In the face of such great loss in Sutherland Springs, Texas people wonder how Christians (believers in Jesus Christ) can find hope for the future. These verse from 1 Thessalonians say it all.
If you don’t know Jesus Christ or have the hope given through Him, ask Jesus into your heart. Ask Him to be Lord over your life. Feel free to message me or check out information from Peace Church’s website
Maybe this is why we are drawn to brilliant sunrises – the reminder that God brings newness every morning. When life is heavy with troubles and trials, pain and grief, we are filled with Joy in the morning.
I’ve been doing some health research after working with a few new doctors, and everything I’ve been reading says to fill your life with JOY. Count your blessings. List things you are grateful for each and every day. See JOY in the world around you – despite the weight and trials of the world. If you don’t focus on the joys in life, it will affect your personal health especially over the long term.
James 1:2-3 says – Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
“The other night I attended His Hands Free Medical Clinic’s Laughter is the Best Medicine fundraiser. We laughed for 30 minutes straight. I can tell you I seem to have had more energy and a more positive focus the next few days than I had before the precious time of laughing with others.
God made us to enjoy Him, His creation and our lives. We weren’t made to worry or fear. That’s why “do not fear” or “fear not” is a command that is mentioned frequently in the Bible. (See the following websites for some of these verses. CrossWalk and BibleStudyTools.)
“A cheerful [joyful, merry] heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” Proverbs 17:22 New Living Translation
God knows how important it is to be joyful, cheerful, merry, happy, abundantly blessed filled with gratitude because it HELPS us, fills us with HOPE and HEALS us. An interesting article on the benefits of laughter can be found at Help Guide.
Let’s try to brighten everyone’s day by being joyful, cheerful and filled with God’s amazing love and laughter ~ Faye
God knew when He made us that we would all be different. We are all made uniquely in His image. That means we have hair that is brown, black, blond or red; we have eyes that are blue, brown, green or grey; we are tall or short; big feet or little; and have a round or stick shape.
We also have differing opinions! Just look at all the difficulties around the world and throughout history. We are proud, shy, angry, hurt, quiet, friendly, loving, caring, jealous. These are things that cause some of our differences. How we grieve God when we fight over flags, broken relationships, money, things, power and so much more.
God tells us it is better for us when we live together in unity! So brothers and sisters, make it your focus to dwell in unity together, work to love each other deeply, and make getting along together a priority.
May God bless you abundantly as you live for Him ~ Faye
How did we get to be a world so divided? Anger and hatred seem to fill people’s hearts – racial prejudice, political unrest, anti-authority, vengeance, religious persecution, status, poverty all come into play. Look at the mass shooting in Las Vegas, looting and price gouging after the natural disasters, suicide bombers, refugees fleeing for their lives, and so much more.
I wonder if some of the reason we are so angry is because we’ve forgotten Jesus teaching about treating others decently when He gave His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). Remember the Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Matthew 7:12. I know I have messed up (okay, let’s call it what it is – SIN) many times. In my devotions lately, I’ve spent time in 1 Peter. Recently 1 Peter 3:8-9 touched my heart –
Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and He will grant you His blessing. ~ 1 Peter 3:8-9 NLT
Literally, I felt God pointing a finger at my heart, reminding me of the times I have retaliated with insults and actions when someone has said things or done things that hurt me. At those times, I’ve forgotten that I am a witness of what it means to have Jesus Christ in my heart. I haven’t allowed His love to fill me and treat others with His love. I have since spent time confessing those actions and been assured as a believer of Christ as my Savior, that I am washed clean by His blood – I am forgiven! But I am also challenged by His word to live for Him, as His example.
I remember growing up hearing, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all;” and my parents and teachers reminding us of the T.H.I.N.K. acronym:
When I read 1 Peter 3:8-9 from the Amplified Version,
Finally, all of you be like-minded [united in spirit], sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted [courteous and compassionate toward each other as members of one household], and humble in spirit; and never return evil for evil or insult for insult [avoid scolding, berating, and any kind of abuse], but on the contrary give a blessing [pray for one another’s well-being, contentment, and protection]; for you have been called for this very purpose, that you might inherit a blessing [from God that brings well-being, happiness, and protection].
I was challenged and encouraged by the words – “but on the contrary, give a blessing [pray for one another’s well-being, contentment, and protection];”. When others hurt me, I need to pray for them, for their well-being, contentment and protection. I need to have the perspective of Christ, caring for them. Let’s be the change – God’s Love wins over hate.
Praying you are filled with God’s love so you can bless others ~ Faye
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.
Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings.
The purple headed mountain,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning,
That brightens up the sky;−
The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,−
He made them every one:
The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
We gather every day;−
He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell,
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.
Celebrate and enjoy God’s wonderful creation all around you! ~ Faye
Just a word of encouragement to spend time with God in Prayer and Meditation ~ Faye
In the days, weeks, and months ahead there will be many needs following the catastrophic disasters. Realize that God has given you at least one precious gift you can share with others as they rebuild their lives. Anyone who believes in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, admits they have sinned and believes in God is filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gifts us with a variety of spiritual gifts such as: hospitality, creative abilities, teaching, knowledge, faith, prophecy and many more. We are to use these spiritual gifts to build up others, help others, and care for each other. However, as 1 Corinthians 13 says, if we do anything for others and we don’t have love, we are nothing. We need to be filled with Christ’s love to help others. Otherwise it is just empty words and actions. Check out 1 Corinthians 12-14.
Praying you will be able to offer something from yourselves to those in need in the next days and weeks ahead. ~ Faye
Really! Did you know the Bible tells us to be truly glad even though we may have to endure many trials?
How in the world can we be “truly glad” when we look at the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and Irma, wildfires in 11 states and Canada, concerns heating up with North Korea, Rohingya refugees trying to escape from Myanmar to Bangladesh, persecution of Christians around the world, a loved one diagnosed with inoperable cancer, another bill that is coming due and the finances are so tight, job insecurity, car accidents, betrayal, hatred, bigotry and so much more.
I’ve been reading through 1 Peter recently. I was struck by verses 6 and 7 when we are told to:
“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is GENUINE. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” 1 Peter 1:6-7
All of the trials and struggles of this life are for a purpose. They are for strengthening our faith, the opportunity to see God’s sovereignty and provisions, and to truly know Jesus Christ is the ONLY Savior to all!
Our Bible study group just looked at the life of (Genesis 37-50). Why in the world would Joseph continue to be truly glad during his trials? He had dreams where he saw his brothers and father bowing down to him. He was hated by his brothers. His brothers stripped him of his colorful robe, was thrown into a dry well, sold to a caravan who sold him as a slave to Potiphar. Then when things were starting to look up and he found favor with Potiphar, Potiphar’s wife falsely accuses him of molesting her. Joseph is sent to jail. He is there for a few years when he interprets the dreams of the cup-bearer and baker, which Joseph interprets and the events come true. Again, several years later, Pharoah has a vision and no one can interpret it. The cup-bearer remembers Joseph. He is called from jail to interpret the dream and tells of 7 years of plentiful food in Egypt before 7 years of extreme famine. He is elevated to a position just under Pharoah. His brothers go to Egypt for food during the famine and eventually learn that their brother, Joseph, is very much alive – AFTER they had bowed down to an Egyptian ruler (Joseph) whom they didn’t know (fulfilling his dreams). Joseph forgives his brothers for their actions and tells them:
“I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping.7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. Genesis 45:4b-7
Then many years later when Jacob, Joseph’s father dies, the brothers figure now Joseph will get even with us. Genesis 50:19-20 says,
But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God?20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
That’s it! Joseph could remain “truly glad” when throw in a pit, falsely accused, jailed, forgotten, or when he was unwanted or unloved because he knew God had a plan through all of his trials.
We all have burdens, worries, concerns, fears, and trials of some degree and magnitude. Yet when we surrender our lives to Jesus, we can be truly glad because we have the promise of eternal life and the knowledge of God’s having a plan for our lives from before we were born. (Psalm 139:16)
Wildfires: http://www.nfpa.org/public-education/by-topic/wildfire/where-are-the-wildfires-burning and WeatherWizKids
Hurricanes: Harvey – Business Insider
Irma – NOAA and ABC News
New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
I love to worship God. I love to see His glory in His creation.
I saw this beautiful clematis. But it wasn’t until I stopped, moved the camera lens in closer, that I saw the incredible detail. Why does God take the time to create such beauty, that we too often miss? God made us to worship and glorify Him. I think God creates incredible beauty for us to find when we slow down and and enjoy the world around us.
I love how some of the other Bible versions tell how to Ascribe Glory to God – Honor, Worship, Give, Praise.
Honor the Lord for the glory of His name. Worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness. New Living Translation
Give to the Eternal the glory due His name; worship Him with lavish displays of sacred splendor. The Voice
Praise the Lord for the glory of His name; worship the Lord because He is holy. New Century Version
Take some time to spend before the face of God. It is a great time to walk through the park or the woods. Enjoy the flower gardens. Walk down by the creek or lake and look at the rocks and critters. Our 7-year-old gets this. Whenever she is over, she spends a long time looking at all the rocks under the deck, looking for fossils. She’s found some incredibly tiny ones. She was just at a lake and loved finding tiny shells and snails.
One of the best days to do this is on Sunday. God made the Sabbath for rest, recovery and time to spend enjoying Him. Take some time this coming Sunday to enjoy God’s beautifully unique creation up close and personal.
Praying you can find some time to slow down and enjoy God’s creation ~ Faye
I like the saying – “If you can explain God, He wouldn’t be God.” People try to explain the Holy Spirit and His work. Believers in Christ Jesus are given the gift of the Holy Spirit in their lives to help them in their growing relationship with God so they may encourage others in their walk with God. The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 12-14, that the Holy Spirit gives believers spiritual gifts of encouragement, hospitality, faith, healing, and many more gifts. And in Galatians 5:22-23,
“… the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
In John 3, Jesus is talking to Nicodemus, a Jewish Religious Leader. Jesus explained to Nicodemus how a person can enter the Kingdom of God. He said, . . .
“without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.” John 3:5b-8 [New Living Translation]
The Holy Spirit isn’t easy to explain, and neither is how He works to change people’s hearts to believe. That’s where FAITH comes in. We need to surrender our hearts and believe that Jesus Christ is the one and only Son of God. He died to forgive us of ALL of our sins. All we need to do is BELIEVE. When we do that the Holy Spirit lives in us and begins to change us to be more and more like Jesus every day.
Whoever thought they would be encouraged to be grateful for being weak? Recently a godly daughter of God left her earthly home and appeared before Jesus. She received her very own white stone with her specially chosen, unique name.
(Revelation 2:17b – “And I (Jesus) will give to each one (believer) a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.”)
Yvonne was the epitome of being someone who, though being weaker in her body the past few months, was filled with the immense strength of God. When you visited with her, planning to encourage and bless her, you left being blessed by her deep love of God. The spirit of God lived in her and radiated from her.
The thing is, Yvonne, didn’t necessarily “take pleasure” in her weakness. There was a lot of pain some days. When we spoke, she shared that she struggled with the idea that at this time of her life she wasn’t able to serve others but had to rely on the service of others. I would reply that she WAS serving God in a completely different way. She WAS AN ENCOURAGER through her words, smile, and hugs. She would share how God worked in her life and in the lives of others. She was very aware of God working through the prayers of His people. She loved to laugh at the humor in life, always appreciating the gift of Irish blarney. She shared how her 66 years of marriage to Tom were a blessing. Yvonne’s dedication to Tom in his last days was another sign of God’s strength through weakness. She would sing in Tom’s ear in church when his memory was failing. She saw the good in people and didn’t focus on the negative. Yvonne was FILLED with GOD’s STRENGTH.
My life has been so much richer having had Yvonne and Tom in my life.
I pray you will have a wonderful Christian mentor in your life and that you will be filled with the power and strength of God through your lifetime journey ~ Faye
The other day I was dealing with some difficult memories and was really struggling to “see” or ”feel” God’s presence. Now I KNOW full well that God is ALWAYS with me. Psalm 16:8 says:
I know the Lord is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me.
AND Hebrews 13:5 says,
“God will never leave us or forsake us.”
However, I had been struggling with feelings of hopelessness and being overwhelmed by some situations. God’s peace was nowhere to be found in my current state of mind.
I walked through the local park and took many pictures of God’s creation. I sat on a swing and read from His word for a few hours and prayed. I sang, did some sketching and took more pictures. I began to feel at rest in trusting God to handle the situation. However, I still was not filled with JOY and wondered if God really heard my desperate heart. Well as I was pouring out my frustrations, worries and fears to God, He saw fit to remind me that He was there, listening to everything I had been saying.
I was about ten feet from my car when a beautiful Black Swallowtail flew around my face and landed on the flowers in front of me. He stayed there sipping from each little flower of the one plant closest to me. As I moved closer, he just moved to another blossom, but he didn’t fly away – until I took the time to thank God for the reminder that He is always with us. He ALWAYS hears us.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I didn’t think the butterfly was God or a form of God. It was just “odd” how it showed up when I hadn’t seen any butterflies for the past half hour and then only a Monarch and a Yellow Swallowtail. As I was telling God how I really felt, this beautiful butterfly shows up and stays right where I am for quite a while. And when I thank God for His loving care, guidance and protection, the butterfly flew away.
I must say, I was abundantly blessed by His reminder of His presence through creation.
Praying you will see and know God’s presence in your life today ~ Faye
Have you ever really thought about what heaven will be like?
We recently enjoyed time at the Smithsonian’s Natural History exhibit of precious gems and minerals. We were amazed at all the glorious variety of shapes, sizes, colors from bold and vibrant to shiny, clear, opaque, every where you looked was something totally different. (See lower photo.)
I couldn’t help but think about what heaven will be like when I saw this enormous amethyst. Revelation 21 went through my mind with the streets of gold and the walls of precious stones. I have to admit, the rock below is beautiful. However, when I reread Revelation 21 I am reminded that the holy city of Jerusalem “shone with the glory of God and sparkled like a precious stone”. Nothing – absolutely NOTHING – on this earth can compare with the glory we will see heaven. The wonderful creation of precious gems and minerals that we enjoy today will blow our minds away when we see heaven. Oh that will be glory for me!
So He took me in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and He showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God and sparkled like a precious stone—like jasper as clear as crystal. The wall was made of jasper, and the city was pure gold, as clear as glass. The wall of the city was built on foundation stones inlaid with twelve precious stones: the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. – Revelation 21:10-11, 18-20
My husband and I recently enjoyed a trip out East. We saw many beautiful things while we were driving through Ohio and Pennsylvania on our way to Washington DC. We saw many rolling hills, drove past beautiful farm lands and even went through the Alleghenies. It seemed like every time we saw a field with cows, I would remember a song I learned decades ago in Christian grade school …
He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, the wealth in every mine.
He owns the rivers and the rocks and rills, the sun and stars that shine.
Wonderful riches more than tongue can tell, He is my Father, so their mine as well.
He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, I know that He will care for me.
© John W. Peterson
How wonderful to know that all that we have comes from God, our Father, who cares for and shares exceedingly, abundantly with His children.
Praying you may enjoy the incredible inheritance of God’s unfailing love ~ Faye
There are days where the pain of life, loss and trials is overwhelming and as John Piper has said –
Recently I shared in church why Psalm 62 is such an encouragement to me. Here are some of those thoughts:
God has blessed me with the words from Psalm 62 on many occasions. It started before I was officially diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. When I couldn’t sleep at night, when walking caused extreme pain, when I couldn’t pull up the sheet to cover me, or turn the key in the ignition without pain, God led me to the words – WAIT and HOPE. If I hadn’t surrendered to God and waited, I would have been totally overcome with fear of the future. (And the future is so much different than it was in 2006 – I now hardly know I have RA. God has been healing over the past ten-plus years in amazing ways.)
I learned the difficulty of waiting and surrendering to God as the 2008 flood waters were predicted on Monday, and the cresting predictions rose, sometimes hourly. The crest finally arrived in Palo on Thursday night. Details of housing needs during our evacuation and the rebuilding were provided for in amazing ways by God.
I’ve said this verse over several times during my husband’s heart procedures, job and financial changes, and through times of betrayal and strained relationships.
One of those relationships is our son. We have gone long periods of not hearing from him. The longest was over four years, broken only by the funerals of his grandmas. We have no explanations as to why the withdrawal from us or his daughter, but it brings with it a deep loss. We’ve cried out to God for answers, for a change of behavior, but so far, those prayers have not been answered in the way we have hoped. So I have learned to “weep deeply over the life I hoped to have”.
Since 2013, Psalm 62:5 “Let all that I am wait quietly before God for my hope is in Him,” has been written on my bathroom mirror where I see it every morning and several times throughout the day. I have taken it apart word by word, emphasizing different words and phrases. God has blessed me incredibly through these words. It is a constant reminder for me that whatever my concerns, “Leave them quietly to God”.
When I see that verse each day, I am reminded that my hope is not in the broken relationship, but in the Healer of the broken. I have chosen to HOPE as I WAIT before GOD. God is working in our lives. I will WAIT and TRUST with HOPE that the work God is performing in each of us will be in accordance with God’s will and for His purposes. Waiting is an action. When you wait in God, you wait trusting, resting, letting your soul be quiet before God. WAITING is a form of surrender and in that surrender you learn to TRUST GOD deeply.
The first time I wrote the verse on my mirror I forgot “quietly”. (It may have been a Freudian slip.) At times I found myself changing “wait quietly” to “wait intentionally,” “wait patiently,” “wait joyfully,” “wait hopefully,” “wait expectantly,” “wait humbly” … the list goes on. It has been a good reminder for me to be completely focused on God being at work daily in my life.
Even though it says “leave quietly to God,” verse 8, “O my people, trust in Him at all times. Pour out your heart to Him, for God is our refuge”, was all the encouragement I needed from God to tell Him everything – every hurt, fear, worry, concern, my anger and bitterness, and my questions. God says POUR OUT your heart before Him. God is a safe place for us to do that. He is my shelter, strength, fortress, and He already knows my heart so WHY wouldn’t I want to openly POUR OUT my heart to God.
Praying you will feel free to POUR OUT YOUR HEART TO GOD, WEEP DEEPLY, WAIT PATIENTLY, AND HOPE & TRUST IN GOD. ~ Faye
P.S. – I shared this yesterday in church, and God in His infinite timing and sense of humor had my son text me with a quick note where he will be stationed for the next year.
On this journey of life, we find that the road isn’t straight and that path isn’t even. Many times there are hills to climb, canyons to cross, roots to trip over, parched deserts to cross, and more. We can’t do it alone.
God has given each of us the wonderful gift of His love. We need to spend time in God’s Word to begin to grasp a portion of how wide, long, high and deep is God’s love for each and every one of us.
God, in His infinite love, has given each one of us the gift of salvation. All we need to do is ask God into our heart, admit we are sinners, and surrender our lives to His leading. His unconditional, unfailing, amazing love fills us with His grace.
Praying you know God’s wonderful love ~ Faye
Everyone lives in the darkness of sin, but because of God’s gift of Jesus Christ to save us from our sins, we are filled with God’s light and given eternal life.
Praying you enjoy this wonderful promise ~ Faye
These are precious words to many in our world today. As many addicts know, we need God’s grace to grant us the serenity to accept what we can’t change, courage to change what we can and wisdom to know the difference between the two.
I have had several people in my life who have struggled with addictions from alcohol and drugs to pornography and abuse. It can be easy for the outsider to point fingers and judge those who struggle with these types of addiction. However, what about the addiction to food, gossip, or the need for acceptance?
I like the rest of the prayer as it focuses on realizing life will not always be easy. It encourages us to realize hardships are part of the path to peace. It means surrendering to God and His Will that life is not always easy; but it wasn’t easy for Jesus either. He even asked God to take away His death on the cross that He was going to have to face. Yet He surrendered to God’s Will. He knew He must die on the cross, be buried and then rise from the dead. He needed to do this to save each and every one of us who believe in Him as their Savior.
Usually someone gets into an addiction as a bandaid, a way to find comfort from some pain or trauma in their life. Why do you think they call mac and cheese or roast beef with potatoes and gravy – “comfort food”? Sometimes we want to medicate the pain away. Sometimes we want to forget. Looking at the rest of the prayer, if we realize everyone’s journey will have difficulties and trials, but also remembering God will walk with us through the trials, trusting Him we can overcome our addictions when we surrender our lives to Him. I’m not saying it will be easy. I’m not saying it can be done without professional help. I have seen someone who prayed out to God and he has been free from his alcoholism for over a year. I have seen someone who has gone through many counseling session to work through an addiction to pornography that started from an early childhood trauma. If you are struggling with something, seek help. There are many good Christian counselors. There are support groups. Talk to your pastor, church leaders, people who are safe to you (ones that won’t gossip about your situation) and most of all surrender to God your struggle.
Praying you are surrounded by God’s abundant love and grace. ~ Faye
There’s really not much more to say. Do you hurt? Are you scared? Do you have a need, a concern that is more than you can handle?
Rest in the knowledge that God already knows all about your needs and He cares completely for you. Surrender your hearts to Him. Trust in Him. Wait on Him.
Praying for peace for you ~ Faye
Ever have one of those days when you feel like life is hopeless and overwhelming? When you feel like you are all alone? I’m sure you have; most of us struggle with those thoughts once in a while.
I remember feeling that way following the flood of 2008 in the Midwest. Everywhere you looked in our small town, someone was struggling with the results of flooding. Some, like us, was relatively minor with only 4 feet in the basement; others lost their only home and had their businesses impacted. I remember reading this passage with new eyes -“when you pass through the waters, I will be with you; when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you.”
I like how the New Living Translations states it:
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are Mine.
2 When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
3 For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
The water from the Cedar River was roaring past and deeper than anyone could imagine. We had a 500 year flood. Flood stage is 12 feet and we hit 31.12 feet. Water was several square miles in Cedar Rapids and Palo and areas all along the Cedar. To think of “rivers of difficulty” in the reality of the flood and to be reminded that we will not drown (or be overwhelmed by our trials) were incredibly comforting words.
Even more precious were the words “I have called you by name, you are MINE!” I belong! No matter what happened during the flood, the stuff we lost, the reconstruction we had to do, nothing mattered in the reality that I BELONG! God knows me intimately by name. I’ve probably used the Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 1 Question & Answer 1 before, but it is one of my favorites. My parents have it on their headstone. It has been a key reminder of who I am and whose I am.
What is your only comfort in life and in death?
That I am not my own but belong, body and soul, in life and in death, to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with His precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to Him, Christ, by His Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for Him.
Praying you understand how precious it is to belong to God. Just ask Him to be your Lord and Savior. Understand that He died on the cross and rose again to save you from your sins. Believing allows you to know how precious you are to God – You belong to Him! ~ Faye
I love the beauty of garden flowers. The vibrant colors, the variety, the fragrance are all so inspiring and brighten my mood. I love it when my husband picks up a bouquet of flowers for me to enjoy in the house, especially during the grey winter/spring months. This happened in March, Rich brought me flowers and I enjoyed those beauties for over 2 weeks. I would take pictures every day. I would change the water and prune and care for them to make them last longer. They were a timely blessing because I ended up with a severe case of the flu 2 days later and they were an incredible bright spot and reminder of Rich’s love for me.
Simple flowers – can change lives.
God knows that we pay attention to the beauty of flowers. We also know that they don’t last forever, and when they die we compost them or throw them away. We learn early on that a seed planted in the ground yields a plant when it is watered and the sun shines on it, all orchestrated by God. Yet, as much as God tenderly and lovingly cares for the plants, He wants us to know for certain that He cares for each and every one of us much more than He cares for the plants that are here today and gone tomorrow.
Praying you realize how special you are to God ~ Faye
Beginning in May we celebrate the many graduations from preschool, kindergarten, eighth grade, high school or college. Sometimes this is a very happy time; however, other times it is very scary. Uncertainty for the future often controls our thoughts. We are filled with anxiety:
- What happens next?
- Will I like next year’s teacher?
- What college should I go to?
- How will I pay for college?
- Should I get a job and skip college?
- If I accept this job offer, will I be able to provide for my family? … The list goes on and on.
Can you imagine being told that you would leave the land you had lived in all your life and move to a place you didn’t want to go to? You would live in exile here? And you would live there for 70 years? That’s what happened to the Israelites. They were exiled from Jerusalem (where their homes and God’s temple were) to Babylon because of their idol worship and rebellion against God. After 70 years they were allowed to return to Jerusalem.
God’s discipline of the Israelites during the Babylonian captivity had one very significant impact on the Israelites when they returned to Jerusalem – they weren’t corrupted by idolatry and false gods of the surrounding nations again. The Jews returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt the temple. God’s care of the Israelites through all this time shows His faithfulness and His righteous justice.
I don’t think you will be asked to leave the home you know and love; however I know whatever you will be facing in your life’s journey, God will be with you – fulfilling the plans He has for your future.
Praying you will know clearly God’s plans for you ~ Faye
I love how this is paraphrased in The Voice:
You have taken note of my journey through life,
caught each of my tears in Your bottle.
But God, are they not also blots on Your book?
Can you imagine God caring enough about your sadness or joy that He collects and treasures your tears of sorrow and joy? Can you comprehend that He cares so much for you that every one of the things that happens in your life is recorded in His book about just you? I know I struggle to fathom God’s unfailing, incomprehensible love for each and every one of His children.
Praying you understand a glimpse of God’s amazing love! ~ Faye
Did you know that you are a beautiful, unique work of art?
Did you know that you are God’s masterpiece?
Just think of it, before we were born, God prepared the path we would walk. He knew whether I would be in Grand Rapids, Michigan or Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He knew I would be a wife to Rich, a mom of two children and Ama to two grandchildren. He knew I would love to sing and praise God. He knew I would love to lead others in worship and take pictures of His creation. He knew there would be bumps and trials, health scares, job changes and so much more.
Praying you let God use you and the gifts He has blessed you with to bless others and glorify Him. ~ Faye
My mom suffered from Parkinson’s dementia and paranoia the last couple of years of her life. One night she was suffering from paranoia and extremely agitated. My brother and dad tried to calm her on and off throughout the night. Somewhere in her memory suddenly the precious words from Revelation 21:1-4 came to her and an immediate calm came over her. How much of a blessing it was for mom and my family to know that during the deepest hours of despair and torment, God’s word became such a comfort and peace.
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Revelation 21:1-4 KJV)
I like how it is paraphrased in The Voice:
Everything above me was new. Everything below me was new. Everything around me was new because the heaven and earth that had been passed away, and the sea was gone, completely. 2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride on her wedding day, adorned for her husband and for His eyes only. 3 And I heard a great voice, coming from the throne.
A Voice: See, the home of God is with His people.
He will live among them;
They will be His people,
And God Himself will be with them.
4 The prophecies are fulfilled:
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
Mourning no more, crying no more, pain no more,
For the first things have gone away.
Praying you will fill your heart with God’s precious promises ~ Faye