Reflections and Comfort In the Midst of a Crisis and St. Patrick Quotes

We’re in the midst of a crisis in our nation and in the world that is causing devastating effects in so many areas of life and for so many people. All because of a virus that is causing sickness and death throughout the world and seems to be unstoppable.

It’s surely a wake-up call, isn’t it? Does God have the first place in our hearts? Do we trust Him as the King who has control, even when fear and troubles threaten to drown us?

Sometimes we may wonder why God doesn’t stop these things. Does God really care about us? Yes, He does! If He didn’t, He wouldn’t have created us or sacrificed His own life for us.

Following Jesus will never keep us from getting sick or dying. But He has promised He will be with us no matter what happens. And through trials, He teaches us to depend more on Him, lean into Him, and allow Him to be first in our hearts and lives.

As the coronavirus spreads quickly, may we not lose heart…

“I have told you all this
so that you may have peace in Me.
Here on earth you will have
many trials and sorrows.
But take heart, because
I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 NLT

♥ ♥ ♥

Jesus replied,
“You do not realize now
what I am doing, but
later you will understand.”
John 13:7

Today is St. Patrick’s Day. Parades and activities have been cancelled, but I don’t think St. Patrick would have minded. He didn’t strive for “man’s empty praise.” (Hymn – Be Thou My Vision) By God’s grace, His Treasure was in Christ Jesus, and his life pointed not to himself but to Christ and the hope and salvation we can find in Him.

St. Patrick Quotes

“I have a Creator who knew all things,
even before they were made –
even me, his poor little child.”
“I arise today through
God’s strength to pilot me;
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me afar and anear,
alone or in a multitude.”
“Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.”

Amretasgraphics – Homemade with Love and a Happy Heart

Be Thou My Vision
Irish Hymn Sung by 4Him

“Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art
High King of Heaven, my victory won
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heav’n’s Sun
Heart of my own heart, whate’er befall
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all”

God Hears Our Cries and Yearns For Us To Open Our Eyes to His Bottomless Well of Love

Do you feel alone, rejected, and misunderstood?  With nowhere to turn? Like even God has left you?

When Abraham sent away Hagar and Ishmael, they wandered in the desert. Aimlessly. With a canteen of water and some food that soon ran out. Now what?

As their bodies dehydrated, they became weak and lethargic. Hagar couldn’t bear seeing her son die, so she hid him under one of the bushes and distanced herself. She sat down and sobbed. Doesn’t anyone care?

Then an angel called to Hagar, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there.”

Hagar was physically weak from lack of water and spiritually devastated of hope. But God graciously reminded her that He hears. And He lifted her head and opened her eyes to see a well, and hope surged through her soul. She got up, filled her water skin, and gave her son a drink.

While man-made wells can and do run dry, the well of Jesus’ love is bottomless and will never, ever run dry. It’s available to each of us, waiting for us to drink freely from it. It’s full to overflowing of:

Yearning love that “longs to be gracious” to us.

Selfless, sacrificial, and redeeming love that came down to become “an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

Unconditional, nonjudgmental, and freeing love that holds “no condemnation” for those who believe in Him.

Replenishing, restoring love that says to those whose hope has dried up, “I will put breath in you, and you will come to life.”

Healing love that heals our broken hearts and binds up our wounds.

Compassionate, understanding love that “empathizes with our weaknesses.”

Never-abandoning love that says, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Unfailing love that reaches to the heavens and is priceless.

Sometimes our grief-blinded eyes and our pain-crushed hearts can focus only on the pit of our misery rather than the hope God places right in front of us. The hope that He sees and hears us always. The hope that His love is faithful and will never reject us.

If you are having a difficult time, may Jesus hold you up and strengthen you. May He lift you and carry you when you can’t go any further. May He each morning not only open our eyes to His never-emptying well of love, but also empower us to drink from it.

“But whoever drinks of the water
that I will give him shall never thirst;
but the water that I will give him
will become in him a well of water
springing up to eternal life.”
John 4:14

God Loves You
by Jaci Velasquez

“In the quiet, love is reaching.
It`s yours to hold,
Be still and know that
Even when you`re lost and lonely,
And hope is gone, you`re not alone.
Far beyond the understanding,
There`s a hand that leads,
If you believe.
Through the darkness, see the light.
Remember God loves you.”

7 Days of Soul Care (Book Review)


gods-love-sets-me-free-from-the-chains-of-letting-fear-of-others-control-me-e1476934404221

I feel nudged to repost this book review from nearly two years ago. The truths in this book are so needed in our lives and in this world. As I revisit these truths, they have again comforted my heart. I hope they will encourage yours, too.

Does your spirit feel empty, discouraged, and confused? Does it feel like you’re missing something important in your life? Do lies about God, yourself, or others torment you? Do you long to grasp your identity in Christ Jesus? Do you crave a deeper relationship with God?

Wearying of trying to fit her circle into the square expectation of certain key people, Dolly Lee prayed and asked God to show her how He created and designed her. God answered her prayer and led her on a deeper experience of His love.

The journey was far from easy. Through valley lows and mountain highs, God led her on a journey of self-discovery and a deeper experience of His love that can transform and redeem brokenness to beauty.

7daysofsoulcare_mockup2-e1476393741791

Dolly’s personal battle with anxiety, depression, and  PTSD, and God’s transformation through His love and grace has birthed a book that will resonate with many. 7 Days of Soul Care: A Guide to Letting God Do the Extraordinary With Your Ordinary  “invites readers to surrender fear and to courageously embrace the journey of living more fully into his or her amazing true identity as God’s Beloved.”

Through creative (and some vulnerable) stories, Scripture, soul-searching journal questions, and heartfelt prayers, Dolly gifts us with highlights of what she learned over the past 17 years and continues to learn. With love and compassion, she invites us into a deeper relationship with God.

The top three takeaways Dolly wants readers to take to heart are:

God created you in love and for love.

God sees you as a masterpiece.

We won’t be able to fully receive God’s love when we believe lies about God, ourselves, or others.

myself-as-god-created-quote-e1477428724694

Some of my favorite quotes, one from each day, are:

Being exceptional begins with our connection with God. It has taken me decades to learn relationship with God begins first with our “being” and not with our “doing.”

We have worth because we are created in God’s image.

When I admit and experience my own brokenness and my failure to love well, I see in contrast God’s tender love and grace welcoming me back home. He calls me to rest my weary head on His chest. I don’t need to live by my own limited strength.

The more I remind myself of God’s unconditional love for me, the more I walk in freedom from people–pleasing and perfectionism.

Remember that the cross and not your circumstances are the measure of His great love for you.

I travel away from God whenever I forget I have all I need in Him and instead seek my soul’s fulfillment elsewhere.

It isn’t selfish to make time to care for our minds, souls, and bodies.

Life can get so busy, but that’s all the more reason to rest and nurture our souls. Our time will not be wasted as we read this book slowly and carefully so we can soak in refreshment for our thirsty, weary souls.

“I am the Vine; you are the branches.
The one who remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit,
for [otherwise] apart from Me
[that is, cut off from vital union with Me]
you can do nothing.”
John 15:5 AMP

If you purchase this book, you will be contributing to a worthy cause – the International Justice Mission, a ministry that protects the poor from violence throughout the developing world. Dolly’s hope is to raise at least $500 out of her royalties for this book.

A Child's Trust

When Dolly needs to remember what is true about God and herself, she listens to songs. One of the songs she listened to during the writing process was “Here’s My Heart” by Casting Crowns.

dolly

Dolly Lee believes God’s love can transform a person from the inside-out if one surrenders to His love. She’s thankful God’s grace allows second acts and second chances. She attends Fuller Seminary and writes at her blog Soulstops.com where she invites readers to stop and connect with God. She lives with her family and one lovable dog in California where she loves to hike, read, share meals and laugh with family and friends. Her goal is to collect enough in royalties from the sale of her book, 7 Days of Soul Care, to donate $500 to the work of International Justice Mission.

* The two images were created by Dolly’s daughter.
* I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book but I was not paid to write this review. This is my honest review, based on information from Dolly and my own opinion.

signature2