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]
In Psalm 27, David demonstrates why he is known as the man after God’s own heart. The one thing, the ONE THING, that he sought from God above all else is the privilege of living with Him. We don’t read of a grocery list of wants and desires for material things. We don’t read of David wanting for his own safety above all else, despite David spending much time being chased or being involved in battle. Above all else, he wants to enjoy the presence of God.
This is what a true relationship with God is all about—about craving God, delighting in His presence, wanting to be near Him. If you do not have this desire for God and His Word, if you find it okay to not seek out God and spend time with Him for even a day, it is most likely that God is not first in your life.
If you are not yet at this point in your walk with Jesus, do not be discouraged. Draw near to God. As you draw near to Him, He will draw near to you. Be intentional with your time. Carve out parts of your day to enjoy His presence and dig into God’s Word. As you continue to meet with God, you will grow in your relationship with Him. You will begin to see the privilege of living with God. You will want to spend more time in His glory and grace. You will begin to enjoy the sweet loveliness of His face and crave Him above all else.
“Here’s the one thing I crave from God, the one thing I seek above all else: I want the privilege of living with him every moment in his house, finding the sweet loveliness of his face, filled with awe, delighting in his glory and grace. I want to live my life so close to him that he takes pleasure in my every prayer.”- Psalm 27:4 [TPT]
When I first moved in the home I currently reside, I remember trying to get all of the utilities installed for the new place. One of the hardest vendors was the trash removal service company. I was asked to haul my trash a far-off distance because the truck couldn’t fit down our road. For years, I have been hauling the trash to this place they directed. This past week, we had a horrible snow storm. The snow blocked the already narrow road, but yet the trash truck came driving down the road—the road it was never supposed to be able to fit.
I’m not complaining about carrying the trash a greater distance; I need the exercise. In life, we find ourselves often limiting what can be done. We forget that we serve a God of the impossible. Instead of taking chances, instead of thinking outside of the box, instead of trusting the Spirit’s leading, we stay in our limited safe place. We trust the lies, that it is impossible. We even speak the lies to ourselves. But in not trusting in God’s plan, we find ourselves living a limited life, and missing out on what God has for us. We don’t think or imagine like God. We cannot grasp what He has planned for us. Yet, He has promised that whatever He has called us to, He will provide whatever is needed to see the task to completion for His glory.
Today, don’t go around placing limits on your life. If God has called you to something, trust Him. You might think that the truck won’t fit down the road—but you are only looking at things with your limited thinking. That road can fill with snow and the truck can get down if God has spoken. You can do all He has called you to do for His kingdom. He qualifies you. He equips you. Press onward. No limits! He is God of the impossible!! All for His glory!
“’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the LORD.” Isaiah 55:8 [NASB]
“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19 [NIV]
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20-21 [ESV]
Suffering is not fun, hence the reason it is called suffering. Suffering is when you are undergoing pain or hardship. It’s surely not fun. But Peter tells us to “be very glad.” Throughout the Bible we read that we should rejoice in our suffering. When we are insulted because of the name of Jesus, we are considered blessed (v. 14).
When we suffer, Peter says we are “partners with Christ in His suffering.” As we press forward, we are reminded that we “should serve with the strength God supplies” (v. 11 NIV). We shouldn’t be surprised when we have fiery trials (v. 12). Jesus told us it was guaranteed (John 15:20).
Paul told Timothy that “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12 NIV). Continue to live a godly life in Jesus. Rest in the confidence that comes from living in the Lord, and remember that blessed is he who is persecuted. One day, we “will have the wonderful joy of seeing His glory when it is revealed to all the world.” Eternity we will have with Him.
“Instead, be very glad–for these trials make you partners with Christ in His suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing His glory when it is revealed to all the world.” – 1 Peter 4:13 [NLT]
In Numbers 3 and 4, we read about the Gershonites, the Kohathites, Merarites, and others. The chapters contain so many instructions of the responsibilities of each clan. As we read over the passages, it is hard to grasp how this relates to us today. We are not carrying around a tent from place to place. We do not need someone in charge of tent pegs. We don’t have a lampstand. We have never personally met a member of one of the “Ites.”
Even though we do not live in the same time period as the “Ites,” nor need to concern ourselves with the Tabernacle of old, we can glean a lot from these chapters. As we review the text, we can see God’s desire for order. We can also note how each clan had different responsibilities. Everyone had something to do, something that was their responsibility. Together, if everyone did as purposed, everything would flow smoothly and God would get glory.
These chapters help us to recognize how God appreciates order and they encourage us to faithfully obey His plan. Today, look at your home life, your work life, and your church life. Note where you are positioned. Embrace the position. Embrace the order. Take time to seek the Spirit’s guidance for further revelation of your position. Are you where you are supposed to be? Are you trying to take over another’s responsibilities? Are you serving where you are meant to serve? Are you doing too much? Allow God to lead you in every area of your life and watch how everything is orchestrated for His great purpose.
“The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” – Psalm 37:23 [NLT]
The Israelites were quick to complain about God when they didn’t have their eyes on food. Just after God brought them out of Egypt, they forgot what He rescued them from, because they were hungry. Where was the food? We would be better off back in Egypt.
Even though the Israelites were complaining, God showed His glory to them. He didn’t withhold His glory. How awesome is that?!? He graciously allowed them to “see the awesome glory of the LORD in the cloud.”
Have you ever seen God’s glory? If you haven’t, you haven’t been looking. Despite each of us being sinners, He allows us to see His glory. Despite us often being ungrateful, He allows us to see His glory. Today, thank Him for His gracious ways. Thank Him for allowing us to experience Him—allowing us to see His glory!
“And as Aaron spoke to the whole community of Israel, they looked out toward the wilderness. There they could see the awesome glory of the LORD in the cloud.” – Exodus 16:10 [NLT]
Paul gives specific instructions for women. This passage is a difficult one for many women to swallow. Many times it is misunderstood. Contemporary readers typically shut their ears to the truth in these words. It is important, whether you are a man or woman, to understand what Paul is referencing in these verses.
The reason for “women to be modest in their appearance,” is because women should “not draw attention to themselves.” The attention should always be God’s. This is why Paul is addressing the issue of women fixing their hair and wearing jewelry. It has to do with attention. We are never to do anything to draw attention away from Jesus Christ.
Paul notes that the attractive woman is one who does good things. When doing these good things, we shine the Light—we point to Christ. Remember friends, the world tells you to do what you can to get attention. However, in Kingdom life, we know He alone deserves all the honor, glory and praise. It doesn’t mean we cannot wear makeup or jewelry, that our clothing doesn’t matter. It means nothing can take His glory. Fix your eyes on Him and in everything you do, point to Him.
“And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes. For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do.” – 1 Timothy 2:9-10 [NLT]
Sometimes the day does not start out “right.” Many people call this “waking up on the wrong side of the bed.” We have all heard the phrase, “I wish I could just go back to bed and start the day over.” But once God blesses us with a morning, we have to live out the day until a next one comes (God willing). For me, this morning did not start right. Poor Max had some ear issues. Then I started working while still at home and I found more issues. My drive into the office wasn’t filled with the usual praise and worship session. Instead, there was silent contemplation.
I continued along with my day, but I didn’t have the same “bounce in my step.” All of the sudden, while running an errand, I drove right into a traffic jam caused by a road construction. A complete stand still. The cars were not moving. As I sat waiting for a hint of movement ahead, I was singing along to the worship music on the radio. As I sang, I focused on the lyrics. In the midst of day that did not start well, traffic had stopped to bless me with this special moment to praise the Lord—something I did not do during the morning drive.
Yes, the construction did not happen simply for me to have this jam session Jesus encounter. Even so, it was just what I needed. Each day is a new day. What a blessing! When a day seems to not start out the way you intended, do not count the day over. There’s no need to go back to bed and have a do-over. Instead, shift your eyes to God, realign yourself with Him, and meditate on His Word. Lift Your voice to Him. Thank Him. Praise His great name! As you are doing what you were made to do, you will live more expectantly, more joyful, more excited to share His love with a world desperate for Him.
“Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” – Psalm 100:2-3 [ESV]
“Bring all who claim me as their God, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them.” – Isaiah 43:7 [NLT]
All you do is STRANGE and WONDERFUL (Psalm 139:14)
We are clay. You are the Potter. We are all the work of Your hand (Isaiah 64:8)
God is Rich in Mercy
- By Grace saved through faith
- Gift of God – not works – not fulfillment of Law’s demands least man boast
Because of Great Love for Us
Even Loved us when Dead in Sin – He made us Alive with Christ
- In fellowship with Christ – sit down together with Him in heaven
- In union with Christ – raised together with Him
- He gave us the very life of Christ Himself
We are His Workmanship
- In Jesus Christ – recreated in Christ / born anew
- For good works – fruit of faith / done for God’s glory
- Prepared beforehand/ predestined / prearranged / made ready
GOD DOES THE MAKING AND THE SAVING – It is FINISHED!
|I am accepted||I am secure||I am significant|
|I am God’s child (John 1:12)||I am free from condemnation (Romans 8:1-2)||I am salt & light of earth (Matthew 5:13-14)|
|I have been justified through Christ (Romans 5:1)||I am established, anointed, sealed by God (2 Cor. 1:21-22)||I am chosen & appointed to bear fruit (John 15:16)|
|I am united with the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:17)||I am citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20)||I am a personal witness of Christ (Act 1:8)|
|I am a member of Christ’s body (1 Cor. 12:27)||I can find grace & mercy in time of need (Hebrews 4:16)||I am God’s temple (1 Corinthians 3:16)|
|I am a saint (Ephesians 1:1)||I am born of God; evil one cannot touch me (1 Jn. 5:18)||I am God’s co-worker (1 Corinthians 3:9)|
|I have been redeemed and forgiven (Colossians 1:14)||I can’t be separated from the love of God (Rom. 8:35-39)||I am seated with Christ in heavenly realm (Eph. 2:6)|
|I have access to God thru the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:18)||I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love & a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7)||I am God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10)|
Bible Study Questions:
- What was our condition before Christ?
- What motivated God to save us? What does it mean to be saved?
- What did God do even though we were dead in trespasses? How?
- In verse 2:9, Paul speaks about salvation not being a reward for good things we have done. Why was this necessary? What is our part of the salvation process?
- The passage speaks about good works that were prepared in advance. What does this mean? What does this mean for you? How is this different from what the world thinks of good works?
- In Ephesians 2:10, Paul says that we are “God’s workmanship.” What does this mean to you? Why is it sometimes difficult to see yourself as such?