“God Has the Power to Help!”

We quote it, sing songs about it, outwardly rejoice in it; but, how much do you really believe it or apply it to our lives, circumstances, and troubles?

If we were to review some of the marvels of God as we know it, we would see out of nothing a world being brought into existence.  We would see where there is no life, the dead have been raised to life.  We would see on the strength of nothing but His command, stars and planets being suspended in midair, hanging on absolutely nothing, as if an invisible hook were holding them in place.

All of these events testify to His power and strength to do what we readily admit is the impossible.  But, God’s power goes beyond Creation, performing miracles, and shocking us with the impossible that becomes very possible in His hands.  God’s power is also alive and very available to help each and every one of us in our lives today, as well.

And, here is the beauty in that.

His power to help is not contingent on anything we bring to the table.  It does not matter our skills or abilities, our wealth or the lack thereof.  It doesn’t even matter the number of this or that that we try to bring into the mix of everything He wants to do in our lives.

In 2 Chronicles 14:11, we see where it says, “And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee,” (emphasis mine).  This Scripture prayer has often been my own that I have personally prayed and incorporated in my requests to God when I felt totally overwhelmed.  For many of times I know I had nothing to offer.  I know I had no power to personally make a change in a certain circumstance.  I didn’t have the numbers that would chalk up to win on my behalf.  There were times when I know I didn’t have the experience that says I was qualified to do this or that.  I had absolutely nothing to add to the mix to benefit me for a positive outcome.  Yet, it is nothing for God to still step in and help and to show His power strong in my life and yours.

If you are struggling with the same feelings or dealing with a daunting situation, know that God’s power can and will still work for you today.  What we have is not as important as what God has, and what He can do in our lives today.  He is the one who has the power to help!

Photo: Pixabay

Advertisements

“God Keeps Me”

“And I will put a division between my people and thy people: to morrow shall this sign be,” Exodus 8:23

I really admire people who can or preserve their own products at home. I had a neighbor who does her own canning and her strawberry preserves were really sweet. You didn’t need to add much of it to flavor whatever you were using it on. Delicious!

I think it’s an awesome thing to grow your own produce out of your own garden or to make your special homemade soup and such, and then store them for a future use. Everything I have read about canning encourages me, but also frightens me a little bit. It encourages me because it gives the idea that this is something special I produced. Look how beautifully they’re lined on the shelves for me to take down and use at will. But, it also frightens me a bit because of the potential for bacterial growth if everything is not sterilized and handled correctly.

I know somebody out there who is an experienced canner is shaking their head at me right now. That’s okay, I’m not offended. But, you guys are awesome!

If you read through the book of Exodus, you will come across the story of the plagues. With that, you will also read about the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart each time a plague had come. Even after dealing with an invasion of lice and flies he still refused God. Some people have to learn lessons the hard way, I guess.

As you continue reading, you will come to Exodus 8:22-23 where it says, “I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end thou mayest know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth. And I will put a division between my people and thy people: to morrow shall this sign be.” This is what had me thinking about the ability to preserve and can one’s own stuff.

I am amazed at the keeping power of God. Thinking from a human perspective, how difficult would it be to keep flies and other plagues from entering a land adjacent to the one being afflicted for their wrong? This wasn’t a bother-you-at-a-picnic-fly-issue. This was a completely nasty situation!

Verse 21 really opens our eyes to the severity of the situation that God, through Moses, was warning Pharoah of. “Else, if thou wilt not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy houses: and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground whereon they are.” – EWW! Flies all over the ground that you are stepping on – YUCK! I can imagine the difficulty of opening your mouth to speak to one another without a fly taking refuge on your tonsils – GROSS!  It is what God warned of, and it is what happened.

It was very intense, but through it all, God kept His people separated from that nasty situation (vs. 22).  He put a division between good and evil; between those who were for Him and those who were against Him. Those that were for God didn’t end up singing some sad song which entails swallowing flies.

God is a keeper of them that put their trust in Him. Psalm 16:1 says, “Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.” There’s a lot of junk that goes on around us each and every day but God has a special watch over them that belong to Him. What seemed like an impossibility of not having any flies enter Goshen, God did it! “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:37; emphasis mine).

There are a lot of things swarming around us every day. Whether it lands on us or not, God is my keeper in the midst of it all. Trust Him today! He is preserving you to take you off the shelf to use one day.  I may not be confident in my abilities to sterilize, keeping bacteria from entering in (I need a garden first, anyway). But, I don’t have to question God’s ability to properly preserve me. “CAN ME UP, LORD – AND KEEP ME!”

Photo: Pixbay/RitaE

“The Lord is on my Side!”

Oh, the grace of another day.  Yet, every day is not peachy, rather often with it comes turmoil, upset, and unrest.  Sometimes, battling the seen and the unseen.  Sometimes, fighting to keep one’s spiritual head above the waters of this life that seek to take you under.  Oh, the peace to know that despite it all, the Lord is on my side.

If you’ve ever gone to the circus, one of the most impressive feats to witness in the performances there are the trapeze acts.  It never seems to lose its awesomeness as we watch men and women fly through the air with what appears to be a complete disregard for life and limb.  Actually, it is quite the opposite.  They fly through the air with abandon because of the trust they exhibit in their partner to be by their side and to catch them at that pivotal moment; to catch them when it matters most.  There is an awesome relationship of trust that goes on between the two.  One that neither can doubt in lest the outcome be less than desirable.

What about our relationship with God?  Do we exhibit the same trust in Almighty God that these acrobats seem to place in human confidence?  Do we sport the confidence that He is by our side to catch us when we need Him the most?

Sometimes it may feel like you are in the boxing ring alone.  Well, you’re not!  Sometimes it may appear that you are fighting armies that encamp against you by yourself.  You’re not!  God is on our side and He promised to never leave us nor forsake us, Hebrews 13:5.

Daily, we are upheld by Him!  Our lives are not in our own hands rather in the hands of Him that never fails!  We may swing to and fro, sometimes feeling up and sometimes down, yet He is the ever-present strength that keeps us flying high above all these adversities, above all these troubles, above all these trappings of this world.

Difficulties will arise.  Oh yes, they will.  But, Jesus said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world,” John 16:33.  In other words, He is on our side.  He is our overcomer.  He is our victor.  He is our deliverer that will see us past all that is presently before us that we might experience the peace that He so offers.

“Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid,” John 14:27.  Some may say this is easier said than done especially when the upsets of life seem to be all around and the strength to carry on, well, it’s just plain hard to find.  You’re exhausted!  I get it.  God gets it.

That’s why His Word declares and reminds every one of us, we don’t have to carry on on our own.  The Lord is on your side.  You are not in this alone.  This is the message of the whole Bible.  No matter how dim, gloomy and bleak it may seem, we are not in this alone.  We have a Strength that is beyond our human capabilities.  We have a Force fighting for us that cannot be reckoned with by human standards.  We have the one and only true God and He is on our side!

Who are you flying with today?  Secure your life in Him, let go and know that “The LORD is on my side,” Psalm 118:6.  Trust Him, He will catch the life that honestly reaches out for Him, trusts, and believes.

Text Free Photo: Pixabay/Pexels

“When You Feel There Aren’t Enough Hours in a Day!”

Photo: Pixabay/fancycrave1

Every day we are given is precious.  Every moment, a treasure from heaven.  God perfectly crafted our days in these 24 hours that cycle in and through our lives.  He fashioned each one precisely as a gift to get things done and rest and enjoy life as well.

With that being said, I must wonder why time seems so elusive to most of us?  Why aren’t we able to craftily work each section of the day for our good and still enjoy other pleasures of life that God endowed us with, things that bring the fulfillment of personal joy and happiness (ex. more family time, rest, and so on) that’s supposed to come with it?  Why do we bemoan the idea that there are just not enough hours in the day when God perfectly gave us all we need?

The problem is not with the design of days.  Nor will the problem be solved with adding more increments of time to the day.  The problem is us and how we prioritize and manage this gift of time that God has already given us.

In his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul wrote that we are to redeem the time because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:16).  Every day opportunities abound to spend the hours of our lives in one way or the other.  The choice is always ours on how we use it.  Let’s look at it this way, if we have been given a bunch of money to spend, hopefully, we would sit down and think carefully about how to get the most use out of it.  That same diligence should be applied to our management of time.

The hugest difference between money and time is this: for many, there are usually ways to replenish or re-earn funds to add to one’s finances if money is spent in a reckless fashion.  However, for time, that opportunity is not there.  Once time is gone – it’s gone!  Once the moment passes – it passes off the scene as a part of our personal history.  Therefore, we are encouraged to make the most of every second given.  And, although God’s grace, mercy, and faithfulness are new every morning – we are not promised the dawning of a new day.

So, whether it’s mundane, it’s a moment we won’t get back.  Treat it as the treasure it is.  If it seems trivial, remember in the scope of all the days given, it’s a time to be honored.  Even if it seems like the most basic of all days, keep in mind there is nothing basic about the gift of waking up again and be given the chance to make the most of the time you have been gifted with.

When you feel there aren’t enough hours in the day – treasure what you have and be determined to make the most out of what God did give you.  For when we do, we can make a better impact for His kingdom and in the lives of those entrusted to our care.  Because no matter how smart our watches become it will always be up to us to make smart use of our time that registers there.

Inspiring Your Time:

“This is the beginning of a new day.  God has given me this day to use it as I will.  I can waste it – or use it for good, but what I do today is important, because I am exchanging a day of my life for it.” – W. Heartstill Wilson

“Time is your most precious gift, because you only have a set amount of it.” – Rick Warren

Pray: “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” – Psalm 90:12

Pray: “LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.” – Psalm 39:4

“We must recognize how the evil one is working in this world and take a firm stance against him.  It means we take careful thought concerning what we put in our minds – what we listen to, what we watch, and how we use our time.” – Chip Ingram

“Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.” – Colossians 4:5

“Your Faith Speaks more than Your Words!”

 

What people witness in your life resounds more than the words that are coming out of your mouth.  Evidence of belief; proof of faith is the visual representation that most want.  Many mistake others as not wanting what we have or not wanting the faith, yet they haven’t seen enough of it in action to provoke them to seek after what we say we have.

So, the old phrase still rings true today: “Seeing is believing.”  To a world lost, who have not hope, they look for a ring of hope they can grab onto to prevent them from drowning in the deep abyss of the darkness of this world.  They want a way out.  Many don’t want to sink deeper into despair, deeper into the unknown where there is no light to guide the way.  They want to see what you say you see.  They want to feel what you say you feel.  They want what you say you have but do they see it currently active in you to propel them from wanting it to seeking it?

Your faith speaks louder than your words.  Paul told the church at Thessalonica, “Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything,” 1 Thessalonians 1:8b, NKJV.  If necessary I believe Paul would have testified on their behalf, he would have spoken up for them to assure others of their faith.  But, their faith was so active, their faith was so alive and in operation that he didn’t feel a need to speak at all.  Their faith did the talking for them.  Their faith is what people noticed, not the words they spoke from their mouth.

A lot of people do a lot of talking these days and sometimes it’s hard to decipher truth from fiction.  Jesus gave us a key that lines right up with what Paul wrote in his letter.  Jesus said, “Ye shall know them by their fruits,” Matthew 7:16.  If one comes upon a tree that has apples growing upon it then they are to assume it is an apple tree.  The same is true with a life of faith.  What they see coming out of you, or as Paul referred to as “gone out” is what matters the most.  You can say that you are an orange tree but if I see apples then I will classify you as an apple tree.  If you say that you have great faith but all I see is the opposite than I will not view you as having great faith.  I will mark you by what I see.

Your faith matters in this world.  More importantly, your faith on display matters to those around you so much that one should not have to speak up or testify for you, all they should be able to do is look at your faith in action and mark you as a person of faith.

Text Free Photo: Pixabay/StockSnap

“You Make a Difference to God!”

God is after you, dear friend, in a good way.  He loves the masses, but the individual heart He wants to hold as His own.

There are so many things in our culture that can evoke an inferiority complex in people.  The barrage of advertisements that make one feel less than if they don’t have what others are offering.  The seemingly picture-perfect life displayed on the feeds of social media, causing a longing for what they appear to have, making one feel they don’t measure up to some invisible criteria.  The comparison factor of success that is too much alive in this world which causes many to believe they will never be what another is.

That’s good because God created you and me to be us!  The masses that come to Him don’t negate the fact that He wants the individual heart – He wants the individual life – He wants the individual you!  You make a difference to God!  You are important to God!

God will leave the ninety-nine sheep in the wilderness to go after that one which is lost because that one is special to Him (Luke 15:1-7).  That one is cared about by Him.  That one is loved by Him and He wants that one with Him because to God, they make a difference.  God finds joy in just that one heart that will turn to Him, repent, and enter into blessed fellowship with Him.

When the individual heart turns to God through our Lord Jesus Christ, it puts a smile on God’s face and makes the angels rejoice (Luke 15:10) because despite what the world tries to make us believe or feel, each one of us makes a difference to God.  You are valuable to God and He loves you more than you could ever know.

Inspiration:

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”  – Psalm 139:14

“Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” – Matthew 10:31

“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.” – John 3:16

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” – John 1:12

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” – Jeremiah 29:11

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

You are uniquely loved by God.  You make a difference to God!

Photo: Pixabay/DreamPixer

“Love Without Hypocrisy!”

Jesus loved us with a sincere love.  Everything He did, right down to dying on the cross as a substitute for our wrongs, was motivated by love, real love.

Paul commanded, “Let love be without hypocrisy,” (Rom. 12:9; NKJV).  The church was to model Christ in the way that they loved people.  They are to have the purest and most sincere love that would compel people to want to know more about Christ.  They are to be pillars of love that the lost, broken and hurt can lean on and find strength.

One thing people can readily pick up on is fakeness.  Those that come to us and come to our buildings are looking for something real.  They have had enough of the phony stuff.  They have dealt with the pretenders of the world and they are not looking for that in us.  They are looking for something real.  They are looking for something pure.  They are looking for somebody to look at them as Christ would and feel nothing but love and compassion for them.

How many times has the Bible described Jesus as being “moved with compassion?”  That’s what sincere love does; it moves the heart.  It allows one to look beyond what they see to have genuine concern for others.  This is what people are looking for.  This is what the church should be displaying.  The love of Christ is our greatest asset in drawing people to salvation.  After all, wasn’t it God who told Jeremiah, “With lovingkindness have I drawn thee,” (Jer. 31:3; KJV)?

Real love draws people.  Fake love pushes them away.  If we truly want to be like Christ then love on people sincerely.  Don’t give them what the world is already giving them; fake love.  Give them something genuine.  Give them something real.  Give them something that will bring them closer to God.  Give them real love!

Photo: Pixabay/pixel2013

“Keep Your Eyes on Jesus!”

Photo: Pixabay/limo23

“But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying Lord, save me,” Matthew 14:30

There was a point in Matthew 14 where the disciples were not sure if the image they were seeing was actually the Lord. Finding out that it was Him, in a move of boldness, Peter requested, “Bid me come unto thee on the water,” (vs. 28).  Jesus’ response – “Come!” (vs.29).

How difficult, had we not known this familiar story, would it have been for us to get out of that boat and venture to do the impossible?  I mean – really?!  People are not known for walking on water, which is one of the reasons, they originally thought Jesus was a spirit (vs. 26).  Watching Jesus take command over what normally cannot be subdued, moved something inside of Peter to do what Jesus did.

What would that have been like?  Awesome, indeed!  I love to swim so the idea of being able to physically walk on water would make me downright giddy.  Another thing that appeals to me about this story is the courage to at least try.  To see what it was like to break away from the normal and to do something extraordinary.

Extraordinary living!  Isn’t that what being in Christ is all about?  It’s a whole lot of faith mixed with a whole lot of stepping out that produces the results of one who has chosen to see and do life differently than those around him.  The rest stayed in the boat.  They were content with the status quo.  But, Peter felt a special draw to see what it was like to step out of the boat – to see what it was like to stand where Jesus stood.

As Peter found out, the road to extraordinary living can get rough.  A lot of stuff can and will rise up against us as those waves did, and seek to toss about our faith.  What Peter “saw” side-tracked him from getting to where Jesus was.  The truth of Peter’s experience in this story unfolds the same way for many of us.  If only the sea would be calm then we would be alright.  If only the waves of adversity would stop trying to slam you, then would you be able to walk on water, too.

Jesus never promised calm seas all the time.  But, what He did promise was, “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world,” (Matthew 28:20).  It is hard to try to live an extraordinary life when one takes their eyes off of Jesus and what He promised.  It’s one thing to recognize Jesus, but then we have the individual responsibility to stay focused on Him.  No matter what the seas are doing in our life, He promised to be there with us.  Always!

“And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Matthew 14:31).  In essence, He was stating that He was right there with Peter, so why did Peter take his eyes off of Jesus?

Sinking in life doesn’t always happen that fast.  Little by little one begins to predominantly focus on the problems of life instead of the Life Preserver, who promised to be there for you.  God wants us to step out into extraordinary living.  By keeping our eyes on Jesus we can do the impossible.  We can walk on water, too!  He is with you, always!

“Take A Stand Against Fear!”

 

Photo: Pixabay/geralt

“. . .And so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law:
and if I perish, I perish,” Esther 4:16, KJV

There are a lot of things that act like blockades in our lives, but fear by far has to be one of the hardest to overcome. Fear can render useless the one who entertains it because unlike physical limitations, fear messes with the mind. It changes one’s perspective on how they view the world, the people around them and their own lives.

Fear acts like a photographer. It snaps a picture and develops it in the dark recesses of your mind. When the picture is finished being developed it comes out for you to view a new reality, whether it’s true or not. Fear is not based on truth but it wants you to believe in the image it presents to you more than God. That’s why many of us will never tread the courts of the king as Esther did. We can become so focused on that false image (the things that we see that make us afraid) that we fail to step out with courage.

The Bible tells us, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” (Heb. 11:1, KJV). Going against fear takes faith. Faith doesn’t concentrate on what is visible to the naked eye. Faith concentrates on the truth of God’s promises. And His promises declare, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness,” (Is. 41:10, KJV).

That’s what faith sees!

With Queen Esther’s physical eyes the picture she saw wasn’t pleasant. What she saw was her beloved uncle Mordecai’s life was in danger, (Esther 5:14). What she saw was hatred and an evil desire for her people to be destroyed, (Esther 3:8-9). What she saw was the anguish of her people, grieving her also, (Esther 4:3-4). What she saw was a law that could take her life, (Esther 4:11).

A decision had to be made. Esther could look at the circumstances and let the fear of those images stop her from doing what’s right. Or, she could take a stand against the fear that assailed her and go for it, debunking that old image to see something new.

With great resolve and commitment she said, “If I perish, I perish.” She took a stand against the fearful, stepping out into the unknown, not sure if she would find favor with the king. Her people needed her to be brave. Her uncle needed her to be unbending in her determination. She needed to step up to the plate “for such a time as this,” (Esther 4:14, KJV).

In what area of your life do you need more courage? Is there something you are dealing with that is extremely hard, yet you want to be determined to see it through? It takes a resolve such as Queen Esther possessed to stand against the fear of what you see so that you too can walk the King’s court in victory!

We Have Blessed Assurance

 

Photo: Pixabay

“Not a word failed of any good thing which the LORD had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass,” Joshua 21:45

The waiting – sometimes excruciating. The battles – hard fought and horrendous. The enemies – many. The hopes and dreams of a people once enslaved – building. The promise – within sight. Victory – obtained. Possession – now.

The journey of the children of Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land had not been a road easily traveled. Through it all, they struggled with discouragement and wrestled with obedience. Battles ensued, some won and some lost. Crossing the Red Sea; crossing the Jordan. Walls were brought down at Jericho and lives fled at Ai. The sun stood still during the fight and kings were conquered. Now, they are at the promise but the road there was not easy.

The children of Israel and their excursion to the Promised Land, their struggles with the flesh and their attitudes and holding onto hope while waiting for obtaining of the promise reminds me of our Christian journey. The promise is before us but the road is not paved with ease and comfort as some would have you believe. The path we walk takes effort, sometimes great effort. The trials we face are often difficult. But the faith we hold onto is assured.

If life never threw you any curve balls then I wonder if you were in the game at all. What does that mean? There are a lot of messages that we hear that tickle the ears making the hearer believe that they will never suffer hardship on this Christian journey. It leaves the hearer bewildered when they do face difficulties. They are taken aback when struggles come to their home. They believed they would coast on through without any road closures or stumbling blocks. Discouraged, many throw their hands up in defeat before they obtain the promise.

Jesus said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world,” (John 16:33, KJV). You see, we have an assurance of a great promise at the end of our journey, but Jesus was very real and upfront to let us know that road won’t always be easy. Jesus led no one into a false sense of security that they would never have to experience any adverse circumstances. He said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation.”

Before reaching the Promised Land and even to the point of laying hold of the promise, the children of Israel had to fight their way through. But the Bible tells us, “Not a word failed of any good thing which the LORD had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.” They eventually were able to fully experience everything their souls had been longing for on that journey. The sights, the smell and the taste of victory were theirs for their enjoyment. They had the good thing that God had promised.

I write words of encouragement in case you are in a curveball state; in case you have been sidetracked by unexpected discouragement. Still press forth in the journey. Don’t give in at the sight of struggles. Be determined in the forward march. Not a word of God’s promises will fail for you either. In fact, Psalm 84:11 says, “For the LORD is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly,” (KJV).

Keep your head above water and float on the promises of God who said, “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you,” (Deut. 31:6, NKJV). I can’t promise you million dollars or that you will never spend nights crying over life, but I can promise that Jesus will be with you even to the end of the world, Matthew 28:20, KJV.

We have the blessed assurance of every promise that God has bestowed upon us. When adversity comes, know that you are not the only one going through it. Sometimes the journey will be harder than we like it to be, yet the assurance remains the same. In the end, if we hold on to our faith despite what our eyes are seeing right now, the promise is ours. “All came to pass,” for the children of Israel and it will for us too. “Be of good cheer,” Jesus said. “I have overcome the world!”