God's Presence · Responding to trials · trials

Safety In the Storm

Thunderstorms can be scary. They pop up out of nowhere! They last longer than you expect. They make things dark. They’re loud. They get our attention. They teach us important lessons.

Our sweet little “grand kitty” had probably been used to hovering somewhere against a building or under a leaky overhang during storms before she was adopted into my daughter’s family last week. But life has changed for this little girl (Socks is the official name). This week when a storm pounded around us in the afternoon, my daughter went out and snatched up Socks and put her in their dry, comfy garage where she was met with a new kitty bed, a dish of food, and all the comforts of those snobby indoor cats! Now that she’s adopted, she has a home to run back to for safety and security!

Continue reading “Safety In the Storm”
God's Presence · trust · worry

Remember to Remember

On a recent early spring day, my husband and I were strolling on one of the beautiful walking paths near us. There is a little river that runs alongside the path. There are a couple of small waterfalls. There are green pastures and mountains. I was reveling in the beauty of it all when I looked at a woman walking towards me. She was not looking at the scenery. She wasn’t looking at the path or those that were walking towards her. She had her phone lifted up and she was texting and scrolling, totally oblivious to the beauty. Now perhaps she had a good reason to do this, but all I could think was, She’s missing all THIS!”

But how often I do the same thing when I’m overwhelmed with things going on in my life! All I can do is be obsessed with what is happening and how it’s affecting me. I miss what God is wanting to show me or remind me.

It’s so comforting to me to see in Scripture that even great men of God had times when they did this, too. But the blessing is that we also get to see when they got the victory over their defeat and how they did it.

Psalm 42 reminds us of a difficult time in David’s life –

V. 6 O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.

8 Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.

. David makes a choice to remember His God. It’s often easier for me to focus on the problem or worry at hand. I remember every detail and tell anyone who will listen! But there’s no victory there! Victory comes when we remember to remember – Who will help us, what He will do and when He will do it.

  1. Who – David said, Oh, MY God. Even though David was in despair, he remembered Who would help him – HIS God would! Spurgeon said “You cannot praise another man’s God.” He was David’s God and He praised him for that fact!
    When we remember Who our God is – Holy, immutable, powerful, merciful, omipotent, omnipresent, and OURS, we don’t have to wonder what He will do! We know that we can trust His sovereign, loving hand to do what is right.
  2. Where – David recounts several places he’d been. Perhaps he was remembering how He had known God’s presence and power in those places. The truth stands that no matter where David went, God was with him.
    It’s easy to forget that when we feel alone in our struggles. But look back and remember that on that little hill of sorrow, God was with you. On that mountaintop of blessing, it was God that blessed you. Those deep places call out to the other times of deep trouble when God supplied and strengthened us there and there and there.
  3. When – David recounts that in the daytime he will see God’s lovingkindness, in the night God’s song would be with him, and his prayer would be to the God of his life. It sounds like David is reminding himself that God is faithful during the day, comforting during the night, and listening to his prayers ALL HIS LIFE.

Oh that we would remember to remember God’s activity in our lives when our heart is overwhelmed. Think about Who, Where and When you’ve been helped in the past. It will make you “put your phone down” and count the blessings that are all around you. God is the same as He was back then. He will not fail you now. Just take a look and see what He’s doing on your behalf even today!

Remember to remember your God!

Comfort · Fear · God's Presence

He Is With Us!

My husband and I live in a two-story home and our bedroom is upstairs. I have had a scare a few times when he’s been away and I heard a noise coming from the living room or kitchen downstairs.  I’m alone and I’m afraid.  Because of that, when my husband is away from home, he will often call me or text me to say, “I’ll be home in a few minutes.  If you hear someone downstairs, it will be me.”  At a time when I could be fearful, he wants to comfort me with his presence. His presence in the house makes all the difference! Any bump or bang isn’t even noticed by me when I remember that Dale is with me.

That illustration pales in comparison to what our loving God does for us on a daily basis! Look what He tells us…

Isa 41:10 – Fear thou not; for I am with thee: 

be not dismayed; for I am thy God:

 I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; 

yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

This is addressed primarily to the exiled Jews during their long and painful captivity in Babylon; and the idea is, that they who had been selected by God to be his special people had nothing to fear. 

But the promise is one that may be regarded as addressed to all His people in similar circumstances, and it is as true now as it was then, that those whom God has chosen have nothing to fear.

In times in which we could be fearful, Isaiah 41:10 tells us that our God is saying to us, “Don’t be fearful,” and He also tells us why we don’t have to be afraid. ~

 I’m here with you. 
I’m here in the fear that is gripping your heart.
I’m in the need you’re experiencing.  
I’m in the diagnosis you just received. 
I am with that child that concerns you, 
that husband who has forsaken you,
and that load that is weighing down on you. 
I am there in your loneliness, your weakness and your greatest fear.

There IS no need to be afraid; I’m there with you – now,

and now

and now! 

This comfort is in the present tense!  Not “I was with you.”  Not, “I’ll come in a little bit.” 

I Am.

It reminds me of His name that He said to Moses – I AM.  The Present tense God gives us Present tense help.  Present tense comfort.

“Fear and despair are high points of atheism” D.L. Moody.  

Look! God has said it.  What more do we need? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

Fear and despair often happens more readily to us when we are alone, but we must remember that we are never alone!

He goes on to say – Be not dismayed for I am your God.
Dismayed means “to see, to look”; and then to look about as one does in a state of alarm, or danger. That puts a picture in my mind of the Egyptian army coming after the children of Israel.  Moses reminded them not to be startled, but to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord!”

I am your God!  Remember, Israelites, remember how I helped you?  Remember what I’ve done for you?  That’s me!  

He had delivered them, met their needs, He had kept His promise to them.  He had led them, loved them, and forgiven them.

So whatever has you looking around in fear today, heed His admonition and don’t be alarmed! He is with you!

I am grateful for a husband who will text me to tell me not to be afraid because he’s coming home and any noise I hear will be him.  I can look at that text when I hear a bang and remember what he said. 

I am even more thankful that God wrote this promise in Isaiah for me to remember.  I can also look to the past and recall His faithfulness and I can look to the future and know that even then He will be the same.

What has you looking around at others with fear and dismay?  God is here reminding you not to be afraid! He is with you and He can help you!.  That makes all the difference in the world!

Refresh your worries with this truth...He is with you! He will help you.

Encouragement · God's Presence

I Will Look Up

Some years ago I had the blessing of visiting Spain. One sight I saw many times in the countryside were shepherds walking with their sheep. It was the typical picture I’d seen only in paintings – the sheep all herded together, baa-ing and bleating, while the shepherd walked, a bit stooped over as he cared for them and guided them. The shepherd bends over so the sheep can look up.

It’s so easy for us to let the cares that surround us cause our hearts and heads to be bowed down, isn’t it? All we have to say is 2020, and everyone nods. We get it. This hard year has often caused my own heart and head to be bowed down. Just this week I’ve heard of these hard things…

  • Emergency appendectomy
  • Reconstructive surgery following cancer
  • Covid outbreaks
  • Cancellations of long-awaited plans
  • People who are isolated and lonely
  • Stressed-out mom, worn down emotionally

But wait, little sheep! We have a Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Who carefully watches over us. He bends His ear to our cries and He reaches out to guide and comfort us in our heartache. Proverbs 2:8 reminds us that He preserves the paths of His saints. The Lord IS shepherding us, but we have a responsibility. We find it in Psalm 121 ~

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

Did you catch it in verse one? I will – This signifies that the psalmist makes a choice of his will (a volitional choice) to look up to God. How often when faced with a test, trial or affliction, I choose to look down in self-pity or around at adverse circumstances, rather than gazing upward to my Omnipotent Father!

This also indicates that the psalmists recognizes that man continually stands in need of and dependence on the Lord’s help. He waits — he expects — he obtains. The truest vision is soul-vision. Looking up in contemplation, expectation. He looks “Up,” from the mud and mire of earth, and the sins and sorrows of self.

What “mud pit” are you looking up from today? Sickness? Disappointment? Loss? Grief? Sin? Hardship? We each need to have a little personal dialogue like the psalmist had and say, “I Will Look Up!” This isn’t just some kind of psycho babble…this is based on doctrine…on His Word here in Psalm 121. He is your keeper. He will preserve (keep) your going out and coming in. Our Shepherd is bent over us. That means we can look up to Him! He will care for us, provide for us and lead us home.

When the out -look is bleak

Remember the up -look.

The Good Shepherd is the One who made those hills, and He hasn’t forgotten you! Look up!