On Wings Of Eagles

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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Goals

Philippians 3:13-14 (ESV)
13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Goals can be powerful motivators. They give us something to work toward achieving. If our goal is to be healthier, we may incorporate exercise and healthier eating into our life.

When we add action steps toward those goals, they give us some clear direction for our life. For example, to get healthier, we are going to exercise three times a week and eliminate the late-night snacking. With these action steps, we now have some clear things to work on to get healthier.

As we seek our one priority, Paul sets the goal for us in his own example. His goal isn’t to be smarter in the faith. His goal isn’t to live a holier life. He certainly wants those things, but those things aren’t his goal. His goal was to get the prize of heaven.

Paul knew that a life in pursuit of heaven includes certain things. As you pursue heaven, these are things you need in your life too.

You need to be people of prayer (Look up 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Let your heart and your mind continually be turned to the Lord in prayer.

You need to be people of the Word and of worship (Look up Psalm 1; Colossians 3:15-17; 2 Timothy 3:14-17). Let God’s Word live in your richly and deeply as you live your life for him.

You need to be in community with other Christians (Look up Hebrews 10:21-25). God has given you the community of believers to support you in your walk of faith as you pursue heaven.

Christ made you and your eternal life with him his top priority. His goal is for your life to be lived with him every day. That’s why he encourages your daily life to include time in prayer, God’s Word, and with God’s people (your faith community). Make a plan. Pray about it. Then, with God at your side, press on!

Dear Lord, we need You, Your Word, and Your people in our life. Give us the self-discipline we need to incorporate these things into our life. Give us Christian friends who will encourage us in our walk of faith. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, July 22, 2019

I am the Good Shepherd


John 10:11 (ESV)

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.


Sheep are not very intelligent animals. In 2005, shepherds in Turkey watched 1,500 sheep walk off a cliff because the neighboring shepherds were not paying attention for a few minutes. Sheep are also defenseless. They don’t have horns, stripes, or speed to use as protection or for disguise. Sheep need a shepherd, because without one, they are an easy target for whatever predator gets to them first.

You also need a shepherd to guide you through life on the path to heaven. Trying to find your own path will lead to a terrible place. By nature, you won’t wander toward God but away from him. Following the crowd is dangerous too. Unless they know the true God, they are as lost as you are. You are also defenseless against the attacks of Satan. He is like a roaring lion looking to devour you. Temptation is always lurking for you, waiting to pounce like a tiger in the tall grass. Like sheep you are dumb and defenseless. Like sheep, you need a shepherd.

Thank God you don’t have an ordinary shepherd, but the Good Shepherd, Jesus. He said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.” You would have ended up in hell on your own, but Jesus laid down his life for you, his sheep, to lead you into heaven. Satan had his sharp teeth and piercing claws ready to pounce on you, but Jesus destroyed the devil on the cross. He has no power over you. He is no longer a threat to you because of Jesus.

Rest secure. Each day when you wake up ready to face everything the world is going to throw at you, remember that you have the Good Shepherd watching over you. He will lead you in paths of righteousness. He will not let any harm come to you that he will not work out for your good. Yes, Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He is YOUR good shepherd.



Dear Lord, we pray that Your will be done. Destroy the work of the devil and his demons. Stop all of those who oppose Your Gospel. As the Good Shepherd, guide and guard me. In the Name of Jesus, 
Amen.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Signed, sealed, and delivered


1 Corinthians 15:17-20 (ESV)
17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. 20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

Let us take a step back in time. The year is 1970, and Stevie Wonder is singing one of his many hits. This one is entitled “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours.“ These words especially connected with the teenage crowd since teens were starting their personal search for “the one,” the person they could call their own.

The reality is that whether you are married or single, you have someone you can call your own. There is no denying that a person who dies in your place exemplifies love. Therefore, if a person denied that love exists, they are denying an undeniable truth. The same logic applies, if someone denies that Christ rose from death, the empty tomb and hundreds of witnesses of his resurrection would prove the opposite. The resurrection signed, sealed, and delivered the fact that God is alive and sin is dead! Here’s God’s promise to you: Your past no longer dictates your future with him. We often can’t hold the pieces of our life together, so God sent his son to make us whole again, redeemed, restored, and forgiven. Christ’s resurrection is his final signature for mankind that his total victory over sin, death, and Satan was completely accomplished. He shows you his hands and feet and body broken for you. He says, “I’m yours, and you now belong to me.”

How do you know that you truly are forgiven? Look in the empty tomb! Look at the living Jesus! It’s the proof you need—signed, sealed, delivered!


Dear Lord, thank You for giving us all the proof we need in Your holy Word that Christ came out of his tomb while our sins stayed buried. Help us to live our life today reflecting that undeniable truth! In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

50th anniversary of the moon walk, We can worship God anywhere


John 15:5 (ESV)
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

The launch of Apollo 11 on July 16, 1969, resulted in astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin stepping foot on the moon on July 20 and famously placing an American flag on the moon’s surface.

Armstrong delivered the famous line, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” as he stepped onto the moon’s surface in one of the most significant scientific achievements in history.

Discovery and exploration, Nettles noted, can lead to a greater amazement and worship of God.

“As we gain more understanding, we, as Christians, should stand in even greater awe and have a deeper sense of not understanding our world,” Nettles said. “To put it another way, as Christians we need to realize that the more we learn, the greater the number of things that we don’t know. That’s because the mysteries of God are unfathomable, but we can have deep joy in that thought.”

In addition to the importance of the moon landing as exploration of the created world, Christians also can view it as an opportunity to worship God both for what He has allowed mankind to discover and for who He is.


An act of worship related to the moon landing involves one of the Apollo 11 astronauts.

Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin paused for a moment to take communion on the lunar module around two hours before stepping onto the moon.  Aldrin took communion while reading the words of Jesus from John 15, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

This moment of Aldrin thanking and worshiping God, is a great example to all Christians that no matter where we are we can praise and honor our God.
 Where are you today that you can worship and praise our God?

Dear Lord we thank You for the world that You have given to us. Help us to remember that no matter where we are, we can praise You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Google maps and Following God's Plan For Your Life


Proverbs 3:5-7 (ESV)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.
7 Be not wise in your own eyes;
    fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.

I want you to imagine for a moment that you were in a new town and you didn’t know your way around. Let’s say that you’ve got a smart phone, and you know that you’ve got Google Maps on the phone. You know that Google maps can give you turn by turn instructions on how to get to your destination.

The interesting thing about your Google maps on your phone is that it is up to you to use it. You can keep your phone in your pocket and never use it and wind up lost. If you don’t ever consult the directions, or look to see where to go on the map, you won’t get to where you want to go. You’ve got to consult something smarter than you…Google Maps to help you get to your destination.

The same is true in life. Whatever path you take in life, you’ll find success in that by letting God lead. Success is consulting God on each turn, like you would Google Maps on your phone to help you get to your destination and to get which way to go.

So to be successful in life, we need to do what today’s verse says and let God lead your life. Don’t run around life without direction and lost. Find success in your endeavors by letting God lead. Seek God’s direction in the decisions you make…include Him in what you do.

Self- sufficiency & self dependence have been the ruin of man-kind since Adam. The grand sin of the human race is their continual endeavor to live independently of God – Adam Clarke
Just like Adam said, living independently of God, just doesn’t work. It doesn’t bring happiness or fulfillment. When you try to live your life in your own strength and ability you will always fail, be unhappy or feel like something is missing.

The foundation for happiness and success in your life is knowing Jesus and letting him lead in your life. As you go through life, as you make decisions and as you make choices for your future, consult God in everything you do, and you’ll find true success!

Dear Lord, we thank You that You are here to lead us in our life. Help us to make the right decisions and choices in our life. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Who are you copying?


Hebrews 6:12 (KJV)
That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Most actors who play the part of a real-life person will study to get into character of the person they are playing. For example, a professional actor who would represent Abraham Lincoln would study his life by reading books to get all the facts of his life. Then they might read his writings to get an idea of how he thought. In other words, they study the person to understand them to the point that they almost become like him in order to “act the part” .


This word “ followers”  indicates acting or copying someone. Like the good actor who studies and tries to mimic the person he is depicting, we are told to do that too. Who are we to mimic or copy?

The Bible says those who spiritually are our leaders. Those who have faith and character and have stood up morally in hard times. Jesus certainly is that leader to want to replicate. Your pastor or a leader at your church might be such a person.

Study them and listen to what they say. Study what they do in difficult situations. The more you study good examples of godly people, you will begin to talk like them and act like them. In fact, we are told to do that! Study how they treat their other people. Study what they do under pressure. You can learn to follow or replicate them.

If you follow many celebrities of today, you will see they are in trouble with the law and their relationships don’t often last. These are not the people you want to follow because you don’t want the failure they have experienced in your life.

True heroes may not be on television- they may be in your church or in your own home.

Dear Lord, show me the people around us that have your promises and blessings so me may learn from them. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

What We Learn About God from The Force


Ephesians 6:10  (ESV)

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.

A long time ago in a movie theater far, far away… I went to see the original Star Wars movie. I was a young kid at the time, but in retrospect it has become one of my most cherished memories. Up until the unveiling of this film, the whole genre of fantasy/science-fiction/adventure was a veritable wasteland of cheesy endeavors that made you want a refund.

Ah, but in Star Wars we have an opening scene with a rebel ship being pursued and fired upon by an Imperial Battle Cruiser, and from that moment on, your eyes and senses are glued to this fantastic universe where good battles evil in the context of The Force.

“There is a God and there is a good and bad side.”—George Lucas
Then, 38 years later (like I said…a long time ago), one of the biggest movie release perhaps in the history of the celluloid industry is The Force Awakens. A whole new generation of Star Wars aficionados will be generated, and we will anxiously anticipate the final two installments of this immortal series.

But in the meantime, have you ever thought about what we can learn about God from The Force? Many may quickly dismiss even considering this possibility, but I would like to offer a few thoughts that might alter that perception.

First, if you look deep enough into the dialogue of the series, there are some really cool parallels with Biblical truth. For example:

Luke Skywalker: May The Force be with you.
The Bible: May the Lord be with you.

Obi-Wan: The Force will be with you…always
Jesus: And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20).

Watching and reflecting on Star Wars through the years, and particularly focusing on the constant and abiding presence of The Force has been an ongoing reminder of the great truth that God will never leave us or forsake us.

Still, there are some stark and significant differences. One of these is the personal nature of the God of the Bible vs. the impersonal nature of The Force. By this I mean that it is one thing to be comforted by a Force that “surrounds us and binds us together,” but it is a much greater and more profound thing to know that our Triune God indwells our hearts through the Holy Spirit, and because of that, we are never abandoned or alone in this world.

Our Triune God indwells our hearts and because of that, we are never alone in this world.
And speaking of dark and light, that is the other critical reality that the Star Wars series has brought to center stage. That’s why George Lucas made this statement: “All I was trying to say in a very simple and straightforward way is that there is a God and there is a good and bad side. One of his motivations in making the Star Wars series was to counter the pervasive morally relativistic thinking of that generation—which obviously is still alive and well.

And the Bible makes it very clear that there is a “good side and bad side” as well, and you are either engaged in one or the other at all times. Check out Jesus’ words to the Apostle Paul on the road to Damascus:

“I’m sending you off to open the eyes of the outsiders so they can see the difference between dark and light, and choose light, see the difference between Satan and God, and choose God. I’m sending you off to present my offer of sins forgiven, and a place in the family, inviting them into the company of those who begin real living by believing in me” (Acts 26:17-18, The Message).

As we enjoyed The Force Awakens I hope you realize that we have a God who is with us…always. And we fight in an intense battle between darkness and light. So as you step out of the theater or turn the DVD off, step into the very real story line that makes a very real difference both for now and into eternity!

Dear Lord, we thank You for the fact that You will never leave us and as we fight the battle that is before us, You give us the strength.  In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Why Fit In When You Were Born To Stand Out?”


Romans 12:2 (ESV)
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

I am sure you have heard those well-known words of Dr. Seuss many times before, but have you ever thought about their meaning?

Those famous words of Dr. Seuss are a perfect motto for Christians in today’s world. With all the temptations and peer pressure of everyday life, we often try to base our definition of right and wrong by those around us instead of God’s word. We do this because we want to fit in with the crowd.

However, fitting in with the crowd is not what God has called us to do. Followers of Christ should not follow the ways of the world, but instead they should follow the ways of Christ. Doing this will not always be an easy task, you may feel rejected at times when you stand up for your faith and do what the Bible says is right. You may feel like an outsider when you don’t participate in things you know are wrong but your friends do them anyway.

There is a long list of things that the world can make you feel different for, but what is important to remember is that if you have put your faith in Christ, you are not of this world.

John 15:18-19 says, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”

It may seem like “standing out” in the world comes with a lot of unnecessary problems, but those problems will seem like nothing compared to the incredible rewards you will receive when you follow Christ’s example.

Matthew 7:13-14 says, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate that leads to life, and only a few find it.” We must continuously choose to make Christ-like decisions such as spreading kind words instead of swearing, or standing up for someone being bullied, even if it could lead to you getting made fun of as well.

Many people choose the easy way out…they will do what the crowds do.

Most people will follow their friend’s example without truly thinking about what Christ would think of their actions. However, as the verse above says, doing this will only put you on a path of destruction. Choosing to take the narrow road and follow in Christ’s footsteps may come with multiple obstacles to overcome, but Christ will be with you and ready to help every step of the way so that you can stay on the path that leads you to eternal life with Him.

Dear Lord, give u the strength and courage to take the narrow way.  Help us to follow in Your footsteps. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Be still and know I am God


Psalm 46:10 (ESV)
“Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!”


We are so busy with our lives: working, school, friends, family, sports and tons of other stuff….which we try to cram into a 16 hour period.

Sometimes it can feel like we’re so busy that we hardly have time to breathe!
Most of the time, we’re busy with so many activities that we don’t have time to hear God.

Today’s verse challenged me and is worth re reading  Psalms 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

When we have a few minutes to spare, do we fill them with Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or texting someone? Usually.

Not only do these things take up our time, but they can easily lead us to dwell on ungodly thoughts. While we can learn from our mistakes, often those mistakes knock us down and hurt us.

A better way to learn and grow strong is to have God show us where we need to change.
God is always wanting to speak to us, guide us, and encourage us. And many times, we forget to let God do that.

Lately God has been showing me how to be still and let Him guide me.
Not just to sit still, but to trust Him more and more and to keep my eyes on Him because He has a plan for me.

If we don’t keep our eyes on the Lord, we won’t have a solid relationship with Him.

So let’s slow down and let God speak into our lives by taking time to read God’s Word and let it correct us and show us the best way to live. Let us meditate on it.

Psalms 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.”

God wants us to live a plentiful life. He knows what’s best for us and that is why He has given us His Word.

Trusting God is all about not leaning on our own understanding but His. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

So my Challenge is: Let’s take time to be still and just listen to God. Instead of going to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc when we are bored, consider taking ten, twenty, or thirty minutes alone with God.

 “God is a rewarder of those who earnestly seek Him.” – Hebrews 11:6b

Dear Lord, we thank You for Your word. We pray that we would take the time to spend time alone with You so that we will see what You have for us.  In the Name of Jesus,  Amen.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Prayer – What’s the big deal?


1 Thessalonians 5:17 (ESV)
Pray without ceasing.

I came across this quote that inspired me to think more seriously about prayer. “If we don’t consistently fall on our face in prayer, we shouldn’t be surprised when we consistently fall on our face in sin.”

Prayer is a pretty cool tool.  Most Christians pray before meals and some before going to bed as a routine.  But why does Paul say in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 that we should “pray without ceasing”?

Well, the easy answer is because God said so, and that is a very good reason!
But it isn’t the only one.

To start off, prayer is a humbling action.  By praying, we acknowledge that we need help.

It’s yet another way to acknowledge that God is sufficient to fulfill our every need.
We pray to confess our sins and ask for forgiveness.
We pray to thank God for our blessings and to ask for guidance.
All of the different reasons that we pray ultimately come back to one central idea—we need God’s help, and that’s awesome!

Also, as with any human relationship, communication is very important.  Through prayer, we can literally talk to God and He can even give us feedback!  How amazing is that??

However, this great privilege comes with a great responsibility.  While we are supposed to “pray without ceasing,” we are also supposed to be careful what we say.

In the Old Testament, the High Priest could only enter the Holy of Holies once a year and had to do so with extreme caution and reverence.  He would enter the presence of God and if there were sins that he was trying to hide or sins that hadn’t repented of, he would die.

So while it may seem like an easy thing to say a quick, mindless prayer before bedtime or when you’re really hungry, it is nothing to be taken lightly.

Prayer is a powerful tool which God has given us to help combat the powers of this dark world.  While we are told to pray constantly, our prayers should also be serious.  Developing a solid prayer life may be one of the most important steps someone could take after accepting God’s grace. 


The bottom line is that our lives are meant to give God glory and prayer is just one more way that we can do that.  Prayer not only helps us grow closer to God but also is an avenue to see Him work in your life.

Dear Lord, we thank You for all that You do for us. We especially thank You that we can come to You in prayer. Thanks for listening to us and help us to listen to what You have to say to us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

When No One is There for You


Philippians 4:8 (ESV)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Depression, I believe is always lurking around the corner for most people.

We hide behind our own personal pleasures to distract us from what lies ahead. I have heard a friend of mine once say “I could never be in depression because I am too happy.” If “being happy” is the only thing keeping you from depression, then what do you think will happen when you reach a part of your life where happiness is depleted?

I feel like many people think that to stay out of depression we need something in our lives to fix it, like a loved one or focusing on things that make us happy. I know this all too well.

I think it’s easy to get a twisted perspective about happiness, especially in this American culture we live in. We are accepted into our culture if we are self-focused and prideful. We feel like we are invincible and then reality hits us in the face.

The truth is, life will be hard at times and there is a big possibility that when life hits you and you don’t have your happiness meter filled up, that no one will be there to pick you up.

So what do we do? We realize that we have been looking to worldly things to pick us up and not looking to God. He has never left us or forsaken us. Even though these dark times hurt they are so beneficial. They force us to have total reliance on God and no one else. People are so scared of hardships in their life. They avoid them at all costs, but the truth is they will come and it will be hard, so how will we deal with it?

It comes down to a choice.

These dark times in our life will inevitably come and when they do we can choose to deal with them the right way or let them rule over us.

The biggest truth that I could give you is that we do not need happiness to live a God glorifying life. We can always choose to have joy in the fact that we do not have to rely on our own happiness to live, but that we can find satisfaction in Christ. If we look at life with this kind of perspective we change our lifestyle. We see things differently. We should become selfless to our desires and focus on God’s desires. This way of thinking has been so instrumentally to my walk with God I hope that this can be an encouragement to anyone who is dealing with depression or a dark spot in their life. Depressing times will come, they will be hard, but we still have a choice. The choice to rely on God for our joy gets easier and easier the closer you get to Him.

Dear Lord, we want to make the choice to rely on You. Help us to grab on to the joy that only You can give. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Storybook?

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV)
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Have you ever read a book and imagined the characters the way you want them, or events happening a certain way that makes sense to you?  Too often we do this when reading the Bible.  We read the passages, and in our minds, we downplay them to the point that they lose their impact or the intended effect. The Bible contains the history of salvation: its origin, its purpose, and its instruction for sharing it with the world.

What do you think of when you hear that word: “Story”?
I’m not sure about you, but I think of little red riding hood or humpty dumpty and his wall. So why do we view the Bible as a story book? The way we teach the accounts in the Bible to our kids is the way they are going to teach their children. The constant watering down of the Bible is the reason the majority of students will leave the church when they leave the home. It isn’t because they weren’t taught, it’s because they were incorrectly taught.

It wasn’t Noah’s flood, it was God’s judgment on the world. The ark wasn’t a big happy bath tub full of cute cuddly animals who were always smiling and all smelled like a rainbow. The flood was the single worst catastrophe to ever happen.

Moses and the Ten plagues, Daniel and the Lion’s Den, David and Goliath, even the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth. These are just a few examples of some biblical accounts that have been diluted so much that they are no longer taken seriously by even the people who claim to believe the Bible. These are not just bed time stories we should tell our kids when they go to bed, these are the foundation of our faith and should be handled with care. These accounts should be studied, and the parallels between them should be found and explored within the boundaries of the scripture.

Dear Lord, we pray that we would take Your word as You meant it to be. Help us to not water it down. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Confounding the Wise


1 Corinthians 1:27-29 (ESV)
27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being[a] might boast in the presence of God.

In 1 Corinthians 1:20, 27-29, the apostle Paul provides a very powerful word,

Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.

We are often enamored with what the world considers wise and mighty, but God isn’t. In fact, He chooses things that are foolish and weak, things the world considers insignificant, and things the world even despises, to put to shame the things that people consider wise.

I like how the King James Version states that God does these things to confound the wise.

We need to understand that sometimes God turns human conventional wisdom on its head. And I believe Scripture shows us three ways in which He does that.

First, there are times that God turns conventional wisdom on its head with the people He chooses for His purposes. Second, He will confound human wisdom with the plans He unfolds. Whether they are for your deliverance, or plans to further His kingdom and expand His work.

And then, third, God will truly confound the wise of this world with the pardon that He provides.

Through people, plans, and pardon, God does confound the wise!

Dear Lord, we thank You that we can trust You to be wise and even when we don’t understand we can rest in the fact that You do. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Don’t neglect the eternal


Isaiah 40:8 (ESV)
The grass withers, the flower fades,
    but the word of our God will stand forever.

You’ll fold laundry and more is right on its heels. You’ll make curtains only to have them go out of fashion in a few years. You will empty the dishwasher only to have it filled again. You mow the lawn and turn around and its time to mow again.

It can feel like the activities we’re doing are endless and ultimately pointless. It all will fade and wither and we can’t take it with us.

There does have to be a greater point. The stuff is all just stuff. The routine is just the routine. It sounds cliché, but without love, without Christ, it doesn’t really mean anything in light of eternity.

So, how can you paint a bedroom with love? What do household chores have to do with your walk with God?

I think it all boils down to the heart. Are we painting the room because we want to show it off on Instagram? Or are we painting the room to serve the family member who will be sleeping there? Do we become resentful of our family for making themselves at home, thereby creating more cleaning for us to do? Or are we humbling ourselves to serve them?

It’s the heart behind what we’re doing that makes it worthwhile. If we do all things out of love for God and others, we will do the right things. And the spiritual growth that comes from it, the fruit that can be seen by others is what is eternal.

It puts things in perspective, doesn’t it? It gives a depth and importance to everything, even the things that seem futile.

What is your motivation for working on your home? Is there pride, resentment, or any other sin that is being harbored?
Ask God to give you opportunities to use your home to serve and show His love to your family, friends, and even strangers.
Next time you’re doing a chore you really dislike, try praying through it. Thank God for clean water, machines that make our labor easier, a roof overhead, climate control, etc. Praying with a heart of thanksgiving and worship will most likely pull a selfish perspective to an eternal one.

Dear Lord, we thank You for the many blessing You have given to us. Help us to do the chores around us in a way that is pleasing to You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

God delights in your work.


Proverbs 31:13 (ESV)
She seeks wool and flax,
    and works with willing hands.

I love the verse for today. This whole passage is speaking about a woman of great value upheld as a wonderful example to all ladies.

This woman is active. She is creative, resourceful, and industrious. She works hard, eagerly even, and shows love and care for her family in that work. She is lifted up as a model, a wife of “noble character” by the wisest man who ever lived.

What an encouragement this is to all of the busy women out there! Amen?

God doesn’t just notice their work and creative endeavors, their strength and ability to multi-task, He delights in it.

Whether you’re in the workforce or an entrepreneur, a homeschooler or one who takes on a lot of volunteer work, it can be a challenge to balance a busy lifestyle. And there is a lot of pressure to get it right.

When I read this passage, I see a busy woman who is striking a successful balance between God, family, and work.

There is a mix of tasks this noble woman takes on. Some bring income, others care for and honor her family, and still others serve those in her community.

Work and busyness can overwhelm your life, if you let it. When balanced properly, it’s fulfilling to you, it brings honor to your family, and it pleases the Lord.

The Christian walk is about daily decisions, sometimes even every hour, minute, and second. We can make decisions today that will bring more balance to our lives.

We can say “no” to things that pull us away from our priorities. We can say “yes” to things that honor the Lord and enrich our lives. We can seek out opportunities to serve and work, as well as opportunities to rest and rejuvenate.

So, let’s endeavor to do that.

Dear Lord, help us to make wise decisions in our daily life. Help us to look for opportunities to serve and work for you. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.  

Monday, July 8, 2019

You were created to be creative


Genesis 1:27 (ESV)
So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.

Have you ever said, “I’m just not the creative type.” Well, I am here to say that a statement like that is impossible. You are a human being, right? Let’s start with that assumption and go from there. If you are a human being, part of mankind, you were created in God’s image.

Just soak that in for a second. YOU were created in the image of God. What a powerful and awesome thing that the Maker used Himself as the blueprint for us.

So, we were created in His image and He created us. He created everything. He is the Creator. I think it takes creativity to be a creator, don’t you think? Do you see where I’m heading with this?

Yes! You were created in the creator’s image, so you can’t get around the fact that you, yes YOU, are creative.

It doesn’t matter if you’re type A, type B, a righty or lefty, introvert or extrovert. YOU are creative.

Now, creativity can be displayed in different ways. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re artistic, fashionable, musical, or gifted in drawing or design. This realization will not turn your stick figures into fine art.

But creative talents can be shown in writing, science, technology, athletics, and even mathematics. There are infinite ways creativity can be used every day from problem-solving to people management, encouragement to empathy.

Are you ready to embrace your creative side?

Take a few minutes to ponder your creativity. In what ways are you creative?


Dear Lord, thank You for creating us to be creative and for the specific creative talents you have blessed us with. We ask You to show us how we can use our creative talents for Your glory. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

God is the ultimate creator


Psalm 19:1 (ESV)
The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.

My wife has started painting recently. One of her paintings was a landscape with tulips. One of my favorite parts is the sky. First of all, the sky typically displays one of my favorite colors blue. Sky's are just so beautiful. It’s ever changing, random, and yet orderly. It can be dramatic and ominous or soft and peaceful.

I don’t see how anyone can look at the sky and not acknowledge that someone made it like that on purpose.

Not only is God declared in all of the intricacies of His creation, but it is the ultimate gallery of the most creative Being ever.

If you take a minute to really appreciate the natural world around you…color palettes, textures, patterns, designs, contrasts, and structure…it’s stunning. It’s endlessly inspiring, wonderful, and awesome.

I don’t think it’s an accident that God made beautiful things and also made us with a desire to enjoy those beautiful things.

That desire can manifest itself in different ways. Someone may want to fish a beautiful stream or hike a mountain. Others might want to paint or photograph a beautiful view.

It is within us to appreciate God’s creativity and handiwork.

That’s pretty awesome, isn’t it?

How does God’s creation inspire you?
Take a walk on a pretty day and appreciate God’s handiwork. Collect samples (leaves, wildflowers, seedpods, seashells, rocks, etc.) and take some time to study and reflect on them.
What does this beauty say about God? What does it say about
you?

Dear Lord, we thank You for the beauty You have put all around us. Help us to take the time to study and reflex upon all You have made for us to enjoy. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Uphill battle


2 Corinthians 9:8 (ESV)
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

If you currently find yourself facing an uphill battle, the thought of persevering can be overwhelming. Certain seasons of life can relentlessly bring one obstacle after another without an inch of breathing room in between. In these moments, we need to focus less on the obstacles themselves, and more on how we respond to the Lord in those moments.


Sometimes we go through life asking God to open doors for us, or we seek His blessing for the plans we’ve made without much thought about what His plans for us might be. When this happens, we become frustrated and confused when the doors don’t open and our plans fall apart.  We might become resentful of those around us and angry at God. We lose sight of this important fact: Sometimes a closed door is the exact thing we need, even if it results in suffering.


Our personal experiences with suffering equip us for the ministry God is preparing for us to live out. In the moments of our greatest anguish, we must trust that His grace is sufficient (2 Cor. 9:8).  We might need a constant reminder of this truth in the hardest season of life.  But rest assured, when He delivers us to the other side of our pain and suffering, reshaped by our experiences and reflecting more of His image, we are better equipped to speak into the lives of those who face similar adversities.


Never see your situation as hopeless. The Lord is writing a story in your life for the purpose of offering hope to others, but also to deepen your relationship with Him. Spend time with the Father and openly share your heart, as well as your pain. Ask Him for the strength to endure the challenges you are facing as He writes an incredible story for you to share with the world.

Dear Lord, we pray that You would give us the strength to endure the challenges we are facing today.  Help us to trust You completely. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Forgiveness


Hebrews 12:15 (ESV)
See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.

Many of us have heard people say things like, “Our inability to forgive only hurts ourselves,” or “God won’t forgive us unless we forgive others.” I don’t refute the accuracy of these statements; however, they leave me feeling incredibly guilty about my inability, and unfortunately, in some cases my unwillingness, to forgive those who have betrayed me. Often times, we become so overwhelmed with this guilt that we profess forgiveness with my lips, only to have the lack of forgiveness tighten a death grip around our heart.


I believe in fairness and justice, and frankly, some things just seem unforgivable. For many of us, we’ve tried to forgive those who have hurt us, but it’s easier said than done. In some of my most challenging seasons of life, the Lord has gently pressed upon my heart that my unwillingness to forgive needs to be placed on the altar. Sometimes we need to lay it at His feet every day for weeks, months, years or maybe longer. If not, we become consumed by bitterness and resentment, and if it goes unchecked, it will divide our churches, end our friendships, and spilt up our families. This never brings glory to our Savior.


Like so much of our faith, forgiveness is a journey requiring trust in Jesus. We must trust He sees the bigger picture. We must trust He works all things, even the most painful, for our good. We must trust that every betrayal, every shattered heart, every broken promise serves a greater purpose. We must trust that all things, no matter how horrible, can be redeemed through the blood of Jesus. It is a promise unlike any other.


If the thought of forgiveness still seems incredibly distant, place before Jesus a heart willing to be open and receptive to the unbelievable possibility. I have seen hearts mended, friendships restored, and wounds healed by the act of forgiveness, covered completely by the grace of God.

Dear Lord, we pray that we would have hearts of forgiveness. Help us to forgive no matter how long it takes. In the Name of Jesus,  Amen.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

4th of July - Freedom


1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (ESV)
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.

July fourth is Independence Day, and all across U.S.A. people will celebrate the tremendous freedom we enjoy. Truly we are blessed! We who know Jesus Christ as our Savior have another kind of freedom to celebrate. We are free from the bondage of our sin and death.

I Corinthians 15:1-4 gives a concise picture of the freedoms we have in Christ. First, “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.” He died for one reason: to pay the penalty necessary for our sins. He took our place. Because of His death, we are made free from the death penalty of sin and stand righteous before God. This is our justification.

Second, “that He was buried.” Romans 6 tells us that through faith we died with Him and were buried with Him and are now dead to the power of sin over us. Sin no longer has dominion over us, so we can choose to live righteous, holy lives. We are free from sin’s control over us! This is our sanctification.

Third, “that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” His death alone could not save us; it was the resurrection that showed God’s acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice, and that gives power unto salvation. In Colossians 3:1 we read that we are risen with Christ. His resurrection guarantees a future in Heaven for us where we will be free from the presence of sin. This is our glorification.

From that past moment when I truly believed, I am free from the penalty of sin . . . Free from the present power of sin over me . . . And guaranteed to one day be free from the presence of sin. Now that’s cause for celebration—every day!


 Dear Lord, let us never forget the great gift of freedom that You have given to us as Your followers. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.