From May 11, 2016
Issac was just born. God kept his promise to Abraham. He would have an heir. Yet now there was a problem. What would happen to Ishmael?
Sarah’s jealously flared and her fear of Isaac losing his promised inheritance outweighed her compassion for human life. Hagar and Ishmael were sent away with only a flask of water.
Scared, rejected, and alone, Hagar positioned herself but a short distance from her crying son. She could not bare to watch him die, but with no water and being alone in the desert, death seemed inevitable.
But God did not forget his promise to bless Ishmael as well as Isaac. He sent an angel to comfort Hagar. He led her to a well. He reached out to Hagar and watered her soul and her body. He kept his promise, and somehow, even in the wilderness, they grew and were blessed.
Are you cast out, rejected, despised and afraid? Are you stuck in your own wilderness with nowhere to turn. To you God says, “Do not be afraid.” Just as with Hagar, He will lead you to water. He may lead you out of this wilderness as he did the Israelites in years to come, or He may walk with you through it, fulfilling His promise even in the vast emptiness. Whatever He does you need not fear. He WILL bless you. All you have to do is say, “yes” to Him.
From May 10, 2016
Fear, worry, and doubt can all be very paralyzing. They can hold us back from the very good things God has in store for us. Yet repeatedly in scripture we see the phrases, “Do not fear”, “Do not worry”, and “Trust in the LORD.”
Abram had no heir. He knew all he had would be given away and that his name would not continue on, but God promised Abram offspring more numerous than he could count. Over time, as He did not see the promise fulfilled, Abram again began to worry and fear and took things into his own hands, conceiving an heir in his own way and in his own time.
Yet, God had not forgotten. Had we waited a bit longer and trusted what the Lord promised, his story and the history of our world would have changed forever.
So many times I only trust God’s promises for a time. I trust His promise, but I do not trust His timing. Then fear takes over and causes me to take matters into my own hands.
Today I chose trust. Today I beg for patience. Today I will not live in fear.
Crossroads. Waiting. Questioning. Searching. Longing for truth. Longing for direction. Seeking purpose. I know so many people (including myself) who can relate to one or all of these descriptions. We long to see God’s direction. We long to be filled with His Holy Spirit. Yet, it’s so easy to give up, to become discouraged, and to let our circumstances and the world around us become greater and bigger than the promises of God.
God has promised to give us what we are asking for, but we mustn’t stop asking. He has promised to help us find what we are seeking, but we can’t give up the search. He has promised to open the doors of Heaven to us, but we can’t stop knocking as if no one is home. We must believe His promise. We must cling to His truth. We must trust His words and never give up.
Stress and anxiety are at an all time high in our nation. So many of us feel overwhelmed and unsure of how to relate to the world around us. So much is changing so fast and we have more information thrown at us than we can possibly process. Yet amidst all this, God commands us not to worry.
He doesn’t just leave us there though. He stoops down and shows us the way. At first glance His solution is simple, but when we dig a little deeper, we find it is radical. We must first seek after Heaven. We must first seek after righteousness – Christ’s righteousness.
What would our lives look like if we really did that? What if seeking Jesus first with all of our hearts, what if reaching for Heaven became the most important thing in our lives? What would things look like? How would they change? It’s ironic because this way of living requires total and complete surrender and trust. It’s enough to cause a bit of anxiety on its own.
Yet, if God cannot keep His promise here, then all else is in vain. He is faithful and He is true. My prayer today is that He can shift my eyes toward Heaven, that I may learn to trust and depend on Him more each day.
From May 9, 2016
I remember the very first time I ever came across this passage. It caught me off guard and I thought. Wow! How faithful, how amazing is our God. May I daily die to Him, endure through Him, proclaim Him as my Savior and be forever faithful.
The sermon on the mount. I could easily take a month just to study the precious gems contained in this first public speech given by Jesus. But as I was reading today, one thing really stood out to me.
Growing up I always thought this passage, this chapter really, was a call to perfection. That anything less was not acceptable. Yet, what l see now is an urging, a push, the realization that we need a Savior.
I always felt great pressure in the call to let my light shine. If I messed up, or fell short, I would be misrepresenting Christ and my fear was that this misrepresentation would actually turn people away from God. I felt I had to be perfect.
The reality is that we are sinful. Only God is perfect. We must allow God into our hearts, our lives, and He CAN change us. But the focus with this kind of thinking is still on self. We must ever be looking to Christ. He is big enough. He is strong enough. He is bright enough to shine through all of our imperfections, all of our shortcomings and failures. He is bright enough to eclipse my imperfections. He is strong enough to work change in me.
But, the biggest thing I’m realizing today is that it’s not about me. It’s about Him. It’s about surrender. It’s about the amazing things He can do, will do and is doing in me, and it’s about not being afraid to share that with others.
Jesus’ ministry had begun. His time was here, yet it was clear from the beginning that Jesus’s work, His reign, His deliverance would not be what everyone expected.
His ministry began with Him being baptized rather than baptizing. He spent forty days of fasting and temptation and was then tended by heavenly armies, not earthly ones. He gathered a band of fishermen, sinners and unknowns to be his closest network. Where were the big names and people of great influence? Jesus did not begin gathering an army and organizing a force of renegades determined to bring change and freedom. Rather, He began loosing people’s chains of sickness, freeing them from the chains of their own bodies. With His love and words, He soothed the soul and mended broken hearts.
The people had prayed for a savior, a liberator. God heard their cries. He sent His very own Son to bring the freedom, yet because their pleas were not answered in the way they expected, so many were confused and missed the blessings. How often does God answer our prayers in unexpected ways, but due to our myopia, we fail to see His work in our lives.
My prayer is that God may open my eyes today that I may see His work around me – that His ministry may not go on unnoticed. I pray that He will shift my focus from seeking physical liberation to seeking His wonderful liberation of my soul.