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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.


Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy. Psalm 107:22

When we’ve been through the tough times of life it’s important to look back with joy and thankfulness to be reminded of what God has done for us. It’s human nature during the storm to be concerned for our safety. It’s normal when our health fails to be distracted by the pain of our illness and the uncertainty of our future. During those times it may seem like God is far from us.

But once we have endured, once we have come through the tough times we need to take a moment to look back at the road we’ve travelled. During the tough times of life it may seem as though we’ve been forgotten. We may look back at the mistakes we’ve made, the intentional and rebellious ways in which we’ve taken life into our own hands, the people we’ve hurt or who have hurt us and wonder where God is in all that.

But in the midst of the bad times we need to focus on the fact that regardless of how life looks around us, God is love. He is in control. He is present and loves us very much. Take a fresh look at the positive things He has done in the midst of the storm. If we do that, with an open mind to the realization of God’s love, we will see that even the things that seemed tragic at the time were beneficial for us in the long run.

In Psalm 107 the psalmist writes of the many ways in which God’s deliverance has been evident in the lives of His people. He reminds them of His bountiful provision. He reminds them of God’s love and forgiveness. He asks them to recollect how, when they were sick He brought comfort and healing; when they were homeless He provided shelter; when their friends and family forsook them He became their comfort.

We live in times of great struggle and adversity. Homes are being foreclosed on. Jobs are being lost. Relationships are failing. Families are being torn apart by divorce, death and illness. During these times it’s especially hard to see God’s presence. It’s during these times that we need to hold on tight to the promises that have been made.

God loves you. Regardless of what you are going through, He loves you. It doesn’t matter whose fault it is that you are suffering. Fault doesn’t change His love for you. Take time to focus on what He has done for you. Ask Him for strength to see through the fog of your pain to the strength of His love. Praise Him that even in the darkness He is there for you to comfort, guide and protect.

PRAYER: Dear God. You know the struggle I have today. I’m in such confusion that I doubt Your presence and my ability to continue on. Please show Yourself to me in a real way today. Help me to see the good in all the bad that surrounds me. Forgive me for my doubt and rebellion and help me sense Jesus’ love for me like I never have before. Amen.


Love the Lord your God with all our heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:5-7

 

Learning how to ‘do life’ isn’t done in a vacuum. Who would feel comfortable with a surgeon who told you just before you enter the operating room that “I’ve never really seen a surgery or done one before. but I’ve read lots of books on it and watch Grey’s Anatomy on TV so I think we should be okay.”  

How comfortable would we be as airline passengers if the pilot came on and said, “Okay, now. This should be fun. As soon as I can figure out which button to push to turn the engines on I think we’ll be on our way. I’ve never flown a real plane before, but I had a radio controlled one as a kid. How hard can it be?”

None of us would go to surgery or fly a plane with the above mentioned situation. We are putting our very lives in their hands. We want to know that they will be fully equipped and experienced to handle every situation that may present itself. While not many of us will be pilots or surgeons, the experiences of our lives can have profound effects on those around us without us even being aware of it.

One of the reasons Jesus was such an effective teacher is that He used life experiences to teach eternal truths. It’s in the everyday events of life that we can show those around us the Christ-life. Too often we tend to separate our ‘real life’ with our ‘Christ-life’ but that isn’t reality. Jesus came to live among us to show us that the journey can be long and hard, but that with His power in us we can change our world.

Every situation doesn’t need to have an accompanying sermon or a lecture. As one person said, “Preach Jesus every day and when necessary, use words!” We can show others much more by how we react to situations than they will learn in an entire year of sermons and Bible Studies. The words  you speak, the attitudes you show, and the non-verbal signals you send can be used of God to show others His love.

Each of us has a story. We make mistakes and poor, or just plain stupid decisions. We hurt people. We break relationships. We acquire debt. Don’t dwell on the mistakes you have made in life. Use them as lessons learned; lessons that can be used to lift others up who are struggling, are discouraged or have fallen. The mistakes of our past can be used to help others learn how to walk.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. I know life is a journey and I’ve taken many side trips and detours that have hurt me and others. Forgive me for the poor choices I’ve made, the people I’ve hurt and the relationships I’ve broken. Help me to use these lessons to lift those who need you. Help me to show them your love. Amen.


When you see the tassels, you will remember and obey all the commands of the LORD instead of following your own desires and defiling yourselves, as you are prone to do. Numbers 15:39 (NLT)

After over 400 years in captivity and 40 years of wandering aimlessly in the wilderness, they were about to enter ‘The Promised Land’! The Lord God was giving His people final instructions before their long journey came to an end.

Of all the many lessons’ the Israelites had learned, the one God hoped they would remember the most is that God’s blessings are hindered by sin. After all, it was sin that forced God’s chosen people to take 40 years to complete what should have been an 11 day walk! It was doubt that caused them to turn back when those sent to ‘spy out the land’ gave them a bad report. It was a lack of trust that sent a bunch of snakes swarming into camp.

If they would walk by faith in God the people of Israel would experience peace and prosperity. They were God’s people. They were set aside by Him to be His chosen ones. He didn’t choose them because of their size, or their strength or their ability to obey. He chose them because He loved them.

In Numbers 15:37-41 the Lord gives His people instructions concerning the clothes they would wear. The garments of the Israelites were to have a fringe sewn on with tassels hanging from the fringe. These would serve two purposes. On the one hand it would be a public symbol that these people were God’s people. Secondly, the tassels would hopefully serve as a reminder to the Israelites that they were to follow God’s laws.

I like the phrasing of the New Living Translation: “instead of following your own desires and defiling yourselves as you are prone to do.”  The word prone means ‘to have a tendency or inclination to do’. The Father knew his children. He knew they would be distracted. He knew that the desires of the world would constantly pull them away. Even though He knew they would fail, and fail miserably, He remained faithful to His promises.

Our heavenly Father is the same today. He knows we will fail. He knows how hard it is four us to live without discouragement, hate, anger, worry, frustration, doubt, addictive tendencies, and the list goes on. But still He calls to us and begs us to come to Him for healing.

What a great and awesome God of love and mercy we serve.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me even though I’m so easily distracted by the world. Keep me in your arms. Empower me to follow your ways. Protect me from temptation and distraction. Help me to live as though there were tassels on my garments that would remind me to follow you and testify to others of your great love. Amen.


So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then, when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived. Numbers 21:9 

The trip through the wilderness had gone on now for 40 years. The people were growing restless. They were tired of manna, tired of quail, tired of having to set up camp and tear down camp. The kids were restless, Grandma and Grandpa were crabby and it was hot! Now, to make matters worse the nation headed back towards the Red Sea! It seemed like they were just going in circles.

 Soon grumbling began. Where was this ‘promised land’ that God had given them? Did Moses really know where he was going and what he was doing? Wasn’t it easier in Egypt? At least they had homes and great Egyptian food!

 When God had heard enough of their complaining he sent snakes among the people. The snake bites killed many of the Israelites. When they realized what was happening the Israelites cried out to Moses for help. God instructed Moses to make a snake out of bronze and put it high on a pole. Anyone who looked to the snake was healed.

 For years afterwards the snake was an icon among the Israelites. It reminded them of God’s deliverance. Jesus speaks about Himself as being like that snake. Anyone who looked on the snake in the wilderness was healed. It didn’t matter who they were or what they had done. The past didn’t matter. The important thing is that they had faith to look to the snake. It was true for those close to the pole and those far away.

The same is true for us today. Our past doesn’t matter. It’s not about gifts and talents and money and all the other things that society tells us we must have to be successful. It’s about looking to Jesus. He alone can heal us from all that afflicts us.

 Are you wandering in the wilderness? Does the journey seem long and hard?  Do you feel you have wandered to far from God? Look to Jesus. He longs to heal you.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. Just as the Israelites complained during their wilderness I confess that I’m tired of the wandering. Help me to look to you, to keep my eyes above the trials of life and believe you for deliverance. Amen

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