Psalm 84:5 Just Traveling Through

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. Psalm 84:5

Traveling a short distance, less than one-hundred miles, is something that is relatively easy to do. Going a thousand miles or more, is more challenging. Traveling across country, over the ocean to another country, takes a good amount of planning.

Going that kind of distance takes a dedication to see it through. Even though today, a person can fly nearly anywhere in the world and be there within one day, it still takes good planning to do so.

During the times when this psalm was written, everyone traveled on foot or camel back. The process of traveling was very slow. Just traveling across the nation of Israel was a three to four-day trip, if not longer. A person had to have his heart set on making that pilgrimage.

Although physical travel has become much easier, there is a pilgrimage that people must make that takes time and focus. That pilgrimage is the journey through this life. The world is seeking to make themselves better and have all that they want in peace and comfort. It is a journey that they will never complete.

Believers in Jesus, however, also are on a pilgrimage through this life. They are on the journey to become more like Jesus. They are focused on doing what God wants and when He wants it.

Just as a traveler on the road faces various challenges when going down the road, so will every believer in his walk with Jesus. There will be potholes in the road, detours, accidents, and bad weather as well as smooth traveling on this journey in life.

These challenges for a believer are found in persecution, ridicule, fear, illness, death, pain, as well as victory and joy.

The only way to complete the journey is to stay focused on completing it. Do not allow yourself to be turned aside and quit the journey. As you set your heart on the journey God has given you, He will give you the needed strength to complete it.

You are just traveling through this life to get to eternity with God. Don’t stop now, but finish the journey. It will be worth it in the end.

I pray today that God will reveal His path for you; that God will strengthen you for the journey; that you will find joy in your journey; that you will see progress in your journey with God; and that you will finish the journey God has you on.

Psalm 81:6 A Removed Burden

I removed the burden from their shoulders; their hands were set free from the basket. Psalm 81:6

The psalmist, Asaph, looked back on when Israel had been delivered from Egypt. While in Egypt, they had been under the heavy burden of slavery. They were not allowed to make their own decisions or live their lives the way they wanted too. It was a heavy burden to bear living like that, but God had removed that burden in the deliverance.

Although the Israelites had to deal with many different difficulties while enslaved in Egypt, Asaph lists everything as one burden. That one burden was slavery.

Although slavery of human beings by another person is still found in different parts of the world, this is a different type of slavery. Not every person is enslaved to another person against his will, as the Israelites were in Egypt.

There is one burden that every person is enslaved to, unless they have been set free. That burden is sin.

From the time of birth every person is enslaved with the burden of sin. It is a bondage that no person can escape from on his own. Someone else has to come in and break the chains of that bondage.

Many people will try to say that they are not in bondage to anyone or anything. Yet, they are unable to stop doing certain things, whether they are actions, words, or thoughts.

Think about your own life. What are some bad habits that you have in your life? Or what are some sins that you seem to do over and over?

These are the things you are enslaved to. These are the things you are in bondage to and cannot break free from on your own.

Just as God had broken the bondage of slavery off of the shoulders of the Israelites, God can break the bondages of sin off your shoulders.

Jesus is willing to forgive you of your sins, if you allow Him to and you repent. Then allow Him to take that bondage and toss it out. Do not pick up the chains of bondage to sin anymore. Be free. Keep your hands, mind and body free from the slavery of sin. Live for God.

I pray today that you will know the freedom Jesus has for you; that you will seek forgiveness of sins; that God will strengthen you to stay away from sin; and that you will live for God in every way possible in this life.

Psalm 78:4 Get The Word Out

We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. Psalm 78:4

Whenever there is exciting news, people want to let everyone know. Whether the news is good or bad news, if it is something seen as big news, people want to tell everyone about it.

All over social media people talk about some event that occurred in the news. Some of those things discussed are good things, many are tragic events. Every time there is a major sports game going on, people are discussing the various plays and who won, and who should have done something different. The news is being sent out all over the nation.

Parents who have a new-born baby are excited and want to tell everyone about the new child. They take a hundred pictures and show every relative, friend, co-worker and more. They are proud of the baby and think everyone should know.

Most people feel that their life is just simple, no thrills, boring with nothing to be talked about. So they want to talk about what is happening in the world or to others.

As a believer, you have some exciting news to tell. Your life is not just simple, boring with no thrills. It is one that is filled with God. Jesus is the greatest news that anyone could talk about on this earth of all time.

Jesus has provided you and everyone salvation. In the process of providing that salvation, God has done many great wonders in your life, and in the lives of others. This information must be told to others. Tell everyone you know what you know about God and what He has done in your life.

How has God provided for you?

How has God healed you?

What has God done for you?

What has God done in you?

What have you seen God doing in and for others?

As excited as the world may be about some great news event in this world, you should be more excited about getting the word out about who God is and what He is doing.

What are you sharing and talking about today?

I pray today that you realize what God is doing in your life; that you will not fear talking about God to everyone; that you will tell the world what great things God is doing and has done; and that you will be a shining light in this world for Jesus.

Waiting For The Best

Back in 2014, I was laid off from a very well paying job that I had been at for several years. It was devastating to lose the job and was unsure of what to do next. I had lots of experience in many different areas, but was not great at any of them.

Several other challenges were also present in the process of searching for a new job. One was my age, I am not exactly a young person any more. Another was that I have a large family. At the time I had seven children, since then I have been blessed to have eight total…so far.

With the large family and not great skills, it made it very challenging to find a job that would provide for my family. My wife is unable to work, since we homeschool our children. I knocked on many doors, had several interviews, but will still coming up with no job at all. No one was willing to hire me for various reasons, some of which I knew, many of which I had no clue as to why they would not hire me.

Prior to all of this happening, I have worked with children at various levels and was told that I was good with them. I have also been told that I should be a teacher multiple times. I do love to work with children and I also love to teach people.

Around 2003 I did look into becoming a teacher, but did not have the required degree at the time. That option was not open to me at that time. Since then I did finish out my schooling and received a bachelor’s degree.

A couple of months after being laid off, a friend of mine called me up saying he heard I was searching for a job. He worked at the district level of a local school district. He told me he wanted me to be a teacher in his school district. He told me to get hired as a substitute and then how to proceed to get my alternate certification as a teacher.

After praying about it, I felt that was what God wanted me to do. I was immediately hired as a substitute teacher for the district. Each day I would sub in different schools for different teachers of all grades. The more I did it, the more I enjoyed working with the children. The challenge was that the pay was still very low, making it difficult to support my family’s needs. God was faithful during this time to meet all of those needs in His way.

About 5 months later, one of the schools (which by God’s favor was my favorite), asked me to become their permanent substitute teacher. It did raise the pay some and provided very secure paychecks. The biggest challenge was that when there was no school, there was no pay either.

Last year, I was able to take the certification tests for core subjects and pass them. This was after a lot of studying and tears, remember I am no longer a young man.

Once I passed those tests, I started to apply for a teaching job. I had several interviews, but nothing would open up. I was not really positive that I wanted to teach any of these subjects, especially with the pressure on teachers to get the children to succeed. Yet, that was all I could see open before me and God had not pointed me in any other direction.

My wife and I often prayed if maybe I was supposed to go down another road, but God kept all other doors closed. I did not have a peace about anything else. And nothing else really presented itself. During this time, I often questioned myself as to whether I had heard from God clearly or not, but I know that I did and was unable to turn to a different path.

This school year presented a new path for me in the school I was at. About three weeks into the school year, I was placed in a Theatre classroom and told I would do all the teaching. I was given the lesson plans on what to teach and how to teach it.

I was game to do it, because I am willing to try anything. But I had no real clue as to how to teach theater. I had been in many plays (years ago), but had never taken or given a drama class at all. I questioned on what and how to do it.

Two weeks into it, the principle asked me if I was certified to teach theater. I told her I was not. She said I needed to be, because several parent’s liked what I was doing and wanted me as the permanent teacher. The other teacher was being removed. She then told me I was to do all the grading, lesson planning, parent-teacher conferences and anything else needed.

I was actually having fun working with the students. It was scary to start lesson planning because I still did not really know what I was doing. Over the time I have learned a lot about lesson planning and teaching theater. I am still learning, but I have having fun at it.

I am also able to be a witness for God to the students in the school. One of the things that I really enjoy being able to do is control what plays are being done. I can have them do plays that are in line with the ways of God.

I began to work on getting certified in theater. It was a very tough test. There were a lot of things I had to know that I had never even heard of before. I took the test in December, 2016 and failed by several points. I retook the test in Feb of this year and was able to pass it.

Almost immediately after passing the Theatre Teacher Certification Test I was hired as the full teacher for the class. I am still learning a lot in how to teach the students, but I am enjoying it.

One of the things that I realized in teaching theater is that I do not have to be concerned about the students having to pass the STAAR test. That is a Texas test to determine if the students are learning or not. It is a rigorous test that challenges every teacher with students who have to take it. This test is only for the core subjects classes.

Even though it took several years to get to where I now am, I am very glad that I trusted God. I had originally thought I would be teaching a core subject. God had other plans. He gave me something that was better.

Not only do I love acting, I have a son who is very active in acting, even as an adult. It made a great connection with my son in doing this.

God has blessed my family and myself in this field.

I want to encourage everyone to trust God’s plan for your life. Wait on Him for His blessing and walk the path He has for you. It will be worth it.

There were times I was scared and questioned God, but in the end it was worth it. God provided all along the way in miraculous ways. It will be worth it for you also.

Psalm 77:11-12 When God Is Silent

I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds. Psalm 77:11-12

There are times in the lives of people when God is silent. They are going through difficult times that do not seem to end. The world seems to be winning the battle.

At these times, the world likes to say that God does not really exist, or is not really in control. Believers begin to wonder if they really had ever heard God speak before and if the world may be correct. Many will spend hours crying out to God for an answer, lying awake during the night in fear as they cry out to God.

Others will start to blame themselves for God being so silent. They will confess sins and ask to be forgiven on sins that had been confessed a dozen times. They may begin to question whether they are really believers or not.

The psalmist in this passage had some of those same questions. He wondered whether God would reject them forever or not. He questioned whether God had failed in His promises or not. These are the same questions people ask to this day.

However, the psalmist then says that He will remember the deeds and miracles God had done in the past. He will then focus and meditate on those good things.

There will come times in your life when you feel that God has rejected you. God will be silent and appear to be leaving you all on your own. You may be crying out to God for help and appearing to get no answer.

When these times occur, turn your focus on who God is and what He has done. Read the Bible and learn how others had times where God was silent. Learn how there were times when God seemed far away. Yet, God always fulfilled His promises.

God will not reject you. You have to be the one to walk away. During these times, God may be testing you to build your trust in Him higher. If you read the Bible, you know that God will never leave or forsake you, and that He will always fulfill His promises. Now stand on that and meditate on those things that God had done in your life.

God will speak again at the right time.

I pray today that you will know God’s presence in your life; that you will trust God is with you; that you will meditate on what God has done for you; and that you will remember all that God has done.

Psalm 76:11 Fulfill Your Vows

Make vows to the LORD your God and fulfill them; let all the neighboring lands bring gifts to the One to be feared. Psalm 76:11

It is easy for a person to make a vow to God or to another person. Promises are made all the time. Yet, the fulfillment of many of those vows is not very high.

Lawyers are paid big money in order to find ways for a person or business to not have to fulfill a vow or promise. The seek out loopholes in the contracts agreed upon. Most of the loopholes are found in that one party or the other had not fulfilled some part of the agreement, thus breaking the contract or vow.

Marriage vows are now often made with clauses in them, that if one spouse does not fulfill certain requirements, the marriage will be ended. People seek out ways to keep from being held accountable to their promises.

Every person who has chosen to believe in Jesus, has made a vow to God. He has promised to believe in Jesus and the work He did on the cross. He has promised to live for God and obey Him. This is the very base vow that every believer has made with God.

Other vows may also be made to God. Promises to give more tithe and offerings, to be more in service, to be more of a witness, to give up some habit or sin, to pray more, to read the Bible more, and the list goes on.

Whatever vow you have made to God, be willing to fulfill it. Do your best to hold up your part of the agreement with God. Do not seek loopholes to get out of what you promised God.

Doing this shows the world you believe in and trust in God. It also represents how God also fulfills His word all the time.

God has made many promises to you. He has never failed to fulfill a single promise.

How are you doing at keeping your vows?

Is there some vow  you made to God you have not kept? Seek God’s forgiveness and strive to fulfill that vow. God will forgive and guide you forward, if you allow Him to do so.

I pray today that you will trust God with your life; that God will strengthen you to fulfill every promise you made to Him; that you will be a witness of God’s faithfulness to this world; and that God will guide you in any vows you make to Him.

Psalm 75:7 The Real Judge

It is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another. Psalm 75:7

People who are in leadership are criticized or praised by many people. Some believe in the leader and just sing praises about him, thinking he is the best. Others cannot stand the leader and constantly find fault with him, judging all the time.

In the countries where democracy exists and people elect others into positions, it is commonly thought that the people are in control. Those who go out to vote for a leader will stand on both sides of the spectrum as to whether to choose that person or not. When the elections are over, some people are happy, while others are not.

Believers need to look at it differently. They need to view thing the way God sees it. God is the one who put that person into position or removed that person. God is the one who is in full control. There are times God will place a person who is not a believer into leadership position.

Not only in the leadership elections, but also in everyday life of each person. Some people are raised up into positions or power, while others are removed. It happens in the church, the workplace, the community, and everywhere else.

As a believer, you must seek God’s wisdom and direction in deciding who is in leadership. Trust that God knows what He is doing. Do not worry or fret over someone being in a position. No person can do anything unless God allows it. No person can be a leader unless God permits him to be one. Ultimately God’s purpose will be fulfilled.

Do not attempt to stand in place to be the ultimate judge, that is God’s job to do. You are here to be a witness of Jesus. God will lift some up and remove others, according to His will. Give God praise for all that He is doing and will do.

How are you judging those in leadership?

Are you judging them as though you are in charge?

Or are you looking at the big picture that God sees and building?

I pray today that you will not fear those in leadership; that you will trust God’s reason for each person in leadership; that you will allow God to raise or remove leaders; and that you will not just judge but be a witness of Jesus to those in leadership.