When my husband and I hiked in Kings Canyon, we got off the trail on one of the hikes. We weren’t sure when or how we departed from the route shown on the map, but we got into progressively rougher terrain and ran into more obstacles. We wondered, “Is this really the trail?”
Finally we decided to turn around, ask God’s help, and try to find our way back to a place we recognized. When we found the trail again, we thanked God, went back to the trail head, and looked for a hike that was more clearly marked.
As a follower of Jesus, I sometimes get off the path where He is leading. I find the going rougher and the obstacles greater as the Holy Spirit keeps prodding me to return to the right way. I’m so glad God doesn’t leave me alone, but instead calls me back into His light!
I used to get bogged down in hopeless regret when I made a seemingly big mistake or had grievously sinned. First John 1:9 assures me that God forgives and cleanses me as soon as I confess my sin and turn back to Him. However, I can’t go back in time and live those days the way God had planned. That righteous path is blocked for me.
Recently, thoughts on Jeremiah 18:3-11 encouraged me about that. There God says He can do with the people of Judah as the potter did with the pot he was making. It didn’t turn out as he had hoped, so he returned it to a lump and made a different vessel.
“O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand (Jeremiah 18:6 New Living Translation).”
Because of God’s goodness and mercy, He plans a different route for me to go where I can honor and glorify Him again. That righteous path will be just as wonderful as “Plan A.” Not only that, “Plan C” would be just as marvelous as Plan A or B. Likewise, His plans D, E…Z, AA, AB, and on to infinity will be equally amazing. In God’s multifaceted, infinite wisdom, He makes each one of His “paths of righteousness” perfect.
I don’t want to fail or sin or in any way damage this vessel God is working on. But I do. And God, with His unlimited creativity and grace still has great plans for me to take part in as soon as I return to Him and His way. Indeed, “He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake (Psalm 23:3).”
Goodbye, Hopeless Regret. Hello, Joy in the Lord!
© Tricia Opitz Nov. 20515-Nov. 2016 https://triciajots4jesus.wordpress.com/
Picture credit: –”Potter in Rabka 03″ by User:Piotrus – my photos. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Potter_in_Rabka_03.JPG#/media/File:Potter_in_Rabka_03.JPG
Psalms 36:5, 7-8 “Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds…. 7 How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. 8 You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights” (New Living Translation)
Thank You, Lord, for letting us drink from Your river of delights (or as the New King James puts it, the river of Your pleasures). Thank You for Your written Word, O Lord and for the hymns I grew up with. They seem to me to be gifts of love from Your river of delights. You are so good to us, Lord!
“From our mother’s arms [You have] blessed us on our way with countless gifts of love” (from “Now Thank We All Our God”). Countless gifts of love—like the hymns, the Scriptures, my learning to sing harmony, the help to believe Your love for me as an individual, a song on the radio that calmed one of my fears at just the right time, a letter that calmed me in panic, an ability to read music, the hymn books I have, and on and on. Also Lord, Your nearness, compassion, and tender mercies are gifts of Your love.
Part of the first verse of the hymn “I Am Thine, O Lord,” says, “I have heard Thy voice, and it told Thy love to me.” Yes, every time You speak and help me to hear is a gift that tells Your love to me.
The first 2 verses of “This Is My Father’s World” remind me that You speak to me through nature and that You speak to me everywhere. Thank You!
“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy [or “faithful love”] endures forever.” (Psalms 136:1 New King James Version)
Every good and perfect (appropriate, timely) gift is from You. As Ps. 36:7 says, “How precious is Your unfailing love (lovingkindness), O God!”
Isaiah 55:2-3 “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. 3 Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you — the sure mercies of David.” (New King James)
Feeding on what I hear from God as I come humbly to Him and listen—this is true soul food. He gives wisdom abundantly. I’ll delight myself in what He says, and my soul will be refreshed and revived and will live. I’ll learn of Jesus and find rest for my soul (Matthew 11:28-30). I’ll receive the “sure mercies of David—pardon, blessings, and connection/fellowship with the almighty, totally just yet perfectly loving, only true God. (The New Living Translation says “all the unfailing love I promised to David” instead of “the sure mercies of David.”)
And what further delights my soul is that this very God has made me His child through His Son Jesus Christ! Indeed, as Isaiah 55:8-9 says, His ways and thoughts are higher than mine! They are more wonderful and marvelous than I can comprehend or imagine.
Psalm 37:3 “ Trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) in the Lord and do good; so shall you dwell in the land and feed surely on His faithfulness, and truly you shall be fed.” Amplified Bible
At a state park recently I took a morning walk among the trees. It had rained the night before, and I saw a stream flowing over large rocks making a couple of delightful cascades, and water pooled in a few low places.
It inspired me to pray, Father God, I love and worship You as Creator of everything. How faithful and merciful You are! Your Spirit is like a mighty river. May I be like a rock pool through which Your Holy Spirit flows, coming in at the depths of my heart and flowing over the top of my life. Let it wash away all the regrets and memories of failures from the past—even from yesterday. Please wash away any sadness or hopelessness that lingers. Stir up bad attitudes and ugliness that keep me from shining Your light in the darkness so I can repent and be clean. Break down any barriers that prevent Your love from filling my heart and flowing out to others. Amen.
Jesus said in John 7:37-38, “…Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.” —New Living Translation
Excellent blog post by Pastor Joe Quatrone, Jr.! Very helpful. I especially liked the part about HOW we are to wait.
Joe Quatrone, Jr.
“Wait for the Lord. Be strong and take heart. Wait for the Lord” (
I am in a period of waiting right now. I believe God has a specific reason for telling me to wait. My responsibility is to trust Him. I need to slow down and wait on God to clearly reveal His will to me. A lack of trust is perhaps the root cause behind my decisions to jump ahead. I believe God will give me clear direction, but I must wait until He is ready to give guidance.
In this hurry-up world, waiting for anything can cause us to lose our tempers, tongues, and good senses more frequently than we care to admit. I don’t know anyone who enjoys waiting in line. We don’t like waiting at stoplights. We don’t like waiting for dinner. We don’t even like waiting for good things – like…
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“For the enemy has persecuted my soul; He has crushed my life to the ground; He has made me dwell in darkness…” (Psalm 143:3). And he has pulled me into his pit of anger, resentment, criticism, and self-pity which lead into and feed the depression I’m prone to.
Romans 12:2 tells me to change the way I think from my old way or the world’s way to God’s kingdom way. God will help me and give me grace to turn away from the enemy’s, kind of thinking. Then I can work at putting Psalm 143:5-6 into practice. It says, “I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your works; I muse on the work of Your hands. I spread out my hands to You; My soul longs for You like a thirsty land.”
I’ll remember “days of old” —and how God has always been with me and had His hand on me no matter what. I’ll muse and meditate on what God has done and on the wonders of creation. I can choose to think about good and praiseworthy things, like God’s goodness to each one of us, His love for every individual, and our right-standing with Himself which He purchased with the blood of His own Son. Then I’ll seek to draw nearer to Him so He can satisfy my thirsty soul with His presence.
“For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness” (Psalm 107:9).
(Scripture quotes are New King James Version.) (Picture by Darrell Creswell–please take a look at his blog at http://darrellcreswell.wordpress.com/)
Excellent blog about God’s trustworthiness by Barney Wiget.
Worthy of trust…
[I know this is getting a little lengthy for blog reading. But how does one talk about the way God is in 100 words or less. I couldn’t hardly “tweet” it all in 140 characters. So, hang in there with me for maybe another five or six offerings. I’d also like to hear from you about your thoughts…]
As I started down my own road of personal loss, one of the things the Lord seemed to convey consistently to me was: “Trust me!” I have to be honest, at first it was pretty tough for me to trust him when it seemed like he was either causing or allowing my losses. Everything I had believed and had encouraged others to believe was being tested. Like anyone else, I’ve had plenty of bouts with doubts over the years, but the temptation to question his trustworthiness intensified during this…
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Do the promises to Israel in the Psalms apply to me as well as to the people of Israel who sang them? I believe they do because I’m part of Israel by faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 4:11-12). If my understanding is correct, then from Psalm 121, all of us who believe in Jesus can know and sing that—
My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth. He won’t let me stumble. He watches over me and never sleeps. God stands as my protective shade day and night. He keeps me from harm and watches over my soul. The Lord looks after me as I come and go, now and always.
We are assured in Psalm 32:5-6 that God forgives and that we can find Him. In verse 5, King David confessed his sin to God, and God forgave him. Verse 6 says, “For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You in a time when You may be found….” I also call on God in the today—the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2)—when He can be found. He’s our protector, refuge, shield, and very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)
Then in Psalm 91:15, God promises, [The person who loves God] “shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.” What a wonderful promise—God’s presence! The Bible doesn’t say we won’t have trouble—just that He will be with us. He also says He will use it for good. (Romans 8:28)
God is so gracious!
(Scripture quotes are New King James Version.)
“Sensible people keep their eyes glued on wisdom, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.” (Proverbs 17:24) I do want to be sensible and keep my eyes glued on wisdom. O Holy Spirit, please keep reminding me!
“Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8) I learned this Bible verse years ago, but I still have trouble putting it into practice. Help, Lord!
I’ve heard many times that change is part of life, but I guess I thought it was true for everyone but me. For too long I’ve clung to what once was and won’t be again. If I keep wishing for what used to be, I’ll miss out on life today. Paul focused on forgetting the past, looking ahead, and then pressing on toward the end of the race so he could receive the heavenly prize for which God calls us through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14). Only God and His Word remain forever. He never changes. Lord, You are always faithful. I want to let go of the past and also to hold loosely to the present. Because of Your grace, I can, and I will. Please show me more of how to keep my mind anchored in You and keep my eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith. Amen. (See Isaiah 26:3 and Hebrews 12:2)
“A house is built by wisdom and becomes strong through good sense. Through knowledge its rooms are filled with all sorts of precious riches and valuables.” (Proverbs 24:3-4)
Dear Father, please help me build my spiritual house with wisdom on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ. Let me strengthen it with the good sense to focus on You and go Your way, not mine. And may I fill its rooms with valuables by getting to know You better and better. Amen.
(Scripture quotes are from the New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.)
Hosea 4:6a: “My people are being destroyed because they don’t know me.”
Some groups reference this verse to say that people lack knowledge of God’s Word, and that’s why they don’t get what they want from God (healing, for example). This may be a legitimate understanding of the verse. These groups point to versions which read, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” However, I believe the New Living is a better reading because God gave us His Word so we could get to know Him and have relationship with Him.
In Hosea’s call to repentance, he says, “Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.” (Hosea 6:3)
And God says in Hosea 6:6 , “I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.”
God shows His loving character in Hosea 5 by promising to do what it takes to get Israel to return to Him where He can help and bless them. He says, “I will be like a lion to Israel, like a strong young lion to Judah. I will tear them to pieces! I will carry them off, and no one will be left to rescue them. Then I will return to my place until they admit their guilt and turn to me. For as soon as trouble comes, they will earnestly search for me.” (Hosea 5:14-15)
Hosea 14 contains God’s wonderful promise of healing for the repentant people: “Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for your sins have brought you down. Bring your confessions, and return to the Lord. Say to him, ‘Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer you our praises.’ …The Lord says, ‘Then I will heal you of your faithlessness; my love will know no bounds, for my anger will be gone forever.’”
(Hosea 14:1-2, 4)
Oh that we might know this loving, faithful God who wants us to develop relationship with Him! And these days we have not only accurate Bible translations to help us do that, but also we have God’s own Son Jesus who reveals His Father, and the Holy Spirit who leads us into truth. As Hosea says, let us press on to know Him! (See also Hebrews 1:1-2 and John 16:12.)
(All quotes New Living Translation.)