Breathe

Praise the Lord, oh my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name (Ps 103:1).

Just as I began writing about praising God from our deepest being, this song by Michael W. Smith came on the radio. It certainly captures the essence of this verse.

This is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me.
This is my daily bread
Your very word spoken to me.

The psalmist lists many treasures with which our Heavenly Father blesses us that could come only from His mercy and grace. Verse five mentions “renewing our youth.” This one is getting more and more important as the years fly by. But only our loving Father restores that youthful vigor by giving us goals and dreams and purpose each day.

…and forget not all His benefits (Ps 103:2).

And I, I’m desperate for you.

And I, I’m lost without you.

Both Masterpiece and Work in Progress

But those whose hope is in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint (Is 40:31). 

From time to time, the Lord convicts me of things that I need to work on and change. And when I say “I” need to change, I actually mean that “He” has to change me. That definitely does not get me off the hook though. Although He could zap me into the perfect wife, mother, or friend, in His wisdom that is not how He works.

Easy lessons unfortunately are more quickly forgotten. Most things of great value come to us through struggle. They take self-discipline and persistence on our part, but He provides the power and strength to overcome and conquer.

It is so very true that we shouldn’t be quick to judge others because everyone has a struggle or burden. But blessed are those who have trust in the Lord because our ally is wise, loving, powerful, and will lead us on the most effective path to overcoming.

 

A Tribute to My Dad

 

Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness (Heb 12:10).

I usually don’t write syrupy things, but as Fathers’ Day approaches, I am feeling a bit nostalgic and missing my dad. This year he would be 100 years old. As my mother, who had been known to have blonde moments once said, “If he was alive, he would probably be dead by now.” The scary part is that I understood what she was saying!

Dad loved kids. He really enjoyed doing things for his children and grandchildren. One of his favorite lines to mom was, “We don’t need a new___, save the money for the kids.” And he loved surprising the grandkids with candy credit when they went to the corner drug store.

I really wish he could have known his great grandchildren. The two oldest are thoughtful and kind, the middle two are so personable, and the youngest two are smile magnets.

I love this verse, because as I was growing up, I always negatively compared my parents to others. But as a parent, I know that all I did (and continue to do as a parent of adult children) was what I thought best.

Each day I am grateful that I have the word of the Heavenly Father to look to for guidance, and that I had the example of an earthly father who always did what he thought was best for us.

This Blog’s for You

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, a light unto my path (Ps 119:105)

Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it (Luke 11:28).

Without being judgmental or condescending in any way, I know that people who are reading this are at different stages of spiritual growth. Some are new at studying the word, and that’s great! Others are so seasoned that they can even turn right to Habakkuk. And still others have joined through the internet from all over the place, both physically and spiritually.

When God placed the idea of doing this on my heart, I felt so overwhelmed by not knowing what to write to such a broad audience. But that’s exactly when I get myself in trouble—ME writing to you. When God leads me to a scripture, He speaks to me and I share what He tells me through His word.

Maybe these thoughts validate your thoughts, or maybe they give you an alternate perspective, or maybe you think, “That’s not what it means at all!” In each case, you’re right.

God’s word is amazing. It is individually relevant. It is alive.

Pray that He’ll speak to you from each verse. He has something special to say today—just for you.

Heaven

People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God (Luke 13:39).

Dr. David Jeremiah has been doing a series about life after physical death. He began by reading this epitaph of Solomon Peas who was actually from Girard, PA:

Peas not here

Only the pod

Peas shelled out

Went home to God

 Dr. Jeremiah’s messages direct us to a number of scriptures answering many of our questions about Heaven, but one point that he made I found very applicable. He said that God placed a hunger in our hearts for our heavenly eternity. When we forget, or begin to doubt, that God has prepared a glorious place for us that contains everything (and everybody, I pray) that we love and hold dear, then we try to create a situation for ourselves much like heaven on earth. We can spend every dime on a perfect environment, beautiful surroundings, free of pain, toys, activities, etc., but all we end up with is a cheap imitation that can never come close to what God has in store for those who put their faith in the inheritance that is ours through His Son.

 

Truth

Stand firm then with the belt of truth buckled around your waist (Eph 6:14a).

As I listen to the news or read social media, I often find myself craving for the truth. Conflicting sources can leave us confused concerning how to act or react.

We are fortunate to have at our disposal the absolute truth of God’s word. Even though it was written over a span of 1500 years by forty different writers, the message is consistent. Historians, archeologists, and fulfilled prophecies continue to confirm its authenticity.

Even better, God speaks to individual believers through His word, convicting, confirming, and validating. His word can serve as a spiritual filter, sifting out the myriad of murky debris, those gray areas that can cloud our perspective and decision making.

This allows us to stand firm and distinguish good from evil. Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth (Eph 4:14).

The Prayer That Never Fails

Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven (Matt 6:10).

Because He is a gracious father, there are many wonderful guarantees (promises) in God’s word. He even answers all our prayers. Of course His answer is either “Yes,” “No,” or “Wait.”

But there is one prayer that always has a resounding “YES.” It is taken right from His word—Your will be done.

This is not as easy as it sounds because it involves total trust—trust that God has in mind our best interest and the best interest of those for whom we are praying (really hard for a parent). It is a prayer that puts the focus on God, not on us asking Him for what we want and how we think things should play out.

Jesus, yet again, was the perfect model for us. Even at the time before the excruciating suffering that He knew would be coming, He said, “Not My will, but Yours.”

The result of His trust will continue to pay off throughout eternity. So can ours.