Archive | September 2013

“He makes me to lie down in green pastures” (Psalm 23:2)

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Hello. How are you? I hope your week is going well.  It seems apparent that God has me dwelling on and writing from Psalm 23.  Considering what I am going through, I find it odd that I kept coming back to the above scripture because the last thing I think I should be doing is lying down-green pastures or not. As I was researching “peaceful” n the Bible, I noticed a “recurring theme” God has regarding pastures and peace. They seem to go a little hand in hand.”O they went to the entrance of Gedor, as far as the east side of the valley, to seek pasture for their flocks. And they found rich, good pasture, and the land was broad, quiet, and peaceful; for some Hamites formerly lived there.” (1Chronicles 4:39-40) “My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation In secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places…” (Isaiah 32:18)

As I write to you God shows me about myself and I gain my own revelation towards what I am going through.  A pasture is where sheep rest. God calls His children sheep as well. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27) I think it would be safe to say that it is when we “lie down” and rest, we can then rest in God-should we choose. I guess that is the place where we have to let go of ourselves and grab onto God. “Or let him take hold of My strength, That He may make peace with Me; And He shall make peace with Me.” (Isaiah 27:5)  I remember when Hurricane Sandy hit Long Island last October-First, let me say that I was no where near effected as many other people were. I was without power for 1 week; even my job was shut down for 1 week. At night it was a little chilly in my house, but, I’ll tell you-I slept the best during that time. Why do y9u think that is? Because I had no control of anything and had to rely soley on God for everything. For those who went through it, you can remember the food stores running out of bread’ gas stations ran out of gas and some stations  who had gas were gouging the people who need to buy gas for their cars and generators. During all of this, I was able shower and share meals and spend most of the days with my friend at her daughter’s house because she had power. I felt so peaceful during that crisis. “The Lord preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me  Return to your rest, O my soul, For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. (Psalm 116:6-7)

Another theme I am also seeing is this: when one is walking and trusting in God, they have peace. But, if one is not walking and trusting Him for everything, then,there is no peace so, God in His mercy and love will create opportunities for His sheep to “lie down” so we can rest in Him and His strength and not figure out and manipulate a way out of our present situation without Him. God loves and will always provide a way of escape during our trials. It is the trials that our faith gets tested. “So, as the Holy Spirit says: Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness” (Hebrews 3:7-8)  God allows us to grow and learn during and from our trials. I would say it is definitely harder to learn during a trial, but, when we look back and reflect at that time in our life, then we can see what God was trying to accomplish in our lives. Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt,because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” (James 1:2-8)  God is so faithful to us even when we are not faithful to Him. He always gives us an opportunity to come back to Him so we can participate in His rest throughout our spirit, soul, and body.  You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal” (Isaiah 26:3-4)

As we Walk Every Day With Grace, let us learn to “lie down” with God and possess the peace that can only come from His presence.  The Lord is my Shepard, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures.

In His Love,

Melody

‘The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.” (Psalm 23:1)

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Hello! How is everyone? I hope all is well with your soul as you go through your day to day in life. I will admit that my mind is in many places as I go through my own trials and challenges. However, my heart is still for God and I long for His perfect will and guidance as I go through my circumstances.  As my friend Amy says, our trials are big in OUR eyes even though other may know what you are going through, it does not affect them-so my intensity is not theirs and vice versa. Therefore, I stand on God’s word and promises because that is His hope to us all.

At this present time in my life, I have a need-and God is my “Jehovah Jireh”; which means “God is my provider” for my need.  During this trial, I got to see the “wants” I have experienced in my life. The “funny” thing about all of my “wants”-things I needed to have, I gave away.  I now see my trial as God’s “reminder” to me that He is all I will ever need; therefore, I shall not want. God is trying to establish contentment in my life (again). I want to be like Paul, the Apostle and always be content-regardless of   my situation. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:11-12)  “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) It so easy to get caught up in the things of this world.  For example, I LOVE to watch Home Shopping and I have (2) favorite stations that I would rather watch than TV. But, all of sudden, my eyes widen and I find myself saying”oooh…aahh…wow…I have to have that. What? Free shipping? Flex pay? Where’s the phone?” I get mesmerized and become one with whatever is being sold. This what the Bible says about stuff :”Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (1Timothy 6:6-10)  So, how do we do that? “But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (1Timothy 6:11-12)

Whether we go trials or not, one must come to know and understand that Jesus is THE Great Shepard .This is what He says about Himself: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.  The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.” (Joh 10:11-15) A true shepherd will watch over his own sheep and care for them.  He protects the sheep. He makes sure they eat properly and that they stay within the flock because sheep are so dumb that they will eat themselves right off a cliff!  Sheep are completely dependent on the shepherd.  They don’t think about what they want, or what to do, or, where to go.  They just follow the shepherd-innocently, without a care in the world because they know from their experience with the shepherd that he will watch out for them. Oh, they may complain while they “bleat away” but,they still follow. And if one wanders away, the shepherd will leave the whole flock to go after that careless (even rebellious) sheep. Jesus has said :”The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice.He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out  When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” (John 10:2-5) And He said: “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered offAnd if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.” (Matthew 18:12-13) Jesus always used analogies to make his parables easier to understand. How a shepherd feels about his sheep is how God feels about His children. Most little children are innately cautious of strangers because they do not recognize voices. It is amazing to me that God gives us such tangible  life examples and object lessons.

As I write this to you, I encourage myself because if Jesus is our Great Shepard, why do I worry about anything?  I’m  not saying to be foolish and just watch the grass grow because we must be participant in our faith with actions, but, why worry when God is in control and my own illusion (or delusion) is that I am in control of my life.  The Lord is my Shepard, I shall not want.

As you Walk Every Day With Grace, I want to leave you this word of encouragement from scripture. “Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20-21)

In His Love,

Melody

 

 

 

“Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)

 

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Hello! How is everyone? Can you believe t is September already? Time is certainly flying by. It’s funny that I can honestly say that my trial is going on for at least 5 weeks. I know that because it was initiated on August 1st  and today is September 5th. I am not sure where the time has gone-all I know is that I have been busy in the midst of my trial. I have been a Born Again believer  for 27 years, but, that does not mean that my trials now seem insignificant. I do not  take a pious view of them either. I have known many  Christians who will belittled those going through trials saying they don’t have enough faith. There is a saying about those types of “Christians” within the Christian community-those people seem to be “so heavenly minded that they are no earthy good.” Where is compassion? Where is the encouragement that we are supposed to give to one another? Where is the love and understanding? I guess it is human nature to pull someone down and condemn-however, believers in Christ received a new, spiritual nature when they accepted Jesus as their LORD and Savior.I believe the main reason for unbelief is fear. Please do not confuse this with being scared. I believe fear establishes itself when have deluded ourselves into thinking we have lost control of a situation. The truth is God is in control-of everything. He may allow us to “think” we are in control, but the reality is; we’re really not. “A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)

The above scripture has to do with a father who’s son was possessed by a spirit and caused the son to be mute and to constantly go into convulsions and be thrown in to fire. The father knows who Jesus is and what He can do for him but says “if” “If You can do anything, take pity on us and help us! And Jesus said to him,“If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” (Mark 9: 22-24)  I think that Jesus was more astounded at the lack of belief and faith because this man was actually facing God in the flesh and asked “if” He->Jesus->God can do anything for him? The man’s fear regarding his son’s welfare controlled his faith (or lack of).  However, that is not what God gave to His children. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  (2 Timothy 1:7) Please know I am speaking to myself regarding my own fear while knowing that my belief is weak. I’m actually thinking”when God, when will YOU deliver me from this…” (fill in the blank that applies to you). Believe it or  not, it is during these times that God is the closest to us even though we don’t feel Him or see Him working in (or through) our circumstances. But we have to BELIEVE what His Word says is true. “For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)  “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me;Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:1-4) I hope I have not made you feel hopeless, but, we need to choose to believe God in all matters of life. God has given us instruction on how to act during our trials through the Bible; which is His instruction  manual. The book of James, chapter 1:1-4 is where we find God telling us: “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”  I know what you’re thinking… JOY? Yeah, right! Are you kidding me?  There are days I may want to curl up with my tissues and never leave the fetal position! I know, bur God says consider it joy because not only is He testing our faith, He is showing how we actually believe in Him. I am not saying it is easy or that no one struggles with this, but, that is how God teaches us to endure  as we go through the trials. So, how to do we go through? We ask God for His wisdom to endure “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:5-8) The problem with being double-minded is the heart (and/or mind) being torn between its loyalties. It is half-hearted, therefore one’s full commitment to God is not there; and when that occurs, we destroy our belief because we think we can do something while also wondering if God will do want we want on our circumstance. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:3) The cure to double-mindedness is to encourage ourselves in God like King David did. “but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” (1 Samuel 30:6). Faith is an action and we must be participant in our faith-that is what drives out the unbelief and we do that by reading and applying God’s word. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” (James 1:22-25) “So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; or assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” (Matthew 17:20-21)

My friend sent me the picture I put on my blog. It is actually a tornado rainbow! How awesome is that? It actually touches down on the earth and bounces back up to the sky! Incredible, isn’t it? The main reason I wanted to show it is because it represents God’s covenant promise to His creation to never destroy the earth again with water. “And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” (Genesis 9:12-16) My point is this-God keeps His promises-in all things.  We are the ones who need to make sure that we do not waver in unbelief because God is not moving fast enough for us.

As you Walk Every Day With Grace, ask Jesus to help you as you struggle in your faith as you go through your trials and I will do the same. Don’t let the temptation to give up or give in to unbelief win. Here is God’s word to encourage all of us regarding unbelief “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me. For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.” (James 1:13-18)

In His Love,

Melody