Tag Archives: Christianity

NEVER

“Never say Never” is a statement I’ve heard much in my life. Never is definitely a powerful word; something that is never happening is not ever going to take place. For the most part, we do not have the ability to make such a claim, but there are some promises in Scripture to which we can attach the word NEVER.

NEVER Leaving Us

We are promised the Lord is never leaving us.

  • Deuteronomy 31 promises the Lord will personally go ahead of us.
  • Solomon writes in Proverbs 12 the Godly are deeply rooted.
  • Jesus says in Matthew 28:20, “and be sure of this, I am with you always, even to the very end of the age.”
  • The writer of Hebrews quotes the Lord as saying, “I will never leave you. I will never abandon you.”

NEVER Grows Weary

Psalm 103 is a reminder of God’s grace and unfailing love. We do not get what we deserve; we get far more! In his grace, we can find freedom in Christ. The Lord removes our guilt and replaces it with his peace. He removes the guilt from past mistakes and replaces it with a hope for a better future. When you think of your past, do you concentrate on the guilt of past mistakes or the peace of Christ’s forgiveness?

NEVER Rejects

We can be confident the Lord is not going to reject us.

The Bible shows us the Lord will forgive the guilt of our past mistakes, and reassures us the Lord will always receive us.

  • Psalm 51:17 says, “The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit; you will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.”
  • 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, the Lord is faithful to forgive.”

Never is a powerful word, but remember, when it comes to these promises, we can use the word NEVER.

By the way, we are discussing this idea on our podcast episodes this weekend.

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10 Rock-Solid Promises for 2023 and Beyond!

2023 has many more days to go. We don’t know what the future holds, and it can be unsettling to think of what might happen. Amid the uncertainty and unknown of the future, there are some certainties to which we can cling. Here are 10 rock-solid promises we can carry with us through each day of 2023 and beyond.

1. The Lord will personally go ahead of us.

We are unsure of what 2023 holds for us. As we embark on a new year, it can be frightening to walk into the unknown. It was for the Israelites.

They found themselves standing beside the Jordan River. Enemy nations and unknown land awaited, and we can discern the Israelites had feelings of fear. What was going to happen? How were they going to accomplish the goal? And, the Lord makes a sweet promise to them.

Deuteronomy 31:6-8 says, “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.’ Then Moses called for Joshua, and as all Israel watched, he said to him, ‘Be strong and courageous!…Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

The promise the Lord makes is for personal guidance. As Israel crossed the Jordan, faced enemy nations, and traveled through an unknown land, The Lord personally went ahead of them. The same promise is for us in 2023.

As we face the enemies of bad health and financial struggles, as we walk into the unknown lands of lost jobs and new opportunities, The Lord says he will personally go ahead of us. “For God has said, ‘I will never fail you; I will never abandon you” (Hebrews 13:5).

2. The Lord will always be there to help us.

Since he is not leaving us, the Lord will always be there to help us.

  • “Yes, the Lord is for me; he will help me” (Psalm 118:7).
  • “My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth” Psalm 121:2).
  • Hebrews 13:6 says, “So we can say with confidence, ‘My help comes from the Lord, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”

No matter where we find ourselves, the Lord is always willing to help us.

3. We can ask for help with confidence.

We can ask for help in any and every situation, and we are assured the Lord understands. According to the rock-solid promise of Hebrews 4, the Lord will respond with mercy and grace.

Hebrews 4:16 encourages, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

4. We can cast our anxieties upon the Lord.

There’s little doubt 2023 will bring its share of anxieties, but the Lord promises we can cast those cares upon him and he will help us find peace.

We are reminded in Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God. And the peace of God that transcends all understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Amid the anxious moments of the year, remember this rock-solid promise, and cast your anxieties upon the Lord.

5. The Lord will ensure our needs are met.

Perhaps one of the major contributors to our anxiety is concern about having enough. Enough money to pay this month’s rent; enough time to get everything done. Enough resources to meet our needs. Start looking at the bank statement and our schedules, and our anxiety level raises. The Lord has a promise for these moments. “I will ensure your needs are met,” he assures us.

In Matthew 6, Jesus points to the birds, and reminds us they do not worry about having enough food, yet they always have plenty. He points to the flowers and reminds us they do not worry about their appearance, yet they are always beautiful. Verse 33 reminds us as we seek after the Lord, he ensures all of our needs are met as well. The Lord promises we do not have to worry about having enough; he will make sure we do.

6. We can take our fears to the Lord.

There are always events happening around us invoking the natural reaction of fear, and when we are feeling afraid, the Lord promises he will help us.

  • “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise- in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Psalm 56:3-4).
  • The Lord says in Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

When fearful moments creep into 2023, the Bible suggests we look to our trust in the Lord for strength.

7. The Lord will help us with heart break.

Heart break is unavoidable as we go through life, so you and I may experience a broken heart this year. I certainly hope our year doesn’t include heart break. I don’t have it on my list of wanted experiences, but if it occurs, Scripture promises the Lord will help.

Psalm 34:18 promises, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

If you land in a season of broken heartedness this year, you can rely on the Lord to help. He will walk with you through that time and into a better season.

8. The Lord will help with those tough decisions.

Hard decisions seem to always present themselves in life. You and I are put in between a rock and a hard spot. No matter what we decide we feel something is lost. The Lord offers help in those moments.

The Psalmist reminds us the Lord guides our steps and directs our paths. James 1 tells us if we lack wisdom, we can ask and the Lord will generously grant it to us. When tough decisions come, remember, the Lord will help you decide.

9. We are not alone.

There may be times in 2023 when we feel isolated, but as mentioned above, the Lord is always with us, and we have one another. 1 Peter 5 reminds us all believers are going through the same thing. We can rely on one another. We can ask one another for help. We’re certainly not on this journey of life alone.

10. The best is still coming.

It may be the best year or the worst year, but no matter how it stacks up, we’re guaranteed the best is still coming. 2 Corinthians 4 says, “Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” What we go through today is only temporary and a better day is coming.

As 2023 unfolds, remember these 10 rock-solid promises. You can carry them with you because they are never going to change. If you are interested, we took a 10-day journey through these promises on our podcast.

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Leon’s Mess Up

Leon was the innkeeper. He was so excited to have finally landed the part, and he practiced for weeks. He had his lines – well, line – perfect.

“There’s no room in the inn,” is all Leon had to say, but Leon became so emotionally involved in the part and the Christmas story that he added a few lines.

There’s no room in the inn,” he said, “but Jesus you can have my room. Jesus, you can have it all!”

Leon may have messed up a little, but his extra lines inspire a question. How well do we allow Jesus to have everything?

From the worries surrounding our finances to the burden of guilt for yesterday’s mistakes, do we allow Jesus to have it all?

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light,” (Matthew 11:28-30(.

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Because of Christmas

I was recently inspired by the below story from DavidsDailyDose.

“During WWII, Matsuko and her family were among the many Japanese Americans forcibly interred in camps. For three years she longed to return to the farm near Salinas, CA where her husband Hayato’s family had grown strawberries for three generations. It was home.

Finally, the war ended and the Nakamura family returned. But as they stood across the road from their once well kept farm, it was clear all was not well. The strawberry fields surrounding their home were overgrown and the front door of the house gaped wide open.

Thankfully, a kind neighbor saved all the farm equipment, but the house had been ransacked. Almost everything of value had been either looted or destroyed.

Matsuko was particularly distressed that the pillagers smashed all of her mother’s china. Not one plate, cup, or saucer survived intact. She began that same day to sort the broken pieces, putting them carefully back together with glue.

One day her young son, Kato, asked her why she was going to so much trouble. After all, she’d only been able to patch together a few plates.

I must take things broken apart and make them whole again.

Matsuko Nakamura”

“Because of Christmas, broken lives can be put together again.”

This was my thought as I was reading. Because of Christmas, we have the opportunity to take the shattered pieces of this life and glue them back together. The Lord knows of our need, and he was willing to become one of us to help.

“So, the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only son” (John 1:14).

Thanks, David, for sharing.

Does Jesus Really Understand My Situation?

Yes, Jesus truly understands our situation. Some folks have a difficult time wrapping their minds around Christ’s grace because they feel his life was not relatable to their life. However, Scripture ensures us Jesus can relate to our circumstances, and he does understand the difficulties of this life.

Understanding Through His Birth

His Family Tree

In the first 17 verses of Matthew’s Gospel, we begin to see how well Jesus can relate to us. His earthly family was anything but perfect. The individuals listed in the genealogy of Jesus are not powerful and perfect. They are ordinary and normal folks just like you and me. They are Jews and Gentiles. They are men and women with diverse backgrounds and stories. They are individuals with struggles the same as people today.

As we read the genealogy of Jesus, think of these back stories.

David

David makes the list. David lusted after Bathsheba, had her husband Uriah killed to cover up an affair, and had a family life filled with turbulence. Yet, the Lord used him. Scripture even says David was a man after God’s own heart.

Ruth

Ruth was poor, and it seemed she had few opportunities. She was humble and dedicated to her mother-in-law. Life was hard as Ruth was forced to walk behind the harvesters hoping enough food was left to provide for her and her mother-in-law. Ruth developed a relationship with Boaz, and they had a son. Ruth’s life took her from rags to riches, from impoverished to having plenty, from unknown to finding a place in the Lord’s lineage.

Jacob

Jacob is used by the Lord to spite being a liar and cheater. Jacob wanted his father’s blessing, but since he was younger than his brother, he had to lie and cheat to get it. One day while his brother was hunting, Jacob pretended to be Esau so Isaac would bless him. Jacob was dishonest. He lied to his father and cheated his brother, yet Jacob had a grand purpose for his life.

Judah

Judah is listed in the family lineage though he hated Joseph. Judah and his brothers sold Joseph as a slave hoping to never see him again, yet God used them in his plan.

Tamar

Tamar is listed. Tamar’s life was filled with heartbreak. She was widowed twice and promised a third husband, but the man and Tamar were never married. Trying to fix things herself, Tamar disguises herself as a prostitute and tricks Judah. Judah has intercourse with Tamar, and she gives birth to a son placing her in this genealogy. Tamar’s life was messy, but she is in the genealogy of the messiah.

His Parents

Look at Jesus’ parents. Mary and Joseph are a young couple engaged to be married. They discover they are facing what society would term an “untimely pregnancy.” Their home may not be ready; they may not be ready to be parents, but they are having a baby. A short time after Jesus’ birth Mary and Joseph are forced to flee to Egypt and hide to save Jesus’ life. This is not an ideal situation.

Jesus’ family tree and birth announcement are not filled with the prestige of a king. The individuals we’ve mentioned are not perfect; they are relatable though. By the very way Jesus enters the world, he says he understands us.

Understanding Through His Life

His birth is not the only way Jesus relates to us. Matthew 4 tells us Jesus was tempted in every way. You may be tempted by this or tempted by that. You may struggle with this or struggle with that. Your list will match Jesus’ list, which leads the writer of Hebrews to assert, “For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses. We have one who has been tempted in every way just as we are – yet was without sin. Let us, then, approach the throne of grace so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Understanding Brought Christmas

Understanding us, Jesus comes to save us. The Gospels are full of examples of Jesus saving. He provides sight to those who can’t see. He provides hearing to those who can’t hear. One lady was healed by touching the edge of his garment while in a large crowd. Jesus brought Lazarus out of the tomb. In the same way Jesus understood these individuals and met their needs, he understands us and meets our needs.

Whatever you may be experiencing today, Jesus understands and has come to help you. Your life will not shock him or cause him to run away. Jesus has come to embrace us with the fullness of his grace and truth. Will you consider allowing Jesus to embrace you where you are today? Will you consider allowing him to help you?

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Exchange the Gifts

Many people will be at the store the day after Christmas exchanging gifts. It is normal to receive a gift that is the wrong color, wrong size, or in some cases, just not desirable. Making these exchanges has become part of the Christmas tradition. Stores may even have extra staff to ensure the lines at the return counter do not become too long. Gifts can go back, and we can leave the store with something even better. There are many things in life we may desire to exchange, especially from the past couple years.

Gloomy is a description of many events from the past couple years. From global headlines to personal tragedies, there has been much in the way of bad news. Absorbing it all is burdensome and weary. It leaves us longing for rest just like the Israelites in Isaiah’s day.

Isaiah was delivering the Lord’s message to people amid much gloom and despair. They were toiling physically, probably spent emotionally, and struggling spiritually. Amid it all, the Lord sends Isaiah to bring hope of rest.

In chapter 9, Isaiah reminds the people this gloom will not go on forever. A different day is coming; a rest like none other is coming. Verses 6-7 say, “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders, and he will be called wonderful counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s armies will make this happen.”

Though these words were spoken hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth, they point directly to him. Israel was on the lookout for a political messiah. Someone who would establish rule and slam their enemies to the ground, but God had a different plan. God was working to establish an eternal rest. This would not be a rest just for the Israelites, but it would be a rest for you and me. This rest would not be temporary but eternal, and on Christmas day, the child that brings this rest arrived.

His arrival was not in a grand fashion, but he sure made a grand difference.

As you read this today, you may feel like the Israelites. Physically, you are toiling and don’t know how you are going to have the strength to continue. Emotionally, you may be spent, and your spiritual life is a constant struggle. As Isaiah says, the Lord offers rest to you. Jesus, in Matthew 11:28-30, invites us to exchange all of this weariness for his rest and peace. Allow this exchange to happen. Trade your gloom for peace, your despair for hope in Jesus.

Be Faithful in Prayer

Two ladies were discussing their lives as they were at the laundry mat. They were both married, and they had much in common.

While they were waiting on clothes to wash, they were both mending a pair of their husbands’ pants. “Things at home are stressful. My husband is grouchy and always a ball of stress,” the first lady said as she mended the butt of her husband’s pants.

As she mended the knees of her husband’s pants, the second lady said, “My guy is usually in a good mood. Things are going really well.”

It has been said the biggest fear of the devil is our prayers. He fears nothing from prayerless efforts, and trembles at prayer. The Bible encourages Christians to never stop praying.

“Be joyful in hope. Patient in affliction.” Romans 12:12 encourages, “Faithful in prayer.”

Jesus illustrated the power of prayer. He spends a great deal of time praying. The disciples admired his prayer life and hoped they could model it. Jesus prayed about everything.

How do we do? Jesus encourages us to pray and never give up. Remember, the Lord does hear our prayers, and praying is just a conversation with him. Spend some time talking with him today.

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Giving Thanks

Many are pausing this week to offer thanks.

The first Thanksgiving was a celebration of harvest. It was a celebration of the fact the pilgrims finally had a foothold in their new land. These folks had a rough start in their new settlement. In fact, it has been calculated that out of the 101 original settlers only 48 survived to celebrate Thanksgiving. This band of settlers experienced much hardship, but with the help of their neighbors, they learned how to live. To spite the emotional drain of their hardship, the settlers took time to thank God for their blessings.

This week we are celebrating Thanksgiving in the United States and Canada. This celebration comes amid much difficulty; however, we have reasons to be thankful. As Christians, we all can be thankful for a Lord who is always with us. Beyond this, our reasons for being thankful could vary. Family and friends, the start of a new job, the start of an exciting life chapter or the end of a stressful one, or the long-asked prayer being answered may make the list of thankful reasons.

No matter the reasons, remember the encouragement of Scripture to always give thanks. And, challenge yourself to make it a daily occurrence if you’re not already giving thanks daily. Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.”

As I think of my thankful list, you are on it. I am grateful that you have taken a moment to read this. You may also enjoy 4 Reasons to Always Have Thanksgiving.

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The Next Adventure

Caution: Tears may fall as you read this, but they should give way to excitement.

An elderly man was in a hospital room and he was fading quickly. The nurses and doctors decided it was time to call the gentleman’s family, and they gathered around his bed. As he was lying there, holding his wife of 50 years hand, looking at his son and grandchildren, he whispered, “Don’t cry. I’ll see all of you again. This was not my permanent home; I’m only passing through.”

A moment later, the man looked up and said, “I can see the Lord’s face.” Peacefully, the man fell asleep and went to be with the Lord.

Death is a sad time for those of us left behind. The person for whom we love and care deeply has gone home to be with the Lord, so we have to say “see you later,” and live in their absence. But, for the Christian who passes away in death, a whole new adventure begins.

Heaven awaits. “For this is not our permanent home,” the writer of Hebrews reminds us, “we are looking forward to a world yet to come.” While we don’t fully know what Heaven will be like, the Bible does tell us it will be a glorious place. There will be no pain, sorrow, or difficulty. Today’s struggles will be gone. There will be no pandemics or tensions caused by skin color. There will be no hurt or heartache. Rather, Scripture says there will be peace. The lame will walk, the deaf will hear, the blind will see. Heaven will be glorious.

And, the adventure of experiencing Heaven will be ours. If you, or someone you love, is struggling today, remember, it is only temporary. Something much better is coming.

Failure is not the End

Failure comes and goes.

It has happened to us all. No one likes it, and it is not one of life’s enjoyable experiences. It hurts, it is painful, and it is a part of everyone’s life. It is failure.

One stumble does not break or define a person. Some of history’s most successful people have experienced the agony of failure.

  • Babe Ruth held the record for the most strike outs, and struck out multiple times in a World Series game. Yet, look at his overall record.
  • Robert Frost was rejected by a magazine stating there was no place for his poetry.
  • An English teacher wrote on Winston Churchill’s report card that he did not have much potential for success.
  • Oprah was fired from a Chicago TV station. She went on.
  • You and I can insert our failures here.

Max Lucado says, “Though you’ve failed, God does not. Face your failures with faith and God’s goodness.”

  • “The Lord directs the steps of the Godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they never fall for the Lord holds them by the hand,” remarks the Psalmist in 37:23-24.
  • Proverbs 24:16 says, “The Godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked.”

Failures will come, but the Lord will help us overcome those failures and move on with life. Remember amid failure, the Lord is with you.

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