My husband and I are navigating the foster care system. We are currently completing all necessary steps to open our home for foster care. Our emotions have been on a wild roller coaster, and we know it will only speed up once a child is placed in our home. It seems that the questions pile up, the unknowns become scarier, and the what ifs grow larger each day.
Reading through Nehemiah, the account of the Israelites rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem spoke to my heart.
The people faced severe opposition. They had to work while holding weapons for protection. They labored day and night building and guarding. Do you ever feel the exhaustion of laboring day and night to work for and guard your family?
Nehemiah believed that God would see them through. Even through the opposition, the taunts, the fear, and the exhaustion, he placed his full trust in the Lord. Nehemiah knew the work God had called him to complete, and he knew God would provide if he was obedient.
Jesus knew the trouble we would face. He knew how hard and scary the world can be, but He left us with a promise. John 16:33 reminds us that this world will bring trouble, but Jesus has overcome the world. He is victorious!
When the world is dark and scary, we can place our trust in Jesus. When the path seems unclear, we can lean on Him. When life throws it taunts and fears our way, we can stand firm in God’s calling and promises.
Nehemiah knew the trouble this world could bring, but just as Jesus promised, Nehemiah also knew that God would be victorious. My husband and I know that this path we are on will bring fear, pain, and sadness. However, we can stand firm just as Nehemiah and the people of Israel did with our weapon in one hand (God’s very words and promises) while we continue the work the Lord has laid before us with the other hand.
Our God is faithful. He is working for our good and for His glory (Rom. 8:28). And He is victorious. Wherever He has called you, continue to fight clinging to His word and His promises as you continue in His work.
Memory Verse: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:3
God explained, through Moses, “Do not intermarry… they will turn your children away from following me to serve other gods, and the Lord’s anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you” (Deut. 7:3-4).
And of course God was right. Years later, Solomon “loved many foreign women” (1 Kings 11:1). His compromise started a Domino effect.
Israel was led astray to worship other gods in addition to Yahweh. Their spiritual devotion became so watered down they looked and lived no different than anyone else. The nation that once was a clear display of God’s might and splendor experienced drought, famine, and eventually exile.
This history explains Ezra’s extreme reaction to the report of intermarriage after returning home to Jerusalem. As a priest and student of the Torah, he immediately perceived the danger of their disobedience of God’s command.
Ezra grieved. Ezra prayed. And the Word says, “a large crowd… gathered around him” (Ezra 10:1). Together they wept over their unfaithfulness to their faithful God. But they didn’t stop at confession— they truly repented by taking action. The foreigners willing to lay aside their nation’s gods and embrace Yahweh as the one true God stayed, while everyone else was sent away.
As believers, we are chosen to live as salt in a tasteless world so that others will “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps. 34:8). To be salty requires that we be set apart, wholeheartedly devoted unto God’s ways— not everyone else’s.
Sadly, if we look around, we see a church that is not unlike that which Ezra saw. Like my son’s latte and the Israelites, many of us have conformed to our environment. We have intermarried with the ways of the world:
When we study God’s Word, like Ezra, we see that God takes obedience seriously; as Christ-followers, we should too. His glory should be our utmost priority in everything we say and do.
Intermarrying with the world’s ways waters down our witness.
In response, we should all stop right here and ask ourselves this question: In what ways have I become conformed to my worldly environment?
When the Holy Spirit reveals an area of disobedience, take time to grieve and confess. But, friend, don’t let it stop there— allow that grieving to move you to genuine repentance through action. Throw that addiction in the trash. Delete the app. Call a friend for accountability.
Wholehearted devotion concentrates God’s “flavor” in our lives. Make the decision to “be fully committed to the Lord our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands…” (1 Kings 8:61). When others “taste” your life, they will desire what’s inside, and you can share with them your not-so-secret ingredient— Jesus
Memory Verse: “And may your hearts be fully committed to the Lord our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands, as at this time.” 1 Kings 8:61
Even in those moments, God’s word flooded my soul. He reminded me that I abide in Him. And My heart, albeit broken, was still beating.
God’s steadfast love remained and sustained me.
He became the bedrock of my existence.
When I read about Ezra (Ezra 1-6) and the captives taken into Babylon in this week’s passages, I imagine they felt something like this. Not only had their homes been lost, but the temple - God’s house - had also been destroyed. There was no going back to the way things were. The grief must have been overwhelming. I’m sure the thought of rebuilding their lives after such devastation seemed like an impossible and frightening task but God’s people were able to push past the fear and begin the healing process. Ezra 3:3 explains, “Despite their fear of the peoples around them, they built the altar on its foundation and sacrificed burnt offerings on it to the Lord, both the morning and evening sacrifices.”
As days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months, God brought His people hope of restoration and reminded them that their true home was found in Him.
In His unfailing love, God gave them the courage to rebuild the broken places and inhabit the promised land again. Eventually, the temple was rebuilt, and the priests and Levites once again served the Lord: “When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the Lord, as prescribed by David king of Israel” (Ezra 3:10).
As you read the story of Ezra and the captives, you may find your story written on the pages, too. You are not abandoned, dear Sister. Here, is where we press into the faithfulness of God. We can face opposition with the comfort of knowing we place our hope in Him and in his love.
Ezra 3:11 reminds us of his unfailing love. “With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: ‘He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever’.” And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.”
Slowly, but with a steady hand and a strong arm, God gives courage and strength to rebuild His house - even if it is our broken hearts. He fills in the empty spaces. And the broken spaces that are still healing just serve as conduits of compassion to leak love to others.
In broken places, God’s love becomes our home.
He did it for Israel. He did it for me. He can do it for you.
In your prayer time today, ask the Holy Spirit to stir your memories to see God’s faithful love over the past 60 days. Start with a list of just 3-4 and post it in a place where you can see it. It could be directly from scripture or indirectly from people he has brought to you! As you remember his faithfulness, let your heart find its home in His love.
Memory Verse: “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” Ephesians 3:17b-18
Rather, it was their willful rebellion that saw God’s judgment befall them. God was patient (like, 900 years patient) and by this time had given His people every opportunity to repent, yet they resisted and continued to live according to their own way. Personally, I resonated with these passages.
Although I lived in a similar rebellion as the Israelites, today I consider myself fortunate to know the transformative power of the love of God and what He’s done for us by sending Jesus Christ to die on the cross. After years of living recklessly, it was one decision that would transform me into an obedient, disciplined, and devoted Christian. What was that decision? Repentance! True, utter, repentance of my grevious sinful nature, finally laid at the foot of the cross for once and for all. Not to be picked up again when I felt sad, or when I had a bad day, but never to be touched again.
Repentance is more than asking for forgiveness or feeling sorry, it requires action. Like a father might let his children go in the way of their poor decisions, so did God when He sent the Israelites to Babylon. God did this with the hope that they would come to their own conclusion towards repentance. The Hebrew verb we translate repentance from means “to return” (Wieja). Just as God was looking for His people to return to Him and His law, He looks for us to return to Him through His son, Jesus Christ. Jeremiah’s prophecies made it clear that a new covenant would be established with God’s people! The good news is already here, friends. Let us not be exiled, but let us return to the cross in humble repentance.
The first step to repentance is admitting it needs to happen. Don’t be discouraged along the way for “we all fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23), but be glad! It is God who is shedding light on our sin, not to condemn us, but to bring us closer to Himself. After admittance, ask for forgiveness, and move forward anew. Be patient with yourself during the daily process that is changing your lifestyle, your habits, and even your thoughts. Rely on God and His restoring power. He isn’t content to leave us in broken conditions and it can be said that spiritual growth is forever, even on the other side of the cross. What a beautiful future for us to constantly live and strive towards.
Reference: Wieja, Estera. “What Did Jesus Mean by Repent? The Hebrew Meaning of Teshuva.” 3 August 2021,https://firmisrael.org/learn/what-did-jesus-mean-by-repent-the-hebrew-meaning-of-teshuva/.
Memory Verse: “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.” Matthew 3:8
As I continued, my path took me beside the lake near our house, where well-established trees towered over the muddied waters. My eyes studied their branches, stretched high and wide, prompting a familiar scripture to come to mind:
“…Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear…” (Jer. 17:7-8, emphasis added)
In the chapters surrounding this simile, Jeremiah rebukes the nation of Israel. They were stuck in a cycle of sin and doomed for destruction, so the young prophet gets down to the literal root of the problem: confidence in themselves instead of trusting God.
Yahweh had called Israel out of slavery in Egypt, then led them into the desert to learn how to live a life of dependence on Him. After 40 years of wandering, they had (mostly) learned their lesson.
However, after they entered the Promised Land, old habits soon returned. God had chosen them to be “oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor” (Is. 61:3). Instead, they became like a “stunted shrub in the desert'' (Jer. 17:6 NLT), worthless and doomed to destruction.
Jehovah Jireh was, and is, more than enough for His people’s every need. But, in their pride, Israel traded His abundant provision opting to strive in their own ability.
God took the Israelites back out of their land and into exile to reiterate His original lesson. In the same way, he leads you and I into “desert seasons” to remind us to place and keep our total confidence rooted in Him.
That hot summer day by the lake, I had a choice to make: I could grin and bear the coming days in my own strength (which would surely lead to burnout) or I could place my confidence solely in Christ and trust Him to be enough for every moment.
Thankfully, I chose the latter. When I look back on that season, now, all I can see is grace and more grace. I can say, with the psalmist David, “…those who seek the Lord lack no good thing” (Ps. 34:10).
Friend, He won’t fail you either. He is worthy of all our trust. Are you facing a situation that feels impossible? Are you fearful and frustrated when it comes to finances, parenting, or something else?
The feeling of “not enough” is a sure-fire sign that we’re putting confidence in our own ability instead of God’s. When we are rooted in Christ alone, we can rest in the knowledge that He is sufficient for every situation.
Right now, allow the Holy Spirit to reveal any area where you’ve been rooted in self-confidence, then confess the sin of pride; “He is faithful and just and will forgive” (1 Jn. 1:9, emphasis added).
Turn from your own strength, your own ideas, or even your own righteousness. Commit to live each day rooted in complete dependence on Christ.
He is the Well that never runs dry
Memory Verse: “’But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.’” Jeremiah 17:7-8
In Isaiah 6:1-4, Isaiah saw God in all His glory, and he was overwhelmed! How could he, a sinful man, living among a disobedient, sinful people, (the people of Judah), see the King, the Lord Almighty, and live? Recognizing his unworthiness, Isaiah cried out, “Woe to me! I am ruined” (Is. 6:5). Yet, because of God’s great love for His children, He transforms us and makes us worthy (2 Thess. 1:11). He did this for Isaiah and He continues to do this for everyone who calls Him ‘Abba Father.’
Isaiah’s response to the Lord’s voice saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
(Is. 6:8), was immediate. Without knowing what he was being asked to do, or where he was being sent, he responded, “Here am I, Send me” (Is. 6:8). Having experienced God’s love and mercy, he no longer felt inadequate. He was ready to answer God’s call.
You too, have probably struggled with answering God’s call to serve Him. We want to know the minutest details. Where? When? How? Are we qualified? In evaluating my qualifications or ‘worthiness’ to answer God’s call, I was looking at the things the world told me I needed: experience, a perfect family, to be “good enough.” You probably have a similar list.
However, God sees us so differently from the way we see ourselves. In His eyes, we are worthy because He has made us worthy; the blood that Jesus shed on the cross qualifies us. We need only to have hearts that are willing to do His will. The rest is up to Him.
In Christ, we are competent for every calling.
I thank God for calling me to serve Him for those three years. I was blessed by the women we served, and those that I served alongside. We saw God at work in our families. My children were nurtured in God’s word, and that has been foundational in their lives. I am still friends with many of the moms from my group. I would have missed a great blessing had I said, “No,” to serving God.
Is God calling you? Do you hear His faint whisper calling you to step out in faith? Friend, even though you and I may not have a vision of the Almighty as Isaiah did, He still calls us to do His will. Let us put aside our reservations and our reasons, so that we may answer faithfully and boldly as Isaiah did, "Here am I. Send me" (Is. 6:8).
Memory Verse: “…for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”
Most often, after the tears subsided and the understanding took over, this was quickly followed with repentant remorse in the form of a tiny kiss or tender “pat-pat-pat” on the leg. On other occasions, the response was less desirable, ending in a full-blown tantrum. And in these moments of varying emotions, I’d often find myself looking at this little being and wondering if God ever felt this way.
In the book of Hosea, we see a pattern of sin that isn’t met with immediate remorse.
The Lord created a parallel, portraying the stubborn unfaithfulness of God’s chosen children, the Israelites. Hosea was instructed to marry Gomer, an unfaithful woman, and have children. Each child named by the Lord in warning of the punishment the Israelites would suffer as a result of their unfaithfulness. Just as Gomer abandoned Hosea, the Israelites had abandoned God, adopting the idols of the Canaanites and turning from the ways of the Lord. Their repentance was slow to manifest, not coming to actualization, but the vision of what their repentance would look like being beautifully illustrated in Hosea 14, “People will dwell again in his shade, they will flourish like the grain, they will blossom like the vine - Israel’s fame will be like the wine of Lebanon.” (v.7)
A promise of restoration from a Father with a loving, gracious heart, even in the midst of their sin, “I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them” (Hos. 14:3).
In the Israelites’ sin, the Lord’s love was still evident; He still foreshadowed the blessings the Israelites would find in returning to Him while never wavering in the correction He’s always faithful to give.
What we see following all of this sin is the posture of His heart for us.
The evidence that His heart is never for our destruction, but only for our good, because His love is never far removed even in His loving correction. Even when we’re running in every direction but towards Him, He desires for us to experience the promises of a life lived in righteous repentance.
Friends, when we find ourselves toe to toe with disobedience, like the Israelites, be reminded of what repentance can look like. We, too, need to be held accountable, that in our own sin repentance must be absolute. Remember, God’s love is never absent, even in the midst of the consequences. When we find ourselves in a state of awareness of our own sin, it allows for the fullness of His love that’s in us, through His Holy correction, to extend to those around us, whether it be in the wake of repeated offense or something so seemingly harmless as bathwater on the bathroom floor. Through this, may we be quickened to have the very same heart, mirroring His own in ushering graceful accountability.
Even when there is no immediate relent in offense, be gracious of heart, not failing to show the love and mercy we so often receive, but maintaining accountability and extending His promises that are held in divine correction.
Memory Verse: “You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call You.” Psalm 86:5
Recently, my daughter’s class was asked to dress up for community helper day as something they would like to be when they grow up. My darling first born baby girl thought for a while and said she wanted to go to school dressed just like me, a mommy. That’s when God whispered, “I’ve already given you one.” He was referring to the fancy title I’d asked Him for. God knew I didn’t need a new job or title; I needed a different perspective: His perspective.
In 1 Kings, Elijah was fearless in approaching the king and stayed steadfast in his calling from the Lord. Elijah just defeated the Baal priests, but Jezebel became enraged at this and threatened his life. Fearfully, Elijah ran. In his weakest moment, God not only provided food and drink, but also called out to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:9). Elijah was ready to throw in the towel, completely defeated. Elijah answered, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of Armies, but the Israelites have abandoned your covenant, torn down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they’re looking for me to take my life” (1 Kings 19:14). Elijah waited for a tremendous answer like he had previously received, but that’s not what came. God brought mighty winds, an earthquake and a blazing fire, but His voice was heard in the small, gentle whisper.
God’s whisper and signs were the encouragement Elijah needed to hear and see from God’s perspective. His confidence came from God and God alone. Nothing in this world can sustain us other than our God. The Lord asked him once more, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:13). Elijah felt God’s presence with him and he was humbled. His words were the same and his situation unchanged but he was renewed by hearing God’s voice. God’s whisper helped Elijah exchange his doubt for trust.
Elijah was waiting for God to answer him with a miracle; instead, He sent Elijah a whisper. He didn’t change his path or his calling. He gave Elijah a shift in perspective. Through that seemingly small answer, Elijah remembered his God given purpose. He was confident and courageous again. He rested in his confirmation from the Lord.
Instead of asking for a change in circumstance, pray for a change in perspective. Pray for your doubt to be exchanged for trust in the Lord’s unfailing love and promises. I encourage you to shift your perspective of how you view yourself to the same lens God uses. The deeper I become rooted in God’s Word, the easier it becomes to step into the identity of who God says I am and to step out of the identity of who the world says I am. God has given you an assignment and if you’re listening, you’ll find guidance and confirmation in His sweet whispers.
Memory Verse: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:1-2
Consider this contrasting scenario.
“Your eyebrows look really good today,” were the parting words on a Zoom meeting I had recently with a female colleague. Of course, I thanked her before we said goodbye and closed the meeting app. Her words stuck with me. I got up from my desk and went to the bathroom to look in the mirror. My eyebrows looked okay to me. I did not see anything special, but I thought about her words for the rest of the afternoon. She took less than three seconds to speak the words out loud and they made a positive impact that lasted for days.
These two stories have one thing in common. Both focus on spoken words that made a lasting impact. King Solomon started the collection of maxims which became the book of Proverbs to keep wise sayings in one place, much like a catalog of wisdom. His desire was for his spoken words to be remembered and have a lasting impact. 1 Kings 4:29 tells us, “God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore.” One-third of the book of Proverbs is framed as advice a father offers to a son, a parent to a child. Much of that advice is focused on how a wise person treats other people. Heeding biblical advice shows strength of character. To strengthen character and to build healthy relationships, Proverbs 3:27 advises, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.” Both comments spoken to me in the stories above made an impact. But only one made a good impact on my heart and brightened my day.
Has someone ever done something for you that made a lasting impression? Maybe they complimented a skill you possess. Or perhaps noticed a positive change or habit you were implementing. Or maybe it was something simple like, “Your hair looks good today.”
You have the power to shower goodness on everyone God puts in your path.
This proverb offers a greater challenge. Think about the people you encounter on a daily basis. Some of them may live inside your house, others you may encounter in person outside your home, or even virtually. Can you be the kind of woman who seizes brief moments to make a positive impact on others by offering a simple compliment or positive observation? Solomon, the wise king, thought this was good advice. Take his guidance to heart and do not withhold goodness from others. A well-spoken, timely word can change someone’s day!
Memory Verse: “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.” Proverbs 3:27
I was devastated. How could such a beautiful moment take such a drastic turn? Momentarily, I gave in to what felt like such a traumatic experience but shortly afterwards, I was reminded of God’s word. I will never forget the verses I meditated on leading up to childbirth such as James 1:2, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” When the Holy Spirit brought this to my remembrance, I felt joy in knowing that even in the trials I was facing, I would persevere because God’s word promises our trial will produce something beautiful in us. The more I held on to God’s word, not only was I healing physically but also spiritually.
Did you know that if you allow God’s word to take root inside of you, you too can experience joy in the midst of tough circumstances?
We read in Psalm 119, “Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands give me delight” (Ps. 119:143). In this passage, we see the fruit of joy and perseverance from the psalmist as they express the love they have for God’s word in inspite of tough times. Interestingly enough, Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible. And in this chapter, we see just how much the psalmist has allowed God’s word to take root on the inside of him or her. More importantly, the psalmist doesn’t ignore the troubles they are experiencing but in spite of them finds joy in God’s commands.
In the Bible, we see several examples of the importance of the word of God. We also find that if we cling to his commands, it can produce good fruit in our lives as it did for the psalmist. For example in Luke 8, Jesus tells the parable of the sower to a large crowd. As the seed was scattered, it was only the seed that fell on good soil that produced a crop. He further explains the parable to the disciples by revealing this seed represents God’s word. Luke 8:15 states, “‘but the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop”.
In times of trouble, find joy in the word of God and hold tight to his commands, knowing He will produce, in your life, the fruit of perseverance. I will be the first to admit I haven’t always done this. It is very tempting to get distracted by the weight of life. So much so, that we forget all God has commanded us in his word. However, as believers we too must find delight in his commands in spite of hard circumstances. Joy comes from the assurance of God’s presence even in the midst of hard circumstances.
I encourage you to take inventory of your life. As you take inventory, think about a tough moment you are currently experiencing. We all experience them. Now, I challenge you to take it to God’s word. What does His word say about it? Allow that Word to transform how you see your circumstance. As you spend this time with him, you will find a joy that will resonate through any trial.
Memory Verse: “Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands give me delight.”
When I first started seeing these things within me clearly, my thoughts jumped to “God how can this be? I felt like I was growing closer to you and strengthening my relationship with you. Now I see all these sins evident in my life.” I felt defeated and unworthy. Then I felt the Spirit say, “This is what you prayed for; now let me help you.”
As David cried out in Psalm 139, with desperation to grow closer to God, we, too, can do the same. If we truly mean the prayer, we have to understand that we will probably not like the results. How are we to recognize hidden sin unless God points it out? If God never revealed the sin in our life that we try so hard to cover up, then how would we be able to fix it?
These revelations of sin don’t make us more distant from God, but rather is what is needed for us to recognize how we still have a ways to go. He does not reveal it to us to condemn us or make us hate ourselves. Instead He does it to set us free and draw us closer to him. Confession, repentance and reconciliation bring us into a deeper relationship with God.
Those revelations scared me at first, and made me feel unworthy; however, I am now thankful for them. Because now that I am more aware, I can repent and ask for forgiveness. I can also be more mindful of when I am tempted in the areas that have been revealed and ask the Holy Spirit to guide me. This acknowledgement, confession, repentance, and reconciliation has continued to draw me closer to God.
Christ is truly with us to lead us, heal us, and forgive us. We are not called to dwell in our sins and past mistakes, this only further discourages us. Instead, we are called to dwell in the love of Jesus and allow Him to lead us in the way everlasting. After all, He is the One who has paid for all sin.
Trust me, I know this is a dangerous prayer, but I encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit to guide you through these last two verses of Psalm 139. This prayer has only deepened my relationship with our Heavenly Father. Invite the investigation of your innermost self. Ask Him to reveal the things that you may not even know about yourself. No matter what He reveals to you, and how hard it is to see, He will be faithful to lead you in the way everlasting. To Him you are completely worth it, so much so that He gave His life for you.
Memory Verse: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24
David experienced a range of emotions in the form of fear, pressure, anger, anxiety and more when he was forced out of Israel, on the run from Saul, fighting battles and surviving in a harsh land. But even in the midst of such adversity, it says in 2 Samuel 3:1 that “David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.” Finally, it was time. In chapter 5 David and his men took the stronghold of Zion (Jerusalem) and defeated the Philistines to secure the city in which the Lord would build David’s house.
The victory over the Philistines was significant not because it secured David’s new place as king, but because David brought the presence of God (the Ark of the Covenant) out of the hands of the Philistines and into the midst of His people. The prize for David’s many years of waiting was the presence of the almighty God, rather than the presentation of a crown. David’s response was nothing short of inspiring.
“Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets” (2 Sam. 6: 14-15). He worshiped undignified, unfiltered and unashamed. The weight of the wait was over and David found himself caught up in the moment, liberated by the joy of being in the presence of God.
Do you ever feel the weight of the wait upon you? Maybe you feel the shame of being let go from a job, exhaustion of fighting night and day against the ever present voice of “mom guilt,” the anger of waiting on a promise that isn’t yet fulfilled or the fear of not knowing what’s going to happen to your child. David waited years to bring the presence of God to Israel, but because of Jesus, we can experience hope, freedom, joy and security in the presence of God always.
Because of God’s presence, we can release the weight of the wait and be fully present.
Friend, what things are keeping you from being in the moment today? What is the weight you are carrying? God sees you, He knows you and He wants to offer you freedom in the place of fear and pressure, joy in the place of anger and security in the place of anxiety.
So, as the things of your life threaten to overtake you, take a moment to look to Jesus and let his presence bring you back to a place of liberating joy.
Memory Verse: “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.” Psalm 63: 3-4
David told his men that encouraged him to lash out against Saul, “ The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lay a hand on him; for he is the anointed of the Lord” (1 Sam. 24:6).
David had his own struggles throughout his life, just like we do, but he knew that his retribution would not honor God. His faithfulness to honor God over his feelings in the moment was more important. Feelings tell lies, but God is faithful to keep His promises to us.
That is when I understood that I was more like Saul than I would like to admit. Years later, after the realization that my way was not working, I finally turned to the Lord for answers. He revealed to me my hidden faults. It took everything in me to surrender the sin at hand: pride. God gently exposed my sin and softened my heart, but this realization hurt! I then understood that the anger, bitterness and pain I experienced and caused others was not of the Lord. I used to see having the last word as a victory medal, now I see they were chains.
After I repented, God washed over my pain with His peace. The weight of those shackles needed to be broken so I could live the life He intended for me. Shortly after I surrendered, God put it on my husband's heart to share a sin he'd been keeping in the dark. I knew I had to step out of my own way and that was when I noticed, my response was not my own but God’s.
A surrendered heart breaks the chains that keep us trapped in sin.
When we are so consumed with pride, jealousy and our own emotions, it is quite difficult to see when we are the problem. Satan wants to make us comfortable in the dark. Hiding our sin and masking it with our pride makes his job that much easier.
But friend, let’s remember to not be controlled by our own selfishness and look at the situation from the perspective of our trustworthy God. When things get hard and relationships get sticky, remember the love God wants to extend. He exposes our sin because He is light and He disciplines the ones He loves (Pr. 3:11-12). Let’s humble ourselves and yield to the Lord, keeping our eyes fixed on our loving Father.
Surrender to Him today and watch as the chains are broken. Let Him have the last word because He is worthy!
Memory Verse: “But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me.” Psalm 19:12-13a
Within moments of praying, she stretched her body across the row of blue vinyl hospital chairs. Closing her eyes, she drifted into what she describes as the deepest sleep she ever remembered experiencing, the Lord’s peace her blanket. When she awakened, the doctor shared the miraculous news that her son was alive and well.
She surrendered the greatest blessing of her life to the Lord and trusted Him whether she faced a loss or a miracle.
In Samuel chapter 1, Hannah longed for a baby, yet as time passed she remained childless. Hannah took her deep wounds and poured out her bitter tears to the Lord promising Him that if He gave her a son, she vowed to give him back to the Lord all the days of his life (1 Sam. 1:11).
The Lord remembered Hannah and blessed her with the son she desperately longed for. And Hannah remembered her vow, “and she said to him, ‘Pardon me, my lord. As surely as you live, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the Lord. I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord”’ (1 Sam. 1: 26-28).
Hannah waited for the blessing of a son, and when she received it, she opened her hand and released him back to the Lord. Our children are God’s children first. He’s entrusted them to our care, but He loves them more than we do. It’s human nature for us to parent with clenched fists, fretting, and desiring to control what often is uncontrollable. We long for the very best for our children. So does God.
We can surrender our children to the Lord and trust Him no matter what happens out of our control. Children are a blessing and a reward, and we often desire to hold tight to these blessed rewards.
Surrender requires deep trust, but the reward is unshakeable peace.
What deep desires or longings are you holding with clenched fists? Open your hands and surrender them to the Lord. As you open your hands, reach toward God and grasp His hand as you give those deepest cares and concerns back to Him. You can trust Him with anything you place in His loving hands.
Memory Verse: “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him.” Psalm 28:7
We find Israel facing a similar situation in Judges chapter six. Neighboring Midianites have been oppressing the Israelite people for seven years. Things have become desperate. Families have fled their homes for the relative safety of mountain caves and dens. Every year, as soon as crops have been planted, Midianite armies invade with the intention of destroying every bit of sustenance being grown. The Israelites have been reduced to almost nothing - devoid of hope, full of fear and despair.
In the midst of this, we meet Gideon, a young Israelite who is threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress. What a strange sight this would have been! Threshing wheat is one of the most labor-intensive processes outside of the modern machinery used today. The ultimate goal is to separate the edible wheat kernels from the straw and chaff. Traditionally, this was done in wide-open spaces, probably on a day when a gentle breeze was blowing, allowing the heavier wheat kernels to fall to the ground as the chaff blew away.
Imagine doing that in an enclosed area.
Gideon is right there, in the middle of his mess, hiding from his circumstances, when an angel of the Lord appears and addresses him, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior” (Judg. 6:12b).
Whoa. Read that again: “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”
Do you think Gideon felt like a mighty warrior as he cowered in the shadows, afraid for his life? I doubt it. God has this incredible way of speaking our identities into our lives before we can see that identity in the mirror.
When I look in the mirror, I see a woman who struggles with mental illness, doesn’t pray “enough”, hasn’t been to a physical church in three years, and who picks fights with her husband. But God tells me that’s not who I am in Him. He calls me a daughter of the King, beloved, forgiven, and perfect in His sight.
It doesn’t really matter what you are hiding from today. What matters is that you remind yourself who God says you are. You are a daughter of the King, forgiven, worthy, loved, a masterpiece, chosen, significant, and gifted. Place intentional reminders around you so that you can see the truth when you feel like hiding. Make a list of your true identity on a post-it note and put it on your mirror or steering wheel, make a wallpaper for your phone, or set a reminder on your phone at a certain time every day. Step out of hiding, my friend, and embrace who God says you are.
Memory Verse: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9
After seventeen years of trying my absolute best to follow Jesus, I met the Holy Spirit in a life-altering way, and my entire world changed. I quickly learned that He had work for me every single day, moment by moment. Simple obedience became my entire life. I realized that I had been stifling His voice for years. As Covid 19 hit, I would wait on His command to do even simple things such as make online grocery orders, and while many weren’t getting large portions of their orders, mine was always full. I was both shocked and hooked…my anxiety completely gone because of full faith in His ways. While, in the past, I thought I could plan certain things easily, I now realized the value and subsequent fruit brought about from seeking His input.
When I read that Israel sampled Gibeon’s provisions and didn’t inquire of the Lord (Jos. 9:14), my heart broke because I know that is how I lived for so long. They leaned on their understanding of what they were hearing and seeing instead on the complete knowledge of the Father. They saw worn clothing and moldy bread and made the decision themselves that these people were truly from far away (Jos 9:12-13). The Lord could have revealed who the Gibeonites were if He had been consulted, and this story would have ended quite differently. The Gibeonites would have been destroyed completely. Instead, the Israelites were deceived and bound to them (Jos 9:15). This treaty with a people that would’ve been destroyed ultimately led to a famine in the time of David due to Saul’s later destruction of the Gibeonites (2 Sam 21:1).
I wonder if they ever wondered what might have been if they had sought the Lord instead of trusting in man. Did they wish they could have gone back and done it differently? In our lives, our confidence comes when we seek Him in all things and move according to His will. There is no greater life than living fully surrendered to Jesus.
Does the idea that He wants access to everything (our finances, our parenting, our marriage, and even how we spend our time) sound scary? I would have said ‘yes’ to that question for years, but let me encourage you: He is a good Father. He is not bound by time or space, and his knowledge is not limited. He is trustworthy, and He is truly found by those who seek Him with all their hearts.
As we continue to read His great book, we will come to know His heart for us more and more, and our faith and trust will grow. While that journey will likely last a lifetime, let’s start living in that trust now. If we think we know how to handle a situation, let’s check with Him anyway. When what we see leads us to only one conclusion, let’s ask Him for His input anyway. He is the only one that truly sees all aspects. Trust Him with me, and let’s live the full life that Jesus says He came to give!
Memory Verse: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
In Deuteronomy 11, remembering what God had done is directly linked to obedience. We will not obey a God we do not think we can trust. The chapter begins in verse 1 with Moses declaring that the Israelites are to love God and keep his statutes, ordinances, and commands. Next he reminds them in verses 2-7 that although they had seen firsthand God’s discipline, deliverance from Egypt, provision in the wilderness, and holiness displayed, their children had not. Their children needed the stories to build their faith in the holy and good God until they had stories of their own. In verse 19, Moses makes it clear they were to teach their children God’s commands daily and in ordinary moments: sitting at home, walking, at bedtime and in the morning. Their stories told to the next generation would pass on knowledge of God’s greatness, goodness and holiness. The commands were what they needed to do, but the stories revealed who they were obeying. Without remembering, their children would not know God’s heart or holiness and laws would become arbitrary and disconnected from a good God. Obedience requires trust in a good God.
Faith travels through stories. Sharing our faith with the next generation not only means sharing beloved truths and Bible stories but also new stories. The stories where God shows up in our ordinary lives teach our children the faithfulness of God and encourage them to follow Him in their ordinary lives. Stories build faith and obedience rests on faith.
It is our forgetfulness of God that causes us to lose faith and eventually disobey. When we don’t remember who God is or what He has done, we begin to put more faith in ourselves or things around us than in Him. Tragically, eventually the Israelites forgot and turned from God. Forgetting is easy when remembering isn’t intentionally woven into the fabric of our lives. Stories preserved become a foundation for faith and obedience to be built upon.
As parents of God’s created, we are tasked with the responsibility of teaching Him to them in normal, everyday life. We are storytellers. They learn about Him in Bible stories and teaching His ways, but also through personal stories we tell. Not only do stories help our children to remember, but they help us and others who hear. We easily forget, but we can choose to remember. Let’s be ones who remember and tell the stories of God’s kind generosity and faithfulness to us.
Memory Verse: “In the night, Lord, I remember your name, that I may keep your law.” Psalm 119:55
In Deuteronomy 8, Moses is commanding the Israelites to remember what God has done. Why? Remembrance leads to obedience. Remembering God’s past faithfulness would fuel their future obedience. Moses urged the people to remember their slavery in Egypt, how God delivered them, and why they must not elevate idols over the one true living God lest they perish (Deut. 8:18-20).
Moses lists a multitude of manifestations of God from miracles to manna. He warns them to keep their hearts humble so they don’t turn away from the Lord their God when life is good. Moses warns against complacency which can lead to worshiping idols over the one true living God. If they forget God’s faithfulness, they will be tempted to turn to other gods instead of obeying the Lord their God.
It’s wise for us to consider Moses’ warnings and commands to the people of Israel. Although we are not slaves in Egypt, we were slaves to sin before God freed us. Our modern day problems may be different, but our source is still the same: the one true living God. Yet our human hearts can be quick to place our hope in a job instead of God.
Even when life is downright hard, we can walk by faith in obedience to God when we remember who sustains us in this life, nothing else.
Remembrance leads to obedience. Not only is our faith strengthened, but our love for God grows deeper when we focus on how God weaves our story, provides for our families, and makes manna rain down in the desert seasons. In all our remembering, we also remember we didn’t earn the job, God gave it to us. We can allow the times of uncertainty to remind us we achieve nothing in our own strength, but only by God’s grace, “Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant he swore to your fathers, as it is this day” (Deut. 8:17-18 ESV).
If God gave you this job, He will give you another one. If God gave you a home, He will provide a new place to live. If God gave you a family, He will sustain you in raising up your children. If he brought you to it, He will bring you through it. He is your ultimate source. And He is always faithful.
How can you practice Moses’ command in your modern day life? Remember, write, and rejoice. Remember specific moments of God’s faithfulness, write them down, and then rejoice over them with prayers of thanksgiving and songs of praise.
Memory Verse: “He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.” Deuteronomy 32:4
Reading through Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers the list of laws probably feels restrictive, even archaic. To our 21st-century lives, they may even appear completely unnecessary. Leviticus 19:19 ends by telling us not to wear clothing woven of two kinds of material followed by those rules we should still follow: “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord” (Lev. 19:18).
During the 40 years spent traveling from Egypt to Canaan, from slavery to freedom. God was teaching them obedience. Come when I call your name. God’s plan was to teach a new generation what was holy and how to treat the things of God as holy. As God gave Moses specific instructions to set up the tabernacle which carried the presence of God, his sons were watching him. The next generation was learning to be obedient, to follow God.
As we travel with the Israelites through the desert we can see how God continued calling them with tangible signs: “In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out until the day it lifted” (Exod. 40:36). As God continually moved before them He was calling them out of the darkness of the slavery of Egypt, preparing his people for the Messiah.
The Messiah says the greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments’” (Matt. 22:39). Jesus didn’t come to abolish the law. He came to fulfill it. God knew we could never keep all 613 laws on our own. When we love God with our mind, soul, and strength, His love will overflow as we learn to love our neighbors.
As Jesus hung on the cross, He opened the door for us to become a temple of the living God. Instead of living in a box, God’s presence lives in us. His presence calls us to obedience. Although obedience looks different for each of us, our love of God and His love of us will spill over into the world around us. What is God calling you to do? Maybe it’s having coffee with a friend or meeting some other moms at the park. You won’t leave Egypt alone. He is with you.
Memory Verse: “Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you.” Jeremiah 7:23
How would this beautiful tabernacle be raised and where would the materials come from?
God called Bezalel by name (Ex 31: 2 ESV) and “filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills to make artistic designs…” (Ex 31: 3-4 NIV) to make the tabernacle. In the days of Egypt, when it was all Bezalel could do to put one foot in front of the other, God was forging in him the skills he needed for the day the Spirit of God would empower him to raise the tabernacle for His glory and the welfare of Israel.
In Chapter 35, God commanded His people to bring supplies (that they took with them when they left Egypt), with generous hearts, and skills, with willing hands, to contribute to the construction of the tabernacle. God used their exodus from Egypt to provide for the materials used in the creation of an even greater blessing.
God is faithful to provide the skill and the will to complete the work He sets before us.
As I think about all the joyful, beautiful, scary, hard and hopeful times both you and I face as moms, I am encouraged by the good news that God does the same for us. If God was faithful to provide for the Israelites in the raising of the tabernacle, how much more will he provide for you in the raising of your children? You have been called by name to belong to God through Jesus, and he has given you his Spirit to empower you with the skill and the will to complete the work of loving, caring for and investing in those around you.
Sister, because of Christ, you have everything you need to fulfill your God-given calling. Remember, he has given you his Spirit, he is with you, and he is using the trials of your daily life to forge in you everything you need for your sacred calling.
Memory Verse: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
In Exodus 16, the Israelites are in their second month of wandering through the wilderness. They have faced the harshest realities through this journey, to the point they even consider going back to oppression and slavery to be better than this. They surely couldn’t be difficult or flawed. But you know who was making life pretty difficult for them? Moses.
Even though God appointed Moses to lead them through the wilderness and confirmed this truth time after time, they were too disconnected from God to fully understand the situation. They’re grumblings weren’t being heard by Moses, they were being heard and felt by God. Moses stopped them to ask, “why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” (Exod. 17:1). They even frustrated themselves to the point of wishing they would simply die before following Moses any longer (Exod. 16:3).
What a way to feel about a leader appointed by God. That death would be better than following him. Again, sounds harsh, right? It is.
So how do we soften our hearts? Obedience and prayer.
Moses isn’t without difficulties himself, none of us are. He’s killed, run away, made excuses for what God called him to do, disobeyed God, and so much more. However, Moses continually turned to prayer and actively tried to obey what God commanded of him. He had his moments of doubt, but for the majority of his life, he completely trusted and obeyed God. Moses actively sought God, prayed that God would use him and guide him, and acted as a messenger of God in the first five books of the Bible.
So let us continually be seeking opportunities to obey God’s will so that we can be a light in this world. It’s a humbling experience, just like wandering in the wilderness for forty years, to be obedient even when it isn’t easy.
But it becomes slightly easier when we remember why we are being obedient. Why we continue to press on through the hard things- because God is good. Because God’s perfect will is better than anything we might have in mind for our lives. So we trust Him and we pray. We pray that God would show His will to us and give us the hearts to be used by Him. To soften our hearts so that we can shine His light to those around us.
These two things won’t make it so that we aren’t difficult in the eyes of others and our neighbors will never again be difficult to us. But it does mean that we can delight in His works being done in us and in the hearts of others.
This week I challenge you to find the difficult or challenging people in your life and pursue them. Pray for them, pray with them, get into God’s word with them. And don’t forget to pray over your heart too.
Memory Verse: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
Much to my utter dismay, the teacher held up my garment for the class to see as an example of how terribly crooked a zipper could be, if not sewn properly. I’m mortified to say the teacher didn’t stop there. On the front of my garment was an admittedly poor attempt at sewing trim on the center seam. Oh, my! I’d love to say that I, too, sewed flawlessly like my Mom, but I was a poor imitation of the original seamstress.
God is truly “The Original.” He wanted Egyptians and Israelites to know “that I am the Lord” (Exod. 7:17). He wanted them all to witness the powerful works of His hands and acknowledge that only He was God. To accomplish this, God caused several plagues in Egypt before the Israelites were freed from their bonds of slavery.
When Moses and his brother Aaron first approached Pharaoh, God told Aaron to throw down his staff in front of Pharaoh and it would become a serpent. Pharaoh’s magicians imitated this and their staffs became serpents. Since God is “The Original,” Aaron’s staff swallowed up all of their poor imitations (Exod. 7:9-12).
However, the imitations of “The Original” continued:
“This is the finger of God” (Exod. 8:19), the magicians told Pharaoh. After that, God brought plagues of flies, death to livestock, boils, hail, locusts, and darkness (Exod. 8:20-10:23). Never again does it say that Pharaoh’s magicians even tried to imitate the plagues that God brought to the land of Egypt. Indeed, by the time the Israelites left Egypt it was clear to all that God delivered them with His power and might. Egyptians and Israelites alike acknowledged that God is “The Original.”
Where there is an original of value, there is often a flawed imitation; only God is “The Original.”
Satan watched God perform marvelous works countless times, but Satan’s imitation of “The Original'' is flawed and ineffective. Just as Pharaoh’s magicians imitated God, people today do the same thing. An author may slip a Bible verse or two into an otherwise worldly book or podcast or blog as an imitation of “The Original;” a speaker may skillfully scatter godly phrases in a speech to camouflage an otherwise sinful message. Cults spring up that have some of the truth of God’s Word, but instead are imitations. We must diligently use our spiritual radar to determine the difference.
Even our imitation of “The Original” is just that. Though doing our best to imitate Him is certainly scriptural (Eph. 5:1), only God is “The Original.” He is the “Alpha and Omega … the beginning and the end” (Rev. 22:13). He is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. He is perfect in all of His ways. Beware of imitations: only “The Original” deserves our worship, praise, and loyalty. So, as we imitate Christ, be certain to point others to “The Original,” the only One with the unique ability to transform their lives.
Memory Verse: “No one is like you, Lord; you are great, and your name is mighty in power.”
I think the Isrealites experienced similar emotional upheaval. They were minding their own business when, without chastisement or explanation, their status changed from a people privileged to despised (Ex. 1:8-14). Though the burden on the Israelites intensified, God, as promised, continued to expand their numbers, but as their population grew, so did their oppression.
Did the Israelites ever wonder what they had done to bring such a heavy burden upon themselves? Did they question their worth? Their purpose? The why of it?
We know God had a plan for Israel and it began with a boy named Moses.
But, I wasn’t Moses. God wasn’t calling me to stage an exodus or address a nation. Honestly, I didn't know what to do anymore. I felt lost and trapped. Tethered to a circumstance out of my control. Although I knew God was working, I just wanted out. I wonder if any Israelite felt the same?
I didn’t understand it, but God had everything in His hand and just as He grew Israel into a great nation under the oppression of Pharaoh, He was at work in my heart, growing me towards spiritual maturity.
It was my mindset, not my situation that had me trapped. I had been so conditioned to relate my success to my actions, that I didn’t know how to be at peace with my role when everything around me was coming undone.
I was, like the Israelites, in a situation outside of my control. However, God is always in control, and He used an external circumstance to free me from an internal prison.
So friends, listen up and repeat after me: Circumstantial change does not cancel our calling.
The role of Israel as a nation did not change because of their oppression. They remained God’s people. Called to Him. Grown through oppression into a great nation.
God always has a plan.
I wish I had realized sooner that being trapped in God’s plan is a good place to be. It is where he grows us. Where He is demonstrates His love in miraculous ways and where He frees us from burdens we were never meant to carry.
It was a lie that I had lost my calling. The way I related to it shifted, but my purpose had not. God’s plan was for an internal change to allow me to fulfill my calling in a deeper way.
In His wisdom, He taught me that lesson in the middle of our hardship.
If you feel trapped in His plan, let me encourage you to go to God in prayer and ask Him if there is something internal from which He is trying to set you free, and allow Him access to break the bonds. Shift your thinking and choose to live in the freedom that is God’s plan.
Memory Verse: “And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
1 Peter 5:10
As we’re nearing the end of Genesis, Joseph steps onto the scene. So far, we’ve seen God begin to fulfill two of his promises to Abraham, to have a land and a family.
Now, in the Joseph saga we’ll see the first glimpses of this family becoming a blessing to the nations. But in order to get there, Joseph is going to endure some hard years. He’ll be betrayed, sold into slavery, set up, put in prison, and forgotten. It seems like he just can’t catch a break.
And yet, if we look at the details of this story, we see God clearly at work:
We could easily attribute some of these happenings to Joseph’s determination, integrity, and hard work. Some, we could say, were the evil works of others, and some sheer coincidence. But what if we gave God the credit? God doesn’t deal in coincidence or serendipity; He works in providence and sovereignty. Even in the midst of the hard, behind the scenes God’s hand is all over Joseph’s story. His hand is all over history. Sister, His hand is all over your story too. And what a relief it is to know that God is walking through this life by your side.
As you are going about your life, look for Him. The more we look for God, the more we will see Him. Just like that car or pair of jeans, He becomes familiar and we begin to spot His handprints everywhere. Take a hard look at your story. Dig into your history. Can you see Him? Can you catch a glimpse of the creator of the universe at work in your life even amidst your biggest struggles? What about today, moment by moment? Do you see Him providing you with the strength to get up in the morning, with the ability to speak kindness to your children, with peace as you make decisions for your family?
If you are having trouble finding Him, pray for that insight. Ask a friend or spouse to help. Grab your journal and write it down. May God reveal Himself to you today and may you find wonder, and peace knowing He is near and that He cares for you.
Memory Verse: “The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” Psalm 145:17-18
In Genesis 25, it seems Rebekah has a similar idea. We see Isaac cry out to God for his wife to be able to conceive. The Lord answers by blessing Rebekah with twins. But the twins struggle so fiercely in her womb that it causes her much pain and agony. (I remember my son using my insides for soccer practice, I felt like he was trying to escape through my rib cage! I can’t imagine having two babies fighting! Poor Rebekah!).
Rebekah wants to know why. So she takes her question to the only One who can answer it. What I love is that God doesn’t criticize her for asking. He doesn’t say, “I’m sovereign. Deal with it!” Like a good father, he shares his heart with her. In Genesis 25:22-23, God takes her question and gives her a promise. As we read Rebekah’s story and how it unfolds throughout a generation, we can see God’s presence and providence.
Like He did for Rebekah, God exchanges our questions for promises loaded with exactly what we need to endure. He promises to be our provision even when we endure times of lack. He promises to be present with us even in times of trouble and more.
In my own life, I’m trying to be a little more like my three-year-old. I’m learning to take my questions to The Father with an open heart. It’s a dialogue with him that deepens our relationship. He gives me insight into His heart. He recalibrates my heart to his sovereignty, kindness, and providence in every circumstance … even if it means I don’t get the answer I was expecting.
Take some time this week to take your why to The Father. Let it spark a conversation where He refreshes your hope and shows you His character. Even if He doesn’t give the answer you want, He will answer. Use your journal to record your conversation with Him. You can come back to those answers when you need encouragement or clarity.
Memory Verse: “‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.'” Jeremiah 33:3 (NIV)
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