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From Fear to Freedom!

2 Corinthians 3:17

2 Corinthians 3:17

The past few weeks have made me more aware than ever of a “peace that passes all understanding.” There have been so many situations and circumstances that have arisen that would have simply turned me into a nervous wreck in the past. It was not all that long ago that I would worry about things that were about to happen, things that had happened and quite frankly things that never happened! ūüôā

I am learning that there truly is a peace that Christ offers that cannot be explained. When we walk with Him we can have complete trust in His provision and ability to walk with us through¬†any¬†circumstance. Since June when we received my hubby’s diagnosis of prostate cancer, God has given me a peace that has exceeded anything I could ever imagine. We have been married for 33 years and I can’t even imagine my life without him. Without the peace and assurance God has given me, I would have been worried sick. ¬†I have not. God has revealed His love and provision for us throughout this entire journey. From hearing of a wonderful surgeon from friends to providing for ¬†our financial needs while he is to be out of work, God has met and exceeded all our needs. He is soooo faithful to His kids!

On top of the cancer diagnosis and surgery etc.. we have had some other family issues that God has moved in. Again, He answered our prayers! While on this life journey we will all go through difficulties. Some bigger, some smaller but eventually we will all have to walk through them. Today I went for my first mammogram. A few years ago I would have been worried about the results. Today, I went in and came out thinking, there literally is NOTHING that happens in our life that Christ will not go through with me. I am expecting the results to be absolutely fine, but if not, I have already learned first hand that my God is sufficient to see me through any situation!

He has freed me from fear. When it tries to rear it’s ugly head I just remember all the times and ways in which Christ has answered my prayers and met my needs and I am no longer a slave to fear but to freedom!

2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom!

Jeremiah 29:11 NIV 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.”

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He is our refuge

I am so glad that we serve a loving God. A God that loves us with a love that never ends. A God that loved us so much that He allowed His son to die on our behalf. Not only die but suffer the terrible death of the cross. Through Christ we run into the arms of our Heavenly Father.

Whether we are surrounded by storms or calamities, He is available to us. We can run into His arms with our concerns, fears and troubles and lay them at His feet. Once we have Christ in our life, we NEVER have to face anything alone again. As we walk in His ways and abide in His word, He will keep us on the right path. He will lead us where we need to go and how we need to get there. If we step outside His path for us, He gently leads us back inline through His word and His Spirit.

There is NOTHING that can separate us from Him. As long as we have breath we can turn to Him. When we die, we needn’t fear. He is there to greet us and welcome us home. In other words, we are NEVER alone! My heart hurts for those ¬†who have never known His love and compassion firsthand. ¬†There is nothing else that comes anywhere close!

Today I am reminded that as we turn to God we receive protection, blessings and His favor in our lives. We don’t have to worry about what man says or does when we are walking in obedience to the ONE who loves us. He not only offers us protection but will fight our battles for us. ¬†Psalm 37:39-40 NIV ¬†says it so beautifully,39 “The salvation¬†of the righteous comes from the¬†Lord; He is their stronghold in time of trouble.40¬†The¬†Lord¬†helps¬†them and delivers¬†them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves¬†them,¬†because they take refuge¬†in Him.”

So whatever you are currently facing, run to the ONE who knows you better and loves you more than anyone else possibly could. He is our stronghold in time of trouble! Put your trust in Him and watch as He delivers and saves you. HE truly is our refuge!

Psalm 37:7 NIV 7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

HE will never be voted off the island!

I must admit, I was disappointed last night when I discovered who had won the U.S. Presidential election. I have family in the U.S. and know the struggles many are facing due to the high unemployment etc… Only time would tell whether Romney would have made an improvement on all the difficulties facing the people, however he will not be given the opportunity and that is democracy. The people voted and the results are what they are. I was reminded however that politicians will come and go and world circumstances will change. God however is still on the throne and will continue to be so! ¬†Though the election results may prove more difficult for some, followers of Christ have no reason to worry or fear. Our ruler is still in charge! His word never changes and He never fails! He promises to take care of His children as we surrender to Him and look to Him for our needs. He will never get voted off the island, so to speak!!!

We need to remember that despite our outward surroundings, His plans do not change. When we place our faith in worldly leaders and people we will be disappointed. We are not to put our trust in anything temporal but in the creator of the Universe. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. He is not caught off guard by the election results. He is neither impressed or disappointed. He knows how it all ends and as followers of Christ, so do we. As we read in the book of Revelation, HE wins!

While we wait on His return, just who is it that we can count on? Let’s look at the word of God for answers…

Matthew 10:29-31 NIV 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Phillipians 4:6-7 NIV 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I love this verse…Jeremiah 29:11 NIV¬†11 “For I know the plans¬†I have for you,‚ÄĚ declares the¬†Lord, ‚Äúplans to prosper¬†you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Let’s not forget Romans 8:28 NIV¬†28¬†And we know that in all things God works for the good¬†of those who love Him, who¬†have been called¬†according to His purpose.¬†

And finally this beautiful promise in Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV 28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

These are all beautiful promises from the lover of our soul!  This morning I had to shake off my disappointment and grumbling and remind myself  that leaders will come and go. His word will NEVER change and that when we see things happening around us that we believe will increase trouble and sorrows for some, it is an awesome opportunity to get on our knees before God and watch His mighty hand work amid the challenges!  He is election proof!

Vote for Jesus

Psalm 22:28 NIV 28 For dominion belongs to the Lord and He rules over the nations.

Trials=Opportunities

Sometimes the beautiful, sweet things God does on our behalf overwhelm me. Just in the last two weeks I have seen God’s hand move so wonderfully in my life and in the lives of those around me. ¬†He has answered so many prayers for myself and others. He has given water in dry places, He has healed people we have prayed over, He has provided financially for needs that seemed impossible. We serve an awesome, loving God that delights in the prayers of His kids. As we yield our lives to Him, He never disappoints.

Since my husband received a cancer diagnosis in June, God has been taking care of so many details in our lives. I have no fear of the future. He is in this journey with us every step of the way. He has given me a peace that I cannot even describe. He continues to take care of our present and future needs, sometimes with great precision. We were told we would have trials and tribulations in this world and that we are not to be surprised. James 1:2-4 NIV 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  

¬†Every trial is an opportunity to see the mighty hand of God work in our lives. I believe this to be true. I have seen it many times in my own life. We don’t wish to go through trials and we don’t choose them but when they come, and they will come, we are able to witness our Heavenly Father’s beautiful hand in even the finest details.

If you are going through a trial right now, don’t look to the right or left but look to Christ for peace that only He can offer, and ask for God to make Himself known in your trial. When we seek Him, He will always been found. ¬† Here are a few verses to consider…

Psalm 112:6-8 NIV¬†6¬†Surely the righteous will never be shaken;¬†they will be remembered¬†forever .¬†7¬†They will have no fear of bad news;¬†their hearts are steadfast,¬†trusting in the¬†Lord.8¬†Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear;¬†in the end they will look in triumph on their foes. ¬† We don’t have to stress or worry about our circumstances. As followers of Christ, we have One looking out for us at all times. One who answers often before we even ask. One who will never leave us or forsake us.

Matthew 6:31-33 NIV¬†31¬†So do not worry, saying, ‚ÄėWhat shall we eat?‚Äô or ‚ÄėWhat shall we drink?‚Äô or ‚ÄėWhat shall we wear?‚Äô32¬†For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.33¬†But seek first His kingdom¬†and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Seek Him and trust Him and He will not disappoint you. In fact, you will begin to see His beautiful hand move in your life in ways you could never imagine.  We serve an awesome God!

Trials and Tribulations

Let’s NOT become weary

Often when we come to God with a prayer request we would like to receive our answer immediately. This does happen but I have found in my life that often the answers do not always come right away. God, at times, allows us to go through a time of growth or stretching before we receive our heart’s desire. This period of waiting also weeds out those who are looking to our Heavenly Father as a Santa Claus type provider instead of “He who rules over the nations.” Psalm 22:28.

He is the lover of our soul and ultimately knows what is best for us. He also knows when and if He will ¬†answer our prayers with a yes, a no or perhaps a not now. I have received all three at various times in my walk. I can’t say that I always appreciate waiting on my answer but I can say that I trust the ONE who answers to know what is best for me and mine. ¬†I am always so pleased when I receive an immediate answer but I am learning to be content when I don’t. It is quite simply a matter of trusting the ONE who truly knows me and everything about me. As we read in Psalm 139:1-4 NIV¬†1¬†You have searched me,¬†Lord,and you know¬†me.2¬†You know when I sit and when I rise;¬†you perceive my thoughts¬†from afar.3¬†You discern my going out¬†and my lying down;¬†you are familiar with all my ways.4¬†Before a word is on my tongue¬†you,¬†Lord, know it completely.

So for those times that we have to wait on God for our answer, just how should we spend our time waiting? Galatians 6:9 NIV  tells us, 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

As you wait on God to answer the cry of your heart, spend your time wisely. Seek His face, read His word and continue to do all He has shown you to do up until this time. Don’t waste time demanding your way but serve God and fulfill the ministry He has provided for you whether that be with your family, your church or your community and remember, “For at the proper¬†time we will reap a harvest if we DO NOT give up.”

What more do we need?

I was reading Psalm 37:1-9 this morning and what an amazing word it is!  Though David penned it centuries before us, every word can be applied to our lives today. As followers of Christ, it is every bit as true to us today as it was to David during his lifetime. God has NOT changed. He never will. That is a truth we can take to the grave.

Spend a few minutes today meditating on each verse. Then apply each one to your present situation. These are powerful words of truth and hope. If there was ever a time in history that we needed large dosages of both it is now….

Psalm 37:1-9 NIV 

1 Do not fret because of those who are evil
    or be envious of those who do wrong;
2 for like the grass they will soon wither,
    like green plants they will soon die away.

3 Trust in the Lord and do good;
    dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Take delight in the Lord,
    and He will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in Him and He will do this:
6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
    your vindication like the noonday sun.

7 Be still before the Lord
    and wait patiently for Him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
    when they carry out their wicked schemes.

8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
¬†¬†¬†¬†do not fret‚ÄĒit leads only to evil.
9 For those who are evil will be destroyed,
   but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.

To sum up DON’T FRET OR ENVY OTHERS, TRUST IN GOD AND DO WELL. DELIGHT IN GOD AND HE WILL GIVE YOU THE DESIRES OF YOUR HEART. COMMIT YOUR WAYS TO HIM. BE STILL AND WAIT ON HIM. REFRAIN FROM ANGER AND WRATH AND AGAIN DO NOT FRET AS IT LEADS ONLY TO EVIL!!

Looking around us can at times be overwhelming. The view isn’t always pleasant but God is still on the throne and in control. Christ¬†is still making intercession for His church and will continue to do so until the day He takes us home. ¬†We will ¬†inherit the land! ¬†Take Him at His word and put your hope in the One who never fails or disappoints.

David: Psa 37:4

Signs of the times are everywhere..

In my teens I used to hear about how things would get worse before Jesus returns.  Back then, when I looked around it was difficult to  to imagine some of the Bible verses actually coming to pass. Things in the world were a little crazy but peace still reigned, at least in my neck of the woods. There were difficult financial years and wars going on afar but North America still seemed like a haven for peace. All that has changed in the last ten years or so. There has been an increase in wars, famines and incredibly unpredictable weather conditions worldwide.  Things are heating up here in North America. Our religious freedoms are being attacked daily. Our leaders seem to lack leadership and seem as confused about what to do as the rest of the population.

All that being said, should Christians panic and worry. NO. We have been warned that all these things and plenty more would come to pass. It is not a surprise to anyone that has studied God’s word. Should we give up on the goals and purposes God has put in our hearts. Absolutely not! ¬†We have been born for a time such as this. ¬†It is all the more important that we live as God has called us to live. Serving and growing in his grace and wisdom. No man knows how much time we have. It could be 10 years, 20 years or 50 years. It really doesn’t matter. The important thing is that we fulfill our God ordained purposes. It is vital that we ask God for continued wisdom and direction for each and every one of our lives and that we stop wasting time! We need to be basking in Christ’s love and soaking in His word. After all, we know how it all ends.

If you have been getting spiritually lazy and not seeking God on a daily basis, it’s time to put aside your laziness and get on your knees before Him. Get back into the word of God and encourage yourself with His wonderful promises. Let’s look at a few of them..

Luke 12:35-40 NIV¬†35¬†‚ÄúBe dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning,¬†36¬†like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him.¬†37¬†It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes.Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them.¬†38¬†It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak.¬†39¬†But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief¬†was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into.¬†40¬†You also must be ready,¬†because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.‚ÄĚ

1John 2:28 NIV 28 And now, dear children, continue in Him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at His coming.

1 Thessalonians 4:16,17 NIV16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. And finally.. Revelation 3:3 NIV 3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

If you find yourself growing weary with the increase in worldwide craziness take heart and remember we already know how the story ends. God is not surprised nor stressed about any of this. He is still on His throne and continues to extend His love and mercy to everyone that cries out to Him. Our Messiah didn’t die in vain and offers an eternal peace and joy for any that call on His name!!

Riot Police Surrounding Demonstration

“Signs of the times are everywhere, there’s a brand new feeling in the air. Keep your eye upon the Eastern sky. Lift up your hands, redemption draweth nigh.” From the song “Redemption Draweth Nigh” by Gordon Jensen

Lean on Him

Worrying News (53/365)

1 Peter 5:7 NIV

Many of us are going through some pretty challenging times right now. For some it may be loss of a job, a health concern, financial worries..the list goes on and on. God never promised we would be spared  difficult times or challenges. He does promise however, that He will go through them with us if we ask Him.  Sometimes it takes getting to the end of our own strength before we allow Him to do just that.

When we come to the end of our struggling we have a Father that loves us so much and is just waiting for us to turn to Him for help. I couldn’t possibly recall each and every time in my life ,that God has revealed His love for me. There have been too many. I do remember that in some of my darkest days, such as the time of our son Daniel’s death, I know He answered my cries and brought comfort where I didn’t think there would ever be any again. ¬†He has answered so many specific prayers over the years in ways only He can do. ¬†I am so grateful we serve a loving, compassionate Savior. ¬†The Bible has several words for those of us walking through difficult times. ¬†If you have asked Christ into your heart you have all the privileges of being part of the family of God. ¬†Take heart and hear what the Bible has for us..

Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV¬†6¬†Be strong and courageous.¬†Do not be afraid or terrified¬†because of them, for the¬†Lord¬†your God goes with you;¬†he will never leave you¬†nor forsake¬†you.‚ÄĚ

Phillipians 4:6-7 NIV 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

1 Peter 5:7 NIV 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.   

What a beautiful promise that is!

The book of Isaiah has another beautiful word for each and every one of us.

Isaiah 41:10 NIV 10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Take Him at His word and ask for His strength to go through your struggle.  And finally one of my favourite promises of Christ,

Matthew 11:28-29 NIV 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

I am glad we serve a living God that does NOT turn a deaf ear to His kids.  If you are struggling, call out to Him and watch His hand begin to move in your life as you lean on His arms of compassion and mercy! Give Him a chance to show you just how much He loves you!

Too BAD for God, I don’t think so..

It is an awesome thing to see what happens to a person when God truly gets a hold of their heart. Most believers know people who once lived a pretty crazy life that have been completely transformed by accepting Christ. Churches are full of people that never imagined they would one day joyfully serve God. Drug addicts, murderers, thieves and every possible type of sinner have been known to fall before God and ask for acceptance through Christ. He has not nor will He ever refuse anyone that comes to Him with a sincere heart, regardless of their history or baggage.

The Bible tells us of one man whose main purpose in life was to persecute the Christians and bring all he met under the law. That man was a Pharisee named Saul of Tarsus, who later became Apostle Paul, follower of Christ . Saul lived a life zealously devoted to killing and destroying those who shared and lived the gospel. He felt it was his moral duty until Christ met him on the road to Damascus!

¬†Acts 9:1-19 NIV¬†9¬†Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord‚Äôs disciples.¬†He went to the high priest¬†2¬†and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus,¬†so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way,¬†whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.¬†3¬†As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.4¬†He fell to the ground and heard a voice¬†say to him,¬†‚ÄúSaul, Saul, why do you persecute me?‚ÄĚ5¬†‚ÄúWho are you, Lord?‚ÄĚ Saul asked.‚ÄúI am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,‚Ä̬†he replied.¬†6¬†‚ÄúNow get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.‚ÄĚ7¬†The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound¬†but did not see anyone.8¬†Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing.¬†So they led him by the hand into Damascus.¬†9¬†For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.10¬†In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision,¬†‚ÄúAnanias!‚ÄĚ‚ÄúYes, Lord,‚ÄĚ he answered.11¬†The Lord told him,¬†‚ÄúGo to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying.¬†12¬†In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on¬†him to restore his sight.‚ÄĚ13¬†‚ÄúLord,‚ÄĚ Ananias answered, ‚ÄúI have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people¬†in Jerusalem.¬†14¬†And he has come here with authority from the chief priests¬†to arrest all who call on your name.‚ÄĚ15¬†But the Lord said to Ananias,¬†‚ÄúGo! This man is my chosen instrument¬†to proclaim my name to the Gentiles¬†and their kings¬†and to the people of Israel.¬†16¬†I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.‚ÄĚ17¬†Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on¬†Saul, he said, ‚ÄúBrother Saul, the Lord‚ÄĒJesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here‚ÄĒhas sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.‚Ä̬†18¬†Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul‚Äôs eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized,¬†19¬†and after taking some food, he regained his strength.¬†Saul spent several days with the disciples¬†in Damascus.

Here is a man determined to snuff out the early Church and yet God in His mercy saw something in Saul (soon to be Paul) that caused Him to transform His life for good. So how did things go for Saul from there?…

¬†Acts 22:12-21 NIV¬†12¬†‚ÄúA man named Ananias came to see me.¬†He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there.¬†13¬†He stood beside me and said, ‚ÄėBrother Saul, receive your sight!‚Äô And at that very moment I was able to see him.14¬†‚ÄúThen he said: ‚ÄėThe God of our ancestors¬†has chosen you to know his will and to see¬†the Righteous One¬†and to hear words from his mouth.¬†15¬†You will be His witness¬†to all people of what you have seen and heard.¬†16¬†And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized¬†and wash your sins away,¬†calling on His name.‚Äô17¬†‚ÄúWhen I returned to Jerusalem¬†and was praying at the temple, I fell into a trance¬†18¬†and saw the Lord speaking to me.¬†‚ÄėQuick!‚Äô¬†he said.¬†‚ÄėLeave Jerusalem immediately, because the people here will not accept your testimony about me.‚Äô19¬†‚Äú‚ÄėLord,‚Äô I replied, ‚Äėthese people know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison¬†and beat¬†those who believe in you.¬†20¬†And when the blood of your martyr¬†Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.‚Äô21¬†‚ÄúThen the Lord said to me,¬†‚ÄėGo; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.‚Äô¬†‚ÄĚ ¬†

Though he had done horrible things to Christ himself by persecuting the early Christians, Acts 9:4 NIV4¬†He fell to the ground and heard a voice¬†say to him,¬†‚ÄúSaul, Saul, why do you persecute me?‚ÄĚ ¬†God saw His potential and brought about a most ¬†beautiful change that only His Spirit could do. ¬†Saul was then given his new name Paul (some believe it was a custom after baptism to receive a new name representing new life.) Acts 13:9 NIV¬†9¬†Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit.

Paul went on to preach the gospel to both the Jews and the gentiles and write thirteen, (possibly fourteen) books in the New Testament.¬†He became one of God’s greatest preachers of all time!

We should NEVER forget that there isn’t anyone with breath, that is too far gone for God to change. Though we look at the outer man, God is able to see the heart and know what that person is capable of once transformed by the blood of His Son and with the anointing of His Spirit. God can use those same character traits that we may find offensive, for His glory. Never underestimate what God can do for anyone. Instead ask God to save them and anoint them for service! Nothing is too big for our God.

the Conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus...

the Conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus as painted by Michelangelo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Peace is available during the storms

Yesterday my hubby and I visited a Doctor for a current health issue we are dealing with. ¬†When I looked around in the waiting room I couldn’t help but feel sad for others there that may not have God in their lives, having to deal with a crisis without Him. Too many people struggle through situations without the peace that He promises and offers to us when we rely on Him. ¬†It’s a peace that is supernatural. ¬†In our natural minds, everything cries out to worry when we come across a situation in life that we don’t understand, didn’t expect or can’t resolve on our own. As believers, however, we can turn to God and ask for His wisdom in our decision making, and His peace and assurance to carry us through the ordeal. ¬†He doesn’t DISAPPOINT!

If we find ourselves in such a situation, we only need to look to His word for our source of help. The Psalms alone, have so many awesome verses to claim during times of need..

Psalm 46:1,2 NIV 1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.

Psalm 121:1,2,3 NIV1¬†I lift up my eyes to the mountains‚ÄĒwhere does my help come from?¬†2¬†My help comes from the¬†Lord,¬†the Maker of heaven¬†and earth.¬†3¬†He will not let your foot slip‚ÄĒ¬†he who watches over you will not slumber.¬†

God cares not only for the sick in body but the sick in heart.. Psalm 34:18,19 NIV 18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted 
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 107:13-15 NIV 113 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.14 He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains. 15 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.

and finally Psalm 71:1-3 NIV sums it all up.. 1 In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;  let me never be put to shame. 2 In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me; turn your ear to me and save me.3 Be my rock of refuge,to which I can ALWAYS GO; give the command to save me, for YOU ARE MY ROCK AND MY FORTRESS.

If you are a child of God through Christ, ¬†it’s time to take Him at His word. ¬†He will be there for you during your difficulty and see you through! ¬†He promises and He cannot go back on His promises. ¬†Numbers 23:19 NIV¬†19¬†God is not human,¬†that he should lie,¬†not a human being, that he should change his mind.¬†Does he speak and then not act?¬†Does he promise¬†and not fulfill?

Hebrews 6:17,18 NIV 17 Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, He confirmed it with an oath. 18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged.

Wenceslas Hollar - The Psalms

Wenceslas Hollar – The Psalms (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

God is in the details

It is an exciting thing to live in God’s care. ¬†To be a child of God and follower of Christ gives us so many blessings and provisions others that don’t know Him miss out on. I just finished reading the book of Esther again. ¬†I have read it many times over the years but every time I read it I get so much more out of it. During this last year ¬†God has been teaching me how important it is to trust Him when things in life can be so utterly chaotic. It goes without saying that this time when I read Esther I was amazed to see how God could be seen in the smallest of details! ¬†We often look for Him to come to our rescue in a big grandiose manner but often He comes in ways that could easily be overlooked if we we don’t have our senses exercised by reason of use! (Hebrews 5:14)

I encourage everyone to read the book of Esther. It is an awesome book revealing how God is always looking out for His people and how He will always deliver His people when they turn to Him.

Esther is a young Jewish woman who was left orphaned when both of her parents die. After their death she is cared for by her relative-caretaker Mordecai. Mordecai hears of the King’s desire to replace his disrepectful current wife (Queen Vashti) with a new wife and works to get Esther presented as a potential bride to be. ¬†Esther 2:15-17 NIV15¬†When the turn came for Esther (the young woman Mordecai had adopted, the daughter of his uncle Abihail¬†) to go to the king,¬†she asked for nothing other than what Hegai, the king‚Äôs eunuch who was in charge of the harem, suggested. And Esther won the favor¬†of everyone who saw her.¬†16¬†She was taken to King Xerxes in the royal residence in the tenth month, the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.17¬†Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen¬†instead of Vashti.¬†

King Xerxes is not aware that Esther or Mordecai are Jewish.   Mordecai has told Esther she is not to mention their nationality to the King and she respects his wishes. Then one day Mordecai hears of a plot to overthrow King Xerxes by two of the men working for the  King. Esther 2:21-23 NIV  21 During the time Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate, Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s officers who guarded the doorway, became angry and conspired to assassinate King Xerxes. 22 But Mordecai found out about the plot and told Queen Esther, who in turn reported it to the king, giving credit to Mordecai. 23 And when the report was investigated and found to be true, the two officials were impaled on poles. All this was recorded in the book of the annals in the presence of the king.

¬†By Mordecai’s intervention, the King is saved. ¬†At that time Haman, a worker for the King, receives a hefty promotion because of the intervention. He does not give Mordecai any of the credit but instead resents Mordecai because of Mordecai’s refusal to bow down to Haman and his status. Esther 3:1-15 NIV ¬†3¬†After these events, King Xerxes honored Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite,¬†elevating him and giving him a seat of honor higher than that of all the other nobles.¬†2¬†All the royal officials at the king‚Äôs gate knelt down and paid honor to Haman, for the king had commanded this concerning him. But Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor.3¬†Then the royal officials at the king‚Äôs gate asked Mordecai, ‚ÄúWhy do you disobey the king‚Äôs command?‚Ä̬†4¬†Day after day they spoke to him but he refused to comply.¬†Therefore they told Haman about it to see whether Mordecai‚Äôs behavior would be tolerated, for he had told them he was a Jew.5¬†When Haman saw that Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor, he was enraged.¬†6¬†Yet having learned who Mordecai‚Äôs people were, he scorned the idea of killing only Mordecai. Instead Haman looked for a way¬†to destroy¬†all Mordecai‚Äôs people, the Jews,¬†throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes.7¬†In the twelfth year of King Xerxes, in the first month, the month of Nisan, the¬†pur¬†(that is, the lot¬†) was cast in the presence of Haman to select a day and month. And the lot fell on¬†the twelfth month, the month of Adar.8¬†Then Haman said to King Xerxes, ‚ÄúThere is a certain people dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom who keep themselves separate. Their customs¬†are different from those of all other people, and they do not obey¬†the king‚Äôs laws; it is not in the king‚Äôs best interest to tolerate them.¬†9¬†If it pleases the king, let a decree be issued to destroy them, and I will give ten thousand talents¬†of silver to the king‚Äôs administrators for the royal treasury.‚ÄĚ10¬†So the king took his signet ring¬†from his finger and gave it to Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews.¬†11¬†‚ÄúKeep the money,‚ÄĚ the king said to Haman, ‚Äúand do with the people as you please.‚ÄĚ12¬†Then on the thirteenth day of the first month the royal secretaries were summoned. They wrote out in the script of each province and in the language¬†of each people all Haman‚Äôs orders to the king‚Äôs satraps, the governors of the various provinces and the nobles of the various peoples. These were written in the name of King Xerxes himself and sealed¬†with his own ring.¬†13¬†Dispatches were sent by couriers to all the king‚Äôs provinces with the order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews¬†‚ÄĒyoung and old, women and children‚ÄĒon a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar,¬†and to plunder¬†their goods.¬†14¬†A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so they would be ready for that day.15¬†The couriers went out, spurred on by the king‚Äôs command, and the edict was issued in the citadel of Susa.¬†The king and Haman sat down to drink,¬†but the city of Susa was bewildered.

After hearing of the script, Mordecai informs Esther of it’s seriousness and the risk it brings to all their people. Esther 4:1-17 NIV¬†4¬†When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes,¬†put on sackcloth and ashes,and went out into the city, wailing¬†loudly and bitterly.¬†2¬†But he went only as far as the king‚Äôs gate,because no one clothed in sackcloth was allowed to enter it.¬†3¬†In every province to which the edict and order of the king came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing. Many lay in sackcloth and ashes.4¬†When Esther‚Äôs eunuchs and female attendants came and told her about Mordecai, she was in great distress. She sent clothes for him to put on instead of his sackcloth, but he would not accept them.5¬†Then Esther summoned Hathak, one of the king‚Äôs eunuchs assigned to attend her, and ordered him to find out what was troubling Mordecai and why.6¬†So Hathak went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king‚Äôs gate.¬†7¬†Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him, including the exact amount of money Haman had promised to pay into the royal treasury for the destruction of the Jews.¬†8¬†He also gave him a copy of the text of the edict for their annihilation, which had been published in Susa, to show to Esther and explain it to her, and he told him to instruct her to go into the king‚Äôs presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people.9¬†Hathak went back and reported to Esther what Mordecai had said.¬†10¬†Then she instructed him to say to Mordecai,¬†11¬†‚ÄúAll the king‚Äôs officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned¬†the king has but one law:that they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter¬†to them and spares their lives. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.‚ÄĚ12¬†When Esther‚Äôs words were reported to Mordecai,¬†13¬†he sent back this answer: ‚ÄúDo not think that because you are in the king‚Äôs house you alone of all the Jews will escape.¬†14¬†For if you remain silent at this time, relief¬†and deliverance¬†for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father‚Äôs family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?‚ÄĚ15¬†Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai:¬†16¬†‚ÄúGo, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast¬†for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.‚ÄĚ17¬†So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther‚Äôs instructions.

During this time, it was forbidden for anyone to approach the King without him having summoned them. Esther knew she would run the risk of being killed if she were to approach the King without his asking but she also knew that death would be imminent for not only her but all the Jews if she didn’t try. Esther 5:1-8 NIV¬†5¬†On the third day Esther put on her royal robes¬†and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king‚Äôs¬†hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance.¬†2¬†When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.3¬†Then the king asked, ‚ÄúWhat is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom,it will be given you.‚ÄĚ4¬†‚ÄúIf it pleases the king,‚ÄĚ replied Esther, ‚Äúlet the king, together with Haman, come today to a banquet I have prepared for him.‚ÄĚ5¬†‚ÄúBring Haman at once,‚ÄĚ the king said, ‚Äúso that we may do what Esther asks.‚ÄĚSo the king and Haman went to the banquet Esther had prepared.¬†6¬†As they were drinking wine,¬†the king again asked Esther, ‚ÄúNow what is your petition? It will be given you. And what is your request? Even up to half the kingdom,¬†it will be granted.‚ÄĚ7¬†Esther replied, ‚ÄúMy petition and my request is this:¬†8¬†If the king regards me with favor¬†and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and fulfill my request, let the king and Haman come tomorrow to the banquet¬†I will prepare for them. Then I will answer the king‚Äôs question.‚ÄĚ

Esther lays out a plan in which she will inform the King of the danger Haman has brought to her and her people. ¬†Haman however, is excited that only he and the King have been invited to the banquet. He brags to his wife Zeresh, who than suggests he get the gallows ready for Mordecai to be hanged. He is basking in what he believes to be the unfolding of his plan to have Mordecai destroyed along with his people. Esther 5:9-14 NIV ¬†9¬†Haman went out that day happy and in high spirits. But when he saw Mordecai at the king‚Äôs gate and observed that he neither rose nor showed fear in his presence, he was filled with rage¬†against Mordecai.¬†10¬†Nevertheless, Haman restrained himself and went home.Calling together his friends and Zeresh,¬†his wife,¬†11¬†Haman boasted¬†to them about his vast wealth, his many sons,¬†and all the ways the king had honored him and how he had elevated him above the other nobles and officials.¬†12¬†‚ÄúAnd that‚Äôs not all,‚ÄĚ Haman added. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm the only person¬†Queen Esther invited to accompany the king to the banquet she gave. And she has invited me along with the king tomorrow.¬†13¬†But all this gives me no satisfaction as long as I see that Jew Mordecai sitting at the king‚Äôs gate.¬†‚ÄĚ14¬†His wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, ‚ÄúHave a pole set up, reaching to a height of fifty cubits,¬†and ask the king in the morning to have Mordecai impaled¬†on it. Then go with the king to the banquet and enjoy yourself.‚ÄĚ This suggestion delighted Haman, and he had the pole set up.

¬† Haman in all his arrogance and pride has no knowledge of what’s to come. That night King Xerxes could not sleep. He calls for one of his servants to bring him the book of chronicles of his reign to be read to him. A coincidence? ¬†I don’t think so! ¬†Esther 6:1-14 NIV6¬†That night the king could not sleep;¬†so he ordered the book of the chronicles,¬†the record of his reign, to be brought in and read to him.¬†2¬†It was found recorded there that Mordecai had exposed Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king‚Äôs officers who guarded the doorway, who had conspired to assassinate King Xerxes.3¬†‚ÄúWhat honor and recognition has Mordecai received for this?‚ÄĚ the king asked.‚ÄúNothing has been done for him,‚Ä̬†his attendants answered.4¬†The king said, ‚ÄúWho is in the court?‚ÄĚ Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the palace to speak to the king about impaling Mordecai on the pole he had set up for him.5¬†His attendants answered, ‚ÄúHaman is standing in the court.‚ÄĚ‚ÄúBring him in,‚ÄĚ the king ordered.6¬†When Haman entered, the king asked him, ‚ÄúWhat should be done for the man the king delights to honor?‚ÄĚNow Haman thought to himself, ‚ÄúWho is there that the king would rather honor than me?‚Ä̬†7¬†So he answered the king, ‚ÄúFor the man the king delights to honor,¬†8¬†have them bring a royal robe¬†the king has worn and a horse¬†the king has ridden, one with a royal crest placed on its head.¬†9¬†Then let the robe and horse be entrusted to one of the king‚Äôs most noble princes. Let them robe the man the king delights to honor, and lead him on the horse through the city streets, proclaiming before him, ‚ÄėThis is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!¬†‚Äô‚ÄĚ10¬†‚ÄúGo at once,‚ÄĚ the king commanded Haman. ‚ÄúGet the robe and the horse and do just as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king‚Äôs gate. Do not neglect anything you have recommended.‚ÄĚ11¬†So Haman got¬†the robe and the horse. He robed Mordecai, and led him on horseback through the city streets, proclaiming before him, ‚ÄúThis is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!‚ÄĚ12¬†Afterward Mordecai returned to the king‚Äôs gate. But Haman rushed home, with his head covered¬†in grief,¬†13¬†and told Zeresh¬†his wife and all his friends everything that had happened to him.His advisers and his wife Zeresh said to him, ‚ÄúSince Mordecai, before whom your downfall¬†has started, is of Jewish origin, you cannot stand against him‚ÄĒyou will surely come to ruin!‚Ä̬†14¬†While they were still talking with him, the king‚Äôs eunuchs arrived and hurried Haman away to the banquet¬†Esther had prepared.

What an awesome¬†detail. ¬†Because the King could not sleep he decided to review events that had happened in his Kingdom. By doing this it is brought to mind how Mordecai had actually saved his life and was never recognized or rewarded for it. That one little detail would not only soften the King’s heart towards Mordecai but would create in him a desire to reward Mordecai. Both of these things became important when the following day the King is made aware of Haman’s intentions towards not only his wife, but Mordecai and all his people. ¬†Esther 7:1-10 NIV¬†7¬†So the king and Haman went to Queen Esther‚Äôs banquet,¬†2¬†and as they were drinking wine¬†on the second day, the king again asked, ‚ÄúQueen Esther, what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom,¬†it will be granted.¬†‚ÄĚ3¬†Then Queen Esther answered, ‚ÄúIf I have found favor¬†with you, Your Majesty, and if it pleases you, grant me my life‚ÄĒthis is my petition. And spare my people‚ÄĒthis is my request.¬†4¬†For I and my people have been sold to be destroyed, killed and annihilated.¬†If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the king.‚ÄĚ5¬†King Xerxes asked Queen Esther, ‚ÄúWho is he? Where is he‚ÄĒthe man who has dared to do such a thing?‚ÄĚ6¬†Esther said, ‚ÄúAn adversary and enemy! This vile Haman!‚ÄĚThen Haman was terrified before the king and queen.¬†7¬†The king got up in a rage,¬†left his wine and went out into the palace garden.¬†But Haman, realizing that the king had already decided his fate,stayed behind to beg Queen Esther for his life.8¬†Just as the king returned from the palace garden to the banquet hall, Haman was falling on the couch¬†where Esther was reclining.The king exclaimed, ‚ÄúWill he even molest the queen while she is with me in the house?‚ÄĚAs soon as the word left the king‚Äôs mouth, they covered Haman‚Äôs face.¬†9¬†Then Harbona,¬†one of the eunuchs attending the king, said, ‚ÄúA pole reaching to a height of fifty cubits¬†stands by Haman‚Äôs house. He had it set up for Mordecai, who spoke up to help the king.‚ÄĚThe king said, ‚ÄúImpale him on it!‚Ä̬†10¬†

With Haman out of the way, Esther set about having the King write a new edict allowing the Jews to protect themselves when they were to be attacked. Esther 8:1-17 NIV¬†8¬†That same day King Xerxes gave Queen Esther the estate of Haman,¬†the enemy of the Jews. And Mordecai came into the presence of the king, for Esther had told how he was related to her.¬†2¬†The king took off his signet ring,¬†which he had reclaimed from Haman, and presented it to Mordecai. And Esther appointed him over Haman‚Äôs estate.3¬†Esther again pleaded with the king, falling at his feet and weeping. She begged him to put an end to the evil plan of Haman the Agagite,¬†which he had devised against the Jews.¬†4¬†Then the king extended the gold scepter¬†to Esther and she arose and stood before him.5¬†‚ÄúIf it pleases the king,‚ÄĚ she said, ‚Äúand if he regards me with favor¬†and thinks it the right thing to do, and if he is pleased with me, let an order be written overruling the dispatches that Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, devised and wrote to destroy the Jews in all the king‚Äôs provinces.¬†6¬†For how can I bear to see disaster fall on my people? How can I bear to see the destruction of my family?‚ÄĚ7¬†King Xerxes replied to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, ‚ÄúBecause Haman attacked the Jews, I have given his estate to Esther, and they have impaled¬†him on the pole he set up.¬†8¬†Now write another decree¬†in the king‚Äôs name in behalf of the Jews as seems best to you, and seal¬†it with the king‚Äôs signet ring¬†‚ÄĒfor no document written in the king‚Äôs name and sealed with his ring can be revoked.‚ÄĚ9¬†At once the royal secretaries were summoned‚ÄĒon the twenty-third day of the third month, the month of Sivan. They wrote out all Mordecai‚Äôs orders to the Jews, and to the satraps, governors and nobles of the 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush.¬†These orders were written in the script of each province and the language of each people and also to the Jews in their own script and language.10¬†Mordecai wrote in the name of King Xerxes, sealed the dispatches with the king‚Äôs signet ring, and sent them by mounted couriers, who rode fast horses especially bred for the king.11¬†The king‚Äôs edict granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves; to destroy, kill and annihilate the armed men of any nationality or province who might attack them and their women and children,¬†and¬†to plunder¬†the property of their enemies.¬†12¬†The day appointed for the Jews to do this in all the provinces of King Xerxes was the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar.¬†13¬†A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so that the Jews would be ready on that day¬†to avenge themselves on their enemies.14¬†The couriers, riding the royal horses, went out, spurred on by the king‚Äôs command, and the edict was issued in the citadel of Susa.15¬†When Mordecai¬†left the king‚Äôs presence, he was wearing royal garments of blue and white, a large crown of gold¬†and a purple robe of fine linen.¬†And the city of Susa held a joyous celebration.¬†16¬†For the Jews it was a time of happiness and joy,¬†gladness and honor.¬†17¬†In every province and in every city to which the edict of the king came, there was joy¬†and gladness among the Jews, with feasting and celebrating. And many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear¬†of the Jews had seized them.

The book of Esther is filled with so many examples of God using people and circumstances to bring about his ultimate goal of blessing and protecting His people.  The vilest intentions against us can be turned around when we put our trust in God.

How do I know this?  Because His word says so..

Joshua 1:9 NIV¬†9¬†Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid;¬†do not be discouraged,¬†for the¬†Lord¬†your God will be with you wherever you go.‚ÄĚ

Psalm 91:15,15 NIV¬†14¬†‚ÄúBecause he¬†loves me,‚ÄĚ says the¬†Lord, ‚ÄúI will rescue him;¬†I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.15¬†He will call on me, and I will answer him;¬†I will be with him in trouble,¬†I will deliver him and honor him.

Isaiah 41:10 NIV 10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Hebrews 13:5 NIV 5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.

Esther and Mordecai

In EVERYTHING give thanks

When trials and challenges come into our lives, we believers in Christ are often found complaining as if we are surprised that unpleasant things could be happening to us. I’m not referring to things that have come about as a direct result of sinful behavior or purposeful disregard. I’m referring to things that are often beyond our control. An example would be miscarrying or losing a child. ¬†A cancer diagnosis etc. ¬†Things that we ourselves have not brought about for the most part and have little to no control over.

Our first line of defence should be to go to God and seek His help. We also should get our church body to pray. Sometimes God chooses to perform a miracle and bring about perfect supernatural healing.  Most of us have known someone or of someone who has experienced this. Other times God allows us to go through the trial without supernatural healing or visual intervention. He is working no less on our behalf than if He had performed a physical miracle.

He knows our heart and knows the best way for us to grow. So than, should we have to walk through our trial or wait on our answer and not receive an instantaneous response with what attitude should we walk through it? .We can grumble and complain like others that don’t have the confidence of their Heavenly Father looking out for them, or we can do what the word of God tells us to do. ¬†Put our trust in the one who created us and give thanks! Nowhere in the word does it say to give thanks in the good times and gripe in the difficult times. We are given very specific instructions that we need to be reminded of frequently…

Colossians 3:15 NIV15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be THANKFUL.

Can God’s word be any plainer than this?.. Phillipians 4:6 NIV6¬†Do not be anxious about ANYTHING,¬†but in every situation, by prayer and petition, WITH THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God.

Colossians 4:2 NIV 2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and THANKFUL.

Psalm 106:1 NIV Praise the Lord. Give THANKS to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.

1Chronicles 23:30 NIV 30 They were also to stand every morning to THANK AND PRAISE the Lord. They were to do the same in the evening.

Psalm 35:18 NIV 18 I will give you THANKS in the great assembly; among the throngs I will praise you.

And why should we always have an attitude of thankfulness and not grumble?   Because as Psalm 9;9,10 says, NIV 9 The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. 10 Those who know your name TRUST IN YOU, for you, Lord,  HAVE NEVER FORSAKEN THOSE WHO SEEK YOU.

Grumbling and complaining never accomplishes anything helpful, in fact it may hinder our answer from God. It certainly hindered the Israelites when they were walking in the desert! (Exodus 16) ¬†Before you open your mouth to complain, remember we have a Savior that was willing to lay down His life for us and provide a way for our salvation. We have MUCH to be thankful for! Not only did He die for us but He walks with us daily. ¬†If you are walking in God’s will and He has permitted challenges in your life you can be sure He will see you through them. ¬†In EVERYTHING give thanks!

Psalm 113:3 NIV 3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
the name of the Lord is to be praised.

If you belong to Him remember…

Some of us have short memories. ¬†Mine certainly has been getting shorter the last few years! ūüôā Maybe it was turning 50, maybe not but ¬†there are times when I wish my memory was better. ¬†I often head downstairs to get something and find myself standing there looking around and wondering what on earth I came down there for….I have found it necessary to make lists or use my blackberry calendar more often these days if I want to be sure I don’t forget something important. I’ve read several articles over the last few years and apparently memory loss can begin as young as 20 years. ¬†I am referring to mild memory loss, not the dementia type. ¬†I also have read that the more children a woman has carried, the more memory loss she will suffer. Something about hormones and I don’t really understand all the details. ¬†I will claim both, I carried four babies and I am now over 50 so I have an excuse or so I will claim anyway!

There are some things I do not ever want to forget! Here are just a few of the awesome promises in the book of Romans that God has given to us that He intends for us to cling to and claim! They are worth hiding in our heart!

 Romans 8:28 NIV 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.     

What a beautiful promise this is! “That in ALL THINGS God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” ¬†If you are a believer and have accepted Christ you have been called according to His purpose! ¬†This means WHATEVER comes into your life God will work out for your good! ¬†This offers a huge amount of comfort to us! ¬†If we are believers and our serving him, nothing can touch us that He hasn’t allowed or that He will not work out for our good.

And secondly, Romans 8:38,39 NIV 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We have been bought with a price! ¬†A price that is so precious that absolutely nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus! If we walk in faith we don’t have to live in fear of losing that relationship. ¬†God has saved us and intends fully to keep us in His family! ¬†His Son paid too high a price to let us go!

Next time you find yourself forgetting something, remind yourself of these two verses.  When we apply them daily our lives will be transformed!

Forget Me Nots

Our Great Physician

When we believers get sick, often we do the same thing non believers do.  We try and deal with our sickness with the medical profession alone. Though doctors, nurses and all the other workers in the medical field are very necessary, we have another resource that many of us neglect to consult. That would be the Great Physician. There have been many times in my life that I went and sought out medical attention before I even consulted God. God has been reminding me lately, through His word, that our first place to turn should be to Him. He not only desires us to come to Him in good times but also in times of difficulty or illness. My desire is that I will grow to the point where I will seek Him first before looking elsewhere.

Any time I have sought God for help He has never ignored my request.  Answers have come in many different ways but He has never left me without help when I have asked Him for it. NEVER. He promises to hear the prayers of His children. He may use medical professionals in our journey of healing or He may not. My desire is that I go to Him first and ask for His guidance and healing. How He chooses to bring that about is up to Him but I want to seek Him first not last. There is an awesome promise in James that we need to remember.

James 5:14-16 NIV James 5:14-16 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another,that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

What a beautiful promise!  My desire is to seek Him first and not as a last resort.

Exodus 23:25 NIV 25 Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you.

Psalm 103:2,3 NIV¬†2¬†Praise the¬†Lord,¬†my soul¬†and forget not¬†all his benefits‚ÄĒ3¬†who forgives all your sins¬†and heals¬†all your diseases.

1Peter 2:24 NIV 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.

A Reliable Hope

Most of us have things we are waiting on in our lives. A circumstance we want to see resolved. A heart change in a loved one. A health issue we are going through and trusting God for. If we have committed our circumstance to God and have put our trust in Him we can rest assured He will not only see us through it but that as we go ¬†through the circumstance we will grow. We serve a God that hears our prayers and is faithful to His own. We don’t have to fear while we wait on our answer. ¬†We can rest assured that He will never allow anything to come into our lives that we cannot bear in Him. ¬†Hebrews 10:13 NIV¬†23¬†Let us hold unswervingly to the hope¬†we profess,¬†for He who promised is faithful.

It isn’t blind faith that we have, it is real faith. The kind of faith a child has in a loving parent. They know that no matter what is going on around them, their parent will take care of them and do everything in their power to protect them. Our God is even more reliable than the best parent out there. We can even have joy as we go through our trials because ¬†we know not only do we not go through them alone but that as it says in Romans 8:28 NIV¬†28¬†¬†We know that in all things God works for the good¬†of those who love him, who¬†have been called¬†according to His purpose.

So when storms come, and they will come we have reason to hope. Not blind hope but real hope. We can rest and put our faith in Him and know that the one that loved us enough to send His son to die for us will not leave us helpless or hopeless. His word is His promise to us and His word is  full of hope.

Psalm 71:14 NIV 14 As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.

Romans 15:13 NIV 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 31:24 NIV 24 Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.

We choose how we go through trials!

Recently there has been a flood of friends and family facing trials. Some are health concerns, some financial and others in relationship conflicts. ¬†There is no way of going through this life journey without coming up against one if not more of these. Christians are not exempt of difficulties and trials. ¬†Some of us in our early years in faith believed we would be protected by a spiritual bubble that would prevent difficult, hurtful things from knocking at our door. ¬†This belief wasn’t based on anything scriptural but a naive belief that because we chose to serve God He would not allow anything “bad” to happen to us. Early death, sickness, financial hardships and all the other struggles out there would somehow pass us by. If we believed enough, these things would move on down the road and away from our doors.

This naive belief is based on our own lack of knowing God’s word and the words of Jesus to His followers. ¬†God never promised that life would be sunshine and rainbows every day. ¬†He never promised we would not struggle through difficulties. ¬†He never promised we would not lose a loved one long before we thought it was their time to go. In fact Jesus warned us in¬†John 16:33 NIV¬†‚ÄúI have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.¬†In this world you will have trouble.¬†But take heart! I have overcome¬†the world.‚Ä̬†

I personally have had to deal with some great losses in my life. ¬†When we lost our son Daniel, at age 20 in a car accident I grieved daily for about 3 years before I could really accept he was gone. ¬†Though he came to Christ as a young child and I knew I would see him again, I missed his smile, his crazy humour, his lovely face and his presence in the family! I still have days where I feel such deep grief over the fact that he won’t ever get to have a family, raise children and live out some of his dreams. ¬†I did however, have to get to a place where I trusted that God had his reasons for taking him home. He may never reveal them to me but even that is now okay. He knows so much more than I can ever know about the future. ¬†We can choose to grow bitter and angry and decide that because things didn’t go the way we expected them to go we will no longer walk with the Lord. ¬†There are many people out there walking down that dark road. ¬†Choosing that road will just lead to more discontent and bitterness.

When dark days come most of us will have a time where we pull inside ourselves, wallow in sadness and grief for a time but then comes the time for us to look to God.

Psalm40:1-3 NIV 1 I waited patiently for the Lord;he turned to me and heard my cry.2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,out of the mud and mire;he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.3 He put a new song in my mouth,a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.

I believe in counselling and it did help me a great deal to talk to a counselor while I was working through my grief after the loss of our son, but even the best counselor cannot bring about the heart deep healing that only Jesus can. ¬†As we choose life, choose to move forward and allow God to heal those deep wounds we move out of our deep grief and into a place of acceptance and peace. ¬†Throughout our journey trials will continue to come and with every trial we have the choice of how we will walk through it. We can look to God knowing the truth of Romans 8:28 NIV¬†28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good¬†of those who love him, who¬†have been called¬†according to his purpose,” ¬†or we can remain wallowing in our grief and bitterness. ¬†I choose life!

I choose life!

Standing on God’s Promises

Most of us have been disappointed from time to time with people.  Sometimes  people will say one thing and do another. Perhaps someone has promised to do something for us or keep a confidence and they did not live up to their word.  I think everyone has gone through this experience at one time or another. I know I have. It leaves us feeling disappointed and at times discouraged with people in general. We like to be able to count on others and when they let us down we have to deal the consequences.

Thankfully, we have one who will never act against His promises. ¬†God has promised so many things to His children in His word and we can take Him at His promises and hold Him to them. Unlike man, He doesn’t lie or change. ¬†Heb.13:8 NIV¬†Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

As His kids, we are so fortunate that there is so much available to us as we walk in His ways and in communion with Him. I want to mention just a few of the many promises we can stand on.  There are too many to list them all here but they can be found in our Bibles. Here are three that are life changing as we take Him at His word.

1John2:1,2¬†My dear children,¬†I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate¬†with the Father‚ÄĒJesus Christ, the Righteous One.¬†2¬†He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins,and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

There is guaranteed forgiveness for our sins for anyone who asks through Jesus Christ. ¬†The verse doesn’t say maybe, or only for certain sins, or to those people who are nice! ¬†It says “If ANYBODY does sin, we have an¬†advocate¬†(one who argues for a cause, supporter or defender, one that pleads on another’s behalf; an intercessor) with the Father-JESUS CHRIST, the righteous One.

Luke 11:13 NIV¬†13¬†If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!‚ÄĚ

Anyone who is a believer and is walking on this planet must realize how much we need the Holy Spirit. Without God’s Spirit we would not even be able to come to the Lord in the first place. ¬†Without God’s Spirit equipping us we would not be able to carry out the work God has for us to accomplish here. ¬†There would be no heart cry for the Saviour, no healing, no deliverance, no transformation in our hearts etc.. and all we need to do is ask!

Deut. 31:8 The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

 WOW!  Those are powerful words. Who else can we count on to NEVER leave us nor FORSAKE us? He is with us every moment of every day. We can bank on that.  No matter what the circumstance, what the trial or what the experience He is walking through it with us.

By soaking in, applying and standing on the absolute truth of the above three verses alone, our walk with God will grow more intimate and our love and forgiveness towards others will increase.

Malachi 1:11 NIV”For from the rising of the sun even to its setting, My name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense is going to be offered to My name, and a grain offering that is pure; for My name will be great among the nations,” says the LORD of hosts.


The Father’s Heart

Many of us today have grown up with biological or step fathers that left a little to be desired. ¬†Often due to their own woundings many fathers are not capable of being the kind of father their children really need. Those of us who grew up with a father that didn’t nurture and that was not trustworthy in many ways often develop a deep distrust for our Heavenly Father. The only father we ever had was not trustworthy so why would we trust our Heavenly Father? ¬†When I became a Christian at 16 years of age, my longing was for a father that would hear me when I cried out to him. ¬†God answered that cry! ¬†He heard me and through the gift of faith, allowed me to grow in a deep relationship with Him. ¬†Through His word, I began my journey of learning who He really is and how He really feels about me.

The first thing I learned was that when I am sincere in seeking Him and His will He always responds. ¬†I have felt His presence when I have needed it most. In my darkest days of loss and sadness He has comforted me. ¬†In my days of struggling with issues, He has sent the Comforter to encourage me. ¬†Unlike earthly fathers, His love is never ending and limitless. Through His son, He has offered us a safe place and position that allows us to boldly come before His throne and make our requests known. ¬†He loved us enough to offer up His precious son as a sacrifice so that all of us would be able to have an intimate relationship with Him. ¬†That’s pure and undefiled love.

It’s not unusual to feel disappointment from time to time towards earthly fathers but it is an awesome thing to know that Father God will not disappoint us when we put our trust in Him. ¬†If your earthly father has hurt or offended you in some way take that hurt to your Heavenly Father and lay it at His feet. Lay it down and forgive. ¬†It will bring freedom. Holding onto your disappointments will just bring bitterness and wounding to your soul. ¬†Turn it all over to God. ¬†He will take those hurts and replace them with joy and freedom.

If you don’t have an earthly father, God will meet your needs. ¬†As Psalm 68:5 says, He is a “Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling.” ¬†Take Him at His word and then go show some love to your earthly father this Father’s Day!

1John3:1 NIV How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called the children of God.

Matt7:11 NIV If you, then though are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him.

Jer 31:3 NIV The Lord appeared to us in past saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have drawn you with loving kindness.”

Hurry Up and Wait..

Most people today live a very hurried and busy lifestyle.  Many of us have full time jobs and multiple responsibilities outside our homes along with the many responsibilities of the home and family itself. Whether we are single, married, with or without children or grandparents wanting to be involved in the lives of our grandchildren we are busy people. On top of this some of us our involved in activities/committees etc. at our churches.  Life is very very busy.  When we need something we can go online, pick up a catalogue or drop into a store and purchase it.  When we need information it can be found quite simply by typing in a request on our keyboards or dropping into a library.

We have become accustomed to living fast and receiving fast. When it comes to our relationship with God it is not always so. ¬†I am learning to hurry up and wait… There are times when I bring a need or a desire of my heart to the Lord and He answers it within a day or so. There are other times when He chooses not to. ¬†He is all knowing and all seeing. ¬†I am NOT. ¬†He always answers our prayers correctly. Sometimes the answer is quite simply NO, other times it may not come for days, weeks or even years. How we spend our time waiting on our answer is critical. ¬†I believe the Lord is pleased when we rest in knowing He has it all under control. Fretting and stressing while we wait does nothing to see our prayer answered any faster. Resting and trusting gives allowance for our faith to grow. Abiding in His word and His love while we wait allows us to grow even closer to the lover of our soul. ¬†It does NOT come natural for me to rest and trust but I am learning that it really is the only way to respond. Recently God has put people in my life to remind me of this very fact. Our vision is so limited and we cannot possibly know one iota of a fraction of a percentage of what God does and therefore are really in no position to try and force God’s hand.

He loves us.  This is something we can bank on! He is faithful. Another absolute. Therefore when we find ourselves growing impatient and annoyed at not seeing our prayers or desires answered when WE WANT them answered it is time to trust, rest and abide in His word.  He will never disappoint!

Isaiah 40:31 ESV ¬†“But they who wait for the¬†Lord¬†shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Psalm 37:34 ESV “Wait for the¬†Lord¬†and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on when the wicked are cut off.”

Psalm 62:5,6 Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

Resting in Christ

There comes a time in our Christian walk where we all must learn to rest…not rest as in take a holiday or lay around the house. Resting as a believer means to enter in and believe that we are complete in what Jesus has done for us. ¬†We no longer need to continue to strive and ¬†work for our favour with God. ¬†We come to the point where we take God at His word and realize that there is nothing we can do to earn our salvation but that it is a free gift. ¬†We will NEVER be able to earn it! ¬†With that revelation comes a peace. ¬†We will never be good enough in our own striving to live up to God’s expectations of us. We can however, come before Him as sons and daughters by receiving and applying what Christ did on the cross for each of us.

Along with this revelation comes a joy and a peace that striving can never accomplish.  Does the revelation of His rest  mean we do not need to walk in obedience or continue studying in the Word. NO! It does however stop us from focusing  so much on our own outward  goodness or works. Instead, we can focus on what an awesome, kind, merciful Saviour we have and that He loved us enough to pay the ultimate sacrifice for us.  In turn, out of this deep love for Him and what He has done for us, we will desire to serve Him! We will want to walk in obedience and close communion with Him.

What an awesome God we serve!

Philippians 4:6-7

New International Version ~6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Learning to lean..

There are so many times in the past I would find myself tied up in knots emotionally over worries of which I had no control. ¬†These worries have come in many forms..sometimes relational, financial, in matters of health and on occasion even work related. ¬†I used to feel that somehow by worrying about them it would help resolve the problem. ¬†I would from time to time lay them at His feet and then shortly thereafter pick them back up again…

Lately God has been reminding me that as I walk in His ways, being obedient to His word and seeking His face I have every right to bring these “cares of the world” and lay them at His feet and leave them there! He not only will allow me to do so but that He wants me to lay my cares at His feet. ¬†The creator of the Universe actually cares for His creation and longs to have a personal relationship with us. ¬†Awesome!

Though I have gone through trials and tribulations throughout various times in my life He has never left me nor forsaken me. He has never let me go hungry or without shelter.  He has and will continue to take care of His own. I am grateful that I serve a God of love and mercy.  A God that forgives when I ask Him. A God that answers my prayers.

Next time you are tempted to pick those worries and burdens back up and throw them on your back, remember He is much more able to carry them and to answer your prayers in ways well beyond what you could do.

Psalm 37:25
I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

He always provides in one way or another.