The Blessing of Being Still

God cares for the pelicans

This morning my mind is beset by the turmoil of this world. At every level anger, greed, lying, and pride inflict our country. National trust is eroded by the leaders who should preserve and cherish it, and even religious leaders trade truth and justice for political gain. On top of this no one knows how much we have been manipulated by our enemies using social media to push lies and distrust. Our anxiety surges with each news flash. Into this cacophony we are given words to meditate upon:

“Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Psalm 46:10-11

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

The stillness and peace we long for doesn’t come with one reading of these verses. It takes time before God with thanksgiving, until finally you can say:

I have stilled and quieted my soul; Psalm 131:2

The Miracle of Snowflakes

Snowflakes

Snowflakes frozen in pond ice

Each snow flake is a unique wonder of God’s creation, no two are alike. Yet, often when we see them float down it starts us thinking about having to shovel snow, or worry about icy roads. Life is like that, we receive many blessings each day, yet our minds are preoccupied by problems and struggles. It is not to say we should not think about difficult issues, it’s just we should not let them be all we think about. For when we fail to praise God for His “snowflakes,” we miss the beauty and wonder in each day.

Praise the Lord.
How good it is to sing praises to our God,
how pleasant and fitting to praise him! Psalm 147:1

He determines the number of the stars
and calls them each by name.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
his understanding has no limit. Psalm 147:4-5

If you like me have difficulty getting past the troubles of each day, then let Psalm 145 through Psalm 150 guide you in praise.

Morning After Nightmares

Awaken to the Morning

Sunrise against the clouds

I awaken just short of being devoured.
The fear lingers on.
My mind is stalked by the night terror.
I call out to Jesus and He comes to hold me like a mother holds her child.
Together we review the truth,
The verses of His compassion and faithfulness.
The depths of his love explored.
The nightmare cannot come it is left outside.
I am made ready for the day.

Flying Through the Morning Mist

Morning Mist Along the Wenatchee River

Flying through the fog of fear

Life is like this scene along the Wenatchee River—shrouded in fog. I am often unable to see clearly to know what lies ahead. The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Christians at Philippi, encourages us to to move forward not letting our past sins and fears bind us and prevent our advance.

“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,…” Phil. 3:13

So I made my own list of the things I need to forget:

Past sins and failures that have been forgiven.
Past ugliness and pain.
Fear that I don’t have what it takes to keep going.

Trouble is to forget I need to replace my fears with something that encourages, and clears the fog of uncertainty as I move forward. This is why I also need to remember:

Jesus Christ died for my sins, and now I am new in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Jesus loves me and is my faithful shepherd. (John 10:11)
God is building me up in Jesus to do good things. (Ephesians 2:10)
Nothing can separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:39)

When you can’t see ahead moving forward depends on what you let your mind dwell upon. (Phil. 4:8)

When Anxiety Presses In

lightening-7628

Fear of Fire

There are certain memories that I can’t allow my mind to dwell upon, or my anxiety takes charge. It is like thinking of sharks when you’re swimming in the ocean. When my angst starts to rise I must fall at the feet of Jesus and ask Him for help. Otherwise, I get all wound up and stress out. On the last occasion, when my fears started to rise, the Holy Spirit reminded me of John 17:26.

I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.

According to Jesus’ prayer for me, He will continue to make the Father known to me “in order that the love God has for Jesus may be in me.” Wow, how amazing is that? The love God has for the Son is placed upon and in me. The simple reason for this is the Holy Spirit places Jesus in me. Think of it, the creator of all things in me. When I set my mind to dwell upon this prayer, my anxiety and depression begin to bow before Jesus, and I can start to breath again.

Background Music

The sun is the background music for the pines

The sun is the background music for the pines

My granddaughter is constantly singing while she plays. It is wonderful and brings me great joy just listening to her voice. This eavesdropping on my granddaughter reminds me that we all have songs playing in the background. Oh to have a good song rolling through us, just like my granddaughter, for it gives joy to all who hear it. Unfortunately, some of us have distressing clamor playing in the background instead of wonderful music, fitful cries of hurt, pain, or anxiety. This dissonance subtracts from life, instead joy we spread clamor. This is not the way life is supposed to be, but we are trapped unable to change what plays in our life. This is where Psalm 118 is so wonderful. A prayer given to us over two thousand years ago and is still filled with power and meaning. Listen to the Psalmist…

“I was pushed back and about to fall,
but the Lord helped me.
The LORD is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.” (Psalm 118:13-14)

The psalmist teetered about to fall, when the salvation of the LORD came in, becoming his strength and song. But what does the “salvation of the LORD” mean? Further into the psalm it gives the answer.

“The LORD’s’s right hand has done mighty things!
The LORD’s right hand is lifted high;
the LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!” (Psalm 118:15-16)

The reference here is to the Messiah, Jesus. He is the LORD’s right hand.

“Open for me the gates of righteousness;
I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.
This is the gate of the LORD
through which the righteous may enter.
I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
you have become my salvation.
The stone the builders rejected
has become the capstone;
the LORD has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes.” (Psalm 118:19-23)

God tells us through the Messiah we can enter the gates of righteousness, and He becomes our strength and song. Then, when thoughts of hurt, pain or anxiety try to take over I can say: “In the name of the LORD I cut you off” (verses 10-12). Replacing the noise with the song of my God, “Oh, Immanuel.”

Drowning In Trouble

Icicle Creek cold and frothing

Icicle Creek cold and frothing


There are times I feel overwhelmed.
Lost to anything good,
Drowning in fear.
Floundering in guilt and shame for falling so low,
I drink the cup of tears, with no end.
How will I ever live again?

But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;”
Isaiah 43:1-3

Frozen Anxiety

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And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.      (Ephesians 6:18)

What an amazing invitation! God invites us to come into His presence on all occasions with all types of prayers.

When we feel unworthy, when we feel worthy.

When we have been faithless, when we have been faithful.

When we are in the valley of the shadow of death, or on the mountain top of life.

When we are anxious, or when we are calm.

Whether we are filled with fear, or feel fearless.

Whether we feel we can’t, or feel like we can.

Whether we have been clean and sober, or find ourselves in relapse.

Whether we need repentance, or need to praise.

Whether you are in control, or out of control.

Whether you are a coward, or courageous.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3)

Just remember to check your pride at the door, and ask the Holy Spirit to seat you at the cross.