Category Archives: Psalms
10 years ago I was evacuated from my home due to flooding. I sat on the bed at a friend’s home and opened my Bible needing to hear from God that He cared about the desperate situation in my area. My Bible opened to Psalm 29.
Here’s a little background: For those not from Eastern Iowa, Cedar Rapids, Palo in 2008, we had the worst flooding ever seen on record.
On Wednesday, June 11, the city completely evacuated all of its 980 citizens. All road access was later cut off, and the city went completely underwater. Around 90% of the structures in the community had damage from water. People were supposed to return to their homes on June 15, but were delayed by hazards such as contamination due to the flood and floating propane tanks. By Tuesday, June 17, it was reported that residents had for the most part returned home to deal with damage. Some buildings were more damaged than others; some had only a flooded basement to deal with, but for others, the water reached up to the first floor level.
On June 13, 2008, the Cedar River crested to its highest level in Cedar Rapids history, 31.12 feet. The previous record reached only 20 feet. The flood waters penetrated 10 square miles or 14 percent of the city. This monumental flood impacted 7,198 parcels, including 5,390 houses, dislocated more than 18,000 residents and damaged 310 City facilities. Just two weeks prior a small town an hour north of where I live was ripped apart by an EF5 tornado. ~ Cedar Rapids Gazette articles
Well those verses from Psalm 29 have not left me. They talk about “the voice of the Lord splitting cedars” – that was evident in the destruction in Parkersburg. As I read further, I was surrounded by incredible peace when I read, “the Lord is enthroned above the floods.” Ps 29:10a NIV
Things definitely were uncertain and recovery looked impossible. Especially to some of the Palo residents whom I got to know after the flood. They lost their homes, homes of their parents and siblings and children, they lost their income when their businesses were destroyed and they lost their church due to the record flooding. Yet through all the “impossibility” of what was surrounding our small town, God made impossible things happen. Neighbors who didn’t know each other, worked together first to sandbag and then to clean up. Strangers from literally around the world came month after month to help with the rebuilding. Cities and staff worked tirelessly to make reentry into our homes for the clean-up to begin as soon as possible. Friendships were made. The church rebuilt and added on. Businesses were supported by people from around Iowa who knew they would need additional help to recover. Palo has grown and, despite many losses, has made many improvements as well.
I hope you know and believe in the God of impossibilities, the God who rules over the floods and difficulties in your life. ~ Faye
May you be filled with God’s wondrous JOY
as you ponder the miracle of Christmas!
It’s the season of Advent – anticipation, expectation, and hope of Christ’s coming to earth. First as a baby over 2000 years ago and next as triumphant King and Lord over all. We prepare for Christmas with anticipation and generally with lots of excitement. But what about those who struggle this time of year. Those who feel like they have no hope, no family or friends, nothing to celebrate, feeling all alone …
The word Lament has been on my mind a lot this past month. I’ve watched loved ones and acquaintances struggle with heavy burdens. Physical issues of cancer, miscarriages and chronic pain. Spiritual issues of questioning God, grace, struggling with addictions. Mental issues of loneliness, abandonment, anger, rage and so many other overwhelming feelings. Life is filled with many challenges.
Right now, I am facing a loved one in crisis. Without sharing details, we aren’t sure if this person is getting the help they need or if they have literally disappeared from our lives. Lament. Deep despair. Hopelessness. The definition of lament is: “a passionate expression of grief or sorrow.” Some synonyms are: wailing, moaning, weeping, crying, sobbing. Lament is the ultimate act of surrender to God by opening one’s self with raw emotion and letting God bind the wounds, wrap you in His arms of love and cherish you, His beloved one.
I have two choices right now: stay filled with sorrow and the weight of despair over the situation or I can focus on Advent and Christmas and the HOPE of Jesus’s coming. There are times that I want to just curl up in a ball, sobbing and crying to God – “Why?” And I do. There’s nothing wrong with going to Him with my pain.
In an article by Autumn Kern on Psalm 22, she shares the meaning of Lament.
“Lamenting reveals the core of our humanity; it shows us that we are not God and that we need God.”
Throughout the Psalms, David very openly shares his soul-wrenching grief. Psalm 43 says:
Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise Him again—
my Savior and my God!
Psalm 13:1-2, 5-6
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will You hide Your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
But I have trusted in Your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.
Can you tell the relationship between the Psalmist David and his God? Pure, raw honesty. God doesn’t chastise him for crying out “Why?” or “How Long?” David pours out his heart from the pit of his stomach, groaning his anguish. And yet, do you see what he does next? He remembers God’s faithfulness. He praises God. God desires to have the intimate relationship with us He had with Adam and Eve in the Garden. He already knows the heaviness in our hearts and minds. He wants us to openly come to Him and share our deepest needs, burdens, concerns and desires.
In looking for resources to encourage me during this difficult time, I came across two encouraging quotes from Ann Voskamp:
God is so moved by our being entangled in suffering — that He moved Himself into our world and entangled Himself in the suffering with us. God with us.
His glory in the highest always runs down to meet us who are at our lowest.
If you have a loved one who struggles with mental illness, which often seems to be compounded at the holidays, I pray you will pour out your hearts to God. Let Him take your burdens and cares and carry them for you. The God who was the baby in the manger is also the God who died on the cross and rose again to save all who believe in Him. That same God is coming again to make a new heaven and new earth. God is in control of all things. Pour out your hearts to Him and remember with praise the incredible things He has done for you.
Praying for those who are heavy-hearted this season ~ Faye
Here’s some other quotes that I appreciated:
“Lamentation is a powerful, and meaningful, form of worship because it places our love for God above even the worst of circumstances in our life… God does not ask us to deny the existence of our suffering. He does want us to collect it, stand in those things and make Him an offering. The Holy Spirit, our Comforter, helps us to do this: He aligns Himself with our will and says, ‘I will help you to will to worship God.’ The glory of the majesty of God is that He helps us will and do.” – Graham Cooke
“If you are in mourning, you have the opportunity to worship in the most powerful way possible: lamentation. This worship isn’t done in order to have God remove the pain. It simply recognizes that God stands in the moment with us. Lamentation elevates God in the presence of our enemies. It brings out a side of God that other forms of worship simply cannot touch.” – Graham Cooke
“Praising God in the midst of difficulty is so powerful because God stands in the moment with us. The thing that I can testify during those moments of difficulty—when I brought my pain directly to God and walked with Him through it—was the reality that God was really there, and He gave me a deeper revelation of Himself.” – Michael Card
And this passage from Lamentations 2 and 3 has filled my heart as I’ve cried out to God in my pain and rejoiced with Him in His faithfulness.
I have cried until the tears no longer come;
my heart is broken.
My spirit is poured out in agony
as I see the desperate plight of my people.
Little children and tiny babies
are fainting and dying in the streets.
What can I say about you?
Who has ever seen such sorrow?
O daughter of Jerusalem,
to what can I compare your anguish?
O virgin daughter of Zion,
how can I comfort you?
For your wound is as deep as the sea.
Who can heal you?
The thought of my suffering and homelessness
is bitter beyond words.
I will never forget this awful time,
as I grieve over my loss.
Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends![b]
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!”
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 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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
What incredible beauty there is in God’s creation! In the past month, I’ve gone from enjoying His glory in a sunrise at the lake to walking through the plants at work and seeing the incredible detail on a crisp, frosty morning.
This summer due to a lot of circumstances, I have felt myself drawing away from God. After talking about it with a few precious friends, they each asked if I was getting out with my camera lately. I had to admit I haven’t. Not like I had in the past. I can come up with a list of reasons/excuses why, but really it comes down to enjoying the adrenalin of being busy helping others. When I reflect on that, I realize that I am missing so much of what I was created to do — The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. (Westminster Catechism) I have allowed myself to be so busy at work, in projects, in planning worship services, etc., that I have not had my primary focus be on giving God glory and enjoying/celebrating Him for ALL He has done.
Yesterday our minister preached from Isaiah 52 & 53 on how much our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, did for us. How He endured incredible suffering-mocked, whipped, beaten. Jesus, our Lord, bled and died for our sins. When He paid such an incredibly selfless price for each one of us, why don’t we take time to glorify God in all things? As we all heard the message we realized the depth of God’s love. From the beginning of the worship service to the end there was an incredible transformation in the people’s worship from enjoying singing about God to hearts being lifted up glorifying God in praise for the Power of the Cross.
We have so much to glorify God for from the beauty of creation to His unconditional love and abundant grace.
I grabbed my camera the day after a hard frost. Oh the joy of being blown away, being still in God’s presence and enjoying His glorious creation. When I look at pictures of God’s creation such as these, I often sing the following words, especially the second verse:Be still, for the presence of the LORD, the Holy One, is here. Come bow before Him now with reverence and fear. In Him no sin is found; we stand on holy ground. Be still, for the presence of the LORD, the Holy One, is here. Be still, for the glory of the LORD is shining all around. He burns with holy fire; with splendor He is crowned. How awesome is the sight, our radiant King of light! Be still, for the glory of the LORD
is shining all around. Be still, for the power of the LORD is moving in this place. He comes to cleanse and heal, to minister His grace. No work too hard for Him; in faith receive from Him. Be still, for the power of the LORD is moving in this place. ~David Evans © 1986, Kingsway’s Thankyou Music
The morning I took the photo of the sunrise, I was visiting friends. I was blessed to wake up before the sunrise and just wait in the peacefulness of the lake and wait for the sun to appear. There is such an incredible calm that comes during that time of waiting as the sky turns from navy blue/black to light hues of gold and the fog rolls in on the lake. It is incredible just to silently breathe in God’s presence and peace and even without words being said just glorify God for ALL He has done for us. God has blessed us abundantly with His creation, love, mercy and grace. We need to take the time to Be Still and Know that He is God!
I had the wonderful time last night to watch some of God’s beautiful handiwork. It started with a wonderful sunset followed a few hours later by an incredible light show just north of us. My husband and I sat on the deck for at least half an hour watching flashes of lightning bounce from cloud to cloud and the cooling summer breezes blew over us following a hot, humid day. As I sat there I wondered what God was thinking, doing during the flashes of lightning. Was He wiggling His fingers in the clouds just to create some enjoyment for us to watch? Was He having fun stirring up the electrical charges that were bubbling out of the clouds? Or were the angels singing His praise and tonight they decided to show it with light? I know those thoughts are trying to reduce God to human terms and there is no way that can ever be done. But as I watched the beauty of the sunset, the majesty of the cloud billowing higher and higher, the sun’s rays streaming toward heaven and then the incredible lightening show, I could only think of the glory of God.
I am reading John Piper’s book Desiring God and this morning he was sharing from Psalm 115:3 – “Our God is in heaven; He does whatever pleases Him.” All I could do was think back to the sunset and lightening last night and again ponder God’s greatness, majesty and glory.
This Sunday our pastor will be preaching on the stoning of Stephen from Acts 7-8. We are focusing the opening of worship on Acts 7:55
“Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand.”
These instances made me ponder whether my life is a reflection of God’s glory. For surely I may not see as clearly as Stephen as he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, but last night I there was no denying that the Creator of the universe was clearly showing off a glimpse of His glory.
Praying God allows us to open our eyes to see more of those glimpses daily. May God abundantly bless you ~ Faye
I don’t have any profound thoughts to share. I’ve just been enjoying being in God’s presence and worshiping Him through His creation the past week and thought I’d share the photos that brought to mind the words from Psalm 148:
1 Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens!
Praise him from the skies!
2 Praise him, all his angels!
Praise him, all the armies of heaven!
3 Praise him, sun and moon!
Praise him, all you twinkling stars!
4 Praise him, skies above!
Praise him, vapors high above the clouds!
5 Let every created thing give praise to the Lord,
for he issued his command, and they came into being.
6 He set them in place forever and ever.
His decree will never be revoked.
7 Praise the Lord from the earth,
you creatures of the ocean depths,
8 fire and hail, snow and clouds,[a]
wind and weather that obey him,
9 mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars,
10 wild animals and all livestock,
small scurrying animals and birds,
11 kings of the earth and all people,
rulers and judges of the earth,
12 young men and young women,
old men and children.
13 Let them all praise the name of the Lord.
For his name is very great;
his glory towers over the earth and heaven!
14 He has made his people strong,
honoring his faithful ones—
the people of Israel who are close to him.
I have talked with several people this week who are concerned over loved one’s behavior and choices, or facing serious health issues, or decisions about their future employment or move. I’ve spoke with a parent who is beating themselves up about their child’s lifestyle and how they could have changed things somehow, maybe … I’ve been in conversations about the mistakes – no, let’s call it what it really is – sin – we as Christians make daily and how that is observed from an unbeliever. Over the span of a few days I’ve found myself wanting to fix problems that were out of my control. I’ve found myself wanting to be bolder in my faith to have answered when someone challenged about someone calling themselves a Christian and yet spent time gossiping. And I’ve struggled with God trying to find the wisdom to know what I should do in certain situations.
We all want do-overs in life. There’s a part of us that wants to live a perfect life, but sin is ever-present in this earthly world. I’ve enjoyed reading The Quest for Serenity by G.H. Morling and Ruth Graham Bell several times over the past decade. Morling wrote the chapter, Leaving It All Quietly to God, based on portions of Psalm 62. Bell included a poem that reminded me not to live life with regrets but to give them over to God so that I may live a life filled with serenity that comes from God alone.
Leave quietly to God ~ My mistakes. The sins and shortcomings of others. The mistakes of others. That which is none of my business. Politics and world affairs. That which I cannot get done. And that which I cannot get undone. The un-understandable. That for which I am not remotely responsible.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen.
The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; Your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of Your hands. Psalm 138:8
Praying you will be blessed with God’s serenity ~ Faye
Not everyone eagerly looks forward to the holidays because of the hurt that comes with family and friend gatherings. Sometimes behind a smile, there can be hidden a heart that is burdened for someone else, over a broken relationship, or grieving a loss.
I was reviewing my journal from December 2009. At the time, I had been reading Psalm 33 and was struck with the thought, “If God is in control of ALL things, how can I question my faith?” Or maybe it should say, “How can I question God?” We were dealing with a long lapse in communication with our son. I had been pouring my heart out to God over the situation when God seemed to break down His word almost verse by verse.
Here’s a portion of what I wrote back in 2009 along with some current thoughts:
vs. 1-3 – Praise the Lord, be filled with Joy! That’s really hard when one is full of worry. Worry is doubting in God being in control of ALL things.
vs. 4 – God is faithful in ALL He does. The New Living Translation (NLT) says, “we can trust everything He does.” He’s in control. He knows what’s going on – all the details. He loves our son so much more than we ever can.
God’s word IS true. We can trust everything He says. God’s word tells us “I can never escape from Your Spirit! I can never get away from Your presence!” (Psalm 139:7) These words give assurance to a mom and dad who worry over their child’s long absence. God is with us! God knew us when we were formed in the secret place, knew us before we were born, and will never leave us. He knows our pain and He knows what is happening in our son’s life.
vs. 5 – The Lord’s unfailing love FILLS the earth. Wherever our loved ones are, God’s love is there reaching out to them.
vs. 8 – Let all the people of the world revere/fear Him, for He is the God who created and ordered all of creation.
vs. 11 – But the plans of the Lord stand firm FOREVER – the purposes of His heart through ALL generations. It seemed like these words jumped off the page. God’s plans are for ALL generations, even an absent child. The NLT says, “His intentions can never be shaken.”
vs. 20-21 – Keep hoping in the Lord. He is your help. Don’t stop lifting up your loved ones to God, but keep hoping with hearts overflowing with joy as we trust in Him.
vs. 22 – May Your unfailing love rest upon us (surround us), O Lord, for our hope is in You alone. “Put your hope in God for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.” (Psalm 42:11)
My hope isn’t supposed to be on the relationship or the issues surrounding it. My hope isn’t waiting for the phone to ring, or the email to come. My hope is to be founded firmly in the Lord. I’m supposed to surrender my worries and REST in Him; abiding JOYFULLY in God!
Don’t let Satan steal your joy in God. Be filled with His love. Abide fully in God’s word for the truth. Let your Hope be in the Lord, especially when it comes to the difficult relationships and losses you may endure, particularly during the holidays.
Praying you will be abundantly blessed with God’s unfailing love ~ Faye
I saw a glimpse of His working in someone’s life today and was so blessed. This person has struggled with being hurt and angry and unable to forgive the callous acts of some people. From my perspective, I’d say the person was definitely justified by their reactions after being falsely accused of misdeeds. But I saw first hand God’s grace and peace working through that person as they were kind, compassionate and caring to some of the individuals who had spread lies and rumors about them. The incredible thing is this person is not a professing Christian. God was answering my prayers for this person’s life, and they were seemingly oblivious to them. Fortunately, God wasn’t.
How often have I prayed for this person? Almost every day for the past several years. Have I seen God answering those prayers for opportunities to share my faith, witness that person be changed and transformed by the saving grace of Christ – not yet. Some days it seems so strange to continue to pray for them when God doesn’t seem to allow them to hear His call. But God is so good. When I least expected it, basically while the person was in the very presence of his enemies, God blew me away by the transformation I saw in this person. The person volunteered to be of assistance in the future if needed, answered questions to help the individuals proceed, and best of all, left the meeting calm and filled with a peace that they would not normally have had given the circumstances. Even more surprising, I was there as a friend and hadn’t spent time specifically praying for the meeting today, yet God answered previous prayers for healing and blessed several people.
Psalm 77:11-14 says, “I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember Your wonders of old. I will ponder all Your work, and meditate on Your might deeds. Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders; You have made known Your might among the peoples.”
I’m praying and hoping I remember this day of the LORD’s deeds for I saw His transforming power. It has given me renewed courage and strength to continually pray for this person’s faith and relationship with God. It has encouraged me to continue to pray for a wayward loved one. Everything is in God’s timing, not mine. Even though I don’t see an answer to my prayers right away, God hears them, and in His perfect time, He will answer the prayers of a persistent heart. I encourage you to think about God’s deeds in your life from today and in the past. Write down a few of them. Share them with others to encourage them in their walk of faith. Tell your children of the ways God has blessed you. Help others remember the mighty deeds of the LORD.
God’s richest blessings ~ Faye