To Our Chief Musician

Francois Fressnier, Melodie Venetian

There is an intriguing story of a famous violin crafted in 1731 by the world-renowned Antonio Stradivari. Shortly before Hitler’s rise to power in Germany, a young Jewish prodigy named Bronislaw Huberman put into motion a plan to gather Jewish musicians from all over Europe and create a musical presence in Palestine. In his efforts to raise funds, he played throughout the United States, and in February of 1936, performed at Carnegie Hall. During this concert, while playing his other violin during the second half of the show, the 1731 Stradivarius was stolen from his room. Having been stolen once before, it was recovered quickly when the thief attempted to sell the obviously valuable instrument. This time, however, Huberman was not as fortunate. The thief deemed himself a violinist and enjoyed playing on an instrument of such quality for parties and for a local orchestra. He blackened the beautiful face of the violin with shoe polish and kept his secret until his death bed fifty years later. It took nine months of restoration to unveil the original beauty of the valued instrument. Just before a collector bought it to display on a shelf, it was resold to the famous violinist, Joshua Bell, for a little under four million dollars. In the hands of Bell’s artistry, the violin yields the most beautiful sound, finally fulfilling the purpose for which it had been created some 300 years prior. https://csosoundsandstories.org/how-a-once-lost-stradivarius-found-its-way-to-joshua-bell/

This story so beautifully parallels the lives of us who are bought back from the bondage of sin to once again serve the purpose for which we are created.   Our price demanded so much more than a mere four-million-dollar price tag, it cost Him the blood of His own dear Son.  And He doesn’t just buy us back to restore us and place us on a shelf.  Restored to the hand of the Chief Musician, yielded to His control, He cleans, tunes, and renews us with the purpose of allowing each of us to play the most beautiful sound for which we were created.    

For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.      1 Corinthians 6:20

Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.  Romans 6:13-18

Yielded to Him, we simply allow Him to do with us as He wills. As He works, we turn our hearts over to Him in obedience. In my imagination, I see the strings tightening at the musician’s skillful turns. The stretching and pulling is uncomfortable, but necessary to tune the strings to play in harmony with the others. Not just once, but daily, the strings will be adjusted and compared to the correct tone, so that the instrument will play in harmony alone, and also with the entirety of the orchestra. Daily, we renew our mind in His Word, stretching to fulfill the command of His Word, conforming to the “sounds” of our Savior.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.  Romans 12:1-2

YIELDverb intransitive

1. To give up the contest; to submit.

2. To comply with; as, I yielded to his request.

3. To give way; not to oppose. http://webstersdictionary1828.com/Dictionary/yield

While tuning is important in music, tempo is equally important.  A conductor must evaluate and interpret the intention of the written music’s composer.  Some measures will move slowly, proceed into a nearly impossible speed, and eventually, end in a rest.  Each musician watches the conductor carefully, so that the beauty of the composer’s message will be conveyed clearly.  In much the same way, God created a gorgeous symphony long before any instruments were crafted, and the message He wants to convey will have various rhythms and tempos.  He alone knows the scope of the whole arrangement.  If we are yielded to His musicianship, our part will be played intentionally within His timing.  His understanding of the entire composition allows us to be content with His adagios, with His allegros, with His rests.  He has perfect understanding of how each season fits within His symphony.  How sweet it is to remember that I am only His instrument, and that He is the Musician. 

Eventually, there comes an end to every great symphony.  The last note is played, the musicians take their final bow, and the curtains close.  No life lasts forever.  When the final tone ceases, there will be no audience but One from whom we seek approval.  It is the Chief Musician who will evaluate every single note played.

Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.  2 Corinthians 5:9-10

At the close of our lives, when we stand before our Chief Musician and He views the scope of our part played, how will He find our performanceour service?

I enjoyed the picture that C.S. Lewis’ presented in “The Weight of Glory.”

“I suddenly remembered that no one can enter heaven except as a child; and nothing is so obvious in a child—not in a conceited child but in a good child—as its great and undisguised pleasure in being praised. And that is enough to raise our thoughts to what may happen when the redeemed soul, beyond all hope and nearly beyond belief, learns at last that she has pleased Him whom she was created to please. There will no room for vanity then…With no taint of what we should now call self-approval she will most innocently rejoice in the thing that God has made her to be. In the end that Face which is the delight or the terror of the universe must be turned upon each of us either with one expression or with the other, either conferring glory inexpressible or inflicting shame that can never be cured or disguised.”

As we look toward that day, as we consider the joy of pleasing the One who so skillfully created us to bring Him glory, let us take up our place in the symphony and wholly yield ourselves into the hands of our Chief Musician.  Every instrument is necessary in His composition, and no part is too small.  Let every moment of our song bring Him glory.   Have a wonderful week, my friends!

Bridging the Gap

Am I learning how to use my Bible?  The way to become complete for the Master’s service is to be well soaked in the Bible; some of us only exploit certain passages.  Our Lord wants to give us continuous instruction out of His word; continuous instruction turns hearers into disciples.  Oswald Chambers, Approved Unto God

These last few blog posts have been a theme on our journey of faith.  How does faith begin?https://satisfiedatthewell.com/2020/04/04/paralyzed-or-propelled/  And when faith sparks life in our heart, what immediate changes take place?https://satisfiedatthewell.com/2020/04/11/resurrection-life/ 

This post speaks to our continuance in faith.  Many believers stall here, and I will testify that I have spent some time gazing over the precipice myself.  There is a bridge needed between knowing what the Bible says and having a personal walk with the God of the Bible.  This yawning gap deters many a Christian from the deep, intimate fellowship that the One who redeemed them, adopted them, forgave and justified them, longs to enjoy with them. 

Romans 6:11 employs the word that defines the necessary bridge we need: reckon.

Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

RECK’ONverb intransitive  1. To reason with one’s self and conclude from arguments.  http://webstersdictionary1828.com/Dictionary/reckon

From HELPS Word-studies

3049 logízomai (the root of the English terms “logic, logical“) – properly, compute, “take into account”; reckon (come to a “bottom-line”), i.e. reason to a logical conclusion (decision).  https://biblehub.com/greek/3049.htm

Reckoning is the personalizing of what we know into our walk of faith.  The Holy Spirit is as essential to this step of faith as He has been to every other.  He leads and guides us into all truth.

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.  John 16:13-14

When I trusted Christ as my Savior, the Holy Spirit moved into my life that day.  He began nudging my heart about the things that didn’t belong in my life and moving me to get rid of them.  He put in my heart the desire to know more about this God who now lived in me and encouraged me to read the Bible and listen intently to the preaching of His Word.  As long as I took heed to His voice, my spiritual life grew.  But there came a day when I said “no” to His nudging.  I made an excuse as to why that thing He asked of me was simply not possible.  I tried to make it up to Him in other areas, though.  I allowed unforgiveness of someone in my heart, but I doubled my efforts to serve Him at church.  Soon, it became a habit to ignore the nudges that I refused to deal with and perfect the areas that I liked.  Needless to say, my relationship with the Lord died.  My Bible reading and prayer time was perfunctory, part of my daily routine, but it was lifeless.  His Word became rules to follow; knowledge that never seemed to work itself out into peace or joy or love for others.  I was working hard to look good on the outside, but the grace of God had ceased His work inside of my heart.  I became the white-washed tomb that Jesus referred to when He spoke of the Pharisees. 

Not everyone turns this direction when they stop obeying the nudge of the Spirit in their lives.  Many just turn away from the Lord altogether, or their life becomes a series of statements about how “I love Jesus, but (insert your favorite sin here.)”  This is what makes the “Bridge of Reckoning” so important to our journey of faith.  When the Holy Spirit brings us to a truth, we must decide what that means for our life.  In our Hall of Faith, Hebrews 11, our faith-heroes heard God, and then they had to bridge the gap of obedience.  How would this affect the choices they made in their lives from now on?  Knowing what God said was not enough.  A choice had to be made in order to obey.  Meditating on God’s Word is our key to unlocking that bridge.

Meditation is the activity of calling to mind, and thinking over, and dwelling on, and applying to oneself the various things that one knows about the works and ways and purposes and promises of God.  It is an activity of holy thought, consciously performed in the presence of God, under the eye of God, by the help of God, as a means of communion with God.  Packer, Knowing God

Taking the truth we studied last week about our Resurrection Life with God, I’m spending some time meditating on how they relate to who God is, and how that changes my life.  If you’d like to consider these for yourself, I linked the printable chart that I’m using. This is just a helpful tool to the way I like to study, but I know everyone has a different way of meditating on God’s Word.  Drop me a line and let me know what works best for you!  Until then, my friends, keep calm and carry on!

Resurrection Life

The heavens declare Thy glory, Lord,
In every star Thy wisdom shines;
But when our eyes behold Thy Word,
We read Thy name in fairer lines.
–Isaac Watts

The beauty of the whole earth testifies of its Creator.  This week we watched a documentary on dolphins, and the colorful, unique designs found in the depths of the ocean sparked an overwhelming gratitude in my heart for a God who went to such great lengths to show His handiwork to His creation.  From the stars in the heavens to the tiniest creatures crawling about our feet, everything around us speaks of the God who formed us.  Yet, He did not leave us to our own imaginings to figure out who He was, and how we should then live.  He chose to write His creation a letter of love with the pens of men moved by the breath of His spirit upon their hearts.  Sixty-six books, penned by 40 men, miraculously preserved, and cohesively arranged with one theme weaved throughout every book: Messiah, Jesus.  Before His virgin birth and His first breath on this earth, His life and death was foretold down to the minutest of details.  God had a plan from the beginning, and no scheme of hell could stop it from playing out in the pages of history.  Approximately two thousand years later, we still celebrate the victory Jesus had over the death, sin, and the grave, as He broke through the boundaries that man could never have crossed on his own. 

Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  1 Corinthians 15:54b-57

Jesus’ death on the cross cancelled our sin debt, and His resurrection created a new life in us, when we accepted the gift that He offered. 

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.  Romans 10:9-13 

By hearing His Word and choosing to believe on Him, faith results, and our new life in Christ begins.  The same Word that creates our life of faith then teaches us to walk in faith.  In order to walk in the life of faith, we must know the changes that His Resurrection Life causes in us.   It is no small thing to be made into an entirely brand-new creature.

Know—to perceive with clarity, to understand clearly; to have clear and certain perception; not be doubtful; to be informed  http://webstersdictionary1828.com/Dictionary/know

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:31-32

It is the learning of something that then gives us the ability to make an informed choice of how we will live.  What truth do we need to know about our new life in Christ?

 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.  Galatians 2:20

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.  Romans 6:3-6

If our old life serving our Master, “Sin,” has now been buried in the tomb with Jesus, we are no longer obligated to do what he tells us to do.  Sin is no longer our master, and our life is made new under our new Master, life in Jesus.  We may still remember life under our old master, Sin, and remember the things we used to do to serve him, but now we know that we are free from the chains that held us in bondage to his demands.  Knowing who we are now empowers us to live and walk in the freedom of the new life in Christ.  What grace and life and peace we find in our new life with Jesus!  Here are a few of the truths I found in my study.  I’ve attached a printable download at the bottom of this post if you would like to print it out for reference.  It gives Easter Sunday a whole new meaning, as we find out for ourselves what His resurrection means for us!

Paralyzed or Propelled?

Photo by Tembela Bohle on Pexels.com

“Faith is the foot of the soul by which it can march along the road of the commandments.  With faith I can do all things; without faith I shall neither have the inclination or the power to do anything in the service of God.”  Spurgeon, Morning, March 7th.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

Faith (pistis) is always a gift from God, and never something that can be produced by people. In short, pistis (“faith”) for the believer is “God’s divine persuasion.https://biblehub.com/greek/4102.htm

FAITHnoun  Belief; the assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another, resting on his authority and veracity, without other evidence; the judgment that what another states or testifies is the truth. http://webstersdictionary1828.com/Dictionary/faith

Hebrews 11 is known as the Hall of Faith chapter of the Bible.  The writer of Hebrews captures the highlights of faith from Genesis to his present time period and lays it down into a perfect picture for all future believers to see. 

He begins with the definition of faith, moves to a basic example of the reader’s faith (the simple faith that a Creator formed the world,) and proceeds to highlight account after account of heroic faith.  Each person believed God’s Word, which then launched them into action.

By faith, Abel offered…by faith Enoch was translated because he pleased God…by faith Noah prepared an ark…by faith Abraham obeyed and sojourned in the land of promise…and on it continues.  Though these men and women could not see the end result of God’s promises, they followed through with obedience when they heard Him speak. By their obedience, they proved their trust in His promises.   But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:6

Where did their faith come from?  Did they muster it up out of their own strength?  Were they extraordinary people unlike people of our time?   

The first question is easy to answer.  The Bible clearly tells us where faith comes from. 

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17  Faith is not produced on our own, it comes by hearing the Word of God.  So then, we can conclude that these heroes of the faith did not muster up faith out of their own strength, but only believed the Word of God that they heard. 

Were these heroes of the faith extraordinary people unlike the people of our time?  Is there hope for us in this day and age to have this kind of faith?  Again, Paul answers the question in Romans 1. Not only do we come to Christ by hearing the Word of God, but His Word empowers us to live by faith.  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.  Romans 1:16-17

Our life of faith starts with faith, and it continues in faith. Richard Hester says of Romans 1:17 “that the source is faith, and that continuance of the work of righteousness is by faith. So the spring is faith, and also the channel that carries the water is faith.” A reliable faith depends upon the Word of God.

In this day and age that we live in, there are so many distractions that keep us from the Word of God that we so desperately need. The lack of His Truth permeating our lives is revealed when trials and trouble visit us. Fear will overcome our spirit and leave us paralyzed, stuck in place instead of moving forward in faith. The first step out of the fear that leaves us rooted in place is to saturate our lives with the Word of God. Read it, listen to it, sing it, meditate on it, memorize it. We must hear the Word; we must know what it says, if we are to overcome the trials of life with faith like our heroes of Hebrews 11.

If you have not yet found a personal relationship with the God of the Word, please take a minute to learn how you can do that here. https://satisfiedatthewell.com/2020/03/14/jehovah-shalom/

In the next few blog posts, we will study what God’s Word says about the process of walking in faith, and how that turns our faith into action. Until next time, my friends, keep calm, and carry on! ❤

Praying Through April

To pray is the greatest thing we can do: and to do it well there must be calmness, time, and deliberation… E.M. Bounds

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7

Right now, because of this unique situation our world is faced with, we have time. Never before have we had such an opportunity to think, to enjoy the simple things, to rest. Truly, this gift can be an opportunity to draw closer to the Lord and to deepen our enjoyment of His presence in our lives. Naturally, our hearts are given to fear, to distraction, to worry, to frustration, or any other number of emotions, if we don’t purposefully keep them fixed on the Lord. Peace is the promised outcome of taking all of our cares to the God who controls it all, and who will lead us by the path that He already knows.

Not only will purposeful prayer keep our hearts within His peace, but there are many others who will benefit from our time spent with Him. Those around us who do not know God’s peace are suffering under their burdens alone and are terrified at what the future holds. God’s beacon of peace shining from our lives can light the way for those struggling in the darkness.

For this month of April, I’d like to start a prayer challenge to specifically pray for one thing throughout the day.  Each day there is a need listed with one or more verses to give context to the request.  I plan to pray in the morning, and then throughout the day as the Lord brings it to mind.  I’m so thankful for those of you who have already shown interest in praying with me.  There is a resource that I created to download, if you’d like the calendar in printable form. Click on the download button to access the pdf version. Also, if you have any specific requests, please let me know. I’d like to pray along with you!

The Master’s Garden

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Winter’s final frost gave way to the gentle rains of spring, and the Master gardener surveyed one particular bush with careful scrutiny.  Yes, this one showed sign of needed refreshing.  Criss-crossing boughs grew in every direction.  With practiced eye, His shears snipped away at the offending branches one by one. 

Finally, the little bush could stand it no more.  “You don’t understand, Sir.  Why must you strip so many away at once? Those branches are so dear to me.  I love them.” 

“No, they must go.  You will soon see,” the Gardener softly replied.

“Oh, ouch!  Not that one too!  Surely You can see how dearly I need that branch, Master?”  Moisture welled up at the raw cut. 

“Be still now, little one.  You will soon see why this must be.”  The Master’s voice soothed her frantic cries with each cut at her well-beloved boughs.  She surveyed her once full branches gracing the ground and sighed, but she held her peace now.  Few branches remained, but there were a few. 

In the light of her Master’s face, she saw His joy and she drew comfort from His presence.  He watered her and drew the soil closely around the base of her trunk.  His provision sustained all of her needs, and hungrily her roots soaked in His nourishment.  Patiently, daily, he maintained her progress.  With the bloom of the first rose, the little bush sighed in delight at the marked beauty.  Each rose burst open so much bigger and brighter than those of last season.  She now understood the careful tending of the Gardener’s skillful pruning.  Though painful, those needless branches had been diverting the nutrients needed to deepen her roots and strengthen her blossoms.  The Master’s glory so clearly showed forth from His little rose bush this season.

I had to be reminded again today that He is enough.  Though so many of my favorite branches lay lifeless on the ground, He is fulfilling His purpose to strengthen that which remains.  So good are all His works and all of His ways.  Blessings and peace to you today, my friends!

Elisha’s Spring

Elisha’s Spring in Jericho

On our travels in Israel, we came to Elisha’s Spring in Jericho, the oldest city in the world, as the sign boldly proclaimed.  The water pouring through the spring looked refreshing and felt delightful on our feet in the dry, mid-afternoon heat.  Written in the mosaic was the story from 2 Kings 2:19-22.  The placement of the city of Jericho sat right next to a spring of water.  However, the water was bitter and allowed nothing to grow there.  Elisha asked for a cruse of salt, threw it in, and the LORD healed the waters.  From that time on, the waters nourished the ground, allowed for life to be sustained in the arid heat, and flowed abundantly for all in need.  Once healed, the spring became a reliable source of water.  It never went back to its brackish state, nor did it switch back and forth between bitter and sweet.  Had that become the case, what good would that have done?  Once someone became sick by it, would they trust it at a later time, or would they search for another reliable, life-giving source? 

Elisha’s Spring

This picture came to mind yesterday as I reviewed my social media stream.  Social media can be such a useful tool for providing information and staying connected to friends and family, especially in this time of trying to avoid the spread of major illness.  Preachers have been using the platform to continue their ministry to their congregations, and many others share encouragement and inspiration.  Beautiful pictures with Bible verses are shared often, reflecting our desire to share God’s Truth with others.

Truly, though some would say otherwise, social media reflects who we are on a daily basis. We rarely share things we don’t agree with unless it is to point out why we don’t agree.  Political issues that we agree or disagree with tend to make their way to our pages for applause or indignation.   One post proclaims our absolute trust in God and the next can be a display of our derision for those that God has placed in authority over us. It becomes quite obvious to others that we are a very conflicted people.  Our springs are flowing with both bitter and sweet water.

The question that the Holy Spirit impressed on me yesterday as I scanned through my old posts made me consider how reliable my spring is both online and in everyday life?    My social media account is an easy place to gain a picture of the contrast in one place, but Jesus said, “every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.”  Matt. 12:36   This, my friends, caused me to pause and consider the words that I speak out loud, the sarcastic comments, the complaints, and even the small talk that doesn’t lead others to the one Whom I say that I love.  The one who died for me, forgave me of my sin, and gave me grace to walk in obedience to His commands will be standing before me on that  judgment day, and what will I have to offer Him?  Very little life, if any, springs from bitter waters, or even intermittently sweet ones. 

We who have been changed by His life-giving Spirit will only reflect His sweetness as we spend time with Him.  His Word is our life-giving source of sweet water.  The more we drink of it, the more it will flow out of us on a more reliable basis.  So this is my challenge for myself and those who are looking for His glorious appearing– let’s spend a little more time with Him and allow Him to transform us by the renewing of our minds in the always life-giving source of the spring of His Word. 

What passages are you meditating on currently?  What are you memorizing?  What is the Lord challenging you with right now?   I am currently reading through 1 Kings and memorizing Psalm 37. I would love to hear from you!

Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.
Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.  James 3:11-13

Legacy’s Thread

Sally Smith

Her face lit up whenever she saw me, usually in the hallway at church or during our Sunday School class.  Her husband taught the young married class and she took on the role of church encourager.  She always had a blessing to share, an encouraging word to dispense, a thankful word at the tip of her tongue.  Her joy was contagious and her hugs seemed to solve all the world’s problems in a single moment. 

We had recently moved with our two girls who were four and two, at the time.  It was a small church where at least half of the congregation were related by blood or marriage,  and many of those my age had been born into the church nursery.   It was a tightly-knit church family, but they readily opened their arms to include our needy little tribe.  Needy describes our situation quite well, at that time.  My husband lost his job shortly after our move, and baby number three came as a bit of surprise just ten months after our second daughter.  My heart was overwhelmed, but I affixed the obligatory smile in place at church.  I knew each one there carried their own burdens, so it wasn’t necessary to saddle anyone else with mine. 

But Sally’s kind words were a balm to an overwhelmed mama’s heart week after week.  When I struggled with the news of the upcoming baby to our unprepared nest, she affirmed God’s promise that children are a blessing from the Lord.  When others innocently teased me about knowing how babies were made, she made it a point to encourage me to see God’s goodness through it. 

She often told all of the young mothers that she was praying for us, even sharing her tried and true method of how she prayed for her family and others.   She would listen when we talked of our struggles.  She usually had a funny story to share of her own struggles with her five, then-grown children.  It reminded me that riding the struggle bus was not a lone journey; we were all in it together. 

Her life served as an example to me of how to live a Spirit-filled, abundant life of joy, and then she showed the same spirit when cancer robbed her of strength.  None of the congregation even knew of her struggle with the disease until the very end.  She finished well in faithfulness and thanksgiving, with not one complaint that I ever heard.  Her life still inspires me as I continue on in my own journey of life and faith.  It is amazing to me how our God weaves lives together with purpose and knowledge of our every need.  When one day I bow before Him in eternity, I will thank Him for the examples and encouragers He placed in my life, and then I will find them to hug and thank them, too.  

Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done,
and thy thoughts which are to us-ward:
they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee:
if I would declare and speak of them,
they are more than can be numbered. Psalm 40:5

Legacy’s Thread

Dew drops melting
From blades of grass,
Even so swiftly
Each life twines past.

The blood-bought ribbons of legacy,
Woven together in intricacy
Sewn in shades of hope and grace
Eternal thread with perfect purpose placed.

Nestled neatly within the Grand Design
A single, useful, yielded line
Spun over, under, through, and then
Over and around again.

Bracing, guiding, sustaining on,
Countless other well-placed yarn
Completing its place in Artistry’s plan,
Surrendered wholly to the Master’s deft hand.

Have a blessed weekend!❤️

Kissing the Waves

Hawaiian Shoreline

His big emotions were much too big for his little heart to handle. He was completely distraught, and I wasn’t sure how to help him calm down. But his mother was close by; she knew just what he needed at that moment. She stooped right down next to him and asked him to look up into her eyes. She was here now. She took his hands in hers, then she told him to take a deep breath. “Blow it out, now take another one,” she reminded him. Once they had taken some deep breaths and blown them out together, she asked him what the trouble was, and he poured out the problem. His mama had a most reasonable solution for his little-boy heart, and everything was right as rain in his world again. Oh, what a picture my sister showed me that day of the love of God in His child’s distress.

My life has played out a more “grown-up” version of this story a few times. My world turned topsy-turvy and uncertainty left me paralyzed and overwhelmed. I knew a lot about God, but I had not yet drawn near enough to know Him as the Father He promised Himself to be over and over in His Word. I had asked Him to save me from my sin and secure my eternity, but not yet learned to trust Him for my daily life. The circumstances in that season of my life finally brought me to a place where I needed Him. Looking back now, I see the gift that it was meant to be so that I could know the love and grace that He had waiting for me. The truth was that I had needed Him as desperately before as I did right in the middle of those circumstances. One of my favorite quotes by Charles Spurgeon perfectly captures my thankfulness for those trials. He said, “I have learned to kiss the wave that slams me into the Rock of Ages.” So, He sent a sweet friend who taught me to look up into His face, hold His hand, and listen to His Word.

Nevertheless I am continually with thee:
thou hast holden me by my right hand.
Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel,
and afterward receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but thee?
and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.
My flesh and my heart faileth:
but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.  Ps. 73:23-26

The process that my friend taught me to fix my eyes back on His face and to put my hand back in His, has squarely centered me time and again. She has given me permission to share it.

  1. Thank Him for the trial, circumstance, or difficulty.

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:7-9

  • Praise Him for what He is doing. 

Thou art the God that doest wonders:
thou hast declared thy strength among the people.   Psalm 77:14

 Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes.  Psalm 119:68

  • Trust Him to lead and give direction.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart;
and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him,
and he shall direct thy paths.  Proverbs 3:5-6

Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God:
thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness. Psalm 143:10

  • Obey what He says obediently and immediately. 

I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go:
I will guide thee with mine eye.  Psalm 32:8

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.  Joshua 1:8

Praying for His peace and His presence to carry you through the uncertainties of this life, and for opportunity for each of us to share His peace with those who find that they need it right now.  Blessings on you today!

Jehovah Shalom

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Pexels.com

Elohim, Yahweh, Jehovah, Adonai, El-Shaddai, El-Roi, El-Olam, Jehovah Rapha, Jehovah Nissi, Jehovah Jireh, Jehovah Sabaoth—these are just a few of the introductions God made to His saints throughout the Old Testament. It is a thrill to discover more of the Creator God as reveals Himself  throughout the pages of His Word.    

The divine attributes are what we know to be true of God.  He does not possess them as qualities; they are how God is as He reveals Himself to His creatures. Love, for instance, is not something God has and which may grow or diminish or cease to be.  His love is the way God is, and when He loves He is simply being Himself.  And so with other attributes. –AW Tozer

Jehovah-Shalom particularly caught my attention in Judges 6 because it is only mentioned once.  Gideon is hiding behind a winepress trying to thresh wheat without being seen by the enemies of the Israelites at the time.  God sees beyond who Gideon is at that moment,(a most terrified and unwilling participant in God’s plan), calls him a “mighty man of valor,” and sends Gideon on a mission to save his people from the Midianites.  Gideon had heard of the mighty miracles God had done to bring His people out of Egypt, but he had never seen anything like that in his lifetime.  He knew of the God of His people, but he did not know God for himself.  The Israelites by this time had begun worshipping the gods of the people they lived among.  They had stopped following God’s laws, and they had stopped teaching their children of His ways. 

 When God left talking with him, He reassured Gideon with these last words, “Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.”   Gideon, the most fearful general on Biblical record, built an altar there and called it Jehovahshalom: the Lord is peace. And then God proceeded to miraculously save His people with only 300 men who held no weapons.  If you’re not familiar with the mighty victory God worked through Gideon, you can read it for yourself in Judges 6-7. 

Had the Midianites not raided the land and imposed severe difficulties on the children of Israel, they would never have sought the Lord for his help. Gideon would have never learned of the Lord of Peace.  He would have never seen God work and would have missed out completely on knowing God for himself.

The storms of life cause us to rise towards God.—Mrs. Charles Cowman, Streams in the Desert, March 14

https://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/desert/

The name Jehovah means the Existing One, the God who reveals Himself unceasingly. 

God constantly reveals Himself to man, showing His attributes as the answer to our lack.  God is eternal, and we are finite beings with a beginning and an earthly end.  God is all-powerful, and though we like to think we are powerful, our strength is also finite.  We need rest, God does not.  God is in control of all things, and we see clearly that we control very little of our world.  When we come to the end of ourselves and our own abilities, we finally look up to the One that we need.   He stands there waiting for us to see Him.    

Shalom means peace.  Peace, according to the 1828 Dictionary is  “Freedom from agitation or disturbance by the passions, as from fear, terror, anger, anxiety or the like; quietness of mind; tranquillity; calmness; quiet of conscience.”

As applicable to God, He is never disturbed, never surprised, never caught off guard.  Constantly in control, completely unchanging in every aspect of His nature, this is what we can rely on as we trust Him with everything else that changes in our lives.

When God sent His Son to walk among us, He became flesh like us, but He remained perfectly holy as God. 

And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest:
for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;
To give knowledge of salvation unto his people
by the remission of their sins,
Through the tender mercy of our God;
whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,
To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.  Luke 1:76-79

Jesus became our way to know God and to know His peace.

  • Peace with God offers eternal life and takes away the sting of death.

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  Romans 5:1-2

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  1 Corinthians 15:55-57

  • Peace with God offers His Presence in every circumstance.

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.Hebrews 13:5-6

  • Peace with God offers His overcoming victory in the difficulties of our lives.

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. Romans 8:35-37

  • Peace with God offers grace—sufficient grace–for our every need.

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: 2 Corinthians 9:8

  • Peace with God offers access to the Father by His Spirit in prayer.

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: Romans 8:15-16

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:26-27

  • Peace with God offers an abundant life both here in this life and for eternity.

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10

If you do not yet know this peace with God, you can.  God has done everything possible to have a relationship with you, but He leaves the choice to come to Him with you.  The Bible says you can know that you have eternal life. 1 John 5:13

Recognize that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

Understand that there is a wage for our sin that is required for us to pay.  The wages of sin is death…Romans 6:23  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. Revelation 20:14

But there is good news because Jesus paid the penalty that we owed.

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Ask Jesus to save you.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Romans 10:9

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:13

If you are willing to accept Jesus’ payment for your sin, simply ask Him to forgive your sin and to come and live in your heart. Believe that He died in your place and rose again for you and trust Him to do exactly what He promised.

If you make this decision, would you please let me know so that I can pray for you and encourage you in this new life that you have in Him? 

For us as believers, let us use the sorrows, troubles, and fears of this world to draw nearer to know our God and His Word, and point those who don’t yet  toward Him.  The peace of His presence is so sweet no matter what chaos swirls around us!

Blessings and peace on your life today.