Note from Heaven

by Janet Holm McHenry @LookingUpFirst

Yesterday I was so frustrated.

No, it wasn’t teenagers. They’re long gone. No, it wasn’t my dear rancher husband. He’s working from 6 a.m. to close to 10 p.m. right now.

Yes, it was technology. And I started bashing myself, as I typically do. I’m not smart enough. I can’t figure this out. I’m too old for this stuff.

And then, as I turned a page on the yellow pad I was using to take notes for an online conference, a tattered little note fluttered out. It said in familiar handwriting, “Nothing can shake [You] . . . and me.”

I remembered. My friend June had written that little note to me at our favorite writers conference many years ago and slipped it to me just when I needed it. My dear friend June . . . who has been gone from this earth now for many years.

And there it was slipped to me again, seemingly from the skies, this time from God, to give me assurance, a bit of tears, a lot of smiles, and much joy.

June’s little quote on the note comes from Psalm 16:8 (GNT), which says, “I am always aware of the LORD’s presence; he is near, and nothing can shake me.” Though David was anointed king of Israel, his life consisted of one battle after another, even from his own son. It was his relationship with God, though, that saw him through the many challenges of his life, and he wrote many psalms out of his struggles and pain as worship songs.

When we are in the midst of a difficult circumstance, it can seem as though God is far away. Sometimes I allow myself to dwell in pity as though someone or something has done something to me. Sometimes I resort to self-blame because I feel inadequate. Neither place is a good spot to hang out, and neither spot reflects the truth of the situation.

The truth is three-fold. First, God is near me. He is as close as his Word or the earshot of my prayers to him. He cares, he sees me in my struggles, and he invites my running to him with my problems.

Also, my difficulty is really not too difficult. If God has set a challenge before me, he can equip me for that very task. If I do not have the particular skill to accomplish something, I could ask God for wisdom, I could research my options, and I could ask someone for help. Nelson Mandela said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” My negativity about situation I think is impossible will only be an impediment. A looking up posture gets me geared for the possible.

And lastly, knowing that God will help me one way or the other means that I need not be shaken or rattled. I can approach him with confidence that he will guide me and then approach the task with confidence that the impossible will be done.

May our great God slip you a note of love today . . . and perhaps this is actually it: you are loved!

 I am always aware of the LORD’s presence; he is near, and nothing can shake me.” –Psalm 16:8

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Note from Heaven – encouragement from Janet McHenry, @LookingUpFirst on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Janet McHenry

About the author: Janet McHenry is a national speaker and the author of 24 books, including the best-selling PrayerWalk, which has encouraged tens of thousands to pray for their communities while they walk. Her business name is Looking Up! because she encourages others to seek the Problem Solver, who can do the impossible. She would love to connect with you : https://www.janetmchenry.com.

Join the conversation: Has God slipped you a note of love lately?

Focus on the Facts

by Cindi McMenamin @CindiMcMenamin

I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.                                                                                                                                     Psalm 16:8, ESV

I remember the week I wanted to quit the ministry. (As a pastor’s wife, I haven’t quite figured out what that means, except that it’s a low point of discouragement and sometimes it feels good to say “I want to quit.”) My husband and I had just met with a couple from our church who listed the ways we had let them down over the past couple years. As I sat there, listening to how we’ve disappointed them and anticipating that they would leave the church for such reasons, I was feeling frustration, pain and anger. As I drove away from that appointment in a separate car, I cried out to God, and told him how I felt.

“God I don’t want to do this anymore!” I yelled through tears. “I don’t want my husband to sit through one more meeting and hear how he has let someone down. I’m tired of pouring out, because everyone just takes and takes and leaves in the end.

That’s how I was feeling: I have nothing left to give and everyone eventually leaves, anyway. But in prayer, I was reminded of the facts: God can fill me up again and He will never leave me nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5).

Instantly, God spoke to the recesses of my heart: I went to the cross for you. And in light of what I did for you, do you know how many times you have disappointed Me? Do you realize how many times you have failed to meet My expectations? And yet, I have never left. And I never will.

 In the moment my heart received that truth, everything changed. I remembered Whom I am serving: The One who will never leave. It was all about the facts (that He is a faithful God and worthy to be served) and not my feelings (that it’s hard sometimes and I just want to quit). My prayer of complaint turned to praise: God, I can’t do this, but You can. And I will gladly serve You because of what You have done for me.

 When my feelings lead me down a dark tunnel of despair,  I know now to switch on the light of what I know about God to find my way back out.

Psalm 16:8 gives me clarity and helps me focus on the facts of Who God is, rather than on what I feel. “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken” (Psalm 16:8, ESV).

Thank You, Lord, that You do not shift and change along with my feelings or circumstances. You are the Rock. Steady. Constant. Persevering. Thank You, too, that You promise to never leave.

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Focus on the Facts – encouragement from @CindiMcMenamin on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

View More: http://chelseamariephoto.pass.us/cindiAbout the author: Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning writer, national speaker, and certified writing coach who helps women strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of several books including When Women Long for Rest, When You’re Running on Empty, and Drama Free: Finding Peace When Emotions Overwhelm You. For more on her books and resources to strengthen your soul, marriage, and parenting, or for more information on her coaching services to help you write the book on your heart, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

What Readers are Saying about When You’re Running on Empty: “Truly, there is not a woman out there who cannot relate to When You’re Running on Empty.” – Cheryl M. Anderson, Director of Women’s Ministry, Morrill Baptist Church, Morrill, ME

Join the conversation: What fact about God encourages you when you are feeling discouraged?

 

Do You Have a Right-Hand Man?

by Cindi McMenamin @CindiMcMenamin

I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.                                                                                                                   Psalm 16:8, NASB

I sat down on the floor of my office and cried. My inner circle around me was falling apart. And I felt so alone.

My assistant in ministry and close friend for the past two years had just informed me that she had to step down from her position in order to take care of priorities at home. I understood her reasons. I wanted to be supportive. But all I could think about was losing her. She would no longer be there to help me. No longer be there to be my sounding board, my prayer support, my “other half” in a very real sense.

I felt like I was losing my right hand.

Hours earlier, I had spoken to a large group of women about the seasons of our lives in which we need to be pruned. I talked about how rose bushes need to be pruned. They look choppy after the pruning, but come spring, the roses come back brighter and more beautiful than ever before.

But here I was, being pruned in my own life, and feeling like I was losing my right hand!

“God, this doesn’t feel like pruning,” I prayed. “This feels like my right hand is being chopped off!”

Desperate for His presence and His comfort, I turned to the Psalms. I read Psalm 16 aloud and stopped suddenly at verse 8.

“…because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

“Lord,” I prayed, “I’m complaining that I’ve lost my right hand, but You are the One who is truly at my right hand. You are the One who helps me, counsels me, encourages me. You are the One who never leaves my side.

“Oh God, I’m so sorry I didn’t see it before. You truly are my Right-hand Man.”

As I read through the rest of the Psalm, I smiled at how it ended: “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever” (verse 11, NASB emphasis added).

God was telling me in my moment of fear and anxiety that not only was I never alone, but I never would be. And with my God at my right hand, there is abundant joy in His presence and pleasures forever. He was making it clear to me that there’s no one else I would rather have at my right hand.

I got up off the floor, walked out of the room with my Bible in one hand, my head held high, and my Right-hand Man at my side.

Thank You, Lord, for the reminder in Your Word that I never walk alone. You are always at my side.

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Do You Have a Right-Hand Man? – insight from @CindiMcMenamin on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

View More: http://chelseamariephoto.pass.us/cindiAbout the author: Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning writer and national speaker who helps women strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of 16 books including her best-selling titles When Women Walk Alone (more than 130,000 copies sold), When God Sees Your Tears, and God’s Whispers to a Woman’s Heart. For more on her books and resources to improve your walk with God, your marriage, or your parenting, or for a free consultation to see if she can help you write your book, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Do You Long to Hear God’s Whispers on Your Heart? “You willcindi mcmenamin God's Whispers to a Woman's Heart seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” Do you want to know His thoughts of you, His plans for you, His comfort and His presence? Get Cindi’s book, God Whispers to a Woman’s Heart.

Join the conversation: Pruning can be an uncomfortable process. Have you ever felt the Lord was pruning you? Did a time of growth follow?

Set Him Always Before You

by Twila Belk

I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.     Psalm 16:8 AMP

Do you ever forget anything? I do. Sometimes I’ll get on an elevator and wonder why I haven’t reached my floor. And then I’ll discover it’s because I hadn’t remembered to push the button. I forget where I’ve put things. I forget the names of my kids. I forget why I went to the other room. And if I’m not careful, I’ll forget meaningful dates or events. If I don’t keep a sticky note or some sort of reminder in front of me, I’m in trouble.

Several years ago on an August day, I realized how important those reminders were to me. I went about my business as I normally do, but I had a niggling feeling that I was forgetting something. Halfway through the day, I came across a significant document while sorting a stack of papers on my table. It was the first day of school, and I had forgotten to take my kids! Yikes!

Because I hadn’t kept that important information at the top of the pile and smack dab in front of my face, I had to put up with friends and school personnel who laughed at me and questioned my mental stability.

“Out of sight, out of mind” is a clichéd expression, but it’s proven to be true in my case.

Unfortunately, that’s also often the case with many of us regarding our relationship with God. If we don’t keep him at the “top of our pile,” we forget that he’s with us. We forget that he wants to help us. We forget that he is I AM. And because of our forgetfulness, we’re troubled needlessly with a load of care.

David wrote the words in Psalm 16:8 shown above. He knew the key to being still or (unshaken) was to have a constant awareness of the Lord’s presence. Here are some of the ways he kept the Lord continually before him:

  • Talked honestly with God and carried on a running conversation with him
  • Meditated on God’s words
  • Journaled his thoughts and prayers to God (see the Psalms)
  • Passed down his God stories to the next generation
  • Sang praises to God
  • Proclaimed God’s goodness
  • Talked to others about God
  • Danced before God
  • Opened his eyes and heart to notice God at work
  • Immersed himself in the truth of God’s Word

As with us, life wasn’t always easy for David. He faced storms, dealt with wicked people, confronted giants, had to make difficult decisions, and wrestled with inner turmoil. But because he knew God intimately and kept him at the “top of his pile,” David was able to trust him. God proved himself to David again and again and will do the same for us.

I have problems with forgetfulness, Lord, but I don’t want that to happen when it comes to you. Help me to learn from David and to keep you continually before me. If I do that, I won’t be shaken by the worries and cares and troubles of life. With you at the “top of my pile,” I’ll remember how big you are, how good you are, and how trustworthy you are. Thank you for being at my right hand.

(This devotion is an excerpt from The Power to Be, (c) 2018 Twila Belk. Used by permission of BroadStreet Publishing.)

twila belkAbout the Author: Also known as the Gotta Tell Somebody Gal, Twila Belk  loves braggin’ on God. Whether she’s writing, speaking, or teaching, she offers hope and encouragement for people to fix their eyes on him. Twila is the author of The Power to Be: Be Still, Be Grateful, Be Strong, Be Courageous and Raindrops from Heaven: Gentle Reminders of God’s Power, Presence, and Purpose as well as five other books. Mom to three grown children and Grandma to three precious little boys, Twila lives with her husband in Iowa, not far from the Mississippi River and the home of American Pickers, John Deere tractors, and Whitey’s ice cream.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner 51veIj1tu+L._SX344_BO1,204,203,200_from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Twila’s new devotional book,  The Power to Be, please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: What kinds of things shake you? How would setting God always before you help you keep from being shaken? What are methods you could use to help you have a constant awareness of God in your life?