Author Archives: 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
This cross is very special to me since it was made by my husband, Rich, during his blacksmith training with his cousin, Kraig. I took it to Pleasant Creek State Park during sunset and when the sun came through the diamond, I knew I had a photo I could use for something special. What is more special than celebrating that Christ is RISEN!
Enjoy meditating on these words from The Resurrection Hymn
See what a morning gloriously bright
With the dawning of hope in Jerusalem
Folded the grave-clothes tomb filled with light
As the angels announce Christ is risen
See God’s salvation plan wrought in love
Borne in pain paid in sacrifice
Fulfilled in Christ the Man for He lives
Christ is risen from the dead
See Mary weeping where is He laid
As in sorrow she turns from the empty tomb
Hears a voice speaking calling her name
It’s the Master the Lord raised to life again
The voice that spans the years
Speaking life stirring hope bringing peace to us
Will sound till He appears
For He lives Christ is risen from the dead
One with the Father Ancient of Days
Through the Spirit who clothes faith with certainty
Honour and blessing glory and praise
To the King crowned with pow’r and authority
And we are raised with Him
Death is dead love has won Christ has conquered
And we shall reign with Him
For He lives Christ is risen from the dead
Keith Getty | Stuart Townend © 2003 Thankyou Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
Today Christians observe Palm Sunday, the day when Christ road into Jerusalem and the people “Hailed Him as King!”. The Jews were looking for an earthly king. We know that Jesus Christ is the KING of Kings.
Praying you see the blessings of God all around you and that you are inspired to shouts of joy and praise to God! ~ Faye
It’s that time of year when Christians observe Lent, a period leading up to Holy Week, where Christ’s death is observed. It culminates in the celebration of Christ’s Resurrection Easter Sunday.
Christians look at the blessings of Christ’s sacrificial death to cleans us, purify us from our sins and give us the assurance of eternal life with Him.
Praying you will know the blessing of being washed whiter than snow ~ Faye
Ever feel like life is overwhelming? Look at Joshua’s life. He was one of those who went into Canaan to check it out prior to the Israelites settling there. He was one who trusted God would provide when the spies saw the giants in the land. Later Joshua had to lead the Israelites into Canaan – the land of the giants. Yet he was the one who had incredible courage and faith in the Lord.
Praying you are able to have that incredible faith today ~ Faye
A time for everything – praise, rejoicing, celebrating, loving, crying, sorrow, concern, care, thinking, acting … and so much more. People are dealing with financial struggles, health issues, facing news of terminal illness, marriage or family relationships, job insecurity and so many other trials. But they are also celebrating babies births, marriages, new puppies, spring around the corner with all the new life, blessings of friendships, family, good jobs. Remember for every season of life – God is there and has gone before you preparing the way for you. Just (a very simple word) – JUST TRUST HIM!
Praying you may rest in God’s promises ~ Faye
There are two times in the worship service that I eagerly anticipate – one is God’s greeting at the beginning and the other is God’s blessing at the end of the service. To know that God is with us all the time is unfathomable. To know that God calls us to spend time with Him, that He made us to worship and glorify Him, and to hear from Him in His word that He is excited to be with us are incredible times. To know that God wants to bless us from His word each week and fill us with His abundant peace is just overwhelming to me.
I pray you are so blessed when you get to spend time with God ~ Faye
How amazing is our God? He holds the entire universe in the span of His hands. One of my favorite videos comes from Pastor Louie Giglio – Indescribable. How incredibly INDESCRIBABLE is God’s Amazing care for each one of us. He knows the number of hairs on our head, and yet the earth (our home) is such a tiny blue dot that can’t be seen when compared to the universe we currently know.
Very simply – spend some time this week to encourage someone, show God’s love to them, thank them for who they are, what they have done for you or someone else.
May God bless you and encourage you as you reach out to someone else ~ Faye
I don’t know about you, but 2016 has been a year of lots of concerns, pain as well as emotional and spiritual growth. We began 2016 with my husband and I saying goodbye to both of our mothers just four weeks apart. Both had lived good lives and loved the Lord so it was bittersweet to say goodbye. There were illnesses, surgical procedures, relationship issues, absences from loved ones and job changes. We also walked alongside some dear friends who were going through cancer, rejection, marriage issues and divorce.
Let’s face it – this world is in a world of hurt. There is pain wherever you look. It might be simply a child’s tantrum once again or a flat tire. It might be as serious as hearing the words “inoperable cancer” or loved one saying, “I don’t love you anymore.”
I have struggled at times to see God’s hand in these trials. I don’t understand the pain a friend has endured as we tried to understand why God is allowing his parents to deal with years of suffering. Or the pain of parents who have had to let a loved one go off on their own and deal with the painful choices their loved one has made. Then there are those who are spending their first Christmas without a loved one. There are those who struggle with depression, anxiety, rejection, abandonment, insecurity and so much more.
Aren’t the holidays supposed to be filled with pictures from Norman Rockwell/Hallmark family and friend memories?
And yet, there is still hope. Hope? Really? Yes. God created each one of us to be aware of His presence, to seek Him and to want to worship and glorify Him. This IS DEFINITELY NOT easy in the midst of pain, but it is EVEN MORE ESSENTIAL at that time. Whether you sing, write, color, read, whatever – you NEED to worship and praise God during your pain. This is so counterintuitive to what we want to do – stay in bed, curl up in a ball, pull up the covers, forget the world, and just wallow in our self-pity.
But if we seek God, even a glimpse of Him at work around us, He usually shows us something to give us hope. Yesterday I saw it in a quick Christmas greeting text from our son, whom we’ve not heard from since deploying overseas in April. God answered this mother’s prayer to know where her son was. Then in my devotions this morning (once again, I am behind) when I opened Sarah Young’s Jesus Always, to December 11 and read these words:
“I am your Rock in whom you can take refuge-any time, any place. COME to Me, beloved; REST in the Peace of My Presence. Take a BREAK from trying to figure everything out. ADMIT that many, many things are beyond your understanding-and your control.” (These were words I needed. I DON’T have or need all the answers – that’s God’s job.)
Isaiah 55:8-9 became special verses to my parents when they were both diagnosed with cancer within a month of each other.
We can’t explain God. Many times, we can’t understand why God allows bad things to happen to good people. When the world is confusing and overwhelming or when it seems evil is taking control of this world, we need to remember God’s conversation with Job recorded in Job 38-42. God challenges Job to remember “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundations? Who kept the sea inside its boundaries? Where does light come from and where does darkness go? Can you direct the constellations through the seasons? Do you know the laws of the universe? Who takes care of all the needs of the animals?” The Lord asks these serious questions in Job 40:2:
“Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?”
Job replies to the Lord and says, “I am nothing, how could I ever find the answers?” The Lord challenges him once again by asking if he can control the Leviathan? Job then realizes the depth of his ignorance. I absolutely love Job’s response recorded in Job 42:2-3:
“I know that You can do anything, and no one can stop You. You asked, ‘Who is this that questions My wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me.
This is where I find myself – I can wallow in my self-pity and question God about all that is happening to and around me OR I can trust that He knows and sees the entire picture, and I need to TRUST HIM for His Wisdom is far greater than mine.
Praying that as you face difficulties and struggles for yourself and your loved ones, that you can COME, REST, and ADMIT that you know nothing about God’s complete and unconditional love for you nor His entire plan for your life. You need to just TRUST in Him.
~ Praying you will grow in your confident trust in God. ~ Faye
God works in amazing ways and He never ceases to amaze me.
Our 7-year-old granddaughter, Claire, asked me the other night how can we hear God talking to us. I tried to explain in a way a second grader would understand, that God speaks to our heart. We don’t necessarily hear God’s voice like people talking to each other, but God uses the Holy Spirit to encourage us in our hearts.
Let me share what happened this past week to show how God has been “talking” to me. Today my husband is going in for his 3rd heart procedure this year, and even though we are trusting in God’s care there are still thoughts of “what if” … Well my devotions this morning started with reading the following:
First I read Sarah Young’s Facebook post:
“Learn to be joyful when things don’t go as you would like. Do not begin your day determined to make everything go your way. Each day you will bump up against at least one thing that doesn’t yield to your will. It could be as trivial as the reflection you see in the mirror or as massive as a loved one’s serious illness or injury. My purpose for you is not to grant your every wish or to make your life easy. My desire is that you learn to trust Me in all circumstances.” —Jesus Always by Sarah Young
I immediately felt God’s presence because of the encouragement I have received from Psalm 62 many times in the past. It was as if He were reminding me, “I’ve got this – Trust me!”
A little later I read from Jesus Always, for October 22 (I’m a few days behind – which God used for my benefit). The very first paragraph said:
“Don’t be afraid to tell Me how weak and weary – even overwhelmed – you feel at times. I am fully aware of the depth and breadth of your difficulties; nothing is hidden from Me. Although I know everything, I wait to hear from you. Pour out your heart to Me, for I am your Refuge. (Again from Psalm 62:8 – God reminding me of His providential care over my concerns.)
Young goes on to say, “Then you rest in the safety of My Presence, trusting that I understand you perfectly and love you with an everlasting Love. Be still, letting My Presence refresh and renew you. Remember that I never leave your side; I am holding you by your right hand.
I knew these words were to continue to encourage me. I’ve been reading Tracie Peterson’s, House of Secrets, which had Isaiah 41:10 & 13 woven through the story –
For I hold you by your right hand—I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.” ~ Isaiah 41:13
In this devotional God was once again reminding me through the words of others and His Word that He is in control of all the details of my life.
The other “funny/amazing” thing is that I’ve had a few people ask me in the past two months when I was going to write for the blog again. I’ve been praying about it, asking God what to write about and God seemed to be leading me to use Psalm 62:8 and Isaiah 41:10,13 but then when I read the last of Young’s devotion for today –
“This gives you courage and confidence to continue your journey. As you go along your path, hear Me saying, ‘Do not fear; I will help you.’” Ps. 46:10
it seemed like God was saying once again – I’ve Got You in the Palm of My Hand! Don’t Fear – Trust Me! I attributed it to trusting God for His Words to guide me in the blog and what to write (and He has once again.)
I didn’t hear God’s words audibly, but I definitely felt the promptings of the Holy Spirit comforting, guiding, and assuring me that He knows everything we are and have been facing. Once again celebrating the abundant blessings of God – Rich’s procedure went well.
Praying you can “hear” God’s promptings and caring in your lives ~ Faye
Sources: © 2016 Sarah Young, Jesus Always: Embracing Joy in His Presence. Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation.
I came across this photo/verse today and was reminded how it came to be: My nephew’s friend took this awesome photo of the Grand Haven Lighthouse on Lake Michigan on a very windy day. My brother asked for this verse to be added to it, after God performed a miracle in his life.
As I reread the verse from Romans 1:16 I began to ponder the words and what they meant to me. First, they reminded me of the incredible gift God worked in transforming my brother’s life from alcohol to one of peace with God. My brother has become very vocal in his love for God, is not ashamed of the word of God and tells pretty much everyone he can about God’s saving grace.
But second, these words started to challenge me. I know I BELONG, body and soul, in life and in death, to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. But am I always full of assurance and confidence that I have a Savior who can forgive ALL of my sins and still LOVE me? During this Holy Week, where Christians around the world remember that God gave His only Son to die in every sinners’ place so we didn’t have to face God’s wrath, I have been reflecting on these things.
Looking at God’s Word from the Old Testament to the New Testament, we can see time and again God’s prophecies from hundreds of years before fulfilled in Christ’s birth, death and resurrection. Isaiah (between 701-681 BC) told of Christ’s birth to a virgin in Isaiah 7:14 (fulfilled about 5 BC). Micah prophesied (between 750-686 BC) that a ruler over Israel would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).
Here are some for Christ’s death and resurrection
- Psalm 41:9 – foretells of Jesus being betrayed by a friend (over 1000 years before it happened)
- Isaiah 50:6 – speaks of Jesus being beaten, mocked and spat on (roughly 700 years before)
- Isaiah 53:4-7 – The Messiah would be beaten and pierced, yet remaining silent (700+ years)
- Psalm 22 – speaks of a man who cries out to God for deliverance from intense persecution. The parallels to Jesus’ crucifixion are amazing when you remember they were written 1000 years before the events actually happened.
- Psalm 16:10 – King David wrote that God would not allow His Holy One to be abandoned to Sheol (Hell) nor undergo decay.
Back to my second question – If God used the Old Testament Bible writers to prophecy and foretell of the incredible gift He planned to give us through His Son being the sacrifice for our sins and the Savior who redeems us from the penalty of death we deserve – how can I NOT say these words from Romans 1:16 –
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the Power of God for Salvation to EVERYONE who believes.” Romans 1:16
I want people to come to a believing, saving
faith in Jesus Christ so that no one will perish
but will enjoy eternal life with God forever. I need to be bold and confident in God’s word when I speak of God’s power and gift to save everyone from sin. Do I do that? Will I do that? People are persecuted and dying around the world when they speak freely about Jesus Christ. Am I willing to stand with them or let them suffer alone by “taking the easy way out” and not risk offending someone with the truths I hold dear?
Praying you will be filled with God’s saving grace during this season of remembering Christ’s persecution, death and resurrection to save each one of us from our sins.
Only a sinner saved by grace ~ Faye
- Grand Haven Photograph ©2016 Megan McCloud
- Painting of Jesus Accepts the Cross ©2016 Jeffrey Gorman
- The New International Version of the Bible
- The New Living Translation version of the Bible
- John Piper – DesiringGod.org – John Piper tells of how we can see the glory of Jesus Christ more clearly when we see him in relation to the Old Testament – http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/how-christ-fulfilled-and-ended-the-old-testament-regime.
Lately I’ve been thinking often of the old song Count Your Many Blessings.
I think some of this comes from looking at the beauty in the Autumn colors. What incredible blessings abound everywhere you look.
Some of you know that I have been dealing with a lung infection since mid-August. Yesterday I heard the good news that it is improving with medication. YEAH!
So I thought I’d share some of my abundant blessings lately:
|Lung Infection||Meds to help it improve it|
|Rheumatoid Arthritis IV drug has to stop||No major R.A. symptoms without IV|
|Wearing a mask in public||Most people very friendly and most are understanding|
|Can’t work at garden center||Most of my work can be done from home|
|Fatigue from lung infection||Family & friends who have given prayers, food, support & encouragement|
|Rich is retiring||God has provided in incredible ways after 38 years at Rockwell|
|Rich is retiring||He will be busy in his shop catching up on blacksmith projects|
|Rich is retiring||He will work on my “honey-do” list|
|Rich is retiring||Road trips, vacations, time at the lake, Bumpa & Ama time|
|Rich is retiring||He will be around to process all the butternut squash, spaghetti squash, Delicata and acorn squash from the garden|
When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your blessings, see what God hath done;
Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.
Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, ev’ry doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by. [Refrain]
When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings, money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high. [Refrain]
So, amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end. [Refrain] ~ Johnson Oatman, Public Domain
May you enjoy God’s abundant blessings in your life as well ~ Faye
These are words many of us need as we go through every day life.
God’s timing is always perfect, and sometimes it is very difficult to wait for Him to show that He is fully in control of a situation. However, as I was reading my devotions this morning, and came across the quote above by Sarah Young, I was reminded how many times God has blessed me to see glimpses of His Glory to give me encouragement and hope.
I have recently been facing another health issue and so have had lots of time to reflect and spend time with God. During that time He has blessed me with His presence often. It may have been “just the right song” at “just the right time”, or a perfectly timed email, card, text or telephone call. It may have been His hands working through someone to bring a meal or a smile as I walk the halls to another doctors appointment wearing my mask. Whatever it was I am so grateful that God shines His abundant glory on us at the perfect time to fill my heart with His hope and love.
Praying God abundantly blesses you ~ Faye
I woke up this morning singing a song I’ve learned a long time ago:
I was very blessed to wake this morning with that song on my lips. Then God decided to continue the theme with my devotional:
“Though I bring grief, I will show compassion. So do not despair when hard times come your way, and do not try to escape them prematurely. Timing is My prerogative! There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. Unlike the four seasons of the year, the seasons of your life are not orderly or predictable. When you are grieving, you may feel as if sorrow will accompany you the rest of your days. But remember that I have promised to show compassion. So great is My unfailing Love for you! When you are suffering, search for signs of My merciful Presence. Even during your darkest days, streaks of Light break through the storm clouds – providing hope and comfort. My unfailing Love shines upon you always. Look up to Me and see My Face shining upon you. I never run out of compassion. They are new every morning.” (Jesus Today, Sarah Young)
The funny thing is I usually think about things like this when I’m worried about something. I knew I wrote about this song back in 2012 In His Time. Rereading God’s providential care has filled me with incredible reminders of His abundant blessings through the years. I shared these thoughts with a friend who has been going through some great trials (possibly spiritual warfare) and she replied back – “It was in God’s time for her to hear these words.” Maybe these words aren’t meant for me today as much as they are for someone else.
One thing I have discovered is that God doesn’t change. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. His plans are always for our best. His timing is always perfect. So if you find yourself in a waiting period, facing questions and struggles remember – In God’s time – He makes all things beautiful! Pour out your hearts to Him, surrender to Him and trust Him. He will fill you with hope and peace.
May God bless you abundantly as you wait for God’s timing ~ Faye
The holidays are over. Times with family and friends celebrating the birth of Christ and the New Year are done for another year. There are so many good memories and many of us are filled with the incredible blessings we have received. However, the holidays can bring unspoken pain too.
In my family the holidays come with mixed blessings. We had a wonderful two weeks with our two granddaughters. We spent time with extended family many of those days. We were abundantly blessed during this time. We played games, had sleepovers, did all types of crafts, baking and had lots of meals together. If you were looking at our family gathering it would appear to be the perfect family.
However, you’d be wrong. This is not easy to share because it is so close to home. It exposes my disappointment, loss, frustration, anger, embarrassment, and lots of questions. We have not heard from one of our family members for two years. Some days the loss is incredibly painful. Crying out to God seems to bring no answers.
This is not news to many who face heartbreak on a daily basis, but it is always harder during the holidays and special celebrations. Whether it is death, divorce, separation across the miles, broken relationships, or health issues, the loss people face in life can be especially difficult during these events. Trying to remain upbeat, filled with joy, hopeful especially during the holidays can be overwhelming.
This year I was very grateful for the blessings of distractions with the remainder of my family, but always in the background is the thought, “Will we finally hear, or better yet, see?”
Pain can be crippling both physically and emotionally, but it can also be paralyzing spiritually. Through experience I have learned that there have been times when I have been so frustrated with this broken relationship that I have pulled away from and ignored God. Last year God filled me with a verse from Psalm 62:5 that I have had on my bathroom mirror for over a year …
When I see that verse I am reminded that my hope is not in the broken relationship, but in the Healer of the broken.
This season when I was struggling to stay focused a devotional caught my attention when it reminded me “God inhabits the praises of His people.” It got me thinking that when I am not living fully in the presence of God and under His authority I miss the ability to glorify God. Instead of looking UP to God, I end up looking in at myself.
Roger Bennett wrote, during 11 years of increasingly difficult health issues, “I am convinced that our enemy [the Devil] stalks us exactly in the way the Bible describes him, a roaring lion. He hides in the bushes waiting for any sign of weakness and then he strikes.” Bennett describes how he felt the Devil had struck even lower than his health issues; he attacked Bennett’s joy, confidence and hope. Bennett was filled with doubt. Then he focused on stories from the Bible – Paul and Silas were in jail – “they didn’t despair; they sang … it became their weapon.” Bennett began singing “one song after another came to my memory, and I sang them to my empty room … It may have been the most powerful blessing I’ve received in my life.” He realized just how true God is to His Word.
God really does inhabit the praises of His people. So when I am struggling with the losses and difficulties in my life, the last thing I feel like is singing. But I have been turning on that praise music, personally I am blessed with the depth of the words from the old hymns, but there are some newer songs that fill me with encouragement and hope. Blessings, 10,000 Reasons, In Christ Alone, Wonderful, Merciful Savior…
Reading a devotional from In Touch magazine, the author encourages us to be careful with our motive for praise.
Praise both magnifies and pleases the Lord, but we actually benefit from the practice as well. First, adoration of God modifies our estimation of “self”—it’s impossible to truly elevate God while clinging to pride. Instead, we come to recognize our sin, weakness, and dependence upon Him. As Scripture tells us, the Lord’s power is manifest when we show genuine humility (2 Cor. 12:10).
Next, praise appropriately humbles us, as it is a reminder of God’s greatness and our dependence upon Him. But at the same time, exalting Him strengthens our sense of assurance, thereby increasing our faith. Then we are able to look beyond ourselves and our circumstances to see life from God’s perspective. And consider one additional benefit of praise that involves our physical bodies: when we focus on Jesus’ goodness, tension leaves and we find new strength. All these supernatural effects of exaltation are possible because as we lift His name, God is present—Psalm 22:3 tells us that He inhabits the praise of His people (KJV).
I made a resolution for 2015 to see more of the blessings in my life and not dwell on the losses and difficulties. When I focus on the difficulties, I give the devil a foothold to fill me with doubt and fear. However, when I focus on the blessings in my life and around me, I am filled with joy and hope. I will be challenged to see more of the blessings by lifting my voice in praise to God and exalting Him. This doesn’t mean I won’t be afraid to pour out my heart to God with my concerns, for His word reminds us He wants to know our hearts, he knows everything about our lives. But I am convicted this year to remember – “God inhabits the praises of His people.” Psalm 22:3. (Now to go write that on my mirror …)
May God fill you with His abundant blessings ~ Faye
I thoroughly enjoyed walking through the prairie yesterday and seeing God’s creation all around me from flowers, grasshoppers, bees, butterflies, moths and even the deer I scared up and ran off just as afraid of me. It made me think of how much God takes care of and that He is always watching over each one of us as well as all of His creation.
This morning my devotions from The 30-Day Praise Challenge focused on Our Provider. Philippians 4:19-20 says,
And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
The author reminded me not to worry about the state the world is in or health or relationships or … the list goes on and on. You can enter whatever trials you are facing right now. What? Not worry? But then I think I am helping in the situation. No, instead of worry – praise God for being the God Who Provides! If God can provide for the needs of these little creatures – how much more will He provide for our needs whom He created with His breath of life.
When relationships go through difficulties – spouses hurt us, children don’t obey or worse lie to us, friends betray us – praise God for He is in control. He takes care of all the details – big and small. That is so counter to our culture today. We want to micromanage our lives, but we have so much more peace and are filled with greater blessings when we give our lives over to God and lift our hearts in praise to Him.
God is blessed when we praise Him! For this shows Him we are being obedient and trusting Him with our lives. I wonder what life would have been like if Joseph had moped around or paced with fear and dread about what his future would have been like? He had no clue that the bitterness and hatred of his brothers would end up being used as an incredible blessing from God for himself, his brothers and their family as well as the Israelite nation at the time. Joseph would face a real pit, hatred and betrayal from his brothers, the realization of the pain his father must have gone through not knowing about him, prominent positions and then prison, favored and rejected … Yet he was able to say – you meant it for harm but God used it for good.
Gratitude to God opens the door for Him to shower us with His blessings usually in ways we can’t ask for or imagine. May God fill you with His incredible blessings as He provides for your daily needs ~ Faye
Sometimes it is the simple things in life that bring about incredible blessings.
I enjoyed watching God at work the other day after a light shower. To see the intricacy of water droplets on the flowers was a study of God’s creation and attention to minute details. If God can so beautifully decorate these flowers with drops of rain, how much more can He pay attention to our needs and desires?
I have recently been enjoying a simple book, The 30-Day Praise Challenge by Becky Harling. The author was diagnosed with cancer and begged God for healing. A friend challenged her to spend 20 minutes a day in praise. Becky wasn’t feeling all that thankful, but as she intentionally praised God, she began to experience new joy – and her relationship with God has never been the same.
Recently I have found myself struggling with seeing the negative more than the positive. That’s not usually me, so when I found myself falling deeper into the “poor me” thinking, I decided it was time to put Becky’s 30-Day Praise Challenge to a test. The first ten days were okay, good thoughts to consider, but nothing earth-shattering, or majorly life changing. I found I was struggling even more with negative self-talk. But by days 11 through 15 I realized God was meeting me and speaking to me right where I was wallowing in the pit of my own despair. And I knew I didn’t want to stay there.
So I began to earnestly dig deeper into myself. When thoughts of being excluded, rejected, abandoned, burdened crept in, instead of dwelling on them – I thanked and praised God for the fact that He loved me for who I am. I focused on God’s qualities and characteristics. God loved me enough to send His only Son to die so that I might have eternal life. Even though I didn’t always feel like it, I sang songs of joy and praise to God. I look forward to my time of praise to start off the day with God. I usually take away one or two words that help me refocus throughout the day. These words have been: Chosen, Beloved, Cherished, Valued, Prized, Saved, Forgiven, Provider, Precious and the one I go to most – simply “Jesus”.
Once I say, think, and/or dwell on the word “Jesus”, or any of these other words, they intentionally redirect me back to all that I have been blessed with through God the Father/Creator, God the Son/Jesus/Savior, and God the Holy Spirit/Counselor/Comforter/Guide.
God desires and encourages us to praise Him because He knows that our word declarations can be powerful in the spiritual realm. Declaring God’s praise is more than positive thinking. As we choose to rejoice in who God is and thankfully place our circumstances in His care, something happens.
- His amazing peace comes in and shields our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:4-7).
• Comfort comes as we recall His promise to never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5b).
• He strengthens and helps us right where we are (Isaiah 41:10).
God’s Word has the power to change broken hearts and lives when we take the time to listen to what God is telling us and to spend time praising Him. In the past week I have seen God blow away black clouds of negative thinking and fill me with praise and joy in Him.
I pray you will be filled with hearts full of praise today ~ Faye
Some days we just need to constantly remind ourselves that God is FAITHFUL – all the time! It is easy on the good days when things are going along smoothly. But what about the days when the kids are more moody than you can handle, the car breaks down, or a friend or family member causes incredible pain?
Speaking from many experiences, I KNOW God is faithful, but I don’t always FEEL it. However, resting and meditating on God’s Word can FILL ME ABUNDANTLY with the assurance of His LOVE and FAITHFULNESS. I may not FEEL it, but deep down I KNOW it.
Having a prodigal child can bring heavy emotions some times. I REST fully in the promise of God’s Covenantal LOVE and GRACE to get me through these difficult times.
Praising God through both the good and difficult times for His LAVISH LOVE and FAITHFULNESS and hope you can as well ~ Faye
We were blessed to spend time with family and friends over Easter weekend. The weather was absolutely beautiful in Michigan. Taking time to celebrate Christ’s death and resurrection is always a blessing.
But something happened Saturday morning that I would not have thought of as an Easter Blessing. We helped set up and distribute food at a mobile food pantry. What a humbling experience. We pulled into the parking lot about 8:15 and were greeted with a line of baskets and boxes lined up and people getting a cup of coffee as they continued their wait. They often begin arriving between 5 and 6 am. During the time waiting for the Feeding America West Michigan truck, people are registered and given a number.
A semi with 5,000+ pounds of food pulls into The River’s church parking lot every third Saturday of the month a little after 9:00. Then the work begins in earnest. Volunteers separate the produce, drink, and baked goods into roughly equal bags for each person.
The River had been seeing approximately 100 people the past couple of months and with the nicer weather they expected higher numbers. By 9:30 there were over 100 people registered so we prepared bags for 125. By 10:00 when the food distribution began, there were 130 people lined up. We rearranged some of the food to make sure we had enough for all. Then people turned in their number and proceeded through the food.
I was handing out 10# bags of potatoes. I was so encouraged to meet the people. Many of them were so friendly and kind, despite their difficulties in life. Since it was Easter weekend I often said “have a happy or blessed Easter”. Many people replied similarly and some even gave thanks to Jesus for His blessings of grace.
Here were people, some who waited hours, in need of food. They obviously had been dealing with struggles of life. Yet, most of them were incredibly happy. Despite difficulties they were celebrating and counting their blessings.
My husband and I were greatly humbled by these beautiful people in need. The “funny” thing is we had been facing some difficulties recently with health, car issues, relationships and were trying to keep a “stiff upper lip”. But after spending time with these Easter blessings, we made a commitment once again to look deeper into each trial to see God’s abundant blessings.
It wasn’t long after that commitment that we would be tested to see how we would react. On our drive home from Michigan we had car troubles about 75 miles from home. Car problems on the interstate aren’t fun, especially in a rainstorm. We were able to get to a location where we could call our auto service. Blessing 1- we have 100 mile towing, so we were able to get to our own mechanic. Blessing 2 – there was a tow truck driver available in late afternoon to drive 150 miles round trip to get us home. Blessing 3 – the driver was a very friendly and upbeat person. Blessing 4 – we were able to borrow a vehicle from a friend. Blessing 5 – an indescribable calm in dealing with two cars in the shop (the first one was hit by a deer a week earlier) and a peace that filled us as we deal with a “frustration” in life. Blessing 6 – the care of friends and family.
I pray that you look at each day and see the beautiful blessings all around you ~ Faye