“So my advice is, leave these men alone. Let them go. If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown. But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God!” The others accepted his advice. They called in the apostles and had them flogged. Then they ordered them never again to speak in the name of Jesus, and they let them go. The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus. And every day, in the Temple and from house to house, they continued to preach this message: “Jesus is the Messiah.” Acts 5:38-42 NLT
Is my walk so close with Jesus that I can truly rejoice in my sufferings? Usually not when I am in the midst of it. My own humanness wants to complain. But, looking back I can see that those were the times that have strengthened my faith. And where God has shown himself most clearly.
“Lord, we confess our wickedness and that of our ancestors, too. We all have sinned against you. For the sake of your reputation, Lord, do not abandon us. Do not disgrace your own glorious throne. Please remember us, and do not break your covenant with us. Can any of the worthless foreign gods send us rain? Does it fall from the sky by itself? No, you are the one, O Lord our God! Only you can do such things. So we will wait for you to help us.” Jeremiah 14:20-22 NLT
Sometimes it seems that he has left me in the waiting. And there is a drought in my soul. But, he reminds me that he is right there when I call out to him. He promises to be with me.
“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 NLT
I can still remember back to six years ago when the Father spoke this verse into my clouded and fearful mind. Never did I sense His presence more. If I hadn’t gone through that dark time, it wouldn’t have the meaning it has today. When worry strikes again, that day is a much needed reminder to my weary heart. He was with me than and is with me now.
Thank you Father for making a way to always be with me. Thank you for meeting me where I am. I praise you for who you are. Amen.
“Here is another illustration Jesus used: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; It grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.” Matthew 13:31 NLT
I can still remember the tiny pin that my bible study leader was wearing. It had a mustard seed inside it. I didn’t realize how minuscule a mustard seed was until that day. She gifted it to me at a time when I was getting weary of my continual prayer request…week after week, for a house. It spurred my faith on. So, I kept on asking. God answered. Not in the way I thought, but He provided a house for my family.
“I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!” Isaiah 65:24 : NLT
Even after I see God answer big prayers in my life, I can become forgetful. Sometimes my prayer life gets stagnate. I know in my head that God is faithful. Yet, I become like the Israelites and turn to other things. The summer bible study that I am doing says, “We often do everything but pray” (Beth Moore, Breaking Free).
“The Lord says, “I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help. I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’ to a nation that did not call on my name. All day long I opened my arms to a rebellious people. But they follow their own evil paths and their own crooked schemes. All day long they insult me to my face by worshiping idols in their sacred gardens. They burn incense on pagan altars.” Isaiah 65:2&3 NLT
Because more than anything, I sacrifice peace when I fail to be in His presence. My belief in God’s promises can start to waiver. Instead of focusing on all of His miracles, I can become prideful and my heart can harden.
“Where does he get wisdom and the power to do miracles?” Then they scoffed, “He’s just the carpenter’s son, and we know Mary, his mother, and his brothers…Where did he learn all these things? And they were deeply offended and refused to believe him. Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his own family.” And so he did only a few miracles because of their unbelief.” Matthew 13:54-57 NLT
Thank you Father for pursuing me. Forgive me for when I look to other people and things to fulfill me. You are my only true source of peace. I want to be found in you. Amen.
“I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath! Death wrapped its ropes around me; the terrors of the grave overtook me. I saw only trouble and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord; “Please, Lord, save me!” How kind the Lord is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours! The Lord protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and he saved me. Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me. He has saved me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. And so I walk in the Lord’s presence as I live here on earth! I believed in you, so I said, “I am deeply troubled, Lord.” In my anxiety I cried out to you, “These people are all liars!” Psalms 116:1-11 NLT
Surfing through my news feed I came across a quote from Max Lucado that said, “Anxiety and Fear are cousins but not twins. Fear sees a threat. Anxiety imagines one.” Underneath he lists some practical steps for overcoming this. The first step is, Pray. If only that was my first instinct when fear or worry comes creeping into my mind. I am reminded in the Psalms that the Lord hears my voice. How comforting it is to know that He never tires of me coming to him. He doesn’t grow weary of my voice, like I sometimes do with my kids . But, more often than not, I don’t cry out to him enough.
“Never forget what the Amalekites did to you as you came from Egypt. They attacked you when you were exhausted and weary, and they struck down those who were straggling behind. They had no fear of God. Therefore, when the Lord your God has given you rest from all your enemies in the land he is giving you as a special possession, you must destroy the Amakelites and erase their memory from under heaven. Never forget this!” Deuteronomy 25:17-19 NLT
“Don’t let your thoughts run away on you!” is number 6 on Max Lucado’s list. I know what it is like to let my thoughts spiral downward. I need to be on guard, because Satan knows my weakness. And if I am not on constant watch, I can quickly forget the Lord’s power.
“But I will reveal my name to my people, and they will come to know its power. Then at last they will recognize that I am the one who speaks to them. Get out! Get out and leave your captivity, where everything you touch is unclean…You will not leave in a hurry, running for your lives. For the Lord will go ahead of you; yes, the God of Israel will protect you from behind” Isaiah 52:10&11NLT
Thank you Father for your faithfulness. That you go before me. And I can look back and remember all the times when I cried out to you and you answered. Help me to live from the victory that I already have in you. I praise you. Amen.
“Look, I am coming soon! Blessed are those who obey the words of the prophecy written in this book.” Revelation 22:7 NLT
“Unless the Lord had helped me, I would soon have settled in the silence of the grave. I cried out, “I am slipping!” but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer…But the Lord is my fortress; my God is the mighty rock where I hide.” Psalms 94:17-19;22 NLT
My heart is heavy this morning for my little nine year old guy. He has been battling fear and anxiety in his mind that I know all too well. As his mom I just want to take it away from him. I know what it is like to be paralyzed by fear and to let that hold me back from doing what God has called me to do. I am thankful that God is patient with me. He sees me as his beloved child. He wants what is best for me. He is the best parent.
“Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You restore my health and allow me to live! Yes, this anguish was good for me, for you have rescued me from death and forgiven all my sins. For the dead cannot praise you; they cannot raise their voices in praise. Those who go down to the grave can longer hope in your faithfulness. Only the living can praise you as I do today. Each generation tells of your faithfulness to the next. Think of it-the Lord is ready to heal me! I will sing his praises with instruments every day of my life in the Temple of the Lord.” Isaiah 38:17-20 NLT
Hezekiah understood that God can work all things for good. His life was a testimony to that. As hard as it is to see my child struggle, I pray this for him as well. Do I trust the Father’s heart toward me? Am I desiring for God to get the glory from my life? How awesome it is to think of my children telling their children of the great things the Lord has done.
“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the Lord your God, and live in a way that pleases him, and love him and serve him with all your heart and soul.” Deuteronomy 10:12&13 NLT
Thank you Father that you hear my prayers. Thank you that I can look back and see your faithfulness in my life. Thank you for the perspective of generations coming to know you. Forgive me for my pride and selfishness. I give you all the praise. Amen.
“Then another angel with a gold incense burner came and stood at the altar. And a great amount of incense was given to him to mix with the prayers of God’s people as an offering on the gold altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, mixed with the prayers of God’s holy people, ascended up to God from the altar where the angel had poured them out.” Revelation 8:3&4 NLT
“I cry out to God; yes, I shout. Oh, that God would listen to me! …Has the Lord rejected me forever? Will he never again be kind to me? Is his unfailing love gone forever? Have his promises permanently failed? And I said, “This is my fate; the Most High has turned his hand against me.” But then I recall all you have done, O Lord; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works. O God, your ways are holy. Is there any god as mighty as you? You are the God of wonders! You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations. By your strong arm, you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.” Psalms 77:1-15 NLT
How many times do I default to thinking that something will not work out. Especially when it’s not going the way that I thought it would. Instead of living with hope in expectation that God is in control. And that He will work it out in His way and His timing… working all things together for my good. Why is this so difficult sometimes? I am thankful for His word today. Shedding light on areas of my heart that I need to change. Reminding me of His faithfulness. That there is always a “But, God.” And He will make a way that is better than anything I can dream up.
“Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters-a pathway no one knew was there! You led your people along that road like a flock of sheep, with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds” Psalms 77:19&20 NLT
It’s so hard to let go of things that I hold so dear. My expectations and the places in my heart that I don’t want anyone to see. Because letting go doesn’t mean my hands are empty. It means that I am trusting God with it. What do I need to let go of so that I cling more tightly to Jesus?
“Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.” 1 John 2:15 NLT
Thank you Father that you are not afraid of my questions, you welcome them. You meet me there, but prod me on to change. Help me to live in close fellowship with you everyday. Forgive me for when I rely on myself. I praise you for who you are. Amen.
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete.” James 1:1-4 NLT
I keep seeing the word endurance. Maybe it’s because God is encouraging me to move forward in areas where I feel stuck. I came across a blog at InCourage where the writer’s daughter told her that she could never run a mile. She answered, “Sure you could, you would just have to practice.” God must be speaking to me, in that the main verse in that blog is one I am reading today for 66 Books. I am not a runner. I always dreaded running the mile in middle school. And now I hear my own middle schoolers talking about it. One who thinks its a breeze and the other who would rather not be in gym class on that day. But, he does it by pacing himself. He walks/runs and is determined to finish. He has a willing heart. Sometimes I think that is all God is asking of me. When I put too much pressure on myself , he says to slow down and I will help you through this. Don’t give up.
“God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12 NLT
I am thankful for the times I can look back and see how my faith has grown, which spurs me on.
“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey it, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” James 1:22-25 NLT
Thank you Father for this reminder today. That you are always with me, speaking to me. Help me to listen to your voice. Help me to run my race well. Amen.
“Listen to my prayer, O God. Do not ignore my cry for help! Please listen and answer me, for I am overwhelmed by my troubles. Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the Godly to slip and fall.” Psalms 55:1&2 NLT
“I always thank my God when I pray for you, Philemon, because I keep hearing about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people. And I am praying that you will put into action the generosity that comes from your faith as you understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ. Your love has given me much joy and comfort, my brother, for your kindness has often refreshed the hearts of God’s people. That is why I am boldly asking a favor of you. Consider this as a request from me-Paul, an old man and now also a prisoner for the sake of Christ Jesus. I appeal to you to show kindness to my child, Onesimus. I became his father in the faith while here in prison…He is more than a slave, for he is a beloved brother, especially to me. Now he will mean much more to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord. So if you consider me your partner, welcome him as you would welcome me.” Philemon 1 NLT
I don’t know what I would do without my brothers and sisters in Christ. Just like Paul was sending Onesimus to Philemon, God has been faithful to put people in my life. A mentor in my path when my world was shaking…friends to do bible study with and dig deeper into God’s word. I pray that I can be that for others. I pray that my kids would have deep friendships and mentors to encourage them in their faith. There is nothing that brings more joy to my heart than to watch my twelve year old daughter worship God. She sits in the front row at church raising her hands in surrender, not concerned about how she might look to others. It took me all of my 41 years to reach that point. But, I am thankful that God is still working on me.
“Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and say, “Life is not pleasant anymore.” Remember him before the light of the sun, moon, and stars is dim to your old eyes, and rain clouds continually darken your sky…Yes, remember your Creator now while you are young, before the silver cord of life snaps and the golden bowl is broken.” Ecclesiastes 12:1&2;6 NLT
Thank you Father that it is never too late to turn back to you. You have good plans for my life. Help me not to look back in regret, but forward in hope. I love you. Amen.
“Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O Lord. How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.” Psalms 36:5-7 NLT