When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:34-38 NKJV
Dear Lord Jesus, Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for truth. Lord, I never want to be ashamed of You, nor do I want You to be ashamed of me. Lord, I want to live as losing this life and gaining eternal life with You in heaven. Lord Jesus, it is not easy to understand how to handle each circumstance, but I thank You for showing me the way. Thank You for always being faithful and walking with me through it all. Thank You for shining Your light of truth into my life. Lord, not my will be done, but Thine. Teach me what Your plans are for today and help me not grow too eager to look into tomorrow, for each day has enough trouble of it’s own. Thank You for always being my safety and refuge in times of trouble. Lord, please help me to trust You with everything today. Thank You for Your unending love. Amen.
The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence. 2 Samuel 22:3 KJV
Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD. Psalms 4:5 KJV
God’s Word is full of verses telling those who put their faith in God to trust Him.
In fact, the Bible is clear that those who do not choose to trust the Lord are choosing sorrow:
“They shall besiege you at all your gates until your high and fortified walls, in which you trust, come down throughout all your land; and they shall besiege you at all your gates throughout all your land which the LORD your God has given you.” Duet. 28:52 NKJV
“You speak of having plans and power for war; but they are mere words. And in whom do you trust, that you rebel against me? 2 Kings 18:20 NKJV
It is very much like any other relationship we have.
We spend time with someone and they gain our trust through their daily behavior or they loose out trust through the same thing.
The difference with trusting in God is we can not base our opinion of His trustworthiness upon our personal experience.
We are limited as to our understanding, our perspective, our ability to see all frames of history, science, and the spiritual dimension.
God, knows that our ability to understand all of the truths of life, the universe, and spirituality is a tiny fraction of the whole.
Therefore, He put in His Word a command: trust God.
He then backs up why we should do this with story upon story of the lives of those who put their trust in Him as well as some who did not.
Their backgrounds, status, and livelihoods are as different as any group of people across the globe today, but those who put their trust in God are blessed.
Those who do not, are not blessed.
It is that simple.
Of course, our self-important emotions are offended.
“Where does He have the right to choose?”
“Why can’t my good intentions weigh in for something?”
“This isn’t fair!”
But all this means very little.
If you buy a brand-new car and fill the gas tank with olive oil you will ruin your engine.
You can be offended by this.
“Gas is so expensive!”
“I didn’t have any at home, just olive oil.”
“Why did the car maker get to choose what my engine runs on?!”
A gas engine runs on gasoline, because that is how it was designed.
God knows how the universe was crafted, He is the designer and carries authority, but on a much larger scale.
He created it all.
He understands all the parts and pieces.
He knows we need to trust Him.
And once we lay down our self, put our own opinions as secondary, and choose to walk in trusting God, we have an enormous gift.
Responsibility for our lives suddenly becomes a shared burden, the Lord Almighty and us.
What an incredible opportunity to live beside the Lord, simply following His lead and letting Him guide us.
And Who better, than the Creator of the Universe?
If my dishwasher is acting strange I look at the manual or call a repairman from the company who made it.
How much more important it is to read God’s Word and spend time seeking His plans and following through by trusting Him daily.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for the truth that we need to trust You each and every day. Lord, You know it is difficult for us to learn to walk daily in trust. Please help our minds and hearts realize the enormous benefits of trusting You. Lord, let us be humble before You, not prideful, thinking we know what is best. Please continue to lead us, as we walk with You. And for those who have yet to put their trust in You, help them to see what an incredible blessing it is. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.
Matthew 9:21 NKJV — For she said to herself, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.”
Matthew 9:22 “But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.” NKJV
Matthew 8:10 “When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” NKJV
Both these stories are beautiful moments in history.
Both tell individual stories of people who model faith in their choices and because of their faith, their stories are included in the greatest book ever written.
The first verse (you should totally read these stories from the Word) is Jesus’s response to a very sick woman. She had been bleeding for 12 years and spent all her money to be cured and only grew worse.
She was desperate.
She needed healing.
Where did she turn when she had no other avenue, no other hope?
Not only was she healed when her fingers reached the edge of His garment, but He knew something had happened and stopped in the middle of his urgent errand to find her.
We don’t know how she heard of Jesus.
We don’t know her family, her name, or what happened after this.
But what we do know is beautiful.
“…when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” Matt. 9:22 NKJV
She believed Jesus could heal her.
She acted on her belief and her desperate need was filled.
Another moment of faith holds a special trophy.
What does it take to impress God?
The faith of this Centurion.
This man had a servant who was sick.
Right from the start his concern for his servant stands out.
The Roman culture didn’t put a high value on the lives of their servants.
“So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving, for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue.” Luke 7:3-5 NKJV
Next, we see this Centurion understands the Jewish culture.
Then Jesus went with them. And when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. Therefore, I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it. Luke 7:6-8 NKJV
It was the Centurion’s faith which made the impact.
“When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, ‘I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!’ And those who were sent, returning to the house, found the servant well who had been sick.” Luke 7:9-10 NKJV
The Centurion’s faith was such that he had no need to even see or speak with Jesus in person.
He knew what was required; for Jesus to simply “say the word”.
And such we should have as well.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for these two wonderful stories of people with faith. Lord, please help us to trust in You with faith like this. To know, like the Centurion, that all it takes is You saying the word. Lord, help us to be humble, to come before You with our requests, our needs, as the woman. Help us to let go of our own self importance and to fully put our faith in You. Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your faithfulness. Thank You for being the solution. Thank You, for salvation! Amen.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. Romans 12:1 NKJV
Dear Lord Jesus, Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for the guidance and wisdom we find in Your Word. Your ways are perfect and Your Word is truth. Lord Jesus, we know You have a perfect plan for today and that You are going to be with us throughout. Please help us to listen to Your voice, to obey Your Word. Lord, let our hearts not be hard, but soft and humble. Lord, let our words be praise and thanksgiving. Lord, please shine Your light into our day and shine through us to others. Please, touch the hurting and heal the sick. Lord, bring back the captive and the wayward. Lord, please break the chains of addiction and idolatry. Lord Jesus, shine Your light and save the lost. Let the whole Earth be filled with Your glory. Amen.
No matter what is prepared for you today, these words from Philippians are worth remembering.
Philippians 4:6 NKJV — Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
The Lord knows all and He wants us to trust Him, to find our treasure in Him.
Because a bank account or status doesn’t bring security or peace.
Neither do relationships, property, or the nation where one resides.
The only way to be anxious for nothing is to look at Jesus, the Savior.
It’s easy to get tied up in the every day or the list of “to do”, but with practice and persistence it can become a way of life.
Which is where we want to be.
Philippians 4:7 NKJV — and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Definitely a wonderful way to live, in the peace of God.
May it be your residence.
Dear Lord Jesus, Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your faithfulness. Lord, You know what is best. You have all these things in Your hands. Please help us to surrender daily to Your will. Please let us not be stubborn or stiff-necked, but instead walk with love and trust. Lord, please help our hearts to be completely Yours. Lord, use our lives to reach others. Let our light shine brightly into the darkness, that people might see You. Lord, please heal the sick and hurting. Please restore the lost and the prodigal. Lord, please guide and direct our leaders and let the hearts of the nations return to You. Thank You, Jesus. You are incredible. I praise Your holy name! love is unfathomable! Amen.
She has a few words she uses, but she’s yet to speak fluidly.
Her curiosity and joy at life are infectious.
Her little smiles, her little hands grasping toys or books or patting, her little eyes looking up so innocently, all these brings us such joy.
And while she is learning about her world and the people in it, she’s asking:
What is it?
It’s something I ask my Heavenly Father frequently.
I’ll hear of an event, see something on the news, or be surprised by a post and my heart will leap:
“God! What is it?”
“Why did that person do that? What caused the behavior there? What were they thinking?”
But He always leads me gently back to the truth.
No matter what I see on the surface there’s something deeper.
A spiritual battle going on which often affects us when we least realize it.
So, again comes the question:
“What is it?”
And added to this:
“How do I pray?”
The answers are as varied and numerous as one might expect.
Each circumstance is unique and therefore holds different points to pray for.
Sometimes, I don’t receive an answer right away and therefore turn to scripture.
I ask God to give me a verse or group of verses to pray.
I seek Him personally, to be sure nothing is hindering my prayers.
Sometimes, I just pray and thank God for whatever He is doing that I don’t understand.
But I am so blessed to be able to go before God, the Creator, and lift up people.
The privilege of talking with the Almighty about anything and everything is overwhelming good.
To find peace and security in His voice, His direction, His Sovereignty.
It’s comfort to my soul, not unlike when our granddaughter gets lifted up to her father’s shoulder.
She leans in and rests her head on him and smiles.
She’s content in the arms of her father.
I can be as well.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You so much for letting me lift up my heart to You. Thank You for opportunities to pray. Lord, thank You for the comfort I find in You and in Your Word. Lord Jesus, please hold me in Your arms and continue to teach me how to pray. I want to be able to stand in the gap, to lift up others bed You, to know You as a Father and a friend. Lord Jesus, thank You for walking with me daily. I give You my all. Please be glorified in me today. Amen.
I’ve never thought about it before, but it’s true.
Surrender to Jesus brings rest to my soul.
Because it causes self to be powerless.
As a child and youth I was always worried about how others’ thought of me.
Who I was always needed forming into the ideas of those around me.
I had to live up to their expectations.
I had to follow through on what they wanted.
Of course, I couldn’t.
So, with every failure I felt it was a proof that I was a failure.
Therefore, with each failing, my value became less and my need to prove myself became greater.
Yes, I did believe in Jesus during this time.
No, I didn’t walk in submission to Him, nor did I understand what that was.
But as I walked in adulthood and learned the truths of scripture, I began to understand.
As I’ve walked in obedience to my Father and Lord, I’ve found such blessed freedom.
It’s been a slow process and a long journey, but well worth it.
When my heart gained understanding and humility, my burden to prove myself, rolled off.
My need to order and control my life also died.
Yes, I still work at living a self disciplined and scheduled way, but that is completely different from trying to control circumstances or order life into my ideas of how it should be.
And I can tell you how peaceful and beautiful it is to surrender.
No, I don’t always understand what’s occurring around me or how to handle specific circumstances.
No, I don’t need to have all the control, call the shots, or be in charge.
Yes, I know the One Who does.
And as I grow in the knowledge of God Almighty, I grow in love, peace, and assurance.
He is good.
He is loving.
He is truth.
Why strive against Him by stubborn refusal to submit my whole heart, my whole life to His perfect plan?
Yes, my soul has found rest.
Rest in the Lord , and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret— it only causes harm. Psalms 37:7-8 NKJV
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You so much for teaching me how to surrender to You. Thank You for Your patience and Your grace. Lord, often I become stiff-necked and willful. I forget all Your past faithfulness and try to do things in my own strength. Lord, how foolish and what a waste! Please continue to patiently bring me back to this place of rest.
“I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. Listen, please, and let me speak; You said, ‘I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’ “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:2-6 NKJV
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for these words from Job. I too can say the same: “…Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand…” Lord Jesus, please forgive me for allowing my heart to doubt You in anyway. It is easy to let fear and hurt distort my perspective and not even realize I am doing it. Lord Jesus, thank You for teaching me how to let go. I know that when I hold things lightly and trust You I am able to walk more closely with You. It’s when I try to cling to anything more than You that I stumble and struggle. Lord, thank You for not allowing me to doubt for long. Thank You for revealing the truth so quickly. Lord, thank You for bringing me to Your Word in the midst of my fear, that I might find truth and healing. Lord, I’m ashamed that I can get so upset by something so small and unimportant. I know it’s because You wanted to show me the past and heal me from those things and therefore You used this to teach me what was hidden. Lord, I confess the truth: You are sovereign and nothing, no one is more important than You. Lord, what You allow is what is best. What the enemy meant for harm You used for good. No matter what suffering I must walk through here on Earth, I know You are with me. No matter what pain must be endured, I want to do it with joy and comfort of knowing You will never leave me nor forsake me. Lord, I often do not understand the circumstances, but I know my Redeemer lives and He shall stand at last on the Earth. Until then, Lord hone my heart, make me new, and be glorified through this broken clay pot. To You be all glory, majesty, and honor. Amen.
I’m having a difficult time not wanting to stick to my plans.
But God has better ones, and it only takes a moment for me to realize such when I’m willing to stop and look at it through prayer.
The Lord has been stretching me.
Ever since our Bell moved her dresser out of the spare bedroom, I’ve had a pile of homeschooling papers sitting on the closet floor.
Obviously not a good plan.
With moving I’ve had to change many of my past ways of organizing including the homeschooling papers.
I currently have a place for recent work or needed documents, but the past years’ work no longer has a home.
So, I’ve been praying about what to do.
Coupled with this prayer, I’ve been praying for Anne’s bedroom furniture.
Her dresser was old and very used when I bought it over seven years ago.
It’s now missing more handles and the drawers are less than easy to open.
So, I figured God would want me to set aside some time to refurbish her dresser.
These two things have been a topic of conversation with me and the Lord often of late.
As the days grow closer to autumn, my window of opportunity to work on anything outdoors is coming to a close.
Thus, I have had to put my own opinions and ideas into God’s hands multiple times about this.
So, when I felt like God was talking to me about looking for used furniture on Craigslist I was a bit apprehensive.
“Lord, is this me or You? Am I just trying to force something to solve this instead of waiting?”
Instead of hearing an answer, I just felt like I should punch dresser into the Craigslist search engine.
I did so, and then stopped to pray again.
Something the Lord had spoken to my heart at first came back to mind.
It will be in the city nearest you.
So, with that I began to scroll.
I found something which would work for the spare room.
It was hideous and obviously “well loved”.
The price didn’t sit well with me, but it was in the city nearest me.
I figured I could email and see if they’d come down on the price.
I asked the Lord to make it clear if He wanted me to buy this.
Their response was my answer, “no”.
So, back to the search engine on Craigslist.
“Lord, I really don’t want to do this today, I’m so worried I’ll make a mistake and buy the wrong thing.”
I’m teaching you faith.
Two more dressers.
Two more emails.
Two more closed doors.
Of course, I was working on other things so all of this was poked in between math lesson, history, reading assignment, and cooking.
By the early afternoon, I was ready to give up.
But I still felt like I was supposed to try another search.
This time I found not one dresser,but two and a bedside table.
The posting said, “$50”.
Well, that wasn’t super clear.
And at first I thought this couldn’t work at all, but I stopped to pray.
Through this moment of quiet I realized we could use one dresser in Anne’s room and the other in the spare room as well as the bed side table.
They need painting, but Anne’s been asking me if we could do another project ever since we painted the living room furniture.
I emailed the seller.
I was surprised at the answer: $50 was for everything.
Of course now I had to get some help picking up all this.
I prayed again, that if this wasn’t God’s will it would be obvious.
I knew our son-in-law’s day was busy with taking Bubba and family to the doctor.
I dropped a quick text and after a conversation over the phone we worked out a plan.
Then it occurred to me, if they were heading down after the doctor’s appointment, they’d be hungry, so I invited them for supper.
I was about halfway through cooking supper when I realized this was definitely God’s plan.
My husband’s work has him on call 24/7 and he had come home late the night before only to eat and return to work, arriving home some time after 11.
When things are like that, I know better than to expect him home at any particular time.
But halfway through supper preparations he called me.
He was off work and on his way home.
And he was thrilled to hear our family was coming over for supper.
When he arrived, I told him about the furniture.
He smiled and said, “Sounds great!”.
Not long afterwards he and our son-in-law drove together out the cul-de-sac to pick up the furniture.
Anne was so excited when it got here.
She can hardly wait till we can begin sanding it down and painting it.
I praise God for His guidance in it all.
I’ve already told Anne all this furniture belongs to her.
I’ve tried to make sure each of our kids have some furniture of their own to take with them when the time comes.
As we were all sitting around the dinner table eating, God had one more surprise in store.
My phone started buzzing with several texts all coming in at once.
It was the same family we got the furniture from.
They had forgotten another piece of furniture that was part of the set, a window seat with drawers.
They were texting to let me know we could have it too, no extra charge.
Of course I let them know we would have to get it today, but they were fine with that.
I’m still amazed at how God took a small desire I had and turned my day into a blessed lesson.
Because buying furniture wasn’t in my schedule.
Sending emails and searching Craigslist wasn’t in my plans.
But God reminded me that my ways are not His ways.
His plans are perfect.
His ways are best.
And all of this was more about teaching me to listen and trust and obey than it was furniture.
Because I could have gone out and bought Anne a new dresser anytime.
I could have ordered something to store the homeschooling papers in online and had it delivered to the door.
But instead of either of those things, God has taken me through days of prayer and heart checking.
He has shown me my tendency to want to solve every item I see as a need in my own strength.
He has used this to teach me to listen and be willing to be wrong, to be willing to say, “I don’t know what I’m doing yet, I’m still praying about it.”
And hopefully He is using my life as an example to my children that waiting upon the Lord is the best way, no matter how insignificant the “thing” is.
Because furniture is not a forever thing, but the lessons I learn through dealing with the temporary are.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for providing this lesson. Thank You for stretching me in an area I thought I’d already completely surrendered to You. Lord, thank You that things and items are all temporary and yet can be used by You. Lord, I want to honor You with all that I call my possessions. Thank You for reminding me that nothing is actually mine, it all belongs to You. Please help me to be wise and generous with anything and everything. Lord, You alone are worthy of all honor, glory, and praise. Thank You. Amen.
Although the days are flying past and the wedding date is rushing upon us I wasn’t concerned.
My husband’s outfit hadn’t been purchased yet, but I was trusting in the Lord.
He had already spoken to my heart about it.
In fact it had been more than once that His gentle voice said,
Do not worry, I have it all in hand.
So, when my husband looked at me on Saturday and said, “Let’s go buy my outfit for the wedding,” I was excited, but not anxious.
When we arrived at the store, I realized I had forgotten my dress.
My husband suggested we go look anyway.
After all it doesn’t have to match exactly.
To our pleasure and surprise he found some slacks which were not only a great color, but also on sale!
From there we headed to the ties.
I’d been praying for my hubby since we got up that morning.
He has a bad back and he’s been suffering neck pain for a while now.
I could tell his neck was really hurting.
So my mind wasn’t on the shopping.
I think that’s why it caught me off guard.
We found the ties.
Blues, black, tan,…no gray, not even one.
“Well,…we can try somewhere else.”
“No, I think I have a gray tie that will work.”
My brow crinkled up as I tried to recall all the ties in the closet.
Unfortunately, I didn’t just trust my husband to know what he was talking about, nor did I stop and pray.
“Babe, the only gray tie you have is the one from my dad and it won’t work.”
He didn’t argue.
He turned toward the check out and said, “I need to go.”
I realized he was hurting.
I saw that I’d stopped trusting.
I began to pray silently.
We had other stops to make and when we reached home he tried on his pants.
My time in prayer had restored my peace.
The slacks were very nice.
His white dress shirt went well.
He retreated to the closet to find his ties.
I followed, just because.
To my surprise and delight he drew out a beautiful gray tie with stripes.
Honestly, I don’t remember ever seeing it before and said so.
“I got this for Oreste’s wedding.”
It matched perfectly.
When my husband went to Oreste’s wedding, our Bell went too.
It is a special memory.
This tie is so much more meaningful than a new one from the store.
As I fingered it, I remembered the Lord’s voice.
And thanked Him for all His faithfulness.
He truly has every detail in His hand.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your faithfulness. Thank You for this added blessing of the tie which will hold even more memories as my husband walks our daughter down the aisle. Lord, truly You are the beginning and the end, and Your understanding is beyond anything I could ever imagine. Thank You for bringing something so small into the last pieces of the planning. Thank You for loving us so much. I love You, Jesus. Amen.