Conntecting the Dots

Why We Can Face the Future with Confidence

But I am trusting you, O LORD, saying, “You are my God!” My future is in your hands.

Psalm 31:14,15

“Doctors suspect I have Parkinson’s disease,” a friend said as we washed and dried dishes after a recent dinner party. Her hands noticeably trembled.

Hands are an interesting study. Some are youthful and strong. Others, like my friend’s, grow weak, stiff, or gnarled with illness or age. How different from God’s hands!

The Bible describes them as mighty (Psalm 89:13). They hold the depths of the earth (Psalm 95:4). They measure the waters of the whole world (Isaiah 40:12). They’re filled with justice (Deuteronomy 32:41). They’re also filled with power and might, and they strengthen everyone (1 Chronicles 29:12). Best, they contain the nail scars that prove His infinite love for us.

God’s hands never age or weaken. They lead us, provide for us, and hold us close to His heart. Why should we ever worry about the future, when our future rests in hands like this?

Question: What challenges face you at this time? How does meditating on God’s hands fill you with confidence as you consider the future?

“God, thank You for holding me in Your almighty hand. Such knowledge fills me with unspeakable joy!”

#bgbg2 #GodHoldsMe  #NotAfraid

Post-Victory Battles

The Israelites were ecstatic over rebuilding the Temple’s foundation in Jerusalem: “The joyful shouting and weeping mingled together in a loud noise that could be heard far in the distance” (Ezra 3:13).

But the next verses say, “The enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the exiles were rebuilding a Temple to the LORD, the God of Israel. So they approached Zerubbabel and the other leaders and said, “Let us build with you, for we worship your God just as you do….Then the local residents tried to discourage and frighten the people of Judah to keep them from their work. They bribed agents to work against them and to frustrate their plans” (Ezra 4:1,2,4,5).

So typical. We experience a major victory in our lives, and as though on cue, the enemy shows up and tries to derail us. Be aware of, but do not fear his tactics. He will try to undo what God has accomplished, but stand firm.

God’s Holy Spirit has given you everything needed to defend yourself. Use the resources He’s given you and trust Him for the battle’s outcome.

Question: How have you seen the enemy try to discourage you after you’ve experienced a victory?

“Lord, thank You for victories accomplished. Help me to be aware of, but not afraid of, the enemy’s tactics when he tries to undo them. Amen. “

#bgbg2 #spiritualwarfare #fightingdiscouragement

When You Need Strength

Now all glory to God, who is able to make you strong, just as my Good News says. Romans 16:25

Sometimes the realities of life drain our mental and emotional energy. We grow tired from dealing with a difficult relationship, or worrying about finances, or wrestling over the same temptation over and over. We wonder if we’ll ever see a particular prayer answered, health restored, or depression lifted.

When we feel depleted, it’s vital to focus on the truth: Christ lives in us (Galatians 2:20). He strengthens us when we recall His presence and promises and walk in them.

No battle is too big. No ocean is too deep. No river is too wide when Christ—the One who overcame death itself—is our strength. 

Today, if you’re needing an extra dose of strength, take a few minutes to read Psalm 18. Which verse resonates with you most? Feel free to leave your comment here—it will encourage other readers.

“Lord, we are empty vessels apart from You. Please fill us with Your power today. Amen. “

#bgbg2 #GodGivesStrength

What Does Creation Speak to You?

In a great chorus they sang, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD almighty!

The whole earth is filled with his glory!” Isaiah 6:3 NLT

Watching the sun rise or set is, for me, a spiritual experience. It’s like sitting in the Creator’s art studio—at His invitation—and watching Him sweep His brush across nature’s canvas, creating yet another masterpiece unique to that day.

Dawn and dusk calm my anxious thoughts. Their silent grandeur beckons me to be still in God’s presence. To meditate on His splendor. To revel in the knowledge that the hand painting the scene before me is the same one that holds me, provides for me, and guides me. No matter where I travel in the world, their message is seen and remains the same: I AM yours, and you are Mine.

Creation’s morning and evening ritual infuses me with courage and peace. What aspect of God’s amazing creation speaks to you, and how?

“God, thank You for giving me glimpses of Your glory through Your handiwork. Amen.”

#Creation #bgbg2  #devotions

Keeping Our Battles in the Right Perspective

He prayed, “O LORD, God of our ancestors, you alone are the God who is heaven. You are ruler of all the kingdoms of the earth. You are powerful and mighty;

no one can stand against you!”

2 Chronicles 19:6 (NLT)

Terror filled King Jehoshaphat as a vast enemy army marched toward his kingdom. He responded by praying. Rather than focusing on his desperate plight, however, he first focused on God’s might and His faithfulness in the past.

We face battles too. Focusing on the details in prayer only makes them loom larger. Centering our thoughts and words first on God’s strength, wisdom, and love helps put our situation in the right perspective: Our battle seems big, but God is bigger.

“God, I praise You today for being bigger than my battle. Through You, I will be victorious. Amen.”

#bgbg2 #devotions  #ChristianFaith

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You Can Scale Any Wall

My daughter and son-in-law enjoy climbing rock walls—like those found in God’s great outdoors, not in a rec facility. I’ve watched them, awed by their strength and teamwork.

Sometimes life’s journey presents us with walls that must be climbed—a relationship, health, or money issue; a God-given task that seems insurmountable; a heavy workload; a relocation; grief over a loss.

We might feel weak or inexperienced. We might lack necessary resources for the climb. We stand at the base, overwhelmed by the wall’s shadow.

Remember this—we don’t climb alone. God partners with us. His strength fills us. He enables us to find firm footing one step at a time until we reach the top.

What wall are you facing today? How does Psalm 18:29 apply to your climb?

“God, please give me strength to scale the wall I face today. I trust You to help me climb. Amen.”

#bgbg2 #devotions  #ChristianFaith

God is Out to Get You

Entrusting our lives to an unseen God can be scary: What if He asks me to surrender something precious? What if He asks me to do something I don’t want to do? What if He puts me through a test?

Focusing on fears about God’s intentions leads to the belief that He’s out to get us. Ironically, He is. But not in a negative sense.

God’s desire for relationship with us is so profound that He became a man and moved to earth to reveal Himself to us. He paid the ultimate price to demonstrate His love. Such extreme measures ought to put worry and fear to rest once for all.

God is out to get us, to draw us to Himself and give us abundant life. He has come to save us, not to make us miserable. Do we truly believe this?

“Lord God, help me live from the truth that You have come to save me. Let that truth transform the way I view You and Your intentions toward me and those I love. Amen.”

Scripture: Isaiah 12:2

Becoming Unoffendable

When someone hurts us, our tendency maybe to withdraw from the relationship. While this might be necessary in some circumstances, plain ol’ pride often prompts us to walk away.

If we don’t withdraw, we might lash out in self-defense, saying or doing something we later regret. Again, pride’s the culprit.

Perhaps we need to develop a thicker skin. A hurtful word or action can only pierce us if we let it.

Maybe we need to develop an attitude of grace—learn to see the offender through Jesus’s eyes and make allowances for her behavior.

Perhaps we need to live unoffendable. We refuse to pick up anger and unforgiveness because we value joy, peace, and inner freedom more than clinging to our perceived rights.

I suspect relationships would be less complicated if we could learn to overlook wrongs. What do you think?

Father God, teach me to be unoffendable. No matter how someone hurts me, I want to respond in a way that makes You smile. Amen.

#bbg2 #forgiveness

The Key to Personal Transformation

Don’t copy the behaviors of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.

Romans 12:2(NLT)

On my fiftieth birthday, the Lord impressed Psalm 23:1 on my mind. His promise to be my Shepherd and to provide all my needs carried and comforted me through the next decade of faith tests.

In January, seven months before that decade closed, He asked me to purge my home and move aboard a sailboat. Doing so was like writing an exam at the end of a long study session. That’s when head knowledge became heart knowledge. I experienced the truth that joy, contentment, wisdom, peace, freedom—everything I need to live the abundant life—is found in the person of Jesus, my Savior and Shepherd. It has nothing to do with creature comfort.

This week, on my sixtieth, God gave me Romans 12:2. Perhaps more accurately, He sealed it on my heart after bringing it to my attention over and over for the past two years. He’d already placed it before me so markedly that I wrote a First Place 4 Health Bible study based on it (side note—I just learned that this Bible study will be released in late fall rather than July as originally expected).

I know this verse is true. God has already changed my thinking about food and about my body being His temple, and I’ve regained my health as a result.

He’s changed my thinking about the importance of material belongings, and I’ve discovered the freedom of a minimalistic lifestyle as a result.

He’s changed my thinking about someone who deeply wounded me, and I’ve experienced the freedom of forgiveness.

So—what other thinking patterns does He want to change in me? I really have no clue, but I have a hunch I’m about to learn.

This verse is true for you too, my friend. God is all about our becoming new creatures, and that happens when He changes our minds, bringing our thoughts into alignment with His. That’s the key to lasting personal transformation.

In what areas of your life do you struggle? What sin hinders you from moving forward? What attitudes and behaviors do you wish you could overcome once and for all?

Seek a quiet place and invite the Holy Spirit to reveal inaccurate thinking patterns about those things. Then ask Him to change your mind by teaching you to think His thoughts. As your thoughts come into alignment with His, lasting transformation will come.

Join me on this journey, okay? If you can identify that area of your life, please feel free to share it with me and I’ll keep you posted on what areas of my life God is transforming as He renews my mind.

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Know you are loved!

Two Views of Life

For I am about to do a brand-new thing. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?

Isaiah 43:19 (NLT)

I walked the docks twice at a marina this morning. They’re a bit rickety and lopsided, so the first time I only watched my steps to avoid tripping or losing my balance. 

The second walk was different. That’s when I noticed the starfish clinging to the dock pilings. God’s creative expression was there all the time, and I’d been too preoccupied to see it.

Purple, spiny, large and small.

I’d focused on my footing

And nearly missed them all.

We can focus on our pain and miss seeing God’s purpose in it. We can focus on the past and miss what He’s doing in the present. We can focus on our problems and miss His hope-filled promises.

Two views from which to choose. To which focus do you most closely relate?

Action Step: What might the rickety dock represent in your life? The starfish?

“Father, bring my view of my circumstances into alignment with Yours. Amen.”