God is Dependable

God is fatihful, consistent and dependable. No matter what is going on in your life today, you can depend on Him. He often seems to like to keep it where we depend on him one day at a time. That’s why the Lord’s Prayer says:

“Give us this day our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11

It’s one step at a time. His provision is fresh. It’s daily. He’s got perfect timing. Quit worrying about next year. You’re supposed to plan for the future, but not worry about it. Trust him – trust that He’s going to give you enough today.

We worry so much about things we might not even be alive for. Do you realize that? You’re worried about next year. What if you’re dead? “Oh no, I have a new thing to worry about.” Stop it. You have today. Breathe in, breathe out. God has perfect timing, just when you need it. Never late, but also never early. That’s our God.

He also enjoys talking to you. If God just set you up with enough peace and enough strength to last you for the rest of your life, you’d probably never pray again. And neither would I.

He just gives us what we need for the next fight. We’ve got to go back outside of our tent each day to scoop up some more manna for the next day. That’s how he keeps us in that right relationship with Him.

Our greatest need is time with Him. The longer you’re in contact with Him, the more you can become like Him.


Not By Bread Alone

“…man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 8:3

Scripture compares itself to bread – to good food and a well-rounded diet. Where you’re getting all that you need to get from the whole council of God’s truth.

There is a need you have for the word of God. When you’re getting that kind of diet, it’s going to release energy into your life. You’re going to have the power to do what you’ve been called to do. That’s why Job said:

“I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.” Job 23:12

and David said:

“Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.” Jeremiah 15:16

When you’re getting the fuel you need from God’s word you’re going to have the power to do what you’ve been called to do.


Run Into His Arms

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

God wants you to come boldly into His presence – to run to Him in prayer. You are welcome there just as my daughter Clover is welcome in my arms. As we’re praying, it’s like just like that – as if we were running into His arms. It’s because of Jesus that we have this privilege, to view God as Father and approach the throne with boldness.

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” John 1:12

We begin the Lord’s Prayer by saying “Our Father in heaven.” Calling Him Father shows an intimacy, a deep relationship, where heaven indicates His majesty and rightful place.

“This little expression, ‘Our Father, reduces all the complications of life to a very simple, special relationship. I am a child of God. He is my Father and I am the object of His constant love and attention.” – Keller

Having the right perspective changes everything.


The Kingdom of God is Within You

“For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” – Luke 17:21

God’s kingdom is not just a place, it is a relationship and it is experienced anytime a person bows their knee to Jesus as King and embraces Him as savior. Praying “Thy kingdom come” in the Lord’s prayer is essentially evangelistic. It’s praying that His Kingdom comes into more hearts and into people’s lives.

“Your kingdom come.” Matthew 6:10

Praying this prayer is saying “may I do what I can now to alleviate suffering, to touch hurting people, bring hope to the hopeless, healing to the sick and food to those who are hungry.”

There is great power in praying for His Kingdom to come.


Rejoice Always

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

These three have been called the standing orders of the Christian church. No matter the circumstances or occasion these are relevant, helpful and applicable.

Rejoice always. 

“Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!” Habakkuk 3:17–18

This means you worship no matter what. It’s a mentality that says “even though everything may be falling apart around me, I will rejoice.” There is an invincibility that flows from joy. When the joy of the Lord is your strength you are unstoppable.

Pray without ceasing.

This is living with nothing between your soul and your Savior. We must practice the presence of God – a constant realization of His presence and work in and around us.

In everything give thanks.

Nothing will change your attitude like gratitude. It’s impossible to complain while you are saying thank you, and the best time to express thanks is when you don’t necessarily feel like it. This is being thankful in everything not necessarily for everything.

“Even on the darkest day there are blessings to count. We must remember that if we face the sun the shadows will fall behind us but if we turn our backs on the sun all the shadows will be in front.” -William Barclay


The First Must Never Go Out

“Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies.” -1 Thessalonians 5:19-20

Do not extinguish the flame of fire the Holy Spirit wants to ignite. The Holy Spirit teaches, guides, empowers, convicts, directs, brings scriptures to mind, gives joy and peace, unlocks gifts and transforms character. Without Him we are powerless!

We must live where we do not neglect the Holy Spirit in our lives. We should always be at a place where we ask for the fire to fall on each of us, testing all things through the filter of God’s word.

“Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. “ -1 Thessalonians 5:21-22

Don’t be a spiritual Smoky the Bear – ignoring the spirit’s impulses, refusing His guidance or neglecting to use your gifts when He gives you the opportunity. The stakes are too high for us to let the Spirit’s power dwindle.

The Holy Spirit gives us strength to point people to Jesus. The fire has a purpose. The purpose for the power is this:

“You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, in all Judea, in all Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” -Acts 1: 8

The fire isn’t ceremonial, the fire isn’t for show, the fire is for the people that need to know about Jesus.


Because of Jesus, Death is Only Temporary

In the fourth chapter of 1 Thessalonians we see confusion among the church at Thessalonica about how to handle death of fellow Christians. Paul addresses this, referring to believers who have died in Christ as “those who have fallen asleep.”

“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.”  1 Thessalonians 4:13

Whether you’re grieving right now or not, latch onto this. Death can feel so final, but that is not true if you are in Christ, which is why Paul chose to liken it to sleeping. It’s not permanent, the body is like a seed going into the ground that will come out better than ever.

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

When Jesus returns the dead in Christ will rise first – early to bed, early to rise. I go to my daughter’s grave and look to the sky and think about how that’s the first thing she’s going to see when He returns. I think about the most glorious family reunion that will ever be. If we are still alive when Jesus returns we will be “caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” Whether we wake or sleep, we will be with Him.

How do we know this is true? Because of Christ. Our faith is based on fact. This is not fable or wishful thinking, we are anchored in our hope of the resurrection of the dead in Christ because we have a precedent. Jesus already did it.

“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13

The resurrection of Jesus is the irreducible core of Christianity. The enemy wants us to spin our wheels in the mud of sorrow, in the valley of the shadow of death, but you can face it without fear because of Jesus’ resurrection. You have authority to believe in Christians rising when He returns because Jesus already did. We do not face death without hope.


Wake Up and Suit Up

As believers we don’t get a pass on grief, but the right way of thinking about it separates us from the rest of the world. Paul talks to the Thessalonians about the proper mindset when it comes to the death of a fellow believers:

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

We must wake up and suit up. We cannot fall asleep at the wheel of life, and must put on faith, hope and love. These things are the like the breastplate of righteousness and the helmet of salvation, guarding our hearts and minds as we move forward.

But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:8-11

Hope, faith and love are like a life preserver for the believer. Two people can be thrown into the same ocean with different outcomes depending on how they’re equipped. If we’re thinking clearly about grief, we have our life preserver on, avoiding the unwarranted fear that can so easily creep in. We rise up, still in the ocean of grief but not crushed by it.


It Takes a Village

Godly living takes a village. If you want to grow more and more with God you have to grow deeper and deeper with God’s people. There are very few things that will influence the outcome of your life more than who you do life with. That said, you don’t have to come to church as the best version of yourself. Come broken and bruised, come with your problems, come with your insecurities. The church is meant to be a hospital, a place where you can heal. You are welcome as you are.

“concerning brotherly love you have no need…but increase more and more” 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10

Our job is not to judge someone but love them. We need community even more than we can imagine. It’s God’s desire for us to be known, held accountable and loved on.

The best place for you to start growing in your community is by serving. God wants you to find your sweet spot, He wants you to be doing the thing that makes you feel like you were born for this! That said, sometimes the best place to start is where you’re willing to do whatever is needed. It’s important to learn to be a part of a team. It’s not about what comes out of you but what is in you. We should always desire to grow more and more in community.