Lean In

Summer is here! And I am very motivated this summer to keep my highly energetic boys busy! (Where they find their level of energy, I cannot begin to comprehend!)

So I recently took them out in our front yard to trim our plants, bushes, and trees. Fun, right?

Well, the boys actually had a blast as I trimmed and they raked and gathered the branches…placed them in the wheelbarrow…and dumped them curbside for our bulk trash pick-up that week.

As I trimmed plant after plant…bush after bush…tree after tree…I began to notice the branches had a tendency to lean in one particular direction. They were all actually leaning towards the sunlight.

I am sure that many of us are not surprised by this as we may have witnessed this with indoor plants that tend to lean in towards the light in the window.

Why do plants, bushes, and trees lean in towards sunlight?

This interesting phenomenon known as phototropism was explained by English naturalist Charles Darwin in the late 1800’s. He demonstrated that the growing shoot of a grass seedling always bends…leans in… towards light. Why?

Because green plants, bushes and trees make their food in the presence of sunlight by the process of photosynthesis. Feel like you’re getting taken back to grade school science class right now?!

Long story short…phototropism is a survival mechanism adopted by plants so that they can get as much light as possible. When plants lean in to sunlight…more photosynthesis can take place…allowing for more energy to be generated.

By leaning in toward the sunlight, plants draw closer to their source of power and energy so that they can receive the necessary nutrients to make food and grow. Without sunlight, they cannot survive.

Just as plants, bushes, and trees must lean in to sunlight for their power source to survive, we too as Christians, must lean in to Jesus as our power source…not just to survive…but to thrive in this world.

The word “survive” is defined as “to remain or continue to live; to endure or live through” while the word “thrive” is defined as “to grow or develop vigorously; flourish; prosper, advance, succeed.”

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to just survive…I want to thrive!

And so in order to not only survive, but also thrive as Christians, we must…not just believe and accept Jesus Christ in our lives…but also lean in to Jesus.

What does it actually mean to lean in to Jesus?

A great Biblical example of an individual who leaned in to Jesus is Mary…the “Mary” of the familiar Mary and Martha story in Luke 10:38-42.

38-40As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.”

41-42 The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.”

So to simply break this down… Jesus comes to visit these sisters…Mary and Martha…at their house. Martha welcomes Jesus inside, but then she is pulled away and becomes busy getting things in order. And out of frustration, Martha interrupts Jesus and complains that her sister Mary has abandoned her and that He needs to basically tell Mary to help her out. And Jesus’ response?

“Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.”

Hmm…Jesus sides with Mary in her choosing the one only essential thing…the main course.

In other words…Mary chose the most important thing…Mary chose what was best…Mary chose what was necessary.

While Martha was pulled away by busyness and preparations, Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet drawing closer to Him… Mary was listening to Jesus…Mary was hanging on His every word… Mary was leaning in to Jesus.

She chose the main course! Jesus’ words were nutrients and food to her soul…His words were power and sustenance to her well-being…His words were vital to not only her survival, but also her ability to thrive.

Plants can only receive the necessary power that they need to survive by being in the presence of light…by leaning in to the sun.

And we too…as Christians…can only receive the necessary power that we need to survive by being in the presence of the Light…by leaning in to the Son…Jesus.

Mary experienced the presence of Jesus by leaning in to Him!

Are you leaning in to Jesus today?

Do you lean in to Jesus on a daily basis…or only when you are facing a challenge in your life?

What keeps you from leaning in and experiencing His presence?

Busyness…poor time management…a lack of prioritizing… a lack of discipline…maybe even a lack of desire can keep us from leaning in to Jesus.

Unbelief…lack of faith…even disobedience can also keep us from leaning in to Jesus.

Leaning in is really a choice.

Mary could have chosen to help Martha…but instead she chose what was essential…according to Jesus. She chose to lean in.

We too must choose whether we allow ourselves to be distracted or pulled away by people or the things in this world…or choose to draw closer to Jesus.

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. James 4:8 NLT

Leaning in to Jesus and His Word is nutrients and food for our souls…His Word is power and sustenance to our well-being…His Word is vital to not only our survival, but also our ability to thrive.

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—how good God is. Blessed are you who run to him. Psalm 34:8 MSG

O taste and see that the Lord [our God] is good; How blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who takes refuge in Him. Psalm 34:8 AMP

When we lean in to Jesus and His light…When we draw close to Jesus and His Word…We experience His presence and it is through His presence that we will see the blessings and benefits of leaning in.

His Power

We will see and experience His power when we lean in. We don’t need to keep trying to do things on our own or in our own strength. He will give us the power to say “no” to the things in this world that keep us from Him and the power to survive, thrive, prosper and fulfill our purpose and destiny as Christians in this world.

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 2Peter1:3

His Provision

We will see and experience His provision when we lean in. He sees and knows everything we need and when we lean in and trust in Him…He will provide.

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 NLT

His Protection

We will see and experience His protection when we lean in. When we feel weak, afraid or overwhelmed, He will protect us when we lean in.

He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Psalm 91:4NLT

But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 2Thessalonians 3:3 NASB

His Passion

We will see and experience His passion when we lean in. We will understand the very heart of Jesus and what He is passionate about and what He truly desires when we lean in.

37Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40 NIV

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2Peter 3:9 NIV

If we can all see the importance of leaning in to Jesus on a daily basis…if we can all see the blessings of leaning in to Jesus…if we can all see the benefits of leaning in to Jesus…if we can all just see how our very life…our survival and growth…depends on Jesus and His Word…we would intentionally choose to spend time with Him!

We cannot live our lives as Christians if we do not lean in to Jesus. Just as a plant must lean in to the light of the sun for survival, so too we must lean in to the Light of the Son to survive and thrive as Christians.

Lean in today…what’s holding you back?

Reflection Points:

  1. Are you leaning in to Jesus today?
  2. Do you lean in to Jesus on a daily basis…or only when you are facing a challenge in your life?
  3. What keeps you from leaning in and experiencing His presence?
  4. What are the blessings and benefits of leaning in to Jesus?

 

Action Points:

  1. Examine your daily life and see what may be keeping you from leaning in to Jesus and experiencing His presence. Pray and ask God to show you what changes you can make to allow you to lean in more. Many of us have a desire to lean in to Jesus, but we lack the discipline to do it. Ask God to strengthen you to make the necessary changes.
  2. Leaning in to Jesus is essential for our survival as Christians. It isn’t enough for us to lean in just when are facing a challenge in our lives. Jesus wants us to draw close to Him in our lives…all day everyday…and in every detail of our life, not just when we go through tough times.
  3. Leaning in to Jesus and His Word is nutrients and food for our souls…His Word is power and sustenance to our well-being…His Word is vital to not only our survival, but also our ability to thrive.
  4. When we lean in to Jesus and His light…When we draw close to Jesus and His Word…We experience His presence and it is through His presence that we will see His power…His provision…His protection…and His passion.
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Lean In

Summer is here! And I am very motivated this summer to keep my highly energetic boys busy! (Where they find their level of energy, I cannot begin to comprehend!)

So I recently took them out in our front yard to trim our plants, bushes, and trees. Fun, right?

Well, the boys actually had a blast as I trimmed and they raked and gathered the branches…placed them in the wheelbarrow…and dumped them curbside for our bulk trash pick-up that week.

As I trimmed plant after plant…bush after bush…tree after tree…I began to notice the branches had a tendency to lean in one particular direction. They were all actually leaning towards the sunlight.

I am sure that many of us are not surprised by this as we may have witnessed this with indoor plants that tend to lean in towards the light in the window.

Why do plants, bushes, and trees lean in towards sunlight?

This interesting phenomenon known as phototropism was explained by English naturalist Charles Darwin in the late 1800’s. He demonstrated that the growing shoot of a grass seedling always bends…leans in… towards light. Why?

Because green plants, bushes and trees make their food in the presence of sunlight by the process of photosynthesis. Feel like you’re getting taken back to grade school science class right now?!

Long story short…phototropism is a survival mechanism adopted by plants so that they can get as much light as possible. When plants lean in to sunlight…more photosynthesis can take place…allowing for more energy to be generated.

By leaning in toward the sunlight, plants draw closer to their source of power and energy so that they can receive the necessary nutrients to make food and grow. Without sunlight, they cannot survive.

Just as plants, bushes, and trees must lean in to sunlight for their power source to survive, we too as Christians, must lean in to Jesus as our power source…not just to survive…but to thrive in this world.

The word “survive” is defined as “to remain or continue to live; to endure or live through” while the word “thrive” is defined as “to grow or develop vigorously; flourish; prosper, advance, succeed.”

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to just survive…I want to thrive!

And so in order to not only survive, but also thrive as Christians, we must…not just believe and accept Jesus Christ in our lives…but also lean in to Jesus.

What does it actually mean to lean in to Jesus?

A great Biblical example of an individual who leaned in to Jesus is Mary…the “Mary” of the familiar Mary and Martha story in Luke 10:38-42.

38-40As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.”

41-42 The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.”

So to simply break this down… Jesus comes to visit these sisters…Mary and Martha…at their house. Martha welcomes Jesus inside, but then she is pulled away and becomes busy getting things in order. And out of frustration, Martha interrupts Jesus and complains that her sister Mary has abandoned her and that He needs to basically tell Mary to help her out. And Jesus’ response?

“Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.”

Hmm…Jesus sides with Mary in her choosing the one only essential thing…the main course.

In other words…Mary chose the most important thing…Mary chose what was best…Mary chose what was necessary.

While Martha was pulled away by busyness and preparations, Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet drawing closer to Him… Mary was listening to Jesus…Mary was hanging on His every word… Mary was leaning in to Jesus.

She chose the main course! Jesus’ words were nutrients and food to her soul…His words were power and sustenance to her well-being…His words were vital to not only her survival, but also her ability to thrive.

Plants can only receive the necessary power that they need to survive by being in the presence of light…by leaning in to the sun.

And we too…as Christians…can only receive the necessary power that we need to survive by being in the presence of the Light…by leaning in to the Son…Jesus.

Mary experienced the presence of Jesus by leaning in to Him!

Are you leaning in to Jesus today?

Do you lean in to Jesus on a daily basis…or only when you are facing a challenge in your life?

What keeps you from leaning in and experiencing His presence?

Busyness…poor time management…a lack of prioritizing… a lack of discipline…maybe even a lack of desire can keep us from leaning in to Jesus.

Unbelief…lack of faith…even disobedience can also keep us from leaning in to Jesus.

Leaning in is really a choice.

Mary could have chosen to help Martha…but instead she chose what was essential…according to Jesus. She chose to lean in.

We too must choose whether we allow ourselves to be distracted or pulled away by people or the things in this world…or choose to draw closer to Jesus.

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. James 4:8 NLT

Leaning in to Jesus and His Word is nutrients and food for our souls…His Word is power and sustenance to our well-being…His Word is vital to not only our survival, but also our ability to thrive.

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—how good God is. Blessed are you who run to him. Psalm 34:8 MSG

O taste and see that the Lord [our God] is good; How blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who takes refuge in Him. Psalm 34:8 AMP

When we lean in to Jesus and His light…When we draw close to Jesus and His Word…We experience His presence and it is through His presence that we will see the blessings and benefits of leaning in.

His Power

We will see and experience His power when we lean in. We don’t need to keep trying to do things on our own or in our own strength. He will give us the power to say “no” to the things in this world that keep us from Him and the power to survive, thrive, prosper and fulfill our purpose and destiny as Christians in this world.

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 2Peter1:3

His Provision

We will see and experience His provision when we lean in. He sees and knows everything we need and when we lean in and trust in Him…He will provide.

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 NLT

His Protection

We will see and experience His protection when we lean in. When we feel weak, afraid or overwhelmed, He will protect us when we lean in.

He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Psalm 91:4NLT

But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 2Thessalonians 3:3 NASB

His Passion

We will see and experience His passion when we lean in. We will understand the very heart of Jesus and what He is passionate about and what He truly desires when we lean in.

37Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40 NIV

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2Peter 3:9 NIV

If we can all see the importance of leaning in to Jesus on a daily basis…if we can all see the blessings of leaning in to Jesus…if we can all see the benefits of leaning in to Jesus…if we can all just see how our very life…our survival and growth…depends on Jesus and His Word…we would intentionally choose to spend time with Him!

We cannot live our lives as Christians if we do not lean in to Jesus. Just as a plant must lean in to the light of the sun for survival, so too we must lean in to the Light of the Son to survive and thrive as Christians.

Lean in today…what’s holding you back?

Reflection Points:

  1. Are you leaning in to Jesus today?
  2. Do you lean in to Jesus on a daily basis…or only when you are facing a challenge in your life?
  3. What keeps you from leaning in and experiencing His presence?
  4. What are the blessings and benefits of leaning in to Jesus?

 

Action Points:

  1. Examine your daily life and see what may be keeping you from leaning in to Jesus and experiencing His presence. Pray and ask God to show you what changes you can make to allow you to lean in more. Many of us have a desire to lean in to Jesus, but we lack the discipline to do it. Ask God to strengthen you to make the necessary changes.
  2. Leaning in to Jesus is essential for our survival as Christians. It isn’t enough for us to lean in just when are facing a challenge in our lives. Jesus wants us to draw close to Him in our lives…all day everyday…and in every detail of our life, not just when we go through tough times.
  3. Leaning in to Jesus and His Word is nutrients and food for our souls…His Word is power and sustenance to our well-being…His Word is vital to not only our survival, but also our ability to thrive.
  4. When we lean in to Jesus and His light…When we draw close to Jesus and His Word…We experience His presence and it is through His presence that we will see His power…His provision…His protection…and His passion.

Are You Anchored?

My family and I recently ventured out on a boat at a nearby lake that was nestled in between the rocky desert mountains of Arizona. It was absolutely beautiful!

As I watched various speedboats, motorboats, and jet skiers whiz by us creating many rough and choppy waves…my eye caught a single anchored boat nearby.

The rough and choppy waves splashed up against this little boat causing it to shake and bounce, yet it didn’t move from its place. It remained steady and stable in the midst of all the activity around it because it was anchored.

As my eyes remained fixed on this boat, I began to ponder the ability of this anchor to keep the boat stable and steadfast.

An anchor is a metal device attached to a ship or boat by a cable or rope and cast overboard to hold it firmly in a particular place by means of hook-like arms that dig into the bottom of a lake or sea.

The purpose of an anchor is to stabilize a boat from drifting away …especially in heavy stormy weather.

The idea of this anchor prompted me to consider how we too need an anchor in our lives. We too need an anchor to keep us stable and steadfast…not only in the heavy storms of life…but also in the day to day of our lives.

Are you anchored? What anchors you each day?

In the Bible, the book of Hebrews talks about an anchor…an anchor that will keep us firm and secure…an anchor for our souls.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. Hebrews 6:19 NIV

FYI…the “soul” can be described as the inner life of a person that represents a person’s thoughts, will, and emotions.

 

In order for an anchor to firmly grip the bottom of the waterbed, it must have good anchorage. In other words…the anchor needs to be embedded among rocks in order to hold fast to the bottom without slipping or dragging.

Just as a boat’s anchor needs to be embedded among the rocks…so too must our anchor be embedded among the rocks…really just one rock…the only rock…the rock of Jesus Christ.

And this anchor for our souls? It is hope…hope in Jesus Christ.

Is your soul anchored in the hope of Jesus Christ today? Are your thoughts…will…and emotions anchored in Christ on a daily basis?

As Christians, we can so easily allow our focus to drift away…We can so easily allow our thoughts…desires…and emotions to drift away from our anchor of hope…away from Jesus Christ.

Our Thoughts

Oh how easy it is for our minds to drift away!

I am sure we have all experienced days where our thoughts begin drifting away…drifting away from what is sound and reasonable…drifting away from what we know is true…drifting away from Jesus and His Word…And drifting to negative, unproductive thoughts…drifting to worry, fear, insecurity, discouragement…drifting to even sin.

I know you know what I am talking about!

It’s like your child comes home with an unusual skin rash…and you begin to google its description (by the way…never usually recommended) and after reading all the signs and symptoms from comments that other moms have posted (again not recommended) you have concluded that your child has an incurable disease!

Or you just lost your job and even before you have begun actually looking for another job you have concluded that you won’t be able to find a new job quick enough and your thoughts drift away to the inability to pay your bills and rent and you have concluded that you will be evicted!

This list of unrealistic…and sometimes ridiculous…scenarios is endless…isn’t it?!

Our thoughts must be anchored in Christ.

You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both inclination and character], Because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation]. Isaiah 26:3AMP

Our Will

“Will” is defined as “a strong desire or determination to do something; a person’s choice or desire in a particular situation.”

Oftentimes we have hopes and desires to do something in our lives, but our will is just that…Our will!

We pursue our hopes and desires without praying about them and aligning them with Christ and His desires…without knowing if it’s even God’s will for us or our lives.

Our human nature is to do what we want to do…even if it’s a good thing…and we don’t even think about consulting our Creator.

God created each of us with a plan and a purpose in this life…So how can we not consult our Creator?

We may not want God’s will because we want our will more…and consequently we can find ourselves drifting away from God’s plan and purpose for our lives.

Our will…our desires…must be anchored in Christ.

We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9 NLT

I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. Jeremiah 29:11 MSG

Emotions

And how about those emotions? There are few women who don’t show much emotion but most women struggle with controlling their emotions. I know I do sometimes!

Emotions are not necessarily bad. God created us as women to have emotions but we must learn to control them. If we don’t take hold of them, we will find ourselves allowing our emotions to control our actions and reactions…and even control our day!

And for you moms out there with kids…you know how quickly your patience is tested by your children which may eventually lead to overwhelming frustrations…causing actions and reactions that may not be pleasing to God.

Our emotions must be anchored in Christ.

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23 NIV

The heart is deceitful above all things. And it is extremely sick; Who can understand it fully and know its secret motives? Jeremiah 17:9 AMP

So how can we daily anchor our thoughts, will, and emotions in Christ?

Now remember, there is a cable or rope (in nautical terms this is called a “rode”) that attaches the anchor to the boat. This rope is very important because an anchor is not effective unless it has a strong cable or rope.

When the anchor is dropped over the edge of the boat, the anchor is no longer seen. It is trust in the strength of this rope that gives you assurance that the anchor will keep the boat firm and steadfast.

And this rope for us as Christians is faith!

Faith connects us to our anchor hope!

Now faith is the assurance of what we hope for and the certainty of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1 BSB

What is so amazing is another interesting aspect of the anchor called the scope. For all you mathematicians out here… this one’s for you!

The scope is “the ratio of the length of rode(rope) to water depth. Anchoring with sufficient scope brings the direction of strain close to parallel with the seabed.”

In other words…this means that you want a tight scope. It isn’t good to have a lot of slack in the rope. The greater the slack in the rope, the greater the boat’s ability to move and drift  and become less stable.

Again, we are talking about how we can be anchored in Christ.

Our faith becomes stronger the closer we stay to our hope…the closer we stay to Christ. We don’t want any slack in our faith!

But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God. Hebrews 7:19 NLT

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings… Hebrews 10:22 NIV

In order for us to be anchored in Christ, we must stay close to Him. Keeping close to Him through prayer and daily Bible reading/study is essential in keeping our thoughts, will, and emotions anchored on a daily basis…as well as in the tough stormy seasons of life.

If we are not anchored in Christ, we will drift…drift away from our very source of stability, security, and steadfastness.

Stay anchored in Christ today! He is the ONLY hope that is immoveable!

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. Hebrews 6:19 NIV

Reflection Points:

  1. Are you anchored?
  2. What anchors you each day?
  3. Is your soul anchored in the hope of Jesus today?
  4. Are your thoughts…will…and emotions anchored in Christ on a daily basis?
  5. How can we daily anchor our thoughts, will, and emotions in Christ?
  6. Why is scope so important?

Actions Points:

  1. We cannot rely on people or things to be anchored in our lives. People and things will come and go. We must be anchored firmly on the rock of Jesus Christ. When we are anchored, we will experience stability and steadfastness…not just in the heavy storms of life…but also in the day to day of our lives. The anchor for our souls is hope in Jesus Christ.
  2. Our thoughts, will, and emotions must be anchored in Christ. If we are not anchored, we can so easily allow our focus to drift away. We can so easily allow our thoughts…desires…and feelings to drift away from our anchor of hope…away from Jesus Christ.
  3. We can anchor our thoughts, will, and emotions on a daily basis through our faith. Because it is our faith that connects us to our hope! It is our faith that connects us to Jesus!
  4. Scope is so important because the greater the slack in the rope, the greater the boat’s ability to move and become less stable. Our faith becomes stronger the closer we stay to our hope…the closer we stay to Christ. Keeping close to Him through prayer and daily Bible reading/study will strengthen our faith and keep us stable and secure no matter what comes our way!

 

 

 

He is Christ the Lord!

I am a proud mommy glowing with such remarkable love for my young boys this Christmas season! Both boys had Christmas performances with their classes last week and I couldn’t be prouder as I watched them embrace the true reason for this season.

My youngest son Bryce just performed in his Cowboy Christmas celebration with his Kindergarten class. He worked so hard for 2 weeks learning the Bible verses in Luke 2:11-14.

11Today in the City of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord! 12And this will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13And suddenly there appeared with the angel a great multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying:14“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests!”

That’s a lot of words for a 6 year- old…but he did it!

As I helped Bryce prepare to recite these verses, the latter part of Luke 2:11 really stood out to me…

He is Christ the Lord!

As I pondered this verse I began to think…

But Is He? Is He Christ the Lord in your life?

This short yet powerful verse has such a great message for us this Christmas season!

He

He…this baby wrapped in swaddling cloths… this promised deliverer of the Jewish nation…this Messiah that was prophesied about for many, many years… …He is born.

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace . . . Isaiah 9:6-7KJV

He…this Wonderful…Counselor…Mighty God…Everlasting Father…Prince of Peace…is born.

Is He? Is He Christ the Lord in your life? Is He Wonderful…Counselor…Mighty God…Everlasting Father…Prince of Peace in your life?

Each of these descriptions gives us a different aspect of the work that He…Jesus…wants to do in our lives.

His name is Wonderful

This word comes from the root word “wonder,” which means “a sense of awe.” Jesus wants to bring a sense of awe and wonder to our lives. We no longer have to look to the “things” this world offers to bring fulfillment…because Jesus Christ makes life wonderful.

His name is Counselor….

Jesus wants to give us His personal counsel and direction. He is our guide in our times of need.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Psalm 32:8 NIV

We no longer have to feel confused or lost in our lives because with Christ as our Counselor we can know that God will reveal His will to us.

His name is Mighty God

This means that Jesus is omnipotent…He has unlimited power for us as we encounter the demands of life.

Living our life as a Christian is not easy. In fact…it is impossible to be a Christian apart from the help of the Holy Spirit. Jesus our Mighty God is there for us to give us the strength to do what He wants us to do.

His name is Everlasting Father

Because Christ came to die on the cross and pay for our sins and rise again from the dead…we have an Everlasting Father, One who will be with us forever. He will never forget about us. He will always be there to guide and help us through life.

His name is the Prince of Peace

Because Jesus is the ruler of peace…the prince of Peace…we can experience inner peace in the midst of even the greatest of storms. Because we trust the Prince of Peace in our lives…we can have an inner assurance that He is in control and will bring to pass the very best in…and for…our lives.

There is power in He.

Is

Is…He is…not was…and not will be.

He is alive and He is now…He is in your present situation…He is in your present struggle…He is in your present sorrow.

So is He? Have you invited Him to be in every aspect of your life right at this moment regardless of what you are facing?

Is means “to be; to live” (A form of the present tense)

Jesus was born…not to be in just a part of our life…but to live and be in every aspect of our life. He isn’t just a piece of the pie…He is the filling inside that fills every piece of the pie!

He is the way…the truth…and the life.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. John 14:6 NIV

There is present power in Is.

Christ

Christ…He is Christ.

Christ comes from the Greek word Christos…meaning “anointed one” or “chosen one.” This is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word Mashiach…or “Messiah.”

“Jesus” is the Lord’s human name given to Mary by the angel Gabriel (Luke 1:31) and Christ is His title… signifying Jesus was sent from God to be a King and Deliverer (Daniel 9:25; Isaiah 32:1).

Jesus Christ means “Jesus the Messiah” or “Jesus the Anointed One.”

To be anointed is literally to have sacred anointing oil poured on one’s head because God has chosen the person for a special task. The oil was a sign of sovereign power or priesthood. Priests and kings were anointed…and occasionally prophets. Kings were anointed during their coronation rather than receiving a crown. Even though prophets and priests were anointed…the phrase “anointed one” was most often used to refer to a king.

He is Christ…He is King…He is the Messiah…He is the Anointed One!

And is He Christ? Is Jesus the Christ…the King…of your life? Have you given Him power and reign over and in every area of your life?

FYI: Side note of how the word “Christmas” originated.

The word Christmas originated as a compound meaning “Christ’s mass”. It is derived from the Middle English Christemasse and Old English Cristes maesse…a phrase first recorded in 1038. “Cristes” is from Greek christos and “maesse” is from Latin missa.

And check this out…pretty cool!

In early Greek versions of the New Testament…the letter Χ (chi)…is the first letter of Christ. Since the mid-16th century Χ…or the similar Roman letter X…has been used as an abbreviation for Christ. Hence, Xmas is often used as an abbreviation for Christmas.

There is power in Christ!

Lord

Lord…He is Christ the Lord.

In the New Testament…Lord is the most frequently used title for Jesus Christ. Jesus is referred to as Lord 747 times in the New Testament and “Savior” only 24 times!

So where do you think the emphasis is? Jesus as your Savior…or Jesus as your Lord?

Although we rarely use this term Lord in our daily lives…we are all quite familiar with another word…Boss!

And that is basically what Lord means…one possessing authority, power, and control. It means master…the one who calls the shots…the one in charge…the one who makes the decisions.

Jesus is Christ the Lord.

Well is He Christ the Lord? Is Jesus the Lord of your life? Is He in control? Is He in the driver’s seat and you riding shotgun?

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 NIV

We aren’t given the option of receiving Him as Savior and not as Lord. If Jesus isn’t Lord of all…He isn’t Lord at all!

And this implies that we submit every area of our life to Him.

I am not saying this is easy by any means…but it is a process and God will strengthen you as you take steps in this direction.

1.Lordship begins in the heart.

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord… 1 Peter 3:15

2.Lordship requires obedience.

Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say? Luke 6:46

3.Lordship is a continuous walk.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him. Colossians 2:6

There is power in the Lord!

What a packed full powerful message for us today that He is Christ the Lord!

Do you believe that?

This Christmas …declare and believe that He is Christ the Lord! And watch your life with Jesus change as you embrace each aspect of this powerful verse!

I wish all my Sweeter Than Honey Blog subscribers a very Merry Christmas! I truly appreciate your support!

Reflection Points:

  1. Do you understand the powerful message of Luke 2:11 that He is Christ the Lord?
  2. Is He Christ the Lord? Is He Wonderful…Counselor…Mighty God…Everlasting Father…Prince of Peace in your life?
  3. Have you invited Him to be in every aspect of your life right at this moment regardless of what you are facing?
  4. Is Jesus the Christ…the King…of your life? Have you given Him power and reign over and in every area of your life?
  5. Is Jesus the Lord of your life? Is He in control? Is He in the driver’s seat and you riding shotgun?

Action Points:

Review above the detailed description of each word in the verse Luke 2:11 to understand and grasp the power He is Christ the Lord can have in your life today…and every day!

 

Delight Yourself

Wow! Time flies by with the busyness of life!

I am just now finally sitting down to write this blog devotion after an 8-week unintentional hiatus.

Life became quite busy for me these past couple months with women’s bibles studies…women’s event planning…my boys’ fall school activities…and weekend flag football games with my family.

All good things of course…but nonetheless busy!

And so after experiencing this busy season these past couple months…I am now faced with another very busy season. I am sure we all are!

We have officially entered the Christmas Season…one of the busiest times of year!

A busy season of adorning Christmas trees…decorating homes …drinking pumpkin spice lattes in front of a warm fire…making gingerbread houses…attending holiday parties…volunteering and helping those less fortunate and…of course…shopping for Christmas gifts.

All good things of course (Well…for some of us…maybe not so much the gift shopping with the long lines and lack of parking lot spaces)!

My 8 weeks of busy “good” things were a great reminder of the importance of priorities and a great time of reflection upon what my heart truly desired…

Delighting myself in the Lord.

Busyness…even “good” busyness…will do that to you. It can take your focus off delighting in God…and place your focus on delighting in good. And my heart reminded me how much I missed just delighting myself in the Lord.

The dictionary defines the word “delight” as “a high degree of gratification, extreme satisfaction, joy; to take great pleasure in.”

In what do you delight this Christmas season? In what do you find extreme satisfaction and joy and great pleasure in this season?

Maybe it’s all the above…adorning your Christmas tree…decorating your home …drinking pumpkin spice lattes in front of a warm fire…making gingerbread houses…attending holiday parties… volunteering and helping those less fortunate…and shopping for Christmas gifts.

And how about in life? What do you delight in in your life?

Maybe it’s a relationship…your family…job…wealth…status…material possessions.

And even though some of the things we delight in are actually “good” things…

Are you delighting only in good…or are you delighting in God?

These objects or people of delight…even these “good” things…may bring you a high degree of gratification and pleasure…but do they ultimately bring you true satisfaction?

If our delight is in people…things…or even good…disappointment is inevitable and life’s purpose is missed because nothing…NOTHING…on this earth is guaranteed…nothing on this earth will last forever…and nothing on this earth will truly satisfy.

We were created with a void…a void that can only be filled and satisfied by Jesus.

The Bible says in Psalm 37:4…

Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 ESV

I have seen this verse many times misunderstood as some believe that it means if you delight in the Lord…then He will give you whatever you desire (a discussion matter for another blog devotion)

This concept of “delight” is quite interesting so I actually want to dig deeper into the context of the first aspect of this verse for us to grasp a greater understanding.

What does it mean to Delight yourself in the Lord?

The word “delight” comes from the Hebrew root word anog and is translated as “being soft and delicate.” It carries the idea of being pliable or sensitive.

And so in this particular text… Delight yourself in the Lord means to be dependent upon God and to derive one’s pleasure from him. According to the root…it is to treat God with delicacy…to be soft before Him.

In other words…we may interpret this as the act of presenting ourselves with great humility and open heartedness so that we never cause Him offense.

Hmmm…

Have you ever thought of delight in this way?

This Hebrew root translation certainly provides a unique perspective in our understanding of delighting ourselves in the Lord and brings some specific implications as well.

Check out the following commentaries…

The word rendered “delight” means properly to live delicately and effeminately; then, to be tender or delicate; then, to live a life of ease or pleasure; then, to find delight or pleasure in anything. The meaning here is, that we should seek our happiness in God – in his being, his perfections, his friendship, his love. Barne’s Notes

To delight in God is as much a privilege as a duty. He has not promised to gratify the appetites of the body, and the humours of the fancy, but the desires of the renewed, sanctified soul. What is the desire of the heart of a good man? It is this, to know, and love, and serve God. Matthew Henry Commentary

Here is the secret of tranquility in freedom from eager, earthly desires-’Delight thyself in the Lord, and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.’ The great reason why life is troubled and restless lies not without, but within. It is not our changing circumstances, but our unregulated desires, that rob us of peace. We are feverish, not because of the external temperature, but because of the state of our own blood. McLaren’s Expositions

In keeping this perspective…what exactly does Delight yourself in the Lord imply?

1.It implies that we greatly humble ourselves before Him. Delighting yourself in the Lord begins with humility. Humility gives the Lord the respect He deserves and allows us to “be soft before Him.” It also takes our focus off ourself.

No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 NLT

For apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5 NLT

2. It implies that we give Him great honor and glory. Delighting yourself in the Lord is respecting His sovereignty and omniscience. This requires us to give Him…and His interests…supreme reverence. We are to delight ourselves in promoting His glory and honor and find our supreme happiness and satisfaction in this.

Honor the LORD, you heavenly beings; honor the LORD for his glory and strength. Honor the LORD for the glory of his name. Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness. Psalm 29:1-2 NLT

3. It implies that we submit our will to His will. Delighting yourself in the Lord is putting His will…His interests…His desires above our own. When we are humble before Him and give Him great honor and glory…it is easier for us to submit our will to His will.

Rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV

I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart. Psalm 40:8 NIV

We should have the same attitude that Jesus demonstrated to His Father in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Jesus said, “Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

4. It implies that we please Him through our obedience. Delighting yourself in the Lord is pleasing Him by our obedience.

It is one thing to obey and another thing to delight in obedience. Our intent should be to devote ourselves entirely to pleasing Him. Our purpose in all things…at all times…in all places…and forever is to live holy and pleasing to Him.

How joyful are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying his commands. Psalm 112:1 NLT

I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word. Psalm 119:16 ESV

5. It implies that we have complete trust and confidence in Him. Delighting yourself in the Lord is experiencing complete satisfaction through our trust in Him and having complete confidence in His character, providences, and His Word.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT 

As we enter and celebrate this Christmas season…we can so easily get caught up delighting in the “good” and lose our focus in actually delighting in God.

The busyness of Christmas and the busyness of life can distract us from delighting in the very thing…the ONLY THING…that will fully satisfy our hearts…our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Delight yourself in the Lord!!!

Reflection Points:

  1. In what do you delight this Christmas season? What do you delight in in your life?
  2. Do these people and/or things bring you true satisfaction?
  3. And even though some of the things we delight in are actually good things…Are you delighting only in good…or are you delighting in God?
  4. According to the Hebrew root meaning for delight…have you ever thought of delight as treating God with delicacy…and being soft before Him?
  5. What does Delight yourself in the Lord imply?

Action Points:

  1. Our objects or people of delight…even “good” things…may bring us a high degree of gratification and pleasure…but they will not bring us true satisfaction. NOTHING…on this earth is guaranteed…nothing on this earth will last forever…and nothing on this earth will truly satisfy because…We were created with a void…a void that can only be filled by Jesus.
  2. This Hebrew root translation certainly provides a unique perspective in our understanding of delighting ourselves in the Lord and brings some specific implications as well. Refer to the points and scriptures above to understand what Delight yourself in the Lord implies.

 

 

 

 

The Power of Water

I recently returned from a much needed week long family vacation in CA and am excited to feel so energized and refreshed! We had a blast visiting family…Disneyland and CA Adventure…and 3 different beaches on 3 separate days!

On one particular day at the beach, the waves were so outrageously big that unfortunately we couldn’t even go in the water. The lifeguard mentioned they were on higher alert because a hurricane near Hawaii was causing these waves to be so big. And trust me…they were gigantic!

My boys…however…were completely content building a sand castle and digging in the sand. As I watched them work hard making their sand castle, a huge wave crashed and the water traveled all the way up to the where the boys were building their sand castle. And in an instant the sand castle disappeared. Completely gone…just like that!

Watching these huge waves crash…wave after wave…and seeing it’s powerful impact on my boys’ sand castle, I began to think about the powerful nature of the ocean and the powerful nature of our God who created it.

We see the powerful impact of water in our world today whether it’s the strength of the ocean washing a human life away…the devastation of a flood wiping a city away…or the tragedy of a tsunami demolishing a coastline.

Water is certainly powerful and even though these unfortunate negative effects of water are present in our world today…God created water and actually uses the symbolism of water in the Bible to demonstrate powerful and significant benefits for us as Christians.

“Water” is mentioned 722 times in both the Old and New Testaments.

That is less than “God” … “Jesus” … “heaven” …or “love” …but many more times than “faith”… “hope”… “prayer”…or even “worship”!

So interesting! Clearly there is significance in understanding the symbolism of water!

Now…in the Bible even though water may symbolize troublesome times in life that can and do come to human beings…especially God’s children (You can check some of those verses out on your own Psalm 32:6, Psalm 69:1-2,14-15, Isaiah 43:2) …Water also does symbolize powerful positive benefits for us as Christians.

There are many parallels made with “natural/ physical” water and with the symbolism of “spiritual” water.

Water is first mentioned and created by our Almighty God in the book of Genesis.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. Genesis 1:1-2 NIV

And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that has life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. Genesis 1:20 AKJV

1.Just as water is symbolic of life in the natural/ physical, it is also symbolic of life…eternal life…spiritually. Water is symbolic of God’s salvation and eternal life which God offers us all through faith in His Son.

This thought in Genesis is again repeated in the New Testament in John 3 when Nicodemus…a ruler of the Jews…is asking questions of Jesus.

Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. John 3:5 ESV

Notice here…the water birth (physical) comes before the Spirit birth (spiritual).

We see the reality of this when a woman is in labor and the baby is about to be born. We wait for the ‘waters to break’ which surround the baby until birth. We cannot be spiritually re-born until we have first been naturally born.

Have you been “born again” and accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?

2.Just as natural water is used for cleansing and washing…water is symbolic of spiritual cleansing that comes with the acceptance of God’s offer of salvation.

Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:22NLT

Water also symbolizes cleansing of our hearts and conscience through water baptism.

and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also–not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 1Peter 3:20-21

Have you been water baptized?

3.Just as water is refreshment to our bodies…so too is water symbolic of spiritual refreshment. Water symbolizes the Holy Spirit and is referred to as “living water”.

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. John 7:37-39 NIV

But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life. John 4:14 NLT

Do you rely on the Holy Spirit to refresh you when you are feeling weary and tired?

4.Just as water is necessary for the purification and nourishment of our bodies…water is symbolic of God’s Word which also purifies and gives us spiritual nourishment.

…to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. Ephesians 5:26 NLT

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. Psalm 42:1 NIV

The Word of God is the pure water for which our souls thirst.

Do you feed and nourish yourself with God’s Word on a daily basis?

Water is powerful!

And just as the power of water is seen in our natural/physical world…so too is the power of water and its spiritual symbolism seen in the Bible.

Water has such great symbolism in the Bible and God uses this symbolism to demonstrate powerful and significant benefits for us as Christians such as salvation/eternal life…cleansing and washing through baptism…refreshment from the Holy Spirit…and purification and nourishment through God’s Word.

Reflection Points:

  1. Have you been “born again” and accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?
  2. Have you been water baptized?
  3. Do you rely on the Holy Spirit to refresh you when you are feeling weary and tired?
  4. Do you feed and nourish yourself with God’s Word on a daily basis?

 

Action Points:

1.Jesus wants us to come to Him just as we are. If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior…it’s as simple as Romans 10:9.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 

2.Water baptism is a public pledge of a good conscience toward God. Please note: Being baptized does not save you. Jesus was water baptized by his cousin John the Baptist and since Jesus is our model we too should get water baptized.

Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38

3.When we feel weary or tired, we can rely upon the Holy Spirit who will strengthen us.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 NLT

3.It is so important that we are feeding and nourishing ourselves with God’s Word on a daily basis. Just as we wouldn’t think about not feeding our body physically each day, we should be disciplined in spending time reading God’s Word and praying on a daily basis.

 

 

A Place of Decision

I was recently reminded of a sweet memorable moment when my youngest son Bryce was a baby.

I remember on this one occasion when Bryce crawled towards a little toy car that he desired. When he reached the toy car, he grabbed it with his left hand. He seemed quite content with his newly found toy car…but then after a brief period of time, he noticed a much bigger toy car a short distance away.

He attempted to crawl forward toward the bigger toy car but was unsuccessful because he was still holding the little toy car. He could not move forward. He couldn’t figure out that he had to let go of the little toy car so he could use both hands and feet to crawl over to the bigger toy car.

Even though he desired the bigger toy car, he would not let go of the little toy car and ended up sitting in this one place for a long time until he eventually became frustrated and began crying. Holding onto this little toy car prevented him from moving forward.

He had to choose to either continue holding onto the little toy car and remain where he was …or choose to let it go and move forward toward the bigger toy car.

Bryce was at a place of decision.

In the Bible, the Israelites were also at a place of decision…but a place of decision with far greater consequences than a baby choosing between a little toy car and a bigger toy car.

Kadesh-barnea…referred to as a “place of decision” …was a significant place where the course of Israel’s history was changed.

The word “kadesh” comes from the Hebrew root qadash which means “holy or sacred” and “barnea” means “desert of wandering.”

Kadesh-barnea (this holy desert of wanderings) was a gateway to the Promised Land for the Israelites. It was from Kadesh-barnea that the 12 spies were sent into the land of Canaan.

19 Then, as the Lord our God commanded us, we set out from Horeb and went toward the hill country of the Amorites through all that vast and dreadful wilderness that you have seen, and so we reached Kadesh Barnea. 20 Then I said to you, “You have reached the hill country of the Amorites, which the Lord our God is giving us. 21 See, the Lord your God has given you the land. Go up and take possession of it as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, told you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

22 Then all of you came to me and said, “Let us send men ahead to spy out the land for us and bring back a report about the route we are to take and the towns we will come to.”

23 The idea seemed good to me; so I selected twelve of you, one man from each tribe. 24 They left and went up into the hill country, and came to the Valley of Eshkol and explored it.

25 Taking with them some of the fruit of the land, they brought it down to us and reported, “It is a good land that the Lord our God is giving us.” Deuteronomy 1:19-25

What is so interesting is that this scouting expedition was not God’s idea! Moses liked the idea and God allowed it…but the idea originated with the Israelites!

If the Israelites had believed and trusted God…the scouting expedition would have been completely unnecessary.  God already told them He would give them the land.  All they had to do was go forward. Going forward would mean no more wandering through the desert.

It should have been an easy decision to make…but the Israelites worried, complained, and murmured because they didn’t trust God. Consequently, they wandered in the desert for approx. 40 years! (One theory is that that during these 38 years they remained in and about Kadesh…hence the name.)

Are you experiencing our own Kadesh-barnea today? Are you at your own “place of decision” like the Israelites?

Maybe at your own Kadesh-barnea you have been in a place of discouragement or defeat…

Maybe at your own Kadesh-barnea you have been in a place of hurt or pain…

Maybe at your own Kadesh-barnea you have been in a place of anxiousness or fear…

Maybe at your own Kadesh-barnea you have been in a place of bitterness, resentment, or unforgiveness…

Maybe at your own Kadesh-barnea you have been in a place of grumbling and complaining…

Maybe at your own Kadesh-barnea you have been in place of dryness and complacency spiritually…

How long have you been in this place? And how long is long enough?

FYI…If you are going through a difficult loss or tragedy…of course it takes time to heal and I do not minimize your suffering. I speak to those who have chosen to stay in their Kadesh-barnea for a very long time…who have chosen to wander around in the desert…thus preventing and holding them back from receiving all that God has for them.

Are you trusting God today? Are you ready to move forward into the blessings and promises of God?

Just like the Israelites…this is a place of decision. We can choose to stay…and continue to wander…or we can choose to move forward.

God wants you to move forward!

Interestingly, God promised to bring the Israelites to the Promised Land way before they ever even reached Kadesh-barnea. Unfortunately, the Israelites didn’t believe God then…and clearly didn’t believe Him at Kadesh-barnea as well.

6 Therefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm, and with great judgments:

7 And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.

8 And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it to you for a heritage: I am the LORD. Exodus 6:6-8

God will bring you out…So that He can bring you in!

Notice that it is God…and His power…that will bring us out. So that God…and His power…can bring us into the blessings, promises, and plans for our life!

But it is in our “place of decision” that we must trust Him.

How can we trust God and begin moving forward?

1. Ponder 

Ponder and reflect upon what is holding you back from moving forward. Comfort, complacency, disobedience, pride, lack of faith to name a few?

2. Pray 

Pray and ask God for His strength to move forward. Share with Him your feelings and ask for His help. Ask for His forgiveness.

3. Pursue 

Pursue God and spend time with Him. Read His word daily for encouragement and wisdom. Your eyes will become open to the many promises and blessings He has in store for you!

4. Prune 

Prune the unhealthy areas of your life that aren’t producing fruit. These areas may just be the reason why you aren’t moving forward. This includes pruning and letting go of people in your life who are not encouraging you in your relationship with Jesus and are actually pulling you further away from Him.

5. Practice 

Practice and do what God’s word says. Be obedient to God’s commands. He will reward you in your faithfulness and obedience to Him.

6. Participate 

Participate in weekly church services, bible studies, and small groups to develop Christian friendships and relationships that will help you and encourage you to keep moving forward.

God wants to bring you out so that He can bring you into the blessings, promises, and plans he has for your life!

If you are at your own Kadesh-barnea today, then make an intentional decision to move forward! Trust God and Rely on Him!

Reflection Points:

  1. Are you experiencing our own Kadesh-barnea today? Are you at your own “place of decision” like the Israelites?
  2. How long have you been in this place? And how long is long enough?
  3. Are you trusting Him today? Are you ready to move forward into the blessings and promises of God?
  4. How can we trust God and begin moving forward?

Action Points:

We can trust God and begin to move forward if we ponder, pray, pursue, prune, practice, participate. Review these above.