Turn to the Father

When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land He has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe His commands (Deut. 8:10-16).

As a believer, when times of trouble come, I immediately turn to God. I stay in His presence whether I am totally focused on prayer or talking with Him while doing daily tasks. It’s easier to trust when we must, in situations where we have no control. But this is God’s desire in the good times, too.

God doesn’t enjoy our pain, in fact, it tears His heart too. In all their distress, He too was distressed (Isa 63:9a). Although He doesn’t initiate our suffering, He uses it to draw us into His fellowship so that He can dispense His love and mercy and bless us with His better plan.

When times are good, it is easier to lean on ourselves and forget the Giver of all good things. If I could only always be mindful of this and avoid what is documented time and time in scripture when pride led to destruction.

May His praise continually be on my lips.

Wasted Time

Then I will restore (make-up) to you the years that the locusts have eaten (Joel 2:25).

I love interpreting this verse metaphorically in order to apply it to my own life.

We have all had periods in our lives where we have wasted days, even years on being angry, or timid, or sulky, or fearful, or whiney, or even mentally checking-out. Later we regret those times especially if there is a person involved who is no longer with us.

In many instances a do-over is not possible, but God is able and can somehow compensate. He is so gracious to those who put their faith in Him, and with Him nothing is impossible. After all, it is not God that invades our peace, but it is He who can lead us to still waters and can more than satisfy the ache in our soul.

The Word

Man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord (Deut 8:3).

 Did you notice that this verse is from the Old Testament? You probably recognize it from when Jesus quoted it to rebuke Satan’s temptations. There are so many lessons to be learned from the context of this quote in the Old Testament, but I’d like to focus of Jesus (yes, I would). He had the power of the Creator of the Universe at His fingertips, but He, the Son of God, fought the enemy with scripture.

Have you ever seen those bookmarkers that have a scripture for every need (when you’re lonely, depressed, scared…)? Don’t take it lightly; that is our arsenal. His words are powerful.

When I think of the power of my own words to produce joy, anger, hurt, love, I can on a small, small scale begin to grasp the immeasurable power of proclaiming the words of God.

God is God

I am confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Phil 1:6).

A devotional by Oswald Chambers had this phrase, “As sure as God is God and you are you…” It got me thinking about the vast chasm between God and my human nature—His pure heart, my selfish heart; His foresight, my myopic vision; His unconditional love, my fickle emotions.

Quite often, the way He answers prayer is different than the way I would (we can all be glad about that). The more I pray for someone who needs to change, even if it’s legitimate, the more the Holy Spirit spotlights areas in my life that need to change.

Anyway, I’m glad that God is God and that He is still working on me.

All You Need is Faith

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Prov3:5).

For a short time, as an adult, I took piano lessons from an old German man, Dr. Wagner (pronounced Vagner). I loved him, but I sometimes I would get frustrated because something was missing. Then one day he remarked, “Mrs. St Clair, you play with your head, not with your heart.”

That was many, many years ago and I have applied that to my life many, many times. Sometimes I act on what I think instead of what is in my heart. But the heart is not always reliable either. What’s worse is when I act from my head instead of in faith.

Over the years, God’s faithfulness has been evident so many times. What may seem logical to me may not fit His perfect plan for my life. I’m glad He acts from the heart when dealing with me, His work in progress.

More

All glory to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to His power that is at work within us (Eph 3:20).

I have two thoughts on this verse. When God has answered, “Yes” to my prayers, He has amazed me by doing it in such a way that my limited mind had never imagined. I am reminded of jobs that I prayed for and how He answered with positions I would have never even pursued.

My second thought is that if He had not said, “No” to some of my requests, my life would be a hot mess at this point.

Through His power He is able to do ___*____ more than we ask or imagine. (*infinitely, exceedingly abundantly, above and beyond). And His love is equal to or surpassing that!

Mathew Henry’s commentary on this verse notes that “it is proper always to end prayers with praises. Let us expect more, and ask for more, encouraged by what Christ has already done for our souls.”

Refuge

The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him (Na 1:7a).

Fortunately, there have been very few times that I have needed a place of refuge–physically. Once, my young son and I encountered a bobcat in the woods behind our house. Defenseless in ourselves, we trusted God, and under His care, scurried safely into the house.

But mentally or emotionally—well, that’s another story. I waste so much time trying to come to grips with a very sick world.

His promises however, never fail. What comfort there is in the place described in psalms where we can find refuge in the shadow of His wing. How priceless is His unfailing love. He cares for the mind and soul and spirit and body of those who put their trust in Him.