Our Perfect Provider

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I have once again been reminded of God’s generous provisions this past week. I’m not just talking about financial provision. More of His eternal provisions. How does the Lord faithfully provide for you in your life? Is it the roof over your head that keeps you warm and dry in this cold season? Or perhaps it’s the job you have that allows you to feed, cloth and cover your family? For some of us, it may be the way God reminds us that He is right here with us, holding us up, encouraging and guiding us toward His end. This is His true provision in my life.

No matter the circumstance in your life I hope and pray that you daily thank God for the help He lovingly, willingly provides you.

In the early morning hours of the day, before anyone else is stirring, I get up to begin my day. Armed with my Bible, a cup of coffee and a journal, I sit. What will my day be filled with? I ask Him to prepare me for whatever is to come, to be ready with love, truth and immense gratitude.

So how does the Lord faithfully provide for me? Let me count the ways.

1. He reminds me to trust in Him with all my heart, and not to lean on what I know or understand. (Proverbs 3:5 paraphrased )
2. He reminds me, that in worldly riches to not be arrogant or put my hope. They are uncertain. But hope only in God…who will provide me with everything for my enjoyment. (1 Timothy 6:17 paraphrased).
3. He reminds me… that the Lord my God is God; he is the faithful God, who keeps his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. (Deuteronomy 7:9 paraphrased.)

Are there more ways? Absolutely! The Bible is filled with promises of His hope and provision for us, his people.

Yet, there are so many days that I forget. I forget to whom I belong. I forget where my hope comes from. I forget what awaits me at the end of this difficult life. After all, I am a broken and sinful human, given free will, able to chose each day what to keep my eyes and heart stayed on. I remember when I first accepted Jesus as my Lord. I thought, wrongly, that once I accepted Jesus, life would be…well easy. That I’d be free from trouble, pain and suffering. Wrong indeed. Now, years later, as I have grown in my understanding of what it means to be a follower of Christ, I known that it is in my trouble, pain and suffering that God meets me and reaches me. “Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, to make his mighty power known.”
‭‭(Psalm‬ ‭106:8‬ ‭NIV‬‬). I am a new creation, not for me, but for Him, “…to make his mighty power known.” Amen.

So you see, His provisions go far beyond my creature comforts. They take me, stretch me, towards heaven. “‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’” (Acts‬ ‭17:28‬ ‭NIV‬‬).

My great, generous and powerful Provider, who delights in me, desires that I would delight in Him. Like it says in Matthew 6:26, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” He provides.  Period. So why not let Him? Why don’t you give Him all the glory and praise?

Today is a new day. What will you choose to do?
Will you hold onto worldly things, or give it all to God?
Can you look at life’s challenges, trust Him to see you through?
With blind faith, and trust eternal, in Him be deeply awed?

Today is a new beginning, may your heart be renewed
In the the beauty of the trinity-Holy Spirit, Father, Son.
May you know for sure and certain, a heart full of gratitude
That in His life and death, dear child, “it is finished,” for you it’s done.

Today is but a moment in the heart of God above,
So don’t hesitate to make the choice for eternity;
For Jesus Christ’s death is about you, His true love.
Godly repentance to salvation, a magnificent certainty.

Today will soon be tomorrow, so my friend do not delay.
Jump into the living waters with everything you’ve got.
All your sin in His death, because He loves you, He paid,
Your salvation, life in heaven, with his life he gladly bought.

As I close out my quiet time with the Lord, I hope and pray that I will keep my eyes on Him. That no matter what bumps I hit, or storms come my way, I will say, like Paul the apostle `“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians‬ ‭3:12-14‬ ‭NIV‬‬).

Our provider, the Lord Jesus Christ, it is all we need. Today. Because, my friends, today is all we have. No promise for tomorrow. So let’s live today as if it were our last, living it for Him. “In the same way, let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16 NASB)

Dear Heavenly Father, help me to be a light for You, let my eyes and heart and mind be firmly planted in Your living Word. I pray that today I would share Your joy, and I would delight in You. Thank you for your faithful favor as it gently falls upon my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Each day is an opportunity.  Each day is a gift.  Each day is…

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“Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies.  Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” Psalm 34:12-14

There once was a young girl, about 16, who longed to find true love.  She searched for it in the people she met, giving so much of herself away in hopes of receiving a small amount of love in return.  Yet, only pain, suffering, humiliation, shame and great loss ensued.

Years past.  Although her search never ceased, her heart was weary and became ever doubtful of finding her one true love.  Another series of losses, pain and suffering came.  Only this time she knew something had changed.  Something was unsettled in her heart. Calling a friend, who immediately came to her, she was prayed over in the name of Jesus.

A strange sensation fell upon her.  Was it true love?  Her friend asked if she’d wanted Jesus to be her Lord and Savior.  Again, another feeling.  Was it peace?  She said yes and asked for forgiveness of her many, many sins. Next she asked Jesus to be her personal Lord and Savior.

Then it happened. An explosion of emotion.  Her heart was filled to overflowing. She found her One true love.  Sins washed away by the blood of Christ, she was given new life.  She was a new creation in Christ.  Alive and in love with Jesus.

What this story reminds me of is hope.  When we look at each day as an opportunity, we allow the Lord to show us what it means to love others more than we love ourselves.  In Mark 12:30-31 we read,

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all our mind and with all your strength.  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

To love your neighbor as yourself means to begin to put others above you.  This friend did just that.  Leaving her own family and came to help her friend.  That story is mine.  I am the lost girl looking for true love.  My friend, Lanny, was my lifeline to Christ.  She loved me as she loved herself.  She loved me because Christ first loved her.  A precious gift indeed.

When I woke up this morning I was faced with, well, a rat problem.  Not something we generally view as an opportunity.  Yet, it in a weird way it has been.  It allowed me to stop and problem solve.  How can I rid our home of the rat while still allowing the other events of the day to still occur?  When I stopped and prayed, I was able to see an opportunity for my daughter to have extra time with her friend.  A slight change in plans, but better for her.  Getting rid of the rodent is of high importance.  However, with all of the challenges and changes we’ve been faced with as a family allowing fun and frivolity to happen is very important.  So, even with a rat roaming around our home I will say, “Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised.  Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses.” (1 Kings 8:56 NIV) 

The rest for me was sitting in the middle of a crowded mall listening to classical music and writing.  My daughter was spending time with a good friend, while my younger daughter is at a junior high event with our church playing games, eating pizza and learning something about Jesus.  My husband was home enjoying, I pray, much needed quite time. Hoping our dogs were quiet.

So in this unusual place, with so much chaos going on around me I am delighting in it all.  I am reminded of Psalm 103:1-5;

“Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.  Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits-who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” 

Of hope and joy life is reborn,

No earthly gift can change.

Pain and suffering are no more,

His death our lives were exchanged.

Be of good courage,

Praise the Lord dear soul.

Like a flower you’ll flourish,

In His garden you will stroll.

As you seek, you will find,

For He gently awaits your call.

In return is your peace of mind,

And a calming of the squall.

Be hopeful and joy-filled,

Love life and do good.

And your heart will be fulfilled,

In Christ forever understood.

I pray that each of you knows the beauty that comes from the storms in life.  That you can, in the midst of your storm, bless the Lord for His faithfulness; that you remember God’s unfailing love and forgiveness.  I pray that you trust in the Lord with all of your hearts.  To know Jesus is to know freedom.

May God bless you and keep you.

Debra J.

for i know the plans

 

 

Sleeplessness and Salvation

Have you ever woken up feeling the weightiness of worry on your chest?  Perhaps your mind is so full of madness that you could not fall asleep?  Or maybe it’s a big decision or unconfessed sin looming in your life?  I have dealt with all of these.  Sometimes I still do.  I ask myself, what in the world am I doing this or that for?  When I search my heart, mind and spirit I find no answers.  I need to take my worry, madness, big decision and unconfessed sins to the Lord.  It is there, with Him, that I will find peace.  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  (Matthew 11:28)

These times of worry are often life issues that I hold onto so tightly I truly cannot breath. It is so easy for me, too easy, to get caught up in the circumstance, focus on it rather than on my Help.  God doesn’t want me to be weighed down or to worry, He wants me to be free.  I am reminded through scripture that even though I am burdened, “You, Lord, preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me.” (Psalm 138:7)  God cares so much for me and you that he saves us from our enemies.  In some cases the enemy is that craziness in our wee minds.  You know hat self-talk or monkey chatter nonsense that rumbles through our brains.  I am so grateful for His mighty hand rescuing me.

rain on skylight
The dark sky looms, impatiently.
It overtakes my soul.
I cannot see clearly,
only raindrops dark as coal.

A tree of Hope is visible,
my eyes begin to see,
Lord Jesus takes the darkness,
My heart and soul are free.

Restless and sleepless nights have been no stranger in my life.  Sometimes its from something I said to one of my daughters that has left me feeling awful.  It has also been times when my beloved and I are in conflict with one another over some life issues.  Bottom line has been sleepless nights.   I can feel like the Israelites in Psalm 107:4-5, “Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle.  They were hungry and thirsty; their lives ebbed away.”  In these times I feel as though I’m in a desert, alone, thirsty and so very weary.   But, then I read on to verse 6 of Psalm 107, “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.”    I just need to read further, to look past my circumstance of desert wastelands and see God’s hand ready to delivery me from my distress.  He’s always ready to help, all I need to do is seek Him out.  I am so grateful that I serve such a loving and available God.

Decisions, decisions, decisions.  Life is full of decisions.  From what we are going to wear, to what we will serve for dinner, to decisions about employment, housing, bills.  The list goes on and on.  There are days we can feel like we’re drowning in the decisions to be made.  It makes me think of a small puddle where drops of water continually fall, eventually creating a pond.  Where did it all that water come from?

rain drop
It takes just one drop at a time to eventually create a pond or lake.   It’s times like this when I need to just stop. When I feel overcome by the weight of life’s decisions.  When I lack the strength or wisdom to make any decision.  Jeremiah 33:33 says, “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”   Call on the Lord and
He will.
He will answer.
He will answer you.

What a beautiful verse and reminder of how much God loves and cares for us.

Bottom line is all my sleeplessness, worry and difficulty in decision making have already be resolved by the One who so intricately and beautifully made me.  In my women’s Bible study we are studying Psalm 139.  It is a short Psalm, only 24 verses.  But so powerful, and reminds me,  through King David’s understanding of God’s heart, of how well God knows and cares for me.  He knows each one of us so very well.  I encourage you to read Psalm 139. You’ll see how wonderful the Lord is, how much He really knows and loves you, too.  Then you will want to hand over your worries and your warts to Him, and live out your life knowing God has your back.

two drops

Your life counts more than you know,
each part of you is just you.
God knit you together so carefully,
Your future He always knew.

Each hair upon your head He planned,
No detail left undone.
He knew the color of your eyes,
Before the earth had ever begun.

Like drops of water from a branch,
We don’t know where we’ll land.
But God who made the universe,
will always hold your hand.

So stand in confidence my friend,
And call on His name when you pray.
And He will surely slay your demons,
Each and every day.

PRAYER:  Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that whenever I am worrying, facing a decision or needing to confess my sins, I would run to You and place it all at Your feet.  I pray for each person that reads this that they would make You their Lord and Savior.  Thank You for loving me just as I am, just as You made me.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Shoe Prints in the Sand

    As I was writing a post this evening, I found a file of drafts that I never completed nor posted.  This is one from about two years ago, maybe even a bit longer than that.  As the daughter I wrote about is going to be 13 in just a few months.  I am also certain that I took a picture of the prints from her shoes, but it must be on another computer.  I guess each post does not need a photograph.  I think most of us can imagine what a foot or shoe print looks like in the sand.

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Written approximate two years ago.

We are taking a short family vacation on the southern Oregon coast.  My youngest, my baby and I went for a walk on the beach this morning.  She was on the hunt for shells and rocks.  I was on the look-out for an opportunity to use my camera.  Capture a scene or a moment.

     On our way back to the cottage, I looked down and saw her footprints in the sand.  My mind flashed back to a time not so long ago when these feet were small enough to fit easily in the palm of my hand.  They are now too big for that.  I hold her hand, and remember the first time I held it, the first time I saw her.  Almost eleven years ago.  Seems like yesterday.

     Back to her show prints.  I am a visual learner, visually inspired.  Her shoe prints made me feel, made me want…so much for her.

Walking on the beach on this sunny morn,
My youngest daughter close by my side.
I see the oceans water stir, I hear a fog horn,
My heart reflects my desire for her to abide.

I turn around and see the sight,
my baby’s shoeprints in the sand.
A day, a year or two or more,
Her tiny feet fit in my hand.

I watch as she diligently searches,
For treasures on the ground.
She is delighted with every find,
My delight in her abounds.

For her future I do pray,
that she will seek the Lord.
and will find delight in all He says,
His word will be her sword.

       It is still, to this day, and will be for as long as I’m alive, my fervent prayer that my daughter always seeks the Lord in all of her life’s decisions.  I love you more my sweet DDK.

Fabulous Fiery Forest

Fall tree

Alas, dear one, the day has come
From burdens, your heart is free.
In the distance – not so far your eyes see,
A magnificent sight, the tree of Calvary.

A tree, so plain and ordinary,
Yet appearances are not all they seem.
Look closely with your heart, dear one.
From it God’s living waters stream.

Its beauty and sweet fragrance
Brings you, sweet child, to your knees.
In praise and adoration to Him,
His death your sin appeased.

Your burdens so lovingly He carries,
His joy and love for you runs deep.
May Jesus be your one true pleasure,
May He be your shepherd – and you His sheep.

And so, dear one as this day closes,
Your burdens at the cross you rest.
Sleep well, sweet dreams, He’s with you
Each precious day, our God knows best.

Debra Scowden © 11/2015

 

”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