Tag Archives: God

Struggle to Obey

“The Lord your God himself will cross over ahead of you….” (Deuteronomy 31:3 NIV)

No fear.

Lord God, I struggle to obey your command to be strong and courageous. Yet, You have promised that wherever I go, You go before me. You “cross over” ahead of me, whatever Jordan I cross over. You prepare the way.

You have told us not to be afraid or terrified because You, the Lord our God, go with us. You will never fail us in any way or for any reason. Holy Spirit, when I’m tempted to fear, please prompt me to remember these truths. I can choose strength and courage because You fill me with Your power, love, and a sound mind. Thank You, Lord.

Let me forget my failures from the past, though they are many; but let me remember Your love, Lord, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen.

(See Deuteronomy 31:1-7 and 2 Timothy 1:7.)

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Rich Enjoyment

Pool at Base of Dark Hollow Falls

Trail to Dark Hollow Falls

I trek the trail descending to the lower falls
And see cool water hurrying to the cliff edge
Where it tumbles over and crashes in the pool below.
A family plays there–young boys moving rocks to dam the rivulet at their feet.

The brook babbles on within its mountain bed,
Rambling to places yet unknown and far ahead
And ascending, I return to the start,
Climbing on the rocky path between towering trees
Which grasp for sunlight high above.

Thank You, God, for making all of this
for us mere humans to enjoy!
How kind and loving You are!
Amazing! Creator! God!

Amen.

Path to Diamond Point

On the moss-bordered pathway,
I step over humpbacked tree roots.
The wind huffs and sighs, muscling leaves into motion
And casting scattered raindrops here and there.

Look at the tiny shelves of fungi
Climbing a tree at the side of the path!
Rowdy rhododendron completes the wild
surround.

Tree Fungus–sometimes called “bear bread”

Thank You, God, for providing this bit of delight
Tucked away in the woods.
How good You are,
Lord God Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth!

“Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.” –1 Timothy 6:17 NASU

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Invisible Made Visible

Lord God Almighty, the invisible God, You have made Yourself visible in Jesus Christ Your Son. Hallelujah!

Jesus, Son of God, You existed before anything was created since You are the Word who was with God and was God. Nothing was created except through You. I lift praises to You!

Jesus, You hold everything together and sustain everything by Your powerful Word. You are before all things—Number 1 first, before time, before creation. I praise You, Lord!

All the fullness of God dwells in You, Jesus. When I see You, I see the Father. Holy Spirit, please help me see Jesus better.

All thanks and praise to You God! I used to be alienated from You, but now You have reconciled me to Yourself through Christ’s death on the cross. So I am holy in Your sight without blemish and free from accusation because I am in Christ Jesus.

Praise You, God–Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit!

(See Colossians 1:15-23, John 1:1-3, Hebrews 1:3 and Romans 8:1.)

(Image from Pinterest)

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The God Who Loves

I received an invitation that reminded me of a painful incident from my youth. I prayed:


“Jesus, You were there when it happened. You longed to quiet my pain, but I thought I had to handle it myself. Why couldn’t I receive Your love and comfort? Perhaps back then I knew You only as a far-away God or as a Spirit who didn’t enter the reality of my daily teenage world.


“But now I know You better. You are Almighty God, Maker of heaven and earth. You are also the God who loves each person You created. You see us, not just as a group, but also as individuals.
“And You are the God of all comfort, the God who knows when a sparrow falls and who counts the stars and yet also knows the ever-changing number of hairs on my head.” (See 2 Corinthians 1:3, Matthew 10:29-30, Psalm 147:4.)

Dear Lord Jesus, Savior, Friend,
I want to sing Your praise again.
You are my life, my God, my King,
Ruler over everything.

Jesus, You are all I need.
I want to learn Your voice to heed
So I can walk in Your good plan,
Son of God and Son of Man.

Anger tries to push You off Your throne.
Bitterness turns my heart to stone
I reject these things that cling to me
And accept Your offer to set me free.

O Jesus, Lover of my soul,
Cleanse and heal and make me whole,
As I repent and seek Your face
And the kingdom of Your grace. Amen.
(See Ephesians 4:31.)

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Still Learning

Journey toward Wholeness Re-blog #16, December 23, 2020 (First Published March 28, 2018)

Day by day, I’m still learning on this journey toward wholeness. I struggle with lessons in many areas including the area of corralling wild thoughts. Thankfully, God hasn’t given up on me.

The “wild thoughts” don’t cause as big a problem now as they did a couple of years back. At that time, one thought triggered others which went in a dozen different directions–all scary or sad. I remembered a phrase from 2 Corinthians 10:5, “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ.” The New Living Translation puts the phrase into these words: “We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.” I couldn’t seem to capture my rebellious, tangled thinking. But I’m learning–

Medicine helps. Practicing focus on verses or passages of the Bible helps. Also prayer, And just speaking the thought or thoughts out loud and saying, “Jesus, I’m bringing this thought/ these thoughts captive to You. Please help me now to think about things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8)”–this makes a difference sometimes too.

(Mountain Goats near a trail we hiked)

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In His Hands

(JOURNEY TOWARD WHOLENESS POST REBLOG #14)     8/19/20

One day as I traversed part of Anxiety Valley, I wrote in my journal:

           Jesus, You know me (Psalm 139) and You walk and talk with me—in reality, not just imagination. You are here. I will trust in You. Please help me believe and trust You more. You gave me a good night’s sleep last night in answer to my prayer. Thank You. I pray that I would always be grateful for all your good gifts.

In anxious times, doubts attack. Like I get afraid that God might expect me to do everything “right,” and I wouldn’t know what right was or how to do it. This line from a Carroll Roberson song might help me relax: “He did for me what I could not do for myself. He did the saving, and I did the crying for help.” Oh. Right. I’m not in charge. I don’t have to be in control.

Lord God Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, it comforts me to remember that I’m in Your hands. Nothing can pry me loose from Your hands. Not even my failures and poor choices can loosen Your grip on me. When fear or self-focus blocks my view of You, You are still here. You don’t quit loving me. You never give up on me.

Thank You, Lord, for your unfailing, everlasting, unbreakable love. Amen.

Psalm 73:22-23 “I was a fool and didn’t understand; I was an unthinking animal toward You. Yet I am always with You; You hold my right hand.”

John 10:27-30 [Jesus said,] “My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”

Psalm 139:5 “You have encircled me; You have placed Your hand on me.”

Psalm 139:7 “Where can I go to escape Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence?”

Deuteronomy 33:3 “Indeed God loves His people; all His holy ones are in His hands. They follow in His steps and accept His teaching.”

(Scriptures are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible except for Ps. 139:7 which is from the New Living Translation)

 

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Doing Good Things

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:10 NLT).

This verse says that all of us who are new in Christ can do the good things God planned long ago for us to do. I wonder what those things are.

I used to think they were big things like preaching, prophesying, or doing miracles. I didn’t do big things like that, so I feared that I missed doing the good works God prepared ahead of time for me to do. But maybe God’s good plans include smaller, less noticeable acts. It could be that He plans for me to show kindness and mercy, forgive those who offend me, help meet another person’s need, write a devotional blog, or pray for a friend (or an enemy).

As I seek to follow Jesus, He shows me good things I can do.

(Painting by Renoir titled “Girls at the Piano” is Public Domain from: https://www.wpclipart.com/ )

 

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Learning in the Struggle – Journey Reblog #12

At one time when my anxiety symptoms intensified, I reached out for help. Through a series of misunderstandings, I ended up spending a night in a “suicide watch” unit, even though suicide has never been an issue for me. But while I was there, I met a young mother who had tried to take her own life. I wished I knew how to help her.

Since then I’ve learned of others with similar struggles. I prayed privately for one young woman: “Father, she can’t seem to grasp how much You love her or how precious she is to You or how faithful and mighty You are or how You are for her and not against her. Please help her.”

2015 San Francisco, CA

 

I understand where she’s coming from. I remember when I went through my own storm of anxiety. My troubled mind latched onto doubts and let truth slip out of my hands. I wrote wonderful verses in my journal, like Romans 5:5, “…For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.” Also, Psalm 56:9, “…This I know: God is on my side.” (Both are New Living Translation) Still I felt unable to trust and believe the truth.

Doubt pointed at me (and my focus followed his pointing finger) and whined: These things are true for others, but maybe not for me. I don’t have as much faith as other people. I might not love God enough, or perhaps I’m not good enough. There could be conditions on these promises that I’m not meeting.”

Two things that helped me were getting proper medication and understanding that I could choose to believe God no matter how I felt. Now that storm has passed, and I’m learning to turn my gaze away from me and back to God. It occurred to me that whatever I’m lacking, He is great enough to make up for. He calls me to believe Him, trust Him, and rest in Him.

 

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Paths of Peace

Speaking to his infant son John (John the Baptist), Zechariah said, “[You will give the Messiah’s] people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins…[and the Messiah will] guide our feet into paths of peace.”

Thank You, Jesus, for guiding my feet into paths of peace.

When I go Your way regarding anxiety, I receive peace beyond understanding (Philippians 4:6-7). If I trust You and anchor my mind in You, You keep me in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). You give real peace, not the shaky peace the world gives (John 14:27).

Jesus, You tell me not to let my heart be troubled or afraid. Sometimes I think I can’t prevent my heart from being troubled and afraid. But the truth is that with Your Holy Spirit in me, I have all the power I need to choose obedience, trust and peace instead of fear, agitation and anxiety.

Yes, thank You, Lord, for Your guidance into pathways of peace.

Amen.

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The All-Sufficient Cross of Christ

This devotional by our pastor Randy Huddleston spoke to my heart, and I have his permission to share it with you.

The All-Sufficient Cross of Christ

Prepare yourself, take off your shoes because you are entering holy ground.

Sacrifice, selflessness, supreme, surprising, suffering, the Son of God nailed to a cross to die.

The injured party in the human drama was God.  His joy and desire were to delight in the people he had made, but they turned on him and aligned themselves with his archenemy.  God was stabbed in the back.  The relationship was broken, and separation led to consequences for the hurt they had done.  This was no small thing like spilled milk; this was the breakdown of divine and human connection, love, and the journey together.  That brilliant, beautiful pair’s act of rebellion rippled like a tsunami across the created order affecting the animate and inanimate.  It has come to you as part of creation and as a son or daughter of Adam and Eve.

When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. Romans 5:12 (NLT2)

Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. Romans 8:20-21 (NLT2)

A solution was needed to sin, curse, and death.  Neither human philosophy, self-made religion, or holier-than-thou living would be the solution.  The solution had to come from above, and God provided it.  He sent his Son.

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8 (NLT2)

Jesus, the God-man, Son of God, who lived a perfect and blameless life, humbled himself to be the sacrifice, the sufficient sacrifice to pay the penalty of sin.  No other could do it.  He knew the importance of what he did.  His suffering and death were not to impress or please you but to provide justice before the Supreme Court of Highest Heaven.  If the requirements of the highest law and Lawgiver were not met, there would be no future for humanity or this universe.  Jesus on the cross was the all-sufficient, permanent, and perfect payment.  He changed everything.

Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous. Romans 5:19 (NLT2)

Adam freely took from the tree and disobeyed God leading to death.  Jesus willingly gave himself on the tree and fully obeyed God even to death.  Adam’s death led to death for all.  Jesus’ death leads to life.

Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit. 1 Peter 3:18 (NLT2)

Jesus’ death on the cross did it, once for all, no need for continued animal sacrifices.  Jesus’ cross was God’s plan, and when it was finished, people could have new life in him.  Trying to earn points to get into God’s good graces is of no value by comparison to the once for all sacrifice of Christ.  Salvation is only by God’s grace; no one can earn it by what they think is good.

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NLT2)

  • Have you ever considered Jesus’ death on the cross insufficient and tried to do good things to be saved? 
  • No other historical event has done more to set people free than this one selfless solitary sacrifice on the cross.  Has the cross of Christ enthralled you?

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