Prayer For Mexico & The Caribbean

Heavenly Father, please shower the people of Mexico with all of the aid, relief, material, financial, and practical needs they are facing and may yet face in the wake of this tragedy; comfort & encourage them with assurances of Your great love for them, and give them hope and faith that will not give up despite all of their suffering;

May You also protect all the people in the path of the hurricane in the Caribbean, keep them, their homes, their animals, and their businesses safe, and we ask that You downgrade the power of this storm and send it far out into the sea, thank You, Lord,

in Jesus mighty name, amen.

 

In Psalm 46:1, the Psalmist calls God his "refuge."
 The original translation of the word means "shelter," a place of safety or covering from storm or danger.
In Psalm 46 the word for "Refuge" is...


 

 

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The Story of the Song "Oh Holy Night"

 

Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure (1808 to 1877) was a wine merchant who lived in a small French town in the 19th century.

He enjoyed writing poetry and had developed a local reputation for his poems.

In the year 1847, the local Parish priest asked Placide if he would write a Christmas poem for the Church's Midnight Mass Celebration of Christ's Birth...

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In God's Shadow Shelter ~Comforting Instrumentals For Worship & Meditation © (P) 2016 Suzanne Davis Harden

In The Furnace of Affliction~ God's Shadow Shelter

Despite many setbacks and afflictions, by the grace of God and for His glory and honor I'm happy to announce the release of my new instrumental album "In God's Shadow Shelter."

This is the most comforting album that the Lord has ever given me.  Born out of the fiery furnace, the Lord inspired "Shadow Shelter" to encourage me in my suffering.

"In God's Shadow Shelter" is first of all a musical poem. The fifteen instrumental song titles when read together form an encouraging prayer poem filled with promises inspired by the Scriptures:

 In God's Shadow Shelter © 2016 SD Harden

 God Will Never Leave or Forsake You.

You Are Very Precious To God

He Numbers All Your Hair

No Evil Shall Befall You

His Mercy Reaches Far

Beyond The Clouds...

Beyond The Stars

God's Ways Are Unsearchable

Sometimes God Is Silent

Though God Be Silent, You Are Still In His Heart

The Storm Will Pass

Rainbows Come After The Storm

God's Promises Are Rainbows

All Things Work Together For Good

God's Power Is Very Great.

 

Each of the piano solos & instrumentals that make up the poem are some of the most beautiful that the Lord has ever given me. For God is truly a God of encouragement.

 

GOD WILL NEVER LEAVE OR FORSAKE YOU

God is faithful to His word. Though I have suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia since 2006 and frequent severe migraines and year round allergies, these afflictions I had pretty much learned to live with and had been fairly stabilized till this past January.

 Since then it seems I have suffered one illness after another that have not only been devastating but have also flared up my migraines. 

God has not failed to rescue me though I've often sunk to the depths of despair and discouragement thinking I would never be well again.

 

The more afflictions I suffered, the closer the Lord drew me into the shadow shelter of His heart.

Things I thought I could not bear, when I cried out to Him for relief, He sent relief.

Like when I got an ear infection that produced a high pitch squeal in my ear which, whenever a storm came or there was a sudden change in barometric pressure, the noise became like the loud, shrill feedback from a microphone.

That unbearable noise, coupled with the unrelenting pressure in my ears and head, and the migraines that the noise was constantly producing (noise being a main migraine trigger) nearly sent me to the edge of insanity.

When I could bear it no more, God faithfully came to my rescue and He either quieted the noise to a whisper or silenced it altogether. Then He comforted me with His peace.

 But the noise and the pressure and the pain would always come back. I desperately wanted it gone for good.

 

HIS MERCY REACHES FAR

I was on my knees begging for God's mercy, deliverance, any sort of miracle. I looked up every scripture on healing I could find and quoted them all to God. I all but angrily demanded that He keep His word until I was exhausted.

Many were praying for me. I was on many prayer chains. My church family were all praying for me. My husband prayed constantly for me and anointed me with oil.

I finally saw the Lord Jesus in my heart, He was on His knees in the Garden of Gethsemene crying out to His Father, "Father, not My will, but Thy will be done."

He had fought a great battle, great drops of bloody sweat ran down His weary body.

Hebrews 5:7-8 "While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God. Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered."

 

At last I realized I was not above my Master. Jesus had left us with a prayer, "Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as in heaven..."

I took a deep breath as I realized I was not allowing God to have His way with me by demanding things from Him. "Love does not demand its own way." 1 Corinthians 13:5 (NLT)

I realized I was not trusting the Lord and this was just making me even more miserable.

2 Timothy 2:13 "If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is."

I can honestly testify that God's faithfulness and mercy cannot be exhausted.  He will go to the depths of despair with us to comfort and encourage our hearts.

 

I realized that I had to get on my knees and pray for forgiveness for demanding healing on my terms, and pray as my Lord Jesus had prayed, "Father, not my will but Thy will be done."

 When I surrendered my will to God and confessed my anger,  He blessed me with song after song, prayer poems, and pictures --all tokens of His unfailing love, comfort, mercy, forgiveness and grace. He gave me new insights  from His word that helped sustain me through my trial. For the Lord is entirely faithful to His promise in 1 Corinthians 1o not to give us more than we can endure.

 

GOD'S WAYS ARE UNSEARCHABLE

 In all these trials God was teaching me, and still is, to wait on Him, to trust His promises, to walk by faith, to believe His word over the enemy's lies who always contradicts the word of God and who always tries to discredit our God.

For in all of our suffering, God intends to refine our faith, but the enemy's avowed goal is to steal our faith. Jesus said that the devil comes to "steal, kill, and destroy."  But the Lord works through our trials to restore our life and to make us holy like Him.

1 Peter 4:12-13 (ERV)

"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed."

 

THE STORM WILL PASS

 Am I completely healed? Not perhaps according to the worldly standards  of perfect health. But when I stopped demanding that God heal me on my terms and prayed as Jesus did in the Garden, "Father, not my will but Thy will be done," He comforted me through His word and promised He would heal me in His own time and way.

Then He asked me, "What is worse, to be suffering afflictions according to God's will or to be perfectly healthy outwardly and to not know Jesus and be eternally lost?

When I meditated on that thought I saw my suffering in a whole new context.

The Lord revealed to me that His idea of good health is not the same as the world's perception for that excludes a large portion of the population. For His word says that many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. (Psalm 34:19)

Because of sin, there is sickness and death in this world. As people age their bodies will wear out and become subject to more and more afflictions and illnesses. He showed me that His concept of good health is

  • Prosperity of  soul and spirit,
  • Unbroken fellowship with God, made possible for us through the blood sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ,
  • Joy in one's life and work regardless of circumstances
  • Gratitude to God for one's life and gifts regardless of circumstances
  • The ability to rejoice always
  • Pray without ceasing,
  • And give thanks in all circumstances knowing that God is ultimately in control and all will work out for the good to those who love Him even as His word promises.
  • ALL THOSE WONDERFUL THINGS ARE GOD'S IDEA OF GOOD HEALTH AND THEY CAN APPLY TO A PERSON who suffers from any health challenge whatsoever If that person rises above the disease and glorifies God in spite of it.  They can still choose to use their life to advance God's kingdom on this earth in the way that they can despite pain, despite physical, mental, or emotional weakness or limitations by the grace of God and in God's strength and power. 
  • For our God rejects no one! By Jesus stripes we are healed, made every whit whole. Not by the world's standards maybe. And the rational mind can never comprehend or accept this and so gets angry with God and judges Him as unfaithful to His word when he is sick and not made well according to worldly standards.
  • But that person must thank God for what he is healthy in, for what he is able to do, for what he can glorify God in.
  • God promises to heal all our diseases in His word despite our thorns and afflictions, all of which His word has promised that He will always deliver His children from. His healing is always on His terms for He is sovereign and He is refining us.
  • Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all." Psalm 34:17
  • God can heal and often does heal and make a person completely well
  • God can and does perform miracles of healing
  •  Any work of healing is always ultimately God's sovereign choice and we are always to pray as Jesus said to pray, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as in heaven..."

 

ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD

I believe God is healing me in His own way and time, that I am in fact, on a healing journey with Him. And I praise Him for His faithfulness. For He uses my afflictions to bring forth music, art, songs and poems to comfort me and through me, many others.

And so I pray that He will use my suffering for His glory, and the comfort He has given me through the poem and music on "God's Shadow Shelter" to comfort and encourage others.

 I came across a fascinating statement written by the apostle Paul in 2 Timothy as I was writing this post. I am praying this scripture and praying that I can attain to his level of Christlike love for the lost and dedication to our Lord Jesus Christ:

2 Timothy 2:10 (ERV)

"So I am willing to endure anything if it will bring salvation and eternal glory in Christ Jesus to those God has chosen."

 In the end it is not about me, or my comfort, or my health, but it's all about Jesus, who gave up everything, even His precious life that I might live forever with Him in eternity. He suffered more than anyone ever will imagine. And He did it because His Father asked Him to.

"Father, not My will, but Thy will be done."

If we love God we will do His will, no matter what the cost.

 

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Thy Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. Help us to love You so much that we will lay down our lives for You as Thy Son Jesus did. Help us to say with Jesus,

Father, I want Thy will, not my will be done, on earth, as in heaven, thank You, Lord,

In Jesus' name, amen.

 

 *As you read and meditate on the scriptures that inspired the poem, "In God's Shadow Shelter" listen to the music from the album in the *audio player on the left.

 Pray and invite the Lord to minister His comforting love to your soul as He did mine through this music and His word.

May our Heavenly Father use this album to His glory and to encourage and bless you in every way, in Jesus name, amen.

 God's Shadow Shelter is also available on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/04BclVFBtMzeTLgulHVikH

Itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/in-gods-shadow-shelter-meditative/id1135032233

Amazon.com: In God's Shadow Shelter: Meditative Instrumental Solos Suzanne Davis Harden https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IIYY44C/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_uN8Lxb17ZKQZ1 via @amazon

CDbaby.com: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/suzannedavisharden14

SCRIPTURES FROM "GOD'S SHADOW SHELTER"

1.  Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV) "The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

  (God Will Never Leave or Forsake You.)

 2. Isaiah 54:10 (NLT) "For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,” says the Lord, who has mercy on you."

(You Are Very Precious To God.)

 3. Matthew 10:30-31 (NLT) Jesus said, "And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows."

(He Numbers All Your Hair.)

 4.  Psalm 91:10 (KJV) "There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling."

(No Evil Shall Befall You.)

 5.  Psalm 103:11 (KJV) "For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him."

(His Mercy Reaches Far...)

6.  Psalm 57:10 (KJV) "For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds."

(Beyond The Clouds...)

7. Psalm 136:7-9 (KJV) "To Him that made great lights: for His mercy endureth for ever: The sun to rule by day: for His mercy endureth for ever: The moon and stars to rule by night: for His mercy endureth for ever.

(Beyond The Stars.)

 8. Job 5:8-9 (NKJV) “But as for me, I would seek God, And to God I would commit my cause— Who does great things, and unsearchable, Marvelous things without number. (God's Ways Are Unsearchable.)

 9. Psalm 44:23-26 Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord? arise, cast us not off for ever. Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and forgettest our affliction and our oppression? For our soul is bowed down to the dust: our belly cleaveth unto the earth. Arise for our help, and redeem us for thy mercies' sake.

(Sometimes God Is Silent.)

 10. Psalm 40:17 (NKJV) "But I am poor and needy; Yet the Lord thinks upon me."

(Though God Be Silent, You Are Still In His Heart.)

 11. Psalm 30:5 (NKJV) "For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning."

(The Storm Will Pass.)

 12.  Psalm 30:11-12 (NKJV) "You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever."

(Rainbows Come After The Storm.)

13.  Genesis 9:12-13 (ERV) "And God said, “I will give you something to prove that I made this promise to you. It will continue forever to show that I have made an agreement with you and every living thing on earth. I am putting a rainbow in the clouds as proof of the agreement between me and the earth."

(God's Promises Are Rainbows.)

14. Romans 8:28 (NKJV) "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."

(All Things Work Together For Good.)

15. Ephesians 1:19-20 (NLT) "I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms."

(God's Power Is Very Great.)

 

 

 

   True Stories Behind The Hymn

"Jesus Lover of My Soul"

 

The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in Him. ~ Nahum 1:7

          

The hymn "Jesus Lover Of My Soul" was written by Charles Wesley, an English hymn writer, poet, and preacher who lived from 1707 to 1788.

One of the greatest hymn writers of the Christian tradition, Charles Wesley penned over 6ooo hymns.

"Jesus Lover of My Soul" is treasured as his finest hymn and has been translated into almost every known language.

Though it was first published in 1740, it was not until after Charles had died that his beautiful hymn became well known and loved.

Many stories abound regarding the inspiration for the hymn.

 

 According to one story, in the late fall of 1736 on his way back from a brief sojourn in the United States, the ship on which Charles was sailing home to England was caught in a terrible storm.

He and the rest of the passengers must have endured a horrible trial of sheer terror and uncertainty.

Author Kenneth Osbeck writes, "But finally on December 3 the ship reached land.

Wesley wrote in his journal for that date, "I knelt down and blessed the Hand that had conducted me through inextricable mazes."

Some writers state that during the storm experience a frightened bird flew into Wesley's cabin and sheltered itself in his bosom for comfort and safety.

"Jesus, lover of my soul,

Let me to Thy bosom fly,

While the nearer waters roll,

While the tempest still is high!"

There are others who believe that the song is a picture of Charles's spiritual journey as a young man in his struggle to find peace with God before his conversion at Aldersgate in 1738.

The dramatic storm imagery in the hymn clearly recalls the terrible upheaval Charles had faced during his nightmare voyage across the Atlantic when, had the Lord not intervened, he might have perished.

His vivid metaphors of storm and tempest may also well describe his spiritual crisis before he gave his life to Christ and was given everlasting peace by the One who calms the sea and commands the wind and waves.

It is easy to see how both stories about the hymn's creation could be true.

 

After Charles died his beautiful hymn was reprinted in many hymnals and sung by countless Christians in hundreds of churches.

A wonderful blog http://www.wholesomewords.com reprints the following interesting stories surrounding the hymn "Jesus Lover of My Soul" that took place during the Civil War Era from "A Treasury of Hymns" by author Amos R. Wells:

 

"Just before the battle of Chickamauga a drummer-boy dreamed that he had gone home and was greeted by his dear mother and sister.

He awoke very sad, because both mother and sister were dead, and he had no home. He told the little story to the chaplain before he went into the battle.

He was left on the field with the dead and dying, and in the quiet of the night his voice was heard singing "Jesus, Lover of my soul."

No one dared go to him. When he reached the lines,

"Leave, ah! leave me not alone,

Still support and comfort me,"

his voice grew silent; and the next day his body was found leaning against a stump, beside his drum. He had indeed gone home to his mother and sister."

 

"Another beautiful story is told of this hymn in connection with the Civil War.

In a company of old soldiers, from the Union and Confederate armies, a former Confederate was telling how he had been detailed one night to shoot a certain exposed sentry of the opposing army.

He had crept near and was about to fire with deadly aim when the sentry began to sing, "Jesus, Lover of my soul."

He came to the words,

"Cover my defenseless head

With the shadow of Thy wing."

 

 The hidden Confederate lowered his gun and stole away.

"I can't kill that man," said he, "though he were ten times my enemy."

In the company was an old Union soldier who asked quickly,

 "Was that in the Atlanta campaign of '64?

"Yes."

Then I was the Union sentry!"

And he went on to tell how, on that night, knowing the danger of his post,

he had been greatly depressed, and, to keep up his courage, had begun to hum that hymn.

By the time he had finished, he was entirely calm and fearless.

Through the song God had spoken to two souls."*

___________________________________________________

As I researched the Hymn "Jesus Lover of My Soul"  I was amazed at how it was born out of the furnace of affliction.

It truly astounded me how God had used this one hymn in so many ways to bless countless people over the centuries. 

God had even used it to save people's lives.

Charles Wesley never knew during his lifetime the impact that just one of the 6000 hymns that he'd penned would have on the lives of so many people throughout so many generations.

The man passionately loved God and was obedient and faithful to Him.

His life echoes Jesus' words in John 15:5 "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit..."

Like Charles Wesley, we may never know this side of eternity the impact of any of the seeds God gives us to sow for Him in Christ's Vineyard.

 

Wesley's life also teaches us that we must still be faithful to do whatever work we have been given to accomplish by God despite negative reactions to us, our ministry, or the seeds God gives us to sow.

One account of the inspiration for "Jesus Lover of My Soul" recounts that Wesley wrote the text while lying under a hedge, having been beaten up by an angry mob opposing  his ministry.

His own brother John Wesley, the famous evangelist, when Charles showed him the text of "Jesus Lover of My Soul" for approval, rejected it as being "too sentimental."

Isn't it wonderful that Charles did not give in to rejection.

Had Charles not cared more about God's approval than the approval of people, even his own family, we might not have this beautiful hymn today, or the wonderful stories about the brave soldiers whose lives the hymn so wondrously impacted.

 

 

PRAYER

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us hymns to sing that comfort us in all our trials, that give us joy, that lead our hearts closer to You, that even give us peace in our last moments of life on this earth. Such gifts are truly eternal gifts from Thy heart and will sing in our hearts for eternity.

Thank You, Lord, we love You, in Jesus' name, amen.

James 1:17 "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."

 

 The Hymn "Jesus Lover of My Soul" ~By Charles Wesley

"Jesus, lover of my soul,

  Let me to Thy bosom fly,

While the nearer waters roll,

  While the tempest still is high!

Hide me, O my Saviour, hide,

  Till the storm of life be past;

Safe into the haven guide,

  Oh, receive my soul at last!

 

Other refuge have I none,

  Hangs my helpless soul on Thee;

Leave, ah! leave me not alone,

  Still support and comfort me!

All my trust on Thee is stayed,

  All my help from Thee I bring;

Cover my defenseless head

  With the shadow of Thy wing.

 

 Wilt Thou not regard my call?

  Wilt Thou not accept my prayer?

Lo! I sink, I faint, I fall—

  Lo! on Thee I cast my care:

Reach me out Thy gracious hand!

  While I of Thy strength receive,

Hoping against hope I stand,

  Dying, and, behold, I live!

 

Thou, O Christ, art all I want;

  More than all in Thee I find:

Raise the fallen, cheer the faint,

  Heal the sick, and lead the blind.

Just and holy is Thy name;

  I am all unrighteousness:

False and full of sin I am;

  Thou art full of truth and grace.

 

Plenteous grace with Thee is found,

  Grace to cover all my sin;

Let the healing streams abound,

  Make and keep me pure within.

Thou of life the fountain art

  Freely let me take of Thee:

Spring Thou up within my heart,

  Rise to all eternity!"

 

 

*Quoted Material from 101 Hymn Stories by Kenneth W. Osbeck, © 1982  All Rights Reserved.

**Quoted material reprinted from http://www.WholesomeWords.org from A Treasury of Hymns ... by Amos R. Wells. Boston: United Society of Christian Endeavor, ©1914 All Rights Reserved./ Lyrics for "Jesus Lover of My Soul" reprinted from Timeless Truths Free Online Library/ Public Domain/ Photo of Charles Wesley courtesy of Wikipedia

Scripture Verse King James Version Bible

Jesus Lover of My Soul Video & Vocals by Suzanne Davis Harden © 2016

Featuring art by many great artists including Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Manet, 19th century artist Carl Bloch, among others as well as some contemporary works. (All art via Pinterest.)

Art Images: Sanford Robinson Gifford-Fort Federal Hill at Sunset 1862

Drummer Boy: Photo via Google Search/ Charles Wesley Image via Wikipedia/

Winslow Homer-Sharpshooter 1863

Peaceful Prayer Songs Messages of Hope © 2016 Suzanne Davis Harden All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

Christmas is a time for giving. It all started when God the Father gave us His one and only Son Jesus to be our Savior on that first Christmas in Bethlehem so long ago. St. Paul describes Jesus as "God's indescribable gift..."

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 The Privilege Of Worship

  Worship is loving God. When His disciples asked Jesus what was the most important commandment, He said, "To love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind..."

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Everyone Who Asks Receives

Jesus said when He taught His disciples about prayer:

 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

 

For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened."

~Matthew 7:7-10

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RIVERS OF GRACE PEACEFUL GUITAR MELODIES

All glory to God who has blessed me with a new instrumental album to share with you!

Rivers of Grace features 16 tracks of peaceful guitar melodies that roll along like a calming spring in a warm summer meadow to bring your soul to a place of quiet rest...

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