Have you ever felt pursued? Oppressed? Sensed the devil nipping at your heels?
I'd like to draw a parallel between how Pharaoh acted in Exodus 14 and how Satan acts throughout history.
Both are unyielding enemies, coveting the power of God for themselves. Both have been plundered by the Almighty, and both are enraged beyond endurance. Both have assembled vast armies for the destruction of God’s people – yet neither seems to realize how utterly defeated he already was and is.
We all mess up. We all fall short. We all wish we could be a little bit better. And when that happens, we wonder if God still really wants to use us. People comment on our strengths or what they admire about us and we think, "Oh, if you only knew what I'm like in my worst moments."
But here's the reality: God does know you in your worst moments. He knows all the things hidden in your heart. He knows what you even hide from yourself. And he picked you anyway.
I don’t like heights, so when I arrived at the zip line park, my heart went into overdrive. As I stood on the tiny platform, there was nothing between me and the ground, hundreds of feet below.
I put my gloved hands on the zip line while everything in me was screaming to turn around and go back to solid ground.
But then I let go.
If I asked you how you are today, you might (like so many of us) answer, "Fine." But underneath that answer could be questions, struggles, insecurities. How do I know? Because I'm human too.
And every day we need to hear one thing: You're going to be okay.
When I walked in the door, a wide smile filled little Elle's face and she ran into my arms. For the next several minutes, Elle circled around the crowded room. Each time she made her way purposely back to me, placed both hands on my knees, and said, "There you are!" It was as if Elle wanted me to know that in the midst of a crowd, she delighted that I was in the room.
1 Chronicles 16:11 (ESV) says, "Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!"
It makes me wonder: Do I see Jesus like Elle sees me?
When you enjoy your life you bring joy to the One who gave it to you.
And that, my friend, is why the enemy of your soul hates what makes you truly joyful. Because he is out to destroy anything and everything that brings God joy.
Can you imagine your life without freedom? Nowhere to turn for justice. Government being the source of oppression rather than protection. For those of us fortunate enough to live in the United States of America, it is easy to take for granted the unparalleled liberty we've experienced for over 200 years. Unless you are a serious student of world history or have traveled extensively, you actually may not recognize how unique, rare, and precious the blessings of liberty really are.
On my nephew’s first birthday, his mom pulled out a shiny can. It was a time capsule to be filled with letters and mementos.
Last year, my nephew turned 18. His mom pulled out the now-dented can with its faded label. For the next hour there was lots of laughter, but also tears as Jason read through letters from loved ones no longer here on earth.
"The National Weather Service has issued a severe storm warning for this area." These are words that can cause many of us to panic! We worry about being without electricity, food, and heat. Yet, even though we may have been through similar situations in the past, most of us do little, if anything, to prepare for such occurrences. We simply hope it doesn't happen again.
The fact is that emergencies happen! Some say that "life" happens! Storms come, jobs are lost, people get sick, unexpected events happen to all of us. Do you have a plan for how you are going to handle the next "storm" or are you simply crossing your fingers and hoping it doesn't happen?
We often picture God’s will for our lives like a thin, definitive line. A tightrope we must walk carefully and with the utmost caution. One wrong step and we’ll surely fall. And when we do, we’ll mess up our future forever.
But when we come to know Jesus, our life is not a tightrope but a wide, open space of grace. We have so much room to breathe, to grow, to learn. God knows we are human. He knows we will take detours, face obstacles, and make mistakes. If he were committed only to using those of us who never stray then no human would ever be part of his plan.