Keep Me Safe

 

 

As I drove home from work today, I was praying fervently for someone I care about very much.

After being home a few moments, I sat down at the table and began to read my Bible, along with a couple of devotional and study help booklets.

God’s word was comforting to me as I read passages that I felt related to my heart’s longing.

I heard a bird singing outside the window.

Deciding that I didn’t need to be distracted from my reading, I chose not to go to the window to look out.

Moments passed, and I was once again aware of a bird singing sweetly and clearly outside.

This time, I decided I would walk to the window and carefully peer through the blinds into the back yard.

Though I couldn’t find the bird, my eyes were immediately drawn to the rosebush my husband had purchased for me years ago.

Delicately pink roses had burst forth on the bush, covering it with color.

Taking my camera with me, I made my way to the fence and looked at all the blooms.

Beautiful and tender, they brought a certain happiness to my heart.

I was now calmer than on the ride home.

One of the verses I had read at the table spoke of divinely gifted peace:

Tonight I will sleep securely on a bed of peace
    because I trust You, You alone, O Eternal One, will keep me safe.

—Psalm 4:8

I must trust God and God alone to keep my loved one safe.

God is the only One who can.

With that trust, I will rest with a peace that God has given me.

God blessed me with roses this afternoon…

 

 

 

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Before They Call

Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.

–Isaiah 65:24
This morning as I walked out to my car to drive to work, the sun had not yet come up. 

The day was bright with the sun’s approach, however. 

As I started to get into the car, I could see a giant cloud, blazing with glorious hues of orange, yellow and pink in the western sky. 

Putting my things in the car, I photographed the cloud with my phone. 

Even though I couldn’t see the sun directly, I could see it’s illuminating effect on the billowing mass of water vapor that rose so high in the distance. 

It was a testimony of what was soon to come into view. 

I have been praying about many concerns lately. 

God knows about them all. 

Even though I may not see how God is working in a particular moment, there are times when I can see His light shining on a situation. 

It is a testimony of His faithfulness and answered prayers to come. 

Your Requests

What do you wish for?

As I was walking on a small bridge above a pond of water, I noticed that people had thrown coins into the water to make a wish.

Although I do not know how that tradition ever came about, I am certain that throwing money into water does nothing to help.

What is a wish, anyway?

A hope or desire?

I wish for many things.

Not a bigger house or an expensive car.

Many of the things I wish for I could not bring about.

I wish for a better relationship with someone that I love very much who is within my family.

I wish for the salvation of my unsaved friends.

I wish for good health for people I know who are very ill.

I can do my part in attaining wishes like these.

It will never involve throwing coins into a body of water…

I can work toward being friendly and loving to help a relationship mend.

I can talk to friends about Jesus and what He has done in my life.

I can encourage friends who are ill with cards, phone calls and visits.

But cause someone’s heart to change?

God will need to do that.

See salvation come to a lost soul?

God will need to draw them to repentance.

Hear a diagnosis of remission of cancer?

God will have to heal and restore.

There’s one more thing I can do besides wish…

In fact, it’s the most important thing.

I can pray and talk to God about my hopes.

About my desires.

I can pray for healed relationships.

I can pray for physical healings.

I can pray for the salvation of others.

What do you wish for?

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Do not be anxious about anything, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus.

—Philippians 4:6-7

 

peace of

 

 

Treasures on Earth

A good friend bought a small treasure chest for me as a gift. 

She intended for me to use it as a container to place written prayers in. 

Prayer is something that has eternal significance. 

Talking with God is the most important  communication we have. 

It is a privilege and a treasure. 

There are many treasures we could acquire during our time on earth. 

The most important treasure, however, is our relationship with God. 

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Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.

—Matthew 6:19

 

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…

 

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Devote Yourselves

We need God in every area of our lives. 

He is at work whether we perceive it or not. 

As we come to God in prayer, we remember that He is with us, understanding whatever situation we are experiencing. 

If we are watchful, we will live in expectancy of God.  

If we are thankful, we will remain in an attitude of appreciation and gratitude for all that He has done. 

We need to come to God in prayer—

every day. 

 

Prayer

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The garden area I saw was lush and inviting, with blooms of many colors.

An arch of vines formed a canopy over the brick walkway.

I am reminded of the lyrics of an old hymn:

I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses,
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear,
The Son of God discloses.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

 

*

 

 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

–Philippians 4:6-7

*

 

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You Hear My Voice

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The mist was so beautiful, I just had to pull over and photograph it.

In my area, fog is most commonly encountered in the early morning, before the warmth of the sun causes it to dissipate.

I pray a lot while I am driving my car.

It is then that I am usually alone.

Morning often finds me commuting to work, praying, and thinking about God and those I love.

There is no better way to start the day!

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Listen to my words, O Lord,
    and hear my sighs.
 Listen to my cry for help,
    my God and king!

I pray to you, O Lord;
    you hear my voice in the morning;
at sunrise I offer my prayer
    and wait for your answer.

—Psalm 5:1-3

 

 

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Do Not Be Anxious

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Do not be anxious about anything,

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 your minds

in Christ Jesus.

—Philippians 4:6-7

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peace

Let Your Hope Keep You

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How should I love?

What should I hate?

What should I hold on to?

How should I love someone?

How should I show respect?

How should I work?

How should I serve the Lord?

What can keep me joyful?

How should I respond during times of trouble?

When should I pray?

Should I share my belongings?

Should I open my home to people I don’t know?

~

Love must be completely sincere.

Hate what is evil, hold on to what is good.

Love one another warmly as Christians,

and be eager to show respect for one another.

Work hard and do not be lazy.

Serve the Lord with a heart full of devotion. 

Let your hope keep you joyful,

be patient in your troubles,

and pray at all times.

Share your belongings with your needy fellow Christians,

and open your homes to strangers.

–Romans 12:9-13

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Showers of Blessing

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I will send down

showers in season;

there will be

showers of blessing.

—from Ezekiel 34:26

God gives a message to the Israelites in the book of Ezekiel in chapter 34.

Part of this message mentions “showers of blessing.”

My husband and I went to a nearby city to take care of some details for a family member who has been in the hospital for a few weeks.

Arriving at our destination, I got out of my car, even as it was lightly raining, to get a few photographs of a glorious rainbow that had appeared. My husband had gone inside the building.

After returning to the car and making a couple of phone calls, we found out that our family member may be well enough to come home in just a couple of days!

Showers of water were falling on us in the parking lot.

Showers of blessing were falling, too….

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showers final

By Prayer and Petition

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After recently watching a movie that was centered on the power of prayer, I made a decision.

In the film, the main character wrote prayers down on paper and attached them to the wall of her closet.

It was there that she prayed for many concerns.

Considering what the greatest burdens of my heart are, I have begun to write down specific prayers and tape them to a wooden wardrobe in my closet.

When each prayer has been answered, I will be able to write that answer on the small pieces of paper that are posted there.

In just writing down my most heartfelt longings, I realize that my intercessory concerns are too big for me to handle.

I can’t change someone’s attitude.

I can’t give someone else the gift of wisdom.

I can’t heal someone from disease.

I can’t choose the perfect job for someone else.

I can’t.

But God can.

Coming to Him in prayer about anything and everything, is the best possible action.

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Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

—Philippians 4:6

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Go to Your Room

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When you pray,

go to your room

and close the door.

Pray privately to your

Father who is with you.

Your Father sees

what you do in private.

He will reward you.

—-Matthew 6:6

Quiet moments.

Time spent seeking God’s guidance.

Listening with our hearts for our heavenly Father’s words to gently, yet clearly, speak to us.

There is no communication more precious and priceless…

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close the door

Present Your Requests

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While visiting my son’s lakeside apartment, I suggested that we take a walk in the park across the street.

As we began our stroll, we noticed some heavy equipment parked near the fishing dock.

Neither of us could tell what work was about to be done, but it obviously looked as though some serious digging was planned.

On the way back from our walk, I decided to photograph the machines.

Can you imagine what it would be like to have only a spoon with which to dig in order to complete a task like the one probably planned near the dock?

Diligent work for weeks and months—perhaps years—might still not be enough to tackle the need.

There are many times in our lives when God provides a spoon for us to complete a work because a spoon is all that is needed.

At other times, situations loom before us as we feel helpless and defeated with our lack of resources or ability.

God knows our limitations.

Sometimes, He is the only One who can take care of a situation.

In an instant, He can heal, provide, change, forgive and encourage.

Even so, we can forget that He is available to help us.

With spoon in hand, we tackle those things never meant to be faced alone.

Philippians 4:6 says,

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

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anxious

Be Joyful

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Almost every day at work, I make a list.

A “to do” list.

If I don’t, I risk forgetting something very important.

And if I forget something important that I was supposed to do, a lot of my day–or even my week– could go wrong.

I have sticky notes on the edge of my computer screen for important dates to remember.

Often, I have a paper on my desk, listing my tasks.

It is ready for me to add to it at any moment.

In the 12th chapter of Romans, there is also a “to do” list.

Here are just a few of the things listed that should be on our list:

Love must be sincere.

Hate what is evil;

cling to what is good.

Be devoted to one another in love.

Honor one another above yourselves.

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Share with the Lord’s people who are in need.

Practice hospitality.

—-Romans 12:12-13

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Maybe I should copy this down and place it on my desk at work.

If I forget about these things, a lot of my day–and even my week–could go wrong.

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joyful

Equipped for Every Good Work

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As I walked by the building, there were pegs on the wall placed in position to hang tools and useful things.

A shovel, a rope and a ladle…

To place needed items where they can be easily accessed is always a good idea.

I enjoy camping from time to time.

Before I go, I make a list of necessary items that I expect to need when I arrive at the site.

It is very important to have everything on the list at my disposal.

If I don’t have what I need, the trip will not be as successful as I had hoped.

What do I need every day in order to be prepared?

If I have been consistent in reading the Bible, I will have God’s words stored in my mind.

It would be a really good idea to have a Bible placed where I could get to it easily.

As I am starting my day, prayer will allow me time to communicate with God, receiving guidance for the hours ahead.

Throughout the day, these “tools”—God’s word and prayer—-will be what I need.

*
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

—2 Timothy 3:16-17

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equipped

Into the Wilderness

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My friend has a lovely house nestled in the trees near a swiftly moving river.

Visiting there this weekend, I sat and watched as the water moved past, never stopping, always traveling.

The back yard has branches that canopy over the ground, filtering the setting sun with a warm glow that travels through windows onto the walls within her home.

A chair sits in the yard, inviting.

Almost as if to say, “Come, sit awhile.”

Solitary places, devoid of the rush-rush, hurry-hurry business of life allow quiet moments that can be filled with prayer.

With distractions reduced to the chirping of birds and the occasional scamper of an inquisitive squirrel, listening for God’s voice becomes easier.

Jesus went  to places like this to pray, as we see in this account of His healing of an afflicted man:

And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

 And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him.

 And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

 But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.

 And He withdrew Himself into the wilderness, and prayed.

—Luke 5:12-16

Whether I am sitting near a river, sitting alone in my car or sitting alone in my home, I can pray.

I can talk to God.

I can also listen for what He has to say to me.

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prayed dusk

In All Circumstances

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It’s raining now, and I am quietly sleepy.

A few days ago, I started getting sick.

The sinus kind of sick with watery eyes and sneezing.

The kind of sick that keeps you at home, away from people.

My husband left for church this morning, leaving me with our tuxedo cat and basset hound.

Reflective, I considered my life and the lives of those that I love.

The Christmas tree in the room stood tall with decorations interspersed between its branches.

I didn’t want to be sick, but since I was, I found comfort in spending time alone, thinking, remembering and sometimes, in prayer.

1 Thesalonians 5:16-18

Rejoice always,  pray continually,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

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rejoice

Before They Call

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It was a really big deal.

I had recently received a package at work with an order I had sent out some time before.

There were several items in the package that were quite important.

Last week, I was working at a different location and I had taken the box and its contents with me.

Today, I was once again going to work at a different location.

I needed two of the items in the box.

Where was it?

I looked all over my area, to no avail.

I considered that I might have left the box in my car from last week.

Checking there, still I could not find it.

It didn’t make any sense.

Walking alone into the area nearest my office, I prayed.

My prayer was something like this:

“Lord, if that box is in this room somewhere, would you please let me find it?”

Almost immediately, in perhaps only a second or two, my eyes fell on the box.

It had been placed in a tall chair and I just had not seen it before.

Problem solved.

Answered prayer.

A reminder that God is with me through every moment of the day.

He is ready to help me, even if it is only to find a box.

In the Old Testament book of Isaiah, God is describing what things will be like when there is a new heaven and a new earth.

He says, Before they call I will answer;
    while they are yet speaking I will hear.

—Isaiah 65:24

I feel that I experienced this today.

How blessed we are to have a heavenly Father who cares about us and hears us when we call.

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while