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.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The Power of God's Mercy ~ Guest Post by Shaz in Oz

"See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; in that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it."
Deuteronomy 30:15,16


Hi there 😊 I’ve been asked to write a guest post for a very dear sister in Christ, Cheryl of Homespun Devotions.

My name is Shaz in Oz, my Christian blog is HERE, my craft one HERE. I live on east coast of Aust. in NSW, I asked the LORD Jesus to be my Saviour, down by the beach here at Beach Mission, over 50 years ago as a child (full testimony is HERE). 

In Australia we are protected from things a bit, but we also have Covid-19. Not a lot, but it’s gaining. Government like others has restricted entry, number of public gatherings, more restrictions as the days pass. Yes, there are deaths.. what I write now, will be out of date tomorrow.

As I’ve multiple chronic conditions, I’m isolating as much as possible. 

This below is what the Lord laid on my heart to share.
I pray it blesses you, too!


Just yesterday I wrote these words to a friend: 

“Take care sis, praying much you’ll all be kept well. Not looking good for Italy. 
Praying for them and for many nations especially third world nations, pleading the LORD will prove all wrong on duration and severity!
In His great mercy, put a stop as He did in answer to David’s intercession, with the angel of death poised over Jerusalem, when David sinned by numbering the people.
God’s mercy is there for our asking - if we but ask. 
Mind you, we deserve so much worse than He gives us. 
Our sin is so very great. 
Fail so often, fall so far short.”

As I wrote them, I thought upon why we are here as believers! 
Yes! We are not here for our own good pleasure, but that of our LORD’s.

“... for thou hast created all things, 
and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” Rev. 4:11b 


Let’s look at that story (whole passage look here), sharing key verses.

1 Chronicles 21:2,7-8,13-17,26-27 (also 2 Sam. 24)

"And David said to Joab and to the rulers of the people, Go, number Israel from Beer-sheba even to Dan; and bring the number of them to me, that I may know it.  And God was displeased with this thing; therefore he smote Israel.  And David said unto God, I have sinned greatly, because I have done this thing: but now, I beseech thee, do away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.  And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let me fall now into the hand of the Lord ; for very great are his mercies: but let me not fall into the hand of man.  So the Lord sent pestilence upon Israel: and there fell of Israel seventy thousand men.  And God sent an angel unto Jerusalem to destroy it: and as he was destroying, the Lord beheld, and he repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed, It is enough, stay now thine hand. And the angel of the Lord stood by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.  And David lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of the Lord stand between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem.

Then David and the elders of Israel, who were clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces.
And David said unto God, Is it not I that commanded the people to be numbered? even I it is that have sinned and done evil indeed; but as for these sheep, what have they done? let thine hand, I pray thee, O Lord my God, be on me, and on my father's house; but not on thy people, that they should be plagued.  And David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called upon the Lord ; and He answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt offering.  And the Lord commanded the angel; and he put up his sword again into the sheath thereof."

How great is God’s mercy?
The door of forgiveness and grace is opened by confession and turning from our sin. 
We read of the pleading by David for his poor sheep, he and elders were clothed in sackcloth! 
 David was sorry, truly pleading for mercy. 
As David said:
"Let me fall now into the hand of the Lord; for very great are His mercies."  I Chronicles 21:13
So God’s mercy was AND is mighty indeed.
When we pray we don’t know what a mighty power we are wielding!

Prayer is a weapon that Satan cowers before!!
Dear friends, we are in such a time as this "pestilence", as David was, it's for a reason. 
God wants our attention!
Does He have it?
Now we can either:
*worry, fret, stress OR
* rest, trust, pray!!

We need to pray much.. for near and dear ones, to plead for those we love further away. Our great Father God can reach through His power and Spirit, where we never can.

We can pray for  poor nations. I pray over "Maps app" on my phone. As I look close up at locations, where dear ones are my heart is cheered.. 

God is here, AND He is there! 

He is omnipotent,  omnipresent, omniscient!

How often I limit God!

Pray please for poor nations... where if this virus hit the population would be decimated. 😥

Pray primarily for souls there to be saved, for God's pure Light of the Gospel to shine in these dark places, pray that as the Angel of death was stayed over Jerusalem, that the LORD in His great mercy would stay the hand of death upon these poor peoples!

Pray man's predictions in all this will be wrong, and it will be stopped, or weakened in its onslaught: and for medical staff and supplies to be strengthened and extended in God's mercy. 

Pray for our nations, our states, our churches, our leaders to be guided of God, that Satan's power will be bound in Jesus' name.
That there would truly be an awakening of the Spirit of God as there has never been before..
.. a real revival!

Let us fulfill our purpose as servants of the Living God, to be lights brightly burning, and people of the Word and Prayer!


And dear precious ones, as you pray and plead over your burdens, I pray and agree with you. By faith, we may meet and agree together at "the Throne of Grace, where we find grace to help in time of need."  Hebrews 4:12

"Prayer is power.
It brings about the Power of the Almighty."

"Fear looks back,
Worry looks around,
FAITH looks up!"

Prayer hugs, 🙏🤗
 Shaz in Oz.x 
Dear friends, please visit Shaz's blog at Wonderful Words of Life!
She has been such a blessing and encourager to so many, and I know you will find much truth in her heartfelt, anointed posts.
God bless you all and keep you safe and healthy, in Jesus' name!

Sunday, March 22, 2020

God Will Take Care of You ~ Guest Post by Regina Shea

"I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust."
Psalm 91:2

Who would ever have thought that the buzz words for 2020 would be "social distancing" and "toilet paper."

These are trying times and it's understandable to be fearful and anxious. I've had my share of anxiety lately. As a result I've had to daily remind myself of the scriptures:

1 Peter 5:7- "Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you."

Philippians 4:6 "Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be be made known unto God. (Parenthesis mine)

Earlier this week, we needed to go to the grocery store, but I was feeling anxious about going and not being able to find what I need. I never get anxious about shopping. In fact, I love grocery shopping and running into folks I know in our small town.
When we got into the car, I told my husband Tim about my anxiety and asked him to please pray. By the time we arrived at Safeway my anxiety was gone. The shopping trip turned out to be very nice  and we had pleasant conversations with various workers and other shoppers.

There is a song I'd like to share with you all called, "God Will Take Care of You" sung by The Antrim Mennonite Choir.

  God Will Take Care of You

My dear friends, God will take care of us!  We have nothing to fear, and when fear and anxiety threaten to overcome us, let's turn to our heavenly Father who is there for us and will bring us through this time of uncertainty.
Oh in case you were wondering, I got everything on my list. Except toilet paper.

Regina lives in Arizona with her husband Tim and two of her three daughters. She enjoys crocheting, cooking, reading church history books and having afternoon tea.

Be sure and visit Regina's blog, Plain Keeper at Home, where you will find spiritual encouragement and Godly inspiration!  

Keep looking up to the hills from whence comes our help!  God is with us, and He never fails.
Much love to you all in these trying times.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

May We Be Found Faithful ~ Guest Post by Debbie Harris

"Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful."
I Corinthians 4:2

There is much uncertainty out there over this current Coronavirus. With each new day we are learning new things, but we must remain optimistic and stay positive.

The world around us is in such fear, worry and panic - yet - the Bible tells us to ~
~Fear not ~
" Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not." Isaiah 35:4a
~Cast our cares upon God~ 
 " Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you" 1Peter 5:7
~Be anxious for nothing~ 
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippians 4:6
~Fret not yourselves~ 
"Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil." Psalm 37:8

God cares for us...let us never forget.
Christ warns against earthly anxiety  ~ Matthew 12:22-34 ~ Excellent reading material! Too long to type.
With the way people are stockpiling and we are finding empty shelves at the stores, may we be reminded of the Scriptures ~ 
"And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of a doubtful mind." Matthew 12:29 
God will provide for our every need, even when it looks bleak.

And finally,
  ~Be careful for nothing ~ 
"Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of a good report, if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things."  Philippians 4:4-8

Keeping our minds on Christ...these Scriptures alone should keep us on the right track and positive.

We all certainly have extra time on our hands right now, so why not meditate on God's Word so that we will be prepared and ready to share with those who are lost and hurting. May we be ready at any given moment to reach out and encourage the souls God brings across our paths.
I believe our opportunities are great!
Jesus was compassionate and reached down to touch even the unlovely. Shall we not do the same for our fellow men?

During this time I have found myself looking for my daily dose of laughter with all the silly "toilet paper" jokes. There is certainly humor to be found. I believe God wants us to laugh and find joy in our circumstances. Laughter is healing and it does the heart good. Laughter weaves its carefree way through all those joy-filled, purpose-filled, spirit-filled blessings that God has for us. Only God, who knows us and loves us completely, has the power to meet our needs and bless our lives in so personal a way that we feel He is ministering to us alone.

Yes, even as I laugh a good belly laugh, God is meeting me right where I am!

A classic treatment for the prevention and treatment of viral disease is open air therapy.
There is an immune benefit to being outdoors and the worst thing for us is to actually stay indoors with our dry, circulating heat systems. For us, it's the dry wood burner stove.
There are studies to show that both sunlight and outdoors kills the virus.
So...get outside, open up your windows if you can and let the fresh air work in your favor.

Friend, find what makes you happy, what brings you joy, peace, comfort and bring out the best in yourself and in your home.

"Dear Lord ~ 
May we be found faithful during these trying times as we strive to live our lives for Your glory. Keep us focused on You and strong in our faith. Heal those who are suffering and heal our land. We give You all the praise and glory!"

Bio:  Debbie was born in Denver Colorado moving to the Vail area at the age of 10. She met her husband Randy while working as a ski chair lift operator while he was vacationing in the winter of 1977. They fell in love, married in April of 1979 and moved to Canada beginning their lives together. This April marks 41 years together.
Debbie is a retired health-care giver (retired due to health issues) and enjoys life at home while reaching out to senior citizens, mostly widowed women. Hospice is her passion, but she loves to show compassion and  spread love to others.
She has 2 beautiful daughters and 4 handsome grandsons.
Debbie gave her life to Christ 37 years ago and claims Mark 12:30 as her life verse. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. For this is the first commandment." 
Please visit Debbie's blog at She Graces Her Home, where you will find a wealth of encouragement, joy, and comfort in her heartfelt posts!

Keep the faith, dear friends.  Keep pressing on!  God is with us.  
"Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward."
Hebrews 10:35