Tag Archives: God’s promises

Illogical Obedience

To me, one of the greatest acts of obedience in the Bible was done by Peter. He and his coworkers had fished all night and caught nothing. They were cleaning their nets when Jesus walked up and asked to use his boat for a pulpit to preach from. After the sermon, Jesus asked Peter to go further out to a deep spot and put his freshly cleaned nets back into the water. None of it made sense, but Luke 5:5 says, “‘Master,’ Simon answered, ‘we worked hard all night long and caught nothing. But if you say so, I will let down the nets’” (GNT).

Peter was tired from fishing all night. He had then cleaned and prepared his nets for the next night, and he was ready to go home to sleep. Putting the nets back into the water meant he would have to clean them again. Also, it was proven that you catch more fish at night in shallow areas. Everything Jesus was asking was different than his lifetime had taught him. His way had not worked, but because of what He had seen Jesus do, He was willing to try it. The result was the catch of a lifetime.

If you’ve tried things your way and it’s gotten you nowhere, listen to what God is asking you to do. It probably won’t make sense in the natural, but obedience activates the supernatural. When you’ve tried everything on your own and come up empty handed, try it God’s way. It may not make sense, but if you do it, your miracle will be waiting on the other side of your obedience. You may be exhausted and emotionally spent from doing things your way. You may feel like you’re at the end of your rope. Despite all that, do what God asks anyway and you’ll see Him answer like never before.

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Overwhelming Victory

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.

I saw a poster recently with a picture of Michael Jordan on it. It caught my attention because it’s been over ten years since he played. Underneath his photo, in big letters, it said “Victory”. Then it wrote out the definition of victory. As I thought about it, he became synonymous with winning and victory, but that’s not his full story. Before he became a star, he couldn’t make his high school team. After he became a star, he failed at gambling, marriage and baseball. He failed in more areas than he succeeded in, but he did not let those failures define him.

You and I are the same. Our failures outnumber our successes. I get caught up sometimes just thinking about my failures. I wonder why I still try. I beat myself down because my failures seem so stupid. I think I should be able to beat them, but each time I fail, I get down on myself. I saw a friend on Facebook ask the other day, “Is it a true portrait of a man to see him when he is tempted?” I thought a lot about that. My first inclination was to say yes. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I thought that because I allow my failures to define me.

You and I are more than who we are when we are tempted and when we fail. We are also the person who knows where to seek forgiveness after a failure. We are the person who stands on mountain tops with our arms outstretched looking up to Heaven when we’ve succeeded. We are the person who pushes through when we don’t feel like it and no one seems to care. We are complex and should never allow ourselves to be defined or think that an accurate portrait of ourselves is who we are when we fail.

In Romans 8, Paul listed all kinds of things that could define us. At the end of that list, he said, “Despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ.” It’s time we started to see ourselves as God sees us. We are not all the mistakes, failures or temptations that we face. You and I are victors. We are the very definition of victory if we are willing to get back up, seek forgiveness and to try again. We may not be considered synonymous with victory in the world’s eyes, but we are in God’s. When He looks at you, He doesn’t see a failure. He sees someone made in His image with the power to win.

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Seeking Wisdom

My son recently asked me, “Dada, do I have a lot of knowledge?” I replied, “Yes, for someone your age. What you really want though is wisdom.” He then wanted to know what wisdom was and how to get it. I explained that knowledge was easy to come by, but wisdom only comes in one of two ways. You can gain it from learning from your mistakes or God can give it to you. Since we all make mistakes, we all have the opportunity to gain wisdom. The problem is that most of us would rather beat ourselves up over failure rather than to see it as a place to grow.

Most of us are familiar with the story of Solomon. When he became king of Israel, God let him ask for one thing. Solomon asked for wisdom to rule the people, and God blessed him for that request. I believe you and I can ask for that too. This world is getting more complicated by the minute, and Christians are in need of wisdom now more than ever. Pray that God would give you wisdom over your finances, your relationships and how you share the Gospel. I believe God will honor that prayer.

Here are some Bible verses on wisdom.

1. Be devoted to one another with [authentic] brotherly affection [as members of one family], give preference to one another in honor; never lagging behind in diligence; aglow in the Spirit, enthusiastically serving the Lord; constantly rejoicing in hope [because of our confidence in Christ], steadfast and patient in distress, devoted to prayer [continually seeking wisdom, guidance, and strength], contributing to the needs of God’s people, pursuing [the practice of] hospitality.

ROMANS 12:10-13 AMP

2. For the Lord grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Proverbs 2:6 NLT

3. Get wisdom—it’s worth more than money; choose insight over income every time.

Proverbs 16:16 MSG

4. Therefore see that you walk carefully [living life with honor, purpose, and courage; shunning those who tolerate and enable evil], not as the unwise, but as wise [sensible, intelligent, discerning people].

EPHESIANS 5:15 AMP

5. But if any of you lack wisdom, you should pray to God, who will give it to you; because God gives generously and graciously to all.

James 1:5 GNT

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Being Shepherded

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.

Psalm 23 has to be the most memorized chapter in the Bible. Like me, you may have memorized it as a child. If you’ve seen any funeral in a movie or TV, you’ve definitely heard it being read. When something like that is ingrained in us, we tend to glaze over it when we hear it. We know we know it, so we don’t really pay attention to what it’s saying. If you stop and think about it, there are some powerful truths just in the first few verses.

In the first verse, we read, “THE Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack” (AMP). Think about that. The Lord watches over you personally like a shepherd watches sheep. He makes sure that you are fed, protected, and on the right path. You have everything you need in Him. There’s no need to panic today because your shepherd is watching over you making sure you have everything you need.

Verse two says, “He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters.” God knows we all need times of rest and refreshing. We are constantly on the go, looking for greener pastures. God says to us, “Follow me and I will give you rest.” You don’t have to go looking for them, you just have to be willing to be led by Him. You have to give up your rights and submit to the authority of your shepherd. When you do, you will find the greener pastures and rest you’ve been looking for.

Verse three confirms that by saying, “He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him–not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake.” Not only does God refresh you, He restores you. He gives back what has been taken from you. He also leads you into the paths of life that please Him. He does all of this not because you’ve done anything. He does it because He loves you and cares for you.

Even if you’ve been the sheep that has gone astray or fought against being shepherded, we know that God loves you enough to find you where you are, in the condition you’re in, to lovingly bring you to the fold. He doesn’t wait for lost sheep to find Him. He’s proactively looking for you because He knows your life will be better with His flock. He will leave 99 to find just one sheep. That’s the kind of shepherd we have. He gives us everything we need, He leads us to restful places, and He restores our lives. We just have to be willing to be a part of His flock and to submit to His shepherding.

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Defeating Your Past

Do you ever feel like your faults, failures and past sins disqualify you from being used by God? Sometimes those voices that tell me those things get so overpowering that I start to believe it. My past comes back to remind me to stay grounded while God has called me to fly. They weigh me down like I’m attached to an anchor. They tell me, “Because you did this, God can never do that in your life.” It’s hard to hear anything else sometimes.

When those voices get too loud in my mind, there’s two verses I go back to. The first one is Psalm 65:3. It says, “Our faults defeat us, but you forgive them” (GNT). I use this verse to remind me that my past has been forgiven, and that there is no condemnation for those in Christ. The voices that tell me what God can’t do are not from God. When He forgives, He forgets. He uses those faults and failures as my qualifications to do what He called me to do.

The other verse I go to is Romans 11:29. It says, “For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn” (NLT). No matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done, God still has a plan for your life. He still has a calling that only you can fulfill. He knew your future when He called you. He understood that you wouldn’t be able to live a perfect life so He built it into the plan for you. He doesn’t withdrawal His calling because of our past.

It’s easy to look at someone else and think, “They’re better qualified to do what I’m called to do,” but that’s not how God works. He created you with a purpose and a calling that only you can fulfill. It’s time to quit listening to the voices that tell us we can’t, and start listening to the only voice that matters. It’s not too late. You haven’t gone too far. God’s calling is still valid and you have work to do. Push out the voices that tell you why you can’t, and tell God, “Here am I. Use me.” God hasn’t withdrawn His calling or purpose for your life.

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Purpose In Problems

It’s easy to believe that God is working things in your favor when things in your life are going right. When things aren’t going according to your plan, it becomes more difficult to believe that. We often see problems and road blocks in our lives as hindrances to God’s plan, but I believe God uses all of them to grow us and to put us on the right path so His plan for our life can be accomplished. God’s plan for our lives rarely takes the path of least resistance.

In the hardest times of my life, I couldn’t see God’s hand working. I was so focused on the pain and the problems that I questioned if God even knew what was going on. I cried out constantly for Him to make it all go away, but He knew what He was doing. He created a raw dependence on Him which led to a deeper, more fulfilling relationship with Him. He understands that hard times bring us closer to Him and make us stronger. In fact, some of His greatest work in our lives happen when we see His hand the least.

Romana 8:28 says, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (NLT). He doesn’t just cause some things to work together. He causes everything in our lives to work together for our good. There is a purpose in problems. There is hope in uncertainty. God is behind the scenes working on your behalf even when we’re blinded by our situation. His plan for our lives will come to pass, and it will be to our benefit. We just have to trust even when we can’t see what He’s doing.

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Letting Go

The other day, my son was trying to pick up something that was too heavy for him. As he was struggling, I offered to help. He declined and kept trying. Again I offered help, but still he refused. He was determined to move it himself. Finally he asked for help. As I picked it up, he yelled his disapproval. Confused, I asked how he wanted me to help. He said he wanted to hold it, but I had to pick both of them up and carry them. He wanted me to carry the weight, but he wanted to be holding onto it.

I laughed, but I also thought, “How many times do I cry out to God with a heavy load, but want the same thing?” If you’re like me, you find yourself carrying loads that are too heavy for you. God is there wanting to help, but we want credit for carrying it. We want God to help, but we want Him to do it our way. We hold onto our troubles because we’re afraid to let them go, but God wants us to give them to Him. He wants us to release them so He can carry them.

Psalm 55:22 says, “Pile your troubles on GOD’s shoulders— he’ll carry your load, he’ll help you out” (MSG). God wants to help us with our heavy loads, but we have to be willing to let go of them if we’re going to cast them on His shoulders. Letting go is the hardest part and it’s why so many of us want Him to carry us while we’re holding on to the troubles. We’ve all heard the phrase, “Let go and let God.” Maybe it’s time we started doing that. He’s more than capable of carrying your troubles if you’ll just let them go.

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