Wednesday, August 16, 2017

He Will Cleanse Your Heart If You Ask!

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.   Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life." Psalm 139:23-24 NLT (Part 5 of 5 in a series on Psalm 139)

It's not easy to expose our hearts in search of things we do that are offensive.  It's not even easy when we ask and give permission to God to search us.  Oftentimes it's even harder to swallow when He exposes the dirt in our hearts.  We didn't know we had so many dark places in there. 

If we truly want to live the life Jesus died to give us, we must ask and be willing for Him to cleanse us.  He will take whatever may be hindering us and place it in the fire of purification until all the dross (impurities) float to the top.  Then He will scoop all that junk off and we will shine like gold!  But nothing worthwhile comes easily. 

In this verse, we ask God to test us.  We all know that testing us isn't necessarily something we want.  It means hard times and suffering, and probably knowing that it will continue until we understand and learn that after suffering is joy and peace.  Who, after all, isn't happy when the sun comes out after a major storm? But while that storm is raging, we are clinging to the hope that God will get us through it, and we pray,  'Let the tornado go away!'  '"Stop the hurricane!'  'Please God, make the snow stop!'

Have you ever been caught in a rainstorm so heavy that your windshield wipers weren't fast enough, and you couldn't even see the end of your car's hood?  And then a semi truck passes you splashing you with more water, shaking your car, and leaving a trail of white mist so thick you don't know if you're even on the road?  At that time aren't you asking God to 'Please get me out of this, help me find a safe spot so I can pull over!  Please, God!'

During those times you plead your case to God, you are acknowledging that only He can bring you safely through the turmoil.  And He does, doesn't He?  So when you understand that His love for you is to help you through any situation and to do things for your good and His glory, go ahead and have that same faith that the purifying is going to make you stronger and help you on your path to living a godly life.

It really comes down to how badly you want to be more like Jesus.  Jesus had a pure heart, that's why He was able to forgive the unforgivable and love the unlovable.  And that's how we're commanded to be as well.  So, just say, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.   Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.  I trust You!"  You won't regret it!

Have a beautiful day, filled with the love of God!    

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Goodbye (An Annual Post)

This is an annual post of mine.

It's that time of year when many of my friends are saying good-bye to their children who are leaving for college, or getting married, or to children who are enlisting in the military.  There is such an ache that comes with good-byes.  For days or even weeks ahead of time (and occasionally months, like me) we feel a stabbing in our heart.  It is real.  I have felt it myself when my own child got married.  I couldn't bear the thought of not kissing her in the morning or when she came home from school or work, or our goodnight kiss.  If you are blessed with affection between your family members you know what I mean.  But even if there weren't always kisses and hugs, if there was the respect from the child you raised, it hurts to see them leave.

So you leave the room and hide in the bathroom for a little while or run to the store real quick so nobody sees your tears and makes light of them.  Because this isn't funny, this is real!  Your baby is leaving home for the first time.  Your little baby, the one that made you forget all the hours of labor when you held them when they were first born.  You think of how you were a little afraid of bathing them the first time.  What if they slipped from your hands? You kissed their precious little feet (now a size 10) and put their hands on your mouth as you smiled and cooed and told them you loved them.  You could hardly wait until she was old enough to have longer hair that you could put a bow in; or until he was old enough to fit his hand into a baseball glove.  You went to all the school plays and sent everyone their school picture every year.  You made sure they bathed and brushed their teeth, and ate all their dinner before they went to bed.  You helped them for endless hours with homework.

You fought and you forgave.  You rewarded their good behavior, and disciplined their disrespect for you or your spouse, or their teacher or coaches, brothers and sisters, and even strangers.  You tried to instill in them a sense of worth.  And now the time has come to say good-bye for a while.  Yes, you can call and email, FaceTime or Skype, but you can't see them in your kitchen.  So what do you do?


If you know God, and have raised them to know God, you take comfort knowing that He is still in charge of this loved one's life.  You prayed over them as a child, and you pray over them today.  In your heart you know that everything will be alright.  If you know God, but haven't had a very close relationship with Him, or if you don't know God at all, don't worry!  He knows you!  And He knows your child.  He created that loved one just for you.  He will be taking care of them, and you.  He always has.  All those fights that eventually wound up in hugs, all those tears that were replaced with smiles, all those worries when they got hurt or were late coming home that ended up alright, that was God taking care of you all.

If you know nothing else about God, know this.  He is love.  He cannot not love!  That's all there is to it!  He knows your heart and your pain, and your sorrows.  And He wants to help you get through it.  He won't make you feel bad about not knowing Him; He's ready to show you just how much He loves you.  All you have to do is ask.


So it's alright to cry those tears at good-byes, the Bible says in Psalm 56:8 of the Contemporary English Version (CEV), "You have stored my tears in Your bottle and counted each of them." Put your hope in Him, He will protect your babies.

If you're the one leaving for the first time, there is that great sense of adventure!  "Finally, on my own!"  Sometimes that excitement comes with a sense of anxiety as well.  You're all grown up, but you'll miss your mommy.  Don't be ashamed, I guarantee her heart will melt if you called her that today.  You may wonder if you did enough for your parents while you were at home, or now feel a little regret that you had an attitude.  They always bailed you out of your messes, and always forgave you.  You may wonder," now that I am gone, will they still love me as much?"  Of course.  Now they have something else to be proud of you for.  You're going to college!  You're enlisting in the Military!  You're getting married!  You took a job far away from home!  They will have new concerns, but they believe you're up to the challenge.

Grow!  Learn!  Plan your future.  Ask God to help you every morning.  Ask Him for strength.  Ask Him to protect you and your family.  Love Him.

So as you say good-bye and start this new chapter in your lives, let's also say hello to God's blessings for our future.  His word says in Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (NIV)

Smile, life is good!  God is in charge! ©Deirdre Tolhurst, 21 August 2011 (First Blog) goo.gl/TFGwth

Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Prayer in the Morning

My blessed Savior, good morning!  To the Holy Trinity I give my life.  I praise You my God, Three in One.  Today is a brand new day, filled with wonder and expectation.  What walls will I destroy today, what nasty habits will be broken?  Which sorrows will be laid to rest, finally allowing me to breathe?  What relationships will be mended because I've swallowed my pride and asked for forgiveness?  What wisdom will You impart to me to make my travels through this world less burdensome? 

You are the Maker of my life.  You are my Guiding Light!  Forever I am attached to You by ownership. To You I am a masterpiece, so valuable the earth and all it contains doesn't compare.  When the world calls me failure, You call me Chosen.  When the army of dark warriors comes to claim my soul, my heart cries out with the heavenly saints, "Get thee behind me, Satan, I am a child of the Most High God!  Flee while you still have time, for your days of chaotic reign are quickly coming to an end!  I, however, will live eternally in a place that is beautiful, where the light of the Master is so great the sun and moon are no longer employed.  A place that holds no sorrow, no sickness, no deceit or fear.  Because Jesus has conquered death and I have been redeemed!" 

I shout to the heavens, "Thank You for this day to serve and worship!  Hallelujah to the God Most High, my Father!"



Wednesday, August 9, 2017

He Gave Us ALL A Choice!

"O God, if only you would destroy the wicked!  Get out of my life, you murderers!  They blaspheme you; your enemies misuse your name.  O Lord, shouldn’t I hate those who hate you?  Shouldn’t I despise those who oppose you?  Yes, I hate them with total hatred, for your enemies are my enemies."  Psalm 139:19-22 NLT (Part 4 in a series on Psalm 139)

Dear Reader, have you ever felt this way?  King David has seen enough evil and knows that his God's name is being taken in vain.  David hates this so much that he hates those who are his enemies.  He asks God to destroy them, to rid the world of them and their evil. 

We live in a world that is ripe with hatred and evil.  I was so upset with the terrorists who took those two reporters and beheaded them a few years ago.  I hated them even more because they wore black masks to hide their faces.  Like King David, I asked God to please destroy them and the world would be a better place.  I pleaded that they hated our God, that they hated anyone who was Christian.  I felt I was praying in line with David's prayer.

Then God spoke to me.  He said five words, "Deirdre, Paul was a terrorist."  When Paul was still Saul, his goal in life was to kill off all the Christians he could--men, women, and children.  It was at his feet that the accusers laid their cloaks as the Apostle Stephen was being stoned.  Saul was a witness, and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen. 

Jesus revealed Himself to Saul and His brilliance blinded Saul for three days.  God sent Ananias to lay his hands on him and say, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”  Saul became Paul, and preached the Gospel to Jews and Gentiles alike.  He suffered greatly for Christ, and authored about 2/3 of the New Testament.

God reminded me that vengeance was His, as was the victory.  He reminded me that as long as anyone--terrorist, celebrity, politician, your lost child, or the guy down the street--was still breathing, they still had a chance to confess Jesus as Lord of their life and receive salvation. 

So, dear Reader, no matter how bad the world may look, there is always the possibility of change. So pray hard for those who don't know the Lord, those whose lives are worldly and full of sin, those who do terrible things, that they may come to know the Lord Jesus!  Can you imagine the terrorist who comes to Christ?  For him to learn the truth and then to secretly share it with others?  God can change anyone in to a Paul!  Jesus told us to pray for our enemies.  Now is a good time to start.  Go in peace, my friends, and know that you are doing the Lord's work!  goo.gl/TFGwth

Monday, August 7, 2017

He Thinks About You ALL The Time!

"How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.  They cannot be numbered!  I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!  And when I wake up, you are still with me!"  Psalm 139:17-18 NLT

Have you ever been so in love with someone that you couldn't get them off your mind?  While you were getting dressed in the morning, having breakfast, driving to work, throughout the day and into the evening, you just think about this person all the time?  You even break out in a smile when their name is mentioned? 

That's what it's like for God!  He never stops thinking about you, not when you're good or bad, or laughing or crying, or feeling like the life of the party, or when you're alone.  On top of that, His thoughts for you are good thoughts, thoughts with a purpose and a future!  The love that God has for you is so divine and so enormous, nothing we could possibly feel for anyone else, even Him, can compare!

So please, dear Reader, when those days come, and they do, when you don't feel very loved, come back to these words by King David and know that your existence makes the Most High God very happy.  So happy, He can't get you off His mind, and He smiles when He thinks of your name!