When Mountains Fall and Rivers Rise

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“fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God;I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

Are you afraid? Are the walls closing in, the roof caving in? Are you teetering over the edge of a cliff, hanging on by a slim root? Do you feel overwhelmed by the circumstances of your life and like you having nothing to hold onto?

God here reassures the spiritual heirs of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, those of us who he has chosen from the every corner of the earth, that he is with us, that he cares about us and looking out for us. He asks us to trust him to be bigger than our enemies and all of our problems and hold onto the outstretched right hand he promises will be there for us to cling to even when our senses can perceive nothing there at all.

We can ask God for help and for strength with bold confidence, because he has already promised us he would do it, and God’s promises are always secure. He simply doesn’t work on our time table or do things our way. We often are looking too low, thinking too small. God often is way ahead of us, thinking bigger and grander, and the rewards down the road are often directly proportional to the amount of suffering we endure in the present–but we have to hold on and trustingly continue to love him to receive the good he has for us, especially if the particular payoff he envisions is intended to come in Heaven.

Lord, we thank you for your promises. We thank you for your steadfast love and the dependable strength of your arm. No problem we have is too big for you. Thank you for having everything under control even when we don’t. Increase our faith today. Strengthen our hearts to love and trust you more. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Forgive yourself

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“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,” (Ephesians 1:7)

In the “take your own devotions seriously” category, the day after my devotions reminded us, among other things, to pray about everything and always ask God for direction and his opinion, I let my husband talk me into going out to some marketing class on Saturday morning when I’d wanted to spend a relaxing day at home.  In a classic, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof is death” moment, we ran off the way that seemed right, without praying and asking God as I’d been warned to just the day before, and naturally we never made it to where we were going.

Obviously, we’re both alive and in one piece, thank God, albeit somewhat battered, but our car is done for, our finances are taking a huge hit, and my poor husband feels awful about all this, especially that I have a concussion that knocked me out of my wits for about five hours on Saturday. He blames himself, but he shouldn’t. It was really my fault. Rather than simply heeding my husband’s voice, I should have insisted we pray and seek direction from God. If we had, he might have told us to say home. We’ll never know now. But I hope I’ve learned my lesson–and that we’ll forgive ourselves, since I doubt my husband will buy my attempt to relieve his sense of guilt. 🙂 But we must, regardless, not pridefully make ourselves more righteous than God. If He has forgiven us, we must also forgive us.

We trespassed, we failed, but there is forgiveness and redemption through the blood of Christ and a wealth of grace that He lavishes upon us. Let us learn from our mistakes, pick ourselves up, and move on in Him.

Lord, take our failures and mistakes and through your grace and mercy, redeem them for your glory. I pray you would be glorified and lifted up as you bring good out of evil. Strengthen us to forgive ourselves and grow in wisdom and a closer walk with you. Teach us your way and guard our step in you. I pray we would walk circumspectly, not assuming, but seeking your direction on all things. May we grow in discipline. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Share the Comfort You Receive

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“ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

Giving back, turning and strengthening others when we have come through the fire, is often one of the ways God redeems affliction for our good. If we’re currently in the fire, though, that may not be a comforting thought when we’re bleating for relief from our pain ourselves.

Seek him, don’t avoid him. He promised us he would comfort us. Allow him to give you a vision today of hope. Open your heart today by pouring out whatever is stressing, frustrating, angering or hurting you before his throne. Carve time out for Him, the way we’d like our busy loved ones to do for us. Take time to bless him. Let’s also take time to bless others with the comfort we have received. That’s what it’s for.

But if you want to comfort others, first receive comfort from God. Draw on your own hurts and afflictions and remember what comforted you before you open your mouth to attempt to encourage your brother or sister. If you simply cannot at all relate, if you’ve never been through anything remotely similar to their circumstances, shut your mouth, offer them a hug if they’ll let you, and cry with them.

Lord, forgive us for all our failings to comfort and seek comfort from you. We bring to you today, right now, whatever affliction burdens us. We ask you to comfort us, and we thank you for your promise, and for your faithfulness and power to save us and bring good out of evil. We bless you, but let us not only tell you. Let our actions today be a blessing to you and bring you glory.