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comfort

Change Where It Is Needed

I’ve heard over and over that we are either entering into, in the midst of, or coming out of tribulations and troubles, and the Scriptures concur: When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: Isaiah 43:2-3a

Yes, we are going to go through hard times. God said, “When”, not “If”. So this being the case, there is a particular mindset needed as a child of God to accept it and let God’s perfect plan be worked out. It is one thing to say that, but another to live it. This is a huge struggle for me. Over and over again, I catch myself trying to sort & work things out according to my thoughts & ways, but they are not God’s thoughts or God’s ways:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

This does not mean we sit back and do nothing. We MUST seek the Lord and His will to make sure we are doing what He wants us to do. If I spent more time doing this then “working things out my way”, I’d be at peace more often than not, rather than the other way around.

The key to peace is not in the situation. It has always been – and always will be – in who we think on:

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3

When my thoughts are focused on the Lord, who He is and all that He has done and is doing for me, there is no brain power left to have a “pity party.”

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Proverbs 23:7a

This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:21-23

My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. Luke 1:46-47

In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul. Psalms 94:19

Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established. Proverbs 16:3

Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back. Isaiah 38:17

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Hebrews 10:17

God may not change our situation, but He can change our hearts so we have His peace as we go through it.

Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. (ie. cause them to stumble) Psalms 119:165

My Life Verse

What is a life verse? It’s simply a verse that means something really special to you and that God has really brought to your mind over and over. Mine is the title for my blog, Hebrews 12:2 To me, it is the solution to everything!

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb. 12:2

If you stop and think about it, “the joy that was set before Him” is yours and my salvation! He loves us so much!

When Trials Become Sin

This may seem like an odd title, but it is definitely something I’ve seen that was happening in my own life. It helps me to write things out so I can see the full impact of my actions/inactions and either continue in the right or stop the wrong. I hope that my story can be a help to others so this doesn’t happen to them.

As we’ve gone through some pretty hefty trials this last year, there were times when I was so overwhelmed and all I could think about was what we were going through. God was not in the forefront, the center or anywhere He should have been in my thoughts. I was headed down a path that would end up with me being so wrapped up in the hurt, the betrayal, the actual things going on around me, that I lost sight of The One who allowed all these trials to come upon me to strenghten me. Oh yes, I could quote verses about God being in control, and that all would be okay, but I was focusing on that rather than focusing on my Lord!

Remembering that anything that takes the preeminence in my heart other than God is an idol, I realized the trials/hurt, etc. had become the center – hence and idol – SIN.

The truth is, it doesn’t matter if the trials ever end or they get bigger and bigger. That’s not where my focus needs to be. All I am MUST be focused on the Lord, not what He is doing, whether He brings trials or easier times.

My Bible tells me many things about what position/priority God MUST have in my life, and I’ll quote some of them further, but it can all be summed up in very short passages as relayed in three of the Gospels:

“Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40

“And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Mark 12:28-33

It is also recounted in Luke 10:25-37, but in this instance, the Lord emphasizes the fact that we sin because we cannot love the Lord in this way, but it should still be our goal. Whenever I make it my goal to “to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength”, my heart is at peace. Come what may, good or bad, I’m not flustered, angry, upset, distraught, etc.

Here’s a brief account of this last week. It was interesting to say the least.

Sunday am: Asked to take in a friend from out of town who’s wife has been medivacced to local hospital for “flesh eating disease”. Didn’t know at this point if she was going to make it.

Sunday pm: 10 minutes escorting our friend to our home after church, our 9 year old border colie dies

Monday am: deal with disposal of beloved pet

Monday afternoon to 1am: rush husband to doc then hospital fearing heart attack. No heart attack but suspect angina attack – symptoms identical and still kicks the stuffing out of him

Tuesday afternoon: take husband to naturopath, confirm angina attack and that it was SEVERE. Narrowly avoid heart attack.

Wednesday afternoon: find one of our cats outside and he’s barely able to move. Think he was in a cat fight.

Thursday am: realized cat had been runover by car, not catfight. Losing another pet this week was not a preferred option. Rush to vet.  After some treatment, he’s going to be okay.

Also throughout the week, dealing with personal attacks on our family. Our friend in the hospital is still touch ‘n’ go, but she’ll be in hospital here at least 3 more weeks.

While going through this all, I was truly amazed at the peace God gave when I struggled to focus on Him. Then the following came to mind:

1. Alpha and Omega:

My thoughts should always begin and end with Him.

“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8 Also Revelation 1:11, Rev. 21:6, Rev 22:13

2. Preeminence:

He should have the preeminence (first place) in all things, and that includes my trials.

“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:18

3. Focus: He should always be the focus. My “spiritual” eyes must be always looking to Him:

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Hebrews 12:2-3

Remembering these three things have been a huge help in placing the Lord first, versus letting the trials be my focus and become sin.

The following verse has also been in the forefront this week as I sought grace to go through whatever the Lord would have for me:

Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16

He wants us to come to Him, not shy away when trials come, and let us not forget our purpose:

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Revelation 4:11

So…..

I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations. Psalms 89:1

Counted Worthy

For those who’ve read some recent posts, you’ve been reading how the Lord has been leading us through some trials. This is a continuation of sorts, but what God showed me the morning of July 3rd has me in complete awe and wonder and His mercy & grace in our lives. The conclusion may sound very proud, but there is no self-pride in it. If the Saviour is not exalted in this post, I’ve failed.

Years ago, I felt our lives as Christians were just too easy. I know that the Bible says:

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12

I kept feeling that I must be a failure as a Christian because we weren’t under persecution. We had gone through  a hefty bout 13 years ago with attacks on our family and me personally, and an occasional upheaval through the years. They just seemed like nothing compared to what I saw other Christians going through. Don’t get me wrong! I really DO NOT relish going through persecution, but I felt that the Lord must think my faith is so weak, that I couldn’t handle much. These were feelings I was putting on myself. It was not the Lord’s doing.

What I was failing to see is that the Bible doesn’t say we will have persecution ALL the time, just that we will. I was also failing to see that, as the Potter, He was molding and shaping me/our family into what He wants for us in His timing, not ours.

2 Timothy 2:21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.

As I go over our current trials, and yes, I will call them persecution as we are being attacked for Christ’s sake, I can see back through the years all the things I thought were so little, yet each and every one was meant to mold and shape us/me into Christians that could handle what we are going through now.

I’ll use an example from my husband’s (dh) work to try and get the point across. There have been many individuals at his work who have tried to cause him trouble over the years, but one by one, he has watched as they’ve come and gone, yet he is still there. One man in particular was so difficult to work with and untrustworthy that no one wanted to work with him. He took particular relish in attacking my husbad, yet my dh never went after him. Well, as I’ve heard many times, when a person’s testimony is good, fling all the mud you want, but it won’t stick! And it didnt’! God removed that man in His timing, not my dh’s. As dh and I discussed this and the mud-slinging on our family happening in another area of our lives, something dawned on me and I expressed it to him: “If you had not gone through all the attacks by “so and so” over the years, would you be able to handle what is happening now?” He said, “Probably not.”

That is when I truly began to see the bigger picture. God had been faithfully shaping and molding us through small but frequent, and bigger but less frequent trials throughout our entire lives. I just wasn’t seeing it! I could relay other instances, but I want God to get the glory here! He did it! Not us! God gave the grace! God gave the mercy & care to see us through so that He would get the deserved glory!

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. Colossians 1:18

So this is the part that may sound proud, and all you have is my word that what I say is in humility and wonder at what a wondrous God we serve. He counted us/me worthy to suffer for Him, and He has NEVER left me alone!

And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. Acts 5:41

Psalm 109:26 Help me, O LORD my God: O save me according to thy mercy:
27 That they may know that this is thy hand; that thou, LORD, hast done it.

Psalm 23:1 ¶ A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

What can I do but speak or sing of His mercy & grace!

I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 89:1

Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. Philippians 2:16

But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 1 Peter 4:13

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Revelation 4:11

I Stand Redeemed

With Canada Day (July 1st) having just passed, and Independance Day (July 4th) for the USA tomorrow, I began to think about the birth of these two nations. They began as Christian nations, but have generally degraded into nations that only have a vague semblance to Christ. Worse than that, there is little difference between the world and many who claim the name of Christ.

The Bible talks about this happening to the world in the last days.

2Timothy 3:1 ¶ This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

It is vital that each and every one who is a blood-bought, born-again, child of the living God, daily make a conscience decision to follow the Saviour who gave all for us. Like the Apostle Paul who spoke of submission to Christ, we must also say: “…I die daily. 1 Corinthians 15:31

Titus 2:11 ¶ For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

The above texts may seem to have little to do with the title of this devotional, but they were meant as a reminder. Although the hour in which we live becomes consistently more wicked, the peace and assurance that can only come from God can remain steadfast in the simple knowledge of our redemption! Our God has not changed!

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Hebrews 13:8

Titus2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

I Stand Redeemed!

1) When I think of all my faults and my failures;
When I consider all the times I’ve let God down.
I am humbled by the grace He has extended.
I’m amazed at the mercy I have found.
I could never earn His love on my own,
Yet every time I come before His throne:
Chorus:
I stand redeemed, by the blood of the Lamb.
I stand redeemed, before the great I am.
When He looks at me, He sees the nail scarred hands
That bought my liberty.
I stand redeemed.
2) Even at my best I am unworthy;
I have nothing precious I can give.
A broken life is all I have to offer,
And yet it’s a priceless gift to Him.
The bitter marks of sin will never fade away,
And I can come before Him unashamed.

Where Has God’s Love Gone?

This has been in my thoughts very much lately. God’s love is so great, so immeasurable, yet it seems elusive in many Bible believing churches today.

First, let me clearly state that I am unequivocally a Bible believer who stands firm on separation & holiness. The love I’m talking about is not the unscriptural, modern, wishy washy eceumenical – join with everyone regarless of doctrine, love everyone & their sin type love.

I’m talking about the kind of love that will graciously – with the compassionate, understanding heart of someone who sees their own sin –  show the sinner their sin, and then lovingly show them the Saviour!

These verses clearly demonstrate the key:

Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. Jude 1:21-23

We cannot show God’s love if we do not keep ourselves in His love! Notice verse 23 says we are to hate “the garment spotted by the flesh.” not the person themselves!

Here’s some points to ponder:

A. Examples of Christ dealing with the lost:

1. When Christ confronted the woman at the well, yes, he showed her her sin, but spent far more time directing her to himself.  John 4:7-42

What portion of time do we spend on “badgering” people about sin, instead of directing them to Jesus? When they see their sin, it’s time to show them the Saviour!

2. When the woman “caught in adultery” was brought to Him, she had obviously already dealt with her sin, so He showed her Himself. John 8:3-12

Are we walking close enough to Jesus that we can tell when a sinner is already convicted of their sin and can simply be shown the Saviour?

3. Jesus didn’t even tell the tax collector Zachaeus his sin. Christ’s very presence brought him to repentance and He took him in. Luke 19:2-10

4. The woman who washed Jesus’ feet with tears had already dealt with her sin and given Him her heart so He didn’t humiliate her, but for the sake of others hard-heartedness, He publicly acknowledged her sins were forgiven. Luke 7:36-50

Is Christ visible enough through us that others can be convicted of their sin without a word and be drawn to our precious Saviour?

Let me make it clear that I am not teaching people should not repent. There is no salvation without repentance:

“I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” Luke 13:3&5

Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 20:21

B. God’s love hasn’t gone anywhere or changed:

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Hebrews 13:8.

It is the vessels the Lord wants to use that have become unusable. They cannot spread His love because they have become corrupted with a pride that exalts them so high they can no longer see where they have come from.

Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 2 Peter 1:1-10

Sadly, we are the ones that God says have become hard-hearted and He has to be longsuffering with.

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

C. Questions to ask ourselves to help measure our degree of love:

What is my first thought when I see:

- the drunk or druggie on the street
- the prostitute on the street corner
- the single mom on wellfare with a car load of kids
- the teen/young man with his pants hanging so far down you can see his underwear
- the illegal alien you or your spouse just lost your job to
- the new immigrant who is struggling to learn how it all works in this foreign land
- the homosexual/lesbian, etc.
- the prisoner or the ex-con
- the gang member

Does my heart break for their condition, or is my heart elevated in pride? Do I think I’m too good to bring myself low enough to show them the love of God?

We cannot hope to reach a lost world for Christ if we no longer remember the state in which Christ saved us, nor where we would be were it not for the grace of God.

The great apostle Paul said:   “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” 1 Corinthians 15:10

He knew he was nothing without Christ, as we are.

D. Christ as our example of humbleness:

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:8

E. God’s commands to the believer:

Notice that Colossians 3:12-13 are in the imperative (or commanding) form.

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. Colossians 3:12-13

Being merciful, kind, humble in mind, meek, longsuffering, forbearing & forgiving are not requests. They are commands!

F. What our message must be::

If we go to the lost world with this genuine humbleness of heart and a genuine love for the Saviour and the sinner, only then will they see & believe the greatest love of all:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

But God commendeth (proved) his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

I’d like to finish this devotional with a song from the Marshall Family that really expresses this whole idea so well:

How Can We Reach a World we Never Touch?

“The Wounds of a Friend…”

Recently, a dear friend sent me a note that was one of the sweetest I’ve ever received, and yet, one of the greatest rebukes, and I needed both!

Dear Angela,

From your recent posts I am gathering you have a lot on your plate. Just wanted you to know I am praying for you today! You and your family are in my prayers.

Hugs,

My reply:

You are such a dear! Thinking of me when you are on your way to bury your father-in-law!

I know you never meant for your sweet, sweet, sweet! note to be a rebuke, but the Lord sure used it as such, and I needed it!

With all that has been happening, I’ve kinda be withdrawing from most people, especially my dearest friends, and that is flat out wrong. I’m not the only one who is pre-occupied, hurt, etc. but I’ve had tunnel vision and am only seeing our family’s problems when others are hurting too.

Oh dear! I feel a devotional coming on….LOL

Thank you dear friend! Your precious note is extremely timely! **thanks**

I am so grateful the Lord sent me this sweet rebuke, and especially thankful He didn’t have to do more to get my attention!

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend;” Proverbs 27:6

It is so easy to get “wrapped up” in our own lives and our truly small problems, that we forget that others are going through their own fires & floods. They too need the encouragement that we are begging God for at those times.

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

“But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.”
Isaiah 43:1-3

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness”. Isaiah 41:10

Praise the Lord for His grace and mercies and for Christian friends who let the Lord use them!

“This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. ” Lamentations 3:21-25″

“Fear Not”

People, especially women (me included), tend to be fretful; as irritating as that can be to ourselves and others, it is part of our sinful nature. I am one of the first to say how easy it is to forget that God is in control of EVERYTHING, especially when things are not going the way I planned. (Hindsight is 20/20…)

Like Thomas after Christ’s ressurection, it is easy to have a “show me” faith, however; the Lord does not want us to be so.

The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. John 20:25

Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. John 20:27-28

Our Lord is not the author of confusion or giver of fear:

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. 1 Corinthians 14:33

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

The “Christmas Story” is another perfect example of this.

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Matthew 1:18

I can’t imagine what was going on in Mary’s mind at this point. At first, I thought that she might have know she was pregnant before the angel told her, but then in the parallel passage in Luke 1, there is no indication she knew before.

Isn’t that just like our Lord?

Consider the anguish of heart and mind that He spared her had she been far enough along to realize she was pregnant and had not been told the source. It was all in God’s perfect plan and timing.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11

He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: Ec 3:11a

And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 2Th 2:6

But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, Galatians 4:5  To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. Galatians 4:4-5

Recently, we found out that I am in peri-menopause, so my hormones and emotions are completely wacky. Fine one moment, crying the next, mad the next, irrational, etc. It has been difficult to say the least, especially for my family. When my emotions settle down, then comes the shame. It isn’t just the shame of what I said, or how I behaved, but knowing it didn’t have to be that way.

The world says this is normal; I just need to “get through this”, but I can’t find that in Scripture. For those who know the Scriptures, this would be one of those situations where we wish we didn’t know it so well (fleshly speaking) as the Lord doesn’t let us get away with as much.

However, unlike the world, God’s children are not alone in our daily battles. We have the precious Holy Spirit dwelling withing us who promised to guide us into all truth and never leave us alone. We have no excuse…..

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. John 16:13

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:20

Even in those highly irrational moments, I could feel the Spirit of God trying to work, but I CHOSE not to let Him. I hadn’t wanted to admit it, but I made the choice to ignore that still small voice. (1Kings 19:12) That is what brought me the greatest shame. As much as I know my Bible, I convinced and deceived myself into thinking that God was not in control and could not be of me in that state. I made the choice and refused to yield. I need allow the Lord to bring His Word to rememberance, for yes, Romans 8:28 is still in the Bible.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Yes, the Lord gives peace to His children:

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3

The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace. Psalms 29:11

Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. Psalms 119:165

“Offend” does not mean to insult, but rather “to cause to stumble”. IE, if I love God’s law, nothing shall cause me to stumble.

Do I have a real physical problem that is providing a ripe state for irrational behavior?  – Yes.

Is God, through the Holy Spirit, able to give me the power to conquer those battles by making the right choice? YES! An emphatic “YES!”

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 1Corinthians 10:13

For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted. Heb 2:18

We are taking steps to rectify this hormonal imbalance, but it will certainly be easier for all concerned if I choose to “love God’s law” the next time my emotions get wacky. Like Mary and many others throughout the Scriptures, I need to hear the angel say:

“Fear not…” Luke 1:30

and yield the the Lord’s control:

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. Luke 1:38

Where Do You Get Your Encouragement?

What do you do when a problem crops up? Run to the telephone to call your Mom, your Pastor, talk to your husband, or maybe go online to tell your cyber friends?

In simpler times, when believers found themselves isolated on the frontier (or even now, missionaries may be in the bush on the foreign field,) they would have no other recourse but to go directly to the Lord.

The advent of the telephone, vehicles, the Internet with e-mail and godly message boards, has provided wonderful resources for the Christian, yet I greatly fear that they have become the “cursed thing” (ie. and idol) as mentioned in Deut. 7:22-26. That may seem harsh, but remember an idol is ANYTHING that takes the place of the Lord, whether a thing or other people.

Of course other Christians are a blessing and a source of encouragement! I am not saying we should never go to other Christians, but our first thought should be to go to the Lord, not another sister in the Lord. There are many examples of this in the Scriptures, but our main source must….MUST come from The Only One truly capable of doing so.

Like many, I tend to be very tight-lipped about my problems. Too often; however, rather than taking my concerns, hurts and problems to the Lord, I internalize them and end up frustrated and even mad or bitter at the person that “might? have done something wrong.

In my own life, more often than not, God himself has sent the encouragement I have needed, without my having to utter a word to another human being. A note. A call. A cyber hug. All done by surprise by someone whom the Lord laid me on their heart. God is soooo good!

Let’s dig in the Lord’s precious Word and see some examples He has left for us.

1. David:

The Bible tells us that he was a man after God’s own heart who “encouraged himself in the Lord his God.”

And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. 1 Samuel 30:6

Here is David, serving the Lord, refusing to harm God’s anointed king yet having to run for his life from the very king he refuses to harm. Now, another enemy has wiped out the town where the families of David and his soldiers had been staying. Not only that, but the enemy had taken the wives and children captive! Now David’s own men wanted to stone him!

Yet, “…David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.?

How could he do this? As I stated in a personal testimony and study on Depression - It is all in the focus.

A) David focused on the Word of God – David did not have the completed Scriptures, but he was writing them! By reading the psalms, it is abundantly clear that God’s Word was precious to him. I’ve heard over and over how it is better to meditate upon small portions of Scripture rather than read chapter upon chapter, yet never considering what God has said or trying to apply it in our lives. Here are SOME verses in Psalms dealing with the Word of God: 18:30, 33:4 , 33:6, 56:4, 56:10, 105:8, 119:9, 16, 17, 25, 28, 41, 42, 43, 49,50, 58, 65, 67, 74, 76, 81, 82, 89, 101, 105, 107, 114, 116, 123, 133, 140, 147, 148, 154, 158, 160, 161, 162, 169, 170, 172, 130:5, 147:18, 148:8

In Psalms 119 alone, there are 36 verses that of His “word?. This does not take into account any verses dealing with judgments, commandment, or other variants.

These verses in particular caught my attention:

The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it. Psalm 68:11

Are we publishing God’s Word????

Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word: Do I believe His Word Psalm 106:24

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Am I hiding God’s Word in your heart??? 119:11

I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

- Notice how important God considers His Word – He has exalted it above His own name! Psalms 138:2

B)David focused on the Rock of his salvation – In Psalm 18 alone, David mentions the Lord as his rock (foundation, stabilizing force). Psalms 18:2, 31, 46

C)David focused on his Deliverer from earthly troubles – Psalm 7:2, 18:2, 40:17, 70:5, 144:2

D)David focused on the Lord his shield – Psalm 3:3, 5:12, 18:35, 28:7, 33:20, 35:2, 59:11, 76:3, 84:9, 84:11, 89:18, 91:4, 115:9, 115:10, 115:11, 119:114, 144:2

E)David focused on his Redeemer

Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer. Psalm 78:35

Do we really focus on Who our Lord really is?

There is so much more that could be written on how David could encourage himself in the Lord, but I’d like to move to a few others in the Scriptures who had the right focus.

2. Hannah: What grief she must have endured in her barrenness and then to have her adversary distress her, yet she went to the Lord. Not even when approached by the man of God did she express any of the details of what she was going through. 1 Samuel 1-2

And Hannah answered and said, … I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I … have poured out my soul before the LORD … out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto. 1 Samuel 1:15-16

3. “Consider Job.? (Job chapters 1 and 2)

For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Job 19:25-26

4. Personal Testimony: I am mere flesh and bone. I have my good days and bad days; however, I can truly say that the right focus plays the biggest part in whether I have the joy of the Lord despite the difficulties, or a miserable attitude unless everything goes right.

When needing encouragement, here are a few simple things that I try to remind myself of:

1.Who I am and what I deserve: a sinner deserving of Hell
2.Who I am and what I get: a sinner saved by grace on my way to Heaven

Let’s face it, as long as we live in this flesh, we will go through trials and tribulations, but the question remains: Where do you get your encouragement? What is distracting you from seeking encouragement and support from The Lord God, our Counsellor, our Saviour, our Redeemer, our Comforter, The Prince of Peace….

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Our main source of encouragment must….MUST come from the only one truly capable of doing so.

For the LORD is our defence; and the Holy One of Israel is our king. Psalms 89:18

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3

So the next time you need encouragement, I hope you will first and foremost take it The Counsellor, Comforter, Prince of Peace.

Angela Trenholm
March 15th, 2007

Our Little One

This poem is dedicated to “Our Little One”, who went to be with Jesus on May 21, 1997, after being in Momma’s belly for 15 or so weeks. In October, 1997, found out I was pregnant again, and gave birth to Abigail, June 1998, then Melissa, June 2001, and Carolyn Ann-Marie in October 2004.

It is my hope and prayer that many find solace in the confident hope that their precious “little one” is with the Lord.

But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me. 2 Samuel 12:23 (King David speaking)

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

God is gracious!

Our Little One

Didn’t know if you were a boy or girl.
Would your hair be straight, or would it curl?
Would you be dark like your Daddy,
or would you be fair skinned like me?

Would you love to run and play outside,
or be a homebody by Momma’s side?
Would your mind in the clouds often wander,
or would engineering feats, be what you ponder?

The Lord never let us know these things,
but he knew the joy you’d bring.
Even carrying you for such a short time,
making me yearn for a new Little One in His time.

Your time with us was, oh so brief.
Your loss, brought us so much grief.
Yet through it all, I learned to see,
how My Lord, He walks with me.

I could not wish you back with us,
for surely, I have learned to trust,
and know you are safer with the Lord,
and am glad for the short time He could afford.

For surely, He must love you so,
to take you from us, and this I know,
that one day up in glory, when my Jesus I shall see,
there’ll be another Special Little One, waiting up there for me!

Angela Trenholm
September 26, 2000

Daily Blessings


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