When I was a little girl and even into adulthood, one of my least favorite jobs was cleaning out my daddy’s ashtray. Yuck! I am 47 years old: Daddy has been gone nine years, but thinking about it still makes me GAG!!! It stunk! It was nasty. It made my head hurt. The Lord has been dealing with me. My heart can be a lot like that dirty ashtray, full of dark, ugly sin. In Luke 11:39, Jesus says, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.” It can be easy to clean up the outside, but the hard work is getting rid of the nasty, smelly black inside created by my selfish sinful desires.
I thank God that He sent His Son to atone for my filthy sins. He did what I cannot do, so with faith as that of a child, I surrender; I trust the One who cleansed me white as snow.
” Come, let us settle this,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are scarlet they will be as white as snow; though they are crimson red, they will be like wool. If you are willing and obedient you will eat the good things of the land. But if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.’ For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
As I study the scriptures to draw near to the Lord, I want to know my Father’s mind. I did a quick Google search and found that wool is a durable fiber that resists wear. It will shed water and regulate body temperature (keeping the body cool and refreshed). Not only is wool mold and mildew resistant, but it resists odor and fire. What have I to fear? Nothing! He has made my sins as white as snow and like wool that has no stench and can resist the fire of Hell. Not because of anything I have done, but because of His righteousness. With His enduring love and compassion, He has saved me from an eternity of Hell that I deserve to live with Him in glory forever and ever!
“For great is your steadfast love toward me, you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.”
As chaos ensues around me, I can hold fast and stand firm on His promises. I know full well that He is faithful. He has been merciful to me and shown me His favor time and time again. He has called me friend. (John 15:15) He is my peace. (Isaiah 53:5) I praise Him for I am fearfully and wonderfully made! (Psalm 139:14) Hallelujah!
On the night of October 22, 1983 my pastor had a dream. I praise God for giving Carl Campbell that dream and for the fact that he was obedient to our Lord and Savior. I was ten years old and had already made a private confession of faith by repenting of my sins and asking Jesus to live inside of my heart. I had been convicted for quite a while to make a public profession of faith. However, week after week, I would not step out from the security of my pew and take the walk down the aisle, but October 23, 1983 was a different day.
I have no idea what Elder Carl Campbell preached about that Sunday morning. I just remember when the pianist and song leader were about to stop the invitational hymn that my preacher would not let them. He said that he had a dream on the night before that someone really needed to walk down that aisle on this particular day, and that we were not leaving until he had peace over the situation. I was only ten, and I don’t recall the song or how many verses we sang, but I know that we sang for a while.
If I remember correctly, a young lady finally went down front during that altar call and made her public profession of faith. We all thought, “Well good, we can go home now.” Not so quick! Brother Carl said that he knew in his heart that there was another person who had to come down that day before we left church, so we sang and sang. Finally, I surrendered. I looked up at Mama and said, “I want to go.” I asked her to walk with me, and she did.
I was a very timid child, and I often wonder if my life would have taken a different turn had a man named Carl Campbell not obeyed God that day. What if Mama had not taken me to church that Sunday? I have been thinking a lot about this lately, and I truly believe that when God says, “Move,” we better move. When, He says, “Speak,” we best speak. I am thankful for the faithful saints who led the way before me. They obeyed God, and it has made all the difference.
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Yes, of course, He makes us dwell in safety; for he dwells within us all who have made Him Master of our lives. Don’t be double minded; let His peace rule in your hearts beginning today. Truly, make Him Lord and Savior of your life.
Indescribable peace is available to all who call Him Abba, Father. We are His, and He dwells within us. Having peace in all situations is to keep our minds steadfast on Him, our Creator. We cannot be divided in thought. As we trust in Him, He will not allow His children’s lives to fall to pieces. The opposite of peace is anxiety. In Greek anxiety is translated merimnao which means pieces; so let us be in one accord. Let’s keep our hearts and minds in the word for there is not greater blessing than peace.
Heavy hearted. .. so many are sick, hurting, grieving, battling many serious concerns among many other grievances. I want to fix it all for them and for myself, so I diligently pray, and I know He hears. I know He is a good, good Father. He will answer right on time! But what do we do in the here and now?
I know the circumstances look grim. I will not try to put a pretty red bow on it, and pretend otherwise. The English teacher in me can’t help but share that the root word circum means around. Just a hot mess all around me is what I can allow myself to see and sink down into if I don’t look to HIM! So let me scream out with hope like Zechariah did in Luke chapter one because we cannot look to our circumstances or anything in this world for hope! The only hope we have is Jesus!
Zechariah had been mute ever since the he questioned the angel of the Lord while he was fulfilling his time of service in the temple. As explained in chapter one of Luke, Zechariah was burning incense in the temple and was visited by the Angel of the Lord who told him that he and Sarah would, indeed, have a son in their old age. Instead of believing the scripture and the Angel of the Lord, Zachariah asked the angel, “How shall I know this?” Zechariah then became mute until the day of his son’s circumcision where he wrote on a notepad that his son’s name was to be John. We know him today as John the Baptist.
And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”
Luke 1:14-17 ESV
Whatever weighs heavy on your heart can only be truly fixed by Jesus, the One who left Heaven for you and me to pay a price that we can never pay. Just thinking about that gives me such hope and comfort. He left perfection to live on earth as man. He came humbly as an infant, and He willingly suffered many things and was rejected by men (Luke:17:25). He did all of this to make atonement for our sins so that we can spend eternity with Him, Elohim, in Heaven. Yes, He is coming back to get us, and He will right every wrong. He is our true encourager who has offered us joy forever in His mighty presence. He has given us something to hold on to, so hold fast and look to Jesus not “around” at your circumstances.
Zechariah’s Prophecy Luke 1:67-80 ESV (also known as the Benedictus)
67 And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,
68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people 69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, 70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, 71 that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us; 72 to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, 73 the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us 74 that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, 75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. 76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, 77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, 78 because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us[h] from on high 79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.
I love so many things about Zechariah’s first words after John the Baptist was born. I love how he speaks in past tense even though the Messiah has not been born. This lets me know that it is done; it is finished. He has redeemed me and you. The “horn of salvation” tells me that He has conquered. We win; He indwells in His children, and we are conquerors, too. I love that the sunrise will visit any in the dark and direct them along the way of peace. What a mighty King we serve!
“to give light to those who sit in the darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
One moment I was lying on a operating table with those awful bright lights over my head feeling as if I were being blinded, while the kind OR lady put an oxygen mask over my face saying, “Karen, Karen, Karen,” and Karen was getting fainter each time she said it.
The next time I opened my eyes, I was in the recovery room with a staunch veteran of her field who was scolding me pretty sternly, “Breathe,” she kept demanding.
I was utterly confused and asked, “Is it over? Can I see my husband? Can we go to my room on the floor?” I want to see my husband.” (Yes, these are the “covid” days when our loved ones cannot go with us all the way during surgery.)
“You ain’t going nowhere ’till you breathe!” continued the short, stout, stern nurse.
I was so utterly confused, “Ma’am, I am breathing, or I would be dead!”
Well, you ain’t going nowhere till you breathe more than six times in one minute. Oh…now I understood..I was not breathing enough?!”
I must have finally passed the “breathing test” because I did get to go to my room and see my husband, and he day after my neck surgery, we were able to leave the hospital for home but not without the spirometer to help “strengthen my breathing skills.”
He will wipe away every tear from thir eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
Revelation 21:4 ESV
Days later, I still can’t shake what the recovery room nurse kept telling me to do, and I keep hearing the words, “Breathe on me. Holy Spirit, breathe on me. Take thou my heart, cleanse every part, fill me with power divine,” from Edwin Hatch’s song in the old redback Southern Baptist hymnal.
Breathe on me. Yes, Jesus, Breathe on me. I want to be so full of the Holy Spirit that it spills out of my being with every breath that He allows me to take and into this noisy, chaotic world to give Him all praise and glory, for without Him, there would be no life.
Christ imparts His Holy Spirit upon us once we repent from our sins and surrender our will for His. I am quite greedy and “want more” as my two-year-old grandbaby will say. I believe that it takes work on my part to get “the more” of the Holy Spirit. I believe that I must stay in His Word, the Bible, obey His words, and pray to my Father in Heaven daily. When I don’t rely on God and His Word, I have found that I make a true mess of everything. I often have to be reminded to breathe in Jesus.
Everything about God is good and worthy of our worship. He is the creator and sustainer of life. He breathed into Adam’s nostrils in the garden of Eden, and Adam had life. John Piper in his article, “Holy Spirit in the Old Testament,” wrote that every breath we take and every chemical transaction in the cells of our bodies is sustained moment by moment by the work of the Holy Spirit.
His Spirit is always with me providing confidence. It teaches me, comforts me, and encourages me. His Spirit allows me to hear and be heard, and I pray that I fully understand and take action for every good deed that He has prepared for me to do. He gives me power to do extraordinary work and to never be fearful while holding on to righteousness because of what He did on the cross for me.
“Do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given to you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.”
Like the nurse in the recovery room had to remind me to breath, I have to daily take up my cross and follow Jesus. Let’s all turn to the Savior who gave His life for us, rose on the third day, and is seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. One day, He will set up His new kingdom on Earth, and there will be no need of anymore surgeries or nurses who must remind us to breathe, for we will be completely whole with the Father of the universe who has redeemed us from death. Until then, I am so thankful that His Holy Spirit dwells in me. Salvation is forever. Praise God!
“And He said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
Luke 9:23 ESV
“So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.”
(The words of this prayer were shared with me from a dear sister in Christ.)
God of the Universe, thank you that you are the same yesterday, today, and forever. You have said that you will fight for me while I remain still, rooted in you. May I see your victory in my life. Remind me that there is no power greater than you. Nothing standing against me can prosper. Now may you the Lord of grace, show me favor at all times in every way. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?
1 Corinthians 3:16
Never forget that the battle has been won, and for those of us who have made Jesus Lord and Savior of our lives are victorious. Jesus defeated Satan when He was crucified on the cross for our sins and was raised from the dead on the third day. But…since we are not in our eternal HOME yet, we must still battle here while on earth. All praise to God! We do not battle alone because His Holy Spirit dwells in His children. The same Spirit and strength that rose Jesus from the dead is inside of us, and we are never alone. He is always with us.
No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgement.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be so full of the Holy Spirit that it oozes out of me. The only way I know to fill myself up with the Holy Spirit is to constantly seek God by reading His Word and praying. I have to guard my mind, eyes, ears, and all my being from any source that does not please Him whether it be music, television, or any other influence that Satan tries to use against me. Satan can have a way of waging warfare against us with many things of this world but never forget God’s promises are true.
Satan is a liar who loves to cause chaos. He wants us to think that we have to do things in our power. This usually makes us nervous, anxious, angry, and stressed among many other emotions. Knowing His Word is the best way I can think of to fight against the devil’s schemes. In the armor of God His Word is the only weapon of defense against the powers of this world listed. All the other pieces of armor are for the offense. One truth our Father’s Word tell us is that no weapon formed against us will prosper.
The best way to fight Satan is with God’s word and the only way to know His Word is to study and meditate upon it. In the armor of God His Word is the only weapon of defense against the powers of this world listed. All the other pieces of armor are for the offense. One truth our Father’s Word tell us is that no weapon formed against us will prosper.
When we know God’s Word, we can also pray God’s word aloud in order to bring praise and glory to our Father and to stand firm against the evil one’s schemes. I have shared some prayers below from a dear friend who sent them to me. These are her words, and I thank her for guiding me in the Walk of Faith.
Armor of God Ephesians 6:8-18
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist with the breastplate of righteousness in place and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
Victorious Life Prayer God of the Universe, thank you that you are the same yesterday, today, and forever. You have said that you will fight for me while I remain still, rooted in you. May I see your victory in my life. Remind me that there is no power greater than you. Nothing standing against me can prosper. Now, may you, the Lord of Grace, show me favor at all times in every way. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Powerful Name Prayer Heavenly Father, thank you that you are the source of all true joy in life. The Bible says that you will do whatever, I ask in Jesus’s name. Hear my prayer in the name of Jesus for a breakthrough in my life. May you, the God of all grace who has called me into eternal glory by Christ Jesus, make me holy, strong, and filled with peace. To you be glory and honor forever through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Meeting my Needs Prayer Loving Father, thank you that, by you, all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible. You have promised that those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. Let me lack nothing as I look to you for every need and desire in my life. Pour out your blessing upon me. May I see your beauty, feel your love, know your wisdom and experience your power through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen
Fight for Me Prayer Oh Lord my God, my eternal Father, thank you that you are my ever-present help in times of trouble. Help me to trust in what is unseen. Remind me of the truth of you power that You surround me and you are fighting for me. Give me favor and breakthrough in my life. You are the King of Ages, immortal, invisible, the only God. To you be honor and glory forever and ever through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
I am a middle school English teacher, so I guess you can also call me a “Word Nerd.” As I soak up God’s Word daily, I have noticed that the prepositions in His Word are very important when discerning meaning, and I understand that meaning can be different for each of us.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and of marrow and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
He knows me. He knows you. He formed us. We are His creation. It is simple, so don’t make it complicated, friend. He knows the thoughts of my heart. How wonderful it is to walk with Him and talk with Him all the day long.
And those joints that He created in me are suffering because of our Fall in Genesis. I understand, “In this world [I] will have trouble.” (John 16:33) But I do really take heart of all joy and contentment because I know He has overcome this world and the troubles in it.
Therefore, each day with the Holy Spirit living in me, I know that He will live through me so that I can live completely for Him. With degenerative disk disease, some days are more painful than others, and on the hard days, I thank God for His Word that I call to mind to battle the pain of this world. Yes, I have learned and know full well that my joy is complete in the Lord, and I can be content in all situations, so not today, Satan-I have the power of the Living Christ in me!