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The River…

There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. ~Psalm 46:4

I find comfort in being out in nature. When I was in high school, we lived in a home on the river for about 6 years. I can’t begin to count the number of times I sat in the back yard or on the dock and watched the water. Watching the river as it moved along relaxed me. Often, I could feel my stress level going down as I sat there. There was quite a strong current at times, but by just watching you didn’t really notice it. The water held a strength in it as it moved along. It was active, always moving, yet the vastness of it comforted me. The river was a constant in my life. When I sought it out, it was there.

When I think about it, in quite the same way God is reflected in the characteristics of that river. Always active, always moving, but always present. God’s strength and nearness is a comfort to me when I need it most. When I take the time to focus on God and draw near to Him my heart is glad. My stress levels go down and I rest in the one who is unchanging and always constant. Knowing this, it is up to me to daily seek His presence, and watch closely what He is doing for God is always active.

#psalm46challenge

Blessings to you.

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When I am shaken…

Sometimes it feels like I am in the world’s biggest shaker bottle. I am shaken and tossed about so that I cannot find my footing. Life is like that sometimes. It usually happens to us unexpectedly because if we were to anticipate it we could counter with appropriate action. So what’s a girl to do when she is shaken and tried?

As I was reading, Psalm 46 this morning, I kept rereading verse 3, “Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.” In order to anticipate and see what to do before this happens, I have to return to verse 1-2. Because God is a refuge, strength, and help, I do not have to fear when I am shaken up. I can recognize the shaking for what it is a testing of my faith. Dr. Henry Blackaby in His book, “Experiencing God“, calls these testings of the faith, markers, that we can look back to and see what God has done in the past and how He brought us through them. I am a planner by nature. I like to know what is coming and be ready with a battle plan, yet often life shakes us up with things we can’t possibly plan to handle. So, I have a new plan for me. When the shaking occurs, run to God immediately. Find refuge in His presence. Let His divine strength radiate through me. Ask for help that is beyond my ability, but comes directly from the Father. Will I ever falter? Sure, I will. Will I have a lapse in executing this new plan? More than likely. Yet, in this, I would hope that next time life shakes me, I will bounce back a little quicker than last time. I will trust God more than last time.  I will rest in God’s presence more and as I learn and grow He will make me over into the Christian He wants me to be.

The shaking of life is going to happen. It is inevitable, but, sweet friends, we are not alone. God is there.

Blessings to you!

#psalm46challenge

Am I in the grip of God or fear?

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.for: or, of Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;  ~Psalm 46:1-2
As I read and pray over this Psalm this morning, I am drawn to the phrase, “Therefore will not we fear.”. I often find myself focusing on the circumstances of my life rather than on God. I let these things cause me to fear and worry. The fact of the matter is I do not have to worry or experience fear about my circumstances. Because God is my refuge, I can go to Him with everything that is bothering me. I do not have to be fearful of the “what if’s”. I can choose to rest in the hand of God. I can choose to rest in Him or let fear strangle my trust in God.
I John 4:18 reads, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment.” In the presence of the love of God fear has no place. Many times life will shake us up. Our world will be turned upside down. Will we be paralyzed in the grip of fear or recognize we are in God’s hands? When I feel I am starting to worry or being fearful, this should be my indicator that it is time to focus on God, let Him calm my Spirit, and jump-start my joy in Him.
“Therefore will we not fear…”
I want to live here today!
#psalm46challenge

A Busy Summer Indeed

Is anybody out there? Yoohoo? I know corny use of an opening. I bet you think I have forgotten about you, but that is not the case. My summer has been one that went into busy super drive. I pause to catch my breath. The good thing is I have been studying and writing. The bad thing is that it has not happened here. This Summer I have been leading a weekly ladies Bible study. I long for the moment when I will have my act together to such a degree that I can accomplish both. Until then… I will identify with Mary, “she has done what she could!”

I will say that of late that Psalm 46 is becoming more and more dear to me. I love verse 1, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” This verse fills me with comfort and hope to know that He is there when I need Him most. There is also beauty in the verse because He is there all the time even when I don’t think I need Him. His refuge and strength is not conditional on me. I know however in my heart I need Him all the time, in every situation. My head often is the problem. It sometimes wants to do what I think is best rather than what God thinks is best for me. So, I repent, and recognize, “God Is…” In the midst of all the busy, “God is my refuge.” God is “my strength.” God is “a very present help in trouble.” Our pastor issued a challenge to read Psalm 46 every day during the month of September and post what God is teaching us about Psalm 46 so I reckon you may be hearing from me quite a bit more as God teaches me. For now I rest in the God who is my refuge! Thanks for reading.

#psalm46challenge

Blessings to you all!

Good Morning, Grace

So, it really happened. The very thing I tried to avoid happening did indeed happen on the platform of our church in the Sunday morning service. Let me explain. My husband and I were going to be singing a special in the service with our Minister of Music and his wife. I was really excited about this. We had been planning it for some time and it was our first time to be singing as a quartet. We had practiced and were ready to go. The song was placed in the order of service after the 2nd song sung with the praise team and congregation. For the first two songs I was singing in the choir loft in my normal spot. I would have to make my way down around the corner of the band in an opening to the platform. I motioned to our guitar player and asked him to move the music stand over so I would have room to slip through the opening easily when it was time to sing. All was well till I was about to round the corner and my foot caught on the music stand. It made a loud noise and I did catch it from falling over. Good Morning, Grace!

I did something this time that years earlier I would not have been able to do. I took a deep breath, smiled and let it go. Can I tell you straight up that this is not because of a work of Amy. This is the evidence that Jesus has been doing something in me. It is all Him, not me. Over the past few years, God has been teaching me that there are times when you have to let things go. Before I probably would have not have been able to concentrate on singing my part because I was so embarrassed about tripping. I would have fretted and wondered if everyone was thinking, “Wow, what a klutz?” or “We had a beautiful flow of worship going and you messed it up.” Psalm 126:2 reads,  “Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them.”  Now I realize that this verse is in the middle of a praise song that is sung in the Old Testament how God had released Israel from captivity. It is a song of degrees that they sang over and over each round with more intensity than the time before. However, I could relate to this verse on reflection this morning. The Lord has taught me it’s okay to laugh at yourself, to sing on, and let the small stuff go! This has not been an easy lesson to learn, but I am grateful that the Lord loves us where we are in our walk and helps us along with patience and wonderful grace. Remember, You also may be an encouragement to someone who has been struggling to not sweat things that need to be released. So with His help I will laugh and sing it loud, “Let it go, Let it go, Let it go!”

A Story Of Need

A well spun story can stir great emotions. A story can cause us to shriek with laughter. A story can stir deep emotions and thought patterns. A story can take us on a journey of imagination and discovery. A story can also move us to tears and break our heart. It is the latter of these that has stirred me this morning.

My husband told me a true story last night about a teenage boy who was so hungry he was gathering up the scraps of food that others had discarded in the trash. This story moved me to tears, and it broke my heart to know that this was happening in my county. We see in the media all the time the need of children around the world who do not have enough to eat. We help when we can, but when we hear of children and teens in our communities struggling to find their next meal how can we not be moved to action. Some might say, they get meals at school. Two, in fact, are available to them. What happens though to these on the weekends or during the summer? There is a great need.

” For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in… And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:35,40 

In the verses above, we find a message from Jesus himself. We find a call to action. Jesus wanted us to know that when we extend kindness and meet a need in the life of a child we are doing it unto Him. We are living out our faith by reaching out to another. As I think on this, we must meet the need for physical food, but it doesn’t need to stop there. We need to also do all we can to meet the spiritual needs of these dear ones. We need to point them to Jesus who loves them. We need to be the hands reaching out in Jesus’ name.

So how do we accomplish this? We must pray for guidance. We must also be moved to action. Knowing that when we reach out to the children of our communities, we are doing this for Jesus.

Only Today…

I have in the past week been on a trek of profound reflection. It could be the fact that I became a great-aunt a week and a half ago. It could be the fact that my friend who graduated from high school the same year I did proclaimed on Facebook that she graduated 30 years ago. Wow. I’m not sure which one did it, maybe it was the combination of the two. However, I began to look over my life of the past, ahem, 30 years and began to take stock of what I have accomplished in those years. On first glance and pondering, it didn’t seem like much. As I looked deeper I realized that I have gone through quite a bit in those years. I have gained a wealth of experience and knowledge. I met and married an awesome man. I had two amazing boys who are Jesus loving, well-rounded, and daily amaze me. My husband and I have served in ministry for all of our married life together (almost 24 years at 3 churches). We have a great family and a wealth of friends. To you it may not seem that much, but that doesn’t matter. What truly matters is have I taken the time the Lord has given me and served Him to the best of my ability. Have I done everything perfectly? Not a chance. On reflection, I feel I have followed the Lord faithfully to this point. Would I have liked to have accomplished some great things? Well, Sure! but I know that this is not the end. I have today. I am not promised tomorrow so I will take the day I have been given and live it out how I know Jesus would want me to do. I can show compassion, I can love Him with my whole heart, I can serve others in the work place and in my home, and I can live out the plan He has set before me for today. No matter what amount of time I have left, I can finish well the course the Lord has for me. Paul wrote to Timothy in II Timothy 4:7, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:” This is what I want. I want to be counted among the faithful. A lifetime is made up of what we have done with all of our “todays”. We cannot do anything about yesterday or tomorrow. We have today. Let’s take our today, and put in it all that God would have us to do with it. Serving Him, Trusting Him, Loving Him, Worshiping Him, and Living Life with the purpose of bringing glory to His name will be my goal today. It is indeed a worthy calling!