Monday, April 15, 2019

His Prayer, My Prayer

Prayer is a conversation with God. He speaks to us. We speak to Him. When I read (or listen to) the prayers of others, I often think, "Yes, Father, that's what I want to say to You, too."


For example, after reading and studying what the prophet said to God in Isaiah 25:1-4, I paraphrased a portion of Isaiah's words to make this my prayer:
"O LORD, You are my God. I will honor You. I will praise Your name, because You have done wonderful things, things You planned long ago and are faithfully accomplishing, one by one.

"You have been and continue to be a strong tower of refuge for the poor, for the needy, and for people in any kind of distress. 

"You are a refuge from the storms of life and a shelter from its heat. I run to You, deeply thankful to have such a much-needed refuge. I can't 'do life' without You!"

Thursday, April 11, 2019

God Be In Me

Note: I found this beautiful prayer in Derek Prime's book, A Good Old Age. Isn't it a good one to pray daily?

Monday, April 8, 2019

Be Content!

I've long struggled to understand these words the apostle Paul wrote centuries ago in his letter to the Christians in Philippi:
I know how to make do with little, and I know how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content--whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need (Philippians 4:11, CSB, emphasis mine).
How did he learn to be content in EVERY situation? How do you and I learn to do that? 

My longing to know prompted me to read Matthew Henry's commentary (originally published in 1706). Here's my "takeaway" on what he said:

Paul consistently chose to accept his situation and to adjust himself to it, whether or not it was one he liked. He did not rant and rave. He simply did the best he could where he was and with what he had. He trusted God to give him the strength he needed to cope with every circumstance. 

Even when suffering, Paul didn't lose his comfort in God. He didn't doubt God's love for him nor God's ability and willingness to take care of him. Thus, He waited quietly for God (not others!) to act on his behalf. 

When Paul enjoyed relative prosperity, he didn't boast or feel entitled to the good things God had provided for him. He humbly thanked his God for them.


How do we learn to be content in any situation? The same way Paul did! 

Friday, April 5, 2019

Need Wisdom? Ask God for It.

Since I’m often unsure which option to choose, I turn to this verse again and again:
One recent morning, I reread that verse and then wrote these words  in my journal: 
If I need wisdom--and I do!--I can ASK God for it. Just come right out and ask Him. He's always generous; and, as the Bible says in other passages,* He  gives good gifts to His children. In fact, I think we honor Him when we seek His counsel. Seeking His thoughts on a matter indicates that we believe He will help us by giving us counsel that is "spot on."
If we turn quickly and often to Him, we won't worry nearly as much. We can go confidently through life, facing each challenge that confronts us because we believe He will gladly and generously give us the wisdom we need. We simply ask in faith and then wait--all senses open--to receive His counsel and then set about doing what He tells us to do.

*Matthew 7:11; Luke 11:13; James 1:17

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Mess of a Self

I began my March 1, 2019, journal entry with these words:
Off schedule. Frazzled. Ideas popping--way more than I have time to handle. Inspired to write, but too many other tasks, projects, and commitments screaming for attention. Feeling led to write a series of blog posts about some ways to "unpack" the Word. Struggling to find THE BEST way to do that (and just about everything else). Because I'm searching for THE BEST way, I'm delaying doing anything...

I followed those words with these:
O Father, I present my "mess of a self" to You this morning, knowing that You know me fully--far better than I know myself--and yet You love me and are ABLE and WILLING--yes, even EAGER--to transform me.


As I thought about that, the words to the song Something Beautiful popped into my mind. I recognized it as God's way of assuring me that He can and will make something beautiful out of the "mess of a self" that I'm offering Him. He will do the same for you, Dear Reader. Just offer yourself to Him and see what He does!





Wednesday, April 3, 2019

He Leads Us Along

I wish all of life's paths were pleasant ones like the one in this picture, don't you? I long to be able to stroll leisurely through life, feeling comfortable and at ease, enjoying the fellowship of sweet people around me, delighting in the beauty of God's creation... 

But at times life can be unbelievably hard, can't it? So NOT like what we wish it were. Perhaps that's why I love the old song God Leads Us Along. Although published in 1903, it is still so true for today.

For your blessing, I've typed all of the words below. If you click here, you can listen to a young woman sing the song so sweetly. 

May the truth of the words comfort you and encourage you to keep on trusting God to lovingly lead you along paths He knows is best. 


God Leads Us Along
In shady, green pastures, so rich and so sweet,
God leads His dear children along;
Where the water's cool flow bathes the weary one's feet,
God leads His dear children along.


Refrain
Some through the waters, some through the flood,
Some through the fire, but all through the blood;
Some through great sorrow, but God gives a song,
In the night season and all the day long.


Sometimes on the mount where the sun shines so bright,
God leads His dear children along;
Sometimes in the valley, in darkest of night,
God leads His dear children along.

Though sorrows befall us and Satan oppose,
God leads His dear children along;
Through grace we can conquer, defeat all our foes,
God leads His dear children along.

Away from the mire, and away from the clay,
God leads His dear children along;
Away up in glory, eternity's day,
God leads His dear children along.

--George A. Young, 1903, public domain




Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Pray-sing!

Many of the old hymns seem like prayers, and I use them as such. For example, as I've gone about my daily tasks this morning, I've been singing (and praying) all the verses to "Speak to My Heart," which was written by B. B. McKinney and published in 1927.

I, too, am asking the Lord to speak to my heart, to help me hear His voice, to calm all my doubts and fears, to cleanse me from all sin, to help me say or do something to point to the Savior those who do not yet know Him. I'm also offering my heart--in fact, all of me--to the Lord so that He can use me as He wishes.

Now that I've humbly asked Him to speak directly to me, I'm listening eagerly--and carefully--to hear what He will say. And I do believe He will speak to me. Many verses in the Bible promise that He will.


He Will Be There!

Sometimes something comes along that seems more than we can bear. At such times, I find comfort, as I pray you do, in this promise God made to His children centuries ago:
1Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. 2When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. 3For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior...you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you. 5Do not be afraid for I am with you (Isaiah 43:1-5, NLT).

As I read those precious promises again and again, especially when circumstances seem so overwhelming, I thank God that He is with me and that He will bring me through the difficulty. 

As I continue to reflect on God's presence and power, this quote my sweet mama shared with me so many times pops into my mind and comforts me, too: 



Note: You may also like this similar post I wrote in 2015: https://johnniegaskill.blogspot.com/2015/02/this-is-my-doing.html