I WILL Wednesday 1/15/2020

It’s I WILL Wednesday!

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple. For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at His sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.  Psalm 27:4-6

Sometimes we just feel generally happy. Needs are met, family is well, doggy is wagging his tail. All seems right in your world. We just feel good. This was not the case for David. Yes this Psalm begins with David confessing faith over fear, but he still had enemies! Vicious enemies who desired to utterly destroy him. Wickedness came against him, armies surrounded him, threats of war rose against him. Everything was not good!

In this period in David’s life, he could have asked for anything. Protection, peace, an end to all this turmoil. Instead, the one thing David desired was the presence of God. He names several blessings that he found in God’s presence.

1. In the Lord’s dwelling, David was safe. (Vs. 5). This was not just a position, but also a posture—the presence of the Lord is a safe place. Though danger looms, my heart can rest in the safety of my Savior.

2. In the shelter of the Lord, David was hidden. Concealed from all the noise around him. He was very conscious to the reality of his situation. However, David’s security, as our security, is found in the Lord.

3. David was set high upon a rock. Jesus Christ is the Rock, our foundation that we should build upon. If I am on the Rock, the storms may come but I will not be moved.

4. David was able to lift his head above his enemies. Yes his enemies were still present, but David did not set his focus on them. He set his eyes on the Lord so that he might gaze in His beauty.

With all these blessings that stem from God’s presence, it’s no wonder why David responded, I WILL sing! We should respond that way too! Singing praises to our Lord, for He is worthy, He is faithful, He is constant, and He loves us. It is in Him where we can truly rest in the midst of danger, in the midst of the rain, in it the midst of our enemies. We can rest in Him. He is my safe place. He is my hiding place. He is my rock. So I will shout and offer sacrifices of joy, and I WILL sing a song of praise to My God.

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I Will Wednesday 01/08/2020

It’s I WILL Wednesday!

The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; Though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident.  Psalm 27:1-3      

Happy New Year!

For many of us, the new year brings renewed focus. We look at our dreams and aspirations and we set out to put practices in place that help us reach those goals. If you are anything like me, you do this year after year. Some years we do well, but most often, by February, we’re adjusting our plan or even resigning to defeat. So many times obstacles appear and deter us from our goals. One main deterrent is fear.

Fear can stop us in our tracks and make us succumb to doubt.

King David thwarted fear with his confession found in Psalm 27. Though enemies threatened him and uncertainties loomed, David said “in this I WILL be confident.” “In this” refers to the truths declared at the beginning of the passage. Two beautiful truths that we can rest in.

The first truth, “the Lord is my light and salvation.” Darkness cannot cause me to fear, because The Lord is my light, He illuminates my path. No darkness can exist in the presence of His brilliance. Enemies cannot cause me to fear because the Lord is my salvation, He rescues and He saves. No enemy is a match for the power of God.

The second truth, “the Lord is the strength of my life”. King David was a skilled warrior. He was victorious in battle many times, but He never attributed his success to his own skills or abilities. He knew that, only in the Lord’s strength, could he win. The word strength here can be translated “Stronghold”-a fortified place of protection. In God’s strength I can only prevail.

We, too, can look forward with confidence knowing that we walk in the Lord’s illuminating light, in His Divine protection, and in His unrivaled strength. Then, come what may, we can say I WILL be confident.

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Write the Vision (2020)

Most of us enter the new year full of zeal and fervor. Excitement stirs at the potential of new beginnings. Dreams, goals, and visions are the words of the day and we start off running hard towards the things God has for us. Unfortunately, the zeal fades and the fervor is soon lost and we settle back into the ho-hum of everyday life. Believe it or not, a new year holds no power to change anything but the date. Nothing changes unless you change!

One specific practice we need to put in place is writing down the vision, the dream or the plan God has given you. Vision board gatherings are very popular, but sometimes they focus more on what we want and not on the things God has designed for us.  We should plan, we should have dreams and goals, but remember “it is the Lord’s will that prevails (Proverbs 19:21 ).” We must ensure that we have what God has said cemented in our minds and memories so that when we see it come to past we know that it is God and we will praise Him for it.

The book of Habakkuk gives us a look at God’s instructions to this prophet. Habakkuk bore the heavy weight of His people. He prayed and God gave him an answer. Then God gave him these instructions, “Write the vision, and make it plain on tablets that he who reads it may run with it (Habakkuk 2:2 ).  When you write down the vision, plainly, just as you’ve received, you as well as others are more inclined to run with it. This involves a few things. First, acknowledge the vision for your life. You have to see it and embrace it (Habakkuk’s name means one who embraces). Then, you have to make it known. No, not to everyone! Allow the Holy Spirit, through His wisdom, to lead you to someone who you can share with.

Several other scriptures speak of the importance of writing things down. When God allowed Moses and the Israelites to defeat the enemy that came up against them, He told him to write down the account of victory (Exodus 17:14 ). When God promised Jeremiah that He would restore Israel, He told him to write it down so that Jeremiah would have a record of God’s promise (Jeremiah 30:2 ).  As a teacher, I often have my students write the things they are learning in their own handwriting, because it helps the concepts to become cemented in their minds. God’s desire for our lives should be so rooted in our hearts and minds that we run with passion toward His plans.

And you want to run with the vision! But please understand what running with the vision entails. You must have patience. That seems contradictory—“you are asking me to run and wait?” Yes! You want to go in God’s timing so that you will have kingdom success. As God told Habakkuk “if it seems slow in coming, wait. It’s on its way. It will come right on time”  (Habakkuk 2:3 ).

To run with the vision, you have to do something. While you wait, pray, study, research, worship, prepare.  Be ready when doors open.  Also, put in place some spiritual checkpoints, some dates on the calendar where you check in on your forward progress. Be intentional about what you do for the Lord and watch Him bless the work He has called you to. Don’t leave 2020 with regrets! Write the vision then run with it.

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I Will Wednesday 12/11/19

It’s I WILL Wednesday!

I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies.   Psalms 18:3

In today’s passage, King David declares, “I WILL call upon the Lord. . .” Remember, Psalm 18 is a psalm of praise to God for deliverance from enemy oppression. David acknowledges that it is God who delivered him from his enemies. Not his prowess, bravery or might, not his skillfulness or any other ability. Only the hand of God was strong and mighty enough to deliver him.

As we look back over 2019, every moment hasn’t been great. Many have been very difficult, and if you are like me, some moments seemed designed to destroy me. Oh, but when I called on the name of the Lord, He delivered me. He saved me from distress. He saved me from going under. He saved me from myself. He delivered me.

After this point, King David faces many more trials, disasters, and disappointments, as will we. We can, however, face them confidently knowing that we don’t face them alone. We call upon The Strong One, The Mighty One, The Faithful One, The Only One who is Worthy to be praised.

The ONLY One who is mighty to save us from our enemies, even the enemies of our soul. Enemies like depression, loneliness, anxiety, illness. So whatever may come and whatever may go, I WILL call upon the Lord, I WILL cry out to Him, and I WILL trust Him.

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I WILL Wednesday 12/4/19

It’s I WILL Wednesday!

I WILL love you, oh Lord. Psalm 18:1

In today’s I WILL passage, King David declares that he will love the Lord. This is very timely for the Advent season. This season is all about love. God loves us so much that He sent His Son. ( John 3:16) Jesus loves us so much that He came to earth to show us the way and became the ultimate sacrifice for our sins (John 1:1; Romans 5:8 ).  With love on display in such a beautiful way, we are compelled to respond.

Sadly, such a beautiful love has been rejected by a sinful world. Instead of embracing this love, some turn to the pleasures of sin that only provide temporary gratification. Even still, God’s love pursues us, seeking to change our hearts by His grace, favor, mercy, goodness, and kindness. God took the initiative, He made the first move. Therefore, “we love because He first loved us”( 1 John 4:19 ).

We should love the Lord God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our strength (Deuteronomy 6:5). Jesus says that it is the greatest commandment, and also to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Let’s make an intentional effort, this holiday season and every day, to love. First, love the Lord emphatically. Then love others, which should be a natural extension of our love for God. And not just with words! Intentionally demonstrate love! Love is the reason Jesus came. That’s why we can say, I WILL LOVE!

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I WILL Wednesday 11/27/19

It’s I WILL Wednesday!

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I WILL trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2

This is another praise filled passage from the heart of King David. He ascribed to the Lord, the glory due unto His name (Psalm 29:2 ).  Rock, Fortress, Deliverer, Strength, Shield, Horn of Salvation, and Stronghold are the attributes used to describe God. They are the reasons David could confidently say “My God . . . in whom I will trust.” Every beautiful truth about our Father proves that He is fully trustworthy.

Though this is true, many believers struggle in the area of trust. We believe, yes, truly believe, but when it comes to seeing the fruit in our own lives, we stop short of trusting with abandon. Even when we want to. Especially when we need to.

Some translations read “in whom I take refuge.”  To take refuge is to find a safe place. This reminds me of the old hymn “‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus.” The hymn writer shares about a sweet, tender place in his relationship with the Lord—a place of trust. That is a place where we can lay our burdens down, cast our cares at His feet, and receive the comfort and strength we sometimes so desperately need. The hymn writer ends the chorus in the popular hymn with the line, “O, for grace to trust Him more.” The days that I need to trust the most, are usually the days that my faith fails.  That’s when I pray,  “Father, give me the grace to trust you more.”  He is faithful to give me the grace that I need to confidently trust.  That’s why I will confess daily, I WILL trust!

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I WILL Wednesday 11/20/19

It’s I WILL WEDNESDAY!

I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:8

This week, we are looking, at King David’s declaration of victory, I WILL not be shaken!

Psalm 16 speaks of David’s place of contentment and even rejoicing in difficult times. It also speaks prophetically about our Savior, Jesus and the hope that He brings.

How did David have hope in trying times? How did he find a place of contentment? He kept his eyes on the Lord.

I’m reminded of Peter when he walked on water. Before he began to walk, it was dark, foggy, windy and wet. Yet at the bidding of Jesus—“come”—Peter walked on the water.  The scripture says “But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’”   Matthew 14:30.  Peter saw the wind and began to sink. The wind didn’t cause Peter to sink, it was his shifted focus. He took his eyes off Jesus and put his eyes on his surroundings. Remember, the wind was already boisterous, the darkness was pervasive, the fog was present and the water was still wet. But when Peter had his eyes on Jesus those things didn’t matter. With eyes trained on Jesus, he didn’t sink, he couldn’t be shaken.

Where’s your focus? Is it on the circumstances around you, or on the Savior who walks with you?  When your eyes are on Jesus, nothing can shake you. Focus on the Savior. Look to Him to be your comfort, your strength and your inspiring example. Keep your eyes on Him, the Author and Finisher of our faith journey Hebrews 12:1-3.

King David knew this well. That’s why in the middle of the storms in his life, he could declare “my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope (v. 9 )”.  As he walked closely with the Lord, David could say from experience, “In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore (v. 11 ).” The storms will rage, and hard times will come, but when you keep your eyes on Jesus you can say, I WILL not be shaken.

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