Take Refuge in God

Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me,
    for in you I take refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
    until the disaster has passed.

Psalm 57:1 NIV

Prayer

Oh, Lord, exalt Yourself above me and all that I am – possessions, friends, comforts, pleasures, reputation, health and life – everything. Test me, Lord, and see whether I can really leave everything in Your hands. Bring my life into line so that I will not be fully myself, but fully in You, knowing the truth that I can take refuge in You. Oh, Lord, set in motion a chain of circumstances that will bring me to the place where I can sincerely say, ‘Be thou exalted above the heavens’. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

All hail the power of Jesus’ name!

Let angels prostrate fall;

Bring forth the royal diadem,

And crown Him Lord of all;

Bring forth the royal diadem,

And crown Him Lord of all.

Edward Perronet (1726-1792)

I am lucky to be me

Sometimes life is hard.

Possibilities are impossible.

Understanding is

misunderstood.

Hope is hopeless.

But every belief I have and

Everything I’ve learned in life

Leads to this:

There are others in the world

With bigger mountains to

climb

With bigger oceans to swim

With bigger divides to cross.

My mountains are speed

bumps in the road

My oceans are narrow

streams

My divides are cracks in the

sidewalk.

I am blessed beyond measure

I am abounding in love

I am lucky to be me.

Joanne Hirase-Stacey

The Faithful Remnant

The Faithful Remnant

Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name.

 “On the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty, “they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him.  And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.

Malachi 3:16-18 NIV

More than Conquerors

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.  Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:31-39 NIV

Hanging On

Hanging On by Eddie Askew

It all seemed fine, Lord,

Walking along, not a care in the world, everything going right.

I was even remembering to say the occasional thank you to you,

when it changed.

The sun clouded over: A cold wind blew out of nowhere.

The first drop of rain splattered down

hitting the warm, dry earth of my path with a finality

that said the weather’s changed. I shivered.

Lord, when things go wrong help me to remember the good times.

When my life with you, and my fellow Christians,

hits rock bottom and I find it hard to take,

stay with me.

No, that’s wrong, Lord. You are with me,

I know it.

Just help me to feel it.

Not just the theory, but the experience.

When I’m disappointed

and hurt by outside events,

by the way others behave,

when I’m honest enough to look at myself

and admit that the fault often lies inside me,

then let me feel you near.

And when the pain is bad,

when the sheer effort of keeping my feet

moving along your road,

when the scenic route through the mountains

-AA recommended –

turns into the rocky path of a small Calvary,

give me the strength to go on.

It would be easy, sometimes, to give up.

To drop out at the roadside, a casualty.

A great future behind me.

I’m not sure, at times, why I do go on, until,

when I get out onto the other side of the pain,

and warm myself again in your sunshine,

I know.

You were with me. Are with me.

Lord, I pray for those

in the middle of their pain barrier today.

Trying to stay on the road, putting everything they’ve got

into the effort of getting through to the night.

Through the cloud of uncertainty,

may they be sure of your love.

In the loneliness,

may they feel your arm slipped through theirs.

In the darkness of depression,

may they hold on to the promise of your light.

Help us, Lord,

Just to keep moving.

From his obituary in The Guardian (2007)
“Eddie Askew, the former general director of the Leprosy Mission (TLM) … devoted half a century to the disease and its consequences. …
Inspired by his travels and his Christian faith, Eddie found an outlet for his creativity in painting and poetry. A Silence and a Shouting, his first book of meditations and artwork, was published in 1982. It was followed, over the years, by 16 others, and the sale of his books and paintings raised around £2.5m for TLM.”

The Twenty Third Psalm

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
   He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
    for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

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 Seasons of our Lives

The Seasons of the Year – Winter

There is a winter in all of our lives,
a chill and darkness that makes us yearn
for days that have gone
or put our hope in days yet to be.
Father God, you created seasons for a purpose.
Spring is full of expectation
buds breaking
frosts abating and an awakening
of creation before the first days of summer.
Now the sun gives warmth
and comfort to our lives
reviving aching joints
bringing colour, new life
and crops to fruiting.
Autumn gives nature space
to lean back, relax and enjoy the fruits of its labour
mellow colours in sky and landscape
as the earth prepares to rest.
Then winter, cold and bare as nature takes stock
rests, unwinds, sleeps until the time is right.
An endless cycle
and yet a perfect model.
We need a winter in our lives
a time of rest, a time to stand still
a time to reacquaint ourselves
with the faith in which we live.
It is only then that we can draw strength
from the one in whom we are rooted
take time to grow and rise through the darkness
into the warm glow of your springtime
to blossom and flourish
bring colour and vitality into this world
your garden.
Thank you Father
for the seasons of our lives

Copyright © John Birch, 2022 · Prayers written by the author may be copied freely for worship. If reproduced anywhere else please include acknowledgement to the author/website  

The Doubter’s Prayer by Anne Bronte

A DRAWING OF ANNE BRONTE BY HER SISTER, CHARLOTTE

Eternal Power, of earth and air!
Unseen, yet seen in all around,
Remote, but dwelling everywhere,
Though silent, heard in every sound;
If e’er thine ear in mercy bent,
When wretched mortals cried to Thee,
And if, indeed, Thy Son was sent,
To save lost sinners such as me:
Then hear me now, while kneeling here,
I lift to thee my heart and eye,
And all my soul ascends in prayer,
OH, GIVE ME—GIVE ME FAITH! I cry.
Without some glimmering in my heart,
I could not raise this fervent prayer;
But, oh! a stronger light impart,
And in Thy mercy fix it there.
While Faith is with me, I am blest;
It turns my darkest night to day;
But while I clasp it to my breast,
I often feel it slide away.
Then, cold and dark, my spirit sinks,
To see my light of life depart;
And every fiend of Hell, methinks,
Enjoys the anguish of my heart.
What shall I do, if all my love,
My hopes, my toil, are cast away,
And if there be no God above,
To hear and bless me when I pray?
If this be vain delusion all,
If death be an eternal sleep,
And none can hear my secret call,
Or see the silent tears I weep!
Oh, help me, God! For thou alone
Canst my distracted soul relieve;
Forsake it not: it is thine own,
Though weak, yet longing to believe.
Oh, drive these cruel doubts away;
And make me know, that Thou art God!
A faith, that shines by night and day,
Will lighten every earthly load.
If I believe that Jesus died,
And waking, rose to reign above;
Then surely Sorrow, Sin, and Pride,
Must yield to Peace, and Hope, and Love.
And all the blessed words He said
Will strength and holy joy impart:
A shield of safety o’er my head,
A spring of comfort in my heart.

Anne Bronte was an English novelist and one of the members of the prominent Bronte literary family. She is best remembered for penning the classic 19th century novels ‘Agnes Grey’ and ‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’, both of which deal with the oppression and social status of women in Victorian England. Born as the youngest daughter of Patrick Bronte, a poor Irish clergyman in the Church of England, she had a very difficult childhood, losing her mother at a young age. More family tragedies followed as she lost two of her elder sisters in quick succession. Raised by her mother’s sister, she was primarily educated at home by her father and aunt. Her father had a well-stocked library, and Anne along with her sisters Charlotte and Emily grew up reading the Bible, Homer, Virgil, Shakespeare, Milton, Byron, Scott, and many others. She started working as a governess while still in her teens to help her family financially. The job experience was horrible and she had to return home after being removed from the position. Inclined towards literary pursuits from a young age, she drew inspiration from her difficult experiences as a governess and detailed it in her novel, ‘Agnes Grey’. A talented writer, her budding career was cut short when she died of tuberculosis, at the age of 29. Source

God’s Omnipresence

The following extract is from Delighting in God by A W Tozer

Often in a prayer meeting, someone will pray for God to “come near to us.” So many Christians have a serious problem along this line, believing that God is far away. Somehow, through some kind of means, they think we need to get God’s attention and draw Him to us. If we pray long enough, if we get enough people to pray, then we entice God to draw near to us.

This is to misunderstand the whole concept of the nearness of God. God is as close to you right now as He ever was and ever will be. This is, of course, one of the attributes of God, omnipresence, which simply means that God is present everywhere. There is no place where God is not. God is as close to one thing as He is to another. And this is something hard for us to comprehend. We are trying to understand God and His attributes through our limited abilities. God has no limitation whatsoever about anything.

Keep in mind that no matter where you are or what you are doing, God is near. He does not have to be enticed or bribed to come near to us. He is already closer than we could ever imagine.

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…

View original post 251 more words

What Happens To Our Pets When They Die?

From an article by Garrett Kell

My wife and I were recently awakened by the tears of one of our children. They’d found our dog, Nellie, dead on the floor.

Nellie was a cross-eyed Chihuahua who had brought our family so much joy. She was about as good a dog as a Chihuahua can be.

As the tears flowed, so did the questions. 

Why did Nellie have to die? Why did God take Nellie so soon? Will we see Nellie in heaven?

While some may consider these questions silly, I don’t.

The longer we live on this fallen planet, the more sorrow we face. Some suffering is small, and some is great, but it all hurts. Some families experience tragedy early and often. Our family has been spared significant tragedy, but times like these still leave their mark.

After a little while, we were able to talk about what we were feeling and the questions we were processing. Here are a few highlights.

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