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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