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Scripture of the Week by JoBeth Kested

Scripture for the week of November 4, 2018

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord… Jeremiah 29:11-14a (NKJV)

Have you ever felt like you messed up so bad that you are beyond forgiveness and undeserving of God’s love? Do your prayers seem to bounce off the ceiling and God’s presence feels impossible to find? Sometimes it can feel like God is playing Hide and Seek with us and is nowhere to be found. But, these verses assure us that God really does hear our prayers when we cry out to Him and that He longs to reveal Himself to us. Though it may be hard for us to fathom in the midst of our messed up situations, the truth is, our loving Father God harbors no thoughts of evil against us. These words express His longing to reveal His plans of extravagant goodness to us with a future full of hope. Be encouraged in this promise today that you will find the Lord when you pray and seek Him with all your heart.

By JoBeth Kested

Blooming In The Hard Place by JoBeth Kested

I wrote this a few years ago when we were in a very uncertain transition. We are entering another transition season and this blessed me today; so, I thought it may be an encouragement to some others, too.

Blooming In The Hard Place
By JoBeth Kested

This is a picture of my first pansies to bloom this spring. I was so surprised to see them blooming in the minuscule cracks of a hard place instead of the soft prepared soil of my garden. I felt like the Lord was speaking to me through these pansies when I first noticed them this week.

Have you ever felt like you are between a rock and a hard place? We’re facing some hard changes in our circumstances and the very real possibility of some hard decisions ahead. Lately, I often feel rather delicate, small and fragile just like these little pansies. I was so intrigued to see them bloom and thrive in the crevice of some old cement. They are obviously so much stronger than they look and by the grace of God, so am I! It seems like such a great illustration of the hope we have in the Lord’s promises of His provision, protection, and blessings for us no matter how hard our current situation seems to be.

These blooming little fragile pansies may be a small thing, but it encourages me to know that if God can provide for some delicate pansies to thrive and display such beauty in a difficult place, how much more is His desire to take good care of us? In Philippians 4:19 we have the promise that “My God will supply all your need according to His riches in Glory in Jesus”.

Lord, help us to trust You for the protection and Your miraculous provision for us in the hard places we often find ourselves in. Thank You for the promises in Your Word that are light unto out path and a life preserver to cling to. Thank You for Your peace that passes understanding, Your strength in our weakness and for the hope of Your sufficient amazing grace for each day. And thank You for helping us to bloom in the hard places to display your glory. In Jesus name. Amen.

Encouraging Scriptures

“…For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and future…” Jeremiah 29:11

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

The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. 2 Chronicles 16:9

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isaiah 41:1

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Psalm 27:13

The Lord will perfect that which concerns me. Psalms 138:8

He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Isaiah 40:29

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. I Corinthians 2:9-10

He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness. Psalm 107:9

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

© JoBeth Kested 2014

Scripture of the Week by JoBeth Kested

Scripture for the week of January 28, 2018

The Lord will always lead you. He will meet the needs of your soul in the dry times and give strength to your body. You will be like a garden that has enough water, like a well of water that never dries up. Isaiah 58:11 (NLV)

Have you ever seen the dazzling display of a dessert in glorious bloom after drenching thunderstorms or basked in the beauty of a luscious garden after a summer rain? Sometimes we find ourselves lost in a dry desolate place; overwhelmed by demands and fears with no idea of the way back to the restoring waters of hope. Be encouraged by the promise of this scripture that the Lord is always with us to mercifully show us the way even when we find ourselves lost and desperate through foolish choices or by no faults of our own. The refreshing river of God’s love is able to fill all the parched longings of our souls (mind, will and emotions). So, call upon the Lord to refresh and restore you today with His living water that never ends; like a well watered garden blooming in the beauty of His mercy, goodness, peace and joy. Oh, hallelujah!

 

By JoBeth Kested

Scripture of the Week by JoBeth Kested

Scripture for the week of October 15, 2017

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)

Have you ever wondered how to find peace in the midst of difficult and overwhelming situations? Peace is something money cannot buy, but I am sure there are times we would gladly pay for it if we could. Though not always easy, these two verses show us in a few simple steps God’s pathway to finding His peace. 1) Don’t waste your time worrying. 2) Talk to God about everything. 3) He wants us to bring Him all our needs. 4) Be sure to thank Him for all He does for you. Then, we are promised God’s wonderful peace that passes all our understanding! Peace protects our hearts and minds beyond our imaginations to live the life that is ours in Jesus. Prayer is just simply talking to God and it is the entry way to walking in His path of peace for you today and always. Praise God!

By JoBeth Kested

Scripture of the Week by JoBeth Kested

Scripture for the week of September 10, 2017

Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the LORD will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. Isaiah 60:1-2 NKJV

Is there anything more beautiful than the dawning rays of sunlight breaking into a new day over majestic mountains, upon rolling ocean waves or watching from the serenity of your own back porch? But, what does the glory of the Lord rising upon us mean? The glory of the Lord in this scripture seems to mean the promise of His loving presence that drives away loneliness, the comfort of His peace that passes understanding, blessings of mercy that triumph over judgement, and the goodness of His enabling grace bestowed upon us. There are times we all need the restoring hope of light to drive out the darkness of fearful times and the unexpected circumstances afflicting our souls. What an encouraging gift we have in the promise of these scriptures that even in the darkest times our loving God promises the arising light upon us with His glorious presence, comfort and sufficient grace for each day. Thank You, Lord!
By JoBeth Kested

Invitation to a Divine Quest by JoBeth Kested

Recently, I find that I am in a place of desperate longing for more of the Lord and It seems that none of the dependable, comfortable ways I have previously known how to relate to the Lord are working. It is like the former things I have known and the well worn paths I have previously walked to get me where I want to be in the Lord’s presence are not there anymore. It would seem my former operations program for knowing God is obsolete; and I can’t find the download instructions for a new one!

 

I happen to like some classic movies, especially those with redemptive messages. I have found myself thinking the words of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, “Toto, I don’t think we are in Kansas anymore!” As I have felt that the long, icy, frozen season of darkness around us is beginning to thaw by the blowing winds of the Holy Spirit bringing a new season of hope for abundant life; I am hearing, “Aslan is on the move!” And then, when I am feeling so small amongst other giants of the faith, a bit of a quirky misfit and preferring a simple and peaceful life in the face of great battles that I know God is calling to be fought; I am reminded of the words of Galladrial to Frodo in The Lord of the Rings, “Even the smallest person can change the future.” Also, the wise words of Gandalf, “All we have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given to us.” And then, one of my all-time favorites, with so, so many spiritual and allegorical applications from the Star Wars movies, “May the Force be with you!”

 

So, a determination has settled deep within my soul, for a compelling quest toward finding and knowing God greater than ever before. Oh, I know, that I know, that God is there and I am not doubting His love, my salvation or my calling. But, it has finally dawned on me that He has invited me to a game of hide and seek with Him (Isaiah 45:15), without giving me notice or any new instructionsI! The more I have pondered this, the more I am sensing that God is calling many of us to go deeper into Him and His word for greater wisdom, more understanding and to learn more about His character and His ways than we may have ever thought we needed before.

 

The Holy Spirit has begun flooding my mind with favorite scriptures; like beacons of light in the darkness. Some old familiar words, filled with new hope and with promises of more of God to find and to know. The hope that if we trust the Lord with all our heart and lean not unto our own understanding, in all our ways acknowledging Him, that He will direct our steps to find new and hidden paths into His presence. (Proverbs 3:4-6) Renewed anticipation, that if we ask, we will be given, if we seek, we will find, and when we knock  the doors will be opened to new insights, revelations and directions for our calling and destiny in relationship with the Lord. (Matthew 7:7) Now, I hear an invitation by the Holy Spirit, calling us to wait upon the Lord, that we will renew our strength, begin to walk and not faint, and that we will run and no longer be weary. And then, with the joyous promise, that we will mount up with wings as eagles! (Isaiah 40:31) Like a caterpillar breaking free from the long confining, hidden and transforming process in the cocoon, to fly off into a fulfilling purpose and destiny of discovery and beauty!

 

Father God, help us to more deeply trust You with ALL our hearts and lean not unto our own understanding, that we might find the path into a greater relationship with You. Holy Spirit, help us to to keep seeking, knocking and asking with assuring faith that we will find new doors opened for us. Jesus, come meet with us in the waiting place, renewing our strength to walk, run and then soar on eagles wings up into new heights with the ability to see what You are wanting us to see and to go with You where You are calling us to go. In Jesus Name, amen.

 

* * * * * * *

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD,” Jeremiah 29:11-14a NIV

 

“Now to Him Who, by the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]. To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen (so be it).” Ephesians 3:20-21 AMPC

 

By JoBeth Kested

© JoBeth Kested 2017

A SIMPLE PRAYER By JoBeth Kested

 

I don’t often write down prayers. But the Lord has given me a simple prayer that expresses the cry of my heart and I felt the Lord would have me share, as it may help you express the cry of your heart, too.

Oh Father God, I enter your gates with thanksgiving in my heart and your courts with praise. Jesus, fill my heart with your overflowing love that covers a multitude of sins and casts out all fear. Fill the empty, lonely and longing places of my soul with your peace that passes understanding. Grant me Your sufficient, enabling, abundant grace to walk in humility with mercy in the anointing and resurrection power of the Holy Spirit, for Your glory. Thank you Jesus, for Your blood that protects me from all harm; and for the assistance of ministering warring angels to guard, protect, lead and guide me today. I declare Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, in me, in Your church, in America, in Israel – with peace in Jerusalem and upon all the earth as it is already done in heaven. In Jesus Name, amen.

 

 

 “‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’”Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV

 “He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.” Psalm 107:9

 “Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” John 16:23-24

 “The Lord will perfect that which concerns me.” Psalms 138:8

  “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

 “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9

 “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

 

 © JoBeth Kested 2017

Scripture of the Week by JoBeth Kested

Scripture for the week of October 16, 2016

JoBeth-07“You are My witnesses,” says the Lord, “and My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me. Isaiah 43:10 NKJV

Have you ever considered that there is a big difference between “believing in God” verses “believing God”? Believing in God allows us to believe what we want to believe about God as we attempt to fit Him into the box of our own preferences and understanding. Believing God means we have chosen to acknowledge the absolute sovereignty of the Bible, believing God is Who He says He is and also believing that He will do what He says He will do. God declares in this verse that He has chosen us even before we choose Him! He invites us to “know” Him in an intimate personal relationship that opens the eyes of our understanding with the ability to BELIEVE that He Is The One and Only True GOD that always was, always is and always will be! Let your light so shine that others also see and believe. Praise the Lord!

 

By JoBeth Kested

Scripture of the Week by JoBeth Kested

Scripture of the week for July 24, 2016

JoBeth107For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:11-12 (NIV)

Have you ever heard someone say, “I love you to the moon and back” in trying to express the greatness of their love? God declares the magnitude of His love for as there is no end to the height of the heavens above the earth. You may ask what does it mean to fear the Lord? Simply, it means great reverence and awe for the Almighty-Creator-Ruler God of the universe and to acknowledge He is Lord over us individually as well. When we choose to fear the Lord, His loving kindness removes the consequences of our failure to meet His standards of holiness and perfection as far from us as the east is from the west! How wonderful that is to understand that east and west never ever meet! May we choose the fear of the Lord and experience God’s extravagant love for us that is over the rainbow, beyond the moon and to the height of the heavens!

By JoBeth Kested

Scripture of the Week by JoBeth Kested

Scripture for the week of June 26, 2016

JoBeth103Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you; therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. Isaiah 30:18 RSV

Have you ever felt the surprising sting of injustice from a friend or someone you trusted? You may have longed for exoneration with no idea of where to turn for help. The picture we need to grasp in this verse is that the Lord is practically sitting on the edge of the seat of His throne just longing for the opportunity to extend His unmerited favor in grace toward us! Then He stands up in the fullness of His power to bestow His mercy and extends His righteous judgement with justice on our behalf. As we persevere to wait upon the Lord, we can have hope in His abundant blessings that will comfort, heal and restore us in the goodness of His unfailing love that covers and heals all transgressions (Proverbs 10:12). Oh, give thanks unto the Lord for His extravagant mercy, justice and grace!
By JoBeth Kested