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God is Watching Over You

Psalm 121:3-6 God Never SleepsWhat an incredible comfort and blessing!  God watches over us. We need sleep. Many flowers close up at night for protection and rest. Many animals seek cover at night and rest, or if they are “night owls”, the rest during the day. But we have the wonderful knowledge that God NEVER SLEEPS. He is constantly watching over each one of us. Not just in the small town of Palo, or the larger metropolis of Cedar Rapids, or even just the United States. God watches the entire UNIVERSE.  Nothing is out of His control!

I just finished The Quest for Serenity by G.H. Morling and he ends the book with these reminders:

  • Begin the day remembering you are loved and chosen by God. He is your Creator and you belong to Him.
  • In order to maintain tranquility throughout the day – RELAX. It is a skill that we must accomplish – learn to relax. It is necessary for a REST-FILLED day.
  • Live with a heart filled with JOY and PRAISE. Look for the good things in life each day – sunshine, breath, birds singing …
  • Don’t be anxious, filled with worry. Surrender your concerns to God remembering He is in control of all things. “Take definite action about your worry. Tell yourself that it is futile and wasteful and even sinful (when continually rehashing something) because it denies the care of your Heavenly Father.”
  • End the day with sleep that is filled with rest from God.  Can’t fall asleep – remember these words which bring perspective, “What helped me to pass wakeful hours was just remembering the Insomnia of God:  Behold He that keepeth Israel – He slumbers not, nor sleeps.”

May your day be filled with the blessings of remembering our God is a 24/7/365 day God ~ Faye

I’m linked with Good Morning Girls and Beholding Glory

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Inexhaustible Grace

God's grace is not only sufficient - it is inexhaustibleWhy does guilt plague me? I feel guilty, not just bad, for not getting more things posted since I started working. At least I did struggle with the guilt feelings until God had another sit-down talk with me. God reminded me that this is His blog, I’m just His tool. He has always given me something to write about that has been a benefit to myself and/or others. So why do I let worry and guilt fester?

As I was sitting in the infusion chair yesterday, I was continuing to read from Quest for Serenity by G.H. Morling and Ruth Graham Bell. God’s timing being ALWAYS PERFECT, I found myself in a section that talked about overcoming the struggle with guilt. I thought I’d share a story from the book,

A minister in the north of England, who oppressed by guilt, had a breakdown, was advised by a wise doctor to concentrate on biblical passages expressing love, mercy, and forgiveness,temporarilyputting aside the ones on condemnation and judgment. The minister followed the doctor’s advice, and he was wonderfully restored.

I was waiting on a 20-something lady the other day who was struggling to make her hands work to get the money separated for payment. She was quickly apologizing for the time, and I was blessed to be able to say, “It’s okay. Take your time. I have R.A. and remember what it was like to struggle to pull up the bedsheet with my fingers.” Immediate relief seemd to pour over her face at not being judged or pressured. God’s grace is like that. God isn’t there ready to condemn – He’s ready to pour out His abundant grace on each one of us who believe in Him as Lord and Savior.

Paul says in Romans 5:20 – God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant.

God gives us His grace – abundant, freely given, unconditional, and inexhaustible in supply. Psalm 23 tells of God preparing a table for us in the presence of our enemies. Too often, we are our own worst enemy heaping on guilt and not being filled with God’s grace which in turn brings spiritual rest, peace, serenity and joy.

I’m praying that you will be blessed with the joy and peace that comes from resting in God’s inexhaustible grace ~ Faye

P.S. The incident with the young lady, reminded me of how abundantly God has blessed me – a good rheumatologist, medicines that have given me the ability to work a full day, and the support of family and friends.

I’m linked with Good Morning Girls and Beholding Glory.

Guilt vs. Grace

I was in a discussion recently about worrying, feeling guilty and God’s grace.  Sometimes we can drive ourselves nuts by worrying about how we raised our kids, or whether we said the right thing to someone, or doing what we should be doing day to day.  I tend to think women definitely fall into this pattern of worrying if they are “being or doing enough.”

Romans 5:1-2a

God’s word is full of reminders of His abundant grace and love. Yet we allow Satan to grow the seed of doubt in us. We let it fester and feed us to the point where we worry about what we are doing, are we good enough?  We forget – it’s not about us – it is about God’s Grace!

Sin ruins our lives. Our relationships suffer. Our health declines. It robs us of our happiness. It steals our peace and joy.  God gives us a way to put the past in the past and experience the incredible blessing of His love and grace. We simply have to believe and receive. We can’t do enough, be enough, say enough. We just have to open our hearts to be washed clean with His amazing grace. We need to quit looking at the past sins and mistakes and KNOW God has washed us clean with His grace. When we hold onto that baggage of guilt, we negate the gift God freely gives us.  And we lose out on the gift of PEACE that comes from walking hand in hand in God’s love and being filled with His grace.

Bask fully in the love and grace God lavishes on you ~ Faye

Linked with Good Morning Girls and Beholding Glory

Filled with True Hope

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

 

God’s Gracious Blessings

From His abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. John 1:16 NLT

Christmas is the time for celebrating, anticipating, hoping, baking, cookies, presents given and received, special worship services and parties with family and friends. The holiday season can be a wonderful time with many blessings. But for some it is a time of loneliness, stress, tension, broken relations, unmet expectations and/or loss.

As Satan tries to steal my joy during this holy season with concerns over family relationships and dynamics, I have to continually counterattack him with reminders from God’s word that God knows my hurts.

Think of it. God grieves when His creation sin. He loves us so much and yet we willingly turn away from Him.  God sent His Son to suffer, die, be rejected by his earthly family and while in the depths of hell His heavenly Father. He had to deal with loss and betrayal of friends so He could save us and give us eternal life. Jesus knows personally the pain that comes from broken relationships and sin in this world.

When Satan attacks your heart and tries to steal your spiritual JOY, make sure you turn it around – remember how much God the Father and God the Son LOVE you and understand where you are. God wants to have His children talk to Him, rely on Him, bring their hurts to Him. He will pour out His gracious blessings from His abundance.

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.   Romans 5:6-8 NLT

During the difficult times of the holiday season, I pray you will be filled with the abundance of God’s gracious blessings so that you are deeply content. Rely fully on God so that nothing can shake you.

I am blessed by a quote of Nancy Guthrie in her new book, Abundant Life Day Book.

“In the midst of the trouble and struggle and sorrow, you find yourself deeply secure, profoundly content and happy in [God.] To know [God], walk with [Him], and share life with [Him] – that is the essence of blessing.”

Praying you enjoy God’s abundant blessings of grace and peace ~ Faye

Joy to the WORLD!

Sing a new song to the LORD, for He has done wonderful deeds. Shout to the LORD, all the earth; break out in praise and sing for joy! Sing your praise to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and melodious song, with trumpets and the sound of the ram’s horn. Make a joyful symphony before the LORD, the King! Let the sea and everything in it shout His praise! Let the earth and all living things join in. Let the rivers clap their hands in glee! Let the hills sing out their songs of joy before the LORD. For the LORD is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with justice, and the nations with fairness.                                                                                                                            Psalm 98:1,4-9 NLT

We were blessed to sing Joy to the World! yesterday in church. Afterwards, a friend said to me how much he loved the slide I had for the background.

He said how much it reminded him that people from every tongue and tribe in churches around the world were gathered together to praise the LORD. His enthusiasm and awe were very transparent and catching. He wondered what it was like for God to hear the praises of His people rise to heaven to give Him glory in a multitude of tongues, hearts bursting with joy.

This beautiful song was written by Isaac Watts. I have a book on the background of songs written by Kenneth W. Osbeck, Amazing Grace. Osbeck shares the emphasis of this Christmas hymn is the “reverent but ecstatic joy that Christ’s birth brought to mankind.” During Advent we focus on Christ’s birth on earth so that He could save sinful mankind from their sins and enjoy eternity with Him. The last part of Psalm 98 is a paraphrase of Joy to the World! Advent also focuses on Christ’s coming again to judge the world with justice and fairness.

As part of the background, Osbeck writes, “this psalm was intended by Watts to be a New Testament expression of praise.” Joy to the World was originally titled The Messiah’s Coming and Kingdom. So glad it was renamed. But I wonder if it were known by the old name if we wouldn’t sing it more throughout the year. We sing it as a Christmas hymn, but don’t the worlds reflect what has happened, what is happening and what will happen. Our Heavenly Creator gave us a Redeemer to pour out His blood for our sins. His grace and mercy wash away our sinfulness. When the LORD rules the world, the curse of sin is broken and truth and grace shine throughout the world. Truly this is a song that should be sung year round because it tells the wonderful story of the Messiah’s coming and His kingdom.

During this holy-day season, when you sing Joy to the World remember two things 1) Christ came for you, to save you from your sins and give you eternal life when you accept Him as your Savior and LORD, and 2) you are privileged and blessed to join with millions throughout the world lifting your praises to the LORD for He has done wonderful deeds, when you lift your hearts and voices to sing

Joy to the world! the LORD is come! Let earth receive her King; let ev’ry heart prepare Him room, and heav’n and nature sing.

Joy to the earth the Savior reigns. Let men their songs employ, while fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground; He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove the glories of His righteousness and wonders of His love.

Praying you thoroughly enjoy the blessing of knowing the LORD is come! ~ Faye

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