Our Refuge and Strength

Yellow Rose

 

Authentic Believers yearn to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of our life, and to gaze on His beauty. In any time of trouble,  He keeps us safe, He hides us in the shelter of His dwelling place, and He sets our feet high upon a Rock (Psalm 27:4-5, 40:2).

 

We enjoy a fulfilled Christian life only as we submit our self to the guidance of the Spirit of God. When we seek first His Kingdom, He blesses, guides, multiplies resources and cares for all of our needs (Matthew 6:33). He is our refuge and our strength (Psalm 46:1-2).

 

Achieving this status takes time, effort and commitment. He truly is a friend that sticks closer than a brother, our Redeemer, our salvation, a refuge in the storm, and our Comforter and Guide. He never leaves us and never forsakes us (John 14:26; Proverbs 18:24; Hebrews 13:5).

 

He is all we need, want or seek after. Listen to God as He tells you where He wants you to wait on Him and to spend intimate time with Him. It may be at the park, in the attic or basement, under the canopy of leaves on a tree in your backyard, or like me – sitting in the middle of your bed.

 

God just wants to obtain your undivided attention, and to simplify your life by getting rid of the inner clutter first, and then by leading you to have a garage sale to rid your home and office of all of the unnecessary outer clutter.

 

He teaches us to perfect the art of living fully within each moment of the day. We develop a calm awareness of God’s continual presence within us. We would never exchange one day of our lifetime of moments with our Savior and Lord (Psalm 84:10-12).

 

Prayer:

Father God, rather than working for You, teach us how to allow You to work in and through us. We cut out everything in our life that is not absolutely relevant, so that we can achieve a state of Your peace that overcomes every circumstance (Philippians 4:7). Your joy serves as our constant strength (Nehemiah 8:10).

 

We want Christ as our life, not just as a philosophy or doctrine that we embrace (Colossians 3:3-4). We want to know You personally, as we are already fully known by You (1 Corinthians 13:12). Thank you for serving as our Rock, our Sword and our Shield as we travel through this dry and distant land called “life.”

 

Thought for the Day:

As we abide in the Vine, and allow the Holy Spirit to transform our thoughts and emotions and choices, we are totally Spirit led; and when we live by God’s Word and direction, we will bear much fruit for His kingdom.

– John 15:1-14

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Living in Hope

Tree With Brunch and Green Leaves during Sunset

 

Life rarely transpires as simply as we hope it will. Nothing is ever easy. Something usually goes wrong that rearranges our plans and causes stress, confusion and sometimes even depression.

 

However, placing our hope in God keeps us from experiencing disappointment, because the love of God fills our heart to overflowing, and His Spirit abides within us to comfort and to direct us (Ephesians 3:16-19; Romans 5:5).

 

If we have the courage not to give up, and if we hope only in the Lord, then God will strengthen our heart (Galatians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 15:19-26). Daily, God prompts us to learn from our past mistakes and to meet each pure, fresh day with renewed enthusiasm.

 

If we will devote our life to our Living Savior, yearn for intimacy and union with Him, turn from the sin that presents itself to us through the flesh and the devil and the world, we can lift up our face to the Lord, standing firm without fear (Job 11:13-15).

 

We view trouble and trials as water that flows through our life. They become distant memories that brought us closer to our loving Heavenly Father. He makes our days brighter than the sun at noon, and our darkest night shines like the morning sunrise (Job 11:16-17).

 

We find our security from Him, and we place our hope only in the Lord. This allows us to rest in the safety of the shadow of His wings. No one can cause us to fear, and everyone will be drawn to Christ in us (Job 11:18-19; Psalm 91:4).

 

Prayer:
Father God, You did not promise us tomorrow, but You inspire us with Your hope throughout our day. Your hope sheds light on our path, cheers us on our way, and grows brighter even if our circumstances darken. You also use us to aid others along life’s way, as we empathize with their discouragement, and show compassion for them in their trials.

 

Remind us to share Bible verses with them, which lightened our heart; so that we can encourage them in their pursuit of holiness and dedication to Your plans for their life. This will teach them the wisdom that we learned when we walked through trials that are similar to theirs. Please keep Your eye on those of us who hope in Your mercy. Remind us that our ultimate hope rests in living both now and for eternity with You (Colossians 1:27).

 

Thought for the Day:

Sometimes, we wallow in a hopeless cesspool of gloom, and only the mercy of God gives us the hope that we need to climb out of the dark pit of self-pity, which we dig for our self; living our life in Christ gives us the security of His love, and His hope as our eternal strength.

– Colossians 3:3-4

Our Great King

Body of Water Between Green Leaf Trees

 

The Lord is our great King above all gods. Therefore, we sing for joy to Him as the Rock of our salvation, and we come before Him with thanksgiving as we praise Him with music and songs (Psalm 95:1-3). We praise Him even during those trials, which we do not understand (James 1:1-2)

We come to see that when our faith is tested, we learn to persevere, so that we can grow in spiritual maturity as complete individuals, lacking no good thing that we need to survive in this world (James 1:3-4).

God proves to us the reality of His existence through all of creation; therefore, no one has a valid excuse not to believe in Him, since God made it so plain. His eternal power and divine nature are clearly seen in what He made and holds together (Romans 1:19-20).

Many people know about God, and some have even experienced His wondrous love and care in their own life; however, so often the deceitfulness of their pride and Satan’s lies darken their heart, and they neither glorify God nor give Him thanks (Romans 1:21).

Yet, one day, every single knee shall bow before our Lord Jesus (Philippians 2:10-11). The multitude of Saints in heaven will shout praises in one accord, for His salvation of us, as well as His power in and through us. His true and just judgments avenge us (Revelation 19:1-5).

When we see Jesus, we will sound like a mighty waterfall of thunderous applause to our Lord God Almighty who reigns forever and ever (Revelation 19:6). Great is our God’s power, majesty, provision, and sustenance for all of His Saints (Psalm 104:15-16).

All the earth and seas are full of His creatures (Psalm 104:24). He gives shelter to the animals, and they depend on Him for their food and watering holes, for dens to rest in safety, and for their daily needs (Psalm 104:20-22, 27). We too learn to depend on Him, as our faith in His faithfulness grows and matures.

Prayer:

Father God, You provide us with the moon to mark the seasons, and You cause the sun to rise again every morning (Psalm 104:17-19). You give us work to sustain us, and You provide us with everything that we need (Psalm 104:23). We gather Your provision, and we are satisfied with the good things, which You continually and abundantly supply (Psalm 104:28).

We love You with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength. Thank you for loving us, even while we were still willfully sinning; we could not survive this life without the presence of Your Spirit within us. Teach us to put aside our prejudices, and our aversion to obnoxious and offensive people, and to love our self and our neighbors in Your name (Mark 12:30-31)

Thought for the Day:

God’s love is an anchor for us while we are adrift in the sea of suffering in this world, and teaches us by example how to love without conditions and restraints.

Eternal Reality

Black and Brown Mountain

 

At times, living for the sake of the Kingdom of God will take some sacrifice on our part; however, we will gain so much more in this life, than we give up now, as well as in our eternal life in the age to come (Luke 18:29-30).

 

We will reap the assurance of the things we hoped for by faith, and the honest conviction of the things we cannot even see in this natural world (Hebrews 11:1). One sacrifice I had to make was not seeing my grandchildren very often.

 

They live in Missouri, and I lived in the southern-most tip of Florida on the border of the Everglades. Recently, however, God moved us to within three hours of where they live, and I am able to see them more often when our schedules coincide.

 

God used us to further His Kingdom in south Florida, and also now in southern Illinois – where I am now able to spend more time with my grandchildren. However, I long to be involved in their lives on a daily basis.

 

I did not want to be satisfied with an occasional visit, or an eternal perspective on this issue. I wanted to be with them now, as well as in eternity. This realization made me recognize yet another level of attachment to this world, which remained entrenched in my soul.

 

This thought caused the Holy Spirit to drench me with a double dose of conviction. After over 40 years of walking with God on an intimate basis, I found one more area of my life still way too attached to this earthly realm.

 

Sure, I have no affection for material possessions, worldly success, or recognition of any kind. Now, however, I realized that part of me is still very much bound to this world – the grandma part of me.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You are not as interested in our natural family as You are in our spiritual family (Mark 10:29-30, Luke 18: 29-30, and Matthew 19:29; Luke 21:16, 17). Jesus felt this same distance from His own friends and family; and the servant is not greater than her Lord (John 15:20).

 

In eternity, You will free us from all of these natural barriers and conditions that strap us to this earthly sphere. The moment we are absent from this body, we will be present with You, Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8), and we will know and be known for eternity (1 Corinthians 13:12).

 

Thought for the Day:

God’s reality looks nothing like our earthly existence, and we rely on the Lord to give us both the desire and the power to live out His will for us while we remain in this realm, regardless of the circumstances in our life.

– Philippians 2:12-13

Freeing Our Soul

Dock Under Cloudy Sky in Front of Mountain

 

Negative emotions are God’s gift to us. They alert us that something is wrong in our life. That way, we can either fix the root cause of the emotion, or take it to the Lord in prayer for His faithful, nurturing assistance.

 

Some people wallow in their negative emotions, or allow them to rule their thoughts, words and behavior. This is never a good idea, because that is not why God gave them to us. He allows them to manifest, so that we can see issues in our life that need our attention.

 

Negative emotions will often attempt to imprison us in the despair, bitterness, depression and anxiety that drive them. Emotional abuse, jealousy, a major loss or disappointment, etc. try to cripple us and render us useless for the Lord’s service.

 

Never make a decision based on negative emotions. Hear from God and follow His Spirit’s direction in making every decision. Inferiority, false accusations, disillusionment, insecurity, fear, lack of purpose, etc. all host negative emotions.

 

Then, they spiral out of control and consume our thoughts and emotions. Journaling helps us to trace the emotion back to its original source. This way we can actually take control away from the negative and make changes in our life to get back on a positive track (Philippians 4:8).

 

Waiting on the Lord, and courageously accepting His ministry to strengthen our heart, will aid us in our walk through the valley of despair (Psalm 17:14). He helps us to nourish constructive emotions that provide us with positive energy to change our circumstances.

 

Prayer:

Father God, I have noticed that emotional bankruptcy is too often responsible for the destruction of a life. Remind us to intentionally examine all of our negative emotions. As long as we put our trust only in You, there is nothing that happens to us that is too difficult for You to turn around for our good (Luke 18:27; Romans 8:28).

 

Help us to monitor our balance in our thoughts, choices and feelings, and to use only constructive means in order to meet our soul’s needs. Remind us that our greatest help in times of trouble is continual communication with You in prayer, feasting on Your Word, drinking of Your living water, providing opportunities for our soul’s refreshment, and fellowshipping with other Believers.

 

Thought for the Day:

The gift of emotions is one of our assets from the Lord, and should be handled wisely in order to harness them, learn from them, grow from them and discipline our self not to over-react with them; we take into consideration the root cause of them and work with the Lord to discover His will for us in them.

 

 

Black Mountains Under the Stars at Nighttime

 

I am learning a new concept from some old and familiar verses. The simple wisdom in Proverbs encourages us to consult the Lord for each moment of our day, and to trust only and implicitly in Him, as we follow His Spirit’s direction (Proverbs 3:5-6). I have done this for years, and I found great success is God’s formula for life.

 

Recently, I prayed about some unexplained pain in my ankle and shoulder. The Great Physician informed me that the underlying cause came from Bursitis. I had no idea what that was, until I researched it online and found out the source of the issue and the solution.

 

Of course, to tell a housewife to rest her ankles and shoulders is giving her an almost impossible task. Accomplishing every chore depends on these joints. So, I waited on the Lord to remove the pain, as He has done several times in my past.

 

God had already healed my pain from the extensive bodily damage done in a car wreck, and from a dislocated shoulder, and a pinched nerve in my hip, as well as from a broken big toe. Each issue required weeks of recovery, but the pain He lifted immediately.

 

I prayed about the Bursitis pain, and the Lord reminded me that without the pain, I would abuse my shoulder; and He allowed the pain to remain to teach me how to reprocess my life to stop putting undue stress on my shoulders. His grace was sufficient for me (2 Corinthians 12:9).

 

He also reminded me of Biblical encouragement to keep on knocking, so the door would open; to keep on seeking so I could find answers and solutions; and to keep on asking in order for me to receive the ultimate healing from this issue (Matthew 7:7).

 

This is a continual principle for us to live by in every circumstance. Therefore, as I stop abusing my ankle and shoulders, and as I ask for continued healing from the source of the pain, the bursitis will be a distant memory. God delights in faithfully caring for the needs of His children.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You are such a good provider – compassionate, caring and faithful to all of Your children in every way. Yet, we fail to avail our self of Your supply, because we do not continue to knock, seek and ask. Remind us to consult You immediately about our need, and to specifically ask for a resolution.

 

Teach us to come to You as Your little children, starry-eyed with faith in Your faithfulness, and knowing full-well that You intend to meet our needs. At times, rather than to heal us, You give us the grace that we need to bear some heavy load or infirmity (2 Corinthians 12:9); however, You are often just waiting for us to humble our self, and to come to You asking specifically for our supply.

 

Thought for the Day:

From opening jar lids, to receiving the money we needed to pay for unexpected expenses, God is always faithful to His Saints; the more we trust in His mercy and grace and provision, the more He proves Himself worthy of our trust.

Clutter Catastrophe

Sunlight Beaming on Green Trees

 

I cannot stand clutter. Do you have a clutter problem too? If we do not have a place for something, we do not buy it, regardless of how interested we are in having it. We made a place for everything we have, and we put everything back in its place.

 

With bursitis in both shoulders, caused by repeatedly reaching up high in our cabinets to retrieve needed dishes, serving platters, glasses, mugs, baking dishes, etc., I developed extreme shoulder pain.

 

My dear husband helped my shoulders to heal by putting everything, which we often use, down on our counter. That helped my shoulders, but not my soul; because clutter affects our peace, our sense of order, and our health.

 

Outer clutter contributes to inner clutter, which clouds our judgment and decision-making process as it also produces stress. Many people cannot work in cluttered surroundings either. Our cortisol – stress hormone – raises and causes physical illness.

 

The chaos also effects our ability to concentrate and lessens our productivity. Tidy and orderly environments work much better for us. Stress caused by clutter wears us out, and we battle with physical pain and depression too.

 

Our behavior is affected by the anxiety produced in us by a cluttered atmosphere. A cluttered room affects our productivity, quality of sleep, weight gain/loss, overall health, etc. Conversely, a straightened and orderly environment is healthy for us.

 

Disentangling from clutter is a very wise choice to make. We calm mentally, physically and emotionally when we declutter our home, office, car, schedule, life, etc. We are more efficient with less clutter and accomplish more with our life.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You are not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). You inspire us to do all things decently and in order (1 Corinthians 14:40). We can hear Your Spirit’s guidance much better when the cacophony of clutter is no longer the tyrannical author of the confusion in our life. Help us not to buy things we do not need, or to collect unnecessary items that clutter our life.

 

We want to live as good stewards of the finances that You give to us – using them for Your Kingdom, rather than wasting them on items that will only clutter our life; of course, purchasing time and energy saving devices, as well as products that improve our health is always acceptable. Teach us to walk in Your ways and to focus on Christ as our life (Colossians 3:3-4).

 

Thought for the Day:

Controlling the order in our surroundings at home, in our vocation and ministry, car, etc. will make a positive impact on our thoughts, feelings, health, decisions and overall peace and joy, as it gives us more energy, time and vision to further God’s Kingdom on the earth.