"By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created,
people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can't see:
eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being."
Romans 1:20 (The Message)
December 31, 2013
"So, Lord, what hope do I have?
You are my hope."
Psalm 39:7 NCV
"I depend on you, and I have trusted you since I was young."
Psalm 71:5 CEV
For this last day of the year, let me impart hope. This is a picture my son took of a sunset over the place he now resides, a place we are convinced God alone made a way for, a place custom-made, divinely-made for new beginnings.
God holds that kind of place in His heart for every single one of us.
May your hope in God's love and power continue. Never cease bringing those you love before Him and placing them in His hands. When you are weary, ask your comrades in faith to not only pray for your loved one, but also for you.
Lean into God for strength and grace.
He is good.
He is wise.
His power is great.
And His love is strong.
"People of Israel,
put your hope in the LORD
because he is loving
and able to save."
Psalm 130:7 NCV
"The LORD is good to those
who hope in him,
to those who seek him."
Lamentations 3:25 NCV
"Faith makes us sure of what we hope for
and gives us proof of what we cannot see."
Hebrews 11:1 CEV
"May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father
encourage you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.
God loved us, and through his grace
he gave us a good hope
and encouragement that continues forever."
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 NCV
December 23, 2013 This is not simply good news... but the most amazing good news...
"Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory..."
"...The people who walk in darkness will see a great light.
For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine...
For a child is born to us,
a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His government and its peace will never end.
He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity.
The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven's Armies will make this happen!"
Isaiah 9:1-7 NLT
"Because of God's tender mercy,
the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
and to guide us to the path of peace."
December 17, 2013
"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you
and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven,
for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
Matthew 5:3-12 NIV
"You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again?
It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.
You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.
No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket.
Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.
In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father."
Matthew 5:13-16 NLT
December 1, 2013
"Those who live in the shelter
of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow
of the Almighty... "
"This I declare about the LORD:
He alone is my refuge,
my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
For he will rescue you
from every trap
and protect you
from deadly disease.
He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises
are your armor and protection.
Do not be afraid
of the terrors of the night,
nor the arrow that flies in the day.
Do not dread the disease
that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster
that strikes at midday.
Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand
are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.
Just open your eyes,
how the wicked are punished.
If you make the LORD your refuge,
if you make the Most High
no evil will conquer you;
will come near your home.
For he will order his angels
to protect you wherever you go.
They will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt
your foot on a stone.
You will trample
upon lions and cobras;
you will crush fierce lions
and serpents under your feet!..."
"The LORD says, 'I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
I will reward them with a long life
and give them my salvation.'"
Psalm 91 NLT
Susan Creek Falls, Oregon
November 24, 2013
We approach the week of Thanksgiving. And yes, we have so very, very much to be thankful for.
Yet in light of the abundance this week brings, some may wrestle even more so with feelings of disappointment,
because they're waiting on God, to see His glory, to see His rescue plan come through...
for their loved ones and life circumstances.
"Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long,
and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders."
Deuteronomy 33:12 NIV
Heavenly Father, I lift Your children up to You, I lift them straightway into Your lap...
that they may rest between Your shoulders.
"He acted with a strong hand and powerful arm. His faithful love endures forever."
Psalm 136:12 NLT
The LORD holds those we love in His mighty hands. God is faithful, He is good, He is all-powerful and His love is strong.
"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them."
Romans 8:28 NLT
Our God is always and ever working toward the very best eternal outcome.
"For God in all his fullness
was pleased to live in Christ,
and through him God reconciled
everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.
This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault."
Colossians 1:19-22 NLT
Yes, He is reconciling ALL things to Himself.
Such is His full redemptive work. To redeem in love is His will.
"We have courage in God's presence,
because we are sure that he hears us if we ask him for anything that is according to his will.
He hears us whenever we ask him; and since we know this is true, we know also that he gives us what we ask from him."
1 John 5:14-15 GNT
And take courage.
Mighty Savior, when we can't see through the darkness, fill our hearts with what You see.
Renew the sure hope You purchased for us. You are our strength in weakness. Fill us with grace. We trust You, Jesus.
"And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
And this hope will not lead to disappointment.
For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love."
Romans 5:4-5 NLT
November 18, 2013
"Truly God is good to Israel,
to those whose hearts are pure.
But as for me, I almost lost my footing.
My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone..."
"Then I realized that my heart was bitter,
and I was all torn up inside.
I was so foolish and ignorant—
I must have seemed
like a senseless animal to you.
Yet I still belong to you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
leading me to a glorious destiny.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
I desire you more than anything on earth.
My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
but God remains the strength of my heart;
he is mine forever..."
"But as for me, how good it is to be near God!
I have made the Sovereign LORD my shelter,
and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do."
Psalm 73:1-2, 21-26, 28 NLT
November 11, 2013
"Your unfailing love, O LORD,
is as vast as the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your justice like the ocean depths.
You care for people and animals alike, O LORD.
How precious is your unfailing love, O God!
All humanity finds shelter
in the shadow of your wings.
You feed them from the abundance of your own house,
letting them drink from your river of delights.
For you are the fountain of life,
the light by which we see."
Psalm 36:5-9 NLT
Molalla River, Oregon
November 3, 2013
"I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything
and will remind you of everything I have told you.
I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.
So don't be troubled or afraid."
John 14:25-27 NLT
"I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me.
Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world."
John 16:33 NLT
"The Lord will make you go through hard times, but he himself will be there to teach you, and you will not have to search for him any more. If you wander off the road to the right or the left, you will hear his voice behind you saying, 'Here is the road. Follow it.'
You will take your idols plated with silver and your idols covered with gold, and will throw them away like filth, shouting, 'Out of my sight!'."
Isaiah 30:20-22 GNT
Proverbs 8:17 NIV
"Thus says the Lord Who made [the earth], the Lord Who formed it to establish it—the Lord is His name:
Call to Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things, fenced in and hidden, which you do not know (do not distinguish and recognize, have knowledge of and understand)."
Jeremiah 33:2-3 AMP
October 28, 2013
"Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.
If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.
Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone?
A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer.
Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken."
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NLT
"Brethren, if any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort, you who are spiritual [who are responsive to and controlled by the Spirit] should set him right and restore and reinstate him, without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness, keeping an attentive eye on yourself, lest you should be tempted also.
Bear (endure, carry) one another's burdens and troublesome moral faults, and in this way fulfill and observe perfectly the law of Christ (the Messiah) and complete what is lacking [in your obedience to it].
For if any person thinks himself to be somebody [too important to condescend to shoulder another's load] when he is nobody [of superiority except in his own estimation], he deceives and deludes and cheats himself."
Galatians 6:1-3 AMP
"God places the lonely in families;
he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.
But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land."
Psalm 68:6 NLT
October 20, 2013
"Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing."
Romans 4:17b NLT
"We call Abraham 'father' not because he got God's attention by living like a saint, but because God made something out of Abraham when he was a nobody.
Isn't that what we've always read in Scripture, God saying to Abraham, 'I set you up as father of many peoples'?
Abraham was first named 'father' and then became a father because he dared to trust God to do what only God could do:
raise the dead to life,
with a word make something out of nothing.
When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn't do but on what God said he would do.
And so he was made father of a multitude of peoples. God himself said to him, 'You're going to have a big family, Abraham!'"
Romans 4:17-18 (The Message)
"Then the One seated on the throne said,
'Look! I am making everything new.'
He also said,
'Write, because these words are faithful and true.'"
Revelation 21:5 HCSB
October 13, 2013
"Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but when the desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life."
Proverbs 13:12 AMP
"Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the LORD rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
Lift up your eyes and look about you.
All assemble and come to you;
your sons come from afar,
and your daughters are carried on the hip.
Then you will look and be radiant,
your heart will throb and swell with joy...
Your sun will never set again,
and your moon will wane no more;
the LORD will be your everlasting light,
and your days of sorrow will end.
Then all your people will be righteous
and they will possess the land forever...
"...They are the shoot I have planted,
the work of my hands,
for the display of my splendor.
The least of you will become a thousand,
the smallest a mighty nation.
I am the LORD;
in its time I will do this swiftly."
Isaiah 60:1-5, 20-22 NIV
October 7, 2013
"How wonderful it is to see
a messenger coming across the mountains,
bringing good news, the news of peace!
He announces victory and says to Zion,
'Your God is king!'"
Isaiah 52:7 GNT
"Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal."
Isaiah 26:4 NIV
September 29, 2013
"Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins...
Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin.
"...For I recognize my rebellion;
it haunts me day and night.
Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your sight.
You will be proved right in what you say,
and your judgment against me is just.
For I was born a sinner—
yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.
But you desire honesty from the womb,
teaching me wisdom even there.
Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Oh, give me back my joy again;
you have broken me—
now let me rejoice.
Don't keep looking at my sins.
Remove the stain of my guilt.
Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
Do not banish me from your presence,
and don't take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.
Then I will teach your ways to rebels,
and they will return to you.
Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves;
then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness.
Unseal my lips, O Lord,
that my mouth may praise you.
You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one.
You do not want a burnt offering.
The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.
You will not reject
a broken and repentant heart, O God.
Look with favor on Zion and help her;
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
Then you will be pleased with sacrifices offered in the right spirit— ..."
Psalm 51 NLT
September 22, 2013
"Keep on working to complete your salvation with fear and trembling,
because God is working in you to help you want to do and be able to do what pleases him.
Do everything without complaining or arguing.
Then you will be innocent and without any wrong. You will be God's children without fault.
But you are living with crooked and mean people all around you,
among whom you shine like stars in the dark world.
You offer the teaching that gives life...
Your faith makes you offer your lives as a sacrifice in serving God."
Philippians 2:12b-17a NCV
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
Galatians 2:20 NIV
September 15, 2013
"He gives strength to those who are tired
and more power to those who are weak."
Isaiah 40:29 (NCV)
"... and so I wouldn't get a big head, I was given the gift of [adversity]
to keep me in constant touch with my limitations.
Satan's angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees.
No danger then of walking around high and mighty!
At first I didn't think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it.
Three times I did that, and then he told me,
My grace is enough; it's all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the [adversity] and began appreciating the gift.
It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness.
Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer,
these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks.
I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become."
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 The Message
September 8, 2013
"I can do all things through Christ, because he gives me strength.."
Philippians 4:13 (NCV)
Frog On a Cross
September 1, 2013
"How lovely is your dwelling place,
O LORD of Heaven's Armies.
I long, yes, I faint with longing
to enter the courts of the LORD.
With my whole being, body and soul,
I will shout joyfully to the living God.
Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow builds her nest
and raises her young
at a place near your altar,
O LORD of Heaven's Armies, my King and my God!
What joy for those who can live in your house,
always singing your praises.
What joy for those whose strength
comes from the LORD,
who have set their minds on a pilgrimage
When they walk through the Valley of Weeping,
it will become a place of refreshing springs.
The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.
They will continue to grow stronger,
and each of them will appear before God
O LORD God of Heaven's Armies, hear my prayer.
Listen, O God of Jacob.
O God, look with favor upon the king, our shield!
Show favor to the one you have anointed.
A single day in your courts
is better than a thousand anywhere else!
I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God
than live the good life in the homes of the wicked.
For the LORD God is our sun and our shield.
He gives us grace and glory.
The LORD will withhold no good thing
from those who do what is right.
O LORD of Heaven's Armies,
what joy for those who trust in you."
Psalm 84 NLT
"...for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God's very own possession.
As a result, you can show others the goodness of God,
for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
For God is pleased with you when you do what you know is right and patiently endure unfair treatment.
Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong.
But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you.
For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you.
He is your example, and you must follow in his steps."
1 Peter 2:9b, 19-21 NLT
Upper Proxy Falls, Oregon
August 28, 2013
"He has made everything beautiful in its time.
He has also set eternity in the human heart;
yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end."
Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV
"And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right,
for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap,
if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint."
Galatians 6:9 (AMP)
August 19, 2013
"Soon all you captives will be released!
Imprisonment, starvation, and death will not be your fate!
For I am the LORD your God,
who stirs up the sea, causing its waves to roar.
My name is the LORD of Heaven's Armies.
And I have put my words in your mouth
and hidden you safely in my hand.
I stretched out the sky like a canopy
and laid the foundations of the earth.
I am the one who says to Israel,
'You are my people!'"
Isaiah 51: 14-16 NLT
August 11, 2013
"Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them!
So Jesus told them this story: If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won't he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, 'Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.'
In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!
...To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story:
A man had two sons. The younger son told his father, 'I want my share of your estate now before you die.' So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.
A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.
When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, 'At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.'
"...So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.'
But his father said to the servants, 'Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.' So the party began."
Luke 15:1-7, 11-24 NLT
August 4, 2013
"May the God of hope
fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
Romans 15:13 NIV
"Now to Him Who,
by ... the [action of His] power
that is at work within us,
is able to [carry out His purpose and]
far over and above all that we [dare] ask
[infinitely beyond our highest prayers,
desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]—
To Him be glory in the church
and in Christ Jesus
throughout all generations forever and ever.
Amen (so be it)."
Ephesians 3:20-21 AMP
July 28, 2013
Sovereign by Chris Tomlin
Sovereign in the mountain air
Sovereign on the ocean floor
With me in the calm
With me in the storm
Sovereign in my greatest joy
Sovereign in my deepest cry
With me in the dark
With me at the dawn
In your everlasting arms
All the pieces of my life
From beginning to the end
I can trust you
In your never failing love
You work everything for good
God whatever comes my way
I will trust you
All my hopes
All I need
Held in your hands
All my life
All of me
Held in your hands
All my fears
All my dreams
Held in your hands
God whatever comes my way
I will trust you, LORD
"I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart...
...for your love and your faithfulness...
When I called, you answered me;
You made me bold and stouthearted...
Though the LORD is on high, he looks upon the lowly,
but the proud he knows from afar.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes,
with your right hand you save me.
The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
your love, O LORD, endures forever--
do not abandon the work of your hands."
Psalm 138 NIV
July 21, 2013
"It was not by their sword that they won the land,
nor did their arm bring them victory;
it was your right hand, your arm,
and the light of your face, for you loved them."
Psalm 44:3 NIV
"But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith,
pray in the power of the Holy Spirit,
and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who will bring you eternal life.
In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.
And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering.
Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment.
Show mercy to still others,
but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.
Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away
and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault.
All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord.
All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen."
Jude 20-25 NLT
July 14, 2013
"The LORD within her is righteous;
he does no wrong.
Morning by morning he dispenses his justice,
and every new day he does not fail...
"Sing, Daughter Zion;
shout aloud, Israel!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,
The LORD has taken away your punishment,
he has turned back your enemy.
The LORD, the King of Israel, is with you;
never again will you fear any harm.
On that day
they will say to Jerusalem,
Do not fear, Zion;
do not let your hands hang limp.
The LORD your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.
...At that time I will deal
with all who oppressed you.
I will rescue the lame;
I will gather the exiles.
I will give them praise and honor
in every land where they have suffered shame.
At that time I will gather you;
at that time I will bring you home.
I will give you honor and praise
among all the peoples of the earth
when I bring back your captives
before your very eyes,
says the LORD."
Zephaniah 3:5, 14-20 NIV
June 30, 2013 OUR BEAUTIFUL, STRONG PROMISE...
"Listen to me, you islands;
hear this, you distant nations:
Before I was born the LORD called me;
from my mother's womb he has spoken my name.
He made my mouth like a sharpened sword,
in the shadow of his hand he hid me;
he made me into a polished arrow
and concealed me in his quiver.
He said to me, 'You are my servant,
Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.'
But I said, 'I have labored in vain;
I have spent my strength for nothing at all.
Yet what is due me is in the LORD's hand,
and my reward is with my God.'
And now the LORD says—
he who formed me in the womb to be his servant
to bring Jacob back to him
and gather Israel to himself,
for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD
and my God has been my strength—
'It is too small a thing for you to be my servant
to restore the tribes of Jacob
and bring back those of Israel I have kept.
I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.'
...This is what the LORD says:
'In the time of my favor I will answer you,
and in the day of salvation I will help you;
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people,
to restore the land
and to reassign its desolate inheritances,
to say to the captives, 'Come out,'
and to those in darkness, 'Be free!'
...He who has compassion on them will guide them
and lead them beside springs of water.
I will turn all my mountains into roads,
and my highways will be raised up.
...Shout for joy, you heavens;
rejoice, you earth;
burst into song, you mountains!
For the LORD comforts his people
and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.
...I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands...
Then you will know that I am the LORD;
those who hope in me will not be disappointed.
Can plunder be taken from warriors,
or captives be rescued from the fierce?
But this is what the LORD says:
'Yes, captives will be taken from warriors,
and plunder retrieved from the fierce;
I will contend with those who contend with you,
and your children I will save...
Then all mankind will know
that I, the LORD, am your Savior,
your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob."
Isaiah 49 NIV
June 23, 2013
"Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life."
Psalm 143:8 NIV
I don't even know how to go.
I don't even know.
But, Father, You do.
I watch. I wait. I hope. I trust.
You hear my songs in the night.
Surely You take all that I lift to You into Your very heart.
I am confident in Your wisdom, Your power, Your love.
Surely You lead along paths of redemption—
the highest good bought
at the highest price.
Yes, my hope remains in You.
"Whether you turn to the right or to the left,
your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying,
'This is the way; walk in it.'"
Isaiah 30:21 NIV
June 17, 2013
"The LORD is like a father to his children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
For he knows how weak we are;
he remembers we are only dust."
Psalm 103:13-14 NLT
"Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning."
Lamentations 3:23 NLT
June 9, 2013
"This letter is from Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ.
I am writing to God's chosen people...
God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ.
May God give you more and more grace and peace.
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead.
Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.
So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while.
These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world."
1 Peter 1:1-7 NLT
May 26, 2013
"Unless the LORD had given me help,
I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death.
When I said, 'My foot is slipping,'
your unfailing love, LORD, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me,
your consolation brought me joy."
Psalm 94:17-19 NIV
"God, hear my cry;
pay attention to my prayer.
I call to You from the ends of the earth
when my heart is without strength.
Lead me to a rock that is high above me,
for You have been a refuge for me,
a strong tower in the face of the enemy."
Psalm 61:1-3 HCSB
May 19, 2013
"Immediately Jesus told his followers to get into the boat and go ahead of him across the lake... It was late, and Jesus was there alone. By this time, the boat was already far away from land. It was being hit by waves, because the wind was blowing against it.
Between three and six o'clock in the morning, Jesus came to them, walking on the water. When his followers saw him walking on the water, they were afraid. They said, 'It's a ghost!' and cried out in fear.
But Jesus quickly spoke to them, 'Have courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.'
Peter said, 'Lord, if it is really you, then command me to come to you on the water.'
Jesus said, 'Come.'
And Peter left the boat and walked on the water to Jesus.
But when Peter saw the wind and the waves, he became afraid and began to sink. He shouted, 'Lord, save me!'
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught Peter. Jesus said, 'Your faith is small. Why did you doubt?'
After they got into the boat, the wind became calm. Then those who were in the boat worshiped Jesus and said, 'Truly you are the Son of God!'"
Matthew 14:22-33 NCV
Last week my friend, Mary Griswold, wrote to encourage me. Regarding the story of Peter walking on the water with Jesus, she wrote:
"...the main point is that Peter did walk ABOVE the water, ABOVE the circumstances, ABOVE everything, until he took his eyes off of Jesus, but even then Jesus reached down and lifted Peter up by the hand, and together they both walked ABOVE the water to climb back into the boat.
...there are times when we feel we have so much faith to believe God for everything, until we look at our circumstances, then we begin to sink into the mire of life, cares, concerns, etc. Then Jesus comes along and takes us by the hand and lifts us up to walk in our rightful place, which is beside Him, above the enemy, above the cares of our lives, above everything. If our eyes are fixed upon the Lord, He WILL give us His peace and grace to walk above our situations."
This story and Mary's application rings true for each and every one of us. She encouraged me to read the story myself. When I did, God also caused me to consider the wind. He wanted me to understand that whenever situations arise and begin bearing down on my heart, it is then that it's most important to remember, to realize, it's just the wind. Sure, wind can have the ability to cause damage (toppling trees and homes). And wind has the power to whip up the waves into the enormous, imposing conditions that block my view of Him, and then threaten to take me under. But, compared to God and His eternal purposes and power, well, everything else that does not come from Him is just the wind. One day, it will come to nothing.
Mary also wrote:
"When you cast your care upon the Lord, you DO NOT have Jesus's permission to take them back. Unfortunately, most of us believe that casting our cares upon the Lord is kind of like fishing with a rod and reel. We cast out, and then we reel back in. God's promise to us is, when we leave our cares with Him, He will exchange our worries and concerns with His Peace. And only you can choose to receive His peace." (see 1 Peter 5:7 and Psalm 55:22)
Be assured, God's limitless power reigns in His limitless love and wisdom. Cast your cares upon Him and leave them with Him. Receive His peace beyond all understanding.
Jesus quiets the wind and removes its power over our hearts. In this we must always remember, even if we listen to the wind and find ourselves sinking, He's right there to rescue us... and to command the wind, "Be still!"
May 12, 2013
It's Mother's Day.... a day of hugs and flowers... blessings and gratitude... lavished on moms.
A day of mom's hearts being warmed by the love of children and grandchildren...
Yet, for many, this day holds the makings to magnify an ache of longing...
And those are the moms I want to write to today...
...Moms whose arms rejoice in holding the ones who are near, yet quietly ache for those who are not.
Thus, for those, I'm compelled to share...
Surely, I would not be standing today... surely, I would not continue even one step forward, were it not for our God.
Over and over, my Heavenly Father whispers...
"Hope in me... hope in me... hope in me... get back up... hope in me."
Surely, it is He who gently picks up His child time and time again.
Surely, it is He who carries me.
Surely, it is He who breathes new grace for the day, time and time again.
Each day brings another confrontation against the foreboding darkness.
Yet, each day, if I only lift my eyes, He proves faithful to renew His embrace of hope...
...in various vessels... all together encouraging... all together beautiful...
...Renewed hope through a direct impartation of His Living Word in scripture... Renewed hope through a friend calling to encourage and pray... Renewed hope through a preacher sharing across a pulpit... Renewed hope through a friend sharing encouragement across a kitchen table... Renewed hope through a friend sharing encouragement across an ocean... Renewed hope through a line in a book... Renewed hope through a line in a song... Renewed hope through a companion who willingly journeys back in time through my quest for answers, offering a word of truth... Renewed hope through a friend gathering my pain into her own heart, pressing into God on my behalf, then calling to share a glorious encounter...
... Renewed hope through God's still, small voice... He Himself, in the night...
"Hope in me... hope in me... get back up... hope in me."
I need His renewal day by day... for even so... much pain remains in the waiting.
His sword of light pierces into the dark night...
"There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off." Proverbs 23:18 NIV
And to all His own, the LORD Himself promises...
"Those who hope in me will not be disappointed." Isaiah 49:23b NIV
"To lose hope has the same effect on our heart as it would be to stop breathing."
(John Eldredge, The Sacred Romance, p33)
His goodness, His promises, continue urging me on.
If I stand... I stand in hope. And His hope is sure.
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1 KJV
Hope on, dear friends.
You, and all you love, are greatly loved by God.
Greatly. Greatly loved.
May 5, 2013
The LORD forewarned the prophet Samuel as He sent him on assignment to anoint the next king of Israel after Saul:
"The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."(1Samuel 116:7b).
Why did God forewarn Samuel with these words?
Because what Samuel found when God led him to the coming king of Israel was but a shepherd boy.
Following this first encounter with Samuel, this boy stepped forward to slay Goliath when the rest of Israel stood back.
This boy grew up to serve the current king with unbroken loyalty, sparing Saul's life time and again, even though Saul relentlessly sought to kill him.
Long before granted kingship, this shepherd grew into a courageous and victorious warrior – one without equal in all of Israel's history.
Nevertheless, considering all David's mighty acts of valor, we are yet pointed back to his heart (i.e., Acts 13:22). David is most famously noted in the Bible as "a man after God's own heart".
Read on into the history of David's reign and you will find even in the midst of human weakness and failure, a man of profound trust in the sovereignty and justice of the LORD his God.
During his reign, David reforms the nation's spiritual life, including the introduction of music as a prominent part of worship. (Reading David's psalms reveals a passionate and honest heart toward God.) David also restored the Tabernacle of Moses (the transportable tent sanctuary set up during the years in the wilderness) by bringing back the Tabernacle's vital component (which signified the physical place of God's presence with His people), the Ark of the Covenant, which had beforehand been stolen away by enemies.
After firmly establishing his kingdom, we catch yet another glimpse into David's heart:
"After David was settled in his palace, he said to Nathan the prophet, 'Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of the covenant of the LORD is under a tent.'
Nathan replied to David, 'Whatever you have in mind, do it, for God is with you.'
But that night the word of God came to Nathan, saying: 'Go and tell my servant David, 'This is what the LORD says: You are not the one to build me a house to dwell in... 'Now then, tell my servant David, 'This is what the LORD Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone... one of your own sons... He is the one who will build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son... I will never take my love away from him... I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever.'"
(1 Chronicles 17:1-8, 13-14 NIV)
David, overwhelmed by God's grace over his life, over his family, responds...
"...Then King David went in and sat before the LORD, and he said: 'Who am I, LORD God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? ... 'There is no one like you, LORD, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears... Do as you promised, so that it will be established and that your name will be great forever..."
(1 Chronicles 17:16-24)
What did God see in David's heart?
Valor, yet humility?
Leadership, yet submission?
David's heart was most certainly trusting,
unyielding in faith
and fierce in love.
And in these times...
...redeemed by His own blood (Eph 2:13) ...adopted as His children (1 John 3:1)...
"Who am I, LORD God... that you have brought me this far? There is no one like you, LORD..." (1 Chronicles 17:16 NIV)
April 28, 2013
"Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" Matthew 6:27 NIV
"Don't be afraid, for I am with you...
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God..."
"...I will strengthen you
and help you.
I will hold you up
with my victorious right hand."
Isaiah 41:10 NLT
"Yet I am confident I will see the Lord's goodness
while I am here in the land of the living.
Wait patiently for the Lord.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord."
Psalm 27:13-14 NLT
April 21, 2013
O LORD, at times it can feel like the pressure descending on our hearts for our world (that is for our world both far and near) is more than our hearts can survive.
Yet even in a world that is reeling, You remain unchanging in this:
You have been, You are and You always will be a wise and loving God.
It is my faith in You alone that enables me to remain standing...
Faith in Your unending love for us...
Faith that Your timing is perfect to answer the cries of my heart...
Faith that You move in wisdom that towers high above my own understanding.
Faithful Father, empower us with increased faith and renewed hope.
Fill us with grace to move through these uncertain days of waiting.
Fill us with peace by Your loving presence, knowing You hold close to Your heart all that is close to ours.
Let Your hand guide us step by step as we walk through troubled waters.
I will not let go of You. Certainly I would drown had You ever let go of me.
We can rest in Your promises, Your justice, Your goodness, Your higher wisdom, Your love.
"...when the Son of Man comes, will He find [persistence in] faith on the earth?"
Luke 18:8 AMP
Yes, come LORD Jesus...
and may You find faith ever alive in me.
April 14, 2013
"The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared.
But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year. For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins...
First, Christ said, 'You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings or burnt offerings or other offerings for sin, nor were you pleased with them' (though they are required by the law of Moses). Then he said, 'Look, I have come to do your will.' He cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect. For God's will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.
Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God's right hand. There he waits until his enemies are humbled and made a footstool under his feet. For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy...
"And the Holy Spirit also testifies that this is so. For he says,
'This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, says the LORD:
I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.' (Jer 31:33)
Then he says,
'I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds.' (Jer 31:34)
And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices.
And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven's Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God's house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ's blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.
Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise."
Hebrews 10:1-4, 8-23 NLT
April 6, 2013
"He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love...
"...for love waved as a protecting and comforting banner over my head when I was near him."
Song of Solomon 2:4 (AMP)
April 1, 2013 J E S U S I S R I S E N !
"I have not stopped giving thanks to God for you. I remember you in my prayers
and ask the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, to give you the Spirit,
who will make you wise and reveal God to you, so that you will know him.
I ask that your minds may be opened to see his light,
so that you will know what is the hope to which he has called you,
how rich are the wonderful blessings he promises his people,
and how very great is his power at work in us who believe.
This power working in us is the same
as the mighty strength which he used
when he raised Christ from death..."
Ephesians 1:16-20 GNT (own emphasis added)
"All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever.
He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything.
At the center of all this, Christ rules the church.
The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church.
The church is Christ's body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence."
Ephesians 1:20-23 MSG
March 24, 2013
"Two others, both criminals, were taken along with him for execution.
When they got to the place called Skull Hill, they crucified him, along with the criminals, one on his right, the other on his left.
Jesus prayed, 'Father, forgive them;
they don't know what they're doing.'
Dividing up his clothes, they threw dice for them. The people stood there staring at Jesus, and the ringleaders made faces, taunting, 'He saved others. Let's see him save himself! The Messiah of God — ha! The Chosen — ha!'
The soldiers also came up and poked fun at him, making a game of it. They toasted him with sour wine:
'So you're King of the Jews! Save yourself!'
Printed over him was a sign:
THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
One of the criminals hanging alongside cursed him:
'Some Messiah you are! Save yourself! Save us!'
But the other one made him shut up: 'Have you no fear of God? You're getting the same as him. We deserve this, but not him — he did nothing to deserve this.'
Then he said,'Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom.'
He said, 'Don't worry, I will.
Today you will join me in paradise.'"
Luke 23:32-43 MSG
March 17, 2013
"While Jesus lived on earth, he prayed to God and asked God for help. He prayed with loud cries and tears to the One who could save him from death, and his prayer was heard because he trusted God.
Even though Jesus was the Son of God, he learned obedience by what he suffered. And because his obedience was perfect, he was able to give eternal salvation to all who obey him."
Hebrews 5:7-9 NCV
"Since we have a great high priest, Jesus the Son of God, who has gone into heaven,
let us hold on to the faith we have.
For our high priest is able to understand our weaknesses.
He was tempted in every way that we are, but he did not sin.
Let us, then, feel very sure that we can come before God's throne where there is grace. There we can receive mercy and grace to help us when we need it."
Hebrews 4:14-16 NCV
March 10, 2013
"That evening, Jesus said to his followers, 'Let's go across the lake.' Leaving the crowd behind, they took him in the boat just as he was. There were also other boats with them. A very strong wind came up on the lake.
The waves came over the sides and into the boat so that it was already full of water. Jesus was at the back of the boat, sleeping with his head on a cushion. His followers woke him and said, 'Teacher, don't you care that we are drowning!'
Jesus stood up and commanded the wind and said to the waves, 'Quiet! Be still!' Then the wind stopped, and it became completely calm.
Jesus said to his followers, 'Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?'
The followers were very afraid and asked each other, 'Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!'"
Mark 4:35-41 NCV
"Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear.
If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love."
1 John 4:18 NLT
March sunset storm over my home
March 3, 2013
"Let all that I am praise the LORD;
with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name..."
"Let all that I am praise the LORD;
may I never forget
the good things he does for me.
He forgives all my sins
and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death
and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
He fills my life with good things.
My youth is renewed like the eagle's!
The LORD gives righteousness
and justice to all who are treated unfairly.
He revealed his character to Moses
and his deeds to the people of Israel.
The LORD is compassionate and merciful,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
He will not constantly accuse us,
nor remain angry forever.
He does not punish us for all our sins;
he does not deal harshly with us,
as we deserve.
For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
is as great
as the height of the heavens above the earth.
He has removed our sins as far from us
as the east is from the west.
The LORD is like a father to his children,
tender and compassionate
to those who fear him.
For he knows how weak we are;
he remembers we are only dust.
Our days on earth are like grass;
like wildflowers, we bloom and die.
The wind blows, and we are gone—
as though we had never been here.
But the love of the LORD remains forever
with those who fear him.
His salvation extends to the children's children
of those who are faithful to his covenant,
of those who obey his commandments!"
Psalms 103:1-18 NLT
The first flowers are popping up in our neighborhood. How I long for spring... our colorful reminder year after year that new life is a promise from our benevolent Creator, a promise we can bank on.
February 24, 2013
"For the eyes of the LORD
move to and fro
throughout the earth
that He may
those whose heart
is completely His."
2 Chronicles 16:9 NAS
"Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there."
Psalms 139:7-8 NIV
We might as well stop fighting. We might as well stop running. We cannot escape. Resistance is futile.
Surrender. That is what His eyes look for as they move to and fro throughout the earth. A heart that is completely His. Unconditional, full surrender. However, the surrender God desires is enormously different than the surrenders we've seen or read about in our world. Enormously different. There is no gun pointing at our head. The Mighty Warrior of Heaven is simply searching for our heart. Our whole heart. And upon this surrender the unusual outcome will be that we are set free. No prison or slave labor for His captives. Nope, no way. Because this unusual captor of hearts is known as One who came to "proclaim freedom for the prisoners" (Luke 4:18 NIV). And beyond that, quite remarkably, He also "raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap, [and if that is not enough, where does He take them from there?] ...to make them sit with princes" (Psalms 113:7-8 NAS). Astounding.
So what on earth are we waiting for? What lies or vices are holding us back?
"O LORD, you have searched me and you know me…you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD…My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place... All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be…" Psalms 139:1, 4, 15-16 NIV
To the One who knows me inside out – let me love You from the inside out.
"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalms 139:23-24 NIV
I surrender all...
February 17, 2013
"Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stay true to the Lord...
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!
Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do.
Remember, the Lord is coming soon..."
"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.
Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.
His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you."
Philippians 4:1, 4-9 NLT
Central Oregon sunset from the Ochoco's, over the Cascade Range
February 10, 2013
"But if I say, 'I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,'
his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot."
Jeremiah 20:9 TNIV
February 4, 2013
"And this is God's plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God's children...
God's purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God's presence..."
"...When I think of all this, I fall to my knees
and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.
I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.
Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him.
Your roots will grow down into God's love and keep you strong.
And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should,
how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.
May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.
Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God."
Ephesians 3:6-19 NLT
Sourthern Oregon Coast
January 27, 2013
"Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for I will never pray to anyone but you.
Listen to my voice in the morning, LORD. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.
Because of your unfailing love, I can enter your house; with deepest awe I will worship at your Temple.
Lead me in the right path, O LORD, or my enemies will conquer me.
Tell me clearly what to do, and show me which way to turn."
Psalm 5:2-3,7-8 NLT
"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."
Proverbs 16:9 NIV
"Send out your light and your truth; let them guide me.
Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live."
Psalm 43:3 NLT
"He gives me new strength. He guides me in the right paths, as he has promised."
Psalm 23:3 GNT
"I will lead blind Israel down a new path, guiding them along an unfamiliar way.
I will make the darkness bright before them and smooth out the road ahead of them.
Yes, I will indeed do these things; I will not forsake them."
Isaiah 42:16 NLT
January 20, 2013
"...we never give up..."
2 Corinthians 4:1b NLT
Don't Give Up
Written by Tawgs Salter, Performed by Josh Groban
Don't give up
It's just the weight of the world
When your heart's heavy
I will lift it for you
Don't give up
Because you want to be heard
If silence keeps you
I will break it for you
Everybody wants to be understood
Well I can hear you
Everybody wants to be loved
Don't give up
Because you are loved
Don't give up
It's just the hurt that you hide
When you're lost inside
I will be there to find you
Don't give up
Because you want to burn bright
If darkness blinds you
I will shine to guide you
Don't give up
Because you are loved
"And so, since God in his mercy has given us this wonderful ministry, we never give up...
For God, who said, 'Let there be light in the darkness,' has made us understand that this light is the brightness of the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.
But this precious treasure -- this light and power that now shine within us -- is held in perishable containers, that is, in our weak bodies. So everyone can see that our glorious power is from God and is not our own.
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don't give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us.
We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going.
Through suffering, these bodies of ours constantly share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be obvious in our dying bodies. So we live in the face of death, but it has resulted in eternal life for you...
All of these things are for your benefit. And as God's grace brings more and more people to Christ, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.
That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.
For our present troubles are quite small and won't last very long.
Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever!
So we don't look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen.
For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever."
2 Corinthians 4:1, 6-12, 15-18 NLT
January 13, 2013
"You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you.
Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you."
Matthew 5:4 MSG
'Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger
and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled..."
"...Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven,
for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
Matthew 5:3-12 TNIV
"He gets angry once in a while, but across a lifetime there is only love.
The nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter."
Psalm 30:5 MSG
"May God, the source of hope,
fill you with all joy and peace by means of your faith in him,
so that your hope will continue to grow by the power of the Holy Spirit."
Romans 15:13 GNT
January 6, 2013
"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them..."
Romans 8:28 NLT
Many of us have heard, have quoted, have hugged the divine promise of Romans 8:28 to our soul in the darkest of times and held on.
Nevertheless, as the Bible also says, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick" (Proverbs 13:12) and there are many of us out here with a sick heart, a heart sick with disappointment.
Months of desperate prayers, seemingly unanswered, can turn into years, which leave us wondering, where is God?
"...For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn, with many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And he gave them right standing with himself, and he promised them his glory.
What can we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since God did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won't God, who gave us Christ, also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? Will God? No! He is the one who has given us right standing with himself.
Who then will condemn us? Will Christ Jesus? No, for he is the one who died for us and was raised to life for us and is sitting at the place of highest honor next to God, pleading for us..."
Romans 8:29-34 NLT
Where is God?
Christ Jesus...is sitting at the place of highest honor next to God, pleading for us...
At a time when all hope and faith was draining from my soul, when I questioned, God, do You even hear my prayers? Do You see? Do You care? ... He answered me with this passage in Romans that states what Jesus is doing at this very moment - he's pleading for us. And with those three words His reply reached deep into my heart:
I know what it's like to plead for your children, Deb. It's what I do all the time. I never stop, year after year after year. And I'm right here with you, and I'll see you through this. Don't give up hope. Don't stop. Keep believing. Keep going forward. Stronger. Believing. Stronger.
It's always darkest before the dawn. So don't give up. Don't ever give up.
"...Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love?
Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or are hungry or cold or in danger or threatened with death?
(Even the Scriptures say, 'For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.')
No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love.
Death can't, and life can't. The angels can't, and the demons can't.
Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away.
Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 8:35-39 NLT
It's a new year. Be strong and courageous. The battle isn't over. But it belongs to the LORD.
Comments? Feedback? Testimonies? Please feel free to send an email to deb at HeartScribeForHim.com
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