Tag: Faith

A Package Deal

40 Days of Promises

Day Twelve. Rest and Jesus; a package deal.

“Praise the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the wonderful promises he gave through his servant Moses.” (1 Kings 8:56 NLT)

“Has given rest…” is fulfilled in His Son, Jesus. He is our rest; our rest from trying to measure up, but always falling short. He is our rest in the midst of trying situations. He is our rest, for the rest of eternity.

Not one word has, or will, fail.

“Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope.” (Psalm 16:9 NKJV)

Where is your flesh resting? In worry, in fear? Why not let it rest in hope?

“Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.” (Psalm 37:7 NKJV)

We all give ourselves reasons to fret. The word gives us reasons to rest in the Lord.

Why should we spend our time waiting patiently for something bad to happen to us? You know, we sometimes do that. We’re just certain the sky’s going to fall in, or something.

Fretting is waiting for our worries to come to pass. Resting is waiting for God to have the final word.

“But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 NKJV)

Better than a power nap, waiting on the Lord renews our strength. If you need to mount up with eagle’s wings and fly, rest in the Lord. If you are involved in a race (and who isn’t at some point in time), then rest in the Lord.

His rest calms and rejuvenates your spirit. It makes you more sensitive to His voice; His direction.

Peace is a favorite companion of rest.

Enjoy the promise of rest.

Enjoy it as you seek the Lord with your whole heart.

Rest and Jesus. They’re a package deal.

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Too Good To Be True?

40 Days of Promises

Day 10

There’s just something about the promises of God that are both exhilarating and discouraging. 

Surprised at my choice of words? 

Well, have you ever said this: “That sounds too good to be true”? 

Then you should know what I mean.

At times, the promises of God SEEM too good to be true; but they ARE TRUE. You see, if not for God, there would be no promise.

But God is God and He’s GOOD and TRUE. 

His promises are for whoever will listen to Him and do things His way. Obedience to God brings those things from the impossible, too good to be true realm into the realm of possibility and experience.

See what I mean as you read and meditate on the following scriptures:

“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.

“The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you. They shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways. The Lord will command the blessing on you in your barns and in all that you undertake. And he will bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. The Lord will establish you as a people holy to himself, as he has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in his ways. And all the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you. And the Lord will make you abound in prosperity, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your livestock and in the fruit of your ground, within the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give you. The Lord will open to you his good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands. And you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you shall only go up and not down, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, being careful to do them, and if you do not turn aside from any of the words that I command you today, to the right hand or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.” Deuteronomy 28:1-14 ESV

Blessed! Highly favored, protected, secure, and even pampered. 

“Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” (Psalm 34:9-10 ESV)

No lack. NO lack. Lack NO GOOD THING.

And these promises are NOT too good to be true.

“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

“As it is written, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.”

“He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-10 ESV)

Look at the promises again. Notice the part we have to play in seeing the abounding grace of God revealed in our lives.  Whoever sows, reaps; sow more, reap more.

Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God…and everything you need will be provided for you.” Matt. 6:33 (paraphrased)

Once again, the words of Jesus seem too good to believe, to fathom, to comprehend. 

But they are true. They are true for you, for me; for anyone who seeks first God’s kingdom. 

God’s promise of provision. True and good!

Believe it.

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Eight Life Changing Words

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On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” (Mark 4:35 ESV)

“Let us go across to the other side.”

You may or may not know the story. Jesus had just finished telling his disciples about the importance of God’s word. He used phrases such as, “Pay attention to what you hear. The way you listen will determine how you believe”, “The Kingdom of God operates like a seed; planted (received), it grows”, and, “The seed is the Word of God.”

So shortly after Jesus taught them about God’s Word, he (God in the flesh) said, “Let us go across to the other side.” Those eight life changing words revealed his will to all who heard him speak.

Understand this truth: God’s Word is his will.

Whenever it is believed, received, and acted upon, it will come to pass; even if Heaven and earth have to be shaken or moved just to accommodate his plan.

When he spoke those eight life changing words, as far as he was concerned it was as good as done.

Unfortunately, his disciples weren’t as convinced. They were soon shaken; as the wind and waves increased, and their boat began filling with water.

After a while of bailing and worrying, they finally woke their sleeping savior with a revealing question; revealing just how much they didn’t understand what he had taught them.

“Don’t you care that we’re drowning?”

Jesus had taught them earlier how worry and care “choke the word”, causing the word to lose its power. The wind and waves, along with their own understanding of the sea, choked, crowded out the word Jesus had told them. Remember those eight life changing words, “Let us go across to the other side”?

Those words were enough to quiet the storm and bring them safely to the other side. Jesus demonstrated that very thing to them. He stood and spoke to the storm, “Peace, be still.”

And the storm immediately ceased.

He spoke to the storm as someone who knew it was God’s will to get to the other side. He spoke to his disciples as a teacher who wondered why his students hadn’t caught the previous lesson.

He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him (Mark 4:40 – 4:41 ESV)

The disciples completely missed his point.

When he calmed the wind and waves, it wasn’t to show his power, and it wasn’t to demonstrate his deity.

It was to show them, and us, just how much we need to hear, believe, and obey his word; allowing NOTHING to deter our faith.

Worry will rob us, and possibly, even kill us. It will definitely kill our faith. Sure, we may still be able to quote God’s will, preach God’s will, etc. We might even have a “Let us go across to the other side” ministry.

But if we let go of God’s word when it becomes challenged, we’ll not have learned the real meaning of the lesson.

Jesus taught them about how quickly satan comes to steal the word sown. He wants to steal it before it has a chance to grow roots; roots of faith.

Care, worries about life, and reasoning against the known will of God, can keep us from stepping out in obedience.

There are way too many people living on THIS side of the sea. And there are TOO MANY PEOPLE on the other side that God wants us to reach.

But we won’t fulfill his plan, or finish our course in a manner that pleases him, unless we really grasp those eight life changing words…

“Let us go across to the other side.”

Day Six

40 Days of Promises

Meditate the Word

The Lord gave Joshua everything he needed in order to fulfill all he was called to do. And, basically, it came down to this simple instruction: meditate the Word of God.

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:8 ESV)

Meditation, according to the Word of God, is a very personal and powerful thing. For example, to meditate the Word is to ponder it, think about it, mull it over and over in your mind; thinking of different ways to apply what you are reading or hearing.

Joshua’s instructions: speak, mutter, remind yourself over and over all God has told you. Day and night, night and day. Always. That way you will always know what to do, how and when to do it, IF you are to do it.

That bit of information is what would lead to his success and, ultimately, his and Israel’s prosperity.

David knew the meditation principle, as well.

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” (Psalm 1:1-3 ESV)

Just hanging out with the crowd, even a church crowd, won’t guarantee success in the things of God. Success and prosperity (God’s kind) only come from PURPOSELY doing things God’s way.

“Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day. Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies…” (Psalm 119:97-98 ESV)

“…Wiser than my enemies…” Wouldn’t that be a great thing to have? More wisdom than our enemies? It’s what Jesus had when He walked this earth as the Son of Man. The devil couldn’t trap or trip Him.

And He was able to secure God’s promises for us.

Jeremiah said basically the same thing:
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8 ESV)

Always bearing fruit, never fearing the unknown, forever trusting God and experiencing God’s faithful care.

The Word of God is demonstrated through the life of those who take the time to meditate on God and His Word.

What do you meditate on? Your fears and worries? Or do you meditate on the Word of God?

Your choice. God will never leave you nor forsake you; decide to do things His way and watch His Word come to pass right before your eyes.

Day Five

40 Days of PromisesThe Faithful God

“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations…” (Deuteronomy 7:9 ESV)

I love this description of God: the faithful God. He keeps covenant; in other words, He can be depended upon.

Life is full of uncertainties, but the faithful God can always be counted on.

“And the Lord gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the Lord had given all their enemies into their hands. Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.” (Joshua 21:44 – 21:45 ESV)

Even when we are less than perfect (and who isn’t), like Israel in Joshua’s day; God is faithful. He will give us victory over all our enemies if we will only give Him a chance.

Give God a chance? What’s that mean?

It means to trust, to believe, to obediently do our part.

Because He is the faithful God.

“Blessed be the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed of all.” (1 Kings 8:56 ESV)

To give God a chance also means to hold fast our confession; to verbalize our faith in our faithful God.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23 ESV)

Yes, the One Who makes the promises IS faithful!

He IS the FAITHFUL GOD.

Day Two

40 Days of Promises

God’s Word

There is no book like the Bible. Yet the Bible itself isn’t holy; it’s the book’s content that makes it so very special.

“My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:20-23 ESV)

The Word which God has spoken, and still speaks to us today, is that which brings life, healing, peace, joy; everything that pertains to life and godliness.

“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares 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. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:6-11 ESV)

A word you can count on to change your circumstances and your life. It pours forth from the heart of God to the ear, through the mind, and deep into the heart of every person who will give God an opportunity to speak into their lives.

It ALWAYS succeeds; accomplishing His desires.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105 ESV)

Because of God’s Word, no one ever has to be lost. Stumbling around in darkness can be a thing of the past. All may be recipients of His grace and peace, and enjoy God’s favor and blessing.

Teaching, correction, restoration, divine wisdom, and faith come as one fellowships with God and His word.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)

God’s Word is vital to understanding and utilizing the precious promises of God.

“I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil.” (Psalm 119:162 ESV)

Make God’s Word THE priority of your life; and experience a portion of Heaven on earth.

40 Days of Promises

40 Days of PromisesThe Lord let us know, through the writings of the Apostle Paul, that the things which happened to people in the Old Testament happened not only for their instruction, provision, and discipline, but also for ours:

Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 1 Corinthians 10:6-11 NKJV

So let’s use Moses and the twelve spies for our example. God instructed Moses to choose men, one from each of the twelve tribes of Israel, to spy out the land of promise. The men were to be leaders; men who were recognized for their position and ability. Men who would gather information about their new homeland and its inhabitants, and return with samples of its produce. Men who would mix the gathered facts with what they already knew in their heart; that God is faithful and true. Men who would influence their nation to follow after God.

God gave them 40 days of promises; time to meditate on all that He had promised.

The word translated “spy” means, “to meander about, especially for trade or reconnoitering.”

Reconnoiter. I like that word. It means, “To go to a place, or area, in order to find out information about a military enemy: to do reconnaissance.” In other words, the twelve leaders’ mission was simply to gather the facts and report them to Moses and the others. And by doing so, the rest of Israel could gain the much needed support for their faith to help them actually possess the promises they had been hearing about the past several generations.

Support for faith. It’s something all of us need if we’re to possess the promises of God. And that’s the reason for this series of posts.

Think of this reading material as a type of reconnoitering; looking at the land God has already promised. Examining its impact on our way of living. Seeing the faithful God in a whole new light. Understanding His love and great desire to impact our lives for good, and for eternity.

Sure, there may be things that appear much too large; impossible, even.

But the Lord does not say one thing and mean something different. He is, among many other things, faithful and true.

One huge lesson we can take away from the spies of old: look at life through the eyes of faith in God. Mix faith with the promises of God. Don’t be overwhelmed with the size of the enemy, the problem, or whatever. God didn’t send them into the land to investigate the prowess and power of the enemy; but to witness the greatness of His Glory against the backdrop of impossibly.

40 Days of Promises. An opportunity to examine the “land of promise”, dream the dreams of God for your life, and, hopefully, by mixing faith with the promises, personally experience God’s handiwork and power.

And just imagine the joy you’ll have in telling others about the land of God’s promises.

Can God Be Trusted In The Dark?

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Why does our faith vacillate so much when life changes on us? When the sun disappears behind dark and threatening storm clouds?

We say we trust the Lord, that he is able to do anything, yet we become a nervous wreck when things don’t go as planned. We say he’s good (all the time) but act as though he’s not. We declare we can do everything through Christ who gives us strength, but complain the moment we feel the slightest bit of trouble.

We are quick to say, “Amen”, when the preacher speaks about Jehovah-Jireh, the God who provides. But when we can’t see a way out of our situation we want to rag on the preacher!

Why?

Maybe it’s because we don’t really know God as well as we say we do. Or, maybe we are too absorbed with our own little kingdom, rather than the kingdom of God. Possibly it’s because we don’t understand a basic truth about God.

God reveals himself against the backdrop of lack, trouble, and death. His handiwork is easier to see when the sky is dark and stormy. His signature is much more noticeable when the cupboards are bare. Paul said it this way:

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV)

God used 4 lepers to rout the whole Syrian army. 2 Kings 7

He provided a ram for Abraham to sacrifice, rather than his son. Genesis 22

Defeated the army of Moab after he told the Israelites to dig ditches. 2 Kings 3

Fed 5,000 plus with only the food found in a little boy’s lunchbox. John 6

Made a borrowed axe head float and swim, as Elisha tossed a stick into the water. 2 Kings 6

When the earth was created, he used things unseen to make all that can be seen. Hebrews 11

Killed 185,000 enemy soldiers with one angel. Isaiah 37

Remember: when circumstances scream “impossible”, that’s when you’ll hear God speak the loudest…

“Here I am.”

The Confessions of a Closet Doubter

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So what happens to me if can’t find my way clear to believe all of the bible?

Who says I have to?

And so what, if I don’t?

Can I enter into Heaven if I don’t believe in the biblical account of creation? What if I believe in the “six days”, but use Peter’s “thousand years is a day” verse to define the length of each day? And why not? People use it to prove other things.

What if I don’t believe Jonah lived for three days and nights in the belly of a great fish? Would that ruin my chances for eternal life?

Would it be better for me to say I believe all the bible, from Genesis through Revelation, when God knows I don’t?

Who cares more about what I really believe; you or the Lord?

Will I be given the opportunity to walk the streets of gold if people discover I am a closet doubter? You know, there’s an awful lot of stories in that big book. Like the one of Samson whooping up on a number of men using only a donkey jawbone. Really. And I’m expected to believe THAT?

What about the story of Gideon’s fleece, Jacob’s ladder, or Cain’s wife? I have to believe EVERYTHING? What if I haven’t even read “everything”?

The thief on the cross; what did he believe that unlocked Heaven’s gate for him? Was it the story of Joshua’s sun standing still, or Hezekiah’s shadow moving backwards ten degrees?

Where can I find scripture telling me I must believe every jot and tittle?

Do YOU believe everything?

Don’t get me wrong. I WANT to believe everything. I desire to be FULL of faith, having no doubt. But sometimes I just can’t see it. Even with my measure of faith, it’s tough at times.

I DO believe Jesus is God. He is the Word made flesh. He came, lived a sinless life, for me. He went about doing good, and healing all oppressed by the devil. He was crucified as the Lamb of God, taking upon himself all of mankind’s sin; yes, even mine.

I DO believe God raised Jesus from the dead. He ascended into Heaven. He is Lord of all.

I DO believe he is MY Lord. Without a shadow of doubt, I believe.

Oh, I THINK I believe everything in the bible, but there are times when I find a little (or a lot of) doubt tiptoeing around in my heart.

But I KNOW what I believe; I have the evidence, the reality, in my heart.

And I’m working on believing the rest.

Feeling Like A Failure

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I must confess: at this moment I feel more like Gideon in the winepress, than David running out to meet Goliath.

What happened? Nothing in particular. Just life.

But though my flesh is tired, and I’m frustrated with my circumstances, I will not quit fighting the good fight of faith. Though I feel like a failure…

No, I will encourage myself, just as David did when it looked as though he would be killed by the Philistines.

“I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!

I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” (Psalm 34:1 – 34:10 ESV)

I know I don’t look like a mighty man of faith and power. I realize I don’t have the muscles of a warrior. I haven’t noticed any ladder in my yard whereupon the angels of God are ascending and descending. I haven’t heard the voice like that of many waters call my name, or even clear his throat.

The voice I’ve been hearing for the last hour or two has sounded more like the serpent than the savior. The message that’s bombarded my spirit seems more like my accuser than my advocate. And the heaviness on my heart can’t be anything other than the cares of the world.

Regardless of what I feel, what I hear, or what life is trying to force me into believing;

I am God’s. He is mine.

I’m not required to run and meet Goliath.

All I need to do is run to my God.

He is all I need.

I am not a failure.

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