God’s Omniscient View

In dealing with any adverse condition, circumstance, or trouble one thing’s for sure: God knows all about it and He has the final say! This was proven at the beginning of the book of Job when He limited what Satan could do (see Job 1:12 and Job 2:6) and at the end when God commanded a double blessing over Job’s life (see 42:10) and we see that “The LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning . . .” (Job 42:12a).

But what about the in-between?  That’s the hard thing about trying to hold on while going through the trials of this life isn’t it?  We don’t know the outcome as we are traveling through those difficult times. How awesome would it be to see the beginning from the end; yet, that would not allow our faith to be exercised and stretched, for the Bible says, “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)” (2 Corinthians 5:7) and “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

While we may not be able to see or even understand everything we are dealing with or going through; while we may not have an omniscient overview of our life, God does.  He is omniscient meaning He is all-knowing.  The Bible lets us know, “Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite” (Psalm 147:5).  There are no limits to what He knows, sees, or understands.

Isaiah 46:10 also reassures us that God is, “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.”  In other words, to reiterate my previous statement: “God has the final say” and His purposes for our lives will stand because He is the only one who knows all about it!

Be encouraged today, my friend, knowing that God’s got this no matter how chaotic, difficult, hurtful, or wrong it seems right now.  He, in His divine sovereignty, sees it all and has it all under control.  His view of our life is so much better than our own.  Hold on and trust the God who is infinitely all-knowing.

Have a very blessed day!

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It’s up to you…

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“Jotham. . . did that which was right in the sight of the Lord. . . and the people did yet corruptly.” 2 Chronicles 27:1-2

It’s up to you to live a life that is pleasing in the sight of God.

It’s up to you to walk the path of righteousness for yourself.

It’s up to you to choose how to live your days upon the earth, days spent honoring or dishonoring the grace of these moments that God has blessed you with.

There is one thing our current culture has forgotten in their attempts to pass the blame for the how’s, what’s, and why’s of life, and that is individual responsibility. While the attitudes and actions of others can negatively affect people, many don’t have this as their reasoning. Rather, they indulge in unrighteous acts and wrong living, celebrating sinfulness, all the while expressing that it is not their fault. They shift the blame to others as a defense for their reasoning to do wrong.

The above verses show that even when you have a leader or a person of influence in your life who chooses to do right and set a good example, the people still had a choice to make for themselves. The old expression “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t force him to drink,” comes to mind here.

There can be one who shows you the way and the hows of choosing the right path to walk, but it is the individual’s responsibility to choose to walk in it.

We are given choices in this life. And ultimately, we are the ones who will determine our eternal futures based on how we invested in this life given to us; based on which path we have chosen to walk: “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

It’s up to you. Choose the blessed life (Deuteronomy 28:1-14).

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” Deuteronomy 30:19

“Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord’s side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.” Exodus 32:26

“Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day:” Deuteronomy 11:26-27

“See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.” Deuteronomy 30:15-16

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

“And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.” 1 Kings 18:21

“For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.” Ecclesiastes 9:4

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

“For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” Romans 8:5

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A Personal Audience With God

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Every time you bow the knee in prayer. Every time your hands are raised in adoration to the King. Every time your mouth opens to bless the name of God and lay your petitions before Him, He personally pays attention.

Out of the over 7,000,000,000 people that currently roam planet earth, when you pray before the Father, you enjoy a personal audience with God.

Yes, my friend, you are that special to Him. Yes, my friend, He loves you that much.

When you pray, you have God’s full attention. I don’t know how He’s able to be such a good Father in giving you and me this undivided attention, but He is.

It’s as if nothing else matters when your heart seeks Him in holy supplication. Even out of the billions, when you pray, God hears as if you are the only one.

We know He is omniscient, knowing all things, everywhere, with everyone, at one time, but He, in His love and grace, gives us this personal audience, to hear what we petition, to be mindful of us personally when we pray.

This, my friend, shows us the delight God takes in His children. Each one matters to Him personally.

Like a parent whose child calls home, God picks up the receiver and listens, giving His blessed ones His personal audience.

“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us” – 1 John 5:14

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” – Jeremiah 33:3

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you– Matthew 7:7

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” – Philippians 4:6

“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

“For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers. . .” – 1 Peter 3:12

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Your Amazing IF

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IF has been around since the beginning of humanity.  IF usually comes with choice, consequence, and question.  But, what if the word IF can be a statement of faith?  What if the word IF can be a declaration of what you believe God can do in your life.

One of my favorite IF questions in the Bible led to a miracle occurring and the constraints of what is normally not possible being removed.  IF unlocks something amazing in one man’s life, never to be repeated by another human being except for Jesus Christ.  Tossed about in the waves of contrary winds, Jesus’ disciples are struggling in a boat in the middle of the sea when Jesus came to them walking on the water (see Matthew 14:22-33).  After Jesus greeted the men in the boat and calmed them, Peter asked, “Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water,” (Matthew 14:28; italics added mine).

I believe Peter knew wholeheartedly it was Jesus since some Bible studies use the word IF as SINCE.  Thus, I believe Peter’s IF is a statement of faith, even if it appeared to be an immature faith at the onset.  He believed in Jesus.  He believed if Jesus allowed him to, he would be able to do what is naturally impossible.  He, under the direction of the Lord, could do the amazing, and walk on water.

Now, many of us are very familiar with how Peter’s story here ends.  Seeing the waves his faith falters and Jesus is there to pull him up from his sinking condition and bring him back to the boat.  Yet, that isn’t the part I want to focus on here.  I want to focus on the power of the IF that drew him out of the boat in the first place.  Where other men stayed hidden, he literally threw it all to the wind, and with the chance of a lifetime, stepped out to experience the amazing.

We can laugh at Peter and put him down, but how many of us can honestly answer that we would have gotten out of the boat also?  You see, IF can be a hindrance that causes over questioning and actually act as a stumbling block for not moving forward into something wonderful.  But, IF can also be the catalyst to open a door of opportunity if it is approached with the idea that something amazing can come out of taking a chance with Jesus; to move on to the waters of the unknown with my eyes on Him.

The phrase “What if?” has birthed a lot of good quotes and with good reason.  In that two-worded question, we are daring to ask ourselves the question: “Do I stay in the boat or do I choose to walk on water?”  We are daring to see potential in ourselves to do more than the ordinary, to do something amazing with my IF.

Where is your “IF” calling you today or even this week?  What extraordinary thing may unlock for you if you take a chance with your amazing IF?  I believe God gives us dreams to pursue, but it’s our faith in active pursuit of that IF that will allow the amazing to happen for us, just like it did for Peter.  Jesus most certainly could have gotten to the boat without walking on water, but then Peter or any one of the other disciples would have never had the opportunity to ask and pursue something more.

Is Jesus calling you to walk on water?  Is He calling you to take steps of faith in pursuit of a particular IF?  If He is, keep your eyes on Him and allow Him to lead you to your amazing IF.

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“Be Empowered!”

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And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-9

Oh, that thorn in the flesh syndrome. That persistent thing that seems like it will never be gone from your life. I would venture to say that most people have dealt with or are currently dealing with that one nagging thing that keeps – well, nagging you! That one thing that causes us to say, “Lord, if You would just move this one thing from my life, I would be alright.” Thorns are hurtful. They are irritating. And yes, they can get in the way of the one who wants to enjoy the blossom. There may be a beautiful rose on the end of the stem, but the thorns can hinder the full enjoyment of holding on to it.

There are times when one may be trying to enjoy the beauty of God’s promises that hurtful things may arise. As one tries to draw nearer and nearer to Him, particular thorns may make it hard to hold on. Thorns can “spring up and choke them,” Matthew 13:7. Nevertheless, despite what our outside circumstances may be telling us, we are taught that we can still live an empowered life. Though we have “infirmities” (and we all do), “grace” is still at work. Grace – that unmerited favor makes room when obstacles get in the way. And God says His grace is “sufficient.” It is enough.

There is only one man who lived in this world perfectly, and that’s our Lord Jesus Christ. The rest of us are surviving off God’s grace. We depend on it every single day though we are undeserving of it. He has empowered us through our Lord Jesus Christ to progress on this journey despite all our shortcomings. Every obstacle that we face in life is not going to go away. Oh, how I wish it would. But, what the apostle Paul is teaching us is that we can still succeed in Christ. We can still have a blessed Christian life through His power that “rest upon” us.

Have you ever played tag as a kid? Somebody tried to tag you and get you out, but you gave them the slip and got away. Have you ever, in a victorious romp, stuck your thumbs in your ears as a kid while waving your fingers and chanting, “Nana nana, boo, boo?” Paul had a victorious romp of his own. After he prayed, he realized despite all he was going through, the grace of God was still at work in his life and that it was God’s strength that was being made perfect in Paul’s weakness.  Therefore, Paul confidently declared, “Most gladly… will I rather glory in my infirmities.” 

Don’t you love that? Despite it all, God is still at work in us and through us. He is perfecting some stuff in us and for us, and we can rejoice with Paul.  We are not rejoicing because of the trouble or hurt we experience or encounter. We are rejoicing because we believe in God’s grace, and that allows the power of Christ to rest upon us because we have yielded to Him.

The empowered life is one that yields to Him and recognizes it is His strength being perfected in us. The empowered person can still push forth knowing that God is still at work: “If God be for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31. The hurt may not be over or gone but it’s as if God is reminding us: “I have all you need to make through.”

Please note: Talking about empowerment can easily cause one to divert and take a humanistic view. But, I have strived to keep this God-centered. Everything we need is in Him, and when we can grab hold of that, we become truly empowered.

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In the will of God

“But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.” Jonah 1:4

Are the winds blowing?  Has a tempest howled at your door?  Do you feel like your ship is bring broken and your world falling apart?

Have you stayed the course?  Have you allowed your sails to be set in another direction from His calling?  Have you gotten on board with a plan that is not God’s best plan for your life?

There is only one solution.  Reunite yourself with God’s will for your life.  Step back onto the path He has chosen for you to walk.  It may not always be easy, and the way may be unclear to us, but when we are where God want us to be, doing what God wants us to do, we are in the best place possible.

Following, when we don’t know all the specifics, is not always easy but the Bible encourages us to “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5,6).  But you must be willing to go where He directs.

Jonah fled and when his plan began to break around him, he ended up in the belly of a great fish (Jonah 1:17).  If your plan is breaking apart, make sure your plan is falling in line with God’s plan for your life.

God’s ways are perfect and right.  He wants to see a good end come from even the worst of circumstances (Jeremiah 29:11).  But we can never see the fulfilling of it if we are determined to board our own boat and go our own way.

In the will of God is where we’ll find safety and refuge.  In the will of God is where His best plan for us becomes the best part of our story.

Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.”  God will instruct you in the best way to go.

Psalm 37:4 “Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”  When we delight in God’s will, God delights in us.

Proverbs 19:21 “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.”  It is God’s will that will always stand.  Don’t fight it.

Jeremiah 29:11 “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.”  God knows how to get to the best ending out of your life.

Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”  Seek God’s kingdom/His will first and everything else will fall into place.

John 7:17 “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.”  Those who truly seek after His will, will know His will.  God doesn’t play hide and seek with His people.

Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”  Following God’s will, even when we don’t understand, will always work out according to His purpose.

Father God, I don’t pretend to know everything.  The things that are happening and the things I don’t understand may perplex me, but nothing is out of the reach of Your Sovereign hand.  Thank You, for Your faithfulness in my life.  Thank You, for the daily new mercies.  Thank You, that You have not given up on me, rather daily, You help me in the way I should go.  Forgive me for the times when I went the wrong way.  Help me to stay where You want me to stay and do what You want me to do.  In the name of Jesus Christ, AMEN.

If you have found yourself out of the will of God, use today to start again.  Today can be a day of renewal for you.  Today, you can have a fresh start.

“When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.

They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.

But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.” Jonah 2:7-9

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Your Heart Wants God

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Many hearts walking around today want God.  Feeling void without Him, they fill it with things they think can satisfy the longing deep within.

More and more, the search goes on to try this and that to fill the place only God can fill.  Attempt after attempt is made to try something, anything, that will occupy the space called your heart.

Friend, this is where God wants to be.  Successes, things, and even people will never be able to do for you what God can do.  All the things we try to put in place and accept into that sacred space of our hearts, outside of Him, will never last, will never fill, and will never bring you to the peace you are truly seeking.

Your heart wants God.  Your heart will never be happy with anything or anyone else. You may not completely understand how it all works, what it all means, or what this is all supposed to look like, but your heart wants God.

All you have to do is invite Him into that sacred space. Yes, you may have questions, and for some of those questions, there may not be an immediate answer revealed to you. But take that simple first step of faith, and trust God enough to let Him come into your life with His love and saving plan even if you do not immediately have all the answers to the questions you are looking for.

Your heart wants God, and Jesus gave us this promise: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20).

Your heart wants God, and all you have to do is open the door and let Him in.  If you do, Jesus said, “I will come in to him.”  He loves you, and in your heart is where He wants to be.

Your heart wants God, and God wants your heart. Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Matthew 22:37).

Even if you do not understand everything, the Bible encourages us to “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5,6).

Today, with all sincerity of heart, look to God.  “Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.” (Lamentations 3:41).  “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” (Isaiah 45:22).

Jesus is the only way you will ever find to get to God. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

Jesus is the only answer and plan for our spiritual healing. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:16, 17).

Today, your heart can have what it genuinely wants.  Turn to God through Jesus Christ and be saved.  Let Him fill your heart as only He can. “For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name.” (Psalm 33:21).

“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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The Tragedy of Unbelief

 

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“So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” Hebrews 3:19

Standing at the crosswalk, we are ready to go forward. All we are waiting for is the signal that gives us the all-clear, telling us it is safe to walk ahead. The choice is up to us to follow the directions of the signal or ignore it and place ourselves in harm’s way.

The Children of Israel had a chance to move forward into something great that God had in store for them. It was a land of promise. God had given them the all-clear. God said, “Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel…” (Numbers 13:2; emphasis added). 

The promise was there, clearly spoken by God, that this is what He was doing for His people. He was giving them this land. No, if’s, and’s, or but’s about it. He didn’t send a delegation for debate. He sent them to see what was ahead for them. That was their signal to move forward.

There are promises galore written in the Holy Word of God. Promises of futures unimaginable. But, the sad reality for many is to come to the end of their life never obtaining those promises. Never understanding or knowing what it truly feels like to experience the riches of God’s grace.

Sadder still is not only coming to the end of one’s life having never experienced the greatness God has in store for His children – but, when one faces their eternity, they are told of that glorious place of promise, that they may not enter in.

Unbelief caused the children of Israel to forfeit their first attempted entrance into the Promised Land (Hebrews 3:7-11, 15-19). A land they looked forward to while they suffered under the bondage of slavery. A place of fulfillment their souls longed not only to see but to live in, and experience, and enjoy.

When they decided not to take hold of God’s promise for themselves, they decided to say no to His goodness until it was too late.

Today, many are walking opposite of the promise of God, and His name is Jesus. Jesus Christ is the greatest testimony of promise there ever is or was. He is the greatest gift of deliverance a soul could ever hope for and need. Yet, through unbelief, many say no, and walk away, being turned back into the wilderness to fight the elements alone and miss out on what could have been.

Walking away from an earthly promise is one thing. Truthfully, when the children of Israel found out what they had given up, they quickly wanted to change their minds (Numbers 14:40-45). 

But can I tell you that walking away from an eternal promise is a tragedy far, far worse. Turn to Jesus today while there is still time. While the door is open, Jesus is inviting you to enter His rest both now and for all eternity. He says, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:29). Today, your promise awaits. Jesus is signaling you to walk forward.     

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Carry the Light

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“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

Help me to carry Your light with me throughout
this day. Let Your brilliance and the radiance of
all you are permeate my very being. In my daily
conversation, let all of who You are, which has
been poured into my life, be a witness with a holy
outflow.

Let my life speak for You. Not just in words, for
man hears much of that these days. But let the
steps I take throughout this day, be filled with the
very love, power, Spirit, and light You have shown
me – may I express it all with the fulness of heart
toward others in the paths I travel toward our
eternal destiny.

The best of me is the Christ in me, and I want to
let Him shine in my life.

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Except the LORD build the house…

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“Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it…” Psalm 127:1

Except the LORD builds the house, then, my friend, the labor you put forth is in vain. The key to any strong structure is the foundation, and unless the LORD be thy foundation in all things, whatever you hope to bring forth in your own strength will all be for nothing.

This life was never meant to be lived in our own strength or by our own wisdom and planning. The Bible is quick to remind us: “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;” (2 Corinthians 3:5).  

How many times do we rest upon what “ourselves” can bring to the plan? Is it not Christ who chose “unlearned and ignorant men” (Acts 4:13) and made them vessels that would carry His gospel message throughout the world? And did not Paul teach us: “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:27-31)?

The Architect of this world is also the Architect of your life, and if you allow Him, He can build there something fantastic and wonderful. 

His plans are never about your sufficiency or what you can do – it is all about what He can do through you. Let God build, and your labor will not be in vain.

Father God, not only in our homes, but in our lives, in our ministries, and in everything and every place you have set us, and wherever we may seek to build – we pray for Your guiding hand and leading heart that we build only what and where You would have us to build. You are Sovereign God. You are in control of all of these and all of us. And we pray that it is You that build in our lives and that You would help us to build. In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray, AMEN!

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