Today’s fortune cookie declared, “In the province of the mind, what one believes to be true either is true or becomes true.” Isn’t this what we are witnessing in the world around us? We all decide what is true for us, and if something is not yet reality, our belief that it is true results in it becoming true. Our thoughts are powerful which is why God is clear on where we should focus (see Philippians 4:8).
In Proverbs 23, we read, “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” This is why it is so important for us to be right with our thinking. It is easy to listen to other people and miss the truth. We have an overabundance of self-proclaimed experts in our midst. We also live in a time period with an oversaturation of data, some of it true and some not true at all. Plus, in this age of social media, we have all found ourselves playing the game of comparing lives which has only reinforced and grown our personal insecurities.
John 17:17 says, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” This verse reminds us that when we are seeking truth, we should look to God for truth. When you want to know who you truly are, see what God says about you. When you want to know what is true, ask Him. He will open your eyes to what is true. Today, may you fix your eyes on what is true.
“For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” – Proverbs 23:7a [NASB]
Today’s fortune cookie said this: “There is no glory unless you put yourself on the line.” Glory is a big thing. We read in the Bible that we are made for God’s glory. We read that no one can steal God’s glory. In fact, the glory is God’s alone.
This fortune cookies basically says that one must be on the line for glory. If there is no sacrifice, no challenge, if things are simple and ordinary, there is no achievement—there is no magnificence. If you are satisfied with mediocre, you may be missing the mark.
Sometimes in life, we are at an all-time low and God gets greater glory from our faithful obedience as He leads us from all-time low to our greater destiny. Sometimes we must sacrifice, humble ourselves, and risk what may appear as an easy win, so that we can get the more difficult victory. In faith, we are often led to put it “on the line,” to even say “no” to the good, so that we can say “yes” to the great. Remember, it all comes down to God’s glory. So today, ask the Spirit if you are living for His glory.
“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” – Philippians 2:9-11 [NIV]
God delights in every step. Every step. The focus for many is on the success of step(s) taken. We think every step of obedience should result in something big. In this age of social media, we see the blessings of God that others receive, and human nature is to compare lives.
As well, when we make a step and we do not see a visible result, it can cause frustration and doubt. When we take a step and it appears as if something bad happens thereafter, we experience discouragement. Today’s verse does not say that God delights in the successful steps we take to follow, but that He delights in every step we take to follow Him. Every step; not the result of the step(s).
Be careful not to be caught up on the result of your steps. Do not let the results of past steps keep you from taking the next step. Remember, God delights in the steps. He is cheering you on as you live out your purpose. Keep pressing forward. Keep pursuing Him. Keep taking the steps to follow Him.
“The steps of the God-pursuing ones follow firmly in the footsteps of the Lord, and God delights in every step they take to follow him.” – Psalm 37:23 [TPT]
Moses had the great task of bringing God’s people out of Egypt. He had to deal with the hard-hearted Pharaoh and the stiff-necked Israelites. The first meeting with Pharaoh caused the Israelites more burden and they were not happy with Moses—they actually wanted God to judge him for making them a stench. Moses responds by turning to God at this point and he asks why—“Why did you ever send me?”
How many times in life have you asked God why? How many moments in your life did things not make sense? When was the last time you thought God was doing a certain something, but the situation was very different? What about when you believe God wants you to respond to a particular calling or command, yet after you pour your energy into obediently following in faith, you find yourself making someone a stench—or even becoming the stench yourself?
Life is not easy, and we do not always understand what God is doing. We cannot see the big picture. We cannot think or imagine like God. We are commanded to act in faithful obedience. We are often quick to ask God why, perhaps because we are upset with the results. Yet God is not finished yet with us. There is a bigger picture. We miss out when we focus on the quick results we can see with our human eyes. We miss out when we forget that the true fruit of obedience, the true blessing, is having a relationship with God. Walking side-by-side with the Lord was our purpose from the very beginning. Though sinners, through the blood of Christ, we can again walk side-by-side with the Lord. Today, rejoice in His presence and enjoy this great blessing. Remember it is never in the why… the answer is always the Who.
“Then Moses turned to the LORD and said, “O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me?” – Exodus 5:22 [ESV]
Every Saturday morning, I have the exciting task of filling my pill organizer for the week. This last time, I grabbed the capsules from one bottle only to find an empty capsule. The contents were missing. I stared at this finding and considered how it was no longer useful. The medicine that was to be contained in the capsule was missing. The capsule was empty, so it was worthless.
Sadly, too many people think of themselves as the empty capsule. Some people do not think they have the right ingredients within to make a difference. Some people think they are missing something that will make them special. Some people hear negativity so much it results in a feeling of worthlessness.
Fret not my friends. Though this empty capsule of mine got tossed in the trash, we live in a world where God’s math matters most. He takes each of us and does something great within. We simply need to let Him have His way in us. He placed things within you that you do not even know are there. He has given you the foundation to carry out the destiny He placed within your heart. He knows you by name, and He knows every hair on your head. You are priceless.
Today, remember this truth. Remind yourself again tomorrow. The worth of something is always the price someone is willing to pay… and when we look at that math when it comes to our relationship with God, it doesn’t make sense at all. He paid the ultimate price—the very life of Christ Jesus—what a hefty price that points to your truth worth. God loves you. Oh, how He loves you!
“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” – 1 John 4:16 [ESV]
When Moses was given a special mission by God, the doubts seeped in and he didn’t have the confidence to move forward. God provided a staff. When tossed down, the staff became a serpent. If that wasn’t strange enough, God told Moses to stretch out his hand, to reach, to grab the serpent by the tail. Talk about a scary moment. Yet when God said, “Stretch out your hand,” the Bible says, “so he stretched out his hand.” Moses did as God commanded and was able to experience something awesome.
If Moses did not stretch out his hand, if he let fear dictate his actions, Moses would not have enjoyed the moment of watching God move in this amazing way. If Moses would have planted his feet firmly and made the decision not to listen or not to trust, he would have missed the crucial part of the sign God was providing. He would have also lost the opportunity to bring this all before Pharaoh and live out his destiny.
Today, ask yourself what you need to stretch out your hand toward and what God wants you to grasp. What is God leading you toward? What is before you, and are you ready for the next step? If you cannot think of anything, open the Word and let His Truth seep beneath the surface. Often if you believe there is no movement on the forefront, the true need is to draw near to God.
“But the Lord said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand and grasp it by its tail’—so he stretched out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand—‘that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.’” – Exodus 4:4-5 [NASB]
I do not like large crowds; when I am around a large crowd I am overwhelmed by the noise, the energy, all of the different things happening at once in the different people groupings. It is horrific and takes me hours to desensitize from being drenched in a crowd for a set amount of time. Birthday parties are limited. Concerts are even more difficult because of its an even larger group setting and because most shows include strobe lighting. The name for this condition is sensory overload.
Though I do all that I can to avoid large groups, the Psalmist speaks of the largest crowd within his vantage point. In reading today’s passage, he isn’t necessarily speaking of a specific large group gathering, but rather a response to God and His faithfulness. As a result of God’s deliverance, there will be an overflow of gladness and every part of the Psalmist’s being will shout praise to the Lord. The Psalmist describes praising God wherever he goes. The Psalmist speaks of finding the largest crowd possible to shout for the Lord. The Psalmist also speaks of the inability to hold in his praise.
Think about this passage. Consider what the Psalmist is saying. Everywhere he goes, he will praise God. He will find the largest crowd so that he can praise God before them so the people will all hear of the goodness of God. The Psalmist also speaks of the inability to hold his praise inside. Let this passage marinate longer. Do you praise God everywhere you go? Do you have a desire to give God praise and glory all the time? Are you in a place in life where you cannot hold in your praise?
“Then my fears will dissolve into limitless joy; my whole being will overflow with gladness because of your mighty deliverance. Everything inside of me will shout it out: ‘There’s no one like you, Lord!’ For look at how you protect the weak and helpless from the strong and heartless who oppress them. Then I will praise you wherever I go. And when everyone gathers for worship, I will lift up your praise with a shout in front of the largest crowd I can find! Then I won’t be able to hold it in— everyone will hear my joyous praises all day long! Your righteousness will be the theme of my glory-song of praise! – Psalm 35:9-10, 18, 28 [TPT]
There are so many created things all around, and each thing is created for a purpose. I love technology and I am continuously amazed at all things new. It’s crazy to think that my watch can perform an ECG, but this is what the creator purposed for the creation—a watch that does more than tell time, a watch that improves life quality. Even so, there are things the watch cannot do yet, and possibly some things that it will never do—it all depends on the creator, or as they are known in the tech world—the developers.
Now getting away from technology, let us focus on people. We are God’s creation. You are God’s creation. Each person—yes this means you – was created for a specific purpose in mind. Our purpose is broad as well as specific. We have the big purpose of making God known, of sharing the Gospel, of living for Jesus and pointing to Him. We also have specific purposes for life, things God has for you alone to do as part of the body of the Church. We each have different skills, experience, gifts, etc., all for God’s glory.
Nonetheless, we have a problem at times with seeing what God sees. Remember, we cannot think like Him (Isaiah 55:8-9). Just like Moses declared, “I have never been,” so do we make the same declaration. When we are faced with hardship, beginning a new season, etc., we say we cannot do it. We do not have the strength. We do not have the time. We do not have the money. We do not have the skills. We do not have… fill in the blank. Even though God, the Creator, declares it to be—we blindly say, “I have never been.” We instead believe those words. We stand back from what God has promised. We stand back from what God has purposed. We remain stuck in the “have never been” statements of life. Yet God is calling us for more. He is still making the declaration. His Word still rings true as much yesterday as it does today. It doesn’t matter what you “have never been”—it matters what He is going to help you to be. It all comes down to trust. Are you going to trust God to do the “eloquent” in your life?
“Then Moses said to the LORD, ‘Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” – Exodus 4:10 [NASB]
“Let the sun shine on your soul.”
I thought today’s fortune cookie was strange. “Let the sun shine on your soul,” is what I read, and I continued to contemplate it later in the day. What does it even mean to have the sun shine on your soul? I picture some weird fantasy super-hero movie with sun rays pouring into the chest of the main character, providing special powers or increased energy.
As I consider the sun, I am reminded of the life-giving qualities of the sun. We need the sun. Sunshine is beneficial and necessary for life. The quote is simply telling readers to let what is beneficial to your soul be permitted. In Isaiah 44, we read about parched fields and a bad thirst. Yet we also read of something beneficial being provided for salvation. Water will be provided to quench thirst. The parched fields will be irrigated. God promises to pour out His Spirit—His life-giving Spirit.
When I read these words, “Let the sun shine on your soul,” I am reminded also of the positive things that we should allow into our lives. The Bible tells us to watch our heart. The Bible tells us to watch our focus. Along with allowing the Spirit of God to have His way with you, will come the teaching and conviction and encouragement needed to be selective to what we allow in, what we let seep inside. We know what is inside will eventually come out. We also know that though the Spirit of God has the strength to resurrect Jesus from the grave, He will not force Himself upon us. We ultimately must surrender, respond, and move in step with Him. This is all a part of letting the sun shine on your soul. Today, get some of that sun shine and enjoy!
“For I will pour out water to quench your thirst and to irrigate your parched fields. And I will pour out my Spirit on your descendants, and my blessing on your children.” – Isaiah 44:3 [NLT]