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Archive for the tag “Trusting God”

Becoming Great Again

I just can’t figure out what the Lord is up to. I have tried to come up with scenarios with this political season. I mean, there has to be a reason why we have these two particular candidates. But what is God up to? I have heard some speak of a great revival coming with this political season. I have heard many say that there is disaster just around the corner for our nation. I have heard of tsunamis and earthquakes that will destroy the east and/or the west coast; economic collapse; a number of things that would cause us to seek God once again.

Right after 9/11, there was a surge of people who came back to church seeking God. But it didn’t last. The numbers fell off again after a few weeks. Some stayed, but the majority went right back to doing what they had always done. In this country, we have been blessed with success. With success though, we don’t need God. We don’t really depend on Him for anything anymore. We have grown so independent that we have removed Him from our public places. I have heard of this separation of church and state all my life, but I didn’t understand what that really meant. It’s gradually become something that was not intended by our forefathers.

Our forefathers came from places where church was dictated by the government. The church in England was run by the King of England. He was considered the head of the church. Many countries today have that mandate that if you live there, then this is what you will practice as a religion. That’s not how we run things in this country. The separation of church and state was to keep the state from running our religious practices. We have a freedom to choose what we believe and what we practice.

I think we have forgotten where we came from and what freedom really means. The church was instrumental in developing this country – whether we like to admit it or not. But slowly through time, we have lost our footing. The further we’re away from the foundation, the further we have fallen away from the principles that made this nation great and the freedoms we enjoy. Many around the world hate us because of our arrogance that comes from our greatness. But let one thing happen, and they are begging us to come to the rescue. And we go, because that’s who we are. We have been blessed so that we can be a blessing to others. God’s hand has been on this nation from the start.

On that first day of office, George Washington dedicated our nation to the Lord. He understood the importance of keeping God at the forefront of the government. The Lord has worked through our leaders as He used us for His plan. I believe His main use for this nation was to be a light to the other nations. I think one of our main blessings was to help Israel as a nation, first to become a nation, then eventually to become the greatest light of the world. Israel is the epicenter and will be instrumental in future events to play out in God’s plan.

The leadership that we chose in this political season is pivotal for the future of our nation – whether we will remain as a nation who blesses or a nation who continues to fall away from our foundation. These next few months will be interesting to see what God has in mind for us. The plan may mean that we have to decrease so that Israel can increase. It may be that we have to decrease so that we will once again get back to our foundation of relying on God instead of our success.

I don’t know what’s coming. God hasn’t given me a vision. I just know that God has a plan, and we are a part of it. He raised us up for a purpose. Has our purpose been fulfilled? Only God knows. God is up to something. I just can’t figure it out, and it drives me crazy not knowing the outcome before it happens. I hear that’s what faith is all about. Faith means we believe God is still on His throne no matter what happens here. I trust God to work it out for His greatness not ours!

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

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The Shield

A few years ago, I took one of those spiritual gifts assessment tests. One of the gifts that came out highest of all was faith. In my past, I have taken a few risks, but I never attributed it to having great faith. I have left jobs to move to other cities. Over five years ago, I took a leap of faith to leave a good paying job. At the time, I believed it was the right thing to do. I believed God led me to that decision. Taking a risk always causes a bit of trepidation. Sometimes, God will reveal part of the plan to me, and I feel a bit more certain in my decisions. However, it’s been over five years, and I am having doubts as to the plan God had for this time. God isn’t doing what He has done in my past. He is not meeting my expectations, and I just fail to recognize that God has a different plan than what I expected. He’s creative that way!

In the study of the shield of faith in the Armor of God, Priscilla Shirer quotes her Daddy’s (Dr. Tony Evans) definition of faith: “Faith is acting like it is so, even when it is not so, so that it might be so, simply because God said so.” She also gave this definition: “faith is acting like God is telling the truth” (both quotes found on page 127). One thing that was revealed to me in this week’s lessons is the fact that God wants to see faith in us; faith is what is counted as righteousness. And He is all about growing our faith. This season for me maybe a time of truly putting my faith to a test!

Abraham was the example of having a righteous faith. He believed God – to show him where to go when he left his home; to have a son in his old age; and when he was asked to sacrifice that promised son. But Abraham made some wrong moves throughout his life, yet his faith was still counted as righteous. Hebrews 11 is gives a highlight of those who have had faith through the Bible. However, Genesis is the Book that shows the beginning of the faith journey. It is ripe with stories of faith building. Through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we see the times of building faith through their journeys. However, the further the story goes in Genesis, the further back God recedes. Faith is rooted in the past but focused on the future. Faith is built on what we have experienced in the past.

One of the questions Priscilla asked (page 124) is what is the difference between belief and faith? My response was that belief is wings and faith is the air beneath the wings. It helps us take a leap of faith and fly. We can believe all we want; but until we put action with the belief, we will never get anywhere. We believe God will still do what He said He would do and act on the promise. It’s what we do when we believe God. When we doubt, we actually believe the enemy’s lie rather than God’s word. The enemy does whatever he can to keep us from taking a risk. He sends doubts, fears, distractions; anything that will cause us to shrink back from God’s word.

Paul likened faith to a Roman shield. It was a protection from the enemy. Also, it could be linked together. Soldiers in a battle could link their shields together to form an impenetrable barrier. There was no way an enemy’s arrows could make it throw to do harm. So instead, the enemy would send a flaming arrow to something flammable. This would cause a distraction to the soldiers and cause them to focus on the flame instead of the enemy. As long as the soldier stayed behind the shield, the enemy had no power over them. The minute they dropped their protection to fight the fire, they were vulnerable.

In these troubled times, we have to link our shields together. The enemy is sending all kinds of distractions. The fires are raging around us. Our faith is the only thing that will keep us from getting burned by the enemy. It’s important to know who we can trust and who to turn to. Our faith has to be in someone or something much greater than the problem or else there is no point in having faith. Without faith, it’s just religion; it’s just a tradition that does nothing in the name of Jesus. Taking a risk for Jesus activates the shield and brings God glory. It’s time for God’s people to link up and become a mighty force. The world is waiting to see how we will react to our circumstances. Faith or fear. It’s either one or the other. Let’s act as if God is telling the truth and believe He will do a mighty work in and through us. Take a leap of faith and trust Him in the process.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6

Blindsided

One of my favorite television shows is Survivor. It’s a game played out on a remote island somewhere far away. It starts with 18 people of different backgrounds with different life skills and different game skills. The players have to outlast and outplay the others to remain on the island and ultimately become the sole survivor (and the million dollar winner). Each episode ends with a person voted out of the game. The one voted out can be blindsided by the vote. The people they thought were their alliance will turn against them; they don’t see it coming, and they are voted out of the game. No more chances to play; no more chances for the million dollar prize – they go home.

It’s interesting to see the dynamics shift. Bonds are formed. Alliances are made. You place great confidence in the ones who you think will take you to the end. But in the end, all the people are voted out of the game except for the one who will take home the prize. There is always a celebration at the end of the game. Everyone comes together to celebrate the winner. It’s a great game, and everybody on the show recognizes it’s just a game.

But what happens when we are blindsided by life? My next door neighbor was blindsided yesterday. They didn’t see it coming. They moved in about a year and a half ago. They were excited to have a new house. I remember the wife’s enthusiasm as they moved in and got settled. They have a small son. He’s too young to know what’s going on in the house today.

You see, about six months after they moved in, the husband was diagnosed with cancer. He did all the treatments and thought he beat it. It came back; and as cancer does, it came back in multiple places. They gave him about six to nine months until the cancer would take his life. He would be voted out of this game called life. He would exit the playing field. This morning, the wife and the son will wake up to a new chapter in their lives.

I watched a program last night on John Paul Jackson on Daystar. He too had a battle with cancer. I watched the program as he talked about beating the cancer. He talked about the time he discovered the cancer. He had been a runner and found the tumor one day while he was running. It came out of nowhere. Blindsided. He was very encouraging as he talked about how he trusted God through it all. God would see him through it.

At the end of the program, I waited to see when the program was originally on. It was dated 2014. I was hoping for a more current date thinking that maybe I had heard wrong. You see, I found out last year, John Paul Jackson lost the battle and died. I assume the cancer came back, and it beat him. We never know when circumstances will turn against us; when we will be blindsided by a diagnosis or the death of a loved one or anything else that knocks us down. But we have a loving Father who knows everything from the very first breath to the very last, and we can trust him to see us through each and every day – no matter what. Even if the diagnosis comes and the outcome isn’t good, God has a plan to get us to the other side of it. It’s a matter of trusting in the One who knows it all.

John Paul Jackson had a celebration in the end. When the battle ended, there was a celebration in heaven when he walked through those pearly gates. He received the greatest prize ever – a life with Jesus for eternity. I don’t know about my neighbor’s outcome. I don’t know where he stood with Jesus. I hope the prayers I offered on his behalf were answered, but I won’t know it until I go home myself.

We will all face those moments when we will be blindsided. There will be a moment in time when we don’t see it coming. Our friends and family can surround us, but it’s a moment when the only one you can have confidence in is the One who knows how the game will end. Our loving Father will never leave us or forsake us. He is trustworthy to get us to the end. He is also the greatest prize we could ever hope for. And the celebration that we receive will be amazing if we endure to the end.

A new chapter begins as the old one closes. My prayers will shift now to the wife and son who are beginning again this morning. The birds are singing. The trash has to be taken out. The lawn needs to be mowed. Life still goes on even when we have been blindsided. The moment comes when we have to decide to get up and trust God to work it out in the end. And He will because that’s what He does. Trust Him.

As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.  2 Timothy 4:6-8

The Adventurous Spirit

I have a confession to make – I’m bored. I have been bored for years. I don’t know when boredom set in, but it’s been years since I’ve had a sense of adventure. I used to enjoy new challenges and loved change – change of scenery was especially welcomed. I changed jobs every two or three years. When I changed jobs, I moved to a new city. I liked the change of place and new opportunities. Packing up the household meant I cleaned out the clutter which was especially beneficial.

After my sister became single again, we began traveling together. About once a year, we planned a trip to New York or some other destination. We traveled as far as Alaska and Hawaii; and then even went as far as London. It was fabulous to experience new places. I loved it. When my travel partner got married again, I decided to keep on traveling even if it meant going alone. I went to Vermont and Maine. I even went to New Zealand and Australia. Of course, my Mom was not too crazy about the trips alone. She especially wasn’t happy about the time away in NZ and Australia. But oh the things I got to experience in those places!

It would have been nice to have someone travel with me. But the things I experienced while alone put me in a place of vulnerability. Most would think that was a bad thing, but as a Christian I need to be in a place of vulnerability. It means I have to rely upon Jesus to help me through some tight spots. And I had a few while traveling.

I realized the other day I haven’t had an opportunity to travel in the last six years. I also realized I love staying in hotels and living out of a suitcase. I loved going. But something has changed. I don’t have a sense of adventure as I once did. I have had plenty of time to go, but the financial means isn’t there. I don’t feel like I can “waste” the money on unnecessary travel. I have settled into this sameness mentality that is draining me. My sense of adventure has to come back. I can’t settle for mediocrity. By the very definition of Jesus follower means going where Jesus goes and His path is never boring. So why have I settled for boredom?

When I traveled to New Zealand, I didn’t go on a mission trip. I went for the adventure. I moved off the beaten path so to speak. Buses carried me from one point to the other. I loved seeing the countryside. I love visiting cities, but the country is where the beauty lies. From the mountain peaks to the green valleys, nature is painted with God’s glory. When I was in Christchurch, I visited the famous church in the downtown square. I walked in wanting to experience the awe of the place. I snapped a picture of one of the panels of stained glass. As soon as I did, I was reprimanded by one of the officials. I hadn’t paid for the right to take a picture. I immediately deleted it, and left the building.

I realized at that moment, that building was a business not a holy place. And I really couldn’t contain His beauty in a picture anyway. God didn’t fill that place with His glory. His glory has to be experienced by the eye – spiritual or physical. I went to the lakes and the mountaintops; and caught a glimpse of His grandeur and majesty. I had a sense of awe at the beauty I found in those places. God isn’t contained in a building.

God is experienced in the movement of the Holy Spirit. We settle in the comfort place and forget to be led by the Spirit to experience God’s presence in those places. We all need our sense of wonder back. We all need a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit. Or maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m the only one experiencing the boredom of my comfortable place. Boredom shouldn’t be the feeling of any Jesus follower. If it is, then we’re not doing it right. It’s time to get back to where we experience God’s presence again. We don’t have to travel to distant lands to see God’s glory. We just have to open our spiritual eyes to see it once again. We have to be open to His voice to move in obedience to what we hear.

Something has to change. I am asking for a fresh perspective. Will you join me in the adventure God has for each of us? Don’t settle in that comfortable place. Let’s be Jesus followers in every sense of what that entails. Lord, lead your people out of boredom and into the great adventure You have for us. Amen!

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8

The Next Level: Fearless

When I was growing up, my Mom used to give me a back rub to help me sleep at night. She would come in after I had gotten in bed, we would say a prayer and then she would give me a little relaxing back rub. Needless to say, I love back rubs! However, I have to pay for them these days. Yesterday, I had the opportunity for a massage. I haven’t had one in over a year, and it was a real treat for me.

The massage I had yesterday was a bit different. The therapist did some deep tissue work, but she also stretched me. The stretches were a bit difficult -at times I felt I was being stretched too far. It was actually a little painful. But after it was all said and done, I felt good. I was relaxed. Today, everything is loose and feels amazing. Even though it was painful in a spot or two, I must have needed the stretching the most.

A couple of weeks ago, I asked God to do whatever He needed to do in order to move me to the next level. I guess in theory I asked Him to stretch me. Stepping out in faith really tests those faith muscles. We really don’t know how much faith we have until it is stretched – until it’s tested. Then we can know whether what we say we have is really true.

The challenge came from the pulpit on Sunday. Generosity is the tool for stretching. I have been in this church body for a little over four years, and the pastor hardly ever speaks about money. He reminded us that the church didn’t need the money, but we, as the Body, needed to be stretched (my words, not his). God has all the resources available to Him so He doesn’t need our money. The pastor emphasized that generosity is a heart issue.

The challenge is to step up to the next level of giving. The last level is fearless giving – Andy Stanley calls it “crazy” giving. It’s “sell your assets to give away” kind of giving. It’s what the early church body did to make sure no one was in need. But I would say that each level can be a step into fearless giving. Each step takes us out of the comfort zone. The first step to give is instant giving; throwing money in the pot as it passes or emotional giving. It can be uncomfortable to someone who has very little to give when an opportunity arises. But fearlessly, they give.

The next level is giving intentionally; setting aside money to give regularly. Having a plan in place before the opportunity arises. Again, if someone has never done this before, it’s uncomfortable to plan ahead – who does that nowadays? The next level is proportionate giving. This is a percentage of what is made. If income goes up, so does the giving. Again it can become a fear factor when it looks like we’re not going to have enough to cover the bills.

Then the pastor called the last level fearless giving. Sell and give; in other words, sacrificial giving. To be stretched until it hurts. This is a faith building exercise. Do we really believe God has all the resources in His hands? If we do, then we will sacrifice all we have because we believe God will take care of all our needs. After all, it says so in the Bible. Do we believe it or not? Are we willing to step out in faith to do the thing He calls us to do? He may ask us to go into the deep end where we have to trust Him.

After fishing all night, Simon Peter was asked to push off a little from shore so that Jesus could speak to the crowd. After speaking to the crowd, Jesus turned to Simon Peter. Jesus asked Peter to go out into the deep and drop his nets. Peter had caught nothing the night before. He was disappointed and frustrated for sure. This was how he made a living – and he caught nothing. He had already cleaned his nets; Peter already knew it was useless because the fish weren’t there. However, he did it anyway because Jesus asked him to do it. The amazing catch changed Peter’s perception of Jesus. He was actually speechless! He couldn’t even call to his partners to come help – he signaled them instead.

When we are asked to do something with Jesus, it’s going to be crazy. It may even scare us unbelievable so. But after we have been stretched, we are going to feel amazing. We will have a “fish” story to tell. We may have to sacrifice something we dearly love in order to gain something better. We may even come away with a different perception of Jesus. Now wouldn’t that be amazing?! All we are asked to do is trust Him in the process – to become fearless in the next level; to be stretched so that we can grow to become more like Him. Fearless like Him.

Jesus said to Simon, “There is nothing to fear. From now on you’ll be fishing for men and women.” They pulled their boats up on the beach, left them, nets and all, and followed him. Luke 5:10-11 MSG

Work it Through

A couple of weeks ago, I tried my hand at making yeast rolls (gluten free). My first attempt didn’t go well. They didn’t rise. The flavor was good though. I think my problem was the yeast. I didn’t let it proof long enough to get the yeast to activate before I added it to the flour mixture. I have two more packets of yeast, so I have two more attempts to make these rolls – I understand it’s close to the original texture if I can make them correctly.

In my quiet time on Tuesday, I found myself thinking about my attempt at yeast rolls. The Scripture in my quiet time was from 1 Corinthians 5:6b-8. The passage was on yeast and unleavened bread. In context, Paul was instructing the Corinthians to get rid of their old ways of malice and wickedness (the yeast). Apparently there were issues in the Corinthian church! God’s people should be the unleavened bread; “the bread of sincerity and truth.”

My thoughts went in a different direction. You see, I was also reading about how the Bible should be read and digested so that it permeates through our lives. It’s the yeast that should be kneaded into every crevice of our hearts. I read about the quality of the soils in Matthew 13. I know; I was all over the place. But the Holy Spirit wrapped it all up in the yeast.

The Word has to be put in good soil to produce an abundant harvest for the “farmer.” The good soil like yeast has to be mixed up to produce the right outcome. A farmer will till the soil before the seed is planted. A baker will work the yeast through the whole dough before the dough will begin to rise; to increase in size. The tilling and the kneading make a difference to produce the right results.

Some of the seeds fell in a thorny mess and on a rocky path. Both soils reminded me of a tough situation where the person will fall away from God because God didn’t meet their expectations. They don’t trust God with the mess. The worries of life (the thorns) cause us to fall away too easily. Jesus explained people hear the word, but they don’t let the Word work through their heart. It sits on the surface, never penetrating to do what it needs to do in their lives.

The ground has to be prepared before the trying times or else we will have the thorny mess permeating throughout our lives. The Word has to be hidden and worked through our hearts in the good times for the peace in the bad times. We will always be in crisis, coming out of the crisis or about to enter a crisis. There is always a thorny mess waiting for us.

Spending quiet time with Jesus in His Word; prayer for understanding of what we read. Spending time with Jesus is never wasted. It is necessary for a deeper relationship. He is our refuge in times of crisis. This is not a relationship where it lies only on the surface. Like a bird after the seed on the ground, Satan will snatch away anything that is only planted on the surface. This is not a “fair weather” relationship for only the good times. Jesus and His Word are for here and for now. Good times and the bad. But it means being intentional;  working it through like kneading yeast in the dough. It takes time and patience (and the right soil).

But the yeast actually needs a little heat to make the yeast activate. If the heat is not there, then all we have is a lump of dough that is flat and hard. The mess we have is the heat to activate the trust we have in Jesus. If trust is not there, then all we have is a faith that falls away at the first sign of trouble.

Proof the yeast and work it through every fiber of your being. You will not be disappointed in the outcome!

You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. 2 Timothy 2:15-17 (NLT)

Whole Lot of Shaking

Have you looked at your retirement fund or stock portfolio lately? I haven’t. I have been scared to even peek at it. A couple of nights ago, I was listening to an alternative financial guru (alternative – meaning not the mainstream media folks). He is forecasting this year to be the collapse of the almighty dollar. The dollar hasn’t been backed by gold since the 70’s; and I have often wondered how currency floats without anything but paper to hold it up. I am not an economist and have no clue how the economy actually works. To me, it just doesn’t seem too stable. No wonder God tells us not to trust in money – it’s not very reliable to hold anything up for long!

Are you aware of all the earthquakes and volcano activity over the last year or so? There’s a YouTube channel that posts updates on all the activity around the world. It’s amazing the number of earthquakes that occur every week. The “ring of fire” is definitely on fire. The activity travels around the plates as they all move and shift under our feet. Can’t rely on the earth being a firm foundation either! It could shift right from under us. Not to mention the incredible storms we have had in the past few years. What in the world is going on?

Then there’s the war on terror happening around the globe. Extremists are trying to blow up anyone that doesn’t agree with their religious views. I read Joel Rosenberg’s the Twelve Imam series a few weeks ago. It was pretty eye-opening as a fictional account of radicalism that hits pretty close to home. His books are too eerily close to reality for peace of mind in this crazy world we live in. When I read his fictional accounts, I have to remind myself “this is fiction; not reality!”

We have hardly even started the political campaigning, and I am already tired of hearing about it. The candidates think they are the answer to the country’s woes. Why would anyone in their right mind want to take on this enormous task to straighten out this country? With the debt, with the immigration issues, with the possible terrorists camping out in plain sight; everything seems about ready to implode! Yet, people want to be the head of this mess. I just say “good luck, you’re going to need it!” The leader of this country is not going to get us out of this mess. The government cannot be our savior.

Nothing but doom and gloom on the horizon. The picture is not too bright (if you listen to the nightly news). However, if you look at the news through the biblical lens, I see God’s hand at work. The stage is being set. The earth is groaning and waiting for that Day. What if this is the year Jesus comes back for His church?! Scripture tells us it will be just like in the days of Noah. There was no sign of rain when the boat was sealed. People laughed and thought he was so foolish. Scripture tells us Jesus will come like a thief in the night. No one will suspect His coming.

There is nothing in this world we can count on, but the promises of God. God is the Promise Keeper. He is the only One who can fix our woes – nationally and personally. He is the only One we can rely upon. He is our firm foundation. God doesn’t change. He is trustworthy. When all else fails, the great I AM will never fail. Provider, protector, comforter, all His attributes are surrounded by love for us. God tells us to have courage. Andy Stanley said in his message this weekend, “We should not grow weary and lose heart. We are scaring the children!” People are watching Christians to see how we react to the circumstances. Scripture tells us to fix our eyes upon Jesus. Stand firm on His promises. Let nothing move us. Stanley says “We’re not to be sissy Christians!” We have a trustworthy God – believe Him! He keeps His promises.

Now I know that the Lord rescues his anointed king. He will answer him from his holy heaven and rescue him by his great power. Some nations boast of their chariots and horses, but we boast in the name of the Lord our God. Those nations will fall down and collapse, but we will rise up and stand firm. Psalm 20:6-8 (NLT)

Trading Up

I love cars. I always have. Looking at the car I drive now though would tell a different story. It’s not the best ride I’ve ever owned. But I would say it’s also probably not going to be the last one either (unless Jesus comes back in the next few years!). That being said, I have found though that all I really need is a vehicle to get me from one place to another. I once used to look at my vehicles as the extension of my personality. Not really defining me, but sort of like an accessory to my life. The cars had to “match” my definition of who I was. I have always loved sports cars. I always thought one day I’m going to have one! My dream car has always been a Corvette. I didn’t dream of a Porsche or a Ferrari. Maybe I dream with realistic vision. My dreams are not unobtainable. One day, I could have it, if I really wanted it.

My first car was a one-seater. It was white with a red stripe down the side. It had two pedals, and it would go as fast as my little legs would take me. My next car came when I was sixteen years old. When I first started driving, the second family car was a Ford Maverick (a ghastly, bright orange color) with a stick-shift on the steering column. We traded up to a Pontiac Phoenix a few months after I began driving – thank you Lord! When I was finally able to get my own car, I had a choice to make. I got a ‘vette. Oh, not a Corvette, but a new Chevette. The other option was a used Camaro. The reason I chose the Chevette was not because I wanted it, but because I chose to give the option to my Dad. His decision has always been new cars over used. I think he owned a lemon one time and vowed never to buy used again.

My last car before my current one was a sporty Acura CL. It was sweet! It was as close as I could come to a premium sports car. However, seven years ago, God asked me to release my Acura for a more practical car. I did after a few weeks of wrestling with the decision. It was difficult to let it go. However, God knew my future. He was going to place me in a position where I wouldn’t have much money. The Acura was expensive to keep up and costly repairs were coming. God led me to my little Nissan that I currently own. Its been a blessing. I am very content with this car. It’s been very reliable. My dream hasn’t changed. I still have occasion to desire a new ride with a flashier style.

One day not too long ago, I had a flash of my future in twenty years or so. A new Corvette pulled up beside me in a parking lot. I wasn’t lustful, but eyed it for its beauty. As I was pulling out of the parking lot, I glanced back and saw an older woman getting out of the car. What struck me was the cane she used to help her out of the driver seat! And I chuckled to myself. Yep, that could be me one day, if I had more money than sense!

God always trades up. My little Nissan may not “look” like a trade up; but spiritually speaking, it was a huge leap forward! It was a major turning point in my life. God asked me to do something I had no desire to do; but I did it after a few weeks of wrestling with the decision. That time took me a few weeks to be obedient. The next time He asked me to be obedient to something, I did not hesitate; the answer was yes. My desires are nothing compared to the spiritual blessing of letting something go to gain something better. In order to move forward, we have to let go of the things that could be keeping us bound to a place or circumstance that is not the best for us. Desires have to be released to His.

God always has the best in mind for us. We can trust Him. Just as I once trusted my earthly Dad to meet my needs, I know I can trust my heavenly Dad. I am trading up. God will never forsake me or leave me to my own devices. He knows the desires of my heart. And if it’s aligned with His heart, I will have more than I ask or imagine because He’s that good!

Be delighted with the Lord. Then he will give you all your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him to help you do it, and he will. Psalm 37:4-5 (TLB)

Standing Firm

For the last few weeks, I have been enthralled with the topic of the September events that are projected to happen. There are so many theories floating around; any of them could be possible. The theories range from a major 9.0 earthquake shaking the West coast, a meteor falling into the Atlantic Ocean, world-wide economic collapse, or even the country being split in two. And let’s not forget the hoopla around the blood moon events. Many claim that they have heard from God on these events happening. The end of the world is near. We’ve heard it all before. It’s just interesting to me that not only are the biblical people speaking about economic collapse but many of the secular people are saying the same thing. There is some validity to that theory. But I do believe we are in for a shaking in our world. I believe there are some things that God has in store that will take place in September. We might not understand it today; but when we look back, this September will be very significant in the end of times events.

There are several things that really are scheduled to happen like the Pope visiting the US around September 23rd. He is scheduled to speak at the UN conference concerning the new Agenda 2030 that will set guidelines for a possible new “world order.” He is also speaking to Congress during his visit. There is the CERN collider ramping up to full steam. This super collider is supposed to “explain” the big bang theory. The apex of this ramping up is expected to occur around the end of the month. September 21st has been declared as the “Day of Peace.” Jade Helm – a military training exercise – will be wrapping up on September 15th. I don’t know if any of these things could be world-changing events, but we won’t know until things unfold in the future.

What’s interesting is the fact that these events are all coinciding with God’s feast days. September is the month of the fall feasts that God set in Leviticus 23. On the fourteenth, the feast of Trumpets begins. The Day of Atonement, considered the holiest of the year, is on September 23rd. And on the twenty-eighth, we celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. I say “we” because these are the Lord’s feasts. If we are the Lord’s, then we should be celebrating His appointed times. I think we consider these things as Jewish feasts, but I believe this is for all of God’s people – both naturally born and the adopted sons and daughters of the King!

One thing that I come away with when watching and hearing these messages – it’s time we are prepared to meet Jesus – our hearts need to be right. Today. We should stand firm on the foundation of Jesus Christ. Jesus said in Matthew 7 to have your house built on the rock – when the storms come, the house stands. The foundation is secure when Jesus Christ is everything to us. The culture will change with the wind of opinion. But our hearts need to be set on the foundation of Jesus alone. If the world is shaking, then those who call on the Name of Jesus need to stand firm!

God is seeking those whose hearts are pure and righteous before Him. He is looking for those who will stand in the gap in these times. He is looking for the prayer warriors who will stand in the gap interceding for others. He is watching to see what we do, the actions we take in these times. Now is not the time to be complacent; it is not the time to run and hide (which I like to do). This is the time to stand firm on the foundation of Jesus. It’s the time to love like we’ve never loved before. It’s time to be unified with one another – laying aside our differences and joining together as the Body of Christ to help those in our communities, our nation and our world. It’s time to stand firm in the knowledge that God is in control – no matter what!

God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear. He gave us the Spirit of Boldness; the Spirit to testify to the great things He has done. We have a command to go and tell. Maybe these events can lead to a conversation with someone who doesn’t understand the hope that we have in uncertain times. I was reminded on Monday, that God has chosen each one of us for this time to live. God chose us for this time and place! We could be His instruments for the greatest revival ever seen. God is looking for ones who are ready to do His work. Let’s get ready! Stand firm in the truth!

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm. Psalm 20:7-8

The Decision

When the Israelites were wandering in the desert, God provided guidance by a cloud in the day and fire at night. The cloud settled on the tabernacle when they were supposed to stay. They always knew where God wanted them at any moment in time because of His way of guidance. When the cloud lifted from the tabernacle, the Israelites packed up and moved with God leading the way. After crossing over to the Promised Land, God went before them and drove out the other nations. The Israelites had gained God’s favor from the first call of Abraham out of the country of his birth. God showed him the land that He would give His family. And God was faithful to fulfill the promise. The promise had nothing to do with the one who received the promise but the One who gave the promise. God’s goodness is the only reason that the Israelites had what they did. It was all about God’s glory being revealed.

Wouldn’t faith be easy if we could see God’s guidance so visibly? But faith is not about seeing, but believing in something that has yet come to pass. Some days I long for a cloud to guide me or see a burning bush to tell me the things I need to do. I know we have something better. We have the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. But sometimes, I don’t hear His voice or feel His presence guiding me. I was reading the passage this week from Numbers about God moving the camp of Israelites from one place to another with the cloud by day and the fire by night. The desire once again came over me to have that type of guidance.

In my quiet time yesterday morning, Psalm 25 was used to illustrate God’s timing and the importance of waiting for His guidance. We are told that God’s ways and timing are not ours. Charles Stanley wrote in his devotional the requirements of waiting are faith, humility, patience and courage. The courage comes when we have pressure to act we wait upon God instead of following the wrong advice. “You cannot charge ahead with your own plans and at the same time be fully surrendered to God.” When doors of opportunity come, we always have to see if the opportunity is from God. The opportunity may come from our enemy which keeps us from the path that God wants us to take upon His time. The enemy likes to keep us distracted and away from God’s plan. Psalm 25:2 is a prayer from David about keeping his enemies from triumphing over him. David humbles himself before God; knowing that he is totally dependent on God. There is nothing that David desires that doesn’t come from God.

We don’t know the future. Our plans will ultimately fail if they are not in alignment with God’s will. We come back to faith. Our faith requires stretching and taking a few risks even when it seems wrong in the short-term. Decisions about the future are very scary. And I am at that place right now. I keep asking God to show me His ways and I want to make sure the opportunity that is before me is from God and not a distraction keeping me from doing the things God has in mind. I want to align with God’s plan. But I also don’t want to stay when God is obviously saying to move. Decisions at cross roads are important to wait upon clear direction from God. It’s not always a choice between right or wrong. Sometimes the decision is between good and best. David knew the secret to a successful life. Humbleness. Prayer. And thankfulness for all God has done. Things we all need to learn on this side of heaven!

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths;
guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:4-5

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