Windows of the Soul

seekth

God stretched out the heavens,
stippling the night with inpressionistic stars.
He set the sun tothe rhythm of the day,
the moon to the rhythm of the month,
the seasons to the rhythm of the year . . .
He formed a likeness of Himself from a lump of clay
and into it breathed life.
He crafted a counterpart to complete the likeness,
joining the two halves and
placing them center stage in His creation
where there was a temption and a fall,
a great loss and a great hiding.
God searched for the hiding couple,
reaching to pick them up,
dust them off,
draw them near . . .

We reach for God in many ways.
Through our sculptures and our scriptures.
Through our pictures and our prayers.
Through our writing and our worship.
And through them He reaches for us . . .

His search begins with something said.
Ours begins with something heard.
His begins with something shown.
Ours, with something seen.
Our search for God and His search for us meet
at windows in our everyday experience.

But we must learn to look
with more than just our eyes
and listen with more than just our ears,
for the sounds are sometimes faint
and the sights sometimes far away.
Ken Gire

Then shall ye call upon me,
and ye shall go and pray unto me,
and I will hearken unto you.
And ye shall seek me, and find me,
when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
And I will be found of you, saith the LORD:
Jeremiah 29:12-14a

Published in: on February 20, 2017 at 11:27 am  Leave a Comment  
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We Have Need of Patience

1

My brethren, count it all joy
when ye fall into divers temptations [or “trials”],
knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.–
James 1:2-3.

We have need of patience
with ourselves and with others;
with those below,
and those above us,
and with our own equals
with those who love us and
those who love us not
for the greatest things
and for the least;
against sudden inroads of trouble,
under our daily burdens;
disappointments as to the weather,
or the breaking of the heart;
in the weariness of the body,
or the wearing of the soul;
in our own failure of duty,
or others’ failure toward us;
every-day wants,
or in the aching of sickness
or the decay of age;
in disappointment,
bereavement,
losses,
injuries,
reproaches;
in heaviness of the heart;
or its sickness amid delayed hopes.
In all these things,
from childhood’s little troubles
to the martyr’s sufferings,
patience is the grace of God,
whereby we endure evil for the love of God.
E. B. Pusey

Published in: on February 19, 2017 at 6:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Casting All

feb24-023

Casting all your care upon him;
for he careth for you.
1 Peter 5:7

Casting all your care
Your anxiety,
your distracting care,
on him,
for he careth for you,
for he meddles or concerns himself,
with the things that interest you.
Whatever things concern a follower of God,
whether they be spiritual or temporal,
or whether in themselves great or small,
God concerns himself with them;
affects them affects him;
in all their afflictions he is afflicted.
He who knows that God cares for him,
need have no anxious cares about himself.

Cast thy burden upon the Lord,
and he will sustain thee.
Psalm 55:22

He will bear both thee and thy burden
Clarke’s Commentary

Casting the whole of your care,
all your anxieties,
all your worries,
all your concerns,
once and for all on Him,
for He cares for you affectionately
and cares about you watchfully.
1 Peter 5:7
Amplified Bible

Published in: on February 11, 2017 at 1:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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As For God

god-is-our-rock

He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.–Psalm 23: 2- 3.

Out of obedience and devotion arises an habitual faith,
which makes Him,
though unseen,
a part of all our life.
He will guide us in a sure path,
though it be a rough one:
though shadows hang upon it,
yet He will be with us.
He will bring us home at last.
Through much trial it may be,
and weariness,
in much fear and fainting of heart,
in much sadness and loneliness,
in griefs that the world never knows,
and under burdens that the nearest never suspect.
Yet He will suffice for all.
By His eye or by His voice He will guide us,
if we be docile and gentle;
by His staff and by His rod,
if we wander or are wilful:
any how,
and by all means,
He will bring us to His rest.
H. E. MANNING.

Psalm 18:30-32
As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. 31 For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God? 32 It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.

Published in: on February 8, 2017 at 11:49 am  Leave a Comment  
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Be Still

be
I do not believe that we have begun to understand
the marvelous power there is in stillness.
We are in such a hurry–we must be doing–
so that we are in danger of not giving God a chance to work.
You may depend upon it,
God never says to us,
“Stand still,” or
“Sit still,” or
“Be still,”
unless He is going to do something.
This is our trouble in regard to our Christian life;
we want to do something to be Christians
when we need to let Him work in us.

Do you know how still you have to be
when your likeness is being taken?
Now God has one eternal purpose concerning us,
and that is that we should be like His Son;
and in order that this may be so, we must be passive.
We hear so much about activity,
may be we need to know what it is to be quiet.
–Crumbs

Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God.
Psalm 46:10 Amplified

Published in: on February 6, 2017 at 4:55 am  Comments (1)  
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The Gospel, The Rod of thy Strength

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The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion:
rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.
Psalm 110:2

The rod of thy strength – The Gospel –
the doctrine of Christ crucified;
which is the powerful scepter of the Lord that bought us,
is quick and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword;
and is the power of God to salvation to all them that believe.
The kingdom of our Lord was to be founded in Zion,
and thence, by gradual conquests,
to be extended over the whole earth.
It was in Zion the preaching of the Gospel first began;
and it is by the Gospel that Christ rules,
even in the midst of his enemies;
for the Gospel extends a moralizing influence over multitudes who do not receive it to their salvation.
Clarke’s Commentary

Christ is the Word, the Gospel,
the same yesterday, today and forever.

The power of the Gospel,
who can describe the power of the Gospel.

The Gospel brings comfort, Psalm 23:4,
. . . thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

The Gospel brings peace, Romams 10:15
And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

The Gospel brings help, Psalm 46:1
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

The Gospel brings salvation, Romans 1:16
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

The Gospel brings everlasting life, 2Timothy 1:10
But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

These scriptures show the power of the Gospel to those who believe.

I was stirred by Clarke’s statement, ‘for the Gospel extends a moralizing influence over multitudes who do not receive it to their salvation’. We surely have seen the effect of removing the Gospel from our schools and our government.
JUST the reading of the Gospel to children,
JUST being thankful for all things,
JUST knowing the Gospel is sitting on the shelf,
JUST honoring our God has a power we do not comprehend.

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good;
and what doth the LORD require of thee,
but to do justly, and to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with thy God?
Micah 6:8

Thoughts from Malachi 3

mal1

Malachi was writing to God’s people, who for the most part were going thier ways, picking and choosing which of the commandments they would follow.

Chapter 3 begins by telling the people, God would send a messenger, John the Baptist, to prepare the way so people could receive the fulfilling of the promise, the arrival of the Messiah.

1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord,

John came preaching strong of repentance and being cleansed. His words showing the need of a refiner’s fire and fuller’s soap for a cleansing deeper than sorrowful words, but real turning from their old ways to obedience to God.

2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:
3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

The God of the fathers, of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob , the God of Moses, Joshua, Samuel and David, the unchanging LORD was saying again to His people, return/

6 For I am the LORD, I change not;
Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts

Give me, bring to me all that I ask, not more of your what you think I want, or less because of your selfishness. Bring and I will pour out a blessing. Bring, and I will protect your future prosperity.

10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.

Those people of God who believed his words acted daily in specific ways:

16 Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.

They that feared the Lord

1. They feared the Lord. They had that reverence for Jehovah that caused them to depart from evil, and to keep his ordinances.
2. They spake often one to another. They kept up the communion of saints. By mutual exhortation they strengthened each other’s hands in the Lord.
3. They thought on his name. His name was sacred to them; it was a fruitful source of profound and edifying meditation. The name of God is God himself in the plenitude of his power, omniscience, justice, goodness, mercy, and truth. What a source for thinking and contemplation!
See how God treats such persons: The Lord hearkened to their conversation, heard the meditations of their hearts; and so approved of the whole that a book of remembrance was written before the Lord – all their names were carefully registered in heaven.  Clarke’s Commentary

17 And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, . . .

Published in: on January 24, 2017 at 4:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Living God

 old-woman-1st  old-man

O Daniel, servant of the living God,
is thy God whom thou servest continually,
able to deliver thee?
Daniel 6:20

How many times we find this expression in the Scriptures,
and yet it is just this very thing
that we are so prone to lose sight of.
We know it is written “the living God“;
but in our daily life there is scarcely anything
we practically so much lose sight of as
the fact that God is the living God;
that He is now whatever
He was three or four thousand years since;
that He has the same sovereign power,
the same saving love towards those who love
and serve Him as ever He had
and that He will do for them now
what He did for others two, three, four thousand years ago,
simply because He is the living God, the unchanging One.
Oh, how therefore we should confide in Him,
and in our darkest moments never lose sight of the fact
that He is still and ever will be the living God!

Be assured,
if you walk with Him and look to Him and expect help from Him,
He will never fail you.
An older brother who has known the Lord for forty-four years,
who writes this, says to you for your encouragement
that He has never failed him.
In the greatest difficulties,
in the heaviest trials,
in the deepest poverty and necessities,
He has never failed me;
but because I was enabled by His grace to trust Him
He has always appeared for my help.
I delight in speaking well of His name.
–George Mueller

For I am the LORD,
I change not;
Malachi 3:6

Published in: on January 21, 2017 at 4:03 am  Leave a Comment  
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Rejoice Evermore

cup

Deuteronomy 26:11
And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing
which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee,
and unto thine house, . . .

Gratitude consists in a watchful, minute attention
to the particulars of our state,
and to the multitude of God’s gifts,
taken one by one.
It fills us with a consciousness
that God loves and cares for us,
even to the least event
and smallest need of life.
It is a blessed thought,
that from our childhood
God has been laying His fatherly hands upon us,
and always in benediction;
that even the strokes of His hands are blessings,
and among the chiefest we have ever received.
When this feeling is awakened,
the heart beats with a pulse of thankfulness.
Every gift has its return of praise.
It awakens an unceasing daily converse with our Father,
–He speaking to us by the descent of blessings,
we to Him by the ascent of thanksgiving.

And all our whose life is thereby drawn
under the light of His countenance,
and is filled with a gladness, serenity, and peace
which only thankful hearts can know.
H. E. MANNING.

italics-mine

Published in: on January 19, 2017 at 4:15 am  Leave a Comment  
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Life Has a Way

At times life has a way of pushing us around.
At times the response is to hide and protect.
This piece is about that hiding and protecting;
and about letting go and healing.

 

dark-sn

“Life has battered us down.
Life had heaped refuse upon our heads.;
and we have sealed it in a vault;
where is is safe
where no one will know it is there
a protected place, a dark place, a place alone.
But you know,
you know the hurt and the disappointment,
you know the betrayal and the casual promises,
never fulfilled.
you know the coldness of the fault,
you know the aloneness,
you know the numbing power of grief.

Turn us again, O God,
and cause thy face to shine;
and we shall be saved.
Psalm 80:3

The warmth of God’s eyes
looking on with compassion –

melting the icicles,
melting the snow packs,
melting the protective barrier.

Let that melting water run to sweep away the refuse and lies.
Let that melting water run to cleanse the blueness of the wound.
Let that melting water run free to refresh and make new.

Let the tears flow to soften numbness
Let the tears flow so eyes see clear
Let the tears flow to heal the broken hearted”

Psalm 80:17-19
Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand,
upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself.
So will not we go back from thee: quicken us,
and we will call upon thy name.
Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts,
cause thy face to shine;
and we shall be saved.

Published in: on January 18, 2017 at 4:25 am  Leave a Comment  
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Help thee? Fear not!

“I will help thee, saith the Lord.”
Isaiah 41:14

Let us hear the Lord Jesus speak to each one of us:
“I will help thee.”
“It is but a small thing for me, thy God, to help thee.
Consider what I have done already.

What! not help thee?
Why, I bought thee with my blood.
What! not help thee?
I have died for thee;
and if I have done the greater,
will I not do the less?
Help thee!
It is the least thing I will ever do for thee;
I have done more, and will do more.

Before the world began I chose thee.
I made the covenant for thee.
I laid aside my glory and became a man for thee;
I gave up my life for thee;
and if I did all this,
I will surely help thee now.
In helping thee,
I am giving thee what I have bought for thee already.
If thou hadst need of a thousand times as much help,
I would give it thee;
thou requirest little compared with what I am ready to give.
‘Tis much for thee to need,
but it is nothing for me to bestow.

‘Help thee?’
Fear not!

If there were an ant at the door of thy granary asking for help,
it would not ruin thee to give him a handful of thy wheat;
and thou art nothing but a tiny insect
at the door of my all-sufficiency.
‘I will help thee.’“

O my soul, is not this enough?
Dost thou need more strength
than the omnipotence of the United Trinity?
Dost thou want more wisdom
than exists in the Father,
more love than displays itself in the Son,
or more power than is manifest
in the influences of the Spirit?

Bring hither thine empty pitcher!
Surely this well will fill it.
Haste, gather up thy wants,
and bring them here-thine emptiness, thy woes, thy needs.
Behold, this river of God is full for thy supply;
what canst thou desire beside?
Go forth, my soul,
in this thy might.
The Eternal God is thine helper!

“Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismay’d!
I, I am thy God, and will still give thee aid.”
F. B. Meyer

 

p-c

Don’t you find it interesting that Meyer says
‘Bring hither thine empty pitcher!’?
A glass full will take care of my needs.
A pitcher full satisfies my needs and those of others.

Isaiah 43:1-2
But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob,
and he that formed thee, O Israel,
Fear not: for I have redeemed thee,
I have called thee by thy name;
thou art mine.
When thou passest through the waters,
I will be with thee;
and through the rivers,
they shall not overflow thee:
when thou walkest through the fire,
thou shalt not be burned;
neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

(emphases, italics, spacing and bold, are mine)

Published in: on January 16, 2017 at 11:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Savior and Three Prayers

There is a beautiful story told of how one Christian dreamed that she saw three others in prayers. As they knelt the Master drew near to them.

As He approached the first of the three, He bent over her in tenderness and grace wiith a smile full of radiant love and spoke to her in accents of purest, sweetest music.

1-woman_praying

Leaving her, He came to the next but only placed His hand upon her bowed head, and gave her one look of loving approval.

6pray

The third woman He passed almost abruptly without stopping for a work or glance.

3-woman-praying-at-church1

The woman in her dream said to herself, “How greatly He must love the first one, to the second He gave His approval, but none of the special demonstrations of love He gace the first; and the third must have grieved Him deeply, for He gave her no word at all and not even a pssing look.

I wonder what she had done, and why He made so much difference between them?” And she tried to account for the action of her Lord.

He Himself stood by her and said: “O woman! how wrongly hast thou interpreted Me. The first kneeling woman needs all the weight of My tenderness and care to keep her feet in My narrow way. She needs My love, thought and help every moment of the day .Without it she would fail and fall. the second has stronger faith and deeper love, and I can trust her to trust Me however things may go and whatever people may do.

“The third whom I seemed not to notice, and even to neglect, has faith and love of the finest quality, and her I am training by quick drastic processes for the highest and holiest service. She knows Me so intinately, and trusts Me so utterly, that she is independent of words or looks or any outward intimation of My approval. She is not dismayed nor discouraged by any circumstance through which I arrange that she shall pass; she trusts Me when sense and reason and every finer instinct of the natural heart would rebel,–because she knows that I am working in her for eternity and that what I do, though she knows not the explanation now, she shall understand hereafter.

“I am silent in My love because I love beyond the power of words to express, or of human hearts to understand and also for your sakes that you may learn to love and trust Me in Spirit-taught, spontaneous response to my My love, without the spur of anything ourward to call it forth.”
Streams in the Desert
Pittsburg Bible Institute Publications

I love this story.

I first thought the third woman’s experience
was place when reached never changed.
I do want that strong faith and love for my Savior.
I also know I am human, with emotions and feelings.

Some days, I have run through a troop
Some days, I have leaped over a wall
Some days, I have fallen flat on my face.

Every day, I need much help to walk this way.
Every day, I need help on every leaning side
Every day, I need God’s anchor and strong chain to hold me fast.

Always I know His Presence is near.
Always I know His Grace is sufficient.
Always I know His Hand is holding mine.
Always I know His Word is tried and sure.

Psalms 18:28-35
For thou wilt light my candle:
the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.
For by thee I have run through a troop;
and by my God have I leaped over a wall.
As for God, his way is perfect:
the word of the LORD is tried:
he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.
For who is God save the LORD?
or who is a rock save our God?
It is God that girdeth me with strength,
and maketh my way perfect.
He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet,
and setteth me upon my high places.
He teacheth my hands to war,
so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.
Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation:
and thy right hand hath holden me up,
and thy gentleness hath made me great.

Abide With Me

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from Jesus Calling, Sarah Young

And he said,
My presence shall go with thee,
and I will give thee rest.
Exodus 33:14

Let me prepare you for the day
that stretches out before you.
I know exactly what this day will contain,
whereas you have only vague ideas about it.
You would like to see a map,
showing all the twists and turns of your journey.
You’d feel more prepared if you could some how
visualize what is on the road ahead.
However, there is a better way
to be prepared for whatever you will encounter t0day:
Spend time with me.

I will not show you what is on the road ahead,
but I will thoroughly equip you for the journey.
My living Presence is your Companion each step of the way,
Stay in continual communication with Me,
whispering My Name
whenever you need to redirect your thoughts.
Thus, you can walk through this day
with your focus on Me.
My abiding Presence is the best road map available.

John 15:4-7
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

A Happy Life

Isaiah 26:3-4
You will guard him and keep him
in perfect and constant peace whose mind
[both its inclination and its character]
is stayed on You,
because he commits himself to You,
leans on You,
and hopes confidently in You.
So trust in the Lord
(commit yourself to Him,
lean on Him,
hope confidently in Him) forever;
for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock
[the Rock of Ages].
Amplified Bible

growing-4612-002

A happy life is not built up of tours abroad and pleasant holidays,
but of little clumps of voilets noticed by the roadside,
hidden away almost so that only those can see them
who have God’s peace and love in their hearts;
in one long continuous chain of little joys,
little whispers from the spiritual world,
little gleams of sunshine on our daily walk.
Edward Wilson

“I will never let go your hand!”

hand

Psalm 9:9-10
The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed,
a refuge in times of trouble.
And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee:
for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.

The Father cares when He sees His children
in the teeth of a blinding storm,
but He knows that faith grows in the tempest.
He will hold our hands bidding us not to try
to see the next step we are to take.
He knows the paths of a hundred million stars,
know the way through the whirlwind and the storm,
and has promised, “I will never let go your hand!”

There is unquestionably a grave danger
of many becoming spiritually paralyzed by depression.
The forces of darkness are so imminent,
the magnitude of the crisis is so great
that many are tempted to cry out with the disciples,
“Lord, carest thou not that we perish”
Yet He who may appear to be “asleep upon a pillow”
is riding upon the storm in all His divine majesty.
The great need is for more faith in the omnipotent God.
from Streams in the Desert, Mrs. Charles Cowman

How many times in the midst of trouble
big, overwhelming, very real trouble
or small, piddly things
that have been exaggerated in our minds;
have we thought as the disciples,
“Lord, carest thou not that we perish”

We must not cast away our confidence in our God.
God is not as one of us.
God is not limited by human undertanding.
God is not bound by time.
moses
Moses,

even after seeing the burning bush
even after seeing deliverance from Eygpt
even after seeing the cloud by day and pillar of fire  by night,
even after seeing water fresh come from a rock,

Moses still questioned God.

And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. Exodus 33:12 (italics are mine)

God, is his great love and pity for the man
He created and called to lead His people,
reassured Moses with these words:

And he said, My presence shall go with thee,
and I will give thee rest. Exodus 33:14

God also assures us today.
Lean hard on these promises in Isaiah.
Don’t depend on our own understanding

sheep

In all their affliction he was afflicted, ( I love that thought)
and the angel of his presence saved them:
in his love and in his pity he redeemed them;
and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old. Isaiah 63:9

God, in His compassion, feels our afflictions,
and as a father who pities his children.
God cares.

And even to your old age I am he;
and even to hoar hairs will I carry you:
I have made, and I will bear;
even I will carry, and will deliver you. Isaiah 46:4

Troubles
Big or Little,
Yes, they will come.
It’s called life.
Our comfort –
We are not alone.