Do Good

Trust in the LORD and do good;

—from Psalm 37:3

 

It seems to always be this way.

When there is a natural disaster of some kind–hurricane, tornado, earthquake, snowstorm–people start taking care of each other’s needs.

Often strangers begin taking care of one another.

There seems to be a sense of belonging and responsibility that comes upon a community, bringing out a shared concern.

Empathy.

A willingness to give.

A generous spirit.

Today (which is the day after Hurricane Irma) I have heard of more than one family cooking food and making an open invitation to others to come.

Groups of people with chainsaws and tools have been going around assisting with the removal of toppled trees and other debris after the storm.

Someone made a large amount of coffee and started bringing it to different neighborhoods.

Wheelbarrows with limbs and sticks were carted to the road.

People are offering to help in lots of ways and this will continue for quite some time.

In Psalm 37:3 we are told to trust in the LORD and to do good.

In times like these, that is exactly what we need to do:

  1. Trust in the LORD.
  2. Do good.

 

 

do good

Never Forsaken

Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek You.
—Psalm 9:10

A major hurricane is coming and my family and I are in the path. 

We are preparing the house and boarding up windows. 

Storing up water and food. 

Waiting….

Only God controls the weather. 

We must now trust in Him. 

Honeycomb

Pleasant words are a honeycomb,

Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

 

—Proverbs 16:24

 

Would you like to bring healing to someone today?

It is quite possible that the kind words you speak will:

Bind up a wounded heart.

Give hope in the midst of despair.

Bring laughter when tears have recently fallen.

Deliver strength to a weary mind–

Pleasant words.

Caring words.

Sincere words.

Loving words.

Words that God would want you to speak.

Would you like to bring healing to someone today?

 

 

honeycomb

Possible With God

Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

–Luke 18:27
Yesterday, a miracle we had been praying for occurred. 

A great answer to prayer with truly eternal significance. 

I noticed today as I looked out into my back yard that the first rose of spring had bloomed on my bush. 

New life. 

That’s what miracles are all about. 

God brings us new life!!

Look to the Lord

Look to the Lord and His strength;
    seek His face always.

—1 Chronicles 16:11

 

 

What should we do when we pray and then we don’t understand what happens next?

What if situations in our lives seem confusing, even though we have prayed about them?

God’s thoughts are not ours and His timing is not our timing.

His understanding of every human heart is beyond our comprehension.

No matter what happens to us, we are to look to God and His strength.

We need to always be seeking Him.

He knows what is best.

 

 

 

look-to

 

I Will Help You

There’s a popular song out now that I hear on the radio a lot.

It’s “Just Be Held,” by Casting Crowns.

Here are part of the lyrics:

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held

 

I was recently privileged to hold a three month old goat.

It was cold outside and the little thing simply allowed me to hold him in my arms and rock him side to side for about twenty minutes.

I think he just about went to sleep, even though there were a lot of people walking around us.

He was trusting.

He was calm.

He was relaxed.

He wasn’t struggling to get away.

In fact, he seemed content and happy—just being held.

Can you just picture yourself as a little child, resting in Jesus’s arms?

Just allowing Him to rock you side to side as you drift to sleep, even though there are a lot of things happening all around you?

Can you picture yourself there?

Being trusting?

Being calm?

Being relaxed?

Not struggling to get away?

Content and happy–-just being held?

So, when we are on our knees in prayer, or in our car in prayer or at work in prayer, and answers seem so far away, can we trust that we are not alone?

Can we trust that Jesus is at work and that things in our lives are falling into place?

Can we understand that God is on His throne and He is in control–not us?

Can we stop struggling and just be held?

 

~

For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

—Isaiah 41:13

 

help-you

Do You Want to Get Well?

Driving home this evening, the sun was on the horizon as dusk was fast approaching.

Another day would soon be past.

How many sunsets have I seen in my life?

God has blessed me with the beauty and grandeur of more than I remember.

Year after year, He has been faithful to me, whether I understood it at the time, or not.

Year after year, He has known the longings of my heart.

He has answered prayers, given me guidance, and restored me from illnesses both great and small.

God has also protected me from dangers that I recognized and from those that I was never even aware of.

He knows the deep desires of my heart for the salvation of those I love and the restoration of broken relationships.

While reading tonight about the healing of a man by Jesus, His question to the man went straight to my heart–“Do you want to get well?”

The man had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.

Thirty-eight years…

Then, suddenly, he was healed.

Walking.

Completely whole.

Only the evening before, the sun had set as it had for thousands of times in his life, finding him to be unable to walk.

But not on this day–

This was the day of freedom.

The day of answered prayer for healing.

The day of salvation.

The day of restoration.

What have you been longing for?

Has it been thirty-eight years?

Twenty years?

Ten?

God is able to answer your deepest cries in prayer.

Do you want to get well?

Do you want others to get well?

Continue praying for them.

Tomorrow may yet be the day of healing…

 

~~~~

Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”

—John 5:2-8

~~~~

 

get-well2

Wherever You Go

The fire department. 

They’re always there. 

Always available to help.

If you call an emergency number, a fire truck with trained, professional people will be at your side in a matter of minutes to take care of you. 

Right?

Well, probably 99 percent of the time. 

What about that other 1 percent?

It’s not because they don’t want to come to your rescue. It’s because they can’t.

Maybe there’s a blizzard going on with high snow drifts and impassable roads. 

Maybe there’s a hurricane or tornado happening. 

Maybe all the fire trucks available are already helping others in need at a different location. 

While we can take comfort in the fact that 99 percent of the time someone at the fire department will respond to our call of distress, we know down deep in our hearts that there’s always the possibility that they might not be able to. 

It’s different with God. 

He is there for us 100 percent of the time. 

He hears our prayers immediately. 

He doesn’t have to travel to get to you or me. 

Though it’s hard to comprehend, He is right with us all the time. 

There are no flashing lights or sirens. 

Just the presence of God with power to heal, transform and comfort. 

Blizzards and snow drifts can’t keep Him away. 

Hurricanes?  

Tornados?

No problem. 

He commands the wind and the rain. 

And what if He’s already helping a million other people who are crying out to Him?

For God, it’s not an issue. He still has time just for you.

God—

He’s always there. 

Always available to help. 

Hope in His Faithful Love

 

The LORD values those who fear Him, those who put their hope in His faithful love.

—Psalm 147:11

The only hope that I have is in God.

He is the only hope that I need.

His love for me is continuously faithful.

All my concerns are before Him.

He knows each one.

 

 

 

faithful-love

 

For You Are With Me

This morning, my mind was filled with great thoughts of concern over a loved one.

As I drove to work, I prayed about the matter, almost constantly.

I usually have music on while I drive, and today was no different.

My music began by starting at the beginning of my collection with songs that start with the letter “A.”

A song titled, “And That My Soul Knows Very Well” came on.

The sun was just about to come up, as it was very early.

My heart was heavy with concern as I prayed.

Suddenly, the blazing light of the rising sun came through a break in the trees behind me and reflected into my rear view mirror.

It only lasted a second or so.

My face was flooded with bright light from the reflection.

At just that moment the singers’ voices were saying, “You make Your face to shine on me, now my soul knows very well….”

I could not escape knowing what had just happened.

The light of the sun bathed my face at the same time the words reached my ears–

A message from God that He was with me.

When I arrived at work, the parking lot was crowded. I parked in a different place than I normally do.

As I was getting ready to get out of the car, the sun was coming up over the building in front of me, once again bathing me in dazzling light.

I decided to take a photo of the sunlight with my cell phone.

God knows what my heart is longing for and the concerns that I have.

He is with me, and He is with you, too….

 

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

–Psalm 23:4

 

 

 

fear-no-evil

Hushed

He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.

—Psalm 107:29

 

Storms can be big.

Things get torn up.

Ruined.

Blown away.

Flooded.

Waves can be giant.

Overwhelming.

Relentless.

God can make a storm be still.

He can hush any wave.

What storms are you facing today?

God is bigger than the storm.

 

sea were

He Is

A rainbow.

I knew there just had to be one.

My husband had gone into a store and I had chosen to wait in the car for him.

Thunder began to crack and lightning was nearby.

Looking out the front of the car, it was sunny.

Looking out the back window, it was a dark gray.

As it started to rain, I tried to peer behind me to see if a rainbow had formed.

Because of the lightning, I wasn’t going to venture out of the car, however.

When my husband returned, umbrella in hand, we began driving off the parking lot. As we made a turn, I saw it.

A vibrant rainbow!

Trying to photograph a rainbow with my car window down and the rain coming in was a feat for the persistent….

I have since pondered rainbows in a little different way than I have in the past.

We tend to think of troublesome times in our lives as “storms.”

We apply the word “storm” to a great many situations.

A stormy relationship.

A physical challenge.

An onslaught of something bad.

For a rainbow to form in all its dazzling brilliance, there must be rain.

As the dark clouds are depositing each drop to the ground, the light of the sun streaks across the atmosphere, creating a vision of vividly colored transparency.

While the storm is still going on—and even as it has just passed–the light shines into the darkness with a promise.

When we have those troubling times–those challenging situations and heartbreaking events–God’s light is still shining on it all.

If we turn to look, we can trust that somewhere—somewhere—He is forming a rainbow.

 

He is

 

Able to Give

 

As I stood in the backyard of a friend’s house, I admired the calm scene of water as it reflected the cloudy sky and the surrounding trees.

The afternoon visit was a contemplative one.

My friend and her husband had suffered a great loss.

Their infant son—only a few days old—passed away while in the hospital recently.

I am hoping that I will be able to comfort them in the coming weeks and months.

God has comforted me during times of loss, as well.

My husband and I lost a child through miscarriage and another child in an accident.

How can I help my friends?

The Bible says,

“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”

2 Corinthians 1:4

Is there someone you could comfort and encourage today?

 

comforts us

Cast All

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

—1 Peter 5:7

 

Yesterday, there was a terrible tragedy about an hour’s drive from my home.

People all over the world are talking about it.

Because of our technological capabilities, people all over the world can learn of breaking news in moments.

While being informed is a good thing, it can sometimes be overwhelming, as well.

When I check the news headlines, I get an overview of all the major occurrences across the globe.

Politics, science, war.

Health, sports, natural disasters.

Weather, entertainment, economics.

When horrific things happen–like yesterday’s tragedy–it’s too great to comprehend.

There is so much to take in.

It’s overwhelming for me.

And what about those who are directly affected?

I can only imagine their consuming emotion.

What is there to do?

1 Peter 5:7 reads, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

God is greater than anything we could ever envision.

When we are anxious and troubled, distraught and undone, we can cast our emotions on Him and look to Him to comfort and to heal.

cast all

 

Cleanse Us

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9

The old garage door near the church was surrounded by smooth, nicely painted walls.

Looking at the photograph I took of it, I wonder—why hadn’t the door been painted nicely and repaired?

It looked tattered and worn out—like many desperate people in this world.

They feel dirty and guilty, used up and torn up, stripped and faded, hopeless and lost.

With an outlook tinted with shame, they see what looks like a clean, smooth surface on others’ lives.

No one could accept them in their broken condition, they think.

Family couldn’t.

Friends couldn’t.

Certainly God couldn’t.

After all, they’ve messed things up.

There’s nowhere left to go to escape the mirror of accusation that hangs on every wall they encounter…

In the last two weeks, I have learned of two people I know—both in very different walks of life—who have taken their own lives.

They lived hundreds of miles from one another, but they both shared hopelessness.

For a crucial moment, they failed to look at God’s unlimited power and grace and instead, looked at their own lack of ability to repair and restore.

God can accept anyone in any condition.

Broken.

Dirty.

Guilty.

Used up.

Torn up.

Stripped.

Faded.

Hopeless.

Lost.

Friends may not accept us.

Family may not.

But, God?

He is ALWAYS ready to heal and to forgive!

To CLEANSE us from ALL unrighteousness!

If we cry out to God from our brokenness, confessing our sin and our mistakes, we will be forgiven.

We can start over.

We can begin again.

It’s not too late for any of us, ever.

 

confess

 

 

 

He Will Guide Me

God will instruct me and teach me in the way I should go. He will guide me with His eye. (Psalm 32:8)
I have a new bracelet. 

It’s not very fashionable, but I didn’t purchase it in the interest of fashion. 

A friend was wearing one, and when I asked them about it, their short testimony of its practicality and usefulness made me curios enough to research it. 

After doing so, I decided to get one myself. 

Being a handy little item, it keeps up with quite a bit. 

It records how many steps I have walked in a day.  

It tells me how many times I woke up in the night and for how long.

It records when I am dreaming or in deep sleep with minute by minute accuracy. 

It even records what time I fell asleep and  woke up. 

All of this information is stored and partitioned into charts and graphs for further study and contemplation. 

As nifty as all these features are, my bracelet is lacking. 

It can tell me how many steps I’ve walked in a day, but it cannot instruct me on where I should go. 

It tells me if I have been in deep sleep, but it can’t give me the peace of mind to usher me into restful serenity.  

It can tell me what time I woke up on any given day, but it cannot advise me about how to spend my day. 

A bracelet will never be able to do that. 

Only God can give that kind of guidance. 

I will continue to look to my bracelet for an accurate picture of my fitness needs. More importantly, I will need to look to God for guidance and peace of heart and mind. 

A fitness bracelet can only do so much. 

God can do anything…..

Where the Windows Opened

In the Old Testament, we find the account of Daniel, a servant of God, and a plot of evil against him from jealous men.

Since Daniel was a person of such integrity, the men realized they would never be able to accuse him of wrongdoing unless it had something to do with his devotion to God.

They devised a sinister plan:

 

So these administrators and satraps went as a group to the king and said: “May King Darius live forever!  The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den.  Now, Your Majesty, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.”  So King Darius put the decree in writing.

 Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.  Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help.  So they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree: “Did you not publish a decree that during the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or human being except to you, Your Majesty, would be thrown into the lions’ den?”

The king answered, “The decree stands—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.”   —Daniel 6:6-12

The king was then told that Daniel was still praying to his God.

Although Darius did not want to, he was forced to give the order to have Daniel placed in the lions’ den.

King Darius was troubled all night.

The next morning, he went to the lions’s den and found that Daniel was alive!

Daniel testified that it was God who had kept him safe.

The king had the evil men, their wives and their children thrown into the den where the lions killed them.

Then, he issued a decree stating that everyone should fear and have reverence for the God of Daniel.

God rescues.

God saves.

God loves…

 

windows opened

Save the Lost

I really don’t know how he got there, exactly.

While at work today, I went into a restroom located in a fairly large building, quite a ways from any exterior entrances.

I noticed a caterpillar on the gray tile floor.

Why would he venture from his home in the great outdoors to come into a place where he would surely die from lack of nourishment?

Crawling through a door or window into the out-of-this-world (his anyway) carpeted wonderland may have looked like a dream come true, but instead, that choice turned out to be one to regret.

Without water and green leaves to munch on, life was going to be drawing to a close.

The caterpillar was probably confused at his circumstances, all the while desperately searching for a way out.

It’s likely you know someone like this caterpillar.

For some reason, they have ventured from their good lifestyle into a place where they will surely suffer from lack of spiritual guidance, positive encouragement and the support of faithful friends.

It’s as if they crawled through a doorway into what looked great at the time–the hope of popularity, acceptance, and even love–only to find themselves involved in substance abuse, destructive habits and self-deprecation.

It’s a choice they have come to regret as confusion and hopelessness gain a tighter grip on their day to day existence.

Although they may try to hide it, they are desperately searching for a way out–a way back home where they can be at peace.

I knew what I had to do with the caterpillar today.

Getting a small tissue, I picked him up, bundled and safe, and took him outside.

There, I placed him in the grass where he could begin his “rescued” life out in the open.

That’s a great ending for the caterpillar, but what about people?

We can’t just pick them up and transport them to safety and prosperous living.

Only God can do that.

He can restore and heal.

He can lead the way back.

Back to the place where people can be at peace with God and with themselves.

 

 

save the lost

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weary and Heavy-laden

While staying at a hotel recently, I looked out my window to the street below. 

I noticed a man riding a bicycle. 

He wasn’t just riding a bicycle for fun, though. 

He was pedaling with a lot of extra weight. 

Several bags were tied to the handlebars. 

Much larger bags were attached to the back of the bike. 

It was probably a struggle just to move down the road. 

Obviously, he must have thought this was what he needed to be doing and this was the best way of getting it done. 

How nice it would have been if someone could have seen him about to load up the bicycle and said, “Friend, that’s too much for you to carry. Here! I will take that load onto my truck. Get in! Lets deliver it together!”

Spiritually, we can be like that man on the bicycle. 

We can have many burdens and concerns. 

We can even be worried about eternity and where we will be. 

Jesus says,
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
—Matthew 11:28

Is it time to let Him help you with the load you have been carrying?

The Lord’s Help

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Wait for the Lord’s help.
    Be strong and brave,
    and wait for the Lord’s help.

—Psalm 27:14

Someone I care about is facing a terminal illness.

I am waiting for the Lord’s help.

Someone I care about is struggling at their work.

I am waiting for the Lord’s help.

Someone I care about is angry with God.

I am waiting for the Lord’s help.

Someone I care about is distant and aloof.

I am waiting for the Lord’s help.

Someone I care about needs spiritual healing.

I am waiting for the Lord’s help.

*

Click image to enlarge.

help