As we enter a new day let's say, "this is the day the Lord has made." I read the headlines this morning about what is happening in the Middle East with Syria and Damascus. My heart aches for the loss of lives, the terror in the hearts of those left behind. Earthquakes in Mexico and volcanoes in various places...yet, all is in God's hands. If I couldn't have faith in Him then, I would be lost!
What is the rest of that verse? Psalm 118:24 says, "This is the day which the Lord has brought about; we will rejoice and be glad in it." Only by faith can we rejoice in this day and age. We are called to rejoice as in I Thessalonians 5:16. Then in verse 17 called to prayer; the persevering kind. Then in verse 18..."Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]."
This sounds more like a command doesn't it? Well, if God is the Captain of our faith then He is the One giving the commands. Can you still trust Him when everything around is falling down?
There was one last never on Ella's list. It goes like this "Never dwell on tomorrow. Remember that tomorrow is God's not ours." Pretty strong words aren't they? And difficult to do. But, remember that walking in contentment can be learned. We just need to daily apply the Word of God and He will see it done.
I have a confession. I am a recovering...procrastinator. Yep. Years of laying down this thing that keeps me unproductive, wasting precious time has hounded me for years. I think it began when I was told to clean my room! I spent more time thinking about how to arrrange things, dreaming of making it better, that I wasted time that could have been spent having real fun. Hindsite!
I was reading 'My Utmost For His Highest' by Oswald Chambers this morning in my devotions. Today was a real eye opener for me. The first line said, "Dreaming about a thing in order to do it properly is right; but dreaming about it when we should be doing it is wrong." OUCH! The last line..."Dreaming after God has spoken is an indication that we do not trust Him." Another owee. Truth can hurt sometimes but, Mr. Chambers also said, "Never let the sense of failure corrupt your new action." So just get up and do it, I say to self!
Such wisdom! For me today, what I am hearing is, yesterday is over and tomorrow might not appear the way we anticipate. So, today really is the day that the Lord has made and I can rejoice knowing that He carries that tomorrow for me. I don't have to add or dream things into my backpac that don't belong there! So many scriptures come to my mind now! Matthew 11:30 promises that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Romans 8:1...no more condemnation and verse 28...He has a plan and will accomplish it in our lives. Proverbs 16:3...roll my works upon the Lord, trust and it will be successful.
If the Lord has spoken a direction for you today, please don't put it off for tomorrow. Let your dwelling place in thought be on this precious day. I am finding that there is freedom and much peace in the moments of the day. Worry is not rubbing me the wrong way. And, contentment and peace are twins. I can't have one without enjoying the other.
The very last line in the song "Be Thou My Vision" is this..."High King of heaven, my victory won, May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's Sun! Heart of my own heart, whatever be fall, Still be my vision, O Ruler of all." Amen.
This all ties together into a very nice present, don't you think? If you find yourself dreaming of better days ahead, take care to set it before the Lord Jesus. Allow Him the freedom to work it all out as He designs. Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome."
Yes, even in the midst of wars and natures fury. Even when all around us is loss. Personally leaning hard into the promises of God will get you through the valley of the shadow of death. Keep your eyes on the Shepherds rod and staff and you won't be afraid. There is nothing to touch you except by His loving hand to shape and guide you further into wholeness, in His Love.
The question? Will we allow Him to lead us? If we have to pass through the fire He will be with us. If we have to cross troubling waters we will not drown. Remember the three Hebrew children in the furnace? They were there but the flames didn't even singe their clothes. And the children of Israel passed through the Red Sea on dry land! It all sounds too good to be true, until you are in it. Very few will be able to escape what is coming to this world. Only remember your name is written in the palm of His nail pierced hand.
Do you know you are saved? If you don't and would like to be, don't put it off for tomorrow. Seriously. God doesn't play games with our lives. His hearts quest is that we come to believe in His Son, Jesus. That we cast our sins on Him and allow Him to raise us up to new life. I have come to realize today that procrastination is in fact a sin. Sin of unbelief and trust in Jesus. Now, I stand clean and want to open the rest of this gift called the present! The sun is shining today, the sky crystal blue. The snow sparkles on the ground and the breeze is bitter cold purifying the air. All beautiful gifts from God today. What are you seeing?
Please take time to talk to the Lord, about everything on your heart. Then rise and go forward into all that He has planned for you. Worship your High King! Bless you today, where ever you are and soon we will return together, here or in the heavens.
Abundance is...the life you were meant to live
Good evening all
"Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of Hs benefits..." Psalm 103:1-2.
I have been working through some thoughts all day, really the last two days. Remember the missionary I spoke of and her list of nevers? Well, number 4 is "Never allow yourself to wish this or that or that had been otherwise." That is big! Really? Here I was cleaning the house, after exercising and pushing myself through. Honestly, I woke not so determined. Realizing this attitude would lead me to complaining, I just moved forward. Meditating on the Word in Philippians 4:6-8 helped.
Now it is dinner time. I made a chicken, black bean chili and some cornbread for dinner. Well, the chili was looking to give me a belly ache so I sent it to the grandkids. They love hot stuff! For dinner, my husband is doing leftovers and I am eating cottage cheese and an apple. I am so thankful that we have other choices today whether it is what we think, how we respond or even what to eat.
Wishing for something else in my life sure doesn't make things better. Longing for another place, another circumstance just leads to my moaning. The weather will not allow me a walk outside because the air chills the lungs. Yet, I have had much to keep me while inside. Inspite of this very long day I get to make a decision. What can I do instead? The scripture that I just shared from Psalm 103!
So let's think about this. I first off think the writer was struggling too, because he said it twice for emphasis. Bless the Lord, O my soul. Bless the Lord, O my soul! Some days are like that. Then he continued to make a list. Lists are good. Mostly I make lists about things to do, places to go and grocery lists. It isn't often there is a list of the blessings. It is not a new idea at all but, rather needed in my life right now. What would be on your list? It may be just that one important thing.
God has allowed circumstances in our lives. Without even thinking about the past years, only today, we can see His hand extended to us. He longs to convey His great Love and support to each of His children. We can freely bring to the Lord the "This, that or otherwise." Praise the Lord! Bless the Lord, O my soul and forget none of His benefits!
The thing is, what will we choose? Our position is what I see in the hymn, "Be thou my vision." Verse 2 says, "Be thou my Wisdom, and thou my true Word; I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord; thou my great Father, and I thy true son, Thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one." Good words aren't they? We are in the place to believe it or reject it. The whole thing! The fact that, He is Wisdom and the True Word that frees us to see clearly, that He Lives in us and we in Him. Amen?
So, the Truth is what makes us free. Verse 3 of the song says, "Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise; thou mine inheritance now and always; thou and thou only first in my heart, High King of heaven, my treasure thou art." Which would you rather have? The High King of heaven or the riches and praise from man? The Bible says in Matthew 6:21..."For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
Pretty simple isn't it? Either we store up treasures in heaven which cannot be destroyed or we gather the earths treasures of power, praise and prestige which will only die in time.
I really didn't know where this study today would lead me. But, I see how much difference there is with the gifts of God, His blessings compared to anything I could possible wish for here in this place called Montana. A change in my circumstances is not going to bring peace. Peace is found right in the middle of them. Whether it is a dinner that turns out to be a blessing to someone other than myself, or what appears to be fruitless use of time, when it is not. God is still the blessed controller of all things. This I believe.
Reading verse 22 of Matthew 6..."The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is sound, your entire body will be full of light." Hey, this is awesome as it relates to the hymn on my heart these days! Thank you Holy Spirit for being teacher and vision healer! We really can see clearly what God wants to do with our lives!
I have some notes at the bottom of the page in my Bible. Spiritual insight can be clouded by thoughts and desires. Self serving desires, interests and goals block that vision. Restore it by serving God. This can really be what keeps us from having a deeper relatonship with the Lord. So, what my heart is hearing tonight is, where am I storing treasures? Who holds the strings of my heart? And, who am I serving first?I so pray it is the High King of heaven!
As you go to sleep tonight take time to Bless the Lord with all your heart. Take your soul before Him and give Him honor and praise for the circumstances you are in right now. You will become stronger and grow in courage. Satisfaction will be guaranteed! Because in Jesus we have all we need. God is truly good! Why not bless Him?
By the way, my dinner of cottage cheese and an apple was very satisfying. I ate with thanksgiving and know the Lord provided just what my body needed. Bless the Lord, O my soul and forget none of His benefits!
Abundance is...what He places before me
Good Saturday afternoon
We have finally been getting lots of snow here! I woke before six this morning to go and watch our grandsons shoveling the parking lot of the business. Montana Cafe is really where we live, attached to it anyway. So for the convenience of customers, the parking area gets to be shoveled by hand. The boys are real servants and I am proud of them!
A nap would be great but I wanted to write while I can stay awake! I do miss the energy of my youth. That brings me to the next "never" on the list. Ella says, "Never compare your lot with others." Oops! I fall to that old flesh again. Lord thank you, for helping me today.
This morning, after I got back into the nice warm house, I noticed a page from an old hymn book that I'd glued on the front of a notebook. The song is an Irish melody, "Be Thou My Vision." The words are worth repeating and I see how there was a purpose yet to understand in taking it out of the box of torn pages. It was at a retreat and the project was to resurface the notebook given to us with things that touched our hearts. This was the one that I used. At the time, I didn't know what the words were.
Here are the words. "Be thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart; Naught be all else to me, save that thou art; Thou my best thought, by day or by night, walking or sleeping, thy presence my light." Well, that is the first line. When I read it touched my heart in a deeper way. There were other stickers that I put on the notebook too. Scriptures about hope and peace as I am comforted in God's love...you are inscribed in the palm of God's hand...fear not for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God, I will strengthen you...come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest...and finally, great strength come from faith in God. As always, the Lord knows what we need to hear.
If I am dissatisfied with my lot then I can lift up my cup before the Father and say what Jesus did. In Matthew 26:39 we can hear the deep, deep sorrow of the Lord..."And going a little farther, He threw Himself upon the ground on His face and prayed saying, My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will [not what I desire], but as You will and desire." God is not ashamed of us when we throw ourselves at His mercy. He loves our surrender! A good place!
I understand that some circumstances are as dark, as close to death as we may ever be. Jesus understands. He was going to the cross to take on the whole weight of the world's sins; past present and future. He already knows The Plan. He has trusted His Father from the beginning. Yet now, in His weakened human condition, He lifts the cup up for the Father to really just remove it from His hands. Abba, won't You take this from me: isn't there a plan B? Knowing there wasn't Jesus said, "Your desire, Your will Father."
When you think about another's lot you only see the surface. You cannot see the future of that person and those circumstances can you? Therefore, the best thing is to have your vision full of the Lord Jesus and accept your lot knowing again, He is the blessed controller of all things. You might be in the desert now. But, think, it could change in the next few steps to an oasis!
There have been things this week that I want to keep for the days ahead. I want to believe what the Word says about being anxious and that when I turn it to God His peace permeates every detail of my situation. I want to believe that my words and the meditations of my heart will be unstained by discontent and full of rejoicing. I wonder? What has the Holy Spirit spoken to your heart this week? I pray for you and trust you to continue walking in His grace. We will meet again soon. Be blessed and live Loved in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Abundance is...when my vision is clearly of Him
My prayer this morning is, "Calm my anxious heart." Oh, already I have been having to take thoughts captive before His throne. And, that is okay. Because there are some days that come with trials and the temptation to be in a different situation or place or time.
Father, I confess my wandering. My place is where You have brought me. This cup that I hold in my hands is the one You have provided and filled for me to grow closer to You. Help me to convey exactly what we need to hear from Your heart to ours. In Jesus name, amen.
The news this week of more children killed in school shootings grieves my heart for the families bearing incredible loss. Evil continues to press against our nation. Everywhere the sounds of mothers crying in the dark of their circumstances and probably wishing they had been in a different place, a safe place. But, life does go on. It is the same all over this fallen world is it not?
Maybe you are one who has been surprised by the enemies blows. Something came out of nowhere it seems and preyed upon you and those you love. It doesn't matter where you are in this world. Are you looking for Jesus in all of this? He promises to be Life for you. John 10:10 says, "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)."
You may wonder...when? I wonder too. Simply, the answer for my life is to cling, cleave to, trust in and rely on the Lord Jesus. He is my breath, my life and He will sustain me. Can you believe too? I have to speak this to my wandering mind so often. I desire old patterns of thought to be replaced with the Truth of God's Holy Word.
When missionary Ella said in her contentment list, "Never picture yourself in any other circumstance or someplace else", I think she must be some sort of saint! So, here again, what seems impossible for me is possible with God. In picturing myself someplace else, I do imagine being in heaven, greeted by Jesus personally. We do have to have hope outside of the dirt on our feet! My heart longs to do life right and fly above it all. What Jesus may want for me though is to walk through that valley, holding tight to His hand...not around it.
Jesus is our Life, our all. So once more Philippians 4:6-7 comes to mind. To be anxious for nothing, no reason, stop fretting over things. In all of these circumstances with everything laid out in prayer and petitions with thanksgiving, continue talking to God about your desires. That is our part. Now, God's part? He brings peace, contentment and a guard over our heart and mind. We come. He takes care of the rest.
The REST. The Calm. Instead of mulling over things and chewing on that celery string over and over again, spit it out. Next time remove the strings, right? I am sure God does simplify these lessons so we can understand them better. Whether it is a picture of celery caught in your teeth or something more reverential. Whatever you need at this time, in this trial...the Lord is with you and you are sealed by His Spirit.
Psalm 139 says...the Lord has searched me and knows me thoroughly. Whether I am sitting or lying down. All my thoughts He understands, even the ones I hardly recognize. My path is planned. He alone knows it altogether, every part, every turn, every climb and every dip in the road. All my words? He already knows those too, before I even speak them. He surrounds me before and behind and His hand is upon me. This is all so infinate that I can't imagine to reach it. Can you pray the words to your life story? Make it personal.
Now, verse 7-..."Where coud I go from Your Spirit? Or where could I flee from Your presence? If I ascend up into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol (the place of the dead), behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning or dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall Your hand lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me."
Are you feeling the calm now? I am. The answer to the age old question of "Why do bad things happen to good people? For me personally, it is here in this Bible I am reading. To know the Lord Who redeemed my life from the pit, really know His heart and fellowship with Him is my place of contentment and calm.
Let's go ahead and read verses 11-12..."If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me and the night shall be [the only] light about me, even the darkness hides nothing from You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You." My soul magnifies the Lord! I will bless the Lord as long as I live! Glory and honor to His Holy, magnificent name!
I cry everytime I read this chapter, the meaning clings to my heart and surrounds me with unbridled praise. Tears of joy flow freely and wash away my anxiety. The circumstances haven't changed, but, I have been changed by the blessed controller of all things.
For this day, the gift of the present, can we agree together the truths here? Can we cast all our burdens on the One Who cares for us? I say, "Yes!"
Abundance is...Finding the calm in the storm
Good afternoon dear ones
Do you remember a few days ago when I mentioned that "I die" was to become my personal vow? I had no idea, at the time, that these two little words would lead me on a journey toward contentment. I just didn't corelate the two together. I pray that Holy Spirit is teaching you wonderful new lessons in your walk with the King of Kings.
A couple of days ago I also told you about a missionary from Africa named Ella. She had made a list to live by. Remember? Well, today, I have thinking why this list disturbs me. I was praying and the Lord reminded me of where I came from. My life growing up in church was legalistic in so many ways. Ways that gave me the impression that I could never please God or be like His Son. Never be special and inherit the Kingdom. Never a princess of a King. It was easier to give up trying.
So, I got to this thought...that I needed to apply grace to truth. The very thing that I had never heard about. The enemy had his fingers in my ears, I am sure! This seemed to make a lot of sense to me. Putting it all together now. The first thing on Ella's list was, "Never allow yourself to complain about anything---not even the weather." Hey! It's not the weather I have a problem with! It is my body dealing with pain. After another night of tossing and turning trying to get comfortable and pain free, it is difficult to know how to answer positively when your loving husband asks, "Are you okay?" Especially when you know he slept the night away, while you got up and walked, prayed and tried to give thanks for the great things God has done. Maybe, God had a purpose for me being awake?
That is where I realized that I needed to speak Grace over my life in place of complaint. I think I may be hanging out in Philippians for quite some time! Paul knew his stuff and dealt with a whole bunch of trouble. Here in Philippians 1:21 he shares the 'Key' to this letter. We will see how he unlocks this door to contentment. It begins..."For me to live is Christ [His life in me], and to die is gain [the gain of the glory of eternity]."
Not too many words there but, they come power packed with insight if, we take the time to meditate on them. Maybe, this is why I have been having so many thoughts about Jesus our Shepherd. Music brings remembrances of times past where I knew He was holding my hand. Sweet times of letting go of all the little ducks I had in order. Taking them out of my backpac and setting them free where He leads me beside quiet waters. Our feet resting together, His and mine. That is just one place I was being taught to let it go. There are others, all with the same theme. Trust.
So it is with contentment. A huge lesson in not complaining and whinning. Today, I know I can learn this. The Bible tells me so. If it weren't possible then why would it be written clearly that to live is Christ? His life in me? When we truly belong to Him, relating intimately with Him; then He lives in us, right? I find this exciting! The enemy deals punches below the belt, yes. That is why we put on the belt of truth everyday! So, his knuckles will be busted!
His life in me. The very key to contentment. When I believe it then, I can live it. Let me add...!!! I once was blind by my inadequacy but now I see. Now, I can replace my negative thinking because my mind is renewed in Christ Jesus! I don't have to conform to what the world's attitude and responses are or be like I was before. Now, I can agree with Romans 12:1-2 and be that living sacrifice in exchange for His life in me. "I die" takes on a whole new meaning for me today!
Maybe you are tired of being who you are? Might be that you find yourself trying to be the man or woman of God you have read about. There aren't too many Ella's and Paul's out there. Life hits hard most times. It might be the sorrow of self, something more personal. A loss, an unhealthy body or relationship. Whatever it is we can walk with our hand in the Shepherds and trust Him to carry us on. When we are too weak, He will carry us on His shoulders till we heal. Regardless, He will always be beside us!
My soul rejoices in the Lord my Savior today! No, it sure didn't start out that way. But, as I press into His side, the weariness does lessen and I find His strength being my own. It's is okay to be weak. As long as He is my strength. In weakness I do search for Him with a heart of passion. A good thing after all!
I hope you are encouraged today. I wish we could sit together in one place, in person, shoulder to shoulder and pray for each other. You are in my thoughts today as I look at all the nations representing Heartstrings. Let us press on to know contentment shall we? To know the Lord. With Him all things are possible! We really can rejoice when we would rather give in to complaining and discontent. We come boldly before the throne of Grace and give honor to our King, Master and Lord of all. In Jesus name, amen!
Abundance is...He Lives in me!