Monthly Archives: October 2015

Security In Uncertainty

  
Too many times life throws sucker punches at us. We get kicked in the gut out of nowhere and our future all of a sudden becomes unclear. The things we once thought were secure get lost when the rug gets pulled out from under our feet. We can easily lose our way, or worse our faith, when these things happen. We can wonder what God is up to. We can beg Him to open our eyes to the new path He wants us to walk down in this unexpected season change.

In those times in my life, I find comfort and direction in reading His Word. I have to remind myself that God is my provider in times of need. He’s my peace in the middle of a storm. He is the Alpha and Omega. He is the first and last so I can rest safely in the middle. He is the one who directs my path even when I can’t see the way forward. He is the one I run to in my time of need because He has always been faithful.

The following scriptures are some of my favorites to remind me that in my uncertainty, there is hope, there is a plan, and there is peace I can have.  

1. The LORD directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?
Proverbs 20:24 NLT

2. By your words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path. 

Psalm 119:105 MSG

3. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.

Psalms 40:2 NLT

4. I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for.

Jeremiah 29:11 GNB

5. GOD keeps an eye on his friends, his ears pick up every moan and groan.Is anyone crying for help? GOD is listening, ready to rescue you. If your heart is broken, you’ll find GOD right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.

Psalm 34:15, 17-18 MSG

6. So do not start worrying: ‘Where will my food come from? or my drink? or my clothes?’ (These are the things the pagans are always concerned about.) Your Father in heaven knows that you need all these things. Instead, be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God and with what he requires of you, and he will provide you with all these other things. So do not worry about tomorrow; it will have enough worries of its own. There is no need to add to the troubles each day brings.

Matthew 6:31-34 GNB

7. Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Philippians 4:6-7 MSG

8. Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.

1 Peter 5:7 AMP

9. People may plan all kinds of things, but the Lord ‘s will is going to be done.

Proverbs 19:21 GNB

10. Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT

What are some of your favorite scriptures during these times?

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Peace Through Trust

  
Life is unpredictable. It’s full of uncertainties, crossroads, and unknowns. When we are facing these things in life, our minds get consumed looking for answers and wondering what tomorrow holds. It can suck the energy right out of you if you let it. I think that’s why Jesus told us in Matthew 6:34, “Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries” (NLT). He knew that with all of life’s uncertainties, we could easily get wrapped up in all the what if’s of life.

The truth is that even though you and I don’t know what tomorrow holds, God does. And He’s not worried. What is unknown to us is history to Him. He knows how it all plays out and He is in control. No matter what each day brings, we can trust that He has a plan for our lives and a path for us to walk down. Psalm 37:23 says, “The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” Not only does He direct our lives, He knows all the details that are unknown to us.

Trusting Him in those times is paramount to our peace of mind. Where worry consumes us, His peace frees us. We get peace in uncertainty when we trust that God is in control, that He has a plan for this time, and that He is directing our path. Stress and worry come from thinking we are in control, that God doesn’t care, or that He doesn’t have a plan. He gives you and I the ability to choose in this situation. Do we want to stress or do we want peace through trust?

I’m reminded of Proverbs 3:5-6 when it comes to trusting God in uncertainty. It says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know. Remember the Lord in everything you do, and he will show you the right way” (GNB). The word “trust”, in the original language, means to feel safe, be careless. In our most difficult times, we can feel safe and be carefree by trusting God. He will direct our path and show us the right way when the time is right. 

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Pastor Appreciation

“And now, friends, we ask you to honor those leaders who work so hard for you, who have been given the responsibility of urging and guiding you along in your obedience. Overwhelm them with appreciation and love!”
‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:12-13‬ ‭MSG‬‬

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Stronger Faith

  
In Luke 17, the disciples asked Jesus for more faith. I’ve fallen into that trap myself: believing I could have more or less faith and that my amount of faith determines God’s response. They felt like it was the amount of faith Jesus had that gave Him the ability to do the things He was doing. The response Jesus gave them in verse 6, proves it isn’t the amount of faith you have that motivates God.

Jesus said, “You don’t need more faith. There is no ‘more’ or ‘less’ in faith. If you have a bare kernel of faith, say the size of a poppy seed, you could say to this sycamore tree, ‘Go jump in the lake,’ and it would do it” (MSG). There isn’t a size of faith. Either you have faith or you don’t. If you have faith that God will do something, you will act on that faith. If you have faith, you can speak to things and they will move.

James tells us that faith without works is dead. He’s saying, if you really have faith, you will act on it. If you aren’t doing anything by faith, you have none. Either you have faith and prove it daily, or you have none and prove it too. Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” He understood that you will always act according to what you believe. If you don’t believe God will answer, you won’t really pray. If you do, you will pray and show you believe it.

Faith isn’t about size, it’s about action. When the disciples asked for more faith, they got schooled by Jesus. When a man in Mark 9 asked Jesus if He could heal his boy, Jesus responded in verse 23 with, “If? There are no ‘ifs’ among believers. Anything can happen.” Our response should be like this man’s. He replied, “Then I believe. Help me with my doubts!” You only need a greater faith than your doubts if you want to act on it. If your faith isn’t strong enough to act on, then ask God to help you with your doubts.

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Low Perspective

  
Recently I was working on our dishwasher. At one point, I got on my knees and looked up. As I looked around the kitchen, I thought, “This is the way my four year old looks at the kitchen.” My mind went back to when I worked at a childcare center. The owner used to make us crawl around on our hands and knees so we could see what the kids saw. We could then move things into their view and know their perspective.

I think that’s what Jesus did when He came in the flesh. He only had one view of earth and that was from the top down, just like I had in the childcare center. Until He walked this land, He had never imagined where Heaven was. He had never looked up and experienced man’s view of the heavens and understood how powerless we feel to reach them. He truly felt our limitations and feelings of insignificance in this universe.

Hebrews 2:17 says, “Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God” (NLT). Now that He has our perspective, He can be our greatest intercessor. Since He came from Heaven, walked the earth, and returned to Heaven, He can empathize with our prayers and speak to God the Father on our behalf.

The next verse says, “Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.” He became like us to help us. He humbled Himself, got on His hands and knees so to speak, to become frail like us so He could fully understand us. We can’t pray and tell God He doesn’t understand because He does. We can’t hide our emotions because He’s experienced them. So whatever you’re going through, be open and honest in your prayers, and let Jesus help you through it. He’s been in your shoes.

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Pray For Boldness

  
One of the things I believe that Christians are missing today is boldness. We keep praying for gifts and an anointing that we were already given. We don’t need more gifts, we need more boldness to use the ones we have already been given. Boldness isn’t about making a show of the authority we have. It’s about using it despite the pressures of a culture that is opposed to our way of life.

Before Jesus ascended into Heaven He told us that He had been given all authority in heaven and earth, and that He was giving it to us. You and I have been given everything we need to proclaim His message and to live our lives in His service. What we seem to be lacking these days is a godly boldness. To help us know more about boldness, I’m including some scriptures on boldness.

1. And, beloved, if our consciences (our hearts) do not accuse us [if they do not make us feel guilty and condemn us], we have confidence (complete assurance and boldness) before God.

1 John 3:21 AMP

2. And then I’ll stir up fresh hope in Israel—the dawn of deliverance!—and I’ll give you, Ezekiel, bold and confident words to speak. And they’ll realize that I am GOD.
Ezekiel 29:21 MSG

3. The wicked run away when no one is chasing them, but the godly are as bold as lions.

Proverbs 28:1 NLT

4. Let us be bold, then, and say: “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?”

Hebrews 13:6 GNB

5. And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.

Acts of the Apostles 4:29-30 NLT

6. And [also] most of the brethren have derived fresh confidence in the Lord because of my chains and are much more bold to speak and publish fearlessly the Word of God [acting with more freedom and indifference to the consequences].

Philippians 1:14 AMP

7. That precious memory triggers another: your honest faith—and what a rich faith it is, handed down from your grandmother Lois to your mother Eunice, and now to you! And the special gift of ministry you received when I laid hands on you and prayed—keep that ablaze! God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible.

2 Timothy 1:5-7 MSG

8. And pray also for me, that God will give me a message when I am ready to speak, so that I may speak boldly and make known the gospel’s secret.

Ephesians 6:19 GNB

9. Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.

Deuteronomy 31:6 NRS

10. After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness.

Acts of the Apostles 4:31 NLT

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Second Hand Religion

  
How do you know what is sin? Do you let your pastor decide that for you? Do you let your political party tell you what it is? Do you let society define it? Maybe you just go with what feels right to you. The fact is that none of these have the power to define what is right in God’s sight and what is wrong. There is only one source that defines what is sin and what is not. It’s the Holy Bible. God’s Word was written by about 40 people over the period of about 1,500 years. II Timothy 3:16 tells us that all scripture is inspired by God.

We know that even though it was written by so many people over such a long period of time, that it was all inspired by God. The beauty of God’s Word is that it stands the test of time and will remain relevant forever because human nature doesn’t change. The Bible looks at human nature, defines what sin is, but more importantly, shows us how to get forgiveness from it and how to avoid it. Romans 10:9-10 says, “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved” (NLT).

To avoid falling into sin, we must first know what sin is to God. James 4:17 gives us a simple definition of sin. It says, “Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.” If you know what’s right and then choose not to do it, then you’re sinning. The Bible is also filled with other things that it names as sin like lying, adultery, stealing, etc. at the heart of each of those and every other sin is that basic definition. You know there’s a right and a wrong and you’re willfully choosing the wrong.

So how do we avoid falling prey to our desire to do the things we want to do, but aren’t the right things? Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” If we want to know what sin is and also to have the ability to overcome it, we must put God’s Word in our heart. We must read it, understand it, meditate on it, and memorize it so that we can live the way God wants us to. It’s not up to other people to tell you what it says. It’s up to you to read it and to understand it. When it come to your eternity, don’t rely on second hand information alone. 

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