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Proclaiming Good News

Think of a time when you had something amazing happen to you. How hard was it to keep it in? It probably felt like you were going to burst if you didn’t tell someone. Depending on the news, you may have had an order in which you wanted to tell people or you could have just told everyone you ran into. Good news has that effect on us. We want to proclaim it from the rooftops. We should feel the same way about the Good News of the Bible as well. The Great Commission applies to each one of us as individuals. We’re to proclaim the goodness of God wherever we go, telling everyone we meet. If God has made a difference in your life, don’t be afraid to let someone know. After all, it’s the greatest news there is.

Here are some Bible verses on proclaiming what God has done.

1. I will tell everyone about your righteousness. All day long I will proclaim your saving power, though I am not skilled with words.

Psalms 71:15 NLT

2. Proclaim the Word of God and stand upon it no matter what! Rise to the occasion and preach when it is convenient and when it is not. Preach in the full expression of the Holy Spirit —with wisdom and patience as you instruct and teach the people.

2 Timothy 4:2 TPT

3. But how can people call on him for help if they’ve not yet believed? And how can they believe in one they’ve not yet heard of? And how can they hear the message of life if there is no one there to proclaim it?

Romans 10:14 TPT

4. Give thanks to the Lord, proclaim his greatness; tell the nations what he has done.

1 Chronicles 16:8 GNT

5. Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God. Let me proclaim your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me.

Psalms 71:18 NLT

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Driving God Crazy

I love how Luke 18 starts out. “One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up” (NLT). Jesus knew that not only would they give up after praying for something for awhile, but so would we. He didn’t want us to stop asking just because it’s been a while. I wish I understood why some prayers are answered immediately, some take a while, and others are never answered. No matter what though, Jesus didn’t want us to give up.

He told the story of a widow who was suffering injustice from someone. She went to a judge who didn’t fear God or care about people. When she didn’t get her justice, she went back to court begging him fir it over and over. Finally, in verse 5 the judge says, “This woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’”

When our answers come slowly, we can take courage from this story. We can bombard Heaven with our requests until we drive God crazy. I heard the story recently where Leonard Ravenhill told a friend of mine, “God doesn’t answer prayers. He answers desperate prayers!” When we seek God desperately for an answer, the way this widow did, we can expect answers. And just as the woman believed that the judge would respond, we need to believe that God I’ll respond.

Jesus finishes this parable out just as strongly as He opens it. In verse 8 of The Message, Jesus asked, “But how much of that persistent faith will the Son of Man find on earth when He returns?” That’s our challenge. We live in a world where we can get same day deliveries on things we buy online, but God is looking for a persistent faith. He’s looking for people who will call to Him in prayer the way they would to Amazon if they didn’t deliver their package. He wants us to drive Him crazy and never give up.

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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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Humbly Return

The importance of mentorship ne of the things I try to teach people. All of us could benefit from someone more experienced at any area of life to help us achieve growth in that area. The problem is that most of us are too proud or scared to ask someone to do it. I’ve had the privilege of working with some amazing leaders in large companies. One lady was the most approachable leader I’ve met, and she is the head of the retail side of a Fortune 15 company. She told me that people ask her all the time to mentor them. She tells them to set it up with her assistant.. She would love to be a mentor, but no one takes that next step to set up the meeting.

I love the story of the Prodigal Son. After taking his share of the inheritance, he took off to see the world and make a name for himself. If he had asked his father for wisdom, the father would have explained the importance of saving up for tough times. However, the son was living for the minute and ran out money when the famine came. After working for pig slop, he decided to humble himself and return home. He knew that at the least his father would accept him back as a servant and he would have food, shelter and money. What he wasn’t expecting was the willingness of the father to do exceedingly more than he could have imagined. His father ran to him as he got close to home. When he humbled himself and repented, he was forgiven and restored.

James 4:7-8 says, “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you” (NLT). Humility is our first step in approaching God. We must know we need Him and His help. We must be bold enough to resist the devil and his lies that would try to keep us from the Father. He’ll try to appeal to our pride and fear to keep us away. However, when we, like the Prodigal Son, head towards God, He will rush to meet us with open arms. He will forgive us, restore us and mentor us as His children. All that He has is available to us if only we would humble ourselves and seek Him.

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Compliant Disobedience

I once worked at a place where you had to wear a dress shirt and a tie every day. There was a guy who didn’t like the rule. He would try to show up without a tie. He was told that each time he showed up without one, he’d be sent home to get one and would be docked that time on his check. Instead of simply complying, he decided to dig his feet in. He showed up the next time in a clown tie. It was extra wide and short. When confronted, he said that the rules simply said he had to wear a tie, and this was a tie. I refer to this behavior as compliant disobedience. He’s following the rules while being disobedient in the process. It was an outward expression of his internal attitude.

The book of Jonah tells a similar story. God asked Jonah to go to Nineveh to pronounce judgment on it. Instead of complying, he went the opposite direction in a ship. The Lord caused a great storm to rock the boat, Jonah was found to be the problem and they tossed him overboard. The Bible says the Lord prepared a great fish to come swallow him and return him to shore. The Lord told him the same instructions. He obeyed, but still had disobedience in his heart. When Nineveh repented, God forgave them. Once again his disobedient attitude showed through. God tried to get through to him, but we don’t really know how the story ends. The book stops with God having the last word.

How is your attitude toward what God has asked you to do? 2 John 1;6 says, “And this is love: that we walk in accordance with His commandments and are guided continually by His precepts. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should [always] walk in love” (AMP). God isn’t looking for compliant disobedience. He’s looking for you to obey out of love for Him. Our attitudes show up in our behaviors, but even still God always looks at the intent of our heart. Don’t be like Jonah or the tie guy. Trust God’s plan, be thankful He’s wanting to use you and obey while walking in love. He’s not done writing your story yet. How it’s written depends on your obedience.

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God Of The Impossible

Have you been in an impossible situation where the only way through it was if God intervened? I have too. As I think about those times, I can recall those times when God miraculously showed up and made a way where there appeared to be no way. I can also think of the times where He didn’t show up and rescue the way I wanted Him too. In those times, my faith had to override my feelings. My trust in Him had to be greater than my pain or sorrow. Just because He didn’t intervene, it didn’t mean He was unable. I still choose to trust Him when I need the impossible to happen.

In 2 Kings 6-7, the city of Samaria was besieged by the Syrian army. The people in the city were running out of food, and some had turned to cannibalism. The King became angry at God and blamed Him for their situation. He went to kill Elisha, but Elisha said that on the next day there would be so much food that it would be cheap. The king’s servant said that was impossible and couldn’t happen even if God sent food from heaven. That night, the Syrian army heard the Egyptian army was coming and fled leaving all their food and supplies behind. There was more than enough food for the entire city as Elisha had predicted.

I don’t know what impossible situation you’re facing, but I do know that God is more than able to meet it. In Matthew 19:26, Jesus said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” Everything is possible! Even what you can’t imagine or see. God can make streams in the desert, He can part the Red Sea and He can meet your need. Instead of being angry at Him or declaring that not even He could make a way, put your situation and trust in Him. He is more than able to do the impossible if only we will believe. If for some reason, He doesn’t intervene the way you want, it doesn’t change who He is. Continue to put your faith in Him. He is the God of the impossible.

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Having Confidence In God

To be confident in something is to have full trust in it. Some people have confidence in themselves, their money, their friends and many other things. Misplaced confidence though can lead to pain and hurt. Instead of placing our confidence in temporary things, we need to place it in God. Do you fully trust God? It’s easy to answer yes when things are going well. Do you trust Him when when you can’t see a way forward or when your world is falling apart? True faith and confidence says, “God, I trust in you no matter what my circumstances are telling me.” That’s the level of faith, trust and confidence we are called to in our relationship with Him. You can have confidence today that whatever you’re facing will work out for your good.

Here are some Bible verses on having confidence in God.

1. For we walk by faith, not by sight [living our lives in a manner consistent with our confident belief in God’s promises].

2 Corinthians 5:7 AMP

2. And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him.

1 John 5:14 NLT

3. Remember that I have commanded you to be determined and confident! Do not be afraid or discouraged, for I, the Lord your God, am with you wherever you go.

Joshua 1:9 GNT

4. But that’s not all! Even in times of trouble we have a joyful confidence, knowing that our pressures will develop in us patient endurance.

Romans 5:3 TPT

5. And now, Lord, for what do I expectantly wait? My hope [my confident expectation] is in You.

Psalms 39:7 AMP

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Giving Off Light

Our cell phones are becoming like Swiss Army knives. You can talk, text, search for answers, use as your Bible, play music, take pictures and record videos. They do all of that, yet one of the things I’m most thankful for is that someone figured out that you can turn the camera’s flash into a flashlight. I’m getting to the age where I have to use my phone’s flashlight to read the menu in a nice restaurant or walk through a dimly lit place. I never thought I would use the flashlight as much as I do, but having a readily accessible light whenever I need it comes in quite handy. There’s more times than I can count that I’ve needed it’s light to help me see a message or to help me get where I’m going.

I don’t know if Jesus would have used a cell phone as His example if He were to give the Sermon on the Mount today, but it’s possible. As He stood on a hill beside the Sea of Galilee teaching the people, I’m sure He looked out across it and saw little towns on the sides of the other hills as He said, “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house” (Matthew 5:14-15 NLT). Are you and I lighting the way for others to find God? Do our lives give enough light for them to see His message written on our hearts?

When Jesus gave this sermon, the lights in these cities He was pointing at came from lamps that held oil. I was given one on my last trip to Israel. I came home, put oil in it and lit the wick. They give off decent light, but I’ve found that you have to keep filling it with oil if you want it to keep working. You and I can’t be the light He’s called us to be unless we are continually refilling our lives with the oil of His presence and His Word. The power of the light doesn’t come from the clay lamp, but the oil. In the same way, our flesh is simply the holder of the oil, but we must be on fire for Him and continually do the things that puts oil in our lamps. There is a world full of people stumbling around in the darkness who are depending on you and me to be the light God has called us to be. Make sure you’re living for Him in the open where all can see.

Photo by Gadiel Lazcano 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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Turn On The Light

Have you ever been afraid at night? Think back to when you were a kid in your room, and the lights turned off. As you looked around the room while your eyes were adjusting, your brain made up some scary figures and imagined crazy things. That’s usually when fear enters and people get scared. That’s also when you yell for your parents to come back to turn on a light. There’s something comforting about having light when you’re scared. It helps you feel at peace, it illuminates those shadowy figures and let’s you rest. The problem sometimes is that fear often paralyzes and keeps us from turning on the light or asking for it.

In 2 Samuel 11, David was walking on his rooftop when he saw a beautiful woman taking a bath. He summonsed her to his castle and slept with her. When she sent word that she got pregnant, fear came in and he tried to cover it up. He brought her husband back from war, but he refused to go home to be with his wife. Fear then escalated David’s behavior to the point he had her husband killed at war so he could marry her. It was then that the prophet Nathan came to bring to light what David had done. He repented and wrote Psalm 51 in the process.

John 1:4-5 says, “The Word was the source of life, and this life brought light to people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out” (GNT). When we sin, fear wants to push us away from God and His Word, but that’s exactly what we need. He is the Light that shines in the darkest corners of our lives. His light drives out fear, brings peace and illuminates things that need to go. Fear tells you that you need to keep those things in the dark, but fear also complicates our lives like it did for David. If that fear has been controlling you, call out to your Heavenly Father to come turn on the light through His Word and find forgiveness and rest for your soul.

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God Knows You

Since I was a kid, I have loved all things space. I remember watching the first space shuttle take off and the Hubble Telescope launch. I used to write to NASA and ask them to mail me pictures, and they sent them. So when NASA launched the James Webb Space Telescope, i paid attention. I was excited to see the first images come out. The telescope is looking further into space than ever before. Images, like the one above are awe inspiring as I think about all those galaxies and how many stars are in each one. I can’t help but think of Psalm 147:4 that says, “He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by their names” (AMP).

In 2 Kings 4, a widow came to the prophet Elisha with a problem. Her husband owed a lot of debts when he died and the creditors were calling on her to pay off the loans. Since she couldn’t pay, they were demanding her sons as payment. Elisha asked her what she had in her house, and all she had was a little oil. He told her to find every jar she could and fill them with the oil. After doing that, she returned for her next instructions. He told her to sell the oil, pay off the debts and live off the rest of it for the rest of her life. She must have because we don’t read about her again.

I love that God took care of the needs of a nameless widow in the Bible. The same God knows every star by name and took care of the needs of this widow, knows how many hairs are on your head. He knows you and your needs today. Like the widow, you need to call on Him for your answer. It may require something of you, like it did of her. Faith is stepping out in action when it doesn’t make sense and you don’t understand or see what God is up to. It was the Faith of the widow that collected as many jars as she could and kept her pouring until they were all full. It’s also your faith in action that brings about God’s answer. He knows your need as well as He knows each star. Trust Him to do His part when you do yours.

Photo credit NASA James Webb Space Telescope

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A Foundation Of Love

I was at a celebration of my aunt and uncle when a lady walked up to me. She said, “You don’t know me, but I know you. I grew up in your grandfather’s church.” She shared some stories with me about him, and then she said, “He gave that church a foundation of love.” That phrase resonated with me for many reasons. I couldn’t help but think of how you and I are the Church. It’s important that we build our faith and our lives on a foundation of God’s love. If we don’t do that, our lives can become full of meaningless rituals or a cold relationship with God. When that happens we must return to our first love.

In Luke 7:36-47, Jesus was dining at a Pharisee’s house. A lady who was a prostitute came in, bowed at Jesus’ feet, cried tears on His feet, then dried them with her hair and poured perfume on them. The Pharisee was stunned that Jesus allowed this to happen. Jesus told him a parable of two men who owed a debt to someone. One owed a little and the other a lot. The creditor forgave them both. Jesus then asked the Pharisee which person loved the creditor more. He replied that the one who was forgiven more. Jesus agreed. He then looked down at the lady and told the Pharisee that her many sins had been forgiven and this was a display of her love.

In Ephesians 3:19 Paul concluded a prayer by saying, “And [that you may come] to know [practically, through personal experience] the love of Christ which far surpasses [mere] knowledge [without experience], that you may be filled up [throughout your being] to all the fullness of God [so that you may have the richest experience of God’s presence in your lives, completely filled and flooded with God Himself]” (AMP). You and I can’t just have a head knowledge of God. We must experience His love and forgiveness in our lives. When we do that, we will experience God’s presence and be filled with it. When we have the foundation of His love in our lives, we can make a greater impact on the people around us.

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