Tag Archive | comfort

Little Moments of Grace

Six weeks into 2013.

How’s those resolutions going?  Perhaps at the cusp of the New Year, some of us were

reviewing the year,

regretting mistakes,

re-thinking goals,

and resolving to change..

But why do we keep repeating the pattern every year?

We long to make some dramatic difference in our lives, checkbooks, children, spouses, selves, homes, or whatever.  Or at least, I do.  I want that big “reveal” at the end of the year, or my lifetime, to show  visible improvement, growth, and purpose.  It’s taken me a long time to learn that life is not about the drama or applause.

Life is played out in the everyday moments, minutes, reactions, choices, and responses.

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Paul David Tripp discussed this in one of his recent articles:

“The character that was formed in those little moments is what shapes how you respond to the big moments of life.

What leads to significant personal change?

  • 10,000 moments of personal insight and conviction
  • 10,000 moments of humble submission
  • 10,000 moments of foolishness exposed and wisdom gained
  • 10,000 moments of sin confessed and sin forsaken
  • 10,000 moments of courageous faith
  • 10,000 choice points of obedience
  • 10,000 times of forsaking the kingdom of self and running toward the kingdom of God
  • 10,000 moments where we abandon worship of the creation and give ourselves to worship of the Creator.

And what makes all of this possible?

Relentless, transforming, little-moment grace….”

(From Paul Tripp Ministries, PaulTripp. com)

Oswald Chambers said much the same over 100 years ago in his famous devotional, My Utmost for His Highest :

“It is inbred in us that we have to do exceptional things for God: but we have not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things, to be holy in mean streets, among mean people, and this is not learned in five minutes”

So, even though it’s February, can we still do this?  Is it too late to turn little moments into blessings, the ordinary into the exceptional?

Pick a day, some odd day on the calendar, like February 10th, and choose to make your moments matter.  It’s not about lists of resolutions.   It’s about moments of choices.

Breathe a prayer.

Obey that still small voice.

Let a kind answer turn away a harsh word.

Forgive.

Little moments of grace….

weave a path to His glory and honour.

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Your Presence, Like Rain

Oh my…the rain is refreshing after the intense heat lately.  The grass seems greener, bird’s songs are sweeter, and the air carries a cool comfort that I forgot I even missed.

Refreshed

But sweeter than the rain to my soul, is the very Presence of the Lord.  Through Him, my dry heart is softened, my mind cleared, and my voice can carry songs and encouragement not present within myself to utter.

I’ve posted a song today, that might bring a little refreshement, like rain, to your thirsty soul.  It has to mine.  Holy Spirit is a deeply worshipful song, by Bryan and Katie Torwalt.  I can’t promise rain wherever you live, but I can promise, that if you quiet your heart, shut your eyes for just five mintues, and listen to this song, the Lord will minister comfort to you…with His Presence.

~~~~~~

Holy Spirit

by Bryan & Katie Torwalt

There is nothing worth more
That will ever come close
Nothing can compare
You’re our Living Hope

Your Presence

I’ve tasted and I’ve seen
Of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart becomes free
And my shame is undone

Your presence Lord

Holy Spirit
You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory God is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by
Your presence Lord

Your presence Lord

There is nothing worth more
That will ever come close
You are our Living Hope
Your presence Lord
I’ve tasted and I’ve seen
Of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart is set free
And my shame is undone

Holy Spirit
You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory God is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by
Your presence Lord

Let us become more aware of Your presence
Let us experience the glory of Your goodness
Lord

Holy Spirit
You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory God is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by
Your presence Lord

~~~~~

This song is available for download at Amazon Music, Itunes, and Jesus Culture. 

Starting February off on a Good Note

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;   His mercies never come to an end;  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”        Lamentations 3:22, 23 (ESV)

I haven’t shared any new songs for awhile, so today offers as good a reason as any to post a new one.   The lyrics for Have Mercy on Me are below, and the graceful melody is in the Music Box.  If you like the song, there are a lot more on the album, The Gathering, available at Amazon or Sovereign Grace Music (I get no absolutely no profit from them 🙂 )  Blessings!!

Have Mercy on Me

I am a sinner; You’re blameless,

Lord My sins against You can’t be ignored

They will be punished, I know they must

Your law demands it, for You are just.

If You would count everything that I’ve done wrong

Who could stand? But there’s forgiveness with You, God!

~~

Chorus

Have mercy on me, have mercy on me

A broken and a contrite heart You won’t turn away

Have mercy on me, have mercy on me

Because of Your steadfast love.

~~

Father of mercy, You gave Your Son

To make atonement for wrongs I have done

What You required,  Jesus fulfilled

I don’t deserve it—I never will! *

~~

We love and worship you today, Dear Father, for the new mercies you have in store for us, today, this month, this year.  Each morning we awake to a loving Father who desires good for us.  Each evening we can sleep well, knowing you never sleep, keeping a watchful eye over your children.   Through such comfort, I hope and pray that we can trust you more. Why do we draw away, why do we not run to you?  Help us to lean on you with absolute trust and reliance.  In Jesus’ name, Amen

~~

from The Gathering: Live from WorshipGod11.  Music and words by Pat Sczebel and Dale Bischof © 2011 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP)/Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)

Assurance for the Journey

Someone may have made this point already, but my husband says that each day is a lifetime.  We wake up/are born, we move through the day/live, and go to sleep at night (sometimes)/a mini-death.  So resolutions shouldn’t be limited to New Years, birthdays, anniversaries, etc;  everyday we should resolve to surrender to the Lord, and trust His guidance… moment by moment.  God’s promises are for each day (give us this day..), so too, should be our reliance and trust.

Spurgeon offers this assurance for today’s Journey, and every Today:

And the LORD shall guide thee continually. ~ Isaiah 58:11

“The Lord shall guide thee.” Not an angel, but JEHOVAH shall guide  thee. He said He would not go through the wilderness before His people, an angel  should go before them to lead them in the way; but Moses said, “If Thy  presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.” Christian, God has not left you  in your earthly pilgrimage to an angel’s guidance: He Himself leads the van. [yes, he said ‘van’ :-)]

 You  may not see the cloudy, fiery pillar, but Jehovah will never forsake you. Notice  the word shall–“The Lord shall guide thee.” How certain this makes it!  How sure it is that God will not forsake us! His precious “shalls” and “wills”  are better than men’s oaths. “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

Then  observe the adverb continually. We are not merely to be guided sometimes,  but we are to have a perpetual monitor; not occasionally to be left to our own  understanding, and so to wander, but we are continually to hear the guiding  voice of the Great Shepherd; and if we follow close at His heels, we shall not  err, but be led by a right way to a city to dwell in.

If you have to change your  position in life; if you have to emigrate to distant shores; if it should happen  that you are cast into poverty, or uplifted suddenly into a more responsible position than the one you now occupy; if you are thrown among strangers, or cast  among foes, yet tremble not, for “the Lord shall guide thee continually.”

There  are no dilemmas out of which you shall not be delivered if you live near to God,  and your heart be kept warm with holy love. He goes not amiss who goes in the  company of God. Like Enoch, walk with God, and you cannot mistake your road. You  have infallible wisdom to direct you, immutable love to comfort you, and eternal  power to defend you. “Jehovah”–mark the word–“Jehovah shall guide thee  continually.

~~~

Dear Father and loving Guide, Thank you for the assurance of your Presence and the promises you give.   Help me to trust you more.  “Trust in the Lord with all you heart, lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.”  I’m so blessed to be your child, and I trust you as my loving Father.  In your son’s precious name, Jesus, Amen. 

~~~

Love exiles fear

“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.”  I John 4:18 (NLT)

“How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!” Psalm 139:17

“Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”  I Peter 5:7

Perfect Love casts out all Fear!  That’s is the WHOLE reason we don’t need to fear! And a good word for us on Fearless Friday!   As we direct our minds towards His love, our fears will blur. One version of the Bible says, our fears will be Banished!!

What does expelling or banishing fear really mean?  Here’s a few choice words:

deport, discard, dismiss, dispel, drive away, eject, eliminate, eradicate, evict, exclude, exile, extradite, get rid of, isolate, oust, outlaw, remove, rusticate, sequester, shake off, shut out

So perfect love exiles, eliminates, gets rid of…all fear. These words suggest a near-annihilation of something, placing it beyond reach or grasp.  We’re often unwilling to release the strangle-hold we have on our fears, because we still doubt His love.   So, perhaps this excerpt from Spurgeon will give a glimpse into God’s perfect love..for us:

God is always thinking upon us, never turns aside His mind from us, has us always before His eyes…

His thoughts area always tender, loving , wise  prudent, far-reaching and they bring to us countless benefits.

In all our wonderings, the watchful glance of the Eternal Watcher is evermore fixed upon us–we never roam beyond the Shepherd’s eye.  In our sorrows He observes us incessantly, and not a pang escapes Him; in our toils He marks all our weariness, and writes in His book all the struggles of His faithful ones.

The thoughts of the Lord encompass us in all our paths, and penetrate the innermost region of our being.  Not a nerve or tissue, valve or vessel, of our bodily organization is uncared for; all the littles of our little world are thought upon by the great God.

~~~

I really enjoy finding songs that amplify our discussion, and today, this one by Annie Herring and Matthew Ward speak perfectly of perfect love:

Apple of His Eye
Glimpses CD

He’s the one who loves you more than you will ever know
He’s the one who dries the tears you cry.
He has formed your very soul and knows your every need
He will guide you through your darkest night.

Chorus

For you still carry inside you His light that never dies
And you are always before him
The apple of His eye.

He’s the one who holds you close when no one will come near
The one who sees what no one else can see.
He’s the one who keeps your burden light enough to bear
For He will be your strength when you are weak.

Nothing in this world could ever keep His love from you
And He gave His life to see this promise through.

He’s the one who loves you more  than you will ever know
And He has counted every tear you’ve cried.
He will take your tear-stained heart and make it light as snow
And He’ll become your wings so you can fly.

For you still carry inside you His light that never dies
And you are always before Him,
The apple of His eye!

~~~

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are!  I John 3:1

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. I John 4:10

~~~

Dear Father, Help us to focus on your Love today, not our Fear. Help us to release the grasp we have on our fears, worries, cares and anxieties.  Exile, banish our fears far from us, by filling our minds and hearts with the knowledge and awareness of your perfect love…love that hung on a cross in our place.  Love that knows us better than we know ourselves.  Thank you!  In Love’s Name, Jesus, Amen.

~~~

[Note:  I regret that I can’t upload an audio version of this beautiful Annie Herring song presently.]

Out of the Fog

In the Fog

In the Fog

Spurgeon thoughts for Fearless Friday:
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“It is exceedingly beneficial to our souls to mount above this present evil world to something nobler and better. The cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches are apt to choke everything good within us, and we grow fretful, desponding, perhaps proud and carnal…
~
May the Spirit of God assist us to leave the mists of fear and the fevers of anxiety, and all the ills which gather in this valley of earth, and to ascend the mountains of anticipated joy and blessedness. May God the Holy Spirit cut the cords that keep us here below, and assist us to mount!
~
We sit too often like chained eagles fastened to the rock, only that, unlike the eagle, we begin to love our chain, and would, perhaps, if it came really to the test, be loath to have it snapped. May God now grant us grace…like Abraham, to attain the top of the mountain, there to indulge in communion with the Most High.”
~~~
Dear Lord, please lift us out of the fog of our fears, cares, and all the things that choke out the Light of your presence. The fog is sickly, dark, hindering and oppressive. We pray, grant us grace and lift us up to your mountain, so we can breath and see unhindered, our Lord and Saviour Jesus. Then, ‘the things of this world will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” In His name, Amen.

Above the Fog

Above the Fog

One day late..

…on my Titus2sday post for the week! 

For a few weeks, I’m going to delve into something very touchy for us as women. Or at least, for this woman!

Control.  Or…

Before delving into a discussion, I thought the following verses might help lay some groundwork: 

 “The Lord is the stronghold of my life: of whom shall I be afraid?”  Psalm 27:1

“..your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”  Genesis 3:16

“Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight.”  Psalm 51:4

“Your kingdom come, Your will be done.”  Matt. 6:10

I know these seem like a mish-mash collection of verses, but I’m hopeful we can tie them together in a life-changing way that will bring glory to the Lord!  Yes, I’m optimistic! 

And perhaps, you could ask yourself these questions: 

What do these verses mean to you?

Where do you tend to look for security?

How does my kingdom tend to get in the way of God’s kingdom?

 

Some parting encouragement for the week:  This struggle to live for the Lord and not ourselves is not waged with our own feeble weapons.  We are SO weak.  We feel so alone in this battle.  But God’s Word comforts us  over and over again that He is with Us.  He is praying for us.  His strength is made perfect in our weakness.  His grace is greater.  His grace is enough…

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness!”  2 Corinthians 12:9

~~~

It’s my deepest desire and prayer that these verses and questions will bring all of us to a greater and utter reliance on our relationship with the Lord, and away from our perceived strength, stamina, and control.  Looking forward to going deeper with you in His Word, next week!  Blessings!

Sweeten Every Fear

“From my distress I called upon the Lord.  The Lord answered me and set me in a large place.  The Lord is for me: I will not fear; What can man do to me?”  Psalm 118:5, 6

Fearless Friday.  And what did I awake to?  Fear!  No surprise.  But the more important question is, where do I go with that fear?

David went to the Lord:

From my distress….I called upon the Lord.

What does the Lord do?

He answered me and set me in a large place.

I understand “answered me”, but what is this ‘large place?’ 

According to Biblical scholars (ie, those who can read Hebrew), a large place is actually a clearing, a bright spot that has been freed of foes, holes and corners (where we go with our fears) and all manner of enemies.  Like a clearing in the woods, the Lord brings us to a place where we can breathe, get a fresh perspective on our surroundings and be warmed by the sun!

“He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.”  Psalm 18:5

So in the midst of our distressing thoughts, we can be assured that the Lord answers us, and will set us in a clearing, where we can get His perspective, rather than being muddled or weighed down.  And, then He reminds us–again and again, because we’re so forgetful–that He delights in us and He is FOR us.  I’ve posted on this before, but it bears repeating:

“The Lord is for me: I will not fear.”

We need the reminder.  And that’s what God’s Word is for (and Fearless Fridays :-)).  When we’re in distress, anxious, fearful, or any number of synonyms that describe that pit we feel in our stomachs, we must turn to God’s Word. 

And we need to pray, taking our fears directly to God.  We’re not supposed to hide them or pretend they don’t exist.  David shows us how to pray in the Psalms, where he constantly and honestly shares with the Lord his sins, weaknesses, fears and doubts.

Another example of honesty in prayer is found in Valley of Vision, a Collection of Puritan Prayers.   This is my prayer today and, perhaps, could be yours: 

 

Sovereign Commander of the universe,
I am sadly harassed by doubts, fears, unbelief, in a felt spiritual darkness,
My heart is full of evil surmisings and disquietude,
        and I cannot act faith at all.
My heavenly Pilot has disappeared,
        and I have lost my hold on the Rock of Ages.
I sink in deep mire beneath storms and waves,
        in horror and distress unutterable.
Help me, O Lord,
        to throw myself absolutely and wholly on you,
        for better, for worse, without comfort, and all but hopeless.
Give me peace of soul, confidence, enlargement of mind,
        morning joy that comes after night heaviness;
Water my soul richly with divine blessings;
Grant that I may welcome your humbling in private, so that I might enjoy you in public;
Give me a mountain top as high as the valley is low.
Your grace can melt the worst sinner, and I am as vile as he;
Yet you have made me a monument of mercy,
         a trophy of redeeming power;
In my distress, let me not forget this.

All-wise God,
Your never-failing providence orders every event,
        sweetens every fear,
        reveals evil’s presence lurking in seeming good,
        brings really good out of seeming evil,
        makes unsatisfactory what I set my heart upon,
        to show me what a short-sighted creature I am,
        and to teach me to live by faith upon your blessed self.
Out of my sorrow and night, give me the name Naphtali,
        “satisfied with favour,”
        help me to love you as your child,
                and to walk worthy of my heavenly pedigree.

 

Through God’s Word and prayer, may you find that He hears, answers, delivers, and is for You!  Knowing this can “sweeten every fear” and bring you out of darkness, into His clearing and marvelous, comforting Light!

And please come back every Friday when we seek God’s Word to remind us that we are to Fear Not!

~~~

Don’t Fear Their Fear

How do we face the news in this world around us?  What do we feel or think when we wake up to news like today’s, that an 8.9 magnitude earthquake in the western Pacific region just caused death, destruction and devastation in Japan, and tsunami warnings have been issued all along the Pacific Rim? [1]

Even before we get out of bed, we awake to a battlefield of fear and anxiety, whether real or imagined.  Do we just ignore those fears?  Jesus says to face them…His way:

“In the world you will have tribulation.”

but

“Take heart; I have overcome the world.”

He didn’t mince words and say everything was going to be rosy or carefree, but He said, He has overcome the world–He is the ultimate triumph, beyond any fear or dread we face.  We can get so wrapped up in all the issues swirling around us, but God calls His people to think differently than others (Isaiah 8:12, 13):  

“You are not to say, ‘It is a conspiracy!’  in regard to all that this people call a conspiracy, And you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it.’

When the Lord tells us not to fear, He always gives the reason why:

It is the LORD of Hosts whom you should regard as holy.  And He shall be your fear, and He shall be your dread.  Then He shall become a sanctuary..”

Jesus has overcome the world.   When we believe in Him and fully surrender to Him as our sovereign and merciful Lord, He becomes a place of rest and peace for us–a sanctuary.  Isaiah describes a sanctuary as: 

“…a shelter to give shade from the heat by day, and refuge and protection (a hiding place) from the storm and the rain.”  Isaiah 4:6

Jesus is our Hiding Place. 

“For in the day of trouble, He will conceal me in His shelter, in the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock.”  Psalm 27:5

We have a shelter, a hiding place, in our loving Saviour whom the world does not seek.  We don’t have to fear their fear.  Jesus is with us.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27

~~~

Dear Lord, You know that as soon as we awake, our minds take us to fearful places.  Some of these places are real, and many more, imagined.  We submit our thoughts and fears to you today, and trust in You.  Lift us above their fears–the ones shouted from the media and all around–and be a barrier, a hiding place, where we can enter into Your rest.  Our hope is in You.  And after you comfort us, help us to take this Hope to others whose hearts are failing them for fear.  We know and are known by the Lord who has overcome the world!  In His wonderful name, Amen.

~~~

“…Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have, with gentleness and respect.   I Peter 3:14, 15

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There are so many encouraging Scriptures to explore regarding the peace we can have in Jesus as we journey through this troubled world.  Please come back every Friday to learn more!

 

[1] And please pray for Japan, and all the lives affected by this awful event!

 

 

Fearless Fridays

Though I’m really almost too organized in some areas, blogging’s never been one of them.  For the past three years (!), I’ve written when I feel like it, shared songs and hymns, Spurgeon thoughts, etc.  And loved it!!  However, I’ve been considering how to be more consistent, as well as in tune with the heart of the Lord in my writing.  So, with a little tweaking in my schedule and mindset, I may make some headway! 

For the next few months, I’m designating Fridays as Fearless Friday.   Each week, we’ll look at one of the many (!) verses in the Bible where we’re encouraged to Fear Not!

Then each Monday, I will join Carrie, Beth and other online friends, by listing 10 things I’m thankful for, to “The List that Never Ends!”

And Tuesdays…well, you’ll just have to drop by then to see what I’m up to 🙂

That’s as organized as I’m going to get, because I still want open days for sharing songs, personal heart thoughts, devotionals, or whatever!

So….

Let Fearless Friday begin!

I’m tormented with anxiety, fear, and care, and yet realize full well that that doesn’t glorify the Lord.  So last year I began a study on all the verses in the Bible that say “FEAR NOT!”   Encouraging fact–there’s a lot!! 

Even more encouraging is–this command doesn’t stand on its own.  When the Word says FEAR NOT, it’s always accompanied with a reason why fear is not necessary.  That’s where the comfort lies.  For example:

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  Isaiah 41:10

Why can we step away from fear?  Because God is with us!  He is our God, our strength, our help, and He holds onto us!

Spurgeon paints this picture:

In that silent room of yours, there sits by your side One whom you have not seen, but whom you love; and often when you do not know it, He makes your bed in affliction and smoothes your pillow for you.

Fear not, Christian; Jesus is with you.  In all you fiery trials, His presence is both your comfort and safety.  He will never leave one whom He has chosen for His own.  “Fear not…for I am with thee” is His sure word of promise to His chosen one is the furnace of affliction.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Lord, Help us through our earthly fears.  Thank you for reminding us that You are with us, by us, and yes, in us.  Nothing is too difficult for You.   Even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, You are with us.  May this realization grow and subdue our fears.  Open our eyes to see You beside us.  Amen