Category Archives: faithfulness

Love in Action

 

Romans_12_12

 

Love in Action

Love must be sincere.
Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
 
Be devoted to one another in love.
Honor one another above yourselves.
 

Never be lacking in zeal,
but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord
.
 
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction,faithful in prayer.
 

Share with the Lord’s people who are in need.
Practice hospitality.


Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
 
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
 
Live in harmony with one another.
Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.
Do not be conceited.


Do not repay anyone evil for evil.
Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.
 
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you,
live at peace with everyone. 

Do not take revenge, my dear friends,
but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written:
“It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
 

On the contrary: 
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
 
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. 

In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”


Do not be overcome by evil,
but overcome evil with good.
—Romans 12:9-21

 

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The Heart of Jesus [repost from Joni Eareckson Tada]

This wonderful devotional from Joni Eareckson Tada is from her Joni  and Friends web site.

Daily Devotional

Joni Eareckson Tada’s inspirational daily devotionals are biblical insights that will enrich,
enlighten, and encourage you in your walk with Christ Jesus.

“Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
so great is his unfailing love.
For he does not willingly bring affliction
or grief to the children of men.”
—Lamentations 3:32-33

What do you think was on the Lord’s heart when He healed those who were paralyzed? When He opened the eyes of the blind? What was the Lord feeling when He counseled the father of the little boy who was gripped by seizures?

There are those who point to such miracles as signs of Christ’s messiahship, saying, “Jesus healed those people as evidence of His authority as the Son of God. By such power, He was proving He was the Messiah.” And they are right. But praise God, there is more.

Christ did not use helpless people to advance His own agenda. He did not enlist hurting men and women only as audio-visual aids to teach an important lesson about Himself. Neither did He approach blind, deaf, or paralyzed people in an emotional vacuum. Scripture often tells us that He was moved with compassion when He saw the hurting masses.

When it comes to suffering, Lamentations 3:32-33 reveals the heart intent of Jesus. He does not willingly, or that is, from the heart bring affliction of grief. Suffering may be part of God’s larger and most mysterious plan, but God’s intention is always to demonstrate compassion and unfailing love which touches people at their deepest point of need.

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness”
(Lamentations 3:22-23).

Lord, may I never doubt what’s on your mind and heart when I suffer. You are full of love and compassion. Thank You for only permitting in my life what I am able to endure with Your grace.  Bless You for Your unfailing love.

Taken from Diamonds in the Dust. Copyright © 1993 by Joni Eareckson Tada. Used by permission. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530

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Great is His Faithfulness

Great is His Faithfulness

Lam3-21-23VictoriaHarborSunset

 

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;

great is Your faithfulness.
—Lamentations 3:21-23

How often do we do things that disappoint the people in our lives?

Maybe we’ve made a promise that later we found we can’t keep. Perhaps we raise our voice in anger again even though we don’t mean to. And how about the times when a friend or family member tries to sympathize with our pain? They mean well, but you’re certain they just don’t understand. I’m sure you’ve wanted to tell them, “You have no idea what it’s like to be in this kind of pain every day.”

At this point, we have two choices:
to dwell on our misery
or get on with the business of life.

We can moan and groan about our circumstances so everyone is aware of how much we are hurting, or we can demonstrate God’s presence in our lives by rejoicing in the knowledge that He is faithful to be with us through our tough times.

I have a very close friend (you know who you are!) who is a good example of one who lets God shine through her in spite of her constant pain. She once shared her feelings about pain with me this way:

“It is just pain. It could be worse. I could be suffering with pain and dying. It is only pain. I can still live and make the most of my life, to extend myself as far as I can go, to reach for the stars, to do the unimaginable. The pain will still be there. So, why not celebrate?”

This dear friend is such an encourager. Her positive attitude is a beacon of light in the darkness of pain. Quite simply, she makes me smile no matter how awful I’m feeling.

Beloved, the Lord is our only hope! He knows exactly what our pain is like and He will help us through it “every morning; great is [His] faithfulness.” He understands how constant pain can undermine a positive attitude and make us feel hopeless. But He’s always with us, ready to offer His love and comfort: “therefore I have hope.”

Won’t you please pray with me?

Heavenly Father, sometimes it’s so hard to be cheerful and hopeful when I’m feeling so rotten. It’s easier for me to just give up and let the pain take over. But, Lord, I know that You love me too much to let me feel this way. Thank You for what You are teaching me through these trials and for being with me always. Help me to let Your joy flow through me to touch the lives of others who may also be suffering. You are great and greatly to be praised! Amen.

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By Faith [repost]

Hebrews Chapter 11

Faith in Action

FaithSign

 

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.

“By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

“By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.

“By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

“By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.

“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

“By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.

“By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.

“By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

“By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.

“By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.

“By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

“By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.

“By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days.

“By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.

“And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.

“These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”

Hebrews11

Years ago Hebrews 11:1 was given to me at Royal Family KIDS Camp, a camp for abused and abandoned children. I first served as a counselor there in 1996. God called me to this ministry even though I felt totally unprepared for the task. I tried to ignore God’s call on my heart but He kept showing me that HE wanted me to go there, until one night at a prayer meeting I heard Him say to my anguished heart, “I want you to do this for Me.”

How could I ignore that?

My week at camp was a mixture of faith and fear, trust and anxiety, exhilaration and fatigue. I remember that my days were filled with prayers of “Please, Lord…” as I faced a new challenge, and “Thank You, Lord!” as He helped me through the task.

I didn’t know it at the time but the camp administration team was watching all of us counselors as we interacted with each of the children in our charge. They met each night to search the Scriptures and find just the right verse to describe each of us. I can’t tell you how surprised I was to hear that they thought Hebrews 11:1 was mine.

Faith. It’s such a small word but so full of blessed meaning. So much happened that week that made me feel like I was barely keeping my head above water, when in fact God was holding me up and enabling me to accomplish the work He had for me there.

Beloved, I don’t know where you are in your faith walk right now. But I do know this: allow God to lead you without reservation and believe without a shadow of doubt that He knows best. He loves all of us too much to want any less for us!

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Faith as [Jesus] characterized it is nothing less
than a complete exchange of all that we are
for all that He is.

—John MacArthur

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Faith never knows where it is being led,
but it loves and knows the One who is leading.
—Oswald Chambers

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All who call on God in true faith,
earnestly from the heart,

will certainly be heard, and will receive
what they have asked and desired.
—Martin Luther

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Be faithful in small things
because it is in them that your strength lies.
—Mother Teresa

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Every tomorrow has two handles.
We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety
or the handle of faith. 
—Henry Ward Beecher

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He is Faithful [repost]

Lately I’ve been thinking about how the Lord is leading me in my writing life, and how thankful I am to Him for that. I am going to be starting a new phase soon and will share more about that when the time comes. For now, rather than cut back on my blog posting, I thought I’d share an older post with you once a week or so. 

This particular post from 2012 about God’s faithfulness concerns a very big turning point in my writing career. I discovered that sometimes we need to just stop everything in order to allow our Lord to give us a fresh insight into His plans for us. When I stopped writing a few years back, I had no idea that the hiatus would involve a huge amount of trust in Jesus.

The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.
—1 Thessalonians 5:24

I’ve been talking and blogging a lot lately about leaning on the Lord with faith and trust. Today I’d like to focus on how faith plays such a huge part in trusting and believing in the Lord’s timing.

By the way, “faith” (a noun) and “believe” (a verb) are both translated from the same Greek word. If you claim to have faith in God, then believing in Him is to put that faith into action. In other words, our faith leads to believing that what God says is true and more important than what we see or feel with our frail and easily persuaded human minds.

Are you still with me? If so, I’d like to share one of the times God reinforced a believing faith in my life.

I don’t know about you but just when I feel comfortable with the way my life is going, that’s when I know God will start to shake things up a bit. I like to say He is moving me from one comfort zone to the next!

One of the examples of this in my own life happened about seven years ago. After several years of writing, my well of imagination seemed to have run dry. I had unexpectedly lost my desire to write.

Those who know me best suggested that I was probably experiencing writer’s block, but God simply had other plans for me. In the midst of my quiet times with Him, I felt Him telling me to stop everything writing-related for a time and focus on Him as I rested my exhausted body and mind.

As difficult as it was to understand this, I knew God was asking me to put into action what I believe to be true: God is more than worthy of my faith and trust.

My writing hiatus came to an abrupt end about a year later when a writing assignment dropped into my inbox that I knew had to be from the Lord. I had sent my resume to a publisher the previous year and then forgotten about it. Now this same publisher offered me an assignment that was tailor-made for my style of writing.

But there was a problem: not only was the deadline a mere three weeks away, but I needed to research and write while battling severe daily migraines.

The migraine issue was not a new thing, but I just cannot think clearly when in the midst of one of these nausea creating, light and sound bothering, hair hurting migraines hits me. And it was happening on a daily basis.

Nevertheless, I struggled through this assignment day after day, sometimes praying through my tears. And—day after day—God provided me with the ideas I needed plus the necessary strength to get this enormous amount of writing done in such a short period of time.

The finished book was a compilation of prayers written by me and several other authors. By the grace of God and by believing that He would faithfully help me complete this assignment on time, I met my deadline of composing 31 prayer devotionals.

You read that right: 31 devotionals in 3 weeks!

In great pain I toiled through the writing of every single one of those devotionals but God was faithful in giving me exactly the strength I needed exactly when I needed it most.

Beloved, are you facing something in your life that seems too much for you to handle? Maybe—like I did—you think there is nothing you can contribute because of your circumstances or illness or limited energy.

If you take away anything from what I went through, it should be this: when God wants us to do something for Him, He does not expect us to do it on our own. He just wants us to have faith and believe that He will walk with us through it.

He is the Great Enabler and will always grant us exactly the amount of strength and stamina we need to finish whatever He calls us to do!

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Thankful for His Faithful Love

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All Things Possible

AllThingsArePossible--Matt19-26As I’ve shared with you recently, life has been rough for me these days. I often feel like this is a new, never-ending season.

Lately I have often felt like I don’t have much to smile about. Those of you who have lived with a shingles breakout know what I mean. So many sleepless nights, or nights when I can only get a 1/2 hour to an hour’s sleep at a time. And that’s just the night! Days … hours … minutes … of seemingly relentless pain, but not “just” pain—we’re talking about pain accompanied by burning and stabbing sensations, and feeling like bugs are crawling on you. Since one of my big problem areas involves my left ear, inside and out, this kind of stuff repeatedly wakes me up from a sound sleep!

Well, I think I’ve made it through the roughest part of this outbreak. My case involves my trigeminal nerve area on the left sidetrigeminal-nerve of my face. If you look at me now, you can barely tell what’s going on inside of me. The blisters/lesions have almost completely disappeared, but there is still a lot happening to my nerves that can’t be seen. I started a steroid regimen yesterday that I hope will help get rid of the remaining pain and perhaps even keep me from having a recurrence in the future, as is common with shingles.

And yet, although I am not very good at smiling through the pain, God has filled me with such joy lately that I can’t help but smile. Take last night for example. I kept waking up with that nerve pain and itching, and had trouble getting back to sleep. The chorus of a wonderful praise song kept running through my mind, something that is short and sweet and easy for me to remember:

I love you, Lord, and I lift my voice
To worship you, Oh my soul rejoice!
Take joy, my King, in what you hear
May it be a sweet, sweet sound in your ear…

I often silently sing myself to sleep with this chorus, but last night I was trying hard to remember the chorus to a different song I’ve been enjoying lately and just couldn’t remember it. I drifted off to sleep again for maybe 1/2 hour, and when I awoke there was that other chorus playing loud and sweetly in my head. I absolutely had to smile because God is so faithful and knew I wanted to remember the song so I could sing that one to Him too.

The song I tried so hard to remember and that the Lord blessed me with is “All Things Possible” by Mark Schultz. Here’s the chorus (technically the bridge, but it’s all the same to me):

My God is strong and mighty
My God is faithful
My hope is in the Lord
For He is able

Beloved, I am here today to remind you that our God is absolutely faithful and will provide exactly what we need exactly when we need it. All we need to do is hold on tight and trust that He is strong, mighty, faithful, able… and a host of other awesome adjectives!

Here’s the video of the Mark Schultz song, “All Things Possible”:

In case you have trouble viewing this video, here are the complete song lyrics:

All Things Possible

By Mark Schultz, from his latest album All Things Possible

I will call on Your name
For there’s always a way
When You lead me
And when life knocks me down
I am not counted out
For You’re with me
And You’re with me

Chorus:
Even when it feels like the light is fading
And I’ve lost my way
Still I’m holding on to the One who’s making
All things possible

Even when it feels like my heart is breaking
Hold on, there is strength
Knowing I belong to the One who’s making
All things possible

I know mountains can move
I’ve seen what You can do
In my weakness
So my heart will believe
If I wait I will see
My God doing, what only He can do

Bridge:
My God is strong and mighty
My God is faithful
My hope is in the Lord
For He is able

Smile, Beloved! I’m singing this for all of us today!

AnnaSmile…..

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God’s Faithfulness

The other day I posted about how God helped me through a tough writing assignment. Today I’d like to share one of the prayer devotionals I wrote for that assignment. Not surprisingly, it was about God’s faithfulness.

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When I want to thank God for His faithfulness . . .

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Even when we are too weak to have any faith left, [Christ] remains faithful to us and will help us, for he cannot disown us who are part of himself, and he will always carry out his promises to us. —2 Timothy 2:13

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I face your Temple as I worship, giving thanks to you for all your lovingkindness and your faithfulness, for your promises are backed by all the honor of your name. Psalm 138:2

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All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies. Psalm 25:10

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Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Psalm 36:5

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. . . I will pray.

Most Trustworthy Father,

I used to think I could depend on others to help me through the tough times, but lately You’ve shown me that the only one I can trust in is You. Any time I’m feeling lonely, frustrated, discouraged, weak, or tired, I can count on You for comfort and encouragement.

More than anyone else, You know and understand my struggles, and You’re always here to encourage me. I look to You now, Lord, for what only You can give me during this time of trial.

Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed that all I can do is close my eyes and whisper Your name. I imagine Your arms surrounding me like a warm blanket, soothing me, keeping me safe. No one else is herebut You. You’re always here, loving me through all the days of my life.

And, Lord, I commit my family and friends to Your faithful care as well. I know they love me, but they’re only human. They fail me at times, just as I fail them. You are the only constant in our world. You are everlastingly faithful.

Amen.

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God’s investment in us is so great He could not possibly abandon us. Erwin W. Lutzer

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