God Promises Direction! 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

In this promise Solomon was advising his son to put His trust in the LORD. Solomon had found that God is worthy of our trust. In my reading I found that the word that trust is translated from here means literally ‘to lie helpless, facedown.’ This trust is not to be taken lightly. This is a knowing that only God can direct the next step of your life and it work out the right way. It is completely letting go and letting God direct you! And the only way to trust like this is with all your heart! It is complete total dependence on God in a situation, crisis or circumstance. Or even in the day to day, mundane, little decisions in life. 

Have you ever had a decision where you just simply came to end of yourself and finally you had no other choice but to trust God? Where you were at the point of helpless and even if you weren’t you may as well be lying facedown. I have had a few times like that in recent years. I am not sure why us humans can’t seem to decide to trust Him before we get to that place. I think I am better at it today than I was when circumstances forced me to it. At least I hope I am. I can tell you, He has carried me through so much stuff of life that I do trust Him with all my heart. And I have learned or at least am learning daily to not lean on my own understanding. I have at times in my prayers prayed specifically for a situation that when it worked out specifically the way I prayed, looking back I am not always sure it was the best way. I am learning to pray more for God to just continue working in my circumstances and for me not to give Him the directive. Because when I do that, when I trust Him to work it all out and yes, I do have to remind myself, not to give the directives, (Lord, I think it should look like this or that) then I am in awe of the way it works out. So sometimes when I am praying my prayer just becomes: “And Lord, that thing I’ve been asking you about, Carry on Lord, just carry on!”

I hope I live my life in a way that acknowledges Him. I try to. I fall and fail many times every day I am sure of it. But I do truly believe that when we do live our life for Him that He is working in our lives and all we have to do many times is open our eyes to see it. Most of the time I can see His hand guiding me or my situation or circumstances. But there are times when I may feel that I haven’t seen it. When I feel that way, I simply ask Him, “Lord I want to trust you in this and I want to see Your hand, please show me.” And usually, something will happen that I do see Him. 

“And He will make straight your paths.” Now I know that my ability to put my trust in Him now to this extent comes from years of following Him and watching Him work. I have many stories of how the Lord guided me and some of those times, I couldn’t see the hand of God in my day to day circumstances until I was in the looking back stage. You know what they say Hindsight is 20/20. It’s true. I’ll give you one example here. Once I was working in a school, and quite frankly I was in a job I was not enjoying very much. I loved the place I was working but the job I had didn’t pay much and it was constantly just busy and I never felt I accomplished much. Well another job came available there and I put in for it and truly my boss gave me encouragement. But someone else put in for it that actually had experience in that type of job and well she got the job. I was hurt, and yes a lot pouty over it. I was like “Lord, I prayed for this and didn’t get it, and my feelings are hurt.” Less than a year later, another job came open that actually did match my skill set more and you know what, it actually paid more than the first job that had come available. It also set me on a path to grow in my skills and given me the experience I needed for many jobs over the years. I truthfully did not do a very good job in the trust department back then, but he still made a straight path for me. In spite of me. But it definitely taught me better how to lay my trust down to Him. 

I am going to put the Passion Translation here. I love it’s simplicity. 

“Trust in the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on him to guide you, and he will lead you in every decision you make. Become intimate with him in whatever you do, and he will lead you wherever you go.” Proverbs 3:5-6 TPT

Are you having trouble trusting Him? Ask Him to help you trust. Are you trying to give God your opinion of how it should work out? It’s best not to rely on our own opinions, we can’t see the big picture. Ask Him to guide you in your decisions. I love that this version says “become intimate with Him.” The more you seek Him, the more you will know Him, and the more you know Him, the more you will trust Him. And He will guide you and lead you in wherever you go!  He promises that! 

God Promises a Good Life! 

“Honor your father and mother (this is the first commandment with a promise), that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Ephesians 6:2-3

When Paul quotes this commandment in Ephesians he is teaching the Ephesians about relationships most notably the relationship children should have with their parents. He starts off with verse 1. 

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Ephesians 6:1 

Children are to obey their parents. But children have to be taught obedience. When you see a newborn baby it is hard to believe that he or she will ever have a sinful nature. They are sweet and precious. But before that child gets to be two years old the sinful natures come out naturally. We don’t have to be taught how to be selfish do we? When the child learns the word “mine” we can see that sinful nature begin to play out. Children have to be taught obedience. They have to be taught how to share and how to control themselves when they don’t get what they want. This is the parent’s job to teach obedience. The command sounds so simple but it takes work on behalf of the parents to teach the children how to obey. 

The next verse, our focus verse is really talking about adult children. As children grow into adulthood, obedience to their parents changes to honor. We are to honor our father and mother and this comes with a promise of a good and prosperous life. Paul is quoting this verse from the ten commandments, the commandments that God gave to Moses to give to the Israelites. The first four commandments all point to God, but this one the fifth commandment begins the shift in how to treat other people, starting with parents. But it also comes with a promise from God that when we follow this commandment we will have a good life and a long life. For that reason the honor we give our father and mother can be looked at as a duty toward God more than people. 

Honoring your father and mother can look many different ways. It can be how we speak to them. It can mean speaking to them at all. You may have parents in nursing care and you have to visit them now. Those visits are a good way to honor them. It can be calling them, just to check on them. It can mean not forgetting them on holidays and significant events. And it can also just mean praying for them and if they are not with you anymore just speaking highly of them. You want to be sure that one day when they are gone, you can say you loved them well. 

Now I hesitated to talk about this verse because I know many good people who did not get the opportunity to live a long life here on earth. And that bothers me. I know a lot of parents who have had to bury their children and these children were not dishonoring to their parents. This is one of those questions I think I will have ready when I get to heaven to ask God about. But what I do think is that there are blessings that come when we treat our parents with honor and respect. That when we reach adulthood there are still ways that you speak to them and treat them that will bring about blessings from God.

Now I do want to go further here to mention that Paul does go on to talk about how parents have to raise their children. 

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

We have all seen the news and seen parents who were abusive and did not deserve the place of honor and respect from their children. But this commandment does not say honor your father and mother if they deserve it. It says honor them. Period.  The truth is we do live in a fallen and sinful world. But as christians we have to do our part to do what God’s word says. 

I don’t have the opportunity to honor my parents with a phone call or a visit anymore. But I can tell you this, they were not perfect people but I am grateful that God gave me to them. They loved me and they did the best that they knew how. I regret the times I maybe didn’t show them honor and I ask God to forgive me for those times. I pray that when all is said and done that I loved them well. 

God Promises Desires of our Hearts! 

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

This is one of everyone’s favorite promises from God. Because we use it as a way to convince ourselves that we can have whatever we want from God. Right? But there is so much more to this promise than first glance. This is not just a cookie cutter way of getting what we want from God. First let’s look at the verses surrounding. 

“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” Psalm 37-3-5

First let’s look at our requirements here. The first one is TRUST in the Lord. We, as Christians say we trust in the Lord. But when it comes down to it do we? Are we really trusting Him with our lives when we don’t consult with Him on what we should do next? For instance, we have that job in front of us, that looks like the answer to all of our financial worries. But have we consulted with Him on whether it’s really where He wants us or not? Are we trusting Him with our purposes and our finances and our families? It’s easy to say sometimes but because we are humans who like to think we are in control, sometimes it’s hard to do. Ask yourself what are you not trusting Him with? Are you laying your worries down to Him and picking them back up as the day goes. (This is my biggest problem.) We are told here to Trust Him. 

Then we are to do good, dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. What this means is simply to do what is right. Let’s be the example of right living and living out our faith to our fellow man. Right living is simply being kind and speaking truth and fighting the negativity around us with kindness. We could say this is hard to do to, but it’s us who makes it hard. It’s all about living intentionally. First and foremost just be nice to other people, regardless of their beliefs, their political alignment. They don’t have to think like us for us to be an example of kindness. Whether we agree with them or not, we can still be kind and be a light to the dark world we live in.

Then DELIGHT yourself in the Lord! What does that mean? To me it means looking forward to my time that I spend with Him. I struggle with distractions during my quiet time and I don’t know why because I love God’s word and I love when I have heard from Him and I know He is working things out for me! But I am human and if I am not careful I will find my mind wandering off on a tangent when I am right in the middle of my time with the Lord. I think the Lord loves it when we give Him our full attention! Not because He needs it but because He wants it! 

And this is the cool thing when we have done the things above He will give us the desires of our heart. You know why? It’s because when we are living intentionally for Him, and doing our best to shine His light to a dark world and delighting in spending time with Him, His desires become our desires! We will find that over time, we have begun to think more kingdom minded thoughts and desire more kingdom minded things, and then yes, we find that He gives us what we desire. 

I love the last verse of our little passage. 

“Commit your way to the Lord, trust in Him and He will act.” Ps 37:5

It sounds simple and in a way it really is. We just commit to Him and He will act on our behalf. 

I love the way this passage reads in The Passion Translation. It has a great way of taking these verses and breaking them down for us. 

“Keep trusting in the Lord and do what is right in his eyes. Fix your heart on the promises of God, and you will dwell in the land, feasting on his faithfulness. Find your delight and true pleasure in Yahweh, and he will give you what you desire the most. Give God the right to direct your life, and as you trust him along the way, you’ll find he pulled it off perfectly!” Psalm 37:3-5 TPT

Just keep delighting in Him, keep laying your thoughts and worries and requests down to Him and trust Him along the way. He can pull it off perfectly!

God Promises Provision!

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

As Christians this is a command for us, to seek first the kingdom of God. But it’s a command with a promise attached to it. But what does that even mean to seek first His kingdome? It means that all we do, our jobs, our decisions, our day to day life come back to seeking God’s will and His purpose for our lives. It means consulting with Him on the big decisions of life but also it means consulting with Him on the little decisions of life. It means spending time with Him and asking Him to direct our path. And it means trying to live our life in a way that will bring glory and honor to Him. That’s what seeking after His righteousness means. Are we living in a way that is seeking His righteousness? 

Everyone may have a different response to what it would look like for them to seek His righteousness. Everyone would have a different struggle. But, for me to first answer that question, I have to check my attitude and my every day life. What I struggle with most is a negative spirit seeping into my thought processes. Oh my mind can go off on a rail so quick with negative thoughts if I am not careful. And before I know it, I may as well be sitting in a corner whining because I am thinking no one likes me or wants to be around me. I have to fight those negative thoughts. I have to remind myself I am a daughter of the King and there is no room for those negative thoughts. Because the truth is, when I get myself in a pattern of negative thinking, who would blame people for not wanting to be around me? Many times we are our own worst enemy in this department. Negative thoughts breed a negative attitude. Who wants to be around someone with a whiny negative spirit all the time? 

The next thing in my attitude I have to check is my worry. And that is addressed in the previous verses from this one. In this passage Jesus was teaching the disciples about not being anxious for their food and clothing. God does not want us to worry about the things in our day to day life. What God wants us to be concerned with is His seeking His will for our lives and His righteousness, right thinking and living. Jesus points out that God clothes the flowers with His splendor and glory and He feeds the animals, but we are of much more value to God than they are. If we are seeking Him, seeking His direction and His will for our lives, the everyday what we will eat, drink and be clothed with will fall into place. 

Please understand this promise is not for us to never have another worry or care in life. We will, but when we are seeking Him, we know where to go with those worries and cares. We know to bring them to Jesus. And we know to lay them at His feet and let Him work those things out. I wish I could tell you I never let the worry or the negative seep in, I do. But when I am in a right frame of mind and I am seeking Him, I know where to check those thoughts. And I know how to bring them back to Him to seek His righteousness. 

The bottom line is, we have the promise from God that when we are seeking Him, His will and His purpose for our lives, that the day to day things of life will fall into place. When we are in God’s will, there will be provision for our needs. We may not have the latest sports car or the designer fashions or the fanciest house but somehow our day to day provisions will be met. I’ve seen it, I’ve lived it. In our family we have had times when we were doing well in life, by some standards, and we have had time when I prayed over what the grocery bill would be when I was about to walk into the grocery store. Or prayed for the Lord to stretch that tank of gas until payday. And somehow God always came through and our needs were met. Oh Lord Jesus, please help me to remember to always seek your kingdom and let you worry about my needs! 

God Promises Wisdom! 

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:2-5

This is one of those passages that I have had to learn to love. I have shared with you before that I didn’t understand it for a long time. How were you supposed to count joy trials that come your way? And well, truthfully I didn’t like it either. But experience, and I hate to admit it, age have made me learn what this really means. We have a few things to unpack from this passage. 

The first reason to count our trials as joy is that it will give us an opportunity for God to build our faith. And as our faith builds in one trial, it is there for us in the next one that comes along. When God has carried you through something, anything, it is easier to see that He will carry you through the next thing that comes your way. You see, it’s like this, trials that come our way can either make us bitter or they can make us better. It’s really your choice. Oh, wouldn’t we all love a life that trials never came our way? Of course we would. But that’s not how life works. There will be things. There will always be illnesses, there will be relational issues, there will be financial strains, there will always be death. Any of those and more can be considered our various trials. The joy doesn’t come from the trial itself. The joy comes from knowing that He is there for us to carry us through the trial. Knowing that we have a loving God who will wrap His arms around us and carry us through it, well that produces our faith, and it grows stronger. And when the next trial comes we will know that He is with us again. And we feel a little stronger to face it. 

Then the second reason to count our trials as joy is the promise of His wisdom. In some trials that come our way all we can do is let God carry us through them. But some require decisions to be made. When that is the case, we must ask God for the wisdom and He promises to give it. In fact these verses say He will give it to us generously and “without reproach”! God wants to guide us through this life. He wants us to ask Him and He will show us our next steps. Sometimes, actually most of the time, it is step by step. We don’t usually get to look at the big picture of where we are going in those times. But when we get to the other side and we look back we can usually see that when we asked Him for the wisdom that He gave it to us generously. When we cling to Him and ask Him to show us the way, He will do it. It’s a promise. Our job is to ask! 

Why is it, that we will look for a self help book instead of asking God so many times when we have a problem in front of us? I have been guilty of it. When, if we have God’s word in front of us, we have what we need to get through life. Now don’t take that the wrong way, Because I love books and I love to read a book about how someone learned to navigate a problem or issue they had and see if I can glean something to help me navigate. But something I always want to do is to make sure that any book I am reading about navigating life, points me back to scripture. I do believe we have a lot to learn from each other. But the true wisdom will only come from God, who will give us generously if we are asking. You can read the books for knowledge, but go to God to get the wisdom on how to use the knowledge you gain from reading the books. Let’s be sure to put them in proper perspective. 

“Someone once said that knowledge is the ability to take things apart, but wisdom is the ability to put things together.” 

I like that quote because what it brought to my mind is I can read all the self-help books I want to and I will gain some knowledge, but in the end when I am facing things that have broken my heart, it’s going to take God’s wisdom to show me the way and His gentle hands to put my heart back together. 

Waiting ~ Soaring ~ Running ~ Walking!

“And they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

This is one of my all time favorite scriptures. I know it is a favorite among many. It is quoted, it is painted on plaques, it is worn on t shirts, but it’s really not just a cookie cutter scripture. It is much deeper than first glance may seem. This kind of waiting on the Lord is not a passive waiting as waiting can be. It is not like sitting in line at the drive through, waiting for your order to be ready. This waiting requires something of us. It is a pouring ourselves out to Him and meeting with Him kind of waiting. It is an active kind of waiting. And yes sometimes it’s a long time kind of waiting. 

Have you ever had something that you prayed about for a very long time and you wondered if you would ever get the answer? Or if you would get the answer you could live with anyway? I have! I have had situations and circumstances that spanned years and I would be on my knees and in my prayer chair daily and sometimes I would wonder, and maybe I still wonder if and when I will get the answer. Or if the answer will ever come that I can live with. I want to say I’m still here Lord, I’m still waiting. But in this kind of waiting, where I bring those requests to Him every day, I find a new strength that I didn’t know I could have. I find that I can still go to work and put one foot in front of the other. Sometimes it feels as if the heartbreak and the waiting could paralyze me and make me just want to crawl back in my bed and pull the covers over my head. And sometimes that sounds nice. But it’s really not. When we do that, when we retreat, that’s not where the strength will come in. 

So how do we get this strength? Some versions of this verse use a different word than wait. Some use hope and trust. This waiting, this hoping, this trusting will give us strength as we actively seek Him and pour out to Him what is on our hearts. We can’t expect Him to just pour into us what we need to make it through every day even with our broken hearts and our worries and our circumstances. We must bring them to Him, pour them out to Him, and then His strength pours into us. 

And then…. 

After we have gone to heavenly places with Him. We mounted up on wings of Eagles and soared to the heavenly places! 

We have set our feet to run the race that is set before us, our race, no one else’s. The one that the Lord gave us, this life, this family, these circumstances, whatever they are. 

We walk it out. We hold our head up and we go in the strength He gives us to face the day. Yes this says we will walk and not faint. My friends I have had days where I questioned that. Could I really walk out the day without fainting because I was so tired of the stuff I was dealing with? But I can tell you now, looking back that the strength He would give me for days like that was minute by minute. I truly believe the strength to walk it out only came because of the seeking and the pursuing and the clinging to Him that I was doing in my mornings with Him, and keeping the pursuing and the seeking at the forefront of my mind as the day went on. 

No this waiting is not a passive waiting. It’s an active waiting. But if you wait like that and you seek Him, He will give you strength. You will soar to heavenly places with Him. You will run the race He’s given you and you will be able to walk out the day.  

Be the Blessing to Be Blessed

“If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” Isaiah 58:10-11

So I looked at this verse in several different versions and did a little digging to see what it meant. This verse came as the Israelites were going through the rituals of religion and this was in a chapter in Isaiah basically telling them how to truly worship God. God wants our hearts not just our going through the motions. Going to church and corporate worship is a good thing and it feeds my soul every week. However, we have all gone through times where maybe we were attending church and even having a quiet time, but we felt our prayers were, as they say, not reaching the ceiling. This chapter in Isaiah was giving instruction to God’s people on how not to just be ritualistic. 

Our focus verse is about ministering to other people and the promise of the blessing that will come when we do. Now I know that we can’t all go on missions around the world or even to our downtown areas to feed others. But I think what is being said here is that it’s about what you can do. Let’s look at the verse in another version to truly break it down. 

“Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.” Isaiah 58:10-11 NLT 

Simply put our directive here is “Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble.” In other words minister to the folks around you. Who in your sphere might need some ministering to and how can you help. It’s about more than just saying “I’ll pray for you.” And then do you? Now don’t get me wrong I believe wholeheartedly in the power of prayer. But that means actually doing it. Not just saying it. I have been guilty of saying it, and going on about my business. Or typing in “prayers” to someone’s need on Facebook and scrolling on. Have you stormed heaven’s gates lately for some need, someone, or something. I try to make myself stop and whisper a prayer for whomever I am telling I will pray when I say it and/or type it in. And then is there something you can physically do to minister? 

Then when you have fulfilled your part, “your light will shine out from the darkness and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.” Oh I love that! What I thought about was times when I have felt, because of circumstances that I may have, if I pour myself out to another person’s need then my darkness is not so dark anymore. My circumstances don’t seem so hard, when I pour myself out to someone whose needs are more than mine. Whether it is that they are hungry, or in trouble in some other way, or maybe my pouring out is storming the gates of heaven in prayer for them. Maybe it’s a phone call, or a written note. The key here is when we are ministering to others, our darkness becomes as light as the noonday! 

And when we are doing that, when we are ministering and our darkness becomes light, also, the Lord will guide us and it will restore our strength! I’ve had this conversation with a few people recently. Even when you think things are bad for you, look around and you won’t have to look far to find someone who is in worse shape. What does the Lord want you to do for the one who is in worse shape? Focus on that, what can you do and let your day shine a little brighter today. Be a blessing to be blessed my friends! 

Have Faith and He will Move Mountains!


“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24

Jesus was talking to His disciples. Well actually they were walking by a fig tree that Jesus had cursed the day before and it was withered. Peter pointed it out to Jesus, “hey that fig tree that you cursed, it’s dead now.” Jesus was teaching His disciples about faith. When Jesus cursed the fig tree, He knew that it would not survive. He had no doubt whatsoever. What He is trying to convey to His disciples is that very fact that when you pray to God for something, you should not doubt that He will answer your prayers. Let’s back up a couple of verses. 

“And Jesus answered them, ‘Have faith in God. Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, Be taken up and thrown into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.’” Mark 11:22-24

Now before we go about thinking that this is our way of getting whatever we want, we need to look at some elements of these verses. First of all we are asking in faith in God. That means that what we are asking should align with God’s will. He is not going to give us what is not for our ultimate good. That’s where the faith comes in. At least we hope not. I have learned that whatever I am praying for I always try to ask in accordance with His will. And I ask that if what I am asking is not in His will that He will change my heart. And sometimes I don’t necessarily get what I thought I wanted but I end up with what I needed. It has to be for His glory. 

The next element of this verse when He says “whoever says to this mountain, be taken up and thrown into the sea what He is talking about here is figurative. When He used the word “mountain” it was figurative for an insurmountable problem. According to the commentary I read it said that removing mountains was quite commonly used as a phrase for removing difficulties back in those days. Jesus is promising that with our faith our difficulties and obstacles can be removed. 

What we have to do is invite Him in. Invite Him in to remove the mountains in front of us. Invite Him in and then believe that He will work it out, and He will surely do it. I know that at times our obstacles seem too big and we aren’t sure that we can see the end. But my friends I have seen over and over that when I invite Him into the circumstances that are concerning me, the mountains that I feel are in front of me, and when I leave it to Him and quit trying to fix it myself, that eventually He really does work it out and it is always for my ultimate good! 

Our promise here is asking what we want in prayer and believe and trust Him, have faith that He will give us the best version of what it is we want. Jesus wants to walk with us and He wants us to have faith that He will work out our mountains, our obstacles, even a fig tree that may get in our way. 

Salvation is a Promise! 

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” Romans 10:9-10

Salvation is a promise. But it doesn’t just come to us without action on our part. You know something I just noticed in this verse. I guess I have always thought belief in our heart must come first before confession. But look here at this verse. This verse says confess then it says believe. Hmm I wonder about this order here.

You know I have often heard that we can speak things into existence and maybe in a way that is what this is saying. If your heart is having trouble believing you speak it there first. You confess that Jesus is Lord then your heart will follow with belief in the fact that God raised Him from the dead. And when we do that when we speak Jesus is Lord and when our heart really believes our salvation is sealed! Our heart justifies us. What does that even mean? 

In Jeremiah it says that “the heart is deceitful above all things.” (Jer. 17:9) I wonder if we need to speak our confessions sometime to convince our heart to follow suit. Because our heart will bounce around and not be grounded in the fact. And then when we can know that we know Him and we believe with our whole heart we are justified. I also think when we know Him with our heart our actions will begin to follow Him. And that is what justifies us as well. When we know Him with our whole heart, we want to please Him. Those sins that we struggle with when we were not believers in Him, become less of a struggle because we know Him with our hearts and pleasing Him becomes paramount and we are justified because even though we will still sin, it’s not as easy to brush it off. We feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit in our hearts which leads to repentance of the sin. 

So backtracking here, Confession is the first step to believing with our whole heart. Most of us who may be reading this have probably got this part down. But just in case, let’s never assume. If you are struggling with unbelief in who Jesus is, you start with confessing Him. You claim Him to be your Lord and Savior. Just like the father of the child who was sick in Mark 9. He had heard about this Jesus and he had heard that he could heal so why not take a chance and ask. And when he says to Jesus “if you can do anything”. Look at Jesus response. 

“And Jesus said to him, ‘If you can! All things are possible for one who believes.’” Mark 9:23

And then: 

“Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, ‘I believe; help my unbelief’” Mark 9:24

I love the pure honesty in that verse. When Jesus told the father that he must believe, he claimed his belief that Jesus could heal but he was also asking Jesus to help his heart to believe! 

My friends if you are not sure of your salvation, your first step is to confess it. We are promised salvation from our confession. Then believe it in your heart, believe Him who died on the cross for us, and then our hearts are justified with Him. 

Also friends if you are not sure of this and want to talk to someone, send me a private message it would be my honor. And if not me, find a close trusted friend or pastor to discuss it with. 

Draw Near!

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” James 4:8

This is our focus promise for today. We are moving into our conditional promises of God. For the next couple of weeks we will look at some of the promises of God that require some action on our part. This promise reads pretty simply, but it can seem pretty hard to do. It all depends on how you look at it. 

Man generally likes to say and think “I’m my own boss. I’m in control of my own destiny. I have my own rights” Basically “I’ve got this.” And then when we make a mess of things we want to ask God to come in and clean up our messes. And thankfully many times He does just that for us. The truth is, we are all submitting to something whether we like to think we are or not. It’s just that if we aren’t submitting to God and asking His direction and His will for our lives, we are submitting to the devil. And that is what James is pointing out to us here, when He says “submit to God” and then he says “resist the devil.” We have to make a decision in our minds and in our hearts who we will submit to. The devil is going to try to trip us up anywhere he can. He knows our weaknesses and he knows what to throw our way. 

This is a pretty simple illustration but I have a memory that keeps popping in my mind. I haven’t always been a morning person. In fact in my much younger years, I could stay up really late and sleep until noon. I remember when I was first feeling the draw to this daily quiet time. I was a young mama who kept my friends children in my home. She was a school teacher and had to be at work very early in the morning. I wanted to be there for her as we had both been stay at home mamas together and she was in a position to have to go back to work. But I worried I was falling short of what these children needed from me. At the time my pastor kept preaching on getting in the word daily. Looking at my schedule with 3 preschoolers in my home every day and my oldest child in school the only time I could find to do this was early in the morning. So I started setting my clock to get up early to meet with God. I can remember dragging myself from my bed with voices in my head saying “you don’t need to do this. Don’t you think you need more sleep? You can find time to do this later.” I knew where those voices were coming from. Satan had no desire for me to begin my day with Jesus. And he knew at the time that sleep was my friend. I can remember one particular morning I was at the doorway to my room and I almost turned around and went back to bed. I set my feet firmly and I’m not sure if I said it out loud or not. Probably not since my husband was in the same room still sleeping but in my head I said “NO, I am not going back to bed. I am going to have my quiet time with God and I am going to do this every morning, so devil LEAVE ME ALONE!” Now I know this may sound far fetched to you but I can tell you 26 years into this daily appointment I have, with the exception of sickness or a few times I have had to adjust it because of other things, pretty much gotten up every morning. And for the most part I feel like the devil has left me alone on this one. There are times when we have to get firm with the devil and tell him NO. He is not going to get us on this one. That is submitting to God. 

The rest of this promise “draw near to God and He will draw near to you!” Friends, when you seek Him, when you spend time with Him, He will certainly draw near to you. He is my best friend, He is with me always. Studying His word is one of the greatest delights of my life. He is in my thoughts all day long. I want my life to be authentic and real for Him. I pray that all can see Jesus in me. My pastor preached yesterday on being light for a dark world and I hope that my life is a light for all, for the sinner and the saint. I want others to see Jesus in me and I pray that they will want what I have. I am not saying I never mess up and the devil doesn’t look for and find other ways to get at me. He wants to put out my light. But that is part of the process of drawing near to God. The cleansing of my hands and asking God’s forgiveness for when I get it wrong and asking Him to help me to get it right. I know that not checked my mind wanders all over the place. I can find myself falling into negative thought processes and conversations before quick can get ready. That’s why I have to come to Him daily and ask Him to purify my heart. And when I do that, I do feel Him near to me. I know that as I draw near to Him, He is drawing near to me.