Safe In His Hand

God Has You in the Palm of His Hand

We grow up in life expecting that life will be grand as we move out on our own and make our own decisions. Instead, as we maneuver through the world, we are met with disappointments, broken promises, and broken hearts. We discover the reality of this world. We find out that living life is not easy.

We discover that no one can guarantee us a life of bliss. Even God, our Creator, does not promise that we will live a life without chaos. He does say, however, that He will carry us through the chaos. See Isaiah 43:2 (NIV) –

When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze
.”

There is so much turmoil in the world, and I know that worrying about it day and night will not do more than cause my blood pressure to rise. And so, it is my quest to live a life without worrying about all of those matters. I’m not saying I do not care about what happens to others in the world, and I do my part to help others when I can. I mean to say here that I prefer not to spend my life worrying about turmoil day in and day out.

It is easy to become overwhelmed, and when that happens, I refer to the bible. One of my “go-to” passages is in Matthew 6. In particular, the verses in Matthew 6:25-34 make me stop and recognize that my life is all taken care of. After reading those verses, I ask myself, what am I worried about? I realize God has me in the palm of His hand. He will make sure my needs are met. No matter what I need, He will provide it.

Even when it seems all is lost, somehow, if I step out of the way and let God have control of my life circumstances, everything works out more beautifully than my little mind could have ever planned it.

Oh, please don’t think I go through life willy-nilly, without plans. Oh, I plan! I plan many things, but here is what I do now that I did not do in the past. I take my plans and discern as best as I can if my plans are in tune with the desires of God. And, not being all-knowing, I am fortunate enough to be smart enough to give my plans to the Lord, who intercedes on my behalf to take my plans to God. I ask the Lord to look at my plans, and if they fit in with what God has planned for me, He would take them to God for me.

And then I go on about my life, and as my life unfolds, I see which plans come to fruition and which plans go by the wayside. I am pleased either way because I know God has my back.

Do Not Worry

I do not worry about things as much now as I had in the past. Please read Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV) to see what God wants us to know about worrying.

 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

When I read that final sentence, “Each day has enough trouble of its own,” I realize that God wants us to wake up each day and receive what He has in store for us in that day and that day alone. Isn’t it wonderful that our Heavenly Father takes care of us so that we do not have to worry about anything? We don’t need to worry about tomorrow. We only need to get through today.

You Are Not Alone

When you feel that all is lost, when you feel like you can’t possibly live another day, reach out to your Heavenly Father. He loves you, and He will carry you through whatever you are going through at any stage of your life.

When you feel sad, it is okay to cry. And, I want to encourage you to let go of your tendency to turn to the coping skills you may have used in the past. Instead, rely on God because He has you in the palm of His hands. He can remove all obstacles to make your world right. Rely on God for all things, big and small.

Reach for your bible for words of encouragement. When you feel that all is lost, remember the following verses that offer words of hope. Remember, God created you; God loves you, and God will never let you fail.

Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 46:4 (NIV)

Even to your old age and gray hairs
    I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
    I will sustain you and I will rescue you

And remember that each time we go through a hardship, it is likely that we are going through that situation so that we can learn to trust in God more. Our Lord is here to help us get through life. One way He does that is by helping us learn to lean on Him for everything. You have noticed by now, that each time the Lord brings you through to the other side of a hardship, especially those times when you relied on Him, you came out of it a much stronger person than you were before. He has you in the palm of His hands.

Redeemed

We have been redeemed by the love of Jesus Christ, our Savior.

We have been redeemed!

One of my favorite games is Scrabble. And there was a time when you could not tear me away from Words With Friends. I am fascinated by words because words, used properly, can lift people up. Words can motivate and inspire people to do great things.

I see words as tools to be used effectively in communication.

I have a friend who speaks and writes with an uncanny sense of clarity. Carefully chosen words assure that the listener or reader comprehends the exact meaning of what is said or written.

I subscribe to Dictionary.com, and each day I receive a Word of the Day. To make it fun learning this new word, I try to use the word appropriately in a sentence sometime during the day.

My Word of the Day

Today, there is a wonderful word appropriately circling the globe. This word is “Redeemed.”

Approximately 2000 years ago, Jesus was crucified. He suffered horribly, sacrificing Himself to atone for our sins. Think about it! We are the ones who sin and should suffer the burden and make the sacrifice for our sin. But Jesus, who is sinless, stepped in for us and became the sacrifice for us. He redeemed us!

As a man in the flesh, Jesus took on all sin out of His pure love for us. He did this so that we could be spared the suffering associated with our sin. He endured pain and humiliation. He did this so that we could overcome our sins and be washed of our sins then, now, and forever. And, I want to add that He did this joyfully. He did not complain or change His mind, even when the torture was, no doubt, excruciating.

Jesus died on a cross so that we would not have the burden of suffering for our sins.

Word Fanatic

I am a word fanatic. On any day, you can find me looking up the meaning of words. I even spend time looking up the meaning of common words. Today, I looked up the word redeem and found the following definition in Dictionary.com. It seemed appropriate for the remembrance of the sacrifice Jesus Christ made for us.

Redeem

verb (used with object)

  • to buy or pay off; clear by payment: to redeem a mortgage.
  • to buy back, as after a tax sale or a mortgage foreclosure.
  • to recover (something pledged or mortgaged) by payment or other satisfaction: to redeem a pawned watch.
  • to exchange (bonds, trading stamps, etc.) for money or goods.
  • to convert (paper money) into specie.
  • to discharge or fulfill (a pledge, promise, etc.).
  • to make up for; make amends for; offset (some fault, shortcoming, etc.): His bravery redeemed his youthful idleness.
  • to obtain the release or restoration of, as from captivity, by paying a ransom.
  • Theology. to deliver from sin and its consequences by means of a sacrifice offered for the sinner.

We have been redeemed

It is appropriate that the theological definition describes precisely the point I present today. Jesus delivered us from sin and was the sacrifice offered for our sins.

Dictionary.com Word of the Day

Today, Dictionary.com has a word that I think is appropriate for the day.

The word is passe-partout. It is pronounced, “pas-pahr-too.” The word is a noun that means “Something that passes everywhere or provides a universal means of passage.”

When I think of the meaning of passe-partout, I think of how Jesus provides us a means of passage.

A person who is not cleansed of their sins cannot go to God. We need Jesus. He is our pathway to God. When we ask Jesus for forgiveness, Jesus speaks to God on our behalf, and our sins are forgiven.

It is written in the Bible,

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

John 14:6 (NIV)

Happy Friday!

On a Friday, almost 2000 years ago, Jesus Christ died on a cross for us. On that day, He became the sacrifice for our sins. On that day, our debt of sin was paid in full. Once and for all, on that day, we were forgiven!

And then, three days later, on a Sunday, Jesus became alive again. He was resurrected. Satan, who would have preferred we suffer for our sins, was defeated. It was Jesus who fought our battle against Satan and won.  Jesus did this because He loves us so much. He loves us so profoundly we cannot imagine the depth of His love. He fought for us without hesitation and any expectations of repayment.

Jesus loves us! And on this Friday, I want to thank Him, with all of my heart, for His love. His sacrifice has paved the way for us to join our Father in heaven. And, He made it easy. All we need to do is believe that Jesus is the Son of God. When we sin, all we need to do is go to Jesus and ask Him for forgiveness.

Pray for Forgiveness

The Bible tells us that when we have sinned, we are wise to ask for forgiveness of that sin. And, if we ask for forgiveness, we are forgiven, and our lives made new again. Here are some verses that speak about forgiveness and the never-ending love of Christ.

Note: All of the verses are quoted from the New International Version (NIV).

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 6:23

“There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

Romans 3:23

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

1 John 1:9

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 5:8

“Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’ ”

Acts 2:38

“That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved for it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”

Romans 10:9-10

The Sinner’s Prayer

Friends, if you have sin in your life and would like to ask forgiveness, there is nothing much that you need to do to get into the full grace of God. The sinner’s prayer is simple, but it effectively says all that needs to be said when asking for redemption. While the sinner’s prayer is not a prayer explicitly found in the Bible, it represents a way for us to begin praying to our Lord and Savior.

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior.

The Sinner’s Prayer

Happy Resurrection Day

May you have peace this Good Friday and feel abundant love this coming Sunday, knowing our Lord rose and came back to us so that we could enjoy life again with Him.

Keep On Swimming

No matter what is happening in your life, remember to have faith. Keep on dreaming, keep on praying, and keep on swimming to your goal.

© Marlene Bertrand 2021

Today’s story is a story of faith and hope.

In the year 2008, my husband and I worked as contracted technical writers and editors for the same company. On a regular day, as we always did, we went to lunch together and, all seemed well when we returned from lunch. Little did we know that we had enjoyed our last lunch together with this company. No sooner than we returned, we were called into a casual meeting with the manager of the department we worked. In that meeting, we discovered that we were no more valuable than any other contracted personnel within the company, and as with many contractors working at the company, the manager quickly informed us that, due to economic factors, the company was downsizing and the company would no longer be able to afford our services. And just like that, we lost our jobs on the same day, at the same time.

Losing our jobs suddenly meant we suddenly lost our means of survival (in the lifestyle we had become accustomed to). We could no longer afford the mortgage on our home, so we had to give our home back to the lender (to avoid foreclosure). And, when we gave the home back to the lender, we had nowhere to live. We had a little bit of money in a savings account, though it was not enough to pay creditors, much less, enough to afford to live in a decent part of town. And, even in the most run-down part of town, landlords would not rent to us because, over time, our credit history had become tarnished.

We needed a place to stay, or we would be destined to live in the streets as many people in our situation had succumbed. Desperate to have a place to live my husband and I had the idea that if we could liquidate our 401k plans, we could purchase land and live on it. We figured, if we bought land, we would always have a place to stay, even if we lived in a tent. But, the county in the city where our land was located had other ideas. They mandated that no person could live on their land unless they built a house on it. The county would not allow us to live on our land even if we lived in a self-contained recreation vehicle (RV).

Financially, it was tough because, even though my husband and I were able to purchase the land at a bargain price, now, a good portion of our money was tied up in the land. Survival became unmaintainable and we decided we should sell the land to reap what we could, but we were unable to sell the land because the land was raw, undeveloped land, and selling it turned out to be a non-existent option because, at the time, many other people were losing their jobs due to economic downturns. So we were stuck with the land whether we wanted it or not.

We Prayed

We prayed about what we should do. We agreed that we would rely on the Lord to provide for our needs. We decided that no matter how long it took, at some point, that for which we were praying would be answered.

As luck (or more realistically the Lord) would have it, we somehow had enough money left in our 401k plans to pay cash for a mobile home in a mobile home park. We lived seven years in the mobile home. We retired and lived on our Social Security retirement income which allowed us to pay the bills, live meagerly, and save money until such a time arrived that we were able to sell the mobile home for twice the value we purchased it. With the proceeds from the sale, we bought an RV and lived in the RV for two+ years while the house we are living in today was being constructed.

Today’s Message

My husband and I prayed daily. We prayed often. We prayed that the Lord would help us build a house on our land. With our prayers, we had faith that we would be able to build our home at the right time in the Lord’s time.

But, we are human, and I do have to admit that throughout the years, there were times when my husband and I would pause and wonder if our dreams would ever come true. It was taking a long time to save up enough money to build a house on our land. We would ask ourselves if we would ever be able to build a house.

But, the Lord always steps in. In His time, and in the perfect time, the Lord steps in to make everything as it should be.

The message, friends, is that patience is a virtue. More than that, dreams do come true. All we need to do is pray to the Lord for His help, have faith, and keep on swimming.

Praise the Lord! Friends are welcome in the home the Lord made possible!

No Need to Worry

Winding road

We all have those days when we are so exhausted that we don’t even know if we will be able to get through the day. We burn the candle at both ends, we work hard, getting up early and going to bed late, trying to stuff 36 hours of tasks, errands, a social life, and recreation into a 24 hour day. At some point we begin to wonder what life is all about. Doubt and fear begin to etch their way into our minds. We feel tugged in too many directions and have a difficult time figuring out which way to go. We lose focus as we chase after the fame and fortune we so desire. We lose focus as we try to make it happen.

Whenever we find ourselves wandering and floundering through life, worrying if this or that will happen, it is time to stop. Take a break. Take a step back.

Refocus.

Change your goal. Change your direction. Change your thought process so that, instead of focusing on your goals, you are now focusing on our Heavenly Father. Seek His wisdom and guidance for what He wants you to do each day. Start each day and each task with a prayer asking our Father what He would have you do. Trust in the answer. Trust in the results.

Trust in the direction our Father takes you. When you abide in Him, you will see that you struggle less in life because you have given your life’s direction over a God who loves you unconditionally and wants only what is best for you. There is no better direction to go than that.

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Psalm 68:19 (NIV)

Trust in God Alone