He feeds me the bread of life. He gives me rest in Him. He leads me to quiet water so I may drink of Him until I thirst no more. He restores my soul. He guides me in righteousness. I follow His safe paths. His sheep am I.Read More
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,
(given to me with permission to share by anonymous)
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
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.
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
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
“There is nothing left we can do; Hospice is the only option left.” Those words still rattle within my soul to this day. This past March those were the words spoken to me over the phone in regards to my dad. Let me paint the whole picture of this time period; my sister was in surgery having a 20-pound tumor removed from her uterus, my nine-year-old son was just released from the hospital after seven days, and I was emotionally and physically worn out. My dad had been diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) a little over a year ago, and things had progressed. In a matter of days, his MDS had turned to Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), and there was no turning back. At this moment God was the only one I could turn to while attempting to navigate which direction I needed to go.
With a clear direction after heavy prayer, I knew exactly what I needed to do, head to Boston from Arkansas. The night I arrived he was in the hospital receiving his 5th unit of blood. I sat there, reached for his hand as I watched the blood drip drop by drop down the plastic tube knowing this was the only possible lifeline my dad had left. As the blood dripped, so did my tears. In this very moment, I felt a firm God nudge. I wasn’t there to just be with my dad; I was there to help him know Jesus and help him know that this was not “goodbye,” but rather “see you later.” My dad went to church as a child, but he and my mom did not raise my sister and me in the church at all. They saw the Christian faith as a checklist and not a relational entity. It was only eight years ago that I gained my relationship with Jesus, and my dad never wanted to hear any part of my faith story.
As I pressed in and enlisted prayers and advice from my Christian friends, one message stood out to me above the rest, “embrace this time, not just in the blessing with your dad, but seeing the veil as close as possible on this side of Heaven.” Let me be honest here, at that moment, I had no clue what she was telling me, but I went with it anyway.
During this time it felt like everything in the world was at a standstill. I would sit, chat, and care for my dad. We had a lot of uphill battles on this journey including finding the right Hospice group to meet his needs and what his doctor wanted for him. We went through five Hospice groups before finding a group that was meant to care for our family. There were no coincidences through this Hospice journey, just God’s fingerprints constantly around showing He was in control. It was almost as if God laid out a breadcrumb trail for us to follow to show us the path that would take us closer to Him along this road.
Within the first two days, the aide came to care for my dad’s basic hygiene needs. She was only a fill-in, and the regular one would be back in on Monday. My dad hit it off so well with her, and let's say this was not a comfortable area for my dad to listen to anyone. He was listening, they were laughing, and a connection had been immediately formed. To this day I am convinced she was an angel sent by God. She would talk Jesus and share amazing Christian songs with him. Little did we know at the time that she had even come back to work much sooner than she had planned after unexpectedly losing her 29-year-old brother just two weeks prior. In Massachusetts, this is not common to find someone so passionate and open about their Christian faith, but Liz, the aide, only spoke the truth, and my dad absorbed it. Then step in the Chaplain that not only was the Chaplain for this Hospice group but he happened to be the same man that had built a rapport with my dad at the hospital after all his stays. Between the three of us and the Lord, my dad came to know Jesus in his last days and it was such a beautiful sight. We have no doubt that my dad went right into the arms of Jesus on April 18, 2018.
Each step leading up to his journey to Heaven seemed to have a snapshot of, “only God” moments. My computer was completely shut down on one of these days, and loudly it began to play, “Christ alone; cornerstone, weak made strong, in the Savior’s love, through the storm, He is Lord, Lord of all.” (Shane and Shane, Cornerstone) Moments like these were constant; it was as if Jesus Himself was sitting in the room where my dad spent his last days, just adding love and joy to such a tough journey.
I miss my dad, more than I can even put into words. He was a rock in my life, and I don’t know how to do every day without him. But as I did get to live right next to the veil as my friend had shared with me, I wouldn’t have changed a single moment for anything. I have so many more stories I could share about the amazing love God graced us with through this time, but if I added them all, you might be reading this for at least an hour. So instead of you reading my post for the next few hours, I am going to share what I feel the most important words He has called me to share through this experience is; even in the rock bottom hard, open your heart and eyes to all the possibilities that could wrap around you. The sounds, the sights, the smells, the feel, the tastes of all things are so different when Christ is entirely residing in the moment, and we allow our world to stand still. Embrace the hard and know that He will shine a magnificent light when we allow ourselves not just be broken but to be His.
Jehovah JirehI Am your Provider
Provider for my soul, you see me from before creation & into eternity. Because you see, you know my need. You planned how to meet those needs and set them in place. They are available when I get to the place I need them. You provided Jesus, your Holy & Beloved Son, as the sacrificial atonement for my sin.
You supply, you give, you provide for my spirit by giving of yourself through your Holy Spirit. He lives in me. He enables me to know you; to see you. You give me cause to praise & worship you. You provide opportunities for service, enable me and show me the way to serve you.
You shower me with physical blessings. You provide my health, my home, my finances. You allow me use of your limitless resources. I have no worry for what tomorrow may bring. I can rely on you to provide for me each day. You provide for my future in this life & in the life to come.
You placed me with parents who loved me and helped me grow. You gave me a husband & family. You give me friends for social contact. In these ways, You provide for my emotional needs.
From before time to the end of time, you see, know & provide for every facet of my life.
You provide love, forgiveness and comfort. You alone in all of heaven and earth can completely provide for every aspect of me.
You are the great God. You are my Jehovah Jireh.
By Karen Guthrie November 4, 2008
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.
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.
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.
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.