Oh my! Weeds again in my spiritual garden! I need a hymn!

Oh my! Not again! I thought that I had broken up all of the fallow ground and planted good seed, but where and why are the weeds overtaking so quickly?

We definitely understand this as we plant gardens, but it is for me, unfortunately a look at my spiritual soil as well.  Hebrews 4:9 tells us, “there remains therefore a rest for the people of God.”

That is what I want! Isn’t it true? Isn’t that what we long for, is God’s rest?  Hebrews 4:10 says, “For he who has entered His rest has himself ceased from his works as God did from His.”

What does all this mean? What is ‘resting in Him?’

“O Father, show me how to enter into Your rest at this time. You are the same  yesterday, today and forever – it should not matter what I am going through because Your word says that You, the Creator of the Universe, the Lover of my soul, the Great Shepherd, the El Shaddai is with me!

I am afraid that the soil of my heart is much like my garden.  How the weeds spring up so quickly. The weeds of worry, of discontent, the weeds of fret and fear. And You Lord are also the Master Gardner, and You see it all,

Hebrews 4:13 reminds me of that, ” Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight; but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.”

And if I am coming short of that rest that God has for me. If I fear anything, THAT is what I must fear! Hebrews 4:1, “Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to come short of it.”

“Father God, You are speaking to my heart from Your word. It says,that those who did not enter Your rest failed to because of unbelief,

Hebrews 4:2, “For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them, but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it…”

So I pray again,  “Increase my faith Lord!”  Are there others with this terrible problem with spiritual weeds!

I have a mentor in my life. He is now with the Lord. My dear Pastor Gary. He was an example of one walking  in God’s rest even amidst chaos and confusion. Many of us that know that his favorite song was Jesus loves me, he was  a Children’s Pastor of a large church,
but I had on an occasion asked him what his favorite hymn was, it was ‘Trust and Obey.’ And since he was an example of one walking in the  rest of God, and he was a man who was truly ‘happy in Jesus’, perhaps thinking on this hymn and chewing on its truths  will help with my continual problem with weeds that I seem to have in my spiritual garden.

Because, isn’t it true that if it is someone’s favorite, then he must have known this hymn real well.

“When we walk with the Lord In the light of His Word, What a glory He sheds on our way! While we do His good will, He abides with us still, And with all who will Trust and Obey.

Trust and Obey, For there’s no other way To be happy in Jesus, But to trust and obey.

“Not a shadow can rise, Not a cloud in the skies, But His smile quickly drives it away! Not a doubt or a fear, Not a sigh nor a tear Can abide while we Trust and Obey.

“But we never can prove The delights of His love Until all on the altar we lay; For the favor He shows And the joy He bestows Are for them who will Trust and Obey.

Trust and Obey, For there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

“Then in fellowship sweet We will sit at His feet, Or we’ll walk by His side in the way; What He says we will do, Where He sends we will go, Never fear, only trust and obey.

It is beautiful how this man still lives in my heart and I am sure in the heart of many others. And his walk of ‘rest in God’ and his testimony of being ‘happy in Jesus’ will always spur me on to do the same.

Who would have thought that keeping a song on our heart would get rid of those terrible weeds!

“Lord, help us to trust and obey!’ Just keep us singing. It is so much better than fretting, that only causes harm. Let us now ‘fear fretting’ and walk in that rest that God has for His people, that we trust and obey.

“Lord, we pray scripture, heal Your afflicted one!”

Lord, we pray for Your afflicted today , and we remind You that it is said in Your word that we are to

” pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:16.

and that “the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up.” James 5:15.

Lord, we remind You, (not that You need reminding, but we do, to increase our faith in praying) of Your very own truth recorded by Asaph in Psalm 77:1,

“I cried out to God with my voice – to God with my voice;  And He gave ear to me. “

Lord, You hear our prayers, because just as Asaph, we seek You,

“In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; My hand was stretched out in the night without ceasing; My soul refused to be comforted. I remembered God, and was troubled; I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed.” Selah. Psalm 77:2.

But what great assurance we have in You, in the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses us from every sin. That Your word says,

“And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”James 5:15,16.

And Asaph was in anguish and he prayed and penned his prayer, and we will pray just as Asaph did in Psalm 77:10-11,

“This is my anguish; But I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High. I will remember the works of the LORD.”

And Lord, that is what we will do. So just like Moses reminded You at a time of his prayer,

“And consider that this nation is Your people.” Ex. 33:13.

We plead for Your people, Your afflicted. Moses pleaded for God’s presence in their journey so that it would be known to others that God’s people had found grace in His sight.

So we plead as well, “Lord, we come boldly before the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16.

And LORD,  You said to Moses after he had asked for Your presence  and grace,

“I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.” Exodus 33:17.

Moses’s next words were, “Please show me Your glory.”Exodus 33:18.

And Lord, we all know the story when Mary and Martha’s brother Lazarus had died, and You spoke words to Martha and said,

“Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” John 11:40.

And in our hearts we pray, ” Lord, we believe. Show us Your glory. Grant us grace, You know our name, Heal Your afflicted one!”

Yes, we know that Jesus had said to Martha, “Your brother will rise again.” John 11:23.   And our reply is much like Martha’s,
“I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”John 11:24.

and Jesus, we know and get our greatest comfort from Your next words, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. “And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

Yes, we answer Your words the same way Martha does, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” John 11:27.

Our hearts ache, we pour out our complaint to You, “Lord, heal Your afflicted !”

And we think of this story, and that we can go back and read it over and over again in John 11. Jesus, You Yourself said, “Take away the stone.” And Martha was worried about the bad smell because her brother had been dead for  four days already.

So Lord, we remind You of Your words, (and once again, not that You need reminding, but we do that our prayer will mixed with faith to believe,) “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.”And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” John 11:41,42.

And after this Lord, You cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus come forth.”John 11:43.

Today, we plead with aching hearts, that You would cry with a loud voice for Your afflicted, whom You love, “Take away the stone.”  “Life, come forth.”

This is our anguish, just as the Psalmist, and we will remember the works of the LORD. But Lord we will also remember that, “The LORD is righteous in all His ways, Gracious in all His works.”Ps. 145:17. We will remember that You are a gracious God, and that everything that You do is right. That is why we call You Lord. We can trust You as our Heavenly Father,  and we pray, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done.”

We pray, and we sing, “Be Thou My Vision, Be Thou My wisdom, Be Thou My battleshield, High King of Heaven, my victory won, may I reach heaven’s joy, bright heavens Son,

“Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,  still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.”

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Lessons learned from a child’s film, Snow White part 2.

God has used this film in my life to show me truths about Him and about myself. God can use anything, I am convinced to show Himself, if He so chooses, even a Disney Movie – in this case Snow White and the 7Dwarfs.

But now, Snow White finds herself in a safe place and she is not alone. She enters a little cottage home, and looks around and finds it cozy, but  a mess, and it belongs to 7, (the perfect number) dwarfs with individual character, that we each possess at different times.

I love this picture because we who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb and though our sins are as scarlet, they shall be white as snow, we’ve still got messes – some cob webs, some character flaws, and we need help – remember the little critters? The ones that helped comfort and come along side Snow White. Well, now the little critters help clean up the messes.

What wonderful little pictures of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.”John 15:26.

“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth,…” John 14:16.

The place gets a thorough cleaning. But seriously when I think of a thorough cleaning spiritually thinking, (and even physically for that matter!) I shutter at the thought.

But just as those little critters helped to accomplish great things, I truly believe that the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness to get to those cobwebs and dusty corners of our heart, on a day to day basis, and even moment to moment if we yield to Him.

“Every good and every perfect gift is from above,  (and the most perfect gift is the gift of the Holy Spirit) and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” James 1:17.  

He is trustworthy, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.”Hebrews 13:8.

And He knows and sees everything, “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”Hebrews 4:13.

Is the  Father of Lights, who hears our every word and knows even our very thoughts,  shining light on cobwebs such as:

anger that simply must go?”Be angry and do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your wrath.” Eph. 4:26.

Are we harboring bitterness? “…looking diligently lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.” Hebrews 12:15.

The Holy Spirit might be looking under the sofa so to speak, is there pride? “For I say…Not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” Romans 12:3.

What about lust in our hearts? “I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young woman?” Job 31:1.

Are we hiding jealousy under the carpet? “Delight yourself  also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”Psalm 37:4.

Are we guilty of being lukewarm? ” So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth.” Revelation 3:16.

Are we full of fear instead of trust? “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all of your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” Prov. 3:5,6.

Oh my! This kind of spiritual house cleaning is something that we would want to put off until tomorrow, but the Spirit calls, Today. Today,

Sleepy, “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.” Eph. 5:14.

Grumpy, “put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts. and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,…” Eph. 4:22.

Doc, “We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.”1 Corinthians 8:1.

Dopey, “Every prudent man acts with knowledge, but a fool lays open his folly.” Proverbs. 13:16.

Bashful, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil. 4:13.

Happy, “is the man who’s delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.” Psalms 1::2.

Smiley, “In Your presence is fullness of joy; Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”Psalm 16:11.

And though all the cleaning up can be painful and difficult at times, we have an example before us, our Prince who “was and is and is to come.” Who we cannot see, but we believe, for the ‘just shall live by faith not by sight’. And we know He is our Love because, ‘greater Love has no one than this, than one who will lay down His life for His friends.’ John 15:13. And the Holy Spirit, our Helper, helps us to lay down our life for Him as well. (And it really helps to ‘whistle while you work’ so to speak and Sing to the Prince of Peace in the process, because He inhabits the praises of His people.)

And you would think that after everything and everyone is all cleaned up that they would simply live, ‘happily ever after.’ But that is not the case, you can tell by the sound of the music that evil is brewing. Remember our warning?

“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Eph. 5:15.

And here comes the wicked queen, but she is disguised as a (scary) old lady. How could Snow White be deceived so easily? But she is and she bites into that poisoned apple.

But Snow White has the Seed of Love in her heart.

And  Perfect Love  can resurrect her from her sleep.  “So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

“O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?”

The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”1 Corinthians 15:54.

This is when all that is true is so important, and we think on these things and become strengthened in heart, “Neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38,39.  This is Perfect Love.

And the Prince is come!

Then I saw heaven open. There before me was a white horse. The rider on the horse is called Faithful and True. He is right when He judges and makes war. His eyes are like burning fire, and on His head are many crowns…He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood. His name is the Word of God…Revelation 11-13.(Children’s Version)

“Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready.” Rev. 19:7.(NKJ Version).

The End, wait – it’s actually only the beginning! Forever is a long time!

So many lessons, from just a simple child’s film. God can use anything to show Himself. In this case, God showed this mama through Snow White and the 7Dwarfs that, “Yes, Jesus loves me, yes, Jesus loves me, yes, Jesus loves me,

the Bible tells me so.”

This mama has been touched by a film, part1.

God shows himself to me in so many things. Today, I have to write of some special clips from a very old Disney movie. My own children might  have already guessed it, because I actually talk about these things as we go about our journey together. I often repeat one quote from the movie,(which was actually a song), every time the kids begin to do a chore with complaining -“whistle while you work,” (and if I could whistle I would whistle the rest, but unfortunately I cannot whistle so I have to simply humm the tune.)

But, anyway, Don’t you agree that many a child’s song and many a child’s film is as much for the mama’s and the papa’s as it is for the children, if not more so?  My own children  know that I have spent many, many, many a time of rocking them to sleep when they were babies and I would sing, “Jesus loves me this I know… little one’s to Him belong, they are weak, but He is strong.” And they may think that I was always thinking about them as the ‘little one’s’. At times I was, but many,many,many times tears would fill my eyes as I would sing those words knowing that I was His very own ‘little one.’ And that I was ‘weak, but He is strong,’ and that ‘He loves me‘. God would remind me, in my weakest moments rocking an infant to sleep in this simplest of children’s songs, that the ‘Bible tells me so.’ The beauty of it all, is, I was reminded many, many, many times to -Read your Bible!

So, today, for all of the children young and old  I bring back the  Disney movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Please bear with me, because there are  many, many, many important truths in some very simple pictures that God showed this mama in such a simple little children’s film.

Well, many of us know the wicked Queen would ask her ‘mirror,mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all.’ And much like Satan who is the prince of this world and thinks that he is ‘fairest’ but oh, the ‘mirror, mirror on the wall – have you thought that perhaps  this  could represent the ‘Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.’ James 1:17. The mirror spoke the truth, always.  Jesus is truth.John 14:6.

The truth is that the fairest of them all  was Snow White! Who is Snow White? God talks so much about that in the Bible!  The believers in Christ, the one’s who are washed, (1 Corinthians 6:11, “But you were washed…in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God”),

in the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 12:11,”And  they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…”

and ‘though their sins are scarlet, they shall be white as snow.’ Isaiah 1:18.  All of this truth just in the name Snow White!

To think that the Father doesn’t just think His Son is fairest, He loves the’ one’s who are washed in the blood of the Lamb and though their sins are scarlet, they shall be white as snow’! The Father loves the world –  so much so,  that He gave His  one and only begotten Son, and whoever believes in Him, He forgives their sin, and they shall live forever in Paradise.

Think about it! The Father doesn’t just love the Son, and He was angry with us, so Jesus took our punishment and said, “Father, it’s OK now, I’ve paid for their sin.” No, that is not it at all. the Father loved the world that He gave His only Son for us.  John 17:23, “that the world may know that You sent Me, and have loved them AS You have loved Me.” (accented word, mine.)

WE are Snow White! She is not just some character in a movie anymore, she is me and you! She is the one who is washed in the blood of the Lamb and though their sins are scarlet, they shall be white as snow – and the ‘mirror on the wall’ says that it is SHE that is ‘fairest of them all!’

And what is Snow White doing most of the time? She is singing to her Prince. She is thinking of her Prince.  “Sing to Him, sing Psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works. glory in His holy name; Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the LORD. Psalm 105:2.

But we all know the story – the wicked queen becomes jealous because of the mirror of truth and sends the woodcutter out to kill her and return with the heart of Snow White. “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” John 10:10.

And we, who have been cleansed by the blood of the the Lamb, (mind you,  by no great beauty or work of our own) and our sins have been forgiven and have we have become white as snow – we have someone who is after us as well, ‘because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter  5:8. And if we are still not sure, the Word tells us  that, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” John 10:10.

But the woodsman was unable to harm Snow White and warned her instead ,of the jealous queen.  (Sigh of relief!) And we can trust this same protection because our Prince, Jesus, has prayed for us to His Father,

“I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them”… “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.” John 17:9,14.

And we have been given a warning as well, Eph. 5:15 Amplified version,  “Look carefully, (full of care) then how you walk. Live purposefully, making the very most of the time -buying up each opportunity because the days are evil.”

We live in an evil day – just as in the next scene in the movie where there are scary visions and fear and confusion –“For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing will be there.” James 3:16. The envy and the self-seeking of the queen brought confusion and every evil thing in the life of Snow White.

Snow white flees to safety. She doesn’t know which way to go. She is terrorized by her own thoughts  and the night- and sleeps. But the cutest little bunnies and birds and squirrels show up, just as the Holy Spirit is a present help in times of trouble for us. It’s as if they were saying, “…now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. the night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore  let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” Romans 13:11,12.

Snow White had little helpers to pick her up and help her not to be afraid and lead her to a safe place, to help her think straight, “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Cor 10:5.

The Holy Spirit is our helper, who draws us and speaks truth, “this is your comfort in your affliction, the word has given you life.” Ps. 119:50.

And the Holy Spirit gives direction, “Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.” Ps. 119:105.

“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.” Prov. 3:5,6.

And just like Snow White, we need someone we can trust, we need wisdom as we walk in the light:

“Like a person, wisdom call out to you. Understanding raises her voice…Listen I have important things to say. What I tell you is right. What I say is true. I hate it when people speak evil. Everything I say is honest.

Nothing I say is crooked or false. People with good sense know that what I say is true. People with knowledge know that my words are right.” Proverbs 8:1,6-9. International Children’s Bible.

All I know is that Snow White has a big enemy, but Snow White has all her little friends who help her.

We have a big enemy, but we have the Holy Spirit and you and I can trust Him, always. And we do not need to fear because, “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1John 4:4.

Intermission. To be continued.

“Our Father… YOUR KINGDOM COME!”

When crisis and tragedy come, there is a breaking down of thought,

but oh, how You, Lord, want us to remember one thing, a most familiar phrase, a most powerful truth, You want us to call You, “our Father,”

You want us to understand that You are here, You are there, You are Spirit, You can be everywhere – and You are ‘our Father’ when we acknowledge You and become Your children. You see it all, You know it all, we are Your children here on earth and we cry out,

“Our Father, ”

And most of us know the familiar prayer, in a crisis it just flows from the tongue because nothing else can.

“Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.” You are holy and righteous in all Your ways…”Your Kingdom come!”

This kingdom, this kingdom of man here on earth is full of ‘tribulation’, just as You had told us,

“In this world You will have tribulation...(John 16:33)” We see it, we are here, we agree – this kingdom, this earthly place is filled with war, and fighting, filled with pain and suffering, this earthly kingdom is filled with heartache and anxiety – so we cling to what is most familiar to us, during a time of chaos and crisis, we cry out,

“Our Father… Your Kingdom Come!” Because  You have said,

“…but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

“Today, Lord, our world is governed by Satan.  And Satan rallies those who are in rebellion against You, Lord. That is why we pray, “Your Kingdom Come!” Can I see Your Kingdom now? Show it to me in Your word, dear Lord. Remind us, how we need to be reminded!”

So, You bring me to the Christ Child in Isaiah 9:6,in a simplified children’s version,  and You remind me of Your Kingdom, that someday this world will be governed by the Wonderful Counselor, by the Prince of peace, (Isaiah 9:6, International Children’s  Version),

“A Child will be born to us. God will give a Son to us.

He will be responsible for leading the people. His name will be Wonderful Counselor, Powerful God, Father Who Lives Forever, Prince of Peace.

Power and peace will be in His Kingdom…He will make it strong by ruling with goodness and fair judgement. He will rule it forever and ever.”

How we long for Your Kingdom Lord. How it is told in Isaiah 2:3,4. that, “Many nations will come and say, “Come let us go to the mountain of the Lord. Let us go to the Temple of the God of Jacob. Then God will teach us His ways. And we will obey His teachings.”(International Children’s Version)

Can you imagine such a time?

“Where the Lord’s teachings will go out from Jerusalem. The Lord’s message will go out from Jerusalem.

Then the Lord will settle arguments among the nations. He will make decisions for strong nations that are far away.

Then the nations will make their swords into plows. They will make their spears into hooks for trimming trees. Nations will no longer fight other nations. They will not even train for war anymore.”

Yes, this is how we pray! We pray, Our Father…Your Kingdom Come!

What a beautiful Kingdom, Where we find that ‘God will destroy death forever. The Lord God will wipe away every tear from every face.

God will take away the shame of His people from the earth. the Lord has spoken,’ (Isaiah 25:8. International Children’s Version.)

And the Bible speaks of a ‘better time coming.’ Yes, that is His Kingdom! His word speaks in Isaiah 29:17,18,

“In a very short time, Lebanon will become rich farmland. And the rich farmland will seem like a forest. At that time the deaf will hear the words in a book. Instead of having darkness and gloom, the blind will see. The Lord will make the poor people happy. They will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.” (International Children’s Version.)

But Lord, we make You King of our lives.  We call You Lord, we bow down to You and worship You on Your throne, just as we pray to You,

“Our Father, who is in heaven, Holy is Your name!” Could it be that Your Kingdom has come?

…inside of my life?

As I yield to You, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, yet, You would have me call You, “Father,”

“Your Kingdom Come” inside of me! Because You abide in my heart, You grant me Your peace. (Even though there are times that I don’t receive it and would rather go about fretting!)

And death ceases in Your Kingdom! “whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life!”(John 3:16).

And what about the physical infirmities?

Could it be for the same reason that ‘gold is put into the furnace?’ (Proverbs 17:3) You are purifying us through our infirmities.

“Our Father…Your Kingdom come, Your will be done…”

So Lord, even if our prayers seem to be unanswered at present, could it be Lord, that a greater work is being accomplished as You choose to sustain Your children in great trouble rather than ‘deliver’ them?

“Our Father, our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, our Everlasting Father, our Prince of Peace, You dwell in our hearts,

Your Kingdom has come each moment I choose to let you Reign, instead of me.

Lord reign in me, let Your will be done,

that we would trust You more.

 

The Good Shepherds call, “Today! Today! Today. Today.”

Sometimes I imagine Jesus, the Good Shepherd, the Chief Shepherd literally calling His sheep. And I imagine Him out in the pasture calling, “Today! Today! Today.Today.”
That is what I imagine His call to be.

He is the One that the Bible says, ‘who knows His sheep, and is known by His own.’ John 10:14.
He calls, “Today. Today.”
And He brings them out, and He calls His own sheep by name. “Today Joe. Today Susie. Today Sally, Today Bob.Today Jewish Nation…

And what is even more wonderful is the Bible tells us that He also is the ‘One who even has other sheep which are not of this fold’; John 10:16.
“And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.” John 10:16.

And to these sheep, I can imagine Him calling, “Today! Today!”
“Today, if you will My voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion…”Heb. 3:7.
“Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold now is the day of salvation.” 2Corinthians 6:2.
And He knows each ‘sheep’ by name, “Today! Charlie, Today! Jerry, Today! Kaitlin, Today! Gentile Nations…

for some, ‘today’ will be their day for salvation, finally making a decision to follow Him.And ‘Today! He gives them eternal life and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My Father’s hand.’ John 10:28.

But His call to His sheep that know His voice, and follow after Him – His call is the SAME: “Today. Today.”

But, it is not the same, just the same (!) You see, the Good Shepherd speaks, warning and comfort and direction and wisdom; the good Shepherd speaks, ‘Today!” to His sheep. Oh that Voice, that beautiful Voice:
“Today, ‘lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…’Matthew 6:20.
“Today, ‘do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on.’
“Today, do not worry!”
“Today, ‘do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.” Matthew 6:34.

“Baa, baa, baa-but what about tomorrow?”

And He says,
“Today, ‘seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you!”

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them,
and they
follow
Me.”
John 10:27.

“Baa, baa”
“Sounds simple, but NOT easy!”

God’s reply,
That is true, ‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. John 10:11.
“Follow Me.”

Bathing in a hymn, refreshes better than ‘Calgon’.

OK, the needs feel great. Stress rises. Human flesh longs for that ‘Calgon’ moment. Nothing like a hot soak in a tub of bubbly water.
But I opened one of my favorite books instead, ‘Then Sings My Soul,’ by Robert J. Morgan. It opened to ‘I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say’. So I began to read the unfamiliar hymn,
I heard the voice of Jesus say, “Come unto Me and rest;
Lay down, thou weary one, lay down Thy head upon My breast.”
I came to Jesus as I was, weary and worn and sad;
I found in Him a resting place, and He has made me glad.

I glanced at the next page where it has the story of the hymn writer. In this case, the hymn writer was Horatius Bonar. The hymn was from 1846. The little bio stated that the first verse was based on the wonderful promises of Jesus in Matthew 11:28,
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

What a great hymn!It met me right where I was and spoke the words of the response I so needed to make,
“I came to Jesus as I was, weary and worn and sad;
I found in Him a resting place, and He has made me glad.”

The story goes that in 1846 in his church in Edinburgh only the Scottish version of the Psalms were to be sung –
but the children were allowed to sing the hymns written by Horatitus. It is told that,
“on one occasion in the adult services, two of his church leaders stormed out in protest when a hymn was announced. But the children never protested. They loved his visits to Sunday School when he would lead them in exuberant singing!” (Then Sings My Soul,pg. 117.)

What a blessing for the children. So, today, this child sits and reads his hymn and it speaks everything I need. This is a hymn worth bathing in! It is even better than a ‘Calgon’ moment,

Vs. 2. ‘I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Behold I freely give The living water;
thirsty one, stoop down, and drink, and live.”
I came to Jesus, and I drank of that life-giving stream;
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived, and now I live in Him.’

Vs. 3. ‘I heard the voice of Jesus say,
I am this dark world’s Light;
Look unto Me, thy morn shall rise, and all they day be bright.”
I looked to Jesus, and I found in Him my Star, my Sun;
and in that light of life I walk, till traveling days are done.’

So back in 1846, the world was dark as well. We can find our rest, we can find our living water, we can find our light in Him, the hymn says. How did he get all of that?
Horatius gives us the response to repeat, “I came to Jesus… I came to Jesus…I looked to Jesus.
Thank you Horatius, for the treasures in this hymn. Bathing in this truth today has refreshed my soul.

Have you forgotten, “I AM your Shield and your exceedingly great reward.”

Our God is such a personal God, when we see that He called Abram by name,
“Do not be afraid, Abram.”
And that is what He says to me and to you who might be afraid.
“Do not be afraid, Toni.” “Do not be afraid, ______________.”
Well, why not? this is going on, and then there is that,…
And He answers, “Because ‘I am your shield and your exceedingly great reward.'” Gen. 15:1.

This seems to be a time, when I want so bad for the Lord to just pick me up and take me away from all of this -( is that our natural tendency), but that is not what God desires. He wants me to hold His hand because He is with me, and He wants me to ‘Follow’ Him. Follow Him because He is all that Psalm 18:1-3 says,
“The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield…”

but what in the world happens by the time the Psalmist gets to verses 4 and 5? “The pangs of death encompassed me, and the floods of ungodliness made me afraid. The sorrows of Sheol surrounded me; The snares of death confronted me.”
This is what happens! When trouble comes – it comes like this! I never liked these words in this Psalm. I always wanted to skip them and find something ‘lighter’ – but these are the verses that come after one proclaims the LORD as their rock and their fortress and their deliverer; their strength in whom they trust. THIS is what Jesus experienced on the cross!

“The earth shook and trembled; The foundations of the hills also quaked and were shaken, Because He was angry,” (Ps. 18:7) God hates sin!

It is the sin that makes Him angry. Doubt and fear, which leads to anger and strife …He loves us so, but we are in this world, we are bombarded with sin. God the Father gave His only Son to die on the cross as the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world. Oh, the heart of God, how He loves His Son, and  how He hates sin – AND  how He  demonstrated His great love for us!

Could this be part of ‘following Jesus?’. There is a time where He knows we have grown, we are not children anymore and He trusts us with trials that we cannot walk through ALONE – when  EVERYTHING  seems so dark. Yet we remember Jesus, on the cross. Psalm 18:9,10 were HIS experience!
“He bowed the heavens also, and came down With darkness under His feet.And He rode upon a cherub, and flew; He flew upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness His secret place; His canopy around Him was dark waters And thick clouds of the skies.”

What are these verses? They are heavy, they are dark. They are Jesus on the cross! We just get a small sense of the meaning – AND  for some reason, God has many experiencing similar darkness at this time. Many believers are experiencing the ‘sufferings of Christ’ at this time.

Jesus says, “Follow me.”

Jesus went through the cross for me and for you. He had no human helpers at His time of passion. Save the Father.
His focus? The Invisible, who was unseen by all that surrounded Him.
He knew that the eternal God was His refuge, and underneath are the everlasting Arms, (Deut. 33:27), and that He will thrust out the enemy from you.”He had His eyes on His Father, His shield… His stronghold.Ps. 18:1

So, what do we do? “Follow me…” Jesus said. He is our example.

But He also reminds me as He did Peter who had his sword out and ready, “Put your sword into the sheath.”Put your striving and your own thoughts aside,  “God is your defense and refuge in the day of your trouble.” (Psalm 59:16.)

I can hear Him ask me,”Can you take hold of the Invisible?”
“I AM your shield and your exceeding great reward,” 
Can you trust Me? Follow Me. I AM Truth. Do you believe I will do this for you:
“For You will light my lamp;
The LORD my God will enlighten my darkness,
For by You I can run against a troop,
And by my God I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is perfect;
The word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all
who
trust
in Him.” Ps. 18:28-30.

“Lord, help me to remember these things. To wait, to trust, to believe as we follow You, and even partake in a small sense, the sufferings of Christ.”

“When you pass through the waters…”

“When you pass through the waters I will be with you.”

This is the word of the Lord in Isaiah 43:2.

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine.” Isaiah 43:1.

God tells you and me in His word, “Fear not,…you are Mine. When you pass through the waters…”

Through the waters. Not through the puddles, or the stream, or the spring. No, through the waters. And it doesn’t say ‘if’ you pass through the waters, it says, ‘When’.

So when you and I are going through waters that seem like a flood, we have to remember what He says – He says, “I will be with you.”

And He not only says,”I will be with you,” He says, “You are Mine.”

Are you going through the waters? I am, and I am sorry to say that this is how I often think:
“O God – but the waters are deep and rapid and the torrent will sweep me away, I’m afraid.”

His word to me: “I will be with you. We will go through the waters together.
Have you not heard? Has it not been told to you, that ‘when you pass through the waters…and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. Isaiah 43:2.

My response: “O God, will you carry me?”

He wants me to grow. He wants to develop in me something that is not there. He answers:
“I have carried you in times past, but this time, I would have you to ‘Follow Me.“Do not fear, nor be afraid; Have I not told you from that time, and declared it? You are my witnesses. Is there a God besides Me? Indeed there is no other Rock; I know not one.'”

It doesn’t make sense, but I feel such a struggle to trust the One who is worthy. How can that be? But it is true and the Lord knows it.

He speaks:
“Woe to him who strives with his Maker! Le the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’
Or shall your handiwork say, ‘He has no hands’? Is. 45:9.

“Fear not, O Jacob My servant; (I think my name is Jaconi!)
And Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.
For I will pour water on him who is thirsty,
And floods on the dry ground;
I will pour My Spirit on your descendants,
And My blessing on your offspring;
They will spring up among the grass
Like willows by the watercourses.”
“One will say, ‘I am the LORD’s;
Another will call himself by the name of Jacob;
Another will write with his hand, the LORD’s’,
And name himself by the name of Israel.” Is. 44:3-5.

My response:
“This is my comfort in my affliction,
Your word has given me life.”
Increase my faith Lord. Increase my faith. I will follow You. You have Your eyes on Your Father, always, I will fix my eyes on You and try not to cry the whole time. The joy of the Lord is my strength.

Enveloped? Enveloped , in His Love…

From the hymn, ‘I Need Thee Every Hour‘ are the words,
“I need Thee every hour, stay Thou nearby,
Temptations lose their power, when Thou art nigh.”

Do you have mornings when you wake up and there is a battle right at your heart and mind? What in the world happens in my sleep? I wake up hard pressed, I wake up perplexed, I wake up struck down – and all I can do is cry out,

“Help me.” Psalm 119:86.

All I know, is this morning, I could hear the Holy Spirit whisper, “Stay thankful, Stay thankful, your battle today is to stay thankful!” But it is at times as if you feel you are being pulled down in a powerful wave of fear and anxiety.

The battle rages, the Holy Spirit brings to mind truth:
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His love endures FOREVER.”

“Do not fret…Trust in the LORD, and do good;Ps. 37.
But the only thing that I find myself doing is thinking on the bad.

“But look at this, and look at that.” Looking at present realities. And then focusing on the past and the length of time the trial has lasted, then I feel I am once again being pulled down unable to breathe.

And the Holy Spirit again reminds me,
“Remember what is truth. Remember Truth. God is faithful. God is your Good Shepherd. He makes you lie down in green pastures.”

In a church service recently, we were asked, “Do you walk throughout your day enveloped in His love?”

And I thought of an envelope, and how we slip letters into them and send them on their way. Then I remembered that in Christ, we are living ‘letters’ or epistles.

“Am I enveloped in His love?” I ask myself. It’s as if at night someone takes my ‘letter’ out of the envelope and I need the Holy Spirit to tuck me back in the envelope – but there is a battle getting me in!

Oh my! Am I the only one who goes through this?

2 Corinthians 3:3 says,
“You show that you are a letter from Christ that He sent.
..”

So, my “Help me” prayer is really a cry, “Holy Spirit, keep me enveloped in His love!”
And He does – He reminds me – “in everything give thanks…”

And it was this day, this morning that the Lord had a sister in the Lord call me and share how she is getting through a trial – she said that she made an effort the other day to thank the Lord for even the smallest things throughout the entire day! She was changed.
Her situation did not change, not one bit, but she was completely changed and now able to have peace in all that was before her, one moment at a time, giving thanks.

So, I am finally able to sit, and turned to 2 Corinthians because that is where it talks about the ‘living epistles’, and I read,
“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness
who has shone in our hearts
to give the light
of the knowledge of the glory of God
in the face of Jesus Christ.2 Cor. 4:6.

And I think, “God, can You shine out of this darkness? Show me Your glory.” (Just like Moses asked the LORD.)

And you know what He did?
The same thing He does over and over again for me,
He says,
“Toni, ‘Here is a place by Me,…’Exodus 33:21.
And I picture Him patting His thigh for me to snuggle next to my Father in Heaven and pour out my complaint to Him, but then I thought of all the beautiful flowers we have outside, and the wonderful and sweet love my children showered me with, and for the beautiful morning and then I could hear the birds singing again, and

now I realized,
I am once again
enveloped in
His love.

His love ‘bears all things.’
His love ‘believes all things.’
His love ‘hopes all things,
His love ‘endures all things’
His love, ‘never fails.’ 1 Corinthians 13:7,8.