Friday, January 31, 2014
Thursday, January 30, 2014
“How precious are your thoughts of me…”
We have lots of stray dogs that travel through our neighborhood. A pair of a rather large breed has set up residence, at least part time, in our yard. They come back often. While I like big dogs, I know whose these are so I can’t claim them for my own. Other dogs come into the yard and repeatedly trash things. They might strew things that are on the deck or they might even try to get into the trash. We holler and tell them to get but they come back again.
Our minds can wander too can’t they? Sometimes it seems that our minds want to linger on the same thing over and over. Bad memories, mistakes, wrong thinking like to show up on the doorstep without invitation. Wrong thoughts like to trash our hearts and minds. Out of nowhere those thoughts show up and try to ruin us. If we let those thoughts stay or feed the memories, they grow bigger and bigger.
The only way to keep our thoughts in line is to practice the presence of God and rehearse His Word. Without God’s presence to guard us and without His Word to remind us, we’ll have a constant stream of stray thoughts playing in our minds. But when we start using the Word of God as our weapon, the only one we have, the spoken Word has much authority and the enemy has to flee.
Oh beloved, God’s thoughts about you are precious! They are good and right and comforting! God’s thoughts towards you won’t leave you reeling in past mistakes or rocking over future fears. Two strays will always want to come into your heart and those are past regrets and hard times. Yes, you’ve made mistakes, you may even be living with terrible regret. But God says as far as the east is from the west is how far your sins are from Him. He has forgiven it all. Everything you’ve ever regretted is under the sea of forgetfulness. Those thoughts may return but you can meet them at the property line of your heart and say be gone! Confessing your mistakes and your sins to God lets you know and the enemy know that you mean business with the Lord. It’s a no trespassing sign beyond measure. There are also troubles you may be dealing with and things can look bleak, but God’s Word is true. The enemy may try to parade your desperation back to you, but again you have a high fence of protection around your heart and mind as you read the Word and speak the Word. As you pray to the Father and ask for His help He’s there. As you look away from your circumstances to the Father’s heart you see that those trespassers in your heart are just vapors. Whatever your problem is, beloved, you have God with you and His Word to speak over it, so that you can rejoice as God cleans the yard of stray thoughts.
How precious are God’s thoughts about you! His Word is True. He goes on to say that His GOOD thoughts about you outnumber the sands. Try counting grains of sand and you will quickly see that the sum of those wonderful thoughts about you, His beloved, are more than you can count. Rejoice in His truth, rehearse it often, spend plenty of time with God and you will see that stray thoughts will cease to be a problem in your heart and mind.
God loves you and He’s for you and that’s an impenetrable fortress no enemy can get through as you live in the light of His Word all the days of your life.
Psalm 139:17-18 How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, You are still with me!
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.
Ephesians 4:23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.
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.
1 John 1:9 But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Psalm 103:102 He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.
Psalm3:3-5 But you, O Lord, are a shield around me; You are my glory, the one who holds my head high. I cried out to the Lord, and He answered me from His holy mountain. I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the Lord was watching over me.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
“For I know the plans I have for you…”
Today is my birthday. We all celebrate birthdays in one way or another. To celebrate the birth of a person is no little thing. It’s amazing that of all the days of a year, we all had an ordained day for our presentation to the world. God’s plan. I know all of us have parents who wanted a baby or adoptive parents who wanted to bring us home, but the date of our arrival was no accident. He knew. Before the foundation of the world, He knew you were going to be here. He knew I was going to be here.
God ordained a lot of great things for my life. Along with those great things, there have been some close calls and near death experiences. There have been some things that weren’t so fun. There have been some out –of- this- world wonderful things. My life has been nothing usual; it’s been all very amazing, even in the hard times. For that I am grateful. For seeing God’s hand as I look back on my entire life I am thankful. For Christ bending down and picking me up for His own I worship Him every single day. Good and bad, mixed together, life is beautiful as I look to Him and wait for His plans to continue to unfold in my life.
Your life is no accident either. You weren’t born at the wrong time or under the wrong circumstances. God knows the plans He has for you. He had your days numbered before you were even a glimmer in your family’s eyes. You weren’t a mistake. God’s plans for you were wonderful and they still are. I know things can be rough. I know not everything is perfect in life.
Today is a choice. We can be sorry about what’s not perfect or we can rejoice in the goodness of God. We can be miserable about things we cannot change or we can rejoice that we’ve made it this far. We can curse the junk that doesn’t really matter or wecan bless the Lord that we’re still here.
Oh beloved, God knows the plans He has for you! You are uniquely God’s creation. It’s the day to rejoice in your birth for God has wonderful plans for you! His plans for you are good and not evil. His plans give you a future and a hope. His plans include Christ, who is the Author and Finisher of your faith. Today is your day too. Choose joy over misery. Choose blessing over cursing. Choose to let God love you and rest in His promises. What a wonderful thing it is to be born. And at such a time as this, you are right where you need to be to reach out to God and let Him lead you.
Precious one, focus on God! Focus on the wonderful things that God has done for you. Focus on the things you love about your life. Give the things you’re not so sure about to Him and watch as He makes all things good!
God loves you and He’s for you and that’s why you can know that His plans for you are good as you walk in faith all the days of your life!
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.
Psalm 139:13-18 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. 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. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!
Psalm 71:6 Yes, You have been with me from birth; from my mother’s womb You have cared for me. No wonder I am always praising You!
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
One of my friends has been sharing a lot about His walk with the Lord during a very trying time. Just recently he shared about trying to get to church one Sunday when things started falling apart. They raise chickens and there were problems in the chicken house he had to take care of. He realized he wasn’t going to make it to church and got really frustrated. Just as he thought he might blow a gasket he looked at the wrench in his hand and realized it was his daddy’s. After that he relaxed and began to enjoy every twist of the tool.
That really spoke to my heart. Each of us have gone through, are going through or will go through tough times. Often the phrase says tough times don’t last, but honestly sometimes those tough times are long and winding and rough. We get desperate in the midst of it all. As if the hard time wasn’t enough, things just seem to fall apart all around us. We try to get it all back together and we try to move on to better things. But it’s hard. It’s hard to believe God, it’s hard to believe the sun will shine and it’s hard to see where we are in the big scheme of things. We work though, hard sometimes, fighting the feelings, trying to restore order and all the time we’re hoping that things will start working again and we can move on. Frustration, anxiety and even self-pity try to come help us, but they’re useless. They’re not fit tools to use in the hands of a believer.
Just about time we think we’re going to boil over with outrage at it all we look up to the heavens and cry out! And then we see. Our Father God is with us. But He hasn’t left us to our own human devises to get through it all. He’s not just absently looking down from heaven. No, He’s with us. And He has given us tools to get things working again in our faith. He’s given us every Word, breathed out for us, straight from the throne room. We have every tool we’ll ever need and we can use them as often as we need to. They’re unbreakable, unbendable and undeniably perfect.
Oh beloved, are you sitting there this morning looking at the broken things? Maybe you’re wondering how you got to this place? You’ve tried every trick in the book and it’s all a mess anyway. Rejoice! Looking at the things our Father gives us helps us get through the rough times. He’s given you everything you need to get through. Repairs needed? Every tool imaginable is there for you. Grace, favor, joy, peace, and more. Prayer, worship and fellowship with God are our grandest tools. No matter how you feel, no matter what is happening, God Himself is here to give you everything you need for this time. He hasn’t left you, He won’t forsake you and He gives you all you need from the storehouse of His Word to get through.
Rejoice in the Word of God! Look up to the heavens and cry thank you! Then reach for the tools your Father God has given you. Every promise is full of strength for you. They won’t break and they won’t disappear when you need them. You are blessed, you are forgiven, you are walking in the light of God’s Word. You have access to the Lord of heaven and earth and as you pray, as you worship Him right where you are, His presence will be so overwhelming that you will know your life is blessed. God loves you and He’s for you and that’s why you can trust His Word to get you through, fix you up and get it all running for His glory and your good.
Proverbs 30:5 Every word of God is tried and purified; He is a shield to those who trust and take refuge in Him.
Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. NLT
Psalm 88:13 But I, O Lord, have cried out to You for help, And in the morning my prayer comes before You.
Psalm 22:2-4 The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. He is my refuge, my savior, the one who saves me from violence. I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and He saved me from my enemies.
Psalm 9:9 The LORD also will be a stronghold for the oppressed, A stronghold in times of trouble;
Monday, January 27, 2014
As the lights went off early this morning, Danny had already left for work at 3:30. I found myself in the dark alone.
As I pondered whether to be afraid or find a light, I remembered a recent visit with our daughters and their families. They shared tales about being afraid of the dark in their rooms. One told of the pile of clothes in a chair that looked like a person sitting there. Overnight they kept their eye on the man hoping he didn’t get up and get them. But as morning came, the true identity revealed just clothes. I too remembered a “tiger” in my room that was a pile of blankets upon the light of day. I was amazed that this seems to be something all kids experience. The only difference in us was that I would nearly suffocate, thinking if my head was covered the fictitious monster couldn’t see me and thus couldn't get me!
There are many things that appear bigger than life in the night watches. Faced with a desperate situation, we can only see what we’re focused on. We can’t see anything well. We get worried and our imaginations run wild. We may even get to feeling that we are done for, that all our hope is gone. We cover our heads, we bury our minds, we grasp for comfort and all to no avail. The problem is still in the room with us, sitting in a chair. Staring us down, the problem seems to loom larger than life. We concentrate more and more on the problem and it just gets bigger and bigger.
But let the Son come into the room and we find sweet relief. That problem, though we may still have it, is not nearly as big as we thought, nor as ferocious. It is just a pile of stuff compared to the Lord. We have Jesus and He lights the room with His presence and lightens our hearts with His love. We are no longer fearful because He is with us. We don’t have to fret or fume or worry or concentrate on the problem. We don’t have to cover our head or bury our life for He has come into the room to give us sweet relief. Not only will He comfort us, He promises to help us with the problem. He knows the situation even better than we do for He sees the end of the night. We are stuck in the situation, but He is here to release us from the blame, the fear and the worry.
Oh beloved, you don’t have to hide from the situation and hope frantically that it will not overtake you! Open up God’s Word and read. He is your Answer - to the problem, to your worry, to the outcome and to the plan for good and not evil. As you turn your eyes on Jesus, the things that are trying to suffocate you will lose their ferocity because you will be looking at the Savior rather than the problem. He promises to give you sweet rest no matter what’s going on around you. God will either remove the problem altogether or He will give you instructions on wisdom to deal with it and peace to know that His ways are best. The darkness will not overtake you for your Lord is the Light of the World and the Light in your present dark situation.
Rejoice that God loves you and He’s for you and that’s all you need to see your way through to morning as you rest in the light of His Word.
Psalm 91:1-2 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust!”
Psalm 139:10-12 Even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me. If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night,” Even the darkness is not dark to You, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.
Psalm 121:2 My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.
Sunday, January 26, 2014
We watched an episode of Buried Treasure. Leigh and Leslie Keno, the twin brothers who are often on Antiques Roadshow, travel to different homes to investigate items of interest using cutting-edge technology to determine authenticity, condition and—ultimately—worth. Not every hunt yields a pot of gold. Some people will have treasures, while others will have trash. The participants are often in need of cash and so episodes share their emotional journeys as well.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. And sometimes people literally have a goldmine in their homes and don’t even know it. As in the episode we watched, once authenticated the items of interest often turn out to be worth millions.
While Danny and I probably don’t have a million dollar painting in our home, we do have something that is a real treasure, a goldmine of rarest quality. It is the Word of God. Authenticated by the Holy Spirit, it is full of treasures beyond belief. Often buried in the bookshelf in many homes, it is actually a treasure that is meant to be handled and read and touched and taken in.
Unlike physical treasures that can be ruined or proven not really worth anything, the Word of God is full of amazing information that will transform your life. Inside the binding you will find answers to marital problems, financial woes, relationship issues, and more. There is treasure for church matters and fellowship information. Reading on you will find everything you need for life and godliness. How to love people, how to appreciate God in the hard times, how to be a success in life and more. There is hope for the hopeless, help for the helpless, relief for the grieving and forgiveness for the sinner. There is direction for the lost, inspiration for the downtrodden and purpose for everyone who is looking. Inside the pages you will find the way to get real wisdom, find true love and how to get to heaven. Most of all you will find everything you need to know about God, including His names and His essence. It is indeed an authenticated treasure beyond worth when measured against anything this world has to offer. It is genuine, true and perfect for everything anyone will ever need.
Oh beloved, pull out your buried treasure this morning, dust off the cover and read! God is speaking to your heart about your situation and He already prepared the Word for you before the foundation of the world. He knew what you’d be going through and His treasure will tell you what you need to know. God’s Word shows you how to live, how to worship and how to praise Him. It also shows how much He loves you and how wonderful His care for you is.
You may have been considered someone’s trash, but beloved, you are God’s rarest treasure! He has authenticated your worth before you were even formed in your mother’s womb. Christ knew you were in need of a way to find your true worth so He went to the cross, suffered the shame, carried your burdens and sins all the way to Calvary. Then He stepped into the grave and three days later rose from the dead so that you too could rise to newness of life! No man can put a price on you for you are priceless. No one can say you are worthless because you have been set aside to show forth the praises of God, who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. God’s plans for you are wonderful and blessed and you are treasured always. You, beloved, are chosen and redeemed and a beautiful object, precious to your heavenly Father in Christ.
Read your greatest treasure, God’s Word, find your message and believe it! You can go to the bank on what God says about you and on what His plans are for you. Amazingly you can share this treasure trove with others and still have all you will ever need.
God loves you and He’s for you and that’s worth more than any treasure this world has to offer as you live in the light of His Word.
Psalm 139:17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
Isaiah 33:6 And He will be the stability of your times, A wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; The fear of the Lord is his treasure.
Job 23:12 I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action), so that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Matthew 6:21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.
Saturday, January 25, 2014
Back in the day most car insurance companies had a natural disaster ruling. For Arkansas this applied to hitting a deer on the highway. You can’t help where a deer jumps out at you. Many people have had terrible accidents while swerving to miss those deer, or any animal that comes into the highway in front of them.
I remember the time I was riding with Diona and Blake in her car. He was very little. We were crossing a bridge near the house and a huge buck jumped out right in front of us. She grabbed the steering wheel and held on with both hands. Boom! That deer hit the front of the car. There was a lot of damage to the car to be sure. But we were safe. Because my daughter held her ground and didn’t swerve as a reaction to the oncoming animal, the impact was rather light for us in the car. Had she swerved we would have surely hit the bridge abutment or gone off into the deep ravine on either side of the bridge. Thankfully she had insurance and her car was fixed. She reacted correctly and we inside the car were fine.
Life is full of things that we aren’t expecting. We can be going along enjoying our life when suddenly out of nowhere we are hit with disaster. Our first inclination is to swerve! We don’t want the impact. We don’t want to be involved in the situation at all. We want to avoid it at all costs. While we don’t get to choose everything that happens to us, we do get to choose how to react to it. If we can just remember that God is going before us, then we know ultimately He sees the entire situation and what is happening to us. We can then hang on, knowing the impact won’t affect us inside. The outward man may feel crushed or totaled but the inward person will rest in the promises of God.
What do we do then, when out of nowhere we get disastrous news? What happens when we’re hit with rejection or sorrow or dishonor or pain? What happens when we’re lied about or lied to? What if someone isn’t a person of their word and we’re involved in a collision between the truth and a lie?
Oh beloved, you hang on! Hold your ground against the onslaught of the enemy. Hang tight to God’s Word no matter what you are seeing with your natural eyes. Your heart may say you’re done for, but the Word of God says no weapon formed against you will prosper. Your eyes will deceive you. But God’s Word is true. All the Bible, God breathed from beginning to end, is there for your comfort and safety. It is your insurance policy against damage you cannot overcome. Without God you are sure to swerve and land in the ditch. You may then think you are finally safe, but you’re not. Only by holding onto God and going through the situation will you find yourself unscathed.
The Word of God is your history lesson on how to deal with impacts of life. From the three men in the fiery furnace to Joseph, Gideon, Ruth, Habakkuk and all the others in Hebrews’ roll call of faith, we see God’s hand over the lives of those in disaster. They stood fast and did not waver at God’s promises, and so can you beloved! Lean in close to God’s Word, spend time in communication with the Lord and hang on! You will make it through and be blessed beyond measure as you see that no disaster meant to grieve you or get you off your road of faith will succeed. You are a winner and you don’t have to veer off from anything knowing that God loves you and He’s for you no matter what comes your way.
Psalm 91:5-6 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
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.”
Psalm 26:1 Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity; I have [expectantly] trusted in, leaned on, and relied on the Lord without wavering and I shall not slide. AMP
Ecclesiastes 7:12 For wisdom is protection just as money is protection, But the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the lives of its possessors.
Philippians 3:16 But we must hold on to the progress we have already made. NLT
Philippians 4:7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Friday, January 24, 2014
Driving into town I noticed one of those Heritage Trail signs. They document land and water routes along the Arkansas Trail of Tears, The Butterfield Overland Trail mail route pre-dating the Pony Express, the Southwest Trail in Arkansas and Arkansas Civil War actions. The history of our entire state can be visited through traveling these designated trails from the Mississippi River to the Western Frontier and from the cotton farms in the south to the mountainous regions in the north.
Christians live life on a heritage trail as well. We don’t have to blaze new frontiers because our forefathers of the faith have gone before us. We don’t have to face anything new for the past sojourners have already given us the Word for all the things we may meet along the way.
You and I may see a trail of fear, rejection, concern, humiliation, and other obstacles such as hurts and anguish. But God has those roads already named. They’re known as Overcomer Highway, Valiant Road, Fearless Thoroughfare, and Jubilant and Rejoicing Way. These treacherous looking trails are just stair steps of the faith. We even have a road map of the faith, The Word of God, to refer to every time we are expected to travel one of those trails.
Oh beloved, what road are you traveling today? Where are you expected to go? What are you reluctant to traverse? Where are your concerns? Faced with the things of this world, you won’t make it one more mile. But looking at the signs God posts along the way, you can be sure that you will make it. Not only will you see sights of the faith you’ve never seen before, you will become what each road is named. It’s high time you left behind the false roads, and scaled the heights with the Spirit of the Lord. God will take you all the way to the end of your designated route and you will be unscathed. Drop the baggage and ride with the Savior! It’s a beautiful route of overcoming faith. Don’t look down for you will only see the valley of sorrow. Don’t look over the cliff of troubles for you will lose your direction. Don’t let fear travel with you for you will miss the sights God has for you.
God loves you and He’s for you and that’s why you can be sure whatever road you travel is a Road of Blessing all the way to Heaven.
Psalm 16:6 The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.
Psalm 136:21 And gave their land as a heritage, For His lovingkindness is everlasting…
Isaiah 58:14 Then you will take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; and I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Thursday, January 23, 2014
A few days ago I felt God speaking to my spirit. “You were never meant to live among the sepulchers.” I almost called someone thinking it might be an encouragement for them. But now I believe it’s a message God is speaking to each of us.
The flu and bronchitis along with some type of stomach virus has been going around our community. While we all want to stay well, if you move around in town, go to church, visit with friends, eat at a restaurant or go to the store you’re liable to catch something. Unfortunately viruses are everywhere. The only alternative is to stay home, hunker down and don’t let anyone even breathe on you. And who can do that? Who wants to?
If you’re going to have a life you’re going to be exposed to some of the less happy things that go on in your life. Viruses of rejection, animosity, dismissal, humiliation, and more are all over the place. The only way we can remain untouched by any of these things is to stay in our own world, become a hermit and don’t even let one person get close to you.
Christ offers us life and even goes on to say we’ll have life more abundantly. So how do we deal with the viruses of life? How do we react to the hurts and fears and worries and rejections that we are inevitably going to be exposed to? If we live a full life, then we know it’s going to happen. Sometimes we react as though Christ Himself is our virus. We may follow Him with our whole heart, but then something in life goes wrong and we can’t find the way to overcome it. Instead of remaining in Christ and sticking close to Him we can become discouraged and keep our distance, even from our Savior.
God speaks to our hearts: You weren’t meant to live among the sepulchers. The tombs, the graves, the crypts are no place for a believer. The graveyard holds no living thing, but you can’t live there either – not really. That’s not living. Don’t shy away from life. Your life and the abundance of it with Me is not over. I AM with you. I AM your shield and your shade. When the sun of adversity is beating down and you feel sick about it all, I AM there. My promises and My antidote are your only cure. My Word will vaccinate you against the ill effects of things that come your way so that you can live abundantly and victoriously no matter what you are exposed to. Walk with Me and let Me go before you into all you have to face. There are good times and productive days ahead. There will be disappointments, but there will be delights as well. I will give you the power to overcome, to forgive, and to be immune even to things that hurt your heart and mind. I AM your only way through and I AM with you always, even to the end of your life.
Oh beloved, there is a way to overcome the viruses of life! God never means for you to be a recluse and keep your distance from life. He has every remedy for what ails you. Yes, you will hurt, yes, there will be pain. Yes, there will be loss. But Christ is always with you. Even when you are trying to coil up and recuse yourself from life He is making intercession for you at the right hand of the Father. Not only is intercession being made, but a way through the whole encounter is being made. Don’t stop living just because times are hard. Don’t settle for hiding in the cemetery. Don’t stop praising the Lord. Don’t stop walking forward, even when you feel you are in a fog or the fight of your life. God has a handle on everything you’re going through. He intends for you to walk through it all. God loves you and He’s for you and His answers are your answers for the best of your life.
Psalm 106:24 Then they despised the pleasant land; they did not believe in His word.
Psalm 57:7 My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises!
Isaiah 26:3 “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.
2 Samuel 22:3 My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; My savior, You save me from violence.
I John 5:4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
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, January 22, 2014
“Do you swear to tell the truth so help you God?” That used to be the oath that was sworn in courtrooms across our country as men and women would place their right hands on a Bible. The truth is something we treasured. Swearing on a Bible meant we put our words in God’s hands and basically were asking Him to help us tell the truth no matter what. I’ve heard that now you can choose whether to reference God into it. As kids we would pinky swear or say the proverbial “stick a needle in my eye…” quote. The truth is so important that even kids wanted to be sure of their friends telling the truth.
My husband is a man of his word. The more I got to know him the more I realized that he tells the truth. I’ve never caught him in a lie ever. I’ve never heard him tell an untruth or try to shuffle things around to make himself look better. He just tells the truth. If you ask him he’ll tell you. Because he’s always told the truth I am in a position to readily believe what he says about any subject. So I’m privileged to rest in his words. They comfort me and help me have knowledge about things I don’t know. I refer to him often when I am asked a question about deep things of the Scripture or other important things like how to loosen a bolt. I am also confident that when I’m with him anywhere he can be trusted. It’s good to know that he won’t lie for me and he won’t lie to me either. Often he has laughed as I asked him something he might not know. He laughs because I assume he knows everything because he tells the truth about everything. Knowledge is a real high quality to have if you’re going to tell the truth.
You and I are privileged to put our faith in God through Christ. As a believer we can know that God is a God of His Word. God doesn’t lie. So we have a sure foundation for our faith. We can readily believe what God’s Word says because it’s truth. We can rest in His promises because He’s a God of His Word. What He says about you is the truth. What He declares for you is the Gospel. What He asks you to do is possible because it’s His truth and He’s trustworthy.
Oh beloved, you can believe God! You can trust God! You can rest in His promises. Are you struggling with an issue this morning? Run to His Word and get the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. God will not laugh at you because He knows everything – everything about you, everything about your situation and everything you need to know to live a life of godliness and contentment. Others may not tell the truth about you or to you, but God has your back. He will turn the things that aren’t right into His glory and your good. Because He can be trusted you can rest in every single promise. You can walk in all the privileges. You can honor every declaration. You can live in His truth and take it as your own.
Precious one, no matter what situation you find yourself in God’s promises are for you. They will carry you through hardships, rejections, disappointments, physical ailments and pains of the heart. He loves you and He’s for you and those promises will let you walk valiantly all the days of your life.
Psalm 119:160 The sum of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.
John 8:32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.
Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
2 Corinthians 1:20 For as many as are the promises of God, they all find their Yes [answer] in Him [Christ]. For this reason we also utter the Amen (so be it) to God through Him [in His Person and by His agency] to the glory of God. AMP
Romans 4:20-21 yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.
Psalm 119:140 Your word is very pure, Therefore Your servant loves it.
Psalm 62:8 Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
It’s easy to tell someone you love them. Our Caleb will tell me he loves me almost as often as I want him to. All the grands say I love you with ease. But ask Caleb for a kiss and he is hesitant and most times says no. A high 5 is always available and sometimes a hug. But a kiss is rare. Yesterday he told me he couldn’t give me a kiss because he’d get worms! I know! He has been told not to kiss the puppy because he’d get worms so he pulled a great excuse out of his pocket just in time to keep from having to give me a kiss.
Often we say the words I love you. It’s all over the world. On pillows and signs, on windows and plates. It’s written out in smoke signals and chocolate as well. It’s a great greeting and something we all enjoy telling people as we depart from one another. And yet just like Caleb withholding his kisses, human love might withhold something. Human love can be lost, can be scrimped on and can be forgotten.
But when I tell you that God loves you, I’m not talking fondness or compassion or consideration. I’m not talking companionship, affinity or like-mindedness. I’m talking love. It’s beyond me how He loves us. It’s beyond you. It’s beyond earth and every earthly relationship ever created or observed or enjoyed. God loves you. Yes, He loves the whole world. But He loves you. If you were the only person on the face of the earth He’d love you. Unlike the world, whose love ebbs and flows with every human feeling imaginable, God’s love is constant. It never changes. It never recedes. It never recoils from whatever is thrown its way. God says I love you with an everlasting love and He means just that. He’s not moved by your emotions or your commitment or your fickle heart. He’s only moved by Himself and God IS love.
Oh beloved, it’s time to believe. It’s time for you to quit looking at your flaws and your faults. It’s time to stop counting the times you’ve messed up or disappointed someone. It’s time to leave behind the past with its mistakes and missteps. Yes, those things happen. But God loves you. It’s time to quit counting things as the ration of His love. It’s time to stop measuring yourself by others’ expectations. It’s time to quit beating yourself up over wasted time. God loves you. Are you seeking freedom? God’s love will free you to be all you can be. Are you seeking acceptance? God’s love is the proof that you can be accepted. Everything you aren’t He is because of His great love.
Go ahead and abandon yourself to God’s love. He speaks His love Words over you from Genesis to Revelation. He adds nothing to His love because His love is enough. With His love comes grace and mercy and peace and joy and contentment. But you can’t find those things, not really, apart from His love. Everything you have looked the world over for is found in Him. Letting God love you just the way you are because of Who He is will change you completely. His love changes everything. You won’t have to worry about what might happen if you let yourself be loved, for God will never leave you or forsake you. His love is immutable. It is irreversible. You can’t do a thing to make Him love you less and you can’t do a thing to make Him love you more. He just loves you.
Rejoice, precious one for He calls you His beloved. All you have to do is accept His love shown in the manger, on the Cross, at the Tomb and beyond. Christ is the epitome of this eternal, everlasting love and Christ can be your all in all. Christ’s love compelled Him to make the sacrifice for you. His love is your hope for today and your faith for tomorrow. Christ has made a way for you to be accepted in the beloved. Because of this great love, He’s with you to guide you, protect you, redeem you, and keep you all the days of your life.
Psalm 117:2 For He loves us with unfailing love; the Lord’s faithfulness endures forever. Praise the Lord!
Romans 8:38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. NLT
1 John 4:9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
2 Thessalonians 3:5 May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ. NLT
Monday, January 20, 2014
I love taking items that other people want to throw away and making them into something useful. One of the things that I saw at a friend’s house several years ago was a counter top made from broken china. I looked online recently for something like that and found some hanging wall art made the same way. They had various shapes but the one I liked the best was a heart. In the middle of that heart made of broken china was the word joy made of glass beads.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. There are times when we feel utterly broken. There’s nothing that makes us feel useful or worthy. We’re done. And we’re undone. Whether it’s at the hands of another or our own hands, brokenness comes from shattered dreams or dropped promises. Things happen and there’s a chip here and a chip there. If we’re not careful those chips will add up and we’ll find ourselves ready for the trash heap. Totally broken and having no sense of worth.
Trash to treasure. Nothing to something. Broken to beautiful. Worthless to worthwhile.
God speaks to my heart. That’s what I do. I take what others consider trash, nothing, broken and worthless to redeem and make it all new. I repair the broken places of the heart and put a center of joy right in the middle. You are my treasured possession. It doesn’t matter to me who caused the brokenness – others or you. What matters to me is that I love you. And because I love you I see value in what others consider junk. I see significance in what you see as worthless. You are beautiful, even with the cracked edges and the jagged places of pain. I am for you, so I can even use those broken places in your life to make you more beautiful than ever. You are mine and my prized possession. I will never cast you away and I will always treasure you. I will take what has happened and heal you for My use in the Kingdom of God. I sent My Son to pay for the repairs and the renewal, so you can trust My hand to reshape and remold and repair and redeem whatever happens.
Oh beloved! Rejoice. Broken things in the hand of a restoring God become a thing of beauty. Your trash becomes God’s display of grace and mercy. You may believe you are a throw away but God says keep you. Every nuance of your life is an opportunity for God to heal you and set you on display for the world to see that you are valuable and a magnificent show of His glory! God knows your brokenness. He knows the pain and the anguish of it all. But He reminds you forever that He is able to make all grace abound to you. If you will give Him your broken things He will change it all into beauty as only He can. Trust Him and watch your life become a witness to all that God can do.
Man may break but God will remake. You may be broken but God will restore you. And because He loves you and He’s for you He will make the new thing better than the former thing. He’ll make you better because His loving touch changes your heart as His touch always makes all things new for He fills all the empty spaces up with His hope and His heart.
2 Chronicles 20:12 We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You. AMP
Psalm 31:14-15 But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord, I say, “You are my God.” My times are in Your hand…
Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.
Isaiah 54:5 For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the Lord of hosts; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of all the earth.
Psalm 34:22 The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, And none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.
Deuteronomy 7: 6 For you are a holy people, who belong to the LORD your God. Of all the people on earth, the LORD your God has chosen you to be His own special treasure. NLT
Sunday, January 19, 2014
A few days ago one of our friends posted that he was in his office early in the morning and heard a rumble and felt the house shake. His daughter, who had been asleep, was suddenly up and fearful. They weren’t sure what had happened. Turns out it was an earthquake! We hear lots of horror stories from California and other countries but Arkansas? They happen occasionally but a magnitude of nearly 3.0 makes for quite a shaking.
While the shaking of their house was only momentary, they’ve been in a shakeup of a much bigger magnitude. His beloved was ill for some time and she was called home to heaven just a few months ago. A huge gap has been left in their lives. Our friend knows the Lord and He knows where she is, but the shaking of his life still has tremors. It may be a while before things settle and probably only when he gets to heaven will he feel completely steady again. But he knows where his strength lies and we pray daily for him to hang onto that strength.
There are all kinds of earthquakes that come into our lives. Just as we can’t predict the geological kind, we cannot predict the appearance of the shakeups that we endure. We cannot fully prepare for how we will feel during the shakeup either. When we are in the middle of the sensations of trouble we feel that we will be thrown to the ground. We wonder if the roof will fall in or if we will be overwhelmed. After the initial quake, there often comes a tidal wave of emotions. What do we do? Where can we go? Why did this happen? Who will help? Will it ever end?
God speaks to our hearts. He speaks words of love and affirmation to us as He steadies our hearts in the midst of the panic. I AM the one who will see you through. Not just this quake, but all tremors that want to send your heart into your throat. Your panic is my opportunity to speak peace into your life. I have no desire to ruin your life. My only desire is that each time you feel the earth move and hear the rumble of turmoil you will turn to Me. Life is temporary and often it holds hard times that want to shake the foundation of your faith. But I will never let you be destroyed.
Oh beloved, some of the things that we go through have huge magnitude on our lives. They are literally earth shattering. And yet God’s promises remain unshaken. Precious one, if you will look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith, and put your hand in His, He will walk you through the quakes and beyond the rubble. Just as earthquakes don’t last forever, neither do hard times. You cannot let your earthly circumstances disable you spiritually. Trust God no matter what. Run to Him for He is your only place of ultimate safety. God will not only get you through, He will make you stronger. And your strength will help others through the earthquakes they go through. Speak often of God’s redeeming grace and rehearse His promises in the midst of the overwhelming tide.
God loves you and He’s for you. And His promises can be trusted as you stand in the midst of whatever happens in life, knowing that God will never let anything overtake you. You are safe in His arms always.
Psalm 121:2 My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 40:17 Since I am afflicted and needy, Let the Lord be mindful of me. You are my help and my deliverer; Do not delay, O my God.
Psalm 94:17 If the Lord had not been my help, My soul would soon have dwelt in the abode of silence.
Psalm 138:7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me.
Psalm 56:3 When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.
Isaiah 41: 10 Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'
Psalm 46: 1-3,11 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold.
Saturday, January 18, 2014
Watching my childhood friends and me playing, it was always possible that right in the middle of a game someone would walk away, go home, and quit. I’ve seen my own children want to quit when they were kids. We always tried to encourage them to stay the course. The grandchildren are no different. If the game is especially hard it’s easy to just quit.
There are times as an adult that I’ve felt like quitting. I imagine you have too. Whether it’s a relationship, a job, a heart issue, or something else, that feeling of wanting to throw in the towel seems like a great solution, at least temporarily. Frustration mounts when things don’t go just right. Perfectionism tries to rear its ugly head and make us feel that we’re not good enough, haven’t done enough or have no natural talent. You’ve heard the lies in your head I am sure. Each of us has our own set of quit buttons – those things that make us want to run. To be sure, there are times when God directs us to make a change and that change is necessary; but that should never be decided because we want to quit. There are also those times when another may tell you that you’re done and God knows. He will revive your spirit and take you to another level when you let Him do the leading.
I love dictionaries and definitions so I like to look up synonyms and antonyms for words. I find that to quit means resign, abandon or vacate. When I see those words I hear God speak. These words denote that you are involved in something. To quit you will have to vacate your place of My blessing. To abandon what you are doing speaks that you are willing to entertain thoughts of ditching your place in the Kingdom of God. When you think about vacating a place or a position, you are literally leaving an empty place, often the very place I want you to be. This is not the same as moving with God’s Spirit into another place of service. Quitting means to desert and often pessimism and defeat come right along with it.
God’s Word gives us the sure antidotes for feelings of defeat and resignation that might come our way. While we cannot control what others do to us and with us, we can control our own feelings. The only way to live a life that is thriving even in the midst of pain is to rely fully on God’s Word. God tells us in His Word that our success does not lie in our natural talents. Yes, we have natural abilities, but God says He takes those things that seem foolish to the world confound the wise.
Oh beloved, your call from God is supernatural! The way you see yourself needs to come into focus the way God sees you. His words to you are successful, achieving, thriving and overcoming. He speaks love songs into your heart that say keep on keeping on, abide in Me, rest in My promises, I AM your strength. As you rehearse the truth that you are called of God, not of man, to do the work of God, not man, then you can continue even when the going gets tough. Every word of God to you will speak love, consideration, comfort and care. You may hear other things from other areas, but God only speaks love, even when He is correcting you it’s in love. He never speaks rejection to His own. He never puts down His own or makes them feel humiliated. Yes, there are times when you will be humbled by the situation you are in, but God will comfort you and wrap His arms around you and speak strength to your mind and heart.
Keep on keeping on Beloved. The end to the troubled time may be just around the corner. The answer to your prayers is on the way. The strength for your weakness is always available. You have been selected by God to do what is intended for your best life now and He will enable you to stay the course. He loves you and He’s for you and that will keep you going all the way to heaven.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Psalm 71:16 I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD; I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only.
Zechariah 4:6 Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of hosts.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 Each time He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Haggai 1:13 Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, gave the people this message from the Lord: “I am with you, says the Lord!”
I Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.
Friday, January 17, 2014
I like to visit with my grandchildren as often as possible. Three of them live right across the street. Sometimes I don’t get done with evening supper or chores or shopping until it’s dark and they’re inside where it’s warm and cozy. Even though they are just across the street, I think about all the stray dogs running around and the coyotes we’ve heard and the foxes we’ve seen, along with deer and other wild animals. There’s even been a bear sighting within a mile of the house. If I dwell on those things I will not walk across the street in the dark, even if I want to see them badly.
But my love for them overcomes my fear of what’s out in the dark. I enjoy their presence. I love to hear what they want to tell me. I enjoy fellowship with them and their parents. It’s worth the trip over.
God speaks to my heart: Enjoying the presence of My Spirit often requires getting out of your comfort zone. You may feel quite cozy where you are right now, but I am a living and moving God. I want to take you beyond your coziness and further into my Holiness. You enjoy my presence and I enjoy yours. But you cannot expect Me to conform to your comfort. Trust Me when you feel you must go through the dark to get to Me. I AM light and there is no darkness in Me. Look at Me as you come closer into My presence. I will be right where you are, guiding you and blessing you even when things don’t look safe. The reward will be greater intimacy with Me and that’s the goal of your life – to be conformed to My image and walk in My presence.
Oh beloved, you may feel that your comfort is just too good to move out with God. But He’s speaking to your heart daily to trust every move of His Spirit. You may perceive a situation as the darkest of rejections, but man can do nothing to you that will keep you from Me. The fleshly rejection of human beings is nothing. They have only perceived power, just as the darkness seems to hold power over you. You can look at the dark and listen for terror or you can look at the Lord and listen for His truth. The Word of God will keep you safe and get you to the other side of the road where God is leading you. Danger lurks everywhere, but you are concealed in God’s presence. Rejoice that God is with you wherever you may go. And most assuredly you can go where He sends you because that’s where the blessing is. Is He speaking to your heart? Follow His voice. Go where He sends you. Enjoy the benefits of treading where others fear to go. You are blessed, sealed, delivered and destined for God’s call to be fulfilled in your life as you forget about the darkness and live in the Light of His Word!
God loves you and He’s for you - now follow Him fearlessly always!
Psalm 27:1,8 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? My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with Me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” NLT
Hebrews 10:35 Do not, therefore, fling away your fearless confidence, for it carries a great and glorious compensation of reward. AMP
Mark 1:19-20 A little farther up the shore Jesus saw Zebedee’s sons, James and John, in a boat repairing their nets. He called them at once, and they also followed Him, leaving their father, Zebedee, in the boat with the hired men.
John 10:4 When He has brought His own sheep outside, He walks on before them, and the sheep follow Him because they know His voice.
Thursday, January 16, 2014
When I was little, my father worked off shore in the gulf. He would be gone for months at a time. Then he’d return and be off for about 30 days. Each time he left I knew he’d be back. I never once thought he’d never return to us. Sometimes we would really miss him and mother would pull out a letter he had written and we’d read it together. We found comfort in those messages of love. Even when there was a hurricane and he and his crew weren’t heard from during the storm, I just expected he’d return. He always came back and generally he was bearing gifts. I still have many of those presents to this day.
Have you ever gone through a time when it felt like your heavenly father was absent? You might not hear directly from Him and you might not see evidence of his presence for a long period of time. You may have even experienced a storm in your life when you felt that God was nowhere to be seen. You may feel that He has left you in the storm to go it alone.
Maybe you are going through such a quiet time right now. You know God. You’ve experienced His presence. You’ve trusted in His Word and you’ve walked in His precepts. But now you’re going through hard times and He appears silent. Will He return to save you? Will He come and intervene or will He stay gone until it’s all over? You may feel you have to do something for yourself or you have to take matters into your own hands. Is He gone and will He return? Does He care about our everyday troubles and situations? Is He simply an aloof God who leaves us to do our own plans and make our own decisions?
Oh beloved, you can be certain that God is always with you. Your circumstances might try to make you feel that He is gone from it all. Your feelings may cry out to you that you are totally alone and have to go through the waiting for help all by yourself. Faith trumps circumstances every single time. And by faith you know that God is an ever present help in time of need. You know by His Word that you have no reason to fear and no reason to doubt. You may think you have to make decisions on your own but God’s Word is His bond. He promises to see us through all our situations. He declares that your help is in the Name of the Lord. He vows His care and that those who dwell in His presence are guarded, protected and walked with through any situation. You only have to pull out His love letters in the Word of God and take them in as Truth for your heart to be steadied and your mind to be at rest. In the meantime you also have precious gifts He has given you such as peace, joy, comfort, faith, patience and perseverance. These gifts are meant to be enjoyed and used daily.
Unlike my father who really was gone at times, our Heavenly Father is never away. You can trust Him to see you through every single day of your life. Whether you feel His presence or not, you can know His presence is with you if you have put your trust in Christ. You may feel He is gone because you have done something wrong. That is when you confess your heart to Him knowing that He hears and forgives. Keep short accounts with Him and trust His mercy and grace. When He seems silent, your faith is growing because you do not trust the circumstances but you are learning to trust the Lord. Hang ever closer to God when things seem so quiet. Hold onto God’s Word when things seem so stormy. Trust in His Word, walk in His precepts and expect His help always. He loves you and He’s for you and that’s why you know He won’t abandon you or walk away for all of your life.
Psalm 37:3 Trust in the LORD and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Psalm 9:10 And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, For You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.
Psalm 94:14 The LORD will not reject His people; He will not abandon His special possession. NLT
Psalm 91: 1-2 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord He is my refuge and my fortress. My God in whom I will trust!”
Psalm 119:14 You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope. NLT
Deuteronomy 31:8 The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.
Matthew 28:20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age