Tag Archives: trusting God

Choose Peace

Have you ever given a gift to someone that was supposed to make their life easier only to find out they never used it? I came from a family that gave functional gifts rather than luxury gifts. We got each other something that was needed rather than what was wanted. I was always on the look out to see if there was a kitchen gadget, yard equipment or something like that that could make a family member’s life easier. It would have been frustrating to see them struggling to do something while my gift was still sitting in the box. They would have had to make the choice to continue doing it the old way not using the gift.

In 2 Kings 6, Elisha had been supernaturally given the plans of the enemy several times.Elisha sent word to the king of Israel each time to thwart the attack. The king of Aram, who was trying to attack Israel, got word that Elisha was messing up his plans, so he decided to go after Elisha. Overnight they encamped around Elisha. When Elisha’s servant went outside he saw the army surrounding them. He panicked and ran inside to tell his master saying, “Oh no! What are we to do?” Elisha told him to not be afraid because there were more with them than against them. He the prayed, “Lord, please, open his eyes that he may see.” And the Lord opened the servants eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire surrounding Elisha. (AMP).

Jesus told us that we were going to face trouble in this world. It shouldn’t come as a surprise when we’re surrounded. He also said in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge]” (emphasis is added by me) His peace is a gift that we need to choose to use. We use it when we decide to trust what He’s. said over what we’re seeing. We need our eyes opened to know that there are more with us than against us. We need to look beyond the physical aspect of whatever we’re facing in order to trust God allowing His peace to calm us in every circumstance. Choose His peace instead of fear today.

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3 Questions To Ask Yourself (Tenth Anniversary)

This was the first devotion I wrote for this site.

1.When is the last time you exercised your faith?

I mean really exercised it. I want you to think of how much you make a year. Got the number in your head? Now think of one thing that costs that much. Imagine buying that one thing and then giving it away. It would hurt right?

Mary had purchased a perfume that cost a years worth of wages and poured it out on Jesus’ feet (John 12:3). Doing what God had asked her to do didn’t make sense to her or anyone else at the time. She wasn’t afraid to go big with her faith. God is looking for obedience from us. He wants us to exercise our faith. In order to do that, we must first spend time at the feet of Jesus to know his will and desire for us.

2. When is the last time you gave up what you wanted for the Kingdom?

In John 12:24, Jesus compared Himself to wheat and said because He was going to die, He would produce many others and yield a great harvest. We have to truly learn to die to ourselves and put the kingdom mission above our own mission. If you want to get a great harvest, it starts with dying to yourself.

That is easier said than done. In order to do that, we have to gain perspective. We have to understand God’s plan for the world and accept our role in that plan. Each person has a role. Paul said that some plant, some water and some harvest. Rarely does doing something for God bring you glory and attention. To get a harvest in your life, give up your desires and vision for His. It will be life changing.

3. Are you willing to do something for God without getting recognized for it?

In John 12:27, Jesus knew he was on a mission and he was troubled and distressed over it. He asked Philip and Andrew if He should pray and ask the Father to save him from what was coming. He then recognized that what He had been asked to do was for God’s glory. He submitted to the will of the Father even though He knew that it would bring Him pain and shame.

God sees the whole picture and the full ripple effect of what He is asking you to do. All we see is that we are being thrown into a pond of water that is over our heads. We have to be willing to complete the mission for His glory, not ours. If we have the wrong motivation, fear will keep us from doing what He wants.

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Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Tenth Anniversary: God Is Your Source

This week I’m reflecting on ten years of writing devotions. In the early days of writing, my mind was beginning to be consumed with fear. I felt the pressure of coming up with something to write about each day. I made a list in my phone of possible topics that I would add to. I would ask friends what they thought I should write about. Some mornings I sat there frozen, not knowing what to write, and feeling the pressure of an audience expecting something from me. Doing what God asked me to do was making me miserable and fearful – neither of which come from God.

I went to a writer’s conference hoping to gain insight. When I went to the registration table, they gave me a ticket to have a private breakfast with William Paul Young, writer of “The Shack”. Over breakfast, I explained my predicament. He gently told me that I was approaching God the wrong way. I was looking at Him as a well that could run dry. Instead, God is a never ending river of creativity. He said, “If you go to God’s creative river each day with an empty bucket and pray, ‘God, here’s my bucket. Would you fill it up with what you want to say,’ He will do it. You are going to have to spend time at His feet in order to do that.” Immediately I felt freedom and the fear left me.

What I realized is that God is the source of creativity, not me. I was trying to do what He asked me to in my own strength, creativity and knowledge. That was creating a mental mess. Zechariah 4:6 says, “Not by strength and not by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord who rules over all” (NET). Whatever God has called you to do, He has called you to do it in His strength, not yours. Yes, you must show up and do the work, but you are not the source, He is. Don’t let the fear of your inadequacy take over your mind. Instead, go to God each and every day, recognizing He is the source, and ask Him to fill that bucket with whatever you need to fulfill what He’s called you to. It will free you up and restore the joy of your calling.

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Blessing God No Matter What

Have you ever had to make a volcano for school? It’s a pretty simple project to do. I like to use a small jar and then build the volcano around it. Once you’re done with that, it’s time to create the lava. The simplest thing to do is put baking soda in the jar, add a few drops of red food coloring and then pour in some vinegar. It’s not a crazy explosion, but what’s in the jar will come out. The same is true when we go through a difficult time. What on the inside of you will come out. How do you react to difficult situations? What do you say when you’re hurting mentally, physically or emotionally?

In Acts 16, Paul and Silas cast a demon out of a girl who had taunted them for days. When the demon came out, so did her ability to tell fortunes and her ability to make money for her owners. They became angry, got some soldiers and a crowd and made accusations against Paul and Silas. Without a court hearing their case, the guards stripped them, beat them and put them in a dungeon. Their shackles were placed around their arms and legs, holding them in a painful position that prevented them from sleeping. Instead of cursing or demanding that they were innocent, they began to pray and sing praises to God. Verse 25 says the prisoners were listening intently to them when God sent an earthquake that unlocked every prisoner’s shackles.

Psalm 34:1 says, “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth” (AMP). Like Paul and Silas, we have a choice to seek sympathy, to demand we were wronged, or we can bless God knowing He’s in control. Other people around us are intently listening to us and our reaction when bad things happen. How you react could set them free or keep them bound up. It’s not easy to bless and praise God in the midnight hour when you’re bound up and in pain, but it is the appropriate response as a believer. He has the power to heal you, to restore you and to vindicate you. It may not happen immediately like it did for Paul and Silas, but it will happen.

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Having A Limp

I spend a lot of time learning about leadership because that’s one of the areas I focus on training and helping people grow in. A book I’m reading right now isn’t about leadership, but it had a quote from a minister named John Wimber. He said, “Never trust a leader without a limp.” He wasn’t referring to a physical one. There’s a place of brokenness that we must reach in wrestling with God that shows us our limitations, exposes our weakness and causes us to be humble. The opposite type leader is arrogant, sure of themselves and doesn’t rely on God to accomplish things. While they’re confident and charging forward, they may not lead you where you need to go.

Jacob was the grandson of Abraham. He had a serious sibling rivalry with his twin brother Esau, who was the first born of the two. The first born received a double portion of their father’s inheritance because they were to lead the family and care for its affairs. When Jacob stole the first born’s blessing, he ran away in fear of his life for twenty years. The night before seeing his brother for the first time since he left, he was sleeping when a heavenly being came. They wrestled until dawn and Jacob refused to let go until he had been blessed. The being touched his hip and put it out of socket. Genesis 32:31 says, “The sun was rising as Jacob left Peniel, and he was limping because of the injury to his hip” (NLT).

I want you to know it’s ok to wrestle with God over things in your life. Be like Jacob and don’t let go until you’re changed. Those wrestling matches often reveal our weaknesses and teach us to depend on God more. They can leave us humbled and broken, but not fragmented and lame. It’s a good thing to have your walk changed by God. Never be ashamed of your limp created by your brokenness through an encounter with God. People can be I pressed with your confidence and strength, but it’s through your brokenness and limp that they will connect with you. Remember that it’s in our weakness and brokenness that His strength is made perfect (2 Corinthians 12:9).

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Provision In The Desert

In the Bible the desert was used as a place for refinement, testing and growth. Matthew 4:1 tells us that the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert. In Exodus the glory of God led the Israelites into the desert. If you find yourself wandering through a dry season in your life, take heart. God is doing something in your life to make you more like Him or to have you learn to depend on Him more. He hasn’t abandoned you or left you there forever. Instead, just like He did for others in the desert, He makes it a place where He provides and does the miraculous.

Here are some Bible verses on God’s provision in the desert.

1. I will open up rivers for them on the high plateaus. I will give them fountains of water in the valleys. I will fill the desert with pools of water. Rivers fed by springs will flow across the parched ground.

Isaiah 41:18 NLT

2. They were not thirsty when he led them through the desert. He divided the rock, and water gushed out for them to drink.

Isaiah 48:21 NLT

3. God reveals himself when he makes the fault lines quake, shaking deserts, speaking his voice.

Psalms 29:8 TPT

4. He found him in a desert land, In the howling wasteland of a wilderness; He kept circling him, He took care of him, He protected him as the apple of His eye.

Deuteronomy 32:10 AMP

5. I took care of you in a dry, desert land.

Hosea 13:5 GNT

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Too Much To Handle

I saw a lady this weekend wearing a shirt that said something to the effect of, “If God doesn’t give us more than we can handle, He must think I’m Wonder Woman.” She’s being a bit facetious, but also a bit snarky. When we’re facing circumstances that we can’t handle and it seems to be a constant barrage of things, it’s normal to wonder what God’s doing and if He even cares. It can lead us to wonder if He’s even aware of what we’re facing, what we did to make Him mad at us and what do we gotta do to get His attention to make it stop. I believe this is what this woman’s shirt was conveying and what many of us feel in similar circumstances.

Job felt this way. Yes, when he lost everything, he bowed in worship. However, the rest of the book is him trying to get God’s attention. Here’s a sample of Job speaking of his anguish in Job 30, “I cry to you, O God, but you don’t answer. I stand before you, but you don’t even look. You have become cruel toward me. You use your power to persecute me. You throw me into the whirlwind and destroy me in the storm” (NLT). He didn’t understand what was going on behind the scenes. He didn’t know that God was allowing him to be tested to prove his faithfulness. Yet he spoke out wondering if God even knew what was going on. It’s the same feelings we feel in difficult times, but we must trust God’s Word over our feelings.

Psalm 31:7 says, “I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul.” David made a choice to be glad and to rejoice in God’s unfailing love despite his circumstances or feelings. He understood that God is aware and active in his circumstances. He was also aware that there are things he can’t see or know, but trusted in God’s plan despite what he was facing. It’s a lesson each of us need to remember when we’re facing more than we can handle. The Bible never says that God won’t give you more than you can handle, but it does say that He sees what you’re going through, He cares about the anguish you’re feeling and that His grace will be sufficient. Trust His Word instead of your feelings and circumstances.

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An Act Of Faith

Growing up, I loved watching the Indiana Jones movies. They were action packed, funny and took place all over the world. One of my favorite scenes came from “The Last Crusade”. Indiana Jones was standing at the edge of a cliff and needed to cross it. The instructions he had told him to do an act of faith and step off the cliff. You could see him contemplating what would happen if he just stepped off the cliff. I held my breath as he lifted one leg, lifted it over the edge and took the step. To his surprise, and the audience too, there was a hidden bridge there he couldn’t see from his perspective. His act of faith paid off.

In Joshua 3, it was time for Israel to cross the Jordan. After purifying themselves, they set out for the river. The priests who were carrying the Ark we’re out front leading the way. Their instructions were to walk into the river and then it would dry up for everyone to cross. Verse 15 tells us that when they crossed, it was the time of harvest and that the river was in flood stage and had overrun its banks. I can see the priests standing near the edge of the water as it flowed rapidly by. There might have been a moment of fear, but they took their step of faith and waded into the water. When they did, verse 16 says the waters stopped upstream and the people were able to cross on dry ground.

Hebrews 11:1 says, “To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see” (GNT). God is calling you and I to step into greater acts of faith. He’s calling us to take steps into places we can’t see with our physical eyes. We’re going to have to trust His instructions even when they don’t make sense. You might get a little wet from the waters that look a little too deep, but that’s the life we’re called to. We can be sure of what He tells us because it is more certain than what’s physical in this world. There will always be that voice that wants you to question what God said, but you need to take the step anyway as am act of faith. God will do the rest.

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Peace In God’s Presence

Peace is something that I think is misunderstood at times. We like to think it’s the opposite of problems and stresses in life, but it’s more than that. It comes from relying on and being in God’s presence during those times. Our enemy wants us to blame God for our problems so that we run from Him and the peace He offers during the chaotic times of life. He knows that when we blame God, and lack peace, chaos can have its way and begin to ruin our relationship with our creator. Thankfully, even in those times, God continues to reach out to us to pull us closer to Him.

In Job 16, Job had been arguing with his friends. They had turned his heart from the worship we saw when the chaos in his life began. Instead of worship, he began to blame. In verse 7 Job says, “But now God has exhausted me. You [O Lord] have destroyed all my family and my household” (AMP). He was still maintaining his innocence, but had began to blame God which led to him questioning God. Thankfully, this book pulls the veil back a bit so that we can see what was really going on so that we can understand it’s not God causing the chaos, even though He may allow it. Like Job ended up doing, we must ultimately draw closer to God when our life gets turned upside down.

Psalm 91:1 has been referred to as our 911. It’s what we’re to do when things happen in our lives that’s more than we can bear. It says, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will remain secure and rest in the shadow of the Almighty [whose power no enemy can withstand].” Not only will we remain secure when we run to God during the chaotic times of our lives, but we will find rest from the peace He offers. The enemy may be able to touch your body, your family, your job and your way of living, but when you run to God’s presence, he can’t touch your peace. He can’t touch your soul. Trust in God who brings you abundant life while the enemy tries to steal, kill and destroy everything in your life. You’ll find peace and rest that are beyond understanding.

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Escaping The Prison Of Shame

My friend and I were discussing shame last week and all the effects it has on believers. It’s a mental prison that incarcerates too many people. So many of us remember our past vividly, even though we’ve been forgiven of it and set free from it. Our enemy uses the shame of what we’ve done to tell us that we’re not qualified or worthy to be a Christian or to do any ministry. He tells us, “If they knew what you’ve done, they wouldn’t be so nice to you.” When those mental attacks come, many of us go running back to what we’ve been set free from or we run into the prison of shame. This is not God’s plan for you.

The book of Exodus chronicles the children of Israel leaving Egypt. God set them free from their slavery and off they went marching through the Red Sea. They were making great progress until they experienced the mental attacks in the desert. Over and over they were held captive by their past because they romanticized their prison. Numbers 14:4 says, “So they said to one another, ‘Let’s choose a leader and go back to Egypt!’” (GNT) Even though that had been set free, they were willing to give up the promises God had given them and return to slavery. That’s exactly what shame does. It makes us turn from God, the one who can help us, and desire the thing He’s set us free from.

Galatians 5:1 says, “At last we have freedom, for Christ has set us free! We must always cherish this truth and firmly refuse to go back into the bondage of our past” (TPT). You have been set free and forgiven from your past. It is your testimony, not your shame. We overcome by the word of our testimony. Don’t let the enemy keep you quiet, cause you to be ineffective or have you return to it. The truth is that if others knew what you’ve been set free from, their faith in God would grow, others who are fighting that battle would have courage to trust God and you will possess the promised land. You have been miraculously set free! Walk in your freedom and refuse to return to the prison of your past.

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