I know you want peace. I know that this upheaval that you face has made your world spin and stressed you far beyond comfort and reason. You have turned to me to seek guidance, peace and hope in the midst of this chaos. I hear your prayers and my heart is tinder to you in the midst of your struggle.
It is easy to get confused while following me. It is easy to believe that following me in chaotic times is about sitting and waiting until you get a clear word from me, until you have peace, and only after you receive enough peace do you move forward. There are times where I will instruct you to wait and see my deliverance as I did many times in the Old Testament. My servant Jehoshaphat comes to mind. But your confusion comes because you do not understand that peace often walks hand in hand with obedience. What have I commanded you to do? What of my will do you already know to do without having to ask? Do it with obedience and see if peace does not follow. Still worried you will miss the way? What master would not reward a servant who is being diligent in what they were told to do, while they waited for further instruction? Am I not better than any earthly master? While you wait for peace, be obedient and peace will come in time.
Peace, I AM
Verses for consideration: 2 Chronicles 20, John 14:25-27, 1 Peter 4:7-11, Matthew 24:45-51
I remember when you were about 10 years old. You begged and begged me for a watch that would play a simple video game. You wanted it so badly, and as only a child can, you asked for it over and over again. You thought if you asked enough times I would give it to you. While that kind of praying is expected from a spiritual child, it is not becoming to one mature in the faith.
My son taught that if you need or want something you are to ask me boldly in his name. You are not to beg like a child. You are not to demand like some tantruming toddler or bargain and scheme in an attempt to manipulate me into giving you what you want. Rather you are to humbly approach me, as a loving Father and make your requests known. Like that watch, there are many things you ask for I will not give you, but coming into my presence and speaking to me honestly will change you, change what you ask for and strengthen our relationship. Come boldly and ask what you will.
Waiting for each request, I AM
Verses for thought: Matthew 5:5-8, Philippians 4:4-7, Micah 7:7, Proverbs 15:29
I cannot help but remember last New Year’s day. I was content with life and looked forward to a new year. I had plans and visions for what the year would bring; reunions and travel, graduations and celebrations and a good year without too many surprises. Everything seemed in hand. I look back and see how smug I was and am ashamed. You know how things worked out. While there were many celebrations, there were some overwhelming surprises. New job, new address, different continent, an uncertain future, so many sad goodbyes, loss of so many good friends that I worked with, health challenges, and a difficult diagnosis for my child and pending surgery, are just some of the things faced since the last new year. I cannot help but ponder what I will face between now and when the next new year celebration comes.
O Father, without you I would have been overwhelmed. Without you I would never have survived. Without you I would have been overwhelmed, abandoned to my sin and left empty and devastated. Forgive my smugness. Thank you for your presence and mercy. Walk with me every day of this new year, it is the only way I will get through it.
Surviving only by your grace and mercy, I am
Verses for consideration: Matthew 6:33-34, Psalm 39:4-7, James 4:13-16
Yes, I do know the actual date on your calendar when my son was born. No, it is not December 25th, the day commonly celebrated. No, I am not the least offended that this day was chosen to celebrate the birth of my son. Any pagan origins related to the choice of this date are not of concern to me.
Do you remember when you celebrated your grandmother’s 90th birthday early? She was ill at the time and your family was afraid that if they did not celebrate when they had the opportunity, they might not have another opportunity. Was the date significant? No, it was the person you celebrated that mattered. It is the same with my son. The date is insignificant, it the celebration of his coming that is precious. It is the fact that God came as a man to dwell with men and to bring them salvation. Do not fret about dates, but rather glory in the gift.
Immanuel, I AM
Verses for thought: Matthew 1:18-25, Isaiah 7:14, Luke 2:1-21
There will be no new posts until January 1st. May the God of Peace give you a blessed holiday season. Glen
In the wanderings of the children of Israel, they reached a point where the food they had brought with them from Egypt had run out. They began to be hungry and they grumbled and complained. “Why did we not die in Egypt where we had food to eat, rather than starve in this desert?” was their constant refrain. I provided for them, despite their complaints, but they needed to leave Egypt and its provision behind them to accept my provision for them.
At times in your life you will suffer want as you wander through a desert. It can appear as if I do not love you and have not provided, but my plan is to help you leave behind your dependence on this world and help you learn to depend upon me. The want you suffer may be food or other essentials, but it can come in the form of relationships, fellowship, encouragement, recognition, guidance, peace, and a whole host of other ways you may suffer want. Do not despair. I love you and have a plan to provide. I just want to wean you off the things of “Egypt” first, so that you fully rely upon me.
Your Provision in the desert, I AM
Verses for consideration: Exodus 16, Psalms 37:25, Psalm 144
You do not know what you pray for. The stress and pressure that blessing you want would put upon you and our relationship would be extraordinary, even overwhelming. Confused? Blessings are tests and trials wrapped in beautiful paper. You immediately accept them, but you do not know what is inside. You understand tests and trials as you have faced many already in your life. You know that if you are not walking with me, depending on me, then the trial will overwhelm you and may lead to sin. Even if not overt sin, then sins of attitude, of the heart and of trust with me. Our relationship will suffer as a consequence and other human relationships often suffer as well.
Do you remember the kings of the Old Testament? How much power and prestige they had? How many wore it well and maintained their relationship with me? Even my son David, committed cold blooded murder while following his lusts. Blessings and trials have this in common, the greater they are the closer you must walk with me to endure them. Though they are readily received like that wrapped present, they test how close you are walking with me as much as any hardship. The blessings you are asking of me seem reasonable to you. And while nothing can tax my power, to give you that blessing may be more than you can bear. Granted, I will be there beside you no matter what, but know that what you ask for may be more burden than blessing.
The Giver of All Good Gifts, I AM
Verses for consideration: 2 Kings 20, James 1:12,17, Deuteronomy 30:1-10
I am with you. I am with you while you sleep and when you get up. While you prepare yourself for the day, eat the morning meal and read the day’s news, I am still here. I am with you in the mundane times like the school car line, the terrifying times such as when the word “cancer” is uttered and in all the in-between times. I am with you today, as I was yesterday and will be tomorrow. I see every tear, experience every joy and am present every time you sin. I stand beside you when all else abandon you and I am the first one there when you succeed. In your despair and grief, in every triumph and victory, no matter how small or great, I am with you.
With you, I AM
Verses for consideration: Genesis 28:10-15, Psalm 27:4, Exodus 33:12-23
You live in a temporary world where nothing is permanent. Yes, from your finite place in time, things can seem permanent, but governments will fall and lives will be lost. Policies will change. Some will retire and move on, new ones will take their place. Rot and decay will take the most treasured possession given time. Fads will pass and trends will cease as quickly as they began, only to have new ones take their place.
It is because you live in a temporary world that you have such a hard time grasping my permanency. I never change, I will never pass away. I am without boundaries, without limits, without equal. I am and will always be. This is so essential for you to grasp so that you understand what is important. No matter the value of your cherished possession, or how great the relationship is, it is only temporary. Keep your focus on me, the one who never changes and will ever be here. Then those things that are temporary can be held in the right perspective.
Permanent, I AM
Verses for consideration: Hebrews 13:8, Hebrews 6:13-20, Malachi 3:6, James 1:17
If you set out to be holy on your own terms you are destined to fail. Do you remember all the stories of the Bible of the Pharisees? They were intent on the law, keeping themselves “holy”. They worked tirelessly on lists of laws to clarify my law and to make it fit every situation and circumstance. Many worked tirelessly to keep every little nuance of my law and what they added to it. What became of their efforts? They were empty of grace and true holiness and did not even recognize the True Law Giver when my son appeared to them.
It is not only Pharisees who can lose the way and not know my son. Many think that keeping all the teachings of their religious beliefs, their Christian religious beliefs, will make them holy. They quickly begin to resemble Pharisees, with cold structured hearts that do not know my ways or recognize my Son and the grace he offers. My child, my Son was so right to warn of the “leaven” or teachings of the Pharisees. Be on the lookout in your own heart for holiness that comes by doing and keeping the rules, rather than by grace and salvation in Christ alone.
Holiness, I AM
Verses for consideration: Matthew 23:13-39, Mark 8:14-21, Luke 18:9-14
Do you know what will happen to you tomorrow? When illness will come upon you next? Which loved one will soon pass from your life? What will cause your next heartbreak? Life is so uncertain. You are not all knowing, all seeing, present everywhere in all time and space. You do not have perfect knowledge. Even if you had those things they would do you no good. Your sinful heart would misuse them and you would be worse off very quickly.
Because of this uncertain world, I give you my goodness. If you have the faith that I am good, then no matter what comes, you know you can trust me to care for you as a loving father. Yes, you will be crushed by this life and feel your heart has been ripped from your chest at times, but I will be there to comfort you, heal you and teach you to be more like my son. You can trust my goodness, no matter the answer to life’s questions, no matter the circumstance. Place your faith in me, throw yourself on my goodness and see how I will stand beside you, even in the storm.
Goodness, I AM
Verses for consideration: 2 Peter 1:3-4, Psalm 145:3-7, Romans 15:13