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(1Ki 19:1-8)  1 And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. 2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time. 3  And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. 4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. 5 And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. 6 And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. 7 And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. 8 And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God. 

Life is truly a journey! No matter where your journey leads you, the path is usually the same: the struggle is real … the enemy is real. It’s how we walk that pathway that makes the difference. Do we give up? Do we seek God’s help? Do we seek the world’s answers?

To summarize today’s reading, Elijah was running for his life!  Why? He was running away from an ungodly woman, Jezebel, because she threatened to kill him.  Elijah ran so far that he found himself exhausted and he stopped to rest under a  tree. He just didn’t rest though; he simply gave up! The circumstances were too much for him. He was so distraught that in his mind he saw no way out of his predicament. Man’s thoughts are not God’s thoughts, praise the Lord! If they were, believers would be giving up. (Isa. 55:8  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.)

However, God wasn’t done with Elijah yet.  God did not give up on Elijah. Instead, God sent an angel to “touch him” and to tell him what to do.  I love this part … “an angel touched him”! How personal is that? There’s something about a touch – a hug – a pat on the hand! I believe that Elijah needed that touch. Once the angel touched him, it brought him to reality.

Elijah looked up and there was food and water to strengthen him. But what did Elijah do?  He laid back down! I suppose the circumstances were still fresh in his mind and maybe he still felt overwhelmed by those circumstances. I’ve done that so I can’t be critical of Elijah’s reaction. God still didn’t give up on him though. God sent that angel once again to “touch him.” This time the angel tells Elijah why he needed to eat and drink: the journey ahead would be a difficult one without sustenance. Elijah listened this time and obeyed … and that sustenance strengthened him for 40 days and nights! It’s not often we read how someone survived 40 days and nights without eating and drinking. I can only think of Elijah and Jesus Christ. If you can find anyone else, please leave me a comment 🙂 That must have been some sustenance, amen?

How many times have I been on a journey where I felt like giving up? Too many to count, I must say. How do people do it without the Lord! My husband’s Crohn’s journey has been the hardest thing I’ve had to go through with him. It has taught me that the word of God is my sustenance.  Without it, I cannot continue on this journey. Jezebel may not be chasing me but the devil sure is. He wants me to give up. He wants me to run away. But God has plans for me. (Jer 29:11  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.) It may not be what I expected, but it is God’s expected end! And that, my friend, is a perfect ending!

Many times I have sat under that tree and thrown my arms in the air. The Lord didn’t send an angel to touch me because I have Someone better!  I have the Holy Spirit living within me who instructs me in the way that I should go! (Joh 14:26  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.) He brings me comfort and encouragement through the Bible! After all, the Holy Spirit wrote it and He is an expert on leading me to the living water that will help me to survive through yet another trial!

Are you going through a trial? Is your journey too much to bear, Christian?  God has an expected end to your journey. Of course, we can’t tell the future, but He can! He knows what’s there and He knows what you need to make it through. He will send you an “angel” to touch you through His word! He loves you and He wants what’s best for you. Just as you would not abandon your own child during the most difficult time in his life – neither will God abandon you! 

Psa 55:22  Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. 

Notice the verse says SHALL and NEVER  …  let that sink in 🙂 God bless you, Christian, as you go through your journey. Keep your eyes on Him and not on your circumstances. Surround yourself with godly and wise friends who will lift you up and encourage you in the word of God. I don’t know what I would do without those friends who lead me to the Rock that is higher than I. (Psa 61:2  From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.) A true Christian friend will do that!

~Phil. 4:6-7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 

I love quaint bridges like the one in the photo! Bridges take you places – to places unknown. They lead you to new people, new adventures and new experiences.  This bridge’s beautiful depiction of late Fall reveals the coming to an end of a season. It also seems to have an ominous feeling about it.  What’s on the other side, I wonder? Where will it take me? Who will I meet? What adventures will there be? However, what is on the other side isn’t always what we expect.  Oh how true that statement would come to be!

One of the many bridges of my marriage has led us to a place we had once visited.  Well, not exactly but it had a twist to it.  Our journey actually began in February 2008, when John was diagnosed with Colorectal cancer.  After radiation, chemo, surgeries to remove the cancer, add and reverse a temporary ileostomy, and more chemo, he went into remission.  The follow up colonoscopies had shown no return of cancer, but he did have a 2-inch tumor (benign) removed in 2015.  (I might also add that he has multiple hernia surgeries.)  These surgeries played havoc with his intestines, unbeknownst to us.

Since 2011, doctors monitored a spot, possibly Colitis but John never displayed any symptoms and was living what we thought was a perfectly normal life.

On May 21, 2018, my husband crossed a bridge which led to a painful journey leading to Crohn’s Disease.  I should say rather, that we crossed it together. For those of you who know me, he is my right arm – the love of my life. The pain I feel may be quite different from his – but mine is deeply emotional and mental. :'( This devotional is to record what we have/are experiencing now that we have crossed that bridge. The season of John’s healthy life has come to an end.  But the journey has revealed God’s love in a whole different way.  John went in for yet another routine hernia operation.  Everything came to a head a couple of days later.  Crohn’s reared its ugly head and introduced itself in a most horrific way.  The twist in the road passed that bridge was to reveal something we never could have imagined! In two months time, my healthy 178-lb. husband turned into a very weak, 133 lb. man! He was hardly recognizable to those friends he was closest to.  It’s been a roller coaster ride, to say the least.  Each day has been a challenge, both physically for  him and  emotionally and mentally for me.

So why do I write about this? I want to share with you that we are not alone in times like these. It is because of times like that our eyes are opened and we draw ourselves to the Saviour’s side.  I thought I had been at His side when John had cancer in 2008! But it wasn’t like now.

The Lord has given me strength to write about this journey and my heart was pressed to write about today’s reading.  It starts off with “Be careful for nothing” – a directive to take no thought of what’s happening – don’t dwell on it – don’t be overcome with the grief and burden of the day.  [Matthew 6:34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.]  I felt, and sometimes still do, so alone because I was relying on my own efforts and power to overcome this trial. There’s nothing I could do – but I felt as though I had to do something!   No matter what I did to assist John, it did not cure him. When I do feel that way now, I recognize it and turn my eyes on the Lord. I run to the Scriptures and find comfort and encouragement. I seek a friend’s encouraging words. All these things have been placed in my life for my good!

Despite this feeling of powerlessness, I knew that I could either rise above it with the Lord’s help or fall into a deep crevasse.  Thank God for the encouragement of my dear friend – the lady who God used to lead me to Him! She helped me to focus on the Lord and not on my own capabilities. She has her own trials with Fibromyalgia and knowing the desperation that comes with chronic illness. I wanted to be like her – though times brought her down, she somehow managed to be encouraged in the Lord. She would point me to Him! Oh how I pray that you have a friend like that! 1 Pet. 5:7 encouraged me to cast my anxiety – my cares – upon Him because He cares for me!! God did not remove the trial … He did not heal John (at least not yet), but He did replace my anxiety with peace.

The Lord has encouraged me to get back to writing.  I had neglected this blog for too long.  Who would have thought that Crohn’s would be the cause of me resuming my love for writing.  I will share with you, as time permits, my thoughts – my heart – and what the Lord has taught me through it all! I will share John’s journey.  I hope and pray that should you be going through the hardest trial of your life, you would be encouraged to go to the Scriptures and allow  the Great Physician to heal your spirit.  Please pray for us and leave a comment should you need prayer and I will lift you up to the Shepherd of our souls!

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1 Samuel 30:1-6 “And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire; And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way. So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives. Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep. And David’s two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.”

Imagine with me for just a moment that you and your friends have taken a trip and you’re away from your family.  Upon your return, you find that someone has taken your spouse and children. Everything you own is burned to the ground.  What a tragedy this would be, indeed.  What would you do as a believer?

David and his men were greatly distraught, and rightfully so.  Today’s scriptures say that they cried until they were exhausted – there was nothing left within them to shed one more tear.  You’ve been there, haven’t you?  You cried so much you were drained of any power to shed one more tear!  To top it off, after David’s men were so grieved, they talked about killing him.  They must have thought that had they been at home, they would have been able to protect their families.  What guilt they must have felt!  What guilt David must have felt as well.

But what did David do?  He didn’t run away from his problems but instead he turned to his God!  Verse 6 says “And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.”  David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.  David didn’t have the scriptures to read.  He couldn’t turn to his favorite passages.  His relationship with the Lord was such that he went straight to his source of encouragement.

I am so thankful that we have God’s word to turn to.  This is where we meet Him.  This is where we place our anxieties and stresses at His feet and await healing. 1 Peter 5:7 is one of my favorite verses.  How many times have you read this verse?  Has it meant the same each time?  1 Peter 5:7 “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”  God cares for us, my friend.  He does not leave us alone in times of need.  Isaiah 40:31 “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” 

If David can make it through hard times, so can we.  His God is our God.  The same God who parted the Red Sea can take care of your problems the same way that God took care of David’s dilemma.  As you read further into 1 Samuel 30, you see that God helped David and his men take back their families.  God heard David’s cries and those of his men.  He came to David’s  aid and God was glorified in the end.  Do your friends and family see your God through the way you handle your hard times?  Let the Lord renew your strength and don’t be weary. God hears you – He loves you!

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (Joh 14:26)

How wonderful to know that our Heavenly Father knew we would need Someone after Christ ascended into Heaven! Not only did our Father send the Holy Spirit to reside with us until we get to Heaven (Eph. 4:30), but He sent us Someone who would comfort us and teach us!

Noah Webster defines comforter as:

1. One who administers comfort or consolation; one who strengthens and supports the mind in distress or danger.

Don’t you just love that definition? Our Heavenly Father loves us so much that He gives us the Holy Spirit to console and comfort us when we need strengthening. This same Comforter supports our minds when we are in distres or in danger! No wonder God used the word Comforter to describe the Holy Spirit! This comforts my heart, doesn’t it comfort yours as well?

God also describes the Holy Spirit as our Teacher. John 14:26 says that He was sent by the Father in Jesus’ name and will teach us in all things. This is a wonderful depiction of the blessed Trinity. Our Teacher will reveal to us exactly what we need, when we need it. The Lord’s prayer encourages us to ask the Father for our “daily bread” but I do not believe it is for food for the body. Why? Because Matthew 6:31 states that we should not worry about what we are to eat because our Heavenly Father knows we have those needs… so why should Christ teach us to ask for our daily bread then? To me, this would be Scripture contradicting Scripture and we know that this cannot be so. I believe that the Lord’s prayer is teaching us to ask God for our spiritual bread – our daily spiritual nourishment – what HE wants us to learn that day in the Word.

I don’t know about you, but I am encouraged knowing that my Heavenly Father not only sent Christ to die for my sin and take my punishment, but He sent a Comforter and a Teacher to be with me, to comfort me and to teach me. What a compassionate God we serve! Thank You Lord!

Oh Father, You thought of everything
That this frail soul would surely need
As I walk on this pilgrim’s pathway
I will follow You as You lead!

Psalm 100:1-5 [A Psalm of praise.] Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. (1) Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. (2) Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. (3) Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. (4) For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. (5)

Each moment that we dwell on our circumstances and trials, we lose focus of all the good that Lord has done for us. Like a muscle, we must exercise that part of us which God has provided to encourage ourselves. If the Lord commands us to encourage ourselves, which He does in Psalm 100, then not only is it do-able, but He provides us with the way to do it.

As I read Psalm 100, the Psalmist clearly outlines in progression what we are to do:

  1. Make a joyful noise (sing)
  2. Serve with gladness
  3. Sing some more
  4. Remember that God made us and we are His sheep – He knows us because He is our Creator and our Shepherd
  5. Be thankful
  6. Praise Him
  7. Be thankful some more
  8. Bless His Name – praise Him some more
  9. Acknowledge that God is Good, His mercy is forever and His truth endures – again, praise Him some more

I noticed that singing, being thankful and praising God are key as they are mentioned more than once in these five verses. Certain music puts us in a right heart and mind to focus in the right direction. A mind that is thankful and full of praise to the Father is not a mind that is focused on discouragement and circumstances. There have been times where singing a song has changed my whole spirit. The Lord gave us music to lift our spirits – especially the Psalms.

Is it any wonder that Fanny Crosby penned the words to Praise Him, Praise Him? Won’t you read these wonderful words with me today and exercise your heart and fill it with song, thankfulness and praise to your Heavenly Father Who provides for us everything we need?

Praise Him, Praise Him
Fanny Crosby

Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessèd Redeemer!
Sing, O Earth, His wonderful love proclaim!
Hail Him! hail Him! highest archangels in glory;
Strength and honor give to His holy Name!
Like a shepherd, Jesus will guard His children,
In His arms He carries them all day long:
Chorus:
Praise Him! Praise Him!
Tell of His excellent greatness.
Praise Him! Praise Him!
Ever in joyful song!

Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessèd Redeemer!
For our sins He suffered, and bled, and died.
He our Rock, our hope of eternal salvation,
Hail Him! hail Him! Jesus the Crucified.
Sound His praises! Jesus who bore our sorrows,
Love unbounded, wonderful, deep and strong.

Chorus

Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessèd Redeemer!
Heav’nly portals loud with hosannas ring!
Jesus, Savior, reigneth forever and ever.
Crown Him! Crown Him! Prophet, and Priest, and King!
Christ is coming! over the world victorious,
Pow’r and glory unto the Lord belong.

Chorus

Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work. (2Th 2:17)

What comfort we believers have in the knowledge of our place in the Body of Christ! We are eternally saved – nothing can separate us from the love of God. Rom. 8:38-39, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, (38 ) Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (39) Our hearts should be rejoicing and giving praise, honor and glory to the One who died for us so that we can say this with boldness and be comforted! Thank You, blessed Father in Heaven!

Paul tells the Thessalonians to “stablish themselves in every good word and work.” Everyone can say that they have set out on a mission to be a blessing to someone and, in turn, have ended up being blessed by that person instead. Every good word and work we do each day is fulfilling the will of God. The good word we have is sharing the Gospel – encouraging a saint when a heart is heavy – exhorting a spiritually weaker brother to righteousness. A good work for Christ comes forth when we purge ourselves of the wood and stubble found in our spiritual lives and striving toward being a vessel unto honour – fit for the Master’s use. There is nothing more rewarding in the Christian’s life than to know that the Father is working through us for someone else’s benefit!

If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. (2Ti 2:21)

Christian, encourage yourself today to be a vessel that God can use. You are a child of the King! Represent Him with a life that is yielding to His Spirit’s convictions. It may not be easy, but a yielded life is always God’s will.

Yielded to Your Spirit I wish to be
Ever growing in grace each day
Remove from me the fleshly desires
Which hinder me along the way

Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. (Joh 16:32)These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (Joh 16:33)

Jesus, our Example, shows us that we are not alone. Just like He had the Father with Him, we do also. No matter how alone we feel in life’s trials, the Father is right there by our side. I remember when my children were little and they would get hurt. The first thing they did was to look around to find Mommy or Daddy and they would run to us for comfort. They did not look around for their sibling or a friend or other adult … they looked around for Mommy or Daddy. What a lovely picture of the Christian running to His Father when he is hurt and in need. Oh that we should be as little children and run to the Father’s side when we have needs instead of running to others.

Psalm 23 is such a great Psalm to read when one is in need of refreshing the soul and spirit! I went to visit my Shepherd there this morning in search of a spiritual refreshing. No one can provide this but Him in times like these. This Psalm is not just for funerals, my friend. It is a Psalm for the weary Christian on his journey.

Psa 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. My Shepherd and Guide is my own personal Shepherd – He is MY Shepherd and He will see to it that I lack nothing.

Psa 23:2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. My Shepherd provides rest to my spirit and is always leading me to His Word where they are not turbulent and confusing but so still, I can see clearly. Turbulent waters are murky – but these waters are still and clear and I will find my answers there. The spiritual refreshment is not hidden or difficult to find. My Shepherd sees to it that I find exactly what I need for the moment.

Psa 23:3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. In times like these, our soul needs to be restored and encouraged. My Shepherd leads me to His Righteous Word for restoration. We all need refueling.

Psa 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. I think of discouragement as being the dying of one’s countenance or spirit. My Shepherd says that I do not need to fear anything because He is with me. His guidance brings comfort. He will guide me away from this shadow. Thank You Lord!

Psa 23:5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Ole slewfoot doesn’t stand a chance, although he will surely try to test my metal. Thank God for my Shepherd who is busy preparing a place for me in Heaven and will return to receive me unto Himself. I have a place secured for me in Heaven because of what my Shepherd did for me! Yes, my cup is overflowing, for sure. Meditating on that alone is enough to encourage my spirit.

Psa 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. My Shepherd’s goodness and mercy are always there during my pilgrimage on this earth. Not only do we benefit from His goodness and mercy, but we have the wonderful knowledge of knowing that we will be dwelling with Him for ever!

Thank You Lord, for encouraging my heart today! I stand amazed at how personal a God You are and a Father to me!

How comforting to know that You are there
In the midst of my trial You are found
Not sitting idly by as I struggle with life
But your goodness and mercy abound

2 Cor. 1:3-4, “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; (3) Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. (4)

Because of Jesus Christ, we believers have an incorruptible inheritance which places us in a position to be able to call God, our Father! The word incorruptible appears only four times in the Bible:

And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. (1Co 9:25)In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (1Co 15:52)

To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, (1Pe 1:4)

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. (1Pe 1:23)

We see that our crown will be incorruptible, our raptured bodies will be incorruptible, our inheritance is incorruptible and our salvation is incorruptible! How encouraging is that?

When we are discouraged, we must remember that our trials are for a short time. 2 Cor. 1:3-4 show that our Heavenly Father will provide comfort during our tribulations so that we may in turn pass that comfort on to others going through trouble. I noticed this verse didn’t say to comfort those who are going through what you have experienced but that we are to comfort those who are going through any trouble. In other words, be there for those in need of comfort – period! Pass along to someone else the knowledge and assurance that the Father will comfort them in the same manner He comforted you.

We have encouraged ourselves and defeated ole slewfoot’s attempts to discourage us. We have assurance that our salvation and inheritance of Heaven is incorruptible. Now take those encouraging words to someone who needs to hear them and you will continue to keep yourself encouraged. Share the blessings the Father has given you with those in need of healing words.

They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word. (Psa 119:74)

Father, I thank You for Your grace
You have brought me through every trial
With mercy, peace and comfort sweet
You walked with me all the while

But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. (Mat 14:27)

What a blessing this statement must have been for the apostles to hear from their Saviour! Here they are in a storm and see Jesus walking toward them. They thought they were seeing a ghost! I don’t know about you, but as I place myself in their situation, I would have been afraid also. There are times in our own lives where we don’t “see” the Lord working. Our problems become insurmountable and we focus on the circumstances before us instead of focusing our eyes on the Lord.

Deut. 6:6-8, “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.

Have you ever worn a sweat band? I am always aware of that sweat band being around my forehead. It gets damp, it gets itchy and although it provides a purpose, I am always aware of its presence upon my forehead. A frontlet is similar to one of these bands. Can you imagine if God’s Word was as this sweat band between our eyes – constantly making us aware that It is there? If our eyes are focused on the Word, how can they also be focused on the circumstances surrounding us?

Praise the Lord that we have the precious Word of God to read and memorize! We can encourage ourselves daily and be of good cheer when those days come and we don’t see the Lord clearly there beside us. The Word comforts us and assures us that He is there right within view and we should not be afraid. Granted, we may not recognize the Lord in our situation, so we need to really “look” for Him. We find Him in the Word, we find Him in the brethren who encourage us, we find Him in a kind note, we find Him in the beauty of creation surrounding us, etc. Need I say more?

The Word should be constantly upon our foreheads, reminding us of God’s promises and of His presence. We are to be comforted by this and allow it to cheer us up and encourage us. When we do so, it removes all fear of those trials and circumstances.

Be of good cheer, the Lord commands
I’m Your Guide as well as Friend
Do not let your heart be troubled
I’ll be near you til the end.

I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. (Psa 69:30)

No wonder David was the apple of God’s eye! He knew how to love His God… He knew how to thank His God! David was able to recognize when he was discouraged or depressed. The world recognizes in their 12-step programs the need to admit one’s addiction. However, their 12-step programs are only temporary. I speak from experience – I witnessed my father remain sober for almost 30 years, but the feeling of being alone drove him to drink again. The 12-step program did not have a lasting effect on my father. But this is not so with born-again believers! Praise God that we have One whose help can be eternal, if we allow Him to work in our lives.

We, as believers, need to recognize our state of discouragement and depression and go to the Source of healing and encouragement. We have the precious Word of God, in our King James Bible, which contains all the solutions on overcoming discouragement. Let’s learn from David.

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. (Psa 42:11)

David knew that his discouraged soul would find health. But David had to take that first step – David had to hope in God and His solutions as well as praise God. What does a discouraged soul have to praise God about? Counting your blessings is a great place to start. Everyone has blessings in their lives – everyone! Are you a born-again child of the King? Have you been spared from an eternity of burning in hell? Do you have a roof over your head? Do you have food on your table (even if it is just peanut butter)? Do you have fairly good health where you can still get around? Do you have loved ones? Do you have a good church family? List these blessings on a post-it note and place it where you can see it several times a day. After reading these blessings over and over, you will be able to say with David that you can praise God.

Now that you are praising God, the next step is to magnify Him with thanksgiving. I love looking up words from King James’ era when our beloved King James Bible was translated. The words from that time period have so much more punch and meaning than if using modern-day English.

Noah Webster’s definition of magnify is:

2. To make great in representation; to extol; to exalt in description or praise. The embassador magnified the king and queen.
3. To extol; to exalt; to elevate; to raise in estimation. Thee that day Thy thunders
magnified. The Lord magnified Solomon exceedingly. 1 Chr 29.

So my brother and sister in Christ, extol and exalt the precious Name of Jesus to yourself and anyone who will listen! Share with others God’s blessings and compassion for you! Doing this is a sure-fire way of taking your eyes off your circumstances and discouragement and focusing on the “good” things that the Lord has blessed you with. Do you have the gift of writing? Let others know what God has done for you. Do you have the gift of speaking? Use your gift and magnify the Lord and His goodness toward you. Do you have a gift of ministering to others? Find yourself a dear Senior Saint and share God’s blessings with them. I dare say, these dear Saints are in desperate need of a kind and uplifting word. As you read the words to Mr. Oatman’s song, Count Your Blessings, you can surely appreciate the fact that he had been through a few bouts of discouragement. He learned from David what he had to do to be encouraged.

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
Refrain
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

~Johnson Oatman, Jr.

…for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

(Heb 13:5)

What precious words these are to the Christian! Can one say for certain that their child will never leave them or forsake them? Can it be said of a dear friend? I’m sure we can all say that a friend has abandoned us at the worse time in our lives! But not so with the Lord.

My friend, Christ promises to always stay with us and never forsake us. Noah Webster’s definition of the word forsake is as follows:

1. To quit or leave entirely; to desert; to abandon; to depart from. Friends and flatterers forsake us in adversity.

We can feel as though we have lost our way and that God would never forgive us, but the Word says otherwise. If I were to re-phrase Hebrews 13:5, I could say that the Lord will never leave us entirely – or the Lord will never abandon us – or the Lord will never depart from us. I don’t know about you, but this is eternal security in a nutshell!

There is nothing more encouraging to me when I am discouraged than to remember that the Lord is right there with me. My position in the family of God once I am born-again is sealed, according to Ephesians 4:30. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.(Eph 4:30) Noah Webster says that the word sealed means:

Furnished with a seal; fastened with a seal; confirmed; closed.

My salvation is confirmed in Heaven and the matter is closed! Enough said! My Father in Heaven will never leave my side, His Son’s Spirit lives within me and will never leave me – no matter what state I am in.

…and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Mat 28:20)

Praise the Lord that I can encourage my heart by dwelling on the permanency of my salvation!

His work on the cross brought death to sin
So I can live righteously
The Shepherd and Bishop of my soul
Purchased me for eternity

Excerpt from A Vessel in the Potter’s Hand

David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee. (1Sa 17:37)

Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. (1Sa 17:45)

And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hands. (1Sa 17:47)

As I lay in bed reading last night, this account of David and his battle with Goliath just jumped off the pages and encouraged my heart so much. We have all heard this account numerous times, some of you preachers have probably preached on it several times. But have we truly stopped to think about the little details the Lord has given us?

I once read that David was approximately 15 years old when he killed the 9-foot Goliath. Several things impressed me about this account.

  • He had already killed a lion and a bear
  • He recognized that God brought him through that and he was confident that God would bring him through the trial with Goliath
  • David was so confident that he confronted Goliath with the statement showing he was not afraid of Goliath’s sword because he had God on his side
  • David recognized that God’s solutions are not with the sword and that the battle was the Lord’s

David saw the trial ahead of him — a 9-foot soldier with the armor to match his size. How many 9-foot giants have we had in our own lives? Each trial seems to be greater than the last. We’re just now overcoming our battle with discouragement. I didn’t even get a feeling at all that David was discouraged over his upcoming battle with Goliath, did you? I only noticed confidence on David’s part in this account.

Will we look at our next trial in the same manner David did? David recognized Who helped him with the lion and the bear. So much so, he had confidence that this same God would help him with the next trial. Also, he didn’t keep that confidence hidden away in his heart. David had a testimony before the people. They were able to see where his confidence came from.

David announced for all to hear, including his nine-foot giant, that he had the Lord of Hosts on his side and that the battle was the Lord’s. Our bout with discouragement was quite a trial in itself. No, it isn’t fighting lions and bears or nine-foot giants, but the circumstances sure did feel like it, didn’t it? But God brought us out of this discouragement. Our hearts have been encouraged once again. We need to glean from this account and realize why God looked at David as the apple of His eye.

It is this same Lord who brought us through our discouargement. It is this same Lord who encouraged our hearts and helped our eyes to look up. The battles in our lives belong to the Lord, my friend. There is great comfort in that. Discouragement was our Goliath. But it is the same God of David who helped defeat our Goliath and gave us wonderful peace and joy once again.

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
(Heb 13:8 )

My Shepherd cares for my every need
In my life and along life’s way

He gives me such peace with every trial
Reviving my weary heart each day
Excerpt from O Watcher of My Soul

I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities; (Psa 31:7)

It’s one thing to say that you will be glad and rejoice in the Lord, but quite another to have the drive and purpose to do so. As I strive to encourage myself in the Lord, I find that this effort is not only on-going but is progressive. Total encouragement does not happen over night. However, there are immediate results when we begin to exercise our encouragement muscle.

As I look at Psalm 31:7, I noticed that David was glad and rejoicing in the Lord’s mercy. I love looking up the definitions of words used in the King James Bible using Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. Today’s definitions of these same words are so diluted. Noah’s definitions put Psalm 31:7 into a more meaningful light. Let me show you the difference:

The Cambridge Dictionary’s definition of the word mercy:

kindness and forgiveness shown towards someone whom you have authority over

Noah Webster’s definition of the word mercy:

1. That benevolence, mildness or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves; the disposition that tempers justice, and induces an injured person to forgive trespasses and injuries, and to forbear punishment, or inflict less than law or justice will warrant. In this sense, there is perhaps no word in our language precisely synonymous with mercy. That which comes nearest to it is grace. It implies benevolence, tenderness, mildness, pity or compassion, and clemency, but exercised only towards offenders. Mercy is a distinguishing attribute of the Supreme Being.

The Cambridge Dictionary’s definition of the word considered:

an opinion or decision that someone has reached after a lot of thought

Noah Webster’s definition of the word considered:

Thought of with care; pondered; viewed attentively; deliberated on; examined.

I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities; (Psa 31:7)

After reading Noah Webster’s definitions for mercy and considered, it reveals a more compassionate Father and One who cares for us intimately. David knew that God not only viewed his troubles attentively but God also pondered over them and examined them. God knew all the “in’s and out’s” of David’s troubles. David did not have to worry about a thing because His Heavenly Father had everything under control.

Furthermore, the Father knew David’s soul in his troubles – again this shows us that God knew David intimately.

No wonder David was glad and rejoicing in His mercy! There is nothing more comforting than to be able to turn over our troubles and leave them in the Lord’s capable hands. The same God who helped David and knew him intimately, is able to do the same for us!

Let us rejoice and be glad in God’s mercy toward us!

Kate Plourde
August 24, 2006

Oh come join me all ye who love Him
Let our voices ne’er cease to sing
Cast thy burdens at Jesus’ Precious Feet
Shout Hosannah to our Heavenly King!

Excerpt from Jesus My Redeemer, My King

Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. (Jam 5:13)

Thank you, Brother Jerry, for encouraging me to cover the first part of this verse and elaborate on it a bit. As we review the first part of the verse, let’s rest on the word afflicted for a bit. Noah Webster defines the word as:

AFFLICT’ED, pp. Affected with continued or often repeated pain, either of body or mind; suffering grief or distress, of any kind; followed by at, by or with; as, afflicted at the loss of a child, by the rheumatism, or with losses.

We can see that the state of discouragement is covered in this definition. David’s solution to this was prayer. The Word says it is to your benefit!

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (Jam 5:16)

Confess your discouragement to God and to dear saints who will pray on your behalf. Furthermore, you want to make sure that the Lord will hear your prayers. When you send a letter to IRS, you send it certified mail and return receipt requested to ensure that it gets there. Your prayer life will be hindered if you have unconfessed sin.

If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: (Psa 66:18 )

Your prayers will go unanswered if you have unconfessed sin. Someone once said “Keep your accounts short with God.” That is good advice. Now you can lift up your needs before the Lord and be healed from your discouragement. The latter part of James 5:16 states that a righteous man (covered by the Blood of Jesus) who prays specifically for his needs before God with fervancy (such great desire) will profit much! God desires to answer our prayers, my friend.

Once our heart is clean before the Lord, we can go before Him with boldness knowing that all hindrances have been removed and His ear is at our mouth.
In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. (Eph 3:12) The sin of discouragement has been forgiven; the Father will hear our prayer because our righteousness lies in Christ; and now we can go before the Father with boldness knowing that He will provide encouragement to our heart.

Sometimes it is easier to encourage others than ourselves. Oh how true this statement is! But encouraging ourselves is do-able! David encouraged himself in the Lord ( I Samuel 30:6). That’s is why James provided the latter part of today’s verse. Yesterday’s devotional covered this – reading Psalms is a wonderful way to encourage your spirit. Also, surround yourself with saints who will encourage your heart and pray for you!

Here is a beautiful poem, written by Brother Jerry in 2001. It is so appropriate and I know it will bless you as much as it did me!

A Friend When You Need One

It’s so easy to get discouraged,
To be downcast or in despair.
When you feel all alone in your wilderness,
And it seems that no one cares.
That’s when temptation hits the hardest,
Where the battle is nearly lost – or won.
When you stumble through dark valleys
And gloomy shadows hide the Son.

In your loneliness and your struggles,
Here’s a solution that may seem odd –
Don’t look around to man for comfort,
Instead, with hope, look up to God.

Jesus will provide the grace you require
And His Word will light the way.
All you need is faith to claim His promises,
And your night will turn to day.

The Lord knows your each and every need –
He knows, before you even ask in prayer.
Just keep on being faithful to Him,
And, in time, His answer will be there.

So instead of giving up in disgrace,
Do the work that must be done;
You will find that as you run the race,
God will bring a friend when you most need one.

December 8th, 2001
Jerry Bouey

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones. (Pro 17:22)

As we start the second half of our discouragement series, we will be focusing on encouragement. Encouragement is the medicine that heals the heart and brings joy. As we are in the process of healing our discouraged spirit, we are focusing on exactly what we have to do to restore that joy which will bring about a soul which is at rest.

I just love God’s Word! Our compassionate Father, who pities us, gives us verses in the Bible that are right there for us to glean from. All we have to do is search them out. A simple Bible software program has a search feature which allows me to search for particular words. Today, I searched for the word “merry” and my soul leaped within me when I discovered James 5:13. What a wonderful solution to obtaining that merry heart! Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. (Jam 5:13)

It stands to reason that if I am not merry, then I am not singing psalms. Therefore, if I want to be merry, I need to sing psalms! Is that simple or what? Not only did the Lord provide the solution in James 5:13, but our Succorer gave us the Book of Psalms. Furthermore, not only did He give us one or two psalms, but our Creator knew we would be in need of many and gave us 150 of them! Three psalms a day is enough to keep any soul merry!

My friend, I hate to sound like a broken record, but once again the Word comes into play. Everything we need in life is contained in the Word. It is the very food (bread) that we need to feed the spirit within us.

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Mat 4:4)

Kate Plourde
August 22, 2006

You are my light, my water, my bread
A cleansing power is Your blood so red
This Crimson Thread is revealed throughout
Each letter, each page Your Word thus shouts

Excerpt from “Your Word, My Breath”

Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me? (Jer 32:27)

In our last day of this series on discouragement, I want to remind you that when we read God’s Word, we are constantly reminded that He is our Creator, our Comforter, our Teacher , etc. Nothing is too hard for Him. Neither is your discouragement too hard for Him. Therefore, if you remain in your state of discouragement, it is not because the trial is too great for the Lord. My friend, you remain in your state of discouragement because you wish to.

Take your eyes off you and your circumstances and place them on the Lord. He has been where you are. He understands every detail of your situation and wants to help you. Don’t you want to help your children when they are in trouble? Surely you would not sit idly by and watch your child suffer, would you? Of course not! All the more for your Heavenly Father!

For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted. (Heb 2:18 )

Noah Webster defines succour as:

Literally, to run to, or run to support; hence, to help or relieve when in difficulty, want or distress; to assist and deliver from suffering; as, to succor a besieged city; to succor prisoners.

Isn’t that encouraging to you? The Lord desires to run to our side, to support us, and relieve our distress. I don’t know about you, but this characteristic of God reveals a compassionate and loving Father! Allow Him to succour you, my friend! Submit to Him and allow Him to heal you from within!

The next 15 days of our series will be on “Encouragement”! This will be like a wonderful refreshing Spring rain to our souls! I pray that this series has helped you through your trial of discouragement. If you have been blessed, I would love to hear from you.

Under Thy Wings

I find sweet comfort under Thy wings
No matter what difficulty or trial
As long as my eyes are focused on Thee
On the pages of my blessed King James Bible

A fountain of life for the thirsty soul
With refreshment along life’s walk
Providing direction through valleys and hills
Giving warning when the enemy knocks

How I thank Thee, oh Shepherd of my soul
For protecting me from the enemy’s snares
Under Thy wings I do safely abide
As I find peaceful rest in Thy care

Kate Plourde
July 20, 2006

The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands. (Psa 138:8 ) In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul. (Psa 138:3)

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me. (Psa 138:7)

As we wind down this 15-day series on discouragement, we have seen a pattern for the discouraged person. The discouraged one focuses on today’s problems rather than counting the blessings God has already given. Also, the discouraged one does not spend the time that is so desperately needed in God’s Word. Consider it “supply and demand” but in reverse. The more your trials are demanding of you, the more you must go to your Supplier!

Again, David knew from where his help came. He did not wait until he had reached the pits of discouragement. He knew that God would perfect him – whether the days were good or when the days were filled with turbulence. God is a God of motion, my friend. God does not stand still in His work for us. Notice that Psalm 138:8 says that God will perfect that which concerns you. This is in the future tense. It is an on-going effort by the One who created you. He can and will bring your through your discouragement if you allow Him.

Perfect Love

Adrift upon life’s stormy billows,
True despair sets in as darkness falls.
The tempest raging, days turn to night.
Can peace be found amidst it all?

My heart is discouraged, my eyes dim.
It is exhausting to seek the cure.
But I know that His Word is my salve.
It is healing and peace, He assures.

A glimmer of hope, Oh soul rejoice!
The Shepherd’s hand wipes away my tears.
Each drop replaced with His light and peace,
His perfect Love casteth out all fears!

Kate Plourde
August 15, 2006

Psalm 62:8 Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.

As I reflect on times of discouragement in my own life, I noticed that during my deepest moments of discouragement, I was not seeking God – therefore, I was not trusting Him – nor was I pouring my heart out to Him. In fact, this was the furthest thing from my mind! How sad is that? The solution to all our problems lies within this one verse. IF we do our job in the first two parts, God has a promise awaiting. This verse is so poignant that David tells the reader to pause and think about it when he inserted “Selah.”

What’s our part? Firstly, we must trust in God at all times. It’s amazing how that little three-letter word was inserted there, isn’t it? David didn’t say just “some” of the time but at all times. Secondly, David says to pour out our hearts to God! He doesn’t say to pour out our hearts to our spouse or best friend, but to God. Many times we are quick to tell others of our problems and fail to tell the Lord. I know what you’re thinking, “Kate, God already knows what my problems are so I don’t need to tell Him!” Yes, this is true. However, I don’t believe that pouring our hearts out to God is for His benefit, but for our benefit. God knows that we are emotional beings because He created us. He knows that man has a need to cry out in time of need and desperation. In fact, Christ experienced this in the Garden when He asked the Father to remove the cup that was before Him (Luke 22:42). However, notice that Christ quickly inserted “not my will, but thine, be done.” He trusted His Father. Christ fulfilled Psalm 62:8, my friend. He trusted, He poured His heart out AND He received the promise.

What promise? The promise is the refuge which God provides when we trust Him and pour our hearts out to Him. Noah Webster defines refuge as:

Shelter or protection from danger or distress.

Christ went to His death so that was not protection from danger. However, His protection was from distress, which was evident in His immediate submission to the Father’s will after He cried out. Christ knew where His help came from. His discouragement was replaced with submission. Jesus knows what we are going through because He went through the same thing! For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (Heb 4:15)


Looking Up to the Hills

My eyes look up as they search for help
Toward the hills where the promise lies
The Creator’s not far, He works His way
Toward me from the other side

He guides my walk and protects my feet
From stumbling on the rocky steep
Great comfort lies within my heart
Knowing that He shall never sleep

Christ is my shelter, He provides me shade
During the fiery trials of life
Under the shadow of His wings
Peace and comfort throughout the night

This Keeper of my soul so vigilant
Protecting me through life’s storms
And watches over me with such care
Not just today but forever more!

Kate Plourde
August 11, 2006

Thank you, Brother Jerry, for planting this idea in my brain as I was reading your comments to yesterday’s blog!

Psalm 61:2 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Discouragement has a way of overwhelming the mind and heart, doesn’t it? If one more trial or mishap comes into my life today, I just don’t think I could bear it! My shoulders begin to droop from the weight of it all. My heart is so heavy and tears are just waiting to spill over my lower eyelids at the next cross word that comes my way. Who in their right mind can enjoy living in this state? Surely when we step back and look at it in this light, we would conclude that no one would. So then why do we insist on remaining in this state of discouragement?

Oh how wonderful to be able to leave our trials behind and hit the road in search of a babbling brook nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains! Oh the peace that can be found as we sit on a rock by the brook and listen to the cardinals singing, the rustling of the leaves as the gentle breeze blows, and feeling the sunshine on our faces! What a sanctuary the Lord has given us in His beautiful creation. OK, so we can’t just up and leave and travel to our sanctuary. But the Word says that we can visit that Rock whenever we want – and at that Rock, we will find the sanctuary which will provide us with an even better benefit as that getaway in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

David pleads to God to lead him to the rock that is higher than he is in Psalm 61:2. What rock? And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. (1Co 10:4) Thank You, Lord, for this verse in Your Holy Word! Jesus promises to refresh us with living water! He is our Source for refreshing our discouraged heart! We can run to that mountain stream and sit on that rock any time we want by turning to His Word and talking to Him! His promises are ever before us in His Word, but we must do the seeking, my friend. You cannot be force fed. Psalm 147:3 He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.

My heart is discouraged, my eyes dim.
It is exhausting to seek the cure.
But I know that His Word is my salve.
It is healing and peace, He assures.

Excerpt from Perfect Love

Psalm 57:1-2, [To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David, when he fled from Saul in the cave.] Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast. (1) I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me. (2)

Does this sound like one of your prayers, dear Christian? David had a way with words, didn’t he? I’ve always felt that God placed specific accounts in His Word for us to walk away with a golden nugget to enrich our spiritual walk.

David not only had a way with words, but he had a way of letting his Heavenly Father know exactly how discouraged he was. David was aware that God already knew what was in his heart. Yet, David took the time to specifically spell out every detail of his trial and the way he was feeling. David leaves no doubt to the reader, and to God, of what is on his mind.

As you deal with your discouragement, stop and look at the way David’s petitions to God are laid out:

o David cries out and pleads to God
o David acknowledges that he trusts God
o David recognizes God’s provision during his trial
o David knows that God will take care of everything

What a pattern to follow! God already knows what you are feeling, dear Christian. But putting our thoughts into words bring closure somehow. That is why I love writing so much.

In closing, don’t you just love the analogy David uses about being in the shadow of God’s wings for shelter? One can only experience the shade of a tree or its protection from a passing rain if one stands under that tree. You cannot enjoy the shade and protection by watching it from afar, can you?

It is said that the Canadian goose allows the young to huddle under her wings next to her body for shelter and warmth. What a lovely picture! When we run to the Lord, as David did, we are not only sheltered from the storms of discouragement, but we are kept “warm.” You cannot be kept warm at a distance, my friend. You must first draw close to God to receive His warmth. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. (Jam 4:8a)

How I thank Thee, oh Shepherd of my soul
For protecting me from the enemy’s snares
Under Thy wings I do safely abide
As I find peaceful rest in Thy care

Kate Plourde
July 20, 2006