You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2010.

Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. John 12:35

Jesus was coming to the end of His earthly ministry and many were questioning Him concerning His teachings about the Messiah, or the ‘Son of Man’. The people were sure that they had the whole picture of God’s deliverance figured out. Their religion had built a comfortable box around their concept of how God would work and how they would, in turn, benefit.

Unfortunately, the people of Jesus day had the same problem many of us have today. We think we know exactly how God will work in a given situation. We expect that He will work the same way one time as He does in other times and circumstances.  But God works in His own way and on His own timing and wisdom. Even while Jesus was on earth He didn’t heal people in the same way every time. God works in different ways at different times according to His wisdom and glory and not ours.

In John 12:35 Jesus teaches us an important lesson about the journey we call life and there is a sense of urgency in His voice. Jesus says, “Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you.” There is a nugget of wisdom in this little phrase hidden in verse 35. Life won’t always be as we see it now. Those of us who have lived a few years on earth are amazed at how life has changed socially, politically, economically and even spiritually.

Jesus tells us to walk. Walking is not standing. As a Christ-follower we cannot ‘stand’ for we are either progressing in our relationship with Jesus and others or we become stagnant. Stagnancy in the spiritual realm is the same as going backwards. It doesn’t do you any good, in fact it harms you. To avoid being stagnant in your spiritual walk it’s important to discipline yourself to read God’s word regularly, pray often and plan to fellowship with those who love Jesus as you do.

Jesus not only tells us to walk but He warns us to not ‘let the darkness overtake you’. When you walk in the evening it’s always a good idea to plan your walk wisely. Be aware of the surrounding changes in light, weather and topography. If you walk too far from home you could get lost in the darkness and not make it back safely.

The same is true somewhat in our spiritual lives. If we are not careful we can walk right into danger without realizing it. Wise walking means that you are careful not to allow yourself to be trapped by the enemy. As Christ-followers Satan will do whatever he can to sidetrack you from your mission to live for Jesus by bringing darkness unexpectedly into our lives.

The darkness he brings upon can be like shadows of our past which haunt us continually with guilt for poor decisions, the pain of broken relationships and doubts about our abilities to recover. His darkness can bring the worry and anxiety of the future, infecting us with fear for our own well-being and the safety of our children.

But Jesus tells us to avoid the darkness. Light destroys shadows and Jesus is the light! The closer we walk to Him the less effect the darkness will have on us. As we walk with in wisdom, aware of our surroundings, His light shines the way to show us safe passage through obstacles the enemy lays before us to trap us.

Walk. Don’t run. Don’t stand. Don’t waiver. Move on in life through the light that only Jesus can offer you. In Him is all you need to travel this journey called life.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I thank you for being the light of my world. I praise you that you alone will show me the way. I trust in Your promise to keep me from being trapped by the shadows of darkness that Satan throws across my path. Empower me with wisdom to walk in your way and strength to keep on when the way grows weary. Amen.

Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be. Job 8:7

There are times when all of us can identify with some parts of the story of Job. Those times when God seems distant; when everything is going wrong and we can’t get a handle on solutions. Those are the tough times along the journey. The times when the rocks and dust along the path choke our desire to go on. The times when our heart is faint as we view the gaping chasms that drop on each side of the road.

All too often we can add to that misery the myriads of people who see our dilemma and feel it is their duty to ‘cure us of our disease’ by offering all sorts of advice and suggestions. All too often these well-meaning ‘messiahs’ don’t take the time to consider our past or what we are going through. Emotional and spiritual battles are not solved by one-size-fits-all bandages.

Enter Bildad, Jobs friend. In the midst of his pain and devastation Job’s friends gathered around to tell him exactly what his problem was and how to fix it. The problem is, as is often the case, they were off base on their assumptions and too proud to admit their ignorance. They were no help at all!

Each of us has a ‘Bildad’ or two in our lives. People that have all the answers to all the world’s problems. They may be well-intentioned, but they are often of little or no help.

There are two things we need to realize when we run across the ‘Bildad’s’ of life. First of all, most of them are well-intentioned and we should do our best to accept them grace-fully even though their assumptions are not valid.

Secondly, as with Bildad in Job 8:7, there is some truth to be gleaned from their words. While the basis of Bildad’s tirade was false, verse 7 holds a nugget of truth each of us can hold on to when the road is rocky and our journey is in jeopardy.

Too often in life we want it all now. Setbacks can cause us to give up completely. We live in a microwave world and serve a God that works more along the lines of a crock pot. He brings things about slowly which is harder for us to take, but better in the long run.

Job suffered unbearably. Still, in the end his faith and perseverance paid off. He was able to see all his riches restored. It’s the same for us today as Christ-followers. Even though you may fail to see any good in what you are going through. Even though your health may be failing, your kids rebelling, your boss (or employees) is jerks. Patient waiting on God will bring all things about in His time, not ours.

God loves you. He wants to see you succeed in life. He wants to provide you with the best life can offer. Sometimes it just takes longer to get where you want to be. Trust Him to show you the way today.

PRAYER: Holy God. I thank you today for the fact that you know all about what I’m going through. Even though they are hard to deal with, I thank you for the ‘Bildad’s’ that cross my path. Help me to be patient with them and to try to see some truth in what they say. Most importantly help me to grow closer to you and wait for your working in the trials I’m going through. Amen.

I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble. Psalm 142:2

“I just wish he’d listen to me and not try to fix everything!”

Ever heard someone say that about someone else? Maybe they’ve said it about you? Or perhaps you’ve said those words yourself either out loud or in your mind. There are times when life seems so overwhelming and unbearable that we just need to speak our mind. We don’t need grammatical correction or advice or solutions. We just need to talk.

The problem is that as humans we have this little part of our brain that says we need to fix everything and heal everyone. The spot tends to be larger and more pronounced in the male brain but everyone has it!

It may be when a friend is going through health issues or has lost a loved one. It happens when moms, in particular, send the oldest child off to school the first day with tears in her eyes.  It can happen even during those times when you can’t put your finger on what’s bugging you but you just need to cry. Life happens and there are times when solutions, advice and judgment are unneeded, unwanted and out of place.

During one of the times when David was on the run from King Saul he hid in a cave and wrote what we know as Psalm 142. In reading the entire Psalm we read the words of a man distraught and full of all sorts of emotion. He was angry. He was afraid. He was tired. He was no doubt lonely and confused as well. But in the midst of his turmoil he remembers that there is one person he can go to when he needs to be heard.

The same is true for us today. There will be times when no one understands. There will be times when you don’t want to talk to people because you don’t want to risk getting a boat load of unwanted advice, judgment, solutions or stories about how someone else had “the same problem and they tried…”.

That’s where God comes in. It’s hard to think of God giving you His undivided attention. First of all, you can’t see Him (although He sees you from inside out). Secondly, we get this idea that with all the ‘big things’ going on in the world, He’s far too involved with wars, earthquakes and disease to be able to listen to you. (That by the way is a lie straight from Satan himself)

Your Heavenly Father never sleeps. He’s never out of touch with your needs, wants, desires and emotions. He is always available to listen and, even though He does have all the answers, He will simply listen to your words, your heart and your thoughts without judgment.

What an awesome promise to take with you today. When you fail, He supports you. When you win, He cheers for you. When you cry, He listens and holds you close.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I thank you for the promises that you have given me that you will always be there for me. Thank you for understanding me when I don’t understand myself, for listening when no one else will listen, for encouraging when life is discouraging. Help me to remember that I can always come to you without fear of being ignored, judged or scolded. Amen.

 “You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,” Psalm 30:11

In Old Testament times when people were in deep distress they would put on sackcloth and wail in anguish. This was particularly true when they mourned over the death of a loved one. As it is today, this was perhaps the deepest agony of all. Death brings with it the loss of dreams, the loss of companionship and the loss of hope for the future.

In Psalm 30 David recounts the many times that God has delivered his people from a variety of disappointments and tragedies. In verse 11 of this song of praise he tells us how, in the midst of their agony God brought them joy. The rough and uncomfortable clothing of sackcloth became clothing of joy and comfort. Their songs of agony became songs of praise.

As we travel along the journey we call life there are many times when tragedy comes upon us. It can be the death of a loved one, or the loss of a job or a broken relationship. People we trust let us down. We let people down we trust and love dearly. We grow old and change becomes harder to adjust too. Health and financial woes remove our hopes and dreams.

How we react to the hard times of life is really up to us. We can dwell on the pain or we can allow God to turn even our own most desperate times into a time of joy and comfort. How we respond to adversity is largely dependent on our view of God and of ourselves.

If we allow the words and actions of other people to determine how we feel about ourselves and God then we will feel the pain of life’s disappointments. Life will seem hopeless. Pain and discomfort will be the rule of our days and sleeplessness will spend the night with us.

If we realize God’s great love and provision for us then we enable Him to make our darkest times to be times of comfort and joy. It is only God that can take the sackcloth of our mistakes and the abuse of others and turn it to joy. It is only through God’s love that we can endure the hardship of tragedy that comes our way.

You are a child of the God of the universe. You are His most cherished possession and the apple of His eye. Leave the ashes and sackcloth of yesterdays mistakes and abuse be replaced with the comfort of God’s love for you. Replace the wailing for the failures and tragedies of the past with praise for the fact that through faith in Jesus Christ you will see a better tomorrow.

You won’t find lasting joy here on earth through relationships, toys, wealth, power or popularity. Lasting joy comes only through complete faith in Jesus and the realization of God’s great love for you.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I’m in such turmoil today. You know the pain I’m feeling. You know the mistakes and tragedies of my past that handcuff me. I’m trapped by feelings of hopelessness and despair. To be honest there have been times of late when I’ve doubted your love or even your presence. I ask that you would empower me through faith in Jesus and the power of your Spirit to clothe myself with your joy and comfort even as I walk through these dark and lonely times. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:5

Everyone likes to have ‘new things’. We dream of winning the lottery or inheriting a fortune and most of us begin to think of all the ‘new things’ we would buy and ‘new things’ we would do with our new found fortune and power. Money is power!

In reality though, there really is nothing around us that is ‘new’ in the way God talks about ‘newness’. Our idea of new is, in reality, modifications to something that has already existed. There’s nothing really ‘new’ under the sun, as the cliché goes.

God’s view of ‘new-ness’ is vastly different than ours however. When God says He’s going to make something new He isn’t referring to modifications of something that already is. When He created the world there wasn’t something to model it after. It was His own creativity that formed the life we see around us. What a marvelous thought!

That makes the statement John writes down in Revelation even more exciting. From a prophecy standpoint John is telling us that what lies in the future is NEW! It’s nothing we’ve ever seen or experienced before. When you consider the vast love God has for us and when you think of His promise to make all things NEW it should excite you. When someone makes new stuff for those they love they don’t make junk! His promise of ‘new-ness’ makes what we look forward to so much better than we can imagine here on earth, and there is nothing we can compare it to.

But God’s idea of newness didn’t skip from creation to eternity. His newness is available to each of us as well. Paul tells us that through Jesus we are ‘NEW CREATIONS’.  When you accepted Jesus as your personal savior He didn’t simply revamp the old you. He made a new one! A nice shiny new you. No past. No failures. No flaws. NEW.

Don’t let past failures or poor decisions keep you from realizing the potential you have to be new in Jesus. Your new-ness isn’t the result of anything you have done or said. It’s all because of God’s great love for you.

PRAYER: Father God. As I think about what it means to be a ‘new creation’ I’m in awe of your love and power. I’m so undeserving of your great love! I fail you and others constantly. I make poor choices and demand my own way. Still, in the face of all this you love me! Thank you for your great love and compassion. Help me from this day forward to live in the newness you have planned for me. Amen.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 3,793 other followers

RSS Podcasts from Zion

  • Persistent Prayer
    Jesus calls us to pray persistently. Ask-Seek-Knock. Three parts of prayer that works!
  • The Case For Weebles
    You Can Stumble, You Can’t Fall, God is never surprised and never leaves you where you’re at.
  • My God Can Do Anything
    From our series, "Like a Child" We are called to faith even when God doesn’t come through for us.
  • My God Forgives Me
    From our series, "Like a Child." God’s grace changes me forever but must be accepted with childlike faith.
  • My God is With Me
    From our series, "Like a Child" God is always with you whether you feel him there or not


Candle Lighter Award

Built With Grace

Twitter Updates


August 2010
« Jul   Sep »
Follow Built with Grace on
%d bloggers like this: