Tag Archives: trusting God

Being Invisible

I love practical jokes. The more elaborate, the better. I saw a video of a practical joke where a magician was performing in a park to a crowd. Everyone was in on it except for the person who walked up and joined the crowd. After a bit, the magician needed a volunteer. The person who walked up was chosen. After he made them “disappear”, a person from off screen would come and interrupt the show and take the magician away. While the magician was away, two people would come up and take a selfie in front of the chair. When the unsuspecting person saw the phone, the didn’t see themselves and thought they were invisible. Some who “disappeared” had fun with it, but most panicked when no one could see them. They desperately tried to get people to acknowledge them, but the crowd who was in on it, pretended they weren’t there. When the magician felt they had enough, he would return and make them “appear” again.

In Genesis 16, Abraham and Sarah had been told by God they would have a child. After waiting and trying and not seeing they answer, they preempted God’s plan. Sarah gave her maid, Hagar, to her husband in order to have a child. After her son was born, Hagar taunted Sarah to the point that Sarah kicked her out, but God saw her and comforted her. She called Him El Roi the God who sees me. He then sent her back. Several years later Sarah gave birth to Isaac. When he was weaned, she had Abraham kick out Hagar and her son. Hagar found herself in a desperate situation in the desert. Her resources were gone and she had no hope. Right when she was giving up, God showed up and showed her an oasis of water to meet her needs. God proved to her again that she was not invisible to Him and that He cared for her.

Psalm 33:18-19 says, “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine” (ESV). I want you to know that no matter how dire your situation, how depleted your resources are and how invisible you feel, God sees you. His eye is on you. Continue to hope in Him and He will deliver you from the famine you’re in. He has not forsaken you. He has not forgotten you. In my own life, I’ve found that God uses those desperate, wilderness places to reposition us and to build our faith in Him. You may feel invisible to the world around you, but God sees you. What feels like and ending is often God creating a new beginning for you.

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Nothing Is Too Difficult

When my mom was in the final stages of her life, she was in the ICU at M. D. Anderson hospital. On one particular day, I got to spend the whole day with her. She must have seen the worry on my face because she said, “There’s nothing too hard for God you know.” She then spent the next few hours telling me of all the times in her life that God came through in impossible situations. She then said, “I have no doubt that God knows what He’s doing. I have peace in whatever He chooses.”

That day was one final lesson from her that God is in control, and that there’s nothing He can’t do. Just because she didn’t walk out of that hospital completely healed and cancer free, doesn’t mean that God’s doesn’t have the ability to heal. For whatever reason, He didn’t heal her the way we were praying. She knew that was a possibility so she reminded me, and herself, of all the times God had performed miracles in her life.

I don’t know why God answers some prayers and not others. I don’t know why He shows off in great form in some instances and not in others. What I do know is that He has the ability to. Jeremiah felt the same way. He was locked up while Jerusalem was under siege for prophesying that Jerusalem would be under siege and lost the battle. While He was in prison, God told him that his cousin would come sell him some land. I’m sure Jeremiah laughed. Why would someone in prison need to buy land? Because God was going to do the impossible and set him free one day and return him from captivity.

When the deal was done, in Jeremiah 32:17 , he prayed, “Sovereign Lord, you made the earth and the sky by your great power and might; nothing is too difficult for you” (GNT). He reminded himself, like my mom did, that there’s no situation too hard for God to intervene in. There no whole so deep that He can’t pull you out of. There’s no sickness too far spread that He can’t heal. There’s no life so far gone that He can’t rescue. Whatever you’re facing today, know that there’s nothing too difficult for God to handle.

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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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Reviving Your Future

I shared with a friend recently about a time in my life when I had lost all hope. My dreams were over, my future was shot and anything that was important to me seemed to be leaving my life. It was a dangerous place to be. With no hope and dead dreams, my mind began to devise plans that were no good and would put me in prison the rest of my life. I remember thinking, “What does it matter if I go to prison? I have nothing to live for outside of it.” Fortunately God broke through in that time. He sent word to me from someone I didn’t know. He said, “What looks like an end is really a beginning. You are not alone. I’m with you. Where I am taking you, you will experience more joy than you’ve ever known.” In that moment, hope returned and my future was revived.

In Ezekiel 37, Israel had been captives in Babylon for a long time. They had given up hope of returning to their homeland. Their future seemed dead as they looked at their current situation. That’s when God took Ezekiel to a valley of dry bones. God asked him if the bones could live again. I’m sure in his mind, he was thinking there was no way, but he responded that only God knows. God had him prophesy and speak life into these dry bones that represented Israel’s future. Suddenly the bones started rattling and coming together. Sinew and muscles wrapped around the bones and then flesh. An entire army of people stood before him that came to life when he spoke to the four winds to breathe into them. Then in verse 11 God said, “Mortal man, the people of Israel are like these bones. They say that they are dried up, without any hope and with no future” (GNT). He then revived their future by promising to take them out of captivity and back home.

Lamentations 3:21-26 says, “Yet hope returns when I remember this one thing: The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue, Fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise. The Lord is all I have, and so in him I put my hope. The Lord is good to everyone who trusts in him, So it is best for us to wait in patience—to wait for him to save us.” If you’re feeling hopeless today, hope can and will return when you remember that God sees you and will move on your behalf. Your future is in His hands, not yours or anyone else’s. He take ends and makes beginnings. He make rivers in the desert. Begin speaking to your dry bones and ask God to bring your future back to life. Dreams you thought were dead can live again. A hopeless future can be full of life again. You may not think it now, but God knows it. Wait with patience and trust in Him, then the future He has for you will revive.

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Enduring Faith

Part off growing up in the south means going through some crazy storms and hurricanes. Anytime one is on the way, you begin to look at the trees around your house to see which way they’re leaning. Most trees have some pretty deep roots. You don’t have to worry about them. It’s the Oak trees you worry about. These massive trees can be several feet around and 40 feet high. They have long branches too. The problem with them is that their roots grow outward instead of down. They look strong, but any major gust of wind has the ability to knock it over and uproot it. If their roots were deep, we wouldn’t have to worry about how they weather storms.

Jesus liked to tell stories to illustrate His point. He also liked to compare two types of people to show us the differences our choices make. In Matthew 7:24-27 he told the story about two different builders in order to show the difference between those who just listen to God’s Word and those who obey it. The first built his house without a foundation. The walls were simply sitting on the ground. So when a huge storm same, the house fell apart. However, the other builder who applied God’s Word built his house on a firm foundation. When the gusts of wind came from the storm, it was able to withstand them. This story was short, but it tells a great truth about the importance of how we live.

Colossians 2:7 says, “Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness” (NLT). Each of us determine how deep we allow our roots to grow down into Christ by how much of God’s Word we choose to live out. All of us will go through life altering storms at some point. What you’ve built your life on will determine how much they shake you. Jesus called the builder wise who applied God’s Word to their life. Wisdom is knowledge in action in the right direction. Don’t just know or hear God’s Word cherry-picking what you want to follow. Trust what God says and let your faith grow stronger to help you whether any storm.

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The Blessings Of Obedience

Several years ago I was managing a store. My sales team was doing ok, but not great. I found the person in the district who was making the most money month after month and asked him what his secret was. He told me the mix of products he sells that yielded him double what my team made. I was so excited to share this formula with my team. I wrote it all down and walked them through it. I then said that they would have to trust me for two months before they would see the results. Only one person on my team followed my instructions. Sure enough, two months later his check doubled. After sharing his success, only one other person cared to do the steps necessary even though they knew what it would do for them.

In Daniel 1, the Babylonians had invaded Israel and taken several promising youth captive back to Babylon to serve the king. They devised an eating and learning regime to yield high results in education. The only problem was the eating regime went against the Law God had given them as Jews. Verse 8 says that Daniel made up his mind to follow God’s law over the king’s. This put his life in peril, so he made a deal with the guard to observe him for 10 days. At the end of those days, he looked better than the others who knew God’s laws and chose not to follow them. Then verse 17 says God blessed Daniel by giving him wisdom in literature, philosophy and interpreting visions and dreams.

James 1:25 says, “But if you look closely into the perfect law that sets people free, and keep on paying attention to it and do not simply listen and then forget it, but put it into practice—you will be blessed by God in what you do” (GNT). There are many blessings God holds for believers who don’t just go to church and hear what the Bible says, but apply it in their lives. Unfortunately so many of us miss out on many of God’s blessings because we aren’t following His laws. Just like in Daniel, they often contradict societal norms. When we choose to follow God’s ways over the world’s and live the way He asks, we open up the pathways to His blessings. Don’t just listen to what the Bible says. Put it into practice in your life. God has so much more for you.

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God Is Good

A friend was telling me about a lady who went to his church. Her son was in his twenties and had started serving the Lord when he passed away unexpectedly. She was devastated over it, but she still tells people how good God is. She was asked, “How can you talk about the goodness of God when you have had such heartache?” She replied, “My circumstances don’t change the goodness of God. Who know what could have happened to my son in the future? Perhaps it was the kindness of the Lord to take him home early.” Her perspective on God is right on and contrary to how so many would feel. Most of us would get bitter towards God or be ad at Him at least. Her story reminds me that o matter what comes my way, God is still good.

Job was a person in the Bible who also experienced great loss. In a matter of minutes he found out that his livestock and animals was stolen taking away his wealth and income. His workers who were planting crops were also attacked and killed taking away his future food security. Then his children were killed by a collapsed house taking away future generations. In that moment, he tore his clothes in grief and dropped to his knees. Instead of cursing God or asking Him “why”, he worshiped God. He reiterated God’s goodness and acknowledged His sovereignty. Even though he didn’t understand why it happened, but he still made sure to keep the proper perspective on things. He came into the world with nothing and he would leave with nothing. God gives and God takes. He then blessed the name of the Lord.

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose” (AMP). There are times when your circumstances don’t look good, but God still is good. Things may be a mess right now, but messes are incubators for miracles. Difficult circumstances are the things that God uses to work out His plan in our life and to grow our faith in Him. I don’t know what you’re facing today or what you’re going through, but I do know that God is good and He is working things out for your good through it. Stand on this promise as a firm footing when everything else seems to be slipping away. Be like Job and profess God’s goodness even when it may not feel good.

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Learning To Wait

One of the lessons my son is having the hardest time with is learning to wait when he has a question. My wife and I will be in a conversation, and he will walk up, interrupt us, and ask a question. We will tell him we will answer when we are done talking, but that’s often difficult for him when he has a question. I’m teaching him to walk up and just put his hand on mine when he has a question. I told him that when he does that, I’ll acknowledge him and then answer him when I can.

I wish I could say that works all the time, but it doesn’t. It’s as hard for him to wait for an answer as it is for us as adults to wait for one. When we have a pressing need or question, we’ll bombard God with questions and demand an answer immediately. We call it faith when we pray that way, but I wonder what God calls it. One of the hardest lessons any one of us has to learn is how to approach God and to ask for what it is that we want or need, especially when we feel we need it urgently.

They say that patience is a virtue, but we often lack it in waiting for God to answer our prayers. In Psalm 69:13, David prayed a tough, but wise prayer. He said, “But as for me, I will pray to you, Lord; answer me, God, at a time you choose” (GNT). He was telling God that he wasn’t expecting Him to operate on his timetable. He was willing to wait for God to answer on His. That’s a hard thing to pray and to do.

This verse challenges me because I’m not there yet. In my prayers, I’m like my son trying to get an answer. I don’t want to wait for God to finish what He’s doing. I want my answers right now. If David was a man after God’s own heart, and he had the ability to pray this way, I believe it’s something we all can learn to do. Instead of trying to force God to use our timeline, we can start asking God to give us the answers to our prayers in His. I’ll just need a little help learning to wait.

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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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Assumptions

There’s an exercise I do with people to show how our minds jump to conclusions and we assume. We observe a conversation where a lot of things are left open, and then I ask them questions about it. The group doesn’t know that I’m exposing how their brain works. As I ask the questions, they typically make assumptions. I keep asking questions to get as much detail from them as I can to see how much they’ve made up.

I keep asking questions until someone inevitably says, “I don’t know.” I then go back to what was said and ask, “So what do we really know?” I sometimes have to go through it several times before they get it. Most of the answers they give are based on their assumptions and not on what they know. I then like to ask, “How much of your life is based on what you’re assuming versus what you know?” It’s a heavy question that I usually leave several seconds of silence after while they think.

Job was a righteous man in the Bible. He honored God in all he did and even fell down to worship God when he lost his kids and his wealth. As time went on and he was struck with boils, his friends began to question his integrity. In their conversations back and forth, it’s clear that they make many assumptions about his predicament and how God is doing it to Him. They don’t know that Satan is behind the whole thing and is the one tormenting Job.

In Job 19:25, Job makes a great statement. He says, “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives” (NLT). We may not know why we go through certain things or why things happen, but we can know that our redeemer lives. We can live with assurance that He is in control and our lives are in His hands. We need to stop our assumptions that God is behind everything bad that happens in our lives. We know that it’s the enemy who steals, kills and destroys. It’s God who brings life. So they next time things happen, don’t make decisions based on assumptions. Go with what you know.

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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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Standing On The Promises

Recently we were driving along when my son asked, “Dad, can we see if I know the same hymns as you?” I began playing different hymns on my phone and sang along. It had been years since I had heard any hymns. All of a sudden several of these lyrics began resonating with my soul. One in particular was “Standing On The Promises”. Verse two says, “Standing on the promises that cannot fail, When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail, By the living Word of God I shall prevail, Standing on the promises of God.” It was a great reminder to me that we can trust and stand on God’s promises to us no matter what is happening.

In Genesis 12, God promised Abram to give him land and to make him into a great nation. To inherit the promise, he had to go where God was leading without knowing where he was going. When he arrived, there were giants and other people living in the land God promised to him. He continued to stand on God’s promise. While that was going on, he and his wife faced infertility until they were too old to have kids. God came through for them, but later asked him to sacrifice his only son. Even as his son was bound on the altar and the knife was raised, he stood on God’s promise. God provided a ram and knew he could trust Abram with any promise.

2 Corinthians 1:20 says, “For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory” (NLT). God’s promises to you and to me are fulfilled through Jesus. We can trust Him and the promises He’s made to us. When we stand on the promises of God, we’re able to worship no matter what comes our way. When we stand on the promises, we trust what God says over what our situation is telling us. When we stand on the promises, we will prevail. If what God promised hasn’t happened yet, keep standing on it trusting in him. Don’t be swayed by you temporary circumstances when they’re guaranteed by the Eternal One.

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Psychological Warfare

Psychological warfare has been used for thousands of years to help win wars. If you remember the first night of Desert Storm, we used shock and awe to overwhelm the Iraqi army. It was a show of strength to win the battle of the mind. I’ve seen army’s drop pamphlets behind enemy lines to disrupt their belief of what they think the truth is. If they can get the people to believe their own government is lying, they’ll fold. I’ve also seen where they used speakers to blast messages 24 hours a day trying to get into their minds. Psychological warfare is real, and it’s intended to influence emotions, thinking, attitudes and behaviors. If those are manipulated, victory is easier.

In Isaiah 36, Jerusalem was surrounded by Assyria. They were the toughest army of the day and they were undefeated. When they showed up in full force, their psychological ware fare was to make their enemies lose heart. Not only that, they would address the people instead of just the king. They understood psychological warfare. In verse 15, their emperor was talking with Jerusalem’s leaders where all could hear. He tried to undermine King Hezekiah and their faith. He said, “And don’t let him (Hezekiah) persuade you to rely on the Lord. Don’t think that the Lord will save you and that he will stop our Assyrian army from capturing your city” (GNT). He then encouraged them to surrender. Thankfully they continued to trust the Lord and God sent the Assyrian army home.

Our enemy comes against you and I the same way. He speaks lies into our minds to get us to doubt God. He’s done it since the Garden of Eden. James 4:7 says, “So then, submit yourselves to God. Resist the Devil, and he will run away from you.” The key to victory against his mind games and lies that try to get you to quit relying on the Lord begins with submitting to God. Trust that He will not fail you, abandon you or leave you to fight alone. Trust His plan and know that He will work everything out for your good. Then resist the devil’s lies. Combat them with God’s Word the way Jesus did in the desert. When we do that, he has to flee. He has to stop the attack on your life and your mind. Don’t surrender or succumb to the psychological warfare of the devil. God has given you the Helmet of Salvation and the Shield of Faith to resist.

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