Oh, but we don’t always walk in the light…’

“If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, …” (1 john 1:7) .

But we miss the mark so often! Even each day!! In my marriage, with my children, behind the wheel in my car, I have moments where I can most definitely view that I am ‘not’ at that moment in time , walking ‘in the light!’ “HELP me Lord!” I cry! And even more than a help, God is a very present help! (Ps. 46:10).

Could it be the most trying days and weeks, wait, that is too much time(!), could it be those ever-present ‘trying moments’ are doing their work to bring us to the ‘very present Help?’

In my cry, “Help Lord!” , the Holy Spirit did just that! Don’t ask me how , I am just declaring He did! And I must write the words if Jihn here from his first letter in chapter 2 verse1: “my dear children…” ( I’m just relieved I can be the child and God can be ‘our Father), “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin.” (OK, I’m in His word and discover, yes, I still sin, but take a look at this):” But if anybody does sin…” (I think that means ‘everybody!), ” we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” (1 john 2:1).

Now THAT is a present help! And there’s more,”He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, but not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”(1John 2:2).

Father God: “Jesus, my Son. My child, Toni’s thoughts are chaotic and angry, at times impulsive and arrogant and not in the ‘light of love’ and ‘tempted to doubt and fret and dis- believe at other moments, are You willing to go down and pay the penalty of death for her sin? Your blood will cover it all and if she acknowledges Me, she will be clean and her sin covered”

Jesus:”I am willing”.
My prayer:
” Lord, thank you that ‘Your love never fails, even though mine sometimes does. I do want to walk ‘in You’ as I sign my letters, but You know my steps. But I’m so thankful that I can call Your name and You will answer and You take me by the hand , God’s Hand, in mine and with ‘new mercies’ every morning’ You show me The way’ in which I should walk. I love You Jesus ’cause You First lived me.” In Jesus name, amen.

and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son, cleanses us from every sin,” (1john1:7).

Feeling ‘barren’, and ‘bitterness of soul’? there is hope…

It is told that the stories in the Bible are not just ‘stories’.They are stories that when read breathe ‘living water’ somehow.

Well, you see, there’s a story in 1 Samuel 1:1-18 about a young woman who was barren. There was great emptiness – for her ‘barrenness’ was she had no children. She was ‘chided’ and she could see the multiple ‘blessings’ of children in others close by. Hannah was loved by her husband, but she was empty, she was barren. So, she cried out in ‘bitterness of soul and prayed unto the Lord and wept sore.’ (1 Sam. 1:10, KJV).

Are you barren? Do you feel ‘bitterness of soul’ and are you crying out to God? Well, this story is written in the Bible and it is not just ANY story in ANY book, this story is in the Bible, said to be God’s word. So, during a time of barrenness and ‘bitterness of soul’ in your life, (and possibly not from lack of children, as in my case (!)), God has an amazing picture to portray, in His very own words, in this story preserved for us today, in the Book of all Books!

You see, ‘The word that God speaks is alive and full of power-making it active, operative, energizing and effective; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [that is, of the deepest parts of our nature] exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12).

“Can you get to the story already?!” you might be saying.

Yes, so,Hannah went to the temple in her barrenness and ‘bitterness of soul’ and she “spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard.”(1 Sam 1:13 KJV). Now eli, the priest, thought she was drunk, so he said to her, “How long wilt thou be drunken? Put away thy wine from thee.” (1 Sam. 1:14). So Hannah answered and said, “No, my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor intoxicating drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD.” (1 Sam. 1:15).

Hannah answered in meekness! She answered in meekness, not anger by the judgement of the religious leader. We don’t know what Hannah looked like on the outside, but THIS was a beautiful woman on the inside.

And, here is the most amazing picture in this story that God allowed to be recorded forever for you and me. You see, Eli answered her and said, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him.”
Now notice, with both eyes open, me, Toni, and anyone else who might relate to Hannah in this story in any way: “And she said, “Let your maidservant find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.”(1 Sam 1:18).

Hannah’s faith in the word of God, (which, in this story was spoken by a human servant of His, imperfect, yet anointed) was SO strong that her countenance was changed that very minute! Hannah was still barren, but she was no longer ‘bitter in soul’ because she had faith in God’s word. She believed God’s promise. She now had hope for God’s blessing. And that is what we must do as well. But how does this happen?

God’s word tells us how! It’s no mystery: “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts BY THE HOLY SPIRIT (caps mine, Romans 5:5). The love of God was poured out in her heart as she had faith to believe and hope to hold on to. Her countenance was changed. Yes, God’s Word, so amazing. It all makes sense now: “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor. 13:13).

So, now we can choose to ‘abide’ in these three things, and have a continual song to sing, no matter what happens in our life, “Jesus loves me this I know. For the Bible tells me so. Little ones (and us ‘big’ little ones) to Him belong, they are weak, but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me. yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so!”

Rest your ‘tent’ on My Solid Foundation. love, God

“Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee…” Sometimes, we just want to hide ourselves. We seek rest. We’re tired. We want to rest our tired ‘tents’ somewhere safe, somewhere solid. Sometimes,nothing makes sense. Sometimes, we just want to hide ourselves and hear God speak audibly. We just want to hear Him.
The stories are written,and we know that even John the Baptist had doubts. John the Baptist, who even saw the heavens open, and the Holy Spirit descend like a dove and remain on the head of Jesus,and even proclaimed with his own lips, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” (John 1:29). But, it is recorded for all of us to read,

“And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the coming One, or do we look for another?”(Matthew 11:2,3).John the Baptist had doubts! Even John the Baptist!
And Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you heard and see.” (Matthew 11:4). “The blind receive their sight and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. “And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”

But there are times, in this sojourn, our tents have been set in the wilderness, and we just ‘don’t know!’ We just need to hear it straight from God! What are the things which have been told? “Remind us Lord, what are the blessings promised? Hide us Lord, and speak, Your servants are listening…”

“My dear child, you are growing, yes, you are growing in the ‘grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ my Son.’ (2 Peter 3:18). Growing is painful.But you are growing in the knowledge of Him when you seek the blessings promised. You see, ultimately, He is the blessing promised. Jesus doesn’t give you peace, He is peace. “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”(John 14:27).

Jesus doesn’t give you strength, He is strength; “I will love You, O LORD, my strength, the LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer…”(Ps. 18:1).
Is your health poor? “I will restore health to you…” (Jer. 30:17). Do you have wounds, my child? “I will heal your wounds says the Lord…” (Jer. 30:17).
Are you an outcast? Have you been ‘cast-out’? Do you feel no-one cares, that no one seeks after you?

Haven’t you heard the promises? “Thus says the Lord: Behold I will release from captivity the tents of Jacob, and have mercy on his dwelling places; the city shall be rebuilt on its own old mound-like site, and the palace shall be dwelt in after its former fashion.” (Jer. 30:18). “Out of them [city and palace] shall come songs of thanksgiving and the voices of those who make merry.” (Jer. 30:19). These promises are for Israel past and present, dear child, but they are for you as well…
“But the firm foundation [laid by] God stands, sure and unshaken, bearing this seal (inscription): The Lord knows those who are are His, and let every one who names [himself by] the name of the Lord give up all iniquity and stand aloof from it.” (2 Tim. 2:19).

Don’t just look from the distance on the Solid Foundation of God – build your life on it- invite Him to invade your tent! God’s voice is speaking! “In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah…” (Is. 26:1). (But remember, your tent resting on My Solid Foundation, to Me is also the ‘land of Judah…’ My word is for you, my child, and my chosen nation, Israel).

Rest your ‘tent’ on My Solid Foundation. “In that day…” the day each and every day, each and every moment that you choose to rest your tent on Me, “shall this song be sung in the land…”We have a strong city; the Lord sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks. Open the gates…” (Is. 26:2), (Open the opportunities – our disappointments are God’s appointments,) “Open the gates, that the [uncompromisingly] righteous nation which keeps faith and her troth with God may enter in…” (Is. 26:2)

“WAIT A MINUTE!” (You might say), “I’m not ‘uncompromisingly righteous’, I don’t ‘keep faith in perfections!’ In this you are right, “There are none righteous, no not one.” (Romans 3:10), “But now, may the God of hope fill you will all joy and peace in believing…”(Romans 15:13), believing in the promise of the One who came to Save! “But now may the God of hope fill you will all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13).

Jesus doesn’t give you hope, He is hope!

Rest your ‘tent’ on the Solid Foundation of God! “Yes, ‘I will guard you and keep you in perfect peace whose mind… is stayed on me.”(Is. 26:3). “Commit yourself to Me, lean on Me, and hope confidently on Me.” (Is. 26:3). Rest your tent on My Solid Foundation and ‘trust in the Lord – commit yourself to Him, lean on Him, hope confidently on Him – for ever;
for I AM an everlasting Rock – the Rock of Ages.” (Is. 26:4, Amplified).

Can you hear Me? He who has ears to hear, let him hear what the Lord says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled (distressed, agitated). You believe in and adhere to and trust in and rely on God, believe in and adhere to and trust in and rely also on Me.” (John 14:1). Rest your ‘tent’ on this Solid Foundation, “In My Father’s house there are many dwelling places (homes)(not tents!) If it were not so, I would have told you, for I am going to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2.

The blessing of Promise, is Jesus. “Think over these things I am saying – understand them and grasp their application…”(2 Timothy 2:7).”constantly keep in mind Jesus Christ, the Messiah, [as] risen from the dead…” (2 Timothy 2:8. (!).In that day shall this song be sung:
“I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel;yes, my heart instructs me in the night seasons. I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved…”(Ps. 16:7,8).
“Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory [my inner self] rejoices; my body, (my tent) shall rest and confidently rest in safety.” (Ps. 16:9)…”You will show me the paths of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy…”(Ps. 16:11).

Our Prayer? “Lord, help me ‘rest my tent’ on Your Solid Foundation!”

Have we forgotten the child’s song “Our God is so Big,…? Remember now the songs!

The small children go about singing. Some sing, “My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do!…

But what happens to us?

Oh, how we want to be happy! But many times, we just don’t make the choices that would bring happiness.

It can be as simple as, “If I only had new shoes, then I would be happy,” or a bit more complex, “If I only had a new job, then I would be happy!”, “If I only had more money, then I would be happy!”. And it can get just plain bad, “If I only had a different…” (I don’t even dare fill in the blank this time, but we humans can destroy ourselves with our SELF.

What is wrong with us, when so quickly our mind sets us on a quick spiral downhill? Everything becomes way too complicated – suddenly we can be obsessed with trouble, and not the ‘joy of the Lord’. What happens to us when we get older and so mature – and so complicated? We sometimes forget the foundational things,that the Lord wants us to remember everyday.

But God, He gave us the remedy. He made things so simple that even a child can instruct us in the way. Even a 5 year old, that has the Lord can give wise counsel with all that they know.

We need to listen again to a child’s song:

“My God is so big, so strong and so mighty – there’s nothing my God cannot do, for you!”

“The Lord is my shepherd I’ll walk with Him always, always, always, I’ll walk with Him always…”

“Come into my heart, come into my heart, come into my heart, Lord Jesus…”

“Beautiful, beautiful, Jesus is beautiful. And Jesus makes makes beautiful things of my life. carefully, touching me, causing my eyes to see, that Jesus makes beautiful, things of my life.”

“Cute,” you and I might be thinking. but Jesus is thinking totally different! This isn’t just cute to Him, this is life! This isn’t ‘little’ stuff! This is the BIG stuff. We can remember what He said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.”Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it. ” Mark 10:14,15.

This is the BIG stuff, this is simple, but the choice must be made, and it is far from easy!

God, can we come to You as a child? Now when things are so complicated and full of trouble?

He says, “Come.” He is our Father, He is our Lord. He has proclaimed His name to us,

“The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy…forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin…” Exodus 34:6,7.

He calls us as His children, we need to come as a child.

Yes, our God is big, so strong and so mighty, there is nothing our God cannot do!

But don’t you see it? The children come singing. They skip and sing and trust. We must worship God as they do. That is what changes our mind! Do you want power to change? Worship Your Father, worship the Son, worship the Spirit – 3 in one!

We are not the same after we worship God. There is more power in worshiping God than many counseling sessions! (Exclamation point.)

Yes, Psalm 101: 1 says, “I will sing of mercy and justice; To You, O LORD, I will sing praises.”

and the very next verse says, ” I will behave wisely in a perfect way. Oh, when will You come to me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.” How can we walk in our house in a perfect way? By singing of His mercy and His justice.

This is how we can behave wisely! Today, let us choose to ‘cast our cares to Him because He cares for us’ 1 Peter 5:7,

and let us turn to the Psalms and ‘change our minds’.

“Unto You, O Lord, do I bring my life.” Ps. 25:1, Amplified.

We always have choices. And God didn’t leave us as orphans. He didn’t leave us to figure it out on our own. He has given us His Holy Spirit. He has given us His word. How do I know that my God is so Big, so Strong and so Mighty? Because the Bible tells me so: (Psalm 25, Amplified),
“Unto You, O Lord, do I bring my life.” (Today,and everyday as a child, because You are My Father!)
“O my God, I trust, lean on, rely on and am confident in You; let me not be put to shame or [my hope in You] be disappointed; let not my enemies triumph over me.” (my enemy once again of discontent, fear, anger, and doubt!)

“Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Guide me in Your truth and faithfulness and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You [You only and altogether] do I wait (expectantly) all the day long…” (Ps. 25:4,5.)

Truly, My God is so big, so strong and so mighty; why do I fret and worry?

“The secret [of the sweet, satisfying companionship] of the Lord have they…”
and isn’t this what we so desire, sweet, satisfying companionship? It comes in the Lord, (Him only and altogether!)
…have they who fear – revere and worship – Him.”

O come, let us worship the Lord, as children, TODAY, let us worship God; in our kitchens, and in our livingrooms, in our front yard and back yard, even in the garage, at home, at school, work and wherever we are – because God changes us completely…

when we worship Him!

In this earth we have ‘wants’, we have ‘sins’ and sorrows, but the LORD has filled the earth with His mercy…

The story is told. God writes…and He writes in the dirt.”…Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, …”John 8:8, To think that God walked on this earthly dirt, and wrote.
We know that God wrote a few thousand years before, with His finger, on stone tablets,the Ten Commandments. That story is told by Moses Exodus 31:18, “And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon the mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.”

And, the story is told that the Religious Leaders of Jesus’ day, came as Policemen knowing the Law, the words written by the ‘finger of God’, and especially, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” (Exodus 20:14).. They came to Jesus early that one morning while He was in the temple, and all the people came to Him and He taught. (John 8:2). “And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, they say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.” (John 8:3,4).

So they asked, “Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?” (John 8:5).

Jesus spoke: “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”(John 8:7).

So one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last, (vs. 9), ‘And Jesus was left alone, and the woman was standing in the midst. “woman, Where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (John 8:10,11).

We have an accuser who is busy night and day condemning us in our hearts and minds. Jesus didn’t just come 2,000 years ago, to be a story in a book, No, Jesus comes today to forgive our sin. Can’t you hear the Voice of the One who loves? Even to you and to me, He says, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” Yes, He has come…
He has come. Yet, we have accusers, each of us, but may they bring us to Him just as the Pharasees brought the woman. Yes, right to the very feet of Jesus. He’s here right now:”Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me…”(Ps. 40:7). The whole of the Book is about Him.
It is said of the earth, “The earth, O LORD, is full of thy mercy:…”(Psalm 119:64). Because we are full of ‘wants’ and we are full of ‘sins’ and this world is full of ‘sorrows’, is it not the most comforting to the know that the Lord has come and the earth is “full of God’s mercy.”

God walked this dusty earth, He wrote in the sand, and He brings mercy. Haven’t you heard,”the LORD is righteous in all His ways, and gracious and merciful in all His works. The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in sincerely and in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him, He also will hear their cry and save them .” (Ps.145:17-19,Amplified).

We have wants, we have sins, “For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me.” (Ps. 40:12). And the accusers have come, and brought us to Him, thinking death was the judgement. And yes, ‘death’ is the judgement for sin, but just as this woman caught in the very act of adultery, unable to lift her head, we pray,

“Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O LORD: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me…Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me. O LORD, make hast to help me.”(Psalm 40:11-13).
Yes, this whole earth is full of His mercy, because He has come, even today, and He speaks, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day…” (John 6:38-44).

What was He writing in the sand? We don’t know exactly, but we do know what He asked after doing so, He asked, “Where are your accusers?”(john 8:10). And we may answer just as the guilty woman, “No one, Lord!”(John 8:11).

And THIS is how we know the earth is full of His mercy, because Jesus then said , “I do not condemn you either. Go on your way, and from now on sin no more.”(John 8:11).

Thankful for the writing in the sand by the One who matters most!The earth is full if His mercy. We receive His love and mercy and we are to share it and live out His word in our forgiven lives!

Speaking together, again, in a hymn…”Turn your eyes upon Jesus.”

Have you ever heard the 2nd verse to the Hymn, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”?

“O soul are you weary and troubled. No light in the darkness you see. There’s a light for a look at the Savior and life more abundant and free.”

There’s a light for a look at the Savior when our souls are weary and troubled. I can see Jesus praying. He’s praying for you and He’s praying for me, even today.

(John 17:1) JESUS spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You,”
Basically what He says, “Father, glorify Me that I might glorify You. Even if it means that my hands and my feet are nailed to the cross. I surrender, be glorified.” I can’t help but think of His words, “Not My will, but Yours be done.”

We cannot always have it our own way. This life is just not Burger King- ‘have it your own way’! We have great trials and ‘our souls become weary and troubled, with no light in the darkness to see.’
We think, “How can a loving God allow these things? He’s certainly does not have plans of peace and not of evil for me.”

BUT ‘there’s a light for a look at the Savior,’ and we can see Him in His prayer to His Father once again,(John 17:6)”I have manifested Your Name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world.” Jesus didn’t just ‘talk’ about the Father, He was God’s feet to His disciples -he loved, he wept, He healed, He forgave sin, He resurrected the dead…He was compassionate, and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy, He was God in the flesh.

But the light even shines for a look at the Savior’s heart: (John 17:11)
“Holy Father, keep through thine own Name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one, as We are.” And Jesus prayed for “them also which shall believe on Me through their word,”(That’s you and me)(John 17:20,21)
“That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.”

And in Ephesians 4:2 Paul writes, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”

Could it be Lord, that,’though now for a little while, we have been grieved by these various trials because You DO know what is best for us and that Your plans for us are for good and not for evil, because we have been drawn to You in our agony, and in our brokenness You actually did a heart surgery to make us One for You? With one heart and one mind for You.

“There’s a light for a look at the Savior…So Turn Your eyes upon Jesus…and the things of earth will grow strangely dim…”

because Father, You knew all along that it is the ‘genuiness of my faith that is more precious than even gold that perishes, that my faith, being tested BY FIRE would bring praise and honor and glory and a revelation of all that You are, and somehow Lord,

You take our broken lives and give us that one heart and mind for You, so that we only have ONE message- That You are THE ONE! So that the world would see that You loved them so, and You gave Your One and only Son.

“O Come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him, Christ the LORD!”

The story is told: “Get out of the sanctuary, for you have trespassed!”

U.S. of A. please remember, You do not wear a crown, HE DOES…How we must remember always, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory…” Isaiah 6:3.

But we can’t see, naturally. We don’t understand, naturally – because we can’t perceive, it’s not in clear view. The hearts of Your people have grown fat Lord! Lord, the ears of Your children have grown heavy. Their eyes have been closed…As a nation, we were chosen. We were set apart. But the story has been written, it was told in the story of Uzziah in 2 Chronicles 26. You see, he became king and “did right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah did.” (2Chronicles 26:4).
When we think of our nation, and think of our beginnings, You and I, we can see that this country was made great because it was founded on biblical principles.We can see that ‘God’ had ‘shed His grace on thee, and crowned thy good with brotherhood…’ but something has happened.

Perhaps the U.S. of A. has taken that crown and put it on their head, and forgot where their greatness came from.

But,there is a story, that perhaps illuminates our day. Do you know the story of Uzziah, the king? do you know the story? To me, it brings a clear picture to mind of our America: “And he(Uzziah) sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper. And he(Uzziah) went forth and warred against the Philistines,…” (and the enemies all around), “And God helped him… and his name spread abroad…for he strengthened himself exceedingly.”(2 Chronicles 26:6,7,8).Oh yes, this is our America, the beautiful, the home of the brave, land that I love.

But the story of Uzziah is written for all of us to see: “But when he (Uzziah!) was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction…” 2 Chronicles 26:16.
“…for he transgressed against the LORD his God, and went into the temple of the LORD to burn incense upon the altar of incense.”

Kings and the priesthood, Uzziah felt himself big to take a role that was NOT his, “But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the LORD his God by entering the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense.” (NKJV 2 Chronicles 26:16.) Our country has twisted the very words of ‘separation of church and state’, almost to the point Uzziah did, giving themselves liberties that are not theirs, writing there own laws and deceiving the people in their words of ‘change’!

But the story of Uzziah does not end there, (it might be wise for us to read the stories), “So Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him were eighty priests of the LORD who were valient men. And they withstood King Uzziah, and said to him, “It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD, but for the priests…Get out of the sanctuary, for you have trespassed! You shall have no honor from the LORD God.” (2 Chronicles 26:18).”Then Uzziah became furious; and he had a censer in his hand to burn incense. And while he was angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead, he was leprous; so they thrust him out of that place. Indeed he also hurried to get out, because the LORD had struck him. King Uzziah was a leper until the day of his death…” (2 Chronicles 26:20,21).

America, please remember, You do not wear a crown, God does. Perhaps in the simplest wording possible, so even a child can understand, “What fools the nations are to rage against the Lord! How strange that men should try to outwit God! for a summit conference of the nations has been called to plot against the Lord and his Messiah, Christ the King. “Come let us break his chains,” they say, “and free ourselves from all this slavery to God.” But God in heaven merely laughs! He is amused by all their puny plans. And then in fiery fury he rebukes them and fills them with fear. for the Lord declares, “This is the King of my choice, and I have enthroned him in Jerusalem, my holy city.” (Psalm 2:1-5).

Can you hear God’s very own voice, “Get out of the sanctuary, for you have trespassed!”

Well, the Messiah King, speaks. It’s in the Bible for all eyes to see. It’s even written in simple text for the children to understand, “His chosen one replies, “I will reveal the everlasting purposes of God for the Lord has said to me, “You are my Son… Today I am giving you your glory. Only ask, and I will give you all the nations of the world…O kings and rulers of the earth, listen while there is time. Serve the Lord with reverent fear, rejoice with trembling. Fall down before His Son and kiss his feet before his anger is roused and you perish…” (Psalm 2:9,10).

King Uzziah even ‘hurried to get out of the temple because the LORD had struck him.’ ((2 Chron. 26:21).

America, please take off your crown, and take notice of ‘the King’ of God’s choice.The King is the Son of God, His name is Jesus. God is giving warning: “I am warning you – his wrath will soon begin.”(Psalm 2:12). “But oh, the joys of those who put their trust in him!” (Ps. 2:12).

much like visiting ‘Owl’ at ‘Pooh Corner’…

I often feel, when I open my little book ‘Beside Still Waters’ by CH Spurgeon, as if I am Christopher Robin from Pooh Corner visiting Owl. Oh yes,
He makes me think and ask questions to myself… “No Smell of Fire.” (Daniel 3:27), the title leads, then he writes, “When you cherish Christ, the things of the world are of little value, and their loss is not heavily felt.”
Then I think, ‘cherish?’, that is a word that puts me at a wedding,at the moment of the vows: “to love and to cherish”. Spurgeon starts his thought with, “When you cherish Christ…” and he spurs me to ask myself,

“Do I cherish Christ?” for better, for worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer? Can I? Do I…cherish Christ?… as long as I live? But then it hits me – Death will never part us, the Lord and myself. He is mine – today, tomorrow and forever. So, ‘Owl’, I mean “Spurgeon continues:
“When you cherish Christ, the things of the world are of little value, and their loss is not heavily felt. If you feel your losses and if your trials are so ponderous that Christ’s love cannot lift you from the dust, then you have made too much of the world and too little of Him.”

I never really thought of an ‘owl’ with a tough ‘kick’ but Spurgeon shows me otherwise! But, it is a gentle kick, so I keep reading, “I see a pair of balances. I see on one scale the loss…, but I perceive on the other scale the great love of Christ. Now we will see which weighs the most. If Jesus lifts the light affliction, all is well, but if the trouble outweighs Jesus, then it is indeed ill for us.” (Spurgeon, beside Still Waters, pg. 161).

OK, the owl can kick: “If you are so depressed by your trials that you cannot rejoice, even though your name is written in heaven, then I think you do not love Jesus as you should.”

“Get delightful thoughts of Him, and you will feel as if you lost a pebble but preserved a diamond. If you have a high sense of your Master’s preciousness, you will rejoice in the deepest distress. The sweet love of Christ, when placed on the deepest wound the soul can ever know, heals at once.”

Some words are simply worth writing again: “The sweet love of Christ, when placed on the deepest wound the soul can ever know, heals at once.”

God uses people, by filling them with His spirit, giving them spiritual wisdom, thus ‘opening their mouth with good things’ to be ‘a present help in times of trouble- just as Owl was to Christopher Robin, Spurgeon is to me. So God, gave this man, this ‘owl on Pooh’s corner’ so to speak, a prayer of healing written many years ago. Printed in some small book, that God would have me open on this particular day- Oh the wisdom of God!…shall we pray a prayer that heals?

Do we desire healing? Or do we want to continue with our hands hanging down? May we choose this day to not lose heart but to pray: “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. Be within us, and we will make no choice of situations. Put us in Nebuchadnezzar’s furnace (Daniel 3:20); if Jesus walks the glowing coals as a companion, the fire will have no power, the hairs of our heads will not be singed, our garments will not be affected, and even the smell of fire will not be on them ” (Dan. 3:27).

I will choose to pray and not to lose heart. I will choose to remember that Jesus ‘walks the glowing coals’ of the fire that God has allowed us to be put in. That He is a companion, a very present help and that ‘the fire has no power and the hairs of our heads will not be singed…’you and I can rejoice’ even ‘in the deepest distress’ when we choose to take hold of faith.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?…Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that 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 8:35-39).

“Do you take this Man to love and to cherish, for all of eternity?

“I do! I do! I cherish my Lord. His love makes me sing:
“Jesus Only You. Jesus only You! That is where I find my joy – Jesus only You.
You say You love me. You never change. Say You won’t leave me, You’re always the same.
You say You see me, and You hear all my prayers… Jesus Only You!” (Song by Toni Rypkema)(And if I had any tech sense I would know how to share it with you on some ukelele strings! Until then,… Jesus Only You!)

a whole different kind of giant…

Way back in 2012, my very first post in the blog that my son set up for me in which I collect the words that God speaks to me and the reminders the Holy Spirit gives to me, I wrote:
“…Second Samuel chapter 21 ends like this: “Now it happened afterward that there was again a battle with the Philistines…”vs. 20 “Yet again there was war at Gath…” (remember Gath? That is where the giant Goliath was from) vs. 21. “So when he defied Israel”, (you would have thought they knew better than to fight the armies of Isreal after a teenaged boy simply throws a sling shot at their other champion and chops off his head!), “Jonathan, son of Shimea, David’s brother killed him…”

And when we are challenging ourselves to read through our Bible, we read through many battles, then we go off and have to face… our own giants for the day.
I just have to remember that they are the little ‘g’ giants compared to my Big ‘G’ God just like David did. Here is how chapter 22 begins: “And David spoke to the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies…(I really like the word ‘all’ here!) and he said, ‘The LORD is my rock, and my fortress and my deliverer; The God of my rock; in Him I will trust; He is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my Savior, You save me from violence. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised. So shall I be saved from my enemies.” And I love this about God, this is also Psalm 18- so we can read it again, just in case we forget that our giants are nothing next to God!

But God is not only my rock, my fortress and my deliverer – all evidences of strength and might and power…He is also my ‘Rose of Sharon’, my ‘Lily of the valleys'(Song of Solomon 2:1), the essence of beauty and love. God is love.”He brought me to his banqueting house, and his banner over me was love- for love waved as a protecting and comforting banner over my head when I was near him.” (Song of solomon 2:4, Amplified).

He knows – those that know that He is love and that He is with them and that He lives and abides in their lives – that we are His ‘lilies among the thorns’. Oh, the thorns, the thorns! Thorns scratch, thorns are sharp and come up from nowhere! Thorns HURT , yet we are ‘His lilies’. We are! We are His ‘lilies among the thorns’. He is love, and the the thorns…I believe, are the lack there-of.

Didn’t the Beatles write a hit song so many years ago that sums it all up: “All we need is love. All we need is love. All we need is love, love…love is all we need.”

The giant?…It’s not outside, it lies right inside – that cold, hard, love-less, ‘self-full’ heart. But our ‘Rose of Sharon’, our Lily of the vallies’, our God of beauty and tenderness, He speaks: “O my dove, [while you are there] in seclusion of the clefts in the solid rock, in the sheltered and secret place of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet and your face is lovely.” (Song of Solomon 2:14, Amplified).
He loves to see our faces, God loves to hear our voices. This truth makes us respond like the maiden in Song of Solomon 2:15,”[My heart was touched and I fervently sang to him my desire]”.

Do we love our Lord? Do we let Him see our face, and hear our voices? Oh, how we need to love God more – but instantly, there comes a warning of some kind, “Take us the foxes, the ‘little foxes’ that spoil the vineyards [of our love], for our vineyards are in blossom…”(song of Solomon 2:15).

The enemy, the giant, isn’t so ‘giant’ after all. This giant is a ‘little fox’ that creeps in and ‘weasels’ his way into the vineyard to destroy the ‘fruit!’. ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love’ (Gal. 5:22). The giant, the ‘little fox’, is…

‘a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep – so shall your poverty come on you like a robber, and your need like an armed man.” (Proverbs. 6:10).Yes, we go on, much like the maiden again in the Song, “My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies. Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether…”(Song of Sol. 2:16,17). You see, we say, “God, I love you, You are mine – You go, and I will sleep here a bit and then come away with You…”

Oh my! The ‘little foxes’ come and ruin the fruit. All of a sudden,…love is gone! The heart, our human hearts, they are ‘desperately wicked’ the Bible tells us, and in our separation from our ‘Rose of Sharon, all we sense are…THORNS! “Where is the love?” we cry. suddenly we experience the ‘lack of love!’

Now we realize the coldness and the night of our hearts. There is no love for our husband, no love for our children, only irritable-ness and strife! The cold chill of ‘night’ surrounding our hearts makes us delay no longer. The Song continues, “By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.” (Song of Sol. 3:1). “I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.” (3:2).

“Where is love?” our hearts cry! God hears our cry, He answers in His word: “You shall seek Me and find Me when you shall search for Me with all your heart,” the Lord says in Jeremiah 29:13.

It is then that the maiden finds her love, when she sought Love with all of her heart “…but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go,…”(Song of Sol 3:4).

We must not let the ‘giant’, or the ‘little fox’ of ‘self’ destroy our ‘fruit’. The love…”Oh God, warm our cold, hard hearts in all You are, make our hearts soft and tender again…
toward You, toward our mates, toward our children, toward our families, toward our co-workers, toward the stranger.”
And He, our Husband, our Maker, He responds, “How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse!”…(Song of Sol 4:10) In other words, “You my dear Bride, you are a lily, and while you live here on this earth, yes, you are a lily among the thorns, but draw near to Me, and I will draw near to you, I am the rose of Sharon, the Lily of the vallies. I AM…Love.”

my child’s words?…and a mama’s prayer…

words my youngest son (age 10), text to me on my phone, (not to be mistaken for written with a pen!)

“The Lord is my rock and my salvation. He knows when I’m sitting down and when I’m standing up. He is like the water of the world stretching throughout the earth.
O how amazing you are Lord of Israel.

You comfort me when I’m disappointed.

You cool me down when I’m fiery.

You are the healing in my heart. thank you for your love!” (Matthew Rypkema, text to his mama on March 13, 2014).

I think perhaps God gave my dear boy these words…to remember continually. What a surprise they were to me when I received them on my phone. A moment, that I think God wants me to remember to encourage me and to encourage him! Praise be to God, He is mighty and powerful and He speaks mighty to His children whom He loves so much. So, this mama is reminded time and time again, God has His ‘keeping hand’ on the children that we pray so intently for. And this mama, who is a ‘hoarder of words’, who wrote down these amazing words text to me some months ago, will simply remind him,…his own words!

God, you are an amazing God, Your ways are beyond our finding out! So, this mama, who doesn’t know what she is doing most of the time, and makes more mistakes than ‘getting it right’, will keep on ending her each and every day with, “Search me O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there is an wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23,24, Amplified).And Lord, this is my prayer for the day:

“Lead us mamas Lord, in Your way…so we can gently lead our often challenging children,(of which each and every child fits under), by example. Put a guard, O Lord over our tongues! And help us lead them to the One who cares, the One who sees it all, the One who hears it all, the One who is amazingly in love with us even though He knows everything about us,even our very thoughts,and despite all of that, the One who will never leave us, He is the One who is able. He never gives up on anyone!

Lead us mamas, dear Lord, to be ‘very patient and kind’, to not be ‘irritable or touchy’,to love like You do, to be loyal ‘no matter what the cost’, to always believe in him or her, and always expect the best, and Lord, that you will help us mamas to ‘believe all things’, to ‘hope all things’, and ultimately, ‘bear all things’…'( i Cor.13) ‘not by might, nor by power, but by Your Spirit’ (Zech. 4:6). Oh Lord we pray! In Jesus’ name, Amen”.

And for some reason, after writing all of this down on this day in July, the Lord has comforted my heart with the words, “Everything’s gonna be all right in Christ!” and today, I believe this with all of my heart! Mama’s, “everything is going to be all right in Christ! We can always have reason to sing! Always.