God is Faithful, Always

“O Lord God of hosts, Who is mighty like You, O Lord?   Your faithfulness also surrounds You.”     Psalm 89:8

 

            To say I feel a little overwhelmed would be a major understatement. But not necessarily for the reasons you may think, considering the events of the past week.

First, I’m overwhelmed at the Greatness and Goodness of our God. In the words of King David, who am I Lord that you would be so gracious to me? God took what could have been a tragic event and showed us His love and His protection over Larry’s life. When he fell and shattered the T9 vertebra, it shattered on three sides but the fourth side stayed intact, protecting his spine.

Second thing, the peace. Throughout Larry’s hospital stay, during the surgery and recovery, we both had a sense of peace and we know it was from all the prayers being offered on our behalf. Overwhelming peace.

And third thing, the love.  Not only the love of God covering us, the love of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Phone calls, text messages, hospital visits and gifts, each one reminds us that it is the overwhelming love of Christ through believers that bind us together so we never walk through difficult times alone.

Larry and I still face some uncertainties, decisions that we’ll have to make that will affect our future. When the doctor tells a contractor that he can no longer climb ladders or lift heavy objects, that’s not what he wants to hear. But we know our God is faithful and He has our future in His hands. As our pastor said this morning, it’s not about how big our faith is, but it is about how big our God is.

“I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread.” Psalm 37:25

 

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Dee

 

Macy, the Sweet Pittie

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

2011_may_first_photo_macy
In the course of my life I’ve had many dogs, but there were only a few that were truly special. The first one was Herbie, a yellow collie that walked me to the bus stop every morning and met me at the bus every afternoon when I was in first grade. The second one was Cubby, a white border collie mix that I had when I was in high school. I just knew he was the only soul on earth that really understood my teen-age girl angst. The last one was Macy.
Macy was a shelter dog, we adopted her from the Plano Animal Shelter in 2011. She was a Red Nose Pitt Bull mix and one of a group of dogs that had been there too long because no one would adopt a Pitt Bull mix. But when we explained to the girl at the shelter that we needed a dog that would be good with young children as well as other family dogs, she said “I have just the right dog.” It was love at first sight. She looked at us and her eyes seemed to say “I choose you.”
Macy was the right dog for us. Our grandchildren loved her and she loved them. She liked going on walks but she was also content laying on the floor beside me in front of the fireplace. She kept our house safe from squirrel attack and let me know when it was dinner time. When Lucy, our daughter’s dog, would come over, they would play until they were too tired to keep going. When Deuce, our son’s dog, came to live with us he was just a puppy. But Macy accepted him and even when she started getting sick she would still occasionally play chase or tug of war with him. She brought much joy and unconditional love to our entire famimacy_dee-001_sizedly.
I thank God for Macy and for sending us to the Animal Shelter at just the right time to find her. I thank God for all the love He showed us through Macy.
The Bible doesn’t say much about animals in heaven (except Jesus will return riding a white horse!) so I have no proof I will see Herbie, Cubby or Macy again. But in my heart of hearts, I hope that right after I greet all my family and friends who get to heaven before me, that I will be greeted by a bunch of dogs!

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

God’s Unrelenting Love

“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10

The first song I learned as a child was “Jesus loves me this I know because the Bible tells me so.” And the first Bible verse I learned was John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever should believe on Him would not die but have everlasting life.” I had child faith in the truth of those words, but as I grechild-prayer-clipart-royalty-free-praying-clipart-illustration-216150w up I also heard, and believed other words presented as truth. Along the way the messages of the world began to drown out the message of God’s love for me.
Turn on the TV or listen to the radio for even a little while and we can hear that we’re not thin enough so we need this diet or that medical procedure. Our job is inadequate so we need to go to this school or take that training program. Over and over we hear how lacking we are.
Some messages we absorb from the world are subtle and more damaging to our soul. We compare ourselves or our lives to others and feel inadequate. We try to compensate by turning to other people, working harder at our job or even drugs or alcohol. But these are band-aides, incapable of healing deep wounds, and frequently only cause more pain. Meanwhile, God is calling us to Himself, whispering “I am the One who paid a great price for you, I am the One who heals, I am the One who can give your life meaning.” We must go back to that simple child-like faith and believe that Jesus loves us.
When God sent His Son Jesus to the cross because He loved the whole world, it wasn’t just the whole world in general, but it was for every specific individual ever born of a woman. If you’d been the only person who ever lived, He’d have done it for you.
I pray that you can know, can have intimate knowledge of how much God loves you. It’s not about who you are, how you look, where you came from, or even what you’ve done. It’s all about God and His love for you. He has assigned great worth and value to you. His love is unrelenting and it pursues you. He desires you to know Him and find your place and value in Him.
Here is a prayer the Apostle Paul prayed for the church at Ephesus, and it is my prayer for you.
“I pray that according to the wealth of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner person, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, so that, because you have been rooted and grounded in love, you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and thus to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:16-19 (NET Bible)
Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

Battle-cry Prayer

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God…” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5a (NKJV)replica-weapons-4116NQ

I woke up this morning around 3 a.m. and couldn’t go back to sleep. As I lay there thinking, my mind kept going back to the evening news talking about the decision by a local school district to quietly change their bathroom policy to accommodate transgender students. As I kept thinking about the whole situation, I felt God telling me that these young people are being deceived and used. The true battle is not over who uses which bathroom, but is rather part of a spiritual battle that has been declared over our nation, and our youth and children are in the enemy’s first line of attack.
I struggled trying to figure out how to pray effectively over the situation and all I could do was pray in the spirit because I had no words. After a few minutes, God gave me three specific things to pray and brought verses to my mind to use as a guide.
The first thing to pray for is that the lies of the enemy will be exposed as lies. Jesus said the devil is a liar and has been from the beginning, there is no truth in him. Pray for those bound in Satan’s deception to come to know the truth of Jesus Christ, and that the eyes of their understanding will be opened (Eph. 1:18).
The second thing I heard the Lord say to pray that the evil plots and schemes being made and inspired by wicked spirits would be exposed and thwarted. Psalm 55:9 in the New English Translation says “Confuse them, O Lord! Frustrate their plans! For I see violence and conflict in the city.”
Jesus said in Luke 12:2 & 3 “For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.”
The third thing the Lord said to pray for is that even in this Jesus will be glorified. Philippians 2:9-11 says “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
There is a spiritual war going on over our nation. Those who believe in and proclaim the Name of Jesus have the weapons and the authority to win this war. The only question is will we take up those weapons and will we use the authority given to us to fight?

Father, I pray in the Name of Jesus for all our youth and children who are being used and lied to by the enemy.
Father, I pray for their salvation, that they would come to Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and that they would come to know and understand the love you have for them and that you created them perfectly in your image.
Father expose the lies of the devil, there is no truth in him, he’s been a liar from the beginning. Show him to be the liar that he is.
Father, in the Name of Jesus confuse the plans of evil doers, those who would use our youth and our children for their own wicked purposes. Expose their plans for what they are, that even things whispered in secret will made public.
And Father, above all, exalt the Name of Jesus. Let every knee bow and every tongue confess Jesus is Lord! You wicked agendas – Bow your knee at the Name of Jesus!
Jesus is Lord over these United States!

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

Dressed as the Bride

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:25-27 (NKJV)

rach_chris_wedding_resizedIs there anything more radiant and beautiful than a bride on her wedding day? There is just something special about her, a glow from knowing she has been chosen and is loved by the one she also loves.
As believers, we are the Bride of Christ. The Apostle Paul compared the relationship between a husband and wife to that of Christ and the Church. Reading Ephesians 5:27, “…that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle…” I asked God what does that look like? Knowing the church is made up of people, warts and all, how can it be without spot or wrinkle?
“Go back to the beginning,” God whispered. So I did. The book of Genesis tells us God created Mankind, Male and Female, in His image, to be His representatives on the earth. Then He gave them authority over everything created thing on the earth. They were created in God’s similitude, they were intelligent and they had no sense of shame. There is no sin in God, so they had no sin nature, they knew nothing about sin. (Read Gen. 1:26-28, Gen. 5:1-2, Gen. 2:20-25.)
As I pondered these verses, I kept wondering how did the man and woman not see one another’s nakedness? I could understand having no shame, because there was no sin or guilt attached to them. But how did they not see the nakedness?
Every creature was created with a natural covering, except mankind. Dogs and cats have fur, fish have scales, horses have hides and birds have feathers. But what covered Adam and Eve?
God’s glory! They were covered, or clothed by God’s glory! They had been created in His image, to be His representatives on the earth, God had covered them with His glory. The man and woman walked and talked with God in the Garden, without fear or shame. Then suddenly everything changed.
The serpent entered the Garden and offered Eve something she already had, telling her if she ate of the fruit from the tree in the center of the Garden, she would be like God. When she saw it looked good, she took it and gave it to her husband. With that one act of disobedience, sin entered the Garden, and mankind’s sin nature was born. Suddenly they were truly naked because they lost their covering of God’s glory. They tried to cover themselves with fig leaves, but it was not enough, blood had to be spilt to cover their sin. (See Gen 3:4-8, 21.)
I pressed God for more. I needed another witness regarding His glory on man. He took me to the book of Exodus and the story of Moses.
Moses was God’s servant, an humble man the Bible calls him, yet it says “God spoke to him face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. (Ex. 33:11)
God called Moses to meet Him on the Mountain and God gave Moses the Ten Commandments and the Law. Moses asked God to see His glory, and God said He would show him His goodness. God put Moses in the cleft of a rock, covered his face as He walked by, and allowed Moses to see His backside. (Read Ex. 33:18-23.)
After forty day and nights, when Moses came down the mountain, his face beamed with light. The NKJV says Moses face “shown” and the Hebrew word used is “qaran” (Strong’s H7160) and means “to send out rays”. Moses’ face was sending out rays of light, or rays of God’s glory from seeing and speaking with God on the mountain for forty days and nights. It was so brilliant, the people were afraid and Moses had to cover his face when he would speak to the people. (Read Exodus 34:5-8, 30-35.)
The second witness God gave me is Jesus. The 17th chapter of Matthew gives us the account of Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. It says Jesus’ face shown like the sun, and His clothes were white as the light. When Jesus came to the earth, He did not come as the Son of God, but as the Son of Man. But that day on the mountain, for just a moment the Deity of Jesus was unveiled and the glory of God revealed. (Read Matthew 17:1-7)
What does that mean for us? When Adam and Eve sinned, mankind lost their covering of God’s glory. They brought sin and death, neither of which are compatible with God’s glory. There was only one way to restore what Adam lost. A Man would have to pay the price. But not just any man would do, it had to be the sinless Son of God, come in the flesh.
2 Corinthians 5:21 says “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” When Jesus came, He lived as a man, but He did what Adam could not. He lived a perfect sinless life, “He knew no sin”. But God placed on Him every sin of every person born, every evil deed, every wicked thought, every perversion, so that the penalty for sin was paid in full. Now no matter what our past, present or future looks like, our sin is not just covered, but done away with; we are made “the righteousness of God” the moment we receive Christ and are born again! Praise God! Once again we are covered with God’s glory, only now instead of it being on the outside, as it was with Adam and Eve, and with Moses, now it dwells on the inside!
The Bride of Christ is a beautiful, radiant bride, covered from the inside out with the glory of God!

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
My soul shall be joyful in my God;
For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Isaiah 61:10

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee
New King James Version (NKJV)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Giving Thanks Always – Even When You Don’t Feel It

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (NKJV)

      child-prayer-clipart-royalty-free-praying-clipart-illustration-216150       When my younger sister was about 4 years old at a family dinner with my grandparents, she requested to say the blessing at the table. My Granny, being one to always encourage us to pray, told her to go ahead. Everyone bowed their heads and closed their eyes, except me of course being the older sister I felt the need to keep an eye on her. She began to pray, looking around the table, thanking God for each and every item on the table, including the plates and forks, except one food. She closed her prayer with the words “But I’m not thankful for the green beans. I don’t like them and I’m not thankful for them! Amen.” We can laugh at a child’s honesty in refusing to give God thanks for something she doesn’t like, but how often are we unthankful? Do we too sometimes feel justified in not giving thanks?

            God wants us to have a grateful heart and thankful spirit. “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the Lord is the great God, and the great King above all gods.” (Psalm 95:1-3) But we don’t always feel thankful. We all have times and situations in our lives that we don’t want or like, so how then can we be thankful?

            When we cannot be thankful for a specific thing or situation, we still can find ways to give thanksgiving and praise to God. Sometimes we have to stop and ask God to bring to our remembrance things to give Him thanks for. Sometimes we have to ask Him for the words to praise Him with. David wrote Psalm 51 after Nathan had confronted him about his sin with Bathsheba. In verse 15 he says, “O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise.” David who wrote so many beautiful psalms praising God, asked for help to praise Him.

            How do we offer God thanksgiving when we are hurting, when we’re going through a spiritual battle, or we’re in a time of trial?

            First, we remember WHO God is. 

 “Let them praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted; His glory is above the earth and heaven.” (Psalm 148:13) God’s names tell us who He is. He is the great “I AM”. Whatever you need Him to be, He is. 

He is JEHOVAH SHALOM, The Lord is Peace. Jesus said in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  During some of the worst times and events of my life, God has been my peace.

He is JEHOVAH SHAMMAH, The Lord is There. “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth… and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” (Matthew 28:18, 20b) He was there with me in every crisis.

He is JEHOVAH-RAPHA, The Lord That Heals. “…If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.” (Exodus 15:26) He was my Healer when I had shingles in 2010.

He is JEHOVAH JIREH, The Lord Will Provide. “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:19 He has been and continues to be our Provider through job lay-offs and a bad economies.

He is EL SHADDAI, The Lord God Almighty, The All-Sufficient One. When God spoke to Abram in Genesis 17:1, He said “I am El Shaddai” (Almighty God) and He promised to bless him and make him great. He is the God Who sustains us. Genesis 18:14 says, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?..”

 Whatever else is, wherever else we are, we can give God our thanksgiving for Who He is to us. Psalm 69:30 (NKJV) says, “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving.”

          The second thing we can do is to remember WHAT God has done in the past.  Psalm 107:21-22 says “Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!  Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing.” (NKJV)

            Psalm 77: 5, 6 in the New English Translation says, “I thought about the days of old, about ancient times. I said, ‘During the night I will remember the song I once sang; I will think very carefully.’ I tried to make sense of what was happening.’” v.11-14 continues “I will remember the works of the Lord. Yes, I will remember the amazing things you did long ago! I will think about all you have done; I will reflect upon your deeds! O God, your deeds are extraordinary! What god can compare to our great God? You are the God who does amazing things; you have revealed your strength among the nations.”

            When we are walking through the valley, when we are under fire, when we have questions, we need to reflect back on the times God answered us and recall His great work in our life.

            Psalm 107:22 in the Amplified Bible says “And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving and rehearse His deeds with shouts of joy and singing!” We need to speak about what God has done for us to others. Hearing ourselves rehearse God’s goodness not only encourages them, but it encourages us too.

             The third thing is to remember the HOPE God has given us.  Romans 5:1-2, 5 says “Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of God’s glory… And (this) hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (NET Bible)

            “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.” (Romans 15:13) We have been given hope through the Holy Spirit and that hope does not disappoint.

 “Blessed is the man [or woman!] who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For (s)he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NKJV)

            When we don’t feel we have anything to be thankful for, we’re usually in some kind of spiritual battle, and we can’t afford to be silent. That is when we need to loudly proclaim the goodness of our God. We need to offer our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to God. Psalm 86:12-13 says “I will praise You, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, And I will glorify your name forevermore! For great is Your mercy toward me, and You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.”   The Psalmist is recalling Who God is and What God has done in the past.

            The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God”.

            When we have a bad report from the doctor, we say “Thank you God for being my Jehovah Rapha. When the bills are due and there’s no money we can say “Thank You God for being my Jehovah Jireh.” When there is turmoil all around us we can say “Thank You God for being my JEHOVAH SHALOM.

              Psalm 50:14-15 says “Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High. Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” We can go to God with our needs, and we can do it in faith when we know Who He is and we can offer Him thanksgiving, not for the need itself, but for His response to that need.

               When David was on the run from Saul, who was trying to kill him, he fled to Gath but when he realized he was in danger there he pretended to be insane. (1Samuel 21:10-15) That is when he wrote the 34th Psalm. It begins “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Dee