by: Carole L. Haines
My husband and I were on a trip out to the wilds of Maryland and West Virginia yesterday. As we came out of one of the valleys, I could see the Wind Turbines lined up on the Mountains in long rows. I love how we are moving toward Solar and Wind Power as a society. I am simply fascinated by Wind Power. Some people may find them intrusive on the landscape, but I think They are Beautiful and Graceful. Bruce said, “Well, it’s like you can See the Wind!” That’s it, that is why. Through these windmills I can actually see the movement of wind. Jesus Speaks of the wind in this way:
“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)
Every time the Wind blows and catches me with a fragrance or cools my skin on a hot day, I think of God. God is so mysterious, as is His wind and the workings of His Spirit. but when we see the trees move and sway and when we see the windmills spin, we can see the activity of God. I love how nature shows us God’s character. The Mighty Mountains stand as sentinels proclaiming His Eternal Constancy. The Ocean waves make clear His Mighty Power. The rains reveal to us his grace and provision. The Seasons tell us He is faithful, and the wind whispers His wonderful mysterious Truth. Spending lots of time with God in nature is one way we can get to know His personality.
“God has infinite treasures to give us. Why should we be satisfied with a brief moment of worship? With such meager devotion, we restrain the flow of God’s abundant grace. If God can find a soul filled with a lively faith. He pours His grace into it in a torrent that, having found an open channel, gushes out exuberantly.”
(Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God)
As you go throughout your day, or drive along the way; may God bless you with His presence. May You see His beauty in the flowers, His majesty in the trees. His kindness in the gently flowing waters of a stream. May you feel the Kiss of His Spirit in the workings of the Wind.
By: Carole L. Haines
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.
The feel of the smooth, crispy paper beneath my fingertips as I glide through the pages in my search for an answer. The crackling sound as I thumb through each one, separating them delicately, one by one. This Bible has seen many a year, gone through many a struggle, captured many a tear. Our first Bibles get worn out and broken down as bindings come detached and pages fray. Yet there is nothing quite like the feel and sound of these pages for a Believer who has walked with God a long time.
We live in a digital age, and as a writer, I am thrilled for all the advances, the technology, social media and other sources that make it easier than ever to share the Good News of Jesus love for the world and His sacrifice that made salvation possible.
But this old Bible, with all of its dog-eared pages, underlines and highlights. With all of the notes that reveal where God was speaking to my heart at a particular time in my life. I have grown up with this Bible, with The God who inspired those who penned its pages. I am so grateful for growing up the way I did. I wasn’t raised in a traditional Christian Family. Mine was a religiously divided one. Two different religions, which cause arguments and disagreements, with many tears shed and regretful words said.
This drew me, and called me to search for the One Truth, the one thing that could never change its mind, go back on its word, betray me with a shifting perspective or reverse in opinion. I was drawn to the words of the Bible soon after I was Born again as a young girl of 9-10. But I didn’t really start to grow in Him until I saw the shallowness of what the world had to offer. By the time I left High School, I was fully back with God and growing with fellow Believers. I have stumbled, been arrogant, self-righteous, judgmental; all of which God has corrected me for. Yet He has gently drawn me back through repentance and His unconditional love and forgiveness. This Precious Book records my journey and I will leave it as a legacy to my children in the Hopes that they may find encouragement in the ramblings, the searches and the rejoicing written in the margins of its well-worn pages.
God, Your Word is Life to me. Thank You for drawing me to Yourself, for making me Your own and for continuing to grow me up in My Faith in You through the Scriptures. You said it Yourself, Jesus.
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. (John 6:63)
by: Carole L. Haines
“Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
Jesus predicted that His disciples would abandon Him and be scattered, leaving Him alone. But Jesus immediately comforts Himself with the truth that He is never alone because the Father is with Him. Jesus also speaks these words to us in the same passage of Scripture about our relationship with the Father:
“ In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth from the Father.” (John 16:26-27)
The Father Himself loves us because we have loved Jesus and believed Jesus. I have heard people say that they keep the TV on, or a radio, or some kind of noise 24/7, because they are afraid of the silence. Silence makes them uncomfortable because they are afraid of the loneliness.
But I have found that turning all those things off and breaking through the fear of silence, is when we experience the Presence of God that whispers softly to us, encouraging our hearts. I hear Him in the Wind which feels like His breath kissing my face. I hear Him in the songs of Worship sung by the birds. I see Him in the meandering flight of the butterfly as he flies from flower to flower, seemingly without a care. I am amazed at His astounding beauty created morning and evening in the Sunrises and Sunsets each day, so uniquely painted by God.
Turn off the noise, Precious believers and listen for His Whisper in the workings of nature, in the silence of your room, in the quiet spaces of your heart. He loves You. He is speaking to You. Turn off the noise and listen.
by: Carole L. Haines
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body, and be thankful”
I worship You as My God because of Your almighty power. I magnify You as my LORD because of all You’ve done for me. I follow You as my Master because of Your wisdom and miracles. But I know You intimately because You are my Father.
(Prime Time Devotion, Ephesians 4 Ministries: HIS NAME IS FATHER)
I hear You, God, calling us back to the Simple life, a simpler faith,
like we had before it all became so complicated.
Your truth never changed, You stayed the same;
but we made it harder than it has to be.
Take us back to a time when we worshiped You simply
because we enjoyed You and Your company, simply because You are God.
*Focusing on Your Great Salvation brought to us in Your Great Love
demonstrated by You, Dear Jesus, in the sacrifice of Yourself for us.
*No longer do we need to come day after day, as the high priest did,
and offer sacrifices again and again. You offered Yourself
once for all and are now seated in Heaven
at the right hand of the Father praying for us.
*We were the Joy set before You, Jesus, as You endured the journey to the Cross.
It was Love for Your Father that led you there
and Love for us, Your Creation.
For You knew, Dear Jesus, before *the foundation of the world,
before you made even one of us, that we would rebel, fail and sin.
You knew we would cost You your life, but You created us anyway.
This is a love we will never understand, yet so desperately need.
All of humanity is looking for love, and You have Your hands stretched out
offering it to us all, paid for with Your own blood and sacrifice.
You ask us to love one another as You have loved us.
To lay aside our petty differences, our grievances, our opinions;
and clothe ourselves in love and humility toward one another.
*To take up the shield of faith, the helmet of truth, the breastplate of righteousness. Wearing on our feet the Gospel of Peace, ready to go wherever you send us,
carrying Your Beloved message to all who are desiring to hear the truth
of Your love and sacrifice for them as well.
*Simplicity is Loving God, Loving Others and Loving ourselves as God does.
Holy Spirit, this is not natural for us at all.
We are so naturally self-focused, self-centered.
Please help us become more like Jesus every day.
Bring us back to our First Love,
as the day we first came to know just how precious the Love of God is.
God’s love drew us in. God’s Love reached our hearts
and God’s Love saves us from ourselves.
Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit; bring us back
to the *Purity and Simplicity of Devotion to Christ.
We Pray this in Jesus’ Name. Amen
Scriptures used *
(Colossians 3:12-15) shown above
The Armor of God, (Ephesians 6:10-20)
2 Corinthians 11:3
A Guest Post by My Sister: Christine Laporte
Psalm 118: “I was pushed back and about to fall,
but the Lord helped me.
14 The Lord is my strength and my defense;
he has become my salvation.
During the recent Covid-19 “Stay at Home” order, I started feeling unsettled, lethargic and stuck. I wouldn’t say I was having a complete break down but felt very uncomfortable, even scared.
Throughout this journey called “life”, because so many times I tried to “handle” things on my own, I learned that asking for help is both wise and necessary if I was going to overcome challenges and move forward.
Lately I tend to take my troubles to the Holy Spirit because He is full of strength and comfort. He will point me to just the right verse(s) I need to read, giving me hope and direction. Most important, He pulls me out of the dark abyss of depression.
Since my late teens I have experienced varying degrees of depression. During my first year of college my anxiety and lack of motivation to even get out of bed was so serious I ended up in the hospital for treatment. Believe me, those were dark days for my family and when I was discharged months later, I was raw. Yes, I grew closer to the Lord and devoured His word, but I was a different person. Like the tree roots in the accompanying photo, I was exposed. Decisions I made led to my depression and I had to live in a psychiatric hospital for five months. Five months so I wouldn’t hurt myself, sleep all day without eating; five months for me to learn I could lean on God and He would help me.
So this April, when I sensed myself falling back into that pit and emotional prison, I got very nervous. I certainly didn’t want to go back to the suffocating place in my mind that the Lord delivered me from. After the novelty of being able to sleep late, take walks, cook and watch movies wore off, once again I found myself not wanting to get out of bed.
“Holy Spirit, I’m in a bad way. I don’t want to do anything, but I have responsibilities. Please give me the strength to just get moving and a reason to get out of bed. Show me what the Lord wants me to know in the midst of this mess”. And He delivered; He pointed me to Psalm 118 and just as King David was pushed back and about to fall, I was about to fall. Fortunately, just as the Lord helped the King, He helped me.
That verse gave me the light I needed to step out of the darkness I was feeling. I knew there would be stability from God, holding me up. And each day, whether I’m at home or able to start working, going back to church and taking my family to the movies again, He is my strength, my defense and my salvation.
By: Carole L. Haines
(Picture taken by: Cody J. Haines)
“Return and say to Hezekiah the leader of My people, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of your father David, “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord. (2 Kings 20:5)
God desires to bring great healing to the brokenness in our lives. Jesus didn’t die just to save us from our sins and hell. His death provided the way for us to be set free from the ravages of sin, both ours and the fallout we suffer from the sins of others. There are things we go through as humans because of other people’s poor choices that can cause us deep and searing pain. When it’s the same sin committed against us over and over, the pain can be so great that we don’t even know what to do with it, so we swallow it back down, again and again. I have been crying out to God for relief and release from such agony. This morning I woke up with such a pit in my stomach, I went out on the porch and there is where it began. The tears came like a flood and I just began to pour out all the pain, like a river they flowed until there was nothing left to cry. Our tears are so precious to God. We need them and they’re a gift from Him. It is how we give God our pain, they are His channel, a Cleansing River.
You have taken account of my wanderings;
Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?
Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call.
This I know, that God is for me. (Psalm 56: 8-9)
A lot of the pain I was crying out was self-blame. Have you ever told yourself,
“It’s all my fault! This is happening to me again and again because there is something wrong with me.”
Sometimes it is a result of our own sin, but sometimes it is the result of the sin of others. It’s so hard to cry out the pain when others sin against you, There’s a two-fold piece to release in these matters. These things cannot just be cried out. Forgiveness needs to be the road walked while crying out the pain. Jesus calls us to forgive others and He has forgiven us. But my question since childhood, even in forgiveness, has been,
“But what do I do with all this pain?”
I believe tears are the vessel by which We give our pain to God.
Some people feel like they shouldn’t need to cry, they steel themselves against the sins of others becoming impenetrable fortresses. But soon they find themselves locked in a prison of their own making.
Some people cry over everything, wasting tears on petty whining because they didn’t get their own way. The value of tears will mean little to them.
But some come to see that tears are a gift, a cleansing river. And we find that we never have to cry alone, because God is right here with us, as we cry collecting our tears in His bottle, letting them pour out onto the pages of the story He is is writing for us.
God makes a Beautiful promise to us in His Word, it is a promise of Restoration.
4 Restore our captivity, O Lord, as the streams in the South.
5 Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.
6 He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed,
Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.
So, cry those tears, Dear Brother and Sister in Christ. Let them flow out of you as a gift from God. Life hurts, people hurt us, our sins and failings hurt and we need a way to give the pain and regret to God. Tears are a gift, and God hears our crying and has promised to come and rescue us, Bringing something beautiful out of the Garden of our tears. Jesus once watered a Garden with His tears. He knows, He understands. He cares and is right here with us, holding the bottle into which our tears fall.
By: Carole L. Haines
There’s one thing Jesus won’t ever say to us about sin, “Been there, done that!” But what can be said about Jesus regarding sin is this:
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews4:14-16)
Jesus can understand every temptation we ever face, it says so right here. He has been tempted in “ALL THINGS as we are,” yet without sin. Now that statement is just brimming with truth and encouragement for us. Let’s look at each part of verse 15 more closely.
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
- Jesus CAN and DOES sympathize with our weaknesses. This means that Jesus can and is affected with the same feeling as another. He can feel for and have compassion on us, because He knows what it is to be tempted as we are in our weaknesses.
The word for weaknesses is defined here as:
- BODY: want of strength, weakness, infirmity of the body
its native weakness and frailty
feebleness of health or sickness
- SOUL: want of strength and capacity requisite
to understand a thing, to do things great and glorious
to restrain corrupt desires, to bear trials and trouble.
That all sounds so detailed, but I love it. Can’t you relate to the feelings of illness and frailty of body? I can really relate to having an inability to understand some things, of feeling too small to do anything great. I totally get the difficulties in restraining corrupt desires and almost buckling under the weight of bearing trials and troubles.
- Jesus can sympathize with us about this. According to this verse, He was tempted with the same things; yet He never sinned in them.
- Jesus knows what temptation feels like, looks like and the courses it can take in our lives. He knows the subtle forms of its enticements and its insidious nature. Temptation here is defined as: to try or test one’s faith, virtue, character, by enticement to sin. God’s Word tells us that Jesus knows what it is to suffer under temptation and because he can and does come to the aid of those who are tempted.
For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.
- The same word used for temptation in these verses is also used in the description of our temptations described in James 1:14-15.
“But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.”
- Jesus can aid us in escaping temptation, enticement and sin
Jesus suffered temptations, but He was never carried away and enticed by them. He always chose righteously and therefore He can show us how to choose righteously as well. Jesus provides that way of escape spoken of in 1 Corinthians 10:13:
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
So run to Jesus, Dear Believer, in any and every temptation. Run to Him and never from Him, for He knows, He understands and He is able to come to your aid and show you the way to escape so that you will be victorious over the temptation and sin that so often plagues us. Run to Him, cry out to Him, trust Him to lead you in the way that you should go. He loves you and that love will never fail. Jesus will never say, “Been there, done that.” But He will say, “Been there, and I can show you how NOT to do that.”
*(I had a friend ask me how I get the Greek Definitions of the New Testament words I use. I use the Strong’s Concordance, and I usually look them up at Blue Letter Bible. Here is an example of what that looks like.
*For we do not have G2192 a high G749 priest G749 who G5101 cannot G1410 G3361 sympathize G4834 with our weaknesses, G769 but One who G5101 has been tempted G3985 in all G3956 things G3956 as we are, yet without G5565 sin. G266
Each key word has a corresponding number that reveals the definition at the site. Just a little info, for anyone else who was wondering how and where I get my information:)