Not so much what moves someone to do something goofy, like wearing plaid knickers on the golf course or pouring ketchup on an otherwise perfectly good plate of scrambled eggs. Instead, you wonder what motivates a guy to bring coffee to a harried coworker during a normal workday or to take the kids out for dinner so his wife can enjoy an uninterrupted bubble bath. What causes someone to take an action that remains forever unknown to all but a few?
What motivated the person who carefully and skillfully etched the priestly blessing that would later be identified as Numbers 6:24–26 onto two small silver scrolls, each barely an inch long?
“The LORD bless you and keep you …”
Did this anonymous silversmith realize that he was recording the very words of Almighty God?
“The LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you …”
Did he know that his work would survive thousands and thousands of years, until rediscovered one day in a burial cave in modern Jerusalem?
“The LORD turn his face toward you …”
Did this artisan know that what he inscribed on finger-sized scraps of silver would, in the 21st century, become the oldest known record of any written Scripture text?
“… and give you peace.”
And did he know that, as you read these words, you would need God’s blessing to provide heavenly light and grace and peace in your life this very day?
“If you wait for perfect conditions, you’ll never get anything done!” Ecclesiastes 11:4
Unhealthy habits had crept their way into my life. At first it was only occasionally, but then it became easier to stay home rather than head to the gym. I turned a blind eye to how much sugar I was eating. And dinner from a drive-through became more convenient when I was in a rush.
We wait to start consistent quiet times until we feel like getting up earlier. We wait to clean our house until there is a convenient weekend. We wait to join a small group until our schedules open up. We wait to begin a healthier lifestyle until the holidays are over.
Taking that first step is the hardest and yet most important step. Even a baby step toward a goal is better than staying in place. Aiming for progress rather than perfection can be quite freeing. So, I can’t run a marathon. But I can lace up my sneakers and go for a walk. And while my home isn’t in spotless, I can wipe down the counters and put away the piles of laundry around my living room. Yes, there are still dishes in the sink, but I have to start somewhere, right?
God is teaching me that I can make progress in the midst of less-than-perfect circumstances. While I still want to do things with excellence, a friend once told me I need to be willing to “take a B instead of an A+” on some things in life, and that helps bring perspective when excuses start to rise up. Plus, I’m learning to overcome my tendency for excuses by telling myself imperfect action is better than perfect procrastination.
There may never be a perfect time to get organized, eat less sugar, and workout more. However, we have to begin somewhere. The perfect place to start is where we are today.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
If its doubt, let it go. Everyday is a struggle to stay focus on what we are doing. We try to use all of our 24 hour day even when we have slept thru 8 to 9 hours of it. Time is something that we can not waste or gain back but neither is life. If one bill is forgot to be paid, It can be paid later. When you are driving, please do not text and try to drive. It is too easy to lose focus while attempting to do to many things at one time.
Matthew 14:29 shows us how Peter took a tumble of sorts when he lost his focus. Peter and the disciples were caught in a terrible storm with their boat being tossed around by torrential waves. When Peter saw Jesus standing on the water, he asked to do the same thing. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink.
When waves of fear, insecurity, discouragement or stress crash around me, I stumble too. These quickly become my focus instead of fixing my eyes on Jesus. Without fail, I sink under the weight of these circumstances and fall.
I worry about my job and the changes. Rather than praising God and looking to Him for provision, I stress about paying bills. And instead of trusting He will help me complete a task at hand, I doubt if I’m able to get everything on my agenda done. All these distractions pull me down and pull my faith away from Jesus.
When Peter began sinking, he cried out for Jesus to save him. And Jesus did. Just as Jesus didn’t hesitate to pull Peter out of the rough waves, He will pull you and me back too as soon as we ask. Stay focus on your walk today. And when it gets rough, just call on Jesus and he will be there.
Stress is something that we all are familiar with. If you are trying to say that you have never been stressful, then you are not being truthful with yourself. It sneaks up on us like that mid-day headache, or anxiety that pops up from no where. You know what I am talking about. It is easy to curse others and push blame to something else when we are hurting or fear for something.
If fear has been creeping into your heart lately, pause and remember that God is your protector; His presence is with you, and He is in the highest position of authority over this broken world. Ask Him to settle the anxiousness in your heart. Then, just breathe. He is where we find strength to get through tough times when we are afraid.
Psalm 46:4-11 says, “A river brings joy to the city of our God, the sacred home of the Most High. God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed. From the very break of day, God will protect it. The nations are in chaos, and their kingdoms crumble! God’s voice thunders, and the earth melts! The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress. Come, see the glorious works of the LORD: See how he brings destruction upon the world. He causes wars to end throughout the earth. He breaks the bow and snaps the spear; he burns the shields with fire. Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress.”
Although the world is in disarray, God is still God. He is still on the throne. Still mighty. Still faithful. Still sovereign. And only when we pause to focus on the truth that God is God, we find rest.
A young man wearing a hoodie is dead after a man calling himself a law-abiding citizen shot him. Now, a jury says he is not guilty for the shooting the child for fear of his life. How senseless are we when it comes to life and the search for right and wrong. Is the scales of justice that far off? When they say justice is blind, are they really saying that she is crazy as well. Nothing can replace a life, nor justice or an eye for an eye. I can only give you these verses and hope that they find the right place in your hearts.
In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises. He boasts about the cravings of his heart;he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord. In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. His ways are always prosperous; your laws are rejected by him; he sneers at all his enemies. He says to himself, “Nothing will ever shake me.” He swears, “No one will ever do me harm.” His mouth is full of lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue. He lies in wait near the villages; from ambush he murders the innocent. His eyes watch in secret for his victims; like a lion in cover he lies in wait. He lies in wait to catch the helpless; he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net. His victims are crushed, they collapse; they fall under his strength. He says to himself, “God will never notice; he covers his face and never sees.” Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God.
Do not forget the helpless. Why does the wicked man revile God? Why does he say to himself, “He won’t call me to account”? But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. Break the arm of the wicked man; call the evildoer to account for his wickedness that would not otherwise be found out. The Lord is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land. You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror.
Help, Lord, for no one is faithful anymore; those who are loyal have vanished from the human race. Everyone lies to their neighbor; they flatter with their lips but harbor deception in their hearts.
And the Lord said; “Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan, I will now arise. I will protect them from those who malign them.”
You, Lord, will keep the needy safe and will protect us forever from the wicked, who freely strut about
when what is vile is honored by the human race.
I pray that these word of wisdom find you at your time of need and I pray that the scales of justice will find balance. We pray, Amen
We’ve all made requests to God that didn’t turn out like we had hoped. When that happens, it’s easy to become confused about Him. We start to wonder if He heard us or just said “No” to our prayer. What we are certain of is the anger we feel toward the Lord’s ways.
Many times I have asked why are things this way? Why can this not be easier? What is it going to take for me to get through this ?
If you’re angry with God, tell Him. Lay your heart open before God. Acknowledge that even while you don’t understand what’s happened, you trust He can make everything work out.
It’s important to express our upset emotions to the Lord. But we have to view our circumstances through the lens of God’s grace: everything He does is without fault and is always right. Look at Psalm 30:2, “LORD my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me.” Rather than ignoring our pain or not sharing our anger with God (which is silly because He already knows), we should confess our anger and seek His healing.
Just as a mother runs to her screaming child, God, the Father, ran to me—His child. I didn’t see Him with my eyes or touch Him with my hands, but I knew He was with me. It comforted me. This encounter with God became a turning point in my healing. I realized God understood my frailties and feelings … and He was big enough to handle them.
Dear Lord, there is so much hurt and anger inside of me at times. I’m giving it to You to heal my hurt. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Lamentations 3:43–48 – “You have covered yourself with anger and pursued us;
you have slain without pity.
You have covered yourself with a cloud
so that no prayer can get through.
You have made us scum and refuse
among the nations.”
Jerusalem and the temple lie in ruins with no immediate hope of reconstruction, demonstrating the pain of the exile. Here it seems that the Lord does not hear or answer the heartfelt cries of his people. It appears as if no prayer is getting through because nothing is changing. Jeremiah keeps pressing the people to confront their sin, but they are too dismayed at the terror God has brought upon them. Until they confront the sin that caused their nation to disintegrate, all prayer will be futile.
Sin blocks the effectiveness of prayer. An effective prayer comes from, one having a pure heart and mind (see Ps 51:10). Only then can one have clear communication with God, both in speaking and listening to him. God will listen to Israel’s needs and speak to her only when she repents. When we cast off the weight of sin (see Heb 10:19–22; 12:1–2) we can know that God hears us and responds to our prayers.
“In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the LORD, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, ‘LORD Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life …” 1 Samuel 1:10-11a
Samuel’s mother Hannah poured out her soul to the Lord for years, pleading for a son. Eventually, God granted her prayer requests with her son Samuel, who Hannah dedicated to the Lord (1 Samuel 1:10-11a). He grew in wisdom, became a great prophet and judge, and led the Israelites into victory over the mighty Philistines.
Matthew 21:22, “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive”.
John 14:13-14, “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it”.
Father, You hear our prayers, and You promise to answer them, according to Your will. Teach me how to pray for my, and other’s, children that they might become fishers of men and bring You glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
It can be hard—even terrifying—to reveal a long-buried secret to your spouse. You worry they’ll be furious, that they’ll judge you, that they’ll be hurt. Indeed, your spouse might be hurt. They might be angry. They might be stunned. But put yourself in your spouse’s shoes; if they were keeping something from you, you would want them to come clean, not only so that you could be in the know, but so that they could be freed from the chains of shame and secrecy. Thank you Lord for showing me the blessing that were awaiting me.
Romans 8:14–15 tells us that we are no longer slaves to fear. As children of God, we live in the light of full disclosure, sure of forgiveness, pardon and restoration—in our relationship with God and with each other.
God sees, hears and knows everything—including our prayers. Nothing escapes his attention. So why then does it seem that God would not listen to the people’s cries for help? Jeremiah 11:11 says: Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘I will bring on them a disaster they cannot escape. Although they cry out to me, I will not listen to them.
There are several possible reasons.
In this case, God did not respond because judgment was unavoidable. Judah had disobeyed God’s laws and ignored his pleas for so long that judgment was, in effect, already on the way. Their cries were too little, too late. God even told Jeremiah not to pray for the people (see Isa 14:11–12)—that not even Moses and Samuel could have persuaded him to offer further compassion to them (see Isa 15:1).
It’s also possible that people sometimes sabotage their own prayers. The Bible mentions several attitudes and actions that can short-circuit our prayers: sin (see Ps 66:18; Isa 59:2; Jer 14:10–12), disobedience (see Pr 28:9), hypocrisy and insincerity (see Isa 29:13; Mal 1:7–9), wrong motives (see Mt 6:5–6; Lk 18:11–14; Jas 4:3), lack of faith (Heb 11:6; Jas 1:6) and even marital problems (see 1Pe 3:7).
Finally, what sometimes appears to be no answer to prayer may actually be a delayed answer (see Da 10:12–13). Other times God may deny our request in order to give us something better than what we knew to ask for.
In Daniel 10, He tells Daniel: “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. 14 Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.”
This is why faith is so importance. All prayers are heard. We just have to be patient for what-ever answer comes our way and try to understand the resolution he provides to us.