Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Everything Through Him

I can do everything through Him
who gives me strength.
Phil 4:13

Recently I was cleaning out our VHS, DVD, and CD collection. In the midst of the mess, I came across the DVD from my sweet sister’s funeral; my heart sank. Moments later I picked up the DVD from my precious brother’s funeral. I could feel myself sinking into a pit as satan stuck his knife in my heart and twisted.

Having been in that pit on previous occasions, I have learned to recognize the signs of a downward spiral and to immediately cry out the name of Jesus. When I reach for Him, He comes. He reminds me that I am His, and He is always near. When the fires of life are hot, He comes near with a refreshing breeze. When the waters of life are high, He carries me through the stormy waves.

When I walk through the dry desert, He is a cool drink of water. When the chaos of this world shatters my nerves, He speaks peace. And when I think I have nothing left to give, He reaches down, lifts me up, and reminds me that I am His, I am blessed, and I am able to do all things through Christ because He is my strength.

What brings satan with his sharpened blade twisting through your heart? What arid desert place are you walking through? Are you struggling to keep your head about the raging waves of a life storm that is rocking your world? There is hope in the midst of your crisis. His Name is Jesus. Call out to Him; for salvation, comfort, peace, wisdom, restoration… He will come, renew your strength, and revive your soul.

Prayer: Lord, help me always remember that You are my hope, my strength, and my salvation.

©Joyce Powell

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Beyond My Imagination

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen,
nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love
him”—these things God has revealed to us
through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches
everything, even the depths of God.
                             1 Corinthians 2:9-10 

     Several years ago friends, a female trio, asked me to write a song about what we would see in heaven. I agreed—under one condition. I asked each of them to write down and mail to me their expectations of heaven. With the promise that they would not share with the others but with me alone, I began receiving their letters.

     I read, I smiled, I wept, and I wrote Glimpses of Home. Although these young women spent a lot of time together and each loved the Lord, as evidenced by the way they lived their lives, their views of heaven and what they were looking forward to seeing were individual exciting expectations.

     Why—because the heart of man cannot imagine the splendor and wonder our Heavenly Father has prepared for us. It is beyond our earthly comprehension. Heaven is beyond our imagination!

     As a young Christian, I looked forward to streets of gold, gates of pearl and walls of jasper. Now, I just want to sit at the feet of Jesus, to lay my crown of righteousness before the throne of God, to sing with the redeemed in perfect harmony—I am redeemed by love divine glory glory Christ is mine! I want to worship God!

     Ecclesiastes 3:11 confirms that God has planted eternity in the hearts of man. We have a longing to see Him. We know there is more than what our earthly life offers. As His children, we anxiously await our reunion in heaven. Occasionally, as when my mother was dying, God gives us glimpses of home by allowing our loved ones to speak aloud what they are seeing. But it seems that it is always just enough to intensify our longing to see for ourselves.

     Some day God will call each of us into eternity, and we will see with our eyes what our hearts and minds have only imagined. I know one thing for sure! Heaven is “bright and clear.” The rest is beyond my imagination.  

©Joyce Powell

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Grace To Be Me

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my
mother’s womb.
                  Psalm 139:13 ESV    

     In years past a woman might have to make a trip to her doctor to confirm her pregnancy. Today she can go to the store, buy a test kit and know in a few minutes—pregnant or not pregnant. Suppositions begin about whether the child growing inside her womb is a boy or girl and name choosing becomes the activity of choice.

     But thousands of years before the invention of the pregnancy test, King David knew the secret of life. He got it! David knew that just as God had scooped the dust of the earth and formed Adam, as he had shaped and molded him and then breathed the breath of life into his body and soul, God had also formed David in his mother’s womb.

     Psalm 139:16 confirms David’s assurance of God’s power to create and to know one’s life when he writes, “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them.” (ESV)

     Although scientific understanding has exploded over past decades, scientists still cannot predict our future. A scientist cannot say with certainty what you or I will do to make a living, whom or if we will marry or when our last breath will leave this body of clay. But God knows!

     Therefore, I must ask, why do you and I work so hard at fitting in—doing what other’s expect of us, trying to make the people in our lives happy while we remain miserable because we are not being the person that God has created us to be? Even in the responsibilities of belonging to a family, a church family and a community and society at large, you and I can remain faithful to God’s plan for our lives.

     Do not think that God does not have a plan for your life. He does! Do not think that you are of little worth to God. God values you! Do not think that you can accomplish nothing for God. You have the ability to accomplish everything He calls you to do. He designed and created you for a purpose and gives you the ability to fulfill the purpose for which you are created. You are unlike any other human being. You are special! God loves you! I am so grateful that  God gives the grace to be me!

©Joyce Powell

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Under His Wings

He will cover you with His feathers, and
under his wings you will find refuge…
                          Psalm 91:4a NIV

      In a world where so many want to make a name for themselves, be honored for accomplishments and recognized for good works, I am always amazed that some of God’s most beautiful and well-loved Words are recorded as written by anonymous. Psalm 91 is one such work.

     Often called the Soldiers’ Psalm, it has been recited across battlefields around the globe providing hope and comfort to thousands. It also provides hope for daily living. Danger comes in many shapes and sizes and at various times throughout life. Psalm 91 covers all circumstances because God continues to protect His children.

     I have long been fascinated with verse four and the picture of God hiding me under His wings. Like many of you, I have watched a mother duck pull her ducklings close to her breast and tuck them safely under her wings. While I understood the metaphor of God pulling us close and keeping us safe, only after I comprehended the fuller meaning of the Hebrew word for wings did I begin to draw upon this Psalm for daily living.

     The Hebrew word kanap, translated in verse four as wings, also means corner, hem (of a garment). Upon reading that definition, I got it! I am like a small child who runs to mother, grabs mother’s legs and hides my head under the hem of mother’s dress tail thinking no one can see me, because I cannot see  them. I feel safe! I am safe, for there is nothing a mother will not do to protect her child.

     Like a mother protecting her child, our Heavenly Father protects His children. If I make the Most High my dwelling, then no harm can come to me. No threat can overpower my God. No peril can be greater than my God. No one can outsmart my God. No day becomes so dark that my God cannot provide light for the way; no heartache so great that my God cannot speak peace to my troubled soul. My protection remains in Him alone.

     Therefore, when I need wisdom I will ask God. When I am afraid, I will trust God. When my world grows dark and I cannot seem to find my way, I will look to God. When my heart hurts and I think I cannot bear the pain, I will remember that I, like a small child, am tucked under the hem of His garment safe and secure under His wings.
Joyce Powell

Monday, January 11, 2016

Do you need to be energized, inspired, or reminded that God loves you?
"Grace For Living" will motivate you to move forward in 2016. God's Word
is our hope, our peace, our comfort, our joy and our direction for daily living. 
Why not allow  "Grace For Living" to encourage you along your way?

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid
or terrified because of them, for the LORD
your God goes with you; he will never leave
you nor forsake you.
                           Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV    

     Moses completed the challenge to the Israelites to choose—life and prosperity or death and destruction. He then proceeded to tell them which to choose: “Now choose life, so that you and your children may live…for the LORD is your life…” (Deut 30:19)

      Next he addressed the gathering of Israelites to pass his leadership position to Joshua. I’m old, tired, worn out and used up and, by the way, the LORD told me that I will not cross the Jordan. But do not worry, God himself will cross over ahead of you, destroy the nations in your way, and send Joshua before you.

     Then Moses added His encouragement to be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or terrified because the LORD your God goes with you. He will not leave you. He will not forsake you.

     For some in the world, a new year has arrived. For others, tomorrow will be the first day of our new year. Yet after all, these centuries we too face the same challenge as the Israelites: life and prosperity or death and destruction. Do not be deceived. It is a life or death decision. I encourage you to choose life—for the LORD is your life.

     This year you may, like the Israelites, wander in the desert. You may fear tomorrow and what it might bring. You may, like Job, face loss beyond your imagination. You may, like Daniel, be thrown into a den of lions for your steadfast unwavering obedience as you follow God. You may be ostracized by friends and family or face a dreaded disease. Or, this may be the best year of your life. This may be the year the LORD pours out His blessings so that you are unable to contain them. This may be the year of renewed relationships and forgiveness for past offenses.

     The good news is that it does not matter what this year may hold for you or me because when you are a believer in and follower of Christ, our God, the LORD, goes with you. So rather than walk in fear of the bad things that may happen, choose instead to live each day of 2015 expecting great things from God. Expect God to work in your life. Watch as He shows up at the least expected moment in the most unexpected way. See Him provide for your needs. Hear Him as He whispers your name and calls you into life-changing and exciting places. Expect good things from God!

     Be strong and courageous and fear not for the LORD goes with you! Happy New Year!

© Joyce Powell

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth
in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David,
because he belonged to the house and line of David.
He went there to register with Mary, who was
pledged to be married to him and was expecting a
child. While they were there, the time came for the
baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn,
a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in
a manger, because there was no room for them in
the inn.
                                               Luke 2:1-7 NIV

     Two thousand years ago, in the midst of the hustle and bustle of census taking in a small town called Bethlehem, a child was born. As His cry rang out in the darkness and his mother, Mary, swaddled him pulling him close to her breast, the citizenry of Bethlehem hurried and scurried through the obligatory motions of fulfilling the decree of Caesar Augustus; come and be counted.

     Shepherds in a field received a personal invitation to come and see the baby that was born in Bethlehem. An angel of the Lord and a company of the heavenly host sang out to the glory of God. The shepherds left their sheep to seek out this Lamb of God born on that night.

     Upon seeing the child, they left and spread the word of this baby and all that had happened. “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)

     Two millennia later, we have the same opportunity as the shepherds. Today, we know the full story. This baby born of a young virgin girl is the Savior. Like the shepherds we each hold a personal invitation to “come and see.”  It is written in red. “For God so loved the world that he gave his One and Only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

     Like the heavenly host, we too can sing out to the glory of God. And like the shepherds, we have opportunity to spread the word of this baby and all that we have experienced since accepting His invitation to believe.

     And like Mary, we can hold Him close to our hearts, treasuring all that He has done and compelling others to come and see.

     My prayer for you this Christmas is that you believe in the One and Only Son of God. He is the reason for our celebration. He is the light that shines in the darkness. He is the voice calling out in the wilderness. He is Jesus Christ the Messiah and He longs for you to know Him. Come and be counted.

     Merry Christmas!

© Joyce Powell