Thy Word Have I Hid In My Heart

The Word

A couple of years ago the Lord inspired me to create an Encouraging Scripture Promise Wall Calendar based on my Encouraging Card Collection. I loved my calendar for it would encourage me each morning with a promise from God’s word.

Whenever I was discouraged all I had to do was look up at the scripture on my calendar; somehow the Lord always used the bible verse to speak to my heart.

The promises in the Bible give us hope. And no wonder, for our God is “The God of hope.”(Romans 15:13)

The next year, I had three calendars printed.

I hung one in my kitchen, one at my work chair, and one beside my bed.

Anytime I felt sad or discouraged I would look up at one of my calendars, depending on which room I was in, read the bible promise, and be filled with fresh courage.

This year the Lord inspired me to create a new Wall Calendar featuring twelve comforting Bible Promises, one for each month of the year illustrated with my scripture paintings and collages.

He impressed upon me the importance of meditating upon His word every day, reminding me of Jesus’ words in Matthew 4:4 when tempted by the devil to turn stones into bread during His wilderness Temptations. Jesus fought the temptation with scripture:

“It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4

In rebuking the devil with scripture, the Lord Jesus was teaching us how to fight the enemy: with His word. In Ephesians 6:17 Paul wrote “to take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” as a vital part of our spiritual armor against the deadly attacks of our unseen spiritual foe who is out to destroy our soul.

Knowledge of God’s word is not only vital to our survival as believers in spiritual warfare, but the Psalmist said, “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee.” Psalm 119:11

hidden word

The promises of God comfort and give us hope, keep us from going astray, aid us in defeating our spiritual enemies, and they also guide us in the Lord’s paths of righteousness.

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105

“Every word of God proves true…” Proverbs 30:5

 word of god is true

The Apostle Paul  wrote that we grow our faith by nourishing ourselves with a steady diet of God’s Holy Word. For it is our spiritual food, that will help us grow closer to our God if we will make it our daily habit to read it and obey it.

In this way we will learn to understand the Lord’s will for us, to discern His voice in our hearts, and find out what pleases and displeases Him.

FAITH COMES BY HEARING GODS WORD

This year the Lord has inspired me to study and meditate on the bible promises on my calendars each month in a new way.

Each morning I plan to meditate on the bible promise for the month and pray about how it applies to me and where I am on my life’s journey with the Lord.

I’m going to ask the Holy Spirit to teach me new insights as I study the scripture more in depth along with other bible study tools, like the Strong’s concordance, the Matthew Henry Bible Commentary, and my Study Bible.

I plan to pray over the scripture throughout the month and ask the Lord to teach me new things about that promise each day. I have learned that we can never exhaust all of the riches to be found in God’s holy word!

“In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:3

I hope by studying God’s promises in this way, that by the end of each month I will have memorized each of the bible promises featured on the calendar.

By the year’s end, if I meditate on these verses daily,  then I will make them all my very own, for the Lord has shown me that this is one very good way to hide His word in my heart and make it my treasure.

I would be so honored if you would get one of my scripture calendars and join me in studying God’s promises each day.

May the Lord bless you!

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Help me to hide Thy word in my heart every day. Please use Thy word to help me become more like Thy Son Jesus Christ. Help me to always obey everything that You teach me from Your word, so that it doesn’t just go in one ear and out the other. I ask that You let Your word be my treasure now and for always. Thank you, Lord, I love you, In Jesus mighty name, amen.

 

For more information about my Bible Promise Calendar and Encouraging Scripture Promise Calendar see my Etsy Shop Listings below: (Links will take you to my Etsy Shop.)

2018 Comforting Bible Promise Calendar

2018 Bible Promise Calendar

 

The 2018 Encouraging Scripture Promise Calendar

The 2018 Bible Promise Calendar  © SD Harden All Rights Reserve

 

 

Thy Word Have I Hid In My Heart, Angel Song © 2017 SD Harden All rights reserved. Scripture Paintings (Thy Word Is a Lamp To My Feet, Thy Word Have I Hid In My Heart, Faith Comes By Hearing © SD Harden 2017 All rights reserved./ Every Word of God Proves True via Pinterest/ Scripture Quotations KJV Bible/ 2018 Comforting Bible Promise Calendar & 2018 Encouraging Scripture Promise Calendar © SD Harden All Rights Reserved.

 

WHERE ANGELS DANCE

PRAISE-YE-THE-LORD
Praise Ye The Lord

 

If someone had said to me back in 2008 that in the next nine years I would publish nineteen music albums of original music I would have told them that they were insane.

Yet unbelievably I have just published my nineteenth music album.

“Where Angels Dance,” features vibrant worship instrumentals that were all inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Music was never one of my gifts growing up, nor did I ever want anything to do with any of the performance arts.

I was passionate about Art. I never sat down without a pen and sketchpad.

I had taught art, worked as a freelance artist, written and illustrated my own books, and earned my college degree in art & writing. I was certain that God had called me to be a children’s book author and Illustrator.

One day I fell asleep after taking my dog for a walk.

I dreamed I went to Heaven.

There I saw angels and saints dancing before Christ’s Throne.

They were joyfully worshiping the Lord.

Beautiful music was playing in the background as they danced.

When I awoke from my dream, the music was echoing in my mind.

The Lord spoke to my heart, “You can play that song.”

The keyboard that my sister had given us was in front of me.

I felt compelled to try even though there was no reason I should have any hopes of playing that beautiful song from my dream.

Except that the Lord had said I could. And if God said I could, it must be true since He can’t lie.

But what if I was just imagining that God said it?

The only way to find out would be to try…

I sat down and played that song. It was amazing but somehow, I just knew how to do it.

My version wasn’t as lovely as what I had heard in the dream, but it sounded similar.

When the Lord taught me how to play the piano, it was purely by faith. All He asked of me was that I believed His word to me, “You can play that song.”

After I played that one song, He said, “From now on you can play any song I teach you. Just believe.”

“He spoke and it was done, He commanded and it stood fast.” Psalm 33:9

Though I had never wanted to be a musician before, suddenly, I loved worshiping God with this beautiful new gift.

Then the Lord asked me to SHARE the praise music He’d taught me to play.

I froze. It was one thing to play these songs that sounded amazing to me just for the Lord in my worship time, but quite another to make them public.

FEAR & DOUBT reared their ugly heads and whispered, “You know absolutely nothing! These songs only sound good to you because you don’t know anything at all about music. You are only an artist, you aren’t really a musician. No one will listen to this music from God and everyone will make fun of you.”

It was then that I decided, “Maybe the Lord wants me to take piano lessons.”

However, after going through three piano teachers and never being able to quite finish even one beginner book because reading notes was such a challenge for me, I finally realized it was not what the Lord wanted for me.

 “For we walk by faith and not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)

One teacher looked at a printed musical score from an original composition from the Lord and just shook her head, mystified. “This is way beyond you.”

“But I created it, I mean, God created it through me,” I said.

One great thing did come of my piano lessons though. I loved learning the music scales! Somehow that is the one thing that I could master and the Lord helped me use this knowledge to compose many prayer songs.

Yet my music from the Lord sounded very different from other contemporary Christian music.

I had to come to terms with the fact that its true Creator, the risen Lord Jesus Christ who lives in my heart, was composing His music through me just the way He wanted it.

I had to trust Him that it was good enough.

This was going to take a significant leap of faith and courage.

When I had been working as a professional artist, I would never submit anything unless it rose to my “perfectionist” standards.

To me, my piano prayers were a beautiful gift from the Lord that I played back to Him in worship. They did not have to measure up to any human standard of musical taste or preference for I knew that Jesus had made them, loved them, and accepted them.

Now the Lord was asking me to share His songs with the public who did measure its music to a standard. I had no idea what those musical standards or preferences were. I had absolutely no musical knowledge. It was not something the Lord told me to study or learn about. He just asked me to play His songs~then share them.

“Oh Lord, I’m just an artist, not a real musician. Do You really want me to share Your songs?”

Suddenly I realized I could say, “Yes or no, Lord,” to His beautiful gift.

But then, He had laid down His life for me. He had said to His Father when faced with a humiliating, agonizing death on the cross just to bear all my sins, to be made a curse for me so that I might have eternal life with Him, “Father, not My will but Thy will.”

He knew people would make fun of Him, scorn Him, reject Him, that He would even have to face the cold dark waters of death, the stench of hell where His beloved Father, from whom He had never been separated could not come. He faced all of this to pay the ransom for my soul.

How could I, if I truly loved my Savior, not lay down my life, my will for Him? How could I not share His songs, come what may?

True love lays down its life for Jesus.

I realized then, it’s not about me, or my will, but what God wants to do through me, even if I end up looking like a fool.

Love obeys her Lord and Savior no matter what He asks her to do for Him.

The most amazing thing I’ve learned through this experience is that God would choose an ordinary sinful woman like me, saved only by the almighty grace of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and say, “Here is a gift. All you need to do is receive it by faith.”

Just like the gift of salvation He offers each of us in Christ.

And then it terrified me that He would take that same ordinary Christian woman, and say, “Now use that gift for My glory!”

I’m not perfect, far from it, nor is any of my music.

But God uses imperfect vessels.

God up and turned me into a musician for HIS glory-not mine.

He put in me a gift I knew absolutely NOTHING about.

How I thank the Lord for the way He has used the gift of music to lovingly humble me in all of my other gifts.

“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” Ephesians 3:20-21(The Message Bible)

Most of the music the Lord gives me is inspired by the Bible.

The songs all begin as prayers, and I will praise the Lord forever for giving me this wonderful way to worship Him.

This music is very special for it truly is a gift from God. It never ceases to amaze and humble me how He plays His music through me.

My fervent prayer is that many people  will be  blessed and encouraged by this gift of God’s music. For all of the songs are essentially prayers ascending to heaven in a musical form breathed into life by the God who lives in me.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, may You use this music and story to bless and encourage someone today to step out in faith to trust You and believe that with God all things are truly possible, and that when we walk by faith, we honor and glorify You, even as Abraham did so long ago, who, “staggered not at the promises of God…” Thank You, Lord, In Jesus name, amen.

 

He Staggered Not

 

 

 

 

 

The Lord Is My Shepherd

WMJESUS-MY-GOOD-SHEPHERD

The Lord Is My Shepherd
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: 
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: For Thou art with me…” ~Psalm 23:1-4

Several years ago I came down with a simple virus. I thought it would go away in a few days, for I had always been a very healthy person. But after a week my symptoms only grew more alarming and by the end of the month they became debilitating.

I went from a healthy active person who walked 6 miles a day, to a person who could no longer walk, use my hands, or even see to read, write or draw, for my eye muscles would go into spasms if I tried to read anything. I had to stay still in a dark room and be quiet.

This was unbearable to me for I had been so used to being active.

As a working visual artist who drew almost constantly, being unable to use my hands was like being imprisoned in my body.

I was terrified for I did not know if the illness was permanent, or even what the illness was.

Nor did my doctors. They ran numerous tests on me for every horrible disease they could think of.

I was filled with fear and anxiety.

 “Lord, why is this happening? Did I grieve you somehow?”

I prayed constantly and confessed every sin I could think of –and then some, because I was certain I had done some terrible thing to make God mad at me for allowing me to become so ill and lose so many abilities. All I had ever wanted to do was glorify Him.

Now all I could do was sit in silence before Him and weep. My head hurt constantly from migraines.

I listened to audio bibles and sermons and this comforted me tremendously.

The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 119:92 “Lord, unless Your law had been my delight, I would then have perished in my affliction.”

During my time alone with the Lord, I grew very close to Him. There is nothing like suffering and affliction to draw you closer to God. He spoke to my heart. He promised to heal me. I clung to His promise.

God’s word promises that “all things work together for good to those who love God” in Romans 8:28. I treasured all of the promises in His word trusting that all would be well, for God had never failed me. 

All my life I had known Him to be faithful, just as His word says in Psalm 36:5 “Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.”

After many tests the doctors determined that I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia~ auto-immune illnesses caused by the Epstein Barre virus.

It took 4 months of physical therapy before I could use my hands again to draw, paint, and write. After about a year I was able to walk almost a mile.

The second painting I did after I regained the use of my hands was a watercolor inspired by Psalm 23, “The Lord is My Shepherd.” 

The painting shows the Good Shepherd, Jesus, His face strong and steady in the

WMJESUS-MY-GOOD-SHEPHERD
The Lord Is My Shepherd Encouraging Card @ Wings Publications on Etsy

midst of a dark, blinding storm. His glowing clothes are billowing all about Him as He presses forward with nothing and no one able to stop Him or His purpose for the little one He has charge over. His frightened little child is crouching close behind Him to escape the blast of the stormy tempest. 

The Lord is the child’s Shield, his Shelter, and Defender. The child clings to the Lord, as Christ leads Him through the Dark Valley of the Shadow; they are as one, they are so close together.

This image truly reflects my experience with my Lord Jesus ~ He was my Good Shepherd throughout my illness and never once failed me through my crisis of fear, worry, doubt, anxiety, weakness, and pain. He led me all the way through that horrible storm and encouraged me with His word, His love, and His presence. 

The Gospel of John says that Jesus is the true light and “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” ~John 1:5

I experienced the truth of that scripture through my affliction.  And the painting is my expression of its truth.

I had my painting printed and made into an Encouraging Card, which I sell in our Etsy Shop.

WM-GOOD-SHEPHERD-(1)
The Lord Is My Shepherd Encouraging Card at Wings Publications on Etsy

The card is like a mini version of my painting. On the front of this card is the verse, “The Lord is my Shepherd…I will fear no evil, for You are with me.” Psalm 23:1,4 (Updated King James Version Bible) On the back of the card, Psalm 23 is printed along with a vignette of the cover illustration. 

 This card has comforted many people through many trials. So I am thankful that the Lord allowed me to experience the terrible affliction that led me to be able to paint the picture. For I would never have been able to paint it had I not experienced the suffering, fear, comfort and faith all found in that image. 

 The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian Church:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” ~2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son Jesus Christ to be our Good Shepherd to guide us down the path of righteousness, truth, and grace that we might live with You in peace forever. We love You, In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

 

Waiting On The Lord

knocking  Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. ~ Revelation 3:20

When Miss Phee, our little Yorky, was a puppy, she would sit up on the edge of our bed every morning the minute she heard my
husband Mark in the kitchen preparing breakfast.
She loved to eat breakfast with him. Mark would feed Miss Phee bits of his oatmeal while he ate his breakfast. Our dog loved this special treat and the time they shared together.

2-Miss Phee

Most of the time, Miss Phee would sit quietly on the edge of our bed and wait patiently, trusting that any minute Mark would come for her. Every so often if he didn’t show up soon enough, she would start whining ever so softly.

My little dog was not worried about annoying me, mind you. No, Miss Phee’s chief concern was that I might wake up and horn in on her private breakfast with her daddy. Ha! 🙂

Sooner or later Mark always came to reward her faith in him by gathering her up in his arms and carrying her to the kitchen for their special meal together.

Sometimes though, Mark would be running late and had to rush off to work without his breakfast. That meant no special Breakfast time with Phee. Somehow it was just not the same when I fed her breakfast, so whenever she couldn’t have her special breakfast time with Mark she would pout for the rest of the day and refuse to eat. 😦

I think of the parallels between Miss Phee’s morning meals with Mark and our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus said that we must abide in him and spend time with God each day
in worship and prayer.

John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

Abiding in Christ is the same as eating at our Lord’s table, feeding on His word and allowing his Holy Spirit to teach us His wisdom and truth.

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” ~Matthew 4:4

Even as Miss Phee wanted Mark all to herself in her morning quiet time with him, the Lord wants us to come to Him without any distractions. He wants us all to Himself, coming into His Presence without our cell phones, IPads, IPods, or video games, novels, or our work on our minds or whatever distracts us from His heart.

Anything that takes God’s place in our hearts is a rival for God for our affections and is an idol.

That thing might be something that seems so innocent and even good, like our job, a hobby, or even our ministry. But if it takes our time and attention away from God, and replaces our affection for God in our hearts, it is an idol.

Examine me, God! Look at my heart!
    Put me to the test! Know my anxious thoughts!
 Look to see if there is any idolatrous way in me,
    Then lead me on the eternal path! ~ Psalm 139:23-24 (CEB)

 

 We draw closer to Christ and abide in Him through regular times of worship, prayer, and bible study. Often in those times, we must wait on God as Miss Phee waited for Mark to come get her each morning. We must learn to wait in faith on God by abiding steadfastly in prayer and worship.

There may be seasons in our journey with the Lord when God seems distant. We may feel as if He is ignoring us when things we’ve prayed over for months or yGod answers prayerears go unanswered without the slightest ray of hope that things will ever change.

At all times God asks that we trust Him and wait and walk by faith, just as little Miss Phee always waited in eager expectation for Mark to come for her, so certain that he would come. Even though he was sometimes delayed, she never stopped believing and hoping the next day that he would come for her. She was absolutely confident that he would not forget about her, would not disappoint her faith in him. And eventually he did show up again~just like she hoped and believed!
I always thought, if only I had the faith and trust of my little Yorkie!

Psalm 130:5-6 “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.”

We must be still before the Lord, contemplating His mercy and majesty, as we come to Him in faith, believing that we will receive what we need from Him in prayer.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (NIV)

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (NIV)

God is our creator, He is omnipotent, meaning He is all-powerful. He is in control
of all things.
God is omniscient: He knows all things, He knows all about us, He knows all our
needs before we even ask.
God is omnipresent: He is everywhere present. Wherever we are, God is there.
And by His spirit, God lives and dwells within us.

God cherishes us, He cares very much about us. God feels all of our pain, since He
indwells us through His Holy Spirit.
God wants to share life with us. He says in the book of Revelation, “Behold
I stand at the door and knock; if any one will open the door I will come in and I will
share a meal with him. “

Just as Miss Phee and Mark would share a meal and have their special time
together, God wants to have a special time with us every day, He wants us to be
excited about it just as Miss Phee was excited about her time alone with her daddy.

Mark and Phee

God will never fail us. He

delights in our fellowship. It is sacred to Him. May it be as sacred to us.

For it is a great honor to worship and serve the Sovereign Lord of the Universe.

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” John 14:23

Prayer
Heavenly Father, please give us hearts that delight in worshiping and serving You.
May You give us hearts that will wait on You in faith and that will love You with all of our being, thank you, Lord, in Jesus name, amen.

WAIT FOR GOD

Angelsong © 2017 SD Harden All Rights Reserved. Original Photos of Miss Phee & Mark from Suzanne Harden’s Photos/ Illustration of Jesus Knocking via Google/ Scripture Quotations: King James Version (Public Domain), Common English Bible (CEB) Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible, New King James Version (NKJV) Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Make A Joyful Noise

Make A Joyful Noise

In my painting “Make A Joyful Noise” the flute player’s hands are large, and seem clumsy as she plays her instrument. 

In God’s word, the Psalmist tells us to make a joyful noise unto the Lord. It does not matter whether we are talented singers or musicians. 

He just says, “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord…” Psalm 100:1

God loves each of us. He created us to worship Him just as we are with whatever skills and talents we have.

It brings God joy when we accept ourselves for who He created us to be. We honor Him when we don’t compare ourselves with others. We may feel clumsy and awkward, as if we don’t measure up in some way, but God says, “Make a joyful noise!”

Jesus said, “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.” ~Matthew 5:5 (The Message Bible)

In my painting, the Flute Player is playing her flute anyway, even though she seems unsure, unsteady, with her large awkward hands.

Sometimes God will ask us to do something that we don’t feel we have the right skills for, are incompetent to do, or that we might fail in. 

Yet God asks us to trust Him anyway, to walk by faith. “For we walk by faith and not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)

He asks us to believe His word that says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

He asks us to trust in the power of His grace to help us with every challenge.

Each one of us are very important to God’s plan, though we might not realize our importance to God this side of eternity.

We may feel awkward, unsteady and clumsy like the flute player in my painting. But we must walk by faith, trust God, and obey Him, and do whatever He asks of us anyway.

For in the end, He will make a lovely song out of our joyful noise we have made unto Him whether or not we were competent in the thing He called us to do.

For God does not base His calling on our talents, skills, or appearances. All He asks is a willing, humble and faithful heart. 

Jesus said, “You did not choose me. I chose you. And I gave you this work: to go and produce fruit—fruit that will last.” John 15:16

May it be our prayer to have a willing, faithful heart that will humbly obey the Lord, no matter what He asks of us each day.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of my life, and that You created me to be just exactly the way You wanted me, and that when I am myself, I glorify You. Thank You that I bring You great joy when I am satisfied with who You created me to be and believe all the wonderful things that You say about me and not listen to doubts and fears. I love You, Lord! In Jesus name, amen.

“Make A Joyful Noise” Original Fine Art Print Is Available in my Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/listing/257925019/original-art-print-make-a-joyful-noise

 “Make A Joyful Noise” © 2015 Suzanne Davis Harden All Rights Reserved. Angelsong ©2017 SD Harden All Rights Reserved. Scripture References: King James Version Bible/The Message Bible: Copyright 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson All Rights Reserved./ New King James Version © 1982 Thomas Nelson All Rights Reserved. / New International Version Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Emily’s Poem

Over the holidays, my family have all been enjoying our favorite Gardens here by the coast. Above is a photo– well- an illustrated one- I caught a cold and couldn’t resist decorating it 🙂 –of one of the famous poems that are carved into many of the brick walls around the different parts of the Garden. 

The poem “I’m Nobody” by Emily Dickinson inspired the prayer poem the Lord gave me the other day, “I’m Nobody Special.” (See my previous post on my Facebook Page). 

I love to meditate on Emily’s poem. 

“I’m nobody! Who are you? 

Are you nobody too?

Then there’s a pair of us-don’t tell!

They’d banish us you know. 

How dreary to be somebody,   

How public, like a frog,     

To tell your name the livelong day  

To an admiring bog!” ~Emily Dickinson 

This little poem is a jewel filled with wisdom, understanding, and insight. 
First off, a nobody is a metaphor for a person who is not famous, or who’s name, social status, or any other thing has not elevated him or her above anyone else. 

The poet is content to be on the same playing field as every other human being.

Right away this reminds me of Romans 2:11 “There is no favoritism with God.” 

Before the Lord, all people are equal. For out of dust we have been made and unto dust we shall return, God said to Adam in Genesis 3:19 

Each of us will all stand before God someday. “To Him we must explain the way we have lived.” Hebrews 4:13 (ERV)

Whatever we may have accomplished or accumulated on this earth, will stay on the earth when we die. We will not be able to take one thing with us into eternity but our soul. 

The rich man, the celebrity, the King and the governor will stand side by side with those on earth who were the poorest of the poor, the homeless, those who suffered, and the utter destitute~ people they would never have thought to acknowledge or invite into their homes. 

Those who are elevated above others in status, according to the poem, don’t accept the nobody’s. 
“…They’ll banish us, you know.” 

Snobs~ people who believe they are better than others~ never accept the “ordinary mortal,” because in their minds the “nobodies” aren’t good enough in whatever way their group has elevated themselves above other people to associate with them.

Pride is listed first among the seven things God hates.

Proverbs 6:16 “The Lord hates these seven things: eyes that show pride…”

It may very well be the sin God hates the most because this was the sin that caused Lucifer, the anointed Angel, to fall and become Satan~the evil being who caused a third of the Angels to fall from Heaven and who is responsible for all that is evil. 

Pride is hatred wearing respectable clothes. Pride is arrogance. Pride is haughtiness. Pride is selfishness. Pride is vanity. 

Pride is idolatry for it makes of itself (or anything it is prideful of) an idol that sets itself up as a rival to God. 

Pride incorporates multiple sins against God, who is love. (1 John 4:8)  

And love is the antithesis of pride.

It is little wonder that the Bible says,

“Though the Lord is on high, Yet He regards the lowly; But the proud He knows from afar.” (Psalm 138:6)

Don’t think that you are better than you really are. You must see yourself just as you are. Decide what you are by the faith God has given each of us.” (Romans 12:3 ERV)  

What happened to Lucifer, the author of all pride? 

Ezekiel the prophet, using the King of Tyre as a metaphor for Lucifer,  recounts what may have happened.

‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: 

“ ‘In the pride of your heart you say, “I am a god; I sit on the throne of a god …” but you are a mere mortal and not a god…” (Ezekiel 28:1 )

“ Thus says the Lord God: “You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 

You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings. 

On the day that you were created they were prepared. 

You were an anointed guardian cherub. 

I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; 

in the midst of the stones of fire you walked. 

You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, 

till unrighteousness was found in you. 

In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned; 

so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, 

and I destroyed you, O guardian cherub, 

from the midst of the stones of fire. 

Your heart was proud because of your beauty; 

you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor.

I cast you to the ground… ” ~ Ezekiel 28:12-17  

Isaiah pieces more of the story together: 

“You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God;  

I will set my throne on high; 

I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; 

I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; 

I will make myself like the Most High.’ 

But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit.”  (Isaiah 14:13-15)

Jude recounts in one sentence the rebellion of the Angels who followed Lucifer.

Jude 1:6 (AMP) “And angels who did not keep their own designated place of power, but abandoned their proper dwelling place, these He has kept in eternal chains under the thick gloom of utter darkness for the judgment of the great day,”

Perhaps Satan tempted the rebel angels as he tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden, by promising them that they could be more than what they were if they just listened to him and not to God. 

Such a temptation won’t work if you are content with who and what you are in the first place.

Jesus said in the The Sermon on the Mount, 
“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought. (Matthew 5:5 The Message Bible)

I have not taken the time to count how many times the Bible admonishes us to be thankful to God. A sense of gratitude counteracts a prideful heart. 

Psalm 107:8 “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!”

I love reflecting on that little poem by Emily Dickinson because it never fails to speak something new to me each time I meditate on it. 

My New Year’s Prayer is to be grateful to God every day, to thank Him for all the wonderful blessings He has given me, and to fervently pray for a humble and pure heart that will always be content to just be me.

In this world there will always be people who are elevated above others in myriad ways socially, economically, politically, etc. 
But none are so to God in any way. All are on a level playing field before His eyes. 

We must learn to see ourselves and all people as God sees us and them. Then and only then, will we be able to love ourselves and each other with no bias and from a pure heart. 

New Year’s Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You that Thy word says ” there is forgiveness with Thee that You may be feared.”
Lord, Thy word says that You are very far from those who are proud and I want to be close to Thy heart.  

Abba Father, examine my heart thoroughly; may You expose and forgive any and all pride that You find there.  

Please show me all the ways I have ever thought more highly of myself or any of the blessings You have given me than I should have, and forgive me. Lord, forgive me if I have ever excluded anyone from my group because I didn’t think they measured up in some way.  

Forgive me if I have valued people’s opinions of me more than what You have said about me, fearing people more than You. 

Forgive me if I have treasured anything in my affections more highly than my relationship with You, oh Lord. 

Forgive me if I have not been content and grateful to be who You created me to be, but listened to the serpent’s lies over Thy precious Truths.

Lord, I repent of all the ways I have been proud and not loving You with a whole heart and blind to all of this pride. 

Lord, I pray for forgiveness and for a pure and humble heart that is free of pride; a heart that will see myself and others through Your eyes and will be free to love sincerely and wholeheartedly with the measureless love of Christ, in Jesus holy name, amen. 

Proverbs 21:21 “The one who pursues righteousness and faithful love will find life, righteousness, and honor.”

May you all have a beautiful New Year!







The Story Of The Song “Oh Holy Night”

oh-holy-night-the

(Lord) Everything remains today in keeping with Your laws, for all things exist to serve You. ~ Psalm 119:91 (The Voice Bible)

 The Story of the Song “Oh Holy Night”

 Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure (1808 to 1877) was a wine merchant who lived in a small French town in the 19th century.

He enjoyed writing poetry and had developed a local reputation for his poems.

In the year 1847, the local Parish priest asked Placide if he would write a Christmas poem for the Church’s Midnight Mass Celebration of Christ’s Birth.

Although not known as a god fearing man, or as one who attended church regularly, Placide must have been honored by such a request, for he agreed to write the poem.

 Once he’d finished “Contique Noel” he asked his friend, the composer Adolphe Charles Adams, who was well known for composing ballets, to create music for it so that it could be sung by the congregation.

Although neither Placide nor Adolphe were Christians (Adolphe was of Jewish ancestry), these two men somehow created and composed one of the most beautiful Christmas Carols of the Christian Faith; one that especially brings great glory and honor to the Lord Jesus Christ…

*To Read the rest of this fascinating story, please follow the link to my music website.

http://www.peacefulprayersongs.com/messages_of_hope/the_story_of_the_song_o_holy_night

The Story Of the Song “Oh Holy Night” © 2016 SD Harden All Rights Reserved. Scripture References: The Voice Bible © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc., New Living Translation Bible © 2015 Tyndale House Foundation/ Art by Suzanne Davis Harden © 2016 All Rights Reserved.

 

GOD SHALL WIPE AWAY ALL TEARS

rev-21-4-wipe-away-all-tears

God Shall Wipe Away Every Tear

 I once had a doll named “Pitiful Pearl” when I was a small child. In all my memories of her she has a tiny tear attached to her homely little face. Whether the tear was an original part of the doll or I drew it on her, I’m not sure. I only remember one of her big eyes had a tiny tear affixed to it which made her look perpetually sad, even though she wore a faint painted on smile. Her clothes were all bedraggled giving her the appearance of a poor abandoned orphan.

 I wanted this doll from the moment I saw her advertised. I don’t remember whether she was a Christmas or birthday gift, but my mom and dad always bought me the dolls I requested without asking any questions. They never failed to encourage me to be myself and to play with the toys that spoke to my heart.

They were wonderful parents for they always nurtured me in the gifts and talents that God had given me.

I loved my little Pearl. I pretended she was the “Little Match Girl” in Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tale and poor Cinderella and every other victim in many another fairy tale. She was a great doll! And if I felt sad in any way I would identify with her.

Like the time my imaginary friend Dinky called my little sister a “Stinker” – a notoriously bad word in those days- and I got in trouble for it!!

But then came the day when my oldest brother went on a rampage and decided to pretend to have a war raid. He had been inspired by old west movies and TV shows.

My dolls became the hapless victims of his vivid imagination. He kidnapped my Chatty Cathy and my Pitiful Pearl and buried them in the vast no man’s land we called “the Lot” outside far beyond the garage somewhere and then refused to tell me where he’d buried my precious dolls.

I was inconsolable… till I discovered the Barbie, Ken, and Midge dolls… 🙂

That Pitiful Pearl doll has lived in my memory more than any other doll I had as a child. Maybe it’s because of its sad little tear and incongruous smile despite its raggedness.

The Bible says in Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”

God cherishes each of us. He came to us in the form of a man, as Jesus Christ to save us from our sins. Jesus told the Pharisees, who were the religious leaders of His day, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” -Luke 5:31-32

The Bible says in the book of Romans 3:23 “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Jesus Christ came to save all people. For God’s word says in Romans 3:10-11: “.. as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.”

We all need Jesus. But not all see this truth. Jesus said in His sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)

In God’s sight, we all, like my Pitiful Pearl doll, have a tiny tear in our eye. That tear is sin, a hopelessness, that only He can wipe away. Jesus has made a way to wash this tear away, through His spotless blood that He shed for all of us on His cross when He suffered and died for our sins over 2000 years ago.

 He says in Romans 10:9-11, 13 “…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” …For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Though we may die and be buried like my Pitiful Pearl doll, Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” (John 11:25-26)

Pitiful Pearl still lives on in my heart though she’s been buried in the lot of the house where I grew up for many years now. Her memory has never left me.

Even so, those who love Jesus will live forever in the heart of God, only in a more beautiful way which is far beyond anything we could ever dream or imagine.

 God’s word says in 1 Corinthians 2:9 “But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him…”—

 And as for all our tears, God promises to wipe away every tear, every sorrow, and all death forever someday.

Revelation 21:4 says, “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

 These are beautiful truths to ponder and be thankful for as we gather with our loved ones and friends over the Thanksgiving Holidays.  May each of you have a blessed Thanksgiving with your loved ones and friends. God bless you all with rivers of peace, hope, health, and joy, in Jesus name, amen.

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Our God Is Coming

god-is-comingOUR GOD IS COMING

Our God Is Coming!

 Soon our God is coming

Oh see the Holy One!

The Alpha and Omega,

Christ, God’s only Son.

 His glory covers the heavens

His praise fills all the earth

The stars all bow before Him

Who made the universe.

 Light shines all around Him,

He wears a robe of stars;

His hand is full of power~

Our everlasting God.

 He is the Lord Almighty

Who loves all that He made

He’s coming back for His redeemed;

For all the souls He saved.

 The Alpha and Omega

Who rides the Heavenlies

He’s coming back to claim His own

For all eternity.

 Prayer Poem Copyright © 2016 S. D. Harden All rights reserved.

Jesus said,  “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.”  Matthew 24:42

 maranatha (1 Cor. 16:22)

Maranatha consists of two Aramean words, Maran’athah, meaning, “our Lord comes,” or is “coming.” Maranatha was a greeting often used by believers in the early Church who eagerly watched for and awaited the return of their Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. The Lord admonishes His disciples to watch and wait for His return in many of His parables and sayings. We are to always abide in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be ever watching for His return. The apostle Paul wrote in Colossians 3:1-3,

“ If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (ESV)

Jesus said to His disciples that wherever are treasure is there are hearts would be also. (Matthew 6:21)

If Jesus is our treasure, then our eyes and our hearts will be on Him and we will be abiding in Him regularly. (John 15:4)

 PRAYER

Heavenly Abba Father, please draw our hearts ever closer to You and to our Savior Jesus. Help us to abide always in Thy word, and fill us more and more with Thy Holy Spirit. May we always be ready and watching for the day when Thy Son returns, for no one but You, Abba Father, knows that day, nor the hour. In Jesus’ holy name, thank You, Lord, we love You, amen.

  “Our God Is Coming” (Prayer Poem ) © 2016 SD Harden All Rights Reserved.  Scripture Illustration ~SD Harden/ Scripture Reference © ERV Bible Translation / Angel Song © 2016 Suzanne Davis Harden All Rights Reserved. All Glory To God!

Forget Not


FORGET NOT

Psalm 103:2 says “Bless the Lord, oh my soul and forget not all His benefits…” 
When I looked up the original word for “forget” in the Strong’s concordance, it means to “mislay, cease to care, cause to forget…” 

How often, how easy it is to cease to care, to mislay, to forget, to take for granted even the smallest of God’s blessings. 

But the simple fact is, what wonderful blessing we enjoy today we might not have tomorrow. How very important it is to be thankful for what we do have today, right now, this very moment. There is always something to be thankful for!

I suffer from chronic migraines and from day to day I do not know how they will affect me. 

As an artist, musician, and writer I have to just trust Jesus that all will be well. 

The other day I lost the use of my left hand for about 18 hours. 

I never know if I will ever regain what I lose during a severe migraine but when it happens I run to Jesus and thank Him for what I do have and trust Him that I am safe in His hands. 

He has never failed me. Thankfully, by the next evening the Lord restored my left hand and I was back to playing my piano as before and doing all the myriad things I daily do with that important hand. 

Psalm 103 goes on ” …who forgives all our sins, who heals all our diseases..” I praise and thank the Lord Jesus Christ today who is the forgiver of all my sins and who heals me every day!

We serve an Awesome God! 

Prayer
Heavenly Father, may I never forget all the wonderful gifts and blessings You shower down upon me each day. For even my very life is a gift from You. Help me not take for granted even the smallest blessing, a gift that perhaps another never had or no longer enjoys due to illness, age, an accident, or for whatever reason. 

Help me realize that all things in this life are temporary, for Thy word declares that this world is passing away. Engrave upon my heart that the one thing we can always count on and forever be thankful for is that You will never pass away, You will abide forever and will never leave or forsake us.

Thank You, Lord, I love You, in Jesus’ name, amen. 


Angelsong © 2016 Suzanne Davis Harden All Rights Reserved. Scripture Collage Paintings by Suzanne Davis Harden