“The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.” (Psalm 9:9-10) “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1) (Both Scriptures NKJV)
Lord, I read about people who are persecuted for their faith and praise You for being a refuge for them—the oppressed. Then I hear a testimony of how You strengthened a mom with a part-time job and 8 children at home. Yes, You are the Lord our Strength! Yet sometimes I wonder about my own unimpressive life with its few troubles—I need You too. I can’t manage life on my own.
I believe You talk to pastors and other Christian leaders, giving them wisdom and guidance. Still I feel unsure that I can hear Your voice when I just feel stupid and embarrassed and wonder what to do next.
So I will remember that You came, Jesus, giving up Your throne in glory and the honor You had in heaven from before the foundation of the world. You suffered and died, and (Hallelujah!), You rose again. You did all this so I could become a child of God and have a wonderful life with You, now and forever. Such amazing love! You care for me with overwhelming, everlasting, personal love. And Your Word says in Romans 8:32 (NLT), “Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?” “Everything” must include large and small, important or not.
Therefore, I can believe You are also MY refuge and strength.
Lord, our God, I seek You today as my refuge and choose to put my trust in You, even in what seems unimportant. I love you, Lord. Thank You, Jesus, for caring for me.
I volunteer a few hours a week at a food pantry/clothes closet for low income people in our county. One day God pointed out some unloving attitudes I had toward the people I served there and even toward some co-workers. So I wrote this prayer:
“Dear Lord, I see that my attitudes toward these requesting help and those I work with don’t reflect You well. I need more of Your mind toward them. Please help me to listen to Your thoughts and see both volunteers and clients through Your eyes as I’m doing my job there. Please help me distinguish between what I can control and what I can’t. Teach me to humble myself so I don’t get angry or think myself better than anyone.
You’ve been so merciful and patient with me, and You have forgiven me again and again. I want to let your love shine through me to others. Amen.”
“I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.”
The beginning of the Christian life is turning away from sin and toward God (this is called “repentance”). Sometimes we fail to receive the wonder and joy of God’s grace because we have not actually repented. We are called to despair of our own efforts to make ourselves (or the world) better, and turn to God alone for hope and salvation. Only then can we be changed. When we do that, and only then, we can begin to receive the stunning riches of God’s grace given to us in Jesus Christ. This is the gate, through which we all must walk, the lifeboat that is our only hope of being saved from drowning.
To listen to the sermon, click the play button: To download, right click on the link (or do whatever you do on a Mac) and save it to your computer: Download…
I haven’t written a blog post in a while because I’ve been in such a slump. There have been a lot of changes in my caregiving routine over the past several weeks and it’s caused me a lot of insecurity and anxiety. Those feelings are amplified during my nightly battle with insomnia and have caused me to experience a wicked depression. Some mornings I feel like I just can’t breathe and it’s difficult to focus on doing the right things.
I’ve added a new page to my blog called “Re-blogs of My Journey Toward Wholeness Posts.” It will be composed of copies of my posts in the “Journey Reblogs” category. The first two posts of my “Journey Toward Wholeness” are links under the heading “From the blog” titled “Hope Amid Anxiety” and “The Journey Begins.” The third post, “God Sends Comfort” follows the introductory info.
What an unsettling time to live! Maybe that’s why I found Isaiah 43:1 particularly reassuring.
“But now, this is what the Lord says — he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1 NIV)
You, Lord God, are speaking through Isaiah to Israel in this verse, and You also speak to me. You have created me. You formed me in my mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). You redeemed me from the bondage of sin and self with the blood of Jesus.
I think of lines from hymns I used to sing in church: “Still I can trust Him; I know He will keep me. He has redeemed me, and I am His child” (“Under His Wings”-William O. Cushing). “Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it! Redeemed by the blood of the lamb, redeemed by His infinite mercy—His child and forever I am”(“Redeemed”-Fanny Crosby).
Having made me, You know me completely. With Your infinite knowledge, You even know my name! (“…He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”—John 10:3 NIV)
What a comfort to remember these things when I feel unsteady or fearful!