Your Uber Might Be Whale Shaped

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Then the LORD ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach. Jonah 3:10 (NLT) 

We often daydream our way out of the office of regular life onto the beautiful beaches of paradise! No one needs to be reminded we live in a broken world but sometimes we need to remember that God did not break it, we did (See Gen. 3). God issued us all the warning that there would now be severe wear and tear on our hearts and minds as we travel through this world. 

John 16:33 (NIV) “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.” Take heart is a command so it’s something we can choose to do, not something God has to do for us. Like taking captive our rouge thoughts and making them obedient to Truth is also a command we can choose to obey (See  2 Cor. 10:5). God has made us capable human beings and commissioned us each, with great purpose as we journey Home. However He never expected us to do it alone! 

The story of Jonah is one of second chances… disobedience, discipline and deliverance; and aren’t we glad it is!! Desperation often leads to determination which can lead to faithfulness and thus fruitfulness, by God’s amazing grace!! 

Jonah’s name means “dove”. A dove is a bird and birds have a “bird’s eye view” literally on approaching storms. They can see what’s coming and quickly take cover to ride it out. What we call “safe” might just be an escape from really living the adventure God originally planned for us. Jonah is found hunkered down in the bottom of a boat during a wild storm (See Jonah 1)! 

A dove is also a symbol of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God’s gift to help us navigate and successfully weather the storms of life, not numbly sleep through them! 1 These. 5:19 advises us not to quench the Holy Spirit! Don’t numb out of the true and abundant life God meant for us! 

Jonah was found in a storm created by his own missteps and sometimes we do too.  We can also end up in a storm due to someone else’s missteps.  However the Holy Spirit’s life saving power works the same either way! 

Jonah soon finds out that numbing out of a storm only leads to a greater storm within and without. He eventually finds himself engulfed by the mighty waters, buried beneath the wild and stormy waves! Jonah 2:6-7 (NLT) “I sank down to the very roots of the mountains. I was imprisioned in the earth, whose gates lock shut forever. But you, O LORD my God, snatched me from the jaws of death! As my life was slipping away, I remembered the LORD. And my earnest prayer went out to you in your holy Temple. 

Jonah may have seen himself as a helpless dove bird but God saw His child empowered by The Dove or rather The Holy Spirit who breathes new life into anyone that will cry out to Him!! The Holy Spirit who empowers anyone to not only survive, but thrive through any storm this broken world would whirl at them!! When fire hits the faithful the enemy can’t believe his eyes!! Genesis 50:20 (NIV) You intended to harm me, by God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

God had given Jonah an assignment that Jonah paid to get out of. The enemy is always ready to take our fare we too often are so willing to pay! God also gave Jonah an opportunity to get back on assignment… that opportunity was an Uber of sorts. A literal whale sized Uber Jonah probably never would have expected or even could have imagined (See Eph. 3:20)!! 

Don’t miss your ride to begin life anew, to try again, to ask forgiveness, to say “I’m sorry”, to believe for the miracle or to reframe your unmet expectation with open ended God sized expectancy… don’t miss your opportunity to get back to your God given abundant life (even amidst the wreckage of this broken world). Opportunity has a way of presenting itself in ways and times we might least expect… like an Uber that happens to be whale shaped! 

Jonah prayed and praised God even from the belly of a whale and wouldn’t you know… worship wins the battle over worry every time and Jonah arrived safely through the storm on the wings of The Dove because even at his worst, he was still, very much, loved. 

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:26-27 (NIV) 

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. Romans 3:23-24 (NLT) For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NIV) 

Everything Will Be All Right

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I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:7-11 (NIV) 

2 Kings 4:8-37 brings us face to face with a woman experiencing the most devastating of tragedies any mother could face, the death of her child. Before this tragic event occurs in her life she befriends Elisha, God’s prophet. In return for her kindness Elisha inquires about what can be done for her. As a man of prominence and influence Elisha offers to speak to the king or army commander on her behalf! What can be done for you, Elisha asks her?! 

This woman’s response reflects a heart rooted in the peace that blooms from a mind planted in Truth. She says, “I have a home…” (vs. 13) She was content within her situation, though imperfect as it was. Like the apostle Paul was able to declare in Philippians 4:12-13 (NIV) I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. 

We can do all things through Christ who gives us all sufficient strength and grace to not only keep breathing through unthinkable tragedy but to thrive as He revives our soul. Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; John 11:25 (NIV) 

This gal in 2 Kings 4 knew she had a Home (capital H in Heaven) so when tragedy struck her home (lower case h) she could remain unshaken. You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3 (NIV) 

Upon the death of her son in “bitter distress” (vs. 27) this women makes haste in going to find Elisha. Yet when she is asked, ‘Are you all right? Is your husband all right? Is your child all right’” She responds “Everything is all right”. (Vs. 26)  WHAT?! NO!! EVERYTHING WAS ALL WRONG!! And yet…

Everything was right and well with her soul. What took place was not alright but it would all, be made right. She knew this world was/is bitter, broken and unfair… but what is also unfair is God’s amazing grace. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NIV) … “What no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” – the things God has prepared for those who love him- 1 Corinthians 2:9 (NIV)

By His amazing grace, she AND her son would one day be at Home together. A Home with no more death, mourning, crying or pain (Rev. 21:4). In this world we will have bitter distress, but dear one, we can run to a better fortress found in Jesus. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliver; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2 (NKJV) 

For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. Habakkuk 2:3 (NIV) 

Sift and Shift

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You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3 (NIV) 

In Daniel chapter 3 we encounter three men with extraordinary faith. A faith that reaches far beyond mere religion. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were told to bow down to an idol. (Isn’t most of the world beckoning us all to do the same in some form or another?!) These three men show great confidence in the one true God, as they declare to the king…

“O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18 (NLT)

As this picture plays out in our mind we might see ourselves giving a standing ovation for the good guys victory. “Yea! They stood up to the mean guy!” Yet as we wait for the the curtain to fall, to our surprise the film continues to roll… downhill! Maybe you’ve been there, responding faithfully in a hard circumstance only to find things going as you least expected. Instead of going right everything goes left! Rather than cool down, the situation for these three men begins to heat up (literally)! The king does not back down to these three’s courageousness. As his temper roars so does he order the flames of the furnace to roar seven times hotter!! 

If God always rescued His faithful servants from all suffering the way they planned, no faith would be needed; simple religion would be all the insurance any of us humans would need. If we check all the right boxes, we get all that we want right? – Wrong. Genuine faith worships God even if He doesn’t work according to our plan because He is worth it. The reward in heaven for all God’s faithful servants will far out weigh any temporary suffering we have been asked to endure this side of heaven. The promise is that we will arrive safely in His Kingdom. We may cannon ball in, but we will nail the landing, not even smelling like smoke! 

Keeping the faith requires intentionally shifting our minds from the suffering of our situation to sustaining eternal Truth. This mind shift is not easy. We can think of it like a beautiful pearl that begins as an irritating grain of sand. The initial rubbing the clam does over the sand is harsh but as it endures the suffering, and continues to shift over it, the irritation is transformed. 

Romans 12:2 (NIV) Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will. 

Remember, the enemy is the ruler of lies, not the ruler of your thoughts. We can take captive our thoughts and make them obedient to Truth. Sift out the “sand” you don’t need and the “grains” that God has said must remain… choose to shift your mind over until the joy of your salvation is made complete. For Jesus rose from the grave, He is the resurrection and the life! The one who believes in Him will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in Him will never die! Do you believe this? (John 11:25-26) 

Don’t give up in the “sand” dear one, keep sifting and shifting, and you will make it safely Home.

Wisdom and Tact

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When Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, had gone out to put to death the wise men of Babylon, Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact. Daniel 2:14 (NIV) 

Daniel was one of those wisemen the king’s guard had gone out to kill and yet… we see Daniel responding in a calm, cool and collected manner!! This kind of reaction can only comes through the gift of a sound mind by way of the Holy Spirit (2 Tim. 1:7). Choosing to set our mind on the rock solid promises of God grounds us when the “wind and waves” swell around us.

Daniel was able to confront his killer with speech saturated with wisdom and tact. Tact reminds me of tack which is word for what a sail boat does to remain on course. Tacking is a sailing move that takes the boat back and forth in a zig zag pattern, using the gusts of wind to remain on course. To tack in a boat is to use the force of the winds to your advantage; keeping you moving in the desired direction. Daniel was able to utilize the wisdom from God with some tact, or cleverness and skill. 

The next time we sense the “wind and the waves” of life beginning to swell all around us, we can… 

*Apply the wisdom God has given us with some tact (skill and cleverness), using the “wind and waves” that the enemy means to drive us off course, rather to our advantage (Matt. 10:16)! Often this is done choosing an attitude of worship over worry (Heb. 13:15).

*Remember to take captive every thought, making it obedient to the Truth of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). 

*Remember the power and sound mind available to us through the Holy Spirt within us as believers. 

*Remember our God’s faithfulness and victorious power that reigns over every “wind” and every “wave” dear one (2 Cor. 1:20). 

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20 (NIV)

Your Lane Matters

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By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. Hebrews 11:3 (NIV) 

That verse reminds us God uses small things, even things we cannot see to do things so mega large it’s beyond our comprehension! The universe was made from what we cannot see!!! If you have lived through the COVID-19 era you know a virus too small to be seen with the naked human eye pretty much shut down the world! God can use small things to do great big things, no doubt! 

So why when it comes to our own lives do we doubt and discount that which we have to offer the world. We often classify it as far too small and insignificant to make a real difference. We compare what we are doing, or who we are, to the next person and become discouraged. Why?! Scripture clear tells us that kind of comparison is unwise! 

We so often get tripped up in our own God given gifted lane on the curb of comparison! Each person God creates has a different lane for a reason! How boring would watching a race be if all the runners ran identical? How delightful would a symphony sound if everyone played the same instrument? 

John 21 reminds us that wanting to compare our life’s “lane” to the next guy’s is not an uncommon human condition. Peter is worried about Jesus’ life plan for his buddy John, to which Jesus says …what is that to you? You must follow me.” John 21:22 (NIV) Excellent advise for all of us right!?!!

So in our effort to “fit in” in this world… have the right clothes, home, job, friends… we miss the mark. In Hebrews 11 which speaks of the hero’s of the faith, those hero’s admit they were foreigners and a strangers on earth. They embraced the promises of God rather than the fleeting fads of this world. They had grasped that they worked down here on earth but had a permanent residence in Heaven. The moment we begin to feel like we “fit in” here we are probably doing something way wrong. As believers in Jesus we have citizenship in heaven and Jesus said that among us it would be different! 

In Jesus we have a hope, a joy, a peace that is not of this world. We have the Holy Spirit within us enabling us to run our race with perseverance. When we are gone from this earth the only legacy that lasts will be our faith, not what fad we measured up to. …And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead. Hebrews 11:4 (NIV)

So dear one, take hold of your job description that none of us get’s to retire from this side of heaven. How exciting to know every breath you take bares purpose no amount of years can outgrow or layoffs can effect! … “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Luke 10:27 (NIV) This job even comes with a uniform free of charge! You can only find it in God’s closet and the only size it doesn’t tailor to, is prideful. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12 (NIV)

Live out your faith in the lane you’ve been gifted. Run well the race marked out for you without comparison, for the Author of time doesn’t waste it, so every moment in your own lane matters. Keep going, don’t give up! 

Hebrews 12:1 (NIV) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,

Moving Target or Sitting Duck

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“If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan? Jeremiah 12:5 (NIV) 

The moment you step out from the crowd to be a leader in any arena, you become a target. A target for the enemy, a target for people that like to share their opinions, suggestions, judgements, blame and complaints (good, bad and the ugly). Knowing this beforehand allows us to make a choice over what kind of target we will be; a moving target or a sitting duck.

Hebrews 10:35, 39 (NIV) reminds us we are equipped to be the MOVING kinda targets. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. (39) But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved. 

It is really hard to take down a moving target, right! Real faith does not shrink back becoming a stagnant sitting duck going down, destroyed! Real faith moves forward, it steps up and out in God-confident trust. 

It is only when we lose sight of our Target that we become the sitting duck target. It is only the shield of faith that can extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one and faith is a gift that moves, it grows as it seeks The Source of itself. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- Ephesians 2:8 (NIV) 

The Target of our faith is Jesus and only in moving into His Truth will we continue to move effectively in any roll of leadership. Everyone of us is a leader to someone, even someones we don’t know are watching. 

Don’t let the flaming arrows of the evil one or mean people or unfavorable circumstances take you down, keep moving into Truth. As you persevere don’t expect it to get easier but rather for the hunt to heat up! But as you move deeper into your Target, the Truth of God Almighty, you will become stronger, faster, braver and more effective for His Kingdom! 

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV) For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Isaiah 41:13 (NIV)

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

One Thing

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But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42 (NLT) 

At the end of our day how many of us can honestly say we have only ONE thing on our minds?! If you happen to be a classic over-thinker like myself (and probably our dear friend Martha) you probably have more like one HUNDRED things on your mind by the end of the day!! Each moment seems to mount up more to be measured in my mind!! However in the short two verses above we see Jesus clearly knew about ALL the details weighing on Martha’s precious mind. He addressed her “issues” in the most endearing way. “My dear Martha…” In complete Christ-like compassionate patience He validates her feelings. He does not dismiss or allow the fact that she is deeply distressed to go unnoticed, He does not brush her off, Jesus meets her right in the middle of her mess. 

Dear one, He meets you and I in the middle of our mess with that same measure of grace for He shows no favoritism, His hand of favor rests on all of His precious children. 

Matthew 11:28 (NIV) Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV) Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.Psalm 32:8 (NIV) I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.

Please take note that that last verse above does NOT say “critical eye”! No, it is with a loving eye that He counsels us because He IS love dear one and YOU are loved – hot mess and all! 

Jesus reminds Martha that yes, there are many things swirling around us vying for our attention and yet at the end of the day ONE THING truly matters… He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Luke 10:27 (NIV) This is a job description we never retire from.

At the end of the day if in all our moments we did Luke 10:27 then the day was a success. Will we make mistakes, yes. But if we confess and ask forgiveness He wipes us clean, removing our sin as far as the east is from the west so we can rest… and with the morning comes His mercies new and fresh!! Faith moves forward dear one. 

Hebrews 10:34 (NLT)…and when all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever.  You would probably agree with me that this verse addresses colossal concerns!! “Accepted it with joy”?! What?!!!! The key: “you knew there were better things” Choosing to focusing on the one thing that matters: Jesus Christ and His victory over our death, our sin and our enemy the devil for all eternity… becomes our game changer! 

Job found the one thing that mattered and could say, after losing it ALL, … “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” Job 1:21 (NIV) 

2 Timothy 1:12 (NIV) That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day. 

The secret to true joy in all circumstances is ONE thing… to truly KNOW Jesus. We can trust Him, being completely CONVINCED that HE IS ABLE and will faithfully bring to a glorious finish that which He starts. 

Truly knowing Jesus… from that ONE THING we can trust He works ALL THINGS together for our good and His glory. In our many swirling pieces, He Himself is our transcending peace dear one.

God bless you muchly~

Don’t Waste Your Fast Pass

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Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, Hebrews 10:19-20 (NIV) 

In order to get the most out of our theme park visit, many of us will divide and conquer right!?! Having thoroughly evaluated the park map, we get up early, each member of the group rushing to their assigned rides to obtain enough fast passes to jump the lines throughout the day! Do we forget that there are no lines to meet with our Almighty Creator God?! Jesus made a way for us to pass into His presence, to come before His throne with confidence!! Jesus became The Way Himself, allowing His own body to be torn that He could be the Savior of our souls!! There is no line dear one, the Way is open to you!!! 

And yet how often do we keep our God waiting on us?

and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:21-22 (NIV) 

God Almighty has no waiting line to the throne room and yet how often do we make Him wait to give us His Word that sustains the weary because we want a few extra minutes in bed… or we would rather do “this” or “that” before we get to Him. “God Almighty, My Creator, My Deliverer, My Eternally Good and Most Holy Faithful Father, My Redeemer, Forgiving Savior, My Provider of the very breath I breathe… hold on while I sleep a bit more, while I tick off a few of the things on my to-do list… I’ll be with you in a minute God, lover of my soul.” Crazy right!! Too often we wait till the “party’s” over at the end of the day asking God what He thought, instead of starting the “party” asking God what He thinks. How much better would our “party” (our days) go if we put Him in the front of our line of things to do each day?

Let us hold unswervingly the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:19-25 (NIV) 

God can give you total victory (I’ve heard it stated “blanket victory”) over the blankets that keep you in bed away from time with Him and victory over the things you think you must do, so that His presence becomes what you crave more than anything else that would threaten to come between you and the Savior of your soul. 

Jesus has given you a “fast pass” to the very throne room of God, there is no line dear one… what are you waiting for? 

The Sovereign LORD has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. Isaiah 50:4 (NIV) Come join a Bible study today!

Night and Day

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“This is what the LORD says: ‘If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night no longer come at their appointed time, Jeremiah 33:20 (NIV) 

Point 1: Our God’s promises are as sure as the day and night; arriving always on time, at their appointed time, since the beginning of time! He is faithful. 

Point 2: Our God’s Word is unchained and can penetrate the war around you or within you; bringing a better hope, new beginnings and peace that surpasses our own understanding! He is good.

You gotta love the beginning of Jeremiah 33 and chapter 34. Chapter 33 begins with the Word of God reaching through Jeremiah’s prison. While Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard, the word of the LORD came to him… (Jer. 33:1 NIV) WHILE Jeremiah was still confined… the Word CAME in! Then in chapter 34 verse 1 we are reminded that WHILE everyone is fighting, the king and ALL his army and ALL the kingdoms and peoples in the empire were FIGHTING against Jerusalem and ALL its surrounding towns… God’s Word came THROUGH!!!! Whether the war rages within you personally or outside you, in your situation, relationships or circumstances, our God can break in and right through! Nothing is above Him, beyond His reach or out of His control. 

And because I preach this Good News, I am suffering and have been chained like a criminal. But the word of God cannot be chained. 2 Timothy 2:9 (NLT) 

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 (NIV) 

God’s Word is our strongest weapon against the enemy! It emboldens our faith and it is with the shield of faith that we can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one! The gift of God is faith, and when we remain steadfast in it, we render the enemies schemes ineffective! They will fight you, but they will fail. For I am with you, and will take care of you. I, the LORD, have spoken!” Jeremiah 1:19 (NLT) 

Such precious promises and yet how often are we choosing to spend time with our good and faithful God to know His way and to delight in His purposes?! Eve in the garden (Gen. 3) fell to the enemies schemes. Yes, her eyes were opened but opened now to sin like God never intended her to know it – through experience. Now she would suffer with the knowledge of shame and guilt. Good golly the enemy is so conniving! Always trying to get us to doubt the good character of God! We combat the enemy with trust in God’s Word.

God proves His faithfulness day and night (literally) and has since the beginning of time (Gen. 1:5)!! His Word brings health and healing, abundant joy and peace; His Word brings security and sure hope, His Word breaks the chains of captivity, sets free, forgives, redeems, rebuilds, restores and makes completely new!!! He is the Resurrection and the Life… do you believe this?! Have you spent time day and night pouring over the water of His Word that He might pour into you, by His grace, His life, love, peace and sure hope with His mercies that fall afresh every morning?!! 

Dear one, hear His voice today… ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ Jeremiah 33:3 (NIV) … “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. Jeremiah 31:1 (NIV) 

And by His grace might we respond… … “Speak, for your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10 (NIV) 

READ: Psalm 145 and Matthew 4:1-11

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Grain, Fire, Hammers and Sparkling Hearts

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“Let these false prophets tell their dreams, but let my true messengers faithfully proclaim my every word. There is a difference between straw and grain! Does not my word  burn like fire?” Says the LORD. “Is it not like a mighty hammer that smashes a rock to pieces? Jeremiah 23:28-29 (NLT) 

In Jeremiah 23:28-29 God uses grain, fire and a hammer to make analogies to His Word. He would allow the false prophets to continue for a time, while at the same time, having His true prophets proclaiming His every word!  This would provide a stark contrast between Truth and the lie. Between straw and grain, only one can nourish. 

Psalm 1:1-4 (NLT) Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do. But not the wicked! They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind. 

God’s Word is living, powerful, effective and NEVER returns void of fulfilling God’s purpose (Heb. 4:12, Is. 55:11)! Oh my friend, does that not stir a fire in your heart too?!! A common cause of anxiety, worry and fear is the feeling of ineffectiveness, a lack of purpose or meaning and yet we were made to be a display of His splendor, a vessel of His victory!!! What better way to fulfill our purpose than to abide in His life giving, powerful and effective Word?! Jesus, the Word, His Spirit within us will always be our greatest gift to the world and we can be filled to overflowing with Him (Eph. 3:19)!

Oh dear one, let us pray that our God stir a passion in our hearts for the pure Word of God! May it become an igniting spark that fans a flame to a bonfire that lights our relationships, workplaces, schools, churches, cities, nation even our world with worship of the only One worthy! 

Though false prophets spoke they would not, and a will not, overcome for the Word has already overcome (Rev. 5:5,12, John 16:33)!! His Word is like a hammer and justice will be carried out. 

Who can withstand his indignation? Who can endure his fierce anger? His wrath is poured out like fire; the rocks are shattered before him. The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him, Nahum 1:6-7 (NIV) 

As a judge uses a mallet or hammer to emphasize his final judgment we see a picture of a good God who will not overlook the evil in this world. However we must also remember our God is infinite; infinite love, infinite justice, infinite mercy and grace…. So God cannot be 80 percent justice and only 20 percent mercy. When God allows the hammer to drop it is 100 percent just and 100 percent merciful. Don’t worry, we only have finite minds so we are not supposed to be able to understand it all. We have rather been given an immense capacity to choose trust! He is trustworthy, Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. Hebrews 2:14-15 (NIV) He is our merciful and faithful high priest (Heb. 2:17). 

We are all given a sphere of influence. The way we present and live the gospel matters. Are we properly nourished? Whether we are feeding on “grain” or “straw” it will show. The fire of His true Word will have desirable results. His Word will refine your heart until it sparkles with flames that cannot be contained. Your life will prove fruitful (John 15:5). His fruit is craved by this world and yet so many are feasting on straw (Gal. 5:22-23). By His infinitely amazing grace may our lives speak a better word… one that lives by example this message… Come dear one, Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8 (NIV)

Summer Bible Studies starting!