Friday, October 31, 2014

Zephaniah 3:17 What’s your favorite lullaby?

He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

Remember what you used to do when a baby wouldn't sleep?

  Soothe the cutie who screamed in the nursery.

  Quiet your precious little angel who howled half the night.

  Reassure the toddler who cried because there was a monster in   the closet.

Remember rocking chairs and lullabies?

But no one’s there to rock us or sing to us when we’re all grown up.

We lie there, eyes wide open.

Worried about something we did or experienced that day.

Anxious about what might happen tomorrow.

Afraid because we can’t see any way out of the pit we’re in.

Excited about something fantastic that’s happening or will happen.

I've tried closing my eyes and doing some calm-me-down routine.

I've quoted verses in my mind.

I've counted my husband’s snores.

Nothing worked – until I found Zephaniah 3:17

Now, I close my eyes and imagine my Father delighting in my day, bathing me in His love, and singing to me.

What does He sing? I can’t understand the words but I relax as I envision the tenderness on His face.

Before I know it, I’m asleep!

The worries, anxiety, fear, and even the jazzed-up feelings fade away.

And I sleep.

Do you lie awake?

Find quiet in His love and peace in His singing.

When you can’t go to sleep, how do you quiet your mind?

Peaceful sunset
Frightened child  corepics via
Frustrated woman ruigsantoo  via

Friday, October 24, 2014

What Time Is It?

Beautiful roses. Older blooms with a rich color, new blooms with vibrant hues, and buds with tips of pink showing, ready to be the roses of tomorrow. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8

Three simple words.


These words give my feet something solid to stand on when days are difficult or uncertain.

When I look back at my walk with God, I see His faithfulness. He has never left me. He has never ignored me. He has never forsaken me. My yesterdays are full of the blessings He’s showered on me. 

  • Peace when I was confused. 
  • Comfort  when I was overcome by sorrow. 
  • Strength when I felt as though I could no longer function. 
  • Hope when I was drowning in hopelessness. 

Over the years, His presence has grown my faith.

When my alarm goes off each morning, I usually have a plan for the day, but I also know Who’s in control. The future is an unknown but my Father is a firm foundation. His care for me Yesterday brings me confidence in His purpose for today and tomorrow. I stand on His promises, His love, and His faithfulness.

Yesterday’s faith is a lifeline for the unknowns that await me.

The most beautiful promise is bound up in the word Forever. A forever of being with my Savior, praising Him, and serving Him. All of my yesterdays will fade from view and my tomorrows will be spent in a place of unimaginable beauty, worshiping eternally with those I love who are believers.

Are your memories of yesterday full of His love and grace?

Are you confident in His presence as you walk through all your tomorrows?

Are you rejoicing in a forever spent with Him?

If not, He is waiting to transform you. You – not your circumstances. He doesn't wipe away all your concerns and difficulties with your new faith. But He does strengthen, comfort, and surround you. 

Tomorrows come. Your choice is not what they bring but how you walk through them.

Do you know Jesus as your Savior and Friend? If not, please go to a believing friend or a pastor who can show you the path to a Forever with Him.

If you do know Him, how have His promises of Forever sustained you through your yesterdays and given you hope for your tomorrows?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Do You Need a Real Word?

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Many of us know this verse. It might be one of the first we memorized.

It’s called the gospel in a nutshell.

I, for one, am encouraged to know I can talk to someone about Jesus with just these few words. I've heard about the Roman Road of witnessing (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Romans 5:8, Romans 10:13, Romans 10:9-10) but my sense of direction is so bad, I get lost in a ditch somewhere along the way.

But that’s not why I love John 3:16.

I wasn't raised in church. When I was 16, I listened to Billy Graham one night and his simple description of the love of Jesus penetrated my heart and drew me to Him.

I didn't understand much, only that God loved me, that Jesus came as a man, and that He died to offer me forgiveness of my sin – and I had plenty of sin to forgive! I didn’t understand the fullness of the cross and resurrection but I knew enough to give my life to Him.

Not long after I became a Christian, a wise lady taught me the beauty of making Scripture personal. And this became a lifeline to God’s love, So John 3:16 speaks directly to me.

For God so loved Sherry that He gave His one and only Son, and because of Sherry’s belief in His Son, she will not perish but have eternal life.

Please remember that I personalized this verse.

The King of Kings gave…

It’s hard to wrap my mind around it.

When I give someone a gift, I do it because I love them – pure and simple. I don’t say, “If you do so-and-so, I’ll give this to you.”

God gave His Son to die for me, out of His love for me – pure and simple.

He doesn't make any demands on me. He doesn't say, “Sherry, if you clean yourself up, I have a gift to give you.”

He simply offers me the gift of salvation through the death of His Son.

The gift of salvation and the joy of spending eternity with Him.

The richness of God’s love became real to me because His Word became real to me.

John 3:16 is a beautiful expression of God’s love for me – a love so deep that He was willing to give me the gift of His Son’s life.

When you are gripped by fear or doubt God, bring His love to life by making His promises your own!

Are there any verses in God's Word that have spoken personally to you? If so, how did it encourage you?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Which Bird Are You?

Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young--a place near your altar, O LORD Almighty, my King and my God. Psalm 84:3

Believe it or not, there are hundreds of birds mentioned in Scripture.

Eagles –Isaiah 40:31 says we will be like eagles: strong and able to soar at amazing heights (sounds like Superman). They are symbols of power and strength.
Doves are small, usually white birds that coo a lot – all night long! Matthew 3:16 says the Holy Spirit descended like a dove. They are symbols of peace and serenity. 

Ravens are large black birds that feast on dead animals. In Genesis, Noah released one from the ark and it didn’t return. It probably got distracted, eating bodies. Gross. They symbolize cruelty and Satan.

Peacocks are one of the most beautiful birds; they love to strut and show off their magnificent tails. No wonder Solomon was captivated by them. They are symbols of glory, pride, and the all-seeing eyes of God.

Ossifrages are huge vultures with a bite so strong it can break bones. It doesn’t symbolize anything – I just had to throw it in here because I’ve never heard of it before.
And my favorite:
Sparrows are small, nondescript  birds, They’re not worth much because they’re everywhere.
A dime a dozen.
  • I can’t be an eagle; I’m not strong and powerful.
  • I’m certainly not a dove; I’m hardly ever serene.
  • No way I’m a peacock; I’m have nothing to strut.
But I can be a sparrow: insignificant, nondescript, nothing to set me apart.
Except to God.
  • To Him, I am his child, forgiven by mercy, saved by grace.
  • To Him, I am precious; Zechariah 2:8 says I am the apple of His eye.
  • To Him, I am unique, gifted, one of a kind.
I am so special to God that I have a place by his altar.
  • He is King of Kings yet I am welcome at his throne.
  • He is Lord of Lords yet I live in the shadow of His wings.
  • He is Almighty God and yet Deuteronomy 32:11 says He cares for me with the tenderness of an eagle caring for her young.
Heavenly Father, let me never forget that I am loved!

How does God show His love for you?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Cones We Wear

This is not a favorite verse; it's a favorite story. But, as I read it today, I felt convicted!
She said to herself, "If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed."  Jesus turned and saw her. "Take heart, daughter," he said, "your faith has healed you." And the woman was healed from that moment. Matthew 9:21-22
I love this story. The woman had been bleeding for several years and the doctors couldn’t heal her. Her faith in Jesus was so strong that she pushed her way through the crowd to touch Him. Jesus immediately turned to her, spoke to her tenderly, and healed her.
There are many reasons to love this wonderful story but, as I read these familiar words, I see myself mirrored in the life of this woman. Jesus loves me so much that He died for me. He embraced me, a filthy sinner, and healed me. Even more, He was willing to take the risk of being identified with me, His enemy.
What risks did Jesus take as He ministered to this woman?
  • A Jewish man would NEVER speak to a woman in public. To do so would bring him ridicule. But Jesus didn’t seem to care about that did He?
  • To be touched by a woman who was bleeding, even without his knowledge, would render him unclean for seven days. Unclean! The Son of God unclean? Jesus didn’t seen to care about that either.
What does this have to do with poor Ruby? As I looked at her sad face, peering out of the cone, I was convicted about the cone I wear every day.
Who did Jesus relate to day by day?
  • Common people.
  • Poor people.
  • Sinners and taxpayers.
  • Prostitutes.
  • Women caught in adultery.
  • Lepers.
  • Young men possessed by demons.
What about today’s Christians? Who do we relate to on a daily basis?
Our activities center around the church. Our friends are all Christians. We live within the safety of people just like us.
When was the last time I deliberately reached out to someone I view as “lower” as I am? Someone I judge as being a bigger sinner than I am?
  • A homeless person.
  • A prostitute.
  • A person with AIDS.
  • A homosexual.
  • A person in prison.
We have tunnel vision, peering out of our cones. We only associate with people who pass our “standards.”
Jesus’ love for His people far superseded desire to cling to social moirĂ©s.  
I have to ask myself: What about me?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Path out of a Wasteland: Isaiah 43: 18-19

Nothing is more powerful than God’s Word. It transforms us – if we lift its truths off the page and into our lives. Over the next several weeks, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite verses and those of friends and family. I pray that, as you read how His Word has ministered to us, you'll find a favorite of your own.
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I [the Lord] am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19

This verse has encouraged me through many a hard time
We’ve all walked through a desert or been lost in a wasteland.

We’re parched with hopelessness and fear.

Look at those words: See, I am doing a new thing!

God is with us; He is at work.

He holds out a new tomorrow, if we trust Him.

He promises to guide us along paths of hope and to fill us with confidence in His presence.

He brings us to streams that quench our thirst and renew our strength.

He's in control and He has a plan to redeem our future.

These words assure us that we're never alone, never abandoned, never forgotten. He is with us, to guide and nourish us, no matter our circumstances.

But, wait a minute.

What’s that bothersome first part:

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.

God’s promises depend on our willingness to walk with Him.

Sometimes we pitch our tents in “yesterday.” We choose to live there – tents don’t pitch themselves.

We love our pity parties.
We long for the “good-ole-days.” 

That’s where I’ve been the last couple years – camped out in yesterday. I carefully hung pictures on the walls of my heart: scenes of wonderful times, portraits of friends and family I left behind.

I didn’t want to be content in my new home. I refused to be happy. I just wanted to go back to yesterday.

(Isn’t that a Beatles song? Yesterday…all my troubles seemed so far away…)

There’s a key question in those verses:

Do you not perceive it?

I was blind to the things God was doing.
I kept my feet planted and refused to walk down His path.

There were refreshing streams running right by my tent and I refused to see them.
And I wondered why I was miserable!

When I finally chose to trust Him, He opened my eyes and I was amazed at what I saw.

My life is busy, full of things I love to do.

Weekly Bible study with a godly group of ladies, a morning filled with wisdom and laughter.

Part of a team that works to improve our libraries and how they serve the community.

I’m even involved in the Garden Club – a fact that stuns everyone who knows me.

And, most important, a church home where people accept me and Charlie with love.

And friends? Boy, do I have friends! I’ve got new friends everywhere. Friends to have fun with and to pray with.

Why didn’t I see the joy in my life before now?

I was clinging to yesterday with both hands, burying my face in the past.

The truth is, we can’t see the new things God's doing as long as our eyes are fixed on yesterday.

His paths of guidance run right in front of us.

His streams of refreshment flow right beside us.

How I praise God for His amazing love. He continued to minister to me even in my blind stubbornness.

Praise God He’s led me into the joys of today!

When has God encouraged you when you were stumbling through a wasteland?
Photo Credit 1: mdurinik
Photo Credit 2: blackregis2