Monthly Archives: July 2016

Worth Restoring


I enjoy watching shows on TV that restore things that are past their prime and have been sitting hidden for years. There’s something exciting about watching them take something old and worn out and giving it life again. The work is often meticulous and time consuming. When they’re done, I like to see how the value of the item grows exponentially. It makes me want to go to flea markets and garage sales to find items to restore. The problem is I don’t know which items are worth restoring.

When it comes to restoring people, God is the expert. He has the ability to look past our current condition, and can see our potential. If we are willing, He is able to do the work in our life that it takes to bring about a full restoration. He’s not content to leave us in our broken, worn out state. He wants to restore our joy, our hope, our soul, and our life. II Chronicles 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth so that He may support those whose heart is completely His” (AMP). God is looking for those He can support through restoration.

Here are some verses in the Bible about restoration.

1. I am the high and holy God, who lives forever. I live in a high and holy place, but I also live with people who are humble and repentant, so that I can restore their confidence and hope.
Isaiah 57:15 GNT

2. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Psalm 51:12 AMP

3. You will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again.
Psalms 71:21 NLT

4. I’ll refresh tired bodies; I’ll restore tired souls.
Jeremiah 31:25 MSG

5. if you are so honest and pure, then God will come and help you and restore your household as your reward.
Job 8:6 GNT

6. And the prayer [that is] of faith will save him who is sick, and the Lord will restore him; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
James 5:15 AMP

7. In just a short time he will restore us, so that we may live in his presence.

Hosea 6:2 NLT

8. And I will restore or replace for you the years that the locust has eaten–the hopping locust, the stripping locust, and the crawling locust, My great army which I sent among you.
Joel 2:25 AMP

9. But you, O Lord, are always my shield from danger; you give me victory and restore my courage.
Psalm 3:3 GNT

10. Restore us, O LORD, and bring us back to you again! Give us back the joys we once had!
Lamentations 5:21 NLT

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Higher Ways 


The company I work for is constantly making changes in how we do things and what we offer our customers. I remember how early on in my career I would get upset with the higher ups because I didn’t think the changes were good.. I would say things like, “What are they thinking? Why would they do that? Why do they put us in this position? We are the ones who have to face the customers!” As I’ve progressed in my career, I’ve come to learn that those decisions were best for us as a company and for our customers. It turns out they look at everything differently.

I’ve learned to trust their decisions over time, even if I don’t understand them. I could say the same thing about God. There have been changes in my life that I haven’t cared for. Things have happened to me that I didn’t understand. At the time I prayed, “Why God? Why did you let this happen to me? Why did that person have to be taken out of my life? Why am I having to go through this? This doesn’t make any sense to me!” Looking back over my life, I see what God was doing in most cases.

Just like I’ve learned to trust the higher ups at my job, I’ve learned to trust God in situations I don’t understand. Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “‘My thoughts,’ says the Lord, ‘are not like yours, and my ways are different from yours. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways and thoughts above yours’” (GNT). God sees things differently than we do. His thoughts and plans are way above ours. While we are simply looking at a piece of the puzzle, He’s looking at the photo on the box.

He knows how everything in your life needs to fit together. He knows what needs to happen to prepare you for what’s coming in your life. Each of us has a choice to make. We can either question His every move in our life that we don’t like or we can learn to trust that He sees the bigger picture and is working things out for our good. I’m not saying we are going to understand why things happen. We just need to trust that He does and that should be enough. 

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Your Vindication 


Each one of us comes under attack throughout our lives. Sometimes those attacks are spiritual. These can happen any time, but they especially show up when you start praying strategically and walk in the purpose and plan God has got you. There are times when the attacks are physical as well. These are attacks against your physical person by people deserved or not. Then there are mental attacks. These are often generated by something some said to you, something negative that’s happened to you, or can be destructive self talk you’ve entertained.

In life, it’s not a matter of if you will be attacked one of these ways, it’s a matter of when. As a child of God though, you don’t have to be afraid of any of these attacks. You don’t have to worry that they will destroy you and everything you’ve worked for. You can have peace in the middle of an all out adult on your life because of the promise God gives us in Isaiah 54;17. It says, “But no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall show to be in the wrong. This [peace, righteousness, security, triumph over opposition] is the heritage of the servants of the Lord [those in whom the ideal Servant of the Lord is reproduced]; this is the righteousness or the vindication which they obtain from Me [this is that which I impart to them as their justification], says the Lord” (AMP).

No weapon formed against you shall prosper. This is your heritage as a servant of the Lord! It doesn’t say that you won’t be attacked. It doesn’t say that you won’t suffer damage from the attacks. It says they won’t succeed in destroying you. Because of that, we can have peace, security, and victory over the attack. You are not a victim. You are a victor. You are not a loser. You are a winner. You are not the sum of your failures. You are successful in Him. You are not condemned because of your past. You are righteous according to God’s grace.

Your current situation may not have you feeling like victory is possible. It may seem like there’s no way to win, let alone get out of it. I’ll remind you that there is nothing impossible for God. Your heritage in Him is not defeat. It’s victory over this attack. Claim your victory and ask God to impart to you that which is rightfully yours as His servant. The attacks and suffering may continue for a season, but they will not succeed in destroying you. Your vindication is your coming victory. Walk in it today.

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Whose Fault Was It?


“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (KJV). Isaiah 53:5 is probably one of the most famous prophesies in the Old Testament about Jesus. We’ve memorized it, quoted it, sang it, and prayed it. That verse generates faith and excitement as not only a prophesy, but also as a promise. I could write multiple devotions on that one verse, but that’s not the verse I’m going to write about today.

I want to look at verse 4, the one right before it. I’ve found that in most cases, many of my favorite memory verses were preceded by powerful verses that gave depth and context to them. This verse is no exception. Verse 4 says, “But he endured the suffering that should have been ours, the pain that we should have borne. All the while we thought that his suffering was punishment sent by God” (GNT). That last sentence is what struck me. We thought (and still think) His suffering was punishment sent by God.

His punishment was not sent by God. It was sent by us. By me. By you. You see, we like putting the bad guy stuff on God while we get to reap the rewards of what He endured, but it wasn’t like that. He was wounded for OUR transgressions. It wasn’t for anything He did to God that made Him deserve it. He was bruised for OUR inequities. He didn’t just die for our sins. He died because of them. The chastisement of OUR peace was upon Him. The burden to find peace and well being shifted from us to Him.

It was because of you and me that He suffered and died. It was OUR sins that nailed Him to the cross. It was our sickness that brought 39 stripes from the Cat of Nine Tails. He was beaten and bruised because of our guilt. And we watched thinking it was God doing it to Him. It’s sobering to think about that, but it’s also enlightening because He freely stepped in and took it knowing what was coming. He demonstrated great love showings that it was not just because of us He was tortured. It was FOR us. He took what should have been our punishment out of love. No wonder He told us that there is no greater love than a man who lays down his life for a friend. You have been and always will be His friend.

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Trust Walk


While creating the video for “Billie Jean”, Michael Jackson ran into a problem. The stage was dark and he couldn’t see where to place his feet while dancing. The director came up with a plan to light up the ground where he was going to put his feet. The only problem was that for it to look right, the light would only come on as he put his foot down. He had to trust the director to light up each step as it came during his complicated dance moves. The result of him trusting the director was an iconic video that was a hit.

If you’re like me, too often my path appears to be dark and hidden. I don’t know where my next step is. The fear of taking a misstep can be paralyzing. Because I can’t see the next step, I often stay where I am longer than I should. I pray and pray for God to show me where to go and what to do, but more often than not, the path seems to be hidden. As a result, I’m not where God wants me, when He needs me to be there. I miss out on my potential.

The reason this happens is I want God to light up my next step before I take it. God. Who is the director of our lives, is often telling us, “Trust me. Take the step and I’ll light it up. I know it seems complicated, but I’ve orchestrated everything.” So much of His plan for our lives relies on our ability to trust Him and to step out in faith. Isaiah 50:10 says, “All of you that honor the Lord and obey the words of his servant, the path you walk may be dark indeed, but trust in the Lord, rely on your God” (GNT).

Our lives are really a trust walk. We have to trust God to light up each step as we take it. Things may be complicated to us, but He knows your next move. He knows where you’re going to put your foot down. He’s ready to light it up, but will only do so once you pick up your foot from where you are and take that step of faith. God, the director of your life, will not fail you when you step out in faith and trust Him. When you do, the result of your life will be a beautiful masterpiece that could only have been directed by God Himself.

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Stillness And Reflection


My friend Michael wrote an interesting article on his blog called “How To Start A Revival“. In it, he describes how our modern, technology driven world has robbed us of the age old discipline of uninterrupted thinking. He wrote, “We live in a culture immune to stillness and reflection.” He described how we as Christians are often plagued by this in our prayer life. We can’t sit through a time of prayer without thinking about what’s on social media, the news, apps, or our to-do lists.

As I read this article, I couldn’t help but think of how I, and so many others, have become distracted to the point that we can’t hardly give God five uninterrupted minutes of prayer, meditation, or deep thought. I believe we are seeing the ripple effect in the culture of the Church, and that has a ripple affect on our world. If we truly want to experience the depths of God, we are going to have to think deeply with Him, and that requires stillness and reflection.

Here are some examples and verses in the Bible about stillness and reflection.

1. I reflect at night on who you are, O LORD; therefore, I obey your instructions.
Psalms 119:55 NLT

2. Hear this, O Job; stand still and consider the wondrous works of God.
Job 37:14 AMP

3. Instead, I am content and at peace. As a child lies quietly in its mother’s arms, so my heart is quiet within me.
Psalm 131:2 GNT

4. I’m asking GOD for one thing, only one thing: To live with him in his house my whole life long. I’ll contemplate his beauty; I’ll study at his feet. That’s the only quiet, secure place in a noisy world, The perfect getaway, far from the buzz of traffic.

Psalm 27:4-5 MSG

5. Help me understand the meaning of your commandments, and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds.
Psalms 119:27 NLT

6. This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success.
Joshua 1:8 AMP

7. I will remember your great deeds, Lord; I will recall the wonders you did in the past. I will think about all that you have done; I will meditate on all your mighty acts.
Psalm 77:11-12 GNT

8. Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.

Psalms 46:10 NLT

9. BLESSED (HAPPY, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather. But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night. 
Psalm 1:1-2 AMP

10. How amazing are the deeds of the LORD! All who delight in him should ponder them.
Psalms 111:2 NLT

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Beautiful Feet


When most people think of feet, “beautiful” is not a word that comes to their mind. In the Middle East, feet are used to convey negative emotions rather than positive ones. The Bible discusses feet in that context over and over. In Genesis, it implies that we will bruise the enemies head with our heel. Jesus told the disciples to shake the dust off their feet when people wouldn’t receive the Good News. It was a really big deal that Jesus washed feet. By holding them up to wash them, He was teaching the disciples to be lowly servant leaders.

In light of all that, it is significant that in Isaiah 52, God called feet beautiful. If you think that doesn’t compute with us, imagine the significance to that culture. Verse seven says, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!” (NLT). God took what was once used to insult someone and showed how it could be used positively.

We all know that the Great Commission is to go into all the world, to carry the good news of salvation to every tribe, tongue, and people. God sees it as a beautiful thing when we obey His command and share our faith. You were never meant to keep it inside of you or to yourself. Your feet were meant to help you carry the Gospel to the ends of the earth. I like how Bob Goff says that if you don’t know where to go, grab a globe, spin it, and put your finger down. You’ve already been called to go. God will bless you when you follow His command.

If you want these “beautiful feet”, then go into the world spreading the Gospel. I understand that some of us can’t physically go, but there are still a couple of ways to have beautiful feet. We can all pray for those who go and live apart from family and friends, and give up the comforts of a familiar place called home. The other is that each of us can support those who go. No gift is too small for those who live and serve on the mission field. The money you sow into their ministry will yield a harvest of souls that you will be a part of. Each of us can have beautiful feet in God’s sight.

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Comfort In The Chaos


To me, one of the most comforting promises of God is found in the first two verses of Isaiah 43. God says, “Do not be afraid—I will save you. I have called you by name—you are mine. When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you. When you pass through fire, you will not be burned; the hard trials that come will not hurt you” (GNT). I can know that whatever mountain I’m facing, trial I’m going through, or difficulty I’m having, God will not let me go through it alone.

This verse reminds me to get rid of fear first. Fear takes my eyes off of my savior and puts them on my problems. Fear makes my problems appear to be bigger than God. It can cripple me and prevent my progress in the middle of a trial I’m called to walk through. It makes me want to give up because the struggle is so difficult. But God does not give me a spirit of fear. He gives me a spirit of power and a sound mind so I can advance through whatever I face.

The next part reminds me that I’m His child. When my own child gets in danger, the first thing I do is shout his name to get his attention. God does that to us. In the midst of our chaos, God calls our name to get us to look to Him. When we’re facing uncertainty and feel like we’re drowning in sorrow, it’s His voice we need to listen for. He reminds us that we are His, and He will not leave us nor abandon us in our times I’d desperate need.

When I feel like I’m overwhelmed and I can’t seem to find the light of day, I have the promise that God is with me. He is the rock that higher than I am when those floods come in and wash me down stream. When everything I’m standing on appears to be sinking sand, He is the rock of my foundation. I know that my life is built on Him, and even though everything else seems to be lost, I can trust that my foundation is sure.

Finally, I can rest knowing that my trials will not hurt me in the long run. I know that God works in all things for my good. Set backs, unanswered prayers, times of darkness in my life, and fiery trials all make me stronger and purify my faith. When I feel like giving up, I remember that there’s no fire great enough to burn me when God is with me. I know He leads me by still waters while protecting me with His rod and staff. I can find comfort in the chaos because He sees me, knows me, and walks through fire with me.

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A Repurposed Life


One of the things I like about watching HGTV is to see how the repurpose and reuse previously discarded materials. Who knew you could take old, wooden Coca-Cola bottle boxes, screw them together, put legs under them, and put glass on top to create a cool display coffee table? I love how they find new uses for previously thrown out items or give new life to things that are worn out and are thought to be worthless. Their creativity is inspiring.

When I watch that, I can’t help but think, “That’s what God does with us!” He takes our lives that are broken, used up, out dated,and seemingly useless, and repurposes us. He gives us new life and makes us more beautiful than before. He sometimes find us in life’s scrap pile and thinks, “I can find new life and uses for this.” When everyone else sees someone worth discarding, God sees potential. This always gives me hope.

In Isaiah 41, God had strong words for Israel. They had fallen away and were scattered. They were a people who were broken and thought of as trash, but God doesn’t like to leave His children that way. In verse 9 He said, “I have called you back from the ends of the earth, saying, ‘You are my servant.’ For I have chosen you and will not throw you away” (NLT). When others, and often ourselves, don’t see anything of worth in your life and are willing to toss you out with yesterday’s garbage, God sees someone He values highly.

In verse 10, He goes on to say, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Not only does He see your life as valuable and worthy of repurposing, He’s going to give you strength, help, and victory for the transition. It’s not always easy being repurposed, but if we will let God have complete control over our lives, He will make something beautiful and useful.

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Trust In The Lord

When I was young, my dad taught me to play chess. I love the strategy of chess, the need to think ahead, and the anticipation of your opponent’s next move. What I don’t like about chess is when my King is on the run, and is being backed into a check mate situation. I don’t really like to lose, and in chess, you can usually see it happen before it does. Being powerless to help in any situation makes me feel a lot like that. I don’t see a way out, so I’m powerless to help. In real life situations, I get weak and tired from worrying about the outcome, especially if I can’t see the way to victory.

Maybe you’ve been there to. You’ve either been in or are in a situation where there’s no clear path to victory. You feel powerless over the outcome, and you’re tired from all the stress and mental exhaustion. When we are tired and mentally exhausted, our immune system grows weaker. We become more susceptible to illness. I think that why in Proverbs 17:22 Solomon wrote, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength” (NLT).

I know can be hard to have a cheerful heart when everything points to your defeat. That’s why I love the promises God gives in Isaiah 40. Verse 29 says, “He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.” It’s in our weakness that God gives His power to us. It’s when we are powerless over the outcome that God gives us the strength to continue. We don’t have to see the outcome 5 moves in advance. We can trust God that His will, will be done. We can trust that whatever comes our way can be used for our good.

If you’re tired, weak, and exhausted from trying to find the solution, give it to God. Lay it down on the altar and give Him control of the outcome. Your worrying about it isn’t going to solve it. He wants to give you strength and the power to handle it though. The final verse in Isaiah 40 reminds us, “But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” It starts with putting your trust in the Lord.

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