Psalm 24

 

On difficult days like today, I cling to the words in Psalm 24.  A reminder that this world, and my life, belong to the Lord.  By His word it was all founded and established.  By His word.  Not mine.  That’s why I need to cling to Gods word.  I can so easily think I’ve got some control.  Even convince myself I can change things going on around me.  So for today I will say, with David…

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.” Psalm 24:1-2

 There are also days when I feel incapable and unworthy of the Lord. My hands are not clean, but filthy with sin. My heart is not pure, but dark and dank.  Often my idols are not statues, but people.  Specifically, my children. I want to be worthy to ascend His mountain and stand in His holy place.  But am incapable on my own, in my sinful humanness.  What must I do, Jesus?

 Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. Psalm 24:3-4

 So what do I see?  What I believe?  That God has already cleaned my hands and purified my heart.  A gift freely given to me when Jesus died on the cross once and for all.  That includes you, too.  That’s where verse 5 brings it home for me. A sweet beautiful blessing.

 They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior. Psalm 24:5

 In the midst of our trials, temptations and challenges…we will choose to keep our eyes stayed on His face?  To raise our hands in praise and worship to the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ?  I hope and pray, like the psalmist, David, we will say yes!  Always and forever yes!

 Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob. Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Psalm 24:6-7

 And when I question who He is,

The Lord of heavenly hosts.

May I remember that I am His;

Of God’s glory may I always boast.

The Lord is strong and he is mighty,

Through all times, be it in joy or in battle.

I’ll lift up my head and see him rightly,

My wee life in Him shan’t unravel.

 

Oh! King of Glory, perfecter of grace,

Let my life be a beautiful testimony.

Let all, in me, see Your face,

Forever and ever, only.

  Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Psalm 24:8-9

 In Mark 8:29 Jesus asks his disciples, “But what about you?” He asked. “Who do you say I am.”  In a bold and rock-like manner, Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”

Oh, to be as bold, strong, confident and courageous as Peter.  With all of my sin and imperfections, I forget that I can come boldly to His throne. “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16 KJV.  And suddenly it all becomes clear.  Which doesn’t make it easy, just clear.  Clear that He is the King of glory, the Lord Almighty.  Of me, my life, my family, my finances, my health.

 Who is he, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty— he is the King of glory.” Psalm 24:10 NIV

So on days like today, and perhaps even tomorrow, may we always remember that God is in control.  He knows everything, sees everything and controls everything.  To be a follower of Jesus, a disciple, we must take up our cross and follow Him.  In so doing even though we lose our life, we are saved…because we have lost our lives for Him and for the gospel. (Romans 8:34-35 paraphrased.)

Dear Heavenly Father, I desire to live my life for You, help me to take up my cross daily and follow You.  You already know my story.  From beginning to end.  Let me fully trust You in all of the details of my life, trust You with my husband and my daughters, with our finances and our future.  Thank you, Jesus for being my Lord and my Savior. Amen!

dsc_0201

 

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

DSC_0599.JPG

“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

 

 

Stop, Sit, Submit

    Photos by Debra Scowden 2016


I am a part of an online Bible journaling challenge for the month of January.  Since today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day the premise was about areas we may be personally struggling and then asking God to help us grow and change into the best we can be for Him.  What I’m enjoying most about this study is that its not focusing on my being artistic in my journaling Bible, but about know who God is and what He wants for me.  It’s has been a beautiful journey.

The scripture that we focused on today was First John 5:5, “Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”  The assignment was being honest about my personal struggles, then coming up with 3 goals for a better life.

So let me begin by saying I have put this in first person because it is my story, my struggles and my goals.  If you connect with any of what I share and are helped by it please let me know by leaving a comment.

My Struggles are impatience and self-control.  Dear Heavenly Father, in the mighty, powerful name of Jesus, I pray that I would stop before I reach the point of impatience, calming me so I can live out that fruit of patience; that my lack of self-control would be turned around completely to total self-control because I am depending only on You, Lord Jesus, Amen.

Three Goals for a Better Life

  1. STOP:  When the feeling of impatience begins to enter my mind, I need to stop myself immediately and pray.  Similar to the game of Monopoly, when you land on the Go To Jail or receive a card from the Chance deck, you are forced to STOP what you’re doing and where your going, and go to the spot marked jail.  It’s here that I have to sit and wait.  No sense is being impatient or losing self-control.  I must stop.  Job 37: 14 says, “Listen to this; stop and consider God’s wonders.”  So, that’s pretty clear.
  2. SIT:  When my schedule is full, or we are running late, I become impatient and lack self-control.  I can get frustrated with my girls, or whomever may be around.  😦  This scenario is all too common in my life. It affects my husband and my children., and myself.  Not something I am proud of in the least.
    As I reflect on my goals towards patience and self-control, I can see how much of this craziness is my own doing.  Overlapping events on the calendar cause me great angst.  That is when I have  physically stop myself.  I need to sit still with the Lord,  open my Bible and search for scripture that will bring me to completely focus on Jesus.  Some scriptures I have camped on are Psalm 37:7, Psalm 131:2, Jeremiah 29:11 and Lamentations 3:24-25.  Truly, there are so many amazing verses to hold onto.
  3. SUBMIT:  After I stop myself, I sit with the Lord and His word.  Here is where I need to be willing to submit myself, completely and fully, to His good and perfect will for my life.  Hebrews 10:36 reminds me, “You need to preserve so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.”  This perseverance is moving toward His will and plan, no matter what.
    Ultimately, His will is being done in my life whether I’m on board with it or not.  The end result, where I’ll end, depends on whether or not I choose to submit to His will.  I choose to submit.  I say to myself, “Submit yourself therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  (James 4:7)  Great words.  Not necessarily easy, but possible with God.

 

DSC_0599


Life has troubles and turmoil,
Pain and suffering, too.
These seasons seem to spoil
My plans, out they just flew.

I stop and hold all movement,
Reflect on God’s Holy word.
To be a devoted student,
My spirit is deeply stirred.

I search the scriptures fully,
My heart longs to know
God’s will for me completely,
His promise shines; a rainbow.

Submitting to Him only,
No other thing I need.
With God I can live boldly,
In my words, my heart, my deeds.

To know that Jesus Christ,
Is indeed the Creator of all.
His life for me He sacrificed,
I am no longer held in thrall.

DSC_0683