He Cares For Your Soul

I love how God brings reminders of truth to us just when we need it. God brought Psalm 142:4 across my path today which says, “Look to the right and see ; For there is no one who regards me; There is no escape for me; No one cares for my soul.”  and I had to go look it up.

Who was speaking? Why was he feeling that no one cares for his soul? What did he do? What did God do? These are the questions that ran through my mind.

ps 142Psalm 146 is a prayer that was prayed by David when he was in a cave trying to hide from Saul. David was being pursued by Saul whose intentions were to harm him. I can only imagine how alone he may have felt.

Saul was once a friend who now sought to kill him. It’s one thing to be hated by an enemy who is a stranger, but to have a friend turn on him must have been hard.

Psalm 142 says, “I cry aloud with my voice to the LORD; I make supplication with my voice to the LORD.  I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare my trouble before Him.  When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, You knew my path. In the way where I walk They have hidden a trap for me.  Look to the right and see ; For there is no one who regards me; There is no escape for me; No one cares for my soul.  I cried out to You, O LORD; I said, “You are my refuge, My portion in the land of the living. “Give heed to my cry, For I am brought very low; Deliver me from my persecutors, For they are too strong for me.  “Bring my soul out of prison, So that I may give thanks to Your name; The righteous will surround me, For You will deal bountifully with me.”   

I can feel the emotions of David as he cries out to God. I have been in places where I felt overwhelmed, trapped, and felt the there was no one who cares for my soul. But I am encouraged by David’s reminder that in those times we can take comfort in knowing God sees us, God is our refuge, He hears us and will deliver us.

So may we cry out with David to God in those times that we are troubled in mind, body, or soul and pray this prayer and be comforted by a God who will care for our soul.

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He Will Never Leave

Walking on the Sidewalk --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

I don’t know about you but I am often forgetful. In the midst of living this life I forget that God is bigger, stronger, and keeps His promises. He is not like those of the world He does not leave us, forget us, disappoint us, and hurt us. Sure those of this world who love us and care about us do not mean to do those things either and yet we all do fail one another. So what shall we do in order to not become discouraged?

My dear sisters if you find yourself in a place today of forgetfulness remember that you are not alone! He walks with you.

I pray these reminders of truth will encourage you. Regardless of what life may bring, whether joy or sorrows, He walks with you.

Gen 28:15
“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

Joshua 1:5
No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.

Deuteronomy 31:6, 8
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Romans 8:35 -39
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? …For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Heb 13:5b
… “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU.”

3 Ways to Help Create an Eternal View in our Children

Ambro, published on 02 November 2011<br />Stock Photo - image ID: 10063272Anytime we look back over our life we often see so much clearer. There are many things I wish I would have done, or not done, as a mother. I wish I would have seen then what I see now as the most important seed to plant in their young hearts. I don’t suppose I did it all wrong, they both are serving the Lord and following Him. But I can’t help but wonder if I could have done a better job cultivating eternity in their hearts. Could I have done better teaching them to live with an eternal perception? Could I have done more to help them live a life pursing eternal rewards instead of the worldly rewards?

Here are a few things that I believe give our children a better start to living with an eternal perspective. These are things I have done, seen modeled and wish I would have done better.

The first two things I see come from Duet 11:18-20 “You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul ; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. “You shall teach them to your sons,talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up. “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates,”

1. Make time for God. This does not mean take them to church every Sunday or make sure they attend Sunday School, Awana, VBS, and have family devotions, although all of these things are good and valuable. But the problem comes when we separate “religious” training and our everyday life. If all that we do is the above without including God in the everyday moments of life then we begin a pattern of separating the sacred and the secular.

God should be spoke of daily, not in a forced way but in a way that is natural. A parent should look for ways to point their children to God in the everyday ordinary ways. Look for teachable moments. Look for opportunities to teach your children about God’s character and His truth.

For example, during the summer my granddaughter and I were outside when she spotted a bunny. She was so excited and began chasing it. She said to me after she realized she wasn’t going to catch it, “Nana I wish I could catch him and take care of him, he is so cute and cuddly!” My response to her was, “Isn’t it wonderful that God created something so cute and cuddly! God will take care of him because God cares for all the animals he created.” From there she began to ask questions about God and wanted to know others things He created. It was a small thing, and yet it planted truth in her little heart and opened up a conversation about the Creator God.

2. Make time for family. This is so important. Today in the pursuit of the “American Dream” we have lost the importance of the family unit. Quality and quantity time has been replaced with mom and dad pursuing their careers, and children pursuing sports, dance, music and the next top video game.

Today more than ever I believe the family is being sacrificed. Family no longer spend much time together. They are busy running to sport games, dance recitals, karate, and so much more that there just isn’t time for the family to sit together at meal time. Our family tried to spend several meals a week eating together around the table. I still cherish those meal times. It was there that we had wonderful conversations, laughed until we hurt and yes we even had some of out biggest arguments. But the point is we were talking, sharing and together.

Another way to build the family up is “unplugging”. Take a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and go for a hike, a picnic , go to the beach or camping for the weekend. As a family we loved all these things and our boys still speak of them with fond memories. Our boys didn’t have cell phones until they were about sixteen and driving, but even then it was before texting and the ability to get online with your phone. Today I think in order to help with the unplugging I would lock all phones in the car or maybe only carry one in case of emergency. (just a thought)

Be willing to make sacrifices for the family. What I mean is in light of every decision you make as husband and wife make sure you are putting the family first. I remember on one occasion when my husband had the opportunity to take a better paying job, it would have meant a lot more money and more opportunity for moving up. We talked and prayed about it for quite some time. Are boys were older and so we talked to them about it too. I remember one of them saying something about if we have more money they could have more things. THINGS. That wasn’t what we wanted for our children.

My husband ended up not pursuing the job for one reason, the family. This job would mean more traveling and more hours. Instead of being away from the family 40-50 hrs a week it would be 60-70 hrs. They let him know up front that those kind of hours would be expected. He wasn’t willing to sacrifice his family. As a result of that decision when it was our son’s senior year he was able to attend every home and away basketball game. He was also able to be there for every soccer game for our other sons senior year. My husband was able to be an involved father even during those moments that they might not care if dad was there or not.

3. Make time for others. John 13:34 reminds us that we are to “ love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”  Galatians 5:13b says “…but through love serve one another.” We had an advantage in teaching our children to serve others since they grew up next to their grandparents. Even when they were quite young they would be over there helping in the garden, cleaning up the yard and collecting eggs from the chickens. As they grew there help increased to chopping wood, mowing, getting snakes out of the house and many other needed chores. They loved helping their Pop-Pop and rarely was it something they were “made to do”. The advantage of this was them learning to serve.

There were other ways we tried to help instill this principle also, like serving in shelters, helping with Angel Tree, mission trips, and serving a summer camp. I remember our youngest son desiring to serve at a youth camp for inner city kids the summer after his senior year of High School. We weren’t thrilled with the idea due to the fact that there would be little to no money saved for college, but we allowed him to go and it was life changing for him. He also had the opportunity when he was 15 to go to Japan on a trip to teach soccer and share Christ, it was another life changing trip. These opportunities should be encouraged even when we as parents may feel they should be pursuing a job or other things. It’s in service to others that our children learn the joy of serving the Lord and making sacrifices to do so.

As I said above, we didn’t do these things perfectly. I wish we would have spent more time in all three areas. I wish we wouldn’t have “bought” into the worlds views when it came to what was important to spend our time on. Our boys were involved in school and outside activities but God, family and others always were most important. We weren’t willing to make sacrifices in these areas, which included our children not being able to play in town sport leagues because they would have to play on Sunday.

Yes I know, I can hear the arguments now! But you know what? Our boys still played school sports in High School, and one even got offered a scholarship to play in college. (Unfortunately he blew his knee out his senior year and the scholarship offer was taken back.)

I am sure there is so much more to this topic of creating an eternal view in the hearts of our children, but I think these three things are a good start.

Isolation and Forgetfulness

I have had a hard time being in the word over the last month due to the affects of a concussion. Between the headaches, dizziness, lack of focus and inability to read for any length of time, my time in the word has suffered. Due to the dizziness I was “stuck” at home unable to drive. I don’t think “man” was meant to be so alone, apart from community. Sounds and light bothered me so I didn’t go to church. I didn’t go anywhere.

courtesy of freedigitalphoto.net

courtesy of freedigitalphoto.net

For awhile the truth that I know was enough, but then the lies came. I didn’t call anyone or ask if they could come over for coffee and keep me company or help me speak truth. I didn’t share my need. I told myself even if I did call they were too busy anyway. Besides I wasn’t so sure I had the kind of friends that would drop everything just because I was feeling discouraged. It is true that my circle of close friends is very small, but the lie is that they wouldn’t be there if I needed them.

If I would have just asked them I am pretty sure they would be there for me. But then I hate that I need anyone. The lie I live with is that to need others, shows weakness. To need others only brings disappointment. Besides what if I did reach out and ask for help and they rejected me! Rejection, abandoned, forgotten and alone are my deepest fears. They are the weak spots in my heart. They are the areas that God continually, with grace and mercy, must remind me of truth.

So, last night as I drove to Church for the first time in a month I cried out to God begging to let me hear from Him. I cried out letting Him know I needed Him. I have been feeling frustrated, discouraged and very isolated. I felt alone and in so many ways I had lost my way out of the lies that my enemy was bombarding me with.

At that moment this thought came to my mind, “If it weren’t for Your Word Lord I would perish.” During the ministry of music I kept crying out to hear from God. Pastor Mathew brought a powerful message on repentance. He reminded me of my need to live daily with an attitude of repentance before a holy God. I can not do this life apart from Him. I am sinful, filled with weaknesses and fear. I need my Savior!

Then during the last worship song God spoke another reminder into my heart. We sang Word of God Speak by Mercy Me and the last part of the song goes like this, “All that I need is to be with You and in the quiet hear Your voice. Word of God speak would you pour down like rain washing my eyes to see your majesty. To be still and know that You’re in this place Please let me stay and rest in Your holiness.”

After finishing the song the words I heard earlier came to mind, ‘If it weren’t for Your Word Lord I would perish.” His Word is my life line, it’s the air I breathe. It is my comfort.

In my isolation I had forgotten that He is enough. His word is enough. I had began to pray for others to speak words of encouragement. I began to look to others to be there for me. I had forgotten that when we look to others they disappoint, they fail us.

God does use others to speak words of truth and encouragement. We do need brothers and sisters around us. But I had forgotten that first I need to go to Him. I need to allow His word to fill me, revive me and comfort me.

He speaks to His children through His word. I don’t always memorize the word the way I should but the phrase God brought to mind was based on this verse in Psalms. “If Your law had not been my delight, Then I would have perished in my affliction.” (119:92)

If it wasn’t for the word of God I would perish. I would be lost. Even if I had a thousand friends speaking truth, encouraging me, loving me, if I do not have His word then I would perish in my affliction.

Where are you today my friend? Is your heart longing for encouragement? Are you feeling alone, isolated or abandoned? His word is your comfort. His word will revive you. May I encourage you to read through Psalms 119?

Go to His word, let it speak to you.

“This is my comfort in my affliction, That Your word has revived me.” (Psalms 119:50)

Yet, You are Holy

My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning. O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; And by night, but I have no rest. Yet You are holy… Psalms 22:1-3

holy

Life is hard. Death is all around us. Nations falling. Power and Greed rule the land.

Yet, You are Holy!

Marriages fail. Children abandoned, broken and murdered. Homelessness. Starvation.

Yet, You are Holy!

Dying Churches. Watered down gospel. False teachers preaching.

Yet, You are Holy!

Sickness. Suffering. Pain. Tears fall. Hearts broken. Sorrow overwhelms.

Yet, You are Holy!

“…O, You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel. In You our fathers trusted and You delivered them. To You they cried out and were delivered; In You they trusted and were not disappointed.” Psalms 22:3-5

We can find true joy when we realize that no matter what we face in this life the character of God remains constant. He is and will always be Holy, Trustworthy and will never disappoint.

Father may we cry out to you in trust. May You alone be trusted for our deliverance. You alone are Holy and will never disappoint. May we be reminded that no matter where we are today, no matter what the journey entails, that You are Holy.

When I am Weak, He Is Strong

I wrote the below post in 2012 on Quiet Reflections and it’s received almost 20,000 hits so I thought I would repost it here. It’s a message that I often need reminding of and I am sure we all do. I currently find myself in a place, due to a concussion, unable to concentrate, read, or bare loud sounds or bright lights so I am clinging to these truths anew. For my Savior is strong when I am weak.

Have you ever had those days when you are just tired?Tired of fighting the flesh? Tired of trying to be who you are suppose to be? Tired of fighting the lies of the enemy?Tired of fighting wrong emotions and feelings?

It’s where I have been for a couple days now. My emotions are just all over the place. Sometimes I can allow my feelings, thoughts and life seem like a tangled mess.

And try as I might I just can’t seem to untangle the mess of emotions. It’s exhausting trying to sort out what I am suppose to feel, what is normal, what is not.

kittenmessI am suppose to be a big girl and have all this figured out. Right? Or is that another lie? Am I suppose to ask for help? But who do I ask? Who would understand? Who would really be available to sit and listen? And NOT think I was totally losing it! Who could I talk to that would know it’s just a moment. They would give me grace and allow me a few minutes to talk out loud and then I’ll be fine.

Currently, the lies in my head say I have no one. No one that is but Jesus. (I do KNOW deep in my heart that this is another lie. Our emotions often DO lie to us!) But still I wonder, shouldn’t Jesus be enough? I mean, He IS enough. He IS all I need. He’s the only one I am suppose to really need. Right?

Why then does this place feel like a place of such loneliness? Is this yet another lie? Another attempt of the enemy to try and wedge discontent between me and my God? To create a distance between me and those God has placed in my life to journey with?

It all makes me tired and it’s exhausting….and I just want to go home. To my Father.

I am tired of the enemies constant knocking on the door of my mind.

Then it hits me…

The selfishness of the flesh that cries out to be noticed, to be fed. Yes I am weary of the constant onslaught of what seems like the constant battles of my mind. Wrong thinking. Emotions that want to be given into. Emotions that cry out to be felt. But they are lies that FEEL like truth.

I am weary because for this moment I have forgotten. I have forgotten truth. The truth that I know, believe and trust in.

I do not fight alone.

I have forgotten to be diligent about putting on the armor of God so that I can fight against the powers of this dark world. The evil forces of this world do not let up, they desire to destroy me.

I have forgotten that I need to stand firm with the belt of truth buckled tightly around my waist. Never should I be without it.

I have forgotten that I am to take my shield of faith up daily against the flaming arrows of the evil one.

I have forgotten that I do not fight alone but in the power of the Lord and in His mighty power.

I have forgotten that when I am weak HE IS strong. I can run to Him and find rest, even in the midst of my struggles.

Paul reminds the Ephesians in chapter 6 that they are in a battle. They are to be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. He tells them that in order to take a stand against the devils schemes they need the armor of God. They need to stand firm, be alert, and always praying.

I need the armor of God. I need to pray. I need to stand strong in His mighty power.

And then in Paul’s final sentences he tells the Ephesians that he is going to send Tychicus so that they might be encouraged. Don’t you love it?

Paul reminds them that yes, they ARE to stand firm, they ARE to wear the armor of God, they ARE to be alert and pray BUT he knows they also need the encouragement of others.

We need our brothers and sisters who can come along and encourage us when we become battle weary. To strengthen us and pray with and for us.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor 12:9-10

Oh precious Father, thank you for these words of reminder. Thank you for helping me through this moment. Father forgive me for my forgetfulness and selfishness. Help me to lean on You and allow You to bring other’s into my life to encourage me. Help me to remember I don’t always have to be strong, have it all together or be perfect. For in my weaknesses You can show Your strength, Your power and Your grace.

(Note: I actually wrote this weeks ago and never posted it. But I want to be transparent, knowing that we all have the same crazy emotions at times. But we must not stay there and allow the enemy or our flesh to take us to a place that causes us to sink further into a pit. We must run to the Word of truth, Pray, and seek out one another for encouragement when we just can’t seem to hear the truth on our own. So if you find yourself currently in a pit you can’t get of feel free to email me!)

Come to Jesus

I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear And will trust in the LORD. How blessed is the man who has made the LORD his trust, And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood. Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which You have done, And Your thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count.Psalms 40:1-5

Praise-06-782013_thumb.jpgOh Father I know that I have not always been patient in this process of healing. But you have heard my cries, and in your own time you have continued to work through the “all things” and set my feet on the Rock! You have helped me climb out of the pit, and you’ve dragged me out of the miry clay.

Jesus I praise you!

I worship Your name, for you have rescued those who are brokenhearted. You have healed the broken, the wounded and the hurting. I will trust in You and not fear. I will not give the enemy any more power over my thoughts. I will no longer believe his lies, for now I know truth. Oh God the works that you have performed in my heart are truly amazing. You’ve reached down, held me in your arms, healed my brokenness…nothing compares to Your healing touch!

I praise You with a new song!

My dear precious sisters Jesus can heal all your brokenness. He came to set you free from the bondage of your past hurts.

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners. Is 61:1

He will rebuild that which was ruined. He will repair that which was broken. He will restore that which has been desolate for generations.

Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, They will raise up the former devastations; And they will repair the ruined cities, The desolations of many generations. (Is 61:4)

My precious sisters – Come to Jesus for healing….