Monday, January 23, 2023

Hope For The Best, Prepare For The Worst

“Hope For The Best, Prepare For The Worst”

Matthew 26:39 NLT

He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

I think we would all agree that most of the times in our lives when we face difficult situations, we hope and pray for the best outcome.  I mean, who wouldn’t pray for a great outcome when hard times are present, right?  Who in their right mind would even consider praying for bad things to happen?  No one would.  However, we all know that both good and hard times both come with life.  There is no escaping it.

Through various times in the past couple of years, I thought off and on about the idea of hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.  I used to find myself always hoping and praying for the best to come, but then not preparing for what could happen if it were not the best outcome.  I often found myself not dealing with the bad outcomes.  In the recent past, I have found myself preparing more mentally for both.  I have come to a point where I really try to accept the possibilities of both good and bad outcomes. 

I always want to hope for the best, of course, but I also want to mentally and spiritually prepare for the worst.  I’ve been finding that through these prayers of asking God to help me mentally and spiritually prepare for both, I am prepared to accept the worst outcome, but when the opposite happens, I am so grateful for the best.  This has been a thought on my mind for a while now and I’m learning to pray and prepare myself more like this.  I hope and pray for the best, but then also ask God to help me accept if the outcome is not what I hoped for.

When I think of Jesus as He prays this prayer 3 times to His Father as He approaches a very agonizing time in His life, I think about his prayer in being hopeful for the best, but prepared for the worst.  This struggle He had and prayed through is so powerful! 

I’ve been amazed how much this way of thinking and praying has helped me through recent times in various ways.  It’s not easy, but it’s been helping me as I consider what God wants me to do as I live each day.  I always hope for the best, but I want to be prepared and ready if things don’t go the best way I had hoped for.  I need to be prepared and ready to accept and still be faithful no matter the outcome.  Being willing to accept and stay faithful is so huge!

Friends, I pray that we will all daily always hope for the best, but prepare for the worst so that we can all strive to do God’s will regardless of what situations we find ourselves in.  It’s all about His glory, not what we want. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Resurrender

“Resurrender”

Matthew 16:24-25 NLT

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.  If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it.  But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.”

I just got done reading through a 7 day devotional on the Bible app regarding Resurrender.  It seems timely to me as a new year has begun and I’m reflecting on my walk with God and how I need to be more committed in my daily walk with Him. 

As I thought to myself about things that we do daily in our lives, there are so many daily routines that we become accustomed to.  From the time we get up in the morning to the time we go to bed at night, we have many routines that we go through each day.  Many of these routines we don’t even think twice about because they have become such a habit.  We just get used to doing the same things each day and it becomes second nature to us. 

As I consider so much that I do on a daily basis, I think about my walk with God and what all I am doing each day to live for Him.  This devotional I read reminded me that surrender is not just a one-time thing I did when I gave my life to Christ so many years ago.  Each day, it needs to be a routine to surrender my life back to God.  But it needs to be more than just a regular routine.  Routine is and can be good, but I don’t want to just say the words that I surrender and go on with my day.  I want my resurrender to God to be very heartfelt and very genuine.

We’ve experienced some challenging times lately in our home and we’ve been learning to really trust and rely on Him instead of our own understanding and strength.  However, this is a daily decision we have to make.  It is not easy to choose each day to deny ourselves and walk with Him in total surrender.  I am learning that it is amazing to resurrender each day and watch Him work in ways I don’t understand.  Even the days when I have no idea what He is doing, I still choose to resurrender because I know His ways are not my ways.

I need to choose each day to deny myself, take up my cross and follow Jesus without any reservations.  Resurrender involves me being willing to completely give up my ways. 

My prayer is that we will all make a genuine choice each new day to completely turn over our lives and resurrender to Him. 

Sunday, January 1, 2023

“Wait for it!  Wait for it!”

Isaiah 43:19 NLT

For I am about to do something new.  See, I have already begun!  Do you not see it?  I will make a pathway through  the wilderness.  I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

This Scripture came through my email this morning from Air1 Radio.  It is a very timely passage as we have just ended 2022 and begun 2023.  As I read this passage, the phrase that came to mind was “Wait for it!  Wait for it!”  I’m sure we are all very familiar with this phrase as we’ve heard it in movies, tv shows, sporting events and from people we know. 

When we hear this phrase, we know something is just about to happen that will often surprise us.  Maybe it will be a good surprise, while other times not so much.  It’s funny sometimes to hear people say this phrase because the whole crowd nearby knows exactly what is going to happen.  When we or others bring this up, it’s usually some action or event that will happen within moments.  We then wait with anticipation to see what will occur!

While many of these moments happen quickly, there are some things we are waiting for in life that don’t come as quickly as we’d like or don’t seem to come at all.  We tend to wait a lot for things to happen in our lives.  As we have closed out 2022, many of us may still be waiting for things to happen that we’ve been waiting so long and hope for.

Waiting for a spouse to come back home.

Waiting for a child to be healed.

Waiting for that promotion at our job to come through.

Waiting for the diagnosis from the doctor.

Waiting for a troubled teen to make a turn for the better.

Waiting for funds to get out of debt.

The list could go on and on.  Often, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and feel defeated by these moments we are waiting for.  Isaiah’s words here are so very powerful!  It’s like a slap across the face, so to speak.  It’s like a splash of water in the face that startles us!  Sometimes, we need to snap out of our mode and wake up to the fact that God is always working!  Yeah, things may not be happening as we’d hoped or wanted, but that doesn’t mean He’s not working.

I have to admit that I have a bad habit of getting in a crabby mood and looking at things negatively.  I do this way more often than I would like to admit.  My wife has put up with me for almost 19 years and does a wonderful job of “waking me up” to realize that God is in control and that He’s doing great things.  I just need to get my focus back on track. 

We all need to wait for it and anticipate the great things God has in store this year for us!  He is working and we need to open our eyes to see it!

Monday, December 5, 2022

The Best Parting Gift

“The Best Parting Gift”

John 14:27 NLT

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart.  And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.  So don’t be troubled or afraid.

 

We’ve all been on trips where someone gives us a gift either before going on the journey or before we leave to make the return trip back home.  Maybe it’s a gift of money to help out with various expenses of the trip.  Sometimes it’s memorabilia that we can keep as a souvenir.  How about advice that someone gives to us that we feel is invaluable as we journey on?  Sometimes wonderful words of wisdom can fill us like nothing else.  Perhaps it is a mentor, a close family member or friend that passes on some very comforting and encouraging words.

When we say goodbye to people, we often give them well wishes as they leave our house or we leave theirs.  Or anytime we have some gathering, we often give people well wishes for the day and week.  We like to leave others with a blessing feeling as we depart from each other. 

Isn’t it a great feeling when we receive and give well wishes.  It’s a heart-warming gift and there’s nothing like it.  It’s a parting gift and I believe we all like to give and receive those.

Jesus leaves the best gift with His disciples and with us as well.  He gives us the best parting gift anyone could ever give.  He gives us the gift of peace of mind and heart.  He gives us the peace of knowing He is with us.  His Spirit guides us and helps us as we live each day.  Jesus wants us to not be troubled or be afraid because He is always with us in Spirit. 

I hope that we can all appreciate and be thankful for the parting gift Jesus gave us.  There is absolutely nothing like His gift of peace.  That peace is definitely nothing like anything the world could ever give us.    

Monday, November 7, 2022

The Most Amazing Rescue

“The Most Amazing Rescue”

Colossians 1:13-14 NIV

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Song he loves, in whom we have the redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

I have always enjoyed watching TV shows and movies that have a dramatic rescue of some kind.  Even thought I know it’s staged in shows and movies, the directors usually do pretty well in creating some strong emotions as I watch the special effects, hear the music that accompanies and listen to the voices of the actors and actresses.  I have often found it funny and interesting that I’m still filled with the same emotions every time I watch, even though I know exactly what’s going to happen!

I know that we have all been filled with various emotions as we watch different rescues, whether it be on TV or in real life.  When it’s in real life, that becomes a different experience as we realize it probably hasn’t been planned and we hope people are ok.  We tend to find ourselves caught up in much emotion when we watch and experience these situations. 

As I consider these times in life that we witness or experience from movies, tv shows or real life, we keep a pretty good memory of these instances. 

I have to wonder how often we are truly caught up in emotion and in awe when we think about the most amazing rescue that’s ever been recorded in history.  Jesus Christ performed the most amazing rescue ever recorded in all time.  He rescued us from our sinful life and gave us a new life in Him!  What could be more awesome and more spectacular? 

As much as I like to get into movies and shows that show great and dramatic rescues, I need to be reminded of the most amazing and meaningful rescue ever performed.  Nothing could compare with the rescue of the Cross.  What Jesus did to save us could never have been done by any human being other than Him.  It is more amazing than anything we can possibly think of.  It holds more meaning that anything else in the world can.

We tend to use the word “amazing” in a lot of different ways these days.  Kind of how we use the word “awesome” in so many ways.  In reality, there is nothing more awesome and amazing than what Jesus Christ did for us and nothing else will ever compare. 

Let us never, ever forget the most amazing rescue is what Christ did for us in saving us from our sins by dying on the Cross!

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

We Are An Overcomer Through Him

“We Are An Overcomer Through Him”

John 16:33 NLT

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me.  Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.  But take heart, because I have overcome the world.

 

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how so many things and situations in life can present themselves as impossible to overcome.  We know that God is always with us and that we can do all things through Christ.  However, we are all human and we have many times in our lives when certain challenges come our way and we feel totally helpless and defeated.  We have all been there and some of us out there may be going through these times as we speak. 

There are a lot of things and situations that come up that seem intimidating and scary, leaving us wondering if there’s a way out or a solution.  With various life situations and hearing about different things going on lately, I’ve often found myself thinking of how overwhelming challenges can be in life.  Our hearts break when very unexpected situations arise.  We know God is good and that He is with us and all-powerful, but we still struggle because we become filled with emotions and questions.  No matter how we try to be in our faith, we get tested. 

I kept thinking about how powerful God’s Word is and how so often we become so overwhelmed that we forget His true power.  So often we feel we need to be able to have the answers and come up with solutions to problems that come.  While we try hard to do this to be responsible people, we also have to remember that we need to leave things in God’s hands ultimately and trust that He will lead and guide in His timing.   

Anytime challenging situations come up, we definitely need to leave things in God’s hands as we pray and ask Him for wisdom to work through the challenges.  As long as we stay strong, stay prayerful and trust in His daily wisdom and direction, He will guide us.  We can often feel totally lost and unsure of what to do next in life.  We need to always remember that trusting in His Word and His guidance is the best for us.  No matter how much our heart breaks for others for whatever reasons, we must always trust in God’s powerful Word to do what only He can do. 

I want to encourage all of us to trust in God no matter what circumstances we might find ourselves in today or the days, weeks, months or years ahead.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Mind Your Words

 YouTube Channel Video Devo

https://youtu.be/83Spq4Vp9i8



“Mind Your Words”

Proverbs 18:20-21 NLT

Wise words satisfy like a good meal; the right words bring satisfaction.  The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.

 

I forget where I first heard this illustration and may not remember it verbatim, but I read a story about a grandfather who took his grandson up to a higher elevation and had a bag of feathers.  He opened the bag of feathers and he and the boy watched them all blow every which way.  He looked at the grandson and said, “Okay, now go find them all, pick them up and bring them back.”  The grandson of course replied, “That’s going to be impossible, I won’t be able to find them all.”  The grandfather then replied back, “Exactly!  This is just like the words we say.  Once they leave our lips, they are most likely gone and we can never get them back!”  

 

I have remembered this story for many years as I consider the words that I use each and every day with my wife, kids, co-workers, boss, friends, church family and extended family.  No matter who I come into contact with, I have to remember that my words need to be spoken with wisdom and not with hurt. 

 

You’ve heard the phrase “Mind your manners”.  Well, the same goes with our words.  We definitely need to learn to be careful with the words we speak.  There are many Scriptures dealing with the words we use and how we need to be wise in what we say and how we say what we do say. 

 

I am so guilty of letting words fly from my mouth that I should never say.  Sometimes it happens unintentionally and sometimes I get frustrated and feel I have the right to let them fly!  No matter the situation, I need to let my words be wise.  I tend to let my words fly when I’m in traffic and I have really annoying drivers around me!  I’ve been working on my road rage for many years, but I still get very frustrated often at how people make dumb choices and have no common courtesy on the road.  However, I need to remember that I have 2 girls who are watching my every move and learning from what I do and say.  That’s HUGE to me!  I blow it so often and need to remember that my words need to be wise and encouraging.

 

I encourage all of us from this day forward, to focus on using wise and encouraging words.  As the saying goes, “If you can’t say anything good, don’t say anything at all”.   Let our words be wise and full of satisfaction to those who hear them!