Life is a journey. Over the years, I learned that a journey isn’t the same during each part of the journey. There are highs and lows, good times and bad times. There are moments of rejoicing, and moments of sorrow and tears. When one sets out on a journey, so often the sojourner thinks the steps have been set, the days are fixed, and there is a great picture of what will result at the end of the journey. Consider a trip to an amusement park. You know stops along the way for refreshments and bathroom visits are likely. You know that fun will be had with rides and games. You may even have an itinerary in place. In the end, you know you will leave with a collection of photos, overly hyper children overcome by sugar and fast food, and perhaps a slight case of dehydration from the heat of a sunny day.
Life isn’t like that though. No matter how much you plan, how much you think that the steps have been set in place, that the days are fixed, life does not come all beautifully packaged. Yes, each of your days is written in the Book. Yes, all of your tears are caught in His bottle. Yes, He has a plan and a purpose for your life. Yes, there is a narrow path that few will choose. Yes, there is an end to the journey which culminates with the New Heaven and New Earth as we worship our King. But the journey—the journey is a journey of faith. And when you step forth in faith, you can only cling to the promises of God, lay everything down before Him, and trust that when the journey gets difficult, when the road gets hard, when people turn their backs, when eyes are opened, when jobs are lost, when health deteriorates, when the puzzle isn’t coming together like the picture on the box—that God is Sovereign, that God has everything beautifully orchestrated, and that nothing can snatch you from His hand.
As I sit here today, in the middle of turbulent part of my journey in life, I can certainly say that my mom never warned me of these days. There are days no one can prepare you for except for a life long journey filled with experiences—a journey filled with triumph and loss, pain and suffering, truth and lies. The scars of life, they sometimes feel as if they cover us completely—as if they will have the last say. But it is in the ashes, that we are reminded of God’s love for His children. We are reminded of the price that was paid. We are reminded that we will rise—that even when the days of this journey can be hard, and dark, and painful—that even when these days come—that God, in His infinite wisdom and His unfailing love, has victory. He has overcome. Now in Him, in Him we are washed. In Him, we find peace. In Him, we are made new. Over and over again. And one day, one day when our Lord returns, all will bow and confess, all will see His glory, and all things will be new.
“The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand.” – Psalm 37:23 [ESV]
“Even a courageous person’s steps are determined by the LORD, so how can anyone understand his own way?” – Proverbs 20:24 [CSB]
The Bible says that the godly have a lasting foundation. The foundation that is lasting is the one that is built on the Rock, Jesus Christ. We know that we have a choice. We can build our life on sinking sand or on the Rock. We can choose.
The Bible also tells us that if we build our house on sinking sand, it will surely not withstand the wind and chaos of life. But if we build our house on the Rock, it will not matter if the wind blows, the streams rise, or the rain pours down, we will not fall (see Matthew 7:24-25).
To build on the Rock, one must hear the words God speaks and put them to practice. It’s that simple. Faithful obedience. As you continue to hear the Word and allow it to guide your steps, you will be built on Him. When the storms of life come, you’ll have a lasting foundation because your foundation is the foundation of Christ Jesus.
“When the storms of life come, the wicked are whirled away, but the godly have a lasting foundation.” – Proverbs 10:25 [NLT]
Growing up, I was taught the value of hard work. I am very grateful that my parents instilled this into me, and I hope that my children learn this as well. In Romans 12:11, we read, “Never be lazy, but work hard.” The verse continues to say, “Serve the Lord enthusiastically.” Wow! This is more than simply getting the job done.
Serve the Lord enthusiastically. Cheerfully. There should be excitement, enthusiasm, and eagerness. ENERGY. Energy people around you can feel. This enthusiasm is contagious. This enthusiasm points to our Father, the One we are serving.
This enthusiasm is in high demand; it’s hard to find. It’s something special that is not on display everywhere you turn. Too many people get caught going through the motions. Friends, don’t get in a routine. Don’t lose your joy for service. Ask Him where He wants you to serve. Pour yourself into it. Remember that you are not alone. If you are doing what you were designed to do, the enthusiasm will be there. Keep walking in faithful obedience and as you grow where you are positioned, your excitement will be contagious.
“Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.” – Romans 12:11 [NLT]
The world tries to tell you that you are only responsible for yourself, and sometimes that even isn’t something that is taught. But the Bible speaks about an integrity the world does not understand. We have a great responsibility, as well as many responsibilities along the way. If we want to live for Jesus, we must be intentional. If we desire to walk in faithful obedience, we cannot ignore our responsibilities.
In Deuteronomy 22, we read about someone coming upon their neighbor’s wandering sheep or goat. The verse tells us that the person should take it and return it to its owner. This speaks of an expectation that consists of going above and beyond. It might require you to go out of your way. It might require you to spend some extra time to get it done. Part of you may justify just keeping the sheep, clinging to the phrase, “Finders keepers.”
Going the extra mile glorifies God. Not ignoring the opportunity to help bless someone glorifies God. Don’t ignore these opportunities that come your way. Consider this opportunity to be a gift. Go the extra mile and watch what happens.
“If you see your neighbor’s ox or sheep or goat wandering away, don’t ignore your responsibility. Take it back to its owner.” – Deuteronomy 22:1 [NLT]
The Psalmist notes that the Lord’s plans stand firm forever. His intentions can never be shaken. The Psalmist understands that the Lord is God Almighty. He is in control and He is faithful. The Psalmist understands that whatever God speaks, He will see to fruition.
When we read the Bible, do we accept the intentions of God? Do you understand that He will see that things He designed will be seen to completion? Do you understand that if He intends to accomplish something, that He will see it through? He is not like a person who will have good intentions, but cannot see them through. He is not like person that changes the intentions. The God of the Old Testament is the same God in the New Testament. His intentions have never changed. As you page through His Word, you will encounter the Almighty, the great I AM. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8).
Today, rest in this truth. Know that you serve a God that has intentions that can never be shaken. His plans stand firm forever. Trust in Him. His intentions are always good and they are always seen through to fruition.
“But the LORD’s plans stand firm forever; His intentions can never be shaken.” – Psalm 33:11 [NLT]
Every day, twice a day, the dogs and I take a mile walk. The dogs love their daily adventures and I enjoy the fresh air and quiet time with God. Plus, we all need exercise. I am sure that onlookers enjoy the entertainment we provide on our travels. Often people will slow down and smile at us because it’s quite odd to see a Shih-tzu walking alongside an overweight Black Lab.
I’ve never realized that our morning and evening walks were being observed by so many people. A neighbor approached me and told me once that she enjoyed watching us pass by each morning. Last night, a lady said that I am faithful to my dogs, faithfully walking them each day, so much so that they likely are accustomed to the special treatment. I always knew that people that drove by might see us on our walks; however, I never realized that my neighbors had their eyes focused on us.
Whether you see people looking at you or not, people are watching. People see the choices you make, the things you do, the way you spend your time. People see – people are watching. Your friends and family should be able to see you faithfully walking with Jesus. If they are not noticing a difference in your life, then you may want to look at who is leading you. Are you allowing the Spirit to lead you, thereby walking faithfully, or are you following your own desires?
“And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.” – Titus 2:7 [NLT]
In Genesis 8, we read that “God remembered Noah.” This doesn’t mean that God forgot Noah, but then remembered Him later. When saying God remembered Noah, it means that God faithfully did what He told Noah He would do. This verse is saying that God was going to fulfill the promise He made to Noah (see Genesis 6:13-22).
Our God is faithful. Don’t think for a second that He has forgotten you or overlooked you. He remembers you and He remembers the promises He made to you. If you don’t know what He has promised you, spend more time in His Word seeking out these promises.
Just as God remembered Noah, God also remembers you.
“But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and livestock with him in the boat. He sent a wind to blow across the earth, and the floodwaters began to recede.” – Genesis 8:1 [NLT]
As you read Genesis, you learn of the Promised Land, the land that God had promised to Abraham as part of the Abrahamic Covenant. Remember: blessing, land, and descendants. This Promised Land was eventually inhabited by Abraham’s descendants when Joshua and the Israelites entered Canaan. Nonetheless, Abraham never got to claim the Promised Land—He never got to reside in this area, the Promised Land.
In Genesis 23, we read of the death of Abraham’s wife Sarah, and we read of her burial. Here we read of the patriarch’s wife dying and Abraham attempting to purchase land to bury her. Why did he need land? He had none! Despite God promising him land, there was no land. Abraham was a sojourner. But Abraham negotiates a deal with Ephron the Hittite for a cave and a field to buy and then bury his beloved wife. In making settlement on this land, in purchasing the deed, Abraham was buying a very small piece of the Promised Land.
You may think, why should Abraham have to buy a piece of land that God promised him. God said that land would be his, but it didn’t mean it would happen overnight or even in his lifetime. But as Abraham lost his precious wife, this situation gave Abraham a reminder of what would come. By purchasing this small piece of the Promised Land, he was able to lay down roots in the land that would one day be the land of his descendants. He was burying the first of many of his family, in the land that God promised would all be his. As he was making this purchase, he was trusting in this great promise from God—and declaring His faithfulness.
We don’t know how God will work in a situation. We don’t know the steps, the plan, or even if things will happen during our time on earth. But we do know we have a faithful God and His Word never fails.
“So Ephron’s field in Machpelah near Mamre—both the field and the cave in it, and all the trees within the borders of the field—was deeded to Abraham as his property in the presence of all the Hittites who had come to the gate of the city. Afterward Abraham buried his wife Sarah in the cave in the field of Machpelah near Mamre (which is at Hebron) in the land of Canaan. So the field and the cave in it were deeded to Abraham by the Hittites as a burial site.” – Genesis 23:17-20 [NIV]