God Will Lift You Up

“This medicine doesn’t help me, and besides, it makes my mouth so dry that no matter how much water I drink, it’s not enough. I’ve taken it for a couple of weeks now, and it hasn’t made any difference.”

That’s what I thought about the medicine which the doctor at the mental health clinic had prescribed. I continued going to the clinic for counseling but didn’t mention that I had quit taking the meds.

The counseling alone wasn’t enough to take care of the problems I had, and I quit going.

My husband thought a daily walk outside was what I needed. We walked together once a day—I was afraid to walk alone.

That was before I landed in the hospital with depression. Those are all helpful things, just not enough individually.

In the hospital, I didn’t have a choice about taking the medicine. We also received group and individual counseling, and we walked each day, although not outside.

I wonder if I would have gotten well without the hospital stay if I would have seen and heeded 1 Peter 4:6 which says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (NIV).

Even if f I had remembered that verse, would I have recognized the medicine as God’s hand?

Maybe so, but the reality is that I was hospitalized, and that God used that for His purposes.

Is there anything in your life that needs to be submitted to God?

All wise Father, please help me recognize when You are calling me to humble myself under Your mighty hand. Amen.


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A Ray of Hope

“I have a doctor appointment at 9:00, and I’m supposed to drive to my husband’s workplace to pick him up so he can go with me. Day and night this unreasonable fear has tormented me for some time now. My thoughts tumble in a hamster wheel of wondering what is wrong with me and fears that I might faint and no one could help me. Chest pains started early last week. My body feels so weak! I can’t make my feet step out the door. I’ll have to call my husband and tell him I can’t drive this morning, and he will need to come and get me.”

That happened on a Monday morning about 35 years ago. I still remember the panic, uncontrollable crying, body weakness, sweaty palms, and trembling of the months leading up to that day. When the panic attacks (as I later learned they were called) first started, they came only occasionally. Then they started happening more and more frequently. Finally, by that August when the chest pains started, they had become constant.

At the appointment that morning, the doctor recommended a hospital stay and referred me to a psychiatrist who prescribed an antidepressant and an “as needed” sedative. The antidepressant helped, and I didn’t need the sedative often. After a few days, a Christian couple I knew visited me in the hospital and prayed for me. The next morning, I felt like God slipped a ray of hope into my heart where I had felt hopeless and helpless. Maybe I could get well after all.

And I did get well. It took some time, and I still need an antidepressant, but I got free of panic attacks and depression.

Do you need a ray of hope today? Let’s call on our compassionate God who shines His love where it’s needed.

Compassionate Father, please shine your love into the parts of our hearts which feel hopeless and helpless today. Thank You for Your love and Mercy. Amen.

Palm 42:11 “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” NIV

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Choose Love

I felt irritated at my friends because they weren’t doing what I thought they ought to do. Then my frustration mounted when their choices interfered with what I chose to do. God may have been pleased with my choice of activity, but definitely not with my attitude.

The next morning, I read 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable….” (New Living Translation)

Oops! In my mind, I was demanding my own way. Then surely pride prompted my choice of irritability over friendship when their plans interfered with mine.

So I humble myself and ask for God’s forgiveness and help.

Oh, Lord God, please forgive my sins of pride and an unloving attitude. Holy Spirit, I ask you to pour Your love into my heart again so it overflows into my attitudes and out to others! Amen.

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Jesus Loves Me Even Though

Do you ever find yourself listening to doubts instead of God’s Word? I confess that I’ve done that more than once. Thoughts attack with “Maybe God will give up on me because I make so many foolish choices or because I often stumble from His path or because I get caught in worry traps.”

But God’s Word endures forever (Isaiah 40:8), and it is forever settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89).

And God’s Word says:

John 10:28-29 “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand.”

Romans 8:33-34 “Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.”

1John 1:9 “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”

Lamentations 3:22-23 “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.”

And since Psalm 139:1 assures me that God knows everything about me, I can add a couple of lines to the little song “Jesus Loves Me”:

“Jesus loves me even though

All my faults He fully knows.”

(Bible verses are New Living Translation)
(Picture from Pinterest–https://www.pinterest.com/BeccaConsiglio/ )


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Burning Like a Furnace

Malachi 4:1 talks about the arrogant and evildoers being burned up completely and turned to ashes. I think of the people who want to uproot everything good in our nation and of wicked tyrants around the world. Then I want to cheer Malachi 4:1, but Proverbs 24:17-18 warns against being glad when my enemy stumbles. Also, we who follow Christ are to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44). How can I not want the “arrogant and evildoers” to be destroyed?

Maybe I could think of them as people for whom Christ died but who have been taken captive by the devil and are listening to him. Then I can pray for their repentance so they won’t have to be destroyed on Judgment Day (2 Timothy 2:26).

“Surely, the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘Not a root or a branch will be left to them. But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays….’”—Malachi 4:1-2 NIV

“Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice, or the Lord will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from him”—Proverbs 24:17-18 NIV

“But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Matthew 5:44-45 NIV

“And that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”—2 Timothy 2:26 NIV

“The Lord watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.” Psalm 145:20 NIV

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Clean Out the Old

Colossians 3:8-10 says, “But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. ….” (NIV)

Get rid of anger…how? Is that really possible? I think of a recent situation and wonder why I felt so angry at a couple of the women involved.

One reason—My old self wants to be in control and make them do what I think is right and possibly even get back at them in some way. But the “new self” me wants to obey Christ and forgive and remember that vengeance is God’s job, not mine.

Second, maybe I’m not trusting God to make everything work out for good. Perhaps I need to remind myself that Almighty God is still on His throne and that He is accomplishing His plans and purposes in ways I can’t imagine.

I can grow from this situation which is beyond my control if I will humble myself and submit to Christ’s Lordship and allow God to renew my thinking (Romans 12:2).


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God-Honoring Life

Even though I’m getting old, Jesus, maybe it’s not too late to learn from You things that would have helped me live a more God-honoring life through the years.

Yesterday at my job, I learned a little more of what it means to work “as for the Lord.” I work on the team that deals with clients and does the background paperwork. Near the end of the day, we received papers to file which we couldn’t finish before time to leave. I often stay late anyway to take care of things that can’t be done while serving clients.

Nevertheless, I resented the extra filing when most of the others were leaving. Then I remembered that I was working for Jesus, not for the people at the job site. I thought of what a privilege it was to serve Jesus by doing that extra filing. My attitude changed, and I worked at the job gladly.

Thank You, Holy Spirit, for teaching this “golden oldie” something new.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
(Colossians 3:23-24 NIV)


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So High You Can’t Get Over It

We used to sing this chorus in church school:

“So high you can’t get over it. So low you can’t get under it.

So wide you can’t get around it. You gotta go through the door.” *

I thought of that song when I read Psalm 36:5-7 (NIV):

5 “Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.”

Dear loving, faithful Lord,What gigantic love and huge faithfulness! “So high I can’t get over it!” So much greater than I can comprehend. Please keep filling me with Your love so it overflows to others. (Romans 5:5)

6 “Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O Lord, you preserve both man and beast.”

You, Lord, are absolutely righteous and just. In this world, righteousness and justice seem far away. Evil and lies seem to triumph, but You are greater than all. Jesus, You have overcome the world. You are worthy of all my trust and praise.

Your love is so large that it even includes care for animals! For example, You told Your people not to muzzle the ox as it treads out the grain (Deuteronomy 25:4). How glad I am, Lord God, that You care for both people and animals!

7 “How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.”

A million “thank-you’s” is not enough for Your unfailing love, and it can never be bought or bartered for. Yet You lavish it freely on us, Your human creations. Amazing! Fantastic! Fabulous! Wonderful God! I will hide in Your refuge. I will trust in the shadow of Your wings. Amen.

*The door is Jesus. “I [Jesus] am the Door; anyone who enters in through Me will be saved (will live). He will come in and he will go out [freely] and will find pasture.” (John 10:9 AMP)

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Help Me Say No

In one joke I read, three priests confess to each other their worst sins. One says, “I get angry and explode over small things,” and he gives an example of a recent failure. The next confesses his struggle with lust and mentions his latest difficulty. The third then says, “Well, my big sin is gossip, and I can’t wait to go talk to some of my friends!”

Seriously, I can’t tell you my most serious struggles lest someone be tempted to gossip. But maybe I can share a couple of things that often help me when I want to take the wrong path.

One possibility: I confess my sinful thoughts to God, receive His forgiveness and thank Him for it. (1 John 1:9)

A second avenue of help: Remember Jesus’ presence. He is here. He will help me say no to temptation.

Thank You for being near me today, Lord! I need You every minute. Without Your help, I would go my own way, which leads to destruction. But I will trust You to help me do what is good—which pleases You.

Psalm 145:17-18 “The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. 18 The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” (NIV)

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Time After Time

Lord, God, my history, to You is no mystery.
You know every moment, both present and past.
You know the future which I can’t imagine,
And yet You still love me with love that will last.

Like Your people Israel, I’m so prone to stumble
And think that my way is the one that is best.
Yet when I repent and acknowledge Your lordship,
I find I’m forgiven, and my soul finds its rest.

As we enter the New Year, let us do what the apostle Paul did, and that is to let go of past failure or shame and press on to what God has for us in the days ahead. (Philippians 3:12-14)

Nehemiah 9:28 “But as soon as they were at rest, they again did what was evil in your sight. Then you abandoned them to the hand of their enemies so that they ruled over them. And when they cried out to you again, you heard from heaven, and in your compassion you delivered them time after time.” NIV

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