Give me a word, Lord: FORGET ME NOT

Psalm 103:2 Bless the Lord, O my soul and forget not all his benefits.

It has been a little while since I have written a devotional here. I’ve been having my daily devotional time with God, and I have been journaling. However, I haven’t shared my thoughts here. But rest assured, I haven’t forgotten God, and I pray that you don’t either!

There is an old legend that tells us that when God created the flowers, initially He colored all the flowers green. One day, however, God dipped his fingers in a rainbow, and He touched each of the flowers giving them their own distinct color, style, and name. The flowers were beautifully designed by the Creator, and one day, God stopped by to visit His creations. He came upon a pretty little flower and asked the flower its name. The flower bowed its brilliantly colored petals, and said, “I’m sorry. I can’t remember my name.” God them smiled down at the dainty flower and responded, “I’m going to name you Forget-Me-Not. Now you will not forget your name, and you won’t forget me.”

Of course, we know that is just an old legend, but I think as Christians, we too sometimes need to remember to “forget Him not!” We must not forget who we are in Christ, and we must not forget who Christ is in us. When we count our blessings, we begin seeing Christ in everything, and there is no way that we could forget Him even for a moment.

I’ve had a busy month. I resigned from a job of many years, and I stepped into the unknown. I began a new job in which I am still practicing as a nurse practitioner, but my role is much different. I have been “in school” training for the new position late into the night more nights than I can count. There is so much to learn, but I already know that this position is going to be perfect for me because God opened this door. We have been blessed with a beautiful new granddaughter this month. She is completely healthy and totally beautiful, hand crafted and designed by our heavenly Father. I’ve been excitedly working on my next devotional book, and God has blessed me with another birthday. The list of blessing of just this past month is quite long. Our God is so good!

Yes, I will Bless the Lord, O my soul and forget not all his benefits. He has blessed my life tremendously, and I will NEVER forget.

Give me a word, Lord: HE KNEW ME BEFORE

Galatians 1:15 But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him.

Do you ever sit back and ponder in amazement how merciful and loving our God truly is? We are not great people. I’m sorry to share this little tidbit of information, but it is the truth. We are not great. Most of us aren’t even very good. The reality is that it isn’t who we are, but Whose we are. Because we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior and invited Him to be the Lord of our lives, we have been made right. Yet we can’t take one ounce of credit for our righteousness. Nope! God took care of that really big detail when His Son took on the cross for our sins.

Now, picture this. While on that cross in agony, Jesus saw you. He saw me. He saw all of the sin that we were ever going to commit. He saw who we were before we accepted Him, and still He took on the cross for us. He knew us before, yet He loved us still! That is not only amazing.It is astonishing that Christ could love us that much!

The thing that we must try to comprehend is that Christ sees who we are before He calls us. He knows the good, bad, and ugly details of our lives. He sees the sin. He knows the sinner, BUT He also sees who we can become after we become His. He sees past the person we were before salvation, and He calls us to be His children. He knows that His love will change us and make us right even though we have been so very wrong.

There are so many biblical examples of not so great people in the Bible. Scripture tells of many “before people” who were radically changed by Christ after knowing Him. Jesus took a fisherman and made him one of the greatest preachers of the early church. An untrusted taxman became a disciple, a trusted friend of Jesus, and he penned the first Gospel of the New Testament. An insignificant woman, who had been possessed by demons, followed Christ to the end. She was at the cross, and she was the first person Jesus appeared to after His resurrection. He knew who they were before. He saw the broken mess in their lives, but He also saw the after.

Christ saw something in these individuals. He saw the before image of some truly broken individuals…BUT God! Praise God. He sees through the broken pieces, and He can see the image of each and every one of us fully restored through a loving relationship with Jesus Christ. He takes all of our broken pieces and makes us whole again. Yes, He knew me before too. I’m so thankful He didn’t merely see the before image of me and hang His hat up and write me off. I am eternally grateful for His love, grace, and mercy. Jesus continues to take the broken pieces and heal my heart as I become more fully His each day! Praise God for loving me before!

Give me a word, Lord: DON’T GIVE UP

1 Kings 19:3-6 Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there. Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.” Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. But as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, “Get up and eat!” He looked around and there beside his head was some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water! So he ate and drank and lay down again.

Have you ever reached a point in life in which you were so tired and weary that you felt like you had just had enough? Well, old Elijah thought that he had reached that point. He was done. He was ready to just give up, curl up, and die. To an onlooker like me, that sounds pretty crazy. I mean really, if we remember all of the times that God revealed His power and faithfulness to Elujah, one has to wonder, “What was he thinking?”

Let’s do a quick refresher. In 1 Kings 16 and 17, we find Ahab and Jezebel and many of the Israelites worshipping Baal. God had Elijah inform them that God would withold the rain and the dew for years. And then to protect His prophet, God send Elijah to the Wadi Cherith and had ravens deliver food to him daily to sustain him. Ravens literally brought him food, y’all!

Next, God instructed Elijah to go to Zarephath to find a widow who would care for him. The widow in question, however, had only enough oil and flour to bake her last loaf of bread for herself and her son, and then she expected to die. God provided again by insuring that there was always enough oil and flour to feed all three of them. Later on, the widow’s son died. Elijah prays over the body three times, and life was restored to the boy.

Then, the biggest show down of all show downs occurs. Elijah proposed a test between God and Baal. I’m sure you remember this one. The 450 prophets of Baal called on their god all day all the while being taunted by Elijah, but their god never showed. Our God didn’t hesitate. When humbly called upon by Elijah, fire fell and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, the dust, and licked up the water in the trench. Elijah then killed the prophets with a sword.

When we reach I King 19, we see that Ahab had told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and Elijah’s life was in danger now more than ever. What did Elijah do? Elijah, the man who was fed by ravens, had an endless supply of food from a widow, saw life return to the widow’s son, and witnessed the power of God with the burnt offering, ran! He ran away! He plopped down under a broom tree, and basically said, Take me now, God. I’m done. One would think that Elijah would realize the many times that God had already protected and sustained him. This should have given Elijah security knowing that he was in God’s hands.

But God…God wasn’t finished yet. He gave Elijah new tasks to do including anointing Hazael as king over Aram, Jehu as king of Israel, and to anoint Elisha as a prophet to take his place. This gave Elijah tasks to do and a new friend to boot. God new exactly what Elijah needed even when he did not know what he wanted or needed.

All too often, life gets hard. We get distressed, burnt out, and sometimes we want to throw our hands up and give up. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, “Jesus come now. This place has gotten out of hand.” Yet He lingers. Do you want to know why? Because He isn’t done with me yet, and He isn’t done with you. There are many who do not know our Lord and Savior, and our work here on earth isn’t finished yet. We aren’t done. We can’t give up. Take a nap if you need to. Eat a healthy meal. Then get up and get busy. God placed you exactly where you are right now for this exact season. God has big plans for you my friend! Don’t give up now! It’s time to get busy! God will provide the means for us to carry out His work. We must only provide a willing body.

Give me a word, Lord: ALL ACCESS PASS

Exodus 26:31-34 Make a curtain of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen, with cherubim woven into it by a skilled worker.  Hang it with gold hooks on four posts of acacia wood overlaid with gold and standing on four silver bases. Hang the curtain from the clasps and place the ark of the covenant law behind the curtain. The curtain will separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. Put the atonement cover on the ark of the covenant law in the Most Holy Place.

Mark 15:37-38 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

Part of my Bible study this week was the Holy of Holies. I read the scripture above as well as Leviticus chapter 16, and I couldn’t help but continually rejoice all week over the fact that Jesus gave us an all access pass to God Almighty! For real, Peeps. We have an all access pass. Ponder on that for a moment and what a true treasure this is.

When going to concerts, one occasionally purchases the “all access pass.” This pass gives that person privileges to not only enjoy the concert close up and personal, but that person also gets backstage access and a personal meet and greet with the star attraction. That’s pretty cool! But all access to God is so much better than an all access concert pass.

Way back in Moses’ day, God’s presence was in the Holy of Holies, and God gave Moses very specific instructions in order for Aaron to enter the Holy of Holies. Aaron wasn’t allowed to enter anytime he pleased. He had to bring a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. He had to put on his sacred linen tunic with linen undergarments, tie a linen sash around him, and put on a linen tunic. He had to bathe prior to putting on the sacred attire. He also had to take 2 male goats for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering from the Israelite community. He then had to offer the young bull for his own sin offering, and then cast lots for the two goats. One lot was for the Lord and one for the scapegoat. The goat whose lot was for the Lord would then be sacrificed for a sin offering, and the scapegoat would be presented alive to make atonement. After making the sacrifices, he then had to remove his clothing and bathe in water in the sanctuary. All of this had to be done any time Aaron entered the Holy of Holies. If he failed to perform these steps, he would surely die.

Consider that regimen. What great effort Aaron had to go through each time he went before God. Jesus changed everything. The temple curtain was torn, ripped apart, when our Savior became the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. When that curtain was ripped in half, the barriers where removed. No more bull or goat sacrifices. The ultimate sacrificial Lamb paid the price for our sins. He made the final atonement needed. Jesus gave us an all access pass to God Almighty! All we have to do is approach Him in prayer…any time of the day or night…in any clothes we are wearing…at any location on this planet! We have an unlimited, total, all access pass to the Father! Isn’t that encouraging?

Are you taking full advantage of your all access pass? Give God a holler today. He’s been waiting to hear from you.

Give me a word, Lord: ALWAYS AMAZED

James 1:17 Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.

Ephesians 3:18-19 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

It’s been a few days since I’ve shared on my blog. This week has been a very busy and exciting one. Tragic events continue to surface all around. COVID 19 seems to be all consuming. Devastation is ongoing in Afghanistan. The nightly news is filled with tales of hurricanes, earthquakes, natural disasters, murders and crime. There is no doubt in my mind that God’s plate is full to the brim managing all of this chaos…all of the natural, political, and social issues that are ongoing…and yet, I stand amazed that He still has time to work out little details in the life of this old gal from Mississippi!

Today, I want to share a little personal testimony of God’s goodness. I’ve been a family nurse practitioner for twenty five years. During the past twenty five years, I have practiced privately out of three different clinics. I have made life long, lasting relationships with patients, their entire families, co-workers, and colleagues. Oh yes, my friends, the past twenty five years have been a blessing. However, over the past year and a half, I have felt that I’m not doing what I am supposed to be doing anymore. I love being a family nurse practitioner. I really do, and I know for a fact that it was a calling placed on my life by God. But I have also recognized over the past few months that I’m not doing what I’m supposed to be doing anymore. I had a continual tug at my heart that things needed to change. Well, I began praying about my concerns, and I told God, “If this is where you want me to be, then I will stay as long as you want, but if it is not, open a door and I’ll walk through it.” I had an overwhelming sense that I wasn’t supposed to be in the clinic position any longer.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the patient sort. I got antsy. I questioned God. I told Him that I felt I needed a change, and I wondered why He wasn’t opening any doors. We talked about it a lot. I began sending out resumes. I was interviewed by a couple of companies. I prayed before the interviews, and I felt completely sure that those jobs were not meant for me, and I had no problem declining the positions. Last week, however, I was scheduled for an interview with a physician for a totally different type of position. The job would involve taking care of high risk Medicare patients in the comfort of their home, diagnosing, treating, and preventing complications and hospitalizations. I prayed before the interview as I had done before. I asked God to show me through our conversation if this was meant for me, and y’all, I have to tell you, God answered! While speaking to the physician, we had a conversation about how much he loved his job. He spoke of how he was able to pray with patients in their homes and how many eternal decisions had been made while doing so. He said that he knew without a doubt that this was where he was supposed to be. I hung up the phone, and said, “Okay God, I hear you!”

Well, they offered me a position. I was told that I would be able to get full time hours, but I wouldn’t have full time benefits for possibly 6-12 months. Jeff and I talked it over, and we decided that it felt right. I truly felt like this was where God wanted me to go. I started searching for insurance coverage for the next few months. I put my notice in at work, and I excitedly awaited my new adventure to begin. Of course, there was this little seed of doubt in my mind that asked, “are you sure they will give you enough visits to make your full time salary?” I didn’t know the answer to that question, but I know my God. I know that He has always seen me through every situation, and if He leads to me to it, He will lead me through it. I simply put my trust in Him.

But wait…there’s more! God wasn’t finished yet. Yesterday, I received a phone call from the physician who had interviewed me and who will be my collaborating doctor. He asked me if I would like to go ahead and be full time immediately…with full benefits and guaranteed salary. OH….MY….GOODNESS….GOD! I stand amazed. I was grinning from ear to ear while on the phone, and as I hung up, I said, “Thank you, Lord. I know that was You!”

God has amazed me so many times through the years. I am continually in awe. The thing that amazes me most is that God is so personal. I mean really, He is the God of creation! He is the God of the universe. He is all powerful, all knowing, and all present. And yet, this sovereign, mighty, super busy God has time to work out the intricate little details of my life? And He doesn’t just work out the details. He circles back around, and says, “Just in case you didn’t get the message the first time, let me hit you over the head and be obvious!” God is so good!

I will never cease to be amazed by God!

Give me a word, Lord: THANKFUL FOR THE WORD

2 Timothy 3:12-15 Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived. But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. 

2 Timothy was written by the Apostle Paul to the young Christian leader Timothy to encourage him and give him a better understanding of his duties. Paul was writing this epistle from prison, and if it is read in context, we realize that Paul was writing these words after great suffering. He tells Timothy that he has known suffering, and he assures Timothy that he will suffer too. Oh what encouraging words, right? But he doesn’t leave it there. He assures Timothy he should continue in what he has learned and hold firmly to that belief because of the inspired Word of God in scripture.

I’ve been fortunate in life thus far, and I haven’t ever suffered persecution in the manner that Paul did. But my study question this morning was to identify a time when I found strength in scripture during suffering. I can give numerous examples because the Word of God is encouraging at all times. I’d like to share a specific example that always comes to mind.

My mother left this earthly home unexpectedly at the young age of 59. I was 37 at the time. I was a grown woman, married, had a flourishing career, a nice home, and in all aspects appeared to have it all together. But the night my mama died, my whole world felt apart. I can’t explain it in words, but for the first time in my life, I felt that I was surrounded by total darkness. People around my carried on like life had not stopped. Friends were encouraging. People smiled and laughed, and life as they knew it went on.

I can’t remember how it started, but one of my sisters and I began sending each other text message scriptures each day. Well, I soon found out that if I was going to send an encouraging scripture, I had to get into scripture. I quickly found myself digging deep in the Bible, reading the promises of God, seeing His faithfulness, His grace, and His mercy. I thought that my scripture searches were helping my sister, but it turns out that God knew that it was exactly what this girl needed.

God took away that darkness that was engulfing me, and the Light returned. Do I miss my mama? Of course, I do. Everyday! But am I sad that she is in heaven. No way! I know because of the promises of my Savior that she is in her heavenly home, and that gives me extreme happiness.

I am so very thankful for the Bible. I am grateful that my heavenly Daddy loves me so much that He made sure His words would survive, persevere, and flourish over all of these years so that this old gal could still find refuge in His Words. No matter what kind of suffering we may face in life, we can rest assured without a shadow of a doubt, that our loving Father is in control! Thank you God for your Word!

Give me a word, Lord: ONE TRUE GOD

I shared this devotional a few months ago, but my Sunday School lesson today is the story of Elijah challenging the prophets of Baal. It is such an awesome story in which God exhibits His power demonstrating without a shadow of a doubt that He is the One true God. Any doubts? Read on…

I Kings 18:26-39 26 So they took the bull given them and prepared it. Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made. At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention. Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.” They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the LORD, which had been torn down. Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, “Your name shall be Israel.” With the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs of seed. He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.” “Do it again,” he said, and they did it again. “Do it a third time,” he ordered, and they did it the third time. The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench. At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The LORD—he is God! The LORD—he is God!”

I love the example that Elijah gave us in this scripture exhibiting the true power of God. When we read through the book of Kings we see king after king who “did evil in the sight of the Lord.” Ahab was no exception. In fact, the scripture says that King Ahab did more evil than any of the kings before him. He must have been a pretty rotten scoundrel. God caused a drought that had lasted 3 years. Ahab was seeking the prophet Elijah will ill intent. Elijah showed up, and called all of the people together for a test. He told Ahab we’ll set up alters and all 450 of your prophets can call on your god, and me, one lone prophet, will call on my God, and we will see who the true God is. So they set up their alters, and King Ahab’s men called on Baal, their god, from morning to evening. They did not get a response. I chuckle a little when I read Elijah’s taunting words. He told them that maybe their god was asleep. Maybe they needed to shout louder and wake him up, or perhaps he was busy, or traveling, or in deep thought. So they shouted louder. But still no answer.

Then Elijah got his turn. He prepared the alter, then he poured water all over the alter…lots of water…enough for it to puddle up under the alter. Then he quietly called out to God. God sent fire down from heaven with so much force and heat that it burned the entire altar, the stones, the dust, and even licked up all of the water! The people witnessed the power of the one true God once more, and they turned to Him. And after a 3 year drought, rain came. It’s almost like the rain came down to gently wash and clean up that terrible place.

The people of Israel saw God work first hand on many occasions, but they persistently turned to false gods. We aren’t the biblical time Israealites, but we are just as guilty. We see the power of God on a daily basis, but we worship earthly idols. Perhaps not with intention, as the Israealites did, but we are guilty nonetheless. We focus our minds and energy and waste soooooo much time on TV, computers, cell phones, whatever it may be. We worry about the dollar, our house, and our vehicles. We want this or that. We think if only I could get this _ (fill in the blank), we would be happy, when actually what we are truly craving and in need of is a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior! He is all powerful, all knowing, and ever present. He doesn’t sleep, vacation, get too busy for us, and we are always on His mind. He is all we really need. The one true God is still here. The same God Elijah called on is the same God I talk to every day. You don’t have to shout or scream to get His attention. You must simply call out His name! He is the one true God!

Give me a word, Lord: PRAISE THE LORD, OH MY SOUL

Psalm. 103:20-22 Praise the Lord, you angels, you mighty ones who carry out his plans, listening for each of his commands. Yes, praise the Lord, you armies of angels  who serve him and do his will! Praise the Lord, everything he has created, everything in all his kingdom. Let all that I am praise the Lord.

I reflect back on the past few weeks, and I recall of the whining and bickering and complaining I have done in my conversations with God. Oh yes, I whine sometimes. I’m human, and I know that my God wants an intimate relationship with me which means He wants all the thorns too…not just the roses. I’m so very thankful that I have a heavenly Father who cares about every single aspect of my life. I see His loving hands in even the littlest details, and I feel His loving arms carrying me through those difficult days when I seem to complain more than praise. I don’t want to be a negative Nelly, a whiny Wendy, or a plain old stick in the mud, and because of my relationship with my heavenly Daddy, praise God, I am not. For you see, that awesome heavenly Daddy of mine listens as a complain, but then He gently turns my frown upside down as He reassures me that He is in control. I’ve nothing to fear or fret. I’m in the hands of the Creator of the Universe! I want to praise God with all of my being!

A song is in my heart today, and I’d like to share it with you. Bless the Lord, Oh My Soul, lyrics by Matt Redman and Steve Angrisano. Read these words and let them settle in your heart this morning.

Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I’ll worship Your Holy name

The sun comes up
It’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass
And whatever lies before me
Let me be singing
When the evening comes

Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before

Oh my soul
I’ll worship Your Holy name

You’re rich in love
And You’re slow to anger
Your name is great
And Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness
I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons
For my heart to find

Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I’ll worship Your Holy name

Bless You Lord

And on that day
When my strength is failing
The end draws near
And my time has come
Still my soul will
Sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years
And then forevermore
Forevermore

Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I’ll worship Your Holy name

Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His Holy name

Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I’ll worship Your Holy name
Yes I’ll worship Your Holy name
I’ll worship Your Holy name

Today and everyday may we remember to bless and praise our Savior! He deserves our humble adoration and absolute praise. He is worthy! Let us praise Him today!

Give me a word, Lord: I AM NOT IN CONTROL, BUT I KNOW WHO IS

Psalm 103:17-19 But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear him. His salvation extends to the children’s children of those who are faithful to his covenant, of those who obey his commandments! The Lord has made the heavens his throne; from there he rules over everything.

Isaiah 26:20 Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by. (Read Isaiah chapter 26 in full to see in context.)

Last year, when all of the quarantining began, I kept seeing this verse pasted all over the place. “Go home, my people, and lock your doors! Hide yourselves for a little while until the Lord’s anger has passed.” (Isaiah 26:20) I started wondering about the context of Isaiah 26:20 after reading this verse, so I read the whole chapter. (It’s always important to read a verse in it’s context rather than pick & choose verses that please us. (Raise your hand if you’ve ever been guilty of that?) Isaiah 26 is a chapter in which the prophet Isaiah is praising God for His sovereign care of His people. It is actually a song of praise. A song of confidence in God because in the end, God achieves the final victory on our behalf!

In Genesis 7:16, God shut Noah up in the ark so He would be safe during God’s judgement. In Isaiah 26, he is speaking of God’s judgement in the past, present, and future, and how God keeps His people safe. We must hide in the refuge of God, and He will protect us in life and in death. Just because we are people of faith, living a good life, doing right things, this doesn’t mean we are going to be spared from hard times, sickness, or even suffering. Some days we feel like we suffer all day long! But through it all, we can take comfort in knowing that we live in the shelter of the Most High. We can trust in Him, and not live in fear.

My quiet time reading this morning was from Psalm 103. I was reminded once again from the treasure of God’s Word that He is sovereign. He has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over ALL! He doesn’t just rule over some. He rules over all. We live in a scary, evil world. My heart cries for those who are suffering, and those who are lost. But I know that no matter what happens GOD IS OUR REFUGE! Let me shout that again a little louder for those in the back. GOD IS OUR REFUGEE! He will show mercy to us, and He will protect us for eternity. We are safe in the arms of God. He is our refuge! We must only remember that we are living for and serving a sovereign God. He’s got this. He’s not surprised by the current state of affairs. And the best part of it all is that He already has it all worked out for our good and His glory. No, I am not in control, but I am so thankful that I know who is. Do you?

Give me a word, Lord: DIDN’T GET WHAT I DESERVED

Psalm 103:6-10 The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel: The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.

I’m a hard worker. I’ve been blessed with a few good things. We have a nice home, vehicles, plenty of clothes, food in our panties and freezers, and the list goes on. Yes, my good and gracious God looked down and said, “That kinky headed girl needs a roof over her head. She’s going to need a little break from the humidity and rain so I’ll give her a home. And I’m going to give her a great job. It’s going to be a really tough job some days, but I’m never going to leave her side. She will also need transportation to and from that job, so I’ll make sure she has some wheels. I’ll provide some clothes for her to wear each day, and I’m also going to make sure she isn’t hungry. I wouldn’t want my girl to go to work hangry.” Oh yes, I serve a good and gracious God. I know that everything I have belongs to Him. He gifted me with all of these blessings, but how many of them do I really deserve? Not one single thing!

In reality, I know that I don’t deserve a cotton picking thing. I don’t deserve any of it. I reflect back on days of my youth, and I know that God didn’t give me what I deserved. I deserve a good swift kick in the rear end sometimes. I’ve made my share of mistakes. I have wandered off of the path God placed me on more than a couple of times. I’ve even been bold enough to tell myself that my will was God’s will a few times in my life. Yes, it’s safe to say that I don’t deserve any of the blessings God has bestowed on me. I deserve vengeance.

Oh but God! Praise God for giving second and third and sometimes a hundred chances to get things right. Thank God for sending the Holy Spirit to gently nudge our subconscious when we are getting off track. Thank God for forgiveness! Thank God for His graciousness, compassion, and faithfulness! Thank God that I didn’t get what I deserved!