With you all day

It is God’s wish for you that you enjoy life. John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” And we all know who the thief is; but, take a look at the second part of the scripture, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Another translation, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

Those words to me mean “the most of” something. He isn’t talking about “just getting by” or “a little bit” of a part; no, God wants us to have it all!

Start your day the right way – with God. Experience first hand what it is like to feel His presence with you all day. This morning, take time to read His word and pray to Him. Ask Him for guidance today and listen throughout the day for His direction. While reading these devotionals are a great way to connect with God, don’t let it be the only way you reach out to Him. Diligently seek Him in His Word. I suggest you take the scripture that I am writing about and read further. See how God relates it to you and your life.

Most importantly, know that God will fill your heart and enlighten you. You will understand His peace and joy. Seek Him and allow Him to be with you all day. Once you experience the empowerment of His presence in your life, you will want to have Him with you every day. Don’t leave home without Him.

 


Following His Directions

Awwww…the perfect life. No worries. No decisions. No grief. No pain. No sickness. Where do I sign up?

Psalm 18:30, “As for God, His way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; He shields all who take refuge in Him.”

Sometimes I read this scripture and that is what I ponder. By perfect, what does God mean? No struggles? No trials? If I just do exactly as God says to do every second of my life, do I get the perfect life? Well, if so, we’d have to remember Christ’s life, it was perfect, but definitely not free of suffering.

Because of the fall of man, we are faced with many issues and obstacles. Trials, struggling, pain, grief are all inevitable because of Adam and Eve. The secret is following God’s way in dealing with them all. He has all the answers – every last one. His directions will NEVER lead us astray. We may run into trouble; but He knows the way out. We may suffer for a period of time; but He knows the perfect remedy. We may fall down and get hurt; but He will pull us to our feet every time. If we let Him…

I know life is not about luxury. Life is about learning. Life is about building our character and giving us the integrity we need to fight the spiritual battles daily. God’s way is the perfect plan, if we will just obey it.

My dad was big on making us follow instructions, from how to mow the lawn to cleaning up the church, there was a certain way to do everything. As I entered my teenage years, it bothered me tremendously. I knew a better, faster, more efficient way to do it! Woe be unto me if I should alter his directions. Now that I am a grown man and a father myself, I am grateful to my dad. It wasn’t about doing it “his” way, it was about following directions.

God is the same way and He gave us an instructional manual and sent His Son to reiterate it. It is up to us to actually do what He says. Believe me, He isn’t looking for someone to tell Him a better way to do it either. His way is PERFECT…period.

If you are struggling, maybe you need to step back and look at how you are dealing with a particular issue in your life. Is it the way God would have you to deal with it?  If not, read the Word and find out “how to deal with it.” If you are handling it in a Godly way, then be assured, you will be “out-of-it” soon. He will never forsake His beloved children.


Faith as a wish

May your God, whom you serve so faithfully, rescue you.” -Daniel 6:16

Bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, full count, score is tied, and of course, it’s for the league championship. The anxiety in the small stadium of our hometown builds as the high school pitcher, adjusts his cap, glances over his shoulder to first base, winds to throw…

Life is like that. Sometimes we are faced with difficult odds. I’ve been that pitcher and so have you. The solution could go either way – we can win or we can lose. One throw. One chance.

Daniel’s life was at stake because he chose to worship God and not the king. Even though he knew by worshipping God he would be thrown into the lion’s den, he openly stood in his window, in full view of everyone, and praised his God. His sentence by the king, as he well knew, was the lion’s den.

When I struggle with faith, I often imagine Daniel walking to the pit, knowing the lions had not been fed for several days. Was he afraid or was he assured? I can imagine he remembered the times in his life God had shown up before. He knew the power of God’s miracles; and yet, his life was not without trials and struggles.

Daniel had been taken captive from his home as a young man and made into a eunoch by the Babylonians. His entire life had been twisted and uprooted, separated from his family and culture, and forced into slavery. I’m sure as he journeyed to Babylon, he diligently prayed for God to save him; to free him from bondage; to prevent bodily harm to him; but God didn’t – not in the way Daniel probably wished.

As he walked to the lion’s den, what was on his mind?

Sometimes in life we know the situation could go either way. Mistakenly, we use faith as a wish. Like a child, “Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight!”Faith is not about having life work out the way we want; faith is about believing God’s way is the best way and trusting in Him for the best solution.

May your God rescue you… Every step Daniel took toward that lion’s den, God was with him. Every time he lifted his foot, God placed it on the ground. As he fell freely into the den of lions, God surrounded him lovingly, assuring Daniel of His presence for Daniel was His son. As he faced the lions, God shut their mouths and Daniel was not harmed.

Faith is knowing no matter the outcome, God will always rescue you. It might not be in the manner you believed. Daniel probably hoped God wouldn’t allow the soldiers to drop him into the pit. Talk about the bottom of the ninth! But God did show up and He did rescue Daniel and He will rescue you, too.

Faith is really about the courage to step. It is about lifting your foot not knowing the direction of placement or where exactly you will be landing. Faith is about trusting in God that whatever happens, it will be for His purpose and your good.


Whatever God asks

Deborah was known as one of the wisest people of Israel. She called herself “a mother in Israel.” Deborah, a prophetess of God, held court under a palm tree to help the Israelites settle disputes. The Canaanites’ commander, Sisera, was a cruel man under the reign of Jabin, king of Canaan, and for 20+ years, the Israelites suffered because of him.

One day, Deborah called for Barak and says to him, “…The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: ‘Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them up to Mount Tabor. I will lead Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.’” - Judges 4:6-7.

Whether Barak believed her or not is unknown, but he insists that she come with him. Deborah went with Barak and ten thousand men to Kedesh. She realized that Barak was not following God’s words exactly and she stated, “But because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.”

The interesting part of this passage is Deborah’s willingness to do whatever God asked of her. Not only was she stepping outside the cultural norms being a judge for the Israelites, but she was willing to go into battle. The scriptures do not indicate that she argued about going. When God directed, Deborah followed.

Then Deborah said to Barak, ‘Go! This is the day the Lord has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the Lord gone ahead of you!'”

Every man in Sisera’s army was killed, and Sisera fled on foot! Later, Sisera was killed by a female named Jael while trying to hide in her tent. Talk about a victory!

Do you know that the words ‘the Lord has gone ahead of you’ are not just for Deborah and Barak? Do you realize those words are for you and me too? In every situation God’s children face, He has gone ahead of us to work out the details for our good. Sometimes we know God is leading us but we want that assurance, like Barak, to ask Deborah to come along. Oh that we could  have the faith of Deborah and simply obey!

Listen for the word of God and follow His command. Even when you face the cruelest of giants, God has gone ahead of you. Rely on Him today!


How’s your intimacy?

Always an eye-catching title, intimacy can mean a cozy, private atmosphere or a close friendship and familiarity with someone. Probably, the relationship between a husband and wife is considered the most “intimate.” Have you ever considered intimacy with God? For some, such a thought might be frightening or uncomfortable. But it is not to God.

Isaiah 54:5 says, “For your Maker is your husband – the Lord Almighty is His name.” Anyone who has read Song of Songs understands the deep adoration and all-consuming emotions depicted between a man and woman; but consider God using it to compare such to a deep, personal thirst for Him.

Song of Songs 2:3, the Beloved describes her lover, “Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my lover among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste.” She is declaring a choice, a uniqueness, a separateness from all others. He alone is the apple of her eye. He alone can shade her. His fruit is like none other.

1 Peter 2:9 tells us, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” We are His special possessions. His chosen people! How unique we are to Him. How much more should He be to us?

God is a jealous God. He wants all of your devotion, adoration, love, and appreciation. He wants to provide for and protect you. He wants to comfort, heal, guide, and adore you.

Have you ever read Charles Dickens’ book, A Tale of Two Cities? The plot is thick and entangled, but character Charles Darnay awaits execution. His friend, Sydney Carton, visits Darnay the night before the execution, drugs him, exchanges clothes, takes his place in prison, and ultimately dies for Darnay. Carton secretly loved Darnay’s wife Lucie. It is a sacrificial death; he would rather die in Darnay’s place than see Lucie suffer without her husband. “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest I go to than I have ever known.” 

To have someone die for your happiness; can you even imagine such devotion? Such love?

Actually, I can. We can. There is no greater love story than Christ’s death on the Cross. Does He not deserve our ultimate devotion? How can we not share an intimate relationship with God?

Talk to God. Rely on Him. Seek Him. Know, there is no love greater than His.


Is He like Santa Claus to you?

I remember as a boy receiving the Sears Roebuck catalog in the mail.  The thicker it was, the more excited we all became. The arrival of the catalog for me marked the starting of the Christmas season. I loved sitting on the sofa with pencil in hand and flipping through the pages. “I want this…oh! I want that… Wow! Look at this… look at that…” My sister and I used to fight over whose turn it was to gaze upon the many items and wish and dream of the possibilities.

Sometimes, our prayer life can be the same. It’s like we are giving God a check list of catalog items to make our lives better. “God, I need this. Its found on page 920 of the Sears Roebuck catalog.” Some of you may not even know what the Sears Roebuck catalog is! It was the “booster chair” of the 60’s when you visited grandma’s and couldn’t reach the table.

Prayer is not intended for a litany of desires. Prayer is intended to communicate with God; to get to know God better and learn His ways; and to change us inside to out. Most answers to prayer actually start with a change in us. Either God changes the way we see our situation or He changes our direction or He changes our circumstance.

Prayer is a means to praise and thank God for all that He is allowing us to use of His. The house you live in – His; the car you drive – His; the clothes you wear – His; the money in your pocket – His. It is all on loan to us. Shouldn’t we thank Him repeatedly for the use of it? Think about it, if you didn’t have a car to drive, and your neighbor said, “Drive my car,” not only would you be grateful, you’d probably take extremely good care of it, and thank your neighbor regularly for its use.

Prayer gives us redemption. We go to God to renew ourselves. We seek forgiveness for the mistakes we make. We ask for guidance and direction to prevent us from committing the same error again. Prayer keeps us “right” with God.

As you pray today, consider what you are asking of God. Is He like Santa Claus to you? Or are your prayers an instrument to allow God to change YOU so that God can change the circumstances around you. He is looking for willingness, faithfulness, and obedience. Will His eyes fall upon you?

 


How can I be what you need me to be?

Those of you who know me, know I love sports. I loved playing football and baseball, and I love watching any game the remote finds on our television. When I think about sports, I often think about marriage. My wife may not like the analogy; but, it is how I relate. Many people go through married life believing it is a 50-50 relationship. On the outside it sounds pretty good; however, when you dissect that 50%, it falls short.

Biblical love calls us to meet much more than 50% of our obligation in a marriage. It isn’t about you giving your 50 and your spouse giving his or her 50.

Have you ever heard a coach call out from the dugout, “Hey! Sanchez! Give me your 12% or I’m pulling you off the mound!” If you consider there are 9 members on the team, following the marriage model of 50-50, that’s what each player would contribute. 12%? I don’t think it would be a winning season, do you?

When we get into the “you do your part and I’ll do mine,” expectations are never met. You start thinking your 50% is tougher or you’re giving more than 50 and your spouse is giving less.

Biblical love asks, “How can I be what you need me to be?”

1 Corinthians 13:4-8, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

Now that sounds more like a team, doesn’t it? When such words as never and always are used, there is no other way except through 100% of self. Love is sacrificial; love is customer service at its very best; love begins with the question, “What can I do to make your life what you need it to be?”

Today, pray about your marriage. What percentage of yourself are you giving? It may be time to turn up the service meter inside you to 100%.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,755 other followers