Psalms 112, Verse 7, "He will not fear evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord."
Revelations 19, Verses 5-6, " 'Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants, you who fear Him, the small and great.' Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of nightly peals of thunder, saying, 'Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.' "
Isaiah 24, "1 Behold, the Lord lays the earth waste, devastates it, distorts its surface and scatters its inhabitants. 2 And the people will be like the priest, the servant like his master, the maid like her mistress, the buyer like the seller, the lender like the borrower, the creditor like the debtor. 3 The earth will be completely laid waste and completely despoiled, for the Lord has spoken this word. 4 The earth mourns and withers, the world fades and withers, the exalted of the people of the earth fade away. 5 The earth is also polluted by its inhabitants, for they transgressed laws, violated statutes, broke the everlasting covenant. 6 Therefore, a curse devours the earth, and those who live in it are held guilty. Therefore, the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left. 7 The new wine mourns, The vine decays, All the merry-hearted sigh. 8 The gaiety of tambourines ceases, The noise of revelers stops, The gaiety of the harp ceases. 9 They do not drink wine with song; Strong drink is bitter to those who drink it. 10 The city of chaos is broken down; Every house is shut up so that none may enter. 11 There is an outcry in the streets concerning the wine; All joy turns to gloom. The gaiety of the earth is banished. 12 Desolation is left in the city And the gate is battered to ruins. 13 For thus it will be in the midst of the earth among the peoples, As the shaking of an olive tree, As the gleanings when the grape harvest is over. 14 They raise their voices, they shout for joy; They cry out from the west concerning the majesty of the Lord. 15 Therefore glorify the Lord in the east, The name of the Lord, the God of Israel, In the coastlands of the sea. 16 From the ends of the earth we hear songs, “Glory to the Righteous One,” But I say, “Woe to me! Woe to me! Alas for me! The treacherous deal treacherously, And the treacherous deal very treacherously.” 17 Terror and pit and snare Confront you, O inhabitant of the earth. 18 Then it will be that he who flees the report of disaster will fall into the pit, And he who climbs out of the pit will be caught in the snare; For the windows above are opened, and the foundations of the earth shake. 19 The earth is broken asunder, The earth is split through, The earth is shaken violently. 20 The earth reels to and fro like a drunkard And it totters like a shack, For its transgression is heavy upon it, And it will fall, never to rise again. 21 So it will happen in that day, That the Lord will punish the host of heaven on high, And the kings of the earth on earth. 22 They will be gathered together Like prisoners in the dungeon, And will be confined in prison; And after many days they will be punished. 23 Then the moon will be abashed and the sun ashamed, For the Lord of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, And His glory will be before His elders."
Revelations 22, Verses 12-13, " 'Behold, I am coming quickly and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.' " (Words of Jesus Christ)
The world says we have nothing to fear except fear itself. Christians often find themselves adopting popular psychology in place of common sense teachings within the Bible. Today most people are oblivious to fearing God, or try to avoid passages and teachings related to this subject. It is difficult for me to get a handle around God's punishment and judgment - I have spent some years tormenting myself about the reality of Hell and judgment and rejected both God and His Word because of my discomfort with reality. The Bible has two notions which are not very popular in the world that are worth mentioning. The first is to fear God - which means while God is loving and compassionate he also punishes the wicked and has high expectations for Christians. Punishment can be everlasting or permanent in the days of judgment. The Bible also says in Psalms 112 and elsewhere not to fear evil tidings, not to fear Satan. Who do we usually fear - God or Satan? I think often we get this turned around backward. The adversary and the world likes to motivate people into worldly behaviors and outcomes through fear. I myself struggle with the news of evil tidings as I have been a bit of an escape-artist in my mind. My focus must be on God's reign, a God-fearing attitude and the return of Christ.
Dear God, Much of the time I am nonchalant about You and Your teachings. I may perform good works, but not give You due credit. I may not get down on my knees as often as I should when warring with Satan, although You have delivered me time and time again. Today, I am more God-fearing and fearful of the Last Days. Send your Spirit to invoke in me a stronger faith and understanding of You and Your ways. Remind me of the beauty of the birds in the sky and how you care for them as well as me. Help me to deal with the reality of judgment and Hell so I can be more at peace. In Jesus Name. Amen.
Matthew 27, Verse 45, "Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani? that is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Lamentations 3, Verses 19-25, "Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind. Therefore I have hope. The Lord's loving kindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'Therefore I have hope in Him.' "
Philippians 1, Verses 18-20, "Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death."
James 5, Verses 16-19, "Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain the earth produced its fruit. My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know the he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins."
There is someone I have come to know very well who was dealt a difficult life and turned to a life of sin. Knowing this person and his condition well, and having loved that person I shed tears for him tonight. Deliverance has been the theme of my life over the past year and half and as I think about this friend I think of deliverance again. Darkness can engulf a person and often I have felt abandoned by God. In some cases this abandonment can wreak havoc on someone's life from an early age. Yet God has prevailed in this person's life. My mind has groaned to God for this person who has both harmed me and loved me; my mind has also groaned to God about my own plight and sins. The words of Jesus in Matthew 27 and Lamentations 5, Verse 19 remind us that our soul is deeply moved by affliction; the remaining verses above remind us that we still have hope in Christ and that our God is a compassionate God. That is difficult for me to hear and understand when I am surrounded by evildoers and temptation. Even today, raw from recent events of intense turmoil and terror I ask, "Why God?" Rejoicing in God and having a hopeful faith in the Great I Am is difficult for real people, especially those that suffer. Yet my friend gives me hope as he has a changed life - that gives me hope and strengthens my faith.
Dear God, Why the suffering and affliction of so many? Especially the vulnerable and the weak. It seems so many have been allotted an easy life and yet I am weary for such long periods. I can hardly feel anymore and when I do there is hardly anything to laugh and smile about. Flashbacks abound of dark times in my life and my heart is anxious to escape life altogether. Yet, people remind me daily that God's hand in our lives and the good works of others are constantly in redemption mode. I have been prayerful for my friend, and I have turned from sin and I have hope in a few things again. The one thing that remains strong is my thankfulness for deliverance. " 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'Therefore I have hope in Him.' " In Jesus Name. Amen.
Jesus Loves Me
"Jesus loves me! This I know,
For the Bible tells me so;
Little ones to Him belong,
They are weak but He is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so."
Acts 20, Verse 35, "In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' "
Psalm 78, Verses 1-8, "1 Listen, O my people, to my instruction; Incline your ears to the words of my mouth. 2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, 3 Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us. 4 We will not conceal them from their children, But tell to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, And His strength and His wondrous works that He has done. 5 For He established a testimony in Jacob, And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers That they should teach them to their children, 6 That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, That they may arise and tell them to their children, 7 That they should put their confidence in God And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments, 8 And not be like their fathers, A stubborn and rebellious generation, A generation that did not prepare its heart And whose spirit was not faithful to God."
Today my nephew goes into surgery before the age of two. It frightens me how vulnerable he is and I get butterflies in my stomach just thinking about how fragile he is and this upcoming operation. Yet he embarks through life as though he is on a mission everyday, mostly invincible. Little ones do not make me feel invincible but remind me of the fragility of my own life and others. "Jesus Loves Me" has a very simple message - children because they are vulnerable are loved by God. The Bible often refers to God as the Father and all of us as His children. He cares for us in a way that a parent should, and He teaches us not only through the example of Jesus but also with tough love and discipline through the events of our life. I believe the reason it is more blessed to give then to receive is because the world is in such need and the weak/vulnerable are high in number; out of necessity Christians must be givers. Out of necessity also we must rear our little ones in the words and ways of the Lord. Generation after generation things are passed down - any generation can renew itself back to Godly ways, yet it can be difficult if we don't have that upbringing. The weak and vulnerable, especially young ones rely on the elders to love, protect and coach them in the same way the Father does for us. Every generation is in part rebellious to God and stubborn in pursing man's ways in place of God's ways.
Dear God, I pray for my nephew Oscar today as he goes under the doctor's care for surgery today. Since I am without children his welfare is especially important to me. I also pray in general for moms, aunts, sisters and grandmothers who influence the lives of vulnerable little souls. May the world prepare the way for a new Godly generation; mature souls must pass along the wisdom of God. Our world today is in desperate need of more givers and teachers in the Christian doctrine. People often forget their blessings come from roots planted generations ago. For those that have strayed from the faith or been given little opportunity to know your commandments I ask for a blessing upon them - maybe a giver will enter their lives and bring them along. Remind us that we are all Your children. In Jesus name. Amen.
Footprints in the Sand
"One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.
After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You'd walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me."
He whispered, "My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you."
Romans 8, Verse 16 NASB, "The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with HIm.
Footprints in the Sand motivated my faith when I was younger. I had a great upbringing but struggled at times with both events, relationships and pressures growing up that made me feel emotionally dark at times. The past couple of years have been extremely difficult and full of trials, and at times my faith in God has disappeared. During those times my faith was in more simple things, such as simple goodness in others; I questioned reality and wondered how I could continue to go on when I really didn't want to. The image of one set of footprints - the Lord's footprints carrying one through the most troublesome times in life has a beautiful imagery. Its as if one cannot proceed forward at all, but somehow ends up a future destination only by God's grace, mercy and active love. Romans 8, Verse 16 is a favorite passage of many Christians and Paul points out that the children of God have an inheritance with God. The passage also justifies the suffering of Christians and gives some explanation as to why that happens. And so there is both purpose in the trials and dark times of our lives, and also a clear message here that God does not abandon His children.
Dear God. I have had difficult and trying times in my life and at times I feel abandoned by You; at times I feel I suffer beyond what is bearable. My yoke is often too heavy. Yet my faith is renewed at this very moment and I look back and see Your ways are not my ways and I ask for Your forgiveness. I also am very thankful for Your grace, mercy and active love in my life. I rededicate my life to You and deeply appreciate when you have carried me through difficult times as one of your children. Praise God. In Jesus name. Amen.
Michelle is a woman of depth whose faith has pulled her through some difficult times. She finds beauty and inspiration from life experience and literature, sourced from all ages and walks of life. Michelle seeks to inspire other women in their personal journeys, especially those who struggle. Michelle is also a mental health advocate, writer & engineer. Her other website is www.freemindbooks.com.