trust

Failure = Success

“‘Lord, if it’s you,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’ ‘Come,’ he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’” – Matthew 14:28-30 When Peter saw Jesus standing on the water, his first inclination was to imitate Him. After all, because he was a disciple of the Rabbi, he knew He was supposed to be able to do anything that He did. Therefore, when His Master told the zealous disciple to come to Him, he readily jumped up and started walking. However, when he took a moment to think about what he was attempting to do, doubts assailed him and he sank. And while many condemn him for not keeping his eyes fixed on Jesus, to me, the

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Don’t Let Fear Stop You

“After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: ‘Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.’” – Genesis 15:1 Faith is not the absence of fear, it’s moving forward in spite of fear. The Lord never promises to take away our feelings of fright, but He assures us that He’ll be with us in the midst of them. When He tells us not to be afraid, He’s not asking us to pretend to be stronger than we are, He’s simply inviting us to trust His power as we move ahead. For instance, some of you reading this might have a fear of flying. No matter how many people tell you that it’s safe, you still get jittery when you fasten your seatbelt and hear the engines roaring. Although your chances of being in a plane crash are one out of

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Unfinished Symphonies

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” – Ephesians 2:10 (NLT) A symphony is an elaborate musical work that’s written for a full orchestra. It’s typically divided into four movements, and all of them are distinctly different but woven together by similar themes. Since composing such a complex piece of music is no easy task, there are several famous composers who started them but never finished. Perhaps the most famous is Franz Schubert and his Symphony #8, of which he completed only two movements. Though speculation by some is that he never intended to finish it, the reality is that he probably didn’t get to it, either because he lacked inspiration or didn’t receive adequate support. Thankfully for us, God doesn’t author any unfinished symphonies. Though our lives are complex and

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Separation Precedes Elevation

“On the fifth of the month—it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin — the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, by the Kebar River in the land of the Babylonians. There the hand of the Lord was on him.” – Ezekiel 1:2,3 The story of Ezekiel is an interesting one. Born a Levite and set apart by God to be a Jewish priest, his life turned out nothing like he thought it would. In fact, when he was just 25 years old, the Babylonians came and attacked Jerusalem. Though this was many years before the Babylonian exile, it foreshadowed it, and when the enemy armies ransacked the city, though they left it intact, they took a bunch of loot and a large group of Jews with them back to Babylon. One of their unlucky captives was Ezekiel. Now alone

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Don’t Fear the Devil

“I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” – Acts 26:17,18 Have you ever had one of those dreams where you were back in high school because you never graduated? I don’t know what it is about this proverbial nightmare, but it visits many of us at one time or another. Thankfully, as vivid as our mind might make it seem, when we wake up, we breathe a sigh of relief as we realize that we really did get our diploma. And as strange as the analogy sounds, I believe this scenario parallels a spiritual principle for those of us who’ve said yes to Jesus’ gift of salvation. While we have an enemy,

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No Fear in Love

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” – 1 John 4:18 I went to a number of different schools during my growing up years, but the one that I attended for quite a while was a Baptist school in the Valley area of L.A. For the most part, I enjoyed going there, and I think it helped my walk with God a lot. However, there was one teacher who made it a bit of a challenge. The kids called her “Mrs. Nun,” because she would remind you of a stern-faced Catholic sister, and she was constantly grimacing and instilling religious fear in the impressionable young minds of her students. She had us watch a bunch of old movies that were made in the 1960’s and 70’s about the

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Quiet Waters

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.” – Psalm 23:1-2 To those who feel alone, abandoned, or unseen, I want to remind you that God is with you. Even in stormy seas, when the waves of change and currents of difficulty make it hard to navigate, Jesus is in the boat. No mountain is too high, no valley is too deep, and no pit is too dark for His loving presence to reach. You see, as His children, regardless of where we find ourselves, our Savior promises to lead us beside quiet waters. In the middle of a mess, He lovingly shepherds us to a place of safe pasture, even if our circumstances remain unsettled. Psalm 23 reminds us that

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Sacred Patience

“Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him.” – Luke 2:25 I love the story of Simeon. He was a faithful follower of the Lord, and the Bible says that the Holy Spirit was on him. This is significant because before Jesus came, the third person of the Trinity primarily visited people on certain occasions, not on an everyday basis. However, it’s clear that Simeon loved the Lord more than anything, and because he set his mind on things above, the Spirit spoke to him regularly. In fact, since he dwelled so closely with God, he clearly heard Him say that he would see the Messiah with his own eyes before he died. How elated he must have been upon receiving this news, but how long the wait must

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The Harvest of His Promises

“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” – Isaiah 55:10,11 I love this promise from the Lord as recorded by Isaiah because it reminds us that His Word never returns void. I think many of us become discouraged when we faithfully apply ourselves to the things of God and yet don’t experience the freedom and breakthrough we’ve been longing for. We pray, seek, and trust, but we still endure a prolonged wilderness that leaves us wondering if He’s there at all. It can be equally as

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Choose For Yourself!

“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” – Joshua 24:14-16 For a lot of us, a new year means getting a brand new calendar to fill with all the things we hope to accomplish. The idea of resolutions is that we take on a few huge goals, and working towards them typically proves to be a lofty task. All too often, circumstances get in the way, the unexpected happens, and we come to realize that we won’t

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