Boxing up

I had a dream last night about packing.

It was weird (as most dreams tend to be).

Yet, I clearly saw my recent mental gymnastics reflected in the stressed out “me” in the dream.

It is due to a combination of two priorities which don’t work together: packing our house and homeschooling our son.

I have often had to guard against the mental “what if?”.

Because not only am I fighting my flesh which wants things a certain way, there’s also doubt which tries to wind me up and rob my joy.

But in my heart I have peace.

God will supply all our needs.

He is faithful.

Like yesterday.

We finished school early.

We started by seven (which is definitely the Lord’s blessing).

We drove down yesterday and signed papers on the new house!

Praise the Lord!

God supplied all our needs throughout.

He has made “a way in the desert”.

I know He will help me get everything done in His time and without me stressing.

Matthew 6:31-33 NKJV — “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

It’s so true!

I have all I need, because Jesus has me.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your patience with me. Thank You for understanding my fears and worries and showing me a better way. Lord, thank You for showing me what I’m struggling with, because if I’m blind to my own sin I can’t repent and turn away from it. Lord, please continue to hone my heart, to help me to be soft, gentle, kind, loving, quick to forgive, quick to listen, slow to anger and slow to speak. Lord, please place a guard upon my lips that I might speak “no unwholesome talk” for I do not want to grieve Your Spirit. I don’t want to spread my own struggles to others. Lord, please forgive me if I have already done so in anyway. Lord thank You for walking us through all these things. Thank You for Your provision of a new home and new job. Lord, please show us how to glorify Your name in all these things. I love You, Jesus! Amen.

“…and comfort them.”

17 Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them. 18 You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed, so mere people can no longer terrify them. Psalms 10:17‭-‬18 NLT

The cries of the helpless are not missed by God.

The Lord speaks clearly in His Word about His care, especially those who are in extreme need.

The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; The Lord raises those who are bowed down; The Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the strangers; He relieves the fatherless and widow; But the way of the wicked He turns upside down.
Psalms 146:8‭-‬9 NKJV

We too can find comfort in God through Jesus Christ.

His salvation brings even the most desperate hope.

Luke 4:18-19 KJV — The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

Jesus was reading from the book of Isaiah and pronounced that He was the one who Isaiah was writing about.

Luke 4:21 NKJV — And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Sadly, those listening didn’t understand and were greatly angered by Jesus’s claim, but His life bore witness to Who He was and His resurrection bares witness to what He said.

For those who accept the truth of Jesus and the hope in salvation, there’s no greater comfort.

He made it clear, His comfort is to be shared.

Matthew 28:19 NKJV — “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,”

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NKJV — Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

His gift of hope is a comfort to all who put their trust in Him.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your salvation. Thank You for the truth of Your Word and the hope we have through Your sacrifice. Lord, we easily become distracted by the cares of this world, the expectations of others, the lusts of the flesh. Please help us to remain steadfast upon Your truth, Your love, and to live in obedience to Your commands. Lord, in Your Word is life. Please help us to both find peace and rest, comfort for our souls in You, as well as pass on that comfort to others. I praise Your holy name, Jesus! Amen.

…may God settle you.

1 Peter 5:10 NKJV — But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.

For the follower of Christ there will be suffering.

If Jesus Christ was persecuted, we too will be.

But just as the Lord knows what is best and how to use what the enemy means for evil to our benefit, we can cling to the truth that Jesus will settle us.

He will use the tribulations of this fallen world to perfect our faith, establish His truth, and strengthen our hearts in Him.

He will guide, direct, teach, exhort, and hone those who remain diligent in following Him.

And some day, He will settle us in our home.

John 14:2-4NKJV — “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”

Be encouraged follower!

Romans 8:38-39 NKJV — For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your promises. Thank You for salvation. Lord, truly, there is no greater joy than to know one’s soul is safe with You. Lord, so many things in this life are temporary, thank You that You never change, Your Word is always true, and Your gift of salvation is all we need. Lord, please continue to teach us, to help us to be willing to walk through any circumstance knowing You will use it for our good. Lord, please help us to be loving, gentle, kind, compassionate, and faithful. Slow to speak and able to discern the truth, wise and meek. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

Exactly what I needed

John 14:1 NKJV — “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.

When I opened my Blue Letter Bible app this morning, my eye fell on this verse.

It was exactly what I needed this morning.

For although I have a long list of “to do”s, I didn’t breathe well last night and am feeling the consequences of such today.

So, when I spent my morning in prayer, the Lord reminded and comforted me with His truth.

I am responsible for obedience to Him,

To rely completely on Him for my everything,

To trust Him.

For He is faithful.

He has every part of all these things in His hands.

He’s aware of the things which need to be done and I’m sure He will show me what He wants me to accomplish today.

What doesn’t get done will, in His timing.He knew I needed a reminder this morning.

He knew I needed a reminder of these truths this morning.

How faithful He is!

What a blessing to serve Him.

Truly, I can walk in peace, because He cares for me.

1 Peter 5:6-7 NKJV — Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your faithfulness. Lord, thank You for caring for me. Thank You for Your Word which teaches me and reminds me of what is right and true. Thank You for Your Word which lights my path before me. Lord, thank You for my family who are so patient with me. Thank You for using them to supply my need. Please continue to teach me to be humble, that I might wait upon You and not rush ahead in my own strength or ideas. Please continue to help me to completely surrender myself before You, daily. Thank You for Your salvation. I praise Your holy name, Jesus. Thank You! Amen.

Comforter for the soul.

John 14:16-17 KJV — And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

For the follower of Jesus Christ, these words are a wonderful promise as well as instruction.

The Lord has given us His Holy Spirit to reside in us and to be the Comforter of our souls.

John 14:26 KJV — But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

The Holy Spirit is the reason we have understanding in the scriptures and He teaches our hearts and minds through it.

John 15:26 KJV — But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

His purpose is to teach us, exhort us, convict us of sin, and comfort us through God’s Word. (Acts 1:2, Romans 9:1, 1 Corinthians 2:13, 2 Timothy 1:14,. Hebrews 10:15, 1 John 5:7)

It is through the testimony of the Holy Spirit in our lives that we understand the gift of salvation in Jesus and are able to apply His truths to our lives.

Through His strength we are to witness to the goodness of God and the salvation of Christ. (Acts 1:8)

John 16:7 KJV — Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

When Jesus ascended into Heaven, the Holy Spirit was sent to be with the body of Christ and it is through the Holy Spirit we are able to walk daily with Him.

It is through abiding in the Vine, our Lord Jesus Christ, that we experience the fruits of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-23a NKJV — But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

But the blessings of the Holy Spirit can be denied by resisting Him and choosing to reject the truth of the Gospel.

Acts 7:51 KJV — Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

Those who have accepted the gift of salvation and received His Holy Spirit with joy must understand their behavior and choices directly determine the fruit in their lives.

The book of Acts is full of stories about people who allowed the Holy Spirit to rule and reign and how He changed the world through these people.

However, those who choose not to surrender themselves completely should understand what they are choosing as well.

Ephesians 4:29-30 NKJV — Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

1 Thessalonians 5:19 NKJV — Do not quench the Spirit.

Choosing what we know to be counter to the truth of God’s Word grieves the Holy Spirit and restricts our souls from His fruit in our lives.

It is paramount that each of us daily submit to the truth of scripture and the lordship of Jesus Christ if we want to live in unison with the Comforter of our soul.

Philippians 4:7 KJV — And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your promises. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit, our Comforter. Lord, please continue to hone my heart and mind, that I might not sin against You and grieve Your Spirit. Lord, help me to repent quickly when I’ve done wrong and return to Your ways and Your truth quickly. Lord, please continue to teach me how to surrender daily. To be slow to speak and quick to listen, to prayerfully consider my actions and attitudes and be teachable, please make me a soft clay, easily molded into Your image. Lord, thank You for Your truth. Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your love, grace, mercy, faithfulness, and salvation. Lord, thank You for all Your wonderous works. I love You. Amen.

Those who love God…

Like the variety of colors which blend to make these leaves into the lovely creation they are, so the numerous character traits which make up the definition of those who love God are a beautiful variety.

Romans 8:28 NKJV — And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

People who love God are marked by goodness through adversity.

Joseph’s words to his brothers:

Genesis 50:20 KJV — But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

Those who love God place their trust in Him.

2 Samuel 22:31 KJV — As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.

David’s life was marked by people trying to kill him, but God was a shield to David and he lived a long life.

When he was given the opportunity to strike down the man who sought his life, he trusted God rather than reacting from fear.

1 Samuel 24:6 KJV — And he said unto his men, The LORD forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the LORD’S anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD.

Those who love God obey Him, for the truth is, His commandments are for our own protection.

1 John 5:3 KJV — For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

Proverbs 4:4 KJV — He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.

Noah is an excellent example of someone who obeyed God and his obedience was protection for him and his family.

Genesis 6:22 KJV — Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.

Lovers of God are also people who love others, because they abide in Christ by whom they were redeemed.

1 John 3:23-24 NKJV — And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.
Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

The life of John who wrote both the Gospel of John and the letters of John bring into crystal clear truth, that loving God means loving others.

The same man who wanted to destroy others for their behavior,

(Luke 9:54 NKJV — And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”)

was the man who wrote:

1 John 2:10-11 NKJV — He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

These are just a few of the characteristics which mark those who love God, those who are called according to His purposes.

We have the gift of scripture to guide and teach us that through the help of the Holy Spirit we might walk in the character qualities of those who love God.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for these truths and the way You have shown us how to live, what things are best, and what it means to be lovers of You. Lord Jesus, we are unable to walk in Your ways alone, thank You for Your Holy Spirit and the Bible. Please continue to hone our hearts daily. Lord, please make me more like You and help me to pick up my cross and follow You with joy. Thank You. Amen.

Sharp truth

Hiding hatred makes you a liar; slandering others makes you a fool. Proverbs 10:18 NLT

Is there any who can not see themselves in these words, at one time or another?

God’s Word cuts through our excuses for ungodly behavior and reveals the truth of what these attitudes are:

lies and foolishness.

Rather, we must be on guard against allowing such things in our lives and be quick to repent when they are discovered among us.

For our tongues are to be under submission to the Lord Jesus.

When they are not we bring ridicule to our Savior.

James 3:9-10 NKJV — With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.

If we are followers of Christ Jesus, our actions, our attitudes, and our words need to be in line with what God says is His expectation for His children.

Ephesians 5:1-2 NKJV — Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

God’s Word is sharper than any two edged sword.

Hebrews 4:12 KJV — For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

And it is a wonderful gift for us, the children of God, to teach us, admonish us, encourage us, and to bring us life.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV — All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Praise the Lord!

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for the truth, direction, guidance, and correction we find in Your scriptures. Lord, please help us to read, understand, and accurately apply Your truths daily. Lord, our lives often get bogged down in the muck of our sin and the more of a sinful world. Lord, please help us be on guard against sin and to repent quickly when we have sinned. Lord, please place a guard over our lips that we might not curse our fellow man nor mock another of Your creation nor slander or neighbor. Lord, please keep us from bring dishonor to Your name by walking in ways which are counter to Your character. Lord, please teach us how to love well, to live selflessly, and to be totally surrendered to You. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

October 19

Today’s prayer:

Psalm 24:1 NKJV — A Psalm of David. The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.

Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You that all is Yours. Every person is Your creation. Every plant, every animal, every part of what we see belongs to You. Lord, my heart is grieved when I look at the consequences of sin upon this beautiful world You created and those who live in it. Yet, I am overwhelmed by Your gift of salvation. You died on a cross to redeem Your creation. Thank You so much! Lord, nothing belongs to me, not my possessions, not my family, not my friends, not even my own life. All are Yours and I trust You to do what is best with each one. Lord, please help me to live completely surrendered to Your Word and Your Holy Spirit each and every day. Lord, please guide and direct me, that I might not sin against You. Lord, to You belong all glory, honor, and praise! I love You and I want to serve You with every breath I take. Please help me to walk with You in integrity and truth. I give You this day and I thank You for it in advance. Amen.

Out of the mouths of babes…

When our oldest was an only child we got a video camera.

I wanted to make home movies to help us catalog her growing up.

As her siblings were born, they too were caught on video.

But the recorder broke when they were still small.

I didn’t throw it away, I packed it for a future day when we’d get it fixed.

To be honest, I’d forgotten about the thing, until last night.

Handsome found it in the back of our closet.

I was uninterested, as I knew we’d drug the thing, still broken from one place to another, but I’d never gotten it fixed.

When our son came back out of the bedroom to tell me Daddy had it working I was sincerely shocked.

“But it’s been broken for over 10 years!”

“Dad has it playing. Come and see.”

All packing stopped and we spent the evening watching home movies on our recorder.

We laughed.

We cried.

It was really special.

It’s strange how the memory can forget things.

I remembered music was a big part of our everyday, but I was surprised at how many videos included music.

Of course there were the normal Christmas programs and a school program, but when we were just at home there was so many of our daughters singing and dancing to music.

My heart was so blessed by the joy on their faces and the sound of their voices.

This morning the Lord took me to:

Psalm 8:2 NKJV — Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength, Because of Your enemies, That You may silence the enemy and the avenger.

And my heart is full of gratitude.

What an incredible privilege it is to praise the Lord!

What a joy it was to hear our children sing songs of praise.

How grateful I am for the opportunity we still have to praise God daily.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for the ability to praise and worship You. Lord, thank You for Your blessings which are more numerous than the stars. Thank You for the way Your Word brings us life, truth, and love. Lord, I worship Your holy name and I thank You for the breath to be able to speak Your praises. Psalm 8:9 NKJV — O LORD, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth! Amen.

Transplanting

This pot was an anniversary gift from Handsome.

We had talked previously about my desire to repot some of my plants, especially the roses, which came with me from our other house.

I had mentioned to him the need for larger pots due to the fact they had outgrown the ones I brought them in.

2 years in one pot is a lot for a plant especially a rose.

My red rose had to be planted this summer due to it’s inability to continue to thrive in the pot I brought it in.

My white rose was planted right after our move, because the container it came in was unsuitable.

Yesterday, with Anne’s help, we transplanted my cabbage rose to a larger pot (pictured).

We dug up my red rose and repotted in anticipation of our move.

My white rose will be remaining here.

Because it’s just now recovering from the trauma of it’s past.

When I first got sick my plants all suffered neglect, but my white rose was attacked and eaten multiple times by a deer which the dogs failed to keep out of the garden.

As we dug it up to move it was an act of faith, because it looked very dead.

But it wasn’t dead.

Both this summer and last it put out a few beautiful flowers.

It’s foliage and growth this past summer is the best I’ve ever seen it have.

And as I prayed about what plants to take and which to leave, I knew it would be best for this one to remain.

Because often times, I’ve found what is best is to let go, rather than “hold on” to things.

The only clinging which should be occurring in my life is my relationship with Christ.

John 15:4 KJV — Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

This is simply another opportunity to listen to the still gentle voice of the Lord and to walk in His ways.

I’m so thankful for the circumstances which remind me of what is important.

It’s not where I live, what I have or do not have, or even my emotions which are most important.

It’s Jesus Christ and as long as I have Him, I have all I need.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for guiding and directing us as we prepare for this transition. Lord, thank You for reminding me of what is important. Please continue to show me myself clearly, help me be aware of the snares of sin and the deception of the flesh which is constantly at war with what is right and holy. Lord, please help me to live daily unto You in all I say, do, and am. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.