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Welcome to the blog ministry of Touching Hearts! Each week we will release a new blog written by one of our team of authors. We pray each blog will encourage you to go deeper into a relationship with Jesus. 

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  • Writer's picturePriscilla Carr


 

Posted by Priscilla Carr, April 10, 2024


I was reminded of Jesus’ faithfulness this Easter season. When the angels were at Jesus’ empty tomb and the Marys arrived looking for the body of their Savior, the angel told the women, “Don’t be afraid, because I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here. For He has risen, just as He said” (Matt. 28:5-6). Jesus had told His disciples many times that He would be crucified, but that He would be raised again in 3 days. The week leading up to the crucifixion He even demonstrated this when He raised Lazarus from the dead just by speaking, “Lazarus come out.” (John 11:43) He proved that He is the Resurrection and the Life as Lazarus regained life at His word.


Sometimes I need reminders that the Bible verses that mean so much to me, those promises I hold tightly to, aren’t just words. They are declarations that our Lord made Himself or spoke through His prophets and apostles. The medium isn’t important nor are the words that were spoken without the backing of the One who made the promises. Anyone can make a promise. But, only God Himself, 100% of the time, will keep His promises. So, His words are credible, life-giving, and essential.


I’m going through a Bible study of the “I Am” statements of Jesus. Jesus made a lot of declarations of who He is. For example, He said, “I am the bread of life” [after He had fed thousands of people with only a few fish and small loaves of bread] (John 6). He said, I am the light of the world (John 8:12), and then He healed the eyes of one born blind so that he could physically (and spiritually) have light (John 9). He said, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25,26), and we know how He resurrected Lazarus and Himself. He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6) and then He ascended bodily into the heavens (Acts 1:9) as witnessed by His disciples. Jesus can be trusted and believed.  


One of my favorite Bible verses is Hebrews 13:5b (AMPC), “For He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]”. 


From a child I witnessed God’s faithfulness in my mother’s life after my parents divorced. My mother was left to raise 5 children on her own. But, I actually saw that my mother was not on her own. She relied heavily on her Savior Jesus during those very trying years, and I watched Him provide for his daughter and her children. Just as He said, He provided and did not leave her without support or without Himself.


Another verse I love was given to me by a counselor. Philippians 1:6, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” I grew up believing performance earned love. When I came to Jesus and accepted Him as Savior, I also believed I had to perform to earn and keep His love. When my eyes were opened to really see this verse (I’d read through the Bible but somehow this verse had eluded me), I marveled! You mean God will do everything in me to make me like Himself? You’re saying God has taken on the responsibility of making me more like Jesus? I don’t have to clean myself up? How long will this “good work” that He will do last? Until I really mess up? Until I react in anger and say hurtful words? Until I commit that besetting sin 70X7 times? Until I fail Him again by not loving and serving “the least of these” enough? Until I hurt His heart for the 50th time in a day? I finally understood and could finally exhale and not expect the hammer to fall when I did not live up to my expectations or the expectations of others. Because, just as He said, He will carry my sanctification on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Every day until that day when Jesus returns for even me, I can be confident that He will continue to perfect me. You have that same assurance.


I’ve written about this last point before—Jesus is preparing a place for us, all true believers, at His table! At the Last Supper, He said, “Truly I tell you; I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God” (Mark 14:25). I see a grand invitation in Jesus’ statement.


There is a day coming when the kingdom of God will be seen and known. 

The Holy Spirit assures us of this when we choose to listen, and there are so many signs and wonders taking place that also indicate His kingdom is coming “soon.” And when it comes, just as He said, each of us has an invitation to sit with Him and to drink of the “fruit of the vine” with Him in His kingdom!  


It is impossible for God to lie—impossible! (Hebrews 6:18) We trust Him and await that day when, just as He said, we’ll be with Him in the place (Matt 14:2) He’s preparing for us. He is a loving God who has always been faithful and has proven faithful in my life and the lives of countless others.


“God is not a man, that he should lie; 

neither the son of man, that he should repent: 

hath he said, and shall he not do it? 

or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?”

(Numbers 23:19)


Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;

There is no shadow of turning with Thee;

Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;

As Thou hast been Thou forever will be.


Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see:

All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—

Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!


Thomas Chisholm (1866–1960) with music composed by William M. Runyan (1870–1957)


Priscilla Carr was born in NYC, but has lived in metro Atlanta since 1979. She is a Navy veteran trained in electronics which God used for a 30-year career at the FAA. She uses her training to provide audio support to Touching Hearts Ministries, and is the Editor and Producer of “A Burst of Hope” podcast. She began her adult new life in Jesus in 1990 right before leaving the Navy, and today she exudes her love for Jesus. She is the proud mama to two rambunctious fur kids, Gracie (Lab) and Faith (Pit-mix). Priscilla was encouraged by elementary teachers to write. She took creative writing courses in High School and college, but in the mid-eighties, she stopped writing. The desire to write has been recently reawakened, and she is thriving in her new writing adventure.



 

Posted by Stephanie Griffin, April 3, 2024


Our son, Brock called us on the Saturday morning of the Palm Sunday weekend. He explained that our 11-month-old grandson, Cade could have possibly ingested their dog’s medicine from the dog bowl.  The prescription Clonidine lowers blood pressure, allowing blood vessels to relax and the heart to beat more slowly. It is great for a 75lb dog, who needs this, however, for a 24lb baby it could be fatal. As Cade began to get sleepy, Brock called 911. Upon arriving at the house, the paramedics didn’t want to let Cade take a nap, since his crying would help keep his blood pressure up. This would buy time for the drug to pass through his system, if he did indeed ingest it. In that phone call, fear paralyzed my heart for a few minutes…my throat started closing up as the tears accumulated.   


My son and his wife were told a counteracting agent could be administered immediately upon arrival, if his blood pressure took a dive. Since he had missed a nap and was agitated, he was kept for observation and continued to be connected to the monitors. The doctor wanted him close by in case they had to administer the shot. He explained that, as long as Cade stayed stable, giving him the shot was not warranted.


I immediately called my son at the hospital and began to pray. No small talk and no opinions from Mom were needed. I went directly to God, the one who loves my son and grandson more than I do. I prayed as if my life depended on it. Every attribute of God came to my mind and I prayed confidently to the One who knows all. He already knew the outcome of this extremely difficult situation. As I prayed, I could feel the Holy Spirit fill me and go before me.


After my son and I hung up, my tears finally fell…you know that ugly cry…I could barely swallow. I fell face forward into the shag rug in my office in surrender. Yet, strangely, an unfamiliar emotion filled me.  I felt like I had to call the prayer team, my Shoulder to Shoulder group, my sisters, my husband (who had gone to feed the horses), or a best friend. As if, their prayers would be more powerful, more heard by God. I was humbled by my frailty. I wasn’t used to this. I had just prayed with my son, I knew the Holy Spirit gave me those words. So I picked up my phone, but once again put it back down and realized that I was surrendering to the reality of God’s sovereignty.  


I felt so small, in front of a perfect, omniscient God. He knew all, and I knew nothing. I did know that I had to sit in that dark moment by myself, scared, helpless, spiritually naked. As I sat calling on Him, the Holy Spirit reminded me of scripture after scripture of who God was, who God is, and who God will always be. 


He is immutable!  He is powerful! 

 “Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm.  Nothing is too hard for you!”  Jeremiah 32:17 


 The attributes of God that we had been studying at Touching Hearts, poured into my heart. I began, ”Lord, you know the number of hairs on Cade’s head. In Psalms it says, “You knew us in the womb & Cade’s name is written on your hand.” You knew the minute he would arrive, and you know the minute he would join you in heaven. You are SOVEREIGN! If Cade makes it through this ordeal, I fully trust you. And if he doesn’t make it, I fully trust you. You are sovereign regardless of the outcome. You loved him before me, before he was even born. Your breath is in Him. Make a way Lord that he will go through the fire and not even smell like smoke. I pray for that miracle!  Please make yourself known to my son and his wife, that they will draw closer to you. Please give the doctors and nurses discernment, wisdom, and gentleness in dealing with Cade. As I ended, I knew I was on sacred ground. As soon as I began to speak these words, the knot diminished from my throat, and my tears dried up. What peace came over me! I knew God was present and going before Cade. 


Did I know the outcome? No! I knew Who did and trusted His Sovereignty. This was new, holy ground.


Throughout the day, my emotions would emerge, and I would have to surrender and align them with God’s truth. Tony Evans in Victory in Spiritual Warfare, tells us, “Feelings cannot be the standard by which we measure reality. Feelings have to be brought into alignment with God’s truth to avoid the temptation to follow down an unstable path.” I experienced this. Wearing the belt of truth meant being real with God, raw, and unveiled before Him. He knew my struggle, my pain, even my helplessness. If I’m not honest with God, who already knows the truth, then Satan has stripped me of the foundational piece of armor before the battle had even begun. So, knowing God, His Word, and His attributes is the only way to function with the belt of truth. Because only then will we know Him and His truth. And as I wear the belt of truth, as you can also, we can operate our mind, will, and emotions underneath God’s view on truth. By knowing and functioning according to God’s truth, we as Christians, will be on our way to experiencing victory over everything.


Epilogue: God is sovereign! Cade has no smell of smoke, and all is well! I am thankful for this experience, in which I was able to experience God at “the burning bush.” (Exodus 3:2-5)  



Welcome Stephanie Griffin, our Deeper Still Guest Writer this week. Stephanie is one of the editors of our blog and is an active part of Touching Hearts. She has a servant’s heart and shares her many gifts with others. What a blessing to hear from her heart this week.

  • Writer's pictureAnnette Burrell


 

Posted by Annette Burrell, March 25, 2024


Do you ever feel gloomy when you wake up to a cloudy day?  Do your thoughts immediately go toward feeling down or depressed?


Recently, I was at the beach with a girlfriend. The first two days brought beautiful, close to perfect, weather. We woke up to cloudy and misty weather on the third day. My friend said, “Woe, how’d that happen? Just two seconds ago it was clear.”


Clouds are like that. Sometimes they just pop up. At other times, like during a drought, we pray for the clouds that bring the rain.


The Hebrew word for cloud is: darkness, thickness, density. It’s no wonder we feel gloomy when “the clouds roll in.”


Most often in the Old Testament, we see a cloud as a covering for God, otherwise the people would die in His presence. Other times, clouds are used as God’s provision for the people.


Gavin Pretoria-Penney, the founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society, says that a version of the word cloud is mentioned 162 times in the Bible. The word “cloud” is mentioned 107 times in 94 verses; “clouds” 49 times in 49 verses; and “cloudy” 6 times in 6 verses. 


“The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’” 1 Kings 18:44


There is drought and famine in the land, and the people worship and sacrifice to other gods. Through Elijah, God makes himself known on Mount Carmel and the people turn back to Yahweh. Shortly after that God sends rain, starting with a cloud as small as a man’s hand. Here we see God revealing who He is, Jehovah Jireh, The Lord our provider.


Time and time again, as the people turn away from Him, He sends a messenger, a prophet and ultimately, the Messiah to rescue them from their sin of rebellion against him.


This has happened in my own life and maybe you’ll admit it has happened in your life as well. Perhaps you are in a dry season of being away from God. I was away from God and church for 7 years. Maybe, for you, most days are filled with gloom. Jesus nudged me and brought me out of the pit I was in. He never stopped pursuing me. He is pursuing you too.


“As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.” Ezekiel 34:12


This is the prophet Ezekiel’s declaration of God’s ongoing pursuit, love and power of His chosen people. Even in our darkest hour, we can be assured that He is seeking us.


This is where our hope comes from. It comes from God.


He is our only hope.

He loves us unconditionally and so much so that he sent his Son to die for us—to redeem us.


God makes promises and establishes covenants throughout the Old Testament and He never breaks them.


Genesis 9:1-17 is the account of God’s promise and covenant he made with Noah just after the Flood. He promised he would not destroy the earth and mankind with a flood ever again. 


“I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.” Genesis 9:13-15


 “Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell face down, and I heard the voice of one speaking.” Ezekiel 1:28


Today, my last day at the beach, the weather is clear, the temperature warm and the ocean view is perfect. How can God’s creation be anything but perfect? Even with the clouds and the storms of the last few days I see God everywhere. The clouds are a reminder to me that God is always near me. 


One of my favorite songs that depicts God’s promises is by Elevation Worship, There Is a Cloud. For me the lyrics are saying, “He pours out blessings. We need to be willing to receive it.”


There Is a Cloud


Hear the Word, roaring as thunder

With a new, future to tell

For the dry, season is over

There is a cloud, beginning to swell


To the skies, heavy with blessing

Lift up your eyes, offer your heart 

Jesus Christ, opened the Heavens

Now we receive, the Spirit of God


We receive your rain 

We receive your rain 


And with great, anticipation 

We await, the Promise to come

Everything, that You have spoken

Will come to pass, let it be done


Father God, we come to as The Creator. We thank you for being our provider. We thank you for pursuing us. We receive your rain. We receive your blessing. We await your Promise to come again. Let it be done.


There Is A Cloud | Official Lyric Video | Elevation Worship




Annette Burrell is an author, speaker, and singer/songwriter. Through Annette’s years of being a public servant, and her devotion to studying the Bible, God has equipped her to lead women into His presence, and share with them how they can grow in Christ. Her passion is learning, sharing about the Heavenly realms, and God’s plan of protection for us as believers.

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