Silence, God’s character, God’s Word, sorrow, suffering, devotional, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Silent: Knowing God is Working Even in the Silence

There may be times where God appears distant, but we can breathe knowing He stays true to His word. He never leaves us and works even when He seems silent.



Remember that although God may be silent, He is not still.

Dr.Tony Evans

Silent God

Sometimes God is just hard to get. One moment, He is breaking into our lives with His glory and majesty, answering prayer left and right. We are “living the promises!”

YES, GIRL!

Then, the earth seemingly erupts beneath us and chaos ensues. Friends betray us. Illness strikes. Or, like St. John of the Cross, darkness falls across our souls like a damp fog.

The ceiling is made of iron.

The sky is brass.

Morning, afternoon, and evening our hearts cry out to God, but He does not answer. The situation remains unchanged. We may feel like C. S. Lewis after his wife died of cancer.

But go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away. The longer you wait, the more emphatic the silence will become.

C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

I have felt this level of desperation before; although, I’m not proud to admit it – when our oldest son ‘disowned’ us during a crisis time in his late twenties; when my mother’s mental health was overwhelming me; when my migraines were relentless. I guess that is why it’s easy to become tearful when I hear Andrew Peterson’s song, The Silence of God:

It’s enough to drive a man crazy, it’ll break a man’s faith
It’s enough to make him wonder, if he’s ever been sane
When he’s bleating for comfort from Thy staff and Thy rod
And the Heaven’s only answer is the silence of God

Andrew Peterson, The Silence of God

There may be times where God appears distant, but we can breathe knowing He stays true to His word. He never leaves us and works even when He seems silent. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #scripture #devotional #addiction #silence #GodsCharacter #GodsWord #sorrow #suffering

David

David certainly had moments of desolation, hearing nothing but God’s silence.

My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? Oh my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.

Psalm 22:1-2

When I was younger, I used every Christian ‘trick’ or equation I knew, to no avail. As with David in the Psalms, despite my pleas, promises, prayer, and meditation, God remained silent.

Be not silent, O God of my praise! For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me, speaking against me with lying tongues. They encircle me with words of hate, and attack me without cause. In return for my love they accuse me, but I give myself to prayer. So they reward me evil for good, and hatred for my love.

Psalm 109:1-5

Like David in the following verses, I stated my case before my Father, and like David, I have experienced silence. We’re not alone.

Abram

In Genesis 12:1-3, Abram was told to leave everything and everyone he knew because God wanted to give him a new land. In addition, God would use him and Sarai to become a great nation.

Years passed. No direct heir…not one. And while God spoke to Abram about other things, He was silent about that – for nearly twenty-five years.

Joseph

Joseph’s coat of many colors is a wonderful children’s Bible story. However, as adults, it’s important to remember that he was sold into slavery, (today we call it human trafficking), and was falsely accused in his owner’s house of sexually abusing the master’s wife. Joseph then sat in prison for two years before the dream he was shone at seventeen came to pass.

Do you wonder if Joseph had some unanswered questions for God during that all time?

Job

I would be remiss not to mention Job. He spends a great deal of time telling of his righteousness, but he grew frustrated and impatient at God’s silence in the face of his suffering.

I cry to you for help and you do not answer me; I stand, and you only look at me.

Job 30:20

If only God would answer!!

Isn’t that how we feel at times? Even if it isn’t the answer we want – please, just ANSWER!

Mary and Martha

I wonder if that is what Mary and Martha were thinking when their friend and Lord did not answer them? When He was told their brother, Lazarus, was very ill and didn’t immediately come to the rescue? Jesus didn’t even send word that He was on His way. In fact, John 11:17 reveals that Lazarus had been dead four days by the time Jesus arrived!

Silent or Not?

Other writers more learned and wiser than me have written about this topic. Many have expounded that this time of silence or darkness exposes our need for discipline, renewal, and/or repentance. No doubt these and more are pieces of the puzzle.

However, looking through the lens of a merciful, loving Father, I’m wondering if there is another aspect; if this silence is real or perceived. My feelings or experiences tell me He is absent, but God’s Word says that He is with me, (examples – Psalm 23:4; Deuteronomy 31:6). He will never leave me or forsake me.

Jesus told us He would not leave us as orphans in John 14:18-20. I love that; regardless of our biological heritage, Jesus will never abandon us.

So, what does this mean? Why the sense of silence or aloneness?

Well…according to Jon Bloom of desiringGod.org:

It is the mourning that will know the joy of comfort (Matthew 5:4). It is the hungry and thirsty that will be satisfied (Matthew 5:6). Longing makes us ask, emptiness makes us seek, silence makes us knock (Luke 11:9).

Keep knocking, Sister. God hasn’t left you…and He never will.

When God seems silent, may we take this time to expose our need for discipline, renewal, or repentance. God's Word tells us He never leaves us, so keep knocking, keep seeking, He's there! Click To Tweet

There may be times where God appears distant, but we can breathe knowing He stays true to His word. He never leaves us and works even when He seems silent. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #scripture #devotional #addiction #silence #GodsCharacter #GodsWord #sorrow #suffering

*All Bible references are from the English Standard Version.
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Teacher: Being Taught by Someone Who is Trustworthy

Books on controversial subjects are plentiful. Some may be legitimately helpful when it comes to being knowledgable, but how do we know what’s right? David said, “I will not let anything worthless guide me” (Ps. 101:3a, CSB). Who or what should be our teacher?



Interpretation

Last week a mom asked me for advice. Her teenager has been voicing opinions in favor of gender/sexual orientation. She asked how she could talk about it beyond just saying “Because it’s in the Bible.” I said, “When someone wants to use the Bible for personal approval, there are a bunch of Biblical passages that can be taken out of context.”

For instance, I was recently approached by a woman who asked me if I wanted to learn more about God, the mother… ??? There is an entire handbook of denominations that believe different things about the Bible.

Books on controversial subjects are plentiful. Some may be helpful in knowledge gaining, but how do we know what's right? Who or what should be our teacher? Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #controversial #GodsCharacter #GodsWord #knowledge #teacher #teaching

The Issues Change

The weight of hot button issues fluctuates throughout each generation, varying in the attention they receive.

A little over one hundred years ago women weren’t allowed to wear pants or vote. Drinking alcoholic beverages was seriously frowned upon in Southern Baptist churches until the last few decades. However, now it has become somewhat of an acceptable trend…which isn’t necessarily a great victory.

Zeroing In

When it comes to any search for truth, the most important thing is to know the Lord. The Spirit of God disciples the hearts of those who seek Him.

I’m not saying we should never discuss specific topics or read books other than the Bible. But the highest counsel comes from God and His Word. The best way to trust the Lord is to understand His character and trust His teaching.

The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation.

Psalm 33:11, CSB

Finding His Character

I understand how frustrating it can be when someone tells you to “get to know the Lord.” Like, wow. I’ve never heard that one before. Great idea! (Sarcasm? Is that you?) HOW? was the battle cry of my heart for so long. If I wasn’t reading it on my own, the Bible was read to me since I was in the womb. Yet for so long I felt I was missing something staring me in the face.

One of my favorite pictures of God’s character is His interaction with Simon Peter. Peter was a zealous, devoted, and fierce disciple—and he was fearfully disloyal when it mattered most. The third time Peter denied being associated with Jesus, Luke records, “Then the Lord turned and looked at Peter” (Luke 22:61a). I love how Brennan Manning wrote of this account.

In that look the reality of recognition was disclosed…The Man whom he had confessed as the Christ, the Son of the living God, looked into his eyes, saw the transparent terror there, watched him act out the dreadful drama of his security addiction, and loved him.

Brennan Manning, The Gentle Revolutionaries

Making a Teacher

Jesus saw and knew Peter was afraid. He understood the depths of Peter’s heart and though he had walked with the Christ for three years, he chose self-preservation over allegiance to his Teacher.

What’s more, soon after Jesus’s resurrection He had a conversation with Peter (see John 21:15-19). Jesus asked Peter repeatedly if he loved Him and instructed Peter to shepherd His sheep. Only God, who intimately knows the hearts of humankind, could offer such an assignment to someone who had recently denied knowing Him. Jesus looked at Peter and saw him. Then Jesus gave him another opportunity to be a bold teacher for the sake of the gospel of salvation.

Every time Jesus says, “Do you love Me,” and Peter says, “Yes I do,” Jesus doesn’t say, “Well gosh, if you did, what happened six weeks ago, Bub?” He’s not asking that question. What does He say? He gives him work to do. “Do you love Me? I have work for you to do. I need you to feed my sheep, I need you to tend my lambs. I have work for you to do. I have new, good, beautiful things for you to make, and I want you to start paying attention to Me more than you are paying attention to your shame.”

Author Curt Thompson, MD, shared in an interview with ACT29

A Good Teacher

I am currently taking some seminary classes, so I read a lot of books. Most of them are great teachers. But I cannot tell you how much richer the content is now that I have a better understanding of who God is! God’s character is faithfulness. It is love and justice. His very nature is righteousness, and He teaches those qualities to His children!

But the one who boasts should boast in this: that he understands and knows Me—that I am the Lord, showing faithful love, justice, and righteousness on the earth, for I delight in these things. This is the Lord’s declaration.

Jeremiah 9:24, CSB
God's character is faithfulness. It is love and justice. His very nature is righteousness, and He teaches those qualities to His children! Click To Tweet

Enduring Pursuit

Regardless of the issues you are facing or will face, there is help. There is counsel in the Word of God. So much advice is flung at us. From books to social media and more. How do we know what is right? By knowing the Teacher, the Creator of heaven and earth.

It’s not an overnight realization either. It will take our entire lifetime. But when you think about it, isn’t it wonderful? What an adventure—we can always learn more about our Maker and be taught by the One who knows all things.

Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Psalm 124:8, CSB

Books on controversial subjects are plentiful. Some may be helpful in knowledge gaining, but how do we know what's right? Who or what should be our teacher? Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #controversial #GodsCharacter #GodsWord #knowledge #teacher #teaching

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glory, God’s character, important, righteousness, significance, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Significance: Finding True Meaning from the God Who Created You

The search for significance is nearly as old as time. In this quest, the lines can become blurred and the goal of becoming Christ-like may morph into making ourselves like the Most High. The shift is subtle and may begin with good intentions. What do you do when you realize you’ve been going at it all wrong?



From childhood I have been comforted by the power and security of the Lord, specifically, that spoken of in the Psalms. Reading, “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” (Psalm 145:8, ESV) has been a precious assurance of the goodness and nearness of God to me.

The search for significance is nearly as old as time. The lines can blur and the goal of becoming Christ-like morphs into making ourselves more important. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #glory #GodsCharacter #important #significant

Learned Significance

This past spring I took a systematic theology class. Part of the requirements directed me to read Psalm 145 and Isaiah 40 four times a week for several weeks. On the first day, I smiled at Isaiah 40:1 where I had written “store up comfort” next to it. It references a devotion from Streams in the Desert (January 11) which talks about the costliness and necessity of suffering. It is not for the purpose of our own comfort, but that we may learn how to comfort others.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4, ESV

Significance Questioned

However, as I read aloud from Isaiah 40 I came to a halt at the end of verse 17.

All the nations are as nothing before Him, they are accounted by Him as less than nothing and emptiness.

Isaiah 40:17, ESV

It struck me: “they” signifies me. Suddenly my sense of significance was challenged. My thoughts raced to verses that speak of my value to God, but even those did not hold the same soothing power as they once had in my mind. For instance, when I thought of Psalm 139:14, I realized I had not previously focused on key parts of that verse:

I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well.

Psalm 139:14 , ESV

Praise belongs to God and His works are wonderful. Being created is glorious, but it is only glorious because of the powerful Creator. What I had known since birth was that God is great. I grew up in a Christian home with two parents who loved each other and taught me the Word. That was grace. I became a Christian when I was young—also grace, and I married a follower of Jesus. More grace. To be more specific, it was all undeserved grace. I thought of another familiar verse:

Know that the Lord, He is God! It is He who has made us, and we are His.

Psalm 100:3, ESV

Significance Misled

The version I learned growing up says “It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;” (NASB). Cringing, my eyes were opened to the fact that I had been viewing myself in an us-versus-them category. I had placed so much significance on my decision to choose God that it was completely unbalanced.

After all, Jesus said in John 15:16: “You did not choose Me, but I chose you.” Could it be that all this time I had read Scripture from a vantage point of deservedness? For years I had been content with saying I am a child of God; relishing His protection, blessings, and by His grace, learning to take joy in my suffering. My understanding of the grace I had received turned out to be laced with entitlement. Gross.

Seemed Pointlessness

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9, ESV

I had somehow bypassed this exhortation Paul sent to the church at Ephesus so, when I read through passages like Isaiah 40, it hadn’t previously occurred to me that I needed to read it addressed to myself. God used the class to boldly expose my creatureliness to me in such a way that I was unable to turn away.

By the end of it, reading through Psalm 145 and Isaiah 40 proved to be an anchor while hearing and reading about God’s sovereignty, human freedom, God’s attributes, and His purposes. Initially, I thought, how can the nations be “less than nothing and emptiness” (Isaiah 40:17), yet “He gives power to the faint” (verse 29)? For days I wrestled with the seeming pointlessness of it all. Humankind appeared to be like the “Whos in Who-ville” floating on a speck.

Goodness Evidenced

Nonetheless, I knew of God’s total and infinite goodness…at least to me. To name a few evidences, I had experienced God’s goodness in the restoration of my marriage, in the death and new life of my son, and in the extraordinary rescue of my daughter. In the depths of the aforementioned situations, I had little to no control beyond prayer. They taught me to rely on God and to be able to say with conviction, “This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes” (Psalm 118:23).

I also felt a measure of invincibility, which is not completely untrue as a child of God when viewed correctly, for nothing can pluck me from God’s hand (John 10:28). Unfortunately, I took too much credit and my view of God’s supremacy was skewed.

Blind Contentedness

Until recently, I turned a blind eye when it came to understanding God’s very real and very present wrath towards evil because I could not explain it. Like so many others, I was satisfied to focus on God’s nearness and grace to me and just nod my head like a robot at His transcendence.

That is to say, I didn’t care to search for understanding (for what might I find?!), so I quickly placed any questions in the “God has a plan because He’s God” category. I politely closed that door and ran back to my significance blanket. After all, God is great, right?! But I was at a standstill. I knew more now, and I now knew better, but I didn’t like it because I couldn’t wrap my head around it.

God’s Sovereignty

The Lord is good to all, and His mercy is over all that He has made.

Psalm 145:9, ESV

This verse, in particular, did not line up in my mind with God bringing “princes to nothing,” and that He makes “the rulers of the earth as emptiness” (Isaiah 40:23), and “all the wicked He will destroy” (Psalm 145:20). My soul had never been so perplexed! I asked God, “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You care for him” (Psalm 8:4)?

I discovered a spirit of pride in myself I thought had been extinguished. I’d resigned to seeking answers about God’s authority because I was afraid it may threaten my personal significance. Instead, I dwelt on being chosen and loved, but was blind to my fearful unbelief. True worship is not offering praise from a spirit of resignation and superiority. Alternatively, praising God for who He is and what He has done is glorifying when it is done in truth.

True Significance

Yes; God is infinite and we are finite. God has need of nothing. He is not lonely. He does not need praise or love from us, whereas we do need His love and we are very much alone without Him. But the reality of God’s autonomy (or lack of need) does not mean we are unimportant and meaningless. One of the books I read helped me grasp this: The answer to my nothingness lies in the comparison, not in the value and significance God has placed on creation.

We are in fact very meaningful because God has created us and He has determined that we would be meaningful to Him. That is the final definition of genuine significance.

Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, by Wayne Grudem

I journaled this toward the end of my class: You absolutely matter to God because He chose for you to be meaningful to Him. But you are not the point. You are not the center; God is. So then, your significance lies in the fact that He determined to make you and to delight in you; and for that to honor Himself.

You and I have the privilege to meditate on the glorious splendor of God’s majesty and His wondrous works every single day (Psalm 145:5). To Him, there is no comparison. God is the only One who can promise to save the ones who love Him (Psalm 145:20). He numbers and names the stars (Isaiah 40:26; Psalm 147:4). The Lord is good to all, yet He is also righteous in all His ways (Psalm 145:9, 17). So, let us say with John:

He must increase, but I must decrease.

John 3:30, ESV
You are not the center; God is. So then, your significance lies in the fact that He determined to make you and to delight in you; and for that to honor Himself. Click To Tweet

The search for significance is nearly as old as time. The lines can blur and the goal of becoming Christ-like morphs into making ourselves more important. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #glory #GodsCharacter #important #significant

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constant, depleted, God’s character, infinite, sustain, surrender, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Finite: Surrendering to God’s Infinite Power and Grace

We often forget our humanness. When we accept that we are limited and finite, God’s infinite power can work. It’s through Him we can do anything at all!



I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.

Ephesians 3:16, NLT

Confronted… face to face with my own limits.

After months of adding more, and more, and more to my plate, I finally hit the proverbial wall. Scrambling to evaluate what was important, pieces began to fall off with or without my permission… “But God! You brought me here. All of these things, You need ME to do.

Confronted… face to face with my infinite Savior.

We often forget our humanness. When we accept that we are limited and finite, God's infinite power can work. It's through Him we can do anything at all! Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #empty #finite #infinite #surrender #power

Finite

I am human which means I am finite. I am bound by limits, but often forget this truth until I’m facing the insurmountable. Until I’m facing circumstances and other humans out of my control.

I’ve overbooked my schedule – I cannot be in two places at once.

Here, put this hat on, this hat, and this hat – I cannot be all things to all people.

But you said you could last week – I cannot peer into the future ahead.

As I started coming to terms with my limited nature, I heard the Holy Spirit speak:

Let God be God. In His infinite power and mystery, let God work and move. Stop getting in the way. Stop trying to measure Him, put boundaries around Him. Nothing concocted by human minds or built by human hands can contain His sovereignty. Trust in His strength, His love, His forgiveness.

Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.

Ephesians 3:17-18, NLT

Limited Humans

In order to completely accept my finite nature, I must also recognize the limited nature of my fellow humans. I cannot hold others to God-like infinitude but must remember the grace and love of the One.

Because we are relational creatures, we focus on what other humans can supply… we rely on others to fill our gaps; forgetting it’s only through His power and glory that any other human can provide anything for anyone. Only HE can supply all we need and lack.

For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.

Romans 11:36, NLT

Intricate

We are so intricately woven together as His beloved children. He created every working and operating part in our bodies, but left one major component that ONLY He can touch… our souls.

How often have I tried to fill the void in my own soul? How often have I tried to be the savior of another’s? ONLY God’s infinite and immeasurable love can cover the multitude of darkness in our human hearts and souls.

May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Ephesians 3:19, NLT

Infinite

Praise God! He is infinite… He is never-ending, never-changing, constant and stable.

‘I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,’ says the Lord God. ‘I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.’

Revelation 1:8, NLT

Who can figure out our Mighty God?? Our finite minds cannot fathom. Our will is minuscule… we cannot move the oceans or bend the wind. We cannot command the skies or the mountains to rise.

Take a long, hard look. See how great he is—infinite, greater than anything you could ever imagine or figure out!

Job 36:26, MSG

We may appoint man to rule, but only One is appointed to take on the limitless depths of sin. ONLY ONE is crowned the limitless Savior of the world and beyond.

Praise God! He is infinite… He is never-ending, never-changing, constant and stable. Only He has overcome the limitless depths of sin and been crowned the limitless Savior of the world. Click To Tweet

Surrender

My Savior blankets me in the grace that only He can give. Over and over He pours out tenderness to my depleted nature. When I strive to be all, see all, know all, do it all in my strength He’s waiting. Waiting for His Beloved to finally surrender. Surrender to His unlimited nature beyond fathom…

God fills and sustains. He inflates our lungs to speak Truth. He ignites our hearts and sets fire to OUR plans. His Spirit dances inside us as we lose ourselves to God’s overwhelmingly infinite love.

Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.

Ephesians 3:20, TLB

Have you come to terms with your own limits? Have you surrendered to God and His infinitude?

We often forget our humanness. When we accept that we are limited and finite, God's infinite power can work. It's through Him we can do anything at all! Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #empty #finite #infinite #surrender #power

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Provision: Trusting God to Provide Daily For All of Our Needs

God’s character lets us know He is in the providing business. We can trust Him to bring provision through daily bread to us. There is no need to fear. 



I have always loved to read the stories behind the exodus. Moses and his own faults. The Israelites and their constant mistakes. I read their mishaps and feel pretty good about my own constant inability to stay faithful. Exodus is one story of God being over and over again faithful in the face of constant unfaithfulness. I am overwhelmed by God’s provision- parting the Red Sea, talking through the burning bush, and performing numerous miracles. The one I come back to over and over again is the one about manna. The people are in the desert with no means for food and God provides them with this cracker like substance. They are so confused by its appearance that they are said to name it, “what is it?” or “manna.” This substance feeds them for 40 years and it ceases to appear when they reach Canaan.

God's character lets us know He is in the providing business. We can trust Him to bring provision through daily bread to us. There is no need to fear.  #provision #spiritualgrowth #faith

What is the provision?

What is God providing through this manna? All of the circumstances surrounding the manna is nothing short than miraculous. Any extra gathered will spoil. There is always enough for every person in the camp. Not a single person goes without or is hungry. The portion gathered on Saturday does not go bad enabling the people to take a Sabbath rest. On and on the provision happens.

Who is receiving the provision?

And don’t forget that these are not deserving people. Have you considered who God is providing for? These are the same people who will die in the desert. They are the ones who refused to take the city that He had promised them. They had constantly murmured and complained about Him and given Moses continual grief. Yet, He provides a substance for them that will supply them with food for 40 years. That’s a long time by any standards.

Who is giving the provision?

Why does He take care of a people who are so unfaithful? The provision of the manna has little to do with the people receiving and everything to do with the God providing. His character is what matters. Nehemiah speaks about this event saying,

Forty years you sustained them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing. Their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell.

Nehemiah 9:21, ESV

In your great mercies you did not make an end of them or forsake them, for you are a gracious and merciful God…who keeps covenant and steadfast love.

Nehemiah 9:31-32, ESV

God’s provision is always a reflection of His own faithfulness and steadfast love. Jesus called himself the bread of life.

Whoever comes to me shall not hunger.

John 6:35, ESV

If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.

John 6:51, ESV

Provision that never ends…

He was the manna that would not end, would not spoil, and would always bring life and rest. Manna was a temporary solution to a very real and permanent problem. The Israelites died in the desert knowing that God’s care had never wavered. He had cared for them then and he is caring for us now through the bread that will give eternal life. Jesus is the bread that brings us life. This is through salvation and it is through his sustaining power. He gives us life through His spirit and through His word.

I will ask the Father and he will give you another Helper… even the Spirit of truth…

John 16:15, ESV

Enough provision for today…

As encouraging as it is to know that Jesus gives me life and he sends a helper, I still struggle to look ahead and see that all my days are taken care of. I struggle to rest in his goodness and his care knowing that he has promised enough provision for today. Enough provision for my daily bread. Remember that prayer? Jesus asked for daily bread and I can ask that way too. It doesn’t mean that I do not follow good and sound steward principles, but it does mean that my plans are just that- human plans. God owns it all and He has the resources to provide for me daily. He is that kind of God. I can trust His provision of me and know that I will have daily bread for today and that gives me hope for tomorrow.

God owns it all and He has the resources to provide for me daily. He is that kind of God. I can trust His provision of me and know that I will have daily bread for today and that gives me hope for tomorrow. Click To Tweet

God's character lets us know He is in the providing business. We can trust Him to bring provision through daily bread to us. There is no need to fear.  #provision #spiritualgrowth #faith

Ales Krivec

Psalm 23, Shepherd, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, ministry

Shepherd: The Response to Those Who Can’t Get it Right

Psalm 23 says the Lord is my Shepherd, but does that mean I am like a sheep? Read how the Lord responds to those of us who can’t seem to get it right.



The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

Psalm 23:1, NKJV

Despite loving and seeking to serve God for most of my life, at times I have sort-term memory loss when it comes to remembering His many-faceted, words-defying character. Also, sometimes it escapes my cluttered mind that God is the anchor of my soul in the storms of life…as cheesy as that sounds. (Think of the terrified apostles on the stormy sea and Jesus walking toward them telling them to ‘chill’.)

God’s Many Names

So… recently, I worked back through a Bible study by Kay Arthur entitled, Lord I Want to Know You. Within those pages, Arthur leads the reader throughout Scripture showing when God revealed a new characteristic of Himself to His people, Israel. With each one, a need they had was met and a new name for God was given to them.

I had done this study years ago, when I was gobbling up one Bible study after another, barely taking time for any root to develop. However, the many constellations surrounding my life have been colliding crazily and I needed a fresh reminder of the nature of my awe-inspiring Father. Many of the names of God spoke to my heart, but God as my Shepherd loomed large.

Psalm 23…

Psalm 23 has been dear to me for too many decades to count. I think I may have first memorized it in Vacation Bible School, if that tells you anything! (Don’t ever think kids aren’t taking something home in their hearts from VBS, moms!) When I suffer from insomnia, when anxiety is high or faith is low, my heart and mind often run to Psalm 23.

Being a shepherd himself, I understand David referring to God as a Shepherd. David could relate; it was his own lifestyle. He hung out on dusty mountainsides with smelly sheep all day every day. But that was then, this is now. How can a shepherd analogy work for today? Living today in the technological 21st century – can we truly be considered a bunch of dumb, sheep?…

Psalm 23 says the Lord is my Shepherd, but does that mean I am like a sheep? Read how the Lord responds to those of us who can't seem to get it right. #Psalm23 #TheGoodShepherd #spiritualgrowth #faith

A Flock of Sheep…

Uh…afraid so. At least that’s what Scripture declares.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned – every one – to his own way; and the LORD has laid on [Jesus] the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53:6, ESV

For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

I Peter 2:25, ESV

Without a shepherd, sheep inevitably are aimless. They will munch themselves off of a cliff and will gladly eat or drink things that harm them. It’s just their basic nature. That sounds like a lot of people I know. Wait – it sounds like me!

The late journalist, scientist, and shepherd Phillip Keller wrote in, A Shepherd Looks at the 23rd Psalm:

It is no accident that God has chosen to call us sheep. The behavior of sheep and human beings is similar in many ways…Our mass mind (or mob instincts), our fears and timidity, our stubbornness and stupidity, our perverse habits are all parallels of profound importance.

Yet, despite these adverse characteristics Christ chooses us, buys us, calls us by name, makes us His own and delights in caring for us.

The Tender Shepherd…

Often in Scripture, God refers to His people as sheep and He as their Shepherd. I believe it’s probably an analogy worth investigating, don’t you?

After strongly chastising the priests/shepherds of Israel for allowing the people/sheep to be scattered, God had a message of hope for the flock:

For thus says the LORD GOD: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day.

Ezekial 34:11-12, NKJV

I can envision this word picture; can you? Whether physically or metaphorically, are there cloudy and dark days when your spirit feels pummeled? Do you long for your Lord to seek you out to comfort you? Sister, He IS!

He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.

Isaiah 40:11, ESV

He will tend. He will gather in His arms. He will carry them. He will gently lead. My spirit is moved by the Shepherd’s tenderness. I wonder why we so often lose sight of this picture of God, this aspect of His character when He is on every page of Scripture!

The Good Shepherd…

In Luke 15:4-6, Jesus talked about leaving the 99 sheep and going after the ONE sheep that was lost. Then, what did He do? Berate the sheep? Beat it? NO! He placed it on His shoulders, carried it home, called His friends together and rejoiced!

If you were the one sheep who wandered off, the Good Shepherd would come after you.

Why? You may ask; He has others, others who don’t stray or who are less trouble.

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.

John 10:11-16, ESV

Precious sister, He knows you inside out. The good Shepherd knew we were sheep when He called us and knew the characteristics of sheep. He knew we were sheep when He laid down His life for us so that we could experience LIFE. Jesus would never abandon us. It’s against His nature.

He is the Good Shepherd.


All of us are a mess!
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Psalm 23 says the Lord is my Shepherd, but does that mean I am like a sheep? Read how the Lord responds to those of us who can't seem to get it right. #Psalm23 #TheGoodShepherd #spiritualgrowth #faith

Sam Carter

uncomfortable, suffering, pursuing, pursued

Uncomfortable: Intimately Knowing God Through Suffering

Christianity is hard and uncomfortable. Pursuing God through our suffering results in blessings and knowing Him more intimately.



I laid awake last night pondering the brokenness and sorrow surrounding us. The desperation is palpable. As I prayed, a verse nestled deep in my soul sprung to mind and repeated until I fell asleep.

I would have despaired unless I had believed I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Psalm 27:13, NASB

When I got up this morning I went to the book shelf and retrieved the New American Standard Bible my parents gifted to me on Christmas day, 1990. Most other versions don’t include the part about despairing. NKJV says, “I would have lost heart,” but ESV, NIV, HCSB and NLT skip straight to being confident about seeing God’s goodness while here on earth.

Most days I feel that unwavering assurance, but what about the days when that conviction wavers? When the days turn into weeks or months? When you yell at the sky WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!

Christianity is hard and uncomfortable. Pursuing God through our suffering results in blessings and knowing Him more intimately.

Uncomfortable: Pursuing God In Spite of Suffering

Some of the people I love are hard pressed on every side. I wish I could swoop in and take on their struggle. But who am I to say I could weather a storm better if God has given a season of testing to someone else; to my friend…to my child? Stepping back, I am humbly reminded I am not their savior. I have no idea how God is working sadness or brokenness or devastation for His glory. He has used painfully uncomfortable times in my life to produce a courageous heart. Can He not do that for them?

C.S. Lewis said, “If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.”

Why Christianity then?

Pursuing the God of the bible has not saved me from heartache in this world; instead it seems to draw it like a magnet! But I have experienced God’s goodness. I have been wrapped in His peace that surpasses understanding. There was a time when I felt Christianity was only the best option and no other religion or belief was worth pursuing. In essence, if this world was all there was, I would still have lived a good life. I had no clue how thinking in those terms revealed the depth of my distrust. Only through the foundation of the scripture was I able to stop doubting and believe (John 20:27, NIV) when I encountered heartbreak, fear, and loss.

Christianity is hard and uncomfortable. Pursuing God through our suffering results in blessings and knowing Him more intimately.

Uncomfortable: Blessing from Suffering

It’s not all bad either. There is much good. In just my small sphere of life, I have witnessed God restore broken friendships and shattered marriages. God literally raised my son from the dead when his heart had not beat for nearly 10 minutes. I swore off volunteering in children’s ministry at church, yet through the power of the Holy Spirit, God softened my heart and is not only using me to guide young minds toward the gospel, but He is blessing me in the process!

I am sincerely grateful for the glimmer of hope that has carried me for so long; yesterday’s belief has sustained me. Now I want the raging wildfire that doesn’t cower at challenge or shrivel up when tragedy strikes. On good days, I have prayed “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!” (Psalm 139:23, ESV). May I not recoil and complain when He does just that. Suffering is a necessity to achieve gratitude and grasp the fullness of life that is found in Jesus Christ.

I love Brennen Manning’s eloquent thoughts on the matter. “It is hard to be a Christian, but it is too dull to be anything else. When Jesus comes into our lives with his scandalous cross in the form of mental anguish, physical suffering, and wounds of the spirit that will not close, we pray for the courage to ‘stand fast a little’ against the insidious realism of the world, the flesh, and the devil.”

Uncomfortable: Intimately Knowing God

My son asked me this morning, “How can I make daddy laugh?” I laughed. “It’s taken me 20 years to learn that art; it’s not exactly something I can explain. You have to know him,” I said. “I do know him!” he argued. I said, “It’s the same with God. In order to know what pleases someone, what they enjoy, what makes them happy, sad, excited – what makes them tick – you have to spend time with them. As you get to know them more intimately, you learn how to say something at just the right moment to bring a smile to their face.”

To be loved and pursued is at the core of every human being. It is a longing placed there by God. He fulfills that daily through His word and any other means He chooses to use to make us aware that He is the God who sees. He is here. There is no one like Him.


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Christianity is hard and uncomfortable. Pursuing God through our suffering results in blessings and knowing Him more intimately.

Glenna Hopper


but God…pursued

Because the Lord loves you fiercely, you are pursued fiercely. When circumstances arise that feel like attacks against you, know that God is using them to bring you into a deeper relationship with Him.

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