Tag Archives: Devotional

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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Bad Days

It’s easy to praise God on our good days, but what about our bad days? When we didn’t get the news we were hoping for, when we didn’t get the job or when God didn’t answer our prayer the way we wanted Him to. Can you still bless the Lord on those days? Too many times we allow our disappointment to choose our response to God on those days. We must learn to not allow our feelings to dictate our relationship with God.

I’ve learned that God knows what He’s doing more than I do. While I don’t like bad days, I know that they produce more fruit in my life than the good days. They deepen my faith like no other times. It never feels good to be disappointed by not getting the things we want, but we must find a way to bless God anyway. If Job, who was as human as we are, could fall down and worship God on his worst day, we can too.

Here are some Bible verses about bad days.

1. GOD ’s a safe-house for the battered, a sanctuary during bad times. The moment you arrive, you relax; you’re never sorry you knocked.

Psalm 9:9-10 MSG

2. Even when bad things happen to the good and godly ones, the Lord will save them and not let them be defeated by what they face.

Psalms 34:19 TPT

3. I am the Lord; there is no other God. I have equipped you for battle, though you don’t even know me, so all the world from east to west will know there is no other God. I am the Lord, and there is no other. I create the light and make the darkness. I send good times and bad times. I, the Lord, am the one who does these things.

Isaiah 45:5-7 NLT

4. The Lord takes care of those who obey him, and the land will be theirs forever. They will not suffer when times are bad; they will have enough in time of famine.

Psalm 37:18-19 GNT

5. Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “Why, GOD bless that man! GOD hasn’t quite walked out on us after all! He still loves us, in bad times as well as good!” Naomi went on, “That man, Ruth, is one of our circle of covenant redeemers, a close relative of ours!”

Ruth 2:20 MSG

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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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Never Failing

Have you ever let anyone down? I have. I’ve been the person who was supposed to show up, and didn’t. I’ve been the person was supposed to speak up, and stayed quiet. I’ve even been the person who said I’d do something, and didn’t. Chances are, someone like me has failed you along the way. People can be unreliable at times and even fail us when we need them the most. They have good intentions, but don’t always come through when you need them to. Because that’s happened to us, many of us live by the saying, “I don’t give out trust. You have to earn it.”

As I read through the Bible, there are plenty of stories of how people have failed each other and God. There’s no one perfect in there because perfect people don’t exist. But amidst all the imperfect people is a God who is perfect and never fails to do what He says. No matter how many times, or how badly people treat God, He always keeps His Word. He always shows up. He always does what He says He will do. God never fails. He may not always answer the way we want Him to, but He always keeps His promises because His Word never fails.

Here are some Bible verses on some ways God never fails.

1. Meanwhile, I’m sure you’re on my side— no victory shouts yet from the enemy camp! You know me inside and out, you hold me together, you never fail to stand me tall in your presence so I can look you in the eye.

Psalm 41:11-12 MSG

2. My word is like the snow and the rain that come down from the sky to water the earth. They make the crops grow and provide seed for planting and food to eat. So also will be the word that I speak— it will not fail to do what I plan for it; it will do everything I send it to do.

Isaiah 55:10-11 GNT

3. The earth and sky will wear out and fade away before one word I speak loses its power or fails to accomplish its purpose.

Matthew 24:35 TPT

4. For the word of God will never fail.

Luke 1:37 NLT

5. It is because of the LORD’S loving-kindnesses that we are not consumed, Because His [tender] compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great and beyond measure is Your faithfulness.

LAMENTATIONS 3:22-23 AMP

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Godly Counsel

We all need counseling from time to time. We need the wisdom of a trusted friend, advisor or professional. Whoever we get it from, it’s important that the counsel we receive lines up with God’s Word. The Bible is full of wisdom that can provide insight and give direction in just about anything we face. The book of Proverbs alone is full of wisdom and great insight into how we should think and make decisions.

As King, David was often in need of counseling. He wanted to make the best choices. If he couldn’t find someone to give him godly advice, He went straight to God for help. In Psalm 16:7, David wrote, “I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me” (ESV). David took what God said and put it in his heart so that even at night he dreamed about what to do.

The thing about counsel is, it’s worthless unless you follow it. You can listen to it, dream about it and think about it all you want, but nothing in your life will change until you do something with it. So many times, we get good, godly advice, but we are afraid to act on it. People who are like that are like those who admired the Brooklyn Bridge when it was built. They stood on the edge and admired it, but were afraid to walk across it. It wasn’t until P. T. Barnum walked his elephants across it that they started using the bridge.

God’s Word, like the Brooklyn Bridge, is strong and can be trusted to handle whatever you’re going through. Listen to the advice and counsel that comes from Him. Put it deep in your heart so that it becomes a part of you. Trust your heart too. God has given us the Holy Spirit to help us discern what is right. It’s not a sign of weakness to need or to get counsel. It shows strength to admit you don’t know everything. Just make sure the people you’re getting it from know God’s Word.

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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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