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Friday, June 23, 2017

God the Help of Those Who Seek Him

Today's reading took me to Psalm 121.

v. 1    "I will lift up my eyes to the hills __" 

and there my focus stay
my plea

v. 7-8    "The Lord shall preserve you ... and your soul ... your going out and your coming in." 

stray not to the left or to the right, but
forward go

v. 2   "My help comes from the Lord." 

The June 23 devotional reading in Streams in the Desert says:

When the Lord calls you to come (across the water), step out with confidence and joy ... and never glance away from Him for even a moment. You will not prevail by measuring the waves or grow strong by gauging the wind.


(c) Cathy Orrick Luders
June 23, 2017

Monday, June 19, 2017

Why don't we listen - why don't we hear - why don't we respond

We are encouraged to stand firm, pray fervently, follow the road less traveled.

That's what I see when reading Hebrews 12:12-13 ... "Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed."  Perhaps you see something else. Perhaps you will share with me what your take is.

The Lord tells us to go
He tells us to obey
He tells us to do

Go His way
Obey His commands, His instructions, His teaching
Do His will

But we find reasons we cannot go
as if the Lord's word is not enough
We doubt His promises
Our faith becomes weak
we give up,
too tired we are
we have no power
we are not effective
We are so discouraged

We walk around the obstacle
we cry out
we ask for answers
but then we refuse to see His reply

We question ...
Why follow the Lord's commands
and go and do
Why plow onward and upward

There are no answers among our own
Why do we rely on ourselves, on others
so much more than we rely on God?

Why is the encouragement given
or not given
by our fellow believers
of more importance
than that which God gives?

He tells us to go His way
not our way
He tells us to obey Him
not our personal thought nor another's
He tells us to do His will
not our will

But we find reasons
why we cannot go
or obey
or do

Why are we so stagnant?!

How can we call ourselves Christians and not be Christ-like?


(c) Cathy Orrick Luders
June 19, 2017






Wednesday, June 14, 2017

I will follow ... but will we, do we

It is to The Lord we are to
TRUST in
DELIGHT in
COMMIT to
REST in
WAIT on

We are to DEPART from Satan, king of lies and master of evil

and do good.

and we are promised we will dwell with The Lord, in heaven's lands
forever .... for all eternity.
(Based on Psalm 37)
________
If we are committed to the Lord, we should "avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife." (II Timothy 2:23)

We "must not quarrel, but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil..." (II Timothy 2:24-26)

We are unyielding. It is our way preferred over God's way. We think because we belong to God we know the right way to go. But we do not. We may have the head knowledge, but what we know mentally does not give a true reflection of what is in our heart. God, of course, knows. But when we do not yield to Him, our paths are crooked and we stumble over every step taken. We listen to our own personal mindless chatter and to others, when it is to God we owe our entire being. We should be trusting in, resting in, waiting on, committing to Jesus and Him Alone.

Where is our faith? Did we check it at the front door and go on about our business? Once an individual is saved they acquire the fruit of the Spirit. Gentleness is one of those fruits. As is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22) When we don't know how to walk the way of Christ, how to live as He, how to love as He, we surely don't know how to enable the fruit to flourish. It is through our spiritual growth in the Lord with the Holy Spirit's leading that we see results of the fruit within is ... or more accurately perhaps, others see the results of this fruit in us.

_________

Before Jesus tells Peter he will deny Him three times, He says, "I have prayed for you - that your faith should not fail."  (Luke 22:32) The same prayer He says to believers today. 

Prayer is our link to God, but without believing God will hear, listen and answer, it is a broken link. When we believe in God's power, in His love, in His goodness, in His provisions, in His very being, our prayers are communicated onward and upward in faith. No matter what the result, what the circumstances, it is because of our faith, we receive God's blessings. We are committed to Him and He is committed to us. 

(Based on Scripture and devotional readings in Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman.)

(c) Cathy Orrick Luders
June 9-14, 2017

Monday, October 3, 2016

Even in The Valley, the Lord's glory can be revealed

The valleys
The mountaintops
both necessary
for growth
but one is
preferred
over the other.

"(Yea, though) I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,"  - Psalm 23:4

compassion, understanding sought
encouragement desired
not to be torn down
with words that fill us
with fear and anger
for what we are not
or are not any longer
or at best, not today

"Why can't you be the way you were?"

"Why can't you love me for where I am (now or at this moment)?"

Why is our focus
on your problems
my problems
everyone else's problems

That is where Satan wants us -
focusing on anything and everything
except the Lord Jesus

Our focus belongs
totally on Him
His goodness
His truth
His way
His wisdom
His peace
His forgiveness
His vision, purpose
His witness
His love
His will

Our focus does not belong
on what we resent
nor on bitterness
nor depression
nor anxiety
nor fear
nor being defensive
nor negative comments spoken or thought

Satan grabs a foothold and never lets loose
Deception is his game
He deceives and infiltrates our minds
so we believe lie upon lie

The Lord tells us not to stray

"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. ... Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up." - James 4:8, 10

Stay away from mindless thinking connected to our old nature. Focus on the Lord and His goodness.

"And do not be conformed (molded) to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." - Romans 12:2

Yet we do ... stray.

Who makes you better
Did God
Are perceptions
of your troubles
less than mine
Does that make you
less imperfect

Are you too in a
valley
unaware

"You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You." - Isaiah 26:3

"Yea, though I (you, we) walk through the valley of the shadow of death" 

The valley
The shadows speak
Is the noise booming louder
Is that why
we struggle
we can't hear
and when we can hear
the words are jumbled
out of order
senseless words
running together
We don't understand
the question
or the answer
Our brain fails to comprehend
Too much! Too much!
Too much noise
surrounding

"We cannot hear the still small voice of our Savior whispering to us because we are overcome with unbearable noise." - CMOL

If God is for us,
WHAT can stand against?!
reminds us
since God is for us
there is no one thing
that can be against us.

But we forget

We do not rise up,
rise above worldly thinking
and focus our entire being
on the Lord Jesus.

We do not trust Him
in every step taken.
Instead,
we respond naturally;
we drift downward
and negativity
becomes our answer
every time in the face
of every difficulty
real and perceived.

The Valley
Every burdensome stone
strikes
and is thrown
again and again

The light
is with us

We follow
the light

yet

The Valley
a place
placed

Have we forgotten
His Presence
shields us
enfolds us
"I have lifted you out of darkness into My marvelous light." - 1 Peter 2:9
We are sinners
saved by grace
yet
again
we go our own way
following a path
not His desire

His displeasure
brings us
to
The Valley,
where
His Voice,
however faint and far away,
is heard.
"He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone ... first." - John 8:7b

"Whatever God asks you to be, He enables you to be!" - Anne Ortlund

The Lord Jesus asks us to follow Him - to show His Way, His Truth, His Life. He does not ask us to be less - to follow those who love the world and the things in it.

He does not ask us to destroy another's ideas and hopes and dreams, to speak evil, to be selfish, to complain, to be defensive, to be bitter, to lie or tell half truths, to be deceitful, to be proud, to be discontented, to put another down, to pity ourselves.

"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life - is not of the Father but is of the world." - 1 John 2:15-16

The Lord asks us to be loving and to pursue love
to be patient and pursue patience
to be kind and pursue kindness
to be good and pursue goodness
to be faithful and pursue faithfulness
to be gentle and pursue gentleness
to be trusting and pursue trust
to be an encourager and pursue encouragement
to be compassionate and pursue tenderness
to be hopeful and pursue hope

Even in the valley
we can be raised up
The crooked places can be made straight
The rough places smooth
Even in the valley
The glory of the Lord
seen on the mountaintop
can be revealed.

"Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low
The crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth;
The glory of the Lord shall be revealed ..."
- Isaiah 40:4-5a

(c) Cathy Orrick Luders
Sept. 28 - Oct. 3, 2016

Monday, September 19, 2016

Satan does not tempt us to sin

Satan does not tempt us to sin.

Wow! Quite an eye-opener, is it not?

Satan tempts us to think differently -- to think that what God has given us with our rebirth / regeneration, we will lose.

Satan tempts us to change our point of view.

When we are saved, we believe we are a child of God. We are valued by Him.

But Satan seeks to control our mind, our every thought. He makes us doubt our value, our worth before God.

Because we feel worthless, it must be so. Afterall, Satan said so.

But we have forgotten. We are children of God, not of Satan.

We must repent, turn back to our First Love -- The Lord Jesus Christ. He is where our true allegiance lies.

We must turn away from mindless thinking, groping in the dark, and reach for the Light -- the Light of Jesus, who cleanses us from all unrighteousness, all wrongdoings, all sin.

"...I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen, repent and do the first works..." - Revelation 2:4-5

(c) Cathy Orrick Luders
9.19.2016

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Taking control of our every thought

Thoughts --

Where do they take you?

Is it down back alleyways of despair and discouragement, fear and anger?

Or

Is it through avenues of encouragement and hope, always a brighter tomorrow?

I'm betting on a combination. We want good thoughts, but sometimes in the midst of whatever is going on in our lives, our good thoughts seem to run away and our bad thoughts take over.

God tells us to Trust Him for everything every time, to Thank Him for whatever comes our way, good and bad, so we can become a better person through Him. God says to reject the negative or sinful thoughts and confess them to Him.

By controlling our thoughts this way, negative turns to positive. Our minds are kept on the Lord Jesus, we are abiding in His Presence and He will guide us along the path best for each of us.

I John 1:5b-10 ...
"...God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have no sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us." 

Luke 1:79 ...
"To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death. To guide our feet into the way of peace."

Saturday, May 14, 2016

God wants us to stay connected to Him

God tells us not to fear our limitations - whatever they may be, and not to measure what we have to get done for the day against our own strength.

God wants us to stay connected to Him - through prayer, through His word - to trust Him for everything, to depend on Him for His limitless resources.

We cannot handle every difficulty that comes our way. We think we can.

Without God, there is nothing. We are nothing. We can do nothing. We think we have untold strength, but we do not. We are powerless alone.

It is only God that equips us to handle the difficulty we travel through. He is STRONG. It is His STRENGTH that we must rely on to accomplish all of our difficulties in every part of life.


"For with God nothing will be impossible."  
 Luke 1:37

"My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness."    
 II Corinthians 12:9
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will direct your paths." - Proverbs 3:5-6