Do You Seek It?

Today’s reading is Proverbs 1.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and knowledge.

Proverbs 1:7

Just last week our 10-year old asked us what fearing the Lord meant. I know at least for me it is not easy to explain. However, if you look up the definition of the word ‘fear,’ Merriam-Webster gives one definition as, “profound reverence and awe especially toward God.” Thank you, Meriam-Webster…that helps. When I think of standing in awe of something, I think of the time our family visited the Grand Canyon as a child. None of us had ever been there before. When we got out of the car and walked up near the edge, I don’t think anyone said a word for a while. If there were flies around, one of us probably could have caught one in our mouths because our jaws may have been dropped, too! While the Grand Canyon is not a person, I would say we had respect for it pretty quickly…I know I wasn’t getting too close to the edge! Now, if we were in that much awe of the Grand Canyon, imagine what it will be like when we see the God who made it…

If we respect God immensely and we are in awe of his power and creation, we likely will not only want to please Him and follow His instruction, but we should also want to seek His wisdom. Sometimes we may move away from things we are in awe of like me from the edge of the Grand Canyon. However, how cool is that despite God wanting us to have reverence for Him, He wants us to actually get closer to Him? James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. ” Proverbs 1 is pretty poignant that if we don’t seek wisdom from Him we will experience bad things using words like calamity, anguish, distress, and terror.

So, how do we seek God’s wisdom?

Here a few ways….

  • Attend a church that preaches and teaches from the Bible
  • Read His Word and possibly a daily devotional to help with the interpretation and explanation, as well as perhaps giving thought provoking commentary and reflection
  • Attend a small group/Bible study
  • Pray and also ask for His wisdom

What area is the one area you feel like you could improve on to gain wisdom from God?

For me, I would say it’s prayer. It’s not lack of prayer (although I could and should pray more) as much as it is I need to remember to ask God for wisdom in my prayers. And that’s not just for wisdom in my perceived problem areas I’m praying to God for help, but also just wisdom daily to be a better Christ-follower, better husband, better father, better son, better friend, and wisdom to be a better financial planner (my career)….wisdom in the ‘little decisions’ I will make that day and that I make each and every day. I should also be in conversation (prayer) with Him throughout the day asking for wisdom in these things.

I pray that as we stand in awe and reverence in fear of God, we seek His wisdom and reflect on how we can better do so.

 

 

 

All from a Seed…

Today’s reading is Luke 13:18-30.

Siri tells me that a mustard seed is just 1-2 millimeters in diameter which is very small, yet it grows to be on average 20 feet and can be as many as 30 feet tall, as well as can produce a crown nearly as wide. Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to a mustard seed a man sows in his garden.

Christianity all started when one man Jesus, a carpenter from a family who was far from royalty, gave His life for you and me over 2000 years ago. It spread when 12 men who were not educated scholars, famous, or had any worldly power risked their lives to spread the Word that Jesus was Resurrected 3 days after his death. From those 12, with the help of the Holy Spirit, there are now an estimated 2.6 billion Christians in the world. This is the number that are alive today..not to mention all those who have lived and died since who are now in Heaven. Pretty amazing, isn’t it?

The Bible tells us nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37, Matthew 19:26, Luke 18:27, Mark 10:27). This is pretty evident from the paragraph above.

Here are 2 questions for us to ponder…

  1. Who do you need to plant a seed with about Jesus’ saving grace on the cross and Resurrection? Think of how many people have been saved over the last 2000 years. That fact and these verses tell us anyone can be saved. We need to remember that the gardener plants the seed…but does he see it sprout right away? No..it takes time. He must wait and have faith. Plant seeds and the Holy Spirit will water it and give it sunshine to grow.
  2. What mustard seed has God planted in your heart as an idea or a vision you are ignoring which you need to water and help grow? It may seem impossible, but so did a baby from Nazareth born in a manager saving the entire world and 12 “average Joe’s” helping us know 2000 years later.

As we pursue spreading the Gospel and God’s will for our lives we can be assured we do not go alone. Jesus’ last words in Matthew 28:20 end with, “…and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Let Go. He Has.

Today’s reading is Judges 15:9-20 as we read about Samson for a second day.

Yesterday we read in Judges 13:5 where an angel told Samson’s mother before he was born that God had big plans for Samson, and He would begin to save Israel from the Philistines who were against God and who suppressed them. Reading through today’s verses tell us he did just that. Although they took him as a prisoner, we can read in chapter 16 he killed many of them taking down the pillars of the building he was in with them.

In reading about Samson in the book of Judges we can tell God did with Samson just what he said he would and fulfilled His purpose through him. We can also learn Samson did not always do what was pleasing to God. He did not follow many of the rules he was supposed to as a Nazarite. He also fell in love with Philistine women who were against God including Delilah. Some would also say that while God did say he would fight against the Philistines he was also over-zealous and too bent on revenge and violence.

If we think about what the angel told Samson’s parents about the plans God had for Samson, we might realize that he did not say Samson would live a perfect life without sin, or God would only do big things with Samson if he didn’t make mistakes or behaved in a certain way. God was going to fulfill His purpose for Samson despite his mistakes and mess ups which He knew Samson would make.

Did you know God said the same thing about you?

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

Psalm 139:13-16

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10

These verses in Psalms tell us not only did He make you fearfully and wonderfully and know you before you were born, but He knew all the days in your life and what would happen and the mistakes you would make. Yet, the verse in Ephesians tells us you are not only His workmanship, but you were created for good works which God prepared before hand for you to walk in. You were created for good works He would do through you despite your sin.

From the time sin came into the world, God knew you would sin and had a plan to defeat it. Genesis 3:15 tells Satan Jesus would come “crush your head” beating sin. Romans 5:8 tells us while we were still sinners Christ showed us His love and died for us.

God has had a plan for you all along to not only save you from your sin, but to use you for His purpose.

He’s forgiven you and will use you for His purpose despite anything in your past.

Since He’s forgiven you, what do you need to forgive yourself?

What do you need to do to remember daily that He will use you for big things despite your sin and past?

In fact, He’s using your past and your story to create your future and bring His greater story of grace and forgiveness to light so that He may be glorified and so that others may know Him and know His love and what’s possible through you and your life.

One Nation Under God – One Family at a Time

Today’s reading is Deuteronomy 11:

Most of us reading this are likely from the United States. Christians in the United States often pray for those in other countries for help with basic needs of food, shelter, clean water, electricity and for peace for those who may be in areas with civil unrest and war. The United States as a nation is very blessed. It is rich with natural resources and has geography as it its friend with protections on both sides of oceans as a physical barrier against many potential enemies. God has clearly blessed the U.S. and its citizens with all we need.

A pastor I know once told a story about picking up a visiting pastor from another country at the airport. It was the first time this visiting pastor had ever been to the US. Already just driving from the airport and not even here for a few hours, the visiting pastor saw all of the surroundings and said he would pray for citizens in the U.S. The pastor from the U.S. thought it was a little strange he would say that so quickly and asked him why. He went on to explain that he thought it was likely harder for us in the U.S. to find God because we did not seem to “need” God to provide like in his home country. People in the U.S. have all of our basic needs yet and then some, as well as have luxuries everywhere.

You don’t have to look too far in the history books of the U.S. to find the founders of this country and those since have gotten a lot wrong. They made a lot of mistakes. Just within the last 160 years our country was fighting for whether Black Americans should be free and just within the last 55 years whether Black Americans should have equal rights. Women were not allowed to vote until 1920. Sad and hard to believe, isn’t it? Although the founders of our country and leaders in even more recent years were flawed in much of their thinking to say the least and did not correctly interpret and live out God’s will from his Word, the one thing they did mostly seem to get right and realize was that they needed God.  They needed God to provide and realized they were sinners. Again, they needed to do a better job of getting truly to the heart of His Word and love and understanding what God thinks is right and wrong, but they did at least realize they needed God.

As I’ve quoted many times in past writings, Romans 8:1 tells us, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Most interpret this to mean that God does not punish us who believe in Jesus for our sins…He already paid that price for us. This does not mean bad things won’t happen to us and He won’t let things occur in our lives to ultimately draw us back closer to Him, but there is no punishment for our sins for those of us who follow Jesus.  Also, when God lets something happen to us we think is bad and which might be a punishment, it is in fact not a punishment and may not actually be bad at all if it draws us and others back to Him. Today’s reading though offers a stark warning in Deuteronomy 11:16-17 to a nation, in this case Israel, who does not follow God and does not think it needs the one true God, Him. I don’t know about you, but this is very concerning to me as I see our nation moving further and further away from believing it needs God. As a nation, we are trying to remove God from everything to please and not offend a few who don’t believe in Him. We are also saying people are ok to do whatever makes them feel good, despite what His Word says.

So..what are we to do as Christians and followers of Jesus? It is amazing how the Word tells us that too, right? We should do exactly what he told the Israelites to do. He says in Deuteronomy 11:18-21 that we are to implant His Word in our heart and put His Word visibly around us in our homes and everywhere and teach the Word to our children. Proverbs 22:6 states, “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” We absolutely cannot rely on our public schools, media, the entertainment industry, and other people in our children’s lives who may have influence to help them understand right from wrong and God’s will. My wife and I talk more and more, almost weekly, that we must step up and take responsibility to teach them as parents and grandparents what God’s Word says. We can do so by taking them to a Bible  following church and reading God’s Word together. Kids will remember more what we did, rather than what we said.  We must model God’s love and will in our words and actions, and they must see us reading the Bible and in fellowship with other believers in church and small group. We must invite our neighbors and friends to church, so that they can know God’s Word and will and inspire them to head down the same path to follow God and lead their own family to Him. This effects future generations and what our country will look like 50, 100, and even 200 years from now.

This is not about politics. This is about transcending politics, serving a higher Kingdom, and loving God the way He’s called and instructed us to do in our own family and community.

Please join me in praying for our country and for us turn to Him one family at a time so that God will continue to bless our great nation like He has to this point and in the same way He promised the Israelites in Deuteronomy 11 if they continued to follow Him and His Word.

Bread Alone?

Today’s reading is Genesis 28:1-22.

This past Friday we were eating spaghetti and our 4-year-old Hudson was complaining he wanted more garlic bread while we continued to tell him he could not have more until he finished his spaghetti he was not eating. As he carried on and continued to beg, in typical ‘bad dad joke’ fashion, I leaned over and said, “Hudson, man cannot live on bread alone.” This is of course in reference to Jesus’ words in Matthew 4:4 and also in the Old Testament Deuteronomy 8:3.

From our reading today we see God come to Jacob in a dream and give him the land He had promised his grandfather Abraham and also confirm that he would have many offspring spread upon the Earth to again fulfill his original promise to Abraham. In addition, God tells Jacob he will be with him wherever he goes (Genesis 28:15). In response, Jacob says he’s on holy ground where the Lord is which he did not know (Genesis 28:16). Finally, he says in Genesis 28:18-22 that since the Lord is with him and had provided food and clothing, he will build a house of the Lord here and give 1/10 of everything back to God.

I find it very interesting that Jacob’s thanksgiving is not really focused on the ground he received or the many offspring, but instead the most basic needs of food and clothing. When I went on a mission trip to New York City a few years ago, many of the homeless people we approached to witness actually witnessed to us by giving thanks and saying God had given them all they really need. I thought they had nothing, but they were satisfied having God. Instead of focusing on what they didn’t have, they were focused on the one thing they really need which they had…Him.

Embarrassingly, many of my thoughts lately have been focused on what more I want, rather than what I already have. It has been said that one cannot feel stress and anxiety at the same time they are in gratitude. I need to be even more thankful for what I already have. And most importantly I must focus on the fact that I cannot survive on “bread alone.” I always have all I really need which is the promise He’ll be with me wherever I go and His life given on the cross to save me.

Team Jesus: No Tryout Needed

Today’s reading is Philippians 3:1-21.

Over the last few years as our kids are getting older, I’ve found that July and August are 2 of my favorite months of the year because we have a break between Summer and Fall activities giving us a lot more family nights at home, as well as weekends. It is also one of my least favorite times of the year because it is when we do tryouts for the baseball and basketball teams I help coach. Trying to be fair to both those kids who played for you last season and to those who only get a few hours to show their skills to determine who should fill an open spot or possibly replace an existing player is really tough to say the least. Many kids and families are going to be disappointed. While facing challenges and disappointments are a part of life that all must learn to deal with at some point it just never feels good when you are partly responsible as a coach helping to make these decisions. It is impossible to make everyone happy. There is so much good that comes out of these teams with new kids and family relationships built, the spiritual development of the kids in our faith-based organization I am a part of, and the improvement on the court and field.  It is so fun to try to help them, make an impact, and see their growth and development. However, we also see a lot of the politics and ugly side come out during tryout time. Parents want to get their child on the best team they feel will win, get their child playing time, and even play a certain position. Is that wrong? Can you blame them with the time and money they are investing in these teams for their child? I know my wife and I want the best fit for our children. Coaches also try to recruit players off of other teams and don’t always handle the situations of how to part ways with a past player for a new player the most gracefully. It’s complicated. It’s tough. No judgement here. We are all human which means we make mistakes and don’t always handle things the best way.

You don’t have to look too far today to see anxiety, depression, and substance abuse are a huge problem today. We are both more connected to everyone on social media and yet more isolated because of it. We see everyone’s highlight-reel 24-7. I don’t know how many championships and MVPs I see posted on Sunday each week and dream vacations and kids’ and professional awards in between (I post them, too). This creates “fear of missing out” or commonly referred to as FOMO. Competition is good in pushing us to get the most out of our God-given talents, but we live in a society where comparison consumes our society. I really like the quote, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Comparison is robbing us of the joy to appreciate the simple moments in life with our own family and our own kids and appreciating their specific God-given talents and abilities.

I love sports and believe they can be used to glorify God. However, what is more important….what our child’s batting average is and how many trophies they win or if they develop into a person who loves Jesus, loves their family, and uses to the maximum whatever gifts God has given them in life now and as an adult (which are likely outside of sports)? We also must realize that what we see on social media is not all that is going on in someone’s life. No one’s life is perfect. They have challenges going on they are not sharing which they are dealing with like sickness, pain, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, relationship, or financial issues. They have problems just like you may be facing . It’s like the family picture who everyone says looks so cute, but you remember the screaming and crying that took place 2 minutes before and after no one knows about. We need to stop thinking someone else’s highlight reel should be our everyday. We forget how blessed we are personally.

In these verses Paul gives us some great takeaways to apply. In Philippians 3:13-14. he tells us to forget what lies behind, the past and to move on to the ultimate goal to the prize of Jesus Christ. We’ve all made mistakes. He’s telling us to forget them. Paul talks about competition a lot and seems to love sports, but he’s telling us to reflect on if earthly trophies which will break and get thrown away are more important or our crown in Heaven from a relationship with Jesus which will last eternity? He tells us in the very first verse of Philippians 3:1 to rejoice in the Lord, not championships.

We all want more. We want our kids to be on the best team and go to the best school. We all want to go on the best vacations, have the best spouse, and have the best job. We all want to belong.  However, Paul tells us in Philippians 3:20..

But our citizenship is in Heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to himself.

There is no FOMO for the most important team we want us and all our children to be on for eternity. No tryout is needed. We don’t have to do any earthly thing to make the team. We are already on it not through our doing, but through His sacrifice and grace given on the cross.  We’ve already made it through faith when we believe and accept Jesus into our heart.

Have you accepted the invite to Team Jesus? Have your children? Are you and your family rejoicing in belonging to the most important team there is? I pray that all the kids and families who did or did not make teams this time of year can find peace and joy in this which is what is most important.

True Light, True Life

What is the darkest physical place you have every been? Two places that come to mind for me are inside of a cave while visiting Ruby Falls when they turned the lights off and the other being on the deck of a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean at night as a child. I can remember thinking while standing on the deck that if I fall off they will never find me! Of course, the ship we were on even had lights. I can remember thinking how dark it must have been for some of the first explorers at sea.

Right now, we have a lot of darkness in this world. Every day it seems there is word of another terrible shooting, leader or celebrity succumbing to the temptation of sin that is in news, or a political/social issue that’s causing division and bickering with the platform of social media making it more evident. The world is often a dark place. There are also many individually that are living in darkness with depression, anxiety, and just an unhappiness they are experiencing to which they possibly can’t even pinpoint the reason.

John 1:1-17 tells us that Jesus is the true source of light and thus life. Specifically, John 1:4-5 says, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Revelation 21:23 tells us in Heaven there is no sun or moon needed because the glory of God brings light.

Why is God light? John 1:14 tells us His glory comes from his grace and truth. This glory provides the light as mentioned above in Revelation 21:23.  In this world, we have much of the opposite. We don’t have much grace. We have much more judgement and gossip about others not noticing our own sin. We also have sin and lies through not following the truth in the Bible and the way He wants us to live so we are a slave to sin bringing more unhappiness (John 8:34).

If you are reading this and struggling with stress, anxiety, depression, or just unhappiness, I would encourage you to think about how you can get more light in your life…more Jesus…through His Word, small group, prayer, and I even might encourage you to watch the series The Chosen. The series is not a substitute for the Bible, but it can inspire us to get in the Word more to help grow our relationship with Jesus through seeing the realness of who He was as both man and Son of God full of grace and truth who brought light and life to everyone. Many struggling with these challenges may need a doctor and/or counselor of which I would encourage a Christian counselor for the help needed to point us in the right direction back to Him.

It is easy for me to become self-absorbed… focused on my own problems, issues, and challenges. But ultimately when I die some day what I truly want is to know that I made an impact on others during my lifetime on this Earth. To try to keep me more focused on this, I recently changed my mission statement to “Impacting others by helping them live life to the fullest.” This was inspired by John 10:10 where Jesus says He came so that we may have life and live it abundantly.  This allows me to ask myself, am I helping those around me live life abundantly and to the fullest? Am I building others up so they can see they are a child of God who He made for a purpose and bigger things than they may see for themselves? Are they seeing the love of Jesus and His grace and truth come from my lips and in my actions? Unfortunately, the answer to these questions are not always yes and are no way too often.

Reading this mission statement and being in His Word helps get me re-focused and re-centered. I’ve heard it said when we interact with another human, we leave them after that conversation feeling a little better or a little worse. There are no net neutral interactions. Your mission statement should not be my mission statement, but I would encourage all of us to reflect on some of these questions and think about how we can bring more light, more life, and more Jesus through grace and truth to every interaction with another to leave them in a more positive place afterwards.

Equally Qualified

Today’s reading is Isaiah 56.

The prophet Isaiah foretells of Jesus’ coming and describes how God’s salvation would be for all people, not just those of Jewish descent. For this most of us reading this should be extremely thankful, as we may not come from a Jewish heritage. In Isaiah 56:8, God says He will “gather the outcasts of Israel.” In Isaiah 56:7, He says He will make His house of prayer one for “all peoples.” Earlier in Isaiah 56:6 and the beginning of Isaiah 56:7 He uses the pronoun “everyone” when describing those who keep His covenant. And even more exciting in a reference to eternal life in Heaven, He says He will bring these people to His “holy mountain.” These days we hear a lot about diversity and inclusion. It should be no surprise that God was ahead of what the rest of the world is just now latching on to. God’s love, grace, and opportunity for eternal life is for everyone. We are all equal and blameless in the eyes of the Lord when confess our sins and admit the only way we will be right with Him is through Jesus’ saving grace on the cross.

My challenge for us Christians today is to reflect on whether or not our thoughts are representing the reality that Jesus came for every human being we see and interact with. We commonly say to our kids, “Dislike the sin, love the sinner.” We can love someone who sins by a certain action we do not agree with, and my sin, albeit maybe different, is equally as bad in God’s eyes and separates me from God eternally without Jesus. This is a true statement and a good one to adhere to in my opinion. But in addition to that, what are my thoughts when I see someone who dresses in a way I would not? What are my thoughts when I see someone who’s hair is done in a way I would never dream of or has a tattoo or a piercing in a place I wouldn’t? Am I immediately judgmental thinking, why would anyone do that to themselves? Or, do I think like I should and see them as a child of God who is equally qualified for the same amount of God’s forgiveness and grace that I have been given through Jesus if they have also given their heart to him? What are my first thoughts?

Let us Christ followers move forward monitoring our thoughts and focusing on seeing each and every individual the way God does, as a child of His who He came to die for and who is loved and forgiven the same  through Jesus’ grace on the cross.

Bold In Our Faith

Today’s reading is Acts 7:44-8:3.

Our children wrapped up the school year at Cornerstone Christian Academy the last week in May. Our oldest Deklin finished 3rd grade and his teacher gave them a sheet to complete with some reflection questions to wrap up the year. One of the questions the kids were asked was who their favorite person in the Bible was. Deklin said Stephen which I found interesting because he is not someone I can recall us talking about at home. Apparently, he is learning something at school even though most days when you ask what he learned today he says he doesn’t know! I’m sure many reading this can relate. He said the reason for choosing Stephen was his bravery to boldly proclaim the Gospel knowing he likely would be killed which he ultimately was.

As the saying goes I guess, “The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.” While I don’t think I would have answered Stephen if asked the same question as Deklin in 3rd grade (not even knowing who Stephen was), at a young age I can remember reflecting on my faith and wondering if I was asked if I believed Jesus was the Son of God who gave His life for me and rose on Easter in facing a life or death situation based on my answer, would I boldly proclaim, “Yes?” The quick answer in my mind was absolutely I would, but deep down I knew it would not be easy. While there is no doubt Christians are persecuted in different ways in the US today and sadly even still killed in other countries, most of us thankfully will never have to face this life and death situation. What Stephen did was incredibly brave. By choice he was out proclaiming the Gospel voluntarily so people would know who Jesus was. And he did so to the same people who killed Jesus after seeing what they did to Him.

This should cause us to reflect on our boldness for the Gospel as well. Most people run for the hills at the mention of doing any sort of street ministry to share the Good News, even though physical danger is unlikely here in the US. While street ministry is great, our boldness for God doesn’t have to be even that extreme. It can come in a one on one conversation with a friend or acquaintance. Or, it can come in the little moments and decisions. When something bad happens to someone, do we give our sympathy and say we are “sorry and will be thinking about them?” Or do we say, “I will pray for you.” Better yet, do we have even more boldness and impact and ask, “Can I pray with you right now?” People have prayed for me right on the spot when going through some health challenges and let me tell you it is powerful. Do we ask if we can pray at a gathering of friends, or how about a work gathering? How about this simple one..it’s easier to pray with our children…but do we ask to  pray with our spouse before going to sleep? Sadly, I’ve chickened out on that one and these others many times.

While I still believe if I faced possible death for professing my faith I would do so, Satan wins when I hold back in some of these “little” moments above and others. Today, I pray that we can learn from Stephen and not only profess our faith in big ways, but win the little battles in other ways to defeat the Devil and impact others for the glory of God and His Kingdom.

Will you join me in being a more bold witness to our faith and relationship with Jesus this week?

God Still Speaks Today

Today’s reading is Ezekiel 2:2-10.

God comes to Ezekiel in visions to deliver a message to the people of Israel who He says have rebelled and transgressed against Him (Ezekiel 2:3). He says they are impudent and stubborn as well in Ezekiel 2:3-4. God is never wrong, but we can clearly see in the Bible why God is correct through the many times Israel sees God’s miracles right in front of them and then they still complain or turn away from God shortly after. This happened time and time again. No matter what God did and provided…it was never enough. They definitely had short-term memory.

It is easy to be quick to judge the Israelites until I realize I’m not really that different from them. I grumble and complain if not out loud, in thought which God knows. I have all I could ever want and more to meet my physical needs, as well as a wonderful wife and 4 wonderful miracles from God in the room with me. Yet..I worry about unnecessary things and want more. I forget how God has provided in the past and will continue to do so in ways I could not ask for imagine (Ephesians 3:20).  I forget that God tells me I will have challenges in the world, but to remember that He’s overcome the world and He works good through all of it (John 16:33, Romans 8:28). He has a plan and my story is a part of His bigger story. I forget that I’m a child of God and only what He says and thinks matters. And He loves me so much He sent His Son to die for me (John 3:16).

Today’s reading reminds me that many times God spoke through prophets and individuals to deliver a message to a group of people or person who needed it. We need to remember that God still does this today. He may speak to us when we need it through a friend, a mentor, a family member, something someone says in a small group setting, or a pastor through a sermon. The question is…am I listening and receiving it? Also..am I around Godly people and in settings where God can speak to me such as a good church and small group? If I am attending church but don’t feel God is speaking to me through it, is it because my heart is hardened and I’m not open to His message or do I need to find a different church that will help me connect with God better and develop a relationship with Jesus?

Some believe the significance of Ezekiel being handed a scroll in Ezekiel 2:9-10 was to signify that God also speaks to us through His written Word and also that the significance of words being on the front and the back of the scroll was to imply nothing can be added to it. It is complete. The question I must ask here is…am I reading God’s Word so that He can speak to me through it? Invariably when I’m in the Word in the morning I hear a message which I needed to that day based on something that’s been going on in my life. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. Hebrews 4:12 says the Word is living and active and is able to judge our thoughts and intentions. Simply put..God knows what we need and speaks to us through it.

Lastly, sometimes God has us as the messenger to speak to someone to impact them. Are you the messenger for someone right or is God tugging on your heart to tell you that you should be? God tells Ezekiel to speak whether they refuse to hear or not in Ezekiel 2:5. We can’t control the outcomes when we speak God’s Word and message into someone’s life. They may not be ready to change their ways today, but your message may still be impacting their thoughts which they aren’t sharing…. or they may come back to it in the future. Keep fighting the good fight which is to share the Gospel.

My prayer today is that we may be open to both receiving and sharing God’s Word and that we read the Bible and surround ourselves with people and a church who will help speak God’s truth in our life in a way that resonates with us and helps us develop a relationship with Jesus.