Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
"And (Naomi and Ruth) came to Bethlehem at the beginning of the BARLEY season."
"How To Deal With Bitterness" Part V
"A Heavenly Cure -- The Lips"
“A drop of praise is an unsuitable acknowledgement for an ocean of mercy."
What am I feeding on in my life?
How does what I am feeding on reflect in the words I speak?
"Love's trinity, self-perfect, self-sustaining, love which commands, enables and obeys: you give yourself, in boundless joy, creating one vast increasing harmony of praise."
"Sometimes a light surprises
Us while we sing:
It is the Lord who rises
With healing in His wings
When comforts are declining,
He grants the soul again
A season of clear shining
To cheer it after rain."
When I was in my late teens and early twenties, I passed through several years of rather severe depression. This was unknown territory in my life, for as my mother once told me, "You were born a happy child." Due to several painful relationships at that time and the resulting scars that were left on my heart, I found myself wallowing in a pit of negativity.
One day, my concerned dad suggested I take several texts which were filled with heaven's praise, and keep them on cards in my purse or where I could find them easily, and when clouds of gloom began to form around me, I would repeat these texts, enforcing within myself the positive power of praise. Interestingly enough, after weeks of filling myself with the uplifting and joyous, much to my surprise, I began to see a change. At first, there wasn't a huge difference. But slowly with time, after repeating the promises that contained praise to my heavenly Father, I began to find that not only were my thoughts different, but what came out of my mouth was, too!
In the last chapter of my book, The Women Who Met Jesus, I share a Native American tale about an elder who was talking to one of his disciples. The elder said, "I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is the vengeful, angry, violent one. The other wolf is the loving compassionate one." The disciple asked, "But which wolf will win the fight in your heart?" And the holy one answered, "It depends on which one I feed."
The story of Naomi is another reminder to you and me about God's ability and desire to feed us with the bread of life that makes us whole and transforms what is bitter in our lives into what is pleasant.
When Naomi, who was suffering under a burden of bitterness, arrived back in Bethlehem, the Bible tells us that is was "the beginning of the barley harvest."
Not only did God have a plan to heal Naomi's broken heart and wipe His soothing salve over the wounded and bitter places in her life, but then our Father fed Naomi with the feast of heaven for she arrived just in time to benefit from the entire harvest. And the result of being fed put Naomi in a position to have gratitude and praise on her lips. The same thing happens to you and me as we glory in the gifts so graciously supplied by our Father's hand.
If we long to replace the words of despair that come from our mouths during times of famine and drought in our lives, then we should keep before us the words of John of the Cross who so astutely observed, "My spirit is dry within me because it forgets to feed on You."
Horatius Bonar penned this beautiful prayer of praise that reflects the healing our Father brings to our hearts which is then expressed on our lips as our voices rise in continual praise to the "One" who has transformed us:
"Fill Thou my life, O Lord my God,
In every part with praise,
That my whole being may proclaim
Thy being and Thy ways.
Not for the lip of praise alone,
Nor even the praising heart
I ask, but for a life made up
Of praise in every part!
Fill every part of me with praise;
Let all my being speak
Of Thee and of Thy love, O Lord,
Poor though I be, and weak.
So shalt Thou, Lord, from me, even me,
Receive the glory due;
And so shall I begin on earth
The song forever new.
So shall each fear, each fret, each care
Be turned into a song.
And every winding of the way
The echo shall prolong;
So shall no part of day or night
From sacredness be free;
But all my life, in every step
Be fellowship with Thee."
The Singer and the Song
"When long before time and the worlds were begun,
when there was no earth and no sky and no sun,
and all was deep silence and night reigned supreme,
and even our Maker had only a dream…
…the silence was broken when God sang the Song,
and light pierced the darkness and rhythm began,
and with its first birthcries creation was born,
and creaturely voices sang praise to the morn.
The sounds of the creatures were one with their Lord's
their harmonies sweet and befitting the Word;
the Singer was pleased as the earth sang the Song,
the choir of the creatures re-echoed it long.
Though, down through the ages, the Song disappeared ---
its harmonies broken and almost unheard –
the Singer comes to us to sing it again,
our-God-is-With-Us in the world now as then.
The Light has returned as it came once before,
the Song of the Lord is our own song once more;
so let us all sing with one heart and one voice
the Song of the Singer in whom we rejoice.
To You, God, the Singer, our voices we raise,
to You, Son Incarnate, we give all the praise,
to You, Holy Spirit, our life and our breath,
be glory for ever, through life and through death."
Peter W. A. Davison
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P. S. Thank you so much for the gifts you send to Transformation Garden which continue to assist our ministry here in the United States and in 192 countries around the world. 100% of your donation goes directly to providing for our daily devotionals and gift bookmarks. Transformation Garden is a non-profit organization so your gift is tax-deductible and you will receive a receipt for any gift you send.sefsef
Many of you have asked how to send a gift to Transformation Garden. You can help support our work by giving a gift through Paypal or you can send your gift to: Transformation Garden, 2675 West SR89A, PMB 1121, Sedona, Arizona 86336. Thank you so much.
Also, if you should happen to miss a devotional for some reason, you can go to www.transformationgarden.com and you will find archived devotionals. We also place the daily devotionals on Facebook so you can find them on that site also.
My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com and www.Christianbook.com or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. Thank you so much for your support of Transformation Garden.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.