Attempting to obey God and follow Jesus Christ our Lord

music

He Makes Me Brave

Music has a way of touching spaces deep within us, and every so often, a song comes along and every word seems to hit home as if it were written just for you, individually. Sunday, as we sang a song that we have sung before, I had this very experience. I don’t consider myself to be a fearful individual, yet anxiety tends to rise when I am overwhelmed with too many unknowns or uncertainties. A place that always brings peace to my soul, is any space that is near water, so the song You Make Me Brave, by Amanda Cook, (click highlighted to listen and view lyrics) struck home on multiple levels.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         After a very full last day of school, as I was leaving a retirement celebration for our fabulous school finance secretary, a kind friend, and former teacher and colleague, reminded me of a favorite verse of mine in casual conversation. He had no way of knowing what uncertainties are standing before me, yet what he spoke, was clearly a reminder from God. When I am afraid, I will trust in You. – (Psalm 56:3) This will be my life verse, imprinted on the tender and tremulous places in my mind and heart, to remind me that I do not have to know what is coming nor what I am to do, I just have to choose to trust in Him.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       When I stand on shore,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
in awe of the sea;
as mighty waves crash,
You stand, holding me.
Your love lifts me up,
replacing the fear;
I will choose to trust,
for I know You’re near.
Let Your waves of grace,
come wash over me;
remove all the fear,
of what I can’t see.
May I give to You,
all that is unknown;
and trust that You will,
take care of Your own.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we are afraid, we can trust in You. Thank You that Your waves of grace wash over us, and make us brave beyond what we could ever be without You. Thank You that You call us to so much more than just standing at the shore. Thank You that You want us to go far beyond what we could ever imagine on our own. Forgive us for the fear that hinders us, and help us to hold fast to the promises that You have made. May we go forth boldly in Your love and Your grace, and may many come to know the safety of Your eternal embrace. Be glorified as we trust in You. Amen.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              © Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – I Chronicles 16:31

The Blessedness of Forgiveness Psalm 32

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,

Whose sin is covered.

Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity,

And in whose spirit there is no guile.

When I kept silent, my bones grew old

Through my groaning all the day long.

For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;

My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah

 I acknowledged my sin to You,

And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said,

“I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”

And You forgave the iniquity of my sin, Selah

 For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You

 In a time when You may be found,

They shall not come near him.

You are my hiding place;

You shall preserve me from trouble;

You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah

  I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;

I will guide you with My eye.

Do not be like the horse or like the mule,

Which have no understanding,

Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle,

Else they will not come near you.

 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked;

But he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him.

Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous;

And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!


Commit Thou to Faithful Men

img_25332Timothty 2:1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. 3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. 5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. 6 The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits. 7 Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. (KJV)


What if Ninevah had not listened to Jonah?

Source: tumblr.com via Ashley on Pinterest

The story of Jonah and the whale is often dismissed by most as a Children’s story, but it really is not. It is one of the most important stories of redemption in the Bible. When God wanted Jonah to go to Ninevah and warn them to turn back from their ways, Jonah did not want to go.

Jonah 1

King James Version (KJV)

1 Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,314428_189607997781575_188738997868475_422680_285128613_n

Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.

But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.

What we see in Jonah is a man who thought that his way was the best and didn’t not trust in God when He had a plan for the future of Ninevah. Jonah did not believe that Ninevah deserved redemption, and did not want to be the messenger that gave them the opportunity. But one of the most important things that we learn from the story of Jonah is that God is in control!

But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.

Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.

So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.

And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.

Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou?

And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land.

10 Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him. Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them.

11 Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous.

12 And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.

13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them.

14 Wherefore they cried unto the Lord, and said, We beseech thee, O Lord, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, OLord, hast done as it pleased thee.

15 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.

16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord, and made vows.

17 Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

We all know this part of the story, this is what we learned as children. But for so many the story stops here. Yet when Jonah gets to Ninevah is more important to the world of Jonah’s day. God warns them through Jonah that if they do not pray for forgiveness and turn from their ways that they will be destroyed.

So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey.

And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.

So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.

For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.

And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:

But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.

Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?

10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

Jonah was one of God’s messengers that rebelled from doing what God wanted him to do, and yet God used that very rebellion  to convince Ninevah of His message. If Jonah had been a willing messenger, Ninevah probably would not have taken him seriously. And yet Ninevah still might have gone the other way. They might have refused to listen. If they had not listened God would have kept His promise to destroy them. We see from this story that no matter how bad things are that there are hopes for redemption, that God always keeps His promise, that He is in control no matter what we think, and that no matter how faulty we are as humans, He can use us to save others. We see an example of resurrection and redemption, a forerunner of Jesus Christ Himself.

No matter what we think about this world, we need to remember that things are not always what they seem, and that God is still in control and His plan is in place. We are not aware of what He is doing at any given time, and what we think is a failure, may just be another step in the process to the final goal that He wants. We have read the Book and we know the end. God’s time is His own and our time on earth is only important in fulfilling the objectives that He has given us and that is to “go forth and make disciples.”

God bless you all, have faith and trust in God no matter what you think should be the right path!


Thought for the Day

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Bless the Lord, O my Soul

Psalm 103

King James Version (KJV)

103 Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;

4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;

5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

6 The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.

7 He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.

8 The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.

9 He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.

10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.

12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.

14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

15 As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.

16 For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.

17 But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children;

18 To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.

19 The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.

20 Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.

21 Bless ye the Lord, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure.

22 Bless the Lord, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the Lord, O my soul.

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Merry Christmas


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