Tuesday, August 25, 2015

She Will Not Fall

This week, Denise K. Loock is my guest blogger. Denise is a freelance writer, editor, and speaker. She’s the author of two devotional books, Open Your Hymnal and Open Your Hymnal Again. She is the founder of Dig Deeper Devotions, a website dedicated to encouraging and enabling Christians to dig deeper into God’s Word. Denise is also the editor of Journey Christian News and a nonfiction book editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.

She Will Not Fall

Psalm 46 begins with a powerful declaration about the nature of our God: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (v. 1). Many Bible scholars believe this psalm was written after a monumental military victory, perhaps the one described in 2 Kings 19:35. But regardless of when it was written, I derive great strength from the truths about God that the psalm celebrates – particularly the security I have because I am His child.

Verse 4 refers to Jerusalem, “the city of God.” When the psalm was written, God’s presence dwelled in the temple: “the holy place where the Most High dwells,” said the psalmist. When enemy armies threatened to conquer Jerusalem, the people depended on God to protect them:

God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day. (v. 5 NIV)

But I claim this truth for myself, because God no longer dwells in a bricks-and-mortar building. He lives in me (Galatians 2:20).

Photo taken by Sue Libera
Most mornings I walk around the lake near our home. Often, as I think about the tasks that lay ahead of me on that particular day, or I pray about the problems that have arisen in my life or my loved ones’ lives, I recite Psalm 46:5. Its words encourage and strengthen me. God dwells within me. He has promised that He will never leave or forsake me. He has promised that He will make a way for me to handle whatever circumstances confront me. He will come to my aid, providing the emotional, spiritual, or physical strength I need.

How about you? Do you begin each day with confidence that God is with you and in you? Do you rely on His help?

I encourage you to memorize Psalm 46:5. When stress, anxiety, anger, or bewilderment creep up your spine during the day, pause. Breathe deeply and recite the verse aloud. Allow its truth to settle your soul. God is within you. You will not fall.
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Denise's publisher, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, is offering a giveaway of her books through September 4, through goodreads. Click on Open Your Hymnal or Open Your Hymnal Again for your chance to get a free book!


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

I Can’t Go to God

Photo by Jeff Meyer (Flickr)
Perhaps it’s not easy for you to go to God when you’re struggling, especially when dealing with the consequences of your poor choices.

Maybe you’re disappointed in the way God answered your prayers in the past which left you feeling as if He wasn’t listening or didn’t care about you or your problems.

Or perhaps the idea of going to your heavenly Father doesn’t feel like a safe option because your relationship with your earthly parent(s) is messed up.

But what if you’ve allowed the past consequences of your choices, your lack of understanding of God’s timing and sovereignty, or the imperfection of those around you, define who God truly is?

What if He is a much better Father than you’ve ever dared to believe? It’s at least worth considering, isn’t it?

God wants you to know that He loves you—intensely. He grieves for (and with) you for the situation you’re in. Consider having a conversation with Him, similar to that of the Prodigal Son’s.

Luke 15:18 (NASB)
I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight."

Even if you think it won’t work because you’ve tried it before, risk trusting in God’s love for you, one more time. If necessary, call someone who has a relationship with God and let him or her pray with you.

Please don’t wait until things get worse. You may not survive worse. Allow God to throw His strong and compassionate arms around you, so He can help you break that cycle.

There is hope. There is a right path for you to take—beginning at this moment.

This week, read Luke 15:11-24 every day, especially in the Amplified Version, if possible, and discover more about yourself—and your heavenly Father.

Which verses stand out for you? Consider meditating on them, and possibly memorizing those that will help you, as you deal with your failures and your need for forgiveness.


Would you like to discuss this further? If so leave a comment or email me (see About tab for my email address).

I will send you the weekly verses, formatted to fit a standard index card. You must be subscribed to the blog, via email. Leave a comment to let me know what translation you prefer.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

What Will It Take?

Photo by Maria Elena (Flickr)
If the previous year of your life were to be featured in a magazine article, would you send copies to your family? Would you invite your friends on Facebook to read it?

There was a time I wouldn’t have.

If you were to take snapshots of the difficult seasons of my life, you would end up with a collage depicting huge failures and disappointments. The worst photo would be the one showing me alone—separated from my young, adorable children.

Every time I made destructive choices to cater to my addictive behaviors, I was choosing to sabotage important relationships and opportunities. How I wish I could relive those years. Why did I wait so long to come to my senses?

The prodigal son probably asked that same question after squandering all he had with loose living.

Luke 15:17 (NASB)
But when he came to his senses, he said, “How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger!”

We all have them—habits or behavior we hate.

Perhaps this morning, you lied to your parents about what you and your friends are doing tonight. Now, lying seems to be something you’re doing a lot of and you fear where it may be heading.

Or maybe, those phone calls you’ve been making to someone who isn’t your spouse started out as purely business, but now you’re feeling sick about the past several months.

One bad choice turns into another one, and soon we’re entangled in sin. And then we fall for the lie that we can’t change until we’ve hit bottom. So we continue down the wrong path.

The prodigal son almost lost everything, including his reputation, relationship with his family, finances, and his self-respect. Why did he wait so long to come to his senses?

While you memorize and/or meditate on this week’s verse, ask yourself:

Where are you today, compared to where you were a year ago? 
What will it take for you to come to your senses?

(To be continued.)

Would you like to discuss this further? If so leave a comment or email me (see About tab for my email address).

I will send you the weekly verses, formatted to fit a standard index card. You must be subscribed to the blog, via email. Leave a comment to let me know what translation you prefer.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Is It Time to Rise Up?

I will get up, go to my father, and tell him I’m sorry—that I’m really, really sorry. Jason let out a heavy sigh and slid down the wall to a seated position. He squeezed his eyes shut for a long moment. But after all I’ve done to him, why would he forgive me?

Then Jason sat up straighter and almost smiled (the first time he came even close to smiling in months). Talking to an empty liquor bottle, he said, “What if I go back home and ask Dad if I can sleep on the floor of the garage? I’d eat whatever leftovers he would give me.” His stomach growled in agreement. “In return, I’ll wash and wax his cars, mow the grass, and clean the gutters.”

Jason picked up his backpack and took his first steps back toward home.

While still a long way off, he could just barely see the fence that surrounded the house he once called home. He wiped the sweat from his eyes with his sleeve and noticed a man hurrying toward him. “Whoa! Is that Dad? If that is him, I have never seen Dad run so fast. He must be madder than I thought.” Jason turned to flee in the opposite direction.

“Jason! Jason!! Don’t turn away. Wait for me!”

Jason didn’t know what to think, but out of sheer exhaustion and desperation, he decided to wait. As his dad got closer, nervous sweat poured from Jason’s brow. His heart pounded.

But to his surprise, his father threw his arms around him, wrapping him in a bear hug. “I’ve been waiting for you to come home.”

Jason hesitated only for a moment before he buried his face in his father’s shoulder. “Dad, I’m sorry.”

“I forgive you, my son. Come, let’s celebrate your return!” (Based on Luke 15:11-24: The Story of the Prodigal Son)
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Is it time for you to rise up and go to your Father?

We will continue this next week. Until then, read Luke 15:11-24 every day, especially in the Amplified, and discover more about yourself—and your heavenly Father.

Which verses stand out for you? Consider meditating on them, and possibly memorizing those that will help you, as you deal with your failures and your need for forgiveness.


Would you like to discuss this further? If so leave a comment or email me (see About tab for my email address).

I will send you the weekly verses, formatted to fit a standard index card. You must be subscribed to the blog, via email. Leave a comment to let me know what translation you prefer.
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