In the book of Acts, written by Luke, we learn some of the history of the early church. There is a Greek word that we see 22 times in the Book of Acts and that word is “dei.” “Dei” is translated as “it is necessary” (Strong). Which means that Luke is driving home the point that things are necessary throughout history because it is in God’s plan. In the very first chapter of the book, Luke hits us with the hard truth: “it is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority” (Acts 1:7).
We see some amazing works done by God in the first ten chapters of the Book of Acts:
A commonality can be found amongst all these things, God is in control even when He is working through people. Knowing all this gave me confidence in two things: 1) I do not get to know the why for everything that happens, and 2) God is still in control.
It can be hard to fully trust that God is in control when things feel uncertain, messy, and painful. We live in a broken world. As humans, we often feel like we need to know who, what, when, where, and why to be confident that things are going smoothly and there’s no need for panic. However, Jeremiah 17:7 tells us, “...blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.”
So I ask, what matters more, knowing everything and constantly worrying when things don’t go according to your plan? Or being blessed greatly and trusting in God’s most perfect plan for you?
Sweet friend, God is in control always. Jesus dying on the cross? He knew. Christians being persecuted? He knew. God is sovereign through it all. Luke gives us a glimpse of this truth stating, “this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts. 2:23). While there were many sins committed around the crucifixion of Jesus, God’s plan was always to send His son down to die on the cross for our sins. His perfect plan was still brought to completion even amidst the brokenness of the world.
So the next time a door closes, take a moment to thank God for always being with you. For creating a most perfect plan for you that might not be what you envisioned but will bear so much fruit to you and those around you.
Reference: Strong, James. “The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.” Hendrickson Publication, 2021. https://biblehub.com/greek/1163.htm
Memory Verse: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord. 'As far as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’”Isaiah 55:8-9
To say that Jesus brought change into the world is an understatement. He wasn’t what people expected, yet He fulfilled over 300 prophecies from the Old Testament. The Gospels record various responses that people had to Jesus:
Today, almost 2,000 years later, people still respond to Jesus in a multitude of different ways. You, friend, have a choice of how you will respond to Him, too.
Here’s the amazing part.
Jesus has only ever had ONE response to us: love and forgiveness.
No matter how many ways we see ourselves and those around us responding to Jesus, He never wavers. He only sees us through eyes of perfect love. He unendingly offers forgiveness.
How have you found yourself responding to Jesus? Have you washed your hands of Him like Pilate did? Have you insulted Him like the criminals on the cross? Maybe you’ve found yourself praising Him one day and cursing Him the next, like the crowd did.
Whatever your past responses may have been, it is your response to Him today that matters. Accept His love and forgiveness with a humble, “Thank you, Jesus!”
Memory Verse: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38
The scribes and Pharisees wanted to be noticed, honored and praised for their knowledge of the Torah and interpretation of the Law of Moses. Their traditions became so over the top that they were described in Matthew 23:4 by Jesus as laying heavy burdens on people’s shoulders that were hard to bear. Jesus also talked about how, “They do all their deeds to be seen by others…[and]… love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues” (Matt. 23:5-6). They wanted their names to be made known above all and their obsession for standing, status and self-indulgence became a presence of oppression.
Jesus warned against their ways and provided an opposite alternative to greatness during the last supper. As the disciples sat with Jesus, they began to argue about who was the greatest among them. It appears that even they were not immune to the allure of status, honor and power the world had to offer. Jesus demonstrated true humility and taught them that greater is the one who serves rather than the one that is served (Luke 22:26). Then as an act of love for his disciples, he gets up from the table and prepares to wash their feet (John 13: 4-5).
Jesus humbled himself to the status of servant as he removed his outer garments, poured water in the basin, kneeled and washed the miles of filth off of his disciples feet. The highest became the lowest and the master became the servant. Their eyes were opened to the greatness of God as Jesus fulfilled their need for love and forgiveness through a humble act of service.
The cure for self-concern is to focus on Christ’s greatness rather than our own.
When are you tempted by the allure of status, honor and power? Like me, do you try to establish your own greatness through parenting outcomes, job performance and accomplishments? Does it feel like your desire for greatness becomes a weight too heavy to bear?
Dear friend, Jesus loves you. He died on the cross and bore the weight of your self-serving sin, and mine, so that we could be free from the pressures of this world. Unlike our wants and desires that we so desperately pursue, Jesus is near; He is attainable and He wants to work in and through you.
When you notice your motives are self-serving, cry out to God saying, “Lord, will you please open my eyes to the ways in which I have sought my own greatness instead of yours. I thank you that I am forgiven for these things because of your death on the cross and victory over sin. Give me a heart to see the pain of others and enter into it with humility and love so that I may serve them, just like you serve me. Amen.”
Memory Verse: “Even as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28
I wasn’t alone, but I had a friend who was with me. She didn’t allow me to suffer alone. She didn’t stand outside my grief and talk to me from without, but came near enough to allow the rawness to touch her. She cried; she wondered; she listened and she sat. She was like a shadow on a sunny day. She kept showing up. She was fiercely persistent.
In our grief, we remember the ones who show up. Jesus shows us how to be one who does.
In John 11, there is a story I have always been fascinated by. Jesus’ good friend Lazarus died and friends and family were grief-stricken. The One who raised the dead had a close friend who died. No wonder Mary and Martha, Lazarus’s sisters, were perplexed. Surely Jesus could have prevented the heartache. Had He come earlier, there would have been no grief, no tears and no funeral. He could have just showed up, marched up to that closed up tomb and called Lazarus out, but that’s not what He did. First, He allowed grief to touch Him and then John 11:35 says, “Jesus wept“ (emphasis added). He chose to feel the grief. He took a moment to sit in their space and feel what they felt. He felt the pain and allowed Himself to be moved by it. There is profound power when grief is shared by another. Entering another’s grief allows us to partner with God to bring healing to a hurting heart.
Jesus was the exact representation of who God is and the story of Lazarus reveals God’s heart towards us. God comes to us with compassion in our hard spaces. He doesn’t watch us from afar, but comes near. He is not distant, but sits with us in our difficult moments. He is not unfeeling or uncaring, but chooses to feel deeply when we are in pain. He is not a God who does not allow emotion to touch Him but voluntarily moves into those places with us. We can come to Him no matter what it is we are carrying and be sure of His tender compassion and care. We are never alone. He is with us. Sometimes He comes near us through another, just as my friend did for me.
We, too, can learn to be near others as Jesus was. We can choose to enter into other’s places of grief and offer our tears. Through shared tears, healing eventually comes.
Memory Verse: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Truly knowing someone takes time and intention; it doesn’t happen overnight with the snap of a finger. We experience this not only in our marriages but also in our everyday lives. I don’t meet someone on the street and instantly know their whole story and what makes them the person they are. However, when I was younger, I thought because I went to church every Sunday, I knew everything there was to know about Jesus. But here I am at 32 still learning new things about Him everyday. For that, I am so grateful and it never ceases to amaze me when God reveals something new to me.
In Mark 9, we see Jesus and his disciples leave where they were. Verse 30 says that “Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were because he was teaching his disciples.” Jesus took the time to train his disciples in depth. He spent intentional time with them and they with Him. Deep spiritual growth isn’t instant, regardless of the quality of experience or teaching. The disciples lived, ate and traveled with Jesus every day. If they needed to lay everything aside periodically in order to learn from the Master, how much more do we need to set aside time to spend with God to get to know Him better?
As I write this, my husband and I have been married almost ten years. In order for us to have a healthy marriage, we have to continue being intentional about pouring into our relationship and spending time together. The same is true of our relationship with Christ. No matter where we are in our spiritual journey, no matter how mature we are in our faith, we still have room for growth.
Friend, if you want to know more about Jesus, find a way to draw closer to Him today. For you, maybe that is reading a chapter in Proverbs, listening to a new worship song in the car, or spending an extra five minutes in prayer today. To know Jesus better, return to Him day after day. He will continue to meet you and align your spirit with His truth. Rest in the comfort of knowing that the longer you walk with him, the better you will understand who He is. Ask Him to meet you where you are and reveal more of himself to you.
Memory Verse: “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18
“I may not be able to buy any toys, but at least I get to help tell people about God.” As she spoke those words, my heart melted. To many it may seem like just a bag of change, but to her it was everything she had. She gave it all to share God’s word. That day God used my daughter to remind me of the cost of following Jesus.
In Matthew 8, a man is telling Jesus he will follow Him wherever He goes. Well, surely Jesus gave him some comforting words and invited him along for their new journey, right? Not so much. Jesus was not interested in selling people on following Him; He was more of a straight shooter. Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head” (Matt. 8:20).
Jesus, Messiah, God’s one and only Son, homeless. Think of all the places he traveled with dirt lingering on his hands and feet. Imagine the holes in His clothes, stained with sweat and tears. Jesus didn’t just tell this man He had to give up his life to follow Him; He taught by example. Jesus gave up everything to do what God called Him to do. People wanted to learn from and be like Jesus, yet they weren’t willing to make sacrifices. They wanted Jesus in their life but they didn’t want to give their whole life to Jesus. Isn’t that like us sometimes?
If we are honest with ourselves, we may find there is a lot of ‘loose change’ in our lives we hang onto. We want to spend our time, talents, money, mind, or bodies on things that serve us instead of God. But He wants us to serve Him with everything in our being down to the last brain cell, word, or penny. He is the one and only Holy God and He is selfish. Not in the way we are selfish. He is selfish because He knows when we give ourselves to anything but Him, we short change ourselves because He is better than anything this world has to offer. Our God deserves all we have including our ‘loose change.’
Sister, we are called to dedicate our life to Him. Even if it's all we feel we have left, we give it all to Him for He is worthy.
Do you have some ‘loose change’ you're holding onto? Where is your mind, body, and soul? Is it aligned with God's glory or your own? Pray and ask the Lord to reveal to you what you are keeping from him and what you need to let go of. Ask Him to help and guide you to give your whole self to Him today, even your ‘loose change.’
Memory Verse: "Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it." Luke 17:33
The problem with this method was that they were so intent on enforcing the rules, they lost track of the heart of the matter. God hadn’t just given rules and commandments to govern His people, but to teach them how to love His way. Imagine how exasperated Jesus as “Lord of the Sabbath” must have been to need to remind the Pharisees that it was in fact good to do good on the Sabbath (Matt. 12:12).
While it is easy to regard the Pharisees with a smirk and eye roll, I think we all, in one way or the other, have been guilty of the same offense.
It can be so easy to get caught up in societal rules which are often selfish (move your feet, lose your seat) and forget that we are called to humility (think of others before ourselves). Our popular rules often glorify a culture that caters to ourselves and shrouds the humility of Heaven.
Jesus spent a lot of time teaching His disciples God’s ways over the world's ways. Most of what He said must have sounded a bit crazy:
Admittingly counter-cultural, these new commands were to teach His followers to live a life that stands out from the world in a culture that valued religion over relationships. Although they may read like just a new list of rules to follow, Jesus’s teachings weren’t about trading in one list for another.
Jesus taught how to love each other as His Father loves us.
Being a Christ follower was never intended to be about upholding rules. It was always about being in right relationship foremost with our Heavenly Father but also with others.
And, when religion’s rules called for blood, Jesus answered, fulfilling all the requirements of the law, He shed His blood so we could live by, in and from love (Matt. 5:17; John 13:34).
Sometimes the “rules” that govern us are ingrained so deeply within that they are hard to recognize. Spend some time in prayer asking God if you are, even unknowingly, governing your life by familial, cultural or religious rules instead of God’s love.
If you struggle sometimes, like me, to live from God’s love, and find yourself instead living by the rules of our culture and popular society, I challenge you, like Jesus, to be a rule-breaker! Break away from legalistic rules and love others as Jesus did, with reckless abandon.
Memory Verse: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:3
Jesus’ birth was a promise delivered. The prophets foretold his coming. The chief priests and teachers of the law knew well where the Messiah would be born. When asked by Herod, they immediately answered, with “In Bethlehem in Judea” (Mt. 2:5).
God chose to step into the middle of a dark world as a baby and become a light for us to follow. Roman rule had become oppressive and even the temple priests were not caring for their people. When the Magi told of a star, a light they were following, the very teachers who knew the promises chose to stay in Jerusalem.
The priests could recite the prophets' words. They knew. Yet, when the light came, when the Creator of everything showed up, they stayed home. They were comfortable in the dark. The priests knew the promise. They quoted the prophet, Micah, “for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel” (Mt. 2:6). They expected a savior that would ride in on a warhorse. They thought peace would come at the end of a sword. However, Jesus’ peace comes through sacrifice, through love.
Like me, they had already defined how God would deliver his promise. They missed the miracle of Jesus because they weren’t able to see past their own expectations. Follow Jesus’ light out of your comfort zone to fully embrace His promises.
God promised me a miracle that day. There wasn’t a magic wand, sigh. I had to keep showing up. Every day for three years. I kept holding on. Even when it was still dark. The promise was still there. The creator of the universe made a promise but I had to show up. I had to move out of the comfortable and into the hard.
Mary and Joseph had to push through their own fears to hold the promise, Immanuel, God with us. The shepherds, these uneducated shepherds, rushed to Bethlehem to see what the angel of the Lord had told them about. The Magi followed a light out of their world to worship a King they did not know.
Friend, I don’t know what fear may be holding you captive. Or, the darkness that surrounds you. I do know he heard my cries and he promised to be with me. Have you been trying to define how God should deliver your miracle? God won’t give you a roadmap but if you step out in faith, He will light your way one step at a time.
Memory Verse: “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:4-5
In the latter portions of Nehemiah, we get to see the newly restored Israelites studying scripture together. All of a sudden they are smacked with the truth about who God is and who they are. Their response? Mourning. Weeping. Sackcloth and ashes.
Chapter nine contains the longest prayer in the Bible. It is a confession that sums up the biblical narrative to this point. It contrasts God’s faithfulness to Israel’s rebellion. Time and again Israel fails but God shows up in steadfast love and mercy. The Israelites praying here did not cross the Red Sea. They didn’t witness the plagues, the pillars of cloud and fire, or the miracles in the wilderness. They did not lift up the golden calf or kill the prophets. Yet, in verse 33 their prayer changes from “they” to “we.” They say “for you have dealt faithfully and we have acted wickedly” (emphasis added).
The restored Israelites are counting themselves equal with their ancestors in failure, humbly taking responsibility for their sin, confessing that God is right and they are wrong. These men and women could have tried to shift the blame. After all, they were in exile, raised in a foreign land around foreign gods, born to people who had disobeyed God. But no, they added themselves to the narrative.
When we truly understand God’s Word, it brings us to our knees in awe and repentance. The Israelites left their time of study convicted to the point of grief, recognizing that there was no good in them. They set aside their pride, took responsibility for their sin, and confessed their failure. This in turn led them to renew their covenant with the Lord who had proved himself faithful time and again. As we read and study God’s very words, the Holy Spirit shines a revealing light on the deepest, darkest corners of our soul, revealing sin we often had no idea was lurking there. Then we get the wonderful opportunity to repent and confess our sin, allowing God to remove it from us and replace it with his unending, amazing grace day by day.
As you read this week, ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes and penetrate your heart with the truth of who you are in your sinfulness and who God is in his holiness and goodness. Let it sink down deep into your soul. Spend time on your knees in honest confession, taking responsibility for your sin and adding your name to the sorry tale of humanity rebelling against their wonderful Creator. Repent and turn to the arms of the Lord who is steadfast in his love and mercy.
After all, naturally there is no good thing in you. But bless the Lord! Through the cross, you can now walk under daily grace. Wham! Covered by the blood of Jesus. Boom! Forgiven by the Father. Bam! Empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Memory Verse: “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” Psalm 51:1-2
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
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