“I Believe God!”

Photo: Pixabay

In the midst of the storm, he was tossed.  A prisoner shackled by iron, but not held down in his faith.  The Apostle Paul has been through some rough patches in life but even now he stands by his faith, and says, “I believe God!” (Acts 27:25; NKJV, read Acts 27).

There are moments when life will make you scratch your head with wonder, thinking, “What the world is going on around here?  I have stood the ground of faith.  I have walked the path of the Lord, and yet, now I am facing a ferocious storm that wants to capsize everything I believe in.  I face waves of adversity come without notice and slam against my body, my mind, and my heart.  What’s going on?!”

If you have never faced that head scratching, heart-searching moment, then I celebrate with you.  But, if you, like most of us, have stood on the bow of the boat, with a raging storm all around; thundering, lightning, and the very real fear that in a moment’s notice everything could go really wrong really quickly, then you know the quandary it places you in: give up and forget everything that has gotten you to where you are; or, secure yourself for the ride and hold on.

The Apostle Paul chose to do just that.   The storm hadn’t changed.  As a matter of fact, it grew worse.  Yet, he anchored himself in God.  Paul held on to the promise of God and boldly stated, “I believe!”

In God’s Word is light and strength to hold on to during the darkest and stormiest of days and nights.  Some days require more encouragement than others.  Some nights need the comfort of God holding you so close through His matchless words that say, “I am here for you.  You are not alone.  Come, find comfort and solace in Me and rest your weary soul.”

When He says, “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you,” (Deut. 31:8; NLT); Father God, help us to lay down the discouragement that tries to speak against Your promise.

When His Word speaks, “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds,” (Psalm 147:3); Father God, help us to find comfort in You and trust that you are healing this situation right now; that Your hand is still bandaging these wounds the world tries to inflict upon us.

When Jesus declares, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,” (Matthew 11:28; NIV); Father God, help us to cast these burdens and worries at Your feet and accept the peace that You want for us in our hearts.

Like the Apostle Paul, we have to choose to believe God over what’s raging around us.  Storms are frightening and life can be tumultuous, but Father God, help us to hold on to You, and just believe.

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“Our True Image”

In a world where selfies, mainstream personal videos, and profiles dominate it’s easy to surmise that image to most means a great deal.  One’s style and the exterior of self is put on display for the world to like, or not.

But, the true degree of our image goes much deeper.  It’s so easy to look at the clothes, the hair, and the poses and think that’s the sum of a person.  When God crafted us individually and designed us like Him, He saw so much more.  He had a greater vision in mind.

I fear that we have watered down His intention for our purposeful design of a deeper and more spiritually revealing self that personifies His glory before the world and we have settled for the cheaper, mass-produced, mass approved public version.

I believe when God spoke in the beginning that we were made in His image (see Genesis 1:27), He spoke of more than just our facial features, our physique, our height, weight, and so on.  He spoke of our representation of something the boundaries of those outer measurements can’t comprehend.  He spoke of our likeness of Him.  At that point of creation, when it came time for humanity to be put on the earth, God looked to Himself to snap a portrait of who we are truly designed to be.

Now, do I mean that you are supposed to be God sitting on the throne in heaven?  No.  But, what I do mean is we are carriers of so much more.  The portrait of our lives is made to expose and reflect His glory of the greater.  The selfies we have grown accustomed to can’t compare to the true nature we were designed to resemble.

So my question is, why settle for less when your life and mine was made to shine beyond the flash of a lens?  Can we not view our importance and value through the eyes of God instead of view clicks, like buttons, and reactions?  Who or what do we really want our lives to model?

Selfies and having fun with cameras aren’t bad.  I take them myself from time to time.  They just don’t hold the sum of who we really are.  We can make pretty faces, pose, and dress – but, we will never find true happiness and satisfaction in life exchanging our true image for cheaper version this world has to offer.

Therefore, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven,” Matthew 5:16.  Show the world your selfie that’s established in Him.

Verses to ponder:

Colossians 3:10 “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.”

Ephesians 4:24 “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

Romans 13:14 “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”

Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

 

“God Lifts Me Up!”

“I will extol You, O LORD, for You have lifted me up, And have not let my enemies rejoice over me.”

~Psalm 30:1~

“Get Your Hopes Up!”

When discussing your dreams, ambitions,  and life goals there are two types of people you deal with: the pessimist and the optimist.  The pessimists have the habit of speaking negativity into everything that comes across their path.  And, if one is really stepping out on faith and shooting for the moon with a certain determined objective in mind, one that doesn’t fit into the ordinary way one may think, it usually eggs this negative-Nelly on to speak even more of all the things that could go wrong.

Whereas, the optimist doesn’t see the same barriers the pessimist sees.  The optimists believe that if you want to shoot for the moon, shoot, and don’t stop until you land on it.  For this one there is no such thing as an unattainable goal.  “If you can dream it, you can live it,” is their life motto.

There are a lot of things that many of us want to do in life but setbacks cause some to shrink away from those dreams.  The fighting to press forward before can put a damper on the will to fight again to see desires be fulfilled.

But, in our Christian journey, if we are doing nothing else, we are walking by faith (2 Cor. 5:7).  Everything we believe in and look forward to is based on hope and expectation.  There are a lot of things that we can’t see in this present day, but a glorious future is whispered in our ears by the voice of hope; the voice that never stops believing there is more.  There is greater to come because God has declared it throughout His Word.

While the world tries to dim your light and say, “Don’t get your hopes up;” I say, “Get your hopes up” and get excited about what God wants to do through His people in this new year!  Enter this year with expectations raised higher than ever before!  Don’t shrink back, but stir up the hope within and believe for so much more!  Reach beyond even the positivity of the optimist and declare, “I am a hope-imist!”

Why?

Because…

“I am a child of God who is favored!” (Num. 6:25-26; Ps. 5:12; 30:5; Gal. 3:26)

“I have an enduring hope!” (Ps. 71:14; Pro. 23:18; Isa. 40:31; Mk. 9:23)

“I am special to God!” (Jer. 1:5; Luk. 12:7; 1Pet. 2:9)

“His plans for me are so much greater than I can envision!” (Jud. 6-7; Pro. 9:2; Jer. 29:11)

“I have a reason to believe!” (Gen. 15:6; Ps. 112:7; Joh. 3:16; Mk. 11:24)

“I have a reason to keep pressing on!” (2 Chr. 15:7; Job 17:9; Gal. 6:9-10; Phi. 3:14; Jam. 1:12)

“I have a reason to expect victory in the end!” (Deu. 20:4; Joh. 16:33; Rom. 8:37; Phi. 4:13; 1 Joh. 5:4)

“I am in the plan of God!” (Ps. 138:8; Mat. 6:25-34; Eph. 2:10; Phi. 1:6)

…Therefore, I will get my hopes up!  I will believe the best for this new year ahead!

Scripture Prayers:

“Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.” Psalm 33:22

“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” Romans 15:13

“The Babe of Bethlehem”

“And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,  And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.” Matthew 2:5-6

At the writing of Matthew 2:5-6, over 700 years have gone by since the Old Testament prophet Micah told of a Ruler that would be birthed out of this little town of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2-3).  While over those centuries of waiting, countless babies have entered this world and linked the beginning of their lives to this motherland, only One’s heritage can connect the dots with those long ago words that herald the coming of the Savior of the world.

He would be the freedom the world has longingly yearned for.  He would be the peace, souls since the beginning of time, have dreamt about.  He would be the Shepherd who would not lead with a rod or a staff, but with His life.  This blessed Babe of Bethlehem would be the all eternal One, whose days are from everlasting (Micah 5:).  He would be the Babe seen as He “who is, and who was, and which is to come, the Almighty,” (Revelation 1:8), and He would change everything the world once knew.

No wonder hearts were stirred.  No wonder souls were searching with excitement.  No wonder kingdoms were in a ruckus.  The Babe of Bethlehem was no ordinary babe.  He was God incarnate, God in the flesh, “God with us,” (Matthew 1:23).  The imperfect people born in this world would need the help of that perfect Savior born in Bethlehem.

The celebration of Christmas is the celebration of that precious Babe who had finally arrived in the world to bring this long-awaited hope.  He that was born as the prophesied Messiah would lift the judgment of condemnation for those who not only seek Him, but find Him.  And, they are no longer content to have Him wrapped in swaddling clothes, but their soul’s desire is to wrap Him in their hearts.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

 

“Follow the Star!”

Photo: Pixabay

Hope.  I have to believe their journey was measured with steps of hope.  They’ve heard the prophecies.  They have studied to know when and where and what to look for and at its appearing in the sky they knew for sure, somehow, some way, that by following that particular star, it would lead them to the source of all hope being fulfilled.  It would lead them to the Messiah, the true King, who is worthy to be honored, worshipped and praised (Matthew 2:1-2).

There’s a lot of following and pursuits that people chase after every day.  But, if those steps aren’t leading us closer to the true King then it is a vain journey.  To have that wonderful life or miracle of newness on any street we don’t need to wait for a fictitious figment of our imagination to come to town.  We need to place one spiritual foot in front of the other and go after the true Star.

Not the twinkling celestial bodies in the sky that give light to the objects below, but the Star who is the “light of the world,” (John 8:12) that allows us to escape the darkness of sin and breathes new life into the dreary souls of these world travelers, illuminating a new path for our journey.

It is Him we are to look for.  It is Christ we are to chase after.  And, as they say, “Wise men still seek Him.”  Therefore, follow the Star.  For He is not only the King of the Jews the men of the old days were seeking after.   He is also the King of our hearts and the fulfiller of all the hope we are in search of.

“Power Belongs to God!”

We don’t have to do life on our own. We don’t have to try to press through the days in our own power and strength. Rather, we are in a relationship with a loving, heavenly Father, who cares about everything we are going through and everything we are dealing with and He has the power to take control of it all because all power belongs to God (Psalm 62:11).

Father God, in your hands we commit every worry, every fear and every trouble. Father God, we lean and depend on Your grace and mercy. We thank You for all that You have already done and continue to do in each and every one of our lives. We know that You see all and know all. Help us to rest in You. Give us that peace which surpasses all understanding as we hold on to You and Your word and Your hope for this day and this week. Thank You that You love us enough to hear our prayers and it’s in Your hands we leave them. Thank You for being our all in all. In Jesus’ name we pray – AMEN!!!

“God is with the Generation of the Righteous!”

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“For God is with the generation of the righteous,” Psalm 14:5, NKJV

“With” is a simple four-lettered word we throw in the middle of a sentence to show the togetherness of something or someone.  But, when speaking of our relationship with God, we do have that definition of God being near us wherever we are.  We do have the meaning of Him walking amongst us through the valley lows and the mountain highs.  We do have that basic hint of the word “with,” but we also have so much more.

That word, as general as it is in meaning, not only tells us where God is in conjunction with His people but because of where He is, it also declares a shift in our stance and position in this world.  We are not just the run of the mill ordinary folk you may meet on the street in passing.  We are not the average Joe that people may be used to dealing with.  As we are taking our daily steps and going about our routines, we and they must realize there is so much more to us than what the naked eye may see.  As we sit at our desks to work or do whatever tasks our job requires, our position may look like everybody else’s on the outside – oh but, inside He is there.  God has implanted a part of Himself in the heart of each believer and He has attached Himself to the righteous.

Listen, it may not always feel like it, but when people look at you what they are seeing is just a shadow of what you really got going on with you.  Surrounding you and dwelling in you, through the power of the Holy Spirit is God Almighty.  Today, walk with your head held high knowing that no matter how people perceive you, their view is obscured by whatever bias they carry.  Who you are in God and God with you speaks of so much more.  Your stance and your position now are one of grace, power, holiness, love, and peace that is not only covering your life but is walking with you every step of the way.

Today, Lord, You have chosen to draw near to where Your people are.  You have surrounded us on every side and have taken up residence in the innermost parts of our being.  God, thank You for the gift of You.  Thank You for loving us so much that even in Your omnipotent and holy nature, You have attached Yourself to humble creatures such as we, Your people, and You desire to be with us wherever we are.  This is a most priceless gift to us.  Let us not take lightly this preciousness of Your presence with us.  In the name of Jesus Christ, AMEN!

 

 

“Life gives us two options…”

Life gives us two options: stop where we are now and walk away or keep moving forward until one’s destination is reached. Giving up is not an option. The perseverance of our Christian journey is more than obtaining worldly goals, success, and the like. It’s a continual press onward and upward toward the kingdom of God. Heaven is our destination, and although it may be hard at times, we must keep pressing forth until we are where Jesus is.

“Go Forward!”

When God was ready for the children of Israel to go through the Red Sea, despite what appeared to be an obstacle before them, He told Moses, “Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:” Exodus 14:15. Sometimes we have to stop worrying over everything, we have to stop staring at the problem, and just GO FORWARD!