Category Archives: Trust
The voice of the Lord SPLITS the might cedars …
… all across Iowa there is incredible devastation following Monday, August 11, 2020 Hurricane/Derecho. Trees are down everywhere – on houses, cars, in streets, on electrical wires, blocking driveways. The derecho was more than 700 miles wide and by us probably 60 miles north/south. There was not an area in Linn County that escaped some damage. At least 1,000 have their homes condemned, power has been out across the area since Monday about noon and is slowly being restored, food by the tons had to be thrown away due to no power, people waited in line for hours for gasoline to power generators and chainsaws, businesses that were shutdown for COVID are now out of power and can’t operate and so much more.
Yet – the Lord is in total control.
Back in 2008 seven square miles of Linn County, Iowa were under water in the history-making flood. Then God blessed me with His words from Psalm 29:10-11:
The Lord rules over the floodwaters.
The Lord reigns as King forever.
The Lord gives His people strength.
The Lord blesses them with peace.
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.
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.
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 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 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
There are so many hardships, trials, pain and difficulty in life.
- Typhoon in Philippines creates horrible damage …
- Murder, abuse, assault, theft …
- A friend is waiting a week of unknown as test after test is performed …
- Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, Diabetes, Heart Disease …
- Depression, anxiety, fear, worry …
- Separation, divorce, children in the middle …
- Abandoned children and families …
- Confusion over health care, politics, finances …
The list goes on and on. It’s hard not to spiral downward in hopelessness, worry and defeat. But Jesus reminds us of His continual love and care in Matthew 11:28:
“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
It’s given with open arms ready to receive you. It is filled with unconditional love and abundant grace – Come.
The invitation is for those who are weary, tired, worn down, burned out, sad, depressed, brokenhearted, those who carry heavy burdens, great trials, overwhelming circumstances – Come.
The invitation is given by Jesus, our Lord and Savior – Come.
The promise – Rest, Calm, Peace, Serenity, Tranquility – Rest for your souls.
Take a moment to stop and breathe in that Rest.
Be filled with God’s PEACE.
Let the burden be lifted off of you as you Come and Rest with Jesus.
Praying you are filled with God’s abundant grace and rest, rest for your soul, as you Come to Him and give Him your burdens ~ Faye
Sometimes life throws us some difficult curve balls. One wonders if God is really in control or even cares about what’s happening. Those are time times I am reminded of the verses from Jeremiah 29:11-13
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for Me wholeheartedly, you will find Me.”
In the past few weeks friends and family members have faced the loss of loved ones through aging and suicide. I’ve spoke with someone who grew up in a cult and has just recently seen her 30-year-old sibling come out of the cult. I’ve watched more and more people deal with health issues, job losses, financial difficulties, facing consequences for breaking the law, and marital problems. I want to ask God, “If He really cares, why doesn’t He do something to stop the pain?”
A while back I studied Carol Kent’s book Between a Rock and a Grace Place and tonight I found myself reflecting on a portion from her book:
If you too feel caught in one of those tight spots that seem unusually difficult, if not unbearable, I pray that you will come to realize that the pain of being in this place need not cause you to lose hope. If you press into the Rock instead of trying to get around it, you will discover a surprise far better than a birthday or a Christmas gift. On the road that is your life right now, you can find a new way of thinking about your circumstances, as well as an astonishing experience of grace, tailor-made just for you. As you encounter God on the way, not in the way, you may come to know Him as you never have before. Remember what Olympian Eric Liddle said, ‘Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives and God’s plans, but God is not helpless among the ruins.’
I’m so grateful God is in control of the universe from before time began. I’m glad we have the assurance that He cares so much for each of us that He blessed us with life-saving grace of His Son, Jesus Christ, our LORD.
Kent goes on to say, “God works best through broken people who know they do not have all the answers. He can use people who have exhausted their own resources and finally realize that negotiating the tight spots of life is not something they do by themselves.” I’m so grateful God uses ordinary people, people who have walked through pain and found the joy and hope only God can give.
Philip Yancey says, “The kind of faith God values seems to develop best when everything fuzzes over, when God stays silent, when the fog rolls in.” God gives more grace for each trial and burden that comes our way. The more we rely on Him, the more He answers and provides for us in ways that could only come from His hand.
Abundantly grateful for God’s presence through the difficult circumstances of our lives.
Time. For some a week, month or year are but a blink of the eye, particularly from hindsight. But for others time trudges on – waiting for test results, living with chronic or terminal illnesses, serving a prison sentence, or trying to understand what the future holds can all make time seem to stand still.
In this world of all its worries and cares, there’s a simple little song that I find can calm my heart and bring me back to the perspective that God has all things in His control — In His Time.
We are hardwired to “do something”, especially in this fast-paced culture. So resting and waiting doesn’t come naturally. We want action. Waiting for God seems counterintuitive to what we believe we want and should do. An In Touch devotional reminded me that “waiting for the Lord means to pause for further instruction while remaining in the present circumstance. It is a purposeful, expectant focus on God — a choice to be actively still and quiet in our hearts, listening for His voice and watching for His intervention. The wait is not for events to work out as we want, but rather for God’s will to be done.”
We must surrender and submit to God. The photo of the ice on the berries reminds me clearly of that. This photo was taken December 2007 following an ice storm in the Midwest. Little did we know the beauty of that ice would be the beginning of massive flooding in June 2008. The devastation of the flood was overwhelming for many. But now, three and a half years later, many of us have been able to see the “beauty” God has brought through those difficult times. My husband and I personally saw God’s hand in the provisions of friends opening their home to us for 12 1/2 weeks!, saving most of the “things” in our basement, getting involved in flood recovery, and precious new friendships with people whom we likely would not have met without God’s intervening.
I can find myself so frustrated at waiting. How will I use my time and gifts that God has blessed me with? Sitting around seems like such a waste. But I’m finding more and more that in those waiting periods, if I am actively waiting and listening for God to lead and provide, He blows me away. What seems like delayed timing from my view is perfect timing from God’s viewpoint. The all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present God, Creator of all things and Lord of the universe can never be late.
The more I pour out my heart to Him, spend time with Him in prayer and His word and the more I intentionally bring my worries and concerns to Him, the more He shows me very clearly He IS there. He’s always paying attention. He knows intimately what we need. And if we keep looking for Him, He shows us clearly that He is there.
Twice this week I had times of, “Ok God! I get it. You are paying attention to my needs and You do care.” Running my home business, I need to pay for the more expensive TurboTax software. Well, being more frugal these days, I’ve been watching the sales and Internet, but realized the local club store had the best deal. However, I thought I’d keep watching for something better. Thursday morning I woke with the clear impression to head over to the store for the software. I walked in, and they handed me a flyer. The store had an unadvertised $10 discount on that item for the next four days. I could have just accepted it as coincidence, but I’ve learned those are God moments. Friday I had an auto maintenance scheduled. As I pulled into the garage Thursday, the car made an awful noise. So Friday I spoke to the mechanic about it. The fan belt was cracked and showing signs of pieces coming off. Praise God I wasn’t out driving in country roads and stranded, or it broke and caused more damage, and that I had the appointment already. God even provided for the majority of the cost of the repair with a dental reimbursement check.
Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. — Ecclesiastes 3:11
Praying you will sense God’s abundant blessing of peace and calm as you actively wait for His plans and timing ~ Faye
Our pastor preached a challenging and encouraging message this Sunday on a topic I struggle with way too frequently – Worrying. He looked at Matthew 6:25-34, where Jesus talks about God’s taking care of the birds’ needs and clothing the lilies in splendor. Jesus reminds us that if He cares for such tiny creatures and flowers that others don’t even see, how much more will He care for His creation that He gave souls to, sent His Son to die for, and filled us with His Holy Spirit. Jesus also reminds us that each day has enough worry for itself, so don’t leap ahead and worry about the future.
Jesus knows that each day has concerns and pressures. He wants us to live in trust that He has everything in control. We need to trust Him and be filled with His peace. His peace isn’t like anything the world has — It is so much deeper. He fills us to overflowing with the inner beauty and calm of peace that only comes from the Holy Spirit.
As our pastor preached, my mind kept going back to the things I worry about –
- life with chronic progressive illnesses
- what does God have planned for my future as far as work and my business
- finances, especially being underemployed
- using my time wisely
- coming up with things to write for God’s Abundant Blessings blog (ironic, I know).
But then I started to reflect on the past few weeks. I did a 180-spin in the snow a few days earlier, and as I cried out, “God, help me!” I felt His presence and a calm assurance that He was with me. When I sat in the waiting room while my husband had a heart procedure, and the nurse came out and said, “We’ve run into a little problem …” I was filled with incredible peace and serenity that only comes from God’s presence. (Things turned out well after the procedure.)
Trusting and letting go isn’t easy for this Type A person. I sometimes think that’s why God allowed me to have the chronic illnesses. They have given me a huge slow-me-down, and I’ve needed to continually trust in Him for my strength so many days and in so many ways.
I was reminded during the pastor’s message of a testimony I heard many years ago by Roger Bennett as he was facing a life with leukemia. (You can Google Roger Bennett testimony and hear several of his stories on YouTube.) Here are the words to Roger and Debbie Bennett’s song: Don’t Be AfraidThe disciples were tossed on a cold, raging sea But Jesus was sleeping so peacefully They cried, “Master, don’t you care that we die?” But He spoke three small words, “Peace be still,” It was the storm that had to die So don’t be afraid when the darkness is closing The Master is near, His voice calms every storm So when the world says it’s over, the Master says, “No, I’ve just begun” In your darkest of times, whether rain or in sunshine, don’t be afraid I know how it feels to be tossed by the storms And I know how it feels to be battered and worn But then I know how it feels to be carried on through Called by the strength of the One who is faithful and true So don’t be afraid when the darkness is closing The Master is near, His voice calms every storm So when the world says it’s over, the Master says, “No, I’ve just begun” In your darkest of times, whether rain or in sunshine, don’t be afraid
©Onward Bound Music (ASCAP) / Homeward Bound Music (BMI). Album: Raise the Roof (1994)
Roger lost his battle with cancer here on earth, but I’m sure He’s celebrating greatly in heaven. And he’d likely be the first one to tell us – Don’t Be Afraid of the dark valleys, where Satan comes and tempts us to despair and worry. Trust God, and boldly face your future. Dwell in God’s providential love and grace.
Praying you are as abundantly blessed by God’s perspective, presence and peace as I am today ~ Faye
I really appreciate Jeremiah 29:11 and even verses 12 & 13. These are GREAT words of assurance – knowing God has plans for us. But if these verses are read in context, this is from a letter from Jeremiah the prophet, to the people who were going to live in exile for 70 years! I’m sure there were days they wondered if God had forgotten His chosen people. I’m sure there were days they wondered if God really knew what plans He had in store for His people.
To know that God intentionally exiled His people and told them to multiply, plan to live there and be productive and after 70 years He would come and do all the good that He had promised. God warned the people to stay away from the evils of the land.
I’m “only” 55. I can’t imagine knowingly living 70 years in a land of exile that was planned by God. Going forward only with the promise that He would come after 70 years and “do for the Israelites all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again.”
I’m grateful God is in control of my life. I’m grateful He has a plan for my life. As you read verses 12 and 13 it becomes clear that God wants His people to draw continually closer to Him.
As I said in my previous post, life has been a roller coaster ride the past couple of weeks. Some of the tension was due to the fact my husband gets about 10 days vacation over the holidays, and I’m used to being home alone all day ;-). There was a day this week I was at odds with everybody, including my husband. I finally asked him to let me have some alone time / God time. I realized I needed my “exile time” from everyone else, except God. The busyness of the holidays, family get-togethers, travel, a medical procedure all created tension and didn’t allow for much individual quiet time with God. Oh I spent time talking with Him – on the run. I read His word – quickly. I just hadn’t spent time just relishing in God’s presence; being filled with God’s embracing of my heart.
I know God has plans for my life – but there are times when I would really like to know God’s plans. Prior to my husband’s medical procedure, I’d like to have known the outcome (which was good). After losing a significant income source, I’d like to know God’s plan for our financial future. After dealing with relationship issues, I’d like to know how they will be resolved. But if I knew those plans ahead of time, I’d also know ahead of time that I would be living with chronic illnesses long before the symptoms appeared. Would it have helped? Maybe, but maybe it would have made me rely on what I could do instead of what God has done through me as I’ve learned my strength to handle the illnesses comes from Him.
God’s timing is always perfect. He knows fully the plans He has for us, even before we were created. We are blessed He is in control of all things.
Jeremiah 29:10-13 ‒
10 This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.
Enjoy the blessings of God’s perfect plan for you, and precious times of exile with Him! ~ Faye
I was struck by this quote of John Eldredge –
The only way to live in this adventure – with all its danger and unpredictability and immensely high stakes – is in an ongoing, intimate relationship with God.
The roller coaster adventure ride I have just finished over the past 12 days has been phenomenal. We celebrated incredible highs – the miracles of healing physically and relationally to precious time with family and friends – and then trudged through the lows – grief over a family member’s decisions and frustration with a body that just doesn’t do what I want it to do. Tomorrow we face the unknown as my husband goes in for a medical procedure. (But we do know God holds him in His grasp and goes ahead of us on this journey.)
God is so good. He led me to one of my journals where I looked at a devotional from In Touch based on 1 Samuel 17:45-47:
David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues His people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and He will give you to us!”
David declared victory over Goliath BEFORE the battle even started. He had faith that God would be with him because he was God’s servant. (Remember, at this time David was just a lowly shepherd boy and not King.) David wanted to serve God out of the deep love for God. David faced adventures of all kinds in his life, many were running for his life while others were because of his sinful ways. Yet God was with David all the time.
As you face the rollercoaster adventure of life, there will likely be giants along or even in the way. Remember to grab firmly to God, immerse yourself in His presence, fill your heart with His word and let Him minister to you. Be sure to have the right motive in facing your giant – a desire to follow, serve and honor God – no matter what lies ahead. Romans 8:37b … “overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.”
Praying you hang on tightly to the adventure God has planned for you and that you may see His blessings through them ~ Faye
David was small but no giant could take him. And Daniel was doomed but there was not a wound when they raised him from the lion’s den. Simon Peter, in chains, brought an angel to the rescue. Paul and Silas, in jail, were guarded to no avail for their shackles were loose and the doors just flew open. “Now, what is the catch?” I asked one day I was readin’; it must be an age old mystery. Then, takin’ a second look I discovered a strikingly clear consistency
Chorus: (It’s) meetin’ disaster face to faith, puttin’ God’s promises into place, tendin’ to trouble with a little taste of what God will do when His people start callin’ His name. He anxiously awaits to give the word to release the power that prayer creates, so we gotta learn to meet every problem that we face to faith.
Now, now, now, now, people I’ve learned that God’s word can be tested. Just trust Him, you’ll see, for those who believe He’s still a God of mighty miracles. So, when troubles hit hard, turn to God and be patient. Just stand strong, don’t run, for there isn’t anyone that He’s ever let down when their lives have been faithful. It’s easy to go half-way and not really do it. But that makes the consequences rough. The more the catastrophe, the sooner you see that you’re so much better off Chorus
He will deliver us if we only learn to trust (We gotta start… ) Chorus
I learned very much to rely on God in a very difficult situation recently, and God has incredibly blessed. Not in the way I expected, but He used some totally unexpected ways and people to bless me during the troubles. I want to encourage you to bring your troubles, pains, struggles to God. Continue to trust Him even when a situation seems hopeless. He hasn’t failed to let me know in many ways He’s miraculously in control of all things. When I let “disasters” become the focus, life hits hard, and soon I am filled with worry and doubts. When I meet each struggle with faith in God, I am made stronger in my faith and blessed by how God is at work in all the details.
So, when troubles hit hard turn to God and be patient
Just stand strong, don’t run, for there isn’t anyone that He’s ever let down
when their lives have been faithful
Praying you are filled with God’s blessings when you meet your “disaster” face to faith ~ Faye
I was working on my Bible study from 1 John 4:1-6 where John speaks of being aware of false prophets. Christians need to know and test what they hear to make sure it is from God. 1 John 4:2 states, “This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.” John speaks often of former Christians who have once belonged, but have left the faith and now share a distorted view of God looking at half-truths.
I was blessed by how the New Living Translation phrases verses 4-6:
4 But you belong to God, [emphasis mine] my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. 5 Those people belong to this world, so they speak from the world’s viewpoint, and the world listens to them. 6 But we belong to God, and those who know God listen to us. If they do not belong to God, they do not listen to us. That is how we know if someone has the Spirit of truth or the spirit of deception.
I grew up in a Christian home and was taught from early on the assurance found in Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1:
Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
A. That I am not my own,
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.
Thinking about belonging to God, made me decide to Google “belonging to God” to see what others thought of the blessings of belonging. What a surprise that the first website that came back was someone who had belonged to God growing up in the Christian faith but somehow became disenchanted with God. This person IS one of the people John is warning about. He talks very intelligently about the Christian faith and other religious beliefs and backgrounds. Even as he quotes God’s Holy Word, he claims that he fully believes the sayings of “God’s Prophet.” Careful reading shows that he fully believes in Muhammad. He believes “God is the Olive Tree…” It’s no wonder John WARNS us to watch out for false prophets. This person quotes from the Qur’an and many of the verses are minor twists to God’s Word. If we don’t stay in God’s word, we can’t compare one with the other. Does part of the responsibility in belonging to God come with being in a close and growing relationship with Him? Most definitely.
Belonging has a sense of being enveloped in someone’s arms. What a wonderful picture to be held tightly in God’s grip of grace. I only have that sense of belonging because I believe in my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. God’s only Son, our Lord. Conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary. Died and Rose again!
So what started out as a look at belonging because of the words of 1 John 4:4-6, ended up with the reality of the importance of staying true to God’s Word and being filled with the Spirit of God to be able to discern the false teachings and prophets. I think I came away from this study with two meanings for belonging – 1) the blessing of belonging to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ, as God’s dearly loved child and 2) the blessings of belonging in God’s Word.
Praying you enjoy fully the blessing of BELONGING TO JESUS CHRIST, OUR SAVIOR ~ Faye
Esther. What a great reminder of God’s providential care!
Here’s some points of God’s Providence:
- Queen Vashti is deposed when she refuses to appear before King Xerxes.
- Esther, a worshiper of God, is chosen as Queen.
- Mordecai overhears a plot to kill the king and saves his life.
- Mordecai doesn’t bow to Haman and so Haman plots to kill the Jews.
- Xerxes can’t sleep and wants to read a story, out of all the history books, it’s the one which records Mordecai’s saving the king’s life. The king remembers Mordecai wasn’t rewarded and asks Haman how to reward such a wonderful man.
- Esther appears before the King and is welcomed instead of killed.
- There’s special timing of Queen Esther’s two banquets and Haman’s plans to kill Mordecai.
- Mordecai ends up being honored and first Haman is humbled, then killed on the gallows intended for Mordecai.
- The Jews survived and overthrew their enemies.
We’ve heard the passage from Esther 4:14, where Mordecai asks Esther “…And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” What about us? Are we willing to be used by God in whatever way He has planned? Do you ever wonder what God has planned for you – in the future? today? this hour?
Jeremiah 29:11 says:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Before Haman even had the idea to wipe out the Jews, God had placed Esther in position to be used to save His people. She didn’t know it. She had to go forward in trust to King Xerxes.
She prepared herself before she did that by fasting and prayer.
In the Bible study book Following God-Women of the Bible – Esther, the authors write, “God wants to accomplish His purposes through us, but if we do not cooperate, His plan will still be carried out. He will simply use someone else to do it. “ It takes listening to God, spending time in His word, talking with Him, and once again, listening to God’s leading.
To the unbeliever hearing the story of Esther, they would describe what happened as amazing coincidences, but the believer sees the hand of God’s providence through the timing, people, places, circumstances.
Coincidence … when God chooses to remain anonymous.
Have you seen God’s abundant blessings through His providential hand throughout your life? He’s always there. Make sure you take some time to look for Him today!
God’s abundant blessings ~ Faye
This is a week where the rubber hits the road – do I really believe in God being in control of all things?
Background: Sunday morning my team is leading worship. The pastor is preaching on one of the 7 deadly sins – Laziness vs Zeal, or a passion to live for Christ out of gratitude for our salvation. It’s also a Sunday where we will remember the Reformation by looking at the five tenants of the Reformed faith – Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Scripture Alone, Christ Alone, Glory to God Alone. God’s word tells us in Hebrews 11:1 that
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen.” or as said in the NIV – “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
This week is one of those weeks where what I say I believe has to become reality. I’ve learned of a 30 year old wife who has been diagnosed with bladder cancer; a 50 year old friend who just found out she has Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma; a friend’s dad had a failed surgery on his heart and the doctors are looking for new options; many friends struggles with relationships with family members; the flooding in Bangkok, Thailand is affecting a couple I know. It just seems like everything is coming in waves. Life is full of disappointments, dangers and the unknown. So each day has been spent in a lot of prayers for others. Tonight I went for a walk in a nature setting and just prayed to God about my friends. What a privilege we have to share intimately with God our heartaches. Each day comes with its abundance of problems, but when we put our FAITH in God, each struggle is shared by Someone who is much bigger than you or I.
Faith is the confident assurance, the conviction that God is going ahead of us on our pathway of life. He knows what struggles we will face ahead. He is preparing us for what we will have to deal with in the future. We need to have the confidence that God knows what is best for us, and He loves us so much.
So this is a week where I need to rely heavily on my faith in God otherwise life would be so overwhelming. I rely on Paul’s words in Romans 15:13
“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
What an incredible blessing to have the assurance of what we hope for so much so, that we will be filled to overflowing by the Holy Spirit. By the way, while I was pouring out my heart to God, I asked Him to give me some evidence that He was hearing me (sometimes He is silent and I have to trust that He keeps His promise to hear me), but today He blessed me by having two friends come along that very private path. They listened and encouraged me in a way that only God could have done.
Enjoying God’s abundant blessings of hope, joy and peace ~ Faye
Reading 1 John 3:1-3 this morning (following www.goodmorninggirls.org Bible study), and I was truly excited to read John’s opening words – we are God’s children, precious, valued, prized, loved. What a way to go into the day.
1 John 3:2 says, “Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but He has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as He is pure.” – New Living Translation
What a glorious thought that we will be changed to be like Christ when appears/returns. 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 (NLT) says,
51 “But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! 52 It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed.”
When Christ returns we will be made to be LIKE HIM. If we live a life with the EAGER EXPECTATION, we will live a life that honors Christ. We will make it a priority to keep ourselves pure. I like how The Message describes it: “All of us who look forward to His Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus’ life as a model for our own.” Glistening purity of Jesus’ life – I can’t even come close to describing what that will be like.
Seeing Christ as He really is when He appears to us at His second coming is just mind boggling. Knowing that we will be transformed to be like Him in an instant! How amazing. However, did you know Christ appears to you right now? I’ve gone through some disappointments and unmet expectations, especially living with a chronic, progressive disease; and recently have spent a lot of my time taking walks and talking with God. In the past when disappointments and unmet expectations have come, I’ve been quick to talk with family and friends, hoping in doing so it will help resolve the situation or make me feel better. In my times with God, I’m finding that there are times when Christ appears today too. The other day it was not at all in the way I anticipated. I thought He’d have used someone close to me to fill the need I had. But recently Christ has made it very real that He has been walking beside me listening to my heart’s longings, and when I am resting and trusting in Him, He gently guides me closer to Him so I can come along side His desire for my life. He is constantly shaping me to be like Him. I’m really looking forward to the quick transformational change that will happen when Christ returns again. I don’t like the long, drawn-out, painful process that He uses daily to transform me into His image. But I’m very grateful that He walks with me and talks with me when I choose to share with Him my heart’s thoughts. I’m so grateful to have a glimpse of His appearing this side of Heaven and His Second Coming.
May you enjoy the abundant blessing of God walk with you today
It has been a period of waiting and watching, seeing where God is leading after being unexpectedly underemployed since February 2010. During this time I’ve felt God’s leading, poking, prodding, and refining – much of which I’ve not accepted graciously or patiently. However, in the past few weeks God’s been guiding me to consider writing a blog. This is against every desire I’ve every had. I can’t imagine why I am doing this, but I’m trying to be obedient as at each and every step as He has gently pushed me in this direction. Obviously it’s not a paid position, so I’m still not sure where He’s going with this. However, God has incredibly and abundantly blessed our financial resources since 2010 so that our needs, and many of our wants, have been met time and again. So with many uncertainties, some of which are content, frequency, and promotion, I’m doing my best to be obedient and praying that in the days ahead you will find words of blessing and encouragement here. A song that continually goes through my mind is While I’m Waiting by John Waller. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bb7TSGptd3Y. How often do I worship and serve God while I’m waiting for His direction or for answers to prayers?
When I am intentional about my looking for God’s abundant blessings and presence, I am rarely disappointed. Praying God showers you with some of His glorious riches.
God’s richest blessings ~