An Open Letter from God

Do not fear! I am with you. I love you and walk with you. I will never leave you. Situations and circumstances may change, but I will never change. Lean on me for strength... I will strengthen you for every task. For I go before you. I will not leave you. I know every desire of your heart. I want to be the  JOY of your life. I will satisfy your every need and desire in my perfect timing. I will anoint you. I will show you when to speak and when not to say a word. I love you. You are mine. The plans I have for you are great! Trust me. Every step you take I have already gone before you. Let my shoulder be the one you rest your head upon. Lean on me completely... Do not worry- just trust and pray. Tell me everything. I will guide you and give you wisdom. The things that frustrate you... Tell me and no one else. I will give you insight you need to find resolution. Know that I see you and haven't forgotten you... You are not alone. I am here, closer than you think... As close as your next breath. Do you really need me? Why do you wait so long to find me? Why do you run to others? Am I not faithful? I will be faithful to you... You must first look and want my faithfulness. I've placed you here for this time, this season, at this location. I know it's too much for you to do on your own... But I never intended you to do it on your own. Depend on me. I am here. Lean on me. I will do the work if you'll just be willing to let me. I want you to hear my voice as clearly as you hear me right now. I want to tell you things, but I need you to listen. I need you to find more time to be still before me. When you draw near to me- I will draw near to you... That's when you will hear and find me. You want to hear me... Are you listening? You want to see me... Where are you looking? You want to touch me... Are you reaching? You want to please me? Why do you look for others approval? Transition is coming and I have great plans for you. Yield to me and I will do great things through you and in each area you touch. Do not grow weary, but depend and lean on me. I love you and I am closest than you'll ever know. I know the burdens and worries in your heart. I'm taking care of them one at a time. I'm preparing you for what I've planned and my timing is perfect. You can trust me and put your guard down with me. I know what you really carry, let me carry it for you. Don't forget to dream. Continue to seek new visions, more creativity and ideas for what's ahead. I'm going to move and I am going to use you! I will give you favor and I will do mighty things. I've already started using you in ways you do not see! Trust me. Depend on me. Rest your head on my shoulders and I will carry you. I love you so deeply and I want you to remember that I am closer than you realize. I'm in your heart. I know your insides and outs... I know you deeply, but I want you to know me in the same ways. I love you,

Abba

 

(given to me with permission to share by anonymous)

Praying God's Names- Jehovah Sabaoth

Jehovah SabaothI Am the Lord of Hosts

When I come to the end of my self, When I am at the end of my strength, When I need power for deliverance, Then I rest in You.

When no other way seems clear, When I see no other help, When I am at the end of my resources, Then I rest in You.

You are the One who Delivers. You are the Lord of Hosts.

I come to worship and offer the sacrifice of myself as I plead with You. I know no one else who can help me. I face impossible odds and no one believes I can do what you called me to do. I know you are my power and my strength.

I cannot rely on religion. I cannot depend on icons or symbols. I cannot trust my own strength if I want victory. I must come to you in righteousness.

You are the One who Delivers. You are the Lord of Hosts.

You are my righteousness. You are my deliverer. You are the judge of my enemies. You see my heart and save my soul.

You, Jehovah Sabaoth, are the One who Judges. You, Jehovah Sabaoth, are the One who Delivers. You, Jehovah Sabaoth, are the Lord of Hosts.

By Karen Guthrie December 17, 2008

For When You're Stuck

We returned recently from full-time, front-line mission work at Camp Barnabas and though it was an incredible summer I’ve been feeling stuck. Actually run over and then left to dry... in the rain... might be a better description. I’m just spent. Spent and stuck. Stuck and spent. Feeling like there’s nothing else to give and yet too much left over. Spiritually God knocked this summer out of the ballpark- and I got front row seats to His show. He even called me on stage a few times to participate. It was spectacular. People found Christ, dozens upon dozens were baptized, demons were exorcised, and people’s faith grew stronger and mightier. I couldn’t have asked for more. I felt as if I should be walking- no swaggering- out of camp with my head held high, my Bible worn through, my voice singing praises, and my cup overflowing. After all, it was all GodStuff right? And yet I’ve been stuck in this weird, post-victory void; one that both leaves me exhausted and yet feeling guilty that I’m not handling the celebratory victory very well. In fact I’m pretty much sucking at it.

Ugh.

I’ve been in need of some encouragement of late. I desperately needed to hear God tell me it was okay to feel this way, that He understood- even if my feelings are counter-intuitive to the situation- maybe especially because they don’t match the season.

And then I happened upon Elijah. After his epic spiritual victory over Jezebel’s priests in 1 Kings 19, we find him running, alone, hungry, tired, and afraid... spiritually Stuck. So much so he asks God to die right then and there (fortunately I’m not personally <there> but man I can relate!)

God met him right where he was- alone, discouraged, restless and yet exhausted...

“And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, "Arise and eat." And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, "Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you." And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.” 1 Kings‬ ‭19:5-8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

This struggling and depressed prophet, one of the mightiest in the Bible- rested. When Stuck, God sent sustenance. He gave him rest, He let him lie down, He fed him and gave him shade. His angel actually came a second time to revitalize him again.

I love that. I desperately needed to have permission to rest and be a bit overwhelmed at the past battles. God knows me... as He knew Elijah... as He knows you.

What a relief! What a thought! What grace!

Sometimes I have a tendency to struggle against my Stuck. I look around and I think I’m doing it wrong- and that pulls me down even further. And yet, there is grace even within the quagmire of being spiritually Stuck- whether it be metaphorical or physical- God allows His servants rest, rejuvenation, and revitalization.

So, dear one, if you’re feeling Stuck, take heart and know you’re not alone. Jeremiah encourages us, even in the Stuck, “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭40:28-31‬

Praying God's Names- Jehovah Shalom

Jehovah ShalomI Am Peace

True Peace cannot be found apart from You. My peace depends on my relationship with You. When I obey You, I have peace for peace comes as a blessing from You. I rest in You. You hold my future and my hope is in You. Peace comes when I focus on You, when I let go of worry & trust in You.

Your Word – the good, right & perfect way – brings peace. My thankful heart rejoices in You. You hear me & give me peace through Jesus. When I think on the true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, good, excellent, praiseworthy, when I dwell (which is to live or abide) on these things, peace comes from You.

You promised me the Prince of Peace who is Lord of Lords & King of Kings. Through Him I have peace with You. I have peace, no matter what my circumstances, because of You. It is of your very essence.

You have given me Your Peace, not what this world offers as peace, but peace to my soul when I rest in You.

You keep me in perfect peace when I focus on You. As I am filled with Your Spirit, You give me peace for you are my Jehovah Shalom. You are the Lord is Peace.

By Karen Guthrie December 12, 2008

Praying God's Names- Jehovah Mekoddishkem

Jehovah – MekoddishkemI Am the One Who Sanctifies

You are a Holy God. There is only goodness in You. Sin cannot be in your presence. So, you made a way for me, sinful as I am, to come before you. You set me apart from the world when you saved me. You made me different from the inside out. Now I come to you through grace; the grace of the cross.

Before the cross, the priests were continually offering sacrifices to atone for the people. So many laws, rules & regulations no one could live up to all of them. The Law shows me my failure, my sin. Jesus cleanses me & makes me holy. Jesus is the final sacrifice, the final atonement. Because He is at Your right hand, I am able to approach you freely. I can worship you. I can ask of you. You freely give.

You gave the Israelites the Sabbath as a reminder that they are your chosen possession & are to be set apart from the world. The Sabbath is the reminder that it is You who make us holy. You created the Sabbath for our good. You instructed the Israelites to keep it. Do no work; reflect on the greatness & goodness of God. It is a holy day to be used as rest for the body & refreshment for the soul.

How do I “keep Sabbath”? How do I make it a holy time & not just a day to do nothing? How do I make it a day spent focused on God? How do I focus on His love for me & for the world? I am not under the Law, but still need redemption. Is this law still valid for today? Didn’t Jesus fulfill the Law & do away with legalism? We worship in Spirit, but the Bible calls this an everlasting covenant. If we are “children of Abraham” are we required to keep our part of the covenant even though not physically a Jew?

How do I live a holy life? How do I live set apart? How do I remain a peculiar people? What do I do that shows who You are? I can do nothing on my own, in my own power or strength. All I can do is have faith in You, ask for forgiveness & plead the blood of Christ. You accept my plea & forgive. Through the blood I am sanctified for you are Jehovah – Mekoddishkem, the One Who Sanctifies.

Sabbath Rest for the body A day to remember God A day to worship

By Karen Guthrie December 4, 2008

Finding God In... MISCARRIAGE

This is a beautiful reblog from a dear sister, Sherry Clair of Hand Me Downs. Please be encouraged!  

In June of 2016 I sat in my car outside a video store praying fervently to the Lord.  I was begging for Him to give me a child.  Not just any child; my child.  The one that just a week before had been growing and thriving inside of me.  “Please, Lord” I whispered “let this one be okay.  Let us have this one, please make the bleeding stop, keep the heart beating and let this baby grow.”  I stayed in my car with my head bowed, pleading for that little life, tears dripping off my chin for about another ten minutes.  I took a few breaths and began to try to put myself back together.  I was wiping my face when a startling thought popped into my head, ‘but what if He doesn’t?

What if He doesn’t?  What would I do then?  I remembered a story from Daniel about three individuals who were facing the same question.  They, however, had an amazing answer.  In the third chapter of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar had set up a golden statue.  He was very proud of this and required that every individual must bow before this image.  Now, there were three young Jew’s, they knew the commandments of God forbid this and they refused.  Nebuchadnezzar was not happy about that and told them that they would be cast into a furnace.

A furnace.  This wasn’t a simple time out or jail time or a slap on the wrist.  This was death and not a peaceful one at that!  This was being tossed into hot, scalding, burning, flesh searing flames and suffering until the very end.  Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were facing a horrifying life or death situation.  But that didn’t deter them.  They had faith that their Lord would indeed step in and save them.  That He would redeem them and bring them out of the situation.  But what if He didn’t?  What if the Lord didn’t intervene and spare their lives?

Daniel 3:18 provides that answer, “But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the image you set up”.  In essence; absolutely nothing will change.  They would walk into that furnace facing certain death, and even if God did not intervene, they would not falter or be shaken.  So where did that leave me?  What if God didn’t intervene and what if I did lose the pregnancy?

If God didn’t step in then I would be forced to walk into that furnace.  I would be forced to face the biting, stinging, painful flames of grief and loss.  But I wouldn’t be alone!  God says in Hebrews 13:5 “Never will I leave you; Never will I forsake you”.

If God didn’t step in then I would be changed.  Those flames would alter little pieces of me and those pieces would never be the same again.  But God would still be the same!  Hebrews 13:8 states that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever”.  He would be as good, and just and loving as He was before the fire.  His heart towards me would be no different than it was before!

If God didn’t step in then I might break.  I worried that the fire would be too much for me to overcome. I worried that I wasn’t strong enough to endure the overwhelming, seemingly unending and devastating flames.  But God would be there in my weakness!  It would be through my weakness that God’s power would be the most evident.  In 2nd Corinthians 12 the Lord says “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”.  

God didn’t stop King Nebuchadnezzar from throwing the three Jew’s into the furnace.  In fact he was so angered by their response that he demanded the furnace temperature be increased even higher!  He tied them up and had them thrown directly into the flames.  When the king peered into the furnace though he realized that there were no longer three men but four.  There in the midst of the flames, in the furnace hot enough to kill the attendants, who threw the three men in, was the Lord! They emerged from the flames unscathed, not a hair singed or the smell of soot on their clothes.

I prayed, I trusted and I waited.  But God didn’t intervene.  Just like with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego God had allowed me to be flung into the furnace.  For the second time in within just a few short months I had to say goodbye to another baby that I hardly knew but loved fiercely.  I was deep within the flames.  But I knew with every part of my being, that I was not alone in them.  That the Lord was there with me, even when I couldn’t see him through the smoke and when the flames seemed to consume me, He was there.

There will be many times in all of our lives that we will face the furnace.  We will stand at the door of situations that we don’t want to be in.  We will feel the heat rising up to singe our skin.  The flames may look insurmountable and terrifying.  With fear and worry coursing through us we will call out to God to help us, in our faith we will look to Him who we trust.  Sometimes He will close the door on that trial before we even have to enter.  Sometimes we will have to go into that furnace.  But if we do, remember who is in those flames with you.

Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, we are so thankful that you are there through every circumstance with us.  You have said that you will never leave us or forsake us.  Please let us be reminded that no matter how difficult our situation may be that you are nearby.  Help us to remember to lean on your during difficult times and continue to find moments to praise you even in the fire.

Finding God In... CHRONIC ILLNESS

I’ll be honest, when I was asked to be a guest writer for this series to discuss how I found God in chronic illness, I wasn't sure I was the best person for the job. I haven't had the strongest belief in God in recent years and, in all honesty, over the last six years I’ve really struggled with my faith. I have struggled to understand why I've faced so many struggles and what I did to deserve the things that have happened. I have felt at many times in the last decade that if God was truly a Good God that I wouldn't have faced the trials that I have. But through the eyes of others and through the work that He has done in my life, I've come to realize that this isn't true. I know that My God is a Good God. I still struggle to truly understand why things happen, but I suppose I may never completely understand. Let's rewind and take a look at the journey that has gotten me to where I am today. In the Spring of 2012, I was living a good life working as an RN and acting as Charge Nurse most shifts. I loved my job working twelve hour shifts and having a job with direct patient contact. In January of 2012, I was hired as an adjunct Clinical Instructor for a local nursing school and I was so thrilled because it was something I had wanted to do since I graduated nursing school in 2007. I had also just started working on my Masters in Nursing Education. I was so excited to be moving toward my goal of teaching in a nursing program. My life was on track and I was happy.

Then in February of 2012, everything changed. I was hospitalized for a week with a respiratory infection that no one could quite figure out. Looking back, I can see that this was just the beginning of the decline in my health. I was off work for a month at that point because I just couldn’t breathe, despite all the treatments they tried. I was always exhausted and experiencing extreme joint pain, more pain than I had ever experienced before. That July, I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus which explained so much of how I had been feeling and the symptoms I had experienced over many previous years. In the months and years following my Lupus diagnosis I was also diagnosed with many other life-altering diagnoses that it made it hard to see any kind of future for myself. After receiving my Lupus diagnosis, it became clear that I wasn't going to be able physically to continue working my current job. Due to my health I not only had to leave my job, I also had to step down from my teaching position with the nursing program simply because I wasn’t well enough to teach. I also had to drop out of the Masters program that I had just started. I was crushed to say the least. I just couldn’t understand why God would allow these things to happen and why I needed to live through so many trials. I couldn't see past the diagnosis. I couldn't understand why my abilities to do the things I dreamed, including my job, furthering my education, and having children, were being taken away. I was also diagnosed with endometriosis, which meant I will never be able to carry my own baby. This is something I have always wanted more than anything! I couldn't fathom what I could have possibly done to deserve what was happening.

In the months following my diagnosis, I really began to struggle with my faith. Even though I grew up in church and knew all the teachings, I still struggled. I stopped going to church and just couldn’t understand why a God who was supposed to be caring and loving would let all this happen! I couldn't see past the present to see what he was working on for my future.

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I spent so much time the first few years following my diagnosis praying, yelling, and asking why, before the plan God had for me finally started to become clear. My world as I knew it had essentially came to an end. I was no longer able to work the job I loved, my most recent relationship had come to an end, and people who I felt were life-long friends just walked away. They said they couldn't handle the changes I was forced to make because of my declining health. I knew what I needed but I couldn't find it. I knew I needed to find support in people who were or had gone through the things I was now dealing with. I needed a place where I could be totally open and honest about how I felt and what was going on without fearing judgement. I knew what I needed but I couldn't find it.

I searched and searched for some place I could go for support. A place I could go and talk to others who were living through the same issues I was experiencing. A place where I could go and openly express my feelings without being judged, and also a place where I could find information on the issues I was dealing with. I looked for local and online resources, but I couldn't find a place where I really felt comfortable. After spending so much time searching, it became clear to me that I was supposed to create this place. I was supposed to create a place of solace and education for those struggling with Lupus.