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Devotions

The Vanishing Letter

Have you spent much time with a toddler? Have you had the chance to observe their minds as they learn? Their world starts simply and takes on depth as they assimilate information. My brain also tends to work in circles and pictures, so I am not sure what that says about me. I often come back to themes I’ve previously, partially parsed with the Lord, but I love it because every time God brings me back around to a subject, the illustration in my mind gets richer and clearer. This time He revisited the object lesson of one-sided conversations with me and He used the vanishing letter to do it.

The letter to which I refer was written by me. You know when you have an idea and it feels important, as if God were prompting you for reasons of His own? The letter had felt like that. In all honesty, I had been meaning to write it for awhile, but suddenly, it felt urgent. So I wrote it, mailed it, and wondered what kind of response it would get.

Would the letter arrive at just the right time so as to provide encouragement to its recipient when it was crucially needed? I mentally did the math and estimated when it would arrive and waited with anticipation to find out what impact it would have.

I never heard anything. That was months ago and I found myself, on this day, wondering if the letter had ever been received and read, or if it had vanished en route. And I was feeling a little miffed.

God let me sulk for a minute before He reminded me that He had written me a letter. He poured His love and very life into His written Word and I had left it unread this particular morning. He woke me early from my sleep and put a song in my heart which I’d barely noticed. He had painted a beautiful, but vanishing, sunrise, and I had not opened the curtains. He had gifted me the resources to have a delicious breakfast, and I had gulped it down while scrolling on my phone and couldn’t remember if I’d even thanked Him. He had provided comfortable clothes and good shoes and I’d donned them without so much as an acknowledgement of His provision. And here I was, out on my walk, pouting a bit that I’d never heard from the recipient of my little letter?!

Bible and guitar on a quilt: the letter
Photo by Keilah Gepte on Pexels.com

I realized it was very likely that the urgency to write the letter was never for the benefit of the recipient, at all. I needed to write and send it so God could use the stewin’ I was doin’ to teach me. I was so humbled. I wondered at how I’d felt irked by the smallest thing and there was God, whom I had offended far more, taking the opportunity to be intentional with my heart and so lovingly correct me.

I went from curiosity about how God would use the letter in the recipient’s life to an appreciation of how He used it in mine. He showed me the importance of responding to Him and appreciating the miracles He offers to me everyday; and how vanishing on His gestures makes me guilty of one-sided conversations.

(Click One-Sided Conversations if you’d like to read the original post on the subject.)

Friend, have you been oblivious to the ways God has been loving on you? Does the lesson I learned from the vanishing letter have any relevance for you? Thanks for listening. Thanks for sharing. Thanks for coming along as we learn together how to see through the fog in our hearts and into the most amazing love ever offered. It is offered freely to me and to you. Are we noticing it? What have you received from the Lord today?

“Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”

Psalm 139:7-10
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Conversations Devotions

Delivered from Afflictions

Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story –

Psalm 107:2a

Redeem: to free from what distresses or harms, such as
a: to free from captivity by payment of ransom 
b: to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental 
c: to release from blame or debt: clear
d: to free from the consequences of sin

MerriamWebster.com

“Some were fools through their sinful ways, and because of their iniquities suffered affliction; they loathed any kind of food, and they drew near to the gates of death. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.  He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction.  Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!  And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!”

Psalm 107:17-22

Has God delivered you from distress? Maybe you have:

  • had an eating disorder
  • suffered a serious illness
  • struggled with mental health challenges
  • experienced symptoms that were never diagnosed
  • felt starved for love or acceptance
  • experienced trauma
  • suffered through paralyzing fear
  • dealt with debilitating grief
  • been unable to forgive yourself for something

From what kinds of afflictions have you been redeemed?

“Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story –
those he redeemed from the hand of the foe…”

Psalm 107:2

Tell your story in the comments below!

Categories
Conversations Devotions

Broken Chains

Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story –

Psalm 107:2a

Redeem: to free from what distresses or harms, such as
a: to free from captivity by payment of ransom 
b: to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental 
c: to release from blame or debt: clear
d: to free from the consequences of sin

MerriamWebster.com

“Some sat in darkness, in utter darkness, prisoners suffering in iron chains, because they rebelled against God’s commands and despised the plans of the Most High. So he subjected them to bitter labor; they stumbled, and there was no one to help.  Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.  He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains.  Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron.”

Psalm 107:10-16

What darkness has held you? From what has God freed you? Maybe you have:

  • suffered addiction
  • been unable to forgive
  • felt trapped by sadness
  • endured abuse
  • been paralyzed by fear
  • gone to prison
  • been stuck in a toxic relationship
  • lost your will to live
  • felt pulled under by hopelessness
  • fallen deep into debt
  • been enslaved by guilt or shame

From what kinds of chains have you been redeemed?

“Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story –
those he redeemed from the hand of the foe…”

Psalm 107:2

Tell your story in the comments below!

Categories
Conversations Devotions

Provision in the Wastelands

Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story –

Psalm 107:2a

Redeem: to free from what distresses or harms, such as
a: to free from captivity by payment of ransom 
b: to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental 
c: to release from blame or debt: clear
d: to free from the consequences of sin

MerriamWebster.com

“Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle. They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away.  Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle.  Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.”

Psalm 107:4-9

In what ways have you been unsettled and experienced God’s provision? Maybe you have:

  • gone through infertility
  • experienced isolation
  • been in between jobs
  • felt lonely or outcast
  • been homeless
  • gone hungry
  • had trouble finding a church
  • lacked direction in ministry
  • needed reliable transportation
  • felt far from the Lord

From what kinds of wastelands have you been redeemed?

“Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story –
those he redeemed from the hand of the foe…”

Psalm 107:2

Tell your story in the comments below!

Categories
Conversations Devotions

Tell Your Story

Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story –

Psalm 107:2a

Redeem: to free from what distresses or harms, such as
a: to free from captivity by payment of ransom 
b: to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental 
c: to release from blame or debt: clear
d: to free from the consequences of sin

MerriamWebster.com

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-5

God is so gracious and compassionate, and He comforts us in our distress. He then allows us the blessing of being the comfort to someone else who is suffering. In this way, we get the gifts of both receiving and giving!

For the next several Fridays, I am going to give you, my Back Porch friends, the platform to share your stories.

I will provide prompts from God’s Word in weekly posts and ask you to tell your experiences of difficulty and delivery in the comments. Your testimony might provide the exact encouragement another reader needs to get through the troubles they have right now. I hope you will take the opportunity and tell your story!

“Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story –
those he redeemed from the hand of the foe…”

Psalm 107:2

I’ll see you all back here on Friday!