God, plan perfectly my day.

We all have desires.  We all envision how we want our life to go.  And we are all guilty of thinking we know the best way to achieve it.  Often, we try to come to our own rescue by formulating plans, mentally putting pieces of this puzzle together, thinking, if this happens, then I’ll do this.  And if that happens, then this can be done.  Even though we may have prayed over the matter, maybe quite sincerely, that doesn’t mean we have invited God into the issue.  It doesn’t mean we have actually asked for His input, released it into His hands, or asked for His perfect will.

Leaving God out of the process means we have to have all the answers.  It means we need to know the beginning from the end and all the future consequences and ripples in our lives that those decisions cause.  It means we have to have perfect knowledge of everything about them now, and what’s to come – and, I am sorry, not sorry, to say, none of us are that smart.  No, not one.  That type of omniscient power can only be of God.  So, why do we fight so much to have it our own way?

Getting your way all the time is not all it’s cracked up to be.  With it comes more responsibility than we are equipped to handle.  So, today I urge you to release your plans, days, and life to God and pray for Him to plan it according to His perfect and unfailing will.

“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

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Devotional Reading – “When the Precious is Poured”

“There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat,” Matthew 26:7

Each of us possesses the precious.  Each of us has within our being an ointment of appreciation to our Lord.  Each of us carries the sense that without Him we are nothing, therefore, what I do have I pour out for Him.

Much of our culture is self-seeking.  But God is asking for flags of surrender to be waved for service.  That we give up and pour out all for Him.  That we show the world a thing or two about true love; true appreciation to a Savior who poured out all for us.

Do I mean empty your bank accounts?  That’s not what I am speaking of here.  I’m talking about service.  Good examples of selfless service are hard to find in our age.  The way for many to see something beautiful in Christian service is blocked by the hoarding of blessings to oneself.  The gain for self has dimmed a light that once so richly shone.  Self has taken place on a pedestal that it was not meant to mount.

Jesus calls us to the service of this woman who gave up her best to bless.  When was the last time we gave up our best to bless others?  When was the last time we put our wants and desires on the back burner and put the thoughts and cares of others in the forefront?

Despite scathing ridicule, the woman unashamedly approached Jesus with her expensive, yet still, inadequate gift.  You see, for all He did for us, no gift can repay.  The costliest of earthly possessions and service can’t scratch the surface of reward for what He accomplished on the cross.  Yet, we are compelled to press forth and give our best.

“In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works…” (Titus 2:7, KJV).  It’s time for a new pattern to be laid.  The foundation of self must dissipate, and new groundwork needs to be founded on who He is in our lives and all that He has already done.  It’s time to show the world a different lifestyle.  A life built on pouring out.

When we pour out for Jesus, the preciousness within us becomes evident.  Man can then see the good that was once hidden.  He can see the difference that was once disguised.  When we release the precious that is in us we become vessels that honor the Lord; for it was on the cross when He poured out the precious for us.

The world needs a visual aid.  When they see us break the box and release the preciousness of good works inside, they will “glorify your Father which is in heaven,” (Matthew 5:16, KJV).

“That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life,” (1 Timothy 6:18-19, KJV)

Look for a way to bless others today and to pour out into their lives.  God bless you.

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A Reason for the Hope

“Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” 1 Peter 3:15

If I were to answer that question, the one that asks, “What is the reason for the hope within me?” I would first have to begin my answer by quoting 1 John 4:19 while substituting the “we” and “us” with “I” and “me,” saying, “I love Him because He first loved me.”

Today, I recognize the extremes of His love for me.  Today, with my mind’s eye, I can take a tour of my past, throughout my life, even before I was saved or born-again, and I can see the many places the hand of the Lord was working to pull me near.  I can see places where I was divinely protected.  I can see times when now, I can readily identify that it was nothing but the hand of God who brought me through.

My story is my story.  It is the testimony of what God has uniquely done in my life.  Our stories may all start out differently.  Our stories will be original to us and the experiences we have lived through.  Our testimonies will tell of the paths we have journeyed and the mighty works God has done for each of us.

While the avenues we have traveled with the stories they tell may have all started differently, they all have this one thing in common.  At the conclusion of everything, the only answer we have is Jesus.

For me to sit down and begin to tell you of all the ways that Christ has impacted my life, let’s just say that time and pages could not tell.  But what I can tell you is of the love I feel now.  Never have I been so enveloped by a love story before than the one where I was rescued.  As I look in Scripture and see Jesus’ continual compassion and mercies toward others, I readily see those caring aspects of our Lord’s loving character applied to my own life.  I see where He unashamedly welcomed me into His family.  I can see the many times I have been forgiven.

There was once a time when I wondered, looking for answers that didn’t really have questions.  There were times when I looked, but now the search is over, and I have this beautiful foundation established in the Lord Jesus Christ that wholly supports my life.

Every one of us who is holding on to that blessed hope is holding on for a reason.  We see Him.  We believe in Him.  We have witnessed Him at work in our lives.  We see His story leap from the pages of the Bible into our very lives.  This story is real.  What He has done is real.  His love is real.  And there is no greater I know.

For me, to tell another of this reason, I must begin with that love.  A love I couldn’t find anywhere, but at the same time, now I see it was a love that was chasing me down.  Being caught in His grace, I am glad for this life that now finds me in Him.

Through the course of apologetics, I could fashion sound answers that would be true over and over again.  But the testimony of my heart still tells of the reason for my hope – Jesus, and His love for me.

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Standing on the Edge

Sometimes you may come to a place that seems impossible to pass.  This is a place that edges the border of what we have been delivered from to where we are being brought to.  It is in situations like these, when God shows up, there is no doubt that His hands have been working something extraordinary through it all.  The waters may crash on the shores before and the enemy’s army may be rolling behind, but God sees you, standing there on the fringe, in a world where these two impossibilities meet, yet in Him, there is nothing impossible.  In Him, there is always a way.  In Him, you are not in a helpless position.  In Him, the victory is already won.  Before you ever came to this place, He already knew what He would do.  So rest, weary one, in His sovereignty.  Rest in His plan.  You may not understand it, but He does.  You may not know how it will work out, but He does.  This will be performed by His strength, His wisdom, and His Spirit (Zechariah 4:6), not by anything we say or do.  In getting past this place, all glory, honor, praise, and credit go to God.  He is the one who will get you to the other side in peace and wholeness, with singing and rejoicing (Exodus 15:1-21).  To you who are standing on the edge, in Him, you are not standing alone.

 “And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.

The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:

But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.

And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.

And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.” Exodus 14:13-18

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Don’t Wait, Pray Now!

“When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thy holy temple.”  Jonah 2:7

There is a glorious truth that is woven through the pages of Scripture.  That truth is that God wants to hear from you now.  Alas, many put off the intimacy of regular time in prayer with the Father until they are in desperate situations and they use Him as a last resort to the problems and conditions they are facing.

God is always present.  God is always listening.  All He needs is that heart surrendered to Him in faith, one who will seek His face, bow the knee before Him, and humbly pray.

Jonah, that famous prophet swallowed whole by a great fish, found himself in desperate need of prayer.  With Jonah, as with many, the situation didn’t have to get this bad.  He didn’t have to end up in this nasty position.  He didn’t have to wait to seek God’s heart on the matter of prophesying to Ninevah.  At any given time before this episode, he could have gone to the Lord in prayer.  Perhaps then, his own heart for the people would have changed.

Yet, we will never know, because the story before us tells us the choice he made.  He chose to run from God and as a result, he found himself in a place nobody would want to be.

It was in this place, where he finally prayed, and said, “I remembered the LORD.”  The very God he tried so desperately to run away from, now in his darkest of times, he is seeking and he remembers.  When he felt overwhelmed by his choices, overwhelmed by the sin those choices led to, and overwhelmed by the experience of his sinking plight, it was as if a spiritual light clicked on deep within him and he remembered the LORD.  He remembered His Word.  He remembered His promises.  He remembered His love for His people.  He remembered His faithfulness.  He remembered His covenant.  He remembered just how great a God he served!  When he ran from God he forgot about all the wonders of God in his selfish pursuit, but now he remembers.

That remembering led to a heart that was ready to seek God in prayer.  He wrote, “My prayer came in unto thee, into thy holy temple.”  When he cried out to God, his very cry reached the presence of God.  God was listening.  Sincere prayer reaches the ears of God.  Although he had many opportunities to pray prior to being in the fish, the sincerity of his heart is now more real than ever as he reaches out to God in prayer.

The truth of the Bible is, God hears, but don’t wait until your situation is so desperate that you are at the point where you have no other choice than to pray.  God is available with a listening ear at all times.

Martin Luther is quoted as saying, “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” Why is that? Because as breath is with the body, with each inhale and exhale, one’s life is sustained, so is the prayer line that fosters that interpersonal relationship between God and man. It is not only life-sustaining, but it is soul-sustaining, keeping that glorious love connection between the two open and flowing.  And, as Jonah felt the time of his last breath drawing nearer, he then sought to reconnect with God once more through prayer, and he believed his prayer was heard.  When we call out to God we too can believe that our prayers are heard, if we also have a sincere heart.

Prayer should never be our last go-to, get-out-of-whatever situation-free card.  Prayer keeps us in holy connection with our holy Father.  Open the lines of prayer in your life today.  Do not wait for a more opportune time, or for an event that makes you fall to your knees.

Make no mistake, the Bible repeatedly tells us that God hears those desperate, urgent cries (Psalm 34:6; 39:7-8; 50:15), and I for one am so thankful He does.  But our heavenly Father wants to hear from you now, in a consistent, daily walk of fellowship through prayer.

Keep God before your face and your heart in prayer.  Foster that love line in your life and it may keep you out of some nasty situations.

“Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.” 1 Chronicles 16:11

“When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.” Psalm 27:8

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“There is no place . . .”

Image by Jan Alexander from Pixabay

“Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?

If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;

Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.

Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.” (Psalm 139:7-12)

There is no place, O God, that can keep me from Your sight.  Your eyes see me.  Your heart knows me.  Your love shelters me.  Your mercy follows me all the days of my life (Psalm 23:6).

Help me to walk through my days in this holy confidence: “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee,” (Hebrews 13:5).

Your Word has assured me, for it cannot lie (Numbers 23:19).  Your Spirit comforts me (John 14:16; 16:7).  With Your hand holding us, You tell us not to fear (Isaiah 41:10).

Although some days seem dismal, You are the Light that shines in my life (Psalm 18:28).

Where can I go . . .?  You have the words to eternal life (John 6:68), therefore, I will most gladly plant myself in Your presence, at Your feet alongside Mary (Luke 10:39).

Thank You, for Your knowledge of me, O God.  Thank You, for Your precious thoughts toward me (Psalm 139:17).  Thank You, for anchoring me and not leaving me on the waters of this life to drift about aimlessly (Hebrews 6:19).  And thank You, for leading me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:24).

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In God, we are blessed!

Day by day, God helps to carry us and our burdens. His love bears us up and in Him we are blessed!  “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.” Psalm 68:19

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Today, You are held!

Friend, today you are held. You are safe and secure in the Father’s hand. Jesus said, “No one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand,” (John 10:29).  Rest in the grip of God’s grace. 

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Wanderer, Come Home

Wanderer, come home.  Find what you went looking for in the heart of the Father once again.  As with the prodigal, His arms are opened wide waiting to receive you to Himself.  Your return puts gladness in His heart.  Today is not too late for your feet to rejoin the path of those who walk the road of righteousness.  This path will bring calm to your spirit and peace to your soul once again.  In the refuge of His wings, you will again experience true safety, comfort, and love.

Wanderer, come home and fall into the embrace of the One whose love for you is as fresh today as it was on the day you were born.  He has not waned in His feelings about you.  His greatest desire is to have you where He is for all eternity.  Turn not away from that embrace.  Turn inward to Him.  Let His love wash over you.  Let His healing balm restore you.  Today is not too late.  Turn to the shining Son and walk in His light.  Feel the warmth of His radiant countenance smiling upon you once again.

Wanderer, refuse not His call.  Refuse not Him who loves you so.  While all people matter to God, you matter too. Experience His compassion of salvation offered through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Please, come home and make the great return today.  The Shepherd of your soul awaits (1 Peter 2:25).

“How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? 

And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.

Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.” (Matthew 18:12-14)

“Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save  a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19-20, NKJV)

More Inspirational Reads:

“Return to Me!”

“You Make a Difference to God!”

“Restored!”

“Regrowth!”

“Wash Me Jesus!”

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