“Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth! Sing out the honor of His name; make His praise glorious. Say to God, how awesome are Your works! Through the greatness of Your power Your enemies shall submit themselves to You. All the earth shall worship You and sing praises to You; They shall sing praises to Your name. Come and see the works of God; He is awesome in His doing toward the sons of men.” Psalms 66:1-5 (NKJV)
Those of you who have to wear glasses will no doubt relate to this story. If anything, it might just provide a little chuckle.
What are glasses? Glasses are that necessary aid to enhance our vision. Glasses enable us to see the world more clearly (literally!) Glasses help bring clarity and correctness to the things we look at every day. Glasses help us read a good book, watch a sunset in vivid color, enable us to see where we are going when driving. Glasses are those things you often look for, only to find them on the top of your head. Glasses are an option for some, while an absolute necessity for others. Glasses are the thing that some of us just cannot live without!
I, personally, have worn glasses from the time I was a young girl. My mother tells the story that she finally realized that I needed glasses when I kept running into the walls at home. I remember those days! And the bumps and bruises that went along with those wall encounters. Not fun! I also remember the very first time I went to the eye doctor, with mom assuring me that it wasn’t going to hurt, not one bit. For some weird reason, the eye chart fascinated me. I asked the doctor after he finished having me read the line that I could see the clearest, “What line did I read? Point me to it.” Bless his heart, he humored me and pointed to the exact line that I had read out loud to him. Not bad. Then I said, rather bravely of me, I thought, “When do I get to go to the top of the chart?” Well, hey, before you start laughing at me, you have to give credit to a kid that wanted to “move up in the world.” Right? That doctor looked at me with the strangest look on his face. I didn’t understand. (Hey, I was a kid!) Then he looked at my mom and for some reason they were both laughing. Hmm, did they know something that I did not? Then he looked back at me and with a smile on his face, he said, “My dear little girl, this is one chart that you don’t want to climb. At least not any time soon!”
NOW! Now, I understand what that doctor meant! Please sir, can I go back down to the bottom of the chart? Please?
Nowadays I am totally lost without my glasses. They are – and have been for years – a permanent fixture to my face. I don’t ever leave home without them. Hey, I don’t even roam around in my home without them. Guaranteed to hit that wall again. They are the first thing I put on in the morning and the last thing I remove at night. And nobody better touch my glasses while I sleep.
Recently I had an experience with my glasses that, well – – – use your imagination here! You will get it!
It was the wee hours of the morning. I woke up with a start. Not sure if I heard something, had a nightmare, or it was just one of those sleepless nights. But I was awake. Laid there in the darkness for what seemed to be ages. It was DARK in that room! Normally, I like that but not on this night. Kind of had a creepy feel to it, not sure why. It was clear that sleep was done. As I laid there, my brain switched on like a light bulb. Bright, bold and beautiful. I love my mind but not at 3 o’clock in the morning. I decided to get up. Rolled over and reached for……!
Panic hit my heart. I know because it started pounding in my chest pretty hard! Trying my best not to fall out of the bed. And being ever so careful not to waken the hubby lying next to me. I especially didn’t want to wake up the dog, lying in his own bed on the floor next to my bed. If Max heard me, that was it. I would have to get up for sure. But……wait! I can’t find…….my glasses!!!
Who took my glasses? Where are they? My hand is flying all over that nightstand. They were just here. This is where I left them. But, for some strange reason, they ain’t there now. And then, I heard the whimper. Yep! Max is awake. Goodnight nighttime! Good very early morning Max!
Before I knew it, I am on the floor. Please, don’t let me step on my glasses; that would be all I needed. I’m down on the floor, hands and knees knocking everywhere, trying my best to feel my way around. Of course, Max is thinking its playtime and quite happily offered to help with the search. Where, oh where, are my glasses? Don’t panic! You will find them. Oh, good, hubby is still snoring! Long may that continue as I don’t want to wake him up. I still cannot find my glasses!! No Max, I am NOT playing! Not now! It’s a horrible feeling when you have to get up in the middle of the night and you can not find your glasses!
Max and I finally gave up the search. Both exhausted from the search, we laid down on the rug on the floor and went to sleep. Hubby never knew!
And in the morning, when the alarm went off. I reached up onto the nightstand by my bed. Low and behold, I found my glasses! Right there! Right where I left them!
All day long, I chuckled to myself over that story as it played out in my mind. How crazy! With a little light and a good pair of glasses, it’s amazing what you can see! What was lost, is now found!
I realized that day something spiritual about glasses. Yes, there really is a spiritual lesson here.
God gave to mankind the ability to read written words. And He provided us with His written word, the Bible. Many of us own a copy of the Bible. Some might even have multiple copies, and different versions of the Bible. That Bible will do us no good at all if we just leave it on a bookshelf, or a table somewhere in our house. In order to know what it says, we should open it and read it. Within its pages we will learn more about God, about heaven, about God’s Son, Jesus, and so much more.
Once we open that Bible to read, many of us will reach for our glasses. Why? Well, for the simple reason that we want to be able to see what it is we are reading. We want to see the written word more clearly.
And yet, when it comes to reading the Word, we tend to be blind. Can’t see it well. It’s a little blurry and we lack perception. Everything seems to run together into a big blur. The understanding of what we are looking at is just not there. We are blind without some help in our seeing.
In a sense, we need to put on our “spiritual glasses” to be able to see and understand the good things that God wants us to read and to know from within the pages of His Word. So, the next time you sit down to read the Bible, God’s Word to you, put on your “spiritual glasses” – your SPECS if you will. And as you read, ask yourself these questions.
Try it the next time you read the Bible. Put on your spiritual specs. Ask some questions. It’s guaranteed to open the eyes of your understanding. And it will help you see things just a little more clearly.
With the right pair of glasses, you will be able to see, like the Psalmist, “the works of God” so clearly. You will, with the Psalmist, be able to sing and shout out in honor of His name, “How awesome are Your works!”
With the right pair of glasses, you will see “He is awesome in His doing toward the sons of men.”
Now, where did I put those glasses?
It was the very wee hours of the morning! I cannot sleep. So I get up. Fixed myself a hot cup of tea. Curled up in my favorite chair. The dog settled on my lap for another nap. I picked up my bible from off the table. I settle down for a good read.
Psalms 31 was the place my bookmark indicated for my reading of this morning. A Psalm of trust. Trust and Hope seemed to be my key words this past week, as I encountered many a trial and difficult circumstance of life. I trust God whole-heartedly. My hope is in Him alone. And yet, as I have learned in life, my hope and trust can be tested. They can be and often need to be renewed. I know that I need that gentle reminder from time to time to trust in God and place my hope with Him.
This morning as I sat and read and meditated and prayed over God’s Word – ah, it just felt like a rain shower to my soul. Gentle rain, sent by God to wash away my concerns, at least for a time. The wonderful words of Scripture brought me peace. It reminded me of God’s faithfulness to me. I soaked in those words, like moisture from the cool rain, refreshing the parched, dry ground of my heart.
Just listen to these words from Psalms 31. Let them fall like fresh rain upon your soul. Soak in their refreshment. Let them wash away your concerns. Let them renew your trust and bring you hope for the day.
Take a moment, dear blog reader, and just stand in awe of your God! Give thought to who He is. Consider what He has done for you. His great love for you is faithful and true. That love grows stronger with each and every day. His love washes over your soul. His kindness and mercy bring refreshment to your heart, just like the rain brings its refreshment to the dry ground.
Have you placed your trust in this God? Does your hope come from Him?
Do you stand in awe of the Lord your God?
“I will love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies. . . In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry came before Him, even to His ears.” Psalms 18:1-3 and 6 (NKJV)
What kind of battle are you facing today?
Each and every day, we all face a battle of some kind or another in our personal lives! The reality is that battles are a fact of life. It is through those battles that we build our character, find our strength, learn who has our back, and step out in courage to fight another day. What kind of battle are you engaged in today?
There are so many different battles in life. Every day we engage in one type or another. Sometimes we can choose these battles and other times we are thrown into the depths of battle without even realizing it.
The Psalmist David was ever so familiar with battles. Even before he was a King, David faced battles. As a shepherd he battled for his sheep’s safety against lions and bears that sought to devour. As a young man, he stood up against a 9 foot giant, named Goliath, and did battle with just a sling and five smooth stones, and the Lord was on his side to help him fight that giant, only to knock him dead with one powerful blow. David battled the threats and attempts of King Saul who desired to kill him. He ran for his very life as opposed to engaging in face to face conflict with him. As a king, he would lead his men into battle over other kings and nations. David knew all about battles. He suffered the consequences of some. And he rejoiced in the victory of many.
Psalms 18 is a record of David’s response when God provided deliverance from his enemies after a time of battle with them. Written to the Chief Musician; this is the “Psalm of David, the servant of the Lord, who spoke to the Lord the words of this song on the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.”
In the midst of his battles, David had learned this: He needed God! He needed God to be with him in battle, to strength him, to protect him, to give wisdom, to bring victory. Hmmm, don’t we need that in our battles as well? I know, I sure do. And thus, God can be that for us as well.
David starts out this Psalm by giving praise to God. David gives tribute to the Lord who was his strength, his rock, his fortress, his deliverer, his shield, his horn, and his stronghold. For all of these things, David said that his God is “worthy to be praised.” David received help from his God, in the midst of battle, from the Lord his God. And, David was grateful.
So, how did David get that help? Simple. He called upon the Lord! Look again at verse 6, “In my distress, I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God.” My reader, whenever we are in the midst of our own battles, no matter what kind of battle it is, no matter where that battle is taking place, we too can call out to the Lord our God. We can cry out for strength in the midst of our battles! We can know that God is on our side.
Was God on David’s side? Absolutely. Just look at what David says of God’s response to him. “He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry came before Him, even to His ears.” God hears when we cry out to Him. He knows about our battles. He sees them. He allows them to take place in our lives. But, in the midst of our battles, He is there for us. He stands ready to help. He is listening for our cry. He hears and He will answer. His strength will become our strength. He will help fight the battle with us. He will bring about victory, in His time and in His way. That’s the Lord our God!
But…! As I read on in this Psalm of David, I learned something else that really blessed my heart. David shares some of the things that God did for him, in the midst of the battle. And I love the way David said it. The words he used. The help and encouragement that David received from the hand of the Lord his God was breathtakingly beautiful. Just listen to David’s words. You can almost hear his voice as he describes the Lord’s help in the midst of the battle.
I don’t know about you, but when I read through that list – my heart does flip-flops! There is no doubt whatsoever, that God was present with David in the midst of his battle. And no doubt, whenever David cried out to God, He was there for David. God provided David all that he needed to be successful in battle.
It’s no wonder that David wrote a psalm of praise to the God of the battles. This is David’s praise: “The Lord lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted… Therefore I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the Gentiles, and sing praises to Your name.” (verses 46 and 49)
For myself, I realize, once again, that when I am in the midst of battle, of any kind, that I too can call out to God. And He will come to me, and give me aid in that battle. My strength and help will come from Him. The wisdom I need to make good decisions in the battle, will be His wisdom. He will be my rock, my fortress and my deliverer. And for that, I, too, can give praise to my God.
Let’s go back to my first question. What kind of battle are you facing today? Have you cried out yet to the Only One who has your back? He’s listening for that battle cry!
“Unto You I lift up my eyes, O You who dwell in the heavens…So our eyes look to the Lord our God, until He has mercy on us. Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us!” Psalms 123:1-3 (NKJV)
What are you looking at these days? Where is your focus?
The other night I stood in the backyard, watering my garden. After a very hot, dry day in the Arizona sun, things were wilting a little more than usual. The trees, plants and bushes all needed a good dose of cool water. So, while I am doing that, our little dog was “helping.” This dog of ours loves water and mud and digging up mom’s flowers when she is not looking right at him. Max has also learned that he can try and bite the water hose. He will only do that when there is watering running through it. Now, he really cannot bite into that hose, due to his under-bite with his teeth. But he certainly tries and it is ever so funny to watch.
So, I’m watering, laughing at the dog, picking a few weeds along the way. And then….!
I just happened to look up into the sky. And, I saw it! The most gorgeous sunset was happening in the sky. I LOVE sunsets! There was the most beautiful mix of colors popping out of the sky’s canvas and were shedding their glare through the branches of our 40 foot pine tree. The scene was breath taking (yes, I WISH I had my camera, but didn’t!) I just stood there as color after color shot its beauty across the sky. An airplane flew through the color and the clouds. It looked ever so tiny upon that vast canvas before me. A few birds were flying in and out of the tree that provided so much shade for our backyard. Max was nipping at my feet, trying to get my attention to play a little. I glanced down and realized I flooded the flowerbed that I was supposedly watering. Ah, what’s a little extra water in the midst of Arizona heatwave.
My focus – my eyes, just kept going back to that sunset, to the colors in the sky. I was absolutely mesmerized by the constant change, the hues of color, the beauty as it stretched out over the night sky. As I watched, I thought of God. I always think of God when I watch a sunset. He’s the One who created such a beautiful scene on this hot summer’s night. God knew I would be in garden, and that I would enjoy watching His creative masterpiece take shape once more. It was so beautiful. It was definitely breath-taking and awesome to admire. For the longest time, my eyes were fixed on that sunset. My focus clearly appreciating the colors and the perfection of God’s creation within a sunset. I loved what I was looking at.
As the sun set further and further down and eventually going out of sight, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “That was a lovely sunset, a spectacular sight to look at!” My eyes had focused for quite a long time upon that sunset and my heart thrilled within me as I beheld its stunning beauty. And immediately, I had to turn my focus onto something else.
That’s the way it is, isn’t it? Something or someone captures our attention. We set our focus on that one thing. It may be for just a brief moment of time; it could be much longer. But our focus is set. And then, something else comes along that we need to look at. Something else that needs our focused attention.
What are you looking at today? Where is your focus?
I like Psalms 123. For within these few verses, the Psalmist is really asking us the same questions.
I hope that sometime today, in the busyness of your life, that you will take the time to set you focus upon the Lord God, your Creator. He will do something, say something, show you something that He wants you to focus on. Perhaps He will use a sunset to capture your look. Maybe its in the mountain that you hiked? Could it be in doing the job He gave you to do? Or perhaps, He got your attention in His written Word, a special bible verse He wanted you to focus on, when you sat down to read your Bible today.
Or, did you even do those things today? Did you look at God as He showed Himself around you? Did God get your focus at all? Did you set your eyes upon Him at all today?
The Psalmist says, “Unto YOU I lift up my eyes…So our eyes look to the Lord our God UNTIL….”
“Until He has mercy on us.”
Do you realize just how often the Lord God shows us His mercy? All the time! Every day! Every moment of the day!
Do we notice? Do we look towards Him? Do we set our focus at all upon His mercy towards us?
Here’s a few things I would like us to know about God’s mercy:
And…. We can cry out for His mercy at any time. “God be merciful to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us.” Psalm 67:1
The Lord God’s face shines upon His children in mercy. He has set His focus upon us. His eyes look upon His children, all the time. We can see His mercy, every day, every moment of that day, if only we would but look. And whatever might happen one day, we know it will be different tomorrow. For we can know that His mercies are new every day. Our God is a merciful God!
He wants every one of His creation, to set their eyes upon Him. Look at Him! With mercy and love, He is looks down from Heaven at YOU! Look up to the Heavens and fix your eyes upon the Lord God. The things that He will show you are beautiful, breath-taking and awesome. Set your focus upon Him. And in that moment of awe, between you and the Lord God, cry out for His mercy. “Have mercy upon me, O Lord, have mercy upon me!”
So, what ARE you looking at today? What or Who has your focus?
“I will make Your name to be remembered to all generations; therefore, the people shall praise You forever and ever.”
One of the many names of God is FAITHFUL. Our God is faithful. He always has been and always will be!
In this posting, I am calling on all my brothers and sisters, who believe in our faithful God, to help me with a special project for one of my students.
So, here’s the story: I have a 12 year old student that I have been teaching and mentoring in his new walk with God now for a few months. He believes in God and has accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. He is so eager to learn new things about God. He is like a little sponge, just soaking up new information and teachings about God all the time. Some of that learning is easy for him. But there are some things that he struggles to understand. What I love, is that he is asking LOTS of questions. Lately we’ve been talking about God’s faithfulness. He has said, “I don’t see God’s faithfulness in my life yet cuz I think I’m too little and God doesn’t seem to be answering too many of my prayers yet.”
Just the other day, while I was talking with him, he came up with a really great idea. As he told me the idea, I saw the excitement in his glittering eyes. I heard the anticipation in his voice as the words stumbled out of his mouth in an eagerness to get started. It is an idea that he hopes will help him in the process of learning more about the faithfulness of God. The idea? He would like to interview other Christians – those who also believe in God and have asked Jesus Christ to be their Savior and who want to live a good Christian life. He would like other brothers and sisters in God’s family to help him learn about our God’s faithfulness.
Here is what my student writes, describing his idea:
“Ms. Kathy, as you know I am really struggling to understand about God’s faithfulness. So I thought I would like to conduct an interview with other Christians in hopes they might share their thoughts and I might learn from them. Hopefully they will have good things to share with me as I learn. Since I cannot do interviews in person (thank you bad coronavirus) I thought I would do them on Facebook and Blog Sites. Ms. Kathy do you think that your friends on Facebook and all your blog readers might answer 2 simple questions for me? They would be helping a little guy learn more about God. Please ask them to help me learn. Please.”
So, what do you think of that idea? Any blog readers out there want to help me teach a 12 year old about the faithfulness of our great God?
Here are his 2 questions:
Well, I guess the challenge is on.
Ms. Kathy has already posted this on her Facebook page. And now, here it goes out on her Blog.
Hmmm, I wonder, how many responses will my little student and I get back? He wonders what countries those answers will come from?
Could one of those answers be YOURS?
A young student of mine recently wrote me a list of questions that he wanted some answers to.
“I have asked some other adults in my life to answer these questions, but they made clear they didn’t have time. So, Ms Kathy, I hope you will take the time to answer them for me. Take your time and answer them well. But PLEASE answer me.”
Personally, I think kids ask the greatest questions!
The type of questions they innocently ask us adults, confirms for me the fact that they are really wanting to learn. Kids learn best by asking questions. It breaks my heart when the adults in their lives don’t have time – or don’t want to take the time – to answer these precious questions. I have always told the students I teach, ask away! I’ll answer your questions. If I don’t know the answer, then together we will work on making a new discovery. It was my great delight to answer this student’s questions.
Let me share one of those questions with you, my blog readers. I wonder, how would you have answered this question:
Who is the greatest man in history?
My student also wrote: “I am just curious what your answer to this question will be. Teachers in my school have told me that there are many great people in the world. And the teacher tells us the story of some of them like the president of the united states, men who made big discoveries in medicine or space, men who are great sports players or music players and men who lives a really LONG time ago and are now too old or dead. I would agree with my school teacher. SOME of these are great men. But can I share a little secret with you I think some of my teachers greatest men are truly BORING. I don’t know what I would say if someone asks me this question. I have never met a truly great man yet but then I’m not that old. Some day I hope to shake the hand of a great man but that might not happen for a long time yet. But I was wondering Ms Kathy who do you say is the greatest man in history?“
I will be honest with you, I didn’t have to think about my answer to this one at all. I KNOW who the greatest man in history is. Would you like to know what my answer to my student was??? Read on, my blog reader, read on!
The greatest man in history had no servants, and yet they called him Master. He had no educational degrees or letters behind his name, yet they called him Teacher. He had no medicines or magic potions, yet he was known as Healer. He had no army, yet kings from many a nation have feared him. He won no military battles, yet he conquered the world. He committed no crimes, yet they crucified him. He was buried in a tomb, yet he is alive today.
Who is this great man?
This great man of history is my Savior; He died on the cross, paying the penalty for my sins, for the sins of the whole world. This great man is the beloved Son of God. This great man is the King of Kings over all the nations. This great man is the Lord of Lords in my life. This great man is my Redeemer, my Refuge, and my Rock. This great man is my Comfort, my Deliverer, my Help, my Strength, my Guide, my All in All. This great man is the most amazing and awesome man I have ever met.
And yes, I know this man personally, although I have yet to meet Him face to face. He is the absolute love of my life. This great man is my Friend!
Who is this great man?
His name is JESUS!
Do you know Him?
“God, my heart hurts right now!”
It hurts bad! Not from a broken relationship, not from a death of a loved one or friend, and not from some loss or even a great sorrow.
Instead, my heart hurts, pure and simply, from the misunderstandings and judgments of people.
While my intentions were good and noble, they were totally misunderstood by other people, who stand on the sidelines of my life, just watching me. While my words and deeds were carefully thought about, prayed over and gently delivered, they were judged incorrectly by self-appointed critics around me. While I completely knew and understood the set of circumstances that I was living out, others entered those circumstances only to find fault and criticize the pure intentions of my heart. Can anyone else relate to that kind of scenario?
There are no words to describe that kind of “heart hurt!” It just hurts! And it hurts bad!
The Psalmist knew that kind of “heart hurt.” Please, read and hear his heart in these words:
“I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long…I am feeble, and severely broken; I groan because of the turmoil of my heart.” Psalms 38: 6 and 8 (NKJV)
When you are the recipient of someone else’s misunderstanding, judgment, faultfinding and criticism, it does something awful to your heart. It is hard to recover from. It tears your heart into pieces. It destroys intentions. It discourages. It weakens confidence. Especially when what you intended to do or to say was planned and meant to help, to encourage, to embolden others. When others come behind those efforts with their self-appointed criticism, intense fault-finding and “better than you” attitude, it relentlessly crushes your spirit. Your heart is broken!
Why do people think its okay to do that to another human being?
One thing I have learned from the Psalmist is that I can come before my God and simply lay my hurting heart down to Him. Whatever my heart holds at that time, I can give it to God. And my God, graciously, accepts that heart, with an abundant measure of LOVE! I do not fully understand God’s love. I just know that God loves my heart! He cherishes it!
The Psalmist says, “Lord, all my desire is before You; and my sighing is not hidden from You. My heart pants, my strength fails me; as for the light of my eyes, it also has gone from me.” Psalm 38:9-10.
I may not always be able to talk with another human being about how badly my heart hurts at the hand of the self-appointed critics in life, but I can always talk to my God! He is right there for me. He saw and heard what transpired. He clearly knows the intentions of my heart. He saw and heard the reaction of others. He has seen and heard my reaction to them. God knows what happened. He cares!
And yet, as a child of God, He wants to hear from me. He awaits me coming into His presence with the desire to talk with Him. He longingly waits to hear what my heart will say to Him. As I lay before Him my hurting heart, I instantly feel His compassion. I am wrapped in His comfort. I can rest in His care. I can trust my heart to Him.
“For in You, O Lord, I hope; You will hear, O Lord my God…Do not forsake me, O Lord; O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!” Psalms 38:21-22.
No matter what people do (or say!) around me, when my heart is hurting, I want the Lord my God! I want to talk to Him. He alone will truly understand my heart. He looks upon my intentions and decides whether they are good. He picks up the pieces of my crushed heart and begins to bring healing. His love heals. His love knows and understands my heart.
My heart is in good hands! Today and always!!
“In the Lord I put my trust; How can you say to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain? For look! The wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow on the string, that they may shoot secretly at the upright in heart. If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? The Lord is in His holy temple, the Lord’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men. The Lord tests the righteous, but the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates. Upon the wicked He will rain coals; fire and brimstone and a burning wind; shall be the portion of their cup. For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness; His countenance beholds the upright.” Psalms 11:1-7 NKJV
In my hometown, right this very moment of time (at the writing of this blog) we daily watch a fire burning in the Catalina Mountains. It’s a bad fire. It’s scary.
This fire started on June 5th as a result of a lightening strike. I’ve been watching it for over a week now as it has burned 10,367 acres thus far. That tally rises every day. Evacuations have happened. The fire is only 10% contained. Several hundred firefighters from five different states are battling this fire day and night. Their work, however, is limited due to the fact that the fire burns in rough terrain – too tough to get boots onto the ground within that area. They rely upon air support planes dropping gallons of water onto the fire from above. Their work is complicated due to our hot temperatures, gusty winds and dry lightening within the area. At the writing of this blog, it is 107 degrees Fahrenheit and expected to be hotter over the next few days. We badly need rain! But the weather forecasters repeatedly say, “No rain in sight!” We pray for rain!!
Wildlife is at risk. Homes and other structures are at risk. Peoples lives are at risk. Although, we have to rejoice in this; at the time of this writing, no injuries, no deaths, no major losses have been reported. But, we all know, with fire, things could change in a heartbeat. People we know have had to leave their homes, not sure if it will be still standing whenever they receive the signal to return. Like I said before, “It’s scary!”
From our home, we watch the fire. We can see that surge in flames, knowing that its getting worse by the hour. More acreage is burned. More of the mountains beauty is marred. More danger. More risk. Every time I look at that fire, I pray! At night, I go out to the front of my home. From that vantage point, I stand and I watch the glow of fire. It’s wide. It’s bright. It’s scary. I watch it. I pray! That’s all I can do.
But my blog readers, it’s not just the fire that I am experiencing. It’s all the other injustices and fearful things that we are seeing around us every day. There’s the world-wide coronavirus pandemic, there’s earthquakes, floods, tornadoes and wildfires throughout our country. Daily there are abortions happening that snuff out the very breath of a precious life. Mental health issues, depression and suicide are at staggering numbers. Millions of people have now lost their jobs and some wonder where their next meal will come from or how they are going to pay the bills. You turn on the news feeds – only to hear yet more bad news. Fake news vs. real news is a constant. It’s disheartening to hear some of our politicians fighting and arguing so much with each other instead of caring for the people they serve. Daily news is rife with unfairness, selfishness, greed, misunderstandings, fear, and hopelessness. I long to hear a good story for a change. BUT, …!
There is so much anger and hatred and emotions running a muck in my country, around my world. Protests, killings, riots, lootings, buildings and cars set on fire, businesses destroyed. People have lost their homes, their businesses, their jobs, their health, their morals, their dignity and their lives. People are scared, about today, about tomorrow, about their future. Our history is being desecrated as monuments and statues reminding us of our past are daily being destroyed and taken down. Our morals are melting before our eyes as everyone does what is right in their own eyes. It is sad! It is scary!
Our very foundations (physical, mental, emotional, financial and spiritual foundations) are being destroyed all around us!
I sadly hear the cries of some of my fellow people: “Where is your God now?” “God, yes, he is a joke too!” “We don’t need God.” “God? He is about as useful as our politicians.” “We don’t want God. We don’t want….! We will do this ourselves.” These comments, I will be very honest, cut to the very heart of me. They crush my spirit. But yet, these comments motivate me.
I am motivated to read my Bible and pray more. I love God! I love his Word! I love to spend time with Him in prayer! My relationship with God is such, that I can talk to Him about anything. He listens. He hears. He answers. I may not always like the answers He gives me, but I trust Him and know His answers are for my good. I may not understand His plans and purposes for things that happen in my life or in my world. But, I listen when He talks with me and shows me from His Word what He wants me to know.
In reading God’s Word (the Bible) lately, I have been reminded once again of what God thinks about all that is happening in the world around me. I read in Proverbs 6:16-19 of the 7 things that God hates: “These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.”
Sadly, I think that describes our world of today! All the different problems and injustices of our world is not God’s fault. It is the result of the sinful heart of mankind. Listen to the words of Genesis 6:5-6, “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.” The Lord God is grieved in His heart when He sees what mankind is doing right now. He has been grieved since the days of Adam and Eve, when sin first came into the world (Genesis 3). He is grieved for the sin that has gripped generation after generation. I read from the Book of Habakkuk 1:13 what God does with that sin and evil. “You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness..” God cannot even look upon our sin, our evil doings, our ever growing wickedness that we allow to run rampant in our world. Man wants what He wants. Man goes after what He wants. Sin prevails in this evil world. And God, while He is greatly grieved by it, He cannot even look upon our sin. He is too pure; Holy is He! We are His creation, created in His image. He loves us. And yet, the sin that we do, separates us from God, from His great love. He cannot – He will not – look upon our sin. He will not tolerate our sin. He allows it. He allows the consequences of sin to play out as needed. But, God hates sin!
I am motivated by the truth that GOD LOVES THE SINNER! I read from God’s Word, the Bible, the most infamous verse within the pages of the Bible: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (NKJV)
God loves us so much that He provided a way for us to resolve the sin issue. He tells us about that plan in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ did for us.”
Jesus Christ, God’s one and only Son, died for my sins, for your sins and for the sins of the whole world. He willingly took our place on the cross, shed His own blood, so that we might have forgiveness from our sins. And, whoever among us sinners, who believe on Jesus Christ, who confess their sins to Him, who accept Christ as their Lord and Savior, will be saved from the guilt of their sins. We will still have to endure the consequences of those sins; but God, because of His great love, mercy and grace, forgives us of our sins. Forever forgiven! Never to be remembered by God again! That’s God’s love in action!
My friends, each and every one of us, as sinners, standing before a Holy God, have a choice to make. We can choose to remain as sinners, choose to dwell with our sin, choose to continue in evil ways and wickedness. Or we can choose to give our sins to God’s Son, Jesus. We can choose to acknowledge our wrong doings as God does – name it as sin. We can acknowledge that Jesus died for our sins, and choose the gift of everlasting life that is so freely given to us by God. The Bible tells us very clearly in Romans 10:9 and 13, “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved….For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Have you made your choice of what to do with your sin?
I am motivated by one more thing. As I live in this world and I see, every day, the evil, the wickedness, the sin about me and I hear about the hopelessness, the fear, the anxiety that so many people are dwelling with right now – all that motivates me to do something. And some might just say, “But what can you do, you are just one person?” True, but, I believe one person can make a powerfully big difference in their world.
We all have choices to make as we dwell together in this world. I have made mine. My choices are based upon and settled firmly upon the foundation of God’s Word, which cannot be destroyed, demolished, and deceptively taken away from me. My choices are pretty clear as I live out my days in this world. I have to tell you truthfully: this world is not my home! I’m just a passing through. My home is secure in heaven, provided by my Heavenly Father, God, gifted to me through His Son, Jesus Christ, through the shedding of His blood. And one day, only God knows when, I will leave this world of evil, wickedness and sin behind to join the God and Savior I love so much in heaven and there to spend all of eternity.
Until that day, I choose this –
“Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous, not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this…But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled, but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” I Peter 3: 8-17.
Blog Reader: Thank you for taking the time to read this particular entry into my blog. It is my hope that you will give great consideration to your own relationship with God. He loves you! He invites you to talk with Him – either as a sinner confessing your sins to Him or as a sinner saved by grace who is following after Him. I also give you an invite: like my blog entry, leave a comment for others to see, contact me in private if that is your choice. I’m here to listen and to pray for you. In fact, I’m praying right now!
“Teach me Your way, O Lord, and lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.” Psalms 27:11
Have you ever had a time when something happened in your life and you are left feeling like a total failure?
Perhaps, every one of us can say, “Been there, done that one!”
That could actually apply to so many different things in our lives. But, what is most important is what we do with those moments.
I have been a bible teacher for many years now. I absolutely love teaching kids and women the Word of God! It is my heart’s passion. But, several years ago, God asked me to step out in faith and begin to do something that was totally out of my comfort zone. He put it in my heart to start writing and sharing my thoughts and teachings with the world. Daunting as that thought can be on my best days, I decided to take that proverbial “leap of faith” and give writing a try. So, my readers, I am brand new to this world of writing and publishing. And, while I am confident in what I am writing and publishing these days, I have already had my fair share of days when I feel like an absolute failure and am tempted to give up writing altogether.
Does anyone else ever feel that way?
So, this past month or so, I have been going through something within the world of writing and publishing that I didn’t see coming, didn’t expect and certainly didn’t want. I cannot and will not go into any great detail other than to say that it rocked my writer’s confidence with an almighty tough blow. Perhaps the blow was more to my ego than anything else. But yes, perhaps a little to my writing ability. But then, it could also just be the “jerks” behind the whole scenario of what happened. I don’t know. It just kicked me! And it hurts! Bad!!
In all honesty, I am feeling very much like a failure right now. And it’s not pretty!
One day, I want to give up writing. The next day I get a new inspiration and writing seems a breeze. And then, a really nasty comment is posted about my writings and I am determined to quit again. Then someone reminds me that I do have a voice and what I have to say is important. Then someone else comes along to share what they personally have learned from my writings. Their comments encourage my heart and brings my passion back to the forefront. I feel confident to keep on writing despite…!
I wanted to share one comment I received from a special person in my life. He happens to be a good friend, a financial donor to my ministry with kids, and a godly man that I have greatly admired for years. I recently sent him a copy of my first book that was published in April of 2019. My friend spoke about the book and what he thought of my sending it to him. He had already started reading it and was enjoying it. He said, “I’ve taught on this book’s subject in the church for years, but reading this now, I am learning some things that I never knew before. It’s an awesome book. You did a great job with it. When are you writing another?” My heart was encouraged by his words in one second, and then my heart sunk down to my toes when he asked about another book. Sadly, this newly published book, is already being taken out of distribution due to circumstances beyond my control and thus my hurting heart and a true sense of failure on my part. I talked with this friend about what all had happened. He listened to my words, and understood. But greater still, he was listening to my heart for the words my mouth was not saying. He understood that too.
Then he said, “And knowing you like I do, you probably feel like you are a failure right now.”
But, it was his next statement that was just the encouragement that I needed. He lovingly said, “Don’t feel that way! You are not a failure! Fail means first attempt in learning. You just learned something about the reality of the writing and publishing world you probably couldn’t have learned any other way. Let me tell you something girl, you always have something valuable to say. Write what is on your heart and then give it to God before you give it to the world. God will take care of the results.”
I needed to hear that! I was listening to his words and heart too.
I like that part – “fail means first attempt in learning.” I like it, in part, because I like acronyms. But, I like it because its true. Oftentimes we do fail at our first attempt of learning something new that brings us out of our comfort zone. At least, I know I usually do. Yet, just because its our first attempt at something, that doesn’t have to mean that we failed at it. Nor does it mean that we should quit and never try again. Try again is exactly what we need to do. It’s what I need to do.
All this reminds me of the Psalmist David. Now, here is a bible character who knew failure. People failed him, circumstances of life brought failure his way, he failed himself. I am certain there were times in his life when others, and perhaps even himself, were all too happy to remind David of the failures in his life. Satan, for one, is notorious in reminding me of my many failures in life. Our enemies are always all too happy to point out our failures to us. Question is, “Are we listening?”
David has this to say of his enemies: “When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident…” Psalms 27: 2-3.
Our enemies are out there, to fight against us, to entice us to quit and give up the battle, to remind us of where we have failed in the past. And when they do come for us, it is possible to rise up confidently and look them in the face.
David goes on to say, “And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me. Therefore, I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praise to the Lord.” (verse 6). We don’t have to react to those who say we “failed” and we don’t have to give up our dreams just because our “first attempt in learning” didn’t go all that well. We choose the next step!
The Psalmist David, chose to cry out to His God in the midst of the hurt and accusations of “failure”. But pay attention, dear reader, to what David asks of his God. “Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me and answer me. . . Teach me Your way, O Lord and lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.” (verses 7 and 11).
I love the example of David here. Instead of allowing the enemies to get the best of him, he turns to his God. He lifts up his voice and shares with God what needs to be shared – his heart. And then, David asks his Lord, to teach him. David is able to look past his enemies, look beyond their words and actions towards him and see that there is a God who cares. David didn’t settle for the cries of “failure” from those who rose up against him. He didn’t entertain “failure” as an option. David turns to his God in a “first attempt in learning” moment and asks God to be his teacher.
I believe that God’s first words to David would have been, “You are NOT a failure!” Those are the words God spoke into my heart too. And from there God teaches us a new reality. Yes, we can learn many valuable lessons from the hand of God. He is a great teacher. As He teaches, He would encourage confidence, He would inspire us to use the talents we have, and He would challenge us to keep trying for “I am here to help you.” God wants to be our greatest “cheerleader” as we take the not so good things that happen in life and turn them into learning opportunities that build our character and grow us as a person.
The last thing God wants is for us to listen to the voice of our enemies when they attempt to tell us “You are a failure! Let me show you what you did. . . ” Listen not to those voices. They will only bring us down.
I choose not to listen. For in my head and in my heart I KNOW that I am not a failure. God reminds me of that every day. He loves me for who and what I am. He gave me the talents and abilities that I have. He instilled in me the ability to step out of my comfort zone and try something new. He has created me and is helping me to be something amazing in His sight.
So, I might be new to this world of writing and publishing AND I might have a lot to learn as I walk this journey of adventure, but I am confident, with God’s help, I can be an amazing writer for His honor and glory!
“Teach me Your way, O Lord!”