The Thoughts of God

Just as the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my thoughts higher than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9

(From Andrew Murray, Teach Me to Pray)

God’s thoughts are “altogether beyond the power of our comprehension”.

Some people say – “God is cruel to send this virus.” …or that earthquake…or that flood. Others say there must be no God if all of this is happening.

These kinds of thoughts are not God’s thoughts – they are the thoughts of fallible people. God’s plans and purposes are light years away from ours. Once we truly understand that, then we can be humble before God and await His plan.

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Andrew Murray goes on to say, “God tells us that we are made in His image. By grace we are actually renewed again into that image. As we gaze upon God’s glory in Christ, we are changed into the same image by His Spirit. These, too, are thoughts, beyond our comprehension – our minds cannot take them in.

“God, by His Holy Spirit, conveys to our hearts the life and the light that can make us feel at home with these thoughts dwelling in us. But we need daily, prayerful fellowship with God if we are to enter into His mind and to have His thoughts make their home in us. It is by faith that God will not only reveal the beauty and the glory of these thoughts but will actually work in us their divine reality.

“Just think of what Paul writes: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). But as we pray God will reveal them through His Spirit.”

…God will reveal them.

…It is by faith.

…We need daily, prayerful fellowship with God.

As long as we are demanding of God, sitting in judgement of Him and His work, the door is closed between us and Him.

But – Be humble before the Lord, and He will lift you up. (James 4:10)

Do Not Be Afraid – But Be Afraid

There is no reason to fear this, or any, virus. God alone determines when we will die physically. We will all die – and none of us know when that time will be. That has always been and that will always be. Our great advancements in technology and economics will never do away with physical death. I will die. You will die. God holds all of our days in His hands.

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Psalm 139: 16

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Yet, the death of our body is not the end. We will all live forever. The question is – where will we live in eternity?

If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, then you will go to be with Him in heaven. He has promised this.

Matt 14:1-4

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”  V. 6 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

If you have not acknowledged Jesus as Lord and Savior, then you will not be allowed into Heaven. That is what we should be afraid of!

Matt 10:28-31

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Stop running after material wealth. Stop spending your days filling yourself with sensual pleasures. Those things will not last. Look for God. Pray to Him. Ask and you WILL receive.

Rev. 3:20

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”

How do you hear His voice? Read the Bible, pray and listen in solitude.

We don’t need to shut down the whole country. We need to turn back to God.

It is as simple at that.

Do you know Jesus Christ? Do you have any questions about Him?

Psalm 34

I will praise the Lord at all times.
    I will constantly speak his praises.
I will boast only in the Lord;
    let all who are helpless take heart.
Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness;
    let us exalt his name together.

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I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.
    He freed me from all my fears.
Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
    no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened;
    he saved me from all my troubles.
For the angel of the Lord is a guard;
    he surrounds and defends all who fear him.

He freed me from all my fears.

Taste and see that the Lord is good.
    Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
Fear the Lord, you his godly people,
    for those who fear him will have all they need.
10 Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,
    but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.

11 Come, my children, and listen to me,
    and I will teach you to fear the Lord.
12 Does anyone want to live a life
    that is long and prosperous?
13 Then keep your tongue from speaking evil
    and your lips from telling lies!
14 Turn away from evil and do good.
    Search for peace, and work to maintain it.

15 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right;
    his ears are open to their cries for help.
16 But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil;
    he will erase their memory from the earth.
17 The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.
    He rescues them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
    he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

19 The righteous person faces many troubles,
    but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.
20 For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous;
    not one of them is broken!

21 Calamity will surely destroy the wicked,
    and those who hate the righteous will be punished.
22 But the Lord will redeem those who serve him.
    No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.


We must turn from our selfish ways and return to the Lord. We must reach out to others in love, to help them and to give them hope.

Wait…and Listen

Insight for Living publishes a Daily Devotional. The following is their devotional for Sunday, March 22, 2012, yesterday. It touched me deeply so I wanted to share it with you. They also have a large Broadcast Library from which you can choose from Hundreds of broadcasts.

During the three days of waiting, there is a “white space” when nothing is happening—at least nothing visible. You could easily tell yourself at the time, “I’m waiting in vain. Nothing’s going to change.” That’s what the adversary wants you to think: “Waiting’s a waste.” Don’t you believe it! When the enemy’s message roams into your mind, you need to kick it out. Reject it. Look at another verse in Isaiah, just a few verses after the “eagle” verse.

Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

For I am the LORD your God, who upholds your right hand,
Who says to you, “Do not fear, I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:1013)

It’s those kinds of thoughts that surely strengthened Esther while she was waiting, praying, and fasting for those three days. Mordecai did the same, as Esther had commanded. But now their roles were reversed. He was no longer in charge; she was. Or, better still, the Lord was. And as the Lord gripped her heart, she became unafraid of what she faced.

This may be one of those “white spaces” in your own life. Maybe it’s time for you to pray and fast and to call upon a few close friends to fast and pray with you. Maybe it’s time for you to say, “I’m not going to rush into this unpredictable and unprecedented situation. I can’t find the path to walk. So I’m going to wait. In the meantime, I’m going to give it to God. I’m going to listen with a sensitive ear and watch the Lord’s leading with a sensitive eye.”

God counsels us with His eye. The eye makes no sound when it moves. It requires a sensitive, earthly eye to watch the movement of the eye of God—God’s directions. All He may do is turn your attention in another direction. But that may be all you need. As you wait, listen. Pore over a favorite passage in His Word. Quietly give attention to His presence, and He gives you direction.”

The website is: https://www.insight.org/resources/daily-devotional/individual/wait-.-.-.-and-listen1

6 Reasons to be Grateful for COVID-19

Our world is currently experiencing an enormous challenge in the shape of this quickly spreading virus. Some people have become extremely fearful. Often this fear takes the form of lashing out in anger or hoarding items they perceive to be essential.

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Rather than give in to these things, I entered my prayer closet and sat with God awhile. When I came out, I realized that I could be grateful for even this. Here are six reasons that I am grateful the COVID-19 virus came along.

  1. It makes me humble. I am not as strong as I like to believe. The world tells us that we are strong and powerful, that we can do anything. It also tells us that we deserve everything, so we should go out and get it. Reality is, I am not powerful at all. I am weak and I am afraid. Yet God is All Powerful.  “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor. 12:9
  2. It makes me remember God. The most important things in life are not buying a new shiny car, or going to the next big party. The most important things in life are God, people and showing love in tangible ways.  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matt 22:37
  3. It gives me an opportunity to stand up and encourage other people. The Oxford dictionary defines to encourage as to give support, confidence, and/or hope to another. Some synonyms are to uplift, inspire and motivate. A community or society of people can withstand and accomplish SO much, if they strive to encourage one another daily.     “Encourage one another daily.” Hebrews 3:13
  4. It gives me an opportunity to show grace to others. People are scared and not acting like themselves, but they are doing the best they can. Neighbors, companies and corporations are made up of people who are doing the best they can. The customer service person on the other end of the line has probably had a harder day than I have. A gentle and patient voice can go a long way to helping others make it through their day. Rather than lashing out in anger or suing people for not being perfect: take a deep breath, smile and tell them ‘Thank You’. I want to be known as a person who made it better, rather than a person who made it worse.
  5. It gives me time for concentrated Bible Study and Prayer. Instead of running to more meetings and meeting friends for drinks, I now have time to find a quiet place where I can open my Bible and search the scriptures. I can now sit at the feet of the Almighty God of the Universe and praise Him for his Power and Love. I can ask Him for His will and for direction in my life. If you draw close to Him, He will draw close to you. He is only waiting for you to open the door, then He will come in and meet with you. (Rev. 3:20)
  1. It gives me time to read a great book. There are so many out there!
    1. https://www.kingsenglish.com/newsletter This is a fantastic independent bookstore that has a newsletter (Inkslinger) with reviews of some wonderful books. Check it out!
    1. https://www.nytimes.com/books/best-sellers/ Even more books to view here!
    1. https://www.christianbook.com/page/christian-books?navcat=Books This site has so many books available, it would take years of secret little viruses to get through them all.
    1. https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/264.Books_That_Everyone_Should_Read_At_Least_Once  This list of classics is full of high-quality literature that will never go out of demand.

“Social Distancing” will not always be with us – but for now, let’s focus on, and enjoy, what we CAN do, not bemoan what we cannot.

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No matter where we are or what we are doing – we can always spend more time with God!

“Grace and Peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 1Cor 1:3

Please share a suggestion or a story to tell about a positive way someone is spending their days.

Beauty

On December 22, 2019, we had a beautiful wedding in our family.

Matt and Eriko

The bride was beautiful – and her dress! The groom was handsome. The church was all decorated up for Christmas, and was the perfect beautiful setting for such an event.

Wedding music, glowing candles, fresh flowers, beaming faces, magnificent dresses, and happy tears. The indescribable joy fills everyone’s heart.

Yet, True beauty is even deeper; “…the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:4

Both of these young people are truly beautiful. They are considerate and thoughtful to their families as well as gracious, kindhearted and helpful to one another. Our entire family is bursting with pride for this young couple and we are excited to see where God will take them.

May God greatly bless you both in the coming year, and in the future as you reach out to teach and love those around you.

Wait Upon God

Over the past few days, my husband and I have been looking back and looking forward. The new year has brought us to ponder our lives and what we see in this world.

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We see more drugs and violence. We see families in trouble where there were once many strong families. We see communities of people helping one another reduced to strangers living next door and children not able to cope.

Yet, we also heard an incredible testimony at church last week. A young man raised in a Christian home had fallen far from God and he was feeling the effects of it. His guilt and shame grew and grew until he could no longer stand it. He came back to Jesus and his incredible joy is truly infectious.

This morning my husband and I began a new devotional, Teach Me to Pray, from the writings of Andrew Murray.

January 1 reads: “Wait upon God – He (Daniel) prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God. Daniel 6:10

“The more I think of and pray about the religious situation in our country, the deeper my conviction becomes that Christians do not realize that the aim of conversion is to bring them into daily fellowship with the Father in heaven.

“For the believer, taking time each day with God’s Word and in prayer is indispensable. Each day we need to wait upon God for His presence and His love to be revealed.

“It is not enough at conversion to accept forgiveness of sins or even to surrender to God. That is only a beginning. We must understand that we have no power on our own to maintain our spiritual life. We need to receive daily new grace from heaven through fellowship with the Lord Jesus. This cannot be obtained by a hasty prayer or a superficial reading of a few verses from God’s Word. We must take time to come into God’s presence, to feel our weakness and our need, and to wait on God through His Holy Spirit to renew our fellowship with Him. Then we may expect to be kept by the power of Christ throughout the day.

“It is my aim to help Christians to see the absolute necessity of spending time with the Lord Jesus. Without this, the joy and power of God’s Holy Spirit in daily life cannot be experienced.”

That is the answer. The answer to the world’s trouble. The answer to our personal, daily walk through this troubled world.

Christ, the Nearness of God

(The devotional Teach Me To Pray is full of wonderful words from Andrew Murray that encourage us in our spiritual lives. Here is one of my favorites.)

Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you. James 4:8

It has been said that the holiness of God is the union of God’s infinite distance from sinful man with God’s infinite nearness in His redeeming grace. Faith must always seek to realize both the distance and the nearness.

In Christ, God has come very near to man. Now the command comes: If you want God to come still nearer, you must draw nearer to Him. The promised nearness of Christ Jesus expressed in the promise, “And be sure of this: I am with you always” (Matt 28:20), can only be experienced as we draw near to Him.

This mean that at the beginning of each new day, we must yield ourselves to His holy presence. It means a voluntary, intentional, and whole-hearted turning away from the world to wait on God to make Himself known to our souls. It means making time to allow him to reveal Himself. It is impossible to expect the abiding presence of Christ with us through the day without the daily exercise of strong desire and child-like trust in His word.

As you pray, let these words come to you with new meaning each morning: “Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you.” Wait patiently and He will speak in divine power: “I am with you always.”

Remember – Part II

God is Never Late by Billy Graham

The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade at your right hand. Psalm 121:5

In order for a tree or any plant to grow and bear fruit, its seed must first be planted in the ground and die. In order for spiritual fruit to appear in our lives, we must first be planted in the Word of God and then die to self. In the face of chastening, adversity, discipline, and affliction, God’s Word nourishes our lives and fruit begins to appear. But it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and patience.

Joseph would never have been of use to God had he not been sold into slavery by brothers who hated him, and then wrongly accused by Potiphar, who put him in prison. Even after he had told Pharaoh’s cupbearer he would be restored to the kings’ court and asked him to tell Pharaoh of his unjust imprisonment, Joseph had to wait two more years for release from prison.

As we wait upon the Lord, He may sometimes seem slow in coming to help us, but He never comes too late. His timing is always perfect.

Are you in a season of waiting? Don’t let it be a wasted season. Study God’s Word so that your roots grow deep, and spend time in prayer so that you recognize His voice when it’s time to move.

Written by Billy Graham

Remember – Part I

Everyone is going through a hard time in their life,

            Or they have just come out of a hard time,

                        Or they will soon be in one.

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Why is life always so difficult? Our own sin brings many troubles our way. Satan also is a powerful source of life’s disasters. But look closely at what God’s word says. “…to humble and test you in order to know what is in your heart…” (Deut. 8:2 see below)

Why would God do such a thing? God’s word once again says, “to teach you that people do not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” (Deut. 8:3)

God uses hard times to humble us, to draw us closer to Him and to help us recognize His sovereignty.

If we read carefully, we see that this comes with a promise. “…so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the Lord promised…” This is not only for the ancient Israelites, but also for us. God has a “land” for us as well.

This promise also comes with responsibility. “When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God…”

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He goes on to say, “Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down,and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God,…”

It all boils down to this –

Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.
(Psalm 37:4)

Which stage are you in right now?

  1. Are you in the midst of difficulties? Then Remember God, Turn to Him, and Trust Him.
  2. Have you just come out of trying times? Then Thank God, Delight in Him.
  3. In between hard times, enjoying some calm and rest in life? Then Follow Him. Be humble. Remember.

Deuteronomy 8

Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors. Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.

Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.

10 When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. 11 Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God,…”

Psalm 37

3Trust in the Lord and do good;
    dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
    your vindication like the noonday sun.