Dear family and friends,
I hope in your day you have found the wonderful benefits of trusting the Lord. There is nothing like the restful peace a heart experiences as we are surrendered to His plans. Even without seeing the whole picture we can be assured of God's unchanging love for us!
What do I mean by using the title Instead Of? Well, 4 years ago today, we moved into the nearly finished apartment beside our kids place. I call it our garage suite as it was a single car garage. During our stay here, I have learned lessons about my attitudes, beliefs and how to grow in the Word like never before.
We have to replace a ruined ceiling from last winters leaks, lay a carpet over the cement floor to keep the cold out and a few other things. You know the renovation takes lots of time and some money too. But, the other thing it takes is patience and a trust that Father God knows what is best. He meets all our needs.
I think that is called contentment. Sitting outside, trying to capture some sparse rays of sunshine to warm my back, I suddenly understood what contentment feels like. It is for me, a warming that settles all issues and questions. Knowing God has my back and my future. There is a reality of now and how important it is to relax and enjoy the moments.
I tend to be a worrier. I overthink the process of things. Look too closely with an analytical mind. Since the last few months of dealing with this disease process, I have grown up some. Probably not completely. At least not for a woman of 65. But, I am better emotionally and mentally no matter what my body is crying out for.
As I watched the sparrows and chickadees eating from the feeder, one little sparrow caught my attention. He looked ruffled, like a teenager trying different hair styles out. It made me laugh outloud! I saw myself just like that little bird. After only a moment he took off and in his wake little downy feathers floated into the breeze. The promise of maturity.
Autumn is my favorite time of year I think because of the colorful changes that can happen so quickly. One day you look and things are still green. The next morning the leaves have turned their brilliant golds and reds. I am in the same season of my life. Surprised and delighted at the Lord's handiwork. I am being transformed into His image day by day. Praise the Lord!
Changes don't have to keep us in a weakened and infirm state; debilitated. As I listened to the breeze in the trees around me I thought, I am free indeed! My strength and my vigor comes from God. In His time. So I can live day to day trusting His perfect plans. Remember last we met, the song, "He Lives!"
So, instead of...the wearisome, stressful garment of worry...trust completely the hand that holds you. Instead of...compaining about the process...rest in His Words; all found in His Love letter to us. Instead of...allowing the thoughts come from the enemy to rob, destroy and kill you slowly...lift up Praise to the matchless name of the Lord!
The great secret of Christianity is we have the indwelling of Holy Spirit immediatly following our new birth! All we need, all our dreams, hopes and desires stem from relationship with Him.
From God's heart to yours He says in Zephaniah 3:17..."The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior [Who saves]! He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest [in silent satisfaction] and in His love He will be silent and make no mention [of past sins, or even recall them]; He will exult over you with singing."
Can you imagine this? Ponder on this for awhile! God is delightfully singing over you! I wonder what His voice sounds like? Like the sound of the wind in the trees? Like the song of a sparrow? Or maybe like a gentle brook? I can't wait to hear Him speak my new name and sing a song I can understand.
Ephesians 3:20-21 is one of my favorites..."Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitatly beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]---To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throught all generations forever and ever, Amen, (so be it)." Yes Lord!
So be it...the challenges we face take great courage. The surrender of our thoughts, great trust. The longings presented to Him in worship, great faith.
I hope you receive what the Holy Spirit would give you today through Heartstrings. I am believing for your good and His glory. In whatever way we can express our love for the Lord, we need to do it because it will make a huge difference during the trials that come.
Instead of...trying to manage your life dependant on your abilities, come to Jesus. He has the whole thing in His hands and will keep you. God bless.
Abundance is....our unchanging God
Dear Loved by God,
This day is not like any other because each day reveals a new set of circumstances. Whether we are swayed, affected or transformed by what the world says, or by what God says. So, I choose to be moved by Truth. Will you?
I suppose that you as well as myself have been sorrowed by news. Our hearts break for the loss of loved ones. Some situtations that are up close and personal can really drag our hearts through the dirt. That is when we see what is real, and Who has the power over our lives. Is God still in control? What is your answer?
This morning I had a song ringing in my ears. Not one that is common, well, except at the time of Easter. He Lives is the title. So, I would like to write for you the words. Make them personal. Listen for the sound of rejoicing that will, I believe, well up inside you where there has been heaviness and despair.
What we say with our mouth and what we meditate on will make or break us. Our fellowship with Christ can come to a halt by our independance. We fall short when we allow anger to rise up and turn to bitterness. The Holy Spirit wants a revival to bloom in our souls today. I want this so much!
This song was written in 1933. I am going to sing it more often and in celebration of God's love for me. Will you take time to read these wonderful words?
"I serve a risen Savior, He's in the world today. I know that He is living; whatever men may say. I see His hand of mercy. I hear His voice of cheer, and just the time I need Him, He's always near.
In all the world around me I see His loving care; and tho' my heart grows weary I never will despair. I know that He is leading thro' all the stormy blast. The day of His appearing will come at last.
Rejoice, rejoice, O Christians. Lift up your voice and sing. Eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ the King. The hope of all who seek Him, the help of all who find. None other is so loving, so good and kind.
He Lives! He Lives! Christ Jesus lives today. He walks with me and talks with me along lifes narrow way. He Lives! He Lives! Salvation to impart. You ask me how I know He Lives. He Lives within my heart!"
You know...it does not matter what others say about our Savior Jesus. It is what we have to say.
I read a line today in my devotions. The man was George Muller. Referring to where his eyes what focused on, he said, "My eye is not on the weapons used against me, but on the Living God, who controls every circumstance of my life."
This is the kind of faith I sincerely want! Please don't be despaired. I know what the world has to offer in the way of counsel doesn't even come close to the counsel of God's Spirit. He will never fail, in any area, as long as we give Him all that concerns us. Ongoing faith that He is able.
Do you need a scripture? I usually share a couple don't I? However, today, I believe you will find what you need to hear, not from me, but by coming into His presence. There is your personal appointment with the Father. What grace He has bestowed on us! So, pick up your Bible and He will speak fresh life to you.
If you don't know Jesus Christ as your Savior and you want all darkness to be brought into the Light, talk to Him now. Please don't put Him off for a more opportune time. Now is the time. You won't regret meeting God's Son! He understands your sorrow, your loss and your pain. His Spirit will come to live with you. Sealed in Him. Choose because you are chosen for this day like no other. In the matchless name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Abundance is...because He Lives!
Dear family and friends,
How goes the battle in your life? The last two days have been tough for me. I surrendered many times in the day to the sovereign hand of God. Since last writing to you I have REALLY been needing to lean on the arm of Jesus. At times today I could only ask Him to carry me.
Weakness, though part of life for some, has gotten my attention abruptly! I know that Abba has heard my prayers, my childlike praises and seen my tears. Not only the ones reaching my face, but certainly those as I am crying from the secret places of my heart.
I am not going to make this a time of pity-party to me. I only covet your prayers. Now, I want to show you what I did find today in reading my Bible.
You know there are many battles described in the Word of God. Some are pretty gory for sure. But, where God is allowed to be in control, there is always victory. Do you want victory today? I sure do.
I read in 1 Kings 20 a battle. What stopped me short was these three verses. They spoke so powerfully to me! Verses 27-29. Right there in the middle of the chapter, which I hope you read on your own.
"The Israelites were counted and, all present, went against them. The Israelites encamped before the enemy like two little flocks of lost kids [absolutely everything against them, but Almighty God], but the Syrians filled the country."
Did you see it? Have you ever felt like the battle was against you? The numbers against you are too many to count? Where you feel little and lost like a lamb? Now hear this! ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING AGAINST THEM, BUT ALMIGHTY GOD!
Say it out loud right now while the heat is turned up on your circumstances. God is God! He will be the Almighty you need in the moments of everyday. Just reading this has filled me with great expectation and hope knowing the Jesus loves me and is at work. It will be a marvelous work in the end.
Well, "A man of God came and said to the king of Israel, Thus says the Lord; Because the Syrians have said, The Lord is God of the hills but He is not God of the valleys, therefore I will deliver all this great multitude into your hands, and you shall know and recognize by experience that I am the Lord."
We have been given a diagnosis from the mouths of man. We have been given a prognosis that ends in death. However, read this with me..."YOU SHALL KNOW AND RECOGNIZE BY EXPERIENCE THAT I AM THE LORD!" Amen?
I pray that this is true; that we are in a personal relationship with a personal Savior? Then we can know that He is Lord! All the time on every occasion.
Finally, "They encamped opposite each other seven days. Then the battle was joined; and the Israelites slew of the Syrians 100,000 foot soldiers in one day." They slew their enemies in ONE DAY!
If you read earlier in the chapter, the Syrian King Ben-hadad actually took a year between the last battle and this one to prepare for war again. It did him little good! And, you know it doesn't matter how many you stand against. David stood against one named Goliath, a really big dude! He knew Who slew that giant and gave total credit to the Almighty.
So, here we are again at a cross roads where we get to choose whose name we will be faithful to. The name of a particular disease? The name of a person who appears to have all the power and say so over you? How about the emotional names?
Many come to my mind. How about fear? That is a big one. In Matthew 14:22-33, another battle. Jesus isn't in the boat the disciples were told to get in and go to the other side. Key words:"and go before Him to the other side." Didn't they understand that Jesus would be there? Why don't I sometimes?
So the waves are wrecking havoc on the poor guys. They are afraid, probably wondering where Jesus was. Fear gripped their hearts and minds. So much so that when they see Jesus coming to them, they freaked out thinking it was a ghost! They screamed out! And, we don't know how long this storm will last do we? It seems like way too long!
"But instantly He spoke to them, saying, Take courage! I AM! Stop being afraid!" You know the rest...brave heart Peter says, "if it is really You, command me to come to You on the water." Would you do that?
Jesus told him, "Yes" So, he got out and started that remarkable faith walk. It was short-lived though. He began to sink. That is how I have felt through this trial in my life. Some days, like I am sinking. Another round of antibiotics that I don't want to go through.
I'm like Peter, "But when he perceived and felt the strong wind, he was fightened, and as he began to sink he cried out, Lord, save me [from death]!
Again, INSTANTLY Jesus reached out His hand and caught and held him, saying to him, O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" Jesus held Peter! What does that mean to you?
When they finally got in the boat together, the wind ceased. That led to a time of worship as they knelt right there, on their knees, in the boat saying, "TRULY YOU ARE THE SON OF GOD!"
That is how I want to end this session together. By worshipping the Son of God. Will you take this time to present your weak, foolish and faithless heart to Him? Will you give Him all that makes you afraid? There are a whole lot of ghosts out there contending for your worship; your attention. Decide to ignore them and by experience recognize that HE IS THE LORD!
Open your whole heart to Jesus today. He is the only One to fight for you. You will drown without faith in Him as The Son of God. And, Jesus Only, deserves your attention and praise. The Lord bless you as you take this battle to Him. He has the plans on how to bring you safely to victory. In the blessed, matchless name of our warrior, Jesus Christ, amen.
Abundance is...a lost lamb in love with Almighty God
Dear brothers and sisters,
Good day to you! Have you heard any good news lately? A whole lot can happen in a single day can't it? Just when you think your plans will succeed, they turn sour. The feeling I get is what a waste of time! If only I had a play book written with the details of what I need.
Have you heard it said that the the voice of the Spirit of God is a still small voice? I may have gotten that wrong but the point is I have to be still to hear a still small voice. Well, today, I haven't been taking that position and dove into a project that only got more and more involved. Now, I wish I had inquired of the Lord whether I should attempt this or not.
Too late and a bit wiser, I am now ready to listen. Very closely. Not move ahead without the green light from the Lord. No one has been hurt, except my own body. And the project is not done yet. However, I started and need to finish.
Do you put deadlines on yourself that are unreasonable? Do you jump at the opportunity to do something and regret it later? I think we all have at some point. Call it human I guess.
Jesus told us many times that there will be those who hear but don't hear. If you are a sheep belonging in the fold of God then, you will recognize the Shepherds voice. Instead of being a stubborn sheep wandering off to "greener pastures" and noble ideas. Stop and listen for the sound of the Lord's voice.
I am going to take this advice and count it as wisdom. To listen to His voice and then heed what He says will reap benefits! He is calling our name and we can really recognize His voice. IF we are still enough; pause long enough for His direction.
In James 1:19 we are told "Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], and slow to speak." Wise counsel. Thank you James!
Otherwise we can be led astray by all the many distractions. I personally feel like flopping into a chair and waiting for tomorrow when maybe things will look better. That may have been what Holy Spirit intended in the first place!
Proverbs 19:21 says, "Many plans are in a man's mind, but it is the Lord's purpose for him that will stand."
I guess I can share what I did...I decided to stain my kitchen shelf. With coffee. Well, it sure didn't make a whole lot of difference in appearance. The process took a lot of time and now it is near dinner time and I have dishes all over the counter and in boxes. Crazy huh? Now, my husband is fixing the matter and I am very grateful for his patience with my goofy ideas.
So this lesson on hearing is now a part of my story, in a practical way. I love that God sees. I love that He has the right plans for our daily adventures. This walk can get really messed up without His leading can't it?
It is one thing to wander off on our own and another thing to just be still and listen for the voice of the One Who knows us best.
Thank you for coming by today. God bless you with a heart to hear and a desire to heed His words of life. In the matchless name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Abundance is...we are blessed for listening
Dear family of God,
Before it gets too late in the evening, I wanted to thank you first of all for taking time to let me share my Heartstrings with you. I pray that it is a source of encouragement and also a challenge to apply the Word of God to each of our lives.
Today was busy but good. After sitting in the dentist chair and getting a tooth fixed I was so happy that I could pay the bill! I told the receptionist that God has supplied. It was just a moment, a few words. Maybe enough to turn her thoughts to Him.
Where ever we went today I was able to express my belief in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit gave me the opening and I took it! Who knows when will be our last opportunity? As time moves forward I feel more convinced that each appointment, short or long, is a chance for seed planting. Spreading that salt around. Being the Light God wants us to shine before others.
Have you taken the time? Or walked away and felt that tugging regret that you didn't speak up? I love obeying the leading of the Lord. It never matters what we can say or do, but what God is saying and doing in our life. Every open door is a door opened by the Lord.
If you are doubting, seek Him first. How long has it been since you talked with the Lord? How long since your heart knew no burden? How long since you prayed, how long since you stayed on your knees the whole night through? How long has it been? These are a few words from a song I remember singing as a child. They call to me often in the last couple of days. Gently reminding me where I belong. Here is where I find courage.
John 9:9-11 Jesus says, "I am the door; anyone who enters in through Me will be saved (will live). He will come in and he will go out (freely), and will find pasture."
Do you want others to find that open door? Really? Or are you so wrapped up in your thing that you forget to mention His name? I am learning to spend time with the Lord in preparation because today might be the day of salvation for someone I meet. I want to be an instrument for His glory!
"The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy, I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).
I want this so much! And, I want others to see Jesus in me so clearly that the things the thief has tried to use to distract me from Jesus will break off like old rusty chains. In Jesus name!
Jesus says to you tonight, "I am the Good Shepherd, The Good Shepherd risks and lays down His [own] life for the sheep."
Didn't Jesus do this for you and I? Then, tell somebody! The contrasts between the Good Shepherd and the thief speak for themselves. We just need to ask the Holy Spirit in us to help us discern the difference. He will.
I guess what impacted me today was one lady who I was buying a plant from. I went to the car but felt like I should turn around and get the other plant. She was alone at the time. She came over and somehow, I can't even remember I was telling her about God's work in my life. She sorta had a blank look on her face. Yet, I knew she understood what I was saying. I turned to go after thanking her for helping me and left with a prayer for her on my heart. I believe she needed a reminder of where real hope lies.
The other lady I spoke to about a piece of carpet followed my husband and I outside the shop where we talked about the wonderful ways of God at work in her family and ours. It was our last stop and my heart is still blessed that I spoke up first about the Lord. It was so worth the stop even if we couldn't buy carpet!
See, you never know unless you take the risk. The Lord took a risk, using someone to tell you about Jesus. We must follow His example. Without fear. With a heart of courage. What have we got to loose?
God bless you all as you daily take the message of fresh life to others. You are not alone in your witness. Praise the name of the Lord! Amen.
Abundance is...He will lead us