Why Following God Will Make You Do Weird Things

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Judges 7-8 GW; Psalms 83 GW

God’s ways are not our ways.

Today’s hero, Gideon, is going into battle against the Midianites.  God told Gideon he had too many men to fight.  Understanding man’s struggle with pride, God knew if Gideon won with a vast army, they would forget God’s part in the victory.    God gives Gideon directions on how to choose the men to take into battle with him.  Gideon had 300 men who lapped water like dogs to bring into action.  They won by blowing their horns and breaking jars, causing the Midianites to fight amongst themselves.

You may not feel that you have what you need to face the battle ahead; remember, feelings lie.  If you’re partnering with God, He is your greatest ally; with God, you can meet any army.  Wherever God guides, He provides.  Whatever tools are necessary for you to win, God will give you.  With God as your Commander-in-Chief, the victory is already yours.

Let God choose the equipment.

When my husband and I were first married, he decided to rent a plot at the local community garden.  Never having planted a garden before, I will never forget his first attempt.  Leaving for work, he showed me the handheld shovel he would use to plant the 400 sq. feet garden.   My husband figured it out quickly; he needed a bigger shovel.

We try to fight our battles with the wrong equipment.  Instead of trusting God, we make poor choices.  When you’re facing a dilemma, ask God what tools you need.  Don’t pick the wrong shovel.  Seek God and His guidance to fight your battles.  Each of us has a different purpose; no two fights are the same.  Only with God’s help can we find personal victory.  God’s way isn’t our way and often is a little weird.

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Lord, You are our biggest ally.  Forgive us for not turning to You sooner.  Guide us today into our battlefields.  Give us the equipment we will need to find a victory that gives You all the glory.  We know we can’t win without Your intervention.  Strengthen our faith as we face our foes.  Help us keep moving forward, taking territory from the enemy.  You are our Commander-in-Chief.  IJNIP. Amen

Question for reflection

What battle is God helping you fight today?

How Looking Towards God Will Make You Find Help

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Judges 5-6 GW; Psalms 121 GW

Look up, find God.

All you have to do to find God’s help is seek Him.  God is waiting to help you with whatever storm you’re in today. 

Our problem isn’t God; it’s us.  We don’t seek God amid the struggle.  Life engulfs and overwhelms us.  What seemed simple at the start becomes complex and challenging.  Before you know what is happening, you find yourself on a completely different path from which you started.  The best thing about being at rock bottom, it forces you to lookup.

“My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.  He will not let you fall. Your guardian will not fall asleep.” (Psalm 121:2-3 GW)

God has an answer to your struggle.  Acknowledge Him, ask God for help.  Wait for Him to move in your situation.  When He does, you will have no doubt it was God.

Blue skies are behind the clouds.

Each week, during our weekly prayer zoom, we discuss different aspects of prayer.  A couple of weeks ago, during a discussion of suffering, a friend made this statement:

“Suffering isn’t the absence of peace.”  Jennifer Johnson

Jen was reading in Philippians, thinking about Paul.  While suffering, He still had peace.  Paul suffered like most of us never will.  A good portion of the letters he wrote in the New Testament he did while in prison, chained to a guard.  Yet He still had peace.  

Blue skies exist even though storm clouds cover them.  Thunderheads come and go, but the blue sky is always present.  The same is true of God.  His peace is always available to You, no matter what the circumstances.  All you have to do is look for God, and you will find Him.  He is always present.  We’re the ones who don’t seek Him.

Look up today.  Ask God for His help. Wait expectantly for His answer.

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Lord, thank You for always being present with us.  Forgive us for not seeking You amid the storm.  Forgive us for trying to navigate life without You.  As we look for You today, let us find You.  Help us during our storms.  Remind us, You are always present, even in the midst of our struggles.  IJNIP. Amen

Question for reflection

What help do you need from God today?

How Boasting About God Will Make You Victorious

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Judges 3-4 GW; Psalm 20 GW

Know Who your strength is.

God gives victory to His children.  When we follow and obey Him, success comes.  Boasting about God means you recognize His power in your life.  Without Him, victory doesn’t come.  With God, all things are possible.

But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26 NKJV)

Boasting about God reminds you of His strength.  As you face the mountain in front of you today, remember, God is bigger than it.  You aren’t climbing alone.  God is your lifeline.  

When a mountain climber ascends a mountain, He uses a rope.  Mountaineers use carabiners to clip their lifeline to bolts inserted into the rock as they climb.  If they misstep, the cord keeps them from plunging to their death.  Without a sturdy rope, adventure seekers can’t reach the top.  With the rope, they get to the summit.

God’s lifeline never breaks.

Our mountains are metaphorical, but they still require a lifeline.  Just as mountaineers use bolts to clip their line, prayer allows us to climb.  When we begin the uphill trek, God gives us places of rest.  We can find shelter in His arms as we gain strength for the next climb.  Inch by inch, yard by yard, day by day, we make headway up the mountain.  Eventually, we will overcome.  One day, we will reach the summit.  When we do, we will boast about all God did to get us to the top.

As you set about today’s climb, take your lifeline.  Ask God to carry you up the mountain.  Tell Him you can’t do it alone.  Let His strength support you.  If you need rest, find it in the shelter of your Creator.

Boast about God.  Tell the world about your victory in Him.

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Lord, thank You for giving us victory.  Forgive us for not recognizing Your part in our wins.  Without You, we can do nothing.  As we climb our mountains today, guide us with Your rope.  Help us take the next steps in our journey.  Keep us moving forward, following You.  Give us victory over our battles.  Strengthen us for the trip.  Give us Your peace that surpasses all understanding.  Let us boast about You today.  IJNIP. Amen

Question for reflection

How can you boast about God today?

Why God’s Intervention Will Make You Honor Him

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Judges 12 GW; Psalm 50 GW

God’s rescue causes praise.

Soldiers pray when they are under enemy fire.  Students cry out to God when facing a test in school.  Mothers call on God on behalf of their children.  In times of trouble, soliciting help from God is easy.  When we survive whatever storm we’re facing, praising God is natural.  The greatest gift you can give someone is introducing them to God.

As a child, my mother taught me to pray.  At night, she knelt with me at the side of my bed, and we recited this prayer together:

“Now I lay me down to sleep,

I pray the Lord my soul to keep.

If I died before I wake,

I pray the Lord, my soul, to take.”

At dinner time, I prayed for our family meal:

“God is great; God is good.

Let us thank Him for our food.

By His hands, we all are fed.

Give us Lord our daily bread.

Amen”

These simple prayers taught me where to turn in times of trouble.  My mother made prayer a priority in my life.  She taught me how to talk to God.  As a result, I’ve chatted with God all of my life.  As I grew older, my prayers became more profound and heartfelt.  To this day, my husband and I pray over our meals together.  

God doesn’t sleep.

No matter what the situation, God is awake to hear your prayer.  Whether the simple prayer of a child or the anguished prayer of someone in pain, God listens.  He will rescue you from the trouble you face.  But He won’t do it the way you think.  

When God answers, you know it’s Him.

Without a doubt, God will rescue you.  He will give you the strength to face the storm.  Turn to Him; talk to God; let it all out.  Then praise Him for His response.  Thank God for carrying you through your trials.  Rest in His peace that is everlasting.

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Lord, thank You for hearing our prayers.  Whether the simple words of a child or the heartfelt words of an adult, thank You for answering.  Forgive us for not talking to You sooner.  Forgive us for trying to handle things on our own.  Rescue us from our distress.  To You goes all the glory and praise.  IJNIP. Amen

Question for reflection

Have you asked God to help you through Your storm?

How God’s Commands Will Make You Delighted

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Psalm 119:89-176 GW

God’s commands bring delight.

Amid adversity, God has the answer:

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand.”  (Isaiah 41:10 NIV)

When trouble and distress are surrounding you, God has your back.  He’s your first line of defense against whatever adversity you face.  Falling to your knees in prayer is the mightiest stance you can take.  God’s sovereignty reigns, no matter what the circumstances.  In Him, you will find delight as He strengthens you.  

Trusting God is present during difficult times isn’t easy.  God doesn’t give us His plan for our life all at once; He does it step by step.  Whatever is happening in your life may seem out of control, but God is with you in the battle.  Satan tries to distract us from God’s promises with his lies.  Staying focused on God keeps your eyes on the truth.

God is God.

Our biggest problem in life is finding the truth.  COVID highlights the difficulty of knowing what to believe.  Hospitals changed their coding to include “Flu, Pneumonia and COVID” as the same thing.  Actors portray doctors giving false information to the world.  Social media sites censor the information that is shared.  How is anyone to know what to believe?  We don’t have to know; God knows.  Staying focused on Him will always lead you to find the truth.

God doesn’t change.  He is the same today as yesterday or tomorrow.  Jesus’ teachings withstand the test of time.  Thousands of years later, they are still true.  No matter what life situation you are in today, the Bible has an answer.  God’s word is truth.  His commands will make you delighted.  In Him, you can find strength.

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Lord, thank You for not changing.  No matter what the scenario, You always remain solid and firm.  Forgive us for not coming to You sooner in our distress.  Forgive us for trying to solve life’s problems on our own.  Strengthen us for the battles we are in today.  Guide and direct us on our journey.  Delight us with Your commands as we apply them to our life.  We know, in all things, You’re the one in control.  IJNIP. Amen

Question for reflection

What command of God delights you?

Asking God to Uncover Your Eyes Will Make You See Miraculous Things

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Psalms 119:188 GW

Clear vision illuminates God’s word.

We need God’s help understanding His word.  When we open the pages of scripture, we do so with a personal bias.  In other words, we’re reading the word based on our experiences.  Therefore, when we interpret it, we aren’t objective.  But when we ask God to uncover our eyes so we can see miraculous things, He gives us insight beyond our perspective.

Also, as we move through life, we grow and change.  Psalm 23, one of the most well-known chapters of the Bible, is an example from my own life.  When my mother died, I understood verse four in a completely different way:

“Yeah, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4 NKJV)

Losing my mom was one of the most challenging periods of my life.  But amid my pain, God’s presence became more real to me.  The grace He extended was one I could only know through my loss.

Let God help you interpret.

Asking God to uncover your eyes helps you understand His word.  If You have questions, take them to the Lord in prayer.  Confess You don’t know what He is trying to tell you.  Let God become your interpreter.  Sometimes the understanding comes quickly; sometimes, it comes at another moment. God’s Spirit living within you will help with the translation.

Don’t give up reading God’s word.  Even though you don’t understand, God does.  Ask Him to reveal to You the more profound meaning.  Watch as you begin to see the miraculous things in God’s teachings.

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Lord, thank You for being our interpreter.  Forgive us for trying to understand Your word without You.  Today, as we read the scriptures, remove the veil from our eyes.  Help us to appreciate Your miraculous teachings, then apply them to our lives.  Give us the heart to accept Your truth into our lives.  Clear our vision, illuminate Your word.  As we continue on our journey, let Your light shine through us to the world.  In all things, You receive the glory.  We give you our lives today, trusting Your will is best.  IJNIP. Amen

Question for reflection

How has God revealed miraculous things to you through scripture?

How Listening to Wise Mentors Will Make You Smart

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Ruth 3-4 GW; Proverbs 31 GW

Find wise mentors.

You will meet many people who have passionate opinions about how you should live your life.  Wisely choose what ideas you embrace.  Find someone older than you whose life you would like to emulate.  When you need advice, take it from someone who has already gone where you want to go.

Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law, was a mentor to Ruth.  Through her, Ruth came to know God.  Naomi introduced her daughter-in-law to an entirely new life.  Following Jewish customs, Naomi called on her next of kin to marry Ruth.  Trusting Naomi completely, Ruth did what she told her to do.  As a result, Ruth became a great grandmother to King David.

Ruth was a smart woman.  She chose her mentor wisely.  Ruth is also one of the few women in the Bible who has the description, “woman of noble character” (Ruth 3:11 NIV).  Not only was Ruth smart, but she was also noble.

Listen and learn

When God gives you a wise mentor in your life, lap up everything they say.  Sit at their feet and listen to their stories.  Learn from their life experiences.  Listening to wise counsel helps you negotiate the storms of life.  Whoever you choose, they’ve gone through trials.  They can help you navigate yours.  No one’s life is easy, no matter what their social media feed might say.

Naomi and Ruth were recovering from a tremendous loss in their lives.  But their guiding light was God.  Amid their misery, they clung to Him.  Naomi, teaching her daughter-in-law how to let God lead them.

Consider the source of the information you receive.  Just because someone says something convincingly doesn’t mean you should listen.  Look at the fruits of their life.  Find someone who is producing good fruit.  Seek their counsel on how you can do the same.

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Lord, thank You for Your guiding light. Forgive us for turning anywhere else but You. Help us always seek Your counsel first and foremost.  Lead us to mentors who will help us grow and mature in faith and life.   Help us wisely choose who we take advice from on earth.  Remind us we should always consider the source.  Give us conviction through Your Spirit of who we follow.  IJNIP. Amen

Question for reflection

Who is a wise mentor in your life?

What Will Make You Follow God Anywhere?

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Ruth 1-2 GW; Psalms 129 GW; Proverbs 30 GW

Faithful servants inspire followers.

Ruth is speaking to her mother-in-law, Naomi, in today’s verse.  From Bethlehem, Naomi and her family moved to Moab, Ruth’s hometown, because of a famine in the land.  While Naomi was a resident in a foreign country, she lost her husband and two sons.  But not before her sons took wives, Ruth and Orpah.  Desolate and distraught, Naomi decides to move back to Bethlehem, where she has relatives.  Her daughters-in-law wanted to go with her, but Naomi wouldn’t let them.  However, Ruth refused to take no for an answer.  Naomi’s faithful service to her God made Ruth want to follow Him too.

Actions do matter.

Naomi’s presence in her life inspired faith in Ruth.  Watching as her mother-in-law handled her family’s loss, yet didn’t turn her back on God impacted Ruth.  Naomi’s actions sparked an interest in Ruth that only God could quench.  She wanted to know more about this foreign God that inspired loyalty despite the circumstances.  Remember, Ruth, lost her husband and was also grieving.  But in Naomi’s God, she found hope.

Hope is a catalyst.

In God, we find hope.  Just like Naomi and Ruth were hopeful moving back to Bethlehem would bring a better life, we find hope following Jesus.  When Ruth refused to turn around, she had no idea that decision would put her in the direct lineage of Jesus.  She became the great grandmother of King David.  But on that day, on the dusty road, Ruth didn’t know her fate.  All Ruth knew was she wanted to go wherever God was taking her, even into foreign territory.  

Your faith can inspire others.

God takes us places we never imagined.  His plan for our lives is specific and purposeful.  To follow, we must have faith.  People will notice your faithfulness.  You never know who you’re inspiring as you daily walk with Christ.

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Lord, You rock.  Even in the worst of circumstances, You are working.  Forgive us for thinking You aren’t present.  Give us each faith to follow You boldly today.  As people witness our actions, let them inspire curiosity in others.  Like Ruth, give us hearts to follow You anywhere.  Remove any fears we have; give us the courage to go wherever You lead.  IJNIP. Amen

Question for reflection

Where is God taking you today?

How False Idols Will Make You Not Identify Truth

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Joshua 23-24 GW; Psalms 115 GW; Proverbs 29 GW

False idols make you blind and deaf.

Confirmation Bias is “the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs or theories.”  Whatever you worship, you interpret life events to strengthen those beliefs rather than viewing them objectively.  You will give more weight to something that supports your theory versus something that debunks it.  Selective memory is a type of confirmation bias; you only remember things that suit your purposes, forgetting the things that don’t.  The more attached you are to the issue, the more you cling to the beliefs.

People worship a lot of things in this world that isn’t God.  Politicians and celebrities, money, power, possessions, the list is endless.  Accepting the truth of God means putting all other things in their place.  But we don’t want to give up our false idols for the one true God.  We choose the tangible over the intangible because it is easier.  Believing in a Creator we can’t see is more difficult than trusting someone or thing that we can.

As a result, people miss the truth of Jesus.

Persevere in truth.

For people in your life that have lost sight of truth, start with prayer.  My go-to prayer for myself and others is simple: “God give us, eyes to see and ears to hear Your truth.”  When someone is enmeshed in a tangle of lies, they need God’s help to see the light.  Nothing you say will help unless you are partnering with God.  

Once you pray this prayer, look for opportunities to plant seeds of truth.  When someone tells you a lie they are believing, debunk it.  Then pray for the seeds to take root and grow.  Remember, the more enmeshed they are in the lie, the more grains of truth you will need to plant.  But with God’s help, hopefully, they too will see the truth.

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Lord, thank You for Your truth.  Jesus came to offer us hope and salvation through eternal life and bring truth into a world filled with lies.  Forgive us for worshiping false idols.  Give us eyes to see, hears to hear the truth in our own lives.  For our loved ones believing lies, give them eyes to see, ears to hear as well.  Without You, we can’t know the truth.  All glory is Yours.  IJNIP. Amen

Question for reflection

Who do you need to pray “eyes to see, ears to hear” for today?

How Double-Dealing Will Make You Lose Your Integrity

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Joshua 21-22 GW; Proverbs 28 GW

Integrity is priceless.

Duplicity, contradictory doubleness of thought, speech, or action, is double-dealing. In other words, people will say whatever is necessary to achieve their goals.  Used car salesmen have a bad rap because they are often duplicite.  They know the car is a lemon, but they’ll tell you whatever they need to say to sell it. Not everyone who sells cars double-deals—unfortunately, those who do give the rest a poor reputation. 

Not once, in any of Jesus’s teaching, do you see Him double-dealing.  In all of His relationships, Jesus led with integrity.  In other words, He possessed “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. Jesus told the truth; He came to share it with us:

“In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth.  Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” (John 18:37 NIV)

Following Christ means duplicity is not an option.  No matter how tempting the business deal is, if it’s not honest, it’s not good.  Everything we do is a reflection of Christ to those around us.  Double-dealing is not who Jesus was.

Lead with integrity.

Living like Jesus means leading with integrity.  In every relationship, no matter what kind, truth is a necessity.  Duplicity and integrity can’t exist together.  One has got to go.  Don’t waste time telling lies to meet your needs.  Instead, follow Jesus’s example and speak the truth in love in all things.  When we imitate Jesus in every respect, we mature into the person we are becoming.  God has a purpose for your life; it’s an honest one.

Duplicity gets you nowhere.  Integrity is the only way.  Don’t compromise truth for a quick buck.  Instead, trust God for His provision.

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Lord, thank You once again for Your example.  Thank You for coming so that we would know the truth.  Forgive us, Lord, for lying.  Forgive us for putting the almighty dollar before the Almighty.  Help us live honest lives.  Let us lead with integrity today in all we do.  When temptation is upon us, help us choose You.  Remind us today of what Christ did for us.  Let us live in the freedom of truth today and always.  IJNIP. Amen

Question for reflection

How can you lead with integrity today?