I’m taking this week off to spend time with family. I hope you enjoy this previously written devotional.
One of the things I’ve learned about life is that it’s full of seasons. There are seasons of plenty, dry seasons, seasons of doubt, seasons of pain, seasons of just enough, seasons of recovery, etc. There’s no rhyme or reason as to when they show up or how long they’ll last, but one thing is certain, they do pass. The worst seasons seem like they’ll never end and the good seasons seem to go by too fast. I believe that God will give us what we need for each season, and that each season is a time of preparation.
If God uses seasons to prepare us, then I believe that you can be fruitful no matter what the season is in your life. You can glean from each season of your life things that will grow you and produce fruit for the future. You may be looking at your life right now and see a desert wasteland, but Isaiah 43:19 says that God is about to do something new. He’ll make rivers in the desert so that you can produce fruit and grow. No matter how dark life gets or how abundant your blessings are, God has a design and a purpose to grow you through this season.
Here are some Bible verses on different seasons of life.
1. He will be standing firm like a flourishing tree planted by God’s design, deeply rooted by the brooks of bliss, bearing fruit in every season of his life. He is never dry, never fainting, ever blessed, ever prosperous.
Psalms 1:3 TPT
2. Be cheerful with joyous celebration in every season of life. Let joy overflow, for you are united with the Anointed One!
Philippians 4:4 TPT
3. And don’t allow yourselves to be weary or disheartened in planting good seeds, for the season of reaping the wonderful harvest you’ve planted is coming!
Galatians 6:9 TPT
4. But I keep calling out to you, Yahweh! I know you will bend down to listen to me, for now is the season of favor. Because of your faithful love for me, your answer to my prayer will be my sure salvation.
Psalms 69:13 TPT
5. You’ve so graciously provided for my essential needs during this season of difficulty.
I’m taking this week off to spend time with family. I hope you enjoy this previously written devotional.
If you’ve interacted with people in your life, you’ve been hurt by someone at some point. The people closest to us seem to hurt us the most. When we get hurt, the easiest thing to do is let that pain turn into hate and bitterness. We want to hurt them back worse than they hurt us. If we’re not careful, the pain inside of us can consume us. I read a story this week of a 73 year old who found a high school classmate and killed him because of how he hurt him over 50 years ago. He lived his whole life wanting revenge for the pain this person caused him.
In Genesis, Abraham’s son Isaac had twins, Jacob and Esau. Esau was very hungry one day and Jacob had prepared a meal. He asked for some of it, but Jacob made him pay for it with the birthright which meant he would inherit his father’s wealth. Later, when Isaac was about to die, he summoned his firstborn Esau to bless him. He sent him out to kill something wild and cook it first. Jacob found out, and beat him to it. Esau hated Jacob for it and wanted to kill him. He let the anger consume him and the only way to console himself was to plot revenge.
In Genesis 27:40, Isaac told Esau, “You shall live by your sword, And serve your brother; However it shall come to pass when you break loose [from your anger and hatred], That you will tear his yoke off your neck [and you will be free of him]” (AMP). If you’re still carrying the pain from someone hurting you, it’s time to break loose from it. Get their yoke off your neck. Forgiving them is the way to do that. Ask the Lord to help you. I know personally this is easier said than done. It’s a process that starts with you forgiving in your heart first. The pain will go away and a scar will remain, but you will be free.
I’m taking the week off to spend time with family. I hope you enjoy this previously written devotional.
A fun game to play with a group of kids is Red Light Green Light. All the kids start out on one side while you’re on the other. You turn away and say, “Green light!” Their job is to run towards you as fast as they can while the light is green. Randomly, you turn and face them and yell, “Red light!” They have to stop immediately. If they move during red light or don’t stop, they get sent back to their starting point. You repeat this process until someone reaches you, then you start all over.
Following where God leads can feel a lot like that game. There’s a series of red lights and green lights along the way. If you’re looking for a pattern, you won’t find one. There are times when green lights seem to on,y last for a short while, and red lights can take years. We love the green lights because they make us feel like God is doing something in us and that we are being productive for Him. When the red lights come, it can feel like we’ve done something wrong. That’s not the case. Red lights come for many reasons. It can be to protect you, to teach you, to grow you, to wait for someone else’s obedience or some other reason.
The important thing is to wait where God has you for as long as He deems necessary. The Israelites went through this in the wilderness. Numbers 9:22 says, “Whether it was two days or a month or a year that the cloud [of the LORD’S presence] lingered over the tabernacle, staying above it, the Israelites remained camped and did not set out; but when it was lifted, they set out” (AMP). We don’t want to go where God’s spirit isn’t leading us. If you’re in a red light season, it’s ok. You’re where God wants you and that’s the best place to be. Rest in His presence because your green light will come.
I’m taking this week off to spend time with family. I hope you enjoy this previously written devotional.
Recently my wife and I were walking and a Lamborghini drove by. She asked, “If you had the money, would you ever buy one of those?” I told her I didn’t think so, but I do think they’re pretty awesome. I like to think I’d be like J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans. He makes over $15 million a year, but doesn’t drive a car like that. He said that whenever he gets the itch to drive one, he just rents one for a weekend and takes it back. The truth is, if you don’t make that kind of money, it’s hard to know what you would do with it. Would you buy a mansion? Would you drive expensive cars? Would you throw parties all the time? Would you try to eradicate poverty? Would you fund housing for the homeless? Would you support missionaries with your excess? It’s easy to give these answers when you don’t have it.
Jesus told the story of a guy who was in charge of his wealthy boss’ affairs. When it came out that he was skimming and squandering the boss’ money, he got called on the carpet to give account of how he had been managing his money. Knowing the gig was up, he decided to make friends with the boss’ debtors. He started cutting what they owed down in order to recoup the things he lent out. The boss commended him for doing that, not because he had cheated him, but because he was thinking of his future and was doing things to make sure he would be taken care of in unemployment. Then in Luke 16:10, Jesus said, “And I tell you [learn from this], make friends for yourselves [for eternity] by means of the wealth of unrighteousness [that is, use material resources as a way to further the work of God], so that when it runs out, they will welcome you into the eternal dwellings” (AMP).
The very next verse is our challenge no matter how much we make right now. Jesus said, “He who is faithful in a very little thing is also faithful in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little thing is also dishonest in much.” No matter what you make right now, are you being faithful with it? Saying, “If I had the money, I would… (fill in the blank,)” means nothing. If you aren’t making a difference now with what you have, how can God trust you with more money? Each of us will give account to God one day just like the man in the parable. Did we do things with our resources to further the Kingdom? Or did we do things to make our lives exceptionally comfortable here? We are simply managers of the money God has entrusted to us. No matter how you’re managing it now, ask God for wisdom in how to be more faithful with what you have today.
I’m taking this week off to spend time with family. I hope you enjoy this previously written devotion.
Have you ever met a person that you respected or admired, then got to have a real conversation with them? Then, at the end of the conversation, they gave you their number and said, “If you ever need anything, reach out to me.” I’ve had that happen a few times. I still have their cards, but I can tell you I’ve never called them. I’m too afraid that I’ll be seen as someone who abused the privilege of having access to them. I don’t want them to think I’m bothering them with a stupid request. So I hang onto my key to access them without ever accessing them.
The crazy thing is that many of us have that same attitude when it comes to accessing God. We think He’s got bigger problems to solve than ours. We reason that He doesn’t want to be bothered with our needs. We then try to justify, “He probably wouldn’t answer anyway.” So we hang onto our access to God, but we rarely access Him. I’m here to tell you that Jesus didn’t rip the veil between man and God for us to not use that access. He invited us to come boldly into the Throne Room.
1 Corinthians 4:8 says, “You already have more access to God than you can handle” (MSG). Think about that. You and I have more access to God than we can handle. Access that He expects us to use. Whatever failures you point to, God can forgive. Whatever wisdom you need, God can give. Whatever problems you’re facing, God can resolve, but you have to access Him. You can’t just sit back and do nothing. Use your “All Access” badge, get into the Throne Room of Heaven and let God know your request.
God is able to handle the toughest problems of this world and your greatest need at the same time. You don’t need to feel ashamed or timid in approaching Him. His ways are not our ways and His wisdom is not our wisdom so He may answer in an unexpected way. Present your needs to Him without telling Him how to solve them. God is deeply concerned about the things you’re concerned about, and He has the power to resolve them. Don’t believe the lie that you need to leave Him alone. You have the access, now use it.
One of the things we most associate with Christmas is gifts. There is something exciting about getting a gift with your name on it, especially when the gift is perfect for you. It’s a good reminder that God gives us gifts we need. James 1:17 tells us that every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father. The gifts He gives are intended to help us navigate this world, help others to know Him and to grow. He gives each one of us gifts, including you. 1 Corinthians 12 lists several of these spiritual gifts if you’d like to research. However, the greatest gift He has given us is His son. Because He sent His son, we can have everlasting life when we believe in Him. Take time today to thank God for all the gifts He’s given you.
Here are some Bible verses on God’s gifts.
1. Let us praise God for his glorious grace, for the free gift he gave us in his dear Son!
Ephesians 1:6 GNT
2. .Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to use them accordingly: if [someone has the gift of] prophecy, [let him speak a new message from God to His people] in proportion to the faith possessed.
Romans 12:6 AMP
3. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 4:10-11 ESV
4. For sin’s meager wages is death, but God’s lavish gift is life eternal, found in your union with our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One.
Romans 6:23 TPT
5. I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
If I were to ask you who was invited to the birth of Jesus, most of you would answer, “Shepherds and wisemen.” I believe that answer is wrong. Only shepherds were invited to the birth. Many scholars believe the wisemen May not have shown up for over a year after His birth. I still believe it’s important that the wisemen came because they showed that Jesus would be the King of Kings. Now think about the manger scene with just shepherds. Interesting.
Why would God only announce the birth of the Savior of the world to shepherds and no one else? Why would the place God prepared for Him to be born be a barn? I believe we can go back to Psalm 23 for that answer. The Lord is my shepherd. God finds that shepherds make great kings. They provide for their flock, they lead them and protect them too. Before Jesus was a carpenter, He was born a shepherd.
When the wisemen went to King Herod looking for where the messiah was born, Matthew 2:6 says they read him, “And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel” (NLT). God knew we would need a shepherd more than a king. While kings rule and dictate, shepherds lead and serve. People were looking for a king to free them from the oppression of the Romans. Instead God sent them a shepherd to free them from their sin.
If you’ve accepted Jesus as king of your life, have you let Him also be your shepherd? Have you given Him not just the ability to rule, but also to lead? Sheep willingly follow where their shepherd leads, but subjects are forced to obey a king. God doesn’t force us to serve Him as a king would. Instead, He invites us to follow Him out of love. I believe shepherds were the only ones invited to His birth to remind us God knew we needed a shepherd more than a king.
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.
I was talking with a man I met this week over lunch. At one point during the lunch I felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to quote a Bible verse to him and explain it. His eyes got really big and excited. He said, “I’ve been reading the Bible!” He went on to explain his eyesight had deteriorated to the point he couldn’t drive anymore. It was then that he asked God to restore his sight. He also promised God that if his sight was restored, he would read the Bible every day. I was excited for him because his eyesight had returned and he was making good on his promise. After sharing a few more verses with him, I said, “Maybe God restored your physical eyesight so that He could use His Word to restore your spiritual eyesight as well.”
Most of us know about the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5, but that’s not the first sermon Jesus gave. In fact, the first one I read took place in his hometown of Nazareth. In Luke 4, Jesus had just finished being tempted by the devil when He went to the synagogue He’d probably gone to His whole life. He stood up and read Isaiah 61:1-2. It says, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has chosen me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed and announce that the time has come when the Lord will save his people” (GNT). One of the things Jesus came to do was to recover sight to physically and spiritually blind eyes. Many of us, like my new friend, have physical sight, but are nearly blind with our spiritual eyes.
Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to guide me and a light for my path.” One of the ways God restores our spiritual eyesight is through His Word. Without it in our lives, we can’t see the next step in front of us or the path before us. His Word illuminates both giving us sight so we can know what decisions to make and where He is leading us. It’s great to have physical sight, but how much greater to have spiritual sight! If you’ve noticed your vision getting worse or feel like you can’t see your next step, ask God to restore your spiritual eyesight. Then get into His Word as often as you can, nit just to read it, but to understand it and to hide it in your heart. When you do, you’ll find your real sight restored.
Thanks to Timothy Eberly @timothyeberly for making this photo available on Unsplash 🎁
I shared with a friend recently about a time in my life when I had lost all hope. My dreams were over, my future was shot and anything that was important to me seemed to be leaving my life. It was a dangerous place to be. With no hope and dead dreams, my mind began to devise plans that were no good and would put me in prison the rest of my life. I remember thinking, “What does it matter if I go to prison? I have nothing to live for outside of it.” Fortunately God broke through in that time. He sent word to me from someone I didn’t know. He said, “What looks like an end is really a beginning. You are not alone. I’m with you. Where I am taking you, you will experience more joy than you’ve ever known.” In that moment, hope returned and my future was revived.
In Ezekiel 37, Israel had been captives in Babylon for a long time. They had given up hope of returning to their homeland. Their future seemed dead as they looked at their current situation. That’s when God took Ezekiel to a valley of dry bones. God asked him if the bones could live again. I’m sure in his mind, he was thinking there was no way, but he responded that only God knows. God had him prophesy and speak life into these dry bones that represented Israel’s future. Suddenly the bones started rattling and coming together. Sinew and muscles wrapped around the bones and then flesh. An entire army of people stood before him that came to life when he spoke to the four winds to breathe into them. Then in verse 11 God said, “Mortal man, the people of Israel are like these bones. They say that they are dried up, without any hope and with no future” (GNT). He then revived their future by promising to take them out of captivity and back home.
Lamentations 3:21-26 says, “Yet hope returns when I remember this one thing: The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue, Fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise. The Lord is all I have, and so in him I put my hope. The Lord is good to everyone who trusts in him, So it is best for us to wait in patience—to wait for him to save us.” If you’re feeling hopeless today, hope can and will return when you remember that God sees you and will move on your behalf. Your future is in His hands, not yours or anyone else’s. He take ends and makes beginnings. He make rivers in the desert. Begin speaking to your dry bones and ask God to bring your future back to life. Dreams you thought were dead can live again. A hopeless future can be full of life again. You may not think it now, but God knows it. Wait with patience and trust in Him, then the future He has for you will revive.
I heard the story of a carpenter who spent his whole career working for one builder. When it came time to retire, he spoke to his boss. The builder begged him to stay on for one more job. Reluctantly he accepted even though he didn’t want to. During the whole job, his heart wasn’t in it. He cut corners and did some shoddy work. When the house was finished, he called the boss to come do a final walk through. After walking through the house, the builder turned to the carpenter and handed him the keys. He told him that he had been a good worker all those years and wanted to gift him a house. The carpenter was very thankful, but all he could think about was how he was going to have to live in a house where he cut the corners and did shoddy work.
In Genesis 4, we read the story of Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam and Eve. Both were raised in relationship with God and knew Him. Cain became a farmer and Abel a shepherd. The Bible doesn’t tell us if they gave offerings to God often or if the offering in this chapter was the first one. Both decided to give God an offering from their work. Verses 3-4 say, “When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord. Abel also brought a gift—the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock” (NLT). Cain gave from his harvest, but not really his best. That’s why God rejected his offering. It was a half hearted gift while Abel brought his best.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 says, “Whatever you do, do well.” I believe excellence is a choice. Every day we’re faced with the opportunity to give God our best or something less than that. Our offerings to God are more than our money. Paul said in Philippians 2:17 that our faithful service is an offering to God. Everything we do for God should be done from our best efforts. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it can’t be our leftovers. Look at your life and the service you’ve been offering God. Is there room for improvement? Find ways to give God excellence in your life. When you give Him your best, He honors you and blesses your life.