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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.


The Law of the Lord is a lamp, and its teachings shine brightly. Correction and self-control will lead you through life. Proverbs 6:23 (CEV)

It was our last camping trip of the season. Mid-October camping trips are risky at best in Northern Minnesota but the need to get away outweighed the risk of bad weather. Our destination was only about 90 minutes from home but the short days still meant arriving just after dusk.

Getting the camper parked was a challenge, but once in the site I managed to get set up for the evening by holding a small penlight flashlight in my mouth on occasion in order to find get settled. I made a passing statement that it would be nice to have a light that I could attach to my head so my hands (and mouth could be free).

This Christmas my ‘prayers’ were answered when my daughter gave me a small flashlight that attaches to my cap. Now I’ll be able to work with light and keep my hands free!

Although we are months from official camping season, I’ve tried my light out and expect it will be very useful in guiding me through the dark. It has its limitations however. My little light is bright, but it won’t light up much more than my immediate surroundings. With my little light I’ll be able to see what is only a short distance ahead, so I won’t be able to discern things in the distance. My little light is focused on the direction I’m heading, not to the sides, not to what is behind me. It is designed to keep me moving forward.

My little light is a picture of God’s word. Some think God’s Word is full of useless, confining and irrelevant rules and regulations. It’s outdated and doesn’t allow freedom. I say, on the contrary! Just like my little light, God’s word is a useful guide in the dark, steers me clear of danger and assists me when I can’t see my way.

God’s word is like my light in regards to my future as well. My Heavenly Father knows my tomorrows. While God knows what I’ll be doing ten years from now, he also knows that I don’t need that information right now. I need to get through the next day, the next few steps. His word gives me all the guidance I need to keep me moving forward.

When I follow God’s rules and God’s way I don’t need to be concerned about what lies to my right or my left either. I can focus on moving ahead. The past is just that, past, done, finished. What goes on around me isn’t important as long as I’m focusing on what God wants me to do.

Lastly, God’s word allows me to make necessary adjustments to my journey. I can choose to turn my light off and go it alone. If I do so I risk injury or getting hopelessly off course. In the same way ‘having God’s word’ is useless unless I use God’s word to guide me.
God’s word irrelevant? Gods’ word confining and outdated? I don’t think so! It’s just what I need to get through the dark times of my life!

PRAYER: Thank you Father for giving me the guidance I need through your word. Empower me to live by the standards you set for me so that I can walk confidently during the dark periods of my life. In Jesus name, Amen.


The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Psalm 19:1

Imagine David on the hillside. Alone in the wilderness. Nothing but the sound of sheep snoring in the dark and an occasional twig snapping as some unknown visitor scouts the perimeter of his camp.

As the fire dies his attention is drawn straight above him. Around him is darkness, but above him is the splendor of heaven. Millions and millions of stars. Stars that looked like pin holes in black paper to him but were, in reality huge, energy emitting balls of gas billions of miles away!

I can’t help but believe that the time David spent in the wilderness alone was time spent learning about the majesty of God. His courage in fighting Goliath; his patience and grace in running from Saul; his wisdom in leading a nation and his acceptance of God’s discipline in the ‘Bathsheba Affair’ didn’t come from wrestling lions and bears or herding stupid sheep!

David’s character was built spending time in God’s creation communing with him in solitude and worship. It’s appalling to me to realize that one Sunday a year some churches ‘celebrate’ Darwin’s lie about origins. People who claim to believe in the God of the Bible applaud a system of belief (evolution) which discredits what the Bible says about God creating everything we see as well as the unseen world.

David would have been horrified at the thought! He’d say to us, “Look at the heavens! How can you possibly doubt a God who made all this!”

Life can be hard sometimes. Relationships fail us. Sleep evades us. Children/parents disappoint us. The darkness of our sin or the way we are treated by others surrounds us and fills us with fear and despair. When that happens, look up! If God can make the millions of stars in the sky he can handle whatever you are going through.

There is no sin too great that he can’t forgive. No illness to harsh that he can’t heal and/or comfort. No relationship he can’t mend. It was in the darkness that David formed a character that gave him the title of “A man after God’s own heart.” It is in the darkness that each of us must grow our character as well. We don’t develop character in the light of day and the comfort of a palace. We learn character in the darkness of a hillside wilderness.

PRAYER: Holy God. As with David, I ask that my eyes would be drawn to the heavens. Help me to see your power and majesty in the world you have created around me. Empower through your Holy Spirit to have the courage to believe in you as I endure the struggles that lay ahead of me. Just as the heavens declare your majesty, may my character declare your grace and power to love others and live for you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 


Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:18-20

You don’t get ‘a little drunk’. Don’t try that line with the police officer. The level of alcohol in you r body may waver, but drunk is drunk. “But I’m only a little drunk’ isn’t the most effective way to avoid a ticket. You don’t get ‘a little pregnant’. A little pregnant and a lot pregnant will have the same results. ‘I’m only a little addicted to [name your addiction] won’t work either. Addicted is addicted.

There are some things in life that are all or nothing. Following Christ is one of them. He didn’t say to His Apostles, “Walk with me a couple miles, a day, a few weeks.” He said ‘follow me’. There was no time frame, no exit plan, and no map. They weren’t given an option as to how long, or how far. Two words that took a second to say, a lifetime to fulfill and eternity to understand.

Paul tells us to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Although we as Christ-followers have a choice in the matter, if we truly want relationship with Him we have to make a conscious decision to be filled on a daily basis, sometimes more often than that when temptation wins. The filling is a simple request on our part to allow God’s Spirit to take every thought, word and action captive.

Some people think the ‘filling’ will show itself in marvelous and miraculous signs. It can, but that’s not a pre-requisite. Some people think that we need to clean up our act before we can be filled, but there is no place in the entire Bible that says we are responsible for cleaning up. Jesus is the only one that can do that and He already completed the cleaning, which is why He told us ‘It is finished!’ Some people think the ‘filling’ will take away from the joy of life, the freedom to be themselves or the ability to be creative and useful. In fact, the filling increases the joy in life, the freedom to live and the creative juices in your mind and body.

Just as a ‘little light’ dispels darkness, being filled with God’s Spirit sends the darkness of our soul fleeing in fear. When you struggle with those thoughts, when you desire to fulfill that addiction, when the fear returns with a vengeance, don’t just ask God to take it away, ask Him to replace it with a filling of His Spirit. The Holy Spirit of God isn’t a mystical ghost. He’s a person who wants to indwell, empower, comfort and guide you on the treacherous and painful path of life. Ask Him to fill you. Do it out loud. Do it whenever the enemy attacks. Being filled is risky. It promises change, change that is hard at first but better in the long run. It’s an option, but an option that is required to walk in complete relationship with Jesus.

PRAYER: Father God. I thank you that Jesus died on the cross for my sins. I thank you that He finished the work of cleaning up my act so that I can have relationship with you. My life is so full of worries and fears, bruises and wounds, temptations and wanderings. Forgive me for all that keeps me from pure relationship with you. Replace all the junk in my life with Your Holy Spirit so I can live completely for you. In Jesus name, Amen.


I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. Psalm 130:5-6

Have you ever been in a situation where you were waiting anxiously for something to happen? Perhaps you were waiting for God to answer a prayer you had for a loved one who was sick? Waiting for the doctor’s report. Waiting for word on a loved one in the military. Waiting for word from the bank about a loan, or if you were going to keep you house. Waiting for your employer to decide who keeps their job and who becomes unemployed. Waiting for the judge to decide the sentence.

Waiting. It can be agonizing. Waiting can become so much a part of you that controls your thoughts, your sleep, your eating habits, your moods. Waiting can affect your relationships, your outlook on life, and your opinion of God, yourself or others.

I remember when I was going through a terribly stressful time in my life. Everything I had counted on was gone. I was at the mercy of a legal system I didn’t trust. I had no money, no job and, perhaps, no future.

Sleep was fitful at best. I’d go to bed very, very late (or should I say early in the morning) and wake up from a fitful sleep just a few hours later. The lack of sleep caused fatigue which made the problems seem worse. My physical, emotional and spiritual health was failing.

The one thing I looked forward to every morning was seeing the sunrise. Light seemed to ease the fear and the pain. Being able to see what was around me gave me comfort in the midst of hopelessness. I hated the darkness of night.

I would imagine that is the word picture the Psalmist wants us to have in Psalm 130 when he likens waiting to the work of the night watchman. When the Bible repeats a phrase or a word it does so for effect, to show importance. Darkness was scary. Darkness was dangerous.

Today we have security lights and motion detectors. In his day there were torches and, sometimes moonlight. Daylight brought the assurance that you made it through the night without enemy attack. In the daylight you could see the enemy approach and arm yourselves. In the dark you were really at your enemy’s mercy.

That’s often how we feel when we are waiting expectantly, hopefully, earnestly for God to make something happen in our lives. The foundation on which we wait has to be trust. Trust in God’s character. Trust in His word. Trust in His promises. We do what we can to resolve some problems, but there are some where we just trust God for His word.

Your Heavenly Father loves you. He’s promised to take care of you. Everything He brings your way, the good and the bad, is given you in order to draw you closer to Him and trust His promises. Hard as it is to wait, waiting is easier when we really learn to rely on God to see us through the darkness and into the dawn.

PRAYER: Father God. I confess that I’m a lousy wait-er. I want answers and I want them now. I get impatient and don’t understand why you won’t answer me. Right now I’m in a very dark place in my life. I have issues with my relationships, my finances, my health, my faith. I need to see some light. Empower me by your Spirit to endure the darkness and draw close to you. Keep me safe until the dawn. In Jesus name, Amen.

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    From our series, “Famous Last Words“ Our hope comes from seeing our need and seeing Jesus for who he is.
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  • RESET your life when you’ve been forgiven
    From our series “RESET Your Life. God knows we can never love him the way he loves us but calls us to follow him in spite of our weakness.

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