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Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?- PSALM 118:5-6

When you find yourself in distress, who do you call on first? I know ‘God’ is the ideal answer but, in most cases, I call on a friend or loved one. I will admit, though, that even the most reliable people are not always reliable. My friends and loved ones can only carry the weight of my expectations for so long before they do what humans do: fail.

God cannot fail. But, if we’re honest, there are moments in our lives when it feels like he has. Moments when he didn’t meet our expectations, when he didn’t show up the way we asked him to. We’ve been waiting for a ‘sign’, asking for a miracle, and it feels like it’ll never come.

Remember: truth trumps feelings. So even though you may not feel like God is who he says he is, nothing about his character has changed.

God is with you in your frustrations and pain as much as he is with you in your happiness and laughter. And he is the same God who loved you enough to come down from his throne and give you victory over death. He is a God who has answered and set you free from bondage to sin (v5). Because of Jesus, God is on your side, his Holy Spirit dwells within you, and you need not fear. He has overcome the world (John 16:33). If all that is true, whatever man can do to you is “less than nothing compared to the magnitude of glory that is about to be unveiled within us” (Romans 8:18 TPT).

Feel your feelings, but grasp truth tightly. Allow emotions to reveal your inner thoughts and weaknesses without dictating your life. It is better to take refuge in the Lord, the good King, than to trust in man — that includes government, loved ones, and even yourself (v8-9).

God, in my struggles, will you show up? Help me to see my circumstances through the lens of the cross so I see your faithfulness, even in my pain, and experience the comfort of your presence. Strengthen my faith in you and help me to be guided by your truth, not my feelings.

Throughout This Day: Whenever your emotions begin to affect you negatively, ask God to reveal to you the aspects of his character that you might be forgetting or doubting.

Psalm 119:97-104

We make a lot of decisions on any given day. And when a choice is needed quickly, we don’t always have time to weigh the pros and cons. Many people simply “go with their gut,” but believers who desire to walk wisely through the perils of this world require something more reliable than natural instinct. We need godly knowledge and principles to guide us, which is why we must make meditation on the Word a daily habit. 

We all have a sort of filter in our mind. It’s made up of the principles we were taught as children, the habits we’ve formed, and the information we accept as true. New knowledge coming our way passes through that matrix and is either assimilated or rejected. A mental filter reinforced with biblical truth is essential for Christians because it identifies things that align with God’s Word and rejects whatever is sinful, deceptive, unwise, or otherwise harmful for us.

Since Scripture is the key to knowing God and following His will, we can’t afford to neglect it. If you want clarity on His perspective, go to the Bible and fill your mind with the truth that guides and guards.

We abide in him.

 1 John 4:13

Do you want a house for your soul? You may ask, “How much does it cost?” Something less than proud human nature would like to pay. It is without money and without price. But you would like to pay a respectable rent! You would love to do something to win Christ? Then you cannot have the house, for it is without price.

Will you take my Master’s house on a lease for all eternity, with nothing to pay for it, nothing but the rent of loving and serving Him forever? Will you take Jesus and dwell in Him? This house is furnished with all you want; it is filled with riches more than you can spend as long as you live. In this house you can have intimate communion with Christ and feast on His love; the tables are well-stocked with food for you to live on forever; in it, when weary, you can find rest with Jesus; and from it you have a view of heaven itself.

Will you have the house? If you are homeless, you will say, “I should like to have the house; but may I have it?” Yes; the key is, “Come to Jesus.” “But,” you say, “I am too shabby for such a house.” Never mind; there are garments inside. If you feel guilty and condemned, come; and though the house is too good for you, Christ will make you good enough for the house soon enough. He will wash you and cleanse you, and you will yet be able to sing, “We dwell in Him.”

Believer, your happiness will be multiplied in having such a dwelling-place! What a privilege for you to live in such a secure dwelling—a place of safety. And dwelling in Him, you have not only a perfect and secure house, but an everlasting one. When this world shall have melted like a dream, our house shall live and stand more imperishable than marble, more solid than granite, self-existent as God, for it is God Himself—“We abide in him.”

JUST DO WHAT HE SAYS

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”- JOHN 2:5

With both my husband and myself working from home, we are privy to each other’s online conversations. I had heard him share this example many times before, but on this particular morning, it struck me in a new way.

He was sharing the familiar story of Jesus turning the water into wine at the wedding in Cana, and he asked the person on the other end of the call to read the verses out of John 2. Mary was very blunt, “just do whatever he tells you!”

I heard my husband ask, “So what do you think the servants thought when they were told to fill the ceremonial water jugs with water?” I didn’t hear the rest of the conversation as my mind reflected on my response to the things that Jesus tells me.

The servants must have wondered what in the world Jesus was thinking. They needed wine to serve, not water in basins meant to hold water for their ceremonial cleansing. But Mary had been fervently clear about being obedient to Jesus’ commands, “Do what he says!”

I thought back to when our children were small and we told them that delayed obedience was disobedience. This was usually in response to their promise that they were going to do something we had told them to do, but they just hadn’t done it yet.

How often do I hear that still small voice telling me to pick up the phone and call someone or to drop off a gift of flowers for a friend going through hard times? But then, as the day goes on, I get busy, and the task is never done. Or in answer to a prayer I have prayed, I get an answer I wasn’t prepared for or didn’t like.

How about you? Have you been obedient and then later found out how God worked in someone’s life as a result? Or have you struggled to follow through and then wished that you had just done that thing God had impressed upon your heart?

Dear Lord Jesus, Thank you that you still speak to me today. Help me to recognize your voice and then just do what you say. Give me ears to hear and a heart to obey. Amen.

Throughout this Day: We don’t always have to understand why we need to do something, or know what the outcome will be. Instead we need to just do whatever Jesus tells us to do and know with full confidence that he is not only at work but will work for good in each situation. What is it that he is telling you to do today? Don’t question it. Just do whatever he tells you to do.

Ephesians 5:1-17

Godly wisdom enables us to view things as the Lord does and to respond according to biblical principles. This discernment isn’t automatic, but it is available to all believers who “try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord” (Eph. 5:10; James 1:5). And the best way to know what pleases God is to read His Word.

When we resolve to honor the Lord in all we do, say, and think, it transforms the way we make decisions. Instead of following natural instincts or sinful impulses, we’ll seek God’s viewpoint in a given situation. And when we want to know what He says about certain topics, Scripture will become our first resource, rather than our friends or the media.

With so many voices clamoring for us to follow worldly paths, we can’t afford to be careless in how we live. We can either walk in the world’s darkness or God’s light. The first option leads to foolishness, but the other is the way to goodness, righteousness, and truth.

Pleasing the Lord and conforming to His likeness are always the best choice. Ask for wisdom today, and God will guide you to live as children of light (Eph. 5:8).

I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

 2 Corinthians 6:16

What a sweet title: “my people”! What a cheering revelation: “their God”! What a wealth of meaning is couched in those two words, “my people”!

Here is speciality. The whole world is God’s; the heaven, even the heaven of heavens, is the Lord’s, and He reigns among the children of men. But of those whom He has chosen, whom He has purchased to Himself, He says what He says not of others—“my people.”

In this word there is the idea of proprietorship. In a special manner “the Lord’s portion is his people, Jacob his allotted heritage.”1 All the nations upon earth are His; the whole world is in His power. But His people, His chosen, are more especially His possession, for He has done more for them than for others. He has bought them with His blood; He has brought them to Himself; He has set His great heart upon them; He has loved them with an everlasting love, a love that many waters cannot quench and that the revolutions of time will never in the least degree diminish.

Dear friends, can you by faith see yourselves in that number? Can you look up to heaven and say, “My Lord and my God: mine by that sweet relationship that entitles me to call You Father; mine by that hallowed fellowship that I rejoice to enjoy with You when You are pleased to show Yourself to me as You do not to the world”? Can you read the Bible and find there the guarantee of your salvation? Can you read your title written in precious blood? Can you, by humble faith, lay hold of Jesus’ garments and say, “My Christ”?

If you can, then God says of you, and of others like you, “My people;” for if God be your God and Christ your Christ, the Lord has a special interest in you; you are the object of His choice, accepted in His beloved Son.

1) Deuteronomy 32:9

APPROACHING STORM

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.- MARK 4:39

Iremember a friend of mine a few years back calling to tell me about a report whirling around the office. “My company is planning a ‘reorg’,” he said, which is a significant and disruptive overhaul of its business structure. He had a new baby on the way at the time. The possibility of getting laid off concerned him a great deal and his stress level soared as we continued to talk.

Since I have survived several reorgs, I was glad he had reached out to me. I tried to ease his worries about his family and close friends at work by giving him my perspective on what to expect in the coming days and weeks.

As we continue to exchange ideas to help him prepare, I realized how often we fail to go to our Savior when we see an approaching storm. Our tendency is to brace for the looming trouble ahead with the help of colleagues and friends alone.

Jesus knows about the approaching storms we face and wants to assist us through them. But we must remember, he will not force us to call on him. Instead, he patiently waits for our prayers for assistance, nudging us to call out to him before it becomes too late.

Let us not overlook our need for his presence and power to quiet the heavy rains and strong winds advancing toward us. He sees ahead and knows what steps to take. Invite Jesus into our problems, reaching out to him in prayer, so we can receive his guidance on what to do before the storm comes ashore.

Lord, let me always be in awe of your power and wisdom that I do not foolishly attempt to take on the storms in my life by myself. By the work of the Holy Spirit, please remind me to seek your wisdom and guidance first before I start looking elsewhere for help. Amen.

Throughout this Day: Ask the Lord to meet you in the middle of the storms of your life and invite him to guide you by faith.

Hebrews 11:7-16

Faith is often thought of as a thing we have—a belief in something or someone. But in the Scriptures, faith is more than a passive possession—it’s a firm confidence that results in action. In today’s passage, an action follows every mention of faith. Noah prepared an ark, Abraham obeyed without knowing where he was going, and Sarah confidently anticipated the son God promised.

Instead of sitting back, believers should count on God’s promises and act accordingly, as did the men and women listed in Hebrews 11. The Lord accomplished amazing feats through their lives when they believed Him and moved out in obedience. Like a muscle, faith grows the more we put it into action. In this way, believers strengthen their trust in God and His promises, even when they don’t live long enough to see the fulfillment in their lifetime.

Are you acting on your faith in God and His Word? When you see a command or warning in Scripture, do you obey it? Are you letting biblical truths about God’s character and power shape your thinking and responses? If so, your faith is growing strong.

Can man make for himself gods?
Such are not gods!

 Jeremiah 16:20

One great besetting sin of ancient Israel was idolatry, and the church is vexed with a tendency to the same folly. The ancient gods of man’s invention have mostly disappeared, but the shrines of pride are not forsaken, and the golden calf still stands. Self makes an empty display, and the flesh sets up its altars wherever it can find space for them. Favorite children are often the cause of much sin in believers; the Lord is grieved when He sees us doting upon them beyond measure; they will live to be as great a curse to us as Absalom was to David, or they will be taken from us to leave our homes desolate. If Christians desire to grow thorns with which to stuff their sleepless pillows, let them dote on their children.

It is accurate to say that “such are not gods,” for the objects of our foolish love are very doubtful blessings, the solace that they yield us now is dangerous, and the help that they can give us in the hour of trouble is small indeed. Why, then, are we so bewitched with vanities? We pity the poor heathen who worships a god of stone, and yet we worship a god of gold. Where is the vast superiority between a god of flesh and one of wood? The principle, the sin, the folly is the same in either case; the only difference is that our crime is more aggravated because we have more light, and sin in the face of it. The heathen bows to a false deity, but the true God he has never known; we commit two evils, inasmuch as we forsake the living God and turn to idols. May the Lord purge us all from this grievous iniquity!

The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be;
Help me to tear it from Thy throne,
And worship only Thee
.

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.”- LUKE 9:23-24

Many believers across the world continue to remember and celebrate the triumph of Calvary’s cross, Jesus’ resurrection, and ascension. This month, we anticipate and celebrate Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. As we reflect on these sacred historical events, we embrace and profess Jesus as Lord over our lives. The Hebrew word for Lord is Adonai. Today’s church community is familiar with both words, but what does acknowledging Jesus as Lord really imply for Christ followers?

Singing or saying ‘Jesus is Lord’ is much more than a familiar refrain or profession — it is deeper than a community declaration. Scripturally, professing lordship is the assertion of obedient disciples. Discipleship is an unapologetic, non-negotiable invitation to intimacy and deep relationship — an exclusive call to unwavering obedience. In the gospels, Jesus defines the selfless essentials for being his disciple. In today’s narcissistic, self-made kingdom of comfort and affluence, Jesus’ expectations may seem radical or even unreasonable. However, these discipleship essentials are the believer’s rite-of-passage and the mantle of every committed, bought-with-a-price, Christ follower.

As believers living in a world that conflicts and contradicts God’s values, we must resolve to counter worldly principles and powers by cultivating our relationship with God. Never be content with a superficial, stagnant, faith walk. Commit daily to being an obedient Christ follower. Deep relational intimacy is impossible unless we relinquish self and become more like the first-century Rabbi who ransomed his life to redeem our lives. When we embrace our discipleship mantle of obedience and faithfully follow his counsel and direction, then we can proclaim with conviction and legitimacy Jesus as Lord — sovereign over our whole lives.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your Son to ransom his life to redeem mine. May your Holy Spirit empower me — helping me to surrender to your sovereignty, daily die to self and to faithfully and obediently follow your counsel and direction in every aspect of my life.

Throughout This Day: In prayer ask God to guide your words and actions today as you seek to follow Christ with the help of the Holy Spirit. At the end of the day, if there’s an area where you willfully chose your own way, confess it, trusting him to forgive and cleanse you. Thank him for each area of victory!

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