DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor” Week Ten, Day Three

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor”

Week Ten, Day Three

 

“Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff–they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” Psalm 23:4-5 (HCSB)

 

The victory is yours in Christ Jesus. Psalm 23, a psalm of David, is a beautiful reminder of our walk with the Lord Jesus. David acknowledges that not if, but rather when, he is to go through difficult circumstances, he will not fear because God is with him. Why would the presence of God be a comfort to David in the midst of a dark time? The writing continues by adding that he receives comfort in knowing that God is equip with both His rod and His staff. If one is not familiar with pastoral terminology, the powerful declaration of God’s protection in the midst of tragic seasons is lost on the reader. The rod is used for discipline and correction, whereas the staff is used for guidance and direction. How beautiful to note that our Shepherd, Jesus Christ, is equipped with these tools to lead us safely through the unknown lands of this world. How great is our God!

 

Prayer For Today:

Dear Jesus, please forgive me for trying to make it through this season of difficulty without You. Thank You for both your correction and direction provided by Your loving presence. Thank You, Jesus, for the way in which You have provided for my every single need in this time. Both spoken and unspoken, You are faithful. Help my lips to sing of Your praises. Help me to speak of the fulfilled prayers before speaking of continued needs. God, You are faithful. Help me to trust You fully with the one I love. I give (name)________ to you anew this very day (Philippians 4:6). In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor” Week Ten, Day One

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor”

Theme of Week Ten: My God is All I Need

Week Ten, Day One

 

“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves.” Matthew 11:28-29 (HCSB)

 

The LORD Jesus knows that each of us is going to go through periods of great want. He knows that this life is going to throw us curve ball after curve ball at times that will leave us exhausted. How gracious our LORD to invite us to come to Him, personally, and receive the rest that we each to desperately need in times of trial. By taking up the yoke of the Lord, we are then able to be directed, in how to respond within any given situation. How wonderful to recount that we serve a risen LORD who is able to empathize with the suffering that results in this fallen world, yet was never sinned (Hebrews 4:15). He not only understands, but He has provided each of us a way out of the sorrow and grief by providing His own grace, strength and guidance to last beyond our entire journey (2 Corinthians 12:9).

 

Prayer For Today:

Mighty and Powerful Jesus, how unworthy am I to approach You with my troubles. You are awesome. You are holy. You are righteous. Yet, You sincerely care for each of Your creations—and invite us to come receive rest from You. What an invitation! Through Your own sacrifice, I am only able to approach the throne of grace. It is all because of You, Jesus. Help me to focus on Your goodness and incredible power in times when I feel helpless. Teach me how to give You my burdens regarding (name)__________ and all that goes along with the situation’s many aspects to consider. Thank You that You are all-knowing (1 Corinthians 2:10-11), all-loving (1 John 4:9) and all-present (Psalm 139:7-10) in Your creation and in heaven. You are God and I praise You for who You are amidst the storm. I choose to hold fast to the promises to my heart for trusting in You. In the powerful name of Jesus I pray, amen.

 

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor” Week Eight, Day Seven

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor”

Week Eight, Day Seven

 

“Sing to God! Sing praises to His name. Exalt Him who rides on the clouds — His name is Yahweh–and rejoice before Him.” Psalm 68:4 (HCSB)

 

After being rescued from captivity in Egypt, the Israelite people were guided around the desert for forty years by a pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:21). Whether we are called to walk a road that we can see far down the path or not, rest in the assurance that God, Yahweh, will provide the light we need to walk the road we are called to (Psalm 119:105). When we find ourselves slumping into a place of depression and lack of hope to make it through a tumultuous time, reflect on the Lord’s faithfulness. This is the very thing the Israelites did as they would travel to Jerusalem three times a year for their great festivals. Psalm 126 is one of these such songs of ascent that were sung by the Israelite people as they would travel to Jerusalem. Much in the same way, our strength and hope are sharpened, as were the Israelites, as we take the time to reflect on the goodness of God in the midst of a trying time. It is of great comfort to take hold of the solid truth that the LORD is mighty to save—in His perfect timing and His perfect way (Isaiah 55:8-9).

 

Prayer For Today:

Jesus, please help me to praise You when all I can do is question. You alone are good. You alone are just. You alone can redeem this situation. I pray that You will give me praise and an undeniable joy in knowing that You have a purpose for this season. Please be with (name)__________ in the midst of the pain. Please work in miraculous ways to bring healing—in Your mighty name, for Your glory. I know that one day, all sickness, sin and death will finally be defeated due to Your victory (Revelation 21:4). Help me to faithfully trust You and listen to You each day as I return sincere praise that You are God and You can make a way where there is no way. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

 

**Week Eight in review:

Please take a moment to reflect on the biblical realities of promised peace amidst chaos. What are some things you can do to declare the Lord’s praise to your own heart in this season of chaos? How good the Lord is to never give us more than we can hand over to Him (1 Peter 5:7). He is worthy to be praised.

 

***Optional Service Project (Acts 20:35):

This week for the optional service project, go for a walk outdoors and pick up ten pieces of trash from the path you walk. When we are in a season characterized by grief and ongoing trauma, finding ways to bless others and see the physical results of our efforts is sincerely gratifying. As you pick up the trash, pray for those who will walk down that same outdoor setting later that day. Ask the Lord to draw others closer to Himself as they are able to see the beauty of His created world (Isaiah 55:11-12).

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor” Week Eight, Day Six

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor”

Week Eight, Day Six

 

“This is what the LORD says: Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool. What house could you possibly build for Me? And what place could be My home? My hand made all these things, and so they all came into being. This is the LORD’s declaration. I will look favorably on this kind of person: one who is humble, submissive in spirit, and trembles at My word.” Isaiah 66:1-2 (HCSB)

 

How truly awesome is the LORD. The very One who created both the heavens and the earth, the very One who taught the sun to rise and the caribou how to migrate, this very LORD looks favorably onto those with a humble and submissive spirit. The person who reverences the words and teachings within the Bible gains great favor with the LORD. In the middle of our hardships, in the midst of the agony, may we remember to stay submissive and humble to the leading and teaching of the LORD upon our lives. If we believe that Jesus Christ is LORD, we have already been secured the victory. The powerful, awe inspiring and breath-taking majesty of the Almighty God, looks favorably upon all whom humble themselves to His written word. There is eternal power in the words of the eternal “I Am”. When the temple guards came to arrest Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, as Judas Iscariot betrayed Him, all present witnessed the sheer power of Jesus’ words. As the soldiers called out for Jesus of Nazareth, while they carried spear and sword, the very acknowledgement of Jesus that “I AM He” caused these burly soldiers to draw back and fall to the ground—stunned as to what had just happened (John 18:6). What a powerful testimony of the undeniable and victorious power of Jesus Christ. Do not go through today’s challenges without calling upon the supreme power of Jesus Christ—there is no hardship too great for the Almighty (Isaiah 6:1-8).

 

Prayer For Today:

Oh LORD, You are powerful. You alone are mighty. You are the only true definition and example of holy. Thank You for then rescuing and redeeming my life as only a perfect God could (Hebrews 7:24-26). Thank You that through Jesus’ atoning work on the cross of Golgotha, I may enter into Your royal throne room by Your all sufficient grace towards the shameful and sinful things I have done (Ephesians 3:12).

 

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor” Week Five, Day Seven and review

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor”

Week Five, Day Seven:

 

Those who are persecuted for righteousness are blessed, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.” Matthew 5:10 (HCSB)

 

When we make a conscious decision not to partake in lawlessness, gossip, lude living and other outward expressions of rebellion to God, a separation is made between those willing to engage in such behaviors and those not. Isolation, slander and even physical harm can result from stirred and convicted hearts of those witnessing righteous lives. This very thing was proven true through the account of Jesus Christ’s righteous life, brutal death on a Cross and glorious victory from the grave on the third day (Isaiah 53:5). May this be an encouragement to hold the legal, moral and ethical ground in the name of Jesus Christ; for regardless of the suffering endured here on this earth, we too will be lifted up in His proper time (1 Peter 5:6-7). For, as Matthew 5:10 clearly states, those persecuted for doing good and righteous things will be satisfied by access, through Jesus Christ, to God Himself in heaven. Although it is not always easy to “take the higher road”, may these words of Jesus in Matthew 5:10 charge your spirit to focus not on the words and actions of this world, but rather on the approval and acceptance of God Himself. Even in the hardest and most dark of circumstances, we can still stand for righteousness in the name of Jesus Christ. Consider how might the Lord desire to use you this day to take a stand for good and righteous living regarding the valley through which you are currently traveling.

 

Prayer for today:

Dear Jesus, what a terribly hard road this is to travel. Teach me to do good and love pure things—including the conversations, texts shared and even online sites I visit. Convict me of things I need to give up to You and apologize to You for. I want to find my satisfaction in You rather than another source. Help (name)__________ to be drawn to You in the midst of this storm and abuse. You have heard the things said. You know all things. Please, please realign our focus to You and living righteously in order to bring glory to Your name. You are faithful to sustain us and give us a place to stand up under the pressures all around. Thank You for this truth Jesus. In Your name I pray, amen.

 

**Week Five in review: Please write down the most meaningful verse from this past week below. As you do, please take the time to thank God for His Word. How beautiful to meditate on the very words of Jesus Christ! I have sincerely enjoyed studying the Beatitudes over this past week. I hope that they have blessed your heart as well.

 

**Optional Service Project (Acts 20:35): A Steaming Basket. Whenever something good happens, find someone to thank. A simple basket of assorted coffees, teas, ciders, hot cocoas, rehydration drinks, waters and flavors, etc. would be a real blessing to someone who has made an impact on you this past week to press further into your pursuit of Jesus Christ.

 

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley of Achor” Check Point before Week Three

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley of Achor”

Check Point before Week Three

 

Check Point: The Heartache of Hello

 

Within a new season of trauma or intense stress, there are many things that change rapidly to alter our surroundings from comfortable to chaotic. In this time, we are forced to not only give up things and routines that have been familiar to us, but we also have to acknowledge the arrival of something new—something unwelcome and foreign into our lives. If you are reading this today and feel that you cannot bring yourself to meet another new doctor, read and sign yet another paper within the court case or even face another day of this present anguish—may your heart be encouraged this very page.

 

As we are willing to realize that heartache is a blessing, we can more fully grasp the fact that our work on this spinning planet is not yet done. Stop and think about that for a moment. The moment that we stop having to work hard to benefit the lives of those around us either directly or indirectly through direct acts of service and prayer, we are surrendering our calling as believers in Jesus Christ. Ladies, in times of debilitating distress, may our hearts and hands reach for the LORD. It is in Him alone that we will find our rest, our hope, our assurance and our peace in the midst of the storm. And as we prayerfully continue to walk out each day, as difficult and gut wrenching as they may be, we are bringing glory back to the LORD—which is our purpose for drawing each breath.

 

May we not allow the devil to taste the victory of our own defeat due to devastation. No, as believers in Jesus Christ, we have the ability to tap into the eternal source of life giving power. What is that power? The mighty and undisputed name of Jesus Christ. Remember, the demons know the power of Jesus Christ’s name and have to flee (Matthew 8:28-32), the angels know the powerful name of Jesus Christ and cannot stop worshipping (Revelation 7:9-12), and creation itself stands still when told to by His mighty word (Mark 4:36-41). The question is, do you sincerely understand the power that you have been entrusted with, as a follower of Jesus Christ (John 14:27, Romans 8:15 & 2 Timothy 1:7)?

 

 

Thank You, Jesus Christ, that You alone are the Mighty Healer and Eternal King (Deuteronomy 10:17, Psalm 89:27 & Revelation 1:5-8). Thank You for Your perfect knowledge and grace (2 Corinthians 12:8-10). Allow me to claim the truths found in Your Word in times of trouble and tattoo them to my heart (Psalm 119:9-16 & Psalm 119:105).

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley of Achor” Week One COMPLETE

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley of Achor” Week One COMPLETE

 

Through The Valley of Achor

 

Prayers for a change in direction drive us to our knees as the calendar ticks down to the unwanted day of departure. Blessings Through The Valley of Achor will remind you that heartache and cries for mercy are woven into the tapestry of all believers. Whether military or millionaire, ditch digger or diplomat, married or single—each life reaches a point where we all fall to our knees and cry out to God. Each day we will meditate on a passage to help us bloom in seasons of great transition and perceived gloom. This book is a devotional for the days that hurt and an encouragement that with God you will make it through (Jeremiah 29:11-13).

 

 

 

 

 

INTRO

 

OUR STORY THROUGH THE VALLEY OF ACHOR (Hosea 2:14-16)

 

After six years of marriage, two precious children and a steady expectancy of the unexpected in our “soldier-diplomat” lifestyle, I had grown a bit comfortable as to what life would look like for us. I was now united to my best friend in marriage. God had worked miracles to ensure our union (read Mirrors to Windows: Change your view to see God’s true romance to see the full account unfold). Phil and I had traveled much of North Africa, the Middle East and parts of Europe together during our first year of marriage for his profession. God had then honored our prayers for children. God even allowed my husband to be brought back from war in order to be present for our son’s birth—nearly unheard of within the military community. After the birth of our son, we were able to spend time with Phil’s parents before his mama went home to be with Jesus. We had so much to be grateful for. Although we moved every twelve to twenty-four months, I knew that Phil would always be with me to see our family through. He was a man of God and a man of sincere prayer. God had really blessed my children and me. Then, we stepped into a new terrain within our marriage and family. We experienced, more fully, what the Valley of Achor (meaning trouble) really was.

 

With four years in the Middle East and three years previous bouncing across the U.S. and the Arab World as a whole, our roots never sank too deep into any one place. In terms of the heart, since the age of six, my roots and strong standing were in Jesus Christ, my Lord and personal Savior. How blessed I was to have married a man, who also from a very young age, had submitted to Christ. My husband shared my same heart for global adventure and reaching those in need of the eternal security that Jesus Christ brings to the soul.

 

For our six years of marriage and the year prior during our courtship, Phil had always been the cool-headed one in our relationship; the logical, the planner. Well, in short, this is not the type of person he married! If there was something to fret about, more times than not, I was first in line to fill the role. If there was something to rejoice about, more times that not, I was the one waving the biggest pom-pom. And in the midst of it all, we knew that the Lord would see us through all the silliness and sorrow in between.

 

Although I saw military family after military family deeply challenged by the separation that comes with deployment, I was certain that the Lord would not allow me and my family to walk through the hellish experience of being a “married-single parent” as so many do while their loved one is deployed for a year or longer. When we got the news of Phil’s next U.S. Embassy assignment—coupled with the fact that we could not accompany due to safety concerns—I felt as though a horrible joke had just been played on me. In many ways, it was as though I was flashed back to the heartbreaks from my own past. As a young girl, I had always told myself that my family was safe from destruction—but had been proven wrong as divorce gripped the family of my youth. Yet, God provided in the midst of that heartache and used it for His ultimate glory.

 

Fast forward to the present, I was now married to the man I loved, the mama of two precious toddlers whom we loved and completely reeling all over again as I faced a new earthquake within my family. The very man God had led me to marry was now being ripped away from our children and me for an extended time due to his professional dealings with foreign governments. I silently asked the Lord in earnest, “Haven’t I gone through enough?!” [Perhaps, you too can relate to similar internal questions as the earthquakes within your own story disrupt your perceptions of security and what it means to be “safe”.] I could not bring myself to be angry with God—I just could not. I knew, even at that moment—as was true during my youth—that God is good (Nahum 1:7). So, my anger, rage and feelings of betrayal were then directed towards the very one I love most on this earth; my husband.

 

Ladies, allow me to assure you, the devil hates marriage. The Bible often references a marriage to most closely reflect the relationship of Jesus Christ and His body of believers, called the Church or the Bride of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12, 1 Corinthians 12:27, Ephesians 5:25-27 & Revelation 19:7). Thus, Christian marriages are often attacked as a way of sidelining those looked up to by singles—be they believers in Jesus Christ or not. May we pray for our marriages both while residing under the same roof as well as for periods when we are separated geographically by zip codes and even distant time zones. Take stock in this truth Ladies, the God of perfect love is bigger than our suffering and aching hearts (Romans 8:38-39)! I can testify that this has been the case for us and it now can be the case for you, too.

 

This study is unique in the fact that it has been written in response to the nudging the Lord has put upon my own heart—to counsel my own heart for not only the year apart from the man I love most in the world—but then the return of our family to the Middle East in response to the Lord’s leading. I would love to say that my children were spared of the stress, the chaos and the heartache that has been associated with this traumatic season of saying good-bye, hello and good-bye again to Daddy for an extended time and later friends, but that simply has not been the truth. If you too, are a parent who has felt that you have “missed the mark” to represent Jesus Christ under the current pressure you are living in, may I encourage you this very day. God is bigger than our problems, bigger than our blow-ups, and bigger than our deepest pain (2 Peter 1). Listen to me now, do not give up! You are not a quitter. You were made for so much more than this heartache and turmoil. Keep pressing into the Lord; you may not be able to see the end in sight yet, but rest assured, the best is yet to come!

 

Begin by confessing your shortcomings to the Lord (1 John 1:9-10) and ask for His help in walking through this Valley of Trouble with Him (Psalm 23). This will actually make you stronger and more stouthearted through the reading and meditation on the Word of God; the Holy Bible (Psalm 119:50) and daily bringing your requests and sincere heart before the Lord in prayer (Philippians 4:6).

 

The Word of God is where our hearts can be encouraged and redirected back to the Lord in times of chaos and great turmoil (Psalm 119:105, Proverbs 6:23 & 2 Peter 1:19). Hold fast to the biblical knowledge that with Jesus Christ, He will faithfully lead you out.

 

 

“The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree,

He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon.

 

Planted in the house of the Lord,

They will flourish in the courts of our God.

 

They will still yield fruit in old age;

They shall be full of sap and very green,

 

To declare that the Lord is upright;

He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”

 

Psalm 92:12-15 (NASB)

 

To my LORD Jesus Christ, Who has been faithful to walk my precious family through each mountaintop and valley of this great adventure. May praise and hope in Jesus Christ alone be gleaned from these pages.

 

Christ is the answer

 

 

Theme of Week One: God Hears Me

 

Week One, Day One:

 

“The LORD is near the brokenhearted; He saves those crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 (HCSB)

 

There are times in our lives when we cry out to God, with nothing left to say. Our hopes seem dashed. Our prayers appear unanswered. And, deep down, we may even fear that God simply could not fix the situation at this point anyway. On days like this, soak in the truth of God’s Word. The words of Psalm 34:18 beautifully reminds us, that not just today, but each day, the LORD is near and saves those who are crushed. What a comfort to recall that in such seasons of our lives, regardless of the duration, the LORD is near and indeed saves.

 

Prayer for the day:

Dear LORD, help (name)_____. You see the pain. You see the complexity of the situation. Thank you that Your Holy Bible is trustworthy and true. Please give (name)______ the assurance that this very day, You are providing comfort and presence in this incredibly difficult time. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

 

 

Week One, Day Two:

 

“For the High and Exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy says this:” I live in a high and holy place, and with the oppressed and lowly of spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and revive the heart of the oppressed.” Isaiah 57:15 (HCSB)

 

Royalty dwells in palaces with elegance and lighthearted living. Yet, praise God that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ, wanted to have fellowship with each of us. The Bible assures us that each life is so treasured to God that even while we were still involved in crazy living, Jesus paid our ransom (1 John 4:9). Rest in the reality today that your life is so precious to God that He stepped out of His royal living in order to revive each heart that becomes oppressed by sorrow, guilt and pain.

 

Prayer for today:

Dear Jesus, thank You for caring for each of our lives. Thank you for caring for (name) _________ life. Thank You that Your Word, the Holy Bible, assures us that we are never alone in our sorrows. It is You, the High and Exalted One who revives our hearts. Help (name) _______ to claim this truth for today. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

 

 

Week One, Day Three:

“The God of old is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He drives out the enemy before you and commands, “Destroy!” Deuteronomy 33:27 (HCSB)

 

Have you ever just needed someone to back you up? When we belong to Jesus Christ, as we call upon His name, we are tapping into the eternal power of God. The same God that created the world (1 John 1:1), delivered the Israelites from the hands of Pharaoh (Exodus 14:29-31) and raised Jesus Christ from the dead (Matthew 28:5-7) is the same God you can call upon this very day. As we learn to find comfort and refuge underneath the powerful arms of Almighty God, we will see that it is God who will destroy our problems, in His perfect timing.

 

Prayer for today:

Dear Jesus, thank You for being all knowing and all powerful. Thank You for not only seeing the problems in (name) _______ life, but also destroying these problems, in Your perfect timing. Help me to claim this truth for today. You are trustworthy and Your timing is perfect. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

 

 

Week One, Day Four:

 

“Be a rock of refuge for me, where I can always go. Give the command to save me, for You are my rock and fortress.” Psalm 71:3 (HCSB)

 

When the diagnosis is worse than expected, call on the LORD to be your rock. When the relationship appears forever shattered, call on the LORD to be your fortress. When you no longer feel in control of your life and wonder if there is a point to continue on, call on the name of the LORD to be your rock and fortress. Regardless of our situations, no matter how deep the pain, there is always hope in Jesus Christ. Take a deep breath today and hold fast to this prayer of Psalm 71:3. This verse is a plea for God’s help. Make it your own today—God is waiting for your permission to intervene in the story. In faith, put the name of the one in trouble on the rock of Jesus today.

 

***Have a picture of a rock sketch here.

 

Prayer for today:

Dear Jesus, please be the safe house of refuge for (name) ___________. Thank You that at Your word, rescue is realized within any situation. Help (name) ________ to grant You the permission to intervene into this situation today. Please be the rock for (name) ______ in a special way this day. Thank you, LORD. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

 

 

Week One, Day Five:

 

2Let my prayer come before You; Incline Your ear to my cry! 3For my soul has had enough troubles, And my life has drawn near to Sheol.” Psalm 88:2-3 (NASB)

 

There are seasons in life that simply leave us numb. Yet, no matter how mad we get, no matter how many nasty words we speak, the outcome does not change. When we feel overwhelmed by helplessness and inadequacy, may we cry out to the LORD in an unvarnished way. The God of the Bible, Jesus Christ, has broad shoulders. Bring your pain—the situations that have numbed your heart—to the LORD today. He is ready to rescue you in the midst of it all (1 Peter 5:7).

 

Prayer for today:

Dear Jesus, help (name) ________ with feelings of being numb and overwhelmed. Thank You, Jesus, that we can come to You with honesty and know that You care about even the smallest details of our lives. Help this truth to be made clear to (name) ______ today. In Your name I pray, amen.

 

 

Week One, Day Six:

 

“I have called upon You, for You will answer me, O God; Incline Your ear to me, hear my speech.” Psalm 17:6 (NASB)

 

In sports, there is a moment when only the best of the best can save the play or win the game. The psalmist is making a similar plea. He acknowledges that God is the one who has always come through for him. May we take time today to speak this truth to the Lord from our own personal stories. Not only will it bless the Lord, but it will be a sincere encouragement to our own hearts as we recall the various ways God has saved the day in the past. If you are new to the faith, know that God is ready to do the same for you that He has been in the business of doing for all of humanity since inception—saving the day—with the perfect play.

 

Prayer for today:

Dear Jesus, thank You that I can approach You with my needs. Thank You that (name)_______ can approach You with needs as well. Please minister to (name)_______ heart today. Help (name)______ to lay the heavy burdens down because You really do care for (name)________. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

 

Week One, Day Seven:
“O my God, incline Your ear and hear! Open Your eyes and see our desolations and the city which is called by Your name; for we are not presenting our supplications before You on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion.” Daniel 9:18 (NASB)

 

This prayer in Daniel is one that echoes that all are helpless to restore what is needed—apart from the Lord’s help. With humility to God’s greatness and openly stated need, Daniel earnestly presented his requests to the Lord. In the midst of our own chaos, may we be a Christian people who are marked by this trait of running to God with both humility to God’s awesome power and acknowledgement that He indeed is more than able to come through in any situation.

 

 

Prayer for today:

Dear Lord, hope is found in You alone. Please minister to (name)_______ as the battle wages on today. Thank You that you see the destruction and will bring rescue to the situation, through Your great compassion, at Your perfect time. Help (name)_________ to cling to You in a new way today. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

 

 

**Week One in review. Please write down the most meaningful verse from this past week below. As you do, please take the time to thank God for His Word. There is such a depth of strength that we are able to tap into by praying the Lord’s promises back to Him. He is faithful to sustain us in all our sorrows. Thank the Lord for His faithfulness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

** Optional Service Project (Acts 20:35): This week, find someone to bless with a small assortment of flowers simply because Jesus loves them. It could be a neighbor, co-worker, friend at church, etc. In doing this, pray for this individual to feel the love of God in a new way this week.

 

GPS Coordinates to a Brick Wall: Who We Follow MATTERS

“1I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 5But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

2 Timothy 4:1-5 (NASB)

 

 

Perhaps you are like me and pretty much all of the needed elements of “successful living” now all fit onto a glowing rectangle known as a “smart phone”. Yet, allow me to overstate the need to trust in something, or more accurately, Someone above technology. This afternoon, as I sat idle in our vehicle before a brick wall and mature trees, the G.P.S. was determined to route me through these solid elements in order to access the road on the other side. Since we have just moved to the Washington, D.C. area, our children and I were heading out to explore a new place. And as we went it became a great opportunity for discussion on who we should ultimately trust regarding God and the world around us.

 

 

“There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Proverbs 16:25 (NASB)

 

 

I held up the phone so that our children could see the blue mapping line from the back seat. “See kids, the GPS thinks there is a road here. It says I should be able to drive straight through this parking lot to that road just beyond. But, what do you see with your eyes that stands in the way of us doing that?”

 

Our son and daughter turned their heads to look and quickly stated, “A brick wall and lots of trees.”

 

“That’s correct!” I responded enthusiastically. “You see, the world around us is much like this GPS. And far too often people just want to know what the news media, or Hollywood, or a certain group of people is doing to determine what the right way is. Yet, what would happen if I were to follow these GPS instructions? We would crash into a literal brick wall, hurt the vehicle, and most serious and damaging—it might hurt one of us! And that’s not good leading or a good idea!”

 

The bottom line is, the world doesn’t care if you get hurt. It may sound harsh, but it just simply doesn’t. But you know Who does for you—sooooo much? Jesus Christ does. So much so in fact that He died for you, on a cross, to pay for the rebellious things you have said, done and even thought. How amazing it that?! Jesus said in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except by Me.” Finding peace with God only comes through accepting Jesus Christ to be Who He says He is: the Son of God. And on the third day He rose from the grave to offer rescue and ransom to any and all who would trust in Him alone.

 

Thus, if we really want to know what He thinks about something, we have to open up our Bibles to see it and read it for ourselves. It’s not enough to receive affirmation of an idea or lifestyle from someone who claims to be a Christian. No. May we be most concerned about what Jesus Christ Himself would say about an issue, topic or relationship status. We must put on our “Bible glasses” and ask ourselves, “Is that really what the Bible would say about this or that topic?” This is called discernment—this is what the apostle Paul affirmed and exhorted in the believing Jews of Berea. These believers were not persuaded by passionate speeches or convincing words if they could not find the message in the Torah, Talmud, etc. Now, to be clear, there is nothing wrong with passionate presentations. Billy Graham was a passionate speaker. I am convinced the Apostle Paul was a passionate speaker. My own Grandpa Ricci was an evangelist in Northern California—and he too was a passionate speaker. What matters is that the person is accurate in their passion about the right things.

 

 

May I encourage each one reading tonight? The Bible is very clear that the ways that seem right to a person will only lead to destruction (Proverbs 16:25). But, if we are willing to surrender our life, our plans, our fears, our dreams, our hopes, our ambitions and our wildest dreams to the Lord—He will do great things. May we learn to trust His leading, affirmed in the Holy Bible, rather than the latest fashion, hottest idea or newest philosophy. Remember, put on your “Bible glasses” and ask yourself honestly, “What would the Lord Jesus Christ think about this?” And if you don’t know what He would think about a given topic, then take the time to open up a Bible (I love the New American Standard Version or the New Living Translation) and search for it. Remember, you are not called to live the Christian life alone—no way!

 

 

Ladies, remember, it’s not shameful—it’s strengthening—to know what the Bible actually says about this or that. Don’t allow the devil to make you feel “stupid” or “embarrassed” for asking. No, that’s how we grow and that’s how we learn and it honors the Lord that we desire to live lives that honor Him. And remember to pray for the Lord Jesus to lead and guide you as you search for truth—because He will—He has and is doing it in my life—and He desires to do it for you as well. The LORD says:

 

 

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.” Psalm 32:8 (NASB)

It’s Terminal: Living In The Midst of Certain Change For The Glory of Jesus Christ

With sweaty palms and a racing heart, you wait. With fidgeting feet and a silent, fixed gaze, you wait. That moment which you have been holding your breath for has finally arrived. The news could be exciting or all together horrifying. Yet, in the unknown places you remain—simply waiting to hear—if it’s terminal.

 

The term “terminal” is often associated with life threatening diseases, but I dare argue that such a term is also fitting in the midst of major life change. As a military wife of nearly a decade, such feelings surface deep within the soul on the cusp of yet another move. The location ahead may be thrilling. The description of life ahead may bring a smile to one’s face as many happy days can be seen ahead. Yet, even still, there comes a time when one must then say good-bye to the present reality around them.

 

For however long, the military family has prayed, toiled and bent over backwards to quickly establish roots for their children and help to soften the blow of yet another transition. Whether that move is across America or across foreign seas is irrelevant. The feeling of deep loss and ache of leaving cannot easily be pushed aside or smiled away. No, this location, these beloved friends, this current route to the grocery store or favorite park—are all now seen through the eyes of impending good-bye. And as this seeps into the hearts of friends and colleagues, the military family watches as others begin to naturally pull away—as this reality is indeed unfolding and the pain is felt on all sides.

 

Often times, it is in the darkest places that a military family will find themselves feels utterly alone—away from family and their closest confidants they wait. Time zones, zip codes and other such differences make it challenging to keep in touch with those dearly loved in previous locations. Yet, the God who made them—sees them. Right where they are—God Almighty sees them. In the midst of the sorrow of terminal change of location, friends, church and more—God has not moved. God has not changed. And praise God, He cares and His name is JESUS CHRIST.

 

“ 24“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

25“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27“And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28“And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32“For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:24-34 (NASB)

 

At the end of the day, at the beginning of the day and every moment around the clock—God sees our situation and knows what is best for our life (Psalm 32:8). When the sorrow and pain of change grip your heart, cling to the truth of Scripture that Jesus Christ is near to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). When you feel without direction and are unsure what to do next, press into God and do His will (Psalm 119:9-16). When you feel faint with the weight of unknowns and weeping children, cry out to the God who cares and will one day dry every tear (Revelation 21:3-4). May I encourage each one reading to wait; not on a diagnosis…not on word of a next assignment…but to WAIT UPON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. For it is written:

26Lift up your eyes on high
And see who has created these stars,
The One who leads forth their host by number,
He calls them all by name;
Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power,
Not one of them is missing.

27Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD,
And the justice due me escapes the notice of my God”?

28Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable.

29He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power.

30Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,

31Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.” Isaiah 40: 26-31 (NASB)

 

As we approach Memorial Day and remember all those who have sacrificed and served, may I challenge us all to pray for Jesus Christ to strengthen and protect military families. And the next time you interact with a service member and their family, may I suggest a little extra grace, a little extra understanding and a lot of extra prayer for those who are continually living in a place of uprooting, planting and serving within a given community—for your safety and for mine. God bless all who serve—both in uniform and those holding down “the home front”.