March 7. Here it is again. I am sure I am not the only one with a day. A day is only a day in your eyes. As the world sees the day, it is very different from your vantagepoint. A day is filled with scars, with unanswered questions, with tragedy, with depth, with decisions, with memories that don’t quite add up. Today is my day.
When this day first became my day, it was a moment when my life forever changed. I had such dreams of what could be in my life; however, I found that life isn’t a Hallmark movie and what I had hoped would be my prayers answered and my white picket fence and my happily ever after became something different—something raw, uncontrollable, unsatisfactory to my plans. It was a day that began a long journey trying to process what was truth, what was the new normal, and what fears needed to be overcome to navigate the new waters. It took years to heal many of the scars, some of which went unnoticed for a long period of time. It required me to let God into the broken areas, to freely move, to reveal to me things I never wanted to see—so that He could repair—so that He could make new.
This was 2004. Every year since, I have celebrated this day. I rejoiced this day not because of what was lost and because of what I so desperately wanted to be truth back then. I rejoiced this day not because I lost my white picket fence and had to face reality. I rejoice because through the years I have been blessed to see God move again and again for my family. I have seen Him move mountains in my life. I have seen Him part waters when there was not a way to pass. He has provided me strength, comfort, and He has protected and provided for my family at every turn.
Today it was hard to celebrate. As I drove to the office knowing that this day was again another end to a season, I cried out the Lord. The brokenness and heartache that I felt back in 2004, has long since faded. I am not that same person. And the pain I felt that day is very different than the pain of today. It was strange as I was on my morning drive to consider that God knew even back in 2004, what would happen today. He knew when I was putting my hand to the plow, that this day would come.
But this day was different. In 2004, I didn’t have a real choice of anything. I had to get up off the floor, dust myself off, and press onward. It was either that or wallow for a time. But this day was a choice, a step forward that I have taken even knowing some of the brokenness that would follow. Sometimes we can see truth and we know it is truth, but we don’t want to receive it and be bold in faith. Sometimes we see truth but ask why God won’t change things so the truth could be different. Sometimes we are faced with the option of trusting God, stepping forward, letting go, and trusting that out of the brokenness He is still making all things new.
As I neared the office, and continued to seek comfort in Him, knowing that after today, so much of what was a huge part of my life is going to be changed, even seeing glimpses of those changes these past few weeks, Lauren Daigle’s song “Trust in You,” began to play. The lyrics reminded me of the battles over the years, reminded me of how things often make little sense when I’m faced with a road to take. It was in that car ride to work that I could continue to do what I’ve done each year on March 7th—celebrate Him! Not everyone will understand what I feel on this day. Not everyone will know all the hours of prayer leading up to this day. Not everyone will be excited for this day.
Even still, I rejoice. I rejoice in knowing that God is still God. I rejoice in knowing that He has a great plan, beautifully orchestrated. I rejoice in knowing that He is still Lord of my life, my Savior and King. I rejoice in knowing that He will still see me through these murky waters. Long ago, He gave me this calling to preach His Word. Following in faithful obedience to this calling led me up to this very day, and this very decision. As 1 Timothy 4:16 says, I must keep watch on my life and keep watch on my teaching and then in doing these things, may the hearers be saved. May I continue to be faithful to His calling upon my life. The Word will go out as He leads!
As this day, March 7thslowly ends, I question my verse for this season. The verse, 1 Chronicles 4:10, speaks of blessing and enlarging the ministry—praying that there would be no pain or harm allowed. None of these words make sense to me today. This doesn’t seem like the season I’m currently navigating; it seems like polar opposite. But so often, we do not know what He has planned. That is why it is called faith.
This is not a devotion. This is not a sermon. This is not a Bible study. This is not a poem. This is my day. This is my heart. This is my reality. May this testimony point to the One who is greater than I, to a Father who has never left my side, a Savior who paid something I could never pay, the Spirit who continues to reveal to me that I have a lot of growing yet needed.
Look to Him. Draw near to Him and watch how everything changes!
When the Lord provided the manna and the quail, He was specific about what should be gathered. Each person was to gather what was needed. They were able to gather for six of the seven days and it would provide for the entire week. The key was for each household to “gather as much as it needs.”
God provides us all we need to do what He has called us to do in life (Philippians 4:19). He gives us ALL we need. We have the choice as to how we will live our lives. We can live wanting more than enough or we can live satisfied with the just enough in life.
This passage isn’t saying that we won’t be given more than enough. This passage is saying we should be satisfied with the just enough. It meets our needs. In life, we don’t need the more but sometimes we hope for the more. Trying to get more than enough can often times keep us from the joy and peace that God has for us. When we are left wanting more, we do not praise the Lord for His blessings. Thank Him today for His provision.
“These are the LORD’s instructions: Each household should gather as much as it needs. Pick up two quarts for each person in your tent.” – Exodus 16:16 [NLT]
When I woke up, the day didn’t start out well. I allowed myself to get in a bad mood. A broken down system at work. Getting parked in by landscapers. Having my privacy invaded. The list of issues that rained down on me that morning brought the perfect storm. If you must know, yes, it was a Monday! I don’t have problems with Mondays though. Everything just seemed to fall upon me though on this particular Monday.
Keeping one’s attitude in check is hard, but it’s even more difficult when multiple things go wrong. We may brush off a few things, but as the bullets keep flying, we often lose it. We are in control of our attitude. We are responsible for our reactions. That day, since the system was down, I left work early to head home. I desired the opportunity to just lay on the sofa with the pups and read my Bible. I needed to just hide under the covers with Him and get away from this heaping mess. I needed to rest with Him and fix my attitude.
On the way home, it was raining. There was a slick spot where there must have been oil on the ground. When some fellow jumped into our lane without following proper driving rules, we all had to stop. The space was there. The time was there. But the oil was also there. My van slid right into the truck in front of me. I closed my eyes. Not something else. I didn’t even want to get out and look, but when I did, I praised the Lord. No injuries, and little damage. Why? Because of the hitch. The man had a hitch on his truck. It kept our vehicles separated. Despite all the craziness of the day, despite being pelted with many things that day, the hitch was there—just like the ram in the bush. God provided a hedge around me and reminded me things would be just fine. Look around today. Perhaps there’s a hitch in your path—something to help to refocus your eyes on God.
“Abraham answered, ‘God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.’ Then the two of them walked on together.” – Genesis 22:8 [HCSB]
I love reading 2 Kings 4, with the stories of Elisha and the poor woman, as well as the rich woman who makes a room for Elisha the prophet to come and stay. The story of the poor woman with two children reminds me of my own personal story. The woman has lost her husband and she is responsible for two children.
She takes her needs to God from what we glean from the text. She approaches Elisha and tells him her current situation, and the possibility that the creditors would take her sons as slaves as they have threatened. Elisha first asks, “What can I do to help you,” but then wants to know what the woman has in her home. She answers, “Nothing at all, except a flask of olive oil.” Read that again. First she says, “Nothing at all.” But then she continues EXCEPT a flask of olive oil. The woman didn’t have much, but she had a flask of olive oil.
Elisha tells her to have her sons collect empty jars from the neighbors. Then they are commanded to shut the door and pour the oil into the empty jars. We read that EVERY container is full—and not just full, but FULL TO THE BRIM. There was no more room for anything more. God provided and He did so in abundance. Today, remember that we serve a big God. Quit focusing on the “nothing at all” and press onward. Quit settling for good things when you were made for GREAT things. Dive into His Word, fall upon your knees, and allow Him to speak life into your dry bones. Allow Him to get you back on the narrow path, re-energized and refocused.
“Soon every container was full to the brim! ‘Bring me another jar,’ she said to one of her sons. ‘There aren’t any more!’ he told her. And then the olive oil stopped flowing.” – 2 Kings 4:6 [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
Here’s a sermon outline from a message I shared on the Slavery of Self-Reliance. You may download the outline below. Please note there was no illustration with this message but instead I spoke of King Asa of Judah from 2 Chronicles 16 giving the gold and silver from the Temple to Ben-Hadad King of Syria.
Slavery of Self-Reliance
Everyone needs: Meaning / Purpose / Security / Safety / Significance / Worth / Value
Self-reliant / Self-determination / Self-Dependence / Independent / Self-Sufficient / Self-Contained
The world sees these as good things / the world applauds these things
The problem: These things enslave us. Burden of Self-Reliance à when all relies on you à Slavery
The solution: God wants to free us from ourselves
God is our: meaning / purpose / significance / security / safety / protection
- God provides you meaning and purpose
- Isaiah 43:7 – God has made you for His glory.
- 1 Corinthians 10:31 – Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
- Matthew 5:16 – Let your light shine before others to glorify God
- God provides you security
- Proverbs 3:26 – “For the LORD is your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap” (NLT).
- God provides you safety
- Psalm 18:2 – “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
- Psalm 91:2 – “… He alone is my refuge, my place of safety…” (NLT)
- Proverbs 18:10 – Godly run to God and are safe
- God provides you significance and worth and value
- Genesis 1:27 – God made you in His image
- Psalm 139:13 – God created each of us individually – knit you in your mother’s womb with certain abilities & gifts – allows certain experiences – all so you can be of great worth to His Kingdom – YOU CAN DO GREAT THINGS! (John 14:12 – “… anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works…” NLT).
- Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (NLT).
Only those who stand in need of a savior will look for and recognize one.
Proverbs 3:5 – “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” (ESV)
Jeremiah 17:5-8 – “This is what the LORD says: ‘Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the LORD. They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, in an uninhabited salty land. But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”
When considering a change in life, do you consider if you can do it? When you are facing a difficult situation, do you consider if you can do it? From what I have seen, many people consider their own strength. Whatever they are faced with, they consider if they alone can do it. If they cannot physically, financially, and emotionally do it, then that is it.
Moses was told to go lead the Israelites out of Egypt and he immediately considered if it was something he could do alone. He said “what makes you think” that I can do that? More or less it was an excuse because Moses considered his own strength and knew it was impossible. But it wasn’t impossible for God.
Too often we consider our own strength but we are not doing life alone. We have a God who is all-powerful. We have a God who is mighty. We have a God who created the Earth. We have a God who sustains us, who provides for us, who helps us, who blesses us with all that we see, feel, and know. Today, remember that God is with you, and consider what you can do through Him rather than without Him. So much more is possible when you see things through Him.
“Moses answered God, ‘But why me? What makes you think that I could ever go to Pharaoh and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt?’
‘I’ll be with you,’ God said. ‘And this will be the proof that I am the one who sent you: When you have brought my people out of Egypt, you will worship God right here at this very mountain.’”
– Exodus 3:11-12 [MSG]
Elijah came on the scene with no introduction and announced the Word of God. He told the people there would be no rain, upholding what was said in Deuteronomy 28:24 for those in disobedience. Ravens brought him food and when the brook dried up, he went to the widow of Zarephath and God provided.
Elijah then had a showdown with the prophets of Baal. As Elijah watched, the prophets could not get Baal to produce fire. Elijah poured 12 jars of water in a trench and God produced fire that drank up all of the water and burned the surrounding stones. It was an amazing display of God’s power, but then Elijah ran in fear and hid himself in a cave.
God approached Elijah and asked him – What are you doing here? There was incredible wind, an earthquake and fire but God was not in any of them. Then came a gentle whisper. Elijah was reminded of God’s greatness. There are moments when we need to be reminded of God’s greatness – when fear and doubt creep in and try to discourage us. Today, ask yourself how great is our God? How great is our God! Step out of the cave.
“When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’” – 1 Kings 19:13 [NIV]