Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Mandatory Stillness

"So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by."
Exodus 33:22

Photo by Ben White

The other day, Kevin and I ventured out to Aldi to buy some things we needed.  As we pulled into the parking space, I went into what I have come to call a "coughing fit."  No, thank the dear Lord, I am not sick.  I have had this cough for many years and it's triggered by asthmatic symptoms that are brought on by GERD.  But, if you were around me and didn't know that, you may take a few steps back when you heard me cough.  As I let the coughing fit run its course and took sips of water to try to calm it, I started calling on the Lord.  "Lord, please don't let me cough in there."  I didn't want to add any anxiety to anyone's already stressed-out state of mind.  Thank the Lord, He answered, and I didn't cough one time while we were inside the store.

As we made our way up and down the aisles, picking up things and putting them in our cart, I was brought to tears.  More than once.  Everyone was SO sad looking.  And anyone who knows me knows how much I LOVE to meet people, talk to them, and interact.  I never meet a stranger and rarely go anywhere without connecting with at least one person.  During that shopping trip, I didn't get to do that at all.  Each time someone started walking down the aisle toward me, we both had the same knee-jerk reaction—to recoil from one another and avoid each other, as if we had "the plague."  Literally.

As Kevin and I walked along, my eyes fell on the Easter candy on the shelf beside us.  Through tears, I said, "This is so sad.  Children won't even get to have their Easter egg hunts this year."  Thinking about that and the high school and college seniors who won't get to attend their graduation ceremonies and how Zach's friend's cousin's "Sweet 16" birthday party had to be cancelled makes me so sad.  I can't help but cry.  These are once-in-a-lifetime events.  Moments that can never be relived.

Has the full impact of what is going on started to hit you with the force it is hitting me?  One of the Scriptures that stays most often on my mind lately is Luke 21:26, where Jesus said, "Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken."

We are seeing these prophecies fulfilled right before our very eyes.  People are becoming downright faint of heart.  Who would have EVER thought we would see happen what is happening?  As I am writing this, the death toll in Italy is over 16,500.  Over 13,300 have died in Spain.  Over 3,300 have died in China.  Since the first diagnosed case of coronavirus in the United States on January 20th, COVID- 19 deaths have now passed the 10,700 mark.  By the time you read this, these numbers will probably be much higher, sad to say.

The Olympics cancelled—can you imagine the disappointment in the hearts of all the young people who have been training so hard nearly all their lives?  The Masters' Golf Tournament cancelled.  Whole sporting seasons cancelled.  Church services cancelled.  School cancelled.  Weddings postponed.  Everyone walking around at least six (now they're saying it should be ten because a sneeze can take that far to hit the ground) feet away from one another.  No handshakes.  Not even fist bumps.  Hugs?  Totally out of the question.  Scared to touch cardboard box packages the mailman delivers.  Afraid to open regular mail for fear the envelope may have live virus residue on it.  Airplanes grounded.

Who would have ever dreamed American families would be told to stay inside their homes or else face the possibility of jail time?

Thankfully, a "shelter-in-place" or "stay-at-home" order isn't a problem for our family.  I absolutely love, and I do mean LOVE, staying home.  We spend a great deal of time at home.  Since our wake-up call in early 2015, God has led us on a steady path to stillness.  We intentionally live out what some would call boring and very simple, basic lives - all this, as the world around us continues on at breakneck speed.  Until now.

  For those who live in the fast lane and are used to being extremely busy, these mandates must be a hard pill to swallow.  

I don't know if anyone else looks at it this way, but I believe GOD is trying to get our attention.  To slow us all down.  To make us stop and consider the spiritual condition of our world and how we have turned our backs on Him.  Could it be that since we refused to "BE STILL" on our own, God has forced us to?  Perhaps He had to remove all the distractions and the idols that vie for our time with Him and drag us kicking and screaming into a mandatory season of stillness?  I have a heavy burden on my heart about the spiritual reasons for all that is happening, and I will tell you that the things He has been revealing to me are extremely sobering.  At this point, I'm not sure whether or not He will have me share them here.

For now, I hope these Scriptures will be a comfort to you as you stay in your homes in such a strange and unfamiliar season of forced stillness.

"But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before Him."
Habakkuk 2:20  (KJV)

"Be silent before the LORD, all humanity, for He is springing into action from His holy dwelling.”  Zechariah 2:13  (NLT)

In the rush and noise of life, as you have intervals, step home within yourselves and be still. Wait upon God, and feel His good presence; this will carry you evenly through your day’s business.”  William Penn

"Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for Him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes."
Psalm 37:7 (NLT)

"Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah."
Psalm 4:4  (KJV)

"Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.  The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah."
Psalm 46:10,11  (KJV)

When Christ delays to help His saints now, you think this is a great mystery, you cannot explain it; but Jesus sees the end from the beginning. Be still, and know that Christ is God.”
Robert Murray McCheyne

"And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will shew to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more forever.  The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace."
Exodus 14:13,14  (KJV)

"Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and He bringeth them out of their distresses.  He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still."
Psalm 107:28,29 (KJV)

"Now therefore stand still and see this great thing that the LORD will do before your eyes."
I Samuel 12:16 (ESV)

If God is spending work upon a Christian, let him be still and know that it is God. And if he wants work, he will find it there–in the being still.” 
Henry Drummond

"Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house.  And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.  But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”  And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.  But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:38-42 (NKJV)

God has orchestated for us to be pulled aside, and we are now in a season that allows us to make the decision to choose that good part.  To sit long and often at Jesus' feet.  To absorb what He is trying to say to us.  To listen.  To stop squirming and trying to get away from Him in this mandatory stillness.

As chaos continues, we can allow the hand of our Savior to hide us "in the cleft of the rock" and shield us from all that is happening in our world.
What a blessed thought!

Keep encouraged, dear friends!
God is with us still.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

When Life Becomes Scary ~ Guest Post by Amanda Ashley

"Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You."
Psalm 56:3

The world doesn't look the same as it did a few weeks ago. Most of us never imagined even three weeks ago that we could be facing what we are facing right now. We suddenly don't feel “safe.”  I've had my own share of fears and anxieties as we've watched this pandemic unfold.  Will we get sick?  Will our economy recover?  Will someone I love die from it?  Will my kids be okay?

While the way the virus is wreaking havoc is heartbreaking, there's something else that I have found breaking my heart.  It's the fear I see others struggling with.  It's the fear I see in the stranger's eyes at the grocery store as they move their cart as far away as possible from me.  It's the anxiety I see when the mail lady drops a package off to me at my house, placing it as far as possible away from me and instead of our usual chat she runs to the safety of her vehicle before I have a chance to share a moment with her.  It's the people online sharing fear-inducing article after fear-inducing article because they are downright scared too and desperately want their loved ones to be safe.

Many believers are also struggling with the same fear.  And I have to wonder – have we forgotten who is sovereign?  Have we forgotten who holds our hands?  Have we forgotten that the one who has numbered our days has a plan for each of our lives?

Please don't hear me wrong – I don't think we should throw caution to the wind and be reckless.  But even with safeguards in place we need to realize that we can only do so much and that ultimately it is God who is in control.

Yes, wash your hands.  Practice social distancing, and stay home, but as for the rest, put your trust in the Almighty Father whose plan is perfect.

How easy it is for us to trust God when everything is going well.  To praise Him when when life is feeling pretty good. But to trust Him when life has been turned upside down and is downright scary, that's a lot harder.

But you know what? God is not surprised by any of what is going on.  He knew what was going to happen.  He knows how this is going to end.  And He will be by our side every step of the way as we go through this trial.

He loves us deeply and wants us to find our strength and comfort in Him.  While so much of our life has been stripped away – our friends, our church building, our jobs, our access to certain stores and merchandise, our entertainment – one thing has not been stripped away and can NEVER be taken from us, and that is God.

He IS enough for us.

Friend, I know it's scary right now.  I know you are tired and weary.  I know you may be afraid of how this will all end.  I get it.  I've had my moments too.

Did you know that fear is mentioned over 300 times in the Bible?  God knew we would struggle with fear and so He was sure to give us plenty of scriptures to remind us that we do not need to fear but instead to keep our eyes on Him.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid.  Do not be discouraged for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  - Joshua 1:9

During this difficult time we can cling to God.  He's got this.  He is with you WHEREVER you go.  Not just SOME places you go.  No, the verse says “WHEREVER.”  That means He is with you when you go into the grocery store and are worried you could pick up the virus.  When you go to pay your bills and are unsure how to pay for it all because you've been laid off from your job.  When you are in your bedroom and you shed some tears because you are so lonely from all this “social distancing.”  When you are so tired from caring for your little ones and can't call a family member to come over and give you a hand.

He is there through it all, for every single moment.  He is enough for you and will give you strength to persevere.  We can trust that His word is true and we can look to the scriptures to remind ourselves that God has promised that He will walk with us through it all.

I don't know what tomorrow will bring.  I don't know when this pandemic will end.  I don't know where our economy will be once this is over.  I don't know if we will lose loved ones or get sick ourselves.  I don't know how the other side of this looks like.  But what I do know is that God is there, loving us and encouraging us to have courage in the face of fear.  He is still on the throne.  He is still in control.  And He won't leave you through it all, not for one second.  

Bio: Amanda Ashley lives with her husband, three kids, dog, and chickens on her 2 acre homestead in Canada.  She spends her days homesteading, homeschooling, and working from home on her blog, Simple Life of a Country Wife.  You can find her over on Facebook, Instagram, or at her Youtube Channel.

Please stop by and visit Amanda at her blog and social media sites listed above where you will find a wealth of homesteading information and Godly encouragement.

I so appreciate Amanda and all of the other guest authors sharing words of hope with us here!
Stay the course, dear friends, and keep looking up!
God is still with us.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Strength for Today, Bright Hope for Tomorrow ~ Guest Post by Karen Del Tatto

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."
Philippians 4:6

Little did I know, when I penned March’s blog posts around the theme of Faith, that they would resonate so much with not only my readers, but especially me. 

And not only that, quite randomly, (but nothing is random in God’s economy), a little over a month ago, I decided to write a devotional.  I felt the Lord had given me the title and so I wrote.  But now I see how providential it all was.

The title of my devotional is Choosing to Trust God Breaking the Habit of Worry.  Much of what I shared in the book are lessons that the Lord has taught me and is teaching me.

You see, for those of you who don’t know me, I have struggled with worry and anxiety my whole life.  In fact, this time last year, I was in a debilitating season of anxiety.  I’ve thought to myself, had this pandemic happened this time last year, I don’t think I would’ve survived mentally. 
But here I am, a year later and a year stronger.  The Lord brought me out of that season of anxiety some time over the summer, and as the months went on, I could feel myself getting stronger and happier with each passing month. 

Which brings us to the beginning of March when the pandemic officially reared its ugly head in the United States, and I can honestly say that my anxiety has not really surfaced.  It’s strange to me really.  
In the past, just having a blizzard where I knew we couldn’t get out of the house or get to a store would send me into extreme anxiety.  Not to mention all the years I have worried about one health issue or another to the point that I’ve effected myself physically from the anxiety. 
Then there is the very real threat of this pandemic as I am on the cusp of the age group more acutely affected by this virus.  On top of that, I have asthma, complicated by the fact that I have a blocked tear duct which causes me to have my hand near my face often, and my husband still has to work. 

Yet I am still supernaturally calm.

The funny thing is, I have heard others who typically suffer with anxiety expressing the same phenomenon.  In fact, I saw the following post on Facebook that articulates this.  “I’ve noticed that the people I know with anxiety disorders (self included) seem to be much calmer than the general population concerning the Coronavirus.  Guess all these years of dealing with imaginary worst-case scenarios has actually made us more capable of dealing with real threats when they come.” 

Could be, but I know without a shadow of a doubt for me that it is the Lord who has redeemed my anxiety which has strengthened me for this unimaginable pandemic.  

I would like to clarify though, I may not be feeling anxious, BUT I am feeling stressed.  You might say, what’s the difference?  For me there is a difference, as stress manifests itself in a short temper, loss of patience, frustration, and anger.  My poor husband is getting so tired of me saying, “Did you wash your hands?”  “Did you disinfect the door knobs?”  “Did you wipe down the inside of your car?”  Yet, weirdly, my questions don’t have anxiety behind them, at least not the kind of anxiety that I am used to, but more just concern control.   I’m trying to control that which is so out of my control. 

But what I can control is my attitude and my days.  I have found that structure is key for me.  Doing that which is familiar and normal has made a WORLD of difference in my stress level.  I have set my mind to ministry work and during those hours of work, I don’t even think about what is going on in the world outside.  It doesn’t even enter my mind. 

During social distancing, I plan on working on this summer’s blog posts to keep me busy.  (Summer Karen will be very happy!)  I also hear that several universities are offering free college courses.  I’m going to look into that. It would be nice to learn something during this time of quarantine. 

One of the hardest things for me right now is missing being with my daughter and grandchildren. The littlest one is almost 16 months old,and they grow so fast at this age!  It’s not as easy to FaceTime as my grandchildren are busy, busy, busy.  lol. 

If I could give any advice that is greatly helping me, it is to just take this one day at a time.  Don’t think about how long this will last because you will become overwhelmed. 

I have also limited my news intake.  I read the highlights from our Governor’s press conference each day, and that’s it.   

Thankfully, those people I follow on social media are very positive in their posts and are just keeping normal content. But I also very much appreciate when they admit they are struggling.  There really is a comfort knowing we are all in this together and share the same emotions. 

I would like to encourage you that even if you are suffering with worry and anxiety, it’s okay, and it is absolutely normal!  But know that God will redeem this season of anxiety you are in, and I promise, you will come out stronger than ever.  I may have had years of “training” lol, but it is the same principle. God is in the business of redeeming EVERYTHING that touches our lives. 

Our God offers incredible hope, especially in the midst of a pandemic. 
"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
Romans 15:13 

"Your way, O God, is holy; What God is great like our God?  You are the god who works wonders;  
You have made known Your strength among the peoples."
Psalm 77:13-14.  

During these unsettling times, let us remember that everything is settled with God. He has ordained these circumstances and will show His wonders in seen and unseen ways for His glory. And He will show His strength in and through His people. Indeed our God is great! 

Bio: Karen is currently working on expanding her Christian Blog, Growing Together in Grace and Knowledge, with a focus on providing Biblical insights to encourage and equip women to grow in and through their struggles. Her husband, Michael, is the Associate Pastor at their home church where Karen also serves as the Women's Ministry Leader. They enjoy taking nature walks and when the weather permits, going fresh water fishing. In the winter, you will find them looking for the resident snowy owl that makes its return every year or enjoying local museums and mansions.
You can connect with Karen on Facebook and Pinterest.

I hope you take the time to visit Karen's Blog, where you will find much spiritual depth, edification, and Godly wisdom, and be sure to check out our exclusive interview with Karen by clicking HERE!  If you would like to order Karen's brand new book, you can do so by clicking these links:
Paperbook Version

Great is Thy Faithfulness ~ One Sonic Society & Mike Weaver

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~TWO MORE THINGS I'D LIKE TO SHARE~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1.  If you would like to read Kevin & Cheryl's Infertility Story of Faith, published earlier this week at Karen's blog, please click HERE!

2.  I have recently started hosting online Bible studies with some precious friends in Christ.  I would absolutely love to have you join in with us!  The next study, called "Breaking Anxiety's Grip" by Michelle Bengston, will begin in four days on April 7th.  This is an amazing way to study God's Word daily AT YOUR OWN PACE and convenience.  You can do it whatever time of day you'd like, and if you get behind and/or miss a day or more, you can just pick back up when you are able.  No pressure, no worries, and it is FREE!  One of my favorite parts of each study is to read the comments at the end that are left by other participants.  It is just a precious way to fellowship online and get to share your heart with fellow believers.  If you would like to join us for our next study, please click HERE, then click "Accept Invitation" near the bottom of the screen you are directed to.  Even though it starts on April 7th, you can go ahead and join now, so you'll be all set to start reading on the 7th.  I don't know about you, but I need all the encouragement I can get right now, and I so want to learn more about conquering anxiety.  Karen is joining me, too, and I so hope you will do the same!

Oh, by the way, we conducted an interview with Michelle Bengston, the author of this upcoming study several months ago.  Maybe you would like to check it out —just click HERE!

Keep encouraged, dear ones!
God is with us.  His faithfulness is GREAT, and His mercies are new every morning.  Because He lives, we can face tomorrow, today, and all other days!  The Captain of our salvation goes before us, winnows our path, and He will see us through.
Stay strong.
This too shall pass, and Heaven will be worth everything we go through in this life!
The best is yet to come.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Great Fear...OR A Great Revival? Guest Post by Marilyn Moseley

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
2 Timothy 1:7

Fear has been getting a lot of publicity recently.  As the nations of the world grapple with a novel virus that has taken science by surprise, governments and science are scrambling to contain and suppress its deadly aggression.  With its highly contagious nature and death rate, fear is at an all time high, as nations are crippled with the logistics of hospitals being overwhelmed with very sick people, while struggling with the unknown face of a disease that spreads in ways not yet fully understood. 

It is in these times of crises that fear can grip the hearts and minds of humanity, and sometimes all sense of reasoning is overrun with panic.  We have seen this in recent days with stores having sold out of basic commodities, including toilet paper and disinfecting supplies.  Families are dealing with school age children now at home, as schools across the nation have been cancelled. Parents have fears about financial pressures that are mounting with worries over whether they will have money to pay their bills and feed their families.  Booming businesses now have ground to a standstill, and the fa├žade of a nation is cracking moment by moment with fear splitting its seams wide open.  

In the midst of this fear, where do you find yourself? 
Has worry and fear overtook and dominated your life 
and stolen life and joy from your living?

There is a perspective that we can find balance in, just as the world around us tips the scales into mass panic.  Perhaps as Christians, we need to adjust our thinking just a little bit. 

Let’s take a walk back in time to a place where great fear had gripped the hearts of men and women.  The setting is in Acts 5 when Ananias and Saphira were struck down DEAD by the Lord Himself in response to a lie that had been told to the church leaders of that time.  

 "Great fear came upon the church, and all who heard these things."
Acts 5:11

If we stopped there, and just dwelt in the fear of this moment, perhaps the book of Acts would never have been written.  For the very title of the book of Acts declares it to be a book concerning action taking place.  We know that when fear grips the hearts of those in its bondage, it immobilizes, paralyzes, and binds up the one in its grasp.  

Yet, in this passage, as we continue on we read: 

 "And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch.  Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly.  And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them.  Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed."
Acts 5:12

The apostles did not look at the fear as an opportunity to hunker down and wonder what they should do next.  Instead of being paralyzed and immobilized by fear, they turned that fear into something very powerful and supernatural.  From that moment on, the church had a turning point in revival.  Through the hands of the apostles, many signs and wonders were done among the people.  And even greater – the people were all in one accord!  Because of this unity, and supernatural outpouring, multitudes of believers were increasingly added to the Lord!  The multitudes began to gather to be healed.  Incredulous things began to happen, right in the face of this desperate fear that had gripped the church earlier. 

As we read this passage, we can learn a great deal about how to conquer the fear that has overtaken our world today.  We can cower and hunker down and allow the fear to consume us.  Social media can drive us to listen to news casts, podcasts, articles, videos, memes and more until our mind is consumed with worry and fear and the viral pandemic has spread pandemonium into our own lives.  

Yet, we must stop and step back from the scene that social media portrays and realize that our God is bigger, greater, and much more powerful than a virus that has brought the nations of the world to a breaking point.  We are witnessing stores that are shuttered, airplanes sitting empty on tarmacs, grocery shelves are barren while hospital beds are full, and healthcare workers reaching a place of compete exhaustion.  Perhaps in the midst of this very difficult, and strange place we are in  - we wonder … how much more can we take? Where is the end of this madness? 

Indeed, we must step back from the place where this fear is growing and look up, out, and away from the darkness that this world is teetering in and realize that it is in the very moment of our greatest fears that our God is able to work the miraculous, in the midst of very impossible situations.  

Let us not let the fear crowd our minds with its red panic button, but instead, let us begin to believe that our God is able to work in mighty ways, far greater than anything we can see, imagine, or believe!  

And it just needs to start with each one of us! Today, we can all begin to lift the banner of faith higher than the banner of fear, and begin to look around to see where the glory of the Lord will be manifested.  Ask the Lord for His supernatural intervention. Believe that He is able, and act, believing that He is.  

This is not the hour for the church to crumble, even as almost every church door has been closed in the nation.  This is not the hour for the saints of the most High to sit in disbelief and worry. 

We have been called to such a time as this.  The time is NOW and ripe for the church to advance, to broaden its borders, and to see the miraculous come forth out of the graveyard of fear, and allow faith to triumph over the desperation in our world.  

Lift up your heads today, and worship the Lord, praise Him, and thank HIM for allowing you to be alive in this great time in history, when perhaps we can begin to see the greatest revival take place.  The church has always risen out of the pit of disaster, dusted itself off, and risen to the occasion with great revivals that have come forth out of times of persecution, tribulation, and trial. 

I want to encourage every heart reading this today that you do not have to believe the focus and the spin of social media about this situation.  Instead, look to the Word of GOD, dig deep into its depths and find your source of strength.  Pray until you breakthrough into a realm of the spirit that cuts out the bondage of fear in your heart and then begin to ask the Lord…. “What have YOU called me to do in such a time as this?” Everyone of you has a job to do in the kingdom, and today is the time to ask the Lord, “What would you have me to do? How can I be a part of the reviving of the church?”  

With a willing heart, and faith in the Lord, there is no obstacle that is of concern to Him.  As you ask Him for guidance, wisdom, direction and peace, know this for a  fact… HIS storehouse will provide.  HIS storehouse never lacks.  HIS provision never ends.  He owns the cattle on a thousand hills…there is a ram in the thicket… there is a coin in the fish’s mouth… there is manna in the desert… there is no lack of availability in God’s economy.  Whatever you are facing… He has the answer. 

Today is not the time to fall into fear’s trap, rather it is the time to LOOK UP, and rejoice that you are living in such a time as this, and to get busy doing the Father’s business!  We are here, in this time, in this day… and what God has brought us to, He is well able to bring us through.  

Don’t let fear reign in your life… instead wave the banner of faith, look for and believe, just like the apostles, that God is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all that we can ask or think…. But we just need to take the first step. 

I pray for each one of you that the abundance of faith will resound in your heart today.  Greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world! Let us be about our Father’s business today, looking up, rejoicing, and believing we will see His mighty power at work when we do.  

May God’s abundant blessings of mercy, grace, truth and wisdom abound mightily in your lives today! 

Marilyn Moseley 

Marilyn from Mountaintop Spice is an avid hobby photographer living in North Idaho who shares her love for photography with inspirational writings on her blog and with the writing group she is a member of. Her love for the Lord and ambition as a writer began at an early age growing up in Prince Edward Island, Canada, the home of Lucy Maud Montgomery, whose writings were Marilyn’s childhood inspiration. Leaving the red soil of the Island, she married a Texan, and now lives in North Idaho in with her husband, two children, 20+ chickens, two dogs and the reigning king of the home, Mister Simba, the cat. Marilyn enjoys seeking out beauty with her camera lens in the Lord's creation around her to share with friends, family, and the blogging community. She blogs at Mountaintop Spice. Images from her photography can be found at Mountaintop Spice Photos.

I am SO inspired by reading this wonderful post of encouragement!  Marilyn is 100% spot on in her anointed words, and how grateful I am that she and all the other contributors have shared their hearts with us during this time of crisis, upheaval, and yes, much, much fear.  Please take the time to stop by and visit Marilyn's blog where you will find a wealth of comfort and spiritual edification.

Revival ~ Blue Moon Rising

Oh, how we need the revival Marilyn spoke of and Chris West wrote and sings about in this song!  God is trying to get our attention.  It is high time for us to pay attention and fall on our faces in repentance.  Humbling ourselves before Him will bring about the revival we so desperately need and long to see!  Please keep praying and seeking the Lord.
May He bless each one of you.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Seeing God in the Exile ~ Guest Post by Dr. Rochelle Delain

“I have seen You in Your sanctuary and gazed upon Your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise You!”  
Psalm 63:2-3

Sometimes when we are going through times of great pain, adversity, and difficulty in our lives, one of our best weapons is a good memory.  Memories have power.  When present circumstances seek to rob us of our ability to see any good in our lives, engaging the mind in recollection of past blessings, victories, and positive experiences in our lives can give us great faith, hope, and love. That is, faith that our momentary troubles are not permanent, hope that with God’s help, we will prevail, and an overwhelming love for the God who has rescued us and sustained us time and time again.   

In addition, recalling the blessings of the past can give us the confidence we need to face an uncertain future with joy and courage.  It was how the adolescent David, when volunteering to fight the giant, Goliath, was able to say with confidence, “The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine.” 1 Samuel 17:37 

David was a man who loved God’s presence and rejoiced at the privilege of entering His sanctuary.  It was more than just a religious ritual to David.  It was his lifeline to the Almighty God.  In Exodus 33:20, God said to Moses’ “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live.”  Yet, in Psalm 63:2, David declared that he had seen God in His sanctuary.  How can this be?  David may not have visually seen God, but he had definitely experienced His glory and His power.  For God is a God who desires to be known by His people so much that throughout history He has provided palpable manifestations of His presence to those who are seeking Him.  

Jesus was the ultimate expression of God in human flesh.  Furthermore, no one who comes into God’s presence with an open heart and a submitted will can remain the same.  David had witnessed this power many times throughout his lifetime, not only in the sanctuary but in everyday life, particularly when facing dangerous or impossible situations.  But now David finds himself exiled in a hostile and desolate wilderness, unable to physically enter God’s tabernacle.  

Many of us are feeling this way during the current COVID-19 pandemic.  We may not be physically exiled; however, these times of waiting, social distancing, and not even being able to physically enter the sanctuary for corporate worship can certainly feel like being banished to a strange and unfamiliar land, far from all that is comfortable and familiar.  

We are told to stay home and to see it as a blessing.  We now have more time with the family and more time to refresh and renew, they say.  But as the days drag on, family members begin to get on each other’s nerves. Staying home begins to jeopardize the family finances.  Business owners wonder if they will be able to hold on. Fear and panic seem to multiply by the day.  You really miss the security and familiarity of your daily routine, and isolation and loneliness can become so overwhelming that you may feel even God has abandoned you. It is easy to see this time as a curse and give in to despair. Can you relate?  I can.

Based on his present situation, David had every reason to give in to despair.  Instead he chose to bring God’s tabernacle to him through his memories.  This was not just a passive looking back to the “good ole days” type of remembering but an active exercise in bringing to mind and meditating upon the goodness of the Lord.  

I’ll be the first to confess, this can be challenging, especially when the end of our present circumstances is nowhere in sight. Remembering the goodness of the Lord in a place of mental and emotional exile will require intentionality and perseverance. It will require guarding our hearts from the negativity of the world and choosing instead to stand on God’s Word even when we can't see His hand. It will require speaking His truth even when we don’t feel it.  The good news—God is the same real and ever-present God who is with us whether we are seeking Him in a physical sanctuary or in a land far away, where our memories are all we have.  He meets us where we are.

During this time of reflection, David not only remembered God’s power, glory, and goodness and rehearsed past blessings and victories.  He also remembered God’s ongoing unfailing love towards him.  The Orthodox Jewish Bible uses the Hebrew word "chesed" to describe God’s unfailing love, which is used synonymously with the word mercy.  David was not totally without responsibility for his current situation.  As an adulterer, murderer, liar, polygamist, and uninvolved father, he would have been absolutely disqualified from ever coming into God’s presence and condemned had it not been for God’s ever enduring chesed.  God’s mercy did for David what he could never have done for himself.  

Like David, we are all sinners who would have been condemned and permanently exiled from God’s presence had it not been for God’s chesed graciously granted to us through one of David’s own descendants and our Messiah, Jesus Christ.  By suffering for our sins, Jesus submitted Himself to temporary exile from God so that we might be drawn close to the God and Father, who is with us no matter where we may find ourselves.  He remains close to us even when we must distance ourselves from other humans. May we never forget.

David was so overcome with gratitude at the thought of God’s mercy towards him that he broke into spontaneous exuberant praise, declaring God’s mercy to be better than life itself.  No matter what he had done in life and where he found himself as a result, nothing was better to him at that moment than the unfailing love of God.  

In the midst of our present landscape and the uncertainty of where we are going from here, do we consider God’s love for us to be better than life itself?  How would our lives be different if rather than giving in to despair, we chose to remember and meditate on God’s goodness?

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.”  Psalm 103:2 (NKJV)

"I would have lost heart unless I had believed I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living."   Psalm 27: 13 (NKJV)

Bio:  Dr. Rochelle is a child of God, wife, mother, Doctor of Chiropractic and student who lives in upstate South Carolina with her husband of 16 years and 12-year-old son.  She also has a 33-year-old stepdaughter, son in law, two grandchildren, ages 5 and 2, and two very spoiled kitty kids.  In her very limited free time, she enjoys playing music (violin and piano), creative writing, cooking, outdoor activities, and traveling with her family.


Find You Here ~ Ellie Holcomb

God bless each one of you dear readers as you come to see God in your current circumstances of exile.  May you find Him exactly where you are!
I am praying for you.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Only a Season ~ Guest Post by Mary Zatkalik

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven."
Ecclesiastes 3:1

Drenching rain continues in Arizona.  We’ve received about four inches in the past week.  The consistent moisture replenishes our desert lands.  I know it’s a season, but sometimes the dreariness and muddy roads overshadow the few spring flowers popping up in my garden.

It’s dreary in our nation right now and globally as well.  The COVID-19C, Corona Virus, is a real threat and keeps most of us homebound except for emergencies.  Church services switched to online streaming and many seek drive-through grocery lanes.

What Are We Learning?

We are reminded that God knew this was coming so we must not fear.  We learned from 9-11 that Americans are resilient, and together we can get through a crisis.  We learned that we need one another.

We face this new crisis together, too.  We here at my place are stocked adequately with cushy comforts and draw strength from our family times and friendly neighbors.   We look back over the year with gratitude.  Prophetic Ministries delivered warnings.  We learned to buy some extra paper products and step up repentance in our lives.   “The storm is coming,” They would say.  Prepare.

Here’s our Story

We are not afraid.  In fact, we see a crisis as a time for the church to arise.

Last week I accompanied my husband to the large clinic for his follow up appointment.  I hesitated entering the reception area, but I peeked in to see only a handful of folks so I took a seat.  The clinic was sparkling clean and all the magazines were removed and Holy Bibles were placed on each end table in their place.  I’ve noticed lately people rarely have their heads down looking at their cell phones but instead look up desperately for someone to visit with and exchange uncertainties.  The chatty gal seated near me needed to talk and I needed to listen.  Soon another woman chimed in and before we knew it, the conversation swung from the lack of eggs at Fry’s to deep worries.  The chatty one’s daughter is depressed and the crisis pushed her over into suicidal thoughts.

As we drove home, we stopped for groceries.  I observed Tom’s willingness to cheer up the distraught cashier.  I watched her throw her head back and laugh at his jokes.  All the stress went away and she looked radiant.  I saw another worker in the store and leaned close to tell her that I see her hard efforts.  Her eyes watered and she shared her heart with me.  When I promised to pray for her, she revealed the job doesn’t even come close to personal burdens.  We loaded our groceries into our truck and noticed a retired couple just like us that needed to stop and talk awhile and we listened intently.  

Tom and I prayed for all we met that day on our drive home.

Blessed, Broken, and Given

One of our elderly neighbors asked Tom to trim her long hair.  The older woman expressed fear to go out.  When one of our kids found out she hugged us, they reprimanded us and told us to stay put in our home until the plague passes.  I thought that was funny.  Are the kids our parents, now?  When Jesus hung on the cross for us, He gave it all.  He held nothing back for fear of what it might cost him.

Now is the time for the church to arise.  We live in a dark, broken world.  It is a golden opportunity to be a light in that darkness.  People are open to receive encouragement!

My daughter sent me a text message with a video link to watch.  Folks in big cities are displaying their outdoor Christmas lights to bring cheer.  She wrote:  “Maybe you should unpack the lighted HOPE sign which Dad made that you display at Christmas and prop it up on the front lawn.”

When I prayed about it, God told me I didn’t have to round up a few family members and lug out the HOPE sign, but to be the hope.  Our family unit is powerful and strong when we reach out together and extend the Hope of our Savior.  He told us to do it. 

I don’t know about you, but I am happy that I do not need a doctor’s degree in theology to serve the Lord right now and encourage the disheartened.  I don’t need a badge from a church or a cross around my neck to be ready and equipped.  I pray for a heart of compassion every day.

More rain is forecasted for Arizona.  

It’s a season.  Soon the warm front will arrive and stay.  My apricot tree will bud and sunny days return with long green blades of grass to cut.  The nation will employ workers and gyms will re-open.  Our economy will soar once again.  

It’s only a season.

Bio:  Mary lives with her husband, Tom, in central Arizona.  She loves the outdoors, to read, cook, and enjoy family gatherings with her two married daughters and their families.  Mary and Tom love grand-parenting their two young granddaughters.  Mary writes at Pile of Smiles and reviews books at My Calm Corner.  You can also connect with her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

Please visit Mary's blogwhere you will find a wonderful, encouraging, welcoming space!

Let It Rain ~ Crowder & Mandisa

Many blessings to you all!
Stay strong!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Unprecedented Peace in Christ Alone ~ Guest Post by Beth Willis Miller

"The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; the God of my rock; in Him will I trust: He is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my savior; Thou savest me from violence."
2 Samuel 22:2,3

My dear friend, Beth Willis Miller, so kindly offered us to use her latest blog post by permission for this series of encouragement.  Her words brought such comfort and hope to my heart in these troubled times.  I have added emphasis to parts that were especially meaningful to me, and at the end of this post, I will be sharing a very special personal story about Beth!  

"Krista Hamrick’s beautiful artwork inspired me during this time in which we are living, which is being called “unprecedented” in our lifetimes. The eyes of the connected world have simultaneously widened on a common enemy called COVID-19. What do we do when we feel threatened? When our normalcy is upended? Krista’s artwork reminded me of an old hymn I sang as a child, based on Psalm 62, and helps us look to God’s Word to shed light in these uncertain times.

As a little girl growing up in church, I can vividly remember holding the church hymnal with my parents, and singing, “On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand.” The lyrics which Krista illustrates so beautifully in her artwork, speak directly to our hearts in this unsettling time: “My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus' blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' Name. When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His unchanging grace. In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil. His oath, His covenant, His blood, support me in the whelming flood. When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my Hope and Stay. When He shall come with trumpet sound, oh may I then in Him be found. Dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne. On Christ the solid Rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand, All other ground is sinking sand.”

This led me to a word study of Psalm 62:6:

"He only is my rock and my salvation: He is my defense; I shall not be moved."

Pastor Steven J. Cole writes: "The difficulty with applying Psalm 62 is that very few of us have ever been in the desperate straits that David was in and so we cannot truly relate to what he says here. Evil men were threatening David’s life and scheming how, not only to topple him as king, but also how to kill him. They were trying to murder David. They were saying, “He’s like a leaning wall or tottering fence. Just push and he’ll go down!” Under that real threat of death, David’s mind was wonderfully concentrated to write this psalm. The message is: 
In life’s most threatening times, you will be at peace if God alone is your salvation and refuge.

The main theme of the psalm is the right and wrong objects of faith. If we trust in God, we’re secure. If we trust in men or in things, we’re depending on that which is lighter than breath (62:9). Interestingly, even though David was in a life-threatening situation, the psalm contains no prayer.

Pastor H. C. Leupold writes, “There is scarcely another psalm that reveals such an absolute and undisturbed peace, in which confidence in God is so completely unshaken, and in which assurance is so strong that not even one single petition is voiced throughout the psalm.” Of course, David experienced this peace through prayer, and he exhorts God’s people to pour out their hearts before Him (62:8). All of us want to have this same peace that David had in this crisis. At the heart of his peace is his confident trust in God alone.

The word “only,” which translates a little Hebrew particle, is also a recurring theme in this psalm. It occurs six times, four in reference to God. Each time it begins the sentence for emphasis. The word itself conveys emphasis and may be translated in different ways, depending on the context. Sometimes it is translated but it sometimes means “surely” or “certainly.” The most authoritative Hebrew lexicon and most modern translations translate it in Psalm 62 as “only” or “alone.” By repetition, David hammers home the concept that we will enjoy God’s peace in the midst of life’s most threatening moments when God only—God alone—is our salvation and refuge. Since we all struggle to get to that place—and as we’ll see in the psalm, David himself struggled to remain there—let’s focus on how to come to that place of complete trust in God.

While David begins with his calm waiting on God (62:1-2), it’s helpful to work our way back by looking first at the fierce enemies that were threatening him: Some think that David wrote this psalm in the context of Absalom’s rebellion, but we can’t know for sure. The attacks seem to have been prolonged, as seen by David’s cry, “How long?” The New King James Version translates verse 3b, “You shall be slain, all of you, like a leaning wall and a tottering fence,” making it David’s words against his enemies. But the ancient versions and most modern versions take it as David’s enemies’ words against him. They were counseling together how to thrust him down from his role as king by assassinating him. They were spreading falsehoods and using flattery, telling him that he was a great king, while inwardly cursing him. The Bible never promises exemption from such attacks. Rather, it shows us what to do when you’re under attack. David begins (61:1a), “My soul waits in silence for God only.” Commentaries helpfully explain what David means by “silence.” “The silence intended is, in short, that composed submission of the believer, in the exercise of which he acquiesces in the promises of God, gives place to his word, bows to his sovereignty, and suppresses every inward murmur of dissatisfaction.

The key word there is “submission.” When difficult things happen to us, we can either angrily complain to God, “I don’t deserve such treatment!” Or, we can submit to Him, agreeing with His promises, giving supremacy to His Word, bowing before His sovereignty, and suppressing our tendency to grumble. There is no more remarkable demonstration of this than that of Job. When God inexplicably took his possessions, his ten children, and his health, Job humbly proclaimed (Job 1:21b), “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” While the rest of the book of Job shows how he wrestled through his pain and his complaints against God, by the end of the book we find Job again in a posture of worship, bowing before God’s sovereign hand (Job 40:4-5; 42:1-6). So, humbling yourself “under the mighty hand of God” (1 Pet. 5:6) is a key element in experiencing God’s peace when you’re under attack.

David adds (62:1b-2), “from Him is my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.” In this context, salvation refers to God’s deliverance from David’s enemies. And yet we’re not amiss if, with Pastor Charles H. Spurgeon, we apply this to God being the only source of our salvation from sin and judgment. He preached two sermons on this psalm. In one (“God Alone the Salvation of His People,” Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit he writes, “If anyone should ask us what we would choose for our motto, as preachers of the gospel, we think we should reply, ‘God only is our salvation.’” Then he adds, “I cannot find in Scripture any other doctrine than this. It is the essence of the Bible. . .Tell me anything that departs from this and it will be a heresy; tell me a heresy, and I shall find its essence here, that it has departed from this great, this fundamental, this rocky truth, “God is my rock and my salvation.”

If God alone is your salvation from eternal death, if He raised you from death to life and gave you the faith to believe in Jesus Christ, then you also can take refuge in Him from less threatening trials. As Paul puts it in Romans 8:31-32, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” So if you know God as your only source of salvation from sin, then when problems hit, submit yourself to His sovereign hand and trust God alone as your salvation and refuge from the problems.

In verses 5-7, David repeats what he already said in verses 1-2, with a few variations. Why does he do this? In verses 3 & 4, he has been thinking about his enemies and the extreme threat that they represented. So, he may have been a little bit shaken (not, greatly shaken, v. 2). “Here it is to be remembered, that our minds can never be expected to reach such perfect composure as shall preclude every inward feeling of disquietude, but are, at the best, as the sea before a light breeze, fluctuating sensibly, though not swollen into billows.” In other words, we never reach a place of perfect composure, where severe trials don’t affect us. And so we have to fight to regain our peace in God. But how?

First, David talks to himself (“My soul”). They say that talking to yourself is a sign of senility, but the Bible often tells us to do this very thing. In Psalms 42 & 43, the psalmist repeats (42:5, 11; 43:5) the refrain (43:5), “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.” The opening chapter of Pastor Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ wonderful book, Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure, is on Psalm 42. He asks, “Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?” He goes on to explain that rather than just going along with the thoughts that come to you in the morning, which bring back all of the problems of yesterday, you’ve got to take yourself in hand, preach to yourself, and question yourself. You ask yourself, “Why are you cast down?” Then you exhort yourself to hope in God. Lloyd-Jones continues, “You must go on to remind yourself of God, Who God is, and what God is and what God has done, and what God has pledged Himself to do. Then having done that, end on this great note: defy yourself, and defy other people, and defy the devil and the whole world, and say with this man: “I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance, who is also the health of my countenance and my God.”

That’s exactly what David does in Psalm 62. He piles up description after description of who God is. After telling himself to wait in silence for God only (62:5), he adds (62:5b-6), “for my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be moved.” This time he does not say, “I shall not be greatly shaken” (62:2), but he advances to, “I shall not be moved” at all! Then he goes over it again (62:7), “On God my salvation and my glory rest; the rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.”

Don’t miss the pronoun, “my” (9 times in vv. 5-7). Also, God is either directly named or referred to with the pronouns Him or He five times in these verses. David knew God personally as his hope, his rock, his salvation, his stronghold, his strength, and his refuge. If we want His peace in severe trials, we must know God personally and experientially as our God and remind ourselves of who He is. David is fighting here, while under these life-threatening attacks, to put these comforting truths front and center in his mind. We say we’re trusting in God alone, but then we quickly scheme how to deliver ourselves, rather than waiting on Him! It’s not that it’s wrong to think about how to get out of a difficult trial, or to use methods to do so. In fact, more often than not we should use plans and methods in dependence on Him. But it’s wrong to give God a token nod of trust and then set Him aside while really, we trust in our schemes and methods. Rather, with David we must fight to make God our only source of deliverance: “He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold.” Then, “I shall not be shaken” (62:6). If we trust in plans and methods we’ll fail. But if God only is our rock, we will stand firm.

David can’t contain the joy of knowing God as his salvation, so he writes (62:8), “Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.” What a wonderful verse! David isn’t giving out pat, useless advice! He’s telling us how he endured this terrible attack on his life by these fierce, cunning enemies. He trusted in God; he poured out his heart to God; he took refuge in God. He’s telling us to do the same. What God was to David in his extreme trial, He can be to you in your crisis.

How does pouring out your heart to God (62:8) fit with waiting silently for Him (62:1, 5)? Obviously, they’re not contradictory. Waiting silently for God only, as we’ve seen, is to put our hearts in submission to His sovereign love in the face of trials that seem to contradict either His sovereignty or His love. It’s an attitude of trustful submission. Pouring out our hearts is to unburden ourselves in prayer, where we empty all of our anxieties and confusion and pain onto the Lord, while still remaining in submission to His sovereign love. As 1 Peter 5:7 puts it, “casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”

How prone we all are to keep our troubles pent up in our hearts until we’re driven to despair. We show much anxiety and ingenuity in seeking to escape our troubles without God. But in so doing, he says, we only get ourselves into “a labyrinth of difficulties.” The answer is to pour out our hearts before Him, taking refuge in Him, because He cares for us. David has shown us that we can be composed or at peace if God alone is our salvation and refuge. He has reaffirmed it, showing that it is usually a battle to get to this place and remain there in the face of difficult trials. He concludes with a contrast, showing us what not to trust and repeating again who to trust."
The main reason that we should “fight” for God’s peace in threatening times is not so that we will be at peace, but so that God will be glorified and others will be drawn to Him through us. God’s peace comes to us in life’s threatening times when He alone is our salvation and refuge.

In this psalm David pours out his heart to God, describing his difficulties, the enemies that are trying to kill him, and the lies and curses others have spoken against him. But on the battlefield of life, in the midst of every trouble, David has a Godward focus. He is honest about his complaints and problems, but he has purposed to direct his gaze to the God of all faithfulness, putting his trust in the One who alone is his rock, salvation, fortress, and refuge. He then can wait quietly before God because he has put his hope, and his very life, in the Lord’s hands. He doesn’t trust in human nature because it is no more secure than a breath. He doesn’t put his hope in riches because he knows that wealth will not save him. His hope, confidence, and trust are in the Lord Almighty. If, like David, we are waiting for God to act when we are in the midst of trouble, we can wait frantically or impatiently. But to wait quietly in hope takes a deep confidence in knowing the One we are waiting for. He will never disappoint us. This psalm is an open invitation to be honest and deeply real with the Lord. It calls us to take our masks off and pour out our true thoughts and feelings to God, to be there before Him telling it like it is, not how we think things should be. How freeing it is to realize that we can be totally honest with God and express our sadness or joy, our fears, our faults and weaknesses, our pain, desires and dreams, and to know that the contents of our hearts are really safe with God, our refuge. This psalm also reminds us that although the specific patterns or formats for prayer are excellent principles for individual or corporate prayer times, we don’t have to follow them in order for God to hear us, nor do we have to hide our negative emotions and attitudes just so we’ll look good. God already knows all that we are feeling and struggling with, so we can come to him just as we are and pour out our hearts “at all times.” He invites us in the midst of conflicts, stresses, responsibilities, and frustration to seek him as our closest confidante, our intimate friend.

"Heavenly Father, I lift my eyes up to you, my rock, my salvation, my fortress, and my refuge. Quiet my heart to wait on you, for my hope is in You. Help me to wait for You in this unprecedented time, in the storms, in the light, and in the darkness. Let my confidence not be shaken by what my heart may feel, circumstances may say, or my mind may think. I thank you that my confidence rests on the One who is my rock and that you will never be shaken. How thankful I am for the confidence and security that You long to hear from me and to comfort me. You know and understand all the thoughts of my heart better than I do myself, and you invite me to pour out my heart to you even now in this unprecedented time. I trust You with my eternity—I will trust You today with my next breath, my next heartbeat. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen."

Look Up—meditate on Psalm 62:6 … pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

Look In—as you meditate on Psalm 62:6 … pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: "Because God is_________, I will_____________."

Look Out—as you meditate on Psalm 62:6 …pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.

* If you liked this post, you’ll love this book – Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ.

Bio:  Beth Willis Miller, M.Ed., author of Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ with Illustrator, Krista Hamrick; contributing author of Under His Wings: Truths to Heal Adopted Children's Hearts; 21 Stories of Generosity: Real Stories to Inspire a Full Life; A New Song: Glimpses of the Grace Journey; married with two adult children, and two adorable grandsons.

Dear friends, be sure to visit Beth's wonderful blog by clicking HERE.  You will find that every post is packed with deep spiritual edification and encouragement.

In Christ Alone ~ David Wesley

Now for that special story about Beth....
I have followed Beth's blog for a long time.  I don't even remember how she and I connected, but over the years, she has become a dear friend, and her blog has proven to be such a blessing to me.  A few years back, she shared an exclusive interview with us that you can read by clicking HERE!

Sometime in November or December of 2017, Beth and I were exchanging emails, and she happened to mention that a friend of hers had offered her and her family a stay in a timeshare in our hometown!!  Beth didn't even realize it was where we lived and that we had moved there the year before!  My jaw dropped open as I read her words, and I quickly wrote her back to tell her we lived there and how wonderful it would be if we could meet face to face.  She told me she would contact me when she and her family arrived and got settled. 

Fast forward to December 26, 2017, which was Zach's 17th birthday and the very day we lost my brother-in-law, LDThat was the day the Holy Spirit had Divinely appointed for Beth and her family to be in our hometown!  Obviously, there was no way any of us could have ever known ahead of time what we would be facing and going through on that late December day, but God knew.  It was all by Divine providence, and He had planned it out far ahead of time.  Our hearts were so broken as we met Beth and her sweet family that evening at our local Chick-fil-a.  We found our way to a table at the back corner where we could talk privately, get better acquainted, and pour out our hearts, and Beth even prayed with us right there in our booth.  I could never put into words what a precious comfort she was to us during such a sad time in our lives.  She is a dear, precious child of God who means so much to my family and me!  Her faithful prayer support is a Divine gift, and we are so blessed that she is a part of our lives!

Zach, me, and our special friend, Beth Willis Miller

God bless you all in these troubled times!
Keep your eyes on Jesus, and know that He is always by your side.