Life throws us all kinds of unexpected situations. Issues come into our lives that we are not prepared to deal with or understand. But God is constant. He is unmoved and ever faithful. When the storms arise his steady hand keeps us safe on the turbulent seas. There are times when we are clinging so tightly to Him that our fingers grow weary from grasping his hand. But this song by Casting Crowns proposes a new way to stay close to the Lord... Just be Held! Instead of clinging, know that he is holding you and you can let go and allow his strong arms to hold you.
Imagine yourself curled up in his arms, just as you'd hold an infant. You are his baby and he's going to be with you every step of the way. Nothing will surprise him. Nothing will be more important than you. And NOTHING will cause him to let you go! So, just be held!
Hold it all together Everybody needs you strong But life hits you out of nowhere And barely leaves you holding on
And when you're tired of fighting Chained by your control There's freedom in surrender Lay it down and let it go
So when you're on your knees and answers seem so far away You're not alone, stop holding on and just be held Your worlds not falling apart, its falling into place I'm on the throne, stop holding on and just be held Just be held, just be held
If your eyes are on the storm You'll wonder if I love you still But if your eyes are on the cross You'll know I always have and I always will
And not a tear is wasted In time, you'll understand I'm painting beauty with the ashes Your life is in My hands
Lift your hands, lift your eyes In the storm is where you'll find Me And where you are, I'll hold your heart I'll hold your heart Come to Me, find your rest In the arms of the God who wont let go
God knows exactly what we need for each moment. He knows that if everything in life were perfect and good all the time we would most likely take for granted the life we had. We might forget where our good comes from and start to live life on our own. He absolutely wants us to enjoy good days and blessings beyond measure but He knows the importance that a bad day can play in our life, as well. When things are going well we sometimes start to drift away from needing Him so desperately. We start off praising Him and spending time with Him in awe of the good things He is doing in our life. We are amazed at how each and every day he speaks to us through His Word and is able to keep our fire glowing for Him. But soon, as things continue to be good we can start to spend less time with Him or rely on ourselves to get us through the day, drifting slightly from Him. In this moment God can strategically place something in our life to slow us down and force us to examine ourselves and our priorities.
I am currently in a time of ups and downs and those feelings of blah. There are some really great things happening in my life but at the same time He is careful to keep me grounded. Instead of getting discouraged over this, which, believe me I've been there, I am trying to look above what's bothering me and trying to examine my motives and my feelings so to allow God to redirect me if needed and show me the things He has for me to learn while I am down. What ever His reason for this season in my life I can trust that it is all for my good and it will only bring great things as long as I wait on Him and stay focused on the things that I know to be Truth. I will work hard in the future so as to not take things for granted and use this time to grow in my knowledge of God and my faith that He is all knowing and in charge of my life.
I hope this finds you on a good day and so I encourage you to enjoy the blessings He has given you but to not take for granted the good He provides because at any moment it can change. Take that change as His strong love for you and His desire to pull you nearer to Him. Do not give up in doing good, especially when things don't go the way you would like them to. God has not forgotten about you, He is actually working on you because He has great plans in store for you......and so we pray.
Our eyes are so nearsighted. We can only see today, this very moment. And so, we need God’s perspective. He is beyond today looking back at us. He has already made a way! Whatever it is that has your heart bound up today, lay it down and keep moving forward toward your Savior. Eyes Up! Our joy is in knowing the end of the story; We know that we will meet Christ face to face in all his glory and splendor!
After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so will we be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:17-18 NIV
We worry about our children, our spouses and friends. We wonder if we ourselves will ever overcome the doubts, fears, sins and bad habits that we just can’t seem to shake. But Eyes Up! God has promised us that ‘suddenly’ when Jesus returns we will be changed completely into His glory.
We shall not all fall asleep (in death), but we shall all be changed in a moment, the twinkling of an eye, at the (sound of the) last trumpet call.
1 Corinthians 15: 51-52 NIV
It is in the delay of God’s completed work that we grow stronger and our faith abounds. Keep praying. Keep praising. Know that He has heard and He will answer! Keep your eyes up today, GFF’s. Praise Him because he will complete this work in us. We are to plant seeds in our loved ones and those we come in contact with knowing God is responsible for the final outcome, not us! That is joy!
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6 NIV
"Interpreting dreams is God's business, Joseph replied. Go ahead and tell me your dreams."
Genesis 41:8 NLT
A phrase Mary and I have thrown around a lot is "to know that you know that you know". I'm certain we aren't the first people to use it and we won't be the last. We often say it when we are so ready to know Jesus and to be so confident in Him and His place in our life that nothing will shake us. We want to trust God's Word with our whole being and when hard things are thrown at us we don't want to be knocked down. We want to know that we know that we know that everything is going to be just fine in God's hands. Joseph is someone who knew. He knew from scripture and the teachings of his father that God was real and God was just. He saw the hand of God in his very own life. Everytime something looked impossible or hopeless God delivered him from it. He had a relationship with God and it showed in his confidence that even in the unjust times of his life, God would bring him justice. He also knew God well enough to know that his power came from God. His ability to interpret dreams and the positions he held were all by the workings of God. He was also sure that God was with him every step of the way. I love this scripture above because he just confidently said to the cup-bearer and the baker, God interprets dreams but hey tell me what happened and I can help you. He trusted that God was with Him and that God would give him what he needed to help the prisoners. Again in chapter 41 Joseph was asked to interpret Pharoah's dreams and his response was: "It is beyond my power to do this," Joseph replied. "But God can tell you what it means and set you at ease." (Genesis 41:16) Then Joesph proceeded to tell him his dreams. He knew God's place in his life. Joseph wasn't afraid to speak on God's behalf because he was confident and His confidence came from faith and a relationship with God. I want this confidence and I bet some of you do too........and so we pray.
Prayer connects us with God. It's our source of communication. Faith is the belief that God hears and in his time, responds in ways that are best for us and for his purposes. Prayer and faith together communicate our desires to God and move his hand in response as we wait in faith for his answers.
If you've followed our blog for awhile, you know that Hannah is one of my favorite biblical women. She is found in 1 Samuel 1, and I encourage you to read her story sometime today. The chapter begins with her prayer at the temple steps. She is laying her heart out to the Lord. She prayers with her whole being that she would bear a son whom she would raise to serve the Lord. Her body was sprawled on the steps of the temple. Her mind was steadfast on the fact that her God will answer her plea. And her heart was bare and raw as she poured out her earnest desires. I love the passion and realness in her prayer.
However the way Hannah leaves her place of prayer is what delights my heart. Scripture says, "Then she went on her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast. Early the next morning they (she and her husband) arose and worshiped before the LORD and then went back to their home in Ramah."
Do you see it? Do you see her faith? She poured out her heart. She arose. Refreshed. And worshiped God. Yet nothing had changed. But in faith she knew that laying her petitions before the Lord, he would hear and move in response. Just as Mark 11: 24 states:
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:24
Friend, I don't know what is on your heart today, but I do know that if you've laid it out before the Lord, He will respond as you wait in faith.
Oh, and by the way, Hannah's prayer is answered. However she did have to wait and in the wait, her faith grew stronger! Verses 19-20 finish this way: "Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the LORD remembered her. So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying "Because I ask the LORD for him."
I woke up this morning with praise music on my heart. I read my bible verse of the day, and then checked into instagram. To my surprise I found that my daughter and some of her friends started up an account called godsgals_ and the first post was written by my daughter. It filled my heart to overflowing to see the words she had written and I couldn't wait to tell her so. At an age where she is
struggling with all the changes that a middle school girl deals with, hormones, friends, and grades she has recently added anxiety attacks to her list. She has had good days and really bad days but she has never given up. She has never stayed home to avoid the anxiety and she has never run away from it. I see how this has drawn her closer to Christ through her frustrations and fears and my encouragement to read scripture and listen to praise music. She is letting her problem take her to Christ and I can't be more proud of the young woman she is becoming. She has a great group of friends and they love the Lord.......ready to share that with the world of instagram:) I know there are a lot of things I have taught my children that aren't good. I don't always lead by the best example but it has always been my intention. I don't know if she started this because of the things I talk about at home or the meetings she sees me in with my GFF's but I have to believe that if our kids can learn from our bad habits they can learn from our good, as well. I am not shy about the things God is teaching me through bible study. I will take moments to teach my children through scripture and I am open about my wonderful visits with my God First Friends. My daughter knows me and she knows God's place in my heart and she is learning to navigate a life based on what she sees as she grows up. Will it always be this special and great? NO, unfortunately we will both mess up, but today I am celebrating! Today I am covering these young girls in prayer because I know how satan is ready to attack a God thing. I will praise God for giving me opportunites to teach my children and ask Him to lead me moment by moment because I am far from perfect. I thank God that my daughter's friends are living in families where God is first and that as young teenagers they have boldness to share that with others. I am boasting in the Lord because He has made an impression on my daughter! He is working on her, in her and through her and that's so exciting! I give God the glory for loving me so perfectly, assuring me, once again, that He is in control. I am blessed indeed!..............and so we pray. * if you are on instagram check out their account: godsgals_ share it with teenagers you know, follow it yourself and pray for what this could become! God is working in young lives and that is way exciting!!
How long are you willing to wait for the desires of your heart? Are you willing to make sacrifices and work hard in the wait? Jacob is an amazing example of patient love.
Jacob asked Laban, the father of Rachel for his daughter's hand in marriage. Jacob pledged to work for Laban for 7 years before he would marry this beautiful girl. Finally, when her could wait no longer and al was ready Jacob asked Laban to set the date! I can't imagine the excitement in the heart of Jacob as the day approached.
However, Jacob was deceived and found Rachel's sister Leah in his wedding bed. As was the custom of that day, Laban could not give his younger daughter (Rachel) in marriage before the older daughter was wed. Jacob's heart must have sank as he realized that his true love was not yet his.
The story ends when Jacob is then given the hand of Rachel and promises to work for Laban another 7 years.
True love waits. It doesn't force itself on others. It doesn't demand it's own way. True love is patient and willing to work hard on behalf of the loved one. So how well are you loving today?
I was reading Genesis 26 yesterday and found it interesting that Isaac was such a good man. Aside from carrying on the sins of his father by lying and saying his wife was his sister (v. 7), he seemed to be a very laid back, good guy. Isaac was a man of character. He knew the Lord and obeyed His commands. Because of His obedience, Isaac was very blessed. When Isaac planted crops he harvested a hundered times more grain than he planted (v. 12). He became very rich and soon he was the envy of his town. The Philistines became jealous of his wealth and good fortune, so instead of learning from him, they got angry with him and filled in all of his wells with dirt. Soon after he was asked to leave the town, Abimelech claimed he was too powerful for them (v. 16). So without arguing he packed up all his belongings, family, servants and animals and moved away to the Gerar Valley where he opened up all the wells his father once dug and began to settle in. His servants also dug a new well but when the shepherds of the area found out they argued over it and Isaac let them have it. Again the servants found a new spot to dig and found fresh water, but again there was a dispute over it so instead of fighting for it they left to find a new spot. God was good to Isaac and his people, for a third time they dug and found fresh water and there they could stay (v. 19-22).
What I found most interesting was that Isaac, as powerful as he was, did not fight for the wells and neither did his servants. Isaac must have taught them well and even if they disagreed with him, his character was such that they obeyed him. I have to think after all that labor I may have become angry and I would have started to fight for what was mine, but not Isaac. He had self control. He was laid back and knew that a fight would not end well nor would it help his cause. Isaac was close to God and knew when to fight and when to withdraw. God doesn't always want us to sit back and be a doormat. There are times when we should fight for what is right and what is ours and there are times when we should stand down. I guess my point is we can never know what to do in situations such as these if we don't know God. If we don't know what God says about certain situations, or know His character, then we won't know how to react in our own life. There is something called necessary conflict when making peace is more important than keeping the peace. And in many instances there is no time to take a few days to pray. In a moment we may need to take action or stand down so it is important to know God's Word and understand how he might react in certain cases. It is important to have a deep relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit so we can follow God's will in each of our circumstances. Isaac knew God. Isaac trusted God and he knew how to react in his situations because he was close to God and was in constant communication with Him. We can have this in our own life! We should want this in our own life.......and so we pray.
So Lot rushed out to tell his daughters' fiances, "Quick, get out of the city! The Lord is about to destroy it." But the young men thought he was only joking.
Lot was a man who knew of God. He was raised by his uncle, Abram, after his father died when he was young. He was brought up with good role models but he seemed to make choices that weren't always the best. He lived in the moment and made his decisions based on least resistence and what was best for him, never thinking of how his actions could cause trouble for him or others involved. Lot stayed with his uncle Abram for many years until he got greedy and they decided to part ways. Lot took the best land which was closest to the City of Sodom and ended up living in the city after some time. He began to fall into the siful patterns of the people living in Sodom and he accepted their culture and the sin that went on there. His daughters were brought up in this awful city and found husbands, most likely from this city. It wasn't a great environment and after living there a while he felt comfortable with all the evil that was happening around him. He had to know who God was after living with Abram and following him while God was leading them. He knew the right way of living but had lost it somewhere in the enjoyment of his sin. Lot had some good qualities and it shows in the way he helped the angels when they came to find his family. Unfortunately he also made a poor decsision in offering up his daughters, but that is because he was lost in the lies of his surroundings. But, when things got desperate, deep down he knew that God was all powerful and just and he listened to the angels and tried to get his family to do the same. Unfortunately, Lot's testimony had been damaged by the way he was living his life and his daughters' fiance's just laughed when he told them God was coming to destroy the city. They had probably never even heard Lot speak of God and they knew by his actions and choices that he wasn't truly devoted to God.
Lot's life is a picture of what happens when we fall to temptations and believe the lies of satan. Was he looking for trouble? Most likely not. Lot was probably just wanting to find adventure and fun and he thought he could find it in Sodom. Unfortunately it cost him and the people in his life. It is so important to work towards keeping our witness clean. No we aren't perfect and we will mess up but don't ignore how Lot's decisions and actions affected his children! His daughters' fiances died, his wife looked back and turned to a pillar of salt and his daughter's drugged him and had sex with him! Had he raised them better, had he been a better role model for his daughter's fiances, had he led his wife to obey and know God, his life could have been different. He chose to stay in sin and keep believing the lies that made him comfortable there. This too can happen in our own lives if we aren't careful. Our kids can make poor decisons based on our actions and the way we live, and our loved ones could be negatively affected by our choice to live in sin, to belive in satan's lies and to ignore God.
Our character is revealed by our choices, just like Lot. When we make choices that follow sin, sinful things will occur. When we try our hardest to follow God's will, blessings will come. Not all good will happen all the time but God always promises to bless us when we follow His Word. We have a choice to follow God or follow sin and what we choose can have a lasting impact on those around us. We have a responsibility, if we call ourselves Christians, to live like Jesus and in doing so encouragaing those around us to do the same. We must work towards being a postitive witness for God instead of falling into sin and bringing others down with us.........and so we pray!
yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.
What are the desires and dreams of your heart? A stronger marriage, a business, a family, a boutique that expresses your creativity and unique ideas?
Whatever is on your heart God would love to it give you. He gives us a guide on how he will meet our desires through this verse in Proverbs.
Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.
We must delight ourselves in the Lord. God's desire is for us to love him. He longs for our devotion and an intimate relationship with him. As we walk with Him and talk with Him, he aligns our desires to his. As we trust him more and more he will help us step out of our comfort zones. He will overcome our fear of failure. He will guide our steps and lead us to the desires of our heart! And most of all, our delight will be in Him- his love, his faithfulness, and the deepest parts of this amazing "I AM." Oh, don't you find that so exciting?
So there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles, between slaves and free people, between men and women; you are all one in union with Christ Jesus.
Martin Luther King Jr. fought against man made rules that God already removed. Long, long ago we believers were declaired equal and united together with Christ. Somewhere along the way humans took over and made their own rules regarding equality and many many people suffered because of it. Thank God Martin Luther King was bold enough to declare this freedom, and demand this freedom, for black people everywhere. Today we celebrate a man who loved the Lord and loved people. He spoke out against the injustice that humans created and he wasn't safe doing it. His strength to stand up overcame the treats on his life and his family's life. He felt so strongly for racial equality that he wasn't going to let the fear and threats stop him.
Friends, this is the heart that we need to have for the Lord. To feel so strongly about something that we aren't afraid to speak out for God. We overcome the fear of someone not liking us or the fear of being hurt or made fun of and we stand up, like Martin Luther King Jr., and declare our rights in Jesus' Name. Just like Martin Luther King Jr., we should speak the truth in love and confidence. We were made to be bold for Christ even in the harshest of circumstances. God is on our side and He will help us stay strong in the battle.
Dear God, thank you for the bold christians who have gone before us. Thank you for Martin Luther King Jr. and his unselfish acts to declare equality for the people in the world. So long ago you already made us equal in your eyes. We are all loved the same and we are united in Jesus Christ. Thank you for giving us equality and giving us the knowledge and boldness to share that with the world. Give us opportunities to treat people equally and see them as our equal, through your eyes. Amen
“I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened; he saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the LORD is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him. Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! Fear the LORD, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need. Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the LORD will lack no good thing. Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the LORD.”
Psalms 34:4-11 NLT
Just want to wish my very best GFF a very special birthday a day early.
I don't know what my faith journey would look like without her. As we began our accountability friendship several years ago I had no idea how life changing it would be for me. I have learned so much about courage, perseverance, love, and grace watching her grow and having her as my encourager and friend. I wouldn't be who I am today without her. God has blessed me indeed!
I'm a very visual learner in all areas of my life. I have to see it to understand it more completely. And God has been faithful to give me mental images that help impress ideas upon my heart. Last evening I was praying that God would make me stronger so that he could use me as a tool to lead others to him. As I prayed I had an image come to mind very similar to the one above, a small tugboat pulling a very large barge.
Throughout the next few hours I thought about this image and realized that size is not a measure of strength. In comparison to barges, tugboats are often much, much smaller than the load they carry. They can pull or push objects that can't move themselves. They even can be used to break ice clearing pathways for safe travel of other vessels. Tugboats can be equipped with firefighting capabilities and used to assist in firefighting. Tugboats are mighty in power.
GFF's we don't have to be stellar scholars, memorize every scripture, sing with an angelic voice, or wow others with our knowledge to be used by God. What God wants is for us to simply be a tugboat. He wants us to help move along those who can't move on their own and to clear a pathway for others to find Him amid the frozen cold-hearted places on this earth. He wants us to equip ourselves with His power through prayer so that we can fight the fires of our flesh and the enemy around us. We are all called to be tugboats for the Lord!
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the son and the Holy Spirit,
And then he told them, "Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.
I am reading a short book that my GFF loaned me and it is called "The Believer's Authority" by Kenneth E. Hagin. I haven't gotten past the third chapter but I am intrigued and can't wait to get back to it today. What caught my attention yesterday was what it said about sharing the gosepel. Jesus told us to spread the Good News but so often we aren't sharing good things, instead, we tell people how bad they are being. We count up their wrong doing and we condemn them for it. That isn't Good News! The Good News is this: For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people's sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:19)
God has already cancelled out sin through Jesus Christ. This world and the people in it........there is no sin problem, Jesus already took care of that. There is a sinner problem. But it only includes us getting the sinner to Jesus and the problem is solved. We don't have to remind them what they've done wrong. We don't have to make them feel bad for the sins they commit, because let's face it, we all have done wrong, we all sin, we all need Jesus. Friends we just need to share God's Good News of forgiveness and power and love and encourage people to get to know Him. We are responsible to leading people to a relationship with Jesus. No where does the Good News include condemning people for their sins. It isn't our job to judge non believers and tell them how to act. It is only our job to lead them to the One who will change their hearts from the inside.
I hope we can all think on this today and see where we may have gone wrong in the past or where we are currently seeing things differently. Jesus already wiped away sin but it takes us knowing Him and believing in Him for us to claim that victory. Won't you lead others to Christ by sharing the Good News instead of the dreary, condemning, guilty news? Love others and lead them to Christ by your example of living and trusting. Love everyone and start sharing today!
* Information obtained from The Believers Authority by Kenneth E. Hagin pages 5-6
Lament is a word used throughout scripture. It's been a word on my heart a lot as I study the book of Job. The word lament means to weep, wail, cry out, sob, and mourn. It is a word that means intense sorrow.
Job had lost more than one can imagine enduring. Sons, daughters, livestock, friends, his reputation, and his own physical health were all taken from him. He was in great emotional and spiritual pain. Job's heart was broken, and he was lamenting. Job was crying out to God for answers and relief.
As I attended a funeral last evening I was once again reminded of the word 'lament' in a conversation I'd had with a loved one just after the death of a sibling. The statement was made, "I'm just so upset that God would allow this, but I can't say that because I'm supposed to trust that he knows best."
I disagree. God wants us to cry out. To wail. To mourn. To be real and honest with him. Anger and fear are human reactions to pain, and it is ok to voice such things to God. However, we must allow God to walk us through the stages of grieving so that we do not become bitter and hard hearted toward him. Ultimately we must stand on faith that he is God and we are not. He doesn't owe us answers. He's under no obligation to our questions, but he does want us to lament. To seek him and turn to him in our pain so that he can bring healing to our hearts and a deeper intimacy with him.
This life is hard and in our suffering we must go through stages of grieve and mourning. We thank you that you are a God who hears. A God who wants us to be real with you. Keep our hearts soft as we work through our sufferings. Tender our hearts so that our pain draws us into deeper relationship with you.
I would lay out my case and present my arguments. Then I would listen to his reply and understand what he says to me. Would he use his great power to argue with me? No, he would give me a fair hearing.
By this time Job was being ridiculed and beaten up with words by three men who claimed to be his best friends. Job was tired of being accused of sin. He was grieving a loss so hard to imagine, and he was broken. Although he was ready to die, to find rest from his suffering, He was sure that God had not given up on him. He knew that God would answer his plea whether in his life on earth or after death. He never gave up on God. I love this scripture above because Job knew God's character. He knew God and had confidence in what a discussion with him would look like. He wasn't willing to settle with the advice of his friends and have to believe if he had google back then he would not have been satisfied with an internet answer either. He was looking for God's wisdom and knowledge and Job would not be happy until he heard directly from Him. He was confident he could lay out his case in front of God.......the disappointment, the hurt, the anger, the sadness, the suffering.......he would not leave a thing out, and God would hear him til the end. Job was patient and willing to hear His answer. He would only be sattisfied with what God said to him and then he would understand. He trusted that God would give him a fair trial and he knew that whatever came of it was just and fair. Job had ridiculous faith and confidence in God.
Friend, what burdens are you carrying? Does something seem unfair in your life? Are you going through hard circumstances? Is your hurt so deep you don't know where to turn? Turn to God. Tell him your anger, fear, disappointment and all the things that are bottled inside. Present your case to God and seek His peace and His answers. Be confident, like Job, to trust that God has never and will never give up on you regardless of your past and present and the hurt you are dealing with. He does have you in mind. He holds you in His hands and has plans far greater than you can imagine. Hold onto your trust even when everything worldly says to give up and turn away from God. You will be blown away by the way He can help you. God will give you a fair hearing and He has answers waiting for you if you would be open to sharing with Him. Lay out your case in front of God and lay down your hurt. Wait for His answers and trust in His timing.
“If only they would always feel this way! If only they would always honor me and obey all my commands, so that everything would go well with them and their descendants forever.”
Deuteronomy 5:29 GNT
There are so many beautiful new songs today. Songs that reach into the most intimate places of our hearts. Songs that shout His praises. Songs that bring hope and healing. Songs that tell His story. Today I want you to enjoy an older song that just brings a smile to my face overtime I hear it!
It's a simple song about the reason we can smile and laugh through every day, even through the days that don't go our way... WE ARE SAVED!
If for no other reason, today is a good day because salvation is ours!
To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for,
to be certain of the things we cannot see.
Hebrews 11:1 GNT
We all need this reminder from time to time. This scripture describes our faith in one simple sentence. It tells us to stop worrying about things, says believe even when you cannot see or understand, encourages us that those things we hope for will come to be. It is a single sentence with amazing power to encourage someone. What is it you hope for? A new job, a loved one to find healing, a friend to know Jesus, your child to stay safe in a crazy world.........the list is endless! We all have things we hope for and with faith we can be sure that those things will happen in God's time. That's it! We hope for something, we wait it out, and we are sure it will happen. We can leave it with God once and for all! We don't have to keep picking it up worrying about it or trying to manipulate it in some way. No, we just hand it over and have faith, sure that it will come. And even when we cannot possibly see how it will happen or when.......faith says we are certain that it will still come. Faith is a small word with a big punch. A punch in satan's face when we refuse to worry about things. He can't get us to fall or cause others to fall when we are full of faith. Work on your faith today! Strengthen your faith today! Call on your faith today!
6 One day the angels[a] came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan[b] also came with them.7 The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”
Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”
8 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied.10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land.11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
12 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”
Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.
13 One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house,14 a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby,15 and the Sabeans attacked and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
16 While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from the heavens and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
17 While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
18 While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house,19 when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship21 and said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.[c] The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”
22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
Oh, Job! A man to be admired. I can't imagine the grief and pain, the heartache and overwhelming frustration, and the fear that Job endured at the loss of his 10 children, his servants and his wealth. Not only did he lose all these things, but he lost them in one day. And as if that's not enough satan went back to God and asked to take Job's his life. God allows satan to inflict severe pain and sickness on Job, but did not allow the loss of his life. Yes, Job is a man to be admired. His faith was tested and he grew greatly in faith and love for the Lord. But it didn't come easily. Job had to walk through the pain, the grief, and the rebuilding.
I feel for Job as he cries out asking God to explain why this is happening. Through it all Job grew in patience, faith, and more understanding of how God works. Job learned to ask what was to be learned instead of why it was happening.
Yet, the hero in the story is God! God knew Job's heart. He knew that Job would not turn away. He knew that Job would grow and not be destroyed under the pressure. God was patient as Job searched. God didn't grow angry as Job shouted out in pain and fear. God loved him through it! Oh, the love of our God.
Oh, God, the way you sees the circumstances of this life are beyond our understanding. Lord, Teach us to ask 'what' and not 'why' in the trials. Help us to keep our focus on you and deepen our faith as we walk through the messes, pains, and struggles that come our way. Amen
As humans we need food. Without doubt, we must have it at some point to sustain life. We can go weeks without it, but the time will come when we must eat or die. As we go without food, our bodies weaken. Our spirit may sink and our mind definitely looses sharpness. Yes, we can go without food, but there is a price to pay for doing so.
Jesus had just fasted for 40 days. He was no doubt down in pounds and physically weary. Satan tempted him to turn stone to bread. And yes, by all means Jesus had the power to do so. But he clearly demonstrated trust in God to provide physical food for him. Jesus response to satan reminds us that though we can go days without physical food, it is God's 'every word' that sustains our life and our spirit daily. Here are the words Jesus spoke in Matthew 4:4:
'Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man shall not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'
Friends, it is so important that we know the word of God. It is imperative that in order to live on a firm foundation we stay connected to our sustaining source. We are blessed to have every spoken word of God found in the Holy Scriptures. And if we are wise and truly hungry, we will feast on His word daily.
Challenge: Do you live on bread alone? Do you simply sample the delicacies of his word? Or, will you feast on his EVERY WORD! This year I challenge you to read the entire Bible in a year. Below I've included a schedule for reading the entire Bible in a one year period. Your only a few days behind, so jump in now and get caught up!
We all know that the story of Noah and the Ark is a testament of obedience. Noah built a huge, out of this world, boat that would have seemed impossible in his day, because God told him to. He built this ark because God was about to flood the whole earth. Water was going to pour down from the sky, which had never been seen before, and Noah was in charge of saving animals and his family. There have been movies and books depicting this story. There have been suggestions as to how hard this would have been, and the scrutiny he would have dealth with from all the other people. We can safely say that Noah had huge faith when he said yes to God. He was not concerned about what anyone else thought but God.......a true story of obedience. Until a few days ago that is all I ever saw in this story, but God opened my eyes to a story of more than obedience, Noah is also a story of patience.
Noah was now 601 years old. On the first day of the new year, ten and a half months after the flood began, the floodwaters had almost dried up from the earth. Noah lifted back the covering of the boat and saw that the surface of the ground was drying. Two more months went by, and at last the earth was dry!
Genesis 8:13-14 NLT
I guess for some reason I never really paid close attention to the length of time Noah was in that boat. I must have skipped over Genesis chapter 8! I always thought it rained for 40 days and nights then God dried up the land and Noah and his family stepped out onto dry land after waiting a couple weeks for the dove to come back. I was way wrong!!
It did, in fact, rain for 40 days and nights. The flood waters covered the whole earth for 150 days until God decided to start drying things out. At this time the ark came to rest on the top of the mountains of Ararat (v. 4). It still took two and half more months for the water to continue to recede and other mountains to become visible (v. 5) After this it was still another four and a half months before Noah and his family stepped out of that boat. All of them must have been so tired of living with animals in a stinky, poor ventilated, wooden boat! For a whole year Noah waited for God to tell him when this story would finally reach dry ground. I wonder if Noah ever doubted? Like me, did he ever waiver and wonder if God was going to stop the flooding? Did his family start to question why he was so obedient? A whole year on that boat, did anyone ever wish they had just drown in the flood or lose faith? I can just imagine the discussions had. The prayers sent up and all the things they learned in that year as they waited. Knowing that they were the only living people on the whole earth and that they had the only living animals with them. It is a fascinating story. Some may think too fascinating to be true but our God works in fascinating ways! I believe He could have done all of that in a much quicker time frame, but for reasons only God knows, Noah and his family were forced to wait it out. An amazing testament to patience and waiting on God's timing. Just like Noah, we too must be willing to wait. Even when things seem to drag on, and as satan tries to make us lose hope, we must hold onto our faith and wait on God.
Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.