Just the Name of Jesus!

“O Lord my God, I cried out to You and You healed me. O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not go down into the pit. . . I cried out to You, O Lord; and to the Lord I made supplication. . . Hear, O Lord, and have mercy on me; Lord, be my helper!” Psalms 30:2-3, 8 and 10 (NKJV)

We have all been in the midst of difficult situations, or involved in circumstances that are out of our control. Be it, health issues, family issues, relationship issues, marital issues, job issues, financial issues, church issues – whatever it is that has blindsided us, we are not alone. We often feel frustrated, overwhelmed, out of control, lonely, scared and uncertain of how it will all work out. We cry, we shout, we scream, we talk, and we pray. But when we pray, so often, in the midst of the tough time, we may not always know what to say. Can anyone relate to all that?

Well, in that moment, of not knowing what to say might I suggest saying just one word. That’s all. One word. “Jesus!” When you say “Jesus!” – you have His listening ear. You really don’t need to say another word. “Jesus!” is enough! He already knows every detail of what is going on in your life at that very moment you cried out to Him. He knows what your heart is feeling and He understands every emotion you are experiencing.

“Jesus!” – just one word. It opens the door to His coming to you, ready to help and comfort you. It opens the door for His power, wisdom, love, comfort and everything else that you need in that moment to be yours. It opens the door for God’s Son, Jesus to do a mighty work. both in your personal life and in your circumstances. Jesus can heal your heart’s wound. Jesus can intervene and help bring resolution. Jesus can provide everything that you have need of. Jesus can bring peace, calm, comfort, grace and love into whatever circumstances you are in. Try it. Just call out His name – that wonderful name – “Jesus!”

The Psalmist, he cried out to the Lord, His God. He needed God’s help so that He would not go deeper into the pit. He needed deliverance from his enemies. We don’t need to know all the details of his situation. No one needs to know yours. But, there is one who is waiting for you to cry out. Just say, one word. “Jesus!”

Jesus/God met the Psalmist right at his point of need. His cries were heard. Help was given. And in the end, the Psalmist could praise the Lord his God. Just read what the Psalmist had to say:

I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up, and have not let my foes rejoice over me. . . You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, to the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.” Psalms 30: 1, 11-12.

It starts with one word. “Jesus!”

They Snarl Like A Dog!

“Deliver me from my enemies, O God; protect me from those who rise up against me. . . They return at evening, snarling like dogs, and prowl about the city. See what they spew from their mouths – they spew out swords from their lips. . . For the sins of their mouths, for the words of their lips, let them be caught in their pride, for curses and lies they utter. . . They return at evening, snarling like dogs. . . ” Psalm 59:1, 6-7, 12, 14. (NIV)

Hmm, “snarling like dogs” – Who snarls more? Man or Beast?

I learned a really great lesson about snarling once from our dog, Max.

While Max can be the most good-tempered, lovable, playful and delightful dog ever – there just happens to be the snarly side of Max that we see every once in a while. Believe me when I say, it’s not pretty and he knows it.

“Hey, Max, wanna go for a walk?” – is usually something he loves to hear coming from the lips of his momma. He gets SO excited over the mention of a W_ _ _! In fact, I have to be careful not to say the whole word, (ever!) or else, I am taking him for a walk whether I really wanted to or not. His eyes light up like glistening diamonds. The tail goes into spasms of sheer delight. And he bounces everywhere, longing for his momma to get his harness and leash and get this walk started.

Except for this one day in particular. I asked the magical question. And yes, I truly wanted to go with him for a walk. BUT….

His reaction was not the one I had expected. He snarled at me! He growled! He raised his voice in anger! And then, I noticed his tail wasn’t wagging. Nope, it is sticking straight out stiff. There was no delightful glistening to his eyes. Nope, what I saw instead was rage. “Whoa, Max! What’s going on here? I simply asked if you wanted to go for a walk.”

For the first time ever, when I said, W A L K !, I was met with snarl! Are you kidding me, dog? The growl got louder, coming from somewhere deep within this 12 lb. fur ball. Max was angry and I had no idea why. I stepped away from the dog! Who knew what might come next. Not even a “down, boy!” would stop him. “Okay, Max, snarl all you want to boy, this momma is going walking without you.” S N A R L !!

As I walked out the door, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “If only dogs could talk! I would love to know what Max was thinking just then. For sure!!” What did that snarl mean? Where did that kind of response come from?

I set out for my afternoon walk, thinking about snarling attitudes. I was also hoping that while on this walk, I would not encounter any other snarling dogs. One was enough for me, thank you very much!

Be it beast. Be it human. We all can snarl. Growl with a vicious attitude over something we don’t like. Speak in a snarling manner because someone said something that we disagree with. While walking, I realized that I – yes, me, the human being! – can actually be a snarling dog! My guess is that you can too. Don’t we all snarl at times?

Here in this Psalm, the Psalmist is talking to God about his enemies. He is asking for protection and deliverance from those who are like “snarling dogs” – and he asks God to “deliver me from evildoers and save me from blood-thirsty men.” The Psalmist compares his enemies to “snarling dogs” – for out of them comes a snarly attitude, spewing out unwanted spit, vicious sounds, and growling grossness. It made no sense to the Psalmist. That’s what I got from Max on this day I simply wanted him to go for a W A L K. He gave me the perfect snarly attitude! And this momma didn’t like it!

As I kept walking, I got to thinking about times that I gave someone a snarly attitude. I have to say, it’s not all that often, but on a rare occasion, its been there. I’ve done that! I’ve given someone a snarly attitude over something said or done. Snarly words can spit out of my mouth so fast in an unwanted, undeserved manner. My voice can raise in vicious sounds to where I hardly recognize my own voice. And before I realize it, I am growling in the grossness of unkind, cruel words. I pity the person who has to be on the receiving end of all that. Talk about unfair! Talk about RUDE! Now, I know I am not the only human who has ever been there and done that. But, when I do that, I am not happy. I know it is wrong, but “I just couldn’t help it!” (That’s a whole different story for another blog!) God calls that kind of attitude, SIN! God is never happy when we give someone a snarly attitude or reply. God especially doesn’t like it if we dare to give HIM that kind of response. Nope, God is not happy with snarl – not ever! Clearly Max was not happy either that day. If only he could talk, I might know and understand what his problem was. But given the snarling attitude coming from my dog, I did NOT WANT him to talk. Not ever! I didn’t need to know.

I kept walking, having my own conversation with God about my own snarling attitude. I am so glad that I have such a loving and forgiving God. He is always ready to hear me talk with Him, especially when it’s to confess my wrong-doing. I felt better once I confessed to Him all the different “snarling dog” attitudes that came to my mind. I confessed every one. My step lightened. I could now enjoy the rest of the walk. Joy returned to my mind, my heart and my soul. God and I had a great walk. Too bad Max wasn’t there too.

Oh, speaking of Max – let’s go see if my pupper-dog has changed his mood any. I walked back home, unsure of what I would find. But hopeful nonetheless. Gingerly, V E R Y gingerly, I opened the door, just in case the “snarling dog” was still prowling about. I quietly stepped inside, hoping not to disturb any remnant of a snarly attitude. I turned to shut the door behind me.

Who should bound around the corner??

MAX! The tail was wagging, the eyes were a glistening and he was bouncing everywhere.

Come on, Max, let’s go for W A L K!

P.S. “No Snarling Allowed!”

See The Blessings – Give The Thanks!

“And the Lord sits as King forever. The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace.” Psalms 29:11 (NKJV)

Every month, I choose a theme for the month. And whatever theme I choose, is what I concentrate my personal Bible study and daily reading upon. October’s theme was “Fix My Eyes on Jesus” and the theme I have chosen for November (knowing that the American holiday of “Thanksgiving” is coming up on the 26th) is “See the Blessing – Give the Thanks.” It’s a theme to help me consider all the abundant blessings that I have received from the hand of my God and to offer up to Him thanks and praise for His goodness to me. The Bible happens to be full of verses that talk about blessings and thanks. I would encourage you to take a Bible Concordance and look up the word “bless/blessing” and the word “thanks/thanksgiving” and spend a little time looking up the multitude of Bible references listed there for you to consider. It is quite the heart-warming study. Already this month, I have enjoyed the study of some of those verses. They leave me with a grateful heart and an attitude of gratitude to the God who showers me with such great blessings every single day.

The verse that I am considering in this posting, is one in which the Psalmist David reminds us of three (3) great blessings from our God.

First, there is the blessing of having, of knowing that the Lord is the King who sits on heaven’s throne forever. This is one blessing that we, as Christians, tend to take for granted, perhaps something that we don’t think about as often as we should. But, for just a moment let the truth of those words sink down into your heart. “The Lord sits as King forever.” It is a blessing for sure, especially in our very chaotic world of today, to know we have a Lord of all, a King of Kings and He reigns forever. That thought should bring comfort to our hearts and inspire us to offer up our thanks and praise.

Secondly, the Psalmist reminds us of the blessing of strength. Strength that comes from the Lord to His people. Who among us doesn’t need strength? Strength comes in various measures, and for different reasons. God strengthens us physically so that we are able to accomplish all that we need to do in a given day. He strengthens us when we are facing illness or have difficult tasks to complete. God also strengthens us mentally and emotionally to help us cope with the various stresses we face in life. To help us withstand the battles we face that we have no control over. And God strengthens us spiritually. He strengthens our beliefs, our faith, our trust in Him. He gives us spiritual strength to prepare us when we have to face our daily battle over sin and evil. He gives us strength to grow a deeper relationship with Him. I don’t know about you, but I will honestly admit that I often take this blessing for granted. I just assume that it will always be there when I need it to be. Yet, what a blessing strength is when it comes from the Lord!

Thirdly, the Psalmist reminds us of the blessing of peace. Not the kind of peace that the world offers us, but the kind of peace that only comes from the heavenly Father. It is a peace that passes all understanding. It is the peace of God and the peace with God. Do you know that peaceful blessing in your own life?

I am so glad, so thankful that the Psalmist David reminded me of these great blessings. I needed that reminder. And yet, as I sit here and think about it – my God has blessed me with so many blessings. He has showered me with His abundant blessings! As I think about them, I can count them all; I think that list would be rather long. What if you counted your blessings, how long do you think your list would be? Now, what do you suppose that God wants us to do with all those blessings?

I think God would want us to enjoy our blessings. After all, that is why He gave them to us. But I think He would want a little more than just that. God would want us to use those blessings that He has given us. Share them with others. Take the blessing we have received and pass it on. We have received blessings from the Father so that, in turn, we may be a blessing to others. It is not about what we can say about our blessings, nor is it about the number of blessings that we have received from God. It is about what we do with those blessings. I think that is the true measure of our thankfulness toward our God.

The Psalmist David helps us “See the Blessings…” and the Psalmist also (in the very next chapter) helps us to “…Give the Thanks!” Psalms 30:4, tells us, “Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.” My heart so often seems to be bursting at the seams with gratitude for all the blessings that my God has given to me. I just want to burst forth and start to sing. I would sing songs of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord of Lords and the Kings of Kings.

I pray for you, my reader, that our God may bless you, bless you indeed and bless you richly from the storehouses of heaven. God bless you as you go out into your world today. “See the Blessings – Give the Thanks!” as you go. Then, watch for the blessings to rain down upon you. They are coming from the Lord our King! They are meant for you to enjoy!

SPECIAL NOTE: One of my many blessings, is the blessing of YOU, my blog readers. Those who take the time to visit my blog site, and read the entries there, and leave me a “like” or a “comment” – you are a blessing to my heart. I’ve enjoyed friendships that have blossomed from my blog readers. I am blessed by every comment left on my pages. So, I want to take this opportunity to say thank you! My heart is blessed by YOU!!

You Are My Hope, God!

And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You!” Psalms 39:7 (NKJV)

“For You are my hope, O Lord God…!” Psalms 71:5 (NKJV)

Let’s talk about HOPE for a moment. I am just a little curious. How would you describe hope?

Hope is something that we all seek for. Hope is a very powerful motivator! It’s what drives us to try again. It’s what keeps us from sinking under the weight of adversity. Hope is what keeps us positive. It fuels our joy. Hope helps us reach for our dreams with gusto and courage. Hope matters. It matters to me. To you. To every human being. Some people think that hope is nothing more than wishful thinking. And to some, that is all it is. But for the person who is a follower of Jesus Christ, hope is so much more. You see, the biblical definition of hope is different from the worlds view of hope. Christian hope means a confident expectation.

In our world of today, we are often told to “hang onto hope” – and while that is good, it is also hard to do. It takes a lot of “grit” to hang on to hope. Especially at times when we are going through circumstances that do not seem hopeful at all. And if we are really truthful with ourselves, there are times when “throwing in the towel” seems easier than “hanging onto hope”. Holding on to hope is just plain hard – no matter what the world around you might be saying.

But, my friend, for those of us who are Christians – who name the name of Christ – who follow after Him and His teaching, there is HOPE! Yes, there IS hope! If you are a Christian, then listen well to this next part. I know that I need this reminder so very often. I’m praying it just might help encourage you today.

For every Christian, we need the gentle reminder that HOPE is a very big part of our DNA. That’s right! Because we were created in the image of God , hope is already part of our blueprint. God built hope into our very being. Just think about that for a moment.

So, while it may be challenging to “hang onto hope” – especially whenever life is in chaos and overwhelming every part of you – we can actually do it. We can hang onto hope! In fact, we MUST hang onto hope in order to survive life in this crazy world of ours.

For every Christian, hope is the very foundation of our faith. Just like faith is the foundation of our hope. Hope is believing. Belief in a holy God. As the Psalmist reminds us in the verses above, “Our hope is in God” – the very One who created us. The One who built hope into our DNA. He is the source, the giver, and the sustainer of our hope. God the Father, gives us an abundant supply of hope. It is there, every time we start to feel hopeless. It is there when circumstances of life overwhelm us. It is there when everyone else has left us behind. It is there when the world says, “this is hopeless.” God says, “Hope is here! Hope is from Me given freely to you! Hope is a part of who you are!”

We need to be reminded at times to exercise our faith in God. Hang onto God’s style of hope, not the world’s offer of hope. Faith and hope work together. That’s the way God designed it. Can we muster up enough faith and hope on our own to make it through the day? Is that even possible to do? No way!

Our faith and God’s hope need to go together. My faith in God ignites God’s hope within me! Just think about that one for a moment. My faith in God ignites God’s hope with me! We cannot create hope on our own. We weren’t wired to do that. Only God in us can do that. According to the Apostle Paul, in the book of Romans (chapter 15 – verse 13) we are told that the Holy Spirit is the One (who lives within the heart of the Christian) who stirs hope alive within our hearts.

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

This verse reminds us that God is the source of hope, that hope partners with faith (“in believing”), that we can have hope in abundance, and that the Holy Spirit is the power behind hope. I don’t know about you — but that biblical truth blesses my heart.

Do you want to know what else God’s hope within you will do for you? I made my list:

  • The very plan that God has for your life includes hope (Jeremiah 29:11)
  • God created hope within you to fulfill the deepest need of your heart – to be loved (Romans 5:5)
  • Hope is the very thing that will renew your strength (Isaiah 40:31)
  • Hope is your constant reminder that with God all things are possible (Mark 9:23)
  • Hope promises to bring blessing from God (Jeremiah 17:7)
  • Hope is the gift from God that gives you courage and confidence (2 Corinthians 3:12)
  • Your hope in God brings great delight to your God (Psalms 147:11)

I hope you are beginning to see that with God there is no such thing as “hopeless.” We don’t have to live in a state of hopelessness – not ever! That’s not God’s design for us. God is our hope! He is the source we need to turn to when we feel hopeless. God created hope. God created us. He put His hope within our heart. Truth of the matter is this – sometimes that hope just needs a little stirring.

Remember – – My faith and God’s hope need to go together. My faith in God ignites God’s hope within me!

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

The Name Of Jesus

“I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His name together.” Psalms 34:1-3

Okay blog readers – let’s have a little fun, shall we?

I don’t know about you – but I LOVE the name of Jesus! I love the name of Jesus because I love Jesus! He is my Savior, Redeemer, Friend! My Refuge, my Helper, my Guide, my Comfort and…! Actually He is absolutely everything to me!! I could never do this thing called life without Him.

So, here’s what I’m asking my blog readers to do. If you know Jesus – if you love Jesus – and you would like to give praise and honor to Jesus in this moment – Please, leave a comment, sharing your favorite name for Jesus and why it is your favorite. Your sharing will definitely bless my heart and hopefully the heart of everyone reading this blog and its comments. But most importantly, in sharing, you will bless the heart of JESUS!

And if perhaps, you don’t know Jesus personally – or you have never heard of Jesus – please take a moment and send me a private message. I will gladly introduce you to my friend, Jesus!

Can One Book Really Change Your Life?

Yes! It can! One book can change a life forever!

I remember one time, I was visiting an outdoor Book Sale. Now, you have to know this truth about me – I am a sucker for books! Just ask my husband. I can (and often do!) spend hours in a bookstore. So, needless to say, I was immediately drawn to this book sale. I was ever so eager to check out what books they were offering. But, after a quick perusal of the books, I decided that this book sale was not for me.

As I turned to leave, a woman, a little older than myself, stopped me and said, “Are you not going to buy any of our books today?” I glanced up at her, smiled and graciously said, “I’m sorry, but I don’t think so, not today.”

“Well, are you looking for something in particular? Maybe I can help you find something here that would interest you,” she replied, trying to encourage that second look around. I told her that I was in search of some Bibles. With that, her eyes got wide and her voice raised a few decibels. “What? You want a Bible! Whatever for? Bibles are so outdated and worthless. Who in their right mind would want one of those?” Okay, now I really know, I do not want to be at this book sale. I wasn’t up for a debate that day with this lady. So I smiled graciously, turned and walked away.

Later, I thought of a million different things that I could have said, and perhaps should have said. But, the experience did one thing for me. It solidified, in my own heart, what I think about the Bible. Yes, the Bible has been around for a very long time. There are many an old Bible laying around in peoples homes or in churches, just waiting to be read. The Bible has been written in many different languages so that people groups all over the world, through many generations, may read the Bible and learn of God. As to it being outdated, well, I would have to disagree with that one. I find, through reading the words within its pages, that the Bible is still very relevant and applicable for life today. There are many worthwhile things to read about within its pages.

And then, as to the Bible being worthless – I guess that depends upon the eye of the beholder. Personally, I do not find the Bible one bit worthless. Bibles are precious to me because God is precious to me! Because I have a personal relationship with God, I treasure each and every word that He has written within the pages of the Bible. Reading those words, to me, is like going on a journey of discovery, searching for something precious and finding rare gems of great worth. To me, the Bible is a priceless treasure. The greatest book ever written, in my opinion.

Even David, one of many writers of God’s words, thought the Bible was something special. David wrote often about the Word of God. One of my favorites, among those writings, is Psalms 19:7-9, where he describes the Bible (God’s Word). Here is what he says,

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. (NKJV)

The words – law, testimony, statues, commandment, fear, and judgements – are all synonyms for God’s law, the Bible. David describes the law as perfect, the testimony as sure, the statutes as right, the commandment as pure, the fear as clean and the judgements as true and righteous. Those are pretty descriptive words that David uses. How can anyone say that those things are not relevant for today? Do we not look for those things in life today? They were relevant in David’s time. And I certainly believe that they are relevant for my time now.

David not only describes God’s Word for us – he also shares his reaction to it. Have a read of verses 10-11.

“More to be desired are they than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward.”

God’s Word was valuable to David. A priceless treasure, for sure! To him, it was desired more than the finest, the purest of gold. It was the sweetest thing ever to enjoy. And to him, spending time to read and listen to the words of God, therein was great reward. Reward that awaits for you too. Reward from God, that is only given when you open the pages of your own Bible and begin to read.

And, I know, speaking from years of reading experience in the Bible, that God’s Word is worthy of a good read. It is relevant enough and it is powerful enough to make major changes in the life of any reader. I know because God’s Word has changed my life!

There is one more thing that I would really like for you to see from these Bible verses in Psalm 19. David shares nine things that God’s Word can do in the life of the one who reads it, who delights in it, who yearns to believe it, and who seeks to obey it. Nine wonderful ways that your life can change simply by reading the Bible. Are you ready? Here’s the list:

  • God’s Word can redeem your soul – “converting the soul” (verse 7). This means that it can bring salvation to you. Through the Bible, a reader can learn of God’s gift of salvation, freely given to all who believe.
  • God’s Word can renew your mind – “making wise the simple” (verse 7). Great wisdom, from an Almighty God, is found within the pages of the Bible.
  • God’s Word can rejoice your heart – “rejoicing the heart” (verse 8). God’s Word brings JOY! And its the kind of joy that no one can take away from you.
  • God’s Word can refocus your vision – “enlightening the eyes” (verse 8). God’s Word will change your focus on things. The more you read, the more clearly you will see the truth.
  • God’s Word can refresh your life – “enduring forever” (verse 9). God’s Word is designed to bring new life into those who believe in God; a life that will endure forever with God in heaven.
  • God’s Word can replace your doubts – “true and righteous altogether” (verse 9). When things that are true and righteous exist together, there is no room for doubts. The reading of God’s Word on a consistent basis removes our doubts. In its place, God instills trust; trust in Him.
  • God’s Word can reorder your values – “more to be desired are they than gold” (verse 9). Who doesn’t want great riches in their life? As you spend more time in God’s Word, you begin to realize that you hold in your hands a worthless treasure. A treasure that is worth more than the purest gold that the world has to offer you.
  • God’s Word can redirect your steps – “moreover by them Your servant is warned” (verse 11). God’s Word holds within its pages many a warning for those who want to follow after God. As we listen to those warnings, and take heed of them, then the pathway we walk becomes clearer. Sometimes God, through warning, will take us off one pathway and put us on a completely different path for life. That’s God redirecting our steps away from danger and pointing us towards that which is good.
  • God’s Word rewards your obedience – “and in keeping them there is great reward” (verse 11). When we choose to read the Bible, listen to what God says in it; when we choose to meditate upon the very words of God and seek to obey them – then, God tells us there is “great reward” awaiting us. God rewards our obedience to His Word.

Wow! So, I have to ask again – – Can one book really change your life?

Ah, dear reader – the Bible, God’s Word, is the ONLY BOOK that will truly change your life. It has the power to totally transform your life. And yet, truth be told – you will never know just how much it can change your life until you pick up a copy of the Bible (in whatever language you need!) and begin to read. Try it, you just might enjoy a worthwhile read!

My Life’s Purpose

This Is My Anguish

I cried out to God with my voice – To God with my voice; and He gave ear to me. In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; My hand was stretched out in the night without ceasing; my soul refused to be comforted. I remembered God, and was troubled; I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak. I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times. I call to remembrance my song in the night; I meditate within my heart, and my spirit makes diligent search. Will the Lord cast off forever? And will He be favorable no more? Has His mercy ceased forever? Has His promise failed forevermore? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies? And I said, ‘This is my anguish…” Psalms 77:1-10a (NKJV)

The words you have just read were written by the Psalmist Asaph, as he earnestly cried out into the night from his troubled spirit. He was searching his soul for an answer to his distress. His soul was disquieted within him. He was confused. He was perplexed with many a question. There was no reason for him to praise. He seemed to be abandoned by the Lord. At least, it felt that way. All these feelings and all this anguish, left the Psalmist feeling just a little overwhelmed. Frustrated perhaps. With lots of questions on his mind, he wondered if…..?

What is your anguish?

Every human being with a heart and soul understands anguish. We all have been (or are currently) overwhelmed with feelings of anguish. It is something that we all tend to go through during various seasons of life.

Anguish come at times when life is just tough! Situations and circumstances are too much. Family is fractured. Relationships are tested. Kids are beyond rebellious and out of control. Health is diminishing. Jobs are lost. Money is tight. You aren’t sure what to do!

With the anguish comes feelings of fear and frustration. Crying and confusion. Uncertainty and unanswered questions. Perplexity and pain. Anger and abandonment. Helplessness and hopelessness. We want to know for sure that those feelings that we are experiencing in this moment of anguish are not settling into our being forever. We need to know that these feelings of anguish will someday go away.

Yet, we wonder what to do?

The Psalmist gives us a great answer. A lesson for us all to learn.

In his anguish, he cried out to God. While he did not understand all these feelings of anguish, he knew someone who would understand. The Psalmist put a voice to those feelings. In the first ten verses of the seventy-seventh Psalm, Asaph shares his feelings. He asks the tough questions. He seeks a reason for all the distress. He cries out to His God. God is listening to that cry of His beloved one.

And yet, dear reader, please do not miss the next four words that the Psalmist utters in verse ten. Those four words are so precious!

“But, I will remember…”

Remember what??

As Asaph, the Psalmist, cried out to God – he was able to put aside, if even for a moment, his heart of anguish and pain, and he began to remember.

Here is what the Psalmist said in verses 10-15 of Psalms 77. Let these words encourage your own heart and soul.

But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High. I will remember the works of the Lord; surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will also meditate on all Your work, and talk of Your deeds. Your way, O God, is in the sanctuary; who is so great a God as our God? You are the God who does wonders; You have declared Your strength among the peoples. You have with Your arm redeemed Your people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.”

Ah, sometimes in the midst of our own personal anguish, we need to just sit and soak in the comfort that only comes from our God. We need to meditate upon His works and miracles of our past. We need to recall how He has gently delivered us in the past. We need to ask our questions, then silently await His answers. We need to quietly and humbly abide in the presence of our God. For in that presence, we will soon realize that our God is so much bigger than any anguish we hold within our heart. He is strong enough to bear the burden of our anguish. In fact, He wants to completely take it away. He can do that with the power of His almighty right hand. God, the Sovereign One, comes to redeem! He desires to deliver us from our anguish!

Our anguish can turn to crying. Our cries to the Almighty God are heard.

Our crying can turn to remembering. Our remembering enables us to recall to our minds what God has already done for us.

Our remembering turns to praise. Our praise is humbly lifted up to the God who does wonders.

Who is so great a God as our God?” ~ the Psalmist Asaph

You Are My Rock!

“In You, O Lord, I put my trust; let me never be ashamed; deliver me in Your righteousness. Bow down Your ear to me, deliver me speedily; Be my rock of refuge, a fortress of defense to save me. For You are my rock and my fortress; therefore, for Your name’s sake, lead me and guide me… For You are my strength. Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.” Psalms 31:1-5 (NKJV)

Does anyone else need the reminder today that the Lord God, the Creator of this World wants to be:

  • Your Rock
  • Your Refuge
  • Your Fortress
  • Your Deliverer
  • Your Defense
  • Your Guide
  • Your Help
  • Your Strength
  • Your Truth
  • Your Redeemer

He wants to be all that – – – and so much more!

All you have to do is call out to Him! He’s listening for your voice!

This is what God says to you – – “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3 (NKJV)

I Love Your Word!

Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law. . .Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statues, and I shall keep it to the end. Give me understanding,, and I shall keep Your law; indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it. . .My soul faints for Your salvation, but I hope in Your word. . . Oh, how I love Your law!” Psalms 119:18, 33-35, 81 and 97 (NKJV)

There is one great passion within the heart of this Bible teacher. No greater delight to me in all the years that I have been a teacher. I LOVE to put a copy of God’s Word, the Bible, into the hands of a child! I love to watch the expression on their face when I tell them, “That Bible is yours!” I love to teach them how to use their new Bible and watch as they make their first discovery within its pages. I love to tell them about God and His great love for them. And let them know that the more they read from the Bible, the more they will discover truths about a God who loves them very much.

One boy in particular, who I gave a Bible to recently, shared a priceless reaction with this aging teacher. First of all, it was his eyes. They grew so large and bright as I handed him his very own Bible. Those eyes danced within his head. For the longest time, he looked at the Bible and then at me. “For real?” he would say. “Yes! For real, its yours!” and he would repeat all over again. And again. I lost count of how many times that happened.

It was his smile. The biggest, broadest smile I had ever seen from a child. A smile that reflected his hearts delight. His smile filled with joy and had escaped from his heart and showed up on his face. His smile laughed as his feet would dance about the floor. His smile and laughter were contagious as soon others were looking on with wonderment.

It was his hands. He gently held that Bible within his hands, almost too afraid that he might cause it harm. “Its Yours!” I kept telling him. Finally, he drew in a deep breath and he held his Bible tightly to his chest. “All mine?” he said as if he still didn’t believe his teacher. “Do you know, Ms. Kathy how long I have wanted one of these? Are you sure it’s mine?” His little hands shook as he held that Bible closer to himself.

It was his posture as he sat down, right there on the floor. He crossed his legs. He carefully laid that Bible upon his lap. Very gently and very slowly, he opened the cover of his new bible. He read the words that his teacher wrote inside. He looked up at me with a “Are you sure?” question once more. I am certain that I saw a tear in his eyes. I know there were tears streaming down my cheeks as I tenderly watched this young boy.

It was his voice as he turned over a few pages of his brand new Bible and he began to read out loud. He looked up at me again. More smiles. More tears. He turned over a few more pages and read a little more out loud. He look up and…! It went on for what seemed like a really long time, although no one dared to stop him. It was just too precious to stop watching. He was discovering something new. Something that was about to change the whole course of this young boy’s life.

God’s Word has that effect on some people. They long to have a Bible of their own. They cannot wait to hold it within their hands. To sit down, open it up and begin to read. They wonder about the God who wrote the Bible. Wonder who He is, where He is, and what He is all about. Opening up a Bible is the first step to discovering all of that and so much more.

Since that day, my student has shared with me that he has been reading his Bible. He tries to read it every day. But “sometimes I miss it cuz I’m busy.” He shares with me things he is reading. He asks questions of things he doesn’t understand. He wants some help in learning to pronounce some of the names of people and places where Jesus is traveling. He is discovering how much different life was in Bible times compared to the life he is living today. He tells me that he is happy with his new Bible. It happens to be his “bestest present ever.” The most important thing is that he is learning about God!

It doesn’t matter where you are when you read the Bible. You can read it sitting at the table, curled up in a comfy chair, stretched out on your tummy, laying on the floor, or tucked under the covers as you lay in bed. A Bible can be read at home, in church, on the playground or high up in a tree house. You can read it anywhere and at anytime. Where you read the Bible is not as important as the fact that you simply spend some time to read it.

I introduced my student to the longest book in the Bible. Do you know which one that is? I also introduced him to the longest chapter within that book. Do you know which one that is?

Psalm 119. I encourage you, dear reader, to go grab a Bible of your own, find a comfortable place and have a good read. It’s all about God’s Word. My student read it through once. Asked a ton of questions. Got his answers from the teacher. Decided to read it again. This time he made a list. With his permission, I share this precious writing with you.

“Title of my List: Things I Get If I Read The Bible (from Psalm 119)

  • I get blessed if I walk in the law of the of the Lord
  • I will learn God’s righteous judgments (what does that mean?)
  • I can seek God with my whole heart
  • I can hid God’s word in my heart so I don’t sin against him
  • I can rejoice. I can delight in God
  • I will not forgot God’s word if I read God’s word
  • I can live God’s word (doesn’t that mean I need to obey it?)
  • I can keep the commandments
  • I can ask God to help me understand it all
  • I can chose the way of truth
  • I can trust God’s word because it is true
  • I will try to remember God’s word and keep it pure
  • I can think about God often
  • I promise to not forget the commandments
  • I will rise up in the morning to praise and read
  • I want to learn all the laws of God
  • I hope in God’s word
  • I will be faithful to God and his word and his trust
  • I will delight in God and his word because he delights in me
  • I want God’s Word to be my guide in life
  • I will follow the light of God’s Word (not sure what that means though)
  • I want God to look down on me with mercy
  • I want God’s face to shine on me
  • I want God to teach me his ways
  • I want to always find hope in God
  • I always want to love God and the Bible

“And my favorite verse out of all of Psalm 119 just happens to be – “Are you ready for this?”

“…My heart stands in awe of Your word. I rejoice at Your word. As one who finds great treasure.” Psalms 119:161-162

So, how did this teacher react?

With tears streaming down my cheeks, and a heart that was about to burst with joy, I went to find my Bible. I held it firmly within my hands, while I sat down in my comfy chair. I curled my legs up underneath me and settled down in comfort. With awe and renewed wonder, I opened my Bible. Found Psalms 119. I smiled as I thought of my student and the blooming relationship between him and His God. My eyes focused on the words written on the page, and I began to read.

“I love Your word, O God!”