Tag Archives: truth

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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Times Of Rain

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.

Rain is something we need, but don’t really want. We’ve given it a negative connotation too. It started when we were children singing the song, “Rain, Rain, go away. Come again another day.” Rain disrupts the times of sunshine and happiness that we feel. When it’s rainy outside, we say it’s gloomy. We think of the gray clouds and associate them with depression. Rain changes our path, our timing and our plans. It messes things up for us so we resist it. We forget that rain is a necessary part of life. We forget all the good that it does.

I’ve got several friends right now who are experiencing rain in their lives. Several friends have had loved ones pass away unexpectedly. I’ve got a couple of friends who can’t seem to find a job. I’ve got a few friends whose lives have been turned upside down because of choices their spouse made. For them, it seems like the rain just keeps coming. It feels like their lives are being flooded with only negative things. As I’ve thought about all their situations, Matthew 5:45 came to mind. It says, “It rains on the just and the unjust.”

I’ve read or heard that scripture my whole life. I was always under the impression that it meant that bad things happen to Christians and non Christians alike because I associated rain with bad times. When I read it in context and then in several versions and interpretations of the original Greek, the Message Bible stood out. It said, “This is what God does. He gives His best – the sun to warm and the rain to nourish – to everyone regardless.” The times of rain in our lives are meant to nourish us. Just like our yards, lakes and crops need rain for nourishment, so do our lives. 

When bad things happen, it usually pushes us closer go God. We spend more time in prayer. We take the time to talk to God and to read His Word to try to find answers. Days of sunshine rarely push us to spend time with God, but rain does. When we go a long time without rain or without spending time with a God, we go through a drought and that isn’t healthy. If you’re going through times of rain in your life right now, don’t pray for it to go away. Instead thank God for the nourishment and for the shelter He provides

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Seeing The Supernatural 

  
Whenever we take teams to Haiti, on the first day, we ask them to keep their eyes open for Jesus. Each night after that, we ask the question, “Where did you see Jesus today?” I look forward each day to hearing where team members saw Him. He’s often found in small gestures from people that normally go unnoticed. I’ve found when you’re looking for Him, you find Him every day. For many of us, we are so caught up in life, that we forget to look for Jesus. We are so blinded by the mundane that we can’t see the supernatural right in front of us.

When we don’t look for Jesus, we don’t find Him. We begin wonder where God is in the middle of our troubles. We then rationalize that He must not care, and then allow our minds to tell us that we are insignificant to God. When we feel insignificant and uncared for, we wonder if God even cares that we serve Him. Praise takes a backseat in our lives. Our daily walk becomes a crawl. Reading the Bible becomes a chore. Prayer becomes nonexistent. We weren’t made to live like that.

If we are going to change the end result of that cycle, we have to change the beginning. We have to start looking for God working in our lives each day. In Psalm 105:4, the psalmist wrote, “Keep your eyes open for God, watch for His works; be alert for signs of His presence” (MSG). He knew that when we look for God, we will be excited about the things He is doing in our lives and share it with others. When we share what God is doing, it helps them to know what to look for.

If we haven’t looked for Jesus, His works, or His presence, how will we know what to look for. Those who see Him need to share with others to help calibrate their eyesight into the supernatural. They may have been seeing Jesus all along, but haven’t known it was Him. Lives are changed, miracles are born, and hope is restored when we see the supernatural on a daily basis. If you haven’t been looking, open your eyes. If you have been looking, but haven’t seen Him, ask someone who has. God promises to be found by those who seek Him. When’s the last time you sought Him? It’s time to make it a daily habit.

If you’ve seen Him recently, please comment with where. Let’s hear your testimony.

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Storm Survival

  
When I was in high school, one of my teachers was trying to help us understand the difference in the speed of light versus the speed of sound. He used a storm as an example. We see lightening flash and then a few seconds later, we hear the thunder. By our calculations, if there were 5 seconds between the lightening and the thunder, the lightening was a mile away. The closer the sound was to the lightening the closer it was.I still find myself counting the seconds between them during a storm.

Storms can be scary. The flashing lightening, the thunder, the wind, the rain, and possible floods. The storms of life can be scary too. They can knock us off our path, disorient us, confuse us, challenge our faith, and be relentless. For most of us, that’s when we seek God the most. Our prayers are quick like lightening, but God’s answers seem slow like thunder. It seems the farther we are away from Him, the longer it takes to hear His answer.

While we are waiting for an answer from God, we begin to think we are in the storm alone. The longer it takes, the more our faith takes a hit. It can be terrifying to be in a storm that doesn’t seem to end. As we watch everything we’ve worked for get swept away by rising waters, we wonder where God is. We wonder why has He abandoned us or forgotten us. The truth is that He hasn’t abandoned you. He hasn’t turned away from you.

Psalm 81:7 says, “When you were in trouble, you called to me, and I saved you. From my hiding place in the storm, I answered you” (GNT). This verse reminds me that God is in the storm with me. I may not be able to see Him. I may not be able to feel Him. His answers may seem slow, but He is there with me and He will save me. This verse helps me to get my thoughts off of my abandonment issues and onto the truth that God is there with me.

It’s important to win the battle of the mind in a storm. We must remember Philippians 4:8 that tells us to think on things that are true. What’s true is God has not abandoned you. God did not bring you into this place to let you drown. God is working things out for your good even when it doesn’t look like it. Storms always end at some point. You are more than a conqueror through Him. So don’t get discouraged. Get your mind right, call out to God in the storm, and He will answer you from within it.

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A Humble Heart

  
James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor” (NLT). When James wrote these words, he had read all the stories in the Old Testament and knew how God operates. God has always had a special place for those who have a humble heart. Take Moses for example. He was raised as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, yet somehow he was a humble person. He didn’t think of himself as being above the Israelite slaves.

When God asked him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, Moses’ response was very telling. In Exodus 3:11, Moses protested, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?” He was so humble, he didn’t jump on the opportunity to lead his people to freedom. He didn’t ask what was in it for him. He didn’t ask God for a signing bonus. Instead, he didn’t think he was worthy of the task and asked God why would He choose him.

God looks for people who are humble to use for some of His greatest work. He knows that the more humble the heart, the less chance for pride to interfere. Humility seeks God’s will while pride seeks its own. One way to humble yourself is to have a realistic look at your talents and to compare them to the task God has for you. Very quickly, a humble person will realize they don’t have what it takes and will ask what Moses did: “Who am I?”

When we are humble enough to to know we are incapable of doing great things on our own, then we are in just the right mindset to be lifted up by God. James 4:6 tells us that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. That grace He gives is what gives us the sufficiency to accomplish His will. That grace keeps our pride in check and our heart in line with His. If we will learn to be humble like Moses, God will lift us up and honor us by helping us accomplish things we could never do on our own.

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A Man Of Integrity

 I once walked with a man of integrity. Immediately my own shortcomings were brought to light as I watched him do what was right no matter the cost. The road he walked wasn’t easy. There were few companions who had the courage to walk that path. His faith had been tested in the fire before, and it was as hard as a diamond. As I looked at him, I noticed he didn’t look to the left or to the right. He kept his eyes ahead. He knew where he was going and nothing would entice him from his course.

 

There were those who came alongside and walked for a while like he did. Some left sooner than others. When you walk with a man of integrity, you have a choice to make. You can change to have more integrity, or you can walk away. When we are in the light, all our flaws are exposed. We can choose to work on our flaws while in the light, or we can turn the light off, pretending the flaws are not there. Either way, when you have been exposed, you know the truth inside.

 

Because of this, there are many who attack those with integrity. When faced with their own reality, they try to get that person to change. When they realize they can’t make them compromise their integrity, they abandon them and try to discredit them. In the end, I’ve learned that God stands with those who have integrity and He detests those who don’t have it. If that’s how God feels, then I should feel that way too.

 

Proverbs 10:29 says, “The way of the LORD is a stronghold to those with integrity, but it destroys the wicked” (NLT). In my walk with this man of integrity, I’ve found that strength comes from God, not the opinions of others. When others seek to destroy, those with integrity keep walking to the Lord. They do not waiver. They do not change. They may be beaten, they may be scared, but that’s the price of integrity in a world full of houses built on sand.

 

Though our paths have split, I learned to be a better person. I learned that it hurts quite often to have integrity. Maybe that’s why so few choose to have it. I also learned that if you remain a man of integrity, the Lord will come to your defense and stand with you while others throw stones. I’ve learned that it is not man’s opinion of me that matters, it’s God’s. I will find my strength in Him while others attack. I will not be moved. I will not look to the side. I’ll keep my eyes on the One who lights my path.

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Truth Compacted

In a lot of Paul’s letters to the churches, he starts off slow and then hits the fast forward button in the last chapter. It’s like he knows he needs to wrap up the letter, but has so much more to say. In those moments in his letters, there’s a lot of truth compacted. One of my favorites comes from I Corinthians 16:13-14. He wrote, “Be on guard. Stand firm. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything in love” (NLT). There’s so much good stuff packed into those two verses.

First, he warns us to be on guard. He knows there is an enemy out there looking to mess you up, so he can destroy your testimony and your work for God. I Peter 5:8 puts it this way, “Be alert, be on watch! Your enemy, the devil, roams around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” We can never forget that there is an enemy who is out to prevent you from doing the work God called you to. Be on guard.

Next he says to stand firm. In Ephesians 6:11 he goes into deeper discussion about what he meant. He wrote, “Put on God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all the strategies of the devil” (NLT). The enemy comes in like a flood to knock you down, but by the power of God, you have the ability to stand firm when you are under attack. Utilize the armor that God gives us to defeat the enemy.

The next two go hand in hand. He wants us to be courageous and strong. Winston Churchill said, “Courage is the foremost of all the virtues, for upon it, all others depend.” You can’t stand up to the enemy unless you have courage. David had it when he fought Goliath. Jesus had it as He carried the cross to Calvary. You and I can have it and we can be strong in our faith. Acts 1:8 says, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you” (NLT). You can have God-given power to be courageous.

Finally, he tells us to do everything in love. In I Corinthians 13:2, just a few chapters back, Paul wrote, “If I had the gift of prophesy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing” (NLT). It doesn’t matter how much faith you have or what you can do for God in your own strength, you’ve got to do it in love or it’s worthless. Love is the key element in our walk with God. Live your life doing everything in love, and what you do will prosper.
 

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