The Throne of Grace

Heb4-16-TiredManTruckCab--AMPLet us then with confidence draw near to the
throne of grace,

that we may receive mercy and find grace
to help in time of need. 

Hebrews 4:16

“That will be ten dollars.” Miriam looked expectantly down at her customer, who couldn’t have been more than five years old.

The tiny girl carefully placed several coins on the counter. “Is that enough?”

Miriam could see right away that there was not nearly enough to pay for the pink slippers. What to do now? She looked down again at the little girl. Her simple sundress was clean but neatly patched in several different areas.

“Who are these slippers for, sweetie?”

A bright smile lit up the girl’s face. “It’s my Mommy’s birthday.” She stroked the slippers with her index finger. “They’re so soft. Maybe now Mommy can walk.”

“Oh, I’m sure your mother will love these.” Miriam frowned. “Does she have trouble walking?”

The little girl shrugged. “She sits in a chair with big wheels.”

“You mean a wheelchair?”

The little girl’s face brightened. “Yeah, a wheelchair! I forgot the word.” Then she frowned. “I got enough money, don’t I? I saved it from my ‘lowance for three whole months.”

Miriam looked around. “Did you come here alone?” 

“Yep.” She nodded. “It’s real close. I got a tire swing in front of my house!”

Miriam raised her eyebrows. She knew which house the little girl was talking about, a tiny bungalow a few doors down the street with a wheelchair ramp down one side of the front steps. The house was in desperate need of repair. In a small town like this, everyone knew that the Clarks had been going through bad times since Joe Clark’s warehouse job had been eliminated. He had been looking for work for the last six months.

“I’ll tell you what,” Miriam made a quick decision. “Since this is a birthday present, I’ll wrap them up for you.”

The little girl watched in fascination as Miriam placed the slippers in a box and deftly covered it with wrapping paper and ribbon. “There, all done.” She handed the package to the little girl, who hugged it close to her body.

“Thanks, Lady!” She took a few steps but then frowned and turned back. “It’s enough?” She pointed to the money still on the counter.

Miriam smiled. “It sure is. Now why don’t you get that present home to your mother?”

The little girl’s face lit up and she thanked Miriam again before leaving the small drug store.

Miriam picked up the thirty-seven cents’ worth of coins and stared at them for several seconds. Then she reached into her purse under the counter, drew out a ten-dollar bill and stuffed it and the coins into the cash register.

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Beloved, did you know that You can approach God with the same kind of confidence this little girl showed toward Miriam?

It is somewhat overwhelming to think of God’s throne of grace as being so easily accessible, but that’s exactly what God wants. He yearns for us to be comfortable enough with Him that we will not hesitate to bring our cares and concerns confidently to Him so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

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I Wonder – Followup

IsThisAllThereIs-WomanContemplation-50--AMP

Last week I was looking back at some of my first posts, back in 2011. My second post was titled “I Wonder…” When I read it again, I was struck by how much has happened and yet stayed the same since then. Hmm… isn’t that considered a paradox?

This is what I wrote then.

Lately I’ve been wondering about the deeper meaning of life. I mean, what if this is all there is?

I read this earlier today:

“If I see God in everything, He will calm and color everything I see! Perhaps the circumstances causing my sorrows will not be removed and my situation will remain the same, but if Christ is brought into my grief and gloom as my Lord and Master, He will “surround me with songs of deliverance” (Psalm 32:7).”

Now, I have to start by saying that I do try to see God in everything, but I’m not really sure about that “calm and color everything I see” stuff. When I live with yet another migraine (and this current one has lasted almost all week), hear about helpless hurting children, view photos depicting yet another flood or earthquake, read about another tax hike-pay cut-employee cutback-home foreclosure, or simply stand by the side of a close friend struggling just to make ends meet, I ask myself again: what is life really all about? Are we simply here to suffer through life’s challenges and then die? Or is there something more?

We all have a yearning to know the reasons behind our circumstances—that desire to justify the bad things that happen to us. If we seek to do what is right, help others who are in need, and are very careful to not hurt anyone or anything, why must we still suffer?

I don’t have the answers, although I know Who does. Stay tuned…

Fast forward 4 years to where I now am physically.

Every day is a new adventure in pain. I still live with several chronic pain illnesses: Fibromyalgia (FMS), Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS), and chronic migraines. CFIDS is also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME).

Some people with FMS or CFS/CFIDS/ME get better over time. Others get worse, and I’m in this group. Add to this that my migraines now assault me daily. We live at a 5500 foot elevation, and my doctor told me once that she believes my body never has adjusted to living in a high elevation area, even though we’ve been here for almost eleven years.

Every prescription medication I’ve tried for any of these illnesses has either not worked for me or caused huge side effects. Alternative therapies such as acupressure, acupuncture, biofeedback, chiropractic or massage only work as long as it takes to administer the therapy. Several years ago I used to work out several times a week, until I realized that exercising through my pain was causing even worse migraines.

Does this get me down? My feelings try to make me feel frustrated and helpless about all of this. But read on to find out the one Reason I can grab hold of those feelings before they take over.

This leads to what’s going on now with me spiritually.

I am more convinced than ever that God is with me every single day. My true hope is in Jesus Christ and this is what carries me through each day. On days like today when I’m going through yet another FMS/CFS flare and everything I do causes even more pain, migraines and nausea, I struggle with all of this.

Not the why of it, because I know everything in my life is part of God’s plan for me. It’s the persistence … the everydayness of it … that is wearying. 

These days, my life is a very delicate balance. I need to weigh everything. If I want to do something as simple as the laundry, I need to allow for rest time before as well as afterward. And most times there is payback after the activity even if I have rested well beforehand. It is very frustrating.

In spite of all that, there persists in me a joyful hope that never fails to uplift my heart. I know without a doubt that God is always with me throughout all of it. And if anyone can truly understand my pain, it is Jesus. He not only understands it, He holds me close in His arms and comforts me when I am in pain and feel discouraged. He is my God of hope. He helps me cling to that hope, which turns my frustration and weariness into joy and peace.

Rom15-13-CallaLily-50--AMP

May the God of hope fill you with all joy
and peace as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit.
—Romans 15:13

Beloved, please remember that if we completely place our trust in God, He will fill us with hope, joy and peace. The more we trust in Him, the more He supplies all the hope, joy and peace we need every single day.

Hope in God is saying “no” to fear or discouragement, and by so doing, saying “yes” to something that will satisfy much more down the line. Wait on God, believing that what God has planned is so much better that what we grab for ourselves! —Joni Eareckson Tada

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The Saga of the Four Chaplains

72 years ago today, on February 3rd, 1943, four Army chaplains committed an amazing act of faith, courage and bravery that has never been forgotten.

Although the Distinguished Service Cross and Purple Heart were later awarded posthumously Congress wished to confer the Medal of Honor but was blocked by the stringent requirements which required heroism performed under fire. So a posthumous Special Medal for Heroism, The Four Chaplains’ Medal, was authorized by Congress and awarded by the President on January 18, 1961.

It was never given before and will never be given again. 

This story is definitely worth reading!

On Feb. 3, at 12:55 a.m., a periscope broke the chilly Atlantic waters. Through the cross hairs, an officer aboard the German submarine U-223 spotted the Dorchester.

The U-223 approached the convoy on the surface, and after identifying and targeting the ship, he gave orders to fire the torpedoes, a fan of three were fired. The one that hit was decisive–and deadly–striking the starboard side, amid ship, far below the water line.

Read the entire story here.

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Trusting God for Perfect Peace

Is26-3--PerfectPeace-CalmSeaHorizon

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.
Trust in the Lord forever,
For in YAH, the Lord, is everlasting strength.
—Isaiah 26:3-4

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It’s no secret that this Isaiah passage is my favorite because I’ve shared it here many times before. I also pray this intentionally for myself and the people in my life who are struggling with something or other.

Life on earth is not perfect. And the perfect peace Isaiah speaks of here is not that everything bad will turn out good. This kind of perfect peace is that which can only be found in a close relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Such a relationship generates the kind of trust and faith that He will help us stay calm while the storms in our lives rage all around us.

Only Jesus can fill us with such perfect peace. He alone is the author and perfecter of our faith, according to Hebrews 12:1-2:

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Here is a great explanation of this from one of my favorite sites:

From this we can deduce that Christ is the originator of our faith in that He begins it, as well as the captain and prince of our faith. This indicates that Jesus controls our faith, steers it as a captain steers a ship, and presides over it and cares for it as a monarch presides over and cares for his people. (emphasis mine)

Read more:http://www.gotquestions.org/author-perfecter-faith.html#ixzz3CMSMrd1O

Beloved, when things are going wrong, look up! Instead of concentrating on the frustrating circumstances, turn your attention and trust to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. He will never let you down!

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SmileyBlackCoffeeAnna

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The advertising which may appear below is not placed by the author and is not to be considered as a part of this post or an expression of my views.

Our Confidence in the Throne of Grace


Heb4-16

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

“That will be ten dollars.” Miriam looked expectantly down at her customer, who couldn’t have been more than five years old.

The tiny girl carefully placed several coins on the counter. “Is that enough?”

Miriam could see right away that there was not nearly enough to pay for the pink slippers. What to do now? She looked down again at the little girl. Her simple sundress was clean but neatly patched in several different areas.

“Who are these slippers for, sweetie?”

A bright smile lit up the girl’s face. “It’s my Mommy’s birthday.” She stroked the slippers with her index finger. “They’re so soft. Maybe now Mommy can walk.”

“Oh, I’m sure your mother will love these.” Miriam frowned. “Does she have trouble walking?”

The little girl shrugged. “She sits in a chair with big wheels.”

“You mean a wheelchair?”

The little girl’s face brightened. “Yeah, a wheelchair! I forgot the word.” She frowned. “I got enough money, don’t I? I saved it from my ‘lowance for two whole months.”

Miriam looked around. “Did you come here alone?” 

“Yep.” She nodded. “It’s real close. I got a tire swing in front of my house!”

Miriam raised her eyebrows. She knew which house the little girl was talking about, a tiny bungalow a few doors down the street with a wheelchair ramp down one side of the front steps. The house was in desperate need of repair. In a small town like this, everyone knew that the Clarks had been going through bad times since Joe Clark’s warehouse job had been eliminated. He had been looking for work for the last six months.

“I’ll tell you what,” Miriam made a quick decision. “Since this is a birthday present, I’ll wrap them up for you.”

The little girl watched in fascination as Miriam placed the slippers in a box and deftly covered it with wrapping paper and ribbon. “There, all done.” She handed the package to the little girl, who hugged it close to her body.

“Thanks, Lady!” She took a few steps but then frowned and turned back. “It’s enough?” She pointed to the money still on the counter.

Miriam smiled. “It sure is. Now why don’t you get that present home to your mother?”

The little girl’s face lit up and she thanked her again before leaving the small drug store.

Miriam picked up the thirty-seven cents’ worth of coins and stared at them for several seconds. Then she reached into her purse under the counter, drew out a ten-dollar bill and stuffed it and the coins into the cash register.

Mexican currency is seen in the cash register drawer alongside U.S. Dollars

…..

Beloved, did you know that You can approach God with the same kind of confidence this little girl showed toward Miriam?

It is somewhat overwhelming to think of God’s throne of grace as being so easily accessible, but that’s exactly what God wants. He yearns for us to be comfortable enough with Him that we will not hesitate in bringing our cares and concerns confidently to Him so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

…..

AnnaSmile

…..

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The advertising which may appear below is not placed by the author and is not to be considered as a part of this post or an expression of my views.

The Unseen

thankful__

FIX YOUR EYES ON THE UNSEEN

Therefore do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.

For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

—2 Corinthians 4:16-18

2 Cor 4:18

All of us are surrounded by something we cannot see or feel. Without this particular combination of gases, we would not be alive. I’m referring, of course, to our atmosphere. We can’t see the air or feel it but we know it’s there because we’re here to talk about it.

Many of us have allergy-related asthma problems that necessitate the use of inhalers and/or nebulizers to open up our airways so we can breathe KeepCalm-TrustJesusbetter. Some people have problems breathing on their own for various other reasons and rely on respirators to help them breathe. Either way, the result is the same: we cannot see the air we breathe but we know it is there.

So it is with God. He is our unseen champion, the one who is always there to comfort and guide us through the rough spots in life. It is so easy to give in to the urge to grumble about our circumstances, but that never changes the situation. It just makes us feel worse about things.

In my own life, I am thankful for the blessing of Jesus Christ in my life. As my health has dramatically declined, my faith and reliance in Him has grown exponentially so that I have learned to trust Him for everything, even getting through each day: hour by hour, sometimes one minute at a time.

Even more than our parents love us and enjoy our company, God loves us and longs for close fellowship with each of us. That’s why He made us. When we fix our eyes on Him—even though we can’t see Him—we can trust Him to know what is best for us.

CrossOfChristBeloved, that empty cross and tomb means that we can trust that the invisible (for now) God is absolutely here with us, guiding us through our days.

As we respond to His desire for a closer relationship with us, He will walk closer and closer with us, enabling us to fix our eyes on Him in joyful anticipation of seeing Him in heaven forever.

The wonder of it is this: the closer you walk with Jesus, the more you’ll start thinking like Him. And the more you start thinking like Him, the more fully you’ll experience that peace, hope and joy that can come only from Him.

AnnaSmile

Faith and Trust, Part 2

Cleave to Jesus

Last week I shared with you the need to cut back on my computer time. You can read about it here.

I’m so thankful for a certain dear bloggy friend (you know who you are…) who is fasting from her computer on the weekends. God used her innocent comment about that—plus my hubby’s concern for all my computer time—to speak to me about HIS management of my time.

So I’ve been praying and contemplating what God’s plans are for my writing and online time, which includes devotional writing, emails, this blog, and my Facebook and Twitter pages. I don’t know about you, but I tend to follow what I call rabbit trails as I go through my emails, and that often translates into hours!

I’m still not positive as to how God has this all worked out, but I’m consciously keeping tuned in to Him to lead me. For now, I’m thinking I’ll write full posts twice per week and post an illustrated Scripture image or the like on Saturdays. Like I’ve said before, it’s easy to make up a quick image post ahead of time and schedule it to be posted on a future date. That means I’ll spend less time on this computer on the weekends.

I used to be the ultimate list maker because I got a lot of satisfaction out of checking off the items on my list as I finished each one. In the past, I’ve tried making daily schedules but never could stick to them.

So let me ask you: how do you work out your online and computer time? Do you keep to a certain schedule? If so, do you schedule not only your computer time but also quiet time with the Lord as well as housework and other chores and errands?

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Continuing to lean on the Lord with faith and trust…

Trusting Your Heart

TREASURE TUESDAY

Welcome to this week’s Treasure Tuesday!

The Lord has given me several life verses, but this was the first and is probably the dearest to my heart. Why? Because it was one of the reasons Rick and I started talking online. He cited this passage on his profile because he loves this verse too!