Monthly Archives: June 2018

Seeking Advice

In 1 Kings 12, Solomon’s son Rehoboam became king. The people asked him to lighten the load that his father had put on them. He asked for time to talk to advisors and would answer. He went to his father’s advisors first. They agreed he should lighten the load so the people would be loyal. Then he went to his friends who were younger. They advised him to make things harder. He rejected the advice of the older people, and the nation revolted. The kingdom split in two and he only ruled a small portion of Israel.

We all need advice from time to time, even Solomon did. Who we listen to determines how life is going to go for us. Good advisors don’t just tell us what we want to hear. They give us wisdom and see things we can’t. The best advisors are people who are older than us because they’ve been down the road and know where the road bumps are. Ultimately, every decision we make is ours, and we have to bear the responsibility for those choices. So when you’re looking for advice, lay down your pride and get it from people who are wiser than you.

Here are some verses on getting advice.

1. Sensible people accept good advice. People who talk foolishly will come to ruin.

Proverbs 10:8 GNT

2. People who despise advice are asking for trouble; those who respect a command will succeed.

Proverbs 13:13 NLT

3. Without consultation and wise advice, plans are frustrated, But with many counselors they are established and succeed.

PROVERBS 15:22 AMP

4. Fools are headstrong and do what they like; wise people take advice.

Proverbs 12:15 MSG

5. Pride leads to conflict; those who take advice are wise.

Proverbs 13:10 NLT

Photo by Harli Marten on Unsplash

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Right Now

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

Do you ever find yourself letting your mind wander through all the possible outcomes of a situation? Before you know it, you can lose a couple of hours or even a day. I’ve been known to lose sleep just thinking about all the “what if’s”. When I was at a dead end in life and was forced to file bankruptcy, I couldn’t find any outcome that was positive. I was worried sick over how hard the next seven years were going to be. I couldn’t stop thinking of all the implications of it, not to mention the embarrassment. I got caught up in an endless cycle of thoughts that were detrimental to my well being.

God knows all too well how our minds work. I think that’s why Jesus dealt with those of us who are constantly living in the future of “what if’s” instead of in the present what is. In Matthew 6:34, Jesus said, “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. (MSG)” He was very plain in that verse and His words hit home with someone like me.

When I give my attention to the “what if’s”, I take away from what God is doing in this very moment. I lose sight of the reality that He is creating in my life right now. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow. I have no clue how my current situation will end, but God does. He knows all too well what tomorrow will bring and what I need to do today in order to prepare for it. When I worry about the possibilities, I miss out on what He’s showing me right now in order to help me tomorrow. That’s why He wants me to give my entire attention to what He’s doing today, not what He’s going to do.

In the second part of that verse, Jesus assures us that God will help us with what comes next. He’s not going to let you walk into a trap and then abandon you. He’s not going to hang you out to dry when times get tough. People may do that, but God never will. Jesus said that He will help you with whatever hard things come up and will be there for you when you need him. Deuteronomy 3:18 says, “The Lord your God goes with you, He will never leave you nor forsake you.” I don’t know what hard thing you’re facing today, but God does and He’ll help you deal with it. Don’t use today’s energy worrying about tomorrow’s problems. God is with you right now, using whatever it is to produce things in your life that won’t grow any other way. Trust His plan and lean on His strength.

Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Led By God’s Love

I grew up seeing things very black and white. I believed I had a firm grasp on all the rules in the Bible. The way I interpreted those rules was simple, if you broke any of them, you were going straight to Hell. There was no room for mercy or grace in my mind because those things don’t follow the rules very well. They aren’t easily definable and didn’t fit into my black and white world. It wasn’t until I got older that I began to make room for those in my mind and in my life. The more I looked at the things Jesus did, the more I saw that He wasn’t about the rules as much as the Pharisees were.

One of the stories that helps me to see differently is in Luke 13:10-17. Jesus was teaching in the synagogue on the Sabbath. There was a woman listening who had arthritis so bad that her body was twisted and she couldn’t look up. Jesus saw her, laid hands on her and healed her. The head person was furious with Jesus. He said, “Six days have been defined as work days. Come on one of the six if you want to be healed, but not on the seventh, the Sabbath.” But Jesus shot back, “You frauds! Each Sabbath every one of you regularly unties your cow or donkey from its stall, leads it out for water, and thinks nothing of it. So why isn’t it all right for me to untie this daughter of Abraham and lead her from the stall where Satan has had her tied these eighteen years?” (MSG).

Jesus was telling them and us that it’s not just about the rules. We’ve got to have compassion, mercy, love and grace too. As I said, those don’t always fit into our predefined understanding of the rules, but Jesus constantly showed us that those things trumped the rules we try to force people to live by. Jesus was constantly at odds with the legalism of the Jewish leaders and did things like this to help open their eyes to what God really wants from us. A life led by God’s love for others will always yield more fruit than one bound by legalistic thinking. Yes, we need the rules, but without compassion we miss the point.

Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Trusting God To Fight

If you’ve ever read through the books of Kings or Chronicles, then you know it’s the stories of the Kings of Israel. A lot of it is this king did what was right in God’s eyes or this king did not do what was right. One of the Kings who did what was right was Hezekiah. He cleaned out the Temple, purified it and began to have the people live God’s way again. A few verses later, an undefeated army started besieging towns, then turned their eyes to Jerusalem. Instead of panicking, he prepared for war and made things difficult for the opposing army. That’s when they sent a message to Hezekiah and Israel to try to win psychologically.

The message said things like, “Why would you have confidence when I’m the one attacking? Don’t you know I’m undefeated? Your king is lying to you giving you false hope. The gods of other nations couldn’t stop me, your God can’t either. Give up now. Why delay the inevitable?” Hezekiah countered to his people in 2 Chronicles 32:7-8 by saying, “Be determined and confident, and don’t be afraid of the Assyrian emperor or of the army he is leading. We have more power on our side than he has on his. He has human power, but we have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles” (GNT). God fought for Israel and sent that army home in shame.

I tell you that story because many times our enemy comes against us psychologically telling us we’re not good enough, God doesn’t love us, it’s easier to just quit, we will never find happiness, we’re all alone, etc. He tells us enough so that he can change how we feel about God and affect our behaviors, but those are lies. Greater is He that is in you. He can and will fight off our enemy when we call on Him and are determined to trust Him no matter what everything appears to look like. Put God’s Word in your mind. Know who you are in Christ and you will be able to win the victory.

The above picture was drawn by my friend Becky Woods. You can purchase prints of it here.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Healing Old Wounds

When I went through a devastating time several years ago, friends and family wanted to comfort me. Many offered up some phrases to try to help me. One was, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Another was, “Time heals all wounds.” My heart was broken and I was devastated. I couldn’t see past my pain to believe that one. Then, as time went on, things would trigger my pain and it would be as raw as it was before. I found that time didn’t heal my wounds, it simply helped to cover them up. At any given moment, I was susceptible to the wound being reopened and feeling it all over again.

Several years later, God spoke to me through an evangelist’s message that I needed to reopen the wound so that God could heal it. God then peeled back the layers that time had put over it. God began to do the work that had needed to be done. He brought about the healing that I needed. Psalms 147:3 says, “He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds [healing their pain and comforting their sorrow]” (AMP). I found that it’s God who heals all wounds, not time.

Every one of us have hidden pain that we’ve let time cover up. We believed the myth that time heals all wounds and we’re walking time bombs until we allow God to come in and bring the healing. The healing starts with a prayer asking God to come and heal the brokenness in you. It may require opening those wounds up again and sorting them out with Him. I’ve learned that when God brings healing, He doesn’t cover up the scars or make them go away. He then uses them to bring healing to other people.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Don’t Give Up

Life is full of opportunities where it seems easier to just give up. Despite what you see on social media, everyone had challenges and things they face that push them to their limit. We all have a white flag of surrender that’s just itching to come out in certain situations, but there are no rewards in giving up. There is no growth in quitting. Proverbs reminds us that no matter how many times you and I get knocked down, we are to get back up. We must purpose in our hearts that we won’t be defeated and that we won’t give up or we’ll take the easy way out when it shows up.

Most of the time, our breakthrough is just beyond the point where we want to give up. Anything worth having is worth fighting for. It requires us to hang in there and stay engaged. As Ephesians 6 put it, after we’ve done everything, we should at least still be standing. When we continue to stand despite the set backs, despite the sucker punches, despite the news we receive, God honors that. Giving up is admitting defeat, but you and I fight from a place of victory that’s already been won.

Here are some verses on not giving up.

1. Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up. Expect GOD to get here soon.

Psalm 31:24 MSG

2. Think of what he went through; how he put up with so much hatred from sinners! So do not let yourselves become discouraged and give up.

Hebrews 12:3 GNT

3. Now Jesus was telling the disciples a parable to make the point that at all times they ought to pray and not give up and lose heart.

LUKE 18:1 AMP

4. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.

Galatians 6:9 NLT

5. They were trying to intimidate us into quitting. They thought, “They’ll give up; they’ll never finish it.” I prayed, “Give me strength.”

Nehemiah 6:9 MSG

Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Handling Transitions

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

Times of transition in life can be difficult. There’s the fear of the unknown and the excitement of a new beginning mixed up with the stress of change. Each one of us goes through these times in our lives. They usually aren’t easy to walk through because you don’t know how long the transitional period will be, you don’t know how much life will really change and You doubt that your making the right decision. I’ve learned there are things we can do to help these times go by more smoothly.

The first thing you can do is to be patient. David’s transition from shepherd to King took years. He had to learn to be patient during that transition time. He didn’t quite have all the skills necessary to be a successful King. There were still lessons to be learned in the pasture and on the battlefield before he was ready. God knows what you need in order be successful in the next step He has for you. Don’t rush into the next phase. Let Him continue to work in you and through you as He moves you into your next phase.

The next thing I’ve learned is to be obedient. When Queen Esther was faced with having to make a transition in her relationship with the king, she was scared. She decided she would rather procrastinate than to face him and save her people. In Esther 4:14, her uncle Mordecai said, “Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” God has you in this time of transition for a purpose. Your obedience still matters. Perhaps your transition is not for your benefit, but for that of others. Listen intently to what God is saying and do what He asks.

The last thing you can do is to trust God in the process. He sees the overall plan for your life. He knows what changes need to be made and when, so that you will be where He needs you when He needs you. Don’t panic because things aren’t happening according to your timeline. Allow them to happen in His. We only see a part, but He sees the whole. He will not leave you alone in this process. He will not abandon you to the no man’s land of transition forever. It will come to a close and your next chapter will begin. In the meantime, trust His plan for your life and trust in the process He uses to move you.

These three things are easily said, but much more difficult to live out. I’ve found that in times of transition, it’s easy to get out of your routine of spending time with God. You’re going to have to make time for Him. Whatever it takes, you need to make sure you are staying in His Word and spending time in prayer. Don’t lose sight of Him in the process. He’s there to guide you and has placed people in your path to help you. When you stay close to Him in times of change, those times go by a lot more smoothly.

Photo by Loic Djim on Unsplash

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized