Nehemiah 1:8-10 NKJV – A place which I have chosen

Remember, I pray, the word that You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations; but if you return to Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, and bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling for My name.’ Now these are Your servants and Your people, whom You have redeemed by Your great power, and by Your strong hand.

If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you. But if you return to Me, I will gather you from there and bring you to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling place for My name. A conditional statement, but yet one of great love and desire from God. If you do not obey I will cause you to scatter but if you return to Me, you will be where I am. That’s really what this scripture is saying. God is our sole redeemer. Redeeming us from difficult personal circumstances, deliverance from our enemies, and Jesus is central to God’s redemptive purpose. “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14 NKJV)

And why would we not want to be where God resides? Jesus prepares the place in heaven for His own, and the Holy Spirit prepares the redeemed on earth for their place in heaven. That is God’s desired location of your eternal dwelling. He tells us that He desires to bring us to His place. But let me share something with you. Until the day when we stand before Jesus; when our life on this earth ends, we can still be where God is. All we need to do is desire it and ask God to lead us there.

To reside in the place where God dwells is to desire an intimate relationship with Him. It means to access God in His throne room. “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 NKJV) Let us then with confidence draw near to where God is. Coming to God honors Him because it demonstrates our dependence upon Him. Coming to God brings us to the place where He resides. Where there is only Him and us. No one else. And God responds in mercy to those who call to Him. “Yet regard the prayer of Your servant and his supplication, O Lord my God, and listen to the cry and the prayer which Your servant is praying before You today” (1 Kings 8:28 NKJV) And the path to the throne room; the path to meeting with God is prayer. Prayerfulness is an attitude by which a constant relationship between God and believers is developed. And prayerfulness is a way of life and a way to life. “Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice.” (Psalm 55:17 NKJV) What better way “of life” and “to life” than a daily time of prayer and conversation with God.

Friend, God promises that if we return to Him and obey His commands, He will gather us and bring us to His place; where He dwells. The blessings and favor of the Lord await those who come to God and seek an obedient, intimate relationship with Him. “Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 28:1-2 NKJV)

Dear Lord, thank You for Your promises. Thank You that You have prepared a place for us. Thank You that we can come into Your throne room to meet with You, to worship You and to pray to You. Lord, Your Word is the gift of life. Forgive us Lord when we do not obey Your commands and try to live a life outside of You. But thank You Lord that if we return to You and obey Your commands, You will gather us up and take us to the place You have chosen n matter how far we might have drifted. We love You and praise You. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Don’t believe me, believe God!


Jeremiah 24:7 NKJV – Tell them to return to Me

Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.

Scripture indicates that believers can wander away from God, but they must return to Him. Turning away from God takes us to places outside of His will. We become wayward. Wayward is defined as “tending to behave in ways that are not socially acceptable; not going or moving in the intended direction.” Scripture uses the word wayward. “Who are crooked in their ways, wayward and devious in their paths.” (Proverbs 2:15 AMP) When we are outside of God’s will for us, we are not moving in the direction God has appointed for us. It is then we find some of our hardest struggles and our hardest times.

I will be the first to confess that I have walked outside the will of God. I’m not proud of this statement. I’m just being transparent. Sometimes temptation over takes us or we find ourselves living as the world does. We begin to justify our acts. And the more we tell ourselves “That we’ll be ok. We’ll get back to doing what God intends”, the harder it is to return.

God gives us a way to return to Him. God has provided the means to come back. We need to call upon the Lord. “Then you will call upon Me, and you will come and pray to me, and I will hear and heed you.” (Jeremiah 29:12 AMP) Prayer is the key. No matter if you step out of God’s will for just a few minutes, or you walk on the path you have ordered for a while, returning to God begins with a prayer.

God promises to hear and respond to the prayers of His people in their times of need. “He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.” (Psalm 91:15 AMP) When we stop and realize we are outside of God’s will and things just aren’t going well, we can return to Him. Through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we are given free access into God’s presence. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8 NKJV)

Friend, over the last several months, God has impressed upon me that He has great and mighty things in store for all of His children, if they simply return to Him. He is our God and we are His people. Yet we move about sometimes thinking we are “#1”. That is just not true. It’s a trap that the enemy places in front of us to cause us to move outside of God’s will. Remember this promise, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV) God already has something very special for us if we turn back to Him with all our heart. When we call upon God, we are asking God to act in dependence upon Him. Calling upon God is an act of worship.

Precious Lord, You have given us a heart to know You. Thank you, Lord. Sometimes I walk away from Your will and find myself in a place or situation I don’t desire. Forgive me Lord. Help me to always remain in the steps You have ordered and on the path You have laid out before me. Hear my prayers O Lord when I call upon You. Show me the great and mighty things You have planned for me. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

1 John 3:19-20 NIV – Where is our focus?

“This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts and He knows everything.”

Where are our thoughts? Where is our focus? God gives us the opportunity, a choice, of where we place our minds and our hearts for each moment of time we live. We can either go on our own or to capture the presence of God and go with Him.

When we wake up in the morning, God is with us. How do we respond? Do we jump up, look at the clock, run and get some coffee and get about doing what needs to be done? Or do we take some time to sit in the presence of God and allow His peace to engulf us. God did not sleep while we slept. “He who watches over you will not slumber.” (Psalm 121:4 NIV) Imagine the difference in our day if we took the few minutes to thank the Lord and welcome God into our day.

But God isn’t through with us in the morning. He continues to walk with us. In times of trouble or worry, God is with us. In our times of stress, God is with us. In our times of relaxation, God is with us. Would it not benefit us greatly to acknowledge His presence and soak in it as we go about our day?

Each time we bring God into our thoughts and into our lives, He stands ready to guide us and direct us and to mold us into what He designed us to be. Each moment, each step God is alongside and we are never alone. But the choice is ours. God knows what we will face and is ready to be our deliverer, our healer, our restorer, our defender, our lover. Whatever we need. But we need to make the choice. We need to enter into His presence and allow Him to set our hearts at rest. How do we do that? How do we enter into His presence? Acknowledge Him. That’s the answer. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV)

We acknowledge God when we take the time to settle our minds and hearts and pray to Him. Not jumping into a prayer of “my needs” and “my wants”, but rather acknowledge God for who “He is”. God is everything we need. He is the “the Great I Am.” All that we can think, all that we can imagine. God is everything we need. Acknowledging God first in our prayers sets Him in a position of love and adoration; thanksgiving and praise. We say, “Hallowed be thy Name”. God is gracious and full of mercy and knows all things. He is greater than our hearts and everything we are facing. God’s guidance is promised to those who genuinely desire it and seek it.

Let’s begin our days with acknowledging God and entering into His presence. Let’s carry that attitude of prayer with us throughout the day as we go about living life. And then let’s join together in the rich and bountiful blessings that come from an intimate relationship with our Lord.

Heavenly Lord, thank You that You are always with us. Thank You that You know what we will face each day. And Lord, if our hearts begin to condemn us, we know that You are greater than our hearts. There is nothing greater than You, Lord. Help us to acknowledge You in all we do and in every moment of our lives. Thank You for then directing our paths and forming us into what You have designed us to be. Forgive us Lord, when we try things our way. And thank You for Your mercy and grace to restore us when we do. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 29:2 NKJV – In the beauty of Your Holiness

“Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of His holiness.”

I was moved by this verse this morning. This verse speaks of the Lord’s reputation that He has achieved throughout all of history. The works of the Lord cause us to see His glorious beauty in the midst of His holiness.

The nature of God is to be uniquely holy. “No one is holy like the Lord, for there is none besides You, nor is there any rock like our God.” (1 Samuel 2:2 NKJV) Truly, there is none like You, Lord. I confess that there are times when I miss recognizing the beauty of God and His majesty. My wife, Nancy, often sees it. She sees things from a different perspective. She notices things in ways that seem to pass me by. But Nancy takes the time to see with sensitivity the glory and beauty of the Lord.

I will gaze upon a tree turning color in the fall and see that winter fast approaches. Nancy will gaze upon that same tree and see the fingerprint of God upon it. She will see the Master Painter, hand painting each leaf. She will give God glory for the privilege to see His Masterpiece. Now, I am not a hopeless case when gazing at things of God’s handiwork. I am very sensitive to the smile of a child and a tear that is shed by someone in the midst of worshiping the King. So we both see God’s beauty in the midst of His holiness.

Scripture stresses the beauty of God Himself and His creation. “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NKJV) God is complete. He is flawless and faultless. God is totally sufficient in every aspect. And that perfection is made known in Jesus Christ, His Son; the ultimate goal of every Christian.   Psalm 25:8 teaches us that, “Good and upright is the Lord; therefore He teaches sinners in the way.” (NKJV) Jesus Christ, He is the way to life. “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 NKJV)

Friend, God’s beauty is everywhere and His Holiness surrounds Him. His glory speaks His name. In our times of intimate prayer, let us take some time to dwell on the beauty and the holiness of God. When we enter into prayer, let us be reminded of the Lord’s Prayer. Let us begin our prayer time with the Lord by saying, “Our Father, who art in Heaven. Hallowed by thy name.”

Heavenly Father, Your glory and majesty abounds in all things. Your creation speaks of Your beauty. Lord, lead us to honor You with our prayers of adoration giving You the Honor You deserve. Hallowed be Thy Name, Lord. For You alone are Holy and deserve all of our thanks and praise. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Daniel 6:10 NKJV – Matter of habit

“Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.”

Recently, I was impressed by something I heard while having dinner in an old fashioned diner. There was an elderly couple who announced when their friend had arrived to join them, “Well, it’s about time you got here.” Now I don’t really know what their intentions were. It may have been a way they greeted their friends. (????) Or maybe, they had developed a habit of eating at the same precise time every day and they were running a little late.

This got me to think. I pondered what some of my habits are. Well, first, I must say that I believe we are a habitual culture. We like to have habits to put order in our lives. We like when we do something so much that we don’t have to think about it. Like driving the same way each and every time we go to the mall, or the grocery store, or even to church. I am a habitual man. I like the routine I go through at bed time. There are certain things I do that are the same each and every night. The certain way I have to arrange the pillows. The certain place I have to lie to be comfortable. When I used to cut my lawn, it was cut the same identical way each and every time. I found the most efficient way to cut it and never changed my pattern. No I don’t have to cut my lawn. Someone else does that for me. (Thanks, Austin.)

Anyways, there are a lot of habits. Some good, some ridiculous, and some not good. Yes, we may still have habits that we would love to be delivered from. This is where we need to continue in prayer. It’s all a process, but I would love to lose those bad habits. And I know that the Lord will deliver me of those bad habits as a result of my prayer.

And then there are the good habits like our foundational scripture talks about with Daniel. He knelt to pray three times each day giving thanks to God. And it says that, “as was his custom since early days.” Daniel had a habit to pray. Hallelujah!!! And that habit was established early in his days.

Having a prayer habit is so good. Keeping in the attitude of prayer helps develop that prayer habit. It also keeps your relationship with Jesus current and ongoing. One of the most precious times I have in daily prayer is when I pray with my wife, Nancy. Each night we end the day in prayer with and for each other. And even when we have been apart (like sometimes when I’m out of town on business), we have called each other and prayed together. We have a prayer habit of praying for our families and lost loved ones each night. We habitually pray for our pastors and church leaders.

Friend, there are good habits and bad habits. We can make the choice what to keep our focus on and what to be delivered from. It’s like this. Choose wisely.

Dear Lord, thank You that we can come to You to deliver us from those habits in our lives that do not honor You. Deliver us from critical hearts, judgmental minds, and unkind thoughts and actions. May we not just react to circumstances but stop to ask, “Does what I’m about to do or say honor You.” Help us always to choose wisely. Help us to grow in good habits like continual prayer and seeking a relationship with You. May You open up even more time in our lives to spend with You. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!