Devotions
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August 13, 2017, 8:29 PM

Where do you feel the weight of the world placed on our shoulders?



The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. Acts 17:24-25

 

Throughout the Bible, we are commanded to deal with our mindset by paying attention to what our mind is focused on.  This is where we get ourselves into trouble.  We don’t set our minds on anything so it is free to drift on whatever seems to deserve the most attention. When we are faced with a difficult decision or things we cannot control, we get consumed with pressure.  Sometimes this pressure comes from within. The pressure is fueled by believing two destructive myths. First, we believe we can control more than we think. We get angry and frustrated from trying to control the things we can’t. Then there is the “messiah” myth that leads us to believe we contribute more than we actually do. If we don’t act, no one else will. If I don’t spring into action, nothing will get solved. If I don’t make the right decision, then everyone is doomed for failure.

 

Too often when we consider faith or trust we tend to wait and see if God will do something.  Then, and only, then will we respond to the thing that He has done.  We think of faith as “observe and decide.” This is why we are often frustrated and paralyzed in our walk with God. Why? Because He doesn’t invite us to observe and decide, but rather to taste and see. Psalm 34:8 says,”O taste and see that the LORD is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.” It is an interesting connection.  You don’t see with your tongue and you don’t taste with your eyes.  Taste and see is an invitation to experience.  You see because you have experienced.  This is what God is drawing us towards.  This is exactly how faith is described in 2 Corinthians 5:7. We are told to “walk by faith, not by sight.”

 

According to this verse, we are called to walk by faith, at the expense of seeing with our eyes.  When the pressure is on you, you are not going to be able to sit and observe.  You have to step out and taste – then you will see.  Faith operates as the way you perceive the world around you and sense God’s work in that world. When we walk with Him, we find Him to be a blessing to us as we take refuge in Him.  So walk by faith — taste and see. We need a new perspective in those moments when pressure is consuming us. When we feel the weight of the world on our shoulders and all we want to do is freak out, we must taste and see that Lord is good by casting our cares on Him. Where do you feel the weight of the world placed on our shoulders? What pressures are you facing? How can you tell whether they are internal or external pressures?

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, all too often I put the weight of the world on my shoulders. Lord you know that is not what I was meant to bear. Jesus help not to crack under the pressure, but to lay everything down at Your feet. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.




August 12, 2017, 5:00 AM

What do you believe you have to do to become fully immersed in the waiting with God?



Therefore I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; My God will hear me. Micah 7:7

I have a confession, I’ve not been the best at waiting. I’ve driven down Hwy 277 when I’m going to visit family, frustrated as all get out because the car in front of me, who also happens to be in the left lane, just isn’t going fast enough for me. I’ve stood in line at the grocery store after a day at work, impatient because it’s already 6:30 pm and I just want to get home. I’ve gotten overwhelmed when I see things happening for others around me and the sudden realization that I’ve been in what seems like the same spot for way too long starts to settle deep within my mind. I start thinking, “Hey! What about me?”

 

But recently, during those moments of thinking about me, I’ve been hearing God whisper, “wait on Me.” And let me tell you, that is humbling.  When we’re walking with God, seasons of waiting aren’t as easily overcome as the American way of going out and making things happen for yourself. You might think you’ve found the perfect job to apply for, but God says, “not this one” when they decide to go with someone else. You might think you’ve found the perfect house to put an offer in on, but God says, “not that one” when that offer is rejected. You might be struggling with finances, wondering when you are going to finally catch up on everything, and God tells you to keep holding on. You might think, “I’ll just do this my way so I can get where I’m going quicker,” and from personal experience, God is usually super quiet on this one. You might be feeling like you’ve been praying for the Lord to move in your life or at the very least, show you that He’s working on your behalf. But still, you see nothing. But hold on, can I remind us of “faith”?

 

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV) Can I also remind us of Moses and Joshua? Moses wandered 40 years in the desert after God instructed him to lead His people out of Egypt. Joshua led a march around the walls that protected the City of Jericho for seven days following God’s instruction. For 40 years, Moses waited on the Lord, relying on Him to provide for His people and He did. For seven days, Joshua followed the Lord’s commands to take the City of Jericho and He did. Neither Moses nor Joshua actually saw the Lord working during those times of waiting but He did. If you think you’re alone in the waiting, you most certainly are not. Some of God’s beloved chosen people waited decades. Some of God’s beloved chosen people are still waiting.

 

Make no mistake God is there in the waiting. I’ve been told many times that it’s not so much the destination that matters, but it’s how we get there. The journey we choose to walk with God is what matters. What He does in you and through you is of greater significance to Him. It doesn’t matter that you actually end up wherever you’re going. In the waiting, God is doing something inside you that you cannot always see. He is reshaping your heart to become a reflection of His own. He is training your spirit to stop relying on self and to start relying on Him. He is conditioning your whole being to run with Him. What do you believe you have to do to become fully immersed in the waiting with God?

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, I acknowledge that You are there in my waiting. I know You are working on my behalf and that You have great things for me. Lord You take care of me, even when I don’t see it. Jesus let my heart continue to be reshaped by You.  I place my trust in You and You alone. In Jesus’ name, Amen.




August 11, 2017, 5:00 AM

It’s not where the bridge is taking us, it’s how we build the bridge as we walk on it.



For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:8-10

Each one of us finds ourselves on a bridge at some point in our journey. As we go though life and our days, we are building the bridge as we walk on it. Every situation in our lives is a bridge we can cross if we choose. But, more often than not, we resist taking another step and instead allow the unknown and the fear of meeting resistance to stop us in our tracks.  We begin to question the direction our bridge might take us. Where is this going to lead? How am I going to navigate my way? What lies on the other side? Should I cross this bridge? Is it even safe? Is this bridge the right bridge to cross?

 

As a result of these questions, we settle for certainty and the illusion of control while missing out on the transformation that lies on the other side of the bridge. Often in life we don’t desire deep change because it can be hard, it can hurt, and it can ask us to move out of our comfy confines of status quo. In his book Building the Bridge As You Walk On It, Author Robert Quinn says, “At both individual and organizational levels, we tend to choose slow death over deep change. This slow death is the consequence of remaining in the normal state. To be in the normal state is to be externally driven, internally closed, self-focused, and comfort centered.”

 

If we stay in the normal state, avoiding deep change and trying to maintain control, if we do that as individuals and if we try to do that as a church, it leads to something none of us wants – a slow death. What we do with our individual bridge matters to the overall influence we have as a community of believers. Our individual transformation serves as the key to deep organizational change. When it comes to the life and vision of our church, we have to start with our own deep change. We do this by paying attention to our heart and our mind.

 

It’s easy to cruise through life and not notice what your heart is set on and where your mind tends to gravitate. We need to set our heart and mind on things above and not get distracted by earthly things. If we take inventory on our heart and our mind, we set the direction for our lives. We experience deep change by walking on the bridges that we are building with ever increasing integrity. However, it’s not enough to just walk and build the bridge. We have to verbally acknowledge the one who is doing the building through us. As we walk by grace and faith, we give glory to God. It is His Gospel and saving grace that must be a part of what we talk about all the time. Where these bridges are going are of minor importance. It’s not where the bridge is taking us, it’s how we build the bridge as we walk on it.

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, my tendency is to want every detail about the path before me to be laid out. Lord You ask me to walk by faith. Jesus regardless of the bridge before me, may I take each step fully confident that You are guiding my feet. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.




August 10, 2017, 5:00 AM

Where is God trying to get your attention by causing you to wait?



I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40:1-2

No one loves to wait. We all know what it’s like to be stuck, or to feel stuck, like everything is out of our control and we’re just sitting tight waiting on someone or something else to move so we can get on with life and advance to the next thing. Waiting for something we really want is hard. We’ll often take shortcuts because we’re trying to skip the waiting if at all possible. To quote the famous theologian, Tom Petty, “The waiting is the hardest part.” Normally, when we’re waiting, we’re not waiting on God, we’re waiting on ourselves, or our circumstances to change.  We look around wondering what is blocking or holding up our progress. If we’re not careful we will miss out on something really special if we’re always trying to “hurry things up.”

 

The discipline of waiting is an important part of life. It’s where we learn to trust and display faith. It’s where we come to the end of ourselves. During these times, whether we realize it or not, God is posturing Himself to help when He hears our cry. Instead of trying to speed things up and get unstuck, God is wanting to do something deep inside of our heart that shapes and forms our character and dependence upon Him. Even in the midst of waiting, God is doing something. He’s shaping our mind and heart so that we can be an expression of Him.  When God says wait, it’s not because He doesn’t care or because He doesn’t want us to be blessed. He isn’t withholding His goodness, joy, or peace.

 

God utilizes times of waiting to shape and form us into complete dependence upon Him. God uses waiting to teach us how to trust His provision. In order to see this, we must shift our perspective. We tend to view waiting as if it’s a delay, but the two are different. The word delay means to hinder, impeded or to hold up progress while waiting is the act of pausing for purpose and preparation. We must shift our perspective from waiting to worship.  Our waiting is not just about us. It’s about the rest of the world also learning to see, hear, and trust God. It’s about pointing others to worship Him. Our focus should shift to God and what He is trying to do, instead of our own inconvenience and what’s happening to us.

 

The way to begin doing this is by focusing on the people and circumstances around us. We’ve got to move from just focusing on ourselves to focusing outside of ourselves. Growth happens when we stop viewing waiting as if it’s not a part of the plan and begin to realize that it is, in fact, a very strategic part of God’s plan.  Where is God trying to get your attention by causing you to wait? How would a perspective shift alter your response to these circumstances?

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, when I find myself in a holding pattern, I’m often impatient. My mind begins to race about what is impeding my progress. Lord You know, that I want nothing more than to move and rid myself of the waiting I encounter. Help me in those moments of waiting, to know that You are at work. Jesus teach me pay attention to those times of waiting and be curious about what You are up to. May my waiting turn into worship. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.




August 9, 2017, 5:00 AM

Do you find yourself trying to speed up the waiting process?



I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion, therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Lamentations 3:24-26

 

I’m not one for sitting around. If you ask anyone that knows me they will tell you I am constantly moving.  Staying on the move is my norm, even in my waiting. While standing in line at the grocery store, I sway back and forth. While sitting at the doctor’s office, I drive my wife crazy by tapping my feet.  Are my movements speeding up the cosmic forces of the universe, causing my turn to come any sooner? Of course not, yet I find the actions comforting.  I realize now that my actions are a way for me to try and control the situation. I’ve done this not only in the practical areas of life but spiritual areas as well.

 

Waiting can be frustrating because we feel like we have no say or control of the process in which we advance. We want things to move forward, and when they don’t, we’re tempted to take matters into our own hands. But when we do this, we’re relying on our strength instead of God’s.  The thing is God will sometimes put our lives on hold, so we can learn to hold on to Him. God doesn’t want us exhausting ourselves, trying to make things happen. He wants us to be still and know that He is God.  This doesn’t mean we check-out, but rather lean into the ways of the Lord. Oswald Chambers wrote, “Waiting is not sitting with folded hands doing nothing, but learning to do what we are told.”  Seek God in the waiting.

 

As we hunger for answers, we will be satisfied in His presence. Do you find yourself trying to speed up the waiting process? If so, how does that leave you feeling? Is the Lord your portion? In other words, are you delighting yourself in communion with God, or are you focused on feeling stuck?

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, when I try to hurry things along, remind me that I am trying to work from my own strength, which will leave me feeling exhausted. Lord help me to relinquish control and allow You to work in the wait.  Jesus may we seek you and find you, become my portion so I will be satisfied by You alone. In Your name, Amen.


Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58   Entries 106-110 of 286