Pause for Poetry The Red Sea Place

meadow lake

The Red Sea Place

by Annie Johnson Flint

Have you come to the Red Sea place in your life,
Where in spite of all you can do,
There is no way out, there is no way back,
There is no other way but through?
Then wait on the Lord with a trust serene
Till the night of your fear is gone;
He will send the wind, He will heap the floods,
When He says to your soul, “Go on.”

And His hand will lead you through–clear through–
Ere the watery walls roll down,
No foe can reach you, no wave can touch,
No mightiest sea can drown;
The tossing billows may rear their crests,
Their foam at your feet may break,
But over their bed you shall walk dry shod
In the path that your Lord will make.

In the morning watch, ‘neath the lifted cloud
You shall see but the Lord alone,
When He leads you on from the place of the sea
To a land that you have not known;
And your fears shall pass as your foes have passed
You shall be no more afraid;
You shall sing His praise in a better place,
A place that His hand has made.

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You can find my August Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Strong in the Battle Book Review

I highly recommend Strong in the Battle by Susie Larson. The spiritual truths contained in this book are truths we need to hold onto to help us be victorious in the midst of our battles.

Following each chapter are sections for practical application. They are: The Humble Way, Discern the Fiery Arrows, Say NO!, and Say YES! There is also a section called Spiritual Intelligence Training. This takes you deeper into Scripture relating to principles in the chapter.

There is so much in this book to ponder and be strengthened by. I found journaling my thoughts as I read helpful.

If you are in a spiritual battle, or want to prepare for the enemy’s next attack, Strong in the Battle is a great resource.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I gave.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

You can find my August Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Just Passin’ Through

Just Passin’ Through by Brad Curtis comes from his book of Christian cowboy poems, He Holds the Reigns. If you’d like to read more of his poems here on the blog, how about The Last Ranch Revival, the story of Jonah or Cowboy in Snakeskin Boots about Ol Devil Red, Satan, and The Northern Drive about Jesus leaving to prepare our home in heaven.

Just Passin’ Through

Ridin’ through the valley

Along came ol’ Devil Red

When he spoke to me

Never turned my head

 

Just kept on ridin’

That valley had an end

As for Devil Red

Well, he weren’t no friend

 

He rode up beside me

Chatterin’ in my ear

Gave my horse some iron

He had nothin’ I needed to hear

 

Then he rode by

On his horse black as night

Stopped up ahead

Yep, he was lookin’ for a fight

 

His eyes were bloodshot

When he spoke it smelled like death

Smoke from his nostrils

It all took my breath

 

He said, Cowboy, I have an offer

One I think you’ll take

I shouted back

Doubt it, you ol’ sorry snake

 

He said, Hear me out

your soul I want to buy

Sell it to me

Or stay in this valley and die

 

That’s when I pulled up

Looked around the place

Thought for a minute

With a smile on my face

 

Said, Red you’re crazy

Yep, you’ve lost your mind

I may be in the valley

But I sure ain’t blind

 

This valley has an end

I’m just passin’ through

Yep, I’m ridin’ out

That’s more than I can say for you

 

Plus as for my soul

Well, it’s not mine

It’s been bought and paid for

Ol’ Red I’ll be just fine

 

So you better move

‘Cause I’m comin’ through

I’m ridin’ with Jesus

And He’s already defeated you

 

So I gave my horse some iron

Rode over to ol’ Devil Red

Left him in the valley

With a hoof print in his head

For those of us who claim Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are just passing through this world on our way to our heavenly home that Jesus is preparing for us. While in this world, Satan, ol’ Devil Red, will come at us. It’s guaranteed. He’ll chatter in our ear, accuse, condemn, and try to get us to question God’s goodness.

Satan is a liar. In fact, the Bible says he is the father of lies. He wants those of us who Christ bought with his precious blood to follow him. He doesn’t want us to shine our lights for Christ in the darkness.

Ol’ Devil Red is defeated. Christ defeated Satan at the cross. Jesus crushed the serpent’s head. Satan has no power to keep those God calls his own in a valley with him, unless we let him. 

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

 Then the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all animals, domestic and wild. You will crawl on your belly, groveling in the dust as long as you live.  And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” Genesis 3:14-15 (NLT)

You can find my August Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Ten Year Anniversary of This Blog

blue exploding fireworks

Ten years ago, on August 13, 2012, I wrote the first post on this blog. It is really hard for me to realize it has been ten years. Goodness. If I wasn’t doing a little blog archiving, I wouldn’t have even known the anniversary was here.

Some of you reading this have been with me from the very beginning. Thank you. Some of you are newer followers. Thank you.

Whether you’ve been with me from the very first blog post, which by the way, those early posts are evidence of a novice blogger learning as she went, or just joining I want you to know how deeply I appreciate each of you who takes the time out of your day to open my blog and read what I believe God gives me to share.

I especially appreciate all of you who stuck with me in the early days when my blog was hacked, and later when it was shut down completely.

There is no way for me to tell you what your encouragement and sticking with me meant at a time when I wanted to just quit. If it hadn’t been for the help from an amazing Wordfence support member, the blog probably would not have ever restarted.

Because of the hack, shut down, and changing blog hosts, I’ve lost some of my early subscribers’ email addresses and names. I didn’t know enough to make a list when I first started out in all of this.

When I first started this blog, I wasn’t really sure I had anything of value to share, but I kept at it. As I kept writing, I discovered what I want to share with readers is encouragement, along with the hope that lies in a relationship with Jesus. I pray that comes through each post I write.

Along with posts of encouragement, I added gluten-free recipes, guest-written poetry, book reviews, and have hosted three guest posters once a month.

From statistics recorded after the blog came back following the shut down, as of August 10, 2022, there have been 1,376 posts, 1,836 comments, 71,390 views, and 35,169 visitors.

My numbers are insignificant compared to most blogs, but for this girl who is absolutely terrified of technology, they are a testimony of what God can do when we say yes to him.

People from all over the world have read this blog. That, my friends, is indeed humbling. What is more humbling, is to hear from readers who tell me what God led me to write arrived at just the right moment to speak into their pain. Only God can do that.

My prayer is that you have been blessed in some small way through what you read on my blog. I love it when you comment. It helps me connect with those reading what I write.

I also love it when you share what I write with others. That gives God the opportunity to bless more people through what he’s given me to write.

Thank you so very much for reading my blog. I appreciate you more than you know.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:20 NLT

You can find my August Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Living With Integrity

words of integrityThe past two weeks, the lesson in my Sunday School class has involved integrity.

Wikipedia defines integrity this way.

Integrity is the qualification of being honest and having strong moral principles, or moral uprightness. It is generally a personal choice to hold oneself to consistent moral and ethical standards.

In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions.

Integrity can stand in opposition to hypocrisy, in that judging with the standards of integrity involves regarding internal consistency as a virtue, and suggests that parties holding within themselves apparently conflicting values should account for the discrepancy or alter their beliefs.

When King Solomon asked God to give him wisdom, God granted Solomon’s request. Not only did God give Solomon wisdom, God added much more with the stipulation Solomon walk in integrity.

Near the beginning of Solomon’s reign, all was well. He performed his duty as king with wisdom and integrity. He built a temple for the Lord God. A dream Solomon’s father, David, held, but one which God did not allowed David to accomplish.

Before long, however, Solomon began to compromise his beliefs.

He made alliances with foreign kings by marrying their daughters. This was a common practice at the time. However, there was a problem beyond the fact there were 700 hundred wives plus about 300 concubines, these wives worshiped idols. To appease his wives, Solomon built altars for their false gods.

Eventually, Solomon’s wives turned his heart away form the Lord. They encouraged him to worship their gods instead of trusting completely in the One True God.

Solomon no longer walked with integrity before the Lord. He compromised his faith to appease those around him along with his own selfish desires. He was no longer faithful to God.

After breaking the covenant God established between them, the Lord passed judgment on Solomon. The kingdom would be torn away from Solomon’s son and family. The kingdom of Israel Solomon’s father worked so hard to establish was divided.

As followers of Jesus, we are called to walk with integrity before the Lord. We are to be honest and exhibit strong moral principles.

Our actions should display integrity with honesty and truthfulness. We are not to compromise our beliefs to fit in with the world around us.

How are we doing with that?

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

And if you live in honesty and truth as your father David did, always obeying me, then I will cause your descendants to be the kings of Israel forever, just as I promised your father David when I told him, ‘One of your sons shall always be upon the throne of Israel.’

 “However, if you or your children turn away from me and worship other gods and do not obey my laws,  then I will take away the people of Israel from this land that I have given them. I will take them from this Temple which I have hallowed for my name, and I will cast them out of my sight; and Israel will become a joke to the nations and an example and proverb of sudden disaster. 1 Kings 9:4-7 (TLB)

You can find my August Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Concrete Evidence Book Review

Concrete Evidence is the latest book by DiAnn Mills. It is sure to keep readers guessing as the story of suspense, mystery, misunderstandings, and a wide variety of characters unfolds through twists and turns.

When Avery Elliott finds her grandfather standing over a body with a gun in his hand, it sets off a series of events filled with multiple murders, accidents, near-deaths, threats, and danger. Characters are introduced who may or may not be the bad guys, leaving readers wondering who’s telling the truth and who isn’t until the end of the book.

Who to trust and who not to trust becomes a matter of life and death as Avery and FBI agent Marc Wilkins work together to find answers to their many questions before it’s too late. Throw in a hurricane and the questionable structural integrity of a dam, and you have Concrete Evidence.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley from Tyndale for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I gave.

You can find my August Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

Shifting Goalposts

soccer goalpostHave you ever been in a situation that involved shifting goalposts? You know where the goalpost is. You set your sights on it. You strive to reach it. Then all of a sudden, someone moves the goalpost. And you have to start all over again.

Jacob dealt with shifting goalposts when he lived with his father-in-law, Laban. Laban kept changing the rules. Each time Laban made a new wage agreement, he shifted the goalpost.

Shifting Goalposts Number One

The first goalpost shifted after Laban agreed to let Jacob marry his daughter, Rachel. Jacob worked seven years for Rachel’s hand. At the end of seven years, Laban tricked Jacob. Somehow, Jacob ended up married to Laban’s oldest daughter, Leah instead of Rachel.

Laban let Jacob marry Rachel after Jacob spent seven days with Leah. On the condition Jacob worked an additional seven years.

When the additional seven years were completed, Jacob wanted to leave with his wives and children. Laban knew how his flocks prospered under Jacob’s care. He understood his wealth increased because Jacob was there. Because of that, Laban wasn’t eager to let Jacob leave.

Shifting Goalposts Number Two

The two men made an agreement. Laban would give Jacob the speckled, spotted, and black sheep and goats from the flocks as Jacob’s wages. Only, that day Laban removed all the male goats that were streaked or spotted. He also removed all the female goats that were speckled and spotted or had white patches. He removed all the black sheep too. 

Jacob practiced a little animal husbandry and with God’s help, increased his flocks despite Laban’s deception and shifting goalposts.

Shifting Goalposts Number Three

After Laban cheated Jacob and changed his wages ten times, Jacob told his two wives it was time to pack up and leave.

Jacob acknowledged that even though his father-in-law was an unscrupulous cheat, God had not allowed Laban to do Jacob any harm. God had prospered Jacob. God had made Jacob wealthy.

Without telling Laban their plans, Jacob and his family left while Laban was away. Jacob refused to allow Laban’s shifting goalposts keep him from what God had planned for him.

We may deal with shifting goalposts at the hands of people in our life as Jacob did. When that happens, one thing we need never fear is shifting goalposts when it comes to God.

God’s word is true. He does not lie. God is not a cheat nor is he a deceiver. Those are the enemies traits, not God’s. What God promises, he will deliver. We can count on God.

We may face shifting goalposts as Jacob did, but one thing is sure. They can’t keep us from what God has planned for us.

Ready to shout, Goal!?

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You know that I have served your father with all my strength, yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times. But God did not permit him to harm me. Genesis 31:6-7 ESV

You can find my July Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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When Planting Leads to Uprooting and a Reason to Lament

Bible open to the PsalmsToday’s guest post, When Planting Leads to Uprooting and a Reason to Lament, written by Anthea Kotlan, first appeared on antheakotlan.com.

Snow in South East Texas?

In the middle of February 2021, my area of tropical southeast Texas experienced a significant snowstorm. We awoke to find a crisp blanket of snow, inches deep, as far as the eye could see. In the midst of this deep freeze, I wondered what plants and shrubs would re-emerge once the snow went away?

If you had asked me at the end of March, I would have told you that it wasn’t looking good. However, the next thing I knew, green shoots surged up all over my front and back garden. These green bursts were a mixed batch of weed and plant. I have systematically worked over various flower beds by trimming back the overgrowth and pulling out the weeds.

As I began the removal surgery on one particular bed, I spied a tiny oak sapling. I tried hard to gently remove it but failed. I pulled and pulled and pulled even though it was a relatively small sapling, its roots sunk deep down into the bed.

Finally, I managed to excise the tiny tree with a shovel in hand, with most of its roots still attached.

Uprooting and Planting

Something nobody tells you about church planting is the uprooting that occurs right before you start. Leaving behind the familiar and comfortable and exchanging them for the new and uncertain is exactly where I found myself in the summer of 2021.

My husband and I have felt a call to church plant for a very long time, but it never seemed quite the right season. Finally, months ago, God made it clear to us that it was time.

However, obedience is costly and painful, and my wise daughter told me just days before our final Sunday at our old church, “Mom, you’ve got to feel all the feels.”

The Untethering

It is challenging to feel uprooted and untethered as we launched out and away from the wonderful group of believers we have worshiped alongside for over two decades. So I am going to have to leave some room for lament in this season of transition.

In the second half of Psalm 42, (I looked at the first half of Psalm 42 last month on this blog.) David started with a desperately thirsty deer, and he circles back to the subject of water again by calling to mind the sound of waves and waterfalls.

7 Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me.8 By day the LORD commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.

(Psalm 42:8 ESV)

Waves and Waterfalls

Waves and waterfalls move with power and loud sounds. A simple flow of water carved the Grand Canyon. Water is indeed the universal solvent. Waves wear down inches of sand from beaches around the world. However, God’s love is steadfast and unchanging. It does not get worn away by the ebb and flow of tides or water flows.

In times of deep sadness and lament, I have a profound need within my soul to cry out to the only one capable of plumbing those depths. This level of need requires a supernatural remedy. Only God can handle such profound wounding in me, and when I try to call other people to meet me in the depth of my suffering, they may be pulled into something that will overwhelm them.

Songs in the darkness

Sometimes I find myself wide awake in the middle of the night with worries and concerns. In the darkness, a song about God’s faithfulness can encourage me. The familiar lyrics take me on a journey to the refrain carrying truth deeply down into my heart.

Music is a powerful reminder and force to lift moods and provide comfort. Singing a praise and worship song or listening to Christian music can transform the atmosphere in significant ways.

9 I say to God, my rock: “Why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”10 As with a deadly wound in my bones, my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?” (Psalm 42:9-10 ESV)

Waves of Grief

Verses 9 and 10 vividly reveal the cyclical nature of grief. I believe I have moved forward, and yet a fresh wave of grieving hits me hard again and again. My enemy, sometimes my own inner critic, gets louder in these moments. I have to counter all this with God’s truth.

I choose to stand on the rock of God’s word by intentionally recalling to my mind what I know for certain. I can counter the enemy’s caustic narrative and endless questions with God’s promises to me.

11 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. (Psalm 42:11 ESV)

This final verse acknowledges the pain and then states the truth worth standing on in the midst of the storm of grief. “Hope in God…” In response to this truth, I shall choose to praise God as I grasp a rung of the ladder out of the pit of grief.

I will likely find myself here again, but I have a map contained in Psalm 42 to guide me back to the only one capable of handling all my deep feelings. He is my salvation and my God.

Let’s pray:

Lord, thank you for your kindness in providing a remedy for grief. You know me, you see my tears, and my despair is not too much for you. May I always run to you and entrust you with my sadness. Help me to take time to lament today. Keep me from stuffing down sadness and denying my loss. For in the leaving and the letting go, you have even more for me than I could ask for or imagine. You alone are my hope. Amen.

For over thirty years, Anthea Kotlan has served as a women’s ministry leader in the church and community. She has a passion for discipleship and encouraging women to walk confidently in their God-given calling. She designs women’s retreats, teaches Bible studies, writes, and enjoys speaking at events. Recently, she began serving on a church plant team in Conroe, Texas with her husband, a bi-vocational priest. Every chance she gets, she spends time laughing with her two adult daughters or snuggling her two grandchildren. Check out Anthea’s blog for weekly soul-tending devotionals from the Psalms. antheakotlan.com 

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

You can find my July Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

Alphabetical Attributes List of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit

alphabet lettersHave you ever thought of creating an alphabetical attributes list of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit? A list where you write one attribute for each letter of the alphabet?

I heard about doing this when a friend mentioned she used an address book to write different attributes of Jesus for each letter. I thought that was a great idea.

There are so many wonderful facets of God, Jesus, and the Spirit we could mention. For today’s blog, let’s see how many different attributes we come up with. I’ll start off with one for each letter.

I look forward to seeing what you add.

A: All-sufficient

B: Beginning

C: Creator

D: Deliverer

E: Everlasting

F: Faithful

G: Gracious

H: Holy

I: Incomparable

J: Jehovah

K: King of kings

L: Lord of lords

M: Messiah

N: Name above all names

O: Omnipotent

P: Praiseworthy

Q: Qanna-jealous for us

R: Redeemer

S: Savior

T: Trustworthy and True

U: Unchanging

V: Victor

W: Wonderful

X: (E)xtraordinary

Y: Yahweh

Z: Zealous

What attributes did you come up with for Q, X, and Z? Those were the hardest for me.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

But Moses protested, “If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ they will ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what should I tell them?”

God replied to Moses, “I am who I am. Say this to the people of Israel: I am has sent me to you.” Exodus 3:13-14 NLT

You can find my August Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

God Has Not Forgotten Us

milky way starsSometimes our feelings can seem to be what counts, can’t they? We think up all sorts of things, real and imagined. In doing so, we forget what’s most important: Even in THIS, God has not forgotten us.

Perhaps, you’ve had a lot of THIS, where you’ve wondered if you’ve been forgotten by God. If so, I’d like to share a little from what Corrie ten Boom said about feeling forgotten by God in the devotional book, God is my Hiding Place.

During World War II, Corrie and her sister Betsie were prisoners in Ravensburck, a work camp in Germany where over 96,000 women died. Every day seven hundred women either died or were killed. If there was ever a place where someone might feel forgotten by God, I believe Ravensburck might top the list.

Such absolute evil. Such vile hatred. Such unbelievable inhumanity.

Corrie relates how one night she looked at the stars. She wondered why the God who guides the stars and never forgets them, seemed to have forgotten her and Betsie.

Her sister told Corrie God hadn’t forgotten them. Betsie reminded Corrie Jesus said he is with them always. Even to the end of the world.

Betsie reminded Corrie it is not what we feel that counts, but what we believe. As for Betsie, she believed God hadn’t forgotten them.

Corrie said that although her feelings told her one thing, what she believed about God told her something different. Although she was in a living hell, she slowly learned not to trust in herself, her faith, or her feelings, but to trust in God.

“The greatest moment of your life can occur when everything seems finished for you. This is when you lay your weak hand in the strong hand of Jesus who can make life and death–present and future–victorious! A life that is filled with the understanding that he will never leave you. But first, you must believe. You must allow this truth to become your reality.” Corrie ten Boom

Feelings come and feelings go,
And feelings are deceiving;
My warrant is the Word of God–
Naught else is worth believing.

Though all my heart should feel condemned
For want of some sweet token,
There is One greater than my heart
Whose Word cannot be broken.

I’ll trust in God’s unchanging Word
Till soul and body sever,
For, though all things shall pass away,
HIS WORD SHALL STAND FOREVER! Martin Luther

As we face each new day, let’s not trust our feelings. Instead, let’s remember even in THIS, God has not forgotten us.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:39 NLT

You can find my July Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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