I Understand

I understand your world more than you realize.
I understand the many duties and distractions and
your desire for companionship and order.
You also have a desire for things eternal.
You seek a closer relationship with Me,
and stand up for the way of the cross.
You are grateful for the sacrifices I made,
and press on, like Paul mentioned, “toward the mark
for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”(KJV)
Enjoy this day with Me as your companion.

 In the New Living Translation, Philippians 3:4 says “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

Paul was very single-minded in traveling throughout the country presenting the gospel to others. He penned much of the New Testament through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. While imprisoned he witnessed to many and prayed for all the fledging churches and fellow Christians.

At times, we need to examine our lives and priorities. As we pray, God helps us define our purpose and mission and fulfill God’s plan for our lives.

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God’s Plan

The love of God a perfect plan
Is planning now for thee
It holds “a future and a hope,”
Which yet thou canst not see.

 Though for a season, in the dark,
He asks thy perfect trust,
E’en that thou in surrender “lay
Thy treasure in the dust,”

 Yet He is planning all the while,
Unerringly He guides
The life of him, who holds His will
More dear than all besides.

Trust were not trust if thou couldest see
The ending of the way,
Nor couldst thou learn His songs by night,
Were life one radiant day.

Amid the shadows here He works
The plan designed above,
“A future and a hope” for thee
In His exceeding love.

“A future” – of abiding fruit
With loving kindness crowned;
“A hope” – which shall thine own transcend,
As Heaven the earth around.

Though veiled as yet, one day thine eyes
Shall see His plan unfold;
And clouds that darkened once the path
Shall shine with Heaven’s gold.

Enriched to all eternity
The steadfast soul shall stand,
That, “unoffended,” trusted Him,
Who all life’s pathway planned.

 “I know the plans, which I am planning for you, plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)

This poem was written by Freda Hanbury Allen in a book called “Springs in the Valley” published in 1939.  During a very troubled time in my life when I felt I needed to lay “my treasure” down,  reading those words gave me courage. I don’t know what you are facing at the moment but I trust this will bless you. Throughout life there may be many “treasures” we will lay at the feet of Jesus. It may be a relationship, a career or anything we prize greatly. Yet, God often replaces the silver with gold and it truly is beyond anything we could have imagined.

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Appropriate My Strength

I care about the sparrow that falls.
I clothe the wild flowers with their beautiful colors.
Do you not think I will provide for you?
I promised to supply all your needs.
Your desires for emotional, physical and spiritual stability will be met.
Access My power, strength, love and peace!
Ask and you will receive.
You have been obedient with the talents I have entrusted to you.
Now, I will give you more.
You will find My strength is made perfect in your weaknesses.
You are conscious of these imperfections.
Now learn about the strengths I am giving you.
Appropriate them for your life and work.
Try me now and see!

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Philippians 4:13 (NLT) 

Many times, we do not attempt projects because we are only focused on our doubts, fears and weaknesses. Some people are plagued with feelings of impeding failure and inadequacy. This scripture speaks to our lives again and again.

From a high school dropout who finally went back to school at age forty, I can attest to having those feelings. When I asked God to take over my life, He showered me with blessings. He helped me get a Master’s degree in counseling. With His guidance I started a nonprofit counseling agency which, at times, had 15 employees. He blessed my life as a marriage and family therapist for over twenty-five years.

God gave me the desire to listen closely to His words of love, comfort and guidance. Because He strengthens me daily, I wish others to know My Savior in the same way. The simple “listenings” I share hopefully will inspire you to take five or ten minutes each day to be still and hear from our Heavenly Father.

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BUSYNESS

I am with you in your busyness.
As you bring order into your world, I am applauding your efforts.
See Me in the mundane tasks of life.
My disciples and I washed our clothes in the streams of Galilee.
I took upon myself the form of man for you to know,
I understand the making of a meal and the making of furniture
in a carpenter’s shop.
All these things I have experienced.
I am well acquainted with the hustle and bustle of life.
I bless all your efforts; though only sometimes you see the results.
Never underestimate what I regard as holy.
Dedicate all your work, no matter how humble, to Me.
Understand I am pleased.
Especially, I am pleased when you do your work joyfully!

 ” Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not Christians will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others”. I Thessalonians 4:11,12

Sometimes, we forget that God worked to give us the beautiful creation we enjoy every day. He designed the world to have rivers and lakes, oceans and plains, rugged mountains and fertile valleys. As we labor to make our homes a relaxing and inviting refuge for our family and friends, I believe He is very pleased.

At times, we are overwhelmed, yet is it not wonderful to know that our Jesus experienced work that was demanding. I know the Lord helps me sift through my priorities and supports all facets of our lives. We have His presence and His love to guide us.

 

 

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Be Quiet and Listen

You have much to learn about meditation and reflection.
Paul spent three years on the backside of the Arabian desert
learning from Me.
I spent forty days and nights alone on the mountains.
If you wish to write my words, you have to learn how to
be quiet and listen.
Be still and know
I am God!

 “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel says, ‘Only in returning to me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength.'” Isaiah 30:15 (NLT)

 Very few people I know take time to be quiet. We are so busy with the mundane duties of this modern day life, we don’t acknowledge the need to be like Mary who sat at Jesus’ feet listening to the knowledge He imparted. I know it has been a couple years since I took half a day to meditate on scripture and allow my Master to impart knowledge to me.

Yet, Jesus took forty days, away from his family and his work before He started his ministry. When I read the scripture in Isaiah I wondered if I take one day away from home every six months and spend uninterrupted time with God, I would have  the confidence and quiet demeanor I admire in other Christians.

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Relevance

The first thirty years of my life down on earth may have seemed insignificant to some.
Many of your years may feel unimportant and without relevance.
When you do what I ask, your work has eternal value.
Do not be perplexed!
You do my will.
The secret is to be as forgiving of yourself as I am of you.
Take a day to simply enjoy those things you love doing.

God has told his people, “Here is a place of rest; let the weary rest here. This is a place of quiet rest.” But they would not listen.
Isaiah 28:12(NLT)

Although we do not know much about the early life of Jesus as a carpenter, I’m sure He faced many of the frustrations we do. The scripture tells us He is our High Priest who understands because He lived his life here on earth as a man.

In his ministry He would take his disciples away from the crowds to rest as well as teach them. I believe they guarded themselves from weariness. Yet, many of us have this inner voice urging us to do more. We are tired in body and soul and I know He often says, “Simply rest!” Rest can refresh our minds and bodies. I don’t want to be like the children of Israel. I want to listen and realize rest is as relevant to my walk with the Lord as work.

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Love Others

“A second (commandment) is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself”, Jesus replied. Matthew 22:39 (NLT)

 When you love people and genuinely care for others.
It is a precious gift I give you to use for My kingdom.
I want hands and feet to allow others to know about
My great love for them.
I want them to know My friendship is there;
friendship which will comfort and give them courage.
Let your light shine so others will know and see
what I have done for you.
I love you!

 Recently, a gentleman, who sat at our Sunday School table for the past three months, suddenly died. Although we knew his name and chatted each Sunday morning, we had not taken the time to know his circumstances.

Apparently he and his wife had attended our church for some time. Yet, in a church with almost a thousand people attending and two services there are many members we do not know. His wife had died and Terry (not his real name) lived alone. Perhaps I could have tried to find out where he lived and a phone number.

But now in the future, I will begin, at my table at least, to know and care for the family of God and learn to see others as Jesus did while He walked this earth.

There is an old song “Oh to be His hand extended, reaching out to the oppressed.” I want to always be God’s extended hand to those around me.

 

 

 

 

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Little is Much

Little is much in My hands.
I once used a donkey to get Balaam’s attention.
The donkey saw My angel standing in the way.
The donkey also spoke to Balaam.
How much more can I utilize a life fully surrendered to Me?
I am not looking for greatness;
I am only looking for people yielded to My purposes
for My power is great.
I want willing people to proclaim My Word to hearts hungry
for the peace and love only I can give them.
I use the joy and faithfulness expressed in the lives of Christians.
Little is much in My hands.

 ” ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me… For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NLT)

 Many of us only see the accomplishments of others and begin to compare ourselves to other people. God sees our willing hearts! He wants to use us but we must be willing to obey Him. David, too young to go in the army, killed Goliath using a sling-shot and stone. Then God enabled David to sever Goliath’s head with Goliath’s own sword. The entire Philistine army ran in defeat and the Israelites were victorious.

When Christ fed the multitude of 4000 men plus women and children, in Matthew 15, the disciples were only able to find seven loaves of bread and a few fish. Jesus blessed this small offering, divided that among the twelve disciples and told them to feed the crowd. It must have taken much faith by the disciples to keep giving out the small amount of food they had in their hands to everyone as they were only able to see the small portion. Amazingly, after everyone was fed, there were seven baskets full of food left over.

I am thrilled God uses our lives when we give them to Him wholeheartedly to accomplish His purposes through us.

 

 

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Learn to Trust

My child, I came to lift all your burdens,
I realize your day was busy,
I do understand.
There were times, I needed to get away from the demands of the crowds and
spend time renewing My Strength through praying to Our Father.
Ministering to others can take energy and deplete your stamina.
Allow yourself to stop working in the evenings and rest in My love.
Tomorrow is another day with its concerns.
Use My wisdom and knowledge in laying out the day’s tasks.
When you call me Lord, remember to do what I assign.
Trust and rely more on Me.

 “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7
New Living Translation

Often, in the evenings, I make out a “to do” list for the next day. However, I have noticed when I pray in the morning and present the long schedule to God, he usually has me eliminate much of that timetable.

Even today, I notice He says to “stop working in the evenings”. Yet, since I was concerned that this week’s blog was not complete – I worked until 10:30 in the evening and then woke at 2:30 am. I must learn to rely more on God instead of my own compulsive ways. His ways are truly the best.

 

 

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Pleasant Conversations

“Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.” Colossians 4:6 (NLT)

 Have you ever wished you could retract hasty words you have spoken? I know I have! Yet, I have many friends who are very loving and kind in each and every conversation we have together. I finally went to God is prayer asking Him to change me.

 Yes, I will gladly teach you to curb your tongue.

As James said, in My Word, it is the most unruly member in your body.

Your speech must be tamed if you are going to bring Me the love and obedience I want.

How hard is it to give up the privilege of saying what you think is true at the time?

However, if you trust Me, I will see that My truth wins out.

My loving ways can be expressed through you as learn from Me.

 As a marriage and family therapist, one of the exercises we would do was to encourage a couple to say whatever they wished to each other, and they had to use their finger to point to the other person. If you use your index finger to emphasize your speech, you will note that the other three fingers are pointing back at yourself.

Perhaps this is what Christ meant when He offered this analogy concerning judging others: “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, ‘Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye, then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” Luke 6:41,41 NLT

 I do want to learn to make my words gracious and attractive!

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