Timely Quotes

Perhaps I should explain where all these quotes are coming from.  Since 1990 I’ve been keeping small pocket calendars that I write special quotes in from scripture, books, newspapers, movies, even Facebook, etc.  — anything that speaks in a special way to me, and to what my circumstances are at the time.  I’ve never tried to line up the quote with the date; I like the size of the pocket calendars, and just write from page to page, ignoring dates and days of the week.  If I want to remember the occasion, I’ll write the date beside the quote.

I can always pick up these calendars free from various businesses.  They have no idea what treasures they have become to me!

Some days I’ll write nothing and other days I may write 5-6 quotes and record a difficulty I’m dealing with at the time.  Some years I end up using 3-4 pocket calendars (such as in each of the years when my parents passed away).  These little booklets are my life because they are the specific scriptures and quotes God is giving me, especially during trials and difficulties.  He always gives me exactly what I need, every day.  I have no idea why He blesses me in this way; I’m not deserving, but these timely truths firmly bring me through those difficulties.

This summer, while walking each day, I began grabbing one of the notebooks each day to re-read as I walked along.  It’s easy to read one quote, then walk a bit and think about it before reading another, or read several at a time.  What amazed me was the fact that I was experiencing similar, difficult situations through the years, and God was giving me the exact same quotes each time.  The quotes came from the particular page of a book I was reading, or the particular assigned scripture of the day, so they weren’t quotes I was “looking” for.  God’s timing is perfect.  This week I’m sharing more of these quotes, as I know they could be just what you need to hear today, too.

Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God.  Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage.  The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense His grace.  — Matthew 6:5-6 (MSG)

Anyone who intends to come with me has to let Me lead.  You’re not in the driver’s seat, I am.  Don’t run from suffering; embrace it.  Follow Me and I’ll show you how.  — Matthew 16:24-25 (MSG)

Let your heart be at rest.  You may enjoy a deep, settled peace that no disturbance can destroy.  It is maintained by your confidence in My love.  Place in My care both yourself and all you hold dear…Release all anxiety.  I am watching over you.  — (Given to me the day one of our children travelled to New Zealand for a 6-month study program), Progress of Another Pilgrim, pg. 108

No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.  — Isaiah 54:17

What should set us apart is our trust, our ability to let God loose in our circumstances rather than forever trying to control them ourselves.  — Barbara Johnson, Promises of Joy, pg. 44

Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.  I’ll show you how to take a real rest.  Walk with me and work with me — watch how I do it.  Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.  — Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)

The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.  — Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)

 

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You Cannot

The final quote by Abraham Lincoln is powerful!

God does not respond to what we do; we respond to what God does.  We’ve finally figured it out.  Our lives get in step with God and all others by letting Him set the pace, not by proudly or anxiously trying to run the parade…But by shifting our focus from what we do to what God does, don’t we cancel out all our carefully keeping of the rules and ways God commanded?  Not at all.  What happens, in fact, is that by putting that entire way of life in its proper place, we confirm it.  — from Romans 3:21-31 (MSG)

I have begun to see that worship and intercession are far more the business of aligning myself with God’s purposes than asking Him to align with mine.  — Gordon MacDonald

Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless.  Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.  Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal.  — Isaiah 58:7-8a (NLT)

You cannot bring prosperity by discouraging thrift.  You can’t strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.  You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.  You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.    You cannot further brotherhood of men by encouraging class hatred.  You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.  You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.  You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.  You cannot build character and courage by taking away men’s initiative and independence.  You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.  — Abraham Lincoln

Compassion Quotes

Here are some quotes from my journals that relate to giving to others in need:

James 1:17 tells us our Father is the giver of all good gifts.  Throughout all of eternity, we will be lavished in the limitless wealth of the CEO of the universe.  Until then, we show ourselves to be sons and daughters of the one true God when we give, give, and give.  Let’s keep shoving that abundance out the door to help others in need, and God will lay up treasures for us in His own divine storage lot.  — Beth Moore, Portraits of Devotion, pg. 237

Don’t be afraid, you tiny flock!  Your Father plans to give you the Kingdom.  Sell your possessions and give the money away.  Get yourselves purses that never grow old, inexhaustible treasure in Heaven, where no thief can ever reach it, or moth ruin it.  For wherever your treasure is, you may be certain that your heart will be there too!  Luke 12:33-34 (PHI)

I decided not to run away from the massive effect that my mother had on my life.  At that point, the lyrics and ideas began to flow more easily.  With all my records, I’m just regurgitating what she put in me.  For example, “Don’t Lose Your Steam” was a message I got from my mother…I was thinking about how she always helped the homeless, the hungry, the handicapped, anybody who needed some elevation.  Thought about it for years.  But how do I get that out in a song?  “Oh, they build their houses in preparation for the King/ and they line the sidewalks with every sort of shiny thing/ They will be surprised when they hear Him say/ Take me to the alley/ Take me to the afflicted ones.”  That is how my mother operated–she would go to the alleys, to Skid Row, and try to help people.  –Gregory Porter regarding his tunes, “Don’t Lose Your Steam” and “Take Me to the Alley”

If the bottom falls out, if the bridges fall down/Don’t lose your head of steam, don’t lose your dreams.  — Gregory Porter

Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless.  Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.  Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal.  — Isaiah 58:7-8a (NLT)

Broken and Irreversible

Today I’m sharing more great quotes from my journals.  See if any of these speak particularly to your life and situation today:

Our yesterdays hold broken and irreversible things for us.  It is true that we have lost opportunities that will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into constructive thoughtfulness for the future.  Let the past rest, but let it rest in the sweet embrace of Christ.  Leave the broken, irreversible past in His hands and step out into the invincible future with Him.  — Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

Aim at Heaven and you will get Earth thrown in.  Aim at Earth and you will get neither.  — C. S. Lewis

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee.  — Isaiah 26:3 (NLT)

To reach the point of Heaven we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it–but we must sail, and not drift, nor be at anchor.  — Oliver Wendell Holmes

Ring the bells that still can ring; forget your perfect offering.  There is a crack in everything.  That’s how the light gets in.  –Leonard Cohen

God does not give us overcoming life; He gives life as we overcome.  The storm is the strength.  If there is no strain there is no strength.  Are you asking God to give you life and liberty and joy?  He cannot unless you will accept the strain.  Immediately you face the strain, you will get the strength.  — Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

Worship is giving God the best that He has given you.  Be careful what you do with the best you have.  Whenever you get a blessing from God, give it back to Him as a love-gift.  Take time to meditate before God and offer the blessing back to Him in a deliberate act of worship…It must be given back to Him so that He can make it a blessing to others.  — Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust in them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through was a longing…For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we nave not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.  — C. S. Lewis

Trust

I have found a Christian author that seems to articulate so much that I have been thinking about lately.  He’s really focused on God as our sovereign ruler and King, ever present and powerful.  Here is an excerpt, including two scriptures and a quote from another author, followed by a prayer:

Who has understood the mind of the LORD, or instructed Him as His counselor?  Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten Him, and who taught Him the right way?  Who was it that taught Him knowledge or showed Him the path of understanding?  — Isaiah 40:13-14 (NIV)

Who instructed God?  Whom did He consult?  think of what we’ve learned about the design of the human body–the amazing intricacy and efficiency of a single cell, the sheer magnitude of the connecting fibers between nerve cells in the brain.  Who could have served as the Lord’s consultant on a design task like that?  Could you or I?

It’s an absurd question, isn’t it?  Yet we continually want to be God’s adviser in His providential workings.  We continually want to tell Him how certain circumstances should be changed.  Or worse, we question God’s wisdom when we can’t understand what He’s doing.

How fathomless the depths of God’s resources, wisdom and knowledge!  How unsearchable His decisions, and how mysterious His methods!  For who has ever understood the thoughts of the Lord, or has ever been His adviser?  Glory to Him forever!  — Romans 11:33-36 (Charles B. Williams Translation)

To this end may the following words from J. L. Dagg encourage us:

It should fill us with joy that infinite wisdom guides the affairs of the world.  Many of its events are shrouded in darkness and mystery, and inextricable confusion sometimes seems to reign.  Often wickedness prevails, and God seems to have forgotten the creatures that He has made.  Our own path through life is dark and devious, and beset with difficulties and dangers.  How full of consolation is the doctrine that infinite wisdom directs every event, brings…light out of darkness, and, to those who love God, causes all things, whatever be their present aspect and apparent tendency, to work together for good.  — Dagg, Manual of Theology, pg. 91.

So with joy and consolation let us stand in awe of the infinite wisdom of God manifested in creation, providence, and redemption.  But let’s do more.  One of the marks of a God-fearing person is to trust in the Lord:  “The Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love”  (Psalm 147:11).  To hope in His unfailing love is to trust Him.  As we stand in awe, let us trust Him, even when we don’t understand what He is doing.

O infinite God!  Who has understood Your mind or instructed You as Your counselor?  Before the universe was created it existed in all its intricate complexity in Your vast mind.  Even the tiny cells in our bodies testify to the sheer brilliance of Your creative genius.  But while we marvel at Your creation, we confess that we often wonder at Your providence.  Help us to learn that You ways truly are higher than our ways, and that You are always working for our good despite the many things we don’t understand.  May we fear You by trusting You.  And may we ever praise You through Jesus our Lord and Savior.  Amen –Jerry Bridges, The Joy of Fearing God, pg. 94-95

Are any of you struggling with life events right now?  Do you wonder how things could go so “wrong?”  If you are trusting Jesus for salvation, you need not fear.  God is sovereign and working all things together for good (Romans 8:28-29).  We don’t have to try to control, manipulate, worry, be anxious or force anything to happen.  It all comes together in His time and way, completely beyond our understanding, or weak efforts to control.  Wait and trust; watch and see what God will do!  Listen for His voice of calm, wisdom, instruction and assurance; trust Him, rather than trusting yourself.

Perfect Peace

Today I’m sharing more of my favorite quotes from my journal.  Some of the quotes contain my Word of the Year — Joy — but some don’t.  These words are uplifting, positive and true.

Hallelujah!  I give thanks to God with everything I’ve got — wherever good people gather, and in the congregation. God’s works are so great, worth a lifetime of study–endless enjoyment!  — Psalm 111:1-2 (MSG)

You will keep him in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!  — Isaiah 26:3 (NLT)

So turn to me and be helped — saved! — everyone, whoever and wherever you are.  I am GOD, the only God there is, the one and only.  — Isaiah 45:22 (MSG)

The commandments of the LORD are right, bringing joy to the heart.  — Psalm 19:8a (NLT)

Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight.  Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of sin.  — Romans 4:7-8 (NLT)

 

Firmly Nailed

In honor of our Easter celebration this weekend, today I share another wonderful devotion from Beth Moore.  How beautifully the Old Testament prophesies the coming of Christ!  There are numerous pictures and stories that prefigure the coming of our Savior.  Here’s one:

I will clothe him with your robe and fasten your sash around him and hand your authority over to him.  He will be a father to those who live in Jerusalem and to the house of Judah.  I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.  I will drive him like a peg into a firm place; he will be a seat of honor for the house of his father.  –Isaiah 22:21-23

Now here is what Beth says about this passage:

If you study the Old Testament prophecies of Jesus, you will find that they come in a dazzling variety of forms.  In some places the predictions were clear.  They obviously pointed to the coming Messiah.  In other instances they were veiled.  Join me now as we look at an absolutely fascinating passage–these words that apply so beautifully to Christ at this moment.  In their immediate sense, they were written about Eliakim, the palace superintendent during the Assyrian invasion of Israel, but you can see their ultimate significance in terms of the cross of our Christ.

Note how God said He would give His servant the key to the house of David, opening a door no one can shut.  He said He would “drive him like a peg into a firm place.”  As unfathomable as the process is to you and me, the cross was the means by which God chose to position Christ in the seat of honor for the house of His Father.  The cross is the open door no man can shut.

Isaiah 22:23 says, “I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place” (KJV).  The original word for “firm” in the NIV and “sure” in the KJV is aman: “in a transitive sense to make firm, to confirm…to stand firm; to be enduring; to trust.”

Nothing was accidental about the cross of Christ.  The Son of God was not suddenly overcome by the wickedness of man and nailed to a cross.  Quite the contrary, the cross was the means by which the Son of God overcame the wickedness of man.  To secure the keys to the house of David and open the door of salvation to all who would enter, God drove His Son like a nail in a sure place.  A firm place.  An enduring place.

When God drove His Son like a nail in a firm place, He took the written code, finally fulfilled in His Son, and canceled our debt to it.  With every pound of the hammer, God was nailing down redemption.  — Beth Moore, Portraits of Devotion, pg. 270