“I Sing the Mighty Power of God…”

“There is not a plant or flow’r below But makes Thy glories known,
and clouds arise and tempests blow,
By order from Thy throne.
While all that borrows life from Thee
Is ever in Thy care;
And everywhere that man can be, Thou, God,
art present there.”

This is a hymn of Isaac Watts written in 1715. And in just a few little lines Isaac Watts reminds me of the promises of God in the flowers, even though God has allowed the trials to come much like the clouds,(out of nowhere,)that I am ‘ever in His care,’ and that no matter what, God is with me.

There is a treasure for you in me in verse three of ‘I Sing the Mighty Power of God’ . The other verses remind us of His mighty power, His flowing seas, His lofty skies, His sun and moon and stars. And His wonders of creation – but verse three – it brings everything down to you and me: ‘There’s not a plant or flow’r below But makes Thy glories known…’  Yes, the mighty mountains and oceans give glory to God, but there is not a plant or flower below that doesn’t give God glory!

Yes, God speaks to me with the flowers. The same way that the stars are written of in the Bible, God speaks to me through the flowers. “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech…There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard…and their words to the end of the world.”(Psalm 19).

Well, for me, I cannot stay up late because I am worthless in the evening- I find that speech in the flowers. What is its speech? It is not easy, it is not pretty – but when I look at the flower, the fruit of so much labor,  I see the prize and it keeps me on the right path.

“What is it’s speech?” You might be saying, get on with it.

“There’s not a plant or flower below But maketh Thy glories known…’
They speak the words of Jesus,
“The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified.
Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and

dies…

it remains alone; but if it dies,
it produces much grain.” John 12:23,24.

You see, we can’t see the flower, until there was a death that had occurred. But because a grain of wheat fell into the ground and died, it then sprouted and grew and was nourished and brought forth fruit.

And things in life happen that are ‘not fair’! Things happen that hurt and bring scars – Jesus knows.
He was mistreated and misunderstood, He was hurt and has scars. He prayed, “Not My will, Father, but Yours be done.” and He willingly went to the cross and

died.
But now there is so much life, so much life- everlasting life to all who believe!

So what does this mean for you and for me?
Am I willing to lay down my rights? Am I willing put off my pride? And for what?

For the promise, for the Promise:
“As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,
rooted ,
(just like a plant,)and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught…”

It’s hard to die to ‘self!’ But remember the flower and all of its beauty.

Rooted and built up…as you have been taught’,
You might be saying, “Remind us, what have we been taught? There is too much dirt right now in this dying stuff, not a lot of color, just darkness! Please keep it simple!”
In a child’s version, here it is:
“God has chosen you and made you His holy people. He loves you. So always do these things:
Show mercy to others, (don’t give them what they deserve!)
Colossians 3:12.

“This is way too hard!” you might be saying.
Remember the fruit, remember the flowers!

“Be kind,
humble,
gentle,
and patient.” Colossians 3:12.

“Death” must come before the growth and ultimately the fruit!

“So do not be angry with each other, but forgive each other. If someone does wrong to you, then forgive him. Forgive each other because the Lord forgave you. Do all these things; but most important, love each other.” Collosians 3:13,14.

“But I can’t do this,” you might be saying.
You are so right. We cannot do this- but He can!
We cannot forget that
“Christ died, and we have been joined with Christ by dying too.” ( I just make a lot more noise in my dying than He did!) So we will also be joined with Him by rising from death as He did…

We know...(well, if you didn’t know or forgot, you and I now KNOW!) that our old life died with Christ on the cross (when we received Him in our lives),…Anyone who has died is made free from sin’s control.” (!)Romans6:6. Exclamation point mine. We have power over sin because of Him.

“There’s not a plant or flow’r below But makes Thy glories known.” The flowers are the fruit! The fruit of the Spirit is love; joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. Gal 5:22.

“If a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies…”

I cannot do this on my own, but Oh, “I will sing of the Mighty Power of God”, because In Him, I can do all things, even bear good fruit.

When the words, “bitterness of soul” got my attention…

I woke up this morning and read a Spurgeon poem: “My heart is resting, O my God;...” and I thought, “O Lord, You see my restless heart.”

The poem then speaks, “I will give thanks and sing;” and I know right away, this is my remedy.

The poem was the caboose to  the portion of scripture  where Hannah, the wife of Elkanah was in ‘bitterness of soul’ when she went to the Temple to pray to the LORD, and “she wept sore.”(1 Samuel 1:10). Even if I don’t embark on telling the whole story of Hannah and her great ‘bitterness of soul’ because her husband had a second wife who had many children and she had none, and not only that, she was mocked and ridiculed by the other woman- and so she wept before the LORD in simplicity of heart with a request that she vowed to return back to Him – only to be rebuked by the priest of the Temple. But Hannah was so broken she didn’t get angry, she just responded and reported of pouring her broken heart before the LORD.

It was the words, “bitterness of soul” that first got my attention, and the poem at the end that proclaimed, “My heart is resting…” There must be some Word from the Lord here today, for me, just for me, not just a story to be told. So I read and kept reading asking the Lord, “Speak to me Lord, for my heart is aching as I pray and search, yes, ‘bitterness of soul’ keeps me searching.

So I read from God’s word of Eli the priest, who acknowledged his error and  softened his voice. He answered and said to the one in anguish: “Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him.” (1 Sam. 1:17, KJV).

And the verses that followed spoke mightily too: “And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. so the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.” (1 Sam. 1:18, KJV).

“Go in peace, and God will answer your prayer.” These were the words given to the one in “bitterness of soul” and the response was, “May I find grace in your sight.”

“Faith! faith! Increase my faith that I might believe the words You have said, Lord! May the ‘bitterness of soul’ bring me weeping to Your Temple, seeking and searching and asking from You! May I leave it all there, my heaviness of heart and trust in Your grace today  – and also for tomorrow. “I can do all things though Christ who strengthens me,” (Phil 4:13), I will go my way and nourish myself and have a countenance of hope. I believe, I believe, I believe – EVEN IN THIS! I will give thanks and sing to You because You are able to make all things work for good.”

“My heart is resting, O my God; I will give thanks and sing; My soul awaits that joyful hour which shall the blessing bring. And a “new song” is in my mouth, To long-loved music set; Glory to thee for all the grace I have not tasted yet. (C.H. Spurgeon, Spurgeon Devotional Bible).

 

 

Going no-where? At war with my two natures!

There is a war going on with my two natures! Do you ever have a ‘tug of war’ going on in you as well?

So, I went searching for a treasure of a book with a sketch of the struggle, Donald Barnhouse’s “Teaching the Word of Truth”. Pictured was a wagon with a horse hitched to the front of the wagon and a horse hitched to the back, both pulling in opposite directions, with all their strength  – at the same time! The wagon is going no-where!

Then there is a stick figure of a man, on the left the words, ‘old nature’, ‘unhappy Christians’, with some rough words connected to them, like: hatred, wrath, strife and envyings.  On the right,  were the words, “new nature”, happy Christians, and connected with terms like: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

We begin to think that there are some people that are ‘very’ bad, and there are others that don’t seem bad, like babies or nice people. But God does not see any of our ‘own’ goodness. The Bible says quite strongly that ‘all our righteousness is as filthy rags’, (Isaiah 64:6). God’s word is truth and sometimes the truth is hard: ‘All our righteousness is just as a filthy rag’. This sounds even disgusting. How can that be?

Is there hope? What does God look for? What’s the solution. Well, a very, very ‘good’ man came to Jesus one night. Many of us know the story of ‘Nic at night’. Yes, Nicodemus, a Pharisee, one who even taught the law and a ruler of the Jews ‘came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”  (John 3:2).

Something was missing in ‘Nic’s life. He had to have answers. This man was a ‘good’ man. Wasn’t all his ‘goodness’ enough? What did Jesus say? Jesus gets right to what Nicodemus needed – this good and righteous man needed one thing. “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3. 

What is Jesus saying?  In order to ‘see’ the kingdom of God, we all have to be born again? Well, then this is VERY important then. Who cares if the media and the world is hung up over ‘vocabulary’! We must be born again in order to ‘see the kingdom of God!

I want to ‘see the kingdom of God, today and everyday, don’t you? Don’t we pray, “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your name, your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6).

We all have an ‘old nature’. Our ‘old nature’ can’t please God, it can’t obey God, and it can’t understand God!  God doesn’t want us to just ‘stay there’! He wants us to be born again of the Spirit that we may have fruit.

 I must first,  believe on Him whom the Father has sent. I must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ!  What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus! What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus! The hymns tell us how!

“Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because 

“All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, But the word of the LORD endures forever!” (1 Peter 1:22-25, exclamation point mine).

God doesn’t want me to ‘fix up’ my old nature – He wants it dead to make room for the NEW! “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” (1 John 5:11-15, emphasis, mine).

I’m asking LORD, “Fill me with Your Spirit that I might abound in the fruit of the Spirit, not the outcome of the flesh! My ‘new nature’ is the life of Jesus in me. “Lord, that others might see more of You and less, so much less of …me”” In Jesus Name, Amen.”  “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” (1 John 5:11-15).

“This is all my righteousness, nothing but the blood of Jesus. This is all my hope and peace, nothing but the blood of Jesus. “Oh precious is the flow, that makes me white as snow. No other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus!

Reasoning with God only to discover that Now is the time to praise…

In great trial,the Spirit whispers, “Worship the Lord and give Him praise.” But my flesh says, “Not now.” But the Spirit’s remedy: “Come and bring a  ‘sacrifice of praise.’  There is a struggle because my flesh doesn’t want to, so I spend some time ‘reasoning with God’ with some ‘wrestling’ going on, only to discover that NOW is the time, yes, now, is the time…to praise.

I turned to a song in Isaiah, in the midst of many ‘woes’, and You inspired him to sing, so I sacrifice to focus on the words in print and find they lift me from the pit in which I sit. So I choose to ‘speak’-sing the words in Isaiah 25, and I find a balm for my sores:  ‘O LORD, You are God. I will exalt You and I will praise your name. For You have done wonderful things, Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.” (Isaiah 25:1)…”For You have been a strength to the poor, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat;  for the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.” (Isaiah 25:1,4).

‘…And it will be said in that day: “Behold this is our God; We have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for Him; We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.” (Is. 25:9).

I don’t always have a willing heart to praise, but I ask over and over again, ” Lord, will You give me a willing heart, that the words ‘glad’ and ‘rejoice’ may again express my soul. Maybe it’s supposed to ‘feel’ like a sacrifice so that we think about You and the great sacrifice you chose to make for me. Dying on the cross after praying from Your bleeding heart, and even sweating those drops of blood, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39).

Yes, You understand sacrifice.

Then my eyes read on the black and white pages as I confess about my heart in which You can already see, asking for willingness to offer You praise, I see Your promise of peace, for me…instructions for peace, and yes, for me. Truly Lord, You are good: “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, For in YAH, the LORD, is everlasting strength.” (Is. 26:3,4).

‘My eyes Lord, get focused in the wrong directions, over and over again. Keep them straight on You Lord and fill me with Your Spirit. May I ‘feed’ my mind and heart and soul on Your word that I might trust You through the storm and be ‘kept’ in Your ‘perfect peace.’ It ‘feels’ like a sacrifice, but help me trust You more, ‘for in YAH, the LORD is everlasting strength.”

So, I flip through the pages of His inspired Book and find the Psalms to give me a song. Today I choose to bring a sacrifice of praise, to You O LORD, from Your very word: Psalm 86 “Teach Me Your Way, O LORD” “Bow down Your ear, O LORD, hear me; For I am poor and needy…Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; And attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon You, For You will answer me…Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name. I will praise You with all of my heart, And I will glorify Your name forevermore.” Psalm 86:1,6,7,11,12).

“You, Lord, have given me a ‘willing heart’ that I might seek Your face, that I might give You praise, even as I wait…I will exalt You. You are my God. In Your presence is peace and joy, I wait on You, the Lover of my soul. ” In Jesus name I pray, Amen.”

Words? God’s Word IS life. Robin shared with me…

The written word is one thing, God’s Word is a whole other thing entirely.

The written word can be persuasive, whether it’s truth or a lie.The written word can be a good thing, and it can be a bad thing as well. The written word can bring direction, entertainment, encouragement, and color to life here on earth, however, God’s Word IS Life. God’s Word IS Truth. There is a difference between just words, and God’s inspired Word, the Bible. God’s Word births life in a being that was…well, naturally alive, but not ‘living’.

How do I know? I give you two examples. The first, is when I had 5 small children, with the infant being ‘colic’ and crying endlessly leaving me with large amounts of ‘stress’ to say the least, I opened the Word of God and read: “This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your Word has given me life.” (Ps. 119:50). After reading,  “This is my comfort in my affliction,” I stopped and tried to guess what the rest of the thought might be, “What is the comfort in my affliction?” Well, to my surprise, God’s word did NOT say, “This is my comfort in my affliction, in that God takes it away.” And it doesn’t say, “This is the comfort in my affliction that God lets me see the answers.” No, it doesn’t say that either. (Present tense because the word speaks presently as well as past!)

The Word of God says,“This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your word has given me life.” (Ps. 119:50).

It was then, that God began to ‘touch me’ as a Great Physician, probing and prodding in and through me, bringing ‘breath’ to my ‘out-of-breath’ life! You see, it’s ongoing. It’s not a one-time thing, it’s day by day, ‘this is the comfort in our affliction, God’s Word is life!’  God gives us His word, but He also gives us ‘witnesses’ in the course of our lives. ‘Witnesses’ to His power and glory and peace and love. I will share one such witness. I must share Robin with you:

Robin was a mother of 4, she loved the Lord, she honored her husband, she obeyed God’s call to home-educate her kids, and she was a mentor to me. I wasn’t one of her best friends, but Robin cared about people and she cared about me. Robin’s eyes were on the Lord and she was obedient to Him. Well, all did not go well with Robin. She got cancer, then it spread to her lungs, then she didn’t get better, she only got worse-she could barely breathe, she needed oxygen… HOW CAN THIS BE? What’s wrong with this picture? A young woman with children, living for the Lord, and God allows her to get cancer? Everyone had questions…everyone except Robin, that is.

Our church was studying the Book of Job when Robin got the news her cancer had spread. “Oh, that I knew where I might find Him, That I might come to His seat!” These were the words of Job, (Job 23:3).”I would present my case before Him, and fill my mouth with arguments. I would know the words which He would answer me, And understand what He would say to me.” (Job 23:4,5).

THIS is what Robin did! She searched and she found Him. She placed herself between her ‘Rock of Ages’ and He answered her. How do I know? She told me herself. One of my most precious moments ever was my last conversation with Robin. If I don’t write the story it will be forgotten, but I tell the story again and again:

In my deep heartbreak as her body was growing weaker and weaker, and her lungs were so sick with cancer that her every breath was a struggle, Robin had urgency to comfort  ME, the words she spoke were to comfort ME.  “Toni, I know what is going on. I understand the whole thing.”
She didn’t pull out some great understanding that she had thought up in her own head, NO- she opened her Bible and began reading ALOUD! My friend, and mentor, who could barely breathe, started using all of her energy, to read to me from God’s word! I came to visit, to be a blessing of some-sort, but, dear Robin, (who didn’t know on that day, she only had two weeks to live), read aloud to me from her Bible. The Words took all the mystery away for her! The Words were LIFE and she passionately shared them with me.

How can I ever forget that? I write about this, and remember this often, because, there was no mystery for Robin! God had revealed everything to her, and it meant everything to her that she share it with me. Breath for her was a very difficult thing, yet at this moment in time, she took her breath and spoke His Word of life. It was as if we both were enveloped for a small amount of time in the Kingdom of God and the power of the word went out through Robin as she read – it was indescribable!

“This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life.”

I was witnessing LIFE from a woman that had unbelievable rough days, bad news, and trials extreme! Robin read the WHOLE of CHAPTER 4 in 2 Corinthians!  Robin opened her Bible and read,(the whole chapter – word for word, however, I will write just enough to make you hungry to go and read the whole!) Robin’s life still bears fruit as I hear her voice lovingly read :“…as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.” (2 Corinthians 4:1).

You might be thinking, God didn’t answer those prayers for healing, how can that be mercy?) Robin took a breath and spoke His word and told me, “I understand everything.” She understood His great mercy and love, and she had received it. So she did not lose heart, instead she turned around to give to me these words of ‘life’, so that I would not ‘lose heart’.

Robin kept reading:“For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it is 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 Corinthians 4:6).”

What a contrast, “For it is God who commanded light to shine out of darkness”, in that Robin was so weak and so sick, yet, “who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”. Robin was ‘giving the light of the knowledge of the glory of God’ and she so clearly was looking ‘full in His glorious face’ as she read. How could I forget these words? They weren’t words at all, they were all that was going on in that very moment. This was ‘life’ happening in me, from a woman who was a ‘bondservant’ to Jesus sent to suffer ‘darkness’ so that God’s light could shine through her and give God glory!

Not just for that day, but even for now and all eternity! God spoke to Robin through His word and gave her understanding and had peace! I witnessed this and tell you today, many years later.
Robin is an inspiration to me even today. She encouraged me in the ‘light of the life’ in God’s word because she had understanding and ‘knowledge’ of the glory of God, and soon to see her Jesus face to face, she explained it all to me:

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed-always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” (2 Corinthians 4 8-10).

God’s word brought life into her sick and tired spirit reminding her, yes, Jesus died, but He rose again, and she would too!

“…Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16,17).

You see, these Words are more than words. They are rich, and ‘past finding out’, they are life and light, they are treasure. We have trials today and worries, but the Bread of Life, the Word that is for ‘yesterday, today and forever’ reminds us that the things which we see with our eyes everyday, the rent, the clothes, the food, the jobs- we can see all that, it’s just temporary, but the things which are not seen, like God,and His angels, and many of the special family members or friends, who are no longer here on this earth, they are eternally living – living with Jesus in heaven.

So Robin sat with me on that day, to GIVE TO ME, not the other way around!  She read from God’s Book, His Holy Word. Just as Job cried out in his groaning, “Oh, that I knew where I might find Him, That I might come to His seat! I would present my case before Him and fill my mouth with arguments. I would know the words which He would answer me, and understand what He would say to me…” Job 23:3).  God answered Robin, and she shared the answer with me. What a beautiful gift she gave me, and it lasts forever!

Hugging her ‘baby’ the oxygen tank that sat by her feet feeding her ailing lungs the necessary breath, and with much labor and loving sacrifice, Robin read on through 2 Corinthians,Chapter 5: “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (2 Corinthians 5:1). 

The words brought so much hope, and Robin kept on reading: “For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.” (2 Corinthians 5:2,3,4).

Robin continued reading, (yes, word for word. These words were life! God had given her understanding): “Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. ” (2 Cor. 4:5-8).

“Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God…”(2 Corinthians 5:9,10,11).

God’s light shone through darkness that day in incredible ways and His word, brings life! Robin was a testimony to the truth of God’s word!  There are T-shirts that say ‘Life if good’, well, the life that we can see with our eyes is not always good, but the life that we can’t see that is hidden with Christ in God, THAT is good! God’s Word is our ‘comfort in our affliction’.

Thank you Robin. Forever you inspire me. And many others too. I hear your voice when I read those words, exhorting me to ‘live a life that is ‘pleasing to Him’.Thank you for sharing to me what God showed you.

God’s word is truth and life. I am forever thankful to God for Robin. God is faithful…“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:1,2).

If she could know my heart, I would say, “Thanks Robin!  Thanks for loving God with every breath you took on this thorny earth, and loving me, and so many, and your family.  Forever you inspire me. I hear your voice when I read God’s word exhorting me to ‘live a life that is ‘pleasing to Him’. Yes, Robin, your life is everlasting in Him, and your life lives on in each of our hearts!”

These words tell a story, God’s word BREATHE LIFE!

“Near to the heart of God,” a hymn.

“Near to the heart of God.” (Cleland B. McAfee).

The first line of this hymn brings hope and comfort: “There is a place of quiet and rest,…there is a place of comfort sweet, near to the heart of God.”

Quiet, rest, comfort…is this what you and I seek for today?
Perhaps your heart is very heavy. Perhaps you know someone who has been stricken somehow, be it fear, or great sickness, or addiction or afflictions of great loss.
Maybe it is a brother or a sister or a mother or a father or maybe that someone is …you.

When asked the question, “How are you?” The only reply near to the tongue is,
“I’m tired.”
Today, I read the words aloud of an unfamiliar hymn, (unfamiliar to me that is),
“O Jesus, blest Redeemer, Sent from the heart of God,
Hold us, who wait before Thee, Near to the heart of God.”

and they brought to mind a most familiar story.

It was the words, ‘who wait before Thee,’ that reminded me of King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles. Do you remember him? Well, if not, I will write one of his famous prayers from 2 Chronicles 20:12.

“O our God, will You not judge them?” (Them? The enemy that came out to battle. We won’t battle with the people of Moab, but we will battle fear and doubt everyday!) “For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.”

Could this be the prayer of your heart today? It is mine as well. I am so glad it was recorded for us. It has become an anchor prayer to troubled hearts for many, over and over again, for many, many years. (That is how the Bible remains on the best seller list year after year after year.)

Did you know that King Jehoshaphat had gathered all of Judah, with the little ones, their wives, and their children, and they stood before the LORD to pray that together? And they received an answer because the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel the son of … who was the son of (oh, those names!)…., and the response was recorded,(after you get through all of the names!) many, many years ago, for you and for me – today. It’s in 2 Chronicles 20:14-17.

“Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the LORD to you: “Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s…You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves,
stand still and see the salvation of the LORD,
who is with you. O Judah and Jerusalem!”
(and repeated a second time, he continues,) “Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the LORD is with you.”

Jehoshaphat then bowed his head to the ground and worshiped the LORD.

“Position yourselves,…”
And Jehoshaphat showed us how.

Today, let us speak together this hymn:
“Near to the Heart Of God”
“There is a place of quiet rest, Near to the heart of God; A place where sin cannot molest, Near to the heart of God.

O Jesus, blest Redeemer, Sent from the heart of God,
Hold us, who wait before Thee, Near to the heart of God.”

“There is a place of comfort sweet, Near to the heart of God; A place where we our Savior meet, Near to the heart of God.

“There is a place of full release, Near to the heart of God;
A place where all is joy and peace, Near to the heart of God.
O Jesus, blest Redeemer, Sent from the heart of God,

Hold us, who wait before Thee,…”

Ps. 96,
“OH, sing to the LORD a new song!”

I AM a Rose…

The church, (those who believe in the One that God sent), has received a covenental ring on their finger. It can’t be seen, but oh, it can, when the Spirit reveals all His splendor!

Do not despair when loves in this world change and walk out the door- remember there is a Love that has laid down His life and loves agape, for now and forevermore.

Yes, it’s true , the ring we can’t see, it’s been placed on our finger, personally. He is the Bread, He is the Light, but even more than that He is the Rose… And in our lives He offers to us His tender love, truly.

“I AM the Rose of Sharon And the Lilly of the valley”,’delicate beauty and color  – I AM. But I AM your Fortress and Strong Tower and I come to you. I skip on the troublesome mountains.'”

Can you hear the voice of your Bridegroom? Can you hear Love call you today? ” Why so downcast, My beloved? Rest your hope in Me, My lily among the thorns, My love is perfect, come close to Me and stay.”

‘As the apple tree among the woods, sit down under My shade, and refresh yourself with My fruit – taste of My love, My love is complete. My love digs deep, way, way down to the root.”

“Hear My voice, My beloved, I speak to you: “Rise up My love, My fair one and come away. Winter is past, the rain is over, the flowers appear, I sing a song over you and make all things new.”

“O My dove, hide yourself in The clefts of the Rock. And in the Secret Place meet with Me. Confess your faults, be washed, be clean – I have made provision for everything.

“Behold you are fair, My love, yes you are fair. The Holy Spirit like a dove enlightens your eyes. Your lips speak My praise and I draw ever near. How very fair is My love, so very wise.”

“Sing with Me, I inhabit your praises. “I am My beloved’s and He is mine,” let this be your song. You are My garden, so special, so, so precious.”

“I love you. Don’t forget you’re married to Me, all of your days for all eternity. I pledge to you My love forever, draw near to Me, and I will draw ever closer to you My love – forever and ever…”

Do you know who God is? Learn from someones prayer:

(Prayer by Anne Graham Lotz), “May 17, 2025: I AM: THE UNCHANGING ONE I AM who I AM2″

Perhaps you only know ‘God’ as a mere word. Where you speak the word ‘God’ that is all you think. You might not know anything about God. And you might even think after years of walking this life on this earth, that you don’t even ‘believe in God!’ Well, Anne Graham Lotz knows God and is encouraging others to ‘talk to God’ for such a time as this. But maybe today, this prayer is what God might use so that you begin to ‘know’ God and ‘believe’ in Him…

“We worship You as the eternal I AM. In a world that is always changing and undulating like the waves of a stormy sea, You never change. You are ever-present and always relevant because You are always current. You are never the I Was or the I Will Be. We are confident that Your greatness and power are the same yesterday in Creation, in the Exodus, in the Cross, in the Resurrection and in the Ascension of Jesus, on the Day of Pentecost, as they are in our day, as they will be at The End of time. Your greatness and power have not been diluted or depleted over the ages. You are our Anchor in the midst of the disasters rocking this planet and this nation. You are I AM.

And Your standards are high. You still demand holiness of Your people.3 Especially the leaders of Your people. You still require us to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with You.4 You are the Alpha…the Beginning of time and space and history, and You are the Omega…the end of time and space and history.  You are the One who was, and who is, and who is to come.5

I worship You__________

We trust in You as a covenant-making, covenant-keeping God. Your mercy endures forever. Your love endures forever.6 Your Word endures forever.7 Your faithfulness is to all generations.8 You are the Rock that does not move.9

You are for us. You have chosen us.10 You have saved us. You have given us freely, graciously everything we need for life and godliness.11 From the fullness of Your grace, You have poured out upon us one blessing after another.12  Nothing can and nothing will ever separate us from Your love. Nothing…
“Neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future,
nor any powers,
neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in all of creation,
will be able to separate us from Your love.”13

We are Yours, and You are ours…forever.

I trust You with __________

We praise You that we are safe forever. We are secure when we are caught up in the swirling vortex of wickedness and sinfulness, death and destruction, chaos and confusion, brokenness and hopelessness, because of the One who said, “…Before Abraham was born, I AM.”14 We are secure because the I AM laid His glory aside, became obedient even to death on the cross,15 and for three days became the I WAS…crucified, dead, and buried.; “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”16

We are safe from Your wrath and judgment for our sin under the blood of I AM, Your Lamb, that is smeared on the doorposts of our hearts. As we approach You in prayer when bombs are exploding and buildings are burning and banks are closing and babies are dying, we are confident You will receive us. You will listen to us. You will answer us.

Because the eternal I AM has risen from the dead! He is alive! He has ascended into Heaven! He sits at Your right hand! And He now lives to pray for us even at this moment as we pray to You! He is the ruling, reigning, soon to return King of kings and Lord of lords. The Lamb upon the throne.

We come to You in His Name…Jesus.

I come to You with praise for ___________

For the glory of Your name.
Amen.”

[1] John 17:11
[2] Exodus 3:14
[3] 1 Peter 1:15
[4] Micah 6:8
[5] Revelation 1:8
[6] Psalm 89:2, 28, Psalm 118:1, 2, 3, 4, 29
[7] Psalm 119:152
[8] Psalm 100:5; 146:6
[9] Psalm 62:2
[10] Romans 8:31, 33
[11] Romans 8:32; 2 Peter 1:3
[12] John 1:16
[13] Romans 8:38-39
[14] John 8:58
[15] Philippians 2:8
[16] Isaiah 53:5

It is my prayer that I have introduced you today to God through the prayer of a woman who brought Him to our door. Receive Him, Believe Him, Trust Him, today and always- His is God and He has a plan for you that is good, for now and always.

song of prophesy: Bring Me to My Knees

(Joel 2:28)”And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy…”

My son Chris wrote a song a few years ago in 2008 with his band, ‘asforme’. I didn’t know it at the time, but I know it now -it is prophesy. It speaks true of the human heart and mind at some time in one’s life. It is called, Bring Me To My Knees. 

How long O Lord will You be silent? Will You forget me?
How long O Lord, will You be silent? Will You hide Your face from me? m

“I thought I knew You better than this. So why can’t I hear You?
I thought I knew You better than this, so I’m crying out to You
.”
Bring me to my knees until I breathe, until I hear You, and take me to my face until I break – “I’m lost without You!”

In life, all that happens, God uses…and His word says, ‘He makes all things work together for good.’ (Romans 8:28).
Well, the song has a bridge: “The night is dark and cold, but still the morning comes. The night is dark and cold, but still the morning comes…” perhaps every life has a bridge as well. Much like a ‘bridge over troubled waters’ so to speak !
I believe that bridge is God! He’s got a hold on His children.

But the ‘bridge’ of the song( and of life itself) brings us around:To, “Bring me to my knees until I breathe, until I hear You, and take me to my face until I break – “I’m lost without You!”

God uses those cries in the ‘dark, cold’ nights and He ... “Bring(s) me to my knees until I breathe, until I hear You, and take me to my face until I break – “I’m lost without You!”

Nothing makes sense when great loss occurs- of career, or of a loved one, or huge disappointment, or great physical or mental tests and trials.
And many of us understand these words:
The night is dark and cold,… but still the morning comes…”

And we even understand the repetition as well, as time goes on and on:
the night is dark and cold, but still the morning comes…”

But GOD. This is the difference right here, this is what makes all things ‘work together’ for good:
“But in this day, I will rejoice, knowing I will breathe again, and in this day I will rejoice and
I will love you more.”

Making the choice to ‘worship’ while waiting IS the very breath. Making the choice to ‘worship’ when the ‘water-pots’ are empty at the wedding feast of life (so to speak) IS when we hear Him (Jesus) say: “Fill the water-pots with water.”(John 2:5-8).

Are we going to argue? Are we going to complain because those water-pots are 20 gallons each and there are 6 of them?! “That is way too hard!” ” And this doesn’t make any sense at all!” Are these our thoughts?

Oh, so often they are. That’s why the wrestling:
Oh yes, we do ask these words, we do over and over again:, “How long, O Lord? will You be silent…?”

And we can admit that we’ve even felt like this:
“I thought I knew You better than this. So why can’t I hear You?
I thought I knew You better than this, so I’m crying out to You.”

God allows at times, our days to be like ‘night’, ‘cold and dark’,  yet ‘still the morning comes.’
And He ‘brings us to our knees’. This is how He makes ‘all things work together for good. Perhaps, because He understands that our greatest good begins when we are ‘brought to our knees,’ seeking our King.
“Bring me to my knees until I breathe, until I hear You. And take me to my face until I break -I’m lost without You!”

The Lord is faithful, holding us in His hands. His love is unsearchable. When we are faithless, He is faithful still. That’s what the Bible tells us.
But the song has a bridge. Just as we have a bridge over our troubled waters: ” The night is dark and cold, but still the morning comes. The night is dark and cold, but still the morning comes…”
Bring me to my knees until I breathe, until I hear You. Take me to my face, ‘till I break, I’m lost without You!”

It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting,…Sorrow is better than laughter, For by a sad countenance the heart is made better…” (Ecclesiastes 6:2,3).

“But in this day, I will rejoice, knowing I will breathe again. But in this day I will rejoice, and I will love You more.”

Our hearts are made ‘better’ by our times of struggle and trial when we choose to see Him and Know Him more. He is concerned with our holiness, which is eternal, which in the end brings great happiness for today and forever.

Do you feel afflicted with great trial? (Isaiah 53:4,5) “Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted…”
Why would God allow suffering?
(Isaiah 53:5) “He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.”
Did Jesus know a dark and cold night?
(Is. 53:7)He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth.

…”All we like sheep have gone astray;(Is. 53:6).
God in His mercy knew that ‘before I was afflicted I went astray’

“But now I keep Your Word.” …and in this day I will rejoice, and I will love You more.”

Thank you Chris for writing a song that touches my heart and speaks so prophetically of all of my days. I love you forever.

A time to increase awareness: Warning, “Mayday!” “Mayday!”

Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of Billy Graham has a sense of urgency, (as so many of us do!) “Mayday! “Mayday!” is a call for distress – and the call is being made, right now, at this time. For 9 days, Anne is calling Christians to take time and pray! “Mayday! Mayday!” is the call. It is time to seek the Savior.  Do you have that same sense of urgency? We must have that urgency, and I will write why. (The prayer that Anne Graham Lotz would have us to pray is included at the bottom of my post today).

Just as in the days of Noah, he was given a warning from God. God sees it all, [past tense, present, and future as well(!)]. Way back when, in Noah’s day God reminded Noah that “the earth was corrupt before Him, and the earth was filled with violence.” (Gen. 6:11). God sees. “So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.”

This is only the 11th page in the whole of the Bible, Genesis 6:12! But this is today as well, just as the Bible said it would be: “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. “For as the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, “and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” (Matthew 24:37,38,39).

Violence, corruption… “They’ve been around since the fall,” you might say.

But today, ‘today’ is as the days of Noah! It is time to turn our heads to heed the warning signs, “Knowing this…,that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the  fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” (2 Peter 3:3).

We cannot forget, God’s word is true. Jesus spoke sitting on a hill, speaking to multitudes of people the ‘attitudes to be’, and He also said,” For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”

Jesus came, Jesus died, Jesus rose from the dead – but this is not the end…Jesus is coming again! Yes, in the Revelation of Jesus Christ chapter 22, He Himself says, “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” (Revelation 22:7). And not only once, but twice, “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” (Rev. 22:12).

The word ‘Behold’  according to Webster’s is: to hold in view; look at; see; regard.

The time is soon. Noah had the warning to all that the flood was coming! One hundred and twenty years of warning as he faithfully obeyed God and built the ark according to God’s instructions with his wife, boys and their wives. How could it be that NO ONE ELSE listened! How could it be that after ONE HUNDRED TWENTY YEARS, Noah was… only laughed at? We know now, that their laughter was turned to eternal death.  “Knowing this…, that scoffers will come in the last days…”, ‘So, as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” 

These words are written to increase awareness! Wake up! that ‘day’ is soon!

Just as the days of Noah, do we recognize what’s going on today: “men leaving their natural use of the woman, burned with lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with…” (Romans 1:27,28).

“It’s never fun to be around people like you, always filled with doomsday thoughts. We really don’t have time for this now,” these might be your thoughts. Jeremiah the prophet knew all about this. He was given the word of the Lord, and the earthly powers threw him in a pit to die! (But God protected him, saved him, and delivered him). There is a time to heed the warnings!

OK, this is hard, but God’s word is written for our instruction and we must not run every time things get uncomfortable! The Bible is called the Good News! It’s the message that will clean up the mess! Before the rainbow, we have to endure the storm…

So, ‘as the days of Noah’, let us finish the hard stuff, (in the International Children’s version, being a bit gentler), “They traded the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served things that were made by man. But they did not worship and serve the God who made those things…Because people did those things, God left them and let them do the shameful things they wanted to do…(Romans 1:25,26).

Does this look like our present day? This is not pretty or fun, but it’s important medicine to help remedy our dark hearts.

“People did not think it was important to have a true knowledge of God. So God left them and allowed them to have their own worthless thinking. And so those people do the things that they should not do. They are filled with every kind of sin, evil, selfishness and hatred. They are full of jealousy, murder, fighting, lying, and thinking the worst about each other. they gossip and say evil things about each other. They hate God.” (Romans 1:28-30). 

“Why heed the warnings now? What’s the urgent rush today?”

People, can’t you see the signs? Each and every day, ‘as the days of Noah’! “(People) They are rude and conceited and brag about themselves. They invent ways of doing evil. They do not obey their parents. They are foolish, they do not keep their promises, and they show no kindness or mercy to other people. They know God’s law says that those who live like this should die. But they continue to do these evil things. And they also feel that those who do these things are doing right.”(Romans 1:30-32, International Children’s Version, written for young children!) Little children, (young and old), who are we kidding? This is today.

“Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near.” (Is. 55:6).Remember, the capital L, capital O, capital R, capital D, is the YHWH, the Yawhey, the unpronounceable One, the One who is your ‘all sufficiency’! That’s the all- caps LORD!

Are you thirsty? That is good! Are you hungry? That is good! On that mountain that Jesus sat and taught, He said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.”(Matthew 5:6).

That is the truth about God! Hear the Messiah’s invitation to you and to me: “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. 

“Incline your ear, and come to me. Hear, and your should shall live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you – “Is. 55:1-3).

“Why must this go on and on?!” you might be asking?

Because, ‘as the days of Noah, so  also shall  be the coming of the Son of Man be.’

If your heart is anxious and stirred up, ‘fret not’, simply turn to the One who calms the waters. He is God, He is able, He is alive, and that cross that He so horribly died on, He took on His flesh, the sins of the world. Your sins and mine, all of them. So, as easy as a child’s alphabet, if we ‘A’, Admit we are sinners and ‘B’ Believe in the provision of forgiveness given on the cross by the shed blood of Jesus, and ‘C’, call out to Him, He grants forgiveness and new life, once and for all. And for each day after that? “Grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 peter 3:18). And pray!

We are called to pray. If you don’t have the words, or this is all too foreign and new, here are wonderful words to pray, especially for TODAY:

Anne Graham Lotz has given us  urgent words to  pray” “1 ELOHIM: THE STRONG ONE In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…2 We worship You, great God of Creation, as Elohim, the Strong One. You were in the beginning. You will be at The End. You always have been and You always will be. You are the Creator who brings forth something out of nothing, who formed man from dust, who turns darkness into light, who makes the world turn, who sustains all things by Your powerful word.”

“3 When the nations rage and the people imagine a vain thing… When the rulers take a stand and gather together against the Lord…4 When the earth gives way… When the mountains fall into the midst of the sea… When the waters roar and foam… When nations are in uproar and kingdoms fall…5 When everything that is familiar unravels, You are the Rock on which we stand! You are our Stronghold. We take refuge in You.6 We worship You alone.”

“As we plunge into spiritual and moral darkness, You are our Light. As political, social, racial, financial, and environmental storms break out all around us, You are our Anchor. 1 John 17:11 2 Genesis 1:1 3 Hebrews 1:1-3 4 Psalm 2 5 Psalm 46 6 Psalm 18:1-3 2 As we face terrorism’s threat and vows of annihilation from our enemies, You are our Shield. When there are wars and rumors of wars—when nations rise against nations and there is rioting in our streets, You are our Peace. In our weakness, You are our Strength. As we grieve over lost freedoms and lost futures and lost values and lost loved ones, You are our Comfort.”

“In our despair over our lack of moral leadership, You are our Hope. In our confusion when truth is spun and exchanged for a lie, You are our Wisdom. In these days of desperation and confusion, we look to You, and You alone. I look to You as _________________ O God our Help in ages past, This is not just a distress call for prayer. This is a distress call to You! For one hour each day for nine days we choose to turn away from everything else and seek Your face. We turn to You—run to You—cling to You—hide in You. We believe You will hear and answer our distress call because… …We come to You in the name of the One by whom “all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

“7 …We come to You in the name of the Creator who became our Savior and who has ascended into Heaven to sit at Your right hand, with all authority placed under His feet.8 …We come to You humbly, yet boldly, because we have been invited to come.9 …We come to You with confidence because the way has been opened for us by the blood of Your Son who sits at Your right hand, who is in authority over all.10 …We come to You with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith that You will receive us, You will listen to us, and You will answer us.11 I come to You_________ Hear our prayers as we come to You in the name of Jesus. For the glory of Your name. Amen. 7 Colossians 1:16-17 8 Ephesians 1:20-23 9 Matthew 11:28-29; John 14:13-15).

If there is any reader that was urged by the Spirit of God to ‘admit and believe and call’  out to Jesus, the Lord and Savior of the world,  please let someone know,(today!) and begin to enjoy the hunger and the thirst that you feel in each new day for God. He is the living bread, and you will taste and see that the Lord is good as you ‘eat’ of his word daily! No longer a scoffer, but now a ‘delighter’ in God’s word. The promise or the ‘rainbow’ that you are given is: “…He (you) shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither, and whatever he does shall prosper.” (Ps. 1:3).

Hey, and the best news of all, is unlike Noah, where there were NO other believers saved except his family, we will see that we ARE the FAMILY walking through the Door! Safe and sound. (Well, perhaps a little smelly, difficult, and uncomfortable at times, but safe and protected and covered in HIs gracious love!