As I began thinking on verses about confidence in the Lord. I was reminded of a dear hymn that speaks of my confidence in my salvation through Jesus Christ. I wanted to share a bit about this hymn today.
The Story Behind the Hymn
Here, in Major Whittle’s own words, is what took place that night: “I dropped on my knees and held the boy’s hand in mine. In a few broken words I confessed my sins and asked Christ to forgive me. I believed right there that He did forgive me. I then prayed earnestly for the boy. He became quiet and pressed my hand as I prayed and pleaded God’s promises. When I arose from my knees, he was dead. A look of peace had come over his troubled face, and I cannot but believe that God who used him to bring me to the Savior, used me to lead him to trust Christ’s precious blood and find pardon. I hope to meet him in heaven.”
Years later, James McGranahan put music to many of Major Whittle’s hymns, including I Know Whom I Have Believed. The chorus of the hymn is based on 2 Timothy 1:12…
Thoughts on 2 Timothy.. I Believe!
Paul wrote this letter from his second Roman imprisonment, and soon after he wrote this letter he was condemned and executed in Rome at the command of Nero. Paul sensed this; therefore 2 Timothy is not only the last letter we have from Paul, there is also a note of urgency and passion we might expect from a man who knew he would soon be executed.
David Guzik, Enduring Word
Last Words of Confidence
Last words are always important. Knowing that this was Paul’s last letter encourages even me that he was first concerned about encouraging his mentorees. He talk about how he was certain of the faith of not only Timothy but also Timothy’s mother and grandmother. It’s something to remember that we too should encourage the faith of those around us and those we are mentoring.
Have No Fear
Then he reminds Timothy to not let fear take hold in his life because God has given us so much more to remain confident.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
2 TImothy 1:7
When we lose a loved one, at times, we wonder how can we go on? How can we even continue without the prayers of the Saints to whom we look to for guidance? I’ll tell you that I believe, the prayers of the saints continue on much longer beyond their death. I have seen it. My grandmother was a prayer warrior. Her prayers still go up and down between heaven and earth. A former pastor shared that he wondered who would pray for him after the death of his mother. Low and behold, his sister stepped in as an amazing prayer warrior. So don’t lose faith. The prayers of the faithful will continue to surround the throne of Grace.
Don’t Be Ashamed
Paul encouraged Timothy also to be strong in His faith and in sharing God’s Word with unbelievers. Oh, in these last days we must remain bold to win as many as possible before His Return. Recall that it is only through the blood of the Lamb that we even have faith and through the Holy Spirit that men are called to righteousness.
We must remain unashamed. Don’t water down the gospel to make it easier. There isn’t time. We must shed the light in the darkness that only God can make things right and remove sin in our lives.
This hymn, One Day was introduced to me in my teen years. We had moved from Ohio to Wisconsin and being in the middle school Sunday School class, I was required to take part in the Easter program. This hymn was the theme of the program.
At the time, I didn’t particularly like the song mainly because it was a bit slow for my tastes. But over the years the song stuck in my heart and mind because it tells the story of Jesus from beginning to end; from the virgin birth to the cross and resurrection and on to the day still coming… His return… Oh, Glorious Day!
Hymn Writer ~ J. Wilbur Chapman
Full Name: John Wilber Chapman, 1859-1918 Birth Year: 1859 Death Year: 1918
A Presbyterian evangelist. He served in several local churches before becoming an evangelist, preaching with the infamous D.L. Moody, as well as preaching many evangelistic events on his own. He had many preachers who were trained under him including Rev. Billy Sunday.
He wrote this hymn as well as two others
“Jesus, What a Friend for Sinners” (another favorite of mine) “‘Tis Jesus”
Hymn Studies at Gracefully Truthful
The writers at Gracefully Truthful are doing a series of hymn studies this month. Click on over to read my contribution to the study on One Day.
Hymn of the Week ~ One Day
Source: Sing to the Lord, #210
1 One day when Heaven was filled with His praises, One day when sin was As black as could be, Jesus came forth To be born of a virgin, Dwelt among men, my example is He!
Chorus: Living, He loved me; dying, He saved me; Buried, He carried My sins far away; Rising He justified freely forever: One day He’s coming– O glorious day!
2 One day they led Him Up Calvary’s mountain, One day they nailed Him To die on the tree; Suffering anguish, despised and rejected: Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He![Chorus]
3 One day they left Him Alone in the garden, One day He rested, from suffering free; Angels came down o’er His tomb to keep vigil; Hope of the hopeless, my Savior is He![Chorus]
4 One day the grave Could conceal Him no longer, One day the stone rolled away from the door; Then He arose, over death He had conquered; Now is ascended, my Lord evermore![Chorus]
5 One day the trumpet Will sound for His coming, One day the skies With His glory will shine; Wonderful day, my beloved One bringing; Glorious Savior, this Jesus is mine![Chorus]
I was thrilled when I heard that Casting Crowns had placed the lyrics into a new contemporary song, Oh! Glorious Day. What a beautiful rendition.
Mountains are fascinating. If you look up mountain layers, you’ll be treated to a very interesting read. Mountains have different levels or layers to them. Depending on the type of mountain, you can find different climates, different temperatures, different types of forest.
Once you get an idea of how mountains work, it puts your “mountain” into a different perspective.
Some mountain adventures have well-worn paths, seemingly normal life travels, great advice from friends and family, posted signs along the way. But then something happens… there is no cut path, no posted signs and the journey is lonely. Food is scarce, rest is limited.
This is when your faith in God begins to be tested. We forget that God wants an invite to join our journey. We call friends, family, read up on things and then apply them, but when it gets hard that’s when we call upon God, or sadly, we give up without even calling upon him.
Mountains are faith builders. They are meant to be hard and challenging. God wants us to depend on him for strength for the climb. God wants to hear your prayers for help, wisdom, and courage. The mountain was made for you, and God has all the tools you’ll need for your climb.
-Stopping and asking God for help with our mountain climb with you.
This Tuesday, May 12 is Fibromyalgia Awareness day. I thought it would be appropriate to share another encouraging post of how chronic warriors hang on to their faith to get through the worst of days.
I was greatly encouraged to hear Olivia Wolfertz story about her struggle with Lyme Disease. What an incredibly strong women she is. Please read on…
Share the short story of your chronic pain journey. What is your diagnosis? Share some about the journey to this diagnosis.
I was diagnosed with Lyme disease in May 2016. After several months or so of increasingly bizarre symptoms—chest pains, stiff neck, headaches, stabbing pains in arms and feet, and severe trouble walking, I was officially tested and diagnosed by a rheumatologist. I was fortunate that my diagnosis was relatively quick and that I had a positive Lyme disease test even by CDC criteria, as that is actually somewhat rare.
From there, I went on the pretty typical goose chase of finding the right Lyme-literate doctor and treatment combination. Unfortunately, even though I was treating my illness, symptoms continued to spread and expand to affect more and more of my body and mind. Throughout this four-year timeframe, I’ve seen several specialists and explored numerous treatment protocols ranging from conventional antibiotics and herbals to more unconventional methods like rife machines, essential oils, and now a nebulizer treatment. While I’ve seen tangible bouts of improvement and had seasons of “better days” in the mix, I continue to suffer daily with symptoms that largely impair and limit my life.
Throughout this time, how was your faith walk impacted? Did you lose faith? Get Stronger?
At the start of my treatment journey, I felt a strong conviction that God had given me this illness very intentionally. I felt like this was God telling me it was my time to walk through one of my first “major trials,” as I had never before had a serious health issue before. At the time I thought I would go through it, get treated, get better and move on and be able to look back at it as a story of how I joyfully clung to God during a hard time.
I subconsciously was viewing it as a test and thought that if I just stayed positive and did my best to fully trust God, he would soon enough heal me, and then I would move on with life and have this story to encourage others with. I viewed it as very transactional if I’m being honest. Needless to say, I didn’t have the slightest idea of what I was getting into.
Little did I know at that time how devastating and long-term this illness would be or how much it would affect every other area of my life. I would say for the first two years or so, I wasn’t terribly worried about this being the rest of my life and I was able to trust God relatively well all things considered. Of course, there were many difficult battles and symptoms and challenging times that I struggled more, but I felt very supported in the beginning and continued to believe healing was around the next corner.
It wasn’t until probably three years in that I really started to experience more sobering doubts and struggles in my faith. Not only was I still not where I thought I would be after 3 years (still unable to work or be financially independent), but I was feeling a lot of new and difficult symptoms, including serious mental health and sleep struggles, that were very challenging to live with.
Not to mention I was getting emotionally exhausted from the day-to-day struggle. With my worsening symptoms, it became a lot harder to be regularly plugged into a community where I could be spiritually supported, and the isolation made everything a lot harder.
I also wrestled with a lot of shame over the fact that my life isn’t “normal” that affected my self-image and ability to make friends and be vulnerable. Even still, God provided the right people at the right time and sent me some incredibly supportive believers whose prayers were a huge factor in keeping my faith from crushing beneath the pain.
Was there a specific event that became a turning point in your faith during this journey?
As I mentioned above, the anniversary of year three was a turning point where I really started to struggle with doubts and fears that this might actually be the rest of my life and I may never get better. When I realized I wasn’t even close to getting better or even if I was on the right track with treatments, I began to wrestle with anger and disillusionment towards God and a lot of fear that things would never change.
Accepting the Inevitable
I also began to realize that all that I lost might never come back—
the ability to take care of myself and work a full-time job,
live on my own or at least away from my parents,
be able to have a normal social life
-all of those things suddenly seemed like things that may never happen again. This realization was the beginning of a very dark season of depression and increasing hopelessness.
Letting Others In
What made the most difference in turning from despair to surrender and trust, though, was taking small steps to let people in my struggle more. Whether that was being honest about my doubts, struggles, or the extent to which I was feeling lonely or needing support, that act of humbling myself opened the door for more people to encourage me in ways I actually needed.
This was such a hard lesson and one that I likely will continually need to relearn, but God definitely wanted me to get to this point.
Keeping a strong faith and hope is absolutely critical to fighting a chronic illness—but there are times where we can’t get there without inviting others in to help. Sometimes the struggles are too hard to emotionally or even spiritually deal with on our own and the turning point doesn’t come until others are invited in the mix and given the opportunity to pour their strength and hope into us. I continue to pray for a supportive community to walk through whatever my future has in store.
What scripture has become a comfort for you in this journey? Why?
There have been several different scriptures that I’ve turned to during different stages of this journey. Here are some:
1 Peter 5:6-7
1 Peter 4:19
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Not surprisingly these are all verses that shine a light on suffering or trials and trusting God’s deliverance. Widening my scriptural vocabulary to include more specific truths to apply to pain and suffering has made a huge difference in my outlook during rougher patches.
Sometimes when everything seems to be falling apart, it can be all too easy and natural to feed into self-pity, anger, and overall exhaustion with our circumstances. It can feel like we are at the end of our rope and don’t know how we will get through the next hour let alone the rest of our lives if things don’t change.
I’ve found it absolutely critical at those moments to turn to a verse like one of these and allow it to penetrate my despairing thoughts. It does make a difference, and meditating on or carrying around these verses proactively help arm me so that I am more prepared when those despairing thoughts come and can be quicker to replace them with truths from Scripture.
How do you find comfort on especially painful days?
That’s a really tough question to answer and it definitely depends on the type of bad day I’m having. Sometimes a bad day might mean a ton of pain, in which case I will usually try to rest my body laying down but can find comfort in reading a good book or doing some Bible study if my mental energy is there.
Some days a bad day might mean an extreme excess of fatigue or dizziness or headaches in which case I am not up for reading or blogging or anything but can find comfort in closing my eyes and listening to a good podcast or sermon or take a bath. I find that this will be a good way to encourage my soul and heart even when I don’t have the energy or mental ability to read my Bible or an encouraging book.
Then a bad day might be where I feel more depression or anxiety or discouragement and something that brings me comfort on those types of bad days is talking with a friend or journaling my feelings or painting or getting fresh air if I am feeling up for that physically.
Painting has become an unexpected yet powerful channel for encouragement, as the feeling of tangibly creating something beautiful to share with others is rewarding when you feel like you can’t be productive in other areas of life.
What are some things that your family and friends do that bring comfort in your pain?
The best things my friends or family can do for me during harder times are going out of their way to practically help me or take time to ask me how I am doing and listen to me. I live with my parents, so the best ways I feel comforted by them is when they respect my needs, whether that’s for space or independence or the freedom to not be okay all the time. It is also very comforting when they help out with practical things like meals and laundry or giving me rides to places on days where I can’t handle it.
I moved a few states away to go back home about a year and a half after getting sick, so a lot of my good friends are states away and it’s been hard to get involved and socialize regularly enough to make good friends here as easily. A great way that these friends have comforted me over the distance is through phone call check-ins, cards, and other gestures to show me they are thinking about me. And especially prayer!
Are you involved in any ministries or community service to reach out to others with chronic pain? Share about this.
I’m not in any formal capacity but it’s something I really have a desire to work towards. One way that I have started to give back towards others who are suffering (in any way) is to create and write sympathy or encouragement cards for people in my church or community.
I’m involved with a Bible study where the leader is very involved with the church community and she often notifies me when there are people in the area who are going through something hard. Since I love to paint, I love the opportunity to create a card and then bring it to Bible study for the whole group to sign. It’s a great way for me to feel like I’m giving back and tangibly support others with my unique talents and passions.
Offer some words of encouragement to those who may be searching for comfort in their own chronic pain journey.
Something I would say to someone who is struggling in his or her chronic illness journey (whatever that may be) that I hope might be encouraging is that I believe suffering in this kind of way is a unique calling. I would tell that person that they are very brave for carrying a burden that is much harder than most people realize.
I would affirm that they were chosen with this particular trial for a reason that I believe comes with it a special opportunity for God to work in a very powerful way if they let Him.
I would encourage someone in the thick of their suffering to find inspiring examples and role models in the faith that triumphed through immeasurable hardships. I have found inspiration in people like Charles Spurgeon, a nineteenth-century preacher who struggled with deep depression and Elisabeth Elliot, a twentieth-century missionary who went through devastating loss and hardship in her life.
I would also recommend reading the testimonies of Christians who have suffered or are suffering immense persecution or incarceration for their faith in Christ around the world. Hearing about how other believers have walked valiantly through deep trials always gives me strong motivation and inspiration to keep fighting the fight to trust and hope in God no matter where my health may be.
In Savannah, we all know what it is like to be awakened in the night with blaring horns warning us that there are severe storms in the area. I recall into the midwest that storms and tornado warnings could come upon us quickly as well. Either way, it’s a frightening experience.
Just like in a tropical storm, we have no control of where or how the storms come in our lives. It may barrel straight through us or it might skirt around us. Some storms may be strong and dangerous and others are slow and become just a thunderstorm or even just a bit of rain. One never knows.
Isn’t Living For Christ a Cake Walk?
We would like to think that if we are following the Lord, life’s path will take us through smooth sailing. But this is not true. The Bible says, “In this life, we will have trouble.” (John 16:33) The Promise we do have is safety through the storm.
Oh, how we must learn that God is faithful through the storm.
God Sees us THROUGH the Storm
He will be right there with us, our haven. His path will help us grow and learn. We will be strengthened to face another day. He provides for our every need in every situation. There is Hope in the Hard Places.
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 ESV
But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
Isaiah 43:1-2 ESV
Why do we worry and fret and not live in the peace that He offers us? Why do we allow the projected path of a storm to get us all worked up? We aren’t showing the world a reason to follow Christ if we fret and worry over our situation.
P.S. I’ve been introducing the old hymns lately. This seems like a good time to share a hymn…
“There is Peace in the Midst of the Storm”
When the world that I’ve been Living in collapses at my feet And when my life is all tattered and torn Though I’m wind-swept, I’ve been battered I’m gonna cling unto His cross I’ll find peace in the midst of the storm
-by Stephen Adams
There is peace in the midst of the storm-tossed life There is an Anchor, there is a rock to build my faith upon Jesus Christ is my vessel so I fear no alarm He gives me peace in the midst of the storm
Peace in the Midst of the Storm: Performed by The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir
“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus,… let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith…”
“The Lord is good to those who hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”
– Hebrews 10:19,22 – Lamentations 3:25-26
Faith & Patience
A few months ago we had planned a family camping trip to celebrate our oldest son’s birthday. It turned unseasonably cold (for Mississippi in November) so we decided to rent cabins instead. All six adults and three grandchildren were gathered in the living were of one cabin, ready to share a meal together.
We joined hands and asked, “Who wants to pray?”
and Grantlee, our two-year-old grandson said, “Me!”
We bowed our heads. Grantlee closed his eyes, and with the most serious of expressions on his face, prayed the following words.
“I Grantlee Atchison, and I want it now. Amen.”
All of us burst out into laughter because it was cute and funny.
Kids! You just never know what they will say or do!
But Don’t We Act the Same?
Later, I was telling my prayer group of our cute little grandson’s prayer. As we laughed, we suddenly realized a sobering thought: Isn’t that the way we do God? We come to Him in prayer, and whether our words are eloquent or simple, we often convey this message.
Oh, it is so humbling to be preached to by a toddler. Since that fun-filled evening, I have reflected many times on Grantlee’s innocent, heartfelt, powerful prayer. “I want it now. Amen.” I laugh, but then I think, really think. Hebrews 10:19-22 assures us that we can approach God’s throne of grace with confidence. Lamentations 3:25-26 reminds us that we must wait, and the Lord will deliver an answer.
Faith and Patience Prayer
Now, when I remember that little prayer, I bow my head and say, “Lord, You know what I want and when I want it. But You also know that what I need most is what You want in Your time and Your way. Keep me asking, but waiting on You with faithful patience. Amen.”
For as long as I can remember, my greatest desire was to be a mother. And why not? God blessed me with the greatest examples of motherhood that a girl could have. My own mother was a portrait of motherhood. She had 6 children and countless foster kids. And she loved them all well. She told us often how wonderful it was to have children. Unlike many women today, she dreaded the end of summer and sending her children off to school. She wanted them around her feet, pulling on her skirt tails. There was never any doubt that she was proud to be a momma.
And then there were my godly grandmothers. Oh my goodness, if I could live up to their lives I would be so proud, but that would just pull me down from the heights of glory because they were all of the humble kind.
One thing my Grandma Dawson was proud of was that I was her namesake. And once I learned what that meant, I was proud of it too. If you look at my father, uncles, and aunt you know that she was a great example of motherhood. She was a servant of God and man. At her funeral, my Uncle said, “You could always find her on her knees, either in prayer or serving others.
Grandma Dawson (Amanda Leona) was also named for her Grandmother Amanda Hukill. Though I never knew her, she left a legacy of perseverance and faith enough for all of us. I can look to her whenever I think I have had my share of trials because she dealt with more than I ever have.
So you can see that it was easy for me to want to be a momma myself. It seemed the greatest accomplishment to me, it still does. Early on, I began reading about others that have set an example that has passed the test of time. Jackie Green’s book Only One Life speaks of many women who have left a legacy for us. There are two Susanna’s that have stood out for me as perfect examples of motherhood (physically and spiritually), Susie Spurgeon, whom I have already written about and Susannah Wesley, mother of John and Charles Wesley.
Susanna, wife of Rev. Samuel Wesley, Sr. and educated herself stayed right up with her husband (and later, her sons) in theological studies, reading anything and everything in her husband’s library. Her husband traveled often to schools and preaching, leaving her to hold down everything at home. They report that while he was away if the substitute priest was not “up to par”, she would have Bible lessons that evening in her home. This grew quickly from just her small brood to include many of the church members.
Mother of Nineteen
Susanna Wesley had nineteen children but only 10 of them reached adulthood (two of which were John and Charles Wesley, founders of Methodism). It was important to her that her children, girls included, would be given an education and she did it. All of them began their formal education at home and the girls completed their education under her teaching. She determined to have a dedicated period of study time set aside for each child, individually, each week. (When I think about this now, and factor in that she was likely pregnant or nursing the entire time, I am amazed. Yikes!)
Legacy of Discipline & Resilience
Susanna managed the gardening, cooking, and housekeeping along with the children’s studies. She kept a regular time set apart for meditation and self-examination before God, keeping of a spiritual journal and strict adherence to the Sabbath. Susanna, known as a great prayer warrior, with a houseful of activity, would pull her apron up over her head to pray; the signal for no interruptions. She expected the same devotion by her children.. to spend an allocated amount of time in Bible study and prayer. She wrote in a letter for her son Samuel:
I will tell you what rule I observed when I was young, and too much addicted to childish diversions, was this — never spend more time in mere recreation in one day than I spent in private religious devotions.
Eliza Clarke, Susanna Wesley (London: W.H. Allen & Co., 1886), 68
I have often read the writings of young people from earlier centuries and marveled at the depth of thought in young minds. Susanna’s practices, which came from the Puritan heritage, are how such depth of thought can be found. We all might take heed and learn from them.
“Mother of Methodism”
Susanna Wesley, mother of Methodism. Not only because she was the Mother of the founding men, John & Charles, but because she kept up with her husband and sons in their studies. She remained deeply involved with them in establishing the Methodist Church. As I type this, I am realizing that her disciplines stated above were carried into the new Methodist movement. The worship style of Methodism is just that. Methodical and with reason. I also wonder if it wasn’t her Sunday afternoon lessons, that sparked the idea of Sunday School classes for better learning and further teaching. can teach
The Life and Legacy of Susanna Wesley leave much for us to learn and follow. I encourage you to do some research on your own and perhaps take one area to use as an example to follow. There are many sources available for purchase; however, most of what I write today comes from the magazine Holiness Today, September/October 2018 issue which can be read online.
Sharon gently led me through a journey with Moses in a much different way than I had before. She gently personalized the struggles of Moses with my life. She helped me consider each area in my life that might be holding me back. We walked through areas that could be keeping me from moving forward in my faith. Such as,
Photo Credit: Sharon Jaynes Launch Team
And you can’t miss her Dr.Suess version of, Oh the Places You Will Go.
Read With a Highlighter
My book has highlight marks and notes all through it. And as I said, I keep referring back to it. This indicates it should be a great one for your shelves as well. Pick one up today.
Or if you’d like a little taste of it first. Download the YouVersion app onto your cell phone and search for the 7-day devotional of the same title.
My Favorite Sharon Jaynes Books
Sharon’s Latest Book (which I still need to read)
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