Monthly Archives: June 2022

Following God’s Direction

Water always takes the path of least resistance. It flows to the lowest point following that path being twisted and turned by whatever is in that path. There are a lot of people who live their lives that way. Their lives are out of control and filled with chaos usually. You and I were not called to live that way though. We must let God direct our lives where we choose to go where He leads. It takes more effort than the path of least resistance because it is purpose driven. If you find yourself meandering in life, ask God to direct your path, and then let it flow where He leads.

Here are some Bible verses on letting God direct your life.

1. May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness and patience of Christ.

2 Thessalonians 3:5 AMP

2. If the Spirit is the source of our life, we must also allow the Spirit to direct every aspect of our lives.

Galatians 5:25 TPT

3. Listen, my son, and be wise, And direct your heart in the way [of the Lord].

Proverbs 23:19 AMP

4. The steps of a [good and righteous] man are directed and established by the Lord, And He delights in his way [and blesses his path].

Psalms 37:23 AMP

5. What I say is this: let the Spirit direct your lives, and you will not satisfy the desires of the human nature.

Galatians 5:16 GNT

Thanks to Wynand Uys @wynand_uys for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁

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The Perfectionist’s Problem

One of the first lessons I learned in writing is that it’s ok to send out a devotion with typos. I apologize to you for them, but it’s partly on purpose. I’m a perfectionist at heart. I like things to be a certain way. I don’t want you distracted by words that have been autocorrected into something I didn’t intend. I also want these devotions to be polished and have the finishing touches put on them so that it’s easy for you to read. However, if I wait until they’re perfect, I’d never put one on the website.

“Perfect” is an illusion that creates procrastination. I can hide behind that word all I want, but really my perfectionism is my fear keeping me from hitting the publish button. I will never have this devotion or any other one perfect because I’m imperfect. I’ll never have all the words just right, the grammatical pieces in place or the setting just right. I can tweak them over and over again, but if I never hit the publish button, what good is it?

I like how Ecclesiastes 11:4 puts this dilemma. It says, “If you wait until the wind and the weather are just right, you will never plant anything and never harvest anything” (GNT). That verse is a huge gut check to my perfectionism. Not hitting the publish button is akin to not planting anything. If I wait until everything is perfect and just right, I’ll never do what God called me to do. It’s a trap that many of us fall into.

As I was wresting with it early on, I was reading a book by Mark Batterson. He wrote that we get “ready, set, go” backwards. We should be more like “go, set, ready”. If God has asked you to do something, start doing it. You’ll never have everything just right or perfect. If you wait until the conditions are right, you’re going to still be standing on the starting line when you die. I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to let my perfectionism keep me procrastinating my whole life. I’m sorry if these aren’t perfect, but neither am I.

Photo by Ivan Bandura on Unsplash

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 Seat At The Table

I’m a pretty self confident person normally. I can be in most situations and feel like I can hold my own. However, when I went to my first executive meeting at a major corporation, I got my confidence wrecked. The guy presenting before me couldn’t defend his projections for the next quarter. The higher ups questioned him and exposed him like nothing I had ever seen. He ended up getting tears in his eyes and shut down in front of everyone. They turned to me and said, “Next!” I don’t remember what I said or how I got through it, but that meeting left a mark. Every time after that, when I walked into a board room with a giant table full of suits sitting at it, I felt like I didn’t belong there. I became quiet and meek. When they asked what I thought about something, inside I wondered why they cared what little, old me cared about.

In 2 Samuel 9, King David asked if any of Jonathan’s relatives were still alive so that he could show kindness to them and to fulfill his promise to his best friend. They told him about Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth who became paralyzed when he was dropped as a child as they were on the run. David asked for him to be brought in. In those days, when a new king took over, they killed everyone who could possibly have a claim to the throne. Mephibosheth would have been second in line and was terrified to meet with David. When he arrived, David gave him all of Saul’s land and invited him to dine at the king’s table. In verse 8 Mephibosheth replied, “Who is your servant, that you should show such kindness to a dead dog like me?” (NLT) He didn’t feel like he belonged at that table, but he began to eat there anyway.

After Peter had denied Jesus three times, Jesus appeared to him and the other disciples on the Galilean seashore in John 12. He called out to them and when they arrived at shore, He invited them to come and dine. I’m sure Peter didn’t feel like he belonged at the Lord’s Table, but Jesus gently gave him the charge to feed His sheep. Just like Peter and Mephibosheth, we can feel unworthy to sit at the King’s table because of things we’ve done. We can try to minimize our status as King’s kids, but there is a place for you there. Jesus is reminding us like He did Peter that it’s His righteousness that we wear, not our own. No matter what you’ve done, once it’s covered by His blood, it’s gone and there’s a seat waiting for you. Don’t shy away from God’s Table. Don’t feel you’re not enough to be there. You have been raised to new life and have been given a new nature and are clothed with a robe of Christ’s righteousness now. Don’t hold back. Come and dine. You have a seat at the table.

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Even If

In the spring of 1998, my family was sitting in a waiting room at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. We had been living in that waiting room for about six weeks along with other families. My mom had slipped into a coma a few weeks earlier, and now the doctor wanted to talk to us in the consultation room. He said, “There’s nothing else we can do except to make her comfortable.” We sat there shocked with our faith taking a major blow. My dad then got everyone’s attention and said, “We will keep praying for healing, but if He chooses not to heal her here, purpose in your heart now not to be bitter against Him.” She passed away a few weeks later.

In Daniel 3, King Nebuchadnezzar built a 90 foot tall statue for the people to worship. Then he got some bad advice from some jealous officials. They didn’t like that the Jews who had been captured and taken into their country had different customs. They convinced him to put to death anyone who didn’t bow down to the statue knowing several Jews had ascended the governmental ranks. The king made a law condemning anyone who didn’t bow. The advisors were quick to point out three Hebrew brothers who didn’t bow. When the king confronted them, they explained that they couldn’t bow so he ordered them to be thrown into a furnace. They told him that God was able to save them. Then in verse 18 they said, “But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up!” (AMP)

“Even if He doesn’t” is a mindset we all must have. It’s great when prayers are answered the way we ask, but will you still trust, serve and love God if He doesn’t answer the way you want? Can you still follow Him with your whole hear when His answer doesn’t make sense and your world comes crashing down? The three Hebrews knew that God was able, but they were steadfast knowing He may not answer their prayer. I’ve learned, just as they did, that whether He answers you or not, He will stand with you in the fire. He won’t abandon you when the prayers go unanswered. He is still God. He is still in control. He still has a plan that I can’t see and I trust His decisions because He has proven His character over the history of this world. Will you still trust Him even if you don’t get the answers you want? Now is the time to make that decision, not later.

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

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Pushing Through

One of the things I’ve learned about when it comes to accomplishing things is that all of us get some kind of resistance in the brain. No matter how much we want to do it or how much we need to, some type of fear tries to come in and short circuit the brain to prevent us from following through fully. We face the fear of the unknown, the fear of how being successful in it might change us, the fear of what others will think and so on. These fears try to affect our physical actions, but they don’t have to. Each of us have the ability to push through when we recognize the fear and how it is trying to stop us. We have the capacity to follow through with what God has called us to do, but we must choose to push through no matter what.

You know the story in Genesis 22 where Abraham was asked by God to sacrifice Isaac. I’m sure Abraham”s mind was attacked by fear on the way up the mountain, yet he kept walking. Isaac was in the same boat. Every representation of this story you have seen has shown Isaac as a little boy. However, most Bible scholars believe he was an adult at the time of this encounter. Think about that. He understood what was going on as he carried the wood up the mountain and asked about it. He still took each step and presented himself as the sacrifice when he could have overpowered his father or run away. He didn’t let fear stop him from being obedient.

Romans 12:1 says, “So then, my friends, because of God’s great mercy to us I appeal to you: Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship that you should offer” (GNT). What has God asked you to step out in faith and do? What are the fears you’re facing? Whose voice are you listening to? We must be like Abraham and Isaac walking in faith the where God is leading us. We must take steps daily surrendering to His plan and will instead of ours. Yes, it is a sacrifice, and you’re going to have to give up some things along the way while carrying a heavy load. However, God will meet us in the place of provision when we push past the fears, submit ourselves as a sacrifice and dedicate ourselves to His purposes. Pick up His burden today and start taking steps in the direction He is leading you towards.

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Trusting In The Rock

Have you ever heard someone refer to someone else as they’re rock? They’re saying that person was their solid ground and place of safety in unsure times. The Bible often refers to God as our rock. He is an unchanging place for us to stand on when everything else is sinking sand. In our world, there isn’t anything stable anymore that you can rely on or trust in. Everything we have tried to build our lives on or find security in has shifted, crashed or gone away. The only sure thing you and I have to hold onto is God Himself. Some trust in horses, others chariots, but we will r trust in the name of the Lord our God (Psalm 20:7). When your world is unstable, run to the Rock!

Here are some Bible verses on trusting in the Rock.

1. From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety.

Psalms 61:2 NLT

2. Turn your ear to listen to me; rescue me quickly. Be my rock of protection, a fortress where I will be safe.

Psalms 31:2 NLT

3. On God my salvation and my glory rest; He is my rock of [unyielding] strength, my refuge is in God.

Psalms 62:7 AMP

4. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and the One who rescues me; My God, my rock and strength in whom I trust and take refuge; My shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower—my stronghold.

Psalms 18:2 AMP

5. Be my rock of safety where I can always hide. Give the order to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.

Psalms 71:3 NLT

Thanks to Winggo Tse @winggo for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁

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Living Intentionally

When it comes to getting things done, my son can be slow at times. I’ve tried hurrying him up by using words, clapping, and singing. Sometimes they work, but usually it’s only for a short time. Ive learned to use a timer with him. When he sees the clock and how much time he has left, he focuses and gets the job done. All of a sudden, he gets an urgency to make things happen. By the way, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I often need something like that to give me an urgency to get things done.

My middle initial is “P”. When people ask what it stands for, my go to response is, “Procrastinator”. If something isn’t urgent and important to me, it can fall into my “I’ll get it done later” list. That just means I’ll keep putting it off until it becomes urgent and important. That’s not the best way to do things though. If we constantly focus only on what’s urgent and important, we are failing to live our lives with intentionality. We do need an urgency to get things done, but if we are intentional about doing the right things, our lives won’t be a constant fire drill.

The writer of Psalm 90:12 wrote a prayer to God that says, “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom” (NLT). He was praying, “God, give me a timer to help me get things done. Help me to grow in wisdom so I can be intentional about getting the right things done.” He was probably a lot like many of us who struggles with procrastination and focusing on what’s important. He wanted God to remind him how short life is and to help him grow in wisdom so he could be intentional.

What is it that we pray for? Is it more time to get things done? We could be praying for wisdom to get the right things done on time. God doesn’t need us to be in a constant fire drill. That only burns people out and doesn’t guarantee that the right things get done. He wants us to have wisdom so we can be urgent about the things that matter. If you’ve been praying the first prayer above, let me encourage you to change that prayer. Ask God for wisdom and to help you live intentionally. Watch what a difference that makes in your life.

Photo by Wil Stewart on Unsplash

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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Divine Encounters

When I was around 18 years old, a young man came into our church on a Sunday night and sat on the back row. I was bothered that no one went up to him. After service, I made my way to him and introduced myself. He was looking for a church with people his age. We became fast friends and were nearly inseparable. A few years later, I ended up saving his life. Our friendship grew to the point he had me over one Thanksgiving. At that lunch, I got to know his cousin who became my wife. Both of our lives were changed that night when I made the decision to go say hello.

In 1 Samuel 25, David heard a man named Nabal was sheering his sheep. Knowing he would be celebrating with a feast, David sent some men to greet him and to remind him that he and his small army had been protecting his shepherds and flocks. Nabal returned the favor by insulting David and his men, sending them away with nothing. David decided to kill him and was on his way when Nabal’s wife Abigail rushed to meet him with food. They’re encounter saved her husband’s life and kept David from having blood on his hands when he would become king. In verse 32, David said to her, “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you today to meet me!” (GNT) She later became his wife and trusted advisor.

I believe God gives us opportunities for divine encounters that can change the course of our lives. It’s something I often pray for. We never know what direction our lives will take when we step out in faith following the prompting of the Holy Spirit. We have opportunities each day to be a blessing to someone else changing their trajectory. We also have opportunities to meet people who will help us get to where we’re being led. I never want to miss those divine encounters, so I’m constantly on the look for them. Make sure you take time today to ask God to order your steps and to lead you into the path of a divine encounter where you can mutually benefit the people God brings into your life.

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Arm Yourself

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “You don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.” It’s hard to win a fight when you don’t have the right weapon or worse, no weapons at all. You couldn’t survive that way. Somehow, many of us lose sight that we’re in a war daily with principalities and spiritual forces (Ephesians 6:12). We’re constantly under attack, and when we aren’t armed or blind to the battle, we tend to give up ground. We also can’t afford to let fear keep us on the sidelines. We must equip ourselves daily, be ready for battle and fight on behalf of ourselves, our family and others so that we gain ground rather than lose it.

I love the story of David and Goliath because it’s a great representation of the spiritual battles we face. The army of Israel had everything they needed to defeat Goliath, but fear kept them on the sidelines for forty days. They tried to give David the wrong armor and weapons which would have cost him the battle. Thankfully he was wise enough to know what weapon he needed to win. He stepped onto the battlefield with confidence in God rather than his abilities. He then ran toward the giant sling in hand. When the giant fell, his faith and the faith of others around him grew.

Romans 13:14 says, “But take up the weapons of the Lord Jesus Christ, and stop paying attention to your sinful nature and satisfying its desires” (GNT). God has provided us with armor and weapons, but we must put them on and take them up. I like to go through the physical motions as I put them on. I’ll pray, “Lord, today I put on the Helmet of Salvation… Finally, help me to wield the Sword of the Spirit to win victory for my family.” I do the physical act of a spiritual process to remind myself that I’m dressed for battle and ready to stand against whatever comes my way. Through Christ Jesus, and His weapons, you and I can defeat whatever we’re facing today, but you need to arm yourself first.

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Hearing “Well Done”

Have you ever participated in a stewardship campaign? That fancy church talk for raising money for the building fund. If your pastor has talked about stewardship, chances are they’re talking about giving money. I even talk to all my nieces and nephews about the importance of giving tithe and offerings. We spend a lot of time discussing stewardship in regards to money, but what about stewarding relationships? What about stewarding our possessions that God has blessed you with? What about stewarding your gifts?

Jesus told many parables regarding stewardship. In some the workers were the stewards of a vineyard (Matthew 21). In it the owner went away and entrusted the vineyard to the workers. At the harvest he went to collect, but they refused to pay no matter who he sent to collect. In another parable, the owner gave the workers talents of silver (Matthew 25). When he came to collect, two had grown their silver and one didn’t. He spoke this in verse 21 to the two, “Because you have been a faithful steward to manage a small sum, now I will put you in charge of much, much more. You will experience the delight of your master, who will say to you, ‘Enter into the joy of your Lord!’” (TPT)

Everything you have has been given to you by God to steward, including your life. How are you doing with that? Are you working on improving the relationships He’s entrusted to you? Are you tilling the ground to produce more out of them? What about your gifts? Are they still just raw talent you haven’t refined? What about your money? Are you using it wisely? What about your life? Are you just meandering through aimlessly? The list of questions goes on, but only you can answer them. In each of the parables, God comes to collect the surplus of what the workers were stewards of. He’ll ask us too what we did with what He gave us. If you want to hear, “Well done,” you’re going to have to be a good steward.

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