Confidence, Peace, & Promise

Psalm 91 offers encouragement in uncertain times.

Life is uncertain. We never know what tomorrow will bring. Thankfully, we are not alone. Psalm 91 offers confidence, peace and a promise.

Confidence

Verses 1-3 encourage, “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: he alone is my refuge. My place of safety. He is my God and I trust him. For he will rescue you from any trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.”

Our confidence comes in trusting the Lord. He has our back, and he is going to protect us. Our confidence can give us peace.

Peace

Verses 5-6 say, “Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness nor the disaster that strikes at midday.”

Along with having confidence in the Lord, we can find peace in him. The Lord will help us through whatever life throws at us.

These verses do not mention specific adversities. As Christians, we can insert the difficulty which we are experiencing. Lost jobs, financial struggles, a struggling economy, and any other adversity can be inserted. The Lord will help us through it. You and I can find peace in the Lord’s promise.

Promise

“The Lord says,” records verses 14-16, “I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer. I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”

The Lord’s promise is to anyone who trusts him.

As we face the uncertainty of today and the unknown of tomorrow, we can have confidence and peace because of the Lord’s promise.

 

 

Going through Hell?

“If you’re going through hell, keep on going. Don’t slow down. If you’re scared, don’t show it. You might get out before the devil even knows you’re there.”

Songs have a way of encouraging us in the darkest, weirdest moments of life. The Lord uses lyrics to drive encouragement right into our hearts.

If You’re Going through Hell by Rodney Atkins is one of those encouraging songs. It reminds us to keep on moving through the hard times of life.

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If you’re going through a hard time, keep on moving. Don’t slow down. Unfortunately, hard times are a part of life. Difficulties have a way of creeping into life. Fortunately, they only last for a season, and it is a season the Lord is with us. We can keep moving during those times with the confidence the Lord is our shelter and refuge.

We may be scared, but the Lord says we can take courage because he is with us.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes,” encourages Ephesians 6:10-11.

Remember the Bible

Guidance for every season.

Joshua was standing on the border of the promised land and was realizing he was now the leader of Israel. Moses was done; Joshua was starting, and God was giving Joshua some tips for success.

One of those tips was to remember God’s word.

“Study this book of instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night, so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do,” the Lord says in Joshua 1:8.

As you and I are fulfilling our purpose, the Bible will guide us. There seems to be guidance for every season, every challenge, every question.

When we are hurting, we turn to the Bible for comfort, and its words hold our hearts gently as it comforts us.

When we are discouraged, we turn to Scripture to find encouragement. Its words encourage us and challenge us to push ahead.

When we need advice, we turn to the Bible for its wisdom. Its words give us answers to our questions and help for our problems.

Like Joshua, you and I will benefit if we remember the word of the Lord. As we turn to it, here are 3 things to keep in mind.

1. The Bible offers hope and encouragement.

Romans 15:4 says, “Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us and the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.”

2. The Bible is powerful.

Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”

3. The Bible is eternal.

1 Peter 1:23-25 says, “For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. As the Scriptures say, ‘People are like grass. Their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades,’ but the word of the Lord remains forever, and that word is the Good News which was preached to you.”

Acting

Spend time reading the Bible. Cultivate a deeper understanding of its principles to help guide you in life. Here are some tips to help you understand the Bible.

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4 Tips for Every Person’s Journey

A great leader listens to God’s tips.

Joshua was 85 years old when he became the leader of Israel. The first 85 years of Joshua’s life prepared him for this moment. He understood how difficult the Egyptian bondage was for the Israelites. He experienced the agonizing stress of wondering through the desert, and now it was time to go into the promised land. Joshua had been watching Moses lead, but now it was his time. It was his time to fulfill his purpose.

In Joshua’s commissioning, we find 4 tips for every Christian.

1. Timing is crucial.

Joshua had been with Israel in Egypt, through the desert, and was standing at the border of the promised land. Moses was the leader until it was time; time for Joshua to take the reigns and lead the people.

In Joshua 1:2, the Lord tells Joshua, “The time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelites, across the Jordan River into land I am giving them.”

Joshua started when it was time. In his Law of Timing, John Maxwell states Joshua assumed leadership at the proper time. Moses was a diplomatic leader, which is the leadership style the people needed in the desert. But on the border of Canaan, the needs of the people changed. They needed a fierce military style leader, which is Joshua. Timing is crucial in successfully fulfilling our purpose.

You and I have goals, dreams, and a purpose, and to be successful, we must be sensitive to the Lord’s timing.

If our goal is writing a book, we don’t want to jump ahead and push it to publication before it is ready. If our dream is to run a marathon, we need to properly train before entering the race. If we believe our purpose is to be a leader, we shouldn’t form an undercurrent to take out those in our way. We should wait on the Lord to open the opportunity. Timing is important.

There’s a proper time for every activity, so we should be ready when it’s time. Meanwhile, you and I should patiently prepare for our time to move.

2. The Lord is with us.

Joshua was reminded the Lord is right beside him.

The Lord says in Joshua 1:5, “No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live for, I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you.”

The Lord goes on in verse 9, “For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

God had Joshua’s back. He was there to help Joshua overcome the barriers standing in his way. Joshua could count on the Lord.

God has our back, and he is with you and me as well. He will go with us and help overcome the barriers that stand in the way. We can count on the Lord.

3. Be strong and courageous.

Joshua 1:6 says, “Be strong and courageous. For you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them.”

The Lord promised to be with Joshua, then challenged him to be strong and courageous. Joshua was the one who would fulfill his purpose. No one else was going to lead the people. No one else was going to lead the charge to possess the land. Joshua was the one. He could be strong and courageous in the Lord.

The Lord has promised us he will be right beside us, and he is challenging us to be strong and courageous. No one else is going to fulfill our calling. Our goals, dreams, and purpose are unique to us. The Lord has a plan for our lives, and we can be strong and courageous in him.

“This is my command: be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go,” says the Lord in Joshua 1:9.

4. Remember the word of God.

Joshua 1:7-8 implores, “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this book of instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.”

The Lord challenged Joshua to remember his decrees. The guidance offered by the Lord’s word is what brings success.

As you and I are fulfilling our purpose, the Bible will guide us. There seems to be guidance for every season, every challenge, every question. We are earnestly begged to remember the Lord’s word on our journey.

Joshua put all these tips into practice, and he was a great leader. He understood timing. He knew the Lord was with him. He did not lack strength or courage, and he applied the Lord’s word. As a result, he was able to lead Israel in taking possession of the promised land. He was able to complete his calling and leave a legacy.

Acting

Challenge yourself to begin exercising these tips.

  • Pray that the Lord makes you more sensitive to his timing.
  • Challenge yourself to replace fear with the fact the Lord is with you.
  • Ask the Lord for strength and courage as you overcome barriers.
  • Seek guidance from the Bible.

How’s it going? Share in the comments.

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Patient Endurance Pays Off

Don’t give up. Patiently enduring today’s struggles will pay off with tomorrow’s successes.

Frank wasn’t known for his patience. While he was working, Frank’s wife called him. She was speaking kind of slowly, and her mood was somewhat down.

Irritated by this, Frank barked, “Get on with it. What do you need? And, be positive!”

She was silent for a moment, and then chipperly reported, “I found out today the airbags in our brand-new BMW work very well.”

Patience can be hard. We live in a well-connected world with virtually everything at our fingertips, so when patience is required, you and I may struggle a little. We want what we want when we want it, but sometimes patience is needed. Having patience may seem grueling to us, but the reward will be worth the backbreaking work.

Hebrews 10:36 implores, “Patient endurance is what you need now so that you will continue to do God’s will, then you will receive all that he has promised.”

Moses serves as an illustration of someone who had patience. He patiently endured the struggle of Israel wondering in the desert. Moses led Israel out of Egypt and wanted to take the people into the promised land, but the unbelief of the people forced Israel to stay in the desert the rest of Moses’ life. It would have been easy for Moses to give up in this situation, yet he remained faithful.

Moses patiently endured his circumstances. He knew something better was ahead. Moses knew what was ahead would be worth the wait. For him, it was Heaven, and for Israel, it was the promised land. Patient endurance will lead to a reward worth the wait.

Two frogs fell into a bucket of cream. The sides were slippery, and the frogs did not have an immediate way out of the bucket.

One frog immediately gave up. He said, “there’s no way out. We’re going to drown.” So, he stopped swimming and sank to the bottom.

The other frog said, “I’m going to keep swimming and see what happens.” He kicked and paddled; he swam and churned. Eventually, butter formed a platform under the frog. He was able to jump out of the bucket.

Right now, life may be in a season of adversity. Achieving goals, realizing dreams, and fulfilling purpose may be a struggle. Don’t give up. Tomorrow’s successes will be worth enduring the hardships of today.

Patient endurance will be worth it when we find success.

You are working hard. Your hard work uncovers more work needing done. It shows you more practice is needed or more connections made. You see the goal and dream, but you are beginning to doubt its obtainability.

Michael Jordan can relate. Jordan may be one of the best NBA players to ever touch the court, and he had to patiently endure missed shots, game losses, and letting the team down on his way to success. “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games; 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed,” Michael Jordan once said.

The work you and I are now doing is helping us find success. It will be worth it when our goals are achieved, and dreams realized. Don’t give up. Patiently endure the struggles of today to enjoy the successes of tomorrow.

Patient endurance will be worth it when our purpose is fulfilled.

You’re trying to fulfill your purpose. It seems you have to overcome a barrier each step of the way. Your suggestions are ignored; your ideas fall on deaf ears. And, life seems to always pose an interruption. You’ve determined your purpose, but the present trials are causing you to doubt. Are you really the right person for this purpose?

Moses was ignored. His requests to the people fell on deaf ears. He endured all of this as he faithfully fulfilled his purpose. Moses wondered if he was the right person for the job; he doubted leading Israel was his purpose, but God said it was.

We, too, may wonder and doubt, but God gave us life and our purpose. Like Moses, we will experience struggles. The reward of fulfilling our purpose will be worth patiently enduring the struggles.

Patiently enduring this life will be worth it in the next.

The struggles of this life will be worth it in the next.

  • James 1:12 says, “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”
  • “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long, yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever,” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 says. “So, we don’t look at the troubles we can see now. Rather we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”

Acting

Don’t give up. Today’s struggles will be worth tomorrow’s successes. Ask the Lord to help you patiently endure the struggles of today.

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What is your biggest weakness?

Our weakness could be a strength.

Job interviews are a necessary evil. Sitting across from a stranger answering a series of questions can be an anxious time. Providing the answer, the interviewer wants to hear is our challenge. Some questions are easy, other questions are hard, and there is the one dreaded question. It seems to find its home in every interview. What is your biggest weakness?

This is a hated question. If we truly discuss our weaknesses, we may lose the job. If we lie, we may lose our integrity. Answering this question is tricky, so much advise has been offered.

Don’t say something like, “Those eyes of yours.” Experts recommend giving a skill-based weakness and immediately following up with an improvement plan. We dread discussing our weaknesses because society views them as a problem. However, the Lord takes a different approach. He takes a better approach.

For God, our weaknesses are an opportunity.

God gave Moses the ultimate job interview. Moses was tending sheep and noticed a bush aflame, but it was not consumed by the fire. Curiosity pushed Moses to investigate, and the Lord started his interview.

God was calling Moses to lead Israel out of Egypt to the promised land. Moses, however, believed his weaknesses would keep him from accomplishing the job.

Moses stuttered. In his mind, this meant there would be absolutely no way he could speak to Pharaoh concerning the Lord. Moses attempted to convince the Lord he was not the right man for the job, but God responded, “I gave you the mouth you have, so it will be fine.”

Differing Viewpoints

Moses’ stuttering was viewed from two perspectives. This made the difference.

Moses’ Viewpoint

Moses viewed his stuttering as a problem. It would keep him from completing the assignment. No one would listen to him because he couldn’t speak clearly.

Can you relate to Moses? You know your goals, dreams, and purpose, but you believe your inadequacies will prevent achievement and fulfillment. I believe this is a struggle for most people. We feel unqualified, and that feeling paralyzes us.

God’s Viewpoint

God viewed Moses’ stuttering as an opportunity. Stuttering did not prevent Moses from leading Israel; in fact, it enhanced his leadership. It provided an opportunity for the Lord’s power to be displayed, and it kept Moses reliant on the Lord.

Like Moses, our weaknesses cannot prevent us from fulfilling our purpose. Our weaknesses may even be a benefit.

Weaknesses can become a strength.

Our weaknesses can become a strength.

In 2 Corinthians 12:9, the Lord says, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”

The Lord’s power works best in weakness; when we are weak, he is strong. The Lord’s power can be magnified in our weaknesses.

Just ask Joseph, Peter, and Paul. Joseph found himself in a heap of trouble, but with the Lord’s help became the governor of Egypt. In a moment of weakness, Peter denied the Lord, but was forgiven and used to launch the church. Paul struggled with an undisclosed weakness, but the Lord used him as a missionary and author of much of the New Testament. The pages of Scripture are filled with accounts of weaknesses becoming opportunities for the Lord’s power.

We can be encouraged by knowing the Lord has a plan, and he works in moments when we are weak. In weakness, we request help, and with power, the Lord responds.

He did for Moses. Moses had a weakness in speech, so the Lord provided Aaron as a spokesperson. Weakness did not prevent Moses from accomplishing God’s calling, and weakness will not prevent us.

Acting

Challenge yourself to change the way you view your weaknesses. Try viewing them as an opportunity for the Lord to work. Share the adventure in the comments below.

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Parenting is Overwhelming

Moses’ parents experienced the struggles of parenting.

Moses’ parents were up against it. They were living at a time Pharaoh had decided the Israelites should have no more boys. The decree was for all newborn Israelite boys to be killed, but Moses’ parents ignored it. They kept Moses hidden for 3 months, and as his parents, they had to make some hard choices to protect his life.

The Bible says Moses’ parents placed him in a basket and floated it down the Nile. Moses is found and adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter. The Lord’s care and Moses’ parents’ choices put him on a path to fulfill his destiny. He became a great leader for Israel. It all started when Moses’ parents had to make some hard choices.

Parenting is consuming.

Parenting is hard; it can be overwhelming. Moses’ mom and dad faced much adversity when he was born. There was the decree, they had a newborn needing care, and they had to keep him hidden. I would not want to be in their situation, but it does illustrate how consuming parenting can be.

As parents, you and I are trusted with a life. This person for whom we are responsible has a purpose, so we don’t want to mess up. Adding to the stress is the fact part of our purpose is to help our child fulfill his or her purpose, so we don’t want to mess up.

Parenting is hard. We worry about everything. Are we too strict? Are we too lenient? Is our child growing and learning fast enough? Is our child growing and learning too fast? When something happens, we worry the opposite should be happening. Parenting is hard.

It can be overwhelming as we worry about everything, but we need to remember as much as we love our kids, God loves them more. As much as we want what is best for our kids, God wants it more, so we should rely on the Lord to guide us in the overwhelming task of parenting.

Lamentations 2:19 encourages, “Pour out your hearts like water to the Lord. Lift up your hands to him in prayer pleading for your children….”

No matter the situation, when our kids are hurting, we want to come to the rescue. It is easy to bandage a sore and offer a hug, but when the situation becomes more advanced, rescue becomes more difficult. It might even reach a point where we must follow the example of Moses’ parents. Pray and trust the Lord.

The hard choice of floating Moses down the Nile was made in faith. Hebrews 11 says it was by faith Moses’ parents made their decisions. They knew the Lord gave them a child, and the Lord would care for him.

In Fearless, Max Lucado reminds us that before our kids were ours, they belonged to God. And, even as they are our children, they still belong to God. All people are God’s people, even the little people residing in our home. God shares in our desire to do something when our kids are hurting.

Moses parents trusted the Lord with their child. They had reached a point where they were powerless. There was nothing more for them to do than trust the Lord. They were not the only parents who have reached this point.

  • In Matthew 15, a Canaanite mother came to Jesus pleading for help. Her daughter was plagued by an evil spirit. The disciples tried to ignore her, but Jesus didn’t. He heard her pleas, and he provided relief for her daughter.
  • Mark 9 records a boy had been struggling since he was young. The child was possessed by an evil spirit causing much havoc. The boy’s father came first to the disciples, then to Jesus pleading for help. The disciples couldn’t do anything, but Jesus could. Jesus heard the father’s plea for assistance, and he provided an answer.
  • Jairus, in Mark 5, came to Jesus passionately pleading for Jesus to heal his sick daughter. There were individuals who said it was too late. Nothing could be done to heal the girl, but Jesus still did something. Jesus heard the father’s plea and healed her.

When we have reached the end of our rope and there is nothing more we can do for our child, we can pray and trust the Lord. In the doctor’s office, in the hospital room, in the recovery center, in the moments when we see disaster looming, we can pray and trust the Lord. He is fond of our kids, and he wants what is best for them.

I must pause for a moment and say I’ve not experienced every emotion a parent may feel. You, as a parent, may be navigating through overwhelming circumstances I have not experienced, so I am not claiming to have all the answers. I’m only desiring to point you toward a resource. As you are amid overwhelming situations, I hope you are doing okay, and offer the Lord as a guiding resource.

Seek the Lord’s guidance.

Lucado goes on in fearless to tell us God has a heart for hurting parents. After all, he’s a parent too. He understands the overwhelming emotion of being a parent. His child was beaten, mocked, and even died. He was separated from his child. He gets the pain and agony that comes from being a hurting parent.

So, as a parent, take advantage of the resource of prayer.

  • As your child leaves the house, send him or her away with a prayer.
  • As you put your child to bed, cover him or her with prayer.
  • As your child struggles with life, pray with and for him or her.
  • Pray he or she develops a hopeful confidence in this life and an eternal home in the next.

And remember, even when your child is not safe in your arms, he or she is safe in the Lord’s arms.

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3 Reasons God is Our Refuge

Psalm 46 confidently proclaims the Lord is our refuge.

Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength always ready to help in times of trouble.”

Here are 3 reasons God is our refuge.

1. God is our salvation.

Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ, our Lord, has done for us.”

2. God is our safety net.

Romans 8:35 asks, “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity or are persecuted or hungry or destitute or in danger or threatened with death?”

Verses 37-39 answers, “No, to spite all these things overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loved us. And, I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow, not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below, indeed nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

God has our back. When everything else around us crumbles and falls, God stands strong and keeps us safe. Financial markets may crash, retirement funds may plummet, illnesses may come, but the Lord holds us safely in his refuge.

3. God is our strength.

Philippians 4:13 says, “For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.”

It doesn’t matter where we are; whether we have plenty or are lacking, The Lord gives us strength to get through the situation.

“Be still and know that I am God,” the Lord says in Psalm 46, “I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.’ The Lord of heaven’s armies is here among us. The God of Israel is our fortress.”

With God as our refuge, we can have peace. This is a peace which transcends human understanding.

Philippians 4:7 says, “Then you will experience God’s peace which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

As things shift and move around us today, we can enjoy the peace given to us by being in the Lord’s refuge.

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Always Stay Humble and Kind

A reminder to display humility and kindness.

Humble and Kind by Tim McGraw is a song that grabs you by the heart and reminds you it is best to live a lifestyle of humility and kindness.

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The chorus reminds us to always be humble and kind. You and I have goals to achieve, dreams to realize, and purposes to fulfill. This takes a great deal of work on our part, but when the goal is achieved, dream realized, and purpose fulfilled, we need to remember to stay humble and kind. We may have worked hard, but without the Lord’s help, we would not be successful.

The song also reminds us a grudge can weigh us down. It’s hard, but we should work to forgive and not hold a grudge. Always be humble and kind.

The song gives us a challenge for which to strive. A lifestyle of humility and kindness is the best way to live.

Responding to Change

One key to getting through change.

Raise your hand if you like change. My hand is not up. In fact, I have it tied down just in case you thought it could possibly be going up. I have a strong dislike for change. I’m happiest in routine; a daily routine that fits into a weekly routine. Everything is better when it fits into the routine.

I imagine you’re the same. No one cares for change. We like to have the “when” and “where” of life. Change is unsettling; however, it is a requirement of life.

Change is inevitable; it will come. Our routine will be disrupted much throughout life. Illnesses, lost jobs, financial struggles, heartbreak, and many other disruptions will occur. The change may even force us into uncharted territory. It’s unnerving and we can’t control the change, but we can control how we respond.

The Bible gives us the example of Abraham to help us understand how to respond to change. Abraham was called to leave everything he knew. Abraham was to leave home and go into uncharted territory. This was a huge change for Abraham.

With his family and belongings, Abraham left his routine and headed into the unknown. He was uncertain of the path. He was unsure of the destination. His routine was fluctuating. For Abraham, this one change unsettled everything. The only certainty Abraham had was the Lord.

Abraham knew the Lord was with him. He knew the Lord would guide him, so he responded to the change with faith.

“It was by faith,” Hebrews 11:8 says, “Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going.”

Abraham’s faith allowed him to focus on what was to come rather than the change.

Hebrews 11:10 says, “Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations. A city designed and built by God.”

Right now, our routines are being disrupted. Many of us are scrambling to adjust in an evolving situation. It can be unsettling. While we may be uncertain of everything else, we can be sure of one thing. The Lord is with us.

The Lord will guide us in this uncharted territory. The Lord will get us to our destination just like he did Abraham. Like Abraham, we need to remember change is only temporary. The Lord has something better for us on the other side.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 says, “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green and they never stop producing fruit.”

You and I may hate it, but change is inevitable. Abraham’s story reminds a faithful response is best in these moments.

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