Apologies that a draft version of this was published by mistake, with just the poem. Here is the completed version.
Bettie and I are still waiting on the LORD for direction in the next chapter to come, but as we wait, the LORD has been meeting each of us and our families so sweetly. We and our friend Gayl so longed to share that gift of comfort with you that God has been to us in our sharing and praying this week. After all, God tells us in His Word that we are comforted by Him to comfort others.
So here you go: a poem of praise by Anna, followed by words of praise penned by Bettie and Gayl in response to Anna’s words of thanksgiving in an email to them (Bettie and Gayl had also been praying for Anna and her family). And the graphic shows the night blooming of a cactus in Anna’s living room this week (a cactus that has never bloomed before).
May God bless you in the knowledge you too are His planting – set where He has purposed you to be, to be blessed and to be a blessing in Him. It is abiding in the tree of life, surrounded by His life-giving branches, that gives us life. It is Jesus – our tree of life – who sheds our fears and worries, exchanging them for praise and thanksgiving lifted high, as sweet scented incense before the throne of God.
When my anxious thoughts
Multiply like grains of sand within me
Your compassion meets me here
Your strong arms lift me
And all those around me
Again and again.
You show me that You see
That You know and understand
You show me that You're oh so near
Not ever aloof or far from us
Never forsaking the work of Your hands
Your mercy endureth for ever.
So now with my every breath
Let me raise my voice in song
Let me in Your heart of flesh arise
Exhaling every worry of this world
To breathe in eternity's blooming
The sweet scent of mercy's supplantings.
Yes, with Your breath ever resurrecting me
Shall I give You honor and glory
In Your grace ever deeper rooting
The favor of Your face set upon me
Growing and abiding in love everlasting
Planted by the river of grace ever flowing.
Truly He uncovers such love as He helps us lay bare our hearts together. Last night as I listened to one of the worship songs you sent, taken from verses in Revelation, Blessing and glory and honor and strength be unto YOU who sits at the right hand of God, He gave me such a precious picture: He asked me to see each person I was so concerned about, and raise them to Him along with my worship. That each prayer becomes worship, incense rising (the prayers of the saints,) when we attribute all strength for each need unto Jesus. It became such a joy then, instead of a fear or worry, to lift each longing and burden in that very specific way.(Bettie Gilbert)
I am reminded so much that our warfare is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities and powers of this world. Just today we were reminded of the armor we are supposed to be clothed with. God has not left us helpless, but has given all we need to fight these battles in His way, not the world’s way. Oh, how we need to pray, pray, pray:
Ephesians 6:10-18 CSB
10 Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by his vast strength. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens. 13 For this reason take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. 14 Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, 15 and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. 16 In every situation take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit—which is the word of God. 18 Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.
We have a sure hope. We know that God is over all. Things might get even harder, but He is our strength and our weapons are ready to use. How we need to be ever more grounded in the Word and in constant prayer with our Lord and Savior. I’m so glad we can share and pray with each other … He will never ever leave us and nothing can take us out of His hands! Hallelujah! Amen!(Gayl Wright)