“I Can’t Believe You’d Ask Me To Do This!”

“I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU’D ASK ME TO DO THAT!”

And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”  Genesis 22:7

            Today’s devotional is for one in a thousand.  If you resonate with how Isaac might have felt, than I am thanking God for the privilege of writing this morning because not everyone has an Isaac-kind of story.  Yes, everyone suffers because we live in a fallen world, but not everyone is handpicked to sacrifice in a way that is so very solitary.

            To how many could Isaac relate his story and know that they would understand what he was talking about?  Precious few.  What God required of him and his father was steep.  Being ‘chosen’ meant excruciating testing.  Was there a moment, even for a split second, when Isaac said to himself, “This can’t be happening. Surely, I’m not the sacrifice!”

            Have you ever had such a thought?  “Surely, God hasn’t asked me to suffer such things!”  The story you are living, or have lived – few know.  You understand that if you told the whole story, it would cause others to stumble in their understanding of who God is.

Continue reading ““I Can’t Believe You’d Ask Me To Do This!””

God’s Wisdom – Don’t Abdicate!

DON’T ABDICATE!

In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch. Psalm 5:3

You will have some good days; ones that you look back on and make you smile. They will give you the joy of reminiscing.  You will also have some bad days; ones you end by throwing up your hands and believing you’ve failed too badly.

Remember, My mercies are new every morning. Today is the day to begin again to do something different from yesterday. The regrets of hours past need not define the future. All progress is marked by forward and backward steps. Determination to learn from failure and continue to walk forward are the keys.

Stumbling is to be momentary and instructive – not an action that causes you to sit and abdicate. Don’t despise failure.  I will redeem it as wisdom.  So, rise up in new strength. Rest in a new promise that will fuel righteous choices for today.  I’m your comforter for your yesterdays and your helper for today.

God’s Wisdom ~ Will You Defend Me?

In your heart, honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.  I Peter 3:15

Nothing defeats evil faster than My love-sick bride.  Her passionate words and vehement defense of My character leaves no room for discordant words from My foes.  Do not be afraid to say, ‘Please don’t say that of the One I love!’  Remind the one who disparages my reputation of who I am and whose you are.

I defend you daily from the insults and accusations of your accuser.  You see, we are both fighting for the one we love.

 

God’s Wisdom ~ Little by Little

“Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.”  Deuteronomy 23:30

Let’s talk about this big thing that overwhelms you; that thing you bring before me nearly every hour of the day.  I know you wish it weren’t there, that I’d reach out with a sweeping wave of my hand and remove it.  You are frustrated that I’m not doing it when all power is mine.

I told my people when they were traveling through the wilderness to Canaan, “Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.”  My plan is for each of my children to become mighty in wisdom, strong in muscle strength, and fluent about the ways of the kingdom.  Slaying one giant at a time will build into your life the things which are critical for your future.  Never underestimate what is gained when you walk with me and see a progress that characterized by baby steps.

I am not stingy nor is my power limited.  It is My love that restrains my hand from completely rescuing you so that I can do what is ultimately best on your behalf.  I know that this mountain makes you tremble, even despair.  But by dealing with your fear, choosing to stand in faith, you are being transformed into a champion.  When you can’t see your progress, I can.  And I have!  You have already changed more than you know.

Stuffing Painful Memories

STUFFING PAINFUL MEMORIES

Even in laughter the heart may be in pain, and the end of joy may be grief.  Proverbs 14:13

            That which weights down my heart like lead is usually difficult to acknowledge.  Somewhere beneath my sanguine exterior, grief pokes at me constantly, begging for acknowledgment.  If it’s too frightening to process, I will run from it. If the grief is terrifying, I’ll run from it indefinitely.

            I am in tune with the sad eyes of people at social gatherings.  Those who regale others with the funniest stories of the evening can be the very ones who cry themselves to sleep in private agony.  How many comedians have admitted that they struggle with depression? It seems to be a theme. The jokester is often the troubled soul. Continue reading “Stuffing Painful Memories”

Pre-Requisites of Good Teaching

PRE-REQUISITES OF GOOD TEACHING

The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable.  Proverbs 15:2

    I still tremble with fear knowing that I have been called to be a teacher of the Word.  In the beginning of my ministry, I was a recording artist and never could have imagined the future. I’ve learned the hard way that teaching is so much more than just sharing information.  Eloquence of the spiritual kind is what happens when what a teacher shares is shaped and empowered by God to go into a man’s spirit, like a well crafted arrow, to change his life.

  • To teach successfully, I must have wisdom.  That means I have come to the end myself and recognize that I am spiritually bankrupt without God.
  • To teach successfully, I must know people.  I must understand the heart of a man and how he thinks, moves, and breathes with or without God.  That starts with knowing myself as revealed by the Holy Spirit.
  • To teach successfully, I must be in tune with whether or not others are connecting with me.  Blank stares, napping, shifting in their seats…these are not good signs. I must be open to others feedback.
  • To teach successfully, I must know when the hearts of my listeners are ready to hear the message.  There must be fertile ground for the seeds to take root.  A message delivered prematurely, even though it may be expertly crafted, is completely wasted.  I may as well have curled up at home with a good book. And, there will never be fertile ground without prayer. Lots of it.
  • To teach successfully, I must know how to hear the voice of God’s Spirit while I’m teaching.  As one who used to be chained to my notes, convinced that I needed to have every “t” crossed and every “i” dotted, I have learned that God wants to tweak my messages during the delivery.  If I don’t know how to hear Him and don’t have the guts to follow His lead, I will live in the bondage of perfectionism. I will forfeit the thrill of seeing Him move supernaturally through a Spirit-led tangent.

“The Scriptures come alive to me,” is one of the greatest comments a teacher will ever hear.  God is looking for those who are willing to do their own rigorous heart preparation before ever taking the podium. I’m asking God to never let me do anything less.

Break me and mold me.  Burn the message into my spirit and remove the dross. I finally have no other agenda than Yours, Lord.  In Jesus’ name, Amen

Am I Spiritually Street Smart?

AM I SPIRITUALLY STREET SMART?

To give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth. 

Proverbs 1:4

            It would have been completely safe for a naive person to live in Eden.  There would have been no need for discretion since there was no need to protect yourself from anyone or anything.  No need to discern good from evil.  No need to weigh wisdom and foolishness.  Sin had not yet been introduced into everyday life.

            I used to be extremely naive.  If a person claimed to be a Christian, I believed them and instantly considered them trustworthy.  If that person were a pastor, not only were they allowed to define my theology but I gave them the power to dictate how I was to live out my faith.  A pastor was like “God” to me, yet I wouldn’t have admitted that to anyone.  Since my ministry has involved rubbing shoulders with pastors and platform people over the course of 40 years, perhaps you can imagine my shock to discover that Christian leaders have feet of clay.   Discovering my own has been the most painful.  Continue reading “Am I Spiritually Street Smart?”