What news are we investing time in?

We see and hear the news. Have we honestly been deceived in believing the daily news is of more value than the inspired Word of the God, who Loves and created us all?

With intelligence in technology, and language, and medicine, and law – have we really come to believe we can “live life without God?”

In Literature, we understand the best story has great conflict. Did we forget there’s an enemy that’s out to destroy? Did we forget he hates everyone? Satan deceives the world that God is the “kill joy.” When he, himself is the killer of all joy.

Satan hates. Satan lies. And he’s deceived the world that God doesn’t care.

Our hearts and minds are naturally dark from the fall.

By page 3, in the Book, the Bible, by name – we can clearly see, that God didn’t bring the ruin we often give Him blame.  Where is the curiosity to “check it out for ourselves?” Do we really believe the modern “opinion” of what the Book’s all about.

Did we forget that all the words that flow through our brains is not truth. All the words we read are not fact. Satan hates. And He is in full attack!

The name of “Jesus” is an offense. “Whatever you do, don’t speak of His name.”

Can’t you see the smirk on Satan’s face, when in the name of “Jesus” Satan has to flee.

Run to the Word. Seek refuge in God. Yell at Him if you must. Tell Him your heart. God is big enough to take your pain and your anger.

He sent His Son. Your debt has been paid. Talk to Him about Jesus. Ask Him what it’s all about.

His word will bring healing to your heart.

When we turn in our disaster to His good and precious Word. When we seek Him in brokenness, He won’t turn away,

He hears . . .

He hears . . .

Are you seeking His face? He will pour down on you, His grace.

Satan hates for any to believe. If you get on your knees, he has to flee.

A Book in the Bible, Nehemiah by name, tells a story, that today many can relate. Nehemiah received news about the state of his homeland.

Those who survived the exile . . . are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” Nehemiah 1:3.

Turn and open the pages in the Book. Watch Nehemiah’s response, after receiving news of the day:

 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.”   Then I said:

Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments,  let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel.” (Nehemiah 1:4-6).

Have we forgotten God is the creator of heaven, and is the great and awesome God?

Have we believed all the words of deception, of  “Big Bang” evolution – even though every day we see that through time all material things break down.

The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics – a universal law of decay. Yet book after book fill the libraries today that great systems evolved through eons of time.

Satan laughs through it all. He’s deceived God’s creation.

Back to Nehemiah, and his prayer. Could it be, that God will restore life and hope in the hearts of us all, if we simply open old, and sacred pages:

“I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you.  We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.

“Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations,  but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’” (Nehemiah 1:6-9).

Can we humble ourselves and admit “sin” anymore?

“O God, turn us around. Restore. Restore!”

What medicine ever “tastes” good and is “easy to take?” The remedy of “turning to God and admitting my wrong,” isn’t pleasant,

but that’s when the healing comes. Do hard things.

Can you and I admit that we’ve been unfaithful? That our hearts feel “scattered” and torn. Can you and I receive today, the promise in the return:

but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.” (Nehemiah 1:9).

I pray for a return of the children of God. Let’s pray “Revival.” And believe in our hearts that with God’s “great strength and mighty hand,” He will “gather” His children back and restore.

That the News of God’s Holy Word would be the priority above all things.

“Today, Our Father in heaven, in Whom we pray, and in the name of Jesus, Whom You gave to save, I humble and pray and seek Your face. Will You wipe away all my sin and disgrace? I believe healing, salvation and an outpouring of Your amazing grace. A new creation today, I’ll be. Thank you for gathering me, and setting me free. in Jesus name, Amen.”

 

 

 

 

Fact, not feelings: “As thy day, thy strength shall be”

Feelings aren’t facts. But they are very real.

Feelings can whirl with tornado-type style. They make havoc of the present moments and solid things even fly wild.

Based on facts of circumstances and realities in this life, our hearts become ripped up in the midst of overwhelming feelings.

But all the while, one thing remains, though we can’t feel Him,

Jesus Christ stays.

We leave.

We mis-perceive.

But He’s present. God doesn’t change.

“Afflicted soul, to Jesus dear, Thy Savior’s gracious promise hear; His faithful word declares to thee That, “as thy day, thy strength shall be.” 

“Let not thy heart despond, and say, How shall I stand the trying day? He has engaged, by firm decree, That, “as thy day; thy strength shall be.”  (Poem found in CH Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible, p.142, based on Deuteronomy 22:35).

“Why should I continue to read,”some will say in the midst of the storm, “Why do you state that Jesus is God? Why does Jesus have to be in the mix? I can do fine with just God in all this.”

Others will say, “I need a lot more than Jesus right now. Get out! I really don’t want to hear you right now!”

The fact remains, God stays the same. Whether we believe or not – Jesus loves, period. You are precious, period. Yesterday this was true. Today this fact stands. Forever, He is God.

God is love.

Can we come close to understand?

You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13. Words breathed from God in the Old Testament persuading, but not only that, these living words provide peace that’s alive. Living bread for a hungry soul.

Comfort true. Comfort whole.

“Let not thy heart despond, and say, How shall I stand the trying day? He has engaged, by firm decree, That, “as thy day; thy strength shall be.”  

“Your bars shall be iron and bronze, and as your days, so shall your strength be.” These are verses from the Living Word. When the Book is open to Deuteronomy. Chapter 33:25, and by chance one will open the dull looking Book, only to discover precious breath within each word.

For it is not an idle word for you; indeed it is your life. And by this word you will prolong your days in the land, which you are about to cross the Jordan to possess.“Deuteronomy 32:47.

As thy day, thy strength shall be . . .”  Will you believe?

Abide in Me.

My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding— indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,

 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord

and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom;

from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:1-6.

Who was it that came down and rebuked the winds and the sea became sound?

Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him.  Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.  The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him! (Matthew 8:23-27).

“Afflicted soul, to Jesus dear, Thy Savior’s gracious promise hear; His faithful word declares to thee That, “as thy day, thy strength shall be.” 

“Let not thy heart despond, and say, How shall I stand the trying day? He has engaged, by firm decree, That, “as thy day; thy strength shall be.”  

 

God Calls a Meeting

I wrote a piece yesterday for our Word Weaver’s (of Lexington) Meeting in the evening. I called it “A Child Can Teach Many Things.” After time with other writers and gentle critique, I share with you ideas in editing, so you might be encouraged to join us once a month that the words God has put on your heart would be written and shared. And God is in control of all that happens through the process.

God calls a meeting.

He’s tugging at my heart.

I’m hungry. I’m tired. My tapestry is unraveling.

I’m seeking, but not finding. There’s a Dead End again.

Where is this place of meeting? Does my heart yearn to go?

My thinking goes amiss. I think, “Before the meeting, I have to do this.”

“I have to get rid of that, but I can’t. I can’t. Or maybe, it’s more like, . . . I won’t.”

Is this how we think? Do we believe, “God doesn’t want to  meet with me, I’m way too lost. I’ve gone too far.”

God calls a meeting, time and time again. Do I continue to run the other way?

Do our minds spin out of control?

God saw me running. So He brought me a 3 year old. To simply watch and listen.

A child’s smile, the skip, the joy, the love. How we’re always changing, but some things never change.

As I was watching a child at play, it was like a first day of spring. It was like a sky with fun, puffy clouds.

I was running from God, so He brought me a child. So I could see with my eyes, something I knew of before. Of forgiveness and grace, gentleness, and noise. Of making a mess, but having a second chance – of two sides of a coin.

God called a meeting and I kept putting it off, until He brought a child in my view.

I heard the song coming from their heart during play, “A,B, C, D . . .” So accomplished and confident. So, I broke in and asked, “What’s your favorite song?”

She began to sing: “Jesus loves me . . .”

I watched a tender faith. I witnessed a confident trust. I knew these words. They were hidden deep down in my heart.

“Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.”

My heart was pierced, that very moment. I forgot what was true.

I forgot what I knew.

As sheep often do.

I left from following the Shepherd. I thought I had to “plow on through.” By myself. On my own.

I became like the prodigal. Hungry, far. With pig slop for food. It was when that child sang,  “Jesus loves, . . . ” That I heard, “Remember Me.”

The child sang, “this I know . . .”

My thought, “No, I don’t know anymore.”

The Lord kept His appointment. He spoke:  “Remember Me.”

Gentle and kind. God used a little child to remind. To remind me it’s not “Do this.” “Don’t do that.”

Simply, “Jesus loves.”

How I forgot.

So, I turned around that moment. That moment was new. Because, in my heart, instead of my back, I turned to face the Lord. Inside my heart was bursting.

I held it all in, but, if I didn’t I would have a face filled with tears.

Immediately, . . .

I felt hope.

Out of a child’s praise, I remembered God’s amazing grace.

“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, declares the Lord, . . .” Jeremiah 29:12-14. 

See God's Hand

God calls a meeting.

He’s tugging at my heart.

I’m hungry. I’m tired. My tapestry is unraveling.

I’m seeking, but not finding. There’s a Dead End again.

Where is this place of meeting? Does my heart yearn to go?

My thinking goes amiss. I think, “Before the meeting, I have to do this.”

“I have to get rid of that, but I can’t. I can’t. Or maybe, it’s more like, . . . I won’t.”

Is this how we think? Do we believe, “God doesn’t want to  meet with me, I’m way too lost. I’ve gone too far.”

God calls a meeting, time and time again. Do I continue to run the other way?

Do our minds spin out of control?

God saw me running. So He brought me a 3 year old. To simply watch and listen.

A child’s smile, the skip, the joy, the love. How we’re always…

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United sound brings a sweet fragrance/ Amazing Grace

Common knowledge learned, in the reach to smell a rose is, “Every rose has its thorns.”

“Ouch!”

How this world with vast beauty and joy, is also sharp and prickly. It punctures and so often, brings about so much more than a “whine”.

Yet,”For God so loves the world.

How can it be? There are days I can’t “love” anything.

I feel so far from smelling the roses. The “thorns” seem to be, like weeds, surrr-rrrou-nnn-ding.

The darkness of nursery rhymes come to the surface, “Ring around the rosie, a pocket full of posies. Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.

“Whoever wrote these rhymes anyway? Though the origins are argued, we must believe, it was a day of “thorns” in a struggle to smell the rose.

Common knowledge. Community. Comforts and joy in the reciting. Children gather, hand in hand. Going around and ’round, making familiar sounds. “Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.”

Amidst dark clouds, and thoughts of ashes – being together, gathering around, common words chimed – heaviness dashes.

“Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found. Was blind but now I see.”

The song is sung and we all join along, even if the tone is completely wrong. The melody flows from all lips with a smile. In full agreement, hearts receive the gracious love God freely gives.

There’s no strife when hearts unify. There’s no disagreement in the “wretch” that we each be. The thirst seems quenched. The heart instantly warmed.

The smell of roses comes vibrantly alive, when we put sound on our voice and in a common hymn sing! This is where God abides. This is where He dwells. We can all agree. Yes, we agree and somehow our blindness is made to flee:

“‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.”

As if time stops. Glory invites. “For God,” gave His Son, that we might overcome. The song, is sung. And we agree together, and sing along:

“Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.”

Jesus can turn water to wine. Jesus can heal. Jesus can restore. The fragrance of joy is smelled. Let us put sound on our voice. And join together and sing.

Let us unify. Let us give thanks. Let us worship our King.

“Praise God. Praise God. Praise God. Praise God!

 

Boastful In One Thing Alone/To God be the Glory

Not boastful about family, yet full of joy, love, and pride. Our family is a gift from God, shared and loaned to each of us for a time.

Not boastful in our talents, or all of our great powers:  To think. To sing. To run fast, to draw.

To create. To figure. To fly. To build high towers. Not boastful in any of these things at all. These are gifts given to us by the great and Almighty God.

Instead – Let us boast and give glory to Him. It is high time we give glory to One who is worthy. We seek God. We desire Him. Let us open His Book and receive His whole Story.

“To God be the glory, great things He hath done, So loved He the world that He gave us His Son, . . . ” (1)

Boastful in one thing and one thing alone: the cross that the Son of God endured for each and everyone.

For God so loved the world, yesterday and today. Even for all who hate Him and despise Him, the cross He endured.

Who yielded His life our redemption to win,
And opened the life-gate that all may go in.

The Place of the Skull, where there stood the cross. Oh, perfect redemption, the purchase of blood, To every believer the promise of God;

Not only one, but of crosses, there were three. And the story is read, of the choices of the thieves:
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

To God be the glory, great things He hath done,
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son.

Boastful today about the cross alone. We’ve been redeemed, yes, bought by the Son, who paid for all the damages brought on by our sin.

Oh, come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory; great things He hath done.

We must not boast for ourselves, in a gift that is given. Let’s give God the glory He so wonderfully deserves.

Those who fear man will be fearful in this. But in these last days, let us boast in Christ – let us be of the courageous.

Great things He hath taught us, great things He hath done,
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
But purer, and higher, and greater will be
Our wonder, our transport when Jesus we see.

Jesus laid down His life that we might have it abundant. Living water for our thirst. Daily Bread for our hunger. His Spirit indwelling when we believe on the cross. The Father so loves that He gave His own Son.

On thing we must boast in, let us boast in the cross.

This old hymn brought out to the light was written by a woman who was completely blind. Fanny Crosby’s fingers wrote thousands of hymns. God allowed blindness in her life, only to give her incredible sight.

To God be the Glory,” one hymn out of many, has perhaps even today, opened some eyes that were blind – to see. Let’s give God praise:

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice;
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice;
Oh, come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory; great things He hath done.

(1) To God Be the Glory. Fanny Crosby (1820-1915).

 

 

 

Let’s be gloriously changed – Let’s choose to Praise

Let’s make the choice now, no matter the story. No matter the pains, the loss, the new worries.  To start the day with God and giving thanks is fine, but to end it in praise is victory, power, and brings a sound mind.

We be changed through the praise. God draws ever near, as we draw near to Him. Let our voices (aloud) ring clear.

“You are the LORD God Almighty. You are worthy. You are worthy. You are worthy to be praised.

You are Elohim, strong Creator of all the natural beauty we see.

We worship You God. Jehovah, I AM, (YHWH) self-existent, un-change-ing.

The Most High God, El-Elyon is worthy of our praise. There is none like You. Too much, too high, to great for our minds to comprehend and know.

But the Bible tells us, You loves us so.

We worship You Lord, for You alone are worthy. “The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.”(1) Worthy and  powerful – O so wonderful is Your Name.

We choose to think on things that are noble, right, and true, and altogether lovely. Yes, I choose to worship You:

Father, Son, You are Savior. We worship You Lord, You are Beginning and the End, the Lamb of God, and Friend.

We worship You Lord, for You alone are worthy. You are Eternal and Guide, You are King of all kings. You are Shelter. You are Judge. You are for us,  Cleansing.

You are Powerful, Faithful, Sustainer and Prince.

Majestic and Tower and Everlasting.

There is none like You God. You alone are worthy. I worship Your name, may nothing else take Your place.

You are Wisdom, Faithful, Merciful, Glorious.

You are Peace, Counselor, Healer, and Guard.

You are my Shepherd.

My Deliverer.

My Comforter.

Lord, You are my Hope.

You are my Joy. 

F-o-r-e-v-e-r, You are my Love.

You, God are gloriously magnificent.

You, “so loved the world,” (2) that Your Son You have sent.

I lift up Your name and proclaim with my voice  – “You, Lord God Almighty, are my Lord. You are my heart.”

I love You Lord Jesus, that You first loved me. Forgive me when I forget all that You are, all You did, and do:

Jehovah-Roi, the God who sees me. Jehovah-Shamma, Who promises to be there. Jehovah-Jirah, the LORD will provide.

O God, be my Adonai. My Lord, and Master, that I serve You -always.

I worship You Jesus. You have given me life. Today, this moment … for the rest of my life.

Amen. Amen. Let all the children say again,  “Amen.”

Praise goes before the battle and fight. Victory is won when I see God in all His might. Lead me Good Shepherd, as a sheep I often forget, to speak these words aloud and be transformed again, and … again.

(1) Proverbs 18:10, NIV.

(2) John 3:16.

 

 

Where is love?

Here is love: The Man was taken. Condemned. The people’s cry, “Crucify!” Wrists tied.

The hands that fed. The hands that healed, served, and prayed. The hands that lifted as His Word proclaimed, and “it was so.” As the story goes.

From long ago. And the song is sung, “Jesus loves me this I know.”

Do I know? Do I consider? Do we even think of the rejection, the pain? And yet, He was w-i-l-l-i-n-g?

If we become confused, and forget where to find love. We must stop looking outward, we must “set our eyes above.”

A purple robe, a crown of thorns. The mocking, the laughing. It all could be heard. Stripped, then whipped. And this was only the beginning …

I gave My back to those who struck Me,
And My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard;
I did not hide My face from shame and spitting.

 “For the Lord God will help Me;
Therefore I will not be disgraced;
Therefore I have set My face like a flint,
And I know that I will not be ashamed.”  The prophet Isaiah proclaims in chapter 50. Who is the Me? Can you and I see?  “Jesus loves me.” Do I even come close to knowing?

Obedience to His Father who sent Him to die, on the cross that the Lamb of God might make complete sacrifice, for you and I. Even while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly. (1)

All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah the prophet in chapter 53:6. 

The Scriptures proclaim. The Good Word speaks. How could we want to put the Truth out on the street? If God was waiting for me to get it right, He would still be waiting, because I fail every time.

We love Him because He first … loved us. (2)

” ... He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.” These are the words the prophet reveals. (3)

God loves the sinner. The guilty. The lost.

We don’t.  Naturally, we don’t (period.)We love “justice.” The human race doesn’t love the “unloveable.” But God does.

God is just. And God is also grace. How can we even think to turn our back to His face? Do we really love God? What is love anyway?

God demonstrates: He laid down His life for all of the human race. Whoever turns from the world’s disgrace, to look and seek for the Savior’s face will find forgiveness poured out. Guilt departs. Peace floods the broken heart. A new day dawns.

There is rest on green lawns. The sound of bird’s singing can be heard once again. Fluffy clouds in the sky abound in joy to our eye. “Today” is all that matters in this moment of time.

He’ll take the sin, the ugliness.  And He gives – His love and His righteousness. We do one thing, turn and trust. He does it all, that we might know …

Love.

Lo! glad I come; and thou, blest Lamb, Shalt take me to thee, as I am: Nothing but sin have I to give; Nothing but love shall I receive.” C.H. Spurgeon.

(1) Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

(2) 1 John 4:19, “We love because he first loved us.”

(3) Isaiah 53:5, “But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.”

 

As the ducks go by, my vision came clear

The world is a whirlwind of motion and time. The needs are great. Energy is given.

Babies held. Toddlers taught. Children learn what’s right what’s not. Schools full. Businesses open. Roads busy. Food prepared, and food being eaten. Time ticks on.

Are our thoughts all our own?

The pond in the park by the big oak tree sings. The still waters speak to halt my reasoning. My heart is calmed, my pace is slowed, my vision is expanded, and my mind’s thoughts echo:

“Maybe I’m confused. It’s not all about me. Maybe what I think is actually hurting me.

And somehow in the park, when the ducks go by “quacking,” I come to the conclusion: I’m not the center.

The stress, the strife, the fast pace of life, halts as the sun’s reflection sparkles the water. The smells of fresh air, and birds chirping everywhere. All my senses come to life. There’s something special about this moment, this moment in time.

In an instant my vision is expanded to include, not just me, and my world. My woes and and my goals, but to think about God. The Creator of all.

That’s what I need. I need more of Him.

I need God. Bottom line. Period.

As I needed the still waters of this pond, to bring vision to my broken heart. I need God to bring alive what’s died. I can’t look back I must move on.

And suddenly I’m saddened. “I’ve been lied to. Been made to believe that with my own reasoning and actions, I can achieve. That the course is simply A then to B. Then each step of the way, it’s all mine. It’s up to me.”

Oh, the lies I believed.  The whirl of the world and it’s hum of pride: “Yes, there’s a God. He’s “love” and all that. But look at this world. Can you really believe He’s in control? Be reasonable. Use your mind. You must wear your own hat!”

And the sun hit the water and the breeze sang a song, and the duck went by slowly with his “quack, quack, quack.” And my heart stopped singing it’s sad, mourning song.

I looked up, and blocked the intense light of the afternoon sun just by lifting my tiny, wrinkly thumb. I decided right there, in that very moment of time, that the “thumb” of pride and unbelief was going to be set aside.

I was going to use my “reason” and remember my need. I need God. Right now, today. Front and center, no longer me, but He.

If God says He sent His Son to set me free, from myself and the rest of the ugliness, (as I learned as a child, and then unlearned by the world), then that will be my vision. “For God so loved the world that He gave …” who was I to change God – to be what my mind says.

“Jesus, can You see me? Today, I accept Your love. Somehow, as the ducks “quacked” in the still waters of this pond, my vision was changed.”

“You became my vision, and I remembered Your blood. It has washed me clean. But I forgot. I was taught by this world that I didn’t need washed.”

“Wash me again, and again. O God, I’m so sorry. Will You forgive me?”

So I went home and read Psalm 139 aloud, to be reminded again, that in fact, He is the center of all I see:

“O Lord, you have searched me [thoroughly] and have known me. 

You know when I sit down and when I rise up [my entire life, everything I do];
You understand my thought from afar.

You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And You are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
 
Even before there is a word on my tongue [still unspoken],
Behold, O Lord, You know it all.

You have enclosed me behind and before,
And [You have] placed Your hand upon me.
 
Such [infinite] knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high [above me], I cannot reach it.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?

If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead), behold, You are there.
 
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
 
Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will take hold of me.
 
If I say, “Surely the darkness will cover me,
And the night will be the only light around me,”

 
Even the darkness is not dark to You and conceals nothing from You,
But the night shines as bright as the day;
Darkness and light are alike to You.

 
For You formed my innermost parts;
You knit me [together] in my mother’s womb.
 
I will give thanks and praise to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.

 
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was being formed in secret,
And intricately and skillfully formed [as if embroidered with many colors] in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were appointed for me,
When as yet there was not one of them [even taking shape]. 

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!

If I could count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You …

Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart;
Test me and know my anxious thoughts;

And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.” Psalm 139, Amplified.

“Yes, Lord, You see me. Help me grow in You, each day, please.”

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In restlessness – He is peace.

Where is God in all this “restless-ness?” Wars going on outside and in. The struggles, the hardships, the anger, the hate. The words that go back and forth without restraint.

A prophet of old wrote in his letter: O LORD, “How long?” “How long, … must I call for help,” Habakkuk 1:1. This is how Habakkuk felt, yes, open it up – God’s word, and see for yourself.

“Why?” you might ask. Because, today, we “feel” the same way.

Habakkuk writes freely his complaints: “Oh LORD, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, …” (emphasis added), “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil, your cannot tolerate wrong. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are You silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves? …”(1) Questions, questions – these are the same questions we daily ask ourselves.

We’re fighting for some peace, we’re yearning for a song.

And for me, in my house – (that is, in my heart and mind,) He came to rescue. He came to my help. He gave me His Song, Psalm 23:1.”The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.”

But in great need, and stress and fret, I spoke the full Psalm, from beginning to … “and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord, forever,” the end. And I thought, “forever” is a very long time.

Then the question, “Where am I dwelling, right now, in this moment? Am I dwelling in His house, or have I let “faith” walk out His Door?” “Without faith, it’s impossible to please God.”(3) Was this the lesson for Habakkuk as well?

He invited me in, to come into His house, that I am “forever to dwell.” But He knows, I go astray, each and every day. But He offers “peace” unlike the world, “His peace,” He so graciously gives, even though I mess up, and sin …

so very often.

A song, an old hymn came to my mind just then, “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”(4) 

It can’t just be “God” and “heavenly thoughts.” I called and I cried to “Our Father in heaven,” and He drew near to me, and reminded me “hallowed be His name.”

He can’t be what my small brain makes Him, He must be Who He is. And “Holy is His name.” But more amazing still, His “grace is sufficient.”(5).

So, to conclude this whole matter of restlessness and stress, and my mind running in circles, (can anyone relate?) May I learn from God’s help that He “presently” sent. And remember as Habakkuk had learned as well) …

I put some breath on the strings, that He, Himself has given (to each of us, no less), and I made the choice to sing, …

to sing praise for His glory, as I was (and seem to be always), in a battle of wills to trust God, it seems.  I sang and I prayed, and a “present” peace I received. But “today”, and “tomorrow” (if God will’s be mine) may I remember to put sound on the strings He designed.

Let us humble ourselves and praise His name “forever.”

After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever.” 2 Chronicles 20:21.

(1) Habakkuk 1:12,13.

(2) Psalm 100.

(3) Hebrews 11:6.

(4) Hymn: Nothing but the Blood of Jesus.

(5) 2 Corinthians 12:9.

 

“Though there be no fruit on the vine …”

Many years ago, I felt God impress upon my heart my life verse: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.  

I had no idea then, what God had for me in this verse. Even today, I yearn to grasp the depths of all it means. “What are You saying, Lord, at times like these?”

“What is Your will for me?” “What is Your will for me?” “What is Your will for me?

And He responds, continually, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks …” I had no clue, back then, how very, very difficult these three things would prove to be.

“How can I rejoice in this?” “There’s no way I can pray!” “I refuse to give thanks in this!” Over and over, God allows me to see what’s inside of me. And, quite frankly, it ain’t pretty!

But Jesus. He loves me. He’s gentle. He’s patient. He’s kind and full of compassion. He hears my yelling and faithless thoughts. He sees my fret and knows my every thought.

How can God be so great and mighty as that? To still love me – even after my words and actions and … yes, being a brat!

There is no One like God on this earth.

But, wait.

He reached out from on high when I was in the depth of a pit. He pulled me out of great darkness and I could see, finally, the love in His eyes.

“Receive My love?” I felt Him ask of me.”

“I do, Lord. Come and live in my heart. Restore my soul. O God, don’t let go.”

Now, He abides in me. I’m simply a branch of His Vine. He is mine. He is mine. 

“No matter what you might go through, my child, I am here. And these words are your fortress and refuge. These words are your Rock that you might not slip or drown in sorrow or fear. I am the LORD, and this is my will you.”

“I see the conflicts press hard form the outside. I see the fear that entangles and grips at your very breath. I know the loss, the pain. I know death.”

“This is hard, this is dark, this is excruciating, I know. I am the LORD. I have gone before, I will carry you through. Keep your eyes on me, through this most difficult test, My Word is your life, yes, this is what you are to do: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks;” 

I will show you success and help you focus your mind, that you might be victorious one step at a time. Study my Word. Sing the Psalms in your heart. Gain wisdom and understanding, ask of Me and I will give.”

Do you believe … even in this? that I am Yours.  I care for you … now, rest.”

My life verse gives me instant direction. Will I scoff, or will I take the instruction? My response has already been written. I will sing it from my heart to my Chief Musician:

Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—
 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.

 The Lord God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.

Habakkuk 3:17-19. In response to my life verse, no matter what happens – this I pray will be my response. Continually. And with my Love, I will abide for all eternity!