Special blessings to you during the month of May as we focus on prayer.
Special blessings to you during the month of May as we focus on prayer.
FEAR IS A LIAR
And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? (Luke 12:22-26)
It is easy to forget Jesus’ words when we are going through struggles in our lives. Our minds and imaginations wander in a multitude of areas and scenarios and we forget that our lives are the Lord’s and He always has the best plan for us. Focus on that. Do not allow fear to creep in and overtake for God has control of our lives and He will not abandon us!
Thank you Lord, for never leaving or forsaking us. In Jesus’s name, Amen!
The walls of the city of Jericho in the time of Joshua were impressive. Houses or apartments were part of the structure. The city had the best defense for the technology of the day. The only way known to defeat such a fortress was a long siege. This stronghold was unconquerable for an army of desert wanderers.
Joshua’s army was different. His soldiers were raised on God’s miraculous daily provisions. Further, there was a cloud, which also appeared like fire at night, that reminded the people of God’s presence. This army had faith. Because they trusted in the Lord, they were unimpressed by the size of the great walls of Jericho. They were accustomed to the power of God.
Then the LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout: then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in.” (Joshua 6:2-5)
Just as God had promised, the walls of the city fell. The miraculous power of the Lord destroyed them in an instant. The impenetrable fortress was defeated. Is anything too hard for the Almighty?
We face situations that seem impossible. These are the moments that define our faith. Are we overwhelmed by the size of our problems? If God is calling us to “advance” are we willing to follow?
Dear Father, You clearly understand the challenges that I am facing. You also know my fears, past failures, and doubts. I ask that You will strengthen my resolve, empower me with the Holy Spirit and lead to victory. I cannot do this without You. You are a mighty worker of miracles. Therefore, I trust You with my life. In the mighty name of Jesus, Amen.
GOD HAS A PLAN
In the midst of the storms of life, it is difficult to remember that God always has a plan. God’s intellect is beyond our understanding. For example, He knows what we had for breakfast (or what we are goin to eat) on our fortieth birthday. It is the application of this idea that is empowering. If we jettison our plans in favor of His, the incredible occurs.
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (Luke 12:6-7)
When problems will not abate, we are tempted to abandon God’s plan for something seems more reasonable. These decisions are often made from fear. Ironically, they can be the worst choices of our lives. The chaos may momentarily be avoided, but the long term repercussions are significant.
If God understands everything, then He must know how powerful fear is in our lives. Further, if He knows that we are going to fail when tempted, why does He allow the storm at all? Just as a child in first grade cannot possibly pass an analytical geometry class, it seems unreasonable to ask us to overcome something so innate.
Thoughts such as these are spiritually crippling. Do we really believe that God is cruel, foolish, or unloving? Will He destroy us because He is careless? Would He allow something horrible into our lives knowing that we could not possibly taste victory through it?
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that either death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, or anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)
Nothing rattled Paul’s faith in the goodness of God. Even when he was imprisoned he never wavered. He emerged a better man from each of the storms that he faced. What may have seemed like madness to others, spiritually strengthened this apostle. This was all part of God’s perfect plan.
Today, Paul is in the loving presence of Jesus. He is enjoying the best comfort. Further, he is cheering for us as we discover our faith through the trials of life. Throughout eternity this saint will be highly honored for his incredible, unshakable, powerful, and transforming trust in God. Considering Paul’s example, how will we be remembered?
OUT OF MY CONTROL
Sometimes likfe becomes completely chaotic. In other words, nothing seems to make any sense. This may seem uncomfortable, but it is really a blessing. In this scenario, we are completely open to the leading of the Lord.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
This is a powerful reminder that trusting in the Lord is vital to our success. When reason is a distant memory, God’s leadership is easier to trust. I am not suggesting that we disconnect our brain, but rather be willing to override it when following the clear leading of the Holy Spirit. These short term moments that stretch our faith will ultimately reveal the Lord’s incredible wisdom.
In short, it is okay if we do not have a plan as long as God does. Next, we must trust in His goodness on all occasions. Finally, keep doing what pleases God and His incredible power will ultimately be revealed. God’s wisdom and efficiency leaves us awestruck.
I love spending time with God. Everything in my world seems much better when He is near. Equipped with His peace; we can endure any hardship with unexplainable joy. The closer we get to Him, the sweeter life becomes.
Here is the most perplexing part – we seem to be controllers of this part of the relationship. When we want to distance ourselves from God in rebellion, He allows us to leave. Although He may still discipline us during these strained seasons, He waits for us to open our hearts to Him.
Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son illustrates this principle perfectly. The father in this story waited longingly for his wayward son. How much more does our Heavenly Father wait for us to come home? The more we open our heart, the deeper our relationship with God becomes. Coming home needs to be a daily priority.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)
We also need to consider what is hindering our efforts to open our hearts to the Lord. We hate when we sin; however, the blood of Christ provides continual cleansing from this horrible condition. Being unwilling to forgive others, pride, selfishness, and the busyness of life all seem to impede our relationship with God. Fortunately, our Lord has designed a much better plan.
He willingly takes care of all our troubles if we are walking in step with Him. He can provide finances, healing, time and joy by His infinite power. The only requirement is that we live His way, which is far superior to anything we can possible imagine. This is what following the Lord means.
When he came to his senses, he said, “How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!” (Lude 15:17)
Why do we wait until we reach a critical point? This is folly of the sinful mind. Do we need to run out of gas before we look for a station? Instead, let us make our relationship with God our highest priority. Come and experience the magnificent wonder that time with our Savior brings.
IT’S NOT THAT DIFFICULT
There are times when we want to do exactly what God desires, but everything seems too complicated. We want to be in the perfect will of the Almighty, but He is not making the path very clear. Is following God a “trial and error” process?
In a world where I have to remember my third grade teacher’s name (for security reasons) just to complete an online purchase, simplicity is becoming a distant memory. Since God is far more complex than any computer, we begin to wonder if it is possible to get His answer to our problem without pressing “one for English.” I have my Bible, but what page covers my question about a problem with overdraft protection?
Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10)
The Thunderbirds are an impressive demonstration flying team. My favorite stunt is their tight formation. The F16 Falcon cockpit contains a plethora of indicators, switches, dials, and buttons During their incredible maneuvers, the lead pilot is attentive to his or her avionics, while the rest of the group focuses on the wing of the plan next to them.
This principle applies to our relationship with God. No matter how complex our problems may seem, if we are right on His wing, we will arrive safely. God chooses to withhold nonessential information so that we can focus on one task at a time. In a world with enormous amounts of information, this simplicity is rather comforting.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Selah There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. (Psalm 46:1-4)
Although it is challenging to remember, following God is not that difficult. We simply need to walk where He is leading. Another name for the Holy Spirit is the Comforter. He will direct us to the page of our Bible that covers our problem with overdraft protection in His own unique way.
Improving our relationship with the Almighty needs to be our highest priority. Although the distractions of life are many, this can be obtained by the power of the Holy Spirit. Giving Him our all is spiritual dynamite. No matter the setting, life is much better when God is near.
But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds. (Psalm73:28)
Our feelings about the proximity of God can be flawed. When we are in a battle and situations seem to be progressing from bad to worse, it is natural to wonder what happened to God. Beloved, He is closer than our next heartbeat. Similarly, when we have slipped into sin, we can think that we have exhausted His incredible grace and mercy. Rather than trying to untangle twisted emotions, it is better to confess, repent, and commit.
Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way, say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear, your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer; and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wildernessa nd steams in the desert. (Isaiah 35:3-6)
THE INSIGHT OF ELISHA
There are plenty of times in life when we feel overwhelmed. Even as a Christian our difficulties can cause us to wonder about the strength of the protection we have in God. It is not that we doubt God’s omnipotent power; instead, we wonder why He allowed life to become bleak. These are the moments of testing that are challenging to our character.
When the servant of the man of God (Elisha) got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked.
“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them,” (2Kings 6:15-16)
The king of Aram was so angry with Elisha that he sent an army to capture him. Although the prophet appeared unimpressed, his servant was deeply concerned. In the natural world, this situation seemed hopeless. Conversely, something incredible happened I the spiritual domain that the servant could not see.
And Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (2Kings 6:17)
If we consider that the death of the Egyptians during the Passover was from the hand of one angel, this event was a great mismatch in Elisha’s favor. Still, God had something greater in mind.
As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the LORD. “Strike these people with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha asked.
Elisha told them, “This is not the road and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are looking for.” And he led them to Samaria.
After they entered the city, Eliosha said, “LORD, open the eyes of these men so they can see.” Then the LORD opened their eyes and they looked, and there they were, inside Samaria. (2Kings 6:18-20)
Once inside the capital city, the Israelites fed and released them. The bands from Aram decided to cease raiding the area. Who, in their right mind would want to fight with God? He is the greatest power.
Since God’s character does not change, why are we so frightened by our circumstances? Perhaps we need to have our spiritual eyes opened to see the incredible force that protects us. It is during the anguish that our faith is developed. May we be so filled with God’s Spirit that we, too, can have the insight of Elisha.
If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)
HAS GOD FORGOTTEN?
There are times when we wonder if God has forgotten us. These feelings usually accompany extended periods of waiting or tribulation. Isaiah addresses this issue with the people of Zion. God’s answer applies to our lives as well.
But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me; the Lord has forgotten me.” Can a mother forget her baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.” (Isaiah 49:14-16)
God’s passion for us is far greater than we can imagine. The poetic imagery of a mother is incredible. Beloved, The Almighty never forgets His offspring. G9od hates to see His children suffer.
Nothing moves me like watching first graders during the initial week of a new school year. The year is critical and difficult. They must learn to read, write, spell, add, and subtract. Forever gone are the carefree days of preschool. No one wipes their faces or helps them in the restroom. Maturity comes suddenly. Without this important transition, the child’s growth will be stunted.
As adults, we understand the importance of maturity. Therefore, we allow our children to suffer through the difficulties of first grade. We feel compassion towards them, but are wise enough not to interfere. Their sweet exhausted faces remind us that seasons in life are difficult.
Similarly, God allows us to endure difficulties for our benefit. We may feel like chaos has become the norm, but our Lord is watching carefully. He will never stop loving His kids. May the Lord’s comfort today remind you of His faithfulness.