YOUR REAR GUARD

YOUR REAR GUARD

Isaiah 58:8 (NIV), states:  Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.

None of us can be in two places at the same time and yet that’s exactly what life seems to demand of us. We spend a lot of time just trying to keep up that many of us feel stretched beyond our capacity. Life can get stressful. And on top of all of that, we have a God-given desire to make our lives count for His purposes. How can we get it all done?

It seems like while we are contending with life on one front, the devil attacks us on another front. It’s like that game “whack-a-mole” – just when you deal with one issue, another one pops up. Carl von Clausewitz once said, “The enemy, while attacking one section of the front, often seeks to outflank and envelop us at the same time. The units which are kept in the  background can meet this attempt.”

Isaiah declared that the “glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.” In other words, God’s got your back. Don’t waste your time asking yourself, “What else can happen to me?” or “I wonder what else will go wrong?” or “How can I possibly get it all done?” The only thing you need to focus on is what’s in front of you now. When you know that your back is covered, that the Lord is your “rear guard”, it frees you to fight what’s in front of you.

[A new Bible Reading Plan will be released in our third 90-Day Challenge. In the meantime, the following Bible reading plan is from our first 90-Day Challenge. If you’ve completed this plan, we recommend that you read through portions again in a different version of the Bible. Use this time to catch up on any missed reading (Example: Instead of NKJV, try NLT).]

Daily Bible Reading:  Mark 3

HELP MY UNBELIEF

HELP MY UNBELIEF

In Mark 9:21-24 (NET), we read:  Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. It has often thrown him into fire or water to destroy him. But if you are able to do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Then Jesus said to him, “‘If you are able?’ All things are possible for the one who believes.” Immediately the father of the boy cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”

A father needed help for his son who was physically afflicted. He went to Jesus looking for help, hoping that He could do something. And this man asked the same thing that many of us ask today, “Lord, if You are able…please help.” But something was wrong with this man’s request. He said, “If.” That simple word exposed the man’s heart. He wasn’t sure, he wasn’t convinced, he wasn’t confident that Jesus could do anything. It was a “hail Mary” play.

Jesus told this father, “All things are possible to him who believes.” The one thing Jesus required from this man was faith. The miracle this father needed for his son couldn’t be bought with money. It couldn’t be performed for a favor. It wouldn’t take place for a sacrifice. All Jesus wanted was for this man to believe.

The man immediately repented. He told Jesus, “I believe!” But recognizing that his faith needed more depth to it, he then said, “Lord, help my unbelief.” All of us have faced a situation where we realized that our faith was lacking. It’s like standing at the starting line of a race knowing that you haven’t exercised in a long time. And yet, Jesus didn’t turn this man away. What little faith he had, Jesus used.

Don’t knock your faith. We sometimes treat God as our last resort because we feel we don’t deserve to ask Him for help. But no matter where your faith is at, it’s strong enough to let God in. The only way to outgrow unbelief is to use the faith you already have.

[A new Bible Reading Plan will be released in our third 90-Day Challenge. In the meantime, the following Bible reading plan is from our first 90-Day Challenge. If you’ve completed this plan, we recommend that you read through portions again in a different version of the Bible. Use this time to catch up on any missed reading (Example: Instead of NKJV, try NLT).]

Daily Bible Reading:  Mark 2

ONLY BELIEVE

ONLY BELIEVE

In Genesis 45:25-26 (NIV), we read:  So they went up out of Egypt and came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. They told him, “Joseph is still alive! In fact, he is ruler of all Egypt.” Jacob was stunned; he did not believe them.

Jacob was feeling powerless. He was in Canaan, living in the middle of a famine. Everyone he was responsible for was either starving or dying. He had sent his sons to Egypt to buy food, so he was fending for himself – doing everything he could to hold things together until they got back. And when they did, he felt worse off than before.

His sons returned with good news. Joseph, the son he was told years earlier was dead, was alive! And not only was he alive, he was the ruler in Egypt! They would have all the food they needed. Even though there was a famine, there was enough provision to ensure all of them were cared for. Jacob’s sons brought back more than good news, they brought back hope. There was only one problem.

Jacob didn’t believe them. It was too good to be true. They were either misinformed or lying just to make him feel better. But it was true. Joseph was alive and he was ruler in Egypt. The only thing keeping Jacob from receiving the benefit of this news was unbelief. Jacob couldn’t move from famine to feasting…simply because he didn’t believe. His lack of faith would keep him on the outside looking in.

If you read the rest of the chapter, you’ll see that Jacob eventually came to his senses. His sons convinced him of the truth. But there’s a lesson to be learned. God has good news. He is the ruler of all and has made provision for His family. What keeps us from experiencing God’s best is the same thing that kept Jacob from it…sometimes, we just don’t believe. God only requires two things from us:  believe and obey. Don’t allow unbelief to keep you from God’s greater blessings.

[A new Bible Reading Plan will be released in our third 90-Day Challenge. In the meantime, the following Bible reading plan is from our first 90-Day Challenge. If you’ve completed this plan, we recommend that you read through portions again in a different version of the Bible. Use this time to catch up on any missed reading (Example: Instead of NKJV, try NLT).]

Daily Bible Reading:  Mark 1

NO WEAPON

NO WEAPON

In Isaiah 54:17 (NKJV), we read: No weapon formed against you shall prosper…

As we continue in our walk of faith with Jesus, we can find ourselves on an uneasy path. This is why through Isaiah, God tells us that there are WEAPONS being formed against us. When a weapon is formed or designed against an enemy force, it is directed towards their weakness. Therefore, God is forewarning us, that there is an enemy who is against us and this enemy has forged or designed weapons against our weaknesses. But the Lord also wants us to know that these weapons SHALL NOT prosper in our lives. He is encouraging us that theses weapons will not defeat us!

If you are facing a hardship or a struggle today, we want to encourage you to stand your ground. God will not allow that struggle or hardship to remain in your life. This weapon that has been forged against you will not prosper; rather, it will make you stronger. What we overcome, eventually becomes a new strength in our lives.

[A new Bible Reading Plan will be released in our third 90-Day Challenge. In the meantime, the following Bible reading plan is from our first 90-Day Challenge. If you’ve completed this plan, we recommend that you read through portions again in a different version of the Bible. Use this time to catch up on any missed reading (Example: Instead of NKJV, try NLT).]

Daily Bible Reading:  Matthew 28

YOU MAY NOT KNOW BUT

YOU MAY NOT KNOW BUT

In Job 2:9-10 (NKJV), we read:  Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

Job had lost everything: his wealth, his home, his children, and now his health. His body broke out in boils and as he was scraping them off (a very painful thing to do to yourself), his wife added fuel to the fire. She told him, “Curse God and die, Job.” Maybe it was an act of mercy on her part, maybe she was tired of seeing him suffer – regardless, Job refused.

The Book of Job doesn’t answer all of our questions about human suffering. It does however, show us one man’s decision to trust God in spite of what he went through. Job was most likely a contemporary of Abraham. The scriptures weren’t recorded until Moses came on the scene…which meant Job didn’t have the Bible to turn to, as we do today. He didn’t know there was a devil. He didn’t know that the only reason he was alive was because God refused to allow the devil to kill him. He didn’t know what was going on…yet he trusted God anyway.

We go through things in life. We experience tragedy and heartache. We don’t always know why. And like Job, there’s always that voice in our lives that says, “Why don’t you curse God and die?” Don’t allow the pain in your life to blind you. Talk like that is foolishness. Job recognized that and so should we. You may not know why you’re going through what you’re going through, but don’t blame God. Life is filled with both good and adversity. The same why God gives good, He will see us through adversity. Don’t give up.

[A new Bible Reading Plan will be released in our third 90-Day Challenge. In the meantime, the following Bible reading plan is from our first 90-Day Challenge. If you’ve completed this plan, we recommend that you read through portions again in a different version of the Bible. Use this time to catch up on any missed reading (Example: Instead of NKJV, try NLT).]

Daily Bible Reading:  Matthew 27

LIFE IS MORE THAN

LIFE IS MORE THAN

In Luke 12:15 (TMB), we read:  Speaking to the people, He [Jesus] went on, “Take care! Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot.”

Society wants us to believe in the lifestyle it glamorizes. It preaches that we need the right look, the right car, the right house, and the right possessions in order to live a fulfilling life. And many Christians have fallen for it hook, line and sinker. So the focus of their lives becomes making enough money to afford that kind of lifestyle…and when they don’t have the money to buy it, they just charge it.

The belief that “I am what I buy” leads to the kind of life Jesus warned us about – the kind of life where our focus is on getting more possessions, instead of on our God-given purpose. We should be “running our race” (see Hebrews 12:1), not be “keeping up with the Jones’”. As Pastor Carl Lentz shared, “Stop buying things you don’t need, with money you don’t have, to impress people you don’t like.”

It’s easy to get caught up in greed. None of us like to think of ourselves as being greedy, and yet it happens. As someone once said, “Greed is the assumption that everything I have is for my consumption.” When you think that everything God gave you, is just for you, greed has taken over your heart. How do we protect ourselves from greed? The solution is simple…we give. We give to those who are in need. We give to those who don’t deserve it. We give to those who could never pay us back. We give in the same way Jesus gave.

[A new Bible Reading Plan will be released in our third 90-Day Challenge. In the meantime, the following Bible reading plan is from our first 90-Day Challenge. If you’ve completed this plan, we recommend that you read through portions again in a different version of the Bible. Use this time to catch up on any missed reading (Example: Instead of NKJV, try NLT).]

Daily Bible Reading:  Matthew 26

GONE TO YOUR HEAD

GONE TO YOUR HEAD

In Mark 10;42-44 (TMB), we read:  Jesus got them together to settle things down. “You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around,” he said, “and when people get a little power how quickly it goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant…

A noncommissioned officer was directing the repairs of a military building during the American Revolution. He was barking orders to the soldiers under his command, trying to get them to raise a heavy wooden beam. As the men struggled in vain to lift the beam into place, a man who was walking by stopped to ask the one in charge why he wasn’t helping his men. With all the pomp of an emperor, the noncommissioned officer responded, “Sir, I am a corporal!”

“You are, are you?” replied the passerby, “I was not aware of that.” Then, taking off his hat and bowing, he said, “I ask you pardon, Corporal.” Then the stranger walked over and strained with the soldiers to lift the heavy beam. After the job was finished, he turned and said, “Mr. Corporal, when you have another such job, and have not enough men, send for your Commander in Chief, and I will come and help you a second time.” The corporal was thunderstruck. The stranger’s name was General George Washington.

No matter your position or title, we are all called to serve one another. Dads, don’t throw your weight around at home. Employers, being a boss or manager is no excuse for being a jerk. True greatness is found in helping others simply because you can.

[A new Bible Reading Plan will be released in our third 90-Day Challenge. In the meantime, the following Bible reading plan is from our first 90-Day Challenge. If you’ve completed this plan, we recommend that you read through portions again in a different version of the Bible. Use this time to catch up on any missed reading (Example: Instead of NKJV, try NLT).]

Daily Bible Reading:  Matthew 25