Monthly Archives: April 2022

Provision In The Desert

In the Bible the desert was used as a place for refinement, testing and growth. Matthew 4:1 tells us that the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert. In Exodus the glory of God led the Israelites into the desert. If you find yourself wandering through a dry season in your life, take heart. God is doing something in your life to make you more like Him or to have you learn to depend on Him more. He hasn’t abandoned you or left you there forever. Instead, just like He did for others in the desert, He makes it a place where He provides and does the miraculous.

Here are some Bible verses on God’s provision in the desert.

1. I will open up rivers for them on the high plateaus. I will give them fountains of water in the valleys. I will fill the desert with pools of water. Rivers fed by springs will flow across the parched ground.

Isaiah 41:18 NLT

2. They were not thirsty when he led them through the desert. He divided the rock, and water gushed out for them to drink.

Isaiah 48:21 NLT

3. God reveals himself when he makes the fault lines quake, shaking deserts, speaking his voice.

Psalms 29:8 TPT

4. He found him in a desert land, In the howling wasteland of a wilderness; He kept circling him, He took care of him, He protected him as the apple of His eye.

Deuteronomy 32:10 AMP

5. I took care of you in a dry, desert land.

Hosea 13:5 GNT

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Critic’s Math

Several years ago I attended a conference for ministers. One of the speakers was Jon Acuff, and he spoke on critic’s math. The way critics math works is 1 insult + 1,000 complements = 1 insult. We can be praised by everyone for our work, but if one person didn’t like it, we allow that one negative comment to erase all the positive feedback we’ve received. It can be like we never even heard the compliments because our mind spends all its time focusing on the one negative comment rather than our feedback as a whole. Critic’s math is a dangerous thing for us to fall into.

An example is in the Book of Esther. Haman was the King’s prime minister. He had been put in such a high position, that the king declared everyone should bow to him as he passed by. Everyone bowed down except one. Mordecai refused. In the fifth chapter, Esther had prepared a banquet for he and the king. When he left, everyone bowed except Mordecai. In verses 12-13, he told his wife and friends, “What is more, Queen Esther gave a banquet for no one but the king and me, and we are invited back tomorrow. But none of this means a thing to me as long as I see that Jew Mordecai sitting at the entrance of the palace” (GNT). He allowed critic’s math to cloud his thinking, and it ultimately cost him everything.

You and I need to accept that we can’t please everyone, and that pleasing people is not our goal. Pleasing God is. Ecclesiastes 7:21 warns, “Don’t pay attention to everything people say…” When you receive negative feedback, take it constructively, but don’t give it so much weight that it distracts you from what God has called you to. What He has to say is far more important than what any person has to say. Keep focusing on what God wants to do in your life and through you, and don’t let one person’s negativity keep you from reaching your potential or from finishing your race.

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


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Paying The Price

Several years ago my friend invited me to a dinner and auction to support a local ministry. After the dinner the auction started. I was excited because there were some great items in it. When a 9 mm Smith and Wesson came up for auction, I raised my hand at the $250 mark. I kept bidding against the other person until it got to $500. My friend asked why I quit bidding as the auctioneer said, “Going once!” I explained that i had seen that gun in the store for $500. I tnought, “Why pay more?” He gave me a disappointed look as the auctioneer said, “Going twice.” Still looking at me, he raised his hand and said, “$700!” The auctioneer said, “Sold!” I realized in that moment that i wanted the benefit of the gun without paying the cost. I had missed the point of the auction,

In 2 Samuel 24, God was mad at David and caused a plague on the land. As the angel stood over Jerusalem to destroy its people, God sent the prophet Gad to tell David to build Him an offer and to make a sacrifice on it where the angel stood. David rushed to the threshing floor of Araunah and asked to buy the property. Araunah told him to take it for free since he was the king. David refused. In verse 24 he said, “No, I insist on buying it, for I will not present burnt offerings to the Lord my God that have cost me nothing” (NLT). David understood that in order to get the benefit of God’s blessing and a reversal of the curse, he needed to pay something.

In Matthew 16:24 Jesus said, “If you truly want to follow me, you should at once completely reject and disown your own life. And you must be willing to share my cross and experience it as your own, as you continually surrender to my ways” (TPT). There are a lot of people who want to follow Jesus, but aren’t willing to pay the cost. They want the benefit of what He offers, but don’t want to give up their life. There’s no other way to be a true disciple and follower of Christ without taking up your cross daily, sacrificing your old way of living and surrendering to His way of life. To follow Jesus is to give up your life and way of living the same way He did.

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Seeking God’s Advice

Several years ago W.W.J.D. took over pop culture. If you didn’t have a bracelet, shirt or hat with it on it, you were not with it. Everyone was asking what would Jesus do to help guide them. That was great, but how often do we ask Him what we should do? I’m pretty good at asking him for direction on big decisions, but not so good at asking Him about smaller ones. Also, I tend to make my own decisions when the answer looks obvious to me, but truthfully, we should be seeking His advice and direction in all aspects of our life, even the ones that seem obvious.

In Joshua 9, the word about Israel defeating Jericho was spreading. Some kings who lived nearby knew that Israel was going to take over the whole land, so they devised a plan to trick them. They sent a group of people with dry, moldy bread, wine skins that had burst and worn out clothes to seek a peace agreement. Verse 14 says, “So the Israelites examined their food, but they did not consult the Lord” (NLT). The answer seemed obvious so they didn’t seek God for direction. They agreed to the treaty only to find out a few days later that they lived in the Promised Land. They entered a peace treaty with someone they were told to destroy all because they relied on their own understanding instead of God’s.

Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on him to guide you, and he will lead you in every decision you make” (TPT). When we rely on our own understanding, we’re not seeing the whole picture. It may seem obvious to us, but we need to rely on God to guide us, especially in seemingly small decisions. When you make the right decisions in small things, you prevent big problems down the road. God is available to guide us in every area of our life and in every decision we make. It’s up to us to take the time to seek His advice on what we should do.

Thanks to Soroush Karimi @soroushkarimi for making this photo available freely on Unsplash


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Too Much To Handle

I saw a lady this weekend wearing a shirt that said something to the effect of, “If God doesn’t give us more than we can handle, He must think I’m Wonder Woman.” She’s being a bit facetious, but also a bit snarky. When we’re facing circumstances that we can’t handle and it seems to be a constant barrage of things, it’s normal to wonder what God’s doing and if He even cares. It can lead us to wonder if He’s even aware of what we’re facing, what we did to make Him mad at us and what do we gotta do to get His attention to make it stop. I believe this is what this woman’s shirt was conveying and what many of us feel in similar circumstances.

Job felt this way. Yes, when he lost everything, he bowed in worship. However, the rest of the book is him trying to get God’s attention. Here’s a sample of Job speaking of his anguish in Job 30, “I cry to you, O God, but you don’t answer. I stand before you, but you don’t even look. You have become cruel toward me. You use your power to persecute me. You throw me into the whirlwind and destroy me in the storm” (NLT). He didn’t understand what was going on behind the scenes. He didn’t know that God was allowing him to be tested to prove his faithfulness. Yet he spoke out wondering if God even knew what was going on. It’s the same feelings we feel in difficult times, but we must trust God’s Word over our feelings.

Psalm 31:7 says, “I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul.” David made a choice to be glad and to rejoice in God’s unfailing love despite his circumstances or feelings. He understood that God is aware and active in his circumstances. He was also aware that there are things he can’t see or know, but trusted in God’s plan despite what he was facing. It’s a lesson each of us need to remember when we’re facing more than we can handle. The Bible never says that God won’t give you more than you can handle, but it does say that He sees what you’re going through, He cares about the anguish you’re feeling and that His grace will be sufficient. Trust His Word instead of your feelings and circumstances.

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Honoring Everyone

The word “honor” in the Bible means respect, but also something more. It means to give weight to something or someone. We each have people in our lives whose advice carries more weight than others. That’s an example of how honor is used in Scriptures. When we honor our parents or God, we give them the kind of weight in our lives. The thing is that the Bible doesn’t just tell us to honor them only. There are lots of areas where we are to honor others. I heard someone once say, “When you show me respect (honor), I’ll show you respect (honor).” That is an unbiblical statement. We start with honoring people because we honor God who put His fingerprint on them and made them in His image.

Here are some Bible verses on honor.

1. Show respect for old people and honor them. Reverently obey me; I am the Lord.

Leviticus 19:32 (GNT)

2. Show respect for all men [treat them honorably]. Love the brotherhood (the Christian fraternity of which Christ is the Head). Reverence God. Honor the emperor.

1 Peter 2:17 (AMP)

3. Render to all men their dues. [Pay] taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, and honor to whom honor is due.

Romans 13:7 (AMP)

4. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.

Romans 12:10 (NLT)

5. And now, friends, we ask you to honor those leaders who work so hard for you, who have been given the responsibility of urging and guiding you along in your obedience. Overwhelm them with appreciation and love!

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 (MSG)

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Seasons Of Life

Did you know that there are four seasons to farming? In the Spring, it’s the time of planting. The soil is tilled and seeds are placed at the right depth and spacing. In the Summer, it’s critical to make sure the crops are getting the right amount of water, fertilizer and sunlight. With the Fall comes the harvest. It’s about gathering in the produce at the peak of ripeness and then ripping out the old stalks so the ground can be infused with organic matter. Then, when the winter comes, the land has an opportunity to rest. You also spend this time repairing your tools and getting ready for the next Spring.

As I read that, I can’t help but think of the seasons of our life. Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us there is a time and a season for everything. That includes our lives. Some of us are in a season of planting and preparing for what’s coming. Some of us are in a season of working on growing what we’ve planted. Some of us are in a season of harvest where we are reaping the benefits of what we’ve done. Others are in a season of rest where things in your life have been ripped up and it’s time to make repairs so you can plant again. Have you ever considered what season you’re in and the responsibilities God has given you for that season?

Proverbs 10:5 says, “Know the importance of the season you’re in and a wise son you will be. But what a waste when an incompetent son sleeps through his day of opportunity!” (TPT) God has you in this season for a purpose. In every season you find yourself in, there are things you should be doing for that season as well as things to prepare for the next season. Ask God to give you wisdom to know the things you should be doing in your season. Every season comes and goes. You will not be in this season forever, so make the most of it. Don’t let the opportunity of what God is trying to do in your life during this season pass by.

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

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A Conditional Mindset

Have you ever told God, “I’ll go wherever you want me to go, except…”? Or you might have said, “I’ll do anything you want me to, except…” it’s crazy how we sometimes put conditions on our obedience. The truth is that we’ve got a mindset that we’ve adopted on earth that makes us think we can do that. For some reason we’ve bought the lie that we get to pick and choose what we want to obey. You can’t say, “God, I’ll honor you, but I’m not going to honor my spouse or my parents.” To dishonor them is to dishonor God and the commandment He’s given. The mindset that tells God what we are and are not going to do is wrong.

Take Jonah for example. God told him where to go and what to say. He didn’t say anything back to God. He went down to the shore, bought a ticket like he was going and boarded a ship in the opposite direction. His mindset was the kind that said, “I’ll go wherever you want except Nineveh.” God wasn’t pleased with Jonah, nor is He pleased with us when we adopt the same mindset. He might not send a great fish to swallow you so you’ll get an attitude adjustment and a mindset change, but He will try to get your attention so you’ll follow and say what the Spirit leads you to do and say. We can’t forget that He is the potter and we are the clay.

Romans 8:7 puts it plainly what’s happening when we do this to God. It says, “In fact, the mind-set focused on the flesh fights God’s plan and refuses to submit to his direction, because it cannot!” (TPT) When we refuse to submit to God’s direction for our lives, we’ve adopted a flesh driven mindset rather than a Spirit led one. It’s a visible sign of rebellion because of a lack of submission to God. To live by the Spirit is to live in obedience and without conditions to what God says on how to live, where to go and what to say. It’s the way God has asked you and I to live. The next time you find yourself putting conditions on obeying, stop the sentence, repent and say, “I’m your servant. I’ll do whatever you want.” It may not be easy, but that’s what a Spirit led life looks like.

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An Act Of Faith

Growing up, I loved watching the Indiana Jones movies. They were action packed, funny and took place all over the world. One of my favorite scenes came from “The Last Crusade”. Indiana Jones was standing at the edge of a cliff and needed to cross it. The instructions he had told him to do an act of faith and step off the cliff. You could see him contemplating what would happen if he just stepped off the cliff. I held my breath as he lifted one leg, lifted it over the edge and took the step. To his surprise, and the audience too, there was a hidden bridge there he couldn’t see from his perspective. His act of faith paid off.

In Joshua 3, it was time for Israel to cross the Jordan. After purifying themselves, they set out for the river. The priests who were carrying the Ark we’re out front leading the way. Their instructions were to walk into the river and then it would dry up for everyone to cross. Verse 15 tells us that when they crossed, it was the time of harvest and that the river was in flood stage and had overrun its banks. I can see the priests standing near the edge of the water as it flowed rapidly by. There might have been a moment of fear, but they took their step of faith and waded into the water. When they did, verse 16 says the waters stopped upstream and the people were able to cross on dry ground.

Hebrews 11:1 says, “To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see” (GNT). God is calling you and I to step into greater acts of faith. He’s calling us to take steps into places we can’t see with our physical eyes. We’re going to have to trust His instructions even when they don’t make sense. You might get a little wet from the waters that look a little too deep, but that’s the life we’re called to. We can be sure of what He tells us because it is more certain than what’s physical in this world. There will always be that voice that wants you to question what God said, but you need to take the step anyway as am act of faith. God will do the rest.

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Peace In God’s Presence

Peace is something that I think is misunderstood at times. We like to think it’s the opposite of problems and stresses in life, but it’s more than that. It comes from relying on and being in God’s presence during those times. Our enemy wants us to blame God for our problems so that we run from Him and the peace He offers during the chaotic times of life. He knows that when we blame God, and lack peace, chaos can have its way and begin to ruin our relationship with our creator. Thankfully, even in those times, God continues to reach out to us to pull us closer to Him.

In Job 16, Job had been arguing with his friends. They had turned his heart from the worship we saw when the chaos in his life began. Instead of worship, he began to blame. In verse 7 Job says, “But now God has exhausted me. You [O Lord] have destroyed all my family and my household” (AMP). He was still maintaining his innocence, but had began to blame God which led to him questioning God. Thankfully, this book pulls the veil back a bit so that we can see what was really going on so that we can understand it’s not God causing the chaos, even though He may allow it. Like Job ended up doing, we must ultimately draw closer to God when our life gets turned upside down.

Psalm 91:1 has been referred to as our 911. It’s what we’re to do when things happen in our lives that’s more than we can bear. It says, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will remain secure and rest in the shadow of the Almighty [whose power no enemy can withstand].” Not only will we remain secure when we run to God during the chaotic times of our lives, but we will find rest from the peace He offers. The enemy may be able to touch your body, your family, your job and your way of living, but when you run to God’s presence, he can’t touch your peace. He can’t touch your soul. Trust in God who brings you abundant life while the enemy tries to steal, kill and destroy everything in your life. You’ll find peace and rest that are beyond understanding.

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