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“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

Recently I took a trip from the Midwestern USA to the California. Most of the trip was taken with clear skies allowing us to look out the window to the earth some 4 miles below us. We saw the beauty of the plains with lakes and rivers. We saw the mountains and the desert. While I was reminded of the vastness of the world and its beauty there were some things that were undistinguishable from my vantage point.

For example, I couldn’t tell how deep the lakes were; I couldn’t tell how hot the desert was; I couldn’t determine how high the mountains or hills were, nor could I tell how low the valley’s were. From my perspective it all looked pretty close to the same.

I thought of that flight when I read the words from Isaiah. God’s thoughts are not like our thoughts. We are made in God’s image and because of that we have the ability to think, reason and remember just as He does. But our thoughts are limited to what we can see in a very small segment of time and space.

We may be able to remember the mistakes and abuses and turmoil of our past. We may be able to anticipate or guess what lies ahead. But in reality, we can’t even see one second into the future! Our Father in Heaven, on the other hand remembers all the way back to our birth and sees all the way to our death (and all eternity as well!).

The things we see as major obstacles are but a blip on the screen to God because He knows the outcome. From His vantage point He knows that even though you may be struggling with something that is devastating to you, He sees the whole picture of how this event will work out.

There’s one weakness to my analogy of the plane-window-view of life and God’s view. From my vantage point I saw no people whatsoever. I didn’t see how those below me were struggling. I didn’t see the tears being shed. I didn’t see the victories being enjoyed.

That’s not true with God. He sees from beginning to end. The things we see as major obstacles aren’t seen that way by Him. But God sees each of us individually. He is able to see the deepest corners of our minds, our thoughts, our feelings and our pain.

Right now you may be going through some struggle that seems unbearable. It could be health related, financially related, relationship issues or a whole list of other things. Whatever it is that is troubling you may have led to anger, frustration, guilt, worry or doubt. Remember that God knows how things will work out. Don’t forget that He also understands Your pain, or whatever other emotion you are feeling right now.

He may not remove you from your situation, but He understands your heart and anxiously waits to comfort and strengthen you. Your Heavenly Father loves you. The more you grow in relationship with Him the more you will sense His love and strength.

PRAYER: Holy God, I can’t comprehend how your thoughts can be so vast that you can see the entire world and so intimate that you can see and understand my deepest emotions. I praise you for your greatness and your willingness to comfort me in my deepest need. As you know, I struggle with my faith in You or myself. Empower me with your Spirit to see things Your way and to trust you when the issues of my life scream at me to doubt. Thank you for loving me the way you do. Amen.


I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. Philippians 4:11 (New International Version)

Contentment: The feeling or showing satisfaction with one’s possessions, status, or situation.

The Bible tells us in numerous places and ways that we are to be content; have the joy of the Lord in our hearts; be joyful always; trust God in tribulation and the list goes on and on. When things are going well for us (the job is going well, gas prices are down, the teenagers are behaving and you are getting along with your spouse or significant other) it’s easy to be joyful, trusting and content.

But what about the other times? How can you be content when everything seems to go wrong around you, when God seems distant or angry with you and you feel yourself getting older and not getting better? How can you be content then?

There are many people out there that will give you three easy steps to contentment, or a product, service or program that will ‘bring you contentment’ but the reality is you already have everything at your disposal to be content!

While it’s not an easy thing to admit or practice, contentment is really about our reaction to the event around us more than it is the actual event, person or place. Contentment isn’t really about being happy! You can be content with your situation even though you aren’t happy about it. You an also be happy on the outside even though internally you are miserable. Paul tells us in Philippians he is content regardless of his circumstances because he ‘learned the secret’ to being content.

I’m not going to be one of those people who gives you the ‘three easy steps to contentment’. First of all, there is nothing easy about being content. Secondly each of us reacts to situations differently. However, here are some ideas to help you on the road to contentment.

First of all, each of us must realize that coming to the point of contentment is a process, a part of the journey of life. Paul says, “I have learned…”. Learning takes time and work and is best learned by experiencing discontentment. If you read the life of Paul you find that he was a man of extraordinary talent, wisdom and spiritual strength. But he was also a man who’d endured prison, had numerous attempts on his life and was physically and emotionally beaten.

I’m sure that the contentment the Paul talks about to the Phillippians was a contentment resulting from all the turmoil of his past. Little by little Paul saw that God provided for him in times of danger and prosperity. He had to go through the bad part of life in order to learn that God could really be trusted to take care of him.

Secondly contentment comes to us when we have a proper view of God, ourselves and others. When contentment is based on external things we are bound to be disappointed. Relationships fail. People fail. Economies and politics take different directions. Life is fluid and sometimes we end up in places we hate to be in.

Contentment based on the Soveriegn God isn’t dependent on external factors. He is always God. He is always in control. He always loves us and wants us to experience his love. Because of this, there is nothing that can effect His working in our lives.

We also need to have a proper view of ourselves. Sometimes the situations we find ourselves in are the result of choices we’ve made in the past or actions others have taken to hurt us. To live a life of contentment we need to forgive ourselves and forgive others for the things of our past. As long as we hold on to the issues of our past we will never be able to experience the contentment that God has for us.

Contentment based on relationships will fail regardless of how good those relationships are because relationships involve humans and humans fail. Sometimes we have to make the hard decisions to end relationships because they are harmful to us emotionally or physically. Ending a bad relationship, in some cases, may be the safest way to find contentment, but this must always involve forgiveness of the offending party as well. Even if trust is no longer possible, forgiveness is a requirement for your own healing.

PRAYER: Father God, there are so many things right now that are keeping me from being content. I worry about my job, my school, my friends, my family. It’s so hard for me to be content when everything seems to be falling apart around me. I realize now that I’ve been basing my contentment on external things and not the eternal and internal things you have for me. Help me to be patient and trusting as you bring the trials I must endure to learn contentment. Empower me with your Holy Spirit to trust you. Amen.


But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me. Psalm 31:14-15

Imagine what it must have been like for King David when he was growing up. He was the youngest in the family and, as a result, most likely the one that picked on the most. Dad was a rancher so he probably got the messiest jobs around. He may have looked forward to the day when he could shepherd the sheep like his older brothers.

Once he was old enough to shepherd he may have realized that the job wasn’t what he expected. He endured long, lonely cold nights where the only light was the fire and stars. Those nights with a full moon must have made things a little better, but the shadows and sounds of the night were still ominous for a young man of 12-14 years of age. Then, of course there was the danger of attack by wild animals and protecting the little lambs that always seemed to be wandering off into dangerous territory. Being shepherd was anything but fun!

Fast forward a few years. You see your brother coming over the hillside. He tells you the prophet is at home for sacrifice and he’s asking for you. You go home in excitement and find out YOU will be anointed as the next King of Israel. Almost before you realize the significance you are thrust into the palace where the current King Saul is trying to kill you. You end up spending many years running for your life!

David’s life was anything but boring and yet there may have been some times later in life when the thought of sitting alone on a hillside seemed mighty tempting. The weight of ruling a kingdom and raising family was as hard then as it is today.

David is referred to as ‘a man after God’s own heart’ and as a courageous warrior. Yet there are many part s of David’s life that aren’t so glorious. He made many horrible mistakes that led to people’s deaths; he sinned mightily against God and his people. His family would be considered dysfunctional by many standards.

What was it that kept David going? How could he rebound from the fear and anxiety of his life? What enabled him to get past the abuse he suffered at the hands of others and the injustice that was thrown at him? How could he forgive himself for the times he openly rebelled against God’s commands?

In the midst of all the turmoil in David’s life, one thought kept him going. David knew God. He knew he could trust Him. He knew that no matter how bad things were, God was in control. Those lonely nights on the hillside taught David that nothing, absolutely nothing happened in life by accident or coincidence. Whether the circumstances around him were a result of his own poor choices or the abusive, evil actions of someone else, his God could be trusted to deliver him.

The same is true for us today. No matter where you are in life, God has your life in His hands. If you are suffering the consequences of your own poor choices He will forgive you and walk with you through the pain. If you are suffering at the hands of an evil enemy He will protect you and empower you to withstand the attack. You can trust God. He loves you and will never ever leave you.

PRAYER: Holy God I thank you for the story of David. There have been many times in my life when I’ve felt abused, alone and scared. There have been times when I’ve doubted your existence, presence or love. Forgive me for those times when I failed to see your loving, guiding hand. As I face an uncertain future I ask that you would comfort, guide and protect me. Amen.


For anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Hebrews 4:1

Maybe it’s a guy thing, but I have the tendency to hesitate to ask for help. It doesn’t matter how heavy the object is to lift or how hard the task is, if there is any way I can do it on my own I’ll do it! I’ve had plenty of sore backs and pulled muscles to prove it!

The ridiculous part about being driven to do things by ourselves is that it often causes physical pain, frustration and even damage to people and property. Still each of us is inclined to risk our physical and emotional health to do things on our own.

Sometimes we do that because we see the need for help as a sign of weakness. Sometimes we do it ourselves because we have that ‘pride thing’ going on inside us that says: (1) My way is the best way; and (2) No one can do it as well as I can!

What is true for us in the physical realm can also be true in the spiritual realm. In fact the two intersect in some ways. Those of us that are Christ-followers agree that we are sinners and willingly rest on God’s promise of forgiveness and grace for our eternal lives. However, for some reason, if we aren’t careful we think that once we receive this ‘free gift’ of grace we need to work hard to keep it or earn it.

We do this by taking responsibility to make sure our job is right, our kids are healthy and responsible, or homes are fancy and well kept, we have all the right toys and latest gadgets. We even work hard to make sure our ministry or church is stronger, larger and has more technology than the people across the street. Not all of these things are bad unless they become the sole reason for our existence. When they become all we live for then frustration sets in because we can’t possible achieve all we want!

Jesus says, in Matthew 11:28 “Come unto me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Jesus isn’t necessarily talking about physical rest here. He’s telling all of us who are spiritually tired and emotionally spent that we can come to Him for rest. He wants to comfort us and encourage us when we are struggling to keep afloat.

One of the mysteries of our human existence is that when we are at peace with ourselves on the inside, the things that bring stress on the outside aren’t as powerful. When I allow Jesus to completely control my thoughts, my attitudes and my feelings about people, places and things I have the strength to endure the attacks that are thrown at me.

God’s rest is both present and eternal. His rest gives us freedom to live life to the fullest while we are here on earth. When we rely on God’s power nothing that comes our way brings complete despair. This is true whether the circumstances we face are a result of our own failures or the attacks of others.

God’s rest is also eternal. As Christ-followers we have a hope that reassures us that no matter how bad things are now, someday all the pain and frustrations will be gone. Our physical lives will end, but will usher in an eternal life of peace, happiness and health, all in the presence of God Himself!

PRAYER: Father God. I’m tired. I’m tired physically, emotionally and spiritually. The things that are happening around me have taken away the joy I thought I was supposed to have in you. I confess that I’ve been struggling at my spiritual life all alone and not accepting the help you have promised. Forgive me for trying to do it alone. Empower me by your Holy Spirit to accept your comfort, your power and your help to make it through the daily grind that seems to pull me down. Thank you for your understanding and your rest. Amen.


Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16

In the classic story ‘The Wizard of Oz’ Dorothy and her three traveling companions take a trip to see the ‘wonderful Wizard of Oz’. Each of them has a need that no one else has been able to meet. Each of them is scared, discouraged and in a seemingly hopeless situation. Their only hope is the wizard.

Once they get to Oz they find out that the wizard is almost impossible to meet with and, at first, they are turned away. When they are allowed a visit, they are terrified to come into his presence. His throne room is full of flames and terror. His voice is scary and gruff. Once they make their urgent requests known he finally agrees to give them their wishes, but only if they risk their lives doing something that meant certain death.

You know the story. They get the broom from the wicked witch and, upon returning to the wizard, discover that the so-called wizard is really nothing more than a bumbling old man with no special powers except to talk a good line.

While we all realize that ‘The Wizard of Oz’ is nothing more than a fantasy, in our more honest times we have to admit that we view God more like the wizard when we are in our time of need. We view him as unapproachable, fearful, powerful and demanding our very souls. Other times we view him as a bumbling old man that is really only interested in saving his own skin and living a life of prestige and power.

It’s time to get over the ‘Wizard of Oz’ mentality in our Christian lives! As Christ followers the writer to the Hebrews gives us a completely different view of who God is and our position before him. First of all we have the right to enter the Throne of Grace. Throne implies absolute and complete power. But this throne isn’t a throne full of flames, smoke and fear. It’s a throne of grace. Grace doesn’t require anything of us but to accept the free gift of Jesus Christ’s forgiveness. No witches broom to sacrifice. No life-threatening or personality destroying actions to gain admittance. We don’t need to clean ourselves up. We can enter this throne room just as we are: selfish, rebellious, angry, afraid, battered, bruised and addicted. No matter where you are, what you’ve done or how you got to where you are you are qualified to enter the very throne room of the Creator God. AWESOME!

Secondly we enter the throne room with confidence. Why? Because as our Father, God welcomes us as his children. He isn’t a father that is too preoccupied with the game on TV, the yard work, his own status or anything else. His one and only concern is to hear you, comfort you, guide you and forgive you. He isn’t interested in making you something you are not; He’s interested in making you the best you can be!

Lastly, when we come before Him we find mercy and grace. He won’t accuse us. He won’t say ‘I told you so’. He won’t demand you jump through a bunch of hoops. It’s absolutely amazing! He knows our need before we even get to the throne room. He isn’t concerned about who is at fault or how many times you’ve stumbled, strayed or rebelled. He’s only interested in making you the best you can be so you can live a life of freedom from the affects of the pain we all encounter.

Get rid of the “Wizard of Oz” mentality in your life as a Christ-follower. When you pray and read His Word remember that you are coming into a room full of love, forgiveness, understanding and healing. God loves you and wants nothing more than to show you the grace and mercy you need to live life to its fullest.

PRAYER: Holy God. I confess to you that often times I see you more as the fearful or bumbling wizard of Oz. I’m ashamed of what I’ve done, angry at you for not doing what I wanted you to do and doubt your ability to take care of me. I’ve gone off on my own journey to find fulfillment and run aground. Please help me to realize what it means to come into your presence. Help me to come with confidence to You so that I can experience the grace and mercy that is already mine because of my faith in Jesus. In His name I pray, Amen.

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