Psalm 78:42 Forgetting God’s Abilities

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Again and again they put God to the test; they vexed the Holy One of Israel. Psalm 78:42 

Those who are in authority often have the power to get things done that others do not have the ability to do. Having the ability to provide finances or other needed resources, they can accomplish larger things than what is normal for others.

The workers at the bottom have very little authority and cannot see how something can be accomplished. All they can see is a large mountain of a problem in front of them and no way around or over it. They begin to fear the challenge in front of them, rather than trusting those in authority.

Asaph looks back at when the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness. The people would constantly complain to God and not trust Him. They had forgotten the power that He had displayed with bringing them out of Egypt.

Every believer has to believe God has some authority just to become a believer. He has to believe that God has the power and ability to remove all sin and to save the person, or else he will not follow Jesus or trust Him.

God works in a person’s life doing great things, removing sin and providing what is needed. Yet, many believers quickly forget what God has already done in their lives or in the lives of others and begin to complain to God about some challenge in their life.

The believer has been redeemed from a life of sin and death. He has been released from the bondages of sin and given a new life. Yet, often one goes back to those chains and puts them back on. He doesn’t trust God to provide for him in every area needed.

If God has the power to remove sin, He also has the power to take care of every need a believer has. This has to be remembered.

Think about the things God has already done in your life. Why did you choose to follow Jesus? What made you believe and trust Him?

Now remember those things and trust that God can meet your current needs that are looming in front of you.

Don’t put God to the test by complaining and fearing what is in front of you. God is greater than anything you may face. Remember what He has done in lives of others already and in your past. Then trust Him.

I pray today that you will see what God has done for you; that you will know you can trust God’s power and abilities; that God will help you remove all fear of situations in your life; and that you seek God for all of your needs. 

Psalm 56:13 Your Purpose In This Life

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For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life. Psalm 56:13 

Survival of a major disaster or sickness often leaves people wondering why they were able to survive when someone else did not. The greater the disaster, the more questioning occurs.

People want to have purpose in life, but few find true purpose in living. Then when they suddenly make it through a challenge they are seeking reasons as to what their purpose must be in life, since they survived.

Some begin to go around speaking to others about how they survived. Others drum up support to help others survive similar situations. While these and many others things may be good, they are all temporary in their nature.

David had been delivered by God multiple times from life-threatening situations. He realized this and knew the reason for the deliverance. His deliverance was so that he would be able to walk before God in true life.

Every believer has been delivered, at a minimum, from death of sin. Sin in the life brought about an eternal death that no person can overcome on his own. Through Jesus, that death has been removed.

Along with salvation, many have been delivered from life threatening situations in their life. There has also been many who have been delivered from difficult situations in life that challenge how they live. Some will wonder why God has delivered them.

Either way, the purpose is the same–to be able to walk before God in His light and in His life.

Walking before God is walking in the path He has for each person. This can bring about more life and purpose than anything else in this life. It is an eternal purpose, not just a day-to-day living purpose.

God’s love for you is greater than anything or anyone on this earth. It is eternal and perfect.

He has a purpose for your life here on this earth. It is to walk in His ways and follow Jesus. It is to become more like Jesus everyday. This is the true light of life.

Realize that when God delivers you from sin or some great tragic situation in your life, it is so that you may walk before Him and be His witness on this earth.

God has delivered you for His purpose. Now go out and live that purpose out each day.

I pray today that you will know the salvation Jesus brings; that God will reveal your purpose in this life; that you will walk in the ways of God; and that you will God with all of your life. 

Psalm 52:8 A Flourishing Life

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But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever. Psalm 52:8 

Going through this life can be difficult with the various trials and challenges that people face from day to day. Along with all of the challenges in life that many face, there is also the mundane routine of the average life.

Very few people find a real purpose in their life. They keep searching for meaning and purpose to what they are going through and often do not find it.

As people live life in this way, they are not flourishing, but just in survival mode each day. They don’t appear to be moving forward or accomplishing anything. There is no joy or peace in their lives.

David had penned these words while he was fleeing from Saul and when Doeg had betrayed him to Saul. He points out those that do not follow God will fail in the end, but that he is flourishing like an olive tree in God’s house. This is occurring because he is trusting in God.

There are many believers who are living like the world, not flourishing but just struggling from day to day. They have allowed their eyes to be focused on their problems and day-to-day struggles rather than upon God.

Although they still claim belief in God, they have lost trust in God and no longer flourish.

Those who fully believe and trust God and His word, will flourish. They will know that the struggles they have are only light and momentary in light of eternity. They will know that what is happening is for their good, because they are trusting God’s hand in their life.

Trusting in God brings about a joy and peace that the world cannot understand nor take away. This allows a person to really live and flourish like a well planted olive tree producing lots of fruit in his life.

Instead of focusing on the challenges in your life, put your eyes upon God. Trust that He knows what He is doing and what He is doing is the best thing to be done. Then rest in His control.

Allow yourself to be strengthen by His Holy Spirit so that you can live the life that He has blessed you with. You can live the abundant life that Jesus promised, flourishing, growing and moving forward. Life does not have to be mundane and dead, but full of life.

Are you flourishing today?

I pray today that you will know the life God has for you; that you will trust the path God has for you; that you will live for God; that God will help you see past the challenges in this life; and that you will know the joy of life in Jesus. 

Numbers 33:1 Stages In The Journey Of Life

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Here are the stages in the journey of the Israelites when they came out of Egypt by divisions under the leadership of Moses and Aaron. Numbers 33:1

Going through life there are many different stages. The amount of stages is different for each person. The length of each stage will also be different.

The basic changes are the birth,  growing up, being an adult, getting older and dying. This is very short of the rest of the changes that occur throughout the life of a person.

In the middle of each of these basic stages there can be untold numerous other changes. Some may be short, while others take a lifetime of change.

Some of the changes can be for the better, such as a good move, promotion in position of a job, marriage, new friends, and many more wonderful things. Other changes are not so fun to go through, such as sickness, a negative move, divorce, death, loss of job, and more.

As the Israelites traveled through the wilderness, they had to go through many different changes. Nearing the end of Numbers, God has it listed the different places they had moved to. There was constant change of location. Some seemed to be better, while others were more challenging.

Every believer is on a journey through this life with their walk with God. The ultimate end of the journey is in heaven for eternity. However, until that time, there are many changes. God moves people around on a regular basis. Sometimes to keep one from trouble, other times for one to be a witness or to do a new work in a new location.

Some of those moves are easy to make, while others are scary and challenging. It can be a move from a loved place/position to a place of difficulty and challenges.

Every move God has a person make, is to help the person draw closer to Him and to be a witness to a new group.

You will have changes throughout your life, just like the Israelites. Instead of fearing change and moves, embrace them. Seek God to find out what you can do with the new change in your life. Ask God for strength and wisdom with the new change. And above all, trust God with the new change.

It is a great journey towards heaven. Be ready for the changes as you keep getting closer to heaven. God has a plan for your life.

I pray today that you will know God’s plan for your life; that you will see the purpose in the changes God allows; that you will trust God’s plans; and that you will be a witness of God throughout every change in life.

Zechariah 4:6-7 By God’s Spirit And Power

So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty. “What are you, mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of ‘God bless it! God bless it'” Zechariah 4:6-7

Zerubbabel had been commissioned by God to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. As he was proceeding to do that, he ran into many problems. Through Zechariah, God told him that it would not be done by his own might or power, but by the Spirit of God and His mighty power. The mountains that lay before Zerubbabel would be flattened and the capstone on the temple would be brought out which much praise.

Challenges in life come up all the time for people. The first thing most people try to do is solve the challenge or try to run away from the challenge. Working in their own power, may work sometimes, but not every time.

Believers will also have many challenges in this life. God will commission a believer to do something that will present a major challenge to do. Often people will, just like the world, attempt to solve the challenge on their own.

One of those challenges is to live the holy life through Jesus. People strive to give up sin on their own. They often make vows and chastise themselves when they do not succeed. This is where a person needs to rely upon God for the strength. Only by God’s Spirit can sin be overcome.

Another great challenge is being a witness to the world. Many go out in their own power and ways to tell others the gospel message. Before one does this, he should seek God’s direction and wisdom in how to present the message to someone. For each person it can be different. Only by God’s Spirit can the gospel message be affectively presented.

Allow yourself to be guided and strengthened by God’s Spirit to do what He wants you to do. In and of yourself, you can do nothing, but through the Spirit of Christ, there is nothing that you cannot do. The mountains that lay before you will be removed, if you allow God to remove them Himself. Do not try to move them on your own.

I pray today that you will know God’s Spirit in your life; that you will rely upon God’s Spirit to meet all challenges in life; that you will do things God’s way; and that God will remove many mountains in your path and life. 

In Over The Head

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go on a cruise with one of my sons to the Bahamas. The views of the beaches and the water was astounding! I had never seen water so blue in my life, unless you count Kool-Aid in a glass. Living in Central Texas, there are no long, nice sandy beaches anywhere to be seen and the water is definitely not blue.

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While in the Bahamas, I was able to go swimming in the ocean on one of their many beaches. It was my first time to ever swim in the ocean. It was amazing to swim in the water. The water was warm and crystal clear. Occasionally I could see a small tropical fish swimming in the water nearby.

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I grew up in Northern Wisconsin and swam in Lake Superior all the time. One of the things about swimming in that lake when you went out into the deeper water, you had to know how to swim or at least be able to float on the water. If you did not know how to do either, you would sink and go under.

The amazing thing on the water in the Bahamas, was that I could float without trying. The salt in the water was enough to keep me floating without work. I could actually stand up straight, with my arms at my sides, in over my head and float there in place. I had never floated without having to work at it and stay concentrated.

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As I was floating around noticing how this worked it God impressed upon me something. I was out in over my head in the water. In order for me to touch the floor of the ocean, I would have to dive down at least two feet below the water. And the interesting thing was, that because of the buoyancy of the water, that was  not exactly easy to do.

I could not see the salt, or anything else in the water that would hold me up. I had to trust what was unseen to keep my floating and I did not have to work at it. It was not my effort that kept me floating, but the salt level in the water.

In the very same way in life, there are times I must be in over my head in situations in life. God has called me to be His witness to this world. In order to be His witness I have to get out in this ocean of a world and be that witness. I have to step out into deeper waters where the fish (men and women) are to tell them about Jesus.

It is so easy to think that I cannot be the one to witness to someone. Maybe that person is too important, or maybe he is such a bad person, or maybe that person does not like me. Fears that the person may be angry or retaliate. Or maybe I am in a hurry and cannot take the time to witness. The reasons to not witness are numerous.

Yet, God has called us to step out into the deeper waters and trust Him. He is like the salt in the ocean, you cannot see Him, but He is there holding you up. As you step out into the ocean of this world, among the people you can float and be His witness.

Just as a person must let go of his fears of going under the water and drowning when in the ocean near the Bahamas and be willing to float, so you must let go of your fears to go out and be His witness.

God will be there with you and take care of you. He will not let you fail, if you are doing His will, in His way, and in His time.

Today, I want to encourage you to step out into the deeper waters, in over your head and trust God. Trust God to take care of you as you do His will and be His witness. Just as it was exciting for me to be floating, while standing straight up, so it will be exciting when God touches lives through you.

God can and will do amazing things in and through you, if you will allow Him to do it. Trust Him today in the deep waters of this world.

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.