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.
So what if you’ve gotten on the wrong boat? What if you thought all along that you were headed in the right direction but it turns out that the course you’re on isn’t taking you where you thought it was going to take you?
Let’s talk about religion for a minute…my heart has been so troubled for the people that only know Jesus through religion and not through a personal relationship. There are so many people out there that are steeped in their religion and the traditions of that religion and as a result are completely missing out on what God really intended for them…a deep and very personal relationship with them through Christ Jesus. Religions are man made. Religions are based on people’s own efforts to be made right with God. Gods plan was not based on people’s efforts and works, Jesus was and is the plan! He made each of us to be in relationship with Him. Jesus bridged that gap and allows us to have a relationship with God the Father.
Religion says pray this prayer – Relationship says just talk to Me
Religion says do this or say this at this time – Relationship says follow the Holy Spirit that I’ve given to guide
Religion says you can only take communion if you’re in right standing – Relationship says all are welcome at My table, My blood paid the price for all and if you believe I died for your sins, you are in right standing
The only way to salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus must be the cornerstone that our faith in God is built on…no one else and nothing else. John 14:6 says Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
What if you’ve been on the wrong boat this whole time and you just didn’t know it? Afterall, you don’t know what you don’t know…
Friends, this is something that has been constantly on my heart for the past couple of years. There are people that are on the wrong boat or have missed the boat completely and it saddens me so much that they are not able to fully experience all of what God has for them. I’ve started many blog posts on this topic over the past two years but the words never fully came together. A few mornings ago, I was in my prayer time and this sadness came over me again and the phrase “it’s like they’ve gotten on the wrong boat” came to mind. I guess it could have been the wrong train or plane or pathway, but God chose the word boat…haha! In any case, if this message spoke to you, then it was for you.
God is inviting you into a real relationship through His Son Jesus…make sure your current course is headed in the right direction…
Jesus is a compassionate and faithful High Priest. He intercedes for us directly to our Father God. You do not need someone else to mediate for you…you can approach Christ yourself! Seriously people, how awesome is that?! In fact, that is exactly what He desires from us. He wants a relationship with each of us…how do you get to know each other if you don’t talk to each other directly? Jesus is our Savior and He alone is all we need!! Please my friends, don’t be deceived by false teachings that say you cannot approach our Lord Jesus directly. It IS possible to have a personal relationship with God, through Christ Jesus. Thank you Lord!!
” Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
Note that word CONFIDENCE…let US (that’s you and me) approach the throne of grace with CONFIDENCE…just sayin’… 🙂
I think there are some misconceptions about religion vs. relationship with Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, I think that there might be a lot of people that feel like just because they go to church every Sunday that they have fulfilled their quota for considering themselves “Christians” and yet don’t even know that they are missing out on the single most important thing in their entire lives – a PERSONAL relationship with Jesus Christ!!! We don’t need religion, we need Him!!!
Romans 10:9 says “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved”.
I’m not talking about salvation here everyone, you can be saved and yet still not have a PERSONAL relationship with your Savior! I confessed Jesus as my Savior when I was about eleven and truly believed but my personal relationship with Him didn’t start until the night I came to Him with my life and asked for His help. In that moment when I reached out to Him, it became real to me and I put my trust in Him to actually help me. From that time on, my personal relationship with Him started and has continued to grow each and everyday over the past several years since I reached out to Him. I talk to Him everyday – sometimes in formal prayer but because I talk to Him throughout each day, most of the time it’s just like a conversation I would have with you If I was speaking to you…in the morning – Thank you Father for another new day. At work – Lord, how should I handle this situation? On my commute home – thank you Jesus for the safe drive home today. At home – Lord, what should I do about this problem with my kids? When I’m afraid of something – Father, please give me peace. And the really cool part is…He answers me back!! He answers me by planting ideas in my head, He gives me songs that put things in perspective, He opens up doors that only He could open up…He speaks to me in many ways that I know could have only come from Him!!
Friends, this is SO MUCH more than religion!! This is SO MUCH more than church!! This is so much more than canned prayers – this post cannot even start to explain how much my life has changed since I put my trust in Him and started a REAL relationship with Him!
Is He real to you? Have you put your trust in Him? I know He will change your life too if you’ll put your trust in Him. He is trustworthy and will never let you down – He loves you and died for YOU.
“In You our fathers trusted; They trusted and You delivered them. To You they cried out and were delivered; In You they trusted and were not disappointed.”