Monthly Archives: May 2019

Times Of Refreshing

In today’s fast paced world where we are having to do more with less, it’s easy to become fatigued and tired. Before the internet and technology as we know it, there weren’t Starbucks on every corner. Technology has improved our lives no doubt, but it has also made us work more than ever. The amount of information we consume also can make us feel like we need a brain break. What we need is a refreshing in our body, mind and spirit. The refreshing that God offers does just that. It reinvigorates us and helps us to be able to continue doing the things that God has called us to no matter what life has brought against us.

Like a glass of ice cold water on a hot day, God wants to bring refreshing times to us no matter what we are going through. His Word promises that if we will go to Him when we are weary and tired, He will refresh us. Like any promise in the Bible, we must do our part first. We need to take time to be still and quiet in His presence. We need to give up the heavy burdens we’re carrying and give them to Him. We need to spend time in His Word and to repent of any sin in our lives, then He will give us times of refreshing that will give us what we need to make it through life and be the light He has called us to be.

Here are some Bible verses on how God promises to refresh us.

1. The law of the LORD is perfect (flawless), restoring and refreshing the soul; The statutes of the LORD are reliable and trustworthy, making wise the simple.

PSALMS 19:7 AMP

2. And now you must repent and turn back to God so that your sins will be removed, and so that times of refreshing will stream from the Lord’s presence.

Acts 3:19 TPT

3. What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord, who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.

Psalms 84:5-6 NLT

4. Now, Lord, do it again! Restore us to our former glory! May streams of your refreshing flow over us until our dry hearts are drenched again.

Psalms 126:4 TPT

5. Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation].

MATTHEW 11:28 AMP

Photo by Radu Florin on Unsplash

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The First Step To Success

When you think of anything you’ve accomplished in life that you’re proud of, you like to tell people about it. When you tell those stories, you start off with the humble beginnings, the adversity you went through and the determination to make it happen. It not only makes for a great story, but just about anything we accomplish in life follows that pattern. People relate to it because either they’re in the beginning stages of something they hope will be successful or they’re facing adversity too. Telling the story gives hope to their dream.

You’ve probably heard the Lao Tzu quote, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Sometimes we look at the thousand miles and never take that first step. For those who take that step, it usually seems insignificant to them, but that journey would never happen unless they took it. So many things in life that we do seem insignificant at the time, but when we look back, we realize how critical they were.

In Zechariah 4, the Lord was giving a vision to Zechariah of the rebuilding of the temple. In verse 10, an angel said, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin” (NLT). If you’ve ever been to Jerusalem or studied the temple, you know just how big the temple was. To rebuild it was a huge undertaking. Just laying the foundation was a big deal. It was a small beginning, but God rejoiced when we they started the work.

God gets excited when you and I begin doing something with what He’s placed in our hearts to do. It can seem like a thousand mile journey, and it probably is, but that first seemingly insignificant step is a milestone that excites God. So many of us never start the work that God plants in our hearts because it seems too daunting or the beginnings seem too small. Don’t let fear or the thought that small things are insignificant keep you from starting. God rejoices in the little things because He has the ability to multiply them. Take your next step today, no matter how insignificant it may feel, and begin to move into the life God has for you.

Photo by yang miao on Unsplash

Throwback Thursday is a 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.

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

A Well Lived Life

Over twenty years ago, “Saving Private Ryan” came out in theaters. It starts off at the Battle of Normandy and is one of the few movies that captures the reality of that day. A group of men are sent to find Private Ryan because both of his brothers had been killed in action and the government deemed it too great a cost for one family to lose all their sons. At the end of the movie, you see an older Private Ryan standing in Arlington National Cemetery speaking to a grave. He said, “To be honest with you, i wasn’t sure how I’d feel coming back here. Every day I think about what you said to me on the bridge (“Earn this”). I tried to live my life the best that I could. I hope that was enough. I hope that, at least in your eyes, I’ve earned what all of you have done for me.”

It’s a very moving scene where a man reflects on his life hoping that he lived it well in response to others paying the ultimate sacrifice so he could live. I can’t help but to put myself in his place thinking about Jesus paying the ultimate sacrifice for my sins. At the end of my life, will I be able to say, “Lord, I gave it my all in response to what you did for me”? Does His death on the cross motivate me, or you, to live our lives to the fullest or are we merely existing going through life without trying? Are we willing to risk it all for Him or are we playing it safe hoping to arrive at Heaven having done nothing for Him? Philippians 3:12 says, “I keep striving to win the prize” (GNT). Paul never took his foot off the gas pressing onward in response to what Jesus did.

Proverbs 15:9 puts it, “A life frittered away disgusts GOD; he loves those who run straight for the finish line” (MSG). God delights in us living our lives intentionally, not to try to earn salvation, but to show our love for Him. Each of us have one life to live, so live it to the best of your ability. Don’t waste your life just trying to make it through each week. Do something with it. Give yourself to serving others. Support people who give up everything to share the Gospel. Find out the name of an orphan and show them the love of the Father. Make your life matter. Life is not about becoming rich and famous. It’s about fulfilling what God created you for. Your life has purpose. Don’t fritter away the talents God gave you. Live life to the fullest.

Photo by Andrea Leopardi on Unsplash

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Remembering God’s Character

If you have lived very long, you’ve been through some diffuse times. Maybe you’ve cried out, “God where are you in all this? Why don’t you show up and intervene? Have you forgotten me? Why can’t you hear me? I need your help desperately and you’re not answering!” I know I’ve used those words in my prayers before. It seems sometimes that when we need God the most, He is quiet. When we pray those desperate prayers and it appears to fall on deaf ears, it hurts worse. Your mind may even start to wonder what you’ve done wrong because it feels like God has left you when you’ve needed Him most.

I don’t know why we go through these times, but I do know that you’re not the only one who has gone through them or felt that way. In Psalm 77, Asaph, who was King David’s chief musician, went through times like that and recorded his prayers. Can you hear the desperation in verses 7-9? “Would you really walk off and leave me forever, my Lord God? Won’t you show me your kind favor, delighting in me again? Has your well of sweet mercy dried up? Will your promises never come true? Have you somehow forgotten to show me love? Are you so angry that you’ve closed your heart of compassion toward me?” (TPT)

First of all, it’s normal to feel those feelings and to ask those questions, but don’t stay in that place. If you do, those feelings can allow bitterness in and it can drive you away from God. Instead, do what Asaph did and remember the character of who God is. Verses 11-12 say, “Once again I’ll go over what GOD has done, lay out on the table the ancient wonders; I’ll ponder all the things you’ve accomplished, and give a long, loving look at your acts” (MSG). When you quit focusing on why God isn’t intervening and remember His character, you flip the table and your faith grows. You get the strength to begin doing what you need to be doing in your situation while you wait for God to show up and do His part.

Photo by Paola Chaaya on Unsplash

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Life Giving Wells

When I was in high school, I went on my first mission trip. We went to a small village in Mexico to finish building a church and to host its opening service. About a month before we went, we got word that a donkey had fallen into their well and died. They were unable to get it out for several days. Their water was tainted and undrinkable. When they finally got it out, they had to drain the well and let it fill back up. Until then, they had to find other ways to get water into the village. I remember visiting that well on our visit. We stood around it and marveled how deep it was. I also remember praying over that well that it would continue to provide life giving water to that village.

Wells are a source of life, and so are the words you put into your mind. The Bible says that the power of life and death is in the tongue. It also tells us that we are what we think. It’s important that you and I guard what we allow into our minds. From books, to news, to movies, to people we hang out with, the words they speak are either giving you life or death. They are either edifying you or tearing you down. Their words reverberate in our minds and become the things we think about. We wouldn’t knowingly drink poisonous water, so why would we knowingly put detrimental words into our mind?

Proverbs 13:14 says, “The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, so, no more drinking from death-tainted wells!” (MSG) If we’re going to change our lives, we’re going to have to change what wells we allow ourselves to drink from. We need to be more cautious about what we allow into our minds so that the thoughts we dwell on are life giving ones. If we drink from life giving wells, then we ourselves can become life giving wells for others. Pay attention to the wells you’re drinking from and ask yourself if they’re a death tainted well or a life giving one. Change where your thoughts come from and you’ll change your life.

Photo by Erda Estremera on Unsplash

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Tested By God

About twenty years ago, I went to purchase a truck. Throughout the process, the salesman would tell me little things about how the different parts of the truck had been tested. One of them I remember clearly was the cloth seats. He showed me a video of how the put blue jeans on a robot arm that rubbed across the seat cloth and pressed down. They said they tested it 250,000 times and the cloth held up. They did this with many parts of the truck. What they were trying to tell me was that this truck was going to last and they knew it because it had been tested and proven.

Believe it or not, God puts you and I through tests. Over and over we go through things that test our mettle, our faith, our endurance and our trust in Him. It’s never fun to go through these times, but they have a purpose. When you go through adversity, no matter how banged up and bruised you are, it gives you the confidence and faith to make it through the next. I heard someone say that they want to arrive at Heaven riding in on fumes, banged up, dented in and exhausted because it would mean they gave life their all and God would have trusted them to go through Hell to bring people out of it. The more you’re tested, the more you can be trusted with greater things.

Here are some Bible verses on being tested by God.

1. Be glad about this, even though it may now be necessary for you to be sad for a while because of the many kinds of trials you suffer. Their purpose is to prove that your faith is genuine. Even gold, which can be destroyed, is tested by fire; and so your faith, which is much more precious than gold, must also be tested, so that it may endure. Then you will receive praise and glory and honor on the Day when Jesus Christ is revealed.

1 Peter 1:6-7 GNT

2. Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman [tested by trial] who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth.

2 TIMOTHY 2:15 AMP

3. God tested us thoroughly to make sure we were qualified to be trusted with this Message. Be assured that when we speak to you we’re not after crowd approval—only God approval. Since we’ve been put through that battery of tests, you’re guaranteed that both we and the Message are free of error, mixed motives, or hidden agendas. We never used words to butter you up. No one knows that better than you. And God knows we never used words as a smoke screen to take advantage of you.

1 Thessalonians 2:3-5 MSG

4. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.

James 1:3 NLT

5. For You have tested us, O God; You have refined us as silver is refined.

PSALMS 66:10 AMP

Photo by Tommy Lisbin on Unsplash

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Worth The Wait

My son has entered the complicated LEGO phase. For his last birthday he received several architectural LEGO sets. He’s at the age where he’s in love with the architecture, but he’s not where he can read the instructions, find the right piece and put it the right place. He knows the finished product is going to be cool, but sometimes struggles to wait for it as we try to put it together. I’m often having to remove pieces he’s added, which isn’t easy. He’s learning to wait for the finished product though.

He reminds me of myself as I wait for God to continue to build my life piece by piece. I know the finished product is going to be worth the wait, but I don’t always have the patience. I want to jump in and help. So I add a piece here or there. Sometimes I just take everything and say, “Oh! I see what you’re doing. I got it from here, God.” Like my son, I feel like I’m more independent than I am. I think I’ve got it figured out at times, but I lack the ability to do what only God can do.

King David must have learned this valuable lesson. After being anointed king, he had to go back to the pasture to watch sheep. After slaying Goliath, he still wasn’t made king. I’m sure he wondered when the promise of his future would happen. In Psalm 25:21 he wrote, “Use all your skill to put me together; I wait to see your finished product” (MSG). He learned to wait to see what God was doing and to not jump the gun, even though others around him encouraged him to. He realized waiting on God to complete His work was worth it.

I’m still learning to trust Him, and to wait for the finished product. Maybe you’re there too. What feels like watching sheep is really preparing you for what God has for you. There is a finished product in what God is doing in you. He will be faithful to complete what He began, but we have to learn to let Him work and to use His skill to put us together. Remember that He’s working for your good, and the finished product is worth the wait.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Throwback Thursday is a 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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized