Sunday Psalms

Psalm 3

LORD, it seems like so many are against me.  They say You are against me.

I know better.  You are my shield.  You lift me up.  I call out to You and You answer.

When I sleep and then awake it is because You have protected and sustained me through the night.  I will not fear what is all around me.

Stand up for me, LORD!  Deliver me!  Strike down my enemies!

I know You will deliver me!  Bless Your people!

 

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Sunday Psalms are the Psalms written in my own words.  They are what they mean to me.  I hope you enjoy this series. When you click on the Psalm number at the top it will take you to the NIV version on BibleGateway.com

Psalm 1

Psalm 2

Why I’ve Given Up On Forgiving Myself

 

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Whenever I read or hear someone saying, but you have to forgive yourself, I ask, why. There is absolutely nowhere in the Bible that says forgive yourself.

We are told to forgive others but never ourselves. (Matthew 6:12b) Why? Because we are not God. We cannot judge ourselves. Only God knows the reasons or motives behind our actions.

God chooses not to remember our sins. He doesn’t forget them He just doesn’t want to remember them. Perhaps that’s what God wants us to do. Move on, get over it, quit rolling it around in our minds…just forget it. If we are dredging up the past in our thoughts, we are recommitting the sin. Yes, that is Biblical. Take a look at what God says about lusting in Matthew 5:28. Basically, even if you’re thinking it, you’re doing it. Look at Proverbs 4:23. Your life is shaped by your thoughts.

Another way to look at this concept is through the eyes of one who is forgiven. Do you believe that you are forgiven? Do you understand that when Jesus went to the cross He took every one of our sins on Himself? Aren’t you basically saying His death doesn’t matter?

The evil one loves this thought pattern. When we minimize what Jesus did by saying I must forgive myself, satan has a door to enter our thoughts. The second we try to make forgiving about our own ability we have made ourselves God, or at least tried to.

Paul says in Romans 8:1, there is no more condemning for those who believe in Jesus. If you believe that is true, then there is no reason to be concerned with forgiving yourself. Jesus already did the hard work. We are cleansed, washed clean and totally forgiven because of His never-ending grace. We’ve got to get over this need to do it ourselves. He did it! Let that be it!

I must add, however, that we cannot assume that we can go on sinning. It should be our greatest desire never to sin again. Even though we have been ‘made new’ we are probably going to fall into the sin pit again. The Bible is quite clear on the process at that point… Ask for forgiveness from the One and Only… Accept His loving response (Go and sin no more-John 4:1-42)…Do not return to that sin in thought, word or deed… Move on, walk away, give it up…

Heavenly Father, it is my greatest desire not to sin against You in thought, word, or deed. Yet I do. Forgive my bent to thoughts, words, and actions that do not reflect You to the world around me. Help me to listen for the ‘voice’ of the Spirt in everything I think, do, and say. Teach me Your word so that I will know what You want. Make it so in Jesus name.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

I have been greatly honored to write this article for Blogs for Christian Women.  Click on the highlighted words and see what others are writing about it.

 

James My Go-to Book

book-1156001_960_720Do you have a favorite book in the Bible?  One that you can turn to and know that you’ll find new insight into living the way God wants?  James is my go-to book.  It’s the first book I read when I get a new Bible.  It’s underscored, highlighted, marked up, and has notes in the margins.  It speaks something new to me every time I read it.

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.  You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.  So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely.  Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father.  He loves to help.  You’ll get His help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it.  Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought.  People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves.  Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.                                         James 1:2-8  (The Message)

Right away we’re told we’ll have tests and challenges.  Why?  So we are forced to be faithful and let others see Jesus in us.  Then, in the next paragraph,  we’re told to pray when we aren’t sure.  Pray with hearts and minds wide open.  Not just saying the words but with the expectation that He WILL answer.  And He will!  He wants to help us!

Abba, Father, hear my prayer.  In all the confusion and challenges of life hear me.  Help me show You to the world around me.  Let my faith shine!  Make it so in Jesus’ Name.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

You can read more short devotionals in Pondering and Prayers

 

 

My God Will Supply All I Need

My God Will Supply

God is working in the world, around the world, to let us know that He is present, watching us and helping us.

We’ve had more rain in the last two months than in the entire 5 year period preceding. floodOur sump pump was working non-stop to keep water from the basement. Now, add to that to Ray being in the hospital because his heart doctor wanted to do a cath procedure and of course they found another blockage which required another stent (6 altogether now) and he would have to stay all night. When I went to the basement the next morning I was not expecting to see 2 inches of water covering the floor.

OK, what am I going to do now? Barefoot, I go to the bottom of the stairs and decide there is no way I’m going to put my feet in that water.  I gave some thought to putting plastic bags on my feet (I have no boots) but quickly came to the conclusion that falling from the slipperiness created between plastic and water was not an option either.  Then I saw my laundry baskets floating right in front of me…All right! I could put one foot in each and 250850042900-1_1walk/slosh over to the pump to see what was going on. I unplugged and replugged but still nothing. So the thought occurred to me that perhaps it was a power problem. Over to the  breaker box I sloshed.  Flipped all the breakers because I hadn’t thought to turn the light on and said another prayer that God would intervene in this situation. Our sump is very quiet so I couldn’t tell if anything was happening or not and decided to go upstairs and get ready to go to the University Medical Center to pick up Ray. While sloshing back to the stairs, heading up and getting dressed for the day (Yes, I was still in my PJ’s through all the drama.) I was praying…Lord, You know I don’t really know what I’m doing here, You know that we don’t have a lot of ready cash, You know what I need…Please help us!

And He did! I looked into the basement as I walked by the door to head out to the garage and the sump had done the job.  It was wet, but I could turn the fans and dehumidifier on high to take care of that.

I believe, without question, God heard my prayer and answered every part of it.  The sump pump is still working and the basement is dry.  He knows my every need.  I’ve learned to depend on Him for everything.  He is my Provider, my Power Source, my Counselor.

You’ll find a similar story of God’s provision over at Amazing Battery Power from God.  Anne lives in Australia and writes much about God’s work in her life.  Check it out!

These stories are popping up all over the web from bloggers around the world.  God is alive and well and acting on His children’s requests every moment.  What a mighty God we serve!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

The Magi

Have you ever thought about this?  The Magi did not know God yet they still followed the star.  Isn’t that an amazing thought?  God uses His creation in all kinds of ways to bring the lost sheep (those who don’t believe in Him or don’t know of Him) back into the fold.  His love is for everyone, not just those who already believe.

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Let’s take a look at these Magi.  Western tradition teaches 3 Magi came to see Jesus.  There were probably more because the Magi were usually grouped in twelves.  The reason for just 3 seems to be the gifts they brought…gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  These gifts are significant because of what they represent.  Gold is often associated with holiness and kingship.  Frankincense is an aromatic resin used to make perfumes and incense and would have been used in Worship of the time, particularly during prayer.  It is a symbol of deity.  It characterized kingly virtue.  Myrrh is also an aromatic resin obtained from a thorn tree.  It was considered ‘liquid gold’ at the time of Christ and often was priced higher than the solid.  It was also used in Temple worship and for embalming. It traditionally represents death and suffering.  There is no symbolism that is actually stated in the Bible for these 3 gifts, but remember God uses His creation to teach us of Him.

There is tradition that the Magi represent different countries. The Encyclopedia Britannica (“Magi (biblical figures) – Encyclopedia Britannica”. Britannica.com. Retrieved 2013-07-04.) tells us that Melchoir was a Persian scholar, Caspar an Indian scholar, and Balthazar an Arabian scholar.   It’s interesting to look at the impact of these countries on the people of the Bible, and yes, even current events.  Persia is modern Iran.  Both the books of Esther and Daniel are set in this area.  Arabia in the Bible is modern Saudi Arabia.  When Moses led the Israelites from Egypt they wandered for 40 years in the desserts of Arabia.  India, as part of Biblical history, is directly mentioned in the Book of Esther.  There may be some relevance in the claim that Ham, the son of Noah may have settled in Cush which is part of India.  The Northeastern parts of India are so close to Afghanistan that familial relationships could easily have been formed.  Once again, God can and will use His creation to bring ALL of His people back.

No matter where the Magi were from, how many there were and what the gifts signified they were part of the early life of Jesus.  I do not believe they were present at the birth because there is no mention of them until they visited the home of Mary and Joseph and were instrumental in the family’s move to Egypt.  They were real people, with real lives, learning more about the real Creator of the Universe and His Son.

Know ye that the Lord, He is God.  It is He who made us, and not we ourselves,we are the sheep of His pasture.  Psalm 100:3

He wants a love relationship with every person in His creation!!!

Keep The Appointment

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How often do we keep our God appointments?  Are we more likely to say…If I have time today…Maybe later…and then it’s time to sleep and we have had no or little contact with Him?

1 Samuel 13:14 tells us of the consequences for King Saul when he decided to go his way and not keep the appointment God had given him.

God is out looking for your replacement right now!  This time He’ll do the choosing.  When He finds him, he’ll appoint him leader of His people.  And all because you didn’t keep your appointment with God!    The Message

What was the appointment?  Samuel had told Saul to wait 7 days before attacking the Philistines at Gilgal.  At that time he, Samuel, would sacrifice to God and the battle could begin.  Saul waited the seven days, but in the meantime he was loosing his army to fear.  On the 7th day when Samuel didn’t show up immediately Saul took matters into his own hands and did the sacrifice himself.  Samuel showed up at the end of the sacrifice and said, “What on earth are you doing?”  Saul’s answer was much like our own when we feel we’ve waited long enough and have to take matters into our own hands.  Every time I decide I’ve waited long enough and it’s time to do it my way…there is a consequence.  The results are not the ones I wanted.  Saul’s consequence was not only the loss of his kingship but a serious bout of mental illness.

What is our appointment?  God only wants one thing of us.  He wants a relationship with us.  Each day I set aside specific time to spend with the Lord of my life.  I read His personal instructions to me (The Bible),  I talk to Him about my day, my thoughts, and lift others up (in prayer), and I sit quietly and enjoy the moments with Him (Psalm 46:10).  After reading the verse above, won’t you agree, it’s just to risky to miss the appointment.

Ancient Words

When Michael Smith released Ancient Words he spoke right into my heart.  (Click on the blue title words to listen to the song.)

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Thy WordDavid’s words in Psalm 119:11 tell us to hide God’s word in our heart’s.  How do we do that?  By memorizing them.  When we take time to memorize the Word we have all we need to make decisions, to deal with the ups and downs of life, and to help those around us who need to hear them.

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Jehovah Jireh, my Provider, has given us 774,746 words that will change our lives when we choose to live by them.  Words of life, read John 3:16.  Words of hope, read Jeremiah 29:11.  Words of strength, Joshua 1:9.  (Did you know fear not appears in the Word 365 times.) Words for coping, Psalm 46:10.

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Take the time to read, read, and reread Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts and Revelation.  Use a red-letter edition.  His words are as timely now and they were then.

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Ah, Lord God, you have breathed Your word on to the pages of my Bible and into the nooks and crannies of my heart!  Keep me always mindful that You breathed those words into existence so I would have the answers.  Thank you, Lord!

This post was written for the Weekly Writing Challenge: Moved By Music

A Satisfied Spirit Fears Not

No Fear

Throughout scripture we are told not to be afraid.  Why is that?  God knew, when He put Adam and Eve out of the garden, that fear would be a part of everyday life.  So then what do we fear?  For me,  it’s something will happen to someone I love when they are not near me.  Or, there won’t be enough money for everything we need.  Or, not enough time for what I need to get done.  Or, someone will not like how I look.

We fear because we are worriers, we are anxious about the unknown.  I know that God has me in his constant protection, that He is caring for me personally, yet I still give in to wandering thoughts about what will happen if?…

It’s interesting to me that when the Bible talks about fear it is connected to a specific cause.  God told Joshua not to fear when he took over after Moses.  He simply said,  “Take courage, fear not, I was with Moses and I will be with you!”  The angel, messenger from God, said to Jesus’ mother, “Fear not”, you are blessed and highly favored.  God is with you!”  The angels at the tomb told the two Marys not to fear.  (Mark 16)  In Acts 18:9 Paul is told not to fear but to speak out.

I’m told the only way to conquer my fear is to face it.  Perhaps so but the Word says I don’t have to face it alone.  God is always with me and with Him all the the Angel Armies of Heaven.  Why would I fear with that at my Protector’s disposal?

Whom Shall I Fear by Chris Tomlin

Heavenly Father I know You are always with me, always by my side.  Grant me peace in the knowledge that I need fear no evil.  Give me strength to stand and speak for You.  I beseech You in the Precious Name of Jesus, my Lord and Savior.  Make it so!

Fishy Friends

fishermanMy dad was an avid fisherman.  As soon as the weather was warm enough to be on the lake he was there.  Of course, he taught all three of his girls the skills necessary to be fisherman.  Such things as putting our own bait on the hook, quiet conversation or no talk at all, and of course how to swim if we fell out or the boat capsized were patiently taught until we got it.  To this day all three of us still enjoy a quiet morning on the water.  In fact I can still filet and skin a fish.

Jesus was into fish too!  His first disciples were persuaded to follow Him by telling them they would become ‘fisher’s of men’.  In Matthew 4:19 we are not only told He said this but they followed immediately.  Then he walked down the road a bit and said the same thing to two more fisherman.  They followed immediately.  These four men Peter and Andrew, James and John became Jesus’ BFF’s!

Christ_feeding_the_multitudeJesus also used 5 loaves and 2 fishes to clearly show that He could and would provide for His people.  (My husband jokes that we will be served fish and chips in heaven, at the Great Banquet, because of the number of times fish is a part of the Story.)

When Jesus appeared to  the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee, before His Ascension, guess what He served?  Yep!  He was cooking fish and invited his friends to have breakfast with Him.  John 21:12-13

IchthusIn the first century church the fish symbol (Ichthus) was used by believers to identify themselves as Believers.  These friends of Jesus would ‘write’ the upper half-circle of the fish when they met someone and if that person finished the lower half-circle they were recognized as a fellow Believer.

Do you use a symbol to proclaim your belief?  Do you wear a cross?  Do you unashamedly carry your Bible?  Do people ask if you’re a Believer because of how you act or look?  Do you willingly talk about Jesus when someone notices what you’re wearing, carrying or modeling?  I take every opportunity I find to talk about my Jesus.  You can too!

Heavenly Father, shine through me.  Let others see Your love, faithfulness, joy, delight…when they see me.  Oh, Lord, let my life be totally about You!  Make it so in Jesus Name!

Fear is …

Ray and I went to see After Earth this weekend.  It was not well reviewed by the critics but we’ve found many good to great movies by not paying attention to those who think it’s their job to tear everything down.   The story line is about a father and son relationship.  It’s about how to overcome fear and totally depend on someone who knows and loves you.  I was delighted and amazed to see so many Bible ‘threads’ in a 2 hour space.  Biblical themes like honor your father and mother,  covered and protected by the wings of an eagle, do exactly what the Father says and you will succeed, and FEAR NOT.

English: There is no fear, until we make it up.

English: There is no fear, until we make it up. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I want to look at this concept of fear not today.  Did you know these words are repeated 365 times in the Word.  That’s not a coincidence.  God knows this world is a fearful and fearsome place.  He knows that every day comes with it’s own circumstances and challenges and that these can produce fear in us.  In Psalm 23 David says, “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil…”  How can he say that with such trust?  He knows the One who protects, defends and loves.  He knows God’s characteristics.  He knows the One and Only will not let him down.

Fear is an emotional reaction to an unknown result.  It can paralyze us.  It can cause us to want to hide.  It can keep us from realizing our Kingdom purpose.  It can make us bitter and mean.  IF WE LET IT!

When God says FEAR NOT!  He’s saying quit looking at what could be and look at what is.  He’s saying I’m right here, hold on, look up, you can count on Me.

Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  It does not say I can do this alone,  it says depend on ME!  From Genesis to Revelation there is constant proof that when we depend on God we have nothing to fear.  He has our back (our front, our side, all that we can and can’t see).  FEAR NOT!

Worship Him with music!    He Will Make A Way

Ah, Lord, God, I am counting on You.  Create in me a spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self-control.  Whenever I enter the valley of fear shine Your light on me.  Make it so, Lord!