Splendor of a September Dawn ©

Eastern skies light up with

Opening sonnets of rhapsody.

Sunbeams gleam over colored leaves in

Brilliant display of awe and wonder.

Orange, yellow, red, and green

Glow in the early streams of light

 

Stillness,

Quiet…

A simple chirp of a cricket.

In the distance a jay calls,

Another flies with open wings of blue and white.

Tiny fluttering insects, moths, and butterflies

Emerge from their slumber.

Flowers slowly open their petals

As the ray of the sun shines brighter.

 

Breathe deeply the sweetness of grass,

Vegetable gardens, corn, and hay in the fields.

Embrace the coolness and dew of these early hours.

Savor the moments, they will become memories.

 

Day has dawned.

The air begins to warm,

Beckoning the last hurrah of summer.

Autumn is peeking around the corner.

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Loving God’s Word ©

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. -Psalm 19:7-11 ESVUK
 
When is the last time you picked up a Bible, read, and loved it?
 
There are so many ways we can read God’s Word today. We can read it on our phones, tablets, computers, and the actual book. I tend to read verses every day on my computer yet study from the book. There are also different versions and languages of the Bible. I personally read the English Standard Version, New Living Translation, and I also enjoy reading the Complete Jewish Bible. We all have our preferences that speak to our own understanding.
 
Despite technology and being able to have different ways of reading the Bible, languages, and versions of the Bible, many Christians still do not read it. There are different excuses as to why they don’t. I am giving just a few and the answers as to why you can.
 
“I don’t like to read.” You can listen to recordings of the Bible. You can buy audio cd’s or listen to the Word online on your phone, tablet, and computer. If you have an iPad, you can listen to a Bible podcast.
 
“I do not have the time.” We all have 24 hours a day. Surely, even 5 to 10 minutes isn’t too much time to take away from busyness to read the Word.
 
“I find it hard to understand.” There are many different versions to read for different levels of understanding. Ask your minister or a friend for help. Also, Bible study groups are good to help each other understand the Word. Also, online, BibleGateway is an excellent source to help you as they have different versions to read from and commentaries. There are other sites that can help as well if you search for them.
 
“The Bible makes me feel bad when I read it, besides, it’s irrelevant to today’s world.” If the Bible makes you feel uncomfortable, usually it is the work of the Holy Spirit convicting you of something and all you need to do is pray about it. Sometimes you need to confess what is wrong and change. The Bible is still relevant today. In fact, prophecies from the Old and New Testament are occurring now.
 
The Bible is God’s authoritative Word. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (1 Timothy 3:16 ESVUK).
 
David, the famous Psalmist, and king loved the Word of God and spoke of it often in the book of Psalms. The Word he knew was the first 5 books of the Bible, called the Torah. He also knew the Word that was passed down throughout the generations and taught within the home and synagogue. He would have had to know all of the 613 commandments for his Bar Mitzvah at 13 years of age. The 613 commandments were to be followed by the Israelites and were summed up by Jesus as loving the Lord our God first and loving our neighbor.
 
David speaks about the law and the Word in Psalm 19:7-11. He declares the law of the Lord is perfect. God’s Word is holy. When we follow God’s word and live it out daily in our lives, we will also be holy and separated from the world. The Word revives our souls. Yes, it can convict us, but God’s law can also lift our spirits and correct us. God’s testimony is true. We can trust it. God’s precepts are right. The commandments of God are pure. He has our best interest at heart. They enlighten our eyes showing us what is wrong and right in God’s Light. The rules of the Lord are true and righteous.
 
David desired God’s Word more than gold, even the finest gold. Do we honestly desire God’s Word more than our most valued treasure? David says God’s words are sweeter than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Honey is lovely and if you ever have had honeycomb, it’s even better. David surely tasted fresh honey whilst as a shepherd. He knew how sweet it was. He says God’s Word is better than the honey’s sweetness.
 
David said keeping God’s Word is rewarding. How do we keep God’s Word? By hiding it in our hearts and living it out daily in our lives.
 
What a contrast from our view of the Bible and David’s. We have the whole Word, including the New Testament about Jesus who David didn’t meet until heaven. David was known as a man after God’s own heart. He spent time learning, meditating, and studying God’s Word and talking to God. The Word was very important to David. It made a massive difference in his life.
 
Like David, have you hidden God’s Word in your heart? If you don’t read the Word, how can you know more about God? How can you grow as a Christian? How can you know the truth when the world says otherwise?
 
God’s Word is truth. We cannot and should not add or take away from it. Jesus is the Word, the Word is Jesus (see John 1:1). The Word is truth. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except by him (John 14:6).
 
Read the truth. Love the Truth. Hide the Truth in your life and live out the Truth, God’s Word daily. Amen.

God,

How often do I come to You

With an agenda on my mind,

Rattling off a list of things I desire?

 

Yes, I pray for people’s needs every day,

And I try to always remember to say thank you,

For all the blessings you give.

Oftentimes I fall short of giving you

The praise you deserve

 

I want to see my friends and family

Healthy and happy,

Blessed beyond measure.
I want peace in the world

Where there are no wars, famine,

Injustice, and hatred.

 

The more I pray, the more I see.

My heart is changing,

I’m beginning to understand.

You want me to pray,

To share my every thought and need.

 

However, you desire much more than this.

You want me to long for you,

Just for who you are, not what you can do.

 

May I desire you more than anything,

More than your blessings,

For you are greater than all these things.

 

It’s not about me,

It’s all about you.

 

You are above all,

Alpha and Omega,

Beginning and the End.

You are Holy, Majestic,

The King of all kings.

You are Amazing!

 

Thank you Father,

Amen.

 

© Tanya

God,

How often do I come to You

With an agenda on my mind,

Rattling off a list of things I desire?

 

Yes, I pray for people’s needs every day,

And I try to always remember to say thank you,

For all the blessings you give.

Oftentimes I fall short of giving you

The praise you deserve

 

I want to see my friends and family

Healthy and happy,

Blessed beyond measure.
I want peace in the world

Where there are no wars, famine,

Injustice, and hatred.

 

The more I pray, the more I see.

My heart is changing,

I’m beginning to understand.

You want me to pray,

To share my every thought and need.

 

However, you desire much more than this.

You want me to long for you,

Just for who you are, not what you can do.

 

May I desire you more than anything,

More than your blessings,

For you are greater than all these things.

 

It’s not about me,

It’s all about you.

 

You are above all,

Alpha and Omega,

Beginning and the End.

You are Holy, Majestic,

The King of all kings.

You are Amazing!

 

Thank you Father,

Amen.

 

-Tanya ©

Praise the Lord in all circumstances!

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. – Hebrews 13:15

Praise.

What is it and why should we praise God?

According to the Merriam- Webster’s dictionary, the word praise means to say or write good things about (someone or something), to express approval of (someone or something) and to express thanks or to love and respect (God).

To praise the Lord is to say good things of him, give approval of who he is and what he does and to express our thanks, love and respect to our Father God.

Praise is vital in our relationship to God. We should praise him first and foremost because of who he is. God is our Creator. He sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to die a horrible death to atone us of our sins and he raised Jesus from the dead so we can have eternal life. God is amazing. He is always with us. He cares about us. He enjoys our presence and wants to spend time with us. He is a good God and a good Father.

We should praise the Lord at all times. The Bible says to praise the Lord 377 times! That is more than every day of the year!

Yes, I know it is easy to praise him when things are going well for us. When we are healthy, happy, family life is wonderful and things could not get better.

But what about when things go wrong. Illness strikes, circumstances are difficult, a marriage breaks up, a loved one dies, there’s no money in the bank and you can’t pay the bills, etc.? Why should you praise then?

Praise puts the focus on God not on our circumstances!

It is not easy to praise the Lord when things go wrong in our lives. However, it is imperative that we do. Praise helps us to focus on God and who he is. Praise puts God first in our lives. God is still in control. God is still good. He did not cause the problems in our lives. We cannot and should not blame him.

We live in a sin-filled, fallen world. God does not give us troubles. Satan does. Instead of blaming God for our problems, let us praise him for goodness. Praise him for his presence in our lives. Praise Him for the good things that are happening. Take time to write down things you are thankful for, for at least a week, even simple things such as a hot shower, and you will quickly find things you can praise the Lord for.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says we are to be thankful in all circumstances. I know this seems very difficult, but it can be done. I write in a little notebook, every day of the year, things I am thankful for. Doing this has given me a fresh new outlook on life. I am happier in my spirit and I have found many reasons to praise the Lord.

Being chronically ill and suffering from mental illness as well sometimes takes its toll on me. At first, I was angry, even angry at God for allowing this to happen to me and my family. However, when I started to give thanks to God for the simplest things, I began to realize how awesome God is.

I have found praise helps me to focus on God instead of the physical pain or frustration of not being able to do things like everyone else. I have also found that praising God boosts my mood and I sense his presence with me. Praising him really has changed my outlook on life.

When I am down and feeling rather low, I put on praise music. I sing (even if I’m out of tune sometimes or even have no voice) songs of praise to God. I even begin to thank him for who he is.

I have heard so many people say it’s hard to praise the Lord. Their circumstances are too difficult. They say I have a gift which enables me to praise God no matter what.

My friends, everyone can praise the Lord. If you struggle to know what to say, have a look at the Psalms. Start by praying one of them, such as Psalm 100. Listen to hymns, praise and worship songs, and/or contemporary Christian music to help you to focus on God. Listen to the words sung. If you know the words, sing along. If not, Google the words, as most every song out there can be found on Google (you would be surprised what you can find).

When you begin to focus on God and not your circumstances, your heart will be changed. Your relationship with God will grow stronger. You will be able to weather any storm.

Life here on earth is temporary. Our relationship with God is eternal. What is more important to us?

When I am down and feeling rather low, I put on praise music.  I sing (even if I’m out of tune sometimes or even have no voice) songs of praise to God. I even begin to thank him for who he is.

I have heard so many people say it’s hard to praise the Lord.  Their circumstances are too difficult. They say I have a gift which enables me to praise God no matter what.

My friends, everyone can praise the Lord. If you struggle to know what to say, have a look at the Psalms. Start by praying one of them, such as Psalm 100.  Listen to hymns, praise and worship songs, and/or contemporary Christian music to help you to focus on God. Listen to the words sung. If you know the words, sing along. If not, Google the words, as most every song out there can be found on Google (you would be surprised what you can find).

When you begin to focus on God and not your circumstances, your heart will be changed.  Your relationship with God will grow stronger. You will be able to weather any storm.

Life here on earth is temporary. Our relationship with God is eternal. What is more important to us?

“Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heaven! Praise him for his mighty works; praise his unequaled greatness! Praise him with a blast of the ram’s horn; praise him with the lyre and harp! Praise him with the tambourine and dancing; praise him with strings and flutes! Praise him with a clash of cymbals; praise him with loud clanging cymbals. Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord! Praise the Lord!” -Psalm 150

Trusting God is not always easy but worth it ©

3 Trust in the Lord and do good.
Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
4 Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you your heart’s desires.
5 Commit everything you do to the Lord.
Trust him, and he will help you.
6 He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn,
and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.
7 Be still in the presence of the Lord,
and wait patiently for him to act.
Don’t worry about evil people who prosper
or fret about their wicked schemes.
-Psalm 37.3-7 NLT
 
These verses, especially seven, has been shared with me several times by different people in the past several years. Although verse seven is the verse they quote, I had to add the ones before verse 7 to make sense. It is so easy to see what is going on around me and be despondent. I can’t say I understand why people can get away with the things they do. I have questioned God on several occasions why do the wicked get away with all they do. I am not perfect. I make mistakes. I am a sinner. I am also saved by grace. I am grateful for God’s amazing grace and mercy.
 
I also ask God often how it is that those who try their best to serve Him and do what He asks to get all the rubbish thrown at them. I know the adages that God never gives us more than we can bear (which is actually out of context according to the Bible as it is He won’t let you be tempted beyond what we can bear), and that God has better plans for me so I have to go through difficulties to get where He wants me. I am struggling to understand. I am trying to get to the point of acceptance but it is not easy.
 
Yes, I trust in God. I know He is with me. I believe that His strength gets me through each day. I am grateful for friends and family who are standing by me. God is providing for me. I take delight in worshipping Him. I love worship music, singing, and just being in His holy presence. I am glad to be able to go to church again and spending time with fellow believers who also have questions on this journey. It’s refreshing to know, I’m not the only one.
 
I struggle with giving things to God and not fretting over those things. My nature is to analyze and think over and over again about those things that I have given to God. I worry about what lies ahead, I try to be realistic in what my capabilities are. I need to work on trusting God to work things out because I can’t do this on my own. I can’t see the future (of course, no one can). People are always telling me to not worry about tomorrow but get through today. I find that easier said than done.
I know there is a reward in heaven for all who serve the Lord and have accepted Him as Lord and Savior of their lives. I do believe that justice will come, I just wish it would come sooner than later. Many times, I have fussed at God (yes, I do believe it is okay to whine at Him every now and then, if we can’t be real with God, who can we be real with?) about people getting away with things contrary to His Word and not suffering. I have complained time and time again about the things we go through, especially, when I have been taught that we must be doing something wrong to have things go bad, or that God is testing our faith and if we please Him, things will get better. All I can say to that is “grrrr.” I have left everything I had, given of myself, and then some to serve the Lord and do what He asks. I am not perfect, I make mistakes, I fly off the handle sometimes when things don’t go the way I wish it would.
 
But then… I think of Job, Jeremiah, and Paul. Job lost everything, his family, his possessions and his health, yet he praised the Lord and trusted Him despite of. Jeremiah suffered immensely, he never got to see the fruits of what he did and people didn’t believe his prophecies (they all came true though). Paul had a thorn in his flesh that tormented him day and night but he counted it a blessing for God’s strength was in his weakness.
 
I need to seriously take heart verse seven. I know God is speaking to my heart through others to me. I am to be still. Physically, I can’t do much else. Mentally is the challenge. I am a natural worrier as I said earlier. My mind needs to be stilled. I need to do what it says to not worry about those who prosper, etc. I am to be focused on God, being in His presence. I just need to be still, mind, body and soul. This is a massive challenge. I know I can’t do it without the Holy Spirit. Yet, I know I need to. He will act on my behalf. My prayer is for the Holy Spirit to still my heart and mind no matter what happens. My health may fail, but God is my portion, my hope, and my strength for each day. I need to relinquish my need for control over every situation and allow God to be God.
 
I also need to remember God’s answers to so many of my prayers. He has come through in so many ways. He has changed my circumstances. He is healing me from the inside out. I find it hard to trust sometimes because I want control. It’s selfish; I know. Daily, I have to lay myself on God’s altar and let Him have control. He is God. He controls galaxies and the universe. Surely, He knows what He is doing in my life.
 
I close with the words to the Lutheran Hymn “Be Still My Soul” as my prayer.
 
“Be Still, My Soul”
by Catharina von Schlegel, 1697-? / Translated by Jane Borthwick, 1813-1897
 
1. Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; thy best, thy heavenly, Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
 
2. Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.
 
3. Be still, my soul, though dearest friends depart
And all is darkened in the vale of tears;
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrows and thy fears.
Be still, my soul; thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.
 
4. Be still, my soul; the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul; when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

Prayer of Rest ©

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29).
How many of you are tired and weary? How many need to rest in the loving arms of Jesus? “Rest. Rest. Rest in God’s love. The only work you are required now to do is to give your most intense attention to his still, small voice within” (Madame Jeanne Guyon). Jesus says in Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
We all would like to be able to rest not only physically but also mentally and emotionally. Today, Jesus is inviting us into his rest. We are not meant to walk around with the world on our shoulders. Life is just too much to bear at times. With sickness, sorrow, and pain, we can feel completely overwhelmed. Jesus did promise that he will not give us more than we can bear, although I must admit there are times I have questioned him how much more can I really take. Jesus wants us to learn from him, to know that he has everything under control and that we can simply trust him. It’s so terribly easy to give him our troubles and take them back with us. Mainly because we are comfortable with our problems and don’t know how to live without having them in our lives.
The prayer of rest is to pray always. The literal translation to pray always or without ceasing is “come to rest.” Anthony Bloom tells the story of an elderly woman who had been working at prayer with all her might but without ever sensing God’s presence. Wisely, the archbishop encouraged the old woman to go to her room each day and ‘for fifteen minutes knit before the face of God, but I forbid you to say one word of prayer. You just knit and try to enjoy the peace of your room.’ The woman received this counsel, and at first her only thought was, ‘Oh, how nice. I have fifteen minutes during which I can do nothing without being guilty!’ In time, however, she began to enter the silence created by her knitting. Soon, she said, ‘I perceived that this silence had substance. It was not the absence of something but presence of something.’ As she continued her daily knitting, she discovered that ‘at the heart of the silence there was he who is all stillness, all peace, all poise.’ She had let go of her tight-fisted efforts to enter God’s presence and, by doing so, she discovered God’s presence is already there.
We cannot be completely passive all the time, there is to be action for the Lord. God doesn’t want us to sit around and do nothing. Extraverts would truly struggle with this. He wants us to be active in our relationship with him. However, for today, I just want us to know about God’s peace and rest that he offers us.
It’s hard for us many times to find rest because we do not know what to pray or sometimes how to pray. But take heart, Romans 8:26-27 says “The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” The Holy Spirit lives within us. He intercedes on our behalf to Jesus who intercedes to the Father who responds to his Son and Spirit that lives within us. We do not have to have everything perfect when we pray. We can rest in knowing that the Holy Spirit prays on our behalf. God is speaking to God in and through us. What an amazing thought! We don’t have to worry about being perfect with our prayers, because God knows our hearts.
There are several ways that we can enter this time of rest. The first is solitude. In solitude, we voluntarily abstain from our normal patterns of activity and interaction with people for a time in order to discover our strength and well-being comes from God alone. In solitude, we gently press into the Holy of Holies where we are stilled in the presence of God. The second is silencio- the stillness of creaturely activity. In silencio, we still every motion and activity that is not rooted in God. We become quiet, hushed, motionless until we are God-centred. We let go of all distractions around us and focus on God. The third way is recollection. Recollection simply means focus. It means gaining tranquillity of the mind, heart and spirit. Sometimes we just need a retreat to get away from all the noise in our lives. All three of these ways of entering into rest is being still before God. Psalm 46.10 tells us that we are to “be still and know that He is God.” All in chapter 46, there is a lot going on around the psalmist and he declares God’s word in basically declaring that no matter what is happening, we are to be still in the presence of God almighty, desist all that we are doing and just be with God.
Jean Vanier, the founder of the L’Arche communities for mentally handicapped people, shares an illustration that I think really helps us to understand the perfect rest we have in God. He cups his hands lightly and says, ‘Suppose I have a wounded bird in my hands. What would happen if I closed my hands completely?’ The response is immediate. ‘Why, the bird will be crushed and die.’ ‘Well then, what would happen if I opened my hands completely?’ ‘Oh, no, then the bird will try to fly away, and it will fall and die.’ Vanier smiles and says, ‘The right place is like my cupped hand, neither open nor totally closed. It is the space where growth can take place.’ For us, the hands of God are cupped lightly. We have enough freedom so that we can stretch and grow, but also we have enough protection so that we will not be injured- and so we can be healed. Here is the prayer of rest, staying in God’s protection with his Spirit crying out on our behalf.
Imagine yourselves just now in the cup of God’s hands. Just be silent in His presence and allow Him to sing over you, to strengthen you, to give you rest…
****************
Let Your God Love You (Edwina Gateley)
Be silent, be still. Alone. Empty before God. Say nothing. Ask nothing. Be silent, Be still. Let God look upon you, that is all. He knows. He understands. He loves you with an enormous love. He only wants to look upon you with His love. Quiet. Still be. Let God- love you.
Stillness- I sit in Your presence stilled and quiet, lifting my heart to You, I let go all worries, anxieties and plans: I place them in your hands. I wait on You, passive and expectant, I let you come into the inmost core of my being, into the deep centre of my life where You are already there. You are within me, You are here now as you are with everyone who is willing to welcome you. I let go, I sink and merge into You, I let You take over, I let You carry me.
I AM WITH YOU-
Here is no place in all creation where I am not. There is no part of your life in which I am absent. I am deeply embedded in the core of your being, and will be for all eternity. I will not remove myself, I am the ground of your being. I am your strength and comfort, the spring and source of your life. I am with you. I am in you. I am for you. I am above you. I am around you. I am beneath you. In your communion with me you will know the purity of my truth. You will know the warmth of my love. You will know the assurance of my peace. You will know the joy of my real presence. You will know the wonder of my healing. You will behold my Glory.