Sunday, July 31, 2011

BIBLE PICK 'EMS - Light My Fire!


You want me to do what, Lord?!

Ever feel like God has called you to do something for which you feel woefully ill-equipped and inadequate? Do you feel daunted and overwhelmed? Does your courage disappear and your determination melt?

Sometimes we look at the things God asks us to do and we say within ourselves, "I can’t."

Sometimes He calls us to do something a ministry, speaking to an unbeliever, go on a mission, give more time and money to His work, lead a Bible Study or small group. Sometimes He asks us to feel something forgiveness for someone, love for an enemy, courage to face a trial, trust in His timing and His ways. Sometimes He pushes us to think in a new wayturning our backs on the values of the world, letting go of pursuing wealth or security, refusing to live in a me-centered way.

Whatever it is – have you ever felt like what God was asking you to do was downright impossible?

A long time ago, about 25 centuries to be exact, a voice was heard – Haggai. He knew what was important and what had to be done, and he challenged God's people to respond.

Haggai was the first of the postexilic prophets. In 586 BC, the armies of Babylon had destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem and taken the Israelites captive. In 538 BC, King Cyrus of Persia decreed that the Jews could return to their city and rebuild the Temple.

Oh, they began the work – but opposition and apathy brought things to a standstill. (Ezra 4:4-5)

Haggai called them into action.

Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" is in two parts. First of all, listen to Haggai's exhortation:

"This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: Look at what's happening to you! Now go up into the hills, bring down timber, and rebuild my house. Then I will take pleasure in it and be honored, says the LORD." (Haggai 1:7)

At this time, Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, and Jeshua, the high priest, were key leaders in rebuilding the Temple. They had succeeded in rebuilding the altar, but the work on the Temple itself had slowed.

So, through the words of Haggai, the call has been issued – God has "laid the gauntlet down" so to speak.

What was the response of the people?

"Then Zerubbabel…and Jeshua…and the whole remnant of God's people began to obey the message from the LORD their God…So the LORD sparked the enthusiasm of Zerubbabel…and the enthusiasm of Jeshua…and the enthusiasm of the whole remnant of God's people. They began to work on the house of their God, the LORD of Heaven's Armies…" (Haggai 1:12, 14)

I find this passage so very interesting.

I love how it says the people *began* to obey. Sometimes it's that very first step that's the hardest, isn't it? Are you like me – looking at the WHOLE thing that God has called me to do – and stopping dead in my tracks because it's JUST. TOO. BIG.

God asks for one simple step forward in obedience.

Just walk forward.

He promises to be a lamp to our feet, and a light for our path. Sometimes that path is lit up just one step at a time. That's OK, just start walking…

That’s the response of the people.

What was God's response?


God sparked the enthusiasm of the people! HE provided the spiritual impetus, and emotional courage, and physical strength to begin the work! HE responded to their obedience with His power.

I am reminded of this verse: "For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him." (Philippians 2:13)

Yes, God will work in our hearts if we let Him. He will change our desires, and infuse us with His power.

He will be with us – never asking us to do something that He will not enable us to do.

The Israelites began their rebuilding on September 21. On October 17, the LORD sent another message. Listen to it carefully, because He's saying it to us, too:

"Be strong, all you people still left in the land. And now get to work, for I am with you…My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised…So do not be afraid." (Haggai 2:4-5)

I am claiming these verses for a particular trial that our family is facing right now. God is calling me to rebuild a stronger faith. I feel woefully ill-equipped and inadequatedaunted and overwhelmed. My courage has disappeared and my determination has melted.

The task of trusting Him seems JUST. TOO. BIG.

However, I will begin to obey. I will take that one, small, *mustard seed* step of faith forward. And I will trust that God will light the path for me – one step at a time.

He will spark my enthusiasm. He will give me the desire and the power to please Him. He will help me be strong.

His Spirit will remain within me – and I will NOT be afraid.

How about you? Do you have any "Temple building" that God's calling you to do? What will be YOUR response?

"When in doubt, search God out!"

Saturday, July 30, 2011


Welcome to "Quaint Words!”

These posts will contain thoughts, poems, and prayers from old books that I have found at antique stores, flea markets, and garage sales (with an occasional treasure from a bookstore).

I love the rhythm and sound of the older English language, and am blessed by other believers who have gone before me!

"O may God put me through one furnace after another, that my soul may be transparent; that I may see God as he is. My [friends], we need to be purged; how apt are we to want to go to heaven upon a feather bed, without any cross or trial.

...the King's road to heaven is strewed with crosses and is very pretty talking of being Christians until we are put into one furnace after another. We are not to think it a strange thing when we are tried in the fire.

What must we do?

...God will not put you or me into the fire were it not for some thing that must be purged away from us; you see, the grand thing is to learn to glorify God in the fire."

(From "Daily Readings by George Whitefield" by George Whitefield, c. 1714-1770)

"Dear friends, don't be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad - for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful JOY of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world." (1 Peter 4:12-13)

(A listing of books and authors, and also dates of individual postings from those books, will be found on my "QUAINT WORDS" page)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Friday, July 29, 2011


Welcome to "Fan the Flame" Friday.

This is a weekly post that will be "short and sweet" (kinda like me...)

Just a word and a phrase, a sentence or a question...just a little something to "fan the flame" of your creativity!

Today's word: conquer

What does the word conquer mean to you?

How is it different to conquer than it is to just win?

What is the hardest thing you've ever had to conquer?

Let me know what you think!!

'This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you…For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." (2 Timothy 1:6-7)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I'm afraid of dying.


I said it.

One of the Christian "unmentionables." Because it's one of those *dirty little secrets* we’re not supposed to talk about. At least that's how I feel about it. As believers, we're not supposed to be afraid of death, right? We know where we're going, and we know why.

As believers, we have tremendous hope.

We believe in the One who is Life Himself. Nothing else can threaten us, nothing else should matter.


I am still afraid.

Maybe not of death – but of dying.

I've had a recent health scare – and the possibility of something serious reared its ugly head. Yes, I'll be the first one to admit that I am a worrywart. It is my *thorn in the flesh*. So, of course, I tend to immediately hop on board the "What If Train" and travel rapidly to the worst-case destination.

That's true.

But, this problem had the potential to be – well, serious. Testing and waiting ensued. And spiritual warfare was engaged.

So, when I was in the mountains camping, many things were still unknown, still unresolved. And I found myself tackling the *dying issue* again. I begged the Lord to speak to me.

And, He did.

It occurred to me that I love the fact that the Lord walks with me – in my shoes, so to speak. But in the mountains, I heard Him say that He wanted me to walk in His shoes for a bit. To feel what He might have felt about dying.

So, here's the things I thought about –

Jesus, did You know when You were going to die? When You began Your ministry at 30 years old, did You know that You were going to die only three years later? Did You know You were going to die young? Or did that knowledge only come to You later – was it revealed at a later point in Your ministry?

"Lord, did You worry that You weren't finishing Your work?"

Were You like me, worried that I might die at a relatively young 57 years old – and feeling woefully short of accomplishing all that I’m "supposed" to do?

Jesus, did You worry about the disciples – about how they would get along without You? Did You doubt that God could care for them without Your presence? Were You concerned that their lives would fall apart without You?

"Lord, did You worry about the ones you were leaving behind?"

Were You like me, so very concerned about my husband, my family, my sons – about how it would hurt them, dismay them, confuse them if I died? Did You worry how they would get along without You? Did You want to spare them the torture of watching You die?

Jesus, did You feel the fear of death – the great unknown? Because it was unknown to You, too…

"Because God’s children are human beings – made of flesh and blood – the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die…" (Hebrews 2:14)

Jesus, did You ever wonder if You really were going to live again? Did You have a passing doubt about Your resurrection?

"Lord, did You ever have those moments when the enemy whispered lies to You?"

Were You like me, wondering if God's promises can be trusted?

In Ecclesiastes, Solomon called death "that obligation, that dark battle." I see that – it's the hardest battle of all. To let go of breath, to let go of the only life we've known…

Jesus, did You ever try to hold on to life?

Were You like me?

Whatever Jesus felt in the Garden of Gethsemane – and I have a feeling that He had quite a spiritual battle – He ended up with determination and peace.

At the end of it all, He was stilled in His heart.

I hear the question again:

"Sharon, is it really just Me? Do you love Me more – even more – than your own life? More than this tired old earth?"

Oh Lord.

"Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was." (Romans 6:5)

"Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying." (Hebrews 2:15)

Jesus, set me free…

(Test results are in - and I'm OK. Praise God. But, I know this won't be my last battle on this front. However, God is at work - and I am learning to trust Him more...)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, July 25, 2011


Big plans.

Big dreams.

Big expectations.

Yup, I've had them all. And many of the things I've wished for have happened in my life. I graduated from college, I got married, I had children, bought a home. I've achieved many big things, and accomplished many small things.

But…there are still some things I long for that haven't happened.

And one of the things that I have wanted more than anything is a ministry for the Lord – a chance to have a voice for Him, to influence others toward Him, to speak and write things that would make a difference…

It's been one of my biggest dreams.

And it was the main reason that I started blogging. I have always wanted to write – and writing about the Lord, to the Lord, for the Lord has been my heart's desire for as long as I can remember.

So, a year later – here I am still blogging.

It's been a year of good surprises, and what I might deem "success." It's also been a year of God working on some difficult corners in my heart. It's been a year of smiles, and a year of tears as I've toiled with this whole thing called blogging.

I've swung on the wild pendulum of wanting and getting followers and lots of comments. I've swung all the way back to needing and not getting the feedback that I so desire.

Is my blogging about me?

No, not really.

But boy oh boy, does it affect me! Because writing is personal – so very personal. It's like putting your *heart* out there – and hoping, praying that people understand you, and get you…and yes, like you.

And that's where the difficulty lies. My feelings, my self-esteem get in the way of what God wants to do.

A year ago on Good Friday, we had a service – a very meaningful service. And during the service, we were asked to write down something that was very near to our hearts, something we wanted to give to God. I wrote down the three things that have always been at the forefront of my thoughts, and feelings, and actions.

One of them was my need for approval.

And then, we were asked to nail these things to the cross the cross of the One who gave away everything, gave up everything for us.

Do you know that pounding those nails into that cross actually hurt?

Down deep, where I don't want to bleed.

I have spent the last year struggling with this issue – wanting to let go of it once and for all frustrated that I haven't been able to. There have been times when I've been more "successful" at letting go of how people respond (or don't respond) to what I write. There have been other times when I've wrestled like Jacob to let go of it at all.

So, a couple weeks ago, when I was high in the mountains, God spoke to me through a fiction book that I was reading. Listen to this quote:

"We are really only supposed to focus on the depth of our ministry. God is the one responsible for its width." (The Judas Project by Bill Myers)


So, I've been thinking hard about this.

Am I concentrating too much on the *big* impact? Am I looking for approval instead of writing what God has to say to me? Am I a victim of numbers (or lack of) and forgetting why I'm really here in Blog Land?

Jesus didn't care about numbers.

He was here for a mission – and that was always, always about His message.

He only had 12 close disciples – and one of them betrayed Him. The Son of God, who created the entire universe, came to this planet and was content to start with 12 people.

Did Satan tempt Him?

Wow, you could have thousands of followers! Look how smooth Your words are, and how people respond to You. You know, if You just watered some of the tough stuff down a bit, You could be a superstar, a celebrity, an idol, a leader – a mover and a shaker. You could rule the world.

Or did Satan taunt Him?

Wow, look at You. You're the Son of God, and hardly anyone listens to You. People don't like You or what You have to say. They even tried to kill You in Your own hometown! Even your brothers think you're a crackpot. No one's listening to what You're saying. You're a failure, a loser, an ineffective person. You sorta influence 12 people, but even they don't really get it. Nobody really likes You.

I think Satan did both. Because he does the same thing to me.

But, Jesus did what He was called to do. And He did it faithfully.

Jesus, the Good Shepherd, said that He would leave 99 sheep to go out and find the one that was lost – the ONE sheep.

Another quote from another book I read while in the mountains:

"A growing flock means success, right? No – God reaches the few, too. He cares about the individual – He is teaching me to reach hearts. Am I content to be small?" (Quest for the Nail Prints by Don Furr)

That's what I'm asking myself lately.

And I'm asking you, too.

Am I willing to be small…

…for God's sake?

(NOTE: Dear friends, the past week has been a very difficult one. There have been many issues that I have had to deal with. So, though I have continued to post on my blog – because I so need to be speaking with God right now – I have been rather absent from commenting on your blogs for awhile. In light of this post, I didn't want anyone to think that I was ignoring you – or being less diligent in supporting the work you do on your blogs. I know how important it is to hear from others. Please know that I am reading, and being blessed and encouraged – and I will comment when I am able. I love you all…keep up the Lord's good work!)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Sunday, July 24, 2011

BIBLE PICK 'EMS - Wait A Second...Or More

Ever notice how much time we spend in our lives waiting?

I live in Southern California – and let me tell you, I know a thing or two about waiting…

Last weekend, the 405 freeway was shut down – for the WHOLE weekend. Now, unless you live in California, this isn't going to make a lot of sense. But, let me clarify for you – the 405 is considered the busiest freeway in the nation, handling over a half-million cars a day (that’s 500,000 folks!). So, this shut-down made national news.

It was (not so) lovingly nicknamed "Carmageddon."

Traffic in Southern California is a major source of waiting.

But think about it – what about waiting for a table in a restaurant, waiting in line at the bank, waiting in a doctor's office, waiting in a drive-thru fast food place, waiting for a tax refund…you can fill in this list with your own stuff – I just know you can!

This waiting can be annoying, exasperating, frustrating…

But it's still part of normal life.

But what about the *other waiting* – the waiting for test results from the doctor, waiting for someone to land safely while flying, waiting for someone to call, waiting in a waiting room…you can fill in THIS list with your own stuff, too…

The waiting that is torture, fearful, nerve-wracking, draining.

It is the soulful waiting – the waiting that challenges our faith. That causes us to question and doubt. That makes us look to God in agony.

Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" landed me in Psalms again. I guess God has some more to say to me through the words of David:

"Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge." (Psalms 62:5-8)

These words of David were written during the days of Absalom’s rebellion (see 2 Samuel 15-18) – a time when David once again found himself literally running for his life.

In a time of plenty and peace, these words would have been comforting and sweet. In a time when one's life is in danger, they are powerful and courageous. These are not the sweet sentiments of a man "having a good day!" These are a war cry – a pure statement of unshakeable faith in a God who is able…

We have to place ALL hope in God.

Knowing that He is in control allows us to wait patiently for Him to rescue us.

However, true relief does not come when the problem is resolved – because more problems are right around the corner – that's life. And sometimes God does not resolve a problem the way we want – nor does He always "rescue" us from difficulties, suffering, and pain.

What to do then?

Trust – trust, trust.

Only in trusting in our Rock and our Salvation can we change our outlook on life. True relief comes from an enduring hope in God’s ultimate salvation – the eternal rescue that we confidently look toward.

Only then will all things be resolved.

And how are we to wait?

Grumbling, doubting, fearing, complaining, whining??

No, we are to wait quietly before the Lord - with ALL that we are. To me, that means - a quiet mind, with thoughts under control, not running rampant - a quiet spirit, with a peaceful acceptance of circumstances - a quiet heart, with confidence in the future, whether here on earth or in eternity -

Let ALL that I am wait quietly...

In the meantime, when we rest in God’s strength, NOTHING can shake us!

Fill in this blank with your own sentiment:

When I am ____________________, I will WAIT upon the LORD.

"When in doubt, search God out!"

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Welcome to "Quaint Words!”

These posts will contain thoughts, poems, and prayers from old books that I have found at antique stores, flea markets, and garage sales (with an occasional treasure from a bookstore).

I love the rhythm and sound of the older English language, and am blessed by other believers who have gone before me!

"The great adventure with the will of God never seemed more inviting than it does today. Upheaving forces are felt underneath all the life of this world. Great loves and hates are kindling, whole layers of society that have seemed stolid are beginning to stir with the consciousness of wanting more life.

It is time to preach the Gospel of God in terms that people on the street can understand. It is time to infuse into the lay membership of the church an enthusiasm for communicating the wonderful way of living...

Christian men and women everywhere in business and social life must find out how to make those whom they meet every day feel the power of life that beats within them. They must know how to share it with others and so be true to its inmost spirit."

(From "What It Means To Be A Christian" by Edward Increase Bosworth, c. 1922)

Is this message any less timely than when it was written almost 90 years ago?!

(A listing of books and authors, and also dates of individual postings from those books, will be found on my "QUAINT WORDS" page)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Friday, July 22, 2011

"FAN THE FLAME" FRIDAY - Contemplate

Welcome to "Fan the Flame" Friday.

This is a weekly post that will be "short and sweet" (kinda like me...)

Just a word and a phrase, a sentence or a question...just a little something to "fan the flame" of your creativity!

Today's word: contemplate

What does the word contemplate mean to you?

What things do you contemplate?

What things do you think God wants us to contemplate?

Let me know what you think!!

"This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you…For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." (2 Timothy 1:6-7)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


As I mentioned before, last week I was camping in the mountains.

It was beautiful, glorious, peaceful, inspiring.

God and I talked.

There must be something about the high altitude that helped me think clearer mountain vision – a wonderful thing.

Here's one thing I pondered…

Sometimes our eyes can be fooled. Ever looked at optical illusions? They're very clever, and sorta disturbing. Because what we think we see is not what is actually there.

The "eyes" of our hearts can be fooled this way, too. We can be blind to the Truth.

The Bible tells us that the heart is deceitful.

I've always thought that meant that it did and felt bad things. But, it can also deceive us by leading us to doubt and question good thingsGod's Word, God's actions, God's promises.

It can lead us away from God – not only in deed, but in thought.

We can be deceived into thinking that bad things (sins) are good (okay to do). But we can also be deceived into thinking that bad things (struggles, suffering, circumstances) are badwhen in fact, they are good - (Romans 8:28).

God does not promise us an easy way – He promises us the right way the narrow way that leads to Life.

Easy isn't always good. Sometimes, the difficult way is the good and right way. And only a loving God can convict us of that Truth.

Few would willingly choose the hard way, unless they were compelled to do so – unless they were led along its pathway. It is only the Holy Spirit who can give us the desire to choose the difficult journey, and the power to walk its way.

Why don't I turn away from the hard path (even when I want to)? What doesn't allow it? It has to be something *other* within me, something that goes directly against my wishesdirectly against my desire for comfort.

It has to be the *new creature* within.

The new creature sees with clear eyes – its vision is strictly focused on Truth. The new creature is transforming the old one within me.

Jesus chose the most difficult path of all. And though He didn't have a sinful nature, He did have a human nature. And I'm sure that His human nature battled against His Spirit at times.

But Jesus won a resounding victory on the cross.

And He shows me that human nature can be conquered!

No, it's not a fight easily won – it must be fought and won by the Spirit within me. A Spirit that helps me fight against the deceits of my heart. A Spirit that keeps me strictly focused on Truth. A Spirit who lives inside of me with the very same power that He had in Jesus!

My nature will oppose Him – but He will oppose my sinful, human nature.

He will turn me upside down so that I am no longer conformed to the world.

He will speak to me…

"Look at bad things through good eyes."

"Trust God the most when things look the worst."

"Believe when you don't feel like it."

"Don't doubt Truth – doubt your feelings."

Yeah, clear mountain visiona new perspective, a new look at things. Learning how to change my focus – and to not always trust my heart…

I'm trusting Truth instead…

Do the *eyes* of your heart ever deceive you?

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, July 18, 2011


Hellooo…is anybody out there?

Have you ever had that feeling with God?

Just when you need Him the most, He seems to be MIAa silent sky answers your desperate prayers.

Does anyone know what I'm talking about?

Last week, I took a self-imposed break from Blog Land. It was my anniversary gift to my husband. We actually ended up going out of town camping. No cell phone service, no landlines, no Internet, no television – no distractions.

It was a *dream-come-true* for my mountain man husband. Truthfully, it was a dream come true for me, too. Just the two of us, a tent, a couple of camp chairs – and the beauty of God’s creation.

God had many things to say to me.

But, the thing I loved the most about my time away in the mountains was what I always love about my time away in the mountains.

I can hear God.

I feel Him as if He's sitting right next to me. His thoughts bubble up in my spirit – independently of my own thought processes. He makes me wonder and ponder – He makes me feel whole and peaceful.

He's close…

…and He's talking.

It was a lovely time. With my husband, and with my Lord. I did NOT want to come home off the mountaintop.

Down here, I am surrounded by my *real life.* You know – the one that is full of bills and doctors and car problems and a host of other "real-life" problems. The life that is full of struggles and troubles.

The life that dismays me, and waylays me.

The life that crowds me – the life that seems to so often steal my peace.

Down here, I can't hear God as often or as clearly as I do when I'm in the sanctuary of His creation.

It bugs me I need Him in the "lowlands" more than I do when I'm away. I need His voice and His presence when life's noise volume gets turned up.

And yet, He seems silent.

"Where are You??" I cry out in despair.

You know what? God hasn't moved. He's the same God at home as He is when I'm away from home.

And here's what He taught me.

It isn't that God is silent in my "real life."

It's that I am not.

I don't take the time to stop and be quiet. I don't take the time to stop and listen. I don't take the time to stop…

Yes, I do my quiet time every day – but more often than not (true confession time) – it's kinda sandwiched in between other "important" stuff.

In the mountains, I have nothing else to do but sit – and read – and pray – and ponder. No wonder God can speak to me! I'm actually sitting still and waiting on Him…

On my last night in the mountains, God and I had a little conversation. It went something like this:

"Lord, why can't I hear Your voice when I'm at home?"

"You can…if you listen. I'm always speaking. Are you always listening?"


"Come back home and I'll take care of you there, too."

"But, I can't hear You there the same way."

"I'll talk louder."

I smiled – I'm pretty sure He did, too.

God isn't silent.

It's just hard to talk to one little woman who isn't. Who desperately needs to be quiet so she can hear…

…the still, small Voice that is always talking.

(Linked today with Wendy at Faith's Firm Foundation)

(ANNOUNCEMENT: I may not be posting every day. At least for a few weeks. I'm not quite done listening to Him speak – and I need the time. So, tentatively, I'm planning to take Tuesdays and Thursdays off. But, I'm still dedicated to keeping up with my blogging – it's one of the most special ways that God speaks to me here in my "real life.")

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Sunday, July 17, 2011

BIBLE PICK 'EMS - God Is Still On His Throne

God is still on His throne.

Do you ever forget that?

I know I do sometimes. It's a crazy world out there, and it seems like it's getting crazierevil is more evil, fear is more fearful, persecution is more persecuting…

Everything feels a little out of control.

I feel out of control.

Evidently, even if you're a man after God's own heart, you can feel this way.

Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" was written by David (I will be sharing it in two parts):

"I trust in the LORD for protection.
So why do you say to me, 'Fly like a bird to the mountains for safety!
The wicked are stringing their bows
and fitting their arrows on the bowstrings.
They shoot from the shadows
at those whose hearts are right.
The foundations of law and order have collapsed.
What can the righteous do?'" (Psalms 11:1-3)

David was forced to flee for his life several times. Yes, he was God's anointed king – but that didn't spare him from injustice and hatred from others. This psalm may have been written when he was being hunted by Saul (1 Samuel
18-31), or during the days of Absalom's rebellion (2 Samuel 15-18).

In both instances, David did run away – but he didn't run as if all was lost.

In the first part of this psalm, David seems to be speaking to those who are advising him to run from his enemies. His advisors were focused on the frightening circumstances and crumbling foundations.

David was focused on God.

Hear his response:

"But the LORD is in his holy Temple;
the LORD still rules from heaven.
He watches everyone closely,
examining every person on earth…
The virtuous will see his face." (Psalms 11:4, 7)

David had faith – faith in a God whom he knew was greater than anything his enemies could bring against him.

David knew God was in control.

Still in His Temple – still ruling from Heaven.

Faith in God keeps us from losing hope – and it helps us resist fear.

God is not diminished by ANY turn of events.

NOTHING catches Him by surprise. NOTHING happens without His knowledge and His permission.

That, my friends, consoles me greatly.

It's true that this crazy old world is getting crazier. And believers will not be shielded from difficult circumstances. God's Word tells us that this will be so. But God's Word also tells us how to deal with it.

When the foundations are shaking and you want to run away and hide – run to God.

OK, the wicked might be stringing their bows and fitting their arrows on the bowstrings. They might be taking potshots at us from the shadows. Even the foundations of law and order might be collapsing (watched the news lately??)…

Fear not.

I have a feeling that God is still sitting on His throne a throne that He told us we can approach BOLDLY!

"So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most."
(Hebrews 4:16)

God's rule provides stability in the midst of panic. And, because we trust Him, we can face our problems.

David knew it – and so can we.

God is still on His throne…

And we will see His face!

“When in doubt, search God out!”

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Welcome to "Quaint Words!”

These posts will contain thoughts, poems, and prayers from old books that I have found at antique stores, flea markets, and garage sales (with an occasional treasure from a bookstore).

I love the rhythm and sound of the older English language, and am blessed by other believers who have gone before me!

"If only simple faith were in exercise, there could be no difficulty. Trouble of soul arises from mixing faith and feelings...It is a common mistake.

You acknowledge, are looking to Jesus as your Savior; that you do believe in Him, but you want to feel it more within yourself: you own that you are not happy. No, and you never can be happy, so long as you are looking partly to Jesus, and partly to yourself.

You must learn to look only to Jesus, and to have faith in the Word of God, as to what Christ has done for us. Then you will have peace and rest...

This is a point in which many make a great mistake, who speak of peace as if it were a mere feeling - a feeling peaceful in his own mind, but the mind may soon change, and where is the peace then?

...The finished work of Christ is the alone foundation of true, settled, solid peace in the sight of God.

The believer is set in the presence of God, in virtue of that finished work, without his sins. He is at home and happy there."

(From "Things New and Old" by Anonymous, c. 1859)

(A listing of books and authors, and also dates of individual postings from those books, will be found on my "QUAINT WORDS" page)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Friday, July 15, 2011


Welcome to "Fan the Flame" Friday.

This is a weekly post that will be "short and sweet" (kinda like me...)

Just a word and a phrase, a sentence or a question...just a little something to "fan the flame" of your creativity!

Today's word: victory

What does the word victory mean to you?

What is the greatest victory you've ever experienced in life?

What has been your greatest spiritual victory?

Let me know what you think!!

"This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you…For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." (2 Timothy 1:6-7)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, July 11, 2011



(Inspired by 2 Kings 6:8-17)

Mighty king of Aram
At war with the armies of God,
Confers with his officers
Sending troops with a kingly nod.

But Elisha, chosen prophet
Warns the Israelite king,
And the armies of mighty Aram
Show up and find nothing.

This happens over and over again
The mighty king is mad,
He wonders who the traitor is
That's making his war go bad!

He calls his officers once again
And demands to know the man,
Who's talking to the Israelite king
Whose treason is ruining his plan.

They say, “It's not us, it's Elisha
He knows your secret whims,
Don't accuse us of wrongdoing
The real enemy is him.”

So the mighty king of Aram
Issues this urgent command,
“Go and find where Elisha is
I will take him from his land.”

The report comes back to Aram
Dothan is where you must go,
And the troops surround the city
Waiting their power to show.

Elisha's servant wakes one morn
And has himself a scare,
There are soldiers, and horses, a multitude
And chariots everywhere.

“Oh Elisha,” he cries with fear
“What will we ever do?
There are so many, they are so strong
And we are just we two.”

“Don't be afraid,” Elisha says
“For there are more on our side.”
And he bows his head and asks the Lord
“Open my friend's eyes wide!”

When the servant looks up, he sees anew
Their fate is no longer dire,
The hillsides are full of angels and horses
And mighty chariots of fire.

Sometimes when we're alone and afraid
We fail to see what's real,
That God is always on our side
In ways we can't always feel.

So trust the eyes that see in faith
Beyond the veil of this life,
And know that God's resources
Are there in every strife.

The circumstances that daunt our hearts
And seem so terribly dire,
Are really just chances for God to win…
…with His glorious chariots of fire.

© Sharon Kirby
April 15, 2006

(ANNOUNCEMENT: In honor of my anniversary, I am giving my husband a special gift. I will be absent from Blog Land for a few days so we can spend some time together, just he and I, and no distractions! It's hard to let go of my daily blog commitment (obsession??) – but, some things are just more important! Please join me again for "Fan the Flame Friday" – and as always, GOD BLESS!)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Sunday, July 10, 2011

BIBLE PICK 'EMS - It's Scary Out There!

"It’s scary out there!"

Ever felt that way?

Picture yourself with Moses and the Israelites. Here they are at the edge of the Promised Land. They have been successfully and miraculously rescued from slavery in Egypt, and led through the great and terrifying wilderness. God has been with them every step of the way.

God has proven faithful.

And yet, Moses decides to send out scouts.

I don't think this was his original plan.

Moses had said, "You have now reached the hill country of the Amorites that the LORD our God is giving us. Look! He has placed the land in front of you. Go and occupy it as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, has promised you. Don't be afraid! Don't be discouraged!"

Plan A.

But the Israelites came to him and asked that scouts be sent out to explore the land –figuring "they will advise us on the best route to take…"

Plan B, maybe?

So, Moses sent out twelve scouts, one from each tribe. Upon their return, they reported that the land was a good land.

But…(why is it that there’s always a "but" when it comes to the Israelites?)

The people rebelled against the command of the LORD and refused to go in.

Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" tells us what they said:

"'The LORD must hate us. That's why he brought us here from Egypt – to hand us over to the Amorites to be slaughtered. Where can we go? Our brothers have demoralized us with their report. They tell us, 'The people of the land are taller and more powerful than we are…We even saw giants there – the descendants of Anak!'" (Deuteronomy 1:27-28)

The people had concluded that the land was not worth the obstacles. They were afraid and decided not to enter.

Do you ever feel like that?

I sure do.

As I walk along my life's journey, God has proved Himself faithful, over and over. He's rescued me from the slavery to sin. He's led me through the wilderness. And yet, when He brings me to the brink of a breakthrough, a growth period, a time of testing – I balk.

He promises the Promised Land – and He promises to help me conquer it.

But…(why is it that there's always a "but" when it comes to me?)

I stop, I look around, I get scared – I only see the obstacles – I focus on the difficulty and the fear – and I do not go in.

God gives us the power to overcome our obstacles, but all too often we let difficulties control our lives. We become fearful and immobile when we focus on the negative aspects of a situation.

"It's scary out there."

Moses had quite a comeback for the Israelites. I hear him saying it to me:

"'Don't be shocked or afraid of them! The LORD your God is going ahead of you. He will fight for you…you saw how the LORD your God cared for you all along the way as you traveled through the wilderness, just as a father cares for his child. Now he has brought you to this place.'" (verses 29-31)

This is what I forget.

God has gone before me – and He will guide me every step of the way.

I am not facing anything in my life by accident. Whenever I come up against "scary new territory" I must remember this – God has brought me to this place.

He is on my side.

I can trust His direction and His promises. I can rely on His presence and power.

Fear does not need to rob me of the victory.

I must move out in faith – courageous, overcoming faith.

And God will provide even that…

Are there any "giants of Anak" in your life?

"When in doubt, search God out!"

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Welcome to "Quaint Words!”

These posts will contain thoughts, poems, and prayers from old books that I have found at antique stores, flea markets, and garage sales (with an occasional treasure from a bookstore).

I love the rhythm and sound of the older English language, and am blessed by other believers who have gone before me!

"It has been well said that 'earthly cares are a heavenly discipline;' but they are even something better than discipline - they are God's chariots, sent to take the soul to its high places of triumph.

They do not look like chariots...

They look like juggernaut cars of misery and wretchedness, which are only waiting to roll over us and crush us into the earth.

But could we see them as they really are, we should recognize them as chariots of triumph in which we may ride to those very heights of victory for which our souls have been longing and praying.

The Juggernaut car is the visible things; the chariot of God is the invisible...

This is the prayer we need to pray for ourselves and one another, 'Lord, open our eyes that we may see...'

...for the world all around full of God's horses and chariots, waiting to carry us to places of glorious victory."

(From "The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life" by Hannah Whitall Smith, c. 1888)

(A listing of books and authors, and also dates of individual postings from those books, will be found on my "QUAINT WORDS" page)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Friday, July 8, 2011


Welcome to "Fan the Flame" Friday.

This is a weekly post that will be "short and sweet" (kinda like me...)

Just a word and a phrase, a sentence or a question...just a little something to "fan the flame" of your creativity!

Today's word: turmoil

What causes the most turmoil in your life?

What do you think is the "root cause" of this turmoil?

What have you found to be God's answer to turmoil?

(I'd love it if you shared a Scripture passage!)

Let me know what you think!!

"This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you…For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:6-7)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Thursday, July 7, 2011




A couple of weeks ago I thought of those words to describe how I was feeling. I was feeling strong in my faithin spite of circumstances that were swirling around me. It was a new feeling for me.

I felt mature – a Christian grown-up.

I liked the feeling.

And then life hit.

The details are unimportant. Just know that some bad news arrived on several fronts. And it was upsetting…

The airplane of my life was "grounded" quickly as it crashed into "solid" land.

I think it was even more shocking to fall into discouragement and despair because I fell from such a height of soaring.

Oh Lord.

I have spent the last two days questioning myself – wondering how it is that I can crumple like a house of cards at the provocation of an ill wind. I am dismayed by that – frustrated by that – confused by that.

It has always been my one wish that there was some sort of spiritual *plateau* at which I could land. A feeling that would abide in me when the storm waves crash, and the wind howls, and the world goes swirly around me.

I suppose I would like to "arrive" in this lifetime.

Of course, I think that's impossible – IF I'm relying on feelings.

Feelings are sinking sand. And a house built on them will always fall apart.

I was reminded of that when I was reading my devotions yesterday. As part of my quiet time each day, I am reading "The One Year Daily Insights by Zig Ziglar." I'm enjoying it immensely. But yesterday, I had one of those "love/hate my devotional" moments (I talked about that here...)

The devotion was all about God's goodness. (The timing – oh yes, the timing…)

And here are the thoughts that really spoke to me:

"All of God's intentions toward us are for our benefit, and His actions are designed to accomplish those intentions…" (really???)

"God's goodness is not confined to what is pleasant…" (evidently not)

"His intent is for us to grow strong in our faith and realize how much we depend on Him…" (the Rock)

"If, AT OUR INSISTENCE, God's goodness were shown only in the narrow, limited giving of pleasant experiences, we would remain spiritual infants. But God insists on us growing up!" (Ouch…growing pains)

I've done several posts on my grappling with the idea of God's goodness – and the meaning of His peace.

Neither is defined by my own understanding – that's for sure.

I am perplexed by that – and comforted.

Bottom line – I really do want God to be bigger than me.

So, I guess I am learning to rely on God in stormy seas and calm, through thick and thin times, when I understand Him and especially when I don't.

If He isn't God when I'm afraid…He isn't God.

Faith is not feeling – and faith, true faith, is solid and grounded – built on the firm foundation of God's faithfulness.

Oh, right now I am clinging…

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Listen to Me.

I have cared for you since you were born.
Yes, I carried you before you were born.

I will be your God throughout your lifetime - until your hair is white with age.

I made you, and I will care for you.
I will carry you along and save you.

To whom will you compare Me?
Who is My equal?

Do not forget this!
Keep it in mind!
Remember this...

Remember the things I have done in the past.
For I alone am God!

I am God, and there is none like Me.

Only I can tell you the future before it even happens.
Everything I plan will come to pass.
I have said what I would do, and I will do it.

I am ready to save and show My glory!

Long ago I told you what was going to happen.
All my predictions will come true.

I have refined you in the furnace of suffering.
But, I will rescue you for My sake - yes, for My own sake!
I will not let My reputation be tarnished.

I alone am God - the First and the Last.

I will teach you what is good for you.
I will lead you along the paths you should follow.
I will give you peace flowing like a gentle river.


I alone am God!

I am God, and there is none like Me.

P.S. And I love you so very much!

(Selected from Isaiah 46 - 48, New Living Translation)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Tuesday, July 5, 2011



That was the title of our Sunday message.

I think it's a good subject to consider the day after we celebrated America's independence. So, here's my *takeaway* from Sunday.

We're in the book of Ephesians.

"Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace." (Ephesians 4:3)

You know, we've got a unique bond as believers.

We used to be a motley crew of ragged sinners until we accepted God's free gift of salvation. And then, God gave to us His very own family.

We became the Body of Christ.

What a privilege this is – to be connected to the King and to each other!

But, oh! How we mess things up…

Here in Ephesians, Paul is exhorting us to live a life worthy of our calling. He is NOT calling us to be worthy – for we know that we can never do anything good enough to earn salvation. But, once saved, we are to live according to our new identities.

And UNITY is an integral part of worthy living.

Here in the beginning of Ephesians, Chapter Four, Paul lists several qualities that ought to characterize the Body of Christ. For we are to be unified one people, healing together.

1. Humble – willing to step down and serve, to lift another person up
2. Gentle – strength under control – not strength that overpowers, but
3. Patient – longsuffering, "spreading out" the passion before we act, or
react, in frustration or anger
4. Making allowances – giving room to others, embracing the differences
in people, being non-judgmental
5. Love – love casts out fear, treats people as valuable, loves them as they are
loved by Christ

The Body of Christ should be a place of safe acceptance.

"The Hub" has a song that he loves from the Robert Redford movie, "The Horse Whisperer." It’s called "A Soft Place to Fall." I was thinking about that – the community of believers should be a soft place to fall. A place where we are accepted and welcomed, embraced and loved.

Now what's the foundation of this unity and healing?

Certainly it can't be based on our innate ability to get along ('cuz we know that ain't true, right?!) It has to have its foundation somewhere else.

Know any solid foundations anywhere? A good Rock to build on?


"For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all."
(Ephesians 4:4-6)

I don't know about you – but that's sounding downright *granite* to me.

So, it is God who provides this family, and who adopts us into it by the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus. And the Spirit, living in each believer, binds us together.

So, do we act like we're bound together in love?

Paul says in verse 3 to make "every effort" to find and keep this spirit of unity in the body of believers.

It's not gonna come naturally – but it's crucial.

I'm going to date myself with this one, but do any of you remember these song lyrics?

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord. 

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord. 

And we pray that all unity may one day be restored.
And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love. 

They will know we are Christians by our love.

Just going to close with some challenging thoughts – for you…AND me.

Am I living a life worthy of my calling?
Am I making every effort to keep myself united with other believers?
Am I seeking peace and healing?
Am I patient and non-judgmental?
Am I humble, and gentle – do I make allowances for other people's faults?

Do I really love others like Jesus loves me?

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, July 4, 2011


***Happy Fourth of July!***

In honor of Independence Day, I'm going to share a little story with a *military* theme.

My dad, born in 1930, was a little too young to have fought in World War II. But by the time the Korean War broke out, he was just the right age. Having joined the Naval Reserves when he was in college, he now found himself, in 1953, eligible for the draft.

Now at this time, it just so happened that my mom had a suspicion that she was pregnant.

My grandmother, Dad's mom, and my mother (who was a very sweet, young girl of 20 at the time) made an appointment to meet with the local board of Selective Services. They planned to use the pregnancy as a possible reason to change my dad's draft status.

The board asked for proof of the pregnancy.

Well, my grandmother and mother wasted NO time in getting an appointment with my grandmother's doctor. They anxiously waited for the results of the "rabbit test" (poor, poor bunnies! Isn't it so much better that all we have to do now is sacrifice a little blood or…ahem…other bodily fluid to find out if we're pregnant?!)

They waited and prayed…prayed and waited.

And finally, the results came – yes, my mom was pregnant.

Evidently, the Lord did not want my dad to go to war – for the chairman of the local board, who knew my dad from the reserves, agreed that he should be granted a deferment because my mom was pregnant.

Oh, one last little detail to this story…

I was that cute little draft deferment!

The history of America is peppered with stories of war. And though war often brings moments of glory and honor, at its core, war is really a reflection of the evil that lives in the human heart. It reflects the unending urge for power, and the inner drive to rule.

And war is a symbol of the other battle – the epic battle between good and evil.

Once, a long time ago, an angel with evil in his heart also desired power, and wanted to rule everything – he wanted to be like God.

It didn't quite work out – he was cast out from Heaven for his rebellion – and he became Satan, the Adversary, the Accuser.

And since that time, Satan has used every available strategy to continue waging war against God. He even used humanity to injure the very heart of God. And we were complicit in the injury.

That epic battle is still being fought – every day. And though ultimate victory for God and His children is assured, the battle still rages on. We are an integral part of that battle, we are soldiers in the war.

How to be effective warriors for God?

Well, I don't know about you, but I'm wearing armor!

"Therefore put on every piece of God's armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground…" (Ephesians 6:13-14)

Here's what we’ve got:

The Belt of Truth – the only way to defeat the enemy's lies

The Breastplate, the Body Armor, of Righteousness – God's righteousness is the only thing that protects our hearts and ensures His approval through Christ

The Footgear, the Shoes, of the Peace that comes from the Good News – the motivation to proclaim the true peace that is available in God

The Shield of Faith – protection against the fiery arrows of the devil

The Helmet of Salvation – protecting our minds from doubting God's saving work done for us by Jesus, and the assurance that ultimate victory is ours

The Sword – the Word of God, the Bible, our Scriptures – the only weapon of offense in this list – we must use the Word of God as a weapon against lies, and deceptions, and temptations

Happy Fourth of July – and I hope you have a great celebration. But let's also take today and remember this other warthe one that Satan brought, the one that we are engaged in.

Let's keep up the good fight, and stand against our enemy with the Holy Spirit's power. We are enlisted soldiers in God's army, and we have joined the forces of the Lord's Kingdom.

OK, who's suiting up with me?!

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God"

Sunday, July 3, 2011

BIBLE PICK 'EMS - Let Freedom Ring!




This was the painful state of affairs for the Israelites. Overcome by the Babylonians, they had been led away from their precious land, and into virtual slavery under a foreign and oppressive ruler, Nebuchadnezzar (the Biblical account can be found in 2 Kings 24:8-25:30).

Their story isn't one of conquering freedom, or resounding independence.

It's just the opposite.

And yet, into this despairing and seemingly hopeless situation, God raised up a messenger – his chosen prophet, Ezekiel.

Ezekiel gave God's message of judgment on Israel and other nations to the captives in Babylon. And yet, he also brought God's message of hope, salvation, and future restoration. Ezekiel painted a vivid picture of the unchangeable holiness of God.

Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" is an excerpt of that uplifting message:

"This is what the Sovereign LORD says: 'The people of Israel will again live in their own land, the land I gave my servant Jacob. For I will gather them from the distant lands where I have scattered them. I will reveal to the nations of the world my holiness among my people. They will live safely…they will know that I am the LORD their God.'" (Ezekiel 28:25-26)

There was partial fulfillment of this promise when many Israelites were allowed to return from exile under the leadership of Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah. And then, in 1948, the political nation of Israel was re-established as they gained their independence.

However, this promise will have its ultimate fulfillment when Jesus Christ returns to set up His eternal Kingdom. Then, all people who have been faithful to God will dwell together in harmony and complete safety.

These passages brought many thoughts to ponder on the eve of America's Independence Day.

What is the state of our nation?

Are we individually, and as a country, being faithful to God? Are we trusting Him to lead us, to be our moral and spiritual compass?

Are we truly a people, a nation UNDER GOD?

Sometimes we take our freedom for granted. We forget that it was purchased at a great price. Many people have sacrificed their very lives for the privilege of living in a country that declares itself the "land of the free and the home of the brave."

Are we in danger of being blind like the Israelites?

I asked before – what is the state of our nation? But, the more important question is this –

What is the state of our hearts?

Our personal, spiritual, soul salvation was purchased at a great price. There is One who sacrificed His very life for us – to give us the privilege of living in a state of freedom from the slavery to sin.

Are we excusing ourselves from our responsibilities before God? Are we being accountable to God for our choices?

Are we being faithful to the Faithful One?

All of God's promises will be ultimately fulfilled under the rule of the Messiah. He will reveal Himself to the nations of the world. He will gather His faithful ones, the ones He has redeemed, from distant lands. And we will live safely in His glorious presence forever restored to perfect fellowship with Him.

And every knee shall bow, every tongue confess – He is the LORD, the Almighty God.

Let us never take our freedom for granted – and may we take the occasion of Independence Day to once again focus on the values that make America a country that honors "liberty and justice for all."

But let's also examine our hearts – and single-mindedly pursue the One who possesses unchangeable holiness.

Let us re-gain a vision of His glory, a fresh sense of His greatness, and a renewed spirit of devotion and love for Him.

"For I will gather you up from all the nations and bring you home again…Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away…And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart, and give you a tender, responsive heart." (Ezekiel 36:24-26)

(You might also enjoy last year's post - Independence Day!)

"When in doubt, search God out!"