Let Go! And He will Give You rest

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When I seek His presence, a peace comes over me
When resting in His shadow, I’m new and I am free
Oh to walk so closely with my Great and Mighty God
Protected in His mercy; engulfed within His love.

When I’m walking closely, with heart and soul laid bare
When I’m clay within His hands, I soar where eagles dare
When I lay down everything that my heart holds so dear
The presence of His spirit falls and makes my vision clear.

When I walk within His path; and hear His still, small voice
The peace of God floods over me and uproots every doubt
When I know that He knows best and rest within that truth
My pride-filled heart melts away; with mind and soul renewed.

When I lay down selfish gain and let God lead my way
Trusting Him with outcomes and all I lose or gain
His presence overwhelms me and I am not afraid
He makes my life a symphony; a poet’s best refrain.

So why does my heart wander, distracted by life’s cares
Holding on to burdens that cover me in fear
And why does pain and trouble, make me forget my God
Why do I strain against His Yoke and act like I am God?

Why do I let pride rise up strong and rule my wicked heart
Why do I think my needs come first, self-centered in my life
Why do I forget that You, always know what’s best
That when I let You lead my way… I overcome each test.

O God please give me eyes that see when my heart turns to stone
Give my mind understanding; a heart for You alone
Give me ears to hear Your truth and shut my ears to lies
That I might have discernment and from my ashes rise!

We praise You in the darkness, we praise You in the light
We trust You Holy Savior, with hearts and souls contrite
Blessing, honor, glory, and power to Your name
The King of Kings, the Lord of Lords; Its You alone we praise!

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

The Importance of Being Grateful

                    cross in sunset

Pam sat in the small auditorium eagerly waiting to hear the main speaker at the church’s women’s retreat.  The theme of the retreat was “Living a Grateful Life” and she desperately wanted help in understanding how to live daily with a grateful attitude.  Somehow over the last several years her attitude toward life in general and her family specifically had become negative.  Pam knew her negative attitude was damaging her most precious relationships and that it wasn’t honoring God.  With her whole heart she desired to change, but it was difficult establishing a new way of thinking.

The speaker began. “Lately I’ve been thinking about how important the act of being grateful is and how it can effect our everyday lives.  Learning to live a grateful life is such an important goal that when I type “being grateful” into the Amazon search box the results show 22,226 titles concerning this topic.  The Bible has more than 68 verses that specifically address being grateful or thankful to God for and in all our circumstances.   Pam thought, “68 verses!  I didn’t realize how important being grateful was to God.” 

The speaker continued.  “Why is it important to God that we Christians discipline ourselves in having a grateful spirit?  I think it’s because the act of being thankful focuses our minds on God, and His faithful hand of provision.  It puts the emphases on God and diminishes the frustration of our daily trials.  Practicing a grateful attitude helps us see and appreciate the many blessings God has given us, even when the blessings turn into momentary trials. ”Pam identified with this last statement; so many things she’d once considered a blessing had become trials in her life.

The speaker went on.  “A grateful attitude is a powerful attitude because it can change our body language, tone of voice, thought pattern, and interaction with others.  A grateful attitude increases our energy and inspires those around us.  A grateful attitude will help keep us mindful of the fact that we are blessed by God and he loves us mightily.  A grateful attitude may not change our situation or circumstances, but it will help give us strength while going through them and make our days much more enjoyable.”  Pam wanted to be grateful; she wanted to be a blessing to others.

Next the speaker addressed the damaging effects of a negative attitude.  “On the other hand a negative attitude will have the opposite effect.  It will drain our energy, change our body language, tone of voice, thought pattern, and interaction with others, for the worse.  And it will discourage those around you.  A negative attitude will hinder our prayer life and Bible reading.  That’s why as Christians it’s imperative that we discipline ourselves daily to have a grateful attitude.”  Pam felt like the speaker was describing her and felt deep pain within her spirit.  She prayed for God’s forgiveness.

Concluding, the speaker addressed specifically how a God honoring attitude of gratefulness impacts the family.  “Sometimes our greatest blessings can also be our greatest struggles.  For example our families are indeed a great blessing.  However, when our husband’s idiosyncrasies start bugging us or when the children are whining, fighting, and generally driving us crazy, they can feel more like a curse than a blessing. This is when we need to practice the discipline of being grateful instead of giving in to negative thoughts about our loved ones.  If we allow that initial negative thought to take root in our minds, it can quickly grow and before long our annoyance with a few little quirks becomes the filter through which we see our spouses or children.  That’s why we need to discipline our minds to be thankful to God for the many blessings He has given us including our families instead of dwelling on our irritation with them.  When we choose to do this it will bring our negative thoughts into captivity and release ourselves to love as God has instructed us to love.”

That’s what Pam wanted, to honor God by disciplining her mind to be grateful, enabling her to love as God intended.  The speaker passed out a list of Bible verses about gratefulness, Pam read them and determined to use them as her daily guide to disciplining her mind to be grateful daily.

Psalm 100: 1-5 (A Psalm for giving thanks.)  Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. 

 Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Philippians 4:6   do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Philippian 4:8   Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Thessalonians 5:18 Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Psalm 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.

Debora Shelford Hobbs

 

 

God’s With Us In The Storm

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Do you feel like you’re alone,
Adrift without a rudder?
Where is God, the heart cries out,
What happened to His favor?
Why do I feel abandoned,
Sinking in the waves?
Where is the light at tunnels end,
Where is Your hand that saves?

Though the storm is at its height,
Though all you see is darkness.
Know that God is there with you,
You need not be frightened.
Fear not my child, comes His great voice,
Know that My ways are perfect.
You’re not alone, I’m by your side
Even when I’m silent.

There is nothing on this Earth,
That severs us from God.
Not height nor depth nor powers great,
Can take away His love.
If God be for us, then who can say,
That anything’s against us?
For even in the darkest trial,
We’re sheltered in His love.

Trust and wait, submit your heart,
This pain will work for good.
Rest in His arms, know He knows best,
His peace will blanket you.
We can’t control outcomes of life,
We scarcely control ourselves,
So stand and walk; give God your best,
And you shall pass this test.

God loves you; God loves you,
Know that it’s true, He hasn’t left your side.
He puts us in the fire
To change us through and through
The fire burns away our chaff,
It will make us strong.
Refined and pure, washed in His blood,
To shine forever more.

 

Rhonda Shelford Jansen