For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:5-8 NIV
1 I will extol the Lord at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
2 I will glory in the Lord;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
3 Glorify the Lord with me;
let us exalt his name together.
4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
6 This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.
8 Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
I spoke with a woman last night who is really struggling with understanding God after the loss of her husband, sister and mother. All three happened in such a way that the memory of each passing was left unresolved. I realized that she hasn’t been able to move past them because she wasn’t expecting things to occur as they did, and she doesn’t understand why God would allow those things to happen. They are like skips in a record that causes her to stay in an infinite loop of questioning God and never moving beyond it.
From what we discussed, the issue really boiled down to whether or not God is good. Her question she couldn’t get past was “why God would create man if some of them would go to hell”, and that basically is really questioning His goodness. She will need to settle that question before she can move forward in her faith.
As I shared with her, I believe that God’s only goal for creating mankind was to love them and have them freely love Him in return. That means allowing some to reject Him of their own free will. God doesn’t send anyone to Hell – people choose to live without Him. That is all a part of free will. Just as when we have children, we know that they may love us or reject us, they may make us proud or make us ashamed. But we still choose to have those children, because we want to love them and have them love us. We take that risk whenever we choose to have children.
As soon as you move into “why” questions, you are trying to understand God’s infinite thoughts with a human limited mind. We will never have all of those answers here on earth. At some point, we all have to move beyond our demands for answers we can see and understand and into living by faith instead of sight.
Either He is good and we choose to trust His goodness, even in the face of things we cannot comprehend, or He is not good, which makes Him evil instead, and we cannot trust Him. I’m praying God will communicate what you specifically need to reinforce your faith in His goodness. Being in His presence is what confirms it for me every time, because that is where I can taste and see that the Lord is Good.
QUESTIONS FOR THE DAY:
1) How do you know that God is good?
2) When bad things happen, how can you remind yourself of God’s infinite goodness and wisdom despite what you see with your eyes?
Seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to Yahweh for it; for in the peace of it shall you have peace. (Jer 29:7)
I know that this passage of scripture is speaking to the Israelites who have been taken captive in a foreign city, but God spoke to me about this in regard to times in our lives when we are captives of situations and emotions we cannot escape. It is possible to seek God’s peace in whatever situation you find yourself.
It might be a work situation that is causing you stress or that is unfulfilling. It might be a relationship that is hard or does not meet your expectations, or simply the delayed realization of your hopes and dreams. It could be the result of physical or emotional trauma in your life, the consequences of which you still struggle with every day.
Peace means being at one with someone or something. Being at one with the situation means accepting what has happened to you instead of fighting it, and deciding you are going to move on in spite of what happened. People get stuck obsessing over the past so they never move toward a better future. Yes, bad things happened to you, but what are you going to do NEXT?
Being at one with God means abiding in Him and not struggling against His allowed will. It means accepting His plan and purpose, trusting His will and His ways, resting in His goodness and mercy, and moving forward in His power and wisdom. It means building up your faith so you CAN trust and rest in Him and access His peace.
His is the peace that passes all understanding, it is the peace that is completely unlike the peace that the world gives. His peace is inexplicable, powerful, and is not affected by circumstances. The world’s peace is fickle and faltering, and can change as soon as the situation changes. But it will not just fall upon you – you must make an effort to seek His peace.
QUESTIONS FOR THE DAY:
1. In what areas of your life are you lacking peace and need to consciously SEEK peace?
2. What specifically do you need to do in order to obtain His peace?
Ps 17:3 I have determined that my mouth will not sin.
Out of the abundance of the heart is what the mouth will speak. That is why it is so important that we take every thought captive, and compare it to Christ, what He has said and what He has done.
Thinking before we speak is a simple concept but not so easy to implement. But we do have the ability to stop, close our mouths, and think about what we are about to say before we actually say it. This gives us time to listen to the Holy Spirit’s leading, to see if He is telling us to be quiet or to proceed.
We must make a conscious decision to determine that we will not sin with our mouths, we will not express a lack of faith in God, we will not express a lack of love to others or ourselves. This is particularly hard when others have spoken harshly to us. We have a tendency to repeat the hurtful things that others have said to us. But we can be free of it as we are healed of these hurtful things.
I challenge you to put a guard over your mouth and not speak anything that does not encourage and edifying others and especially yourself today. You need to build yourself up in the most holy faith, and faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Speak life and faith to yourself today, not negativity. Speak the truth of the situation but counter it with God’s eternal truth.
QUESTION FOR THE DAY:
1) What does determining that your mouth will not sin mean to you and how can you practically accomplish that?
Jude 1:20-21 says:
20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.
Do you know you have to KEEP yourselves in God’s love? It is an act on our part. His love remains true and present at all times, but we tend to wander away from His love and yearn for other people’s love instead – most of the time, love that another person isn’t capable of giving to us for a reason of their own (not because of who or how you are). But how do we do that? We build ourselves up in our faith and pray. That’s how we stay in God’s love.
To build yourself up means to continue building on the existing foundation. For all of us, that is the foundation of salvation, having been rescued from the dominion of darkness and brought into His kingdom of glorious light. We need to remember what our foundation is, the unshakable love of God, His endless mercies toward us, and His chain blasting power working in and through us.
Faith means to be persuaded to trust someone, and in our case, that means entrusting God with ourselves and everything (including anyone) that is important to us. To build your faith means to add to the reasons why you are persuaded to trust in Him, every day, adding to your gratitude list.
It also means taking chances, taking risks, by moving out into unknown areas WHERE HE HAS LED YOU. Notice, I don’t mean where you go wandering off by yourself. I mean when He asks you to move out where you haven’t been before, and you take the chance to trust that He knows what He is doing and are persuaded that He is capable of taking care of all that is important to you.
Then there is prayer – communicating with our Father in order to be filled with His Spirit so we actually CAN move forward in faith. The thing most people don’t understand is that God doesn’t want us to try to do this on our own. He asks us to do something and then offers us His divine empowerment (his “grace) to obey Him. We access it by asking for it – through prayer.
He truly has given us everything we need for life and godliness. We just need to access it and keep moving forward toward Him day by day, in HIS power.
1. How has your faith been lacking or falling apart? In what areas of your life, and why?
2. How can you build up your faith today? What is God asking you to do that you are putting off for lack of trust or fear of the unknown?
Have a very blessed day, Pretty Princesses!
14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,[a]15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
In the introduction to what has become a favorite devotional book (Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young), she talks about walking around outside, where the sunlight was hot enough to sunbathe, but the snow was so deep that the sun couldn’t melt it. It immediately made me think about our faith, and when it is deep enough, the heat of the battle cannot dissolve that faith. A thin layer of faith can be disturbed, but not a deep faith.
We need continually abiding faith so Christ’s Spirit can truly dwell (remain) in our hearts (the seat of our thoughts, will and emotions). We need to be “rooted and grounded” in His love, not only in the intelligent understanding of what God’s love for us and in us is, but in the experience of His love flowing through us toward others. So many people think that God loves us just so we will feel loved, but we are missing the point that God loves everyone, and when He pours His love into us, it is not meant to be hoarded or welled up, but poured out lavishly on others. That’s hard for us when all we really are considered about 99% of the time is getting what we want.
I pray that you truly will experience how all encompassing God’s love can be if you let Him love you instead of pushing Him away in your hopelessness or despair. I pray that you will experience His glory-filled strength which is perfected in us when we acknowledge that we are weak and we need Him to do all the things we cannot do for ourselves. I pray that you will truly be filled with God’s Holy Spirit, in every nook and cranny, and that you will willingly submit to what the Spirit speaks to you and wants for your life, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
There are no hopeless situations; there are only people who have grown hopeless about them. Clare Boothe Luce
Matt 19:26 “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
A number of years ago researchers performed an experiment to see the effect hope has on those undergoing hardship. Two sets of laboratory rats were placed in separate tubs of water. The researchers left one set in the water and found that within an hour they had all drowned. The other rats were periodically lifted out of the water and then returned. When that happened, the second set of rats swam for over 24 hours. Why? Not because they were given a rest, but because they suddenly had hope!
Those animals somehow hoped that if they could stay afloat just a little longer, someone would reach down and rescue them. If hope holds such power for unthinking rodents, how much greater should is effect be on our lives. Today in the Word, May, 1990, p. 34.
SO HOLD ON! His right hand can reach down into ANY situation and give you reprieve, for a season or forever.
It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them.
Was my arm too short to deliver you? Do I lack the strength to rescue you? By a mere rebuke I dry up the sea, I turn rivers into a desert; their fish rot for lack of water and die of thirst.
HOLD ON! Have faith in God’s ability to change ANY situation by his own supernatural power (His grace), and to provide what you REALLY need and want in His own time and season. REFUSE TO DEMAND HOW GOD NEEDS TO FIX THE SITUATION! Give Him free reign to do above and beyond all that we think or imagine with our puny minds and limited experience.
18 But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
19 to deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine.
20 We wait in hope for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
21 In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
22 May your unfailing love be with us, Lord,
even as we put our hope in you.
6 Then the Lord passed in front of him and proclaimed:
Yahweh — Yahweh is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in faithful love and truth, 7 maintaining faithful love to a thousand generations, forgiving wrongdoing, rebellion, and sin. But He will not leave the guilty unpunished, bringing the consequences of the fathers’ wrongdoing on the children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generation.
Isn’t it wonderful that our God is slow to anger, faithful to keep His promises, forgiving of our wrongdoing, rebellion and sin? He has compassion on us, even when we mess up. He is gracious, providing us with undeserved favor and empowerment. This is the message He speaks to the redeemed, those who have acknowledged their sin and have asked for forgiveness.
However, often we think of God’s attitude toward us as being harsh and punishing, remembering our sin to several generations, but that is not accurate. That is what Satan would like you to believe, but it is not true in our case. God forgives as soon as we ask, and chooses not to remember our sins anymore. He separates our sin from us as far as the east is from the west, because we are covered in the atoning shed blood of Jesus. The harshness is reserved for the unrepented sin of non-believers.
So when you feel condemnation, or think that God doesn’t like you, remember that it is a trick and a lie from Satan. Contrary to popular belief, we are NOT all children of God, and we are not all treated the same. You have to be born again through faith to be a child of God; everyone else is God’s CREATION, not His child.
As His child, He treats you with compassion and graciousness, loving-kindness and long-suffering. No matter how far you feel you have wandered away from God, He is ALWAYS close enough to hear you ask for forgiveness and receive you with open arms, just as the father of the Prodigal son did. He is always on your side, and always rooting for you to grow and mature in your walk with Him.
Plainly put, He loves you and wants to be close to you at all times. Don’t let Satan ever make you think otherwise.