“The Lord bless you, and keep you; The Lord make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.”
Numbers 6:24-26 NASB1995
Michael W. Smith, in his devotional Still, writes this:
“Recently when I went to the mountains, they were hidden by a thick layer of smoke from wildfires. Their beauty was concealed. I was so disappointed that I couldn’t see them! Then the next day it began to rain. The temperature suddenly dropped and the rain turned to snow. The strong winds blew the snowflakes around in heavy swirls. It looked like a blizzard in September! When the storm cleared away, the mountains were revealed in striking beauty. The smoke was gone. The trees and mountaintops were blanketed in white.
The following day, the snow melted and the green appeared. The birds sang, the creek flowed, and the sun warmed us. As the land appeared to wake from death to life, God spoke to me and awakened my heart.”
What a beautiful and apt analogy of the some of the things we go through in our lives. We can be in the midst of the ‘fire’, in complete darkness and chaos in our lives, smothering in smoke and flame, thinking things can’t be any worse. We want to give up in despair and hopelessness. Then the rains come. These can be soothing, healing rains, dousing the flames and giving us hope, or it can be a deluge, causing us to feel as though the last of our hope is being washed away. Life can turn into a blizzard of confusion, where we can’t see our hand in front of our face, lost and not knowing where it is safe to step. Am I on the path, or am I about to step off a precipice?
God is there. He is with us throughout these disasters.
In a fire, even with all of their protective equipment and training, people who fight fires can get burned, sometimes badly. Fire can be deadly, even to the most well trained firefighters.
In floods, rescuers wear flotation gear and take precautions, yet some are injured or killed every year.
In blizzards and storms, in avalanches, rescuers have specialized gear and training, and still some sustain injuries and death.
The LORD God is our protection. He is our trainer. His Book provides us the training we need, and the Holy Spirit provides our protection. Learning God’s Word outfits us with our armor, the protective gear that we need to survive the attacks of the enemy.
I feel like a majority of my life has been spent in the fires and the storms of life, without a lot of calm. Many poor decisions on my part have contributed to this, and because of the long reaching consequences of some of those choices, I don’t expect that my life will ever be ‘easy’. Even knowing this, there are many opportunities for me to see the smoke clearing, the rain ceasing, and the beauty of God’s Creation. The green appears. The birds sing, the creeks flow, and the sun warms me. The land – my land, my life, wakes from apparent death to life; God speaks to me and awakens my heart to His Beauty. I may forget, momentarily, but He always reminds me.
For the last few days, my city and state have endured an historic ice storm. Thousands of trees (and consequently vehicles and houses) have been utterly crushed and destroyed. Fierce winds have broken branches and snapped telephone and electric lines. Thousands are still without power. Millions of dollars in damage. Where is the good in this? How can God possibly use this?
Even before the first 24 hours were up, people were posting on social media that they were willing and available to help anyone who needed it, to remove branches, cut down trees, carry debris to the curb. That’s the Spirit moving! Even non-Christians are caught up in it, even if they don’t understand it. What an opportunity for God’s people. In the middle of our personal storms, we have the opportunity to reach out to others and show God’s Love.
The temperature is rising, the rain is stopping, and the sun is coming out. Today will be a good day.
“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord , ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 NASB1995
I don’t know God’s plans for you. I don’t even know what His plans are for me! What I do know is this. I have to rely on Him, because without Him, I am utterly and completely lost.
Dear President Trump,
In this unsettled and unprecedented time, I have to thank you for your strong leadership and your continued persistence in working for our great and beautiful country. You and your family have sacrificed much personally in order to take on this tremendous, thankless task of the presidency of these United States.
Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
As I read these words this morning, I believe God put you in my mind for a reason. Unlike you, I struggle financially just to meet my basic needs, but I can’t imagine how much worse it will be for me and others like me, if the socialists and far-left take over Washington. God is with you. I believe that. Just as King David if Israel was pursued by his enemies, so are you being pursued by yours. Take comfort in David’s words.
“Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, For my soul takes refuge in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge Until destruction passes by. I will cry to God Most High, To God who accomplishes all things for me. He will send from heaven and save me; He reproaches him who tramples upon me. Selah. God will send forth His lovingkindness and His truth. My soul is among lions; I must lie among those who breathe forth fire, Even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows And their tongue a sharp sword. Be exalted above the heavens, O God; Let Your glory be above all the earth. They have prepared a net for my steps; My soul is bowed down; They dug a pit before me; They themselves have fallen into the midst of it. Selah. My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises! Awake, my glory! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to You among the nations. For Your lovingkindness is great to the heavens And Your truth to the clouds. Be exalted above the heavens, O God; Let Your glory be above all the earth.” Psalms 57:1-11 NASB1995
Our God is in in control! May He continue to bless you and keep you safe; you and all of your family. Thank you for your service.
Nancy K. Henry
“The last enemy that will be abolished is death.” 1 Corinthians 15:26 NASB1995
Are you ready to die?
Don’t freak out. I’m not contemplating suicide, and I’m not looking for a way out of this life, but I’m serious. I’m ready to die; I’m ready to leave this body and this world. Any time.
Shouldn’t all Christians be ready to die?
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Psalms 23:4 NASB1995
I can be ready to go, and still be concerned by what I leave behind. I’m not anxious to die. I’m not looking for a way out. I’m just ready.
My first thought is that there are a few people who would be sad, and of course I don’t want to be the cause of any heartache. I worry a little about my dogs, because they wouldn’t understand why I deserted them, and because they have me really well trained. (No, they’re not spoiled! Heeheehee.)
God says we should be ready, anytime and any place. Remember what Jesus said about His return?
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” Matthew 24:36 NASB1995 (also Mark 13:32)
I’d love to still be here when Jesus returns. Can you – or do you – ever consider what that will be like? What a triumphant moment! At the same time, though, I’m ready now. I mean, seriously, what on this earth is worth missing time in heaven, with my Lord and my family and friends that have gone on before me? Why do we mourn when Christians die in this earthly body? We should be throwing parties! When I die, whenever that time comes, I sincerely hope that there will be a big celebration. Positive and upbeat music, party favors, food….. I know I’ll be celebrating!
I think we mourn because we’ve been left behind and we’re missing out on the real party.
“Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.” Hebrews 10:35-36 NASB1995
Whenever, wherever, however the day and moment comes that I leave this world behind, my most fervent hope is that people will remember me as someone who loved Jesus. Nothing else really matters.
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 NASB1995
“Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.” – Galatians 6:7 (NLT)
The following story is powerful!
“Reaping What You Sow” from 1-Minute Devotions
“A young teenager wanted to aggravate the hard-working farmer that lived next door. He led some of his pals to sneak into the farmer’s field one night and spread crab grass seeds all over the farm. Soon, the crab grass came up. He laughed every time he saw the farmer vainly trying to get rid of it.
A few years later, long after the teenager forgot his prank, he fell in love with the farmer’s daughter and they were married. When her father died, he inherited the farm and for the rest of his life he battled that sorry crab grass he had spread all over his fields.”
What “seeds” have you been sowing? What are you planting right now? When I contemplate what Paul said to the Galatians, frankly, it frightens me. I think if you are honest with yourself it will frighten you, too. The words are definitely worth repeating:
“Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God.” Satan will do anything to distract you (me) from God. He will use everything at his disposal to mislead us. And just like us, he will face justice. NO ONE, NOTHING, will escape GOD’S final Judgment.
“You will always harvest what you plant.” We have all done things, said things, and thought things that were – and are! – against the Word of God. All of the seeds of discord and discontent are out there producing fruit. All of the actions, good and bad, that we have taken are bearing fruit. They may be in a dormant state for now, but God promises they will bear fruit.
Will my actions bear God’s Fruit, or will they bear rotten fruit? Scary thought…
“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” “ 1 Samuel 16:7 NASB
When, O LORD, when?
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 NASB
When, O LORD, when?
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.” Psalms 32:8 NASB
When, O LORD, when?
“ ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord , ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’ ” Jeremiah 29:11 NASB
When, O LORD, when?
I haven’t been very patient in my life. I’ve made a lot of poor choices, trying to push God into giving me what I wanted. I’m trying, LORD. I’m just not very good at letting go of my desires and giving You control.
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 NASB
I’m holding on to this promise.
Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down,
That the mountains might quake at Your presence
— As fire kindles the brushwood, as fire causes water to boil—
To make Your Name known to Your adversaries, That the nations may tremble at Your presence!
When You did awesome things which we did not expect,
You came down, the mountains quaked at Your presence.
For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear,
Nor has the eye seen a God besides You, Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him.
You meet him who rejoices in doing righteousness, Who remembers You in Your ways.
Behold, You were angry, for we sinned, We continued in them a long time;
And shall we be saved?
For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;
And all of us wither like a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
There is no one who calls on Your Name,
Who arouses himself to take hold of You;
For You have hidden Your Face from us
And have delivered us into the power of our iniquities.
But now, O LORD, You are our Father,
We are the clay, and You our Potter;
And all of us are the work of Your hand.
Do not be angry beyond measure, O LORD, Nor remember iniquity forever;
Behold, look now, all of us are Your people.
Isaiah 64:1-9 NASB
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 NASB
What are your thoughts on life? Does it begin, as God says, at conception? Does life begin when the heart begins to beat at around 6 weeks? Does it begin when the arms, hands, fingers, and toes are fully formed at around 8 weeks? Is it by the end of the third month, when the body and organs are fully formed? The fourth month, when finger and toenails and eyelids and eyelashes appear? Does it begin in the sixth month, when fingerprints become visible? At what point, exactly, does life begin?
While you think about that, I have another question for you. Are you opposed to killing and utilizing baby animals for food?
At this time, abortion is legal in this country, right up to the moment of birth with the “partial birth abortion.” Not in every state, but it is available, and Amnesty International, along with Planned Parenthood are pushing for it to become the law of the land. Now, there are people pushing to legalize post-birth abortion. Do you understand that? Post-birth. That means after the baby is born. Is that murder?
I confess that as a young woman, I was taken in by these groups and pushed their agendas. I’m embarrassed and ashamed that I did that. Where do I get off deciding which innocent child will die? Let’s not get this confused with capital punishment. Capital punishment is for the adult who knowingly and freely killed. How can we apply it to a child who hasn’t even drawn a breath? What if someone wants to kill you? Should they be allowed to?
“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!” Psalms 139:13-17 NASB
Just wanted y’all to think about all this, especially with election season here. How do I feel about this? What do I truly believe is right? How does the person I support feel, act, believe?
Standing outside this morning, breathing in the deliciously cool Fall air and seeing the stars covering the sky like a carpet, I wonder how anyone can profess that God doesn’t exist. The sheer majesty of the heavens with the perfect placement of the stars and the constellations; the moon moving through it’s phases; the interaction with the sun, the tides, the seasons…. Lord, O Lord, How Majestic is Your Name, O LORD!
“This is what the LORD says, He Who made the earth, the LORD Who formed it and established it—the LORD is His Name: ‘Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ ” Jeremiah 33:2-3
We live in a great nation; a nation founded under God, for the people and by the people. A Republic, not a Democracy. Look up the difference. Pay attention to what is going on around you. It is a scary time, but I am reassured by God’s Words.
“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 NASB
Christians, we have a huge responsibility coming into this election season. I beg of you, look at the candidates. Look at their actions; don’t listen to the rhetoric.