Today I sit here with the stomach bug. This is the 2nd time in a month that I have been sick with the stomach bug. It seemed to have circled back around to me. It feels like a great weight upon me as I try to get work done, keep the household running, and take care of the dogs. Simple things seem like impossible tasks.
In the Bible, we read that “The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down.” This is something I’m clinging to this morning. Time and time again, when I am weighed down, it is the Lord who lifts me up. No matter what you are going through today, you can rest in this truth. He lifts up those who are weighed down.
If you feel unable to get through the day or like the world is crashing down upon you, remember that you are not alone. The Lord is with you and He will see you through. He will lift you up.
“The LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are weighed down. The LORD loves the godly.” – Psalm 146:8 [NLT]
This morning was like any other weekday morning, but as I entered my van I noticed that I was missing my necklace. The Giving Key necklace that I had for a few months was missing. I had it engraved specially with “Jesus.” I found myself often using the necklace to share about Jesus. I never got a chance to give it to another person which is the company concept. I figured the necklace was laying somewhere and God would make sure the one who needed it would find it.
Later in the day, I reached into my purse to put my cell phone inside so I could go run some work errands and grab lunch. When I reached inside, I found the “Jesus” key. It was laying inside my purse, tucked safely inside without the necklace. I was amazed. The necklace must have broken and the key fell inside. Here I thought it was lost but it was with me the entire time just like He is with me all the time.
What a great reminder of Who is with us always! We can trust that He is always with us, every moment of every day. We are not alone. We are never abandoned. He is faithful!
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10 [ESV]
“The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” – Deuteronomy 31:8 [NASB]
My dog Max has some issues with other dogs due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He is fine when dogs enter our home. He is fine when he goes to someone’s house and they have a dog. The issue is when we are walking. As a result, I am mindful of when we walk and where we walk because I do not want Max to get fearful and agitated.
It does not matter how prepared I am, nor how many alternative routes I can travel. At times, it does not matter and something will happen that is out of my control. This morning was one of those moments. A lady was driving down the road above the speed limit. She quickly veered over to the wrong side of the road, parking illegally right in front of us. She was holding a small dog and had the window wide open with the dog hanging out and actively barking. Right before Max was his biggest fear. He started to react. He was all frazzled.
There is no guarantee that you will have smooth travels throughout your day. There could be an interruption. Something could happen that would pull you off course. You may have spent time in preparation but you are knocked off of your feet. What then? Stop. Breathe. Remind yourself of the promises of God. Remember you are not alone (Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5). He is with you (Psalm 46:1). It may feel like everything is caving in, but in fact, God is preparing the way using all of the good and bad in your life to position you for something great. You were made for great things (John 14:12). You were made to give God glory (Isaiah 43:7). Change your focus and move forward (Philippians 4:8-9). You were made for so much more!
I will admit I am forgetful. As a crutch, I use my Google calendar to remind me of everything both at work and at home. I make a grocery list to remember what food to buy, and then cannot even remember the list. I kept losing my prayer lists; my prayer list is now on my phone. If I don’t write something down, it is likely it will be lost in my memory bank. I would not call it a memory bank – it’s more like a black hole.
This morning while I was on the usual walk with my dogs, I soon realized as we changed directions that I forgot my sunglasses. The whole way home I was squinting because my oversensitive eyes could not face the beautiful morning light. I even grumbled a bit considering the headache that might follow as a result. All because I forgot my sunglasses.
What a surprise when I got home only to realize my sunglasses were in my pocket. I had my sunglasses the entire time!! The sunglasses I own are magnetic and when I grabbed for my keys, they unbeknownst to me followed along. I spent all that time wishing for the solution, when it was right with me. Sadly, that is how many of us are in life from time to time. God has the answer but we look elsewhere. God has provided what is needed but we are too blind to see (2 Corinthians 9:8, Philippians 4:19). God has a perfect plan but we only see the struggles, the pain, the heartache. God is with us through it all but we so often feel alone (Deuteronomy 31:8, Hebrews 13:5). My friends, let us open our eyes. Let us look at what He has blessed us with and embrace what He has for us. Let us remind ourselves of what He has done, what He has said He will do, Who He is, and His promise to never leave. We each have all we need to accomplish what God has called us to do in life!
“For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of His unfailing love.” – Psalm 33:4-5 [NIV]
During our morning walk there was quite a lot of water puddles to make our way around because of the crazy weather during the night. Being a Labrador, Max has no issue making his way through the puddles. I try to encourage him to walk around but sometimes he just walks right on through. With Marci it is a different story. She is a Shih Tzu. Some of the puddles we encountered this morning were like lakes to her.
As we made our way home, Max went ahead and Marci found herself right in front of a large puddle. She was frightened. She tried to run in the other direction but could not get far as she was attached to Max’s leash. I reached down to grab her and save her from the puddle. She did not know what was going on. She ran away from my hands because I think she feared we would start giving her a bath right there in the puddle. I tried to calm her. Finally I was able to get a good hold on her and I carried her over the puddle and placed her safely on dry ground.
We often reach puddles in our own lives. We are fearful to go through. We don’t know what direction to go and we can’t get very far no matter which way we turn. Sometimes we just need to walk up to the water’s edge in faith, understanding that God is right there. Our loving Father is always there. He reaches out and carries us across the turbulent waters in life. He holds us with His great strength. He guides us through the deepest waters and the darkest valleys. There is no safest place to be than in the hands of our Father. Stop squirming. Rest in Him. Let yourself be carried where He made you to be—to a place beyond our understanding. Step forward. It’s time.
“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” – Isaiah 43:2 [NLT]
Eleven years is a long time. I remember that day like it was yesterday—the day when plans changed. I realized something I always knew, but came to know more deeply—that I was not in control—that there would be moments when it didn’t matter how hard I tried, I would fail. Things changed that day. Over the years, I have held to this truth—that God carries us through.
God carried the Israelites through the Red Sea and through the Wilderness. Though they were knee deep in disobedience, He provided. He did not abandon. He was the reason the Red Sea parted. He the One Who provided the manna, the water, the quail. He was the One Who illuminated the sky with a pillar of fire. In the same way, He carried Joseph. The Bible says He was with Joseph, even through the darkness of prison. He was with him. He is with us too.
God is the love of your life and mine, whether you realize this or not. He loves you more than anyone else can possibly love you. He created you. He formed you. He provides for you. He watches over you. He has a great plan for YOU. He is the love of your life. Today, boldly declare His Word. Walk with confidence. His Word tells us that through Him we have victory. Live victorious my friend. He will carry you through.
“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” – Deuteronomy 31:8 [NIV]
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God carries us through. He carried the Israelites through the Red Sea and through the Wilderness. Just like He was with Joseph so He is with us. He promises to never leave or forsake. His Word tells us through Him we have victory. He is the love of your life and of mine. Boldly declare His Word today. Walk with confidence. #truth #Bible #GodsWord #Jesus #truelove
The other morning a dear friend told me about an encounter she had wearing a FearNot Ministries t-shirt. While she was at a local store, someone saw her wearing the shirt and revealed that she was struggling. Because of the struggles she was facing, she just that morning turned to the Bible. She read a verse that told her not to fear—that God was with her. When my friend walked into that store, the FearNot immediately caught her eyes and she remembered what God’s Word promised her that morning.
God’s Word has so many promises, more promises than I can list in a short devotion. When we live our life knowing and trusting in these promises—knowing and trusting God and His Word—life is very different. You cannot recognize God at work, you cannot know God, unless you know His Word. It is so very important to open up your Bible and read. Don’t stop reading. Every day read. Then when you are going through struggles, when you are facing a difficult time in your life, when you are not sure which way to go—you will have His Word written on your heart.
The other day three beautiful girls came over with these hearts they made during church service. The heart displayed a verse that spoke of writing God’s Word on your heart. I asked the girls, “How can you write God’s Word on your heart?” The answer is easy – read God’s Word. Read God’s Word. Delight in His Word. Cherish His Word. Eat His Word. Chew upon it. Take it in. Treasure it. Store it up. Embrace it.
“You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
your right hand upholds me.”
-Psalm 63:1-8 [NIV]
People are not always reliable for one reason or another. We often let each other down. We oversleep. We double schedule by accident. We run late. We don’t pay attention or lose focus. We misunderstand. We miscalculate. We even lie. I don’t think I would be far reaching to say that there is no person who did not let someone down.
In today’s passage, the Psalmist speaks about God who “has never let you down.” He further states that “He has never wandered off to do his own thing.” He is always there, always present, always caring, always loving—He is always.
We often wander off to do our own thing when we are supposed to be helping a friend, at work, attending a function, handling our parental responsibilities, etc. All we have is excuses for our shortcomings. But with God, there is no need for excuses. He never lets you down. He never wanders off. Today let us thank Him for always being present, for always listening, for always loving.
“Here’s the story I’ll tell my friends when they come to worship,
and punctuate it with Hallelujahs:
Shout Hallelujah, you God-worshipers;
give glory, you sons of Jacob;
adore him, you daughters of Israel.
He has never let you down,
never looked the other way
when you were being kicked around.
He has never wandered off to do his own thing;
he has been right there, listening.”
-Psalm 22:22-24 [MSG]
It is difficult to live with someone. Growing up you might find it a struggle to get along with your siblings. In college you might find it hard to be a coinhabitant with particular roommates. Then one day there comes marriage and more interesting situations. You might not get the curtains you want hung. You might have to deal with someone who is an early bird while you like to sleep in till lunch.
In Genesis, God told Abram to “live entirely before (Him).” What it means is to live in the presence of God. This means you are constantly aware that His is with you. This means that you faithfully walk with Him. This means you serve Him faithfully. The second part says “live to the hilt.” This means to live a blameless life—to be perfect.
You might think it is difficult to live a blameless life; however, the first part gives the way to maintain the second part. If you live entirely before God, you will no doubt live a blameless life. If you accept Christ and walk with God, you are considered blameless. His blood paid for you to be blameless. So it is not a difficult thing—by His strength, by His righteousness, by His work on the Cross—you are perfect through Him. Like Abram, we need to live ENTIRELY before Him. How? One step at a time. One moment at a time. Keep your eyes on Him.
“When Abram was ninety-nine years old, God showed up and said to him, ‘I am The Strong God, live entirely before me, live to the hilt! I’ll make a covenant between us and I’ll give you a huge family.’”
-Genesis 17:1-2 [MSG]