“For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”
While I was in Colorado a couple of weeks ago during my quiet time I read Isaiah 41:13 “For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” I just got stuck on this verse and the phrase “takes hold of your right hand”. I wondered, “Why does it say right hand, why is it so specific?” Then I wondered, “What the percentage of the world is left handed?” It turns out only that 10-12% of the people in the world are left handed. So for most people who read this, the right hand is their strong hand. So, if someone takes hold of your strong hand that leaves you with your weak hand to work with.
Walking anywhere in Colorado was an adventure, I was continually coming across an ice patch and if I wasn’t paying attention and hit the ice just right I would get a quick heart dropping slide that made me feel I was about to land on my rump. (I had had an unfortunate incident with falling off a shuttle while I was there and I just didn’t want to find myself on the ground again.) So my husband Sean and I held hands while we walked, I admit it wasn’t about romance it was about survival.
Sean is a firefighter, his job is to protect people from danger and 99% of the time I trust his ability to protect me. But he’s lived in Florida for 40 years, and I’ve witnessed his ice walking ability, it is only slightly better than mine. Because of this, I just couldn’t walk with him holding my right hand because that left me to use my weak side to protect myself if we started to slip.
This reminds me of Isaiah 41:13, we all have a “strong side” these are the gifts and abilities God has given us that we feel confident in. But that is not where He wants us to stay. The Lord “takes us by the right hand” because he doesn’t want us to trust in our abilities. . Rather He wants us to step out in our weakness. In 2 Corinthians 12:9 the Lord says, “My power is made perfect in your weakness”. It is in this weakness we learn to trust and depend on the Lord for so much more than only doing the things we have confidence we can do ourselves.
When we are too confident in ourselves this leads to pride, thinking we can do it all on our own. 2 Corinthians 4:7 says “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” He want us to step out in our weakness because then His power is magnified, we show the world how amazingly powerful, faithful and trustworthy He is.
I love the last part of Isaiah 41:13 “Do not fear, I will help you”. That is a promise I want to cling to when I want to shrink back into the safe place of my abilities instead of stepping out in my weakness and magnifying “God’s all-surpassing power”.
Faithful Witness in The Sky
“It (David’s throne) will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky.”
My husband and I have been “empty nesters” for almost a year now. This summer we are only part-time empty nesters as our youngest son is home from college. But soon he will be going back to school and the house will be quiet and the piles of laundry will be smaller and the refrigerator will contain less food and our two puppy dogs will be sad for a time. I will be sad for a time as well.
When our youngest returns to college in Virginia, we will once again have five grown children living in five different states, none of them living in our home state of Alabama. Oh, this momma can get to them with a ticket from an airline or a long car drive if need be. But having them over for a spur of the moment dinner or an afternoon cup of coffee just doesn’t happen. Thankfully, their leaving and moving about has come in stages. My husband and I have adapted; we visit them whenever we can and we are thankful for technology that allows us to have video calls often. But sometimes I still miss their presence.
Often times, in the evening after the sun has gone down, I will step outside of our quieter-than-it-once-was home and look up at the sky. The stars are in their places and the moon is in its place, giving off its reflected light. Looking up at the bright shining moon gives me peace and quiets my momma’s heart because of a Bible verse from Psalm 89. In Psalm 89, the moon is described as God’s faithful witness in the sky.
The verses of Psalm 89:36-37 refer to Israel’s King David, God’s anointed who led God’s nation for a time. David was the man God described as “a man after His own heart.” The verses read: “His (David’s) dynasty will go on forever; his throne is as secure as the sun, as eternal as the moon, My faithful witness in the sky!”
King David’s kingship will live forever because God’s very Son would be born in the lineage of David. Jesus will forever be King on God’s throne, as sure as the sun and moon hang in the sky day after day.
The moon serves as a sign, a faithful witness to God’s faithfulness in keeping His promises. So, when I look up during nighttime skies, I think about God’s faithfulness. I think about the fact that the very same moon, the same faithful witness in the sky, that I see is the moon that my children see, in Texas and in Minnesota; in Georgia and Ohio and in Virginia. When I physically cannot be with the people I love, My Heavenly Father can be and is with them.
The moon that we can look up and see from anywhere in the world, reminds me that God can surely see me and the people I love from His abode in heaven, no matter how far we may be separated geographically. God is watching over me and mine, no matter where in this country or around the world we may be…and that is a comforting thought to me.
The Lord Goes Before Us
"The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
Most of us have experienced a time when our children were afraid and wanted us to check under their bed or in their closet to make sure that nothing was looming under or with in that would harm them. As we entered their fear of the unknown, they stayed far from the door in case trouble appeared. They awaited our reaction, looking for the love in our eyes, the smile of encouragement, and a walk of confidence.
What is it that you need to walk "into" today? Is there a conversation you feel led to address with your husband but you fear his response? Are you doubting yourself as a mom and unable to face this day with confidence? Are you frustrated by a behavior that your child continues to exhibit and you can’t muster the mental strength to deal with it? Is there someone to whom you need to speak truth in love but are concerned they won’t hear your heart? It might be that you need to address an overwhelming financial issue that youare avoiding. Or, are you nervous about an upcoming appointment?
The good news today is that the Lord will go before you!! He goes before us in His love, power, wisdom and peace, (just to name a few!)
Deuteronomy 31:8 says, “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
Whatever your day holds, God is holding it!!! He is going before you into it. He is with you and will not leave you alone.
However, He does command that we be not afraid or discouraged. You may ask, “But, how do I do that?”Just like children walking into the unknown, they ask their parents for help. We must ask our Heavenly Father for help. As a believer, we talk to our Father in prayer with faith, trusting He will take care of us.
Do you need encouragement and strength to let go of your fears? May the power of the Word found in Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT) minister to you now. “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
Lord, You know what we are walking into today. We thank You that You will lead us (Ex. 13:21a) and make the rough places smooth (Is. 45:2 NAS) as we keep our hope and confidence in You alone.
Ready to Ride
If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
Have you ever hesitantly tried a new activity and ended up loving it so much that it became a part of your life? Several years ago, I rode my bicycle across the state of Florida with a Christian cycling group called Coast 2 Coast (C2Cbikeride.com). Since that first ride, I have joyfully ridden my bicycle across the state thirteen times with about 70 other riders and a small support crew. Each October, we loaded our bikes into a semi truck in Tampa and drove to Daytona Beach. Upon arrival, the bikes were unloaded and the truck drove away. We are left standing in the parking lot with our two wheels on which we will travel over 200 miles from Daytona Beach to Tarpon Springs.
A few years ago, a man with an impressive reputation participated in the ride. He was a star football player, 2-time Super Bowl Champion (once as a player, once as a coach), 2-time ESPY Award winner, inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, received the Buccaneers Ring of Honor Award, authored several books and regularly appears on TV. Truly a celebrity. Coach Tony Dungy and his beautiful wife, Lauren, were on that ride!! We were all starstruck!!
The first year that Coach Dungy rode, we were all standing in the parking lot near Daytona Beach when the truck drove away. I looked at Coach and thought, “WOW, we are all on the same playing field. His impressive credentials will not help him ride 200 miles. The only thing that matters is how he prepared. Sure hope he’s ready!” Did he train? Did he practice riding in the hills? Does he know how to shift gears? Does he have what it takes to get to the finish? At that moment, it did NOT matter that he had 2 Super Bowl rings. The only thing that mattered was if he was prepared.
Those thoughts reminded me that there will come a day, in each of our lives, when the truck pulls away. When that day comes, we will be left standing there - all by ourselves. In Scripture, we read, “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27, NIV). On the day when the truck pulls away, we will face judgment and the only thing that matters is if we are prepared.
How do we prepare? Scripture states, “that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23, NIV). We prepare by admitting that we are a sinner. (I don't know about you, but when I look at myself, I know that I am a sinner!) Thankfully, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, NIV). We also read that “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). However, “…if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9, NIV). Have we admitted? Have we recognized the consequences of our sin? Confessed? Believed?
If you are prepared, thank the Lord for His amazing gifts! If you are unsure if you are prepared, please take time to consider His words and what you are “doing” with Jesus Christ, the One who loves you so much that He willingly laid down His life for you. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, NIV).
Remember, our credentials will not open the door to heaven, only Jesus Christ can and we have to be prepared. No one can ride for us, no one will stand in our shoes. When you reach the finish line, will you hear “Well done, my good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21, NIV)? If you are unsure, please let His Word prepare you for your eternal ride because none of us knows when the truck will pull away.
(By the way, the Dungy's are an amazing couple. They each confess Jesus as Lord and strive to serve Him and others to the best of their abilities. And, yes, they both were well prepared for the ride and not only did they finish strong but they have come back and ridden again and again!)
My precious husband, Bill, and I have been planted in Fort Myers, Florida for almost 35 years. As a newly married couple, God most graciously had placed people in both of our jobs to share Christ with us. Its hard to believe it has been almost 34 years since we asked Jesus into our hearts! Bill and I have been blessed with four children, 3 daughters, then a son. These blessings came quickly, all within 6 years!! During these years I'm so thankful I was able to be part of women's ministry classes at our church, helping me to grow in my walk with Him. Then came the day when I was asked that question that stretched me way outside of my comfort zone...will you teach a class? Its hard to believe that I have now been teaching more than 20 years. Bill and I love to travel, most of the time going to visit our 9 grandchildren, oh ya, and their parents! I also love reading, walking and hanging out with some very special young moms in Beloved that bless my socks off!
Julie is a Kansas girl who resides in sunny Southwest Florida. She's been married to her husband Sean for 23 years and they share two boys ages 21 & 17. She enjoys baking and biking, but her absolute favorite thing is snow skiing which is a little difficult to do in a sandy 80 degree land.
She became a follower of Christ at age 10. She loves studying and teaching God's Word. She has a passion for encouraging moms to love and follow Jesus.
Beth grew up in a loving home; however, in her early 20s she faced a very lonely time. During that time, she cried out to God and asked “If You are real, please show yourself to me!” God met her where she was and she trusted in the Lord Jesus at that time. Her life verse and desire is “no matter what happens, to conduct herself in a manner worthy of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27
Beth now resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband Larry. The Lord has blessed them by blending their family of five children. They currently have eight grandchildren and are hoping that there will be more grandchildren in the future.
Donna accepted Jesus as her Savior at the age of nine and has been amazed at God’s goodness and faithfulness throughout her life. She has been blessed to have had many mentors through each season of life, who have shown her what trusting God looks like. Donna and her husband, Bryan, make their home in central Arkansas. They have five grown children and are grandparents to wonderful grandchildren. Donna enjoys spending time with her family, laughing with friends (usually over coffee), going for long walks with her husband, and reading a good book (which may also be accompanied by a cup of coffee).
Sarah is a true Florida Cracker. She was born and raised in Southwest Florida. At the age of 6, Sarah accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and she hasn't looked back since. Hebrews 13:8 is one of her favorite verses, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Eating delicious desserts, spending time with her family and friends, and teaching people about Jesus are a few of the things she enjoys to do in her spare time.
Sarah has been married to her best friend and husband, Brandon, for 7 years. They have been blessed with one beautiful, determined son, Asher, who keeps them on their toes. Sarah and her family live in the Tampa area. They love exploring their community together, family hugs, and eating pizza whenever possible.
Katie Flint just recently moved back home to Fort Myers, Florida with her husband, Ryan and two children, Collins and Madden. At the age of 5, Katie accepted Jesus Christ to be the Lord and Savior of her life, after attending Vacation Bible School. Through each phase of her life, God has shown her that He alone is trustworthy. The verse that has been her life source is Psalm 46:10- “Be still and know that I am God.”
She is a stay-at-home mom and enjoys exercising and baking. She has been married to her husband Ryan for almost 9 years, who is her high school sweetheart. They enjoy trying new restaurants, family trips to the beach, and relaxing at home.
Marsha grew up in a small rural town in upstate New York. In 2006, after finishing college, she moved to sunny SW Florida where she met her, now husband, Shawn. Together they enjoy spending family time with their two fun-loving toddler boys Zachariah and Kairos.
Marsha enjoys living an active lifestyle, which is helpful, considering that her favorite hobby is baking.
Though she attended church as a child, Marsha was not saved until adulthood when her eyes were finally opened to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
Since being saved, God has placed a loving burden on her heart to share the truth about God’s healing grace with those who may feel like forgiveness is not possible for them.