“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” 1 Peter 5:10 KJV
I had intended this to be a short message introducing my new encouraging scripture music video about suffering that the Lord inspired me to make last week. He helped me make it to encourage myself as well as others who are suffering. The Bible assures me that I’m not the only one who endures challenges. How often we see this affirmed in our society every day.
1 Peter 5 helps me to keep it all in perspective. When I’m at my worse, I know that there are always many others out there somewhere who are worse off than I am.
God’s word exhorts us to pray for just that one who is in a deeper pit than ours when we imagine we are in the lowest depths of hell and that everyone else has it better than we do. It’s in our most painful moments that we are just certain that the Lord has left us and gone off to party with everyone else, now that He’s made our life a dung pile…tears for fears and pity poor me…:(
These are just the moments we need to turn to God’s Word because it’s in His Word that we find Him encouraging us.
Consider the verse I mentioned from 1 Peter 5:
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God,
that he may exalt you in due time:
Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5: 6-7 KJV
These verses mean that if we pray when we feel burdened or disappointed or depressed or worried or stressed that we can know God hears us; that He cares about us and our needs. God loves us. He wants us to bring our burdens to Him, to pour our troubles out on His Altar. He is real and He is listening even though we can’t see Him. We grow close to Him in our suffering when we cry out to HIM.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” 1 Peter 5:8-9 KJV
These verses are referring to our unseen enemy who is ever seeking to undermine us spiritually and pull us away from God through any means he can. And we must resist the enemy at all costs because what is more important than our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ who suffered and died on the cross to give us peace with God? This peace is what the enemy wants to destroy. Our peace with God and our fellowship with each other.
He sows hatred, strife, and dissension. He will use any means he can.
Resist him steadfast in the faith knowing that the same afflictions are being experienced by everyone else in the world.
In other words we are not alone in our trials.
Other people are being gossiped about, abused, slandered, persecuted, mocked, lied about, dishonored, treated shamefully…we are not singled out to be treated like cow pies.
So what does that mean?
We are not really cow pies~no!
We are God’s precious children, but the Apostle John wrote it’s just that the world has not got the eyes to see how special we really are.
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not.
2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as he is.” 1 John 3:1-2 KJV
But one day the sons and daughters of God will be revealed and those who have treated God’s children so shamefully will be themselves covered with shame.
Amen! God’s word assures us that we are His jewels!
Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him
for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name.
And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spares his own son that serves him.” ~ Malachi 3:16-17 KJV
Don’t take my word for it~read God’s word and encourage yourself.
This is why the Lord inspires me to make scripture videos. His word is encouraging!
But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” 1 Peter 5:10 KJV
God puts a boundary on all suffering that we endure. He will not give us more than we can handle. He knows what we can tolerate. All suffering is meant to refine our faith. (See 1 Peter 1, James 1)
11 To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. “ 1 Peter 5:11 KJV
The word dominion means sovereignty or control. This verse means that God is in control over all things. Even though the enemy takes aim at us and tries to harm us, the enemy is on God’s leash and can only go but so far. He, like our suffering, has boundaries placed on him.
We serve a loving, merciful God. His love and mercy towards us reaches higher than the sky it says in Psalm 103.
Read and meditate on the verses below from Psalm 103 about God and His love for us. And then watch and listen to the scripture video He gave me to share with you. May our Heavenly Father encourage your heart with the scriptures and comfort you with His peace and love. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Psalm 103:8-19 *ERV
8 The Lord is kind and merciful.
He is patient and full of love.
9 He does not always criticize.
He does not stay angry with us forever.
10 We sinned against Him,
but He didn’t give us the punishment we deserved.
11 His love for His followers is
as high above us as heaven is above the earth.
12 And He has taken our sins
as far away from us as the east is from the west.
13 The Lord is as kind to His followers
as a father is to his children.
14 He knows all about us.
He knows we are made from dust.
15 He knows our lives are short, that they are like grass.
He knows we are like a little wildflower that grows so quickly,
16 But when the hot wind blows, it dies.
Soon, you cannot even see where the flower was.
17 But the Lord has always loved His followers,
and He will continue to love them forever and ever!
He will be good to all their descendants,
18 to those who are faithful to His agreement
and who remember to obey His commands.
19 The Lord set His throne up in heaven,
and He rules over everything.” Psalm 103:8-19 *ERV
“The God of All Grace Settle You,” All Glory to God, © Copyright 2019 by SD Harden, All rights reserved. Scripture Video, “Weeping May Endure,” All Glory to God, Copyright © 2019 by SD Harden, All rights reserved.
Scripture Verses, King James Version Bible (Public Domain)
Easy to Read Version Bible, Copyright © 2006 by Bible League International,
Scripture Paintings/Art All Glory To God, Copyright © 2019 by SD Harden
All rights reserved.
If someone had said to me back in 2008 that in the next nine years I would publish nineteen music albums of original music I would have told them that they were insane.
Yet unbelievably I have just published my nineteenth music album.
“Where Angels Dance,” features vibrant worship instrumentals that were all inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Music was never one of my gifts growing up, nor did I ever want anything to do with any of the performance arts.
I was passionate about Art. I never sat down without a pen and sketchpad.
I had taught art, worked as a freelance artist, written and illustrated my own books, and earned my college degree in art & writing. I was certain that God had called me to be a children’s book author and Illustrator.
One day I fell asleep after taking my dog for a walk.
I dreamed I went to Heaven.
There I saw angels and saints dancing before Christ’s Throne.
They were joyfully worshiping the Lord.
Beautiful music was playing in the background as they danced.
When I awoke from my dream, the music was echoing in my mind.
The Lord spoke to my heart, “You can play that song.”
The keyboard that my sister had given us was in front of me.
I felt compelled to try even though there was no reason I should have any hopes of playing that beautiful song from my dream.
Except that the Lord had said I could. And if God said I could, it must be true since He can’t lie.
But what if I was just imagining that God said it?
The only way to find out would be to try…
I sat down and played that song. It was amazing but somehow, I just knew how to do it.
My version wasn’t as lovely as what I had heard in the dream, but it sounded similar.
When the Lord taught me how to play the piano, it was purely by faith. All He asked of me was that I believed His word to me, “You can play that song.”
After I played that one song, He said, “From now on you can play any song I teach you. Just believe.”
“He spoke and it was done, He commanded and it stood fast.” Psalm 33:9
Though I had never wanted to be a musician before, suddenly, I loved worshiping God with this beautiful new gift.
Then the Lord asked me to SHARE the praise music He’d taught me to play.
I froze. It was one thing to play these songs that sounded amazing to me just for the Lord in my worship time, but quite another to make them public.
FEAR & DOUBT reared their ugly heads and whispered, “You know absolutely nothing! These songs only sound good to you because you don’t know anything at all about music. You are only an artist, you aren’t really a musician. No one will listen to this music from God and everyone will make fun of you.”
It was then that I decided, “Maybe the Lord wants me to take piano lessons.”
However, after going through three piano teachers and never being able to quite finish even one beginner book because reading notes was such a challenge for me, I finally realized it was not what the Lord wanted for me.
“For we walk by faith and not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)
One teacher looked at a printed musical score from an original composition from the Lord and just shook her head, mystified. “This is way beyond you.”
“But I created it, I mean, God created it through me,” I said.
One great thing did come of my piano lessons though. I loved learning the music scales! Somehow that is the one thing that I could master and the Lord helped me use this knowledge to compose many prayer songs.
Yet my music from the Lord sounded very different from other contemporary Christian music.
I had to come to terms with the fact that its true Creator, the risen Lord Jesus Christ who lives in my heart, was composing His music through me just the way He wanted it.
I had to trust Him that it was good enough.
This was going to take a significant leap of faith and courage.
When I had been working as a professional artist, I would never submit anything unless it rose to my “perfectionist” standards.
To me, my piano prayers were a beautiful gift from the Lord that I played back to Him in worship. They did not have to measure up to any human standard of musical taste or preference for I knew that Jesus had made them, loved them, and accepted them.
Now the Lord was asking me to share His songs with the public who did measure its music to a standard. I had no idea what those musical standards or preferences were. I had absolutely no musical knowledge. It was not something the Lord told me to study or learn about. He just asked me to play His songs~then share them.
“Oh Lord, I’m just an artist, not a real musician. Do You really want me to share Your songs?”
Suddenly I realized I could say, “Yes or no, Lord,” to His beautiful gift.
But then, He had laid down His life for me. He had said to His Father when faced with a humiliating, agonizing death on the cross just to bear all my sins, to be made a curse for me so that I might have eternal life with Him, “Father, not My will but Thy will.”
He knew people would make fun of Him, scorn Him, reject Him, that He would even have to face the cold dark waters of death, the stench of hell where His beloved Father, from whom He had never been separated could not come. He faced all of this to pay the ransom for my soul.
How could I, if I truly loved my Savior, not lay down my life, my will for Him? How could I not share His songs, come what may?
True love lays down its life for Jesus.
I realized then, it’s not about me, or my will, but what God wants to do through me, even if I end up looking like a fool.
Love obeys her Lord and Savior no matter what He asks her to do for Him.
The most amazing thing I’ve learned through this experience is that God would choose an ordinary sinful woman like me, saved only by the almighty grace of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and say, “Here is a gift. All you need to do is receive it by faith.”
Just like the gift of salvation He offers each of us in Christ.
And then it terrified me that He would take that same ordinary Christian woman, and say, “Now use that gift for My glory!”
I’m not perfect, far from it, nor is any of my music.
But God uses imperfect vessels.
God up and turned me into a musician for HIS glory-not mine.
He put in me a gift I knew absolutely NOTHING about.
How I thank the Lord for the way He has used the gift of music to lovingly humble me in all of my other gifts.
“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” Ephesians 3:20-21(The Message Bible)
Most of the music the Lord gives me is inspired by the Bible.
The songs all begin as prayers, and I will praise the Lord forever for giving me this wonderful way to worship Him.
This music is very special for it truly is a gift from God. It never ceases to amaze and humble me how He plays His music through me.
My fervent prayer is that many people will be blessed and encouraged by this gift of God’s music. For all of the songs are essentially prayers ascending to heaven in a musical form breathed into life by the God who lives in me.
Heavenly Father, may You use this music and story to bless and encourage someone today to step out in faith to trust You and believe that with God all things are truly possible, and that when we walk by faith, we honor and glorify You, even as Abraham did so long ago, who, “staggered not at the promises of God…” Thank You, Lord, In Jesus name, amen.
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. ~ Revelation 3:20
When Miss Phee, our little Yorky, was a puppy, she would sit up on the edge of our bed every morning the minute she heard my
husband Mark in the kitchen preparing breakfast.
She loved to eat breakfast with him. Mark would feed Miss Phee bits of his oatmeal while he ate his breakfast. Our dog loved this special treat and the time they shared together.
Most of the time, Miss Phee would sit quietly on the edge of our bed and wait patiently, trusting that any minute Mark would come for her. Every so often if he didn’t show up soon enough, she would start whining ever so softly.
My little dog was not worried about annoying me, mind you. No, Miss Phee’s chief concern was that I might wake up and horn in on her private breakfast with her daddy. Ha! 🙂
Sooner or later Mark always came to reward her faith in him by gathering her up in his arms and carrying her to the kitchen for their special meal together.
Sometimes though, Mark would be running late and had to rush off to work without his breakfast. That meant no special Breakfast time with Phee. Somehow it was just not the same when I fed her breakfast, so whenever she couldn’t have her special breakfast time with Mark she would pout for the rest of the day and refuse to eat. 😦
I think of the parallels between Miss Phee’s morning meals with Mark and our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus said that we must abide in him and spend time with God each day
in worship and prayer.
John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
Abiding in Christ is the same as eating at our Lord’s table, feeding on His word and allowing his Holy Spirit to teach us His wisdom and truth.
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” ~Matthew 4:4
Even as Miss Phee wanted Mark all to herself in her morning quiet time with him, the Lord wants us to come to Him without any distractions. He wants us all to Himself, coming into His Presence without our cell phones, IPads, IPods, or video games, novels, or our work on our minds or whatever distracts us from His heart.
Anything that takes God’s place in our hearts is a rival for God for our affections and is an idol.
That thing might be something that seems so innocent and even good, like our job, a hobby, or even our ministry. But if it takes our time and attention away from God, and replaces our affection for God in our hearts, it is an idol.
Examine me, God! Look at my heart!
Put me to the test! Know my anxious thoughts!
Look to see if there is any idolatrous way in me,
Then lead me on the eternal path! ~ Psalm 139:23-24 (CEB)
We draw closer to Christ and abide in Him through regular times of worship, prayer, and bible study. Often in those times, we must wait on God as Miss Phee waited for Mark to come get her each morning. We must learn to wait in faith on God by abiding steadfastly in prayer and worship.
There may be seasons in our journey with the Lord when God seems distant. We may feel as if He is ignoring us when things we’ve prayed over for months or years go unanswered without the slightest ray of hope that things will ever change.
At all times God asks that we trust Him and wait and walk by faith, just as little Miss Phee always waited in eager expectation for Mark to come for her, so certain that he would come. Even though he was sometimes delayed, she never stopped believing and hoping the next day that he would come for her. She was absolutely confident that he would not forget about her, would not disappoint her faith in him. And eventually he did show up again~just like she hoped and believed!
I always thought, if only I had the faith and trust of my little Yorkie!
Psalm 130:5-6 “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.”
We must be still before the Lord, contemplating His mercy and majesty, as we come to Him in faith, believing that we will receive what we need from Him in prayer.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (NIV)
Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (NIV)
God is our creator, He is omnipotent, meaning He is all-powerful. He is in control
of all things.
God is omniscient: He knows all things, He knows all about us, He knows all our
needs before we even ask.
God is omnipresent: He is everywhere present. Wherever we are, God is there.
And by His spirit, God lives and dwells within us.
God cherishes us, He cares very much about us. God feels all of our pain, since He
indwells us through His Holy Spirit.
God wants to share life with us. He says in the book of Revelation, “Behold
I stand at the door and knock; if any one will open the door I will come in and I will
share a meal with him. “
Just as Miss Phee and Mark would share a meal and have their special time
together, God wants to have a special time with us every day, He wants us to be
excited about it just as Miss Phee was excited about her time alone with her daddy.
God will never fail us. He
delights in our fellowship. It is sacred to Him. May it be as sacred to us.
For it is a great honor to worship and serve the Sovereign Lord of the Universe.
Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” John 14:23
Heavenly Father, please give us hearts that delight in worshiping and serving You.
May You give us hearts that will wait on You in faith and that will love You with all of our being, thank you, Lord, in Jesus name, amen.
Angelsong © 2017 SD Harden All Rights Reserved. Original Photos of Miss Phee & Mark from Suzanne Harden’s Photos/ Illustration of Jesus Knocking via Google/ Scripture Quotations: King James Version (Public Domain), Common English Bible (CEB) Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible, New King James Version (NKJV) Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.