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 12/18/19

It’s I WILL Wednesday!

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4

King David penned this beautiful, beloved Psalm that depicts the loving, tender care of our Father as a shepherd. He used metaphors that were highly relatable in his time to draw a vivid literary picture of the gentle, yet powerful leading, protection, and correction of the Lord.

Here David speaks of the trust and calmness of sheep when accompanied by the shepherd even in the midst of the most dangerous situations (valley of the shadow of death). It is here where the sheep are comforted by the rod and the staff. The rod is used to protect the sheep from danger, while the staff is used to guide the sheep where it needs to go. This leaves nothing for the sheep to be concerned with. All they have to do is focus on the shepherd and enjoy life abundantly.

Wow! This is actually how we should live our lives every day with Jesus our Shepherd! As we go through hard and dangerous times, or “the valleys of the shadow of death” we, like the sheep, are comforted by His rod and staff. He will protect us (But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.  2 Thessalonians 3:3, and He will guide us (Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me. Psalm 119:133)

This is great news to me! The fact that I, like the sheep, can just rest while I focus only on God and enjoy life abundantly. It doesn’t matter if the enemy tries to attack me, or what they try to take from me, for God’s rod and His staff protect and guide me even if I get lost on the journey. So I will declare that even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I don’t have a reason to fear, because he protects me and I won’t get lost on my journey because He guides me.
I WILL FEAR NO EVIL!

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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 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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