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]
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]
My neighbor’s overgrowth of weeds has reached nearly 3 feet. It is a perfect hiding spot for a rabbit, that is, until my Labrador decides he wants to retrieve him. I keep him from having any success; however, this morning he did shock the rabbit he uncovered with his keen abilities. The rabbit, stunned and not really able to evaluate his options, ran right towards a pack of German Shepherds. He rebounded and finally found an escape route.
Watching the frazzled rabbit run from one point to the next haphazardly reminded me of how easy it is to get comfortable and feel safe somewhere only to find yourself under attack. This can happen in a relationship, at a job, in a circle of friends, and even at church. It is usually the people closest to us that hurt us most. We get comfortable. We feel safe. Then something happens. We all have moments, situations, events, etc. in life that shock us, open our eyes, hurt us, change us as people. We have the option to respond in whatever way we see fit. Sometimes we run. Sometimes we fall. Sometimes we deny.
When we run, like the rabbit, we are running from something, and there’s always a place we are running toward. Maybe we attempt to nurse our brokenness with some self-soothing methods that are almost second-hand nature. Remember the Golden Girls moments when the cheesecake came out of the fridge? Perhaps your soothing is going to the gym, taking a shopping trip, having a few (or more) drinks. We all have our vices; some of us have multiple vices.
Whatever your situation may be, spend time with God. Take refuge in Him. People change; God is unchanging. People are unfaithful; God is faithful. People are broken, not-perfect, and many times selfish; God’s love is unfailing, His ways are perfect, and He pours out His blessing in abundance. As you cling to Him, may you realize you were never meant to hide in the safety of the overgrowth—you were made to soar! The people in your life are not to be your safety net, but they are part of your life to love, to encourage, to serve. The financial security of a good job and money in the bank is not for you to sit back and coast through life, but to glorify God. Often, when you are chased from the overgrowth, you are led to right where you are meant to be at this very moment. Let the Spirit guide your steps from the weeds to all that He has awaiting. It might not appear to be better than the pile of weeds, but you can trust that God has a great plan. In faith, in obedience, in love – press onward and soar!
“Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you.” – Psalm 143:8 [NLT]
“Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.” – Psalm 25:5 [NLT]