Life Matter: Fear Is There

"When I am afraid, I put my trust in you" - Psalm 56:3.

David did not write "if I am afraid" but rather "when I am afraid." I have come to the conclusion that fear is always present in my life. Therefore I am no longer surprised when I find it, but go on a search-and-destroy mission to look for it, asking God to show me where it is. I have found that fear is a master of disguise and works in my life as rational thinking. For example, "I don't have enough time" is really "I'm afraid I don't have enough time to do that well" or "I'm afraid I will fail, so I won't even try." You know what 2 Timothy 1:7 says: "For God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control" (NET). Are you ready to confront and eradicate your fears today? What could you do today if you were not afraid?

Today's Reading - Psalms 55-60


Your Life Matter: Faith in Action

Welcome to this first daily devotional in my new series, Your Life Matters: Reflections from the Psalms. Every day I will focus on some life matter found in the psalms, showing that life matters to the Lord as His people cry out to Him, worship Him, question Him, exalt Him and sing to Him. There are 150 psalms, so if you read five every day, you will finish the entire book in 30 days. Therefore, each day's verse will come from the five psalms for that day. For example, today's entry is from the first set, Psalms 1-5. You may wish to read the day's allotment of five psalms or just the one from which the day's verse is taken. Either way, I hope you will enjoy and be edified by this new series, Your Life Matters: Reflections from the Psalms.

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"For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked leads to destruction" - Psalm 1:6.

If someone asked you, "Are you on your way?", you would understand that they were expecting you to be in motion, coming or going somewhere. The Lord also expects you to be on your way and that way is the path of faith. That implies progress, movement and knowing the way you are supposed to be going! James 2:17 states, "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." There is always something you can do in faith, otherwise you risk possessing dead or useless faith. Your life matter today is to determine what action you can take - write a letter, go look at a house or car, apply to school - with the faith you have about a particular situation you are facing. 


Pearl 364: Totally His

TOPIC: Faith and God's Help

"For the eyes of the Lord range throughout
the earth to strengthen those whose hearts
are fully committed to him" - 2 Chronicles 16:9.

When you are fully committed to the Lord, you can count on Him finding you and strengthening you in the work you are doing. And to be fully committed, you must be fully committed to a walk of faith in your family, work and ministry. That doesn't mean you are perfect, but that your first thoughts and final plans are of the Lord and what He would want you to do on purpose. Do you believe that God is searching for those who are completely His? Do you think you can be one of those people? What heart changes do you need to make in the coming year for God to search and find you?

Lord, I read this verse and it stirs my heart, for I want to be someone whom You can consider totally committed to You. I surrender my life's agenda to Yours, and I submit to Your purpose and will for my life. I will not allow family or circumstances to deter me in the coming year - with Your help, of course.


Pearl 359: Faith Scroll

TOPIC: Faith and Speech

"Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other,
and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance
was written in his presence concerning those who feared
the Lord and honored his name" - Malachi 3:16.

The Lord is listening to your conversations with yourself and with others. We see from Hebrews 11 that you must talk faith to please God, and Hebrews 11 contains a scroll of remembrance of sorts for those who distinguished themselves in faith. The Lord is obviously still adding to that scroll and your name can be on it! Is God enjoying listening in on your conversations these days? Are you having faith discussions with others of what you can do in faith, or what you can't do in unbelief? Are you eager to have your name enrolled in the faith hall of fame?

Lord, I want to be registered on your faith scroll, but I see that I have to earn my way onto that list by honoring You. The best way I know to honor You is to put my trust in You, so I want to talk and live faith, so that You will take notice. I commit to talk faith in the coming year both to myself and to others.


Pearl 353: Lifestyle

TOPIC: Faith and Daily Living

"And without faith it is impossible to please God,
because anyone who comes to him must believe
that he exists and that he rewards those who
earnestly seek him" - Hebrews 11:6.

Faith is not an event; it is a lifestyle. Faith is not a parachute that you pull out in emergencies, it is to be your day-to-day walk with the Lord as you find and fulfill purpose, set and achieve goals, manage your time and organize your life and world around you. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. That means with faith, you can please Him. Are you pleasing Him? Is faith a lifestyle for you or just something you use when you are backed into a corner and have no other options? What are you trusting the Lord for right now that, if He does not come through, you will look foolish?

Lord, I want to please You and there is not way to do that without trusting You, without faith. I confess that I often have faith when I have run out of options, but I see today that you desire a lifestyle of faith, and not just an occasional excursion into faith. Forgive me for my unbelief as I venture forth in faith.


Pearl 349: Family

TOPIC: Faith and Fear

"So Gideon took ten of his servants and did
as the Lord told him. But because he was
afraid of his family and the townspeople,
he did it at night rather than in the daytime" - Judges 6:27.

Gideon had faith to obey the Lord, but there was one major stumbling block for faith in his life, and that was his family. He did what God wanted in this instance, but he did so under the cover of darkness. The opposite of faith is not un-faith or unbelief, but rather fear. Gideon was afraid of what his family would think and say, so he carried out a clandestine faith operation. What are you afraid of that is hindering your faith? Is your relationship with your family one that sustains and promotes your faith, or hinders it? What are you prepared to do about that if the latter is the case?

Lord, I love my family, but I am too concerned about what they will say and think. At times, I also need them to need me, so I do things that perpetuate an unhealthy situation that hinders my faith. Forgive me for ever putting my family before You and Your purposes for my life. That is about to change.


Pearl 346: Heart Attack

TOPIC: Faith and Will

"See to it, brothers and sisters, that none
of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that
turns away from the living God" - Hebrews 3:12.

You are to 'see to it' that you don't have an unbelieving heart. That indicates that a faith-less heart is your decision and under your control not to have one. When you don't take care of your heart and faith, then you turn away from God, and that is fatal where purpose and goals are concerned. This makes perfect sense, for without faith it is impossible to please God. Is your heart full of faith? Do you see un-faith as a sin, or simply a weakness? Do you accept responsibility to keep your heart in good faith condition?

Lord, I don't want to have a heart attack of unbelief. Therefore I choose to trust You, not just for salvation, but for all the affairs of life, including purpose and goals. Help me keep watch over my heart and to know when it is weak in faith, so I can correct that condition immediately by Your grace.


Pearl 338: An Email From Heaven

TOPIC: Faith and Purpose

"Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah.
'Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,”
he said, “and then I will come with you'" - 1 Kings 19:20.

On their first encounter, Elisha went home to bid farewell to his family, and followed Elijah until his death. That required tremendous faith that it wasn't just Elijah talking to Elisha, but that the Lord was speaking through him. You won't find or fulfill purpose without the same kind of faith, for you won't receive an email from heaven outlining your purpose assignment. You will have to trust that God is speaking to you through others or circumstances, and then act in faith to structure your life accordingly. Are you waiting for that email from heaven? Are you trying to move with such certainty that faith is not required? Are you trusting that you can know God's will through faith?

Lord, I admit that I read how Elisha reacted with such certain faith and it scares me, thinking that I may have to do the same. He walked away from his world based on Elijah's world and went in a different direction. Help me to have that kind of resolve and faith, putting my trust in You completely.


Pearl 304: Blindspots

TOPIC: Faith and Thinking

"He said to them, 'How foolish you are, and how
slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!
Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things
and then enter his glory?'" - Luke 24:25-26.

The disciples on the Emmaus Road could not recognize Jesus, even though they were well acquainted with Him, because they thought He was dead. Your thinking determines what you hear and see, even where God is concerned. So these disciples were slow to believe and that made them foolish in Jesus' estimation. Where are you also slow to believe what the prophets have written? Where are you reading Scripture but not comprehending because of your thinking? What is God trying to show you that you are blocking because of your mindset and perspective?

Lord, I am foolish, just like those disciples on the road. I am walking with You, but I don't always hear or recognize You because of my small and limited thinking. Deliver me from these blindspots that prevent me from entering in by faith to all that You have for me where my purpose and goals are concerned.


Pearl 303: Non-Sensical

TOPIC: Faith and Thinking

"But they did not believe the women,
because their words seemed to them like nonsense" - Luke 24:11.

People can give you a good faith report that has the potential to stimulate and massage your faith, but if you don't listen carefully, you can dismiss their words as non-sensical. When their report doesn't match your picture of reality, you can miss your opportunity to grow your faith. Your mind picture of what God can do for you needs to change or you will dismiss their testimony and remain in your unbelief. Where is your mindset set for non-faith? Whose testimony have you dismissed instead of welcomed? Where are you missing faith because you consider it non-sensical - not making sense?

Lord, You are faithful and have sent many messengers to awaken my faith, but I have sometimes refused their report.  The problem is my thinking, which made their words sound like nonsense, when in reality, I am the non-sensical one. Deliver me, Lord, from my faith-destructive need to be so sensible!