Israel

Enough

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A Panoramic View of Florence from Bellosguardo Painting by Thomas Patch (1725 – 1782)

Good morning, beloved!

13 I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with ·much [L all] joy and peace ·while you trust[because you trust; through your faith] in him. Then your hope will overflow by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15 EXB

I’m going to admit to you, dear reader, that today I need these verses. I need to cling to the God of hope today. I cannot make myself hope and have joy and peace. These promises are found in faith in Him and Him alone. So let’s look at some cross references for these verses from the Blue Letter Bible.

I pray that the God who gives hope…

May ·the patience and encouragement that come from God [Lthe God of patience and encouragement] ·allow you to live in harmony with each other the way Christ Jesus wants [or grant you the same attitude with each other that Christ Jesus had]. Romans 15 EXB

16 The Lord ·will roar like a lion from Jerusalem [L roars from Zion];
his loud voice will thunder from ·that city [L Jerusalem],
and the ·sky [heavens] and the earth will shake.
But the Lord will be a ·safe place [refuge] for his people,
a ·strong place of safety [stronghold] for the ·people [L sons; T children] of Israel. Joel 3 EXB

1 From Paul, an ·apostle [messenger] of Christ Jesus, by the command of God our Savior and Christ Jesus our hope. 1 Timothy 1 EXB

will fill you with ·much [L all] joy and peace ·while you trust[because you trust; through your faith] in him.

 Jesus said, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. ·Trust [Believe] in God, and ·trust [believe] in me[or You trust/believe in God, trust/believe also in me]. John 14:1 EXB

27 “I leave you peace [C the Greek word for “peace” reflects the Hebrew shalom, a typical Hebrew farewell; but Jesus’ peace, in the sense of wholeness, is also a characteristic of the messianic kingdom]; my peace I give you. I do not give it to you as the world does. So don’t let your hearts be troubled or afraid. John 14 EXB

16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through his grace gave us eternal ·comfort [encouragement] and a good hope, 17 ·encourage [comfort] you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say. 2 Thessalonians 2 EXB

Then your hope will overflow by the power of the Holy Spirit.

And ·patience [endurance] produces[tested and proven] character, and [tested and proven] character produces hope. And this hope will never ·disappoint us [let us down; or put us to shame; dishonor us; C honor and shame were among the most important values in first century culture], because God has ·poured out his love to fill our hearts [or flooded our hearts with his love]. He gave us his love through the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to us. Romans 5 EXB

And God can ·give you more blessings than you need [L overflow/abound all grace to you]. Then ·you will always have plenty of everything [L in all things at all times you will have all you need]— ·enough to give to [abounding/overflowing in] every good work. 2 Corinthians 9 EXB

He is sufficient. He is more than enough.

So today, friends, as you face your day, remember, He is enough. He is worth living for, He is still more awesome than we can even imagine.  As trials come today, as encouragement comes..whatever you face today, face it knowing that He is more than enough.

My thankfuls:

220. My church family checking up on me, praying for me and loving me and my family.

221. For children who want to spend time with one another and with us.

222. Thankful for my Dad willing to do whatever he can to help.

Prayers for your Pastor and his wife:

Day 18 Pray that your pastor and his wife will be people of prayer and worship, and that they will lead by example—teaching the congregation how to walk in a close relationship with the Father. (1 Thess. 5:17; Acts 1:14a; Matt. 4:10; Mark 1:35; Luke 22:46) Revive Our Hearts

Pray on. Pray on.

 

Placing the day…

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Winter Sunset in Pennsylvania Photo by SloMo2639

Good morning, beloved,

This morning found me awake earlier than usual. With coffee in hand, I begin my day with the Lord. I place my day in His hands.

22 The stone that the builders rejected
became the chief cornerstone [Luke 20:17Acts 4:11Eph. 2:201 Pet. 2:7].
23 ·The Lord did this [L This is from the Lord],
and it is wonderful ·to us [L in our eyes; Matt. 21:42Mark 12:10–11].
24 This is the day that the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad ·today [L in it]! Psalm 118 EXB

I look over my yesterday and ask Him to teach me. I look to my tomorrow and remember, grace. Grace for yesterday, grace for today, grace for tomorrow, so thankful for His grace. Why is life so calm in the garden?  Walking with Him, talking with Him, it’s so peaceful. and then I have to jump into my life. My life feels a little like a snowball at the top of the mountain and by the end of the day, a huge ball. I’ve said things, done things, I regret.

So I truly believe that His Spirit resides in me. So why is it so hard to live out that in front of my family?

I hear myself. I hear the fear. Do you hear it? Do you ever approach a day wondering if, in your time of prayer, what you prayed will bear fruit?

I ·look up [L raise my eyes] to the hills [C the hills surrounding Zion, the location of the Temple],

Sunrise over the Jerusalem hills. Photo by Super Jew

 but where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth [Gen. 1].Psalm 121  EXB

He is the One who helps. He is the One who made it all. So as I begin the day, I lift my eyes. I bring my day before my God, my Helper. I am not ever going to attain perfection this side of heaven, but God promises He will help. He will come.

He will not let ·you be defeated [L your feet be moved/slip].
    He who ·guards [watches] you never sleeps.
He who ·guards [watches] Israel
    never ·rests [sleeps] or ·sleeps [slumbers].

We will not be defeated by the enemy. Our feet will not move or slip. We have the Divine Guardian. He never dozes. He never takes a nap with His favorite afghan. He guards us, He guards Israel always. Promises that we can stand upon.

Western Moon setting over Mountains, High Desert, California by Jessie Eastland aka Robert DeMeo

The Lord ·guards [watches] you.
    The Lord is the shade ·that protects you from the sun [L at your hand, your right hand; 91:1].
The sun cannot ·hurt [L strike] you during the day,
    and the moon cannot ·hurt [L strike] you at night.

So friends, we live with the promise. The Lord is watching, He is the shade. I’m so thankful that God gives us pictures in His word. He is our shade. He is covering us from the sun. He is at our hand. So, as I begin my day, breathing in, breathing out. I am realizing I think tooooooo much. It is so good to remember. SO good to ponder. And duh, where are my note cards during the day with His Word scribbled? Yes, I stopped doing that, and I am going to work on that as soon as I finish.

What disciplines do you have in place that help YOU to remember? A lit candle? Music in the background? We battle. I battle. When I have these different “triggers”, I can look all over and recall.

 

The Lord will ·protect [guard; watch] you from all ·dangers [trouble; evil];
    he will ·guard [watch] your life.
The Lord will ·guard [watch] you as you come and go,
    both now and forever.

We are in His sweet care. We are protected. Five times, in this Psalm, we find the Hebrew word, shamarto guard, to protect. We know. We can trust. Faith. Faith that He will be there always.

Ann Voskamp, Joy Dare:

A gift on a paper, in a person, in a picture:

154. My kids’ pictures, writings, drawings…priceless.

155. Staying in touch with friends, near and far.

156. Seeing pictures of family vacations, delight and relaxation. Remembering…

So, friends, we have a choice. We can grab hold of what we know to be true. Place different triggers around the house, verses, candles, songs. As our world gets more complicated as the day goes by, we can stop, take a breath and remember. I’m game, how about you? :)

Pray on. Pray on.

 

Where would I be?

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Aqueduct of Segovia photo by David Corral Gadea

Good morning, beloved,

I wake up now in complete darkness. Joshua and I are on week three of changing routines for our whole family. One of them for us is devotions and time with the Lord early. Routines are, for me, never easy to begin. Now looking back, I’m grateful we began. Last night I called Danny ready to remind him and he came trotting in saying, Mom, I know what you are going to say. I’ve already laid out my clothes and I know I need my meds. Thanks. Mom.

Open. Close Mouth.

Complete darkness in the morning? Here I come. I know daylight is coming.

We long for light. Our bodies cannot function, well, without the light. We stumble, we get depressed, we stub our toes, we fumble..it’s not pretty. I have to share this with you.

Light therapy might be as simple as getting up early and walking outside on a bright winter morning, Rosenthal tells WebMD. “You can also increase light in your home,” he says “Make one room a sun room.”

A technique called “dawn simulation” — in which a light is programmed to turn on early in the morning in your bedroom — can also help, Rosenthal says.

Light boxes are widely sold over the Internet and exposure to them can help. When buying one, get advice from your doctor and choose bigger ones — one that is at least 1 foot by 1.5 feet, Rosenthal says. These larger boxes have more supporting research, he says.

Patients sit in front of the light boxes daily for a specified amount of time. “Using light in the morning for a half hour to an hour is very effective,” says Stephen Josephson, PhD, a psychologist in New York City and associate professor at Cornell University Medical School and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York. (Fending off Depression Symptoms in Winter, Kathleen Doheny, WebMd)

Light therapy. Our bodies crave light.

Dawn simulation. One of my favorite, favorite names of Jesus is the Bright and Morning Star.

16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to ·tell you [testify/witness to] these things for the churches. I am the ·descendant from the family of David [root and descendant/offspring of David; C a messianic title applied to Jesus; 5:4Is. 11:10], and I am the bright morning star [2:28Num. 24:17C a messianic title].” Revelation 22 EXB

Have to share with you Numbers 24:17:

I see someone ·who will come someday [L but not now],
·someone who will come, but not soon [L I see him, but not near].
A star will come from Jacob;
a ·ruler [L scepter] will rise from Israel [C Saul, then David and his descendants, including the Messiah].
He will crush the heads of the Moabites
and smash the skulls of the sons of Sheth [C identity uncertain].

I’m suggesting to you…in addition to sitting in front of a light box, getting fresh sunlight, how about adding a regime of kneeling in front of the Light of the universe?

Where would I be without the Bright and Morning Star?

Oh friends, I don’t even want to dwell on that one. Look at Peter’s response to Jesus…

66 After Jesus said this, many of his ·followers [disciples] ·left him [L turned back to previous things] and ·stopped following[L no longer walked with] him.

67 Jesus asked ·the twelve followers [the Twelve], “Do you want to leave, too?”

68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord [or Master], who would we go to? You have the words that give eternal life. 69 We believe and know that you are the Holy One from God.” John 6 EXB

I ache with these words. How often have I turned my back? How many times have I worked on building my own kingdoms (only to realize they are sandcastles..)? Barf. Gag.

Peter! Peter! He’s got it. Where would we go? It’s wild. It’s encouraging. It’s heartening.

Friends, Peter did go. Peter did deny Him. You remember that. When you turn your back, you start building your own kingdoms, you remember Peter.

Peter didn’t go anywhere Jesus couldn’t find him. Rescue him. Jesus rescues. That’s His business. Next time you see the light brimming over the dashboard. Rising over the houses. Setting over the soccer fields. You remember: He’s the light.

And He’s in the business of rescuing YOU.

My thankfuls:

A gift wrinkled, smoothed, unfolded (Ann Voskamp, Joy Dare):

130. My family three years ago, newly moved in here.

131. My family, the past year…smoothing…

132. My family…today. Thankful.

Pray on. Pray on.

131.

 

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sculpture by Barbara Hepworth in Cambridge/U.K. (King’s Fellows Garden) Attila Malarik from Cambridge, United Kingdom

Good morning, beloved,

This morning, I have been quiet before the Lord, listening to music proclaiming His light, His love, His majesty, His mercy. I had a boy snuggling with me this morning and I prayed over him that we could just do a more loving job of loving one another as He has called us. Our communication, this week has been rocky and disjointed. So, we sit together, knowing this is a language we both understand. Under it all, we love each other very much. Combined with not feeling my best, allowing quiet to speak ministering more to him than any words. I think that is a good picture for His love for me this morning. Laying my head on His breast, just allowing Him to sing over me, He quiets me with His love. Today I ask you to listen to the songs. Allow yourself a time of worship.

Quiet…remember. He’s got the whole world in His hands…do you need to remember? You know the song. So do I, but this morning, I am very weepy. Come to the place where you see your need for God. Your need for His touch. Listen. He’s here. He’s so close. You are loved.

I had another round of injections yesterday. I brought my kindle with me this time. I have found with my kindle it has a “text to speech“. As I struggled with a migraine before the procedure, as I lay there, I listened to a book full of wonderful advice. It was good as I lay in the darkness to hear how I can tangibly bless my family financially with the grocery budget, also amazing to keep me calm as I waited with an IV in my arm…

After the injections were done, I was very weepy. I was still in much pain and the injections themselves are painful. Right away, I asked for my kindle and turned on Psalm 103. I calmed. I listened. As it is one of my favorites, I can recite with certain versions. I had somehow chosen a version not familiar. So I listened with new ears, I did not turn it off while the doctors and nurses whisked in and out. I was so much calmer.

Psalm 103: 1·All that I am [T O my soul], ·praise [bless] the Lord;
·everything in me [L all my inward parts], ·praise [bless] his holy name.
·My whole being [T O my soul], ·praise [bless] the Lord
and do not forget all his ·kindnesses [gifts; benefits].
He forgives all ·my [or your] ·sins [iniquity]
and heals all ·my [or your] ·diseases [ills].
He ·saves [redeems] ·my [or your] life from the ·grave [L pit]
and ·loads [or crowns] ·me [or you] with ·love [loyalty] and ·mercy [compassion].
He satisfies ·me [or you] with good things [L as long as you live; or according to your desires]
and ·makes me young again [L renews your youth], like the eagle [Is. 40:31].

The Lord does what is ·right [righteous] and ·fair [just]
for all who are ·wronged by others [oppressed; exploited].
He ·showed [revealed] his ways to Moses [Ex. 34:5–7]
and his deeds to the ·people [sons] of Israel.
The Lord shows ·mercy [compassion] and ·is kind [grace].
He ·does not become angry quickly [is slow to anger], and he has great ·love [loyalty; 86:15;145:8–9Ex. 34:6–7Neh. 9:1731Joel 2:13Jon. 4:2].
He will not always ·accuse [charge; contend with] us,
and he will not ·be angry forever [L keep watch forever].
10 He ·has not punished us as our sins should be punished [L does not act toward us according to our sins];
he has not repaid us ·for the evil we have done [L according to our iniquity].
11 As high as the ·sky [heaven] is above the earth,
so great is his ·love [loyalty] for those who ·respect [fear] him [Prov. 1:7].
12 He has taken our ·sins [transgressions] away from us
as far as the east is from west.
13 The Lord has ·mercy [compassion] on those who ·respect [fear] him [Prov. 1:7],
as a father has ·mercy [compassion] on his children.
14 He knows how we were ·made [formed];
he remembers that we are dust [Gen. 2:73:19Job 4:1910:934:15Eccl. 3:2012:7].

Dust sunbeams through tree by Fir0002/Flagstaffotos

Take the Joy Dare (Ann Voskamp)(free on Ann Voskamp’s website!):

Today: Something Above, Below, Beside

My thankfuls:

103. I’m so thankful for rain drenching the ground, our family is praying our lake is full by spring time.

104. I’m thankful for mud tracking in on our white floors. Hold on…it’s a metaphor for me. One, a quick swipe with a hot soapy mop…gone. Reminder, God’s the hot soapy mop in my life. :) Two…is my next thankful.

105. I’m thankful for all the footprints for they represent. We are breath.

I’ve now heard this song twice this morning.

Pray on. Pray on.

 

 

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A photo-montage of fireworks from a Guy Fawkes Night display at Roundwood Park in Harlesden, London. Eight separate images were merged together into one photo.by Billy Hicks

Good morning, beloved,

If you turn on the radio or television, most likely, you will inundated with a year in review. As I listen, I think back on all God has done this past year. How about you? Are you pondering your year in review? What comes first to your mind? I think there is benefit in reviewing a year, what you have learned, what God has done, ponder and count your blessing one by one.

Being with my brother these last few days, we spent some time remembering humorous stories from our youth. Remembering our grandparents. Remembering times of good and bad, we have a shared history. We all ache with the loss of our loved ones. We ache for times of innocence and yet, I would not ever want to endure puberty again. I would never want to go back to high school again. You get the point. Some things are better left in the rear view mirror.

I heard my girl singing this song the other day, I know I’ve shared it with you. Such a good reminder:

Yet I think God has another plan for our thoughts. Check out these verses from Isaiah 43:

A river in the Ansel Adams Wilderness by Eric T Gunther

18 Do not [earnestly] remember the former things; neither consider the things of old.

19 Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

I wonder about these verses. I wonder. Isaiah 43 is one of my favorite chapters of the Bible to recall and encourage myself and others.

Isaiah 43:

He Who created you, O Jacob, and He Who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you [ransomed you by paying a price instead of leaving you captives]; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you.

For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt [to the Babylonians] for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba [a province of Ethiopia] in exchange [for your release].

Because you are precious in My sight and honored, and because I love you, I will give men in return for you and peoples in exchange for your life.

Even everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My glory, whom I have formed, whom I have made.

Makes me smile every time I read it. I know passing through the waters. I know fires that burn. Yet I also know the God who calls me precious, who loves me. Loves you.

He asks us to look to the new things He is doing.

Revelation 21:

Then I saw a new sky (heaven) and a new earth, for the former sky and the former earth had passed away (vanished), and there no longer existed any sea.

And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, all arrayed like a bride beautified and adorned for her husband;

Then I heard a mighty voice from the throne and I perceived its distinct words, saying, See! The abode of God is with men, and He will live (encamp, tent) among them; and they shall be His people, and God shall personally be with them and be their God.

God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more, neither shall there be anguish (sorrow and mourning) nor grief nor pain any more, for the old conditionsand the former order of things have passed away.

And He Who is seated on the throne said, See! I make all things new. Also He said, Record this, for these sayings are faithful (accurate, incorruptible, and trustworthy) and true (genuine).

So maybe this year, I need to be thinking more about what He is about to do. More longing for what is to come. Less mourning for the past, less looking back over my shoulder, sad for what is gone…God has new things He is doing. Are we looking for the new? Or always pondering the old…

My thankfuls today:

82. Kid’s giggles

83. Phones

84. Cortisone shots

Happy New Year, friends. Pray on. Pray on.

 

 

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Darvasa gas crater by Tormod Sandtorv derivative work: Hellbus

Good morning, beloved,

The rain is pelting down, pouring out of the sky this morning. I think it is one of my favorite sounds in the world. My new phone has the sound of the beach. I think I just plain like water. One of my favorite songs is so titled, Water by Brad Paisley.  So why include a fire picture? Dunno. I was kind of amazed at the man who stands there NEXT to the crater. Ahem. Courage? Stupidity?

I woke up very, very early this morning and thought this was it. I was awake and began to read. I am aware of the battle, the spiritual battle raging inside my head. I longed to clear it. I realized I needed to pray and began to pray for others in my life. No, praise. What? Praise Him from whom all blessings flow. So I began with a Psalm I memorized so long ago.

Psalm 103:

1-2 O my soul, bless God.    From head to toe, I’ll bless his holy name!O my soul, bless God,  don’t forget a single blessing!

3-5 He forgives your sins—every one.
    He heals your diseases—every one.
    He redeems you from hell—saves your life!
    He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown.
    He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal.
    He renews your youth—you’re always young in his presence.

And then I was asleep. I gave you a different version than I know, but this morning I think, Eugene Peterson has it right. Bless Him from head to toe. Remember all He has done and all He will do. I remember pain, physical pain, in my youth. Yet I can count it on one hand, the times of sharp pain. I long for heaven where my youth will be renewed. Where pain is gone, and I am set free. I struggle with pain now. I struggle to not be discouraged. I struggle when people ask and I can’t say I’m better. I want to! I want to, but then the Lord reminds me of all the blessings He is accomplishing through this season.

So this morning, keeping it real, pain is my new coat. Maybe not forever, but I will wear it. I’m asking the Lord for joy, joy in the pain. It’s not easy. I get weepy, but as I walked through Target last night, I realized how sincerely blessed I am.

My thankfuls first today (I’m on 60!! woohoo!)

60. I’m thankful that I get time with my eldest. Time is a gift. He is growing so fast and we get to spend the day together.

61. I’m thankful for the joy that comes in the morning.

62. I’m thankful for the pain. (That was very had to write.) I know Him more, love Him more…

I decided to also share Mary’s song in the MSG version. I know I’ve gone verse by verse, but read this in its entirety and smile. Praise Him with her words.

Luke 1:

I’m bursting with God-news;
    I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened—
    I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
    the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
    on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and showed his strength,
    scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
    pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
    the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
    he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
It’s exactly what he promised,
    beginning with Abraham and right up to now.

What God has done for me…

His mercy flows in wave after wave…

The starving sit down to a banquet…

He remembered and piled on the mercies…

This is our gift today, friends. Will you receive it? Will you receive His mercy, wave after wave?

Pray on. Pray on.

Mary and remembering…

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Sunset in Cartagena, Colombia by Igvir

Good morning, beloved,

As the stories unfold surrounding Newton, Connecticut, I have noticed an inevitable internalization.  These parents could be us. These teachers could be our children’s teacher. This school could be our school. We see pictures of wild fear, tears and we crack.  We hold our children tighter. We pray for God to keep the tragedy away from us. May I suggest remembering and reminding ourselves and families:

Psalm 18:

I love You fervently and devotedly, O Lord, my Strength.

The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer; my God, my keen and firm Strength in Whom I will trust and take refuge, my Shield, and the Horn of my salvation, my High Tower.

I will call upon the Lord, Who is to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.

We read the paper, read Facebook, watch the news and silently breathe a sigh of relief that it’s not us. What is that response? We utter, “There but for the grace go I”..(John Bradford). Does that mean we are grateful God’s grace is on us and somehow it slipped  coverage on the people of Connecticut?

2 Thessalonians 2:

Sunset at Härmälä, Tampere. View over Pyhäjärvi Lake to Pispala Ridge by Nikolaus Drees

16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who loved us and gave us everlasting consolation and encouragement and well-founded hope through [His] grace (unmerited favor),

17 Comfort and encourage your hearts and strengthen them [make them steadfast and keep them unswerving] in every good work and word.

We form opinions based on knowledge gleaned from radio, newspapers, word of mouth. I want to suggest to you, as a culture of Christians, I believe we’ve become ensconced in a culture we were never meant to adopt. We are surprised by people’s actions. We are horrified by violence.  Let us instead remind ourselves of God’s power. I love, love, love to remember this picture:

2 Kings 6:

12 One of his servants said, None, my lord O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedchamber.

13 He said, Go and see where he is, that I may send and seize him. And it was told him, He is in Dothan.

14 So [the Syrian king] sent there horses, chariots, and a great army. They came by night and surrounded the city.

15 When the servant of the man of God rose early and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was around the city. Elisha’s servant said to him, Alas, my master! What shall we do?

16 [Elisha] answered, Fear not; for those with us are more than those with them.

17 Then Elisha prayed, Lord, I pray You, open his eyes that he may see. And the Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and he saw, and

Midsummer festival bonfire closeup by Janne Karaste

behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

18 And when the Syrians came down to him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, Smite this people with blindness, I pray You. And God smote them with blindness, as Elisha asked.

19 Elisha said to the Syrians, This is not the way or the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek. And he led them to Samaria.

20 And when they had come into Samaria, Elisha said, Lord, open the eyes of these men that they may see. And the Lord opened their eyes, and they saw. Behold, they were in the midst of Samaria!

21 When the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, My father, shall I slay them? Shall I slay them?

22 [Elisha] answered, You shall not slay them. Would you slay those you have taken captive with your sword and bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink and return to their master.

23 So [the king] prepared great provision for them, and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. And the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel.

We need not fear the world crumbling around us. We need not quake with terror! Rather than read story after story from your local newspaper or read how your best friend from high school’s daughter (who you haven’t spoken to since then) has been toilet trained…we can open the living and active Word of God. His Words bring life, give hope and fill you with knowledge that this world is most certainly not the end. Jesus reminds us to not lost heart. Not to lose hope!

Matthew 24:

Jesus answered them, Be careful that no one misleads you [deceiving you and leading you into error].

Beach at St. Andrews by rob bishop

For many will come in (on the strength of) My name [appropriating the name which belongs to Me], saying, I am the Christ (the Messiah), and they will lead many astray.

And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not frightened or troubled, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.

For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in place after place;

All this is but the beginning [the early pains] of the birth pangs [of the intolerable anguish].

Then they will hand you over to suffer affliction and tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.

10 And then many will be offended and repelled and will begin to distrust and desert [Him Whom they ought to trust and obey] and will stumble and fall away and betray one another and pursue one another with hatred.

11 And many false prophets will rise up and deceive and lead many into error.

12 And the love of the great body of people will grow cold because of the multiplied lawlessness and iniquity,

13 But he who endures to the end will be saved.

Hold on, friends. Hold on. Our perspective must remain on the truth! The Word! I think Mary might have been on to something with her song of praise. ;) We can teach the next generation to fear life or place our hope in the mercy of God.

Luke 1:50 And His mercy (His compassion and kindness toward the miserable and afflicted) is on those who fear Him with godly reverence, from generation to generation and age to age.

mercy (eleos): of God towards men: in general providence; the mercy and clemency of God in providing and offering to men salvation by Christ.

I’ve read comics that state, Where was God in all of this? the response is He wasn’t invited. As Christians, we ask, but why? This is, for me, not the conversation we should be having on Facebook or other social media sites. I would like to suggest that we allow God’s Word to be the commentary. God’s word to be the balm. God’s word to guide the discussion. Posting God’s word as encouragement. We read the names of these precious children and their teachers and our hearts clench. Yet, friends, in our city of Chicago (an hour away from yours truly) by October of this year 436 people had died, which puts the average around 43 people a month.

436 men, women and children…snuffed out by murder. Christians around the world right now, as I type, suffering for our common faith. They are dying for our faith. These are our sisters and brothers! Ugh, it is a yucky world we live in, friends. The media would like us to believe Newton is an anomaly. We gasp at how many school shootings there have been. Oh friends, let’s get back to the truth. Not as a liberal or conservative, let’s reveal God’s compassion, and His kindness to this hurting world.

His mercy is true. It will never, ever fade. Let’s teach our next generation THAT.

Psalm 31:

19 Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear, revere, and worship You, goodness which You have wrought for those who trust and take refuge in You before the sons of men!

20 In the secret place of Your presence You hide them from the plots of men; You keep them secretly in Your pavilion from the strife of tongues.

21 Blessed be the Lord! For He has shown me His marvelous loving favor when I was beset as in a besieged city.

22 As for me, I said in my haste and alarm, I am cut off from before Your eyes. But You heard the voice of my supplications when I cried to You for aid.

My thankfuls:

54. I’m so very thankful for my Dad who drove me to my appointment and drove me home and then drove himself home.

55. I’m thankful for my Ella who dances and sings and giggles her way through life.

56. I’m thankful for nerve blocks.

57. I’m thankful for hope found in Him.

58. I’m thankful for clean dish towels.

59. I’m thankful for my brothers and sisters in Nigeria standing firm.

Pray on. Don’t forget your thankfuls.