Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Easy To Understand, Hard To Practice


“Easy To Understand, Hard To Practice”

1 Peter 5:7 NLT

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

There are a lot of things in life that we find very easy to understand, but then they are difficult to put into practice.  Often times we are given instructions to do something and, at first, the instructions seem simple.  However, once we get into the nitty-gritty of actually following through, we come to find out that it’s more than we bargained for!  It isn’t necessarily that we made a wrong choice per say, but we just definitely don’t understand how hard it is to actually follow through with certain things.

We all struggle with different situations, whatever they may be.  We may think something sounds cool, but then when we actually jump in and start, we find out that it’s so much harder than we first thought.  We honestly want things as easy as possible.  I know I do!  When we’re faced with instructions or obstacles that are hard, we tend to hesitate and try another way so that we can avoid any extra work or effort.  As I said before, there are so many different scenarios that seem easy to understand up-front, but once we get going and try to follow through, we find ourselves having a hard time keeping up and actually committing to finishing.

This passage really hit me the other day as I pondered how hard it is for me to give all my worries and cares to God.  I mean, it’s so simple to understand that we should give all of our worries and cares over to God.  He wants us to leave those things at the Cross and to trust in Him.  We know that.  We’ve been taught this for so many years, yet we find ourselves struggling to do this each and every day.  It’s so simple to say it and tell others we need to do it.  But then actually following through and letting God take these things from us is a different story all together! 

I have struggled for so much of life giving Him all my worries and cares and just letting Him be in control.  I want to worry and fret and be anxious and stress about everything it seems!  Well…..I really don’t want to, but by the way I live, it sure seems that way often!  God doesn’t want us to hold on to these things and live with all these things burdening us.  He wants us to give it all over to Him and trust that He will guide us through.  He doesn’t want us carrying these things on our own.  He wants us to give it all to Him. 

This is so easy to understand, but very hard to put into practice.  However, it is a daily challenge and learning experience as we grow in our faith and allow Him to take our worries and cares.  Are we willing to give those up and actually follow through in letting Him be in control? 

The ball is in our court.  Are we going to give these things to God and let Him be in control? 

Sunday, August 16, 2020

He Is Our Shield, Glory And Only Hope

“He Is Our Shield, Glory And Only Hope”

Psalm 3:3-4 NLT

But you, O Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high.  I cried out to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy mountain.


In a sermon many years ago, I heard Chuck Swindoll say that he has been asked many times how people who don’t know the Lord get through their problems and trials.  He then said not to come up and ask him that question because he didn’t know the answer to it.  I’ve never forgotten that statement and have shared it many times with others.  I also do not know how people, who don’t know God, make it through different challenging times in life. 

As hard as life is often times, I cannot imagine dealing with all the challenging times without God to guide me and comfort me.  Life is hard enough and just to even imagine dealing with hard times without Him just seems impossible.  I can’t even imagine going through life without knowing He is with me and guiding me, even though there are many things I continue to not understand.  He is my Shield and my Glory and only Hope in life.  The world around me does not and will never give me what He does.

In the past months, I have been focusing many of my devotionals on dealing with challenging circumstances because I feel that is what God has been laying on my heart to share because we are all dealing with situations, circumstances and emotions that we have never before dealt with.  I know that I need daily reminders that God is helping me through this uncharted waters and I believe you all do as well.  Even though we all may be dealing with new experiences this year, God continues to be Who He is and that will never change. 

Never forget that He is our eternal Shield, eternal Glory and eternal Hope!  We all have good days and we all have bad days.  It is definitely easier to have hope when days are good and we are feeling good about the future.  However, when times seem gloom, it’s much harder and much more challenging. 

I would like to leave us with this prayer as we continue to go about our days through this consistently challenging year.

Father, we thank You for being our constant Shield, Glory and Hope.  We just cannot imagine dealing with life and not having hope in You.  Where would we go and how would we even deal with all these things if we could not come to You with our burdens and concerns?  Father, please help us to put our trust and hope solely in You always!  Let us never forget that You are guiding us, even when we cannot feel it.  Give us daily strength to do what only You can do through us.  We know You are leading and we just need to trust, even when things seem very confusing.  We trust and hope in You!  Amen.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

His Unfailing Love Never Ceases

 “His Unfailing Love Never Ceases”

Psalm 86:5-7 NLT

O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.  Listen closely to my prayer, O Lord; hear my urgent cry.  I will call to you whenever I’m in trouble, and you will answer me.

Over half of the year has flown by and is full of events that we would like to soon forget!  We have all been exposed to new emotions and circumstances that we never though would occur.  We are all continuing to deal with the inconsistency of different events that keep popping up all over the world.  It can get very overwhelming at times.

No matter what we continue to experience, we can be assured that our Almighty Father never ceases to pour out His unfailing love.  No matter what is troubling us, we can bring these burdens to Him and He will shower us with His unfailing love.  He is good and is so ready to forgive, no matter what is in our recent past or years past.  He will always listen closely to our prayers.  Take some time to read through the Psalms of prayers from David.  You will see the heart of a man of God pouring his deepest pain out to God. 

No matter what is going on in our lives, we must always remember that God’s unfailing love will never cease.  That is a promise you can always count on!  Don’t listen to the lies the enemy is trying to feed you.  God always hears our urgent cries for help and we must keep an open mind and remember that He works in His ways and not ours.  Isaiah says that His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not ours.  We often get into trouble when we expect God to work in our timing.  He has never worked that way and never will.

I can’t promise you that God will take your pain away right now in whatever you are dealing with, but I can tell you that pain will never be in vain.  Whatever pain you are experiencing with waiting for answers, please keep trusting in Him and know He is working, even when you can’t feel or see that. 

We need to remember in the times of hardship that God wants to connect with us and commune like we’ve never done before.  It’s in these times that He can transform us and mold us like He’s never been able to do before.  We so often want Him to change our circumstances and the things around us, but what He wants to do more than anything is change our hearts so that we grow more in our faith. 

Never forget that His unfailing love never ceases, no matter what we feel or what we think.  His love and faithfulness endures forever!

Sunday, August 2, 2020

The Poison Of Dwelling On The Past

“The Poison Of Dwelling On The Past”

Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

There are a lot of things in life that I forget about.  There are things that I remember very easily and then other things I tend to forget.  I’m often baffled at what I can easily remember and then the things that I often forget.  We all feel this way with the things we wish we could remember and then wonder why there are some things that we have no problem remembering. 

One thing that I am very good at remembering, and comes back to haunt me so often, is the memory of mistakes that I have made.  I know that we can learn from our mistakes and focus on not repeating them, which is a good thing about remembering the mistakes.  However, the bad part about that memory of mistakes is how Satan likes to remind us so often that they somehow define us.  He is absolutely WRONG!  I have a very bad habit of remembering my mistakes and beating myself up over and over and over again about them.  My wife and kids will attest to that! 

The enemy has a sly way of popping his ugly head up every time a memory surfaces and a situation presents itself again and I repeat the cycle again getting down on myself.  We learn here that God is always doing a new thing.  We should never dwell on the past.  It’s so easy for us to constantly dwell on things that we did wrong in the past and be reminded of them every day by the enemy.  God wants us to instead focus on the new things He is doing with us and through us. 

It’s almost as if we are feeding ourselves poison every time we dwell on the past and relive the emotions of the painful mistakes we have made.  All the while God is trying to take this poison away from us and get us to focus on the new things He is doing.  I know there are many people who will read this and are reliving the same painful memories from the past that keep haunting you.  As the Apostle Paul shared to the church in Philippi, he pressed on, forgetting the past and focused on what was ahead.  We definitely need to do the same!

Friends, whatever painful past memories you are struggling to stop dwelling on, ask God to give you the strength to overcome and move forward.  I’m preaching to myself on this as well!  I’ve got a long way to go, but I’m working on it.  We are new creatures in Christ!  The old has gone, the new has come!  Let us focus on who we are in Christ! 

Stop feeding on the poison of dwelling on the past.