Tag Archives: christian living

Part Of God’s Heart

I was chatting with a friend at church recently. We were talking about the need for satellite churches around the city. As we were discussing locations that would be good, he brought up a certain area of town. He broke down and began to cry. He said, “We’ve got to get in there and take the Gospel to the people who live there.” I could tell his heart was breaking for that demographic. I believe God has given this man that burden and that’s why it bothered Him so much that there were so few churches in that area trying to reach them. His passion touched me, and it got me to thinking about the importance of anguish in a Christian’s life.

Several years ago, David Wilkerson preached a sermon called, “A Call to Anguish”. It’s one of those sermons I’ve listened to many times because it fires me up. In it, he says, “Anguish means extreme pain and distress. The emotions so stirred that it becomes painful. Acute deeply felt inner pain because of conditions about you, in you, or around you. Deep pain. Deep sorrow. The agony of God’s heart.“ That’s what was going on in my friend, and to be honest, I was a little jealous because I wanted to feel God’s anguish like that.

In 1 Samuel 1, Hannah wanted a son. Every day she was reminded of her barrenness. God put it in her heart to have a child so she went to the Tabernacle to pray. Verse 10 says, “Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord” (NLT). I believe her anguish was born in her heart by God. I believe it’s something every one of us need. If you’re not feeling God’s anguish today for a brokenness in the world, ask God to share part of His heart with you. It’s time we wept in anguish for the things that break God’s heart so we can do something about it.

Take five minutes today to listen to these excerpts from David Wilkerson’s sermon “A Call to Anguish” and ask God to share part of His heart with you.

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The Right Decision

As a person who spends a lot of time driving, I’m forced to make a lot of fast decisions. When people suddenly brake, I have to decide to slam on mine or change lanes. I also have another fast decision to make. Do I bless them or curse them? I would love to say that I hand out more blessing than cursing in traffic. The truth is, in those moments, we default to calling the other person a name, yelling at them, gesturing at them, and or using our vehicle to inform them we don’t like their driving.

In the book of Ruth, Boaz had to make a quick decision. He knew who Ruth was and what she had done for Naomi, so he was very kind to her. On one certain night, Naomi told Ruth, “Now do as I tell you—take a bath and put on perfume and dress in your nicest clothes. Then go to the threshing floor, but don’t let Boaz see you until he has finished eating and drinking. Be sure to notice where he lies down; then go and uncover his feet and lie down there. He will tell you what to do” (Ruth 3:3-4 NLT).

Imagine Boaz sleeping after a hard day’s work and then being woken up by someone pulling the covers off his feet. More than that, he notices it’s a woman. His thoughts may have been, “What if someone sees me laying with a woman?” They could have been, “How dare a servant take my covers!” Whatever they were, when he made a quick decision, it was to bless and not to curse. He told Ruth, “The LORD bless you, my daughter!” Boaz exclaimed. “You are showing even more family loyalty now than you did before, for you have not gone after a younger man, whether rich or poor.”

Boaz not only blessed her, he admitted that there was another family member who was a closer relative to her than he was. Boaz was willing to give up Ruth because it was the right thing to do. He acted with integrity and with a heart that blessed before it cursed. Each of us should adopt that kind of heart. As followers of Christ, we should be about blessing instead of cursing, giving instead of receiving, loving instead of judging, and building instead of tearing down. Our light shines brightest when it blesses. Proverbs 11:25 says, “The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped” ‭(MSG‬‬).

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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.

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Missing Pieces

One of the things my family loves to do is puzzles. The more pieces and more difficult, the better. We can sit at the table each evening and pick away at a puzzle for weeks. Our favorite brand is Ravensberger because of the uniqueness of the pieces, the quality of the puzzle and the stunning pictures. It’s an honor to be able to be the one who puts in the last piece. Sometimes, as we start getting close to completing one, I like to hide a piece so that I get to be that person. There’s nothing more frustrating though than to get to the end, and a piece nor two is missing. An incomplete puzzle is no fun at all.

I believe God has a plan for each of our lives. It’s often like a puzzle that we piece together. Many times we’re digging and sorting through unrelated pieces trying to find two parts that fit together. As time goes by, we start to see the bigger picture of what God would like to do with our life. To be honest, once we get a glimpse of the picture on the box, it can be scary to us. We wonder how we can accomplish that or how could a God make something so amazing out of our life. Our natural inclination is to hide some of the pieces, especially the ones that aren’t as beautiful as the others. It’s for God to complete His plan when we keep some of the pieces of our lives from Him.

Psalm 18:20 says, “God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before Him” (MSG). You see, the pieces we’re ashamed of or think are imperfect and ugly are the very ones that give the picture of our life depth. They’re the ones that show our scars and the struggles we’ve been through. It’s been my experience that those are the ones that God uses the most in completing His plan for our life because those are the ones people relate to. God allows us to go through struggle because it builds our faith and provides edges where our puzzle can connect with others to make their life complete. That only happens when we let a God use all the pieces of our lives.

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Equipped And Ready

Gideon is one of those stories in the Bible that I go back to over and over again. He was scared of his enemies, so he was hiding when the angel appeared to him. The angel then greets him with, “Mighty Hero! The Lord is with you” (NLT). I’m sure Gideon had a confused look on his face and then looked around for the hero. He then asked a great question any of us would have asked. If the Lord is with me, why are things so bad? He didn’t get an answer though. Instead, the angel calls on him to save Israel from the very enemy he’s hiding from.

In Judges 6:14, the angel of the Lord said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” I love this response because it is a great picture of who God is. He calls us to do things in our own strength and giftings. When we see ourselves in the mirror, we think who we are and what we have is not enough. God sees beyond our fears and insecurities though. He sees who we can become if we would trust that He’s with us and will pick up the slack for the things we lack if we will simply step out with what we have already been given.

I believe every one of us are called to do something. There is a purpose and a plan that God has for each of our lives. It’s up to us to trust Him to be with us, and to walk in that calling. It’s time for us to quit looking at ourselves with these human eyes so we can trust what God sees in us with His eyes. It’s in our weaknesses and inabilities that His strength is made perfect. He only asks that we trust Him enough to do the things He called us to. If God has confidence in you, I think it’s time you had it too. Through Jesus, you are more than a conqueror. You are a mighty, valiant hero ready and equipped to do what He called you to.

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Courage To Pray

Recently I asked people on social media what their definition of courage was. I got quite a few responses. Some gave people’s names. Some told stories of maintaining faith in difficult circumstances. The rest had some form of doing what needed to be done in the face of fear. Every one of us face fear of some kind, and its intent is to keep us quiet and still. It tells us we don’t belong, don’t have the right, that we will be embarrassed and ridiculed. Fear makes us think that we don’t have a seat at the table or the right to ask God for things in prayer.

In Matthew 15, a Canaanite woman came to Jesus to request healing for her daughter, but Jesus ignored her. The disciples wanted her to go away. She begged Jesus again to help her. In verse 26, Jesus replied, “It isn’t right to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs” (GNT). Despite being told she didn’t have a seat at the table, she pushed through her fear and kept asking. Finally Jesus said, “You are a woman of great faith! What you want will be done for you.” The Lord answered her request because her faith was greater than her fear.

Psalm 10:17 says, “You will listen, O Lord, to the prayers of the lowly; you will give them courage.” I believe He gives us the courage to keep asking despite what the doctors say, what others think or what fear makes us feel. Don’t let fear of rejection, fear of the worst happening or fear of what God may say keep you from praying and asking for the impossible. God hears every prayer no matter who it comes from. Through Jesus, you and I have a right to enter God’s heavenly throne room to make our requests known. Enter into His presence today and tell Him what you need.

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Get Back Up

In high school, I played basketball, but our school was very small. One night we were playing a much larger school and we were down by 20 at the half. Coach threw the door open coming into the locker room. He screamed, “Are y’all scared of them because they’re taller than you? Are you scared because they’re more athletic? It must be something because you’ve quit. You’re a bunch of quitters! If there’s one thing I hate, it’s a quitter…If you quit, I quit!” He stormed out as loudly as he came in. Our captain said, “Let’s Open with the starting five in a Black Diamond defense. Lets get out there and win!” Coach returned halfway into the third and we won that game that night because we got back out there and played hard.

Not long after the Israelites defeated Jericho, they went to fight a small town. They only sent 10% of their warriors. The other city beat them, chased them down and embarrassed them. Joshua returned to the camp and fell on his face before the Lord. He laid there all day giving up. In Joshua 7:10 the Lord said to him, “Get up! Why are you lying on your face like this?” (NLT) God told him to get back up, fix the problem, get back out there and fight. After finding and removing sin in the camp, they went back to that town and soundly defeated them.

How do you deal with defeat? Do you quit, hide or get depressed? One defeat doesn’t not define you. Ax God told Joshua, you need to get back up, make adjustments and get back out there. Your life is not over. There is still a lot of fight in you, plus you’re not fighting alone. God is with you. Proverbs 24:16 says, “For the lovers of God may suffer adversity and stumble seven times, but they will continue to rise over and over again” (TPT). No matter how many times you’re defeated or fall flat on you’re face, get back up and fight. Don’t quit. You’re victory is ahead.

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Participating With God

When God called to Moses from the burning bush in Exodus 3, He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground” (NKJV). God then asked Moses to return to Egypt where the Lord would perform miraculous signs and wonders. Moses argued with God and gave excuses as to why he couldn’t speak to Pharaoh. Eventually, God convinced Moses. He then spoke to Pharaoh, God performed 10 plagues and the Israelites were set free from their bondage because of the things God did.

Fast forward 40 years and Israel is finally permitted to enter the Promised Land. They cross the Jordan and begin to prepare to attack Jericho. While Joshua is surveying it, the Lord appears to him in Joshua 5:15 and says, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” Did you catch the difference? When Moses met God, he had to remove both sandals. When Joshua met with Him, he only had to remove one. I believe it’s because with Moses, God was doing all the work, and with Joshua they were going to work together to subdue Canaan.

I believe God wants you and I to participate with Him in living an overcoming life. We can’t sit back and wait for Him to do all the work. You and I are going to have to step out and face some giants. We are going to have to attack some walled cities in our life. The great news is that God will fight our battles if we’ll have enough faith to get onto the battlefield. If we’re going to live An overcoming life, we’re going to have to quit making excuses and letting fear make our decisions. If God is for you, who can be against you? It’s time to quit camping by the Jordan and to fight for the land God promised you.

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