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.


“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)

Seeing is Believing

But he was wounded and bruised for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace; he was lashed—and we were healed!  Isaiah 53:5 (TLB)

Betrayed, deserted, mocked, beaten—Jesus endured extreme mental and physical pain. Then crucified on a cross. An execution reserved for criminals. Such a humiliating death served as a warning to all witnesses. For Jesus’ followers, it was a horrible end to such a hope-filled life. Until…..

Up from the grave He arose. Jesus rose from the dead. He triumphed over wounds inflicted upon His flesh. He defeated the sorrow of betrayal and desertion. He conquered death with His resurrection. For a time, Jesus the Overcomer walked on earth proving His victory to His followers. What had appeared hopeless had became hopeful. So why would anyone doubt His power over sin and death? 

Thomas, one of Jesus’ own disciples, doubted. But why? He had walked with the Lord Jesus and seen His miracles. He had served with the disciples and heard Jesus’ many messages. He had been part of the group for three years. Why would he doubt what his friends were telling him about Jesus’ resurrection? 

Most likely fear drove Thomas to hide when the Lord Jesus was betrayed and killed. An emotional letdown probably flooded his soul when he heard Jesus died. Quite possibly he wondered if God had forsaken all of Jesus’ followers. He likely felt abandoned. Maybe he thought Jesus’ mission was useless. What life experiences caused Thomas to doubt the authenticity of Jesus and His Word? Why would he not believe what others told him? Had someone shattered his dreams prior to this horrendous execution?   

After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to many of His followers. They saw Him and they believed. They repeatedly told Thomas that the Lord lived. They had seen Him. But Thomas refused to believe. He said, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands—and put my fingers into them—and place my hand into his side.”

Eventually Thomas gathered with the disciples inside locked doors. While they met together, Jesus showed up, greeting them all. He specifically addressed Thomas saying, “Put your finger into my hands. Put your hand into my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”

 “My Lord and my God!” Thomas said (John 20:25-28).

Thomas’ doubt immediately turned to belief. Can you hear his sincere cry? Do you feel his emotional release? Now he believed with faith and received God’s grace. Touching Jesus’ wounds had healed Thomas’ wounds. 

It’s been said that seeing is believing. Even Jesus said to Thomas, “You believe because you have seen me. But blessed are those who haven’t seen me and believe anyway.” (verse 29)

We live post resurrection. We didn’t witness any of Jesus’ appearances but witnesses have told in detail what they saw. It’s recorded in the Bible. Do you believe or do you doubt?

Jesus says if you believe without seeing, you are blessed. Have no doubt, but have faith. Keep believing and receive the healing power of our Overcomer.

If you doubt, why? Have you experienced the deep wounds of betrayal, loneliness, mental and physical afflictions, heartache? Do troubles consume your life, trapping you within, and without a Savior? 

You are not alone. Jesus experienced many of those same human afflictions. But He overcame them all. The Savior of the world defeated sin and death. Believe in Him and receive His gracious mercy. 

By His wounds, we are healed. 

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered.  Mark 11:22 (NIV)

Fullness of JOY


When You prayed beneath the trees - Linda Clark ---

…so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.  Ephesians 3:14-21 (NASB)

…In Your presence is fullness of joy.  Psalm 16:11

Joy—to be joyful—is a choice. It doesn’t come naturally as we live in this world. We can have moments of happiness, but joy, deep abiding fulfilling joy, doesn’t simply happen. It must be chosen and strengthened by faith in Jesus Christ. 

How does one choose joy while being mocked and laughed at? What is so joyful about the death of a loved one? Can joy be experienced when your child walks away from the life he’s known and chooses to turn away from family? When fire ravages a home, is there joy? Who expresses joy while a flood devastates one’s livelihood? Where is joy when life is full of sorrow? 

Jesus was a man of sorrows. He can relate to us. Can we can relate to Him?

We despised him and rejected him—a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way when he went by. He was despised, and we didn’t care.  Isaiah 53:3 (TLB)

Have you ever felt despised? Rejected? Has grief racked your body? Your soul? There is Someone who understands your trouble and His name is Jesus. 

This God-Man Jesus came to earth from heaven. Our Creator God come down to His creatures in the form of innocence and vulnerability—a baby. He grew and knew His mission. When the time came for Him to offer Himself as a sacrifice to save the world, Jesus did it with joy. He looked forward to the joy before Him. He chose joy.

….fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.  Hebrews 12:2-3 (NASB)

Are you weary from sin and strife? Have losses in life caused you to lose heart? Remember Who loved you so much that He willingly sacrificed His life to save you. He chose the joy of salvation amid the adversities of human life. And He offers it to you. Choose Jesus. Choose joy. 

As you celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, remember why He died for you. Find joy in the presence of the God who loves you. And ponder anew what the Almighty can do……..

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty (Nockels, Hymn with Lyrics, Contemporary) ---

Living Wisely

So teach us to number our days,
That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.  Psalm 90:12 (NASB)

I recently celebrated my birthday, giving thanks to God for another year. My special day began in the stillness of the pre-dawn hours. My lips uttered praise as my mind focused on Jesus. Prayer brought me into the Lord’s presence. A devotional led me to His Word. And I reflected upon my days on earth. 

Reading ‘teach us to number our days’ from the ninetieth psalm awoke me to the realization of wasted days. Oh Lord, I try to live for you, but sometimes my self-centeredness interferes with your ways. I choose what benefits me instead of following your will. Minutes turn into hours which turn into days. Suddenly I’m aware of a fleeting life.

We all are like vapor—here for a moment then gone. We are mortal. God is immortal. Our days are numbered. So far mine are approximately 22,710. Only my everlasting Father knows the amount of days I have left on earth. Whether I’m allowed twenty more years or one more day doesn’t matter. What matters is the life I lead in the moment. Am I serving my Lord and Savior?

Our existence on earth barely registers when compared to eternity. Still our lives matter. How are we living out our days? In righteousness or sinfulness? With compassion or self-absorption? Whether one day or many, numbering our days with wisdom is key.

Lord, teach us to number our days wisely…..

  • To love like Jesus
  • Be fair, kind, merciful
  • And walk humbly with God

What are you doing with your days? Are you serving God through the life you lead moment by moment? Or are you self-serving, fulfilling selfish desires, forgetting the God who created you, who loves you, and who desires a relationship with you?

Life may end tomorrow or in the distant future. We haven’t a clue when, but we can mark our remaining days with wisdom. Choose to live each day in the will of the Lord your God. Serve Him well. The number of your days will have been well spent.

The voice says, “Shout!”

“What shall I shout?” I asked.

“Shout that man is like the grass that dies away, and all his beauty fades like dying flowers. The grass withers, the flower fades beneath the breath of God. And so it is with fragile man. The grass withers, the flowers fade, but the word of our God shall stand forever.”  Isaiah 40:6-8 (TLB)

The God Who Sees

I’ve been wounded. My heart is broken. Does anyone see me? Does anyone care?

At some point we all reach a breaking point. Life’s challenges overwhelm us and we feel alone. I’ve held the hand of a dying parent. I’ve cried myself to sleep because of tension between me and my child. I’ve been devastated by cruel words and actions. I’ve felt empty, pain-filled, joyless. I’ve wondered if anyone cared.

Hagar was pregnant. Being a maid meant she fulfilled duties to her mistress Sarai. The childless Sarai had given Hagar to her husband Abram in hopes that an heir would be born. The conception birthed jealousy and tension. Human plans to create a child turned messy. Imagine the conflict that arose between these women. Sarai’s harsh treatment of Hagar sent her running into the wilderness. Frightened. Alone. Did anyone see or care?

An Angel of the Lord appeared to Hagar in the desert by a spring of water. The situation raised questions. Where have you come from? Where are you going? 

Hagar told her story to the Angel. “The Lord has seen your affliction,” said the Angel. 

What a privilege to know the Lord sees your predicament. He watches over you.

Hagar was given a directive to return and submit to Sarai while also being provided a promise of descendants. The Lord had heard her cry. He had seen her anguish. He had sent an Angel to comfort her. 

Hagar realized God saw her misery. She understood He cared for her. She called Him by name. El-Roi—You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees (Genesis 16).

What a privilege to know the Lord sees your predicament. He watches over you.

Are you in a difficult situation? Experiencing troubles? Do you feel as though no one sees or cares? 

Remember Hagar. Remember El-Roi. God sees your situation. He wants to care for you. Respond to His offering of love and concern. Receive His comfort. And give thanks.  

What a privilege to know the Lord sees your predicament. He watches over you.

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

Where Are You Going?

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you that today I have set before you life or death, blessing or curse. Oh, that you would choose life; that you and your children might live!  Deuteronomy 30:19 (TLB)

Life or death? Blessing or curse? Seems like an easy decision to me—I desire life. Sadly many people choose death, spiritual death. 

A beloved man died this past week. He chose abundant life on earth and eternal life in heaven through Jesus. His name—Billy Graham. His occupation—sharing the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ with people all over the world. He yearned for all people to know God through Christ. He desired for men, women, and children to choose life. 

I stand with countless others who now honor this man, a true man of God, as he moves from physical death to eternal life. Yet he would point his honor to the glory of God. He would lead us in praising the One he preached about. He would prompt us in offering thanks to the One who graciously forgives. He would guide us in celebrating our Savior Jesus Christ. 

At one point in his life, Billy wrestled with his faith in God, while recognizing the depth of the decision before him. His choice—to believe and stand firm on God’s holy Word. This humble man chose to walk with God everyday. He lived out loud his relationship with Jesus, publicly and privately. The words of Micah 6:8 detail the life Rev. Graham lived:

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God. (NIV)

The God of the universe created thinking individuals, not puppets, and offers choice. Scripture’s instructions on how to live life well are beautifully written from Genesis to Revelation. We can choose to obey or not. 

If you haven’t made a choice, meditate upon this beautiful passage of Scripture:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  John 3:16-17 (NIV)

Jesus Christ gave His life for every single person in the world, securing salvation for those who decide to believe in Him. Abundant life on earth and eternal life in heaven awaits those who make that choice. 

Billy Graham chose life in Christ. He knew where he was going. He now resides in a heavenly home. What is your choice? Do you know where you are going?

I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. 

“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.  John 10:9-11 (NASB)

Billy Graham lived a life of faithfulness, and so can you.  ~Greg Laurie

Michael W. Smith - "I'll Lead You Home".......

Practice Joy

Dear brothers, is your life full of difficulties and temptations? Then be happy, for when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow.  James 1:2-3 (TLB) 

Really James? You’re telling your readers to be joyful? How about you? Did you practice joy? What if I told you how sick I am of all the troubles in my life? How am I supposed to live joyfully, James? 

Can you relate? Have you ever felt like giving up? You’re tired of things going wrong. Your mind screams, “Why me?” Covered in clouds, colored in gray—looks like another bad day. 

We’ve all had those kind of days, possibly lasting for months, even years. James, the writer of the book of James, suffered trials and hardships as well. Being a part of the human race guarantees every one of us an encounter with adversity.

James grew up with Jesus as his half-brother, but he didn’t believe Jesus was who he said he was. Who’s gonna believe a relative, right? Not until Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to him (1 Corinthians 15:7) did James believe in Jesus as Messiah. He became such a firm believer in the salvation of Jesus Christ that he was martyred in A.D. 62, killed for his faith in Jesus. What an incredible hardship to face. 

In order to face life’s problems and his own death, James must have practiced joy, the joy of the risen Lord. Practicing joy enabled him to endure under pressure. To have patience when life went wrong. To live in peace when anger and ugliness surrounded him. To face his own death.

His example was Jesus. I’m sure once he saw resurrected Jesus, James remembered humble Jesus who endured persecution all the way to death on a shameful cross. James practiced joy so well he could write about it with confidence, encouraging others to live joyfully.

If life is full of trials and we practice worry, what do we become? Whiny, complaining souls focused on gloom and doom. If we seethe with anger, what do we become? Judgmental and quick to point to all the wrong in the world, lashing out at everyone. If we live in fear of the known or unknown, what do we become? Timid souls afraid to do anything or go anywhere. 

So what if we obey God’s Word through James and consider joy in sorrow, hang onto happiness in the midst of hardship, practice delight in the depths of adversity? Believe it or not, we will experience freedom from our burdens. As obedient children of God, we’ll begin to see the good in people and in life. We’ll begin to persevere in problems. We’ll begin to walk in endurance with hope. We’ll trust God with every moment of our lives.

Try it. Consider joy in the midst of sorrow. Practice with perseverance. Some days it may take a mental fight to remain joyful. But soon you’ll realize your focus has shifted heavenward. You’ll notice your burdens aren’t as heavy. And you may discover your frown has turned upside down. Your consideration has become a practice. You are now walking in joy, strengthened by the Lord. 

Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.  James 1:12 (NASB)

After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.  1 Peter 5:10 (NASB)

Hang on to Hope

Despite all appearances, my drive into work was inspiring. Heavy traffic and a dark, ominous sky loomed. It looked as though black clouds would open and saturate streets. But when I stopped at a red light and glanced left, I noticed an opening in the gloomy sky. Light broke though a small area, revealing blue-gray yonder. Gazing around the heavens, I saw more bright spots shining throughout space. And God said to me, “Hope!”

I considered the God-given notion of hope. Was I clinging to the promised expectations of God or focusing on the turbulent circumstances that surrounded me? Our life situations certainly appear threatening at times. And a sense of hopelessness tends to drag us down. Before we know it, we’ve forgotten the God of promise who says to us, “Hope!”

The Apostle Paul has explained the beauty of hope…..

And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 5:2-5 (NIV) 

Rejoice in our sufferings? Really, God? That’s the path to hope? Yes, He tells us, the path may begin in suffering and by holding onto hope, we persevere. Walking in perseverance brings forth character and integrity. From such moral strength we determine to hope, hope in God who has poured His love into our hearts. 

The Bible contains many amazing stories about hope, but one in particular recounts the life of Job. He was a godly man who lost everything except His wife and life in one day. What pain he must have suffered. Yet his intense sorrow led him to worship God. He proclaimed, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). 


Amidst all their troubles, Job’s wife didn’t support him. She mocked him saying, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die” (Job 2:9). 

But Job said, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” 

It’s hard to believe, but God’s Word tells us that Job did not sin with his lips. (Job 2:10). Wow, what strength. Though surrounded by extreme heartache, Job trusted God. 


Eventually three of Job’s friends showed up to help him. Have you ever had friends show up to help you in a time of need? Sometimes well intended help doesn’t serve its purpose. But these four men discussed the acts of God while Job fleshed out his pain. And at one point he said to his friends, “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him" (Job 13:15). 

It seemed at some point Job wavered saying, “Where now is my hope? And who regards my hope” (Job 17:15). 

Was he losing hope? He probably experienced moments of doubt and despair. Who wouldn’t? But with expectancy he declared,“I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2). Job grabbed onto hope and held on as he journeyed through his valley of suffering. 


Years later, God blessed Job with twice the blessings he had lost. Scripture tells us he lived on for 140 more years, living to see his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was a very old man when he died. (Job 42:16-17 NASB)

Did Job struggle with hope in God? Of course he did; he was a frail human being. But as he traveled the path of suffering, God poured out His love into Job’s receptive heart. He persevered with hope and lived in joy. And God graced him with blessings.

Have you lost hope in the middle of your situation? Do dark discouraging clouds seem to loom overhead? Don’t give up. Allow God’s Word through His faithful followers to pour strength into your heart. Hang on and hope. Live with joyful expectations for God’s gracious blessings.

Crowder with Tauren Wells - All My Hope.....

I Will Rejoice

What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice.

Yes, and I will rejoice, 

for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  Philippians 1:18-21 (NASB)

Paul rejoiced. In prison. Yes, in prison. It couldn’t have been easy, so why did he rejoice? How can anyone express delight when their circumstances are less than perfect, even horrible? 

The Sunday School answer is God and/or Jesus. Usually when a question is asked at church, children answer with the names of God or Jesus. Seems simple, right? And yet so pure. Jesus pointed to children as good examples of God’s kingdom. Maybe a look at children can show us how to find joy in difficult situations. 

One day as Jesus traveled through Judea, some parents brought their children to Him for a blessing. The disciples scolded them for bothering Jesus. But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, don’t prevent them from coming to me. God’s kingdom is made up of people like these.” (see Matthew 19:13-15)

Another time after traveling into Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey, Jesus entered the temple. He performed many miracles and created quite a stir among the religious elites. The children shouted praises to Him, while the chief priests and scribes reprimanded Him. He responded, “Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies You have prepared praise for Yourself’?” (If you haven’t already, take time to read this exciting account of Jesus’ life in the twenty-first chapter of Matthew.)

How do these stories of children relate to Paul’s delight? Youngsters live with a sense of freedom and utter expressions of compelling innocence. Jesus said His Kingdom is comprised of people like them. The same fearless honor that poured from the lips of children gushed from Paul’s heart, even while in prison. But why? How? 

Paul rejoiced because Jesus had transformed his life on the road to Damascus—he had been set free. As Saul, he intended to kill believers of The Way, to stop this growing belief in a Savior named Jesus Christ (see Acts 9). On his journey, Saul met the risen Jesus. His belief system changed. God chose him and he chose to follow God. Murderous Saul became missionary Paul as he set out to change the world. 

Paul’s journeys took him to many ports. He shared the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ with all those he came in contact with. And he encountered numerous obstacles, one being imprisonment in a jail in Philippi. Yet nothing could stop him, not imprisonment, not even the risk of death. He had one vision, one mission, one purpose—to serve his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

From jail, Paul sent an encouraging letter to the Philippians. The joy spilling onto paper from his heart through his pen strengthened his followers. Because they trusted God, a multitude of believers began to proclaim the word of God without fear. Surprisingly, some people even preached Christ out of jealousy for the spiritual power filling the hearts of followers. It didn’t matter to Paul because either way, Christ’s name was preached. The Savior proclaimed. Many heard and believed. And Paul rejoiced. 

Can I rejoice in a bad situation? Will I choose joy in difficult circumstances? Choosing joy in the hardships of life is hard. Yet as believers our attitudes can proclaim or defame Jesus. Will I allow conflict to prevent me from speaking His Name? If it requires some push back and risk of injury, will I run away? Can I rejoice in the good news of Jesus and His love in the middle of pain?

Paul’s life was dramatically changed when he encountered the risen Christ. Afterwards he had but one desire—to serve Christ Jesus wholeheartedly so that others might be saved. Paul knew Jesus died for him. Paul offered his life to Jesus. 

Christ died for you and me. Will we offer our lives to Him? Will we rejoice in suffering for Him, no matter the pain and sadness? In the midst of everyday trials, can we choose joy? 

Choosing JOY

Christmas is over. Brilliant lights have been dimmed. Colorful ornaments are packed away. The new year has begun. And hopes were dashed during the holidays. A sense of sadness surrounds me. Why? What happened or didn’t happen to cause such glumness?

I delighted in the expectation of family near and far celebrating together. Experiencing joy. Hearing the good news. Gathering around the table. Sitting around the tree. Listening to carols. It all occurred, but not as I dreamed. 

Instead delight was shrouded in disappointment. Clouded with disagreement. Covered with despair. Veiled in anger. Wrapped in tears. And Jesus visited us anyway.


Angels announced a notable birth (Luke 2:8-14). The promised Savior laid in a manger, come to live with mankind. He entered into the darkness of this world. To live and eventually die to take away the sins of humans. TO SHOW US ALL A BETTER WAY.

Christmas is the celebration of Immanuel, God with us through Jesus Christ. He doesn't leave when the holidays are over. He has promised to be with us always (Matt. 28:20). He lived among us. His death resulted in salvation for us. His resurrection enabled the Holy Spirit to live in us. The result for believers in Him—abundant life on earth and eternal life in heaven. So why be glum? Where’s my hope? 

I need to live joyfully, but I’ll be honest. It’s hard to remain joyful when festivities are over. No familiar carols, no special family gatherings, no extra frills. The delight of expectation is over. Or is it? 

We may have concluded with celebrations, but what about remembrances of our God and His promises? Surely we didn't put Him away with our ornaments. Our God wrapped Himself in flesh to live among us, to understand us, to save us from ourselves. He loves us so much. How can we not delight in the expectation of daily life with Him? How can we not simply delight in Him? Joy is possible.

King David experienced despair in life and yet remained confident in the Lord’s promises. Amidst distress he delighted in the Lord. His inspired words redirect my feelings of gloom to joy. If you have encountered any letdowns lately, I pray your discouraged heart will be encouraged with renewed joy in the Lord as you meditate on these words. 

As the deer pants for water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. Where can I find him to come and stand before him? 

Take courage, my soul! Do you remember those times when you led a great procession to the Temple on festival days, singing with joy, praising the Lord? Why then be downcast? Why be discouraged and sad? Hope in God! I shall yet praise him again. Yes, I shall again praise him for his help. 

Yet I am standing here depressed and gloomy, but I will meditate upon your kindness... All your waves and billows have gone over me, and floods of sorrow pour upon me like a thundering cataract.  

Yet day by day the Lord also pours out his steadfast love upon me, and through the night I sing his songs and pray to God who gives me life. 

But, O my soul, don’t be discouraged. Don’t be upset. Expect God to act! For I know that I shall again have plenty of reason to praise him for all that he will do. He is my help! He is my God!  Psalm 42:1-2, 4-8, 11 (TLB)

Oh, send out your light and your truth—let them lead me. Let them lead me to your Temple on your holy mountain, Zion. There I will go to the altar of God, my exceeding joy, and praise him with my harp. O God—my God! O my soul, why be so gloomy and discouraged? Trust in God! I shall again praise him for his wondrous help; he will make me smile again, for he is my God!  Psalm 43:3-5 (TLB)

And all God’s people said, “AMEN.”

Moment in Time

Agendas, lists, plans—we all have them. We make preparations for an hour, a day, a month, a lifetime. And we move forward, attempting to reject interferences that threaten to dismantle our plans. 

Like many of us who marry, Mary and Joseph dreamed of a perfect life together. But an unexpected pregnancy changed their idea of a “normal” existence. One moment in time altered their plans. They followed God as He guided their steps. Responses of praise and thanksgiving flowed from their hearts.  

The shepherds out in the fields were guarding their sheep. Suddenly angels appeared and disclosed an amazing happening in Bethlehem—a special baby born. An unexpected event changed a night at work. One moment in time reshaped their lives. They followed God as He guided their steps. Responses of praise and thanksgiving flowed from their hearts.

The wise men or magi were learned men and knew the Scriptures. They didn’t miss the sign from heaven—a star—that proclaimed the birth of a Savior. This moment in time fulfilled the prophecies they have studied. They followed the star and allowed God to guide their steps in search of the Christ Child. Responses of praise and thanksgiving flowed from their hearts.

What are your plans? Do you know the Scriptures? Would you allow God to interrupt your agenda?

Don’t miss a moment in time that could change your life forever. Trust God to guide your steps. Let Him lead you to the Christ Child. And offer praise and thanksgiving. 

“For now You number my steps,
You do not observe my sin.  Job 14:16 (NASB)

Follow the steps of the godly instead, and stay on the right path,  Proverbs 2:20 (TLB)

The steps of good men are directed by the Lord. He delights in each step they take.  Psalm 37:23 (TLB)

“But oh, that my people would listen to me! Oh, that Israel would follow me, walking in my paths!  Psalm 81:13 (TLB)

I cling to your commands and follow them as closely as I can. Lord, don’t let me make a mess of things.  Psalm 119:31(TLB)

Then Jesus said to the disciples, “If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  Matthew 16:24 (TLB)

Chris Tomlin - I Will Follow......

Offer praise with this beautiful Christmas song.....

Focus on Jesus

…..fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.  Hebrews 12:2-3 (NASB)

“Merry Christmas!” my son joyously proclaimed to the lady behind the desk at his children’s school. 

“I’ll be glad when all this Christmas is over,” she said, looking forlorn.

Her response compelled him to inquire about her situation. Divorced, deceased parents, no children, alone! It bothered him to such a degree that he called me. We discussed his opportunity to reach out and help a person in need. I began to wonder about the needs within my own sphere of influence. The list is long…..

  • anxiety over an estranged family member
  • divorce  
  • fear of the future
  • heartache from the death of a loved one 
  • dread because of cancer 
  • misery after a devastating accident
  • unpaid bills 
  • weather-related traumas
  • working two jobs to make ends meet
  • frustrations from life’s daily hassles 
  • a single mom with no job
  • your own troubles and struggles

Does life offer nothing but challenges? Add to that list news from around the world…..

  • devastating fires wiping out neighborhoods 
  • floods ruining everything in sight
  • dictators ruling with fear and starving people
  • persecutions of Christians
  • unrest marching in the streets
  • powerful people exploiting other people
  • earthquakes destroying whole villages
  • war and rumors of war


How can we live in such overwhelming situations? Is it possible to experience any joy, even during Christmas? Yes, we can survive and thrive by readjusting our focus. It might sound trite, but we must keep our eyes on our Savior, even as sadness surrounds us. 

Remember when Peter tried to walk on water toward Jesus? The minute he took his eyes off Jesus and allowed the wind to frighten him, he began to sink. “Lord, save me,” he cried. (Matthew 14:28-30)

We suffer the most when our focus is maladjusted. Refocus and recall these facts……

  • We have a God who took on human flesh in order to live among us, to be with us, to completely understand us. Noel—a miraculous birth occurred. 

  • Jesus willingly experienced excruciating pain and death to take away the sins of the world. Savior—redeemer of sin and saver of souls. 

  • He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in our hearts, to comfort us, to guide us, to give us peace amidst earth’s trials. Immanuel—God with us. 

Readjust your focus. Turn your eyes to Jesus. Cling to Him when all else is crumbling. And help someone else in need. 


God wants us to be victors, not victims;...to overcome, not to be overwhelmed.  ~William Arthur Ward

for King & Country - Fix My Eyes (Lyric Video)...


Fix Your Eyes on Jesus - Hymn Preview Video...


Light of Life

Has some of the brilliance of Christmas been extinguished because you are missing a loved one? Is there an ache in your heart that leaves you feeling empty? Do you want to curl up in a corner and allow the darkness to cover you? Know that God sees and hears you. He is with you. 

Yes, yes God is available right now. That’s why He came to earth—to live among His people, to understand every hurt, to wipe away each tear, to sacrifice His life for us so that we may live with Him daily in our hearts and eternally in heaven. He loves you and He loves me, and He cares. God is with us. 

After a death, mourning needs to happen and tears must fall. But don’t allow your own soul to shrivel up and die in the dark. Turn on the lights of Christmas. Allow the Light—Jesus Christ—to illumine your situation. Bask in His loving presence. You will soon feel alive again. 

Below is a link to REFRESH magazine. I hope you’ll take time to read the heart-warming articles. Let the “Light of Life” (name of my article) shine in your circumstances. Rest and be refreshed. God is with you.


Noel. Shout for joy. Sing praise to God on high. A miraculous birth occurred. A glorious nativity emits good news. The incarnate God dwells on earth. God with us, born to take away the sins of the world. Receive Him and accept forgiveness. Celebrate Christmas. 

From Latin to French to English, the origin of the word noel explains Christmas. It is the celebration of the birth of the God who would leave heaven and come to earth in human flesh to live with His creation—God incarnate. The purpose of His coming was to live and then die as the ultimate sacrifice, to take away the sins of all mankind. The King of Israel offers Himself for the whole world. Worship Him and receive forgiveness of sins. 

Bow on bended knee before Him. In humility receive His amazing sacrificial love. Listen with your heart to the birth announcement from His holy Word. 

There were some shepherds in that part of the country who were spending the night in the fields, taking care of their flocks. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone over them. They were terribly afraid, but the angel said to them, “Don't be afraid! I am here with good news for you, which will bring great joy to all the people. This very day in David's town your Savior was born—Christ the Lord! And this is what will prove it to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great army of heaven's angels appeared with the angel, singing praises to God:

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and peace on earth to those with whom he is pleased!”  Luke 2:8-14 (GNT)

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  John 3:16 (NASB)

Lauren Daigle - Noel [Lyrics]……..


I always thank God for you because Christ Jesus has shown you God’s good will. Through Christ Jesus you have become rich in every way—in speech and knowledge of every kind.  1 Corinthians 1:4-5 GW

…..be filled with the Spirit by reciting psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs for your own good. Sing and make music to the Lord with your hearts. Always thank God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Ephesians 5:18b-20 (GW)

Received with gratitude. Has anyone done something so special for you that your heart overflowed with deep appreciation? It’s a humbling feeling encased in indebtedness. 

The first Thanksgiving in America celebrated a first successful harvest. In reality it was simply a grateful gathering of thankful people. The English colonists called Pilgrims and the Native Americans called Wampanoag celebrated the first harvested crops at Plymouth in 1621. The Indians were instrumental in the Pilgrim’s survival upon arrival in 1620. With beholden hearts, the Pilgrims enjoyed festivities with the Wampanoag for several days. 

Offerings of thanksgiving were part of the Pilgrims’ religion. It involved days of prayer not days of feasting. Thanksgiving was a way of life for them. They owed thanks to God for provision and protection in a new land. 

We all have something for which we’re grateful and someone to whom we owe thanks. But nothing can compare to the gratefulness we owe our Heavenly Father. He created us and through His Son Jesus Christ, He redeemed us. What gracious mercy—forgiven of our grievous sins through the sacrifice of a holy God who took our place—what merciful love!

Receive with gratitude this gift of grace. Give thanks with a grateful heart for your redemption. Won’t you join me in offering psalms of praise and songs of joy with thanksgiving to our Savior God? Give thanks…

I will give thanks to you with all my heart.
I will make music to praise you in front of the false gods.
I will bow toward your holy temple.
I will give thanks to your name because of your mercy and truth.
    You have made your name and your promise greater than everything.
When I called, you answered me.
    You made me bold by strengthening my soul.
All the kings of the earth will give thanks to you, O Lord,
    because they have heard the promises you spoke.
        They will sing this about the ways of the Lord:
            “The Lord’s honor is great!”
Even though the Lord is high above, he sees humble people close up,
    and he recognizes arrogant people from a distance.
Even though I walk into the middle of trouble,
    you guard my life against the anger of my enemies.
    You stretch out your hand,
        and your right hand saves me.
The Lord will do everything for me.
O Lord, your mercy endures forever.
Do not let go of what your hands have made.  Psalm 138 (GW)

Thank the Lord!
    He has heard my prayer for mercy!
The Lord is my strength and my shield.
My heart trusted him, so I received help.
My heart is triumphant; I give thanks to him with my song.
The Lord is the strength of his people
    and a fortress for the victory of his Messiah.
Save your people, and bless those who belong to you.
Be their shepherd, and carry them forever.  Psalm 28:6-9 (GW)

I will praise the Lord, who advises me.
    My conscience warns me at night.
I always keep the Lord in front of me.
    When he is by my side, I cannot be moved.
        That is why my heart is glad and my soul rejoices.  Psalm 16:7-9 (GW)

Give Thanks  (With A Grateful Heart).....