I know that I already shared about a new prayer prompt that I am using in my quiet time with the Lord, but y’all, it is yielding such amazing truths. So, here I am, once again, to share with you what the Lord is teaching me through it. Let me remind you what I am doing. I spend a few moments each morning reading one of the Psalms, and as I do, I look for PRAISE PROMPTS.
On Saturday morning, the Lord got out His highlighter and showed me something very special. Today my everyday jesus post is all about what He showed me this time.
I read Psalm 16 on Saturday morning and the Lord highlighted one specific word: refuge. I feel like the Lord might just reserve His highlighter for slow learners like me!
Refuge: (noun) shelter or protection from danger or trouble; a place that provides shelter or protection
As I thanked Jesus for being my refuge, I was reminded that I had read this same word several other times since beginning my new prayer prompt. I did a bit of research and discovered that, in fact, I had read about ‘refuge’ in previous Psalms.
Did you know the word refuge is used in the Bible 95 times (ESV)? FORTY SEVEN of those uses are in the Psalms. I’d say that it is a pretty important word if He used it that much in just one book!
When I think of the times in my life that I have needed a refuge, without fail, it is during times of stress and trial. God knew that life on this fallen orb would offer plenty of times when we would need a refuge.
What does a refuge look like? Here are some things that might be considered a refuge:
Bathroom (if you are a mom of small children)
Almost without fail, every use of the word refuge in the Psalms is associated with God being our refuge, our safe place in times of trouble and trial. When life tosses difficult circumstances at me, God is my refuge; my safe place. I know that I can always go to God, and He will protect me. His Words offer life and comfort. His Holy Spirit lives within me to guide me.
If trouble and trial is your lot in this season, I want to encourage you to seek refuge in Jesus and in His Word. Spend time with Him and learn from His Word. Allow Him to highlight something from Scripture that is specifically for your heart. Neither Jesus, nor His Word, will ever let you down.
Here are a few verses about refuge. I hope they encourage you today.
Psalm 16:1 ~ Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
Psalm 18:2 ~ The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 25:20 ~ Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me! Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
Psalm 31:1 ~ In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me!
Psalm 46:1 ~ God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Welcome back to Friday! And to Good Friday…the day Jesus died for my sin and yours. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t too goodfor Him, but for me, the day of my Lord’s death became the day that I had the opportunity to truly live. You, too, if you are a Christian.
Today at Five Minute Friday, our word prompt is from Kate Motaung, appropriately enough, GOOD. Yes, GOOD. So, let’s get going.
Does it seem to anyone else that the pages on the kingdom calendar are flipping faster and faster? Maybe it is just that I am more in-tune with what the Bible says will happen in the end. Very little news is GOOD these days. So much death, so much suffering, so much deceit and darkness all around. Even as I dragged my weary body out of bed this morning, I received a text from my BFF that her father-in-law had passed away in the night. I shed tears, because my own grief is still fresh. Shootings, beheadings, natural disasters, and heartache abound. Where is the GOOD news?
May I offer you a bit of GOOD news today?
And we know that in all things God works for the GOOD of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 (NIV)
At first blush that may seem like small comfort in the face of intense pain and suffering; it may seem trite. Trust me, it is not small comfort. There is amazing peace embedded into the concept.
Millennia ago God knew what would happen in your life and mine on April 3rd, 2015 and every other day of our lives. He knew, He planned, He purposed. His GOOD is for us. His heart is for us. Nothing happens to us that is outside His ability to turn it for our GOOD. Nothing.
So, I leave you with a quote that I have offered here before. It is one that hangs on my fridge because it speaks so deeply into my heart, especially in times that are not GOOD. I’ve made it a printable so you can download it and hang it on your fridge, too. Trust Him. He is working all things out for your GOOD.
Some days, friends, less is more. Today is one of those days.
Sometimes life just sucks the wind out of us, and we are left gasping for air. Thankfully, the Lord knows exactly when to blow a fresh breath our way.
Today, I offer you quote from the Bible study my small group and I are doing on Tuesday mornings. The study is Children of the Day, by Beth Moore. On page 204, Moore is talking about excruciatingly painful circumstances her family endured recently. I locked on following quote like a missile on a target:
In our darkest times, He’d (Jesus) light a candle in an unexpected corner to remind us He was there. Though we’re still tiptoeing through a minefield, we’re facing east, confident that the dawn is breaking and Christ is coming to save the day.(emphasis mine)
She follows that quote with this Scripture from 2 Thessalonians 3:16 (NKJV):
Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace in every way. the Lord be with you all.
Today, dear reader, whatever heartbreak you and I are going through, let’s glance toward the corner and see the candle that God is lighting for us to remind us He is there. Face east, friend, because the dawn is breaking, and Jesus is coming to set all things right.
Hello, dear reader! I’m so glad you have joined me here today for Five Minute Friday. I do love these Friday gatherings where Kate tosses out a word prompt and bunches of bloggers write for five minutes (or more) on that word. No editing, no scripting, just writing what hits our hearts.
I do want to tell you that I will be absent from this space on Monday. We are having company this weekend, and I will be spending lots of time in the kitchen putting southern food in the bellies of our guests. So, there will be little time for writing. Lord willing, I’ll meet you back here later in the week, perhaps on Wednesday.
Are you ready for today’s word prompt? It is PLAN. Here we go.
It was the sentence I said most consistently in those years when I felt like I had no need of the comfort or values of the town in which I grew up.
“I will never move back there.”
You see, my PLAN was to escape the stigma of being a North Georgia redneck, and instead, be a city girl. I had lost nothing in that town, although it was a wonderful place to grow up, AND almost every family member I loved was there. Still, I would never move back there.
God was having such a huge laugh at my PLAN.
I spent sixteen years as a ‘city girl’, loving almost every minute of it. To be sure, there were some low points, but overall, my PLAN to stay in Atlanta permanently was working out just fine.
In 1999, my husband’s dental office had prospered and he needed more space. So, we began working a PLAN to buy property in the metro area and build a new office. It was going to cost us a small fortune, but that was part of our PLAN, until August 16, 1999.
On that day, my parents came down to the city to have lunch with me. It was their anniversary. Over lunch, I told them all about the PLANs for Greg’s new office. My Daddy was a real estate developer in that small town that ‘I would never move back to’. His buildings always rented before they were completely built. Until 1999. He had a building that he had been unable to rent. A contract with a dentist had fallen through because the man’s wife was diagnosed with cancer just prior to signing the contract. At lunch that day, my Mother laughed and said, “You and Greg should move back home, and Greg could start a practice in your Daddy’s building.”
“Bahahaha!!” The three of us laughed, knowing that was NOT in my PLAN. We finished our lunch, and my parents went back to that small town that was not in my PLAN.
The rest of the day my thoughts were consumed with that empty building in that small town that was not in my PLAN. I went home and told Greg out my lunch-time convo with my parents. By December that year, we had sold our city home and Greg’s city practice, and had built a home and practice in that small town that was not in my PLAN.
I knew we were following the Lord’s PLAN at that point, but I didn’t know why. Three years later, I found out. My precious Daddy was diagnosed with metastatic colon cancer. My parents needed me, the medical person in the family, to be close by and able to help. I was, and I did.
I’m so thankful that God’s PLAN was greater than my PLAN. His PLAN is always better than mine.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)
Last week I attended four funerals. Yes, four. The lives being celebrated ranged in age from early thirties to late eighties. Some of the deaths were expected, while others were shockingly unexpected. All brought grief, mixed with hope, to families left behind.
I watched a thirty-something father try to comfort his young sons in the midst of his own grief over losing his wife. I saw the relief of two separate families who had watched their loved ones battle cancer for several years, knowing their struggles were past. I had the privilege of looking into the eyes of a beautiful eighty-something lady who had lost her husband of sixty-five plus years, and seeing grief, steadfast love and faith, swirled together in her heart. The common denominator in every situation is that each life left behind will never be the same. There is a gaping hole in the heart of a loved one left to journey on without the one now gone.
Having walked this same path with my Mother in recent months, I have an overwhelming urge to scream, “This is not the way it is supposed to be!”God created us to be eternal beings; to live with Him, surrounded by His unceasing love. When He created Adam and Eve, He did so with the intent of unbroken fellowship with His prized creation. Death was never supposed to be part of the equation.
Man’s exercising of his free will changed all of that. The moment Adam and Eve decided to slip outside the boundaries set for them by God, the specter of death loomed large (Genesis 2:16-17). Satan, God’s enemy, was in the shadows cheering Adam and Eve on. Satan’s free-will choice had resulted in broken fellowship with his Creator (Isaiah 14:12-15), and he wanted nothing less than suffering and misery for the centerpiece of God’s creation. You and I are God’s centerpiece.
Every time death claims a human life, Satan cheers as though he had won the lottery.
BUT, for the man or woman who has turned to Jesus, asking Him to forgive their sin and live in their heart, Satan’s cheers turn to groans of defeat. Why? Because he knows that person stepped from this life into an eternal life of unbroken fellowship with God the moment they took their final gulp of earth’s air.
Jesus’ death on the cross, and resurrection from the grave offered, once again, the possibility of unhindered relationship between God and man. Friends, the sweetest moment of human interaction here on earth is only a whisper, a tempting taste, of what awaits us in heaven, if we have made Jesus our Lord and Savior. If you, like me, have made a deposit or two in heaven, your heart longs a bit more for that reunion in the sky, doesn’t it?
No, death is not the way it was supposed to be. Praise Jesus, death does not have the final word over the life of a believer in Jesus! One day there will be no more death, tears, partings, or pain. One day we will live forever in unbroken fellowship with our Lord and our loved ones who trusted in Jesus and have gone ahead.
Have you ever had Jesus just surprise you with His presence? That is what happened last week, and that is what my everyday jesus story is about this week. Each Monday I share some way in which I have seen Jesus in my everyday life in the week or so prior. These stories encourage me to have ‘jesus eyes’ to see where He is at work in my everyday, walking around life. I hope they are encouraging you to look for Jesus in your daily life, as well. #everydayjesus
Jesus cares about the little things in our lives…the little things, the big things, the cold things, the warm things…He cares. And, He wants us to know it.
Because I live in a small town, we do not have natural gas for heating. Homes in our area are heated with propane, which requires large, rather ugly propane tanks to be set alongside the home. We have a 1000 gallon tank, which needs to be filled a couple of times a year. We typically fill it up in the late summer, and then again mid-winter. I usually try to keep a pretty close eye on the gauge, and call the propane company when we have around 10% or so left.
I came home on Tuesday to find the propane truck backed up near our tank, pumping gallons of propane into it. I could tell my husband was nearby talking to the driver, so I went into the house, not thinking too much about it. We swapped over to a new propane company a couple of years ago, so I just assumed that perhaps our friend, who manages that office has sent the driver out to ‘top us off’.
In about 20 minutes, Greg came in the house, and told me that we had gotten filled up with propane. I told him that I saw the truck, and wondered why they had come.
He said that he knew we would be having some brutally cold weather later in the week, and had told the ladies who work for him to be sure and go home and check their propane tanks to make sure they had enough. Greg came home and looked at our tank at 5pm. Here is the conversation that ensued between Greg and me.
He asked me, ‘Do you know how much propane we had in the tank?’
I guessed, “Maybe 15%?”
“Zero. We had NO propane in the tank. None”, said my knight in shining armor.
“But, the heat was still running,” said I.
“It wouldn’t have been for long. We were out,” came the words from my Man.
In what might have been the biggest understatement of the day, I said, “Whew, Jesus was sure looking out for us!”
Beginning that evening and going through Friday of that week, we have not had temperatures above freezing. Thank you, Jesus, for prompting Greg to check our propane tank. Thank you that the propane company was out within 15 minutes to fill our tank. #everydayjesus
Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. (Matthew 6:26, 32) NKJV
I’d love to hear your everyday jesus story. Share it with me, either in the comments or via email [email protected]. I know I cannot be the only one who sees Jesus in my daily life. Thanks for joining me today.