Monthly Archives: June 2017

When We Need It

Security is an important element in our lives. We want to know that we are secure in our relationships with family and friends. We like to have a comfortable nest egg incase we have a financial emergency or are approaching retirement. Being assured our health is good is especially important to us. At night, we lock our doors and windows so that we feel safe while we are sleeping. What we don’t spend enough time contemplating is our eternal security. Psalm 91:1, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, will rest in the shadow of the Almighty;”

Several weeks ago, I was at an outdoor event in 90 degree weather. The heat on my skin burned and I started to look for a tree with shade. Around the corner of the building, I noticed a weeping willow tree and walked over to it to stand in its umbrella like shade. Under the tree, I felt 10 degrees cooler. It made me think of this verse from Psalm 91 and how God’s shadow hovers over us, protecting us.

In the real world, we know earthly trials will come our way. We are exposed to the elements – good and bad – because of the fall of man. There are times when God doesn’t rescue us from those dangers; but when we place our trust in Him and dwell in His shelter, we can be assured that whatever we face, God will turn it for our good and His glory.  Jeremiah 29:11-13, “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. To give you a future and a hope.”

As a believer, when we place our trust in God to keep our soul safe, He will not let us down, whatever our circumstances. Eternal security is given to us because of God’s tremendous love for us. Today, talk with God about your plans. Make sure they are in line with His will. Examine what you are doing to secure eternity. Ask Him to help you dwell in His shelter so that you can be secure in His shadow. You were created with a huge purpose in mind. Allow God to use you. When we stand in His shade, we are defended by the God who will give us everything we need, exactly when we need it.


His Wonderful Light

Psalm 37:7, “Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.”

1 Peter 2:9, “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.”

Romans 8: 16-17, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”

Be still in His presence for you are a special possession of God’s. Make your mind like a still pool of water, waiting to hear from Him. Allow Him to interject His thoughts into yours. A crowded mind is too full to hear from our Father.

As you face today, know that God has already seen every detail of your day; He knows the struggles you will face; He knows the pressure you will be under; He knows the heart aches, the challenges, the obstacles, and even the joys. Because you are chosen to be His, He will take care of it – if you allow Him to do so. You are His heir – a co-heir with Christ.

Do not wear yourself down with worry, regret, fear, and anxiety. Can you cope under the pressure of the day? NO! Not by yourself. That’s why you desperately need God. With Him, not only can you cope under the pressure of the day, you will overcome the pressures of the day. See, God is on the winning team. If you are on God’s team, you are a winner.

Communicate with Him. Give Him control of your day. Remember, God isn’t in a hurry. He has always been here, and He will always be here. He is outside of time. Sometimes I think the more I push Him for an answer, the longer it takes to get one. He wants me to wait on Him and be still so that I hear what He needs me to do. When we get in a hurry; when we are overwhelmed with worry; we cannot hear God’s answers for us.

Take the time today to be still; to be available; to know you are His special possession and He has called you into His wonderful light.

 


Every Word

There are two scriptures I want to focus on today and they are very close to one another in scriptures. The reading comes from Matthew 3:17. Jesus has gone to John the Baptist and has asked him to baptize Him in the River Jordan. As soon as Jesus is baptized, the skies open up and the Spirit of God descends from heaven “like a dove” and lights on Jesus. Verse 17 says, “And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.'”

In the very next chapter of Matthew, Jesus is led by the Spirit into the desert for the purpose of being tempted by the devil. It doesn’t say, “He went into the desert to fast and pray and potentially be tempted; possibly be visited by the devil; or to be on the look-out for Satan; no, the Spirit, which just landed upon Him from Heaven and declared, “This is my SON…,” led Jesus into the desert to be tempted by the devil. Verse 3, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Don’t you want to just stop right there and say, “What an idiot!” The Heaven’s just opened up and the Word of God declared, “This is my Son!” And the very first words of Satan to Jesus, “If you are the Son of God…” Talk about overlooking the obvious!

And yet, Satan uses the same lines day after day with you and me. How many of you are buying what he is saying?

Has God really given you power over me? Did God really say you would be healed? Does He really have your best interest in mind here? Are His plans really to prosper you? Will He really turn this situation for good? Do you really think He is in control of your life?

Blah, lah, lah, lah, lah…and yet we continue to fall for it.

It’s time for some of us to tell Satan to take a hike. Matthew 4:4 gives Jesus’ answer to Satan’s idiotic question, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”

I want to take my fist and shake it in the air and declare, “Satan, if God says it, I believe it. Take your doubt, your temptation, your chaos, and …”

The reality is, if Satan can use such on Jesus, how much more is he going to use on us. God sent Jesus there for a reason, to allow us to see how utterly ridiculous Satan’s arguments can be. God had just opened up the skies and announced, “Jesus is my Son! I love Him!” Can you get any clearer than that; and yet, Satan has the audacity to still question it? It’s pretty obvious in this example; but, know it is pretty obvious in your case and my case too. God’s Word is alive and well and true. If He says it, don’t let anything tell you differently.

The next time you hear that whisper in your mind, “Did God really say He’d take care of you? Are you really His child?” Answer with a resounding “Yes!” and go about doing the business God has for you.

I pray for clarity and wisdom for you today as you deal with others and with yourself. Know God has all the answers for you, He just needs you to ask Him.


In the Middle of Sin

1 Samuel 15:10-11,”Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel: 11 ‘I regret that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.’” Samuel was angry, and he cried out to the Lord all that night.”

Regret is painful. I do not know anyone who does not have regrets in some form or another. “If I had just taken a different path…if I had not spoken those words…if I had studied harder…if I had not gone that day.” Regret for humans is a belief that if we had not done something, the outcome would be different. Regret for God is not the same.

In this scripture it appears the all-knowing, supreme being of God made an error or a bad decision. We all know that God knows the beginning and the end. He holds our future in His hands. Nothing surprises God; but by our definition of regret, this scripture might make us wonder.

God’s decisions are made perfectly and righteously; however, it doesn’t say He enjoys seeing the trials and struggles we have because of those decisions. It was probably disheartening for God, to see the actions of Saul; even though He knew those actions before Saul ever made them.

Remember, when Jesus faced Pilot, He had no doubts as to what would happen. He knew the pain He would endure. He knew the anguish; but, He went through it anyway because of His deep love for us.

God, knowing how Saul would turn-out, chose him to be king anyway. 1 Samuel 15:29, “He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind.”

God, the Glory of Israel, does not change his mind – He isn’t like us in that regard. What is difficult for Him is seeing the result of the decisions that He made; because of His great love for us, it is hard to watch us mess up. It’s hard to view our choices.

There’s also more to glean from this scripture. When we are disobedient to God, as Saul was, we hurt Him. Many times we don’t think about that. We are caught in the middle of sin and are either trying to hide it from God (impossible) or repenting of it. Either way, we are so self-absorb in our doings, we fail to realize what we are doing to our Savior.

Today, take some time to thank Him for the love He has for you. Apologize for hurting Him with your sin. Rejoice in knowing the depth of love God has for you. Spread that love to those you encounter today.


He has already told us!

Have you ever started to pray and your mind just wandered off to your problems? Even before you say, “Good morning, Lord,” you are engaged in all that is wrong; what you have done; what has been done to you; what is the answer; how can you ever get out of this mess; and on and on and on. Do you ever wonder if God wants to interrupt us and say, “Praise Me! Glorify My Name! Talk to me. Fellowship with me and not your problems.”

Really, He has already told us He is with us. “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” – Matthew 28:20.

He has already told us He is for us. “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” – Romans 8:38.

He has already told us He is our protector. “Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead-end— Because I am God, your personal God…” –Isaiah 43:1-4

What more do we need? What more assurance could He give us?

I don’t know about you, but I want to fellowship with God. I want to walk by faith, even when I can’t see what is ahead of me. Even when life has stung me and bruised me, I want to see my Father’s face. And though the world may toss me about, I want to know that there is NO dead-end with God.

Today as you go to God in prayer, fellowship with Him, not your problems. He knows what you need before you even ask. By faith, spend time today simply praising His Name – the Name above all names.


Our Faith

There are days, and we all have them, when we do not understand life. Questions flood our minds. We carry the burdens of every day; and some of us carry even heavier burdens. Maybe it is divorce or a death of a loved one. Maybe it is a financial struggle or a health issue.

We look around at other people and often it seems their lives are good. Why me? Why am I suffering while he prospers? What did I do wrong?

Job found himself in a similar situation. Life for Job had been good. He was prosperous, well-educated, a righteous man. In fact, according to Job1:1-3, “This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. He had seven sons and three daughters, and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.”

Sometimes we become complacent in our lives; in our relationship with God; in our every day activities. Sometimes we are doing everything we know to do to have the right relationship with God. Sometimes we are not living the way we should. And trials and struggles come our way. Matthew 5:45, “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

It is something Jesus prepared us to have. He did not sugar-coat life. Jesus warned us of difficulties and tumultuous days.

John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

At the most unexpected times, trouble and tragedy can find us. Whether rich or poor, educated or uneducated, tall or short, male or female, life can deliver some rough blows.

But there is an answer in 1 John 5:4, “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”

Whatever you are facing, know God will overcome it. Trust in Him. He alone holds the victory.


Walk

Acts 3:1-7, “One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts.When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.”

This story in Acts intrigues me for several reasons. It is interesting that there is a man who has been crippled since birth and people helped him daily by bringing him to the Temple gate called Beautiful.  Why?  So he could beg to acquire the basic necessities of life. I assume, they would pick him up at the end of the day and take him home as well. What a blessing these people were to him.  Without the coins he received each day, he would not be able to live.  Without their help getting there, he would struggle to survive.

When he sees Peter and John, he asks them for money. Peter and John do not have silver or gold to give him; instead, they tell him “in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Those words give me chills because of the power behind them. They take the man’s right hand, help him to his feet, and he takes off on strong feet and ankles.  His life has forever changed.

Which was the better help for this man? There is no way to answer that because both acts offered him assistance; yet, Peter and John’s way changed his life.

It brings me to this thought: how often do we encounter people struggling with life, and we want to help them in some way. We see what they need to change themselves, but it is easier to bring them to the Temple gate to beg instead of truly changing their lives. Maybe we do not feel comfortable telling them about Jesus of Nazareth, the King of kings and Lord of lords. We would rather offer sweet words and move on. When is the last time you’ve asked someone if they have Jesus in their life or is it just easier to drop a coin in the cup and walk on by.

I feel stronger than ever that we must become people with the faith and vision to take someone’s right hand, help him to his feet, and in the name of Jesus of Nazareth tell him to walk – in the fullness of Christ, in faith, in obedience, in a life centered by God.

Who needs your help today? Will you drop a coin and pass by, or will you change their life forever? Think about it.