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Readjusting Your Course

Every time I fly, I think about a friend of mine who is a pilot. I’ve asked him many questions about the process of flying and what it’s like to be in the cabin. I’ve even questioned him about autopilot. He told me that before a flight, he plots the course based off of information he gets from others who are flying that route. Once the plane is in the air and cruising, he turns on autopilot. I wondered if it was really that easy. He then explained that at the cruising altitude, the winds can blow us off course and he has to readjust to get the plane back on course. If he doesn’t, the plane could arrive miles from its destination.

Our walk with God is a lot like that. We love to set our lives to autopilot and think that will get us directly to Heaven, but the Christian life is more than autopilot. In order to be successful at living this life, we need to have people in our lives who are ahead of us and have walked the path we are on. We need to listen to the information they’re giving us because they’ve seen first hand where turbulence lies. It’s important to have people in our lives who can give us guidance and the information we need to make the right decisions. Proverbs 13:20 tells us that if we want to be wise, we need to be around wise people.

The next thing we have to do is be aware of how the winds of life shift us from our course. Things happen. Problems are going to arise. We need to be in a constant state of questioning if we are still on course for where God has us headed. Reevaluation is an important part of your Christian life. Asking if we are where God wants us when God wants us to be there is important. Are we still on the path that God put us on? That path is hard to see sometimes. We need to have God’s Word in our hearts. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.”

Applying God’s word to your life and taking advice from others will help you to live the most impactful Christian life you can. When we know what God says in His Word, we are able to defeat temptation that would take us off course. If we do get knocked off course, it’s not the end of the world. God offers forgiveness and course corrections. He makes a way to get back to where He had us heading. Don’t quit because you’ve been blown off course. Take the advice of someone who has been blown off course and been given a path back. God will not abandon you or the plans He has for you no matter how far off course you get. There’s always a way back.

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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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Empowered For Victory

Fear. Worry. Addiction. Self destructive thoughts and patterns. Depression. Insurmountable odds. Our past. These are things that many of us battle on a daily basis. They are mentally and physically taxing. It’s hard to sleep when these battles loom over us because they’re all we think about. The idea of getting free of them rarely enters our mind anymore because we’ve given up hope of overcoming them. They are powerful and make us feel powerless against them. We yield to them because we know it’s useless. So we live under their cloud in a defeated life without hope of winning victory over them.

If you struggle with these things, you’re not alone. Millions of people live just like that believing they’re the only ones going through it because the enemy of your soul has lied to you. He knows if he wins these battles, he can sideline you for a lifetime. But God has not given you a spirit of fear, nor has He abandoned you. He has given you the strength and the tools to break every chain and every stronghold that tries to hold you down and keep you from the life He created you to live. Remember that our weapons are not carnal, but are mighty through God (2 Cor 10:4)!

Psalm 18:35 puts it this way, “You empower me for victory with your wrap-around presence. Your power within makes me strong to subdue, and by stooping down in gentleness you strengthened me and made me great!” (TPT) Yes, you were made to be great and victorious through God. When we spend time in His presence through prayer, reading His Word and in praise and worship, He envelops us with the power we need to overcome. You don’t have to be a prisoner to these other things because you’ve been empowered for victory.

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Counting On God

Years ago, Tracy Lawrence sang a song called, “Find Out Who Your Friends Are”. The chorus said, “You find out who your friends are, Someone’s going to drop everything, Run out and crank up their car, Hit the gas, get there fast, Never stop to think, “What’s in it for me”, Or “‘It’s way too far”, They just show up, With their big ol’ heart, You find out who your friends are.” It’s a good reminder of the people in your life that you can count on for just about anything. God is One in whom we can count on in times of need.

King David had some incredible insight into who God is. He was a man after God’s heart, but he was also a man who lived a life of faith and trust. His psalms hit home with us because he was constantly in situations that required great faith and he wrote out his prayers. His desperation often matches our own and he gives words to prayers we need to pray in those moments. He found God to be a true friend who would never turn us away in our time of need. In Psalm 9:10, he wrote, “May everyone who knows your mercy keep putting their trust in you, for they can count on you for help no matter what. O Lord, you will never, no never, neglect those who come to you” (TPT)

You and I can go to God in our time of need and He will not neglect our need. I can tell you that He doesn’t answer each prayer the way I want Him to, but then again I don’t give my child everything he asks for either. Just like I look at the whole picture and make a decision for him, God does that with us. He meets our needs and never turns us away when we go to Him. His plan for our lives is greater than you or I can even imagine. For us to fulfill that plan, we’ve got to learn to trust Him the way David did. It’s not an easy path and things won’t always go your way, but if you keep trusting in Him, you’ll find that you can always count on Him no matter what.

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Goodbye, Worry

Have you ever been so stressed about a situation that you couldn’t sleep? When I’m worried about something, my mind races all night long about all the possible outcomes. I try to think of ways to solve the problem, but the more I think about it, the further down the rabbit hole I go. It’s exhausting and I wake up the next day tired and mentally drained. Worry has a tendency to do that. That’s why Corrie Ten Boom said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.”

David’s son Absalom was mad at him and staged a coup. It forced David to flee Jerusalem and hide throughout Israel. He wasn’t sure who he could trust or where his next meal was going to come from. His army was only about 600 men, and Absalom was chasing him with an army of more than 20,000. David had a lot to keep him up at night. During this time, he wrote Psalm 63. Verses 6-7 say, “I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night. Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings” (NLT).

Instead of focusing on his problems or his situation, David chose to think and meditate on God. By doing that, he kept His problems in check and put them into their proper perspective. God is much greater than whatever problems you’re facing today. While worrying won’t solve them, prayer can. It is the key to letting go of worry and letting our mind rest. God knows your need and will walk with you through whatever situation you face. He is greater than your problems and thinking of His goodness brings peace.

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Bringing Us Back

David had two sons from different wives. One son raped the sister of the other son. A couple years later, he got his revenge and killed his half brother for what he had done. David was angry about the murder so the son fled. Now David was without two sons. Over time, they both longed to be reconciled, but neither wanted to move from their position. Another son devised a plan to get his brother back. Five years after the murder, David and his son reconciled, but the relationship was never the same. As humans, we have the capacity to forgive, but not to forget so our forgiveness is often very fragile.

One of the most amazing things about God is that He doesn’t care how far away we’ve wandered from Him, He always is willing to accept us back fully. In fact, He’s on the hunt for us like a shepherd looking for a lost sheep. It doesn’t matter how lost we are or what we got tangled up in, His desire is that we return to Him. That, to me, is amazing love. We, like the Prodigal Son, try to come up with reasons why He won’t accept us back as His children, but He’s watching and waiting to put the family seal on us and bring us back into the family. He has the capacity to forgive and forget because His love for us is so deep.

Here are some Bible verses on God’s desire to bring us back to Him.

1. All of us must die eventually. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God does not just sweep life away; instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him.

2 Samuel 14:14 NLT

2. So bring us back to loving you, God our Savior. Restore our hearts so that we’ll never again feel your anger rise against us.

Psalms 85:4 TPT

3. Bring us back to you, Lord! Bring us back! Restore our ancient glory.

Lamentations 5:21 GNT

4. You will preach to his people the revelation of salvation life, the cancellation of all our sins, to bring us back to God.

Luke 1:77 TPT

5. This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT

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Doubting God

I began my daily devotional journey over seven years ago. I’m often asked how I can write so often without running out of things to write about. In the beginning, that was my greatest fear. What if I woke up one day and had nothing to write? What would my readers think? Would they forgive me for letting them down? I honestly worried that that day would come, but I’ve since learned that I wasn’t doubting my abilities – I was doubting God’s.

Several months after I started, and while I was wrestling with those thoughts, I got to meet and have breakfast with William Paul Young, author of “The Shack”. As we talked, he said something that changed how I looked at God. He told me, “Quit looking at God as well and start to see him as a river flowing from an eternal spring.” In that moment, my perspective changed. I had been looking at God as a well that could run dry instead of an endless source of creativity. I truly had been doubting Him instead of myself.

In John 4, Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well. After asking her for a drink, He remarked that if she knew who He was, she would ask Him for water that never ran out. In verse 11, she said, “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket, and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water?” (NLT) She was still looking at the well to be the source. She, like us, had a very small idea of who God was and what He was capable of. She tried to confine an infinite God to a finite space. She tried to place Him inside our laws instead of herself inside of His.

I love Jesus reply to her. He said, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” When we put God into our laws, we become thirsty again and fear that His goodness will run out. When we see Him for who He is, our laws go out the window because nothing is impossible to Him. He isn’t your well – He’s the one who gives you a fresh, unending, bubbling stream so you’ll never thirst again. When you change your perspective of who He is, you’ll quit doubting His abilities.

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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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Quit Performing

Most of what we do in life is performance based. When I was in school, my grades were not based on my intentions, but on the quality of the work I did. Each year at my job I have a meeting with my boss to go over a performance appraisal. We look at the work I’ve done and the impact it’s had. The more boxes I check off on that form, the greater my raise. Since we were born, others have evaluated our performance and decided our worth. It’s something that has been ingrained in us since day one. That’s why it’s often a shock to us that God doesn’t give us salvation because of our performance.

In Psalm 51, you will find one of the greatest prayers in the Bible. David had just gotten a married woman pregnant, then had her husband killed and married her to cover it up. God sent the prophet Nathan to confront David regarding his sin. Instead of getting defensive or making excuses, David wept and begged God for forgiveness. In verses 16-17 he prayed, “For the source of your pleasure is not in my performance or the sacrifices I might offer to you. The fountain of your pleasure is found in the sacrifice of my shattered heart before you” (TPT).

If we were tasked with swimming from the US to the UK, some of us wouldn’t make it very far. Other might make it a few miles, but none of us would make it across. Our performance will never bridge the gap between our sin and God’s holiness. The only way to cross over is to have a repentant heart. Jesus is in the boat of salvation waiting to pick us up and take us across, but we have to understand it’s not about our performance. It’s about His grace. There’s nothing you or I can do to make Him love us more or less. There’s nothing we can do to earn salvation. It’s a free gift that comes from confessing our sins and trusting in His kindness.

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