Tag Archives: what does the bible say about

Putting Out Fires

When I was a young boy, I learned how to build a fire. I was so excited that I wanted to show my friend. We went into the woods behind his house, gathered wood up and then I built a magnificent fire. What I didn’t know yet was how to put a fire out. We decided to smother it…with hay. That worked great…for a few seconds. Before too long, the fire was getting out of hand. We ran back into his house, past his mom, to get his brother who was two years older than us. We tried again to put it out, but couldn’t. A neighbor saw the smoke and called the fire department. They showed up and got it under control, but not before about an acre was burned.

I tell you that story because so many times we’ve set fire to things in our lives and things are being consumed by it. Every time we try to put it out, it only makes things worse. From the time we are little, we are taught to be independent, to suck it up and to handle our own business. What we forget is that we have a helper who can put out the fires in our lives, but we’re too busy trying to put them out ourselves. Like scared children, we don’t go to the One who can truly help. We go to others to help us, but they can’t resolve the problems we’re facing. All the while, God is there waiting on us to cry out to Him for help.

Psalm 50:15 says, “Honor me by trusting in me in your day of trouble. Cry aloud to me, and I will be there to rescue you” (TPT). God should not be our last resort when things aren’t going right. He deserves and wants to be our first call. He’s more than able to resolve whatever you’re going through, but you must call out to Him and trust Him. If you’re so caught up in what’s going wrong and you don’t have the strength to pray yourself, call on a friend to pray for you. You don’t have to fight the fires in your life by yourself. You have a Heavenly Father who loves you and wants to rescue you.

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Seasons Of Life

Did you know that there are four seasons to farming? In the Spring, it’s the time of planting. The soil is tilled and seeds are placed at the right depth and spacing. In the Summer, it’s critical to make sure the crops are getting the right amount of water, fertilizer and sunlight. With the Fall comes the harvest. It’s about gathering in the produce at the peak of ripeness and then ripping out the old stalks so the ground can be infused with organic matter. Then, when the winter comes, the land has an opportunity to rest. You also spend this time repairing your tools and getting ready for the next Spring.

As I read that, I can’t help but think of the seasons of our life. Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us there is a time and a season for everything. That includes our lives. Some of us are in a season of planting and preparing for what’s coming. Some of us are in a season of working on growing what we’ve planted. Some of us are in a season of harvest where we are reaping the benefits of what we’ve done. Others are in a season of rest where things in your life have been ripped up and it’s time to make repairs so you can plant again. Have you ever considered what season you’re in and the responsibilities God has given you for that season?

Proverbs 10:4 says, “Know the importance of the season you’re in and a wise son you will be. But what a waste when an incompetent son sleeps through his day of opportunity!” (TPT) God has you in this season for a purpose. In every season you find yourself in, there are things you should be doing for that season as well as things to prepare for the next season. Ask God to give you wisdom to know the things you should be doing in your season. Every season comes and goes. You will not be in this season forever, so make the most of it. Don’t let the opportunity of what God is trying to do in your life during this season pass by.

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Pushing Through To Victory

One of the things I love about sports is the struggle. In each game, the teams are trying to build up momentum to score and keep things moving in their favor. You can almost always see when something happens that either takes momentum away from a team or gives it to a team. The fight is not just about winning. It’s about getting momentum to keep winning. There are some teams, despite not having much momentum, that somehow will their way to victory against the odds. There’s something in them that won’t let them quit and they push through to win. Those are the games you walk away from wondering how they did it.

In life, all of us face battles. All of us go through struggles. Inside each one of us there is a constant battle between our flesh and our spirit. There’s the struggle between doing what’s right and what we want to do. There are also battles with addiction that many of us go through. In each case, we’re looking for momentum and victory. If we’re honest, there are days where we know we want to win, but we just don’t have the strength to push through. Momentum often feels like it’s against us and it’s easier to just give in. On those days, we have to learn to psych ourselves up, put our rally cap on and find a way to push through.

Psalm 44:5 says, “Through your glorious name and your awesome power we can push through to any victory and defeat every enemy” (TPT). We have victory in the name of Jesus, but you and I still have to show up and fight. David didn’t defeat Goliath because he picked up five stones and stood on the battlefield. He won it because he ran towards his enemy and slung the stone. You and I must face our giants head on and attack them through the name of Jesus. Victory is possible. You can defeat your adversary, but you have to fight. God is for you and has given you the weapons and armor you need to win. You’ve got to put them on, use them and push through in the name of Jesus and you will find victory.

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Possessing The Promises

How do you react when God doesn’t answer right away and you’re in desperate need for Him to answer? Do you take the Abraham approach and try to be the answer yourself? I know that’s what I’m tempted to do. Waiting on God and His timing is very difficult. He loves to wait until the last minute. Even though I know how He operates, I still try to preempt Him just in case this one time He doesn’t show up. The longer I have to wait for Him to intervene, the smaller my faith seems to get. I think that’s just our human nature, but I also think that’s what God is trying to get us to fight against.

Like a parent teaching their kid to ride a bike, there are times God lets go and it feels like He’s no where near you as you come crashing down. In that process, we learn how to trust Him, how to get back up and how to ride. God uses process to get us to the promise. You and I must learn to be patient and to trust His process. Patience is the key. We must learn to let God do what He needs to do in our lives so He can produce what He needs to produce. If you’re in that place where you’re waiting, fight impatience. God is at work in ways you can not see. It takes time and endurance to get us to the greatest promises.

Here are some verses on waiting for God.

1. I waited and waited and waited some more, patiently, knowing God would come through for me. Then, at last, he bent down and listened to my cry.

Psalms 40:1 TPT

2. Here’s what I’ve learned through it all: Don’t give up; don’t be impatient; be entwined as one with the Lord. Be brave and courageous, and never lose hope. Yes, keep on waiting—for he will never disappoint you!

Psalms 27:14 TPT

3. Enthusiasm without knowledge is not good; impatience will get you into trouble.

Proverbs 19:2 GNT

4. So don’t be impatient for the Lord to act; keep moving forward steadily in his ways, and he will exalt you at the right time. And when he does, you will possess every promise, including your full inheritance. You’ll watch with your own eyes and see the wicked lose everything.

Psalms 37:34 TPT

5. But that’s not all! Even in times of trouble we have a joyful confidence, knowing that our pressures will develop in us patient endurance. And patient endurance will refine our character, and proven character leads us back to hope.

Romans 5:3-4 TPT

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Enduring The Storm

Ever so years ago I lived in Cairo, Egypt. At certain times I would be about my business when I would notice people begin to scurry and panic a bit. I would then turn around to look at the dessert to see a dust storm coming. It would look like a huge brown wall from ground to sky getting bigger as it approached. I was given a warning when I first moved there. I was told that if I ever saw that, take cover and wait it out in a building. If I got caught in it, I wouldn’t be able to see and could get lost or possibly die.

Some storms that come into our lives are like that. They come when we least expect them and they’re blinding. If we don’t act quickly, we can lose sight of where we are going, lose our way, or feel like we’d rather die. These storms that pop up out of nowhere can be very dangerous if we don’t take shelter from them. You never know how long they’ll last, but if you’ve taken shelter in God, you can weather any storm.

Most of the early chapters of Isaiah are about the Lord’s wrath against cities and countries. It’s about destruction that God is going to bring on the ungodly. But in chapter 25, Isaiah begins to praise the Lord for His awesome power and ability to destroy. In verse 4, he reminds us who God is in the storm. He wrote, “But you are a tower of refuge to the poor, O LORD, a tower of refuge to the needy in distress. You are a refuge from the storm and a shelter from the heat” (NLT).

Just like I was able to run into a building when a dust storm was coming, we can find our reprieve in Him. Too many times though, we try to fight the storm in our own strength. We try to weather it on our own. I can tell you that’s very tiring and will wear you out. I’ve tried that strategy. I ended up laid out on my living room floor exhausted from the battle before I cried out to the Lord for shelter. In our own strength we can’t endure very long, but we are stubborn and try it anyway.

It takes humility to admit you can’t do it on your own. You can choose to humble yourself and seek God for shelter or the storm can humble you. God would rather we admit up front that there’s nothing we can do on our own to fight the storm. He would rather we admit we can’t do it in our own strength, and that we go to Him for His. Don’t let pride stand in your way and keep you from praying, “Lord, I need you to shelter me from this storm. I can’t endure it on my own. I need your help.” When we humble ourselves, He is faithful and His grace is sufficient to cover you and to help you endure.

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Throwback Thursday is a 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.

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Giving Up Control

I’m the type of person who lives by the motto, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” It’s not easy to be a delegator when you think that way, nor is it comfortable to hand off the reigns completely to something I’m in charge of. When someone comes in to something I’m doing, and they’re more capable than I am, i have a choice to make. I can either hold people back and limit their success or i can let go and give it to someone who can accomplish so much more than I can. It seems like an easy decision unless you’re a control freak and pride is guiding you.

Now, let’s change the scenario. Instead of leading others and deciding whether or not to hand off the reigns, think about your life. Since you were little, you’ve been taught to make decisions and to live with the consequences. You’ve become conditioned to make decisions regarding your life to avoid pain. While you may have become wiser along the way, do you know and understand God’s full plan for your life? If you don’t know why you have to go through difficulties or where God wants you to go next, doesn’t it make sense to give Him control of your life?

In Psalm 37:5, King David wrote, “Give God the right to direct your life, and as you trust him along the way you’ll find he pulled it off perfectly!” (TPT) The way to give God control of your life is to surrender to His plan. Let Him know that you trust Him with your life because He sees the bigger picture. Then you seek His counsel when it comes to making decisions and follow where He leads whether you understand or not. Faith is about taking the next step before you see where you’re going to put your foot. Giving God the right to direct your life is about putting pride in its place and trusting the One who has the greatest plan for your life. When you’re ready to experience all that God has for you, surrender your future to His will.

Here are two other devotions I’ve written on how to find God’s will in your decision making process:

Making Guided Decisions

A Prayer to Help With Decisions

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Defining Qualities

Did you know that in every group of people you are a part of regularly, you are known for something? You have a personal brand that people identify you by. It can be a good brand or not in their eyes. You may be known as the funny person in the group, the wise one with all the answers, the one who keeps the group together, etc. Have you ever stopped to think how others define you? What qualities stand out to them? For many of us, this is a blind spot in our lives that we rarely get a glimpse into unless we ask or someone let’s us know. We usually think we are known for one thing, but others know us by something else.

Have you ever considered what you want to be known for? Have you thought about what you would want your epitaph to say? I know that sounds a bit morbid, but if you start with the end in mind, you can make changes now that will get you there. You can do things that improve certain qualities in your life so they become who you are. You can also do things to minimize other qualities that detract from who you’re trying to be. It all starts with recognizing what you’re known for now and what you want to be known for.

Proverbs 3:3 says, “Do not let mercy and kindness and truth leave you [instead let these qualities define you]” (AMP). The Bible recommends these three as things we should be known for. Do others consider you as a merciful person? Do they think you’re kind? What about truthful? If you want to improve your influence in other people’s lives, begin to cultivate these three qualities. Nurture them, give them room to grow and they will begin to define you. Every one of us are known for something by others. The more godly the qualities we’re known for, the easier it is to point others to Him.

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