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Right Now

Throwback Thursday is a new 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.

Do you ever find yourself letting your mind wander through all the possible outcomes of a situation? Before you know it, you can lose a couple of hours or even a day. I’ve been known to lose sleep just thinking about all the “what if’s”. When I was at a dead end in life and was forced to file bankruptcy, I couldn’t find any outcome that was positive. I was worried sick over how hard the next seven years were going to be. I couldn’t stop thinking of all the implications of it, not to mention the embarrassment. I got caught up in an endless cycle of thoughts that were detrimental to my well being.

God knows all too well how our minds work. I think that’s why Jesus dealt with those of us who are constantly living in the future of “what if’s” instead of in the present what is. In Matthew 6:34, Jesus said, “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. (MSG)” He was very plain in that verse and His words hit home with someone like me.

When I give my attention to the “what if’s”, I take away from what God is doing in this very moment. I lose sight of the reality that He is creating in my life right now. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow. I have no clue how my current situation will end, but God does. He knows all too well what tomorrow will bring and what I need to do today in order to prepare for it. When I worry about the possibilities, I miss out on what He’s showing me right now in order to help me tomorrow. That’s why He wants me to give my entire attention to what He’s doing today, not what He’s going to do.

In the second part of that verse, Jesus assures us that God will help us with what comes next. He’s not going to let you walk into a trap and then abandon you. He’s not going to hang you out to dry when times get tough. People may do that, but God never will. Jesus said that He will help you with whatever hard things come up and will be there for you when you need him. Deuteronomy 3:18 says, “The Lord your God goes with you, He will never leave you nor forsake you.” I don’t know what hard thing you’re facing today, but God does and He’ll help you deal with it. Don’t use today’s energy worrying about tomorrow’s problems. God is with you right now, using whatever it is to produce things in your life that won’t grow any other way. Trust His plan and lean on His strength.

Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

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Peace Through Trust

Throwback Thursday is a new 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.


Life is unpredictable. It’s full of uncertainties, crossroads, and unknowns. When we are facing these things in life, our minds get consumed looking for answers and wondering what tomorrow holds. It can suck the energy right out of you if you let it. I think that’s why Jesus told us in Matthew 6:34, “Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries” (NLT). He knew that with all of life’s uncertainties, we could easily get wrapped up in all the what if’s of life.

The truth is that even though you and I don’t know what tomorrow holds, God does. And He’s not worried. What is unknown to us is history to Him. He knows how it all plays out and He is in control. No matter what each day brings, we can trust that He has a plan for our lives and a path for us to walk down. Psalm 37:23 says, “The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” Not only does He direct our lives, He knows all the details that are unknown to us.

Trusting Him in those times is paramount to our peace of mind. Where worry consumes us, His peace frees us. We get peace in uncertainty when we trust that God is in control, that He has a plan for this season, and that He is directing our path. Stress and worry come from thinking we are in control, that God doesn’t care, or that He doesn’t have a plan. He gives you and I the ability to choose in this situation. Do we want to stress or do we want peace through trust? 

I’m reminded of Proverbs 3:5-6 when it comes to trusting God in uncertainty. It says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know. Remember the Lord in everything you do, and he will show you the right way” (GNB). The word “trust”, in the original language for this verse, means to feel safe, be careless. In our most difficult times, we can feel safe and be carefree by trusting God. He will direct our path and show us the right way when the time is right. 

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Release Worry And Anger


Two the most taxing emotions are worry and anger. Worry robs us of our strength and anger blinds us. I’ve spent a lot of time worrying about things that may or may not happen. My mind is excellent at going through all the worst case scenarios. If there’s a possible bad outcome to any situation, my mind will think of it and make me worry. That stress then wears me down to the point that my mind and body get exhausted. It hinders me from accomplishing the things I need to get done today.

On the other hand, I’ve been so angry before that I couldn’t sleep. Every time I closed my eyes, I could only picture a bad scenario. That got me upset, got my heart racing and my blood boiling. It made me fantasize about doing evil things to pay them back that were worse than what they did to me. I didn’t want to get even, I wanted to get so far ahead that they never wanted to mess with me again.

These two emotions were given to us by God for a reason, but we can’t let them run wild and free or they will destroy us. Psalm 37:8 says, “Don’t give in to worry or anger; it only leads to trouble” (GNT). Notice how the writer didn’t say, “Don’t feel them.” No. He said, “Don’t give into them.” Don’t let them rule your mind. Left unbridled, they will destroy your well being and later your life. You can’t dwell on them. In both cases, you have to release them.

I know that’s easier said than done, but it is possible. In both situations, the way to release them is to trust God. Do you trust God to do what’s right for you? Then let go of worry and trust His plan. Do you believe that vengeance belongs to the Lord? Then let go of your anger and trust Him to do what’s right in the situation. If you’re struggling with either of these, pray and give the situation to God. When you release it, you will watch the worry and anger go with it. 

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Deadlines


When it comes to taking a test, there are two main methods: taking your time and cramming. I usually found myself on the cramming side. I remember staying up all night trying to get as much information in my head in as little time as possible. When you’re up against a deadline, an all nighter is common. Deadlines make force us to focus and put our energy into what’s critical to us at that moment. Remember the last time you were up against a deadline? You got rid of all distractions and did what was necessary. 

Jesus faced a literal deadline. He knew that He would be sacrificed as a Passover lamb. The night before His crucifixion, He pulled an all nighter with His disciples. He spent all night helping them to cram as much information as they could before He died. He focused on the critical things with them. He showed them servant leadership, had supper with them, then gave them final instructions. In John 14:1, I believe He said one of the most important things to them, and it applies to us today.

He said, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me” (NLT). That word “let” means to allow. He told us not to allow our hearts to be troubled, anxious, or worried. We have control of that by choosing what we think about and who we trust in. Jesus was telling them, and us, “Don’t panic. I got this. Trust me.” He knew that the disciples were about to feel like sheep without a shepherd. He was reminding them that when life gets chaotic, He may not be visible, but He’s there with us. We can trust Him to work His plan.

If you believe in Jesus, then you have to know that our God is not a hands off God. He is one who is intimately involved in our day to day lives. We can put our trust in Him instead of in the uncertainty and chaos of our life. Don’t let your heart be troubled. God is in control. He sees the whole picture of your life, and is working things for your good. You may to see it now, but that’s where faith and trust comes in. If you trust Him and have faith in Him, you don’t have to let worry rule your heart.

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Faithless Panic


Sometimes at night, I’ll send my son to his room to get his pajamas. He’ll get to the stairs and say, “Are you watching me?” After he turns on the light, he goes up the stairs. He asks again then turns on the hallway light. I watch him as he walks across the balcony and gets to his room, but that when he stops. He peers into the dark room and asks, “Can you come with me?” I get frustrated and tell him to turn on the light, but his fear keeps him outside the door. I remind him that I’m watching him, but he wants me to come turn it on before he enters.

It can be a nightly thing sometimes. I try to explain to him that his fear is in his head and that he can just walk in. I remind him that there are other times when I’m going up the stairs behind him, and he runs into the dark room hiding in the darkness. It proves he has the ability to go in the dark room, but that doesn’t stop him from panicking during times when he’s just as secure. To silly from my perspective and also frustrating that he doesn’t get it.

I think that’s how Jesus felt when he was sleeping on a boat they were all on. A violent storm arose and the disciples panicked. They went to Jesus, woke Him up, and said, “Lord save us, we are going to die!” (AMP) Isn’t that how it usually goes. We let our fear of whatever cause us to panicky to the point we think we’re going to die, and we flip out. It’s often as silly and frustrating to God as my son’s irrational fear of taking two steps into his room to turn on the light.

In Matthew 8:26, Jesus woke up and said, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” I wonder how many times Jesus says that to us when we are in a panic, banging on Heaven’s doors with prayer. What often seems so big, daunting, and scary to us is so little to Him, and He wonders why we don’t trust Him more. Has He failed you before? Has He left you? No. He’s still in the boat with you. Have faith that whatever has you panicking right nows under His control. He’s watching you and won’t let you down. Have faith that He will be true to His promise to never leave you nor forsake you. Even if things don’t go the way you want, they go according to His plan and purpose got you. He sees the bigger picture. 

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Right Now


Do you ever find yourself letting your mind wander through all the possible outcomes of a situation? Before you know it, you can lose a couple of hours or even a day. I’ve been known to lose sleep just thinking about all the “what if’s”. When I was at a dead end in life and was forced to file bankruptcy, I couldn’t find an outcome that were positive. I was worried sick over how hard the next seven years were going to be. I couldn’t stop thinking of all the implications of it, not to mention the embarrassment. I got caught up in an endless cycle of thoughts that were detrimental to my well being.

God knows all too well how our minds work. I think that’s why Jesus dealt with those of us who are constantly living in the future of “what if’s” instead of in the present what is. In Matthew 6:34, Jesus said, “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. (MSG)” He was very plain in that verse and His words hit home with someone like me.

When I give my attention to the “what if’s”, I take away from what God is doing in this very moment. I lose sight of the reality that He is creating in my life today. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow. I have no clue how my current situation will end, but God does. He knows all too well what tomorrow will bring and what I need to do today in order to prepare for it. When I worry about the possibilities, I miss out on what He’s showing me today in order to help me tomorrow. That’s why He wants me to give my entire attention to what He’s doing right now, not what He’s going to do.

In the second part of that verse, Jesus assures us that God will help us with what comes next. He’s not going to let you walk into a trap and then abandon you. He’s not going to hang you out to dry when times get tough. People may do that, but God never will. Jesus said that He will help you with whatever hard things come up and will be there for you when you need him. Deuteronomy 3:18 says, “The Lord your God goes with you, He will never leave you nor forsake you.” I can testify that He is true to His word. He did not abandon me when I needed Him most and He won’t abandon you when you need Him most.

He is merely a prayer away. When the hard times come, simply say, “God, I can’t do this without you. In my own strength, this is impossible, but with you, all things are possible.” Don’t worry about all the worst possible outcomes of what could happen. Find God in the middle of today’s mess instead. Look for Him in the midst of what you’re walking through today. He will be your fortress of refuge, your rock and your shield. Give your mind a rest from the worry. God knows the outcome and whatever it is, He will give you the grace and strength you need to make it through. 

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Security In Uncertainty

  
Too many times life throws sucker punches at us. We get kicked in the gut out of nowhere and our future all of a sudden becomes unclear. The things we once thought were secure get lost when the rug gets pulled out from under our feet. We can easily lose our way, or worse our faith, when these things happen. We can wonder what God is up to. We can beg Him to open our eyes to the new path He wants us to walk down in this unexpected season change.

In those times in my life, I find comfort and direction in reading His Word. I have to remind myself that God is my provider in times of need. He’s my peace in the middle of a storm. He is the Alpha and Omega. He is the first and last so I can rest safely in the middle. He is the one who directs my path even when I can’t see the way forward. He is the one I run to in my time of need because He has always been faithful.

The following scriptures are some of my favorites to remind me that in my uncertainty, there is hope, there is a plan, and there is peace I can have.  

1. The LORD directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?
Proverbs 20:24 NLT

2. By your words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path. 

Psalm 119:105 MSG

3. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.

Psalms 40:2 NLT

4. I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for.

Jeremiah 29:11 GNB

5. GOD keeps an eye on his friends, his ears pick up every moan and groan.Is anyone crying for help? GOD is listening, ready to rescue you. If your heart is broken, you’ll find GOD right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.

Psalm 34:15, 17-18 MSG

6. So do not start worrying: ‘Where will my food come from? or my drink? or my clothes?’ (These are the things the pagans are always concerned about.) Your Father in heaven knows that you need all these things. Instead, be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God and with what he requires of you, and he will provide you with all these other things. So do not worry about tomorrow; it will have enough worries of its own. There is no need to add to the troubles each day brings.

Matthew 6:31-34 GNB

7. Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Philippians 4:6-7 MSG

8. Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.

1 Peter 5:7 AMP

9. People may plan all kinds of things, but the Lord ‘s will is going to be done.

Proverbs 19:21 GNB

10. Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT

What are some of your favorite scriptures during these times?

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