“All of our Sons and Daughters”, from L.Willows (one another’s burdens, love one another, God Protects)


I sighed and curled up saying to myself, “Thank you God- my son is safe.” I measured the distance on a map from where he was to the active shooting that was being reported on the news. (This was not the first time that I had done this, I have two sons. There have been many events.) Meanwhile, the lives of others were not. My heart felt crushed in the center as if the core of it were being pressed by the suffering of many, not just there but far beyond.

The following evening on the world news I learned that there was accelerating violence in Hong Kong. The images were deeply disturbing. I imagined that these were my sons and daughters being harmed.  They do have parents who feel. There was a reader from Hong Kong that went silent many months ago.

When I thanked God for the safety of my own son, it was a natural and appropriate response. But looking back I see that the deeper pain at that moment was something that we are collectively feeling, a deep ache for the losses of many. There are wounds left and sadly, sadly -ones yet to come. It is not only here, but much has been here in recent months.

I cannot protect my son. I cannot protect all of the sons and daughters around the world that I wish I could put my arms around. I have no power. We have no such power of protection no matter how strong love is, and it does feel like it can motivate one to do anything at times.

The only real power that protects is God.

We need to care enough about the sons and daughter of one another around the world so that no one is forgotten.

The arms of our love need to be long.

When we love with out-stretched arms, we keep our view upon each other, most importantly upon God. We remember that we do share the burdens of one another lovingly.

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2

That means that your sons and daughters are in the grasp of my love and my sons are in the grasp of your love.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” – John 13:34

We trust in God. We Pray into His Strength.

So, wherever you are, take care of one another and fulfill God’s commandments. Live as brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers to all. We are One Family, belonging to Him. Know that He can and does protect us. Most importantly- look to God as our Protector. Pray unceasingly for all of our sons and daughters, your own family, for your community, your cities, your region, the leaders and the world. Our prayers are intimately heard. The Lord is merciful and NEAR to our hearts.

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.” – Psalm 28:7

© 2019 Linda Willows

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“Blessed by God- your heart, mine; His”, from L.Willows (near to God, in Christ)

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“Blessed by God, your heart, mine; His”, from L.Willows

I have heard people say that they feel “Blessed” or “Blessed by God” when I ask how they are. Usually, the person is joyful and feeling appreciative of something; they are grateful. This causes me to wonder what this really means for all of us, especially in trying times. It is possible to feel Blessed even when things do not always go quite ‘right’ according to what we may have been expecting or desiring. Do Blessings or the does the state of being Blessed by God have anything to do with our circumstances at all? What does being Blessed really mean?

Philippians 4:19
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Being Blessed is about God’s Heart not our hearts.

I thought about the many circumstances in my own life that I have prayed about in the past year (or years) both for family and friends. Some prayers were answered miraculously, some were ‘yet to be fulfilled’. I have felt so grateful. Many times I have wondered about the immensity of God’s mercy and his ability to answer prayer.

I also know of a number of people that had lived lives that are sacrificial, many that I had loved- who had been struck with fatal illnesses or great misfortune and suffering. How had the riches of Christ’s glory touched their lives and those of their families?

I am aware that God holds us all in his heart. His heart must be so vast, it is beyond my ability to imagine. I love verses like this one in Jeremiah that describe God’s greatness and his closeness. I need to find God, who is so unfathomable- very near and reachable!

Jeremiah 23:24-25
Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.

What are God’s Blessings? Who is “Blessed” in our world? How does God determine whose need he fills, how and when? 

What is the Biblical Definition of Blessed? (What does God mean?)

According to the Key-Word Bible, the meaning of Blessed is: Blessed: makarioi – “Greek word translated blessed in these passages is which means to be fully satisfied. It refers to those receiving God’s favor, regardless of the circumstances”.

That means that God’s favor or blessing is independent of circumstances. We need not feel that life circumstances have a relationship to the ‘status’ of Blessings. Or that affliction and suffering determine his favor or lack of favor.

God’s Blessing is anything that gives us satisfaction in him. He is longing for us to desire to be filled by his presence, to be satisfied by “only him” and “only things” that reflect his nature.

These are the things in life, yours and mine- that are true Blessings.  We are drawn into His Heart and His Life, lovingly. God desires to fill us with the blessings of knowing him and becoming closer to him. There are purpose and intent to each and every circumstance. He is “working all things for good”, for eternal good, meaning His eternal cause, He is The Eternal One.

The Blessing of God’s Heart calling us to himself.

When times are pressing we are challenged to ask ourselves what is really important in our lives. In essence, we review what we, ourselves favor. What are we choosing in our lives and why? In a way, God is asking us to look at things with new eyes, actually from a perspective that may be bolder and different than the past. We are asked to open the spiritual eyes of our heart and gain a new perspective.

Ephesians 1:18-19
Having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glory of the inheritance of his saints.

We might be called on to shift directions even temporarily. God wants our attention. Perhaps even our full personal favor and focus. The cup that we have been holding and asking to be filled from worldly sources may need to be turned wholly and fully turned towards God.

We learn that when we turn to him in weakness, he fills us up with his strength. He fills our cups up with his Blessings. We are drawn near to him. Our cups run over with his mercy and goodness.

Psalm 16.5
The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.

The Blessing of Drawing Near to God.

The truth about being “Truly Blessed” is obedience. We tend to shy away from the term in Western culture but I actually like it. The Biblical definition of obedience is – (shama`; hupakoe):. 1. Meaning of Terms: In its simpler Old Testament meaning the word signifies “to hear,” “to listen”. Realizing that it means listening to God is helpful because listening encourages me to draw closer. When I draw closer, I can feel and know his love for me.

Sometimes drawing near to God during a difficult time can be hard because we secretly blame him for the difficulties that we experience. This is not easy to admit. But facing this is helpful. Our God is so loving that he knows each part of our hearts very well. The Psalms have many examples of persons sharing their burdens with God in very raw ways.

Psalm 22:14
I am poured out like water, and all my bones are disjointed. My heart is like wax; it melts away within me.

Psalm 38:10
My heart pounds, my strength fails, and even the light of my eyes has faded.

There is nothing that is kept apart from God. When we harden our hearts with the smallest care that separates it we are the ones that lose. It is us that moves away, not God. We can speak to him as intimately as in the Psalms pouring our hearts out. He hears every word. The Love and Mercy of God are near, soft and willing to guide us back into every sweet blessing and promise of his heart.

We need not run away from God’s heart. If we realized how miraculous and vast it is, we would never depart. Truly, we are Blessed because we are his sons and daughter. All we need to do is remember who we are. We have already been freed when we were saved.

The Blessing of Listening to God, Sweet Leaning in.

We need to learn to choose what we ‘lean into’, what we listen to. Perhaps first we need to realize that our hearts and minds are always on an active listening mode whether we realize it or not and we need to take charge of that. We are like sponges that receive messages from the world around us all the time. By the end of each day, we have gathered more than we realize. We need emotional and mental cleansing! One way to circumvent that is to prepare for life with prayer and scriptural meditation. It is living with spiritual armor. We live in a world of noise. We can create a filter of intentional choosing.

Many resources from the Bible can be used for listening to God and drawing near. I love to start each day in the early morning with a “Prayer Walk”. Many begin with reading Scripture, prayer, and meditation. Some prefer the Psalms and returning at mid-day and in the evening.

King David, author of most of the book of Psalms, gave us a model for meeting with God,

Psalm 143:8
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.

We learn to listen and to become like children that lovingly, longingly lean in to our Father. We learn to hear his sweet voice. It becomes an intimate wondrous relationship, the most important one in our lives. This voice restores us and heals us. When we listen we find that God has been with us throughout the entire journey. His unfailing love has held us up all the while. He will show us the way.

The Blessing of Being Children of God

As Christians, we become born into the blessings of The Beloved. (Read: The Seven Blessing of Being in Christ) We call to his Promises as true in each hour, each day. No matter what trails are faced, we recognize that we are on a journey towards an eternal prize. That is the greatest Blessing. It benefits our hearts in this world with a peace that does not depend upon circumstances. Drawing near to God is drawing near to Love itself. What is temporal becomes small and what is eternal becomes great and wondrous.

John 1:1-2
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

Galatians 3:26
For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.

The Blessing of Being Born into Faith

Are you “Blessed”? Do you know that Jesus Christ is King and Saviour? That is joyful living. Anything that draws us closer to Jesus is a blessing. We can read scripture. We can enjoy Fellowship. Some do not have Bibles and they speak of what they know or remember. Some are in faraway places and long for community. We can pray for them.

Many long to know and feel his presence in their hearts. Pray that they do. Pray that their lives are Blessed by his Love. Many are vulnerable and need his protection, some feel alone even at this moment. They need to know his Blessing. Pray that they know the Blessing of his Protection. Let them be Blessed. May Jesus be near to all and Bless everyone.

Praying that each receives and knows what it is to Be Blessed!

God’s Glory is rich, abundant in life around us in ways that heart can see if they lean in close to him, listen to him and desire to love him first and foremost. When we desire the riches of God’s Kingdom first, they will be granted to us. Those riches are far different from those that we seek in this world, from these things. My heart is confident in God’s ability to fill every need and in his wondrous timing when I rest in his love.

When I call him my God and declare gratitude and praise that I am his own, fully and completely- that my heart, mind, and life belong to no other, then I am free to receive his full Blessings. I hold no other God before him, no false god no worldly good before him. He is One, and All.

Blessed in Christ, with Christ, for Christ.  

© 2019 Linda Willows

“All the Prayers I have Sung”, a poem from L.Willows

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Will you feel all the prayers that I have sung?
Here in the closeness, as stars brine in God’s One.
How I have held you, with your heart in such love,
given you over, to Love; Him, Above.

Do you know that I love you forever and more?
When the moon comes upon me I’ll soften the clouds.
Finding all goodness to hold you, to restore,
to keep you, dear heart; wrapping you to the core.

Do you know that I love you forever and more?
After days part, in soft dreams cover,
I sing the pictures that fly like sweet darts,
there they go lightly like birds to God’s heart.

Will you feel all the prayers that I’ve sung?
Here in such closeness, as the stars brine in God’s One.
Each minute, each hour that bids holy view-
calls Heaven, Love’s mercies. See, they open for you.

© 2019 Linda Willows

Psalm 66:19 “But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer.”

Psalm 139:2-4, “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. Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely.”

1 John 5:14 “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.”

“The Lord is My Rock and My Fortress”, Psalm 18

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Psalm 18
The Lord Is My Rock and My Fortress

I love you, O Lord, my strength.
2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.

4 The cords of death encompassed me;
the torrents of destruction assailed me;
5 the cords of Sheol entangled me;
the snares of death confronted me.

6 In my distress I called upon the Lord;
to my God I cried for help.
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears.

7 Then the earth reeled and rocked;
the foundations also of the mountains trembled
and quaked, because he was angry.
8 Smoke went up from his nostrils,
and devouring fire from his mouth;
glowing coals flamed forth from him.
9 He bowed the heavens and came down;
thick darkness was under his feet.
10 He rode on a cherub and flew;
he came swiftly on the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him,
thick clouds dark with water.
12 Out of the brightness before him
hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds.

13 The Lord also thundered in the heavens,
and the Most High uttered his voice,
hailstones and coals of fire.
14 And he sent out his arrows and scattered them;
he flashed forth lightnings and routed them.
15 Then the channels of the sea were seen,
and the foundations of the world were laid bare
at your rebuke, O Lord,
at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.

16 He sent from on high, he took me;
he drew me out of many waters.
17 He rescued me from my strong enemy
and from those who hated me,
for they were too mighty for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
but the Lord was my support.
19 He brought me out into a broad place;
he rescued me, because he delighted in me.

20 The Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness;
according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me.
21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord,
and have not wickedly departed from my God.
22 For all his rules were before me,
and his statutes I did not put away from me.
23 I was blameless before him,
and I kept myself from my guilt.
24 So the Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.

25 With the merciful you show yourself merciful;
with the blameless man you show yourself blameless;
26 with the purified you show yourself pure;
and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous.
27 For you save a humble people,
but the haughty eyes you bring down.
28 For it is you who light my lamp;
the Lord my God lightens my darkness.
29 For by you I can run against a troop,
and by my God I can leap over a wall.
30 This God—his way is perfect;
the word of the Lord proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.

31 For who is God, but the Lord?
And who is a rock, except our God?—
32 the God who equipped me with strength
and made my way blameless.
33 He made my feet like the feet of a deer
and set me secure on the heights.
34 He trains my hands for war,
so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You have given me the shield of your salvation,
and your right hand supported me,
and your gentleness made me great.
36 You gave a wide place for my steps under me,
and my feet did not slip.
37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them,
and did not turn back till they were consumed.
38 I thrust them through, so that they were not able to rise;
they fell under my feet.
39 For you equipped me with strength for the battle;
you made those who rise against me sink under me.
40 You made my enemies turn their backs to me,
and those who hated me I destroyed.
41 They cried for help, but there was none to save;
they cried to the Lord, but he did not answer them.
42 I beat them fine as dust before the wind;
I cast them out like the mire of the streets.

43 You delivered me from strife with the people;
you made me the head of the nations;
people whom I had not known served me.
44 As soon as they heard of me they obeyed me;
foreigners came cringing to me.
45 Foreigners lost heart
and came trembling out of their fortresses.

46 The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock,
and exalted be the God of my salvation—
47 the God who gave me vengeance
and subdued peoples under me,
48 who rescued me from my enemies;
yes, you exalted me above those who rose against me;
you delivered me from the man of violence.

49 For this I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations,
and sing to your name.
50 Great salvation he brings to his king,
and shows steadfast love to his anointed,
to David and his offspring forever.