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Peace. Be Still.

Peace. Be Still.


A Poem based on Matthew 8
By
Deb Shirley

Are You willing, Lord, to calm the raving sea?
If not, then will You anoint us with Your peace?
Lord, are You willing to still the mighty wind?
If the answer’s ‘no,’ then comfort will You send?

Are You willing, Lord, to shift the hurricane?
Or if it reaches land, will You our lives sustain?
Lord, are You willing to halt the raging floods?
If not, then will You prove that You’re still good?

Are you willing, Lord, to cease the forceful quake?
If not, then will You soothe our souls in its wake?
Lord, are you willing when fires blaze to send the rain?
If You choose to not, then our faith will You maintain?

In our weakness, Lord, You promise to be strong.
In our trials You’re the One for whom we long.
Teach us, Lord, that on You we can depend.
Hold us in Your arms, our hearts and souls defend.

You are the One who lights our darkest paths.
Who protects us in the storm and even when it’s passed.
You are the Way, You are the Truth, You are the Life.
No other can compare! No other has Your might!

You are our Refuge and the Rock on which we stand.
You are the Cornerstone, Strong Tower in this land.
You are our Strength, our Shepherd, and our Guide.
Our Ever-Present Help, on You we can rely.

So, we will trust You, Lord, whenever storms arise.
Under Your wings secure, safe there we will abide.
And then remain with You until our dying day.
In faith, until the end, forever there we’ll stay.

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Fast Friday

Mark 2:20 – But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast.

Tomorrow is Good Friday, the day we remember the death of JESUS, The One Sacrifice that set us free from sin and death! As you commemorate this day, consider a day of fasting and prayer.

The choice is entirely between you and God. Ask Him what you should do and obey.

It may not be 24-hours without nutrition. He may lead you to a fruit and juice fast or to fast from meat or sweets or something else. He may want you to fast from activities that draw you away from spending time with Him.

Whatever you decide to do, begin your fast by reading Isaiah 58.

If you need help knowing how to pray, two memorable “fast prayers” can be found in Daniel 9:1-19 and Nehemiah 1:4-11.

Just remember –
But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6:17-18)

Ephesians 4:14-16
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.


I watch the towering pines around my home sway with the wind. Yet, they are not moved. They are grounded to earth by a deep root system that fortifies them against the persistent breeze.

So it should be with a Christian. As the world is tossed to and fro by false teachers, we remain grounded in Christ Jesus our Lord who builds us up and strengthens us in the faith. We are not shifted here and there by teachings that do not align with scripture. We hold to the truth of His Word. We drink it in as nourishment to our souls. Rooted and established in love, we allow Christ to grow us into His image.

But is that enough? Should we be content with our own salvation and spiritual growth while others around us are led into the darkness by the enemy’s lies and deceit? No! The Bible tells us clearly that we are to “speak the truth in love” and do the work that Christ has given us to do.

For me, that work is writing, and I’m ashamed to admit that in this area of service I’m not doing my part. I’ve allowed the winds of change to shift my priorities, and instead of being grounded to Him, I’m like Solomon chasing after the wind—spending my energy and time on things that do not make a difference for the Kingdom.

God has given me a gift. I am a teacher of truth through the ministry of my pen. If I neglect that gift, it will be like a diseased pine slowly rotting away, and one day it will cease to exist. When I’m gone from this world, will I leave a legacy of truth for others to follow? Or will I leave behind empty pages, pits of darkness that allow them to be led astray by false teachers?

Today, I recommit to do my part in spreading His Word through the winds of Truth.

How about you?
What gift has God imparted to you?
Are you using it for His glory and to grow His Kingdom?

Let’s all do our part to spread His Word by whatever means and gift possible!

Other Scriptures:
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:6-7

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:16-21

RED LETTER JOURNEY – THE LORD’S MODEL PRAYER
Matthew 6:9-13

Our Father which art in heaven
God is not only majestic and holy, but He is also PERSONAL and loving like a Father.
Romans 8:15-“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

Hallowed be thy name
This is to recognize God and His Name as holy and sacred.
To withdraw from fellowship with the WORLD by first gaining fellowship with GOD.

Thy Kingdom come
Jesus is talking about not only the future, put the present as well. He’s talking about total surrender!
Picture yourself as a castle and God as your KING of Kings who rules over you. He is God! He has the right to rule our lives. Is He ruling yours?
Prayer Challenge: Lord, here I am. A castle (temple) awaiting your rule. Come, Father, and control the realm of my life. Be King over me!

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven
Do you pray for God to have His way, His will, in your life? If not, I challenge you to start today. There is nothing to fear in this prayer. God wants only the very best for you. Allowing Him to rule over you and do His will through you should bring you assurance and comfort that you are safely in His care.

How can God’s will be accomplished on earth? He can accomplish his will any way He wants to do it, but most often chooses Christians to fulfill His work.

Give Us this Day our Daily Bread
Daily means daily. Every day of our life we need sustenance. As our body needs bread (food) for its survival, so our spiritual body requires a feeding of His Word every day to sustain us and help us grow.

What does bread symbolize?
In the temple, the PRESENCE of God. (Exodus 25:30)
“Man does not live on bread alone but on every WORD that comes from the mouth of
God.” (Matthew 4:4)
The Bread of Life is JESUS! (John 6:30-35 and 48-51; 1 Corinthians 11:23-24)

And forgive us our debts AS we forgive our debtors
AS—a little word with a powerful punch. It means: to the same degree, equally, in the manner, similarly, something like.

You might as well say that you are praying …
Okay, God, forgive me something like I forgave her.
Lord, forgive me to the same degree that I forgave him.
Forgive me equally as much as I forgave them.

Why is it so important to God that we forgive others?
Because enmity in our heart SEPARATES us from God.
To keep a person from being overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.

2 Corinthians 2:5-8, “If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you, to some extent—not to put it too severely. The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.”

Lead us not into temptation
Does God ever tempt man to sin? ABSOLUTELY NOT! (James 1:13-15; Matthew 26:41)
However, He does allow trials into our lives to grow us spiritually.

I like this commentator’s take on this verse …
John Gill . . .
Such a petition as this is often to be observed in the prayers of the Jews, “do not lead me” neither into sin, nor into transgression and iniquity, “nor into temptation”, or “into the hands of temptation”;”
that is, into the power of it, so as to be overcome by it, and sink under it; in which sense the phrase is to be understood here. We are not here taught to pray against temptations at all, or in any sense, for they are sometimes needful and useful; but that they may not have the power over us, and destroy us.

Deliver us from evil
Hebrews 2:18 – Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

1 Corinthians 10:13 – No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

This verse is often misquoted and misinterpreted. Many people think the Bible says God will not give us more than we can bear. But in reality, this verse is talking about temptation, not circumstances in our lives. Sometimes God gives us things we can’t bear so that we will depend on Him.

God will not give us more than HE can bear!

To deliver means to RUSH or DRAW to one’s self, to rescue, to deliver.
Picture Jesus rushing to our aid when we find temptation before us. He longs to deliver us if we will just allow Him to.
What better deliverance can we hope for than to be delivered from the anguish and pain of our SIN!

For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever!
Is He ruler of your life today?
Are you living as if He truly has immeasurable (dynamite) power? (Ephesians 3:20)
Is everything you say and do to bring glory to God or to you?

The importance of prayer lies not in HOW we pray, but THAT we pray!

    I challenge you to pray The Lord’s Model Prayer and mean it!

I cannot say our if religion has no room for others and their needs.
I cannot say Father if I do not demonstrate this relationship in my daily living.
I cannot say who art in heaven if all my interests and pursuits are on earthly things.
I cannot say hallowed be thy name if I, who am called by his name, am not holy.
I cannot say thy kingdom come if I am unwilling to give up my own sovereignty and accept the righteous reign of God.
I cannot say thy will be done if I am unwilling or resentful of having it in my life.
I cannot say in earth as it is in heaven unless I am truly ready to give myself to his service here and now.
I cannot say give us this day our daily bread without expending honest effort for it or by ignoring the genuine
needs of my fellowmen.
I cannot say forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us if I continue to harbor a
grudge against anyone.
I cannot say lead us not into temptation if I deliberately choose to remain in a situation where I am likely to be tempted.
I cannot say deliver us from evil if I am not prepared to fight in the spiritual realm with the weapon of prayer.
I cannot say Thine is the kingdom if I do not give the King the disciplined obedience of a loyal subject.
I cannot say Thine is the power if I fear what my neighbors may say or do.
I cannot say Thine is the glory if I am seeking my own glory first.
I cannot say forever if I am too anxious about each day’s affairs.
I cannot say amen unless I honestly say, “Cost what it may, this is my prayer.”
(Anonymous)

If there is one thing I’ve discovered in this journey called life, it is that God and His Word meet every need I’ve ever had or will have.

Hebrews 4:12-13 tells us, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”

HIS WORD is ALIVE! It is ACTIVE. And NOTHING is hidden from MY GOD!

He has walked with me through every trial in my life and ministered healing through His Word. At my weakest, the following scriptures gave me strength. They breathed life into me on my journey. Maybe they will speak to you as well.

My Plans vs. God’s Plans
Jeremiah 29:11
Proverbs 16:9
Proverbs 16:1
Proverbs 16:3
Proverbs 19:21

Salvation
John 6:44

Unequally Yoked
2 Corinthians 6:14

In the Mirror
James 1:23-25

A Child of God
John 1:12

Forgiven
1 John 1:9
Psalm 103:11-12
Micah 7:19
Psalm 25:7

Being Single
Isaiah 54:5-8

Rejection
1 Samuel 12:22
Psalm 94:14

Unanswered Prayer
Mark 11:23-24
John 15:7
John 14:13-14
James 4:3

Comfort
2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Husbands
1 Peter 3:-6

Infertility
Isaiah 54:1

The Wayward
2 Samuel 14:14

Unforgiveness
Matthew 6:12
Matthew 6:14-15

When you can’t pray
Romans 8:34
Romans 8:26-27
Hebrews 7:25
Ezekiel 18:32

Renewing Faith
Psalm 77

“Lord, I pray for my fellow journeymen that You will sing over them today songs that will reach to their deepest need. Minister to their souls through Your Word. When we are weak, You are strong. Be strong in us today. Oh, Abba, thank You for Your love, Your mercy, Your grace! Amen and Amen!”

Zephaniah 3:17
“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.”

HERE to HEAR

“Speak, for you servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10b

Recently, I taught a Sunday School lesson based on 1 Samuel 3. I invite you to join me in discovering the importance of hearing from God through the life of His servant, Samuel.

“In those days the word of the LORD was rare.” (1 Samuel 3:1b)
Was God’s Word rare because He wasn’t speaking? Or was it rare because they weren’t listening? Examine yourself. Is God’s Word rare in your life? In your home? In your family? In your church?

I have at least ten Bibles within easy reach at any given time. That does not include the nine versions on my PC. Yet for the past few years God’s Word was rare to my heart—not because God wasn’t speaking, but because I wasn’t listening. Sure, I picked a Bible up often and scanned the words written there, but I replaced in-depth Bible Study and quiet time with a mild interest in God’s Word. He longs for an intimate relationship with us. If we want the same, we must immerse ourselves in His Word. Make the Bible a cherished treasure in your home.

“Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.” (1 Samuel 3:7)

This young boy lived in the tabernacle—24 hours a day, seven days a week—yet he did not recognize God’s voice. Why do you think that was? Samuel served God. He worshipped Him. He ministered before Him. He knew about God, yet He did not know God.

Each week our churches are filled with people who serve God, who teach and preach, and sing praises to Him, yet many of these people don’t really know Him. They know about God, but they have not come to the realization that they need a Savior, and therefore many do not have a personal relationship with Him.

How about you? Do you truly know God? Do you have an intimate relationship with Him? If you are not hearing from God, if you do not recognize His voice when He calls your name, perhaps you need to examine where you stand with Him. Are you truly saved? If you have doubts and want to be sure, this article may help: How to be Sure of Your Salvation.

The LORD called Samuel, a mere child.

Why did God call a child? Is it that this child’s heart was more open to God’s message? Or were the adults not listening? Or was their sin so vile that God refused to speak to them? There is a note in my Bible: “God’s chain of command is based on faith, not on age or position. In finding faithful followers, God may use unexpected channels. Be prepared for the Lord to work at any place, at any time, and through anyone He chooses.”

Samuel’s heart had been prepared from birth for this moment, for God’s message.

Hannah’s words recorded in 1 Samuel 1:28: “So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD.” And he worshiped the LORD there.“
1 Samuel 2:18: “Samuel was ministering before the LORD . . .”
1 Samuel 2:26: “And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the LORD and with men.”
1 Samuel 3:1: “The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli.”

In Deuteronomy 6:4-9 Moses tells the people . . .
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

How do you measure up according to these commandments? Are you preparing your children’s hearts so that they will recognize God’s voice when He calls them? Are you impressing God’s Word on your children every day? Do you talk about the Bible when you sit at home? Do you share God’s message with them as you walk or ride through your daily routines? Do you text them often with special Words from God? If you want your child to grow up to be the Samuel of this generation, you need to start at birth. Dedicate them to the Lord and don’t ever stop training them in the way they should go.

If you do this, you can claim the promise in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

God called Samuel by name.
Do you believe that God still calls His children by name? Jesus used the analogy of a shepherd and sheep in John 10:1-18 to indicate that YES, He still calls us by name . . .

“I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them.
Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

When was the last time you heard Him call your name?

Lastly, The Word of the LORD was cherished by Samuel.

“The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground.” (1 Samuel 3:19)

Isn’t that a beautiful depiction of God’s desire for us? Oh that we’d never let God’s Words fall to the ground! Matthew Henry wrote, “We may expect that God will speak to us, when we set ourselves to hearken to what he says. When we come to read the word of God, and to attend on the preaching of it, we should come thus disposed, submitting ourselves to the commanding light and power of it.”

The commanding light and power of God’s Word. Do you long for it? Do you set yourself to hearken to what God says? Do you truly treasure His Word? In Habakkuk 2:1 we find this beautiful word picture: “I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected.”

Will you stand on the rampart today? Will you wait in eager expectation for God to speak to you?

If so, approach God’s throne of grace today and say to Him, “Lord, I’m here to hear!”

Then you may hear Him say, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” Isaiah 30:21

There are many stages of grief: anger, regret, despair, acceptance.

Months after losing my dad, I hadn’t experienced any of those. Instead, I was stuck in Dream State—that place where the great cheater death is not allowed. I couldn’t stay forever, I couldn’t turn back time, but I couldn’t move forward either.

My head said, “Dad’s so much better off. No pain or meds. No more trips to the ER.”

But my heart said, “I don’t care. I want my daddy.”

So I journeyed to places where Dad still existed. I clung to the memory of the last time I saw him. I’m not even sure why he came to visit that day, but I’m so glad he did. My Heavenly Father blessed me with one last moment, one last kiss, and one last I love you. Those ‘one lasts’ are tucked safely in my heart and mind for a lifetime.

Dream state is a normal reaction to death. I’d been there before when my brother was snatched from us leaving a massive void that I thought nothing and no one could fill. I was wrong. God poured Himself into that abyss and eased the heartache. I knew my Heavenly Father would do it again. But when?

From my valley I prayed, “Lord, please tell me this isn’t true. Tell me I’ll see Dad again.” And I waited. And waited.

Eventually I moved forward—gradually—but I moved, and my heart connected with my head. My dad was free. He’d moved on. And now he’s strutting streets of gold without a walker, his back free of pain. He’s walking and talking with Jesus. Can I really be selfish enough to wish him back here? No, I can’t.

Revelation 21:4 says, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” God will return and He Himself will wipe the tears from our eyes.

In the meantime, I’ll allow my Heavenly Father to pour His soothing potion of comfort into my soul, and I’ll survive, leaving Dream State behind because I have hope.

There is a place where there is no death.

There is a future.

There is life.

There is truth.

And His name is Jesus.

The Right Choice

To seek Your peace and comfort, that is Your desire and will.
Yet I buried my heart in grief, refusing to listen or be healed.

You persistently call to my spirit, “Child, meet with me today.”
For the first time in ages I answered, “What is it You long to say?”

Your voice thundered around me. I couldn’t help but hear.
You asked, “Who am I to you, Child?” I responded without fear.

“Lord, I do not know the answer. I’m only human and bound by space.”
You responded, “That’s your decision. One that you alone chose to make.

“I’ve entreated your attention. I’ve pleaded for an honest discourse.
But you closed your ears to Me, and instead stayed this dangerous course.

“So, I’ll ask again now that you’re listening. Who do you say that I am?
Am I God or only human? Am I Truth or am I a scam?

“Only you can form an opinion. You can’t base it on another’s view.
Child, Who do you say that I am? I’m waiting. The next step is up to you.”

I bowed my heart full of sorrow. Tears of regret trailed down my face.
I had no answer to give Him. That was my disgrace.

But in brokenness I felt His presence as He whispered in my ear.
“Has it been so long that you’ve forgotten? I’m still here, Child. Can’t you hear?

“I’m still the Alpha and Omega, The Beginning and the End.
I’m the One Who gave you life, and I can revive your spirit again.

“Will you accept My invitation? Or will you choose to remain behind?
Will you seek the truth found in Me? Or will you believe a lie?”

“Abba Father,” I cried in that moment. “I’m nothing without Thee.
Please forgive my distance. In You alone will I find sweet relief.”

I opened Your Word before me, and in expectation of Your voice,
I read and listened in obedience, and quickly saw I’d made the right choice.

“You are my God, my Savior. You’re the Rock on which I stand.
My Deliverer and Redeemer. The Holy One. The Great I Am.

“You are my strength and fortress. The shield in which I abide.
You are The One Great Shepherd. My ever-present guide.

“You are flawless in perfection. Pure. And everything good.
You are my help and comfort. These truths I find in Your Word.

“Today I choose to accept them, for Your Bread is life to me.
Forgive me, precious Savior, and bind my heart always to Thee.”

Then I felt you draw near me. I knew You’d heard my plea.
You cut the cords that detained me, and by Your grace set me free.

“Now, hold me ever closer. Sustain me by Your side.
Shine Your presence on me. Flood my soul with Your Light.

“Thank You for Your great mercy. For Your love on all You have made.
For faithfulness to Your promises, and for being righteous in all Your ways.

“If I live to be a hundred, or leave this earth in a breath or two,
I’ll rejoice in this moment forever, when I called on You in truth.”

And in my spirit You answered. I have not doubt I heard Your voice.
Clearly You responded, “Welcome back, Child. Today, you made the right choice.”