“Restored!”

When my computer shuts down unexpectedly while I’m online, when I sign back on, in the corner of my screen there appears a button that says “restore.”  This button is designed to take you back to the tabs and sites you were visiting or working on before the crash or shut down occurred.  It is there to bring you back to the place where you once were.

Have you ever experienced a shut down moment in life?  A time when is seems that the walls came crashing in and you lost sight of where you were?  Has there ever been a time when you just need a refreshing?  You needed to step back, evaluate everything presently before you, and start again?  I’m pretty sure we can all raise our hand to attest to being in similar situations at one time or another.  A time when you just felt depleted and needed to be restored.

Restoration is right up God’s alley.  Everything in the Bible points mankind to His holy desire to see people restored.  God cares about us.  Not only the spiritual us, but He cares about all of us.  Every tidbit in life, He is well aware of.  Many people only look to God in the big and dramatic areas of life, but God is concerned about your well-being in the whole of your life.

John once wrote, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth,” (3 John 2).  I believe that John wanted us to walk out the restored life in our daily living.  Not just claiming it for our salvation (which, needless to say, is very important), but to have it as an active mindset that goes before us and prospers us in every part of our daily living.

Slumps are all around us, but we are not called to be slump dwellers.  We have a choice how to handle the strains and afflictions we face in this life.  Peter gives us this advice:

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” (1 Peter 5:6-10)

In these few verses, Peter doesn’t hide the adversities one faces, but he highlights what to do with them.  First, he states to humble yourself before God and let Him exalt you (vs. 6).  When God is the one exalting you, you are restored!  Next, in verse 7, he tells his readers what to do with all those cares that are weighing you down, all those things that are making you feel like you are in a shut down mode.  He says to get rid of them.  And, we are not to dispose of them any kind of way.  We are to give these burdens to God because He is the One who truly cares for you.  Once again, if God is caring for you and helping you to deal with your burdens, you are in a restored position.

There are things that can try to hinder and rob you of the restored life.  Following the above two verses, we see some of the afflictions and dealing with the enemy that people face and how we are to be on guard against the advances of it and be steadfast in our faith through it all. We have a responsibility to protect our restored status while pushing forth in the faith.

And lastly, in verse 10, Peter lets us know that though there may be suffering at times, it will never compare to the glory that we inherit by our Lord Jesus Christ.  It is He that will see us through.  It is He that will make us perfect.  It is He that will “stablish, strengthen, settle you.”  It is through Him you can be restored!

In our everyday life, as well as in the time to come after we pass from here, in Christ, we live a restored life.  Once in a while we may feel that we have been knocked off our rocker, but remember who you are and whose you are.  In Him, we don’t have to stay in that “knocked off” state.  Follow Peter’s advice and give what you are dealing with to God and ask Him to hit the restore button in your life.

God wants you to be blessed in Him.  He wants you, more than anyone else, to live a successful Christian life.  Let Him in your world, your circumstances, and your situations and lean on Him for complete restoration and healing.  He will pick you up, polish you off, and make you like new again.

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“Father God, It’s to You we pray!” | A Prayer for Today

Father God, Sometimes in this life we just don’t understand everything that’s going on around us.  We have ups and we have downs, but through it all, You remain the same.  Thank You for being our source this day and every day.  Thank You for holding our hand through the turbulent tides we face.  Thank You that You have continually kept Your promise to never leave us, nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).  Thank You for bringing us through.

Father God, our hearts are opened before You.  Nothing is hid from You.  We take great comfort in that because we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that You know us better than we know ourselves.  You are our Lord.  You are our King.  You are sovereign in all Your majesty and power.  You are our leaning force, our shelter to run and hide in the time of the storm.  You are He who loves us beyond measure in spite of our faults and shortcomings.

Father God, we love You so much.  You are the One who deserves all the glory and honor.  Without You we are nothing and apart from You we can do nothing.  Our life is in Your blessed and mighty hands.  We are praying for Your help throughout this day.  Help with life, help with the decisions and choices that we make, help in every situation and circumstance we may face.

Father God, we are asking You to bless our homes, bless our families, and please remember the unsaved members of our families.  We are praying for hearts to be opened to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.  We are praying for hearts and minds to be sensitive to Your holy call.  Thank You for the grace and mercy that You have bestowed upon each one of us this day and every day.  Thank You for another day that You have kept us.

Father God, it’s to You we pray and it’s in Your hands we commit every one of these prayers.  You are our trust and our stay.  You are our comfort through this day.  You are our peace even when we don’t know what to do.  You are where we lay each burden down and know and believe that You are just, faithful, and true.  You are the God of all righteousness, and to You be the glory forever and ever.  In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, we pray, AMEN!

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“Overlooked? Not by God!”

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Do you ever feel like life is a series of “Duck, Duck, Goose” games?  There you sit in your circle, surrounded by other people.  Then, the opportunity comes.  The one who can tag you as the next one that can rise from the circle begins to make their turn around the circle.  They look at each one sitting and try to take in the possibility of who gets to be the privileged one; who gets to be “goose.”

All eyes and ears are opened to that one.  They watch.  They listen.  They wait in anticipation to see if the chance and opportunity to rise and run falls on them.  As the game proceeds, the favor of that one doesn’t fall on you and you are left to sit in the circle once more.

Times of sitting and waiting are rarely fun unless you see the possible potential that can flow from that down time.  Often, many people, in many circles, of life are overlooked and passed by without a second glance.  And, while it seems the favor of man has continually ignored and/or snubbed you, in your down time there is One who sees.

It’s so easy in life to get caught up and focused on the human to human point of contact and favor.  While a better use of our time, down or not, should be focused on our human to God contact, and the potential of growing more in Him.

While David was a young man in his circle, he was overlooked not only by his brothers, but his father too.  When the prophet Samuel came to pay a call to anoint the next one to rise out of the circle, the next one to be king, David wasn’t even thought of when all the sons of the house lined up according to the potential that human eyes could see.

But, in his down time, there was oodles of potential growing and producing a God-fearing, dedicated life beyond the eyes of what man can see.  In my opinion, it is possible that even David himself didn’t see everything in him like God saw it, for he didn’t force himself to be seen by others and noticed.  It was not until Samuel exhausted all possibilities before him did he bother to ask was there another option.  Was there someone else who should be considered for this great honor?

He heard the whisper of God speak, “Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart,” (1 Samuel 16:7), and as all the possibilities passed before him, he found out the Lord didn’t choose any one of them, even when man thought and believed they were the logical choice.

No, but in his overlooked season, a heart was developing in David that caught God’s attention when others neglected see the power of potential growing in him.  A heart that loved God from the inside out.  A heart that was sensitive to the leading and moving of God.  A heart that had faith in God that would allow him to stand before a literal giant and make him fall.  A heart in David was growing and maturing for God alone.  This is what piqued God’s interest in him.  Not the outward stuff that others could see and overlook him for.  But God was excited and drawn to those things on the inside that only He could see.

Height.  Stature.  Good looks.  Outward talent and so forth will all fade and deteriorate over time.  But a heart that is truly after God will last and endure.

What we need to remember and take away from this story is that God sees it all.  Although it is not right, many will continue to judge by only what they see on the exterior of all you have to offer.  But God sees all the possibilities within.  And, although many may overlook you, God has not.

Don’t sit in your circle idly waiting for others approval.  Rather, wait on God, and live for Him.  Once again, David didn’t seek their attention.  He was outside with the sheep doing the work he was assigned to do at that time (1 Samuel 16:11) when he was called to be anointed the next king of Israel (1 Samuel 16:12-13).

Wherever you are in life, keep your focus on God.  Live a life that is pleasing to Him from the inside out.  Worry less about what others think and rest your hope in what God alone sees and knows all about you.  This is not a game to Him, and He will never overlook you!

Confident in God!

There is always something about the stories where the underdog comes out on top, where the least of all becomes the greatest that sends chills of inspiration up the spine.

The story of David and Goliath has long evoked a sense awe at the victory won and the hope of possibility in the soul still in the fight facing his/her own giants. The fact of the matter is that many things in this life which we face day to day can at times seem too much to bear.  Our worries don’t necessarily have to be against the biggest guy around.  Just the struggle of making it one more day, another try at giving it your best shot, can make it really hard for some people.

That’s why this article is not going to focus on the beast Goliath was or how David brought him down with just a stone and slingshot.

Nope. I want us to focus on the confidence that David had in God.

To me, it doesn’t matter if what you face is big or small. Sometimes the hardest stuff is the routine, small stuff that gets on your nerves every single day and makes you want to throw in the towel and quit.

Yes, David did the impossible in the name of the Lord. But, what I have found out in my own life is when we evoke that same confidence in God in every area of our lives, big or small, God tends to step in and work it out for us.  And, you know it was Him because that very area in life that used to be a source of hardship and frustration now becomes a place of peace and productivity.

David, before confronting Goliath, declared, “The LORD delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine,” (1 Samuel 17:37, NKJV. emphasis mine).  I want us to focus on “He will” of that statement.  David expressed in those two little words the amount of confidence he had in the God he served.

Confidence in God the key no matter what. Many of times we misplace our confidences in the things and the people we see around us, allowing them to become our focus and control, when God should be at the forefront of the battle with us.  Over and over again we are told in His Word, “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man,” (Psalm 118:8, NKJV); yet, man seems to always get more of our attention and we wonder why we falter in the battle and don’t end up standing as victor over the giants and circumstances we face.

We have to rely more on God than anything else in this world. He truly is the only one who can get in there and fight with us and for us and bring us to a victorious end on the other side.

Below are some reminders to trust God and have confidence in Him no matter the size of anything we face. Knowing this will improve our day to day struggles in life and turn them into day to day victories.

  • “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” – Proverbs 3:5
  • “Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.” – Isaiah 26:4
  • “Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.” – Psalm 37:3
  • “Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.” – 2 Chronicles 20:17
  • “Never be afraid to trust in unknown future to a known God.” – Corrie Ten Boom
  • “Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.” – Martin Luther
  • “So many of us limit our praying because we are not reckless in our confidence in God. In the eyes of those who do not know God, it is madness to trust Him, but when we pray in the Holy Spirit we begin to realize the resources of God, that He is our perfect heavenly Father, and we are His children.” – Oswald Chambers

Words To Live By – “Rest In Jesus!”

“THAT’S IT, I HAD IT!!!” We have all had those moments in life. Don’t lose your cool, lose your problems instead. Jesus invites us to “CAST” everything on Him because He “CARES” for us! Take that encouragement with you as you go through this day. Make it up in your mind that whatever irks you, gets under your skins or makes you want to wash your hands of it all, give it to Jesus and let Him help you with this day!!!

Father God, thank you for Your Sovereign hand at work in my life today. Thank You that you are willing to be my burden bearer and my heavy load sharer. Thank You that you are concerned enough about me to lend me Your ear to hear my prayer requests that come up before You. You are an awesome and amazing God. Time and time again You work to pull me through. I am ever so grateful for every drop of Your love, Your peace and Your anointing in my life. Apart from You, I can do nothing and without You I am nothing. Into Your hands, I commit every prayer request. In the name of Your dear Son, Jesus Christ, I pray – AMEN!!!

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“Embracing the Promises of God!”

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Are you just saying, “AMEN!” to the preacher and the message or are you really getting into an agreement with the words coming forth from the mouthpiece of God?  Do you think the songs that are sung, which carry His good word and lifts your soul, do you think they are just to make you feel good for a moment, or are they truths binding themselves on your heart because you can see with eyes of faith what God really wants to do in your life?  Do you think the words written in that Holy Bible are just a collection of tales to temporarily inspire you or are they moments in the lives of others God is using to show you that He can do the same thing for you?

It’s one thing to hear messages, read the Word, and listen to the songs about the promises of God, and it’s another thing to grab hold of them for yourself and believe with a fervent grip that they are for you, too.  Embracing God’s promises is saying, “I may not have it now, but my faith is tied to what God already spoke over my life.  With my physical eyes, it may not currently be before me, but with my spirituals eyes, I am persuaded that God will do what He said He would do, and I embrace that truth!  I choose to hold on to what God said over all else!”

Embracing is active participation in claiming the promises of God for your life.  God gave mankind a will and He won’t force you to believe His promises, but oh how sweet it is if you do.  He puts it out there, and many times He gives evidence that it will happen (and sometimes He doesn’t), but it is up to each individual heart to not only accept it but to hold on to what He spoke for dear life.  That’s why Hebrews declares, “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)” (Hebrews 10:23; emphasis mine).   The word “us” in that verse lets us know that it is our personal responsibility to lay hold of everything concerning our faith God speaks, including His promises.  If you believe that God is faithful, then believe that He will faithfully follow through with all that He spoke concerning you!

God will do His part without fail.  Our job, when the unwelcomed interruptions of life come, is to keep on embracing that truth when facing whatever is before us.  Today, get a hold of the promises of God for your life and refuse to let them go.

“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” Hebrews 11:13

“Power Belongs to God!”

ARE YOU FEELING DEFLATED AS THIS NEW WEEK STARTS? ARE YOU FEELING LIKE IT’S OFF TO A BAD START? LET IT GO!!! Right now, make it up in your mind that you ARE NOT going to try to do this on your own! That you ARE NOT going to operate in your own power! Rather, you are going to put it all in the hands of God and allow Him to take control of it all because “POWER BELONGS TO GOD!”
 
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 to bring us through. 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!!!

“Hard times do not have the final say!”

HARD TIMES DO NOT HAVE THE FINAL SAY! Hard times may leave one feeling helpless, with the wondering thought of how long? How long is this going to go on? How long do we have to endure this mess? How long will this struggle last? Rest assured, dear friends, you are not forgotten in the midst of the struggle. God knows when His people are facing difficult days and hard nights. But even in those dark hours, His people can be reassured there is a reason to rejoice. It might not always be clear at that moment, but we are promised that “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning,” (Ps. 30:5). God is the one that can work a new work that will blow people’s minds away. Keep your hope steadfastly planted in Him. He is our deliverer! He is our miracle worker yesterday, today, and forevermore!

“When my spirit was overwhelmed…”

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“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!