Father, it is hard to fathom the number of those who chose to end their life rather than face another day. It’s devastation overwhelms me as I walk with yet another friend whose child chose that path and succeeded. We hurt, Lord, and so greatly need Your comfort and strength for the days to come.
Grant us the ability to walk with these loved ones in their pain. Grant them Your grace to help them safely navigate their grief and deal with things that must be done as life goes on.
And, Lord, as we cry out for the families and friends left to cope with the devastation left behind in the wake of suicide, we cry out for those contemplating this horrific path. Father, pour forth Your Spirit to them and turn them from their wrong thoughts, feelings, and sense of hopelessness. Help them get help, and most importantly, help them get You. You are the solution to hopeless situations. In Jesus, amen.
Suicide prevention – 1 (800) 273-TALK or simply 988.
“Nothing shall be impossible with God.” You can face another day with His help. Just reach out to Him; reach out to a believer in your sphere of influence who can help you.
Thank You, Father, that You never leave nor forsake me. Your mercies are new every morning and Your compassions fail not. You know my every breath and are mindful of my every step. You count the hairs of my head and know where each is – not one missing from Your care.
My heartbeat is constant before You, my thoughts reaching to You. You are faithful, and I can trust You who care for me watchfully and care about me affectionately. The comprehension of You is a breath, a heartbeat away. I think of You and there You are: in a heartbeat, You touch me with assurance of Your loving care.
Thank You for loving me; for always drawing near to me as I draw near to You, faithfully making Yourself and Your Presence known, knowable, and evident. Here am I, O God. Make Your faithful essence flow through me as light to a dark and weary world. In Jesus, amen.
“One of the greatest lessons I ever learned was that in order to seek God consistently, you need His assistance. The truth is we have an adversary. There exists a being that does not want us to succeed or to grow deeper in God.” Jovita Sheppard
I know many parents who are in deep grief over choices made and hardship suffered by their kids and grandkids in these days. I know that, for me, I have wondered what on earth happened; what I did wrong: such thoughts leading me to feeling like a failure as a parent.
None of us are perfect, and I certainly had my childhood baggage to get rid of as I learned more godly parenting skills. As Christians, we all realize our own issues and growing pains as followers of Christ and as parents, and we all hope and long to give our kids godly resources that help them live life stronger and better. When they don’t succeed at seeking and trusting God, we grieve and feel the failure. So, the other day, crying out to God again, He came clearly to my mind with this clear understanding:
“You were not a bad mother. You prayed to Me for your children and grandchildren from before they were birthed, giving them to Me. You spoke of Me to them and took them to My Word. You got them into church, and you instructed them in My ways. You continue to encourage them to seek Me. You live your faith before them and love them with My love. You have trusted My lead and followed Me as a parent. Trust me now.
“Stop beating yourself up and keep doing what I taught you to do: loving, praying, encouraging, instructing at every opportunity. They need you to be an ally and support. Don’t allow the enemy of your soul to take you into a defeated spirit where you cannot do these things with confidence in Me.
“I got you through all you experienced in life, using it to get you where you are and make you who you are. I will do exceedingly abundantly in their lives as well. You keep trusting them to Me and My glory will be known.”
Maybe you, like me, were not raised in church or taught about God and His ways. Perhaps, like me, you had to learn godly parenting through on the job training. Keep doing what God taught you to do, knowing He will not fail His good purpose and plan. He will bring good out of the mess we see.
Perhaps you have only recently become a Christian. It is not too late. Seek God and lay your cause at His feet. Trust Him to instruct you. Keep praying for those you love and live the faith you have boldly and unapologetically. Watch with earnest expectation and hope to see what God will do.
May God bless you and yours in these strategic days.
More of You, Lord. We need more of You if we are to thrive in these days.
You put us in this age and this place of habitation for a purpose. We need more of You to lead us to our destiny in Christ. And in these days of enemy attack through partial truth, confusion, flat out lies, and relevant-truth sayers, we need You to differentiate the subtle lines that trip us up and lead us astray.
We need You to control our thoughts and direct our tongues to speech that meets false understanding head on out of Your great love. Without You, we can do nothing. With more of You day by day, we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength, for nothing shall be impossible with You.
Here am I, O God. Fill me up and spill me out for Your name’s sake. In Jesus, amen.
Father, relational dynamics change. Many of those changes – good, bad, or indifferent – produce a type of death, bringing a grievous loss of some part of life as we know it, requiring us to await the sprouting seeds of new life. Relationship can be in jeopardy of dying at this point when the death of what once was is caused by a betrayal, a broken promise, deep hurt, etc.. Thank You for the times You led me to stick it out, wait on You, and see the glorious sprouting of renewal that brought personal growth, stronger love, increased commitment, deeper understanding, and relational longevity.
Father, I have learned that all such relational issues, even the good of such changes as the birth or marriage of a child, can bring a loss we must grieve if we are to let go the old and prepare for new things. These good things change the dynamics of life that causes loss on one end of a great gain on the other. How we deal with the loss will either break us, or make us stronger. Help us to realize our grieving hearts, and grieve well as we watch with earnest expectation and hope for new things to come. If we can’t let go of the past, we miss out on the present and jeopardize the future. Help us trust You more so we successfully transition through life. In Jesus, amen.
I read this and ask God, “Do I fear You as I should? What does fearing You mean?”
How would you define “fear of the Lord”? I don’t quake before Him. Hebrews says I can come boldly before the throne of grace. He is my Father. I enjoy His presence. There is not a quaking fear there.
I look around at things going on in the world and quake at the fate of all involved in it when God moves against it. Do I quake enough to reach out a warning hand ready to pull them out of their pit of destruction? Is my fear of the Lord the righteous fear He calls for, expects, and is worthy of receiving? A fear that acknowledges His worthiness, respects His authority, and recognizes His justice and His right as the true Supreme Justice?
Holy Spirit, You come teaching me of sin, righteousness, and judgement. Is the understanding of these truths and humility it brings that causes my heart to crumble before Him “the fear of the Lord”? If this is it, I am there.
Father, I acknowledge Your worthiness, respect Your authority, and recognize Your right and responsibility to delve out justice. I quake at the thought of an eternity without You, Your love, Your mercy, Your grace, Your presence. Father, I need You and I cry out for those wallowing in the pit of a world set against You.
Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner in need of Your merciful grace. Let this “fear of the Lord” cause me to recognize the difference between the path of sin, the path of righteousness, and the consequences that come with Your judgment. I bow to You, my Daddy-King Jehovah in the name of my Beloved Savior, Jesus Christ, our Jehovah-Tsidkenu. Amen.
Father, the devotional author this morning prays, “I pray for my sisters who are faced with insecurities. We know that security is a basic need of women. For us to feel loved, we have to feel secure. But satan has a way of picking and poking at us where it hurts the most. …” Then she asks the question, “What are you most insecure about? Is it your looks? Your job? Being a wife or mother? Make a list of all your insecurities.”
Fear of lost opportunities is my security issue. Father, I know You led me to many, eternally productive opportunities and blessed me greatly to be part of Your Kingdom work, but in these days I look at several relationships that seem to be lesser and wonder what I missed.
Father, remove from me concerns from a past I can’t change and show me where to go from here so I don’t miss today by fretting over yesterdays.
Recognizing our insecurities, even listing them is one thing, but don’t let us stop with a list to fret over. Reveal the path ahead to freedom from these snares, for me and for my sisters and brothers in Christ. In Jesus, amen.
Father, thank You for my love relationship with Johnny. Thank You that he loves me in deep, abiding ways that satisfies my need. Help me, by Your grace, to respect him in ways that satisfy his needs. Help me… R – Respond properly to him, Rejoice over his successes, and Recognize the good You’ve placed in him. E – Edify that good, Encourage his strengths, and Exemplify him, following his lead and acting in tandem with him. S – Set my heart to Satisfy his needs and desires as aligns with Your will and way, Satiate his needs above and beyond his expectations, Supplement him by being the helpmeet he needs as he needs help. P – Set my heart to Protect his reputation by speaking highly of him, Promoting his good, and Proving him worthy of respect. E – May I cooperate with You as You Establish him as a leader among men, Enhancing his strengths where I am able, working with You to Expand his borders of influence, and doing all I can to help Equip him for success. C – Help my focus to Commune with him – listening fully with hearing ears and open heart, being careful to Communicate righteousness, truth, and love to him. May I practice Continence in my actions and reactions, adding strength to his own self-control and self-restraint, and lift my Countenance toward him in ways that lift his toward You. T – make me faithful to Toast his successes and righteous effort, Tout his good, and be always available to help Tote his load, partnering with him throughout life. In Jesus, amen.
Speaking truth in righteousness and with love, rightly using my tongue as honors You, is a constant topic for me with You, Lord. You tell my heart that my tongue is the pen of the Ready Writer. I trust You to accomplish that in evident, undeniable ways, and that each word You send through this tongue will reach ready hearers.
You have helped me break the cycle of gossip so greatly. You have taught me to keep hurts to myself so that I don’t inadvertently hurt the reputation of someone I profess to love. You’ve blessed me with trustworthy prayer partners who hold me to account and who love on those we pray for despite my pain. They know as I do that there are three sides to every relationship issue: “my perception”, “their perception”, and truth usually somewhere between the two. They encourage understanding truth, seeking restoration, and trusting You who know the truth of the matter.
Thank You for praying, accountability partners and friends. Thank You for grace and forgiveness. Thank You for love that prevails, does right despite wrong, refuses to hold a grudge: love that never fails. Thank You for helping me grow and change. I love You. Amen.
“Be happy [in your faith] and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually (always); Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly]; Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 AMPC https://bible.com/bible/8/1th.5.16-18.AMPC
Father God, thank You for teaching me the joy of a grateful heart. Thank you for instructing me to know that no one can take that joy from me, and that, even in grievous circumstances, the joy of a thankful heart flourishes, for that heart knows You. That heart believes the truth about You and Your faithfulness at all times. That heart trusts Your Word, believes Your promises, accepts Your ways, walks with You in earnest expectation and hope, knowing that You always work for the good of the one whose heart loves You and who is living a life that follows You with heart desire to fulfill Your purpose.
We can always give thanks from a truly grateful heart because You are the source and cause of our gratitude. It is You we give thanks for as we remember You in every circumstance, rejoicing over the potential and assurance of experiencing You in this life, through the troubling and the good. You never leave nor forsake us. You are for us and not against us. Even in hardship and tribulation, You grow us strong as we trust in You, making us ready for the fulfillment of Your purpose and plan, as You bring us to completion, made ready and adequately prepared for our Bridegroom and King. Thank You that You are always the one we can be grateful for in every circumstance.
Thank You, Lord Jesus, for loving us all the way to the cross, and for showing us the way to take up our cross of obedience to God at all cost, and to daily follow You with every step committed to the Father’s will and way. Thank You for taking all sin onto Your shoulders and experiencing the turning back of God’s rejection for us, so we who believe and receive Your gift of eternal grace never have to know that fate. And thank You, Father, for loving us and desiring this Parent-child relationship so much that You gave Your only begotten Son to accomplish it. May we forever keep our eyes on You with grateful heart. In Jesus, amen.
What a beautiful mess. Thank You, Father, for the half inch of rain that allowed me to turn the sprinklers off last night. And even for the moisture from all that tiny hail that filled the lawn and crunched under my feet in last night’s video. What joy it is to step out into the beauty after the storm.
Thank You for the beauty after the storm and the picture of life carrying on that it gives. Thank You that out of destruction, much can be salvaged, and out of damage, strength reveals itself as restoration begins. Thank You for signs of Your protective cover.
Thank You that we can exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope. And hope does not disappoint, because Your love has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Thank You for Your faithfulness. I love You, Lord, and look forward to the future with You as we watch for the beauty You bring out of ashes.
Thank You that Your compassions fail not, and You, Abba-Father, lovingly discipline those You claim as a son or daughter. Your discipline proves our relationship with You as Father. I am grateful that You faithfully discipline me and I watch for Your loving hand that guides me on paths of righteousness for Your Name’s sake.
Father, it is true. You already know everything about us, so we can come to You humbly with each sin in our lives without fear of shocking You who already know, and we can earnestly seek Your forgiveness and grace knowing it is already there for us through Jesus Christ our Lord. He is The Way, The Truth, and The Life made for us by You who make a way where there is no way. You are faithful, so we need not fear.
However, I want more of You, so I ask for courage to truly humble myself and let You search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any evil, hurtful way in me and lead me in Your still more excellent ways. I know when I sincerely seek You to create in me a clean heart, You will shock me with the findings and amaze me with Your mercies made new every morning. In Jesus, make it so in me, I pray. Amen.
“… Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “The two shall become one flesh.” But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. …” ~ 1 Corinthians 6:12-20
Many take the portion of this passage that relates to sexual sin, meant as an example of what immortality looks like in our relationship with God, and apply it’s text only to that. The immoral person that sins against their own body includes those who sin against the sexual purity God expects us to practice, but this passage is so much deeper than relations between one man and one woman. Our union with God is a marriage covenant, and any sin against God is a sin against that union. It hurts our body – our Spirit union.
Immorality: The character of being immoral; transgression of the moral law; immoral thought or action; wickedness; dissoluteness; licentiousness.
The immoral person is not moral; they are inconsistent with rectitude, purity, or good morals; they work contrary to conscience or the divine law, forgetting and neglecting union with God. These are wicked; unjust; dishonest; vicious; licentious. When we profess unity with God through Christ, yet behave immorally, we do harm to our own body, ripping at the core of that union.
Looking at this full passage, what does it say?
“All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.”
There are many things in life that we can choose, do, or have within the borders of God’s Law, dictated by His moral compass, but not everything will profit us in our relationship with God. For example, we can have money. Being rich in this life is not sin. Having a storehouse of goods to see us through difficult times is not sin. But letting that treasure trove of God’s supply rule us, the trove becoming the end means, is sin. It gets between us and our God, becoming our greatest trust, our mistress, and robbing God of our affection and commitment. This is an immorality. It hurts our relationship with God and sins against our oneness with Him.
We are to be good stewards of all God blesses us to have. Rightly using the provision God blesses us to have, clinging to Him and trusting Him with and for that supply, sharing with those who have need as God leads, reveals good stewardship that God blesses with more supply, so we have plenty for our own need, and a surplus to help those in any need. Such collaboration with God, following His lead, feeds our union, making us strong in Him.
“Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.”
Our relationship with God is eternal. It is our lasting treasure. He is our exceedingly great reward. Anything that works against that truth puts a wall up in our relationship with God, just as “even looking at another woman (or man) to lust after” them puts a wall between us and our mate, robbing them of affections that rightly belong to them alone. It hurts our union with God, breaking trust, just as it does our mate in marriage. It is immoral.
“Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “The two shall become one flesh.” But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.”
Anything in life that separates us from God, robbing Him of our affection, commitment, loyalty, etc., no matter how good or innocent that thing may be, becomes a prostitute when it comes between us and God. It breaks trust. It is giving self to another in a way that rightly belongs only to God.
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”
Father, my greatest desire is to honor You with my all. My “job” feels home bound and often mundane. Help me remember You in each day and every task. It is You who sees me. May I be found doing my best work in these day. Find me faithful, O God. To You be the glory. In Jesus, amen.
Father, help my words and actions toward my kids and grands truly lift them to higher ground and help them know and trust You. Flow through me to truly love each one in righteousness and truth with Your everlasting love. Defeat the enemy who seeks to still, kill, and destroy family relationships. Grant wisdom to know when to speak or step in to take action, and when to hush, be still, know, and pray. In Jesus, amen.
Father, thank You for instructing me in how to honor a parent who did not behave honorably in her parenting. Thank you for empowering forgiveness, granting love for her in Your name, and instructing me to live in such a way as honors You, making her look good as a parent. And thank You for helping me smile and not correct those who brag on how great she must have been. I thank You for helping me understand her own childhood pain and the struggle it caused her, snd her mental issues from that. And thank You for healing me daily. Forgive me my own failures as my childhood effected my way of parenting. Bless my children to be free and not carry familial issues to the next generations. May each generation experience greater deliverance and freedom from these generational issues. In Jesus, amen.
Suitable: Appropriate to a purpose or an occasion. Capable of suiting; fitting; accordant; proper; becoming; agreeable; adapted. Having sufficient or the required properties for a certain purpose or task; appropriate to a certain occasion.
Father, thank You for my relationship with Johnny. Thank You for suiting us to each other for Your good purpose. We truly are suited to one another. Thank You for the work of grace You’ve done in each of us throughout our lives as one. Thank You for continuing that work of grace day by day. May we be Your instruments, revealing the unity, oneness, love, and grace You desire we have with You, as one thing marriage is purposed to accomplish is to provide a picture of all our relationship with You should be. Make us one as Father, Son, and Holy Presence are One. In Jesus, amen.
“The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah…. Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob. Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah. ….” Matthew 1:1-17
The lineage of Jesus is a picture of the redemptive power of God, how God takes those who commit great evil and works good out of it, and how good and evil alike ultimately work the will of God into this world experience. Looking at the kings of Israel is a roller coaster ride between good and evil. For me, as I read the names of all theses who struggled in this life and yet were included in the bringing of the Christ to us, it gives assurance to God’s ability to use even me. Just looking at the five women mentioned in Jesus’s family lineup is such a beautiful picture of redemption.
Tamar – the daughter-in-law of Judah who tricked Judah into fulfilling the law of birthing a child to carry on the name of the deceased don, who was her husband. She played the harlot in tricking Judah into lying with her so she could conceive and birth one of the fathers of Jesus. Despite the trickery she felt forced to practice in order to receive her due, Tamar was counted more righteous than Judah who refused his last son to her out of fear. Through her story we see deception, trickery, fear, faith, hope, and restoration.
Rahab – a harlot in Jericho who helped the spies of Israel escape and was protected on the day the walls fell and God’s people took possession of that land. She and her family were saved, and she was taken as a wife by Salmon, rewarded by God as one added to the line of Christ. Through her story we see harlotry, mercy, and redemption.
Ruth – the Moabitis daughter-in-law of Naomi. After the death of Naomi’s husband and two sons, Ruth refused to leave Naomi’s side and committed herself to follow Naomi and her God, no matter where that led her. It led her through commitment, faithfulness, and redemption to the pages of the history of Israel and its coming King.
Bathsheba – wife of Uriah, taken in adultery by King David who tried to hide the sin leading to pregnancy, even having Uriah killed in his attempts. But the prophet of God knew. The child born was taken in sickness, leading David to repent his sin. God’s grace to David and Bathsheba brought Solomon to life. We see lust, adultery, deception, murder, repentance, comfort, grace, and redemption.
Mary – believed to be of teenage years, was a virgin, considered a woman in her time frame, betrothed to Joseph. Found with child before the consummation of their marriage vows, no one believed her story of miraculous conception by the work of God’s Holy Spirit. If found out, she was destined to death by stoning for out of wedlock relations; the growing fetus considered proof of indiscretion. But God.
Angelic messengers, sent by God, prepare the couple for their journey of faith. Gabriel lets Mary know of her chosen estate, which she willing accepts by faith, despite the danger to her life. An angel in a dream brings Joseph into the loop of understanding the calling of God on them. And our Savior was born. Mary’s and Joseph’s story is a one of faith, humility, courage, hope, intrigue, anticipation, and, yes, redemption, as God protects mom and Babe, seeing Jesus safely to His destiny as redeemer of the world.
Redemption is throughout the history that brought the time of Christ to the earth. Now we have a part in His story. Jesus paid the price of sin that separates us from God, giving us a way to Him anew. His life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension removed power from sin’s death, granting all humans opportunity to choose life – relationship with God for all eternity. All sin is paid for, but each person must choose to believe and receive the gift of Christ for themselves. The only sin that continues to separate us from the Father is refusal to believe and receive the truth of Jesus, the redeemer. By grace through faith we are saved. And once we choose Him, we become part of His redemptive story. What are you writing on His pages with your life?
Father, Your love and grace amazes me, yet I’ve only touched the hem of it. I can’t wait for the face to face. Thank You for loving us Jesus-much. We are indeed blessed.
Father, I cry out for those yet to reach Your hem. Shine Your light and draw their reach to You. We need You to do that now, before it is too late. Bring about a great spiritual awakening as never before, and bring Your people into a life altering revival before love grows cold in these days when evil abounds.
I especially pray for children and grandchildren to the thousandth generation. By Your grace, as You have given utterance, I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved me may be in them, so they may know, receive, and possess Jesus for themselves. This I ask of You, Father, let not one of them perish. This is Your heart, too, according to Your Word. Thus I ask with trusting faith for You to have Your desire in these we so greatly love. In Jesus, amen.
Father, thank You that You, knowing our frame, are mindful that we are but dust. We are Your creation, given breath, life, strength, and purpose by You. We can do nothing of eternal worth and true goodness apart from You. Only with You as our true supply of wisdom, direction, and power sourcing can we accomplish the work You prepared for us to do and succeed at fulfilling Your divine purpose and plan. You know how difficult it is for mere dust to maintain focus and not be blown off course by every wind.
Thank You for making The Way of redemption through The Truth of Christ, giving us The Life You desire we possess. He is our anchor that holds us, the wind of Your Spirit directing us on paths of righteousness, uprightness, and right standing with You, for Your Name’s sake, as pleases You. Thank You that our past is behind us, covered by Christ, and You use the lessons from it to bring us to a good end. May we not be stuck in the mud of dead dust. In Christ, we are free indeed.
Father God, thank You that You are with me and for me, You never leave nor forsake me. You are in my midst to make me stand as Your servant and not be moved from my position in Christ. You are The rock upon which I stand secure. Because Your mercies are new every morning and Your compassions fail not, You are faithful to help me when morning dawns and walk me through my days. I trust You who give me strength. Be strength for my weary bones this day and increase power to me for this day. Direct my path in righteousness for Your name’s sake, just as Your Word says You will. This is my hope, and You are my song. In Christ I pray, amen.
We are called to make disciples: followers of Christ. As we faithfully do that, evangelism happens by accretion.
It is vital that we learn God and live Christ. As we live Christ, we become a light that draws others in from the dark.
Evangelism without discipleship is like making tons of babies and walking off, leaving them squalling to fend for themselves and be overtaken by the wolves of life. Evangelize, yes. But we, the church, must make sure to disciple the evangelized.
To try to disciple others without being a disciple is a façade that hurts the cause of Christ. We must continually draw near to God and learn of Him so God’s light in us is real and bright.
We never outgrow the need to be an actively growing disciple of Christ. And when we do that well, others will draw near to learn what we know, be evangelized, and become disciples that make disciples.
I look around at the trouble and turmoil in all the earth today, and I cry out, “Lord, come quickly! Surely Jesus is coming now, for it cannot possibly get worse on the earth. Surely evil has completed it’s appointed course.” But looking back at 200ish years ago, the time of the plagues and warring crusades; or a hundred years ago, with WWI, the Spanish flu, and WWII, we find the same cry of the heart that cannot fathom evil could possibly get worse.
Here’s the facts: evil has brought its trouble to the earth since Adam and Eve fell to it’s influence and were sent out of that glorious garden of God. Evil remained through the days of Christ, even as Jesus paid a price none of us could even begin to pay. Evil will remain and grow ever stronger until Jesus returns and ushers His own back into that garden of God. Each age watches for Him, calls for His “soon” return, and expects Him in our today, unable to fathom that evil will possibly get worse.
But only The Father knows the day or hour when He will say, “enough” to evil’s trouble, and send Christ to usher in the eternal Kingdom. Ours is not to know the day or the hour, but to live in such a way as to be ready, should His coming be our now. If, in a hundred years, some child of God looks back from their own trouble with thought of, “Surely today, Lord,” may they see faith and faithfulness in our life story to help them stand firm in the wait.
“Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.” Matthew 24:42-44
“…heal instead of becoming bitter so you can act from your heart, not your pain.”
From experience I have learned that, my being prone to feelings of rejection or a sense of being judged by others because of past hurts, if I am not careful, I will choose to be offended where no offense was intended. Then I become the one who is passing judgment based on my sense of offense rather than seeking God’s truth regarding the other person and their opinion. Doing so closes my ears and causes me to refuse to seek God’s opinion about the insights and concerns of others, and then to deal improperly with a person who may be His messenger to my need. When that happens, I too easily become the offender. The hurting heart tends to hurt hearts.
God continues to teach me to choose love (1 Corinthians 13) and trust God to reveal truth. I am learning that sometimes others see something I am missing or refusing to realize. I need to allow God to help me evaluate their concerns and show me if it is wisdom and instruction from Him. My course has been rightly corrected many times as I refuse offense and seek God’s evaluation.
And there have been times when God showed me the misjudgment of another’s opinion, firming up my resolve. In these times, God always leads me to forgive the other person any offense I may feel, to keep loving and praying for them, remaining in right relationship with them.
The devil uses our tendency to offense to divide and conquer. God directs through wise discernment and love to unite and strengthen. Always choose love and grace over hate and offense. Let God deal with offense (Romans 12:14-21).
PS: I speak my concerns to people I feel love and care for. When I speak, it is out of a sense of God’s leading to do so. Offense is never my intent. Loving and encouraging others in wisdom and righteousness is my intent. I do so with prayer, trusting that I am speaking His truth, not my opinion, and with faith that God will lead the other person to His truth and His way for their situation. And I do so knowing that words from Him will prove true. God’s truth is all that matters.
God has taught me, if I am speaking His truth out of His leading with a right heart attitude and motive, a person refusing my words is truly a rejection of Him, not me. So, if my words are rejected, I have no need to be offended. God will prove whether the words are mine or His.
The thing that hurts more than the rejection of a person is when God tells me to stop speaking His truth to them. When God says to knock the dust off our feet and stop casting the pearls of His truths before those who trample them under foot, that is heart breaking.
We must be careful about choosing offense. Our offense may offend God.
Father, anxiety over the horrors going on in these days is a plague to our hearts. It is too easy to become anxious over so many evils and atrocities we see happening in our day. Your word wisely warns us to not anxiously look around at these things and be overcome by fear, but to remember that You are God. Through trusting belief that knows You are working for our good, even bringing good out of things Your enemy intends for evil, we enter Your rest and find peace that umpires our hearts in these days. Only in keeping our eyes on You can we walk through evil days in ways that honor and glorify You.
Thank You, Lord, that as we turn our hearts to focus on Your faithful truth, You bless us with strength to persevere as we experience Your trustworthy help. Thank You that You uphold us with Your righteous right hand of power, protection, and provision. In Jesus, I rest myself in You and find your peace that passes all comprehensive understanding. Let Umpire Peace lead me in paths of righteousness, uprightness, and right standing with You, not for my earning it, but for Your name’s sake. In Christ, Amen.
You may not choose God, but He has chosen you. How do I know that?
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NASB1995
He loves you so much that He gave His only begotten Son to pay a price you cannot pay, so you can choose a reward you cannot earn: eternity with Him as Father God. If you refuse Him, He will still love you, for He is Love and He cannot deny Himself. He will still love you even while you deny the gift of His Son and choose eternity separated from Him.
However, there will come a time when we all stand before Him. Those who accept His gift while there is still time will enter eternity in His Kingdom. Those who refused His gift will enter an eternity separated from Him. Will they know his hate as they go?
God is love. He does not hate those His Son died to save: all the people of the world. I believe those who refuse Him will know beyond a doubt the fullness of God’s love for them before they are removed from His presence forever, a love we all long for but cannot know except in Him. All who do not choose Him in Christ now will know exactly what they refused: love made full and complete.
Which are you? Are you one who has believed and received this gift of God and are now walking in His love to eternity with Him? Or are you one who has refused His love? It’s your God given choice. No one else can make that choice for you.
Don’t wait until it is too late. Don’t wait until you stand before Him, knowing for the first time the fulness of that love, only to be cast into outer darkness, never to be touched by pure love again. Don’t be one left with nothing but longing for a touch of His love through an eternal hell of knowing His love is out there, just beyond your reach forvermore.
In a group I am in, where we are working to help each other know how to recession proof our pantries and live lives where we are not dependent on government allotment and dwindling store supplies, the question posed is how are we to be self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency without inadvertently walking out from under reliance on God and His Lordship. Christine Hoover’s thoughts help address this concern in a devotional series titled “With All Your Heart”:
“Remember that you can’t understand your heart.
“Remember that you can’t reach into your heart and change it. You can certainly alter behaviors and choose a different course of action, but the true work of sanctification happens only as you RESPOND TO THE LEADERSHIP OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
“Remember that this is good news, because you have a King who can and, more importantly, willingly does. You are not expected to rule and regulate yourself. WAIT ON HIM.”
In our practice of the wisdom of the ants, storing up in the season of plenty for the season of need, seek God and follow His instruction. We don’t do self-care apart from Him. We walk with Him to do what pleases Him in ways that acknowledge our need of Him and that works under His Lordship. It is a heart issue.
I plant a garden at His inspiration of the wisdom in it, trusting Him for its produce and for strength and ability to know how to store the plenty for the day of need. He is faithful to supply sufficient for me and mine and the wisdom to share with others responsibly. We put trust in God to bless the hunting, fishing, and foraging.
In all things, our faith is in Him who makes effort productive as we look to, follow, and trust Him.
I shared the following in a YouVersion plan conversation, responding to the instruction, “Describe a time you have let fear or fatigue rather than God’s promises shape an experience.”
“I could share many times when God’s word has shaped my thoughts, actions, steps to trust Him and walk by faith, but I guess the area I struggle with most is my sense of security in group relationships. I do okay one on one with people, but I feel like an outsider in group situations. Getting a hold on God’s promises that overcome a spirit of rejection and insecurity is my biggest challenge.”
Thinking on this, I remember the experience of our neighbor inviting me to join her church ladies for fellowship time at her house. It was answered prayer for a season in life when I needed time with other ladies. So the invite was from God through Donna. I knew that, and by God’s grace, I was relaxed and peaceful, enjoying every minute of it.
Thinking on that, it dawns on me: believing the providence of God, that He directs my steps, isn’t every encounter an invite from God to relationship with those I meet along the way, whether one on one or in a group? Shouldn’t that welcome mat be sufficient for me to relax and be the me He invited to that moment in time?
When God calls us to a situation, it’s because He has placed in us qualities and characteristics, gifts and abilities, skills and experience necessary for the encounter. I can trust Him who is my sufficiency. No matter the response of others, if God steps me into it, I am not rejected, I am invited. He is my secure passage. Help me possess this truth, Father.
Years ago, after falling asleep while crying out to God for my children and grandchildren, I had this dream that God has greatly used to help me trust Him more fully with my children’s relationships with Him.
In the dream, I am sitting in a just-my-size throne at the right hand of Jesus, facing the side of His just-His-size throne, the armrest of which is a good foot above my head at standing height. It was a huge throne, holding His bigger than life frame.
So I’m sitting facing the side of His armrest, looking up at Jesus’ smiling face, looking down at me in my little throne – an exact match to His own. He very lovingly says, “You sit here. I’ve got this.” Then He faces forward, His great smile exuberant with joy.
Turning my gaze to see what has Him smiling so enormously, I see human figures of pure, molten gold, all shining so brightly that beams of light rose from each one up into the heavens. I instantly recognized that these before Him were my children, their mates, and grandchildren – many more than I currently have – generations standing before His throne: in the throne room of the Master Goldsmith that is working diligently, performing His transformational will in each one.
It’s hard to see our kids struggle: even harder still to realize that struggle as the fires of testing, used of God to remove the dross from the gold in them. We may not see what the Father is doing with full comprehensive understanding, but we can know that He is faithfully working in response to our prayers.
This dream led me to study the significance of being placed on the right hand or left hand side of God. The left hand side is totally protective. It is where we are when God tells us to be still and let Him do it all: it’s the side of His shield, covering us. The right hand side is a place of protection as well, but it is also the place of imputed authority. Jesus the King gives us authority as parents to participate in what He is doing. Taking the authority He gives and using it righteously keeps us under His protective cover.
In my dream, the authority seen there for me to practice is to pray, to trust, to watch with the earnest expectation of hope’s assurance, to await further instruction for opportune times to participate in what the Lord is doing (loving, helping, teaching, instructing, encouraging, etc.), and to obey Him.
My throne always faces Him, not the problems that concern me. I can only be ready to do my part as He gives opportunity when my focus in life is Him, His throne, His authority, His opinion, His purpose and plan. And I can only receive His clear instruction when my heart is tuned to His, in faith’s believing trust.
One may have to fight for the right of religion, but faith is a heart issue that cannot be dictated, hindered, or stopped.
One may have to fight for the right of assembly, but worship praise and prayer is a personal and private intimacy that cannot be dictated, hindered, or stopped.
One may have to fight for the right to speak what we believe, but belief is a personal choice that cannot be dictated hindered or stopped.
Faith in God is an intimate relationship, a personal choice and discipline with God that no worldly, fleshly, demonic force can dictate, hinder, or stop.
When individuals praise, worship and pray, they do so in the personal and real Presence of God, even in the quiet of our souls, where we are transported to the throne room of the Father, made one with Him and each other. Worship assembles us as one before God, inseparable for all eternity, now and forever, whether we stand under the same roof, or seemingly separated, but truly in one heart.
This deep, abiding, personal relationship cannot be dictated, hindered, or stopped. Not even death can separate us from this love life with God that makes us One. Stand Firm in Faith, and do not grow weary in well doing.
Seeking Holy Habitation, seated at God's feet (Exodus 15:13).