Comfort · God's Love · Responding to trials

Happy First Day of Autumn!

Each day that I walk on my walking path, I see the view above. It captivates my attention daily because it constantly changes.

When the crops are planted in early spring, I see the rich brown tilled soil, still cool from the temperatures of winter, but fresh with seeds and full of the hope of good things to come.

Summertime brings the corn with full, green stalks pointing upward towards their Maker and bearing a lushness that is breathtaking. There is so much life and anticipation in the bounty of the harvest that is to come.

In the fall I watch the tall stalks being cut and sent through the combine. So many chewing sounds echo as the machines chop and separate. The fields are scattered with bits of stalks left alone to dry in the harvest sun.

When winter comes the field seems fruitless and barren, but there is hope for the future days because spring is always just around the corner and this cycle will begin afresh and new. I never want to overlook that blessed hope that even winter bears. God is still at work in that field, even though I cannot see it.

The Lord uses the harvest field as a picture for us over and over in Scripture. It epitomizes our lives as we walk with God. We will “bear fruit” from that which we sow in our lives. We will reap what we have sown.

Then we’re also told…

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11

There are seasons of plenty and then want; joy and sorrow. There are seasons in our each of our lives that we are enduring trials. We’re told in Ecclesiastes 3 that there are seasons for tears.

When you’re in a season of sorrow, it’s hard to imagine that you’ll ever be joyful again. It’s that “winter” when there is only barrenness and chilly winds of adversity blowing. You can’t ever see yourself laughing again. But just around the corner, hope springs new, as slowly as spring itself comes to the earth. Healing happens, and though you will never forget the season of the sorrow, you can look back on it without the pain ripping your heart wide open. A season of joy emerges after the barrenness of heartache.

Why am I sharing these analogies to remind you of these seasons in our lives? Because I’m well aware that it can look to you that bloggers or those you follow on Instagram are celebrating happy occasions, vacations, and joyful events and you are left alone in the field of adversity. It seems as though you’ve moved to a year-round winter season in the Arctic Circle and you’ll never feel the warmth of the sun again. But what is the truth?

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,  while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
II Cor. 4:17-18

I Peter 5:10 But after ye have suffered a while, may the God of all grace, who hath called us into His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you.

Psalm 40:1-3 I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined unto me and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock and established my goings.And He hath put a new song in my mouth; even praise unto our God; many shall see it and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.

Those verses all remind us that our suffering will not last forever.

When you see pictures of happy events on the Internet, remember that the one who posted that is either just coming out of a trial, is in one right now, or is getting ready to head into one. We don’t see it, but it’s happening to each one. God knows we need it, and we trust our wise God even when the painful times come.

The seasons don’t just happen to the fields; they come to our lives, too. All of us experience the cool spring, the lushness of summer, the time of harvest and the cold, barren winter. But the blessing is, we have the Creator to

  • Comfort us with His Word
  • Carry us when we are weak
  • Change our situation when it is time

I encourage you today to look for God’s hand in your situation. Pay attention to what He is doing in your life that reveals His love and care for you. Sometimes it’s the little blessings that we overlook and that are the greatest comforts during a difficult season. God is still at work in “your field,” even though you might not see it. He is there.

The greatest comfort you could receive is salvation, if you don’t know Christ. This adversity could be a reminder that there is a God who loves you and has given His Son, Jesus for you so you could have a home in heaven. He doesn’t want you to miss it. If I can help you, please email me! RefreshHerblog@gmail

In which season do you currently find yourself? What are the comforts and blessings that you see from God’s hand?

communication · God's Love · Prayer

My Father’s Voice

The radio podcast on my phone was interrupted by an incoming call. I looked down to see the word, “Dad.” I was delighted to see that it was my father who was calling. I always enjoy getting to talk to my dad, but the increase joy in hearing from him was due to being concerned (okay, I was worrying) about a procedure he’d had done at his physician’s office the day before. Fearful of bothering him, I didn’t want to call, so I decided to wait for his initiation. Hearing his voice and him calling me by my nick name in greeting, made my face and my heart smile. I got to ask him questions about how he was doing, then, as is typical of him, he turned the attention to me instead. He encouraged me about some issues I shared with him, and he assured me of his prayers. We enjoyed a sweet conversation and I hung up the phone relieved and thankful for his thoughtfulness in calling. It was a sweet comfort to hear his voice.

Moments after the call had been finished, the Lord brought to my mind that hearing from my Heavenly Father is even more precious. There are so many burdens on my heart right now, and each morning as I open my Bible and my prayer journal to read and then lift those needs before the Lord, it has been so sweet to hear from my Father in heaven.

He comforts me.

He reminds me of the Truth.

He gives me advice.

He listens.

He encourages me. 

I rise from our time together, a smile on my face and in heart. He called and I heard His voice. Thank you, Father.

By fearsome deeds of righteousness wilt Thou answer us, O God of our salvation, who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth and of them that are afar off upon the sea. Psalm 65:5

What burdens are you carrying today? Sit down and be still. Open God’s Word and let Him speak to you there. As you sit in prayer, don’t do all the talking. Let Him “call” you. You will hear His voice and He will comfort you.



Coronavirus · God's character · God's Love · trust

Trusting My Father

This life has lots of hard questions –

Why is Covid still lingering?
Why hasn’t God taken it away?
Is He powerful enough to do so?

Last week I shared one answer to those questions. Today I want to give one more…

We won’t always understand God’s reasons for what He’s doing. Sometimes God is silent.  I think of Job’s trial when God asked him in Job 38 ~

Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? declare if thou knowest it all.19 Where is the way where light dwelleth? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof,

At those times (and there are lots of them in Scripture and in our lives), we simply trust God. How can we trust Him?  We come to know Him.

My dad didn’t owe me an explanation; he was father!  He did what was best for me.  Sometimes he did indeed surprise me by stopping into that custard stand, but there were more times when he drove right on by.

On a much higher plane, when we come to know Who God is in the pages of His Word, we will learn that whether He does what we want, or if He does something we don’t understand, we can trust Him! We wouldn’t complain or shake our finger in God’s face if we could understand that He was protecting us from danger, or preparing us for something even more difficult in the future.  

The Egyptians who chased after the Israelites didn’t have the blessing of the pillar of fire or the cloud to guide them; it was darkness to them.  God will reveal Himself to those that seek Him, but scoffers and accusers stumble in their darkness.

Today when I think of someone when I have ice cream you know who it is? It’s my dad! What a giver of good gifts. But God is even greater! Can God stop the virus? Of course.  Why hasn’t He yet?  I don’t know, but HE does, and I trust His character to do what is best for me.

Friend, you may be wondering why God is allowing some other kind of trial to go on in your life, you may have a question about His ways, but the answers shared above all apply. Open your Bible. See His character and trust Him as your Father who loves you more than you can ever imagine.

Refresh your trust in a loving, providential and righteous God.

Denise

Coronavirus · God's character · God's Love

Why Is God Allowing the Virus to Continue?

You may have heard me say this before, but I was blessed with a wonderful dad.  However, he did disappoint me from time to time.  I don’t know how he could’ve done it, but that’s the truth.  He just disappointed me!

When I was a child, there were times when I was sure he was going to take our family up to the frozen custard stand where we would all get sweet treats.  But I can’t tell you the number of times when we were in the car and I was sure he would pull into the little parking lot of that building, and he would drive right on by! How could he do that to a child?

As a little girl I could’ve come up with two conclusions – 

  1. He didn’t have the power to do it. No money for a 50 cent cone?  Nope.  That wasn’t true. He had a good job and was wise with his finances.
  2. He didn’t love me and didn’t care that I would suffer without that custard.
    Nope.  That wasn’t true.  He proved his love for me in much greater ways by his sacrifice for my real needs.

I never did accuse my dad of either one of those things.  You know why?  I knew him.  I had spent time with him.  I learned what he was like, and he was neither powerless nor unloving.  I simply learned that I could trust him.  I learned that in the time that he knew was best for me and my family, he would take us to get ice cream.  If he didn’t do it now, I knew there was a better reason, and I was okay with that, simply because I knew him.

I recently had someone accuse God of those two accusations in regards to the Coronavirus, saying that:
He either can’t stop it, or
He doesn’t care about people suffering.

The only answer to give a scoffer of God is God’s Word –  the written explanation of Who He is.  He has the Words of life. 

There are so many explanations I could share, but I just read this passage in Exodus 13,

 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter.

“No, of course He didn’t lead them the shorter path,” an scoffer might say! 

 “He took them out to the wilderness where they would wander and not have food and water!  He doesn’t care!  He loves to see people suffer! Or maybe He isn’t able to help.!”

Any time we come to a question about God, why He’s doing something or doing nothing,  we must look to His character for the answers. We have to learn what He is like. Is He just mean-hearted?  Is He not powerful enough to change things?  

In this situation, we need to keep reading.  The next verse says, For God said, If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” 18 So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea.[

Did you catch it?  There was danger on that closer/easier path! It would have been easy for the Israelites to think that the Via Maris was the best way to go; but the dangers of the way were too great, though they could not see them.  It was the road where Egypt’s military outposts were. God knew the people of Israel were not ready to face this yet (lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt).

God anticipated the dangers they could not see. 

Based on that verse, what do we learn about our God?  

  • He is providential!  He saw to things ahead of time and protected them from those dangers that they weren’t even aware of!
  • He is a God of love.  A God who didn’t love them would’ve let them get entangled in any kind of danger.
  • He is righteous.  He led them correctly.  He cannot do a wrong thing or have the wrong motive as you and I would!  Why?  Because He is righteous.

Refresh your trust in a loving, providential and righteous God. As a child, I could trust my father because I knew him. We can’t trust a God we don’t know. Draw to Him and learn of Him. We might not understand His ways, but we can come to know His heart.

Next week I’m going to expand on that last sentence. I hope you’ll come back for the conclusion!

In the meantime, wash you hands and remember He is in control.

Encouragement · God's Love

The Doting Father

daddydance

A little girl, probably four years old, dressed in a red ruffly dress, and her daddy sporting a suit and a red bow tie caught the attention of all the customers on this Valentine’s night.  The setting was a very classy restaurant inside a lovely hotel, where the waiter formally placed a cloth napkin in her lap after seating her, and the menu contained items that would never been seen at a fast food restaurant. It seemed that this daddy-daughter duo were having more fun than any of the couples seated around them, as they chatted, laughed, and Continue reading “The Doting Father”