Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

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When you focus on Jesus, the bad things in life fade away and go out of focus. They fade out of your mind, they fade away from your vision, and they fade out of your memories. That wonderful hymn I remember singing in church came back to my mind softly but suddenly like an old friend revisiting after a long time. The main part of the song that I heard as I was going about my daily tasks is the main focus of today’s message:

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus

Look full in His wonderful face

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of his glory and grace.”

Can you remember this hymn? I sure can. The song came flooding back to me as just the right time when I was thinking about something that was making me feel stressed. I was even thinking that the stressful thing was caused by the devil. The words of this song are a great reminder than when you look only to Jesus and put your full focus on Him, then the stress, and the worry, and the things that are wreaking havoc in your life, and even any evil influences, will fade away and you will find yourself filled with God’s light, love, and grace. Everything through out the rest of my day was better after this experience. I turned my full focus back to God and let everything else fall away. I think this is what it truly means to “give it to God”.

When we focus on the bad thing that is occurring, whether that is a bad circumstance, a health issue, something someone did, or even chronic pain, we are giving that thing our attention and therefore feeding it into our lives causing more things like it to happen. The devil thrives on your attention so the best way to overcome evil influence is by giving your full attention to God. Then He can direct your thoughts and actions in the ways to overcome the situation you are facing. When we focus on the good things like who God is, things He has done for us, and just His love for us, this feeds these things into our lives and increases the good things that will happen.

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, Whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

-Philippians 4:6-8 KJV

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It is so important to pray to God for help at the first sign of trouble or stress. He wants you to come to Him with every care and worry. He wants to help you through whatever you are facing. When you turn to God in the beginning of the issue, you can experience this strange fading away of the problems. That is what His peace feels like. It’s like a blanket of comfort and calm that softly floats down upon you like a cloud bringing calm, clarity, and faith. This peace allows you to see the issue in a new light, and also see new solutions more clearly. This is a way that God is answering your prayer and giving you a way out of the circumstance.  It takes a strong mind to live in this state continuously, and I don’t know of any person who does this all the time except Jesus, but the more often you can keep your full focus on God, the more He will reveal Himself to you and the more you will walk in His grace.

When I’m in this state of grace and peace, looking into God’s face, my whole body is calm and any pains I am having lessen greatly. It is a comfort that is hard to explain until you have experienced this for yourself and I’m here to tell you that you can feel this same peace, and comfort, and grace today by simply asking God.

Here is a prayer to help you get started:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord, for all the many blessings you have bestowed on me. Thank you for your love and for the gift of Jesus Christ, who came to save me and set me free from sin. Please help me in this situation that I am facing today. Please help me to turn my eyes upon you and put my full focus on you, Lord, so that I can experience the peace that passeth all understanding, and feel what it truly feels like to walk in your grace. Please turn your face to me, Lord, and lift me up over these circumstances. Please strengthen my heart, my mind, and my faith so that I can experience the things of earth fading strangely away, in the light of your glory and grace.

I Pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ,

Amen

 

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A Lamp Unto My Feet, and A Light Unto My Path: My Coming Back to God Story

This morning I came across an article about a girl and her sister that escaped North Korea to China and ended up being sold into a marriage with a man who beat her. She  had never heard the Word of God but remembered her Grandmother talking to someone unseen on occasion and throughout her ordeal come to realize that her grandmother must have been praying to the invisible God and maybe he would save her. She began going to church and finally heard God’s Word and being an undocumented person, she was under constant fear of being captured during church service. She ended up trying to make it to South Korea from her abusive husband, and at one point when things seemed extremely dire, she prayed to God for the first time.  God heard her and answered her prayer and provided her a way to not be caught. He delivered her into a completely new life in South Korea, after some time, where she was able to live legally and safely with her child. Towards the end of the article the part that stuck out to me the most was that she said as she heard the Word of God, the verse that stuck out to her and provided continuous strength was Psalm 119:105: “Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”  and after I read this, I immediately began crying. This is the same verse that led me back to God.

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In early 2017 I ordered some lanterns with flame-less candles and put them on the floor in a dark corner of the basement that always made me feel uneasy when I went down there. They were the first things that I could see as I reached the bottom of the steps and turned 180 degrees to the left to enter the room which housed a large pool table and then that room led into the downstairs living room. The whole basement was comfy and cozy and completely finished but I still would get nervous at night sometimes and I thought that pair of lanterns, one slightly smaller than the other, both made of black metal and glass with X’s on the window panes, would help lighten that space and make it more comfortable. So I put batteries in the candles and set the timers for them to come on automatically at about the time it would get dark in the evening. The lanterns brought a lot of joy to me every time I walked into the previously darkened basement. Now I saw this soft glow and felt more at ease. Only a few days had passed since I put them down there and I would start hearing a thought every time I would see these lanterns. This thought echoed in my whole head: “A LAMP UNTO MY FEET, AND A LIGHT UNTO MY PATH”.

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I kept hearing this phrase every single time I went down to the basement and for the first time in years, I thought back to a time when I was a little kid in a Sunday School class I went to, in the summer, at the little country church up the road. My memory goes back to a time I must have been around 5 or 6 years old and I remembered hearing that same phrase in the sanctuary of the church, as I sat in a crowd of people, most of them bigger than me. I heard it there first: “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. I will hide it’s words in my heart that I may not sin against God.”  I tried for a few days to remember the whole thing and pull it from the depths of my memory and I finally remembered what this phrase was from. It was the pledge to the Bible we would say at the beginning of every evening at the Bible School I was going to. Have you heard it? The whole thing went like this: “I pledge allegiance to the Bible, God’s Holy Word. I will make it a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path, and will hide its words in my heart that I may not sin against God”.  I didn’t realize at the time that this was actually taken from the Psalms 119:105 verse in the Bible.

“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

-Psalms 119:105 KJV

From then on I  started looking forward to going to the basement and hearing this phrase in my head. I started to realize that maybe God was speaking to me and in February of 2017 I began having a health issue that really scared me and I then heard the Passage of Psalms 23 sometime when I would look at those lanterns. I realized God must be speaking to me even more and so one night when I was exceptionally terrified of what might be wrong with me I downloaded an App of the Bible on my phone and started looking up the topic of healing and found some passages and read them and I searched out the phrase I had been hearing in my head. I began to feel extremely overwhelmed with emotion and wept. Crying is not a word that can contain all of what went down. Only wept could encompass the deep, bone chilling despair I was feeling and I prayed to God for the first time in many years; I literally cried out for help. I don’t remember what I asked besides asking for help and I got an idea to search in that app for devotional plans that talked about healing.  This led me to start reading the Bible for myself. First just some devotional plans and then I actually read the whole thing. ( Since then I have actually read the Bible twice all the way through and am working on my third time).

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I think that’s why that article about that girl touched me so deeply this morning. I had been there. I had felt that same type of depression and deep agonizing despair that she must have felt. It said in the article that she had thought of  ending her life, even.  Sure, I wasn’t currently facing the circumstances that she was nor the amount of physically abusive suffering, but in my own world I was suffering deeply in a deep slimy hole of fear that I felt I could not escape, and the darkness threatened to engulf me. My suffering was more on a mental and inner level. I had been involved in new age stuff for years and was under my own form of oppressive hell (which I will share more about this in future posts). And then the major health scare really shook me to the core. I began seeking help from my doctor and began praying to God a lot asking for healing and I was blessed to receive full healing.  The thing connecting that girl and me is that God used the same verse to call us to Himself and he used the awful circumstances as the catalyst to transforming our lives. We both sought strength and comfort from the same verse and began seeking God with all our hearts. God used me buying those lanterns as a way to put a spark of His light on my path that could lead me back to Him and to true salvation.

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Another thought slammed into my mind after reading that article today. what if I had never heard God’s word as a child? I would not have had the Word in my heart for God to use to speak to me. Sure, He could have just put the thoughts there, but I was meant to hear God’s Word and have some verses hidden away in the recesses of the forgotten parts of my heart, so that He could use them at just those moments in my life to truly save me. My heart truly goes out to all those who have never been able to hear God’s Word or His voice to begin with and I pray that everyone could hear God’s Word and his voice. I finally understood this morning what it really means to hide His Word in my heart.

It is times like this where I get a tiny glimpse into God’s ultimate plan for me that I get so emotional because I remember where I was and how far I’ve come. In such a short time, too. I think between learning some of God’s Word as a child, and being baptized when I was in middle school, I had enough of God’s Words inside me and God’s hand was always on me, to keep me from being totally consumed all those years that I strayed.

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This is why I really feel like it is so important to pray for people, but especially children, to hear and read the Word of God. So that when life happens to them and they find themselves in dire circumstances, they have enough of His light inside that they can even think to cry out to God so that they, too, can be saved. It is so important for children to see their parents praying, or anyone praying, reading the bible, or seeking God. It can make a lasting impression that could actually save their life in the future.

I am so thankful to God today for allowing me to hear His Word in my youth and for keeping His hand upon me my whole life. No one is too far away to call out to God and nothing is too big for God to fix or heal. He will give you a completely new life if you only follow the small light that is His Word, that is softly flickering on the path of your life.

 

 

 

 

Ask, and It Shall Be Given

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Mathew 7: 7-8

How many times have we been having an issue that we need help with and we know that God can help us and we even expect Him to help us, yet, we have forgotten to ask Him for the help.

Today I simply wanted to share this scripture and remind you that whatever it is you are having issue with, don’t forget to  simply ask for God’s help.  He will not intervene against your free will, but as soon as you ask for his guidance, help, or presence, He will be immediately there making His presence known to you.

~ Jennifer

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True Freedom is in Jesus Christ

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It was pressed on my heart to share this passage about true freedom. We just celebrated Independence Day for the 4th of July this week and my mind was repeatedly pondering what it really meant to be free. God led me to this passage in John Chapter 8. While I had no idea where God was going to take me in writing this post, as it progressed I realized this is going into the deep end and may be hard to understand for some people, as even shown in the passage itself.  I recommend praying before continuing so that you can be in the right frame of mind to receive all that God wants to share with you today.

Feel free to use your own prayer or pray this prayer: “Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your Word and for the gift of Jesus Christ and the salvation that He gave to me so that I, too, may be free indeed. Please forgive me of all my sins and transgressions and please give me the eyes to see and the ears to hear the truth of your Word as you want to teach me today. Please also grant me the wisdom to understand your truth as written in your Word. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen. “

Ok, so here we go. I recommend reading the entire chapter of John 8 so you can read it for your self first and get the background as I share my understanding of it below.

In this chapter, Jesus was speaking in the treasury, as He taught in the temple. He was speaking truth to anyone that was around to hear and the people were not understanding the profound truths He was speaking about His purpose for their ultimate salvation, and that everything He did was in line with God’s Will. He was referencing God the Father and they simply did not understand Him. So, in their ignorance, they were condemning Him and accusing Him of sinning, and even of having a demon; when, in reality, it was they that did not have the ears to hear His truth, or the wisdom yet to understand.  He was explaining that where He was going, they could not come because they were still in their sin. And if they did not believe in Him and accept the salvation He was offering, they would die in their sin.  Jesus was going to Heaven, to dwell eternally with God the Father. This is a place no one can go unless they have been freed from their sin through accepting the salvation that Jesus was offering, when he died on the cross.

I will excerpt the passage talking about freedom in verses 28-36:

Then said Jesus unto them. When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.

And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.

As he spake these words, many believed on him.

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?

Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.

And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.

If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

_John 8: 28-36

So basically Jesus is telling them that once he dies on the cross, then those who believe in Him will know the truth of what He is saying to them: That He is there to fulfill the Will of God the Father for their salvation from their sins. He is also saying that God the Father is always with Him.  I think here Jesus is alluding to God always being with each person after they believe in the salvation Jesus gives, receive the salvation in their heart, and then the Holy Spirit anoints them.  This is some deep stuff Jesus was telling these people in advance and some of them seemed to “have the ears to hear” the truth and believed in Him then.

Then Jesus continues speaking and begins directing his message directly to these Jews that believe in him. These Jews are descendents from Abraham. They are God’s chosen people who are there at the temple at the right time to hear Jesus speak these truths. I really feel like God must have directed the paths of those people, that day, to begin receiving the salvation that He is promising through Jesus.

Jesus teaches them that if they continued believing in Him and take His word with them in their hearts, that they would be true disciples.  After a person becomes a true disciple of Jesus and the Word, they can then know the truth because the Holy Spirit will allow them to understand everything that they learn in the Word. And knowing the truth of the Word sets a person fully free. This means free from the bondage of sin and the death that continuing to live in sin would ultimately bring.

The people there that day only understood freedom to mean free from being slaves like their ancestors were to Pharoah or other human masters. But Jesus was speaking deeper here and meaning that real bondage is bondage to sin and that if you are a slave to sin, then you are a slave to the originator of sin, which is Satan. This is spiritual bondage of your soul. Jesus was saying that a servant of sin will die, both physical death of the body but also death of the soul. Jesus also pointed out the difference, that He had eternal life and therefore His real life of His soul was eternal. And so if the Son makes you free with His gift of salvation, then your soul will also be eternally free.  Eternal life for your soul is the ultimate freedom.

-Jennifer

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The Lord is My Light and My Salvation; Whom Shall I Fear?

I’ve been reading in the books of 1 Samuel and Psalms this week about David as he was being pursued by Saul. The stories of David are some of my most favorite in the entire bible and his Psalms helped me learn how to pray and praise God. When I was learning how God wanted me to pray, about a year ago, I would get the thought. “Pray like David”. I was Praying for God to teach me himself at that time, and so I used David’s psalms and words in my own prayers to God.

Psalm 27 is one of the Psalms I prayed to God during a time when I was feeling overwhelmed with evil harassing me. Through this process I learned how much God loved David, and my own relationship with the Lord deepened. God loved the way David poured out his heart to Him and held nothing back from Him.

I asked God to help me be more like David and to make my heart more pleasing to Him. So, when I prayed this psalm it was 100% true in my heart between God and me. At the time I couldn’t think of the words I needed to say to God so I asked him to look in my heart and see for himself how I felt and He could see that my intent to do His will was true. I held nothing in my heart back from God that day, just like David. While praying David’s words, I immediately felt God’s presence and love right there with me. He didn’t even wait until I was finished. God drew near to me in a way that was new for me that day and His closeness has not been removed to this day.

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.

Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.

One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.

For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.

And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.

When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.

Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.

When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.

Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.

Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.

I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.    Psalm 27

A Psalm of David

I Pray that this psalm helps you deepen your relationship with the Lord as it did mine.

– Jennifer

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The Lord is My Shepherd

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Psalms 23 is one of my very favorite passages in the Bible that has helped me in times of fear, in times of sorrow, and also been forefront in my mind in times of gratitude and joy. No matter what you are going through today, reciting this psalm can help lead you out of the dark times and bring you into the light of the Lord.

” The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Though preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”  Psalms 23

A psalm of David

I would also like to invite you to join me in this prayer for you today

“Dear Heavenly Father,

Please bless everyone who reads this passage today with a cup that runneth over and please help bring them through whatever it is they are going through today. I ask and pray these things in Jesus’s name. Amen ”

-Jennifer

 

Photo Credit: a digital version of the painting, The Lord is My Shepherd by Warner Sallman

 

A Prayer for Hearing God’s Word

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Please join me in this prayer if you would like help in understanding God’s Word or developing a deeper understanding of His Truth. Jesus has said, ” where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” ~Matthew 18:20 . Know that when you pray this prayer I have prayed it with you and when we two gather in praying the same prayer Jesus has said He is there with us and this gives your prayer emphasis as it has not been prayed alone.

“Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for this day and for all the many blessings in my life. Please give me the Eyes to see and the Ears to hear the truth of Your Word. Let Your Word be a Lamp unto my feet and a Light unto my Path as I begin this time of deeper understanding with You. Please teach me directly as I read Your words for myself so that I can know the truth as you intend to reveal it to me.  Please deliver me from any distractions that would try to take my attention off of Your Word as I spend this time with You. Please give me the wisdom to understand all that you wish to teach me today. In Jesus Christ’s name I ask and pray these things.

Amen. “

 

Any time you want to Pray and don’t know what to say, Just ask God to give you the words He wants you to pray and He will.

The Journey Begins

In The beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1

Today starts a new journey that did not start in the beginning, but begins right here with God by my side. My new beginning started in February 2017 when I was worn down, tired, and was struggling with my health. I was trying to relax in a warm bath that night and instead of was sitting there feeling anxious and afraid. I decided to do something I hadn’t even though about in a long time; I prayed to God for help.I cried and spilled out my fears like the hot, steamy water I was basting in and felt all my feelings gush out of me like a tea kettle that is left on the stove too long and poofs out the water when you finally pick it up. The mess just can’t be contained.

After a few minutes of praying my mind started to wonder off and I went back to looking stuff up on my phone and one thought led to the next in a rapid race in my head and I found myself browsing the app store looking for a bible to download. I came upon a Bible App that looked appealing and I downloaded and started to searching through the “plans” if offered on healing. I started reading one on healing and started to feel like there might be a tiny glimpse of hope for my health after all.

I woke up the next morning feeling better than I had in a long time and had the courage to schedule an appointment with my doctor and continued to read that plan.

A few weeks later, after having read some devotionals almost every day since downloading the app, I felt emboldened and decided to start a long plan for reading the entire Bible in chronological order in 365 days. Yes, that is one whole year. That task seemed so daunting. I mean, I was new at this and how many times have I started something and not finished it. I didn’t have much faith in myself that I would finish it, but decided to try it anyway.

Now you’re wondering if I finished it, right?

Yes.

I finished reading the entire Bible this year during Easter Week.

Reading God’s Word for myself, every single word, completely changed my life.

Stay tuned for more posts right here, as God and I share how reading His Word changed my life and how it can change your life too.

-Jennifer

(Photo Credits: These photos appeared in the example post and I liked them so I left them.)

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