Help!

English: Brooding Mountain Top Ben Ledi at 879...

English: Brooding Mountain Top Ben Ledi at 879 metres watches over the River Teith. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm 
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore. – Psalm 121

These promises from God refreshed my soul this morning. I have been putting in a lot of late nights at the computer trying to keep up with the deluge of work recently put on my plate. Please don’t think I am complaining, because I am not for I love the work I do. But there are times when I wonder, and I have been there before, how am I going to do all of this?

God has walked me through these types of days before and I am sure he has done the same for you. He is faithful. Knowing that at all times God is watching over me and protecting me gives me great peace.

We can go forth in this day knowing that the times we don’t know which end is up that we can look up to the mountains as the psalmist says and know without a doubt where our help comes from.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the daily plan you have laid out for me and helping me to accomplish all that you would like me to do. I pray that I lean into you during those times when life gets busy. Amen

Faith Tip: Lots to do today? Keep this psalm in mind as you go throughout your day.

What do you hear?

English: Moon

English: Moon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When the Lord called out his name for the third time, Samuel went to Eli again and said, “Here I am. What do you want?”

Eli finally realized that it was the Lord who was speaking to Samuel. So he said, “Go back and lie down! If someone speaks to you again, answer, ‘I’m listening, Lord. What do you want me to do?’”

Once again Samuel went back and lay down.

The Lord then stood beside Samuel and called out as he had done before, “Samuel! Samuel!”

“I’m listening,” Samuel answered. “What do you want me to do?” – 1 Samuel 3:8-10 CEV

I think I hear God most clearly when I go to bed. Initially, the review of the day runs through my mind, but then there’s that quiet time afterwards where my mind is still enough to listen … this is when his call is most obvious to me. Not that I don’t hear God throughout the day, but when I am most quiet is when I hear him the most. Sometimes it requires that I get out of bed and write what God has laid on my heart. At times, it is a call to pray.

It’s difficult to hear God when there’s a lot of noise going on in our lives. It takes a choice to be still and listen carefully for the voice of the Lord. It’s amazing what we hear when we do that.

God speaks to us is many ways. How do you hear God’s voice?

Prayer: I’m listening, Lord. Speak to my heart. Amen

Faith Tip: Take some time today and be still. Let God know that you’re listening.

It’s his show

Early in the morning, Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon ) and all his men camped at the spring of Harod. The camp of Midian was north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’ – Judges 1:1-2

I remember the first big drama I directed at our church called Uncle Phil’s Diner. This was a huge production with sets, actors, costumes, and even dinner was served all with a 1950’s theme. We had two showings of the drama and both were well received by the public. I am so thankful for all the people who committed to this event. But it would never have been the experience it was without God. God made it happen. It was God who spoke to the hearts of the people who were a part of it, he called the people to come and watch it, he provided for all our needs … the show really was all his. He truly was the director.

God feels it is important for us to know that he is very involved in every aspect of our life. He orchestrates our day to reflect his glory. All we need to do is obey and follow.

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for making so many great things happen in my life. I pray today that I watch for where you are working and join you. Amen

Faith Tip: God’s plan for you today is perfect. Trust him to make things happen in your life.

 

Staying on track

English: Jogging with dog at Carcavelos Beach ...

Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord. He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you.”

But the people said to Joshua, “No! We will serve the Lord.”

Then Joshua said, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to serve the Lord.”

Yes, we are witnesses,” they replied. – Joshua 24:19-22

There are times when I am very strong and focused on a goal such as healthy living. I am eating fruit and veggies, exercising, and doing whatever I can at the moment to be healthy. Then there are other times. I may have had a challenging day and all my focus goes down the tube and I want something that I perceive will satisfy my needs … usually having to do with ice cream and pizza.

The Israelites had a passion, just like we do, to worship and serve God. There are times when we have it all together and can be focused on the goal. Then there are other times. Our humanness takes over when life gets challenging and we lose our focal point of the way we were going. Somehow we get off-track in following God by going after distractions of the world.

God knows our weakness. Our creator has provided a way to get back on track and continue the journey. His name is Jesus.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for helping me get back on track when I journey down my own road. Your way is always better. Amen

Faith Tip: What road are you on today and who are you following? Do you need to be refocused? God will help you … just ask.

Are you a victim?

Ball and chain

Ball and chain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

God makes everything come out right; 
he puts victims back on their feet.
He showed Moses how he went about his work,
opened up his plans to all Israel.
God is sheer mercy and grace;
not easily angered, he’s rich in love.
He doesn’t endlessly nag and scold,
nor hold grudges forever.
He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve,
nor pay us back in full for our wrongs. – portion of Psalm 103 The Message

There was a man down on his luck. It seemed like everything he attempted to do in life failed. He was a victim. However, looking back on past choices in life, it seemed like the perfect storm for failure. There may have been an event in his life where he was hurt. That would make him the victim in that instance, but not a forever victim.

Being a victim is a role that is taken on when someone or something affects their life. However, remaining in the role is a choice. If everything that happens in life goes through the mind file of victim, then there is a limitation on what can be done. However, breaking free from the victim chains and taking responsibility and making good choices will allow a person to truly blossom into the person they were meant to be.

God gives us what we need to do this. His grace and mercy cover our many bad choices. There may be consequences, but there is always love and redemption in Jesus.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for picking me back up when I have fallen. Your love has carried me through many valleys, and I pray that the freedom you have given me will encourage another. Amen

Faith Tip: Have you taken on the role of victim for something that has happened long ago? It’s time to be free from that. Allow God to help you through the transition.

Big time wrestling

Wrestler pose

Wrestler pose (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”

But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

The man asked him, “What is your name?”

“Jacob,” he answered.

Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” – Genesis 32:24-28

I’m afraid I don’t understand the thrill of big time wresting on television. I watched it once, and it seemed so fake to me like staged entertainment of violence. I don’t get it. Would their awards be for best entertainer? I know there is skill in wrestling as it is a sporting event in schools, so how does it get from the actual sport to the media blitz of the WWE it has become?

Real wrestling, as in wrestling with God, has a great outcome. It’s tough to struggle with the spiritual issues we come across, but in the struggling we see God face-to-face. The wrestling in itself is a choice to bring God into the equation. As we struggle, we learn more about God and his ways which helps us come to the end of the struggle and see the issue as God sees it. That’s what it takes to be a champion.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to wrestle with you. I pray that I don’t run from this, but partake in it even though it is painful. There will be victory. Amen

Faith Tip: Is there a spiritual issue that is a constant nagging in your life? Allow yourself to wrestle with God about it. Be brave in working it through and discover how God sees it.

 

Acting the part

Racks of costumes at TDF's Costume Collection.

Racks of costumes at TDF's Costume Collection. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7

In preparing for dramas, characters are dressed in such a way to send a message to the audience of who they are, their character, and perhaps personality. It can be fun when a character is perceived a certain way by the audience and then when the actor starts speaking, the audience finds out they may be the direct opposite of what they thought.

What we see is the first “truth” we put in our mind. It may not be the real truth, but it’s what we first think we understand. Look at how the presidential candidates work hard at their image to be the most likable person for the job. Many of us take a lot of time and energy to work on the outside shell of our bodies to send a message of how we want people to see us. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I wonder how much time and energy we put forth to beautify ourselves inside. What is more important?

God says he looks at the inside. Our heart is what matters to him. So we need to ask ourselves the question: Do we want to please God or people?

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for knowing who I am inside and out. I pray that I use my time wisely in the beautification process to your glory. Amen

Faith Tip: Figure out how much time you spent today in achieving a perfect look, and then consider how much time you spent on the inside heart matters.