Morning stretch

DSC00044

DSC00044 (Photo credit: number657)

You are my refuge and my shield; 
    I have put my hope in your word. – Psalm 119:114

Have you ever watched taffy being made? It really is neat to see how the three bars on the machine continually stretch the mass of sweetness to perfection.

There are times I feel like I am on a taffy machine being stretched in different directions all the time. I have writing projects to work on, ministry responsibilities, social media that I try to keep up with, and of course, life at home stuff. For me, the days race by quickly and I wonder if I will ever get caught up.

Our stretching has a purpose … not only does it grow us in character, but more importantly, it brings us to our knees and that’s the perfect spot where God wants us to be. Dependence on God is what makes things happen. Relying on his power in our life gives us more strength than if we depended only on ourselves. It makes life sweet.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the stretching you have done in my life. It was necessary for me to struggle and be challenged so that I can reflect your son, Jesus. Amen

Faith Tip: If you are being stretched today, be thankful for it. God is preparing you for wonderful things.

Feeling protected?

"Old West" character - Parada del So...

“Old West” character – Parada del Sol – Scottsdale (Photo credit: Al_HikesAZ)

I am surrounded by trouble,
but you protect me
against my angry enemies.
With your own powerful arm
you keep me safe.

You, Lord, will always

treat me with kindness.
Your love never fails.
You have made us what we are.
Don’t give up on us now! – Psalm 138:7-8 CEV

Protection – I started to think about what that means to me. Is it an absolute or a feeling of being safer? What are the things that make me feel protected? My husband does in knowing he loves me, so my heart feels protected. My dog, Charlie, is my overzealous protector. Money in the bank helps me feel safe from being destitute. I know these examples are not absolute. Life happens and circumstances can turn on a dime.

God’s protection is absolute. No matter what happens in this life, we are protected by God’s love for us. He has us in the palm of his hand and nothing will separate us. He has all the power so we can truly rest in his strong tower.

He wants us to know that so it is written repeatedly in the Bible. Look for all the verses that refer to fear such as fear not or don’t fret. Don’t be afraid to trust God and his word.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I praise you for who you are … you are my strong tower of power. I pray that I can live as evidence of your great love. Amen

Faith Tip: Fearful about something today? Look to God’s absolute protection to get the peace he wants you to experience.

 

A sheltered life

Lake Michigan Storm

Lake Michigan Storm (Photo credit: Tom Gill (lapstrake))

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. – Psalm 91:1

It’s been very windy and at times stormy where I live. I am thankful for that because the heat and humidity has been high. The weather in Michigan can change quickly as a new storm comes across Lake Michigan. I feel safe from challenging weather in my home. My house is surrounded by trees, so even if the wind picks up a lot, there is shelter.

God is also a shelter for us from the storms of life. His arms of grace surround us to keep us from falling when the days turn dark and scary. He lifts us up so that we will not drown from the floods of manmade chaos. We can experience true peace from the cool shadow of Jesus. Going to the shelter and trusting it gives us hope that the Son will shine again soon.

Prayer: Jesus, you are my shelter for whatever life gives me. I pray that I always turn to you when I hear thunder announcing another storm coming. Amen

Faith Tip: What storms are you experiencing now? What shelter have you chosen to trust?

Being cared for

English: Female House Sparrow, Bairnsdale Aust...

English: Female House Sparrow, Bairnsdale Australia. Taken in September 2006. See also Image:House sparrow03.jpg. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? – Matthew 6:26

In this economy, many have struggled, including myself, in making ends meet. There were days I wondered how we would make it. Many have known this fear. Experiencing the peace of God during these times has been beneficial to me, because I have learned that he is the provider of all things and that his arm is not too short (Isaiah 50:2). He owns it all (Psalm 50:10). I connect these promises with the fact that he loves me and cares what happens to me.

I don’t want to make this sound like a “believe in God and everything is good” type message. It usually is a very hard journey that one needs to make and learning to trust is what makes it good. If there are lessons to be learned, struggles are usually the classroom in which I have learned them.

If we really think about it, it is amazing how the creatures on the earth survive. God has provided for each of them and cares about his creation. We are more valued than that. God will provide and allow us to be a tool of his provision for others.

Prayer: Thank you, my Father, for taking care of me. You have seen to it that I have what is needed each day. I pray that you use me to show your provision to others. Amen

Faith Tip: Take some time to consider how God has provided for the creatures of the earth that you see today, and for you.

Are you a victim?

Ball and chain

Ball and chain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

God makes everything come out right; 
he puts victims back on their feet.
He showed Moses how he went about his work,
opened up his plans to all Israel.
God is sheer mercy and grace;
not easily angered, he’s rich in love.
He doesn’t endlessly nag and scold,
nor hold grudges forever.
He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve,
nor pay us back in full for our wrongs. – portion of Psalm 103 The Message

There was a man down on his luck. It seemed like everything he attempted to do in life failed. He was a victim. However, looking back on past choices in life, it seemed like the perfect storm for failure. There may have been an event in his life where he was hurt. That would make him the victim in that instance, but not a forever victim.

Being a victim is a role that is taken on when someone or something affects their life. However, remaining in the role is a choice. If everything that happens in life goes through the mind file of victim, then there is a limitation on what can be done. However, breaking free from the victim chains and taking responsibility and making good choices will allow a person to truly blossom into the person they were meant to be.

God gives us what we need to do this. His grace and mercy cover our many bad choices. There may be consequences, but there is always love and redemption in Jesus.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for picking me back up when I have fallen. Your love has carried me through many valleys, and I pray that the freedom you have given me will encourage another. Amen

Faith Tip: Have you taken on the role of victim for something that has happened long ago? It’s time to be free from that. Allow God to help you through the transition.

Power in Beauty

A spot in night sky seen with the naked eye

A spot in night sky seen with the naked eye (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,
their starry host by the breath of his mouth. – Psalm 33:6

“Are those planets or stars?” my husband asked one clear night. Looking up into the beautiful dark sky, we saw two lights that were brighter than the other stars. It was amazing to think we could see with the naked eye other worlds. These are moments when the troubles of the world fade for awhile and God’s handiwork is the focus.

I think we sometimes forget that God made it all. For God, it took but a breath and a word. With all the chaos in the world, we wonder how we will make it through. But remembering the power of the Lord in comparison to the world’s power is really no comparison at all. God wins hands down.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the beauty of your creation. I pray that I am awed by the works and never take such power of yours for granted. Amen

Faith Tip: Focus on the beauty of God’s creation and today and be in awe.

What is True?

Secondhand Lions

Image via Wikipedia

Show me your ways, LORD,
teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

In the movie Secondhand Lions, Walter (the boy) was seeking truth since his mother had lied to him most of his life. He learned from his uncles that it was his choice what he was going to believe. Walter chose to believe the wonderful stories of his uncles which gave him much-needed confidence in his life and direction. Many factors tried to dissuade him from the truth. A woman at the hospital when one of the uncles was ill, his mother and her boyfriend, and the greedy family members that would always show up had their own ideas of what the truth was about his uncles.

Real truth is found with God, but we need to choose to believe it. That’s what makes the difference in our lives and gives us direction. Many things in this world try to dissuade us from the truth, but if we stand steadfast, we will remain strong and intentional in following the Christ, who will teach us on our journey in life giving us hope to sustain us. It’s true.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for your truth. It is refreshing to have it in a world of gray where truth and lies mingle. I pray that your truth lives out through me. Amen

Faith Tip: Choose today what truth you will believe and live out.