Steadfast Trust

Tags

, , , , , ,

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.”          Psalm 143:8

When I look back at the way the Lord has faithfully led me, I wonder why I still have concerns about the future.    Over and over again Jesus told us not to worry but when I see storm clouds up ahead I want to turn and run for safety.

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”             Psalm 51:10

Jesus didn’t promise that we wouldn’t have difficulties but He did promise us His peace in the midst of these problems.   When we have steadfast trust we do not let changes, difficulties, sorrows and illness steal our peace.  A steadfast spirit trusts in God even when the way seems dark and dangerous. The storms of life will either draw us nearer to Jesus or cause us to turn and run in the wrong direction.

Jesus Draw Me Ever Nearer”

Written by Keith Getty and Margaret Becker

 Chorus 1
“May this journey bring a blessing
May I rise on wings of faith
And at the end of my heart’s testing
With Your likeness let me wake”   Verse 1
“Jesus draw me ever nearer
As I labor thro’ the storm
You have called me to this passage
And I’ll follow tho’ I’m worn”

Verse 2
“Jesus guide me thro’ the tempest
Keep my spirit staid and sure
When the midnight meets the morning
Let me love You even more”    Verse 3
“Let the treasures of the trial
Form within me as I go
And at the end of this long passage
Let me leave them at Your throne”

Ending
“Jesus draw me ever nearer
Jesus draw me ever nearer
Jesus draw me ever nearer to You
To You” Each day I must make a choice to either choose fear and anxiety or the peace of Christ. If I ask Jesus to take control of my life’s journey, I can know for certain that He will enable and empower me to follow the way which He has planned just for me.  Only God can see the map of my life from beginning to end and real safety is placing my trust in Him.

“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”            Isaiah 26:3


Invincible Faith

Tags

, , , , , ,

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”    Hebrews 11:1

In order to stand firm in my faith, I must have God’s word in my mind and written on my heart.  Without His word I am as helpless as a little child standing at the edge of the ocean crying and afraid to move as his feet sink into the soft sand and the waves wash over his toes.   “Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.”           Psalm 55:23

Have you ever been in a car accident or heard bad news and felt so frightened by it that your legs started shaking and you could hardly stand?  Jesus promises that He is faithful to help and support us when we cast our troubles on Him.  He promises to never let the righteous fall.

“The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their cry.”   Psalm 34:15

Righteousness is not just being good or doing good.  When God told Abraham,  “Look up at the heavens and count the stars if indeed you can count them.  So shall your offspring be.  Abram believed the LORD, and He credited it to him as righteousness.”      Genesis 15:5,6     Righteousness is believing God!

When we fix our eyes on Jesus we develop a trust that can not be shaken by the storms of life.  We are convinced that Jesus has our situation under control and we know that we can depend on this awesome and loving God as we walk though our difficulties with Him.  Thus even in the midst of a storm we will be completely at peace in His Presence.   I would like to tell you about a young husband, the father of two small boys who has shown what I think of as Invincible Faith.  These are his own words and his faith in God will bless your heart.

“It’s hard to believe it has been over four weeks since the initial aneurysm ruptured.  It can’t be that long ago, but it has been.  Four weeks, two days, 20 hours, and one minute exactly, but who’s counting?  Me.  I’m counting.  I’m counting all the horrifying images when I first saw Jana unresponsive and gasping for air; I’m counting the multiple hospital trips to finally get her where she needed to be; I’m counting the numerous surgeries and procedures that seemed to come almost daily.  I’m counting the lost hours from an exceptional wife and two adorable children, hours that I will never get back.  I’m counting that yes, but do you know what else I am counting?  I’m counting the thousands of people who have cared enough to pray continually and at a moments notice.  I’m counting the many doctors and nurses and residents who have worked their hardest to keep Jana alive.  I’m counting the opportunities to connect with other families and share in their strife.  I’m counting a best friend who takes on this ordeal as his own, has organized and planned so my focus was on Jana, and will drop his life to be at my side any time of day or night.  I am counting my family and friends who have taken my children as their own and allowed their lives to go virtually unchanged considering the circumstances.  I am counting the miracles I have witnessed with my own eyes and the hand of God that embraces me still.  I count and see how in the midst of pain there is joy; in the midst of sorrow there is laughter; in the midst of defeat there is victory.”

The following was posted a few days ago following Jana’s move from the hospital to a rehab center where she is in the Disorders of Consciousness program.

“So I am talking with the doctor about what my expectations were.  I told him that I didn’t have any.  I know what I hope, I know what I want, I know what I pray, but I don’t know what to expect.  I was getting the feeling that he was preparing me for the fact that she may not awaken.  That I needed to think about the next step.  Funny, but I thought this WAS the next step.  Having been through it before, I saw what he was doing.  He was preparing me and didn’t want me optimistic.”

“But why was he telling me this as we just got here?  So I asked him what he saw that made him say that.  He said it’s not what he saw, just all that she had been through.  Then I realized something:  He doesn’t know my wife or my God.”

“So I smiled a little and said, ‘I know where you are going, but you haven’t seen what I’ve seen.  You haven’t experienced the miracles that I have experienced.  So I tell you what, I won’t get too optimistic, and you allow yourself to be pleasantly surprised.’  He looked with a half smile and said okay.  I don’t think he had much faith in my faith.  I look forward to sharing with him God’s power over the next four weeks.”

“Jana seemed more alert today than I had seen her in the past two days.  I know the move was very stressful on her, but she kept her eyes open much longer in spite of that.  Her eyes were scanning the room more and not just staying in one place like they had been.  She even followed me with her eyes as I walked closer to her bed.”

“Jana is working every day with three therapists sometimes individually and sometimes as a group.  Today in therapy, we actually used her phone and I called her.  (The ringtone on Jana’s iPhone is a recording of her son’s infectious giggle.  It makes you smile every time you hear it.)  Jana seemed to lean her head towards the phone and “speak” many things.  Most of these were nonsensical and barely audible, but I didn’t care.  I didn’t care that she wasn’t answering me, or that her responses were not appropriate or that I could barely hear her, it mattered that she made the effort and that made my heart sing.  I have never looked more forward to the mundane task of talking to my wife on the phone as I do right now.  I will never take it for granted again.”

Jana is the beloved teacher of two of our grandchildren and is a dear and much loved friend of their entire family.  Please pray for her and her family.  Prayer is powerful and God is still in the business of working miracles everyday.

“O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.”      Psalm 84:12

Unexpected Blessings

Tags

, , ,

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”    Romans 8:31   Someone once dumped over 50 old truck tires down in our lower field near the lovely stream that runs through our woods.  I must confess that it made me really angry when I first found out about it.  But God turned it into the most amazing blessing.  When our grandchildren discovered the tires they turned them into boats and had the most wonderful time playing on them.  Sometimes we just need to look at things through the eyes of a child.  The creative imagination of children enables them to enjoy the simple things of life.  Watching them melted my anger and filled me with laughter.  I am reminded how God can take an old worn out and seemingly useless life and renew it making something beautiful and useful that fulfills his purpose and glorifies him.  What about you, dear reader.  Has God turned one of your problems into an unexpected blessing?

Another unexpected blessing https://ilovesunsetsbythesea.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/one-lovely-blog.pngI received some time  ago was to be nominated for the One Lovely Blog award.  Unexpected blessings are a gift from God and since I have unexpectedly discovered so many blogs that have blessed my heart, I wanted to give my readers an opportunity to also have their hearts blessed by some of them.

First of all I want to give a big thank you to and recommend that you visit the blog ilovesunsetsbythesea.wordpress.com, which nominated me for this award.  Her post One Sunny Day has breathtaking pictures and Lessons From a Little Girl Named Jaja will inspire you to talk with and pray for those you meet when you travel.

Here are the guidelines for accepting this award:

1. Link back to the blogger who nominated you.  2. Paste the award image on your blog, anywhere. 3. Tell them 7 facts about yourself. 4. Nominate 15 other blogs you like for this award. 5. Contact the bloggers that you have chosen to let them know that they have been nominated.

So, in accordance with the rules of the award, here are 7 facts about myself (this is the hardest part!):

1.  I worked as a librarian in our small town library in the summer and on Saturdays when I was growing up.  I was happy to be making a $1.00 and hour.

2.  Reading beautiful and inspiring books has always been a favorite way I like to spend my time.

3.  One of my favorite books growing up was “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

4.  I love to read and look at the pictures in gardening books.  One of my favorites is “Tasha Tudor’s Garden” with text by Tovah Martin.  Another favorite garden book of mine is “Monet’s Passion” by Elizabeth Murray.  Looking at pictures of beautiful gardens is a delight to the soul!

5.  I love to bake homemade bread – it makes the house smell so good.  I never can resist cutting a slice and eating it while it is still warm with butter melting on it.

6.  I was afraid to get a microwave for years after they came out for fear it would cause my family health problems.  My children still laugh and tease me about this.

7.  I love to paint landscapes of God’s beautiful creation and can totally forget the time when I’m painting.

Now I would like to nominate some of the blogs that have blessed my heart over and over again with their inspiring posts.  It is very possible that many of them have already received this award but even if that is the case, I just wanted to give my readers an opportunity to discover their posts because I am sure that their hearts will also be blessed by what they read.

altarofheaven

AlwaysAlleluia

Charinabrooks

Diamondsongrass

ellzey.wordpress.com

JadedbyGrace

jesusknowsmyname

mychainsrgone

onemoremorning

Redemption’sBeauty

simplystriving

soulstops

thescrumptouspumpkin

toshowthemjesus.com

wynnegraceappears.com

I would like to thank each one of you and my prayer is that you will continue to bless others with each of your posts.

Abiding in His Peace

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”                      Jeremiah 29:13

I love the changing of the seasons and already I’m wondering what great new adventures the LORD has in store for me this Fall.  For the last few mornings I’ve been waking up several hours before the time I wished to get up.  I pray and repeat bible verses but still I can’t seem to get back to sleep.  My spirit has been restless for days and I have questioned God if I am on the right path or if He has a new direction He wants me to take.  But I feel as though I’m standing at a locked gate and all I hear is silence.   “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”               Proverbs 3:5, 6

I wondered if I was asking God to direct me and then happily going down the path of my choice.   “This is what the LORD says:  Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”      Jeremiah 6:16

I felt that I had come to a crossroads in life and had no idea which way to go.   “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying ‘This is the way; walk in it.'”      Isaiah 30:21

But I wasn’t hearing any voice, just silence.  Staying in bed when I couldn’t sleep seemed such a waste of valuable time when I had so much to get done.  But I wondered if God was trying to tell me something and I just wasn’t listening! Then this verse came into my mind and so I decided to lie still.

“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”           Psalm 46:10    I felt that God was being silent for a very good reason I just wished He would hurry up and tell me what it was.  I do not like to wait and if He had a new plan for my life, it seemed important to get up and get started.  But last week when I read Nikki’s post, “What Can I Do” at Simply striving and thought about these words from the song, “A Little Longer” by Brian and Jean Johnson, I felt like He was speaking straight to my heart.

“You don’t have to do a thing
Just simply be with Me and let those things go
‘Cause they can wait another minute
Wait…this moment is too sweet
Would you please stay here with Me
And love on Me a little longer.
I’d love to be with you a little longer
‘Cause I’m in love with you.”

So this morning when I couldn’t sleep, I thought about those words.  It was almost as though I could hear God saying, “You worry too much about sleep, my child.  I will give you rest.  Just wait here awhile in my Presence.”  And then I felt the greatest sense of peace and joy.  I felt so loved like a child in his father’s arms.  It is hard to describe the warm, secure feeling I felt as my Heavenly Father reassured me and held me close in His loving arms.   Perhaps God just wants us to slow down and seek Him with our whole heart.  He promises to give us peace in the storms of life if we will abide in His Presence.  When the time is right He will leads us in the way He has chosen for us.  But for now I’m just going to rest in His wonderful Presence.

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.  Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you.”                Isaiah 43:1, 4

Ladder of Joy

Tags

, , , , ,

“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”            Psalm 16:11

I love morning glories.  Just the name fills me with joy and when I wake up and see one of those heavenly blue blooms, I can’t help but believe that it will be a morning glorious.  Last year I planted a morning glory in with some pink petunias and loved looking at the contrast of colors. 

This summer I planted a morning glory that climbed right up to my coffee tree and then kept on climbing.  The lovely vine has heart shaped leaves which make me think of a ladder of joy going up to heaven.  It reminds me of the prayer my mother taught me to say when I was a little girl.  “Please help me Jesus to build a road of the loving heart.”      Every time a bud opens out into one of those beautiful blooms it is like a new possibility that God tucks in our mind to enable us to bless someone.  There are so many rewards to building a road of the loving heart but the best reward is the joy we feel in His Presence as we travel along the way.    Each day is an opportunity to do something loving for someone we meet or know.  It might just be to smile at a stranger or the clerk in the grocery store; or possibly to write an encouraging card to a friend or call someone and wish them a happy day.  You may want to do something special for a family member or visit someone who is sick and take them something you know they need or would like.    The blooms on the morning glory don’t last long and never more than a day. If we are not wise enough to quickly step up and let God use us to bless someone’s life that opportunity may soon be gone.  I don’t want to miss out on these opportunities that God gives me each day.  If you feel the same, please join me in climbing this ladder of life and we will fill it with steps of joy and love as we bless others with the blessings that God has given us.

Inner Peace illuminations

Tags

, , , , , , ,

“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”   I Peter 5:7

It was one of those beautiful days on the beach after a storm.  The temperature was in the low 70’s and the ocean waves were tossing foam and shells upon the beach.   I decided to take a beach walk so I could photograph the gorgeous clouds and the waves that were dancing for joy.  But just ahead of me I saw a young man with a large, heavy looking backpack strapped to his back and I wondered what stuff could be so valuable that you couldn’t leave it behind in order to enjoy a carefree walk on the beach. 

Then I began to think about what burdens I too might be carrying this beautiful morning.  The burden of an unpleasant conversation that I couldn’t forget, words I wish I had left unsaid, an opportunity to do something kind left undone, worries and anxieties pushed aside and covered up with other worries and problems.  My own invisible backpack of problems was weighing me down and keeping me from enjoying this beautiful day and lovely walk.

Thought freedom comes from a process of substituting our worldly worries and frets with thoughts of trust in God. Sometimes I feel like I have a restless spirit.  I think this is God’s way of telling me that my spirit is at odds with the direction of the Holy Spirit so my soul can not rest.   When I have a restless spirit, I am not abiding in the peace of the Holy Spirit who indwells my soul.  Our heart is where our own spirit dwells.  We can have a spirit of fear, resentment, anger, bitterness, anxiety, worry or hopelessness. Our negative emotions and thoughts can enslave us and make us miserable.   “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”                      Galatians 5:1

Trusting in Christ will set our heart free, but a spirit of hopelessness makes the body ill.  The Holy Spirit is able to illuminate our darkness.  He is able to direct and guide us into all truth.  He wants to bestow on us His wonderful gifts.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”                          Galatians 5:22, 23   “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”   Isaiah 26:3

There is great strength in calmness.  When my circumstances seem our of control I begin to feel panic and want to run away from my problems even though I know the wise thing to do is to run to God.  Sometimes I find myself holding so tightly to my problems that I just have to open my hands and say, “Please Lord, you take them.  I just can’t carry them any longer.”  The only way to hold the hand of Jesus as we walk along is to let go of our problems and give them to Him.

“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.”                Psalm 68:19

In order to have peace of mind we must quiet our thoughts and racing heart knowing that God is in control.  He knows all about our problems and how best to solve them.  Once our mind is quiet, we are able to come into His presence and listen to Him.  When we stop trying to fix our problems ourselves and go to Him in prayer, we can rest peacefully while we wait on His perfect timing.   “Find rest O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him.”          Psalm 62:5

Jesus knew that as long as we are in the world we would need peace.  He promised the gift of peace so that we would not be afraid or have troubled hearts.  The prayer of real faith is a prayer of joy because we pray knowing that we can trust God to answer our prayer if it is His will and is in our best interest.   “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”            I Thessalonians 5:16-18

When we trust and love God, we desire to talk to Him and understand the situation from His viewpoint.  When Jesus has complete control of our lives, He enables us to have a heart filled with peace.  Oh the wonder and anticipation of waiting, knowing that our awesome Heavenly Father delights in answering our prayer with what is best for us.   “And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”       Philippians 4:7

Faith illuminations

Tags

, , , , , ,

“Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”   Ephesians 5:15, 16

Have you ever felt like you were under attack?  It happened to me this morning while I was trying to think about how I should do this post.  I couldn’t concentrate and I felt like the devil was aiming one fiery arrow after another at me.  Arrows of doubt, worry and anxiety about finances, health concerns and other problems like a swarm of hornets kept stinging my mind.  In a previous post I had talked about how to push the delete button when these worry thoughts enter your mind, but truthfully it’s just not always that easy.  Certainly replacing them with positive thoughts helps but the devil is very cunning about the ways he tries to get control of our mind and render us useless to God.  The devil always finds our weakness and takes advantage of it.

“So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.”                     I Corinthians 10:12  

Then it hit me that in truth, my faith was being attacked.  What I needed to do was put on the armor of God.  I imagined that I was taking up “the shield of faith, with which I would extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” just as it says in Ephesians 6:16.  I also imagined putting on the helmet of salvation to protect my mind and thoughts.  I wanted only God’s wisdom to enter my mind.  I also carefully placed over my shoulders the breastplate of righteousness to protect my heart and emotions which seem so fragile and easily wounded.  But I remembered there was more and each piece of armor was important.

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”   Ephesians 6:13   

Ah yes, when the devil attacks he often knocks us off our feet and I want to be ready. So we must “stand firm with our feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”  I’m still pondering what this readiness means.  Perhaps it is to be ready to help when we see the need of a neighbor or to be ready to speak out about injustice or just to blog about whatever the Holy Spirit lays on our hearts.

The next verse states the importance of putting the belt of truth around your waist.  The devil hates truth and is the author of all lies.  And so when your armor is in place take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God and pray.  You will always stand firm if you are securely anchored to the rock of God’s promises.

“Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”   I Peter 5:8


Fun Stuff For Kids:  Suit of Armor

I made the suit of armor for our grandson out of a heat shield that blocks the sun coming in the windshield of your car.  I also made shields and swords with a bible verse from Ephesians 6:10 attached to each for the 2nd grade Sunday school class that my husband and I taught.  I always teach the children that “Our God is bigger than any problem.”  Our God is awesome!

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.”   Ephesians 6:10

You may have noticed that these are “bubble wand” swords.  I like to think that the devil’s lies can be popped just like bubbles by the sword of the Spirit.  But if you are not familiar with the word of God you won’t be able to stand on His promises and recognize the devil’s lies.  Teach your children those promises so that they will be prepared when the need arises.

“But the LORD is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.”   II Thessalonians 3:3  

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”    Philippians4:7