Tag Archives: future

Peace In Uncertainty

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.


Have you ever noticed that the in depth weather report is at the end of the news? They might bring them out early to give you a tease about the weather, but they won’t give specifics until later in the broadcast. I’ve read many times that the weather is the most watched part of the news. I’ve always wondered why. They’re rarely right. The rest of the news is a presentation of facts that have happened and the weather is a prediction of what will happen. We are intrigued with possibilities and predictions more than the past.

I also think it’s interesting that the opposite is true when it comes to the Bible. We are more concerned with what’s happened than with what will happen. I would venture to say that Revelation is probably the least read book in the Bible. We care about the future of the weather, but not the future of mankind. I understand it’s very cryptic and hard to follow at times because a man two thousand years ago was trying to describe the world of technology and advancement like what we live in. 

Another reason I think people steer clear of it is fear. We fear what we don’t understand.we fear the wars and plagues that are coming. I’m convinced that God did not give John the Revelation to make us afraid, but to inspire hope and to give us peace. As believers, the book of Revelation reveals the final steps before spending eternity with Jesus. It is a reminder that no matter how bad things get in the world or in your life, God knows ahead of time what’s going to happen and that He and those with Him will be victorious.

I get hope in knowing that no matter what comes my way, God knew it in advance and has prepared me for it. He is not like the weather reporter who guesses at the future. He knows with certainty what will happen. We can trust His promise in Deuteronomy 31:8 that says, “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” (NLT) He knew we would be afraid of what the future holds. He knew that we would need Him right there with us so he made us that promise.

Another promise I hold onto when the future is uncertain is Isaiah 43:2. It says, “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” Jesus even told us that in this world we would have trouble. He told us that hard times were coming. He then said, “I have told you all this (the future) so that you may have peace in me.” We don’t have to be afraid of the uncertainties ahead. Pray that God will give you peace and courage to move ahead

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Are you a Backseat Driver?

My wife and I took a road trip this weekend. The two of us were in the front seat and our toddler was in the back seat. All throughout the trip she would talk to him, play with him and occupy him while I drove. There were a couple of times when she was playing with him when a car in front of me had braked. I too applied my break. When I did, she would look up or turn around to see a car in front of me with their brake lights on and she would let out a yelp and brace herself with the dashboard. We laughed because it was unusual for her to do that.

After doing this a couple of times, I told her, “I got this. Trust me. I knew he was going to brake and I was prepared.” I explained that I had taken defensive driving classes plenty of times (don’t ask why) and that they taught me to look 10-20 seconds ahead to where I was going. As a passenger though, she wasn’t occupied with what was ahead. She kept getting startled and scared by what kept popping up in our path because she wasn’t looking ahead. She was looking behind mostly or right in front of us.

I think a lot of us live life that way. We are either constantly looking back while our lives are moving forward or we are so concentrated on what is right ahead of us that we fail to look ahead. We get caught up when something pops up that we didn’t expect and let out a yelp. We see brake lights in our path and grab our dashboard in fear. We get preoccupied with everything around us without looking ahead to where we are going.

When we do that, I can hear God say, “I got this. Trust me. I knew this was going to happen.” Instead of trusting Him though, we become a backseat driver to Him. We tell Him He should have braked earlier. He should have warned us. We question why He’s taking this road instead of that one. We tell Him to slow down or to speed up. Our lack of trust in who He is and in the plan for our lives begins to show up when we do this.

It kind of reminds me of the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32. The son who had left was returning home after he squandered all that was given to him. While he was walking, he was so concentrated on what he would say. He worried if he would be received and was practicing over and over what he would tell his dad when he got home. He was doing this so much, that he wasn’t even looking ahead. He didn’t know where he was, but his dad did. He was still a long way off when his father saw him and ran to him.

God is always looking far off ahead of us. He knows our path and His plan for our lives. While we are looking down or behind, He is looking ahead and preparing. When things happen suddenly, it may cause you to grab the dashboard and scream because you are unprepared for it, but He is not. Trust Him to do the driving His way. Just because where He is taking you doesn’t make sense at the moment, it doesn’t mean He has fallen asleep at the wheel. Trust Him with your life and try not to be a backseat driver.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Faith’s Roller Coaster

When I was a kid, my parents took us to Six Flags Astroworld often. I always remember the anticipation of getting to ride the Texas Cyclone. My dad, who understood physics, always had us ride in the back seat. The ride would pull out of the station, my heart would start to beat faster. The ride pulled to the left and started the ascent up the first hill. Click, click, click. The smile on my face was so big my cheeks hurt. Click, click click. It went up so slowly that it seemed like forever to get to the top. Click, click, click.

All of a sudden I could hear the screams from the front car as they reached the top. Click, click, click. As I saw the hill approaching I would raise my hands. The suspense would kill me. I knew the rush that was about to come from going over the top. Click. I took a deep breath. Click. And suddenly, we were off on a set of twists and turns, peaks and valleys. The joy of getting thrown around side to side was too much. I was both laughing and scared at the same time as my stomach would come up to my throat.

I’m there in my life right now. I’m on my way to Haiti today to help build an orphanage. For the past six months the anticipation was much like waiting to go over the top. One month to go. Click, click, click. Passports ready. Click, click, click. Doing fundraisers to help raise the money needed. Click, click, click. Final check lists done. Click. Bags packed. Click. Arriving at the airport. Click. It’s time to take a deep breath and hang on for the ride.

I’m excited and nervous at the same time. I know God has something good in store, but there are so many unknowns. I can worry and scream about what’s coming or I can smile, throw my hands up and prepare for the ride. When I got in the car, I gave up my right to control what happens. It’s in control of going where the tracks lead. When I gave my heart to Christ, the same thing happened. I gave up control. My life is heading where His tracks lead.

I’m not sure why I get so nervous about the future. Jesus said in Matthew 6:34, “So don’t worry or be anxious about tomorrow.” He’s got the future, your future under control. There’s no sense in worrying about it. Just like on the roller coaster, you can’t always see what’s next. You may be able to see the mountains and valleys and turns coming, but what’s right in front of you is often a mystery. That’s the beauty of a roller coaster. That’s the beauty of life.

You aren’t in control. God is. Let Him worry about tomorrow. Give it over to Him. Smile. Throw
your hands up. Scream. Enjoy the ride. It will end before you know it. When you give up your life to God and allow Him to control it, you gave up the rights to a boring life. You just got on the Texas Cyclone! Your stomach might be in your throat some days. You might be out of breath on others. But when the train pulls in the station, you’ll be glad you got on the ride and want to do it again.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Faith’s Roller Coaster

When I was a kid, my parents took us to Six Flags Astroworld often. I always remember the anticipation of getting to ride the Texas Cyclone. My dad, who understood physics, always had us ride in the back seat. The ride would pull out of the station, my heart would start to beat faster. The ride pulled to the left and started the ascent up the first hill. Click, click, click. The smile on my face was so big my cheeks hurt. Click, click click. It went up so slowly that it seemed like forever to get to the top. Click, click, click.

All of a sudden I could hear the screams from the front car as they reached the top. Click, click, click. As I saw the hill approaching I would raise my hands. The suspense would kill me. I knew the rush that was about to come from going over the top. Click. I took a deep breath. Click. And suddenly, we were off on a set of twists and turns, peaks and valleys. The joy of getting thrown around side to side was too much. I was both laughing and scared at the same time as my stomach would come up to my throat.

I’m there in my life right now. I’m on my way to Haiti today to help build an orphanage. For the past six months the anticipation was much like waiting to go over the top. One month to go. Click, click, click. Passports ready. Click, click, click. Doing fundraisers to help raise the money needed. Click, click, click. Final check lists done. Click. Bags packed. Click. Arriving at the airport. Click. It’s time to take a deep breath and hang on for the ride.

I’m excited and nervous at the same time. I know God has something good in store, but there are so many unknowns. I can worry and scream about what’s coming or I can smile, throw my hands up and prepare for the ride. When I got in the car, I gave up my right to control what happens. It’s in control of going where the tracks lead. When I gave my heart to Christ, the same thing happened. I gave up control. My life is heading where His tracks lead.

I’m not sure why I get so nervous about the future. Jesus said in Matthew 6:34, “So don’t worry or be anxious about tomorrow.” He’s got the future, your future under control. There’s no sense in worrying about it. Just like on the roller coaster, you can’t always see what’s next. You may be able to see the mountains and valleys and turns coming, but what’s right in front of you is often a mystery. That’s the beauty of a roller coaster. That’s the beauty of life.

You aren’t in control. God is. Let Him worry about tomorrow. Give it over to Him. Smile. Throw
your hands up. Scream. Enjoy the ride. It will end before you know it. When you give up your life to God and allow Him to control it, you gave up the rights to a boring life. You just got on the Texas Cyclone! Your stomach might be in your throat some days. You might be out of breath on others. But when the train pulls in the station, you’ll be glad you got on the ride and want to do it again.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Go Ahead & Be Angry

I had a conversation last night with a friend who is going through a difficult situation. They tried to give me all the religious answers they thought I wanted to hear. I finally stopped them. I said, “I don’t want to hear what you think I want to hear. I know what you’re going through. It’s ok to be angry right now.” Silence. “You’re right. I am angry right now,” the voice on the other end finally said.

I directed them to the scripture in Ephesians 4:26 that says, “Go ahead and be angry. You to well to be angry – but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge.” It’s not a sin to be angry and upset. It’s ok especially when you have a right to be upset. God just doesn’t want us to use that anger against the person who wronged us. I shared with them how angry I was and the things I had wanted to do.

Thank God I never acted on the thoughts that entered my mind while I was hurt and angry. If I had acted on them, I would have missed out on the blessings I now enjoy. When you’re going through a difficult time where you’ve lost everything, you think you have nothing to lose because you don’t have anything. That’s a dangerous place to be.

It’s important to pay attention to the thoughts that enter your mind when you’re upset. It’s easy to entertain them. It’s easy to slip off into a fantasy world where you are deceived into believing you can get away with anything. The enemy sends thoughts into your head in a Trojan Horse. They start off harmless and end up with you really contemplating going through with them.

Scripture is clear when it comes to thoughts like that. II Corinthians 10:4-5 says, “We use God’s mighty weapons , not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning… We capture rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.” When we entertain those thoughts that would take us from being angry to sinning, we allow them to take root in our minds and to build strongholds. We are to take those thoughts instead and teach them to obey Christ.

I know that’s easier said than done. It’s easy to entertain the thoughts that let you do what your flesh wants to do. It takes God’s weapons to break them down and teach them to obey Christ. It takes discipline. Usually you are missing those things when you’re hurt and angry. I want to encourage you today if you are hurt, angry or discouraged to know it’s ok to feel that way.

Emotions are given to us by God. He knows we need to vent at times. He knows we want to curl up in bed, pull the covers over our heads and pretend that today doesn’t exist. That’s why he said, “Go ahead and be angry.” He just doesn’t want you to do something stupid with that anger that would stint the future He has for you. Don’t limit what He can do through you because you are hurt and feel you have nothing to lose. This too will pass. You will survive. I’m proof of it. It just takes time. God still has a future for you even when you can’t see it.

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Hope to Help You Endure

This morning God woke me up with a single word: hope. There are a lot of people reading this today who need it. I know what it feels like to not have it. I also know that a little bit goes a long way. It keeps you going when you are at the end of your rope. It’s the difference between letting go and hanging on just a little bit longer. To me it has always been one of those things that gives me just enough energy when I think I’m done.

In Psalm 142, David was hiding out in a cave as he was being hunted down. He was feeling like many of us do. Here’s what he says in verses 3-7. See if you can relate:

As I sink in despair, my spirit ebbing away, you know how I’m feeling, know the danger I’m in, the traps hidden in my path.
Look right, look left – there’s not a soul who cares what happens!
I’m up against it, with no exit- bereft, left alone.
I cry out, God, call out: “You’re my last chance, my only hope for life!”
Oh listen, please listen; I’ve never been this low.
Rescue me from those who are hunting me down;
I’m no match for them.
Get me out of this dungeon so I can thank you in public.
Your people will form a circle around me and you’ll bring me showers of blessing!

The lies that were in his head told him that no one cared about him, that no one was there for him and that he was all alone. Maybe you’re hearing the same thing in your mind today. You think you have to face this alone. You feel like there is no one who understands what you’re going through. That isn’t true. Don’t dwell on those thoughts. Those lead to a place where there is no hope.

We serve a God of hope though. In Jeremiah 29:11 God says, “For I know the plans I have for you. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” He has a future for you even when you can’t see it. He also wants to give you hope today even when you can’t see it. He has a plan for you and this thing you’re going through is part of it. He is strengthening you through it and preparing you to endure whatever else may come in the future.

Max Lucado wrote in his book “On the Anvil”, “God may have you go through a storm at 30 so you can endure a hurricane at 60.” I remember going through that storm and thinking, “If this is the storm, I don’t want to be in the hurricane.” What seems impossible to survive now will make it possible for you to endure in the future. You can survive this. You can make it through. There is hope.

I love how David ended his prayer above. “Your people will form a circle around me and you’ll bring me showers of blessing!” Don’t push away the people that God is placing in your life and are trying to form a circle of protection around you. Let them. Let them pray for you and with you. Be open and honest about how you are feeling so they’ll know how to pray. And when you’re on the other side of this, what was a storm will be showers of blessing.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Why following Jesus is like playing Monopoly

I took a 16 hour solo road trip recently. Normally I have a policy against that, but for whatever reason, it just had to be done. So there I was sitting in my car, mile after mile, alone with my thoughts. That’s not quite true, I had Pete Wilson’s book Plan B playing on the stereo. But that was it, just mine and Pete Wilson’s thoughts.

What do you do when where God has you just doesn’t make sense? What do you do when “the plan” just isn’t working out, you get off course, or you lose track of the course altogether? That’s what Pete and I were thinking about on my drive. I remembered some old prayers I had prayed. Not the easy/cheesy ones. I mean prayers to know God better and that He would care enough about me to interfere with my life. What was I thinking? I remembered the first such prayer before my senior year of high school. I had simply invited God to take away anything He felt necessary for my life to belong more to Him. A couple months later the girl I had a crush on all through high school began dating one of my football teammates. Soon after that one of my best friends moved out of his home and our church and in with his girlfriend. Next, my hopes for a national championship in an important (to me) Bible competition were dashed. By the time I graduated, I was gulping for air.

Then last year, a decade later, I had the guts to do it again. Lord, take me to the next level in my relationship with You, I prayed. I don’t have any other explanation for the erratic events of the past year than that God is answering that prayer. That’s when I realized the following Jesus is a lot like playing Monopoly.

In the game of Monopoly, you’ll occasionally land on a spot that invites you to draw one of two cards: a Chance or a Community Chest. That can set a completely new course in motion. You can move drastically ahead in the game. You can win free money. Or you could experience a major setback. You could owe money or be forced to forfeit property. You could even go jail (directly, I might add). The thing is, you don’t know what the result will be until you draw the card.
When we pray for God’s best, it’s like drawing a Chance card in Monopoly. We don’t know if it’ll help or hurt. It may not change the whole trajectory of our lives, but then again, it may. God’s answers may be big or small. They may last a short time or for the rest of our lives. The only way to avoid them is to not play at all. But then what is the point?

I coined a new phrase lately. My circumstances are precarious but my future is secure. And that includes my short-term future as well as my eternal future. I don’t know why God stretches my faith the way He does, but I don’t know any other way than to keep playing the game on His terms. Lord, help me in my unbelief. I won’t let You go until You bless me.

This has been a guest post by a friend of mine who knows what it means to live by faith. Nathan Magnuson is a leadership consultant, coach, and thought leader. Visit him today at NathanMagnuson.com or follow him on Twitter.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized