This blog’s focus is God’s care that nourishes and strengthens through times of joy and times of challenge. He wants all of his creation to sing knowing that, ultimately, He desires that we trust him.
Some postings are my devotionals for Rest Ministries, an online Christian site for those facing challenges. Others are are new writings I feel inspired to share with you.
I pray that as you join me, you will find reasons to sing along.
Feel free to leave comments, if you wish!
“Send me your light and your faithful care, let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy mountain,
to the place where you dwell” (Psalm 43:3).
Many members of my family worked in law enforcement. Their preference was working the night shift as there was more action during those hours.
For me, there are times the night hours easily bring fears that make me long for the light of day. In the quiet of the night’s dark hours, fighting afflictions can be harder - not any action I find preferable!
Yet I am told in Scripture that my God never sleeps or slumbers. He is an ever present help in time of trouble. The Old Testament speaks of the twenty-four hour watchmen on the high towers, trained with keen eyes to keep the enemy forces outside the city gates, be it day or night. As the men in my family worked, trying to keep safe those who were preyed upon at night, I have the One who is deeply watchful from without and within me. He is light - a light that dispels darkness.
To whom or what will I give in when the night watch becomes a deep valley of challenge? I want to focus on the One who will lead me up and out of the dark, dampening any enemy schemes.
O Comforter with keen eyes!
You are my watchmen bringing your light and lightness. from “Feathered Whispers from God’s Heart”
be my fortress against those who are attacking me”
( Psalm 59:1).
This Scripture reminded me to the story of David facing Goliath, one I thought I knew well. I was blessed with some insights that helped me during the time I revisited it. The ESV translation of this Psalm blessed me with enhanced perspective.
“. . .O my God; protect me from those
who rise up against me;”
Young David heard the insults being hurled at the Israelites. Shocked by the words and the atmosphere in the camp, he went into defense mode.
Fearless, mocked by the others, climbing out of Saul’s armor in which he could not move, David was confident to face Goliath. Why? How? Saul and his troops were shaking in their boots!
David never questioned that God would deliver Goliath into his hands. Five smooth stones and a sling shot were his natural armor. The deeper protective armor was his trust in his God who had consistently delivered him from dangers in his past. God dominated David’s view.
We will face Goliaths -- challenges in body or soul, mind or spirit. When whoever or whatever comes to bully us, our battlefield can be covered with our confidence in the One who is our armor.
We can exchange the roughened stones that bind us in fear for God’s smoothed stones of trust and faithfulness.
Greater in me than anything
within or without coming to destroy --
Let’s triumph! from “Feathered Whispers from God’s Heart”
“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor, [bitterness] a door of hope. There she will respond as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt”
Anointed approval from his Father greeted Jesus during his Jordan baptism. Then he was led immediately, by the Holy Spirit, into the desert to be taunted by the devil. His Father trusted Jesus. He was in preparation for the days that lie ahead when,not only the devil, but others and circumstances would come against him.
What if my perspective, when set apart and needing the grace to persevere was to take better notice of the One who is always with me reminding me of his faithfulness? Could his purposes thus be better realized?
I know I am grafted into the Vine and therefore ready to also be faithful. I refuse to be wrenched away from the nourishment available when in barren places. His abundance never runs out. He is abundance!
When what he has to convey to me is received, we both rejoice as my hope is restored.
Held steady in your grace-filled, wellspringed Presence
“And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46-47).
Mary was pregnant and had traveled a distance to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, who also was with child. “. . . when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit” (Luke 1:41).
Mary’s response glorified the Lord. Both women magnified God’s gift of life within them and were in wonder at the bestowal.
Am I to be different knowing I am filled with the same Spirit? I cling to his nearness.
I need his strength magnified. I want to magnify him when I have the opportunity. With him, I am more than any challenges that shout at me for attention, more than my hopes, more than my dreams.
I want to leap withthem and let him do the shining while I watch in wonder. He has all of them safe in his heart and knows the timing of their release and fulfillment.
I want God to use all I have experienced and am experiencing for his glory, be I alone or with others.
“I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation” (Psalm 40:10b ESV).
It was morning as I awakened. Fear was grabbing at me. I recited this verse as translated in my well worn RSV Bible.
“I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!”
Then my recitation became,“I do see the goodness of the Lord in this land where I live.”
Unexpectedly, the Holy Spirit turned my words in the moments of this experience, reminding me that God’s goodness is ever current. It is now. It is not something I will only find in the future as I tough life out in the present.
All but one of the Apostles scattered in fear and disbelieve when Jesus was crucified and died. They could not see goodness without his literally being with them.
They came to discover that Jesus would be with them in deeper ways as they became empowered by God’s own Spirit.
Because of Christ’s greatest self sacrifice, we also can carry his Holy Spirit deep within.
When in times of crisis that overwhelm us we need not hold onto fear, but remember we hold within the One who overcame for us.
We can experience the goodness of the Lord in the land where we are living right now.
Seeing clearly as I turn inward, we dwell together and together we overcome.
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (1 Corinthians 13: 12)
As I write, it is my birthday. I am grateful for the gift of my life! More than seven decades ago doctors pronounced I would not survive the delivery room. Today, happier words greet me. A former first-grade student writes, “Miss Severance, thanks for learning me good.” I smile at his grammatical joy aimed at me!
Have I learned good, Lord? You have blessed my days in many ways. I am filled with gratitude. There have been tremendous challenges, beginning with my fight to live beyond the delivery room. At that time you instilled a love within me to choose life. I don’t like the trials but I treasure the ways you help me through them. Realistically, looking from this side of the glass, parts are smudged and splintered from the challenges and choices that have comprised my life.
I see these imprints because your light shines through showing them to me. I also acknowledge and view the beautiful moments. I choose to recognize both. I desire to dwell in the buoyancy of your light that lifts me above a world that can clamor, wanting to pull me down. Someday I will understand reasons for many of my life events during these past decades. I am in no rush. Delivery to my eternal home will come and all things will be made clear.
It could be that any whys that exist now will be unimportant then. I will abide in the knowing and not in any asking. The learning good part is my trusting you while looking at the glass of my life lightly. I want to seek your wholeness in what appears broken. In the midst of any challenges, I am still a reflection of you. I want nothing to dim that image.
Prayer: Lord, every day I see glimpses of beauty amidst the more marred parts of your created world. Help me recognize your touch, especially in my life events that are hard to understand. Knowing you understand can bring me a peaceful contentment. Amen.
Lynn L. Severance. “Seeking the Light of God's Comforter When Challenges Dim Our View”.8. Looking At the Glass Lightly. Redemption Press.
I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm. (Psalm 55: 8)
We are often exhorted in Scripture to cast our cares on the Lord. These are times He can comfort and sustain us. Thus, it is a given such times will come into each life. Nonetheless, they can catch us unawares. Psalm 55 is filled with the cries of one who is distraught and needing the comfort of a calm shelter.
Jesus, our human Savior, needed respite from the crowds and the demands that could drain him. At such times, He stepped apart to be alone with his Father. He did so for direction and relationship, solace, restoration, and peace.
If Jesus needed this kind of rest, how much more will we need the same? Physical and emotional challenges do intensify weariness. We must set aside time to be renewed with the energy of encouragement so we can choose to persevere.
How do you seek restoration during overwhelming times? Are you someone who can get away from your home and discover rest in this way? I have experienced times of refreshment in God’s magnificent creation. I love the quiet natural environments where his beauty is manifested. In the quiet, they can speak volumes to my soul.
Are you homebound? When I recall times I could be away from home, these remembrances bring joy. The memories remain fresh within me. God blessed me with the events in the first place. He was with me when they occurred and dwells with me in their recollection.
The truth is, wherever we are, God is near and ready for our attention to be focused solely on him. In choosing to spend time with him, any place becomes a resting place. We need but stop and let God meet us where we are.
He is my rest and He is your rest. May each of us allow him to reveal his nearness and care. He loves us and knows what will restore us in the best of ways.
Lord, help me turn my attention to you, recognizing you are my place of refuge. You are ever ready to shelter and strengthen me. And I am ever appreciative receiving your graciousness! Amen.
Lynn L. Severance. “Seeking the Light of God's Comforter When Challenges Dim Our View”28. “Come Away and Rest”. Redemption Press.