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My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:2 (NCV)

We all need help figuring out this thing called life from time to time. Help figuring out a career or career change; help building or rebuilding relationships; help fighting the battles of fatigue, worry or the ever-present battle of just growing old.

During those dark times when help seems distant to the enemy of our souls convinces us that we are in this thing alone, remember the facts. Your help comes from the Lord, the King, the Creator of the universe.

God’s help is timely. He is never late even though our frail minds think otherwise. “If only you’d been here, my brother wouldn’t have died” was the cry of a sister whose brother died needing the touch of the Savior. By human timelines Jesus was too late. But Lazarus would tell you he came just in time.

God’s help is powerful. Would the one that controls all of nature let one of his children slip through his hands? Would the one who hangs the stars in place ‘drop the ball’ when it comes to watching over one he loves more than the world itself? As one writer put it, “[God] will sooner destroy heaven and earth than permit his people to be destroyed.”

God’s help is constant. He never sleeps. He never slumbers. You are never out of his sight, never too far away for him not to snatch you from the arms of disaster. There’s no need to worry when you are in the presence of God and you are ALWAYS in the presence of God. As Max Lucado says in his book “Come Thirsty”, ‘Jesus has two words to describe worry, irrelevant and irreverent.’

God’s help protects us. Normally we think of needing God’s help when the struggles around us are too great to bear; when no man can help us. But perhaps God’s help is needed most during those times of plenty, when life is good. For it is during those times we tend to rely on ourselves rather than God. It’s during the good times of life when the enemy can attack most easily and bring us down. It is during those times when God’s protection is needed and available the most.

My help comes from the Lord, my Lord. The one who created the heavens and the earth. The one who saw me on the day of my conception and will never leave me until that day when I see him face to face. And that day will be glory for me!

PRAYER: O Lord, my Lord how majestic is your name. I praise you today for the help you give me on so many levels. I can go forth today knowing I’m never out of your watchful and caring eye. Thank you Lord. Amen.

God is working in you to make you willing and able to obey him. Philippians 2:13 (CEV)

Living a life of obedience was never intended to be done in our own power. One of the first acts of grace was for God to instill in us the desire to do the things necessary for us to live under the power of the Holy Spirit.

That’s good news for those of us who are weak in our walk. Often we come upon a challenge in our lives and don’t know which way to choose, or don’t want to do what we know we should do. But God will guide us through these times if we let him. He will never force us to do what we don’t want to do, but he will always encourage us to do what is best for us and for others.

Philippians 2:13 also contains a challenge for us. We can not idly sit by and expect that God will do the work for us. A farmer may pray with all sincerity that his fields be plowed, but unless he puts his hand to the plow there will be no crop. In the same way we can pray for good health and that we’ll lose weight. But if we never exercise and eat our fill of unhealthy food there will be no positive results in our endeavor to be healthy.

We serve an almighty, omnipotent God. A God who, through his power, created the universe and controls all of nature by his will. But he will never force us to do anything against our will. The human will cannot be forced to do anything, yet a will that is in tune with God will be able to accomplish great things.

So why do we have the struggle Paul so adequately identifies in Romans? Why do we continually do, think and feel in ways that are repulsive to us while at the same time we struggle to do the things we truly want to do?

Sometimes we fail to listen to God’s leading. Jesus promised us his Spirit as a helper, not a tyrant; a guide, not a dictator; freedom to choose, not a brainwashed mind. When we listen to him he exerts an influence on us that makes us willing to obey Him.

Other times we struggle to follow God’s leading because God works in slow ways, like a crock-pot. We live in a microwave world and serve a crock-pot God who works slowly to accomplish his will. We often lack the patience for him to do things in his timing.

Your Heavenly Father never intended for you to be in this alone, but he never intended to do all the work of the relationship either. Relationships that grow slowly grow stronger over time. Let his power work deep within you to guide you. He knows your weakness and is willing to walk with you to be an over-comer.

PRAYER: Father God, I earnestly desire to see you work in my life, but struggle to do the things I know you want me to do. Help me to live according to the promise that you never intended me to do this alone. Empower me to see your direction and listen to your voice and then to act on what I hear. In your name, Amen.

If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. Psalm 139:8

Adam and Eve tried it. Right after they ate the forbidden fruit. Put a couple fig leaves on to cover up their nakedness and hid in the bushes. It didn’t work of course. Right on schedule he came walking down the garden path looking for them. I wonder what look he had on his face when he saw the new clothes?

David tried it too. Right after his one night fling with the girl next door. He was a little more creative in his attempt of course. He attempted to sweep the whole thing under the rug of secrecy. God showed he could play the same game however and came up with a nice little story, delivered by the prophet to show David the same lesson Adam and Eve learned. You can’t hide from God.

Years later, Jonah tried the more direct approach. He didn’t hide. He didn’t go in secret. He made no bones about the fact that he wasn’t happy with God’s decision and he would have no part of it. God, of course, wasn’t about to be strong-armed by the renegade prophets tactics. Through the use of a fish and a scraggly vine Jonah learned you can’t hide from God, you can’t run from God and his purpose will be fulfilled in spite of our rebellion.

In each situation the lesson each person learned was that you can’t run from God or hide from him. Usually we run or hide from something that scares us or endangers us. Not so with our Heavenly Father. He will seek us out. He will find us. But his search for us isn’t based on anger or revenge. His purpose isn’t for punishment or judgment. God seeks out his children to bring them home.

Your Heavenly Father is more concerned about showing you grace than showing your faults. He’s more interested in revealing his love than he is about revealing your sin. His actions are directed more towards showing you forgiveness through his grace than loading up the guilt for your failures.

When you find yourself on the mountaintops of life, remember that God is there with you, celebrating with you and enjoying the moment. When you find yourself in the depths, when the darkness seems overwhelming and you can’t find your way, remember that he walks with you along the darkened path of despair.

He’s not a hunter seeking to destroy some enemy. He’s a loving Father seeking to show you the fullest extent of his love and forgiveness. You are never really out of God’s sight. When you stray, he’ll seek you out for all the right reasons.

PRAYER: Father there are times I feel removed from you either due to my wanderings or due to other things that darken my path. I praise you for the fact that no matter where I am, whether on the mountaintop or in the darkest valley, I’m not lost. You will seek my out. Amen.

But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” Luke 15:32

You see the stories. A child is lost. Parents beg for help and the safe return of their precious child. Teams of law enforcement personnel and volunteers form quickly to find the child. News reports are issued and everyone, everyone is called on to look for the child.

In far too many cases, the scenario ends sadly, but in those situations where the child is found safe there is great celebration. Tears of joy and ‘high-fives’ abound. Heartfelt ‘thank-yours’ come from parents and family members. The child is home, safe and in the arms of those who love him/her.

In the spiritual realm there is also much rejoicing when a ‘child comes home’. Think of the jubilation we feel and multiply it a thousand-fold in heaven. What is significant in the story of the prodigal son isn’t what happened so much as what we don’t find.

There is no questioning about the prodigals sincerity upon his return. No period of ‘probation’ to see if he really had changed his ways. No consequences laid out before the party could happen.

Note the wording in the NIV. ‘But we HAD to celebrate.’ There was no question in the father’s mind. No second thoughts. No apprehension. A celebration had to happen and the sooner the better.

Too often, we who are steeped in years of ‘church-iness’ are cautions in our acceptance of those who ‘return home’. Oh, we celebrate initially because that’s what you do, but at the first sign of a slip-up we tend to think ‘well, you can’t really change those kind can you?’

Too often we require steps to spirituality to prove the life-change in a person before we accept them ‘back’ into the fold. Remember too that the prodigal represents one that was in the ‘fold’ at one time and left. By today’s standards we would think of him as a once-upon-a-time church-goer who’d left the faith, tarnished our good name and then returned for forgiveness.

When a sinner comes home to the Father it doesn’t matter if he comes for the first time or comes after going astray. The Father welcomes him back with open arms. There is no question in his mind that the ‘prodigal’ will fail. It’s a given. The Father is never surprised by our sin. Never shocked by our lack of obedience. Never amazed when we choose our own way.

On the other hand, he is never unwilling to take us back when we come home. All of us are prodigal sons and daughters. All of us can come home again regardless of why we went astray.

PRAYER: Father you know me better than I know myself. You know how easy it is for me to stray from you. You know how hard it is to accept those who have gone astray. Thank you for forgiving us in spite of our ability to be obedient to you. Empower me with your Spirit to live according to your word. Amen.

If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do?” Psalm 11:3 (NASB)

Jesus told a parable one day about houses and the importance of building your house on a firm foundation. Jesus was a carpenter. He knew the importance of having a firm foundation to build the walls on. A shaky foundation would never stand the tests of time or weather the storms of life.

Although he was chosen by God to be king, David lived in constant threat of his life from an angry, insecure, violent King Saul. David endured his threats, dodged his spears and suffered the effects of Saul’s ridicule and lies while he waited for the promise to be fulfilled.

David was able to withstand Saul’s attacks because his trust in God to fulfill the promise; his trust in God to protect him when evil attacked; his trust in God when it seemed he’d been forgotten, was greater than his fear.

David’s foundation lay in his trust of an omniscient, all-powerful, forgiving God. When we face hardship in this world, the depth of our foundation is crucial in maintaining our walk of faith. A foundation set on the surface is suspect. A foundation that goes deep into the bedrock will be unshakable. The roof may crumble. The walls may fall. But the foundation will remain intact.

Enemies of the faith will tell you the foundation the Christian faith is built on is suspect. They’ll tell you that there are other buildings, other ways of faith that will give the shelter and protection of the Christian faith. But while their walls may seem secure, the weakness of their foundation will never stand the tests of time.

The promise David waited for was two-fold. One was that he would sit on the throne ofIsrael. It took many hard years for that to be fulfilled. The second part of the promise was that an eternal king from his lineage would sit on the throne ofIsrael. The promise was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, who will one day come back to claim the throne that is rightfully his.

Our faith is built on a foundation that will never fail. It may seem our walls crumble around us. The enemy’s attacks may destroy what is seen. But the foundation of our faith, the Word of God, will never falter. It’s a foundation you can trust in.

PRAYER: Father, in our day it seems like the very tenants of our faith are under attack and being destroyed. Even those who claim to be called ‘Christian’ are making decisions that go against your Word in the name of Grace. I praise you today that the truth of your word, the foundation on which I stand, will stand the attacks and weather the storms of time. Amen.

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