Posts Tagged ‘ Help ’

It’s Enough

…a thorn was given me in the flesh…Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, …I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NRSV

When I’m in trouble, I want an answer from God. Not only that, I don’t really want just any answer, I want the answer I’m looking for. When I’m sick, I want to be healed. When I’m low, I want want to be lifted up. When I’ve got a problem, I want a solution.

But God knows best, and sometimes having God’s grace is all I really need. It’s not necessarily what I want, but it’s what I most need. And honestly, having what I need is really all I need. It’s just enough!

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Safe Passage

Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land toward which they were going. John 5:21 NRSV

MP900443774[1] What an amazing day it was. Five thousand hungry people were fed by Jesus. Now it was evening, and time for a boat ride back to Capernaum. The disciples set off on a routine crossing of the Sea of Galilee.

Of course, even routine trips can unexpectedly turn into challenging adventures. A strong wind blew, and the seas grew rough. Jesus’ followers rowed with all their might, but made little progress. Their destination seemed elusive, and their lives threatened.

Routine trips sometimes turn into scary adventures.

In the middle of all this, Jesus came walking on the water. He called out. “It is I; don’t be afraid.” Then, as soon as he got into the boat, they made land.

Have you ever set out on a journey that ended up being a rescue mission for Jesus? We have probably all had times when we set out for nice evening cruise MP900431212[1]into the sunset, only to find ourselves in the middle of turbulent, and sometimes life-threatening waters. When we end up paddling for our lives, we realize just how much we really do need Jesus.

The good news is, when hope begins to dim and our boat begins to sink, Jesus is not far away. He came all the way down from the mountain and across the sea for His disciples. So you can be sure that you are never beyond his reach!

Jesus is never far away.

Once Jesus arrives, he brings a word of hope. “It is I.” When the King of kings and Lord of lords shows up in the middle of your storm, there is no more welcome word! That’s because, with Jesus at your side, no storm can overwhelm you. With Jesus at your side, no enemy can defeat you. With Jesus at your side, you have nothing to fear!

So what can we say? When the storms of life rage, your boat will toss and turn. But when the storms of life rage, Jesus will be there, standing by you. He will cross any distance, overcome any obstacle to reach you.

When he comes, invite him into your boat! As you do, Jesus will take you safely to the other side!

Trust Jesus to bring you to your destination!

Prayer:

Savior, storms come up all the time. Sometimes I am ready, but other times I’m not. Ready or not, I know I need you to bring me through. You know the way. Your hand can calm the storm and navigate me through the fog. Give me safe passage today and in the days ahead, so that I can do your work and follow you wherever you lead!

Amen.

 

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God’s Letter to You

MP900449071[1] Some people describe the Bible as a love letter from God. There is so much packed in the pages from Genesis to Exodus, it’s hard to imagine the Bible as a simple letter. I think it might be more accurate to call the Scriptures God’s Love Encyclopedia!

But if we were to take just one small part of this encyclopedia, and put it into letter form, what might it look like?

Today I want to take Psalm 9:9, and share what I think God might say in a letter to those who love and trust him.

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Got Problems?

For the Lord hears the needy, and does not despise his own that are in bonds. Psalm 69:33 NRSV

Every one of us faces two kinds of dilemmas. First, we have needs. Some have economic needs. They simply lack the financial resources to meet their obligations. MP900449048[1]Others have social needs. They lack the support and encouragement of close friends and family. There are also those with psychological needs. They need more mental and emotional resources to cope with the stress of daily life. There are those with spiritual needs too. They may have tried drugs, sex and rock and roll, but nothing has filled the God shaped void in their hearts.

Beyond our needs, we also have problems. These are the demands and challengesMP900422200[1] that life brings our way. Problems can become chains that bind us and weigh us down. They can steal our energy and sap our enthusiasm. They can cloud our vision and distract our attention. They can even hinder our ability to answer Christ’s call on our life.

Everyone has needs and problems.

Today, the psalmist is reminding us that God knows our needs, and God does not ignore our problems. That means God is not blind to your situation or out of touch with your needs. God is not up in heaven taking a nap.

Our Lord stands ever ready to turn the resources of heaven and earth our way, so that we might have just what we need. Jesus’ life revealed just how willing God is to meet whatever need presents itself. Jesus fed hungry stomachs, healed broken bodies, restored sick minds and forgave sin-sick souls. There was never a need he could not meet! Jesus proved that God hears the cry of the needy and God answers!

God is tuned in to your needs.

The same is true for those bound by problems. God stands ever ready to respond. In fact, the psalmist says that God does not despise those in bonds. God welcomes those with problems into His grace-filled care. God’s hand stands ready to lift us up, and set us on the road to victory!

Today God knows just what you need. God has seen the problems that are pressing  in on you.

Why not invite your Lord to be part of the solution? Why MP900424422[1]not lay each and every one of your burdens and concerns down at Jesus’ feet? Then, give Him your hand, and open your heart to His love. Listen to God’s Word and follow the Spirit’s leading. As you do, you will discover that God hears you, and answers every need!

Lay your burdens down.

Lean on the everlasting arms!

 

Prayer:

God, who hears and responds, you know my needs. You understand my problems. Now I am looking for your solutions. Show me the way to go, and the things I need to do. Lift me up, and set me on the road to victory!

Amen.

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A Very Real Refuge!

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble! Psalm 46:1 NRSV

Reading that God is our refuge and strength is one thing. Believing it is another.

That’s why I like music. Music communicates the message of truth, and then it gives me a way of making that truth personal. It takes what I know, and writes it on my heart . That helps to turn what I know into what I believe!

There are few hymns that communicate the message that God is our refuge and strength like Martin Luther’s A Mighty Fortress Is Our God. The power of the text and the majestic melody can lift the spirit and inspire confidence even in the most trying times.

MP900427608[1]Today I encourage you to view this musical rendition of A Mighty Fortress by the Christian artist Steve Green. As he sings, I believe you will sense the power that these words hold for all who turn to  God for refuge and strength. To view the video, just click here.

Don’t Just Wait, WATCH!

MP900227506[1]O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch. Psalm 5:3 NRSV

It’s comforting to know that Jesus cares about us and the burdens we bear. But comfort only goes so far. What we really need to know is how to keep on going as problems mount and stress builds up.

Few of us have faced more stress than David. Just glance through the Psalms and you will discover that David’s life was often in danger, and his faith was constantly challenged. Amazingly, he never gave up on God. Even in moments of deep despair, he looked to the hills and the Lord renewed his hope.

What was his secret? How did he keep on going even when walking through the valley of the shadow of death?

Today’s verse tells us that David didn’t just lay his burdens down, he pleaded his case before God. He was completely open and honest with God about the struggles he was having, how he felt, and what he wanted. He passionately petitioned God.

Then he didn’t just sit around and wait for God to rescue him. He watched! Watching is quite different from waiting. Those who watch expect something to happen. They wait expectantly. They trust that their petitions didn’t fall on deaf ears. They believe in God and not only in God’s ability to help, but God’s desire to support and sustain them!

I find great comfort each day in knowing that Jesus cares about me. Still, I am never really satisfied with just a dose of daily comfort. I need something more. I need God’s help.

If I am smart, I will follow David’s example. I will be open, honest and passionate with God about my struggles and needs. Then I will start watching. I will start looking for the hand of God at work in me and around me. I will wait withMP900400451[1] expectancy, and look for God’s steadfast love and abundant grace to meet my every need.

Why not join me? Plead your case with God, today. Then watch what the Lord can  do!

Where Do You Turn For Help?

“My eyes are ever toward the Lord for he will pluck my feet out of the net. (Psalm 25:15) NRSV

David was a man who had lots of enemies. Even some of his own family plotted against him. Maybe that’s because he courageously took an unwavering stand for God and for God’s people. Whatever the reason, there were many who wanted him dead, and his kingdom destroyed.Earth in Danger

David knew that his life was in danger. He knew he needed help. He needed a way of staying free from the traps, snares and plots against him.

What could one man possibly do against so many enemies? He could never uncover all the plots against him. He knew that he had no hope of outwitting all his enemies.

Instead of trying to outsmart everyone, David turned to God. He stopped looking at his problems, and started looking to God for answers. He put his full faith and trust in the Lord. He actually believed that he had a better chance of surviving if he kept looking to God, rather than looking out for trouble.

Stop looking at problems. Look to God!

This approach actually made a lot of sense. Time and time again David had survived against all odds, because God came to his rescue and kept him safe. Those experiences taught David that God is faithful and God’s love is steadfast!

David’s experience taught him that his life depended more on God than on his circumstances. That meant if he focused on doing what God wanted, then no giants, no lions, jealous children or crazed kings could stop him. So David made sure that his eyes were turned toward the Lord!

Do what God wants, and nothing will stop you!

MP900444069[1] What a great way to live! We can all take our eyes off the challenges, pressures and threats that press in around us. We can look to God, who is able to pluck us out of every net, trap and problem situation. We can spend more time and energy on serving God, and working for God’s kingdom purposes, than on worrying and watching our backs.

God is our mighty fortress. The Lord is our refuge and your strength, an ever present help in time of trouble! Those who put their trust in God will be secure!

Look to God and your steps will be secure!

Prayer:

God,

You have the answer to every problem, the strength to overcome every enemy and the wisdom to foil every threat. Help me to keep my eyes on you, to trust in your steadfast love, and to stay focused on doing your will.

Amen!

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