July 23…DAILY ENCOUNTER
…Who do you trust? Really trust?
…”I will say of the LORD,‘“He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’” Ps 91: 2
…Whatever threatens to disrupt our lives is no match for our God, who is the “refuge” where we find comfort and the “fortress” where we find protection. To know His comfort and protection requires that you know Him (“my God”) and “trust” Him. The problem is that we all have trust issues. We have all risked trusting someone who has either let us down or, even worse, has purposely betrayed us. What are we to do with that violation of trust? The answer to that question will determine just how engaged in life we will be. For those who refuse to trust again, their lives are marked by suspicion, isolation, and fear. For those, however, who are willing to risk trusting again, while they may experience yet another wound, their vulnerability allows them to live without fear. Have you closed yourself off from others because you are afraid to trust again? Try, as a place to begin, trusting the One who will not let you down. Jesus will not betray you. Are you trusting Him in your challenge today?
July 23…DAILY ENCOUNTER
July 22…DAILY ENCOUNTER
… Are you focussed?
“I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down….” Neh 6:3
…The enemies of God’s people came to Nehemiah and requested a meeting, but Nehemiah refused to meet because he refused to lose his focus on his calling. We live very unfocused lives. There are so many voices and noises clamoring after us that we frequently spend our days with no real focus. Technology only serves to compound the problem. Everything from texts to emails to social media demand our attention. As a result of the multitude of distractions, we lose our focus on what matters most, the purpose God has designated just for us, our calling! Focus a light and it becomes a laser that cuts through the hardest steel. Diffuse the light and the result is a dimly lit room at best. What has God called you to do that deserves your full, undistracted focus today? Focus like a laser on that one thing and you will not only cut through all the distractions, but you will make a difference.
July 21… DAILY ENCOUNTER
…”Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another…” Heb10:25
…People often evaluate a church service by what they “got out of it”. We should rather evaluate the service by what we gave to it. We should be giving God our worship and others our encouragement. It is wrong to make church something selfish. It is not about us. What comments have you made about church recently? Have you complained about the music… the pastor… the sermon… the service… the people… the length of time in church… the temperature in the building… the crying baby… or whatever didn’t suit you? Maybe you need to rise above your selfish self and put your focus where it belongs, worshipping our Lord and encouraging His people! Try praying for your church and your pastor instead of complaining. You will be amazed how much you will be changed.
July 19…DAILY ENCOUNTER
…Do you need a second chance?
…”Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time:” Jon 3:1
…Like Jonah, we often run from God’s will. We may not be swallowed by a fish, but our rebellion will come with a price. The cost of our rebellion will be high and will most often be measured in the lives of the people that we wound as we blindly, and selfishly, make our rebellious choices. There is, however, hope for those of us who have succumbed to the temptation to rebel. If we return to God, then, also like Jonah, God will renew our call, our purpose. He will help us rise above the mess we have created with our rebellion and show us how to set things right. We serve the God of the second chance. Where do you need to get back on track with God’s will so that you can get your second chance? Why don’t you start today? And… just maybe, if enough of us turn back to God… America will, too!
July 18…DAILY ENCOUNTER
…Are you grieving a loss?
…”Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”Mt 5:4
…When we grieve a loss, like a loved one who passes away or a dream that is shattered or a betrayal that ends a relationship, the worst part is often the loneliness that accompanies the loss. It can leave us inconsolable. It is our dark night of the soul. We feel completely abandoned. Jesus said that we would be comforted at those times of greatest mourning, which implies that we are not alone, that someone will help us. That someone is Jesus. He was despised and rejected by His own creation, betrayed by those closest to Him, and murdered by the very people He loved and wanted to help. His dark night of the soul was a cross and a tomb, but He refused to be defined by His dark night. He rose above the dark night of His soul and delivered those who would follow Him. Refuse to be defined by your dark night of the soul. Run to Jesus. Follow Him. And, in His embrace, find not only comfort, but the peace of knowing that your dark night was not wasted. It… and you… have a purpose!
July 17…DAILY ENCOUNTER
…How are your plans coming?
…”Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’S purpose that prevails.”Pr 19:21
…We strategize; we plan; we speculate; and we brainstorm about the future as if we have the ability to determine it. Our plans may or may not happen, but God’s purpose will be accomplished. God’s plan for you is what you would want for yourself if you knew all there is to know. Ask Him to show you His plan for your life. He will not show you the entire plan at once, but He will show the next step to take. Take that step and He will show the next one. Soon you will find yourself living out His plan for you, one step at a time. Then, no matter what you’re facing, you will have hope for the future… And you’ll be LIVING LARGE!!
July 16…DAILY ENCOUNTER
…Are you kind?
…”Be careful not to do your acts of righteousnes before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.” Mat 6:1
…No act of kindness is insignificant. It may be done quietly, away from the scrutiny of public awareness, but its effect will ripple through the lives of many. It could even change the world. It will, however, definitely change the one who performs it. Every time we are kind, with no thought of what benefit we may derive from our act of kindness, we are changed. The greatest change comes when our acts of kindness are done, not for recognition, but because we care. God evaluates our performance by our motivation. He watches our hearts. Remember, it was Jesus who showed us what genuine kindness looked like by giving His life in the greatest act of kindness this world has ever seen. He understands kindness. Do something kind for someone today, in secret. God will notice… And you will never be the same!
July 15…DAILY ENCOUNTER
…Are you living strong?
“Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace…” Heb 13:9a
…”Strange teachings” come from those who are quick to offer information, or their opinion, without checking it with the truth. Our culture has adopted the mentality that truth is adaptable to our situation, our viewpoint, even our feelings. Is it any wonder that we have become an unstable people, grasping whatever new or even strange idea seems appropriate to our challenge at the moment? People who replace truth with opinion live weak and insignificant lives. It is God’s grace that strengthens us. Truth without grace is a prison. Grace without truth is chaos. By His grace, God offers us the Truth of His Word and His Son. Knowing and living the truth maybe temporarily challenging, but, ultimately, it will set you free. You can have more than information about Jesus. You can know Him. You can have a relationship with Him, by His grace, by His initiative. Let His Grace color your life today. Then go LIVE STRONG!!
Great night at wild game dinner @ 1st Church in Danville, AR with my good friend, Clayton Sheets. 32 surrendered to Jesus. Thanks for prayers!
July 11…DAILY ENCOUNTER
…What is important to you?
…”But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”Mt 6:33
…Our priorities shape all the choices we make. Our choices, in turn, determine our destiny. Therefore, where we go in life and what we do with our lives is ultimately determined by what is important to us, by our priorities. The best way to determine what we really think is important is to check the filter through which we make our choices. No matter what we may claim is important to us, how we evaluate our choices, as we make them, is our true priority. What is your filter? The answer to that question will tell you what really is important to you? Is it your Popularity? Your comfort? Your Safety? Money? Recognition? Peace of Mind? Resolving your guilt? Or is it Jesus? Choosing the priority of your life is the single most important choice you will make. It will shape everything else about you. It will be the filter by which you live your life. It will determine your destiny. Make Jesus your priority today. Let Him shape your remaining choices… And your destiny.