Category: thoughts by Katherine Kehler

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“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you will know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” James 1:2–4

My husband quotes these verses a lot. I used to feel uncomfortable when he did because I knew I did not “count it joy” when I had difficulties. I often thought of trials as a nuisance. But God has been teaching me, and finally it has become clear to me why I need to count it all joy.

Recently I read Majestic is Your Name. This book contains a collection of writings by Teresa of Avila, who lived during the fifteenth century. She wrote,

Be happy when you are blamed and accused wrongly, for then you have the chance to see all the bitter, hostile, or self-pitying responses that your sinful soul wants to spew out— as if these puny things could in any way defend you! Watch and see if any of these poisons come out of you when your spirit is pricked by an accusation. Only then can you see yourself as you are, and confess thy sin that is within you, and forsake yourself again into the Lord’s care.”

You see, when we run into difficulties or accusations, we can choose to respond in joy, or we can react negatively. Our response is the barometer as to how we are doing spiritually.

I encourage you to choose to respond with joy to every difficulty or nuisance that comes your way today. It is an act of affirming that God is the blessed controller of all things.

Lord Jesus, I do thank You for the trials that come into my life. Whenever my soul is pricked by a sarcastic remark, or I am misunderstood or slighted by someone, my reaction to this lets me realize again that I am a sinner, desperately in need of Your strength to respond in love and kindness and patience. Thank You for continually pointing out my need of total reliance on You. Amen.

By Katherine Kehler
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“Therefore encourage each other” (1 Thessalonians 4:18).
“Let us encourage each other daily” (Hebrews 3:13).
“But let us encourage one another” (Hebrews 10:25).

Have you ever had too much encouragement? Not me. In fact, I don’t know of anyone who feels they have had too much encouragement. Usually, we wish someone would encourage us — just a little would help. A little encouragement goes a long way.

Two schoolteachers made a lasting impression on my life because they affirmed me on English composition papers I had written. In Grade 8 it was Mr. Ratzlaff and in Grade 12, Mr. Dawe. I have not forgotten their names. Many times I have thought of what they said, and I realize that their encouraging words were influential in my daring to write these daily devotionals. There were other factors of course, but I thank God for these men. Little did they know that what they said that day in the classroom would be instrumental in bringing thousands to Christ and inspiring them to live holy lives.

Encouragement! One short encouraging word from you today could help set a child, a friend, or a co-worker on their road to success. Encouragement works better than vitamin pills.

As a grandmother it has been so much fun watching the giftedness of our grandchildren develop. There is always something I can find to encourage and praise them for. Some of them are very creative and leaders, while others are thinkers or good at marketing. Some are encouragers, and others are organizers or helpers. It seems that as I age, it is easier to see the wonderful traits in people. To affirm them encourages them to continue developing those traits. They feel good, and you feel good for encouraging them.

I am impressed with your commitment to read the daily e-mail devotions. You obviously have a hunger and desire to love and serve God. May He bless and keep you!

Father, Your love for us is such an encouragement. Your Word encourages us. You encourage us by opening our eyes to Your answers to prayers. We are so grateful and will try to encourage others today. Amen.

By Katherine Kehler
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But cling to the Lord your God...”  Joshua 23:8 (Amp)

During a move to another house, our daughter Val was helping me pack boxes. Zachary, their eight-month-old son, was crawling by then but never wandered far from his mother. In fact, he would grab on (cling) to her leg and she would have to drag him along where ever she walked. He wouldn’t let go.

I recall one cold winter evening when the roads were very slippery and our car could not make it up a hill. After several attempts we finally abandoned the car and walked home. The snow was deep and the freezing rain had made a slick, hard icy coat over the snow, so walking was very difficult. All four young children were with us. My husband and I carried the two younger ones and tightly grasped the hands of the older two. They held fast so they wouldn’t slip and fall.

Do those word pictures help you understand the meaning of “cling to the Lord”. Here are a few thoughts regarding clinging to the Lord:

You will have to open your arms and/or hands first. You can’t cling to Him with your arms crossed or slack, or if your hands are clenched. He is there to carry you, but you have to trust Him and hang on.

When you are clinging to Him, you will go where He is going and fit into His way.

It is an act of the will. He invites us to cling to Him. He is the strong One. We chose whether to cling to Him or go through life alone.

Are you clinging to the Lord? Or have you been going it alone? It is lonely and tiring. He is strong. Why not pray the following prayer and get on His back again:

Father, I have let go of You and have been trying to live life without You. I am tired, lost and lonely. I want to get back on Your back and cling to You. Thank You for always taking the time to grasp my hand – if I ask You. Amen

By Katherine Kehler
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A Prayer

Lord, little by little You are getting through to my befuddled mind to teach me another practical concept about living a life pleasing to You.

Lord Jesus, I know You said that in this world we would have troubles, but for some reason I really thought there would be fewer problems as I aged. That I would become wiser. But life becomes more complicated.

I wonder, Lord, is it because You need to constantly remind us that this earth is not our home . . . that we are heaven bound?

So many times I forget that people, circumstances, or things cannot give me happiness; only You can. I realize now that discouragement can be a lack of trusting You.

This day, Lord, I pray that You will enable me to trust You each time a problem arises.
Whenever I get stressed, remind me to turn my eyes on You and Your sufficiency.

My help comes from You, Lord!

By Katherine Kehler
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“All who are oppressed may come to Him. He is a refuge for them in their times of trouble” Psalm 9:9

My father was born in the Ukraine and spent his first fifteen years there.  One Christmas his two older brothers bought a German-made Christmas musical wind-up tree stand for their parents. It was mechanical and played Silent Night. Their gift brought great delight to this family of ten.

Not long after, the region experienced the horrors of World War I, followed by the Russian Revolution. Many people endured tremendous persecution — women were raped, and fathers were kidnapped and murdered. Thieves would barge into homes, demand food, and steal what they could, including the horses.

It was during one of those raids that God used the Christmas tree stand to perform a miracle and save the lives of my father’s family. It was Christmas Eve and the tree was in the stand and playing Silent Night. The door burst open and a gang of ruffians stormed in, all brandishing guns. Terror gripped each member of the family as they feared what would happen next.

However, their fear turned to astonishment as they watched these uninvited guests stop and become still. Then without saying a word, the bandits backed out of the house and closed the door. God had used the tree and Silent Night to save the lives of my father and his family.

A miracle on Christmas Eve!

By Katherine Kehler
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“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life. . .” Philippians 2: 14–16

My neighbor Marie invited me over to see her rock collection. She showed me the smooth, shiny rocks which, for days had been buffeted in her rock-polishing machine. They had been rough when they first went into the machine, but now the rocks were smooth with interesting designs and colours. Marie’s experienced eye could see the potential beauty of those rocks before she polished them.

Then she showed me some other, larger rocks that were dirty and rough. But when she split them with a hammer, many of them contained the most beautiful crystal formations. However, they had to be cleaned and treated to loosen the dirt that had gathered in the crevices. The removal of this silt and dirt allowed the beauty of the crystals to shine forth.

It’s difficult to find rocks that can be polished or that contain crystals and precious gems. One has to have experience and patience to spend hours and days looking for them, identifying them, and then cleaning and polishing them.

In a way, we can compare a rock hound to our Creator, Jesus Christ. He knows exactly what is inside of us. He sees the potential in each of us. In his  book Just Like Jesus, Max Lucado writes, “Jesus loves you just the way you are, but loves you too much to leave you that way.” Jesus is patient with us and will keep “polishing” us until we shine like stars.

Sometimes we put walls about ourselves. Kind of like turtles, we withdraw into our shells whenever we think we might be in danger. We have been hurt, afraid, or just plain shy, or maybe we have a secret we don’t anyone to know. We are afraid to let some people get past the wall.

Jesus, patiently, with His unfailing love, tells us, “I have come for people to have life and have it until it overflows” (John 10:10). Sometimes when we choose not to believe Him, He will use people (who rub us the wrong way), painful circumstances, death, financial problems, sickness, sorrow, and disappointments to help us yield to His polishing — to take down the wall. When we trust Him and look to Him for strength, wisdom, and direction, He brings out the beauty in each one of us. “They looked to Him and were radiant. . . ”(Psalm 34:5, Amplified)

Lord Jesus, I am so glad You know everything about me and love me anyways. Thank You that You know best how to bring out our inner beauty. Help us to yield to Your “polishing” and trust You in everything. Amen.

Going Deeper

1. Can you think of a person who has been refined into a “shining star” through difficult circumstances?
2. Can you think of a situation that God used to refine you?
3. How did you respond or react at first? Did you recognize God’s hand in what was happening to you? Have you learned to thank God.

By Katherine Kehler
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“Love … does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil” 1 Corinthians 13:5

Every now and then, the Lord impresses a Bible verse or phrase on my mind and I can’t forget it. That is what He did last month. During a church service, the pastor spoke from 1 Corinthians 13.  I don’t recall anything else about the message, but the Lord burned the phrase,love is not easily provoked,” into my mind. Since then, when I find myself getting impatient, angry, or irritated at someone or a situation, the Holy Spirit brings the verse to mind I agree with the Lord immediately, thank Him for His forgiveness and cleansing, and ask Him to be in control of my life again and change me.

Someone said, “I ‘fess’ them as I does them, I don’t bunch them.” Spiritual breathing is a good definition. Breathing out the old (confessing) and breathing in the new (Christ taking control of my life again). I have experienced tremendous freedom in my spiritual journey since I learned this spiritual concept.

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.” Philippians 2:13

Thank You Lord Jesus, for sending Your Holy Spirit to comfort us, direct us, change us, and empower us. You are so awesome! Amen.

By Katherine Kehler
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He who watches over you will not slumber… Psalm 121:3

Peace and panic cannot occupy the same place. If we are filled with fear, we aren’t peaceful.

I am not usually a fearful person. My husband has travelled a lot the past years and when I go to bed, I thank God that His angels are surrounding our property and protecting us. I thank Him that He is above us and that He is our foundation. I am covered with His protection. I trust Him and go to sleep.

However, one night I woke up after being asleep for only an hour. I thought I heard someone trying to open one of our doors in the house. (We don’t have an alarm system but we have two big dogs.) Our property is on a highway and we have had some interesting people come to our door and have been robbed several times. Needless to say, my heartbeat quickened and I began to perspire, especially when I remembered that I had not checked the windows to see if they were locked.

Then the Lord brought the verse to my mind:
He who watches over you will not slumber.

I settled down and thanked God that He was still watching over us and He didn’t need any help. Then I fell asleep.

How are you doing today?

Do you have any major fears?

Are you peaceful or fearful?

Have you affirmed in your heart that He can take care of all your needs and protect you?

Ask God to give you the grace to believe Him and receive His peace. He is all-powerful.

Father, thank You that You never slumber, that You are always watching over us. Jesus You are the Prince of Peace. Come, we invite You to invade our hearts with Your peace today. Amen.

By Katherine Kehler
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“Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” Ephesians 6:11

Every morning I begin my day by asking God to direct, empower, and protect me, so I will be able to please Him in all I do, think, and say. I want to be in tune with what He wants for me. Often, there are times during the day when I take back control of my life from God and try to do things my way. When I do this, I leave a door open for the enemy.

One night, after talking to Marvin on the phone — he was in Florida — I went to bed and fell asleep. Suddenly I awoke. I thought I felt someone crawling into bed with me.  My first sleepy thought was a joyful, “Oh, Marvin must be home.” Then I realized that he was in Florida.

I got really scared and silently prayed, “Lord, who is it?” He let me know that it was the enemy. I knew I had to pray aloud and so I prayed, “In the name of Jesus, I command you to get out of our house.” As soon as I prayed the presence left. I lay there for quite a while until I had the courage to turn on the light. Yes, the name of Jesus is powerful indeed!

Dramatic attacks of the enemy like that are rare. Far more often he attacks with fiery darts. The enemy uses someone’s careless remark or our own imaginations to tell us that no one appreciates us or that we are of no value. Within minutes our self-esteem can plummet to rock bottom because we listened to the enemy instead of listening to the Holy Spirit.

We must be alert so that we are able to discern whose voice we are listening to. Our thought life has two channels — one is alert to God, and one is alert to Satan. We have to choose which channel we listen to. If we ask Him to, God has promised to direct our steps. As we spend time with Him, He will teach us to hear His voice.

Father, thank You that You are faithful and will strengthen us and protect us from the enemy. Cause us to be alert and listen to Your voice. Thank You that You are the Almighty God. Amen.

By Katherine Kehler
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“And don’t forget to thank Him” Philippians 4:6

In my daily devotional one day, the words of the song Count Your Blessings, Name Them One by One was included. I haven’t sung that song for a long time – the words are tremendous:

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, ev’ry doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by.

What a wonderful reminder to take the time to think about what God is doing for us. Too often we focus just on the horrid things – the evil, the hurricanes, the floods and devastation and famine.

But take time every day to verbalize or write all you are thankful for. You may want to use this outline. Doing so will revitalize your soul.

Begin With Thanksgiving

Psalm 100:4 tells us,

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.”

•    Thank Him for His patience and forgiveness.
•    Thank Him for the privilege of coming into His presence.
•    Thank Him for what He has done in and through your life in the last year.

List What He Has Done

Take time to list what God has done for you. Be specific. Think through every area of your life.

  • Become Still Before the Lord. (Psalm 46:10)
  • Consider who God is. (Psalm 103)
  • Praise Him for His attributes. (Psalm 145)
  • Rejoice in your fellowship with Him and that He delights in you. (Proverbs 15:8)
  • Read passages of scripture and pray them back to God. (Psalms 146-150)
  •  Sing to the Lord.

Lord I thank You for the beauty of the seasons. I thank You for health and strength. I thank You for people to love and people who love me. I love You God and thank you for loving me first. Amen.

By Katherine Kehler
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“When you did it to these my brothers you were doing it to me! When you refused to help the least of these my brothers, you were refusing to help me” Matthew 25:40  

I believe these verses are talking about helping people in need — or refusing to help them.

While some scholars say “my brothers” refers to Jewish people, others say it means “Christians,” and still others say it refers to any people in need.

But the issue is larger than that, isn’t it? Jesus is referring to our attitudes and our hearts!

How is your heart attitude today? Do you, like the men in the story of the Good Samaritan,  quickly walk by people in need without a thought? Or are you alert to people needing encouragement today? Maybe they need some financial or emotional support; if so, would you take time to help them? Do you ever stop and pray with the hurting friend? You would be doing it to Jesus.

I would like to expand on these verses a little. This may be stretching the theology of these scriptures, but I believe the Holy Spirit gave me this insight.

When someone hurts, shuns or betrays us, they have really done it to Christ in us. One translation of the above verse reads, “Whatever you do . . . you have done it unto Me.” When we do good to others, we are doing it to Christ. When we hurt others, we are hurting Christ. When others are kind to us, they are being kind to Christ. When they hurt us, they have hurt Christ.

This new insight alerts me to be more kind. I also find it comforting to know that Jesus and I are so close, that when I get hurt, He gets hurt. A real friend!

Lord Jesus, thank You for feeling all the pain I feel. Thank You for making me alert to the fact that You also feel the pain of all the people in the world. Amen.

By Katherine Kehler
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“So living or dying, we belong to the Lord” Romans 14:8

We all desire to belong to someone. We don’t want to be alone, and we want someone to love us. I vividly recall hearing a new Christian say, “I belong. For the first time in my life I know I belong to someone.”

Belonging to Jesus Christ for all eternity is so great. On earth, time or circumstances eventually separates us from the people we “belong” to — our parents, our spouse, our family, our church, or organization. This is normal. But the wonderful assurance for those of us who are in Christ Jesus is that we belong to Him, not only now, but for all eternity. We will always be part of the God’s family.

The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:38–39,

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The chorus of the song written by Norman J. Clayton states it so clearly.

Now I belong to Jesus, Jesus belongs to me,
Not for the years of time alone,
But for eternity.”

We belong!

Lord Jesus, it is so comforting to know we belong to You, our Savior and best Friend. Thank You for loving us, never leaving us, and always watching out for us and supplying all our needs. Thanks for being our Comforter. Help us keep our minds centered on You. Amen.

By Katherine Kehler
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But God, being rich in mercy” Ephesians 2:4

Not long ago I was looking through my library and noticed a book I had read years ago. It was a compilation of the best writings of Catherine Marshall. I decided to reread some of them and God used one of the articles to teach me about “mercy” prayers.

Often we forget that God’s love is unlimited. When we notice weaknesses in the lives of the people we live or work with, we can become impatient. We wonder why they don’t apply the Biblical truths that would surely help them live more consistently. We pray for them (maybe), but seldom do we remember God’s mercy and grace.

After reading Catherine Marshall’s book, I began to pray “mercy” prayers. Just a simple prayer like,

Lord, have mercy on ______.

Many times we don’t even know how to pray, we just know something is not right. But God, who knows all things, knows exactly what the situation is. When we pray, “Lord have mercy,” He will intervene and answer our prayer in the best possible way.

For years I prayed for two little girls whose parents were not following Jesus. Many nights, I would pray, “Lord have mercy on those two little girls, they didn’t ask to be brought into the world.” One week, things began to change – God had mercy on them. Today, through amazing circumstances, the mother is following Jesus, they are living in a stable environment and the girls are lavished with love. God cares and loves more than we can possibly imagine.

I encourage you to begin to pray “mercy” prayers when you notice people’s weaknesses. It so much better than being judgmental or critical.

Lord Jesus, You are loving and Your mercy endures forever. Even though our own love is often so shallow, when we intercede for your mercy on the lives you bring across our path, You will answer. Thank You so much! Amen.

By Katherine Kehler
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Search me, O God, and know my heart; test my thoughts. Point out anything in me that makes you sad, and lead me along the path of everlasting life Psalm 139:23-24

Confession of sin is necessary for fellowship with God and revival among God’s people. The root meaning of the word “confess” is “to say the same as.” Confession, then, is agreeing with God about your sin.

If you click on the Related Article below, you will find a series of questions to help you think through areas of your life that need cleansing. As you read these questions and are convicted of sin, confess at once to God. Then you can claim His cleansing and forgiveness.
https://thoughts-about-god.com/reflecting_/personal-revival

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness 1 John 1:9

Be sure to name your sin to God. You could say, “Lord, I have not put You first in my plans” or “I have neglected Your Word and prayer” or “I was impatient with my spouse this morning.” Do not make the least excuse for sin of any kind in your life. Proverbs 28:13 says,

He (or she) who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”

You may wish to write down the specific sins that come to mind as you read the questions. Then when you are finished confessing, tear the paper into bits and throw it away as a reminder that God does indeed cleanse you from “all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9b). Embrace the promise of Psalm 102:12,

As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

Personal revival begins today – if you desire. Begin your personal revival today.

Father, You are holy and want us to live holy lives. As You know, Lord, we so often rationalize actions and attitudes. I ask, Father, that each person who reads this devotional will take the time to go through the questions and allow You to point out anything that displeases You, then confess it and allow You to fill them with the Holy Spirit. Amen.

by Katherine Kehler
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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 youIsaiah 43:1,2

Fear not. Those two words are found in the Bible sixty-two times.

Fear not, we are told — but what about when we get a phone call to tell us that our loved one has a terminal disease? Fear not — but what if your spouse loses his job? Fear not — but what about when you alone with no one to protect you?

What do you do when the waves of fear begin to engulf your entire being? How do you “Fear not?

First, talk to God. He will bring assurances and peace to your mind. Don’t call or text someone until after you have talked to the Almighty. Talk to Him about your fear. Ask Him what to do next. He knows what has happened, and talking to Him will calm you down and give you His perspective. Ask Him for strength, for wisdom, for peace, for His provision, and for direction. (Philippians 4: 19.) Then do the next thing — whatever He puts in your mind. Remember, take one day at a time, and trust Him each step of the way.

Here is a personal example. While I was driving home one dark, rainy evening, a car making a left hand turn at an intersection drove right into the front side of my car. This was my first car accident. When the car finally came to a stop, I said to the Lord, “What do I do now, Lord?” He sent a man to my car who asked if I was OK. He then phoned the police and my husband and daughter. I was surprised — I was not afraid.

God sent someone to take care of me. I was not afraid. The car was a write-off, but I was not hurt.

He will take care of you, too, no matter what happens, because He loves you. Read Isaiah 43:1,2 again.

Talk to God about your fears right now. He cares.

Father, You are an ever present help in trouble. You have created us and know our tendency to fear, but You ask us to turn to You because You want to help us. Thank You for Your love, mercy, peace, and strength. Amen.

By Katherine Kehler
Used by Permission

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thoughts by Katherine Kehler Thoughts by Women