Traveling on the Wings of Praise

[When You Need to Remind Yourself of God’s Faithfulness]

Copyright © Wanda Murry, April 9, 2018

040918-ThoughtsFirst Things First:  I want to apologize to all of you who actually follow my blog, and those who actually take the time to read the words that come from my heart! I appreciate each of you! I love knowing you can identify with me by a like, a comment, or sharing a post. I look forward to connecting with you more. I hope to hear your personal thoughts and testimonies as they relate to the posts and/or things God is doing in your own lives.

Secondly, it’s been well over a month since my last post, and that is just not acceptable at all.  As a writer and blogger, I know I must do better. Expecting readers to partake of an inspirational menu that isn’t regularly restocked with new words of encouragement makes little sense. There are no excuses because, if I consider myself a writer but don’t write – well, I’m sure many of you might agree that there is something wrong with that picture!

WIN_20150310_203251 (2)So, what’s new? I confess there are potholes I sometimes fall into on my personal, wonderful journey called “Life.” Like street potholes, these personal potholes rattle me, causing me to veer off the writing path! This I must say — sometimes, focusing too much on surviving life can throw a monkey wrench into living the life God set us free to live. I like John 10:10 as a spiritual reminder that there are two sides to my story & to my life — two warring principles – my flesh and God’s Spirit.

10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that  they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

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Without doubt the enemy takes many shapes and forms to accomplish his thievery, murder, and destruction. Hard lessons are especially difficult when I realize I failed to stay alert & became complacent in areas of my life. I never feel good when I view my failures alongside Christ’s sacrifice. I’ve been robbed in the physical, and it’s just as unnerving when it happens in the spiritual.

In those moments of insecurity, when I’m unsure of my path, are the times when I feel more alone than I care to admit. And for one accustomed to encouraging others, I’m not a good recipient when the shoe is on the other foot, even when I need to be encouraged. Some say it’s pride, but I beg to differ. I’m private about my personal issues.

Why bother others,” reason in my heart, when I know where my help comes from. Let your requests be made known unto God, Philippians 4:6 says. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God…Casting all your care upon him;” 1 Peter 5:6-7 says. So that’s what I do; not out of pride, but because I’ve learned to turn to the rock of my salvation like David in 2 Samuel 22.040918-WordThe old saying, on a wing and a prayer, fits this post. When my wings are clipped, and I find myself unable to soar about my circumstances emotionally and spiritually, I turn to God’s Word to encourage myself. A good bible study, like the 52 Weeks of Pursuit provides incredible insight given by Mark Trotter. Sobering is the knowledge that today’s Christians aren’t so different from the errant Nation of Israel in their shortcomings.040918-MusicSymbolMusic is a balm of melodies for the issues of life. Through praise, overcoming obstacles seems less daunting as I am reminded of God’s love for me despite my failures. The fact that God already knew I’d fall short makes getting back up easier! I listen to a variety of Christian music but, Jonathan McReynolds and Tauren Wells are currently supplying my wings of praise.

When Tauren Wells speaks of being Known,” you recognize that he’s uncovered the basic heart of man – the desire to be fully known and loved by someone. His words resonant as he sings:

It’s so like You to keep pursuing; It’s so like me to go astray – But You guard my heart with Your truth; A kind of love that’s bullet proof – I’m fully known and loved by You – You won’t let go no matter what I do

Then, there is Jonathan McReynolds, who sings of the Pressures that come with all he does while also staying true to his faith. He sings, “Help me,” continuing to say:

Jesus take from me – All the pressure, pressure, pressure – To be someone that you did not create – Help me be me – And only see you – Let me decrease – And glorify you!

 

The road of life can get rocky, but with the right travel companion (Jesus Christ), You will be able to soar above the obstacles in the road on the wings of praise!  

2018 – Enlarging My Investment Portfolio

Keys to growing your spiritual bank account!

Happy New Year!

For all who are reading this – God has graced us with another day of life, and a new year to choose to do something new or better. My new year goals are very simple – I plan to become a better INVESTOR:

  • Invest more in my relationship with God!
  • Invest more in the study of God’s Word!
  • Invest more in the things God cares about!

For a little over three years, I have been investing in quality time alone. It has been an adventure in digging deeper and unearthing the dead things lying beneath the surface. Normally, I end each year with time away from home to prepare for the new year, but that didn’t happen this year. Instead, God provided a ram in the bush that was far better than a trip away from home.

On New Year’s Eve, I had the pleasure of meeting with an African pastor and a stateside mission leader in preparation for my first mission’s trip abroad! Talk about a great ending to 2017! Our mission’s team was able to ask questions, listen to stories of needs, and how those needs are being met by mission efforts. I wanted to cry, both from excitement and of hearing some of the stories. It was definitely the fuel I needed to come into the new year with.

Today, I couldn’t wait to delve into the new year-long bible study I was starting. Titled “52 Weeks of Pursuit,” it is a 5-day, weekly reading through the bible, from Genesis to Revelation, with notes that provide wonderful insights into the bible.  I invite you to join me in the reading – it’s an opportunity open to everyone by just clicking on the title above, then scrolling down to click on Week 1-4 and begin.

Already, my investment in reading and studying has paid off. I’d like to share just a few things I have gleaned from God’s Word using the guide of 52 Weeks of Pursuit:

Mankind is foolish! Our attempt to change the interpretation of God’s written Word is insulting to His holiness. One example is the foundation set for marriage which God has never changed: One man. One woman. One lifetime. Period! (Genesis 1:27-28; 2:24) [52 Weeks of Pursuit; page 1]. Although I fell short in this area, it makes God’s grace and mercy through salvation all the more precious!

God created man to have a relationship with him. The notes say: God beautifully offered man the opportunity to exercise his will by making his own choice concerning this relationship. [52 Weeks of Pursuit; page 1, last paragraph].  There were two trees and two choices. Just as the first Adam choose the wrong tree, man today chooses the world [Satan’s domain] over a relationship with God [through salvation].

We can run, but we can’t hide.  In Genesis 3:8, “…Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.” Trees are a picture of man. Man’s attempts to hide himself in the world [amongst the trees of the garden] is sad. The substituting of good works while outright rejecting the good news will be exposed at the great white throne

Satan’s tactics are transparent. It’s important to know how Satan operates. Genesis 3:1 reveals his tactics with these words, “…Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Satan is transparent–he has always attacked God’s Word, and he always uses three effective traps against man: (1) lust of the flesh, (2) lust of the eyes, and (3) the pride of life. On page 2 of 52 Weeks of Pursuit, in the last two paragraphs, we are provided a great example of one who falls for Satan’s trap versus one who resists Satan’s attack in comparing Genesis 3:13 with Matthew 4:1-11. Our greatest weapon against Satan remains the Word of God hid in our hearts to help us resist his temptations!

Day One of enlarging my investment portfolio has been an amazing day to set the tone for a wonderful 2018 year!

I invite you to stay tuned and join me in the 52 Weeks of Pursuit bible study. As well, I request your prayers and our support in raising funds as I and others prepare for our first mission’s trip.

Let’s set 2018 on Fire for Christ!

 

 

 

 

My Soul Cries… S-t-r-e-t-c-h

Let me ask you; “Have you ever felt an inner unease or restlessness in your spirit where you can’t quite pinpoint the source of the feeling?” I’m sure this sounds eerie to some, but I’ve learned to pay attention to this feeling because my past has proven that it is seldom without merit.

I don’t watch the news or keep up with current events, politics or the such so I can’t pin it on those outside factors. Yet, I know something is in the wind, heading my way, and experience has shown it will become an exercise in spiritual and mental stretching. This I know: I must prepare myself for whatever is coming by praying in earnest.

Needing encouragement, I grab my first book, and find these words:

Philippians 3:13-15 – Page 37

In order to press forward to do that which we are called to do, we must make peace with the past! God has brought us this far for a reason and the past has already played its part in developing a part of our character.

Aim to do better, and be better for Christ with each new day. Do you want what God has for you? Then, press for excellence in the call God has placed upon your life. If anyone deserves the efforts of our very best it is Christ who gave His very best unto death!  Maybe you are facing something that is trying your patience or endurance.  Like me, you can probably use a little encouragement, so for all who may need a dose of uplifting, here’s a few words of comforting encouragement to help you along the way.

Matthew 7:12-20 Page 62

“The fruit of Love is an action word best confirmed by attitude and deed. The real thing shouldn’t be hard to see or feel. It will be sacrificial and compassionate in spirit, just as Jesus was. However, rotten fruit may still appear to be usable until you draw near and are met with a horrible smell that repels. For that reason, it is better to cut off anything that corrupts to keep from ruining the testimony of the Christian faith.

Psalm 22:22, 25 – Page 63

When we are knowledgeable about both our enemy and our Savior, there is little that should surprise us or catch us off guard. When you know that you are the prize in a spiritual tug-of-war, wisdom dictates that you prepare for the battle, that you stay alert, and that you map out your strategy for a sure victory.

Zephaniah 3:12 – Page 46

When there are no problems in our lives we tend to get lazy in our daily communion with God. We kind of get a faulty way of thinking toward God that says, “out of trouble, out of mind.” We mistakenly forget that troubles don’t last always, but neither will the calm days. Satan never, ever rests; he just changes tactics and disguises.

When my soul cries, “Prepare Arms,” my spirit says, “STRETCH”

to meet the unknown encounters that are ahead.

Private I

The Word of God is the perfect spiritual investigative tool known to man.

Emmanuel Otoo, a Moderator for the Facebook Group “Jesus The Only Way” posted 2 Timothy 3:1-7, prophesy of these last days we are experiencing today. This list includes not only perilous times, but a picture of mankind’s ills: lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; A call: from such turn away.  The stigma: this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. The post included as the caption: Do You Fit the Description?

In my opinion, mankind is busy with the business of living without really giving thought to how our living reflects Christ. Where someone may feel such questions come across as a judgmental wagging of a finger, we believe looking at them from a stance of pause—reflect—detect—seek remedial action is more beneficial for an individual.

Pause – Stop briefly to consider the question(s) posed. Does it apply to you? Is it an accusation, or more a question or suggestion? What this really boils down to is how you choose to view it.

Reflect – Next, give the question careful and serious thought by removing emotions so the process is not clouded by human reasoning. If it applies, then the question becomes how, why and what should be done? If it doesn’t apply, then discard it and ‘keep it moving” on the everyday journey of living.

Detect – If it applies, prayerfully attempt to uncover its origin and the depth to which you’ve been affected. Once the digging starts, the tracks may appear rather quickly, especially when one is truly open to following through. This is important as our past and/or childhood sometimes hold things we’ve buried under events, traumas or situations. Hence, prayer is a must from the very beginning, but especially at this stage.

Seek Remedial Action – This is where the hardcore work comes in; the stage where the real cleansing begins. It’s the place where humbling occurs; where the truth makes you free while bruising your ego, shaming your self-sufficiency, before building you up and providing solutions.

In all that’s going on worldwide, distractions are the handiwork of the enemy. We can see his work everywhere if our eyes are open. Yet, we can never forget that with salvation came a change, and with that change a process of sanctification. God’s children have to be honest with themselves first; wisely transparent with others. We admit God is working on us day-by-day; but, we don’t use that as an excuse to continue sinfulness.

There is work in becoming better representatives of Christ. We have to learn, and then be, who we are called to be for furtherance of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have to be the difference; the peculiar of faith-in-Christ the world sees. We have to call sin, sin, and PRAYERFULLY ask for help when there are things ingrained in us.

My constant prayer for my own private and transparent flaws remains for God’s Word to illuminate the darkness lurking within me so it can be rooted out. At the end of the day, my Private I is between God and I so others will see more of JESUS and less of I!

Copyright © Wanda Murry, September 28, 2017

[Thanks, Emmanuel Otoo, for the inspiration today!]