Habakkuk 3:17-18 “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord!” ~NLT
I remember being very little, second or third grade, and my family went on a trip to Disney. We went on this one ride, (a ride I don't remember the name of), but I will never forget ‘the ride’. I was sitting in one of those cars that take you through the ride and things started jumping out at me. Screams were heard along with terrifying laughter.
I remember yelling and crying because I was so scared. The only thing that kept me together was my grandmother’s voice. Even though everything was loud and in my face, I heard her sweet voice because I knew her voice. She was calling my name and saying, “Everything is alright! Nothing is going to happen to you. Grandma’s here!”
She continued to say that until the ride was over. I remember getting out of that seat, passing my mother, sister, everybody to get to my grandmother. When she wrapped me in her arms I felt so safe. Everything I experienced on that ride was behind me now because if they wanted me, they had to get through my grandmother.
Today, I feel that same way about God. You see we are all still on a journey, and it may feel like that ride I was on long ago. The way this world jumps out on us. We hear the loud screams of negativity, injustice, violence, and division every day, and it makes us want to cry out for relief.
Another way to look at the text above is that we may not have money for our mortgage this month. We may not be able to keep up with today’s gas prices. We may open our refrigerator and find there is not enough to eat. There may be some ongoing issues with our children or other family.
But we must not fear. Like my grandmother’s voice did for me when I was little, that relief in her voice that helped me keep my head when all things around me seemed to be going crazy; God’s voice should be the same for us today in all this madness. Because our Father tells us in Deuteronomy 31:8, “He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” ~NKJV
Therefore, we should rejoice in the Lord! His arms are always open! His Healing hand is always available to touch! He loves us so much. The sacrifice of His Son proves that. And also signifies His promise in Jeremiah 29:11 with His plan, “…to give us hope and a future”.
May God continue to heal, guide, and allow you the wisdom needed to live in your purpose, in Jesus’ name,
1 Peter 3:12 “The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and His ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns His face against those who do evil.” ~NLT
My youngest sister works hard. He does a lot for those who cannot do for themselves. If she were ever to call on me, I’d be there for her. If she ever needed anything from me, she would have it. Because I know her heart, I would not hesitate. This is the way God looks at those of us who live righteous. “His ears are open to their prayers…” because they live righteous lives.
Now, this is not saying God doesn’t answer everyone’s prayers. It is simply saying that those who live righteous just may have the wisdom, strength and received enough guidance from on High to attain, maintain and distribute the blessings of that answered prayer.
Others may have to wait on the blessing as they endure and learn through the trial they are going through. To understand where I am going with this, let’s break down the word ‘evil’. When we hear this term, we think about bad things. We may think about bad things that are done in this world. Hurting others, stealing from others or being deceptive toward one another. Some of us can easily convivence ourselves that we do not do any of that.
But let’s look at ‘evil’ as an entity. This enemy has an agenda, and it is against the cause of Christ. So, as we take another perspective on our walk in this life, let’s ask ourselves some questions. “Do I spend time every day in God’s Word?” “Do I spend time with the family He has blessed me with?” “Do I give my money, time and talent to the needs of the church built inside me by Jesus Christ when He went to the cross for me?”
If the answer to any of those questions is ‘no’, then we must consider that we are working under the agenda of the enemy and that falls under the ‘evil’ umbrella. Those questions are a few of many that define who God created us to be. It is the plan He designed for us in order to fellowship, raise our children and bless others who may not be in strong areas in their life. To fall short on any of these basic questions is leaving room for the enemy to work, and we must not let that happen.
“The Lord turns His face…” because He cannot be a part of anything under the ‘evil’ umbrella. So let us move into righteousness. Ask God today to give us the strength, determination, and wisdom to endure and walk in the victory that has already been attained by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Walk in victory so that when we pray for the tools we need to do God’s work here on earth, He will answer and bless us with just what we need to make it happen. In Jesus name I pray this victory walk on you today. May God continue to bless and keep you in His unchanging hands.
Job 11:7-9 “Can you solve the mysteries of God? Can you discover everything about the Almighty? Such knowledge is higher than the heavens—and who are you? It is deeper than the underworld—what do you know? It is broader than the earth and wider than the sea.” ~NLT
Right now, how are you? What is running through your mind? Emotionally what is taking your joy? Often times, when we step back and look at ourselves, we realize what we allow in front of our faces. We become aware of what the root and/or the foundation of our stress may be.
For example, those of us that view social media all day, allow the topic of the day to set in our spirits and poison any word we may have in us. The violence, the drama, and the controversy give birth to anger, jealousy, and lust in our flesh. Our flesh becomes strong as it is fed by all the negative energy. It also gives birth to doubt in God’s promises we work so hard to believe on Sunday morning. How do we keep these viruses from growing in our spiritual bodies?
First, we must cut down on our intake of negative feedback that we receive from social media and news. Just like the alcoholic must push the bottle away, the drug addict must push the drugs away, we must push away that wasted time we give to the world and its issues.
Secondly, we must replace that time with the study, the learning and knowledge of the promises of God. Take on the task of, “…solving the mysteries of God…” Assume the responsibility of, “…discovering everything about the Almighty…” by feeding our spirits with God’s word daily. Not once a week, twice a week, three times a week, but every day. Look, if you are not at that point yet, work up to it. If you only read a scripture or if you are only exposed to God’s word on Sunday, pick another day out of the week to read a scripture. If you get into God’s word twice a week, pick a third day and so on. Until you have developed the good habit of getting into God’s word every day.
“Who are you?” When you leave the world of chaos, you receive the peace of God to discover who He created you to be for Him. You discover that the kingdom, the Good News, and the Gospel are, “…deeper than the underworld…broader than the earth and wider than the sea…” These mysteries should be pursued by the children of God every day. Feeding and strengthening our spirits so that we may all see through the smoke and mirrors of this world. We begin to see what God wants us to see; and what the enemy attempts to hide from us with all the distractions of this world.
This text from the book of Job is a promise from God that if we decide to pursue the mysteries of the Father, He will allow us the peace and the wisdom we need to not only endure everything the enemy can throw at us; He will also give us the tools we need to accomplish our purpose in this world for His kingdom plan.
Our prayer is that you receive Him and believe, trust and walk in His will for you in Jesus’ name,
Colossians 4:2 “Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with thanksgiving.” ~HCSB
When I was growing up, there were three timetables in which I received gifts after asking my parents. One type of gift would come right away. Another, I had to work for and the third was a gift I could only receive when I was ready and able to maintain such a gift.
The first gift would be right away. For example, I would ask my mother to cook my favorite dinner, she would make it that night. Or if I wanted to go to a school dance or movie, providing I was being obedient in doing my homework and housework, I could go. These were gifts that came right away.
Then there where gifts I had to work for. When I got older and asked for money all the time, my mother laid down some chores for me to do. Washing dishes, taking out trash, and keeping my room clean were some of the few things I had to do. When I did this, I would receive a reward in the monetary fashion at the end of the week. The gift of ‘work ethic’ was also given to me at this time although I didn’t realize it.
Then there was a gift that could not be given to me until I was ready. A great example of that would be my first car. Yes, I wanted one at the beginning of high school, but I was not ready then. I took a defensive driving course. I was trained in driving while with a skilled driver in the car with me. Had to learn how to change a tire and change the oil. Until one day, my grandfather surprised me with my first car the day I graduated from High School. Not only a gift worth waiting for, but I was mentally and physically able to maintain such a gift.
We must become aware of how our prayers work in the same way. There are some prayers that may be answered right away. Some prayers God has given you instructions on what to do and how to receive the gift of answer, or gift of relief or gift of healing but you must follow the instructions in obedience before the gift is given to you.
But then there is the hardest gift, the gift you must wait on. In these prayers we pray, we must pray in thanksgiving because in order to receive this answered gift, God has to do a great work in us before we are able to attain it. You see we pray for it when we may be too weak to handle it. Strong in flesh to do the wrong thing with it, and weak in the spirit to do the right thing with it.
God wants to bless us with all we ask for in His Son’s name, but He will only give it to us when we are ready. Stay persistent in your prayer. As the text says, “…Devote yourselves to prayer…” When you pray daily, God will allow actions around you to guide you. You will only see them if you are in God’s Word heeding His direction.
“…stay alert in it with thanksgiving…” Always remember what God has done for you in the past. This will allow us to stand in the knowledge of what He is doing for us now. And in time we will always thank Him for what He is, “…about to do…” for us in the future.
I have learned to realize that the gifts from God I had to wait on, were the gifts that keep on giving. They are the gifts that continue to make me strong in spirit and allow me to control the flesh to do the will of the Father. May the Lord bless and keep you safe, healed and directed in His Son Jesus’ name,
Mark 4:23 “If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen.” ~CSB
When I was younger my grandmother used to say, “Always remember…” This set in me so deep that whenever I hear someone say, “Always remember…” my ears perk up. And whatever is said afterward, I remember.
For example, when I was in school and a teacher made a negative comment toward me, or another student said something negative toward me, my grandmother would say, “Always remember…grandmama loves you and you are the greatest at everything you do.” That would fuel me. After she would say that to me, anything anyone would say to me negative would bounce off.
“Always remember…” was an important ‘command of preparation’. Like in the Army, the Drill Sargent would give a preparatory command before giving the order. For example, “Platoon!” This would be the preparatory command. Then the order would follow, “Left…Face!”
Jesus also gave a preparatory command to his people when He made a spiritual statement or gave instructions to the children of God. A lot of times they came after a parable He told. Those words were, “…anyone who has ears to hear, let him listen.”
For instance, in the text of Luke 14:34-35, NLT version, He says, “Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? Flavorless salt is good neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. It is thrown away. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” Salt to the people during this time was more important to them because it not only flavored food, it also preserved food, (there were no refrigerators).
Tony Evans comments in his Commentary Bible: “The saltiness of salt is what makes it salt! Without that, it isn’t fit for…the manure pile. Likewise, unless a Christian is willing to endure the costly nature of being a disciple, he is useless to the kingdom of God. “…let anyone who has ears to hear listen” is Jesus’ way of saying, “Though everyone has ears, not everyone listens.”
Whenever Jesus says, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear,” He is calling for people to pay careful heed. It is another way of saying, “Listen up! Pay close attention?” I truly believe that God set me up for receiving this Word from Him by my grandmother’s words, “Always remember…” I trained myself to always record mentally whatever came after she said that.
Now we must train ourselves to spiritually accept the seed of the Word of God, especially when it begins with the words of our Lord, “If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen.” Include with your devotional this week the time to search for parables and texts that begin or end with these words of direction. Some of them can be found in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and Revelation.
Read, hear, and do the instructions given and watch your life spiritually grow toward that great relationship with the Lord! May God keep you in his good grace as you continue your Christian journey in Jesus’ name.
Authors Billy & Yolanda
This is the place where we share our heart through God's Word in faith that will inspire and empower you to live in peace.