What if you did not help work on a project—not even for a second—but you received recognition for the great work you did on the project? During a ceremony, you were called up on stage to accept this great honor when you never even did anything to assist. Wouldn’t that be strange? Would you feel awkward receiving recognition when you did not even help with the project? What if you were given special access or a higher position with greater privilege because of this project? It sounds crazy, right?!?
The Bible speaks about this place of undeserved privilege, a place that we now stand. We are just like this person who never worked on a project but gained honor and privilege from the project. We do not deserve to stand before God. We do not deserve to have this privilege. Nonetheless, Jesus Christ has “brought us into this place.” He has allowed us to enter the inner veil. He has given us this great honor through Him.
Because of our faith in Jesus Christ, we can “confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.” Because of what Jesus Christ has done, we have been “brought… into this place of undeserved privilege.” Never forget that it is an undeserved privilege. Praise Him for He alone deserves the honor, glory, and praise. Share your hope with others and continue to look forward to what is ahead.
“Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.” – Romans 5:2 [NLT]
I love music and I love to sing. The problem is no one really enjoys hearing the sweet melodies I sing. I haven’t figured out how to sing in the right keys. Even so, God loves to hear me sing. He loves to hear you sing too!
The Psalms reference singing and praising God often. In Psalm 28:7, the Psalmist writes that his “heart is filled with joy,” so much joy that he “burst out in songs of thanksgiving.” In Psalm 30:12, the Psalmist talks about giving thanks forever—singing praises and not being silent.
How often do you burst out in songs for God? How often do you praise Him and thank Him for what He is doing in your life? He alone deserves all honor, glory, and praise. Often we are quick to thank someone who hands us a cup of coffee, but we don’t thank God for that same cup of coffee, or for something so much greater than that one, temporary cup of coffee. Today, I pray your heart is filled with joy that overflows and you burst out in songs of thanksgiving.
“The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust Him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.” – Psalm 28:7 [NLT]
“That I might sing praises to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give You thanks forever!” – Psalm 30:12 [NLT]
I love a good shortcut. It has been a difficult few months as my favorite shortcut has been shut down due to construction. I save 5-10 minutes on my drive with that shortcut. But in life, there are not always shortcuts. You really cannot learn in life if everything is a shortcut.
God desires an investment from us. If we are going to walk with Him, the walk includes turns and rest stops. The walk includes going the long way until we grasp what He is trying to teach us or until we allow Him to chip away at something that isn’t meant to be in our lives.
When God led His people the long way to freedom, it was not to keep His people from the freedom, but to help them grow to truly experience the freedom He had for them. If they went the short way, they would have turned back. They weren’t ready. He led them the long way so they could be ready—so they could experience the best He had for them.
Today, don’t look for the shortcuts to God. Don’t look for shortcuts in life. Appreciate the long road God has you on, because it is the road that will lead you to God’s best for you. Take some time today to thank Him for not letting you alone on the road.
“When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, ‘If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.’” – Exodus 13:17 [NLT]
We can never pray enough. Paul notes in in his letter to Timothy, that we need to be sure that we do not limit our prayers. We are “to pray for all people.” That is a great command. Pray for all people. This means we don’t just pray for your family and friends. We don’t just pray for our church family. We don’t only pray for those we want to lift up in prayer. We pray for all people.
Jesus tells us to pray for our enemies. This is something that can help us to be more like Christ. While praying for our enemies, we are interceding on their behalf. Doing this opens our heart for the Spirit to help us forgive and heal. The verse in the letter to Timothy doesn’t only ask that we pray for all people. The letter continues that we “give thanks for them.” We are to give thanks for all people. Is this something you feel like doing? Do you thank God for the person who drives you crazy?
Understand that we are asked to do these things because it helps us to grow more Christ like. Often we think the prayers we pour out to God are to change others. The truth is the prayers often are to change us. Today, pray for all people. Intercede on their behalf. Give thanks for them. Be ready for God to respond in a mighty way!
“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.” – 1 Timothy 2:1 [NLT]
You Have Lacked Nothing
Today’s verse speaks of a time when God’s people were wandering around in the wilderness. Even when they were not always walking with their eyes fixed on God, even when their hearts were easily swayed, God provided for them. During a time when they grumbled and complained again and again, God still made sure they had everything they needed. He provided them manna. He provided them fresh water. This verse speaks truth – they “lacked nothing.”
For those reading this right now, it is quite possible that you can boldly claim these same words – that you have lacked nothing, that God has indeed provided for everything you need. Oftentimes as we fix our eyes elsewhere, we might become forgetful of this truth. But we have lacked nothing. We have been fed. We have been clothed. We so often show little gratitude for the many things God provides us for daily.
Today let us remind ourselves that we have lacked nothing over the years. God has provided for us and He has provided in abundance. Let us not overlook this great blessing. Instead, I pray we are able to live a life of gratitude, a life that appreciates all of the blessings that He pours out upon us. We are blessed so very much. Thank you Jesus! Let us be blessed to be a blessing!
“For the LORD your God has blessed you in everything you have done. He has watched your every step through this great wilderness. During these forty years, the LORD your God has been with you, and you have lacked nothing.” – Deuteronomy 2:7 [NLT]
When things are going great in life, we can always find reason to cheer. Yay! My daughter just had a baby. Yay! I just got a promotion. Yay! I won a contest. But what do you do when things aren’t going so well in life?
We are to be joyful in all situations—at all times in life. We are to rejoice always, when things are going well and when we don’t really feel like rejoicing. Do you feel like rejoicing when your mother is sick in the hospital? Do you feel like rejoicing when your house just burned to the ground? Do you feel like rejoicing when you lose your job?
We don’t always feel like rejoicing but it’s because of our attitude. We look to what we lost rather than to what we have gained. We always have a reason to rejoice. We always have a reason to be joyful. These moments are temporal. God has given us so much—eternal life, eternal blessings, and even right now as I am going through some very dark moments in my own life, I can look around and easily see that I am blessed. Yet I will rejoice. Thank you Jesus! Thank you Lord! Praise God for He is ALWAYS good!
“Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!” – Habakkuk 3:17-18 [NLT]
When we are babies, we are focused only on ourselves. When we get older, we start saying things are “MINE.” There comes a time in life when we will start agreeing that everything is from God – that He created everything, that He gave us everything. We thank Him for His provision. We thank Him for providing all we need. For some of us, this we learn in Sunday School; for others, it is something we learn later in life.
As David delivers this prayer, praising God and saying, “But who am I?” we should consider this as well. We live in a culture that expects things; we say, “I am ENTITLED” or “I have RIGHTS.” David recognized, whether he was hiding out from Saul or whether he was gathering materials for Solomon to one day build the Temple, that God created everything and God gave us everything.
We need to remind ourselves of this daily. We need to remember that everything came from God. We need to also remember that everything we give, we were given by God. It was never ours. Remind yourself today—“It all belongs to (God).” Let us continue to praise Him for Who He is and give Him the honor that He alone deserves.
“But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us! O LORD our God, even this material we have gathered to build a Temple to honor your holy name comes from you! It all belongs to you!” – 1 Chronicles 29:14, 16 [NLT]
When the Israelites were in the wilderness, there came a time when they wanted some meat. The Bible says that the people who were with them traveling “began to crave the good things of Egypt” and they joined in with this desire. They were slaves in Egypt. They were treated harshly in Egypt. Yet they shifted their focus from what they now had to what they lacked.
When you focus on what you do not have, you will find that you act very differently than you would with your focus aligned on God and His blessings. These “good things of Egypt” included nice food, but it also came with poor treatment in slavery. It also included living in a sinful area surrounded by people who did not follow God. The Israelites focused on what they lost—the little good that they had in Egypt—instead of looking at what they now had thanks to God.
We do this as well. Next time you find yourself complaining—next time you are grumbling in the wilderness—shift your focus. Remember what you have thanks to God.
“Then the foreign rabble who were traveling with the Israelites began to crave the good things of Egypt. And the people of Israel also began to complain. “Oh, for some meat!” they exclaimed.” – Numbers 11:4 [NLT]