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Contentment (from 31 Days of Encouragement – Laura)

“NOT THAT I SPEAK FROM WANT; FOR I HAVE LEARNED TO BE CONTENT IN WHATEVER CIRCUMSTANCES I AM. I KNOW HOW TO GET ALONG WITH HUMBLE MEANS, AND I ALSO KNOW HOW TO LIVE IN PROSPERITY; IN ANY AND EVERY CIRCUMSTANCE I HAVE LEARNED THE SECRET OF BEING FILLED AND GOING HUNGRY, BOTH OF HAVING ABUNDANCE AND SUFFERING NEED. I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH HIM WHO STRENGTHENS ME.” Philippians 4:11-13

The women came into the room for Bible study and took their places at their assigned seats. They all wore identical prison issue jumpsuits. As I sang, they worshiped God with me. I can still see their radiant faces. We had a common bond – Jesus Christ. Despite the grim circumstances, these sisters showed great contentment, especially in some of their prayers. One woman prayed, “Please join me and stand with me, giving thanks to God for allowing me to obtain mercy. Now I can find grace in time of all my needs.” Contentment is determined by perspective. These prisoners were looking to Christ and finding contentment despite their circumstances.

Paul was in prison when he wrote a letter to the church at Philippi. It becomes very clear as you read this letter that Paul maintained an eternal perspective even while in the worst of conditions. He begins his letter with the salutation, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:2). Grace and peace are words of deep contentment, revealing an understanding of God’s sovereignty. Paul is content because of his eternal perspective.

When I lose this eternal focus I can easily become discontent. My daily life is the place where I struggle; all those mundane chores that have to be done again and again. You can name yours, I’m sure. Looking at my work, I lose perspective. When I see the precious faces that benefit from my work, I am given a perspective that brings contentment. Another quick way to lose your focus is pride. Most of us have an excessively high opinion of what we deserve. I have heard it said that we should all remember three words: I deserve hell! The Exemplary Husband by Stuart Scott lists some manifestations of pride: anger, outbursts, a critical spirit, listening poorly, blame shifting, self focused, haughty look, complaining and passing judgment on God. I find this list quite convicting.

God uses this daily classroom of life to teach me the secret of being content. Am I willing to adjust my focus and find contentment no matter the circumstances? How about you? Next time you sense a lack of contentment because you think you deserve better, check your perspective. Think about the prisoner, Paul, and his words to the Philippians.

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

How Is Your Faith Under Pressure (from 31 Days of Encouragement – Miriam)

“YOU KNOW THAT UNDER PRESSURE, YOUR FAITH-LIFE IS FORCED INTO THE OPEN AND SHOWS ITS TRUE COLORS.” James 1:3

When things are going well it is easy to trust God. However, when life heats up and the pressure is on, do you still trust Him? Over the years as my husband Jim and I have been on the staff of a faith-based ministry and have had to raise our support, there have been many times when our faith has been under pressure. In the midst of these difficult times we can choose to “let it be an opportunity for joy” (James 1:2), or we can let the pressure overcome us. It is a choice to be joyful in the midst of difficult circumstances. Don’t get being joyful confused with being happy. Happiness depends on your circumstances, but joyfulness endures in spite of your circumstances.

In September, 2007, we had a week that was full of pressure for our family. Our finances were very strained, our youngest son, Mark, got a mild concussion during football practice, and our daughter, Rachel, was in a car accident. I could have chosen to have a meltdown that week, but instead I chose to be joyful. Please understand that I made this choice based on years of trusting the Lord and His faithfulness. It also came from spending time in His word on a daily basis. That is what gives me the ability to trust Him under pressure. The Israelites had a habit of looking back at what the Lord had done so they could go forward. The psalmist said, “I recall all you have done, O Lord; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about them” (Psalm 77:11-12). You and I can do the same. When life heats up and you feel the pressure, look back and remember how God has helped you and sustained you in the past.

When I look back, I remember when Mark was born and he wasn’t breathing. As I lay there in my bed and the doctor was working on him, I remember praying, “Lord, he’s in your hands. We committed him to you from the moment we knew about him. Jim can’t help. Even the doctor can only do what you allow. Please be with my baby.” Mark was in special care for four days and grew better each day until he was released. He has no lasting effects from his difficult entry into the world. As I write this, he is almost 16 years old and is six feet, one inch tall. I have so many moments like that which I can look back to when my faith is tested or under pressure.

How about you? When difficult times come, will your true colors show that you trust God? Will you be able to look back and see the hand of God in your life?

Set Free (from 31 Days of Encouragement – Beth)

“THEREFORE THERE IS NOW NO CONDEMNATION FOR THOSE WHO ARE IN CHRIST JESUS. FOR THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS HAS SET YOU FREE FROM THE LAW OF SIN AND OF DEATH. … FOR THE MIND SET ON THE FLESH IS DEATH, BUT THE MIND SET ON THE SPIRIT IS LIFE AND PEACE.” Romans 8:1-2, 6

Her name is Lisa Elliott. I met Lisa at a women’s conference in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina several years ago. Lisa was a drug addict whose mother invited her to this particular women’s conference because she was desperate for Jesus to set her daughter free. I vividly remember meeting Lisa that weekend. She immediately hugged me and said, “I am so glad I am here!” There was an instant connection between us and I knew in my spirit that God was up to something.

Lisa sat on the front row during every session as I taught about conditions of the heart. From Genesis 6:5, she heard that the intent of the thoughts of man’s heart is only evil continually. We also discussed Romans 6:12-14 which says, “Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body as sin instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace.”

As the weekend progressed, I began to see Lisa become more and more uncomfortable with what she was hearing. She would often leave the room during the session, but then she always returned within a few minutes. You see, God was at work in Lisa. Lisa didn’t know what was happening, but God was setting her free from the bondage that she was in.

Saturday night, Lisa heard teachings from 1 John 1:9 that said, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The Holy Spirit began to move in Lisa’s life again, and I witnessed this precious woman call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I even noticed that Lisa’s countenance began to change.

During the last session of the conference, Lisa stood up and spoke to the group. She said, “I am an addict. I have asked Jesus to set me free and forgive me of my sin. Will you pray for me?” One by one, women from all over the room stood up and walked to the front of the room to lay hands on Lisa and call on the name of the Jesus for her sake. Lisa was set free that day!

Lisa’s name is derived from the Hebrew form of Elizabeth and it means “Oath of God” or “God’s promises.” Today, Lisa is resting in God’s promises and walking out her faith. She has been redeemed by Christ and set free from the bondage that she lived in. Since that conference many years ago, Lisa has led her children and her husband to the Lord, and she continues to enjoy her freedom in Christ.

Have you been set free? Are you bound by sin, thinking you are unable to get out of it? Jesus says, “I have come that you might have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Christ can set you free. Will you ask Him?

Freedom in Surrender (from 31 Days of Encouragement – Laura)

“WHERE THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS, THERE IS LIBERTY (FREEDOM). BUT WE ALL WITH OPEN FACE BEHOLDING AS IN A GLASS THE GLORY OF THE LORD, ARE CHANGED INTO THE SAME IMAGE FROM GLORY TO GLORY, EVEN AS BY THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD.” II Corinthians 3:17-18

There have been many times of surrender in my life as a mom. I remember bathing a screaming four-week-old baby girl and saying to myself, “I can’t do this one more time.” Ever so sweetly the Holy Spirit whispered, “You are the only mother she has. This is your job.” As my face was bathed with tears, I relinquished my rights in surrender to the Lord as He called me to motherhood right there. Freedom invaded my heart as I gave myself over to the power of the Holy Spirit as a mother. The Christian life is full of opportunities to surrender. I agree with Corrie ten Boom when she writes:

“The growth of the Christian life does not stop at the first surrender, any more than marriage stops at the wedding ceremony.”

What is surrender? I have heard it defined this way: disposing of one’s self to become another’s property-giving one’s self up or over into the power of another. This is not a popular idea in our culture. We are programmed to be self-sufficient, independent. Becoming another’s property or allowing another to have power over us is foreign. Most of the teaching in scripture is counter cultural. In case you don’t know, if you’re a believer, this world is not your home. As moms, we must raise our children to go from dependence on us to dependence on God. Independence is not a Biblical term. As a matter of fact, it is the opposite of surrender. This is where we struggle as Christians. We were never meant to live apart from dependence on God. We can’t live the supernatural life without dependence on God. That’s why so many Christians are not living in freedom. They refuse to allow God to have power over them. They hold on to the power of independence and yet live in bondage. God is calling you as His child to a life of surrender.

The evangelist Tony Evans says that surrender is “saying ‘yes’ to God before you know the question.” This suggests a total willingness to do whatever the Lord asks me to do. That is a place of complete trust and we will only trust God when we know His character. When we say “yes” to God before we know the question, it’s as if we stand before God with open hands and a willing heart saying, “Lord, I don’t even know what you’re going to ask me, but whatever you ask, Lord, I will do. Wherever you send me, I will go.”

Are your hands open in surrender or are they clenched in independence? Are you insisting on your own way or admitting your helplessness apart from Christ? Is there anything in your hand today that the Holy Spirit wants you to release? The Lord is calling you to experience freedom today by surrendering to Him. As He speaks to your heart, He will enable you to obey and surrender. It is the only way to freedom.

“Jesus, all for Jesus. All I am and have and ever hope to be. All of my ambitions hopes and plans. I surrender these into Your hands. For it’s only in Your will that I am free. Jesus, all for Jesus. All I am and have and ever hope to be.” Robin Mark

Learning to Trust (from 31 Days of Encouragement – Miriam)

“TRUST IN THE LORD WITH ALL YOUR HEART; DO NOT DEPEND ON YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING.” Proverbs 3:5

For as long as I can remember, my Momma would print the above scripture in every card she gave me or in my Bible that she and Daddy gave me. This verse is her life verse. She and my Daddy have built their lives on trusting in the Lord, and they have taught this to me and my brothers.

In September, 2004, I spoke in Florence, South Carolina, for a women’s conference on the topic of “Learning to Trust.” My talk is based on the book Learning to Trust by Bill Jones and Terry Powell along with my own personal experience and what the Lord has taught me through them. Interestingly, I first wrote this talk when we began our walk of faith with the Lord into full-time ministry with a missions organization called Crossover. At that time I had several examples to use of God’s faithfulness and how we were trusting Him. That was in 2002. Now jump ahead two years to 2004, and God was again so good to give me many new examples. I say this with a hint of sarcasm.

The week before I spoke it was as if God was really tenderizing my heart to the point where I could be vulnerable when I spoke to the women at that conference. I was very emotional, even a little down, which isn’t the norm for me. The Monday night of the week I spoke, I attended open house at our children’s school. I was in our daughter, Rachel’s, English class listening to her teacher talk about American Literature. She was telling us that when the literature gets too heavy and depressing, she brings in scripture to show the students why the people were so down. She said that often when people are down and it seems like there is no hope, it is because they are having trouble trusting in God’s sufficiency. Wow!! It seemed God was sitting there pointing a finger at me. I was really struggling with trusting Him through this difficult time in our lives even though I could look back and see how He had sustained us and provided for us in so many ways. I’m so much like the Israelites who saw God do miraculous things yet continually doubted Him.

That same week I read a devotion in a booklet our church gave us that said, “Worry is a warning light that Christ has been shoved to the sidelines.” I thought, “Okay, Lord, I’m starting to get it.” Through that week and into the conference, God showed me all over again that He could be trusted. I know God used me to give His message to those women, and at the same time He reminded me of His faithfulness.

Jump ahead to the present day – 2008. God continues to give me fresh examples in my life of how I can trust Him. He has never failed me – not one time! How about you? Do you trust the Lord? Have you tested Him and found Him to be true and faithful?

She Wears Jesus Well (from 31 Days of Encouragement – Beth)

“… AND PUT ON THE NEW SELF, WHICH IN THE LIKENESS OF GOD HAS BEEN CREATED IN RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HOLINESS OF THE TRUTH.” Ephesians 4:24

Ann Fallaw wears Jesus well. Ann is my mother. She is one of the godliest women I know. I cannot write about her without my heart overflowing with gratitude to the Lord. She is so much like Jesus, and she wears Him well.

I grew up in Brazil, where my mother and daddy were missionaries. I have vivid memories of both of my parents giving so much of their lives to what God called them to do. I can remember often finding my mother spending quiet moments worshipping the Lord in her daily activities. She loved her family and loved working toward Kingdom growth.

My mother spent her mornings at home teaching my four sisters and me and the afternoons ministering to the countless needs of those in the community. When the evening arrived, I would often find my mother lying on her bed with her Bible on her chest and her glasses on her nose. She needed the Lord’s refreshment at that moment, a fresh and encouraging word from Him. She did not turn on the television or call a friend. She did not try to figure everything out on her own. She worshiped and fellowshipped and talked with Jesus. She listened to the still, small voice as He spoke to her spirit. The more time she spent with Jesus, the more she became like Him. My mother knew how to put on the likeness of Christ and wear Him well.

For many years, my mother has learned to wear Jesus by studying about Him and faithfully reading through the Bible. She demonstrated her obvious love for the Lord more and more every day. For the past eight years, she has devoted herself to reading a Bible through and making love notes and “dicas” (the Brazilian term she uses when she wants to make a loving suggestion to me), for each one of her five children. She is now reading and making notations in a Bible for each of her nine grandchildren.

My mother breaths, moves and exists because of who Jesus is in her life. She shares Christ with everyone she meets. You cannot have a conversation with Ann without being moved by her unashamed and undying love for her Lord and Savior. Over a lifetime, Jesus has used the time she spent in His Word to weave His likeness into her being, thread by thread, creating a beautiful tapestry of His likeness. She wears Jesus well.

Do you wear Jesus well? When people see you, do they see Jesus? Do they see the tapestry of the influence of Christ in your life? Let me challenge you today to “put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Ephesians 4:24). Wear Him well today.

Garments Of Grace (from 31 Days of Encouragement – Laura)

1) THEN HE SHOWED ME JOSHUA THE HIGH PRIEST STANDING BEFORE THE ANGEL OF THE LORD, AND SATAN STANDING AT HIS RIGHT HAND TO ACCUSE HIM. 2) AND THE LORD SAID TO SATAN, “THE LORD REBUKE YOU, SATAN! INDEED, THE LORD WHO HAS CHOSEN JERUSALEM REBUKE YOU! IS THIS NOT A BRAND PLUCKED FROM THE FIRE?” 3) NOW JOSHUA WAS CLOTHED WITH FILTHY GARMENTS AND STANDING BEFORE THE ANGEL. 4) AND HE SPOKE AND SAID TO THOSE WHO WERE STANDING BEFORE HIM SAYING, “REMOVE THE FILTHY GARMENTS FROM HIM.” AGAIN HE SAID TO HIM, “SEE, I HAVE TAKEN YOUR INIQUITY AWAY FROM YOU AND WILL CLOTHE YOU WITH FESTAL ROBES.” 5) THEN I SAID, “LET THEM PUT A CLEAN TURBAN ON HIS HEAD.” SO THEY PUT A CLEAN TURBAN ON HIS HEAD AND CLOTHED HIM WITH GARMENTS, WHILE THE ANGEL OF THE LORD WAS STANDING BY. Zechariah 3:1-5

A life-changing vision. An enemy rebuked. A Priest transformed. The result? A liberating change of garments portrayed by the prophet Zechariah in the third chapter of his book. Joshua the High Priest (who represents Jerusalem – God’s chosen people) is standing before the angel of the LORD with Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. This position belongs to a prosecutor in a courtroom. Satan is always ready to devour and condemn. But God says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). The Lord rebukes Satan, reminding him that Jerusalem is the “chosen” of God. Grieved by her sin and having punished her people with 70 years of captivity, Jehovah God has delivered His people out of this fiery trial as His very own possession; Satan has no power over God’s chosen. Those of us who belong to Christ are like a “brand plucked out of the fire” (verse 2) by God’s miracle of grace – “the free gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). Satan finds himself powerless over those who are in Christ both then and now.

“Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and standing before the angel” (verse 3). These garments are a symbol of sin and are “polluted by the flesh” (Jude 23). Notice that Joshua is standing before the angel of the LORD even in his filthy garments of sin. We can embrace the wonderful truth that God looks on us with eyes of grace even in our mixture of sin and wrong motives. He hates our sin but does not destroy us because of His grace. At the angel’s request, the filthy garments are removed from Joshua (the chosen) and he says to him, “See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes” (verse 4).

What an incredible trade! Filthy garments of sin and fleshly rags of self-righteousness for festal robes of the High Priest. These new robes are expensive, beautiful and made of clean, white fine linen fit for a bride. Pure garments represent the blood of Christ poured out at Calvary for the chosen, His bride. God did not abandon Joshua in his nakedness after He stripped him of his garments but cleansed and clothed him in garments of salvation – garments of grace. “He has clothed me with garments of salvation; He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness…” (Isaiah 61:10).

Can you say with Isaiah that God has clothed you with garments of salvation? Have you put your faith in the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ resulting in salvation? You are one for whom Christ died! Are you surrendering daily to His choice of clothing for you? Have your garments been changed? Come as you are. Let the Holy Spirit of truth speak to your heart, show you your nakedness apart from Him and wrap you in His garments of grace.

“For the robe is of God that will clothe your nakedness. And the robe is His Grace; it’s all you need, come as you are.” Wes King

Leaving Imprints (from 31 Days of Encouragement – Miriam)

“A WORTHY WIFE IS HER HUSBAND’S JOY AND CROWN…” Proverbs 12:4

“SHE CAREFULLY WATCHES ALL THAT GOES ON IN HER HOUSEHOLD…” Proverbs 31:27

“…OLDER WOMEN MUST TRAIN THE YOUNGER WOMEN TO LOVE THEIR HUSBANDS AND THEIR CHILDREN…” Titus 2:4

There are many ways to leave an imprint on someone’s life. I believe the way in which I will leave imprints is to passionately pursue becoming a crown to my husband, a haven to my children and a compass to younger women.

Proverbs 12:4 goes on to say, “…a shameful wife saps his strength.” I believe God has called me to leave an imprint on my husband’s life by building him up, not sapping his strength. I can build him up by speaking words of encouragement to him, by loving him unconditionally, and by praying for him. Over the years Jim and I have been married, there have been many times when I did not make the wise choice to speak kind, encouraging words. However, when I choose to respond in the right way, Jim’s response to me is the same. When I pray for Jim and let him know that I am doing that, he knows he is not alone in his daily struggles and battles.

Over the years as our three children have grown up, I tried to make our home a haven – a place where they felt safe and loved and where they wanted to bring their friends. However, more than anything I personally want to be a haven to them. I desire to live in such a way around my children that I will be one of the first people they come to no matter what is going on in their lives, leaving an imprint of stability and godly character. I can remember specific times in each of our children’s lives when things were difficult. Thankfully, they chose to come to me for guidance, love, protection. I was able to point them to the Lord and His Word for each of their circumstances. Proverbs 31:28 says, “Her children stand and bless her….” I pray that my children will one day be able to do the same.

Finally, I want to leave a lasting imprint as an older woman in the lives of the young women God brings across my path. They may be younger physically or just spiritually. Titus 2:5 goes on to say that older women are to train the younger women to “live wisely and be pure; to take care of their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.” There are so many “younger” women who simply need encouragement to live the life to which God has called them. I am thankful for the older women who helped me and the younger women the Lord has brought my way for me to mentor or disciple.

How will you leave imprints? Will it be on your husband or children or a friend along life’s way?

While It Is Still Dark (from 31 Days of Encouragement – Beth)

“AND EARLY IN THE MORNING, WHILE IT WAS STILL DARK, HE AROSE AND WENT OUT AND DEPARTED TO A LONELY PLACE AND WAS PRAYING THERE.” Mark 1:35

It is dark outside when the alarm clock sounds at 5:00 AM. As you silence the annoying sound, do your thoughts race through the “to do” list of the day, or do you begin a conversation with the Lord? In those first quiet moments of your day, do you, as Jesus did, find a quiet place to meet with the Lord and get your “to do” list from your heavenly Father who knows all things? Let’s look at a day in the life of Jesus.

Mark 1:21-26 tells us that while Jesus was teaching in the synagogue one morning, “a man with an unclean spirit” interrupted Him. Has this ever happened to you … an interruption at the beginning of an already full day? Instead of irritation, Jesus saw this as an opportunity to demonstrate the marvelous power and love of God. He rebuked the unclean spirit and the evil spirit left the man.

When He left the synagogue that day, Jesus visited the house of Simon and Andrew. I think that like all of us, Jesus enjoyed times of fellowship with His friends. Mark 1: 29-31 describes the events of this visit. When they arrived at the house, Simon’s mother-in-law was sick with fever. To some people this may have seemed like another interruption. However, Jesus saw this as another opportunity to work. He “came to her and raised her up, taking her by the hand, and the fever left her.”

Maybe now Jesus can sit down and rest! Remember that when Jesus walked on the earth He was God manifested in the flesh. He was human and got tired (John 4:6). Yet, just as it is with you and me, rest does not always come when we think we need it. Surely now Jesus can stop for a few minutes! Do you ever feel this way? You began your day with the “to do” list, but with all of the “interruptions,” few things on the list are accomplished. You may be tired and just want to sit down; then there is a knock on the door.

Mark 1:32-34 tells us that after sunset that day, “they began bringing to Him all who were ill and those who were demon possessed. And the whole city had gathered at the door. And He healed many who were ill with various diseases, and cast out demons.” The word immediately is used four times in the account of this day in Jesus’ life. Can you identify with Him? Does it seem like everyone needs you – immediately? With Jesus’ attention in seemingly constant demand, how did He handle so many urgent needs with His characteristic patience and love?

The answer lies in Mark 1:35. Jesus met with His Father alone while it was still dark before the crowds pressed in. Jesus prayed there and was prepared for the demands of the day.

As you reflect on this account of a day in the life of Jesus, let me challenge you to purpose in your heart to arise early tomorrow morning, go to a quiet place, and spend time with your Father in prayer. Determine not to lie in your bed and let your mind wander. Decide before you go to bed tonight that you will do as Jesus did and get up tomorrow morning to spend time alone with God before the interruptions begin.

He Is My Song (from 31 Days of Encouragement – Laura)

THEN YOU WILL SAY ON THAT DAY, “I WILL GIVE THANKS TO THEE, O LORD; FOR ALTHOUGH THOU WAST ANGRY WITH ME, THINE ANGER IS TURNED AWAY, AND THOU DOST COMFORT ME. BEHOLD, GOD IS MY SALVATION, I WILL TRUST AND NOT BE AFRAID; FOR THE LORD GOD IS MY STRENGTH AND SONG, AND HE HAS BECOME MY SALVATION.” Isaiah 12:1-2

Here, Isaiah pens a song of celebration from a grateful heart to God for deliverance from captivity. The Israelites had seen the miraculous hand of God numerous times and expressed their praise to the LORD through songs. The Psalmist writes, “When the LORD brought back the captives to Zion…our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy” (Psalm 126:1-2). The Old Testament resounds with the songs of Moses, Miriam, David, Solomon and others. Songs were an important part of the Jewish culture just as they are in ours. They create an outlet for expressing our deepest thoughts, emotions and beliefs. Are there specific lyrics that enable your heart to communicate with your Heavenly Father? Tune your heart to the lyrics Isaiah writes and allow the Spirit of God to sing to you through His Word.

We hear in the first verse an astounding truth that brings a song to any heart. “For although Thou wast angry with me, Thine anger is turned away and Thou dost comfort me.” Paul tells us in Romans 5:8-11 that while we were still sinners, enemies of God, Christ died for us. God was angry with us because of our sin but Christ chose to die for us on the cross, turning God’s anger away, offering forgiveness and extending comfort to us as His children. In II Corinthians chapter 1, we read that God is “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our troubles.” We were enemies with God but now receive comfort from Him. “Amazing love how can it be?” Can you hear the beautiful melody of grace? It is His plan of salvation!

“Behold, God is my salvation.” Salvation belongs to God. Max Lucado writes, “God has not only read your story, He wrote it.” He is the author, the composer of your salvation. Delight in the fact that God is your salvation. It’s all about Him. This brings great joy, peace and a spirit of contentment to my heart as I choose to rest in the power of God to save. “I will trust and not be afraid.” The choice to trust and not be afraid is the only choice for me as a dependent child. Fear casts me into a place of dark “what ifs” where there is no song. Hope escapes my heart and there is no joy. In this place of doubt, I am reminded that as one who has received comfort and reconciliation, I cannot stay there. How absurd to doubt God’s ability to be the Blessed Controller of all things that concern my loved ones and me. God is my strength when I am weak, and He is my salvation for I cannot save myself. When I choose to trust and not be afraid, He becomes my song. I can then relax and surrender to the music of His Sovereignty, enjoying Him and His voice as I listen to His lyrics of love and comfort.

Have you been delivered from sin’s captivity and received comfort from the Father of mercies? Are you enjoying Him as you choose to trust and not be afraid or is fear deafening your ears to the powerful life-changing songs the Lord wants you to hear? Open your heart to the Composer of your life, your strength and salvation and let Him be your song.