I have spent the majority of my life in central Indiana. I am a graduate of North centeral High School. I love to travel to visit family, especially my four nieces and nephews who live in Southeast Asia. I am the youngest of three. My oldest sister has Down Syndrome. After graduating from College, I began working at a church and for over 17 years served as a youth pastor and a caring ministries pastor. Currently, I am a Marriage and Family Therapist continuing in ministry through a different context.
Have you heard the quote “be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”? I’ve seen this quote many times and each time it’s ascribed to a different author. (Philo, Socrates and Plato to name a few.) Whoever said it, was very wise. There are battles that everyone is fighting and we only get to see the tip of the iceberg.
“With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said.”
2 Chronicles 32:8 NIV
For the people of Judah, the words of Hezekiah were enough to give them the confidence they needed to keep going. What about you? What gives you the confidence to keep going? Gods presence? Gods wisdom?
How does God fight our battles?
Can I take this promise from God to fight for the people of Judah for my own life? Yes and no. Yes, I have a God who is present and near and actively involved in my life. I am never alone. And no, God will not always save me from my battles. And yet…I can have hope.
We can have hope because we have a God who is present and consistently demonstrates how He loves by providing what we need. More than anything, what we need is Him. His presence. His love. His protection. His wisdom. Him.
God fights for us by showing up. All the time. For everything.
Dear God, may we sense your nearness. You have promised to never leave us nor forsake us. You have promised to fight for us. Please show us how you desire to do that in our lives. We trust you. We love you. Amen.
Peter is one of my favorite disciples. He was bold in everything he did. Right or wrong it didn’t matter, he was bold in doing it. I wish I had more of Peter in me. I wish I had more boldness at times.
Where in your life do you wish you were more bold?
I hear a lot of people say they wished they were more bold in sharing the Gospel. I love that! The Gospel is good news and worthy of sharing! When I have good news I love sharing it with my people. I love to celebrate! I love to tell people about my amazing God!
In the story of the transfiguration that Matthew shares, Peter was bold in a different way. He was bold in his hospitality and the way he loved.
“Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.””
Matthew 17:4 NIV
I know we read this words and smack our heads and think “Peter!! You just don’t get it!” Of course he doesn’t get it! He doesn’t have the whole story like we do. He doesn’t know how things end for him and for Jesus. He only knows that moment. In that moment he saw a need and desired to be a blessing. A blessing to Jesus. That’s bold!
Dear God, May we be more bold in the way we love. May we be more bold in the way we help others feel like they belong. May we be more bold in seeing others as You see them…beautifully created. Amen
I don’t know about you, but who I follow depends on how I feel. This can be a dangerous reality because there are so many things that can influence how I feel. Having something that anchors my actions helps to make sure that I’m continuing in the direction that is led by God.
In our 2 Kings passage today, we see how King Jehu followed the direction of the prophet as laid out by God. He stayed the course. I have to confess that I don’t understand a lot of the direction that God gave to kill and destroy. I recognize that it is the consequence of sin. I understand the theology and struggle with the physical expression of that theology.
“13This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings. 14 They are like sheep and are destined to die; death will be their shepherd.”
The importance of being anchored in God is expressed in our Psalm passage. As much as I want to trust myself, I also need to have an unshakable trust in and guidance from God who is outside my emotions and thoughts and yet present in the midst of them. Even in my lack of understanding of the Old Testament theology, I have learned to trust the wisdom and compassion of my God.
“28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.”
My God speaks with an authority that others do not have. His words are good. His love is pure. He is trustworthy. That is why I anchor my life in Him. I follow Him because of Who He is…not because of His specific teachings or how I feel. I am not perfect in my trust. My God is perfect and I am seeking to trust Him more.
Dear God, Thank you for being trustworthy, compassionate and present. Thank you for being the strong and constant anchor for my soul. May I continue to rely on you and follow you.
“Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. For the Lord Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth.”
Psalms 47:1-2 NIV
What makes you shout for joy?
There are many things that make me shout for joy. When my sports team wins. When I achieved something I have been working towards. When someone I love achieves something they have been working hard on.
So much of the time, we shout for joy when something goes our way. What happens when it doesn’t? What happens when God doesn’t provide? When God doesn’t deliver? We see again and again in scripture of those suffering for a greater cause…a greater purpose…and with joy.
They shout for joy because they remember. They remember how God has sustained them and provided for them. What can you remember today about how God has provided for you?
Dear Lord, thank you for your provision. In the midst of heartache, thank you for your presence and the gift of your mercy and grace. May we always remember. May those memories provide joy. Amen.
How does the God who is worthy of Bronze sculptures and Gold Furnishings allow the sons of Korah to question His intentions so blatantly?
“Awake, Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever. Why do you hide your face and forget our misery and oppression?”
Psalms 44:23-24 NIV
The boldness of the sons of Korah in Psalm 44 is amazing to me. Have you ever been as honest with God as the sons of Korah? There was one time in particular where I strongly questioned God and His intentions in my life. My heart was broken, I was confused and felt extremely alone. I thought I had heard Him so clearly telling me to continue walking in a specific direction. My hurt and pain led to me being honest with God with language that I don’t normally use with those in my life.
How could I have so misheard Gods voice? Did I mishear or did God intentionally lead me into heartache?
I know I can be honest with God, however, He is still God. The creator of the universe. The one worthy of gold altars and bronze pillars. He is capable of destroying with just a thought. He is also My God that I love and serve and believe loves me in return. So how honest can I be?
I hear a sarcasm in the words of Psalm 44. They knew God wasn’t asleep but in their despair and hurt they were communicating to God what His silence felt like. In the end they called on that love to hear them and rescue them.
“Rise up and help us; rescue us because of your unfailing love.”
Psalms 44:26 NIV
Honesty with God has more to do with our heart and our need to be heard than it does with God. He knows. He already knows what we need. Vulnerably sharing with God what’s going on in our hearts invites a deeper and more intimate relationship with Him. The amazing thing about our God is that He hears through the sarcasm and the harsh words. He sees the heart and His desire is to meet you and comfort you and provide for you.
Dear God, in my imperfect words of honest hurt and pain may I sense your nearness. Forgive my tone and words and hear my heart. Hear the hearts of my friends today. May they find the hope and peace in the midst of pain that you provide. Amen.
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