What’s Coming Up Behind You
Have you ever been driving and keeping your eyes on the road before you when suddenly a car came up too fast behind you? If so, do you remember the startling feeling? Do you remember hoping the driver would slow down rather than rear-end you? Often, we speak of the Lord leading us, but Isaiah 52:12 also speaks of the Lord as watching out for our back.
... the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your REAR GUARD.
In this verse God is referred to as a rearguard when the Israelites escaped Egyptian bondage. God is also our rear guard. He watches over us, leads us, and not until heaven will we know how many times He’s protected us from encroaching evil and danger. Just as it was important for Moses and the Israelites to pay attention to and follow God’s instructions, it’s important for us to pay attention and follow His instructions. How do His warnings and instructions come to us? In the Bible and the Holy Spirit’s promptings. How well are we paying attention with a grateful heart?
Lord, thank You for being our REAR GUARD and for all the ways You watch over us and protect us. Help us be ever sensitive to Your promptings. We love You so much.
When You Face Something Beyond DIFFICULT
Do you ever find something to be beyond difficult? If so, I can relate. I’ve often found myself in “over my head.” I wanted to quit. Many of the things we find difficult are not those we can or should give up on. Our marriage, parenting, families, job, health, church, and friendships all require commitment. When we find them to be difficult, we can remember what Jeremiah 32:17 says, that with God NOTHING IS TOO DIFFICULT.
Ah LORD GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! NOTHING IS TOO DIFFICULT FOR YOU.
Isn’t that a great verse? I hope it makes you smile. It does me. God wants us to know “He’s got this.” It’s an incredible reminder that instead of cratering when we’re under pressure, we can call on God who “made the heavens and earth by His great power and outstretched arm.” He can help us with whatever we’re facing. He wants to help us! Call on Him now. Then, prayerfully record in Prayers of My Heart the things weighing you down. Ask God for wisdom for how to handle them. Then, be sure and record how He guides you in the “Meditations, Notes, and Prayer” section of your journal. Date and record your thanks to Him as He walks you through each day.
LORD, NOTHING IS TOO DIFFICULT FOR YOU! Thank You for Your presence, Your power, and You’re provision. We love you!
Do You Need a Miracle
Do you need a miracle? Something extraordinary in your life? What do we mean when we use the word miracle? Webster defines miracle as “a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency; just as rising from the grave.” Another definition is “a highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment that brings very welcome consequences;” such as “it was a miracle that more people hadn’t been killed or injured.” Perhaps it’s that last definition we use most often. “It’ll be a miracle if I can manage everything going on in my life.” Or, “It’ll be a miracle if our marriage makes it.” Let me ask again, “Are you in need of a miracle?” If so, our best hope for experiencing one is to bring Jesus into the equation. Galatians 3:5 describes Jesus as the MIRACLE WORKER.
So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and WORKS MIRACLES among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?
As we consider Jesus, the Miracle Worker, it’s important to consider the combination of the two words: miracle and work; along with the word “faith.” Our miracle isn’t going to happen with the twitch of our nose as in the 1970’s show “I Dream of Jeannie.” When we study Jesus’s miracles we see they involved energy and power (Luke 8:46), most often required a person taking part in faith (John 5:8-9), and often took place as the person acted in obedience (John 9:6-7). Maybe Jesus is showing us that rather than having a demanding, “God, do it now,” attitude, we should thank Him for how He has already worked in our lives, thank Him that He hears us, and then take the next steps He shows us.
Not Just Any Man
Jesus came to earth as a baby so He might grow into a man, but not just any man. He came from heaven as our MESSIAH. Andrew heard John the Baptist announce that Jesus was the Lamb of God who had come to take away the sins of the world. Andrew followed Jesus and after spending time with Him, he told his brother, Simon Peter, “We have found the MESSIAH,” John 1:41. Andrew was intentional about his search for the Messiah and after finding Him was intentional about telling others. In what ways can we be more intentional about sharing Christ with others? We can begin by praying for the unsaved to turn to Christ. I label the last column in the Week at a Glance section of Prayers of My Heart: “Unsaved.” What can we pray for those who do not know Christ as Messiah? Here are 8 suggestions.
Jesus Christ, MESSIAH, You are love, forgiveness, hope, peace, and joy! Help us be as Andrew – intentional about following You and telling others about You.
How Not to be a Sourpuss
Are you a sourpuss? You know, grumpy, negative, never satisfied? If so, take your thoughts CAPTIVE to Christ. Pay attention to what you’re thinking. Why? Our thoughts make us who we are. An example: After God opened a way for the Israelites to miracuously cross the Red Sea on dry land to escape the Egyptian army, Moses could have said, “Boy, that was close! I don’t know why God let that happen! He about got us killed.” Yes, Moses could have complained. Instead, he chose to sing praises to God. Listen to his words:
Your right hand, O LORD, is MAJESTIC in power, Your right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy,” Exodus 15:6. Who is like You among the gods, O Lord? Who is like You, MAJESTIC in holiness, Awesome in praises, working wonders? Exodus 15:11
So, yes, we can look at our day and circumstances and complain. Or, we can choose as Moses did to see the deliverances God has brought us through and how He’s empowered us when we’ve been weak. If we’re a sourpuss and tend to focus on the negative, we’re not doing ourselves or anyone a favor, including God. As a matter of fact, we’re being a bad showcase of our Majestic Lord. Isn’t it time we change? If you want to take your thoughts captive to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5), do it now. Go to God’s throne room and examine your thoughts in the light of His glory. Remember, Moses isn’t the only one who has a God who is MAJESTIC in power and holiness. We do, too. Isn’t it time we align our thinking to Philippians 4:8?
If you have Prayers of My Heart, join me in turning to the Meditations, Notes, and Prayers section today. Write words of praise to your Heavenly Father. Do you need prompts? He’s saved us. He forgives our bad behavior and careless words. His Word straightens our wayward thoughts. His Spirit is our downpayment and security of heaven. His grace is new every morning. Do you have family or friends, a roof over your head, clean water, food, a bed to sleep in at night? Write words of thanks to Him now. Practice gratefulness.
You, O LORD, are MAJESTIC in HOLINESS and POWER! We sing Your praises for all the things You’ve done, are doing, and will do. Help us showcase You by examining our thoughts and being people of praise .
Would you like to experience some magnificence? Our Heavenly Father would like for you to, also. He never intended our lives to be filled with angst, anxiety, and the consequences of sin. He created Adam and Eve in His image and placed them in the magnificent Garden of Eden. He created them to share life in and with Him, to live by His divine nature and experience His MAGNIFICENT GLORY. But now? We live in a sin-sick world that is experiencing the consequences of sin and of shutting Him out. But as believers, our hope is not lost. Rather, our hope is firm in Christ Jesus. After turning from sin and confessing Jesus as Lord and Savior, we can daily meditate on God’s Word. We can be emotionally, mentally, and spiritually grounded in God’s magnificent truths. Second Peter 1:4 tells us that God…
“has granted to us His precious and MAGNIFICIENT promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.”
Stop. Let that sink in. PARTAKER. Of the. DIVINE NATURE. Friends, corruption is not our eternal destiny, but neither is it to be our daily experience. Rather, Christ’s magnificence is to be our daily moment by moment experience. It can be IF we study and grasp what Peter is telling us. We can escape worldly entrapments of despair, hopelessness, powerlessness and so much more by means of Christ’s divine nature in us operating in accordance with God’s promises. In other words, believers have the joy and privilege of learning God’s Kingdom ways and experiencing them through Christ’s Divine Spirit who is in us. Never let the unbelieving world’s despair, anxiety, and hopelessness infiltrate your soul. Begin each day welcoming your Heavenly Father and Spirit’s presence, praying,
“Heavenly Father, thank You for this day. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit, Your divine nature. Help me be increasingly sensitive to Your voice. Overflow in and through me. Help me be increasingly sensitive to Your voice.
The Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and Bible, all MAGNIFICENT, are ours through the gift of salvation. Immerse your mind with the Father’s ways. Bath your heart in His truths and promises. Walk by His MAGNIFICENT divine nature/Spirit. Learn more with “How to Live by the Divine Nature,” my Bible study on 2 Peter.
LORD, You are MAGNIFICENT and Your promises are MAGNIFICENT. Thank You for salvation by which we become partakers of the divine nature. Help us walk out Your magnificent, divine promises so others see and believe.
Record your praise to God that He is “Magnificent” in Prayers of My Heart. Pray for yourself and intercede for your family and others that they live by God’s magnificent nature and promises.
I Shudder to Think…
Following the Israelites exodus from Egypt, Moses recounted their conquests and urged the people to obey God’s Law. In his discourse, he spoke the poignant words in Deuteronomy 4:7. Ponder them with me.
“For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the LORD OUR GOD whenever we call on Him?”
Have you ever thought about his words in relation to our nation? The LORD OUR GOD is OUR God and whenever we call on Him, He’s NEAR? Now you may be thinking that God hasn’t heard our prayers for our nation and hasn’t answered them. But oh, dear friend, we have absolutely no idea the outpouring of evil that might have occurred had God’s hand not been on satan’s neck. God hears our prayers. The Holy Spirit is acting and moving in response to them. If not for our prayers and God answering, I shudder to think how depraved our nation would be. So keep praying! Keep calling on God to raise godly leaders, to protect all who are standing for truth, righteousness, and freedom. What we see on earth is a reflection of the unseen spiritual warfare being played out in the heavenliness so pray like never before. There is power in prayer and your voice counts. In the meantime, it is important to have a grateful heart to God for the daily victories He is accomplishing. Is there any good in your life? Is there a victory in a leader speaking up rather than being silent? Is a family member standing strong under pressure from friends to compromise their beliefs? Are you mindfully thanking God? If not, begin! It’s important that our thanks reach God’s ears. Don’t delay. Order your copy of Prayers of My Heart journal and in the monthly calendar section, jot down 3 ways you see God work each day. Why? Because if you pause over the day with the intention of thanking Him, you’ll bring forward in your mind how God did show up big. It will bring Him pleasure to see you recognize His handiwork. It will alter your mood so that you are a more joyful Christian.
“For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the LORD OUR GOD whenever we call on Him?.” Deuteronomy 4:7
Heavenly Father, I shudder to think what it would be like if Your holy restraining hand were ever lifted. I shudder to think the extent to which evil would prevail were Your Holy Spirit not restraining it. Yes, You are near, hear our prayers, and are working magnificently. We give You praise and glory. Hallelujah, praise You, Lord. Continue on. Show off big. And, may your saints be cheering You on with their daily, mindful, intentional praise.
Good to Consider When We’re Anxious and Praying
Who do you call on when you’re anxious or scared and it seems there is no one who can help you? Who do you call on when you’re powerless to change a situation? Those times have a way of humbling us. Whereas we may have been too busy to pray, we suddenly find we’re continually praying. We’re calling on God. We’re crying out to Him. Such was the case with King Hezekiah when Sennacherib, King of Assyria, threatened to overtake Jerusalem. Hezekiah prayed and prayed hard. Listen to his prayer:
“O LORD OF HOSTS, the God of Israel, who is enthroned above the cherubim, You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Incline Your ear, O LORD, and hear; open Your eyes, O LORD, and see; and listen to all the words of Sennacherib, who sent them to reproach the living God. … Now, O LORD our God, deliver us from his hand that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone, LORD, are God.” Isaiah 37:16-17, 20
You can hear the plea in Hezekiah’s heart. He didn’t want to be defeated. He didn’t want Jerusalem to be overtaken by an enemy. But there is more to his prayer. There is a higher reason to pray for God to deliver you, a loved one, or our nation – so people will know that the LORD is God of all the kingdoms of the earth. When we pray, do we pray only for ourselves? Or, are we praying so God is glorified in and through us and our struggle or situation?
LORD of Hosts who is enthroned above the cherubim, we worship You and recognize You as God alone over all the kingdoms of the earth. Your will be done in our hearts and lives so You are glorified.
Mindless or Intentional Prayer Affects Your Head and Life
David wanted us to know. He used his voice. He was crying out which means he did more than shoot a quickie silent arrow prayer to God. This saint was serious. He was cryING to the Lord.
What did David know that led him to exercise his faith in such a serious and intentional manner? Psalm 3:3 tells us.
A Holy Jolt
I struggled with today’s devotional because first I went in one direction and then another. There are so many important points! The key verse is 1 Timothy 6:15 and the Lord’s attribute is King of Kings. It’s a rich verse. “He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the KING OF KINGS and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.” The verse is straightforward. It’s beautiful to read. The context, though, goes contrary to our human bent. Would you share your thoughts as to why the glorious description of Jesus as King of Kings who dwells in unapproachable light is in the context of 1 Timothy 6: 7-19? Warning: if you read it closely, you may get a holt jolt.
For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will bring about at the proper time—He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.
Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.
To which of the King of King’s instruction is He calling you? That you keep His commandment without stain? To repent of the love of money? To fix your hope on God rather than the uncertainty of riches? To be rich in good works? To flee from temptation? What a blessing that our King sets before us eternal life and tells us to take hold of it. Will we? In which regard?
KING OF KINGS, give us a holy jolt to obey You.