“Follow the Star!”

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.

“…But Lord, I Thank You!” – Word For Life Says

Job 1:20-22 “Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.  In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.”

Ephesians 5:20 “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18 “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Job 19:25-27 “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:  And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:  Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.”

Anytime we see a “…” in a sentence it expresses a train of thought and direction or a transition if you will.  That “…” is very important to this message.

Times of transition can be good and bad.  When one is engrossed in unpleasant circumstances a nice change of pace can be just what the doctor ordered.  It breathes new life into you and lifts your spirits high making you feel as if you are on cloud nine.  At the same time, when one is entering times of affliction, lack of any sort of substandard anything compared to what they are used to, the feelings of dread and just suffering through take over.

There are different seasons that everyone goes through in life.  There are times of joy and there are times of pain.  While we don’t mind dealing with the seasons of joy and happiness that come our way, a whole other story could be told for the times of pain and suffering we encounter.

There are seasons, even for the Christian, that come that are not too pleasant.  There are times when the people of God had to endure trials and tribulations.  There are episodes of turmoil that have wiggled their way into our families, our lives, our jobs, and our finances.

Sometimes difficult and new stuff pops up out of nowhere, things you weren’t looking to happen in this season of life, and it has blindsided you and caught you off guard.  There may be things that surprised you and now you just don’t know which way you are going.  The road hasn’t always been easy to travel.  We are looking for the new.  We need a transition.  We are in need of a “…” moment.

It’s time to move from the victim mentality and don a praise mentality.  It’s time to move from the feeling defeated mentality to no matter what’s going in my life, “…Lord, I just want to thank You” mentality.

A praise mentality says no matter the situation we are going through I still have a reason to worship.  We still have a reason to lift our hands in utter adoration!  We still have a reason to fall to our knees in prayer!  We still have a reason to believe His grace and mercy is at work in our lives!  I still have a reason to say, “Thank You!”

Job is one of the most figurative Bible characters who we surmise as suffering outside of Jesus Christ our Savior.  So, I figured if anybody can teach us how to be thankful despite what we’re going through it could be Job.

Job was a man whom God describes in the Bible as being upright and perfect, Job 1:8.  He is known for turning himself away from the path of evil, not giving it a foothold in his life.  Yet, in his righteous living, he was still susceptible to being tested in some of the worse ways possible.  He lost everything from possessions down to the very people he loved the most in life.

Job’s experiences can be summed up in that one word: suffering. Job knew suffering.  Job knew what it was like to love and lose; to have and to have not.  What’s more is he lost everything at the same time, piling traumatic event after traumatic event on till he thought his heart couldn’t take any more (read Job 1-2 for greater detail).

Sitting in a pile of ashes with seemingly nothing left, could he at least find comfort in the good word of a friend? Will they speak encouragement to help him carry the weight of his burdensome troubles?

The answer sadly is, “No.”  His friends started out with good intentions but by the time they reach chapter 4, Job’s friends became what is known as “miserable comforters.”  They decided to chime in with their opinions of what was right and wrong.  This was where their attempts at comfort went downhill.  They berated Job and blamed him for all that he was going through.

Job literally had no one and the weight of the world was upon his shoulders, but his response to his trials is what blew my mind away.  When things first began to unravel for him, in the verses we read in chapter 1 he shaved his head, fell down on his face and he worshipped.

The words that came out of his mouth were of praise and thanks.  He said, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD!

That word “blessed” is synonymous with celebrating God with praise in spite of.  That word blessed is acknowledging God is good no matter what the circumstances around me say.  That word blessed is also translated in the New and Old Testament to give thanks!  “Blessed be the name of the LORD!”  Job, with his shaved head of sorrow and humble spirit, gave God thanks amid the sorrow he was going through!

His response reminds me of Psalm 34:1 where the psalmist proclaimed, “I will bless the Lord at all times and His praise shall continually be in my mouth!”  I will thank God always and I will never stop celebrating His goodness!  I will show God gratitude always and I will never stop lifting Him up.  I will appreciate God even in this and I will never stop recognizing that He and He only is God of my life.

Ephesians 5:20 says, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  My always for all things may not look the way I want it to right now, but Lord I thank You, is what he’s saying!  I am not saying thank you because I like problems, but I am saying thank You because I know the God I serve.  I am saying thank you because He is working on the inside to change things on the outside.  I am saying thank you because God is setting us up for a future that is glorious in Him!  Therefore, “…Lord, I just want to thank You!”

1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  I am in Christ; therefore I give thanks!  I have been washed by the blood, therefore I give thanks.  Yes, life hurts sometimes and yes, the walls come crashing down sometimes, but I owe God a praise.  I thank God for seeing me through every trouble, every storm that blows my way!  “…Lord, I just want to thank You!”

Job’s response went even further than this.  In Job 19, he said, “For I know that my Redeemer lives.”  Things were not exactly turning in his favor.  At that time, his today didn’t look any better than his yesterday.  His friends are still in his face challenging him with their accusations.  But, despite his personal persecutions, he emphatically declares, “I know . . .”

Knowing speaks of assurance. A declaration of knowing tells doubt there is no place here for you. “Know” is certain that this is what it is. And, what he is certain of is “my redeemer liveth.” God is alive and will always be alive. “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty,” (Revelation 1:8).

“He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.”  Job knew that God was and is the end-all of all authority, victory and power. Standing upon anything denotes mastery and dominion of said object.  Job knew where his trust lies.  In God who is victorious: “Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him,” (Psalm 68:1).  Paul, speaking of Christ said He, “hath put all things under his feet…,” (Ephesians 1:22).  Even this.

“And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.”  There is hope beyond the here and now. Physically, it didn’t look good for Job. He had “sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown,” (Job 2:7).  He, in dealing with the pain of his body and the pain of his heart must have thought there is not that much more time left. At one point of desperation, things had gotten so bad, Job prayed for death (see Job 6:8-9).

Despite it all, he knew that there was a better day beyond the corruption of his flesh.  His body, when the time came, would lie in the ground and the worms would have their way with him, but he looked forward to another glorious time when “in my flesh shall I see God.”  Things were hard for Job, but in his speech, you can still see his faith alive and active in what he believes: and he believes GOD!  Therefore, “I bless God!  I give God thanks!”

Job teaches us how to respond to God in midst of trials and troubles.  He may have been down, especially when his friends attacked him, but he still recognized God for who He is.  He basically transitioned his mentality to shift his focus from what was before him to the God who can save Him.

Yes, he grew weary and even questioned why he was going through what he was going through.  Who wouldn’t?  But, through it all you still see his faith in God come to the forefront in the midst of his story.

In the end, Job was blessed with a double portion of blessings.  God testified of Job to his friends.  God spoke up for Job and said, “My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath,” (Job 42:7).

It’s not too late for God to turn it around and to testify on your behalf.  The week of Thanksgiving is here, and this year is not over yet.  There is still room for a blessing.  And, even if not – if God never does another thing for us, can we say, “Lord, I thank You?”

At the end of the day, as hard as it may be sometimes, we must transition our thinking and say “… But Lord, I thank YOU!”

 

“God’s Got You Covered!”

 

Do you ever feel opened and exposed during the trials of life?  Do you ever feel that the enemy has free pickings when it comes to your heartache?  Well, he doesn’t!  The enemies of this life may chase you, hunt you down and all together seek to make your life miserable, but the enemies do not have the last say over anything.  God, in His complete sovereignty, has you covered!

If anybody knew about being constantly chased by enemies seeking to take their life it was David.  Saul, in a jealous pursuit, saw something special in David, the favor of God, and wanted to destroy David.  There were days when David may have felt like giving up.  There were days of hiding in caves and pretending to be a mad-man to seek solitude in other countries.  But, through it all David dealt best with his enemies through prayer.  He declared who his God was and committed his trust to Him.  In Psalm 140:7, “O God the Lord, the strength of my salvation, thou hast covered my head in the day of battle.”

To be covered means to be concealed and to be protected.  The battles of this life may at times make us feel that we are an open target to everyone who can’t stand the favor of God on us, but be of good cheer, God’s got us covered!  “As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever,” (Psalm 125:2).  And, if God is like a mountain surrounding us then there is no adversary that can break through the covering He has over us.  It may feel like we are on the run sometimes but God is still that protecting force that “covered my head in the day of battle.”  Commit your heartaches, your battle and your enemies to God and let Him be your covering today.

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

“Embracing the Promises of God!”

 

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

“When my spirit was overwhelmed…”

Text Free Photo by Tirza van Dijk on Unsplash

“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).

“God can do EVERYTHING!”

With a prayerful heart, I know that GOD CAN DO EVERYTHING!

So go ahead and pray for the brokenness you may see in someone’s life.  Pray for healing and restoration to take over others.  Pray for chains to break off of others.  Pray for sicknesses to be cured, pain to be covered and for peace to enter in for some.

Be built up in your faith and assure your heart that “GOD CAN DO EVERYTHING!”  Job declared it when he said, “I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee,” (Job 42:2).

Everything we pray for, I know that God can do it.  He can fix the broken and heal the sick.  He can bring deliverance to those bound in chains and restore the shatter pieces of others lives.  GOD CAN DO IT!

No matter what you are facing today believe that GOD CAN DO EVERYTHING!  Whatever it is, give it to Him and believe!  He is our Good Father.  Jesus says, “Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:9-11).  Be it spiritual, such as the Holy Ghost (Luke 11:11-12), or any other matter, we are encouraged to bring it to Him in prayer and cast it there (1 Peter 5:7).  Nobody can do it like HIM!

“Hearing His Voice”

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Listening for the God who’s speaking… God is speaking, dear friends.  Are you listening?  If you are listening, are you hearing?  Are you hearing from Him?

Often we focus on the fact that God hears us and answers our prayers.  I, myself, have written on it several times.  But, can we take a step to the side of self and listen for Him?  Purposely open oneself to hear what He has to say to you, in this time, at this moment, for this day?

In John 10:27 Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”  The first noticeable aspect of that verse is they hear His voice.  Their hearts and minds are just baaing away; rather, they are opened in anticipation and waiting.  There is but one voice that garners their attention, and that’s the Shepherd.  All other attractions and distractions fad into the back when He speaks.

Friends, God is actively speaking to His sheep.  God is opening up to His people, His followers, His will, His words, and His ways.  Are our ears tuned into Him as the sheep of His pasture, or are we letting other noises of this world disrupt the flow between Him speaking and our hearing?

God, we need to hear from You.  I pray that You would keep speaking to us.  And, I pray even more fervently, that we would hear and act on what You have to say.  In the name of Jesus Christ, AMEN!

“Indulge in Nostalgia!”

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“And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal.  And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones?  Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land.” Joshua 4:20-22

One of my favorite things to do when the weather is nice is to open up all my windows and to put a fan in my bedroom window.  Why the bedroom particularly?  For some reason or another, no matter where I live, when there is a fan in my bedroom window, it makes the air smell just like my grandma’s house when I was growing up, particularly her upstairs and bedroom.  Sometimes, I long for weather not too hot and not too cold, just so that I can have a fan in the bedroom window that blows out that smell.  And when it does, I look for reasons throughout the day to visit my bedroom, to inhale deeply and to let my mind wander to another time.

Smells have that effect on me, nostalgically letting me remember times past.  While the fan smell is my favorite, another smell is stuff burning.  Not like a house catching fire or anything, but rather a pit-beef joint cooking or a log in the fireplace.  This smell reminds me of my paternal grandparents.  They live in the South and during the summer we would visit.  There I witnessed something I hadn’t seen before.  In the evening, they took their trash to a heap outside and set it on fire.  No trash trucks to pick it up twice a week.  They just light it up and watch it go.

It’s good to indulge in a little bit of nostalgia once in a while, especially when it comes to remembering God’s deliverance.  After a certain amount of time goes by, whether it becomes a time of prosperity or a time of hardship, it’s so easy to forget.  The daily grind and routine schedules tend to overshadow what previously occurred.  That can be a good thing when someone is trying to get over hurtful things, but when one wants to remember a glorious time it can be dangerous.

The danger of forgetfulness can leave us with a warped outlook on life.  “Why does this always happen to me?”  “Things never turn in my favor.”  “It’s useless for me to even try!”  Words such as “always, never and useless” denote negativity when used this way. This negative brow beating overshadows the good.  We use words so lightly, but if I were to really question, what would the true outcome be?  Do things really never ever turn in your favor?  Is it really useless for you to try?  The answer, most likely, would be no.

Through times of hardship and prosperity, our perspective on life can get blurred.  That’s why God mandated for these stones to be set up as a memorial.  These stones would stand as a physical reminder of God’s deliverance; of a time when He altered nature and did the impossible just so that His people could gain their promise.

We may not have physical stones, but I do believe we have “markers” in our memory that can transport us to our time of deliverance.  Things that help us to remember that no matter what state one may find themselves in now, God is still on the throne and He is still working it out on our behalf.  That He is the one that saved me and He is the one that ushed deliverance in my life and yours.

That’s why it’s good to indulge in nostalgia.  It opens the door to the good old days.  The thought of it can instantly put a smile on my face when I think of memories past.  Now, imagine doing that with God’s deliverance.  Sometimes we need to remember, on purpose, where He brought us from and how He brought us through.  Set that up as a “marker” to help you remember His goodness no matter what life may bring.

“Our Thoughts Vs. God’s Leading”

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I have learned, that as humans, we don’t really know what we want some of the time.  Oh, we have goals, desires, and aspirations, but often how to attain them becomes skewered in our thinking.  We may pray for God to move this obstacle out of the way or transfer that particular issue over there, and when He does, we are just not happy or totally satisfied with the results.  Sometimes things don’t look or feel like we thought it should.

That’s because as humans we have to realize our limitations.  We are not all-knowing.  We can barely get through one day with all our faculties intact, let alone for us to try to tell our own end from the beginning and what we think our tomorrows and future should look like.

We can pray about things that bother us and concern us but ultimately we have to be willing to let God lead.  And, sometimes we even have to pray that He would help us to follow that leading.  When He leads, we don’t always understand the outcome, but then again, if we did, it wouldn’t be the walk of faith, filled with trust in our God that we are called to walk.

Our thoughts can lead us into the land of wondering, but it is our daily prayer that our hearts will follow God in the pursuit of what He has in store for our lives.  The Bible tells us, “The LORD knows the thoughts of man, that they are futile,” (Psalm 94:11, NKJV).  Some other translations relate that word “futile” found in the NKJV as “worthless” (NLT), “vanity” (KJV), and “meaningless” (HCSB) just to name a few.

In other words, our thoughts about a situation compared to God’s cannot be matched.  Did not the Bible tell us, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts,” (Isaiah 55:8-9)?  What He knows about a circumstance far surpasses anything our intellectual capabilities can begin to even imagine.  With that being said, our thoughts take a back seat to His sovereign leading.  

As hard as it may be to let go of the wheel and allow God to steer, it is something we must do if we are to drive in the right direction and course for our best and most successful life in Him.  We have to end the constant back and forth tug of war for control of our lives and submit to the One who is in control of our lives.