Forward Friday: A Little Dab’ll Do Ya…In

Hunting season is almost upon us, whether you agree with hunting or not. Men and women everywhere will camouflage themselves, creep into the woods and wait patiently for that deer. The key to hunting, besides being a good shot, is to be slow about your movements–tiptoeing…in the words of Elmer Fudd, “qwietly” as not to scare the animal away. They have to blend into the atmosphere so they aren’t spotted.

If you’ve ever hunted, watched a show about hunting, or just walked in the woods, deer can detect you. They suddenly stop, raise their heads and freeze. They sense danger.

Paul says in Galatians 5:9 (MSG), “…a little yeast…spreads through the whole batch of dough!” He’s talking about false teachings slipping in and jacking with what he taught–the true gospel. I think it’s important to keep yourself in the word and under godly teaching so this doesn’t happen, but that’s not what I want to focus on today. I think a lot of yeast (leaven in many translations) can slip into our lives in many ways.

Sin can be subtle. Just a little dab. It’s quiet. It’s camouflaged. And it ruins us. 

Song of Solomon (Song of Songs–same book) says (2:15), “Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines…” If we were a vineyard, being tended to and bearing fruit…foxes would sneak in and ruin that tender, budding fruit.

Little foxes can make big messes! 

Think about the big messes in your life? Did they all start out at tidal wave level? Maybe some. But more often than not, it was small. A little dab. A dash of this and a sprinkle of that until it infiltrated the whole life. It’s impossible for us to try and sift out the yeast once it’s been mixed into the dough. But what is impossible to us is possible with God! He can turn it around. He’s a potter. He can remake us. 

Maybe today, you feel overwhelmed by the mess in your life. It exploded! Or maybe you’re like that deer. You’ve been warned. You’re in a frozen position–run! Don’t drop your head and go back to mindless grazing. The hunter is coming for you. Wherever you are today, you can change. Don’t let the little things become big. God has a great plan for you! 

Forward Challenge: Make time to let God run the little foxes from your life and to remove any leaven that might be spoiling all He has for you.

Forward Scripture & Prayer: 

 

What are some ways we can prevent little foxes from getting inside the vineyard? How can we guard against subtle things seeping into our daily lives? 

Forward Friday: Full Steam Ahead

“They are going to throw you to the wolves and kill you, everyone hating you because you carry my name. And then, going from bad to worse, it will be dog-eat-dog, everyone at each other’s throat, everyone hating each other.  In the confusion, lying preachers will come forward and deceive a lot of people. For many others, the overwhelming spread of evil will do them in—nothing left of their love but a mound of ashes. Staying with it—that’s what God requires. Stay with it to the end. You won’t be sorry, and you’ll be saved. All during this time, the good news—the Message of the kingdom—will be preached all over the world, a witness staked out in every country. And then the end will come.” Matthew 24:10-15 MSG

I think it’s safe to say these verses describe our present times. We can’t control the vicious gnashing of teeth, especially on social media sites. In fact, there isn’t much we can control. We gape in horror and mutter, “Lord Jesus, come.”

It’s frightening. Shocking.  But what grips me most isn’t what the world will be like (is like) it’s what happens to Christians in these times. That’s the horror show. 

The KJV version says, “…the love of many shall wax cold.”

The phrase ” shall wax cold” in the Greek is psychō. Now, I know it seems fitting. Yes, people are going psycho! It’s true. But that word doesn’t mean what we think it does. Kinda like in The Princess Bride. “I do not think that words means what you think it does.”

It actually means, “to breathe, blow, cool by blowing, to breathe–voluntarily but gently, reduction in temperature by evaporation to chill.” Wax. Cold.

Psychō differs from the word Pneo–which means to breathe hard, blow.

I see two pictures in my mind. One is of a wax museum. We visited the Ripley’s Believe it or Not and it’s crazy how real-to-life those wax figures are.  But they don’t breathe.

Our hearts wax cold…all that movement forward ceases. We become like wax figures. No life left.  It’s a gentle reduction in temperature. Gradual. Quiet even. Like those last dying breaths. Shallow. Stretching out in between the next one until none remains. Lifeless. Gone. Cold.

Maybe you aren’t deceived by lying preachers. But isn’t the evil abounding overwhelming? The political climate is ripe with tension. Infighting. Add one natural disaster after another and it’s enough to make one want to crawl in a hole and never come out.  

I’ve seen a few posts lately that say, “Just because it isn’t happening to you doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.” Why do we need this kind of statement? Because our hearts grow cold, we shut down. We turn off the TV and live in our bubbles. Why? Many reasons. One of them is because it feels so big and we feel helpless. So we shut it all out. It’s too much. Too fast. Our hearts grow weary before they grow cold. We stop doing good. Harvests can’t be reaped.

We lose our passion. But Jesus says to stay with it to the end. Keep on keeping on. How? For one, there is hope in the next words. All during this time, the Good News will go out. Lives will be eternally saved. God hasn’t given up on us. Or forgotten. He’s working. Moving.

The second picture I see is a steam engine. A steam engine in an interesting thing. In their cycle, water is heated which turns to steam to propel these engines forward. Slow at first, then faster…faster…gaining momentum. The higher the heat, the more steam. Until it’s full steam ahead!

But it takes water to heat it up! “…just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.” Ephesians 5:25-26 NLT

It’s going to take continued washing in the water of God’s word to heat us up. Passion = heat! You’ve heard the phrase, “on fire for God.” Passionate about God. About the things of God. The word ignites our faith. fuels our strength. Gives us direction. And increases our momentum to keep us going forward. To stay it out until the end. 

I don’t want someone looking at me and wondering if I’m alive or not. I want people to be inspired and motivated by my love for Jesus, by my passion for Him. What about you?

Forward Challenge: Make it a priority to get into the Word. Find one verse and study it. Memorize it. Chew on it. Get it in the marrow of your bones and live it. Watch God ignite a new fire in you!

Forward Scripture and Prayer: 

 

Forward Friday: Watch that Mouth!

Hey everyone! It’s been awhile. How are you? What have you been up to? I’d love to hear in the comments. I’m gearing up to do something new. It’s called Forward Fridays. Each Friday, I’ll share a small devotion, a forward-thinking challenge, and a forward prayer with you. Because let’s be honest, no one should be moving backward spiritually! So let’s get on it with it, shall we?

“Sshh! My Mom or Dad might hear.” Ever tell someone that growing up? I did. I can also remember watching my mouth at church, in front of my grandma, and around my parents. But away from them, the things I said weren’t always pretty.

My parents had standards on what kind of talk could come from our mouths and when it was anything but acceptable, we knew! I can’t remember ever having soap shoved in between my gums, but I bet some of you may have.

This morning I was reading Ephesians 5:3-5: “…Though some tongues just love the taste of gossip, those who follow Jesus have better uses for language than that. Don’t talk dirty or silly. That kind of talk doesn’t fit our style…” MSG

In the NKJV, the word is “foolish talk” and I had to wonder exactly what is foolish talk, because I can say all sorts of ridiculous things. So I headed to find the Greek word. It’s mōrologia and it comes from a compound word made up of: mōros which means impious (irreverent or godless) and legō (this has nothing to do with those tiny plastic devil-made toys that kill your feet in the night) which means to point out with words, to intend, to speak, to call…

Not too long ago, my daughter facetimed a friend while I was in the room. The minute her friend answered, my daughter yelled, “My mom is here. My mom is here!” She didn’t even lead in with, “Hey.”

The Lord reminded me of this scenario this morning and His words to my heart were: She didn’t want you to be offended by what her friend might say. She respects you. But I still hear. I’m still offended. And my heart wept. Because I’m guilty of this. I might say something in front of one person that I wouldn’t say in front of another. But God still hears. And it still might offend Him! It still might disrespect Him. Maybe you’re guilty of this too.

The good news is, God’s mercy is new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). He’s not holding a grudge and planning on smiting us for being irreverent or disrespectful. But He is offering grace and He does expect us to get ahold of ourselves, repent and not do it again. Grace isn’t tolerance. Grace isn’t a license to keep sinning. It’s a humbling reason to repent and honor God.

Forward Friday Challenge: The challenge to myself and to you this morning is to be consistent in your speech. If you wouldn’t gossip, make a snide comment, tell an inappropriate joke in front of say a pastor or a particular friend who might be offended, then don’t say it to anyone. Because either way, God hears and let’s honor Him. Be reverent.

Forward Prayer: Lord, you are worthy to be revered and glorified. Help us through the power of your Holy Spirit to think before we speak and that what we say is always respectful to You.

Forward Scripture: “…Though some tongues just love the taste of gossip, those who follow Jesus have better uses for language than that. Don’t talk dirty or silly. That kind of talk doesn’t fit our style. Thanksgiving is our dialect.” Ephesians 5:3-5 MSG

 

 

 

 

 

Trusting God in the Deep Waters

I admit, I’m a terrible swimmer. I still hold my nose and if shoved under, I will surface choking and coughing. I might be able to save my life and I’d hope one of my kids if necessary, but anyone my size or bigger…you’re just not gonna make it. 

The shallow end was my preferred territory as a kid. While my siblings jumped off docks and into deep water, I was content to sit near the shore and play in the sand. Okay, that’s a lie. I wasn’t content. I pretended to be content. In the marrow of my bones, I longed to run and jump off the dock and into deep waters. I dreamed of diving off the diving board with friends at camp. Instead, I lied (yes at church camp, clearly I needed it) and said I wasn’t following the herd. I talked people out of diving off the diving board with some of my words. I held others back from the deep waters…because I was too afraid to take the plunge.

In my relationship with Jesus, I’ve played too many years in the shallow end and watched too many friends enjoy the deep waters. 

The deep waters are a place where you can’t see beneath you. Can’t touch. Can’t see land. Without markers, how will you find your way back to shore? Deep waters contain vicious beast that want to devour you like sharks, jelly fish–okay not devour but definitely sting–among many other freaky creatures.

But Jesus call us to deep places.

“When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.'” Luke 5:4 NLT

It’s in the deep places, if we’re obedient, we find our truest calling and passion. It’s where our lives become a testimony. Where we can walk over waves. Where we drown in grace and are buoyed by faith.

Simon Peter didn’t want to go out into the deep. But because he did, they hauled a major load of fish. So much the boat nearly sank. NEARLY.

“Then Peter called to him, ‘Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.’

‘Yes, come,’ Jesus said.

So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.” Matthew 14:28-29 NLT

It was in the deep waters where Peter walked with Jesus.

Fear is a hindrance from launching into the deep.

Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of uncertainty. Fear of (fill in the blank). 

In my new release, Deep Waters, my heroine is terrified to trust God due to past hurt and failure. She’s watched too many people suffer and refuses to suffer too. Maybe you can relate to Caley.

It’s easy to say we trust God in the shallow waters where our feet touch and we’re delusional enough to believe we have full control of our lives, our situations, and our circumstances. 

“The truth is we’ll never know until we launch out and allow our faith to be tested. Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” James 1:3 MSG

Question: Is there an area in your life that God is calling you into deep waters? Would you be bold enough to share it? I’ll be praying for you.

I’m giving away a copy of Deep Waters. Paperback for U.S. citizens and e-book for those of you abroad! 

 

 

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Friend With Benefits? Uh…Yes, Please!

A friend WITH benefits. Kind of a no-brainer, right?  No strings attached. Just a solid good time and you can walk away. 

Negative. 

I’m watching a show right now and the female character has decided she wants a friends with benefits relationship and the male has agreed. Guess what? It’s caused all sorts of issues. 

Because emotions get tangled up when intimacy is involved.  I turned the show off and thought about this whole “friends with benefits” thing. A movie was made about it for crying out loud. Many movies actually, and it never stays that way “no strings attached.” Oh, in a perfect movie world, they end up falling in love and then commit (which is backwards) but not before wave after wave of disasters happen. And sometimes it ends terribly. 

But there is one no-brainer friend-with-benefits I’m all over, and no it doesn’t involve anyone on the silver screen or TV. 

It begins with wooing…then a commitment on my part (because He’s already been committed) then intimacy comes. 

I’m talking about Jesus. Yeah. We can be friends with benefits. 

“A person who has friends may be harmed by them,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24 NET

I’m all for a friend who won’t harm me, betray me, leave me or treat me without dignity. Now, I know we’re human and we’re going to make mistakes even in friendship, but there is Someone we can be vulnerable around, Someone we can be fully “naked” or transparent, if you will, with. Someone who won’t mishandle our hearts. A Friend who will stick closer than a brother. I’m all for that friend. 

And we reap all the benefits which He is totally okay with!

“My soul, praise the Lord,and do not forget all His benefits. He forgives all your sin; He heals all your diseases.” Psalm 103:2-3 HCSB

Two are right there in the verse. Here’s just a few more:

Compassion that never fails
Faithfulness even when we aren’t faithful
Hope 
Grace
Provision
Strength
Unending and unconditional love
True intimacy
Commitment 
Loyalty
Kindess
Discipline (yes, it’s a benefit)
Purpose/Destiny
An advocate
Intercession on our behalf
Guidance
Wisdom
Joy
Peace
Comfort
Freedom

You can fool yourself all you want for temporary pleasure, but you can’t be friends with benefits and truly be free to come and go. You can’t have true intimacy without commitment and commitment comes first. It should anyway. 

We can never create a list, a truthful list, of benefits, by the world’s standard, for the whole Friends with Benefits idea. Maybe a few good times. Temporary pleasure. Sooner or later it will and does fall apart.

I’m all for something that’s eternal. Truth is, I think we’re all looking for an unconditional, eternal love. We’d be stupid not to want that! 🙂 

So, Friend with Benefits? Yes, please! Give me Jesus. 

If Jesus said, “I’m going to come down from heaven just for the day, and we can go wherever you want”…where would you go, and how would you spend your day with Him?” 


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photocredit: freedigitalphotos/stuartmiles 

3 Things Prayer Can Do For You

One of my favorite Old Testament books is Nehemiah. This book has so much to glean, from rebuilding your life, your faith, your church, your community, your leadership skills…the list goes on and on. 

Today, let’s talk about prayer. Prayer is essential in your daily life. Key word: Daily. Prayer can do many things. When I pray it builds my faith and dependence on God. It feels good to dump all the things I’m concerned about on Someone who can actually fix me…and the issues. I don’t always see immediate results to my prayers. I don’t always get the answers I want. But God is listening and answering. His way. His time. And if I sit still long enough, I’ll hear Him talk back. Through Scripture. Through ideas that come to mind. Many different ways.

Nehemiah was the king’s cupbearer. He was a trusted servant to the king. And at this time, many were going back to Jerusalem to rebuild what had been torn and burned when God’s people went into captivity. 

Chapter 1 is a prayer over the situation. Nehemiah confesses his sin, the sin of his people, and humbly submits his requests to God. Here’s just a portion: 

 “O Lord, I pray, please let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who desire to fear Your name; and let Your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”” Nehemiah 1:11

Nehemiah needs success. He’s about to speak to the king and ask to go back to Jerusalem to help rebuild. 


Because of prayer three things happened for Nehemiah:

1. Permission: Nehemiah was granted access, permission to accomplish God’s will and to be used by God. 

 Then the king said to me, “What do you request?”
“So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.”
Then the king said to me (the queen also sitting beside him), “How long will your journey be? And when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.” Nehemiah 2:4-6 NKJV
When we come humbly before God with His glory and purposes in mind, we’ll find permission from Him and He will grant us access. But it doesn’t stop there! 
2. Provision: God didn’t just give Nehemiah favor with the king to grant him earthly permission, but He saw to it that Nehemiah had all the provision he needed to set out and accomplish the God-glorifying task at hand.
“Furthermore I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, let letters be given to me for the governors of the region beyond the River,[a] that they must permit me to pass through till I come to Judah, and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he must give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel which pertains to the temple,[b] for the city wall, and for the house that I will occupy.” And the king granted them to me according to the good hand of my God upon me.” Nehemiah 2:7-8 NKJV
You never need to doubt provision and resources when God gives you permission to move forward. Whether it’s a new job, ministry, move…if God allows it, He won’t set you up to fail but always to succeed! Also a side note: remember to ask for anything! “You have not because you ask not” (James) Who knows what God will grant you, but you can be sure you’ll never receive it if you don’t at least ask!
And the 3rd thing we see is…
3. Protection: God made sure to protect Nehemiah on his journey. Now let me make a note to state this, I am not saying that if God calls you to something that you won’t ever get sick, or struggle, or your car break down. Sometimes that’s part of the faith-journey–trusting God through it all. Even Nehemiah faced serious adversity and opposition, to the point they were building with one hand and holding swords with the other. But there is a measure of supernatural protection. Those men never killed them or defeated God’s purposes, even when they threatened it. 
“Then I went to the governors in the region beyond the River, and gave them the king’s letters. Now the king had sent captains of the army and horsemen with me.” Nehemiah 2:9
Whatever God is asking you to do, know that if He’s calling you to it, He’ll see you through it. 
“… The effective, fervent prayerof a righteous man avails much.” James 5:16 NKJV

“I know that You can do anything and no plan of Yours can be thwarted.” Job 42:2 HCSB

“Behold, I make a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels such as have notbeen done in all the earth, nor in any nation; and all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the Lord. For it is an awesome thing that I will do with you.” Exodus 34:10 NKJV
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Eyes Wide Shut

It’s easy to do go about your daily life and settle into the fact that what you see is what you get. We say we walk by faith and not by sight but if we don’t daily remind ourselves of that, we forget. And what you see is what you get. 

This passage of scripture really stood out to me this past week. 

Then the Lord asked him, “What is that in your hand?”
“A shepherd’s staff,” Moses replied.
 “Throw it down on the ground,” theLord told him. So Moses threw down the staff, and it turned into a snake! Moses jumped back.
 Then the Lord told him, “Reach out and grab its tail.” So Moses reached out and grabbed it, and it turned back into a shepherd’s staff in his hand.” Exodus 4:2-4 NLT
All Moses saw in his hand was a shepherd’s staff, a rod…a piece of carved wood. A dead stick if you will. 
But was it? 
The minute he obeyed God and threw it down it became a snake. I’m not so sure Moses didn’t jump back like a flash of lightning over the fact it was a snake as the fact he was shocked out of his gourd. He wasn’t expecting a petrified piece of wood to become a living, moving thing.
What you see isn’t always what you get. Not when God is in the mix. 
You may think you’re holding onto to something that can’t move, breathe, live, or become something else. You may be discouraged, disappointed, and depressed over it. 
But what you see…well…it isn’t what you always get. Walk by faith. Trust God to take what you think is dead and turn it into something that will blow your mind! 
How’s your walk by faith going today? 

Letting Up on Leah

So, I’m a romantic. I can’t help it. I think I was born this way. Or my mom at least contributed by allowing me to watch endless soaps from birth to like 4 years. But that might be my love for melodrama not romance. That’s another blog post. Or a trip to the therapist’s couch. Either way.

I am a romantic and there’s something about this story that makes all gooey inside. Jacob is coming to Haran after running from his older brother (twin by a minute) Esau. 

 “While Jacob was in conversation with them, Rachel came up with her father’s sheep. She was the shepherd. The moment Jacob spotted Rachel, daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, saw her arriving with his uncle Laban’s sheep, he went and single-handedly rolled the stone from the mouth of the well and watered the sheep of his uncle Laban. Then he kissed Rachel and broke into tears. He told Rachel that he was related to her father, that he was Rebekah’s son.” Genesis 29:9-12 MSG

Let’s not miss Rachel was a Shepherdess. I think that’s cool. Anyway, Jacob rolls this stone away single-handedly! A stone that took all the shepherds to do. Talk about a major adrenaline rush! She’s coming toward him with her hook in hand, sheep all around, and she’s beautiful. Knocks the breath right out of him and gets his blood pumping so hard he does rolls that joker away. And my heart pitter-patters. I’m instantly rooting for them!

Then Jacob asks for Rachel. He’s been struck by her since the moment she stepped into the pasture.

“Now Laban had two daughters; Leah was the older and Rachel the younger. Leah had nice eyes, but Rachel was stunningly beautiful. And it was Rachel that Jacob loved.” Genesis 29: 16-17 MSG

Okay, we might say here that he’s going on looks alone and that’s shallow and that would be. But I think it was more, because he always loved her best. She was the most important to him. And he was willing to work 7 years for her. 

“So Jacob worked seven years for Rachel. But it only seemed like a few days, he loved her so much.” (v. 20 MSG)

Pitter patter! It only felt like a few days! 

But then his uncle tricks him and he ends up marrying Leah. He must have been sloppy drunk on the wedding night to mistake them but it happened.

And he was sorely disappointed. I wonder if Leah begged her father not to make her do this as she worked to tug free from his arm. “He doesn’t love me, Father! He loves Rachel!” But deep inside, I wonder if maybe she was taken with him all along. Wishing he loved her enough to put down 7 long years just to make her his. She was the eldest. She should be married first. 

And poor Rachel, like Cinderella locked in her room, maybe she banged on the door and wept and shouted. Seven years she’d gotten to know this man. Builded up to this one moment. A mild-mannered man (says so. Esau hunted but he stayed in the tents and was a mild mannered man). Gone. In a night.

However, Laban did give Rachel to Jacob for 7 more years. 

And to be honest, I just want Leah out of the picture so Rachel and Jacob can be together. I don’t want him married to her, sleeping with her, or having children with her. I’m disgusted that he would! I don’t care if it’s culture! He worked 7 years for Rachel! He loved Rachel. 

But this read around, I felt terrible for Leah. How miserable to know that you’re unloved and unwanted. You’re decent to sleep with and have some kids with, but his time and attention other than an occasional night belonged to someone else. 

Ever felt unwanted? Unloved? Miserable? Wishing life could be different? That you were adored and cherished and thought of. Ever envied someone else for having those things?

“When God realized that Leah was unloved, he opened her womb. But Rachel was barren. Leah became pregnant and had a son. She named him Reuben (Look-It’s-a-Boy!). “This is a sign,” she said, “that God has seen my misery; and a sign that now my husband will love me.”” (v.31-32 MSG)

But he didn’t.

“She became pregnant again and had another son. “God heard,” she said, “that I was unloved and so he gave me this son also.” She named this one Simeon (God-Heard). She became pregnant yet again—another son. She said, “Now maybe my husband will connect with me—I’ve given him three sons!” That’s why she named him Levi (Connect).” (v. 33-35 MSG)

Years have gone by and Rachel has gotten the lion’s share. And her womb has stayed closed.Therefore, she became envious. In fact, she kind of turned into a pimp. Yeah, she pimped out her husband for some love-apples (mandrakes). 

“One day during the wheat harvest Reuben found some mandrakes in the field and brought them home to his mother Leah. Rachel asked Leah, “Could I please have some of your son’s mandrakes?”
Leah said, “Wasn’t it enough that you got my husband away from me? And now you also want my son’s mandrakes?”
Rachel said, “All right. I’ll let him sleep with you tonight in exchange for your son’s love-apples.”
When Jacob came home that evening from the fields, Leah was there to meet him: “Sleep with me tonight; I’ve bartered my son’s mandrakes for a night with you.”” (30:14-21 MSG)
What a dysfunctional nightmare. 
Today, my heart isn’t rooting for Rachel and Jacob. It’s rooting for Leah. It’s rooting for me–when I feel rejected or let down. When I feel like others have it better than me in any area of my life.  Today, I’m rooting for you–if you’re feeling unloved, unwanted, shunned.
And I’m here to tell you, that God HEARS. SEES. CARES. And He loves you. Just like He heard, saw, and cared for Leah.

Battling a Legion Like A Headwind

Ever work
hard all day until you’re exhausted? Maybe you’ve been in charge of a
particular ministry/event at your church and you’ve been pouring out everything
you’ve got all weekend long. You’re flat out drained. 
I’ve been
there, too. 
So has
Jesus. 
Yes, Jesus
knew exhaustion. He was fully God but also fully human. All that walking caused
his legs to ache, maybe he even suffered from a Charlie Horse. His dirty feet
throbbed. And His human body needed rest.  
After
touching multitudes (thousands), healing, speaking, hugging, drying tears He
told His disciples they were going to the other side of the lake. I imagine him
climbing into the boat, barely able to hold his dark eyes open as He stumbled
down below and collapsed, head against the wall, it felt so good to sit…to
rest. And in an instant, His mouth may have dropped open as He breathed
in…out…in…out. Sweet rest. 
But
then…
“A
terrific storm came up suddenly on the lake. Water poured in, and they were
about to capsize. They woke Jesus: “Master, Master, we’re going to
drown!”” Luke 8:23-24 MSG
Jesus
could have shooed them away with words like, “I’m too tired. We’ll be
fine. Let me have five more minutes.”
But He
didn’t. Instead…
“Getting
to his feet, he told the wind, “Silence!” and the waves, “Quiet down!” They did
it. The lake became smooth as glass.” Luke 8:24 MSG
Imagine a
storm so great suddenly taking place. Why? Out of the blue? 
Because
they were going to the other side. On the other side of the lake was a legion
of demons inside a man. A legion of demons who wanted to keep control of the
man, and the territory they’d claimed at theirs. 
Is
it possible the headwinds, and storm came from the “other side” from
the enemy? I believe it is. Jesus shut it down. Immediately. 
And
on water as smooth as glass, they crossed over. 
Here’s
where it gets completely cool. Okay, rebuking a storm and it obeying is cool,
too, but check this out.
“And when He stepped out on the land, there met Him a
certain man from the city who had demons for a long time. And he wore no
clothes,[b] nor did he live in a house but in the tombs.  When
he saw Jesus, he cried out, fell down before Him, and with a loud voice said,
“What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not
torment me!” For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the
man. For it had often seized him, and he was kept under guard, bound with
chains and shackles; and he broke the bonds and was driven by the demon into
the wilderness.” Luke 8:27-29 NKJV
The
word for torment in the Greek
is bazanizo. It means,
“to question by applying torture” “to be harassed,
distressed” but it also means, “of those who at sea are struggling
with a head wind.” 
Here
comes the Son of the Most High God. The demons immediately know and recognize
Jesus, and they fear! They know their time is short and they aren’t ready to
go. But they’ve been inside this man for so long…binding him in chains,
forcing him to live in dark, empty, dead places (the tombs), they’ve kept him
naked (filled with shame) and have driven him mad, completely out of his
mind. 
And
they wanted to continue. 
Thus
the wild storm on the sea. A headwind according to the dictionary (dot)com is
“a wind opposed to the course of a moving object, especially an aircraft
or other vehicle.” “A wind blowing directly against the course of
moving object, especially an aircraft or ship.” 
Jesus
was on the move. Heading in the direction of a man who needed to be put into
his right mind, released from dead, empty places, given his dignity back, and
freed from his own torment. The enemy tried to blow against/oppose that moving
course.
But
Jesus shut that down. “Silence! Quiet down!”
And instead of being blown back, Jesus Himself became
the HEAD WIND! “I beg you, do not torment me!” Do not
change my course! Do not oppose me! Do not vex and distress me!”
Unlike
the enemy, Jesus did not fail. The legion of demons had no choice but to obey.
 When the people came out to see what had happened, they found the man
sitting at Jesus’ feet, clothed and in his right mind. He wanted to go with
Jesus, but He told him to stay, to go home. Imagine how many people came to
believe in Christ because they saw this man who had been a wild animal,
drastically changed. 
Maybe
you feel like you’re being blown away or opposed by a raging headwind. Know
this: Jesus can’t be stopped. Nothing detours Him from getting to you. He can
heal every part of you and give you back your dignity. 
He’s
the only unstoppable headwind. 

I Wonder If He is Using the Same Wind…

Welcome back, everyone! Today we are wrapping up our
Princess Bride series. I hope it’s been as much fun for you as it has for me. Who
knows, maybe I’ll come back in January for three extra bonus devotionals! We’ll
see.

Today’s clip could go in any number of ways, as they are
heading toward the Cliffs of Insanity! Ever felt like you’re destination stop
is careening into the same place? I know I have.
Let’s watch the clip first! 

A pretty short clip. But packed with a lot of good stuff.
One of my favorite lines (out of so many favorite lines) is Inigo’s right here.
“Wonder if he’s using the same wind we are using.”
Vizzini says, “Whoever is he is he’s too late.”
Out of nowhere, this man (Westley) begins tracking them
down. Why? He’s after his true love and no one, NO ONE, is going to stop him
from getting to her. He has every intention of saving her from death, from the
clutches of the enemy.
“This is how much God
loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so
that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and
lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point
an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put
the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who
refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without
knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the
one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.” John 3:16 MSG
That’s some serious love. That’s some serious rescuing. But
look at how much time passed from Genesis Chapter 3, when sin entered the world
and the curse came into place until Christ came and died.
It was a looooooooooooooooooong stretch of time.
In this clip, Inigo wonders if they are using the same wind.
As time seems to be running out for them, but the ship behind (Westley!) is
gaining.
Waiting is hard.
Wherever your destination is, whatever you’re working toward…time
is involved.
But God is never late. He can use the same wind to move
fast, while slowing you down at the same time. That’s God!
Time is never fleeting in God’s kingdom. Time is always
moving toward something. “Then the time came to pass.” “It came time for…”

“Use
all your skill to put me together; I wait to see your finished product.” Psalm 25:21 MSG

God is
not bound by time. But He uses it.
We live in a “now” culture. Fast food. Self-check out so we
don’t have to stand in line. We text and expect immediate responses and when we
don’t get them, we wonder if we’ve lost a friend!  We can Google anything and have information at
our fingertips in a flash.  There’s an
app for everything.
Except for God.
God is not an app. He moves at a pace He feels best for what
is going on in our lives. It can be frustrating, disappointing, and
aggravating.
Or it can be joyful, peaceful, hopeful.
My choice. Your choice. We can learn. Mature. Grow. Lean.
Trust. Acknowledge. Pray. Study. Hope.
And when time comes to pass. When His timing is perfected.
It won’t be late. It’ll be the sweetest. We’ll have no regrets.
The answer yes. He is using the same wind we are using. He
controls it. Because He’s sovereign.
And the answer is no. He’s never, ever too late.
You may feel like you’re lost to the Cliffs of Insanity, but
I assure you, you are not.
Thank you for joining me for this SIX WEEK series! If you’ve
missed any, you can catch up!

What
do you do when you’re anxious over waiting?



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