I don’t know

I feel the most unsettled when I’m uncertain about the future.Many of you are also probably facing circumstances that have left you feeling caught off guard and unsure about what tomorrow holds. So many times I find myself bracing for impact when I check my daily news feed. If there’s one word that seems most certain to describe the times we are living in, it’s “uncertain.”There are thousands of scenarios that evoke these feelings of uncertainty, fear and exhaustion from life not being like you thought it would be.Whatever your situation, you probably feel like you can’t change it, but you still have to live through the realities of what’s happening right now. Sometimes you just have to walk in your “I don’t know.” The Lord makes it clear in His Word that things will not always go as we wish they would in this life. The crucial detail for us to have peace in the middle of everything we face is to stay close to the Lord. We think we want comfort in the “I don’t know” times of life. But comfort isn’t a solution to seek; rather, it’s a byproduct we’ll reap when we stay close to the Lord.I wish I could promise you that everything’s going to turn out like you’re hoping it will. I can’t, of course. But what I can promise you is this: God is close to us even in our “I don’t knows.” God has lessons for us that are crucially important for our future, and we’re learning them in the middle of our “I don’t knows.” God has a strength He must prepare us with, and the training ground is here in the “I don’t know.”This time isn’t a waste, and it’s definitely not pointless when we are walking with God. Let’s cry out to God, declaring that this hard time will be a holy time, a close-to-God time. And let’s choose to believe there is good happening, even in these places. We can rest in the knowledge that wherever God is, good is being worked.-What difficult “I don’t know” season are you walking through today?

Lysa TerKeurst

PROVERBS 31 MINISTRIES

The Creation of “YOU”

Promise #124:  
I gently formed you in your mother’s womb.

Psalm 139:13 (WEB)
For you formed my inmost being.
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.

The New International Version Bible says Psalm 139:13 this way… For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. The New Living Translation says… You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.  No matter what translation you prefer, this is a gentle picture of God’s loving creation process.

You were not blasted into creation, but gently formed in your mother’s womb by a loving God who took the time to delicately knit all your inward parts together. May the revelation of your creation bring a sense of well being to your soul. You were not a mistake. God planned you before the foundation of the world and He determined the exact time of your birth.

One of the greatest tragedies in this world today is the feeling that our lives were a mistake. Some people were even told that by their parents. The truth is that no life was ever a mistake. Each person ever created, was created with intention by the One who is love itself.

God gently formed you in your mother’s womb and He is the One who brought you forth on the day you were born. (Psalm 71:6) There is absolutely no doubt about it!

Out of Darkness

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1 Peter 2:9 (WEB)

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellence
of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:

We are the World! Happy New Year!

Praying for blessings to all of you around the world. May we all come together to find what is best in each of us. Love surely is better than hate. Working together, standing together, loving together will make the difference. If you are upset about something, find your voice. Go on Twitter, Facebook, start a Website, care and share positive ideas and progressive thinking instead of crying in a corner. We can all light the place where we stand and that light will shine enough to change things.

Be blessed with much love, joy, and happiness!

Sharon & Erick

We are the world!

There comes a time when we heed a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying
And its time to lend a hand to life
The greatest gift of all

We can’t go on pretending day by day
That someone, somehow will soon make a change
We are all a part of Gods great big family
And the truth, you know,
Love is all we need

We are the world, we are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So lets start giving

Worried Enough to Pray?

by Max Lucado
Last week’s blog struck a nerve. I wrote a piece entitled “Decency for President.” The premise was a simple one. Shouldn’t a presidential candidate who claims to be Christian talk like one? When a candidate waves a Bible in one speech and calls a reporter “bimbo” in the next, isn’t something awry? Specifically, when Donald Trump insists that he is a Christian (“a good Christian” to use his descriptor) and then blasts, belittles, and denigrates everyone from Barbara Bush to John McCain to Megyn Kelly, shouldn’t we speak up?

If the candidate is not a Christian, then I have no right to speak. But if the candidate does what Trump has done, wave a Bible and attempt to quote from it, then we, his fellow Christians need to call him to at least a modicum of Christian behavior, right?

Again, I struck a nerve. More than three million of you read the article in the first 36 hours! Thousands of you weighed in with your comments. They were fascinating to read. (Not all of them pleasant to read, mind you. The dozens of you who told me to stick to the pulpit and stop meddling in politics– I get it. By the way, I’d like to invite you to attend our services. My upcoming message is “Kindness”.) Detractors notwithstanding, your comments were heartfelt and passionate.

I detected a few themes.

You have a deep sense of love for our country. Patriotism oozed through your words. You cherish the uniqueness and wonder of the USA. You have varying opinions regarding leadership style, role of government, and political strategy. But when it comes to loving the country, you are unanimously off the charts.

You have an allergy to “convenient” Christians. You resist people who don the Christian title at convenient opportunities (i.e., presidential campaigns). You would prefer the candidate make no mention of faith rather than leave the appearance of a borrowed faith that will be returned to the lender after the election.

You are concerned, profoundly concerned, about the future of our country. The debt. Immorality. National security. The role of the Supreme Court. Immigration. Religious liberty. The list is as long as the worries are deep.

So where does this leave us? When a person treasures the country, but has trepidation about its future, what is the best course of action?

Elijah can weigh in on this question.

He lived during one of the darkest days in the history of Israel. The Northern Kingdom had 19 kings, each one of whom was evil. Hope had boarded the last train and optimism the final flight. The leaders were corrupt and the hearts of the people were cold. But comets are most visible against the black sky. And in the midst of the darkness, a fiery comet by the name of Elijah appeared.

The name Elijah means, “My God is Jehovah.” And he lived up to his name. He appeared in the throne room of evil King Ahab with a weather report. “‘As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word’” (1 Kings 17:1).

Elijah’s attack was calibrated. Baal was the fertility god of the pagans, the god to whom they looked for rain and fertile fields. Elijah called for a showdown: the true God of Israel against the false god of the pagans. How could Elijah be so confident of the impending drought? Because he had prayed.

Eight centuries later the prayers of Elijah were used as a model.

“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops” (James 5:16-18).

James was impressed that a prayer of such power came from a person so common. Elijah was “a human being” but his prayers were heard because he prayed earnestly. This was no casual prayer, comfortable prayer, but a radical prayer. “Do whatever it takes, Lord,” Elijah begged, “even if that means no water.”

What happened next is one of the greatest stories in the Bible. Elijah told the 450 prophets of Baal: You get a bull, I’ll get a bull. You build an altar, I’ll build an altar. You ask your god to send fire; I’ll ask my God to send fire. The God who answers by fire is the true God.

The prophets of Baal agreed and went first.

“At noon Elijah began to taunt them. ‘Shout louder!’ he said. ‘Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.’

“So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention” (1 Kings 18:27-29).

(Elijah would have flunked a course in diplomacy.) Though the prophets cut themselves and raved all afternoon, nothing happened. Finally Elijah asked for his turn.

“Then Elijah said to all the people, ‘Come here to me.’ They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the LORD, which had been torn down. Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, ‘Your name shall be Israel’” (1 Kings 18:30-31).

Elijah poured four jugs of water (remember, this was a time of drought) over the altar three times. Then Elijah prayed.

“LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command.   Answer me, LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again” (1 Kings 18:36-37).

Note how quickly and dramatically God answered.

“Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, ‘The LORD—he is God! The LORD—he is God!’” (1 Kings 18:38-39).

“Pow!” the altar was ablaze. God delighted in and answered Elijah’s prayer. God delights in and answers our prayers as well.

Let’s start a fire, shall we?

If your responses to my blog are any indication, you are anxious. You love this country, yet you are troubled about the future. You wonder what the future holds and what we can do. Elijah’s story provides the answer. We can pray. We can offer earnest, passionate prayers.

It’s time to turn our concerns into a unified prayer. Let’s join our hearts and invite God to do again what he did then; demonstrate His power. Super Tuesday, March 1, is the perfect day for us to step into the presence of God.

Dear Lord,

You outrank any leader. You hold sway over every office. Greater is the occupant of Heaven’s throne than the occupant of the White House.

You have been good to this country. You have blessed us in spite of our sin and guarded us in spite of our rebellion.

We unite our hearts in one prayer. Let your kingdom come. Let your will be done. Please, speak through the electoral process to reveal your leader.

This we pray in the name of Jesus,

Amen

© Max Lucado
February 29, 2016

Obeying God brings great joy

Have you experienced the joy of obedience?

No good thing will the Lord withhold from those who do what it right. O Lord Almighty, happy are those who trust in you.

Psalm 84:11-12 NLT

This is what I told them: “Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Only do as I say, and all will be well!”

Jeremiah 7:23 NLT

We all live in a web of relationships dependent upon obedience to authority. Like a loving parent, God sets standards for our good and to protect us from evil and harm. God desires obedience motivated not by fear but by love and trust. Ironically, obedience actually frees us up to enjoy life as God intended, because it keeps us from becoming entangled or enslaved to those things that distract us and cause us heartache. Even though God’s command is sometimes difficult, or doesn’t make sense from our human perspective, obedience will always bring blessing, joy, and peace.

adapted from TouchPoint Bible with devotional commentary by Ron Beers and Gilbert Beers, Tyndale House Publishers (1996), p 1238

Digging Deeper

For more on obedience, see End of the Spear by Steve Saint, Tyndale House Publishers (2005).

Steve Saint was five years old when his father, missionary pilot Nate Saint, was speared to death by a primitive Ecuadorian tribe. In adulthood, Steve, having left Ecuador for a successful business career in the United States, never imagined making the jungle his home again. But when that same tribe asks him to help them, Steve, his wife, and their teenage children move back to the jungle. There, Steve learns long-buried secrets about his father’s murder, confronts difficult choices, and finds himself caught between two worlds.

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

Are you filled with Joy?

Are you filled with joy?

I have told you this so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!

John 15:11 NLT

Full Joy

In many ways, we live in bleak times. Millions feel disillusioned with life while millions more feel uncertain about the future — especially young people. Many of you in Generation X have been victims of a great social experiment in which parents who never grew up cast aside time-honored moral values and, in the phrase of the 1960s, did their own thing.

Nevertheless, there is someone to believe in, something to grasp, and someone to trust. You need to go to the next letter of the alphabet, to Y — as in “Why do I exist. Why was I created? And what am I living for?”

According to Jesus, you were created for joy. “These things I have spoken to you,” Jesus said, “that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”

The things Jesus spoke of were His teachings about bearing fruit. We were created to bear fruit for God, which essentially means to become like Jesus: His mind becomes our mind, His purpose becomes our purpose. And there’s only one way to produce such luscious fruit, according to Jesus: “Abide in Me” (John 15:4). This is the secret of spiritual growth and the key to overflowing joy. Are you bearing spiritual fruit?

Adapted from Breakfast with Jesus by Greg Laurie (Tyndale House) p 246-48

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

God is Always the Same

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,

who does not change like shifting shadows. 

James 1:17”

God will always be the same! 

No one else will. 

Lovers call you today and scorn you tomorrow. 

Companies follow pay raises with pink slips. 

Friends applaud you when you drive a classic and dismiss you when you drive a dud. 

Not God. 

God is always the same. 

James 1:17 says, “With God, there is no variation or shadow due to change.” 

Catch God in a bad mood? 

Won’t happen. 

Can your fear exhaust his grace?  A sardine will swallow the Atlantic first. 

Do you think he’s given up on you?  Wrong! 

Did he not make a promise to you? 

What he says he will do, he does. 

What he promises, he makes come true. 

God is not a human being, and he will not lie.

God is never sullen or sour,

sulking

or stressed. 

His strength,

truth,

ways,

and love never change. 

He is the same yesterday and today and forever!

~ Max Lucado

God’s Daily Promise – #11

 

Jeremiah 29:11  

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says Yahweh,
thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope and a future.

  (World English Bible)
Promise #11: My plan for your future is filled with hope.

When you think of your own future, how do you feel? Are you excited to think of what is ahead or does the thought of the future cause you to be anxious? With an uncertain economy, wars and rumors of wars, etc., it is easy to feel anxious and uncertain about what lies ahead. Yet in today’s promise, God says that your future is filled with hope.

My favorite Bible translation of this verse comes from the NIV Bible… For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (NIV) I find it very reassuring to know that God has a plan for my future that is filled with hope. I don’t have to dread what’s coming because my heavenly Dad already has a plan for me. And of course we know that the ultimate hope is living in the light of God’s love forever!

May the reality of today’s promise fill you with peace. May you know that while the future may be uncertain to you, it is not to God. He has a father’s heart toward you and has determined to fill your future with hope. Does this mean that there will be no bumps in the road? Certainly not. But we do know that all things will ultimately work together for our good as Paul declared in Romans 8:28… We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose. (WEB)

God’s Daily Promise – #10

Ezekiel 36:26-27 

26 I will also give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my ordinances, and do them.
(World English Bible)
 
Promise #10: I have given you a new heart and put My own Spirit in you.  
This passage of Scripture is pointing to the day when people would no longer have to live a life separate from God. They wouldn’t have to try and figure out what the Lord desired from a distance because God promised to give them a new heart and put His own Spirit within them.

Of course this promise was fulfilled when Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, came into the world and made a way for each one of us to receive the free gift of salvation. Because of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, we no longer have to live with a cold heart of stone because He has given us a new heart. Because of the New Covenant, we no longer are separated from God because He has given us the most precious gift He could give…the gift of Himself.

God has given each one of us a new heart and He has put His own Spirit within us as a deposit to guarantee our inheritance. There is no greater gift that He could give. May we be aware of the abiding presence of God that lives in us today and have a heart of thanksgiving to God for giving us the precious gift of a new heart and His own Spirit!

Photo by Barry Adams

Click here to read Barry Adams’ new daily devotional at Fatherheart.tv

God’s Daily Promise – #9

Galatians 3:29 

If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed
and heirs according to promise.
(World English Bible)

Promise #9: Since you are in Christ, I have made you an heir of all My promises.
 
Every one of the promises that God made to Abraham now belongs to you and I because we belong to Jesus Christ and are now heirs according to the promise. Just think of that for a moment. You are an heir of God and a joint heir with Jesus (Romans 8:17). Every promise that God made to Abraham is part of your own spiritual inheritance!

When God said to Abraham that He would be the father of many nations, and a blessing to many (Genesis 12), you were part of that promise.  The New Living Translation says Galatians 3:29 this way… And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you. NLT

May our God and Father give each one of us a revelation today about what it means to be an heir in His amazing kingdom. An heir of God and a co-heir with our elder brother, Jesus Christ. There is no higher call, there is no greater destiny, than to be part of the eternal family of the living God. Be encouraged by the words found in Galatians 4:7 – So you are no longer a bondservant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.(WEB)

Photo by Jeff Epp

Click here to read Barry Adams’ new daily devotional at Fatherheart.tv

God’s Daily Promise – #8

Galatians 4:6

And because you are children,
God sent out the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying,
“Abba, Father!”

 (World English Bible)

Promise #8: I sent the Spirit of My Son into your heart so you could call Me Father.

The greatest gift that the Father could give us was the Spirit of His Son, the Spirit of Sonship. Each one of us who is born again, carries within our being the very life and nature of Jesus Christ Himself. Galatians 4:7 goes on to say… So you are no longer a bondservant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. (WEB)

The Spirit of the Son that lives within us continually calls out ‘Abba Father!’. Abba is an Aramaic word for father that little children would call out to their dads in New Testament times. It would be like us saying ‘papa’ or ‘daddy’ in the English language. Because we carry within our very being the Spirit of the Son, our spirit man continually cries out ‘Papa’ to God, whether we are aware of this cry in our heart or not.

I believe it delights our heavenly Father when we cry out ‘Abba!’ to Him, for that is the very reason why God has given us the Spirit of His Son… so that He could be a Father to us. So may a cry resonate deep in our heart today as we join with the Spirit of the Son that lives within us that calls out ‘Abba Father!’.
Photo by Jeff Epp

Click here to read Barry Adams’ new daily devotional at Fatherheart.tv

God’s Daily Promise – #7

John 3:16 

For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

(World English Bible)

Promise #7: I have given you eternal life because you have believed in Jesus Christ.
John 3:16 is one of the most quoted, most loved Bible verses in the New Testament. This Scripture has been used by evangelists over the years to invite many people to come to Christ. The foundation of this much loved verse is and always will be, the love of the Father. For God (the Father) so loved the world…

It was the great love of our heavenly Father that caused Him to give up His most treasured possession, the life of His Son, so that we too could share in Jesus’ eternal life. What a glorious promise! We were loved so much by God, that He gave up all that He loved in order to gain our love!

May we never take the wonder of John 3:16 for granted, but may we continue to revel in the amazing love our God and Father has for us every day in our lives. Thank you Father for loving us so much, that you sent your only begotten Son to the world in order to purchase our redemption! ~ Barry Adams

God’s Daily Promise – #6

Colossians 1:12-13 

12 giving thanks to the Father, who made us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; 13 who delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the Kingdom of the Son of his love;
(World English Bible)

Promise #6: I delivered you from darkness into the kingdom of My beloved Son.
Each one of us were once held captive by the power of darkness before we were set free by the power of Christ and brought into His kingdom. For every one who have said ‘yes’ to Jesus, our old life is now in the past tense and our new life in Christ is our present reality…
Whether we feel like it or not.

May the Holy Spirit give us revelation today to know that we have already been translated into the kingdom of our elder brother. The power of darkness has no more hold on us because of our royal position in Christ. We now live in an upside down kingdom, where the last will be first, the weak will be strong, and the poor will inherit the riches of our Father’s kingdom.

May each and every one of us echo the prayer that Paul prayed in Ephesians that our God and Father would give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation to know Him better. That the eyes of our heart would be opened so that we could really see the hope of His calling and our glorious inheritance in the saints!

Ephesians 1:15-23…
15 For this cause I also, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which is among you, and the love which you have toward all the saints, 16 don’t cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to that working of the strength of his might 20 which he worked in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in that which is to come. 22 He put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things for the assembly, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. (WEB)

God’s Daily Promise #5

Ephesians 1:4-5 

4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and without blemish before him in love; 5 having predestined us for adoption as children through Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his desire,
(World English Bible)

Promise #5: I chose you to be adopted into My family before creation.
It pleased the Father to choose us before the foundation of the world. In love, He saw the day when we would say yes to the free gift of His Son’s life for our life and become born into His amazing family. Before He even spoke the world into existence, He saw us!

And our adoption is not like any human adoption, for God has given us His own Spirit as a deposit to guarantee our inheritance. We are not servants in His house, but actual sons and daughters, joint heirs with our elder brother Jesus, seated in Christ in heavenly places.

What an amazing promise! Every other promise and precept rests on God’s eternal plan to make us part of His family. As Ephesians 1:4 says, we are holy and without blame before Him in love all because of the finished work of Jesus Christ. What Jesus did on our behalf has secured our place forever as God’s kids!

1 John 3:1 – Behold, how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! For this cause the world doesn’t know us, because it didn’t know him. (WEB)

 

God’s Daily Promise #4

Genesis 1:27-28  

27 God created man in his own image. In God’s image he created him; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them. God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
(World English Bible)

Promise #4: I created you in My own image with My special blessing.

God created us in His own image. Think about that for a moment. We were created to reflect the image of God Himself! I wonder what the angels thought when they first saw Adam and Eve? What a glorious privilege to be made in the image of the One who knit us together in our mother’s womb!

May we never take this blessing for granted. May we always be in awe of the fact that we were created to look just like God. When Jesus came to the earth 2,000 years ago, He sealed the deal by making a way for us to be conformed into His image (Romans 8:29) inside and out so that He could be the firstborn of many brothers and sisters.

My prayer today is that we would live in the light of our Father’s original blessing to be fruitful, to multiply and to have dominion throughout the whole earth with the knowledge that we were created to look just like our heavenly Dad.

Photo by Barry Adams