Tag Archives: promises

Looking for Rainbows

20130716-081623.jpg

I was driving east this morning through some rain. When I finally got to turn to the south, I looked back over my right shoulder to check for cars and I saw a rainbow. My mind went back to Genesis 9 where the Bible records the first rainbow. God gave it as a sign to Noah and his family as a symbol of the covenant He had made with him. Then in verse 16, God said, “When I see the rainbow in the clouds, I will remember the eternal covenant.”

I always knew it was for us to remember the covenant, but I don’t remember reading that it was for God too. I think it’s interesting that God placed it as a reminder for Himself. It makes me think that God goes around looking for rainbows so He can think of the promise He made to us. I don’t think He forgets. I think He’s just looking for a reason to think of me and you.

We get so caught up in the storms of our life that we lose sight of Him sometimes. When the rain is relentless and won’t stop, when all of the mountains that we’ve climbed are covered by the waters and when the floods won’t dissipate, we can remember God’s promises to us. We can remember that He has not forgotten us or left us. Even though it rained in Noah’s life and He was stuck on that boat for over a year, what happened beforehand was important.

God spoke to Noah and prepared him for the flood. He told him that it would rain for forty days and forty nights. He also gave him the instructions for building the ark. He didn’t have him go into the storm unprepared. He had given him everything he needed to survive the storm. God does that for us too. He gives us what we need and prepares us for the rain in our lives. He provides a way to get through it.

I wonder what Noah was thinking after the rain stopped and he was still in the lifeboat ten months later. God told him how long it would rain, but didn’t tell him how long he would have to drift along. Even after the storms and rains in our lives, we tend to drift along looking for dry land. When we eventually do find it, it’s a different place than where we were. God uses the rain and the drifting to get us to a place where He wants us. We, like Noah may have to start over too.

Wherever your dry land is, know that God will remain true to His promises to you. He’s out putting rainbows in the sky to show you He hasn’t forgotten or forsaken you. He’s painting the sky to remind you when future storms come that He’s not going to let you be destroyed. He has prepared you for what you’re going through and is preparing you for your future. If it’s raining in your life right now, you’re drifting along or if you have found dry land, take time to look for rainbows. God is.

6 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Shackled to the Temporary

I had a dream last night that I died. As I was ascending to Heaven, I called out to God, “Wait! I can’t die. I haven’t had the chance to fulfill what you called me to.” God replied, “You had the chance, but you never took it. You focused on the things that didn’t matter and let them keep you from your calling. I had to find someone else.” With that, I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep for a while. My mind was replaying it over and over trying to find another ending.

The only ending God is interested in is me fulfilling what He’s called only me to do. He created me for a specific purpose. He created you for a specific purpose too. Somehow life gets in the way of doing what we were made for. We swap His priorities for earthly priorities. We get ourselves shackled into the things that don’t matter and dream of doing what really does matter.

It’s not a fast transition. It happens over time. “I’ll do what God wants me to do after I…”, we say. What happens is we spend a lifetime doing what we want while always promising to do what God wants next and then wonder where time went. Each time we pass on what God wants, we tighten those shackles a little more. We bind ourselves to the things that have no eternal value whatsoever. We treasure the temporary and dismiss the eternal.

I don’t want to live that way. I Corinthians 3:13 says that when I get to Heaven, God will take all the things I’ve built in my life and put them in fire to see what has value. If I’ve done the things that have eternal value, I’ll receive a reward. If I focused on temporary things, they’ll all be burned and I’ll have nothing to show for my time on earth. I don’t want to be standing there looking at a pile of ashes on that day.

That motivates me to find and seek out the things that will last for eternity. That makes me want to do work for God’s Kingdom. That resets my priorities and refocuses my attention on what truly does matter. Each of us have the opportunity to do what matters for eternity. Each of us are called to “go”. When Jesus left this earth, He didn’t pick out a few of the disciples standing there and tell them to “go into all the world.” He told all of His disciples to go.

Where are you going today? Wherever that is, you have the ability and the opportunity to do something that will survive that fire. You have a choice to make. You can choose to do what matters for eternity or you can choose to do something temporary and tighten those shackles a little more. I choose to do what matters so when the time of my death comes, I won’t be calling out to God to send me back so I can do what He called me to. I want to go knowing that I’ve done what He asked and knowing that I’ll hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Leaving the Desert

I’ve read all of my life about the Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years after they left Egypt. The group that lacked faith and trust in God to do what He promised never got to see the Promised Land. I think that’s indicative of many Christians today. We wander in the desert of life never receiving what God has promised us because we lack the faith to do what He called us to do so He can fulfill that promise. We get scared of the dream He placed in us and are paralyzed when we see the giants and obstacles in the way. In turn, we live our lives just outside of the full blessings God intended for us.

Just because you are wandering in the desert, it doesn’t mean God is not with you. God lead the Israelites every day while they were there. He even provided for them daily, but that was just a taste of what He wanted to do. You may see God’s hand in your life and know that He is leading you, but if you don’t trust Him to fulfill the vision He gave you, the desert is all you will know. The sad truth is that most if us are satisfied living in the desert.

In order to leave the desert, the Israelites had to leave Moses behind. They got a new God-appointed leader and followed him into the Promised Land. In order to move out of wandering and into conquering, you often have to remove the things in your life that have held you back. Some times that’s a person, sometimes that’s a habit and other times it’s a way of thinking. You cannot move forward until you remove what is holding you back. Figure out what it is and cut yourself loose. Hebrews 12:1 tells us to cast off every weight that besets us so we can run the race we were called to run.

The next thing you have to do is prepare for what God will do. In the book of Joshua 1:11, he told the Israelites to get their provisions ready for crossing the Jordan. Just as they had to pack their bags and sharpen their swords, We must prepare to take the promised land. Many times we think God is just going to do what He promised with no work on our part. That isn’t the case. We have to prepare and get ourselves in place for Him to do what He said. Preparing often means praying more than you have. It also means going to the border of your Egypt and the Promised Land. You can’t cross over unless you’re standing near the border.

The last thing they did was sent out the Ark of the Covenant ahead of them. The priests carried it to the river and as soon as their feet touched the water, the river stood up like a wall. We cannot get ahead of God in going where He called us and in doing what He said. We have to let Him go ahead of us to part the waters and to prepare the way. Our job is to follow Him where He leads, not to lead and hope He follows. To receive His full blessings and the fulfillment of His promise, you must be willing to change what’s holding you back, to prepare to move forward and to follow Him through the perilous rivers of life. Leave the desert of safety and enter into the Promised Land ready to conquer today.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

What are you Worth?

Do you feel unworthy or just not good enough? You aren’t alone. There are many who see themselves that way and never reach the full potential God has for them. It’s easy to know how great God is and see yourself as small and insignificant, but that’s not how God sees you or wants you to see yourself. Yes, we are to be humble, but we are also to know who we are in Christ.

There is a difference in being humble and feeling insignificant or worthless. Humility is something that God honors. It’s having a right perspective of who we are and that what we have is God’s. Worthlessness is not a trait from God. It is a tactic from the enemy to keep you from tapping into the power of God in you. It will destroy you from within through thoughts that change how you see yourself.

How you see yourself reflects in how you behave and act. If you feel worthless, you draw back from others and become isolated. I’ve watched enough Discovery channel to know that a predator’s first goal is to separate you from the heard. Once you are isolated, he attacks. I Peter 5:8 says, the devil “roams around like a lion roaring in fierce hunger, seeking someone to seize upon and devour.” He isn’t seeking a group, he’s seeking someONE.

If you struggle with those feelings that are isolating you, I’ve been where you are. You can beat it. It’s not easy, but you can. Start with reading God’s Word. A few verses I like to read when I feel that way are Matthew 6:25-34, Luke 12:6-7 and I Peter 5:7. These verses talk about how much God cares for you and how much He values you. You don’t have to be great in the eyes of people to be great in the eyes of God. You are more precious to God than you can even imagine.

Don’t let those thoughts consume you. When they come into your mind, you have to fight back immediately. When Jesus was fasting, He was attacked mentally and each time He fought back with the Word of God. Bring those thoughts captive and speak the truth to them. Tell them and yourself who you are in Christ. Don’t dwell on them because then you start to believe them. You can’t believe the attacks of the enemy, but you can believe God’s Word.

Don’t be a victim, be a victor. There is safety in numbers. Don’t allow yourself to be separated from those who love you and will lift you up in prayer. Share with someone what you are struggling with. They can help you through encouragement, prayer and accountability. It takes some honesty on your part, but that vulnerability is worth more than the cost of succumbing to those thoughts and being devoured. You are a child of God, worth more than anything in this world. When God looks at you, He sees His child, His creation and someone He loves deeper than you can imagine.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Surviving Your Season

Many people are ready for the new year. It’s not because of anything other than this year was so hard for them. Next year represents a fresh start. It’s an end to a year of hardships, challenges and troubles. It’s an escape from what has been and a bridge to what will be. I’m thankful for new chapters in my life. I know there have been times when I’ve needed some to close and others that were over too quickly.

I read two scriptures today that will help you if you are ready for a new beginning. The first one is Ecclesiastes 3:1. It says, “To EVERYTHING there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven. (AMP)” Each of us go through seasons of change, seasons of pain and seasons of hurt. It’s part of life. Some of us seem to get more of these seasons than others. Some of us have longer seasons than others. Whatever your case is, I believe there is a purpose to it.

It’s hard to see the purpose of it when you’re in that season. Your mind and prayers are full of questions that start with “why”. I have rarely been given that answer during the seasons of hard times. It’s when I looked back and reflected on those seasons after they ended that I was given the answers to those questions. Some still remain unanswered to this day. The further away from them I get, the greater my perspective becomes of them.

Just as that scripture says, it is a season and only for a time. I used to say my favorite scripture was “this too shall pass.” With my perspective, I now see that those seasons were my greatest times of growth. I was being pruned like a tree in spring so I could bloom more than ever. Did it hurt? Yes. It still does when I think of those times. Could I have gotten to where I am without those times? No.

In those times it’s hard to look forward. It’s hard to know what’s ahead. You struggle to make it through the day. You look for God and don’t see Him, but He’s there. This is where the second scripture I read today comes in. In Habakkuk 3:19 it says, “The Lord God is my strength, my personal bravery and my invincible army… He will make me to walk (not stand still in terror, but to walk) and make spiritual progress upon my high places (of trouble, suffering or responsibility)!” When you don’t have strength, bravery or the will to fight to move forward, He becomes those things for you!

I know what it’s like to not want to do anything. To not want to get out of bed and face the day. To be so embarrassed about where your life is that you don’t want to see anyone. You can’t stay there though. That verse just said He will make you to walk and to make progress! That’s His promise to you. You don’t have to stand still in terror as to what has happened this year in your life. You can make progress in His strength. In time, you will look back at this year and see it was for your good, for your growth and to take you where you couldn’t have gone otherwise.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Sinking Like a Rock

About 15 years ago, a buddy and I went to Cancun for vacation. We had a great time planned out and were excited to be going on an adventure. When we checked into our hotel, they said that each day the hotel would be hosting games and activities. If we met in the lobby at a certain time each day, they would tell us the activities.

At one such meeting, they told us about a snorkeling trip. That sounded fun. I had been snorkeling in the Red Sea and it was an amazing experience. We decided we were in! They gave us life jackets, snorkeling gear and then took us out in a boat. They dropped us off in groups and we were to follow the flags to get the best experience. While I was admiring the ocean floor and sea life, I saw something that didn’t belong. It was my buddy.

He was steadily sinking like a rock with his arms waving and he had a look of terror on his face. I looked up for the boat, but it had gone off about 200 yards. There was only one thing to do. I had to go against everything I’d been taught. I took off my life vest, I swam down to get him, grabbed him, kicked off the bottom and swam for the surface as hard as I could. As soon as we got there, he did what experts said he would do, he panicked and pushed me under.

All of a sudden I was in a battle for my own life. I couldn’t break free from his grip. I had to punch him to get him to release me. When I got to the surface for air, he was still thrashing the water looking for anything to hold onto. I yelled at him to relax. “You have a life vest on,” I told him. “Relax and let it do its job.” Once he did, he found that he was floating. I told him to lay his head back and breathe while I got the boat’s attention.

As I was yelling for the boat, a wave came over his head and water got in his eyes and mouth. Panic set in again. He grabbed me, pushed me under and began thrashing the water again. I punched him, got away from him, made it back to the surface and calmed him down again. Finally the boat came to pick him up. He stayed in the boat until we got back to shore. That’s when he told me he couldn’t swim.

Many of us find ourselves in his situation on life. We are overcome by waves and we panic. We are sinking to the bottom. Drowning in problems. Our life preserver isn’t working like we thought it should. The opposite of what’s supposed to happen is happening. We thrash and kick and fight. The more we do, the more we sink. We are overcome with life.

God is looking down through the water. He sees you looking up at Him. He is not unaware of where you are. He has given you a life preserver in His Word. Read the Bible. Cling to His promises. Proverbs 4:22 tells us that His words are life to those who find them. Hebrews 13:5 echoes, “for He, God Himself, has said, ‘I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will not, I will not, I will not (3 times) in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let you down or relax my hold on you!'” Wow! That’s a powerful promise from God. Hold on to that today and trust in Him. Just like in swimming, if you’re drowning, quit fighting and trust. You will rise to the surface and get air again. God is on your side even when you can’t see Him.

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized