I was recently promoted at work and I’m now in a supervisory role. I knew coming into this position, that there were going to be numerous challenges and issues to deal with right off the bat. I knew about the staffing shortages in each program, the HR challenges I’d be facing with the employees, the fact that I would now be directing a program area I haven’t worked in years, new employees that need training…the list literally goes on and on. I also know that God specifically called me to take this position. He encouraged me and opened doors every step of the way while I was making the decision to even apply for it. Now I’m here…and just as I expected going into it…I’m feeling completely surrounded!! Surrounded by issues and challenges and enemies. I see my enemies all lined up in front of me…ready to attack. BUT…I know that the Lord is also there!! Every step along the way, God brings a certain scripture or a song or a word of encouragement to continue to light the path in front of me. Last week, He brought a Psalm. Psalm 23 took on a whole new level of meaning for me.
“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
So…you’re walking through the valley of the shadow of death…so something really hard in your life right? Whatever that is for you – fill in the blank….illness….addiction….relationship problem….for me right now it’s work. The scripture says “You prepare a table before me” so God PROVIDES and not only that he blesses us…but don’t miss the word before! He prepares a table BEFORE me. God is not only walking beside me through these struggles…He goes before me. Now here comes the part that really hit me…IN THE PRESENCE of my enemies. How beautiful is this? God goes before me and prepares a table/provides/blesses me…in the presence of my enemies/problems/challenges. Even though I may feel completely surrounded and overwhelmed right now with all my enemies staring me down…God is going before me….he’s providing for me. The next part says He anoints my head with oil. So he’s preparing me, right!? Next…my cup overflows. So it says He’s leading me to GREEN pastures and STILL waters…He’s going BEFORE me…He’s PROVIDING for me…He’s PREPARING me…all in the very presence of all the problems that are surrounding me. Praise God…He makes my cup overflow with blessing!! That’s a promise from God I’m standing on!!! When I start to feel under attack and overwhelmed …I’m going to repeat this over and over if I have to. God is FAITHFUL and He CAN be trusted. His promises then stand true now still!!
He WILL provide. Whatever you’re walking through…keep going!! SEEK Him through the struggle and ask Him to provide you with daily bread…whatever that is for you. His promises are true and amen!!
Lord Jesus…It may LOOK like I’m surrounded…but I’m surrounded by YOU.
One of the things I have learned in my walk with the Lord is how important it is to start each day with a thankful heart. My best days are those that I start my day by thanking and praising Him for everything He’s doing and providing for in my and others lives.
A few years ago I had the opportunity to be a part of an evangelical outreach mission called Revive Twin Cities. I had such a truly amazing experience…can’t even put it into words! I spent a week enveloped in an event where the power of Holy Spirit was so strong and we saw God move in such powerful ways. Of course when I got home I was completely fired up and had a new stream of people and things to pray for and about but I was completely surprised when…every single time I would start praying for these things, the Holy Spirit would tell me to “thank Him”. Over the course of the next few days, every time I would think about Revive, I would be redirected to thank and praise Him for every aspect…the way He had changed my heart through this event, His power which I had experienced, the people I had met, the testimonies I’d heard, just everything. So I thanked and I praised Him over and over…He is SO worthy of all that praise! Every time I would thank and praise Him, I would get this burst of excitement all over again for what I had just experienced. It was through this that I learned the true importance and significance of starting my time with the Lord with a thankful heart that praises Him.
It’s no wonder why my best days are those where I start with a thankful heart…we were made to worship and praise Him!
Our thankfulness acknowledges His presence in our lives and prepares our hearts to humbly bring our requests before the Lord…which He faithfully responds to! Psalm 100:4 says “Enter His gates with thanksgiving, And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name.”
Heavenly Father, you are worthy of all our thankfulness and praise! You…who created Heaven and Earth and each of us in it. You…who sent your Son Jesus to save us and give us hope. You…who is faithful and answers our prayers. You Father…are worthy of all praise…thank you!
“Salvation is not a goal to be achieved…it’s a gift to be received.” -Robert Morris
That my friends, is called grace. Salvation is something we could never earn. It is a gift of grace, by faith in our Savior and Lord Jesus. How great is our God that loves us enough to give us this amazing gift of grace.
Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace you have been saved by faith. And this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God”
I came across this quote from one of my favorite pastors and it echoes the very thing that I have to keep reminding myself of.
“There’s so much darkness in our world today, yet it’s important for us to remember that God is STILL in control, Jesus is STILL the answer, and we STILL need to do our part.”
He’s not kidding – there is a lot of darkness in the world today and it seems as if it’s spreading at a very accelerated rate. Anyone that takes the time to read about the current events happening in America and around the world can see it. I know there are people that start to lose faith when all their eyes see in front of them is darkness…but, God is STILL in control! He hasn’t forgotten about the innocent that are being hurt or persecuted. He hasn’t forgotten about your friends and family that are struggling and He hasn’t forgotten about you…He is STILL in control and always will be and Jesus is STILL the answer. Seek Jesus in every facet of your life my friends. The only way we can weather the storms ahead of us is to be nestled safely in His arms. Seek the Lord Jesus and the Father will light up the path in front of you. Let’s not forget the last part…despite all the negative coming our way we must remember that God works all things together for good. Everything is happening for a reason…we just need to trust. In our trust for Him, we need to steam on full speed ahead and complete the mission that each of us were created for…we still need to do our part.
Psalm 27:1-2 “The Lord is my light and my salvation so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? When evil people come to devour me, when my enemies and foes attack me, they will stumble and fall.
I had a moment today when I reflected on things I’ve said, thoughts I’ve had and things I’ve done that were disappointing to my Heavenly Father. I continue to let Him down. He reminded me that although I’m still learning and making mistakes, I always will be. He reminded me that He knows that I believe in Him and trust in Him. He knows that I break down in tears when I think about Him. He remembers all the times that He’s wrapped me in a blanket of peace when I’ve cried out to Him asking for a hug.
You see my friends, He also knows our hearts. He knows we’re going to continue to disappoint Him but He STILL loves us.
Romans 5:8 “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”
The song “Mary did you know?” really struck me on a new level this year…
Mary – did she understand the significance of the child she was carrying? Did she realize that she would also be delivered from the very child that she would deliver? Romans 3:23 says that “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. ALL have sinned and fall short of God’s glory…Mary included. We all are in need of a Savior!
Jesus – His birth was prophesied and Christmas came. Mary’s Savior…our Savior came. Praise God for giving us His Son! We have an eternal hope because of You Jesus.
Merry Christmas everyone!! Blessings to you and yours on this very special day – the birthday of our Savior.
For those of us that know Jesus, we have hope because we know that we have a Lord and Savior that loves us, is looking out for us, that goes before us and with whom we will spend eternity with. Imagine what life is like for those people in the world that don’t have hope through Christ. They are lost, in despair, and looking for solutions to their problems in all the wrong places. Imagine a life with no hope…I honestly can’t anymore! I can’t imagine my life without Jesus in it and I don’t want to. So for those of us that know Jesus and know His hope…what are we doing to share that hope with others? What are we doing to share that hope with our hairstylist, with the barista at the coffee shop or with our co-workers? In the words of the pastor at my church “WE are God’s plan A for sharing the Good News of Jesus…there is no plan B. We are the method He has chosen to spread that message of hope.”
So my question to you is: how can you share the message of hope with others? You are part of God’s plan A too…
Thank you Jesus that I have an eternal hope through Your redemptive work on the cross. Thank you that I have hope walking through everyday life because you are walking right beside me. Lord, please guide me to the people that don’t yet know You, prepare their hearts, and give me the courage to boldly proclaim the hope that I have through Jesus. Amen.