Do you need a fortress in your life?

God-is-my-FortressDavid uses the image of God as his fortress as he describes who he feels and sees God is in his life.  By definition a fortress is a fortified place for protection.  David praised God for his deliverance from his enemies and from the murderous pursuit by Saul his king.   “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,” 2 Samuel 2:22  Repeatedly in Psalms David refers to God as his fortress.  Psalm 31:3 “For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me;”  Psalm 59:9 “O my Strength, I will watch for you, for you, O God, are my fortress.”   This psalm was written when Saul sent men to watch his house in order to kill him.  Later in verse 16-17 David writes, “But I will sing of your strength;
    I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.
For you have been to me a fortress
    and a refuge in the day of my distress.
17 O my Strength, I will sing praises to you,
    for you, O God, are my fortress,
    the God who shows me steadfast love.

psalm 91 2The beautiful and uplifting words of Psalm 91:1-4 resonate with David’s love, trust and complete confidence in the God, who is his fortress.

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.”

David knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was his fortress, safe haven and refuge from all the evil men and deeds that came at him.  He lived with confidence in God’s merciful protection that would cover him as he walked through each circumstance.   Do you have that kind of trust in God?  Have you walked with Him through hard times and seen His hand upon your life?  The more we know God day to day and walk with Him, study His Word, pray, praise and worship will we grow in trust and confidence in God’s God fortress trusteternal protection of our souls.  He is indeed our fortress, our safe place in this swirling world but also our safe haven for eternity.  Praise God for His great name and character today as you seek to walk with Him.  Claim Him as your fortress.  He is solid and can be relied upon at all times in all places.

Linda

Does God provide the light in your life?

psalm 27 1Light   When we say the word light, many things come to mind- glowing illumination, brightness, no more darkness, hope, direction, guidance…..   In Psalm 27 David speaks about the ultimate light of the world, God.

The Lord is my light and my salvation—    With God as his light-                     whom shall I fear?                                      he  knew salvation & no fear
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—       With God as his light- 
    of whom shall I be afraid?                         he knew strength & no fear

When the wicked advance against me      With God as his light-  he knew his enemies 
    to devour me,                                                       would crumble. 
it is my enemies and my foes
    who will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,                    With God as his light- he knew he would not 
    my heart will not fear;                           break under pressure but live with confidence     though war break out against me,
    even then I will be confident.

One thing I ask from the Lord                 With God as his light- God would always be             this only do I seek:                                                           with him, making life beautiful
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
    and to seek him in his temple.

How about you?  Is God your light?   Jesus tells us in John 8:12 ““I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Having Jesus in your life dispels the darkness of sin, keeps you from living in fear, gives you salvation and strength and makes all things around you to be illuminated by God’s light.  Just like David, we can see God’s light and we can know Him personally through His Son.

David ends this Psalm with a reminder to wait patiently for the Lord.  Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.”

psalm-27 14Knowing God is light and will provide direction so we can see how to proceed,  David admonishes us to wait for the Lord.   I know, easier said than done, but it is a good reminder that our timetable for things is not the Lord’s.  In His light we can walk with confidence and trust His leading as we wait for His perfect timing.

Will you walk seeking God’s light in your life today?  Will you grow in trust for Him as you wait His perfect timing?  If you are struggling with God’s timing, pray and ask for patience and guidance as you wait upon Him.

Linda

Freedom isn’t free, there is always a cost

Freedom-DaysI want to wish each of you a Happy 4th.  The 4th of July is a favorite holiday filled with BBQ’s, games, swimming, picnicking, corn on the cob, apple pie and fireworks.  But as you know, the 4th is more than that to each of us.  The freedom we enjoy in America was bought with a price.  The cost to those that came before us was filled with sacrifice, hope and struggle.  It continues to cost those who labor daily in the military to ensure our freedom.  Our struggle over the centuries has been to secure, defend and maintain freedom of religion, peace, prosperity and hope for us and our children.  We desire to live in an unbiased, loving and accepting society.  Is this possible? Actually,  I believe it is NOT possible without Christ.  He is the one who can make all things right and gives us the power to love and live in harmony with others.

Today’s thoughts of freedom bring me to 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 and Galatians 5:1.  Paul was teaching the Corinthians how to live together in harmony and purity.  “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own: you have been bought at  price.  Therefore honor God with your body.”   Paul was reminding the Galatians what they had in Christ and that it should be their desire and ours to honor God in all we say and do.  “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves by burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”  Christ  died for us so that we might be free from sin and its bondage and have the ability to live lives that honor Him.  The cross was the ultimate sacrifice for us.  Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  He bought us with a price, his life.  He redeemed us from sin’s ultimate consequence-death.  My freedom in Christ was bought with the price of His life on the cross.

I have FREEDOM in Christ- freedom from my sins, freedom to live for Him, freedom from eternal death and freedom to live with Him for eternity.   Just as we are thankful for those who died to secure the freedom we have in America, we need to be thankful for the freedom we have in Christ alone.  He is the one who secures it all and brings us to the place where we can enjoy freedom.

freedomToday as you are thankful for America, think also of the greater freedom you have though Christ and say a prayer of Thanks to Jesus.

Thankful today,

Linda

Where does your strength come from?

god is my strength 1We know that God is mighty in strength as scripture is filled with references to God’s strength.  David praised God’s strength in his song of thanksgiving in 1 Chronicles 16:10-11 when he had the ark brought to Jerusalem. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.11 Look to the Lord and his strength;  seek his face always.”   David knew seeking God was the correct action to receive strength at all times. Later in Psalms he writes how God strengthen his heart in Psalm 73:26 “My flesh and my heart may fail,  but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” , equips and brings righteousness with His strength Psalm 18:32 “the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless.”, and His strength brings blessing Psalm 84:5 “Blessed are those whose strength is in you,  in whose heart are the highways to Zion.” 

There are so many others who wrote about God’s strength.   Isaiah proclaimed God’s strength for those in need in Isaiah 40:29 He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength“. Habakkuk proclaimed God’s strength and ability to lift him above his circumstances in Habakkuk 3:19 “God, the Lord, is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the deer’s;  he makes me tread on my high places.” 

god is my strengthIn the New Testament we are encouraged to seek God’s strength through prayer. Luke 21:36 Jesus exhorts the disciples to pray for the strength to combat the temptations of the world that would lead us astray,  But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”  Paul reminds us in Ephesians to pray for strength that comes through faith and trust in Christ, For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,”  Ephesians 3:14-18  In Philippians Paul pens one of my favorite verses about God’s strength, I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:13

GodismystrengthWhat do you know and feel about God’s strength?  Is His strength accessible to you in prayer? Do you ask for His strength daily in your life or only when you are in times of great need?  Scripture shows us that God’s strength is available to us so that we may be strong of heart, filled with love and conviction for Christ, equipped to do His work and to be able to stand in adversity.  Philippians 4:13 would even go so far as to say God can make the impossible possible through His strength.  Do not be lacking in strength because you neglected to pray and ask for strength.  Jesus said in John 16:24 “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”  James 4:2 “You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.”   We know God desires us to Philippians-413be strong and living in His strength daily, so ask Him for  strength whenever you need it.

Be comforted and encouraged by His strength in your life today!

Linda

Is God your Rock?

God is my rockDavid was well aware of God as his Rock.  In Psalm 18:1-3 he uses this image of God when proclaiming his thanks for God’s strength in protecting him from murderous Saul.  David struggled with Saul chasing him and seeking to kill him for over 10 years.  David trusted God and His plan and timing to make him king.

I love you, Lord, my strength.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
    and I have been saved from my enemies.

Since David struggled for so many years against the elements as a shepherd, a boy facing Goliath, as a fugitive and as a king with many battles to face, the Psalms are filled with his reliance upon God as his rock and source of his faith.

psalm 19 14Psalm 19:14 “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
    be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

Psalm 62:1-2 “Truly my soul finds rest in God;  my salvation comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;  he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”

Psalm 71:1-3 “In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame.
In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me; turn your ear to me and save me.
Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me,
    for you are my rock and my fortress.”

David proclaims God as his Rock as well as fortress, deliverer, refuge, stronghold, salvation, redeemer and righteous God.  David knew from experience that God was faithful, and he could depend upon Him.  Can you proclaim who God is to you?  Let David’s words seep into you thoughts today and give you confidence and strength in God.  Hebrews 13:8 tells us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” and James 1:17 “ Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. ”   The God who David trusted and loved is the same God we serve.  He does not change from generation to generation and we can depend upon Him just like David.

god rock refugePrayer:  Thank you Father that you are the same yesterday, today and forever.  Your character and ideals do not change or shift with the times and whims of man.  You are my rock and can hold me steady as I face the storms in my life.  You are to be praised for you are always faithful and seek to do and bring good into my life.  Help me to be depend upon your strength and character so I may live fully for you.  Amen.

Linda

Is God your Shepherd?

good shepherdDavid saw God as His shepherd and wrote about him in Psalm 23.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.          The shepherd provides.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.       The shepherd guides
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.                                          The shepherd restores.
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;                                      The shepherd protects and comforts.
    your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me              The shepherd knows the future and
in the presence of my enemies;                                prepares for me.
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me        The shepherd is with me eternally.
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

 

Do you regard the Lord God as your shepherd?  The shepherd was the one who tended, cared, protected, defended and loved his sheep.  God is described as the shepherd of the nation of Israel in Isaiah 40: 10-11 “See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power,….He tends his flock like a shepherd:  He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart;  he gently leads those that have young.”  Jesus described himself as the good shepherd in John 10:11 “ “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”  Then in John 10:14-16 “ “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. (Here Jesus was referring to those who were not Jews, the Gentiles.) I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”   Jesus is the perfect image of the good shepherd.  The sheep listen to Him, know Him and He sacrifices Himself for this beloved sheep.  What a beautiful pictures of our loving God.

good shepherd 1Today as you reflect upon God, consider the 23rd Psalm and Jesus’ words in John.  Know that you are loved and cared for by your loving heavenly Father and that your good shepherd, Jesus, will guide, protect, defend, hear, and love you. 

Linda

Come with me and praise His Name!

PowerPoint PresentationLast fall I was working on a series based on the names of God.   It is essential to our faith to learn as much about God as possible because the more we know God the more we can be assured He is who He says He is and will do all things He promises.  God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are incomprehensible (an attribute of God) and yet God desires that we know Him.  Our finite minds can only take in so much of our omniscient God, but we know from life’s experiences that we can grow and as we do we stretch ourselves to learn more.  I love this quote from Daniel 11:32b.  Daniel was in a very turbulent time and he wanted to encourage the people that knowing God would give them a firm foundation to withstand the trials of their present day. but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.”   That is my prayer for us too, that knowing more about our God will cause us to stand firmly planted and willing and able to take action for Him.

Psalm 148 is a psalm of praise to God as the creator of all things about earth and the heavens.

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
    praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels;              
    praise him, all his hosts!

Praise him, sun and moon,
    praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
    and you waters above the heavens!

5 Let them praise the name of the Lord!
    For he commanded and they were created.
And he established them forever and ever;
    he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.        The psalmist call upon all people to praise His name because of all He has created in the heavens.  He continues….

Praise the Lord from the earth,
    you great sea creatures and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and mist,
    stormy wind fulfilling his word!

Mountains and all hills,
    fruit trees and all cedars!
10 Beasts and all livestock,
    creeping things and flying birds!

11 Kings of the earth and all peoples,
    princes and all rulers of the earth!
12 Young men and maidens together,
    old men and children!

13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
    for his name alone is exalted;
    his majesty is above earth and heaven.
14 He has raised up a horn for his people,
    praise for all his saints,
    for the people of Israel who are near to him.
Praise the Lord!                                                           The psalmist calls upon all people to praise the name of the one  who created all nature and peoples on the earth.  

psalm 148In verse 13 points us to the name of the creator, the Lord who is worthy of all our praise because He is above all, greater than all He created and He alone is worthy of our praise.  If we think the creation is wonderful, it is nothing compared to God himself.  The creation pales in comparison to the Creator God.  This psalm is a call to all of creation to praise the creator and a reminder that He is greater than all.

I challenge you this summer to come along with me to explore greater depths of God’s character as we look into the Word and focus on Who God is by name.  His name is worthy of all praise!

Linda

Remembering Father’s Day

 

 

Psalm 103:13 “As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.”

Proverbs 23:24 “The father of a righteous man has great joy; he who has a wise son delights in him.”

Sunday is Father’s Day and it’s approach has caused me to think reflectively about  my earthly father, Henry Beecher Chrisp. He was a loving father, but demanded that we behave well, work hard, show respect and not give up easily.  He loved to work with his hands building things and to fish.  Dad loved the outdoors by cultivating flowers, growing a vegetable garden or simply taking a hike or ride through the forest.  He had a deep faith in God.    He showed me God, the Father, through his compassion and love for me.  Dad was always one to love what we did and took pride in our accomplishments.

I hope your own father reminds you of God, the Father,  in some personal way.  I felt blessed and fortunate to have a father who loved me and wanted the best for me.  I know all earthly fathers are not like that.  Fortunately, we all have a perfect Heavenly Father we can look up to and depend upon.  He will always be there for us and promises to never leave us or forsake us.   Thank you Lord.

Have a blessed Father’s Day filled with good memories or activities with your father.

Linda

The 5 W’s of Pentecost…Let them speak to you today!

Who was there?  Scripture tells us in Acts chapters 1 and 2 that the disciples and many other Jews from every nation were gathered together.

untitled (2)What?  The arrival of the promised power from heaven that would empower them to be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

When?  Pentecost was 50 days after the Passover.  It was called the Feast of Weeks in the Old Testament. It was 10 days after Jesus’ Ascension into heaven.

Where?  Jesus told them to go and wait for the helper that would come.  They returned to Jerusalem after Jesus’ Ascension just as He commanded.

41c6fe8801d24ef215fba3f9fc1c28b5Acts 2:2-4 describes to us vividly the arrival of the Holy Spirit.  “Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.  They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”    Peter stood and preached to the gathered crowd and told them that this outpouring from heaven was from God.  He quoted the Old Testament prophet Joel in Acts 2:17 “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.”   The arrival of the Holy Spirit was dramatic- tongues of fire- and noisy- as a strong wind and filled with many languages.  It was a surprise arrival yet it had been expected.  Jesus told them to go and wait, so they knew something or someone was coming.  In John 15:15-17, 25-26,  Jesus had promised them the Holy Spirit would come.  “If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever-the Spirit of truth.   And all this I have spoken while still with you.  But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”   Also in Luke 24:48-49 Jesus told them of the coming power and place,  “You are witnesses of these things.  I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” 

Why was this necessary?  When I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, His Holy Spirit came to dwell within me.  This Spirit that arrived on tongues of fire and with a great sound lives within me.  He empowers me to live a godly life and to speak to others about Jesus and His salvation.  1 John 4:4 puts it this way, “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is great than the one who is in the world.”      Romans 8:16 “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. ”     2 Corinthians 1:21-22  “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ.  He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”    

How do you answer your own 5 W’s about the Holy Spirit?  Who is the Holy Spirit to you?  What are you allowing God to do with this Holy Spirit that lives within you?  Where are you walking in obedience and listening to His Word?  When are you  stepping out in faith to tell others about Jesus?    Why is the Holy Spirit necessary in your life?  Jesus wanted the disciples, and us too, to use the power the Father sent to do the work of telling others and living for Him.  Will you begin today by allowing God’s Holy Spirit living within you to lead you to live for Him in a mighty way that will bring Him honor and glory?

Praising Him this Pentecost Sunday,

Linda

What does June 6th mean to you? Sacrifice, freedom, honor….

Today is the 75th Anniversary of the “D-Day” invasion of Europe in 1944.   Known as Operation Overload it was cloaked in secrecy and

IMG_0816
Today the Allied flag still fly in memory.

various rumors were spread to mislead the enemy as to when the attack would take place.  General Eisenhower had originally chosen June 5 for the invasion but bad weather made that impossible,  so they moved forward as weather cleared on June 6.  It was the largest amphibious attack in history and some 156,000 plus troops from Great Britain, Canada and the United States landed on various beaches.  When I visited Normandy, I realized how great the coordination had to have been to attack simultaneously the different beaches.  The British and Canadians captured beaches code named Gold, Juno and Sword.  The Americans captured Utah Beach but faced heavy resistance on Omaha Beach where over 2,000 Americans died.  Some historians estimate that more than 4,000 Allied troops lost their lives in the D-Day invasion, with thousands more wounded or missing.

IMG_0819

Beautiful and serene today, but then were covered with barbed wire and obstacles to stop the troops from landing.

 

 

 

By the day’s end, some 156,000 troops had landed successfully and led what is thought to be ‘the beginning of the end for Germany’.  By the end of August, northern France had been liberated and by the Spring of 1945 the Germans were defeated.   The coordinated efforts of all the commanders were lead by General Dwight D Eisenhower.  They successfully adapted and overcame to defeat the enemy.

IMG_0812
The Rangers attacked under heavy fire from the Germany guns in these bunkers on top of the cliff.

 

IMG_0810
This beautiful beach cliff was the setting of the American Rangers’ attack that morning.

 

As we ponder this day in history, let us give thanks to those who gave their lives and those who fought bravely in the face of grave danger and survived.  Thank you to those who came home and lived lives of honor and courage after having experienced the horrors of war and to those who did not return.

IMG_0826Normandy, a place of remembrance.  Let us remember their sacrifice for our freedom and not take it lightly as the cost was great.

Proverbs 10:7 “The memory of the righteous is a blessing,
May the memories bring you blessings today.

Linda