Category Archives: God’s Promises

Forever By Chris Tomlin

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In lieu of a devotional today, I want to share this praise song, “Forever” by Chris Tomlin. Jeremiah 33: 10-11 describes the desolate place that is Jerusalem. But God will retore it to the sounds of gladness, where all people and animals will say,” Give thanks to the Lord Almighty, for the Lord is good; and his love endures forever! I encourage you to sing praises to the Lord with this jam!

God Teaches Us Because He Loves Us

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Then Jesus said,”Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” John 11:40

Whoa. That is a pretty big question. But let’s put it into context for a moment. Jesus was about to raise Lazarus from the dead. Recall that Lazarus and his sisters were friends of Jesus. In Luke 11: 38-42, Martha  hosted Jesus and His disciples in her home in a town called Bethany around 3 kilometers from Jerusalem during His ministry. While Martha is frantically serving and moving about the house, her sister Mary sat at Jesus’ feet just listening. Think for a moment about the conversations that occurred at this table in that home!

Flash forward. Martha and Mary were worried. Lazarus, their brother had become very sick.  John 11:5 says that Jesus loved the trio of siblings and when Lazarus fell ill the sisters knew who they could rely on. They sent word to Jesus to let Him know that Lazarus is about to perish. Here’s where I find that the story becomes interesting. Jesus tells the disciples in verse 4 that Lazarus’ sickness “will not end in death. No it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”  In other words, He was in control. There was a purpose.

In hard times, do you ever sit back and wonder,” Why am I being put through this??” I’m sure Martha and Mary thought the same thing after Lazarus became sick. Why do bad things happen to good people? It is unclear whether Lazarus lived with his sisters but we often associate men with being the head of the household especially in the time of Christ around 30AD. Regardless, it must have been concerning for Martha and Mary to see the upcoming loss of their brother. In panic, the ladies reach out to Jesus. Just like we do. But there is no indication of an answer sent back to the ladies. They must have been worried sick after Jesus didn’t come rushing to Lazarus’ side. I know I would have been incredibly upset!

The disciples are the ones to hear John 11: 4 and as verse 6 indicates, Jesus remained where He was and allowed Lazarus to die. And as Jesus tells the disciples,”Lazarus is dead and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” Is it coincidence that a person that Jesus’ loves dearly was allowed to die just to teach us or provide us with an example experience? Is it slightly similar to John 3:16?  I loosely place ourselves in the disciples’ position because like them, we are human. We doubt, we argue and we want to be the ones in control. We seek answers to unanswerable questions and yet without frustration or contempt Jesus teaches us because He knows that we need proof. So Jesus agrees to go to Lazarus, Martha and Mary in Bethany despite the resistance and danger that Jesus was in by traveling in the area. Again, risking His and the disciples’ safety for the people who He loves: Martha, Mary, Lazarus and the disciples. There is a lesson to be learned and Jesus was determined to reveal what the disciples and sisters did not know.

I challenge you to remain patient and keep awareness during the hard times of life. God is trying to use these moments to teach us or equip us to relate to others experiencing similar situations. But don’t forget, these moments are intended to bring God glory. Not us. And it is easy. We don’t have to study. We don’t have to work to earn it. We just need to remain faithful. God teaches us because He loves us.

Your love is better than life!

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Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. -Psalm 63:3-4

Last night in my women’s Bible study group we talked about the great power of Jesus and how daily we need to remind ourselves that His power is greater than any challenge that we are facing. There is nothing that we should fear when we believe. So true is that statement where power is replaced by love. With the beginning of February and such a love surrounded season, I will be posting on the theme of God’s love for us.

The psalmists affirms God’s love. It is better than life. No argument there. Life is hard and mostly overwhelming. There are unexpected twists and turns. Hurts, misunderstandings and heartache. But rejoice and breathe because God is better than all of that. Remember, the conclusion of the Bible study??

Every hurt that I have come through successfully on the other side was because of God and His love. This last year was really hard for me mentally and emotionally. My thesis work was getting me down. I felt that I was consistently failing and letting everyone down. I kept trying, and trying, and trying to no avail. I couldn’t shake the feelings of worthlessness. Finally, I found myself in this darkness angry with God and questioning where He was in all of it. I felt like a bad version of Job. I argued back with God. It didn’t make sense why He had opened the doors for me to go to graduate school, transfer and then leave me feeling helpless. I didn’t see the point in all of the pain and self-doubt. Especially since the person I was didn’t feel like me. But after enough grumbling, I decided that I had to surrender. I had to trust. I had to trust God’s love for me. It shouldn’t be hard for us to trust God’s love because it is unfailing but we still do sometimes. Don’t we? Like it is too good to be true.

I would go on further to say that God’s love is bigger than life. But because of His love, the promise to allow only glory to escape our lips is made. He deserves nothing less than our praise. Every moment, every day and every blessing comes from Him. We should have a hard time keeping our praises quiet because of all the overwhelming joy and overfilled cups. But when we are in those dark places or feel alone it is hard to acknowledge that we are lovable. We deserve love and we have a God that is ready to shower us with love. And a love that transcends any earthly love.

Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. -Psalm 63:3-4

Hearing God Knock…are you listening?

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Do you get nervous the morning of an early morning flight? I certainly do! The night before I am constantly worrying about leaving something behind, having my boarding passes ready and ensuring that I set my alarm clock so that I wake up on time. With all of the items crossed off the list, my husband and I went to bed with the alarm set for 5:30 a.m. because we were heading to Orlando International airport at 6 a.m. sharp.

Around 5:30 a.m. I abruptly woke up to the sound of knocking. It wasn’t knocking on the bedroom door but rather it sounded like someone was knocking on the door outside of my brother-in-law’s townhome which was just outside of our window. My husband didn’t stir but I was panicked. My heart began to flutter and I had trouble getting back to sleep. Here is where God comes in. My alarm was set for 5:30 a.m. remember? But my clock on my phone had not been updated to Eastern time from Central (we were in Florida) so we were scheduled to wake up an hour later that planned!!!! Chill bumps!!!

My husband and in-laws woke up with me and then we hurried to the airport. My husband and I gave quick hugs and dashed inside to check our bags finding ourselves in this enormous snake-like line! I should mention it was moving at a snail’s pace. The one hour cut-off for our bags to arrive guaranteed in Nashville ticked by. Grumbles ensued. After, what felt like an eternity, we reached the check-in counter, passed off our stuff and booked it for security. We joined the mass of folks and made our way through security with just enough time to use the restroom and make it to our gate. I felt like the McCallister’s in “Home Alone” running through the airport to make it on time.

As my husband and I boarded the plane, we reflected on how we could not have woken up a moment later or we would have missed the entire flight. No one else heard the knocking it turns out so I could only figure that it was God.

This story makes me wonder how many opportunities to hear God knock in our lives we have but we don’t pay enough attention to hear. We need to practice tuning our ears to hear Him in the silence of the night and even in the busyness of our lives. No matter what, God has our back!

And God said,”Let there be light,” and there was light.

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by Raymond Larose "Flickr" cc

Any Guesses? by Raymond Larose “Flickr” cc

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. – Genesis 1:3 (NIV)

Have you ever had one of those a-ha! moments in your life where you knew that it just had to be God working? I remember the application process to graduate school being one of those moments in my life. I applied early, before the January deadline, which meant that I had a significantly longer time to wait than if I had applied later. I was a nervous wreck for those few months! After years of working hard in school, finding internships and preparing applications I was stuck. Finally I received one offer from a school that I had applied to on a whim. I didn’t know why they were the only ones that were interested in me but I took my chances. Good thing that I followed through because it was on that interview that I met my husband. It took awhile to realize it was God leading me to the man that he had created to be my life partner. “A-ha,” I said. I see what you are doing, Lord! Pray that you can keep your eyes open so that God can turn on the light in your life.