My Heart's Desire

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When my heart was grieved
and my spirit embittered,
I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you.

Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.

Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.
  Psalm 73:21-28 (NIV)

Letting go of anything is hard. We are worldly. We set our sights on earthly things. Is it even possible to say with the psalmist that earth has nothing I desire besides you

What if we truly believed and practiced earth has nothing I desire besides you? What would our lives look like? How would others perceive us? Imagine the glory God would gain through lives lived for Him. 

The psalmist who wrote #73 in the Scriptures declares God is good, to Israel and to those who are pure in heart. Asaph, the psalmist, knew God and His goodness. Yet he became consumed with the wealth of the arrogant. He almost lost his way. He speaks frankly about being jealous of the prosperity of the wicked. It appeared to him that they had everything, including an easy life. Through the awful trap of comparison, he struggled to understand why life seemed so unfair. 

A right perspective caused his change in perception. He entered the sanctuary of God. Maybe he actually entered the Temple or possibly he went on a retreat. Perhaps he simply got down on his knees and sincerely spoke to God, opening his heart in prayerful meditation. Whatever he did, he found answers. He found refuge. He found peace. 

I’ve been in the place of envy, wondering why other people’s lives look so perfect. They have every material thing possible. All their relationships seem flawless. They succeed and rise to fame in whatever they do. Promotions and salary increases regularly come their way. Why does everything work out for them? Why, Lord, why doesn’t life work out that way for me? 

Oh the bitterness that becomes entrenched in our souls when we focus on others in comparison. We forget about our own gifts and abilities. We forget who we are. We forget what we have. We become senseless. As Asaph puts it, 

When my heart was grieved
and my spirit embittered,
I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you.

Do we realize we are negating who God made us to be? We are basically complaining to our Creator about His creation. How does our dissatisfaction affect God’s heart? I’m sure He grieves, yet He continues to yearn for His children to be satisfied in Him. 

I look at myself and see that Almighty God has blessed me with gifts and talents, with a loving family and a roof over my head. All that I have, I offer Him thanks. All that I am, I humbly bow before Him in gratitude. I will remember who He has made me to be.

I will praise the God who loves me, no matter what I’ve done or not done. As long as I truly enter His sanctuary with an honest, humble heart, He redirects my path. He holds my hand and walks me through my angst. He strengthens me and gives me peace, even as I face the storms of life. Why on earth would I desire anything more? He IS all I need. 

From this day forward, I will remind myself of what I have learned in His sanctuary. I will let go of the stuff of life and cling only to Him. This is my “letting go” to do list:

Letting go of jealousy and envy

Letting go of debilitating grudges

Letting go of worry and fear

Letting go of resentment and regret 

Letting go of accumulated stuff and material possessions

I could go on and on. I’m so imperfect. But my Father God is perfect and He is all I need in this life and after. He has been and still is my refuge and strength. He has been and still is my Help whenever I cry out to Him. He has been and still is Faithful and True. I am so grateful to Him. I am so thankful for Him.

I will let go of attitudes and things that distract. I will hold onto the One who satisfies my soul. I know He will hold onto me as we walk through life together. I will say with confidence it is good to be near God. He is my desire.

What do you need to let go of? What distracts you from a good God? Humbly enter His sanctuary with thanksgiving. You’ll quickly realize He can be trusted. You’ll know who He made you to be. You’ll know He is your strength. And you’ll be able to say with the psalmist, “Earth has nothing I desire besides You.”


O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly;
My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You,
In a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips will praise You.
So I will bless You as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
  Psalm 63:1-4 (NASB)

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.  Philippians 4:4-9 (NIV)

Do Not Fear

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What do you fear? Death, destruction, work, joblessness, homelessness, enemies, hatred, confrontation, trials, divorce, discord, quarrels, loneliness—I could go on and on. Fear comes in all shapes and sizes. Fear disrupts our lives. Fear comes from the evil one. 

The devil loves to cause us to fear. Fear keeps our eyes on our situation and off of God. God says, “Do not fear.” Over and over again God tells us in His Word not to fear, not to be afraid, not to worry. Do we listen? Do we follow His instructions?

I wanted to post a simple message today using Scripture in a picture. However, I encountered many problems as I tried to simply post the meme. Little irritating glitches with technology plagued my every move. I stopped and reread the verse. I suddenly realized why I faced obstacles in posting. It’s a verse Satan wants to put aside. 

BUT GOD wants us to hear. And He helped me to persevere. 

The above Bible verse has become one of my favorite verses. It is my “go to” verse. God speaks to me through this verse and gives me strength. And He’ll do the same for you. 

Read it over and over again until it strengthens you with peaceful resolve. God is in control. Trust Him with every single situation in your life. It doesn’t matter how big or small your circumstance. God is able. Have faith in Him. 

An Arch of Promise

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I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. It shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow will be seen in the cloud,  Genesis 9:13-14 (NASB)

When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”  Genesis 9:16 (NASB)

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…….And clouds are the dust beneath His feet.  Nahum 1:3 (NASB)


An artist stands before her easel, paintbrush in hand. Impressive scenery takes shape on her canvas. Any bystander can gage the size of the artist to the scene she creates. Using this frame of reference, imagine God before His heavenly canopy placing His bow, His rainbow, in a cloud. 

At any time onlookers can gaze at God’s magnificent scenes in the heavens. When we realize the greatness of our Creator, it becomes easier to comprehend how clouds are the dust of His feet. Those massive billowy forms bear His footprints. He walks among the clouds. He is mighty.

Sometimes those billows bring rain. If they are rolled up ferociously into a hurricane with gale force winds and surging waters, devastation occurs. The southeastern coast of the United States is experiencing such turbulence. My home state of North Carolina, as well as the state of South Carolina, is encountering extreme ruin. Danger, destruction, and clouds surround all residents. Many of my family and friends live there. Intense weather has whipped throughout the area. Everyday life has been stripped away. The normal routine has been submerged. It’s back to the basics of life, the barebones of existence. No fluff, only rough. Where is God? And why has He allowed such disaster? 

I don’t understand why this tragedy has happened. I can’t answer why the God of the universe didn’t stop the hurricane. He is God and I am not. But I do know that He is available to all who call on His name. He meets us where we are. Could it be He wants us to yearn for Him more than anything in this world?

Noah and his family survived a catastrophic flood. They were the only ones who survived. Death and destruction had confined them to the ark. Their old life was gone. They were in survival mode. They lived through forty cloudy days and nights as water swelled around their vessel. Forty straight days and nights of rain and clouds! Were they frightened? Angry? Yearning for their stuff? Quite possibly they were sick and tired of clouds. Did they complain? Did they forget God was near?  

I think I can answer those questions with a resounding YES! If I had been on the ark or if I was on North Carolina’s coast right now, I would be crying with fear. I might be screaming WHY while I wished for my old life back. I’m sure I would see the clouds as just clouds and not the dust of His feet. 

Until the day God sets His rainbow in the clouds.

The rainbow was God’s promise to Noah of an everlasting covenant with His people. The rainbow guarantees a brighter day. Hope for tomorrow. The silver lining in the clouds. An array of breathtaking color.

The rainbow calls to remembrance the covenant between God and man. Its appearance reminds us that we are not forgotten. Its beauty awakens us to the presence of an Almighty God. We can celebrate, not only at Christmas time but every single day, the presence of Immanuel, God with us, Jesus Christ. And Jesus promised He would never leave us or forsake us. He is faithful.

Suffering usually strips us of our pretenses. It brings us to our knees, down to the nitty-gritty. And that’s where we can find Jesus waiting on us. To lift us up in times of sorrow, sickness, and sadness. To help us in our times of need. To offer hope when it’s all gone. As Scripture tells us:God also bound himself with an oath, so that those he promised to help would be perfectly sure and never need to wonder whether he might change his plans.


He has given us both his promise and his oath, two things we can completely count on, for it is impossible for God to tell a lie. Now all those who flee to him to save them can take new courage when they hear such assurances from God; now they can know without doubt that he will give them the salvation he has promised them.

This certain hope of being saved is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls, connecting us with God himself behind the sacred curtains of heaven, where Christ has gone ahead to plead for us from his position as our High Priest, with the honor and rank of Melchizedek.  Hebrews 6:17-20 (TLB)

He has promised to Noah and to us. He will do it. Do you believe? 

Treasure of Truth

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Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.  2 Timothy 1:13-14 (NASB)




X marks the spot…..


     Somewhere over the rainbow…..


                         Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 


Treasure conjures up many images. A chest full of gold trinkets, beads, coins. A jewelry box containing diamond rings and necklaces. The many irreplaceable things we cling to when loved ones die. Treasures don’t have to be expensive. Where one sees junk, another sees treasure. The value of a treasure depends on its personal worth. 

Since my parents died, I’ve clung to things they left behind. I cherish their belongings more since their departure from this earth. I wear a diamond ring given to my mom by my dad on their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. It has monetary value, but its worth escalates for me because it was a part of them. 

Through the years I’ve accumulated what I consider precious and priceless treasures. Gifts from my husband, pictures drawn by my children, mementos from my grandchildren, on and on and on. Stuff I embrace. Things I can’t let go. As precious as they are to me, they remain stuff, simply stuff. Why do I cling so tightly to them? 

Questioning the worth of it all, I hear words spoken on a mountain by a very wise teacher. “Stop collecting treasures for your own benefit on earth, where moth and rust eat them and where thieves break in and steal them. Instead, collect treasures for yourselves in heaven, where moth and rust don’t eat them and where thieves don’t break in and steal them. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  (Matthew 6:19-21)

Jesus spoke these words to His followers in the Sermon on the Mount. He offered eternal life not material life. The accuracy of His words of wisdom rings true today. Why do I allow myself to become ensnared with stuff that does nothing for me? Why is Jesus not the treasure trove I desire? Lord, transform my trivial thoughts to true treasure. 

Without warning, memories crop up and I’m reminded of a reliable inheritance. Wonderful memories of attending Sunday school and church with my family. Listening to my dad read daily devotions with prayer at the table. Hearing my mom read Bible stories at bedtime. Not only did my parents endow us with material belongings, they left a legacy of faith in God Almighty. My sisters and I were taught about a God who loved us so much that He sent His Son into the world to save us from sin. We learned about Jesus and He is the greatest treasure of all.

Jesus said He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). He came to earth to represent the Heavenly Father. He preached words of eternal life (John 6:68-69). He was, is, and will be the Holy One of God. He is the Word of God that existed with God from the very beginning, the apostle John tells us. He even explains who Jesus is in detail. 

Before anything else existed, there was Christ, with God. He has always been alive and is himself God. He created everything there is—nothing exists that he didn’t make. Eternal life is in him, and this life gives light to all mankind. His life is the light that shines through the darkness—and the darkness can never extinguish it.  John 1:1-5 (TLB)

These words describe true treasure, God through Jesus Christ. He is a firm foundation, ageless advice, trustworthy truth. He is the Light of the world sent into the world to save the world. 

We may possess many worldly goods and personal effects to pass on to our children, but it’s all superfluous. What we consider treasure in this world could get taken from us. It won’t last. It’s replaceable. It’s just stuff.

God has given us Himself through Jesus Christ. He has entrusted us with His truth. We must hold it tightly in our hearts and yet share abundantly with others. Jesus is the heirloom we want to share with future generations. Make Him the treasure you cherish. Make sure He’s the legacy you leave.


Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating ceremonial foods, which is of no benefit to those who do so.  Hebrews 13:7-9 (NIV)

Clouds of Glory

 
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Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.  Exodus 40:34-35 (NASB)

It happened that when the priests came from the holy place, the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord. 
1 Kings 8:10-11 (NASB)


He is God and we are not. We are minuscule in the grand scheme of things. Consider the vastness of the heavens, the universe. Earth is a small part of the cosmos. Each one of us is a tiny part of earth. Still we belong to a Creator who knows our very hearts. He even desires a relationship with us. 

Moses had the benefit of an intimate relationship with Almighty God while also being a conduit for some of the Lord’s most celebrated miracles. In today’s world he would have made the headlines, gaining instant popularity. Yet Moses wasn’t more special than you or me. He simply chose to follow God and obey His direction for the deliverance of the Israelites. 

Consider the many miraculous events Moses experienced. One such encounter involved the Lord’s glory filling up the tabernacle. When Moses had finished erecting a place for God to dwell, His presence in a cloud settled over the tent of meeting and filled the tabernacle to capacity. It was so awesome Moses was unable to enter the tent. Try to envision God’s presence in an enveloping cloud. Imagine the grandeur of God Almighty holding you back from getting close. How did Moses react? What would you have done? 

It’s hard for human beings to grasp the expanse of a mighty God. Still this powerful God reigned in a cloud by day and fire by night as Moses led the Israelites in the wilderness. He never left them. He doesn’t leave us either. 

Many years later God’s splendor resided in the temple Solomon built. The cloud filled the house of the Lord preventing the priests from performing their duties. God’s magnificence overpowered them. Solomon confirmed he had built a lofty house for God while remembering the Lord saying He would dwell in the thick cloud. Imagine the majesty of the Temple built by human hands. Now consider the resplendence of a God-filled cloud occupying the very foundation of human construction. 

Solomon and the assembly of Israel offered up their praises, dedicating the Temple to the Lord. He lifted his hands toward heaven saying, “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or earth below.”

King Solomon understood the greatness of God. He continued, “Will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!” The king felt humility before an awesome God while also understanding that his Heavenly Father heard his prayer (1 King 8:23-29). He hears our prayers too.

 
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While in Ireland this summer, my family and I felt God’s awesome presence in a cloud. We stood on a sun-draped hill above the ocean, gazing at a distant cloud cover over the horizon. Standing still we noticed it advancing toward us. From end to end this billowing cloud steadily moved over the earth until it enveloped us. Eventually it proceeded over and behind us. Speechless and transfixed we admired God’s glory. We were awed by His presence, humbled by His greatness. When we were able to move again, we simply uttered, “Only God.”

Moses and Solomon understood God’s greatness. They witnessed evidence of His power. I stood within a mighty cloud and felt His presence. Maybe you’ve encountered His magnificence. When we humans are truly aware of God’s majesty, we realize our insignificance. But when we understand how much this supreme God loves and cares for us, we are overwhelmed with humble gratitude. 

God IS great and God IS good. He is a powerful Being who cares for each one of us. He hears our cries and listens to our prayers. Trust and obey Him. Have faith in His ability to take care of your loved ones. He is God and we are not. HE IS ABLE.


Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory
in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infant
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.

Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
  Psalm 8 (NIV)

Worship God with Steven Curtis Chapman singing "God is God".......
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alYxWu554ac

Hope's Focus, Faith's Promise

“I love You, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
My God, my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
And I am saved from my enemies.

Therefore I will give thanks to You among the nations, O Lord, And I will sing praises to Your name. Psalm 18:1-3, 49 (NASB)

 
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Boldly I am able to say the Lord is my strength. No matter the troubles I encounter, even if overwhelmed by sadness, I can walk in confidence daily because of my Savior Jesus Christ. With Him all things are possible (Mark 9:23).

However, there was a time I doubted my resilience from day to day, even minute to minute. When I encountered misery from the choices of a prodigal child, heartache and sorrow wracked my soul. At times I felt incapable of moving forward. I longed for bygone days of innocence and laughter with my daughter. But I could do nothing to alter the situation. The more I pleaded, the worst it got. The more I argued, the bigger the fight. The only thing I could do was let go, pray, and let God.

Prayer was my direct line to the One who totally understood my pain. Even though I rendered only cries of torment and screams of anger, He still loved me. He listened with compassion and encouraged me with His Word. Though I doubted His presence at times, He never left my side. He surrounded me with empathetic friends who supported me when I needed a human touch. He patiently waited with open arms for me to embrace His peaceful gift of comfort.

It’s difficult to trust Someone we don’t see. That’s where faith comes in. Bound in hope, faith becomes a certainty. The assurance of expected evidence—conviction of expectation. Faith relies on God.

Now faith is the assurance (substance) of things hoped (expected) for, the conviction (evidence) of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 (NASB)

Are you struggling to trust God in your circumstances? Are you overwhelmed with weariness? Discover His hopeful message in the Bible. Scripture is full of His promises and He is the promise keeper.

Surrender your worry to Him. Praise Him in your storm. He rides on the clouds to rescue you from fear. Believe that the dust of His feet is in your cloudy situation (Nahum 1:3). Trust Him. And receive the offering of Hs peaceful strength.

 

And Jesus said to him, “‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” Mark 9:23 (NASB)

Looking at them, Jesus said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27 (NASB)

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Within the Cloud

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A cloud covering encircled the mountain, filled with God’s glory.

God called down to Moses, “Come up to Me and remain here for a while.”

Leaving everyone behind, Moses started up the mountain alone.

“I’m coming, Lord,” Moses called out as he trekked the steep peak.

Keeping his eyes forward and upward, he climbed,

Through haze, fog, and cloudy moisture.

Cool, damp air hemmed him in.

Eventually the dense mass distracted him.

He wasn’t sure which way to go.

What if he fell off a cliff?

What if he stumbled over rocks?

What if he confronted a wild animal?

Fear gripped him.

His mind filled with uncertainty.

“Help me, Lord,” he cried.

You called me to come up, right? Where are you, God?” he yelled.

Silence, deafening silence,

Days of quiet, nights of doubt.

“God, I need you,” he screamed.

His mind conflicted with anxious memories of Pharaoh and the Egyptian army until….

Remembrances of rescue and the parted sea rushed in, delivering peace.

Slowly Moses moved forward, clinging to thoughts of God’s faithfulness.

“I put my trust in you, Lord,” he prayed.

Moses continued the journey.

Finally the Lord called out to him on the seventh day.

“I am here,” God said. “Come to Me.”

Immediately Moses perceived God’s presence.

He knew he wasn’t alone.

The glory of the Lord overfilled the cloudy mist.

Love and compassion, mercy and grace soaked Moses’ heart.

Peace exceeding understanding saturated his mind.

He knew, without a shadow of doubt, God existed and cared for His people, for him.

Nothing else mattered but experiencing God.

When the clouds gathered, God’s presence intensified.

Within the cloudy haze, God reigned

And joy bubbled within the man of God.

(based on Exodus 24)

Do clouds hang over you, dripping with doubt and confusion, fear and pain? Are they obstructing your view of God? Do you feel abandoned and alone?

At times in my life, I have allowed dark clouds to muddle my mind with angst. Worry has filled in the empty spaces, causing my stomach to churn. I’ve lived in fear until turning my focus onto Jesus. Only then did His peace prevail in my heart and mind.

Moses, like all of us, experienced cloudy days and defeatist emotions. Can you imagine all the negativity he dealt with, the personalities he struggled with, the responsibility he carried in the desert? He had plenty of time to doubt God as he and the Israelites wandered forty years.

Trekking up Mount Sinai to God’s cloud of glory, he probably fought feelings of uncertainty about God with the assurance he knew about His Deliverer. With intentional trust, Moses positioned his eyes on the Lord. He experienced God's peaceful presence within the cloud of glory.

Are you battling feelings of fear and doubt? Do you feel as though you are confined by storm clouds? Seek the Lord God with all your heart, mind, and soul. Allow His Son Jesus Christ to deliver you from worry and uncertainty. Enter into His presence and find joy. Receive His peace.

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Psalm 16:11 (NIV)

[Jesus Appears to the Disciples] While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

Luke 24:36 (NIV)

And now receive God’s blessing, given for you as it was to the Israelites:

“Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them: 

‘“The Lord bless you

    and keep you;

the Lord make his face shine on you

    and be gracious to you;

the Lord turn his face toward you

    and give you peace.”’

“So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”

Numbers 6:23-27 (NIV)

Pain and Pleasure

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 1 Peter 1:6-7 (NASB)

Oh the pain of it all. Words uttered in exasperation over life situations. Sometimes I feel as though I could shout them on a daily basis.

The Israelites possibly proclaimed similar words as slaves in Egypt. Yet in the midst of their painful experiences, God was working to free them from their resistant foe. The Lord had explained to Moses the last of ten plagues that would severely affect the Egyptians and change Pharaoh’s heart. His instructions for the Israelites were to prepare a lamb to eat, along with bread and bitter herbs. The lamb’s blood was to be smeared over their doorway as protection from the angel of death. They were to be dressed and ready to leave Egypt while eating their meal in haste (Exodus 12).

Because of the urgency to leave, the bread was made without yeast. There would be no time for the bread to rise. Made only of flour and water, this unleavened flat bread would provide quick sustenance. It was to become a significant part of the memorial meal called the Lord’s Passover.

Matzah is the name given to this bread and it is rich in meaning. It represents suffering, freedom, and faith. When eating matzah during Passover, the suffering of slavery is remembered while the recollection of newfound freedom is celebrated. All made possible because of a God who is able to do anything. Praise our faithful God!

Suffering and freedom, pain and pleasure—even though opposites, these experiences generally go hand in hand. A step of faith links them. Faith in a God who supplies our needs. Trust in a God who knows our situations. Belief in a God who walks with us, even if in a valley of the shadow of death. Clinging to the Lord God in faith makes a distressing situation bearable.

Over the last fourteen years, I have come to completely trust my Faithful Friend. I’ve experienced the pain and suffering of aging parents. I’ve encountered the agony of their deaths as their souls walked into heavenly freedom. I’ve lived a daily heartache for years with a prodigal child and made a joyful noise when she returned. I’ve walked down two wedding aisles, happily supporting both my son and daughter as they married the spouses God provided them. And the piece de resistance—the births of our two wonderful grandchildren. I was able to enjoy life’s pleasures because the Lord strengthened me through the pain. Oh the pain and pleasure of it all.

Bittersweet happenings—bitter pain combined with sweet pleasure. Two sides of the same coin joined by faith. Faith in a God who never leaves us. He is the God who came to earth to live with us. He is Jesus Christ who experienced the excruciating pain of death for the pleasure of offering salvation to the world. He is the Holy Spirit who lives in us when we believe in Him.

Jesus understands our pain and pleasure because He experienced both. He came to earth to demonstrate how to live through it all as He did. Trust Him as He takes you from suffering into freedom. He is able cause He is faithful.

You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
Psalm 16:11 (NASB)

Thy Kingdom Come




Let your kingdom come.
    Let your will be done in earth
        as it is done in heaven.  Matthew 6:10 (GW)


I enjoy cloud gazing. The heavens declare His glory and I’m drawn to the sky. Our Heavenly Artist designs visions of color and clouds in magnificent ways. No wonder Scripture declares the return of the Son of Man in a cloud with power and glory. Even though surrounded by life’s grit and grim here on earth, are we mindful of the signs in the skies?    

Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”  Luke 21:27-28 (NKJV)


Wait. What things? What is to happen before the Son of Man named Jesus appears? What signifies the end of life as we know it and the beginning of eternal salvation? 

The twenty-first chapter of Luke contains a rather extensive list of things to come before the fulfillment of time. Jesus sat in the temple with His followers warning of future happenings. He cautioned the listeners not to be misled by false saviors. Or run after those who say the time is near. He said not to be terrified when hearing of wars and disturbances. He gave them notice of nations rising up against each other and kingdoms in conflict. Earthquakes, plagues, and famines were to occur throughout the earth. Terrors and signs would appear in the heavens.

Not only did Jesus foretell these devastations to come, He warned of the destruction of the temple. The people had previously commented about its beauty which had led Him to explain its future ruination. When asked if signs would appear before this wreckage, Jesus told of all the things that would happen, beginning with the persecution of believers. 

He said, “Before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for My name’s sake. It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony.”  Luke 21:12-13 (NASB)

An opportunity for testimony in Jesus’ name? I wonder if Jesus’ listeners panicked as I would have done upon hearing all these predictions. Even reading the words now, my heart races with fear. Aren’t there more peaceful ways for me to share my love for you? I could witness to my neighbor or the homeless out on the street. I could speak to fellow church members and family members about You. Instead I find myself getting wrapped up in the rifts of life. Before I know it, my focus is me and not You. And quite possibly an opportunity has slipped away. 

It’s hard to stand firm on the Word of God when life seems to be falling apart. People rail against anything godly. Evil clashes with good causing violence. Protests occur because no one willingly listens to another point of view. And fear mounts as the world seems to spiral out of control. Yet there are those people, in the midst of walking through a valley of the shadow of death, who use these opportunities to testify about the love of God through Jesus Christ. Will I be one of them?

Each day supplies ample occasions for reactions to various actions. We can focus on all the evil in the world and be overwhelmed with anxiety. We can concentrate on personal shortcomings and be overcome with depression. Or we can choose to turn to Jesus and experience peace. Whatever we choose, that will be our testimony. Will it be for our sake or for the sake of the name of Jesus?

Jesus came to earth to reveal a glimpse of the kingdom of God. He preached the gospel of salvation by calling people to repent and be redeemed through Him. He said none of us could be saved through our own accomplishments but that all things are possible with God (Matthew 19:26, Mark 9:23, Mark 10:27). 

Will we allow the clouds of despair to overshadow His glory? Or will we endure through our day to day situations as living examples of the love of God in the name of Jesus? He tells us we need only to lift up our heads and look to Him for strength. He also tells us the clouds are the dust of His feet. He is near.

So when your circumstances appear discouraging, look to the sky and notice the signs. Turn your eyes upon Jesus and receive His power. Let His heavenly glory live in the earth of you for His name’s sake. Your testimony about His kingdom will bring honor to our Heavenly Father. 


He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;  Psalm 23:3-4






Standing in Glory


Now the Lord said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain and stay there, and I will give you the stone tablets with the law and the commandments which I have written for their instruction.” So Moses arose with Joshua his attendant, and he went up to the mountain of God. And he said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we come back to you. Remember that Aaron and Hur are with you; whoever has a legal matter, let him go to them.” Then Moses went up to the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory and brilliance of the Lord rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days. On the seventh day God called to Moses from the midst of the cloud. In the sight of the Israelites the appearance of the glory and brilliance of the Lord was like consuming fire on the top of the mountain. Moses entered the midst of the cloud and went up the mountain; and he was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.  Exodus 24:12-18 (AMP)


God rescued His people Israel from Egypt so they could freely worship Him. Their journey from bondage to freedom required godly guidance. The instructions spoken to Moses by God were designed to protect the Israelites from the consequences of sin. With His commandments, this holy God yearned to draw people to His majestic power in faith and trust. 

God wanted the Israelites to have a written copy of His instructions so He wrote them on tablets of stone. And He called Moses to come up to the top of the mountain to meet with Him and receive them. The plan was for Aaron and Hur to remain behind with the people in order to handle any legal matters that arose while Moses met with God. 

Joshua attended Moses to the foot of the mountain. Then Moses continued up the mountain alone. Imagine climbing a mountain to meet God, the Creator of the earth, the Deliverer of the Israelites. What were Moses’ thoughts as he traversed up the mountain? Quite possibly he shook with fearful reverence. 

Upon his arrival, a cloud consumed the mountain. Moses stood in the glory and brilliance of a magnificent cloud cover for six days. What sensations did he experience? How far could he see? What could he hear? Was the air muggy, damp, cold? Did he sense God nearby or did he feel alone? Was he afraid? Did he lose hope?

Finally on day seven a voice called out to Him. It was God. What a moment. Picture the event that lasted forty days and nights. With God. Oh the emotions Moses must have encountered when he spoke with the Lord God who loved him. 

My family and I experienced a cloud cover that probably pales in comparison to Moses’s, but it was exhilarating nonetheless. We had the privilege of standing on the side of a road at the end of the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland. The spectacular sunlit blue sky hemmed in the ocean rolling ashore. The mountain we stood upon overlooked a village. Exquisite beauty laid out before us. Without warning, we noticed a huge billowing cloud sweeping up and over the horizon. It moved rapidly. Within minutes, the cloud engulfed the panorama, leaving us breathless.

We stood still in amazement as the gray mist moved over us. The wind blew, the temperature dropped, moisture filled the air, and all we could see was each other. Before long the cloud moved up and away, over the mountain behind us, leaving us stunned and speechless. But what if the cloud cover had remained, causing some angst about our return trip? 

When I consider Moses meeting God on a cloud covered mountain top, I reflect on my own experience with a cloud at an Irish vista. I staggered in astonishment at God’s amazing creation. The incredible experience left me open-mouthed. Moses had to have been awestruck when God spoke to him from the glory of a cloud. But did he lose hope in the gloom as he waited for God?

As I think back on my supernatural event, I have an amazing visual to help me when times get gloomy. When things of this earth go awry and everything seems like a cloudy gray day, I must remember that God is near. He never leaves me, no matter what is going on around me. 

When it’s pouring down rain, the sun is still shining way up in the sky. When my circumstances are gloomy, Jesus the Son is still reigning within me and nearby. If you stand on a cloud covered hillside in Ireland, the beautiful landscape is still situated beneath the fog. Even if gloomy situations confine you, God yearns for you to trust Him. He wants you to know He is near because the clouds are the dust of His feet (Nahum 1:3).


For I know that the Lord is great
And that our Lord is above all gods.

Whatever the Lord pleases, He does,
In the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all deeps—

Who causes the clouds to rise from the ends of the earth;
Who makes lightning for the rain,
Who brings the wind from His storehouses;  Psalm 135:5-7 (AMP)



Ruins, Repairs, and Restoration




Ruins dotted the tranquil landscape. Here a lone tower, there an old fort. Off in the distance four walls stood with no roof. Near the road towered an old cathedral surrounded by scaffolding. Relics from the past loomed in the midst of an everyday existence. The terrain held an ethereal sense of an ancient world stepping into modern day.

My family and I recently traveled parts of Ireland by car. Visual reminders of the past scattered throughout the countryside, in villages, towns, and cities. Archaic designs commingled with contemporary living, linking lifestyles thousands of years apart. For us native born Americans, it was difficult to grasp such historical grandeur. Most of Ireland’s ruins are three times older than our own country. Our stunned minds needed clarity. 

While touring an old cathedral and monastery, we questioned the guides about the ruins. They explained that over 800 antiquities could be found throughout Ireland. Too many to restore. The government owns and decides which relics to repair. The biggest and most famous ones undergo restoration as they bring in money through tourism, which in turn helps to pay for repairs. Both inside and outside of many structures, we witnessed a number of renovations in progress. 

As I stood gazing at the scaffolding for reconstruction inside a cathedral, my mind filled with thoughts of godly restoration. How many people scattered across the world have broken hearts? What troubles have invaded peoples’ lives? Who feels as though their lives are ruined? Whose souls long for godly repair? 

Later that day God gave me a glimpse into lives torn apart by a teenage boy’s suicide. A young lady who served us in a pub opened up and poured out her heart’s pain from his death. She talked about the devastation experienced by family and friends. How a whole village came together to support each other. But she never mentioned God. I told her I would be praying that God healed their broken hearts. These people required more than renovations. They needed soul restoration from God. 

When left unattended, buildings fall into disrepair. Structures collapse, weeds flourish, and creatures inhabit the place. Gloom and doom fills the empty space. Likewise, human beings can experience the agony of abandonment when living apart from the God who created them. 

Life’s hard knocks inflict wounds. Those wounds, if left untreated, can lead to a dull mind, depression, and worse. The ugliness soon covers what once was beautiful. Lost and alone, many people are lead to destruction. 

But God stands ready to restore. He doesn’t look for the biggest and best to repair. He doesn’t want a select few to be renewed. He loves everyone unconditionally and desires relationship restoration with all His people. He yearns to forgive and recreate repentant hearts. 

Has heartache wounded you? Is your life in ruins? Are you feeling lost and alone? There is a God who repairs repentant hearts. His name is Jesus Christ and He offers forgiveness to all who turn to Him. Allow His gracious mercy to renew you from the inside out. Experience restoration with Jesus. 

Our Father




Father, Daddy, Pop, Dad, Papa—names describing a male parent. These titles birth intense sensibilities for every person. The emotions expressed can be good, bad, or indifferent. A father’s legacy, whether present or absent, loving or cruel, can last a long time.  

My daddy loved me and my sisters. We loved him. He dispensed persistent, loving discipline with gracious imperfection. He provided the essentials of life, including a firm foundation of faith. Through his example, we learned about our loving Heavenly Father. Partnering with our mom, he led our family unit. At times our relationships lacked civility, but blood and God linked us. Even though both our parents now reside in heaven, my sisters and I share a special bond because of their example of God’s love. 

While on earth, Jesus exemplified the essence of a father/son relationship. Love and trust bound them together. Through prayer they communed. Jesus lived to demonstrate this love to everyone. Once when surrounded by faithful followers and curious onlookers, He told the story about a father and his two sons (Luke 15:11-24). Through this story of redemption, Jesus articulated the merciful love of a parent for a child. The parable’s earthly example of a father represents our gracious Father in heaven.

As the story goes, a father had two sons and loved them both. He provided for them daily while also planning an inheritance for them after his death. When the younger son asked for his share before that dreadful happening, the father granted his request. Before too long, the son took the money and ran off to a distant land. While suffering extreme heartache over his son’s absence, the father waited with hopeful expectation for his return. 

Meanwhile the son’s lifestyle ranged from reckless extravagance to abject poverty. Not until deprived of everything did he realize what he had left behind. Hungry and humbled, he decided to return home to his father as a hired servant.

On the way home, he contemplated his choices and their consequences. He had learned a hard lesson. He desperately desired forgiveness. What would he say to his father? How would his father respond? 

As he neared familiar territory, he spotted his father running toward him. Uneasiness intensified in his gut. He thought about turning around. But where would he go? He had nothing. Even though he felt unworthy, he continued walking. He would ask his father to make him a servant. At least he could eat. 

Before the son could speak, his father’s compassionate arms hugged away any fear of rejection. Tears of relief flowed from two sets of eyes. The son declared his sinfulness. The father granted amazing grace. A changed heart called for a celebration.

The Prodigal Son is a beautiful story of restoration because of a father’s love. But many people have never experienced love from a father. Celebrating dads on Father’s Day may be agonizing. Even praying the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples can be difficult as it begins with ‘Our Father’. Yet Jesus prayed this way. Why? 

Jesus knew the love of His heavenly Father. He yearned for others to know the Father’s love. When Jesus prayed the prayer now called The Lord's Prayer, He began with the unifying phrase of ‘Our Father’. It connects everyone to the Creator God. We are His children. He is our Heavenly Father. He longs for everybody to know Him as a merciful Father. No matter what we’ve done, He waits in hopeful expectation with open arms to offer grace. Amazing grace. 

We are His children. He is our Father. He loves us. Jesus loves us. 

No matter if your father is dead, absent, cruel, or lovingly alive, you are worthy because you have a Heavenly Father who loves you. He created you. He knows you. He yearns for you, His child. Run to Him. Receive His grace. And build a relationship with Him through daily prayer.

Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.  Matthew 6:10-13 (NASB)


Surely you are still our Father! Even if Abraham and Jacob would disown us, still you would be our Father, our Redeemer from ages past.  Isaiah 63:16 (TLB)

And so we should not be like cringing, fearful slaves, but we should behave like God’s very own children, adopted into the bosom of his family, and calling to him, “Father, Father.”  Romans 8:15 (TLB)

And because we are his sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, so now we can rightly speak of God as our dear Father.  Galatians 4:6 (TLB)



Amazing Grace with lyrics......
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3yLV2M0rlc

Soothe My Soul, Lord Jesus


I stared out the small window from my seat in the plane. Clouds, only clouds. Without warning, our jet tossed and tumbled. The pilot confirmed we were experiencing turbulence. How could he land a plane surrounded by dense white mist and powerful unsteady air? My stomach lurched as fear gripped me. Am I in good hands?

Oh the ‘what ifs’. What if the pilot makes a mistake? What if we crash? What if I never see my children and grandchildren again? What if I don’t die on impact? What if I’m maimed forever? What if, what if, what if?

I’m sure Jesus’ disciples felt the same way as their boat pitched and plunged in a terrible storm. Waves crashed over the boat, filling it with water. They cried out for Jesus to help them, but found Him asleep at the back of the boat. They shouted, “Teacher, don’t you even care that we are all about to drown?” (Mark 4:38)

A swirling worried mind can be overwhelmed with fear. Any sense of calm is completely overpowered by angst. Until we intentionally utter the name JESUS. Jesus. Jesus.  

The Lord is near to all who call 
upon Him, To all who call 
upon Him in truth.  
Psalm 145:18 (NASB)

Come, Lord Jesus. Calm my fears. I cry out to you in truth. You are my God and Savior. I trust you. You are faithful. Amen.


Jesus responded to His frightened disciples saying, “Why are you afraid, men of little faith?” To the wind and sea, He spoke, “Hush, be still.” All at once they sailed on serene water as serenity invaded their souls. The disciples were completely astounded by the man who stood before them.

Jesus replaced my panic with peace. As I breathed deeply, my cloudy mind began to clear. Before long, tranquility resonated within my spirit. Even though we continued to fly into clouds, my apprehension dissipated. Amazing. 

I offered thanks when the wheels of our plane touched the ground. Thank you, Jesus! Smiles washed away worried looks as we landed safely. Sighs of relief expelled around me. In hindsight, passengers could say we were in good hands. I knew whose Hands carried me.

Children of God should confidently say we are in good Hands everyday. We serve a Sovereign God who rules supreme over all things. Over cloudy skies and stormy seas. Over our everyday situations. Can we trust Him? You bet we can! Even when our minds muddle causing cloudy vision, God our pilot sees everything clearly. He is our faithful God who desires for us to have complete faith in Him.

When trouble surrounds you, praise your Heavenly Father. Worship Him in spirit, truth, (John 4:23) and crisis. In the midst of confounding confusion, God can change chaos into order. 

Look past your panic into the peaceful face of your God. He loves and cares for you. You are in good Hands!


Be not far from me, for trouble is near; For there is none to help.  Psalm 22:11 (NASB)

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching,  Romans 10:8 (NASB)

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady. Then, when that happens, we are able to hold our heads high no matter what happens and know that all is well, for we know how dearly God loves us, and we feel this warm love everywhere within us because God has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.  Romans 5:3-5 (TLB)

Write It Down


I recently learned of the death of a precious 98-year-old family friend. She left behind a loving legacy of encouragement. Through a card ministry, she mailed comforting words to people with various needs. Her act of writing hope-filled letters will be remembered long after her death.

It may seem old-fashioned in today’s high-speed social media world, but the reality of holding a hand-written card or letter impacts people. I know because I’ve been the recipient of penned hope, strengthened by personal words of encouragement. Realizing the effort involved in writing notes of comfort to troubled souls produces thankfulness. An act of love received with joy.

Jesus’ disciples wrote and sent letters of promise and hope to their followers. Before His ascension, Jesus had commanded them to go and make disciples of all nations. One of the many ways the apostles spread the gospel of Jesus Christ was through writing. 

What a joy it must have been to receive a letter from Paul or Peter. Many Jesus followers had become discouraged because of persecution. Some defenders of the faith faced execution. Other believers wrestled with their faith. The early churches yearned for words of truth. 

Compositions from Christ’s apostles reached the desired audiences. Their letters contained words of assurance. Offered promises of God. Expressed comfort, truth, and instructions. The God-inspired words strengthened the recipients, filling them with assurance. These missives, found in the Holy Scriptures, continue to transform lives thousands of years later. 

Consider your own convictions right now. Are you hopeful or hopeless? Are you searching for answers to life’s struggles? Or are you mindlessly sailing through life, come what may? Pause and give thought to these words of Scripture. 


I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.  Philippians 1:3-6 (NASB)


Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.  Philippians 2:14-16 (NASB)


Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.  Philippians 4:4-9 (NASB)


I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13 (NASB)


Can you hear the Lord God speaking? Are you encouraged? These are just a few of the many inspiring words of Scripture. Open the Book. Be comforted by writers who sat down years ago with pen in hand and transcribed words of hope. Receive them as if they were written solely for you. After all, it is Jesus through His servants speaking to you, extending strength and peace.

And then, go and do likewise. Get paper and pen. Encourage someone else who desperately needs to hear comforting words. Both of you will receive the blessings of a loving God.  





Be Still and Know


God is our refuge and strength, a tested help in times of trouble. “Stand silent! Know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation in the world!”  Psalm 46:1, 10


Clouds hung heavy above me as I walked my dogs down the street. Gray skies depicted my mood. I felt bombarded by life’s twists and turns. “Enough already, Lord,” I cried out as I prayed. 

My prayer became one-sided as I poured out my needs. Unexpectedly I felt a tug on my arm from the dog leash in my hand. I had gotten ahead of my dogs. I turned around and noticed my old golden retriever sniffing some daisies. “Let’s go, come on, I’m in a hurry,” I said rather loudly.

I remembered an old cliche as he inhaled fragrances. Stop and smell the roses. 

“God, you sure have a way of getting my attention,” I said. 

I stared in silence as my pet savored the scents in the air. God’s Word filled my heart and head.

BE STILL AND KNOW……THAT I AM GOD. 

“Okay, I hear you, Lord.”

I continued my walk in silence. My needs forgotten. The beauty of the earth all around me. Praises to my Creator filled my thoughts.

Thank you, Father God, for your eternal Word that stands firm in the heaven (Psalm 119:89). Your Word is alive and powerful (Hebrews 4:12). Your promises are pure (Psalm 12:6) and your Word is truth (John 17:17). You are Truth, Jesus (John 14:6), and the truth will set me free (John 8:32). Thank you, Lord. In Jesus’ name, AMEN. 

So what if life throws jabs? Am I going to tuck tail and run? Or stand firm and fight? Everything is not rosy all the time. There will be cloudy days, but the sun remains in the sky. I may experience troubles, but the Son of God stays by my side. Sorrow and joy are part of living and loving. Will I allow pain and pessimism to ruin my day, ruin me?

No. No! NO! If God stands with us, who or what can come against us?

What can we ever say to such wonderful things as these? If God is on our side, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son for us but gave him up for us all, won’t he also surely give us everything else?  Romans 8:31-32 (TLB)

Yes, things happen. The busyness of life distracts us. Peace fades. Things turn from gray to black, and quickly. Chaos begins to take hold. Clouded minds give rise to pain-filled hearts. Tears flow. Life seems unfair. And we wonder—where is God?

We should remember Who He is. He’s our Rescuer. Deliverer. Savior. Redeemer. Provider. Those clouds are the dust of His feet (Nahum 1:3). He is Immanuel, God with us (Isaiah 7:14). And He never leaves us (Hebrews 13:5). Is it possible we left Him?

Stop. Be still. Focus on the God of heaven and earth. Listen for His whisper. Lift up a prayer of praise to Him. Before too long, you’ll see Son rays beaming through those cloudy skies. 





The Lord is good. When 
trouble comes, he is the 
place to go! And he 
knows everyone who 
trusts in him!  
Nahum 1:7 (TLB)



Refreshed and Restored






I tasted the grit between my teeth. Felt dirt in my eyes. Swirls of dust surrounded my feet as I walked. The wind picked up pockets of earth, covering everything in its path. As I began to cough, I realized my dry throat needed water. A desert experience desires refreshment. 

Today we celebrate mothers. Oh the joys and pains of a mother’s heart. When a woman gives birth to a child, a mighty bond emerges. The connection is instant and lasts forever. Love swells to near explosion. Until detonated with rejection. A prodigal child turns away. And a heart breaks, becoming brittle from the dust left in the wake of desertion. A shattered heart longs for restoration. 

Meanwhile adventures sought after by the prodigal diminish. Things go awry. Life damages the spirit. Self-inflicted injury pierces the heart. Filth and anguish fill in the gap. And the wounds of a soul deepen. A wilderness walk calls for relief. 

Refreshment. Restoration. Relief. Balm for troubled spirits. Is comfort available for an anxious soul? Can a broken heart be consoled? Is it possible to live cheerfully again?

Yes. Yes. Yes and Amen. 

For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silas and Timothy—was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
2 Corinthians 1:19-20 (NIV)

Jesus is the answer. He offers refreshment with living water (John 4:14). He provides restoration in green pastures (Psalm 23:2-3). He supplies salve to restore souls. He pours out ointment for comfort. Because of love, His rod corrects and His staff leads to a right path. He walks with you through the valleys. He will never leave you (Hebrews 13:5).

These promises are found in God’s Word. They are words of truth. Jesus spoke them with assurance as He ministered to individuals and crowds. And He speaks them to us today. Through faith, we can live in His promises. 

Jesus stands ready to deliver you from guilt and grief. Can you hear Him knocking? Will you answer?

Use the key of forgiveness and let Him in. With humility, forgive others. Forgive yourself. He will forgive you. Allow His comfort to heal your wounds. Feel refreshed. Be restored. Live in joy. 

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  Matthew 7:7 (NIV)

“Look! I have been standing at the door, and I am constantly knocking. If anyone hears me calling him and opens the door, I will come in and fellowship with him and he with me.  
Revelation 3:20 (TLB)

Distress and Discontent




Everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him; and he became captain over them. Now there were about four hundred men with him.  1 Samuel 22:2 (NASB)



He was on the run while only a step away from death. He had served the king well, yet his life hung in the balance. Even though God favored him, the king wanted him dead. He needed safety and security.

It looked bad, really bad, as King Saul threatened the life of David. A new king waited in the wings and the old king was jealous. Saul had rejected the Word of the Lord and now God rejected him as king of Israel. 

The Lord God selected a new king and sent the prophet Samuel to the house of Jesse. When Samuel faced Jesse’s son David, the Lord said to anoint him. As the oil cascaded onto David’s head and down his face, the Spirit of the Lord fell mightily on David. 

Even though David waited for his kingship in God’s time, everything he touched seemed to turn to gold. One success followed another. And Saul’s jealousy swelled to murderous hatred. David feared for his life and ran to the protection of a cave. 

Oh the wounds David endured—fear of death at the hands of the king, betrayal by his own family, self-inflicted hurts when he disobeyed the Lord. Yet the anointing from the Spirit of the Lord also comforted him. David knew the Lord as Helper, Advocate, Shepherd, Friend. He trusted God and his life bore testimony to God’s faithfulness. 

In his neediness, David drew closer to his Heavenly Father. Evidence of a mighty power exuded from his life. His praises rang out to the Lord God of heaven and earth. The proof of power in David’s life drew others to him. Those in distress, in debt, and discontented gathered to him at the cave of Adullam. And David became captain over four hundred men. In the midst of his own cloudy calamity, David met the goodness of God. 

David had declared he was only a step away from death, but the Lord God Himself walked every step with him. With praise to his Shepherd, David penned these beautiful words:

Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.  Psalm 23:4 (NIV)

David experienced life’s distress and discontent. But the Lord dwelt with him and gave him peace. Others who encountered hard times saw the power that surrounded David. They followed his lead while the Lord led him. Even in tough times, they felt the peace of the Lord.

Despair. Distress. Discontent. Are you down in the dumps? Walking a dark valley? Have no fear for the Lord your God is near. Turn to Him and offer Him praise. He stands ready to comfort you and give you peace.  


“The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.”’  Numbers 6:24-27 (NIV)

The Lord is my Help




I will return again to My place
Till they acknowledge their offense.
Then they will seek My face;
In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.  Hosea 5:15 (NKJV)

Come, and let us return to the Lord;
For He has torn, but He will heal us;
He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live in His sight.  Hosea 6: 1-2 (NKJV)


Anxiety interrupts,
Worry distracts,
Sin disrupts
God’s plans for His people.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Assurance is found in our faithful Creator.
Our Heavenly Father knows best. 
Trust Him.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

Trust requires waiting…..with hope.
Yet the delay feels as if God is absent. Has He forgotten me?

I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?”  Psalm 42:9 (NIV)

Instead of resting, we move forward by our own design,
And end up lost.
Whether steadily or swiftly, life may tumble out of control. 
Eventually hope dissipates into impossibility. 

But God says…..
For nothing will be impossible with God.  Luke 1:37 (NASB)

God’s Word remains true and still we grapple independently, 
Failing until fear takes over.
How much affliction must we endure before we seek the Lord’s help?

Trouble visits everyone, hardships arrive in various forms,
Concerns include family, friends, health, personal welfare, material stuff, and so much more,
These matters impact lives daily.

There is Someone who cares deeply for those things that concern you. 

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.  Psalm 55:22 (NIV)

His Word also tells us……
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.  1 Peter 5:6-8 (NASB)

Seek the Lord while He may be found……
I sought the Lord, and He answered me,
And delivered me from all my fears.  Psalm 34:4 (NASB)

‘Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’  Isaiah 41:10 (NASB)

Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left.  Isaiah 30:21 (NASB)

Lord, please lead me away from the things that tempt me. Deliver me from the ever-present evil. Keep my mind focused on you. 

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

You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.  Psalm 16:11 (NASB)

And then, oh the joy of a restored soul. 
God is faithful.
Oh how He loves you and me!

He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.  Psalm 23:3 (NKJV)


Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.  Psalm 63:3 (NIV)

Do You Believe?




Many more believed because of His word; and they were saying to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.”  John 4:41-42 (NASB)


Not only did Jesus converse with a woman, He spoke to a Samaritan woman. The disciples were amazed to find Jesus talking to her, but they said nothing. Maybe they had grown accustomed to His uncommon way with all people. 

Jesus crossed cultural divides. When women were treated as second-class citizens, He considered them equals. The centuries-old hatred between Samaritans and Jews didn’t stop Jesus from communicating with either people group. Even the stain of sin didn’t cause Jesus to exclude anyone. He bridged the gaps that kept people apart. 

So no one in the past or present should be surprised that Jesus revealed His divinity to the Samaritan woman at the well. She had discussed with Him the future arrival of the Messiah. She understood the Christ would come to the world and reveal all things. Jesus spoke to this sinful Samaritan woman and said, “I am the Messiah.”

Can you imagine her astonishment? She left her water pot and ran back to her community. She told everyone she met about the man who knew everything about her. “Could He be the Christ?” she asked. 

Many in Samaria believed in the Messiah because of the woman’s testimony, her proclamation that He told her everything she did. The Samaritans flocked to Him and listened to Him for two days. Because of what they themselves heard, many more believed in the Christ. They knew they had met the Savior of the world. 

Some people will believe based on the witness of others. I would have accepted the Samaritan woman’s claim as truth. Countless other people will believe based on physical evidence. Remember doubting Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples? He believed in the resurrection of Jesus after touching the nail-scarred hands of Jesus. And then there are skeptics who refuse to believe even with proof staring them in the face. People still discount the facts of a huge stone rolled away, an empty tomb, a missing dead body. 

Jesus conversed with a Samaritan woman. He ate with sinners. He rose from the dead. He’s the Savior of the world. He loves you and me. The Bible says so. Do you believe this?



“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.  John 5:24-25 (NASB)

He is given eternal life for believing in me and shall never perish. Do you believe this, Martha?”  John 11:26 (TLB)

“I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am.  John 13:19 (NIV)

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  James 1:6 (NIV)