“My cry entered His ears.” 2 Samuel 22:7

Are you like me and hate to cry? Our pride stops us or maybe someone shamed us for shedding tears when we were just a kid. For whatever reason we scold those tears, we need to understand this one thing: God listens for our cries like a mother her firstborn child. 

When I brought my first daughter home, I hung on her every peep. When her call entered my ears, my feet jumped any hurdle between us, attentive to her need for nourishment, cleanliness, warmth, protection. As her sisters cries entered the family, my response time had to pick and choose, ears perked to the most critical first. 

Our heavenly Father’s response to our cries are forever His first priority. His hands never too full, his children never too many. The Lord, who owns the skies, shakes the earth—bows the heavens to rescue us. Nothing can withstand the heat of Christ’s love when we cry out to God. 

Heaven forbid we say to our soul, “There be no hope in God.” For if we’ve trusted in Christ as King—our joys our sorrows our cries our lives surely belong to Him. Our Savior’s deliverance is perfect, proven—no enemy on earth has power to thwart Him

Never hold back your tears from God, He never withholds His love from you.

“He sent from above, He took me, He drew me out of many waters.” (vs 17)

“Grow.” 2 Peter 3:18

If we’re not growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we’re dying with the world.

Our gardens, fields, and flowers have grown all season. Not one day have they ceased to change. From seed to full bloom, even now to mature friut, and approaching winter we’ve witnessed complete transformation and are blessed by their coming.

Since the beginning of creation God’s promises have been proclaimed through the prophets and manifested in the death and resurrection of His Son. And here we are diligently growing in holiness and godliness by the light of His grace and knowledge. Patiently waiting for a new heaven, a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

“But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.” Psalm 52:8

“You cannot serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:24

What does it mean to serve mammon?

I avoided this question for a long time. I, for one, like having a savings account, a nice car, a pretty house. I feared understanding this verse would take my stuff. After inviting in the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, that fear fled. Not because God said, “Store up! Eat and drink for tomorrow we die!”

No, the peace that came melted all that stuff away. It is Christ, and only Christ that makes anything worth having. Apart from my Savior, I despise life and its countless issues. If I have not the joy of the Lord—take, not just money, car, house—take my life, for all I live for dwells in Him.

“There is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:26) 

“The affection of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:8

Ever think of Jesus as affectionate?

I have to admit, I never have.

I see Jesus trustworthy, upright, kind, wise, compassionate, commanding, humble, giving and doing all things for the sake of His people—but not necessarily affectionate. When I hear the term, affection, I imagine snuggling, cuddling, handholding, smooching, butterfly kisses. So, I sat down with this word from the apostle Paul and asked the Holy Spirit, What does Your affection look like, Jesus?

And I felt it, like the weight of Him, like a great hand upon my chest. It was His love. Eyes closed, I envisioned kisses all over my face, like a Daddy with His precious child.

Oh, the grace of vision must never be taken for granted. God, the Father knit this gift into us for His affectionate purposes.

“I have you in my heart.” Paul says, comparing his affection with the same affection Jesus has for us. How sweet it is cuddling up in the truth: the same Lord who sent hail upon the earth, preached woes to pharisees, turned tables at the temple—also crafted the palm of your hand, the pucker of our lips, the beat of a heart, daisies that smile, and butterflies for His kids.

“The LORD your God is in your midst, The Mighty One who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by his love; He will exult over you with loud singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)

“Your word has given me life.” Psalm 119:50

How do we read the Psalmist without tears? No matter our story, the word of God is comfort in affliction, joy in sorrow, peace in turmoil, a compass in confusion, hope in death.

When we choose not to live in the word of God, it’s because we are drawn to death. God withholds His grace from no one. If we suffer want, that’s on us.

I write these things to myself, you guys, for the sake of comprehension and safety—for the sake of my busy brain that every day says, “I’ve heard enough.”

I can’t tell you how grateful I am that God put His word on paper. Any moment I can pick it up and my jumbled thoughts get rest. I pray, and the Spirit of God brings up His implanted word from the bank of my heart.

It’s all there—God’s wisdom and knowledge, at our fingertips. If we haven’t time to know and respond to the word of God, we are an affront to His holiness—lost in utter darkness.

“Let your heart retain my words; keep my commands and live.” (Proverbs 4:4)

“Why is it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make but slow advances in the divine life? Because they neglect their closets, and do not thoughtfully meditate on God’s Word.” –Charles Spurgeon

“Faith without works is dead.” James 2:26

What does this mean? What does work look like when done according to faith in God?

First and foremost, the work of God is too believe the Son of God claimed my sin soaked soul as His own and suffered God’s righteous wrath for it—which was death by crucifixion. That’s work one. Without work one, the sacrifices we make, the prayers we say, the money we give away is filthy rags. May as well bag it and put at the end of the driveway.

Through work one, which is culminated in God’s saving love—we love God, and others. As the power of God’s love transforms our mind; in effect our wants, wishes, intents—we desire to do His will. Seeking God and doing His good works which He prepared beforehand, is what we live for.

“If you take Christ out of Christianity, Christianity is dead. If you remove grace out of the gospel, the gospel is gone. If the people do not like the doctrine of grace, give them all the more of it.”  –Charles Spurgeon

“Do not say, ‘I am a youth.'” Jeremiah 1:7

I cherish this beautiful encounter between the Lord and Jeremiah. How easily they talk with each other.

As a kid, I knew I could pray. I asked God for lots of things. I called on God for help. But without the Holy Spirit, who breathes life into our spirit, through saving faith in Jesus—I could not hear His voice. And that my friend, is everything. 

Jeremiah thought he was too young to speak for God. What’s your excuse? What is the Holy Spirit saying to you that you think impossible to do? “I could never say ‘Yes’ to that.” “That’s the one thing I could never do, Lord.” 

Maybe it’s resisting the temptation to do what God has said not to, like me. I know God wants to free me, and I’ve been resisting Him. Today…I’m listening, “Do not be afraid. For I am with you to deliver you.” says the Lord. (vs 8)

See how the Lord touched Jeremiah’s mouth? Put His words in his mouth? The Lord can do the same for us. We can say, “Yes” to God, we can say “No” to our flesh.

“No one need fear to listen to the voice of God unless he has already made up his mind to resist it.” –A. W. Tozer

“Ask in faith, with no doubting.” James 1:6

Some thoughts about wisdom, faith, and doubt.

James speaks of praying for wisdom. “If any of you lacks wisdom, ask.” However, without faith—we need not expect wisdom from God.

Should I take the job? Save my money? Offer my help? Pay the price? Every day we’re faced with decisions like these and wisdom is the key. If we’re being honest, we need wisdom more than anything. Problem is more often than I like to admit, I asked God for wisdom having already made up my mind. See how easily we can be deceived? James calls this double-minded, unstable, in fact.

I’m asking God, in faith, is doubt a warning sign with this kind of deception? How do we navigate through doubt?

Before making that final decision, beloved, ask the Spirit of truth if there be any doubts lingering. Am I putting my faith in You, God, or am I trying to justify my own way?

“From every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages.” Revelation 7:9

The blood of every color is interwoven into the DNA of King Jesus.

Look through the Old Testament and you will find how intentional God was in bringing forth His firstborn Son by blood flowing through the veins of every nation, tribe, people, and tongue. It’s mind-boggling!

How God loves is a concept we will never fully comprehend. But there be no greater prize than emptying our lives in pursuit of knowing Him. The wisdom of God never runs out. The knowledge of God like a sea that can’t run dry. Devote our one little heart to God, and our hearts will forever flow free with love.

Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her.” (Proverb 3: 14-15) [Emphasis mine.]

I was afraid to love. Protected my heart from being rejected, exposed to people I didn’t know. I thought keeping others at a distance, left just enough heart for me. But being saved by Jesus changed all that. Being enlightened by the Holy Spirit opened my eyes, and I was no longer bound by the limits of difference. No longer fearful of color, background, heritage, age, male or female. Slowly, over time, I saw all of us made in the image of God. “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27)

Three times God emphasises how every nation, tribe, and people are represented in the person of Jesus Christ. And through His all-equal, qualifying blood we have access to a Heart that never runs dry. A Heart wide, high, deep, long enough for all mankind. 

“And this is eternal life.” John 17:3

If these words don’t put us on the edge of our seat, nothing good could.

I hold my breath every time I read them! Can’t wait to hear this all-affectionate statement. Jesus inviting us into a most intimate relationship with Him, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” Heaven isn’t a place—heaven is a Person. 

We often hear at funerals, “Now, they’re in a better place.” Or someone will say, “I bet they’re dancing, dining, or having a good ‘ol time with Grandma Mary.” 

If that is the case our perceptions of heaven are a crying shame, a dark and hopeless place.

I’ve heard it said, “No one can know what heaven holds.” As if God cares nothing for the worries of our soul. Oh, sweet friend, nothing could be further from the truth. God loves you—your mind, body, and soul were created for the heavenly Father’s good pleasure. God delights in our knowing His holiness. 

Listen to Job’s response when he goes from hearing about God—to knowing God. It’s one of the most intense moments in scripture.

“I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. Listen please and let me speak; You said, ‘I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’ I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:2-6)

“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:13)

“Why the world does not know us.” 1 John 3:1

You’ve got relatives, friends who never understood you after joining God’s family. And it’s hard. Really, truly brutal.

Jesus knows, feels your pain deeply, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it hated you.” [Emphasis mine.]

When we think about the world hating us it doesn’t really phase us until it’s someone close to us, someone we’ve loved up close and personal. This is where the rubber meets the road. The knitty gritty of dying to yourself. Because let’s face it—what haven’t we sacrificed for the one’s we’ve loved so long? We want to keep doing what we’ve always done: please our people.

It’s taken me a long time to recognize: there be no un-truer love than one willing to appease anothers’ self-righteous appetite. This is not a love that does a soul a lick of good. Only a heart fully first for Christ can, without selfishness, love another. 

“If ye be Christ’s disciples your Lord must be first, then mother, father, wife, children, brethren, and sisters will follow in due rank and order.” Charles Spurgeon

“I hold fast my righteousness and will not let it go.” Job 27:6

In the midst of suffering the devil will do anything to get us to say, God is nothing. As if loss of occupation, offspring, and our time on earth, is proof: God is not good.

How do we not crumble under this kind of pressure?

Why didn’t the end of everything good in Job’s life wipe out his faith in God?

Listen to this: God said, there’s none like Job, he’s blameless, upright. Job fears God and turns away from evil.

What’s the key to Job’s unshakable faith? The Source of his faith: God the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit. God, was Job’s God, and he had no other. 

Job loved God with all his heart, all his soul, all his mind, all his strength. Job knew everything he had, everything he was, was on account of God—his money, his family, his career, his own skin, his very soul belonged to the Giver who gave it to him. Job held nothing back from the one true holy God.

Job knew God was his righteousness, counting all other things as rubbish, that he might gain Christ, and be found in Him—the righteousness which is from God by faith. Conforming to His death and claiming Christ’s resurrection.

“I hold fast my righteousness and will not let go.”