Magnify the Lord with Thanksgiving!

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Bless the Lord, O My Soul!

Lovingkindness and truth have met together;
Righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Psalm 85:10

From winged artists’ palettes to fragrant nectar, from heavenly light and color displays to rolling hills and flatlands, our Father’s artistry and character shine forth as righteousness and peace kiss each other and spill onto the earth and all its inhabitants. May your Thanksgiving be filled with abundant delights as you meditate on the blessings our Lord has bestowed upon you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

God’s promise of a future and a hope beyond your difficulty

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Olive tree in the Garden of Gethsemane, perhaps witnessing the tears of the Messiah the night He sweated drops of blood and cried out to the Lord, Luke 22:44. Yet, there’s the hope of the tree of life.

We are approaching a season that can be filled with great joy. The season can be a refocusing upon what is important.

The season can also be a time of great busyness as we get caught up in the shopping, cooking, partying, and “shoulds” of expectations.

For some, the season can be a time of remorse as we see the happiness of others and feel that we are not as fortunate as others.

Several weeks ago, I asked what Scriptures you turn to when you are exhausted or frustrated. Whether you are joyous, caught up in the busyness of the season or a little down, take a moment to reflect upon the messages of these Scriptures.

Jeremiah 29

“For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile. Jeremiah 29:10-14

Julie’s Scripture is Jeremiah 29:11. God has plans for us, and they are good. These nuggets of hope are always sandwiched between situations that stretch us or make us question our circumstances, aren’t they?

The Israelites were exiled and slaves in Babylon. Diviners and false prophets told them that they were going to be freed soon. But God spoke through Jeremiah that the Israelites needed to build houses, plant gardens, and pray for the City of Babylon, for they were going to be in exile for 70 years.

The message of 70 years came with a promise for restoration.

Hope in the midst of exile. A future and a hope beyond slavery.

A promise to return to the Promised Land. A promise of restored relationship … the Israelites would call upon God and pray to Him, and He would hear them.

Psalm 73

Pastor Chris’ Scriptures were also prefaced with struggle and frustration ending in hope and a focus upon the goodness of the Lord.

When my soul was embittered,
    when I was pricked in heart,
I was brutish and ignorant;
 I was like a beast toward you.
Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
    you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will receive me to glory.

But for me it is good to be near God;
    I have made the Lord God my refuge,
    that I may tell of all your works. Psalm 73:21-28

This is a psalm of Asaph. He was frustrated at the comfort and seeming success of the wicked until he went into the sanctuary of the Lord. Then, he understood their end. Then, his priorities were adjusted.

From pricked and embittered to guidance and refuge.

Psalm 139

Pastor Chris also turns to Psalm 139O Lord, you have searched me and known me! 

The Creator of the Universe knows our thoughts before we speak them. He formed our inward parts and knit us together. We cannot hide from Him. His thoughts about us are vast.

Yet, God’s enemies take His name in vain. David longs for the Lord to slay the wicked. But David refocuses upon God and asks God to search David’s heart and lead him in the way everlasting.

 Punctuated against the wicked, intimacy and guidance.

My prayer

Father, You are our Hope, our Guide, our Protector, our Maker, our Light. Thank You for Your goodness and holiness. The contrast of Light and darkness is amazing to us. Search us and show us the wickedness that is in us and purge it from our lives. Help us to see Your great and precious promises in the midst of everyday struggles and frustrations. Refocus us, Lord, upon You and Your ways. Lead us by the right hand in Your everlasting ways. Thank You, Lord. We love You.

 

Please share what your favorite Scriptures are for this season and
why they are special to you in the Comment Section.

 

Destitute in Delhi? Sickness? God is near

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A man’s spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear? Proverbs 18:14

In a hot bus in Delhi, people jammed together, even riding on the roof. Destitute. Crushed spirit?

A 19-year-old girl lay in her hospital bed wondering if she would have to live much longer … a burden on her parents and her brothers.

Father, take me to be with You! My parents can’t afford many more hospital bills. They’re tired, Lord. I’m tired. I don’t want to live like this. So many medical tests. So many doctors poking and questioning. So much pain. Take me!

Crushed spirit?

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

Taa…dddt, taa…dddt, taa…dddt, taa…dddt.  Silence. I look at the hospital room door. A white-haired man with black rimmed glasses smiles at me.

“I’ve been praying for you. May I come in?”

I nod.

This stranger with a cat-like smile and crutches praying for me? How’d he hear about me?

At my moment of despair, God sent me Reverend Henry. Christians I did not know were praying for me at churches I had not heard of.

That summer, Reverend Henry and I poured over the Scriptures together. He discipled me in the grace and goodness of God. Although he lived with legs ravaged by polio, his face glowed with joy.

Hospitals, doctors, and medical tests had become my way of life, but Reverend Henry showed me how to put my joy in the Lord.

A joyful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22

I was finally diagnosed with Celiac, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Sometimes, a diagnosis is a relief.

In those nights when I could not sleep because of the pain, I found solace in the Psalms.

David’s spirit was crushed many times.

I cry out day and night before you. Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry! For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol. Psalm 88:1-3

Then, he thought about his God, the Creator of the Universe, the One who had chosen David to be king, the Lord of Hosts who had empowered him to kill Goliath. David turned from his problems, his brokenness, to the greatness of God, and he praised God.

In the depths of our pity pit, God is near. He sent me Reverend Henry. He touched David as he prayed.

How has God reached through your brokenness to save you?

My prayer

Father, thank You that you are near when Your children are broken. I pray a special blessing for the men and women in the photo. Make Yourself known to them. Give them hope and eternity with You. Father, show us how we can be a Reverend Henry to others. Send us with joyful hearts. We love you, our Great and Dear Lord!

Epilogue

God miraculously healed me of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome on November 21, 2010. I still have Celiac Disease, but that is controlled with diet. The sickness and pit drew me close to God and to my husband. God prepared me through that brokenness to do what I am doing today.

May you recognize what God is doing in your life and rejoice!