Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Simple Things

The Simple Things

To everything a season, 
To everything a time,
Oh Lord, help me to just enjoy 
Each moment of my life...
Open up my eyes
To see where I've been blind 
To blessings You have given
On my path of life.
Make me ever thankful, Lord,
For everything You bring
Rejoicing every day with You
In all the simple things. 

© 2014 S.D. Harden

"The Simple Things" © 2014 S.D. Harden All Rights Reserved. Photo Illustration\Pinterest

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

God Hears


"Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray." ~James 5:13 (NKJV)

"Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution." ~2 Timothy 3:12 (NKJV)

"For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison..."~ 2 Corinthians 4:17 (NASB)

"If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him..."~ 2 Timothy 2:12 (KJV)

"For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth.” ~1 Peter 2:19, 21-22 (NKJV)

"My friends, don’t be surprised at the painful things that you are now suffering, which are testing your faith. Don’t think that something strange is happening to you." ~1 Peter 4:12 (ESV)

"These troubles test your faith and prove that it is pure. And such faith is worth more than gold. 
Gold can be proved to be pure by fire, but gold will ruin. When your faith is proven to be pure, the result will be praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ comes." 
~1 Peter 1:7 (ESV)

"So be humble under God’s powerful hand. Then He will lift you up when the right time comes. 
Give all your worries to Him, because He cares for you." ~1 Peter 5:6-7 (ESV)

"Yes, you will suffer for a short time. But after that, God will make everything right. 
He will make you strong. He will support you and keep you from falling. He is the God who gives all grace. He chose you to share in his glory in Christ. That glory will continue forever. All power is his forever. Amen." ~1 Peter 5:10-11 (ESV)

Heavenly Father, thank You for Thy word that assures us that You are with us when we suffer and that the suffering will end.  You are perfecting our faith and Your word assures us that You will never give us more than we can bear. Thank You that You are ever faithful and You hear our every prayer. Thank You that whether You call us to go through the fire or the raging flood Your word assures us that You will be holding us in the flames and not a hair on our head will be scorched; you will carry us over the stormy waves and we will not drown for You will hide us in Your heart and we need never fear no matter how dark and desperate our circumstances may seem. Though unseen You will carry us through to victory through every season of suffering in our lives as we abide in You and trust in Your faithfulness. 
Your love for us will never fail. Thank You Lord. I love You! In Jesus' name, Amen. 

"God Hears": Comforting Scriptures: Unto The Least of These: Suzanne Davis Harden: Photo Credit/Google

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Bridge of Safety

     "Little Emily" Oil Painting Study by S.D. Harden 
   (after an original illustration by Jessie Willcox Smith)

"Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see. 
Faith helps us understand that God created the whole world by his command. 
This means that the things we see were made by something that cannot be seen. 
Without faith no one can please God. Whoever comes to God must believe that he is real and that he rewards those who sincerely try to find him."  Hebrews 11:1, 3, 6

"Little Emily" is an oil painting study I did in college when I was 20 years old. It's a copy of an illustration by my favorite illustrator Jessie Willcox Smith. (1865-1934)
(The original by JW Smith is far nicer in every way if you want to compare them.)
But as a young art student I loved copying all of my favorite artists in the hopes that I could someday attain to their level of excellence. 

Little Emily seems to me an illustration of someone who is walking by faith.
Balanced on a narrow beam over a deep body of water into which she could fall at any moment, she nervously walks toward her goal. 

In my heart, I imagine that the narrow beam she is walking on is God's trusted word. It will not fail her. But she must stay upon it. The way of life is narrow. And one must not walk to the right or to the left.
And if one turns back~look at the painting~she goes off the deep end!  
The past exists no more. 
One just has to keep going forward, walking on the path of God's proven word. 

Jesus said, "The whole world, earth and sky, will be destroyed, but my words will last forever." (Matthew 24:35)

God never lies. We can trust His word.

"God is not like people. He tells no lies. He is not like humans. He doesn’t change His mind. When (God) says something, He does it. When He makes a promise, He keeps it." ~ (Numbers 23:19)

That painting reminds me of how so often our lives are a balancing act of faith over deep waters upon the bridge of God's trusted word.

God is in His word. God is in our hearts. He will not fail us. As we keep our eyes focused on Christ, and do not become distracted, we will not lose our balance and fall into the sea of worry, doubt, fear, depression, anxiety and everything else that robs us of our joy.

But if we do somehow fall, we have a Good Shepherd, a Savior with a powerful hand  who will reach down into those murky depths and pull us out. 
His word promises:

"God reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters." (Psalm 18:16)
"The steps of good men are directed by the Lord. He delights in each step they take. If they fall, it isn’t fatal, for the Lord holds them with his hand." (Psalm 37:23-24)

We serve a mighty God. He says, "I am the Lord. I am the God of every person on the earth. You know that nothing is impossible for me.” (Jeremiah 32:27)

Prayer: Thank You, Heavenly Father, that nothing is impossible for You! You can keep us on the path of life, restore us if we somehow fall, and that Your word is our bridge of safety that will never fail us. We love You. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Unto The Least of These "Bridge of Safety" © 2014 S.D. Harden All Rights Reserved. Illustration: "Little Emily" Oil Painting copy by © S.D.Harden (after an original illustration by Jessie Willcox Smith)