Do we trust the Lord in dire times?

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Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. Habakkuk 3:17-18 NIV

Habakkuk ticks off six dire circumstances that he and his fellow Hebrews are facing. He doesn’t even mention that the Lord has announced his plan to hand over their homeland, Judah, to the cruel pagan Chaldeans.  Habakkuk reacts with horrified surprise.  Earlier he had pled with God to save Judah out of her very own wickedness.  He knows his people have broken God’s covenant time and time again.  So, he appeals to God’s love for God’s special people. 

But sending a cruel enemy TO Judah as part of God’s remedy is not Habakkuk’s idea of a rescue plan.  Toward the end of his dialogues with the Lord, he simply hands over the entire situation to God.  Communicating his ‘so be it, Lord’, he specifies all the conditions he had hoped would change for the better.

I decided to write my own version of Habakkuk’s prayer to communicate to the Father that I trust him even if he never provides, heals, restores or changes the issues weighing on my heart.

Though….

  • our retirement savings might not last us and….
  • We still live far from our 7 grandchildren, hindering the close relationships we long for and…
  • Our adult children continue to struggle with work, parenting and relying on God and…..
  • Mike’s mom is suffering alone on the other side of the country away from all family and….
  • We might not ever get to satisfy our desire to live overseas again and…..
  • Aging in these bodies doesn’t loom pleasant

Yet, will I consider myself blessed because I KNOW Jesus is with us. I KNOW for sure that our future with Jesus is going to be bright.

Is Jesus really better than anything this life offers?

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For whoever wants to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. Matthew 16:25 NASB

My legs felt heavy as I climbed onto the strider. Fifteen minutes into a long block of cardio, I knew this was going to be a trying workout.  Coach Erin encouraged us by explaining how building endurance pays off.  ‘I know, I know. I can’t do this. Help me, Jesus!’  I pushed on.

That morning before my exercise class I had asked the Lord for a blog topic.  ‘What are you showing me today, Jesus, and how do you want me to present it?’

Jesus came through while I pushed myself harder on that cardio machine. Suddenly, the holy spirit reminded me of Jesus’ truth about giving up in order to receive.  

The remaining minutes on the strider passed more quickly as I fleshed out the connection between the spiritual and the physical.

How ironic, that to GAIN energy, you have to SPEND energy.  But it’s true.  Who ever feels like working out?  But we’re always glad when it’s over, right?  I always tend to feel stronger and more resilient after a workout. 

Maybe I can now look at Jesus’ teaching from this angle. If I want what Jesus offers, then I have to let go of what fills my hand.

Yesterday, something I read in John Eldredge’s new book, Resilient pulled me up short.  From page 197, “If you want to become a wholehearted person, you must reach the point where happily, lovingly, you give absolutely everything over to God. You make Jesus your everything, your all-in-all.  Not only is this the fulfillment of your heart’s created destiny, it is the source of all recovery and resilience.  Nothing can be taken from you because you’ve already surrendered everything.”

That last sentence stopped me cold. I knew, right away, that I have yet to surrender everything.  Like the biggies:

  • My and Mike’s health
  • The aging process
  • Our entire family’s well-being
  • Our money saved up for retirement (2 months away!)

This morning, I asked Jesus for help.  I wrote in my journal: “I want to give you everything, Jesus, so I can be empty of me.  I want what you offer to give me, to fill me.  I know in my head that your gifts will satisfy me far more than what I believe I have to hold on to. I give you these gifts of:

  • Writing
  • Language learning
  • Health
  • Fitness
  • A good marriage
  • Our families
  • Time and all our resources

As though to confirm this attitude, the Lord brought across my phone screen this George MacDonald quote:

“Man finds it hard to get what he wants, because he does not want the best. God finds it hard to give because he would give the best and man will not take it.

Father, help me, make me willing to empty my hands and receive your best.  Over and over again. Amen!

Hanging out with Jesus, permanently

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Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. John 15:4

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 1 John 4:13

But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.
1 Corinthians 6:17

The New Testament has a lot to say about staying connected to Jesus. Our savior uses many images to communicate union with him.

Mentally, I understand what Jesus teaches. But living as though it is reality challenges me. The promise staggers the mind: ALL of God’s spiritual resources are available to the born-from-above Christian. We are promised protection, energy, wisdom, direction, understanding of heavenly things, love, hope, joy, strength and much else. To his small group of disciples, Jesus taught and re-taught connection with God using simple agricultural analogies, such as vines and branches, and being yoked with him.

To my relief, our Bible also records how often his guys forgot their master’s words and lived out of their own pathetic resources. Just as they did, I need help getting used to this offer of ongoing supernatural help. And I need to practice it. Or to put it in modern language, I need to bushwhack a new neural network in my brain. Over decades I have worn a deep rut that is easy to follow, that of depending on human strength and know-how.

Over the past two and half weeks, I have felt encouraged and emboldened to pick up my machete and forge a different pathway or neural network, one that I trust will become my default before too long.

I’m using a meditative app created by John Eldredge and his team. This is what it looks like.

If you put in the search bar of the app store ‘John Eldredge Pause’, you’ll see it. The app has some individual meditations, but I’ve been following the 30 Days to Resilient program. This morning (Day 16) the team talked much about staying connected and receiving from Jesus.

What has been hard up to now is that when we receive from Jesus, we don’t FEEL anything. To help myself, I jotted down some other ‘receivings’ that we probably don’t physically feel. These examples might not be perfect, but maybe one will spark a connection that helps.

Consider being hooked up to a dialysis machine. I did a little research and most sites said that if you are connected properly, you shouldn’t feel anything during the cleaning of your blood. This quote encouraged me:
“The best sign that you are getting good dialysis is that you feel well, look healthy and can do the things you want to do. With adequate dialysis, you should have a good appetite. When it’s time for your next treatment, you should feel like you don’t need it. This is the goal of dialysis.”

I thought of other illustrations:

  • A feeding tube
  • Blood transfusion
  • Oxygen masks
  • A wireless insulin pump
    I like this last one. A device is planted under your skin and administers insulin when your body needs it. I don’t know whether one FEELS the insulin entering his body, maybe not.

This is what our ongoing union with Jesus is like. We are permanently connected with our savior. Our challenge, especially in view of Satan, whose goal is to make us forget and FEEL alone without hope or help, is to RECALL our gifted and permanent connection with the Son of God. The passage way is always open for us to receive from Jesus, our vine.

It’s okay we don’t FEEL it physically. We have to SEE this pipeline with our new eyes, eyes of faith. Yes, we have new eyes, because we are new creations, grafted into Jesus and he into us.

Mike and I are facing difficult circumstances with his mom living on her own and far away. She is quickly fading physically and mentally, but what is MORE troubling is that she refuses to budge in her understanding of Christianity. She clings to the distortions she learned as a girl growing up catholic.

We need divine wisdom, guidance, financial resources and a host of other provision. All of which the Lord promises to provide. We just have to stay connected to our life-source and receive what he is ready to give.

Could Jesus’ yoke really be light?

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Of Benjamin he said, “The beloved of the LORD dwells in safety. The High God surrounds him all day long, and dwells between his shoulders.”  Deuteronomy 33:12 ESV

Picture a dad carrying his child on his shoulders.  How secure do you suppose that little one feels?

With the protection of his dad’s strong hands holding on to his legs, this child can relax and enjoy the view from up high.

This mental image came to mind as I read Moses’ prophecy over the tribe named Benjamin, those descendants of the patriarch’s youngest son.

Then followed the picture of ME as that child, holding on to her father’s head. Why of course Jesus is carrying me. And my security does not depend on me, Maria, holding tight to his hair or head. No, it is the Lord who grips my legs.

I mused for a while, letting the Spirit flesh out the picture even more. From this high vantage point close to his ears, I tell God my fears and I can hear his comforting reply. I see what he sees.  My little-kid street view is limited.  From the horizontal, I can see no way out of my problems.  But gazing out on the landscape from this height and watching personal and current events unfold, my perspective is worlds’ apart from what I have depended on all my life.

If Jesus is carrying me, then he also is bearing all my burdens. I can off-load them to him as they occur, describing them in detail. He easily hears me since I perch close to his ears.

Two other images of our burden-bearing God came to mind this morning:

  • Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7 NLT
  • Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is comfortable, and My burden is light. Matthew 11:29-30 NASB

A new good gift from God comes from a book I am reading called, Resilient. Daily, I’m being trained to give over all my anxieties to God.  Furthermore, I’m benefitting from an app created by John Eldredge and his team called the One Minute Pause app. Their 30-day program for how to receive resilience from God is changing how I react.

One of the truths that I have internalized is: “Jesus, I give everyONE and everyTHING to you, Lord.”

Doing that throughout my day is freeing up my mind and heart to listen and to receive God’s imparted strength.  Having off-loaded my racing thoughts about Mike’s upcoming retirement, the family members who need healing, friends weighed down by painful and troubling situations, I am sensing a new lightness.  This kind of ‘benevolent detachment’ frees me to be more present during my day.

This is a new practice, so I still catch myself falling back into trying to sort out situations on my own.  But the relapses don’t discourage me.  I FEEL a transformation.

Could it be that Jesus’ light yoke has as its goal simply to meet the day and do what is at hand? That’s my conclusion at this point.

Freed from worries, I open myself up to God, listening to the Spirit. I find myself expecting His resources to arrive on time.

I might be wrong, but I’m more than willing to practice this new release and receive rhythm.  All these verses are straight forward.  May we follow the simple meaning of the text, allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture. God means us to be free.

Wasteful nighttime worry

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Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand. Proverbs 19:21 ESV

The Lord had scheduled this verse in my reading this morning, for it hit home. 

I had lain in bed after ‘pee o’clock’ just thinking about various hypothetical scenarios.  You’d probably call it ‘worrying yourself sleepless!’ What kind of situations?

There’s my mother-in-law who grows weaker by the week.  She lives alone, but in a retirement community, about 2000 miles away from us. I foresee us making more frequent trips out to see and encourage her.

Another issue I spent time ‘planning for’ had to do with packing for an upcoming trip.  Then my worrying bordered on the ridiculous. Of all things, I started wondering just what I would do with my life if Mike died before me.  Yes, I know, all in the middle of the night.

I paid a price for giving into these anxiety projections – less sleep!

But it wasn’t a waste, for God redeemed it this morning by pointing out his truth, delivered by Solomon’s proverb.

How do those words help?  I’m choosing to draw a distinction between planning and preparing. Of the three topics that occupied my awake time, only one, Friday’s upcoming trip, involved an actual situation written on my calendar.  But as I had already written down some prep details during daylight hours, just what was the point in thinking about it at night?

But the other two scenarios, how Mom’s decline will play out and life as widow?????  I have NO business giving attention to them.  What prompted the latter worry, it can only have been Satan.  And about Mom, I was pondering her situation and our involvement only because she had been depressed that day when I zoomed with her.

Listening to her lamentations had led me to suggest two actions she could take the next day.  Other than that, for the time being, I can’t control her or supervise her to see that she actually puts into practice what I think will help her. I have to leave her in God’s hands and keep praying.

My imaginations, those speculative plans certainly won’t change God’s purposes.

Do you remember those ‘choose your own adventure’ books?  Here’s my application of that kind of authoring.  No matter how many possible ‘choose- your-own eventuality’ exist, until Mom’s story on Earth 1.0 ends, I know that God ‘has this all his hands’.  Furthermore, having experienced God’s creative solutions numerous times, I will not be surprised if how he has written the story is in a way I would never have imagined.

So, what’s the whole point in telling you all this?  Just that, in case you’re like me and occasionally fall prey to that temptation to lie awake worrying, maybe seeing the silliness in my preoccupations might help you see more clearly your own unholy imaginings. 

Let’s pray rather that we trust the Holy Spirit to give us supernatural power to resist the suggestion to start imagining an ending. God has got this!

Are you just not the exuberant type of Christian?

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Get ready for the ‘M’ word!

Yes, I’m talking about mathematics.  I hope you don’t still suffer from nightmares about how dumb you might have felt in high school math class. I’m not sure which causes more shuddering among adults I meet, memories of foreign language classes or all those required math courses.

But seriously, there exists a God-given math principle which helps us understand his word.  Do you recall something called ‘the transitive property of equality’?  (I had to look up its name, but my husband and I apply it often when reading our Bibles).

I used it the other day when I came upon a favorite promise in Isaiah.  It goes like this: 

If A=B and C = B, then A= C

For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling. Isaiah 30:15 ESV

Immediately, the Lord brought to mind Nehemiah’s encouragement to the people of God who had been standing all morning listening to the Levites explain the scriptures being read out loud. They began to weep when they understood their sin.  At that point, with all the people feeling genuine sorrow for breaking God’s law, Nehemiah stops the mourning to give them a message of peace:

Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10 ESV

As I read Nehemiah’s description of divine strength, the Holy Spirit connected that to the Isaiah verse, stirring up that long ago math lesson.

-If repentance/turning back to God and trusting the Almighty produce strength.

-And if believing and rejoicing in the word of God gives strength.

Then, it follows that trusting God and rejoicing in/being glad about the written Word  are two ways of saying the same thing.

Why am I drawing out this principle?

Because for some of us, our personality type keeps us from connecting with that term ‘joy’.  So, I get stuck on the word ‘rejoice’.  In my mind, I picture fans of a winning football or baseball team’s exuberant excitement. And that’s not me.

So, when I see the phrase – rejoice in the Lord, I simply use one of Strong’s synonyms for the Hebrew term rejoicebe glad.

Now THAT I can do with authenticity. Hands down, I am VERY glad to belong to God’s family and to have Jesus as my master, friend and older brother.  Nothing settles me more; nothing produces more contentment than knowing God. 

So, dear friends, if a certain verse or word doesn’t fit or connect with you, pull out that transitive property of equality and search out something that will help you understand scripture in a more meaningful way.

Are you a perfectionist?

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How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?       Galatians 3:3 NLT

As a teacher, I always had those students who were self-acclaimed perfectionists and proud of it.  Usually girls. If they came to trust me as an older mentor, I would try to have at least one conversation about the burden and futility of striving for perfection.  The way I see it, striving for perfection is a self-chosen ball and chain.

I often think about perfection on Mondays when I clean house. Showers gross me out the most.  No matter how much I would like, there is absolutely no way on earth to keep a shower as pristine as it appears when new.

I’ve learned to accept this reality and relax.  In fact, I often think of my sin like that shower stall. No matter how much I scrub the shower or my soul, I can’t eliminate sin. Knowing this fact really helps.  My rule for cleaning is always, ‘good enough’. Striving for a higher standard would eat up time I’d rather spend reading.

What does the Bible say about perfection?  Isn’t there a verse that goes, ‘Be perfect as your father in heaven is perfect’? Yes!  Matthew records Jesus in 5:48 exhorting his listeners to do that very thing.

It’s only when we look at the Greek meaning of our English word ‘perfect’, do we understand what God means. Here are two synonyms:  complete, mature.

In fact, other verses that use this word ‘teleios’ employ it to describe divine things such as:

  • ‘God’s perfect law’
  • ‘when the perfect comes’ (obliquely, referring to Jesus)
  • ‘perfect tabernacle’
  • ‘perfect gift’
  • ‘perfect love’

“Okay,” you say, “so most of the references are about God and his perfect creation and gifting.  But what are we to do about that pesky Matthew verse about being as perfect as God?” 

Look back up to what Paul told the Galatians.  He was chastising them for trying to make THEMSELVES perfect.  To the contrary, our transformation or ‘perfection’ in Christ will not come by our own effort, but through the Spirit working in us. 

Paul gives us an example or picture of the Spirit at work as he exhorts us to desire the fruits of the spirit that simply emerge as we stay connected to Jesus, our Vine.  Although we don’t see ‘perfection or completion’ among the nine qualities, I think they describe Jesus, who is perfect.

If you’re not yet convinced of the futility for striving for perfection in everyday life AND/OR in your Christian character, I’ll leave the last word to Oswald Chambers:

“The one marvelous secret of a holy life lies not in imitating Jesus, but in letting the perfections of Jesus manifest themselves in my mortal flesh. Sanctification is “Christ in you.”… Sanctification is not drawing from Jesus the power to be holy; it is drawing from Jesus the holiness that was manifested in Him, and He manifests it in me.”

A new tool to stop worrying

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Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…Ephesians 3:20 NIV

Has it ever happened to you that God uses a particular verse to give you immediate relief? Even though those particular words from God might not SEEM to connect to the actual worrisome situation, you receive supernatural power through them. And God lifts off that worry.

The first time I experienced this particular aspect of God’s kindness was when we were shelling out money for two mortgages.  We had bought a new house a few years prior and had rented out the former dwelling to a reliable tenant.  When they chose to move out we listed it with our agent because we did not enjoy managing a rental property.

As time passed without a solid nibble on the empty house, I began to panic, worrying day in and day out. A month passed and we paid two mortgages. The old house remained empty.

When the second round of double mortgage payments approached, my anxious imagination went into overdrive.

By God’s good grace, during these fear-filled months I was part of Bible Study Fellowship where we were learning to take God at his word.  What does that mean?  That we were being encouraged to actually believe what God says in the Bible, to ‘take him at his word.’

That year we were studying the book of Genesis.  God’s timing couldn’t have been better, for when I felt most pressure in God’s refining crucible of waiting on him to sell the house, he gave me Genesis 15:1

After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” ESV

I must have repeated that promise God made to Abram 10 to 12 times a day.  Each time I remembered the words, God would give me immediate relief in the form of peace. Not only was I able to stop imagining fear scenarios of running out of money, before another month had passed, the house was under contract. Soon it sold.

Whew!  Lesson learned. God’s word IS powerful and is mightier than worldly understanding and how things look on the surface.

That gift has been repeated over the years.  Two nights ago, the Lord gave me a new Word Weapon, the verse in Ephesians at the top of this blog. 

As I wrote last week, my sleep quality goes up and down. Sometimes leg cramps wake me up, but more often than not, I’m working out the details of a future scenario when I should be sleeping.  I KNOW I have got to stop this ‘future-casting’. I even reminded myself of that when I went to bed.  But…..yes, I started to think about packing for an upcoming trip, wondering just when I’d be able to find time in the day or two before departure.

Oh, no! I thought.  Here I go again.”  I don’t think I even prayed for help.  But suddenly there it was, that snippet of peace-giving truth from God written by Paul.  Here’s how my mind used it.

Oh! I don’t need to be thinking this through right now.  These hours are for restoration and body repair.  Besides, God has a way for me to get ready that is beyond what I would even know how to put into words or picture!”

And with that assurance I immediately nodded off and slept without further ridiculous rumination.

Then to put a bow on that package, the Lord gave me a Bonus reminder the next morning as I was journaling my thanks to him for the sleep and the power of that verse. It was this: ‘Oh, today might be the day when Jesus returns!’ (i.e., the Second Coming). His appearance would certainly supersede the need to pack.  Now, two weeks before the actual trip, is NOT for making a plan.  I can leave the matter in God’s hands until two days before the trip.

What a relief.  I don’t want to keep forgetting this lesson and suffer the burden of worrying about all those future, “What am I going to do about THIS”-scenarios.

What does God care most about?

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He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD favors those who fear Him, those who wait for His faithfulness.
Psalm 147:10-11NASB

We all know that as people age or fall sick, they start losing physical and mental abilities. This is to be expected in a broken world. Death entered God’s creation because of human sin. In fact, Jesus himself promised affliction for all of creation to include animals and nature. But this state is temporary and the Lord, in his kindness, doesn’t want any bodily afflictions to frighten us or steal our peace. Afterall, he prioritizes our ‘heart’ health, rather than our physical health. What pleases our Father A LOT is when we prize, live for and treasure Him.

As both Mike and I turn 65 this summer and with an elderly mom who is half-way to 94, this fact about the Lord’s priorities and goals for us brings great comfort and mental/emotional stability.

Reading through my Bible I can see that what God prioritizes and values totally guide his actions and plans. Over and over, scripture records him saying that he ALWAYS and only does what he wants. And what he wants is always good, regardless of whether we agree or not.

Whatever the LORD pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. Psalm 135:6 ESV

Knowing how God operates, given what he loves, here is how my mind worked out the truths of that verse in Psalm 147.

Don’t you think it’s important to know what makes God happy, what he delights in? It’s obvious that the Lord takes pleasure in our hearts’ inclination. What we prize, revere or value (another way to say, what we ‘fear’) is the first thing he notices about us. So, we should expect God’s blessings in our life to be NOT primarily about our bodies, our health, but connected to our longings for him. He eagerly answers prayers to transform our desires, our delights, and all the content of our heart.

For example, when we moved to Huntsville, Mike was plagued with a physical and mental condition that wouldn’t let up. It had been in abeyance for a few years, but struck him after that welcome absence. In this round, he suffered for about a year, then by grace, God removed this ‘thorn’. We have not stopped being grateful.

As we prayed every day through this season, besides asking for physical relief, we also asked the Lord to help us NOT waste this suffering. We wanted him to use it to grow our hearts toward him, to deepen our confidence in the fact that he is good, no matter what his plan for Mike turned out to be.

The Lord answered those prayers and our confidence in his goodness grew stronger during this affliction. Recently, I realized that God is doing the same thing with me regarding sleep.

Consistent restorative sleep has alluded me as I’ve aged. Mike prays every evening for the gift of a good ‘through’ sleep.

Yesterday morning, the Holy Spirit gave me a new insight. I had slept super well the previous day, but felt oh-so-tired by early evening. That night, I slept poorly and woke yesterday feeling that lack. But, by grace, I suddenly knew that how my day would go did not depend on ‘good sleep’ the night before, but on the Lord. Afterall, energy and strength come from him.

Sure enough, that lack of rest did not affect my day’s activities. God enabled me to stay energized until my normal bed time.

I see the warning in God’s lesson this week. I can easily (and have done so) make good health and plenty of sleep into an idol.

But the fact is my body IS going to weaken as I get older. But what God cares most is how much of my heart is his. If I were a wagering woman, I would bet that God will answer ALL my requests for a heart that obsesses only for him and his presence. I risk nothing praying for his heart and soul work.

Rescue me from my dark thoughts!

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These days I seem to be hungry and desperate for only what the psalms can feed me. I’ve been waking up with a heaviness.  At the moment, nothing comes to mind. But when I start to read the appointed psalm, I realize how dry and desperate I feel.  God’s words soothe me. I linger over certain verses, taking the time to look up how the Hebrew is worded, and what the words actually mean.

On Tuesday, the Holy Spirit used Psalm 143 to calm my anxious heart.  I wrote in my journal, personalizing the psalmist’s own words as a plea to God.

Verse 7: Answer me quickly, O Lord! My spirit fails!
Father – I feel depressed. I need you. I don’t know what’s wrong. Help me!


Verse 8a: Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.

I DO trust you. So, please, DO show me what to do, what to think, the way out of my oppressive thoughts.  I can’t think of anyone else I can go to without fear of judgment.  I even cancelled my appointment with a counselor I’ve used. Human help, even from good friends, can’t give me what I need, what I crave.

Verse 8b: Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord!
    I have fled to you for refuge.

Oh – I forgot, I DO have enemies.  Satan is the oppressor of my soul. Thank you for reminding me that you alone are a safe place, someone who always welcomes me because you love me. May I show your worth by coming first to you.


Verse 10a – Teach me to do your will, for you are my God!

Here’s where my Spanish translation helped me.  One word for teach in Spanish can mean both teach and show.  Isn’t an effective teacher one who doesn’t just talk, but works alongside a student demonstrating how to do something?  The same with God’s training.  We all need a master to whom we are apprenticed.

Father – I see that since you are my God, you also have your plans for my life.  Since I belong to you, you expect me to follow YOUR way towards YOUR goals.  Thank you for that reminder, since I’m prone to go my own way, intent on achieving my own goals, independent of you.   But I can’t go YOUR way or even remember to follow you, unless you help me, breaking into my little ‘Me World’.


Verse 10b: Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!

Again, I checked out the term for ‘good’.  Hebrew’s broad definition includes: ‘kind, happy, cheerful’.  Well, THAT brightened my mood to read that when I ask for God’s help in learning (and desiring) to do his will, his spirit permanently implanted in me will instruct me.  My lessons will be happy lessons for this teacher is kind and cheerful.  He obviously likes his job!

Verse 11: For your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life!
    In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!

Father – thank you for this word ‘trouble’.  It covers all sorts of distresses, fears and problems. You have made yourself to be my go-to-rescue source for any and all things that bother me!


 Verse 12: And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies, and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul,
    for I am your servant.

What a relief to know that yes, while I have real enemies who are hostile and evil (think Satan and all his dark side servants), I need not fear for you WILL eliminate them. That is a promise.  And why? Simply because I belong to you. I am your servant as well as your child and Jesus’ little sister.  Belonging to your family brings untold of blessings.

Thank you, Father!

And so, you can see, dear fellow pilgrim, how precious God’s psalms are to me.  Each a chest of treasures.  Which psalm has God used recently to encourage you?

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