“God Loves Your Uniqueness. Be You!”

 

Ok, so let’s start this week off right. You may not be perfect in some people’s eyes, but God loves you just like you are. He should know, He’s the one who designed you to be you. So what if your hair (like mine) is a little frizzy and curly (before I attack it with a straightening iron  ). So what if people don’t like the way your voice may sound. So what to what people think period. God has a purpose for your life and He designed you to be you to carry out that purpose. So, go ahead, strut what God gave you today and BE YOU!

Now, smile!

“When my spirit was overwhelmed…”

“When my spirit was overwhelmed…” those are the words David wrote at a very tumultuous time in his life.  He spent many days on the run, hiding, with his life hanging in the balance because the current king, Saul by name, had it in his mind to kill David without a second thought.  Therefore, David ran with many days running together into a blur of trying to stay out of Saul’s target range just to remain alive.

Some of those running experiences took him to a certain cave.  David was known for staying in a cave referred to as Adullam (1 Samuel 22:1).  This was a hiding place for him, but it was also a gathering place for his brothers and those of his father’s house to join him.  Some others who were also in “distress” and dealing with other issues of discontentment of the way things were joined forces with him as well in that place (1 Samuel 22:2).  There, David became a captain over this group of men, but also there, David prayed.

A life spent hiding in a cave and on the run is not a life anyone with a promise on him would deliberately sign up for.  But, this is where David found himself and it was overwhelming.  He has already been driven into the wilderness.  He had already escaped the throw of a javelin more than once that was purposed to end his life.  He had already dealt with a king whose anger, fear, and jealousy was eating him up and caused him to eye David with a suspicion that made his every step miserable.  He knew if he didn’t flee he would die and if he didn’t pray to the only God who could comfort and strengthen him through this whole situation, he would collapse because he was weak from it all.

That was one of the special things about David: he knew how to pray (Psalm 142:1-2).  He knew how to take everything he was facing to the Lord without hesitation.  It didn’t matter if he was dealing with enemies such as Saul, or if he was dealing with his own sin (Psalm 51) – David knew that there are times in this life that are just plain old overwhelming and rather than get crushed, he prayed to the true God who could redeem him from the crush; who could lift him above that trials and the storms, and strengthen and heal the brokenness he was dealing with.

In that, David knew all that he was going through has never escaped God’s notice.  Every heart-rending prayer, every night of dealing with the unease of another attack from Saul, every moment that caused him to be anxious over his situation, David confidently believed and stated, “When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path,” (Psalm 142:3).  Trouble may have seemed like it was following him everywhere he was going, but so were the eyes of God.  There was never a time when he was off of God’s radar, and neither are we.

Listen, we may not be hiding in a cave, but there may be other things that we are dealing with that cause us concern, make us feel weak as if the world is crashing in us.  We may be in our own cave experience without a cave, but the same God who knew the path David was on, is the same God that knows the way you take also.  Psalm 139 assures us that God sees every part of us and He knows everything about us.  He knows our beginning from our end.  He sees.  He knows.  Our paths are not hidden from Him.  Everything is opened before Him!  Every trial, every test, every burden that you carry and every overwhelming thing you are facing, God is very much aware of it all.  As our Sovereign, Heavenly Father, you dear child of God, are on His mind, and He knows.

He knows how hard it is for you right now.  He knows when the paths they push you on is unfair.  He knows the tears that you have cried all night long.  He knows the heartbreak that you constantly face.  He knows when some are against you and try to tear you down.  He knows it all.

When overwhelmed, David found comfort in releasing the pressure of everything he was feeling into the only hands that could truly help.  He released all his worries and pent up frustrations into the hands of God.  He prayed and poured out every burden he was carrying at the throne of grace.  When nobody else stood with him, he prayed to the only God who would be there with him through the thick and thins of life, and he placed his confidence in Him.

Though situations may have tossed him about, it never tossed his faith.  David stayed planted with his hope steadfastly anchored in God.  Friend, whatever overwhelming situation you are facing today, I pray that you would mimic the steps David took in dealing with the hardships of life, and take it to the Lord in prayer.  And, not only take to Him in prayer but keep your hope anchored in Him as well.

At the end of David’s Psalm 142 prayer, he stated boldly and confidently, “For thou shall deal bountifully with me,” (vs. 7).  David knew, in the end, faithfulness always wins out.  We may not be able to personally do anything about some of the stuff we face, but God can.  If we don’t quit; if we handle our “overwhelming” moments by remaining secured in the God who can save, heal, and deliver – no matter what distress or hardship we currently face, in the end, God has the final say over it.  Believe as David believed and trust God through it all.

Life can feel overwhelming at times, but nothing we face will ever overwhelm God.  When everything seems to come crashing down all around you, God is the one that can raise you above it all.  Every dark night, He can turn into day.  In the times of mourning, He can bring comfort.  In the days when you see nothing but ashes, He can make it into something beautiful.  In the cave experiences of our life, we can find hope, because He knows and will be there with us through it all.  “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I,” (Psalm 61:2).

Sunday School Lesson Series: “Getting to Know God Better”

When we enter into a new relationship it takes time to begin to understand and know the other individual.  This knowledge does not come instantly.  It comes with patience and perseverance; it comes by spending time with someone to get to know them personally.  It’s how we figure out all those special things that make them, them.

Getting to know God better, I believe, operates in much the same way.  The more time we spend with Him and the more time we take to understand Him and those special things that make Him, Him, the greater our love and appreciation for Him grows.  That growth is important because our understanding of who God truly is has eternal implications.  Jesus Himself spoke and said, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent,” (John 17:3; emphasis mine).

Can I tell you a secret?  God wants us to know Him.  He spoke in Jeremiah, saying, “Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord,” (Jeremiah 9:23-24; emphasis mine).

The greatest thing we could ever have is a solid relationship with God.  Fortifying that comes by taking the time to get to know Him better, which is the gist of this new lesson series.  Each lesson focuses on some of those things that make up the beautiful character of our wonderful God.  In the end, my prayer is that your faith in Him and your relationship with Him would be strengthened all the more.  We have this promise in the Bible: “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you…” (James 4:8).  I pray that the words written in these lessons would help you to do just that, get closer to God.

To access the lessons, simply click on the links below.  They can be studied individually or grouped together as a series.

The power of God is over all! The power of God is responsible for all things created! The power of God cannot be matched and Job declares, even during the roughest patch of his life, that God’s sovereignty over all remains.

When we truly grasp the understanding of the love of God for us, then can we learn to love others better.

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance,” (2 Peter 3:9). God’s longsuffering is God’s patience at work in the best possible way.  Believe today and turn to the Lord for salvation.

Holiness is still right! Isaiah saw a vision of God’s holiness in heaven, unmatched by anything we can know down here or imagine. Peter lets us know, the only way we will get to experience heaven, is to live holy while down here on earth. We must be holy because God is holy!

I am expecting to add more lessons to this series in the future so please stay tuned for updates.  For now, I’m off to work on other projects and series.  Many blessings to you all!

“God Made a Way!”

 

Dear Friends, God made a way for you and He made a way for me.  A pathway that was once littered with sin and debris from our human nature and wrong choices has become clear and access has been opened for every heart that truly seeks and longs for Him.

Imagine, before His holy throne, God made a way for there to be a space just for you to come to pray and worship.  There is no longer a need for you to carry burdens alone.  There is no longer a need to second guess the this or that’s of life.  He gave us an offer of Himself to approach Him and to come before His presence with it all: “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need,” (Hebrews 4:16).  

God made a way through the life and death of our Lord Jesus Christ.  To the life that will turn their heart and soul over to Him, He made a way.  “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me,” (John 14:6).  He is our access key.  He is the one who paved the pathway for us in righteousness and through His blood provided a space for us in His heavenly realm.  If we are His and have turned to Him, there is a place with your name on it in heaven.  A place waiting and wanting to be filled by you, but you must come through Jesus Christ only.

He made a way for us to experience His presence even while still on this old earth we call our current home.  To those who are His, they are supplied with His Spirit.  “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you,” (John 14:16-17; emphasis mine).  His Spirit leads us and guides into all truth (John 16:13).  His Spirit is our Comforter through this life we walk (John 14:18; 15:26).  He is with us today because Jesus made a way!

Friends, through it all, God made a way for us to approach Him and to be close to Him in our daily walk and life.  Don’t neglect the chance to draw near and to know Him as your own.  He promised when we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us (James 4:8).  There are no excuses for not being where He is today.  God already made a way!

A Message of Peace:

Dear Friends, if you are trying to push through your day to day with a troubled heart, I pray that God’s peace would overshadow all the trouble you are feeling. Jesus often spoke of peace; when He calmed the storms and when He appeared after His resurrection. Peace is something that many search for, but it can only truly be found in Him. Peace is something God wants us to experience, so I pray that your sorrows will melt away and dissolve in His peace today. That all your hurts of a troubled heart will disappear into His grace.  I pray for God’s mercy to fill the gaps each of us need filling.  I pray for peace in your home and out.  I pray for peace in your coming and your going.  I pray that in the midst of everything, God would send a revelation of peace just for you.  In the name of Jesus Christ, AMEN!

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

“The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” – Numbers 6:26

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” – Jeremiah 29:11

“For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.” – Ephesians 2:14

“Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:16

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” – Isaiah 26:3

 

 

“Getting a Closer Look”

 

Once, I was traveling out of town and the hotel we were staying in had one of those beauty magnifying mirrors that swing out on an arm.  You know the ones I’m talking about.  They get up close and really personal in your face.  What you thought you looked like in a normal mirror became something totally different in this magnifying truth-teller.

I often avoid those mirrors because there’s only so much truth about my face I want to see.  But, looking into these things a whole world of pores and things that seem to come out of nowhere all of sudden can’t be ignored.  The eyebrows need more manicuring than once thought.  Things need to be plucked, covered, or taken care of to present this face to the world before I left out that day.

As I said, I always avoided these mirrors but I must admit when I stepped back to see the final results I was more than pleased and fully intend on having one installed in my bathroom at home.

How often are we afraid to take a closer look at ourselves?  Not our face per se but at things like the inner man, our life, and our relationship with God.  Are we too afraid of what we’ll find when we look too closely?  Do we not want things revealed to us that may have gone by without a closer inspection?

God wants the best for His people but sometimes the best means we have some stuff that needs to be plucked and dealt with first.  We have to seek the beautifying of His Spirit in order to step back and see the glorious final results He has for us up ahead.

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. . .” 2 Corinthians 13:5

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