2024 Past Daily Devotions

“PROFICIENT AT PARDONING

 

We as Christians are called to forgive one another. The forgiving part is rarely easy, and the forgetting part is nearly impossible. The difficulty of such a command from God to us makes it no less important to obey. However, did I mention just how difficult this is sometimes?

The Lord is our judge. He is a God of mercy and truth. His mercy is not without conditions. He has given us truth and parameters by which we are to live and obey. When we choose to follow the paths, the Lord has set before us, which always include obedience, mercy will saturate our lives.

David had learned that he had many sins and yet God was proficient at pardoning David’s sins. God pardons our sins so that His name may be glorified. He forgives, He forgets, and He is proficient at pardoning us.

The very forgiveness that we struggle to give to others and the difficulty of forgetting their offenses against us, the Lord has no problem forgiving and showing mercy to us. He is completely proficient at it. May we learn to walk in His paths and obey His ways; Obedience in His ways are attached to mercy and pardon. Praise His Holy Name!

Psalm 25:10, 11— “10 All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies. 11 For thy name’s sake, O LORD, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great.”

“UNKNOWN BLESSINGS

 

To know the Lord as Savior is to be blessed by the best. The task of sitting down and writing all the blessings bestowed upon us would be impossible. We would for sure forget some of His blessings and then there are blessings that we are totally unaware of.

I am afraid we take for granted just how blessed we are to belong to Him and to have the Lord to put our hope and trust in. On any given day, we are unbeknownst to all the blessings the Lord deals to us. His protection, provision, and guidance are very real. The most incredible thing about His blessings to us as His children are the blessings that remain unknown to us. The unseen hand of God blessing His children with unknown blessings.

We should all make it practice to prayerfully recite and thank God for His many blessings upon our life. In our time of prayer and praise, we ought to thank Him for the blessings we are ignorant of. That is how great our God is. When we examine the many sacrifices our parents made for us as children, our mind can only recall the things we know of. There is sure to be many more that we have no clue of.

This is true of our God too. We are blessed by God because we are His and have placed our trust and hope in Him. He will never let us down. Today, examine and enjoy His many blessings! Take time to thank Him for the “Unknown Blessings” too!

 

Jeremiah 17:7—“ 7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.”

“CHRIST’S STRENGTH WITHIN

 

One of the most popular verses in all of scripture is Philippians 4:13. Tim Tebow made this verse very popular as the quarterback of the Florida Gators several years ago. He would wear this verse under his eyes and the way he excelled in college football certainly seemed to prove that Christ was indeed with Him.

We are to take this verse in its proper context. For instance, I have never skydived nor flown a plane. If someone took me up in an airplane and sat me down in the seat of the cockpit and said: “Ancel, it is your turn, I want you to fly this plane back to the runway and land us,” I am here to tell you, I could quote Philippians 4:13 until the rapture of the church and I am not going to be able to land that plane. In that same plane, there could be a group of skilled skydivers and they are suited up and ready to jump, suddenly, one looks at me and tells me to pack my parachute up and strap the parachute bag on, we are jumping in 5 mins. I could quote Philippians 4:13 again and it would do me no good.

So, what does this verse mean and how are we to apply it? We can indeed do all things through Christ who strengthens us, insomuch in that which we are attempted to accomplish is within Christ’s will for our life. This is so crucial to this passage. We need to bath everything in prayer; That is, everything that we desire, all our hopes and dreams, and struggles and difficulties that we are facing. Go to the Lord in prayer with everything and know that if it is His will, you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

 

Philippians 4:13—” 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

“ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES

 

There was once a young man who had been tormented by demonic possession and oppression. All his life, his condition had cost him so much pain and suffering. This possession had left the young man with physical disabilities as well. He was deaf and unlearned. This young man often convulsed, gnashed at others and himself with his teeth, and foam would form around his mouth due to his misery. His father told Jesus that his son even cast himself into many fires and into water too.  

 The young man’s father had dealt with this endless misery for the entirety of his son’s life. He was without hope and there seemed to be no possible way that his son would ever be delivered. Afterall, this had been the norm all his son’s life. One day, a man named Jesus came by and opened endless possibilities for his son. It was very difficult for the man to believe that his son’s situation would ever get any better, but belief is exactly what Christ encouraged him to do.  

 The man’s reply to Jesus reveals two things: 1) We can believe. 2) We can simultaneously struggle with unbelief even while believing. This should encourage us. We all struggle to believe for the possibility of a good outcome for struggles and hardships. This is especially difficult when the season we are in has been for a long time and now has become the norm. This father answered Jesus’ question of whether he believed or not by saying: “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” 

 Only you know what struggles you are facing that seems to be the norm that you have become accustomed to. You want to believe with every fiber of your being, but you struggle with unbelief too. Keep on believing in the possibilities that Christ makes available to us. Although we may not see how and we can’t know when, we must believe that the Lord can and will intervene in our lives. The ending of this story is that Christ healed the young man. The father’s belief was not perfect, but the Saviors touch was! Keep your faith in Christ and you will always have “Endless Possibilities.”  

 

 Mark 9:23, 24—” 23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. 24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” 

“PEACE WITH GOD LEADS TO PEACE WITH OTHERS

 
There is nothing quite like having peace with God. How do with have peace with God? We confess our sins to Him, repent, and turn from those sins, and then we walk in the freedom that He grants to us. To live in peace with God is to have no barriers between us and God. We get it all out on the table with Him. You see, He already knows everything there is to know about us. Who do we think we are fooling by holding back our problems and our sins from Him. We should just confess them, and for forgiveness, and turn from them. This always leads us to peace with God.
 
Too often, we as Christians want peace with God while living without peace with others. The two will not go together. God calls us to be peacemakers. Fact is, Jesus teaches us that those who seek peace with others will be happy. We can mask and pretend like we got this peace thing down amid division between another brother or sister in Christ; We are deceiving ourselves. We cannot have peace with God while having an absence of peace with others.
 
Why are we to be peacemakers? Because we are the children of God! We are the children of God because Christ has satisfied the demands of God upon our sinful hearts. We are never more hypocritical than when we claim and pursue peace with God while refusing to make peace with others. Any happiness that others think we have or we convince ourselves that we have while continuing in dysfunction with others is fake. Jesus said Himself that those who pursue peace are happy and those that pursue peace are called the children of God. Don’t wait another day! Get peace with God by making peace with others.
 
 
Matthew 5:9—” 9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”

“RENEWING YOUR MIND

 

I once heard this saying: “The mind is one of the strongest muscles/organs in the human body; this remains true when it’s healthy and also when it is not healthy.” That statement has always stuck out to me. Wow, how true this is! Becoming a Christian does not mean that our mind is automatically healthy and renewed. We must be renewed by the Lord in how we think.

If we allow our mind to be conformed to worldly ideology and adapt to the way the world thinks, we are going to live a very defeated life. This is even more true for us as Christians. How so? Because we are not of this world and the world does not accept us. For us to be conformed to worldly ideology is conform to the opposite of what Christ would have us become.

We must renew our mind through prayer, reading and studying God’s word, and meditating upon the truths of scripture. By default, we will begin conforming to the world when we allow these practices to cease from our life in Christ. We must renew our mind daily!

 

 

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

“THROW IT ON THE LORD

 

There are two ways to handle burdens. We can carry them on our own and wrestle with everything associated with them or we can throw them onto the Lord. The word cast means to throw. I understand that casting our burdens on the Lord does not mean that we get to escape the struggles that are associated with the burdens. They are still there. The big difference is perspective.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28 to come to him when we are weary and weighed down and He will rest us. This is to bring everything that is on our heart and mind associated with the burden we are carrying, and we are to throw it onto Him. There is no feeling like dumping everything onto the Lord. You want to know why? He listens to all of it, and He is not weighed down by the load.

The Psalmist said that the Lord will sustain us when we bring our burdens to Him. He will not let our burdens crush us beyond our Lord’s sustaining power. When my family lost our 14-year-old son on Christmas Eve of 2021, I, nor any of our family had ever experienced pain like that before. There has never been desperation in our hearts like that seemingly fatal blow. 2 years later, we still hurt awful, but the Lord has kept us and sustained us in our deepest and darkest moments. We have lived it, and we can attest to the Lord’s sustaining power.

I want to encourage you to pour your heart out to Him. Find you a place where you can get alone with Him and just lay your heart onto His! You will never regret throwing it all on the Lord!

Psalm 55:22—”22 Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”

“THINGS TO KNOW

 

There is one problem that resurfaces among Christians that should never be. Those things are who we are, and who God is! God is the Almighty and He will never give His throne up to anyone. The total embodiment of God is filled with all things good, holy, righteous, and perfect. He is the One in charge and He has total control. He doesn’t take His hands off the control panel of the universe at any point and time. He is God!

God made us. By His good pleasure and will, we exist today! Some of us have a life of ease and comfort while others have a life of hardships and difficulty! Either way, He is God, and God is the author of our existence! He does not make mistakes and He has a purpose for you and your life.

We are not self-made. This is true both physically and spiritually. God has allowed my wife and I to enjoy many things that I never dreamed we would. He has always provided for us above and beyond our needs. He has blessed our children, and they too are taken care of above and beyond their needs. If we are all honest, we all must admit, God has been much better to us than we deserve. None of us are self-made! He makes and molds our lives into what it should be.

We are His people because He has made us His people. As Christians, we are His children. This is true by no power of our own but by the wonderful grace of God. He has adopted us and made us His children. Over and over, the Lord refers to us as His sheep. In this Psalm, we are called His sheep, and we are in His pasture. This means that He provides for us our needs. All of our needs, He has a plenteous supply!

These are just a few “things to know.” If we keep this truth engrained into our heart, we will always have the right view of God and the right view of ourselves. It’s never ok to have the wrong view of either.

 

 

Psalm 100:3— “3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.”

“STRONG & COURAGEOUS

 
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Some people are fighters more naturally than others. I have witnessed both sides of these traits as a pastor. Some people when they find out that they have cancer will fight with everything within them. Those that are fighters will not only fight with medical treatment, medicine, and following doctors’ orders with precision; they fight the disease in their mind and heart through God’s word and pressing into the disease both physically and through their faith.
 
I have also seen the opposite of the natural fighters. This doesn’t mean they are of any less importance or any less of a person. It simply means that they have different tendencies and often personality traits. When disease comes, or hardships, these folk often seem to just lay down and crawl up in a ball. My heart goes out to all people facing difficult times and hardships. I do not treat the two types of people differently. However, I do see a great difference in their journeys through hard times.
 
Joshua, the successor of Moses, possessed the written word of God by Moses. It was his job to lead the people into the promised land. God spoke to him and gave him the essentials to move forward in this daunting task. God told Joshua to not let the law of God depart from his mouth. He was to study it, meditate upon it, and practice it personally and with the people of God. God promised him that the practice of such would result in a prosperous and successful journey.
These practices are still applicable to us today. If we ingest the word of God, meditate upon it, and put it into practice, we too shall prosper in our journey, no matter what comes our way. This is how we are to fight! This is how we are to be strong and courageous! Whether it’s physical struggles, relational, financial, or emotional; we must take the word of God and apply it to our life. If we do this, we can fight the good fight of faith with strength and courage!
 
Joshua 1:8—9– “8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. 9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”

“HE KNOWS HIS THOUGHTS AND PLANS

 

Sometimes we develop a warped view of what God thinks about us. We have a skewed view of how the Lord views us and what direction that He has for our life. Dr. Adrian Rogers once said: “Some believe that God is a cosmic killjoy.” Nothing could be farther from the truth. The problem is with us assuming what God thinks of us and assuming we understand how He feels about us. We should let the word of God speak to this within our hearts.

 God knows His own thoughts (plans) for His children. He spoke words of comfort to His people in Judah in Jeremiah’s book. He reminded them of His promise to them. He never forgets or fails at His promises. He will bring peace to His children.

 I have a picture just inside my office door that says: “I trust the next chapter because I know the author.” This has become my motto in my life. God knows exactly what He is doing. I may not always know His detailed plans for me; it is not always for me to know. The important thing is that He knows. He knows His plans. He reveals that His thoughts are plans for peace in our life. His plans do not include evil. Praise God, the greatest of them all, His plan is for us to have an expected end. He knows His thoughts and plans for our life and that is all that we need to know.

Trust Him!

 

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

“HUMILITY IS GREATEST

 

So much effort is given to becoming the greatest. This is true in athletics, various career fields, and just in life itself. When much effort is given to such a task, pride is almost always present. Pride is the driving factor for such a pursuit.

Few people today take the words of Christ to heart concerning how great humility is. No greater humility has ever been shown like that of Christ. Christ, the Son of the living God, came to earth fashioned as man and endured all the ailments that we are subject to today and He conquered it all. He did not come and zap all of these things with the sound of His voice. No, He endured it all and humbled Himself all the way to His death on the cross. Through His humility, we now have redemption and hope everlasting. The God-man humbled Himself to death that we might live. We worship Him for His great act of humility.

Jesus teaches in Matthew 23:12 that those who work at exalting themselves, will in return be humbled. But those who humble themselves will be exalted. I recall a story from a training session I was in with the late, Dr. Adrian Rogers. The story goes as such: There was a young man who was an up and coming preacher. This young man had charisma and he could really preach well. Somewhere along the way, he got into his head that he was really good. An opportunity was given to him to preach for a church and the young man walked in to the sanctuary, almost in a strut. Dr. Rogers actually said that this young man could seemingly strut while sitting down. The time came for him to get up and preach and he jumped up to the platform to speak and something strange happened. He froze! His words wouldn’t come out. His legs locked and arms stiffened. After some awkward moments, the young man was helped back to his seat.

There was an older lady in the church that pecked the young man on the shoulder when he was seated and said to him: “Young man, had you gone up to the platform, like you came down; you would have come down like you had gone up.” The story of this young preacher fits the passage perfectly. Humility is the greatest! If we want to become the greatest we can be, we must humble ourselves into the form of a servant! Our Lord did this for us!

 

Jesus said in Matthew 23:12– “12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”

“THE GOD OF HEALING

 
We have all seen the questionable side-show of “faith healers.” T.V. Faith healers most often have a monetary component to their “ministry.” If you will sow a “seed of faith,” in return, they will send you a prayer cloth or some sort of trinket to guarantee your healing. They put the emphasis on your great faith and how to prove your great faith to gain your healing.
 
We have seen the side-shows of the healing lines where people fall out in the name of the Holy Spirit and they are healed. Men bring folk to the stage in wheelchairs, on crutches, and with apparent physical ailments; they are made part of the healing gig and the preacher lays hands on them, and they are allegedly healed.
 
I have been in pastoral ministry now for 20 years. I have sat with families as they learn of terminal disease in their loved one. I have sat with families as they learn that their loved one has no other medical options. I have given eulogies over Christians who lost their battle with sickness too many times to count. With this in mind, I get a little put off by the side-show of faith healers. Nonetheless, our God is indeed a healer!
 
King David had a physical illness that we know nothing of. The Bible leads us to David’s prayer of physical deliverance how bad was his sickness? We do not know but we must assume that he battled great illness. He prayed to God for healing and God healed Him. We are to never sell ourselves short of what God can do with our physical sicknesses. The Bible is filled with instances where God healed the sick and touched those with physical ailments. We don’t see David’s sickness, but we sure enough read his praise to God for his healing. Never stop praying for your physical needs to be healed. Never stop praying for your loved ones to receive healing from God. Our God, the one and only God, He is the God of healing!
 
 
Psalm 30:2– “2 O LORD my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me.”

“OUR SUSTAINING GOD

 

God makes a statement to the nation of Israel in Isaiah 43. He declares some very important facts about them as a people and a nation. God declares their origin, their creator, their redeemer, the author of their name, and whom they belong to.

In addition to those key facts that He declares, God speaks some words of encouragement to them concerning tough times they will surely endure. He promises that He will be with them through it all and nothing shall overtake them!

As Christians, we are recipients of this very promise as well. How so? Well, we too have been made by God. We have been redeemed, bought back, and purchased as His very own. Nothing we will ever face can separate us from His presence. He will be with us through thick and thin, and one day after a while, we will be with Him forever. He is our sustaining God! Praise His Holy name!

 

Isaiah 43:1, 2— “1 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. 2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”

“DOMINATING PEACE

 
We allow ourselves to be subject to so many things that end up controlling us. We can allow our desires for just about anything to become so dominant in our lives that it becomes unhealthy and idolatrous. We can commit to nearly anything to a fault. When we do so, it controls portions of our life that roots out the peace of God.
 
Paul speaks of peace that “rules” in our hearts. To rule is to govern. There is no better control of our lives, tongues, and how we live day to day than to allow the peace of God to govern our every move. How do we do this? We must put on His word by clothing ourselves in obedience to His word.
 
Experiencing the peace of God is not a decision, it’s a practice of obedience. When we abide in Christ and obey His word and live our lives in obedience to Him, the floodgates of peace are released into our soul. When we are saturated with the peace of God, it will dominate our life and actions. Nothing compares to this overwhelming dominance of the Lord through His peace!
 
 
Colossians 3:15—”15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”

“THE PRAISE OF VICTORY

 
We can never sing enough praise to our Lord. He has won us the ultimate victory through the salvation that He grants us. Moses and the children of Israel sang a song of victory to God following the victory that He granted them from their oppressors as he led them safely across the Red Sea.
 
They had much to sing about. Their destiny looked very grim in the moment of the chase by their enemies, however, God delivered them. He parted the Red Sea and allowed His children to cross the sea and not even get their feet muddy! Their enemy perished in the sea as God dropped the water down upon them.
 
In no less of a miraculous way, our God delivered us from our enemy and made us His children. We were enslaved by the devil to sin with no way of deliverance on our own. We were in bondage and our future was judgment in Hell for all of eternity. Thank God in heaven, Christ came along and saved us by grace through faith. We had no way to save or deliver ourselves from the clutches of the devil’s hand, but God stepped in and delivered us. Just as Israel could have never parted the Red Sea, we could have never delivered ourselves of the just punishment that was coming our way. We were guilty and deserved Hell, but God saved us!
 
If you are His child, never cease to sing the song of victory to Him. Sing His praises in Church. Sing His praises in the car! Sing His praises in your Home! Never fail to sing the song of victory because no victory goes uncontested except the victory through salvation. That victory was won at Calvary and nothing nor no one can ever reverse it!
 
 
Exodus 15:2—”2 The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.”

“NO NEED TO FRET WITH FEAR

 

God is the author of life, and it is He who determines the time for a life to end. God gives us air to breath, food to eat; health to live; and orders our very steps if we belong to Him. He is our defender and our protector. Nothing can come our way without coming by His throne first.  

 When we consider the power of our God and His salvation, let us ask the question: “Whom shall I fear?” Our strength comes from Him; Because of that; “Whom shall we be afraid of?” The devil wages war against us as the children of God. He hates us and wishes nothing more than to destroy us. The enemy fails! How? The Lord is our light and salvation and strength! 

 May we always remember where our strength comes from. We have not survived this life with all its woes because we are stronger than everyone. No, we exist because His hand of grace and mercy is with us. His salvation provides many benefits and light, protection, and strength are just a few. There is no need to fret with fear when we belong to our great God and King! 

 

 Psalm 27:1, 2—“1  The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? 2 When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.” 

“THE PREEMINENCE OF GOD’S WORD

 

We all have our favorite Bible characters. The stories and lives of some recorded in the scripture speak more to us than others. For instance, there are certain qualities that stand out about Paul that some identify with, and others identify more with Peter. There is certainly application to be made from all of scripture which includes each Bible character. However, we are never to put any one person above the actual word of God itself.  

 There is a scene in Luke 11 where a woman speaks up following Christ’s teaching and she speaks words of commendation that relates to both Jesus and His mother, Mary. She was not wrong for commending Mary for being the mother of Christ and a job well done. This was a kind gesture by her, but she didn’t speak in full completion. Jesus completed her kind gesture with accuracy.  

 Jesus drew attention to the fact of who was truly blessed. Was Mary blessed entirely because she carried, gave birth, and nursed the Lord Jesus? No, she was blessed because the word of the Lord was preeminent in her life. She listened and obeyed the word of the Lord. If we are not careful, we will prioritize other things, beliefs, doctrines, methods, etcetera; We will prioritize things that are of great importance but miss the fact that we are blessed by hearing and obeying the word of God.   

 

 Luke 11:28—”27 And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. 28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” 

“HE LOVED ME ENOUGH TO MAKE ME HIS OWN

 

Too little consideration is given by Christians concerning their sonship. We belong to God as His sons and daughters. It’s common to hear the phrase: “We are all children of God.” Nothing could be farther from the truth than that statement. We are all “created” by God. Being creatures of God does not make us His children.  

 Sometimes, we spend so much time and effort attempting to be accepted by this world. We do so in our career path, school, school choice, where we live, what we drive, how we dress, how we talk, where we vacate, etc, etc. If we are saved, we have been saturated in the love of God the Father. We are called the children of God, by the Lord God Himself! 

 John’s little letter tells us that those who are accepted by God are recipients of His love, and we are called the sons of God! This very truth is the reason that we will not be accepted by the world. He loved us enough to make us His very own. He is our Father, and we should forever rejoice in this glorious truth. May we all reject the pursuit of acceptance by the world and embrace that we are accepted by God our Father! He loves us so very much!  

 

 1 John 3:1– “1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” 

“FOREVER OUR STRENGTH

 

Failing at anything is never pleasant. Sometimes we work so hard to succeed and accomplish tasks and goals with full expectation to succeed, and then we fail. It’s a huge let down and can really bring us down.  

 This time of year, many goals and expectations are birthed. In addition to exercise goals, healthier eating goals, and weight loss intentions, we set spiritual disciplines as goals too. We all know that those spiritual goals and intentions are of far more importance than anything else that we set out to accomplish. Then again, we also know that they are often more difficult to stick to than any.  

 When we fail at meeting our spiritual goals and intentions, the devil is right there to remind us of the frailty of our flesh. We begin to self-condemn and partner with the enemy himself to condemn ourselves concerning our broken commitments to the Lord. We must remember that we are flesh! We do make mistakes and fail. The sooner we accept this reality, the sooner we will rest in His grace and second chances.  

 The Psalmist had come to terms with his fleshly failings. In his acknowledgement, he also discovered that God’s strength does not fail. God is constant and He is always there for us to glean from. He is forever our strength. We must pick ourselves back up each time we fail and call on the God of Heaven who never fails.  

 

 Psalm 73:26—“26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.” 

“NOTHING CAN,HAS, OR EVER WILL

 
There are so many benefits to being a child of God. If we were to start naming them now, there are too many to recall and those that we do recall would take a lot of time. He is a gracious and good Father.
 
There is one benefit of being His child that supersedes them all in my opinion. That benefit is His unrelenting love. His love is constant for His children. There is absolutely nothing that can separate us from His love. When we are distant from Him, He loves us. When we are unfaithful to Him, He loves us. When brothers and sisters in Christ are not pleased with our walk with the Lord, sometimes, they believe the Lord should or does withhold His love from us; He doesn’t.
 
There is no distance between us and God that can separate His love from His Love. There is no “new low” that we can reach in our failures or wide range of emotions that can separate us from His love. No man, woman, or beast can separate us from the love of God. This love that He has for us is through the finished work on Calvary by our Savior, Christ Jesus. Jesus cried out from the cross: “It is finished!” He sealed the deal for love from the Father to His children. Praise God for His great love. Nothing CAN, nothing HAS, and nothing EVER WILL separate us from the love of our God.
 
 
Romans 8:39— “39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

“DETERMINED TO REJOICE

 
The prophet Habakkuk asks God the question in the beginning of his book: “Why are you doing these things?” He could not understand and it brought great concern to the prophet. The Lord gave Habakkuk some insight on the reality that He indeed was working in the background. Once Habakkuk realized this, He was ready to move on and rejoice.
 
Do not ever think that God is not at work! He is always at work. Do not ever think that your life is enduring things for no reason. Do not ever think that God does not have a plan for your life and in that plan, sometimes, it may involve struggles that make no sense! We must understand that God is not absent in our lives. Never!
 
Once Habakkuk came to this understanding, He rejoiced in the Lord and He was full of joy! The sooner we realize this glorious truth, we too will rejoice. Trust the sovereign hand of our God! Determine each day to rejoice in this great salvation He has provided for us! Rejoice in the fact that He is at work, and He has a plan! Trust His process and rejoice!
 
 
Habakkuk 3:18—” 18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”

“BEYOND COMPREHENSION

 

Is heaven the only thing or rather place as a Christian that we cannot really fathom? For sure, our mind cannot fathom what it will be like when we get to heaven. We will see loved ones that have gone ahead of us, we will see the creative side of our Lord in all of heaven’s grandeur glory! The thought of all that is mind-boggling! So much so that we give little thought to the unknown that lies ahead of us in this life.

God has so much in store for us right here in the life He has given us. It is as much a mystery to us as to where our life will be a year from now as it is what heaven will really be like. When we consider this thought, there is an excitement about this life, this day, tomorrow, next week, and next year.

Just as our eyes have not seen heaven nor have our ears heard the sounds of heaven, nor have our hearts held the realities of heaven; we also have not seen, nor heard, nor contained in our heart what God has in store for us today and moving forward. Let us not become so removed from this life that He has given us that we miss the truth of Paul’s writing to the Church at Corinth concerning all that God has in store for us in “the now.” Trust and serve Him today and anxiously await how He is going to use you now! It truly is beyond comprehension!

 

1 Corinthians 2:9, 10 —”9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”

“PROPER PROVISION FOR THOSE

WHO TRUST IN THE LORD”

 

To wait upon the Lord is not a position of negligence or dormancy. Waiting upon the Lord is a step of action in our walk with Christ. Waiting upon the Lord is to trust the Lord with expectancy. We are not to confuse waiting upon the Lord for His provision in a certain area of our life with laying down on the Lord or being complacent. That is not waiting upon the Lord!

Waiting upon the Lord is trusting in God and in His plan, no matter the circumstances. When we trust in the Lord, In Isaiah 40:31, the Bible tells us that our strength will be renewed! How? By the Lord Himself! Once our strength is renewed, we will rise as do the eagles with their wings. We will run and not grow weary, and we will walk and not quit. Does that description sound like waiting upon the Lord is a place of doing nothing? Not even remotely!

No matter what we face or what we need; no matter how difficult our season in life may be, may we wait upon the lord, that is, trust in the Lord! He will renew us and our strength. This is the most proactive thing we can do in our faith. To trust in Him is to trust Him at His word and take His word and apply it to our life!

 

 

31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

“EVERYDAY IS OF THE LORD”

 

Each day is unique. Each day is like an unopened present at Christmas time or maybe a birthday; we have no idea what is underneath all of the wrapping paper, but we know it’s to us and for us. God grants us each day wrapped up in unknown possibilities and unknown challenges. Some days have more of one than the other. In either case, the day is still made by God and delivered to us.

The sooner we see each day as a gift, divinely wrapped and delivered by God, the quicker our perspective changes into what it ought to be. Proper acknowledgment to God for the blessedness of each day will set the stage for what each day brings to us. Yes, there are blessings and yes there are challenges that await us, but it is His day given to us.

May we always count our blessings. May we always recall His faithfulness and rise and rejoice. As each day approaches, may we remind ourselves that God has entrusted us with it. Oh, that we would always rejoice and be glad in it!

 

Psalm 118:24—”24 This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”

“RECIPROCATING KINDNESS”

 
We all have encountered people who seem to make us feel better after we talk to them than we did before. They just have a way of lifting our spirit and encouraging them. It can be their whole demeanor or maybe the walk they have with the Lord.
 
The chairman of our deacon board at church, Steve, has this gift. He always has a calming disposition. We can be dealing with the most difficult issues, and he always speaks wisdom and calmness into the most chaotic situations. He does so in kindness and it’s infectious to us all.
 
As much as we all enjoy encountering people who are kind and pleasant to be around, we all should reciprocate that same attitude. It doesn’t take much effort to be kind and pleasant to others. We never know the chaos those we encounter have going on in their lives in that very moment. Through the love of Christ within us, we could be the very person that God uses to change the trajectory of their day or week.
 
 
Proverbs 16:24 “24 Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.”

“THE RIGHT MANNER OF LIFE”

 

Often, portions of a verse or passage of scripture is used, and the overall context is dismissed or missed in general. If we have been saved any length of time, we have heard this phrase: “God will never leave or forsake us.” Yes, this is a true statement, but when quoted from Hebrews 13:5, we need to take the verse as a whole.

The writer in Hebrews has much to say in that very verse before the most recited part. He tells us to have a manner of life that does not practice covetousness. In other words, we should not live our life coveting the things of others. There is a lot of pressure and temptation that accompanies covetousness. Often, our desire for material things will trump our desire for God and we will stop at nothing to have the things that other people have.

The writer goes on to teach us that we are to be content with the things that we have. You see, our essentials for living are food, water, and shelter. There is nothing wrong with wanting to provide well for our family and have some nice and nicer things along the way, but we should never go after those things because of covetousness and allow our desire for those things to rob us of our acknowledgement of the greatest blessing that we have in our life. That blessing is the presence and promise of continual presence of God in our life.

Whether we live like kings or like paupers. He will never leave us or forsake us. When the blessings of life are at their highest, He is with us. Whether our life is in the deepest valley that we’ve ever endured, He is with us. Whether we have much or we have little, He will never leave us or forsake us. Praise His Holy name!

 

 

Hebrews 13:5 “5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

“SECRET SHELTER”

 

There is nothing quite like being a child of the living God. He goes before us ad shields our way. He takes our past and turns it into a masterpiece portrait of grace. He forgives us every time that we come to Him and ask for it. He is our great God and King.

When we consider the shelter and protection that He provides for us, the thoughts of His grace and mercy get even more overwhelming. You see, God is untouchable. No threat can penetrate the sovereignty of our God. He is high upon His throne, and He has no concern over being toppled or taken over. He is supreme and all-powerful.

If we are His children, there is refuge provided to us in the secret place of God Almighty. There is nothing that comes our way that detours around the throne of God. He knows all and sees all. We are not an open target for the devil. God is the devils target and He targets God’s children to get at God. However, he is defeated and we are in the secret place of the Almighty and everything that comes our way must first come through the throne room.

With this in mind, may we have confidence that God has got everything under control. If Satan could destroy us, he would. He can’t because we dwell in the secret place of the most High.

Psalm 91:1–2 “1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.”

“HE IS ALWAYS A STEP AHEAD”

 

Where is the Lord in our day-to-day lives? Is He only present when we are right and in fellowship with Him? Is God always a step ahead of us? These are questions that can really shape our view of God’s help and provision. If we feel that His leading and presence is conditional, we will have a very distorted view of God.

In no way am I suggesting that God blesses over sin and disobedience in our life. He does not! However, He doesn’t run off and abandon us when we make mistakes and when we sin. Whether in obedience, disobedience, or making a transition in life that God has called us to; He is always one step ahead of us.

Moses gave Joshua instruction concerning his responsibility to lead the people into the land that God had promised their forefathers long ago. It was daunting and intimidating, but Moses assured Joshua that God would go before him, remain with him, never fail him, and He would never leave him.

God has a plan for our life. We must submit to Him and walk in repentance and forgiveness. God will always be a step ahead of us and ready to clear the way for His children.

 

Deuteronomy 31:8 “8 And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.”

“BRING IT ALL TO CHRIST”

 

On any given day, we all carry burdens that most people know nothing about. We mask the burdens behind smiles. We posture ourselves in such a way that no one would be able to see the load that we are underneath. Too often, we wear our ability to do so with no one knowing as a badge of honor. We pat ourselves on the back and just keep plowing on.

The Lord never intended for us to shoulder the load that life gives us. There are seasons when the load will break the wagon down. Who do we think we are trying to shoulder a load that can only be carried by our Lord? What benefit is it to us to hunker down and bear the load on our own? Pride is the culprit for thinking this way and more so, for living this way.

Jesus calls us to come to Him and that means ALL! Don’t keep anything back and attempt to handle yourself. Bring it all to Him and He tells us that He will rest us from the load. Don’t wait another minute; give it all over to King Jesus. He will carry the load and sustain us.

 

 

Matthew 11:28 “28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

“SETTING UP FOR LET-DOWN”

 

From an early age, I always liked looking up to heroes. Sometimes, those heroes were fictitious, but as I got older, I began to have real heroes. The Lord radically changed my life on February 25th, 2001. I had back-slidden on the Lord for so long and was living my life as if I did not know the Lord! On that day, I came running home to Christ and my wife was gloriously saved and our lives have never been the same since.

Since that day of spiritual restoration, I have found many men and women within the faith that have become heroes to me. I love them dearly and they have been very beneficial to me in many ways. Unfortunately, there have been times when I placed too much stock in these people and because they are human, they fail. Just like I fail, you fail, and all people fail. When a few of them had moral failures, it absolutely crushed me to the core. I couldn’t believe that it could possible be true. However, humans fail.

Be very careful to not set yourself and others up for failure with high expectations and also believing that some are invincible. It’s ok to admire others walk with the Lord, but know that they too are cut from the same clay as all of us are. Do not be duped into believing any man, woman, political leader, political party, pastor, teacher, author nor anyone else is immune to failing.

We must always put our hope and trust in the Lord God Almighty. He never falters and He never fails! Jeremiah compares trusting in man to a juniper tree’s survival chances in the hot desert. There is no relief in sight. Love your fellow man but trust in the one and only God!

 

Jeremiah 17:5–7 “5 Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. 6 For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. 7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.”

“CONFIDENCE IN CHRIST OVER CONFIDENCE IN SELF”

 

We live in a culture today where self-centered pride and arrogance is promoted in any and all areas of life. This can be true about athleticism, career, physical appearance, or just. About any goal one is going after. We are told over and over to believe in ourselves and to have confidence in ourselves.

This mindset sets us up for failure in our faith journey with Christ. We are never taught from God’s word to have faith and confidence in ourselves. Fact is, we’re taught quite the opposite. We are to have confidence in Christ no matter what we are facing, pursuing, or desiring. We are taught to be content in Him and to trust in the reality that He can make anything possible.

As we navigate through life and work toward goals, aims and dreams; as we navigate through our faith journey with Christ, may we never forget that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. It’s not in us or even about us. We must drop the self-confidence and turn our focus toward Christ and His ability.

 

Philippians 4:13 “13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

“IMPERFECT FAITH IS STILL FAITH ENOUGH”

 

Mark’s Gospel tells us of a man who had a son who was possessed with a demon. The possessed boy had been tormented by the evil one. The father has a dialogue with Jesus about his son. Numerous times throughout the young man’s life, the enemy had sought to take the young man’s life. What kept him alive? God had a plan for him.

The father asked Jesus to have mercy on his son. There was no long history of the man serving the Lord. There was no eloquent request made. No, he cried out for Christ to have mercy on his son and he asks the Lord to help his unbelief. He had faith but it was an imperfect faith. Christ accepted his imperfect faith and delivered his son.

When we face things in our lives that require a touch of deliverance from our Lord, He doesn’t require a perfect faith without fail; He simply requires that we call upon Him. We must call upon Him to help our unbelief too. I am forever grateful that His touch is not dependent upon how strong my faith is, but rather, His touch and ability is dependent upon how strong and able He is!

 

Mark 9:20–25 “20 And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. 21 And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. 22 And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. 23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. 24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. 25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.”

“GOD’S CHILDREN ARE CHILDREN OF PEACE”

 

Too much excuse is allowed by many people within the faith today concerning dissension. As children of God, we should be the most peace-filled, peace pursuant, and peace promoting people on the face of the planet. We are the children of God. God has granted His peace to us through and by Christ’s work on the cross at Calvary (Romans 5:1.)

When we make way for ourselves to be anything other than peaceful people and people who pursue peace as Christians, we are acting contrary to the very God for whom we belong. Whether it be your co-workers, spouse, children, or neighbors, be a happy peacemaker because peace has been made between you and God through our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus.

 

Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”

“AN OUTWARD CHANGE APART FROM AN INSIDE WORK”

 

One of two things will change your outward appearance, patterns, and norms. You will either be changed by the world’s worldview, or you will be changed from the inside out through the renewing of your mind in Christ.  

 We only have two options to choose from: the world’s ideology and God’s word. One will change you from the outside and work its way in and the other will change you from the inside and work its way to the outside.  

 When we adapt to worldly influence and attempt to mix in some of God’s truth with it, we get a dysfunctional version of Christianity. Paul clearly teaches us that we are not to be like the world! We are not to be fashioned like an unconverted person, but rather, we are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. How might we do that? We are to cut ties with all worldly influence and devote our life to surrendering to the word of God! When this happens, we will be transformed from the inside out! This pattern is good and acceptable and the perfect will of God! Nothing will cause us to cut ties with word living like obeying the word of God! 

 May we turn our attention away from the outward influences and turn toward the word of God for our renewal. It is here and only here that we shall find the will of God for our lives.  

 

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

“BE STRONG AND OF GOOD CHEER”

 

On this very first day of the New Year, most of us can look back upon the preceding year and recall losses and victories. Sometimes, the standout more so than the victories. These losses sometimes include losing loved ones or heroes of the faith.

 

When Moses died, his servant, Joshua, became his successor. You talk about some shoes to fill! I can’t imagine the sense of fear and uncertainty felt by Joshua having such big shoes to fill. Moses’ name is forever tied to events such as delivering the Law of God to the people and leading the children of Israel across the Red Sea!

 

This New Year will present many opportunities, challenges, and even impossibilities. Some who have helped lead the way are no longer with us and this makes it even more daunting. How are we to face this New Year? Obey the command of the Lord spoken to Joshua! We must meditate on the word of God both day and night and apply it through obedience. When we make this a daily practice, we can obey the second command of God to Joshua; “Be strong and of good courage.” He will never leave us, and He will be with us every step of the way!

 

Joshua 1:8, 9— “8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. 9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”