Psalm 34 – The voice (& NLT)

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As my last post “What book?” clearly indicated, I was facing a critical, sad, mentally rough time and I asked what book in His Holy Word to read, when dealing with grief. With many responses I got places to start, so from the bottom of my heart, I thank those who commented.

 

how-grief-works.jpgI was desperately seeking relief of the heavy pain that grief placed upon my shoulders. Daily people loose people to death, expected and unexpected deaths. Daily some poor soul will face grief. Some looses loved ones to heaven and in their grief they can rejoice in knowing their loved one went to a better place. I’m not in that position, though I make the conscious choice of believing at least my dad went to heaven. But even so, the sting of grief, stings those who are left behind.

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Only the Lord knew WHERE my relief were to be found. In HIS care, HIS peace and in HIS promises alone.

No book of the Bible could help me feel better, but only the truth of His promises – and by His mercy, for His Glory, the Lord orchestrated a Bible verse sent to my inbox through one of the many daily devotion automatic mail subscriptions that are in existence.

When I read it, I immediately knew this was from my Jesus!

 

Psalm 34:17-19 (the Voice)

17 When the upright need help and cry to the Eternal, He hears their cries
    and rescues them from all of their troubles.
18 When someone is hurting or brokenhearted, the Eternal moves in close
    and revives him in his pain.
19 
Hard times may well be the plight of the righteous—
    they may often seem overwhelmed
    but the Eternal rescues the righteous from what oppresses them.

Or the New Living Translation (if you prefer):

The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.
He rescues them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
The righteous person faces many troubles
but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.

When we loose a loved one, who decided not to follow Jesus, the grief is devastating and riding that tidal wave seems impossible. Adding to that is the simple yet tremendous loss of the love that can no longer be received. In other words: it’s okay to be devastatingly sad!

Do Believers/Christians often feel a pressure to “be okay”, because we have the hope living in us, so rejoice!? – Are pastors quick to say “Do not direct your anger at God. That’s a sin”? – Do we watch friends/church families loose loved ones (saved and unsaved) and just carry on with their lives because “be joyful always” linger in their ears?… I wonder how many tears are cried behind closed doors, because we are seemingly expected to behave in a certain way.  My point is that young believers learn from older believers and if the older believers hide their grief or do not share that there is pain involved and it’s okay, it becomes all the more difficult to talk about.

Let’s not forget that Jesus grieved too. He was also human with feelings. He knows.

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But the Lord comes close and through His presence, I was rescued once more from the pit of despair. I must “shake it off”… as hard as it is, it’s the only way forward and I can only do that while clinging on to my God.

He is my family, my Father, my brother and my Light. He is my portion and He is enough.

Remain Blessed in Him at all times, no matter what you go through

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The Greatness of God

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To continue without fear and to keep going despite the forces of evil, feels like an impossible task to undertake.

The father of lies will tell me: “you’ll never make it”, “sadness will never go away” or he will use the more cunning one; The temptation to “give up and give in”!

I’m inclined to make a bold statement here and I know some may disagree, but I’m going to say it anyway, because I believe that I as well as my child and surely others too, have fallen prey to the evil one’s lie when he says “”you must keep going and not doubt“. Because it sounds very biblical I easily believe it.

stress-depression-girl-full.jpgBut I have found that it’s used to cause stress and anxiety. Those are not from the Lord!! – so if you encounter that or something similar, please run it by the Book before you keep going!

Lies are easily believed simply because the road ahead is too hard to manage and fear sneaks in – and the evil one knows exactly what buttons to push in each and every person. But…

Nothing is impossible with God!

Hebrews 11:27 “the Voice”:
By faith Moses left Egypt, unafraid of Pharaoh’s wrath and
moving forward as though he could see the invisible God.

Or NIV if you prefer:
By faith Moses left Egypt, not fearing pharao’s anger;
he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.

Or my personal favorite, the GNT;
It was faith that made Moses leave Egypt without being afraid of the king’s anger. As though he saw the invisible God, he refused to turn back.

BzCCNrn.jpgThere’s such hope in these words.
Fear takes a backseat when Faith is driving the Lamborghini!

I have no idea how Moses navigated his way “as though he saw the invisible God”, but Moses refused to turn back. He kept going. He persevered. He somehow knew he was on the right track!

I can’t see my invisible God. But I know that I’m still Blessed;

John 20:29 “The Voice” 
Thomas, you have faith because you have seen Me.
Blessed are all those who never see Me and yet they still believe.

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How can I see the Lord so I know I’m on the right path and can keep going and not give up or give in?

(seriously, you have to love this dog’s determination!!)

 

 

Philippians 4:6-7 “the Voice”

Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests,so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One.

Trust and fear has an ongoing battle. But only the Lord can bring hope and peace to any mind. Though satan can wrap himself in light and make me believe many things, he can’t give me the peace of God. God’s greatness is far beyond the strength of evil. It’s possible to delight in the Lord, to run to Him when fear comes knocking. 1418052245694.jpeg

 

How?

Maybe begin to list God’s many promises found in His Word!

May we all see the greatness of God and keep going.

 

One of those mornings…

When I woke up this morning around 4 am the sun was rising outside and the temperature was mild and not-so-humid-yet here in Tokyo. But my mind was dim. All day yesterday I was hearing my dad’s voice in my head. He had many sayings, proverbs if you wish and they were lingering one after another, though non of them seemed to have any particular meaning as if sent from the Lord.

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I got out of bed and went to meet Jesus with my coffee mug and of course I then realized my grief had another tidal wave for me. Good heavens how I miss my dad!!

I prayed for strength… to get through today because it’s just one of those days. So with my Bible open I went through pages until Psalm 86 popped up and I read the whole thing… and then I prayed the whole thing;

Psalm 86 (the voice)

O Eternal One, lend an ear to my prayer and answer me, for I am weak and wanting.
Safeguard my soul, for I remain loyal to You.
    Save me, Your servant, who trusts in You, my God.
O Lord, please be merciful to me, as all day long I cry out to You.
Bring joy into the life of Your servant, for it’s only to You, O Lord, that I offer my soul.
O Lord, You are good and ready to forgive;
    Your loyal love flows generously over all who cry out to You.
O Eternal One, lend an ear and hear my prayer; listen to my pleading voice.
When times of trouble come, I will call to You because I know You will respond to me.

O Lord, You stand alone among the other gods;
    nothing they have done compares to Your wonderful works.
O Lord, all the peoples of earth—every nation You established—
    will come to You, bowing low to worship,  and rightly honor Your great name.
10 For You are great, and Your works are wondrous; You are the one True God.
11 O Eternal One, guide me along Your path so that I will live in Your truth.
Unite my divided heart so that I will fear Your great name.
12 O Lord, my God! I praise You with all that I am. I will rightly honor Your great name forever.
13 For Your loyal love for me is so great it is beyond comparison.
    You have rescued my soul from the depths of the grave.
14 
O True God, arrogant people are after me.  A violent gang wants to kill me;
    they have no interest in You or Your ways.
15 But Lord, You are a God full of compassion, generous in grace,
    slow to anger, and boundless in loyal love and truth.
16 Look at me, and grant me Your favor.
    Invest Your strength in me, Your servant,
    and rescue me, Your handmaiden’s child.
17 Give me a sign so I may know Your goodness rests on me
    and so those who hate me will be red with shame at the sight of it.
    For You, O Eternal One, have come to my aid and offered me relief. 

I’m not done with the grief. I’m not done with the tears. But I have the strength to make it through. Praise the Lord.

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Make a plan… but follow the Lord

I’m writing this as a “random thought” kind of post. I don’t mean to point fingers at any particular person, so don’t get me wrong.

Christians are supposed to: Lead good Godly lives, run the race towards the goal, work hard, serve the Lord and always be joyful and have peace of heart… etc. I’m sure there’s more to be added to this list. It sounds to me like we are supposed to look perfect (I’m not one who looks perfect – or writes perfect)

People who has accepted the Lord Jesus Christ to be their personal Savior are humans just like everyone else. The only difference is that believers has been forgiven their sins. That’s such a comforting thought.

The evil one wants to rule. I have been told that we already have a sense of what is right and what’s wrong from birth, but unbelievers are blinded to many wrongs – or deceived to believe that “wrong is right” and the one who deceives, is the same serpent as deceived Eve in the garden. Believers who are sensitive in terms of emotional well-being often struggle with various kinds of fear.

But wait, we are not supposed to have fear for “behold, Jesus overcame the world”. Ah yes – indeed He did and Praise Him for that!! Satan knows that fully well but he will still do anything in his power to persuade the believer to give up on God. It’s called Spiritual warfare. Being a follower of Jesus isn’t easy. But it’s worth it.

Its my (sad) impression that within Christ’s earthly body, some has this idea that believers shouldn’t be anxious or have fear. We are not supposed to. Well… Here’s the good news: With Jesus there is always something to hang on to. The bad news is that it’s not true that believers are not anxious or depressed. Depression exists within His body.

“But”, some will say (and I’ve heard it said), “sin leads to depression so that person couldn’t have been a good faithful believer”. Respectfully I will disagree. The time when Satan becomes most active is when he knows the believer is/getting very close to Christ. In the case of my daughter I have to doubt if sin caused her anxiety/depression (though I suppose it could be mine). She is in fact a far “better Christian” than me as the way she treats her friends with mercy and kindness, even when they do very nasty things to her. Like last week in the classroom a “friend” put her thumb on my girls throat and said “I’ll kill you”… claiming it was just for fun. My daughter doesn’t exactly like the girl but still forgives her and treats her respectfully. It speaks volumes of how much grace the Lord is pouring into her. Had it happened to me when I was in 3rd grade, I would have kicked that “friend’s” b** and possibly not stopped until she was on her knees apologizing. Yes, the school has dealt with it, but I seriously doubt it was enough (not a first time thing) but we’ll see. And yes – I pray for the girl.

I never planned on having a daughter with severe anxiety and a depression. I knew I had my own struggles as a child but I overcame things gradually and I never got help as pr. see. I’m still battling social anxiety though so I know how my daughter feels. At least I can relate. Once I knew what we were dealing with, I realized why everything had been such a battle for me – and her. Sunday school… oh dear was that ever a strain!

I had it all mapped out: We would get deeply involved in a church and eventually my husband would get curious and become a believer too and my daughter would grow up in the church with Sunday school and all would just be amazing.

I made a plan. A dream if you wish. But God just had a different path for us. I’m however not saying that this is all God’s fault! I’m just saying that in spite of all, the Lord will make the path shine so we can walk the right direction.

We go through tough things, hard times and yes, those may include anxiety, depression and medication and physical health etc, because that’s the Lord’s way of keeping us close to Himself. All the time. Every time we fall on our knees and pray (maybe you call it meditation or breathing techniques or “feet up”), we move closer to Christ and push the evil one away.

But we can’t pray all the time…or can we? Paul writes in his letters that we should keep our eyes zoomed in on Christ all the time. That’s also known as “laundry prayer” because you talk to God while you go about your daily to-do list.
We are supposed to pray all the time. What a beautiful thought.
I don’t know about you, but I’m only human and I have on-off conversations with God all the time.

I don’t know where we are going. I don’t even have a goal for my daughter – except getting her through 3rd grade for now. I believe the worst is yet to come, but I trust that Jesus will take us through it.
I made a plan… and then God took over to guide us step by step.

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Where the wind blows – Psalm 73

Whatever the weather,

whatever the trials,

whatever the pain,

whatever the sorrow,

whatever the tears,

whatever the fears,

no matter where the wind blows,

no matter what evil shows,

regardless of what I think,

regardless of what I thought,

whenever the world is gloomy…

I have Christ!…

I have Jesus and He is light.

I have Christ and He will shine.

I have my Lord and He IS.

Psalm 73:25-26
For all my wanting, I don’t have anyone but You in heaven. There is nothing on earth that I desire other than You. I admit how broken I am in body and spirit, but God is my strength, and He will be mine forever

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The Voice – Psalm 139

These 2 Bible verses are so well known and memorized that I think I had forgotten the true and real meaning of it:
Psalm 139:23-24
Explore me, O God, and know the real me. Dig deeply and discover who I am. Put me to the test and watch how I handle the strain. 24Examine me to see if there is an evil bone in me, and guide me down Your path forever.
This is taken from “The Voice” translation and when it says “put me to the test and watch how I handle the strain” my jar dropped. Other translations says something down the line of “test me and know what I’m thinking…”. I suppose it essentially means the same, but “see how I handle the strain” was not a meaning I have ever associated with this verse before.
This is a verse for the believer who wants to grow… and I have prayed this many times over. I do want to grow, but I could use a pause – a good long relaxed pause – right about now. On the other hand, a pause makes me drift away from the path God wants me on and I certainly do not want that… So I’ll keep on praying this verse and perhaps add “I know there is only one set of footprints when life gets too hard”.
Morning thoughts from a busy mom – on her way out for the school run.
May you be Blessed by the Lord of all today. May Jesus carry you in the cup of His Hand. May the Holy Spirit guide your every step along the Lord’s path.
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