include_once("common_lab_header.php");
Excerpt for Listening at Compline by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

"I had to share. So glad you listen to the heart of Christ." a reader



LISTENING at COMPLINE

Light at the End of the Day



A collection of devotional encouragements



Melanie Hoover





















© Copyright 2018 by Melanie Hoover

I have credited other writers for a few short quotes throughout.

Bible texts are based on the King James Version with my own

casual updating of Shakesperian-era spelling and grammar

to a more modern American English style.

All other original material herein may be quoted freely

without further request for my permission.


Published by Pelican Wings

Smashwords Edition



═════



Contents



Introduction

Emcouragements starting at 01

10 20 30 40

50 60 70 80

90 100 110 120

Afterword

Books by Melanie



═════



Introduction

Compline is an unfamiliar word for Christians not raised with historical church traditions and heritage. I practice it, but didn’t really know the definition until I joined a church that had received what older generations handed down. It’s been a really good spiritual discipline that I’ve come to value in the last few years.

Compline is a liturgy of evening prayers forming part of the daily Divine Office of the Western Christian Church. It is traditionally said (or chanted), in groups (for instance, in monasteries) or privately, before retiring for the night. (I find additional definitions that mention listening starting here and referring to the work carried on in my heart and mind throughout the day.)

I have been writing a sort of informal compline and posting it online each evening for several years. This year for Christmas my dear husband, Rick, decided that, since shopping is outside his reach, he wanted to make a compilation of my evening notes of encouragement and make it available online in ebook form for my Christmas gift.

As we’ve gotten older, figuring out what to give as Christmas gifts has gotten harder. We have all that we need and are cared for well, more than we can ever express in words. Our bodies are aging but our hearts are full and grateful. SO this is his gift and mine for you this Christmas 2018. We pray it will encourage your heart in the tough times and delight you in the good times. We all have them.

Melanie Hoover

December 2018





═════



The Encouragements



[1]

"Are you ready for Christmas?" is often code for, "Do you have all your shopping done?"

As Christians we prepare our hearts to receive the "gift" of the Holy God come down to man. God came to walk among us as He had not done since Adam in the garden. God came to restore relationship in His time and at His choosing.

God gave Mary a gift: a pregnancy, the promise of a son, a Savior named Jesus. Mary didn’t really have much she could give to God but what she did have she gave. The only thing she had to offer was her life. Look at Luke 1:38, "I am the Lord’s servant…May it be to me as you said." Her gift-giving involved two things.

1) Voluntary servanthood. A servant knows no rights of ownership. Mary is saying that she is the property of God.

2) Submissive obedience. This is radical commitment. Whatever God wants her to do, she is willing to do.

What is our commitment level when we read the Bible? What about when we hear the Word of the Lord telling us how to live? Are we listening, serving and submitting to God’s will?



═════

[2]

We must work at our soul health, walk with the Lord, and get wisdom so we can have a word of encouragement from the Lord to share with others. We endeavor to share His faithfulness to us regularly. When we are faithful, others are blessed and we make a difference.

While working at our soul health, we also work at our physical health. Today we had our physicals. We had blood work done last week. We have AGE, but our bodies are healthy, just aging. Both of us were told our blood work was within range. Even our blood pressures were good. We got there at 9 and were home by 10.

BUT the most fun part xame as we were leaving the clinic. We ran into old friends, dear friends, and I actually cried for joy. This is the second time that's happened. Joy coinciding with a doctors visit. God is so good to us.



═════

[3]

Mark 16:15 He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

How can we give them what we don’t know? It behooves us to learn what God has said in His Word and pass that on. But what we do is as important as what we say. Do our words and actions show that we belong to Jesus Christ?



═════

[4]

Our biggest problem comes from how we THINK about our difficult (or even good) ‘circumstances’, or how we PERCEIVE them.

We do not have the God’s-eye view if we are not familiar with Scripture. We must know what God has said about His children and the provision He has made for us in Christ. All things that come to us as believers are for our benefit and the benefit of God’s Kingdom right where we live.

If we move across country to avoid our problems, we take them along. God is the only source of provision and our redemption. If we do not know Him and continually seek His face and listen for His Voice in all of our circumstances we will be found wanting.

In the Lord’s Prayer, Psalm 23, and other places, we are assured that God is with us, forgiving and giving and we should have no WANT. If we WANT Jesus more than anything, we will have all we need and have no want beyond that.



════

[5]

This was the first line of my thought for the day last evening.

"Our biggest problem comes from how we THINK about our difficult (or even good) circumstances, or how we PERCEIVE them."

I live by a very tight and rigid schedule. As a caregiver and not a well one most days, it keeps me sane and everything gets done. Problem #1, I was living in a perceived circumstance.

This week God did the wink-thing for me. Saturdays are the most taxing days generally, clean sheets, extra laundry, showers, etc. On Friday morning Rick got up and took his pillowcases off and put his PJs on the pile for washing. While he was shaving, he blurted, "Oh, it's only Friday."

I was still half asleep. "It's okay honey. I can do the sheets today. It's a lighter day."

Then it dawned! It was a simple fix, but I couldn't see it until then. God winked at us. TODAY the Saturday was a breeze. One less load of laundry and the bed was made yesterday. Saturdays just became a pleasure instead of an overwhelming last-minute-before-Sunday and the new week pressure-event!

I’m grateful, grateful, grateful. Thank you Jesus for the little things that make our days better!

═════

[6]

Leaning into Jesus, to be able to hear the whisper of His voice. This is the reason for listening for His voice. Our deepening relationship with Him this Christmas season is our goal.



═════

[7]

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

A river must flow to stay fresh. We are not a pond or a lake. The life of Christ in us must flow through us outward to those around us. Water quenches thirst, it cleanses and purifies, it soothes and it invigorates. The question is, is my life touching others in ways that brings fresh living, life giving Spirit to their souls?

Karin: What a beautiful and powerful word. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. Don’t you love to think about that image?



═════

[8]

Providence noun. The protective care of God. "They found their trust in divine providence to be a source of comfort." "A life mapped out by providence."

I’m immersing myself in the life of the author George MacDonald of late and find we have a lot in common concerning the circumstances of life. God's Providence takes many different shapes in this world, but as a believer in God's great love, mercy, grace, and consistency, I have come to see that even in the tough stuff of life, He is constant and His Providence shows in protection, provision and the power to push through.

Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Exodus 15:2 The Lord is my strength and my song; He has given me victory.



═════

[9]

II Timothy 4:8 There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the Righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but to all those also that love His appearing.

I have been crowned with goodness by my Heavenly Father. A crown awaits me. Lord let me be worthy to bow and return it to You on that day.

Psalm 16:7 I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. 8 I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 9 Therefore my heart is glad and my mouth rejoices; my body also will rest secure.



═════

[10]

Acts 8:26 The angel of the Lord spoke unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goes down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. 27 And he arose and went.

Do you sense God telling you to do something? Sometime the notion doesn’t seem significant at the moment, but as we listen to the still small voice, it makes a big difference in the outcome of our days.

I am not always happy with my lack of listening/obedience skills.

It was a simple and unexplained thing the Lord told Phillip. "Take a slight detour." In the process, Christianity came to Africa. Little or big, to hear and obey is a good policy. If you’ve never done it before, give it a try. You never know what God may be up to, but I can guarantee it will be for His glory and the benefit of the Kingdom eternal.



═════

[11]

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You: because he trusts in You. 4 Trust in the Lord for ever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.

I have become distracted over the last couple of weeks. It has become a real struggle to keep my focus. This Scripture from Isaiah gives me great hope that I will not lose spiritual ground. The distraction of the season was beginning to wear on me, and I know it’s only temporary. I was letting the season become my focus.

In the busyness we need to remember He is giving us times of rest and we need to be listening in the quiet. God gives peace in spite of the hustle and bustle.

Trust in Him and be at peace. It’s a choice we must make each and every day, in spite of what comes our way.



═════

[12]

The angel said, "Your prayer has been heard." (Luke 1:13)

What prayer? ALL of them. The prayers of your youth when you and Elizabeth wept together and sought God for a child. The prayers of resignation when you said, "If it be Thy will." The bitter prayers, too, when you could not understand why He didn't hear. Finally, the cry of a much older, wiser heart that pleaded that in some way the Almighty would permit your life to be a ministry to Him. He heard them.

ALL of them.

What seemed to be a divine "No", was actually only timing. Part of the plan.

Never give up! Never stop making yourself available for service! Never stop praying! You are not wasting your life, you are lending yourself to His plan.

(Written 30 years ago by missionary friend Marti Roman.)

Gina: What a good word - timing.

Jacqueline: Thanx (slap) I needed that!



═════

[13]

I never know what a day may bring. A quiet day of rest was awesome.

A friend came to visit Rick, so I used a coupon for supper out. After parking the car a ways from the door and heading into the restaurant, my eye caught the eye of a women already seated behind ther window and nearly done with supper. She smiled and something in me thought she knows Jesus!

The waitress quickly seated me at a table nearby, but with my back to the lady. I already knew what I wanted to eat and ordered. Then, as is my normal practice, I bowed my head and said a short prayer of thanks inaudibly. Just moments before my meal came the lady behind stepped up and said, "I knew it and when you prayed for your meal, it was confirmed."

We talked for just a couple minutes, and I now have a new name to add to the prayer list. We got right to the point. We are both in the "waiting room," the one that leads to whatever God wants next in our life. In the meantime, we are serving where we can.

Janet, it was great to meet you. God does have a plan. We will see and rejoice in hearing and following through with His plan.

God bless you.



═════

[14]

Revelation 2:7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life.

I'm re-writing and editing Oswald Chambers from this morning’s devotional. It has really hit me between the eyes and poked my heart/head sensibilities.

Life without a struggle is impossible. It is a fact. There is a continuing struggle in the physical, mental, moral, and spiritual areas of all our lives. To maintain good health we must have sufficient internal strength to fight the circumstances that come against us. If we have the inner strength to be persistent in the battle to either keep or regain what we have lost in the physical realm, we will get better. I am living proof. I want to maintain a strong and active mental life. It is a battle. BUT, in this struggle we have the Almighty as our source.

Morally it is the same. Morality does not happen by accident. Moral virtue is acquired through persistent conscious awareness of how we live our lives.

Spiritually it is the same.

Jesus said, "In the world you will have tribulation." We must learn, listen and obey the Word of God. Holiness comes with a disciplined determination to continue focus on right living. Holiness is the law of God as expressed in the life of Jesus Christ.



═════

[15]

In our circumstance it appears God might have something really fantastic on the horizon. We shall see. God’s timing, not ours. It seems to us that life was taking a toll and time seemed to be running out. God answers, in HIS time, not ours, and it turns out to be pretty well done. Our job requirement is to minister life and faith to others in such away that faith is built in them, and God is honored above all in the process.

It would be a stressful position if it were not that the calling is from the Lord. Our assignment is from God and He alone is our provision. The opportunity to be a huge blessing for a others can be stressful if God is not in it. There is work involved, but it is the work of the Kingdom and we are blessed to be able to continue. Rick is able to write everyday and is thriving on it. Health is still an issue for us both, but we are so grateful to be together as we walk and continue to serve where we can.

Jacqueline: Just when you think maybe everything has moved on....but God! He is so full of surprises!



═════

[16]

Advent is a season observed in liturgical Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus at Christmas. The term is an Anglicized version of the Latin word adventus, meaning coming.

The calendar for the liturgical church year begins with Advent (four weeks before Christmas). We light the Advent candles each week in the church service and very often we also have Advent calendars in our homes, in great anticipation of His coming.

This is my favorite prophecy. He is all this and more.

Isaiah 9:6 For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace 7 Of the greatness of His government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over His kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.



═════

[17]

I’ve been exploring the traditions behind the Jewish festal calendar and the Christian calendar.

The Jewish tradition, of course, is marked by the longing for a Messiah who will set things right for the Jewish people and, through them, the whole world.

Drawing on that same yearning, we Christians spend Advent waiting for the birth of the Messiah. We believe He has a name — Jesus Christ — and has already made Himself known. The fully human, fully divine Jesus accomplished through His life, death, and resurrection the reconciliation of the world to God. As we live in the now-but-not-yet time between when Jesus accomplished this and when it will be fulfilled, Advent connects us with our longing for a Redeemer. In fact, the word advent means arrival or coming. Both Jews and Christians look back even as we anticipate a future fulfillment.

Karin: This reflection is absolutely beautiful, Melanie. Your faith is a great encouragement to me.



═════

[18]

The information and testimony that God gives in His Word, the Holy Scriptures, DIRECTLY establishes the FACTS. There is nothing circumstantial about God. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are truth, life, the only way, not made but always existent.

We can fight this plan but one day we will still bow before our Maker and the evidence will not be circumstantial but reality. The Scripture tells us:

1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.



═════

[19]

Romans 7:21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.

I love the Confession in the Book of Common Prayer that reads: "Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, Judge of all men; we acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed by thought, word and deed against Thy Divine Majesty, provoking most justly Thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent and are heartily sorry for these our misdoings."

I love that Confession.

But I hate that Confession. I get so tired of sin.

The Puritans prayed, "Oh my Lord, may I arrive where I need no more to weep or watch or be tempted. Where nothing defiles, where there is no grief, sorrow, sin, separation, tears, or consuming cares. Where there is personal completeness. Where the more perfect the sight, the more beautiful the object. The more perfect the appetite, the sweeter the food. The more complete the soul, the more happy its joys, where there is full knowledge of Thee."

Deb : We were all born outta sin or w/ a sinful nature and I agree w/ you. You reminded me the other day - LIGHT & SALT. Lately I’ve been struggling. MY light is huge...love Jesus like he was my husband. He’s my everything. He completes me.... however the SALT. To be in this world but not become of it. OUCH! That’s what I need to work on to keep my walk in obedience and order!



═════

[20]

Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law does he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind drives away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the Lord knows the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

This is one of my favorite Psalms. You have both sides of the spiritual coin in very plain language. IF you do this, THIS will happen. IF you do otherwise, THIS will happen. IF we want to be blessed, we are not to walk in the counsel, the thinking, of the world, the ungodly, sinners, and the scornful.
IF we live a holy life, living by the Word of the Lord, thinking about His will and doing it, we will be blessed.

This does not mean that we isolate ourselves from the world, because then we aren’t doing the job of salt and light. We are the flavor of God and the light of Christ to those who live in the darkness. We just don’t make the world our bosom buddy and take on the habits of the world. We do not compromise our witness. IF we put our minds to the things of this world, we are going to blow away in a storm, like the house built on the sand. Chaff is the outside layer/hull of the grain and it is paper thin with no weight whatsoever. It blows away with a breath. The wicked will perish, but God has His hand on His children and will protect, direct and guide as we listen for His voice and obey.



═════

[21]

Each evening before I head to bed I wait for a word to come to my mind. The word tonight was "order."

Psalm 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and He delights in his way.

Each day has many more things that need doing than I have energy to do. Planning ahead and keeping things orderly in every activity make the days go much better. So many things are on our agenda. Our minds are cluttered with stuff: jobs, family, friends, and sometimes even the lack of health physical, mental or spiritual.

Because I go to bed each night with prayer, I awake refreshed. Listening to the Lord speak through my devotional time bears fruit when I wake, giving me clarity for the day and all that needs to be done.

Taking time to communicate with the Lord all through the day, especially giving Him the first and best part of my day, gives me peace and direction. He will guide. Listen to THE still small voice.

We can’t hear Him in the hustle, if we haven’t been listening in the quiet.



═════

[22]

"The great movement of the spiritual life is from a deaf, non-hearing life to ‘a life of listening.’ From a life in which we experience ourselves as separated, isolated, and lonely to a life in which we hear the guiding and healing voice of God, Who is with us and will never leave us alone." Henri Nouwen

I was trying to hear but have had an earache for four days. Went to the walk-in clinic. Swimmers ear.

I haven't been swimming.

Prescribed was an outrageously priced antibiotic and warm damp washcloth. I decided since it was Sunday and I was already out, I would get to church at the 8:50. I felt better just going to church and then had the healing team pray for me.

I came home and by time I had finished making lunch and called to see if the Rx was ready, my ear was ALREADY better! It has been good all the rest of the day and is still tonight. How's them apples? Canceled the Rx and am going to bed with a grateful heart and a hearing, listening ear.



═════

[23]

Isaiah 26:3 Thou oh Lord, will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You: because he trusts in You.4 Trust in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength!

I have become distracted over the last couple days due to health issues. It has become a real struggle to keep my focus. The distraction of my health is beginning to wear on me, and I know it’s only temporary. It is a recurring problem when diet and schedule get out of sync. I feel anxious about letting others down, and more particularly letting the Lord down.

We sometimes forget in our zeal and fervor for spiritual excellence in our own lives, that God has placed us in a natural world He created for our pleasure, leisure and daily life, to enjoy, be grateful and at peace.

In the busyness I need to remember He is giving me a time of rest and I need to listen in the quiet. God has helped in spite of the circumstances. I WILL trust Him!

It’s a choice each must make every day, in spite of what comes our way.



═════

[24]

Prayer is an attitude, it is abandonment and attentiveness. Our heart attitude must be centered in devotion to the Lord. We must abandon ourselves to His grace and mercy and be ATTENTIVE!

If I were to say to someone, "Pay attention!" they would look at me, right? This is where I see the absolute truth of these postures in prayer. We look to Him with our hearts in right relationship, totally committed, and we listen. If we hear and obey, nothing in this world can overtake us. There will be surprises, but not destruction.

These verses come to mind.

II Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. 8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.



═════

[25]

Psalm 113:5 Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwells on high, 6 Who humbles Himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth! 7 He raises up the poor out of the dust, and lifts the needy out of the dunghill; 8 That He may set him with princes, even with the princes of His people. 9 He makes the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children.

The only way to get to know more about God is to spend the time. As we spend time in "the presence," we begin to love being there. It is in His presence that we start to know Him, and then like the Psalmist we only start to understand, and are in awe of Him. God reveals Himself in our daily lives, speaking to us through His Word.

Who can know all about God? We can’t. But after spending quality time with Him, we begin to see, although dimly, His love and mercy has "stolen" our affection. We are "smitten" with His blessings, provision and redemption. This makes me grateful beyond thankful.



═════

[26]

Romans 2:4 Do you despise the riches of his goodness and forbearance and long-suffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leads us to repentance?

Sometimes "kindness" doesn’t look that way to us. But God has given us His Word, His Spirit and His people, to help us to not fall in a ditch, or get run over by a bus. If we recognize that God is in control of our life, that He has our back, we will be grateful for the kindnesses that don’t quite suit us.



[27]

Discomfited. (This is the Old English for uncomfortable.)

Rick and I often have our best conversations at breakfast while he is still fresh from resting. This morning I began with "I am discomfited, but comforted." He said, "I get that."

Throughout the last 4+ years comfort, physical comfort has been on the wane. The 3 score and 10 years have begun to show in our faces and in the wear on our bodies. We weren't able to get to church for the second week in a row. This portion of Scripture came to mind.

II Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

Find comfort dear ones in knowing He is here to comfort you.



═════

[28]

Psalm 103:1 Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name. 2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits; 3 Who forgives all thine iniquities; Who heals all thy diseases; 4 Who redeems thy life from destruction; Who crowns thee with loving kindness and tender mercies; 5 Who satisfies thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. 6 The Lord executes righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.

Jesus continues today to forgive sin, heal disease and redeem lives from destruction. How encouraging to read the Scripture and be lifted up in our spirits. If you are oppressed, depressed or even possessed, God is able to heal, save and deliver. Bless the Lord with your whole soul and see what God can and will do in and for us as we come in humility and repentance. Then as we listen and obey, He will send us to go tell what great things He has done for us.



═════

[29]

Jeremiah 32:27 Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh, is anything too difficult for Me?

The Word of God is alive. We need to read, study, and inwardly digest the promises as well as the instruction and warnings. Turning our lives over to Jesus is the only thing that keeps us from the ravages of the world today. Continue walking with Him, listening for His voice in the din of your daily life.

Watch and see what He will do in your life, in this new season.



═════

[30]

Our lives are not our own once we give our hearts, minds and bodies to His will and service. He will keep His loving hand us in all of our circumstances and our job is easy. Just keep the house clean!

It’s a constant work. I vacuum and mop and do dishes and cook and do laundry in our physical home. Why would I not do similar things in my soul and heart that will make them a pleasant place for Jesus to dwell? Suck out all that discontent and wash the garbage away and take it out with the trash. We don’t keep trash in the house. It stinks! That’s what the outdoor bin is for. Why would we allow trash in our spirit, heart and mind? Keep it clean and think on these things.

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

Karin: Another powerful reminder of who we are not, and in whose arms we are held. "Leaning..."

Carol: Oh Melanie, that is so perfect for me today - thanks!!



═════

[31]

Mark 6:56 Wherever He entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought Him that they might touch if it were but the border of His garment: and as many as touched Him were made whole.

When we read the Gospel account this morning in our devotion time together, it was the story of the woman who touched the hem of Jesus garment and was instantly healed.

God led Jesus through the land of Israel to heal wounded broken children. With the hem of His garment in reach, Jesus was walking through, threading His way along the streets, where the people were living in a wilderness of ill health, sin and sorrow. All they had to do was respond, reach out and touch Jesus as He passed by.

In our wilderness, Jesus is still making a way for us. Reach out to Him TODAY!



═════

[32]

Matthew 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

Who is my neighbor? Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan. The neighbor is the one who saw a stranger in need and took care of him. When we see someone in need we too should be willing to help. Some can do more than others, but a prayer is always a good response. A verbal encouragement… a hug… sometimes more. Always use wisdom and discernment as to what God would have you do. A person may think they know what they need or want, but God can and will direct you to the proper response.



═════

[33]

When I read a Scripture I'm in awe at what God spoke into being. He did it all, made it, formed it, created it, and established all the seas and the mountains and the stars and planets. Do not lose your the awe of God. He is righteous and requires something of us, because we will bow and we will confess Him one day.

The requirements are not a burden, but protection for our life and our hearts. Like the mother who says, "Don’t touch that hot stove." God has given some rules (Exodus 20). They are few but He sees whether we have listened and obeyed. We will give an account.

Don’t try to figure out how to get out of a ditch. Call a tow truck! In another words, when your circumstances overwhelm you, on whom do you call? We must call on the Lord.

We do not need more knowledge or even understanding. We need to learn to trust God in all matters of our lives. Jesus is the solid rock on which we place all our issues. We tend to want to make sense of everything and have complete understanding. As we live for Jesus, He doesn’t always explain. In fact, seldom do we find the answers that satisfy our need to know! It’s because we don’t need to know so much.

Travis: That’s good stuff!

Linda: I agree with Travis!



═════

[34]

II Samuel 22:31 As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried.

The Lord’s word is flawless, and we must keep feeding and nurturing ourselves with the Word, prayer, and thanksgiving. It doesn’t matter what comes your way, no matter how long it takes. Be patient and wait on Him.

When we get impatient we try to help God. We get antsy. God doesn't need our help! He needs our faithfulness, a listening ear, and obedience. Yes, we do work with God, but we must remember that He is the One who promotes and demotes along with opening doors and closing them.

I Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.



═════

[35]

How are you praying for your loved ones? There could be no better request than asking the Lord to give them an abundance of His grace, His mercy, and His peace



═════

[36]

Just spent a few minutes hugging Rick after he ate supper. Hugging him from the back as he sat. Kissing the base of his head, the brain stem. Praying and kissing to make it better. Four years ago was the event that changed our life.

I have mixed feelings. Horror and joy! In all things we are thankful. It's been an interesting day to day experience. Difficult in many ways but blessed in so many other ways. We are grateful to be here together and thank God daily for the opportunities we still have to be effective witnesses of God's presence and provision. God's own children have walked with us and many times FOR us when we couldn't go anymore. Thank you for your prayers as we are still walking, slower but still on the march forward in our faith.

Jack: Keep walking, keep walking, keep walking… you will reach the goal that our God has set for you… JUST A COUPLE MORE STEPS, Keep walking....



═════

[37]

Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of Him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse. 21 Because, knowing God, they didn’t glorify him as God, neither gave thanks,but became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless heart was darkened.

We harden our hearts by our own volition. We begin to believe all that we see and hear in the world around us. We let our hearts and minds become clouded by the message of the world. All the influences of this life close in on us when we ignore the Truth or — even worse — deny Truth.

We indeed can know the invisible things of the Spirit of God by perceiving the physical world around us. (Romans 1:20) We must honestly acknowledge that only a superior being could have created all that we see and know. Our bodies, even our eye, has so intricate a construction that if any single part of it fails we can be blind. God made all that is and human reason cannot change the facts. Science does indeed agree sooner or later that something or someone outside our natural realm has created all.

Romans 2:14 Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.



═════

[38]

Relationship Restoration.

God is looking to be in communion with YOU and ME. In our growing relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are we being reconciled to Him and to one another? The witness of restored relationship with our Creator is how the church survives.

Our daily witness is why we are here. Our witness is to be seen. Let us be a true witness of the love of Christ to the world. By our love for one another, the world will see that we belong to God.



═════

[39]

II Corinthians 12:7b There was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure… 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Pain gets our attention.

I'd be sleeping now if it weren't for pain. I forget that although my health has improved immensely, I'm still fighting with the Lyme disease and age! We all have some thorn that only Jesus can redeem, but the thorn may never be taken away. It may be a thorn that keeps us humble, or weak, or frail, but in our weakness we learn to depend on and listen closer to the Lord. If we were delivered from our thorn (pain) we wouldn't have to stay so close to Him. If the pain of the thorn were less we could get by with ignoring it some, but the ever-present thorn, whatever it may be, keeps our hearts and mind stayed on Jesus.

I think there are a lot of us who are going to walk up to the Apostle Paul when we get to Heaven and say, "I don't know what your thorn was, but thank God for the thorn in my life. It brought me here!"



═════

[40]

Scripture is the true content of our internal compass. The words you are now reading are colored by my environment and training. There will be different insights from someone that has grown up and been educated in a different environment and spiritual training.

A worldview, the external compass, will help us. But even though the newest technology can manage to get us to our destinations on the ground, IF we don't follow the instructions we are lost.

Being able to discern between right and almost right, needs the Biblical internal compass and the ability to understand and follow God’s directions.

Heavenly Father tonight I ask for wisdom, discernment and a true, holy, internal compass for those in authority and for us who must make daily choices to follow Your direction. In Jesus Name I pray.

Misty: I had to share. So glad you listen to the heart of Christ.



═════

[41]

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service..2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Even the smallest child understands transformation. They probably own at least one "Transformer." The concept is not unfamiliar and not difficult to understand. But to be transformed we must know the Word of God.

God loved us and sent His Son. Jesus loved us so much He obeyed His Father to His death. We must love one another. It is the offering of our life in love that is a real sacrifice to God. Jesus said that we would be known as His own, by our love for one another.

God calls for our obedience. Let us obey as Jesus obeyed and love as He did without malice toward one another.



═════

[41]

Life doesn’t always go as smoothly as we would like. The car breaks down and doesn’t work like we want. We get older and our bodies don’t work like we want.

As believers in Christ Jesus, we have a refuge and a fortress. (Psalm 91) We have Jesus, who suffered great loss, including the loss of His life, yet held steady to the end. We have great blessings if we have Jesus and the family of God. BUT even if all we have is Jesus we are most comforted.

I know someone who frets about everything, making themselves and everyone around them miserable. "No one can help, no one will help, woe is me," is their constant conversation. It saddens me for them. This Scripture tells me all I need to know, because I have Jesus!

Psalm 37:25 I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or His seed begging for bread.



═════

[42]

Every day God wants us to be aware of His presence. Do we get up and get off to work or play without His knowledge?

When life seems overwhelming and out of control, it is not so easy to just stop, remember that He is there, and not a bit surprised with the circumstances. Are we doing what is right or reasonable in our own eyes? Turn eyes, ears and focus back on Jesus. It's not always comfortable to admit we are going our own way.

Although the following verse says I am to commit my way, I find that it is as important to SUBMIT. Submission is necessary in relationship. There is commitment in marriage and friendship, but the submitting to one another, preferring one another is the best way to keep our relationships strong.

Having a listening ear and a humble heart reminds me all the circumstances of life are in His control, and we are safe there.

Psalm 37:5 Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.



═════

[43]

II Timothy 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Jesus said, "I AM THE TRUTH." You can carry more upper case letters behind your name than in your name and still not know THE TRUTH.

I love the program Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? I lose often, but not at the expense of my soul. Just my ego. EGO is deadly when we think that we are something or we know more than others. We run the deadly risk of serving ego, our "knowledge," and not THE TRUTH.



═════

[44]

I am awake at 4am.

Having heard all my life that "actions speak louder than words" (there are more than 70 quotes online to that effect) I strongly disagree! WORDS can kill the spirit of a person just as quickly as an act of violence. We have watched the talking heads of recent days destroy without lifting a finger. We do the same to each other and to our spouses and children.

Kindness with our words can be a healing balm. Kindness can change the atmosphere in a room and in our world. Yes there is wickedness, but we don't have to participate. Our true kind WORDS matter. They show the intent of our heart, as well, and sometimes much better than anything we do. Think this verse over.

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.



═════

[45]

I have no excuse. I did not post last night because my bed was calling me. But there is something worth my effort every day to encourage others who are plodding yet plunging through to joy and peace.

2 Cor. 12:9 He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in WEAKNESS." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.



═════

[46]

Psalm 18:31 For who is God save the Lord? or who is a rock save our God? 32 It is God that girds me with strength, and makes my way perfect. 33 He makes my feet like hinds' feet, and sets me upon my high places.

I enjoy reading this Scripture lesson. It refreshes my memory and instills a greater faith. God is perfect and true. He shields us. He is the refuge, the rock who makes us safe and steady. He equips us with strength and helps us to walk blameless before Him. He keeps us from stumbling and lifts us up higher, above the turmoil. No matter the circumstances He holds us in the palm of His hand. He trains us, by His Word, to do battle against the world, the devil and our own fleshly nature.

Karin: You are rocking my world with the wonderful scriptures you share as well as your reflections. Who is a rock but our God?! "He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock..." How can we keep from singing?



═════

[47]

I am concerned about those who believe they don’t really need to come to Jesus yet. They have more time to live and want to get the most out of it.

The problems I see: #1, Where did that bus come from?

And #2, You call that living?

#3 and the most important:

Matthew 24:42 Watch, be aware! You don't know what hour your Lord will come.

When we are young we feel we are invincible and that we can do anything. As we age, things change. Sometimes a deadly illness takes us or life just makes us miserable. Our consolation is coming. Jesus will come again and take us to our heavenly home. This is the hope we have in Him.

Hebrews 6:18 By two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. 19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast.



═════

[48]

Hebrews 4:9 There remains therefore a rest to the people of God.

Today I needed rest. A rest from the battle we have with ourselves in our natural man that wants to do whatever is right in our own eyes.

Daily I am amazed at what God plans for the schedule, if I let Him. I do have to be still and that means my mouth. When I am quiet, I hear better, don’t you? Listening even now, I hear the Lord say, "Peace and rest. You need a Sabbath rest."

It has been a busy year already, filled with much physical and emotional loss. Grief and overwork can make one quite tired. So I turn to God’s Word and find it’s okay to take a rest, get away from the crowd, weep if necessary and enjoy the peace that comes from just being with Jesus.

I feel better now and much rested in spirit and body! God’s hands are the place to be.



═════

[49]

The world is full of troublesome attractions. Some are deadly poisonous, dangerous, weeds, and sins that can choke our soul and witness.

Applying weed killer doesn’t finish the job in the yard, believe me. Even pulling up by the roots, digging around and making sure that the whole thing is pulled up is not always going to work. Sometimes there are hidden roots running around in the edges of your mind just like in the ground. They will spring up to try to overtake you again.

Dig them out again. You are not alone, take heart.

John 16:33 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.



═════

[50]

John 5:19 Verily, verily, I say to you, The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do: for what ever things He does, these also does the Son.

Can you see God at work in and through the circumstances of those around you and yourself?

I am encouraged daily in my faith walk because in listening to God’s call I find comfort and assurance that He’s not finished with me yet. He has more for me to contribute to His Kingdom and the family, the body of Christ. Doing what God calls us to do means we will finish well.



═════

[51]

Jeremiah 10:23 O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walks to direct his steps.

This 10th chapter of Jeremiah is all about following the crowd, the world, and its wisdom. In the second verse God tells His people, "Don’t learn the ways of the world or follow them." It will bring judgment in the end.

Any time we pick up a newspaper or listen to the TV or radio, we can hear and see the evil that is in the world, the darkness of mankind’s evil thoughts and deeds. Jesus is the LIGHT, the only WAY, TRUTH Himself.

John 3:19 This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.



═════

[52]

God sees us and is constantly vigilant. If our circumstances come about by our own wrong choices, He will let us know. Make no mistake, we were given by God the responsibility to respond to salvation and keep our souls attentive to His Word and laws. Every knee shall bow.



═════

[53]

God forgives and provides opportunity for redemption. He gives us the insight into our failing, forgives us, and then provides the foresight in the next circumstance. Satan on the other hand whips us with you shoulda and you’re a failure. Recognize the difference and put your life and particularly your thought life in the hands of the Lord.

Judas, when the recognition came to him that he had betrayed the Lord of life, listened to Satan and went out and hung himself.

Peter, when the same recognition came to him, remembered that Jesus had told him that Satan would sift him, but Jesus was praying for him. Peter went out and wept bitterly that he had betrayed his Master. He was forgiven and was then able to minister to others and encourage them.

Jesus is making intercession for us this moment at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. Do not despair. Do not give up. Our Savior is working on our behalf in spite of how our circumstances appear. He still has the last word. Let us be willing and able witnesses of our faith in Jesus Christ.



═════

[54]

Genesis 1:26 God said, Let us make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have dominion… over everything… 27 So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.

The writer of Hebrews tells us that we need to listen so we don’t slip up and mess up. Transgression and disobedience brought Adam and Eve death. My guess is that because they didn’t die the minute they ate the forbidden fruit, they thought maybe they had gotten away with something. Since we are in an after-the-fact position, we see the results of their rebellion as well as our own.

God still wants us to be in relationship with Him. He is always speaking to us, but we don’t listen well. My whole goal is to learn to LISTEN well and obey. God is speaking in the minute matters of our day. He has given us dominion and the instruction on how to handle the responsibility. We cannot do life by ourselves. We need Him. Let us not neglect our relationship and lose our reward. My reward will be most glorious, if I hear "Well done, good and faithful servant."



═════

[55]

Psalm 28:1 Unto Thee will I cry, O Lord my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if Thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit. 2 Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto Thee, when I lift up my hands.…

David understood that there was NO other refuge. The word supplication implies to ask humbly or earnestly, as by praying, making a humble entreaty. In our lives we come to serious crossroads where there is no place else to go or turn. I believe God arranges those circumstances to give us opportunity to seek Him.

There are those who would argue with me about this, but my theology is found in the traditions and experiences I see in the Bible itself. What about the man who was born blind? This was not a child, but a man, an adult who had lived his whole life blind. Jesus gave him sight for God’s glory. The disciples asked Jesus if the man sinned or his parents, and is that why he is blind? Jesus said,

John 9:3 Neither has this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

God does arrange our circumstances to get our attention.



═════

[56]

God gave us a choice. Adam and Eve had a choice and each of us make our choices based on what is in our heart. If we choose to honor God with our life, we will fill our hearts and minds with the will of God, shown to us in the Word of God. We will keep our conscience clear and clean. We will repent regularly and be watchful of our attitudes and be wholly dependent on the Grace and Mercy of God. There is a fine balance on our part as we live in this world. We must be careful what we ingest spiritually. What we feed our spiritual eternal man, our thinking, our vision, our hearing, is paramount.

Psalm 101:3 I will set no evil thing before my eyes.

What changes are we going to have to make, that will enable us to listen to and obey more clearly God’s plan and will for us as witnesses of the Gospel?