August 2, 2015

About coleen hayden

Coleen Hayden – Director of Women's Ministry - Prayer Ministry Leader - Blog Contributor
Coleen and her husband Robert have been married for 19 years and currently live in the Capital District area of New York State. They have one beautiful daughter, Kassia, who is married to Matt, and 4 delightful grandchildren Elijah, Kaylie Joy, Levi, and Rebekah. She enjoys sewing, cooking, and playing the piano.

Psalm 139

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You have searched me, Lord, and You know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
You perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
You are familiar with all my ways.
Psalms 139:1-3

Rebecca St. James, singer/songwriter
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You search me
You know me
You see my every move
There’s nothing I could ever do
To hide myself from You
You know my thoughts
My fears and hurts
My weaknesses and pride
You know what I am going through
And how I feel inside

But even though You know
You will always love me
Even though You know
You’ll never let me go
I don’t deserve Your love
But you give it freely
You will always love me
Even though You know

This Week…Psalms 9:9-10

SeekingHimLogo

The Lord also will be a stronghold for the oppressed.
A stronghold in times of trouble;
And those who know Your name will put their trust in You.
For You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.
Psalms 9:9-10

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This week, here on the Seeking Him devotional blog, we have been focused on the Truth that our wonderful God and Lord is our Stronghold and never forsakes those (us!) who seek Him.  Our devotional writers have shared these promises given in this week’s passage through the devotionals they have written.  Here are a few of their thoughts….

In Blessings Are Better, Ahmee shared a really good perspective….

Here’s a thought: instead of asking God to give you money, why not ask Him to show you how to biblically manage your money so that you are better equipped to avoid money shortage situations.  Here’s another thought: instead of asking God for a better job, why not ask Him to show you how to appreciate the one you have.  My pastor told us that miracles are nice, but blessings are better.  At first I didn’t get it, but he explained that miracles go against natural happenings.  You know…the impossible.  Blessings go with natural happenings, i.e., blessed with a promotion for your great work or money in savings because you managed it correctly.

So, are you asking God to do all the work? Or are you willing to do your part?
God loves to help.

In God’s Promises, Ann reminded us of the promises made to those who seek God….

Indeed, those who seek the Lord will never be forsaken; that is the promise of God to us.  He also said “Seek Ye first the kingdom of God and its righteousness and all these things shall be added unto You”…What is it to seek the Lord?  Seeking the Lord means seeking His presence…having access to Him.  The Bible repeatedly calls us to seek the Lord and to seek His presence continually.

Now set Your mind and heart to seek the Lord your God.
1 Chronicles 22:19

God has made these promises to those who seek Him:
• Deuteronomy 4:29  But if from there You seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you look for Him with all Your heart and with all your soul.
• 2 Chronicles 7:14   If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
• Proverbs 8:17   I love those who love Me and those who seek Me find Me….
• Luke 11:9   So I say unto you, Ask and it will be given to you, seek you shall find, knock and the door will be opened to you.

In Shelter In God, Tina encouraged us to remember that God is our Refuge and Shelter….

 Shelter 
1: a structure that covers or protects people or things
2: a place that provides food and protection for people or animals that need assistance
3: a place to live

Refuge  -
1: shelter or protection from danger or trouble
2: a place that provides shelter or protection

For those who have grown up in a normal household, you probably have a healthy reality of what a home should be—calm, peaceful, neat, well-groomed…both inside and out. At least I thought this was so.  Growing up for me was not this way…  I learned life was not always fair. But God always provided a way.

I had choices to make: I could either live thinking about what had been taken away from me…or I could give them to God and know He would be faithful to restore them back to me.  So I made those choices, everyday, to live (and still do).  I do not always succeed but I do my best.  God is my Shelter and my Refuge.  He is the one I am learning to run to for all things. Not to others, but to God first.

You Do Not Forsake Us

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The Lord also will be a stronghold for the oppressed.
A stronghold in times of trouble;
And those who know Your name will put their trust in You.
For You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.
Psalms 9:9-10

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Dear Lord, how blessed we are to be among those who know this Truth!  You have not…You will not…You cannot forsake Your seekers!  For You have promised!  You are so good  to us and we are so thankful.  May we not only hold to this promise but help us to encourage others to remember Your faithfulness and to put their trust in You.  We pray for those who are oppressed and in times of trouble…thank You for being their Stronghold (and ours, too!).  We love You and adore you!  And thank You in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Let Your Kingdom Come

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Your glorious cause, O God
Engages our hearts
May Jesus Christ be known
Wherever we are
We ask not for ourselves, but for Your renown
The Cross has saved us so we pray
Your Kingdom come

Let Your Kingdom come
Let Your Will be done
So that everyone might know Your Name
Let Your song be heard everywhere on earth
‘Til Your sovereign work on earth is done
Let Your Kingdom come

Give us Your strength, O God
And courage to speak
Perform Your wondrous deeds
Through those who are weak
Lord, use us as You want, whatever the test
By grace we’ll preach Your gospel
‘Til our dying breath

Sovereign Grace
Bob Kaughlin

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I just love when a song, such as this anthem, stirs my heart and provides me with lyrics to sing out the Scriptures!  (You, too?)

When Jesus was asked by one of His disciples to teach them how to pray, this is what He thought important to include in their prayers (and ours, too!):

And it came to pass, that, as He was praying in a certain place,
when He ceased, one of his disciples said unto Him,
Lord, teach us to pray…
And He said unto them, When ye pray, say,
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
Give us day by day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins;
for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
Luke 11:1ff

Such a simple prayer (thank You, Lord…You know we are really very simple beings!) yet full of deep, foundational truths.  As I sang along to this song, I thought about how Jesus was the One Who brought God’s Kingdom to the earth…and will be the One Who, when He returns as Lord of lords and King of Kings, will fully and completely—forEVER and EVER—establish God’s Kingdom here on earth…as it is now in Heaven.  Glory!  HalleluJAH!  Praise You, Jesus!  Thank You, Father!

The prophet Jeremiah spoke the prophecy of Jesus’ first coming to the earth:

“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch;
And He will reign as king and act wisely
And do justice and righteousness in the land.
In His days Judah will be saved,
And Israel will dwell securely;
And this is His name by which He will be called,
‘The Lord our righteousness’ ”
Jeremiah 20:5 and 6

Daniel also spoke prophetically of the Kingdom to come:

But the saints of the Most High shall receive the Kingdom,
and possess the Kingdom forever, even forever and ever.
Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven,
Shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High.
His Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.
Daniel 7:18, 27

When God sent Gabriel to Mary, the angel spoke these words about Jesus and His Kingdom:

“…He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High;
and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David;
and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever,
and His Kingdom will have no end.”

Luke 1:32 and 33

And much was told to John in the vision given to him (the Book of Revelation), including this passage among many, many others:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth;
for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.
And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,
made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying,
“Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men,
and He will dwell among them,
and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them…”
Revelations 21:1-3

These truths are such comfort and encouragement to us as we live in this dark, and increasingly darker, world.  But we must remember to pray…daily…as Jesus instructed.  And we must keep our hearts set toward God as we anticipate Jesus’ return and His everlasting Kingdom!

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Sovereign God,

Thy cause, not my own, engages my heart,
and I appeal to Thee with greatest freedom
to set up Thy Kingdom in every place
where Satan reigns;
Glorify Thyself and I shall rejoice,
for to bring honour to Thy name is my sole desire.
I adore thee that Thou art God,
and long that others should know it, feel it,
and rejoice in it.
O that all men might love and praise Thee,
that thou mightest have all glory
from the intelligent world!
Let sinners be brought to Thee for Thy dear name!
To the eye of reason everything respecting
the conversion of others is as dark as midnight,
But Thou canst accomplish great things;
the cause is Thine,
and it is to Thy glory that men should be saved.
Lord, use me as Thou wilt,
do with me what Thou wilt;
but, O, promote thy cause,
let Thy kingdom come,
let Thy blessed interest be advanced
in this world!
O do Thou bring in great numbers to Jesus!
let me see that glorious day,
and give me to grasp for multitudes of souls;
let me be willing to die to that end;
and while I live let me labour for Thee
to the utmost of my strength,
spending time profitably in this work,
both in health and in weakness.
It is Thy cause and Kingdom I long for,
not my own.
O, answer Thou my request!

a prayer from Valley Of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions – by Arthur G. Bennett

Hold On To The Promises

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Sometimes it’s hard to keep believing in what you can’t see
That everything happens for a reason even the worst life brings
If you’re reaching for an answer and you don’t know what to pray
Just open up the pages, let His Word be your strength

Hold on to the promises (hold tight)
Hold on to the promises (all right)
Jesus is alive, so hold tight
Hold on to the promises

And all things work for the good of those who love God
He holds back nothing that will heal you, not even His own Son
His love is everlasting, His faithfulness unending
Oh, if God is for us who can be against us
So, if you feel weak

Neither life nor death could separate us
From the eternal love of our God who saves us

Sanctus Real
Writers: Matt Hammitt, Chris Rohman, Mark Graalman, Pete Provost

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But the steadfast love of the Lord
is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him,
and His righteousness to children’s children,
to those who keep His covenant and remember to do His commandments.
Psalms 103:17 and 18

Such a beautiful promise!  Perhaps words like these ‘…to children’s children’  particularly impact women’s hearts.  Does this promise resonate in your heart like mine?  I have one daughter…and by marriage to her…one son!  And through their love for one another—four grandchildren!  So ‘children’s children’ yes, that catches my eye…and my heart.  I pray every day (just like you!) for the Lord’s love and His righteousness and His blessings to be upon my children and grandchildren.  That they would always be under His protection and receiving His provision is very important to me.  So as I read this promise, I pray, ‘Please, Lord!  By Your grace, Lord!’

But whether you have children or not, the promise of His steadfast love is from everlasting to everlasting <FOREVER!> to every one who has the fear of the Lord.  We play a part in these promises coming to pass, y’know.  Many, many, many of God’s promises have a stipulation attached.  God’s people have something to do to receive the promises that He makes to them.  It is kind of like when I promise my grandchildren, “Okay now, when the playroom is cleaned up we are going to the library.”  I have promised…but they have something to do, too.

According to these verses, the steadfast, everlasting love of our Lord is on those who fear Him (so that’s one thing we need to do).  And His righteousness carries over to our children’s children who remember to do His commandments (another thing we have the responsibility to do).

God’s heart to bless and care for His people’s lives is incredible!  He always wants to do good for those who love Him.  And He is faithful!

And we know that God causes all things to work together
for good to those who love God,
to those who are called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28

Do you remember the message that Moses gave to the Israelites after delivering God’s Ten Commandments  to them?   (Deuteronomy 5 and 6)

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.
Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home
and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 6:6-9

So we teach all the children in our lives about loving God with their whole heart, soul, mind, and all their strength.  We help them to grow in their understanding of how great our God is, and to have a worshipful fear of His AWEsomeness.  We impress upon them the right way to ‘walk’ with God, and to love everyone around them.  We teach them about Jesus and all that God has made available through Him and how they, too, can make Him Lord of their lives.  And we—they and we—will be blessed with the promises of God!

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Dear Lord, oh how much comfort it brings to our hearts to know of Your promises…not only to us but to our loved ones!  You are so very good to us!   We trust and have confidence knowing that You are faithful to do what You say You are going to do; please help us to remember we have our part to do also.  Our desire is to obey You, trust You, have godly fear…and love You.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Garlicky Green Beans and Pignoli

Who has memories of sitting with their gramma or favorite aunt and snapping green beans?  Such a simple, enjoyable way to accomplish a task that takes time AND have a great conversation.  Oh, and the end result? A big pile of fresh veggies just waiting to be prepared in the simplest of ways.  And truly it didn’t matter whether they were boiled or steamed or roasted (or microwaved…!), they were DELISH!!!  Just remember—only snap the stem end NOT the end with the little tail!  ;-)

The recipe I am sharing today uses a pile of green beans which have been steamed for just a few minutes. Click here  for a few ways to steam any veggies.  Meanwhile a simple sauce (yet VERY flavorful!) is prepared.  This sauce could also top any variety of fresh veggies…perhaps some broccoli or zucchini or carrots, even. And it all fits nicely within our healthy but oh-so-yummy POV, too! Enjoy!

2015-06-16 19.12.19

Garlicky Green Beans with Pignolis

ingredients:
1# fresh green beans, snapped and rinsed
2 tablespoons butter (or a combo of butter and olive oil)
2 (or more) tablespoons finely minced garlic (I used jarred)
2 ounces pignoli (pine nuts)
sea salt, freshly ground pepper (I used a lemon-pepper blend)
zest and juice of 1 small lemon (optional)

directions:

  • steam the prepped green beans in the manner of your choice
  • in a large skillet, melt the butter/olive oil over a medium-low heat
  • add the garlic and pignoli stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes making sure they do not burn; remove from heat
  • add the cooked, drained green beans and toss together along with a generous amount of salt & pepper (and the optional lemon, if using)

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God loves you!  ♥  (Don’t ever forget that!)

  coleen

You Are My Refuge

SeekingHimLogo

The Lord also will be a refuge and a high tower for the oppressed,
a refuge and a stronghold in times of trouble
(high cost, destitution, and desperation).
And they who know Your name
[who have experience and acquaintance with Your mercy]
will lean on and confidently put their trust in You,
for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek (inquire of) You
[on the authority of God’s Word and the right of their necessity].
Psalms 9:9-10

You, oh Lord, are my refuge
You are holy and just
You are faithful and righteous
You, oh Lord, are my refuge
By Your mercy, You cover me

Under the shadow of Your wings
Lord, in Your presence I’ll remain
You are forevermore the same
You are my Refuge, my only Refuge

You, oh Lord, are my Refuge
In You I find rest
You’re my God and my Fortress
You, oh Lord are my Refuge
By Your mercy, You cover me

Under the shadow
Under the shadow
Under the shadow of Your wings
Under the shadow
Under the shadow
Under the shadow
By Your mercy You cover me

Cheryl Keaggy, singer/songwriter

This Week…Psalm 31:19

SeekingHimLogo

How great is Your goodness,
Which You have stored up for those who fear You,
Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You,
Before the sons of men!
Psalm 31:19

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This week, here on the Seeking Him devotional blog, we  have been reminded of our God’s GREAT goodness!   Our devotional writers have shared the Truth given us in this week’s passage through the devotionals they have written.  Here are a few of their thoughts….

In Fear of the Lord, Tina gave us two examples: the Israelites who did NOT have the fear of the Lord as opposed to the first-century Church who DID live in the fear of the Lord….

“The first-century Church (shown to us in the Book of Acts) practiced the fear of the Lord.

So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria
had peace and was being built up.
And walking in the fear of the Lord
and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.
Acts 9:31

The early Church chose to focus on what was good in their lives and keep up their community by seeking daily to bless others and be God’s best.

We can walk in this way as well.  When we are coming into a state of turmoil, we can choose to walk in God’s goodness by following His Will in our lives.”

In God’s Goodness, Ann shared numerous Scriptures relating to the goodness of our God….

“Let me just show you a few verses in the Bible that show the goodness of God.

• Psalm 25:8  Good and upright is the Lord therefore He instructs sinners in His ways.
• Psalm 33:5   The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of His unfailing love.
• Psalm 34:8   Taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.
• Psalm 119:68   You are good and what You do is good, teach me your decrees.
• Psalm 145:7  They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness.
• Matthew 19:17  “Why do you ask Me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

The above Scriptures speak to us in many ways, showing us the ways of the goodness of the Lord.  It is by His grace and His lovingkindness to put in store all this goodness just for us.  The beneficiaries of His goodness are you and I—as long as we do His will and walk in His statutes.  God’s goodness is immeasurable. The grace of God takes us to that level where we are able to receive this goodness.”

And in Using Blessings to Share God, Ahmee encouraged us to be sure to point others to the goodness of our God….

Psalm 31:19 says “…blessing them before the watching world…”.  I like that!  God blesses us before the eyes of the watching world.  He is using us to draw attention to Himself so that others will be saved.  God reaches and searches and hunts down. Truly, I cannot see how any one person might be able to say that they did not know of the Almighty God.  In this world of evil He has done so much.  So, let the world watch!  Let them watch and let them see!  But don’t forget to point them upward.  Use your blessings as the opportunity to point someone to God.

You Are Such a Good God

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How abundant are the good things
that You have stored up for those who fear You,
that You bestow in the sight of all,
on those who take refuge in You.

Psalm 31:19

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Oh, Lord, we are so grateful for Your abundant goodness!  You have purposed and planned to take care of us—and we are so thankful.  You make it so easy to boast of our great God and to share with those around us of Your grace and goodness.  Today may we live our lives in such a way that we are not a hindrance and do not detract from the glory that belongs to You.  May our friends and family…our enemies even…be drawn to You as they cannot help but acknowledge Your blessings, Your goodness, Your benevolence as they see how graciously You care for us.  We love You…we praise You…we glorify You!  And we pray, thanking You for these things, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Psalm 100

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Enter in through the gates
Enter in here with praise
Come before Him, come bring your song
We are His people, He is our God

For the Lord is good, and His love endures
His love endures
For the Lord is good, and His love endures
His love endures
Forevermore His faithfulness, it has no end
For the Lord is good, and His love endures
His love endures

Enter in to His courts
Enter in with grateful hearts
Come before Him, come bring your song
We are His people, He is our God

Raise your voice, shout for joy all the earth
We sing a new song now
We sing a new song now

It’s Your love
His love endures
His love endures

Forevermore His faithfulness, it has no end
For the Lord is good, and His love endures
His love endures

 Chris Tomlin
written along with Jason Ingram

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As the last notes of this anthem play, my heart resounds the joyous statement of this song: His love endures!  (How about you?)

Are we not so very thankful that His love endures?  Without the enduring, faithful, steadfast, unconditional love of our God…where would we be?

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son,
that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

His love which endures forever has made a way for us to have ‘forever’—eternal life—with Him!

And y’know what?  It has absolutely nothing to do with anything we have done or ever could do!  We have trust and confidence in our God because He always brings His Word to pass!  He is the only One Who does not change.  And so, yes, His love endures forever!

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of lights
with Whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
James 1:17

God is not man, that He should lie,
or a son of man, that He should change his mind.
Has he said, and will He not do it?
Or has He spoken, and will He not fulfill it?
Numbers 23:19

For I the Lord do not change….
Malachi 3:6

  • Whenever you might be tempted to despair, consider this thought: His love endures forever.
  • When you want to give up, remind yourself: His love endures forever.
  • When you think you have had all you can possibly take…lift your head, and shout to the heavens: His love endures forever!

Say it to yourself.  Repeat it.  Sing it.  Memorize it.  Write it down on a sticky note and place it where you—and your loved ones!—will see it (on the bathroom mirror, on the dashboard of your vehicle, on the refrigerator, in a lunchbox): His love endures forever.  Encourage your husband: His loves endures forever.  Teach your children: His love endures forever.  Remind your sweet friends: His love endures forever.

  • No matter the troubles that come your way…His love endures forever.
  • No matter how you feel about those troubles…His love endures forever.
  • No matter whether we choose to believe it (or not)…His love endures forever.
  • No matter what…His love endures forever.

Believers throughout the centuries have sung these words; may we echo their praises.

“Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
His love endures forever.”

David, the Levites, and the Israelites  (1 Chronicles 16:34, 41)
Solomon, the musicians, and the singers  (2 Chronicles 5:13; 7:3; 20:21)
The Levites and the re-builders of the Temple  (Ezra 3:11)
David and the other psalmists (Psalm 100:5; 106:1; 107:1; 118:1, 6, 29; 136 <twenty-six times!>)
Jeremiah and the children of Israel  (Jeremiah 33:11)

May I encourage you to think back on the many, many, many ways you have experienced God’s enduring love and ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.’

And remember…no matter what:
He loves you today, tomorrow, and always.
His love endures forever!