“So don’t be afraid. I am here, with you; don’t be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, help you. I am here with My right hand to make right and to hold you up.” Isaiah 41:10 The Voice
When I keep my eyes on Jesus it is much easier not to be afraid or anxious or worried. Sometimes distractions come along that pull my attention elsewhere. It can knock me off-balance and create confusion. When I feel that way, I know I need to recalibrate. In those moments I have to count on His word. That it is true and that He is faithful. I have to believe that He never leaves me even when my attention wanders. He is still there. I have to trust that His strength is greater than mine.
Just like Peter, if I get distracted by a storm, I have to trust that He will reach down and pull me out of the water.
Father, thank you for Your Holy Word that is living water for my soul. Thank you for showing me that I don’t have to be perfect. I just have to step out in faith. Help me be like Peter and walk on water knowing You are there to catch me if I fall. Just don’t let me stay in the boat!
“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17 NIV
Growing up I read a lot of fairy tales and Greek and Roman mythology as well as the Bible. Generally there was always a hero and a villain. I always pictured my hero as gallant and strong with a white horse and a sword. He represented what was right and true. It was a war against good and evil.
God assures us that He does not have to rush in to save us from some distant land. He is always present. He is able to save us completely, nothing remains broken or incomplete. We are made whole through Him. He is not only our Mighty Warrior, but He delights in us placing our hope in Him. He gets excited when we count on Him instead of relying on ourselves.
Father, help me break that old habit of self-sufficiency. Help me to remember that You are my ever-present Mighty Warrior who is anxious to save me from my present trouble. Father teach me to stay tucked into You to rest in Your love, peace and joy.
4 “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: 6He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.” Psalm 37:4-6 NIV
The first time I read this scripture I stopped at verse 4: He will give you the desires of your heart. That’s all I needed to hear. I got my list ready! I prayed diligently over that list. Fervently. It was full of all the “I wants” for my life. I got tired. I got angry. And eventually I got confused. After some time went by I went back to read the scripture to see if I missed something.
As I read verse 5, it said “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this.” I took a deep breath. There was a catch. My wants were not His wants. Had I truly committed my way to His way? Was I asking for His will to be done? Here? Now? In my life? That was the beginning of a big shift for me.
It was followed up by a time of testing. I had to learn to let go of things I held onto too tightly. I couldn’t have it both ways. It was either His way or my way.
It’s one day at a time. I genuinely want my heart to be a reflection of His. Every day I lay my heart before Him and ask Him to take it and make it His. Keep it straight for me.
Father, take my heart and make it Yours. Make the desires of my heart Yours.
“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:2 NIV
For a long time I thought of salvation as my ticket out of hell. I knew about being a Christian, I grew up in church. As a child I felt called to the mission field and had a heart specifically for Africa. Somehow, someway I missed the bigger picture. I missed tucking away the deep, passionate love of my heavenly Father in my heart. When storms came into my life, I was not on firm footing. I got blown away.
Now decades later, through some pretty incredible orchestration by God, I’m here. I’m learning to trust Him more. Daily I try to wrap my head around His crazy love for me…and all of mankind. Today salvation looks very different for me. Instead of a fear of hell fire and brimstone (which I’m not negating), I really want to come to terms with His love. The more deeply I can understand His love, it will help me love myself and love others better. I won’t do things out of obligation. I will do the things He asks me to do out of love. A deep, solid, unshakeable love. He loves me like a rock. Yes He does!
Lord, thank you for Your never ending, never failing love! You love me like a rock! You are my fierce protector, my shelter in a storm.
14 “The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the godless: “Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?” 15 Those who walk righteously and speak what is right, who reject gain from extortion and keep their hands from accepting bribes, who stop their ears against plots of murder and shut their eyes against contemplating evil—“ Isaiah 33:14-15 NIV
The question is who can dwell with consuming fire? There are lots of references to fire in the Bible. The bush that was on fire but not burning caught the curiousity of Moses. King Nebuchadnezzar trembled when Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did not burn in the furnace. Proverbs compares the way the Lord tests our heart to the way that gold is refined by fire. And Peter says that our faith will be proven in our praise.
It’s hard to withstand the pressure of a hard place in a graceful way. We are to walk righteously, speak what is right, reject ill-gotten gain and bribes, and not listen to scheming and conniving.
So how do we do that? Graciously, we’ve been given instructions on how to do that too! We are to fill our minds with beauty and truth. Think about honorable things; what is right and pure and lovely and good. Think about things of virtue. Praise should stay on our lips.
When I am in a hard place I try to remember these things. It can shift my outlook from grim and dismal to filling me with joy and trust and faith. It removes the burden I was carrying. It helps me recognize that God has me. He has my heart and He loves me and cares for me always. There is nothing else in this world that He loves more than you and me.
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 NIV
I have heard a variety of celebrities say incredulously, “Surely you don’t believe there is only one way to heaven!” Well, in fact that is true. Jesus, the perfect Son of God, said it. He made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can enter the kingdom as children of the Almighty King. Now I find that much more incredulous.
A love like this makes the greatest love story ever told. Sadly, it’s a story that doesn’t get shared often enough. John 3:16 says “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that whosoever believes in Him can have everlasting life.” He gave His Son. His perfect, gentle, loving, selfless Son. They both signed up for the tortuous death of a criminal on the cross that separated them from each other…for you and me.
So there may only be one way, but that way demonstrates the most lavish love known to mankind. A love so immense that we have a hard time imagining the depth and breadth of it.
Father, thank you for making a way for us all to be a part of Your kingdom. I pray we cherish it daily and share it freely so that everyone can know the wonders of Your love.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” 1 Peter 5:6 NIV
Pride has been an issue for me. This verse caught my eye because if I am prideful, I have already lifted myself up. I have not surrendered everything to God so that He can lift me up in His timing. Pride makes me get in a hurry to do things my own way. Pride makes me think that I know the best way. Pride throws patience to the curb and says “See you later, sucker!”
Pride forces its way into situations and circumstances with an expectation of entitlement. Humility is graceful and waits patiently offering to serve others in the meantime. Pride is rude and rash. Humility is gentle and kind. Pride takes what is mine first. Humility honors others first. Pride is legalistic. Humility hears the cry of the needy.
Father, help me surrender and submit to you in every way. Let humility govern my heart.