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“I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? Jeremiah 32:27

The prophet Jeremiah was confused. The walls of Jerusalem were surrounded by an enemy much larger and more powerful than the army of the people of God. Defeat was imminent. There was no hope. Yet in the midst of this struggle Jeremiah is told to go buy a particular piece of land. He questions God about this, “Why buy land if we’re going to be killed or, at best, led into captivity?”

To paraphrase, God tells the prophet: “I’m God. I’m God of everything. I’m God of the enemy, I’m God of you. I’m God of those who doubt my existence; I’m God of those who refuse to obey me. I’m in control of every living thing and all of nature. I’m in control of any aspect of life. Of those who acknowledge me and those who don’t.

Times really haven’t changed much since the days of Jeremiah. People still doubt God’s existence. People still question why he acts the way he does. People still determine for themselves how God will respond to their situation. It’s especially hard at times to trust a God who, from our perspective, allows natural disasters to wipe out towns and entire families. It’s easy to question God when divorce devastates ‘good families’ and leaves children emotionally scarred in its wake or when trusted public figures deceive us.

Our Heavenly Father is passionately in love with us. He could make us comfortable, but he chooses to make us strong.  As a loving parent he realizes that the best way to make us strong is to bring things into our lives that may hurt or make us struggle, but will, in the end make us able to withstand greater adversity.

Regardless of what you are going through, remember that ultimately God is in control. It may seem the enemy is closing in. It may seem, from our perspective that we are in a hopeless situation. If so, we are right where God wants us, for when we come to the point where we realize we can’t, God shows us he can!

If you water a young tree every day its roots will never grow deep. The tree that endures the drought and the storm and the dead cold of winter is the tree that has placed roots deep in the soil for nurture, strength and endurance.

The Christ-follower who endures the attacks of the enemy and learns to withstand the unfair assault of our evil generation will be able to stand because their roots of faith have grown deep in the knowledge that no matter what happens, their God is in control.

PRAYER: Father God. I thank you for the fact that you are God of all things. Sometimes I feel surrounded by people and circumstances that make me question your actions or your strength. Forgive me for those times of doubt. Empower me to trust you even when I don’t understand you. Help me to be comfortable even in the hard times. In your name, Amen.


I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. Psalm 37:25

Age and experience are life’s best teachers. All the books we read and the classes we take give us great foundational ‘knowledge’ but wisdom comes from experience. David saw his share of heartache and hardship during his life. He experienced the pain of losing family and friends. He lived the shame and embarrassment of being ‘caught in sin’. He had his share of victories and endured his share of defeats.

Yet in all his pain and frustration, during all those times when others failed him, or he failed others and God, David knew that he could trust God. Why worry when you are alone on the hillside, tending sheep and the bear and wolf attack. God is there. Why worry when the enemy giant mocks your God threatens your nation? God will fight for you. Why dwell on past mistakes, regardless of how embarrassing? God forgives and heals.

I wonder if, when David wrote this verse, he had a bit of an epiphany, a revelation from God. I can see him now, sitting up on his palace roof looking out over the city. He sees the homes of the wealthy. He sees the homes of the destitute. Over there is beggars lane where the blind and the crippled wait for alms.

Then, it hits him. He looks towards heaven and in an attitude of awe and worship he says, “You know Father, now that I think about it, those who follow you are never forgotten. You remember those who struggle with life physically, emotionally and spiritually. You remember those who have found out the secret to successful living. Why worry?

David’s revelation is one we can all ponder as we travel this journey of life. I like to think of Psalm 37 as the ‘Don’t worry, be happy’ Psalm. As we go through life it can be frustrating when we see people who reject God and seem to prosper while those of us who try to follow him struggle with health, relationships, finances and doubt.

David’s message is the same to us today. God loves you. He has given everything of value to you. He didn’t ask you to clean up your act. He doesn’t require a down payment before he’ll forgive you. He knows the mistakes you made in secret. He knows the doubt and rebellion you will have in the future. Still, His promise of love and forgiveness is true.

We may not have all the things we want in life. But if we commit to growing in relationship to him, He will provide for us. Don’t worry about tomorrow. The one who made tomorrow loves you dearly and has everything taken care of. Ours is not to worry, ours is to trust His promise to provide in His way, not ours.

PRAYER:  Father God, I thank you for your promise to provide for me. I confess to you that I struggle with worry and doubt. I make life harder for me with some of the decisions I’ve made and that keeps me from resting in you. Forgive me for the poor choices I make. Empower me with your Spirit to trust you completely. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.


Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

At every funeral there are two, maybe three groups of people. The similarity of all these groups is sadness, with the most tears usually reserved for those who are closest to the one in the casket. Generally speaking you won’t notice a difference in any of the people on the outside. It’s what is on the inside that counts.

The defining characteristic of each person in the group, as well as the person in the casket isn’t about the things we can see with our senses. The defining characteristic for all of them is what is in the heart.

For those who are Christ-followers, those who have made a personal commitment to follow Him, those who have asked Him to forgive them of their sins, the grief is immense. But if the person who belonged to the body inside the casket is a Christ-follower as well, then they know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, as sure as they see the trees in the cemetery, that one day they will be reunited.

There’s a second group of people. Death scares them. Might also say it scares the hell out of them, but it doesn’t. Death, according to the human mind-set is the end. They see no hope beyond the grave, no healing beyond the casket, no life outside this world.

In order to appease their fear they’ve made up all sorts of stories to soothe themselves. Stories like, ‘there’s no hell, a loving God would never send someone to hell’; or ’There is no god. What we see is what we get. Death is the end all of end alls. (no wonder these people feel hopeless); or there is the ‘There are other ways to heaven besides Jesus. I know some good people who are (name your own religion). All sorts of stories. All sorts of excuses and explanations. Yet nothing that fills the void.

The third group of people is much like the second, yet they may struggle with the biggest problem of all, the problem of doubt. Some of these people have gone to church all their lives. They’ve been baptized and confirmed and gone to Bible College. They teach Sunday school and give generously to charities. Some are pastors or church leaders doing marvelous things to help others. Yet deep inside there’s the constant, nagging question of ‘what if?’

Funerals aren’t about the dead. They are a reality check for the living. They are more intense because in them we see the pain we ourselves suffer. The feelings are more intense at a funeral, but on a much lesser scale we feel the same pain when a relationship fails, we see ourselves getting older and our dreams for life growing fainter, we see friends leave us and the things we once held dear fade away with changing society.

Jesus didn’t come to give us comfort and protection from earthly pain; He came to give us peace in the midst of it. The peace the world gives will one day pass away. What lives on will be our faith in Christ, our hope in eternity with Him and those we love, and love. The love of God that nothing can separate us from. Nothing.

If you were sitting at the funeral of a dearly loved Christ-follower today, which group would you be in? Would you weep and cry because you miss this dear friend, but know you will be reunited someday? Would you wonder (or hope) that someday you will see them again? Will you suffer the anguish of your soul because you have no hope?

It’s easy to be in group one. Jesus longs to forgive you of your past and side by side with you along this journey we call life. He’s waiting for you now.

PRAYER: Dear God. I’ve heard about You. I confess I don’t know if I believe in You or not. But death scares me. Not knowing what lies beyond the grave haunts me, but my past haunts me more. I have nothing to offer you. I have no excuse. I only ask that you forgive me of my sin in the name of Jesus. Fill my life with the peace that you promised me so that whether I live or die I know my place is with you for eternity. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

(In honor of my Uncle Al (1928-2010) a man of faith, integrity, love for his family, generosity and a love for his Savior. Someday I will see you again.)


“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.

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