Your Plans May Change but God Never Will
Ever been here: you have a major event coming up. So you plan. You prepare. You make your list and check it twice. No detail is left undone. Then, in a moment’s notice, everything changes. Circumstances force a change of schedule. Suddenly, it makes no difference how hard you worked. Everything is on hold.
For the past two and a half weeks, I’ve been hard at work preparing to begin videotaping my Legion Bible study teaching series. The open door to begin filming was a huge answer to a long-awaited prayer. Production was scheduled to begin tomorrow. Then … lightning struck. Literally. Overnight, hundreds of fires broke out from one end of the state to the other. Between the smoke and risk of evacuation and/or power outage, the video producer and I realized we had no choice but to nix the scheduled video shoot.
As difficult as the decision was, I knew there were people dealing with far worse: homes threatened by fires, first responders battling the blaze. As I was praying today for protection over the homes in harm’s way, the firefighters—and for rain (it seems impossible to see rain in the middle of a heatwave, but I am asking anyway because God is the God of the impossible)–as I was praying, I lamented over all of the devastation: the homes in danger; the lives at risk. Then my mind went to all of the people suffering because of the pandemic—this, on top of the economy being hammered by lockdowns. It all seems so overwhelming.
But then I remember: we have a big God. We can trust He is working—even in the midst of all the chaos that is swirling around us. Jesus said,
“My Father is working until now, and I am working.” (John 5:17 ESV)
And so I found myself praying for revival—for hearts to turn back to God in the midst of all the chaos. To seek Him when all seems lost.
If we put our hope in this world: whether in our health, or home, or a 401k, things can change in a moment’s notice. It is times like these when we are reminded that there is only one true, everlasting hope–and it can only be found beyond this world. In this life, nothing is guaranteed, but God is the “same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.” When we put our hope in Him, we will never be disappointed.
“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.” (Psalm 39:7 ESV)
If you are facing a difficulty, here are some favorite passages I turn to in difficult times:
- Psalm 91 (when in need of comfort or reminder of God’s protection)
- Romans 8:31-39 (when in need of courage or perseverance)
- Ephesians 1:3-14 (when in need of an eternal perspective)
What are some of your favorite ‘go to’ Bible passages?
God Is Present – Crosswalk the Devotional – September 28
by Boyd Bailey, Author of Two Minutes In The Bible™ Through Psalms
There they are, overwhelmed with dread, for God is present in the company of the righteous. Psalm 14:5
God is present in your predicament. You don’t have to pray, “God be with us”; He’s there already. He’s there because He cares. He’s there because you are extremely valuable to Him. God cherishes His children. He loves to give His own good gifts (Matthew 7:11). His presence alone is a present. He’s present to give wisdom. He’s present to give you direction. He’s present to give you courage. In His presence there is peace. He is ever present.
God’s presence is there to calm and convict us. His peace is what propels us forward by faith. Don’t give up on doing the right thing. Sinful compromise for short-term satisfaction never ends well. Why put your family at risk by running after forbidden fruit? God hasn’t left you. He doesn’t wink at wicked deeds. He’s right by your side to see you through this sinful temptation. Indeed the fruit of His presence is the fear of God. He reminds us to remain pure.
“How then could I [Joseph] do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9).
His presence is made manifest in a company of Christ followers. In community, the body of Christ is in full expression. Sin pushes us to seclusion. It’s an illusion to think we can isolate ourselves from Almighty God. But in authentic community there’s nowhere to hide. In the presence of committed Christ followers, we feed our faith. Don’t fight temptation alone. Tell someone. Stay engaged with the righteous. This is the presence of God personified.
Stay in the presence of God-fearing followers. This time of engagement with others facilitates our alone time with our heavenly Father. Stay hard after your heavenly Father in solitude and prayer. His presence is inviting you into intimacy. Design your life around a daily retreat into His presence. Look into His face and feel His love. In His presence He provides just what we need in the moment. Therefore persevere in prayer without ceasing. Be present in His presence!
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
What does it mean for the Spirit to be ever-present? How does the Spirit strengthen my spirit?
“Be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:6 NLT
Early on the morning of May 10, 1775, a small band of American soldiers approached Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain in New York. The men were under the command of Benedict Arnold and Ethan Allen, two colonial leaders.
Author Willard Sterne Randall notes that the British “had spent nearly £2 million to rebuild this fort” and “thousands of British soldiers had died to conquer it.” Yet when American forces approached the fort, the gates were open, and it was guarded by just one sleeping man.
As the volunteers entered the gates, the guard was awakened and fired his gun. But the gun misfired, and the man “threw it down and ran toward the barracks.” Soon, this important fort was in the hands of colonial forces. It was a dramatic defeat for the British despite their far superior resources.
This defeat has spiritual parallels. Every Christian faces an enemy that is prowling this world “like a roaring lion.” He is sly and devious, looking for “someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8), watching for moments when we are weak and vulnerable. Yet many Christians are like those soldiers at Fort Ticonderoga, asleep and not prepared.
Don’t take Satan or his demonic forces for granted. He is on the prowl, and you and your family are his targets. If you trust in God and are spiritually ready, you will experience victory. But you must be alert, on guard, and in prayer.
During hard seasons or times of disaster—whether natural or man-made, national or local—we are called to show kindness. True compassion tries to understand people’s pain, but it also provides practical help. So, how we can express care and concern for others?
First, remember we have the wonderful privilege of prayer anytime, anywhere. As soon as word of a tragedy reaches you, lift up the victims, rescue workers, and others involved. Let the Holy Spirit guide you in petitioning God for protection, provision, comfort, awareness of His presence, and whatever else He deems fitting (Rom. 8:26).
Second, labor and donations of money, food, clothing, or household goods are usually high priority. So donations of time and resources are helpful (after wisely consulting trusted sources about what’s needed). You also can express compassion with words of comfort, a warm embrace, or a listening ear. Through this kind of love, the world will recognize the true Light—Jesus Christ, who brings good news, binds up the brokenhearted, and comforts all who mourn (Isa. 61:1-2).
We should notice the needs around us and reach out with Christ’s love. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal ways to pray for those around you. Your concern can have a profound impact.