as the scope of my realm was huge! Slowly but slowly I’ve been losing ground. First I lost my rights. Then I lost my desires. I found, through a series of events, better known as life, that even my family no longer belonged to me.  Now I have very little to call mine. Some of it I lost the hard way – by hanging on too tightly. Other personal effects I lost by realization.  The more I tried to keep things under control, the more bound I was to it. Like owning the cell of the prison you’re captive of.  

Now that I own nothing I find that there is complete freedom. Now that I have lost myself I find that I am a rich woman indeed. I have found and am still finding out that loss of everything means gain of the best. I have no realm, not even myself. It all belongs to another.  It is his to do whatever he wants to with. I cannot control one person, one thing or one idea. But as I relinquish my realm more and more to the One Who is worthy I find that peace, love, joy and overcoming victory are totally mine. I have exchanged my crown for the olive wreath and it fits so much better. I have exchanged my pack of possessions for a yoke and it is soothing and reassuring.

Perhaps you have tried to control problems, personalities, and things. Maybe you just want peace in your home and joy in your entire family. You’ve tried and tried. You’ve prayed, begged, insisted and soothed, but still the other subjects of the land are determined to do their own thing. Maybe you were charged by lions and you saw no helper near you to come to your aid. You must find rest from the toil and a soft pillow for your weary head.

Oh beloved, run to the Lord! Bury your face in all that He is! He calls out in loving, soothing words – “Everything, I mean everything in all creation is Mine, including you, all of your loved ones and all of your heart’s desires. In all the expanse of heaven and earth there is nothing I cannot take care of. I AM the Lord and there is no other. I AM your rest and your peace. Relax your hold on other things and take hold of Me and My Promises which follow after all who trust Me. I have all your hurts and hopes and desires in My hand. I AM going to take you with Me all the days of your life. Keep seeking Me and My favor, keep relinquishing your control of both the hard things and the good and rest, just rest in Me.  I love you and I’m for you. Is there anything else you really need?”

Daniel 4:34 After this time had passed, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven. My sanity returned, and I praised and worshiped the Most High and honored the One who lives forever. His rule is everlasting, and His kingdom is eternal.

John 18:36  Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep Me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.”

Isaiah 30:15  This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “Only in returning to Me and resting in Me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength…”

Lamentations 3:24  I say to myself, “The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in Him!”

Matthew 11:29  Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Psalm 56:9  My enemies will retreat when I call to You for help. This I know: God is on my side!

Deuteronomy 3:24  ‘O Sovereign LORD, You have only begun to show Your greatness and the strength of Your hand to me, your servant. Is there any god in heaven or on earth who can perform such great and mighty deeds as You do?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Got Burdens? Let Jesus Lift Them From You!

My friend Kathy raises donkeys. They are magnificent! I know you’re thinking, donkeys? Magnificent? But these are no ordinary donkeys. They have special papers and names. They are a breed fit for the show ring. Most donkeys are considered mere beasts of burden. From old cowboy movies to modern day pack rides, you see donkeys everywhere. I will tell you I didn’t know that donkeys could be so beautiful and do so much!

When we come to Jesus we are mere beasts of burden. We carry such a weight on us. All of our sins, mistakes, hurts, pains, troubles, trials, disappointments, discouragements. It’s heavy and we can barely walk. The Lord Himself takes our burdens from us! We are free to be His creation, fit for Him to show His glorious praises! Sometimes we come to church looking for freedom and we find more burdens – religion, duties, condemnation and more. But Jesus never gives us more burdens! He loves us so much that He frees us to come and go from His pleasant pastures. As we lean on Him He removes our burdens ever so delicately.

Oh beloved, today is the day you can let God release your burdens for you. He says to you today, I AM the one who has taken your burdens all the way to Calvary and beyond. I AM your burden bearer. I AM your load lightener. If you will just give me your burdens, hand them over to me, I AM able to make you a magnificent example of my love and care! I will always take perfect care of you, I will always display My love for you and I will openly bless you with all the good things that are found in Me.  

Run to His Word and see this morning! See what He says about you! You may feel ordinary, but you are extraordinary as you read His Word and see your papers – His Word tells you everything you need to know about the pedigree of your spiritual lineage. You are loved and you are cared for and you are free to be all that you were ever meant to be! He loves you and He’s for you and that’s all that really matters!

Psalm 55:22  Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.

Matthew 11:28  Then Jesus said, Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

Psalm 146:8  The LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are weighed down. The LORD loves the godly.

Ephesians 6:10 For we are God’s masterpiece…

Genesis 49:25  May the God of your father help you; may the Almighty bless you with the blessings of the heavens above, and blessings of the watery depths below, and blessings of the breasts and womb.

Psalm 16:5  LORD, You alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

God Will Loosen Your Heart from Your Troubles

Danny and I went to a friend’s funeral yesterday afternoon. It was a great tribute to a man who was known and loved by many. It ended up that we were after dark getting home. Since we had a houseful of family there, we couldn’t wait to get home.  Driving along at a pretty good pace, suddenly we realized that the interstate traffic was shutting down.  I was concerned about the trouble up ahead. But I was also frustrated that we were stopped less than a mile from our exit. Everything was fine and we were within reach of our destination when it all changed.  Road rage won’t work and sports cars can’t race when the road is ground to a halt. No matter who is in the vehicle, all have to stop. Inching our way along with sports cars, SUV’s and semi’s we finally made it to our exit. As we crossed the Interstate we noticed the traffic was stopped all the way to Caddo Valley, blue lights telling the tale of an accident up ahead.

We are a people in a hurry. We love the Interstate travel in life. Get on the road, get your speed up and sail on through.  Most of the time it’s an easy road, because all travel is going the same direction in your lanes. Occasionally, without warning, things happen. We have no control over those things, so we get frustrated and concerned. We wonder if we are going to make it through to clear sailing again.  Sometimes problems are cleared up quickly, other times we’re bogged down with them for quite some time. We feel that if we just had more power or leverage, we could get ourselves out of the situation. But regardless of who we are, when problems come, we all grind to a halt.

Are you wondering this morning why you have to be in such a mess? Are you concerned that you won’t make it home? Do you feel that you’re running out of time and you don’t know how you’ll ever get out of this trouble, this problem, this wreck in your life? Maybe you’re in a rage because you can’t control the situation.  You may feel abandoned, left in the dark, stopped dead in your tracks. You may not have caused it, but you’re certainly stuck in the middle of it. Is there no way out? Will help ever come?

Oh beloved God is with you! Let Him soothe you’re troubled heart. Let Him lift you above your circumstances. He speaks so gently and loving.  Even in the midst of troubles, He wants to speak Truth into your heart, your life, your situation. He says to you this morning, I AM with you. I AM fully aware of the situation and I’ve got it all under control.  Look to Me instead of your circumstances. As long as you concentrate on the circumstances and the feelings they bring, you can’t see Me clearly. Even when you can’t see Me, I AM with you. Let Me loosen your heart from the trouble ahead and adjust  your thinking. Rage won’t change a thing, speed won’t make up for lost time – for both are dangerous to your life and Our relationship.  Because I AM with you, I AM the One who will make a way for you to arrive safely at your destination! Lean on Me and let Me take the wheel of your life and together we will get through this and on to better days and smoother roads. I AM always going to say I love you, I AM always going to be with you. So you can Trust Me as I lead you. And as I lead you, you will find rage and malice, anger, dread, fear and frustration melt away to be replaced by My peace.

Trust God! Let Him take you beyond your circumstances. For He loves you enough to stick with you and He’s for you enough that He’ll get you through it. Rest in His promises for that’s all that really matters.

Psalm 34:19  The righteous person faces many troubles, but the LORD comes to the rescue each time.

Psalm 119:50  Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles.

Psalm 138:7  Though I am surrounded by troubles, You will protect me from the anger of my enemies. You reach out your hand, and the power of Your right hand saves me.

Psalm 120:1 I took my troubles to the LORD; I cried out to Him, and He answered my prayer.

2 Corinthians 1:4  He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.

2 Corinthians 4:18  So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

2 Samuel 22:31 God’s way is perfect. All the LORD’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Times May be Tough but God will Never Leave You!

On this day, 39 years ago, I walked the aisle to marry  my beloved husband. It would seem, just looking at the surface of things, that the odds were against us. I was too young. I was still in high school. We came from different backgrounds. We didn’t really know what we were doing. I walked the aisle to the bridal march amidst thunder and lightning and pouring rain! Everyone knows that a stormy wedding day is bad luck! It shouldn’t have lasted. But it did.

What we saw that day was none of the problems or issues that seemed to destine us to failure.  We just looked at one another and kept our eyes focused on the one thing that mattered. Love. All we wanted was to get married and live together the rest of our lives.  We knew this was love and we made our vows and somehow we managed to make it stick. As the song was sung that night, “There is Love”.

When we say yes to Jesus, we are in essence saying I Do. Many things can come against us. If we focus on those issues, we may find ourselves veering off the aisle of faith. But as we focus our sights on the Lord, He promises to keep us all the way to heaven.  Hard times will come. We’ll find that sometimes our desires aren’t the same as His and we have to make choices. Even when we make poor ones, He stays with us to guide us back to Himself. Love. All He wants is to love us and to have us love Him.  Because of His great love He makes this walk of faith stick.

Today may be a hard day for you. Maybe you’re facing decisions you don’t really want to make. Maybe you were left at the altar of life by someone you loved. Maybe you’ve walked away from God’s loving care and done your own thing. It could be that the hurts and pain of unrequited love have given you a bitter taste in your mouth and you see no way to love or be loved ever again.

Oh beloved, run to the Bridegroom of your heart! His Wedding Vows are set in stone and He’s placed them in a beautiful book of love so that you can go back and rehearse and renew your knowledge of His wonderful love and tender mercy. Everything He ever said about you, His beloved, in this book remains true no matter what! The storms of life will come, but He says to you this morning, “Oh beloved, come away with Me and let Me teach you all about My love! I will never leave you, I will never forsake you, I will continually woo you back to Myself no matter how you wander, no matter where you may roam. I AM the One who keeps you. I AM the One who loves you. I AM the One who keeps my eyes on your face for you are truly the apple of My eye. As you and I walk down the aisle of life together, I will hold you by My right hand. All you need to do is keep your eyes on Me. Together we can make this marriage work, for it is truly a match made in heaven!” Oh how He loves and protects you! Now that’s worth praising His name!

Deuteronomy 31:6  Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.

Ruth 1:16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.

Psalm 17:8  Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings. (NAS)

Psalm 57:7  My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises!

Jeremiah 31:3  Long ago the LORD said to Israel: “I have loved you, My people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.

Friday, November 23, 2012

God Will Always Shine His Light for you in the Night

Family gatherings always bring memories of childhood past. My brother and one of my cousins were talking about being afraid of the dark.  Johnny shared that he spent the night with someone when he was about 8 years old and they had a deer mount on the wall of the bedroom he slept in. Only he didn’t notice it until he was in bed and the light was out. Since it was dark he couldn’t really make out what it was. So his imagination went wild! By morning light he realized his fears were for naught.

It’s a fact, young or old, your mind plays tricks on you in the dark. For kids, what looks like a monster in the room turns out to be a pile of clean clothes in the daylight.  What seems to be so overwhelming when you’re going through hard times or tough issues suddenly melts away as you shine the light of God’s Word on that situation.  

Are you worrying about things you cannot control? Do you feel as though there’s an elephant on your chest or a colossal pile of trouble in the room of your life? Is there no way to see any light to help alleviate the situation? It can be especially hard when the world you know as safe and secure is changing so much. We live in troubled times and it feels as though everything that can be shaken is being shaken right down to the foundation.

Oh beloved, run to the Lord, Your Protector, Your Provider, Your Promise Keeper! His Word is your secure light that never goes out no matter how dark things get. He will always shine His Truth on your hurts, pains or troubles. He promises that all things, your things, will work for good.  How can you trust Him in the dark? By allowing His Word into your heart. By living by the Light of His Holy Name. For as long as you look full into His Face and stay focused on His Word, you will have no fear for God is with You! His Name, His Essence, His Nature is Love! Let Him take your dark places and show you there’s nothing to fear as together you walk with Him in the Light of His Awesome Word! He loves you always and He’s on your side now and forever and that’s what will give you rest from fear and peace in your heart when the night is long. Hallelujah to the One Whose light shines eternally!

John 12:46  I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in Me will no longer remain in the dark.

Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?

Psalm 4:8  In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe.

Psalm 91:4 He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.

John 14:27 I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

I Peter 5:7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. (Amplified)

Lamentations 3:57 Yes, You came when I called; You told me, “Do not fear.”

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Give the Gift of Thanksgiving Today!

Looking back over the years to family Thanksgivings past, I laugh as I remember fondly even those things that irritated me so as a young person. Take the men in the family. They would curse and fight and beat the table in front of the tv as their favorite and not so favorite teams duked it out.  We “women” would relegate ourselves to the king sized bed in mother’s room to visit and laugh and carry on. How I would love to hear my Daddy and Uncle Bill arguing about football!

We are fortunate to be able to celebrate with a table full of faith, food, family and more. Reminiscing is very much a part of this special holiday, but we also want to make new memories. The chill of the morning, the colors of the leaves and the knowledge that we are blessed beyond measure keeps us hopeful, watchful and grateful.

But this Thanksgiving I am especially thankful.  For prayers not answered in my way or my timing. Every prayer I ever prayed just didn’t line up with God’s will. In fact some prayers were downright self-centered. But God, in His absolute incredible mercy knew best and still does. Thank you Lord. For unfulfilled wishes. Out of our own hurts and angers we often wish for things that aren’t from God’s heart. Oh God You are so protective, so forgiving so kind. Thank you Lord. For heaven’s gain and my loss. We mourn for loved ones long gone and just gone. But would you ask any one of them to leave Heaven’s splendor? God you are so beautiful. Your creative Power has given us hope for tomorrow, hope beyond the tomb, the stone, the grave. Thank you Lord.

If circumstances were the reason for thanksgiving then we’d be most poverty stricken. Some of you are hurting, some of you are healing, some of you are lonely, some of you are missing loved ones. Some of you are being held captive by hurts, animosity, fear and more. But for the grace of God you may have nothing to give thanks for…and yet…when we really get down to it, Thanksgiving is an attitude of the heart that transcends our days here on earth.

Oh beloved, this day is your day to give Thanks to the One Who is worthy of all praise! He knew you before you were formed, He knows everything about you both the good and the not so good, He has all your days taken care of. He knows your hurts, your whispered prayers, your hearts’ desires and your fears. He has brought you to this day, a day of thanksgiving, because He has a purpose for you and that purpose begins and ends in Him! He is full of astonishing love for you. He is full of glorious care and creative power for you to live by! Run to His Book of Thankfulness and read – all His promises, all His love, all His care, all His mercy, all His forgiveness, all His power and more is there just for you! You are blessed beyond measure because the King of Kings and the Lord of Lord says so! As you sit at your table today, don’t forget to drink a cup of thankfulness in His blessed and holy Name! Thank Him today! Thank Him for He is Worthy of your thanksgiving!

1 Chronicles 16:8  Give thanks to the LORD and proclaim His greatness. Let the whole world know what He has done.

Ephesians 5:20  And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Psalm 103:2  Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits. (NAS)

Psalm 16:7  I will bless the LORD who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me.

Psalm 28:7  The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust Him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.

Psalm 116:17  I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD.

Revelation 7:12  They sang, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength belong to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Your Life is Valuable Enough to Bear Fruit!

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before that my mother had a green thumb.  She could break off a branch from a bush and stick it in the soil and roots would appear and that stick would become a bountiful bush! It didn’t matter what the plant was, she could make it grow.  She could even make something out of plants that others throw away.  Take the horse apple. Now everyone knows you can’t eat bois d’arc apples, only squirrels find them edible. But mother would take those ugly knobby green blobs, slice them thinly, plop them in the oven and out would come interesting “flowers”.  I think the reason Mother was so talented at her gardening was that she loved it. It was more than a duty or a chore. It was something that gave her extreme pleasure. Sometimes she’d be burning hot in the summer sun with sweat streaming across her face. She’d whistle a little tune and keep working.  It never crossed her mind to quit because she loved it. She loved the outcome of what her efforts would accomplish in the lawn and the garden.  You could say she stayed rooted right there until she was done.

God loves to make something from nothing. We are like broken dead twigs in the garden of life and most of us, if truth be told, are throw-aways. We didn’t produce fruit or beautiful flowers. We just existed. But God came into our lives to make something that we never thought we could be.  As He prunes and replants us, we flourish. It never crosses God’s mind to throw us away. What He begins He will continue. He made a way to tend our lives throughout history by His sacrifice on the cross. If it were merely the cross, then death would be our answer. But He went beyond the cross to new life. He rose again, so that we too can rise to new life. He took our little bent, misshapen and unusable lives and caused them to bear much fruit for His Kingdom.

And He always tends to our needs with His loving hands, because we were rooted and established in His love.  Oh there will be times when we feel destined to be plucked up and placed on the burn pile, but God will have none of that.  He never tires of tending His garden of love, so that He is with us, his flourishing plants, forever.

Oh beloved, you may not realize how valuable you are to God. Others may have told you you had no value or given you the idea that you are not worthy of being regenerated, but you are! It doesn’t matter what type of soil your life was beforehand or whether you produced good things, it just matters that He is calling you out of your own mess into His loving care! He will show you wonderful things about your life as you learn to trust in and lean on His Word! He chose you specifically to bloom where you are planted, to produce where you are set and to live a flourishing life of abundance in Him! He loves you, He will tend to your life needs and He will watch over so that the weeds of life will not take root anymore.  And His love and care are all that really matter!

Proverbs 12:12  Thieves are jealous of each other’s loot, but the godly are well rooted and bear their own fruit.

Colossians 2:7  having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. (NAS)

Ephesians 6:17-19 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. (NAS)

John 15:5 Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Free To Be Me In Christ!

It was one of those times my mother was visiting at a friend’s house. I spied a girl next door and we struck up a conversation.  She invited me over to play.  We went together to play in her garage. I found out she was a ballerina and a little older than me. I wasn’t more than 4.  The playtime turned into bullying as she insisted that I had to stand on my tiptoes like a ballerina before she would open the garage doors and let me out. I was panicky but at age 4, I didn’t even think about crying for anyone to rescue me.  The friendship turned quickly into performance and I could not perform! It was ghastly. I tried knocking at the garage door but was quickly pushed away. Finally, my mother came looking for me.  I honestly don’t remember even telling her what happened. I may have, but I do still remember the terror of being locked away and having to perform. I also remember the tremendous relief at having my mother rescue me.

Performance. Perfection. Personality. Often the walk of faith can become a contest with these three.   We get saved and then we forget. So we begin to perform.  We find that we feel better when we’re achieving, executing and implementing. Busy becomes our best friend and cohort. If we can stay busy we can feel like we’re accomplishing something. Often though it’s a hamster’s wheel we find ourselves on.

While we’re busy performing we find that we need to be perfect – at everything. Perfection is the enemy of grace.  Why? Because grace says “Accepted as Is”, while Perfection says, “Keep working on it you’ll be good enough eventually”.  Perfection’s ally is comparison.  We look around at what others are doing and hope we can measure up.

If that wasn’t enough to garner attention and find release from the need to perform, here comes personality. Our nature is to become like those we’re around to find value, worth and esteem. Although I was not a ballerina, I found that I was trying harder and harder to be like my task master so that I could be granted good enough for release from the prison of that garage.  My usual childlike personality became frantic, terrified and ashamed.

We cannot make it out of the prison we are in on our own. You and I are destined to be prisoners all the days of our lives. Unless we are rescued! Rescue will never come at the hands of Performance, Perfection or Personality. It only comes from the One Who came to rescue, redeem and renew those who could not find freedom on their own.

Oh beloved, are you fighting for freedom? Are you searching for some measure of perfection to find peace? Have you found yourself wishing you could be more like “them” so you could be accepted?  Run this morning to the One Who made you just the way you are! Run to the Arms of the One Who says Accepted! Jesus is the Only One Who can set you free so that you can be truly free! Let Him show you the keys He holds in His hands. Let Him love you all the way to Calvary and beyond. Let Him teach you from His Word that the stone at the tomb was rolled away for your complete and total freedom! He loves you, loves you, loves you and He’s on your side – saying you are His, you are perfected in Him and His plans for you are awesome! Now that’s worth a Hallelujah!

Deuteronomy 24:18 Always remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God redeemed you from your slavery. That is why I have given you this command.

Psalm 107:2  Has the LORD redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies.

Luke 1:68 Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has visited and redeemed His people.

Psalm 78:35  Then they remembered that God was their rock, that God Most High was their redeemer.

Isaiah 48:17  This is what the LORD says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow.

Isaiah 49:9  I will say to the prisoners, ‘Come out in freedom,’ and to those in darkness, ‘Come into the light.’ They will be my sheep, grazing in green pastures and on hills that were previously bare.

Monday, November 19, 2012

God is Love and He Loves You!

When I met Danny in person the first time I was incredibly shy but I knew, I just knew that here was the opportunity to soar higher than I would ever fly on my own, to go farther out on a limb than I’d dare to alone, that with him there would be more cymbals clanging and ocean waves crashing! Was I scared? A little. But suddenly my heart said, this is your chance, this is your moment, this is your man.  He was daring, I was shy. He was a traveler, I’d never gone anywhere without my family. He was different; I didn’t want to stand out. He was cool, I was not.  He was handsome and I felt beautiful with him. He had the most magnificent hands I’d ever seen, strong as an ox. I’ve never wanted to let go of those hands, ever.

When I met Jesus, it was the same. I wasn’t sure where I was going, I didn’t know much about Him, but I just knew that it would be good because He would always be with me.  All the issues of life that we carry around with us, the heavy backpack of stuff just lifted off my shoulders and He wrapped His loving arms around me.  Oh I needed some work, but He never let me feel that way. Occasionally I would succumb to lies of worthlessness, uselessness, ugliness, but He always lifted me out of my pain and agony, even when self-inflicted.  He is the beauty in me, He is the peace in my heart, He is the voice in my throat and the words in my mind. As God scooped me up and held me in His hands, I knew, beyond the shadow of a doubt that this was love! Real love! True love! Perfect love!

I thank my precious, beloved husband today for asking me out on this day 40 years ago. I thank him for saying I Do and never reneging.  I thank him for helping me, encouraging me, forgiving me and going on with me. We didn’t know much about each other when we first got married, but the more we know each other, the more we love each other and the more we trust and value each other. 

This is how our walk with the Lord is -It’s the same with Jesus – the more I know Him the more I trust Him. The more I trust Him the more I am willing to live a life of excitement and daring as together we go out on a limb and He produces His fruit in me.

Oh beloved, you may be sitting here this morning saying to yourself that you are unworthy, unlovely, of no value and totally useless. You may have been discarded by someone you love dearly. It does happen. But the Lord says to you this morning, I AM your King, I AM your Provider. I will never walk away from you. I will never concentrate on your faults or issues. I AM going to show you that I love you and the more you realize My great love for you, the more your faults and issues will fall to the wayside. Let Me love you, walk beside you and guide you.  My plans for your life are beyond your wildest imaginations and they are all good for I AM love and you are loved!

Run to the King this morning – you have complete and total access to Him! He will always welcome you into His presence and He’s always rejoicing to see you – for He loves you and He’s for you and that, beloved, is all you will ever need!

Jeremiah 31:3 Long ago the Lord said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.
With unfailing love I have drawn you to Myself.

Isaiah 63:9  In all their affliction He was afflicted, And the angel of His presence saved them; In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them, And He lifted them and carried them all the days of old.

Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.

Titus 3:4-5 But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared,  He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.

John 15:9  Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.

Psalm 16:11  You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bogged Down? Get Out God's Assignments and Praise Him!

When we lived in Tyler we had a huge detached double garage at the back of our lot. This is where I learned to love being a teacher. I had a chalkboard and I loved to write assignments on the board. Oh they’d be long, long assignments! Usually playing school only involved me and Dee Dee, a neighbor. But we’d play! Assignment seemed to always fascinate me. I liked having something to do, a list to remind myself and then to cross it off the list as I accomplished it.  I think that’s one of the reasons Precept Bible Studies was so appealing to me.  We had homework assignments during the week. We would be sent home to glean from the Word.  If you didn’t do your homework, you could not share in class the next week.  I’ll forever be grateful for our time as both Precept students and as Precept teachers.  Learning to study the Bible in depth and find nuggets of Truth for yourself – learning what it really means – gave us an incredible foundation for our faith.

Just as there were assignments in school and in Bible study, there are assignments in life. Some are wonderful – love, joy, peace, faithfulness, gifts of the Holy Spirit, to name a few.  Others aren’t so good.  Fear, condemnation, pessimism, gloominess, hopelessness, despair, to name a few.   One set of assignments is given to us freely by the Lord when we are saved.  The other set of assignments is from the enemy of our very souls. As with all homework we must be careful of what we’re working on – for what you “work on” is what you become proficient in. 

Oh beloved! Run to the Lord this morning and learn your rightful coursework! His Assignment Book is full of good words to learn, great precepts to walk in and awesome power for living!  Every good and perfect gift is from Him! Every sorrowful and depressing gift is from another. God says to you this morning, Come to me, Your Teacher, and learn of Me. When you know Me and My Word, you won’t be tempted to follow the wrong assignments. All of my gifts, every single one of them, are good and pleasing and kind.  I love you, and because of My Great Love, you have no worries concerning learning of Me. I AM for you, so you have no worries concerning following Me! The only way to reject untruth being spoken into your life is to learn MY Truth! Come, beloved, you are heavy laden with lies and discouraging words! Let Me speak Truth into your life so that when it’s all said and done, you will be able to live as more than a conqueror!

God loves you and His Word proves it.  He’s for you and His precepts light the path for you. Hallelujah to the King!

John 17:17 “Make them holy by Your Truth; teach them Your word, which is truth.”

Psalm 19:8  The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. (NAS)

Psalm 119:14-16 I will study Your commandments and reflect on Your ways.  I will delight in Your decrees and not forget Your word.

Psalm 119:110  The wicked have laid a snare for me, Yet I have not gone astray from Your precepts. (NAS)

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.

Philippians 4:8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Feeling Alone? Run to El Roi - The God Who Sees You

Dogs have always been a big part of my life. Although we don’t have one anymore, Danny and I both grew up with them.  One of my favorite dogs actually belonged to my aunt and uncle. His name was Tyke and he was a hound dog.  Tyke and I became buddies when I was very little.  When we were visiting, that dog would follow me everywhere. When I started to wander too far from the house, he’d nudge me back to safety.  He watched over me.  What an amazing dog he was. Just to look at him you’d never know how talented and smart he was.  He was just a plain dark brown dog to the average eye. But I experienced the quality of animal he was personally, so I can tell you he was some awesome pet.  I loved that dog.  As I recall fun days at my aunt’s home I always see Tyke in the picture with me.  What a great feeling it is to remember that such a special dog watched over me so well.  He was loved and appreciated by our entire family.

Not everyone gets to experience such a dog in their lives. I know some of you never experienced such loving care growing up from the adults in your life either.  Maybe you feel that your life was always a mess and you were always getting into trouble, but no one was there to help you. You may feel that you were left alone to get yourself out of tight spots with nobody watching over you. You may even feel that you were forced to wander in the woods of life where no one ever sought you or protected you.   Even as an adult you may feel that no one has been there to guide you and shield you as you roam through so many situations.

Oh beloved, look in the mirror today and see! You are alive, you are here and you have been kept for such a time as this! God was with you, even when you could not see Him! He has kept you safe thus far and will keep you safe all the way to heaven! Yes, there were hard times, but you survived because God ordained it so! Not only did you survive, you are an overcomer! Even before you knew and acknowledged God as Lord, He knew you! And because He knows you, He’s intimately acquainted with you! He says to you this morning, If you know Me you will trust Me, for IAM your maker, I AM your keeper, I AM the one who has called you out of darkness into My marvelous light! I want you to know Me better and better so that you will learn to trust Me more and more. I love you with an everlasting love, born out of My nature and I AM for you always!

Give Him your heart today! If you’ve never given your heart fully to Him, then today is your day. It’s the day that God has called you to Himself. Once you have experienced Him personally, nothing will ever be the same.  If you are His, then today is the day to refresh your memory of His loving and generous guidance and care! Run to His Word and read more about Him – His nature, His knowledge and His love!  He was with you then, He is with you now and His love will carry you all the days of your life! Now that’s worth a Hallelujah to the King!

Genesis 16:13 (NAS) Then she (Hagar) called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “(El Roi) You are a God who sees”; for she said, “Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?”

Psalm 30:3 You brought me up from the grave, O LORD. You kept me from falling into the pit of death.

Psalm 33:13-15 The Lord looks down from heaven and sees the whole human race. From His throne He observes all who live on the earth.  He made their hearts, so He understands everything they do.

Psalm 139:16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

Deuteronomy 1:31  And you saw how the LORD your God cared for you all along the way as you traveled through the wilderness, just as a father cares for his child. Now He has brought you to this place.

Exodus 23:20 See, I am sending an angel before you to protect you on your journey and lead you safely to the place I have prepared for you.

Psalm 23:4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Blessings Come When We Let God Do the Rebuilding!

I came home from work Tuesday and the wall between our den and living room was half removed. By the next day it was totally gone!  We’ve been talking about it for some time.  We needed more room for gathering.  When our kids were dating it was great to have two living areas, but now with a large extended family and fellowship opportunities, we needed more room for sitting together.

I was so impressed!  My husband, an excellent carpenter among his many talents, has done an outstanding job.  Each day when I’ve come home, more work has been done and things are pretty neat and clean.  Come to find out, he’s cleaning up after himself as he goes. But tearing down a wall requires a mess.  Sometimes you find a bigger mess when you tear into it than it looks on the surface.  Regardless of what you find, you have to get through the mess before you can see the results. 

Are you living with walls? You may have been thinking that those walls are protecting you, when all the time they are really closing you in – from life, liberty, joy, adventure and more.  You may have even come to cherish those walls because they seem to comfort and protect you. But in order to live life fully and have room to live for Jesus with your whole heart, those walls need to come down.  You may have heard Jesus discussing it with you and you know it needs doing, but it’s hard – it’s a mess.  Someone will have to clean up. 

Oh beloved, the Master Carpenter Himself is your guide!  If He’s speaking to your heart today to tear down walls, then it’s time.  For the Lord Himself has a rebuilding in mind!  He never desires to tear us up, but to build us up!  His plans for you are so incredibly out of this world!  Let Him speak His truth into your life and watch as He rebuilds the hurtful and sorrowful walls in your life, as He takes down the places that are holding you in. It may look like a mess as you stand and observe, but it will be beautiful!  Once you get the freedom you so richly deserve, you will have a greater view of His creation and your life in Him! 

Run to His Word this morning and give it all to Him!  He is the Carpenter, He knows what needs to be done and He promises that all He does will be done for your good and His glory!  Trust Him and let Him have full reign! He will clean up the mess and produce in you an awesome life you only dreamed of!  He loves you and He’s for you and that’s all that really matters!

Jeremiah 29:11  For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Proverbs 8:32 And so, my children, listen to Me, for all who follow My ways are joyful.

Isaiah 55:9  For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.

Psalm 28:7  The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.

Hebrews 10:35  So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you!

Proverbs 3:5  Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Have You Wandered? Look to Jesus for He's Always with You!

Our wanderer, Caleb, has been at it again. As soon as we arrived home from our trip last weekend, we heard the story. Caleb had disappeared and his parents were looking for him everywhere. Finally, it was his mother who found him – down below the house in the woods at the edge of a pond. He was standing there with a stick in the water. Calmly, though you know fear raged through her, she asked him what he was doing.  He replied, “I catch pish.” She noted he was missing a shoe. He said he threw his shoe in the pond to catch a “pish”. She took him in her arms and said that this was very dangerous.  It was then that he looked around and said, “It’s scary”.  He had not noticed anything about his surroundings because he was on a mission to catch fish. We pray often for Caleb, for we know that he has no fear. After all, his name is Caleb! I truly believe he has the spirit of Caleb in the Old Testament. That being a side note, he is a little boy, not yet three and he had gone through the woods to a pond full of snakes in a neighborhood that has seen a bear and packs of coyotes and more! Someone was obviously watching out for him.

We too are on a mission. Every one of us.  For believers, it’s a mission of faith, hope and love. Like Caleb we are fishermen as well. We share the Gospel with others and God reels them in. As long as we keep our eyes on Jesus and our hearts fully centered on Him, we won’t notice other things. But get our eyes off Jesus and we find ourselves surrounded with fear, worry, endangerment, despair and more.

Oh beloved! I know, I really do, that times are hard. I know that jobs can play out, groceries can get low and the pickings can be slim. Right now you may have realized that in the scurry for worldly things, you’ve wandered off into the woods of life, looking for the very things you left behind long ago. The Lord says to you this morning, I AM with you. I always look after My own and I keep My eyes on you all the days of your life.  I AM your keeper and I will always call you back to Myself. I AM the one who will readjust your thinking and get you back on track. As long as you look full in My wonderful Face! Your job is to stay as close to Me as possible so that you fully experience the faith, hope and love that I have in full supply for you. 

Run to His Word this morning and read His plans and take them in fresh and new in your heart! He has promised and what He’s promised He will perform! Just look at Jesus and He will get you back safely to where you need to be. He loves you so much that He’s come after you this morning. He’s on your side so much that He’s refused to leave you helpless in the thickets. And this Savior of your soul is worth shouting Blessings and Honor unto His Name! And that’s what it’s all about!

1 Corinthians 13:13  Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

2 Corinthians 5:18  And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to Himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to Him.

Psalm 91:13 For He will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.

Psalm 34:5  Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.

Psalm 119:176  I have wandered away like a lost sheep; come and find me, for I have not forgotten Your commands.

Psalm 107:4-9 Some wandered in the wilderness, lost and homeless. Hungry and thirsty, they nearly died.  Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and He rescued them from their distress.  He led them straight to safety, to a city where they could live.   Let them praise the Lord for His great love and for the wonderful things He has done for them.  For He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.