God’s Timing, Not Ours

Today’s Reading Isaiah 64-66; 2 Corinthians 2

God’s plans do not typically line up with our plans. The timing of God’s influence or intervention does not always align with our needs, wants, or desires.

Isaiah in verse 64 asks God 1 Oh that you would rend the heavens! That you would come down! That the mountain might shake at your presence – 2 As fire burns brushwood, As fire causes water to boil – To make Your name known to Your adversaries, That the nations may tremble at Your presence!

We see sin, sadness, tragedy, and calamities in our world.  Watching the news each day reminds us of that our world is broken.

For many, witnessing sin and evil causes them to question whether there is a God.   If there is a God, why would He let bad things happen to us?  How can God be a loving God to let so many awful things happen? Why do tragic accidents happen?  Why do children get sick, and sometimes die?  Why are innocent people hurt and even murdered?

We must go back to the beginning of the Bible to understand the very basic but profound way God created us and the earth. In Genesis 1:26-28, God delegated the power and authority to govern over all things to man. Fast forward to Genesis 3, we learned of Adam and Eve’s sin against God and they “suddenly felt shame.”  In that moment in time, humankind rebelled against God’s wishes for us.  God created us to be sinless and perfect, but Adam and Eve changed that with the decision to eat the forbidden fruit.

In that moment of the first sin, God established a relationship with man that was sovereign, meaning He will allow us to make our own choices and not force His will on us.  God is not a micromanager.

So perhaps we want God to intervene.  Perhaps we pray to God to make a wish happen.  Heal a sick relative. Solve a difficult problem in a relationship.  Or fix something that seems irrevocably broken.  Please God, bring about retribution and pain to the people that have done wrong to me!

As much as we want to understand how God thinks and works, He has been consistent and true since creation.  He has allowed us to make our own choices and never promised a sinless world.  Man created the sin, not God.

God is there for us. He will answer our prayers, in His time, not ours.   Refer to Psalm 86:7, Isaiah 58:9, or Jeremiah 33:3.  God’s timing, not ours.


Today’s Reading:  2 Chronicles 29-31; 1 Corinthians 8

Have you ever found yourself in a position that you had to make a decision that was not popular?  Have you been in a situation that you had to make a judgment that made others uncomfortable or put you in an adversarial spot?

Our decisions are influenced by those around us. Our friends influence the way we behave.  Our spouse impacts the daily support or lack thereof to our hopes, dreams, morals, and actions.  The people we associate with have a major impact on our life journey.

2 Chronicles outlines several kings of the land of Israel.  Israel endured sixteen years of reign of King Ahaz who strayed away from the Gospel of our God.  Ahaz was punished by God due to his unfaithfulness and his worship of idols.

Following Ahaz, King Hezekiah brought about great change and correction to the Israeli people.  Hezekiah cleansed the temple, rid the people of their idols, and provided support through tithes for the priests.

No doubt Hezekiah had to take risks.  He had to take a stand and go against the people of his day.  He had to challenge their decisions, question their morals, and implore them to make better decisions that demonstrated reverence toward God.  He had to change the Israeli people’s thinking and force them to change their ways. No doubt those around him, who had been living and enjoying a life of immorality, likely criticized Hezekiah for his decisions to move them away from sin.

Do you find yourself in a similar situation? Does a neighbor or co-worker need to make changes in their life that are more Christ-centered?  Is a relative or friend living a sinful life that you feel likely you need to address?

Many who speak out today do so at great risk.  To speak the truth, from the perspective of the Bible and God’s teaching, puts us in contraction to the ways of our present world.  To contradict, condemn, or speak out against what is popular, can ostracize a person, create a hostile situation on social media, and ultimately cost them friendships, relationships, their job or their even their life.

1 Corinthians 15:58: Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm.  Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord because you know that your labor in the Lord in not in vain.

Joshua 1:6: Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors and give them.

Psalm 31:24: Be strong and take heart, all who hope in the Lord.

My prayer is that during times of difficulty, when you need to stand strong for the Gospel, you have the courage to do so.  Do not compromise your support of our Lord, forsake His teachings, and defy His Word because it is not popular today.

Standing firm in the Gospel is not hateful.  Living our lives by the teachings of the Bible should not be seen as judgmental of others.  We should be exalted to live a Christ-like life, encouraging and imploring others, to get their decisions and life in line with the Word of God.


Today’s Reading Isaiah 7-10; Psalm 22; Matthew 26

Betrayal: the act of betraying someone or something or the fact of being betrayedviolation of a person’s trust or confidence, of a moral standard, etc. as defined by Webster’s Dictionary.

Synonyms for betrayal are treachery, deceit, faithlessness, lying, trickery, treason, disloyalty, sell out, to name a few.

Matthew 26 is packed with riveting scripture that follows the last few days of Jesus’ life on earth. Betrayal is the word that jumps out at me while reading today’s text.

The Sanhedrin, the Jewish religious leaders, betrayed Jesus.  They believed His teachings were blasphemous and sought His death.  Even though Jesus was a Jew, they betrayed Him.

Judas was one of the disciples that traveled with Jesus during His ministry and is a known villain of the disciples who made the deal to bring the authorities to capture Jesus.  Judas betrayed Jesus.

One of Jesus’ most beloved disciples was Peter.  In chapter 26, verses 31-46, Jesus told Peter that he would “deny Him three times before the rooster crows.”  One of Jesus’ most trusted earthly confidants and friends betrayed Him, three times as outlined in verses 69-75.  Peter betrayed Jesus.

Maybe as you read this today, you are carrying the heavy burden that someone betrayed you.  Perhaps you have been lied to, hurt, or disparaged by someone.  Maybe it was a co-worker, maybe it was a neighbor, maybe a close friend, or worse yet, maybe it was someone in your family.

Jesus was betrayed by a “co-worker,” his neighbors, and his closest friends.  Yet, He still forgave them.

What I am learning is that carrying the anger, angst, and burden of someone else’s betrayal only continues to negatively impact us and those around us.  Yes, it is awful.  Yes, it is not fair.  Yes, it is life changing. Yet, it does not have to continue to “follow us around” and ruin the rest of our life, as well as negatively impact those around us. As I like to point out in my posts, I am far from perfect and work on applying the very things I write.

Forgiveness is about following the ultimate example that Jesus showed us by dying on the cross.  Jesus experienced all the hurt, sadness, devastation, and BETRAYAL that we have experienced, and His message to us is to forgive. I believe this is how we can relate our lives to Jesus’ life.

What is the meaning of life?

Today’s Reading – Hosea 1-3; Matthew 16

Nearly every man and woman that has ever walked this earth, at some point, asks themselves the question, “What is the meaning of life?”

How do I find happiness?  How do I find contentment?  How do I feel good about who I am?  Why am I unhappy and how do I fix it?

People read books, hire life coaches, seek psychiatric help (sometimes this is very necessary if clinical psychological needs), attend conferences, go on pilgrimage trips all over the world, and the list goes on.

“I have money, boats, vacation houses, exotic cars, private jets, and I am still not happy.”

“I achieved the highest levels of accolades in my profession and worked my entire life for it, and I am still not fulfilled.”

“I can go anywhere, live anywhere, live any type of life I want, and I am still lost.  I am not happy.”

I believe the lack of happiness in our society today is based on humans seeking satisfaction from this life, rather than focusing on the satisfaction that can come from knowing where they are going in their next life. God never promised in any scripture, from any prophet, or in any form that our lives on earth would be fulfilling.

What scripture tells us over and over is that we should seek to glorify the name of God and follow the teachings of our Savior Jesus Christ.  We should knowingly learn, pronounce publicly, that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. Knowing Him, understanding His guidance and lessons, enables us to try to understand the challenges and tribulations of life on earth that will ABSOLUTELY occur.  We come to know that satisfaction and fulfillment will never happen in this life, at least to the level we expect and want, because God wants us to seek fulfillment through Him and rely on the promise of spending eternity with Him. If we love it so much on earth, why would we be motivated to follow Him and go to Heaven?

Matthew 16:25-26

25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

None of this is easy.  Please know this is my aspiration as well.  It is a daily challenge for me, to not focus too much on achievement and obtaining “things” on earth and take my focus off my faith in Christ.  My prayer is that by reading this, it will raise questions in your mind about how you might examine your life and explore how you can gain fulfillment through Jesus Christ. What I have learned is that faith and belief in Jesus is the only thing that will truly bring us happiness.

Great Guidance from Jesus

Today’s Reading:  2 Kings 7-8, 2 Chronicles 21, Matthew 6

Matthew 6 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible, most certainly for me because it contains practical application and guidance directly from Jesus.

Do Good to Please God

Do not do good for others to get the credit.  Do good things when no one else is watching, because it pleases our Father in Heaven, not for the approval of men.

The Model Prayer

Jesus tells us not be like the hypocrites and pray publicly to get credit or seek attention through our prayer. Do not pray “recitations” or in a manner open for attention. Jesus’ counsel outlines the Lord’s prayer on Matthew 6 and Luke 11.

Lay up Treasures in Heaven

Do not seek material things.  These “treasures on earth, where the moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.”  Our hearts should be pursuing the Gospel of Jesus and not seeking satisfaction and fulfillment from things on earth.

The Lamp of the Body

Our eyes are the “lamp of the body.” If we are watching, pursuing, or doing bad things, it is led by our eyes, and our whole body will follow.  Protect what we see so we do not pollute our whole body.

You Cannot Serve God and Riches

We cannot serve God and material things.  Seeking material wealth and riches can cloud our need and focus on Christ and create a sense of entitlement and pride.  Pride is the worst of all emotions as we ultimately convince ourselves that our ways are superior to the Lord’s.

Do Not Worry

Christ tells us not worry about what we will eat, drink or wear for clothing.  Christ tells us to seek the kingdom of God first and we will receive the blessings for the things we need to survive.

I something hear people speak of how they struggle to find application in today’s world from the Bible.  “That book was written over 2000 years ago, talks about nothing that is like I deal with, how can the Bible teach me anything about today?”  Nothing under the sun changes.  The stories and examples of sin, deceit, theft, adultery, murder, and the list go on, are chronicled in the Bible.  Human sin nature and the devil’s ability to derail our lives existed in Biblical times as it does today.

Jesus’ ministry was about how he became a human, in flesh, to experience the same temptations and emotions that we do daily.  Jesus’ teachings provide a roadmap to peace, happiness, and contentment.  Yet, there is no guarantee that we will get there, a life living with Christ is the most assured way that the strife we encounter will be met with strength, perseverance, and resolve.

Let us draw strength through the teachings of Jesus and live our lives to please an audience of One, Jesus.

Faith and Marriage

Today’s reading: 1 Kings 12, 2 Chronicles 10-11, Titus 1

Paul, the most prolific author of the New Testament, was a consistent purveyor of the Gospel and truth of Jesus Christ.  Throughout his ministry and evangelism, he was criticized, imprisoned, physically beaten, and nearly lost his life. Paul remained steadfast to his faith, regardless of the challenges, and stayed the course.

I would like to congratulate and thank our parents today on their 52nd wedding anniversary.  I am reminded to maintain a marriage union for that length of time, there must be a commitment to values and principles.  Our parents raised my brother and I in a home where Christian faith was the center of our family.  We were so fortunate that they continued the example of their parents to raise my brother and I in a Christian home.  Here are a few areas that stand out that I value and appreciate our parents for.

    1. Marriage takes commitment – There is nothing easy about marriage. My parents have been committed to each other’s careers, their hobbies, community of friends, and have supported each other over the years.  I know there have been many challenges and struggles throughout this journey, but they have remained steadfast to each other throughout the difficult times.  They did not quit. At the center of our family over all the years was a commitment to our faith.
    2. Commit your life to purpose – Our parents were educated as teachers, committing the early years of their lives to teaching and helping students. They devoted their time to make an impact on students’ lives, which I think impacted my brother and I in our lives. They shared common values and mission in their careers, always focused on helping others. Their lives have modeled purpose which I think can be pointed back to their faith in Jesus Christ.
    3. Love the sinner, hate the sin – Our parents taught us to seek to understand others, and treat everyone with fairness and love. We may not agree with someone’s choices but we were taught to treat everyone with respect and love.  They have treated each other with respect and love. They have espoused and demonstrated Biblical values in the way they live their lives.
    4. Life is difficult, rely on God – There have been challenges throughout their marriage. No matter the struggles that have been thrown at them, they have always relied on their faith in Jesus Christ.  They know no matter the struggle, God has a plan for them.  Taking care of numerous family and people in their community, health struggles, and navigating the impacts on their marriage, they have consistently relied on their faith when life was most difficult.

Our parents’ faith has provided consistency and a solid foundation for our family.  My brother and I have known throughout our lives that we can count on our parents to remain consistent and focused on their faith. That has provided great comfort and direction in a sinful world that constantly attempts to pull us away from God’s purpose.  Our parents may not always agree, but they love each other.  Love does not mean agreeing on everything, but it meant seeking to understand each other and not reacting in anger or contempt with the big issues or even the small ones.  I believe this has carried them through 52 years of marriage.

Paul was the led by conviction in his steadfast faith, which is exalted to Titus in the New Testament.  Remain convicted and faithful during life’s journey.  I am grateful that the union of our parents, July 3, 1971, identifies with many of the same values, commitment, and foundation professed by the Apostle Paul.

Why Turning to God Makes Sense?

The prophet Paul was a bad person.  He was a hateful Jewish follower that persecuted Christians, supported their arrest, enabled their persecution, and ultimately supported their death.  Paul, formerly called Saul, supported the stoning one of the first disciples, Stephen.

Yet Paul came to commit his life to being a Christian prophet and became one of the most prolific authors of the New Testament and led the massive spread of Christianity after the New Covenant.  For newer followers, the New Covenant was God’s promise to save us from our sins through our belief in Jesus after He died on the cross.

Paul suffered great challenges and pain during his life of prophesy of Christ’s doctrine.  In 2 Corinthians 11:24-33, Paul outlines the suffering he endured.  Paul said “From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren.”

The most influential and significant prophet of Christianity was persecuted, tortured, threatened, is thought to have maybe been stoned to death in Acts 14 and revived, and yet he still prophesied his love, devotion, and service to Christ.

Pain and suffering builds perseverance.  Perseverance builds strength and resilience.

Paul said in 1 Timothy 1:12-13, “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly and in unbelief.”

Paul turned to God to save his life, not on this earth but for eternity.  Our lives on earth are not always fun.  Blessings don’t always “flow” and happiness does not always find us.  We are sad. We are uncertain.  We are mad. We are broken.  We are addicted. We are scared.  The plethora of emotions in our daily lives is real.

Here is why I choose to trust God in times of trouble and unhappiness.   Pastor Andy Stanley stated in a sermon that “God allowed the worst possible thing to happen to the best possible person.”   Why should I question God’s judgement about when I am unhappy?  God sent His only Son to experience grave and unimaginable suffering as a demonstration to us that if we believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, we will live in eternity in Heaven.   How can we expect that the God we believe in doesn’t have meaning or purpose for the challenges that happen to us?

Faith grows through challenge.  Faith grows through sacrifice.  We appreciate the good times more when we have experienced the bad. Paul was a testament to that principle, and we can apply those same lessons to our lives.

Pride and Forgiveness

Today’s reading is Proverbs 16-18 and Romans 15.

Understanding others is a difficult thing.  As individuals, we have opinions, preferences, life experiences, and beliefs that dictate how we react to various situations.  Emotions dictate how we process challenging relationships, challenging people and circumstances that may be difficult or maybe even impossible to understand.

In fact, our emotions many times dictate entirely how we react.

Are you hurt?  Are you sad?  Are you angry? Are you disappointed?  Are you tired of (fill in the blank)?

Factoring in emotions, we then layer on the type of person that we are having trouble with.

Are they family?  Are they your spouse?  Are they your co-worker?  Are they your boss?  Are they your neighbor?

Our reaction to be upset or mad may differ depending on our relationship with the individual(s). Friends can sometimes be just like family.  Family can sometimes feel like they don’t know or understand you, or perhaps never tried to.  Bosses put you in a nearly impossible situation as your livelihood may depend on maintaining or preserving your relationship.  And nothing speaks to being more uncomfortable than when you must see your neighbor every day at the mailbox or retrieving their trash cans.  Envy, jealously, resentment, rage, hurt…. all emotions that produce a person’s reaction.

Romans 15:5 says, “Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be likeminded toward one another, according to Jesus Christ.”

The wonderful thing about our faith in Jesus Christ is that through the scriptures and His example, we can model our lives after Jesus, who was the only perfect person to live on earth.  We can know that Jesus walked this earth and experienced emotions like pain, suffering, sadness, temptation, disappointment, and yes, even anger.  Through all this, Jesus still loved everyone that He encountered, and He witnessed to the worst of the thieves, tax collectors, and prostitutes to save them from a life of sin and sadness.

Proverbs 16:18-19 says, 18 “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. 19 Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.”

So back to understanding others.  The truth is we may never know why a friend or family member is so unhappy.  We all react or respond differently to pain and adversity. Sometimes with anger and rage, sometimes with humility and reverence. What can we control?  What can we not control?

Let us react to others with humility and a kind heart. Set pride aside. Let us address the sin and haste of others with empathy rather than rage and be patient rather than vengeful.  Let us love one another unconditionally, admonishing the sin and not the sinner. Let us lead with humility and forgiveness and be cautious of pride.

“Pride is the mother hen under which all other sins are hatched,” – CS Lewis.

The grace and peace of our Lord knows no boundaries.  The worst of relationships and bad situations have proven to be overcome through faith in Jesus Christ.  The unimaginable is achieved. Let us lean on our faith and purpose to forgive others and help them through their pain, not letting it impact us as well. The true peace and mercy that comes over us in transgressions of others can only be granted and given by God.


Today’s Reading: 1 Chronicles 25-28, Psalm 78, Romans 5

Hope, defined by Oxford’s dictionary, is “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen, a feeling of trust.”

Romans 5:3 says “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance, character, and character, hope.”

Hope is a powerful four-letter word.  Hope provides us the anticipation of something positive. Hope gives us the strength to carry on expecting our situation will get better.  Hope gives us the drive and wherewithal to “stay the course” when impossible situations occur. Hope is easier to maintain when you feel loved, supported, and know there is a purpose for you, your life, and your strife.

Fear, defined by Oxford’s dictionary, is “an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.”

Fear is a powerful four-letter word. Fear can cause impatience.  Fear can drive people to make irrational decisions.  Fear can create ideas, questions, or concerns about things that may not occur.  Fear can paralyze and prevent action by anticipating what might occur.

When we turn on the news each day, there are so many reasons to be afraid and full of fear.  The pandemic, the Russians and the war in Ukraine, the Republicans, the Democrats, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, China, inflation, automated intelligence (AI), hurricanes, global warming, and the list goes on.

As Christians, we expect tribulations.  As we read scripture and study God’s Word, we have a foundation to know that life on earth is going to be difficult.  We make our decisions regarding gender, sexuality, morality, and the like based on the Gospel.  Fear should not drive us to sadness or worry. God’s got this.

Romans 5:5 says, “Now hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

Hope should exalt us to live with resolve and confidence that our God is at work.  Hope sees us through the “chaos” of a sinful world, woke culture, and the ideology that we are a bad person for our beliefs.

May God give us peace, understanding, and hope.  My favorite Bible verses are Philippians 4:6-7 which says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Faith Under Duress

Today’s Readings 2 Samuel 6, 1 Chronicles 13, Psalm 60, Acts 23

It’s God’s plan.  God has a purpose for everything.  God’s timing is not our timing.  Just wait, God will show you the way. We do not understand now but God will reveal to us the purpose of His plan when we get to Heaven.

Have you ever been in a tough season of your life, and someone told you these things?

Today’s reading is Acts 23.  During the previous chapters, Paul was on his journey to evangelize Christianity and spread the Gospel to the Gentiles.  In chapter 21, Paul was urged by the disciplines not to travel to Jerusalem.  Paul was convicted and knew he needed to go there.  Paul was arrested in Jerusalem for taking Greeks into to the temple and was attacked by a Jewish mob.  Chapter 23 brings us to Paul’s trial before the Sanhedrin, where he professed his belief in the Risen Christ, and he is not backing down.

In the book of Mark, Mark provided direct insight from Jesus about the persecution and future struggles of those who would spread Christianity.

In Mark 13-9-11, Jesus said the following:

9 “But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to the councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues.  You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for the testimony to them. 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. 11 But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.”

If you have been through trying times like I have, “God’s timing” doesn’t feel so timely.  The wait, the uncertainty, and the challenges can be daunting.  Perhaps you are going through an illness, marital challenges, family strife, or a job loss.  I think we all can relate to heartache and uncertainty which can push our faith to the ultimate levels of questioning the reason for these trials.  Is God punishing me?  If there is a God, why does he allow me to go through pain and unhappiness?

While Paul was in jail, he learned through his nephew that the Sanhedrin put together a plot to kill him.  Here is Paul, traveling from city to city, spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ and fighting for his life.  He sits in jail, trying to navigate getting a message to the commander regarding this plot, hoping to find a way to escape.  Would he be killed?  Would he be saved?  Would he suffer and be beaten?  Even one of God’s most devoted and notable disciples suffered uncertainty and pain not knowing “God’s plan.”

May we turn to the Gospels to read and learn of devoted servants who endured great pain. Job, Moses, David, and Peter all suffered great pain, uncertainty, and challenges for their faith.  May we gain strength and resolve and lean on each other during tough times.