Can Anybody Find Me Somebody to Love?

Luke 6:27-36- “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either.30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. 32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

 

If you’ve been keeping up with the news in any form: television, radio, newspaper, social media, etc., you’ve no doubt seen hatred and animosity at every turn. Riots, protests, violence and hate speech seem to be the norm for some people. It’s heartbreaking when the reality of how shallow some people are in their opinions of others sets in.

As Christians, we should know this kind of behavior and rhetoric is entirely unacceptable in the eyes of our Savior. We are commanded to love everyone on this earth, as they are His children- precious in His sight. We talk as if this is very easy, and for the most part it probably is- but- seeing that we are human, there are times we have to make a conscious effort to keep our actions, words, and hearts in check.

When someone wrongs us, or wrongs someone we care about, it’s easy to “justify” our attitude towards said person. We feel we’ve been given the right to “write them off,” “put them in their place,” or “teach them a thing or two.” If our Example is to be Jesus Christ, (which it is), this ought not be how we handle situations. Our thoughts, comments, (or lack thereof) when driven by spite, are not Christ-like in the slightest. He tells us to love our enemies… do good to those who hate us… bless those that curse us… and pray for those that abuse us. THAT is the true spirit of Christ. Can you fathom such love? Such humility? It takes practice, if you will, for us to get our hearts right. We know we are to use wisdom, be selective in whom we place confidence and choose to spend a lot of time with for our own protection; still, we must be ever so careful to not use that knowledge to make excuses for our selfishness, greed, or frustrations. After all, how often do we need someone to overlook our shortcomings? How often does Christ do that for us?

My pastor’s wife shared something on this topic today on Facebook, and it was so beautifully spoken, I had to copy it here:

 

“There are people that we like better than others…there are people that are easy to forgive…others, not so much. But, the Word that I read and profess to believe doesn’t make allowances in terms of my obedience to love as He first loved me. He loved me when I was not easy to love, when I was inconvenient to love, when I didn’t deserve it, not waiting until He felt like it…He just loved me. When I am frustrating…when I am immature…when I am stubborn…He welcomes and embraces my sad, sorry self. He forgives me. He crowns my life with goodness. He removes my guilt. He removes the stain of my sin and washes me in His blood, makes me whiter than snow. He covers me. He forgets forever, my failings. He calls me daughter. He lavishes me. He takes care of me. He provides for me. I have been and am loved. I WILL love whoever He places in my pathway along my journey home. Heaven. That’s where I’m going. It’s a place too big for small thinking and behavior. By His grace…”

 

I appreciate so much the truth and transparency exhibited in this post. Christ didn’t make me earn His love. He didn’t wait until I had everything together. When I failed at the same thing for the 10th time, He didn’t write me off and tell me He was done. He loves me unconditionally, and oh so deeply! He loves us all that way! And this is why He expects us to do the same for each other. We don’t know what others are facing, or what they’ve been through… what makes them hard or cruel. While rudeness and targeted hurt is never something that is expected to be excused, two wrongs don’t make a right. We are still to love! This world is in desperate need of His kind today… Find someone to show that to today and everyday. 

Prayer: Lord, I thank You for loving me unconditionally, for blessing me when I do not deserve it, and for gently correcting me even when it takes me forever to listen. You are so patient with me, and I pray that You help me show that same love and patience with all those I encounter. I love You, Lord. Amen.

‘Tis a Mystery Indeed

(2 Peter 3: 8-10, NLT)  8 But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. 9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief.

I heard a lot of “hell, fire, and brimstone” preaching when I was growing up.  If you don’t know what that is, it’s basically a lot of hollering and spitting about God’s anger and wrath toward the sinner — about how we are running out of time and living on the edge, knocking on the gates of hell.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I have heard some wonderful sermons on sin and repentance in my life, and it is important to understand the repercussions of sin and how God feels about it.  Hell is real.  God does hate sin.  But even more than God hates sin, He loves us — and He is patient and kind for the sake of the world — for us.  It is His desire for all to be welcomed into His heavenly presence on that day when we will all face Him.  Why does God get so angry about sin?  Because of His great love for us.  He desires our love and adoration.  He longs to be in communion with us, and that sin is a wedge that we continually drive between Him and us.  No wonder He gets angry!  That must be so frustrating…

Yet His patience never ends.  He doesn’t give up on us.  He doesn’t turn His back to us or shut down.  We don’t get the cold shoulder.  No.  He patiently, and lovingly, waits.  He extends to us the courtesy of choice — even though we don’t deserve it.  He looks on us through eyes of compassion and His spirit continually reaches out to our hearts in every way — through the love and kindness of others, through healing and grace, through provision and blessing, and even through divine encounters with His own Holy Spirit.  He is constantly seeking us out — drawing us to Him.  And we are the prodigals.  All of us.  We come dragging down the road in our tattered garments — our filthy rags — and He welcomes us like royalty.  When we are weak and wallowing in sin, He waits with clean garments of praise and the oil of gladness, ready to cleanse and clothe us as His sons and daughters — making us joint heirs with Jesus. 

But know this, and never forget, that even in all of His patience and graciousness, there will come a day when God will have to judge us according to our choices.  It is an appointed day, and it’s timing is a mystery to all.  Do not mistake God’s kindness for weakness.  His judgement will not waver or change.  Yes, He is patient…but time is ticking. 

For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night.  (1 Thessalonians 5:2)

This is why it is so important not to take advantage of God’s patience.  We don’t know that appointed hour when He is coming back for us.  Therefore, we must be ready…

So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.  (Matthew 25:13)

And really, that is all He wants from us — for us to keep our hearts pure, and for us to willingly remove that wedge of sin that has been driven between Him and us.  He wants us to choose the eternal life that He sacrificed so greatly to give to us.  It’s life or death, friends.  What do you choose today?

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, simply put…I don’t want to be caught unaware.  Help me to never take advantage of Your patience and grace, but to instead be vigilant with my choices.  I choose You, God, today and every day.  I want to live for You, having full confidence that when the day of judgement does come, I have nothing to fear.  Amen.

Waiting For Harvest

(HOSEA 6:1-3, 11) 1 “Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. 2 After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. 3 Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.”

11 For you also, O Judah, a harvest is appointed, when I restore the fortunes of my people.

Recently, Donna and I took a quick journey to Dover, Tennessee to visit her parents. Usually, we take the fastest route. However, on this occasion Donna suggested that we take the back roads through the countryside. I’m glad we did. We beheld some of the most beautiful scenery as we wound through the farmlands of western Kentucky. It’s probably because I was raised in a farm community in Southern Illinois, but there is something peaceful about seeing the miles of crops that are maturing toward harvest.

As we drove, I noticed the different crops planted, as well as the variety of farms. Some of the farms were huge. These large properties were home to thousands of acres that were cultivated by the same family. The tractors and other farm implements were parked and waiting for action at the farmers beck and call. Just around the corner from these large farms, we came upon a young Amish boy who was driving his team of four horses to the field. Although his farm was smaller, and looked a little more rugged, it was growing and maturing at the same rate as the large farms.

As different as they were, the farms were waiting for a similar result. They were ready for harvest. It dawned on me that we all are waiting for harvest. Although our lives may be very different, each of us are hoping and praying for a positive and fruitful outcome.

Harvest comes at a price. It takes much work to prepare the fields, and to plant the seed. It never happens without labor. Hosea mentions some of the hardships that may precede the harvest. He suggests that we may be torn and struck down; thankfully, the Lord has promised to heal and bind us up. He will revive, restore, and allow us to live in His presence. What a privilege!

If you are like most Christians, you have seed in the ground and you are waiting for an expected harvest. Hosea encourages, “let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.” Be patient. Let the Lord do His complete work and harvest will come!

PRAYER: Lord, I’ve planted the seed. Now, I wait patiently upon You to bring about the harvest of Your blessings! Amen!

When You’re Marching Around in Circles

Joshua 6:1-5, 7, 15-17, 20-  Now Jericho was shut up inside and outside because of the people of Israel. None went out, and none came in.  And the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor.  You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days.  Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets.  And when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat… And he (Joshua) said to the people, “Go forward. March around the city and let the armed men pass on before the ark of the Lord…” On the seventh day they rose early, at the dawn of day, and marched around the city in the same manner seven times. It was only on that day that they marched around the city seven times.  And at the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, “Shout, for the Lord has given you the city.  And the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the Lord…” So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they captured the city.”

 

If you ever need more proof that God’s thoughts far exceed any we’re capable of having, read the account of Joshua, the Israelites, and the city of Jericho. How a nation of people conquered a city by simply marching around in circles and yelling a little bit beats me. But, that’s because I’m not the One in control…

I know when we read Scripture it’s hard for us to imagine Moses, David, and Joshua as anything but spiritual giants. And while their faith is for sure something to admire, we also have to remember they were humans just like us. They doubted. They failed. They questioned God’s commands, were clueless about His motives, and probably struggled sometimes to obey Him.

I’m sure this was one time in particular where Joshua just didn’t get it. He marched around the city again and again, trying to figure out how this simple action would do any good. I’m sure he was waiting for an earthquake or some strong winds to assist them in weakening the city’s foundation, but neither happened. Still, Joshua knew his God and the might with which He reigned, so he continued to round those corners. He was going to walk… and then he was going to shout… and somehow those walls would fall and that city would be theirs.

Honestly, when following after God, it’s not our actions, per se, that get the job done, whether we consider them great or foolish. No matter how much we learn or how big our muscles get, if God has a plan for something, our knowledge and strength couldn’t stop it. That being said, even if His instruction sounds a little “off” to us, that doesn’t matter either. Because, the success of anything hinges on His approval and presence… which accompany our obedience.

There’ve been plenty of moments in my life where I’ve felt like I was walking in circles with the Lord. I didn’t see any progress being made, no walls coming down, and no victory in the near future. I knew God had made me promises and no one could make me doubt what He had said. Yet, even when trying hard to obey, I questioned His motives and His plan.

God, if You said “this,” why isn’t it coming to pass? When You promised “that,” I would’ve thought it would have happened sooner. You gave us “this” vision, but why are You still telling us to wait? I’m doing the same things, at the same places, with the same surroundings, and nothing seems to be changing.

Then it hit me… or maybe He gently showed me, that my realm of vision is very limited. I can only see so high, so far, and so clearly. He sits high enough that His vision is never obstructed. Because He’s omnipresent, He can see all things at all times in all places. And because He is the very source and definition of wisdom, He knows exactly what to do and at what time it should be done.

We’ve seen Him work things out enough in our lives that we shouldn’t have a problem trusting Him with anything… but we do. Just catch yourself quickly and remind yourself that you’ve always been taken care of and there’s no reason why this time will be any different. What He does doesn’t always make sense in our finite minds. I get that, fully. Still, His way ALWAYS accomplishes the most and brings perfect peace. So, let’s just trust Him and obey.

You might be walking today. But you could be shouting tomorrow… while staking claims on your next victory.

 
Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your wisdom that You give to all of us liberally when we ask for it. Thank You for Your patience with us when we constantly question Your ways. Build our faith daily. Strengthen our trust. Fix our hearts and minds on Your will. Help us push aside all noises that drown out Your voice so we can follow You unhindered. In Jesus’ name we pray this. Amen.

Only Until…

Psalm 73- “Truly God is good to those… who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious… when I saw the prosperity of the wicked… For they have no pangs until death… They are not in trouble as others are… Pride is their necklace… their hearts overflow with follies… they are always at ease, they increase in riches. All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence. For all the day long, I have been stricken and rebuked every morning… But when I thought to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God… You guide me with Your counsel… God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever… It is good for me to be near God…”

 

No doubt we can all relate to David when reading this portion of the Psalms. I know I can. I’ve been guilty of questioning God and trying to figure out if living life in a Christ-like way even matters. Does He really require that of us? If my success requires a little compromise, isn’t that okay? Doesn’t He understand? They don’t care about pleasing Him, but they got a promotion, a bonus, a child, a house, a new car, recognition… … …

Has an attitude like that ever clawed its way out of your heart and made itself evident in your life? Before you know it, you’re aggravated every day, scrutinizing everyone, and irritated by everything. You try to figure it out, but it doesn’t make sense. You try to justify every reason you come up with allowing you permission to act in a way  you know isn’t right, but you can’t ease your conscience. This in turn baffles you, because “lying Sally” enjoys every moment of life and “cheating Johnny” doesn’t blink an eye over trampling everyone on his way to the top. (They are always at ease…)Things go unseen, unsaid, and unpunished and your hardworking, kind-hearted, pure-living self can’t get over it. (All in vain have I kept my heart clean and my hands washed in innocence… for I have been stricken and rebuked every morning…)

Do I sound like I’ve been there?

Well, I have been… more than once.

But, just as David said, (and I’m going to paraphrase just a bit), “When I tried to understand how this was happening… I tried to somehow make sense of it… I couldn’t do it. It wore me out

“… until I went into the sanctuary of God…”

And each time, just calling out to Jesus took that frustrated feeling away from me. He provided that assurance that while it may take a little time, doing the right thing will always lead to victory. Compromise will only cause complications and eventual defeat. You (truly do) reap what you sow. Galatians 6:7

Living in this world will stress you out, if you let it. Working alongside selfish people becomes tiresome. Dealing with rude attitudes, backbiting gossip, and deceiving tactics on a daily basis can wear on one’s nerves. We all deal with it. And, if we’re honest, there are moments when it just seems easier to go with the flow and do whatever we need to do to make things easier and better for ourselves, no matter what that entails. After all, others seem to get away with it, right? No, they don’t. God sees it all. And if things are left in a dishonest state, it’ll be brought to the light soon enough. So, do the honorable thing in every situation.

The only way you’ll find strength to do that is spending time with the Lord. Read His word to glean counsel and wisdom. Rest in Him to soak in some patience and forgiveness. It is good for me to be near God…

Without His presence in my life, I’d make a terrible mess of things. If I didn’t allow Him room to influence my actions, I’d make a multitude of foolish mistakes. I’d be drowning in a sea of regrets and battling chaos, confusion, and consequences everyday.

But, thankfully, that’s not my story… because I have learned just how badly I need to lean on Him. That takes the pressure off of me. He’s such a wonderful God! He’s so easy to serve… We’re the ones that receive all the benefits of it!

 

Prayer: Dear God, help me keep my focus on You. Give me a determination to read Your Word to learn how to deal with every situation. Help me remember that it will always be worth it to do what is right. Give me strength, dedication, patience, and a forgiving spirit as I walk through this life. You have been good to me, and I trust Your leading. I love You, Lord. Amen.

 

The Days In Between

Exodus 6:26-7:7- “… These are the Aaron and Moses to whom the Lord said: “Bring out the people of Israel from the land of Egypt by their hosts. It was they who spoke to Pharaoh, king of Egypt, about bringing out the people of Israel from Egypt, this Moses and this Aaron. On the day when the Lord spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, the Lord said to Moses, “I am the Lord; tell Pharaoh, king of Egypt all that I say to you… You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother, Aaron, shall tell Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go out of his land… The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them. Moses and Aaron did so; they did just as the Lord commanded them. Now Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron, eighty-three years old, when they spoke to Pharaoh.”

I turned 28 approximately 6 months ago, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wondered if God was ever going to use me in a mighty way. When will my time come to make an impact? Will I ever get to fulfill this dream burning in my heart? Am I getting too old to pursue any new avenue of ministry?

I know. I’m a little insane… 28 is not too old for anything. But, because I was only created with the capacity to hold a finite mind, a body hindered by certain physical limitations, and a lifespan restricted by a time frame compared to a vapor, I have tiny moments of panic. When I forget that God orders my steps and guides my life, each year that passes makes me feel more and more vulnerable.

You ever been there? If so, let this story encourage you!

Moses and Aaron had far surpassed 28. They were octogenarians when God called them to do possibly the greatest task of their lives! What they did changed the future of an entire nation. Because of their obedience, millions were saved from slavery. Entire generations- multiple generations- were able to experience a total life change because God chose to use two eighty year old men to accomplish such a feat!

I’m certain that the days leading up to this point in their lives were filled with many “small miracles” and ways they both made a difference. Just like I know my everyday life is filled with wonder that I don’t even recognize, because I don’t always pray to see from God’s point of view.

I went to a concert recently where The Band Carrollton was ministering. They sang a song that I’ve been living on since that evening. I want to share a small piece of it here today:

“I have read amazing stories of all the faithful ones, wondering why today doesn’t look like that for me. But show me the miracles in the simple. Open my eyes to see that a beautiful life is found in the journey in the days in between.

You are the God of all my days.  I will trust in all Your ways. Take my hands and guide my feet. I know You’re leading me. So, I’m gonna dance with You in the in-between.”

Know today that there will be times sporadically placed throughout your life where you will see and feel the intensity of what it is you’re involved in. God will use you to do great and mighty things in His name. He may send you to the other side of the world to reach a nation of people that are waiting for you to get there. You may be asked to lead a group of people in a local church or minister to a young generation who so desperately needs to understand its worth. Maybe you’ll speak at a large conference, write a piece that gets spread all across the internet, or sing in front of thousands all for the glory of Christ. Who knows what awesomeness He will lead you into… even if you’re nearly 100 years old before that day comes.

But, please understand, that every single day offers us 24 more hours to use what earthly time we have to bring Him pleasure and glory… and share hope with someone who needs it.

It’s not too late for any of us. We’re not too old, too busy, too sensitive, too sick, or too ordinary to be given a crazy opportunity to shake the planet for Jesus. Wake up each morning with a fresh, hopeful, and eager outlook. How is He going to use YOUR life today?

And believe me… He will.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for thinking I’m worth using. Thank You for having confidence in me to go about handling Your business on this earth… for allowing me the opportunity to make an eternal impact. With the busyness of life and all its obligations, sometimes I lose my focus and feel too weighed down or stressed out to do anything good for Your kingdom. On those days- in those moments- remind me that if I give You all of my life, You will find a way to use every moment in some way. I love You, Jesus. I’m so grateful for this life You’ve blessed me with! In Your precious name, amen.

“While I’m Waiting”

(Luke 2: 25-29) 25 At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him 26 and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, 28 Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying, 29 “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised.”

Patience is hard to come by these days.  Everyone is in a hurry, and we are all spoiled by our fast food culture.  We are so used to instant gratification that any amount of waiting seems to bring out the very worst in many of us.  I remember when Taco Bell installed little timers outside of their drive-through windows so you could see how fast they could get your order thrown into a bag, out the window, and subsequently in your face.  People would get angry after just one minute passed without getting their food…  Really?  Yes, really.  That’s the way of the world.  We think we know what we want…and we want it NOW!  Essentially, we are all kind of bratty.  When someone makes us a promise, we latch onto it with a death grip and we don’t let up until it is fulfilled.  We nag, complain, guilt and whine about it until it morphs from a blessing into an assumption or even a demand .  No longer are we grateful and willing to wait.  We equalize waiting with insult and inconvenience, and as a result we get downright moody when we have to do it.  The outcome?  Rash decisions, road rage, fights, cheating, lying, stealing, taking matters into our own hands…need I go on?  It’s all rooted in impatience, and a lack of patience indicates a lack of trust.  If we can’t wait for something, our motives are selfish, and we don’t trust the process.  When we say to God, “I will wait, and pursue You all the while,” we are showing Him that we trust Him…and His process. 

You know the old adage, “Time flies when you’re having fun.”  Well…it does.  Waiting doesn’t have to be all sadness, misery, and solemn expectancy.  Waiting can be fun.  When I was a little girl, my parents would take all five of us kids school shopping at one time.  They had it down to a system.  Just outside of the mall entrance to Belk (or maybe it was JC Penney…I digress…this was thirty years ago) there was a great, big fountain and a Peanut Shack.  Dad would entertain us kids, while Mother would take us in the store, one at a time, to shop for our clothes and shoes.  Pretty smart, if you ask me!  Dad would let us get a small bag of nuts or candy to snack on, and he always seemed to have enough pennies in his pockets and games in his mind to keep us occupied.  Waiting with Dad was fun.  Before we knew it, we were done and headed back home with very little drama and/or tears involved in the process.  It took some smart thinking, team work, patience, and love, but the waiting was endured with grace. 

Well…life is much the same.  You may have to wait your entire life for a promise, or it could happen tomorrow.  Either way, we must remain righteous and devout, as Simeon did.  He hung onto the promise of the Messiah…eagerly anticipating, yet his righteousness remained intact.  He was patient…for a LONG time…and in the last season of his life, the Lord led him to a temple where he was able to witness the fulfillment of that promise…and further still…he was able to hold that promise, the baby Jesus, in his arms!  What a reward for a life spent waiting…gracefully…patiently…and trusting the process fully. 

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, help me to trust You enough to be patient with Your plan.  In a world of hasty, grumpy people, I want to be set apart…smiling while I wait.  Amen.

God is Watching…

(Psalm 146:9 ESV) 9 The LORD watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.


God is watching us
God is watching us
God is watching us
From a distance

From a distance
You look like my friend
Even though we are at war
From a distance
I just cannot comprehend
What all this fightings for
From a distance
There is harmony
And it echoes through the land
And it’s the hope of hopes
It’s the love of loves
It’s the heart of every man
–Bette Midler

There are times in life when it seems that God is nowhere to be found; it feels as though He does not see the injustice that is staring us in the face. We carry hurt for many years; knowing the truth, but unable to release the information that would exonerate our name.

In those times we must trust the Lord to balance the scales of justice. The prophet Isaiah wrote, “No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD and their vindication from me, declares the LORD.” (Isaiah 54:17 ESV)

A few years ago, I suffered at the hands of someone who spoke untruths about me. I won’t lie… it hurt. It hurt because it was untrue, but also because there were some who chose to believe it without verifying the authenticity of the claims. My flesh rose and I was tempted to take revenge. Instead, I asked the Lord to help me to leave it in his hands. Recently, I have had conversations with people who later learned the truth. I didn’t defend myself; God saw to it that information became known that cleared my name of what had been told.

The Psalmist said, “The Lord watches…” Consider these three observations:

  • The word “watches” implies a continual action. God does not cast an occasional glance to check on us. He has His eyes upon us at all times. When I’m watching the grandkids, I sometimes look away because I know they are in a contained situation. But God is always “watching over.”
  • His eye is upon the helpless. The Psalmist reveals three categories of people who seem to catch God’s watchful eye. The sojourners (homeless), widows, and orphans. The ones who are most vulnerable are protected by the One who is most powerful!
  • God fights against the wicked on our behalf. “the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.” If you will be patient, God will exonerate you, uphold your innocence, and restore your good name.

When you feel forgotten and mistreated, remember that God is watching…


PRAYER: Thank you Father for watching over me all the days of my life. You will take care of me if I will trust your timing. Amen.

Building a Testimony

(Psalm 40:1-3 ESV) 1 I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. 2 He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. 3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.


When I was a kid, there was a singer named Sammy Hall who frequented the Camp Meeting and Youth Camp circuit. He had a wonderful testimony of deliverance from drugs. After Sammy would visit, many of the youth of the church would give their testimony about various vices that God had delivered them from. Sometimes, the ones who testified last felt the need to enhance their testimony by making up deliverances that never actually occurred! We often jokingly accused them of “building their testimony!”

Interesting things happen when we wait patiently on the Lord. David began this Psalm with several very bold statements. Think about it. He declared that God lifted him out of a pit, set his feet on a rock, stabilized his wobbly steps; none of which happened literally! He was speaking symbolically!

As David was searching for adequate words to describe the goodness of God, he chose examples others could relate to. For instance, it’s not hard to imagine God leaning in so He can hear our prayerful words. Neither is it difficult to “feel” the stability of having a solid foundation to stand on. There’s a big difference between standing on a dry, solid rock and standing on a slippery one! He also pointed out how God had stabilized his wobbly steps; securing his pathway.

After experiencing his answered prayer, David breaks into a new song of praise; a song he could never have sung had it not been for the intervention of the Lord. Often, we become so impatient while waiting on the Lord’s assistance. A million “what if” scenarios are rehearsed in the secret recesses of our mind. And, instead of songs of praise, our words can keep us locked into dark thoughts of our impending demise. Not David! He uses his good fortune to speak of the goodness of God.

The result? He believed his testimony would serve as a turning point for many individuals observing his deliverance. With anticipation he writes, “Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.”

I’m thankful for the many times the Lord has brought deliverance to me. But, I’m equally grateful that my testimony has been instrumental in helping others find their way to Him. How about you? What kind of testimony are you building?


PRAYER: Father, let your grace be evident in my life in such a way that others may see Your goodness, fear You, and put their trust in You. Amen

Little By Little

(Exodus 23:29-30 ESV) 29 I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the wild beasts multiply against you. 30 Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land.


God expects us to to move forward and advance in spiritual growth and understanding. After all, He has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Heavenly places and wants us to possess them in the here and now. But, we need not expect to possess ALL our blessings at once.

In this passage of Scripture, God indicates that He will drive out the enemy, but He will not do it in a year. Instead, the extraction of the enemy would be accomplished little by little. The Israelites were not fully prepared to receive such a magnanimous victory at once. Instead, God told them to expect incremental victories that would increase as they became more prepared to protect the land from the wild beasts and enemies that would multiply against them.

God was saying, “Be faithful in your right now moment. Be responsible with what is already in your hand. Take one step at a time with your eyes focused forward, and in due time, I will open the door to additional opportunities and accompanying resources.”

When I progress little by little, it trains me to trust God. It makes me dependent on Him; it keeps me in a perpetual state of expectation.

Because I’m human, I have a tendency to want what I want when I want it! I would prefer to fight one battle, win, and sit back and revel in the victory. Why can’t I have it all now God? Aren’t you able to provide the total victory in one fell swoop? Of course He is! But, it is not always in our best interest for it to happen that way. It takes time for things to develop so that we are adequately prepared and God is glorified.

Often times, the anticipation of victory heightens the celebration of victory. Isaiah wrote, “Therefore will the Lord wait, that He may be gracious to you.” (Isaiah 30:18 KJV)

While you are waiting, remember that there is a moving, growing dynamic to your faith. God will lead you through the land, little by little, until you are increased enough to inherit the fullness of the land.


PRAYER: Father, I will patiently wait for the full expression of Your will in me. I trust that You are working everything to provide a positive blessing that will bring great glory to Your name. Until then, I will accept your increase little by little, knowing that “little is much when God is in it!” Amen.

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