Tag: Jesus

Through the Water

Are you in deep water?  Are you still in the boat?  Is the trip getting scary?

Did you sign up for a 3-hour tour and get Gilligan’s Island?

God’s people were familiar with rough seas. Literally and metaphorically.

hand-792920_640At a time in my life when I felt like the water was closing in over me, the Lord led me to this verse.  I found comfort, reassurance and hope. Not only did the verse speak to me, but I heard a melody and a picture formed in my mind.

Whatever you’re experiencing, I am asking God to speak to you as well, through these verses, and this song He gave me.

Begin by putting your own name into the verse Isaiah 43:1

But now, this is what the Lord says – He who created you, _____,

He who formed you _____:

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you, _____;

I have summoned you  by name; you, _____ are mine.

Through the Water

Sometimes the sea around us gets too rough

But we think we can handle it all.  We think we’re so tough

The water deepens and we can’t make it thru

And then Jesus reaches out His hand to you

water-1013329_640Chorus   He will go with you thru the water

Though the darkness swirls around you

Do not fear it will not drown you ’cause He is with you thru the water

This world will cause you suffering and pain

Oh but God has overcome this world, His victory is your gain

So count on Jesus, He’ll always be true

And take the hand He’s reaching out to you

water-5535_640Chorus   He will go with you thru the water

Though the darkness swirls around you

Do not fear it will not drown you ’cause He is with you thru the water

waterpolo-4813899_640And though the darkness fills you with despair

Just count on Jesus He is always there

And he’ll be with you thru the water

Chorus   He will go with you thru the water

Though the darkness swirls around you

Do not fear it will not drown you ’cause He is with youjesus-christ-4676641_640

Jesus is with you

He’s always with you, thru the water

(c) 1993 Laura Fail Shaffer

Isaiah 43:1-2

Another Battle

You call me to the battle once again
enemies abound on every side
I look to see what weapons will avail
the one that speaks the loudest is: Abide

I place Your armor on, it is the best

protecting head to toe and side to side
I take my shield and sword and make my stance
And still the Spirit speaks to me: Abide

My marching orders come and in I go
once again into the battle’s fray
I have no fear of losing for I know

that at the Finish You will win the day

I do not fight alone You send me help
other Mighty Warriors by my side
It’s hand-to-hand and swords are clashing now
and still I hear the word from You: Abide

We make a strong assault and push them back
it seems the enemy faints and runs to hide
and in this show of strength our Battle Cry
continues to encourage us: Abide

The enemy was only gathering strength
and makes a mighty push that sends us back
Some are wounded and they step away
others stagger hurt in the attack

The battle isn’t over; night has come
We pitch our tents and dress our wounds inside
The wind keeps blowing fiercely through the dark
But peace commands our spirits to Abide

We will be strong to fight another day
and into Heaven’s Victory we’ll ride
our Battle Cry will strengthen all the way
For in our Mighty Savior we Abide

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John 15 is the abiding chapter that promises that the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, will abide in us forever.

It counsels us to abide in Christ as a branch is connected to the vine, giving it life and fruitfulness.

It directs is to abide in Jesus’ love and in His words so that our prayers will be answered.

 

The word Abide means to dwell, to remain or continue, or to wait in preparation.  We will receive protection and power by remaining connected to Jesus Christ. 

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This also speaks of God’s armor, given to us for the fight.  And that we do not fight alone.  We wear the armor of God through our salvation: the Helmet of Salvation, the Breastplate of Righteousness, the Belt of Truth, the Shoes of the Gospel of Peace.

And we need to daily take up the Shield of Faith and the Sword of the Spirit – the Word of God, the Bible – to stand and fight together against the fear and discouragement of the world situation now.

roman shield

We will be strengthened to be victorious.  As we stand together, we can wield the weapon of prayer against any enemy.

Even the circumstances of this crisis now!

 

 

Pray for your brothers and sisters who are sick to be healed.  Pray for those who are vulnerable to be protected.

Pray for those who are helping to remain healthy and strong and able to do their work. Pray that they would receive our gratitude and thanks for their sacrifice to work and volunteer to care for others.

Pray for needed supplies to be delivered to those who need them.  Pray that anyone hoarding supplies of any kind would have a change of heart.

Pray for those who have lost incomes to be granted grace and favor with those they owe money to, so debts can be forgiven or deadlines extended.

Pray for those in positions of authority to have godly wisdom in making decisions that affect all of us.

 

Pray for all of us to grow strong in the Lord in our time of distanced sheltering in place as this crisis blows over and away from us.  Ask God to give us wisdom in returning to our lives with more kindness and love.

Ask God for personal strength to Abide in Him.  And when victory comes, we will give Him the glory!

John 15:1-17; Ephesians 6:10-18

 

Where is your Hope?

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I have some friends who are going through some really hard times right now.  Serious illnesses, death of a loved one, prison, financial hardship – almost to the point of becoming homeless.

Some of them are dealing with the stress okay and getting through the challenges with their faith intact.  But a couple are feeling so discouraged, frustrated, and helpless; they are losing hope.  I wonder if you know someone who is losing hope?

When things are going well, it’s easy to show and share your faith.  But when they’re not, it’s easy to wonder where God is.  And as a friend it’s hard to know what to say or do.

Sometimes standing with them and saying “I just don’t know what to say but I’m glad to be here with you” is enough.  Sometimes crying with them, or praying with them, or helping them with whatever small thing you can do is enough.  Or making sure they are connected with whatever professional resources are available can help.

But whatever we can do, we are not the ones they can hang their hope on.  And neither are professional resources able to solve every problem with a happy ending.

Of the friends who are doing okay, and have their faith and hope intact, I have noticed some similarities.

girl-1186895_640.jpgThey pray

They read God’s Word, the Bible

They have acknowledged their need to a small group of friends

They accept fellowship and support from this small group

They continue to focus on trusting God with the outcomes

Of the ones who are not doing as well, I have also noticed some similarities.

They go it alone

They deny their need

They have stopped reading the Bible and praying

They focus on the anger and frustration they feel

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If you have friends or loved ones who are in a hardship or challenge that is too much for them, do whatever you can to be the support they will accept.  When you can’t do any more, or if they refuse your help, pray for them.  Pray for them to turn to the One who has the will and the power to have a positive impact on their lives and circumstances.

Holding on to that faith during a hard season, I wrote this song as God encouraged me to hold on and not give up hope.  Put Your Hope in Jesus

When all seems dark and hopeless Your Word becomes a light

A calming reassurance that dawn will follow night

When your only hope is Jesus, then your hope is strong and true

For He’s the One who is able to care for and carry you

Put your hope in Jesus

You can trust the man on the cross who died for you

Put your hope in Jesus

He’s the One who is able to carry you

When all of life around you is so out of control

There is just One you can turn to

There is just one hand to hold

So take the hand of Jesus and cling with all your might

He’s the One with the power to brighten your darkest night!

kneelcrossPut your hope in Jesus

You can trust the man on the cross who died for you

Put your hope in Jesus

He’s the One who is able to carry you

You CAN survive !

Sailing across the Sea of Galilee was an amazing experience.  When we got to the other side we visited the museum of a 2000-year old boat.

In 1986, two brothers discovered it when a severe drought lowered the water level of the Sea of Galilee.  This boat has been dated to the First Century AD.  It’s about twenty-six feet long and eight feet wide, and has been painstakingly preserved.  It is believed to be the kind of boat Jesus rode in.  It shows us, at least, what boats used for fishing and transportation across the lake were like then.

2000 boat

So this boat is 2,000 years old.  Yet it survived!  It had not simply sunk, but had been buried in the sea floor – safe from where the minerals, plant and animal life and the erosive effects of the water’s currents could take its toll.  But why this boat?

Evidence suggests that it had a hard life – broken timbers had been reused; lots of repairs and patching were observed.  Yet it survived.

The use of twelve different wood types, and the types of repair jobs, suggests that its owner was a fisherman of meager means.  Yet it survived.

This vessel carried simple fishermen.  It took them where they needed to go.  It kept them afloat.  It provided a base from which they worked.  And it survived.  It may have even been used by the Jews in a battle against the Romans in 67 AD.  Yet it survived!

Think about it:

How many of us, like this boat, have had a hard life?

Been batted about by the waves of life.

Faced storms?

How many of us have experienced brokenness?

Been patched up?

Maybe we even have scars from past battles.

We too, are vessels.  As Christians, we are vessels of the Holy Spirit.  We too, may have been damaged and repaired.  We too, may be of “meager means.”  Yet we can be like that Ancient Galilean boat.  We too, can survive!

It wasn’t the fancy boat of a wealthy man.  It wasn’t a boat made of the strongest wood.  It wasn’t the biggest.  It wasn’t the best.  Why did it alone, survive?  Because it was a boat that God had a purpose for!

Do you know God’s purpose for you?

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He tells you in Jeremiah 29:11.  He knows the plans He has for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.

Because God has a purpose for you, you can survive!

 

Whatever you are facing now, you can survive.

Whatever you have faced, you can survive.

Whatever you are about to face, you can survive.

Against all odds, because God has a plan for you, you can survive!

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Light of the World

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Father, without You we are in complete and utter darkness.

Our world is dark.  This time of year the nights are longer so there is more physical darkness to the day.  Without artificial light we would not be able to see to get around in the dark.

There is also a kind of emotional darkness that comes from worry, stress, anxiety and fear.  These can be due to a lack of direction or encouragement.  Or a lack of truth in relationships.  Or from hardships, difficulties and tragedies we endure.

And there is also a spiritual darkness that seems to pervade our world.   At times it appears that evil is prospering.  And it has an upper hand so many places where there is persecution, hatred, and violence.

Lord Jesus Christ, thank You for being the Light of the World.  You are Light in our lives in so many different ways.

Three in particular come to mind.

Soft light.

background-boy-christmas-713148 (1).jpgYou can be the soft light that allows us to feel relaxed, comfortable and safe; like the light from a campfire, or Christmas lights, or early morning just before the sun rises.

That kind of warmth or glow is gentle.  And You can be gentle with us.  You can wrap us in a radiance that calms us and brings a sense of peace no matter the circumstances.

In allowing You to envelope us in a blanket of soft light there is a sense of security.

Bright light.

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Daylight allows us to see things as they are.  We can see traps, holes, dangers.  We can navigate safely.  We can perceive more clearly.  And the bright light that You provide also lets us see the truth in ourselves and our relationships.  It allows us to see the reality of our true identity and our circumstances.

Your bright light provides us with direction and clarity.  And that brings confidence.

 

Laser light.

laser-858309_640Light can be so strong that it burns.  Lasers can be weapons of destruction.  Or they can be so focused that they can be treatments for cutting out dead or diseased tissue.

As such, Your laser light can seek out and target our worries, fears, bitterness.  And can be a healing light burning out cancer and disease.

I praise You that You are Light.  That there is no darkness in You.

And that by Your light I can walk and live and prosper as my soul is prospering in the salvation You brought to the world.  Amen