In Whom Do You Trust?

Today’s reading is Mark 14:32-72. In these verses we read through Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, his betrayal and arrest, and Him before the Council (Jewish religious leaders).

Life is hard. We go through many challenging times and situations here on Earth. I would venture to say some of the most difficult situations are when trust is broken and people let us down..especially those we are close to or look up to. I’ve stated this before, but it can’t be said enough, we are so blessed because we have a God who knows exactly what pain we are going through because He experienced it Himself. We read here about how stressed Jesus was knowing the pain and suffering He was about to go through on our behalf. And in the midst of getting ready to experience a punishment most of us can’t even fathom and will never have to go through, He also experienced the following within just a few hours…

  • His 3 best friends in James, John, and Peter letting him down by falling asleep, not keeping watch, and praying like He asked
  • Judas, one of his 12 disciples and closest friends, betraying Him and handing Him over to the religious leaders for money
  • His friends all leaving Him and fleeing the garden when He was arrested and needed their support most
  • The religious leaders He once likely looked up to as child or in His younger years now saying He was liar, physically striking him, and seeking to put him to death
  • Others bearing false witness against Him and telling untrue things about Him
  • As far as we know His only friend near Him while before the Council (all the others abandoned Him and were in hiding) was Peter who denied him not once, but three times

Let down, betrayed, abandoned, lied about, and alone…Jesus could have stopped it all, but He still went to the cross for each of them and for you and for me.

As tough as it is to realize and face when it occurs… our spouse, our parents, our kids, our pastors, our mentors, our best friend, leaders, and anyone we trust and hold in high regard will eventually let us down in one way, shape, or form breaking that trust. And..we will let them down, too. Despite the fact they may have let us down in a major way, we must try to move past and forgive because that is what Jesus did for you and for me. Romans 5:7-8 says, “For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare to die—but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”

We must realize that Jesus is the only one who will never let us down and never break a promise. Some may say, “What has God ever done for me?”  For those who are reading this who have had a really tough life or are facing a challenging situation right now…I’m sorry. You may feel like God has let you down and that is understandable. When we dig deeper though, how can we be mad at God for promises He never actually made? In fact, Jesus said the exact opposite.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

He doesn’t say we may have trouble in this life…He says we “will” have trouble! That is why He came. That is why He went to the cross. He did that for you and for me to forgive our sins and the sin of the world. And He kept the promise of overcoming sin and death (the world) when He rose from the dead on Easter this Sunday. He did this so we can have eternal life with Him in Heaven where there will be no more pain and crying and where we will experience a joy we can’t even imagine. He is the only one we can put our trust in that will never mess up and break it. He will never let you down. He is the most important relationship in your life. Have you given your heart and trust to Him?

Your Christmas Star

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

Matthew 2:1-2

This Monday night many of us saw the bright star of Saturn and Jupiter aligning for the first time in over 800 years. How cool is it that this star, possibly similar to the star of Bethlehem that shown over Jesus’ birth, would be seen near Christmas in 2020 on what most would consider a year of darkness just like when Jesus was born?! I would assume some reading this may have grown up like me thinking the wise men were there the night of Jesus’ birth. They are in most nativity scenes, right? Today, on Christmas Eve, I can remember sitting through many candlelight church services imagining shortly after midnight about 2,000 years ago Jesus was born and all the angels, shepherds, and wise men were there in the stable under the Christmas star. However, it’s clear from these verses that it was “after” He was born when the wise men arrived, and in coming from the far east of Iraq/Bablyon (without a car or plane in those days), they would not have arrived until days and most think years later. Yet, they remembered and still came to worship Him some time in the future after seeing His star.

It may seem strange reading this on Christmas Eve to be thinking about what we do after Christmas, but that’s where my mind went in reading these verses. We worship and praise him in the days leading up to Christmas and especially today on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day….but do we continue to worship and praise Him the same after? The wise men remembered His star and came sometime later still to worship Him and bring Him gifts. What has occurred in your life that is your Christmas Star that should remind you He’s always with you and to worship Him on all the other days of the year? Perhaps something has happened where you were aware of His presence and hand on your life which is your reminder. However, we can often easily forget in the years, days, and sometimes even hours that follow..and especially during the tough times. However, this Christmas Star in your life should remind you He is with you always.

I also thank God for His Word in the Bible which serves like a Christmas Star to remind us of who He is and His promises made and kept. Since man first sinned, He gave us gave us promises of a Savior (Genesis 3:15), and He has kept that and each and every one of His promises. My prayer for all reading this is that each and every one of us recall our Christmas Star which is our personal reminder of His presence in our life, and we open and read the reminder He gave us in His Word more in 2021 than we did this past year. When we do so we will not only have more peace and comfort through growing closer to Him, but we will continue to give Him all the honor and glory and praise He deserves..just like the wise men did. As notes written from a past sermon or devotional near these verses in my Bible read, “Wise men and women still seek Him today.”

Standing on the Promises

2 Samuel 7 and Psalm 39

With a gapped tooth grin from ear to ear, I handed my mom an egg carton jewelry box on Mother’s Day, over thirty years ago.  It was a soft yellow styrofoam carton, that was covered with paint, paper shapes and flower pipe cleaners.  It was BEAUTIFUL! I had worked so diligently on her special gift, and she proudly displayed it on her dresser and put all of her treasures in it… I was so proud to give her something so beautiful that she could see and use every day.

David, he sure loved His God. In a similar way, we read in 2 Samuel 7, how he wanted to build something special for the Lord to dwell. It sure made sense to me – David’s living in a beautiful cedar home, and he wanted something even better for God. We know God cares about details, order, reverence, and respect, and this seemed right in line.  But God’s ways are always above our ways, and while I believe David’s heart was in the right place, the Lord used it as an opportunity to reveal his future plans and make a covenant with him.  Instead of David building a house for the Lord, the Lord outlines the eternal house (kingdom) that He will build through David and his heirs.

God later refers to this in Psalms 89:3 as:

“I have made a covenant

with my chosen one.”

God promises to raise up David’s offspring, establish their kingdom forever, and they will build a house for the Lord’s name. This promise, the foretelling of Jesus, is an early picture of God’s future plans for the Messiah.

God makes this covenant, with full knowledge of the future. He knows what David’s choices will be in the years to come.  From times of obedience, to times of sin, God’s perfect ability to bring discipline and steadfast love is unmatched on this earth.

The second half of this chapter is David’s bewildered response to God’s promise to Him. He has been forgiven, protected, guided, changed, and God just told him He will do even MORE than that for David and his offspring! The soft heart of David, full of humility and love for the Lord, is one I want to emulate more consistently.

Thinking back to times when my heart was softest and focused on closeness with God, several instances come to mind:

  • the ‘first love” feelings of Jesus overwhelmed me when I first became a Christian
  • seasons of deep repentance, forgiveness, and gratitude
  • God answered prayers with my newborn daughter’s spina bifida and surgeries
  • discovering a new truth or lesson in the Word

I can go back to those moments and feelings that nothing else in the world mattered – God was with me and would be with me in the future, and I was firmly standing on that promise.

When I stumble across an old journal entry or something written down during those time, it is so faith affirming to see God’s work in my life. The book of Psalms often reads like David’s own journal entries of God’s promises, God’s deliverances, God’s protection. David loved proclaiming what God has done and will do in his life. He believed it, and he stood firm on those truths.

Are you standing firm in the promise God has given you? A promise of a life with him forever, filled with love and joy, where there will be no more tears and death. He is the perfect promise keeper.  When the world around you fails, His promises never fail.

Travel Light

Happy Tuesday Biblejournal family, I’m consistently reminded each day when we open up His word how great it is we are doing this together.  Keep it up! God loves you and He has great plans for you!

As I just wrapped up the book Traveling Light by Max Lucado I open up my email to see what I will be writing about this week, and sure enough its Psalm 23.  The same chapter the book Traveling Light is about.  I then proceed to get my verse of the day fro my bible app that says,  The Lord is my shepherd… Psalm 23.  God is always looking to speak to us when we are looking for and willing to listen.  So while you read through the promises of Psalm 23 let go of the burdens you were never meant to hold on to.

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2  He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell[f] in the house of the Lord forever.

the Lord is my Shepherd.   As I have tried to do things on my own and failed, or think I have it right, I can find rest from thinking things have to be my way.

When the commercial comes on or I’m driving along and I think that I need to have it.  I can have rest from the endless wants. Why? Because I shall not want.

He makes me lie down.   When the days are long and my eyes and thoughts are glazed over by our schedules we have to keep.  I can find rest from weariness.

When I’m struggling with a decision, or thinking about the future. I can find rest from the worry. Why? Because He leads me.

He restores my soul.   When I have failed, let others down, or just falling short in a variety of areas. I can find rest from my hopelessness.

When my decisions are poor or I make misguided choices. I can find rest in my guilt. Why? Because He leads me in the paths of righteousness.

His name’s sake.   When I think its all about me. I’m selfish. I can find rest in my arrogance.

When you know someone who has passed or wonder what lies ahead for you. I can find rest from the valley of death. Why? Because He walks me through it.

He guides me.    When I’m afraid of the unknown, when the world says one thing and God tells us something else. I can find rest from my fears. His presence comforts me.

When I’m feeling alone. I can find rest in my loneliness, because He is with me.

He has prepared a place for me in the presence of my enemies.   I can find rest when all I want to do is run and hide.

When I’m disappointed one day and envious the next. When I doubt where I’m going or where I have been. Why? Because He anoints me, my cup will overflow, and He follows me.

When your wondering about a purpose, feeling lost, or wondering where to go next. Have rest from your homesickness. Why? Because You will dwell in the House of Our Lord forever.

Traveling Light, Max Lucado. The Promise of Psalm 23

So set down the extra luggage.  Those burdens that you still cling to. We will never truly enjoy this amazing journey in God’s presence carrying it all.  I know many years of my life I have done just that.  And before I set my brain and heart down that destructive path right now, I’m reminded of Matthew 11:28 ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest”

Let’s take on today with Our God who is right next to our side.  He provides with everything we need to face any circumstance. All those bags from past years or yesterday He is waiting to take them.

God,  Thank you for your encouraging and loving words.  That as we walk through this day and everyday we keep our eyes on You. standing by our side saying come with me.  Help us to come and let go of the things that stand in our way.  We love you.  Amen


Today’s readings: Psalm 23, 1 Samuel 22





Gentle Reminder

Today’s Reading: Deuteronomy 19; Psalm 106; Isaiah 46; Revelation 16 

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good his love endures forever.  What a great reminder and song in Psalm 106:1

Please, sit back and give the yoke to Jesus.  He is our co-pilot on this mission.

Our entrance slip for today does require you to think of three mighty acts God has done for you this year. These events can be around yourself, family, or others.  Look close and take a minute to reflect.

  1.  –
  2.  –
  3.  –

Do you have your acts?  A few I thought of included 1) God baptizing my wife Jennifer 2) God joining a group of brothers and sisters in Christ to go through the bible in a year together and journal everyday 3) God providing healing and love through a time of loss in our family.  There has been more but I would love to hear yours. Really looking closely at our lives, there are miracles daily we can find when we take time to notice.

Who can utter the mighty deeds of the Lord, or declare all his praise? Psalm 106:2

I’m amazed and captivated as I learn more about the amazing miracles performed by Jesus in our Bible.  Still even being a witness to these mighty acts then or mighty acts today we can forget about our eternal kingdom and look for instant gratification.  Why do we struggle with this?

Psalm 106:13 But soon they forgot his works; they did not wait for his counsel.

How often do we do leave out His counsel? I struggle when I want things now and of course my way.  I sit here and laugh at this because it is right here in our face but yet I still try to take the wheel and think I’m in control. I’m at times enticed by worldly things that draw me away from remembering all of what God has done and is doing for me. I’m sorry. In our instant gratification world we need to look to the Lord and ask if this is what He wants us to do. Just like in the Psalms we need this reminder often so we don’t get lost in this world.  Here is your reminder for the day!

God puts amazing and hard events in our lives to remind us of His amazing power and help us to avoid the instant gratification lifestyle.  He uses our struggling times to humble us, help wean away from worldly things that can control us, lift up our prayers, make us more compassionate, remain faithful and dependent on Him, and encourages us to submit it all to God and His purpose for our lives.  I know there are things weighing on your mind or battling you for attention. Push submit now…

Nevertheless, he looked upon their distress, when he heard their cry. For their sake he remembered his covenant, and relented according to the abundance of his steadfast love. Psalm 106:44-45 

How great is our God! His love endures forever.  He gives us grace even when we  don’t deserve it. He is faithful and gracious and sent His son for us and to die for our sins. What a wonderful Father.

Dear God, please give us the wisdom, understanding, and love to call on You in all we do. Give us Your timely reminders that it’s not about us or the other gods we hold up, its about You.  It’s about trusting in the promise You made to us.  Father, we pray you help us to recognize Your voice and follow Your lead in all we do. Amen

Have a God counseled day!