Tag Archives: peace

The Hope We Have

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 was recently at the viewing for a friend I’d known for over 20 years. As I went around hugging necks and catching up on where everyone was in life, I decided to stop and take a moment. I sat down on one of the pews and watched the crowd as they interacted. There were a group of young men standing near the coffin silently staring at the body. I then noticed there were huddles throughout the sanctuary around the family members left behind. They were hugging and offering condolences. Then there was everyone else affected by this person’s life. They weren’t stationary like the others. They moved around making their way up front and then around and that’s when I noticed something out of the ordinary.

There were smiles on their faces. I checked another roaming group and they were smiling as well. I gazed back to the family huddles to look at their demeanor and it was the same. The atmosphere was not one of sadness, but of joy. It was then that I was reminded of I Thessalonians 4:13. Paul wrote, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope” (NLT).   Here was living proof of this scripture. I was in a crowd of people smiling and enjoying themselves, while mourning the loss of a friend, because we have hope beyond the grave.

Yes, it hurts to lose someone who impacted our lives and there’s a big, gaping void in us that only they could fill. But we don’t have to carry on like those who have no hope. We don’t see this as the end of life, but rather that person’s birth into eternal life. Their spirit has been set free from the cocoon of the human body, and they have been released into the heavens. We know that one day we will cross from death to life as well and be reunited with them and a host of others who knew Jesus as their savior. That’s how we can smile in midst of such a great loss. It seems foreign to those who have no hope, but it’s natural to those of us who do.

I Thessalonians 4 concludes with these words, “Therefore comfort and encourage one another with these words.” We have comfort in sorrow and courage in despair because our loss is Heaven’s gain and we know that we will be reunited. Hope is a powerful force that can light up our darkness and give us strength to smile in the pain. It keeps us from the pit of despair and points us to better days. I’ll finish this post with the words from I Corinthians 13:12-13 that I think are fitting. “We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. (MSG)”

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Homesick


Have you ever been homesick? Or maybe you’ve been traveling or have been out and about, and just wanted to get home. Home is where we relax, unwind, and rid ourselves of our cares. It’s where we dress down and are our most true selves. It’s the place that smells the most familiar to us, and it’s where we truly rest. They even say that home is where the heart is. I think Dorthy had it right, there’s no place like home!

I recently went through “How’s Your Soul?” by Judah Smith. One of his first points is that while we are good at having that place called home for ourselves, our soul is looking for home as well. When God created man, he was loveless until God breathed into his nostrils. Judah says that our soul is really borrowed breath from God, and that it finds its home when we use that breath to praise God. That’s why worshiping God makes our soul feel the way it does. It’s when our soul gets to be home.

Think about David for a minute. He was chased by Saul for years. He lived in caves in one of the most inhospitable places on earth. If you’ve read the Psalms, you know that man was homesick both physically and spiritually. He longed for the courts of the Lord as much as he longed for being home. He even said that it was better to spend one day in God’s house than thousands elsewhere (Psalm 84:10). Why? Because that’s where his soul was at home. Even if he couldn’t physically be home, he wanted to have his soul at home.

I believe all of us are the same way. Our soul longs to be home. I think we misinterpret the signals inside a lot of times, especially if our soul has never been home. In Psalm 90:1, David wrote, “Lord, through all the generations you have been our home!” (NLT) If your soul is homesick, God is where you’ll find the peace you’re looking for. In Him is where you will find your truest self, and that place where you can rest. You don’t have to be homesick anymore. Spend time with God worshipping Him and loving Him today and let your soul be at home.

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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

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Guided By Peace


Many times in life we are faced with decisions where there seems to be no right answer. It’s tough to know what to do in those times. As I write this, many people in my neighborhood are trying to decide should they evacuate because of the flooding from Hurricane Harvey or if they should stay home and hope for the best. It’s tough to know what to do. Both are potentially dangerous answers. Both could be right answers, and both could be wrong depending on the timing.

When people reach out to me asking for prayer as they make any big decision in life, I typically pray one thing for sure. I pray that God would give them peace when they think about the answer He wants them to choose, and I pray that they would have inner turmoil as they think about the wrong choices. It’s a simple prayer, but to me, it’s the easiest way to know what God wants me to do in any given situation. 

I get that prayer from Colossians 3:15. It says, “The peace that Christ gives is to guide you in the decisions you make” (GNT). There is a peace that passes understanding when it comes to deciding what to do in life. There are times when what looks like the right decision on paper doesn’t give you peace. That’s God telling you that although everything looks right to you, in His will, it’s not the right decision. 

Whatever decisions you are trying to make today, whether they are life changing or not, stop and pray that prayer. Ask God to give you peace or turmoil. If you can’t find peace, then you may not have the right answer in your multiple choice of answers. In those times, I ask God to reveal what He wants me to do if it’s beyond what I’m thinking about. Big or small, I want the decisions in my life to keep me in God’s will. I want to be where He wants me, when He wants me there. To do that, I let His peace be my guide. 

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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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The Walk Of Shame

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.


One of the things I love about our car is when you get low on gas, not only does it notify you, the navigation screen automatically shows you where all the gas stations are. If I keep going, the alarm will continue to let me know every few miles that it’s time to fill up. So far I haven’t run out of gas in it. That’s a good thing because I know what it’s like to run out of gas and to have to do the walk of shame to the gas station.

What about you? Have you ever run out of gas? Have you ever run out of gas spiritually? Again, I’m guilt of that too. I’ve let myself run out gas spiritually and I’ve stalled. There were warnings that I over looked and things that I did that caused me to run out. One of the first things I quit doing was reading the Bible daily. It was more of a box to check off for me at the time and I saw it as a chore. When I quit reading my Bible, my faith took a hit.

Romans tells us that faith comes from hearing and hearing by the Word of God. I increase my faith by putting God’s Word in me. I wasn’t doing that, and I quickly found out that I was susceptible to attacks. It turns out that faith is also our shield that helps protect us against the fiery darts of the devil. I then began to slip in areas I had never had trouble in. I started to go places and to do things that I never dreamed I would have.

After that, I noticed that my church attendance began to slip. “I wasn’t getting anything out of it,” I would say. I wasn’t getting anything out of it because I wasn’t trying to. I wasn’t listening because I didn’t want to be convicted of the things I was doing. I didn’t want to be questioned by people at church when I did go, so I started leaving as soon as the pastor ended his sermons. I cut myself off from the community of believers.

Hebrews 10 tells us not to forsake the assembling of fellow believers. I looked up “forsake” and dictionary.com said, “to quit or leave entirely.” Because I did it, I know why the writer said we shouldn’t. I left a group of people who loved me, prayed for me and lifted me up when I needed it. Church is more than just a group of believers going to hear a message. It’s a place where we connect and find a sense of belonging.

After I left, it didn’t take long before I ran out of gas. When I couldn’t move forward in my life anymore, I decided to take that walk to the altar. The good news is that this walk isn’t a walk of shame. It’s a walk of rejoicing because God comes in, fills us with His love and restores us to a right relationship with Him. If you’re on empty today, you might have made the same mistakes I did. The good news is that He’s waiting to fill you up again and to restore your life. He did it for me and my church accepted me back with open arms. There’s no shame in walking home. 

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Understanding The Why


My son is very inquisitive. He is always asking why or how. In most cases, the answer is above his ability to understand. I try to tell him to let it go, but sometimes he just keeps at it. So I tell him. His nose scrunched up, his eyes squint and he looks confused in those moments. Then he starts asking more questions trying to understand. I’ll just keep going down the rabbit hole with him until he gives up or I can think of an easy explanation that he can understand so we can move on.

I’m not so sure that we are so different when it comes to God. When things happen in our lives, we ask God why or how. What I’ve found is so many times the answer is beyond our ability to understand. It’s tough for us to let it go too. I’m a person that needs to know the why behind things before I do them. If I don’t know the why, I don’t understand the importance or urgency that needs to be behind what I’ve been asked to do.

When God asks me to go somewhere or do something, that’s usually my first question. For me, it doesn’t come from a lack of faith or disobedience. I just like to know why before I do something. With that in mind, Proverbs 20:24 speaks to me in regards to when God asks me to do something or go somewhere. It says, “The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?” (NLT) 

If we believe God truly directs our steps, then we need to trust His reasons that are beyond our ability to understand. How much time and energy do we waste while we question God? I know He’s patient, it I bet sometimes He just wishes we’d simply obey and trust that He sees the bigger picture and is working out things for our good even though we can’t see it or understand it at the moment. We need to let go of trying to understand everything and just obey.

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