Monthly Archives: October 2016

Letter Writing-Timeout to Bless

 

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Letter writing.  I fear this is becoming a lost art.  I fear the loss of a handwritten note for handwriting is unique to each individual–like a fingerprint.  I am so thankful for letters/cards from my Daddy, recipe cards with my Mamma’s beautiful cursive, love letters from the officer and gentleman, a three by five card that said, “You are still 21 to me!” on my over the hill birthday, a stickee note with atrocious penmanship from the oldest inviting me to lunch for Mother’s day, cards of appreciation from the older Beauties, crayon pictures of angels and horses from my young Beauties, and a drawer full of cards, notes, letters from friends.  Don’t  get me wrong, I love the unexpected text message that sends a quick “I love you and miss you,” but I cannot frame it, or always save it.  You cannot bundle these and tie them up with a ribbon and go back down memory lane on a cold, rainy afternoon in front of the fireplace, wrapped in a blanket and feel the warmth of love and gratitude flooding your heart.

Paul spent a great deal of time writing letters.  His only form of communication with his fledgling churches as he sat in prison awaiting execution.  When time is short, getting what needs to be said, said, is of vital importance.   Paul was actually writing to the Bride of Christ Jesus..  He took dictation from the Holy Spirit, and conveyed the Bridegroom’s message of love and expectation, promise of return, assurance of His Presence, and explanation of His absence.  Love letters written in red:  His blood.

John the Beloved wrote too.  He wrote to the Bride to tell her all she has to look forward to when her Bridegroom returns;  He is building her a new home and when it meets the Father’s approval as complete, Jesus will return as King on His white steed and swoop up His Bride and take her home!  And this is no fairytale, this is His  covenant PROMISE.

The miraculous thing about these letters is that 2000 years later, they are still being circulated.  Fragile parchment, inked by quills, and sealed with wax arrived at their designated locations guarded by the foot couriers and carefully rewritten thousands of times without error, translated into hundreds of languages, and alive with the Spirit of God.  It has been said if you just had one page of these precious Words on a deserted island it would be enough for the Spirit of the Living God to use to bring a searching heart to salvation.  AMAZING!  The Word is ALIVE!

In Ephesians 1:1, Paul’s salutation to the Christians at Ephesus said:  Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace be to you, and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.   Paul wrote this letter literally as from Jesus, not himself!  It occurs to me that we too can extend the love of Christ to others by our writing when we follow the unction of the Holy Spirit to encourage, share truth, to extend assistance, teach a truth, share an experience, offer reminders of love that exists for the recipient, and even reprimand if necessary.

Paul shared his prayers for those he was writing too and asked for prayer for himself while he was, according to tradition, in a Roman prison awaiting trial.

Paul was very learned.  He would make the most meticulous grammar teacher proud.  Used all the parts of a letter:  Heading, salutation or greeting, body of the letter, closing, and a signature. Every “i” dotted and every “t” crossed.  Every word with just the right meaning.  Every verb utilized the perfect tense.  Examples always understood.   Signed, sealed, delivered.  Read, circulated, shared, and cherished.

I have family that cherish my notes and some that read and immediately deposit in the trash (not a sentimental bone in their body, God love them!)..  I am so thankful to God for the faithful who cherished the notes He sent to all of us and they were protected and preserved for all of us to read and pass on to others.   I am thankful Paul was obedient to the LORD to act on His behalf and convey His Word to His Bride while Jesus is occupied building her New City, preparing her wedding celebration.

We too can act on His behalf as directed by the Holy Spirit to write down a few lines of encouragement, appreciation, apology, Holy Spirit inspired direction, and reminders they are loved and cherished by the Father.  Take a timeout and pick up a pen and a piece of paper and fill a heart with a bit of grace.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.  (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Written in Red I Love You Janet Paschal

 

Thanks for treading with us!  It is an honor to be among you.

The Lord is my Rock

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Hide me in the Cleft of the Rock

The Lord is my Rock

Two of the basic needs of a person are to feel secure and significant. The more we understand our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ the more we have these two needs met.  I believe when we know the Lord Jesus the more secure we can be in all of our relationships.

Psalms 18 :2  “I love you, Oh Lord, my strength.  The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer. My God, my rock in whom I take refuge.  My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”

In this Psalm there are seven metaphors: My rock, my fortress, my deliverer, my refuge, my shield, the horn of my salvation, and my stronghold.

“A metaphor is a comparison made between two or more things using figurative or descriptive language.  Metaphors serve to make difficult to understand ideas or concepts more tangible.Metaphors also infuse written text with vivid descriptions that make the text more vibrant and enjoyable to read.” 15 Famous Metaphors in The Bible (literarydevices.net)

Jesus used metaphors many times to help the people understand better what he was teaching.We are going to look at some metaphors in God’s Word that hopefully will bring clarity and understanding of the precious relationship we have with the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit

I want to look at some of the metaphors that begin with  “The Lord is…”

Many times I find that we as Christians don’t know who we are in Christ or where our security lies.  We are continuously seeking our significance.  Who am I? What am I supposed to do with my life?  Why am I important?  Am I important???

We find all the answers to these questions when we dig a little deeper into the descriptive or hidden treasures in God’s Word.

1,  The Lord is my rock- Deuteronomy 32:4 “He is the Rock; his deeds are perfect. Everything he does is just and fair.  He is a faithful God who does no wrong; how just and upright he is!”(NLT)

Rock –a block of stone, boulder-  the rock,boulder, block of stone is steady. It is hard to come against. It is secure.

Rock in Strong’s Bible dictionary- the Hebrew word from its origin means “to be lofty”

It is used to describe a stronghold.  



“The name of the Lord is a strong tower and the righteous run to it and are safe” (Proverbs 18:10 NASB)



 

The problem is we read these verses and we see the definitions and our mind understands but often our spirits and our hearts do not let the message in. This is where we must believe in the power of the Holy Spirit and learn to trust Him to  “teach you all things,and bring to your remembrance all that I (Jesus) said to you.” John 14:26-28 (NAS)  It is the Holy Spirit’s job to help us to understand and apply what is taught in the Word.  (2 Timothy 3:16 NAS)  “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

When we read in Deuteronomy 32:4 the context is the Song of Moses.  Moses has seen God doing many miracles, led them through the wilderness 40 years.  He has been the mediator between the people and Jehovah.  Now he has come to the end of his journey.  He knows he will not see the promise land.  He knows the people are a rebellious and stubborn group.  He speaks to the assembly one last time. Now He wants heaven and earth to hear.  He reminds them of all that God has done for them. Then in verse 18, he tells them, “You neglected the Rock who begot you, And forgot the God who gave you birth.”  Moses knew about the Rock, the God of Israel. God had used a rock at times to teach the people of his faithfulness.  Moses brought forth water from the Rock by striking it and later disobey when God commanded him to speak to the rock and not allowed to go in the promise land because of his disobedience.

Moses encountered God in the mountain when he ask to see God’s glory.  God granted him to see his back and sheltered Moses from all that his glory by placing him in the cleft of the rock. For mortal man cannot survive all that God is in His purest form. God is Spirit and we may someday see him in our glorified bodies but for now we trust and have faith in what he has shown us in His Word.  The written Word and the human Word made flesh that came to earth to save man from his sinful state is enough revelation for us here and now. I haven’t a complete revelation of all that means yet.

We may never know how many times God has hidden us in the cleft of the Rock.  Hymns have been written about the rock.  We have Rock of Ages, cleft for me.  Let me hide myself in thee. Let the water and the blood from the riven side which flowed.  Be of sin the double cure Cleanse me from it’s guilt and power.  The hymn written by Reverend Augustus Montague Toplady in 1763 when he was caught in a storm and sought shelter in a gap in the gorge of Burrington Combe in England. It is one of the world’s classic hymns.

img_1471Burrington Combe in England wikipedia

Our God is our shelter, fortress, deliverer, protector, helper, friend, Father and Savior. He is our shield, our buckler and the horn of our salvation herein lies our defense.  The “horn” of animals are their defenses.  Without its’ horn the rhinoceros will become prey to predators.  Jesus is our defender from satan our predator.  He is worthy of our praise and worship.  We can place our complete trust in the one who has given his all for us.

Our security lies in the Rock.  “I love you, LORD, you are my strength.” Psalm 18:2

Our significance is that the Rock who is omniscient, all knowing,and omnipotent loves us enough to redeem us from the curse of sin and give us life everlasting only by grace, His matchless grace which saves us.  (John 3:16)

 

You are my Rock  by Hillsong

Treading in grace filled water

Freda Reynolds

 

 

 

 

Timeout to Grieve

Well of Grief by David Whyte

Grief.  I know this word, this place, this pit well.
Loss
Pain
Sorrow
Depression
Anger
Bitterness
Struggle
Confusion

 

An attempt to hang on to what one holds dear.
A hole so deep there is little if any light.
A time out you do not know if you will survive or if you even want to.  A time death looks like a friend.

Some say if you are a Christian you should never experience this time out because you know God is in control and knows best.  This is HOGWASH!

From an early age I have wrestled this out with our heavenly Father.  I have come to the conclusion the Lord did not “hardwire” me for all this because it was NEVER suppose to be this way.  The way it was suppose to be is the way it was in the Garden when we walked with God in the beauty of the creation and life was designed to live eternally in peace and fellowship.  Man’s free will destroyed all this and we have struggled ever since.  Listen to the Psalmist as he  cries out:

1 O God, do not remain silent;
do not turn a deaf ear,
do not stand aloof, O God.
2 See how your enemies growl,
how your foes rear their heads.
3 With cunning they conspire against your people;
they plot against those you cherish.   (Psalm 83:1-3)

Do you see how the Psalmist recognized who the real enemy is?  Do you see we are not alone in our struggle to deal with this world and its pain and suffering?

Every time we are plunged into the pit of loss we are forced to make one of two choices:  wallow in the mud of the pit or look up and reach for the HAND of the ONE who alone can pull me up out of the depths of despair.  The crawl out can be hard and long and I have often wallowed before I looked up   .  But in the words of Ann Voskamp in her new book The Broken Way, “Maybe the love gets in easier where the heart’s broke open?” and “Maybe the deepest wounds birth deepest wisdom.”  (#TheBrokenWay)

I recently had new revelation come from Ephesians 6:12, ‘ For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.’   Our struggle in this life is not with people!  It is who the struggle comes at us through but it is not with them!!!  I must look past the situation and see into the “high places” at exactly who our struggle is with–THE ENEMY!!!  (See Freda’s post on Oct 6, 2016, we really did not copy each other!)

THE ENEMY is a thief.  Is a murderer.  Is a liar.  Is a roaring lion.  Is a deceiver.  Is an adversary.  “He uses God’s holy objects (vessels, containers of the Holy Spirit) for unholy purposes.” (Beth Moore, The Daniel Study)   He uses Christians to harm Christians on the stage of a watching world.  This is why we look like the only army that shoots its own wounded!  #@BethmooreLPM

This quote in The Broken Way, slapped me cross-eyed: “….a woman who’s been more interested in self-preservation than anyone else’s situation,,,,,,” because the eyes of my understanding of a grievous situation in my life suddenly made sense in light of Ephesians 6:12!  We have all been in this place if we are honest!  We are all just trying to survive what life has thrown at us and we get tunnel vision. #thebrokenway

I have found the Psalms give voice to our “unspoken broken” as we pour out our lament before the Lord.  In Bilman and Miligore’s Rachel’s Cry, they write, “ Lament is that unsettling biblical tradition of prayer that includes expressions of complaint, anger, grief, despair, and protest to God.”  This differs from complaining (an abomination) because complaints are faithless grumbling and “declares that God is not sufficiently good, faithful, loving, wise, powerful, or competent.” (from Jon Bloom, How to Complain without Grumbling).

At the moment, I am sitting on the edge of the grief well.  It has taken a long time to reach this point of rest.  The next phone call may plunge me back into the pit.  The Word reminds us “in this world you will have trouble!”  We as believers are not immune from the attacks of the enemy.  But the Word also makes it clear in Colossians 1:13, “For He (God the Father) has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,” and in I John 3:8b, The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.  Can I come to take the dare and believe as Ann Voskamp, “ to let all my brokenness—be made into abundance.  Break and give away.  The broken way?”  To discover that,  “Somehow I wonder if it’s in shattered places, with broken  people, we are most near the broken heart of Christ.”

From past experience with this kind of timeout, the answer is a resounding YES!
Psalm 142:3-5 puts it this way:
When my spirit grows faint within me,
   it is you who watch over my way.
In the path where I walk
   people have hidden a snare for me.
4 Look and see, there is no one at my right hand;
   no one is concerned for me.
I have no refuge;
   no one cares for my life.
5 I cry to you, Lord;
   I say, “You are my refuge,
   my portion in the land of the living.”

Grief (John 16:33) can come at us from many directions:  illness, anger, jealousy, injury, death, gossip, slander, libel, divorce, differences of opinion that divide us, and the list is endless.  May we remember our struggle is not with God’s creation (man) but with an enemy that has been defeated.  May we allow the Father to take our time out and birth something beautiful and new and full and glorious.  (John 12:24).  Something “abundant!”  #thebrokenway

Be Still My Soul  by Kari Jobe

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Available now

 

Life is not a Fairytale

 

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Cinderalla Slipper from the movie by Disney  “Cinderalla”

The canon of Scripture that we have today is a compilation of sixty six “books” gathered into one book and tells the HIStory of God’s chosen people through whom the Messiah came to earth, lived by the same constraints man lives by but did so perfectly and then gave His life for the sins of all mankind to pay a debt we could never pay and reestablish our ability to have a personal relationship with God Almighty as was originally intended. Within this book of books is a story of how God prevented the holocaust of the Jewish nation during the reign of Medes and Persians.
There are many styles of writing within Scripture: Poetry, epistles (letters), documentary (chronicles), history, laments, steamy romance, and even a “fairytale.” The story of Esther is one that has been acted out on stage, in theater, and in the minds of many a young girl. But her life was not a fairytale: She was forced to be tried on like a shoe…………………..
Hadassah, a Jewish orphan, lives in the land of Persia as part of the diaspora (scattering of the Jews during the Babylonian captivity) with her uncle, Mordecai, who took her into his own home at the death of her parents. Hadassah is a maiden (virgin) of incredible beauty. (Esther 2: 7) Persia is ruled by a young, fickle and spoiled puppet king we know as Xerxes but in Scripture is called Ahasuerus son of Darius. (Esther 1) Mordecai works in the palace. Haman, the Agagite, (these people HATE Jews with a passion) also working for the king, is the villain. These are the main characters in this saga.

You may have seen the movie One Night with the King, and it is a fairly accurate account of the story but what it fails to convey is the depth of Hadassah’s time out. A time out that changed the rest of her life. In the end, it was for the salvation of her people, but for her NOTHING would ever be the same. Only her faith in Yahweh would sustain her through some very dark nights of the soul. Let’s step into the sandals of this young Jewish girl and see how God used catastrophic circumstances to save a nation and elevate one young woman from obscurity to the world stage and a household name.

Our story begins with the king deposing his current queen and his advisors coming up with a plan that Disney must have used to create Cinderella’s story. He needs a new queen so he is going to gather up all the young untouched women of the area in search for a new queen. The king can be a kid in a candy store trying out all the delectables to see what he likes best. If he doesn’t like a morsel he can discard it and move to the next. In the story of Cinderella, the prince was using a shoe to see whose foot it would fit. This sounds like fun if you are the king or the ONE girl who the shoe fits on your foot. But what if you are the one discarded. Used but not good enough?

Hadassah is among the maidens rounded up like cattle and herded into the palace to be “prepared” for twelve months for their trial night with the king. WHAT? A virgin. A novice. A less than experienced woman expected to prostitute herself so she can win the coveted title of queen. If she failed to impress, she was not released to go back into the community and hope some man would accept her as “used goods” but she was sent to the haram to just be summoned back for an encore performance if she was “memorable.” This makes me want to throw up! This is sex trafficking at its worst. Who comes up with this stuff? Oh right, HELL! What if this was your teenage daughter? What if this was you at fourteen to eighteen?

Hadassah is going to lose her virginity, her self respect, and she is instructed by Mordecai to not reveal her heritage so he changes her name to Esther. During her year long wait (timeout) I wonder as she is “prepared” just what her emotional state must be? Is she like the movie and all starry-eyed and hopeful of being queen, or is she fighting the indoctrination of her “preparation?” Does she comfort her fellow “candidates,” or does she herself require comfort. From the scripture we see she has strength of character for we are told “Esther gained favor in the sight of all them that looked upon her,” and “she obtained grace and favor in his sight (the king) more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head.” The shoe fit Esther. Can you hear the cheers? Call me weird, but I don’t. She has been compared to every other virgin. She has not been chosen for herself. Herself is covered in secrecy. Herself has been changed by preparation. She is just a pretty young thing on the arm of the king and her life is expendable. Remember, he has already banished one queen. Is she next? What must she now do to retain his favor? And, worst of all, she cannot reveal she worships the one true God. No Jewish celebrations. No reading the Torah. She is married to an uncircumcised man. (As a Jewish girl this is NOT OK!) This is now her life. There is no end in sight. She is now just a dressed up “escort.” She has “been put up in the penthouse, baby.” She is “off the street but that is just geography” to quote Pretty Woman. The crown just made it “respectable.”

Sure enough we read in Esther 4:11b the king had not summoned her for thirty days! The girl is out of favor. The haram requires less maintenance and now Mordecai is asking Esther to go plead with the king for her people because Haman has coerced the king into a decree that gives Persians the right to MURDER Jews and steal their wealth for fun on a particular day in the near future. To go unsummoned before the king can cost her her very life: to go to the king could well end her palace exile. Now that her people are in danger, she is in mortal danger. This is a no win situation.

So, what does Esther the queen do? AHHHHH, Hadassah does what she was taught to do her whole life. (Proverbs 22:6) She goes to God with fasting and prayer. Not her last resort!!!! I want to learn this from Esther. She went to the Lord to seek wisdom, ask for courage to do all she needed to do, and she heeded the words of her earthly father figure: “Think not thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ob8DTU_m-aI

Excerpt from One Night with the King

Her time out in the palace became a timeout with God.   Into His hands she placed her life knowing either way she might perish.  She trusted her God.  She found her God more than faithful.  Her life was spared.  The life of Mordecai was not only spared but elevated.  The lives of the Jewish nation were spared.  She found favor in the eyes of her king.  A Jewess was elevated to the second highest position of the known world.  Her story is still being told.  The faith of one young woman was used by God to save the nation the Messiah would come through to save the world because she “believed well!”

What Satan intended for evil, God used for good.  It has been said “God is never mentioned in the book of Esther but that He is all over it.”  (Beth Moore’s Esther)   His sovereignty shines.  Do I fully grasp why He allows things to happen in our lives.  No, not initially.  Sometimes never.  Only as we look back can we see His care and protection of our lives and the lives of those we love during the most uncertain time outs..  Esther did “live happily ever after”  from what we know about the rest of her life, but I doubt she would agree that it was a fairytale.  She was just a shoe to be tried on.  That is demeaning.  God alone made the shoe a glass slipper.  God alone can elevate our circumstances from the pit of hell to the pinnacle of heaven. Look to Him!   This is the old testament story of walking on water.

I Look To You  by Selah

New Life Through Tribulation

 

storms

What do you do when life throws you a curve?

Our guest for today’s blog is Mrs. Beth Brown.  She is one of us.  She is a dear friend and a woman after God’s heart with hands that are always willing to serve.  We appreciate her faithfulness to give us a witness to the power of God in a life surrendered to Him. Her story is written as journal entries punctuated by the phrases that are in the verse that sustained her during a very difficult time.

 “ Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous  right hand.”  Isaiah 41:10


Ever look forward to something only to have the proverbial “rug pulled out from under your feet?”


“It’s Friday!!! The holidays just around the corner! Hallelujah,  almost 3 o’clock! “  Don’t get me wrong, I loved my students for 33 years, but I found myself looking more forward to retirement than the joys and gifts of each day. Anybody relate?

Do not fear?

October 2011, my life drastically plummeted only 18 months from retirement.  On that day, I woke up with severe upper body pain….unable to move my neck and shoulders or lift my arms . “Dear God, what is going on?  Why, when I am so close to “my life plan” RETIREMENT? “ How could I NOT fear?

I will help You?

I actually continued striving to teach in misery.  It was only by the grace of God I could teach. I had much help from family, church family, friends, unlimited medical personnel, co-workers and even my junior high students assisted with instruction. I was unable to hold a book or bend my neck to read. Every encouraging prayer was a treasure. My grandchildren even prayed for me, not only at bedtime, but also at mealtime blessings.

Be not dismayed?

Mid January, my principal found me in tears and compassionately advised me it was time to go home. Cervical neck fusion in February gave hope that I could return to work in February. I could finally get relief!  Wrong!  There were complications healing the worst being a non functioning esophagus. I was living on Boost for months as my overall health declined. This was the first time in my life that I needed to gain weight but kept losing. I found that It is no fun when you are sick!

I will uphold you with my righteous right hand?

I had severe pain walking, sitting and reclining. “What do I do Lord when I can’t take care of myself.  How will my heart survive if I am unable to keep my grandchildren and rock those babies? I couldn’t eat, cook, shop, drive, ride, or even hold my Bible to read !”

My family became my “earthly rocks” . My husband never complained  even as he became my personal caregiver and hairdresser (He will not be happy that I shared that detail.)  My  children along with their spouses supported me in countless ways!

Friends and family sacrificed their time taking me to appointments, calling, texting , visiting , listening , and advising.  I was unable to attend church for months, but precious prayer groups came to me. These were unforgettable moments . Since I could not read, friends shared spiritual audio books and material to encourage me. One friend spent her lunch hour reading the Bible to me. Another took me chair shopping since I could only sit in Daddy’s ugly blue lawn chair. I think I tried out at least 50 and still ended up with another ugly consignment wingback.

All of this support was God’s provision.

“All of you are Christ’s body, and each of you is part of it.” 1 Peter 4:10 NIV

Local doctors and therapists frustrated and puzzled stood by me and tried everything. I saw specialists in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa and too many others to mention.

The next step was at Mayo Clinic which took four month of waiting. Finally, diagnosis…my muscles and not my spine were supporting my head.  I needed two more fusions!!  FEAR sets in.

I made numerous trips to Jacksonville Fl. where doctors tried several less invasive treatments. My pain doctor there knew the risks of further surgery and told me to try a very mild physical therapy again. DISCOURAGEMENT !!!!!

I Am YOUR God!!!!!

Local therapists followed the plan,  and SLOWLY I began to improve . This was my miracle!!  The last time I went to Mayo for a recheck, my doctor was amazed as he looked at my MRI which still showed the problems with my cervical spine and questioned me, “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? NO SURGERY?  WHY ARE YOU BETTER? THIS  MAKES NO SENSE!”

My answer, “MY GOD along with PRAYER!!! He had never mentioned God at previous visits, but that day he hugged with a “God bless!!”

Isaiah 41:10 became my lifeline. My faith was weak, but I kept a glimmer of hope through His Word and believers encouraging me, while many of them were going through storms of their own. Even though I was not able to teach full time, I still enjoyed working with children and spending time with my grandchildren.

 I try to live each day according to HIS plan , and no longer live  for Friday’s!!! I still have a long way to go!

The question marks after the scripture phrases have changed to exclamation marks!!

My FEAR has weakened as my FAITH has grown!

I realize that the GOD of the universe is MY GOD, and He is able to meet my needs!

He STRENGTHENED  me physically and spiritually!

He HELPED me through His power and the hands and hearts of others!

He literally HELD ME UP WITH HIS RIGHTEOUS RIGHT HAND when I was weak!

Dear Father,

Use my tribulation to share your love with others. I pray that this testimony may give someone hope and draw them closer to You. Use my hands, feet and heart to reach out to those who are hurting or in need. I praise you for your mercy in allowing me to enjoy my life again! I especially thank you for my family, friends, church family, and medical teams who stood by me and prayed for me. Bless each one of them. In Jesus Holy name I pray. Amen.

Break every chain.

Chain Breaker  Zach Williams

 

 

 

Soul Brother

anxiety_depression_may_raise_stroke_risk

 

Habakkuk is my soul brother.  I think we may have been cut from the same piece of cloth.  His name means embrace or wrestle.  Well, an embrace sounds comforting and wrestle sounds really uncomfortable.   So, which is it?  It is both!  Habakkuk is a “minor” prophet (whatever that is) with a major message to ME!  It is a lesson he learned (wrestled) and it is a lesson the Father wants you and me to grasp (embrace).  The problem is we have trouble understanding why God allows things that are evil to continue.  We look around this world and wonder how can we survive?

Habakkuk lives in Jerusalem.  The holy city.  Site of the Temple.  Capital of the Jewish nation.  It is a center of commerce, education, religion, and law.  We know little else about my friend, Habakkuk, except he is a brilliant writer.  He can pen what his heart cries.  He is brave!  He questions God Almighty;  takes two complaints straight to Heaven’s throne.  His complaints are a burden and he writes five oracles to express them.   Two other authors are so impressed with his writing they have written books about Habakkuk:  Warren Wiersbe wrote From Worry to Worship and Dr. Martin-Lloyd Jones wrote From Fear to Faith.  

Habakkuk’s time out is spent in prayer!  Time outs spent here is where our burdens are released and lifted; sin is confessed;  our eyes are opened;  character is shaped; and in the aftermath, leaders rise, songs are written, the Spirit is released, revelation is received,  missionaries get their marching orders, laymen receive their call,  and God is glorified.  For Habakkuk, he would receive a prophecy that assured him the evil would not go unpunished.  Habakkuk recorded his conversation with God and how he asked the hard question:  Why do your people suffer at the hand of the ungodly?  I love his honesty:  “O LORD how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! I even cry out unto thee of violence and thou wilt not save!” (Habakkuk 1:2)   Let’s be honest, the church is filled with those of us who feel exactly this way!!!!  I have cried out to Him for years and nothing changes. Like ole ‘Kkuk I have asked, “God what are You doing? Do you even see me down here suffering?  Are you ever going to fix this?  Surely, you see my pain!  My tears run like a river.”

I love this “book” because Habakkuk records that God DOES HEAR AND ANSWER!  God accepted his honest questions to UNDERSTAND!!!!  Abba Father opens his eyes to the future of how He will use these enemies as a “rod of correction” for the Jews to turn their eyes back to Him and then the enemies who are vile, treacherous, and calloused will be defeated.    God has “established the enemy for correction.”  God then told Habakkuk to write down all he had been shown for all the people to read and be able to escape the coming “judgement” if they would heed the warning.  Such mercy!

Are we like this prophet willing to “stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what He will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved?”  The prayer penned after this encounter with God Almighty should be ours:  “O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid (in awe):  O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years make  it known; in wrath remember mercy.    Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive  fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: YET I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.  The LORD GOD is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me walk upon mine high places.”  (Habakkuk 3:2, 17-19 KJV)

(I Corinthians 10:13) He gives us a way of escape.

Time out in prayer renders this:  our eyes are opened, we worship, and we exalt the name of the LORD.  Time out in honest prayer for your family, your nation, your church may turn you into a prophet:  A man/woman called into the service of God, speaking and writing all He has revealed to you, having your eyes opened (vision/dreams) that will be in harmony with God’s written Word and may predict things to come.  The Word tells us in Acts 2:17, “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”  We are living in the last days.

Are you in the depths of despair?  Take this to the LORD.  You will leave His presence delighted in Him.  He always remembers MERCY even in His wrath.  Jesus is our perfect picture of this fact.  God’s highest law is LOVE and MERCY!  Take your burden to the Lord.

The word selah is used three times in Habakkuk’s writing ( Habakkuk 3: 3, 9, 13)  This Hebrew word is found in only two books:  Psalms and Habakkuk.  Theologians believe it is a AMEN used to add weight and to encourage the reader to STOP and ponder all that has been said.  It is “the highest form of praise man is able to give” when we pay attention to all the LORD is saying.

Today, if you are carrying a burden, take it to the LORD!  He hears the honest prayers of a hurting heart and desires to reveal to you what He is up to.  He IS “the same yesterday, today, and forever!”  (Hebrews 13:8)

 

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Selah You Are My Hiding Place

 

I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever

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“I Will Dwell in the House of the Lord Forever” Psalms 23:6

Psalms 23:1 The Lord is My Shepherd
Psalms 23:6 And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

The beginning and the end of the psalm are great bookends. David introduces us to the Good Shepherd. He shows us the greatness of the character of the Lord. Throughout the psalm, David has helped us to see how the shepherd takes care of his flock. The good shepherd provides, he leads, he restores, he protects and now we have come to the end of the psalm and we see that He has a place for us to live with him forever. The sheep have been so taken care of and are so satisfied with their life that they are completely contend to stay with the shepherd forever.
From the beginning, God has provided a place to dwell with His people. In Genesis, he provided the Garden of Eden. In the wilderness, it was the tent of meeting where he met with the people. Later he gave David plans for a temple to dwell in and meet with the people. David gathered materials and planned for it, but Solomon built the temple. In 2 Chronicles 7, we find that after Solomon prays to dedicate the temple God’s Shekinah Glory came down as fire from heaven. One of the saddest stories in the Old Testament is told by Ezekiel when the glory of the Lord departed the temple. When God’s glory left it was because of the nation’s sins and particularly the sins of the nation’s leader, God would later revealed himself and His glory through His Son, Jesus. God with us. Now we have the Holy Spirit who is in us when we come to Jesus in repentance and accept that there is only one way to dwell with our tender, compassionate, caring, Shepherd. That way is through our Savior, the Lord Jesus.

Thank you Father that you have prepared an eternal place for your people to dwell with you in your household.

Psalm 90:1 “Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.”

Psalm 26:5-6 “I come to your altar, O Lord, singing a song of thanksgiving and telling of all your wonders. I love your sanctuary, Lord, the place where your glorious presence dwells.”

Deuteronomy 33:26-27 “The eternal God is a dwelling place,
And underneath are the everlasting arms”

Psalm 90:8-9 “For you have made the Lord, my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place.”

Psalm 132:13-16 “This is My resting place forever;
Here I will dwell, for I have desired it. I will abundantly bless her provision;
I will satisfy her needy with bread.”

Psalm 27:4 – “One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD And to meditate in His temple.”

2 Timothy 4:18 – “The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”

2 Corinthians 5:1 – “For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

David in Psalm 23 ends with the assurance and desire of every true believer. Dwelling in His Presence forever is our longing.
“Better is one day in your courts (presence) than a thousand elsewhere.” Psalm 84:10

As Christians, we long for our eternal home in the presence of our Savior. We sometimes forget that we have His presence continually with us now. We can walk and experience His presence now but we are to busy, to rushed with life.  If only we could slow down and live with his presence now.  (sigh….)
For now we are watching and waiting.
For soon He will return and we will forever live with him.

Treadin on,
Freda Reynolds

In His Presence by Sandi Patti