God’s Faithfulness

Gods-Faithfulness4.20.15

God’s Faithfulness 

Psalm 36:5-7 (ERV)

“Lord, your faithful love reaches to the sky. Your faithfulness is as high as the clouds.Your goodness is higher than the highest mountains. Your fairness is deeper than the deepest ocean. Lord, you protect people and animals. Nothing is more precious than your loving kindness. All people can find protection close to you.”

Prayer

Heavenly Father, Thank You for Thy faithfulness and mercy. Thy word promises that Thy mercies toward us are renewed each morning. Martin Luther wrote in his famous hymn, “And though this world with devils filled should threaten to undo us, we will not fear for God has willed His truth to triumph through us.” Lord, Thy Truth~ Thy very own Holy Spirit within us will never leave us nor forsake us throughout our sojourn on this earth. Lord Jesus, thank You for Thy holy Presence within us, Thy strength and Thy grace to see us through every trial. No matter what furnace we may find ourselves thrown into, You will be in it with us protecting us from the flames. Lord, You have promised in Isaiah that though we walk through the fires the flames shall not harm us. And You keep every promise forever. Thank You, precious Creator. Help us to keep focusing on You, Lord Jesus Christ and not on the evil all around us. Help us to cling to Thy words, “In this world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Please Bless each soul reading this prayer with renewed faith and hope today and rivers of peace and comfort. Scatter all their fears and anxieties to the four winds and draw them ever closer to Thy heart. In Jesus’ holy name, Amen & amen.

Savior of My Soul~A Prayer Song

Original Illustration © S.D. Harden All Rights Reserved.Original Illustration © 2014  Suzanne Davis Harden All Rights Reserved.

Savior of My Soul Prayer Song

© S.D. Harden All Rights Reserved.

 

O, I will trust the living God,

The Savior of my soul-

I may not understand His ways

But He is in control.

 

My path may be obscure

And in the darkness lie,

But I will hope in Jesus

Who holds me in His eye.

 

He will not forget me

For I have been engraved

Upon His holy hands;

For Him my soul is saved.

 

For Him I am redeemed,

For Him I am reserved;

For Him I am a trophy

Of His grace to be preserved.

 

And though I sit in darkness

With trees that will not bud,

I have a promise from the Lord

That spring will surely come.

 

Though winter struts along

Like it will never end;

It’s just a giant’s shadow~

The spring He soon will send.

 

God’s promises are sure

Though I must walk by faith;

Such wonder in believing;

Such hope it generates!

 

Oh I will trust the living God,

The Savior of my soul;

O Lord, you know the paths I take,

For You are in control.

 

Yes, You are in control;

You know what’s best for me;

You’ve set apart unto Your heart

Those who will but believe.

 

And you will keep your promises

To those who trust in You

Though they may not understand

The mysteries of Truth.

 

Though I sit in darkness

On a path I had not planned

I will trust I am engraved

Upon Your holy hand.

 

And You will keep Your promises,

For You are in control,

O You will not forget me,

O Savior of my soul.

Little Praying Girl © S.D. Harden All Rights Reserved.
Little Praying Girl © S.D. Harden All Rights Reserved.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the assurance that You are always in control of all things. Thy word says in Psalm 103:19, “The Lord has prepared His throne in the heavens; and His kingdom rules over all,” and in Hebrews 1:3  that You “uphold all things by the word of Your power.”Romans 8:8 assures me that every detail of my life is being orchestrated by  You into something grand and beautiful and for my ultimate good because You care very much about each one of us. Psalm 138:8 promises that You will “fulfill Your plans for my life.” So I don’t need to worry about whether or not I am going to accomplish Your will for me. You will get me on the path I need to be on. And all I need to do is Trust You.

Lord, though this is often so hard to do, please help each of us to trust You when we cannot see past the bend in the road, when we cannot fathom Your purposes for us on the path You have chosen for us. Help us to trust You when nothing makes sense. Help us to keep our eyes on You anyway; to know that You are in control and that You cherish each of us beyond what we can imagine.

May the sense of Your abiding presence sustain every person praying this prayer. May they feel You with them as they never have before. May You renew their faith, fill them with new hope, and give them joy.

Thank You, dear Lord, I love You, In Jesus’ name. Amen.

*If you would like to listen to the Instrumental Music for my Prayer Song “Savior of My Soul” please follow the link to my Music Website where you will find the song at the top of the playlist in the music player at the bottom of the page.

http://www.peacefulprayersongs.com  “Savior of My Soul” is one of the first instrumental pieces of music the Lord gave me for the piano and on my music blog I have written a message about my recording entitled “Not Perfect.” 🙂  I pray the music and my message will bless and inspire you~God bless! love and blessings, Suzanne 🙂

 “Savior of My Soul” ~A Prayer Song © 2011 Suzanne Davis Harden All Rights Reserved. All Illustrations © 2014 Suzanne Davis Harden All Rights Reserved. Angel Song © 2014 Suzanne Davis Harden  All Rights Reserved.

 

 

The Rusty Nail

Detail, Worshiper, Painting by S.D. Harden © 2013 All Rights Reserved
Detail, Worshiper, Painting by S.D. Harden © 2013 All Rights Reserved

The Rusty Nail

A few weeks ago I posted a blog and music video based on Psalm 51:10, the Psalm King David wrote after he’d committed adultery with Bathsheba, gotten her pregnant, and then murdered her husband to cover up his sin.
God sent Nathan the prophet to confront the king and David repented, praying, “Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.” ~ (Psalm 51:10-11)

For those readers who did not have an opportunity to read my original post about this beautiful psalm and how David repented of his sin, I encourage you to take a moment to do so.
I took down my music video a few days after posting it with the promise that I would repost it again for you soon.
I created my original music video for my prayer song “Create in Me a Clean Heart” as a worship aid for a special prayer night at our church. The Lord gave me the song the day of the prayer service!
Our Lord is very generous with His gifts! I had not asked Him for the song; in fact the worship leader and I were planning to do a different music video I had already created.  But the Holy Spirit had a different plan so I got busy preparing the song and video the Lord gave me. I had only 3 hours in which to record the song and create the video that day.
I am not a trained videographer. All my training is in art and writing. I never sought to be a musician, a singer, or to create videos. One day a few years ago, I went to the altar at church to pray about some burden I had. The Lord spoke to my heart and asked me if I would sing for Him.
“My Suzy, will you sing for Me?”
This request had nothing to do with my issue I was praying about. And besides that, to sing for anyone was the LAST thing I wanted to do, having a terrible phobia of public performance of any sort.
I didn’t want to be disrespectful of the Almighty, but I couldn’t help but think He HAD to be joking. I like to draw cute little dressed up animals. If I were to draw myself as an animal I would be a shy little, timid mole hiding behind her little art desk painting and writing and drawing. Never singing.
“Lord,” I said, to Him, “not to be disrespectful, but I don’t think You are remembering who I am…I can’t sing, I’m an artist.”
He only said, “My Suzy, won’t you sing for Me?”
I peeped around as I knelt at the altar wondering if anyone could see how exasperated I was.
“Lord,” I said, “Have You forgotten how bad a singer I am…so bad that when I sang “Jesus Loves Me” to My child when he was 6 years old he HOWLED?!”
I felt like crying because I had once sung praises to The Lord in my quiet times up until that had happened. Many years had passed and I no longer sang to Jesus because of that incident with my little boy. The enemy used it to make me think I had a terrible voice and I kept silent after that.
When Christian grew up he said, “Mama, I only howled because the dog across the street was howling with the wind that night. I was howling with him. I loved your singing.”
But when I was at the altar that day I didn’t know that.
I only knew that I believed I had a terrible voice and that there was no way I wanted to sing for God because I was so ashamed of my voice ever since that day.
“My Suzy, will you sing for Me?” Jesus asked me for the third time.
I knew it was God’s voice. And I could not say no if I loved Him.
Then He said, “My Suzy, will you trust Me?”
I knew I had to lay down something. I had to lay down my fear, my pride, and give God my will and allow Him to make me what He wanted me to be.
Singing was the last thing I wanted to do because I never believed I could be good enough.
Though I never trained to be a musician, nor did I ever sing until I became a Christian and then only in my quiet times, yet God has blessed me with many beautiful songs inspired by His word. Whether piano solos or prayer songs, The Lord continues, ever since that day at the altar when I reluctantly said yes, (though I was terrified) He has given me over 350 pieces of music for His glory. I have recorded them all.
My new video includes my worship painting based on Luke 7 that I’ve been working on for the last several months. It was not finished yet when I made the first video. That video made heavy use of a lot of images pulled from the Internet that may have been copyrighted and I did not have time to get permission or check the copyright status of all those images I used.
My new video includes more original content and makes use of some classical works of several great artists from the past and present whose works are in the public domain.
I’ve always believed that God can anoint a rusty old nail if He chooses to use it for His glory. So it does not matter what I have to give Him, as long as I give it by faith in humble obedience to His will, He can bless it and use it to bless others.
My prayer is that this music video will bless and inspire you, and draw you closer to the God who died on the cross for each of us in order to create in us a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within us.

Heavenly Father, Help us know that you do not desire perfection from us in what we give You, just trust & obedience. You will supply all the rest.
Create in us clean hearts that serve You & worship You in sincerity & truth. Thank You Lord. In Jesus name. Amen

My Ezekiel Prayer

 

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“Ezekiel’s First Vision” Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld (1794-1872)

My Ezekiel Prayer

 Ezekiel was one of the captives of Judah who had been taken to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar.  His name means “God Strengthens.”

He was the son of a priest and was himself a priest. But since he was exiled from his homeland, he was jobless, for in Babylon he had no temple to take care of.

Yet God still had a job for Ezekiel to do. Though it was not what he’d trained all his life to do for the Lord, nevertheless, it was what God had created him to do. He called Ezekiel to be His prophet to speak to a nation that had broken faith with Him. The Lord wanted to use Ezekiel to vindicate the “holiness of His great name.”

When Ezekiel was around thirty years old, as he sat with the other captives by the  Kebar river, he wrote, “The heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.” (Ezekiel 1:1)

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Nuremberg (1702) “Ezekiel’s Vision” Wikipedia Commons

If you are a highly visual person like me and read Ezekiel’s visions you may long for an illustrated bible because they are quite surreal. But even if we have a literal picture of these visions right before us we soon realize that just like a website without the correct password is impossible to enter, so is a vision without the right interpretation.

God has a very good reason for everything He does. He chooses to speak to us in certain ways based on what He is going to do in our lives and how He wants to use us for the work He is calling us to carry out for Him. He chose to speak to Ezekiel in visions.  In fact, they play a very prominent role throughout his book.

Typically, visions from God are not meant to be taken literally. They are visual metaphors illustrating spiritual realities. They are a kind of picture language from God sent to tell us something very important or to reflect obliquely future glories that await us to encourage our faith.

When Paul, who had been taken in a vision up into what he called “the third heaven” wrote about spiritual things He said, For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)

If we try to understand Ezekiel’s vision literally we may as well knock our heads together. Jesus said to those who would try to understand spiritual things in a literal way, It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63)

God gave Ezekiel this amazing inaugural vision to prepare him for a very difficult calling. When we read the succeeding chapters of his book we understand just how challenging his work for God would be.

Ezekiel was asked to shut himself inside his house, isolate himself from his community, he would be bound with cords; was afflicted by God so that he could not speak temporarily, he had to lie on one side for 390 days and then the other for 40 more days and cook his food over a dung pile.

How many of us would think it was God’s voice we were hearing if the Lord asked us to cook our food over a pile of feces every day for 390 days?  Uh huh..I am confessing right now that I would probably rebuke that voice in Jesus’ name. Alas. I just wonder sometimes how many times a day the Lord gets rebuked in His own name because we just don’t recognize His voice as we should. And I wonder how often He gets exasperated with His own sheep who are supposed to know their Good Shepherd’s voice!

You might think to yourself, “Well, that was in the bible days, God would never ask us to do anything like that in this day and age!”

Don’t ever think that God is any different now than He was in Ezekiel’s day because His word says, For I am the Lord, I do not change…” (Malachi 3:6)

And Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

It often occurs to me after studying the bible that God does not usually ask His servants to do what is convenient, comfortable, or easy. In fact, Jesus said we must be willing to take up our cross and follow Him.

I believe God spoke to Ezekiel in visions, (symbolic language) because He was going to make Ezekiel’s life a living metaphor to communicate His Truth to His people. Everything God asked Ezekiel to do was like a living illustration to His people, a picture of His message to go along with the words the prophet was asked to communicate.

I have studied and prayed over Ezekiel’s vision and made it into a prayer in the hopes that the Lord will use it somehow to transform my life the way He did Ezekiel’s into a person who could fearlessly communicate His truths to our world without complaining about the cost. (And when I do fuss about the cross the Lord has asked me to bear, I pray He will remind me that at least He has never asked me to cook my food over a dung pile and to help me to be thankful!)

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                                Artist: Jim Padgett: “Ezekiel’s Vision”

My Ezekiel Prayer

(Inspired by Ezekiel’s Vision & Matthew Henry’s Interpretation)

Heavenly Father, I pray for divine wisdom and understanding,

To excel in strength and boldness like that of a lion, even as the angels who serve You and who are never afraid;

I ask that You help me to excel in diligence and patience like an ox, and to be unwearied in the discharge of the work You give me to do for You, even as those angels are who serve In Your holy court.

I ask for quick and piercing insight, like that of an eagle’s sight, to soar high even as the angels who serve You soar, spiritually close to You, quick to hear Your voice in my heart, quick to respond obediently to do all You ask of me without complaining; and always thankful, always humble.

I ask for willing hands and feet to do Your will, to walk Your paths wherever You call me to go, whatever You ask me to do.

Help me go straight forward like Your angels who serve in Your holy courts, with one heart, one soul, one mind, one purpose: to love You with ALL MY HEART, ALL MY SOUL, ALL MY MIND, ALL MY BEING.

Lord, like Your angels, let me turn not back, nor aside from serving You. Help me keep my eyes focused firmly on You. Let me not turn from my work to trifle with what is not Your will for me.

 Help me go wherever Your Holy Spirit would have me go, to accomplish whatever You have chosen for me to do.

Oh dearest Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus, Holy Spirit, though I am no angel, please fill my heart with a burning zeal to serve You as those angels at Your court must have. Fill my heart with a burning love, a holy passion that grows only more intense for You like a flame that is eternal and grows deeper and higher and hotter day by day.

Let my love for You be like the eternal flame in the lamps of the temple of old Jerusalem; may it never wane, may it never die, but grow stronger and brighter each moment day by day by the power of Your Holy Spirit, in Jesus name, thank You, I love You, Lord,

 

“My Ezekiel Prayer” © S.D. Harden 2013 All Rights Reserved. Angel Song

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trusting God’s Guidance

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From the Painting “The Good Shepherd” © S.D. Harden 2013 All Rights Reserved.

                       Trusting in God’s Guidance

Psalm 23 is known as The Shepherd Psalm. It’s one of my favorite Psalms in the Bible.

Jesus Christ is our Good Shepherd. He said, “My sheep respond to my voice, and I know who they are. They follow me, and I give them eternal life. They will never be lost, and no one will tear them away from me.” ~ John 10:27,28

Sometimes our Good Shepherd may ask us to go down a path we may be afraid to follow. Yet God’s word assures us that Christ always leads us in paths of righteousness. (Psalm 23:3).

The dictionary defines the word “righteousness” as “justice, decency, honesty, blamelessness, virtue, and morality.”

The NIV bible translates Psalm 23:3: “He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.”

The way I understand it, God won’t ever guide us to do something that is contrary to His word.

In my painting above, I have illustrated the idea of our Good Shepherd inviting His child to go with Him on a journey. He looks gently into her eyes and she gazes back at Him as He holds her hand suggesting that they are good friends.

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Detail: “The Good Shepherd”

Jesus said, “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” (John 15:14)  Jesus loves His child deeply. Because He is the Good Shepherd as well as her Creator, He knows what is best for her. He encourages her to do what He knows is the right path for her.

Yet the child hesitates to go with Her Master. There is that tiny sense that she does not fully trust the Good Shepherd.

She stands just behind him in the painting. Her feet seem paralyzed and rooted into the sand like some sort of petrified tree as her Shepherd lovingly assures her that He will always be with her throughout the journey and that His rod and staff will comfort her.

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Detail: “The Good Shepherd”

Though she has given one of her hands to her Lord in partial submission to His will, she holds the other behind her back, symbolizing her reluctance to step out in faith with Him on their journey and her inner fears. Yet He lovingly smiles at her. He knows every weakness, every fear. He neither judges, nor condemns her.

How often do we, when presented with new unsettling challenges to our faith, or a new dark journey in life, question the wisdom of God? How often do we hold back from fully trusting our Lord when He asks us to follow Him down a new unfamiliar path?

Like the little child in the painting, we have given Jesus one of our hands, but we reluctantly hold the other behind our back and stand with our feet rooted in the ground when He asks us to please trust Him though we may not understand the way He is asking us to follow Him.

Jesus once told His disciples on the cusp of His crucifixion: “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.” ~John 16:12

He then said that the Holy Spirit would come to them and lead them into all truth.

Our Lord asks us to walk by faith, to trust Him and to listen for His voice every day, one day at a time, with our hands in the hands of our Good Shepherd.

Just as the little child in this painting is walking with her Shepherd, so we must walk. And though like her we are often afraid, despite our fears, like her we must keep our hand in our Shepherd’s hand and our eyes on Him, abiding in Him in our hearts daily if we are to hear His voice.

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” ~John 16:13

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Detail: “The Good Shepherd” © S.D. Harden All Rights Reserved.

*Lord Jesus please help me give You both my hands in total surrender when You ask me to journey with You down the road You have prepared for me before the foundation of this world. Help me not doubt but believe all of your promises to me and live by faith. In Thy holy name I ask. Amen.

A copy of this painting is reproduced on my greeting card called, “The Good Shepherd.”

If you would like to purchase a copy of this card please visit my Etsy store at http://www.etsy.com/shop/WingsPublications

“The Good Shepherd” Illustration © Suzanne Davis Harden 2013 All Rights Reserved.