Tuesday, November 28, 2017

FULLY CONVINCED HE IS ABLE TO SAVE




And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
(Luke 1:35-38)

And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.
(Luke 1:45)

Mary believed God, and the Son of God was miraculously conceived in her and born from her.  "Blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord."  This miracle was an act from God.  Mary simply submitted herself to the Word sent by God to her from the angel, and believed him.  God performed the rest.  A miracle took place, wrought by God, not man.  There was nothing any human being could do to bring about the Savior of the world or Israel's Messiah.  Just so, there is nothing man can do to bring about another birth, the new birth of the believer -the life of Christ Himself born in us. It is an act of God as we simply believe (trust in, adhere to, rely on) into Christ, the only provision for our salvation. 
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
(John 1:12-13)

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-10a)

The Word of God is powerful and able to fully work in us what He says He will do. It is the power of God that performs in us the new life, when we believe in Him as our Savior, making us a new creation in Christ Jesus. It is not our performance or works that saves us.  What a wonderful salvation the Lord has brought about for us!  Man tries in so many ways to complicate it with his own religion or works but God has shown us all through His Word, that man is unable to be righteous at all, and God alone is able to save us by fulfilling the righteousness and the penalty of the law, and becoming our salvation, imputing righteousness to us. To think to save yourself by performance or works is to degrade that salvation and nullify it (Galatians 2:19-21).
What a wonderful gift God has given to the world!  It should encourage our hearts to know that just as He fulfilled His  promise to come to us, and to give the gift of His Spirit to dwell in us (Romans 8:9), that He will just as surely fulfill His promise to complete our redemption by coming again to take us to be with Him, changing our bodies to be like His, so we are enabled to dwell with Him forever in unbroken fellowship.  The first part of our salvation was accomplished by giving us a new birth into Christ.  We are given a promise by His Spirit, a guarantee by that, that we will also see the completion of our redemption and enter into our inheritance
In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
(Ephesians 1:13-14)

I remember when I was a young teen, seeking for the truth, seeking God's salvation, having been convicted of my sin, and knowing I was lost and on my way to hell, how joyful I was to discover that there was salvation for me!  I didn't know very much about God at the time. I didn't really know a lot of doctrine or theology.  I didn't even know that much about Jesus. but just as when Moses held up the bronze snake in the wilderness (Numbers 21:9, John 3:14) and all who looked upon it were healed, I looked upon Jesus one day, believed in Him and what He did for me, and asked Him to save me… and He did.  I remember when the person who prayed with me that day, told me He would come into my heart and live there how joyful I was.  Come into my heart?  Yes!  Suddenly my eyes were opened, and I understood that I was a "whosoever" and that Jesus died for me.  For a couple years before that day I walked around in darkness, trying desperately to clean up my life, to be better, to quit sinning. But all my efforts were to no avail.  I tried reading my Bible but didn't understand it.  What I did understand from it was that I was a sinner and worthy of death.  There was no escape from the law of God.  I was struck by it.  I cried out to God to show me if I could find His salvation. 

God answers those desperate cries.  Anyone who seeks to know Him in truth, God will answer that.  He is so eager to save "whosoever will." 

My prayer is for many this Christmas season to learn of His wonderful gift of salvation, and simply turn to Him, repent (change your mind) and believe in Him alone to save you, and trust that His Word is true, and He will perform it.  Blessed are you if you believe what the Lord has spoken.  Blessed indeed, with everlasting life that can never be taken from you. 

Like Mary I want to sing, "And Mary said, 'My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.'"
(Luke 1:46-49)

My confidence in eternal salvation does not come from myself, my goodness, any works I've done but I have a confidence that what the Lord has spoken in His Word regarding His salvation for "whosoever will believe in Him" is true and He will perform it. It is for all!

Abraham was… "fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised."
(Romans 4:21)

I am also fully convinced.


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

LIVING IN THANKFULNESS


This is an oldie but a goodie that I wrote several years ago.  Still very relevant to today! I hope you all have a blessed Thanksgiving day!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Col. 2:6.."As you therefore have received Christ Jesus as Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and establised in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.

Phil. 4:6-7.."Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

The secret of having joy is learning to live in thankfulness always in all circumstances. This is God's will for us and He knows if we are always grumbling and unable to be thankful in all things that we will not have His joy and may even fall under the trials and temptations in our life. His joy is our strength and ability to endure.

We are told to be thankful always...everyday...in all things, not just one day a year. Don't we feel good when we've spent Thanksgiving meditating on all the things we are thankful for? Just think if everyday was Thanksgiving! It should be for the believer in Jesus Christ!

I looked in my Thesaurus for synonyms of Thankful. Here is what I found: grateful, appreciative, acknowledge, give recognition, contented, satisfied, indebted to, pleased, kindly disposed, overwhelmed.

The opposite of thankfulness is ungratefulness. Here are some synonyms for that: thankless, selfish, lacking in appreciation, grasping, demanding, forgetful, self-centered, unmindful, heedless, careless, insensible, dissatisfied, grumbling, unnatural, faultfinding, oblivious.

Quite an interesting comparison in attitudes here. I know for myself when my children are ungrateful it makes me hurt very much that they don't recognize what I have done for them...how I've given myself to them, even sacrificing my own wants or needs. It makes me feel they are so self centered when they only want more instead of being thankful for what they have as if they deserved it when it was a special treat or gift given. How rude someone seems to us and greedy when they are given a gift and turn their nose up at it because they wanted better.

When we realize how much God has saved us from, sacrificing His own Son for us when we were gross sinners, who deserved His wrath; how can we be discontent with what He has given us? We are saying..."God...I deserve more!"

1 Thess. 5:18.."in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

Matthew Henry Commentary: "If we pray without ceasing, we shall want matter for thanksgiving in everything. We should be thankful in every condition,even in adversity as well as prosperity. It is never so bad with us but it might be worse. We never can have any reason to complain of God, and have always much reason to praise and give thanks. This is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning us, that we give thanks. He allows us to rejoice evermore, and appoints us in everything to give thanks."

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible: In everything give thanks… That is, to God the Father, in the name of Christ; see (Ephesians 5:20) thanks are to be given to him for all things, as the Ethiopic version renders it; for all temporal good things; for our beings, the preservation of them; for food and raiment, and all the mercies of life; for the means of grace, the word and ordinances, and the ministers of the Gospel; for spiritual blessings, for electing, redeeming, regenerating, adopting, pardoning, justifying, and persevering grace: for a meetness for heaven, a right unto it, and a good hope of it; and especially for Jesus Christ, for such an husband, such an head, such a surety and Saviour, and advocate with the Father, as he is; and for life, peace, joy, comfort, righteousness, and salvation in him: and thanks should be given to God in every circumstance of life; in adversity, as Job did; when not in so comfortable and agreeable a frame of soul as to be wished for, since it might be worse, and is not black despair; even under the temptations of Satan, since they might be greater and heavier, and since the grace of God is sufficient to bear up under them, and deliver out of them, and since there is such a sympathizing high priest and Saviour; and in afflictions of every kind, since they are all for good, temporal, or spiritual, or eternal.

You see in giving thanks always we are protected from giving the devil a foothold in our lives through fear, unbelief, discouragement...etc. To give thanks is to say God is in control...I trust Him with all of my life everyday and am content and overwhelmingly grateful for what He has provided according to His abundant grace, knowing I deserve nothing but death and wrath.

We give thanks even in adversity! Nothing is really adverse when we are in Christ, because...Rom. 8:28.."And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." and...Rom. 8:31.."What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" and...Rom. 8:37..."Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us."

Today and everyday let us live in thankfulness!
God bless and keep you!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

PSALM 23 PRAYER


There are days when my heart is full of prayer, but no words. I often look to the Psalms to find the words to express the prayer of  my heart to God.  I don't know another Psalm that more people have found solace in than Psalm 23.  I have so often found it just the right prayer of my heart to my Shepherd, and the peace of knowing He is all to me.

He reveals Himself to us in so many ways.  A father, a brother, a husband, a bridegroom, a Savior to the uttermost, our portion, our daily bread, our all sufficiency, our Shepherd.  He is a protector of our souls.  A Shepherd provides all, guides and protects and keeps from all predators. There are times in life when the "valley of the shadow of death" seems incredibly real.  We must walk through it.  I never looked at this Psalm as being for the dying.  I find it is for the living - those who walk with the Lord through this world, which is a valley - a very dark valley with death always overshadowing on every side.  But when we walk through it with our Shepherd, He cares for every need, provides every want, protects, guides, delivers, feeds, anoints, and we have assurance that in the end we will arrive at our destination, to dwell in His Heavenly home forever with Him.

I hope you will enjoy this video I put together above as a prayer and meditation.  It's very short.  If it blesses you, please share it with others.

Yours in Christ,
Ginny

Saturday, September 23, 2017

MY PRESENCE WILL GO WITH YOU AND I WILL GIVE YOU REST



And he said, "My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." And he said to him, "If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here.
(Exodus 33:14-15)

Are you familiar with the song, "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go?" 

It may not be on the mountain’s height,
Or over the stormy sea;
It may not be at the battle’s front,
My Lord will have need of me;
But if by a still, small voice He calls,
To paths that I do not know,
I
’ll answer, dear Lord, with my hand in Thine,
I’ll go where You want me to go.

Refrain:
I
’ll go where You want me to go, dear Lord,
O’er mountain, or plain, or sea;
I’ll say what You want me to say, dear Lord,
I’ll be what You want me to be.

Perhaps today there are loving words
Which Jesus would have me speak;
There may be now in the paths of sin,
Some wand’rer whom I should seek;
O Savior, if Thou wilt be my guide,
Though dark and rugged the way,
My voice shall echo Thy message sweet,
I’ll say what You want me to say.

There’s surely somewhere a lowly place,
In earth’s harvest fields so white,
Where I may labor through life’s short day,
For Jesus the Crucified;
So trusting my all to Thy tender care,
And knowing Thou lovest me,
I’ll do Thy will with a heart sincere,
I’ll be what You want me to be.

Moses said to the Lord, "If Your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here."  I've been saying the same to the Lord lately.  "Lord, I can only go where You're taking me right now if Your presence is with me and You take my hand and lead me through it.  I cannot go there without You."  What's impossible for man is possible with God.  God is still doing the supernatural.  For me, the strength to go through this trial and what I see coming on the horizon, will take nothing less than the supernatural power of God upholding me through it all, in order for His will to be done, for His name to be glorified in me, and in order for me to stand and walk this path without fainting.  If God's presence does not go with me, I can't. 

So often we say, "I can't Lord."  I think I've learned that does not phase God.  Our "I can'ts" don't stop God.  What hinders His will is when we stop there and don't see that He can.  Our "I can'ts" should only help us more fully to cling to and trust in and rely on His "I can."  So many times in the past, as I look back, I see how often I came to an "I can't" mountain.  But God showed me through it Who He is to me, how much He loves me, His grace is sufficient, His power made perfect in weakness.  We hear that over and over, and it's easy to say, "Yes, Lord!" when all is well, but when you are plunged into something you never thought would happen to you, that you dread, that you just cannot handle, it's a bit different to say, "You can, Lord!"  when you want to scream, "DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN!" But as we, very shakingly take His hand, choose to trust the Lord, and choose to let Him walk you through this no matter the outcome, He always does reveal His glory in it.  If we walk in bitterness, self pity, fear, anxiety, etc., we don't escape the circumstances, we just don't see His glory in it or experience His power to go through it.

Moses said, "Please show me your glory."
(Exodus 33:18)

This is where the Lord wants to get us to in our hearts, in our motives, and in our true desire. "Please show me Your glory."  This is what I've learned to say and to truly seek.  Oh, I am not so strong as to not want His deliverance from the circumstances! I do pray for that.  But I also pray, "Lord, not my will but Yours be done. Show me Your glory."  I can pray that, not because I am so spiritual or good in myself, but because the Lord's working and chastisement in my life has shown me over the years that His will is good, and way better than mine.  His glory is my delight and life and blessing, and whenever He is glorified, it brings light to all who see it.  His glory is beyond our imagination and those who love Him are those who are privileged to see it.

And he said, "I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name 'The LORD.' And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But," he said, "you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live." And the LORD said, "Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen."
(Exodus 33:19-23)

Yet some day, oh what joy! Some day, we who are in Christ, will see Him face to face! 

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
(1 John 3:1-2)

When I see His glory, even in the small glimpses He gives us now in this life, it strengthens me, it emboldens me, it encourages me to go on, and walk wherever He takes me in this life.  It takes away my fears and anxieties and His presence with me gives me the peace and assurance I need to boldly walk where He is leading, knowing He is sufficient for whatever is ahead. What He calls us to, He equips us for, IF we are trusting in Him and abiding in Him.  In His presence we can face the storm, the hurricane, the tsunami, the fire, or whatever we are led in to.  A long time ago, the Lord spoke to my heart, as a young believer seeking His guidance and provision regarding college and His will for my life, "Ginny, I have your whole life all mapped out for you."  So I didn't know this was on the map, but I don't want to take a wrong turn off the map that He has for me, so I take His hand and let Him lead me through whatever is ahead.

But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
(Isaiah 43:1-2)

Did He promise this just to Israel? Or to us also?

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
(Romans 8:15-17)

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:28-39)

So with confidence, I pray, Lord, if I must go through this fiery trial, please go with me, taking my hand, giving me the strength and be glorified through it.  Please let me see Your glory, in myself, and in others through me, and let that glory have its way to bring forth light and truth and life.  Let Your presence go with me and bring rest. In Jesus name and through His power alone, Amen.


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

HE'S GOT THE WHOLE WORLD IN HIS HANDS

https://youtu.be/RmKvuU2qMrQ

Decided to try a video project today. Narration from Psalm 33. The whole earth is in turmoil, but God has the earth in His hands. As we trust in Him we do not need to fear or be shaken by anything in this world. He Who created it has the world and us in His hands. The world will come to an end, and He will shake what can be shaken (At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens." This phrase, "Yet once more," indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.)
(Hebrews 12:26-27) but those who trust in Him will have everlasting life in Him. 


Are you feeling shaken today?  We are seeing natural disasters increase all over the world and here in our own nation.  We are seeing evil and violence wanting to force and bully their way and bring lawlessness and disorder.  We see injustice.  We see lies prevail.  What can we do?  

We can look up, as the Bible tells us because our redemption draweth nigh. It means evil is being exposed and those who have rejected Christ are being given over to their own evil ways because it's what they insist on and the whole earth is groaning for its redemption, and all these things are a sign that our redemption draweth nigh.  Birth pangs continue to become stronger (Matt. 24:8).  Even so, many will refuse to look to the Lord and see He alone is our Savior.  He alone, Who made the earth and all who are in it, can save, can heal, can restore, and in Him alone is there hope.  He will shake what can be shaken, what man has put his trust and hope in.  He will show it for what it is.  When He removes His hand of protection we see it for what it is, and we cry out to God because we know instinctively, even if we've claimed to not believe in God, that there is a God Who can do something.  No, He is not a big genie in the sky who will fix your life just the way you want it.  He has warned over and over again through His Word and His prophets, and His servants of what the natural consequences are of rejecting or ignoring His Word and His commandments and refusing His only salvation.

Yet He holds out His hand still, even as He lets us see what happens when men reject Him...chaos.  It should cause us to stop and ponder.  It should cause us to run to His Word to find light and truth and meaning.  It should cause us to see how futile everything we hold dear in this world is and how short our lives are, and how very dependent they are on Him.  

God loves us.  He loved us so much that He came here to this earth in the form of a man, suffered and died for our sins, even though spotless and guiltless Himself, and says all you need do is believe on Him, just trust Him as your Savior from all that causes evil...SIN...and you can be saved and live in His Heaven of perfect love and beauty and glory forever and ever.  You don't have to earn it.  You can't make yourself acceptable or ever save yourself.  If you could He would not have had to bear the cross.  Just come to Him. He bids all to come to Him.  And all who come to Him He will in no wise cast out.  Just call on Him in faith.  Believe in Him with your heart and mind and strength.  

Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 

(John 6:35)

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 
(John 6:37)

There is a place where no storm or natural disaster can touch, where no evil will ever be, where only love and joy and peace abound.  This is the inheritance of those who trust in Him.

Revelation 21:3-8
(3)  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
(4)  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."
(5)  And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."
(6)  And he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.
(7)  The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.
(8)  But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death."

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

FEAR, ANXIETY, WEARINESS OF THE SOUL



2 Corinthians 1:8-10
(8)  For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.
(9)  Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.
(10)  He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.

I've experienced a weariness of soul lately.  I've battled anxiety and fear.  I tend to run away and want to curl up in a corner that's safe and escape it all.  But sometimes life won't let us escape. Fear and anxiety is like a relentless pounding away on you until you can't take anymore.  I can almost relate to what Paul said above "Indeed, we felt that we received the sentence of death."  Not that I am dying of anything but in my soul, I felt "the sentence of death" or that I was dying inside and could never stand up again.  But, as Paul also said, "But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead." Sometimes we feel just dead inside and lose hope.  No strength left for the griefs and sorrows it throws at us.  No more fight in ourselves.  No hope of happiness in this life again.  The enemy of our souls brings us down further and further into the muck.  He exaggerates the trial in our minds so that the battle is, in our mind, way beyond the actual facts and blown out of proportion.  Or he blinds us to the real battle and the seriousness of it as we try for sanity's sake to block out reality. 

God does neither.  God reveals truth to our hearts always.  He shows us the proper perspective rather than an exaggeration, and He also shows us the reality of a situation. Sometimes truth brings us fear and anxiety, but when God brings unpleasant truth to us, He also brings assurance of His presence, His power, and His deliverance so that we do not despair but rest in His unfailing love. So that we look beyond the trial and see Him.  Long ago I wrote down a saying I read, "every impossibility is an opportunity for God to reveal Himself and show His strength."  So many times since, I've had to put that to the test and say, "Lord, here's Your opportunity.  Take it. It's too much for me." 

I'm learning a few things about fear and anxiety and weariness.  First of all, you'll never ever be free of fear if you are afraid of the fear.  The more you run from it, the more it chases you down and overcomes you.  It is like a roaring lion.  We fear its torment.  So we run from it.  The fear of the fear is worse than the actual object we are fearing! It is a vicious cycle. Soon the panic beomes the thing you fear and you forget the reason for it. I used to have a recurring nightmare of a bear chasing me and I would run with all my might but as in dreams so often, my legs would become like lead, and not move and I would almost be overtaken by the bear and then I would wake up.  I know at that time the dream was coming because of a particular fear that was chasing me.  Finally I faced the fear.  And in my dream I faced the bear and defeated him.  Finally I faced my fear again recently and told myself, "so what if this fear causes me pain."  It won't kill me.  If it does, good! I'll be home with Jesus.  But it won't.  I CAN endure it, and I can go on because in the fear I have found the presence of Jesus there.  Just like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace, when I let the flames of fear surround me, they don't scorch me at all.  The presence of Jesus is there with me in it and I find myself thankful for the trial that brought me to such a presence of His love and fellowship.  I wouldn't know this fellowship outside of this furnace.  So let the fear come.  The flames won't kindle upon me.  Christ is in me.  I learned to lay down in the fear instead of struggling against it.  If I perish I perish.  But I didn't. I rose up again.

Another thing that I gained through my anxiety attacks, was again to go back to what the Lord had given me years earlier, to flood my mind with His Word.  I again made a recording of Scripture and listened to it.  When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord raises up a standard against Him (Isa. 59:19).  His Word is that standard.

God's Word is healing, soothing balm for the soul, faith building, and it is personally spoken to the heart of the believer who is trusting in Him and looking to Him.  Again I experienced such a faith and confidence in my God through the midst of the fire of anxiety.  I've always said anxiety is a greater pain than any physical pain I have ever endured.  I understand my son's suicide because of the unrelenting anxiety he endured.  I don't condone it and I know God had a better plan, and if we resort to that, we miss all God had planned in revealing Himself to us and blessing our lives.  But I do understand the intensity and unbearableness of the pain and his inability to bear it any longer.  If someone held your hand over a fire how long do you think you could keep it there?  What if they gave you pain meds to help?  Or stood near you patting you on the back cheering you on or trying to console you?  NONE OF THAT would stop the intense pain of the fire consuming your hand and you would not even be able to think about anything else or listen to them. Many say suicide is an act of selfishness, and in some cases it may be, but much of the time, it is simply an act of escape from the horrible fire inside you. Only God Himself can walk into that fire with you and keep it from harming you and deliver you.  God has a better way.  We have to look to Him. I have found in the midst of my anxiety and unbearable pain, many times, that as I cry out to Him in my weakness and helplessness, and flood my soul with His life-giving powerful Word, He heals, He gives faith, He raises me up, He restores.  He strengthens for the battle and enables me to rest in Him even as I cast my care onto Him and know the battle belongs to Him.  He gives me the power of patience, as I wait for Him. I can afford the patience knowing He will come and He will answer, and He will do all He said "in yet a little while."

I guess I'm bearing my soul right now and exposing myself and making myself very vulnerable, yet I feel compelled to both reach out with hope for those who are struggling with this, and wanting to give God glory for the wonderful discovery of Him I am finding through it.  I even truly (surprising to myself) came to the point I thanked God for the trial because of what I could see it producing in my heart. Yes there was still pain, but with it a sweetness and comfort.  Just as there is nothing more painful in my mind than fear and anxiety, there is nothing more wonderful than God's very presence.  I wish I could describe it, but there is no way to do that.  You have to experience it.  It's in our pain we experience the greatest manifestations of His very presence and reality, almost as tangible as if we could see Him face to face and reach out and touch Him. No - even more tangible than that, because He is on the inside of me manifesting His presence and power in me. I wish I could give that to every one of my readers without the pain of the trials, but it is the pain of the trials that brings that kind of presence to us.  Because of that, I am no longer afraid of the fear.  I'm no longer afraid of the anxiety. Let it come. Christ comes with it.  His promises become more precious to me and more alive.  His Word opens up to me and becomes my delight more than it ever could otherwise.  He becomes my peace.  He Himself.  I no longer look for peace separated from Him.  He IS my peace.  It makes me want to walk very close to Him, abide in Him, and let nothing disturb that fellowship.

I know that I know He will answer my prayers, and that He will fulfill His perfect love and plan for me. I know that I know I can count on Him to see me through, even though I don't feel able at all.  I know that I know my God is faithful and keeps His Word, and because I have been listening to His Word I know what He is saying to me and I have an answer to all the fiery darts of the enemy.  They cannot penetrate this armor. 

I also learned something about weariness. Sometimes we grow weary and just need to lie down.  When you do, don't quit, don't give up, but lie down and rest.  Rest in Jesus.  Commit yourself and your life into His hands and casting all onto Him.  Rest and let Him build you up again until you once again can walk and not faint, and run and not be weary.  Rest in His promises.  Let the hymns minister to you. Exhaustion can give us a distorted view of life and troubles.  When Elijah was weary from the battle he became depressed and God gave him rest and fed him.  So rest and let God feed you.  You'll see everything differently.  You don't feel that you can do the smallest task when you are weary and tired.

Matthew 11:28-30
(28)  Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
(29)  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
(30)  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

The burden becomes too much when we pull against the yoke and strive in ourselves.  If we rest in His yoke we will find the strength to go on. When our soul is in intense battle, our bodies also become very tired and weak.  We don't feel strength to go on. It is as we physically lie down and rest, quit striving, and learn of Him, letting Him reveal Himself to us that our bodies also find refreshment. 

Our thought life plays a major role in our not becoming depressed.  Paul said for a reason to "rejoice always."  Our thought patterns can actually alter our brain waves.  We can get stuck in a negative brain wave pattern.  In order to pull out of it, we need to rejoice in the Lord, pray, trust, be thankful, think on the right things. At first this takes work.  That's why I listen to Scripture.  It does that for me.

Philippians 4:4-8
(4)  Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.
(5)  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;
(6)  do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
(7)  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(8)  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.


May the Lord minister to you and build you up in His faith today!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

REVISITING MY PORTION, THE STRENGTH OF MY HEART


I wrote a devotional on The Lord As My Portion a while back.  I find myself once again praying over and over, "You, Lord, are my portion" as I'm once again being led through places in this life I don't want to go, and as life takes turns I wish I could reverse but can't. Once again I'm reminded of the fact that God alone is the portion of the Christian.  We are blessed in many ways in this world, given many gifts and pleasures in this world, and enjoy the provisions of the Lord.  But every once in a while, the Lord reminds us that it is not those things that are our life or our portion, but it is He Himself.  Sometimes life is full of uncertainty and fears.  When that happens once again we must draw close to the Lord and ask Him to show us that He indeed is our portion, and to manifest Himself as that in our situation.  It doesn't matter that I share details of my own burdens because we all have them.  We're all from time to time plunged into overwhelming life situations that we think are beyond our endurance.  Our hearts faint.  But when we call out to Him and feed on His promises we find He indeed is the strength of our hearts and our portion.  I revisited my earlier devotional this morning and felt God wanted me to listen again to what He had given to me then.  Once again, and in fact even stronger than the first time, it strengthened my heart, so I put it to video and hope that it will be a blessing as well and encouragement to some, to trust the Lord to be your portion, no matter what you are facing. https://youtu.be/2IhN18WZZHk