“Promises, Promises”

(Psalm 119:147-148) 147 I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word. 148 My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.

When the weight of life begins to fall
On the name of Jesus I will call
For I know my God is in control
And His purpose is unshakeable
Doesn’t matter what I feel
Doesn’t matter what I see
My hope will always be
Your promises to me.
– “Your Promises” by Elevation Worship

Because of humanity, because we are a mess, because of SIN…life is a guaranteed trial.  I don’t care what you say, who you are, or what you do…your life will not always be easy.  It just won’t!  We’ve been given many promises by God, and no, that’s not one of them…it’s just a consequence that we must endure for a time.  Into our lives, sin brings chaos and hurt, and there’s no stopping it sometimes, but as children of God we have been given all of the wisdom, power and authority needed to rise above. 

In every situation we have hope, but the thing about hope is that you have to take ownership of it and once it is claimed you then have to decide where to place it.  You can place it in other people, you can place it in your career, you can place it in your church and all of the “good” things that you do to support it, but none of the above will ever hold out for long.  People fail us, jobs and careers can be lost, and yes even churches fall apart.  Do as you wish, but there is only one placement for your hope that is sure to stand above the waters and that is God’s word. 

As a believer you lay claim on His word, by your faith, that it is true.  So…when you read it and meditate on it, you are ingesting THE TRUTH.  God’s word is filled with many things, all of which benefit our walks through life in some way, and every word is perfect and established.  Therefore, we have what we need in order to pilot our way through this expedition.  Through His word we have our history (which gives us His plan), we are given our commission (which is our purpose), and we have access to the countless promises from God (which give us HOPE). 

Without hope, purpose and plan fall apart.  2 Peter 1: 3-4 tells us, “3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” When we are able to place our hope in the promises, the “very great and precious promises” of God, we are empowered to fulfill the purpose and the plan set before us from the beginning. 

Gaining access to these promises does, however, require something from you.  It requires discipline.  You will have to read, you will have to meditate, you will have to actually CONVERSE with God, and you will have to make time for these things.  Yes, it is all easily accessible, but acquiring strength in spirit is a lot like building physical strength…you have to put in work.  It is a commitment, and what we all eventually learn about commitment is that sometimes it just doesn’t matter how you are feeling at the moment, or how things look through your natural eyes, because the foundation of a covenant is the promises that were made.  When the anxieties, hurts, and disturbances of life make you feel things that are contrary to the truth, if you will go back to the Word…to His promises…you will find that your Heavenly Father is deeply committed to loving you, blessing you, and ensuring that you fulfill your purpose. 

(Jeremiah 29: 11-14) 11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.”

Prayer:  Lord, thank you for the hope that is found in Your word.  Help me to remember it when my feelings take charge and my sight is skewed, so that I do not hinder my role in Your purpose and plan.  Give me strength to be more disciplined in my pursuit of You and my commitment to Your will.  Amen.

“I Will Trust in You!”

(Psalm 105:39-41) 39 He spread out a cloud as a covering, and a fire to give light at night. 40 They asked, and he brought them quail; he fed them well with the bread of heaven. 41 He opened the rock, and water gushed out; it flowed like a river in the desert.


For the lonely, for the lost; when you struggle to believe; when you feel forgotten, discouraged and defeated; when your money’s run out and your hope is spent…

For the childless woman with a mother’s heart, for the widow, for the bereaved; when you wonder why; when sadness overwhelms your heart…

For the broken family, for the abused and neglected; when you’re numb and your faith is dead; when guilt and shame have crushed your spirit…

(Psalm 139: 1-5) 1 You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. 5 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.

…the Lord knows.

Sometimes you have to take a look in the rearview mirror, to gain some retrospective.  I’m sure if you were to ask the Israelites in the midst of their journey through the wilderness how they felt about life, they probably wouldn’t have had much positive feedback.  They were, in fact, dealing with crisis after crisis, misery upon misery (or so it seemed to them).  When their exodus began, they were exhilarated by their deliverance and the miracles they had seen take place in order to set them free.  They set out toward the promised land much like a child sets out on a foot race…full speed ahead.  However, we all know what eventually happens to that eager runner.  Thirst, exhaustion, discouragement and frustration all seem to set in at once.  That’s when he is faced with the choice to either dread the long road ahead and quit, or to look back on what he has conquered thus far and finish what he started. 

For the Israelites, there were MANY stops and starts as they navigated their way toward something that, at times, I’m sure was hard to believe or trust.  Looking forward, it had to be unsettling to see no end to the struggles.  Thousands of years later, here we are, children of God, dealing with the same issue.  Because we are human, because our vision is limited and we cannot see the entire scope of what God is doing in our lives, we have to depend on our faith to keep us moving.  Looking back on the trials, the Israelites were able to recount what the Lord had done to sustain them. 

A good friend once told me to record my prayers (both great and small) in a journal and to go back after a year or so and allow myself to be encouraged and amazed at just how many of them were answered.  It doesn’t happen, rarely ever, the way that we would have imagined or hoped for it to…the answer, I mean…because you know what?  Sometimes the answer is a no, or the dreaded, “we’ll see.”  In our impatience and petulance, instead of forging on in faith, trusting the Creator of the world, we let our human”ness” bring us to a halt. 

In our loneliness we say, “I’m forgotten.” 

In our financial distress we declare, “This is hopeless.”

In our loss we cry out, “I can’t go on!”

In our shame we whisper, “I’m worthless.” 

But the word of the Lord says this:  16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4: 16-18)


Prayer:  Heavenly Father, when I look back on my life I see Your hand in all things, the joy and pain alike, and because of Your faithfulness I will continue to trust in You.  Amen. 

“There Will Come a Day”

I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”  And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.  (Revelation 21: 3-7, NLT)

Of every promise in the Bible, this is the one that I hold onto with the most desperation.  I can’t tell you the many times that I have had to close my eyes for just a moment to meditate on this very thing – to know, on the bad days…when I am hurting…when I am frustrated…when I am lowly and discouraged, that one day I have the promise of EVERYTHING being made new…restored…perfected…that one day my tears will forever be wiped away by the very hand that created me.  That’s something I can be comforted by no matter what happens.

I can’t help but wonder…what will that feel like?  It is truly unimaginable!  We live amongst so much heartache and hatred.  We face it every day of our lives.  It’s in everything that we watch and listen to, and it’s on the faces of strangers that we encounter, and even in the eyes of our loved ones.   Because of the rapid progression of sin in our world, hostility, distrust and heavyheartedness have become commonplace for us all.  We are used to it, so a life lived without that is not something that I think any of us could ever envision.  However, even though I can’t fathom it, I desire it.  Life without worry, pain, uncertainty, and depression – without hatred, vengefulness, mockery, and prejudice – without death, destruction, destitution, and despair – I don’t know this life…but I want to live it.  I am not worthy of this sort of freedom, but because of God’s love for me, for us, it is a gift that He stands holding out to us.  We simply have to reach out to Him and accept it.

It’s like a gift card.  It may not seem like much at the moment – just a seemingly small thing – but it holds so much promise!  I can tuck it away, and sometimes just knowing that it’s there is enough to make me smile.  When I am having a bad day, I know that I have the promise of something good, something that is completely free to me.  Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Chick-fil-A, they are all great and something nice to look forward to, but SALVATION, PEACE, ETERNAL JOY… now those are promises that I can live for each day!

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank You for the promise of a day when we all will forever be reunited with You.  Though things here get worse what seems like every day, there is nothing I can’t endure when I know that I have the fully redeemable gift of freedom in You that never expires.  Until that day, I will hold onto that assurance, and I will give this life the best of me while I am here.  May it be all for Your glory.  Amen.

“Only Your Love”

(1 John 5: 1-3, NLT) Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. 2 We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments. 3 Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome.

If God’s commandments are not burdensome, then why is it so hard for us to keep them?  It shouldn’t be so difficult really — to be honest and kind, to be true and loving, to be content and faithful — but we fail so often!  We are given choices every day — to sin or not to sin — and we mull over these decisions, allowing them to become burdens to us.  It should be so simple, right?  But it isn’t.  We have made these choices difficult and heavy, and because of sin, the black and white become fused together, forming a gray area that was never intended to exist…for with God there is no gray area.  His commandments are time-honored, steadfast, and never-changing.  And though He has given us choice in each matter of our lives, it is always this or that.  There is no in between.   

“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! (Revelation 3: 15-16, NLT)

We spend too much time worrying over these moral choices, and we waste time and energy trying to figure out how to justify certain actions and decisions — looking for loopholes in the laws.  Well, there are no loopholes.  God doesn’t play games, and He doesn’t mince His words.  It is what it is.  Don’t lie means don’t lie.  The end will never justify the means.  There is nothing that you can do to manipulate things in your favor when it comes to sin.  It’s just sin.  Yes, there is grace to cover it, but the condition of your heart is what is truly in question.  The Lord knows your heart — every hidden motive and thought — and He is gracious and willing to forgive when He sees a repentant heart that is saddened by its own sin. 

What it all boils down to, and what will clear these muddied waters, is love.  Operate in love, because when you think, live, and emanate God’s love, there is really never any doubt over what to do.  You see, when Jesus came to us, He came that we might have everlasting life, but He also came to simplify things for us, so that we have every chance to bridge the gap that sin created between God and His children (us).

(Matthew 22: 37-40, NLT) 37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

And there you have it…from the mouth of Christ Himself…it all goes back to love.  Pretty simple, huh?  Think before you act, and if it doesn’t reflect God’s love in you, don’t do it.  And when you do make wrong choices, because of God’s Spirit and love in you, you will be grieved by sin and, in turn, repent. 

Love God.  Love others.  Everything else will come. 

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your love.  Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, to show us how easy it is to obey Your commandments, simply by living out Your love first.  Help me, Lord, to remember this first and greatest commandment, so that I am making choices that glorify and honor You.  It’s only by Your love…Amen.

“All the things we want are free…”

(1 John 2: 15-17) 15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.

There is freedom in simplicity. 

I always thought by now that my life would be much different than it is.  I must admit, I have been guilty of measuring my success by the standards of society, against the “American Dream,” and by what I have seen in the lives of others my age.  I had imagined more kids, a quiet and settled life in a house somewhere on a shaded street, and a general feeling of easiness that I thought (for some reason unbeknownst to me) would come to my life.  I had been lied to by life…by the things that I’d seen and been enticed to dream of for myself…and it took growing (both in age and in spirit) to realize that this particular ideal is not for everyone…

Everything that the world has to offer comes with a price, and it’s up to us to decide (because God is merciful and allows us the freedom of choice), “Am I willing to pay that price?”  The world is full of things that have been white-washed and bedazzled…situations and circumstances that have been made to look like the norm…all of which begin to feel like expectations…and when we are not careful about our intentions and our plans, we begin to desire much more than we are ever able to attain without greatly sacrificing our time, our resources, and our core values.  That same desire then twists our dreams until they morph into pressures and burdens, and we then become oppressed by a distortion of what used to be pure intentions and innocent goals. 

There isn’t anything wrong with working hard to provide nice things for yourself and/or your family, but what can easily happen is, when you become so focused on (and distracted by) perfection and living up to the rest of the world’s standards, you begin to want more and more…and nothing is ever going to be good enough again.  You see, when the things of this world become your ultimate goal and prize, there is no space left in your life for Christ to live and move.  You may have the house, the cars, the gadgets…you may take big vacations and have the grandest Christmases and birthdays…but at what price?  Do you work so hard, at two and three jobs sometimes, just to maintain a way of life that you really can’t afford?  Are you so deep in debt that you can’t ever see a way out of it?  Do you miss out on making memories and spiritual connections with friends and loved ones because you are always going and working?  Do you forfeit your time in worship because your work comes first?  These are questions you absolutely must be asking yourselves.  We have to be honest with ourselves about our intentions…about the what and why of our lives…because much of the time we are paying a much higher price than we should. 

Matthew 6: 33 tells us, Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

I want to encourage you today, if you have been moving at a pace that is unhealthy both physically and spiritually…if you have lost sight of your purpose and God’s will for your family…if you have become beguiled and distracted by what the world has dangled in front of you all of your life, there is always hope…there is always peace…and there is freedom in simplicity.  Scale back financially.  Make time to sit down and truly enjoy your family.  Give as much and as often as you can.  Just slow down!!  And minimize the stuff.  Keep God at the head and the center of your life, and trust Him enough to let Him take the lead.  Let go.

Free

All those memories

Free

Didn’t cost us anything

All the shiny cars, perfect yards

Chasin’ store bought dreams

We work so hard to have it all

When all the things we want are free

– Free by Little Big Town

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, I realize that I cannot love both the world and You, so I ask that You would forgive me for setting my sights on excess when I know that as long as I seek You above all else, I have all that I will ever need.  I pray that as I let go of the distractions of the world, and I fix my eyes on You, that You would help me to revel in the sweet, simple things of life that are freely given to me by Your kindness and grace.  Thank You for the freedom of simplicity that is found when I am obedient to You.  Amen.

Who Needs Sleep Anyway?

(Psalm 77: 2-9, ESV)  2 In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted. 3 When I remember God, I moan; when I meditate, my spirit faints. Selah 4 You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak. 5 I consider the days of old, the years long ago. 6 I said, “Let me remember my song in the night; let me meditate in my heart.” Then my spirit made a diligent search: 7 “Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable? 8 Has his steadfast love forever ceased? Are his promises at an end for all time? 9 Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” Selah

I have struggled with insomnia all of my life, it seems.  I remember as far back as four years old just lying awake, staring at the ceiling, heart racing, mind reeling.  I would think of all the things that were bothering me, or things that happened throughout the day, and even as a small child I would wonder what I could have done differently.  Over the years, that has never changed.  My sleepless nights have often been due to anxious thoughts and feelings.  The subject matter has evolved as I have matured, but the cause of my lost sleep has always been the same thing…anxiety. 

Anxiety is defined, in short, as excessive uneasiness, nervousness, and/or worry.  Sometimes it’s temporary, caused by one single event or problem, but other times our anxiety is a recurring condition.  When worries take over our hearts and minds, things start to happen with our bodies as well.  Stress and worry affects our digestive and cardiovascular systems, it disrupts sleep, it can affect our hormones, causing reproductive issues, and it can lower the entire immune system leaving our bodies vulnerable to a myriad of illnesses and ailments. 

Beyond all of that, the emotional and spiritual affects of anxiety can be crippling.  Not only does it hold us prisoner to our thoughts and emotions, but it also erodes our personal relationships with friends and family.  It even interferes with our connection to God.  We begin to feel far away from Him, imagining that somehow He has found Himself willing to leave us…and that’s just crazy thinking! 

So how do we combat this epidemic of the mind?  We have to take charge of our thinking…align our thoughts with scripture…with what we know to be true.

(Psalm 77: 10-12, ESV) 10 Then I said, “I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.” 11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. 12 I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.  

God has proven Himself, and sometimes, because we are human and doubtful by nature, we have to remind ourselves just who our Creator is and remember all of His marvelous works.  When we truly put Him first, worshipping and honoring Him with our lives, we take the focus away from all of the things that keep us up at night, and we are able to reclaim our peace.

Philippians 4: 4-7 (The Message) says, “Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!  Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, I recognize anxiety for what it is.  I take charge of my thoughts and feelings, and rather than fret over things that are out of my control, I choose to celebrate YOU and all of the wonderful things that You have done.  Thank You for rest.  Thank You for peace.  I claim them both in faith.  Amen.

“Let Them See You in Me”

(1 Thessalonians 2:4, NLT)  For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.

I take great comfort in knowing that God knows my heart.  So often in life, things that we say and do get misconstrued.  Our pure motives do not always shine through, for different reasons, and people who aren’t well acquainted with us will sometimes get the wrong impression. 

In a time when people are so quick to become offended about every little thing, it can be difficult to allow ourselves to be messengers of God.  There is this fine line that we seem to be toeing as Christians — on one hand, we don’t want to offend people who we are trying to reach and be a beacon of Christ’s love to, yet on the other hand, if we are not careful, it becomes a situation where we are tiptoeing around others so much that we lose the loving and holy boldness that we need in order to share the Good News.  We are so afraid that someone will take offense to our belief in the gospel of Christ that we simply just do not share it.  It becomes lost amidst our constant pandering and cajoling. 

We have to stop overthinking it so much.  It really is just a matter of love…and loving others doesn’t always equate with accepting everything that they do!  You don’t have to march around protesting every single thing that is contrary to what you believe, but you can have the boldness to answer questions in a loving and truthful manner.  When someone asks you what you think about a controversial issue, you should be confident enough in your spiritual maturity to trust that when you speak the truth from your heart, God’s love will still shine through.  We can’t always control how others perceive us, but we can always control what we say and do, and how we say and do it.   

When you love God with your whole heart, it can be upsetting when someone rejects Him and His love — especially when it is someone for whom you care very much.  Just this week, I had a conversation with one of my third-graders (we’ll call her Jessica) about this exact type of situation.  She was very upset because one of her best little buddies (who we will call April) told her that she doesn’t believe in God.  Jessica just couldn’t believe it, and the look on her face was one of deep anguish.  It truly hurt her heart to know that April didn’t believe in God.  She told me, “I can’t be friends with her anymore.”  I responded by telling her that just because April doesn’t share her beliefs, doesn’t mean that they can’t be friends anymore.  I went on to tell her that this only made their friendship even more important.  I explained to her that sometimes we have to stop arguing God’s case and simply show His love through our actions.  She thought about that for a moment and then she smiled.  She said, “Ms. Liz, I know you’re right.  So that’s what I’m going to do.”  The next day, Jessica came up to me with the biggest smile on her face.  She was so excited to share with me the news that April had said that because Jessica decided to be her friend anyway, she now wanted to hear more about Jesus and believe in Him too. 

I love this example of what God’s love can do, even amongst the social interactions of children in a school environment.  As Christians, we must be like my little third grade student:  share the truth, resolve ourselves to the fact that it will be rejected at times, and then just love the stuffin’ out of people no matter what…because that is what God will see.  He looks past our pretenses and He sees who we truly are in our deepest heart of hearts.  As long as we are seeking to please Him, what others seem to think just doesn’t matter so much anymore.  We can’t live for the world and for God as the same time, but we most certainly can live for Him as a part of this world — doing our best to show ourselves worthy of this trust He has placed in us to be His ambassadors here on Earth. 

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, I trust Your ways above my own.  Help me to be sensitive and to use wisdom when I am living out my calling as Your messenger.  May I always speak the truth in love, never compromising what I know, but always allowing Your love to be the common denominator in all that I say and do.  Help me to be more concerned about what You see than what others see, and help me to remember that if I am pleasing You, then they will see You.  Amen.

Are You Listening?

(Luke 8:16-18 HCSB) 16 “No one, after lighting a lamp, covers it with a basket or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lampstand so that those who come in may see its light. 17 For nothing is concealed that won’t be revealed, and nothing hidden that won’t be made known and come to light. 18 Therefore take care how you listen. For whoever has, more will be given to him; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken away from him.”

When I was a youngster, our Sunday School teachers taught us a song entitled, Be Careful Little Eyes What You See. The song was an encouragement to be aware that the Heavenly Father was lovely watching over us. Knowing this, we were encouraged to guard everything that could negatively impact our relationship with Him. One of the verses said…

O be careful little ears what you hear
O be careful little ears what you hear
There’s a Father up above
And He’s looking down in love
So, be careful little ears what you hear

Luke recorded some very important words spoken by the Lord. Jesus began with the practical reality that people do not light lamps and then cover it with a basket. There are three observations that should be made.

  • To cover the lamp would be counterproductive. Why go to the trouble? Why attempt to drive away darkness by covering the very flame lit to drive it away? Jesus rightly points out that “no one” would do that. Instead, they would display the lamp prominently so everyone would benefit from the light. The light represents the truth of the Gospel. Jesus is saying that we have a responsibility to embrace truth, and to share truth. Our lives should be a reflection of the truth of the Gospel.
  • To cover the lamp with combustible material would bring devastation. The lamp under the straw basket could only be contained until the heat build-up ignited into a raging fire. Here, Jesus wants everyone to know that there is a responsibility to reveal truth, but if we attempt to hide it, it will be revealed anyway. The basket meant to cover truth will be devoured, and truth will break forth regardless of our effort to keep it “under wraps.” Nothing will be allowed to hide the truth!
  • Take care how you listen. The way we listen determines the level of truth by which we live. As a pastor, I’m constantly counseling people to comply with scriptural truth. If my truth is not consistent with scripture I cannot expect my life to be filled with His blessings. The more truth I accept, the more blessing I will receive. The more truth I reject, the more blessing will be forfeited.

When I was a child, my parents would often request my full attention. I can still hear in my mind the voice of one of my parents saying, “Robbie, please listen to me. You’re NOT listening! Look at me and acknowledge that I am speaking to you.” Sometimes they would say, “What did I say? What did I just tell you? You don’t know because you were not listening!” 

And, that really is the message. Jesus knew how important it would be for us to pay close attention to His truth. It is the key to our blessings. Without it, we stand to lose much. But, when hearing and applying His truth, we stand to gain more than we can imagine!

Take care how you listen!

PRAYER: So much of my prayer life is me speaking to you, Father. Today, I intend to listen much more. I’m listening now………….

Who Are You Leaning On?

Screenshot 2016-08-12 22.34.57

(Isaiah 10:20 ESV) 20 In that day the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob will no more lean on him who struck them, but will lean on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.

What a fellowship, what a joy divine, Leaning on the everlasting arms;

What a blessedness, what a peace is mine, Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Leaning, leaning, Safe and secure from all alarms;

Leaning, leaning, Leaning on the everlasting arms.

What have I to dread, what have I to fear, Leaning on the everlasting arms;

I have blessed peace with my Lord so near, Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Leaning, leaning, Safe and secure from all alarms;

Leaning, leaning, Leaning on the everlasting arms.

It is a sad reality when people find themselves in bondage to their abusers. As a young pastor, I was called to the aid of a woman who was lying in the hospital having been attacked and beaten by her husband. The police report indicated he had used his fist to punch holes in the walls of their home. The bedroom doors had been destroyed as he violantly pursued his intended victim. The wife suffered broken bones, some of her hair had been pulled out in clumps, and her face was bruised and swollen from the beating. It was a terrible sight to behold. Even worse, was the sense of helplessness that she felt. When I recommended she seek shelter and protection, she indicated her intention was to return home and hope it wouldn’t happen again. After all, she said, “Where would I go? How would I live? I don’t even have a job. I’m totally dependant upon him.”

The Lord told Isaiah, “the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob will no more lean on him who struck them, but will lean on the LORD…” 

Consider…

  • The survivors – God assured Isaiah there would be a remnant of people to escape and survive. They would live another day! Listen, sometimes we have to push up our sleeves, dig in our feet, and fight for survival. There is no value in suffering without reason. It is one thing to suffer for the sake of Christ; it is another matter altogether to consistantly suffer at the hand of an abuser when freedom is available. Laws have been written that can and should be used when protection is needed.
  • The leaners – Don’t be ashamed to lean! We all finding ourselves leaning at times. The important question is, “Who or what are you leaning on?” In this passage of scripture, God said, the survivors of the house of Jacob will no more lean on him who struck them…” In other words, the survivors would be liberated from their abusers. No longer would they be in bondage to those who had taken advantage of them. Freedom would be theirs!
  • The trusters –  While the english translation uses “lean” twice, the Hebrew language uses two words; one word describes “leaning” (le·hi·sha·’en) on the abuser and another word describes “leaning” (ve·nish·’an) on the Lord. The individual who leans on an abuser is depicted in a weakened state; unable to stand alone they develop an unstable dependency on an abuser, which ultimately produces negative consequences. The individual who leans on the Lord is strong even in their weakness; resting in a relationship with the deliverer that produces a positive resolution to a negative situation.

One closing thought. God told Isaiah that the basis for this hope is “truth.” One can never be free until they analyze their circumstances in the light of God’s word. He will never lead you astray. But, will always reveal everything necessary to guide you to victory! Who are you leaning on today?

PRAYER: I’m leaning upon you today, Lord. Thank You for being a deliverer I can count on. When I am weak, You are strong! Amen.

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