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Category Archives: encouraging posts

Jehovah–Shammah–God Who Is Here

Psalm 23:4 “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.”

I’m so glad our Lord talks to His children. Recently, Jesus has been speaking to me about the fact that He is always right here, not just always available, but actually, right HERE with me (and you!). “for thou art with me…”

My dictionary app says the definition of a colon is ‘that a writer is separating two clauses of which the second expands or illustrates the first.’ “I will fear no evil: for thou art with me…” Another way of understanding the colon is that it answers the question ‘Why? Because…’ “I will fear no evil: [Why? Because] thou art with me…”

One of the names or titles God has for Himself is Jehovah-Shammah—Jehovah is there. According to Charles Spurgeon, in his New Year sermon in 1891 on the text in Ezekiel 48:35 “It was round about eighteen thousand measures: and the name of the city from that day shall be, The LORD is there.” declaring: “It is esteemed by the prophet to be the highest blessing that could come upon a city that its name should be, JEHOVAH-SHAMMAH, The Lord is there,” (wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jehovah-shammah).

This is so powerful. John 7:38-39 “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” Acts 2:17 “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:” (v38-39) “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.”

Jehovah is not just in a city. He is not a god who is over there somewhere. He is the God who is right HERE! He is the God who has come to be IN YOU, just as He promised. Jesus truly is Jehovah-Shammah, God who is Here. He isn’t just with you, He is in you. He is right Here, right next to you. 

Jesus has offered to give YOU His highest blessing—to be your Jehovah-Shammah. Wow!

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Posted by on March 1, 2016 in encouraging posts

 

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The Challenge of Christmas

Agatha Christie Miss MarpleRecently, I’ve become acquainted with Agatha Christie’s wonderful mystery stories. So far, my favorite of her detectives is Miss Marple. She is sweet but shrewd, ‘wise as a serpent, innocent as a dove.’ She, like Jane Austen, is perceptive of human nature and sees both virtues and flaws. She notices things and thinks about them, like Sherlock Holmes. She doesn’t put herself forward, but she cares about people and tries to help where she may. Often times, because of her age and the fact that she comes from a small town in England which she frequently references, people underestimate her. Yet, it is she who ends up figuring out ‘who-dun-it’. 

“It has been said that there are only three motives for murder: money, love, and revenge,” says Carolyn Wells in her excellent book, The Technique of the Mystery Story. “The most interesting motives are doubtless money, love and revenge; but the ramifications of these include hate, jealousy, greed, safety, ambition, inheritance and many others—in fact, the whole category of human emotions.”

Indeed, the earliest recorded murder was all about revenge and jealousy. Cain killed his brother Abel because the Lord received Abel’s offering, but rejected Cain’s (Gen. 4:1-10, Heb. 11:4, and 1John 3:12). James 4:1-3 says, “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”

I enjoy reading mysteries and trying to ‘play detective’ right along with Miss Marple, but there’s a challenge, if you’re willing to accept it. In reading the stories, I put myself in amongst the characters, of course as the brilliant detective or one of the innocent bystanders, but am I willing to see my own faults? Am I willing to see myself as one of the suspects, with good reason? Am I willing to see myself as the murderer? Scripture says, “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him,” (1John 3:15).

The most important question is: Am I willing to submit myself to God and change?

What causes anyone to want money so badly they’re willing to kill for it, to twist love so much that they would rather the other person die than belong to anyone else, and/or to seek revenge for some perceived wrong? Why do we think so very highly of ourselves? 

This is a strange thing to post right before Christmas, but perhaps not.

When do we become the most greedy? What has Christmas become but a time of getting rather than giving? Oh, we justify it to ourselves, but where is our focus? It’s not on Jesus!

What has this season become? A time of stress instead of worship, a time of taking rather than giving, a time of disappointment rather than thankfulness? We endure the holidays rather than cherish family and friends. We guilt-trip one another rather than simply loving people. Instead of prayer and worship, we fret and complain.

Oh Lord, change me. Let this season be a time of worship and love, a time of giving and cherishing, a time to be a blessing to someone else. Thank You for robing Yourself in flesh and coming as a helpless infant, Immanuel, God in the flesh, Jesus, Jehovah has become my Salvation!

Merry Christmas!

 

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Meeting God in the Laundry Room?

Washer_and_dryerI don’t know about you, but laundry has not always been one of my favorite chores. It’s not exactly fun to sit in front of a dryer with a seemingly endless pile of clothes to fold. In a family of seven, we generate quite a bit for our washer and dryer!

However, the Lord has shown me a sweet time of prayer and quiet as I sit in front of my machines folding. I am so thankful for plenty to wear. I am thankful for my husband and each of my children. I am thankful for good health and the ability to run and play and make our clothes dirty! As their clothing grows with them, I am thankful for each stage of life my children pass through. Soon, their little jeans will be tall and their dresses full size. Too soon, they will move out and I will only have my husband’s and my clothes to wash.

I am thankful for warm sheets and blankets that cover each of us at night. Though these items are a bit harder to fold (I can’t sit, too short!), they remind me that my Lord is active on my behalf. He speaks, I must listen. He covers me and cares for me and mine. I can’t give anyone air to breathe, but He does every moment of every day. I can’t watch and protect those I love all the time, but He can and does.

It’s not necessarily fun to do laundry, but it can be a sweet time of prayer and connection and thankfulness to the Lord. As a mom there are many, many chores that must be done to keep a home running smoothly, dishes, meal prep, vacuuming, changing sheets, cleaning mirrors and sinks and toilets, and the list goes on. Yet, in all of this there is so much to be thankful for, plenty of food to cause dirty dishes, a solid home to vacuum, soft beds to sleep in, a bathroom with running (hot!) water.

The bottom line is this is part of my calling as a wife and mother to serve my family. Of course, I need to teach my children to do chores as well. I don’t have to do it all, but I am ultimately responsible for seeing that it all gets done. But there’s more to the lesson than simply to keep our home running smoothly. I must also teach thankfulness and joy in serving others. This is God’s way and it’s good.

Philippians 4:4-7 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

How have you found joy in what others might consider ‘not fun’?

 
 

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What Are Your Priorities?

Friends Having Coffee and Cookies by Stuart MilesLast month, I asked, ‘Who are you?’ This month, I want to focus on what your priorities are.

I’ve read that we should simply ask the Lord, ‘What do You want me to do today?’ and, to be honest, I struggled with that. Do I ask the Lord what blouse do I wear today? Do I ask Him what to make for lunch? These are rather silly examples, but they do illustrate the point, just how deep is my walk with Him?

In my relationship with my husband, often we read each others’ thoughts. Shouldn’t it be the same in our relationship with Jesus? My relationship with my husband is more than a to-do list, but do my prayers sound more like a relationship or a to-do list? Do I love Him more than my own opinions? More than what I think should be done today? Just what IS His will for me today?

It all comes down to submission. Am I willing to submit my ideas and my opinions to the point that I don’t have to be heard? God will listen, but what’s the point? Do I allow Him to change me? Do I let my ideas and opinions go to be replaced by His? Do I actively seek to repent? Do I actively seek to become more like Him? It’s a different thing living and acting like I think He wants me to act, versus actively seeking His opinions, His will, His mind, His heart.

If I have the ‘mind of Christ’ {I Cor 2:16 “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”} do I actively seek Him to use that mind?

It’s an easy trap to fall into, Go to your ‘heavenly boss’ in the morning, get your orders, and then go about the rest of the day fulfilling that. But, that’s not what the Lord had in mind. He wants us to WALK WITH HIM, not just work for Him. Mat 11:28-30 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” and John 15:4, 6-7 “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”

Do I get withered because instead of abiding in Him, I attempt my own yoke, my own burdens? It’s easy to fall into that, but God promises a light and easy burden and rest for my soul if only I continually, continuously walk with Him.

What are my priorities? Psalm 37:3-4, 7 (beg.) “Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself…” and I Peter 5:7-8 “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”

You might be wondering, what on earth does that picture of two people drinking coffee have to do with priorities? To me, it’s a picture of delighting and resting in Him. I do my work with Him, not just for Him. I start my day and continue throughout the day the Lord has made for me WITH HIM and all He has blessed me with, including work.

What is on my to-do list? Oh, the usual things, prayer, Bible study, hubby time, work with kids (homeschool, Bible Quiz, etc.), meal prep, house cleaning, laundry, church commitments, work, etc. But, when I do it with the Lord, seeking His will and His way, it all goes a lot better. And, crazy enough, I feel lighter, free even. My to-do list isn’t the same as my priorities anymore and it all gets done. 🙂

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2014 in encouraging posts

 

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In Honor of Poetry Month: Let Me Walk In Your Shadow

Rainbow In Sky by rakratchada torsapLet Me Walk In Your Shadow

by: Joyce Latta

 

Down the road I noticed

A shadow in front of me

I realized it was my own

This was plain to see.

 

As I turned

It followed me then

And kept right at my heel

As I came around the bend.

 

It was so close

Of me it was a part

Its nearness was felt

From the very start.

 

Then a thought came

Across my mind

Let me walk in Your shadow

Until the end of time.

 

Every where I’ll look

You’ll be in front of me

And follow right behind

To shield from the enemy.

 

you will never leave me

As I walk in the light

You’ll give me strength to conquer

By the power of Your might.

 

Your shadow brings healing

And deliverance from sin

Protection from without

And comfort from within.

 

O Let me walk in Your shadow

Become a part of me

Though I look through a glass darkly

Someday Your face I’ll see.

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2014 in encouraging posts

 

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A Different Sort of Valentine

Every year at about this time, our pastor calls our church to a 21 Day Challenge, in which we fast from meat, sweets, and media, we commit to going to every service, and we spend 30 min of uninterrupted time in prayer to grow closer to Jesus.

I’ve been wanting more from my times of prayer. There was a craving for not just blessing, but a deeper relationship with Jesus…more. Then, a missionary came through town and happened to be selling copies of his wife’s book–on prayer! Prayer is the key to the door of a deeper relationship with the Lord, but how to pray more effectively, more…real? God is real. I want a relationship with a real Person, not a put-in-my-time, do-my-Christian-duty type prayers where all I really do is either give a laundry list of petitions or talk to the ceiling. I want God. I’ve felt His presence, I’ve seen visions and felt His power, but I want to see His face. This book was His answer. It’s absolutely fantastic–short chapters, powerful message.

Drawing Near to God: Themes on Prayer by: Cheryl Craft

Mrs. Craft together with her husband serve as missionaries in Europe. Her daughter asked her to write to her about the principles of prayer and this book was the result.

Chapter titles include: A Pattern for Prayer, Drawing Near, Set Your Affections, The Spirit of Seeking, and Life Changing Prayer, with nineteen chapters in all. I love it!

Quoted from Chapter 7, Prayer Is a Place: “It is a moment of great revelation to confess faults and sins before Him, only to discover that He loves us regardless. This is the self-revelation that has to happen before we can have a God-revelation. When we see ourselves as we are and repent, we then can see Him as He is and rejoice.”

It is very difficult for me to be this vulnerable, because I am so afraid of rejection. Yet, it is through this vulnerability that He shows His greatest love. After all, it’s useless to try to hide my faults. God knows everything, but if I am open and honest about my short-comings, the Lord can help me to overcome, move forward, and get to another level in my relationship with Him and other people around me.

In order to have any kind of truly deep connection with Jesus or anyone else for that matter, there has to be honesty and vulnerability. No one has it all together and no one is completely without fault. That’s why Jesus had to come robed in flesh and die on the cross. The ugly truth is I have done things for which I am ashamed. I need forgiveness and I need to change.

The beautiful thing is “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” (I Jon 1:9). We may feel like we’ve gone too far or that we’re simply unworthy, but that’s not what the Bible says. We may feel like we can’t change, we’ll never get it right, but that’s not what the Bible says either. God’s Word says He is faithful. He will forgive us–if we ask Him to. He will cleanse us, but we have to seek Him. We have to be honest with ourselves and Jesus. “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free,” (John 8:32). There is nothing more freeing than knowing that God considers you innocent and He is actively cleansing you, changing you into the person He created you to be. 

God’s love is greater than our failures.

February is traditionally the month we focus on love–usually romantic. Wouldn’t it be a great thing to instead focus on the greatest LOVE this world has ever known? “…God is love,” (I John 4:8).  

The two greatest things to know in this life is yourself and Jesus (God). He wants to know you and is more than happy to show you Himself. He will also help you to face yourself in order to realize all the amazing things He created you for. Who knows you better than your creator? And who loves you more? He died for YOU! But, He’s greater than your failures and your mistakes. He’s greater than death itself. And HE LOVES YOU!

This year for Valentine’s Day, take some time to spend with the One who knows you better than you know yourself, who loves you more than you can even understand fully. “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God,” (Eph 3:17-19).

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2014 in encouraging posts, Uncategorized

 

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He Can Roar But He Can’t Hurt You!

Roaring lion

Roaring lion (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Guest Post by: Nathaniel Austin, one of our Blog Post contest winners.

A few days ago I saw a video that at first made me jump, and then made me smile.  A little girl was at a zoo and a lion was roaring, pawing at the window, ready to attack her, and the little girl stood there.

At this particular zoo there was glass between the animals and people instead of the usual bars I am used to and so it was all the more heart jumping action as I wondered just how strong that glass was. I  remarked to someone after watching the video how that little girl was amazing, and seemed to have no fear.

An angry, hungry lion in full-on attack mode and three-year old Sofia stood her ground. You can see the video clip here.

Fear Not!

How many times as Christians have we heard those words. Fear Not! Seems like over the years maybe thousands of times? Yet, a storm will break out, a trial will come upon us, and our faith is shaken, our fears rise to the surface, and we wonder how we are going to make it.

It has been said that the phrase ‘fear not’ appears in the Bible 365 times. I am not sure of the accuracy of that, but between other similar references it is very clear that we are told to not be afraid of what may come along.

As Christians our banner is Faith, and so it would be logical that we cannot have faith and still be fearful, but we too are human and fall into the grasp of the faint of heart when trials and tests come our way. I too fall prey to my fears at many times. It is easy to do.

However, one would think that over time, and many trials we would begin to realize that no matter what happens we are going to be okay.

Oh Ye Of Little Faith

Those were the words that came out of Jesus’ mouth when He was awakened by His disciples to calm the storm on the Sea of Galilee. Now, if anyone should have faith, you would think the very ones who walked and talked with Jesus, even ate dinner with Him should have faith. They should know everything was going to be okay. But falling into their own doubts, after a great miracle I might add, they woke Him to ‘Master, careth not that we perish?’

How many times have we done the same thing?

We love the worship, the singing, the dancing, the shouting, but let a little storm come into our life and we wonder where is God?

Right There With Us

Matthew 28:20 states, ‘Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’  He is right there in every situation with his protecting hand to shield us from harm.

Little Sofia knew that glass was between her and the lion. Sure, at first she reacted to the roar, but she stood her ground. She knew she was going to be okay.

Many times in life, the enemy comes roaring and pawing at us, ready to destroy us. His roars get louder and his attacks seem more fierce as we face him, to the point it looks like he will devour us.

1 Peter 5:8 says the ‘devil goes about as a roaring lion seeking who he may devour.’ He would like to destroy us.  He wants to wreck our life, but more importantly, destroy our soul. He doesn’t like the freedom we can have in Jesus.

We can sugar coat it if we like, but there is a devil and he doesn’t want us having what he cannot. So he might come into our lives, roar and paw at us to try and get us to break. If can get us to stop believing in the power of the cross, the blood of Jesus and His love, then perhaps he can win.

Standing Firm

Galatians 5:1 says, ‘stand therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free.’  We have freedom and liberty because Jesus Christ took our sins and hung on Calvary that we might be free from the bondage of sin and death. We can take hope that His grace truly is sufficient for us.

If we have taken on Christ, and are covered by His blood, nothing can shake us. Isaiah wrote, ‘I have engraved you in the palms of my hands.’ We are protected by our Creator against any attack of the enemy.

Just Keep Standing

That lion kept roaring and pawing at little Sofia in the video. It wanted to attack her or at the very least scare her. A lot of us would have run crying, maybe even screaming from that lion. But she seemed fearless. Why?

She knew that between her and the lion, there was a protective barrier. That lion could not touch her. No matter how much the lion roared, it was not going to get through that barrier.

Our enemy is the same way. He can roar, he can paw, he can do all sorts of things to make us afraid but he cannot do anything to us when we are protected and bought with the blood of Jesus Christ. The enemy is powerless against the blood.

The End Of The Story

I am not sure how it all played out after, but at the end of the video clip, the lion is standing there watching that little three-year old girl.

I wonder what was going through its mind?

This tiny creature who he could probably eat with one bite, stood there against the roar, against the pawing. There was nothing the lion could do.

It is the same with our lives. The enemy can roar at us, but cannot do anything when we are protected by God. Just a bunch of noise, and in the end, we will still be okay.

Sofia wants to go to the zoo, again, for her 4th birthday.

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2012 in encouraging posts

 

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