Monthly Archives: March 2013

God Answers

Tangled Vines
Answers,

Escape me.
Making sense,
Eludes me still.
How can I find
My way through life’s dim lit room?

My voice,
Not others.
Only Truth
Will lead until,
You find the Way
Revealed to those called My own.

Failures,
Overtake.
Sorrow’s drone,
Looms large within.
When comes the time,
Peace rests and victories bloom?

My help,
Not of self,
Given to
All those in need,
Will squelch the grief
Borne from fear’s death-stench groan.

Regrets,
Deep rooted.
Shadows of
What might have been.
Where best to put
Shattered pots with seeming doom?

My peace,
Replaces,
Lies, deceit
Wrought cruelly,
By him, that thief
Whose deeds will one day be shown.

Burdens,
Heavy weights,
Crushing, yet
Not meant to be.
What to do when
Life’s not seen success’ bright plume?

My hands
Will hold you.
Your ev’ry load
They’ll lift and bear.
Rest beckons,
Let it all go ’round My throne!

God Answers Poetry Corner

Friday Feature

Feature Friday

“Let another man praise you and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.”
Psalm 27:2

My Friday Feature was created as a unique format for highlighting some of my favorite Christian bloggers, instead of just using the typical Reblog. While a valuable tool for sharing favorite posts, Reblog is limited by how additional information can be shared on the front end and only gives the reader one glimpse of the site. Friday Feature is an avenue for me to share an overview, gleaned from my following the blog over a period. It is also my way of bragging on other writers, and to partner together with them in exalting Jesus.

Before starting the Friday Feature, I did not realize that getting permission ahead of time about the information shared was going to be difficult.  As a result, unless I am able to notify the author ahead of time as to specifics of what I will share, I will merely state my opinion of the site, but will avoid giving any further details.

By nature of the fact that I have only been blogging a short time, and thus have not gone back and read all of their posts, I may not agree with every idea of these featured authors. However, of the ones I have, I both enjoy and concur with the thoughtful entries by these fellow Christian bloggers, who are co-laborers in spreading the love and Truth of Christ. The ones featured are in no particular order of importance. Instead, I post those as God leads.

Be blessed by reading about today’s featured site:

Jon Lilley

During the short time since I began following his blog, I have been impressed with how consistently Jon Lilley shares Truth, yet does so in an engaging and often fun way. With every post, Jon adds great photos or images, customized with overlays of quotes and verses. The posts are concise, powerfully so!

Although I enjoy so many of Jon’s posts, one this week was particularly touching, and was a major contributing factor as to my decision to feature his site now.  In it, he shares about a recent tragedy involving some youth in his area. Jon handles the topic precisely how one should: by reminding us that we never know what tomorrow will bring. You may go directly to the link below for this thought-provoking post. My hope is that by reading, we will all remember to pray for those mourning the losses of these young lives and to recall how fleeting life really is. 

You Don’t Know What Tomorrow Will Bring
by Jon Lilley

 The above information about Jon Lilley is strictly this author’s opinion. However, I am certain that you will enjoy following his blog!

 

A Glad Dad

Proverbs PostA wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.
Proverbs 10:1

Years ago, when my son was little, I did something very foolish.  A friend and I decided to go camping on the beach, with just our children.  Neither of our husbands could get the time off work, but since some of her other friends could meet us there with their motor homes, we ventured out on our impromptu trip.  The problem was that neither of us owned a motor home; instead, we traipsed off, towing a horrendously overloaded pop-up all the way to our beach side oasis.

Amazingly, we made it there without a hitch (no pun at all intended).  Seriously, for me hitches are not a laughing matter!  Here is why.  No sooner had we unloaded kids and bikes, than the two female camping pros proceeded to set up camp.  One of my jobs was to pop-up our temporary dwelling.  My husband had spent hours training his not-at-all mechanical wife how to do so.  His instructions on unhitching the trailer and lowering the stabilizing wheel worked flawlessly – on pavement.  Those same guidelines did not work so well in sand.  As I attempted to unhitch the trailer, because of the sand and my ineptness, the entire weight of it came crushing down onto my exposed, flip-flopped foot.  Just in time, I managed to pull my foot free.  I ended up hobbling my way around camp most of the week but avoided a fracture, which was inevitable had the full heaviness of the pop-up landed squarely on me.  These beach-combing gals learned a valuable lesson: never go trailer camping without capable help and never set up shop in sand!

The potential for foolishness is inherent in all of us, but is particularly predominate in very young children and teens.  My husband and I have experienced our fair share of both with our children, especially with what some call teenage angst.  In the verse above, it is evident that God understands such foolishness and the tough job of parenting.  What I find so interesting are the contrasts described; a son who is wise brings joy to a father, whereas a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother. In another verse:

“A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish man despises his mother.”
Proverbs 15:20

Implied is that wise children are those who demonstrate honor and respect to both parents; by doing so, they bring a blessed peace to the home.  When things get out of kilter with respectfulness, such as during angst, things go haywire at home for everyone.

I derive much comfort from this verse above because it validates what I already knew, that moms seem to bear the brunt when a child strays into foolishness.  Any mother going through the trauma of dealing with disrespect, rebellion or defiance from a child knows that she just bears the burden differently from her spouse.  Overall, dads can encounter a late night outburst from a child then go right to sleep, but moms lie awake and cry.  The burden brought about by the foolishness hurts both parents, but for the mother it really does feel like a crushing weight.

The Lord understands this heavy burden carried by hurting mothers, but knows that fathers are suffering, as well.  Using the contrast above, He thoughtfully ties the two together.  Dads may not feel as crushed by the rebellious child, but they are nonetheless affected.  I am reminded of the saying, ‘When momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!’  The heavy emotional toll of a mother not coping with a parent-child conflict usually spills right over onto the dad.  The Lord knows that a father cannot be joyful when his wife is falling apart.

The flip side to this is that when things go differently, and a child quits being foolish to walk wisely instead, it brings joy all around.  The mother’s overbearing burden is removed, and she feels as light as a feather.  The heaviness leaves, the tension dissipates and a once sad situation becomes suddenly delightful.  With peace restored, momma is once again happy.  Dad enjoys the change in the child’s behavior, too, and seeing his wife happy makes him happy.  Everyone is happy!

We have all acted foolishly before and are all in need of God’s grace.  Some of my past harebrained decisions and periods of rebellion, I would like to forget.  Thankfully, Jesus has always shown that He will forgive and mend our foolishness.  I must do the same.  Along the way in our parenting journey, He keeps teaching my husband me how to love unconditionally, to forgive and to keep moving on.

Though the burdens of parenting can be massively weighty, God is able to lift them and to restore joy back into our lives-for both moms and dads!  During those times, when it seems as though the heaviness brought about by a foolish child is simply beyond bearing, God has a way of letting us know just how fully He understands.  He too knows firsthand the hurt rebelliousness brings.  He experiences it daily from His children.  On the other hand, whenever this child (me or you) acts wisely, it makes for a very glad Father!

Awake

Former prodigal who woke up!

Former prodigal who woke up!

Awake, O thou sleeper,
Who has wandered far away.
Rise up from the darkness,
Come back home from whence you’ve strayed.

 To you, who has stumbled,
Or got all caught up in sin.
Just remember former things,
And go running back to Him.

 Gotten sick of how you’re living,
Or lost hope beyond despair?
Think again about the Savior,
And how much He really cares.

 He’s been watching you and waiting
With His arms held open wide.
Always ready to forgive,
And take you right back by His side.

 So, don’t delay one moment longer.
Leave the stench of sin’s foul grime.
Awake, arise, O sleeper,
Back to the Father’s love sublime.

“Therefore He says: Awake you who sleep, Arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
Ephesians 5:14

Awake

*I have a burden for praying prodigals home, especially since I have a few that I know and want to see awaken to the light of God’s love and Truth. Would be pleased to agree with you in prayer for yours. First name is fine and I will absolutely pray!

Count Down Fever

Hourglass“And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.”
2 Timothy 4:8 NLT

As a child, I can vividly remember the times when we visited our grandparents. They lived a considerable distance from Florida, which is where I spent most of my growing up years. Crowded into our station wagon, all of us children in the back would take turns asking our parents as to how much longer it would be – ‘til we get there. Our excitement over seeing them, coupled with our boredom of sitting still in a car, was often more than our juvenile minds and bodies could stand. Trips to see Grandma, and especially Grandpa, were one of our favorite adventures in life.

Since we visited our grandparents infrequently, and because of our overwhelming anticipation, my siblings and I willingly participated in this well-practiced game of count down fever. It helped click away the time to know precisely how many more hours were left, and brought some much-needed relief to our car fever. Additionally, it absolutely annoyed our parents, something from which every child derives immense satisfaction!

Me and my brothers, taken a long time ago!

Me and my brothers, taken a long time ago!

Playing the ‘how much longer’ game is not the only count down amusement for children. There is the ‘how many more days until my Birthday party’ or until Christmas or an upcoming vacation. Often, the counting down involves hours and not days when some fun outing is pending on the daily agenda. In general, it does not take much to excite kids and to get them hyped up with anticipation about some wonderful event.

Kids get it in terms of joyous expectancy. Grown-ups are slower to the punch. We have our moments of excitement, but then we remember all the responsibilities left undone. Our feverish anticipation sputters under cumbersome tasks and necessary obligations. Unlike children, adults may experience enthusiasm over an upcoming event, but feel obliged to contain those sentiments out of deference to responsibility. Children carry their excitement around; it spills over onto everything they do. Adults bottle it up and put the container on some shelf.

Jesus does not want His followers to lose their anticipation of His soon return. As cited in 2 Timothy, we should be eagerly looking forward to His appearing. We should be longing to see him with count down fever. For those who love Jesus and are really His, eagerly awaiting that return is but a natural overflow of that love. It is always in the back of your mind. You cannot help but yearn for the Rapture.

Unfortunately, only God knows when Christ will return. We can only speculate. Therefore, many Believers do exactly what they do with other anticipated happenings, they stow away their excitement, especially since His return has been so long since delayed.

Since God instead desires fervent anticipation, and even expects it based on the verse above, how do we stoke the fires of our yearning, while at the same time mesh it with occupying until He comes? How do we avoid becoming so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good? I will be the first to admit that I struggle in this area. I often tip the scales in eager yearning; I don’t have to fan that flame. I likely spend much more time longing than I do living out His calling. God wants a balance.

In order to help maintain this balanced perspective of excited waiting coupled with obedient following, I compiled a handy count down list for use prior to His coming. I AM NOT A DATE SETTER, so do not assume that these hypothetical numbering of days below are a prediction of when He returns. Instead, they are a mechanism to inspire and energize an urgent fervency for His appearing.

Any enthusiasm about the Rapture must always be tempered with an assurance of being ready; hence, not only is the list intended as a motivation tool to increase our yearning, but also as a wake up call for preparedness. We can never do enough to earn entrance into heaven, but true Believers must have evidences of their faith.

The following hypothetical situations narrow by priority based on readiness and eagerness for His return. I pray that this list will prompt others to be good stewards of the time remaining, as well as to fan the flames of count down fever!  He could come at any moment. Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus!

 IF THE RAPTURE WERE IN ONE MONTH, I WOULD:

  • Worry less, trust more
  • Regret less, enjoy more
  • Complain less, appreciate more
  • Withhold less, give more
  • Criticize less, edify more
  • Frown less, laugh more
  • Shun less, love more
  • Resent less, forgive more
  • Sin less, imitate Christ more
  • Babble less, listen more
  • Slack less, read the Word more
  • Gossip less, encourage more
  • Evade less, witness more
  • Brood less, dance more
  • Daydream less, meditate on Him more
  • Wander less, abide more
  • Petition less, praise more
  • Doubt less, believe more
  • Look down less, gaze upward more
  • Rush less, rest more
  • Brag less, uplift more
  • Despair less, hope more
  • Wish less, be content more
  • Question less, adore more
  • Argue less, understand more
  • Venture less, follow Jesus more
  • Shoulder less, depend more
  • Vacation less, serve more
  • Separate less, pray more
  • Cling to earth less, seek Jesus more

IF THE RAPTURE WERE IN ONE WEEK, I WOULD:

  • Worry less, trust more
  • Withhold less, give more
  • Shun less, love more
  • Sin less, imitate Christ more
  • Slack less, read the Word more
  • Evade less, witness more
  • Daydream less, meditate on Him more
  • Wander less, abide more
  • Petition less, praise more
  • Doubt less, believe more
  • Look down less, gaze upward more
  • Rush less, rest more
  • Question less, adore more
  • Separate less, pray more
  • Cling to earth less, seek Jesus more

IF THE RAPTURE WERE IN ONE DAY, I WOULD:

  • Worry less, trust more
  • Shun less, love more
  • Slack less, read the Word more
  • Evade less, witness more
  • Petition less, praise more
  • Doubt less, believe more
  • Separate less, pray more
  • Cling to earth less, seek Jesus more

IF THE RAPTURE WERE IN ONE HOUR, I WOULD:

  • Worry less, trust more
  • Shun less, love more
  • Evade less, witness more
  • Doubt less, believe more
  • Cling to earth less, seek Jesus more

IF THE RAPTURE WERE IN ONE SECOND, I WOULD:

  • Cling to earth less, seek Jesus more

*I WOULD THEN CLOSE MY EYES FOR THE LAST TIME ON THIS EARTH AND OPEN THEM TO GAZE UPON JESUS FOREVER!

Hourglass

Come Home ~ Softly and Tenderly

Come HomeSoftly and tenderly Jesus is calling,
Calling for you and for me;
See, on the portals He’s waiting and watching,
Watching for you and for me.

Refrain:
Come home, come home,
You who are weary, come home;
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
Calling, O sinner, come home!

Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading,
Pleading for you and for me?
Why should we linger and heed not His mercies,
Mercies for you and for me?

Refrain:
Come home, come home,
You who are weary, come home;
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
Calling, O sinner, come home!

Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing,
Passing from you and from me;
Shadows are gathering, deathbeds are coming,
Coming for you and for me.

Refrain:
Come home, come home,
You who are weary, come home;
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
Calling, O sinner, come home!

Oh, for the wonderful love He has promised,
Promised for you and for me!
Though we have sinned, He has mercy and pardon,
Pardon for you and for me.

Refrain:
Come home, come home,
You who are weary, come home;
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
Calling, O sinner, come home!

Softly and Tenderly is a hymn written by Will L. Thompson in the late 1800’s.

One of my favorites. True to form Annie- dynamic photos, sharing honestly from her heart. Blessings always!

Eyes Wide Open

Birth……..

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Held Safely…………………….

(Photo Credit-MorgueFile)

Steps………………………………………………………

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Exploration……………………………………………………

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Moving away………………………………………………….

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Running Away…………………………………

Frustrated Mother and Daughter

My Way……………………………………………………..

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Stay away…………………………………………

Girl Leaning Against Brick Wall

It’s my life…………………………………………

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The Power of ME………………………..

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And Darkness Ensues…………………

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Sad Teenage Girl

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Couple Holding Hands at Bar

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Photo Credit – morgueFile

Holding Hands with Elderly Patient

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Stressed Businesswoman

Fallen Down…………………………………………………

Sick Young Woman Lying in Bed

Getting back up……………..

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Still Sad……………………….

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Still No……………….

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Down unending…………………………………….

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Nothing there………………

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Trapped………………………..

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Asking for Help………………

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Reaching Out….

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Indecision………………..

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I’m Done…

Surrendering with White Flag

Where are you?

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I don’t see you!

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Submission…………………….

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Repentance…………………

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Acceptance………………………………………..

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Forgiven……….

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Deliverance…………………………………

Young Woman Standing with Arms Stretched Out

Peace Filled………….

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Identity…………………

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The Power of HE………..

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His Way…………

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Steps………………

Held Safely…………………………..

Born Again

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In God’s Hands

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Growing Again…………………………..

The way that He always intended.

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“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”2 Corinthians 5:17

P.S…………………………………

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All images in this post from microsoft images, Pixabay and various Christian free image websites – no attribution required or desired.

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Friday Feature

Feature Friday

I mentioned last Friday that I have decided to start highlighting some of my favorite Christian blogs.  As we work together toward the common goal of exalting the Name of Jesus and proclaiming the good news of His gift of salvation, we are like ‘iron sharpening iron‘ for His glory. Below is a brief summary of one of these blogs with a link to the site. Immediately following this Friday Feature post is also a Reblog of one of my all time favorites from their site. Today’s Feature is a very engaging blog called Eyes Wide Open.

Eyes Wide Open

Author Annie makes uses of captivating images to tell her stories and share her passion for Christ in hopes that others will “seek a relationship with Jesus, or deepen the one” they already have. She sees her writing as “a form of worship” and describes that her greatest hope is “to help spread Christ’s love to others by providing encouragement, inspiration, and sharing the things He is teaching.” Her blog is powerfully engaging and the photos she uses have a way of grabbing one’s attention and sealing the messages straight to the heart. As you read this Reblog following today’s feature blog, I know you are going to be blessed and hope you will join in “Looking Up and Living in God’s Truth” by connecting with this wonderful site!

*NOTE: please click the word Reblog to see Annie’s testimony from her site. For some reason the actual one does not put her photos the way she designed them on her actual site, giving the full intent of her testimony.

Permission granted from Eyes Wide Open

Unbroken Link

Broken link

“The wicked have drawn the sword and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, to slay those who are of upright conduct.”
Psalm 37:14

Surfing the Web for information has enormous benefits on a variety of levels, from hunting for medical facts to searching for the cheapest price on a desired product. Nothing can match the convenience of shopping from home or researching at the click of a finger. Nothing can compare until something goes wrong, and the same technology on which you depend, fails to respond adequately. Such is the case with broken Internet links.

Broken link label
Apparently, there is even a term for these malfunctions – Link rot. What a hilarious term! It sounds like a disease. Link rot typically occurs because a website is defunct and the link no longer works; hence, it is a dead link. Link rot primarily presents as a 404 error, an indication that the web page could not be found. Most online users have discovered these error pages before, some more often than they would like. They have experienced Link rot firsthand! The phrase may be humorous but when trying to find a website and discover instead that the link is broken (or rotten, shall we say?), it is not a laughing matter. It is annoying.

Website glitches are bothersome but are just examples of those little foxes that we can allow to steal our peace. Satan, although not necessarily behind broken online links, has a sinister, ongoing plan to disrupt our lives. He wants to disrupt our connection with God – permanently, and to break us apart -completely. The devil wants our lives to resemble a broken link.

The Psalmist had his fair share of demonic-driven attempts to break him. David was God’s pick as king yet confronted resistance from his siblings and attacks against his life from Saul. Since the True King was of David’s lineage, Satan waged all out war against him from the moment of his royal decree. The enemy drew the sword and bent the bow to slay one such as David. Though not successful, Satan wanted to break this kingly line and to destroy him in the process.

None of us will ever be David, the only person God called a man after His own heart. God does love us as much, but there will never be anyone quite like the Psalmist. Besides God’s love, we share in common with David the fact that Satan wants us broken equally as much. We also share in David’s emotions, despite which God’s opinion of him remained unaltered. As such, since he was that man after God’s heart, David was a person who had a heart. The dreadful experiences he faced were not pleasant, and he experienced the full range of human emotions possible. In David, then, we see ourselves whenever we come under attack by our common foe. We can comfort ourselves knowing that, just as for David, God understands our hurts as we struggle against an enemy who wants us broken.

Broken stem
At times in our lives, Satan succeeds by temporarily breaking us. Although I have never had my life threatened, I have nonetheless experienced struggles, hurts, turmoil and devastation to the brink of breaking my spirit and crushing my hope. It is during those dark moments that Satan has tried to convince me that God does not care and to embrace his lies instead. He has tried to break off my connection with the Lord much like when an orchid stem snaps, severing all nourishment and hope of survival. Unlike David, I have not encountered life-threatening circumstances, but very much like him have had the Devil attempt to break apart my lifeline to God and to destroy His purposes for my life.

My broken orchid stem

My broken orchid stem

During his ordeal, Job reached that place of brokenness. God knew that Job was a man with faith and trusted him enough to allow Satan to prove it. At the end of his testing, Job came forth just as God had predicted, but along the way bottomed out emotionally. He reached periods of succumbing temporarily to the enemy’s plans to break his connection with God:

“My days are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart.”
Job 17:11

Though he did periodically sink emotionally, Job came through his fiery trials stronger than before. God turned it all around for good.

Unbroken promise label
Believers have that same promise of good. Bottom line? The Devil is not going to win. He does buffet us, beset us, tempt us and annoy us. He attacks us, distracts us, alarms us and tries very hard to destroy us. However, he will never fully succeed in breaking our link to Jesus. We are ‘struck down‘ but never destroyed. Christ made sure of that by His victory over Satan. In the same passage above in Psalm 37, David offers these encouraging words about our enemy’s predicted end:

“Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb….For evildoers shall be cut off…”
Psalm 37:1, 2, 9

Orchids of unbroken beauty

Orchids with unbroken beauty

Broken online links do severe one’s ability to access a webpage. Such sites are no longer available, and their connections are Link rotting dead! Satan is convinced that he can break our link to God and destroy His plans for our lives. He is only deceiving himself by believing this. His end is certain. Like dead links rot in cyberspace, the Devil will some day rot somewhere, too! He will be the one cut off, not us. Our connection cannot be broken. We instead flourish like a beautiful orchid flower, which stays grafted to a life-giving stem. Grafted to a King, ours is a link that will never be broken.

Prayer for wordpress

My Child

Snippets of Rain

My Child,
Don’t rush away from Me.
I want you right by My side.

 My Love,
Don’t fret your day away.
There’s room by Me to hide.

 My Friend,
Don’t cast away My help.
Why not give My ways a try?

“But as for me, how good it is to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things You do.”
Psalm 73:28
NLT