Tuesday, July 4, 2017

July 4—Psalm 4:

I think this could be a widow’s Psalm—at least this widow's Psalm.

1) Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have relieved me in my distress;
2) Be gracious to me and hear my prayer.
O sons of men, how long will my honor become a reproach?
How long will you love what is worthless and aim at deception?
Selah.

It begins with David crying out in his distress to God. This is what I did as a new widow, and it’s what I still do. Oh, my cries and pleas are normally no longer filled with the deep, dark, distressing aches of my heart; yet I know that God, and God alone, can help me.

In the second verse, David speaks to his enemies. While I don’t have those kinds of enemies, I do daily battle with satan, and even with others who often push at me to travel a path that isn’t what God has planned for me. Without my husband to guide me, I’m more easily led by others. It’s something I have to be extra careful about it in my life as a widow.

3) But know that the Lord has set apart the godly man for Himself;
The Lord hears when I call to Him.
4) Tremble, and do not sin;
Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still.
Selah.

Then David acknowledges that God hears when he cries out. Oh, how often in those early days did I wonder if God was listening to me. I’d ask Him over and over why He couldn’t have healed Mac’s body, why He took Mac home to glory and left me alone to deal with decisions, finances, frustrations, loneliness, and despair. Then I finally realized the God was listening to me—I just wasn’t listening to Him. God heard me then, and He hears me now—each and every day. All I have to do is cry out to God and He hears. 

I like the last portion of verse 4: meditating at night in bed, and learning to be still. It makes me think of Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God”, a verse that is very special to me. I’ll freely admit that, as a widow, I am more still in my personal relationship with God. It was so easy to lean on Mac, to turn to him for comfort, encouragement, and strength. Now I absolutely must be still and listen to God, letting Him provide my comfort, encouragement, and strength.

5) Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
And trust in the Lord.
6) Many are saying, “Who will show us any good?”
Lift up the light of Your countenance upon us, O Lord!

Trust. It’s hard for many of us, but it’s harder for a widow. I might smile and tell you all is well, but deep inside, there are times when I am floundering and totally at a loss for what I need to do. At times like that, I try to remember Joshua 1:9: “Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

7) You have put gladness in my heart,
More than when their grain and new wine abound.
8) In peace I will both lie down and sleep,
For You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety.

David closes this Psalm with words that bring tears of joy to my eyes, and lifts my weary soul; for God has “put gladness in my heart”. God alone has given me relief from my sorrow. He has heard my pleas for comfort and strength. He has faithfully given me joy and gladness in my heart, allowing me to face each day in His strength. I rest and sleep totally trusting Him for my safety, my health, my comfort, my joy—all my needs.

Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have relieved me in my distress;
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer.
O sons of men, how long will my honor become a reproach?
How long will you love what is worthless and aim at deception?
Selah.
But know that the Lord has set apart the godly man for Himself;
The Lord hears when I call to Him.
Tremble, and do not sin;
Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still.
Selah.
Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
And trust in the Lord.
Many are saying, “Who will show us any good?”
Lift up the light of Your countenance upon us, O Lord!
You have put gladness in my heart,
More than when their grain and new wine abound.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep,
For You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Fully equipped

I cried out to God, “What is the point of my life?”

God answered me with an opportunity, and I said, “No, I can’t do that. Show me the real point of my life now that I’m a widow.”

God again showed me the same opportunity, and I again said, “No way, I get too nervous. No way. You're not listening to me, Lord. Show me something I can do for you so that my life has meaning.”

For months, God and I had this battle. No, I battled and God was patient with me; but I still kept asking God to show me what He wanted me to do—and always I was waiting for God to provide the answer I wanted to hear.

Then God sent me another opportunity, and I laughed, because it was the same opportunity with a slightly different twist. Still I didn’t say yes, instead I hesitated and stewed about it all. I even came up with some interesting reasons why I simply couldn’t do this for the Lord.

I prayed. I researched. I prayed. I found what I needed to accomplish this task. I continued to hesitate. I prayed, and I went to bed hesitating about it all. I awoke this morning and told God, “I’m not sure I can do this, but if You’ll give me the strength, I'll do it.”

Then God showed me something in His Word.

2 Corinthians 9:8 (NASB)—“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed…”

It was then that I realized God has already equipped me fully to do this for Him, but I had simply failed to trust Him to do as He promised. With absolute peace in my heart, I’m moving forward with this opportunity, and I’ll be totally trusting God daily for all the strength I need to accomplish this task.


1 Peter 5:7: “casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Day

Happy Valentine’s Day!

The world is about to celebrate Valentine’s Day, the day where those who don’t have a special someone in their life can easily feel very alone, lost, left out, etc. Let’s be honest, even those with a special someone in their life can find this day difficult. Life isn’t always easy, is it?

Last year I wrote about “The Perfect Valentine”, and why Valentine’s Day is difficult in many ways for me. In the year that has passed, I’ve grown a great deal spiritually, and I’ve emotionally healed a great deal as well. Or so I thought. 

A few weeks ago I noticed that I wasn’t sleeping well, I was easily frustrated, and I was having emotional meltdowns and doing weird things. It actually took a big meltdown where I let loose on someone, and hurt them, before I realized what was going on with me. Once I realized that it was likely all because the day was just around the corner, I apologized to my friend, and then apologized to God. I was able to let go and really talk to the Lord about it, and suddenly I knew how to survive:
  • Fill my heart with God’s Word in even more abundance than normal.
  • Spend more time in prayer for others.
  • Call on a precious friend for extra support.
I’m often a stubborn person, even when God shows me something. Yes, I know I’ll pay the price for not being obedient, but I have this sin nature that is filled with “issues”, and one of my biggest issues is stubbornness, and that’s closely followed by being lazy, and then there’s … well, I’ll let you imagine my other issues. ;-)

I’m excited to say that this was one time when I wasn’t stubborn. Now that I think about it, I should probably mark this down on my calendar and make it an annual celebration: the day Kimberly wasn’t stubborn. HA! Anyhow, I sat right down and sent an email to my dear friend and asked her to pray for me. We had prayed for each other in special ways during this past ‘holiday season’, and I knew that she would stand with me once again.

While I have many friends, God has blessed my life with the love and friendship of this lady. She has a heart for Him, a heart filled with joy, and a heart that cares about others. She and I have connected in so many ways, with similar likes and dislikes, and we even have a similar strange sense of humor. My poor friend. We are simply able to talk and pray and support each other. She’s encouraged me in so many ways, and I know that I can tell her anything and it will never go beyond her heart, and I trust that she knows the same about me. I feel greatly blessed that God sent this lady into my life.

For the past two weeks I’ve spent a lot of time reading my Bible, praying for others, and in particular I uphold my dear friend in extra prayer every morning and before going to sleep at night. The result is that my spirit is calm, my heart is happy; and even when my cold got me down (and whine about it I did!), I knew that God would see me through the day.

Prayer is a powerful weapon, and when combined with God’s Word and the support of other Christians, there is no limit to what can happen. If you are struggling right now, I hope you will reach out to the Lord and to a dear friend for support.


“…that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.”
—Romans 1:12 (NIV)

Friday, January 20, 2017

God Leads

“I am leading you along a way that is uniquely right for you,” is how my devotional began a few weeks ago. My first thought was Psalm 37:23: “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.” (KJV). The author of the devotional had included some scripture references as well, and one of them really stood out to me as it meshed with my own reference: “For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”—Ephesians 2:10 (NIV 1984)

As a relatively new widow, I’m always struck by the idea that God had planned all this for me (and even for my late husband). Before we were ever born, God knew we would marry, where we would fail, where we would shine, where we would live, and when we would die.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…”—Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV 1984)

God knew I would be alone, and He planted scripture in my heart to sustain me through it all. He prepared a church home for me. He brought men and women into my life to be my friends, and to whom I could be a friend as well. God prepared a bottle for my tears, and each one is precious to Him.

“You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.”—Psalm 56:8 (NLT)

Yes, this is God’s perfect plan for me. Does God have a perfect plan for you? Yes, He does; and it begins with accepting Jesus as your Savior—and then all the rest will have meaning. Even the difficult times.


“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”—2 Corinthians 4:17 (NIV 1984)