Here

 
Here is where I breathe You deep inside my heart,

Here is where You make me strong and make me more like You.

Here is where You pour Your love like a river over me,

Here is where my heart finds more of You.

 

Here is where I come to You, Lord,

With all that I am,

You come to me

With all You made me to be.

 

Where is Here?

The place…

The time…

Any place, any time of the day that I draw aside and spend time alone with the Lord, purposing to draw near to Him in close and intimate communion.

 

Here

Is where I am with Him and He is here with me. He made us for this! Let’s not miss out on the richness of drawing close to Him.

Oh, Father, I am glad I don’t have to look far or seek long to find You. I can look into a great big sky and always find You near. I can look into my heart and always know You’re here.

Jeremiah 29:13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

 

Excerpt from Words to Refresh. Click title to go to Refresh's Amazon page.

Forever and Always


Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.

Jeremiah 31:3

When my husband and I gathered with his family to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of an aunt and uncle that are dear to our hearts, a stone trivet was given to the attendees to commemorate this special anniversary.  They were inscribed with the words Forever and Always. When I held the inscribed stone trivet in my hand and read those words I immediately thought of the way God loves us.  

But sometimes, we find ourselves doubting God’s love. Sometimes we call out to Him, “Lord, are You still here? Do You really love me?” Do you ever have those days when you can’t seem to feel anything at all or maybe you would even describe feelings of unworthiness when it comes to God’s love for you?   

I think we all have days like that and we must remind ourselves these thoughts are not based on God’s truth. These are the kind of days when we find ourselves needing reassurance that He is here for us, still loving us, and we find ourselves asking Him…

Lord, please…

Wrap me tighter in Your love,

Stop the world from pressing in-

Stop the world from dimming my eyes

To see Your truth.

Let my eyes see only You,

Then my heart will always know-

There is a love that holds me

In Your loving, warm embrace.

The truth that I acknowledge in my own heart is this. I am loved with an everlasting love. I am loved with the greatest love there is in this whole world. The Bible tells me so. 

How grateful I am that on those days when I have doubts - I can still know I am worthy, and I am loved by a steadfast immeasurable everlasting love. He is still here. Loving me. Forever and always.

 

Excerpt from The Hope Collection: Portraying the Hope We Have in God

A fresh dose of encouragement for whatever you are facing today.

Available in paperback on Amazon for only $6.99 HERE.

Prayer in the Earthly Realm


I have been thinking about the importance of prayer and asking myself for the millionth time...how does prayer work??

I know most of the mysterious answer lies in the heavenly realm, the divine and supernatural that we will never understand. Except for those rare glimpses God chooses to give us. And He does.

But I also thought about the earthly realm. Also mysterious.

The earthly realm goes beyond my own prayers but includes asking others to join me and pray on my behalf when I have a great need. There is a rich value in being able to do this.

Knowing others are praying is a strong encouragement when we are struggling. Just being able to ask others is admitting we need their help, we can’t do this alone. When we ask others to pray we are pleading with them to have our back.

Yes, prayer is between God and me. But it is also between myself and those I ask to please intercede in prayer with me. We usually choose praying people to ask to pray. They are the people that will say, “Yes, I will pray, I’ve got your back!”

There is power in prayer in the heavenly realm which mostly remains a mystery to us. And there is also power in prayer in the earthly realm in the willingness and desire of others to pray for us when we ask.

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

From Clay: Reflections on the Life God Is Shaping in Us 

To visit Clay's Amazon page, click HERE.

Closed Doors


Closed doors are God’s detour 

to the open doors He prepares for us.

 

Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

There was a time not so long ago when I let the doors that slammed shut in my face slam my self-esteem with crushing blows. I had not learned yet that closed doors were simply part of God directing my paths.

I had not learned yet that closed doors were an integral part of God’s design to lead me to the plans He has for me. It was God’s way of saying, “No, don’t go there. That’s not part of my plan for you. No, don’t go there either, it’s not time yet.” I eventually learned when God put a stop in my path that He was sometimes doing it to say, “No, don’t go there, I am preparing you for something else.”

The Lord reminded me to trust Him and to keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking. He promised me a time will come when a door will be opened, and then I will understand why He had to close a few other doors before opening the very special door He had prepared for me. My heavenly Father reminded me over and over that I must completely, wholly trust Him. He repeatedly reminded me—because I was guilty of being a slow learner—but I did gradually learn this important truth He was teaching me.

He also reminded me to look beyond the closed doors, beyond the circumstances that confused me, and look ahead and know that what lies ahead was appointed for His purpose to be accomplished in His perfect time. 

When we believe that God has a plan for our lives, it is easier to understand the doors He closes for reasons we may never be made aware of and watch for the open doors He has waiting for us as we continue to live our lives fully surrendered to His ways.

There comes a day when we are glad for the doors God has closed, and He shows us once again how perfectly He orders our steps to fulfill the plans He’s made for the open doors.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  

Excerpt from Clay: Reflections on the Life God Is Shaping in Us. Click on title for details.

The Trouble With Circumstances

Today, I fought discouragement,

Because I looked at me instead of God;

I looked at circumstances instead of Him.

But then, I fixed my gaze on Him,

And by the time evening fell

Discouragement had also fallen away.

Looking at our difficult circumstances can often get us into trouble. When we examine what is going on around us, it’s easy to think, This is bad, this is messed up, and there is no way it can be resolved. It’s easy to fall into the trap of saying to ourselves, I don’t see how God can work through this or fix it. Or we jump right into questioning why He let this happen in the first place. When discouragement sets in, what are we to do?

The best attitude we can have is to be grateful that God can work in any situation! Nothing is too big or too hard for Him, and we don’t have to face any difficult situation alone.

How often we look at our circumstances in the natural, rather than in the divine or supernatural, where God can work in powerful ways we cannot even imagine! If we only have our own strength to rely on, then we surely grow discouraged. But when we look to God, our hearts are filled with hope and awe because we know He does great and mighty things.

The story of Joseph is one of the greatest examples in the Bible that more is going on than what is seen in the circumstances. Joseph’s brothers plotted to murder him; but instead of killing him, they put him in a pit, then decided to sell him to slave traders. You know the rest of the story—he ended up falsely imprisoned for many years. Now, that is a long string of difficult circumstances! Yet, if you read the entire story from Genesis 37 to 50, you will repeatedly see God’s good hand of favor on Joseph through it all.

God delivered Joseph from prison and promoted him to the second in power in the land of Egypt. At God’s prompting, Joseph wisely stored food and prepared for the coming famine. He was eventually reunited with his family, and there we see the most beautiful aspect of this whole story: Joseph forgave his brothers. The most memorable and oft repeated verse from this entire passage is Joseph’s statement to his brothers in Genesis 50:20, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”

Joseph’s story, as do many other stories in the Bible, demonstrates to us that God is always working in those things we cannot see… yet. God is continually working in and through bad circumstances… for good.

Take your eyes off the circumstance and look at God.

The circumstance can overwhelm 

Until you remind yourself again-

Who God is.

Who you are in Him.

Romans 8: 28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

 

Excerpt from: First Breath of Morning: Where God Waits for You Every Day

To go to First Breath of Morning's Amazon page, click HERE.

Nothing Too Broken

What would happen if my crystal vase with its silk flower arrangement fell off the shelf onto the hardwood floor below? It would crash and break into innumerable pieces unable to be put back together.        

What do you do when your world is crumbling in a thousand tiny pieces and you see it slipping through your hands? You are grasping to hold on, keep it from falling apart, but all you hold in your hands is shattered, broken pieces.        

Nothing is too broken for God. He wants to put it back together and put it back stronger than before, better than before, and often in a new direction. His process of restoration and rebuilding will bring change. You won’t be the same person after having gone through this. You will be a new, improved you!

He will not put you back together only to have you pick up where you left off before this trial happened. You are not the person you were going into this experience. You have learned many things and you have grown and are still growing. God will use this growth so you can now help others. What a privilege it is to be able to help someone go through a similar storm to one God has just brought us through.

You can trust your heavenly Father to rebuild what the enemy has torn down, if you will lay all the pieces of your life into His hands and call on Him to rebuild what is broken. He will make all things beautiful in His perfect way and in His perfect time. Your heavenly Father wants you to trust Him as you have never trusted before.

Psalm 34: 18 The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.

Excerpt from The Hope Collection: Portraying the Hope We Have in God
 
A fresh dose of encouragement  
for whatever you are facing today.

Available in paperback on Amazon for only $6.99 HERE.