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).



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

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).


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.


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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



Hidden with Christ in God


Photo of Pink Roses in Vase


We inherit a sin nature from our father Adam; however, once we come to Christ, that sin nature dies with Christ on the cross, and we are now hidden with Christ in God (Galatians 2:20). Our body of sin is dead and we are free not to sin.


We are no longer slaves to carnal lusts and desires (Roman 6:6-7, 8:2). We are not only dead to sin, but we are alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:5; Romans 6:4). God’s Trinity dwells in our body now, and sin no longer has dominion over us.


The law of the Spirit of life in Christ set us permanently free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2). We live in our body, but it is Christ who lives in and through us (Romans 6:6). We walk in the Spirit and do not fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Galatians 5:15-25).


Daily, we are renewed according to the image of the One who created us (Colossians 3:10). We are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), in the likeness of Christ, and we now live in righteous, holiness and truth (Ephesians 4:24).


We grasp the revelation that we are baptized into Christ’s death, and redeemed by the blood of the Lamb (Romans 6:3). Even as Jesus overcame sin and death through His life and death, we are freed in Him from sin and death, which are no longer controlling our life (Romans 6:6-9).


We must believe in the reality of what happened on the cross, not just positionally, but experientially as well, because God’s Spirit transforms us through His sanctifying power (James 1:21). We are actually dead to sin and alive to God through Christ in us (Romans 6:11).


If we are tempted, and drawn away by human lust, it is because we have not fully surrendered that part of our self to God. We are choosing to allow that human tendency to retain power over us (Romans 6:12).


In truth, we are no longer obliged to obey the lusts of our flesh, or the temptations of the world and the devil. We do not present our body and soul as instruments of sin and unholiness (Romans 6:13); but we walk in the Spirit, which guarantees that we will not walk in the flesh (Galatians 5:15-25).



Father God, through Christ, who is our whole reason for living, we present our self to You as one alive from the dead (Colossians 3:3-4). We are a living sacrifice and want to be acceptable to You (Romans 12:1). We cooperate with Your Spirit’s sanctifying work in our life, and we disengage from this world and focus on Your Kingdom instead.


Teach us, through the power of the resurrection in us through Christ, to live as slaves of righteousness rather than as slaves to Satan, the world and sin. Jesus already overcame the world, and we overcome the world through His redeeming work in us. Remind us of the reality of the truth that the law of the Spirit of life in Christ sets us free from the law of sin and death.


Thought for the Day:

Jesus only did what He saw our Father doing; and this can be our focus in life as well, because we decrease so that He may increase – walking in the Spirit and not fulfilling the desires of sin that formerly dominated our life.

– Romans 5:15-25

Freedom with an Eternal Perspective



Brown Hummingbird Selective Focus Photography

Life often throws us off center by confusion and catastrophe, which come when we least expect it. We get disoriented and feel insecure and fearful, so we panic and make poor decisions, reacting with negative emotions that create even more problems.


Our normally peaceful existence spins out of control, and each compartment of our life, which we meticulously created to provide us with security and a safe haven, suddenly tilts out of balance.


God pulls out of us all of the roots of pride, selfishness and self-reliance that prevent us from fully surrendering to Him. Initially, this pruning is uncomfortable. However, ultimately, it frees us from the encumbrances of the flesh and the world.


God never forsakes those who seek Him. We know the power of His name, and we trust only in Him (Psalm 9:10). Even in calamity, living with an eternal perspective gives life all the vibrancy and fragrance of a blooming flower.


Focusing on God’s will each moment of our day makes it so much easier to align the desires of our heart according to His ultimate plan for our life. We no longer look to our body or soul to find fulfillment, although we do not neglect our legitimate needs.


We find more delight in reading His Word and in fellowshipping with His Body, and we take every opportunity to invite people to church and to share Christ with every weary soul that He brings our way.



Father God, remind us that developing a spiritual mindset allows us to walk in abiding joy, peace and gratitude as we accomplish Your will for our lives on a daily basis. When we sell out for Christ, we live with a stronger desire to please You. We love You with all of our heart; and we lean only on You for our strength, wisdom and guidance throughout the day.


We follow Jesus to the cross and we lose our life for Your sake; but then, we find new life through our glorious intimate relationship with You (Matthew 10:38-39). As we faithfully follow Your precepts, our love for You and our trust in You also increases. When we simply do Your will on a daily basis, we bring both You and us so much joy and satisfaction.


Thought for the Day:

Living in God’s will is a continual journey, not an ultimate destination; when we are used to walking in unity with His Holy Spirit each moment of the day, the grief we experience when we live outside of His will sends us running back into His everlasting arms.


Emotional Intimacy

Close-up Photography of Roses


Emotional intimacy in a relationship brings emotional security to our union. This is hard, but not impossible to attain, even if one or both people never learned to freely express their emotions. Intimacy requires that each person fully listens to one another.


Often, we are so consumed with what we want to say next that we barely listen to the other person’s viewpoint. At times, we see no validity to their issue, so we ignore them or belittle them. This drives a wedge between us and prevents intimacy.


We often spend more time on our phone or social media than we do with each other. We lack respect for each other’s perspective, and we consider one another an interruption or irritation. We are consumed with our own pursuits, and overlook each other.


A good habit to develop that will prevent this from happening in our family is to sit down together in the quiet of the end of the day, turn off the TV and phones, and sit together in the living room. Gaze into each other’s eyes as they talk, take note of each other’s body language, and listen as you take turns sharing about your day.


We can prevent our self from making judgmental criticisms, berating one another, or dismissing each other’s concerns as silly fears or stereotypical behavior. We show that we care about each other’s struggles, concerns, stresses and hardships.


We can help each other carry our burdens, and pray for one another. We nurture one another by actively listening and taking each other seriously. We take time together and assure each other of our love, and our joy that we are partners in life.



Father God, please teach us to give each other nurturing affection, loving eye contact, listening ears, and true concern for one another’s burdens. We want to dwell together in unity in body, soul and spirit – understanding one another and giving each other honor and attention (1 Peter 3:7). Remind us to compliment and affirm one another by sharing positive traits that we see in each other.


Remind us too, that You gave us to one another to support, to affirm, and to share our strengths to make a better relationship and a deeper unity. Help us to show each other every day that we are vitally important to one another – by doing the little things for each other that make such a huge difference, and by helping to carry each other’s burdens.


Thought for the Day:

Some personalities cut to the chase and leave out all the details of an incident – just reporting on the main facts; while others want to understand the details and resent getting the abridged edition of our day; listening to one another, validating each one’s concerns, and joining forces to pray about or to discern God’s plans in each situation will do much to make our relationships stronger.