Monthly Archives: February 2016

God’s Timetable 

  
One of the most difficult parts of walking by faith is not knowing God’s timetable. So many times, it feels like we are to move on or we want to stay where we are longer than God’s plan. When things are going well, we want to camp in that place and stay there forever. When we’ve been stuck in one place and haven’t seen the growth we want, we are ready to move on. But most of the time, God’s timetable for moving on is different than ours.

There are times in my life when things start happening quickly, and I feel like things are moving in the right direction. Then, all of a sudden, I hit a brick wall. I get stopped at one point, and have to stay there for a while. I don’t know why we hit these plateaus or why God camps us out where He does. Some places it seems very logical, but other times it leaves me scratching my head and asking God why.

As I’ve read through the Israelites wandering in the wilderness, I came across some verses that showed they went through something similar. Numbers 9:15-18 says, “On the day the Tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered it. But from evening until morning the cloud over the Tabernacle looked like a pillar of fire. This was the regular pattern—at night the cloud that covered the Tabernacle had the appearance of fire. Whenever the cloud lifted from over the sacred tent, the people of Israel would break camp and follow it. And wherever the cloud settled, the people of Israel would set up camp. In this way, they traveled and camped at the LORD’s command wherever he told them to go. Then they remained in their camp as long as the cloud stayed over the Tabernacle” (NLT).

You and I have the responsibility of following God wherever He leads, whenever He moves. Verse 22 says, “Whether the cloud stayed above the Tabernacle for two days, a month, or a year, the people of Israel stayed in camp and did not move on. But as soon as it lifted, they broke camp and moved on.” You and I have to learn to be flexible with God’s timetable. We don’t have permission to move until He says it’s ok. If you want to experience all God has for you, follow His presence when and where it leads you.

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Think On These Things

 Since the Garden of Eden, the enemy has been trying to get into our mind and convince us that a lie is the truth. In Genesis 3:4, the snake told Eve that what God said wasn’t true. What I’ve seen in my life is that he’s still doing the same thing. He gets us to question what God says when our circumstances don’t line up with our expectations. If he can get us to question what is true, then he can get us to lose faith in God.

You and I have to remember the promises God has given us and what the truth is if we are going to hang on in tough times. Here are some verses I go to when I feel the enemy attacking my thoughts.

1. The LORD hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles.

Psalms 34:17 NLT

2. God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

Ephesians 3:20 MSG

3. And God is able to give you more than you need, so that you will always have all you need for yourselves and more than enough for every good cause.

2 Corinthians 9:8 GNT

4. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV

5. The LORD is my light and my salvation— so why should I be afraid? The LORD is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? When evil people come to devour me, when my enemies and foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident.

Psalms 27:1-3 NLT

6. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.

Isaiah 53:5 AMP

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. So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.

Romans 8:1-2 NLT

9. For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

Psalm 139:13-14 ESV

10. And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19 NLT

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Storm Survival

  
When I was in high school, one of my teachers was trying to help us understand the difference in the speed of light versus the speed of sound. He used a storm as an example. We see lightening flash and then a few seconds later, we hear the thunder. By our calculations, if there were 5 seconds between the lightening and the thunder, the lightening was a mile away. The closer the sound was to the lightening the closer it was.I still find myself counting the seconds between them during a storm.

Storms can be scary. The flashing lightening, the thunder, the wind, the rain, and possible floods. The storms of life can be scary too. They can knock us off our path, disorient us, confuse us, challenge our faith, and be relentless. For most of us, that’s when we seek God the most. Our prayers are quick like lightening, but God’s answers seem slow like thunder. It seems the farther we are away from Him, the longer it takes to hear His answer.

While we are waiting for an answer from God, we begin to think we are in the storm alone. The longer it takes, the more our faith takes a hit. It can be terrifying to be in a storm that doesn’t seem to end. As we watch everything we’ve worked for get swept away by rising waters, we wonder where God is. We wonder why has He abandoned us or forgotten us. The truth is that He hasn’t abandoned you. He hasn’t turned away from you.

Psalm 81:7 says, “When you were in trouble, you called to me, and I saved you. From my hiding place in the storm, I answered you” (GNT). This verse reminds me that God is in the storm with me. I may not be able to see Him. I may not be able to feel Him. His answers may seem slow, but He is there with me and He will save me. This verse helps me to get my thoughts off of my abandonment issues and onto the truth that God is there with me.

It’s important to win the battle of the mind in a storm. We must remember Philippians 4:8 that tells us to think on things that are true. What’s true is God has not abandoned you. God did not bring you into this place to let you drown. God is working things out for your good even when it doesn’t look like it. Storms always end at some point. You are more than a conqueror through Him. So don’t get discouraged. Get your mind right, call out to God in the storm, and He will answer you from within it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Your Role Matters

  
My son is into Daniel Tiger from Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. Hearing the same songs again over and over can get frustrating at times, but it can also drive home simple messages. One of the songs says, “Everyone, everyone is big enough to do something.” When I tell my son he can’t do something, he will usually say, “But everyone is big enough to do something.” I agree with him and find a way that he can contribute because I want him to know that no matter what he does in life, he can contribute.

As Christians, we’re pretty hard on ourselves sometimes. We think of ourselves as less than we are and prevent ourselves from doing things. We tend to think of our failures as a person or Christian, and disqualify ourselves before we ever contribute anything. We think we have nothing significant to offer or we’re not a strong enough Christian. We can be pretty self limiting when it comes to doing things for God.

In I Corinthians 12:7, it says, “The Spirit’s presence is shown in some way in each person for the good of all” (GNT). That means that you have something to contribute to others. God has placed His spirit in you so that you can do what only He’s called you to do. If you excuse yourself from doing what that is, it’s not just you who misses out on the blessing, we all do. Just as each part of our body performs a different function to keep it working, each of us play a role in keeping the Body of Christ going.

You may not like your part. You may not like where you’re located, but don’t let that keep you from letting God show Himself through you. Verse 18 says, “But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it” (NLT). That means that God has you right where He wants you so you can benefit others there. Quit looking for a better place or a more glamorous role in the body. Be who God called you to be where He placed you. Let God work through you for the good of others. Don’t hold back. You are important to the rest of the body.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

God Keeps His Promise

  
I recently had dinner with a friend. I told him how it was hard to see how God’s promises to me could come true. I pointed to my current path and showed the gap from where I am to where God said I will be. I talked of my frustrations with the lack of progress of where I thought I would be versus where I am. He chuckled and said, “From the other side of the table, it’s easy to see and know that God will do what He’s promised you.” He then shared from his perspective what he sees.

If you’ve ever watched “Facing The Giants”, you no doubt remember the Death Crawl scene. The coach blindfolds Brock and asks him to give him his absolute best because he doesn’t want him to give up at a certain point. The other player gets on Brock’s back, and Brock begins to crawl on all fours up the field blindfolded. He keeps asking, “Am I at the 20 yet? Am I at the 50 yet?” He’s worried about progress while the coach wants him just to do his best without worrying about progress.

I find that I identify with Brock when thinking about God’s promises. I’m looking for benchmarks when God is simply saying, “Just give me your best.” I ask, “Am I there yet? Am I where I should be?” God just smiles and says, “Keep giving me your best. I’ll worry about everything else.” The load gets heavier the longer I go. The blindfold keeps me from seeing that I’ve made much progress. My doubts arise and it makes me want to give up before God’s promise comes true.

Maybe that’s where you are too. You don’t feel like you’ve made progress or aren’t where you’re supposed to be. It may not even feel like God is keeping His promise to you or worse, He’s changed His mind. Let me point you to Numbers 23:19. This is God’s reminder to you, “God is not like people, who lie; He is not a human who changes his mind. Whatever He promises, He does; He speaks, and it is done” (GNT). God’s promise to you is still true. Keep giving Him your absolute best and He will fulfill His promise.

If you want to see what happened to Brock when he gave his best, click here. It’s great motivation to keep going.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

All Things Are Possible

  
I scoff sometimes when I read about Moses. He met with God consistently, he physically saw God, He had the Shekinah glory over the Tabernacle that led them, and there was Manna on the ground every morning. He still found a way to doubt God. When the people were tired of Manna, they whined and complained. God called out to Moses and told him that He would provide meat for a month. Moses immediately thought of the impossibility of the situation instead of the ability of God.

The disciples were in a similar situation. They had been with Jesus for a long time, seen Him heal the blind, cure diseases, and raise the dead. Yet when there was a crowd of hungry people, they looked at a couple of loaves of bread and some fish and saw the impossibility of the situation instead of the ability of Jesus. They projected their abilities and limitations onto Jesus instead of His onto themselves.

You and I find ourselves in the same struggle thousands of years later. God has proven Himself over and over to us. He has answered our prayers, He has opened closed doors, He has changed our life, and has spoken to our heart. Somehow, we still find ways to doubt His ability to come through in the impossible. I have to remind myself what Jesus said in Matthew 19:26, “With men this is impossible, but all things are possible with God” (AMP).

God reminds you and I over and over in scripture that what’s impossible for us is possible for Him. I love His answer to Moses in the situation above. In Numbers 11:23, He asked Moses, “Has my arm lost its power?” (NLT) I believe He’s asking us that today. Has anything changed with who God is? I don’t know what impossible odds you’re facing today or how bad your situation looks. I do know that whatever it is, our God is able to provide. His arm has not lost its power. He specializes in coming through in the impossible. Rely on His ability, not yours.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Bless You 

Blessing someone is not what we normally do unless someone sneezes. I believe it’s an under utilized tool God gives us. The fact that people in the Bible blessed their kids and each other, reiterates the power of words. I don’t know how many stories I’ve heard from people who have let what someone else said about them affect their self image. Those spoken words went out of the other person’s mouth and into their heart. Those words caused them to struggle for years.

Masaru Emoto did a study called “The Hidden Message in Water” to show the power of words. He used spoken word, labeling water with a word, and playing music then he immediately froze it. The results are astounding. What you see below are some of the photos taken from this experiment.
  
Now think about this: your body is about 60% water. Words have a greater effect than you or I realize. It’s no wonder that Solomon wrote in Proverbs 18:21 that death and life are in the power of the tongue. The words we say to our spouse, our children, our family, our neighbors, our co-workers, and those driving around us have real consequences. It’s so important that we learn to speak blessings over them.

Today, to end this devotion, I’m going to bless you with the words God told Moses to use to bless the congregation of Israel in Numbers 6:24-26.

“May the LORD bless you and protect you. May the LORD smile on you and be gracious to you. May the LORD show you his favor and give you his peace” (NLT).

If you would like to watch a video of Masaru Emoto’s work, click here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized