STREAMS IN THE DESERT
3 6 6 D A I L Y
D E V O T I O N A L R E A D I N G S
By L. B. COWMAN
And as promised, this is the way to give the enemy a black-eye! Sharing the truth with just one woman will do so much damage to who is really saying these things, and it will soon make the enemy stop messing around with you! That's what happened to me. The more things that were said to me, the more I believed the TRUTH of what God said to me when I ASKED Him. And the more I believed, the more I would share the truth with others! And finally realizing this, the enemy finally stopped using my husband to spew out his filth. Try it.
Try this yourself and then share it with us when you tell us what you've learned. Then not only will you be helping yourself, you will be helping others by the word of your testimony! That's the only way we can help women overcome the wicked one, "by the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of YOUR testimony"! —Revelation 12:11
Who has "removed lover and friend far from" you Erin? (from hiding Psalm 88:18 in my heart). Who has “removed my acquaintances far from" you? Who has "made you an object of loathing to them" (referring to Psalm 88:8 that I also hid in my heart). And I would answer "YOU LORD!"
And then (this is the BEST part) He would bring me up higher—far above the earthly matters of the heart. He would say, "But remember 'I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness' (Jeremiah 31:3) and that's because "I am your Husband" Erin.
What I found was that there were rough waters ahead and that meant my life needed to become QUIET for a while so I could finish the course He set before me to travel. He warned me by giving this verse to me, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you”—Isaiah 43:2. Trust me there were MANY rough and terrifying waters, but I made it through everyone by staying close to the Lord and so will you!!
“And they besought Him that they might only touch the hem of his garment; and as many as touched were made perfectly whole”—Matthew 14:36
Don't trust ANYONE with your future. Don't run to someone, anyone, who is NOT able to calm the storm that is raging. Going to someone who has no idea what is just up ahead, something that the enemy is hoping to destroy you with!!
I hope and pray that you will take what you've learned and seek to find the “peace that passes all understanding" in the "midst of your storm." This is the mind-set, heart-set and spirit-set that you must automatically be able to find during each and every trial that you face. Only then will you find your way OUT of the desert and move through the river and into your Promised Land.
One reason we do NOT give advice or try to counsel you is because we know we are NOT God and are NOT enough. We also don't know the future, we don't know what's really going on, and therefore we don't know what the LORD knows who is trying to tell you BEFORE it comes upon you SUDDENLY in a crisis.
Find your Crisis Corner, establish a prayer closet to go to, share your crisis with your Husband, the Lord, and NO ONE ELSE. Remain there until you are at peace and can easily hear His still small voice. Make NO decisions if you are not totally sure you know what He is telling you to do. Don't ask anyones opinion either, or you will end up confused.
Our desire is to continue to encourage you to go to the Lord Jesus Christ for ALL your needs, not to rely on the arm of the flesh—ours or anyone else's.
“Thus says the LORD, ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the LORD. For he will be like a bush in the desert and will not see when prosperity comes, but will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, a land of salt without inhabitant.
“‘Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust is the LORD. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit”—Jeremiah 17:5–8
We encourage you to put ALL your TRUST in the Lord, cry out to Him ONLY, but more importantly, don't wait for a crisis. Spend time with the Lord regularly. Create a "prayer closet" at home and at your place of work where you can go and speak to the Lord throughout every day. Then, whenever a crisis hits, go there and listen to the Lord calming the storms in your heart.
My palms began to sweat and my heart was beating out of my chest! I turned down the street only to see my husband’s car parked in front of the house and when we went inside there was my husband, sitting inside our townhouse, patiently waiting for us to get home!
What had I seen then? I don’t know. I will never know. But my mother and I BOTH saw it, not just me! I believe that the Lord was teaching me never to believe everything “I think” I see. And especially never to believe something someone else says that they saw!!
Changed in an INSTANT!!
And even when you truly SEE something— God is able to change EVERYTHING in an INSTANT!! Simply cry out to Him who can calm the seas and keep you from drowning:
"And He said to them, 'Why are you timid, you men of little faith?' Then He arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and it became perfectly calm.'
"And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, O you of little faith, why did you doubt?'"—Matthew 8:26; 14:31
When things began to get “rough” along my two-year Restoration Journey,
the Lord admonished me to “grab hold of the hem of My Garment.” The way I sought to “grab the hem” was by becoming very close to Him, by staying in the Word, by spending much more quiet time with Him and by trying to hear Him more. I also pulled out of my church and any commitments I could. I knew that to finish my Restoration Journey I needed to keep myself quiet, so that I would not be surprised by “sudden fear.” “Do not be afraid of sudden fear, Nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes; for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught”—Proverbs 3:25-26.
If you have NOT gone to the LORD first, THEN STOP RIGHT NOW and get alone with Him. Cry out to Him and repent of Him NOT being first in your life. Make a commitment to Him NOT to talk to anyone BEFORE you talk to Him FIRST. Remember, Exodus 20:3 says, “You shall have no other gods before Me.”
A “Sudden Crisis” is from the Enemy
After you repent and are committed to going to the Lord FIRST, next you need to understand WHERE a sudden crisis comes from.
When, all of a “sudden” a crisis hits it's something the devil has stirred up in order to STEAL your PEACE. “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But RESIST him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. And after you have suffered for a little while the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you"—1 Peter 5:8-10
You can see that if you RESIST the enemy because you are firm in your faith—because you run to the LORD FIRST—then the enemy cannot run you off a cliff, again. How many times has he succeeded in destroying you again and again all because he was able to create a crisis that caused you to run to someone other than the Lord, and it all turned out horribly?!?!
It is your faith in God, not faith in yourself, not faith in your friend, not faith in your pastor,not faith in your husband or boyfriend, not faith in your circumstances—but FAITH IN GOD—that will prevent you from doing something that you will REGRET. Remember this verse the next time you run to do something to remedy the crisis the enemy stirs up, She "who makes haste with [her] feet errs”—Proverbs 19:2
When a crisis hits, now that you know WHERE the crisis is coming from: DON’T MOVE,
DON’T CALL or TALK TO ANYONE and NEVER MAKE ANY DECISIONS until
you are calm and there are NO EMOTIONS attached to the event.
And when I say pray, I mean simply talk to God just like you would talk to me or your friend and tell HIM everything. Then sit quietly and try to HEAR what He is saying. You can begin to ask Him a question, then EXPECT to HEAR from Him.
"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me"—John 10:27
"Your ears will hear a word behind you, 'This is the way, walk in it,' whenever you turn to the right or to the left"—Isaiah 30:21
"In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight"—Proverbs 3:6
"Acknowledging the Lord" means to realize He is right there with you to help you, to bring you peace, and to guide you to know what to do. The main thing is to do NOTHING at all if you are NOT absolutely sure it's the right thing to do! Acting too quickly will most certainly bring about MORE hurt and MORE damage than the initial crisis or attack. And so often you will find out that when you wait, the situation resolves itself!
Let me share an example of moving too quickly during a crisis:
When my boys were quite small, my mother and I discovered BIG, THICK, BLACK MARKER scribbled all over the front of a very expensive and deeply sentimental antique dresser (my parents bought on their honeymoon while driving from New York City to Hollywood in the 1930's).
When I saw it, I instantly ran down the stairs, praying along the way for the Lord to help me know what to do. When I got to my cleaning cabinet, I felt the Lord tell me to bring window cleaner; however, when I got up to my room with the window cleaner, my mother had already removed one of the circles with FINGER NAIL POLISH REMOVER! Yes, it worked to remove the marker, but it also left a HUGE white circle on the wood (a mark that is there to this day more than 25 years later). I sprayed the window cleaner on the remaining marker scribble and wiped it off—all of it off no trace of the incident! Though it's sad that this piece is forever damaged, I use it as a reminder of this principle. Every time I see this dresser, the Lord continues to remind me of the consequences of reacting in haste!
Your focus on your Restoration Journey has to be to learn to WEATHER the storms of your life as a true and mature believer. Proverbs 3:25 tells us: “Do not be afraid of sudden fear, nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes; for the LORD will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught.” God tells us in Psalm 55:22 to: “Cast your burden upon the LORD, and He will sustain you; He will NEVER allow the righteous to be shaken."
Going Ahead of You
I found that when I was faithful to stay close to the Lord that He always PREPARED me for what HE KNEW was about to happen. It happens even now more than two decades later. I am never shocked by anything that happens. I am surprised, yes, but immediately He will remind me of what He told me or showed me AHEAD of time. He doesn't say exactly what, but I know something is coming. Often it is like understanding that wind precedes a thunderstorm, so when the rain pours down SUDDENLY, I am ready with my spiritual umbrella opened.
Here is a testimony when I first began to realize that the Lord would prepare me for what was up ahead.
It was at the very near end of my trial with my marriage, one afternoon I found myself sitting on the floor of a dressing room at a major department store, very close to tears. It was nothing major that had happened, it was just that all day long I had had one “mini” trial after another! Things that were just unnerving—everything was going wrong! So I knew I needed to find a "prayer closet" and when I asked the Lord, He turned my gaze to a dressing room in the store. It was there that I found my PEACE again and as I prayed, the Lord “directed my paths” in a miraculous way, away from a CRISIS that was SUDDENLY about to hit.
When I felt overwhelmed, I sent most of my children out a particular door with my mother (saying I had one thing to try on) so I had only my oldest son by my side. Almost audibly, I heard the Lord say “turn right!” I instinctively took hold of my son’s shoulder and turned him right, down an aisle. What was just ahead was my husband and the OW, whom I had shielded the children from for months (they knew nothing about her)! If I hadn’t had this series of trials, which instinctively brought me to my prayer closet so I could “be still” before the Lord, I would not have been able to discern the Lord’s still, very small “voice.” The Lord had been faithful, once again, to shield my children from any knowledge or exposure to this person in the company of my husband (their father)! And at the exact moment I turned, I was able to signal my husband that my son was there who quickly RAN out an opposite exit! This, too, was miraculous and made the OW furious who had been begging to meet his children.
Remember, "Your ears will hear a word behind you, 'This is the way, walk in it,' whenever you turn to the right or to the left"—Isaiah 30:21 when you find your PEACE and go to HIM first.
Here is another example of how the Lord will use “mini” trials to prepare us for a greater crisis that the enemy wants to bring on SUDDENLY in order for you to run off a cliff.
One evening my children and I were coming back from a rural area just outside our city. The car began to sputter and slow down. Immediately, I told the children to pray and we all prayed out loud. It kept the car going, but only about as fast as we could walk. Then we began to sing “praise songs.” The car instantly picked up speed, but if we stopped singing, so would the car. For almost an HOUR we sang praises to the Lord non-stop that finally brought us home. The children were exhausted (because I made them sing loud, lol) and they headed straight up the stairs to get ready for bed— when SUDDENLY there was a knock at the door.
When I opened it, there stood the sheriff who asked if I was Erin Thiele. When I answered, “yes” he stretched out his hand with papers and said, “You are being sued for divorce... Please sign here.” My knees felt weak, but my spirit was full of strength and peace from singing praise music to guide us home. AND even more importantly, my children were NOT there to witness this frightening experience. The children always answered our door! Had He not been there to guide us with this pretrial, they would have gotten caught in the crossfire!
Had I stopped to call for help for our van, God would not have completed His perfect plan for what HE KNEW was up ahead. This is the main point—WHO but the LORD knows what's up ahead? That's why it is FOOLISH to speak to anyone else or listen to anyone else when the LORD knows what is about to happen! He knows what's going on (so don't listen to rumors that are usually, if not always, from the enemy to terrify you so you will do something stupid).
The Lord has also used illness more than once, especially the illness of my children, to cause me to “be still” or to “lie down by the still waters” after a major attack—in order to HEAL. This means, don’t thwart (prevent from accomplishing a purpose) times of crisis, but praise the Lord instead. If you remain faithful to Him, as His bride, He will be faithful to you and one way will be to teach you “His Ways.” Isaiah 55:8 says, "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways My ways," declares the Lord. LEARN His ways and you will walk through things unscathed!!
"Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you"—Luke 10:19
Have you found yourself in a sudden crisis?
Or do you just find yourself down, crying a lot and are just depressed?
We hope that this page will teach you how to be led by the "still waters" where the Lord can "restore your soul."
The first question is:
Who do you usually run to when a crisis hits? The phone, the internet, in order to get help or encouragement from a friend or family member?
Now if you're NOT going to remain quiet, and you are going to continue to spew things out of your mouth, then there is really no point in me explaining this principle to you. However, if you are guarding your tongue and being discreet in regard to what YOU say, then you would greatly benefit by the next principle I want to teach you. It is based on this verse:
"He will not fear evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD" —Psalm 112:7.
The version I memorized was from the KJV that says it this way,
"He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD."
The Lord gave this verse to me after I had been told over and over things that hurt and/or terrified me. My husband would call or come by only to ask to speak to me, and inevitably it would be something that would be aimed at destroying me.
No, it was not my husband (or when he was my ex) who wanted to destroy me. I hope you understand by now "who" is behind all of this, and how your husband is just a slave of the one he obeys.
"Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?"—Romans 6:16
This means it's not only foolish, but it's mean to fight with someone who is only doing the dirty work of someone he is being held captive by. True, he got himself caught in his sin "His own iniquities will capture the wicked, and he will be held with the cords of his own sin" —Proverbs 5:22. But who of us is "without sin that we should cast the first stone"? (Remember, Jesus said that about the woman caught in adultery.)
Let me put it another way: if you knew of someone who was held in chains by someone nasty and mean, who was only allowed to leave so he could go and deliver a cruel or perverse thing to you, would you really fight with the messenger? I would hope not. It's the person who sent the message who should be hit hard, and it's that person who is the true enemy... the devil himself. *At the end of this lesson I will show you how to give that wicked guy a black-eye.
Now that we've hopefully got that cleared up, let me begin to explain HOW and WHEN I used this verse.
First, you can't pull out your stack of 3x5 index cards and read it when you need this verse, or look it up on the Bible you have on your phone! You need it hidden in your heart. And even if you "think" you are no good at memorizing, by reading this verse (and others that you need) every day, and especially if you read it several times a day—then soon you will be amazed how it will be hidden deep in your heart—forever!
By seeking God for wisdom, He showed me that my husband had a habit of "asking to speak to me" which the Lord said to think of as a red flag beginning to wave in my heart. And it was THEN that the Lord said to begin repeating the verse He gave me over and over and over again in my head and heart!
"I shall not be afraid of evil tidings...my heart is fixed... trusting in the LORD."
"I shall not be afraid of evil tidings...my heart is fixed... trusting in the LORD."
"I shall not be afraid of evil tidings...my heart is fixed... trusting in the LORD."
"I shall not be afraid of evil tidings...my heart is fixed... trusting in the LORD."
What happens if you're distracted by one person when another person is trying to talk to you? That's right—you can't hear the other person! So while I was speaking this to the Lord, I honestly could NOT hear what my husband was really saying! I heard enough to know when to shake my head to let him know I heard what he was saying and was agreeable (so he didn't keep repeating it like he used to when I made no response at all). And I could hear well enough to answer if he asked me a question. But not ALL the words were able to penetrate my heart!
Why was I speaking the Word and not just telling myself something like "Don't listen, he doesn't mean it"? Because in Isaiah 55:11 God says,
"So will My Word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it."
And WHY did He send His Word?
"He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions"—Psalm 107:20.
Did it always work? Well, it was such an improvement I really thought it worked perfectly. However, I soon realized that sometimes what he said made it's way through that shield of faith I was holding up. However, this too turned out to be very profitable because like everything else, I took this problem to the Lord to ask Him what I should do. What He said in reply is so simple, but like everything that is simple, the simplicity eludes us.
The Lord said, "Ask me." What He meant, and what I began to do, was when my husband was being prompted to say cruel and mean things to me, the ones I heard (even though I was quoting Psalm 112:7 over and over again), later, I would take those things to the Lord. For instance, if he was unkind and said "I am never coming back!!" I would ask the Lord about it, and He would speak His Word that I had also hidden in my heart,
"The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps" —Proverbs 16:9.
When he would say "I have no feelings for you any more" I would ask the Lord, "Lord, he said that he doesn't have feelings for me any more, what do you say about that?" To which He would speak to my heart,
Like Proverbs 21:1 says, If "The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes" then am I not able to turn your husband's heart too?
He would go on to say,
One way the enemy can do a LOT of damage (which I hope you each are learning to do yourselves) is in the area of what you say. Prior to us reading all the reasons WHY we shouldn't say things but keep quiet, we did a lot of damage, right?
Yet even if you are learning and holding your tongue, you may be getting all kinds of things said to you, about you—even in your face with someone screaming vulgar things at you.
Don't Believe What You THINK You Saw
or What You Heard
Usually what you have been told or what you think you have “seen” is partly OR completely a lie! John 8:32 says “... and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Let me give you an amazing illustration: One evening during my Restoration Journey, I was driving home with my mother and my four little children in the back seat. SUDDENLY I SAW the OW’s car turning out of our street (which was one short dead-end) with my husband driving and the adulteress woman sitting right next to him! My mother looked at me in horror!!
This is my doing. (1 Kings 12:24)
The disappointments of life are simply the hidden appointments of love. C. A. Fox
My child, I have a message for you today. Let me whisper it in your ear so any storm clouds that may arise will shine with glory, and the rough places you may have to walk will be made smooth. It is only four words, but let them sink into your inner being, and use them as a pillow to rest your weary head. “This is my doing.”
Have you ever realized that whatever concerns you concerns Me too? “For whoever touches you touches the apple of [my] eye” (Zech. 2:8). “You are precious and honored in my sight” (Isaiah 43:4). Therefore it is my special delight to teach you.
I want you to learn when temptations attack you, and the enemy comes in “like a pent-up flood” (Isaiah 59:19), that “this is my doing” and that your weakness needs My strength, and your safety lies in letting Me fight for you.
Are you in difficult circumstances, surrounded by people who do not understand you, never ask your opinion, and always push you aside? “This is my doing.” I am the God of circumstances. You did not come to this place by accident—you are exactly where I meant for you to be.
Have you not asked Me to make you humble? Then see that I have placed you in the perfect school where this lesson is taught. Your circumstances and the people around you are only being used to accomplish My will.
Are you having problems with money, finding it hard to make ends meet? “This is my doing,” for I am the One who keeps your finances, and I want you to learn to depend upon Me. My supply is limitless and I “will meet all your needs” (Phil. 4:19). I want you to prove My promises so no one may say, “You did not trust in the Lord your God” (Deut. 1:32).
Are you experiencing a time of sorrow? “This is my doing.” I am “a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering” (Isa. 53:3). I have allowed your earthly comforters to fail you, so that by turning to Me you may receive “eternal encouragement and good hope” (2 Thess. 2:16). Have you longed to do some great work for Me but instead have been set aside on a bed of sickness and pain? “This is my doing.” You were so busy I could not get your attention, and I wanted to teach you some of My deepest truths. “They also serve who only stand and wait.” In fact, some of My greatest workers are those physically unable to serve, but who have learned to wield the powerful weapon of prayer.
Today I place a cup of holy oil in your hands. Use it freely, My child. Anoint with it every new circumstance, every word that hurts you, every interruption that makes you impatient, and every weakness you have. The pain will leave as you learn to see Me in all things.
Laura A. Barter Snow
“This is from Me,” the Savior said,
As bending low He kissed my brow,
“For One who loves you thus has led.
Just rest in Me, be patient now,
Your Father knows you have need of this,
Though, why perhaps you cannot see—
Grieve not for things you’ve seemed to miss.
The thing I send is best for thee."
Then, looking through my tears, I plead,
“Dear Lord, forgive, I did not know,
It will not be hard since You do tread,
Each path before me here below.”
And for my good this thing must be,
His grace sufficient for each test.
So still I’ll sing, “Whatever be
God’s way for me is always best."
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