Dear brothers and sisters,
Are you an oak tree? The Bible refers to being an oak of righteousness. However, when God plants an oak, He pretty much puts it where it will get some of the fiercest storms. The reason? To make the roots go down deep and the body of the tree to become strong.
Today, I am feeling that storm hit against my body. I don't like it at all. This morning, talking to the Lord, I wanted to know if this was because of sin in my life? If I'd missed something, somewhere in relationship with Him?
I found His peace. His assurance and His compassion. And, a greater desire to press into Him, to know Him as my Living God and best friend.
During my walk over the last several months I have found that the storms do make me stronger. Like an oak tree. The place I am in is not equivelent or match with what my mind has conjured up. This hasn't been a place of ultimate happiness. Much the contrast.
Yet, while this is where Abba has planted me, it is His best to make me all He sees me to be. Prepared to meet His Son on His wedding day. In this I am able to rejoice! And in the meantime, maybe I can provide the shade of His grace for others who are struggling.
We will take Him at His Word and rest upon His promises and know Who He is...LORD of all! I love Isaiah 41:10..."Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice."
I can't help but take a deep breathe, as relief for my soul. No fear, no what if's, or why's or if only's. Read this over again. Do you see anything describing an oak of rightness? There is firm assurance for the oak. It doesn't quiver in fear but grabs the ground with stronger roots. Clinging to the promises of God.
Jesus, Messiah, was sent to bring the Good News to the afflicted. He came to bind up the brokenhearted and set free the captives. He came to comfort those who mourn; giving them beauty for ashes and the oil of joy for our failing, burdened spirit. That we may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinquished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God, the planting of the Lord.
That He may be glorified! Reading Isaiah 61:3 I can see Him making me ready to face any storm, any battle, any trouble. Equipped, with all I need for the day. If only I am having to be still and quiet. Wouldn't it be great to hear the Father call you His friend? He does if you only believe.
Ask the Lord to help you magnify His name whether you are in a storm or in the calm. Tell your flesh that you have His peace. That you trust the Lord with all your heart. That you will let Him do the fixing. Then, stand steady, mighty oak! Bless you in the matchless name above all other names, Jesus Christ, amen.
Abundance is...the blessings will overtake you
Dear brothers and sisters,
This day is the time to listen up and find your encouragement in God's unfailing love. His Word never returns empty. All His promises are true.
You would think with all the many being persecuted, the earth's shaking, the massive earthquakes and erutions that we must be so close to the Day of our Salvation. We long for the sweet, rich, presence of God, don't we?
When will He come for us is on many of our tongues as we pray for deliverance from the confines of this world. We cry out for mercy from our pain and severe trials.
Are you commited to the name of Jesus Christ? Is your testimony a solid stance in our adverse society? Oh, brother and sister, if you have come to the end of your strength, then seek refuge in Jehovah-sabath! He is the LORD of Hosts! Read this name several times in the books of the Prophets.
Fifty-two times in Zachariah's account and eighty-three times in the book of Jerimiah alone. It is God's name in a time of extremity.
If you don't have any need today, you will in the times to come. See the need, fill the need is a common line. This however goes deeper than just mere words and game show lines. If you are so weary that you have ceased to fight...this is the name for you!
Why stay powerless, failing and weak Christians? Do not be deceived. Pay attention to your surroundings. Listen to the instruction of the Holy Spirit of God. In our need we must run to Jehovah-sabaoth! There He is, ready to help! Don't let your perspective and the enemies lies keep you from His High Tower.
In Malachi 1:10, 14 is just one of twenty-two times His name, the Lord of hosts appears. This was written to a people who honored God with their lips, but not with their lives. People fail. God wanted them to see HIM as LORD of hosts and bow the knee. This is a good place to pause and think about how you honor God. I am stunned at the many times I slip easily into this flesh worship.
All will bow their knees to someone or something. An idol, a little god, a person, a possession. Only by coming to the cross first will we ever be able to bow knowing we are protected by Jehovah-sabaoth.
What circumstances are you facing now? David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you taunted."
Later in 1 Samuel 17:42-47 we see that this battle is the LORD's. The LORD of hosts, Jehovah-sabaoth! What is the name of your giant? What seems so big is nothing in the eyes of God. Take the name of the LORD before you. He will always win the battle.
There is so much more; take the time to read the scriptures and allow the LORD to lead you. I leave you with Proverbs 18:10..."The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the [consistently] righteous man [upright and in right standing with God] runs into it and is safe, high [above evil] and strong."
If you have trouble believing you are as the man described here. Go to Jesus. Tell Him you need Him. He is waiting and has the tower of His promises waiting for you. Only believe. God bless you in His matchless name, amen.
Abundance is...We can endure
Dear family and friends,
Oh, this morning there are so many hurting around us! My joy sustains me when I know and trust in Him. God is at work even when I can't see.
I have been shown by His Spirit that I have had pride in telling God what I think is best for my loved ones. I was wrong. My assumptions, my prayers that challenge God to act, my hands on the controls are all wrong. Yet, He loves me.
1 Peter 5:6-7 says, "Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you. Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cared for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully."
This is where we are to hang out! It brings us right back to our appointed place of worship. God Is Aware.
So, do you think He is unaware of where your loved ones are? Do you think God has deserted them? Don't you think He cares, and that His love is stronger than yours? And don't you know that He, through His Holy Spirit, can go on taking care of them, even in your absence?
After a very long time I have been praying for my parents. That their later years would be blessed with strength and all the goodness of God. It seems though, things have only gotten worse for them. They aren't able to be together due to needing extra help. I am sad for them.
This is all so personal to me because I should be there right? I should be able to care for them. But, the miles and state lines separate us. I had no idea what was ahead. My view has had to be changed from what I can do, to what God can do.
I know I am not alone in this. This story can be of anyone of you. What do you think? What do you know? They can be very different paths can't they? But, God! But, God is able to take these concerns and work on a good outcome for the treasured ones of our heart.
Yes, God! So, there was a change, a new friend, a new place to bring comfort to them. And, all I did was give up and lift them in prayer. It seems so simple doesn't it? What lengths we go to to be burdened with anxiety not meant for us to carry. Give up and lift up...
WE, I, must be diligent to bring Everything to God. When I wrote a couple days ago about Jesus being my friend? Well, it has deepened through God showing me that He is always working and caring. Sometimes inspite of my silliness and thinking i am all so important.
I learned an important lesson this week. Can you guess what it is? Yep, the challenges may remain, but He is greater still! I can count on His promises because His Word never fails. He is dependable amd my best friend. His love goes deeper than any ocean and higher than any mountain. His plans are good. My future and my hope are found in Him.
Bless the name of the Lord with me and keep trusting the Lord. He will give you the desires of your heart IF you commit and trust your ways to Him. He will bring it to pass. (Psalm 37:4-5).
Abundance is...humbled and secure in His love
Dear brothers and sisters,
Welcome back! While this is the day the Lord has made, don't you wonder at times why you have so many trials? It seems just when you get a break, there is another around the corner. I agree and that is why I am writing today. We all need encouragement.
Romans 8:18 says, "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us and for us and confered on us!"
What is Paul saying? He too is waiting for that day when he finds closure to all his troubles. There is a process that we must go through to be completed and able to stand confident before God, unashamed. Knowing that everything has had a purpose in His plans.
This morning I read of a man who kept a flask-shaped cocoon of an emperor moth. He waited and waited. He became impatient and decided the poor thing struggled way too long. The opening of the cocoon was, he thought, too tiny. So he snipped a bit of the opening to help the moth. Right away the moth emerged.
While the pressure seemed daunting on the tiny creature, it was necessary. God made the struggle to activate the healthy juices, by force, to enter the vessels of its wings because they are less developed at the period of emerging from the chrysalis than they are in other insects.
The man grieved when he watched the weakened moth try to function perfectly as God intended. Stunted, struggling, distressed. All because the man wanted to deliver the moth from undue trial.
Isn't that the way we are? We want to just get through it. And we try to help others move out of their perdicaments. Without the struggle, the fire, the trial, we are left weakened and unable to move upward before the glory of the Lord. This little story gave me pause. I understand better that God really is up to something in my life. That He loves me and only has the Best intended for me.
From Jesus, our Lord, we recieve comfort. All our waste places and wilderness journeys He has promised to make like Eden. Our desert, like the garden of the Lord. WE will find joy and gladness welling up on wings of thanksgiving and with a melodious sound! Can you picture this? Read Isaiah 51:3.
Take time today to read 1 Peter 1:3-9! Because of what God did in bringing us Jesus our Savior we can know that we have a living hope! It is reserved in heaven for us. WE are protected by the power of God through faith.
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you rejoice in your times of trials. Even in testing by fire, so that the gold of our lives will be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Glory to God!
We say we love Him. If we do then, we will believe that He is able to keep us! Like the Bible says, we rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory! We obtain as the outcome of our faith the salvation of our souls.
Before reading these things this morning, I was hurting and feeling down...because I was in pain again. When after reading, and praying about this, I am all the more assured that it isn't about my feelings. Only the truth, the fact of His care for me.
I pray that you are encouraged and able to stand upright, declaring the truth. Let the blood of Jesus flow through your veins so you can take flight like the beautiful emperior moth. He has said He will keep you, so He will. The Lord bless you in His matchless love, amen.
Abundance is...there is purpose in the struggle
Dear family and friends,
Hello and welcome to Heartstrings! Have you ever waited for someone to come to your door with what you needed? Did they know what you needed? When I talked to an elderly woman this afternoon, I heard much complaint about her needs not being met. I do know she has shut people out for so long it is now rare for friendship.
If you know you have a need like groceries, and you can't get to the store, do you mention it to anyone? How else would they know? What if you need to make it to a doctor appointment? Do you have someone to take you? What will you do?
After listening and trying to encourage this woman, I realized she really didn't make a faith filled effort. Even if we only have one friend, we need to stay in touch. Also, seeking opportunities to help meet their need. Friendship goes both ways.
Jesus is a friend who is always there when we need Him. Whether to talk, or cry, to sing praises to His name. Have you ever wondered if He might want your friendship as well? I have. But, only recently. I always thought He didn't need me all that much because He is so big and powerful. Then I remembered something.
God made Adam for fellowship. They walked together in the garden. I believe they even had a couple of laughs over the names Adam gave some animals. They enjoyed each others presence. God would love for us to love being with Him too! Even get to the place where we can have a good laugh about our own inablities and clumsiness.
Then, I thought about the relationship that Jesus had with Martha, Mary and their brother Lazarus. We don't know much about Lazarus, until Jesus is weeping at his tomb. The bystanders all saw how much Jesus loved this man.
You can read their story in John 11. In this case Jesus was considerably 'late' to help Lazarus, who had gotten very sick. But Lazarus died. By the time Jesus arrived there was so much mourning going on. Martha who I am sure had been watching for Jesus to arrive, ran out to meet Him on the road! Mary stayed.
Yet, it was Martha that Jesus corrected earlier about her errant attitude. Obiviously, she took time and repented and turned from that previous angry woman to a woman filled with hope in Christ. He was the most needed thing! She found that out personally.
What I am trying to say is, it's not about the help you think you need, but about the One you need. One thing...Jesus Himself! Martha humbled herself and embraced the Lord's correction so was able to embrace Jesus love. No matter what the outcome.
That is where our true friendship lies, In Jesus! I find myself more and more wanting to be alone with the Lord. Perhaps that is why so many 'friends' have fallen by the wayside. I don't want to grow old and feel alone or forgotten, really. And there are times when it is much harder. Everyone has a busy schedule these days. Sorta like mine was. When things change, as they always do, Jesus will remain our truest friend.
From the things I have heard today, everyone, including myself, long for stability. This generation with all their good ideas and plans for the future will only disappear under the weight of that task, if they don't make Jesus Christ their dearest, most intimate friend.
We get the priviledge of surrendering our agenda before the Lord. To pursue the One thing most important and let go of the others. To make Jesus not only our Lord and Savior but, our closest friend.
Can He provide your groceries or the way to that appointment? Of course He can. Just talk to Him about it! That will get us further ahead than complaining about things. What do you need, really need today? Talk to Jesus. You won't be disappointed, I promise!
What is that 'one thing' you desire and hope for? Read Psalm 27! Verse 4 says, "One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek, inquire for, and [insistently] require; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord [in His presence] all the days of my life, to behold and gaze upon the beauty [the sweet attractiveness and the delightful loveliness] of the Lord and to meditate, consider, and inquire in His temple."
So, dear friends, we must go there first in order to remain secure, helped and full of hope. Like Martha, it is our choice. Require His presence as your vital need! Will you run to Him today? Think about this. What areas do you have needs in? All? That is something that the Spirit of God can handle!
On the authority of God's Word, be brave and of good courage! Wait for, hope for, and expect the Lord. He is not man that He would fail to see us through anything we come up against. Let Jesus brace you, stand behind you in the face of trouble and enjoy Him when the sun is shining too. Be enduring in His love and fellowship. God bless you as you hide in His secret place!
Abundance is...His unfailing friendship