Friday, June 26, 2015

He Delights in the Details

The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. (Psalms 37:23 NLT)

He Delights in the Details
Having grown up in the church, I never had a problem believing that God directs the steps of the Godly. You can see that just in the way Godly people live their lives. It’s the second part of this verse that I sometimes struggle with. “He delights in every detail of their lives.” Every detail? Really? Does God really pay attention to which brand of toothpaste I choose to buy? Does he notice that I’ve been trying to eat better lately and that turning down the donut at church on Sunday was really difficult? Does he see that my budget is pretty tight in this difficult economy and that my wardrobe has gotten a bit threadbare, my car is making a funny noise and my boss is getting on my nerves at work?

I think he does. I imagine that it’s a bit like the way I delight in my children. Sure, raising them is difficult and sometimes they get on my nerves, but then I see them doing something that makes me smile. For example, my son is reading the directions on his new toy, very diligently trying to assemble it the right way. He puts a few pieces together, realizes it isn’t right, gets frustrated, takes it apart and tries again. I could jump in and show him exactly how it should be done, but then I’d rob him of the opportunity to figure it out, manage his emotions and complete it himself. I enjoy seeing him get to his accomplishment.

Another example is my daughter choosing a piece of fruit instead of chips for her lunch. What she really wants is a piece of chocolate cake, but she makes a healthy choice. She struggles to cut up the apple and get the core out but I let her do it on her own because it’s good for her to learn that she can do these things and be self-sufficient. The struggle makes her stronger, and the next time she’ll be more confident and it will be a little easier.

I don’t rescue my kids from every challenge that they encounter, but I’m there to help when they need me or to guide them when they don’t know what to do. Just like parents who love to watch their babies learn to crawl, walk and talk, so also does God loves to watch us grow and learn and overcome challenges that life throws at us. He delights in seeing us live our lives the way we were designed to live them. He knows that the struggle is necessary, because without it, there is no accomplishment. It’s in the details that he truly directs our steps. Angelique Snow

Friday, June 19, 2015

Watching Over Us

For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways. (Psalm 91:11 NAS)

Watching Over Us
My wife and I waited at the airport for the arranged transportation, but it never arrived. We decided then to take the public transport to the bus station nearest where we were supposed to stay for the next few days. With our luggage in hand, we eventually reached the station, only to find out our destination was still a distance away. Not knowing where we were or the phone number to call a cab, we were totally helpless as to what we should do next. Thankfully, someone at the bus stand offered to call a cab for us using his mobile phone.

In our time of need, a kind soul came to our rescue and helped us, and we were wondering later on whether he could be an angel sent by God to direct our way. That was just one of the many situations my wife and I experienced which we remembered vividly because of the unusual circumstances. 

More recently, I have seen time and again how God changed situations to put things right whenever I encounter situations I knew I could do nothing about on my own, and I am bearing up to trust Him more. In the face of difficulties that could lead to dire consequences, frequently at the right time, things fell together to allow me to handle the circumstances in a manner only God could have made a way where there seemed no other way.

Looking back at the time of my youth in the faith till today, I could see the wonders of God working through people and perhaps angels who led me and my family out of difficult situations. I could not imagine how I would have continued the journey without their help. Surely, God had given His angels charge concerning me, to guard me in all my ways. My foot has never slipped because He who keeps me does not slumber (Psalm 91:11; 121:3). 

As a chosen people saved by God, we can rest assured that God will not leave us to our own situations without help. He cares for us too much not to see us through the circumstances we may face. At times, He may bring us out of difficult situations, and at other times He may choose to let us go through them to let us know His presence and care or to fulfill His purpose in us. 

We who dwell in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty for the Lord is our refuge and our fortress, our God in whom we trust. He is the one who delivers us from the snare of the trapper and from deadly pestilence. Under His wings we will find refuge, for His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark. He has given His angels charge concerning us and they will bear us up in their hands so that we do not strike our foot against a stone (Psalm 91:1-12).

There is therefore no need for us to be afraid of what lies ahead. We can confidently take the steps necessary to fulfill the plans God has for us. Whatever the situations we are facing right now or awaiting us, we can count on God to be with us and to lead us. Knowing that His angels are guarding us in all our ways, we can rest assured God is on our side. What can people do to us? The LORD is with us and He is our helper. In triumph we will look on our enemies without fear (Psalm 118:6-7).

Thank You, dear Lord, for being our shield and bulwark, our refuge and our fortress. In You, O God, we trust! Guide, lead, and see us through our situations and circumstances. Deliver us from the snares of our enemies and from deadly pestilence. Grow in us a greater measure of faith as we walk closer to You each day. Grant us Your perfect peace that surpasses comprehension so that we might not worry too much or feel apprehensive of the things coming our way, but knowing that You have given Your angels charge concerning us, we will bear up to trust You more and more.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Have You Lost Your Flavor?

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. (Matthew 5:13 ESV)

Have You Lost Your Flavor?
God's purpose for each of us is to make a lasting impact. We are to have a spiritual influence in the lives of the people we meet. This is not an option; it is a command. And the power of our impact is going to be determined by the character of our life. The Bible uses a very common item to describe what our character should be - we are to be like salt.

Food is flavored by salt. We are to season the lives of the people around us in such as way that they will come to know Jesus Christ. Salt also creates thirst. When we enjoy a big slice of hickory smoked ham for breakfast, we need a glass of water to go with it! When we are at work or among friends, people notice our joy and contentment and desire to have those things for themselves. Their heart thirsts for God.

Salt has unique healing properties. One treatment for a sore throat is to dissolve salt in warm water and gargle with the soothing solution. In the same way, we can be a healing element in the lives of others. Take a moment to listen to people's hurts, and you will have their attention. Then you can share with them the truth that heals a broken heart.

Salt loses flavor when it becomes mixed with impurities. In other words, when we let sin into our life, we lessen the strength our witness. So to preserve the power of our "saltiness," we must guard the way we live. Then our impact can be strong and lasting. Karen McKenney

Friday, June 5, 2015

Has the Lord's Arm Been Shortened?

And Moses said, 'The people whom I am among are six hundred thousand men on foot; yet you have said, 'I will give them meat, that they may eat for a whole month.' Shall flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, to provide enough for them? Or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to provide enough for them?' And the Lord said to Moses, 'Has the Lord's arm been shortened? Now you shall see whether what I say will happen to you or not. (Numbers 11:21-23 NKJ)

Has the Lord's Arm Been Shortened?
The children of Israel had been complaining, as usual: this time because they wanted some meat; this time because the food that was being provided, the manna, was not good enough. The people were weeping, and complaining, until Moses could not take it any longer. Moses inquired of the Lord, wanting to know why he had to carry the burdens of all of these people. He told the Lord that the burden was too heavy for him and he would rather God kill him.

However, God told Moses that He would supply meat for the children of Israel for a whole month. Moses wanted to know, how was God going to provide food for 600,000 men for a whole month!! What a silly question ... He's God! God said, 'Has the Lord's arm been shortened?' In other words, 'Did I loose some of My power? Do I not still own everything? I am not still sovereign? Am I not still able to do exceeding abundantly above all that you can ever ask or imagine? Am I not still the Lord who delivered you from bondage? Has the Lord's arm been shortened?'

The question to you today is this ... Do you think the Lord's arm has been shortened in your life and situation? What is facing you that is so big that you are wondering, "How God?" Stop trying to figure out God ... Stop trying to fix the situation yourself ...

"With men it is impossible, but with God all things are possible." God does not change, He is a miracle working God. We do not have to carry burdens for ourselves or for others. God's Word says, "Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7)

God has not lost any of His power and ability. You do not have a need that God cannot meet today. You do not have a situation that God cannot change today. You do not have a sickness that God cannot heal today. You do not have a problem that God cannot solve today. You do not have hurt that God cannot comfort today. You do not have an addiction that God cannot deliver you from today. The Lord's arm has not been shortened.

God is still the God who called the world into existence; He is still the God who said, 'Let there be ...' and it was; He is still the God that loved you so that He called you out, set you apart, sent His Son to give you life, made you new, cleaned you up, turned you around, and made a way for you. 

Sure, it may seem that what you are asking of God is big, but God is BIG! 

God is speaking ...

He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing. (Job 26:7)
Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? ... Who determined the measurements? ... Or who stretched the line upon it? .. To what were the foundations fastened. Or who laid its cornerstone?..Or who shut up the sea with doors? ... Who has put wisdom in the mind? Or who can give understanding to the heart? (Job 38:4-6,8,36)
Has the Lord's arm been shortened? Rev Toni Brown