God Is Great! God Is Good!
“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” (Psalm 34:8 NKJV)
The irresistible scent of home-cooked goodness permeated the air, torturing our faithful yellow Lab and her spastic beagle companion. They struggled to restrain themselves, maintaining perfect posture, as their eyes followed every move, hoping their patient obedience would reap tasty rewards.
Suddenly, the beagle began to shake violently; her eyes bulging; looking as if, at any moment, she would spontaneously combust! Finally, I picked some samplings of the coveted feast and headed toward the two beggars. The beagle could no longer contain herself. She broke her obedient posture and began impatiently flailing and squawking about.
“Sit!” I commanded.
The rule is… if you want a treat, you have to sit still and wait for me. But, she refused. She had been patient long enough!
Our Lab, however, was the perfect model of discipline and obedience; never once breaking her posture; but patiently watching, as the beagle repeatedly disobeyed. Finally, she realized that her blessing wasn’t coming until the beagle submitted. So, she reached out her paw, placed it atop the beagle’s sitter, and shoved her down into the sitting position.
Grinning at her firm correction of her impatient, unruly companion, I treated the Lab to a double portion.
“Okay, God!” I chuckled. “I get it!”
It was our first Thanksgiving in our new house. The previous two years, one month, and 13 days … our family of six cohabitated in a rented camper on our farm, while we undertook the task of building our own home with our own 12 hands.
“I’m a good sport!” I assured my husband when the builder announced the project would take six to nine months. “It’ll be an adventure, like a six-month-long camping vacation! Let’s do it!”
My enthusiasm sprang from our certainty that God was calling us to stop pursuing the country club lifestyle and move to the country instead; to release our children into the wild, and teach them the values and blessings of a simple life and good old-fashioned hard work.
Everything that could go wrong … did! Avid do-it-yourselfers, we eagerly accepted the task of doing all the cosmetic work after the builder completed the structure. But one heartbreaking disappointment and delay after another resulted in our family becoming responsible for way more of the building process than we ever intended.
Every day, my husband ran our business, while the children and I did what little projects we could. Every evening, he came home, ate dinner, kissed the kids goodnight, and the two of us worked on the house until we got tired and started making mistakes, or until we got on each other’s nerves. Some evenings we finished late … some early!
I learned how to use rechargeable power tools because waiting on my husband to finish the construction all by himself was taking too long! We had already spent two Christmases in the camper! Finally, our power was scheduled to be turned on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving number three. Victory was soooo close … we could taste it!
But, our power lines had been improperly installed. We weren’t going to have power for Thanksgiving, after all. At that point, I must have looked like the beagle. I think my husband was afraid that I might actually spontaneously combust! Like our faithful Lab, he took control and made me “Sit!”
He dug a hole in the sand, lit a charcoal fire, and cooked corn on the cob in a stockpot using an old grill rack and two cinder blocks. He placed a portable roasting oven atop a lawn table, plugged into the camper’s power pole, and roasted the turkey. We cooked sweet potatoes inside the camper in a portable skillet and boiled green beans in a crockpot inside the house using a 50-foot extension cord.
We savored our Thanksgiving feast in our new home without electricity, but not without power. When I finally submitted, became still, and waited upon God, He blessed us with a double portion of His power, provision, and blessing. It was the best Thanksgiving meal we ever tasted … not because the treats were great … but because our God is!
“Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.” (Psalm 107:8-9 NKJV)
Why We Need God’s Armor of Protection Every Day
By Debbie McDaniel, crosswalk.com
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Ephesians 6:10-11
We may forget at times but one thing is true – this world is a battlefield. Day by day, hour by hour, we face a spiritual war and an enemy who’s real. He wants nothing more than to bring defeat, for his main aim is to steal, kill, and destroy.
God has a plan for our lives. The enemy has a plan for us too. We just have to decide which voice we’re going to listen to, and who we’re going to choose to follow each day. And chances are, if we don’t make a determined choice to follow God, we may eventually fall into the evil one’s trap.
If you’re a believer who is living like salt and light in a dark world, you won’t go for long without encountering obstacles and attacks the enemy will hurl your direction. He’s real and fierce, and he will stop at nothing to try to bring you down.
Don’t let him win.
If you find yourself there today, know that you’re not alone. Neither are you left to fight on your own. Many of us are in the battle with you, and God is the One who fights on your behalf, constantly shielding, protecting, strengthening, even when you’re unaware. He’s given us His words that are true and powerful, so that we’ll have the wisdom to stand against the enemy.
Focusing here today, putting on His armor, staying alert, and praying, that God will equip believers everywhere to “stand strong.” Remember, our battle today may be more about what is unseen than what we see before us. And when we resist the enemy, God’s word says he has to flee. Stand strong friends. God has the final victory over our lives. And He is surely with us.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions, with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:10-18
Sheltered in the Midst of the Storm
“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:2 (ESV)
We were standing in the children’s section of the bookstore when the sirens went off.
I paused, looking around for answers from the other unsuspecting customers.
None of us seemed to know what was going on.
There was no sign of a storm when I entered the store with my little one several minutes earlier. But the beautiful, cloudless summer day didn’t tell the full story about what was to come.
A startling voice came over the loudspeaker, announcing that a tornado warning had been issued, and we were to take shelter immediately.
Taking my little one out of the stroller, I held him in my arms as we sat leaning against the towering shelves of books, waiting for the storm to pass.
But before it did, all of the customers were told to leave the building.
A bit stunned by the swift evacuation, we all found ourselves outside with an even greater awareness of the rapidly changing weather. Some simply stood there, staring at the approaching storm, while others scattered in all directions to escape it.
We made it home safely in the midst of the sirens and increasingly darkening sky, and all I could do was thank God for His presence and protection.
So much happened so quickly — from the loud, unexpected sounds of the alarms, to the realization we were in the path of the impending storm, to the sudden loss of perceived shelter.
In that moment, my dependence upon God, my need for His presence and the value of hiding His Word in my heart were ever so clear.
In that moment, I prayed, asking God to continue to keep us safe and thanking Him for doing that already.
In that moment, I chose not to rehearse that shaky voice who spoke to us over the loudspeaker and, instead, listen closely to the One who promised never to leave or forsake us.
Oftentimes, when life is coming at us quickly, we can become overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.
When we only use our natural senses to experience what’s taking place while we’re in the midst of troubling situations, we miss the opportunity to rely solely on God and trust all He has promised us.
We’re reminded in Colossians 3:2 to “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
So, friend, be aware of — but not distracted by — the storms you’re experiencing.
They don’t change God’s presence, power, protection or provision.
He is indeed with you, showing you which way to go and offering you shelter in the midst of the storm.
“God reigns over the nations, God sits on His holy throne.” – Psalm 47:8 NASB
At times, the world can seem like a yo-yo – constantly going up and then down. We try to make sense of everything, which can be a helpless experience.
Think about events of the past few years. Unanticipated problems emerged that didn’t seem to have solutions. Trends developed, but then reversed. Heroes have emerged and then fallen. People have embraced politicians and parties, then, when disappointed, tried something else. We wonder what tomorrow will bring and what else may happen.
The world changes constantly, but God never changes. Politicians may fight over control, but “God reigns over the nations.” Regardless of how things appear, He remains sovereign.
Through every change, God isn’t worried or caught up in emotional trauma. He simply sits “on His holy throne,” ruling, completing His plans. He was there yesterday. He is there today. He will be there tomorrow. No matter what takes place in the world, He remains on that throne!
If we focus on world events, our hearts can be subject to an emotional roller coaster – up one moment, down the next. We’ll never be sure how we will feel the next morning. We’ll be constantly uncertain. The answer? Trust in God.
Make sure that you trust Him. Kings may come but also go. Trends may emerge and recede. The news may be good or bad. But through every circumstance, God remains on His throne. You can believe in Him today and throughout your life. Absolutely.