Make Up Your Own Mind

Psalm 42

“As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”

Psalm 42:2-3 Tree of Life Version

The following excerpt is from The Crucified Life by A W Tozer

“A man once wrote in an evangelical magazine, “I have accepted the doctrines of such and such a denomination.” He had allowed somebody else to make up his mind for him. That is why millions of people are contented Catholics (or Methodists or Presbyterians), because somebody does their thinking for them. Somebody assures them, says a word of love and consolation, and has done all the thinking for them. Someone higher up has taken up all the responsibility. All they have to do is obey without question.

I do not mean to be unkind. I only say this is why certain religious denominations can hold their people and ever say, “It is you and God.” You have to find God “as the hart panteth after the water brooks” (Psalm42:1 King James Version). You have to seek God alone. I will help you with Scripture and do my best to help you, but when He meets you, it will be by yourself. You cannot take the authority of somebody else. Nobody can come and say, “All right, it’s done. I hereby now as of today, at this hour, declare you are all right.”

A young Christian earnestly seeking God once said to me, “I think you’ve got it.” Thank God, I knew better, because that could have been the end of me. Our desire is for everyone to cry out to God and look in His direction with nothing but the naked intent of seeking God Himself. I want God and I want nothing more.”

“I love those who love me,
    and those who seek me diligently find me.”

Proverbs 8:17

For the Brokenhearted

O Lord my God, I come to You bereft in spirit with a heart that is breaking. My mind is in turmoil and I just do not understand all the anguish that seems to be hitting me from all sides. You know Lord exactly the pain that is in my heart and the sadness and grief that I am going through and I come to You, my God, seeking Your blessed peace in my heart.

Heal my hurting heart and bind up the lacerations that have penetrated so deeply into my soul, for You alone are my hope, You alone are my strength and stay. I have nothing and no one left but You Lord.

Bind up my fragmented heart I pray, as You have promised. It says in Your Word that You came to heal the broken hearted and to free those that were entrapped in the emotional suffering of their lives. Lord, that is my position now and I trust in You alone.

I give You my fragmented heart and pray for Your blessed peace, Your gracious peace, Your perfect peace that passes all human comprehension. Take me as I am Lord and fill me anew with your love and grace, for only through You can I be renewed in spirit, only in You can I rest in safety.

Thank You O Lord my God,

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Dear Heavenly Father, You are the Creator of all things and You sustain all of life. I come to you, acknowledging that your will is best and that your plan is far greater than any I could ever ask for or imagine. Lord, I come to you with troubles that are weighing on my heart and the hearts of many believers. God, I know that you carry all burdens, and I ask that you share your yoke with us now during this difficult time. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

God, I want to be a person who stands firm and trusts You wholeheartedly. I want to be unshakable and resilient, but that can only happen by depending on You and trusting You. Develop that deeper trust in me, God I desperately need it and want to trust you more. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

I waited patiently for the Lord;

he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,

out of the mud and mire;

he set my feet on a rock

and gave me a firm place to stand.

Psalm 40:1-2 NIV

You will go out in joy

and be led forth in peace;

the mountains and hills

will burst into song before you,

and all the trees of the field

will clap their hands.

Isaiah 55:12 NIV

The Prayer Box

Summary from Amazon

“When Iola Anne Poole, an old-timer on Hatteras Island, passes away in her bed at ninety-one, the struggling young mother in her rental cottage, Tandi Jo Reese, finds herself charged with the task of cleaning out Iola’s rambling Victorian house.

Running from a messy, dangerous past, Tandi never expects to find more than a temporary hiding place within Iola’s walls, but everything changes with the discovery of eighty-one carefully decorated prayer boxes, one for each year, spanning from Iola’s youth to her last days. Hidden in the boxes is the story of a lifetime, written on random bits of paper–the hopes and wishes, fears and thoughts of an unassuming but complex woman passing through the seasons of an extraordinary, unsung life filled with journeys of faith, observations on love, and one final lesson that could change everything for Tandi.”

I wasn’t far into the story when I wondered if I had downloaded the correct book. Was this really Christian fiction? The following extract, to me, has all the delicious eeriness of a Stephen King novel.

“. . . as I stood on Iola Anne Poole’s porch. It was my first indication of a knowing, an undeniable sense that something inside the house had gone very wrong.

I pushed the door inward cautiously, admitting a slice of early sun and a whiff of breeze off Pamlico Sound. The entryway was old, tall the walls white with heavy gold-leafed trim around rectangular panels. A fresh breeze skirted the shadows on mouse feet, too slight to displace the stale, musty smell of the house. The scent of a forgotten place. Instinct told me what I would find inside. You don’t forget the feeling of stepping through a door and understanding in some unexplainable way that death has walked in before you.

I hesitated on the threshold . . .”

After I finished reading the book, the story has stayed in my thoughts – the mark of a book well-written. The characters are realistic, struggling with believable problems. With her troubled background, could Tandi ever become a ‘good’ mother? Could she ever have the confidence in herself to even try? Would she ever trust other people? Could she trust God?

Extract

“I’d wanted to earn my own way, to do this myself, to form a new life on my own, but instead, this had been given to me. This life. This place. These letters.

This revelation. Prayers are answered in ways we don’t choose. The river of grace bubbles up in unexpected places.

I closed my eyes, and tears pressed hard, seeped through, traced hot and sweet over my cheeks. I tasted their salt, like the tip of an ocean.

“Thank you,” I whispered. “Thank you for this.” Zoey and J.T. could be sitting in a foster shelter right now, in a home with strangers. I could be in jail, caught up in Trammel’s mess, or dead beside a bottle of pills, gone just like my mama, while my kids still needed me. I could be living in Trammel’s house, existing in a fog, in the prison of believing everything he told me about myself.

Instead, I was here.

Thank you. I wanted to write it on paper and fold it up in a box to remind myself, the next time I couldn’t see anything but mountains ahead, that where there’s a mountain, there’s always a river flowing nearby.

Ultimately the river is the more powerful of the two.”

LISA WINGATE

Lisa Wingate is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over thirty novels, including the instant NYT bestseller The Book of Lost Friends and Before We Were Yours, which remained on the NYT list for over two years and has sold over three million copies. She is a Goodreads Choice award winner for historical fiction and a Southern Book Prize winner. She lives with her husband in Texas.

www.lisawingate.com

Miracles

FIREFLY BY JEAN VADAL SMITH

The following is an excerpt from the book MY FATHER MY KING by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

Hear your Father your King, the Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe saying to you:

The world in which you live is full of miracles so that you will have constant reminders of My presence.

There are miracles of history. There are miracles of biology and botany. There are miracles of chemistry and physics and of anatomy and astronomy. There are miracles of events that are mathematically improbable. There are major miracles and there are minor miracles miracles that are easily recognizable and miracles subtle and hidden.

What you refer to as “nature” is the manifestation of My will in the world. All of nature is ultimately a miracle. Don’t allow familiarity to blind you to the magnitude of the miracles that appear commonplace.

Every heartbeat is a miracle. Every cough and sneeze is a miracle. Every step you take is a miracle.

Keep your eyes open for the myriad miracles in your life. Seeing those miracles will add a spiritual dimension wherever you are and wherever you go, and your entire life will be filled with joy and gratitude.

Living in the Faith

Instructions from the Apostle Paul to the body of believers at Philippi

Most of all, friends, always rejoice in the Lord! I never tire of saying it: Rejoice!  Keep your gentle nature so that all people will know what it looks like to walk in His footsteps. The Lord is ever present with us.  Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come.  And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One.

Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy.  Keep to the script: whatever you learned and received and heard and saw in me—do it—and the God of peace will walk with you.

Philippians 4:4-9 The Voice Version

Please go here for a full commentary on these verses and practical guidance.

Prayers for Mental Wellness

Heavenly Father, I come to You today seeking guidance. I strive to be your strongest soldier, but I cannot do so without acknowledging my own weaknesses first. Lord, help me to overcome these battles my mind has challenged me with. I know You are always with me, and any hurdles I face can be conquered with Your grace. My mental health is not at its best, but I know this suffering is not permanent. This too shall pass, and I pray that You will continue to watch over me as I fight my own personal demons. Amen.

Dearest Lord, thank You for always being there for me – both for all the good times, and the bad. I know my mental illness does not define me, for who I really am is a child of Christ. I may trip and fall every now and then, and it will hurt, but no pain is as eternal as Your everlasting love for me. Please continue to guide me as I get back on my feet. I shall not be defeated by my mental illness, for your healing hand will save me in my darkest hours. Amen.

Lord, the shining light of my life and my guide. You are the one who guides me through everything. Through these difficult times, help me soar like an eagle and fly. Help me to rise above and overcome my challenges, just as an eagle that soars in the sky. May I gain strength from Your word and from my prayers. I know that one day I will be free as an eagle. There will be no more shackles and not be held down by these weights called mental illness. I trust in You Mighty God who frees me. So give me the strength and renew me every day, till You come again. I ask these in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Source: Christian.net

The Father-Hearted God – By Thomas Koester

Such a wonderfully inspiring post from fellow blogger, Thomas Koester.

Call To Courage

We are children of The Father-hearted God.

With long days and even longer nights, I have written more and have done a great deal of thinking and searching. Each time I do, more memories and tears bubble up. But these are good tears because what was once tragic is now increasingly becoming a blessing.

So, I’ve added more stories and more insight. It’s been the hindsight, coupled with new understanding, which has been revealing the fingerprints and mastery of a loving Father-hearted God, who, by the way, took all my days of good and evil and is progressively showing his artistry through all of it.

His color palate contains far more colors than just “black and white,” which is what many cold and lifeless religions preach to us. He is an unlimited God, with shades of an eternal spectrum yet to be discovered, and a profoundly intimate God, motivated with…

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My Beautiful Day

My Beautiful Day by Marion Schoeberlein

I borrowed a poem from the sky,

and music from a bird,

I stole a chime out of the wind,

and from the rose a word.

I borrowed a song from the hills,

a psalm from the silver rain,

I took the footsteps of angels

out of a cobbled lane.

From each little thing I fashioned

something in my own way.

With God’s help, I put in my heart

a beautiful, wonderful day!