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Won’t God protect his chosen ones who pray to him day and night? Won’t he be concerned for them? Luke 18:7 (CEV)

Someday, when this life on earth is over, I’ll cross over into the presence of my Lord Jesus. I don’t really know what awaits me or how it all works. I only know who will be there and that is enough for me.

When I get there, my plan is to spend the first 1-2 million years worshiping him at his feet. Gazing into those eyes of love I’ve waited to see for so long. Examining the scars on his hands and feet and the scar on his side, the very markings that made it possible for me to even enter his presence, much less spend eternity with him.

After those 1-2 million years are over, I’d like to ask him a few questions, respectfully of course and in extreme love. I want to ask Jesus why so many of us have prayed for healing only to see that healing come in the way of the grave, while other people pray for healing and see miraculous, unexplainable healing.

I want to ask him why some kids from very good families make choices that harm their family and themselves, while at the same time kids from very dysfunctional families make good choices that glorify God.

I want to ask him why so many women and children are abused when they are surrounded by loving, praying, caring friends. And why natural disasters and political upheavals and financial greed were allowed to run so rampantly when so many people prayed against it.

There are so many other questions I want to ask Jesus when I get there. Then again, maybe not. While I consider all the pain of my own life, the stupid choices I’ve made, the rebellious, selfish, harmful decisions that affected my life, I realize that in so many ways my prayers have been answered.

I don’t understand why things happen the way they do. I wish he would answer my prayers in my time and in my way. But his timing is always best. We see tragedies in life in need of ‘fixing’ for life to be complete. He sees opportunities in life to draw us closer to him. When the bad stuff happens we can choose to be angry (and miserable) or trusting (and at peace). His goal is for a life of peace in the midst of the struggles. His desire is for us to experience the forgiveness and freedom of grace.

Christian Author, Max Lucado says, in his book ‘A Gentle Thunder’, “Though you hear nothing he is speaking. Though you see nothing he is acting. With God there are no accidents. Every incident is intended to bring us closer to him.”

I may not understand why bad things happen in this world, but my trust is in the one who loves me and promises to meet my needs.

PRAYER: Father God, there are some many times that I am confused by what happens in life around me. Prayers seem to go unanswered. Relationships fail. Bills increase while income decreases. In the midst of all this, I trust your promises. Empower me to trust you for all my needs. Thank you for Jesus. I can’t wait to see him face to face. Amen.


Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:13-14

Each of us has dreams growing up. We dream of being famous. We dream of having fancy clothes, big homes and vacation homes and being able to travel. Then life hits us and for the vast majority of us we look back and see that little, if anything, went as planned.

Gravity attacks our body with vengeance. Old age reminds us of our mortality. We fall victim to health issues, financial issues or relational issues. We suffer from own poor choices or the abuse of others. Our children struggle. A car accident, a fall, an illness can change things in an instant and all the dreaming and planning is for nothing.

The only thing we can be certain of in life is uncertainty. Even King Solomon, with all his wealth and power, bemoaned the fact that the things in life are empty. Still we plan all these things about tomorrow without really knowing where our next breath will come from. No matter how wise we are and no matter how much we plan for the future, reality is we just can’t see tomorrow.

That’s the bad news. Now for the good news. We have a Heavenly Father who not only sees tomorrow. He created it. Tomorrow may not hold what you’d hoped for or expected, but it is EXACTLY what He expected. There are no surprises with God.

Not only has He been to tomorrow and back, He wants you to succeed. While the consequences of poor choices may have sent you on a detour, He can always bring you back to the main road. Happiness and contentment in life isn’t from the things we hold in our hands, but from the things we hold in our heart.

James doesn’t tell us not to plan. Planning is vitally important. The old adage “If you fail to plan you plan to fail’ isn’t in the Bible but its very true. What James is telling us as Christ-followers is that we need always to include God in those plans and leave room for his working. Our lives are like vapors, like the early morning fog. Here now, gone later. All the material things we’ve done will soon pass. But the lives we change will continue on.

The key to success in live isn’t planning and education or relying on the advice of other people. Success comes by seeking God’s direction for you. Education and the wisdom of those who’ve gone before you is important, but only when combined with seeking God for direction.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father. I look behind me and see so many mistakes I’ve made, and I suffer the  consequences of. I fear what lies ahead of me with health, finances and relationships. I thank you that while my life here is short, my life with you will last for eternity. Help me to learn to include you in all my dreams so that I can store my riches with you for eternity. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.


Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15

What does the peace of Christ look like in your life? The Apostle Paul tells us, in his letter to the church in Colossae that we are to let that peace be the governing rule in all we say and do. Peace is to be the one defining characteristic of the body of Christ.

It’s important to remember that the body of Christ (what we refer to as the church) is not a building. The body of Christ is not a set of rules and doctrines designed to brainwash us into being clones of one another. The body of Christ is simply NOT church as we think of it today. The body of Christ is like any other body. It’s a living organism made up of many parts that look different, act differently, and perform different yet work in complete harmony with one another for the good of each other.

A body that is not at peace is a sick body. It is unable to function properly and fulfill its duties to one another. If you have ever hit your thumb with a hammer or stubbed your toe in the dark you know how great a body is affected when one part is not at peace. The same is true in the body of Christ. When we set up rules and regulations that exclude people or take us on a path away from the word of God we weaken the entire body.

Wherever Jesus went on earth, he brought peace. He did not bring peace in the way the religious community wanted peace. He did not bring peace politically. Jesus brought a peace that can not be acquired through religious dogma or sacrifice. He brought a peace that can not be dictated and controlled by government action. Jesus brought peace to the soul. He brought peace to the soul of the woman caught in adultery; to the parents of the demon-possessed boy; to the parents of the little dead girl.

The peace of Christ will dwell in us only when we come to a realization of who we are and grow in relationship with Him. His peace comes when we confess our anger, our guilt, our shame or bitterness. His peace comes when we admit to Him our doubt, our judgmental spirit, our pride. His peace comes when we leave the emptiness of religion and enter the freedom of relationship.

The defining characteristic of a body in which the peace of Christ rules is being thankful. A heart at peace with Christ is a heart that in the midst of any tragedy can be thankful. Not thankful for the pain or the loss, but thankful that Jesus loves and forgives us and promises to walk with us along the path of life.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, Son of God, Savior and Lord of the world. I confess to you that there are many times I exchange your peace in my life with rules and regulations that keep me from experiencing all the joy I can have in relationship with you. I get angry. I let my past or the brutal, stupid attacks of others get in my way. I retaliate rather than let you protect me. I judge other people. Empower me with your Holy Spirit to live in peace because of the relationship I have with you. In Your holy name I pray, Amen.


But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. Job 23:10

“I believe in the sun even when it is not shining, I believe in love even when I am alone and I believe in God even when He is silent” Inscription found scratched into a wall in Germany by someone hiding from the Nazi concentration camps.

It’s easy to have faith in God when you have a surplus in your checkbook. Having faith is easy when your spouse is sensitive to all your needs; your kids are well respected, academically achieving, mature young men and women; the doctor’s report comes back favorably and the weather forecast is perfect for that outdoor picnic.

If we are really honest with ourselves, all too often the level of our faith is directly proportional to the comfort level of our lives. When things go well, God is good. When things go bad then something or someone must be wrong. We can easily start blaming others, ourselves, or even God for all the bad that happens. Sometimes we even stop believing that God exists or, if he does, is unconcerned or unable to deal with our situation.

None of us have endured the pain and agony that Job experienced. Children in his day were a sign of wealth and godliness and all ten of his kids were killed in a horrible storm. He was the richest and most generous man in the region, yet had all his wealth taken from him. His body was full of painful, itching, oozing boils for which the only medicine was to sit in a pile of ashes and scrap himself with a piece of broken pottery. His community couldn’t bear to look at him so he was ignored, his friends became his relentless critics, imploring him to turn from sin and his wife, the last person he had on earth, turned her back on him. Job was a completely broken, lonely, pain-racked man.

In the midst all this pain Job testifies to his faith in God. It’s as though he says, in a voice that almost sounds like he’s trying to convince himself, “I know that He’s there. I can’t see Him. But I know He sees me. I can’t understand what I’ve done to end up this way. I followed and obeyed Him. I’ve been a good husband and father. I’ve been generous to the poor. It doesn’t matter what people think of me. This one thing I know. When all this pain is over. When the time of His testing is done. I’ll come out of this shining like gold.

The picture of gold is a picture of refining; a picture of removing all the impurities, all the faults, all the issues that may have been in Job’s character by the cleansing heat of fire. Fire is painful and ruthless in it’s purifying of gold just as trials are ruthless in purifying our character. Enduring faith is seen in the hard times of life, when everything seems to be going downhill.

Wherever you are in life, ask God to help you grow to have enduring faith. Perhaps you’ve looked back on your life and seen many times when your decisions and lifestyle have brought on the consequences you now face. Nothing you have done or anyone else has done can keep you from enjoying the peace and comfort only God can give through His Son Jesus.

Praise Him today for the fact that someday your earthly trials will be over. Someday He will show Himself to you in ways you never thought possible. You may not be able to see Him. His ways may seem to far off for you and your pain may be too great right now. But He does love you and knows where you are and wants to walk with you through the adversity that lay ahead.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father. Although I’m not in nearly as bad of shape as Job, my pain is still very real. I’ve tried to find you, but I can’t. I’ve tried to fill this void in my life with all sorts of things, even things like religion, but that hasn’t worked. I thank you that you see me where I am and love me the way I am. Help me to have enduring faith as I walk this journey called life. Show me Jesus so I can follow Him. Thank you for forgiving me, in Jesus name, Amen.

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