January 23, 2018

He Still Rescues

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So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den. The king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signet rings of his nobles, so that nothing in regard to Daniel could be changed. Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting. No diversions were brought to him, and he could not sleep.

Daniel 6:16-18

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I love this story!  I have vivid memories of felt lions and four felt men on a board… and sitting in a circle, on the edge of our seats…wondering if they survived the ordeal!  And, yes, they did.  Because God shut the mouths of the lions that were sent to destroy him.  Miraculous?  Oh yes, it was!

See, the king had some  people that were jealous of Daniel and his wisdom. But the king actually trusted Daniel and looked to him for advice and answers to his dreams and visions.  The king had seen with his own eyes that the God Daniel served was the real deal.  But these other servants to the king wanted Daniel to go away.  So they came up with a crazy law that decreed that all were to bow down and worship the king (and only the king).  What did Daniel do when this decree went out?  He went to his home and bowed—to the One true God!

When Daniel learned that the document had been signed, he went into his house. The windows in its upper room opened toward Jerusalem, and three times a day he got down on his knees, prayed, and gave thanks to his God, just as he had done before. Then these men went as a group and found Daniel petitioning and imploring his God. So they approached the king and asked about his edict: “Didn’t you sign an edict that for 30 days any man who petitions any god or man except you, the king, will be thrown into the lions’ den?”  The king answered, “As a law of the Medes and Persians, the order stands and is irrevocable.”  Then they replied to the king, “Daniel, one of the Judean exiles, has ignored you, the king, and the edict you signed, for he prays three times a day.” As soon as the king heard this, he was very displeased; he set his mind on rescuing Daniel and made every effort until sundown to deliver him.  Then these men went to the king and said to him, “You as king know it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no edict or ordinance the king establishes can be changed.”  So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”

Daniel 6:10-16

Most of us know the ending to this story, and we know that the next morning, Daniel was still standing.  But I wonder if there is another point to this story, too. Did you notice in the verses above, that Daniel prayed on his knees three times a day…and gave thanks to God.  This was preparing him for what was to come.  He had no idea that he was praying up for a trip to the den of lions, now did he?  Sometimes neither do we, but we pray over time; we are getting suited up for something.

What have you been thrown into today?  Do you need God to shut the mouths of some lions today?  I have no idea the hard that you are walking through, but I do know Who is walking with you!  He will never leave you, ever.  And a bunch of big lions don’t scare Him!  I encourage you to start being intentional about praying to Him.  Make hard stops every day so that you are staying in constant contact with your Creator.  He loves you so very much and He wants to go to battle for you…just let Him have it all.

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Let us pray:  Dear Lord, You are our Father and our Mighty God!  You are the same every day and we thank You for that.  In a hard world that changes so much, we are so grateful that You are constant.  Lord, I pray that when times are hard, that we will turn to You.  When times are stressful, we will turn to You.  And when we are so exhausted and are at the end, that we will turn to You.  Give us victory over the lions and keep us safe!  We love you!  In Jesus’ name, amen.

We Have Already Won

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So the people shouted, and the trumpets sounded.
When they heard the blast of the trumpet,
the people gave a great shout, and the wall collapsed.
The people advanced into the city, each man straight ahead,
and they captured the city.
Joshua 6:20

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I am in awe of our God and His never-ending blessings.  He loves His children so much and He wants to bless each one of us…and He does.  As children, we are taught to tell the truth at all costs.  And if you have been around little children, you know that this is true. They tell the truth—even if it hurts!  But as we get older, we somehow lose bits and pieces of our honesty. One white lie leads to another and then we get used to our new way of telling the ‘truth.’  But God—He always tells the truth and He always keeps His promises.

Some of His promises are conditional, like “If you will ______ … then I will_____.”  This was the case in the Battle of Jericho (read the account here).  The Lord said, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, and its king and its fighting men.”  Can you imagine what Joshua thought? Maybe something like…”It doesn’t look like mine to me!” as he looked at the wall that he couldn’t get through!  But the Lord’s message was that the victory was already his but He wanted him to do a few things first.

Even today, God directs us in ways like this.  In the battles we face day to day, victory is already ours because of our position in Him.  But it may not be in our possession if He doesn’t get our full cooperation. See, God has already defeated the enemy by sending Jesus to die in our place…in sin’s place.  But some of the victories that we have are ours only if we take them.  We have to take that first step sometimes to show that we want it!  Here’s how:

Stay armed for battle — Joshua 6:3-9
God’s Word is a Sword. Our victories will never happen without it!

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
Ephesians 6:17

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Always stay on course — Joshua 6:3,14
Never get tired of doing the right thing. Pray every day that God will give you direction and lead you on the right path and that you will never grow tired of trying.

Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses
surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight
and the sin that so easily ensnares us.
Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us….
Hebrews 12:1

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Always stay together with your army — Joshua 6:13
Surround yourselves with Jesus followers that will help you be the best you. The people that will lift you up out of the trenches and speak truth loudly over the enemy’s lies. Stay in the Church and serve with the body of believers so that the enemy cannot even get a toehold!

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Always stay awake and alert — Joshua 6:18
Always avoid the temptations that the enemy sends your way and keep your eyes on Him.  It is so easy to let your guard down and let our foot slip.  We start looking at our problems and we take the focus off of the Problem Solver. We lose hope.  Stay in the Word!  It’s the only way to keep your eyes always on the prize.

The things of this world look and smell and taste so good that sometimes we may slip into the enemies trap.  But God is bigger and He is mighty to save!  Psalm 13:8 says “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.”

I am praying for each one of you to stay victorious!  We need to step out as His children and tell all who will listen that He is The Way!  And remember… you have already won!

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Let us pray: Dear God, thank You for loving us so much that You give us a endless supply of grace.  We confess that we don’t always stay close and we do take our eyes off of You and we need forgiveness.  Help us to stay in Your Word and really press into You so that the enemy cannot get through to us at all.  We love You and we praise You.  In Jesus; name, amen.

 

A Step At A Time

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In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:6

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I am about to celebrate a birthday and I’ve probably lived half of my life now. I have had so many blessings and precious moments…God is so good!  The one thing that bothers me is that I have wasted so much time wondering what my purpose is.  Wondering what is it that He really wants me to do?  Maybe you, too, need clarity for your journey…know that you aren’t alone, friend.

I have prayed for clarity and God keeps asking me to trust Him.  Maybe even take a few risks.  And I can say that, at times, it’s been painful.  It would have been so much easier if He could have just spelled it out for me on a sheet of paper.  But that isn’t what faith is.  And as we take a step at a time, we are getting to taste and see a bit more of Him. I still don’t know what my future looks like (or yours).  But I do know that if we trust fully in His promises and if we commit all our ways to Him, He will make our paths straight.  And, for me, this has meant just taking the next step and learning to trust Him in spite of the darkness that I am in.

Restlessness isn’t always a bad thing to feel.  I believe that it comes from wanting even more of our God. It might just be the catalyst to nudge us forward to live the epic lives that He designed for us even before the Earth was created.  Friends, there is a revolution coming and God is working out the details.  There is a big change coming and He is gathering a force.  If we are honest with ourselves, this might cause a little fear.  Maybe He has given you a glimpse of His vision for you.  If so, journal it and share it! And let’s band even closer together. We cannot go through this big journey alone—we, His children, are better together!

We do need to understand ourselves and the empty places around us.  But mostly we just need faith in a real, yet unseen, God.  And together, if we stop comparing ourselves to others and just follow Jesus, then you know that something is going to happen.  This generation of women have been quietly reading and longing and dreaming and falling in love with God and we are about to wake up!  We are about to let God run wild, through us.

Friends, we only have this one life that He has given us.  Then we get to meet the God Who created this world and planned it all.  We want to live lives that matter and make a difference for the Kingdom.  We want to be a generation who follows God with reckless abandon, a God Who is real to us!  So let’s go for it!

 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11

This is a verse we hear often and sometimes we don’t really appreciate the meaning.  It says that God knows the plans that He has for us and that those plans are meant for good, not to harm us.  The very thing that you are wishing wasn’t in your life just might be the very thing that God uses to enhance your life….

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Let us pray: Dear God, You are so amazing and awesome.  You are the planner of it all and we are so grateful that You had our best interest at heart. How we praise You for loving us that much.  Please keep revealing to us the steps You want us to take to better the Kingdom.  Help us to stay focused on the main goal and not to get distracted with the things that disappoint us.  We love You and we pray for those that are lost today.  May they come to know You, too.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

God’s Perfect Provision

encouragementbloggraphicromans15Then the LORD said to Moses,
“I am going to rain bread from heaven for you.

The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day.
This way I will test them to see whether or not
they will follow My instructions.”

Exodus 16:4

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The story of God supplying the children of Israel with manna is a beautiful example of God’s perfect provision.  He had allowed His children to hunger and starve in a desert…and they pretty much were without hope of finding food anywhere else.

It wasn’t His intention to starve them; He really could have met all their needs in a different way.  Have you ever wondered why He didn’t produce crops or just place a farm in their midst?  Or He could’ve taken their appetites away or allowed them to fill up on much less.  Or maybe He could’ve made them satisfied with just water.  HE is the Creator and He could do anything He wanted to.  But instead, He showed up and met their needs.  God literally rained down bread from Heaven six days a week for forty years to feed His children.

I think the reason He did it the way He did was to show them that it was all Him.  And that He alone was their Provider.  They were surrounded by nothing and yet they had what they needed. In fact, they had more than enough—they had plenty and they never had to ask.  He was testing them, too. In the verse above it says,”This way I will test them to see whether or not they will follow my instructions”.

Did you know that we are far more likely to be obedient to Him when we are in need?  Think of that for a minute:  If you are in Jesus and your life is chaotic and you are lacking in necessities, you are more likely to reevaluate your life and see where there may be an area where you are not being obedient. You may even pray for God to search you and reveal where it is that you need a change.

You may not have all the wealth in the world, but you will have peace and joy in Him.  And because He loves us so much and gave so much for us, we should live a life of obedience to Him—whether we have much or little.  In Jesus we have more than enough.  In Jesus we have a Protector and a Lover of our souls.  In Jesus we have eternal life.  In Jesus we have plenty….

God is so faithful, each and every single day.  He delights in obedience especially when it comes from a heart of love and devotion to Him.  Let’s ask Him to help us to become a child of God who obeys simply because we love Him.

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Do you know this Jesus?  If not, then I ask that you pray this prayer with me today and ask Him to come into your life and be your Savior.

Dear God, I know that I am a sinner and my life is really messed up.  I have been living a life of disobedience and I am ready for a change.  I believe that Jesus is Your Son and He died to save me.  I confess Him as my Savior. I ask that He live in my heart forever and help me to become an obedient child of God.  Forgive me of my sins and walk with me in this life…in Jesus’ name, amen.

His Promises For You

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You keep him in perfect peace 
whose mind is stayed on You,

because he trusts in You.

Trust in the Lord forever,

for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.
Isaiah 26:3-4

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My mind has not been at rest lately.  In fact, if I am completely honest, I haven’t allowed God to have my anxious thoughts—until today.  Have you ever gotten so tired that you finally gave in?  I wish I could tell you that I had this grand revelation and that I willingly handed it all over.  Honestly, God has been proving over and over and over that He is so capable of taking care of my affairs much more than I am.  See, this season of my life is so different for me in that I have two of my children living away from me now and I truly have to give them over to Him, physically and mentally.  Oh, this is very hard…so I went to His Word and found  many verses on just this.  I thought I would share because I know that, even though we are all in different seasons, we all need to trust in Him.

But You, O Lord, are a shield about me, my Glory, and the One who lifts my head.
Psalm 3:3

He is a shield when the world is coming at us in all directions.  And, when it seems that we are defeated, He lifts our heads out of the shame and into His grace.  He wants us to look up at Him and let His glory shine so bright that it dims all the hard that is around us.

For everyone born of God overcomes the world.
This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
1 John 5:4

Did you read that?  It says “everyone“…that means you, too.  You were born an overcomer.  In Jesus we have victory over the world because He died and overcame it for us!  All we have to do is have faith.

  • faith that He will help you with that marriage that is at the brink of defeat
  • faith that He can heal that illness that you have been battling for so long
  • faith that He can take care of that child that you feel is lost forever

Nothing is too much for Him! We have the victory in Jesus!

Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid of them!
The Lord your God will go ahead of you.
He will neither fail you nor forsake you.
Deuteronomy 31:6

What a comfort to know that, no matter where you or your children go, He goes before you all.  When you are sending those babies back to school…pray that God will go before them, and that He will be at that homeroom before they are, and that He will give them peace.  Or, when you have a meeting that you are really unsure about…ask God to meet you there; even in the parking lot to walk in with you.  He will!

Be strong and have courage to do this life that He has called you to live.  You have nothing and no one to fear when He is with you.  Lastly, remember His promise to never fail you or forsake you.  Oh, how loved we are by our Creator.  I don’t know about you but, after reading these promises, I am full of joy and cannot stop smiling!

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Where are you today, my friend?  What do you need to trust Him with?  I encourage you to pray these verses to your Heavenly Father asking Him to do what you cannot do by yourself.  Perhaps write these verses down on notecards and put them where you can see them daily.  He wants to encourage you and fill you with peace that only He can give you. I pray that you will feel it today!

Let’s pray!
Dear God, You are so awesome and amazing and so full of love for Your children.  Oh Lord, thank You that You never change and that all Your promises are true.  Thank You for all those who went before us—those whose stories are written in the pages of Your Word—to teach us and to prove to us that You will take care of us.  You will provide.  You will never fail us.  You will never leave us. And, Lord, for those today who are having a hard time trusting You, I pray that You show up today in a big way so that they will know beyond any doubt that it is You!!!  We love You and we praise You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

He could have been more

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Then Samson called to the Lord and said, “O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes.”
And Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and he leaned his weight against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other.
And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines.” Then he bowed with all his strength, and the house fell upon the lords and upon all the people who were in it.  So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life.
Then his brothers and all his family came down and took him and brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father.  He had judged Israel twenty years.

Judges 16:28-31

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If you went to Sunday School as a child, you have probably heard this story. Maybe even got to put the characters on the purple felt board.  I do remember thinking that it was tragic.  How could someone who said that they loved someone, hurt them and betray them?  Now that I have lived a few 24 hours since then…I see that it happens.  Do you wonder what we could possibly learn from this story?  God always has a lesson, right? And this story is no different….

There’s Samson: his birth was announced to his parents by the angel of God, just like Jesus and John the Baptist.  He was chosen and set apart for big things.  He would grow up strong and would defeat many.  But he had a weakness…women.  And he had a secret—he could never cut his hair.  God had big plans for him to begin saving the children of Israel but his love for the things of this world kept him from doing the will of God.

Then there is Delilah: she was in love with him but chose greed and power over her husband.  She asked him many times what his weaknesses were and he lied.  She got angry and threatened to leave until he finally told her the truth—that he can never cut his hair.  You can guess what happened next (if you don’t already know)…she sets him up for failure and has his head shaved. But God gives him one more chance to show his strength; and Samson grew his hair back once more.  At their wedding, he gets his revenge and kills all who are there by pushing the main pillars that hold the roof.  Over 1,000 died that night.

This world is so full of temptation and things that can take us so far from God and His will.  If we don’t stay so close to Him and constantly remain in the Word, we just might stray from Him.  This world is our temporary home. Heaven is our forever place!  When our eyes look at the things of this world, and we start to place value here on things like big houses and nice cars, we can lose our strength, too, and become weak.  But all we have to do is look up and we find grace.  God forgives us and gives us chance after chance.  He never gives up on us.

We all are sinners and we all fall short.  Instead of judging each other, let us pray for one another.  Let us love each other like Jesus has told us to.  That is the best way to show our love for Him.

What are you putting value in today?  I challenge you to really think about it. It is never too late…God is always waiting!

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Let us pray: Dear Father, thank You for loving us so much that You sent Your only Son to die in our place.  Thank You for forgiveness and grace.  Lord, I pray for those today who are hurting, and for those who desperately need provision, and for those who need healing.  You are the One Who can do all things.  Nothing is too hard for You.  Comfort Your children today, Lord.  Give them hope and let them feel Your arms around them today!  We praise You and worship You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

The One Who Remains Faithful

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On that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:
We have a strong city. Salvation is established as walls and ramparts.
Open the gates so a righteous nation can come in—one that remains faithful.
You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace,
for it is trusting in You.
Trust in the Lord forever, because in Yah, the Lord, is an everlasting rock!
For He has humbled those who live in lofty places—an inaccessible city.
He brings it down; He brings it down to the ground; He throws it to the dust.
Feet trample it, the feet of the humble, the steps of the poor.
The path of the righteous is level; You clear a straight path for the righteous.
Yes, Yahweh, we wait for You in the path of Your judgments.
Our desire is for Your name and renown.
I long for You in the night; yes, my spirit within me diligently seeks You,
For when Your judgments are in the land,
the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭26:1-9‬ ‭HCSB‬

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Every day there are reminders that we are not home yet. That the enemy is still prowling around and people are believing his lies. In the past 24 hours there have been shootings and a campus here in the south is on lockdown because of a hurting soul who thinks violence is the answer.

Are you asking “Where is God in all of this?”  He’s exactly where He was when His own Son died on the Cross.  The question is…are we close to Him?  If God moves, He invites us to go with Him.  He never leaves us.  Will you accept  His invitation?

Fear is a lie from the enemy to keep us in pits of all kinds.  Psalm 23:4 says that no matter what we walk through we have His protection.  We might feel like we can’t make it another minute but His Word is so full of hope and promises that carry us through.  As long as we cling to Him and wait on Him we will never grow weary of doing His will.  We might get tired and worn out physically but our spirit will never slow down.

God is the only One to cling to in this world of uncertainty.  The absolute  certain thing is this: one day Jesus will come back to get us and take us with Him.  He died so that we can live free of all the worldly stuff that’s meant to destroy us.  If we are with Him, we will survive and thrive.

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Are you in a hard place today?  I urge you to take His hand and go wherever He leads you because…

  • where He is…is awesome
  • where He is…is peaceful
  • where He is…is your Home!

Lets pray!  Dearest Lord, we praise You for how awesome You are! Thank You for loving us enough to send Jesus to die in our place.  In this world it is so hard; I lift up all who are hurting today.  Fill the lost spaces with Your presence and help us keep our eyes on You.  We love You!  In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Take This Cup

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They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”  He took Peter, James and John along with Him, and He began to be deeply distressed and troubled.  “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” He said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”  Going a little farther, He fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from Him.  “Abba, Father,” He said, “everything is possible for You. Take this cup from Me. Yet not what I will, but what You will.”  Then He returned to His disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” He said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour?  Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  Once more He went away and prayed the same thing.  When He came back, He again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy.  They did not know what to say to Him.  Returning the third time, He said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough!  The hour has come….

Mark 14:32-42

All He asked them to do was to stay awake and pray with Him.  Jesus, on the night before He was to die, went to the garden to pray.  Actually to speak to His Father…and maybe get a different solution to this saving thing.  Who could blame Him, really.  But as we all know, God did not change His mind.

In this prayer of Jesus’, we see Him totally surrendering Himself to the complete sovereignty of God even though His heart is longing for something different.  Jesus totally trusts in the One Who holds it all in His loving hands. And, ultimately, God’s plan was carried out and it was perfect.  Are you struggling with the same thing—asking God to take this cup from you but, if not, then surrendering to His will?

I know it is hard to look at ourselves and examine our own hearts.  There may be something that God is asking you to do and, with all your heart, you don’t want to.   You find yourself begging Him, pleading with Him, to take this cup from you.  But, if He doesn’t, are you okay  with His answer?  I can tell you from experience that you should be.  Because He loves His children so much that He only wants the very best for us.  Yes, there are sometimes painful things we must do…but when we surrender to Him, and do what He asks, we will be blessed.

But what if you never see the benefit?  You may not on this side of Heaven; but I do know that one day it will all be revealed in His time.  Just pray, seek His face, and trust—that no matter what it is on earth that He is asking—He will not harm you, but will bless you forever.

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Do you know this Jesus that I am telling you about?  If not, I pray that today you will get to know Him and ask Him into your life so that you will be made new!  I ask that You pray this prayer with me…

Dear God, I know that I am a sinner.  I am so tired of doing things my way and hurting.  Today, I surrender.  I believe that Jesus is Your Son and He died on the Cross to save me from sin.  I ask that Jesus come into my heart to live and walk with me through this life.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

When God Restores

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After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his prosperity and doubled his previous possessions.  All his brothers, sisters, and former acquaintances came to his house and dined with him in his house.  They sympathized with him and comforted him concerning all the adversity the Lord had brought on him.  Each one gave him a qesitah and a gold earring.  So the Lord blessed the last part of Job’s life more than the first.  He owned 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys.  He also had seven sons and three daughters.  He named his first daughter Jemimah, his second Keziah, and his third Keren-happuch.  No women as beautiful as Job’s daughters could be found in all the land, and their father granted them an inheritance with their brothers.  Job lived 140 years after this and saw his children and their children to the fourth generation.  Then Job died, old and full of days.

Job 42:10-17 HCSB

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“You have the patience of Job!” she says to me.  {I don’t really.}  I think of all the things and people that Job lost and I wonder if he ever had a full-blown temper tantrum…I know I have.  And, like Job, God has never left me.  As I watched my baby girl leave today for college, I felt loss, sadness, and despair.  But I know that she is as close as a phone call and only a day trip away in the car.  As parents, it is hard to watch our children leave after so many years of living with us.  I have had people say to me, “At least you have two more at home.”  And, while this is true, the ones that have moved out can never be replaced.  But our lives and homes are restored to a new normal.

Job 42:10 says that after Job had prayed for his friends, that God made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before!  God is a God of restoration!  He doesn’t just replace what we have lost…He wants to restore us.  When we, His children, suffer loss He doesn’t just quickly replace it with something else…that is not His way.  He wants to heal our hearts and minister to us.  He goes straight to our heart and heals it.  Obviously, He did this for Job.  Job’s friends had really done some awful things to him and, if  God had not intervened, Job would have hung on every negative word and action and maybe even blamed them instead of the real enemy.

You know, God could have replaced all his friends with new ones but that wouldn’t have accomplished the healing that God wanted for his child.  And I am pretty sure that the resentment towards the old ones would have still been there, too.  Instead prayer began to heal Job’s heart and he began to pray earnestly for those that had really hurt him.  This is the moment it all changed…Job began to love his enemies.  This is restoration!  And God gave Job a blessing.

I can safely say that most of us have experienced loss.  Some more painful than others, but pain is still pain.  And God is still the God of restoration.  He wants to begin a new thing in our lives. He wants to replace bitterness and heal our hearts so that we, too, can pray for those who have wronged us or taken something from us.  Let’s begin today!  Just wait and see what your Father is going to do…

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Let us pray: Dear God, You are a loving Father and You care so much for each one of us.  You cry over each loss we endure.  Lord, I ask that You take away any bitterness and anger that we are holding onto and replace it with joy that only You can give.  Thank You for loving us so much that You want to not only give us more than we lost, but You want to heal and restore us to a new person though this.  Help us to forgive those who have wronged us and teach us to pray for them.  Thank You for Jesus, Who took all our sins with Him on the Cross and left them there to die.  We love You and we praise You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Don’t Miss His Majesty

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Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He dismissed the crowds.  After dismissing the crowds, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray.  When evening came, He was there alone.  But the boat was already over a mile from land, battered by the waves, because the wind was against them.  Around three in the morning, He came toward them walking on the sea.  When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost!” they said, and cried out in fear.  

Immediately Jesus spoke to them. “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”  
“Lord, if it’s You,” Peter answered Him, “command me to come to You on the water.”  
“Come!” He said.

And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus.  But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid. And beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Immediately Jesus reached out His hand, caught hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”  When they got into the boat, the wind ceased.  Then those in the boat worshiped Him and said, “Truly You are the Son of God!”

Matthew 14:22-31 HCSB

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Sometimes I question if I am in God’s will…especially when storms seem to linger.  You know, those weeks and months when nothing goes the right way, (or, should I say, the way that is most comfortable!) and it feels like you just might be one of those Israelites stuck in the desert?  It is so tempting to say to God, “Please, can’t You just do something to stop all this?!?”  Of course, the answer if yes…He can.  But what if He doesn’t choose to stop it just yet?  Will you still have peace?  Or is yours a superficial peace that you only have if your checkbook is positive, or that job you wanted so badly is yours, or your husband is really being his nicest?  Hard questions, I know…because He has really been working on me lately with this.

Look at the Scripture passage above.  The disciples had just been with Jesus while He fed the 5000.  They had been with Him as He spoke and they probably were on a spiritual high.  And Jesus had actually made them get into the boat and go ahead of Him so they were exactly where He told them to be…and a storm still came.  I’m sure this was no surprise to Jesus.  And neither is the one that you’re in right now.  Sometimes these ‘waves’ happen just to rock our boat.  Not all are a result of sin or disobedience in your life! But know this: If Jesus has appointed us a place in the storm—you can be absolutely sure that it’s for a purpose and He will show up.  But we must be looking beyond our own boat to actually see Him.

One of the biggest storms for me happened when Kyle couldn’t find work a few years back.  Yet I knew that we were exactly where He wanted us.  I heard the words spiritual warfare a few times because that seems to be the easiest answer to understand…but I knew this wasn’t the case.  I knew that God had a purpose, and that this was His doing, and we were to learn how to totally depend on Him for our joy and peace.  We had a lot of healing to do and this was when God worked the hardest.  Looking back on that painful time, I can actually smile because I have never felt so close to God as I did then.

Jesus calls us to walk by faith as we try to make our way through the rough storms.  Don’t you think we owe Him that?  Especially when He does way more than that…He walks on water during the storms.  See, God the Father put all things under Jesus feet, even the waves that seem to wash over us constantly. He is there and He is in control.  He doesn’t want you to miss the important lesson of this story, my friend:

Jesus walked on the water before He calmed the storm.

If He had just stopped the storm, the disciples would have missed seeing His majesty…and isn’t that the best part?  So don’t hurry Him to stop the waves and calm the storms….look for Him in the midst of it first!

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Let us pray: Dearest Lord, You are the calmer of storms, the Lover of our souls.  You are so worthy of praise and honor.  We thank You for being so intentional in each one of our lives.  And that You have a plan that is so detailed and so full of You!  We pray to trust You.  Lord, I know that there are many going through different storms right now and I ask that they can see You walking toward them.  Comfort Your children today and let them know that You are there and in control.  Thank You, again, for loving us and for giving us grace and mercy for each new day.  In Jesus name, amen.