Tag Archives: God

Lasting Help Comes From God

Ominous cloud formation last Fall, 2014

Ominous cloud formation last Fall, 2014

True help cannot come from our own strength.  It does not come through devices of our making, nor originate from ideas of our initiation.  It comes from a power source not our own.

Real and lasting help in a battle comes only from God.

This is especially true, when the storms we face are dark and ominous.  Onslaughts brought on by unseen dominions and principalities, at work against us because we belong to Christ.

Hallelujah, our God is greater! 

He is a very present help for any need.  His is the kind of help that is more than a mere temporary fix, because the Lord’s help goes beyond our finite understanding of what is really needed or wrong.  He understands the battle for what it is.  He sees to the root source: the real enemy we face.

Are you up against an overwhelming situation?  Is the battle raging?

*Admit that you need God’s help.
*Cry out to the Lord and then trust in the power of His name.

Through God alone, we shall prevail, beloved.  He will not fail us, but will deliver in our time of need.

Then Asa called to the LORD his God and said, “LORD, there is no one besides You to help in the battle between the powerful and those who have no strength; so help us, O LORD our God, for we trust in You, and in Your name have come against this multitude. O LORD, You are our God; let not man prevail against You.
2 Chronicles‬ ‭14‬:‭11 NASB

Broken Vessels Still Matter to God

Broken Pottery Matters

Broken Pottery Matters

Do you feel broken?  

If so, you are not alone.  It is something many of us experience.  Whether physical or emotional, life has a way of beating us down and breaking us apart. 

Ongoing physical struggles, from a rapidly deteriorating spine, have on many occasions left me feeling useless in God’s kingdom.  While the list of what I can do continues to shrink, pain does its part to try to rob any remaining interest.

If I let it, brokenness convinces me that my life no longer matters.  Until God reminds me that my disabilities do not define His ability.

We are but jars of clay.  However, when filled with the Holy Spirit upon salvation, we instantly become vessels capable of emitting the glorious aroma of Christ.  Perhaps even more so, when broken.

If the fragrance on the inside of an exquisite perfume bottle is never shared, the outward composition matters little.  When opened, though, the scent gradually enhances the nearby surroundings. 

And if a perfume bottle ever breaks, the aroma literally takes over.

Broken Vessels, Letting Christ Take Over

Christ longs to do just that ~ to take over.  He will even use brokenness to bring it about.  So that His aroma will be what others sense in our lives, and His strength getting us through what they see.

Are you a broken vessel?  Has life as you once knew it gone awry?  Have things you love seemingly been ripped apart?

If you answered yes to any, let me assure you that God accepts you, broken pieces and all.  You still matter to Him. 

Despite the circumstances, allow Jesus to release His fragrance through you.  Rather than questioning why things happened or waste time longing for things to go back to the way they were, yield all the broken fragments into His care.

Should you keep believing for a miracle?  Absolutely, but in the meantime, stop fretting about what He has allowed in your life.  It’s for a reason.  His reasons.

Just let the brokenness to do its work.  Of softening your heart to others and getting rid of things displeasing to Him.  Of trusting Him more and simply doing what you can.

Remember, what we may view as broken, God sees as limitless.

As unique opportunities to be more dependent upon Him, to where every breath has time to offer praise and every moment space for Him to breathe instead.

Though never enjoyable and often contrary to what we want, brokenness that is surrendered to God can render His presence in us unfettered.  Something very much worthwhile and needful in our world.  His glorious aroma, spilling forth from broken vessels. 

Vessels that matter to Him eternally.

Broken Pottery“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
2 Corinthians 4:7

God Values the One ~ Each Offering Multiplies

Dandelion seed pod brushed with grainMultiplies

God notices the small
And hears their cries.
He values every one;
By them resides.
He takes each offering
And multiplies.

Do you ever feel like your efforts for God go unnoticed?  Do you sometimes long for a wider realm of influence for your messages?

In our age of self-preoccupation, it is difficult to stay satisfied with pleasing Christ alone, and all too easy to get caught up in the trap of craving affirmation from others. 

Desiring multiple likes,
Wanting more feedback,
Obsessing over selfies,
Longing for massive followers.

As ambassadors for Christ, we may even conclude that success means reaching the masses.  After all, does not the great commission instruct us to do just that?  To go into all the world and preach the gospel?  It would almost seem like God wants each of His followers to pursue a global audience.

But we are not all gifted to reach large numbers with the good news about Christ.  The Billy Grahams of this world are unique.  God knows who can handle notoriety without succumbing to the temptations popularity affords.  He recognizes that very few of us would stay humble. 

One of our biggest errors, though, is to dismiss the importance to God of the one.  He loves the world, and it is a world made up of individuals.  People like you and me. 

 God loves the one

Christ left the ninety-nine to search for the one lost sheep.  He met with one woman by the well.  He called every disciple, one at a time.  God sent His One and only Son to save mankind.  He would have done it to save a single one.

Since God values every person, we should not feel slighted when our influence is small.  And if our focus is on pleasing the One who really matters most, we will never be dissatisfied with reaching just one, even if nobody else notices.

God takes each offering and multiplies

What will be amazing is when we get to heaven and God reveals the full impact our lives had on others. He will show us how the simple offerings we gave multiplied.  We will find out that the things we thought did not matter were actually huge, when viewed from eternity.

Until then, we must take our eyes and emotions off reaching the masses.  Instead, we need to focus on Jesus and serve obediently, even if our offering seems way too small.

God values us, each and every one.  No matter the offering, He blesses and multiplies.

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“Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness,”
2 Corinthians 9:10

Weekly Photo Challenge: Serenity ~ God’s Perfect Peace

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Serenity at Sea ~ Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

True serenity is not happenstance, as if found in some random place or elusive state of mind; rather, it is constant, emanating from an abiding landscape within, of a soul kept in perfect peace through Christ.
Sue Nash

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Last Fall, Jim and I were in Cabo San Lucas for his son’s destination wedding.  The tranquil setting above was lovely, especially at dusk.  This photo is one of my favorites and almost makes me want to take up sailing.

We both needed a break from all the medical drama last year.  Thankfully, God protected and enabled both of us to attend, and we had an enjoyable time.  We could not have done so, without His help.

Christ alone calms the storms we face and brings us an inner peace and serenity that nothing else can.

“You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on You,
because he trusts in You.”
Isaiah 26:3 ESV

“By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.”
1 John‬ ‭4‬:‭13-15‬ NASB

Close up at dusk

Close up at dusk

For similar posts of mine, see Weekly Photo Challenge, or go to The Daily Post.

Hanging By a Thread ~ God is Still the Lifter of My Head

Drooping Daffodil ~ hanging by a thread

Drooping Daffodil ~ hanging by a thread

Weak,
Wounded,
Symptoms hanging by a thread.

Torn,
Weary,
Unsure of what lies ahead.

Drained,
Broken,
Devastation now widespread.

Calm,
Prayerful,
Giving all to God instead.

Helped
Strengthened
By His power I will not dread

Safe,
Hopeful,
God remains the lifter of my head.

“But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.” Psalms‬ ‭3‬:‭3‬ KJV

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Hello dear blogging friends.  I trust you are each well and that 2015 is already blessed.

Very obviously, I have dropped off of the blogging radar.  There’s a reason for my infrequent posts.

After my neck surgery last spring, my recovery was slow.  As time progressed, many of my original symptoms improved, but several new ones appeared and grew increasingly worse.

Sadly, a set of X-rays done at the end of the year revealed why.  Two of the three cervical discs fused completely; however, the lower one did not.  And one of the screws on my titanium plate is loosening.  As a result, my neck is not stable and a disc below the surgical site is now showing stress.

I say all of this to explain my blogging absences, but also to send encouragement your way.

Despite admitted times of sadness, discouragement and fear, God has again proven Himself faithful and good.  He continues restoring my hope, lifting my head and getting me through.

He will do the same for you.  The same God who brought you this far, will carry you through whatever still lies ahead.

Trials rarely make sense.  But we can know that God does not allow these fiery situations into our lives because He is mean or uncaring.  He loves us and has reasons for it all.  When we cry out to God in the midst of our broken, torn lives, He will always be there to lift us back up and once again show forth His glory through us.

Taken last spring

Photo taken last spring ~ at times, I feel as droopy as these daffodils!

If you are interested in similar posts of mine, see Poetry Corner.  I used to blog more often!

Don’t You Love God’s Mercy?

God's majesty in sunset

God’s majesty in sunsets

Don’t you love God’s abundant mercy;
His amazing, saving grace?
Just thinking about it now
Brings a smile to my face.

Aren’t you astounded by His love
And the wonders of His majesty?
Just knowing that the King of kings
Came here to rescue you and me.

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Though trapped in sin’s dark grip
And bound by the curse it brings,
Just in time, God’s Son did descend,
A swaddled babe, born while angels sing.

No more need we flounder alone,
No more face deserved penalty.
What we could never do on our own,
The cross accomplished, setting captives free.

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Don’t you love God’s abundant mercy?
Aren’t you astounded by amazing grace?
Evermore I’ll sing of His love
Rejoicing that one day, we’ll see Him face to face.

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“To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.”
Jude 1:25

Blessings, blogging friends.  I’m still struggling to get back into blogging.  Miss each of you.  No matter what, God is good and daily amazes me with His majesty!

Packaged ~ God’s Blessings Await

Packaged

Packaged

God has packaged blessings for us.
Each one meticulously crafted.
The markings of His favor etched all over them;
His love, folded into every detail.

Opening

Opening

Like a beautiful iris tucked neatly inside its bud,
Every aspect of the things God has planned for us
Await their revealing.
Thoroughly readied for us,
Anticipating our discovery.

Revealed

Revealed 

It is easy to grow weary or doubtful, when all we see are the frayed edges of our promises.  While we wait, we cannot see what lies ahead and do not know all that God has planned.

Yet He whispers.  ‘Hold on, my beloved.
Don’t give up believing for the good things coming your way.’

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 “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him”
1 Corinthians 2:9

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*In a previous post last year, I wrote about how my neighbor’s irises were lovely, while my beds had scanty blooms. See Brenda’s Irises.
Right after my neck surgery this year, though, God surprised me with a magnificent showing of my irises.  It was a very sweet blessing! 

God has so much in store and loves us more than we will ever know.
Let’s hold on like never before!

 

Benjamin's iris bud 2**BTW.  I continue to improve, but still struggle with excessive time on computers; hence, my infrequent posts.  I appreciate your prayers.  I do have much on my heart to share, and miss my photos and blogging.

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Stony Conclusions ~ Merciful Loving

Stony and cold ~ taken last winter

Stony and cold ~ taken last winter

I have stony places in my heart.
Because o
f my love for truth and its implications,
I justify these pride-filled inclinations.

God’s truth deserves allegiance.
It is absolute and unbending.
Truth, written in stone, is never ending.

But truth warmed by love is best.
Hardness impairs truth’s gentle out flowing.
Its embrace, annihilated by stones stacked for throwing.

Christ, the Truth, is our loving example.
Willingly, He brought light unto chaos.
The Rock, struck so that living water could reach us.

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Out of adoration and allegiance to God’s word, it is all too easy to look down on those who don’t.  To walk in a hardened self-righteousness toward others. 

I accumulate grievances and conclusions
I judge and criticize
I demand perfection in others, when I’m not perfect myself

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Stony conclusions vs Merciful Loving

God does not tolerate sin, but lest we forget, that includes our sin, too.  I am all too quick to make stony, judgmental conclusions about the shortcomings of others.  By doing so, I refuse to let mercy guide my willingness to love.  My stony heart runs the risk of growing cold.

Out of displeasure over their sins, stony hearts repel and reject others. 

Soft hearts, however, invite and embrace others, despite their flaws, remembering that we are all sinners in need of God’s grace.

Mercy requires that we love and believe the best for others.  We never condone or compromise on truth, but by recognizing our own sin, are able to reach out in love.  Mercy causes us to refrain from focusing on the flaws of others and instead take it all to the throne of God. 

Mercy lovingly draws near, then waits on the Lord for opportunities to share His uncompromising truth.

The law was given on stone.  It demanded perfection.  Through Christ, though, the veil was torn, splitting asunder the barriers of imperfection and making the living of the law possible.  Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf broke through the unattainable requirements of the law, thereby offering grace to the lost and rejected.

Christ died for all of our sins.  He is no respecter of persons, but wants everyone to come to the saving knowledge of His truth.

We all have areas in our hearts that are prone to hardness.  However, stones block our nearness to God.  They prevent His love from flowing forth, because stony places cluster as rocks; rocks that are all too easy to pick up and throw at one another.

“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ”
Ephesians 4: 14, 15

My prayer:
Lord, don’t let me become a vessel so hardened that I am closed off from loving others.  Break apart my stoniness.  Use the broken shards to collect and pour out living water

Keep my heart pliable.  Don’t let me remain in stony condemnation of others.  Remind me that I too am a sinner, ever in need of Your grace.

God’s Opinion is What Matters ~ Snippets of Rain

Clematis seed pod

Overlooked ~ clematis seed pod

People may dismiss you, do I?
People may overlook you, do I?

I made you.
I understand you.
I listen to your every word.
It doesn’t matter whether others think about you.

 When you connect with Me, I hear.
I’m Who matters.

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Pour yourself into Me;
I receive you.

Take your eyes off the opinions of others;
I understand you.

Focus only on Me;
I complete you.

Dismiss the lies of the enemy;
I adore you.

My purple clematis this year

Adored ~ my clematis this year

“How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!”
Psalm 139:17

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At times, I struggle with caring more about the opinions of others than what God thinks.  I have a hard time separating out their responses to me and focusing on His instead.
Yet, we answer to God, not man.
The Bible is clear that the fear of man brings a snare. (Prov. 29:25)  It traps us and stifles our progress.  We must never allow what others think to stop us from stepping into who God called us to be.

For similar posts, see Snippets of Rain

Gully Washers ~ Helping Others Through Life’s Raging Rivers

Raging River

Raging River ~ a gully washer

Down south, when it rains hard, we call it a gully washer.  These are the kind of rainstorms where the water gushes down into gutters and through culverts, with flash flood strength.

Raging River Prehistoric

Raging River Prehistoric

I took these photos near the end of one, still showing the force of water rushing into a gutter.  While it collected, the water almost looked like a prehistoric animal.

Raging River Demon

Raging River Demon

This one looked like it had the face of a demon ~ creepy! 

Gully Washers of Life

As my husband and I recently discovered, life’s gully washers can certainly hit with demon-forced strength.  We both still feel like we got pounded!  Like for us, the raging of the flood can last long and grow strong enough to try to sweep you away.

Through it, though, we once again found that there is help and hope no matter the intensity or outcome of the battle.  And a way to look beyond one’s own circumstances and bless others along the way.

The day I captured these pictures was a Sunday.  The rain had just drenched the road in front of my church, before I left for home.  Were it not for the kindness of a parishioner, who had laid bricks as stepping-stones, those of us leaving would have had to traverse a raging river to the parking lot.  The raised brick walkway instead enabled us to make it to our cars with a smile on our faces and dry toes in our shoes.

Help Others During Gully Washers

The thoughtfulness of the brick layer got me to thinking about things we can do to help someone going through a gully washer in life.  Even if we are still in the midst of one ourselves.

We all face times of stormy trials.  With God’s help, we can make it safely to the other side and learn invaluable lessons of endurance.  Lessons designed to equip us to encourage others going through difficulties.  As our circumstances grow us, He doesn’t want us to live in a vacuum. 

Instead, by His power, God wants our lives always on display, shining His light and being used for His purposes.  As Jim and I learned throughout his hospital journey, opportunities for doing so presented daily, and were often just simple acts of kindness on our part.  Some, though, required courageous acts of restraint when issues arose.

Stepping Stones of God’s Light During Gully Washers

In some form or fashion, we can all be stepping-stones of help, light or encouragement to those God places in our path:

We can simply listen and show that we care.  Really listen, to comfort and understand.

We can go out of our way to offer a helping hand.  Or simply hold a hurting hand in need.

We can forgive, even when doing so hurts and the offense seems justified.

We can pray, in earnest, with heart-wrenching, gully washing tears.

Such kind consideration for others models that of our Good Shepherd, who leads us through every storm to places where pastures are green and waters are still.

Raging River ~ Reaching for Help

Raging River ~ do you see the shape of a stick figure, reaching up for help?

With God’s help, we don’t have to suffer through struggles alone.  We can reach out to the One who calms the storms.  But when we reach the seasons of peaceful valleys, Jesus asks that we not grow complacent by neglecting those around us hurting and in need.

With Christ as our example, deeds of comfort and compassion may be their only bricks over the gully washer; the only chance they have of making it safely through to the other side of their raging river.

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”
2 Corinthians 1:3, 4

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**I would love to hear from you.  Tell of a time when God used a storm or trial as an avenue for you to bless others.