Sometimes I feel like I’ve wasted a lot of time today – or last week – or last year.
How much time did I waste watching TV? How much time did I waste worrying about tomorrow? Worrying about things that never happened? How much time have I wasted looking at my phone or IPad?
What about you? How much time have you wasted lately?
But there is one place in my life where no time is wasted. I know this for fact – when I sit with my Bible open on my lap reading God’s word, studying God’s Word, and listening to God as he helps me figure out how to apply his word to my life, not one second is wasted.
“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater; so is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but it will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55: 10-11.
This is great news for all of us and especially ‘achievers’ like me. It is so awesome to know when God’s word goes into my mind, it achieves the purpose God has for it. Of course, I have freedom of choice so I have to choose to listen and I have to choose to obey.
It’s a huge confidence-builder for me to know that when I choose to open my eyes and heart to the word of God, he promises that he will accomplish his desires through me.
I can count on it.
I love knowing that I’m not wasting a second of my time when I spend it with God.
Are there situations where your stomach knots up with dread of what could happen?
When I get these feelings, I have learned to go through a list in my mind of things I know to be true about God.
He is good – all the time.
He loves me with a perfect love.
He wants the best for me.
Nothing is impossible for God.
He is in the process of working all things out for my good.
As I focus on these truths, the knots start to disappear, the worry turns into confidence and I become overwhelmed with gratitude for my Father God.
Whatever it is – God’s got this.
Last week I ran into an antelope while driving through Wyoming. Scarey! It was my first time running into an animal that was taller than my car. I realized that God took care of it right away because the antelope bounced off and ran away and everyone in my car was fine. The car took a hit but it looked like it was safe to drive. We were at least an hour way from any cell service so I got back in the car and drove. And prayed that the tire under the crunched up fender didn’t blow apart. And prayed that there was nothing else wrong we couldn’t see. And prayed with confidence because I knew God had control of this whole situation. Whatever happened, he was going to be in the middle of it. I’m happy to say the next couple hundred miles went smoothly and we made it home safe. So glad God was out there in the middle of nowhere with us!
Since the beginning of time, God has been taking care of us, his people. Thousands of years ago, King Hezekiah understood this. As the huge Assyrian army approached, ready to attack Jerusalem, King Hezekiah prepared the city and said to his people, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the King of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a great power with us than with him. With him is only the the arm of flesh but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles. ” 2 Chronicles 32: 7.
God is saying this same thing to you and I today. If we have placed our faith in Jesus, God’s Spirit lives with us, giving us greater power than any mere human around us. The Holy Spirit gives me supernatural power to love, to forgive, to put aside fear, to understand God’s will and purpose for me, to live my life in step with God, and much more.
I just need to remember this –
Then I will see the power of the Living God working through my life.
‘Following’ has a different definition today because of social media. But it still refers to our choice of people that we are letting have an influence on our lives.
These are the people we are giving permission to enter our minds and thoughts because we’re reading and listening to what they are sharing. We are ‘following’ their lives.
Who are these people in my life?
Are they leading me to places I should go?
Are they helping me grow my integrity? Are they helping me become more wise? More caring?
The Israelites were not careful about who they followed. “They rejected his (God’s) decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors and the statues he had warned them to keep. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. ” 2 Kings 17: 15 – 16.
Wow – worthless.
They picked the wrong things to follow. They imitated the wrong things and ended up on a very bad path.
This is not a path I want to be on.
Please give me wisdom in deciding who to follow, Abba Father
I’ve had questions like these rolling around in my brain many times in my life. Have these questions ever kept you awake at night?
As I read what God has to tell me in the book of Ecclesiastes, it sounds like a review of some of the doubts and discouragements that have filled my mind at different times of my life.
I’m going to die – we’re all going to die – and it all ends, it all goes away. So what’s the point?
God talks about all the emptiness we can feel here ‘under the sun’ –
the emptiness of human knowledge – “the more knowledge, the more grief.” Eccl 1:18b
the emptiness of searching for pleasure – what does pleasure accomplish?
the emptiness of achieving goals…and then what?
the emptiness of working hard….and then leaving it all behind.
the emptiness of owning ‘stuff’ and more stuff – chasing after the wind.
the emptiness of chasing after money – “Whoever loves money never has enough” Eccl. 5:10a.
the emptiness of rebellion – “Yet because the wicked do not fear God, it will not go well with them.” Eccl 8:13a.
That’s a lot of emptiness, isn’t it? Do you feel that emptiness sometimes? I used to before I understood why I’m here.
Throughout Ecclesiastes, God gives me hints about the purpose of my life by repeatedly using the phrase ‘under the sun’ to describe the location of the emptiness. This means that all of this emptiness is true of earth when God, who is over the sun, is not involved.
Then in Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14, God comes right out and says “Now all has been heard: here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgement, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”
There it is. Fear God and keep his commandments. First , fearing God is living our lives with a combination of respect, honor and reverence for God and submitting our will to his will.
And what commandments are we supposed to keep? Jesus fulfilled all the law of the Old Testament when he came to earth and he left us with these two commandments – “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22: 37-39.
Love God and love others. That’s why I’m here. That’s why you’re here.
Can it really be that simple?
Yes, it can be that simple. Loving God brings his light and grace and mercy into your life and into my life here under the sun. Loving others lets the people around us feel God’s love reaching out through us and it brings his light into their lives here under the sun.
God fills our emptiness and gives our lives meaning and purpose when we focus on loving God and loving others.
Thank you for being so clear about our purpose for being here on earth, Abba Father.
I just can’t stop praising your name, today, Lord! You have lifted my problems and worries off of my shoulders. I called your name and you healed my soul. I used to feel empty and worthless but now you have saved me.
Sing with me, all believers! Praise our Holy God!
God’s anger is focused on the Evil One. Satan is fighting very hard but God has already won the war.
Good news! You and I, the redeemed, have already started our life forever with our Father God. We are his favorite children!
Yes, we still have struggles and trials while we live on this earth. But, through them all, our Father God walks closely beside us, caring for us and giving us joy.
Most of the time, I feel secure. I feel like I will never be shaken.
But – sometimes – I feel far away from you, God. Alone. Afraid. So I cry out to you once again – end my loneliness! Get rid of my fear! Pour out your grace upon me. Help me, oh Lord.
Yes! Then you turn my crying into dancing! My sadness disappears and I am filled with joy as I sing your praises!
Do you feel the power of the Holy Spirit living within you? What does this power feel like?
God’s Word tells me that David and his army took back Jerusalem from the Jebusites. “And David became more and more powerful, because the LORD Almighty was with him.” 1 Chronicles 11:9 David was obedient and, as a result of that obedience, God was able to fulfill his plan for David and establish him as king.
Isn’t that what you and I want? Not to be king. But don’t we want God to be able to use us for his purposes? We want God’s dreams for us to come true.
I had the opportunity to visit the City of David in Jerusalem several years ago. (pictures) It’s very hard to try to describe what it felt like to stand within the ruins of David’s palace, looking down over the rooftops of Jerusalem.
It’s amazing to know that my God was David’s God.
The Alpha and Omega.
The Beginning and the End.
God was with David in Jerusalem. God’s power was in David, helping him to obediently fulfilled his purpose on earth. When David’s purpose on earth was done, our Father God brought him home.
God was also with me – when I was in Jerusalem and every day. The power of his Holy Spirit lives within me, helping me to fulfill my purpose. I’m still here because I’m not done yet. When my time is up, Jesus will walk with me into heaven, my forever home.
There are no ‘good witches’. This is one of the lies that permeates our culture. We all see these ficticious characters in movies and TY shows doing good things for people or cleaning their house with a twitch of their nose.
No one can be a ‘good witch’ because there are two major supernatural forces in our world – good versus evil, God versus Satan. God is very clear in his Word that witches do not get any power they have from him. God does not speak through Ouija boards or seances – he speaks through his Word. So that leaves just one place where witches or any of these things can get their supernatural power – Satan. And Satan is never good.
Satan is the great Deceiver and the Father of Lies. He can make something bad look like it’s okay. He can twist the truth just slightly to make it a very convincing lie. He can use something that looks good to bring about a bad result. Make no mistake – evil intentions lie under everything Satan does.
The story in the Bible of King Saul going to the Witch of Endor is a sad story with a interesting twist. The enormous Philistine army was approaching and Saul was terrified. He ‘inquired of the LORD, but the LORD did not answer by dreams, or Urim or prophets.” 1 Samuel 28:6. Saul was regularly disobeying God at this time, so God stopped answering him. Why give Saul an answer if he’s not going to obey? Sometimes God will stop answering us, too, if we continue to ask but are not listening and obeying.
In the past, Samuel had helped Saul listen and obey God, but now Samuel was dead. Saul wanted to talk with Samuel so he went to the Witch of Endor. The witch did her normal ‘consulting the spirits’ act but then screamed when she saw Samuel appear. Why did she scream? She obviously did not expect someone to actually come back from the dead – she was used to making it all up.
And Samuel wasn’t happy about being disturbed. That makes sense. He was enjoying heaven and suddenly he’s back on earth having to deal with Saul’s fear and lack of trust in God.
Samuel told Saul because he continued to be disobedient, God was going to do what he said – take away Saul’s kingdom.
And the next day Saul and his three sons were dead.
In this instance, God worked through a witch in order to achieve his purposes. But she was not a ‘good witch’.