James 1:2-4 (NLT)
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
Why is it that Christmas Eve is the one night of the year when children do not rebel against bedtime? It is because they know that joy is coming in the morning. They are confident that when they wake up they will find many things they need and desire under the Christmas tree along with surprises that they did not think of. They anticipate the day so much that sleep seems elusive not from fear but faith that their parents will deliver as promised. Where did such an image come from in early spring? It is a little reminder from my Father today that He is a great dad filled with new mercy to give me each morning along with many faithful promises that are coming to pass. It pokes at my conscience telling me to trust Him at all times and in all things even when I feel stretched to capacity and the threads of each nerve. Spoiler alert – since my children have all outgrown the fairytale of Santa Claus and now know where all of their presents come from – they go to bed willing and sleep peacefully throughout the night because they no longer are depending on someone who is elusive and far from reach but on the people who have raised them, met their needs, fulfilled their desires and work tirelessly to give them a better life. It is no longer a secret which list they are on because true love always forgives and never erases us from the “good list” hoping every day to find it somewhere deep inside of us, too. Our parents should be our earthy defenders representing the Lord and His Great Care. But when troubles come our way, we lose our joy as quickly as it comes sometimes. Who would ever consider hardship an “opportunity for great joy”? People of faith do. When faith is tested it allows our endurance to grow. This strength holds us like a strong anchor of hope to the promises of God knowing that He is working every detail out for our good. Those who do not know the Lord and choose not to put their faith in Jesus Christ will miss out on some potential blessings that are far above what we could ever think or ask. The Lord has already given us a measure of faith (Romans 12:2) and He drew a picture of home in our heart called Eternity. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) Those who take their faith and turn it into confident hope will be perfect and complete lacking no good thing. But even strong, devoted believers need a little reminder sometimes.
Psalm 103 (NLT)
Let all that I am praise the LORD; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s! The LORD gives righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly. He revealed his character to Moses and his deeds to the people of Israel. The LORD is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust. Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. The wind blows, and we are gone—as though we had never been here. But the love of the LORD remains forever with those who fear him. His salvation extends to the children’s children of those who are faithful to his covenant, of those who obey his commandments! The LORD has made the heavens his throne; from there he rules over everything. Praise the LORD, you angels, you mighty ones who carry out his plans, listening for each of his commands. Yes, praise the LORD, you armies of angels who serve him and do his will! Praise the LORD, everything he has created, everything in all his kingdom. Let all that I am praise the LORD.
There have been many times over the last several years, people have told me that they would read the devotions if they were shorter and did not contain so much information. I have even had one person suggest that they fit on the screen of their smartphone to get the point across. Well, that is just not how the Lord speaks to me. I believe that if more people would spend as much time in the Word as they do on Facebook or Twitter lives would be changed for the better. We give our time away to so many worthless things yet withhold it from the One who can actually do something with it. So I have added all twenty three verses of Psalm 103 to be sure that each person has the opportunity to read it all. It is a great reminder of the benefits and privileges that we have who believe in Jesus Christ. It is an outline of what our life should look like and if not, what is coming to those who faithful love and trust the Lord each day. The sad reality is that most Christians do not trust the Lord simply because they do not know Him. When our middle daughter was old enough to understand what Christmas Eve was all about we began to share the fairytale of Santa Clause who would come into our house while we were sleeping and leave her presents underneath the tree while filling her stocking with lots of goodies. She was mortified. Absolutely terrified that some fat guy in a red suit had access to our house and cried hysterically until we told her the truth. She did not know him and did not trust him but after hearing the Truth she instantly drifted off to sleep. Oh, if we could all learn to be wary of the “things of this world” including all the myths and lies the enemy has been feeding “Christians” all these years. Don’t get me wrong. I do not hate Santa. We played it out with all five of our children. But to be perfectly honest – I was never really a fan. I wondered if it would comprise their trust in the Lord because after all if Santa and the Easter Bunny weren’t real how could I be sure that they would believe in the reality of an unseen Savior and Lord, less I digress. So on those days when I am having trouble finding my joy and peace that is promised to me, inevitably I find myself back reading Psalm 103. It is as if the Holy Spirit is asking do you have all these things. It is when I say “No, not yet” that giddy anticipation begins to heal the edges of my broken heart as He reminds me – It’s coming just wait and see!
What is coming? God’s Very Best is coming because it was paid in full by Jesus Christ. It has nothing to do with what you do but is based solely on our decision to trust and believe. I cannot make it happen any sooner no matter how impatient that I become no more than a child can rush Christmas on the calendar. Faith produces anticipation as my hope becomes confident in the Lord’s Ability and Willingness to do such awesome things in my life. But if I do not know who He is or what to expect, I am less likely to wait on the Lord for His Fullness and Completion. So let’s review what He has done! He has forgiven ALL my sins! He heals ALL my diseases. Stop right there if you are experiencing guilt over your past rejoice because new mercy is arriving in the morning. If you are sick, get excited because healing will fall like rain if you will position yourself in the overflow of Heaven. He redeems us from death so we now have Eternal Life. He fills our life with Good Things. Every good thing in our life represents God’s Faithfulness and Unfailing Love because He couldn’t help blessing His Children. He gave me righteousness that demands justice. What does that mean? If I step out of the darkness and choose to live in the Light, striving for right standing with God by faith in Jesus Christ – if I just try He brings me justice which means that no longer am I a sinner but a son or daughter of God and He makes sure that my inheritance is justly given to me. He is bringing back what the thief has tried to steal, kill and destroy. He is compassionate so when we mess up – the Lord is ready to take the club we are beating ourselves up with out of our hand. He is merciful because of His Unfailing Love not what we do or the progress we make as believers so there is no pressure to preform just fall in love with Jesus. He is not mad at me OR you! Many people could park here and marinate for a while to absorb the concept of grace. Grace is not about giving you a chance to make everything right, it is an opportunity for the Lord to make you righteous once more. He does not accuse us and we would know His Voice if we spent more time getting to know Him. I can promise you that if someone came to me and told me that my husband said this or he did such and such, I would know immediately if they are begin truthful. Why? I know my husband. We have been married for fifteen years. We live in the same house and are committed to the Lord, each other and our marriage which means when the going gets tough – we stick it out! How well do you know the Voice of the Lord today? He removes all our sin. There is nothing in your past to be ashamed of only many details that He is turning around for our good. He is our Father so if the world has orphaned you there is no excuse. There is no need to wander around looking for love – you got it! He knows our weakness every single fault and every potential failure – none of it has changed His Mind or Opinion of you. The Lord loves you just as you are. His Love is forever with unending potential. He is not holding back but ready to release His Super Abundance in our life so that it will not just reach us but our children and grandchildren right on down the line. It is a rich heritage even if your own parents have left you nothing. Jesus Christ rules over everything. The only thing that becomes a higher authority in our life are the things that we give greater priority. In other words, faith in Jesus Christ means that everything will be alright. You are an overcomer because you have total victory in the Lord if you are willing to put all of your love, faith and trust in Jesus Christ and wait until He comes.
Romans 3:21-23 (NLT)
But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
Everyone has sinned and fallen short of God’s Glorious Standard. I grew up believing that this verse meant that because I had sinned and fallen short that I could never be good enough for His Glorious Standard. God’s Glorious Standard is not set of rules and regulations but rather the lifestyle that He created us to have. We chose darkness over the light and left His Care and Provision to comprise on lesser things. But Jesus Christ came to change all of that and now I am able to live in God’s Glorious Standard called righteousness once more. It only requires my faith that all things are possible with God. It means knowing all that He has promised and believing that He will deliver enough to wait until He comes. Faith releases God’s Potential in our life. Jesus Christ did everything to prepare a place for us in the Presence of God now all we must do is walk in it by believing what He says, but you will not believe in anything or anyone who you do not know.
Romans 4:16-20 (NLT)
So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing. Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb. Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God.
Why? What brought me to this place? I have grown weary in waiting. I am tired in the fight. My strength is waning. I am standing in the middle of the road wondering which way to go, yet the Spirit says, “Wait!” How long? I have no idea which only adds to my speculation. Our son is in pain. There are many unanswered questions. Tests are inconclusive. Our insurance has rejected him. The window of opportunity according to man is closing for an optimum offensive approach to cancer treatment for him, but I guess that can only mean that the Windows of Heaven are opening. The impossible is about to become totally possible. The Lord has given us every spiritual blessing necessary to see His Promises come to pass. (Ephesians 1:3) It is established in our partnership with Jesus Christ. Those who live in a healthy and thriving relationship will not doubt their partner but embrace them. When times are tough, I just want my husband to hug me really tight. This is the same relationship Jesus wants with His Bride. We should run to Him not from Him. The promise of God is received by faith. Not just any kind of faith, but faith that is back by confident hope so strong that you are unwilling to turn away or let go until it comes to pass because you know the Lord, His Love, His Mercy, His Goodness and believe that it belongs to you. You will sleep through the long nights of waiting and laugh in each new day because even though it has not happened yet – you know it will happen. Even when your dream dies and is buried in subsequent chaos – you will never let go. If it doesn’t come for what seems like forever, you do not stop hoping for it, believing it, waiting for it, looking for it and anticipating its arrival. Even when our human strength fails, it is that one arm that shoots up to praise Him that He will grab hold of keeping you safe until the end. Abraham NEVER wavered in believing God’s Promise. His life was a demonstration of a made of mind and confident heart that believed God at His Word alone. No turning back – He would make it until the end.
Hebrews 11:6 (NLT)
And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
Everyone believes in something for this is the foundation of our life. When all hell breaks loose around us, it is human nature to hold on to what is most precious to us. Almost three years ago, our life began shaking and has done so for all this time. Many things that we deemed important back then are long since forgotten. We have one priority. To put all our faith in the Lord and His Promise to heal our precious son. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. He has become the foundation of our life. When others have given up, our hope in His Promise has kept us secure. He rewards those who sincerely seek Him, but just by finding Him by faith we have been given so much more. As I read Psalm 103, the Lord is reminding me that there is so much more that He is doing in our life through this heart wrenching experience as He removes the substitutions and compromises that we have made to give us His Absolute Best because we have decided to love and trust Him wholeheartedly. It is important to know the God who we serve to fully appreciate the benefits of one’s salvation. If we do not take a walk to the Cross no matter how gruesome, we will never see all that Christ accomplished in our place. His Spirit has a purpose to cultivate faith and confident hope so we will live in Eternity and obtain all of our inheritance in Jesus Christ. Our life has a purpose. Not a single detail is left out, we can live each day as Christmas Eve in our Father’s House. Our faith is secure in the One who is called Faithful. He will deliver. Right on time in an exponential way, if I will only believe. Thanks for the reminder Lord for it has brought me great joy and peace! I believe the best is yet to come! I am entitled to every single detail listed in Psalm 103 for no other reason than I am a Child of God who has put all my faith and trust in Jesus Christ. I am reminded today that nothing can every separate me from the Love of God. He will stop at nothing to raise my life back to His Glorious Standard. Praise God for His Promise today because you know it is coming. Rejoice in your salvation because your faith is secure. Hold tight to your position because it will be the place of your miracle. Don’t you dare move you are on the eve of your greatest breakthrough!
Psalm 30:11-12 (NLT)
You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever!