Monthly Archives: November 2014

The structure of His plan and purpose

Psalm 16:7-10, “I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, 10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay.”

The other day I sat down at my computer, determined to write a Psalm, like David, to my Lord and Savior. It didn’t turn-out well. David had such an ability to use just the right imagery and say just the right words to speak wonderful praises to God and to fill our hearts with love for Him. My Psalm seemed quite shabby in comparison. There is such solace in his words to our Father.

This morning I am searching for a way to praise God as never before because my body is secure; I am confident He will not abandon me. Maybe it is my age, but I am realizing more and more the depth with which God loves us. He is not this Being who created us and left us to be. He is intertwined in our daily existence; more so than we could ever imagine.

I have a friend who designs buildings all over the world. He actually is the architect for commercial structures. Some of them are so amazingly breathtaking that I just want to stand before them and take it in. I asked him once if when he drives by them does he stop and get out and stare. Does he look at them and say, “Wow! I can’t believe I did that.” His response surprised me. He said, “You know Mike, God gives me images, visual pockets of how the buildings will fit into the structure of the city. When I drive by them I actually say aloud, ‘Wow God! That is a really good one!'”

Even in our occupations; our education; our health; our children; our friendship; our day-to-day tasks; God is there. We cannot be shaken because He’s got us with His strong right hand. No matter what our earthly life dishes out to us, the Creator knows how to fit us into the structure of His plan and purpose. Let your tongue rejoice and your heart be glad today because you rest in the arms of God.


Happy Thanksgiving

It is the night before Thanksgiving Day. My daughter is home from Medical School. My wife is home from visiting our newly arrived 2nd grandchild. Mom and Pops are scurrying around and preparations for tomorrow are in full swing.

There are times in life when I just stop and listen to the voices of those I love more than I could ever express. Reneé laughing with Connie in the kitchen. Mom excited about her new great-grandchild. Pops wondering how we are going to fix the turkey. And as I take it all in, I think of my Heavenly Father. How He must love to hear our voices.

Today, let Him hear your voice. Let Him know how grateful you are to Him. Thank Him for His provision, love, and companionship. Thank Him for those around you.

If you feel alone today, remember you are not. God is always ready and able to hold you close as long as you allow Him to do so.

I wish for you today a Happy Thanksgiving. A day filled with gratitude and love. A day realizing God’s amazing presence in our lives.


The “F” word

I’ll take that R rating on this post – let me clarify.

What do you Fear?

It comes in all shapes and sizes, and it impacts us in many different ways; but, the bottom line about Fear? It is the area in our lives that we do not trust God.

Maybe for you it is relationships. You’ve been hurt. Your heart is broken. You ‘ve lost someone you loved. Maybe its financial. Your business failed. You don’t have two nickels to rub together. You’ve lost your job. Maybe it’s health. The diagnosis wasn’t good. You’ve found a lump. Your heart is skipping beats. Whatever it is that grips you in the middle of the night; that causes worry and anguish, it is the very thing you do not trust God to handle. 

Paul writes to us of his fear in 2 Corinthians 1:8-9, “We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.” 

Maybe right now in your life, you feel that gripping fear. You do not expect to make it through the turmoil of your life. You are overwhelmed and discouraged; depressed and defeated; knocked down and disillusioned.

Paul continues, “10 And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us.”

Where have you placed your confidence today? Are you confident of your Fear or confident in the One who will continue to rescue you?

Take that F word and file it away where it belongs; just after Failure. When we rely on Fear, we will Find Failure.

Pull from you files the R words – rescue, redemption, resolution, recovery, release, reclamation.

Trust in the God who will Rescue you; place your confidence in Him.


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!