Overwhelmed but marching forward

Today, I read the men’s devotional bible which talks about trouble. You’ve probably noticed that acknowledging and investigating troubles seem to make them multiply. Obviously, ignoring problems also makes them multiply. Ignoring the leak today leads to the living room ceiling sitting in your lap tomorrow. So you face a dilemma: If your troubles multiply whether you examine or ignore them, what should you do?

King Jehoshaphat found himself face-to-face with trouble. A huge army marched toward Jerusalem, and the scouting reports didn’t hold out much hope. The problem on the horizon promised to be enormous by the time it reached the king. “Alarmed,” we read, “Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the LORD” (2 Chronicles 20:3). He looked through the trouble. Faced with an overwhelming situation, the king immediately turned to Someone who is never overwhelmed.

As we face trouble in our own lives, our prayer can be like Jehoshaphat’s: “Lord, I know you’re in charge. So I choose to recognize this trouble as your problem, not just mine. I admit that I can’t handle this situation, yet it needs to be resolved. What do you say, Lord?”

Notice how God responded to this prayer of faith. He answered, but he didn’t promise to help Judah win the battle. Instead, he said he’d fight for his people. Could the king have anticipated this answer? There are times in our lives as well when God’s good answers surprise us. But notice also that the king still had his marching orders: God told him not to be afraid (twice), not to be discouraged (twice), to march out, to take positions and to go out and face the enemy. By the time the people had completed God’s instructions, the battle was over.

If we can just follow our marching orders from GOD, you will be amazed at what he will bring you through.

Faith, Hope and Love

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Are you still thirsty?

“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Are you still thirsty? Are you still looking for something that has not arrived? Call on Jesus and see what happens.

Words to embrace the drowning soul

The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue,
to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.
The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears;
I have not been rebellious,
I have not turned away.
I offered my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard;
I did not hide my face
from mocking and spitting.
Because the Sovereign Lord helps me,
I will not be disgraced.
Therefore have I set my face like flint,
and I know I will not be put to shame.
He who vindicates me is near.
Who then will bring charges against me?
Let us face each other!
Who is my accuser?
Let him confront me!
It is the Sovereign Lord who helps me.
Who will condemn me?
They will all wear out like a garment;
the moths will eat them up.
Who among you fears the Lord
and obeys the word of his servant?
Let the one who walks in the dark,
who has no light,
trust in the name of the Lord
and rely on their God.

You are never Alone

In the book of Exodus, it talks about Moses leading GOD’s people from Egypt and out of the grasp of pharaoh. Pharaoh agreed to let God’s people go, but soon after they left, Pharaoh changed his mind. He pursued them with 600 of his best chariots and terrified the Israelites. Can you imagine their fear?

They cried out to their leader, Moses. Even though Moses reminded the people of God’s promise that He would deliver them, the circumstances barreling toward them said otherwise. Their reality included Pharaoh’s finest soldiers hot on their heels, and the colossal Red Sea blocking their escape. God’s people had no idea the miracle awaiting them.

When they reached the Red Sea, Moses stretched his hand over the water. Scripture says, “… all that night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land” (Exodus 14:21b). Because it was dark, the Israelites couldn’t quite see the full picture of what God was doing.

In the black of night, the Lord tirelessly worked on behalf of His children to deliver them, just as He had promised. Although the Israelites could not see or hear God, He was moving in the midst of their darkness.

The dark is a very scary place to be. Whether it’s the darkness of our fears or circumstances pressing in, we have two choices as to how to respond. We can take matters into our own hands, turning to drugs or alcohol to numb the pain, seeking advice or reading the latest self-help book, never knowing if any of them is the way to healing and wholeness. Or we can look to God. We can pray and open His Word, knowing He guarantees healing and wholeness.

The Lord promises, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). Like He was for the Israelites, God is there for us. And He is always working on our behalf, even when we can’t see or feel Him.

Insecure thoughts

“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”

The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”

Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me. Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you.”

And the Lord said, “I will wait until you return.”

When doubt tells you that you can’t do something, remember God says you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13). When doubt tells you you’re not good enough, focus on the truth that God says you’re fearfully and wonderfully made; all of His works are wonderful and you are one of them (Psalm 139:14).
Jesus wants us to live with a confident heart so we can accomplish what He’s calling us to do. And He wants to change us from the inside out so we can learn to completely depend on Him!

Gideon’s perception of himself made him feel inadequate. We aren’t so different when damaged emotions and insecurities from our past influence how we see ourselves today. Gideon overcame his doubts and fears by focusing on what God thought about him, instead of what he thought about himself.

The next time you feel insecure, let GOD change your thought process by focusing on His thoughts about you instead of your thoughts about yourself. For instance:

Keep living and studying the word

But because the Philosopher was wise, he kept on teaching the people what he knew. He studied proverbs and honestly tested their truth. The Philosopher tried to find comforting words, but the words he wrote were honest. The sayings of the wise are like the sharp sticks that shepherds use to guide sheep, and collected proverbs are as lasting as firmly driven nails. They have been given by God, the one Shepherd of us all.

My child, there is something else to watch out for. There is no end to the writing of books, and too much study will wear you out.

After all this, there is only one thing to say: Have reverence for God, and obey his commands, because this is all that we were created for. God is going to judge everything we do, whether good or bad, even things done in secret.

Enjoy life but also follow the word of GOD

Young people, enjoy your youth. Be happy while you are still young. Do what you want to do, and follow your heart’s desire. But remember that God is going to judge you for whatever you do.

Don’t let anything worry you or cause you pain. You aren’t going to be young very long. So remember your Creator while you are still young, before those dismal days and years come when you will say, “I don’t enjoy life.” That is when the light of the sun, the moon, and the stars will grow dim for you, and the rain clouds will never pass away. Then your arms, that have protected you, will tremble, and your legs, now strong, will grow weak. Your teeth will be too few to chew your food, and your eyes too dim to see clearly. Your ears will be deaf to the noise of the street. You will barely be able to hear the mill as it grinds or music as it plays, but even the song of a bird will wake you from sleep. You will be afraid of high places, and walking will be dangerous. Your hair will turn white; you will hardly be able to drag yourself along, and all desire will be gone.

We are going to our final resting place, and then there will be mourning in the streets. The silver chain will snap, and the golden lamp will fall and break; the rope at the well will break, and the water jar will be shattered. Our bodies will return to the dust of the earth, and the breath of life will go back to God, who gave it to us.

Be grateful for every year you live

Invest your money in foreign trade, and one of these days you will make a profit. Put your investments in several places—many places even—because you never know what kind of bad luck you are going to have in this world.

No matter which direction a tree falls, it will lie where it fell. When the clouds are full, it rains. If you wait until the wind and the weather are just right, you will never plant anything and never harvest anything. God made everything, and you can no more understand what he does than you understand how new life begins in the womb of a pregnant woman. Do your planting in the morning and in the evening, too. You never know whether it will all grow well or whether one planting will do better than the other.

It is good to be able to enjoy the pleasant light of day. Be grateful for every year you live. No matter how long you live, remember that you will be dead much longer. There is nothing at all to look forward to.