Pages

RSS Feed

Thursday, January 31, 2019

God Is There in My Darkest Valleys

In review of Psalm 23:4 it says “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me” (NLT).

Today’s verse comes from Psalm 23:1-6 where David tells us how God is a caring shepherd and a dependable guide. As a result I can follow and obey his commands. For he is my only hope for eternal life and security. Therefore like David I can say, the Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in peaceful places. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for your rod and staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

When I allow God, my shepherd, to guide me, I have contentment. However, when I choose sin, I go my own way and cannot blame God for my environment that I created for myself. My shepherd knows the peaceful places that will restore me. I will only reach them by following him obediently. Rebelling against the shepherd's leading is actually rebelling against my own best interests. I must remember this the next time I'm tempted to go my own way.

Death can cast a frightening shadow over me because I am entirely helpless in its presence. Only one person can walk with me through death's dark valley, and bring me safely to the other side, and this is my God, my shepherd. Because life is uncertain, I should follow this shepherd who offers me eternal comfort. God offers protection when my enemies surround me. As a believer and his follower I will spend eternity with him as a guest in his house forever.

There are lots of things that I can be worried about. God promises that even in my darkest valleys, he is walking beside me.

There are about 365 verses in the Bible that say, “Fear not.” God provided us with one “fear not” message for every day of the year! Perhaps God is saying, “Get the message. Don’t be afraid.” It’s interesting that almost every time God talks to someone in the Bible, the first thing he says is, “Don’t be afraid!”

Why? Because my hurts and hang-ups can often cause me to think that God is out to get me, that all he wants to do is condemn and punish me. But that simply isn’t true, and Jesus is the proof of that.

When I understand God’s grace and mercy, I have no need to fear the future. God isn’t trying to get even with me. Jesus has taken the penalty for everything I’ve ever done wrong or will do wrong. He paid for it on the cross. So when a bad thing happens, I don’t have to think that God’s getting even with me; instead, remember this: “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me” (Psalm 23:4 NLT).

Bottom Line:
Even in the darkest times of life, God is close beside us, guarding, and guiding us all the way. Therefore we don't need to be afraid.

What this means to me:
Even when walking through the dark valley of death I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me, guarding, guiding all the way. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.

In summary, God is a caring shepherd and a dependable guide. I can follow and obey his commands for he is my only hope for eternal life and security. The Lord is my shepherd; in him I have all that I need. He lets me rest in peaceful places. He renews my strength, He guides me along right paths. So even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid for he is with me to comfort me. In him my cup overflows with blessings. Surely his goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life. So when bad things happen, I have no reason to think that God is getting even with me; instead know that he is with me.

Lord, thank you for the reminder that you are with me always. You only want the best for me and will guide and comfort me through bad times as well as the good times. I pray this morning for your wisdom and guidance in handling my work, leadership and interaction with others. Help me to accomplish items on my to do list and think of / implement the strategic things that are important to moving my team ahead to accomplish the goals of my organization. These things I pray in your Son Jesus name, amen!

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

What Is God Really Like

In review of Psalm 100:5 it says, ”For the Lord is always good. He is always loving and kind, and his faithfulness goes on and on to each succeeding generation” (TLB).

Today’s verse is from Psalm 100:1-5. In the Psalmist invites us to enter joyfully into God's presence. I’m told to shout with joy to the Lord, worship him with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy. Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made me, and I am his. I am part of his people, a sheep in his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving; and into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

I acknowledge that the Lord is God when I shout his praises, appreciate his status as my Creator, accept his authority in every detail of life, enthusiastically agree with the guidance he provides, and express my thanks for his unfailing love.

God is my creator; I did not create myself. Many live as though they are creator and center of their own little world. However this mindset leads to pride, greed, idolatry, and if everything should be taken away, a loss of hope itself. But when I realize that God created me and gives me all I have, I'll want to give to others as God has given to me. Then, even if all is lost, I still have God and all he gives us.

God alone is worthy of being worshiped. What is my attitude toward worship? Am I willingly and joyfully coming into God's presence, or am I just going through the motions, reluctantly responding. This psalm reminds me of God's goodness and dependability, and then to worship with thanksgiving and praise!

If knowing who God is, shapes the way I pray, then what is God really like?

What I’m learning is that, God has many characteristics. He is all-knowing (omniscient), he is all-powerful (omnipotent), he can be everywhere at the same time (omnipresent). The Bible tells us God is holy, just, kind, loving, and faithful.

The goodness of God is the basis for all prayer. If God is not a good God, then I would have no motivation to pray.

The only reason there’s any good in the world is because God is the Creator of the world, and he is a good God. His goodness is in the universe. You can’t spell “good” without “God.” If there’s no God, then there is no right and wrong or good and bad.

But that leaves some thinking, “Why is there evil in the world?” It’s simple: God doesn’t force us to do good. Evil exists because God gave us a free choice and we choose not to do good a lot of the time. Evil is really easy to explain. The hard thing to explain is why there is is any good in the world. In a world of “dog eat dog” and tough luck, the only reason there is good is because God is a good God.

Bottom Line:
The Lord is good; his love is eternal and his faithfulness lasts forever.

What this means to me:
I recognize that the Lord is always good. He is always loving and kind, and his faithfulness goes on and on not only to myself but also to each generation.

In summary, God is good, so I should shout with joy to the Lord, worship him with gladness. Acknowledge that the Lord is God and that he made me. I am part of his people. Therefore I can enter into his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise, and give thanks to him. The Lord is good and his unfailing love continues forever. His faithfulness continues to each generation. His generosity and goodness compels me to give to others in the same way. Overall, he is all-knowing, all-powerful, he can be everywhere at the same time. God is holy, just, kind, loving, and faithful.

Today Father I thank you for your caring and goodness to me. I ask today for your wisdom and guidance in my work, my leadership and how I interact with others. I pray this through your Son Jesus name, amen!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Face My Fears So That I Can Get Something Done

In review of Ecclesiastes 11:4 it says, “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done” (TLB).

Today’s verse comes from Ecclesiastes 11:4 where Solomon speaks of the uncertainties of life, and he says a farmer who waits for perfect weather will never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.

Life involves both risk and opportunity. Because life had no guarantees, I must be prepared. Just because life is uncertain doesn't mean that I should do nothing. I need a spirit of trust and adventure, facing life's risks and opportunities with God directed enthusiasm and faith.

So waiting for perfect conditions will mean inactivity. This practical insight is especially applicable to my spiritual life. If I wait for the perfect time and place for personal Bible ready, I will never begin. If I wait for the perfect small group, I will never join. If I wait for the perfect ministry, I will never serve. I need to take steps now to grow spiritually. I should not wait for conditions that may never exists.

What I’m learning is that fear is at the root of all of my indecision, fear that I’ll make a mistake, that I’ll fail, that I’ll embarrass myself, that I’ll make a commitment I can’t keep, that somebody will laugh at me or reject me. It’s always fear that keeps me indecisive.

Truth is that I don’t like to admit that I’m afraid, so internally I make excuses.

God has a dream for my life, and Jesus Christ wants to be the center of it. I might be saying, “I don’t .... Or if only I ..... ”. It’s fear that’s keeping me from making the decision that I know God wants me to make.

The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 11:4, “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done” (TLB). Perfectionism paralyzes potential.

But God has always used imperfect people in imperfect situations to get his will done. Always. If you’re waiting for that perfect person to come along, they’re not coming. If you’re waiting for circumstances to be just right or to get over certain things before you really get committed to Christ, it’s not going to happen. The basic commitments of life must be made in the middle of the stuff of life. Life goes on.

What’s the antidote to fear? Faith. Romans 8:31 says, “If God is on our side, who can ever be against us?” (TLB). I need to trust my fears to God and start moving despite the problems, fears, and doubts.

If God’s given me a dream and I know it’s his will, make the decision and move against the fear. Then watch as the Red Sea opens up and the manna is provided and God does the miracle in that relationship, in that problem, in your finances, or whatever it is.

I need to do something great with my life for Jesus’ sake. Don’t waste it. Don’t live in mediocrity. Don’t just exist. Make the decisions that will determine my destiny.

Bottom Line:
If you wait for everything to be just right, you will never get anything done.

What this means to me:
If I wait until the the wind and the weather are just right, I will never start anything and never complete it.

In summary, I need to face my fears so that I can get something done. As Solomon wrote, "a farmer who waits for perfect weather will never plant". Just because life if uncertain doesn't mean that I should do nothing. Waiting for perfect conditions will mean inactivity. I need to take steps to now, I should not wait for conditions that my never exist. Fear is at the root of all my indecision. God has a dream for my life and Jesus wants to be the center of it. I just need to be careful of perfectionism which will only paralyze my potential. The antidote to fear is faith. If God has given me a dram and I know it's his will, make the decision that will determine my destiny and move against the fear.

Monday, January 28, 2019

I Don’t Have It All Together, and That’s Okay

In review of Romans 12:3 it says, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you” (NIV).

Romans 12:3
I am given a warning to not think I am better than I really am. I am to be honest in my evaluation of myself, measuring myself by the faith that God has given me.

A healthy confidence in my worth or abilities is important because I can either think too little of myself or overestimate myself. The key to an honest and accurate self-evaluation is knowing the basis of my self-worth, my identity in Christ. Apart from him, I'm not capable of very much by eternal standards; in him I am valuable and capable of worthy service. Evaluating myself by the wordily standards of success and achievement can cause me to think too much about my worth in the eyes of others and thus miss my true value in God's eyes.

What I’m learning is that the first and greatest barrier to change in any area of my life is pride.

The fact is, nobody has it all together. I don’t have it all together. You don’t have it all together. The Pope doesn’t have it all together. The Bible says nobody is perfect—period. Everyone on this planet is broken because of sin.

But I walk around trying to impress people and pretend like I’ve got it all together. The problem is that if I want lasting change in your life, I first have to humbly assess my current state and admit that I don’t have it all together. I have to admit I have a problem with my finances, my health, or wherever I’m struggling in your life.

Romans 12:3 says, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you” (NIV).

Are you willing to ask the people closest to you, “Where do I need to change?” Do you have the courage to ask others to be honest about you and with you?

Why is this so important? Because I can only manage what I measure. If I don’t know the measure of my faith, I can’t grow in my faith. If I don’t know the measure of my health, I can’t develop and grow in health. If I don’t know the measure of where I am financially, I can’t set goals financially. If I don’t know the measure of where I am spiritually or vocationally or relationally, then I can’t grow in those areas. I can only manage what I measure.

It’s also important to record my progress in any goal—whether through a journal or a record or some other tool I want to use. If I’m going to set some health goals, financial goals, or any other kind of goal, record my progress throughout the year so I can measure my growth and my development.

Evaluate where I am, so that I can know where I should go.

Bottom Line:
Be honest in your estimate of yourself, measuring your value by how much faith God has given you.

What this means to me:
Don't think of myself more highly than I ought to. Instead, be modest and reasonable in my thinking, and judge myself according to the amount of faith that God has given me.

In summary, Don't think I am better than I really am. Learn to be honest in my evaluation of myself. The key is knowing the basis of my self-worth, my identity in Christ. The first and greatest barrier to change in any area of my life is pride.

Thank you Father for nice weekend, thank you for helping me get through my and populate my spending plan. I have a few key goals that I need to work through. I also thank you for Father for the reminder on my pride and evaluation of myself. I need to be humble in my actions and in my assessment of myself. I pray this morning Father for your wisdom and guidance in what I do, how I lead and how I interact with others. These things I pray through your Son Jesus name, amen!

My Lasting Identity Comes from God’s Family

in review of Ephesians 2:19 this morning I read, “You are members of God’s very own family . . . and you belong in God’s household with ev...